What If...

by TheMajorTechie

Story pitch: At the Edge of Forever

Everything eventually comes to an end.

Twilight stared at the sentence she'd just written. How long had it been since she'd first ascended? Some five, six thousand years? Tens of thousands?

Time was no longer relevant to the mare at this age. She'd seen more than even Celestia and Luna together ever experienced back when she was the student of the former. Equestria had long-since vanished from the minds of all other ponies-- an ancient, nearly-forgotten civilization relegated to the archives.

Civilizations had risen and fallen numerous times throughout the millennia. Not even the Crystal Empire, the city-state that emerged long ago from the ice, existed anymore. At least, not in its original state.

No, the Crystal Empire had long-since left the land, simply vanishing once again one day without any trace, save for a single sign at its former entrance: "Spacebound".

Now, ponykind, at least in the current incarnation of Equestria and its allies, was on the decline. If ponies wished to thrive once more, they simply left the planet. Sometimes in pursuit of the legendary "Crystal Starship", other times simply to escape the mundane, terrestrial life of Equestria.

Twilight knew this, closing her eyes with a gentle sigh as yet another rocket blasted off in the background.

Such as the world since the old Princesses left. They too wished for a greater life, eventually. Even Cadance and Flurry Heart, the beloved mother-daughter duo of the old Crystal Empire; they too left, vanished without a trace with the last of the Empire.

Twilight sipped her tea. How she longed for her niece, how she wished to see family and friends, long-passed and forgotten by the sands of time.

The Elements of Harmony were no more, either. No, it was only Twilight Sparkle, revered figurehead of the Equestrian nations. She'd given up governing long ago as well, leading a more sedentary lifestyle for the past few centuries after thousands of years of rule.

A twinkle in the sky caught her eye; was it a failing rocket? Another otherworldly invasion? Meteorite?

Twilight shrugged, sipping her tea again.

Nothing matters anymore when you're as old as the history around you.

She paused mid-sip as another revelation came across her mind.

Even the legacies of old have become forgotten.

It was true, too. Equestria, after years of decline in both population and overall development, had steadily devolved into isolated pockets of factions. They didn't normally fight, but they were sure a long ways away from friendship.

Nevertheless, only time would tell if even their fights would ever be remembered.

Twilight set the steaming cup of tea on the table, staring out the window as the twinkle of light grew bigger and brighter.

Perhaps now will be my time, she smiled, staring directly at the light in the sky.

She picked up her tea, taking another sip with a slight frown as the twinkle rapidly grew into a streak, falling down upon a small settlement in what once was the Everfree Forest.

Another sip as a blaze erupted upon the down.

Another sip as screaming ponies struggled to put out the fire.

Another sip as one of Equestria's orbiting cities -- New Cloudsdale, based off its shape -- doused the flames instantly.

Another sip as said city once again whisked itself away into obscurity.

As was modern Equestrian life. There was no purpose for those who remained on the planet. No livelihood, no excitement. Just... nothing.

Equestria had finally fallen. Not by an invading army, nor by a sudden, tragic event.

No, the nation had crumbled, and faded away long ago, before anypony could even remember, banished into the disintegrating tomes of the archives.

Twilight took another sip of her tea.