Part Four: Ponies Don't Fear The Reaper
Twilight sat at the bottom of that dark pit cradling Dewdrop's body for what seemed like an eternity, though it couldn't have been longer than a few seconds. She shook constantly, sobbing into Dewdrop's matted, dusty hair.
"You stupid, silly pony" she whispered hoarsely to Dewdrop as she held her in her hooves, though she wasn't sure if she'd aimed that at Dewdrop or herself. Her head was awash with angry, guilty thoughts, her stomach was a boiling maelstrom and she wanted to be sick.
"There's no such thing as 'evil'" Princess Luna had once told her. "No pony gets up one morning and decides that they're going to go out and do bad things. They do bad things thinking that they're the most reasonable and logical reactions to a situation." Was it true? Had Twilight really gone too far? Was it more than just a terrible accident?
Not even Princess Luna in her darkest of hours had ever killed another pony. It was unheard of. Inconceivable. And yet there she was, Princess Celestia's star pupil, the best and brightest of Equestria, holding the body of a pony whose death she had caused.
The only sound in that cold, lonely hole was Twilight's ragged sobbing.
No pony had seen her; no pony knew she had sent Dewdrop to her death. Twilight could always leave her for somepony else to find. She rolled the thought around in her mind, knowing that there was an alternative. That she could escape this situation, run and hide in her own guilt.
"No!" She straightened up, her face set in determination as she laid Dewdrop onto the cold ground. The little pony looked so small and pathetic sprawled out on the ground, her eyes closed, body getting colder by the second. "No!" Twilight shouted again. "This isn't how it's supposed to be! I won't let it!"
She leaned over Dewdrop, pressing her hooves against the pony's chest, and pushed hard. Again. "Come on Dewdrop! Don't you dare do this to me!" she hissed as she put all her weight on the pony's ribcage, rhythmically compressing it. Her knowledge of Equestrian first aid was fuzzy at best; she remembered vaguely that a pony could last for up to three and a half minutes without a flow of oxygen. There was still time. There had to be.
Dewdrop hadn't moved. She was still cold and unbreathing. Twilight used her hooves to clamp shut Dewdrop's nose and hesitantly pressed her lips against Dewdrop's, breathing in one full breath, before starting compressions again. "Come on! Come on!" she wailed, her face a mixture of despair and resolve. She knew there were medical unicorns in Canterlot who could use magic to restart a pony's heart, but she'd never even thought of taking her studies in that direction.
She'd never even passed her basic first aid training.
The theory was simple enough, but in practise you were supposed to push down hard on the chest really hard, and Twilight was uncomfortable enough doing that on the dummies provided, let alone the kiss of life. But there was no-one else, and no matter what she'd done, Dewdrop didn't deserve this.
"Hi Twilight, have you oh, awkward!" Spike's head had popped over the edge of the hole and retreated almost as quickly as soon as he'd seen Twilight giving Dewdrop mouth to mouth.
"Spike!" Twilight's head jerked up, her eyes red, her cheeks stained from tears. "Spike, I-I think she's dead. Get help!"
Spike froze and scampered off. Twilight was alone again.
She crumpled next to Dewdrop, defeated. It was no good, Dewdrop was still lying there lifeless, and it was all her fault. In despair, she pressed her hooves together and, looking up, prayed to the heavens.
"Oh Princess Celestia!" she wailed, "I didn't mean for this to happen, please believe me! Please let Dewdrop be okay! I promise to be good to her; I won't get annoyed at her ever again, she can stay as long as she likes, forever!" Twilight sighed and broke off. It was useless. Silence reigned in the pit.
Suddenly there was a sharp intake of air and Twilight leapt back, terrified out of her wits. Dewdrop Dazzle sat bolt upright, her hair frazzled in all directions, staring wildly ahead. "WAS SOMEPONY KISSING ME?" she blurted out.
Twilight coughed and stared up at the sky. "Uh... backsies?" she offered.
Twilight Sparkle was a hero.
She wasn't a hero of course. All the other ponies were treating her like one, as she hauled Dewdrop out of the hole having saved her life. They didn't know she'd been the one to put it in danger in the first place, and Dewdrop hadn't said a word. She had fallen into a deep sleep as soon as the rescue team arrived.
Apparently Pinkie Pie was holding a celebratory party but Twilight had declined to attend. She'd made excuses about needing to make sure Dewdrop was all right, and that was true, but mostly she couldn't face being congratulated for having nearly killed the one pony who trusted and idolised her above all else.
