• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 6,786 Views, 26 Comments

Ducenti Septuaginta Septem - Capacitor

A mad cultist decides that the best time to fulfil a forgotten prophecy and open a portal to the interdimensional void is now. As he himself is unable to do so, he requires the aid of somepony more magical. And he knows just the pony for the job..

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First Paradoxon: Lost

First Paradoxon: Lost

"Make sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?"

—Discord, 1002 after Nightmare Moon


Celestia was falling.

Falling down, sideways, upwards, inwards, in all directions at once, through the rainbow of light.
She fell, pushed and pulled with unfathomable force, away, into the elsewhere. With her fell the insidious intellect that had clung to her mind and stolen her body, now howling in triumph.
Her wings were flightless, her mind was hazy, her body irresponsive, nothing was stalling her fall, and nothing would. It continued endlessly, guided by the ray of rainbow light, towards a destination she did not want to ponder. The world was awash with colour, yet she could not see it. She was falling at velocity without limit, yet neither did wind comb through her hair, nor did inertia tug at her limbs.

The nefarious intellect retracted, consumed by a destination that was a mind of which the intellect was naught but a powerless image. At the minuscule intellect's return, the tremendous mind convulsed in a rolling wave of power that washed her away and cut off the banishing light.

Celestia was falling.

Falling upwards, down, inwards, sideways, in all directions at once, away from the limitless mind, through unending darkness. She knew she was Celestia, yet the knowledge which one she was eluded her, for there were so many she remembered to be her. Was she the sobbing foal alone in the darkness? Was she the victorious heroine? Was she the fearsome tyrant? The forgiving ruler? The passionate lover? The warming mother? The raging sol invicta?
Which Celestia was now, which was past, which had yet to be, and which would never be? She did not know. A thousand, a million possible and impossible Celestias were one in her, leaving her unable to distinguish who she was. And yet, she fell, from endless nowhere to endless nowhen, tumbling like a snowflake in the unforgiving arctic winds.

And then, just as she thought she would slip away into unconsciousness, losing herself in the turbulence of the fall, in the storming void, her sense of self dissolving in the tornado of the many, there was a rush of motion and the nothingness lurched to silence, ending her fall. She regained sense of her body, of identity, of herself, finding herself to be lying on a cold, moving surface of undefined existence.

She struggled to her hooves. Around her was stale emptiness, an ocean of glittering black waves of liquid darkness which she stood upon. The ripples of the vast sea expanded from horizon to horizon, glowing in a faint, sickly greenish unlight. Above her was—Void. There was no such thing as above her, only void where such a thing as above should have been, a blind spot in her mind, her senses, in everything.

Slowly, instinctively, she began moving, setting one hoof before the other, sending shimmering ripples over the liquid's surface whenever her hooves touched it. It was cold, but it didn't wet her. She tried tasting the air, tried to breathe in through her nostrils—and panicked. There was no air, nothing to breathe but a vacuum of foul stench; nothing entered her nose, yet that horrifying smell which no words could define filled her, the stench of the black ocean.
She hacked and wheezed, breathless. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. Yet the stench remained, crawling through her nose, her windpipe, her lungs, her heart, her veins, her brain. She charged forward in blind panic, galloped over the lightless sea. Her wings flailed, but they couldn't lift her. Her sense of up and down shifted under the beckoning call of the Void, leaving her dangling upside down from the uneven plains of the black ocean, dangling above an infinite, devouring, void nothingness that wasn't even there. She ran.

She ran.

And ran.

And ran.

She ran until she had forgotten the consuming Void, she ran until down was down and up was up again, she ran until the dark, greenish stench had left her nostrils, she ran and ran and ran and ran.

She ran until she was Celestia again.

Celestia slowed down, glancing about, regarding her surroundings. There was no way of orientation in this eldritch place, no way even of telling how long she had been here. The black ocean stretched from infinity to infinity, the Void consumed her gazes and pained her mind whenever she tried to look at it. There was no sun, there was no moon, there was no pony, nowhere. In a way she felt lost, uprooted, pulled out of context. In all of her long life, she had never faced a situation like this. There had always been Equestria, there had always been her little ponies, there had always been the sun, calling her with its magic. Here, however, there was nothing, neither light nor love nor warmth nor life.

