A True, True Ex-Friend

by jkbrony

Chapter 2: How Much I Love Them

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"We can't be friends anymore. I'm sorry, but this is how it ends. It's okay to me mad, it's okay to hate me, but that's just how it has to be. Understand?"

The mirror did not respond.

"Well?!" Twilight demanded, looking fiercely at her reflection.

Several seconds passed, and it soon became clear that it was not going to answer her. She sighed.

The hours had passed by slow enough that they may as well have been days. The morning gradually turned to late afternoon, and with every minute that passed, Twilight grew more and more nervous. It was now two minutes past four, but the clock upon the wall was not telling time—it was only counting down to her friends' imminent deaths. And there was only an hour and fifty-eight minutes to go...

"Twilight?" Spike called with a simultaneous knock on her door.

"Uhhh...come in," Twilight called, quickly levitating the mirror back to its place in a corner of the room.

The young dragon stepped inside.

"Princess Celestia just sent this...," he said, giving her a scroll with a tiny note clipped to it that read: FOR TWILIGHT'S EYES ONLY. Do not read this, Spike.

"Oh. Thanks," she said.

"Sure thing," Spike sighed, clearly disappointed at being left out of the loop. He exited the room with his head hung dejectedly.

Twilight quickly opened the scroll, hoping that this would be news that Celestia had already finished the counterspell and she was now off the hook...

Time is running out. In two short hours, the curse will take effect. You must hurry.

Twilight angrily crumpled up the paper and tossed it away. As if she really needed to be reminded that she was running out of time—as if it was going to make the task any easier or the solution come any quicker...

After endlessly thinking it through over and over for hours, it now felt as though the best solution was to simply wing it: to come out and tell her friends that they could not be friends anymore and be cruel and nasty enough that would never want to see her face again.

Okay, so how would I go about doing it...?

Twilight could think of only one reason as to why she would feasibly end her relationships with them—something that she had feared ever since becoming an alicorn: the question of whether or not she would obtain immortality. She feared the notion that she would live on agelessly, forced to watch her friends grow old and ultimately die. If it ever did happen, it would somehow seem like a better choice to end her friendships and grow apart than to grow even closer and have their eventual deaths be that much more painful. Indeed, this felt like the ideal platform to use as to why she would suddenly sever ties with them out of the blue.

Okay, now how am I going to tell them...?

Gathering her friends up and telling them all at once would certainly be the best option, as it would save her the awkwardness of saying the same words over and over again for each of them. However, she knew that she would need to use an entirely different set of words for Spike, as his incredibly long dragon lifespan would easily cancel out the "immortality" excuse. But even as she tried to think up some other excuse to use for him, she felt a lingering fear that getting him to actually hate her would be impossible, and that intense sadness and grief would be the only emotions he would feel.

I'll just have to be firm, really firm, and tell him that I was lying when I said I would never send him away. And ff that's not enough...I'll just tell him that he's not a good enough assistant for me. Yeah, that'll work. I can do this....

Twilight hurried over to the mirror.

"I can do this, right...?" she asked her reflection.

This time her reflection appeared to respond. It shook its head solemnly.

"No, you can't."

"Sure, I can!" Twilight replied, laughing nervously. "You'll see! It'll all be fine. They're going to hate me, but they won't hate me forever."

"You can't do this," her reflection said sternly.

"Yes, I can!" Twilight yelled at the mirror. "I can, and I really don't need you telling me that I can't! I'd rather have them hate me for little while than have them be dead, so I'm going to do this!"

"You'll never get Spike to hate you," her reflection said. "And you won't be able to stand hurting him like that. Just face it. He's doomed and you know it."

"Ugh, shut up! SHUT UP!" Twilight screamed. Without thinking, she aimed her horn directly at the mirror and shot a swift laser blast. It instantly shattered to pieces, with tiny shards flying all over the room.

Breathing heavily with frustration, Twilight looked down at one of the mirror shards and bitterly shook her head.

