Veil of Thoughts
Dash was dreaming. She knew this was a dream. It was as plain as the muzzle on her face that this couldn’t be real. It was that special kind of dream where she was both asleep and awake at the same time. She knew this was a dream because she was falling.
Clouds raced past her a she tumbled through the sky. Her wings flapped uselessly at her sides, only throwing her off balance more. The wind screamed in her ears. The ground was reaching up to grab her.
Dash didn’t like the feeling of falling, of not being in control. Crashing wasn’t at all like falling. She crashed all the time and while she didn’t enjoy crashing, at least it was her who was doing it. Falling was completely out of her control.
She tried flapping her wings again.
“That won’t do any good you know,” said a voice from above her. Dash tilted her eyes upward. A small lavender ball was racing down behind her. The ball accelerated so that it was level with Dash. It was then she realized it wasn’t a ball at all but a filly. A filly who looked exactly like her.
No, not like her. Why had she thought that? This filly didn’t have any wings, although her own wings seemed to be doing little good at the moment. There was a horn on the filly’s head, and her mane color was all wrong.
“Why won’t it do any good?” asked Dash, her wings still trying to halt her ground wards plummet.
“Because you don’t know how to fly,” answered the filly that wasn’t like her at all. “You only think you know how to fly.”
Dash opened her mouth to argue, to tell the filly she was the best darn flyer in all of Equestria. However, her chance to say any of that was lost as she slammed full force into the ground. A plume of dust towered into the sky from the impact, hovering high above like a dirty brown cloud for a brief moment before fading.
Standing up from her crash, Dash brushed herself off casually, as if the million hoof fall had been simply a little trip. She was completely uninjured. No broken bones, no cuts or bruises, not even a sprained hoof. It wasn’t her best landing but she’d had worse.
Her eyes turned upwards looking into the sky. A bright moon glowed high overhead. It was casting down enough light that it hardly seemed like night time at all. For one crazy moment she considered where she had fallen from, the moon seemed like a likely answer.
“I supposed that might be possible,” said a voice. Dash brought her attention back to the ground. The filly hovered in front of Dash, her glowing horn keeping her aloft. The magic stopped and the filly dropped gently to the ground, landing much more gracefully. “Does it really matter where you fell from?” Dash looked skyward again, she suppose it didn’t.
“Where am I anyhow?” asked Dash, looking around at the barren emptiness of the world. She didn’t recognize this flat featureless place at all.
“Uh, Ponyville, obviously,” replied the filly. Dash gave her a quizzical look.
“You remember Ponyville a lot different than me,” replied Dash, slightly irritated. She held out a hoof at the empty air. “If this is Ponyville, where are all the buildings? Where are all the ponies?”
No sooner had Dash proclaimed this then buildings began to spring up out of the ground like fast growing weeds. In seconds, the pair was surrounded by a town on all sides. They were both silent for a moment.
“I said, where are all the ponies?” Dash repeated. No ponies appeared. She looked at the filly who shrugged again.
“I don’t know, they’re your responsibility, not mine,” said the filly. Dash raised an eyebrow at the strange little pony. Her coat was lavender. Her mane and tail were dark purple with a highlighted pink stripe running through them.
“Hey,” said Dash, pointing a hoof at the small mare. “You look familiar, do I know you from some place?” The filly shrugged. Dash shook her head in confusion, this was getting her nowhere.
If she was going to figure things out, she would just have to set out on her own and…
A sharp pain suddenly lanced through Dash’s chest. It was like nothing she had ever felt before. Above her, the sky flickered. For a moment there were other shapes, not the moon and stars. She could hear words, whispered in her ears like distant shouts.
“Heartbeat is erratic, pony is non-responsive.”
It was silent once again, the stars and moon had returned overhead, she was back in the nighttime Ponyville. Dash found herself on the ground, curled in a protective ball. She lay there, shivering in the dirt, trying to comprehend what had happened.
“What… what was that!” asked Dash, her voice quivering just as much as her body.
“That’s not important,” said the filly. She walked over to look down at Dash.
