Total Eclipse of the Sun
Chapter 9: Acceptance
I woke up floating in a weird starry void. When did I get here? Or more importantly, how could I be here. The feeling of weightlessness started to get to me when several bright lights gathered underneath me in the form of a road on which I slowly landed. At the moment of the landing, I was surprised to feel my toes; I was getting used to my hooves. This weird spectacle brought a rather important question in perspective. What the hell is happening! Wait, I can use that expression correctly now?
“The pony part of your brain has been used to give life to me my little human.” An amused voice came from behind me. I decided to turn around to face origin of the seemingly familiar voice. I wasn't surprised to see a tall white alicorn with a pastel rainbow mane; actually, to be honest, it looked awfully like the sky at dawn. I was staring at the pony I was slowly turning into, Celestia.
I thought that my ability to be surprised was depleted thanks to the last few days, but this one took the cake. Erg, me and my obsession with cake... In any case, if the changes were far enough to be able to generate such a detailed mental construct, I was in great trouble. Still, I decided to ask her the only question that mattered. “So, what is going on?”
“Oh over here? I only reshaped your dream so we could have a little talk. Dreams might be our sister’s domain, but I have learned some interesting techniques to protect ours.” She spoke as if I should know what she was talking about. Wait, Luna has power over dreams? Thinking back on last night dream, I'll admit that it was rather weird. But that would mean that... Na, I doubt she could use that kind of power, not consciously at least. “You Miss have a big problem. And the way you just treated your sister didn't help the situation.” I could easily feel the anger toward me ingrained in her voice when she mentioned Luna. There was also a hint of... guilt, like she could have prevented that situation.
Still, how dare she judge me based on that incident? I wasn't the one in the wrong after all. I decided to voice my annoyance, “First, HIS name is John and he isn't even the real Luna. And there is no way that he could be my sibling.” In any case, it seemed to be counterproductive to be angry at what was most likely another part of myself; though I doubt that pony me only wanted to talk about this matter, “So, what do you really want to talk about?” Actually, if she really is a representation of my pony side, then maybe she knows a way to return me to normal! “I suppose you don't happen to have any idea on how to reverse the changes...” Now that I think about it, why would she help me with that even if she knew it would mean her death? Maybe we could reach some kind of compromise.
Celestia was taken back by my answer for an instant, but her stance quickly returned to her usual mask. To any unsuspecting party she looked like she was genuinely smiling, but I knew she was still disappointed at my behavior toward the one she perceived as our sister thanks to her memories. In the end, she did concede my point, “You are right, she is as much the real Luna as you are the real Celestia. And as much as I'd like to help with your curse, I'm afraid that I already done more than I should have.” Her mention of a curse surprised me. It wasn't because it confirmed the source of the changes was magic, it meant that someone was behind this and he or she had ill intents toward both me and L-John. It made little sense considering that the two of us had so little in common. I wonder how much I could trust what this Tia was telling me. The traits of the pony in question became much more severe before she proceeded, “The topic I need to discuss with you is about the memories that you are gaining. You can't continue to belittle them anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I did not mean to say my thought out loud, but her unusual straightforwardness took me by surprise. She probably thought it was a grave problem. Well, it was her memories after all.
“If you continue to try to block them, the sheer amount of memories will eventually bury your own and form a personality of their own.” As she was done speaking, the solar alicorn realized what she had unknowingly insinuated, “I meant outside the dream world.”
As much as I hated to admit, she was probably right. If I did not manage to halt the mental changes, her memories would eventually overshadow my own, possibly redefining my sense of self. There is also no way to know for certain how my brain would react to having two distinctive set of memories. Oh no! What if my dream from earlier wasn't one? It would mean that I was already screwed. Still, it didn't stop me from doubting the motives of the being in front of me. “So you expect me to simply accept them because you say so?”
