• Published 10th Apr 2013
  • 1,733 Views, 174 Comments

Libera Mé - EZTP



Set just after the events of season 3, Twilight Sparkle and her friends must rise to a challenging beast the likes of which will test her not only as an alicorn, but as the Princess of Friendship.

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23 Spirit

23

So much has happened since then, at least you get the chance to fix this. Fix your mistakes. That is foolish though, you can't say that her. It's not going to work. You have a better idea, no? Then no choice. You rehearsed it enough. You're not far from the field. Just go and get this done.

“You still can't do it...”

“What's wrong with me Miss Rarity? I mean she's right there, I wanted this and now...it's so forced. I wanted to do this in a peaceful setting. At least it's night time so one chore is already done.”

“See here Teddy,” she giggled as it twitched, “I’ve known you a short time but you know as well as I do this either will be done or it won't be done, I think it's beautiful. She's waiting for you, unless you think you should probably not open that door...”

“Choice is a luxury Miss Rarity. It would be prudent to remain silent, however she needs to be lucid tomorrow if we are to succeed. I ask you as I have the others, no matter what you hear or see, you are not to intervene.”

Rarities cheeks burned as she quickly squeezed the creature and dared to kiss the cheek, “Just so adorable.” She retreated back to see the creatures jaw close again. It chuckled softly and held the cheek, “Thank you Miss Rarity, for everything.”

The creature went over to Twilight and Rarity smiled. It was a good thing it was trying to make peace before tomorrow. She shuddered at the thought, forcing herself to ignore her worries and rested her head in feigned sleep, trying to listen past Pinkie's horrendous snoring.

Twilight sat before the entrance covered by the darkness. She had not seen a patrol for a while now and wondered if they were searching the forests at all. The cold was distant to her, ignoring the senses of her body that wanted to rest by the warm fire in the cave. Her mind was racing trying to understand what had happened. She tried reasoning and chronologically reciting the events in an attempt to piece together the fractured reality where she found herself. First it attacked Celestia, then it hurt me, then it didn't hurt Fluttershy when she treated it, then it fought for us in the castle, it didn't hurt Rarity, saved Rainbow, saved us AGAIN from the golems, it didn't hurt Pinkie, what does it want? why am I the only one who has been hurt by it? That... monster.

“Princess?” a deep voice spoke from the shadows.

“What do you want, and don’t call me a princess.”

It hesitated a moment before stepping forward and kneeling beside her. She saw out of the corner of her eye it was looking out into the darkness surveying the area. “I doubt there will be more,” she remained silent, “They will rally at that fortress and gain strength before trying to come after us again.” Inside Twilight was swelling trying to hold her anger in. “Even if they sent a patrol now, Crystal would warn us. My wolf friend I mean.” Twilight was rehearsing what she would say, how she could make it understand how it hurt her, feel her pain. “Miss Twilight... That night I was wrong.” It was as though it knew what she was thinking, although her coldness would be pretty obvious to anypony by now.

“Do you have any idea what you have put me through?”

“I-”

“NO!” she yelled silencing the creature and knocking it to the ground under her hooves, “You do not get to talk, I have some things to tell you. It does not matter what we did to you or what you have done to us, you do not, DO NOT think for a moment I can forgive you for hurting me like that!” she could feel the tears pouring from her and she did not care, it was as if all she held in her was free to flow, all the pain and nightmares would flow out and onto this monster. “I have not slept, eaten, thought, or studied well ever since you hurt me! You've hurt Celestia, Luna, my brother, my sister! More than anything I want to see you back in that cell, locked away from all of us where your LIES and EVIL cannot hurt anypony else ever again!” The creature lay still, its arms were flat by its side and she could feel its heart beating harder under her hoof, it was working. Her sobbing was growing but she forced herself to speak with bitter clarity, “I hate you for this...this pain, it won't go away. I have tried everything and all I can do is think about what you said! About them rotting in the ground and me only being able to watch! You are sick and monstrous and I HATE YOU!” She could not resist any longer and she wept. Her tears fell on the creature and she tried to hit it with her hoof, but could not find the strength to. She felt numb all over and collapsed on top of it. “I hate you...”

