14w, 2dVeil of Thoughts, now in mobile format! 5 comments · 113 views
20w, 1dUnpublished Files - Part 5 5 comments · 113 views
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35w, 2dmid-story break (SotS) 8 comments · 139 views
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62w, 8hBeyond the Veil of Thoughts (part 1) 43 comments · 155 views
Veil of Thoughts
Far from the hospital, high up in the air, there was a brilliant flash of purple light. It was so bright that it illuminated the ground and the surrounding trees, leaving a lingering after glow in the night.
With a scream of terror, a lavender pony with a rainbow mane tumbled down out of the sky.
Twilight Dash had not meant to teleport, they had not meant to do anything. When the panic had come, it had carried them away. For some reason the spell had brought them here – wherever here was — and left them several dozen hooves above the ground. Their wings seemed content to let them fall.
Still screaming, Twilight Dash plummeted down face first towards the invisible ground. At the last possible moment, their horn glowed and their fall halted. Again, their magic had come to their aid without them controlling it.
As they realized this, the spell wavered and failed. With a thud, they crashed down onto the ground, getting a face full of dirt.
Dazed, exhausted and afraid, they looked up, their eyes searching the darkness around them. They weren’t entirely sure where they were. This wasn’t the hospital. This wasn’t anyplace they recognized.
Their body hurt all over, partly from the fall and partly from the spell that had tried to rip them apart. A new feeling of terror washed over them. Those ponies that had pretended to be their friends had tried to do the most horrible thing to them. Even now they could still feel the remnants of the magic that had tried to unmake them.
They couldn’t stay here. They had to get up. They had to run or fly or teleport. They had to get up!
They placed all four hooves on the ground and pushed, only to roll right onto their back. They tried again, this time toppling end over end as they tumbled forward.
Again and again they tried, but always with the same result. One hoof would always try to do its own thing, instead of work with the rest.
Focusing all their thoughts on their legs, on their hooves, they tried to make them all stand together. It seemed to be working. This time, no hoof pushed harder than the others. Inch by inch they began to move upwards, slowly rising, slowly standing. They were doing it, they were getting up.
Once or twice they nearly collapsed back down, but each time they managed to steady themself. Standing seemed to be all about balance. They couldn’t favor one leg over the other, nor rely too heavily on one side. As long as they stayed center, moved as one pony, they could stand.
Before they knew what had happened, they had done it. Their legs were straight, all four hooves planted firmly on the ground and they were standing. How could they not have remembered how to do this? It was so easy.
They looked down at their hooves. Was walking just as easy?
They lifted their front hoof and immediately slammed it back down. The moment they had tried to take a step, they had started to fall. They did not want to fall. Walking could wait. Standing was enough for now.
No longer lying on the ground, their new, slightly higher, vantage point, let them at last look at their surroundings. They were outside and they knew this place, they had been here before. This was… this was some kind of farm. They had met somepony in a hat here… they had met…
The feeling of imbalance returned and they felt themself toppling forward. Magic raced to their mind and sparks shot from their horn. With a flash and a bang, unbidden energy enveloped them. The falling sensation of teleportation wrapped around Twilight Dash and they were carried away, across the infinity of space.
Pinkie Pie and Rarity had paired up in the search for Twilight Dash. They had traveled out towards the north side of Ponyville. All around them the night was filled with lamplight and the shouts of ponies calling for Twilight and Rainbow. The whole town had joined in on the search. Pegasus in the skies, earth ponies and unicorns on the ground.
“Twilight!” shouted Rarity again. Her throat was already sore from all the yelling. “Rainbow!”
She stopped walking, taking a moment to listen for a reply. But, the only sounds she heard were the other search parties echoing the names in the distance.
“At this rate we’re never going to find them in time,” said Rarity. “They could be anywhere. We don’t even know if they’re still in Ponyville!”
“Of course they are!” said Pinkie.
“And how would you know that?” asked Rarity with a raised eyebrow. “Did your pinkie senses tell you that?”
