“Get outta my head, get outta my head!” the scholarly stallion screamed as he galloped through the seemingly endless maze of bookshelves.
They will all die! You cannot stop the darkness from creeping in to kill your family and friends!
“YOU LIE!” He yelled as he whipped his head around, his eyes darting side to side. “There's nothing out there, nothing that can harm us!” he backed up slowly while looking around frantically, the hairs on his back stood up to full attention. “They're just visions, they're all illusions you're making, and I don't know how but you are, you are!”
Just then he turned to his left where a book suddenly popped out of the shelves, opening up while suspended in mid-air to show the head of his wife with blood streaming from her eyes, mouth and nose. He screamed, turning around to buck the gruesome portrait only to find nothing there, falling back and hitting his legs awkwardly against the bookshelf. He winced in pain from his ankles hitting the hard corners of the shelf, but quickly recovered and began looking around frantically yet again.
It will never stop.
The stallion looked up to see the walls start to crack, as a dark mist seemed to seep through and swirl around towards the ground.
It will always be coming for you, for them, and for everyone else.
The ground below him split open between his legs just then, a bright orange light and a terrible roar erupting from the fissure. The stallion jumped out of the way just as a mass of sickeningly grotesque hands reached out for him.
The world bows before its might, and will not give in until all light is extinguished.
The darkness swirled down to the hands, enveloping them and giving them a shadowy, purple glow as they stretched beyond their physical abilities to reach out for him. He turned and ran, yelling out in fear as he ran through the corridors. He looked down a passage to the left, seeing his three children falling to the floor but stopping with a loud crack as the rope around their necks became taught. He pulled his eyes away, turning to the right only to see his wife and best friend vomiting out their innards while a black sludge seeped out of their eye sockets. He turned his head straight forward, forcing himself to keep his eyes closed as he ran blindly. Screams of agony and terror filled his ears, as did the sound of bones cracking and liquid splashing around him. It's not real, none of it's real, it can't be real!
Feel the kiss of shadows and realize why your life means nothing. Only by releasing me can you stop the freezing void from consuming everything.
“No no no no no!” He yelled, still running with his eyes shut. “It means nothing, you make illusions, it's all fake! Can't be a part of any of this!”
Just then his head collided into something, sending him back onto his rump with a loud crashing sound from in front of him. His eyes squeezed shut tighter than before as he fell to his side and rolled around in agony, rubbing his hooves on the spot on his head where he hit something. The impact left his skull throbbing with an incredibly sharp pain, one that seemed to spread throughout his head. His mind swirled as the screams around him, the knowledge of everything around him shifting into something horrible and grotesque, the pain from his cranium and the voice speaking in his head overcame his ability to think clearly. He was going mad, he already knew it, and every minute he spent trying to get away from the unseen entity only made it worse.
He had to stop it. He had to escape, to break free from its binds. He opened his eyes as he stayed laying down, picking up a familiar item before him laying on its side next to a toppled wooden desk. A lantern was there, burning just as bright as it always did. The desk was real, he felt himself run into it. Therefore the lantern must also be real, for it fell from the desk when he ran into it. He looked around himself, noticing all the bookshelves around him twisting and turning into something morbid, something that should only belong in nightmares to stare and reach for him. He looked around more, seeing nothing but bookshelves as far as he could see, even though the room he was in wasn't supposed to be anywhere near that big. It was all fake, it was all there to scare him, and it was working. And yet...
“This...” he whispered to himself as he began to crawl towards the lantern. “This has to be real...”
Nothing can stop the dark!
He crawled closer, every moment feeling the distorted bodies of Celestia knows what all around him creep closer, the throbbing pain in his head urging him to stop. But he kept going, pushing the pain and fear aside in an effort to hold on to probably the last thing that would keep his sanity in check.
It has killed off my race, and it will kill off yours as well!
He placed a hoof on the lantern's glass orb, feeling the heat from the fire inside. His eyes widened in surprise, followed by him scrambling to his hooves to get both forearms on the device. It was warm, he could feel the heat of the glass singing his hooves slightly as he held onto it.
Even now it roams free, silently gripping onto all we know to hold dear and sapping its life away.
He could see the light, it illuminated his body and everything around him as his eyes stared at the healthy flame within.
It will consume all! It will destroy you all!
It was real. He knew it to be real. Everything around him was fake and twisted, creeping closer with every second until he could feel the breath of some monster behind him.
