66w, 6dWriting Gold
66w, 2dDoubled Fun
67w, 1dAlicorn Twilight
65w, 6dTwilight is Best Pony
66w, 3dTwilight Sparkle
- Show All Groups
52w, 1dAlicorn Twilight
32w, 5dfimfiction's favorites
38w, 1dAlternate Perspectives
14w, 16hX Becomes An Alicorn
6d, 11hMeri's Favorite Stories
‘You know what I’d love? I’d like one good day in this abysmal week.
Although, given what a lot of ponies quantify as “good”, I can’t help but realize that my standards for having said “good day” have taken... a nosedive.
I know what the societal norm for a good day is, everypony does. When one thinks of a good day, you might think of birds chirping, the flowers blooming in a brilliant display of vibrant hues and our royal highness’ sun shining! Maybe you find a lost bit in between the cobblestones, or you meet up with an old friend you haven’t seen in months!
That all sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Well, in all honesty, it is... normally. I don't need sunshine when I can stay inside and read. I don't need birds chirping and distracting me from my thoughts. I don't need pretty flowers blooming unless they are on a sandwich.
No, you know what my perfect day for me would be right now? A good night’s rest, a cup of tea, a nice breakfast and a good book, or two... or five.
That would be my perfect day, but I don’t want perfect; I just want a good day. Not too much to ask for, just one good day. So after three days into the week, I wanted to make sure that nothing went wrong today. I wanted to make sure that I got my downtime. So I made a checklist!
#1: Awake from restful, painless sleep.
#2: Have breakfast, make sure to leave food for lunch.
#3: Check library for misplaced, oversized books.
#4: Eat lunch, in addition to taking the same precautions as I did with breakfast, check to remove the toothpick from my sandwich.
#5: :D Study! Avoid papercuts.
#6: Report to the Princess, leave the room before Spike sends the letter.
#7: Dinner, study potential causes of rapidly-increasing metabolism.
#8: Document how successful my planned day was before going to sleep.
And according to my list, I was having a good day! No, a perfect day!
Right up until I got out of bed, that is.’
“Twilight! Letter from the Princess!”
‘Smells like blood? Check.’
Never in her life had Twilight become so intimately familiar the ceiling as she did this particular morning. The amount of time she had spent motionless, inspecting the warped and winding telltale marks of age on the roof had given her a familiarity that was akin to what best friends or siblings may share.
“Twilight, get up sleepy!”
‘Skin crawling? Check.’
The night before had been uneventful, largely due to the fact that she was so immensely tired that it was very probable that not even the roar of Cerberus (famous for rousing the dead in these parts) would even rustle her. This morning however, was an entirely different story. Most times she would get up and just try to get her mane under control. But today was special, today was an adventure! Today, she was merely trying not to panic.
‘Unknown viscous substance seeped into sheets? Check. Alright, that’s it.’
She was failing miserably.
The door exploded inward as Spike burst into the room. “Twilight?! Are you alright? What was that scream abou- abou- abouhuhuhuh... That’s blood.”
Eyes ever-fixed upon the wooden wall above her, Twilight merely whimpered and nodded.
“Uh-huh...” Spike slowly made his way over to the bed as his face contorted into the expression one might have after eating garbage. “Did you cut yourself? Can you move?”
Twilight’s head rocked side to side as she grimaced.
Spike looked around the room: nothing seemed out of the ordinary. In fact, if it weren't for the blood soaked sheets, Twilight could easily pass for just having slept in. “So... Why are you bleeding, Twi?”
A gentle squeak escaped the unicorns lips as she blinked a few tears from her eyes. “Lift the covers, Spike. I don’t even know, I just know that it hurts.” Twilight whimpered as she shifted positions. “A lot.”
The covers lifted ever so slightly, just barely enough for a serpentine emerald eye to peek underneath. “Too dark, I’m just going to take the covers off, okay?” Twilight merely nodded as the covers flew off the top of the bed.
All color fled the young dragon’s face as his voice escalated to a fevered panic. “Ho-lee horseshoes, what is that!?”
Twilight craned her neck around to get a better view, and immediately regretted it. “What is wh- What did you do?” The bed creaked loudly, masking Twilight’s whimpers as she bolted out of bed and started pacing in circles, staring at her sides.
Meanwhile, Spike cowered in a corner, staring at Twilight as she frantically chased her tail. “I didn’t do anything!”
“Well why aren’t you doing something now!?”
“I don’t know what to do for a puncture wound! I’ve never had to deal with anything more than a paper cut or a claw cramp!”
“UGH.” Twilight pranced in place as she looked around the room, cringing every so often as blood oozed from the holes on the sides of her barrel. “WhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdo...” She muttered under her breath for a few moments before shouting, “Spike!”
Color returned to the small dragon’s face as Twilight’s outburst sent him about three feet into the air. “Ah! Wh-what?”
“Go get the hydrogen peroxide solution from the medicine cabinet!”
“Hydro what now?” A blank stare washed over Spike’s face as he looked back at Twilight.
Further blank stares.
“Fizzy stuff in a bottle!” Twilight’s voice cracked as she screamed in desperation.
“Right! Be right back!” Pages lifted off the ground and flew after Spike as he removed himself from the room at a speed that would have made Rainbow Dash jealous.
Twilight paced the floor, ignoring the pain in her middle and the blood dripping onto the floor. ‘Who could have done this? Nopony broke in, I wasn’t this way yesterday, and I’m fairly certain that... Perhaps it was something Zecora did? Yeah... Herbs can give you open sores, I’m sure of it. Though it could easily not be her. I’ll have to research to be sure but that seems li-’
“I found the hydro-fizzy stuff!” The lid to the bottle flew off as Spike splashed the contents onto Twilight’s sides from across the room.
Anyone who was still asleep in Ponyville received a rather sudden wake up call.
Spike stood next to a teary-eyed Twilight as she grit her teeth, sides fizzing, and whimpering loudly. “Wait... I remember this fizzy stuff... Doesn’t this stuff hurt when you use i-”
“Yes, Spike, was that not apparent from the scream of agony!?”
The bottle slowly rotated between a pair of purple claws. “Ohhhh... I see... Sorry about that.”
Twilight slowly walked over to her assistant and pat him on the head. “I... I-it’s fine, you panicked. I panicked. We... we can fix this, but it’s important that we don’t panic.
“I’m going to go get washed up and bandage myself.” Twilight paused for a moment as Spike blanched. “I’ll take care of the room too, I understand if you don’t want to get near the bl-”
A dismissive claw waved in Twilight's face. “I- I’ll figure something out, you just go fix yourself up... scream or something if you need me.”
“Are you sure?"
Twilight cringed at the skeptical, intense look of concern she received. “Yes. I’m sure, now go get patched up before you make the mess any worse.” Spike chided as he pointed to the still-bleeding wounds.
“Right... Right.” The world around Spike grew slightly fuzzy as she reached for the words she was looking for.
A pair of claws clapped in front of Twilight’s face. “So... aren’t you going to go?”
“Huh? What?” Twilight shook her head and stared, wide eyed at Spike. “Go where? What were we talking ab... Abou... Whooooaaa...”
The room managed to pirouette on its side before gracefully swan-diving at a ninety degree angle into the floor. There was a single clap of approval, and then the set went dark. Twilight couldn’t help but feel the slightest amount of disappointment that the show was over already, only to have her dreams fulfilled when she heard a faint but familiar dialogue.
‘...ight! Twilight! Get... ...re Y... ...ay? Say so...’
Twilight quivered as the amautur actor rehearsed his lines. What he had in conviction and passion he lacked in delivery. There is such a thing as too passionate after all; Canterlot theater group taught her that.
‘I’m sorry, Twilight!...’
The sense of immersion in the act before her caught a hitch as she mulled over that last line. Not only was the actor addressing the audience, he was apologizing? For wh-
A frigid torrent of insufferably cold liquid cascaded down the entirety of Twilight’s body as she bolted up on all fours, completely ignoring the agonizing pain that accompanied it. She quickly moved her wet mane from her face and looked around the room. Nothing looked like it was made of ice, so she hadn’t been sent to the frozen north for whatever reason. The only thing in the room was Spike holding a buck-...
