• Published 28th May 2012
  • 2,310 Views, 43 Comments

Dark Horizons - Thespurgin

In the aftermath of the wedding, Twilight has found that her friends have grown... distant, and to make matters worse, she cannot rest for fear of a dream that she cannot remember. When it all comes crashing down, the night will fall.

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Wounding Words

Chapter 2: Wounding Words

Twilight Sparkle was many things. The personal student of the princess of the sun, magical prodigy, bearer of the lost 6th Element of Harmony, and the one individual capable of claiming (regardless of her humility) to have saved the world from lunatic megalomaniacs three times in as many years, was falling apart. What's more, she knew it. Ten days; it had been ten straight days since the exhausted mare had had a decent night’s sleep. A week and a half since her nightmares began. She’d been through all the books in her library twice, and she’d found nothing that could help. The bedraggled equine didn’t know if she was looking for a cure anymore… heck, she didn’t even know if whatever was doing this to her qualified as a disease!

More than once, Twilight considered going to her friends or even the princesses and telling them about everything. At least then she wouldn’t be alone in her problem. The mere thought of being alone was physically painful to her, like the ache you felt after getting bucked in the chest. Yet... on the other hand, in the three months it had been since the wedding and Chrysalis’s defeat, the studious unicorn had noticed that the others had been… what was the right word? Withdrawn? Yes, that was it.

It wasn’t that they were avoiding her per se; she still ran into them as much as any other pony in Ponyville and they still got together every now and again, but… something was different. She felt it more than saw it, but it was during conversation that whatever had changed became most obvious. They were still her friends, but they were holding something back. Not lying... just not letting themselves open up. It was like she was a stranger to them. Even Pinkie.

Twilight had considered this strange distance in her friends quite a bit between explorations of the medical section. She didn’t know what it was that had made all her friends withdrawn like they were… but it only made sense that it was something to do with her. Perhaps they were mad?

'Is this my fault?' She wondered in a hint of despair. 'Did I drive them away...?'

Perhaps she’d let them down somehow? Had she hurt their feelings? It must be something like that if they couldn’t bear to just say it. Still, was that any reason to keep from telling them about her own problem? What kept her from just telling them, and then working to fix things? If she’d done something wrong, she could fix it! There was no reason at all to be afraid of anything, least of all telling her friends about having a bad dream!

Yet that was exactly what Twilight was, and she couldn't deny it. She was afraid. Afraid of their reactions, of disappointing Celestia, of her nightmares… She’d sent a letter to Celestia requesting some books from the Royal Archives, but even then she hadn’t been completely truthful as to why she needed them, and now that she thought about it, the princess had been a bit distant in her letters as well...

In truth, Twilight did feel a bit bad for not just telling her mentor about her problem, but that led back to that same fear she felt towards her friends. She’d long since given up trying to find a loophole, a way out. Every time she tried her mind ended up derailing. She never lost her train of thought! Could it be… was she losing her mind?

More than once, Twilight’s thoughts had wandered from her fevered examination of a tome on ailments to the impressions that lingered from her dream, and in the last couple of days it seemed she was getting worse. Sometimes she found herself crying for no reason, and other times too exhausted to move. She didn’t tell anypony about it, and had chosen to keep in relative seclusion in since the dreams had gotten worse, but it was obvious that at the very least Spike knew. How could he not? They were practically family after all, though exactly what kind of family relation was unspecified.

They both knew why it was happening as well; Twilight’s sleep deprivation had reached the point where it was beginning to affect her body on the psychological level, to say nothing of the physical aspect. In the past few days, the exhaustion seemed to weigh especially heavily on her. Twilight didn’t even bother to do her morning routine. What was the point if she no longer slept? Her haggard appearance was a testament to that, though considering she usually looked like that on a study binge it no one could really see the real problem… besides Spike.

It was a gentle summer day outside the window of the library. Twilight had left the window beside her and knew that much firsthoof. More than once a gentle breeze would try to turn the page she was reading, only for her to stop it. That same breeze carried with it the smells of baking and activity, things that managed to take her overstressed mind off her research just when she needed them most.

“I just don’t understand,” The mare muttered, closing the book before her and levitating one of the discarded tomes up to her face. A Physician’s Desk Reference stood out in bold letters under her nose, almost mocking her. How many of these books had she read in the past few days? A hundred? Two hundred? She’d lost count. The sheer amount of medical terminology bouncing around in her head was giving her a headache, one made all the worse by the fact that not a single book in her library and as of yet any of the ones she’d gotten on loan from the Royal Archives had what she was looking for. Even Supernaturals had nothing, and that was the book that had carried information on Poison Joke when no other book she had even treated the plant as anything more than a myth!

“There’s nothing in any of these books that explains this… this nightmare syndrome! Nothing!” Twilight’s aggravated proclamation was punctuated by the book in question being hurled across the library and narrowly missing Spike as he came down the stairs. The book slamming flat into the wall before dropping to the steps with a dull thud, and Spike winced involuntarily. This was bad. Twilight never harmed books… least of all library books!

“Uh… Twilight?” Spike called hesitantly. Twilight’s head snapped around like lightning at the unexpected voice, and there was a wet snap, making the young dragon cringe. For a moment, neither moved, as if frozen in their respective poses; Twilight with a surprised expression plastered on her face while her neck was contorted like an owl’s, and Spike cringing behind the horsehead statue on the center reading table of the library with an equally terrified expression on his face.

