• Published 11th Sep 2013
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Second Princess of the Night - Senyu



With King Sombra gone, is Equestria truely safe from harm? Or will another foe as old as the Crystal Kingdom itself appear now that the dark unicorn's position of evil is vacant? What new danger will threaten the land and the Elements of Harmony?

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Act III - Chapter 37

Heavy clouds rolled over the countryside, bringing a dark and looming presence as they filled the night sky. With the sun gone and the night beginning, they appeared as nothing more than an inky landscape, bloated with the weight of rain that had been stored in them throughout the day.

The slumbering storm moved about in its early stages, sending a chilling wind to the ground below that rattled the autumn leaves and long grass, an unsettling lull before the eventual torrent.

In the distance, the city sparkled with the bustle of night life, its bright lights and noise hardly reaching the countryside. All was quiet in the lone field nestled between the woods, save for the stirring of the impending storm, and the quivering breaths of a pony whose tears wet the ground before the sky could begin.

Twilight sat in a crater of crumpled grass, her damp eyes glimmering from the far away towering lights, but she could not see them despite their height, nor could she feel the slight chill of the wind, or even notice the rustling branches of the trees nearby. There were only the tears in her eyes, the clenching in her chest, and the memories appearing one after another.

Twilight gasped again as another piece of her returned, and with it, a new choked sob that threatened to buckle her knees.

"...M-Mom... Dad..."

She saw herself as a filly running through a hallway, desperately trying to return a book before it became overdue as her parents slowly walked behind her.

"Spike..."

The heat from his scales that kept her bed warm at night, back when they were both young and spent every minute with each other, a constant source of fire that would banish all the fears and doubts that she had gathered from the day.

“The school… Canterlot...”

Sitting in a classroom with dusty chalk, reading a book beneath a candle flame at home, walking through streets carrying grocery bags, and marveling at the view Canterlot held over the land. Bit by bit, pieces of her life came back to her, bringing with them the emotions and thoughts that had filled her at the time. It was like rereading a vaguely familiar book at a rapid pace, except that the book was her own life, and each page was ingrained with a shuddered breath.

Twilight stared agape at the ground in front of her, unable to help but become whisked away at each returning memory, each of them bringing another wave of pain and happiness that wrenched her gut.

"G-Girls..."

She could remember that fateful day, and all the others that followed it. Arriving in Ponyville, throwing Pinkie Pie's birthday, a sleepover with Rarity and Applejack, tea at Fluttershy's cottage, Rainbow Dash teaching her how to fly. All of those moments, big and small, flowed back to her, and it made her face contort as fresh tears appeared and her jaw clenched tightly.

"Girls..."

Twilight dug her hooves into the ground as her wings shook; too many memories, too many moments of happiness and sadness, too much of her life that had been inadvertently lost rushing back in one gale of nostalgia.

Girls, Celestia, Spike, Mom, Dad, Zecora, Luna... everyone!

A faint laugh escaped her lips between her sobbing, and slowly but surely, a smile appeared on her anguished face.

I remember... I remember! It started out as a hoarse noise between chokes, a single defiant chuckle that came between all the pain. She wasn’t exactly sure why she did, but as another one forced it’s way through, she couldn’t care to figure out why. In moments, she couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying more. "I can remember! I can remember it all!"

Turning her head up, she laughed uncontrollably despite the gloom above her. Her painful tears were replaced with ones of happiness, and she welcomed them with a glow in her chest as they flowed freely. “I can remember it all!” she said between her wheezes. “My life, my friends! Everything!”

With a shimmer in her eyes, Twilight screamed in joy at the sky above her. She had never felt so overwhelmed, so confused, and so alive, that she couldn't help but let the heavens themselves know it as well.

At once she threw open her wings, and gave another joyful, ear piercing scream. “I’m Twilight Sparkle!”

