• Published 28th Feb 2013
  • 7,122 Views, 36 Comments

Sparkle No More - furrypony



Twilight Sparkle was desperate: her studies were failing, she lost her friendship, and she kicked Spike out of her library in a fit of rage. After gulping down four buckets of ice cream, she knew that there was only one way out for her... suicide.

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I Have To Find A Way...

Dear Twilight Sparkle, my most faithful student,
I have just finished reading your latest report on the Amniomorphic Spell, and it was, as always, interesting and informative. However, if you refer to p.340 of Theory of Morphism, you would see that formula (23) in your derivation was wrong, an error that propagated subsequently. On account of this, I have to give you a “B+”, and ask you to send me a corrected version of your report.
My dear Twilight, it may be just me, but I have noticed a worrying trend. More and more mistakes have been cropping up in your reports. This is not like you. Is there anything wrong? Breathe, relax, play, or hang out with friends. Lately you have been so wrapped up in your studies that you haven’t been sending me any friendship reports (not that I’m asking you to “MAKE a friendship lesson”). You can take a break if you feel any need to; the scheduled final exam can wait.
Your caring teacher,
Princess Celestia

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Princess Celestia,
Thank you for your caring about me. Rest assured that I’m fine as usual, and you can assign me the final project as previously scheduled.
I’m sorry about the recent mistakes, but I promise that my next report will be error-free. I will not let you down.
Attached is the corrected version of my Amniomorpic Spell report.
Your most faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle

I let out a sigh and gave the letter, along with a bundle of scrolls, to Spike. Head hanging low, I trotted to the kitchen and looked inside the cupboard. I blinked my eyes, “Spike, buy two more cans of coffee powder tomorrow morning.” I looked to the left, and sighed again, “and buy some canned veggies, too.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Twilight Sparkle,
As you requested, you are going to take your final exam in Advanced Magic and Science. If you pass—and I am confident that you will—you will enter your next level of study.
Your exam will consist of four research problems. For each problem, you will have a week for conducting the research, finishing a report, and sending it to me. Then I will send back my grading on it, along with your next research problem.
Be ready, Twilight; it will be a very busy month.
Your first problem is…

What followed was a long and winded description about the current research progress on the Finite Element Magic. It proceeded to ask me to find a unifying pattern in the discovered spells, and compose new spells based on the pattern.
Well, clear enough. Confidently, I walked to my bookshelves with a smile. “Finite, Finite, Finite, F, F, F…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grid, grid everywhere I could see, covering all the ground, all the space, to the farthest horizons.
Numbers, flying around, flashing rapidly. Despite my best efforts, they wouldn’t stay still. “Stop!” I shouted in frustration, “I can’t get a clear picture with all of you horsing around! STOP!!”
“STOOOO…” Wait, “…OOOOP.” Time froze. No grid, no numbers, nothing. I opened my eyes. A numerical table came into focus. Oh great, I fell asleep again. I rubbed my eyes, trying to remember what I was doing before falling asleep. Right, I was interpolating on the numbers. How long did I—the clock is pointing at 7 am—I slept 5 hours? Well enough, gonna get breakfast and coffee. Extra coffee.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sat silently, staring a stack of paper, trying to swallow the cold, hard reality. I had committed fully to this report, yet all I got were red marks. I knew the problem was more difficult than anything I had encountered, and I was ready to accept an “A-”, or even a “B+”, but all I saw were red marks, mercilessly pointing out all my mistakes, topped with an elegantly lunate “C”.
No, this can’t be happening. The last time I got a “C’ was so many years ago, a painful memory that I thought would never be repeated. I didn’t work hard enough. I’m a bad student. With trembling hooves, I unfurled the scroll from Princess Celestia.

Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I can see that you have took care in preparing your report on Finite Element Magic, yet I cannot fail to point out several mistakes, some of which were, to be perfectly candid, not insubstantial, resulting from fundamental misconceptions on the part of the author.
I hope you are not adversely affected by this setback, and will strive to make up for it in your next report. I still believe in you, my faithful student.
Your second problem is…

As I perused the intricate details of the Generalized Problem of Anaxamare, my troubles mind slowly calmed down. This problem appeared to be more thoroughly understood, with a much longer history. I can do this.
“Spike! More coffee!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sat in the middle of piles of opened books; ruffled papers were all over the floor, but I couldn’t care less about them, being fully concentrated on the esoteric problem at hoof.
Prime number, set modulus, rational points…
Knock.
They’ve got to fit together, but how…
Knock knock.
…how do they fit together?!
Knock knock knock knock knock.
“Ugh!” I swung my head away from the inscrutable symbols sitting in front of me, and stomped to the library door. I took a deep breath, trying, without much success, to quiet my tumultuous mind, and then opened the door.
I said in the calmest voice I could manage, “It’s you Rainbow, what’s up? I’m busy so make it quick.” She grinned, “Oh yeah Twilight, sorry to interrupt. I’m just asking you to go picnic with us. We know you’re busy studying, but you need to relax.” I rigidly shook my head, “No thanks. Appreciated, but have to study.” I forced an apologetic smile.
Eye twitch.
“Oh, OK then. See ya. Take care.” She flew away.
I almost slammed the door shut, barely containing my stress. I went back to my book. OK, calm down, Twilight, you can do this! You just have to keep it together! Keep, it, together!
Twitch.
I took a deep breath again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A dragon burp woke me from my rough sleep. Ugh, not the migraine again… I grimaced as I rubbed the base of my horn with my left hoof. “Spike… the letter…” Spike scuttled forward and put the newly delivered papers on my desk. On top of the stack was Princess’s letter. I took a glimpse of it. Considerably shorter than usual… I read, and froze in shock.

Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I’m afraid I have to give you a “D” this time. Please understand that the Anaxamare Problem is much deeper than what you have touched upon. Your report barely scratched its surface, and even that was rife with ambiguities and confusions.
I strongly recommend you to take more care in studying your third problem, the Mechanism of Boundary Determination of Levitation Spell…

No no no no no NO NO!!! I screamed internally. This can’t be happening! I got a “D”! What do I do what do I do?! My stomach twisted violently, giving me nausea. I shut my eyes tight and threw my face into my hooves. I wanted to whine, cry, howl, laugh, bump my skull against the wall, bite my own leg, crush my…
“Twilight! TWILIGHT!”
“Huh?” I gasped and opened my eyes, hyperventilating. In front of me stood a very worried Spike. “Are you OK? You just zoned out, and you looked so desperate.” He put a claw on my shoulder “Is there…” his sentence was cut short as I suddenly swept him up my arms and cried out like a filly. “Why-y-y… Didn’t I try har… hard? Why did I… I get a “D”? Wh… what do I do? Spike, oh, Spike… what… do I do…?” I let my tears fell freely, while he was softly patting my back and cooing in my ear, “Shh… it’s OK… Twily… it will be OK… I know you did your best… it will all be OK…”
I didn’t know how long it passed before my bawling turned into sobbing, then into whimpering, finally into occasional hiccups. I spoke with a broken voice, “Thank you, Spike…I needed… hig… needed it…” Exhaustion seized me, and I drifted into a dreamless sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it. But there was no denial, I failed my test. The giant “F” on my report was more than enough to wipe out any hope I might have had, not to mention the painfully terse and direct letter I just received along with my failed report:

Twilight Sparkle,
Your last report was clearly rushed. The general direction of the report was not too bad, but there were few valuable insights in it, and the writing was obscure and unpolished, to say the least.
However, this is far from my main concern. I have received serious complaints from your friends about your recent bad attitude toward them. I certainly hoped that all your previous friendship lessons have taught you better. Study stress is no excuse for hurting those who care about you.
I am very disappointed at you, Twilight Sparkle. This is not like you. Stop, calm down, and apologize to your friends. Then sit down, think very carefully, and write to me. Only then may you have your last part of the exam.
Princess Celestia

