• Published 4th Oct 2015
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Broken Heart - Tale Weaver


Spike finds a spell that can age him one hundred and fifty years, but when he tries it, he finds himself in a future where the ponies are at war with the dragons.

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Chapter 1

Author's Note:

This is chapter 1 of 4. The next chapter will be posted next Saturday.

Fighting King Sombra had been difficult, stressful and tiring, but Twilight and her friends were victorious in the end. Spike was even considered the hero of the Crystal Empire. It was a title he did deserve, but Twilight did start to worry the title might go to his head as they traveled home.

The cure to that was found in a simple game of catch with three fillies. Spike was a clever dragon for his age. Ever since he was a hatchling, Twilight had personally seen to his education. Checking in regularly with the local school teacher, Cheerilee, Twilight was informed that he was a grade and a half ahead for his relative dragon age. Twilight didn’t take any credit for that. Instead, she attributed it to his diligence and love of learning.

But here, at an afternoon picnic with their friends, Spike wasn’t thinking about that, or what happened at the Crystal Empire. Playing catch with Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell, he was just another youngster growing up in Ponyville. It was often easy to forget that her number one assistant was still just a baby dragon. The sight of him just being a kid was a pleasant reminder.

Now it was time for bed, and Twilight looked forward to getting back to a normal routine in the morning. Spike came out of the bathroom. “Ready for bed?” she asked.

Spike walked over to her, bumped the top of his head on her shoulder and pretended to snore.

Twilight laughed. “I’m not surprised. You really wore yourself out today with the girls.”

“Yeah, but it was fun,” he replied.

She nudged him in the direction of his bed. “Well, go on. You got some lessons to catch up on and I’ve got some research to do tomorrow.”

He trudged off to bed and tucked himself in. Twilight got into bed herself. She was about to blow out the candle when she felt a gentle claw on her hoof.

The sleepy little dragon looked up at her. “Hey, Twilight, thanks.”

“For what?”

“For everything. For today, the picnic, but especially for carrying me home.”

Twilight smiled. “You’re very welcome, Spike. Don’t worry about it.”

“It’s just that I was thinking, I’m getting bigger and you don’t have to let me ride on your back. You could have just woken me and I’d of walk home.”

She leaned over and put an arm around him. “It’s our thing, Spike.”

“I know it is, and I don’t want you to think I take it for granted. It means a lot to me!”

“It means a lot to me, too, Spike. Now go to bed.”

Spike hugged her tightly. “Someday, when I’m a big dragon, I’m going to repay you and your going to ride on my back. And when I get my wings, I’m going to fly you high into the sky and we’ll fly circles around Rainbow Dash!”

“It’s a deal!” Twilight smiled.

With a big smile of his own, Spike headed back for his bed.

Twilight blew out the candle and was about to draw the curtains when she noticed Spike getting out of bed again. “Where are you going?”

“To get some water,” he replied as he went down the stairs. “I’ll be right back.”

“You know you’ll just have to get up in the middle of the night.”

“I know,” he yelled back from the lower level. “But I can’t sleep when I’m thirsty.”

Twilight thought about what Spike had said as she waited for him to return. It would be nice to ride on his back some day. But it was not to be. Dragons lived much longer than ponies. She would not see him grow into a fully mature dragon. It was natural for ponies to outlive those who raised them, but in their case, the difference would be in the hundreds of years. The thought made her melancholy.

Spike came back up the stairs, glass in hand. He turned for his bed, sat down and drank his water. But as he lifted his glass to finish, he saw her sad expression through the bottom. “Twilight?”

She was jerked back to reality, “Huh?”

“Is something wrong?”

“What?” Twilight didn’t want to trouble Spike with her reverie. “No, nothing. Just tired. “ She yawned to make her point and lay back in bed.

But Spike wasn’t convinced, “Are you sure?”

“Of course, what could be wrong?” But the tone of her voice betrayed her. She turned on her side and hid her face from Spike. “Let me know when you’re settled in.”

She closed her eyes and quietly sighed to herself. She waited for Spike’s signal so she could close the curtains. But no such word came from Spike. Instead, her bed shook as Spike jumped on and he came up next to her. She tried to ignore him, but he just tapped his foot and waited. Finally, she had no choice but to turn around and look at him standing over her. “What?”

With his arms crossed and brow furrowed, “You wouldn’t let me get away with that kind of answer. What make you think I’m going to let you?”

