• Published 26th Nov 2012
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Letters From a Friend at the End of the World - alexmagnet



Twilight receives a letter from Trixie one day, but it raises more questions than it answers.

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21 — I Guess We're Headed North...

Chapter 21:
I Guess We’re Headed North...

As they reached the clearing surrounding the mare’s cottage, Spike leapt from Twilight’s back and walked a little ahead, mumbling under his breath, “Man, I never get to do any of the cool stuff.” He turned to Twilight. “Hey, I coulda helped you guys with that chimaera, y’know?” He shuffled his feet. “I might be a baby dragon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t protect Rar—you guys.” He caught himself just before saying Rarity’s name, shooting her a quick glance to see if she had noticed. He internally gave a sigh of relief when she remained blissfully unaware, preoccupied with picking bits of tree bark from her mane.

Rainbow Dash, nursing her injured wing, limped over to Spike. She placed a hoof roughly on his head, giving him a playful noogie. “Don’t be silly, kiddo. We don’t want you gettin’ hurt and stuff, ‘cause that’d be, like, not good, plus Twilight would totally not be happy if we let anything happen to you.”

He brushed her off, slipping out from beneath her hoof to give a pleading look to Twilight. “C’mon, Twilight, it’s not fair. You guys always leave me out of everything. Like when you went to that castle in the Everfree forest, or when you beat Discord, or that time you guys—”

Twilight patted him softly on the head, smiling at him. “I’m sorry, Spike, but you know how dangerous all that stuff was. I couldn’t bear to let anything happen to my number one assistant, plus, you said it yourself. You’re only a baby.” She patted his head again, doing nothing to assuage his discontent.

“Sheesh, it’s like I don’t even exist,” he muttered.

“Shucks, sugarcube,” said Applejack, joining Twilight and Rainbow Dash. “I know it may not seem like it now, but we were all the same as you when we was jus’ kids, too. Always lookin’ to prove ourselves, ‘specially RD here.” Rainbow Dash puffed out her chest proudly, oblivious to Applejack’s intended meaning. “Everyone gets their chance to shine, sugarcube. Everyone. It’s jus’, sometimes ya gotta wait for the right moment, if ya get my meanin’.”

Spike sighed. “Yeah, yeah, I understand.” He stole a glance at Rarity. She saw him looking at her and gave him a smile. He blushed. “Anyway, uhh,” he said, quickly changing the subject. “We should probably, y’know, do what we came here to do.”

As if struck by a sudden thought, Twilight’s eyes lit up. “Ah, right!” She turned to the mare who had helped them defeat the chimaera. She was busying herself with gathering flowers from the tiny garden in front of her cottage, either ignoring, or oblivious to, their conversation.

Twilight approached her, clearing her throat loudly.

The mare placed the gathered flowers into a pocket on her person and faced Twilight.

As she opened her mouth, the mare interrupted her. “I know why you have come, Twilight Sparkle, and I know what you seek.”

“Oh...” Twilight’s jaw clamped shut. Her head tilted to the side and she raised an eyebrow. “Wait, how?”

“I know many things, Twilight Sparkle, and not all of them were easy to learn,” she answered slowly. “But, how and why are not important. All I ask is that you trust me.”

“Oh, well that’s all then?” Rainbow said sarcastically. She jabbed a hoof in the mare’s direction. “You know who we are and why we’re here, but you won’t tell us why?” She scoffed. “Who are you, and why should we trust you if you won’t tell us anything?”

Rarity stepped forward. “As much as it pains me to say this, I must agree with our friend Rainbow Dash here,” she said, eyeing the mare. “You can’t simply ask us to take your word on faith alone.”

“Now, hang on there a minute,” Applejack said, shooting glances at Rainbow Dash and Rarity. “Look, I ain’t one fer dishonesty, but if she’s got secrets she wants to keep, then who are we to force her to give ‘em up? ‘Sides, didn’t she just help us defeat that chimaera? I’d say she’s more ‘an earned my trust.”

“Pssh, whatever, AJ, you can trust her if you want, but I’m not gonna,” Rainbow Dash said. “At least not until she explains herself.”

The mare met Rainbow Dash’s gaze unflinchingly. After a momentary silence, she said, “I am Nadir, and I have not asked you to trust me, Rainbow Dash.” She turned to Twilight, ignoring Rainbow Dash’s rapidly reddening face. “The only pony whose trust I require, is yours, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight put a hoof over her chest. “Me? Why me?”