“No, I do not. I wouldn't have taken over your dream if I thought it would be so easy to convince you.” So she wanted to convince me. It was good to know that she preferred the more peaceful way, confirming what I already knew of her personality. “I shall start out by giving you a better view of the situation.” My body started to tingle as she finished. Bringing a hand in front of my face, I could see that it was quickly being covered in a white fur and my fingers merged together as the resulting one nail grew to cover much of the top of the forming hoof. She had reshaped my body back into a pony. Celestia was fairly amused at her handiwork, “You look much cuter that way.”
Other the other hand, I was much less amused; I did not need a reminder that I could be stuck on all four tomorrow. I craned up my new pony neck so I could stare at the Princess. The action felt really strange; this will take time to get used to. In any case, the height difference between the two of us was much too obvious. I decided to voice my opposition to the change, “Ch-” The voice that escaped my mouth was much more childish than how I sounded before going to sleep. Great, she had turned me into a young filly too... “I don't see how making me a filly will help you convince me...”
“This wasn't the reason why I changed you.” Her grin widened. Uh oh, what is she planning? “Tell me my little pony, why are you refusing those memories?” I rolled my eyes; she had changed me only so she could use her favorite expression. I wish I had that kind of power in the real world; it would be worth it for a few pranks.
“It's simple. The memories are only a fabrication of whatever spell was cast on me.”
The princess of the Sun seemed to be less than pleased at my answer, “Young filly! We both know that it isn't the real reason. Don't forget that I know what you truly think.” She proceeded to ask me in a more caring voice, ”What is it that you truly fear?”
It was my turn to use the change she forced on me at my advantage, “Yes mommy.” My 'mother’s' eyes rolled at the sound of my come back. What did I fear? If I accepted those memories as my own, my hypothesis was that it would change who I am, and how I think. Or more importantly, that it might affect my relationship with my friend. “I don't want to lose myself...”
Celestia started to close the gap between the two of us, prompting me to back away. Well, I tried to go backward but my inexperience with quadruped movement made me trip. Thankfully, due to the fact it was only a dream, the fall didn't hurt me. On the other hand, I let out a cute surprised “Eeep” when I felt the contact of fur on my right side. Celestia had just nuzzled me? “I'm sorry, I did not mean to scare you away little one.” I looked up at her to see that she looked genuinely sorry. That mistake however made me wonder about the identity of the being in front of me. I don't think that the 'real' Celestia would have done such a stupid mistake if she had been a public figure for centuries. Now that I think about it, the alicorn in front of me was acting oddly like my inner voice would. Eventually, the mental construct opened her mouth again, ”It is inevitable that you'll change one way or another. But who said that it couldn't be beneficial for you?”
To say the least, I was unconvinced by her statement, “Beneficial?”
The Princess paid no attention to my suspicions, “Celestia does possess over a thousand years of wisdom. Beside, you base your fear on the hypothesis that you are too different from your other self. Tell me Alex, how would you reign over ponies for centuries?”
Whatever took the form of Celestia had a habit of bringing the proper points to me, much like my inner voice. The alicorn of day possessed a great amount of power, moving both the Moon and Sun everyday was surely no small feat. But then why did she bother protecting other ponies at the cost of her only sister. Why would I protect them? It was hard to imagine myself in her place (for now), but when given the choice in games, I usually picked the selfless choice. A line from a famous super hero came to my mind that seemed to be oddly fitting, “With great power comes great responsibility.” My correspondent seemed confused by my words. “I meant that I would feel the need to use my power to keep them safe from those who would try to hurt them.”
The Princess nodded once I expressed myself more clearly, agreeing with my statement, “As Celestia has over the years. Even when she had to fight her own blood...” Her voice lowered toward the end, but there was something artificial about the mood she pretended to be in when she talked about the Nightmare Moon event. I also noticed that she avoided relating events to herself.
In the end, she was right though. Those memories, real or not, will have an impact on me whether I like it or not. Normally I would prefer to suppress them, but if I don't manage to reverse the changes fast enough then the effect would cripple me. The other option meant becoming more like Celestia. Like dream Celestia pointed out, I knew from the memories I have lived that, either me and Celestia were already mostly similar or the changes could only be beneficial in the matter. The only problem lies in my own feelings about the one Tia considers her sister. It was still the better choice of the two options.