The creature remained silent and still as she cried. She could not see if it even cared through her murky vision but she could not stop herself. She could feel the warmth of the creatures body and felt the cold of the night for the first time. She could feel a heavy burden inside lifted, and she was free.

Rarity and the others now watched as twilight wept over the creature, That sting of that night returning. The creatures arm raised but hovered before returning to the ground. Its hesitation was confusing but understandable.

At last it spoke in a gentle voice, “I do not seek forgiveness. You are angry at me for revealing the truth young one, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I am sorry that you learned this before the right time, that I have hurt you. It pains me every day knowing you were exposed to that part of me.”

Twilight had eased in to gentle sobbing, she was was stunned by this creatures composure. Her disbelief was deepened as she saw the creatures face, and the tears that marked it. It sat up straight suddenly wrapping its arms around her. She wanted to push away but found she lacked the strength to, instead allowing her cheek to press against its soft chest, the warmth of its body and smooth fabric from Rarity welcoming her from the cold night.

“You have suffered so much princess.” Its arms tightened and she felt its heart beating slow and heavy. The resonance of each one seemingly matching hers. “There is more than a single truth to what I said. To what you said. If you are willing, I would very much like to discuss it with you. Please allow me to repair the damage I caused you.”

Twilight turned her head, wiping the tears on the creatures top. She did not look up but nodded. The creature was being truthful. It had merely played the messenger in her unhappiness, yet it was trying to help her now, after all it had done for Rainbow Dash maybe it could.

It sat up lifting her to rest on the ground in front of it. “Please come with me Miss Sparkle. There is something you need to see.” As they walked out to the forests edge and an open field Twilight was feeling very nervous. This creature had done a lot for her friends and to her friends and after all they had been through all she could hear was Princess Celestia's warning; it will deceive and it will hurt you. She had not been wrong but it was amazing how she could bear to stand next to it.

She felt it move closer to her and rest its claw on her shoulder. It cleared its throat and stopped, looking out into a field with old oak trees scattered a good distance from one another, “I am afraid you are unable to function where key decisions will depend on your judgement. For this reason I will listen to you and all you have to say, please tell me what exactly bothers you.” Silence greeted it at this so it continued. “Perhaps an example would be best. You are no doubt able to listen.” she nodded still trying to compose herself. She felt shaken by her outburst, such a release of all her hate felt liberating, but now that sad feeling had returned, inside her it hung with a great weight. "Things are busy here.” It sat next to her bracing its bulk on the two arms and stretching out its legs. She remained silent, “I cannot speak from experience, but I can wholly empathise to your situation.

“You cannot understand it.”

“I believe we are in a situation at the moment that requires a little give and take. I will make you a deal, one that you should find most enticing. Instead of a question for a question all I ask is you listen. So I will talk about it and all you have to do is hear my words.” It looked at her and she nodded her muscles were tense and she hated being here with this monster. Inside she was hoping it could do something for her, only that hope allowed her to sit down. “Unfortunately you will be stuck with my awful smell until we have resolved this, some motivation.” She did not find its joke amusing.

“Can you get to the point please.”

“Oh no, it will not be that easy, for the answer, while there, is something you must find for yourself. We will take this in steps, what is your greatest fear at the moment? To help you I will tell you mine. I am afraid I will never return home, never see my family again. Every day that passes I miss them and think about how they are scared of worried about me. So to that I pose this question, am I happy here? The question itself poses more than it seeks to answer, for example; am I happy here? Or rather am I here to be here or for an ulterior reason? Perhaps we could ask a more personal question is do I miss my home in comparison to this new one?”

“I didn't know this was going to be a lecture.”

“From what I hear you enjoy lectures in all forms, especially giving them out,” The creature looked at her and gave a sheepish smile, she forced herself not to return it. “Continuing on, I am happy here to an extent. Well beside the unpleasant fighting parts my life was no different to the old one. I have to laugh to be honest. In all my time I made friends that were very true, however I can only count five who would be called true friends, and maybe one or two who would stand by me as a brother or sister. In my short time here I have made seven friends.”

