• Published 14th Dec 2021
  • 1,325 Views, 14 Comments

Gone With the Light - TheAncientPolitzanian

As the sun sets, Twilight bids her first friend a final farewell.

  • ...

Gone With the Light

Twilight Sparkle, lone Princess of Equestria, kept her eyes on the sky. Biting down on her lower lip, the lavender alicorn reached out to the sun with her Celestia-given magic for the umpteenth time that afternoon. Dissatisfied with its current positioning, she ignited her horn in a bright, glowing aura, making the requisite adjustments to set the great mass of flaming plasma on its proper course.

"Just a little more that way," she muttered, "and... there we go. Perfect."

Twilight canceled the flow of magic into her horn, then took the opportunity to chuckle dryly at her own words. How absurd, she mused, that such monumental movements, some totaling tens of thousands of kilometers, could ever be considered "just a little more". The infinite nature of the cosmos had an innate way of making all else seen minute. Meaningless, even.

Even so, she knew that it wasn't the case. Everything she knew may have appeared minuscule alongside the vastness of the stars, but sometimes it was the smallest things that meant the world to her.

Having concluded the first half of her longtime nightly routine, Twilight turned to face the mouth of the nearby cave. A chill ran down her spine, the cold reality of what she would have to face inside confronting her once more. 'There lies another bitter pill of irony,' she thought to herself. In her time, she had stared down some of the vilest villains in history. To think that, even after all this time, such a thing as this petrified her more than any of them ever had… It never got any easier, did it?

Again, she reminded herself that such initial assumptions failed to tell the full story. The full truth.

At long last, and with a heavy sigh, she trotted into the cave.

Within the expansive dwelling, five generations of dragons — friends, family, the lot — were huddled around the purple-scaled behemoth in the center. Of course, they were not the only visitors to have passed through the abode. Many well-wishers had already come and gone throughout the seemingly never-ending day, among them some of Twilight's closest present-day companions. Unfortunately, their respective duties back home meant their stays were but brief ones; they had all departed some time ago, much to their remorseful chagrins.

As the world outside the cave grew darker still, the alicorn slipped her way through the gaps in the crowd. The dragons in her way adjusted their postures as she walked by, permitting her an easier passage. They knew how much this moment would mean to her, and thus remained respectfully silent.

Everyone else had already said their peace. Now, it was Twilight's turn, and Twilight's alone.

The dragon of the hour lay atop his horde, a literal mountain of riches and rarities, all of it gathered throughout the course of his long, happy life. His resting form curved into a crescent shape, his head and tail facing towards Twilight and the mouth of the cave. The alicorn trotted up the gemstone hillock, taking care to avoid stumbling on any particularly loose gems. As she neared the mound's peak, her eyes drifted towards the sentimental knick-knacks held closest to the dragon's chest: a heart-shaped ruby and an old papier-mâché crown. Her preservation spells had kept them in pristine condition for all these years. Though they were meant for someone else, and gladly so, their presence strengthened her resolve.

Twilight stepped in front of the dragon — his snout alone larger than her entire body — and took another long, deep breath. The celestial bodies above, the world outside the cave, and her ever-ticking internal clock all faded from the forefront of her mind.

Finally, she spoke. "Hey there, Spike."

Roused from his gentle slumber by the familiar voice, the recumbent dragon lifted his head and opened his ancient eyes. Wearily, he gazed at the alicorn before him, and, in a disconcertingly hushed voice for such a gargantuan creature, he replied, "H-Hey, Twilight."

As the dragon shed his grogginess, Twilight gave him a reassuring smile. Unfortunately, even with the gesture, an uncomfortable silence persisted between them for several seconds afterwards, both parties waiting for the other to further fracture the thick ice.

After far too many of those seconds had passed — had been wasted — Spike forced himself to do so: "Guess this is it, huh?"

Twilight flinched, another wave of dread washing over her. "Yeah. I guess so," she eventually replied.

"So, um... how much do you wanna bet Pinkie's gone and planned a 'dragon-sized' welcome party for me?" Spike quipped.

In spite of herself, a stifled chuckle flew from the corner of Twilight's mouth. "Oh, I think that's pretty much a given, Spike."

"Do you think she'd have made those cupcakes I really like? The ones with the sapphires? O-Oh, and the worms, too?"

"I bet so. Heck, even if she didn't, she probably started the moment she Pinkie-Sensed you saying that."

"You think she could do that?"

An image popped into Twilight's mind: her old friend, at her brightest and bubbliest, frantically darting to and fro through an ethereal impression of the kitchen she'd so dearly cherished. That was Pinkie Pie for you; even on notices as short as this one, she would always do whatever it took to make a pony, or a dragon, smile. Cross her heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in her eye...

