71w, 6dCoffee, Tea, and Everything Else
70w, 1dDoubled Fun
71w, 3dAlicorn Twilight
68w, 6dTwilight, Alicorns, and Awsome
62w, 20hTwilight is Best Pony
68w, 3dTwilight Sparkle
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57w, 3dKeeria's Library
36w, 2dfimfiction's favorites
41w, 5dAlternate Perspectives
11w, 5dSolitary Confinement
“The knight protector is breathing again.”
“Has anyone seen Shatter Wing?”
“Stay away from the fires, there is nothing we can do for the forest.”
“Keep digging, I can sense her majesty’s magic somewhere in the rubble.”
“Careful, the ground is still unstable. There might still be some tremors.”
“Word just came back from Canterlot. They’re preparing to dispatch immediate assistance via long distance teleportation.”
“Come on Twilight! Say something - help us out here.” The voice broke in a strangled sob. “You better be alright.”
“I found a piece of her armor!”
The words came to her as if from across a great gulf. They were broken and disconnected. Twilight tried to pull them together - to connect the pieces of the pattern, but her mind was not functioning properly. Mentally she reached out and found that her link to the sun remained. The flow of magic had been reduced to a trickle and at any moment it threatened to die out.
She tried not to imagine the panic the inhabitants on the otherside of the world were experiencing. Before she had become the princess of Equestria, seeing the sun suddenly dim would have stopped her heart in terror. She still remembered the blind panic she had felt when Nightmare Moon had prevented the sun from rising. It had only been because Princess Celestia had needed her and because of the other ponies depending on her knowledge that she had been able to pull it together.
A heavy weight was pressing against her as if she was at the bottom of an enormous pony pile. She tried to breath but found her chest constricted as dirt fell into her mouth. Twilight realized that the smell of soil filled her nostrils. She was buried alive.
Panic coursed through her veins as her legs tried to kick wildly. She realized that one of her rear legs was free, but moving it replaced the panic with agony. Something was wrong with the leg. Twilight needed to calm down. She needed to try and remember what had happened.
She had defeated the nightmare, but had not destroyed it. Now that she knew what to look for, she could sense it lingering in that back corner of her mind. However, she had shattered its physical manifestation, and knew that it would take time for it to recover.
Everything was dark, and Twilight struggled to remind herself that she was no longer fighting the nightmare. That small sub-dimension of pain was no more.
She had once read a book entitled ‘This book will save your life.’ It had covered basic survival techniques to deal with a number of situations. Twilight could not remember any chapter about being crushed by hundreds of pounds of stone and dirt, but in most situations one of the first things to do was to take personal inventory.
Twilight stretched out her magic to feel out her own body. She was terrified of how little magic she had remaining, and wondered what would happen when the well ran dry. Her sun would either die in a whimper or a bang. Slowly the energy began to flow out across her hide as she began to prod and poke, looking for areas that were sensitive.
The first thing she discovered was that her entire body had been transformed into a giant bruise, along with more scrapes and cuts than she could count in her current mental state. A rather large and deep cut ran down along her side where the nightmare had shot across. To her immense relief, she sensed none of the horrible taint that infected Spike’s unhealable injury. Twilight paused when her magic passed over her wings. One of them was twisted at an odd angle and she expected it was broken.
There were patches where her armor had melted, fusing to her skin. Those areas did not seem to be in any pain, and she was worried it was due to nerve damage.
Finally she ran her magic across the leg that had brought her so much pain. She rapidly confirmed that there was something wrong with the limb. It almost seemed as if her leg had an extra joint, bending strangely above the knee. There also seemed to be something hard and jagged jutting out of her leg.
Twilight nearly wretched when she realized that the hard protrusion was bone. She wondered if she would walk again. However, as painful as it was, none of her injuries seemed fatal. That was one good thing she supposed.
All the injuries were far less than a murderer like her deserved. No redemption could exist for the pony that had killed Princess Celestia. If every moment of the rest of her eternal life was agony, it would not be enough. She was the ultimate betrayer. She would need to live on and suffer. What little of her soul still had any value belonged to her Equestria.
