Twilight's dreams were haunted that night by things that she couldn't even identify. The unicorn saw architecture, symbols, even other ponies that she could swear that she'd never seen before. Her mind flooded with information, and she found herself tumbling within the torrents of a dream that threatened to engulf her; no matter where she turned her head, something else was there; she couldn't escape. Within the premise of her dream state, she wanted only to be alone and at peace, but of course this wasn't allowed. The unicorn snapped her eyes open and took a deep breath, not immediately sitting up, but still waking with a start. She glanced around her room, looking at her front hooves to make sure she was actually awake. She used her magic to open her curtains and look out the window, catching the soft crimson of a sunrise as it just barely peaked over the horizon. The unicorn sighed heavily and rubbed her head with the back of her foreleg, squinting her eyes and trying to break herself away from the mangled sleep pattern still fresh in her mind. With a few deep breaths she managed to convince herself to just get out of bed and step slowly toward her bathroom.
In the bizarre moment between lucidity and a rude awakening, Twilight had forgotten about her injured hoof, only remembering it as she stepped onto the tile of her bathroom and heard the muffled clop of the bandage on the floor. She looked down quickly, expecting that same stabbing pain to shoot into her leg once more, but she never received it. She gave a quizzical look and walked over to her sink, looking in the mirror at her face as she propped herself up and slowly unwrapped her bandage. Beneath the white wrap sat a perfect, lavender hoof with no injury whatsoever: it had healed itself overnight. Twilight quickly glanced around her bathroom again, trying to see if she really was awake or if it was actually a dream, because she vividly remembered the pain that the crack had caused her. She tried a trick that she had picked up out of some psychology journal to tell if she was in her own mind or in the real world, glancing at a small clock on her counter top twice to see if the time was vastly different, but only saw the gentle ticking of a perfectly calibrated timepiece.
The unicorn wasn't quite sure, but she felt like she had slept for days. Her body was definitely stiff from the workout and stress she got the day before, but she felt extremely rejuvenated. She checked her eyes in the mirror, noticing that they weren't bloodshot at all, but did show a thin white ring around her irises. Twilight didn't really know what to make of this, so she just shrugged and used her telekinesis to open the curtain around her shower. She reached out her hoof and used the opportunity to stretch her foreleg and yawn, turning the water on nearly as hot as it would go and stepping in, letting herself bask in the warmth of the cascading shower. Twilight stood up in her secluded room, propping her hooves against the wall to keep a steady balance as she brought her mane as close to the shower head as she could. The sound of water impacting with her skull drowned out everything else, so she lost herself in her own little world. She looked down, staring at the bathtub floor to give her eyes something to focus on, and let all manner of thoughts wander through her head. The shower was her only sanctuary, as it was entirely devoid of distractions and filled her with the comforting feeling of warm water rushing over her body. Everything from Artichokes to Zebras flashed into her head; her mind always tended to wander in the shower, and she could spend as long as she wanted just letting it do so. No restrictions, no control, no filter, no rules, just pure thought, and Twilight loved every second of it.
She focused on the water as it entered the drain, trying something that had always eluded her: the ability to control water telekinetically. She held her hoof out, focusing all of her brainpower on grabbing individual droplets out of the stream as they fell and forming them into a steadily growing ball. The sheer amount of concentration it took to do this was enough to frustrate her: she could pull Rainbow Dash out of the air if she wanted, but water wouldn't hold still for all of her efforts. The sphere floated just millimeters off of her hoof, growing as she pulled more water into it, and shimmering in the dim light of her bathroom in the early morning. The more water she brought down, the more difficult it became to control the sphere.
As it reached the size of a golf ball it began to quiver, causing Twilight to have to strain herself to keep it steady and stop pulling anymore water droplets in. She stood there for a second, staring at her creation since she couldn't move without causing it to disintegrate. Her horn let off a few sparks as she had to force herself to continue holding the spell, sending magical energy arcing through the downpour of water. She could feel herself losing control of the ball, causing it to pulse from the bottom up, almost as if her hoof were pushing small quakes of energy through it. She ground her teeth, trying to keep it steady and stable, but felt as if the energy she was forcing into it was only making the problem worse. Without warning, the ball broke apart, splashing into her hoof and sending a small amount of very warm water running down along her foreleg.
"Still not getting any better..." Twilight sighed, hanging her head down and letting her mane soak up the water as it ran through her coat. She levitated her shampoo over and finished up in the shower, washing herself thoroughly and getting out after the inevitable disappointment of her consistent failure. She examined herself in the mirror for a while, thinking about leaving her mane down like it was right out of the shower, but eventually settling to brush it and put it up: the same hairstyle for two years straight. Every single day in her life felt the same, every single day was scheduled with every single miniscule detail in exactly the right place. Twilight's eyes slowly relaxed in the mirror as she examined herself and thought about her life through a new lens, her reflection giving back a disappointed, deadpan look. She realized long ago that having a plan for everything in life led to a lack of excitement, but never had any kind of initiative to do something about it. Planning was comfortable and predictable, without any kind of unnecessary risk, and that made the unicorn feel safe. She didn't bother telling herself that she would try and do something out of the ordinary today because she knew it would be a lie, so she just went downstairs to get some breakfast.
On her way downstairs, Twilight noticed that the book had been turned last night so that the bottom edge was facing her bed perfectly. She remembered clearly lining up the edges with her desk, but just figured that Spike had gotten curious last night and inspected the thing. This thought struck Twilight and reminded her about that book; she had all but forgotten about it since she'd woken up that morning. Once she stepped into the living area she decided that she'd just look for some kind of text on ancient languages after breakfast to see if she could match up the one in the book with English.