“Oh no silly!” said Pinkie with a giggle. “The teleport spell only has a maximum effective range of two and a half klicks, at the best of times. Taking Twidashies current state into account, they most likely couldn’t have managed more than a distance of twenty one hundred hooves. So there’s no possible way they could be that far outside of town.”
Rarity’s mouth hung open in complete shock and disbelief.
“Well, I mean, unless they teleported twice or three times, or… oh no! What if they teleported four times! Do you think they could teleport four times?” cried Pinkie, working herself into a panic.
“I’m still surprised they even managed to teleport once,” said Rarity. “Pinkie, how do you have any idea how unicorn magic works?”
“I read stuff,” said Pinkie with a shrug. “Like, did you know that Equestria backwards is Airtseuqe? I didn’t read that one. I just worked it out in my head.”
“Uh, huh,” said Rarity with a confused nod. “Rainbow!” Rarity shouted again.
“No, my name is Pinkie Pie silly!” said Pinkie.
“Pinkie,” said Rarity in frustration.
“Yep, that’s my name,” said the pink pony.
“Did you completely forget that we’re looking for our friend!” asked Rarity, her voice sounding a little annoyed. She knew Pinkie could be odd sometimes, but this was strange behavior even for her.
“No, of course I didn’t,” said Pinkie. “Did you forget we are looking for our friends?” she stressed the last word as she said it. Rarity blinked at her in confusion. “You and everypony else seem to have forgotten that pony is our friends, Rainbow and Twilight together. None of you say ‘them’, you always say ‘her’.”
“Pinkie… it’s just habit,” replied Rarity.
“No it isn’t,” said Pinkie with a shake of her head. “That’s how you see them. You think they’re already gone. But they aren’t, they’re still there.”
“I want to believe that,” said Rarity looking sad.
“But you don’t, do you?” asked Pinkie, her bouncy hair drooping a little. Rarity shook her head, unable to look at Pinkie Pie. They were quiet for a long moment. “Rarity, why did you break your promise?”
“My… promise, dear?” asked Rarity, she looked up in confusion.
“In the hospital you voted for Rainbow,” said Pinkie. “But you promised you would bring back Twilight.”
“I… how?” asked Rarity. “How could you possibly know that?”
“I know when a pony breaks a promise,” said Pinkie seriously. “Just be glad it wasn’t a pinkie-promise.” Rarity looked away again.
“Yes,” said Rarity at last. “I did.”
“Why?” asked Pinkie. “If you wanted Twilight back, why didn’t you vote for her?”
“What difference would it have made? She still would’ve teleported away,” said Rarity. Pinkie scowled at her. “Fine, they. They still would’ve teleported away.”
“That wasn’t what I asked,” said Pinkie. “Why didn’t you vote for Twilight?”
“I… I didn’t want to be the one to make the choice,” said Rarity. “I know it should have been me who cast the final vote, not Applejack. I know I should have been the one to bear the burden for my friends. But I couldn’t, it was too much.”
Pinkie’s eyes widened slightly.
“Oh no…” said Pinkie. “Oh no, oh no, oh no!”
“What?” asked Rarity. “What’s wrong Pinkie?”
“Don’t you realize what this means? Don’t you know what you’ve done?” exclaimed Pinkie. Rarity took a step away, Pinkie was frightening her.
“You… you,” stammered Pinkie.
“We found her!” shouted another voice, cutting Pinkie off. There was a pony running towards them. “Come quickly, we found her!”
Rarity took one last look at Pinkie before she turned away. She galloped as fast as she could towards the pony who had shouted. Pinkie stood there, her eyes still wide with fright as Rarity and the other pony vanished into the night. Neither of them heard the words that Pinkie whispered.
“You weren’t generous,” said Pinkie softly to the wind. “And I don’t feel like laughing at all…”
Twilight Dash reappeared with a sharp crack and a flash of light. They once again had no idea how far they had traveled or where they had ended up. But like the time before, they hadn’t appeared on the ground.
Their legs flailed uselessly below them, their wings hugged their side, afraid to open, and they toppled down towards the ground below. They weren’t nearly as high up as last time, nor was it hard solid earth that they crashed into. With a splash, they belly flopped into a waiting puddle of mud. It covered them from head to tail.