Twilight’s eye twitched, a faint groan eliciting from her lips, then she fell sideways off the window seat and toppled into a chaotic pile of books. Shaking himself, Spike rushed over to the pile, seriously worried for Twilight’s health, but gave a sigh of relief when she breached from the pile.

“Ow…” she mumbled, wincing a couple times as she felt the condition of her muscles and began massaging her neck.
Spike began pulling books out of the sizable mound and stacking them off to the side.

“Are you okay Twilight?” He asked, moving to put a hand on her withers from where she kneeled amid the tomes. “I’ve never seen anypony turn their neck like that short of Pinkie Pie! Here, let me help you up…”

As the young dragon’s claws touched the overtired mare’s fur, Twilight tensed and jerked away with a stifled growl. Spike recoiled at the downright feral behavior of his caretaker, but thankfully she relaxed a moment later.

“Oh, I’m sorry Spike…” she whispered weakly in an attempt to apologize. “I just… my temper’s been going crazy and I can’t find…”

Spike silenced her with a single hand, taking a deep breath to calm himself in turn. “It’s alright Twilight. I know you’ve been researching like crazy to find an answer to your in- your insim-

Twilight just cracked a bemused grin. "Insomnia?

"Yeah, that." The dragon replied. "Anyway, you’ve been really worn out for the past couple days really, so I should have seen it coming. Are you okay?”

“Nothing serious, but I think I did something to my neck when I twisted it like that…” She replied, forcing a smile across her face, in an attempt to hide the pained expression underneath.

The dragon didn’t buy it. He knew Twilight too well. It came with the territory of being her number one assistant for so long. He also knew Twilight was getting dangerously close to snapping. Celestia’s mane, it was a miracle she hadn’t snapped already!

Careful to keep his tone light, Spike buried the worried expression he knew would be on his face and nodded once. “Okay, then I’ll get some ice for your neck, and then start organizing this mess. You should lie down.”

The mare’s worn amethyst eyes narrowed slightly, and she shuddered. “No. No way Spike, not gonna’ happen. Not until I have a cure for this. I can’t.”

“Twilight… you have to rest. You’re going to study yourself into a grave at this rate! You should have checked into the hospital a week ago when this all started! I don’t care if half of Ponyville thinks you’re the creature that never sleeps and I don’t care if you did stay up for twelve days straight in a panic attack and still managed a something as draining as that time travel spell, you are still a pony! You have to rest!”

“I said no. Spike, I still have books to look through, and this won’t wait. I have to understand this! This isn’t just about studying dreams in my spare time to impress the princess, and don’t tell me you haven’t been thinking that’s what this is about either. This isn’t just something I just want to study; it’s something I need to understand. I can’t explain why. I’m close to the answer, I can feel it. Do you understand? I can’t let this go. Not now.” The mare said, her voice trailing into a whisper as she looked at the young dragon’s expression.

The face of the unicorn’s #1 assistant was unreadable. His eyes, however, were far from it. They were narrow and hard. One of his eyebrows kept twitching slightly. Twilight winced and closed her eyes, waiting for him to explode, and for a long moment nothing happened.

Suddenly, the mare felt arms around her neck, holding her tight. Her eyes snapped open to see Spike practically hanging from her, eyes squeezed shut. “I understand Twilight. Really, I do.”

The mare shuddered, and relaxed visibly. “Thanks Spike. I’m s-”

“However,” He continued with what appeared to be honest concern and more than a little sternness in his voice, “I can’t let you keep doing this anymore. I’m your number one assistant! What kind of assistant would I be if I let you keep hurting yourself like this?”

There was a momentary silence as Twilight stared speechlessly at the purple-scaled dragon.

He looked down at the floor sadly. "Yet... yet you are hurting yourself, and I am letting you do it." He sniffed. "I'ma terrible number one assistant..."

"Spike..." Twilight whispered in more than a little shame. It was one thing to be chastened by a princess, or even by her friends, but to have her own assistant; a baby dragon that her own magic had hatched… it was like being reprimanded by your own foal!

The mare shook her head fiercely at that, killing that particular line of thought with impunity. She and Spike had been together for a long time, but it was pretty clear that regardless of the admittedly sizable role she had played in his hatching, it was Celestia that he viewed as a mother. It was Celestia that had taken care of raising him when he was little, since Twilight herself had been far too young to take care of a child, especially a baby dragon, at that age, and the princess’s fathomless lifespan meant she’d be around to help him far longer than Twilight ever would be. She wasn’t even worthy of being called his mother, she was his babysitter, his friend, hay maybe even his sister, but there was no way he could view her as a mother, and she had no right to view him as her foal. All these thoughts flashed through her head in a half second, and she returned to herself to see Spike looking at her with that same concerned expression, and the hint of a tear in his eye.

“Spike,” she repeated, wrapping her forelimbs around him in a hug. "Don't ever say that again. You're the best assistant I could ever ask for. Nopony would ever stick around with me and the girls on our adventures or work half as hard as you do. Even Owlicious, for all the help he is, can't help like you can. You're my number one assistant, and more than that you're my friend, like a little brother. None of this is your fault or something you should blame yourself for okay? Now wipe that tear away and don't lie to yourself like that again okay?"

