The Hardest Goodbye Part 1
Recently converted Brony. Please dont be too harsh! Comes in 3 parts. I havent lurked very long in this section, so I hope a story like this hasn't been made already!
The rain fell gently on Ponyville that ordinary spring night, the soft noise of the water and wind against the trees were enough to put an ordinary pony to sleep. Most of them were, save for a young purple unicorn, up to one of her usual late night study sessions. A lone candle rested flickering beside her on the floor as she read through 'The Almanac of Alligator Ailments'. Not the most interesting book, she would admit. However this research was for her friend Pinkie Pie. She was convinced that Gummy was sick, as he wasn't biting everything she owned like he normally does, and his blinking was coordinated. Not like him at all. Twilight insisted he was probably just tired from his fifth consecutive party, but promised to look up his behavior just in case.
"A promise is a promise..." She yawned, looking to the teacup she had set beside her and seeing it empty. She levitated the teapot off of the table carefully as to not wake Spike, and attempted to pour herself another cup of the midnight oil but found it empty as well. She furrowed her brow in slight aggravation, but decided it had gotten late enough and that it was time for some sleep. She had stopped actually reading her book five minutes ago anyway. She put the book back where it belonged and let the candle float just in front of her as she climbed the stairs to the loft. She cast a quick glance to her number one assistant Spike. He had grown quite a bit since they arrived in Ponyville those many years ago. His feet hung off the sides of his bed as his blanket barely covered his arms. This was the third bed he had outgrown this year! He couldn't ride on her back around town anymore, as he was almost taller than she was now! His rounded spikes had now begun to resemble the points of an adolescent dragon. The small chin of his youth had squared up somewhat as his chubby cheeks had also diminished as he aged. He had become quite strong too, potentially even rivaling Big McIntosh if there was ever a contest. Still, as big as he is, he was still just a baby dragon in her eyes. Spike shifted his head to one side of the pillow and pulled his blanket over his face as Twilight realized she still had a rather bright floating candle a few feet from the sleeping dragon.
"Twi...go to bed..." He mumbled still half asleep. She smiled at him as she blew out the candle and placed it on the nightstand.
"Sorry Spike. Sweet dreams." She whispered as she climbed into bed herself.
The sun shone through Twilights window and woke her the same way it did every morning. That, and the smell of fresh heycakes Spike was famous for.
She shifted in her bed as she yawned and stretched her legs out before she sat up. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and let out a slight chuckle at the state of her mane. She looked around for her brush, but didnt see it on her vanity mirror where she had left it.
"Hm." She said annoyed walking over to look for it. She heard Spike talking to someone downstairs as she found her brush on the floor. A few quick strokes and she was ready for the world. She only made it down a few steps when a still worried Pinkie Pie came charging at her.
"Twilight! Did you find out whats wrong with Gummy?" She said nearly tackling her on the stairs.
"Pinkie...I don't think...anything..." She said as the pink pony got off of her and allowed her to get up.
"Is wrong with him." She finished as she made it all the way down the stairs where Spike was waiting with food and hot tea.
"But all he does is just lay around! I tried playing my tuba for him, throwing him a get well party, even singing him a get well song! Look!" The pink pony said holding the sleeping gator out to her.
"He's just asleep Pinky Pie, I looked it up. Alligators aren't meant to party five days in a row you know." She said pouring them both some tea.
"Hungry Spike?" She asked as he cleaned up the kitchen.
"Nah, I ate before I made you guy's breakfast. I've got a couple of errands to run today, think you can handle yourself while I'm gone Twilight?"
"Yes, I think I'll manage." She said as Spike left.
"Spike's getting pretty big huh?"
"Yeah, I can't believe we've been in Ponyville for so long." She admitted.
The pink ponys expression warped to one of shock as she caught sight of the clock on Twilights wall, both hooves on her face in panic.
"Oh no! I have to help Ms Cake with Scootaloos birthday party! Gotta go Twilight! Thanks for breakfast!" She said zipping out the door, nearly blowing the plates off of the table.
She cleared the table, threw on her saddle bag and took a step toward the door when she heard a knock. Figuring it was probably one of her friends, she invited whoever it was inside. She had already slept in later than usual so whoever it was would have to make their visit brief.