“Because, my words are only for you, only for the one whom Trixie Lulamoon spoke of.”

“So, Trixie was here,” Twilight muttered under her breath. “Just like Lager said.”

Nadir lightly kicked open the front door of her hut, and waved for Twilight to enter. “Enter, Twilight Sparkle, there is much I would tell you.”

Twilight bit her lip, eyes searching the faces of her friends, looking for approval. Rarity and Applejack shrugged while Spike gave her a look that said, “Well, go on then.”

Rainbow Dash, however, flared her wings out and said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” She put a hoof on Twilight’s back. “Look, Twi, I’m not so sure this is a good idea anymore. I mean, like, this is why we came all the way out here, but I’m still gettin’ some pretty freaky vibes from this place, and her.” She jerked her head towards Nadir. “Y’know, like the bad kinda freaky.”

Twilight considered her for a moment, then sighed. “You may be right, Rainbow, but I’ll never know unless I trust her, and frankly, I want to know what she has to say.” She gently removed herself from Rainbow and approached Nadir. Giving a last look to her friends, she followed Nadir’s offered hoof into the dingy hut. Time to throw caution to the wind.

As Twilight stepped through the doorway, Nadir followed behind her, closing the door with resolute click and leaving the others to stare at the gnarled, wooden door.

Unhappy, but unable to stop her, Rainbow crossed her forehooves and fell back on her haunches. Laying spread-eagled on the grass, she stared up at the sky. “Welp, guess we’re stuck out here for awhile, huh?”

Applejack removed her hat, placing it on the ground beside Rainbow Dash and lay next to her, sharing the other mare’s thousand-mile stare into the cloudless sky. “Yep, sure seems that way.” She chuckled. “Could be worse. ‘Least it’s a nice day.”

Rarity, refusing to dirty herself, elected to remain standing, her eyes fixated on the door. She looked away only at the sound of Spike clearing his throat.

He rocked back and forth on his feet, hands held behind his back and his eyes cast downwards. “So, uhh, how’s it going?” he said, barely more than a mumble.

A smile crossed Rarity’s face as she looked down at the blushing dragon. Her horn glowed blue as she lifted him, much to his surprise, onto her back. “Since it appears we have some time,” she said. “Why don’t we go for a little stroll?” Spike mumbled out something incomprehensible and Rarity hid a giggle. “I’ll assume that meant ‘yes’.”

As the two tromped off towards the road that led back to Emerald Falls, Rainbow Dash heaved a long sigh.

“Man, I hope we don’t have to wait too long,” she said. “Waiting sucks so hard.”

Applejack stared silently into the sky until she saw a single cloud drift by. Her right hoof shot out and jabbed Rainbow’s foreleg. “Punch cirrus,” she said nonchalantly.

Rainbow stared in disbelief at her for a second, then her face broke into a wild grin and she looked back at the sky. “Cloud games, huh? Oh, it’s on now.” She stuck her tongue out in concentration, eyes fixated on the tiny window the was created by the gap in the trees, her hoof poised in preparation.


Inside the hut, Twilight’s eyes were busy adjusting to the near-total blackness of the interior, which was somewhat surprising to her given that it was barely midday outside. Apparently the grime-covered windows did little to let in the light, and created an eerie glow that only stretched a few inches more than anything.

Once she had gained a little more awareness of her surroundings, mostly due to the multiple candles Nadir had just lit, she found herself searching every nook and cranny in the hut, examining all the jars and books lining the shelves along each wall. It took all of her self-control to not immediately dive into the nearest tome, which appeared to be decades old, and instead return to her wandering gazing.

In one of the jars near the back, suspended in some sickly green liquid, was what she could only assume, though she hoped she was wrong, was a unicorn’s horn. Mottled and chipped, it hung there, making her feel more and more queasy. Her stomach turned and she forced herself to look away. Though, that didn’t prove much better as her eyes fell on a pile of rat bones, and, unfortunately as she turned again, more rat bones.

“This is, umm, a very... interesting home you have,” Twilight said awkwardly. She motioned towards the piles of bones. “Are those, uhh—”

“Yes,” Nadir answered, not looking up from the mortar and pestle she was currently using to grind the flowers she had recently gathered. “Rat skeletons. I use them quite often in my potion-making.”

