My little hut in the back of Ponyville is quiet. I provide an essential service to the ponies that come to me. It comes at a cost. Not monetary, but more intangible.
I make the pain go away.
It was a dark evening when she came to me the first time. She knocked on the door twice, and waited for me to open my abode to her.
The entryway opened with a creak, and she looked at me with the pessimism I’ve seen in all the others.
“Are you Sen?”
“You have said so,” I say, standing aside. “What can I do for you?”
She stepped inside, looking around at my rather quaint home. She turns to me with some surprise.
“I don’t know why, I expected you to be a Zebra.”
“Why would that matter?” I ask.
“Well, I just. I heard from somepony that you can make pain go away. I guess I thought remedies. Or something.”
I smile faintly.
“It’s my special talent, yes. But why do you want the pain to go away? Or more specifically, how?”
She exhaled from her nose. Her eyes moved to a seat in my living room. I gesture to her to sit.
“It’s just. There’s so much hardship in this world,” she said. “It makes me feel like everything will come to an end. There’s nothing I can do about it either. I’m just… helpless.”
I nodded, moving to grab a pad of paper. I foresaw her being the typical one and done meeting I do for nobility.
“I was hoping,” she said to me. “If I could talk to somepony who knew how to deal with these problems, then I could find a way not to feel so bad anymore.”
I scribbled the typical order down on a piece of paper. And handed it to her.
“What is this?” she asked.
“A prescription. When you need to stop the pain, take it, but be careful. Do you really want to live life avoiding pain?”
She looked at the paper, then back to me.
“And what if I need more? What if--”
“The pharmacy will call me. You aren’t alone. It'll be okay.”
She stood up, uneasy.
“Well, that was easier than I expected,” she said. “Maybe now I can at least study and write my letters.”
“Just remember. Only when you need it.”
Three years later, she knocked on my door once more. I recognized her when I saw her in the papers. This time, she had wings. However, I wasn't surprised that she was. After all, she would had to have had connections to find out about me. And, some of us with the heaviest weights on our hooves have the hardest tasks to accomplish.
But why had she returned, I wondered.
I opened the door and she pushed herself inside.
“I need your help again, Sen.”
“Princess Twilight,” I gasped as she pushed herself inside. “Why are you-”
“I can’t take it,” she almost screamed. “Everyday I hear of some horrible tragedy that is happening outside the borders of Equestria. There’s so much pain. So much suffering. Everywhere. All the time!”
She looked at me with wide eyes. I felt my throat quench.
“What do you want me to do?”
Twilight sat in front of me, her eyes pleading.
“The pills aren’t cutting it anymore.”
“Nor should they have,” I said. “They were sugar.”
Twilight blinked and shook her head.
“But Princess Celestia suggested you-”
“Of course she did,” I sighed. “Then you need the next step.”
I moved to my chest and reached inside. From it, I pulled two small pieces of rubber. I moved to her and placed them just inside of each of her ears. With a simple incantation, they’re invisible.
“It’s done. You will no longer hear the things that bring you pain. Now, you’ll only hear the good things.”
“But what about the things that would make me hurt?” she asks.
“They will flow in one ear, and right out the other. You won’t have any reason to feel bad.”
She smiled and exhaled in relief.
“Maybe now I can sleep at night without hearing the voices of the hurting.”
Years passed. I read the papers. To my surprise, she kept my secret safe. Just like her mentor before her. And knowing her mentor, I was ready when she came the next time.
When she knocked, I opened and she moved inside like a corpse being dragged by a tortoise. Her eyes were sunken and had dark circles the size of the moon.
“Sen, I need your magic.”
“Now, you know that the next step is very serious. It-”
“YEAH! I GET IT-” The princess snapped. “Sen says this! Sen says that! Pain is relative! But you don’t know what I saw. I watched one of my own guard stabbed right in front of me. I watched the light leave his eyes. Do you understand?”
I took a step back, my mind traveling to nearly a thousand years ago. When things were simpler. When I didn’t have to hide my existence from the world.
“Then you understand the risks?”
“I won’t make the same mistakes as her,” Twilight said. “I’m sure of it.”
I move to the chest once more and pull out a blue blindfold. One knot. One incantation, and it melds in with her eyes.
“As you have asked. You no longer see pain in the world.”
She smiled, and nodded.
“I won’t make the same mistakes as Celestia. I promise.”
Four years later and with each passing newspaper, I believed this would be the day. My ear pressed against the door for even the faintest whisper. All I heard were the echoing cries.
Then, to my relief, the fateful day came.
She didn’t knock. She simply let herself in. Her eyes were wide, but her face was dry.
“I think I’ve done something terrible.”
“You have,” I said.
“Why won’t you say anything to me?” Twilight said.”Nopony will speak to me. Not even my best friends. I don’t see them anymore. I just wanted to ensure everypony was happy. And had jobs. And, and…”
“There is a cost to not seeing pain.”
She blinked and looked down to her hooves.
“I think I have blood on my hooves, Sen. I keep washing them, but they don’t feel right.”
“Then, are you ready to follow in your teacher’s footsteps and undo the enchantments?” I asked.
Twilight opened her mouth for a moment, then shook her head.
“I’ve seen the numbers. The world is unified! Nopony is hungry. There’s no more war. Everypony is living in harmony. All because of the choices I’ve made.”
“Every choice has a consequence.”
“I know!” she said. “Which is why I need to do what Celestia couldn’t.”
A chill runs down my spine.
“When she undid these enchantments, things went back to the way they used to be. Crime went up. Villains tried to take over Equestria. If I can just stop thinking about the pain I make with my decisions, then I can make this world a perfect place.”
“For who? Have you thought that they fear to defy you? That they fear to give you any bad news? They wouldn't risk to speak of rebellion or insurrection?” I ask.
She stares at me.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?”
I shake my head.
“Is this really what you want?”
“More than anything.”
“Then it’s my royal debt to fill.”
I move to the chest to pull out my final artifacts. A small hammer, and a long, thin nail. Then I return to Twilight and press the tip of the nail just between her tear duct and her eye.
“This might hurt,” I said.
“Will this hurt?” she asked.
“After this, none of your decisions will hurt again.”
A gentle tap. A sickening squelch that I haven’t heard in eons.
“There. Now you’re free, Twilight. No more hard decisions. No more hurtful things to read. No evils to hear. Nothing can hurt you. Isn't that better?”
Twilight could only smile.