Amidst the jeers and outcry of the general public, I'm escorted from the courthouse in Canterlot and into a secure flying carriage bound for Manehattan. I try desperately to block out the sound of the ponies gathered around the building with minimal success. It's only as the carriage ascends up and away from the incensed crowd that their outraged cries fade into white noise.
Physically and magically restrained as I am, the journey is long and uncomfortable, but above all, it's quiet. There are no voices, nor is there any dialogue from my escorts or the pegasi flying the carriage. Like the ride itself, the silence is far from comfortable, but I find it preferable to the deleterious vitriol that spewed forth from the ponies back in Canterlot.
Long minutes turn to long hours and eventually, we touch down in Manehattan just as Celestia is preparing to lower the sun. With shame, fear, and hope in equal measure, I walk through the doors of Sana Mente Hospital. The Royal Guards who'd accompanied me thus far follow close behind. The situation is explained to the head of the hospital and the staff who'd be involved from that point onward.
With their role fulfilled, the Royal Guards take their leave, replaced by orderlies whose countenances bring to mind the same cold stoicism as the guards before them. With few words and very little delicacy, I'm tossed into one of the many sterile white rooms within the depths of the hospital. The door slams shut and with the heavy click of a lock, I find myself temporarily incarcerated in a soulless white prison to await the doctor and their examination.
For three days I wait, all the while at the mercy of the vile voice in my head. It taunts and teases and mocks me relentlessly, allowing me no peace of mind. Rest eludes me and I'm given no room to reflect on anything save for the nightmare that is my current reality. Images of friends and family paint themselves upon the back of my eyelids as I try in vain to sleep.
The voice that sounds so much like my own whispers to me that I'll never see them again, that they've all washed their hooves of me. I know it lies but it hurts all the more knowing whatever I've done has caused them all so much pain. I struggle time and again to remember what horrible act lurks just beneath the surface but time and again I draw a complete blank.
It feels like an age has passed by the time the doctor steps into my room. She's a rather tall unicorn mare and very beautiful by anypony's standards, but it's a calculated sort of beauty—like that of a professional model. Pristine fur the color of ash, a flowing mane and tail like sparkling white snow, soft amber eyes, and a gentle, calming smile to match that of Celestia herself.
She's a mare whose very presence seemed to radiate warmth and sympathy—the embodiment of a kind and caring professional whose sole purpose was to save lives. So why is it then that I feel so cold when I gaze upon her? What is it about her warm smile that sends chills down my spine? Was it the lack of sleep? Paranoia? Has my predicament simply driven me to the edge of sanity?
She is a Queen and this place is her Castle, the voice seems to say in response to my scattered and fearful thoughts, here you are merely a subject—a lowly pawn who will soon be made to kneel and cower at her hooves...
I desperately try to push the voice away as the doctor introduces herself. With clipboard in hoof and a voice like honey, she tells me her name is Silver Lining and that she will be the one taking care of me during my stay. She tells me of what my assessment will entail and that the results will be used to determine what type of treatment, if necessary, will be used.
I'm then asked a series of questions regarding the nature of and reasons behind my crime—many of which, to my horror, I'm unable to answer. Doctor Lining speaks and I hear the words, but their meaning escapes me. My mind twists and warps her speech into something wholly alien to me and all I can do is respond with fear, confusion, and uncertainty.
After several long and agonizing minutes, my harrowing and no doubt fruitless interrogation comes to an end. Doctor Lining frowns and marks something on her clipboard before eyeing me with an expression I can't quite fathom. She tells me the assessments will continue for a few more days and that treatment will begin once she's certain of her diagnosis.
With her work done for the moment, she exits the room and I hear the orderlies who'd been waiting just outside close and lock the door once more. I'm left alone with my thoughts and fears, nopony to keep me company but the malicious voice in my head. I ask it why, plead with it to tell me what I've done, but the only response I receive is more derisive laughter.
Over the course of those next few days, my life becomes little more than interviews, interrogations, observations, and psyche centric norm-referenced tests. Despite Doctor Lining's gentle smile and warm assurances, I begin to feel more and more like a toy for her amusement as the days pass—like I'm just an interesting bit of literature for her idle perusal.
It's only been a few days, but between the tests, the distant but maddening wails of the other patients, and that infernal voice, I feel like I'm gradually slipping into actual insanity. The perceived psychosis for which I was committed is slowly but surely becoming my reality. I still know nothing of my crime nor the origins or intentions of the thing that's taken hold of me and I can only pray that the Doctor finds a resolution so that I can leave this horrible place.