“Ice wate- wa...” The room wobbled a bit before Twilight managed to stabilize herself. “-Water? Really?”
The dragon fidgeted with his claws a little as he donned his most disarming grin. “Yes... But I had a good reason!”
The walls of the room were assaulted by water droplets as Twilight shook herself mostly dry. “It better be.”
Spike set the bucket down and held up a single claw, followed by a deep inhale. “You just passed out in a heap on the floor and you were bleeding and I got worried and I tried waking you up and it didn’t work so I dragged you to the bathtub and filled a bucket with cold water and tried waking you up that way! I’m sorry!”
Something should have stood out as alarming to Twilight about the whole situation, but all she could was shake her head. “You dragged me, to the bathroom? You, a baby dragon, dragged a fully grown, unconscious mare into the bathtub down the hall?”
“What? I’m stronger than I look, even if you’re a little heavy from all your snacking.”
An audible click pinged through the room as Twilight’s jaw dropped and her eye twitched. “I can’t believe you! You... I, just... H-how could...? Y-you take that back right now!”
The towel that Spike was holding between Twilight and himself was tossed to the side as he backed toward the door. “What? You’re eating a lot, it’s gotta go somewhere.” He snickered as a hairbrush smacked against the door followed by a flustered huff.
“Just... go clean the mess... I’m going to get patched up. See you downstairs.”
“Sure thing, I’ll make breakfast when I finish.” A moment’s pause as Twilight took a good look at her sides. “And don’t worry, I’ll get you some extra portions!”
Twilight was thankful for the sanctity of the closed bathroom door as she watched her face change hues rather vibrantly in the mirror.
‘I’m not fat... I’m just hungry.’ Twilight’s eyes wandered down to her barrel. ‘And bleeding a lot.’ The towel turned projectile-shield levitated toward Twilight as she began fully drying herself, taking special care to avoid the bruises. She pulled the freshly soiled towel that was now tinted a lovely shade of red away from the wounds, and grabbed a new one.
‘Oh, ewwww... Okay, bleeding, should do something about this.’
Numerous medical supplies liberated themselves from the bonds of gravity and made their way to the counter, bidden closer by Twilight’s necessity. She winced gently as she turned broadside, allowing herself the first real assessment of the severity of the situation. ‘Looks like open sores, or puncture wounds maybe?’
The red liquid soaked into the blanket from the injuries on Twilight’s sides. Her mind elsewhere though, rummaging through a mental catalogue of every possible, logical explanation as to why she was hurt the way she was. ‘I could have broken something while falling in the Everfree, yeah, it could be broken bone punctures. Or perhaps it really was something in that herbal remedy, maybe I’m allergic. Maybe she tried to poison me, or some foreign power tried to send a message to Celestia by hurting me? No, that couldn't be the case, how does that explain the freak sto-Ouch!...’
A bolt of fire shot into Twilight’s core, traveled up her spine and lodged itself behind her eyeballs for a brief moment. The rag she held dropped onto the counter as she leaned forward, and rested against the countertop. Her grit teeth allowed only short, haggard breaths as darkness danced at the edges of her vision.
‘What was that?’
Twilight turned her head and scowled, nothing looked any different, other than looking less bloody than before.
‘Almost finished, a little warm water should do the trick...’ The third rag hovered slowly under the faucet where it was drenched with a fairly warm water. Twilight looked at it, gave a small swallow, looked back to her right side, then her left.
‘Okay... One, two...’
After a good thirty seconds of sucking air through her teeth and rubbing her coat back to its normal purple hue, Twilight threw the rag onto the small pile of bloodied cloth. ‘Ow. Ow. Ow it burns... alright, all clean, where are those bandages?’ Twilight poked her head under the bathroom sink, moving all manner of bathroom paraphernalia out of the way until she happened across a large roll of cloth bandage. The roll was quickly brought out and unwound in the air before her. And there it stayed.
‘How... how do I use this again? I know there’s a proper triage procedure... What was it?’ Twilight shook her head again, nearly squeaked as her vision darkened, and locked her legs for a moment. Once stable, she slowly set the end of the bandage across her own back and started wrapping it around. ‘No... that’s not right.’ The end of the cloth started under her stomach, only to be undone a few wraps in. ‘That’s not it either! Ugh, Fluttershy makes this look so easy.’ Twilight moved the starting point back to its first attempt, and gently wound it down toward her flanks. She took a step back, gave a cursory glance over her work, and shrugged.
‘It’ll have to do.’
Twilight whirled about to find a slightly green-tinted Spike staring at the pile of bloody rags on the bathroom counter. For a moment, the look etched into her assistant’s face managed to migrate to her own. She tentatively pushed the pile of crimson cloth off the counter and into the trash. She shuddered at the sickening plop noise that it made and turned to wash her hooves in the sink. “Yea, it was pretty bad.”
“Pretty bad?” Spike furrowed his brow at the bandages wrapped around Twilight. “I dunno if ‘pretty bad’ even does it justice, Twi.” Spike hopped aside as Twilight walked through the doorway. “Breakfast is getting started, I just finished your room, and uh... Sorry about the joke earlier.”
Twilight’s face twisted ever so slightly as she looked down at her faithful assistant. “Oh, Spike... Don’t worry about that; we have other things to worry about.”
Just then Twilight’s stomach rumbled. An icy glare quickly silenced Spike’s giggling as she cantered downstairs. She turned the corner and drank in the thousands of titles neatly stacked in their shelves. The sight of everything lined up, nice and neatly just made Twilight feel... better.
“Well, I’m going to go finish breakfast.” Spike zipped past Twilight, stopping at the kitchen door. “Yell if you need m- Whoa, are you alright?”
Twilight pushed herself off the banister she had just braced herself against and put on a rather transparent smile. “I’m fine, Spike. I’m just going to grab some books to read over breakfast, I promise it won’t be long.”
“Fine, fine.” The dragon’s expression sank further into concern. “But really, you say you’re alright, but I’m having a hard time believing that.”
‘So am I...’ “Still a little tired I guess. Don’t worry, everything’s under control!”
The air of skepticism around Spike blasted through the room at the speed of disbelief. “You realize that phrase is like a bad luck charm for you, right?” Spike covered his face with his claws, “No, you know what, forget it, just let me know when something explodes in your face so I can bring the disaster kit.”
“Har har, very funny. Go make breakfast.” Twilight smiled as she jokingly glared Spike into the kitchen then proceeded to trot in place frantically. ‘He’s right, oh sweet Celestia he’s so right. Every single time, something bad happens... WhatdoIdoWhatdoIdoWhatdoIdo? Calm, don’t panic Twilight, panic equals mistakes. Mistakes equal disaster. Just, get the books, and go eat breakfast. Yeah, perfectly calm, everything's under contro- I did it again! AUGH!’
A lavender hoof graced Twilight’s muzzle as she groaned aloud. A rub of the nose and a few teary-eyed blinks later, she picked a few of the remaining medicinal tomes and references from the shelves and levitated them into the kitchen.
The scent of fresh berries rolled over Twilight as she placed the books on the table. There was always something about Spike’s innate talent for the culinary arts that put Twilight at ease. ‘Celestia knows I need some peace right now.’ “What’s cooking, Spike? It smells delicious.”
“Burst o’ Berry crepes! Figured you needed something nice to take the edge off a rough morning.” Spike flicked the handle of the pan and watched the half-baked crepe flip through the air back into the pan. “As far as rough mornings go, this has to be a new personal record.”
The books on the table flew open and spread themselves into a half-circle around Twilight’s seat. She fidgeted as she looked closer, trying to ignore the constant pain in her sides. “Uh huh. I bet.” Twilight nodded to punctuate her statement as she leafed through any section that had the words “open wound” in it.
It wasn’t too long until she found herself blissfully lost in a half-eaten berry crepe and the pages upon pages of medical notes. She knew Spike was saying something for the past three minutes, but he probably wasn’t talking to her, he was probably talking to Owlowicious, or Peewee. Still, On the off chance that he was trying to talk to her, she should at least try to respond so she could get back to studying in peace.
“That... Wasn’t exactly a ‘yes or no’ question, Twi.” Two purple claws covered the page as he continued. “You sure you’re going to be okay? Shouldn’t you get some help or something?”