Twilight sighed again, out loud this time. “It’s nothing, really. I’m just being silly. Now go to bed so I can shut the curtain.” She turned around again and closed her eyes.

But Spike didn’t leave. Instead, he sat down, crossed his legs and put a gentle claw on her shoulder. “You told me once that if something is really bothering somepony, it’s never silly. Come on, Twilight, what is it?”

The dragon she raised from a hatchling had caught her with her own wisdom. As much as she wished he’d just go to bed, she knew he cared too much for her to let it go. Finally she had to give in. “Okay…” She turned around and sat up. “Look, Spike. It’s really nothing and I don’t want to upset you over it. Let’s just go to bed and by morning it’ll be all forgotten.”

He looked up at him with those baby dragon eyes and she realized there was no going back. She pulled him in close and he rested his head against her cheek. “It’s just what you said earlier. About giving me a ride through the sky.”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“We don’t know a whole lot about dragons. They pretty much keep to themselves. But we do know they live a long time. A very long time, and they grow accordingly.”

“So?”

Twilight hesitated. “So it means that by the time you’re big enough to give me that ride, I probably won’t be around.”

Spike was confused. “Why? Where will you go?”

“Spike, you could live to be a thousand years old, maybe older. But ‘m just a pony. I’ll be lucky to live one tenth that long.”

Spike sat up in alarm as she knew he would. “What? No! I mean, you can’t…”

Twilight finished his thought. “Eveypony dies, Spike. It’s part of life. You’ve seen funerals go through town.”

He turned and hugged her tightly. “But I can’t imagine a day without you, Twilight!”

“I can’t imagine a day without you, either.” Twilight felt a pang of guilt. She would never have to know a day without him, but he would spend most of his life without her. She held him tightly. “This is why I didn’t want to say anything. I didn’t want to upset you.”

She pulled him away to look into his eyes and wipe away a tear. “Don’t worry, Spike. That’s a long way off. We’re going to have decades and decades together. And long before you’re that big, you’ll probably be off on your own. You could be a librarian at Canterlot, or maybe you’ll have your own restaurant. You love to cook and you’re really great at it!”

“Yeah, but, I don’t want to do any of that stuff without you!” he protested.

Twilight took his claws in her hooves. “Tell you what, I promise you that I will live long enough to have that ride though the sky and fly circles around Rainbow Dash, even if I have to live as long as Granny Smith to do it!”

Spike managed a smile. “You Pinkie promise?”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” She smiled and hugged him tightly. “Now go to bed, and don’t think about it anymore.”

Spike agreed and went off to his bed. As soon as he had tucked himself in, Twilight closed the curtain. But he did continue to think about it. He didn’t want to live all that time without Twilight. And he didn’t want her to die before he could repay her for all those rides on her back.

It was nearly time for Princess Celestia to raise the sun before he fell asleep. And it was nearly three weeks later before a solution to his problem presented itself.

* * *

Spike and Twilight had gone to the Canterlot Royal Library to research ancient spells. The head Librarian of the historical wing led them to a restricted section of ancient books where one needed special permission from one of the two Royal Sisters to enter. Twilight, being Princess Celestia’s student, had that permission, and that allowed Spike, her assistant, to enter as well.

While Twilight searched down one aisle of historical magic, Spike searched down another. It was there he found a copy of Time Watcher’s studies on Temporal Manipulation. Spike flipped through it, finding nothing on the kind of magic Twilight was researching. But he did find a spell that caught his attention, one that could age a subject. But the spell was easily disrupted, causing the subject to revert back to their original age. Still, if he could age himself, say, a hundred and fifty years, he would be large enough to have Twilight ride on his back. Just one day would be enough. And her birthday was coming up. What a great present that would be, he thought to himself.

Still, that left the problem of powering the spell. As a baby dragon, he had very limited magical power. And from the notes, he surmised a unicorn like Rarity would not be able to do it either. It would have to be somepony more powerful, like Princess Cadance. But would she help him, or would she say a theoretical spell was too dangerous to try. And as powerful as Cadance was, she was not a student of magic like Twilight. Truth be told, he probably knew more about the workings of high level magic than she did.

But there had to be a solution. Spike snuck the book onto the cart of books Twilight was taking back to Ponyville. And it was there he found a book on magical magnification. Another theoretical spell. But this one could take a small bit of magic, like his fire breath, and build it into something more powerful.