"Come in!" She said, but the door didn't budge. She knew it wasn't locked, so she took a couple of steps towards it.
'I'll bet its those cutie mark crusaders playing ding dong ditch again.' She thought flinging the top part of her door open and hanging on it with her front hooves with a commanding "Ah ha!" Though her bushes were empty. She lifted them up and shook them with her magic but no mischievous fillies fell out. It was then she noticed a scroll sitting on her welcome mat.
"Why wouldn't Spike have given this to me?" She wondered aloud as she unrolled it and let it float in front of her.
'My Faithful student Twilight Sparkle,
I know you are wondering why I didn't send this letter through Spike, however this is one that I write with a heavy heart. I sent this to you directly because soon, Spike will have to leave Equestria. I didn't send it through him because I knew he would ask you what it said, and I know you will find the right time and way to tell him. As you know, once a dragon reaches a certain age, he must find a shelter of his own, and begin his own life's journey. I know this must be hard for you to read, as it is just as hard for me to write. Spike has been with you since you were just a filly on your fist day at my academy, and he is no doubt like a brother to you, but soon he will outgrow even your library, and his civil demeanor will gently fade, giving way to the more primal tendencies of his species. I simply can't take the risk of having him accidentally hurt anyone in Ponyville. I-'
She had to stop reading as she couldn't make out the words on the page through her tears. She examined the royal seal for any evidence of counterfeit or forgery, hoping this was some kind of elaborate yet mean spirited joke. Unfortunately, everything about the letter said it was authentic, just like the numerous other letters she had received from the Princess. The first part of the letter alone was enough to crush an otherwise perfect day. Her bottom lip quivered as she stuffed the scroll into her saddle bag and dashed out of her home. She had started running, though to where she didn't know, or particularly care. She just had to be alone for a little bit to think. She ran until her legs refused to carry her any farther. She ended up outside of town and into the meadows surrounding Ponyville. A solitary tree stood alone on a hill and she walked up to it slowly, her knees still protesting that they were moving at all. She was out of breath and her face stained with tears as she sat back against the old oak and allowed herself to sink down onto her flanks. Tears were now freely streaming down her face as she tried in vain to wipe them away with her hooves. How could the Princess be so cruel? She knew how much Spike meant to her, he was practically family!
'Maybe I misread it...' She thought in flash of hope. She did stay up pretty late last night, perhaps she had misread it! She removed the crumpled parchment from the saddle bag and flattened it so she could read it. In the back of her mind, she knew she hadn't read it incorrectly. She hadn't misread a text since she started school. The words were just the same as they were on her front step. Though she hadn't read the last part...maybe there was some kind of silver lining to all of this. She found where she left off, and dried her eyes enough for her to read it.
I wish there was a way to keep Spike around forever, but he must go out and start his own adventure, like you did in coming to Ponyville. Always keep him in your heart, and he will always be with you. I am deeply sorry for placing such a burden on you, but I know it is one you are strong enough to handle. I know you will make me proud Twilight. If Spike does not vacate Ponyville by the next full moon, I will have no choice but to remove him myself. Trust me when I say this is for the best.
Nope...no miscommunication. She had to tell one of her best friends that he had to leave one of the only places he had ever known, and that he had two days to do it, or the Princess would...remove him. She wasn't even sure what that meant, but knew she couldn't disappoint her teacher. Twilights own sense of loyalty seemed torn between her lifelong friend, and her duty to her Princess. Her tears came flowing back as she sobbed into her hooves, the sun continuing its march across the sky as she still had no idea what to do.
Meanwhile at Sugarcube Corner...
"Now where d'you reckon Twilight is?" Applejack asked Rainbow Dash as they enjoyed the cake Pinky Pie and Ms. Cake had just made. "I don't know, its not like her to be late for...well anything." She answered as Scootaloo came running up to them.
"Rainbow Dash! Look I can almost fly!" The little filly said fluttering her wings as hard as she could and gaining maybe six inches in height before dropping back onto her hooves.
"Didja see that? I was so high up!" She exclaimed excitedly.
Applejack and Rainbow Dash exchanged grins before looking back to the proud filly.
"Heck yeah kid! Keep practicing and you might even be as good as I am." She said as Applejack echoed her congratulations.
