Back when Twilight was three, on her first day to magic kindergarten, it was me who walked her there.
She lay on my back as I walked, grasping me tight, as if afraid of being taken away. She was so tiny and meek, and I was content. I almost wished that it takes forever to reach the kindergarten.
Then we arrived. I watched her walking away to sit among the other foals of her age. She was about to sit down before she paused and glanced back at me. The pair of amethyst of her eyes were speaking to me.
I smiled, as several branches of grapefruit trees in the courtyard lowered themselves with the weight of unripe fruit. She grinned to me, though confusedly, and waved me goodbye. The other foals were just as clueless, not knowing that growing up requires parting with loved ones, not knowing why they were among unfamiliar faces all in a sudden.
I turned to leave, trying hard not to scoop her up and run home.
Twilight was sixteen when she stepped in to the chariot that would bring her into a fateful visit to Ponyville. None of us knew that she would find her destiny there. I chose the two guards to pull the chariot for her carefully. Heavy Shield and Flight Skywarden, they were strong and loyal colts; I knew they could protect Twilight just as I could.
As Twilight passed by, followed by Spike, I reached out and hugged her. She had grown since we last hugged, which was two years before this time; both she and I were busy. Yet, she still felt so tiny, as if she were still a foal.
I looked into her eyes to find awkwardness in her amethyst eyes. Then I realised that, though slightly, she was squirming in my forelegs, and later that Spike was smirking like an omniscient idiot.
Regret immediately welled up in my chest before I released her with haste. The grown-up once-a-filly lavender mare rolled her eyes smiling timidly and punched me in the shoulder playfully.
After that, I watched her walking away to sit in the large cushioned chariot with Spike. She looked forwards, anxiousity written on her face as she drifted into thoughts. I didn't know if what I felt was sadness or joy.
Two years later, not long after my Twiley had her eighteenth birthday, she achieved greatness, earned her wings and became the embodiment of true friendship. The fact that, only two years before her ascension, she was still her own little bookworm, consumed in her small world of reading and learning, not having any real friends, was almost too surreal to believe. I was so happy for her to find her lifelong happiness among her friends.
Bells on clocktowers chimed twelve deep into the night, putting the grand ball-party following her coronation to an end, guests from all across Equestria beginning to take their leave. The lavender alicorn that was my little sister trotted by with her friends, a tired but genuine smile on her face.
Staring into her eyes purple as dusky sky, I called out to her before I could realise it. As her eyes turned to me, I pulled her into a tight hug, for which a small yelp escaped her throat, just like how she would react to surprise hugs when she was the timid filly who would never leave my side. There was a fit of laughters among her friends as her face burnt red.
Sheepishly did she chuckle before pulling away, her wings spread. I blinked twice, lost in the ocean of lavender feathers, unable to tear my gaze away. She was regal, like a goddess. For a moment, I could swear that it was Princess Celestia who stood in front of me.
I must had lost track of time, as when I finally turned my eyes to meet Twilight instead of the wings that spread to their full spans, I saw she was already standing in the balcony, ready to take flight into the starry vault of summer night sky.
I would have said something, shouted for her to hear, if words didn't fail me. Instead, I stared at the princess of friendship as her highness leapt. I watched her joining the sky.
Slowly, I came to realise, that to love means that, again and again, you watch as your loved ones walk away, farther and farther as time gallops by, their returns becoming fewer as intervals grow and merge, while they tell you, with their determined steps, that you do not go with them.
Parting tends to be heavier when one turns to see the more shadowed corners.
I got promoted to Captain just before I turned twenty-seven. He walked with me on the way to the ceremony, hardly holding back his cheerful grin; he was proud of me, just as he always did.
My polished new captain armour was blinking pride in Princess Celestia's sun. I was almost grinning to my horn, too. We shared no words, for both of us preferred to let silence speak as we walked on the cobblestone street that I had took hundreds of thousands of steps on in my life. There was not many pedestrians as it was high noon, the only other ponies to be seen were mostly my fellow guards, who would salute and voice their congratulations to me when I walked by.
Just one turn before the castle could come in sight, he came to a halt, grabbed me into a hug, much to my confusion. He then nuzzled my neck, carrying a carefully-hidden affection for his little colt, before whispering into my ear, "You take the rest from here, dude. I'm just an old stallion. I'm in no manners a companion worthy for the Royal Guard's Captain."
With that, he turned and left before I could protest. I, from where I stood, watched him limping away, his weathered hindlegs wincing stiffly as he walked.
I opened my mouth to feel my jaws hung open. Eventually, however, I had to turn away, and walked ahead, alone.
Several years past since then, during which I married the best mare I could ever ask the life for, became the prince of Crystal Empire, and faced more than one menaces that threatened my homeland. Above all of these, a filly came into my life - Flurry Heart. She was my little princess, my little filly, my... heart.
Just as I thought my life was complete, unfortune struck; he fell sick, probably from all those years of hard work that he spent supporting his family.
Thus, I rushed home.
He could not speak when I pushed the door open, smashing the glass door plate into pieces. The tube that kept him breathing inserted deep into his throat, blocking all his smart and funny words. His half-lidded, glassed eyes turned to me slowly as he heard my entering, and gave me a weak smile through the tube. It was the most horrifying smile I had ever seen, but he was mustering all of his strength to smile for me. I tried to return his smile, doing a job as bad as him.
With tentative steps, I walked forward, before kneeling down beside his bed. ECG machine beeped coldly, as if counting his time. I held his hoof, resting my horn on his side. I called his name, telling him that he would turn out alright in no time, that we were going to have another Hornstone night after he get discharged.
The beepings slowed and lengthened as time was stolen away, before finally joining together into a long and deadly scream. My heart skipped a beat as it sped up at the scene, not knowing what to do.
Doctors filled the room. I watched as he was pushed away alongside the entire world.
As I realised later, it was me who was pushed out the room.
He never came back.
I had never known that you are allowed to watch your loved ones become a pot of ashes.
The monstrosity of metal and fire hissed as it consumed the elderly unicorn stallion whose blue coat had long turned gray. He had been there with me, when I had a fight at school, when I won a prize for the first time, when I lay sick during flu seasons, in boring Saturday afternoons, at my graduation, on the day I became a father just like him.
Twilight stood by my side, her gaze fixed on the floor. The lips of hers were quivering; for a being powerful as her, it ought to be difficult to contain her feelings. Standing behind the door was Velvet, my mother; seeing her stallion being burnt to the afterlife was too much for her. She just could not watch it. Cadance was there with her. Flurry's sobs could be heard between the hisses of flame.
It was raining when we got out, as heavy as our hoofsteps. The way home was unnaturally long that day. There were ponies along the sidewalk, some of whom I could recognise, some I could not. Nopony spoke, nor even made a sound as we walked my father home, rain wailing silently.
I watched as he bid me farewell from inside the urn.
Slowly, I came to realise, that to love means that, again and again, we watch as our loved ones walk away, farther and farther as time gallops by, their returns becoming fewer as intervals grow and merge, while we are told, with their determined steps, that we do not go with them.