“What for?” Twilight asked, curious.

“I crush them and use the bonemeal in my painkilling remedies.”

“I see, and do you sell these remedies to the townspeople?”

Nadir took a moment to stop grinding the flowers, and reached for a tiny bottle filled with a clear liquid. As she poured it into a small pot, now placed over a tiny fire, she said, “I do, though, not as Nadir.”

Twilight cocked an eyebrow. “Why?”

Gripping the pestle with her metal claw, Nadir returned to grinding the flowers down. “They call me a ‘witch’. You know this, you’ve heard it yourself. they fear me, even those who’ve known me since before the disease robbed me call my work unnatural.” She clicked her tongue. “Even Lager, that ungrateful louse.” Her grip tightened around the pestle. “And after everything I did for him,” she muttered, barely loud enough for Twilight to hear. Although, Twilight guessed, she probably wasn’t supposed to be able to hear that bit.

“You know, there’s a zebra who lives just outside Ponyville who you remind me a lot of,” Twilight said, pretending she hadn’t heard the last sentence. “A lot of the ponies used to be afraid of her too, but then they found out she wasn’t all that scary once they got to know her.” Twilight stepped a little closer. “Maybe you could try opening up to the ponies of Emerald Falls?”

“I learned from the zebras,” Nadir said, either ignoring, or choosing not to answer Twilight’s question. “After I lost my magic, I turned to them in the hopes that somehow they would be able to fix me. It was foolish of me to deny who I had become, but at the time, all I wanted to was to return to the way things were.”

Gears turned in Twilight’s head as she watched this seemingly normal earth pony, minus, of course, the metal leg, grind away at the flowers. She glanced back at the jar containing, what she was now sure was, a unicorn’s horn. A thousand questions suddenly popped into her mind, but she bit her tongue. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I didn’t know.”

“And how could you have?” Nadir said, looking up. She stared at Twilight for a long while, but Twilight did not return her gaze. Finally, after an incredibly uncomfortable, and lengthy, silence, Nadir said, “Let us not dwell on the ghosts of our past, Twilight Sparkle. As I said before, there is much I would tell you.”

Lifting the mortar and emptying its contents into the now boiling pot, Nadir, used a small wooden stick to stir the mixture. When she was satisfied, she poured it into a porcelain cup and offered it to Twilight.

Twilight eyed the cup warily. “What is it?” She asked, sure that it must be some kind of potion.

“Tea,” Nadir answered unconvincingly.

“Tea?”

“Tea.” Nadir nodded. “I had assumed you were a tea-drinker, Twilight Sparkle. Perhaps I assumed wrong.”

Twilight gingerly grasped the cup in her magic and brought it to her mouth. She could smell... “Lavender?”

Nadir smiled. “Ah, you know your flowers?”

“Only a little,” Twilight admitted. “I read a book on botany once. An Examination of Equestrian Flora by Desert Rose, I believe was the one. Very interesting stuff.” She put the rim to her lips and sipped tentatively. Her eyes widened. “Oh!” She took another sip. “This is really quite good.”

“It’s a bit like alchemy,” Nadir said, watching Twilight closely, “tea-making is. Careful measurements, precise temperature, tea-leaves first. Change one thing and you drastically alter the flavor.”

Twilight nodded along, sipping her tea happily now. “I always tell Spike he puts too much milk in, but he never listens.”

“A dreadful mistake, I’m afraid.” Nadir, satisfied that Twilight was thoroughly enjoying her tea, poured herself a cup. “I prefer to avoid milk altogether,” she said. “I find it ruins the tea’s natural richness, but that is simply a matter of personal preference.”

For a while, they drank their tea in silence, enjoying the simple pleasure it brought upon, before Twilight finally said, setting aside her teacup on a small table and looking Nadir in the eye, “Why did Trixie come here? What was she looking for, and where did she go?”

Nadir placed her cup next to Twilight’s and motioned for Twilight to follow her. Curious, and somewhat anxious, Twilight joined the other mare beside a wall of tiny bottles, each with a wax seal placed around tiny corks. Some had been opened, some were filled to the brim, and some were empty, but the one Nadir pulled from the shelf contained a small amount of milky jade liquid that glowed with an inner light.

“Almost a year ago,” Nadir began, her eyes on the tiny bottle, “Trixie Lulamoon came to me, searching for something.”

“What?”

“Power.”

“Power?”