“I am not your friend.”

“I was talking about your five compatriots, Crystal and Zecora. Now that I think maybe eight, sorry I trailed off. The point here is my greatest fear still has something very nice in it.”

“Mine doesn’t.”

“So what is it?”

Twilight decided to say something, it was trying to help, so she would push herself to say it out loud for the first time, “I am afraid to watch them rot in the ground,” she said bitterly quoting the creature and driving the point deeper of how its words had hurt her.

“I see. Heres how I deal with my fear, despite the deprivations here I do feel more comfortable. I miss some old concepts and there are things here that I will never get used to but there is no changing that. I choose to allow it to roll on and have faith that if I was meant to see them again it will happen.”

“I didn’t realise you had a family.”

“Have my dear. They are still my family even though we are apart. I get worried though that time passes differently. I hope it will be as though I never left, or it will be as though I was gone for a long time, they will have lived out their lives never knowing what happened to me and having to live with that loss of their children. It is painful to imagine and this is where I can empathise. Your fears are based on change. In truth you should never like things to change, it means you are enjoying your life to the full!”

“I suppose.” Twilight was feeling more talkative, she had not imagined this monster could think on that level, after all she had seen.

“I must say the concept of friendship here is far more enjoyable than where I was from.

“Is it?”

“Such a concept was based on strategy and gain, not...whatever you call it here. We used our friendships to gain status, favour, position, wealth, you name it our alliances could help us succeed in life. When it boiled down to it though there was no one whom you could rely on and trust.” She was shocked at the concept.

“But how do you survive by making friends? It sounds like an extreme reason to befriend somepony.”

“It is as simple as it sounds with all the complexities to garnish it. I first thought you were all friends for the purpose of the power and the wielding of it. A strange coincidence that you all should be around in the same area, united through chance and throughout time and space drawn together to fulfil a purpose which remains as of yet unrealised or at the very least has not lost its capacity to be useful.”

Twilight thought about it, how they were always together, their actions each affecting one another throughout their lives and the strange coincidence that they were all in Ponyville together. “Yet now you see my kinds greatest problem, we over think things in an endless search to see its full potential reached. To our wisdom understanding something in its entirety will open up new dimensions in which existence, and our manipulation of it, may progress. In truth it is a dual progression and degradation. To be seen as the facts that we readily accept are quickly demolished to the point where we no longer have a foundation to stand on. This results in a constant paranoia and aggression. Much of which you saw on the first day we met.”

“So you were angry because you didn't understand?”

“You're almost there!” it laughed, “Truth is I was afraid, intimidation, if you have not noticed is the cornerstone of my strategy in combat. If the enemy believes I can harm it, it stands to reason I am a threat and is more cautious. If it knows with certainty that I can harm it, it will keep its distance and not fight me.”

“All you did was give us a reason to imprison you, we could have tried to sort out what happened and welcomed you to Equestria.”

“Now I don’t believe that, after my fight it was already established I was a threat, they chose that safe option. My intimidation was based on something else. I kept you all at a distance so I could expire. The tactic was to starve or succumb to dehydration.” Twilight was shocked at this, it was trying to take its own life.

“So why did you ask for water?”

“That was when you all came. I can’t explain it but seeing you all there drew my curiosity. In short I wanted to see where it would go, I understood you were afraid. There was a faint hope you could free me. You saved my life that day Miss Sparkle. No doubt something you regretted.”

“Why did you say those horrible things?”

“I don’t know. That’s the sad part. I saw you leaving me there to rot and I only thought you failed me. I did not know you were ignorant to the idea of alicorns and immortality.”

“Ignorant?”

“You were not aware, ignorant is the correct word. I hear though that you are quite a brain, how could you not know that?”

“I never read about alicorns, I have tried to find information now but the only things I can find in books are about Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. They have lived more than a thousand years. I don’t want to be like that.”