For weeks he practiced every time Twilight left Golden Oaks Library. He would go down to the basement and grow his fire breath into an every larger ball of magical power. But the larger it got, the more unstable it was. At one point, it blew up into a huge ball of smoke. Spike had to burn a batch of cupcakes on purpose to camouflage his failure. But finally he thought he was ready. And Twilight’s birthday was upon them.

* * *

Twilight woke up that day to breakfast in bed, served by her Number One assistant. That, alone, was enough to make Twilight feel loved, but the baby dragon had much bigger plans in mind.

Rainbow Dash arrived just as Twilight was getting ready for the day. “Ready to go?” she yelled to the upper level.

“Just a minute!” came the reply.

Rainbow came close to Spike. “Hey, sorry I couldn’t get you a ticket to the Wonderbolts Air Show. But they were kinda sold out.”

“That’s okay,” Spike replied. “It’s Twi’s birthday, not mine. Besides, I got a lot of errands to take care of.”

“I’ll get you next time, promise!” Rainbow held out her hoof and Spike bumped it with his fist. Rainbow glanced up to make sure Twilight was out of sight, then turned back and winked at Spike. The whole exchange was for Twilight’s benefit. Rainbow Dash would take Twilight to Cloudsdale for the air show while Spike and the rest of her friends prepared for a big party at Sugar Cube Corner.

Twilight came down the stairs ready to go.

“Are you ready for the best air show ever?” Rainbow asked excitedly.

”I can’t wait,” answered Twilight. “I’ve been looking forward to this all week!”

“Then let’s go. I got the balloon inflated and ready for you.”

The two mares turned for the door. Twilight hesitated and turned back to Spike. “I’m sorry you can’t come. Are you going to be all right?”

Spike shrugged it off. “Don’t worry about me. I got enough to do here and in town.”

Twilight hugged the little dragon. “Thanks again for breakfast. I love you, Spike.”

The two mares left. “And I’m going to love you in a big way!” he said to himself.

Spike ran down to the basement and pulled out the two books he had been hiding. He didn’t even open the magic magnification one. He had that part down. He soon had a sphere of magical energy large enough to encircle himself. Now was the true test. A hundred and fifty years, he thought. Just how big would he be? At least big enough to carry Twilight, and then some. He couldn’t wait to see everypony’s reaction at Sugar Cube Corner. How much more could he help decorate if he could easily touch the ceiling? But it was Twilight’s reaction he really wanted to see. She was the whole reason he was doing this.

Reading Time Watcher’s notes, he carefully lowered the sphere of energy on himself. It felt weird. His skin began to crawl. But nothing more than that. A little more, he thought. He increased the magical energy. Then a little more. A little more. But as he increased it, it became harder to control. He felt like he was in a hurricane. He lost his footing and backed into the sphere. He felt a rip in his back. The pain distracted him. And that’s when he lost all control. The sphere grew bigger and wilder. It started tearing apart the room. He watched helplessly as it reached an uncontrollable apex. And in an explosive flash, everything he saw was gone.

* * *

Rainbow Dash hovered by Twilight as she spoke excitedly of the stunts she had seen the Wonderbolts perform.

“Don’t tell me everything,” said Twilight. “Leave something for the show.”

“Don’t worry,” countered Rainbow. “They always do new stuff!”

Without warning, an explosion from behind startled both of them, making Twilight stumble and Rainbow Dash fall out of the air. It was a large one. Instinctively, Rainbow jumped to Twilight’s side and covered her with her wings before the concussion wave hit. Twilight put up a protective shield around them just as they were pelted by rocks and branches.

When it was over, Twilight lowered the shield.

“What the heck was that?” yelled Rainbow.

Twilight looked at the debris. What she saw made her gasp. Oak branches surrounded them. They both turned in the direction they had just come from. A huge, black cloud bellowed out from where the library should have been. Without a word, Rainbow Dash jumped into the air and flew back to Ponyville. With her heart in her throat, Twilight followed as fast as she could run.
When Twilight caught up, she was met by a sight she couldn’t fathom. Nothing about it would fit in her reality. The Golden Oaks Library was gone. In its place was a blackened crater. Panic struck her. Where was Spike? No, no, no, was the only thing she could think.

“Twilight?” Rainbow ventured.