"Really? You think I could be as good as you?" The young pegasus asked, eyes shining brightly with enthusiasm.
"Ha! Of course not! No pony's as good as me!" Rainbow Dash said proudly, earning a gentle bump from her friend on the flank, followed by a gentle yet firm stare.
"Uh, I mean...Anything is possible! Just keep practicing squirt." She corrected.
"Now you go on and enjoy your party darlin'. Let us old mares chew the fat for a spell." Applejack said nudging her along with her nose.
"You girls seen Twilight?" Pinkie Pie asked bouncing toward them.
"Nope, thats what we were just talkin' about. It just ain't like her to be late." Applejack said adjusting her hat as she wondered where their unicorn friend could be.
"She knew the party was today right?" Rainbow Dash asked as Rarity and Fluttershy joined them in their corner of the bakery.
"Where's Twilight?" Fluttershy asked softly.
"Thats what we're trying to figure out." The blue pegasus said as they all put their heads together and thought for a moment.
"I went by her house this morning to see if she had a cure for Gummy's sleepiness, she was there eating before I came here to get ready for the party!" Pinkie Pie added. Rainbow Dash perked up as she had an idea of where their friend might be.
"Maybe she's still at her place! Maybe her breakfast made her sick or something?" She suggested as the other ponies seemed to agree.
"We should go take care of her! I'll bet Spike is probably overwhelmed taking care of her and doin' his chores." Applejack added.
The ponies all nodded in agreement when Fluttershy noticed Spike enter the bakery.
"Hey um...Theres Spike, why don't we ask him where Twilight is?" She asked as the other ponies looked toward the door and saw Spike heading over after a brief stop at the punch bowl.
"Hey ladies!" He said before noticing one pony was missing from their group.
"Where's Twilight?" He asked taking a sip of punch.
"We thought you would know. We haven't seen her all day." Rainbow Dash said as Spike immediately spit his mouthful of punch out over most of them.
"What? I was just at the library and she wasn't there either! I dropped her supplies off and figured she had already come here!" He said worried as the other ponies simply glared at him for covering them in punch.
"Sorry about that...but if Twilight isn't here, I don't know where she is!" The young dragon said with worry clear in his voice as his expression changed to match his tone.
The others shook themselves dry and addressed the problem at hoof.
"Oh no! What if Twilight's in trouble? What if a hydra came out of the swamp and ate her! Or what if Discord escaped again and turned her into a pony who forgets other ponies birthday parties!" Pinkie Pie said putting her hooves on her head in panic.
"Come now, that is just a bit ridiculous. Twilight is a capable mare, I'm sure she is fine. Lets just not panic, and search for her. I'm sure our dear Twilight will turn up." Rarity interjected, diffusing the tense mood of the situation.
"Rarity's right. We're gettin' all worked up over nothin'. I'm sure if we look for her, we'll find her." Applejack reasoned. Though she couldn't shake the thought in the back of her mind that their friend was never late. She remembered how manic she became when she forgot to send her weekly letter to Princess Celestia, so missing a friends birthday party was absolutely not like her. 'Maybe she's got a good reason.' She thought as they said farewell to Scootaloo and her friends and set out into the town square.
"We'll cover more ground if we all split up. I'll check the farm." The tan earth pony said as the others agreed.
"I'll check the meadows!" Rainbow Dash claimed as she zipped away in a multicolored streak of light.
"I, um... guess I'll look around the forest..." Fluttershy stated as she flew away in a less explosive fashion.
"I'll check around town. Spike, would you like to join me?" Rarity asked pretty much already knowing his answer.
"Nah, I'm gonna go check around library one more time. Maybe she came back from wherever she went." He said nonchalantly.
Rarity was taken aback by his answer.
"Wha...? But you have a crush on me!" She said indignantly.
Spike was somewhat upset by her blurting out something so personal in the middle of town, but hid his feelings.
"That may be true-"
"It is!" She interjected.
"But, Twilight comes first." He said calmly as Applejack held in giggles with one hoof.
Rarity sighed and conceded to his point.
"I suppose you're right..." She said.
"I'll go with you Rarity!" Pinky Pie said happily.
"We'll meet back here at sundown. If we don't find her by then, we'll have to call in the big guns." Applejack said, hoping it wouldn't come to that.
