67w, 5dWriting Gold
66w, 3dDoubled Fun
67w, 5dAlicorn Twilight
61w, 18hTwilight is Best Pony
66w, 14hTwilight Sparkle
64w, 2dThe Hero... Nightmare Moon?
- Show All Groups
6w, 4dTwilight's Library
48w, 2dThe Usual
37w, 6dAlternate Perspectives
28w, 4dStories I've read
13w, 6dX Becomes An Alicorn
10w, 2dVallett's Private Library
10w, 6dFallen Heroes
Epilogue: And That's How Equestria Was Saved
To claps and cheers from hundreds of ponies, Twilight Sparkle levitated the flag to the base of the pavilion's rooftop flagpole. Tying it to the halyard with her magic, she flew gently down from the roof to land beside the Princesses and her friends, folded her wings, and called "Ready?!"
Whistles and whoops and more clapping. "Okay! Here we go!" Her horn ignited, the flag moving gently to the top of the pole. Applause and cheering as the Mayor moved to the podium under the pavilion's bright bunting.
"Wonderful, wonderful!" the Mayor said. "That's it! Ponyville is officially rebuilt!" The cheers redoubled. "Thank you, everypony!" More cheering. "And especially to Princesses Celestia and Luna, who helped so much with the clearing and reconstruction!" The ponies went even crazier. "But most of all, to our own Princess Twilight, head of the organisation committee and personal architect of the new Ponyville!"
The applause was deafening. Ponies everywhere, all around the town square, were clapping their front hooves, stamping their back hooves, and cheering and yelling their heads off. Twilight blushed furiously, wanting to put a stop to this, and point out that she was most definitely not a Princess.
"Just go with it for now, Twilight Sparkle," Luna's amused voice murmured gently into her ear. "Be a Princess for just one day. You might even grow to enjoy it!"
After the downtown celebrations were concluded, Twilight and company walked through the early evening sunset back to the new library - and, over Twilight's objections, the official royal residence of Ponyville. Twilight had used an enormously-powerful growth spell to age a sapling about eight hundred years in the blink of an eye, and the woodworkers had hollowed out and strengthened the structure in record time, aided by Celestia, Luna and Twilight herself. There was one little addition to the large new balcony on top of the tree, however - a pedestal for the palace's enormous Sun Disc. Twilight had objected strongly, but Celestia put her hoof down. As Ponyville had missed out last year, Twilight was raising the sun right here at the upcoming Summer Sun Celebration, and Celestia was going to make sure she did it in style.
"Wow, Twilight, I'm beat! I've been on my feet for days! I'm gonna go have a nap." Spike trotted wearily up the stairs to his new room.
"We're going out to have a few drinks later, Spike," Twilight called after her number-one assistant. "We might not be here when you wake up."
"Okay," Spike yawned back from the landing. "Want me to save you any dinner?"
"No, we're good. Thanks for offering!" Rainbow Dash called.
"No problem. Have fun, you guys!" The sound of a door closing. Spike adored the fact that he had his own room.
Twilight looked around the new ground floor reading room, stocked with books from the Canterlot Royal Library, and even a few from Celestia's private bookcases.
She sat down on the couch and looked grumpy.
"What's the matter, sugarcube?" Applejack asked. "Ya' tired?"
"No, I'm not tired. I've been working all week without a break and I'm not tired at all. Alicorn thing?" she asked Celestia. The Princess nodded from her seat at the row of plush cushions along the wall.
"Well then, what's got you all grumpy?" Pinkie Pie asked around a mouthful of sprouts, coming out of the kitchen.
"I... I don't know. Let's go. I need a couple drinks, girls. Princesses?"
"We would be honoured, Twilight Sparkle," Luna said. Celestia nodded in agreement. The two royal alicorns stood and followed the six smaller ponies back out the door and into the darkening evening.