At that moment Twilight wished she had gotten around to testing her theory on whether or not she needed to breath. At the moment there did not appear to be any air available to her, so she certainly hoped it was no longer necessary.
However, when she realized that she was not breathing, the panic returned. Her hearts began thundering at a terrible pace as she tried to will them to slow down - to use less oxygen. Twilight tried to scream for help, but found more dirt pouring into her mouth and down her throat. She could not even cough. Her magic pushed vainly against the stone and rock trying, but there was simply too little power available to answer her call.
She wondered if Equestria would die with its ruler trapped in a grave of her own making.
Stone shifted and she felt some of the weight decreasing. Twilight pulsed her magic in an attempt to let anypony who was looking for her know where she was. The voices became clearer and it seemed they ignited into a furor of activity. Despite the nightmarish agony, she kicked her free leg again. She needed to do everything possible to get free.
Suddenly a force enveloped her body and yanked her up out through the dirt and broken stone. As soon as her muzzle was free and in open air she tried to scream in agony only to cough out the dirt that had begun to fill her airways. Her broken leg was dangling uselessly, and each time it swayed in the air sent flames through her body.
“Twi - Thank goodness. Give her some room everypony. Get the medic over here.”
Through the fog of her torment, Twilight could only focus on one thing.
“Why?” she coughed as she spit out more dirt. “Why is it so dark?”
“What do you mean Twilight. The unicorns are - Your... Your eyes...”
Twilight attempted to crane her head and look around. She could sense the presence of dozens of unicorns around her and could feel them all casting powerful light spells. The lumination they were emitting was almost tangible, yet she was still swimming in a sea of darkness.
“I understand... No matter. I can make do without sight.” It had been a small price to pay for the information she had gained. “Tell me, Rainbow Dash, what happened?”
The alicorn pulled herself free of the magic supporting her and encased her mangled leg in a telekinetic bubble. The magical force extended to the ground allowing her to stand under her own power. She ignored the gasping of the ponies around her; she needed to be strong for all of them.
“Twilight you need to - alright, fine. After the barrier went up we started feeling seismic tremors and vast amounts of energy began pouring out. It was insane. Large portions of the Everfree Forest are aflame. Right now we are the center of a huge crater. The palace is gone.”
“Spike, what about Spike. I thought I heard something-”
“Spike’s fine. At one point his wound burst open and for a short while his heart had stopped. He’s doing better now, but is still unconscious. I didn’t see anything hit him, so I’m not sure what’s wrong. We’ve had some wounded, but no casualties.”
Twilight felt a pony move underneath her wings to help offer her support. She knew - even without her sight - that it was her friend.
“I’m glad that nopony was hurt too badly.”
“Twilight, what about the creature? What happened to it?”
“It’s gone for now. That’s all anypony needs to know. I now know everything I need to know to deal with it for good. As soon as I return to Canterlot, I should be able to finish it off.”
“You’re not in any condition to-”
“Don’t worry. I won’t even need to directly confront it. I just need to regain my strength to cast a certain spell. Trust me on this one Dash.”
It was tortuous, but they slowly made their way out of the crater that marked where the palace of the twin sisters once stood. Rainbow Dash was by her side, guiding her up the treacherous slope the entire time. However, Twilight turned away all other offers of assistance.
They finally reached the top where Twilight had been told a chariot and an entire flight of pegasi where awaiting to escort her back to Canterlot. Her ability to sense magic was muddled from the background noise of her fight. However, she could smell the heavy discharge of magic being performed and realized that a number of unicorns had just teleported the still unconscious Spike. If he was stable enough to be teleported, his condition could not be too dire. She was not sure how she herself would fare under the strain of such magic.
The medics on call seem to take her injuries as a personal affront. However, other than the application of pressure to her wounds, not much could be done until they reached proper medical facilities. Twilight absently overheard a heated discussion on if she should instead be taken to Ponyville because of the town’s proximity. If she had been more put together she might have found it amusing how nopony tried to consult with her.
It was strange not being able to see.