“I'm insane,” he managed to choke out as he kept his eyes fixated on the flame. “I'm lost in the realm of illusions you have made for me, unable to pull my mind away from the lies and deceit you have constructed for me to believe is true, but this...” He stroked his hooves against the glass, cradling it like it was his foal. “This light, this fire, it's gotta be real...” He looked up from then, away from his last precious hold on reality and to the madness around him, gritting his teeth as his face twisted with anger. “I don't know which one you are up there, but I know that the source of this is real! Something has to be real!”
He raised up the lantern with both hooves, holding it above his head as he started at the blood covered demon with red glowing eyes and sharp teeth come crawling out of a portal inside a book in front of him, staring at him menacingly as it crept forward. He no longer felt fear, he no longer cared what happened to him, or anypony else. It was all about this thing, the one book hidden within the shelves of the library that made the visions appear. It haunted him for weeks, making every visit to his work place a run through hell as he tried to decipher what was real and what was not. But it didn't matter anymore. He was putting an end to it, right there, right then.
“Everything here is a lie!” he shouted to everything around him. “I know it all to be fake, that everything real is lost in the darkness! But this light... this truth!” he gripped his hooves on the lantern as he reared it back. “It's real! Fire is real, and it makes the light we need, it shows us the truth! And now, it will show EVERYTHING the truth!”
With a yell of crazed anger he thew the lantern at the demon in front of him, the object phasing through it as it crashed against the bookshelf. Fire erupted from the light container as it burst open, allowing the flame to feed on the bounty of paper and wood around it. The twisted form of the bookshelf quickly faded back to its real self as fire engulfed it, pushing the dark mist away and forcing the illusions back from whence they came. The fire took only seconds to cover the shelf, and then a few more to jump around from bookshelf to bookshelf, banishing all the illusions and screams as the stallion's senses became filled with the sensation of everything around him burning.
It was all going back to normal, it was all going away. The voice, the nightmares, the tricks and the looming darkness, it was all going to be gone. He smiled a little, and then wider, and then even wider still as a giggle came out of from his throat. He giggled some more, and then chuckled, and finally broke out to laughing as the fire circles around him. He couldn’t' help but laugh more, staring at the bright lights from the flame around him illuminated everything, showing what was real and what wasn't. He cackled madly as he saw everything he thought to be a nightmare fade into nothing as the fire wrapped around it. It was all fake, and he knew it. The fire would save him, it would show him the truth and the light even if the entity did not get destroyed.
He kept laughing uncontrollably, tears streaming from his eyes even as the flames began to lick against his coat and scorch his furs. It didn't matter, he didn't care. The nightmare was gone, it was all gone and he would never see it again. He was real, he knew it, because the fire burned him, it overtook his body and began charring his skin. He laughed more, drool and snot coming from his face as he let himself fall into a state of euphoria.
He was going to die, to be claimed by the fires that were burning down the library. But it was okay, because they proved something to him. The fires proved that he was something, that he and everything they burned was real, that it wasn't a lie. And just before his vision became obscured by flame and the sound of the blaze fogged his hearing, he heard a cry in agony in the depths of his mind, cry from the same voice that had been plaguing him all this time. And all that made him do was laugh even harder as he and everything around him was smothered in flame.
But it did not matter. The fire was real, therefore he was real. The nightmares were lies, and their dark influences were banished by the burning light of truth. No longer would he exist in lies. No longer would he be covered in shadow. No longer would he find himself lost, searching aimlessly... in the dark.
“No, help! somepony help!” Twilight cried as she ran through the dark corridors of Canterlot Castle. Her voice echoed unheard through the empty halls as she fled for her life, not daring to look back at the creature chasing her.
A menacing figure shroud in black followed her, gradually catching up to her no matter how hard she ran. Its eyes glowed a bright yellow with a menacing glare as it galloped towards her. Twilight turned a corner, finding herself at a dead end with a school desk with a chair sitting in the center of the hall. There she stopped, her heart skipping a beat as she realized she was caught. She looked up at a clock conveniently located on the wall above her, showing the time of 8:00 am.
Twilight turned around, seeing the menacing figure slow to a canter as it rounded the corner. IT stared at her, IT drew closer, and IT held up a watch right to her face. Twilight couldn't help but cower back into the chair, sitting straight up in the desk as she prayed for her life. Sweat rand down her coat as she awaited the coming onslaught.
“TWILIGHT SPARKLE!” Celestia's voice boomed, shaking the very fabric of time and space. “WHERE IS YOUR HOMEWORK!?!?”
“NO!” Twilight screamed as she sat upright in bed, gasping for breath.
She paused, still breathing hard while she took a look around the room, realizing she was indeed in her own bedroom. Slowly but surely, her face turned to from a look of horror and dread, to one of relief and content. After a minute she took one deep breath, let it out, and felt a lot better.
