I'm The Sentient Cloud, a writer and pianist from New Zealand. If you're looking at this, then you've probably already found your way to my flagship stories "The Piano Man" or "Those Who Came Before".
17w, 2dChecking In 4 comments · 238 views
28w, 4dUpdates on /everything/ 7 comments · 276 views
33w, 3dHard at Work 2 comments · 162 views
39w, 6dGoogle "The Piano Man" 17 comments · 386 views
43w, 6dVery Important Updates 10 comments · 331 views
46w, 2hThe Sentient Cloud Takes a Holiday 13 comments · 416 views
46w, 4dPiano Man Update 19 comments · 295 views
48w, 4dNew Year's Update 6 comments · 267 views
50w, 1dYeah, Stuff's Still Happening 8 comments · 284 views
51w, 4dThose Who Came Before - News 15 comments · 114 views
This cage is disgusting. I’ve been living in it for well over a week, I’m sure of it now. I think I was right when I thought it could be close to a month.
My stomach is growling – as usual. The only time I get food is either when I’m about to perform, or if I haven’t eaten for a long time. I can’t say how long, because I can’t measure the days.
If I ever get out of this cage, I will make Trixie pay for what she’s done to me. I’m sure that if it wasn’t for her healing magic I wouldn’t be able to move at the moment, considering how much pain she’s inflicted upon me – but then again, I’m no doctor. If I can’t get home, then I’ll never be anything more than a piano-playing slave.
This is all Trixie’s fault, she brought me here – and those bastard ponies that watch my show. They don’t even care! They either pay their bits to Trixie, or just throw them at me – A few even point and laugh. I can’t believe it. The show was never this grim. Ever.
I’m still not sure if this is all real. It definitely feels real, but this is all just too… impossible. What if I’ve had a stroke? I think the only thing that I can be sure of is that something’s wrong. Whether I’m in a stroke-induced coma or I’m actually a slave remains to be seen.
Trixie will be back soon. She normally comes back after I’ve been alone for this long. It must be hard for her to forget what happened the last time she left me alone for too long.
Three weeks ago…
“Wake up, human.” Trixie’s voice barks as a force that feels both cold and warm at the same time takes hold of my chest, dragging me into a sitting position.
My eyes don’t flutter open like the last time I woke up. I’m in much more pain than before – mostly around the face, coincidentally.
“Wake up, Human.” Trixie’s voice demands, the same force envelopes my eyelids, and they snap open.
My head is swimming, and my gaze can’t focus properly.
“Ugh…” I moan slightly, realizing that my lower face and neck feels wet… and sticky… “Sticky…”
“You can hear me.” Trixie isn’t asking… and that confuses me. Is she looking for confirmation to that statement, or does she somehow know it to be a fact?
Well, she get’s her confirmation anyway. As I sluggishly ponder what she had just said, a little groan slips out of my mouth.
“Excellent.” Trixie’s voice shifts closer, and I see a hazy shape in front of my unfocused eyes.
Suddenly, something hard strikes me in the forehead, and my eyes suddenly find focus, showing Trixie’s face only twenty centimetres from mine, her hoof retracting from my head.
“Ugh… Trixie…” I mumble, slumping to one side in my daze.
“You earned that punishment, human.” She spat – literally spat – into my eye.
If I had been any more lucid, I would have flown into a rage at the indignity of having Trixie spit in my eye. As it is, my mouth morphs into an unsteady scowl, and I clumsily reach up to wipe the saliva off my face.
In the process of removing Trixie’s saliva, I accidentally brush the side of my nose, drawing a sudden and sharp stab of agony that makes my head spin.
“Agh!” I cry out as I wrench my hand away, cringing in pain and dragging my legs closer to me away. The hand is stained with blood.
Trixie’s disinterested look doesn’t change as I stare at my hand, and then tentatively poke out my tongue.
I hesitantly curve my tongue upwards and dab the tip against the liquid covering my lower face. It’s blood.
Trixie’s expression remains unchanged as I slowly piece together the facts, realise that my nose is broken from the fall, and turn to look at her again.
“My… My nose?”
Trixie shrugs. “Consider that something to remind you who is in charge here. Now then, lets get this straight: I don’t care who you are where you come from. Here, you are mine, and you will do what I say. I don’t care how you know of my world, or what you know. You’re here to do my bidding, and that is the end of it.”
I have no retort to offer, as I have returned to staring blankly at the blood on my hand. I wasn’t scared of blood, but seeing it on my hand just looked… weird… shocking, for some reason – which was odd. I’ve seen my blood many times before this.
Not acknowledging my silence, Trixie continued her speech.
“And my bidding is for you to play... This.” She moved to one side, drawing my attention to the stained piano sitting in the corner of the cage.
“What?” I shake my head in confusion. “Why?”
Trixie held up one hoof and twitched it from side-to-side. “Ponies can’t play the piano without magic – and with magic we play it very, very badly. Only baby dragons and griffons have the appendages necessary to play the piano – and they aren’t really suited for the task. It’s always confounded me as to why we created the infernal instrument when nopony can use it properly.”