Her voice echoed across the fields, and it became drowned by the low rumble of the sky stirring above. The unbridled moment, however, was short lived as the final days of her past trickled into her mind. They were a small and insignificant amount of her memories compared to the rest of her life dancing around her mind, but they held the most impact on her of all, and with them, a name echoed beneath her thoughts.

Night Walker.

Twilight became deathly quiet, and her smile fell away as she continued staring wide-eyed at the looming clouds.

Night Walker.

Without blinking, Twilight tilted her head back down, unaware that she had even stopped breathing. A numbness came over her, and her mind locked onto that single name as she sat still, slowly and hesitantly letting herself piece together the memories that dreged themselves forward.

A smile, a laugh, gleaming red eyes, painful fangs, and a diamond amulet.

A chill passed through Twilight's body, and her breathing resumed with quickening speed.

He tricked me. No... he used me... He turned me into a... into a...

Her chest fluttered as each breath came in faster than the last, but still painfully slow to the rapid thoughts flashing across her mind.

He was a vampony... He stole my memories… He stole my memories! Celestia, he... he...

Twilight's legs finally buckled, and she fell to the ground. Her eyes glazed over as she shifted them in a maddening fashion, and her body began to shake.

By Celestia! They... He...

... Twilight...

Twilight gasped, and turned her head to see who had spoken her name. Blinking in confusion, she saw only the swaying grass and trees around her at the edge of the field, some of their branches already bare. She furrowed her brow in worry that she had imagined the voice, but it only took moments for the realization to sink in, and for her to remember who it was that had spoken her name.

You...

Please, calm down, Ruby whispered softly. Her voice was without energy, and was spoken in a dull tone.

At first, Twilight could hardly feel Ruby’s consciousness within her, but with effort and concentration she lifted Ruby out of the recesses of her being. It was then that Twilight realized how weakened the amulet had left Ruby, leaving her as nothing but a hollow fragment of her previous self. Ruby weakly touched Twilight’s mind in grievance, but Twilight did not reply in kind, and her shocked expression changed into a furious gaze that only hinted at her budding anger.

You!

Ruby stiffened, and recoiled her consciousness back somewhat from Twilight.

Twilight, Ruby said, finding energy at the growing ire towards her. I didn’t… I never even-

“Shut up!” Twilight hopped onto her hooves, and glared at the first thing her eyes could lock onto. You almost killed them! You were going to let Night Walker kill Rainbow Dash! You… You…

Twilight narrowed her eyes as she attempted to recall everything that had happened while she was lost from the amulet, all the nights she spent awake, the faces and names she had learned, everything she could grasp. She searched and tore through a past that was not hers, and grew more furious with each dark and disturbing memory that she could now analyze with her restored mind.

Twilight, stop! It hurts! Ruby said, desperately trying to bar Twilight from going further. Most of these are mine! You can’t force them like this, it won’t work!

Shut up! You’re nothing but Night Walker’s pet! His experiment on me! Twilight clenched her teeth as she felt Ruby’s pain from the remark, and stamped her hooves at the rest of her emotions. Stop doing that! You deserve it!

You think I deserve this!? Ruby shouted back. You think I wanted any of this!?

Twilight shook her head as Ruby’s feelings becoming stronger, mingling together their sorrow, anger, and pain. “Stop it! Stop it! You’re nothing but an illusion! A figment of my imagination!”

I didn’t… Why am I… I didn’t...

Twilight listened hatefully as Ruby’s words trailed off, then flattened her ears when Ruby began to softly cry in her head. Her echoing sobs that were all too similar to Twilights, and her own feelings of remorse and confusion caused Twilight to shake her head more and flare her wings.

“Stop it! I don’t want to feel you!”

Ruby continued to cry, falling deeper into her own pit of feelings that only made Twilight more furious, but also made her tears flow as well.

“S-Stop it” Twilight demanded with a faint breath.

Closing her eyes, she recalled the fragmented memories of Soul Sight, and opened her eyes to reveal a white look of fury. With reckless abandon, she turned her gaze inward, and began tearing apart the fibers that held even a tinge of red.