“Interesting, let us continue. In all earnest, my initial question could be solved in a matter of moments with simply asking myself if I am satisfied with where I am, if the answer is no, then I can seek to answer the other questions to determine what else is wrong. If the answer is yes, then there is no reason to ask the questions.”

“How did we arrive on questions?” She was feeling frustrated with this creatures divergent nature, it was spouting nonsense about itself and nothing that could help her.

“I feel your problem can be answered with a question.” Twilight was now focused on the creature, in all likelihood it had an answer already for her, but as it said it wanted her to see it for herself. She glanced over the scars it bore as the moonlight came out from the clouds. It was heavily laden with them, compared to how it was in the cell. She found herself thinking about what this creature has been though to get here. She tried to think about a question to ask herself but could not fathom what she could say that she already has not thought about. It filled her every waking moment what to do and how to solve the problem.

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“What is the question?”

“Oh I am afraid you must decide that for yourself...but if you want a push... I can offer a thought.”

“Yes!” She was now leaning closer betraying her desperation.

“I feel you've blown this out of proportion. Simply put; you are supposedly immortal because you assume all like you are immortal. The two reigning monarchs are indeed apparently immortal, however there is another I know of who has not yet entered your reasoning.

“Princess Cadence?”

“Which one is that?”

“She’s my sister in law...she used to babysit me when She was little. We used to be the best of friends when we were little.”

“The pink alicorn with a naive perspective? I take it she was less than helpful in your crisis.”

“She was unconscious from the drain of keeping you in your restraints! I don’t blame her for not seeing me. She needed her rest.”

“What about the other two?”

“We never got that far, before Princess Celestia could talk with me Queen Chrysalis attacked. After you escaped she focused all her energy on finding you. We never got a chance to talk properly. She was so vague, I think she didn't want to tell me the truth. Princess Luna was always avoiding me, it made me imagine that worst.”

“Your white monarch, surely she exhibits some traits of age?”

“She never ages, she’s more than a thousand years old.”

“Surely you must have had some advice from her.”

“Well the day after my coronation she told me to wear a helmet and that she regretted never wearing one when she was a young alicorn. You see she wanted me to fly but I was distracted by it and I thought-"

“Beg your pardon?”

Twilight felt an urge to quote Celestia, “She said; ‘do not forget I was once a young alicorn myself’ when she talked to me...”

“Interesting, so she does age.”

“Wait...what?”

“She does age.”

“She used to be young but now she isn’t! She’s old, she’s old!” Twilights jubilation was met with the creature pouncing on her and clamping her mouth shut. She was startled but it was obvious why it had done that, scanning the area around them with it’s blade drawn.

“Remember not to tell her that, I’m informed by Miss Rarity that ladies do not like being called old.”

Twilight giggled, “Okay.” The creature returned to its seat. She was feeling better, the princesses do age.

“Very interesting...but based on your reasoning, your sister in law is supposedly immortal right? Or she will live more than a thousand years. After all she is the same as the others. Yet you describe her as smaller when she was your babysitter...”

“She has grown...”

“That doesn't mean she is mortal. Think my friend, what has she done recently that's major?”

“She became the Crystal princess”

“I was not aware of that. I meant involving that arrogant one who also imprisoned me. That upstart captain...”

“Marriage...”

“Your almost there...”

“Why would she get married to a mortal if she was going to live forever?”

“You got it, more definitely however, why would any immortal choose to marry? Somepony with that much love would surely feel unlimited pain if her one true love was destined to grow old and pass in front of her. It is a curse to exist in such a manner however she is either accustomed to change of such magnitude or....”

“She doesn't live forever.”

“Go on...”

“...if they don't live forever, then they live long, but she wanted to be with him, then he was definitely not immortal. Perhaps she gave up her immortality to be with him?”

“You are totally missing the point here, what is the one question you must ask yourself?”

“Do all of us live forever, or live long?”

“No.”

“Do we all have the ability to give up our immortality?”

“No.”

