• Published 28th May 2014
  • 2,069 Views, 37 Comments

Immortality Is A Price, Not A Gift - Crescent Wrench



Some see immortality as a gift, but I know better. Immortality in a land of mortals is but a cruel joke.

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Immortality Is A Price, Not A Gift

Immortality Is A Price, Not A Gift

Digital_Hex

I used to wish on shooting stars. Sometimes I wished for unyielding power, other times it may have just been for a good book.

Never once did I wish to live forever. If I had known what it was like to live even a hundred years, I would have cursed it from the start.

I still remember the day that I became a princess. It was... quite the surprise, to say the least. One second, I'm surrounded by my best friends, the next... Poof, I have a new pair of wings.

My friends... they were so supportive. I wasn't expecting to become a princess, much the less want to become one, but... honestly, I think they were happier for me that day than I was. And it hurts.

Being a princess brought a lot of responsibility with it, but it also had it's perks. While I had a lot more work to do, most of it was the same labor I'd been doing my whole life! Spike was with me the whole time, bless his heart. He always was my favorite assistant.

At first, I thought that the princess life was everything I'd ever wanted, everything I could have dreamed of! And at first, it really seemed so. My challenges got harder, obstacles bigger, but every time I could count on my friends, the other elements of Harmony, and together we would pull through.

They weren't bearers of Harmony in my eyes. No, they were the elements.

Pinkie Pie was the first to leave us.

It was tragic, so sudden. One moment, she was preparing for a party just like any other day, and the next, she was just hanging from the rafters...

It... it hurt. It hurt a lot. I really didn't know quite how to feel about it at the moment beyond the obvious sad. One of my closest friends had died a horrible death, it was a rational reaction! But...

No, I couldn't have seen it coming. I can't have. But I should have.

Rainbow Dash took Pinkie's death the hardest, I think. She was so miserable the next few months, it really was painful to watch. But then she got accepted to the Wonderbolts, after all of her hard work! She finally had the chance to live the dream she always strived for, her one goal in life!

Life moved on. Applejack hit some financial problems, but of course I was there to lend a hoof. It took a couple of years, but eventually she ended up not only expanding the farm, but increasing revenue.

Rarity finally got her ticket to Canterlot in the form of an editor of a very popular fashion magazine. She claimed they felt love at first sight, but I'm pretty sure she threw the flowers back at him on their first date. Whatever their failures, though, they both cherished their successes. She moved in with him after being engaged for two years, even had a foal together!

It took a while for Spike to get used to the fact that Rarity had fell for somepony else, but he took it in stride. He claimed he knew all along he didn't have a chance, but... he was a tough dragon, I will always give him that. He moved on, thankfully, and with no hard feelings.

I suppose it was because everypony else was doing so well that we didn't notice Fluttershy for a while. After everypony had split along their own paths, we all managed to meet up at least once a month, back at Sugar Cube Corner like old times.

I... I must have made a mistake. I thought everypony looked so happy, I didn't notice... None of us noticed...

On the fourth year following Pinkie Pie's death, Fluttershy was finally diagnosed with the late stages of chronic leukemia, a disease she'd had since she was a filly. If she'd spoken up about it years before, treatment would have been a breeze, but with the extreme build up in her system...

Even with our good-byes said, losing her was just as hard. She didn't make it a year.

We all made it back to Ponyville for the funeral. Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack and I did some catching up, and I have to admit I was a little surprised at what I noticed. The young, snarky Rainbow Dash was less brash and more bitter, a little reserved even. She still had a way with crowds, and her need for speed was nearly unquenchable, but there was something gone from her eyes.

There was something gone from all of our eyes. Rarity admitted the city life was starting to get to her, but she and her husband were doing better than well. Applejack, for her part, was running her farm like the true professional she was.

After the funeral, Spike had to leave. How he'd grown over the years, what a magnificent creature he'd become. While still a young child by dragon standards, he had a quest he needed to embark on, and who was I to stop him?

And so I was left alone again in Ponyville. Applejack was still in the productive Sweet Apple Acres, but we never talked outside of business. It was sad, but I always reminded myself there was always he next meeting we all pulled together. And the next. And the next.

How another four years blew by. And then another. It wasn't until the twentieth reunion we held in memory of our favorite party pony and our late veterinarian that Rainbow Dash wasn't present.

Everypony managed to secure the monthly meetings, everypony. Even Rainbow Dash.