What are you doing!? Ruby screamed.

I’m getting rid of you! I’m getting rid of all of this! Twilight shouted back. Even as she thought the last word, she ripped apart a tingling section, causing her body to jerk to the right before she fell to her knees.

Stop! You’ll kill us!

With frustrated screams, Twilight grabbed and ripped piece after piece, shredding fibers and bridges without consideration all the while feeling repulsed at the sight of them and even her ability to see them. Another section haphazardly torn, and Twilight screamed as she spasmed, falling to her side. In moments her Soul Sight flickered out from deep internal pain.

You have to stop! You’ll die!

Just like how you wanted to kill me!?

What are you talking about!?

Twilight forced herself back into a sitting position, and stared hatefully towards some spot in the distance.

I remember what you did! How you rejected me and pushed me down! How you almost killed me like you did to everypony else! As she glared forward, Twilight paused her fury for a moment, and she brought a hoof to her mouth. Celestia… You killed them… You made me kill ponies… I’m a… I’m a murderer!

Twilight, please. You need to calm down!

“You made me a murderer!” Twilight screamed. “Celestia! I can remember their faces! How they looked at me! How…” Twilight paused again, and in a flash, Ruby felt the heat of her anger rise anew. “You… You killed them… You made me like this!”

Twilight!

It’s all your fault! You’re the reason behind all of this! I tried to stop you but you never listened! You kept listening to Night Walker! You’re the reason why so many ponies are dead! With a despairing scream, Twilight re-summoned her Soul Sight, and tore into the shredded pieces again. But she only managed seconds of destruction before she let loose another scream, and collapsed back to the ground, her white eyes fading back to their crimson red instantly.

Please, Twilight! Ruby desperately pleaded while crying openingly. Their mirror landscape appeared to both of them, with Ruby now inside the mirror. Her face was equally tear-stained as Twilight’s , and her face was torn between the torment inside of her. With a begging look, she placed a hoof onto the mirror. Twilight… I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why any of this happened. I don’t even understand what I am. But please, we can’t be like this. I know you're scared but-

Shaking her head, Twilight forced the image away. “Why won’t you shut up!” she shouted with a painful cry. Twilight lifted her hoof, and began repeatedly bashing it into the ground. “Shut up, shut up, shut up! Why can’t you just go away! Why can’t you leave me alone! It’s all your fault! All your fault! You did this! Just leave me alone, you monster!”

Ruby was quiet for some moments, before tentatively summoning the mirror scape again. With her ears flattened, and her demeanor crestfallen, she looked to Twilight. Do you really hate me that much?

Instead of throwing away the mental scenery again, Twilight forced herself to walk to the mirror and lean towards Ruby as close as she dared. You’re nothing but a monster that’s ruined my life! You’re not real! You never were! All you are is a tool for Night Walker so that he could use me! Then, simultaneously, Twilight mentally raised her hoof, all while filling her real lungs with as much air as she could and shouted to the heavens, “You should never have existed!”

Swinging it down, Twilight smashed the mirror, scattering fragments into the bare room around them. She let loose a resounding scream from the connections that shattered, and clenched her eyes shut in the agony of both the pain and the memories of her pseudo-past.

A portion Ruby’s aghast face stared out to her from the pieces that still hung in place, and she fell to her knees as her feelings flowed through the remaining connections.

“No! I don’t want to feel you! I hate you! Go away!” Twilight screamed as she covered her head with her forehooves. With one last throat tearing scream, Twilight’s anger vanished beneath everything else that had been buried beneath for the time being, and she began sobbing uncontrollably into the ground. “Just go away… Go away… It’s too much… Please… Go away…”

A new pain washed out from Ruby, but to Twilight’s small thankfulness, it began to dull, and the mirrorscape vanished. Slowly, Ruby’s presence sunk deeper inward, and Twilight soon only felt her own emotions.