A few more blinks and a rapid shake of the head seemed to clear the dizziness quite nicely. Twilight looked back down to the page and gently shoved Spike’s claws away from the text. “It’s just a few cuts Spike. I’m fine, really! I’m just really trying to figure out what could have caused this. It just makes no sense... When you were cleaning up the room, did you find anything in my bed that could cut or scrape?”
Spike slowly ran a claw along the back of his head, scratching just behind the ear-fins. “Well, I did find a few of those purple feathers stuck to the sheets. They were all nasty too; I threw them away.”
‘Again with the feathers, there’s a connection here... I know it. They’re not sharp enough to do this kind of damage to me, but maybe... maybe they do belong to whatever is trying to scare me. That’s gotta be it, there’s something out there trying to send me a message and scare me out of Ponyville... and then... and then... oh not again.’
Twilight’s forelegs locked against the table as once again, her vision darkened and she began to sway side to side. She slowly tilted toward Spike and felt two small claws support her as she began to lose balance, but more painful was the small push against her side that Spike gave.
“Spike, please don’t push on that, it hurts...
“Twilight. I didn’t push at all.”
Both of them stared quietly at eachother, then down to Twilight’s side as she leaned over toward Spike. What followed next was something neither of them expected: something inside Twilight visibly moved.
“Twi?... What was that?” Spike cowered against the wall, staring at the librarian with her nose deep in the textbooks on the table.
‘Injection? No, too fast acting... Biological weapon? No... Those haven’t been used in thousands of years. Parasites? It could maybe be a parasite... let’s see... ‘P’, let’s find the ‘P’ section...’
“Twilight! Say something!”
Spike tilted his head and cocked an eyeridge. “I don’t see what parasprites have to do with this.”
“No Spike, Parasites.” Twilight spun the book around and pointed to a specific entry. “An organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.”
The hue of Spike’s scales immediately lost it’s luster as Twilight picked him up. “There’s something living inside you?! Like an alien!?”
“YES! The pain, the dizziness, the injuries! This explains everything!” Twilight stopped spinning in place and looked at the blanched baby dragon in her hooves before slowly setting him down. “Oh... Yeah, I should probably go get help.”
Spike merely wobbled around for awhile as he held his head, bumping into the table and chairs around the kitchen. Twilight watched him fall back and lay down, groaning at the ceiling while his eyes rolled around in his head.
“Sorry, Spike!” Twilight grabbed a cloak and dashed to the front door, flung it open and nearly slammed it shut behind her. She stopped, turned and poked her head through the doorway, “I’m going to the hospital. I’ll be back soon!” Slowly, Twilight pulled the door toward her as her legs went weak and her sides throbbed once more. ‘I hope...’
The sun glared down at Twilight from it’s perch in the heavens. She shielded her eyes as she slowly made her way away from the house. The feeling of fatigue was growing worse, not as a feeling of true tiredness, but of the feeling that she was having her strength leached out of her. Twilight shook her head and lifted her eyes; she knew she couldn’t let the weight of her hooves slow her down, she simply looked at the flag atop the hospital on the other side of town and marched forward.
‘Stay awake, don’t fall, keep moving. The pain won’t last forever, You just gotta get to the hospital, Twilight. You can do this.’
Again Twilight looked up, the hospital seemed no closer as she plodded forward. As if to add insult to injury, she felt her sides kick painfully against the inside of her hide. She stumbled and hissed through her teeth, looking around at all the ponies who seemed to pay her no mind.
‘Why does no one seem to notice? What is going on here?...’ Sheer will alone coursed through Twilight’s legs as she stood and pressed on. She took a couple dozen steps before she noticed a ring of darkness growing from the edge of her vision. She shook her head quickly, heart racing, and heaved a sigh of relief as her sight returned to normal.
‘Come on... Focus, keep thinking and don’t idle. Keep walking forward, you’ll get there Twi... Just... Go over what you know.
Two days ago I left Canterlot, my escorts and I got caught in a storm that, by all rights, shouldn’t have been remotely close to our route. So there’s that.’
A fuchsia colored earth pony let loose a hushed hiccup as she stumbled right into Twilight. The unicorn squeaked and edged away from the offender as she swallowed a growl of pain and her sides twitched in agony. The circle of shadow briefly dominated her vision as she wobbled forward a few steps, regaining her balance as her eyesight recovered.
‘Rainbow Dash and her team managed to find me not fifteen minutes later. This could be coincidence, but I can’t simply rule out that it was set up by her.
She takes me back home, and Rarity and Spike are waiting for me... Then I cough up the purple feather from that sandwich. What is the significance of that? Is it a calling card? Somepony trying to send me a message? And how did Spike miss something like that?
Then of course there’s the weird way that Rarity was wishing me well, what with the “make sure that you come out of this better than ever” and “make sure that everything is to go smoothly over the next few days” comments. I can’t help but get the feeling that she was feeling smarmy about some plan of hers...
Then Fluttershy shows up and runs diagnostics on me... All that was wrong was my magic, but that was just from shock. I had to have checked out just fine, but when she came back the next morning...’
Every step felt like lifting a block of concrete formed around her hooves. Twilight stopped for a moment and tried to remain as still as possible, ignoring whatever raging entity that was thrashing against the inside of her barrel.
‘The morning after, she bought me breakfast... She brought those pastries. If I have some sort of parasite, perhaps those baked goods were what had the egg in them! Then she led me to Zecora’s under the guise of trying to help m- no... Wait, that makes no sense. If they set me up that way, why use the snakes later? Unless...
The cobblestone pattern repeated itself endlessly as Twilight stared at the ground. She watched her hooves rhythmically enter her view from the bottom left and bottom right, droning on and on for what seemed like an eternity. Every step felt like it would be her last, that she would have no strength left to keep moving.
And yet she was still making her way toward the hospital, albeit slowly.
‘The parasite wasn’t supposed to kill me, it was supposed to weaken me so that I wouldn’t escape the snakes... But why? Why would Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity set me up for this? It doesn’t make any sense... They’re my friends, right?
Unless they aren’t my friends, they got replaced somehow, or they decided to get rid of me! Was it something I said? Something I did? M-maybe this is all just a bad dream! I’ll just wake up and everything will be nice and happy aga-’
A jarring thump knocked Twilight back out of her mind and face to face with a dodgy pair of magenta irises. A few jerky seconds of backpedalling left her face to face with a fumbling, nervous-looking, Rainbow Dash.
“Oh! Hey there... Twi. I was just passing by and figured that, um...” The pegasus scratched the back of her head and fidgeted her wings a bit. Rainbow tilted her head as Twilight gave her a brief almost frightened glance as she silently trudged past her. “...Um, hello? Twilight?”
A light blue hoof waved before Twilight’s muzzle as she found herself, once again, being yanked forcefully from her safe, precious, little thought bubble. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with her at all. “What do you want, Rainbow? I don’t have time for this.”
Rainbow Dash scratched a hoof at the ground for a moment before flicking an ear and looking back up at Twilight. “Listen, I know you’re mad. It’s okay, I get it... Well, what I mean is... You remember yest-”
Twilight’s eyes went wide as she watched Rainbow’s body language. ‘She’s stalling. She’s trying to keep me here, setting me up for something. I can’t stay here, I need to get moving bef-’
“There y’all are! I told ya to wait for us Rainbow!”
‘Horseapples... They’re all here. They’re all here! Just, stay calm... don’t let them know you’re onto them.’
Twilight watched as Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack took positions next to Rainbow, effectively blocking her path to the hospital. “Well girls, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I really can’t stay and talk.” Twilight chuckled nervously. All fatigue in Twilight’s body seemingly vanished as her heart raced faster and faster. Slowly she made her way toward Rainbow and pushed past her. “Reallllly need to get going, something of great importance came up.”
A hoof reached out to Twilight’s bandaged side and held her in place. She wheeled in place to see Rainbow with her mouth moving, but the streams of fire pouring through Twilight’s bloodstream were drowning out her ability to comprehend sound. She grit her teeth and pressed her forehead to Rainbow’s.
“Don’t touch me!”