It didn't mean that I couldn't have fun with the form she gave me. So, trying my best to appear to be pouting I addressed myself to her, “Fine... You win. I'll do as you said.“
The dream alicorn’s face brightened at my declaration, “Thank you. There is one more thing that I'd like to discuss with you though. I'd like you to mend your relation with Luna.” Great, that… My companion must’ve noticed my reluctance because she quickly added, “It is only a personal request from an old mare. Don't feel obliged to do anything.”
Now that I think back about what happened, I now see that cutting all ties with the only other person in my situation was too irrational; she just had caught me off-guard at the worst time. Yet, at the moment, it would be best if I keep my distance, at least until I have fully integrated the memories of Celestia and erased any confusion in my mind. “I'll try to work out a truce with her, but I can't guarantee anything more.”
The other Celestia looked happy that I’d abide to her request, “That is all I ask.”
The world around us started to fade away, like last night. The other pony decided to bid me farewell, “It is time for me to take my leave. The dream is fading away because of outside interference.”
Outside interference? Oh no! I must have fallen asleep on Luna's bed! This will make for a good impression...
I usually take coffee to solve my morning awareness problem in the morning. Of course, I figured out other ways to do so. And apparently, somepony just found a new one. For some reason I was suddenly awoken by a sharp pain in my back, making me let out an “Ouch” to recognize it. I wasn't too happy with this impromptu wake up method to say the least. Even worse, I had gotten entangled in the blankets.
The anger didn't last long however as the memories of both the room I was currently in and my dream last night came back to me. Duh, it was no wonder that Luna wouldn't be too happy this morning if I stole her bed. Actually, I heard some kind of giggles coming from behind me as I was facing the beautiful... wall. Well, I guess it was as good as any time to try to make up for my outburst last night. “Eh, I'm sorry for taking up your bed. I didn't plan on falling asleep...” I told her sheepishly.
“Hey, don't worry about it. So do you want to look at whatever changes happened overnight? Or tell me about any odd dreams you may or may not have had?” Her answer was chirpier than what I expected. It seemed that somepony was in a good mood this morning, and most likely at my expense.
“The changes can't be that bad, I haven't heard you shouting while fleeing the bathroom. That would have been as good a wake-up call as any.” I did not lose the chance to get her back for having much too fun pushing me on the floor. Unfortunately, it made me notice several things out of the ordinary. For one, my mouth felt different when it moved to pronounce words. Actually, I noticed a white spot in my vision moving as I spoke. I now had a muzzle; great, I can finally nuzzle others properly...
Actually, now that I pay more attention, my field of view seems to have grown and I could easily notice the paint flakes on the wall. Next, I tried to move my fingers, but I was greeted with an absence of the necessaries muscles. Not the fingers, I loved those! Not that I actually needed them thanks to magic, but still, fingers! Unfortunately, the frustration caused by my lost of pinkie and its friends contracted a muscle that I previously lacked and compressed my wings against the shirt I was still wearing. It was just like in my dream; there was no denying the state of the changes. “We are full ponies, aren't we?” I told her in defeat.
"Well, if you'd just look at me, then you'd have your answer!" That would be a great idea, but I kind of landed so as not to look that way after somepony pushed me. Of course, I wouldn't tell her out loud; I don't want to know what else she could do to me while I was already on the floor, and the frying pan was simply out of reach.
I still took the opportunity to humor myself, “I don't know, that wall seems strangely interesting at the moment.” Then I rolled on the floor as well as I could considering my situation with the pillows and the blanket until I was face to face to Luna all in her pony majesty, “You are rather... blue and… nude.” I did not expect her to be without clothes, though my wings constant contact with my shirt made it clear why she made that choice.
Considering her nice red blush that contrasted perfectly with her normally blue fur, I'd say that she didn't spend much time thinking about that part. Wait, how does fur change color? You know what, never mind that. Magical cartoon ponies don't need to make sense.
