Chapter Two: “Split-Second”
Twilight smiled. “I need you to concentrate really hard on keeping time. Close your eyes and start counting. Try keeping it even.”
Rarity closed her eyes. “One, two, three...”
“In your head.”
She began to think the numbers. One, two, three, four, five. Twilight began her spell she had been working on all afternoon. “That's great Rarity!”
Rarity smiled and continued to count in her head. Ten, eleven, twelve.
Twilight said something else but Rarity couldn't make it out. She continued to count, thirty one, thirty two, thirty three. It had already been longer than ten seconds. She was starting to wonder what was taking so long. She mentally scolded herself for getting distracted and continued to count. Twilight needed her to focus. This must be taking longer than expected.
After a while she couldn't help herself. Curiosity got the best of her. She tried to open her eyes. At first nothing happened. She began to panic. She tried to open her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She tried to move, but her body felt stuck. What was going on, was she frozen? Had Twilight's spell frozen her in time? No that couldn't be, Twilight said it was all about perception, so was she moving slower than the rest of the universe, was she thinking so slow that she just couldn't move her body?
It was in the middle of that though that a small glowing line began to show in front of her. Was this some sort of time tunnel? Or maybe she was staring at the afterlife, was this the end? Had she died because of Twilight's spell? All these thoughts ran through her mind. Then she looked at the light, and realized it wasn't just some far off object, it was a line of light from her eyes opening.
She payed close attention to it. At first it was a dull glow, but then, after what to her seemed like minutes, she could begin to see the white of her own fur. She was beginning to see the sides of her own nose.
She wasn’t sure what to make of this. If she was moving slower than everything else, shouldn't the light be constantly changing, shouldn't she be in a hospital bed? The sun certainly would have went down by now.
Her thoughts grew more and more frantic. What if Twilight had wanted to hide her failure, and didn't tell anypony? What if she would spend the rest of her life in Twilight's basement, no one knowing. How long could she hide her there, days, months, years? How much time had already past if she was thinking so slowly that it would appear to others that she wasn't even moving.
She was beginning to panic. Would Twilight even hook her up to life support? Or would she rather just bury her alive, so no one could find her when they went looking? How little time did she already have left, if each of these thoughts might take hours to complete.
She noticed the light again, she could more clearly see now. She could just make out Twilight's smiling face. How could Twilight remain still long enough to let Rarity see her? Maybe it was a picture of Twilight, put there to mock her. Why else would be Twilight smiling at Rarity's demise?
She pondered that for a moment. Maybe it was a picture with a message on it, she left to apologize to Rarity. How else could you communicate with someone thinking so slowly? Maybe she has been working on a cure this whole time, and has set up a picture to explain the situation to Rarity.
Excitedly, Rarity wished her eyes would work faster. Why was it taking so long. It was as if they were opening incredibly slowly. But that couldn't be right, could it? How could her eyes be opening slowly to her? Rarity's body should be moving faster than her with the rest of the universe. They should have opened faster than she could have imagined. Unless her body was slow to. What if Twilight was wrong, and her spell did slow down her body after all.
Rarity once again panicked. If her body was moving slow to, then Twilight was even more wrong about her spell. How could Twilight possibly undue the spell if she didn't even know what all was wrong? She would jut assume Rarity wasn't moving because her mind was so slow, not her body as well.
Then another thought occurred to Rarity. Why would her body be moving slower than her mind? Shouldn't they both have been slowed down to the same speed if they were both affected? Or had her body been slowed even more than her mind. What if she was thinking at normal speed but only her body had been slowed? No, then why would Twilight be standing there not moving at all for the last several minutes?
None of it was making any sense. She then began to notice Twilight's horn coming into her vision. She could only see the base, but it appeared to be glowing. Twilight was casting a spell? Was she trying to fix her mistake?
Rarity thoughts went another direction. No, that is where Twilight was standing when she started casting the spell to re-sync time. Rarity could tell by the wall behind her. Twilight was still casting the same spell. But how could that be? Unless Twilight's body had also been slowed down to slow speeds. Where they both stuck like this?
Desperate again, she wished her eyes would open faster. She wanted to see what was going on. She wanted to get a better idea of their surroundings, then maybe she could figure all of this out.
But if Twilight was stuck like this too, how could they possibly get out of this situation? Could they be stuck like this forever? No surly Spike would wonder about them and come and find them. Then Celestia would come and get them and fix this.
Then the question from before came back. If they were both moving so slow, how long had it actually been? Surly it would have at least been several hours by now. If Rarity's mind was moving at normal speeds how long had it been? She thought back on all the things that had been running through her head. Ten minutes? Thirty? One hour? It was impossible to tell without any outside reference.