“Greetings,” a voice spoke up, “And well met, Celestia, lost child of the realm of existence.”
The voice was calm, deep and slow, the words foreign to the place as she was.
“I would welcome you here if there were such things as 'I' and 'here' and if you even were welcome.”

Celestia turned. Behind her, only a few steps away, a high, uneven but smooth stone pillar of vaguely hexagonal cross-section stood, reaching up from the unwater like a pointing finger. Atop it stood a tall, slender Being, Its form mostly shrouded by flowing, pale robes.

“Yet being welcome is utterly meaningless if you are the only thing to exist. Who could welcome you?”
The Thing turned towards Celestia, or at least it seemed so, since It had no face. “No one. So, since no one can, you are not. Is this of any concern, Celestia?”

She shook her head, untrusting of her voice. Its presence was oppressive, impinging, however faint, like an echo, incomplete, fractured. Its aura exuded knowledge, understanding beyond measure, also insubstantial, like a whisper in the wind, seemingly slipping just through her metaphorical grasp in maddening delicacy.

“As it should not.” The head with its almost antler-like protrusions bobbed as It nodded briefly.

Celestia stared up at It, stared where Its face should have been, where instead four vertical slits tore across Its head, revealing boils of pulsating, oozing, glowing slime. She wondered what It was, where It had come from so suddenly, feeling the answers barely eluding her. She cleared her throat, trying to get her vocal chords back under control.
“And where is it that I am not welcome to?” she managed to get out, her voice sounding almost cocky.

The Entity gave a sudden jerk that stirred up Its robes, the long neck now bending more towards her.
“There is no where, there is no when, there is no is. All that is is you and your delusions of space, time and matter.”

She frowned. None of what It had said seemed to make any sense, and neither did the Thing Itself. It possessed a graceful hideousness the likes of which Celestia had never seen before, yet while Its looks were monstrous, Its words were more like that of a civilised, albeit insane pony. The question that lingered on the tip of her tongue was nearly too obvious to ask. She did it anyway.
“Who are You?”

It slithered backwards on Its platform, some kind of limb moved beneath the billowing cloth, gesturing vaguely but frantically towards its owner. It slightly raised Its voice.
“I am not! Delusions, as I said! Yet, it cannot be expected from a pony this young to understand what it means to be and to not be.” It slowly glided back forwards, to the edge of the pillar.
“You perceive, but what you perceive is not. Your mind deludes itself in an environment beyond existence to perceive within the definitions of reality. Anyhow, sans the fact that I am not, it is not entirely within falsehood to say I am That Who Watches from the Shadows, That Who guards the Gateway. I am One of Those Beyond. I am the Opener of the Way to Infinities. I am the Eater of Souls.” A long, thin arm swiped through the empty space in a dismissive way, unearthly fabric fluttering around it.
“Names, given to Me by those who cannot stand to leave the unknown nameless. They have little meaning for Me, especially 'here', if you want to call it that way.”

Celestia remembered that lecherous mind that had stolen first Spike's, then her own body, and the way it had introduced itself. She took a step back, away from It, yet the action felt meaningless as she thought about how It had mentioned there was no space aught but in her fancy, and that not even the Thing Itself was truly there.
“What do You want from me?” she asked, eyeing It warily.

“I do not want. I am beyond the petty appetencies that guide you mortals' lives. I am eternal. I am not.” It slid over the hexagon's edge as more pillars, thinner ones, rose from the black depths to form a crude stairway or ramp the Beyond One moved down, sinking back into the unwaters as It had passed them. “If anything, I would ask you what you want from Me.”

“I want nothing from You.” Celestia shied away as the strange Thing closed in. In proximity, It seemed even more imposing than from the cyclopean stone column's height, fearsome divine symmetry in a place without proportions. “I did not come here by choice and wish no business with You.”