At first, I admit, we were a little angry. This was an important date, after all. We stopped being angry once we got the letter.

For somepony whose entire existence was living on the edge, we never expected a freak lightning bolt to push her off it.

The mourning returned, and it was then, nestled between Rarity and Applejack, that I realized something. I never had truly paid attention to it, but...

They weren't the same young mares I grew up with. Rarity had bloomed from the beautiful young fashionista I'd met into an elegant and truly magnificent mare. Applejack, too, had grown up quite a bit, years of hard labor worn into her appearance.

But there was something else, something, I don't know, just got to me.

They were starting to get old.

Not physically, of course, for both of them couldn't have been better than they were had they tried. No, not in appearances or fortitude, but in maturity and numbers. It wasn't something I particularly paid attention to, but it did spike my interest.

I, on the far other hoof as them, had hardly aged at all. While I was just as old as they were, I hardly seemed any more mature or experienced than the egghead that trotted in to Ponyville all those Summer Sun Celebrations ago.

Ignorant as I was, though, I didn't let it get to me. What could I have done, after all?

I could have talked to them, I suppose. Spent more time with them, for sure, but it all went so fast after that. A decade seemed so short, and then came Rarity's turn pass the torch. Heart attack, the doctors said. I don't believe them. She had a strong heart, she had been through a lot, what with the divorce and her foal going off the college...

Applejack and I were surrounded by a sea of false compassion when she was cast to the wind. Of all the ponies present, we were two of the few who had actually known her. And she had deserved better.

I suppose I should have seen it coming for Applejack, but stubborn is as stubborn does. A collapsing barn was all it took, but at least she saved the cows...

At least she saved the damn cows.

Spike returned a few years later, a mature dragon, grown from experiencing the world. He returned to me, and we spent time together.

But it was obvious that after his time with his own kind, he no longer belonged in a world of ponies. Soon after, he set off on his own yet again, only this time he would not return.

I was still youthful, though. It was odd, to be honest. Where as Applejack had passed as an aging mare, I was still young and full of vitality. I had my awkward grace and charm, unchanged for the last sixty-plus years.

I hated it.

I spent the nights crying myself to sleep. Who was I to live while the ponies I cared about, I cherished, were reduced to nothing but memories around me? I was not shameful of my power, I simply resented it.

How quickly a hundred years passed when there was nobody to enjoy it with. How quickly the end to my torture finally came.

* * *

“Are you sure that you wish to do this, Twilight?”

I nodded, a tear already forming in my eye before we'd even begun. “Absolutely positive,” I reaffirmed.

The princess gave a solemn nod. Princess Celestia then turned to back away from me.

My parents, my brother, my most treasured friends, all gone. The three mares before me, the rightful princesses of Equestria, they were far stronger than I. They deserved to stay.

Cadance gave me a hug. She had been a close friend to me over the past century, and I appreciated every second of it. Perhaps she was disappointed in me for my selfish decision, perhaps even ashamed; if she had any ill feelings about my ultimate choice, she kept them to herself.

Luna was surprisingly quiet as Celestia prepared her counter spell. I had never really been close with the Princess of the night, but we had a mutual respect for the other. She gave me a sad nod, and as she blinked I saw that her eyes were rimmed with tears as well.

I couldn't hear anything as Celestia released the keys to my binds, but I felt it. My wings, the symbol of my rule, were gone, cast from me. I felt my body go weak after a century of abuse, crumbling behind me, but my spirit was set free. Above me, I heard a great clamor and commotion.

I looked up to see them all standing there, lined around a hole in the clouds. They were waiting for me, just as I'd waited for them.

The tears sprang free.

“I'm coming,” I croaked out as I climbed my ways to them, towards that final trot through the sky. To my friends, who I knew I would be with for the rest of eternity. To a place I would never have to say good-bye to them again. To a new home.

I'm coming home.

Comments ( 37 )

Well, this is quite an interesting piece you wrote.

I spent the nights crying myself to sleep. Who was I to live while the ponies I cared about, I cherished, were reduced to nothing but memories around me?

Oh yeah? Imagine how Spike feels, leaving his whole country behind--to say nothing of all the princesses he hasn't out-lived yet--all because of some absurd notion that he doesn't belong in the society he grew up in. I understand you ony used this idea to isolate Twilight, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

Wow... Beautiful. This is one of those stories I love. It is extremely good, and surpasses multiple stories of the same theme. Good job! :twilightsmile:

4460515
I would argue about how this wasn't a story about Spike, about how this was about Twilight's emotions and such, but I don't think you really care either way and I am in desperate need of a NOS
But yes, I'm sure Spike has been pretty upset over the years.