I decided to change subject before I reached insanity, “As for the dream, it's rather weird that you ask me that question. You could say that I had a talk with... myself,” That might sound a little too crazy when I think about it; I should try to explain it more clearly to her. “It was most likely only a coping mechanism. These last days weren't the most calm I’ve had in my life. Talk about a birthday present.” I only muttered the last sentence to myself, but I wouldn't be surprised if she caught it with her new pony ears.
My hunch soon proved to be true, "Yeah, no kidding. So, how are you holding up?"
How was I holding up? Surprisingly well considering how badly my life had been severely altered in only three days. That vacation had came at the perfect time. It was no wonder that she asked me though, considering how I acted up yesterday. I sighed before giving her my answer, “I'm feeling better than yesterday.” She had been nice with me for most part and here she was caring about my emotional state. It didn't make me feel any better about my outburst from yesterday. “Thank you for asking. I just hope that we'll quickly find a way to change back...”
I gave a quick glance at the state of my clothes; my shirt had been shredded, from the shift in my bone structure, not, because I gained more weight. Especially not because of the cake I like to eat. “As fun being turned into ponies might be, my clothes don't seem to appreciate it.” I tried to remove my shirt with the hooves that had replaced my hands and Luna seemed to be amused by my lack of success.
"Y'know, why don't you just use your magic to take off the clothes? Of course, then you'd be nude just like me." This was really embarrassing on two levels. I had practiced with my new found magic yesterday, especially to avoid situations like this one, and I can't believe that I forgot about the whole nudity part, especially after having so clearly explained it my si- Luna. I really need to stop calling her my sister... At least until I manage to attain better control those memories. Beside, is it me or has the room got a lot hotter suddenly?
“I had forgotten about my magic. It is only the second day that I can use real magic.” I told her sheepishly. Following the instruction from yesterday, I finally succeeded in removing my shirt. Unfortunately, I put too much magical strength in the effort and the piece of clothing flew right toward the face of Luna, successfully lodging itself on her head. Oh oh... “Sorry! I didn't mean to shoot it at you. It's your comment about being nude that caught me surprise. That is my excuse and I’m standing by it.” I mumbled the whole thing really fast. I don't know why, but I feared some kind of retaliation. Not anything serious like our little fight, more like... a prank? Great, even more mental changes to deal with, “As for the actual problem, well I guess I'll pretend that my fur is actually the clothes.” I did manage to quickly add in a more normal fashion
Now that my wings were free, I decided to stretch them to their full glory. They were much wider than I expected, but I fail to see how they could lift me in the air unless I lost some weight during the changes. Actually, I feel more like I’ve gained a few pounds since Saturday, and it isn't because of my eating habits this time. There are a couple of feathers out of place that I'll need to put back in place later on… once I'm granted the memories on how to properly take care of them. If I'm going to be stuck as a pony for a while, I might as be at my best. "So, how were you cursed and brought to Earth. I mean, it is shown in the show, but there's nothing like hearing it from the one who experienced it!" My wings quickly snapped to my side at Luna's shocking exclamation,
Her nonsense was met with a surprised shout, “What?!” This made no sense! I'll give her that if magic was involved in our changes then we had been cursed, but, as far as I'm concerned, I was born on Earth. I wonder how she could think that we were the real thing that somehow found our way to Earth. It was impossible! I was about to argue, but I managed to stop myself in time. I took a depth breath to cool down my mind; I did not want a repeat of yesterday.
Why did she come to believe this idea? She must have been overwhelmed by the memories coming from the spell! Hopefully it isn't too late to help her, “John, you do know that it make no sense that either us would come from a world described in a cartoon.”
"Yeah, and you realize that it makes no sense for us to be turning into ponies either right? And besides, we not only came from that world, but this world as well." I'll admit that logic has been thrown out of the window as of late, but belonging to both worlds? She means reincarnation... Overcomplicating thing won't win over her side of the argument. Besides, how does she explain the show?