She noticed she could no longer see Twilight's horn. How could that be? Unless... She suddenly realized she had been so busy thinking that she had neglected to keep trying to open her eyes. She immediately began to try and open them again. Though considering the slowness of their assent, keeping up the concentration to do so was tiring.
She thought about that for a seconds. She wasn't getting tired from standing here for so long, but then again her body was moving slow, so how long would it take for her muscles to get tired? It was then she realized she had not even been thinking about the rest of her body. She payed close attention to her hooves on the ground, and the orientation of her body, and every muscle all over. It was amazing being able to feel every muscle in place, but yet not be able to cause any significant movement.
She payed attention once more to her eyes. She could once again see Twilight, and more of her horn this time. Perfect, she thought. Soon she would be able to get a better look at Twilight, and look around. Well, that would be relative, because turning her head might prove difficult.
Then she began to wonder how Twilight was handling this. If she was in the middle of casting this spell, when would she realize that it had gone wrong? She must have by this point realized that she was moving so slowly. Her eyes were open, so she had that advantage. But her body hadn't stopped casting the spell yet. Perhaps she didn't want to stop it, maybe she had already figured out that she needed to finish the spell in order to stop this?
In that case Twilight has been concentrating this entire time. The poor dear had to keep up an immensely powerful spell over a huge period of time. The concentration that must take is amazing. Unless perhaps she was going somewhat faster than Rarity, then she might be having a better time of it.
On the other hoof, Twilight could be going even slower than her. What if Twilight had not even yet realized the situation they were both in? The poor dear wouldn't be able to stop casting if her brain was moving so slowly as to not be able to process her bodies slowness. As far as Rarity knew Twilight's mind-body speed difference could be the opposite of hers. What if Twilight's body was fine, but her mind wasn't?
That wouldn't work either, because if Rarity's body was slow, and Twilight's body wasn't, then Twilight would have fallen down by now. There is no way she could keep her body standing if her mind couldn't keep up.
On that note, Rarity went back to concentrating on her own hoofs. Had she been paying adequate attention to her legs this whole time? Has she been trying to keep her balance? She felt out each leg one by one, they all seemed as tense as when she felt them earlier. She hadn't seemed to have moved hardly at all.
She could now see more of Twilight's face. It didn't seem as if she had moved any at all either. Her face still in the same smile it had been when Rarity had just started opening her eyes. How long ago would that have been for them now? The hour must have surly past by now.
But where was Spike, and Princess Celestia? Why weren't they already here to snatch them up and undue this horrible mess?
She sat there and thought for another hour. Going in circles with trains of thought on how she could prove any of her many theories. She went around and around time and time again. Nothing was immediately provable. And after every train of thought led back to that same conclusion, she would wonder were Spike was, and keep trying to open her eyes.
Finally she was getting close to her eyes being fully opened, when she noticed the clock just above Twilight's head, just out of her vision. Frustrated she began trying to turn her head to see it. She knew this would take a long time, but any change in the scenery before her was welcome.
She was already being able to notice the slight change in her field of vision. Was she moving faster, or had she become so acquainted to her current view she noticed the changes that readily?
None of these questions mattered to her, but she kept asking them anyway as a means to pass the time.
Finally after several minutes of willing her head to move to the right, she could see a small part of the clock. After a few seconds of focusing on that, she realized it was not just her head, but her eyes had moved as well. That would explain why looking at the clock seemed so fast.
A few more minutes and she was looking at about the bottom right quarter of the clock. It was then she spied the second hand of the clock. It wasn't moving. She realized then that she hadn't seen anything moving past her on the clock. Surely she would have seen the minute hand go by at least once by now. And why wasn't the second hand moving? Could it be broken?
Another terrifying thought then went through her head. What if the second hand was moving so fast that she saw it in the same place? But then where would the other hands on the clock be? She pondered this for several minutes. What if they had already been stuck slow motion for so long that the clock had already wound itself down?
That would take months though. Surely Spike and Celestia would have already came and rescued them from this nightmare if that were the case. Then again the battery could have already been low on the clock, or worse yet, dead before Twilight even began casting the spell. Once again she was in a loop of logic would lead her to the same conclusion of none of her theories being provable.
She then payed attention to the second hand once more. Wasn't it on thirty nine seconds earlier? It now seemed as if it was on forty seconds. She continued to stare at the clock. After what seemed like a maddening time she could definitely see it had moved off the forty second mark, and had begun making its way to the forty one.
That couldn't be right, why would the clock be moving so slow as well? Can the battery of a clock get so slow as to keep pace with her incredibly slow body? What where the chances that it would be moving just as slowly as she was?
She then thought back to what Twilight had said to her before starting the spell. She would be the reference point for their time. Not the slower time of the other universes. If she had begun to slow down our universe, but was using Rarity as a reference point, did that mean that Rarity was actually going faster than the rest of the universe? Or at least her thoughts?