Outside, the crowd cheered and wept at once. They had come from all over Equestria to be here. From the right here in Canterlot and from the sprawling metropolis of Appleoosa, they’d come. To the pony, they’d come to catch one last glimpse of the Princess of the Sun before she left them. In a year, those that could, would be back to see her return once more; knowing she would not be alone. They would tell their children and grandchildren that they had been there that glorious day. A day nopony alive would see again.
Inside, Celestia stepped back from the curtained door; her speech done. Luna and Cadance, her sisters in immortality, waited there for her. Without a word, the two laid their necks over Celestia’s and embraced her with wings and love.
“Say hello for us, Sister,” Luna whispered into Celestia’s ear.
“I will.” Celestia nuzzled her sisters back.
The three separated. Celestia turned to Cadance.
“Take care of her for me.”
Cadance smiled, “Luna or the Sun?”
“Whichever one gives you the least trouble,” Celestia said with a soft smile. She leaned in towards Cadance and whispered, loudly, “I think you’ll find that would be the Sun.”
Luna glared at her eldest sister, but her eyes never lost the softness around the edges. The glare fell altogether and all three laughed.
Celestia put a wing around her youngest sister, pulling her into a hug. “I think you have a speech to give,” she said, softly. She nudged the alicorn toward the curtained door. Cadance took the hint, but stole one last, quick nuzzle on the way by.
Luna gave Celestia one last hug herself before the two, walking side by side, followed Cadance out onto the balcony.
“Good Citizens of Equestria,” Cadance said to the assembled masses through a microphone, “thank you all. I cannot hope to replace Celestia, but I promise to do everything in my power to keep her Sun and this country as bright and as prosperous as I can until she returns.”
The crowd erupted into cheers. Celestia, knowing a cue when she heard one, leapt into the air and took wing. Higher and higher she rose until the roar of the crowd vanished beneath her. Up she flew until, at last, she came to source of the waterfalls of Canterlot, to the great cave high over her city, and flew inside.
“…leaving behind a rich legacy to the grateful nation she so loved.” Celestia spoke the words, but her mind was a blur. “Looking back, even I can’t believe she accomplished so much in the eighty-five short years we were blessed to have with her.”
Luna spoke next, then a dozen dignitaries and personal friends. Spike didn’t speak, he simply stood among the crowd. Thousands upon thousands had come to pay their final respects to Professor Twilight Sparkle, hero of Equestria and the Last of the Six. Hours later, Twilight’s body was laid to rest in the tomb with her friends. The Six now together for eternity.
One by one, the masses came forward and laid roses and lilacs against the tomb. One by one, they left. Celestia stayed strong for her student as the crowd thinned and the flowers formed a loving nest around her final resting place. She stayed strong until only she, Luna, Cadance and Spike, now nearly a match for her size, remained. Only then, with those she loved and who loved Twilight, did she let herself cry.
Celestia returned every year to pay her respects to her student. Every year she laid a fresh rose at the door to her tomb. There were others at first, her rose was among hundreds.
A few scant decades later, there were only dozens.
After a mere century, there were only four.
In time, Cadance stopped coming. Then even Luna.
But every year, Spike was there.
Celestia landed just inside the cave. The crystals of Canterlot Mountain lit the room with a calming, violet glow. Their area was huge, nearly as large as Canterlot castle. Half was taken up by the lake supplying the majestic waterfalls of her city.
On the other side, nestled among his hoard of gems, lay the Great Dragon Spike. His long sleep was nearly at an end. He wasn’t one to snore, thankfully, or else Celestia would have been forced to send him away.
She smiled at her husband. He was squarer and bulkier than most dragons. Stronger as well. It was a gift, they’d learned, from his mother.
Celestia crept closer. For all the years since she’d last seen him, she didn’t want to wake him. Another smile, and a few tears, came when she saw what still lay nestled in the crook of his tail. There lay the two greatest treasures in all of Equestria, treasures she trusted only him to guard. One was the tiny chest that held the Elements of Harmony. The other, a creamy white dragon’s egg with purple spots. It was pony-born, like its father. Unlike its father, the treasure inside would have wings and its mother would live long enough to see her child. It would hatch within days.
On quiet hooves, Celestia made her way to her husband and lay down beside a head as large as her body. He nuzzled her in his sleep. He would wake soon and, for a time, they would be allowed to be a family.
Someone had said that I should have excluded Spike as well from this prompt, but this story demonstrates exactly why I didn’t. Sure, Celestia and Spike shipping in the time frame of the show would be bizarre and wrong, but they are both going to live a very long time, and after the passage of hundreds of years, the mutual loss of those ponies very close to their hearts, it seems almost natural that they come together. I liked how this story was put together, with the introduction giving little info – but lots of laughs with the interactions between the three princesses – and then the flashbacks filling in the gaps so when we return to the present, everything makes sense. The feelings expressed in this story, both love and loss, came across keenly.