Every word of the letter was like a lash to my heart, a heartache beyond any suffering I had ever experienced in my life. It’s all true… I felt terribly sick. I’m a failure… Not only did I fail my studies, I also failed as a friend… For what seemed to be the hundredth time this month, I bawled, only this time even Spike wasn’t there anymore, and I was truly alone, my pathetic whining the only sound in the disarrayed library. My home fell into a state of complete chaos after I kicked Spike out. I don’t know anymore… I was just so damn stressed the day before, that I didn’t know what hurtful things I did…

“Come on, Twilight,” Spike persuaded me, “You’ve been studying like forever. Don’t you want to go out and get some fresh air?”
“No, Spike! I have to do my research!” I snapped at him impatiently. “Do you have any idea how complicated these spells are?!”
“Listen, Twi, you really need a break.”
“No time for breaks! Now please, just leave me be!”
Throughout that one-sided confrontation, I was furiously scribbling down notes on my parchments. I didn’t realize how hard my quill was pressed against the paper: my anger and frustration was getting out of control. I was growling, my heart was racing, and my cranium was pulsating.
“Twilight—” Spike began, calmly.
My quill snapped when he uttered my name. I screamed and crushed my parchment into jigsaw pieces, then slammed shut my book with complete violence and rammed it against the wall as hard as I could. I watched in disgust as the book tumbled down, its spine broken.
“Twilight, get a hold of yourself!” he shouted.
“GET OUT!” I yelled at him, “GET OUT, SPIKE! LEAVE ME ALONE!”
“But—”
Impulsively, I teleported Spike out of the door and telekinetically slammed the door right into his face in a fit of fury. I turned away, staring at the library floor, panting heavily.
“Fine,” there was resentment in his tone. “If that’s how you want to be! If you want to be a bitch to me and all your other friends just because studying is the only major priority in your life, then be my guest!”
Spike’s words pierced into my ears like icicles in deep winter. I couldn't believe it… He just called me a bitch. I had never heard him used profanities before in my life. But he was right. I had been a bitch, to him, and, to my friends…

Every day in the past two weeks, at least one of them would knock on my door, suggesting me to take a break:
“Twilight, do you wanna take a break and go pick up some cupcakes?”
“Twilight, darling, you really do need to rest.”
“You feeling OK, sugar cube?”
Until I suddenly snapped and lashed out at them, “LEAVE ME ALONE! Can’t you all see I’m busy?! I can’t possibly pass my exam if you keep getting into my space and distracting me! NOW GO! SHOO!” I barely squeezed out the last sentence through my gritting teeth.
Then, I saw their faces.
Tears welled up in Fluttershy’s and Pinkie Pie’s eyes. After a few seconds of silence, they broke out crying and ran away, as if running away from some hideous monster. Rainbow Dash gave me an angry glare before flying off in a huff. Applejack and Rarity’s expressions were mixed with confusion, sadness, and… disdain… They, too, slowly turned back and walked away without a word, leaving me all alone in the library. When they finally disappeared from sight, I felt as if a bucket of ice poured into my chest, and the realization sank into me.
What have I done…
It was the last time I saw them.