“Silly me,” she muttered as she got out of her dampened bed. “I was just dreaming. Hehe, I should probably stop eating Bonbon's raspberry dumdums before bed.”
From there Twilight went on with her morning routine and then on with her regular day. Breakfast with Spike, a runthrough of the day's tasks, some studying, the usual. But as Twilight progressed through the list, she remembered why that day was grocery shopping day.
“Oh Spike!” Twilight called out as she floated the list away. “It's Wednesday, you know what that means!”
“That I have to carry all the groceries again?” Spike sighed dejectedly as he slid off a ladder he was using to put a book away.
“Oh come on, that trip only had a few items on it, and I was busy thinking of how to write a letter to Princess Celestia about our latest friendship incident.”
“Yeah, a few items, consisting of a whole 16-pack of hot pockets, a heavy iron teapot, a new potted plant for the window, and a super sized bag of ice...” Spike crossed his arms as he finished, glaring at her fiercely.
“Okay okay, so I may have given you a bit too much to carry,” she replied sheepishly before perking up directly after. “But hey, while we're out maybe we can drop by the prop store to see if they got any torches for you to use! The talent show is only 5 days away after all. You did say you wanted to compete, right?”
“Yeah, that's right, the crusaders were kind of bugging me to join in this year, so I decided, what the hay, why not.”
“And since you're a dragon and all, there's no risk of you burning yourself with the fire tricks you're planning to do,” Twilight smiled brightly as she imagined all the personal safety hazards that could have been, but weren't thanks to Spike's draconian body.
“Yup. All I gotta do now is get those torches, practice some more, and I'll be good to go!” he made a triumphant pose as he looked off into the distance, making Twilight giggle from his vain attempt at looking cool.
But Spike's stance soon faltered as he bent over, clenching onto his stomach as his cheeks bulged out. His eyes derped for a moment before he let out a big burp, sending out a ball of green fire with a letter encased in it. The fire dissipated, allowing the letter to drop neatly to the floor as Spike recovered from the princess's postal system.
“A letter?” Twilight's ears perked up as she looked at the letter on the ground before quickly trotting over to it. As she lifted it up, she noticed the royal seal attached to it. She was about to announce the discovery when she stopped herself, realizing that it was obvious who sent it. Quickly moving her thoughts forward, she began to unroll the note with her magic. “I wonder what it's about.”
“Maybe the princess is going to request that you take part in the coming talent show in order to learn something about friendship,” Spike offered.
“Hmm, maybe, but I dunno...” Twilight trailed off as she read through the letter closely.
Spike watched as her eyes suddenly widened harshly, her jaw dropping, and what almost seemed like a whimper come out of her throat. Those expressions eventually began to lessen in magnitude, but quickly came right back in full force a few seconds later, and even adding a hoof to cover the mouth to boot. Truly, something terribly wrong was going on.
“Well? What's all the fuss?” Spike asked impatiently.
“Oh no, Spike, there's been a horrible accident in Canterlot!” Twilight exclaimed as she looked at him with tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
“Woah, what's going on?” Spike walked towards her, taken aback by how seriously she was taking it.
“The letter says that the Canterlot Library had a fire just yesterday, and destroyed most of the books in the basement section! Oh, all those precious books...!” Twilight's sadness grew as she pictured the hundreds of pounds of parchment, many probably lone copies or originals, burning in to nothing but ash. But as she continued to read on, another detail didn't sadden her, but instead horrified her. “Oh no...” she said under her breath.
“What is it?” Spike's interest perked up at her sudden change in demeanor. He anticipated the sadness, but the horrific look caught him off guard.
“Somepony... died...” she said in a voice close to a whisper. “I-it says the librarian on duty that day was burned alive inside of the basement section near the checkout desk. He was only a few feet from the exit...” Twilight could feel tears form up in her eyes as she fell back onto her rump. How could such a thing happen? She thought to herself. Some innocent, book-loving pony was just trying to escape the fire, and then they just... didn't make it.
“Oh man, that does sound harsh...” Spike shifted uncomfortably as he crossed his arms.
“Wait, there's more,” Twilight spoke up, trying to push her focus off the lost for her own sake. “The last part of the letter says Princess Celestia is going to be sending us some books that they saved from the fire so we can hold onto them until the repairs are finished.”
“Wait, more books? Here? But why?” Spike seemed to get somewhat frantic, however that was still mixed in with the awkward uncomfortableness of hearing about somepony dieing in a fire. “I mean, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but don't they have somewhere else to store them in the meantime? Like another library or-”
“They may have already moved some books into storage, or to other libraries like Manehatten,” Twilight explained as she came up with her best explanation. “My guess is that there's some left over, and they want us to hold them for now. I hope we have enough room...” Twilight looked around her library, seeing all the shelves already packed with books.