Wordlessly, It bowed down, Its head lowering down to the height of Celestia's eyes. A slender, many-fingered hand gently brushed over the dark surface, and the black ocean shifted.
The waves lit up from within, and in a panoramic trillion-mile view, Celestia beheld the vast expanses of the universe, galaxies and nebulae, countless stars and planets, interstellar clouds of gas, greater than she could ever imagine, and even the small greenish marble on which her beloved ponies lived.

“You have all to gain and nothing to lose. You are alone, your existence is perpetuated by nothing more than My good faith.” She looked up at the faceless Monster. Its dark, smooth skin, remotely resembling that of a leech, had gained a moist gloss in the bright light of the entirety of creation, and its ghostly garments seemed paler than ever. It gestured downward.
“What could you possibly not want from Me?”

She blinked, was about to speak up, but ere she had the opportunity, Its spindly form was already by her side, laying one of the segmented ridges protruding from Its back around her shoulders, draping some of the ethereal fabric over her back. Celestia froze, going rigid at the sudden contact. Next to her ear, the Being's voice began murmuring once again.
“So, what is it that you wish for, Celestia, banished from your home without reason, stripped of your honours and authority, bereft of your kingdom and your subjects?”

Celestia shifted uncomfortably. “I want to go back,” she whispered.

It swiftly rose to Its full height again, moving a pony's length away from her. “Indeed?” It cocked Its great head atop the thin neck. “How very, very orderly of you, negating any unwelcome change. You do understand what I might give you, do you not?”
With a wave of one spider-like hand, It pulled a small sphere of unwater from the infinite sea. In the orb glowed silently her home with its sun and its moon and its stars, suspended in deep dark space.
“Are you really willing to contend with the same small world you always had?” It spread the long ridges far in an encompassing embrace of the airless void, and everywhere on the black ocean, spheres rose from the rippling surface, filled with worlds in multitude beyond measure.
“Consider the plurality of possibilities, the wonders you might see and do, the secrets you might learn, the people you might meet! And why confine yourself to reality as you know it? Would you not rather have the means to brave the boundaries of the void on your own, exploring mysteries beyond your imagination and comprehension? If you want to live, want to leave, why go there, why go back, why confine yourself to a static world?”

“Because I am obliged to this world and to my subjects,” Celestia shot back. “They need me, and I can't fail them. It is my duty to care for them, help them live happily and prosper. I willingly took up this burden and I will carry it until the day I die.” She looked at It firmly, trying to stare It down, yet again failed to find Its eyes.

Reaching out slowly, It grabbed the orb filled with Equestria in its bony fingers. The cloth-covered ridges retracted, all the other spheres of liquid fell down into the black ocean and the unwaters darkened once more.
“And what if you have indeed died?” It murmured over the silent whispering of a billion worlds falling into darkness. The only light that was left came from the remaining orb in Its hand. “Would you decide the same?”

“I am not dead,” Celestia stated proudly. “I have not died. My decision stands.”

“You might as well be, Celestia. And even if not, there is nothing that I cannot change,” the Thing answered drily. “Thus, tell Me: When your time is over and you die and depart, would you take, if then given, the chance to come back?”

For a moment, Celestia fell silent, now sincerely pondering the question, staring into the lightless depths beneath. There really was only one answer, and considering anything else would be a lie to herself. Finally, she looked back at the One Beyond and quietly told It “I would.”

“That is dedication. I can accept that.” The long, thin arm stretched towards her, holding the light of her sun within. “You, Celestia, want to go back to Equestria.”

She nodded. Inside the small sphere, she could see her palace in Canterlot. Sunlight was falling into the high white stone halls through stained glass windows. Luna, her beloved sister, was there and so was Twilight, her prized student. She knew she had made the right decision. Then, the Beyond One's voice sounded once more.

“What are you willing to give in return?”

Author's Note:

This is no chapter. No time passes. It doesn't take place anywhere. It doesn't even happen.
Effectively, this... thing contains just Princess Celestia. Nothing else.
Please, tell me what you think. I live on comments. And on delectable pudding.

Seriously though, tell me if you are confused or don't understand something. Or tell me if you aren't confused and everything is crystal clear. I know that everything makes sense to me, but I'd like to know if it also makes sense to you.

If you'll excuse me now, I'll go bury logic.

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