The four ponies around Twilight shrank away from her as she stumbled away in kind. Twilight sucked air through her teeth as she tried to back tears of pain. All was quiet for a few moments, far too quiet for Twilight to deem comfortable. She looked up to see all four of them staring at Dash’s hoof.
Rarity flicked her hair like a veil between her and the light blue hoof as if to shield her sight from it. “Mm... Twilight, my dear... Is there any particular reason you’re... bleeding?”
“Bleeding? Oh... my...” Fluttershy stepped out from behind Rainbow dash and slowly walked up to Twilight as the purple unicorn retreated from her four friends. “Do you want me to look? Maybe I can-”
“No, no thank you. I don’t need your help Fluttershy.” The demure yellow pegasus stopped in her tracks and sniffled. “You’ve already done enough for me. I was just going to visit the hospital is all.” Twilight chuckled nervously as Rainbow shot her a confused glance.
“A-are you sure?” Fluttershy tilted her head at the red blotches soaking through the bandages. “I could at least wrap the bandages properly for you... that is, um... If it’s not too much trouble...”
Rainbow stepped forward and cocked her eyebrow at Twilight. “Yeah, at least let her fix the bandages.” The blue pegasus glared softly as if trying to pry for an answer from within Twilight’s eyes. “Or do you have something to hide?”
‘What is she thinking? Why would she poke my bandages? Nopony in their right mind pokes bandages... What are you up to Rainbow?’
“Nope! Haha, nothing to hide, just kinda fell...” Twilight scanned the faces of her supposed friends; they weren’t buying it at all. “... On a book...” Still weren’t buying it. ‘Think Twilight, think.’ “A hardcover book, the kind with little metal covers on the corners! Very sharp.” She said with a disarming grin plastered over an expression of pain.
“You mean to tell me that ya’ll fell on a book, twice, in the same spot.” Applejack dropped her gaze into the most bemused expression Twilight had ever seen. “On both sides? Sugarcube, I’m not the smartest of ponies, but I can spot a bad apple a mile away. Ya’ll don’t need to lie to us, if there’s something wrong you know we’d all be more than willin’ to lend a hoof.”
‘Oh, I know you’d do more than lend me a hoof if I gave you the chance... ‘
Twilight simply backed away from Applejack. “Look! It doesn’t matter okay? I have my own problems to deal with sometimes and you guys don’t need to worry about it!”
“But darling, please. Think about it, what kind of friends would we be if we didn’t do absolutely everything possible to assist you!” Rarity said as she bat her eyelashes and flashed a practiced smile. “You are our friend and it is our duty to be there for you!”
‘Yeah? Then where were Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash when I got attacked by snakes? Where were you when Rainbow started going off at me at the Running of the Leaves? Where were my friends then?”
Twilight grumbled as her expression continued to sour and the pain began to overcome her adrenaline. “Well if you really want to ‘be there’ for me then you can ‘be’ over ‘there’. If you please; I really shouldn’t be wasting time here.”
Fluttershy softly stepped forward. “Well, at least let me come with you? I’m sure I can tell the doctor what I kn-”
‘No! Why are you all so clingy?! You’re all just being so... friendly. Too friendly. It’s like you’re trying to make me believe you’re trying to help.’
“No.” Twilight glared at Fluttershy, taking a step toward the quickly curling bundle of yellow. “No, no, no, no, no! I don’t want any of you coming with me! Especially not you.” Twilight growled.
“T-Twilight... Please... I-I don’t understa-” Fluttershy whimpered as Rainbow Dash jumped between Twilight and the demure yellow pegasus.
“Twilight, what’s your deal? You’re one of the coolest eggheads I know, but now you’re just being a seriously huge jerk.” A hoof found itself poking into Twilight’s chest. “I get that you’re mad, and... and I’m sorry for yesterday. But don’t take it out on Fluttershy!”
“Oh... You’re sorry.” Twilight furrowed her brow as she bore her gaze straight through Rainbow’s skull. “Am I really supposed to believe that coming from the pegasus that rescued me, not fifteen minutes from when I was struck with lightning!?”
“Er, Rainbow...” Applejack slowly took her hat off and shot Rarity a concerned look. “I really don’t think that now is the best time t-”
‘Smooth, trying to cover your mistakes “Applejack”? I’m not that easily fooled.’ Twilight was still running circles in her head as she tried to piece together the whole situation. Thunderstorms, parasites, snakes: everything went together so smoothly. It’s almost like they...’ Twilight’s brain skipped a few times as the gears finally clicked together. ‘There’s only four of them here, Pinkie Pie is still missing... Pinkie was the first to go! They got rid of her and then came after me. Why? When? How? Ugh, too many questions...’
“So you’re taking her side now?” Rainbow Dash shot the Earth Pony a death glare. “Thanks AJ, I’m sure it’ll be fine to just leave Fluttershy to a verbal beat down.”
“Now I didn’t say that! I reckon-”
“Girls, girls!” Rarity pouted at Rainbow Dash and Applejack. “Let’s focus on the cause of the problem here. Twilight is clearly distraught, and as her friends, we should try to help her.”
Twilight looked at the four ponies arranged in a half circle before her. “I don’t want your help, I don’t need your help... I want all of you to just go, away.”
The conversation between the five mares exploded into flurry of words.
“Why would we do something like t-
“-imply trying to say that Twilight needs he-”
“-cause everypony knows that ‘Shy is a master at standing up f-”
“-aybe it was you that let the storm get lost, just so you could swoop in and be the hero?!”
“-nd you’re full of hooey! Y’all take that back!”
“-viously she is not feeling well. She needs t-”
“-anna take her side and be uncool; that’s fine with me, but I’m protec-”
“-’m so sick of you all getting in my way and messing with my head! I just want to go to the hospital, I don’t have time for any of-”
Fluttershy sniffled and looked up at Twilight. “B-but we just want to help, Twilight...”
Twilight froze, her face etched with a boiling rage barely contained by the sheer amount of pain she felt, and the lack of strength she possessed. She slowly and methodically walked up to Fluttershy as the other three mares watched in a temporary silence.
“Fluttershy, if you really wanted to help, you’d stay out of my way. You’d stop being a nuisance. You, Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash would stop being such enormous thorns in my sides.”
Twilight continued her deliberate march as she pressed her forehead against Fluttershy’s.
“I don’t want your help, or anypony else’s. I’m going to the hospital now, and if you ever help me again. I will help every one of your legs break.”
“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.” Twilight flatly replied with a cold edge in her voice.
The entire group stood deathly silent, all eyes locked on Twilight.
Twilight backed away from the ponies near her, edging toward the hospital. “Now I’m going to leave. You all have a wonderful afternoon.”
Rainbow Dash grit her teeth and charged forward, stopping just in front of Twilight. “Did you seriously just threaten Fluttershy? Your friend, my friend. That’s not okay, Twilight!”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Twilight clenched her teeth as he sides ached and kicked about angrily. “Did you think I was above threatening her? I’ll threaten those who threaten me! I’m onto you, and Rarity, and Applejack, and even Fluttershy!” Twilight reared back as she held her eyes shut, tears flowing as her voice cracked and screamed. “I thought you were all my friends! I thought you would stand by me when I was in trouble!”
Twilight hung suspended on her rear legs as her eyes snapped open, a burning feeling emanated from her core and shot out to her sides as her hooves fell... “I!... I know... I know what you’r-”. Twilight’s hooves slammed into the ground as her agonized scream split the air.
In a single moment the magma coursing through her veins erupted violently as if transformed into volatile acid. Twilight flinched as the sensation of a manticore’s claws dug deeply into her injuries and ravaged her barrel.
The stabbing sensation lasted for but an instant, but what followed was an eternity of anguish. Her entire side felt as if the claws sliced down from her haunches to her shoulders. Her strength ebbed as she pictured the savage beast slicing through skin and sinew. Tears filled her eyes as she watched a red mist fall over her field of vision and an all-too-familiar ring of darkness surge forward. The claws seemed to take forever and a day to trace lines down her sides, only to leave her flesh with a spiteful pluck as they finally left her hide.
Twilight watched as the blue pegasus before her was slowly brought into crystalline focus. The world around her slowed to a crawl as the ring of darkness fled and every color leapt forward: defined, vivid, and alive. Her heart pounded against the inside of her chest as she drank in the scene, every movement was so fluid, so slow, so methodical. Every part of her was thankful for the few moments of serenity among the last few days of madness.