“Heard of the Occam's razor? Which is more probable? We were humans that were cursed by some kind of magic and we are turning into a specific pony and gaining forged memories or we were ponies that somehow got sent away by a powerful being to be reborn as human and for some reason we are reverting to our true form? The end result might be very similar, but it does not make us them.” A sigh escaped my muzzle once I was done. If the mental changes go all the way, it won't matter who is right in the end anyways.
"Well, seeing as how you think those memories are based off of the show, let me tell you something; most of those memories we gained were never shown! The only explanation is that we experienced those times ourselves!" I only had her word about that part, which in this discussion wasn't worth much if she lost it. What followed caught me by surprise, "I even have someone on my side who backs my theory, and I'm willing to bet you have someone who backs my theory as well."
I wonder whom she is referring to. It wasn't a pony or she would probably have used somepony instead. Who could it be? I had barely told her anything about myself. Did Michael call me while I was asleep and she answered it? Even if it was the case, I don't see what he could have told her that reinforced her position. The only solution left is asking her directly, “Then, you won't have any problem to present them to me.”
"Well, didn't you talk to someone in your dreams last night?"
This was going nowhere! My impatience grew even more when my stomach rumbled to remind me that we had been doing this for a while. “Like I told you earlier, I 'spoke' to myself last night,” my wings had moved on their own to put emphasis on the quotes, “I don't think that either of us will be able to convince the other at moment. It would be better to drop the subject for now.”
"I know I'm right, because I talked to Selena last night through my dreams. She told me the truth of what happened to us originally." Her last statement caught me totally off guard. Why did she bring in the Greek goddess of the Moon? What did she have to do in all this? Well, I can say Luna is good at giving me a headache, and it was growing fast.
“What do the Greeks have to do with all this now...” This whole pony situation was starting to truly enervate me. Is it so hard for it to make just a tiny bit of sense? I mean, at this point Alice in Wonderland made much more sense than our situation to me.
"Well, not the Greeks, but Selena. From what I can tell, she sort of adopted the Greeks as her personal fan club.” That headache was starting to get bigger and she wasn't helping. She took a moment to think on how to proceed and she managed to catch me even more off-guard than at the mention of Selena. "Look, ever since these changes started, there's been some mysterious voice speaking to me and giving me advice. I think, the same has been happening to you."
A voice? Could she mean? No, that's impossible! And yet... It knew about that link to the Sun, something that even I had no knowledge about before hoof. There is only one way to know if it's the truth. I searched for the Sun's link and reached for it like last time. If her theory is right, then it must be how they communicate with us. So, I concentrated my thought on it, 'I assume that you are Helios. That dream, it was your doing.'
The answer removed any hope of me winning this debate. 'So you finally found out Sun Princess.' That explain why it wanted me to accept those memories. They were mine all along... I slowly lay down on my temporary bed on the carpet before addressing myself again to The Luna in a defeated tone, “You are wrong.”
Luna, no my sister, seemed to misunderstand what I wanted to say and simply snapped at me,
"You know I am right, Celestia! You need to just wake up and accept the cold hard facts of reality." As she spoke, she moved closer to me until she was right in my face, "Yeah, guess what! You really did banish me to the moon for a thousand years! Accept it! I don't care if I hurt your feelings right now, because you just need to grow up, and shoulder your responsibilities!" The unfiltered anger from her words made me back away from her, "This is our life now! All we can do is help out others with the same problem, which I have been doing, while you just sit around and eat my food. So I am ordering you, to remember who you once were, and help me like you're supposed to!"
Her tirade took me by surprise. I didn't expect a simple misunderstanding to provoke such a reaction. Even if she did have a point that I haven't done much to help, but then again, she didn't give me a chance either. Her desperate tirade also brought up something in light. While she pretended to be fine, I could easily tell that she had suffered too from what happened. And it was my duty to help her, as her older sibling. As I know that my friend did so often for his own sisters.
I burst out laughing, which of course wasn’t the best reaction to the current situation. “Calm down, you misunderstood me little sister. I have been hearing Helios since I was a little filly. There was no need for such a passionate display.”
An angry Luna shouting at me so close did nothing to ease my growing headache. “Say, do you think that aspirins are safe for ponies?”