"Of course she could, Spike," Twilight promptly answered. "This is Pinkie Pie we're talking about!"

"Oh, I'd believe it!" Spike bellowed, letting out a short but hearty laugh — a welcome sound that procured a spark of joy in Twilight's weary heart. "And either way, it'd be nice just to see the girls and the princesses again. It's been far too... far too—"

Now, a far more unwelcome sound followed, as the elderly dragon's musings were abruptly interrupted by a series of harsh wheezes and hacks. "Sorry, sorry, give me... Just give me a seco—"

Spike broke into a brief but painful-sounding coughing fit, eliciting flinches of discomfort from all within earshot. When the outburst had finally resided and he'd regained his composure, he spoke once more.

"I... I'm sorry, Twilight." His voice wavered. "I mean, we both knew this was bound to happen eventually, but, ugh... If I could do anything to stop this, to hold on for a little while longer, I would. I really, really wou—"

"Spike, please don't apologize for this," Twilight desperately reassured her longtime confidant. "You don't have to fight it just for my sake. You... You can go. I'll be… alright."

"Y-You sure?"

"I promise."

Instinctively, Twilight began raising a front hoof, only to freeze mid-movement. She looked down at the raised appendage, processing the potential ramifications of the motions — the promise — she'd almost just made with it.

"Twi," Spike chipped in, cutting through her thoughts, "are you doing what I think you're doing?"

She looked back up, her object of study shifting from her hoof to Spike's countenance. Though his form was frail, and the purple pigmentation of his scales had long since lost its luster, the eager glow of his expression uncloaked an unmistakably youthful anticipation. 'That look in his eyes,' Twilight thought to herself. 'Is that… hope?'

That settled it. Without so much as a hint of reluctance, she made a series of all-too-familiar gestures with her front hoof: a horizontal swipe across her chest, a flick of her fetlock in the imitation of a flapping wing, and, lastly, a throwing motion in the general direction of her opposite eye. And as she performed each of the actions, she uttered the all-important corresponding phrase:

"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." And so it was. After all, Celestia forbid she break a Pinkie Promise.

"Thanks for that, Twilight," Spike said, sprouting a small but grateful smile. "I really needed that."

"You know, I think I might've needed it too," Twilight replied. "I've been... afraid of this moment for a long, long time."

"Yeah, I get that feeling. It always felt so far off, too. 'Future Spike's problem', if that rings a bell."

"But, sooner or later, the future must become the present," Twilight mused. "Even the longest-lived of creatures must face that reality someday." 'Even me', she silently appended.

"I used to get so worked up about it, you know," Spike confided. "The whole 'dragon lifespan' thing, I mean. I did my best not to let it eat at me, and I'd like to think I did alright at that, but, well..."

"...It was still always there?" Twilight offered, pulling from her own, similar experiences.

Spike nodded. "Yeah, it was. No matter what, I could never really forget that, someday, everyone I loved would be gone. Mom, Dad, Shining, the girls, you... everypony, really, except maybe Princess Celestia — at least, she would've, before she, y'know..."

He sighed mournfully. "And now? Now I'm the one leaving you. You're stuck with the problem that was supposed to be mine."

"I suppose I am," Twilight admitted. Though she'd initially intended to leave it at that, something stirring within her insisted upon pressing on. She wondered if she should tell him the last secret she'd held from him.

Spike made the decision for her. "Correct me if I'm wrong, Twilight," he began, "but just going off the look on your face right now, I'm pretty sure this is the part where you say 'but'."

She resisted for a moment, but soon shook her head in affirmation. “You could always read me like an open book, huh, Spike?”

"You should know by now that I can't help it," Spike joked, hoping the self-deprecation would ease their shared tension. "I might not be your 'Royal Advisor' anymore, but I'm technically still your Number One Assistant. 'Reading you like an open book' is pretty much half the job."

Twilight chuckled. "You're not wrong about that."

"Well, what did you want to tell me?"

"...Remember how you said I was 'stuck with your problem'?" 'No turning back now.'


"Well, if there's anything you ought to have learned about me over the years, Spike, it's how much I like to solve problems."

A breathless interjection escaped Spike's snout, and his eyes widened in realization. "T-Twilight? Are you saying you're thinking about..." Unsurely, he trailed off, taking a few seconds to mull over his wording. "...About retiring? Soon?"

"The thought's crossed my mind," she replied. "And the thought of what would, well, happen after I did." 'The end of my immortality,' went her unspoken elaboration.

"How long do you think it'll take?"

