• Published 1st Mar 2013
  • 3,234 Views, 152 Comments

I'll Love You To Tartarus and Back - AppleDash Group Collab 100th Prompt Special - LunaTheFox

A collab featuring 23 writers, who all came together to create a story of loved ones lost... and a long-shot at seeing them one last time.

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This chapter was written by BronyNeumo.

“Absolutely not.”

Rainbow Dash pouted. Twilight had barely even looked at them before uttering her single, curt answer. “Aw, come on, Twilight! It’s a great idea! AJ hasn’t seen her parents in like, forever!”

“Please, Twi? I never even thought o’ this before, and I’d just love to see my parents one more time.”

The alicorn let loose a deep sigh; floated down from where she had been hovering, dusting off several bookshelves; and turned to face her two friends. She rolled her eyes at the heavy fake puppy-dog eyes both were giving her. “Whose idea was this, anyway?”

Rainbow Dash puffed out her chest. “Mine!”

Twilight rolled her eyes once more. “Just as I suspected.”

Rainbow blinked a couple times, her mock-heroic stance relaxing. “And just what is that supposed to mean?”

Twilight ruffled her wings once as she folded them at her sides, levitating her duster into a back closet. “As usual, when it comes to your ideas, you’ve gone ahead and jumped right in without giving it the slightest bit of thought.”

“Hey! I’ve given it plenty of thought!”

Twilight chuckled lightly. “Oh, really? Tell me, do you even know how to get to Tartarus?”

“Sure I do! It’ right next to the... um... uhh... It’s just past the... Everfree... no. Help me out, here, AJ.”

“Sorry, sugarcube. I haven’t got the slightest.”

“This is what I’m talking about. Neither of you are even equipped for such an undertaking.”

“Sure we are.” The brazen pegasus flipped an annoying lock of multi-hued hair from her eyes. “We just need you to tell us how to get there; we’ll make a day trip of it, see AJ’s parents, and be back before night!”

“And you think you can easily make it there and back in a few hours?”

“Sure we can! Hello, fastest pegasus in Equestria, remember? Besides, you went there and back in a few hours when that dog got out.”

“And that’s another thing!” Twilight, exasperated, threw her fore hooves up in the air. “I suppose you’ve completely looked over the fact that you’d have to get past Cerberus in the first place.”

“Well, duh. That’s why we need your help. You can just distract him again, like you did last time!” Rainbow Dash smirked.

Twilight slapped a hoof to her forehead, her temple suddenly throbbing. “That... that was different. I needed to get him back there. I can’t just go messing with him willy-nilly. He’s guarding the entrance for a reason, you know.”

“Ain’t there some way you could give us a couple hours, just to see my parents, Twi?” Applejack stepped up to her alicorn friend, setting a hoof on her shoulder and looking straight into her eyes. “I never even got to say goodbye.”

Twilight bit back her retort as she felt Applejack’s words stab at her. “I’m sorry, Applejack. I know... I know how you must feel, but I’m not going to let you guys do this.”

Rainbow Dash stamped a hoof against the library floor. “And why not, Twilight? This is AJ’s parents we’re talking about. What if this was your parents? Wouldn’t you go to the gates of Tartarus and back to see them, too?”

Twilight shook her head. She turned away from her friends, willing herself to stay strong. “I’m... I’m sorry, girls. But it’s far too dangerous.” Her voice almost cracked as she swallowed a lump from her throat. “Do you two even know the first thing about Tartarus?”

“Sure. It’s where ponies go when they die. Isn’t that obvious?”

Twilight shook her head. “On a base level, yes. But that’s not all there is to it. Do either of you know why Cerberus is put there at all?”

Rainbow Dash and Applejack exchanged glances. Applejack just shrugged. Rainbow Dash groaned. “To keep the ponies inside from getting out?”

“No.” Twilight said curtly, levitating a large tome off a nearby shelf. “Well, not exactly. Not ponies, anyway. Spirits, shadows.”

Applejack frowned. “You mean like ghosts?”

“Pretty much.” Twilight agreed, her nose buried in the book as she magically flipped through a multitude of pages, looking for the right one. “It’s summed up in Starswirl The Bearded’s Complete Musings on Magical Theory, Volume Six.” Rainbow Dash and Applejack both deadpanned as Twilight continued to flip. Finally she found her page, and pointed a hoof at one particular paragraph. “Basically, when a pony dies, their spirit goes to Tartarus while the pony is bodily left behind in Equestria for burial, cremation, or what have you.” She looked up from her page, staring hard at her friends. “Every being in Tartarus itself is only that spirit. A shadow, a mere flicker of their former self. Even if you were able to get there, even if you were able to get past Cerberus, even if you were able to find your parents among the hundreds of thousands down there, they wouldn’t even have physical form. They’d almost be an illusion, AJ. Hardly even better than a memory. Is that what you really want?”

Applejack bit her bottom lip. “I... I guess not.” Rainbow Dash’s ears fell back against the back of her head. She opened her mouth to speak, but Applejack cut her off. “But I don’t care, Twi. I want to see them just this once, just to say goodbye, and I’ve made up my mind.”

Twilight sighed. “Fine. I know I’m not going to be able to convince you, but I cannot help you two. This is still far too dangerous, far too risky, and frankly, I still think it’s a terrible idea.” Both the other two ponies were silent. Twilight ruffled her wings nervously. “Besides. The only pony I know of who’s visited Tartarus and actually gone inside was Princess Celestia. If you two go, there’s no... there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get back out again. There’s no way of knowing if you’ll even be the same ponies if you do.”

Applejack nodded. Rainbow Dash just glared at her. Twilight grimaced. “I’m worried about you two. I don’t think this is safe.”

“I understand, Twi.” Applejack turned around and headed towards the door. “Come on, Dashie. Let’s just head back to the farm.” Rainbow Dash shot her alicorn friend a final glare before turning tail and following her marefriend.

Twilight bit her lip. “I’m really sorry, girls. I truly am.”

The library shelves rattled as the door slammed shut.