Between her anguished cries, Twilight curiously poked inwards in disbelief that Ruby actually went away for good. However, when she found that Ruby had somehow only vanished enough to not make herself easily felt, Twilight gritted her teeth and pulled back away from her like she was a disease.

With the semi-peace of having only her own thoughts and feelings inside her mind and heart, Twilight cried long and hard into the ground, not even aware that the clouds had begun to rain as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hours passed, and Twilight didn’t move from her spot in the field. She hadn’t realized how much time had passed until the first trickle of the sun’s rays peered over the horizon and touched her soaked coat. Wincing from the feeling, she lifted her head and turned to the dawn, squinting her eyes to see it. For the first time during her night of downfallen numbness, a ghost of a smile appeared on her face from seeing Celestia’s sun, and with it, countless memories of her. Like the sun’s rays banishing the spent clouds above, so too did thoughts of Celestia send away her anguish.

Twilight eagerly recalled memories of her time spent with her mentor. When Celestia had looked proudly at Twilight, the times where she wrapped a wing around her in comfort or guidance, and the sensations that filled her whenever Celestia would hold her tight during the more difficult times; all of them as warming as the sun that rose higher and higher.

Yet, as it rose, Twilight sucked in a breath, and her body shivered from the adverse reaction of the sun’s light. With a choke that threatened to send her spiraling down again, Twilight raised her damp hooves and held them in the light. The sun didn’t burn, but it was far from comfortable to say the least. It felt wrong being in the light, and sudden instinctual desires urged her to find a dark and soothing place.

Having thought she had cried all the tears from her body, Twilight looked to her hoof in remorse as a small stream of tears trailed down her cheek.

Her mentor’s once reassuring and comforting light was now a nearly physical, painful reminder of the tragedies that had befallen her. Thoughts of what Celestia was doing now crossed her mind, and she wondered how Celestia would ever look at her with a proud smile again. How would she ever reassuringly touch her now that she was a monster? Twilight couldn’t even imagine how she would face her again after all the things she had done, the alien and dark thoughts she had of her, and the things she said on the balcony.

With a sickly contortion of her chest, Twilight knew that she would never again know the sun’s soothing warmth in the way she had used to. Never again would she be connected to Celestia as she had been before.

More hours passed, and the sun steadily climbed into the sky. During that time, Twilight didn’t dare move from her spot, her coat already long dried from the light. With an unnaturally fierce determination, she willed herself past instincts and sleep to stay where she was and let the sun shine onto her, all while silently wishing it’s rays would somehow burn away all the awful things inside of her.

More than once a tear fell from the pain that came from such prolonged exposure.

As time passed, the sun made its way through the sky, and descended to the other side of the horizon. When at last it fell behind the trees, a relieved breath came from Twilight as the soothing shadows covered her, but it was quickly replaced with a hoof smack into the ground at having felt so. A small hole of crushed grass and dirt was next to her, the target of her full strength and anger during similar moments throughout her time since her arrival in the field.

Soon, the sun was nothing but a blazing glimmer, washing the sky with the evening colors before the eventual arrival of glittering stars. With a repulsive grumble in her stomach that brought another tear to Twilight’s eye from its cause, she reluctantly stood up. Still in the shock like state that had never truly left her, and in a zombie like fashion, she began walking forward, away from Fillydelphia.

With a wide berth to the house lights that appeared in the distance when the sun finally dipped over the horizon, Twilight kept walking in a single direction. Her body ached in pain from sitting in the sun all day, her mind screamed in urgency to sleep, and a small but distinct warmth appeared in her throat for something particular to quench it,; the one desire she was determined to ignore the most. Instead of succumbing to them, she steadily trudged on, abandoning all sense of reason for the one thing she needed, the one place she had to go.

Ponyville.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Twilight gasped as she awoke, and looked about with wide eyes at her surroundings. She was at the foot of a tree, hidden within an outlet between hills. From beneath its branches, she saw the sun was already up, and nearing its halfway mark in the sky. Cursing silently, Twilight wearily stood herself up, and moved to begin her trek again.