They stared at each other for a long moment. The pain had gone, the strange world and sounds had faded away like they had never been. Lying on the ground wasn’t going to give her any answers. Dash worked her way back to her feet.
“Who are you anyhow?” asked Dash, eyeing the small lavender filly up and down.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me, you couldn’t,” said the filly, giving Dash the same up and down glance. “It’s not your responsibility.”
“Do you think you could, uh, make a little more sense?” asked Dash. “So far you haven’t answered any of the questions I’ve asked you.”
“That’s because your questions aren’t important,” said the filly. Dash felt a little tick of rage over her eye.
“What?” asked Dash.
“What’s important is that you’re here,” said the filly mater-of-factly.
“That I’m here?” asked Dash, working to keep her growing frustration in check. “Why is that important, it’s just Ponyville!”
“No, that you’re here,” said the filly. Dash had just about had enough of this filly and her nonsense. “You are here for that.” The filly raised her small hoof and pointed past Dash to something behind her.
Cautiously, as if it was the last thing she wanted to do, Dash turned around.
A giant monster, a dragon, even Princess Celestia would have been closer to what Dash thought might be waiting for her eyes. However it was none of those things, it wasn’t even close. This was nothing special. This was nothing important.
“The town library?” asked Dash, a confused expression on her face. She looked back towards the filly. “I don’t get it. Why should I care about that place? It’s for eggheads.”
Dash didn’t like something about this place, it made her feel… strange. This building didn’t belong here. It wasn’t right. Dash took a step away, she was afraid of this building.
“There is something you’re trying to remember,” said the filly quietly. Dash’s eyes turned down to the filly. “Something just out of reach. Something you know inside you, with every fiber of your being but that you chose to forget.”
Dash took another step away from the building. She didn’t want to be anywhere near this place! She turned away but the filly was levitating, hovering only inches from Dash’s face, blocking her escape.
“When you go through that door you will confront what you’ve forgotten,” continued the filly. “You will find the most important thing in the world. It will change you. It will make you whole. But only if you accept it.
“You want to know. That’s why you’re here. If you didn’t want to know, then you would have stayed right where you were. You must go inside.”
“No!” shouted Dash defiantly. “I don’t like that place! I don’t like this place! I want to leave! I want to go home!”
The pain came. Just like before, sharp and pointed in her chest. She gasped for breath. For a moment, just a moment, there were ponies standing over her, faces she didn’t recognize, words she didn’t understand. Then she was back in Ponyville. Back on the ground with the filly the only one over her once again.
“What was that!” cried Dash, her voice on the edge of hysteria.
“It’s not important,” said the filly, looking up at the moon high above as if she could see the ponies that Dash had seen. “If you stay like you are, it won’t matter what it is.”
“Why won’t you make any sense!” shouted Dash angrily. “Just tell me why that darn house is so important! Tell me why you’re here! Tell me what’s going on!”
“No,” said the filly simply. Dash was not prepared for that answer. It had been so blunt and direct. Up until that point every answer had been incomprehensible. “If I tell you, then it means nothing. Fire is hot. Pain hurts. The grass is soft. I cannot tell you what you must know but that you don’t have to understand. What you must see with your eyes but not with sight. What you must feel but not with touch. Some things, no one can tell you, no matter how many times they say it.”
The filly moved away and the tree house library was once more before Dash.
“I’m afraid of what’s in there!” said Dash. She put her hooves over her head like a little scared foal. “I’m afraid that it will hurt me!”
“I know,” said the filly calmly. “And we are afraid for you. If you do not like what you find, then all of this has been for nothing.”
Dash did not get up, she was so afraid. Why was she so afraid of that house? What was in there that made her this way? Not books, those were boring but they weren’t scary. Well, some were, but books weren’t scary. They were just books!
“Please,” said the filly, looking down at Dash sadly. “You have to, we’re depending on you. We can’t do this alone. Not without your help.”
Dash suddenly felt something inside her. She didn’t know what it was at first. She just knew that she had to do this, she had to do it for the filly. It was the strangest, craziest thing she had ever felt.