“I doubt that,” Spike said sheepishly.
“Well we'll figure something out,” Twilight said as she stood up and began walking around the main area, holding the letter beside her with magic. “I mean, we can use the basement, there's some room there. I'll just have to consolidate my lab equipment into one area to make room... Oh, and there's some room in the back section of the library! And maybe in my room too, and...” Twilight trailed off as she took a close look at some of the bookshelves.
“Or, ya know, we could just dump'em on top of the library house in the leaves until they can take'em back. I mean, then we won't have to shelve or organize anything, right?” Spike gave a nervous chuckle. But in the back of his mind he already knew what was coming, and was his mind was desperately trying to figure out a way to coax Twilight out of not doing it, or better yet not even getting the idea in the first place.
“Hmmm,” Twilight rubbed a hoof on her chin as she squinted her eyes, looking up and down the set of shelves in front of her. “There's something peculiar about the shelves that I can't place my hoof on...”
“Well, how about an empty house somewhere? That way they're out of the weather and safe and sound until-”
“Aha!' Twilight shouted with a sense of satisfaction as she looked at the ends of the bookcases, noticing the spaces between the books and the wooden barriers. “That's it, these books are not fitted into the shelves to maximize input!”
If Spike had skin instead of scales, he would be pale at that moment. There was something he noticed all the while they had lived in the library, something he picked up on while being Twilight's assistant that she hadn't noticed since he was always the one putting the books back and picking them out. Something that made Spike's job so much easier when it came to putting a book back into place, instead of having to force it in against tightly packed books.
“Spike, if we're going to make enough room for these books, then we'll have to measure each and every book's width and calculate the precise length allowed per shelf in order to maximize storing efficiency!” Twilight announced proudly, happy with her mind coming up with such a clever solution.
And thus became Spike's worst fear... ever. Even worse than re-shelving day. It was when Twilight figured out that the books weren't compact like they were in her home in Canterlot, and decided that they would need to reorganize every book into a tighter and compact order so it would be more “efishint” or whatever that word was.
And by “they” it meant him.
It was always him.
With ALL of the books in the entire library.
“Oh no...” Spike whispered as he watched every book become surrounded by a purple aura and slowly slide out of the shelves.
And with that, every single book floated out of their spot on all of the shelves, and unceremoniously dropped onto the floor.
A dull thud reached Twilight's ears, causing her to turn around to see Spike face down on the floor.
“Uh, Spike?” Twilight moved closer to her fainted assistant, poking him on one of his big scales that poked out of the top of his head when she got close enough. “Spike?”
No response, other then a very low, disgruntled moan that lasted for a good long breath.
“Was it something I said?”
“And the length of the next one?”
“Uuuhh... two centimeters...”
“Exactly two centimeters? Check the millimeter scale, please.”
“Uuuhh... twenty one millimeters .”
“Ya see that, Spike?” Twilight asked as she smiled triumphantly, using her magic to jot the numbers down onto a piece of paper. “Those little calculations are what matter in situations such as this! It's a good thing we used the millimeter scale.”
“Uuuhh...” Spike groaned, setting the book he was holding down into a large pile of books and picking up another one from an even larger pile on the other side of him.
All of the books had been piled up on one side of the main room of the library with Spike and Twilight seated at the center, Spike having a ruler in his hand and the book he was measuring while Twilight had her ink, quill, and a large stack of papers to record the measurements. While Twilight was finding the activity quite recreational and overall enjoyable, Spike had been effectively turned into a zombie.
“Now, on to the next-” Twilight was interrupted by a knock on the door. She got up and went to the door, opening it up to see a light gray coat and brown maned pony in a suit and a royal guard beside him.
“Are you Twilight Sparkle?” The pony in the suit asked.
“Um, yes, that's me.”
“My name is Scripter Scratch, I'm the head of the Canterlot Library. We're here to deliver a portion of books from the library in that suffered a fire,” The suited pony explained.
“You received a letter from Princess Celestia, correct?” The guard asked.
“Yes, that's correct, I've actually been expecting your arrival,” Twilight replied.
“Well then, we're all set,” Scripter nodded in content as he turned to something to Twilight's left but out of her sight. “Okay, bring it over!” he called out.