Twilight sat up and walked up to the sitting creature, she could feel herself crying again, her frustration pouring out, this creature was taunting her. It knew the answer, “Then tell me. Please just tell me...”

It looked at her and it smiled, “Why haven't I asked my sister yet?”

“I did!”

“I thought she was tired?”

“She was...but...we...”

“Did you ever ask her why she decided to marry your brother even though she is immortal?”

“...no.” Twilights world shook and she fell back to sit on the ground. She could not believe she missed that. The whole time she could have asked her sister, also a princess, also an alicorn.

“Bear in mind she may give you more questions than answers, but she will point you in the right direction.”

Twilight was still crying, her tears felt good now instead of painful, they soothed her as they fell. She was now crying from relief. Of course, Cadence! She felt the creatures claw rest on her shoulder it was smiling sincerely and trying to hold back tears of its own. It was right, she had a direction now, she could ask Cadence.

“You feel it now? That urge to find out?” She nodded smiling at it. “I want you to hold onto that when all seems lost. Please do that for me, for your kingdom.”

“Okay” she whispered.

“Don’t cry please. My goodness all you gals do is cry, do I bring that much pain?” She nodded while still smiling.

“It’s not pain this time.”

“Your highness. Would you entertain this old fool for but a moment longer. I have something to say that needs to be heard.” She nodded again. It stood up, took some steps forward and extended the arms out to the field. “When I first saw this meadow it was barren, I have no idea what the cause was. I came a while later and it was as you see now. Naturally I was curious as to how such splendour could arise within days. To this curiosity a lesson was learned. One which I hope to impart to you, for the answer came to me when I stopped looking at the big picture, and started to see the small details.”

The creature raised its arm to the sky, clenched its claw an sent a thundering blow to the ground. Twilight could feel the surface underneath her shake with the thud, surprised at this strange action. She opened her mouth to speak but it hung open as around them rose a curtain of lights. Small golden lights dancing around the night. The creature stood with a flower in its claw and brought it to Twilight. The smell was overpowering, sickly sweet. She blankly raised her hoof when the creature gave it to her.

“They like this.” The lights swarmed around the flower basking in the smell. they landed on Twilight and she looked closer to see they were small fireflies. She could not see the relevance to her problem and felt slightly irritated but mesmerised by the beautiful display.

“Your sister will give you the answers you seek.” Twilight looked at the creature through the fireflies, each shining spot waving over the figure. “However I thought to myself that maybe the answer will not be what you hope, but what you fear.” She saw the the truth in these words, she may be worrying for something or nothing, only Cadence could answer her question. “To that end of closure I wish to tell you my version of your dilemma.” A firefly darted in Twilights mouth and she coughed quickly spitting it out, feeling embarrassed. The creature chuckled at her mishap. “I wish to... yet I lack the eloquence to do so. After countless ideas and thoughts this is what I have come up with.” The creature raised its arm and some fireflies landed on it, smelling the nectar residue. “This insect lives for a such short time, yet its light shines so brightly.” Twilight could understand the simplicity of the words and their meaning, it was not complex to grasp.

She gasped as the fist closed tightly on some of them, their lights fading instantly. She could only watch as the creature lowered itself to the ground and let the remains settle on it. To her amazement the lights flickered back on and the pieces sunk into the ground to disappear. “When their cycle ends, there is new life, not only in their form, but in other forms of life we can scarcely scale.” The creature pointed to this meadow of beauty and Twilight gazed out into the expanse. She could not see what it pointed at. “They are what was responsible for the rebirth of this land.” It reached in the branches and pulled a handful of seeds free, “For they burn brightly for all to see. The warmth from them nurtures the soil, the minerals revitalise it, their light attracts new animals and therefore seeds. They do not know they do this, yet here we are.” It threw the seeds far and where they landed more lights came up, the entire field was full of fireflies.

Twilight felt a lifting sensation in her. The creatures words were oversimplified on this complex matter yet she did not want to complicate it. It was perfect the way it was. She felt like she wanted to soar and found to her shock her wings opened.