Spike wiped his eye obediently and tried to smile as Twi sat back, releasing him from her embrace. "Okay Twilight... It's just, seeing you work yourself so hard and go without sleep for so long... and I'm here just letting it happen... I feel like I should never have made that Pinkie Promise about this!"

He felt a warm brush, like a silk handkerchief, as her forehoof brushed his cheek and rested softly on his shoulder, and the second, even warmer brush of her voice, so low it was naught but a whisper. "It's gonna be okay Spike. If it puts your mind at ease, I promise that if I collapse, I'll tell everyone what's going on and if they think I should, I'll check into the hospital. Okay?"

Spike nodded furiously, and leapt forward to hug her again. "I'm really scared Twilight... what if this ends up leaving you really hurt, or worse? What would happen to me, to the library, to Peewee?" He asked, referring to the newest addition to their household, the baby phoenix they'd rescued from the dragon raid. The expression on his face turned sour. "I'm so selfish..." he muttered bitterly, "Here you are studying without rest and I'm worried about what will happen to me..."

Twilight just chuckled. "No Spike, you're not being selfish at all. You're worried about Peewee, and more importantly I'd be more concerned if you weren't worried. As it is..." she continued, her voice dropping away to a gentle whisper again, "the fact that you care about Peewee and this library shows that you've become so much more mature since the dragon migration... My little Spike is growing up so fast."

"H-hey! Twilight!" He stammered as she nuzzled him affectionately. He leaned away to escape the embrace, but regretted it instantly as Twilight grunted and returned to her original position, gritting her teeth at the return of the sharp pain in her neck.

"Oh I'm so sorry Twilight I forgot about your neck! Let me get some ice!"

"No!" Twilight exclaimed. She didn't seem angry, but for an instant, it was like being blasted by the Royal Canterlot Voice. He couldn't understand what emotion that was in. Had she been taking lessons from Luna?! She'd never yelled like that before, even when she was angry! He froze at the thought. Was she mad? Had he already messed up? Thankfully, any further panic he could cultivate at her unintentional outburst was cut short.

"No Spike... please." she repeated, quieter this time. "Can you... Can you just stay with me for a bit? It hurts to be alone."

Spike hesitated only for a moment, unsure what to do, but the desperate undertone in her voice was real. "Yes Twilight. I can." He whispered, then he hugged her again.

They stayed like that, just hugging each other in silence, for a long time. Exactly how long Spike wasn't sure, probably a couple hours. Twilight was silent in his arms, but even in that silence... he heard plenty. She was scared, more than scared, she was terrified, and he could understand why.

Twilight had always been a mare of science, of understanding things. She discovered how something worked, then went from there. When she had a problem, she learned as much as she could about it, then worked to solve it. It had worked for everything previous save Pinkie Sense, and it went unsaid that that instance hadn't been her finest moment. Taking that into account this time the whole situation was far, far worse.

When Twilight had researched Pinkie Sense, she'd done it of her own free will. She wanted to understand it. What's more, the lavender pony had continued despite her run-ins with causality out of an undying stubbornness. In the end, there had been no external compulsion or palpable personal stake in it at all. This "dream curse" though, it was an entirely different matter. The studious mare hadn't been given a choice, she'd simply had to research it and find a solution, because it wasn't something she could ignore. This wasn't Pinkie Sense, where you could just accept it as it is and keep going on with little difference to your life, this was something that could very well kill her.

That brought the dragon to a very important conundrum. If this was so important, then why wouldn't she let anyone help her? He wasn't still foolish enough to believe that the fact that she'd told him was for any special reason other than sheer necessity. He lived in the library, so it would have been impossible to keep him from realizing it eventually. She'd simply done the logical thing and preempted his discovery with a direct revelation, and made him keep quiet about it with a Pinkie Pie promise. She obviously didn't want anyone else to know about the problem, despite it being so serious, so... why?

He knew the problem had something to do with her dreams. Her lack of sleep, her outright aversion of rest, and the fact that he'd noticed her writing into the book he knew was her dream journal despite never managing to read it said as much. It had to be her dream journal. She'd enchanted that tome on a level that made it impossible for anyone to read, save maybe Celestia or Luna, and Twilight would only put that much effort into something extremely personal. He'd already found her diary, so that left only the dream journal.

Twilight quivered a bit, almost shivering. Was it cold? It didn't seem cold...

Okay, so it was something to do with her dreams. What about her dreams could make her want to face down a life-threatening problem on her own and do her best to keep others from learning about it?

Twilight quivered again, and it was then that Spike realized why. It wasn't cold, he knew that, and she hadn't quivered from exhaustion recently... was she sobbing?

"Twilight?" His voice was barely above a whisper.

"Spike... the truth is... I'm scared too."

"Twilight... if you're scared then why-?"

"Why won't I tell anyone besides you and Owlicious?" She asked softly. Spike only nodded. "Well, I gue-" Suddenly, Pinkie Pie.