I feel like pointing out the reason they have pianos is because this is a human-made cartoon show, but that will most likely just enrage her.
“But humans… Well, your hands are perfect.” Trixie seemed to purr. “I realised that if I could find a human, I could use it to draw a crowd. Everypony would be astounded by such amazing dexterity and skills.” She smiled sickly. “And now I have you.”
“Do you really think that everyone will just let you get away with turning me into a slave?” I finally find my voice – and with it comes my temper.
“Only one way to find out.” Trixie’s smile widens, taking on a demented look in the bad lighting. “But first, I want you to play.”
“Play?” My temper flares. “You broke my nose! I’m not going to play for you!”
Trixie’s smile doesn’t change. “Well, that was easy. Now I know that you can play.
I fall silent. Did I just get tricked by Trixie? Yes. Yes I did.
“Anyway, I need to know just how well humans are able to play this confounded instrument, so you will play.”
“The hell I will.” I glare at the piano in the corner, and then at Trixie – before it dawns on me.
Trixie is in the cage. She’s less than two meters away. I could knock her unconscious right now and escape.
My rage takes over as I realise I can make a break for freedom, and I dive towards the piano, planning to grab the stool and throw it at my captor.
I don’t even make it halfway to the stool before my vision is obscured by the aura of Trixie’s magic.
“Pathetic.” Trixie’s magic lifts me into the air, and then slams me none-to-gently against the bars of the cage.
She turns me painfully against the bars so that I’m facing her.
“Well, I was planning to leave this lesson for later, but I can see that we won’t be getting anywhere unless you understand your position in our… arrangement.”
My head is swimming from its impact with the bars, depriving me of any retort - although it doesn’t stop me from expressing my fury with an ugly and animalistic snarl.
“Now then, I suppose that if you know about me, then you know about the three ponies – Earth, unicorn and Pegasus. Well, each species has its own magical ‘field’. The unicorns have their horns, the earth ponies have their ability to interact with nature, and the Pegasi have their ability to control the clouds.”
“So?” I mumble half heartedly, recovering from my daze.
“Well…” Trixie continued, creasing her brow. “There’s an obvious imbalance in the scale of power. The Unicorns can actively command theirs, and have a much larger ‘reservoir’ than the others. The Pegasus can walk on clouds and live in the sky, and the Earth ponies are simply good with animals and farming. You would think that the Unicorns would be able to control of the other two by using their superior magic.”
I say nothing. She’s starting to lose me, and I really don’t see what this has to do with our situation.
“Well they don’t. In fact, the three pony species co-exist, and the Unicorns will never be able to take control – even if Celestia wasn’t here to keep order.” Trixie leaves Celestia unexplained. Whether she assumes I already know of her, or simply doesn’t care, I do not know.
“The reason for this, is because when Unicorns use their magic on something we must first overwhelm the magic of whatever we are trying to influence with their own, which is why we can manipulate inanimate objects so easily. Other ponies are a different matter.”
My eyes widen slightly, as I realise what Trixie is leading up to.
“Controlling a pony is very difficult. Sure, it’s easy enough to manipulate limbs and other body parts, but seizing control of the mind is much more difficult. By the time a Unicorn has ‘negated’ another ponies’ natural magic reserves, they normally have very little magic left to properly control their new servant. It’s all a very complicated system. There are entire research fields dedicated to the subject.”
The expression of rage on my face is gone now, replaced by a look of utter shock at what she’s implying.
Trixie starts to smile again, and I am surprised by how much this lecture reminds me of Twilight Sparkle – if she were demented and insane.
“So the fun part here, is that-”
“-Is that humans have no inner magic to fight back with.” I finish the lecture for her, hoping that she’s going to deny what I’m saying and deliver some less soul-crushing conclusion than the one I’ve reached.
Trixie breaks into a full grin – her eyes glinting with delight at the look of hopelessness on my face.
“Exactly.” She replies smugly as my heart skips a beat and drops into my scuffed and tattered shoes. “I can seize control of your brain whenever I want – and make you do whatever I want.” She nodded towards the piano, referring to what she wants me to do.
“The magic isn’t perfect. There’s no such thing as precision control when you’re bucking around in someponies head, but I can still make you do what I want.”
Deciding to illustrate her point, Trixie releases me, and I collapse onto my knees, not anticipating the return of control.
Of course, my first thought is of attacking before she can do any-
My thought stops dead.
There’s something inside my head. It doesn’t feel cold, or warm, or painful or nice, but there’s definitely something there… a presence. It’s like having a little bit of extra pressure on the inside of my skull.
“Do you feel that?” Trixie gloats. “That’s me inside your head. I can make you do whatever I want.”
“Whatever you-” I stop as I suddenly raise an arm. There’s no aura surrounding any part of me, and yet I am unable to make my arm return to my side.
My mind is reeling from the info-dump that Trixie has just delivered, while I bewilderedly stare at my arm.
“You…” I trail off, and turn to look at my captor once more.
Trixie smiles at me. “So, now that we have that sorted out…” She takes a few steps away from me and gestures towards the piano. “Play.”