“It is a truth that with the passing of old life, new life may come.” Twilight felt comfort in this truth, and felt silly at her wanting to cling to the way things were. Eventually they would change in both wonderful and saddening ways. She could always be there for her friends, it was never truly over.

“We cannot stop change. Do you think they know how long they will live? No creature should, for even if they are aware their first day is their last, it doesn't stop them from shining so brightly. Life is beautiful it can be cut short but...”

“... It should never stop us from shining!” The creature smiled and lay in the grass. Twilight gave into her urge and joined it.

“Indeed everything changes, but change never changes. Change is a constant, ironically. It is everywhere from the world around us, to the worlds out there.” It gestured to the sky and Twilight looked up to see the night aglow with so many stars. She had always seen them in her studies and they were a great source of comfort to her in her childhood, but never had they been so beautiful. “Remember that love is never gone, we hold it within us, we pass it on to others. You should not stop the process of life, but they will have children, they will grow. When the lights fade and the darkness comes, I shall not fear for my job is done.”

“Thank you.” She rolled over and hugged it, the relief was too great to restrain herself.

“I am tired Miss, so tired. Should the end be the beginning or eternal peace, I know that when time comes tomorrow, I will welcome it and be at that peace. At long last.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Did I say tomorrow?”

“umm...Yes.”

“Oh sorry, mishap.”

Twilight felt a sickening feeling douse the splendour. Maybe it was the dancing lights or sweetest aromas, the odd speech and the confusing metaphors, but she couldn’t see a monster laying there anymore. “You don’t think that tomorrow you will-”

“You know your highness now that I have you here a wonderful thought just occurred!” It sat up smiling but she could not return the grin. It had evaded that question and she knew then it did expect the worst. Still she would let it be, it had a reason to avoid it and she would trust it.

“What would you like?”

“I know you are very intelligent.” She couldn't help blush and stare at the lights dancing on the petals while she twirled the flower, “I want to go over my plan with you.”

“Your plan?”

“You don’t think I’ve been chatting for fun do you?”

“I don’t know how you work.”

“Well lets give it a first draft review shall we?”

“Okay!” she said enthusiastically. As they spoke, her looking into those sunken, weary eyes, the creatures words remained haunting to her; ‘when it comes tomorrow, I will welcome it.’

*

The walk back was invigorating for Twilight, She bounced in her steps and her ears stood proudly high. The plan they had made together was brilliant. She knew it was going to work. All of it. The night was young, the day was over and she never felt better. Her spirits dampened however upon hearing the weary voice again.

“Princess, I had an ulterior motive to our discussion...”

“Please call me Twilight. Princess is so formal.”

“Alright Miss Twilight.”

“What do you mean by ulterior motive?”

“The plan we have made will involve you using that elements against me should it come to pass.”

“As a plan B.”

“As a plan B. However do you remember what it did to me in the cell?” She could see the burn wounds on its arm again. The elements were the only magic she knew that could successfully harm it. As plan B reviewed itself she suddenly felt uneasy.

“Yes...”

“Miss Twilight, let me show you something I learned. Please set fire to my palm.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Use your offensive magic and set fire to my palm.”

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You must see this to understand it. I will be fine.” Hesitating she threw a blaze out and was amazed as it danced around the claw, failing to even singe the hairs.

“Amazing. To see it up close.” Her eyes widened and the flame died, she took the claw in her hoof to examine it; it was cold.

“Now I want you set fire to it again, this time use the spell you would for a candle.”

“Thats a little simple.”

“Humour me.”

She set light to it not giving a second thought but watched on as the claw clasped shut and the hair burnt away, eventually being thrust into the ground to douse the blaze. As the smoke rose she looked to the face, it was now in discomfort. Taking the claw out she gasped seeing the split hide peeling away to reveal the flesh underneath. Her mouth was agape and she looked past the claw at those eyes, eerily calm sitting atop a grin.

“I have learned there is good magic and evil magic. Now which one do you think can hurt me?”

Although it was rhetorical she was compelled to answer, “...good...”

