• Published 13th Feb 2015
  • 934 Views, 37 Comments

Too Much Love Will Kill You - A Hoof-ful of Dust



How much do you trust what you can see? What you can touch? What you experience? How sure can you be that all you have lived through, all you have loved, is not a dream that will fade at daybreak? Twilight must end the spell.

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One

She was on a soft couch in a dark room she didn't recognize, with no memory of how she came to be there. She had been in the orchard with Applejack and in the clouds with Rainbow Dash, and now she was... wherever this was. There was no in-between. No chain of memories explaining how she came to be at this place she didn't recognize. But did it matter? How could she know if they were real or not?

How could Twilight know if she was real or not?

A noise drew her attention. A door opening. There was a door to this place she was in. A silhouette of a pony stood in the doorway, and for just a second Twilight saw what was about to happen so clearly, a logical deduction of what would happened based on everything that had happened, and she felt the thin fabric of reality fray a little more as there was no way she should be able to know that.

And then Rarity turned the light on.

The memories pounded into Twilight like air shot form a bellows, setting a fire to blaze. Rarity whispering to her as they stood beside Princess Celestia wearing beautiful gowns, a sidemouthed missive meant only for her that was still perfectly audible through the hubbub of the Grand Galloping Gala. Rarity coming to bed late, her mane tied back, her glasses still perched on her muzzle, her face bearing an expression like she had just battled every beast locked away in Tartarus, and was relishing the victory. Rarity in the light of the morning sun saying it wasn't many ponies who saw her like this. Rarity.

"Twilight, dear," she said, "have you been sitting here in the dark?"

Twilight's response was to burst into tears.

Rarity was at her side in a heartbeat and Twilight buried her face against her shoulder. Crying was catharsis, a poison leaving her body, and Rarity's gentle embrace and soft reassurances were soothing medicine. Did the wrongs of the world, real or imagined, matter if there was comfort like this? She wept for what could have been hours, days, lifetimes, because time had lost all meaning. She was outside of time, and something was breaking. Perhaps it was the glass over the face of the clock of the world. Perhaps it was her heart.

"Darling," Rarity said as she stroked Twilight's hair, "sweetheart."

"Mm?" Twilight managed, an inarticulate grunt through the tears.

"Twilight, dearest," Rarity said with infinite compassion, "isn't it time you ended the spell?"

"Yes," Twilight whispered. "Yes, it is."

Rarity guided her to her modelling area with its array of mirrors, and Twilight saw her own reflection. The copies behind the glass wore Starswirl's cloak and hat; not the costume she had put on one Nightmare Night but the real garments owned by the real Starswirl, faded and frayed with age, scorched and scarred by magics. Her eyes were dark, not from tears but lack of sleep.

"Rarity?" Twilight said. "I'm tired." Her eyes felt raw, her head filled with lead.

"I know, dear," Rarity said, "but you have to wake up now."

"Wake up? How do I wake up..." Twilight was ready to sleep on her hooves.

"You have to end the spell to wake up. You have to wake up to end the spell."

Twilight touched the glass of the mirror gingerly with one hoof. Cracks spread across the surface. She could see different reflections of herself in the shards. Here she was helping Fluttershy bandage Owlowiscious' sprained wing, there she kissed sugar dusting off the tip of Pinkie's muzzle. She read beside Applejack, flew with Rainbow, danced with Rarity. The cracks grew, making an impossible number of sparkling copies.

"It's not real," Twilight whispered. "None of it was ever real."

She closed her eyes, the infinite possibilities still dancing before her vision like a kaleidoscope.

"I'm waking up. I'm ending the spell."

Darkness.