It was as if you'd struck the two of them with a lightning bolt. Twilight's mane stood up on end as she shot straight into the air and slammed into the ceiling with a scream, scattering the books they had neglected to clean up in favor of conversation and clipping Spike, who in turn toppled head over heels across the room into the kitchen hiccuping fireballs all the way. By the crash that followed, he'd apparently found the wall just below the self were she kept the pots and pans. Another muffled hiccup, then silence.

"Pinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnkieeeeeeee!!!!!!" Twilight howled, causing the mare in question to look up. The lavender mare hung from the ceiling by her horn, flailing her legs like an octupus at a dance party, and by Celestia was she ever mad. "Didn't your parents ever teach you to knock?!"

In the background, there was another clatter as the unseen calamity in the kitchen suffered a few aftershocks, and Spike's muffled voice could be heard.
"I'm okay guys!"
-crash- rollrollrollroll
"I'm still okay...!"

After a moment of thought at Twilight's question, Pinkie Pie just pulled her body out from under that miserable horse head statue on the reading table (why did she even have that stupid thing? More than that, why was it flat on the table when Pinkie was under it!?) by her downright cartoon neck, and smiled. Curse that smile. How could she be so totally oblivious to everything!? "Oh silly Twilight, I didn't use the door! I used the bath tub!"


There was a long pause as the beleaguered equine's all too stressed mind forgot the first rule of Pinkie Pie and pushed itself into the redzone to figure out what she was saying. The reflex was powerful, stopping her failing dead and leaving her hanging like a limp rag with her jaw hanging open. The silence hung literally in the air for a long time as Twilight mentally sputtered to get something cognizant out of her mouth in reply, but her difficulty working said part of her anatomy only mad her angrier. In the end, it produced something monumental. A new language was born that day, one that would be used in future to replace all foul language wherefore previously acknowledged. They called it "angrish."

"I...! You...! Piepipespinkie... huduvuweeving...! Ceiling when I...! Pie Pinkie I'm going to!... AAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!" It was a comical sight, thanks to Twilight's hair physically smouldering as she gibbered in outrage.

"Uhhh... Twilight?"

Pinkie and Twilight turned to the source of the familiar voice, and beheld Applejack standing in the somehow open space where the locked front door should have been with a concerned expression on her face.

"Uh howdy girls... I hope Ah'm not interruptin' anything?"

Applejack's expression alone spoke volumes and what was on her mind would have been painfully clear to anypony else, but not Ponyville's friendly neighborhood head case. Pinkie looked thoughtful for a moment, then smiled. "Oh no silly! You're just in time! Twilight was creating a new language and I'm so glad you get to be here for it!" -Gasp- "Oh this is the language's birthday! This calls for a-!"

"Yeah I saw that..." The braided-maned cowpony interrupted, "Sorry Pinkie but I don't think you can throw a birthday party for a language, if that even was one. Besides, we have previous plans remember?" Pinkie paused, tilting her head in a thoughtful manner again at her reliable friend's reminder, and the pony turned her southern-drawl on Twilight, who was still hanging from the heartwood ceiling. "And Twilight, you should know better than t' try to make sense of Pinkie Pie. Remember Froggy Bottom Bog?"

The dangling mare raised a hoof to protest, but AJ cut her off. "And I don't want to hear another word about Pinkie Pie and how she got into the library. We both know you can't keep that pony out of anything if she wants in. Jus' let it go."

Twilight obeyed the command reluctantly, and sighed heavily. "Just get me down from here so I can assess the Pinkie-related damages..." She grouched, crossing her forelegs sulkily. "I swear I'm going to find out if this library's insurance covers damaged caused by lunatics..."

For the briefest moment, the cowpony's expression shifted to a hurt expression, but she masked it with a half-smile at the pose Twilight was unintentionally making as she went for her lasso. "Ah' doubt it Twi'light," she replied with a vaguely forced chuckle. "What with the number of crazies making Ponyville home, the companies would be bankrupt in a month."

"Point taken." Twilight sorted sourly, her disposition darkening at the interruption of her previous activities and unwelcome presence of her friends. "Just get me down."

"Unhhhh... well the kitchen's a disaster." Mumbled Spike as he staggered back into the room with a pot mostly obscuring his head. "Fantastic... another mess to clean up. Oh wow Twilight, Pinkie really did a number on you didn't she?"

With a toss of her head, Applejack nicely curved the lasso so it floated through the air and went tight around her friend's dangling back legs. "Hang on sugar cube, I'll have you down in a jiffy!"


"We're here everypony!"

For the third time in less than ten minutes, everyone present turned in eery unison towards the source of the sudden and familiar voice. Sure enough, a familiar ivory-furred pony sporting a mane that could only be described as 'violaceous spirals of perfection' (anything less verbose would be an insult to the amount of effort the mare put into that thing every morning) stood in the doorway. Behind her were a pair of familiar pegasi, one with an unmistakeable rainbow mane and the third and finally one hiding behind the collective tails of the others. Still, the strands of pink mane that were visible made it obvious who she was, and indeed the all three of them were obvious at a glance.

They were Rarity Belle, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy, respectively. Her fellow bearers of harmony and her friends... or at least she'd thought they were friends. The way they'd been almost avoiding her since the wedding was not lost on Twilight. She'd even considered that they could be changelings for a while, but logic had killed that line of reasoning quickly. Still, there was something definitely strange about...