This nonsense speaking filly, whose name she didn’t even know. Dash had to do this for her! She didn’t know why, but she had to. The feeling was so strong, so powerful. She could only describe the feeling as… loyalty.
“Sparkle,” said the filly, interrupting Dash’s thoughts. “That’s my name.”
“Okay, Sparkle,” said Dash, forcing herself to her feet. “I’m not afraid.” The loyalty filled Dash with a new found strength, her fear evaporated. She was not afraid of anything and certainly not books!
She charged the door. Her hoof took hold and with one quick motion she shoved it open.
Blinding light poured through the doorway. Bright and golden, Dash had to close her eyes against it. It was warm and strong. The light made her feel safe. Why had she been afraid of this place?
Her eyes adjusted and Dash got her first glimpse of what was beyond the door. The other side was not the library. For a moment, Dash wasn’t sure what she was looking at. She glanced behind her, then back through the door.
It was another Ponyville, just like the one she was in now, except, not quite right. Everything was flipped around, like it was a reflection. And, instead of being nighttime, it was bright and sunny on the other side.
“So… is this what you wanted me to see?” asked Dash uncertainly. There had been no big revelation, no moment of clarity, just Ponyville, except with more light.
“No” said Sparkle with a shake of her head. “That is where she is waiting for you.”
“Where… she… what… who?” asked Dash. There was a moan from the sunshine Ponyville and a moment later a mare stumbled out from behind the door. She must have been standing on the other side when Dash had flung it open and it had crashed into her.
Dash blinked, not really sure what she was seeing. She looked back at Sparkle, then back to the mare standing in front of her. They were the same, except, the one in sunshine Ponyville was much taller.
What was even stranger was that big Sparkle had a little filly with her too, standing right next to her. This filly was sky blue and her hair was a rainbow of colors. Dash couldn’t look away from the filly, that couldn’t be… it wasn’t… Dash shook her head.
“Who are you?” asked Dash, her attention returning to the lavender mare.
“Twilight,” said the mare. “And you must be Dash?” Dash nodded. “And this,” Twilight held out a hoof to the small filly beside her, “is Rainbow.” The filly waved, uncertainly Dash waved back.
The sudden pain pulsed in Dash’s chest again. It was a stabbing reminder of something she just couldn’t wrap her hooves around. It didn’t knock her to the ground this time but it took all her effort to remain upright.
The world flickered around her, no around them, because Twilight was still there too. For a third time they were someplace else. Someplace not night or day Ponyville. Someplace white. The voices were still there and they could make out the words.
“Something’s wrong! We’re losing them…” the sunshine Ponyville snapped back into place.
“Did you feel… did you see that?” asked Dash. Twilight nodded, she seemed to be unable to speak. “But how? What is it?”
“It’s our pain,” said Twilight, still holding her head. “For all we have lost, for the friends we can’t remember.”
“Friends…” said Dash, the word felt funny on her tongue.
“You need to hurry,” said the filly Sparkle. She was looking around, her large purple eyes darting back and forth as if she could see invisible swarms of insects approaching from all directions.
“Yes, I am well aware of that,” said Twilight. “Dash, do you remember anything before now?” Dash opened her mouth then closed it. She thought for a long moment, what did she remember?
“I remember a ceiling,” said Dash at last. “The rest of it… I remember it but it doesn’t make any sense.”
“Because you only have parts of it,” said Twilight. “Because what you’re trying to remember is half of a memory. And what you’re missing, what we’re missing, is the most important part. The thing that ties all our memories together…”
The world shook around them. Part of the sky high above cracked and broke. Dash looked up in a panic. How did the sky have a crack in it?
“…Friends,” said Twilight, returning Dash’s attention to her.
“Okay… so… what?” asked Dash.
“It’s not just about memories,” said Twilight. “It’s everything. Our friends are part of who we are, without them we are incomplete and lost. You’ve been struggling and resisting telling yourself they don’t matter because you can’t remember them.
“You’ve been telling yourself that you don’t need to remember them. But that isn’t true. I need them, we need them! It’s the one thing we can’t agree on, the one thing holding us back.”