Through her mental haze, she began to return to the battle and it was then that she knew true pain. If the creature had spoken the truth, she had killed Princess Celestia. For some reason she knew that one fact to be true. Maybe the details were different, but Twilight was convinced of that one fact. As the chariot took of, flanked by two other chariots occupied by unicorns, Twilight hunched over where she was sitting and began to sob.
At some point they had landed in Canterlot and she could hear a swarm of doctors trying to rush her off for surgery on her leg. Because of the condition her sun was in, she would need to forgo anesthetic, no matter what anypony insisted. However, before she was carried off to an operating theater, she needed to have one last exchange with her most loyal friend.
“Dash. We need to increase patrols. I don’t want anypony being hurt by the night again.”
“Twilight. You know that we don’t have the hoovepower for that. But, we can talk about this later when you’re feeling better.”
“Draw up plans to relocate Canterlot’s guards. I will take care of Canterlot’s defense. Just do it Dash.”
Twilight paced back and forth in her study as she remembered what the doctors had told her.
“At first we didn’t notice the physical damage, but it seems that the retina’s have been completely burned away. If you were a regular pony, we would have to say that you would never see again. But given your unique physiology, there is a chance that the damage may regenerate. However, there are steps that we can take to improve the chance of recovery. First of all -”
The rest had been boring medical details. At one point she had caught ponies talking about emotional detachment but she ignored what they had to say.
She would miss reading books, but Twilight had realized that she did not need eyes to see. Her magic now stretched out in every direction feeling everything around her. She had used magic to ‘feel things out’ before, but had never taken it to the degree she was now operating on. It was like an entirely new sense that she had overlooked her entire life.
The Blind Princess was anything but helpless.
Reading had been one of the first things she had attempted. Unfortunately, ink on paper was not thick enough for her to feel its presence. Many of the fine details she was used to were absent, but she could easily sense the shapes and positions of everything around her. It was strange to feel the texture of so many things at once.
She griped her book shelves in telekinesis and ripped them from the walls, shattering them across the floor. She did not deserve to read.
She was missing some important detail. The nightmare had been so different than the time it had killed Celestia, as if it was two entirely different creatures. She wondered if it was the effect of nearly a half century of pain and suffering. There was no doubt in her mind that the thing she had fought the previous night was a physical manifestation from her own mind. Even now, she could feel it greedily leaching power from her sun as it was gaining the strength to reform.
By trying to take all of Equestria’s pain for herself, it seems that she had changed the nature of the beast. However, it had made a crucial mistake in revealing itself. Twilight now knew how to fight it. The nightmare would die before the night was over.
Twilight paused in front of the her balcony. She knew that if she had true sight she would see the slight almost-reflection of herself in the glint of her glass windows. Her leg was in a cast - it would heal. Her right wing had been dislocated and now was in a sling; her flying lessons would need to be put on hold. Patches of her fur were missing where the skin had been burned away - already that was healing.
Most noticeable however, would be the piece of cloth wrapped around her head. Feeling it with her magic, she could easily mistake it for a blindfold. If her eyes would ever heal, they could not be exposed to the slightest bit of light.
Her magic pulsed and the window blew outwards, and she crushed the glow orbs that provided the room with light. She no longer had need of light. Twilight turned around and tore a portrait from the wall.
She stopped next to her desk, and levitated a small souvenir from her stay in the hospital. It was such a primitive medical instrument. She dragged the scalpel across her forehead drawing a thin line of blood. The pain brought her focus. Pony neuromedical science was nowhere near as advanced enough to accomplish her wish. However, the tool would still function as a suitable focus for her spell.
Suddenly, Twilight was somewhere else. The psycho-material plane of her mind stretched out before her as a barren wasteland. On the distant horizon a coming storm raged. In the world of her own mind she could still see. Briefly she conjured into existence her favorite novel. But as she looked at it, the words shifted and changed. She could not remember exactly how the story was supposed to go. With disgust she allowed it to return to the vapor of her imagination.
She was infected with a tumor, and it was time to operate. Ideally, Twilight would deal with her issues like a normal pony. Perhaps years of therapy could destroy those places in which the creature hid. Unfortunately, she did not have the time to deal with the thing in a healthy normal fashion. If she allowed the monster to reform, then ponies could be hurt. If the nightmare existed in all of her pain, she would just need to remove those memories of pain.