Absently realizing that she was zoning out, Twilight put those thoughts on hold and tuned back into the present, a part of her subconscious dutifully filing away the fact that that somehow that entire flashback happened in less than a second. Pinkie had said something, but she'd (thankfully) missed it. She couldn't handle any more insanity today.

"Good Gracious Twilight! Darling whatever did do to get stuck up there?" Rarity gasped demurely. The fashionista had to have been practicing that darn expression... every time she used it it managed to be more and more dramatic. Maybe hobnobbing it up with the nobles at the wedding was the reason she seemed-?

"Howdy Rarity!" Applejack exclaimed, her resounding southern twang shaking Twilight out of her tangent thoughts once again. "Twilight's kinda hung up at the moment, so I was gonna get her down."

Rarity's eyes rolled as she stepped inside, trailed by Fluttershy. "I can see that she's hanging from the ceiling Applejack, but how did she get up there?" For a moment, Twilight could have sworn that Rarity's voice quivered, like she was straining to keep it neutral, but it vanished.

Whatever the orange pony's answer to that particular question would have been, it was left unsaid on account of Rainbow Dash barreling into the room and hovering up in front of Twilight's face. She stared at her for a moment, then looked her up and down, before finally opening her mouth.

"Haha wow Twilight I didn't know you could hang from the roof like that! You must have really wanted to get up here! Tell me... do you come here for the view, or just because you like the wood?"

There was an awkward silence, then the cackling started. First Rainbow Dash, then Pinkie, then Applejack, even Rarity began to laugh. Spike just looked on sadly, the pot still partially covering his head, while Fluttershy looked ashamedly at her hooves, hiding behind the pink curtain of her mane.

Twilight couldn't bear it. How could they? Didn't they understand? How would they feel if they were stuck hanging from the ceiling?! She ground her teeth silently, holding her tongue. Didn't they know how much that hurt? Couldn't they see...? Couldn't they see that they were stabbing her heart?

It is common knowledge that one of the elements of harmony was laughter. Laughter can be a salve to wounds medicine cannot touch, a warm blanket to the soul on a chilly night. However, laughter can also be forged into a blade that cuts deeper than any craft of the hoof. When laughter is directed at someone, instead of alongside them and with them, it becomes a thing of cruel power. That, albeit unwittingly, was what four of her dearest friends had turned on her.

Twilight was silent. Every fiber of her, be it sinew, muscle, bone, or nerve, was as taught as a whip. The purple unicorn was on the verge of snapping. However, it was not anger that kept her so tightly wound, but a desperate drive to keep from breaking down into tears.

'I thought they were my friends...' She sobbed in the turbid environs of her distraught mind. It was like a knife had been driven into her heart. 'After all we've been through; Nightmare Moon, the hydra, Discord, the dragon migration, the changeling invasion... We were so close. When did we become so distant?' She wondered, the harsh merriment of her friends rung in her eyes, only twisting the imagined blade deeper.

It took them a while before they finally managed to stop, apparently not even fully cognizant of the effects of their amusement. That was when they finally realized Twilight wasn't laughing. An awkward silence settled on the library again, and Spike could feel Twilight's tension building. That was not good. In her condition, there was no telling how far she was from cracking under the strain.

Twilight rarely cracked, but the two more memorable times in recent history she had had been during her studies of pinkie sense and when she was panicking about her friendship lesson due dates to Celestia. Respectively, the "Froggy Bottom Bog" and "Smarty Pants" incidents, as they were called, showed just what Twilight was capable of if pushed to far. Knowing that, it was a miracle in hindsight that Discord's machinations hadn't... okay maybe they did, if you figured the the stress from the battle with Discord might have something to do with the smarty pants one...

But enough of all that! If Twilight snapping from conditions far less serious than her insomnia had caused those things, what would happen if she snapped now!? That didn't bear thinking about. He had to do something... but what? How?

Spike's mind would probably have run onto a few dozen more questions if it had had the time, perhaps enough to figure something out. Unfortunately, the overworked little dragon's mind never got the chance.

"Soooo... Twilight?" Rainbow Dash spoke up, hazarding the question needed to break the awkward silence. "Really Twilight, why are you up there?"

Both Applejack and Spike facehoofed (or faceclawed in the dragon's case) and groaned in unison at their mutual friend's 'impetuousity' as Twilight would have said. At that moment, the face of the mare that shared that name could have been carved from stone. Meanwhile, Rarity was watching Pinkie Pie take a swan dive into the veritable pool of literature on the floor; the one from the aftermath of Twilight's adventures in medical texts.

"Silly Dashie! Twilight's just hanging around!" Called Pinkie as she breached from the sea of paper and ink to vanish again in a splash of magazines. Another massed groan at the pun echoed through the now disorganized room. Twilight didn't want to answer the question. She wasn't sure what would happen if she did. Applejack, noticing Twilight's long silence, decided to answer for her.

"Well Rainbow, as far as ah' know Twilight's stuck up there." The apple-flanked cowpony shrugged. "Pinkie isn't something good to have on your brain y'know, so she kinda... freaked."