"Heya, Twilight. How'd ya sleep?" Spike went about his chores with a checklist in one clawed hand and a pen in the other, checking off his general duties as he completed them. The sun was actually up by this point, and Twilight just assumed he had gotten out of bed while she was in the shower, so she simply cast him a soft response.
"I slept alright, mostly just some weird dreams but I've had worse. How about you? You're up awful early."
"Oh, I actually couldn't sleep at all last night. I was having weird dreams too, b-but I feel fine. I can get all my chores done, easily."
"Don't work yourself too hard, Spike, it is the weekend after all. Want breakfast?"
"No thanks, Twi. I'm really not all that hungry for some reason."
"Yeah, you know... I'm really not either. Well I'm just gonna have a glass of orange juice and an apple or something, feel free to get whatever you like if you do feel your appetite come back today."
"Alright, Twilight. Oh by the way, did you get that book from Zecora or what? Looks creepy."
"What? The book looks creepy? But no I didn't get it from Zecora, I found it in the Everfree Forest." Twilight stepped into the kitchen as she and Spike chatted away, casually removing a glass from her cupboard and filling it with orange juice from the refrigerator. She glanced around her kitchen for any fruit lying around, but couldn't find any in the usual place, so she resolved to pick some up from town later on in the week.
"Yeah, the book looks kinda creepy. I dunno what about it does... I guess that it's really old and what not, but I just get this weird vibe from it, like it's dangerous or something... and you getting it from the Everfree Forest doesn't really help all that much."
Twilight shrugged and sipped at her orange juice, realizing that she wasn't even really thirsty at that moment either. "Relax, Spike. It's just a book. We've got several hundred books just lyin' around here all the time."
"That's exactly my point. We're surrounded in books, but that one just seems... Different. I dunno how to describe it."
"Well, I guess I kinda know what you mean about it seeming... 'different'... but that doesn't mean it's creepy. I actually think it's fascinating."
"No offense, Twilight, but you would think that a book like that is fascinating."
"Well what do you expect from me? It's a cool old book. I think it might be magic."
"The book itself? Or does it have spells in it or something."
"I actually can't read it... It's in some kind of odd language that I've never seen before, but I think the book itself is magic."
"Twilight, maybe we should tell Princess Celestia about this before we go messing around with it."
"Nonsense, Spike. The Princess doesn't have time to deal with every book I find out in the woods. I'll figure out what's up with it and then if it's something really important then we can tell Celestia. Otherwise it's just like any other book that we own. Although it doesn't have a title... So I guess I can't put it on the shelves."
"Doesn't seem like you'd want anypony taking it from you anyway though..."
"Oh certainly not! I've got a lot more to study about it. You can even help if you like."
"Mmn..." Spike hesitated to agree to this, but couldn't resist the familiar glow in Twilight's eyes that only came about when something really interested her. "Alright... Just call me when you need my help, okay?"
"Okay, Spike. That sounds perfect. For now though I just need to look around for any examples of that one's language... Could you really quickly climb up there and grab me a copy of 'Archaic Arcane Alphabets'?" Twilight gulped down a few mouthfuls of her juice and pointed her previously injured hoof up to the furthest corner of her 'A' section as it still sat visible from the kitchen.
"No problem... Hey, didn't you have your hoof wrapped up in gauze last night?" Spike cast Twilight a curious glance, starting to worry a little bit at the validity of the things that she's been talking about.
"Y-yeah... It was fine this morning so I just didn't put another layer of gauze on after my shower... It doesn't hurt to walk around on it either. What's it to you anyway?"
"Woah, no need to snap at me, Twilight... Just worried about you is all, you were complaining about it last night so I figured it was something serious."
"S-sorry, Spike... I don't know what came over me. The hoof is fine... It wasn't last night, but it's fine now. Please, just get me the book."
"Yeah... It's fine, don't worry about it."
Twilight, feeling genuinely bad about snapping at the innocent dragon, looked down into her half-empty glass of orange juice. Her reflection gazed back at her with a fairly depressed countenance, rippling from all of the soft vibrations from the various sources around her home. She closed her eyes and lifted the glass to her lips with her hooves, draining the rest of the fluid and levitating the empty vessel into the sink. She stood up and walked out into the library proper, apologizing to Spike again and thanking him for the book before stepping back upstairs. She sat down at her desk, facing out the window and into the morning light, using it to illuminate her basic text of languages as she skimmed it for anything resembling the wedge-like writing in the mysterious tome. She almost hadn't noticed, but the book had rotated itself again, seeming to keep its lower edge oriented toward the unicorn each time she walked past it or moved away, like it was following her.
As she flipped through to the final page, Twilight hadn't pulled anything too similar out of the text, only ending up with something that seemed like it could have come from centuries ago but had no real connection to the writing in the book. She looked over from her textbook down to the tome, deciding to flip it open without touching it (prompting a wide grin as always) and compare the alphabets directly instead of relying on memory for this part, but found something a little disturbing. The wording in the tome had actually translated itself into English at some point that night. Twilight dropped her copy of 'Archaic Arcane Alphabets' as soon as she saw this feature, and felt her heart sink into her chest as her eyes slowly scanned the first few lines of the book.
I welcome thee, young student, to read unto me as your guide into the world of the supernaturals. All things arcane exist within, so reject what you think you know, for that is only the beginning of what true knowledge still awaits. Should you choose the path that this tome may offer, be wary, for there is no turning back.