That was it. I had screwed up everything I held dear to, everything I worked so hard to obtain. I had lost everypony and everydragon I cared about, disappointed my mentor beyond measure, and failed my studies miserably. I certainly wouldn’t make it to my next level of study anytime soon. Heck, I might never make it! I should have seen that I was too stupid anyway; my failing grades had testified this fact beyond any doubt.
All of this mess, my failed tests, my broken friendship, my raging mind… all my fault. I let everypony down all because of me. Was there something I could do to save me from all of this? Maybe none of this would've happened if I had just calmed myself down, or if I had asked my mentor to delay my final exam, or maybe… Pointless, the milk is spilled already. I laughed at myself internally. Nice job screwing up your life, Twilight.
Depression wasn’t new for me, but I had never been this depressed before. The pain in my chest was excruciating, and my eyes were red and sore from all the crying and the many sleep-deprived days. Make this pain stop. I went to the kitchen, grabbed some buckets of vanilla ice cream and set them on the floor next to me. I began gulping nonstop. One bucket… two buckets… three buckets… now my fourth. My tongue and stomach was numbed, but the pain wasn’t relieved a bit. It still hurt, a lot. As I finished my fourth and very last bucket, I thought about what I was about to do, and made my decision.
I rummaged through my bedroom drawers to look for the thing I needed. It didn't take me too long before I found it—a switchblade. Before I went back downstairs, however, my depleted eyes wondered upon the photos of my family on the wall. I froze, tears welling up in my eyes.
“Mother, father, Shining Armor, Cadance,” I called out their names tenderly as I landed my hoof on one of the photos, the one we took just before I moved to Ponyville. “I am so sorry I let you all down. I’m just a failure.” My eyes were flooding with tears again. “Please don’t hate me for this.”
I let my hoof fell limply, and went back to the first floor. For one last time, I looked through more photos on the mahogany furnishings, reminiscing the good old days spent with Spike and my five best friends.
“I know you all hate me now, and I know it’s my fault. You are probably mad at me for what I’ve done…” I said softly. “I love you all, please forgive me, and even if you don’t, I understand, for I’m just a terrible pony who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.”
Finally, I saw a photo of me and Princess Celestia, my biggest priority in all my life. In the photo, we were smiling together. Like a dream, so beautiful, so distant. “Goodbye, Princess. I’ve failed you. I’m sorry for letting you down.”
After I had said all my farewells, I walked to the center of the room, and took one last look at my disorganized home. “That’s it,” tears fell freely to the ground, “goodbye.” I levitated the knife, staring at its smooth metallic surface, hesitating—
There came a banging on the door,
Ah, it’s them.
“Twilight! What are you doing?!”
There is no turning back now.
“STOP!!”
I shook my head. “I’m sorry it has come to this.” The blade was on my neck. “I deserve it.”
It did not hurt at first. As the knife cut open my throat and veins, all I felt was a sharp, chilling sensation.
Blood. Warm, thick blood. Gushing out my neck, soaking my hooves, staining the books.
Pain. So much pain. I trembled violently, breathing in short, hissing gasps. Oh sweet Celestia, make it stop… My face was contorted in agony. Let me die…
Strength was rapidly draining inside me, leaving behind a grey numbness. My knees buckled; my blood splashed when I hit the floor.

Then it started.

The pain, going away.

The world, blurring and fading.

Their cries, so distant and hollow.

A smile, crept up my face.

…it’s just like…going to sleep…


Peace. Peace at last.

Author's Note:

For those who have a liking for technical accuracy like Twilight Sparkle ("Orion has three stars on his belt, not four."), here's a passage I got from a medical book:

A cut-throat wound most often causes death by hemorrhage. Severing either the left or right carotid artery or the nearby jugular vein will cause fatal blood loss within about 5 min. Since blood flows into the head via carotids, unconsciousness might occur a couple of minutes after cutting one; perhaps a minute or two longer if the jugular veins are sliced instead.
Since the trachea (windpipe) is usually also cut, blood may be inhaled, making asphyxia a secondary factor. If the trachea is partially cut while the carotid arteries and jugular veins are missed, inhalation of blood (asphyxia) may be the actually cause of death, but this is unusual. In one case of this sort, the victim died after about 30 min.
Very occasionally, the trachea is completely severed without major blood vessel damage. This can cause the lower part of the trachea to fall into the thorax (chest cavity), followed by unsupported soft parts of the neck, This results in mechanical obstruction of the airway and subsequent asphyxia. It’s conceivable that an upside-down posture would permit breathing under these circumstances, but this is mere speculation.