All present winced at the unmistakeable sound of Pinkie gasping, and braced themselves. Good thing they did, because that earth pony hits you like a train. "Oh-my-gosh-I-was-standing-on-Twilight's-brain-I'm-so-sorry-Twilight-I-didn't-mean-to-" There was a momentary pause in the unending river of discourse as the bubblegum mare tilted her head at a 90 degree angle in what was generally agreed upon by the others as the 'ponderous pinkie' position. Everyone waited patiently for the synchronized rolling of her eyes to stop. Even Twilight had learned rather quickly that you don't interrupt the mare when she was loading.

"Objection! Applejack, Twilight's brain is in her head! I didn't stand on her head, so I couldn't have been on her brain! " Came the triumphant declaration as the party pony took an epic pose on top the horse head statue with a hoof thrust at Appelejack. No one bothered to comment on the suffering of physics in this regard. With Pinkie Pie, you just acknowledge that all laws of science and common sense had surrendered to her long ago.

This time, Rarity and Rainbow Dash joined in the concerted facehoof. "It's an expression deary. Don't overthink it."

"Okay Rarity!" Pinkie nodded vigorously, then belly flopped into the book pile.

"Anyway," Applejack cut in. "let's get you down Twilight. Rarity, Rainbow, mind gettin' your hooves dirty for a bit?"

"Are you kidding Applejack? My hooves are always up for grime!"

"Ugh, no thank you dear, I'd rather just use my horn." The alabaster-furred dressmaker replied with a toss of her mane, gesturing to the ivory spire rising from her forehead.

Applejack was silent for a moment, then sighed in defeat. "It's an expression prissypants... let's jus' get her down?" Rarity nodded, showing no annoyance whatsoever at the earthpony's quip, Twilight noticed absently, and they went to work while Pinkie frolicked in the pile.

Spike pulled the pot off his head, and let out a groan, drawing Fluttershy's attention. "Oh dear! Spike are you okay?"

"Yeah, I think so. I just got hit with a frying pan, nothing serious to a dragon. Just a bump."

Fluttershy gasped softly. "A bump? Oh dear Spike you don't want that getting infected. I'll take a look at it, I mean if you don't mind..."

Spike hesitated, then sighed. He may as well let her look. He needed to keep an eye on Twilight for now. The cleaning could wait. "Okay Fluttershy, if you insist."

About a half an hour later, they were all stuck in the same situation, albeit generally more irritated than before. Despite their concerted efforts and some varyingly useful tips from Pinkie Pie between her frolickings (that mare had to be the only pony capable of literally swimming through books), they'd failed to so much as budge Twilight. Spike and Fluttershy had finished their little medical examination, and with Spike's head swathed in bandages had moved to cleaning up the kitchen. Having long since given up on trying to simply loosen her, the three ponies attempted one final desperate yank... and collapsed in a heap on the floor.

After a long moment of silence "Uh Twilight darling?"

"Don't say it Rarity... just don't."

Rarity fell silent immediately, but the incorrigible pegasus currently in a jumbled mess of feathers and limbs against the wall beyond her was not so obliging.

"Man Twilight, you're stuck faster than a palm tree..." Rainbow Dash muttered, still a bit dazed from her date with the tree trunk.

Applejack winced at their mutual friend's characteristic lack of tact, and shushed her with a skillfully tossed lasso to the lips before adding her own voice. "You alright Twilight?" She asked, helping the others to their hooves.

It was the wrong question. All of them knew it immediately. Twilight twitched, and leveled a distinctly cold gaze at them. " 'Am I alright' you ask?" She repeated flatly. The venom in her tone was enough to make them all flinch... something not easy when you're in a heap on the floor. "Let me see, eyes bloodshot and showing obvious signs of physical and mental exhaustion and possibly minor trauma..." She began, counting off with her hoof as one would with fingers. "....reclusive behavior and extreme studying, lack of sleep approaching my eleventh day, disorganization of the library left in my care while I am present, increasing lack of emotional control, and to top it all off I am hanging from the ceiling of my own library and home by my bucking horn as a result of a surprise entrance by the pink stalker! Those things considered, no, I am most certainly not alright!"

The stunned silence at the beleaguered mare's utterly anvilicious statement would have taken a chainsaw to cut through, it was so thick. Pinkie hung frozen in midair with a consummate look of what could have been horror or shock on her face. Everypony else's jaws just hung limply on the ground... well save Rainbow's. She was still getting the lasso off her face.

Twilight held that cold gaze in the silence and Rarity actually shivered. Then it vanished as Twilight shrugged and attempted a smile that may or may not have been forced. "But that aside, I'd rather know what made all of you come here to interrupt my studying. I haven't seen you anyone of you in over a week, and you all suddenly show up without a word of warning and with total disregard for the fact that I have been studying like mad on a subject of quite literally life-altering importance? What, may I ask, is so urgent that you had to go visit me with no prior warning whatsoever?"

The three victims of her less then gentle inquisition hesitated, uncertain how to respond, as a bandaged Spike and Fluttershy watched on from the safety of the kitchen doorway. Pinkie Pie had vanished back under the books when her comedic license against reality ran out, and Twilight hung silently.

"Well Sugar-Cube..." Applejack began, trying to find... well if not the best words than at least the safest ones, but wouldn't they be the same in this instance? "Th' thing is, we all noticed that you haven't been out much recently, so we wanted to get together with you. Pinkie suggested a party, so..."