She saw shadows moving to intercept her and Twilight blasted them away with concentrated beams of light. Nothing would stand between her and her goal.
It was best to start early in her life. She flew through her mind until she found her mother lying in a hospital bed in the middle of the wasteland. The wind caused her mother’s hair to gently flutter as dust blew over her body. As she looked at the mare she was filled with guilt and pain. However, worst of all was the resentment.
“Why didn’t Celestia save you?”
She analyzed the memory and frowned at what she found. Her mind had always been good at making connections - too good in this case. The infection that plagued her last moments with her mom spidered out to touch so many others. For some time she tried to peel the darkness away from the memories to see if anything could be salvaged, but the nightmare wound around the thoughts choking them like a weed.
They would all need to go.
“Mom... I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to save you, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t a good enough student. If I had been better... Maybe then Celestia would have cured you.”
Part of her screamed and raged against the decision. Her thoughts were the thoughts of a filly that did not understand. However, in her mind it was the emotions that mattered. Even when Twilight was old enough to finally understand the Princess’s explanation that there were somethings even beyond her power, the emotional impact had remained.
Her light coalesced into a glowing scalpel and she stabbed downward. Her mother screamed before bursting into a cloud of light that floated away on the wind. A whirlwind tore through her mindscape as it eroded away a whole network of memories. Her mother’s smile, her mother’s laugh - in an instant they were gone. She tried to remember the scent of her mom and found that she could not.
Twilight would give everything for Equestria.
Next up was her father. She had fond memories of him, but they tended to be the older ones from when her mother was still alive. However, the later memories tended to outweigh the good ones. Eventually she found him. He was yelling at a filly for having killed her mother. The lingering remnants of the memories of her mother told Twilight that he was justified in his words - though she could no longer recall why. Her father had stopped taking his medication, but that had only allowed the truth to come out.
The scene before her jittered and transformed. A stallion was hanging from a rope, swaying in the breeze. Twilight turned her eyes. It would be easier to purge the memories of her father; there would be less regret. However, before she made the cut she paused.
After she had received her cutie mark and been accepted as Princess Celestia’s student, her father had taken her out for ice cream. Twilight thought that there might have been another pony there, but the impression was vague and fading - after all, it had been only her father there for the entrance exam. Twilight had been so happy licking her ice-cream and rambling about the Princess. She was willing to part with that memory if she must, but it was what that memory was connected with that had caused her to stop.
To remove the tainted memories of her father, she would need to be willing to lose her memory of the entrance exam. That moment when she had first met Princess Celestia was one of her happiest and most precious memories. Twilight sobbed as the scalpel made the cut.
A few moments later, Twilight wondered why her eyes were moist with tears.
Cut after cut, Twilight tore apart her own mind. Once all the bad memories were gone, the nightmare would have nowhere to hide. The thing existed in the patterns of her pain and guilt and all of her other suppressed emotions. If those patterns were destroyed, the construct could not exist.
She paused when she hit the memory of Pinkie Pie’s death. That moment had reverberated back through her mind and touched every moment she had of the pink pony. She could remove the pain, but the price was staggering.
The scalpel hovered over the corpse of Pinkie Pie. Her memories of the pony were all so precious. Twilight held each and every one - even the bad ones - close to her heart. She remembered the battle with the abomination. It had been the good memories that had shielded her against the nightmare. It had been her friends that had saved her life.
Pinkie Pie lived on still in her heart.
Twilight flung herself from her mind with a scream of anguish. Back in the dark chamber of her ruined study she panted heavily as the scalpel levitated just above her left heart pressing into her skin. She had been a fool. She needed to deal with her emotions like a normal pony. She needed to stop suppressing things. She needed to let herself feel anger.
With a cry of rage she flung her desk into the wall.
“Your... your majesty? Is everything all right?”
With unseeing eyes, Twilight stared at the guard sticking his head through the door and could feel the fear emanating from him. Her gut reaction was to feel guilt at the reaction she inspired. Instead she embraced.