She found herself swaying softly as if moved by some unseen force; bidden to a center of gravity that was not under her hooves. Part of Twilight wanted to cry out for help, but she opened her mouth to a song of silence. Part of her wanted to run away, but she found herself crashing to the blood soaked stone. Twilight wanted to hear the sound of her mother, telling her everything would be alright. But she was rewarded with a dull, wet “whump” through the slow, muted air as something vaguely red and purple flopped to the ground next to her.
Twilight frantically pushed at the stones, but her legs refused to move. Tears began to fall even harder as she used the last of her strength to pull her hooves over her face and hid from the world. However badly she wanted to get up from her sprawling position, she couldn’t. She felt so heavy, so lethargic, so weak. Her heart began to thrash against her ribcage even harder, begging her to save herself, to move, to escape.
She should have thought of a solution, she could have kept trying to at least pull herself off the ground, she could have done any number of things... but she didn’t...
Twilight Sparkle, for the second time in her life, truly gave up.
She hated absolutely everything about where she was. Her friends were acting strange, she just wanted to stop hurting, and she had dealt with enough blood for one day. She had nearly died, been injured more in the past two days that she had in the past year. And somehow managed to run herself to the end of her rope.
Twilight lifted her puffy eyes to meet the gazes of her former friends. Every one of them was staring back at her with a gaping expression. Rarity and Applejack somehow managed to get blood splattered across their faces, but they balked silently nonetheless.
Her heart continued to pound as a sting bit into her sides followed by a warm tingle; she winced at the numbing pain and tried to read the faces of her friends. Aside from the mottled red specks dotting the muzzles of Applejack and Rarity, every last one of them looked to be in shock. Twilight looked back down at her hooves and lifted one weakly, watching as the crimson liquid filled the void her hoof made.
‘Why can’t I just have a calm day, why won’t they leave me alone, what’s wrong with me?...’ Twilight batted away the mist in her eyes only to see an orange hoof enter her field of vision. ‘They’ve fought so hard to have me...’ Her eyes flew open as her horn flared with iridescent lavender light. ‘They’ll never take me!’ From somewhere deep inside, Twilight pulled just enough magic to allow her horn to flicker to life. The frightened unicorn closed her eyes and disappeared in a desperately weak flash.
When Twilight opened her eyes, she was beset on each side by walls. They towered over her, brick and brightly covered rooftops above dwarfing her as she cowered into a corner. Her breath shortened as she shrank back from the edges of her prison before noticing a trash bin off in the distance.
‘W-what just happened? Where did I teleport to? Why were they all blocking my path like that?’
“Who cares?!” Twilight shouted at nopony in particular. She sat down and whimpered between tearful sniffles. “They did this to me... They’re the reason I couldn’t get to the hospital and avoid all this...”
‘Again, what do I mean by “this”? Oh, right, that searing pain, and the blood... I suppose I should take a moment to check that out actually.’ Twilight gave a good long look at the offending area of discomfort, merely staring at the large lavender wing protruding from an area of skin laced with cuts, and completely devoid of her signature purple coat.
The stare contest went on for a while, considering only one of the contenders actually had the optical equipment necessary to actually participate, but that wasn’t what Twilight was thinking about.
What she was thinking about put the previous record for her heart’s Beats Per Minute to shame.
‘I have a wing?’
“I... I... I-I...” Twilight gawked at the supernumerary limb she now possessed. Promptly she wheeled her head around to the opposite side of her barrel to see the wing’s double attached rather neatly to her side.
‘I have wing-s?!’
Twilight’s eyes wandered away from her wings and leveled themselves at the brick wall in front of her. She wanted to run again for some reason, but on the other hoof she was entirely content to simply sit there, shaking violently.
“How... H-how is this even possible? This isn’t right, I’m just a unicorn. I-I’m not supposed to be this way!”
‘And yet, I am... and I can’t say I don’t li-’
“No, stop. Just, shut up.”
‘Fine, fine. Right, wings. Well, they basically appeared in the middle of town square.’
Twilight took a hard gulp as her pupils shrank a bit. “M-m-middle of t-town...?”
‘Which means that pretty much everypony saw what happened to me.’
“E-everypony saw what h-happened...?” Twilight’s wings twitched slightly as she curled into a tighter ball.
‘So obviously it’s only a matter of time until one of those ponies tells the Princesses.’
Twilight’s eyes were reduced to infinitesimally small dots by this point. “The prin... The prin... The prin...”
‘I’m not even listening to me anymore, am I?’
Twilight grabbed one of the wings next to her and stared at it intently. “The princesses know.” The wing slipped from her hooves and flopped back to the ground, heavy with every ounce of dread she felt. “They know...”
‘Didn’t think so. Alright, I guess I’m running solo on this one. What do I do from here?’
“I don’t know!” Twilight looked down at the pool of tears swirling and mixing with the small pools of blood the dripped from her new wings.
‘Welcome back to the conversation, was getting kinda boring listening to me rant like a lunatic. Seeing as I’ve volunteered to rejoin my problem solver’s club, what do I think would be the best course of action?
Her hooves were shaking, her knees were shaking, every part of her was trembling from adrenaline. “I just want to wake up... I just want t-to wake up from this ni-nightmare. Everything is happening so fast...”
‘Okay Twilight, stop! I’m getting off track here; what am I going to do? Think.’
Twilight lifted her foreleg and brushed a few tears from her eyes. “Okay, here is what we... er, here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to go back to the library, and... and...
‘Alright, it’s a start. But don’t I think that’s the first place they would look for me at?’
“Ah! But I’m wrong!” She clapped her hooves together and chuckled gleefully. “What if they knew that I know that that’s the first place they would go looking for me?” Twilight stood, pacing back and forth, dragging her wings through pools of blood and smearing the cobblestone red. “That means they wouldn’t go looking through the library for me. It’s the perfect plan!”
‘Unless I’m wrong about being wrong.’
“Grr...” Stone rang out under Twilight’s hooves. “I don’t see you offering any solutions.”
‘Well fine, if I really want to push the blame on me. Why don’t I just stay here?’
“What?!” The shout bounced off the walls as Twilight shrunk back and hushed her voice. “If I stay here then they’re bound to find me.”
‘You can’t prove that.’
“I don’t need to!” A single tear fell from the tip of Twilight’s nose. “I already know they’re after me. I need to just keep moving, I can’t let them catch me...”
“Unlessh you’ve already been caught.”
The threads that held the fabric of Twilight’s security blanket unwound in a split second as she turned to face the voice. She plastered herself against the wall as the rough grain of brick scratched at her back. “W-who... are you?”
The plum-colored mare stumbled forth from the shadowy alley. Every step the earth pony made was deliberate and given far more thought than a step should ever need. This was blatantly obvious by the fact that she had tripped twice, stumbled into a wall, and then wheeled around to nearly knock herself out on a pole.
Twilight stumbled around her frazzled mind for the right word. Needless to say, that was easier said than done.
“Wh-what do you want?”
“Don’t chu patronishe me!” Twilight shivered as she sat against the wall, paralyzed by shock. “Sho what if I gained a little weight! You’re not ash hoity toity fancy miss flat-flanked as I rem- *hic -ber, Princshessh.” The mare leaned in close, breath heavy with the smell of alcohol before stumbling into another pole.
‘Princess? What does she mean Pri-... No. No no no. I’m not a princess, There’s only Luna and Celestia. What if, what if they think I’m trying to usurp them? What if that’s why everypony is out to kill me?’ Twilight’s eyes flit from side to side as the plum-coated mare stared at her intently. “I... I’m not a Princess! I swear I’m not!”
The inebriated mare pulled herself off the pole with a dopey grin. “I’m shorry sir, the Princessh and I are talking.” The plum-colored pony flopped her head toward Twilight as she continued to talk. “Oh princshess, guilt getsh everypony down shomtimesh. Musht be awful hard to shit on your shuper fanchy throne and throw around all the ordersh.” The earth pony waved her hoof in the air as she listed decrees Celestia might have declared. One in particular made Twilight’s blood run cold.