Sputtering slightly, they pushed themself up and whipped the mud from their eyes. Where in Equestria had they ended up now?
Just like they had done before they worked their legs beneath them, pushing in unison to stand. It was easier this time, but still required them to focus on doing it. They had to keep reminding themself to balance and not to push too hard with any one hoof. After a minute or so they were back on their hooves.
This didn’t seem to be any place in particular, yet, it was familiar. They were near the edge of Ponyville, where the shops and houses ended and the endless fields began.
In ten seconds flat, they realized that they had met somepony here. No sooner had they realized this then their horn began to glow again.
“Oh, horse feathers,” said Twilight Dash a moment before they teleported.
Unlike the previous two times, they landed on their hooves. For a moment they seemed to stick the landing, then their legs wobbled and they toppled to the side. The only consolation prize was that the mud had not teleported with them.
It wasn’t dirt they were lying on now, nor was it mud. It felt like something else, like, wood? Were they back inside? Had they returned to the hospital? No, nothing here was white. Although that was odd because they felt like there should have been something white here.
They looked around, trying to get a sense of their surroundings. They were inside some kind of really big building. At night it was shadowy and slightly scary. They had been here before. They knew this place, this was…
No. They weren’t going to think about that. The moment they thought about the fancy white unicorn they had met here their horn would start glowing. Just like it was doing now. Then they would suddenly teleport. Just like they were about to do any second.
“Oh come on! You can’t be…” with a pop and a flash they teleported again.
“… serious!” exclaimed Twilight Dash as they reappeared someplace else.
This time they were ready, this time they were prepared. The magic faded, they began to fall and their hooves hit the soft grass. They were standing! They had done it! They hadn’t crashed into the ground!
Their wings buzzed with joy and they toppled forward into the grass.
“Where now?” asked Twilight Dash, pushing themself up once more. They were back outdoors. In some kind of…
“No!” said Twilight Dash closing their eyes. “Not care where we is!” They sat like that for a long moment, eyes closed and hooves overhead like a little foal.
In the still night air they could hear shouting off in the distance. Their ears perked up. There were many voices, but they couldn’t make out what they were saying. It sounded like one word, being shouted over and over. No, not one word, two words, two different words.
They lifted their head trying to get higher to hear the words. They tried to get up from the ground, but they couldn’t manage it with their eyes closed.
“Look at ground, not look around, look at ground,” said Twilight Dash. They opened their eyes, staring straight down at the grass below them. They weren’t going to look around, they were just going to try and hear what the other ponies were shouting.
They listened harder, the words were difficult to make out. They looked up. Why had they looked up. This was Ponyville Park, they recognized it, they knew it. They waited for the magic to whisk them away but it didn’t, they stayed right where they were. Maybe the strange magical ride was over?
No. That wasn’t right. There was something else, something they were forgetting. There was something else they had to remember, something that they had remembered every place else. No. They didn’t want to remember. It hurt to remember.
The shouting was getting closer now, the voices louder. Glowing orbs bounced up and down as they raced towards Twilight Dash. There were orbs coming down from the sky too, like the stars were descending on them. Every direction was filled with shouts and lights and shouts!
“We found her! There she is!” exclaimed one of the shouts.
Twilight Dash was surrounded. There were so many ponies here, it frightened them.
“Stop it!” shouted a harsh voice from above. A yellow pegasus was descending from the sky. “You’re frightening her! Everypony just back off!”
Why was she shouting? She shouldn’t be shouting like that. When they had met her here…
Twilight Dash sighed, resigned to their fate. For a fifth time the teleport magic came and they were whisked away. The faces of the ponies blurred and vanished. The last words echoed in a whispered shout as Twilight Dash turned the world below them.
Then all sound was lost and only the feeling of the universe racing past them was left.
They didn’t care. Wherever they ended up they were just going to let themself fall to the ground and they would just sit there, not looking at anything, not moving, doing nothing.