Twilight watched as a large carriage filled with boxes was pulled by four pegasi just in front of the library door. The carriage opened up and Twilight immediately began floating all of the boxes inside, her face beaming with excitement. So many new books to read through, and straight from the Canterlot Library itself. She didn't know exactly where the books were coming from, but she made a mental note to ask.
After a while, all the boxes of literature were stacked inside the main room of the library and the ponies were preparing to leave. But just before doing so, Twilight caught the library owner just before he got back in the carriage.
“Um, excuse me, Mr. Scratch!” Twilight called as she approached him.
“Yes, what is it Ms. Sparkle?”
“Exactly what part of the library did these books come from? Like, genre or section-wise.”
“Oh, these are some of the books that managed to survive the fire in the basement,” he explained. “Some of them might have slight burns or scorch marks on them, so don't be surprised if you come across one like that.”
“Alright, thank you very much,” Twilight and Scripter exchanged smiles before he got into the carriage with the royal guard and the empty carriage was pulled away.
Twilight turned back to the inside of the library, the smile still present on her face as she saw the multiple boxes filled with books. She grew excited inside, but it was a bitter sweet feeling as she remembered why the books were even there in the first place. But still, she had been granted something, might as well make the best of it, she figured.
“Alright Spike, we got the books!” Twilight began as she walked back inside, closing the door behind her. “You know what that means, right?”
“Uuuhh... break time?”
“Nope! More shelving! Isn't that exciting?” Twilight smiled brightly at him, the smile dropped as she watched for the second time that day Spike fall flat on his face, giving out a long, low, disgruntled groan.
After a long day of shelving books in the main room, the bedroom, the back room, and even the closet, Twilight had finally managed to find a place for most of the books. Though several boxes had needed to be kept down in the basement, the last box that Twilight calculated to be able to fit was at the time being finished off, with only three books remaining in a stack against the corner of the cardboard cube. Twilight levitated the top of the last three, reading the title and giving it to Spike for shelving.
“That one goes under 'L' in the Science Section for “Chemically Engineered Lighting Systems And Their Applications With Magic.”
“Uuuhh...” Spike groaned as he lazilly slid the book into its spot on the correct shelf, finding it to be an almost tight,but still snug fit.
Twilight took out the next book, quickly scanning over the title before magicking it to Spike. “This goes under 'C' in the Learning Section for “Cutie Marks and their Kinks.”
“Uuuhh... put book in spot... slide book in spot... book in... uuuhh...”
Twilight levitated the last book out, taking notice of it and looking to Spike before scanning the title. “Great news, Spike! This is the last book! Once this is in, we can congratulate ourselves on a job well done.”
“Uuuhh... yaaaay...” Spike slumped against the ladder as he looked at Twilight with half lidded eyes. He needed sleep,that was all he wanted at the moment. Buck food, Buck tea, Buck books; sleep is what he seeked.
Twilight smiled and closed her eyes with a triumphant look on her face. She used her magic to bring up the last book, finally she opened her eyes to read the title, only to find out that...
“Hey, where's the last book?” Twilight asked as she examined the empty space in front of her. She looked down, seeing the black-covered book still sitting in the box. “Oh, silly me, I must have slipped on my magic or something. I guess I need to go to bed pretty soon in order to regain full control, heh heh.”
Twilight looked down at the book and grabbed a firm hold of it with her magic, only to find out that her attempts to lift it yielded no results. She raised an eyebrow and tried again, really emphasizing on encircling the entire tome with magic, only to discover that her hold simply slipped off when she tried to raise it out, as if the book either didn't exist, or simply could not be affected by magic.
“Well that's weird...” Twilight said aloud as she tried again and again to grab a hold of the book, her horn flaring up with magic over and over. “Why can't I grab this last book!?”
After several more tries, she stopped as she turned her head to see Spike sleepily walk over and pick the book out of the box with his claws before handing it to Twilight. She took it in her hooves, looking down at the tome as if it was some sort of alien device, which, upon thinking about it for a moment, made her giggle inwardly, for she new it was no such thing.
“Uuuhh... last book... done... bed...” Spike muttered as he drudged his way up the stairs to the bed room, his eyes not even opening as he used his memory of the library to guide him to his awaiting bed.
Twilight didn't pay any mind as she examined the book in her hooves, turning it over time and time again as she tried to focus her magic on different spots on it, such as the cover or the pages inside, eventually coming to find out that though she could feel the book in its entirety with her magic, she could not use magic to affect it in any physical way. She was dumbfounded, and quickly ran a scan to see if the book was perhaps enchanted or cursed, and that's when the second strange magically-related instance occurred.