"Who asked for your opinion anyway...?"


As the clock neared twenty minutes past five, Twilight found herself standing just outside of her castle, where she had asked her soon-to-be ex-friends to meet her. She stiffened up as she saw them approaching. This was it—the moment that was going to decide their fate. If she was not convincing enough, if she failed to make them hate her guts, they were most certainly doomed...

"Thanks for coming, guys," Twilight said when they were all present.

"What's up, Twilight?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"There's something...we need to talk about."

They each stared at her, optimistic expressions adorned upon their faces, clearly not expecting anything remotely on the level of what she was about to tell them.

"Things....things have to change sometimes," Twilight said, looking away from their positive faces. "All good things come to an end eventually. That's just a fact of life."

A brief silence fell over them, during which time her friends exchanged confused glances with each other.

"Uhhh...what?" asked Pinkie Pie.

"We have a nice thing going on here, but it was going to have to end sooner or later," said Twilight. "And, unfortunately, that time is now."

"Whatever do you mean, Twilight?" asked Rarity.

Twilight looked them back in the eye, trying her hardest not to let any grief show in her face.

"I'm sorry to say, but....this is where our friendship ends."

"What?!" the five cried in unison.

"Yes," Twilight nodded. I'm afraid so."

"Uhhh, is this some kind of a joke?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"It's not a very funny joke...," added Pinkie.

Twilight shook her head slowly. "It's not a joke. I'm serious."

"I don't understand," said Applejack. "Yer really sayin' that we aren't friends anymore?"

Twilight felt her eyes glaze over with tears, and she closed them to keep them from noticing.

"Yes. I am..."

The wind blew, carrying an icy chill with it that instantly fell over all of them. Tears filled the eyes of Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie. Rainbow Dash cut her eyes into a glare and Applejack shook her head.

"W-Why not?!" Applejack demanded.

"Because...we're just on entirely different levels now," Twilight said, opening her eyes again after she had successfully suppressed the tears. "I'm an alicorn, and if I end up living as long as Celestia and Luna, it would just be better if I don't have any personal connections to beings that are not immortal. I'm sorry, but this is just how it has to be."

"You cannot possibly be serious...," Rarity said incredulously.

"What about defending Equestria? You need all of us for that, don't you? Or did you just suddenly forget about that?" snapped Rainbow Dash.

Twilight shook her head. "I almost defeated Tirek by myself, without your assistance. I'm sure that Celestia, Luna, Cadence and I will be able to handle anything that comes our way. We don't need you."

Twilight instinctively stepped back as Rainbow fiercely lurched forward, glaring her dead in the eye. She felt as though she were a single snide remark away from getting a swift hoof to the face.

"Oh, I get it!" Rainbow said contemptuously. "Now that you're a princess, we're not good enough to be your friends anymore, right? I guess it doesn't matter that we were the ones who helped you become a princess in the first place, does it? No, it's just all about you now. Well, I hope you have a nice, long life. And while you're at it, go die in a fire."

With that, Rainbow flew off in a bright flash of color. Twilight closed her eyes again to suppress more oncoming tears. As painful as Rainbow's words were, at least they served as a strong indication that she was now safe...

"That's not really true, is it?" asked Fluttershy, her cheeks moist with tears. "You don't really think we're not good enough to be your friends anymore, do you?"

Twilight nodded. "Yeah, I do. This just isn't working anymore. We're not on the same level, and it's time to stop pretending that we are. Ever since the day I became a princess, our friendship was doomed to die."

A fresh stream of tears poured from Fluttershy's eyes.

"After all we've been through, yer just gonna end it right here? Just like that?" said Applejack, stamping her hoof in fury.

"This is just how it has to be..."

"But...you're the Princess of Friendship...," said a solemn Pinkie. "How can you be the Princess of Friendship without any friends?"

"I guess I'll just need a new title, then," Twilight replied.

"The 'Princess of Betrayal' seems quite fitting to me," Rarity said bitterly.