Twilight turned to the crowd that had started to gather. “Have any of you seen Spike?” No one answered. She turned back to Rainbow Dash. “He said he had some errands to run!”

“Got it!” Rainbow Dash flew off to the East.

Twilight would search West, but she could not take her eyes off the crater. “Please, Spike. No,” she whispered. He had been working on something in the kitchen. But a gas explosion could not have done this. Besides, he had just made breakfast this morning. The more she thought about it, the more it didn’t make sense. There was something terrible about the crater she couldn’t explain. As she stood there, she began to sense something else. A black cloud formed above her. Not the one from the explosion, but one in her psyche. Now she had to run. Not only to find Spike, but to keep the cloud from catching her.

She ran into the heart of the village, desperately screaming out Spike’s name. She questioned every pony she came across. Soon, between her and Rainbow Dash, every pony in Ponyville was looking for Spike. Sweat drenched her mane as she ran faster, criss-crossing every street and alley. Her heart beat harder and harder, threatening to burst out of her chest. She shouted louder as she came to the end of town. There was nowhere else to look. The black cloud moved in closer. Did Spike leave town? She thought. Did he cause the explosion and was now afraid to face her?

She ran back to the crater. There she was met by her five best friends. They had faced so many dangers together, but she had never been as terrified as she was now. Rainbow Dash had formed an ariel search squadron. Rarity had gathered every unicorn in town to scan for him. Fluttershy and Zecora organized a search party into the Everfree Forest, and Apple Jack and Pinkie Pie had been searching all outlaying areas around town. Twilight asked a barrage of questions and gave a flurry of orders. She was too busy to notice that no pony spoke a word on their own. But they dutifully went out and searched again at Twilight’s request.

Her legs were shaking. She could feel the end of her strength approaching, but she could not give up. The cloud was encroaching again, so she ran once again into the village. The sun was now in the West. It must have been hours now, but it did not matter. Once again she found herself at the end of town with nowhere else to look. She turned back to the town, gasping for air. With what voice she had left, she yelled out as loud as she could. “Please, Spike! I don’t care what happened! I promise I won’t be mad! I just want to know you’re all right!”

Every pony in sight froze in place, straining to hear an answer. But none came.

Twilight fell to her knees, exhausted, tears streaming down her face. Some ponies turned away, not being able to bear the sight of their beloved librarian in such desperation. “Please, Spike!” she pleaded again. “Please answer me!”

A few approached, offering Twilight their hoof. But in their eyes, she could see the reflection of the nearing cloud. Twilight bolted up and ran back to the crater.

What she saw filled her with anger. A small group had formed and some were laying flowers by the crater. She burst in, kicking the flowers away and startling everypony in sight. “What are you doing? We need to look for him! He may be hurt. Maybe he can’t reach us. We have to keep looking!”

A weary voice spoke up, “Ahm… Twilight?” It was Rainbow Dash. Her eyes we red and puffy. She had a hoof around Fluttershy as the yellow Pegasus cried against her neck.

Twilight turned her anger on the two of them. “What are you doing here? You’re the fastest pony in town. You should be out looking for him!”

Rainbow Dash left Fluttershy’s side and approached Twilight. “We have, three times.” She reached a hoof up to Twilight’s shoulder. “Twilight…”

Twilight batted her hoof away. “I don’t want to hear your excuses!”

Twilight turned to the crowd and was disgusted by the ponies just laying about in the middle of a crisis. One of them was Rarity, mascara was running down her cheeks. Some of it had gotten on to Sweetie Bell, whom she was hugging. Next to Sweetie Bell sat Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom held on tightly to her brother’s arm as she cried into his shoulder.

Twilight walked up and kicked Rarity in the side. “You know how Spike feels about you. Don’t you feel anything for him? Anything at all?”

Rarity struggled to speak between tearful gasps. “Of course I do.”

“Well, it sure doesn’t look like it!”

She then turned her attention to the three fillies huddled together. “And you three. You call yourselves his friends? He needs you, now! Why aren’t you out there looking for him?”

The three of them pulled away in fear of Twilight’s wrath. Only Apple Bloom could raise enough courage to say anything. “But Twilight…”

“Shut up!” Twilight boomed back. “I don’t want to hear it. The three of you are pathetic!”

Rarity rose to her feet. “Twilight, Please! They’re children!”