Another pause. "I'm not sure. It depends on how willing Mariner, Zephyr, and Woodwork are to, you know... to take my place."

One of Spike's bridge-sized eyeridges arched. "And are they?"

"Maybe. I won't know until I ask. All three of them are capable in their own rights, and we've given them all of the knowledge they'll need in order to guide Equestria into the future, but... I wouldn't want to force it onto them, that's for sure."

"I get it." Spike flashed Twilight a cheeky grin. "Trying not to pull a complete Celestia on them, huh?"

"Spike!" Twilight chided, albeit playfully. "If I didn't want all of this, I could've — would've — told her!"

"I know, I know. I'm just playing around with you," Spike chuckled. "Still, though."

"There's no 'still' about it, Spike. I'm willing to admit my alicornhood's been... hard at times—"

"Understatement of the millennium," Spike snarked. Twilight couldn't ascertain if his remark came from a place of bitterness, but the idea of inquiring further was the furthest thing from her mind.

"Perhaps, but a lot of good's come out of it, too," she pressed on, her wings rustling at her sides. "Look at everything we've been able to do for Equestria. For Equus, even. Centuries of peace and prosperity, of keeping the memory of our friends and everything they stood for alive."

"Plus—" She smiled up at him, and the inklings of tears began welling up in her eyes— "If it weren't for immortality, I wouldn't have gotten to watch my little brother grow up."

Spike's irises shrank, and another gasp of surprise followed. Once the shock had subsided and Twilight's words had sunk in, however, he smiled with, perhaps, the greatest gratitude Twilight had seen from anyone in centuries. Tears now pooled in his eyes as well, his tired, cooling heart warmed.

"I did my best to make you proud," Spike eventually said. "To make everypony proud."

"And you always have," Twilight replied. "Remember what I told you when you first became my Royal Advisor? It still rings true. Having you by my side gave me the strength I needed to endure, even in my darkest hours. I wouldn't be here without you or the girls, in every sense of the word."

"I feel the exact same way."

"And look where that's gotten us." She gestured towards the trinkets, his fellow dragons, and, lastly, the mouth of the cave. "Look at the memories you've preserved. Look at the friends and family you've made over the years, here in spirit or in person. Look at the Equestria outside of this cave. You've helped shape it into what it is today just as much as I and all our other friends have.

"So you know what, Spike? I couldn't be any prouder of you."

"Of us," Spike warmly countered.

"Of us," Twilight affirmed.

For the first time since their initial awkwardness, another, albeit far less woeful, silence fell.

"...Not to mention," Spike started again, the younger Light seizing one last opportunity to snark, "it was nice having somepony who could hang on to the 'good old days' as fondly as I could. Discord was only ever so-so on them."

"And when he felt his time had come, even he found a successor of his own and passed on. As did Cadance. As did Celestia and Luna before me. As you did when you retired. And, someday, as will I.

"And if all goes according to plan, I should be along in a lifetime or two," she finished.

"And I'll be more than happy to wait for as long as it takes," Spike reassured her. "Please don't forget that, Twilight. You just Pinkie Promised, remember?"

"I won't," Twilight assured him in kind. "I wouldn't dare break a Pinkie Promise. Especially one to you, Spike. Not now, not ever."

"Thanks," Spike said, before yawning. As he did so, murky clouds of gray smog — far from a dragon's normal, healthy hue — emanated from his nostrils and mouth, like fumes from a crashed airship's smoldering wreckage. "Anyway, I think I'm gonna... g-go back to sleep soon."

The siblings shared a knowing look. They both knew what "going back to sleep", in all likelihood, really meant.

"Don't let me stop you." Twilight used her magic to push the smog out of the cave and into the orange-colored skies above, then stepped forward. "Would you like it if I… if I stayed here? Until you do?" she asked, already knowing his answer.

"Of... Of course, Twilight."

With his approval, Twilight sank to the gemstone floor and pressed her body against his, trying her hardest to ignore how frighteningly lukewarm the draconic fire resonating within him felt. Spike reciprocated the comforting gesture, gently running the underside of his snout along the top of Twilight's head.

"Thanks for everything, sis," he murmured, the exhausted dragon mustering an air of finality into his lungs before sleep could claim him. "I love you."

Twilight rubbed another cascade of salty water out of her eyes, then smiled. "I love you too, Spike. Always."

Twilight stared off into space, feeling Spike's scales atop her head. Her thoughts returned to the eternity ago when Spike was but a small, wide-eyed baby, always staring up at the one pony whose life and happiness he valued as much as his own. Even now, when she found herself the one looking up at him, the twinkle behind Spike’s eyes sought the magic and insight of his older sister.