"Did we do something?" Fluttershy asked, sobbing loudly. "Is this about something we did?"

Twilight shook her head. "No, it's nothing you did. This just couldn't last forever, and now is that time that it has to end."

Fluttershy turned and flew away in a fit of sobs. Rarity took a menacing step forward.

"You think you can just come into our lives, make us love and care about you, and then just choose to walk away?!" she said angrily. "It does not work that way, Twilight!"

"I'm afraid it does," replied Twilight. "You can hate me for it if you want, but this is how it ends. We just can't be friends anymore."

"Please, Twilight," begged Pinkie Pie. "I don't want to not be your friend anymore!"

"Sorry, Pinkie, but I don't want to be your friend anymore."

Pinkie fell into a hysterical fit of wails and scurried off as Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had done before her. Rarity watched as she disappeared from sight, then turned back to Twilight, shaking her head in disgust.

"You're unbelievable...."

With a loud and agitated "hmph", Rarity also exited the scene, following after Pinkie. Twilight looked at Applejack, who now curiously appeared to be much less indignant than she was a moment ago.

"I don't truly believe yer sincere about this," she said.

"I am," Twilight replied instantly.

"I don't think so," Applejack said, narrowing her eyes. "I think yer only doin' this 'cause yer tryin' to protect us from somethin'."

"You're wrong," Twilight replied even quicker. "Please, Applejack, just go."

Applejack took a step forward, looking deep into Twilight's eyes as if they would offer some subtle hint that her words were untrue.

"Are we in danger?"


"Are you in danger?"

"No!" Twilight shouted, backed away as though repulsed. "Just go, okay?!"

"Whatever happened to 'our friendships will never, ever be broken?' Remember that? That was what you said right before we gave up the Elements."

Twilight shook her head. "I shouldn't have said that..."

"Did you mean it?"

Twilight sighed. "I did. But now I don't."

Applejack shook her head in disbelief. "You were my family, ya know? I considered you family."

"I know. But it's not like I wanted to be a part of your family anyway," Twilight said condescendingly.

Applejack glared fiercer than Rainbow Dash had.

"I wish I could take back all the years we've spent with you. They don't mean anythin' now."

"Good," Twilight said as a tear suddenly fell from her eye. She turned her head away to keep Applejack from seeing it. "So can you go now?"

Applejack shook her head again and turned to leave. When she was finally out of sight, Twilight retreated back into the confines of her castle. The moment she stepped hoof inside, she collapsed to the floor and wept, finally allowing the pain and grief tearing her up inside to wholly consume her.


They're safe now, and that's all that matters. They won't hate me forever.

Even as she attempted to reassure herself, Twilight feared that she would never be able to rid her thoughts of the faces of extreme sadness and anger that her friends had expressed towards her, nor the words they had spoken. They were permanently ingrained into her mind. The task had indeed been the hardest thing she had even done in her life, and it would only become harder still, as Spike's life was still at risk. If what happened that morning was any indication, he would be utterly inconsolable. Twilight now began to wonder if her reflection in the mirror had been right—if she truly did not have it in her to do this after all. This was the same dragon whom she had hatched and loved from the moment he was born. This was the same dragon who had dedicated his entire existence to serving her, simply out of his own love and attachment towards her.

But it had to be done...

Somehow, it had to be done...

5:38 PM. Only twenty-two short minutes before certain death would be coming for him.

Curse you forever, Starswirl the Bearded...

She never would have completed his spell, never would have even touched it had she known she would have to do this...

How loudly would he cry? How persistently would he beg?

How would she be able to live with herself for it...?

She may as well have been tasked with ripping his heart from his chest and stomping on it...

Twilight picked herself back up and attempted to hide that she had just spent several minutes crying. When finally composed again—or at least as composed as she could possibly make herself in that moment—she searched the castle for Spike. When she entered the kitchen, she found him preparing their dinner: succulent haysteaks with a side of corn and mashed potatoes that Twilight was going to have absolutely no desire to eat after doing what she was about to do....