Twilight yelled at her, making Rarity turn her head away. But she stood her ground between Twilight and the three young girls.

Apple Jack watched the scene, trying to reckon what she should do. Twilight’s reaction was understandable, but she could not be allowed to continue to hurt everypony in her way. AJ locked eyes with Rainbow Dash. Rainbow straightened herself and nodded back at AJ. That gave her the confidence to try to reason with Twilight. “Twilight? Twilight?”

“What?” blurted Twilight angrily, turning to AJ.

Apple Jack slowly approached Twilight. “Listen, sugar cube. We all love Spike and we have spent the whole day looking for him. I’m sorry Twilight, but he’s…”

Twilight did not let her finish. “Shut up!” She shouted and struck AJ across the mussel. Twilight no longer had the strength to hurt Apple Jack. But it was the shock of her outburst that made AJ stagger. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Twilight struck her again and again.
Rainbow Dash galloped in.

Apple Jack was willing to take the abuse if it would get it out of Twilight’s system. But her brother was not. Big MacIntosh stood up and wedged himself between his sister and Twilight. He stared down at the much shorter unicorn.

The set of his jaw made her want to fight. But the compassion in his eyes made her stagger back. “I don’t need you. I don’t need any of you. I’ll look for him myself!” She turned away in a defiant gesture and instantly regretted it. She had been fighting overwhelming terror all day. But what she saw now in front of her shook her to the core, threatening to release that terror.

Pinkie Pie was crying.

Not the exaggerated burst of tears she had seen her hyper friend cry over ridiculous things, but a true, from-the-gut mourning. She stood between the Cakes as Mrs. Cake held her gently. Mr. Cake held her by the hoof as well. Then Pinkie opened her eyes and looked straight at Twilight.

Twilight wanted to run. Get away as fast as she could. But her body wouldn’t move. She fell on her haunches, frozen, as Pinkie Pie left the Cakes and slowly moved towards her. Every fiber in her screamed to run away, but she could do nothing but stare and feel the oncoming horror.

Why was Pinkie Pie, her exuberant friend, doing this to her? She couldn’t understand. As Pinkie neared, she wrapped her hooves around Twilight. Twilight could only stare as Pinkie embraced her. She wanted to scream, but could only manage a whisper as Pinkie’s cheek brushed hers. “Pinkie, no. I’m begging you!”

Pinkie held her, then uttered the most devastating words Twilight has ever heard. “I’m sorry.”

The black cloud descended upon Twilight and devoured her soul.

“No.” It started as a whisper. Then Twilight spoke louder and louder until once again she was screaming, “No! No! No! No! No!” She pounded her hooves against Pinkie’s back. But the more she did, the tighter Pinkie held her, and the harder Twilight struck.

All reason left her. She could not understand why her friends were moving in. Why they wouldn’t let her run away. If she could only deny everything strongly enough, it would all go away. But it wasn’t working. What magic lesson had she missed?

Then, along with reason, control left her. Her eyes rolled back into her head and grew a glaring white. A massive lightning bolt shot from her horn. It was seen from Appleoosa to Canterlot and was accompanied by a thunder clap that felled everypony nearby and blew out windows as far as a mile away. No pony was left standing, except for Pinkie Pie who held her through a second lightning bolt, and then as Twilight collapsed in a quivering, incoherent, mass.

* * *

The lightening caught the attention of the two Royal Sisters. It was the Mayor who first found her voice and told the Princesses what had happened. Princess Celestia cradled Twilight like a helpless child. Then the ruler of Equestria carried her faithful student to Fluttershy’s home, which Fluttershy had offered. Pinkie Pie was rushed to the hospital. With both eardrums ruptured, she was left deaf. She was later fitted with magical cochlea shells. Pinkie would swear she could hear better than before, but Twilight would always suspect that Pinkie Pie was lying to make her feel better.

As the crowed dissipated, Princess Luna stayed to investigate the crater. It took all her strength to remain detached and clinical. She had promised her older sister she would do her best to unravel what had happened. Luna sensed a lingering magical energy, but she could not define what it was. The ashes were also strange, being all a fine, black powder. But it was a small discovery she found that finally broke Luna’s resolve.

The appointed time had passed for the sun to set and the moon to rise. The Mayor went back out to the crater to see if there was a problem. There she found Princess Luna lying in the ashes, crying. In her hoof she held her sad discovery. Three purple dragon scales.