Nadir gave the bottle to Twilight to examine. “She may not have said it directly, but she was searching for a way to make herself stronger, so that she could best you, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight swirled the bottle around, watching the cloudy substance splash against the walls of its container. “But why? Why is she so dead set on beating me? And besides, that didn’t seem like the case in her letters to me, at least not the later ones.”

“I can’t speak to her current condition,” Nadir said, “but when I met her, she was filled with a singularly-minded purpose.”

“Even still, why you? How did she even find out who you were? And what did you do to her?”

“Why me? That is not a question I know the answer to, nor is its answer important. As for what I did to her?” Nadir nodded at the bottle in Twilight’s hooves. “I did nothing, but that bottle you’re holding, that did a great deal.”

Twilight turned the bottle over. There wasn’t any kind of label, or identifying mark anywhere on it. “This? What is it?”

“That,” Nadir said calmly, “is the gateway to another realm. That potion, a combination of dragon’s blood and the dragonsbane flower, awakens the Dragon’s Eye. It shows the user exactly what they need to see, nothing more.”

You drank this, Trixie? Was being better than me that important to you?

“Well, what did it show her?” Twilight asked, giving the bottle back to Nadir.

She accepted the bottle and set it on a table beside her. “The only one who can answer that question is another world away by now, and she is the one you are seeking.”

“You mean you don’t know anything?” Twilight said. “Nothing at all?”

Nadir shook her head. “I only know what Trixie Lulamoon told me after awakening from her meeting with the Eye. She said that she must head North, but she did not say where, nor did she say why. I only know that she left immediately after speaking with me, and I directed her to the next town North of here: Hoofington. From there, I don’t know where she went.”

Twilight cursed under her breath. “So that means I’m really no closer to finding her or finding out the reason she went North other than an ambiguous ‘because it was her destiny’. Great...” She sighed, then her ears perked suddenly as a tiny light bulb lit up in her mind. “Wait! You said she drank that... stuff, and after that she said she was headed North?”

“Yes,” Nadir said, nodding. “The Dragon’s Eye must’ve shown her something to make her want to go North.”

“It’s simple then,” Twilight said, grinning like an idiot. “I’ll just do the same and find out what this ‘Eye’ told her.”

“No, I’m afraid it isn’t that simple,” Nadir replied, shattering Twilight’s grin into a thousand tiny frowns. “The Eye doesn’t speak to everyone, and even those it does choose to speak with, it doesn’t show the same thing. Trixie Lulamoon’s experience was unique, as would yours be if you were to look upon the Eye.”

Cheeks sagged into a defeated frown, Twilight mustered up the last of her previous enthusiasm to ask, “Well, isn’t it at least worth a shot?”

Nadir smiled grimly. “No, it isn’t,” she said. “As I said, the Eye doesn’t speak with everyone, and it has not chosen to speak with you.”

“How can you know that?”

Nadir held the bottle at eye-level in front of Twilight. “What do you see?” she asked matter-of-factly.

Twilight stared into the bottle’s depths, straining her eyes. Silence reigned as she peered into the glass vial, unsuccessfully attempting to wrest its secrets from it. Its contents swirled and played around, but all she saw was the occasional milky strand of white curl through the deep green. Giving up after some time, she finally said, “Nothing. I don’t see anything.”

“Then you are not meant to gaze into the Eye,” Nadir said coolly, placing the bottle aside and giving Twilight an unsympathetic look. “Not all are so gifted as Trixie Lulamoon,” she continued. “In fact, very few even come close.”

“So that’s really all you can tell me, huh? North...”

Nadir shrugged apologetically. “I am sorry, but that I’ve told you all I know.”

Twilight forced a smile, despite her disappointment. “Oh well, I suppose it was too much to hope that I’ve all my questions answered at once.” She chuckled. “Where’d be the fun in that?”

Nadir waved her metallic leg flippantly, catching Twilight’s eye. “Life is filled with such challenges, is it not? It’s what makes living so very entertaining.”

Twilight followed Nadir’s non-pony leg with her eyes, biting her lip. Mustering up the courage, she said, “I’ve been wondering something ever since we met you in that clearing.” She stumbled over the next few words, unsure how to ask what she wanted to ask. “How did, er, lose your leg, if you don’t mind my asking?” Twilight said, indicating the decidedly less biological of Nadir’s four legs.