“Your Elements of Harmony are remarkable weapons. They are good magic, aren’t they?”

“Yes...”

“So if you remember the burns in the cell, that was when you were trying to immobilise me, not harm me. It was a defensive spell born of good magic. I'd wager that incident outside Rarities home was a similar spell?”

“it was the same one but in a projectile version I developed. Good defensive magic hurts you, thats why you were able to fight Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. They used offensive spells.”

“Those golems were made from offensive magic. Every time I hit them they were more brittle. The longer they spent close to me the weaker they got. Tonight I have confirmed with Crystal that it is my blood they cannot withstand, something within weakens the magic.”

“Blood?”

“Indeed, I fed crystal a small amount when we came to subdue your pursuers. Even that tiny portion is enough for her to break them as easily as I can. Since your Queen now has a crystal body like the golems, it stands to reason...”

“She will be affected...”

“Your monarchs...they weren’t using good magic?”

“You’re not exactly right. Magic is good or evil depending on the pony who uses it. But the type of magic used is base and advanced. Celestia and Luna were using advanced magic against you. The same for the king and queen. The elements though are ancient magic, they are made from the purest forms of magic itself.”

“Interesting.” The creature then held up the other claw to her and unwrapped the bandages. She gasped seeing the swelling and deformed digits. “Its broken Miss. My affect is not so strong anymore, I don’t think I can do what I did back at the castle. I have lost a lot of blood here.”

“What are you trying to-”

”So let me tell you something now. When the time comes for plan B, I expect you to use your elements without and hesitation. Burn both of us to ash if you must.”

She shook her head not believing what she was hearing, “I-”

“If it does come to a plan B, I do not want you to hesitate, for any unwelcomed thoughts to enter before you fire. We’ll get it out of the way now. I am very comfortable to expire should it mean the defeat of this enemy.”

“What?!”

“Don’t be surprised, the statement still stands. You will not hesitate, you will fire if the time comes, and forget I was ever here.” Twilight could not imagine how to respond to what she was hearing. It was asking her to sacrifice it.

“I...I can’t do that.”

The creature grabbed her and drew her close, its face right before hers. She could feel the hard, cold claws clasping down on her. “Listen here you weakling! One life is no cost at all. I do not belong here so correct the mistake when you get the chance. I am not asking. I am not afraid.” She let her hoofs reach around the body and pressed her cheek to it, the grip softened.

“You are worrying for nothing.”

It sighed, “Let us hope. We have a great planner after all. This is not a burden for you to carry, you will vanquish all your enemies in a single stroke. You will do this with pride knowing those you fell were threats to Equestria. I want your word, your most sacred promise you will not hesitate your highness.”

She nodded rubbing the tough fabric, “I give you my word. Thanks Teddy.”

“I hate that.”

“Rarity does have a point though, you really are like a teddy.”

“I am stuck with that name aren’t I?”

“Yup!” she replied cheerfully.

*

“So you and Rarity...”

“There is nothing to concern yourself with. I will keep to myself and on that you have my-”

“No wait, don’t say it. You know Rarity talked about you a lot. She tried to convince me you weren’t that bad. It nearly ruined our friendship.”

“To think she was prepared to risk that for your well being and peace of mind.”

“I think she did it for you.”

“Now you are having a laugh with me!”

“Do you not notice the way she looks at you.”
“I believe it is more than possible your friends have developed some strong feelings from my involvement. Miss Fluttershy and I shared a very private moment back in the cell, the poor thing was nearly traumatised. I understand Miss Dash was very proud of our stand in the forest. Miss Applejack and I share a deep bond, Miss Pie is...I don’t know how to describe it.”

“Nopony does.”

“No arguments here. You have just buried a deep resentment for me, I hope at least.”

“It is gone Teddy. Don’t worry so much. What about Rarity?”

“Miss Rarity is a tough one. She was by far the bravest of all of you.”

“Don’t tell Rainbow that!”