Her horn suddenly glowed like a light for a brief second, signaling that there was indeed some sort of magical influence infused with the book. But what usually happened was she would receive a mental picture or information on the type of influence that was present, but she didn't receive anything. No construction blueprints of any spell or enchantment, no time or place of casting, no source, no weak or strong spots, not even the type of magic. All she knew was that some force was keeping her magic from affecting the book, and that was it.
It was like running into a blank wall. Usually when she examined any other type of enchantment or spell effect of some sort, such a wall would be decorated with information and instructions, perhaps a window to see through the spell, to see what kept it held up on the other side, or perhaps even a door to allow her access. But that wall had nothing, not even single trace of anything on it wherever she looked. That's what confused her the most, because no matter what magic is used and who or what uses it, there is always some sort of residual effect or some clue residing in the product of any spell or anything with magic, even Princess Celestia confirmed this when Twilight was studying directly under her.
But this book, this strangely enchanted tome, had nothing at all. And when Twilight turned to the front, she was even more baffled to discover the lack of any sort of title on its hardcover surface. She wondered what it was, and her curiosity led her to crack the book open, only to reveal completely blank pages. Figuring it to simply be a blank part of the book, she turned the pages, again, and again, and again, every time discovering that there were no words, illustrations, or marks at all on the pages. Out of every feeling she was experiencing at the time, the one that overrode them all was confusion.
As she was about to close the book after looking over it one last time, she felt a slight breeze push against her mane and coat. It was cold, a kind of icy cold cold, and it sent intense shivers through her as if the fibers of her coat had suddenly become tiny icicles and slowly digging into her skin. Then came a whirl of dizziness in her mind, followed by her eyes suddenly getting heavy, as if she had the need for sleep.
The world around her spun for a few moments, her ears no longer recieving sound as she could only hear a light ring, as if she had gone deaf. She reared back and shook her head a bit as she quickly closed the book, immediately feeling the warmth and her senses return. That was weird... she thought to herself as she stared at the book in her hooves with a raised eyebrow. What in Equestria could have made the air suddenly cold like that? I don't-
Twilight's thoughts were interrupted as a clock on her wall went off, signaling the arrival of midnight. She looked up at the clock, and then back to the book, her nose scrunching up. Whatever it is, I'll figure it out tomorrow. It's time for bed. She opened up the book one more time to see if she would feel the cold chill again, only to discover that the same effect didn't repeat itself. After momentarily questioning her own sanity, Twilight decided to set the book down on her desk and began to walk towards the stairs to her room. As she magically turned the lights out, she headed up into her bedroom and closed the door behind her.
What she didn't notice, however, was the glow that appeared on the cover of the blank book after the lights went out.
Twilight woke up in the middle of the night, her body shivering uncontrollably. Her eyes shot open as she lifted her upper body out of bed, clutching her hooves against herself as her teeth clattered. She gave a few gasps, noticing her breath visible in the air.
“By Celestia, it's freezing in here!” she whispered loudly to nopony in particular. She looked around, noticing the window to her room closed. She tried curling into her sheets some more, but discovered that to only make her even colder. The feel of her sheets on her coat only acted like blankets of snow falling onto her. She got out again, this time pushing the covers off of her. As she did so, she realized that she was already beginning to feel warmer.
This confused her. She stopped, thinking about the situation for a moment, before slowly sliding the covers onto her again. Just like before, an overwhelming cold surrounded her, and she quickly reacted by pushing the covers all the way off, even off of the bed. As they fell down to the floor, regular warmth returned to her body as she could also no longer see her breath in the air. She looked at her sheets off the bed, and gingerly touched her hoof against them.
“Ice cold...” She whispered to herself before pulling her hoof away. She looked around her room, trying to see if anything else was out of the ordinary. Nothing seemed to catch her eye, though. The room was still, nothing moving in the darkness of the night. She looked over to see if Spike was still in bed, and he was, just happily sleeping away in his little bad with barely audible snores. Not wanting to try her icy sheets again, she ventured out of her bed and made her way out the door.
She stepped onto the stairs and looked around, trying to see if anything was amiss. She looked about level to see Owlowiscious perched at his usual spot, his head moving left and right slowly as if he was some sort of sentry. Feeling as though the cause would not be found in her the main room, she was just turning to head back when a faint light caught her eye. She turned to the desk at ground level, noticing a soft blue glow emanating from there. Her eyes opened up a bit wider as she locked onto it, slowly descending the stairs with full intent on investigating the glow.
She made her way over to the desk, not keeping her eyes off the glow for even a second for the fear that it may disappear somehow or for some reason. As far as she knew, it was the only clue as to the strange phenomena going on in her room, and she didn't want to let it get away. But upon closer inspection, she found that the glow was coming from the cover of the mysteriously blank and enchanted tome, which apparently wasn't blank anymore. As Twilight picked it up with her hooves, she noticed then that the bluish glow spelled out two short words on the front.