4460526
Thanks ^-^

BigD #5 · May 28th, 2014 · · 1 ·

Stories like this do kind of fall into line with what Ayn Rand said about a belief in the afterlife.

All the same, I do enjoy them from time to time and understand the message behind them; it's often about a desire to be with those we care about, not a desire to scorn this life in hopes the next will be better.

Good job.

I wonder how Cadence feels. Shining is probably either dead or dying and now her sister-in-law left.:fluttershysad:

I didn't ask for these feels.

4460897

I do not care who you are or where those pages are from, I want the full comic.

This story needs improvement. It followed the same path as any other story in the clichéd "immortality is a curse" trope while missing the key points.

One of the big points of these are to show the inevitability of her friends death from time, something she is immune to. Instead we had half the cast die from deaths that felt unbelievably forced. Pinkie hanging from the rafters? You had to bring in a suicide from the happiest character on the show to try and get some emotion? Then rainbow dash and applejack, both of their deaths had very little to do with the idea of immortality and the curse it brings. Even fluttershy felt sudden and out of place.

The story trys too hard to get any kind of emotion from its reader's, and that is why I don't think this is a good story.

4462480
Wait, how did RD die? :rainbowhuh:

That was great. Honestly if twilight was immortal this is how I would imagine her giving it up. Asking for her power to be taken away when she felt her time was up, and then going to reunite with her friends who had been paciently waiting for her. I love it.

4462845

Freak lightning bolt.

4463133
Thanks, I accidentally read Rainbow as Rarity.
Wait a minute...
How did Rarity die!?!?!? :pinkiegasp:

Good story. Honestly, this was a very well written story. I enjoyed it, and with that I also leave a quote which says the same thing.

"Do you know why mortals aren't immortal? We're not immortal because we're not insane enough to be immortal. It takes a special kind of insanity to be able to deal with seeing everything you know, everyone you know, wither and die. Mortals can't deal with that. That's why when you hear a new immortal say they're cursed they mean it.

They're cursed. They've got to the very end of time to see everything change and disappear. Still, that's not enough to discourage some folks. Some folks still walk toward that promise of immortality like a moth to a flame. They don't think about what it will be like in a hundred years from now," - Greg Reynolds from The 'Greg the Zombie' Journals.

But really... I can't stop these feels :raritydespair::fluttercry::applecry:

Pinkie's death was a shock, as I'm sure you intended. I don't think she would ever do something like that to herself, or more importantly to her friends, but I can understand why some might think she would.
Perhaps I'm over analyzing, but I'm guessing it was perceived that her bubbly personality was hiding deep trauma. Actually I've seen that before, but thankfully the individual did not take that way out.
All that being said, kudos on a great read; keep up the good work!


CvD

To point out a problem with this criticism of "immortality", note that all the characters in this story are immortal, whether they spend their time in Equestria or the afterlife. In either place, Twilight has the responsibility of deciding how to live her life (making it worth living, as opposed to what she was doing in Equestria). And in either place, Twilight has to deal with some loved ones being absent. Is she going to mourn her "immortal" friends living in Equestria forever, now? If she didn't gain maturity or life experience over her decades on Equestria with her friends, will she now in the afterlife?

A question not often considered in conceptions of an afterlife is "And then what?" So Twilight has joined her friends in the afterlife. They hug, they catch up on events since they last saw each other, and then what? They have fun together, I suppose, but is that all they do, or will they just be getting together once a month like they used to? Will Twilight's activities be any different than if she had moved to Cloudsdale and made friends there? If she knows the kind of afterlife she wants to have, what prevented her from living her life like that?

4464150

Insanity? People die, getting over it is simply something you have to do in order to press on.

Not being able to get over it is an actual issue in itself.

I feel like Twilight should have talked to some one about this...and obviously did given the Princesses' involvement in the last scene. I feel like the story was missing a dialogue on this making it very one-note. "Immortality is hard because one's friends grow old and die and I am unable to reach maturity with them" Is not an unnuanced look at this but I feel like it lacked the focus it should have had and instead became just another "let's have Twilight list through how all her friends died in absurdly varied and tragic ways and then commit suicide" story. Even the inclusion of Celestia's perspective on Twilight succumbing so soon to something she has staved off for 1000 years while Luna was on the Moon would have made this feel whole and richer.