Nothing made sense to Twilight anymore, everything was as fuzzy and blurred as this drunkard’s vision probably was. But there was one thing she knew, the princess was no murderer.
“Now hold on! The princess is no murderer! She’d never kill or execute anypony!” Twilight squeaked as two hooves pinned her against the wall.
The mare opposite her had her eyes shrunk to the size of bits, and she was breathing heavily. The kind of heavily as when you were being consumed by hellish rage. The dark purple eyes that bore through Twilight flashed with anger. “Sho they weren’t ponies. That doeshn’t change you murdered thousandsh upon thousandsh of living thingsh.” Twilight felt herself shaken against the wall as a tear fell from her eye. “I wa- *hic* -tched all my friendsh die because of you, even after all they they did for the good of Equestria.
“I watcshed you do it. I watcshed you give the command.” The earth pony fell away from Twilight and dropped her bottle to the ground, She stared at the ground with a mixture of anger and pain mingling in her features. “I have been running from you, princessh. I have been running and waiting for sho long, But I have never forgotten...” The mare turned her head and shot Twilight a particularily venomous stare. “That you are the monster, not me.”
Twilight scooted forward away from the wall, chancing a look back to see a perfect image of a pony with it’s wings spread, painted on the wall with blood. The image on the wall made the palette in her veins run like ice water. She turned back to the plum-colored pony before her and took a gentle step forward. “I... I’m not a monster... I didn’t do anything to anypo-”
“You did enough! Livesh were changed be- *hic* -cause of your actionsh.” The earth pony paced back and forth as Twilight stared at the mare’s cutie mark.
‘This is Berry Punch. Berry Punch knew about me already? Oh my gosh, she’s been a step ahead of me the whole time and I never knew it until...’
Berry Punch scoffed, “Remember thish, Prinshessh: You’ve tried so hard to make everypony else ignore it, to make them forget all that you’ve done. I won’t ever let you sleep easy knowing that nopony remembersh. I will alwaysh remember.”
“Just go!” Twilight screamed as her wings flared wide. “I didn’t do anything to you! Everything you’ve said is total lies! Fabrication! Complete... complete... “ The bewinged unicorn hung her head and waved her hoof, catching a few drops from her face in the process. “Just... Get out of here you crazy madma-”
The last thing that Twilight felt was something very solid and very heavy before her world went black.
The black void around her pulsed grey every time the pain revisited the back of her eyes. She groaned and tried lifting her head. A dull ache greeted her, sending her back to her original position. She tried opening her eyes, to no avail. Ultimately she was content to let the confusion that roiled within her mind crash against her consciousness for a few minutes longer.
‘What am I doing? Where am I?!’
A pair of hooves slowly made their way up to Twilight’s eyes as she moaned. “Shhhhh, no thinking. I’m tired...”
‘Oh, Excuse me for being worried that I’ve been unconscious for an unknown period of time while my friends and the princesses are out trying to hunt us down and kill us!’
The mental barrage slammed into Twilight like a falling piano, painting a wince on her face as she sat up and rubbed her hoof over a bruise just below her horn. “Okay... okay... fair enough, but where are we?” She blinked her eyes open and squinted. “And where did Punch go?”
‘Who cares? She’s gone, and that’s a little victory in my book. So my first goal is to get somewhere safe, that isn’t here.’
“Why not here? What’s wrong with h-” Twilight took a deep breath through her nose. “... Oh, Right...”
‘What did I decide was going to be the best place to hide? Library! No, wait, Canterlot! Too far... Oh! Everfree forest! Nopony could find somepony trying to hide in the Everfree.’
“Uh, no thanks, I want to live. Even if I did go hide there, I can’t think straight right now. I’ll probably stumble into another one of Fluttershy’s traps. Besides, I think that we can agree that my continued survival is a large factor here.” Twilight huffed at the wall with the imprint of a pair of wings on it. “Can’t we go somewhere a bit more safe?”
‘Well I did mention the Library, it’s as safe and comfortable as I’ll get. Besides, I’m sure that the girls would have checked there alr-’
“And they would have already come and gone. Perfect, that should buy me until morning at the very least.”
‘Being able to shower wouldn’t be a bad thing either.’
Twilight stood and looked down to her wings; heavy, caked with dried blood, and so completely alien to her. “And I might be able to find some information on what exactly is happening.”
‘That’s all well and good, but how am I getting there without being seen? I can’t forget they’re looking for me.’
“Hmm...” A small metal rod levitated out of a pile of refuse across the alleyway and rushed toward Twilight as she began sketching on the ground.
“Alright, I know that the girls are out in Ponyville looking for me.” Five small x’s were scratched into the circle before Twilight. “And I can safely assume that they're no longer at the center of town, and that they'd check the library first. So with that knowledge, let’s assume that I’m here.” Twilight drew a small circle toward the bottom left of the diagram. “And the Library is somewhere over here.” A square appeared on the side opposite the circle.
“So what am I going to do now?”
‘Well I can do one of two things: book it as fast as possible for the library, or play it safe and stick to the shadows.’
Twilight exhaled into her hoof, “Both get me there, but I’m not looking forward to being a walking bullseye.” She sat there staring at the diagram for a moment before she stood and walked toward one of the alley exits. Twilight stuck her head around the corner and looked around, leveling her eyes on roof of her library on the other side of town. She quickly retreated into the welcoming shadows of her temporary haven.
‘With my luck, it would be right there.’
“Shut up. This is serious.”
Again Twilight chanced a peek around the corner. Ponies of all colors milled about without any perceivable sense of direction. For a moment, Twilight wished she could be like them; she wished she could just enjoy life, no stress, no need to worry about being hunted by the ones you called friends. Alas, such was not the fate she’d been dealt. However she drew a few lucky cards in that the traffic between the alleyway and her home was beginning to thin out.
“Good.” Twilight looked over at the glowing sphere peeking over the horizon and then to the black effigy of a lampost drawn forth from its double by the sun’s rays. “Judging by the angle of the sun and the length of the shadow of that post... I’d say it’s about seven in the evening.”
“...” Twilight squeaked and looked back to the shadow. “Seven in the evening?! I was out for how many hours?”
‘Eight or nine. More than enough time for one of them to find me and report back to the Princess.’
“Wait, if they found me passed out, wouldn’t they want to just...” Twilight’s voice dropped to barely a whisper as she turned away from the street. “Kill me?”
‘Well, yes, but they don’t want to. Not yet, they want me alive for interrogations. Obviously, they think I’m a princess; so that had to deter them a little bit. Although given the fact that I'm not dead, it's more likely that they just didn't manage to find me.’
“Alright, true enough. So assuming that’s true: I ask yet again, what do I do?”
It is not often that one can hear an internal voice perform a physical action, but at just such a moment, her inner voice face-hoofed. ‘How about I sneak over there so I can panic in peace? Stick to the back alleys and don’t get seen. Honestly, it isn’t that hard of a concept to grasp.’
“Right, right.” A large lump made its way down the back of Twilight’s throat as she darted behind the next closest building. Her frame relaxed with a huge sigh as she skirted the back of the building to wait for her next opportunity.
‘So far so good. Filly steps, little victories.’
Scared as Twilight was, she couldn’t help but smile as she darted from shadow to shadow. An unseen ghost, a hushed whisper on the evening wind. “Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky... Steady as she goes.” She whispered to herself as she peeked around a corner. She quickly yanked her head and back around as Rarity entered her field of vision.
“Have you seen Twilight Sparkle anywhere? She’s been missing since this morning and her friends and I are simply desperate to find her...”
‘Yeah, I bet they are.’
“Shh.” Twilight whispered to herself as she cocked an ear to Rarity’s voice.
“Please, if you see her... Could you bring her to Carousel Boutique? We’re hoping she hasn’t gone too fa- Why she’s missing? She’s, um... Having some personal issues...”
‘Manipulative little... At least they don’t know where I am.’
“But I can also assume that they’ve told the Princesses, so that’s not much of a victory.” She mumbled to herself as she sprinted to the next building. The streets were growing more and more scarce of ponies as she ran. As she drew closer to the library, she saw Applejack aimlessly wandering, eyes heavy with fatigue.
‘They’ve been looking for a while it seems.’