“'The Dark'?” She whispered aloud. She turned it over to the back side, finding a couple lines of text glowing there as well. Again, she whispered it to herself as she read. “There is a reason the dark has been related to many things evil. But the dark itself is not what's evil.” Twilight spun the book back to the front, her mind full of questions. Just to check, she tried to use magic again to grab a hold of the book, but that once more resulted in failure. Giving a defeated sigh, she opened it up to the first page to see if anything had changed on the inside.
Her eyes widened in shock with what she found. What was previously blank pages was now completely filled with writing, and not typed up from a typewriter, real, hoof-written words that glowed in the dark. She turned the page, finding it too filled with words, along with the next one, and the next. Twilight rapidly flipped through each page, finding that they all harbored hoof-written text, and some even had illustrations drawn in. Her curiosity peaked, and her desire for sleep no longer present, she dove right into the book from the first page, eager to learn what it had to say.
“The year is two thousand and forty, June 8, at approximately 9:34 pm. I don't want the reason for this journal, or “diary” to be lost, so I'm going to make a note of it right now that I am recording my thoughts about our most recent discovery here. I don't know why I would ever forget such a thing as this, but you never know.”
“Woah,” Twilight's eyes widened as she read the first paragraph again. “A diary? I'm reading somepony's diary? But the year... that doesn't make any sense.” Twilight frowned as she analyzed the number further. No date in all of recorded history existed for any species, save for the dragons. But she doubted that dragons could write so small, unless it was a baby like Spike. But still, she continued on.
“Today was extraordinarily exiting. We discovered a meteor in our solar system mere hours away from impacting what would we estimated to be the middle of Death Valley, Nevada. A probe sent out to it a few weeks ago revealed the presence of many new and incredibly rare substances. I can't wait to get myself a sample! And perhaps the discovery of a few new materials could indeed bring about an advance in all sorts of technologies. It may even hold the key to unlocking our ability to harness nuclear fusion. Imagine all the possibilities! Such a wealth of energy... I can't begin to go on about how much it would help the world.
“But here I sit at my desk, just waiting for a chance to get my hands on those samples. I would be staying up all night to watch it, but I figure that the impact time is so close to my regular wake-up time, that I can sacrifice an hour or so of sleep if I head off to bed now and wake up early. I don't live far, either, just about fifty miles away. Perhaps I could go to the impact site myself.
“So anyways, like I said, I am going to have to go to bed soon. My wife plans on staying up a bit longer, but I've already tucked my little girl in for the night. She has school in the morning, and I do plan on driving her. She's like the world to me, and every time I do drive her I just find such comfort in knowing I have a posotive effect on my daughter.
“Well that's pretty much it. Going to wake up early, watch the meteor, go about my day, and probably write more here tomorrow. I know it would probably be simpler to record all this down on my computer, but there's something about typing that just makes this all a bit more... I dunno, authentic? Yeah, I'll call it that for now. Gerard out.”
Twilight flipped the page when the entry ended, and just started to read the first few words of the next page when the letters suddenly faded away. She blinked, wondering if she had just imagined it, before turning the page back to see that what she had just read also faded away. She turned the pages forward, flipping through them rapidly to see all the pages blank once more. She closed the book to see the cover, only to find that the title was still there, glowing just as brightly and exactly the same color.
This doesn't make any sense, She thought to herself as she eyed the tome suspiciously. At first I thought I was reading somepony's diary, and I think I still am, sort of, but... She examined the back cover, noting that it too still held the letters it once had there. The year 2040 ? What is that, the future or something? This is only the year 1002 in the Celestia calender! And what about this stuff, about a “Death Valley, Nevada”? Sounds like a place... and a really unpleasant one at that.
But what I really don't get is the talk of nuclear fusion. That only happens in the sun, and this pony – I think it's a pony – is talking about harnessing its energies! That's completely impossible, nothing can harness, let alone create that kind of power. This pony must be delusional. But still, I do wonder what he meant about....
Twilight stayed deep in thought as she absentmindedly opened the book again, acting on muscle memory as if she was seeing if anything had changed since when she last opened it.
In fact, now that I think about it, this probably sounds like it's a work of fiction or something. Probably some sort of futuristic story that Rainbow Dash might enjoy or...
Her thoughts came to an abrupt stop as she stared down at the page in front of her. Her eyes were wide, her mouth ajar and her ears perked up as she gazed at what she saw. It was just one word, five glowing letters and a punctuation in the center of the page she just happened to open the book to.