"A party."

"Yeah! Parties make everything better! Even lonely-pants staring contests with books!" Came Pinkie's happy reply.

Twilight was not amused. If anything, her ire multiplied. "You interrupted my study of a topic of unrivaled importance, to invite me to a party?"

Rarity and the others braced themselves, but Pinkie Pie... she didn't even see it coming. She just kept going. "Yepperooni! It's been a long time since we had a party all together and you really need a party and..."

There was a flash of light as Twilight's anger sparked into a conflagration, and she teleported herself (and a part of the ceiling, they noticed) to the floor and then a second time to appear nose to nose with Pinkie, her eyes blazing. Smoke poured from her smoldering mane as she ground her teeth audibly. Fluttershy cringed at the sight, backing up.

"Pinkie Pie?"

"Yep Twilight?" She asked.

"Get out."

The cotton-candy colored mare's smile wavered for an instant. "Twilight...?"

"I said get out! I have had enough of your foalishness to last me a lifetime, and I am insulted that in spite of the fact that you all knew I have been researching something at a pace that would kill the average unicorn, and in spite of that chose to interrupt me for something so utterly a waste of time as a worthless party! Get out of my sight and let me finish my studying in peace! I don't want to even see you again until I'm finished!" She howled turning her fury on all five of the mares present. All of them cringed under the raw power of her exposition. Pinkie's smile vanished like a mirage, and Fluttershy, the poor mare, cowered behind Applejack.

Spike winced sympathetically and moved to stop her before she did more damage. "Easy Twilight... "

She spun on him, the curling grey-black cloud rising from her hair scything in her wake. "Easy! Easy?! I haven't slept in ten days, have to reorganize the entire library, and just spent the last hour hanging by my horn and you want me to take it easy?!"

Her long-time assistant withered under the onslaught, recoiling from her anger and smoldering mane. "No! But..."

"But what!?" She roared.

Spike flinched back, only slightly hurt by the anger in her tone. He, of all the people there, understood what was going on. He couldn't let her destroy her friendships in a moment of wild emotion. "Twilight, they just wanted to cheer you up. You don't have to be so hard on them. On top of that, if you keep shouting like that, you're going to end up hurting yourself!"

It was a logical argument, but unfortunately, the furious equine was far to incensed to see it. Her mane ignited like a bonfire, making everyone shrink away in fear and, in the case of Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash, gape in horrified awe.

"If that's how you feel about it, then you can go too!" She yelled.

Everyone gasped in shock. Spike's eyes watered. She couldn't mean it! she couldn't! He was her assistant! Her Friend! Her...! He paused. What was he to her? Why didn't he have an answer? He used to know exactly what Twilight was to him, and what he was to her... When had that changed? Why? How?!

Twilight looked away, still seething and trailing a raging inferno of smoke and licking flame.

"Get out. All of you."

Spike looked up, tears forming at the corners in his eyes. "But what will you do without your number one assistant?" He whispered.

"I'll tell you what I will do, I'll be able to work without interruption! I'll be able to do more research since I won't have to worry about caring for a baby dragon! I never even needed an assistant!" Twilight spat.

That did it. Spike flinched. Anyone could have seen how deeply that blow struck him. He sniffed. "If that's how you f-feel Twilight..." he choked out, then turned, and fled out the open door. Rarity and the others watched him go in shock, their mouths hanging open. Pinkie's mane hung like a limp dishrag, and Fluttershy was practically crying outright. Rainbow and Applejack turned to Twilight, their faces angry, but she spoke before they could. "That means you too!" She snapped, her mane blooming in a burst of flame for emphasis. "I don't want to have to even look at any of you until I've finished this project no matter what you have to say to me, and that goes double for party invitations!" She howled, casting a look at Pinkie who withered in response.

Rarity turned and left without a word, but not to spite Twilight. She ran after Spike, worried about what he might do. Applejack and Rainbow Dash cast looks of disdain at Twilight, who returned them with glares that could have scorched them like trees, literally. Each of them taking one of their distraught friends and leading them towards the door. As the Rainbow led the miserable looking Pinkie Pie out the door, she turned back to give one final parting statement. "I don't know what happened to you Twilight, but when you find the mare that had the heart to forgive her friends, freed us from Discord's magic, and led us against him and all his insanity, let me know. Tell her to get back soon, because the one currently taking her place isn't worthy of calling any of us friends." She snapped, then trotted out, slamming the door.

Twilight's mouth hung open for a moment. "Oh yeah?!" She howled at the closed door "Well if you find the friends that fought a changeling horde with her, you let me know, because the one's I've been talking to are strangers!" She took a step forwards, then slipped on a medical pamphlet and crashed to the floor. Her mane went out like it'd been doused, pooling in a charred mess around and on top of her. She lay on her side for a second, curling into a fetal position and holding back tears of her own, just long enough for her magic to draw the blinds shut and lock the door.

Silence fell on the library, broken only by Twilight's muted sobs. "I'm sorry. Oh Girls... Oh Spike... I'm sorry... So sorry... Please forgive me... I'm sorry!" She whispered.

Then her words broke into babble as she wept brokenly.


[Thanks to all the prereaders I've had thus far (you know who you are), especially AB for being willing to tackle this much larger chapter solo.]