If I was recommending edits, I would probably say that the first half of the story should be framed in Twilight making her case to Celestia about why she wants to be brought down to normal, then you feel Celestia's personal stake in all of this as well and the ending scene becomes more powerful. If you're looking for interesting reading on this sort of theme, I recommend the fic The Lessons of Eternity by Fedora Mask, which is more of a shipping Fic, but I believe deals with a tired, immortal Twilight asking for relief ad death well.

4460897

That or she's the sister who's not deep enough to ponder the philosophical and existential ramifications of an eternal life.

4462480 Pinkie's was an accident. If you read the prequel, she was hanging streamers on a roof, she slipped, her neck caught on a streamer, and her neck snapped. A unfortunate accident, but that's all it was. An accident.

4466027 "Has considered the philosophical and existential ramifications of an eternal life" is not the same thing as "is a nihilist". Existential philosophy itself is largely about constructing meaning and value in life. Cynicism isn't wisdom or maturity.

4467168

Neither is it an opposing factor, making your post unnecessary as you corrected nothing.

4467512 I was correcting your implication that depth is opposed to enjoying life.

:fluttercry::raritycry::applecry: THIS. STORY. CAUSES. GREAT. SADNESS. SADNESS. IS. INCOMPATIBLE. DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!!

4467579

Can't correct something that isn't broken. You can disagree with the way I view things and that is all that you are capable of doing.

4468937 So to be clear, you think that depth is opposed to enjoying life? That's certainly a way you can view things. But... the concepts really aren't opposed, and it's not a matter of opinion. Rather, it's a matter of definition. I don't see how profundity and complexity of introspection would oppose taking pleasure in the world and one's place in it. Conceptually, they're unrelated and therefore independent. You can, of course, make up your own definitions for words, but you shouldn't expect others to understand what you say unless you explain what you mean first. So in the interest of clearing this up, what do you mean here? 4466027

4469925

You continue to assume that there's some black and white legalistic view to this. You speak as if there's only one way a person can view the issue. Until you realize you're wrong on that part, perhaps by attempting to find proof and then coming up empty-handed, you likely aren't going to understand what I was saying. Rather than attempting to have a discussion of philosophical interests, you are trying to correct something that does not need to be corrected - leaving me to believe you're more defending Luna from someone's sarcastic opinion of someone else's mild joke and opinion.

My question is, what is your purpose here? If you want an argument, this isn't how you go about getting one with me. You typically need to be more of an asshole for that to happen. But neither are we having an enjoyable academic discussion since your point stands on a juxtaposed opinion and assumes itself correct and unmovable, rather than setting your own nebulous opinion on the table where it can be persuaded or reinforce itself. So what is it that we are actually accomplishing here?

4465035 Can you honestly say that you can spend thousands of years making friends and watching them all leave you one by one, suffering the heartbreak each and every time and be able to keep your sanity? I can't stand it as it is. I lost a very good friend two years ago now. And as I write this thinking about her, the tears once again flow freely. If I had Immortality I wouldn't be able to stand the constant heartbreak. I just couldn't. I need a hug. :applecry::fluttercry::fluttershbad::raritydespair::raritycry:

5951938 This comment was made over 11 months ago.

And yes, I've had good friends die myself. I miss them, but am I traumatized by the fact that they are gone? No, they would not want me to constantly grieve for them and pine for them to return.

5952024 All I'm saying is there's a limit to how much grief the human heart can take. And as for how long ago the post was made, I just found this story today.

Immortality is a curse. It never was a gift. Watching everyone grow old around you, gradually losing there health and minds. Watching others you know get ever sicker and eventually die in a cold sterile bed in some hospital. OH yes, you would get to see history unfold before you, experiencing things as no one else could. But you would also be alive to see all the mistakes. The wars. The famines. The injustice. You would see the bad as well as the good. And there is a lot more bad than good. It would way upon your soul, upon your mind, tinting your thoughts ever darker. To survive immortality you would have to have a very strong mind or a very very cold outlook on life. I stress again, it is a curse, not a blessing. But then again, that is only my opinion.

Holy **** I just watched angel beats like a few hours ago and then I found this!

4460529
i hate you so much ... you made me cry...
please make another sequel to see how Celestia, Luna, and Cadence delt with Twilight's passing

You got me with the description! Immortality is a fate worse than death.

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