But neither of them uttered so much as another syllable. They had no words left to say to each other, and none needed to be said regardless.

And so, on that final, acquiescent note, the princess and her dragon, the pupil and her assistant, the big sister and her little brother, fell still in contentment. By the time the sun faded below the horizon, the moon lying in wait to take its place, the final flame within Spike's soul had flickered away, gone with the light. When Princess Twilight arose to bring forth the pale moonrise, she did so in the shadow of the first and last of her dearest friends.


Author's Note:

This fic was originally an 150-word short for the April 2020 Flashfic contest, using the prompt "So Long and Goodnight" (as chosen by March's winner, The Red Parade). Having heavily truncated my original outline in order to remain within the group's length restrictions, I quickly earmarked the flashfic for a potential expansion.

Obviously, getting around to it wound up taking a lot longer than I would've preferred, but, well, here we are! It's not much, and there are certainly plenty of other stories like it, but hopefully you got something out of my take on the concept. If you did(n't), feel free to let me know why! This is the first quote-unquote "real" story I've released in over a year, so I'd greatly appreciate knowing just how much rust I still need to shake off.

Thanks again to The Red Parade for giving this story their seal of approval, and to Rego for helping me preemptively shake off some of that aforementioned rust. They're both incredibly talented writers in their own rights, so I wholeheartedly suggest you go check the two of them out.

In the meantime, take care!

Comments ( 14 )
Rego #1 · Dec 14th, 2021 · · 1 ·

I'd say more, but you already know my extensive thoughts from the Gdoc. Nicely done on hitting that publish button! I am very happy to see this one come to light.

I'm crying on the inside.

Another pause. "I'm not sure. It depends on how willing Mariner, Zephyr, and Woodwork are to, you know... to take my place."

And if Twilight has any sense whatsoever, they're not all unicorns. She's smarter than that.

"And when he felt his time had come, even he found a successor of his own and passed on. As did Cadance. As did Celestia and Luna before me. As you did when you retired. And, someday, as will I.

Twilight was Celestia and Luna's, I'm assuming Flurry is Cadance's. No idea who'd want to take over for Discord. And I'm not even sure what Spike could pass on, besides wisdom.

Heartbreaking, Depressing, and Brilliant. Nothing else left to say.


No idea who'd want to take over for Discord.

Screwball. Whoever or whatever she was.

And I'm not even sure what Spike could pass on, besides wisdom.

The position of Royal Advisor? Assuming he didn't wind up the eventual Dragon Lord. I suppose that was always a possibility.

People have an unhealthy obsession with that one-off character for some reason. I doubt it was them. We'll probably never know for any of this.

I’m not crying! It’s liquid pride I tell you!
Beautiful story!

I get the feeling Mariner is a earth pony, Zephyr is a pegasus, and Woodwork is a unicorn. Maybe founding their own cities later on. Maretime bay, Zephyr Heights, and Bridlewood perhaps?

If asked the unexpected happenings of today (and there were a few), shedding a tear or two was the least expected

AWWWWW, this was absolutely perfect. I loved every word. There was sadness yet hope and love all through this story. This is kinda how I’d want things to end between the two, if Spike was indeed the one to go first.

Also really nice nod to G5 there. It was a clever touch.

Brilliant…just pure brilliance.

Congrats on the story!

Seeing as the dust appears to have settled for the most part, I figured I might as well reply to all of the wonderful comments I've received over the past few days. Wall of text incoming!

I'd say more as well, but you also already know the bulk of my thoughts. I've said it a dozen times by this point, but I cannot thank you enough for all of your help. If it weren't for your input, I very well could've scared everyone off before the tenth paragraph.

Looking forward to reading the next chapter of Electro Swing!

Ah, the Applejack approach. Befitting, especially seeing as that line came from an episode about saying goodbye.

Thanks for reading!


And if Twilight has any sense whatsoever, they're not all unicorns.

Well, their names were supposed to be vague allusions to Maretime Bay, Zephyr Heights, and Bridlewood Forest respectively, so make of that what you will.

I'm assuming Flurry is Cadance's.

Yup, that's the implication I was making.

No idea who'd want to take over for Discord.

Truthfully, I'm not sure; that line was really just an excuse for me to transition from one plot thread to the next. I do have a few scattered ideas, but to keep things simple for now, feel free to assume it's an irrelevant OC or something.

And I'm not even sure what Spike could pass on, besides wisdom.

That was in reference to his Royal Advisor position; Spike mentions he's since retired from it during the "open book" segment.

People have an unhealthy obsession with that one-off character for some reason.