Holding up the claw-toed appendage, she let it shimmer in the candlelight. “I was unsure whether you’d ever ask me,” she confessed. “I had thought you were simply too polite.”

Twilight blushed. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”

“No, it’s all right,” Nadir said, waving away Twilight’s apology. “Curiosity is nothing to be ashamed of.” She flexed each digit individually, curling the talons against the metal base of her ‘hoof’, before saying, “However, it’s not exactly a tale I enjoy revisiting. Perhaps another time, should we meet again, I’ll tell you the whole story, Twilight Sparkle.” She set the hoof back down and looked at Twilight. “Suffice it to say that it’s a story that starts with Lager and I, which I strongly suspect you already knew, and ends with me losing more than just my leg. While he may choose to hide what he has become, I chose to embrace it, despite the costs.”

“I see,” Twilight said quietly. “I had suspected that it involved Lager, since he’s like you, but I don’t know in what capacity.”

“He and I have known each other for many years, and he’s far older, and wiser, than he lets on, though he hides it well.” Nadir thoughtfully stroked her chin. “I suspect he’s knows more than even he knows he knows. Although, he’s still just an old fool most of the time.”

Twilight could’ve sworn she saw a flicker of smile cross Nadir’s face, but she passed it off as a trick of the wavering candlelight.

An awkward silence fell across the room as Twilight watched Nadir drift into some half-forgotten memory. After a time, she cleared her throat to break the uncomfortable quietude. “I suppose I have nothing left to ask you,” Twilight said. “Without much to go on, it’s looking like we’re just going to have to head to Hoofington to look for more answers.” She slowly turned away and headed towards the door. “Thank you for your help though, Nadir, and for the tea. I wish I could give you something in return, but I have nothing to offer.”

Coming out of her trance-like state, Nadir remembered herself and quickly turned her back on Twilight to rummage through a few drawers. Scooping out a bundle of dried weeds and some greenish paste, she said, “Here, take these.” She pushed them towards Twilight. “For your friend with the injured wing. They’ll help with the pain, and promote a fast recovery. She should be normal within a few days.”

Twilight took the medication graciously and thanked her. As she reached into her saddlebag to pull out the small drawstring bag Lager had given her, Nadir stopped her. “Thank you, Twilight Sparkle, but I don’t require money. I only ask for one thing in return.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow.

“Tell me, how is Lager doing?”

Twilight fought back a smirk. “He’s running a small tavern in town, and business seems to be going well. He said to tell you ‘hello’.”

Nadir smiled despite herself. “I see,” she said quietly.

Twilight, allowing Nadir to occupy herself with her own thoughts, found a home for the medical supplies in her saddlebag and made for the door. As she was about to open it, Nadir stopped her.

“One more thing, Twilight Sparkle,” she said. “I–I have to admit. I haven’t been completely honest with you.”

Twilight cocked her head to the side.

“I know what Trixie is seeking, though she does not truly know it yet.”

“And what, exactly, is she after?” Twilight asked slowly.

Nadir’s face became grim, her eyes reflecting the candle fire. For a moment, she seemed uncharacteristically lost for words. She tortured her lip. Finally, with a sigh, she gave in.

“She seeks to become a god.”

“W–what?” Twilight tripped over that one word, barely able to form a complete thought.

Nadir slapped her hooves over her mouth and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you that. It wasn’t my place.” She ushered Twilight towards the front door, ignoring her protests and pleas for an explanation.


Rainbow Dash and Applejack had moved from their spot on the grass to a slightly more shady patch of trees near the path that led back to the main road. Spike and Rarity had returned a few minutes earlier, with Spike looking incredibly embarrassed.

“Spikey-wikey had a little, er, accident,” Rarity had explained.

Rainbow, her back against the tree trunk, suspended above the ground, said lazily, “So, like, what were you guys doin’ here in Emerald Falls again?”

Rarity answered first. “Applejack and I had come in search of some rare jewels for a dress I’m designing,” she said. “It’s not as if all life in Ponyville simply stops when you leave, Rainbow Dash.”

“Well duh, I know that,” Rainbow said, waving her hoof dismissively. “I dunno, it just seems”—she paused, glancing down at the two ponies—“convenient I guess. Something like that...”

“Aww, shucks, Rainbow, it was just a coincidence.” Applejack put a hoof to her chin, tapping it. “Call it serendipity. Divine intervention, if ya like.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Rainbow yawned. “Guess it doesn’t really matter anyway.”