The old atmosphere of the Ponyville Bar was there, even though the eight ponies sitting alone were all incredibly famous - and two, possibly three of them were royalty. Though the citizens of Ponyville had seen a fair bit of Celestia since Twilight had moved here, and the Princesses themselves had gotten their hooves quite dirty during the week-long rebuild of the town, a Princess was still a Princess, and nervous glances kept shooting from the other patrons all evening. The six best friends, and two royal Princesses, all sat around the table in the bar's largest corner booth, chatting, laughing, having possibly a little too much cider, and talking about how Equestria was now safe forever with the destruction of The Lunacy.
"I really didn't know which of my thoughts were mine and which weren't," Twilight told her friends and the Princesses. "That Thing was really good at what it did. My thoughts really weren't my own at all, just like you said, Celestia." Twilight tipped her glass at her former teacher. "I couldn't tell which were which. I started to think that I really did want to destroy the world!"
"So how in the hay did ya' manage to beat it, Twi'?" Applejack asked.
"I out-thought it! I had these weird conflicting thoughts, but they made complete sense, like, um, oh! I believed that all I'd wanted to do for thousands of years was destroy everything. And I realized that I'm not thousands of years old. I think that unhinged it."
"After our first battle, when you remodeled the top of Windmore Mountain?" Luna asked.
Twilight nodded. "I realized that it was doing my thinking for me. It got mad, really mad. It tried to take me over, to force me to do its bidding." Twilight smiled. "It made a bit of a mistake. I kept my head. Kept calm. I flew straight down at that mountaintop as fast as I could go. That made it furious, but I'd found out where it was hiding in my head! I could be me again. But it was so angry. Every time I let my control slip, it burst back out. I was just a passenger. A passenger in my own mind. It nearly won."
"I don't want to even think about that!" Rarity said, with a note of worry in her voice.
"I think it was watching me, ever since we pushed it out of Luna last year. It saw my transformation and moved into my head, trying to make another Night Mare Moon."
"It sorta did, Twilight," Fluttershy said quietly. "How did you really stop it though? I mean," the pink-and-yellow pegasus said shyly, "what about the prediction? It almost did come true." Fluttershy looked momentarily terrified at the thought, then resumed her relatively benign expression.
"Easy. The Lunacy just made a mistake. I'm not the third Eternal Sister. I'm just Twilight Sparkle."
"But you ARE an alicorn, Twilight! So doesn't that make you an Eternal Sister?" Rainbow Dash pointed out.
"We think you are, Twilight," Celestia said. Luna nodded. "Remember what we saw when we looked at you with our full magical sight. And The Lunacy itself could not have known of that prediction."
"Well, alright, maybe. Maybe I was destined to end the world, and I just decided not to. At least, if it isn't me, and the third Eternal Sister does show up some crazy day," Twilight said with a smile, "she won't be able to embrace The Lunacy." The smile faded. "I don't think it was expecting me to destroy it, maybe just drive it away with the Elements again. Or trap it in stone." Twilight closed her eyes for a moment. "It was still a living thing, though. Evil and twisted, with no purpose other than to cause chaos and destruction. But still a living thing. And I killed it. On purpose." She lowered her muzzle to the table sadly.
"Twilight! Yer' crazy! That thing was gonna use ya' to destroy the world!"
"This is yet another reason why we think you are the third Eternal Sister, Twilight Sparkle. Your love for all living things. ALL living things," Luna emphasized. "I hated The Lunacy. I hate its memory. But I, too, am sorry that it is dead." The midnight-blue alicorn looked at her sister. Celestia nodded.
"As am I. Though I do not think you made a mistake."
Twilight looked with surprise at Celestia as the large, regal-looking alicorn continued with sadness in her voice.
"The Elements of Harmony, used in anger. Used, for the very first time, to kill. If what you did would have been, well, wrong, the Elements would never have activated. If bringing true, eternal harmony to the world meant killing the thing that would have otherwise destroyed it, then so be it. Luna and myself will mourn the passing of such an ancient immortal spirit," Celestia said, "but not for very long. You will, too, I think, also for a brief time only. I am afraid that this will be something else you will need to learn." Her younger sister nodded sadly at this.