The magic faded and before they could do anything, their wings did it for them, stopping their fall. Reflexively they put their hooves down onto the ground. It was wood once more but it was not the same building as before.
They looked around, unable to help themself and felt a shiver run through them. This place, they knew. They knew all too well. They felt a panic rush over them. They had to remember, who had they met here?
Just like the other places, once they realized that they had met somepony here, they would teleport away. They needed to teleport, they needed to remember, they had to get out of here.
They remembered the pink pony who had waited for them inside this building. Her and the dozens of other ponies that had thrown them a party. They did not teleport.
“Great, one time we need, not work,” said Twilight Dash. “Have to go. Have to leave. Not here. Don’t here.”
They turned on the spot, their hooves moving under them. They were trying to walk, but they just turned in circles instead. It was the strangeness of both control and chaos. They were standing, they were turning. At the same time they were doing neither of those things.
They stopped turning and their focus shifted to the place they didn’t want to look, the thing they didn’t want to see. Then they saw it. Their eyes narrowed and the magic came once more, but not to teleport.
Rarity arrived slightly out of breath just as Twilight Dash vanished in a flash of magic.
“Rainbow!” shouted Fluttershy, reaching for her friend and missing as the pony vanished. “No!” She turned on the crowd and there was anger that Rarity had never seen there before. “I told you all to back off!”
The ponies backed away, some of them looking frightened.
“Whoa there nelly, calm down,” said Applejack, pushing her way through the crowd to her agitated friend. Fluttershy glared at Applejack, like she was about to shout at her too.
“They can’t have gone that far,” said Rarity, “and now that we know they’re still teleporting, we should be able to see the flash when they reappear.” She looked up to the pegasus high above. “Anypony see anything up there?” They shouted down that they had not.
“What if she went into the Everfree Forest?” suggested Applejack. “We might not have been able to see the flash in there?”
“Or what if they’re inside a house?” suggested Rarity.
“We have to keep looking, we have to find her,” said Fluttershy.
“You guys!” said Pinkie as she galloped up to the group, breathing hard. “Something… something really bad is happening!”
“Not now Pinkie!” said Applejack.
“But this is really, really, really important!” said Pinkie desperately.
“Hey! There’s something happening at the library!” shouted one of the pegasus above. “I think it might have been some kind of explosion!”
Wasting no time, Applejack, Rarity and Fluttershy all bolted towards Twilight’s house. Pinkie shouted after them but her friends did not slow down to listen. She galloped hard to catch up, her usual bouncing steps absent.
They arrived at Ponyville Public Library only a few short seconds later. The door was wide open and the air smelled of burnt wood. Applejack charged in first, not slowing to wait for the others.
The downstairs looked like a hurricane had hit it. Books had been tossed off their shelves and furniture had been overturned. The great round table that had made up the center piece of the library had been split in half. The marble bust of Star Swirl the Bearded had been shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. And lying, in the center of the room, next to the shattered table and shaking uncontrollably, was Twilight Dash.
Applejack slowed her pace, approaching with caution. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end. Even she could taste the raw magic in the air. Her friends followed close behind, but she waved for them to stay back. She didn’t know what was going to happen. She didn’t know who she was going to find lying on the floor.
She was only a few steps away when Applejack heard the soft sobs of crying. Her friend was crying, why was she crying? For the table? For the books? Applejack knew Twilight loved books, but this didn’t seem like it was for that.
“Y’all ok sugarcube?” Applejack asked when she was only a few hooves away. Twilight Dash looked up, tears rolling down her face.
“It my fault!” she cried. “It all my fault!”
“No,” whispered Applejack, moving closer. “It ain’t your fault, you’re just a little mixed up right now, that’s all. It’s okay, everythin’s gona be okay.”
“NO!” shouted Twilight Dash, suddenly getting to her feet. Applejack stopped her advance. “It not going be okay! Nothing going be okay!” There was rage and anger and fear in Twilight Dash’s eyes. Even mismatched as they were, there was no mistake.
“Calm down, Twilight,” said Applejack.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Twilight Dash shouted. Her horn began to glow and little blue sparks of magic jumped off in all directions. The sparks left faint traces of magic in the air as they cascaded to the ground.
