Everypony stared out the window with their mouths agape. A blue orb swirled with clouds floated in a black sea shimmering with stars. Twilight was simultaneously in awe at being able to see this, this thing nopony had seen before, and terrified by the implications.
They stood in the lair of their enemy. The end-point of their mission. The walls were violet crystals and the floor was a dark blue stone as smooth as a mirror. It was just as full of magical power as Twilight would expect for a weapon of this size and scope. Twilight knew they were going somewhere far away. But she had never expected this.
“W-well,” Rarity said, the first to speak. “I suppose that’s why they call him The Dragon Beyond The World.”
“How far up are we?” Rainbow Dash asked. Everypony looked at Twilight.
“Far,” she answered, shivering. “Really far.”
Everypony looked at one another in concern and confusion. Twilight wouldn’t give a vague answer like that if she could help it. Spike tugged on her leg gently.
“You mean… you don’t know?” Spike’s eyes were full of fear.
Twilight looked back at him and shook her head. She knew he was the only one there who understood what that meant.
She never should have brought him.
Applejack interrupted them with a snort and a shake of her head. “Well, we’ve all seen it. We got us a dragon to slay. Let’s get to work.”
Everypony started walking away from the window except for Twilight and Spike. Spike was still clutching Twilight’s leg and her head was hanging. The others all looked back at them.
“Uh, beggin’ yer pardon, Spike,” Applejack said, blushing. “Didn’t mean no offense with the whole dragon slayin’ thing.”
He was just so eager to go. He wanted to see the Elements of Harmony on one of their missions.
Spike started crying and Twilight held him to her chest, nuzzling her head. Everypony walked back towards them and Fluttershy flew in to rest a hoof on Spike’s shoulder.
“I’m sure Applejack didn’t mean anything by it,” Fluttershy cooed gently.
Twilight was crying too. Neither said a word or even looked up at the others. Fluttershy looked over at Rarity and motioned towards Spike with her head.
“Spike,” Rarity said, stepping closer. “I’m not sure what’s wrong, but we have a mission. We must defeat that dra… our foe, and destroy this awful place. The Princess has placed this trust in us, and I know you’re strong enough to-“
Rarity was interrupted by Twilight looking up at her and shaking her head.
“Twilight?” Pinkie asked. “Please. Tell us what’s wrong.”
Twilight looked down at Spike and her jaw quivered. It was a long time before she could speak.
“I can’t get us back,” she croaked.
Everypony’s eyes widened and they all leaned forward.
“What?!” Dash asked, flying in close. “What do you mean?!”
“The teleporter that got us here was one-way,” Twilight said. “And I can’t… I can’t even feel the Earth from here. My magic doesn’t reach that far.”
They all kept staring at her as if they didn’t know what to say. Rainbow Dash’s wings drooped. Pinkie Pie’s butt hit the floor and she hung her head. Fluttershy’s hoof was frozen on Spike’s shoulder, and the rest of her body quivered in fear. Applejack took off her hat and closed her eyes.
Rarity alone turned around and faced down the crystalline hallway, stepping away from the rest of the group.
“As I was saying. I know you’re strong enough to do this, Spike. You’re as much a hero as any one of us.”
Spike wiped his eyes and looked back, pulling away from Twilight for the first time.
“She’s right,” Fluttershy said. “You didn’t even have to come. But you did.”
Applejack nodded and put her hat back on. “Heck. Ah always knew we’d go out this way. Ah’m awful sorry ya had to be here for this, Spike. But we’ll all be fightin’ fer ya.”
“That’s right!” Pinkie Pie bounced in. “Let’s go do this! For Spike!”
Spike blushed and smiled a little.
Rainbow Dash grinned, flaring her wings. “We came in with a bang, we’ll go out with a bang. We’ll give the whole world a show they won’t forget.”
Twilight smiled sadly down at Spike. “What do you think, Spike?”
Spike sighed and gave her a hug, chuckling bitterly. “I never wanted to outlive you anyway.”
Twilight sobbed and laughed at the same time, wiping her eyes. “Spike!”
“Sorry, sorry,” he said, pulling away. “Let’s go be heroes.”
The seven of them all stood up and walked down the hallway to save Equestria, and all of the Earth, one last time.
Oh no! Oh no, oh no! I— I have to make plans to get us back, in case this ever happens. Because it could happen! The ley lines don’t reach any celestial bodies other than the Sun and Moon, so if we were forced to fight on some sort of artificial satellite…
No, I won’t let that happen. I can’t let my friends, my family, down like that. I need to do research. Oh, um, sorry for the wet spots on the paper, Miss Author. I need to get to work. Thanks for the story.