The talk turned to other things. Twilight didn't join in. She looked slightly confused about something. This was the same feeling she'd had back in the library, just before they all went out. She listened to her friends talking happily all around her, listened to the background din of the bar. Everypony was having the time of their lives. Glancing up, she saw Celestia looking at her glum demeanour out of the corner of her eye.
Finally, Twilight brought up the subject that she'd been trying to avoid for weeks and weeks now.
"So, uh, Celestia?"
The co-ruler of all of Equestria lowered her glass to the table and looked at her very steadily. Something told Twilight that Celestia knew what she was about to ask.
"What's on your mind, Twilight?"
"Uh, eternity. Immortality."
The talking and laughter of her friends died down as everypony turned to look at her. The rest of the bar was still noisy enough, but those around the table heard Twilight very clearly as she whispered the thought that she'd finally been able to confront.
"I'm going to have to watch all of my friends grow old. Grow old and... and pass away."
The background sounds of reveling ponies seemed to die away as well. Twilight looked at the table sadly, picked up her glass of cider, put it back down again. She was interrupted by a tremendous hug from Pinkie Pie.
"Don't you worry about that, Twilight! We've all got years and years and years of parties to throw before anything like that happens! The Princesses must have lost friends! Right, Princesses?"
In extremely-typical Pinkie Pie fashion, the hyperactive earth pony had just unwittingly opened a very deep wound.
Celestia and Luna both nodded. Briefly, very briefly, their faces showed deep traces of sadness and sorrow.
They must have known hundreds of ponies personally over the centuries. Thousands.
Thousands of friends... gone.
"How do you do it?" Twilight breathed.
"It's not easy. But we cope. Part of being an alicorn is keeping a level head in a crisis, Twilight, as you know. That will extend to coping with loss." Celestia looked around the table at the sad faces, all except Pinkie Pie shocked at this obvious revelation. "You all have long, full, worthwhile lives ahead of you. Twilight will share in those lives. You will all, one day, pass away, just like every other living thing. Twilight will remember you in her heart for ever, my little ponies. And so will Luna and myself, as we remember every friend we have ever made."
The six best friends digested this slowly as a pegasus guardspony trotted unobtrusively up to Celestia and murmured something quietly into her ear. "Yes, yes, I suppose you're right." She looked at Luna, who nodded, then she turned to address the table at large.
"The other affairs of state are starting to pile up. I'm afraid we must both get back to them. It is quite a lot of work, managing the business of an entire realm, along with moving the sky around as well," Celestia smiled, getting to her hooves. "I trust we will see you all soon, though? We're having a small, private dinner this weekend. Just the eight of us, plus Spike."
"Oooh! Formal dress?!" Rarity exclaimed, her shining eyes going wide with joy and anticipation.
"However you choose to come will be fine," Luna said, smiling happily. "Twilight Sparkle, we will be awaiting the arrival of your friends and yourself." The two sisters bowed, which made Twilight wince. "Celestia and myself are quite looking forward to it. Imagine us, hosting a private function for a Princess!"
Celestia and Luna chuckled. To bows and smiles from the other patrons, the Princesses, accompanied by half-a-dozen golden-armoured guards, walked gracefully out of the Ponyville Bar.
Twilight slumped her chin down on to the table. Then, she craned her head around and looked at her wings. She wiggled them. She sighed.
"Twilight!" Pinkie gasped without warning. "You GOTTA come to Sugarcube Corner tomorrow at four o'clock! I just remembered!" she said in a sudden rush.
Twilight sat up and looked at her immensely happy and expectant pink friend. "Let me guess..."
"Shhh! Don't tell yourself this, but it's your Hey-Wow-Twilight's-Gonna-Live-Forever surprise party!" Pinkie giggled. "Everypony's invited!"
Twilight rolled her eyes, then smiled.
The first of many, many parties to come.
"Wouldn't miss it, Pinkie. I wouldn't miss it for the world."