“But it’s just them... no search parties, no royal guard, no outside help at all. I suppose it makes sense though, given that they want to kill me. The less ponies get involved, the easier it’ll be to-”
The world inverted upon itself as Twilight collided into something solid, colorful, and with too much give to be scenery. These three facts bounced around the inside of Twilight’s mind before colliding in the intellectual equivalent of nuclear fusion.
‘I just ran into sompony... buck.’
Both ponies tumbled a short distance as Twilight tried to process exactly who she had run into. ‘Teal and white hair, mint-green coat, I feel as if I should know this pony... Oh well, it means she probably doesn’t know me. Just play it cool!’
Twilight quickly dislodged herself from the other mare and continued to bolt down the alleyway. Reacting quickly, she turned her head to hide her horn as she ran away from the collision. “Sorry! Didn’t see you there!” She called back as she ducked into a smaller side alley and ran for her life.
A few minutes and a couple blocks later she found herself leaning against a wall, catching her breath. “I think... I’m safe...”
‘Thinking can only get me so far. I’m not safe yet; I’m still out in the relative open with four murderers on my tail. I hardly quantify that as safe.’
Twilight’s breathing slowly normalized as she shook her head and gave a small shiver. “It’s getting cold too, now I really need to get back before I freeze out here.”
‘Alright, so don’t just stand here. Get moving; I’m almost there.’
“Everything will be better if I can just get over to that alley over there...” Twilight peeked around the corner only to retreat immediately. “No way, there’s no way I’m getting in there, Rainbow Dash has eyes like a hawk. She’ll see me and then she’ll tell the princess where I am and the-”
‘Stop right there! I just need to get ahold of myself. I’m not going to get captured today; I’m the smartest, most clever unicorn in-’
‘Oh, right. Well, the smartest former-unicorn in Equestria! If I’m going to be a little bitty ‘fraidy filly because somepony might see me, then maybe I’m just better off turning myself in if I’m not even going to try.
Twilight tried goading the rock lodged in her tracheae toward her stomach to no avail. “Well, I guess I’m right, but what other options do I have? It’s not like I can just... magically...” Twilight’s expression became completely devoid of emotion as she whispered flatly: “I’m an idiot.”
‘No I’m not! An idiot doesn’t skip an entire grade level in Celestia’s school for gifted unicorns! An idiot doesn’t have the magical skill and cunning to do battle with an Ursa Minor! I’ve dealt with problems far worse than this, I can’t afford to talk myself down now! The library is right there!’
“Well, now that I’m secluded, I can just pop right inside with no problem!” Twilight grinned.
The alleyway shimmered as lavender luminescence blanketed over the shadows. Twilight closed her eyes and painted a picture of her library’s atrium. Off to the side were the stairs leading up to her room, A door in the center of the shelves led to the kitchen. And way up on the balcony was her telescope and astronomy desk. She chose a spot right in the middle of the atrium as the light pulsed once with a quiet “Pop”.
A wave of relief washed over Twilight as she saw the wood grain on the walls and smelled the familiar scent of properly kept books. The internal voice inside her head would have none of that however, and promptly smashed the moment of serenity to a billion pieces.
‘Alright, now that we are safe for the time being, I need to start figuring out what I know so far.’
“What? Aside from the fact that Fluttershy is a psychopathic murderer and Rarity, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are her accomplices?”
‘Focus on the little victories. They’re still without any sort of search party, but that doesn’t mean that Celestia and Luna don’t already know. They’ll probably be getting involved by morning at the very soonest.’
“And then there’s Berry Punch, I have no idea what her part is in all of this, the only thing that even stood out was that Celestia bit...” Twilight paced the floor as bits of dried blood cracked and fell off her wings.
‘Exactly. If anything that Punch said was to be believed, it’s that Celestia is not above dark and insidious actions and is a major threat to me.’
“And why wouldn’t she be? She’s in a position to pull all the strings, she can cover up the fact that she killed somepony given...”
Twilight froze as she stared at the pony on the opposite side of the Library.
The pony in turn stared back and blinked a few times while maintaining the astonishing feat of remaining completely motionless.
The show mare stared blankly as she slowly edged her way toward the door. “If Trixie says she heard nothing, will Twilight Sparkle let Trixie live?”
“What?!” Twilight’s vision ping-ponged from one side of the room to the other. “I would never kill anypony! What gave you that idea? I-uh, I’m just...-”
‘Talking to myself!’
“...Just thinking out loud! Hehe...” Twilight’s veneer of a smile poorly masked her ensuing breakdown.
“Ah, Trixie was just...” The showpony looked around the disorganized library for a moment. “Checking out some books from your primaries.”
Both mares locked eyes on each other, Twilight stared at the saddle bags Trixie wore, and Trixie likewise stared at Twilight’s sides.
‘What does she have in there?’
“Ah...” Twilight blinked a few times as the concentrated awkwardness in the room continued to build off of itself. “Well this is a library... That is what you do, here... In a library...’
Trixie continued to move toward the door, her aura of magic grasped the handle as her eyes remain fixated on Twilight’s bloodied plumage. “Yes, Trixie-Trixie knows...” She paused awkwardly as she forced a smile. ”Trixie is going to leave now... Trixie thinks it would be best if she left you to be coverts... and think about wi-things...” Trixie drew that last word out as she slowly shut the door behind her.
Twilight watched as a particular show mare rocketed past her window and into the night. All Twilight could think to do was flop back onto her haunches and stare disbelievingly at the starry night sky.
‘What the hay was Trixie doing here?’ Twilight hung her head a moment and looked around the library. ’I swear, not even my own home is safe.’
That last errant thought caused Twilight’s eye to twitch violently as she was able to finally process the state of order her library was in. Namely that there wasn’t a shred of order to be found.
“Trixie... So help me Luna... I am going to forcibly cram library etiquette down your throat until you can recite every abbreviation in the Dewey Decimal system.”
The veins on Twilight’s neck stood out as her external voice migrated inside and proceeded to beat the ever-living crap out of her internal voice.
“You can make attempts on my life, betray my trust, confuse the ever-living daylights out of me and slap me with a severe biological case of identity crisis. But nopony, messes, with my books.
‘If I could just foc-’
“Nopony!” Twilight screamed at the wall with her nostrils flaring.
The voice in her head fell silent for a few moments as Twilight allowed the rage to filter out through her breaths. ‘Feel any better?’
‘Too bad, now, think: If she wasn’t here for me, then she was here for something else. Something that would help her catch me, or that would slow me down.’
“Fair enough.” Twilight paced the room, Levitating books in groups of five and cross referencing them against her mental catalogue. She moved to a pile and started rummaging through it, finding that it was mostly medical documentation and other health related articles. As she filed the last book onto the shelf a red flag went off in her mind.
‘Top 100 unsolved medical cases. It’s missing... Hmm. I can see why she might have taken that, but that’s assuming she knew about what was happening to me.’
“I’m willing to assume anything at this point.” Twilight moved to the next pile of books on the floor and started sorting through those. “Spike! Take a note.”
A long line of floating books froze midair.
“Spike?” Slowly the books fell to the ground as Twilight dashed through the library, looking for her number one assistant. “Spike! Spike! Where are you?!”
‘They probably took him.’
“No!” Twilight shook her head as a tear fell from her face. “No! He’s just hiding! They didn’t take him... They didn’t take him!”
‘Maybe he went willingly. He might have simply gone because Rarity asked him to. I know how he gets around her.’
“He... He would just leave me for her?” Twilight sniffled.
‘She probably lied to him to win him over with false words, but it’s a possibility he’s never been on my side. But I can’t worry about that right now: I need to focus on figuring out some shred of information that can help me.’
“Right,” Twilight wiped a foreleg across her face as she returned to the pile of history books. “Right... focus.”
A few minutes later, the history section was completely filled in save for one book.
‘One in a million: A Biography of Rich Odds? Strange, I wonder why Trixie would take that of all books? I can’t think how that’s related to me at all...’
Twilight slumped and groaned. “Strike two. Grr, why does nothing seem to make sense anymore?!”
‘I don’t know, but getting angry about it isn’t going to solve anything. There is one thing that makes sense: an organized library. So how about I work on that?’