Now was the time...

"Spike, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure," the young dragon said, hoping that he was finally going to be told what had been going on with her all day. He set their dinner to the side, and approached her with curiosity.

"Things...have to change...," Twilight said, stopping herself.

"What has to change?"

"No, I mean....all good things eventually come—." She stopped herself again, shaking her head rapidly.

Spike looked confused. "What are you trying to tell me?"

Twilight took a deep breath, attempting to focus her thoughts, which were scrambling every which way. All she could think about was her poor dragon dropping to his knees, overwhelmed with sadness—a sadness that she was going to have to act utterly numb to in order to convince him that they were no longer friends. And she simply did not think she could do that....

"Look, you've been a great assistant, but we....it's just not—"

A look of worry spread across Spike's face again as it had that morning. At that moment, Twilight shook her head, tears stinging her eyes.

"I....I just can't do it! I can't...."

"What?!" Spike cried, concerned. "You can't do what?!"

"We have to get out of here. Right now," she whispered, wiping her tears away.

"Huh? Why?"

"Because you're in danger, and I won't lose you," Twilight said as she levitated her confused dragon onto her back.

Before Spike had a chance to respond, Twilight made a charge towards the front balcony of the castle and flew out into the evening, Spike hanging onto her neck for dear life.

"What's—whoa! What's going on?!" he cried as she gained altitude.

"Princess Celestia informed me that Starswirl cursed his spell," explained Twilight. "He made it so that I would lose my closest friends to a fiery death tonight. The only way I could save them was to end my relationships with them, and that included you, too. But...I just couldn't do that to you."

Spike's stomach turned over. "I'm going to die...?"

"Not if I can help it," Twilight said reassuringly.

After several minutes of flying, Twilight had left the borders of Ponyville and found herself above the Everfree Forest. She flew directionless, her only concern being to find somewhere, anywhere, Spike would be safe. She felt her young dragon shiver intensely, clearly afraid as to what was going to be happening within the next ten minutes. Twilight herself also shivered with fear, wondering if she had truly made the right choice—wondering if her inability to see Spike hurt would cost him his very life.

As she crossed into Ghastly Gorge, Twilight eventually came across an enormous rock that slanted upward so that there was an opening underneath which was large enough to provide shade and refuge to a traveler who had been walking through the gorge for hours.

"Get under there," she ordered as she landed near the rock. Spike hopped from Twilight's back and did as he was instructed.

But Twilight knew that the rock would not protect him. Only she alone stood any chance of saving him now...

Within moments, the time carried over to six o'clock, and an enormous bang suddenly erupted from the sky. Twilight looked up...and there it was. A massive fireball was hurling towards them at an incredible speed. Starswirl's Wrath had finally come, and she knew exactly what she had to do...

After taking a quick and possibly last look at Spike, Twilight shielded herself in a protective forcefield and took off to the air. The fireball drew closer and closer as she climbed higher and higher into the sky. This was the only possible way that Spike's life could be saved now. She would protect him as she always had, even if it came at the cost of her own life. There was no time to even stop and admire the irony of the famous bearded pony whom Twilight spent innumerable hours reading and studying about was now the pony who would be the death of her.

It was getting closer. Even several yards away, Twilight felt scorching heat emanating from the massive ball of fire. Her horn began to illuminate, charging up a blast as powerful as she could possibly make it. Although without the magic of Celestia, Luna, and Cadence coursing through her blood as it had when she faced off against Tirek, she knew that no matter how potent her blast was, it would not be quite enough to counter the fireball's raw fury and power.

Yet she still had to try...

Starswirl's Wrath drew even closer...




When only a few short yards away, with sweat pouring from her entire body, Twilight blasted Starswirl's Wrath with all the power she could muster from within. The blast did little to slow its descent, and it soon came into contact with her forcefield, pushing her back towards the ground with it. The forcefield provided Twilight with only minimal protection, and it failed to suppress the intense heat that she felt ripping into her skin.