“Ok, I won’t, I promise,” Applejack said, taking a few more steps back.
Twilight Dash’s eyes suddenly pulsed white and her pent-up uncontrolled power burst through. With a scream, the energy in her horn suddenly erupted outwards, tossing Applejack off her hooves as if she were light as a leaf in the wind. A shockwave spread out in all directions knocking down the rest of the ponies. The library shook violently under the force.
The magic continued to grow stronger. The whole interior of the library was caught in a torrent of wind. Books were swept up from the ground, spinning up into the air around Twilight Dash like a shield. She stood on two legs, her eyes glowing a fierce white and tears streaming down her face.
Applejack tried to shout to her, but the noise was so loud she couldn’t even hear her own voice. She had to make it to Twilight, she had to! Pushing against the wind, Applejack struggled to walk forward. A hoof took hold of her, keeping her back.
Rarity was trying to shout at her but for all the good it did she might have said nothing at all. Applejack couldn’t hear the words, but she knew the message. Rarity didn’t want her to go, it was too dangerous. Shaking her head, Applejack turned away and pressed on.
Her eyes were watering against the force of the wind, it was hard to keep them open. She pulled her head back, only narrowly reacting to a book as it raced past her muzzle, nearly hitting her. However, she was not so lucky with the next book.
It slammed into her side, nearly knocking her off her feet. No sooner had she recovered from the first one then a second book hit her and then a third. She could hardly stand, let alone keep moving forward.
A whoosh was the only warning she had as a heavy tome sped towards her, she looked away. This was going to hurt. Yet, no impact came. Chancing a glance back at the book she found that it had fallen to the floor.
Applejack felt confused, until another book crashed into some translucent white bubble and fell to the floor just like the other book. Applejack looked behind her, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie had all followed her. Rarity’s horn was glowing, glowing stronger than Applejack had ever seen it. She was projecting a magic barrier around them.
Right, Applejack thought to herself, it’s now or never.
Motioning for the others to follow she led the way, breaking the force of the wind while her friends followed in her wake. Pinkie Pie was pressed up against her side, helping support Applejack against the magical force that she was fighting. Rarity’s bubble was stopping the flying objects from hitting them, but it did nothing for the wind.
They were only hooves from Twilight Dash. She was still standing on her hind legs. Her wings flapped gently to keep her upright and her horn glowed as bright as the sun. The edge of the magic bubble pushed into the eye of Twilight Dash’s magical storm.
Applejack reached out a hoof to take hold of Twilight Dash, as she did the lavender pony looked down at her, empty eyes ablaze with magic. Applejack paused, feeling slightly afraid of what might happen once she touched Twilight Dash. Taking one last reassuring breath she found the courage inside her and pushed forward.
When her hoof was mere inches from taking hold of her friend, Twilight Dash moved away. She didn’t step back, or move to the side. Instead she began to rise into the air, her wings flapped gently as they lifted her up and up.
Desperately Applejack tried to grab for her again, but missed as Twilight Dash moved just out of reach. The pony rose higher and higher until she was nearly at the top of the room, a full fifteen hooves from the floor. There was no way to reach her now, even on her best day, Applejack couldn’t jump that high.
And then, the strangest thing began to happen. Applejack was suddenly getting closer to Twilight Dash. For the briefest of moments she thought the mare was coming back down. But that wasn’t the case at all, Applejack was rising up.
It was then that Applejack realized she was being carried. Fluttershy had her under both forelegs, lifting her upwards. They were quickly closing the distance.
Twilight Dash simply looked at them, eyes still blazing white.
Again Applejack held out her hoof. She didn’t know what good it would do, but she was sure, down to her very bones, that if she could just touch her friend, she would be able to do something!
Before Applejack knew it, they were once more only inches away. She did not hesitate this time, their hooves touched and it was like a spark of electricity jumped between them. There was a thunderous crash as the whirlwind suddenly stopped. Books tumbled out of the air and fell to the ground. Applejack began to fall, tumbling into darkness that raced across her eyes.