There was a loud thud all of a sudden as the front door of Nadir’s house was thrown open and Twilight stumbled out. The surprise nearly knocked Rainbow Dash out of the tree as she was barely able to hang on, her hooves wrapped tightly around the tree branch.

“Wait!” Twilight called as the door slammed shut behind her. “What did you mean?” She rapped her hooves against the door, knocking as loud as she could. “You can’t do this, Nadir!”

Unsuccessfully getting her attention, Twilight slumped against the door, cursing under her breath once again. What did you mean?

Rainbow Dash, dropping like a cat from the tree, joined the others as they shared raised eyebrows at the scene.

“Uhh, Twilight?” Rainbow said slowly, inching up behind the defeated mare. “What was that all about?”

Twilight suddenly realized the all her friends had surrounded her and were giving her questioning stares. Uh oh... She heaved herself up and brushed herself off, trying, and failing, to look like that entire incident had not just happened.

“Oh, that?” Twilight asked as nonchalantly as she could manage. “That was just, uhh...” Well, I definitely can’t tell them about the whole Trixie trying to become a god thing. She glanced at Rainbow Dash. Rainbow especially wouldn’t take that very well. “Nadir refused to give me her secret tea recipe,” she lied. “She’s very protective of it.”

Her friends exchanged “Yeah, sure” glances before shrugging and realizing that extracting the truth was probably more trouble than it was worth. At least, that’s what Twilight hoped they had decided upon.

“Aaaaanyway,” Rainbow said, drawing everyone’s attention back to her. “What did you find out, Twi? Any good news?”

Happy to have the subject changed, Twilight quickly answered, “Well, yes and no.”

Spike visibly rolled his eyes. “Great,” he muttered.

Ignoring Spike, she continued, “I know where Trixie went next, but I’m not really any closer to finding out why.” At least for now she would keep her secret. For all she knew, it wasn’t true anyway. Yeah, that was probably just an exaggeration or something, she assured herself.

“Okay then, well, where did she go?” Rainbow asked.

“Hoofington.”

Spike’s thumb and forefinger formed a check-mark under his chin as stroked it thoughtfully. “Wait a second,” he said. “Didn’t Trixie say something about Hoofington when she was in Ponyville? Y’know, during her show?”

Applejack nodded in agreement. “I think y’all are right, Spike. Said that was where she ‘vanquished’ the Ursa Major, right?”

He nodded back.

“Why would she go back there?” Rarity asked, furrowing her brow. “That seems like a bit of an odd choice, doesn’t it?”

“Not really,” Twilight reasoned. “I mean, if she’d been there before, then she already knew the layout, so it’d be familiar territory. Plus, we know she was headed North, and that’s the next North town, so it makes sense really.”

“So,” Spike said, glancing up at the noonday sun, “I guess that means we’re headed for Hoofington then, huh?”

“Sure seems that way,” Rainbow added with a sigh. “Eh, whatever, I’ve never been to Hoofington anyway. Could be kinda cool.”

“Yes, I believe it’ll be quite enlightening,” Rarity said with a sparkling smile. “I hear there’s a dressmaker there who specializes in silk. I would love to meet her.”

“Heck, it ain’t applebuckin’ season for a few more weeks, and I could use a good adventure, I’ll come too,” Applejack said, tilting her hat up.

Twilight stared around in disbelief. “All of you are coming with me?” They all nodded in unison. “But, it could all be for nothing. Are you sure you all want to go?”

“Dear, you think we’d let our friend go on a potentially dangerous—”

“And awesome!”

“—journey without us?” Rarity asked with a simper.

Applejack chuckled. “Apparently you ain’t learned everythin’ about friendship yet, sugarcube.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Twilight confessed. “You guys are amazing.”

“And awesome!”

Spike, with a little help from Applejack, hopped on to Twilight’s back. Wrapping his arms around her neck, he said, “So, which direction are we headed, Twilight?”

“Well,” she started. Maybe I can tell them about Trixie? Hmm... no. I’ll wait and see how everything goes in Hoofington first. Twilight gave one last look over her shoulder to the tiny, beat-up cottage. She saw a flash in one of the windows and could’ve sworn she saw Nadir’s face staring out at her. She looked up at the sun, gauging its distance across the sky. Everyone looked at her expectantly. “I guess we’re headed North.”

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