Screaming with pain, Twilight gathered up another great wave of power and blasted the fireball again in the hopes that she would be more successful in stopping it. The blast struck Starswirl's Wrath directly in its core, and it now seemed to fall with much less speed. The heat was unbearable, and the pain was even worse, yet she refused to relent, even if it meant draining every last drop of magic from her body. But Starswirl's Wrath would not be stopped so easily, and its tremendous power gradually began to crack her forcefield. Twilight was powerless to repair it, as every bit of magic in her body was being channeled into her blast.

The cracks quickly began spreading to every inch of the forcefield, until finally...


The forcefield shattered, and Starswirl's wrath finally made contact with Twilight's body. She was struck with an indescribable pain worse than she had ever felt in her life. Her screaming intensified as she felt her mane and tail burn away. But in spite of the pain, she pressed on, and continued blasting at the fireball with everything she still had.

After a while, she struggled to remain conscious, and feared that Starswirl's Wrath would likely incinerate her to a crisp before Spike was out of harm's way. But there was no longer anything she could do to protect herself, so she just kept on blasting....

...and blasting....

...and blasting...

...and blasting...



Starswirl's Wrath suddenly dissipated, exploding with such force that Twilight instantly fell back down to the earth, permanently drained of all magic. Her entire body was singed and blackened, and her mane and tail were almost completely gone—only a few isolated clumps of hair remained on each. What feathers still remained on her wings were blackened like the rest of her body. She crashed hard, landing near the rock where she had left her baby dragon.

"Twilight!!!" Spike screamed, rushing towards her as tears filled his eyes.

Twilight opened her eyes, and a smile appeared on her face when she saw that Spike remained unharmed.

"Thank goodness you're okay...," she said, her voice weak and dry as though she was in desperate need of a glass of water.

"But you're not," Spike said, wiping his tears. "We have to get you help."

Twilight shook her head in slow motion.

"No, Spike. I...I won't make it."

"Yes, you will," Spike said instantly.

"No...this...is it for me."

Tears returned to Spike's eyes at once. "No, Twilight! We have to—"

"Listen to me, Spike," Twilight interrupted. "I need...I need you to tell my friends how much I love them. Tell them how sorry I am...for all those things I said. That I only did what I did....to save them. And tell Applejack...she was right."

Tears fell rapidly from Spike's eyes, and they dripped upon Twilight's burned body.

"No, Twilight, no! Don't leave me!" he cried with immense grief. "You can't leave me!"

Twilight raised a hoof to his chin, and a single tear managed to loose itself from her eye.

"Oh, Spike. I'm so sorry. I just...couldn't do it. I couldn't hurt you like that..."

Spike grasped Twilight's hoof and kissed it, his face soaking wet with tears falling every second.

"I....I don't want to go on without you, Twilight..."

Twilight frowned. "Then this was all for nothing. Please, Spike, I need you to p...promise me that you'll find....a way to keep living without me."

Spike lowered his head. "I...."

"You'll be fine," Twilight said with a smile. "You're going to live a very, very long life. A very happy life. You will find your place. You will find love, and you will be...very happy. You'll never forget me...but you will move on. Please, promise me."

Spike nodded solemnly. "I promise."

"Oh, my little dragon," Twilight said, as another tear fell from her eye. "Hatching you was the best thing I ever did in my life. I'm so sorry that I won't be around....to see you grow up. But just know that....I'll always love you."

"I'll always love you, too," said Spike, wrapping his arms around as much of her body as he could.

After a few moments, he no longer felt her heartbeat. With a faint and hopeful smile across her face, Twilight closed her eyes as life slipped from her body.

"Come back...," Spike whispered, his entire body trembling.

The moon rose up over the gorge, the evening air grew cold, and Spike felt a sense of loneliness such as he had never felt before in his life. Twilight was gone. Gone forever...

"Please come back..."

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