"You mean..." Spike began.
"Yup. Princess Celestia. Lets get to searchin' then." She said as the rest of the ponies went their separate directions.
Twilight had sat by that tree most of the day, with nothing on her mind but how she was supposed to live without her little dragon brother. She felt completely helpless. How could she go against a direct order from the Princess? It wasn't fair, Spike wasn't like those other dragons! He would never hurt anypony! Thinking back on it, she had never even seen him more than slightly upset, and even when he was, it was just out of concern for her and her friends.
She sank back to sobbing into her hooves as she racked her brain for a solution, but none seemed possible. She could either disobey the Princess and risk banishment, or send her oldest friend away from everything he had ever known.
"Why do I have to do this? This is so unfair!" She said to herself as she heard a familiar sound coming up behind her.
"Twilight! There you are! We missed you at Scootaloos party!"
Rainbow Dash zipped down next to her and noticed the state her friend was in.
"Oh no! I completely forgot that was today!" She said as her few remaining tears ran down her face and matted her mane. Rainbow Dash had never seen her like this before. Usually it would be Fluttershy or in some cases Rarity in this state, and usually the solution was pretty straightforward. A misplaced pincushion, an injured animal that couldn't be nursed back to health...Also it was usually Twilight that fixed those problems they had in the first place! How do you fix the problem of the pony who usually fixes problems?
"Twilight...whats the matter?" She asked softly taking a seat next to her, placing a blue hoof around her friend in support and drawing her into a side hug.
The pegasus pony dried her friends tears and sat up against the tree with her, as Twilight steeled herself against the words she was about to speak.
"I-I got a letter from Princess Celestia today..." She began, but took a deep breath or two before she could finish.
"Is that all? You get those all the time!" The blue pegasus said trying to cheer her friend up.
"It's not that...its what the letter said..." She continued, the words feeling just as painful going out as they did coming in.
"What did it say?" She asked softly as Twilight produced the now crumpled letter from her saddle bag next to her.
Rainbow dash set it on the ground in front of her and flattened it out with her hooves as her friend just sat against the tree, quietly staring off into the hills as she still had no idea how to handle the situation.
As the pegasus pony's reddish eyes dashed back and forth across the scroll, she too began to feel the pain her friend was awash with.
She barely finished the letter before her vision was obscured by a few tears of her own. She wiped her eyes and knelt down in front of Twilight, giving her a hug with both hooves as her purple friend finally broke down completely.
"W-what am I supposed...to do?" She sobbed into Rainbow Dashs shoulder.
"I...I wish I could tell you..." Her friend responded, wishing there was some way to ease her pain. Like Twilight, Rainbow Dash came to the same painful realization. Either disobey the Princess, or send Spike away from everything he knew. Twilight sat against that old oak tree, appreciating the temporary comfort her friends embrace brought her. Rainbow Dash decided to try and make the best of a bad situation.
"He probably won't settle very far from here. I'm sure you could visit him once he finds a place to live." She said moving beside her against the tree, Twilights nose still buried into her shoulder.
"Thats not the problem. Once a dragon is fully grown, all they know is their territory. I've read every book I've got on the subject, after they enter their third growth cycle no dragon has ever remembered anything or anyone they knew before that point. They just find a cave, and horde treasure. How is he supposed to survive out there on his own? He's lived with me his entire life! He'll never make it out there by himself, he's just a baby!" She said almost defensively as Rainbow Dash realized the problem. She still saw him as the Spike that arrived with her those many years ago on her back.
"Twilight...He isn't a baby anymore...He's getting pretty old." She said gently, not sure what kind of reaction this would elicit from her friend in her fragile emotional state.
"But why does he have to leave? Why would Princess Celestia make him my assistant only to take him away?" She snapped, pounding a frustrated hoof on the ground beside her. Her friend didn't really have an answer for that.
"A-and how am I supposed to tell him? How do you tell someone to pack their stuff and get out of town out of nowhere like that? With no warning or anything?" She continued to Rainbow Dashs silence. Try as she might to think of something to say, the pegasus' normally lightning quick tongue didn't seem to work. No words she could think to say seemed to be the right ones.
"I wish I knew Twilight, really. I know this seems unfair, but the Princess probably has a good reason for doing this."