Twilight blinked a few times, wondering what just happened, or what she should do next. She couldn't tell if the book had just tried to talk to her, or if she was simply starting to see things in the darkness, or if perhaps that page just happened to contain only the word 'hello'.
She looked around her, somewhat paranoid at the possibility of somepony playing tricks on her, which would explain the freezing bedsheets earlier. When she thought about it, she never did check to see if they had been enchanted at all. She would have to make a note to do so later. But as she returned her gaze to the book, she simply decided to turn the page to see what else she could find.
To her surprise, and perhaps just a bit of fear to go along with that, the next page said the same thing, in the exact same place.
Twilight flipped the page again, only to find the same thing written on that page too. She flipped the pages more, passing through many pages that were once blank, then filled with words, then blank again, and now showing only the word hello. She turned to look at the cover, seeing it still saying 'The Dark' as it always was. She closed the book, waited five seconds, and opened it again. She looked down to the first page, noticing it said nothing once again.
“Shew, I thought for a minute I was losing it there...” Twilight trailed off as she saw a word fade into the page.
Her breathing paused while her eyes widened, her brain trying to reject what was right there as some sort of fatigue-induced hallucination. But as much as she tried to blink away the hallucination that wasn't there, the word would not disappear.
Twilight was contemplating freaking out when she suddenly had an idea, a theory perhaps, on how to handle with the situation. It was sort of crazy, okay, really crazy in Twilight's mind, but she thought that perhaps it could work.
“Um... hello?” Twilight whispered to the book, her face showing a pleading look more to express her hope that she wasn't going loony. There was a pause, and for a moment she assumed the worst, until the words again faded away, only to be replaced with four more immediately after.
'-Are you a pony?'
For the hundredth time that night, Twilight's mind was filled with both surprise and confusion. What an odd question... She thought as she tilted her head to the side. She hesitated, but reluctantly decided to answer honestly.
The words faded, and just like before more appeared before her.
'-I need your help.'
Twilight raised an eyebrow. “You do? But, you're just a book...”
'-I'm trapped inside the book.'
“But, how could I possibly be able to help?” Twilight figured that there was something odd about the book the moment she realized her magic couldn't work on it, but she never imagined it was to this extent. She briefly wondered just how deep the secrets of the book goes. “Wait, are you a pony too? Or, what are you?”
'-I stand alone in the dark.'
Twilight was about to ask more, but the words faded before she could. She waited for the book to – was it writing to her? Seemed like it – write back to her, but nothing came. She waited another minute, sitting down and wondering to herself what was going on. After a while she finally decided to flip the book over to the front, and noticed that the title had disappeared. She closed and opened the book, revealing its once again blank pages.
What should I do? She asked herself as she stared at the book with a look of concern. I'm almost positive I wasn't seeing things, but how do I help somepony trapped inside of a book? And why did it ask if I was a pony? Perhaps it's talked to other beings as well, but why did it ask pony specifically? And what the hay was this thing doing in the Canterlot Library!?
Twilight contemplated what to do next, when she just happened to glance up at the clock. It showed a time of around three O'clock in the morning. Twilight sighed, and decided that she should try to get back to bed as soon as she could. And yet, somepony needed her help. Or was it a pony? Was it her mind playing tricks on her? Well, she wasn't sure about that, but she knew something was up.
She flipped through the pages of the book again. Nothing showed up, the title was gone, and so was the backside writing. The book was blank, just as it had been when she first got it. Nothing was making much sense to her, so she decided to take matters into her own hooves... and by that, it meant writing to Princess Celestia.
However, Spike was asleep, and Celestia would also be asleep at the time. So, reluctantly, Twilight decided to wait till morning herself to send the letter, since the situation wasn't extrordinarily dire or anything. She headed back up the stairs and got into bed, levitating the sheets back onto her. Surprisingly she had forgotten about the icy feel of the sheets, and only remembered right when she had set them on herself. But what surprised her even further was the fact that the sheets were no longer cold to her. They were... well, how they should be.
Twilight snuggled into bed, hoping that she would get answers from the princess in the morning. She revisited the events that just transpired in her thoughts, but still could not come to any definite conclusions. But after minutes of thinking and several tired yawns, she eventually gave in to the remainder of a night's rest.
Down in the main room with the book, the pages flew open by themselves. Landing open in the dead center of the tome, a few more words shined vaguely on one page.
'-I'm not ready to die.'
As quickly as the words appeared they then faded away, with the book closing and all becoming still once more throughout the night.