Twilight sat next to Dewdrop, who was now sleeping soundly in her bed. Twilight had found a crudely sewn little cuddly toy of Twilight which she'd placed in Dewdrop's hooves as she slept. Normally such a discovery would have crept Twilight out, but right now she was just glad that the little pony was still alive. Nurse Mercy had been round to check on her but she still hadn't woken from her slumber. The house was very quiet. Twilight had a lot of time to think about things.
Dewdrop's eyes were open, and she weakly stared up at Twilight from the bed. "I did it!" she whispered. "I didn't want you to be in danger so I went out and I found that idol and destroyed it, but then I fell into this deep hole!" Her eyes misted over slightly and she choked. "A-and I'm sorry. I was hanging there for ages and I think I started seeing things because I thought you were there pushing me in, but that couldn't be true because you're the nicest, most wonderful pony ever, and I feel awful for thinking that about you even for a second!"
Dewdrop looked up at Twilight wide-eyed, and Twilight gave a nervous gulp. "Dewdrop, listen" she softly replied.
Dewdrop pressed her head into the warmth of the pillow and continued, now staring up at the ceiling. "It was awful in Canterlot, you know" she spoke out, and Twilight wasn't sure if she was talking to her, or just to herself. "They say it's the place of opportunities, but that isn't always true. I worked copying manuscripts in one of the palace outbuildings. There were hundreds of us, at desks all day every day, just writing down word after word. Then I'd go home and I'd eat and sleep, and then I'd go to work again, then eat and sleep. The same thing, day after day, a grey life in a grey building."
Dewdrop let her head flop back towards Twilight, and she could see tears in her eyes. "And one day I read about you. About your life and your friends and your magical adventures. You showed me a different way of living, a better way, and I never said thank you."
Twilight just sat in silence, taking this in. It was impossible for her to feel more awful than she did already, but her mind was doing its level best to achieve that. "Dewdrop..." she finally said, simply. "It's good that I inspired you, but you can't live your life trying to be somepony you're not. No pony is perfect." She paused. "Apart from Princess Celestia. But I'm certainly not. I'm insecure, I do stupid things, and I find confrontation hard."
Dewdrop looked as if she was about to deny all this, but Twilight continued. "It was me, Dewdrop. I set a trap and made you fall into that hole because it was easier than just confronting you about how uncomfortable you were making me. It was stupid and cowardly of me. You shouldn't be looking up to me, you're a braver and better pony by far, you just need to be yourself."
Dewdrop shrunk into the bed, pulling the covers up as she looked at Twilight wide-eyed in shock, her faith shattered at the revelation. "B-but... you're Twilight Sparkle!" she whispered.
Twilight hung her head. "Yeah" she said bitterly. "I'm Twilight Sparkle. Just another silly pony. And I let things spiral out of control because I couldn't pluck up the courage just to talk to you. I think I know what my next report to the Princess will be about." She looked over at Dewdrop, who hadn't moved. "And you, Dewdrop?"
Dewdrop nodded in a disheartened manner, her eyes cast down. "Yeah Twilight" she replied sadly. "I've learnt a lesson too."
Twilight gave Dewdrop a friendly if awkward punch on the shoulder. "Look Dewdrop, I'm really sorry about everything that's happened. If you want to go, I'd understand, but I'd like to get to know the real you too."
Dewdrop simply nodded, and turned over to go to sleep.
The next day, Dewdrop was gone. All that remained to show that she had even existed was a scruffy, much loved cuddly toy shaped like Twilight Sparkle, tucked up neatly in bed.
The storm raged over Hoofington, but to the Great and Powerful Trixie who was safe at home practising her magic tricks, the rumble of the thunder sounded like the applause of a grateful crowd.
"Yes, yes, I am rather wonderful!" she purred into the mirror, as she levitated a spoon. The thunder tapped in appreciation.
Only it wasn't the thunder. Trixie turned in annoyance as the tapping turned into banging, coming from her front door. She threw her mane in disgust. "The Great and Powerful Trixie does not appreciate being disturbed in the middle of her rehearsals!" she announced loudly, even though the room was empty. Angrily, she threw open the door.
A streak of lightning arced through the sky, illuminating the form of a blue and pink unicorn, caked in mud and utterly drenched. She was clutching a battered yellow suitcase.
"Hello!" chirped Dewdrop Dazzle, already pushing her suitcase past a confused Trixie and into the house. "I'm Dewdrop Dazzle. Can I come in?"