In all fairness, "having an unhealthy obsession with one-off characters" is pretty much half the point of this fandom. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask me.

Thank you so much for commenting! I really appreciated your thoroughness.


Heartbreaking, Depressing, and Brilliant. Nothing else left to say.

Thanks for the high praise!

Assuming he didn't wind up the eventual Dragon Lord. I suppose that was always a possibility.

Nope, not in this continuity. By the time Ember retired, Spike would've long since become a fully-fledged adult as well. Seeing as the Gauntlet of Fire was apparently exclusive to "teenage" dragons and younger, he probably would've been excluded. At least, that's my take on it.

Though, on a related note, I do have this headcanon that, were Ember to somehow die of unnatural causes, Spike, technically being the previous Dragon Lord, would have to assume the mantle for the remainder of her term. That could probably make for an interesting story in and of itself, but I lack the wherewithal to write a fantasy political thriller. Oh well. :P

Thanks again for reading!

Seeing my work get described as "beautiful" still feels so surreal. I'm glad you enjoyed it that much. Thanks for reading!

I never really decided whether the trio founded the cities themselves or if they were named in their honor later on, but that's definitely what I was gunning for!

Nice to know my story's good enough to warrant that kind of reaction. Whatever unexpected things you're dealing with at the moment, I hope it all ends well!


AWWWWW, this was absolutely perfect. I loved every word.

You have no idea how much this means to me. Some of those words date all the way back to April of 2020, and I'd had the idea for it since mid-Season 9 until the Flashfic contest prompted me to put it into words. In that regard, I guess you could say it's an encapsulation of the entire transitional era between G4 and G5 — a space I expect to explore a lot more as I revisit my other unfinished writings from that tumultuous time period.

It's taken me far longer to get here than I would've liked, but it's nice to know that the journey was worth it.

There was sadness yet hope and love all through this story.

That's definitely the tone I was going for. The "Sad" tag is still the most befitting, but I was definitely pushing for a "yin and yang" balance between that "sadness and hopefulness" you were talking about.

Also really nice nod to G5 there. It was a clever touch.

Funnily enough, that’s probably the only part of this story that G5 actually changed. In pre-ANG outlines, Twilight's successors were merely a pair of blatant Celestia and Luna expys; their names were never settled upon, but "Morning Glory" and "Night Phlox" were the respective placeholders I used.

For a time, I was actually really nervous about replacing them with that nod. I was afraid that the call-forward to G5 (and the implied collapse of G4's Equestria therein) would devalue Twilight's words and actions. In the end, I went through with it anyway, and so far, it seems to have worked.

At the very least, I can take solace in the fact that, judging by Zipp's old posters, the original Age of Harmony still lasted into Maretime Bay, Zephyr Heights, and Bridlewood Forest's respective lifetimes before it all fell apart. Who knows? Maybe Mariner, Zephyr, and Woodwork's own successors were the ones to blame.

Thanks again for reading! I'm glad you loved it so much.

Thank you! That means a lot coming from you.

…And with that, we've reached the end! At least until someone else decides to comment, that is. I've said it over and over again by this point, but thank you all so much for reading and commenting. You've thoroughly blown my expectations for this story out of the water in the best possible way. I'm still not sure where I'll go from here, but I'll be around while I make up my mind!

Take care, and happy holidays!

A story that tackles the topic of the passing of a family member with commensurate levels of care and drama related to the topic. The story has exquisite grammar and good pacing to follow, even if in the first half it felt like several other "Final farewell" stories, the second half makes up for it with added interest.

I suppose it makes for a fine tribute to the addendum of life, ending it so alongside someone who knew you from the beginning, having lived a full-fledged life and going away in peace. I personally wouldn't be as chill as Spike is given the circumstances but that's just a personal gripe.

"I get it." Spike flashed Twilight a cheeky grin. "Trying not to pull a complete Celestia on them, huh?"

Heck, I didn't expect a chortle coming out of this, much less an actual jolly laugh considering the context

"Plus—" She smiled up at him, and the inklings of tears began welling up in her eyes— "If it weren't for immortality, I wouldn't have gotten to watch my little brother grow up."

And then this masterpiece of a sentence, ahh, marvelous!
All in all, excellent work!

Truly a beautiful and somber emotional tale of loss, hope and those frightful moments of knowing you must carry forth.

I actually teared up and this isn’t an exaggeration. The subject of death has always been a touchy topic for me—I hate the thought that one day my loved ones will be gone more than I fear my own demise—so reading this filled me with a strange feeling of dread. Despite that I loved every word written. The topic was presented so realistic and with great respect.

Even though it hurt I’m very happy I read it.

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