“Y-yeah,” Twilight’s shoulders dropped as she exhaled half-heartedly. “I’m nearly done anyway, go me.”
She filed the rest of the books away quickly and cleanly over the next half hour, but her attitude simply wasn’t feeling any cleaner. The last red flag finally reared it’s ugly head and only served to worsen her mood.
‘Comprehensive Bean Statistics? Okay, she probably grabbed that last one in confusion as she was leaving.’ Twilight paced back and forth as she blew a strand of hair out of her face. ‘Alright. They took information; that’s going to slow me down considerably. At least I know what they took, so I can cross reference with some other titles and try to retrace from th-’ A nasty sounding crunch came from under Twilight’s hoof. She looked down to see a large, blood caked feather underneath, a sight she found rather revolting at best.
‘First things first, I need to get cleaned up. Not only am I a mess, but these wings are heavy... I’ll get a nice quick shower and then I’ll try to figure out why Trixie took those books.’
“Yeah,” a smile began to spread on Twilight’s face as the idea took root, “that sounds great! I’m making progress if nothing else!”
‘It’s the little victories that matter.’
With what could pass as a plan floating around in her head, Twilight smiled and nearly skipped up the stairs toward her bathroom. If nothing else, she was starting to feel safe, and pretty good about herself and how far she had come. Twilight had just finished climbing the stairs when she spotted a rolled up scroll laying on the table near the bathroom door.
“What the?” Twilight slowly approached the paper and made out the royal seal stamped into it. ‘Oh... that’s right, Spike said that Celestia sent me a letter today. I really should read it, even if it’s probably all lies anyway.’ The seal was surrounded with a gentle purple glow and popped open quietly.
To my dear and faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.
I certainly hope that you are recovering quickly. It brings me great worry knowing that you’ve been unable to respond so far, but I take solace in the fact that you are surrounded by good friends who will help you through these trying times.
The search for Major Biggs and Lieutenant Wedge is, I regret to say, going poorly. Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the Everfree today for a standard ‘sweep and search’. The last report I received said that there were no signs of either guard, but efforts will be ongoing.
I personally looked into the weather phenomena you described, and attempted to trace the storm’s origins. As luck would have it, Rainbow Dash was correct in her report: The hoofington area lost a major storm system a few days ago. What remains to be seen is how such a large storm system traveled so quickly in such little time. Meteorologists are currently en route to Hoofington to further investigate.
As for myself, something of urgency has commanded my attention and I will be leaving Canterlot for a few days. I will be physically out of reach, but always a letter away.
My sister will be handling affairs in Canterlot during my absence. She has also been informed of your current situation, and in the event that you need anything; she is also obtainable by letter.
Again, I wish to convey my hope that you continue to heal quickly, and I eagerly await to hear from you after I return.
I am proud of you my faithful student.
Stay strong and heal quickly,
Twilight scrunched her face into a befuddled expression as she rolled up the scroll. ‘Why tell me where you went?’ Twilight couldn’t help but scowl as her train of thought continued. ‘Worse yet, why insult my intelligence? Obviously this is just her trying to get my guard down.’ She threw the scroll back onto the table and continued into the bathroom, where she started filling her bath. ‘She won’t make a move until sunrise anyway, so I have until then to plan for being ambushed.’
As the bath filled, Twilight walked back over to the mirror, she coughed a little as a very distinctive coppery smell assaulted her. She looked around a little before peering into the trash bin and letting out a gentle sigh. “Today sucked.” Too exhausted to be bothered with the bloodied rags in the trash can, she turned instead to her reflection. Twilight spread her wings out, then spread them some more, and then spread them even further...
‘By she who raises the sun, these things were inside me?!’ Twilight silently balked as her avian appendages came to rest at a fully spread position. ‘They’re huge, no wonder it hurt so bad.’
“Well, they look a little bigger than Rainbow’s but they aren’t huge pe-”
‘Huge, huge I say!’
“Yeah, well I’ve yet to measure pegasi wings before, so it’s going to be hard to tell if they’re normal or not.”
‘Then I can go downstairs and find out what a normal wingspan typically is.’
Twilight rolled her eyes, “Oh, thank you, because that’s not the first thing I’d have done. Yes, I thank you for your help, but I could care less. I deserve a bath.”
Slowly she folded them back to her sides, wincing as the dried blood crackled menacingly, laughing at her humiliation in the town square.
‘Ugh, such a terrible day... If only I could wash the memories away as this dirt and grime.’
Slowly, Twilight dipped a hoof in the tub, smiling for the first time all day as she clambered in and sunk down, the water hovering just below her nostrils as the top of her head was the only thing poking above the surface of the water.
She closed her eyes and rolled onto her back. Twilight slung her head over the side of the tub and let out a contented sigh as her wings softly stirred the water. After a quick change into non-bloody and fresh water, she found herself staring at the ceiling and soaking away all the tension she felt. But there was something that she just couldn’t get rid of, something that refused to let her be at ease.
‘Why? Why me? Why now?’ A wing breached the water, now completely devoid of blemish. ‘Why wings of all things? I just don’t understand the process, much less the catalyst for all this. And I definitely don't know why it made everyone I ever cared about into a bunch of crazy ponies who’re out to capture and kill me.’
The lavender wing apathetically flopped back beneath the surface as she closed her eyes. ‘I can figure it out later, I don’t need to ruin the only breather I’ve had all day.’
Twilight softly levitated a comb through her hair, her eyelids twitching gently as she worked the knots out of the recently dried and extremely frizzy mane.
“Ow... ow... ow.”
Granted, her wings were still mostly wet, and her control of them was rudimentary at best. But she had figured out how to spread them out, and how to fold them up. That was more than enough to satisfy her.
“Oh my gosh, it feels so good to be free of icky, nasty, dirty... erm, dirt.”
‘It’s the little victories.’
Twilight smiled as she closed her eyes and marched toward her bedroom. “Indeed it is, indeed it-” Twilight’s smile immediately faded as she opened her eyes to the hellish landscape of utter disorganization that was her bedroom floor.
“Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!” Twilight flopped onto her bed, hooves flailing in utter defeat. “Why can’t anything in this flipping tree stay organized for twelve seconds?!”
‘I really don’t feel like fixing the room, I’m too tired to care at this point. I’m just glad I’m safe...’
A few seconds of pathetic flailing found Twilight lying on her back. “But it’s so messyyyyy! I can’t just leave it unorganized!”
‘And I can’t let my mind be unorganized either. I’ve got a lot of things to still figure out, and knowing myself: I’ll forget it if I don’t write it down somewhere.’
Twilight’s eyes flew open as she grabbed the diary from the drawers next to her bed. A few inkwells floated over from her desk as she pulled the quill out of her diary and set to work.
I would like to redact any earlier entries claiming that they were, and I quote: “The worst day of my life”. Today was indisputably and without question, the worst possible day I can, and likely will, ever have.
And just in case I’m not being clear. Absolutely nothing short of death could top this.
Almost as if she was taunting some cosmic dealer of misfortune, the moonbeams filtering through the window began to grow brighter and brighter.
‘Are you kidding me?’
Twilight Heaved the journal across the room and threw her hooves in the air. Her voice cracked as she screamed, “Oh, come on!”
The light grew to nearly blinding levels before a soft “Pop!” was heard from the kitchen downstairs.
‘No. No, no, no, no, no. Now?! Really?! Now?!’ Twilight sunk a little deeper into her sheets and whimpered mentally.
“Twilight Sparkle, We wish t- erm... I wish to perhaps speak with you if possible? Thou art home? Twilight Sparkle?”
The lavender alicorn’s heart raced as she heard hoofsteps ascending the stairs. ‘She sent Luna, of course she sent Luna. She really did have to be somewhere, so she sent Luna in her stead. Fantastic, this is how I die.’
Twilight quietly pulled her sheets over her head and whimpered as her door opened. ‘I can’t believe it’s come to this. I can’t believe it. I didn’t deserve any of what’s happened. I’m just a bookworm; leave me to my books and I’m perfectly happy. Is that so wrong? What did I do to interrupt my happy little existence? I haven’t even done anything, and now I’m having the worst day in the history of Equestria...’
‘Okay, calm down, I’ve got this under contr- Ohhhh, I should have never gotten out of bed.’