Comments ( 25 )

Okay, so I spent WAY to much time on this chapter, but I think it came out rather well. As for my three preferred prereaders, I do apologize for not giving you the link to this sooner. I promise to do so with the next one, and to work harder on it, though considering I'll be getting a job soon and am working on another fic, in addition to all my other projects, still leaves this story pretty low on my priority list.

You know how to change that though. All I need is people interested in me working on it!

In other notes, yes this chapter was a pain to write. First time actually trying to get the girls' characters right. How do you think I did?

Also, before anyone asks, yes this is just the beginning. Twilight, why you so crazymad?

This may be one of the most explicit examples of extreme escalation of tension that I have read in fanfiction yet. I felt as if the combination of all of the scenes in this chapter really hit home in terms of driving emotion forward. The gradual ramping of stress on Twilight was well paced, and they all played very well of of one another in terms of reactions. I didn't see any glaring or even less obvious mistakes, but I do have a bit of a peeve - the paragraphs are not indented at all. That, and you had trouble with starting a new paragraph each time someone else speaks. Otherwise, it was very solid. The first chapter greatly interested me, but this chapter has ensured that I will eagerly await the next chapter. Don't worry about how long it takes you to post the chapter, though; good things take time.

1038115 I'm sure I said this before, but fixed.

1238473 Sorry about the paragraphs... I'll consider changing it if I get enough requests, but otherwise I don't see much of a point. Yes, I know I have issues with paragraph changing according to the speaker, and I'm working on that. As is, I THINK I got all of the issues with Chapter 2.

As for the next chapter, I'll try to do it in less time than the 3 months it took me for this one. It starts REALLY picking up in chapter 4.

......Don't take too long with the next one!!!! I NEED MOAR!!!!! :flutterrage:

1239468 What gave you that crazy idea? :trollestia:

Good work my friend. Some things I didn't expect from you, others I was surprised to see you do so well. I think this will turn out to be a really great first fan fic. :twilightsmile:

1243747 First? I would have thought you of all people would remember my previous attempts at fiction. Remember Nocturne of Shadow and Chaotic Universe?

1245217 But those aren't MLP are they? I was just talking about in the MLP universe.

MOAR i say, MOAR!!

twilight snapped, then broke down, and is now falling apart... yeah this is going to be interesting. i loved the random "no silly, i didn't come through the door, i came through the bathtub." totally pinkie pie.

next chapter, i await you!!

1239364 I swear I'm still working on it. I swear! I've just been busy with other projects and work and stuff! You WILL get another chapter. On my honor as a Gold Member! (whatever the heck that is, and why ever I am one.)

2355797 I don't know why I am one eather, but needless to say GOLD TEAM RULES!!!
Oh and yay!:yay:

2357699 eh, it's April 1st. Answer acquired.

Now... I'm only at 3500 words for the next chapter, but it's starting to come along. Just give me some time and I'll get to the good stuff. I had no idea I could spend 3000 words doing nothing but talk and thought and still make a chapter plausible.

Holy crap, somepony finally chewed out Pinkie Pie.


3790609 you'd think they'd have learned their lesson from the episode with pinkie's birthday...
and I'm sorry I haven't done more with this. It's been a pain to write anything, let alone a fic I half-abandoned due to writer's block.

It's irritatingly hard for me to mock up anything more than a one-shot.


All things considered, Twilight finally snapping after a week without sleeping, plus the shit she had to put up with at the wedding, is kind of warranted. True, Spike was the innocent victim here, but all of this could have been avoided had Pinkie Pie acted normally, instead of a hyperactive manchild with ADHD.

I've always believed that for all her charm, Pinkie is absolutely shit at picking up social cues. Just look at Cranky Doodle Donkey.

3795879 you'd think she'd have learned something from that...

Please continue this so far this is amazing and you enthralled me in a mere two chapters hope you update this soon.

Comment posted by Thespurgin deleted Jan 17th, 2015

I kind of lost track where I was going with this, so I'm likely to cancel it soon and/or take it down altogether, though I'm not averse to reimagining the story. I have the doc for it's development in my library, so it's simply a matter of finding the plot the story needs.

5515966 Please don't cancel this fic:pinkiesad2:. This was one of the first fics I read on this site apart from the huge fics like the nyx-verse and the quiet place; you probably have your own ideas on how this should continue (if you plan on continuing it) and I would be happy with whatever you do with it, but when I read this I started writing the end in my head (as I am wont to do) just so it could have some completion and I could move on. It was really strange and involved Twilight training with, then inevitably fighting, Chrysalis in order to save both their races. In the end Chrysalis was turned into a filly with no knowledge of her time as a queen and Twilight took her place as queen. The fight would be seen by the entire world, as it was to happen on an entirely different plane of existence; the plane of existence the fight would take place in would be like the ethereal realm, but more permeable. It had all been cobbled together from ideas for my first fanfic (which I subsequently abandoned and made into a one shot) and all while running on less than two hours of sleep, 4 bottles of mountain dew, and one or two bags of funyuns. Not sure if its that interesting of an idea, but if you need a direction there ya go.

note: lolz, posted without prereading my thought, run on sentence runs on.

Im pretty sure a week without sleep would make anyone crazy XD

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