The weather was warm and sunny. Few clouds drifted by, but otherwise the scene was motionless. Birds could be heard singing their frail songs, yet he couldn’t see any of them, as he watched the wind flowing gently in the vast ocean of the sky. He could also feel the breeze against his skin, cool and refreshing, but once again he couldn’t see any of it.
The bench he sat on was wooden and old, decaying every day that he’d come to sit. He knew one day it would no longer support his weight, nor would it offer the same creak that he had grown so accustomed to hearing whenever he sat down on it. It would rot back here, behind the Golden Oaks Library where few would see it.
He wished he would be here to see it. He wished he could see it all, the birds, the wind, the future. Yet, life was cruel in many ways, and far too giving in others. He looked back many, many years ago, when he’d first dreamt of Equestria. His life was focused on the very idea that Equestria existed in more ways than one. Then, it turned out that his dream, his miracle that he’d longed for, would come true.
He’s been here for so many years that he can’t remember everything that’d happened, and some part of him was sad of that. Still, he remembered the important parts. His first few days, his introductions, the life he’d left behind. All of it was attached to his memory, bound stronger than the passing of time. Yet, time wins eventually.
There was a story behind every mark on his body, and those that he could share those stories with. The adventures as the human that lived in Equestria have been told all over the country, all over the world in fact. But the true story can only be shared by the one who experienced it. His eyes told stories, they told of the impossible. Dragons to gargoyles, to mythical creatures that would have given his parents something to gloat about.
But once again he was reminded of the cruelty. His thoughts drifted to those of his other life. The one he was dragged away from to fulfill the destiny here. What happened to his friends, his family, his personality? After all these years, did any of that matter anyway? Was he just a memory to those he’d left behind?
“How are you doing?” He heard Twilight ask from beside the library. She always knew when he was feeling sad.
“Fine, everything is just… fine,” He said, sighing.
“After all this time, your lies haven’t been any better,” Twilight responded.
He looked up to her, seeing what the age has done to her coat and her mane. Yet, he could still see the life in her eyes. Just as he wore them, hers told their own stories. Stories of overcoming and accomplishment. There was a scar on her face, but other than that he couldn’t compare what she looked like now to her older self. When they’d first met she was so much different.
“So what’s really going on?” She asked, looking off into the distance as he had been doing before.
“I’ve been here for so many years, wondering-, no dreading the day that I would wake up and be at home, alone. I thought this was all going to disappear and I’d go back to my old life. Now, I know it’s the real deal,” He said, feeling a pang in his chest.
Twilight thought for a moment, obvious because she scrunched her face up to think. He remembered that face many times in tough situations. It became a common thing for him, seeing her calculate and ponder. Yet, it also brought change. Often her ideas were drastic and required his assistance or his own input. Yet, this time he could tell she wasn’t just thinking. She was wondering.
“I don’t know how it would feel like, in your situation, to one day wake up and see this was all a dream. I don’t want to imagine it,” Twilight said with her own sad smile. “But if it did happen, and all of this were to happen again, would you change anything?” Twilight asked.
He was already shaking his head, although it was putting strain on his neck, already stiff and tired. He could feel his white beard hair scratching the dented and golden, although slightly brown, armor he wore. His helmet, only three fourths of what it used to be, sat beside him on the bench, as if gazing into the distance as well.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a single thing,” He said, with a smile on his face.
Then, started to laugh. It started as a deep chuckle, and then grew in intensity until he could feel the pain in his ribs. He didn’t stop until it was hurting too much to continue. When he’d finished his laugh, there was a tear in his eye.
“Not a single thing…” He began again. “I’d break my leg again, if it meant I got to sit in that hammock and drink cider with you all again. I’d go unconscious if I could get that ‘Get Better’ party from Pinkie again. You know, I would walk into that fire without hesitation… if I could save Rarity one more time.” By the time he’d finished, tears were rolling down his face uncontrollably.
“We had some good times, didn’t we?” Twilight said with an even sadder tone.
The birds had stopped chirping, as if sensing that something was amiss. The wind was calm for a second, and the clouds seemed to be missing. Off in the distance a dragon was snoring, its vibrations carrying across the waters and rippling through the ocean. Undersea life swam in circles, feeling something was changing in the world.
“The best,” He said, no tears falling this time.
Twilight continued to look out across at the sight, aware that a silence had formed. Something felt off in that moment, but some part of her tried to hide it. It knew too much, that perhaps she was better not knowing.
“Could you go and gather everypony, there’s something I wanted to tell all of you,” He asked.
“What is it?” Twilight asked, but did not expect an answer.
“I’d rather tell you all at once,” He replied.
Twilight turned to do what he asked. She felt there was something that he wasn’t telling her, but decided not to ask. He’d earned this amount of privacy. So she went to gather the others, walking farther and farther from him. As she walked, the clouds started to move again, and the birds could be heard picking up in volume.
He heard her leave. As soon as she was out of earshot, he reached down and grabbed the helmet that sat beside him, and put it on. It felt lighter than he remembered. The last time he’d worn it was after the final battle, the last adventure they’d have together.
The wind began to pick up speed, once again flowing past him and into the world beyond. He lifted himself slowly off the bench, aware that it was creaking for the last time, as his weight left it. He could feel the magic in the air and the serenity of the world. It was breathtaking, this knowledge that he could feel, that he could understand. But he couldn’t see it.
His armor was feeling lighter, like it’d been lifted off of him. Or more reasonable in his state, a weight had been lifted from his mind. He stepped forward, feeling the air and hearing the birds, feeling the magic envelop him, and the serenity flow through him. His spirit was mixing with it all. In that moment, he was able to see it all.
Carved into the bench where’d he’d spent every evening of these past few days, were his final words.
Thank you all,