"Yeah, making me miserable!" She snapped, this time her remarks were starting to wear on the pegasus ponys nerves.
"You know she wouldn't do that!" Rainbow Dash shot right back putting a hoof under her friends chin and making her look her in the eyes.
"I don't know why she's making you do this. All I know is that if you don't you'll be disobeying the Princess, and do you think Spike would want you banished because of him?" She asked, the gravity in her voice resonating heavily in Twilights heart.
Then she had an idea.
'Why didn't I think of this before? It's so obvious!' She thought as her tearful expression morphed into one of confident, sharp grin. Her eyes narrowing as Rainbow Dash widened hers in mild confusion. Something inside the young unicorn snapped. Spike would do anything to keep them together if their positions were reversed, she just knew it. So she would have to do it for him, even if it meant...bending the Princess' orders a bit. He would risk banishment for her, and so too would she.
"What?" The pegasus said backing her face slightly away from Twilights.
"I've got it. I know how I can keep Spike with us!" She said springing up onto her hooves in Pinkie Pie fashion and began walking past her friend.
"Wait. What are you thinking? You did hear me say the word banishment didn't you?" Rainbow Dash said striding in front of Twilight and confronting her.
"Yeah. I heard you. But I don't care. I'm not letting Spike leave, not if I can help it!" She said sharply as she brushed past the blue pegasus, only to be blocked by her again after a few steps.
"Twilight, I never thought I'd have to say this to you of all ponies, but think about what you're doing! You CAN'T disobey the Princess! She'll lock you away forever! Or worse, banish you from the kingdom! I'm glad you're thinking about Spike, but what about me? And Fluttershy, Applejack, and the rest of us who will have to live without you! You think I'm not sad that Spike has to leave? I care about him just as much as you do!" She snapped back, the tears of hers now returning at the thought of losing Twilight as well as Spike.
"If you did, you wouldn't be standing in my way." She said firmly, her eyes now narrowed into a glare.
Rainbow Dash took that as a personal attack, as Twilight pushed passed her, she felt a sharp pain on her tail.
"I won't let you throw your life away!" She said with the unicorns tail in her mouth.
"Rainbow Dash! Let go!"
"No! I'm not letting you do this!" She said as she maintained a vice like grip.
"I've got to at least try!" She said struggling to break free of the blue pegasus' hold.
"Spike isn't going to Mars! He's just starting his own life! You have to let him!" She tried to reason as she began to drag her backward.
"You're supposed to be loyal! Who are you more loyal to, me or the Princess?" She said still struggling to gain inches of ground through grit and determination alone.
Rainbow Dash gasped, inadvertently releasing her friends tail, sending her stumbling a few steps before ending up in a heap of hooves.
"How-how dare you call my loyalty into question Twilight Sparkle! You know darn well I'm your friend, and a true friends job is to stop another friend from doing something crazy!" She yelled back at her, still somewhat shocked at the bookish unicorns words.
"He would do it for me! I have to try!" She said sprinting away as soon as she spoke.
The lightning fast pegasus gritted her teeth and raised her wings, taking off in the same direction after her. In no time at all, she passed Twilight and stood her ground in front of her, a glare now gracing her normally confident face.
"If you really want to do something this stupid, you'll have to go through me." She stated bluntly, her front hooves bent out at the knees a little while her flanks were raised slightly like a bull ready to charge.
Twilight stamped her hoof in frustration.
"Ugh! I don't have time for this!" She snapped as she knew one way to travel where Rainbow Dash couldn't follow.
Her horn began to glow a dull silver as she looked her friend in the eye.
"Thanks for the concern, but I know the risk I'm taking." she said coldly.
The pegasus recognized what she was doing and charged at her in an effort to try and stop her before she teleported. She flapped her wings to give her an extra boost toward Twilight. She was but a foot away when a clap of thunder and a bright flash signaled her friends disappearance. She flew right through where she had just been standing, tumbling a few feet into the dirt.
"Ahhh! I wasn't quick enough!" She said exasperated, slamming both front hooves into the dirt in anger. But this wasn't the time to dwell on her failed attempt at stopping Twilight, she had to tell the others she had found her, and that her friend had gone off the deep end (again).