“I’m just fine. Thank you for asking.”
She began chuckling as the door closed. There were so many feelings to deal with.
Saving Celestia had become more complicated. Twilight needed to remember her two primary goals. She needed to protect Equestria, but she also needed to save her precious teacher. Her hope had been that she could change the past. Traveling back and adding her power to Princess Luna’s and Princess Celestia’s would make the difference.
But now she understood her enemy.
Would it be murder or suicide?
Twilight threw her head back and forth. There had to be another way. She was not a killer. She would give her life to save Celestia, but that did not mean she had the right to end the life of her younger self, not if they were two different ponies.
Maybe it all came down to the nature of time travel. If they were the same pony, just at different points in their life, perhaps she would be justified in putting an end to Younger Twilight.
She tried to think back to what it had been like to be young and immediately noticed the holes. Twilight knew that she had had parents, but could not remember anything about them. She had removed them completely from her mind. She could not help but wonder if her memories of them had really been that bad, or if she was just a horrible pony.
Twilight would be unable to get to sleep that night. She would be too busy crying.
“My dear Twilight, not that I mind, but what has caused you to change your mind?”
“Change my mind?” Twilight chuckled. “I’ve been naive. I’ve been trying to protect everypony, but I’ve been unwilling to take the action necessary to do so. My number one priority above everything else is to protect my ponies - to protect Equestria. It was that thought that allowed me to win the battle with that beast. To protect everypony, for that I must be willing to pay any price. This is a petty sum. It’s hardly a choice at all really.”
“So your going to let me help you my dear student?”
“Yes. I cannot ignore any aid, especially when it can be so great.”
“Twilight, we don’t need to do this now. We can wait until you are feeling better.”
“I’m fine. It’s just that now I know the true burden I carry.”
Twilight was standing in a newly formed chamber with the Celestia construct. It was the largest she had dug in the growing complex that was Celestia’s mind. A small sphere of light formed in front of her and Twilight began to poor more magic into it. As she directed more energy into the sphere it grew and expanded until it reached a size of six pony lengths across. The heat was unbearable.
Twilight let it sink into the stone.
“I can feel it, but just this once will you be my eyes? Describe it to me.”
“Twilight... It’s bright and warm. The stone around it is red and angry. However, in the areas where the sphere has already passed it’s calm again. The only sign of the passing is the ripples that have melted into the stone.” Celestia paused and there was only silence for nearly a quarter hour. “I can’t see the light anymore unless I look down the bore.”
Twilight felt the earth shift slightly beneath her hooves. There was a terrible crack and she knew it had broken through.
“It’s beautiful. The glow is filling the chamber. If I look down the hole I can see the heart of the planet. It’s anger and passion, beating with a life all its own. Looking down I can imagine that I can see all of the emotions ever felt by everypony that has ever lived. I’m gazing down into the very soul of Equestria and it is looking back at me.
“Twilight this is a wonderful gift you are giving me. At the very center of Equestria - you are giving me the means of protecting your precious ponies.”
Twilight smiled, but the temperature of the room was growing as the magma chamber Twilight had broken into began to heat the cave.
“I’m going to teleport the magical generator into the bore, but I’m going to need your help securing it in place and wiring into your rune matrix. After I add the first few manifestation runes, you should then be able to do the rest.”
“I promise you my most faithful student, I will help you protect Equestria. I will carry as much of your burden as I can.”
I've reuploaded the first five chapters in edited forms that are better. About 3,000 words were added if you want to judge new content that way.
So I'm a bit late with this chapter, but I'm going to try not to have this count for Saturday's update. I spent longer on this chapter than I planed, because I wanted to make sure it was good.
So is Twilight finally a crazy pony? Self lobotomization certainly isn't normal (I really wanted to work that phrase into this chapter, but couldn't make it fit. Maybe it will make it in when I get around to rewriting this chapter.)
A little bit of trivia, this chapter was almost called 'Breaking Point.'
For those looking ahead, next chapter is "Destiny." (Unless I decide it needs to be spaced out a bit).