• Published 25th Jun 2012
  • 11,612 Views, 1,211 Comments

Ascension - cloudedguardian

Celestia is dying. Or at least it seems so. Afflicted with a curse that is destroying her very nature, she sets a plan in action. The Bearers of the Elements of Harmony will take the throne in her wake... Not that they know that yet...

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Part 2, Diluculum

Have you ever stood in a large crowd, all bustling, welcoming, and friendly, and yet felt completely and uttermostly alone? If you have, then you know exactly how Twilight Sparkle felt as she stood in the middle of her own party, all the while feeling as if she was upon some snowy mountain a million miles away, far out of everypony’s reach.

As Lyra and Bonbon came up to congratulate her as well, Lyra being an old classmate, they told her that they had complete faith in the six of them… Bonbon even teasingly suggesting a few changes in the taxes. The comment had earned a gentle whop in the ribs from Lyra, but Twilight had laughed and said that it was fine, she knew it was just a simple joke among all the uptight politics… Miss Sparkle was getting better at acting.

She watched the two as they walked away, feeling a pang of envy at them. The two were inseparable, and would walk together on whichever path fate chose for them, confident in the simple comfort of always having the other there.

And Twilight would outlive both of them.

Everypony here, outside of her five best friends who now stood on the same plane as her in every way, she would outlive. All of her old classmates, all of her friends, the newlywed couple in the corner… As well as the baby they held close to their hearts. Even the books Twilight treasured so as a filly would crumble, wither, and turn to dust before she would so much as sprout a gray hair. To be frank, it made her feel sick.

With a choked sigh, Twilight drew a feather along the necklace she now wore. Even though everypony here no doubt thought of it as "Queen Twilight Sparkle’s New Regalia", she herself could only think of it as Celestia’s. With the creeping wonder of a mystery or riddle that used to excite her so, Twilight began to wonder how Celestia handled watching all of her friends pass on… Or perhaps that was the reason why she had always stayed the distant and benign ruler… She couldn’t handle making a friend before, in just a second by her own clock, watching them decay and pass on.

Perhaps the better question was what Cadence was thinking… “Princess Mi Amore Cadenza,” an Alicorn in her own right, had married a mortal unicorn. Bound in marriage, “Till death do us part.” And they would part, a millennium, most likely longer, before Cadence could even hope to follow.

At first, Twilight had been surprised that thinking of Shining Armour and her family didn’t hurt like thinking of her other friends did, but then she had come to realize why; As a practical sort of mare, she had always been dully aware that she would outlive them all even as a mortal pony. She was the youngest, after all, and even though Shining Armour was only a few years her senior, mares generally lived longer than stallions so, really, when it came to that, what had changed?

A pair of nobles broke her out of her thoughts as they came up to welcome her with a pair of smiles as fake as her own. Somehow she got the impression they were sizing her up, even as they beamed and raved about the amazing dinner party they simply must throw her and Rarity to welcome them as permanent residents of Canterlot. Their fake smiles dimmed as Twilight coolly reminded them that she was born and raised in Canterlot, so really it would only be Rarity that they would be welcoming as a “new” resident. There was something satisfying about how their masks cracked at her statement.

They bid her adieu very quickly after that, and trotted off to fawn over Rarity instead. Rarity could be prideful, vain, and shallow at times, but Twilight was pretty sure she would not be pulled in and tricked by the nobles… For where she lacked in judgement at times, she made up for the ability to see ponies for who they were inside, and even as Twilight watched, she could see Rarity’s expression change as she recognized her new admirers as the pair of black serpents they were.

As Rarity turned away from them with her nose in the air to go talk to Fluttershy, Twilight’s eyes rolled over each of her friends:

Rainbow Dash was excitedly talking to the Wonderbolts, her back pridefully arched as the Pegasi who she had worshiped and fawned over so were now fawning over her. Pinkie Pie had pulled her sisters into a bear hug and was getting her mane messed up even further by her younger sister. Fluttershy seemed almost as if she wanted to hide from all the attention, and was obviously very grateful for Rarity’s sudden appearance. Applejack stood with her family, quietly fussing over whether or not they would have enough hooves on deck to handle the harvest without her, a simple worry which had been bothering her since the night before.

Did none of them foresee what Twilight did? Did Applejack not realize that her trees would reach the skies before her new magic had so much as ceased to grow? Did Rarity not realize that she would see Sweetie Bell grow into a star, burn out, and die in peace before she would so much as have the diamonds on her flank dim with age? Did none of them share this simple fear with her? She knew the answer, and part of her wished to enlighten them… But, no… Even as alone as she felt, she would not pull them out of their happy and simple bubbles just to have somepony share in her misery.

There was a bitter and cold silence among all the loud music, shouts and laughter. Disconnected from it all, Twilight almost felt as if on the night when they had all met, Nightmare Moon had succeeded, and the world was eternally enshrouded in winter’s night.

Then, the smallest of warm flames, in the form of a clawed hand on her leg.

“Twilight? Your parents want to talk to you.”

“O-oh Spike… Y-yes, of course they do… I wrote them quite the letter after all.” The fake chuckle and smile would not be bought by the small dragon before her, and as she turned away to go over to her parents he spoke again.

“Hey, Twilight… I’m right here.”

Twilight stopped and looked over her shoulder at him in confusion as to his statement. Spike tilted his head slightly and smiled at her.

“I’m not going anywhere.” He finished, and Twilight’s eyes widened as she realized his meaning.

Outside of sickness and fatal wound, Dragons were immortal.

Someone had found her on her mountaintop.