“I don’t remember having any friends,” said Dash taking a step away. “I don’t need friends. All the friends I’ve ever had have left me. Why would I want friends?”
“Dash,” said Twilight sadly. “That isn’t true…”
“If it isn’t true then why can’t I remember any of them!” shouted Dash. “Not their faces, not their names. Nothing! It hurts when I try! It’s empty when I look! I don’t have any friends!”
The whole world shook around them. In the sunny sky above the clouds contracted slightly, encircling the sun. However, the clouds did not hide the growing crack that now stretched across the blue dome above. The ground beneath their hooves spider webbed with hundreds of tiny cracks. Twilight took a step back.
“What’s happening to me?!” Dash continued to shout, not even noticing what was going on around them. “Why do I feel this way? What is this place! Who are you!”
“You don’t know,” said Twilight, her eyes widening in surprise. “I thought… I thought you would’ve realized by now… I thought you knew…”
“Knew what!” cried Dash angrily. “What am I supposed to knew! I mean… know! Why can’t any of you just give me a straight answer!”
“Dash,” said Twilight, her eyes shifting uncomfortably as she chose her words carefully. It seemed like whatever she was about to say was really important and also very difficult at the same time. “Something happened to us… something… that’s my fault…”
“NO!” shouted Rainbow. She raced to Twilight and tried to push her away from Dash. Despite putting all her effort into the push, Twilight remained right where she was. Rainbow’s back hooves slid along the ground, leaving gouges in the dirt. Her small wings flapped as hard as they could. But all her effort didn’t move Twilight even an inch.
“You can’t tell her that, don’t tell her that!” Twilight looked at the filly with concern.
“You know too, don’t you!” shouted Dash, looking down at Rainbow.
“Twilight has to say it!” said Sparkle. “Dash needs to know this! She can’t deny it any longer. There isn’t time anymore.”
“I need to tell you that we…aglf…” said Twilight, her words cut off as Rainbow shoved a hoof into Twilight’s mouth.
“Hey!” shouted Sparkle, trotting up next to Rainbow. The small lavender filly glared at the sky-blue one angrily. “You stop that right now!”
“No,” said Rainbow with a shake of her head. “Twilight is just being a silly-filly. Dash doesn’t need to hear anything she has to say. You should just go back to your nighttime Ponyville and lock that door up tight.”
“I’m not leaving until I hear what she has to tell me!” shouted Dash. The world shook again, the cracks spread wider beneath their hooves. Through the cracks in the ground was inky darkness.
Twilight finally managed to pull free of Rainbow’s hoof. She stuck out her tongue, her face screwed up in a look of slight nausea.
“What I was trying to say,” repeated Twilight, the filly tried again to stop her, this time shouting nonsense over her words. Twilight raised her voice. “…have to …you …thing important!”
“What?” shouted Dash, barely able to make out the words between the shouts.
“We aren’t two ponies anymore!” yelled Twilight. “We’re the same pony!”
“What!?” shouted Dash in shock.
“I said, we’re the same pony!” Twilight repeated, still yelling. But she needn’t have bothered. Rainbow had suddenly gone silent. In fact, both fillies seemed to have gone entirely.
The two mares stood in the sunshine Ponyville, the air had gone still, the ground had stopped shaking. Everything was oddly calm.
“I’m sorry,” said Twilight. Her voice seemed slightly muffled somehow. “It’s my fault, I did this to us.” Dash didn’t answer, she was looking at the cracked ground, her pink eyes wide with confusion.
“Dash, you have to listen to me,” said Twilight. “We share the same body but we aren’t sharing our mind. Our mind is fighting over our friends. I’m trying to share my memories with you but you wont accept them.”
Dash looked away uncomfortably.
“I’m sorry Dash. I didn’t want it to be like this… Dash…” Twilight looked at the sky-blue pegasus standing in front of her. “I need you to… you have to… to trust me.”
“Why should I do that?” asked Dash harshly.
“Because if you don’t, our friends are going to try and put us back the way we used to be…”