“She also helped me see clearly. When I spoke with her, when we talked, it was as if a deep anger flowed out of me. All my hate and anguish disappeared. When I hear her voice I have this feeling inside, it tells me to drive on, to stand tall. She is what motivates...but I am speaking out of turn.”

“Maybe you should say something to her...”

“And how selfish would that be. Even if you are correct in your intuition, I may not make it back tomorrow, then what, leave her in pain. If she even shares those feelings-”

“Now didn’t you just tell me to savour every moment you have.”

“Your paraphrasing.”

“Your running again. I know you two share something special. So why not just take a leap?”

“Let me pose this, is it not wrong to hurt somepony’s feelings?”

“Well yes but-”

“She will be hurt, she will be in pain. I will not let that happen. She has done a lot for me and this is one way I can repay her.”

“You know, it doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t make it we will all be in pain...”

“All of you?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm. Thank you for your wasted concern. I will sleep on it and let the solution present itself in the morning. Thank you Princess for your help.”

She stopped and it halted above the incline heading down.

“Well if you have any question now is the last chance to ask it in private.”

Twilight could feel herself tearing up again, she wanted to ask something that had troubled her for a very long time, before the alicorn, before the creature. If there was any being she could ask, it was that one, “Are you...afraid to die?”

“Miss Twilight...”

“Just answer, are you afraid?” She could not look at the creature but felt it approach and kneel before her, reaching around to grasp her again. She cold not resist and let her cheek press into its shoulder. She had this sadness as the claw patted the back of her neck.

“Twilight...I am not afraid to die. I am terrified that I will never know how this chapter ends.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am not that old, but in my lifetime I have been able to make a difference in some...ponies lives. I am happy to share this with you. Twilight, I am tired, so tired. Why do the living fear going to the dark? What are they afraid of? I used to be scared, eternal darkness, but I won’t know the difference when it happens, there will be no pain. It is the living who need comfort. Time will take my name away, my actions will fade to dust, but those actions results will live on. I have a power now to change history for your kingdom, as do we all in such little ways. You ladies have given me so much with each action of tolerance and kindness. I will no longer fear the darkness knowing what I leave behind. Why are we afraid to leave this world to our children?”

She couldn't hold her composure, “...I don’t know.”

“That is the only thing I can never understand. Please put me out my misery if you get that chance.”

“I wish I had known...”

“Known what?”

“You.”

“Don’t dwell on it, we both made mistakes. I’ll tell you what though, as long as you remember those you care for they are never truly gone. Let's go Miss Twilight. We need our sleep.”

It released her with a smile. As it slowly stood up, the moonlight caught the creature perfectly, Twilight nearly gasped as its solemn face stared out into the night. There was a majesty to it. Such pain all there, held up by that frame. She wondered if it had tricked her into feeling this way, then that doubt was stifled. She would listen to her heart now, it told her this thing was no friend of Chrysalis, it did not want to bring them back to her, it was going to stand with them, fully prepared for every detail. It placed its claw on her face and she closed her eyes as it gently slid past to wipe the tears clear.

“Every time I speak to you ladies, you end up crying. I am sorry to cause such turmoil. Please remember Miss Twilight, I am sorry.”

“Alright.”

“Lets go get some rest alright?”

“Thanks. Can I know your real name at least?”

“What would you imagine it to be?”

“Something I cannot know.”

“Correct sweetheart. I have earned a new name here, albeit not to my choice.”

Twilight sniffed, “One thing please.” It waited expectantly, “I want to hear you sing.”

“Excuse me?”

“Applejack told me, when you were talking to Pinkie, that you could sing. It is supposedly something that must he heard, indescribable. As a scholar and avid listener I must document the new music.” She sat down expectantly and waited.

“Miss Twilight...” she smiled widely and nodded, “Alright, a soft one.”

As the gentle melody played out Twilight could feel her heart sink and raise. It was a wonderfully sad melody. The creature had no music to aid but the vocals were so constrained she felt only sadness at the words. When it finished it turned to her as she wiped the tears clear.

“Thank you.” It did not answer but proceeded to the hollow. She followed quietly.