Pony Feathers, I slept half the day away. With an irritable grumble as she left the tree’s shadows, she squinted her eyes ahead of her to make out her makeshift path. I suppose it would take more than a single night to readjust my sleeping schedule. I did only fall asleep just a few hours before the sun came up, I think.

Blinking profusely, she glanced upwards. Lost at least a few miles of headway already. I should find a road soon, see how far west I’ve gone. Ponyville can’t be more than a few days of walking away, maybe one if I fly once my wings feel up to it. Hopefully. She gave a brief test of her wings, and winced at not being able to feel the familiar sensation of lift they used to provide her. Instead, they felt dull and lifeless.

Casting the worry aside, she forced herself to stare into the sky as long as she could. Nearly a minute passed before the bright blue sky became too much, and she reluctantly turned her head down, shamefully hiding her eyes beneath her bangs for comfort.

I wonder which library I should go to first? Canterlot has some notable books, but the Crystal Empire has an older selection. And it did exist a thousand years ago, maybe a cure for vampirism was a popular book and on one of the shelves I haven’t seen yet.

Thinking of the foundations of such a cure caused thoughts of the bat ponies to rise to mind, the failed subjects of Celestia’s attempts to remove the vampirism.

Twilight sighed. It’s going to be hard to figure it out if even Celestia hadn’t figured out a cure. Lily Wing told me what they’ve had gone through, how many unicorns visited her and Lunar-

Twilight stopped in place, and after a few heartbeats of realization, shook her head side to side.

“No, Twilight!” she told herself. “Don’t think of them! They’re with Ruby and Night Walker. They didn’t know me, the real me!”

Closing her eyes, she cast away the names and faces that appeared in her mind.

They ran away from Dusk Town, which means they’re willing to become vamponies and kill other ponies! It’s their fault for not trusting in science and magic to cure them like they should have done. No pony should want to have… this!

Blowing the bangs away from her eyes and opening them, she strode forward again.

They should have stayed there. I’m sure I would have found out about them eventually and helped them out. They should have waited for the cure to be found. They would have been better off if they didn’t believe vampirism was even an option.

The stories from Lily Wing, Mist Hoof, and the others played across her mind again, and with it, the defects that plagued them. Ponies having stillbirths, crippling mutations appearing later in life, and young ponies dying before they even reached adulthood. Lunar Pearl’s smiling face flashed across her mind again.

Twilight bit her lip, and shook away the thoughts, firmly fixing her gaze onto the ground ahead of her while trying to think of other things. As she did, a small twinge inside her drew her attention, and she paused in place once again.

Narrowing her eyes, she stared down at her chest. What is she doing?

Twilight hadn't spoken to Ruby since she broke the mirror, hoping that somehow she had shattered any and all connections with her. But from the knowledge of souls that she could recall from Ruby’s filtered memories, she knew she hadn’t gotten rid of her entirely. She also knew what she had almost done to herself back in the field was very dangerous.

But more than once since their separation, she had felt a stirring inside. They were small and she quickly dismissed them, but their consistent occurrence clued her that it wasn’t another threat of her heart and mind breaking down again, and was instead caused by her unwelcome passenger.

After a mile of tense consideration and thinking, Twilight hesitantly summoned her Soul Sight and cautiously peeked inward. At first she bit her lip when she saw the damaged sections of her soul, unable to even comprehend how to begin fixing them. But further looking with her limited knowledge showed that some of the areas had been repaired, replaced, or even rerouted. Curious at the changes, she dug deeper, and inadvertently bumped into Ruby’s consciousness.

...

Twilight quickly pulled herself back, and dismissed the Soul Sight. Staring hard at the ground, she narrowed her eyes. “At least she’s been quiet,” she grumbled.

Resuming her pace, Twilight ran over her checklist once again, one of the few things that wasn’t entirely depressing that had been focusing on to pass the time.

Before removing the vampirism, I should probably learn what I can about manipulating the soul from her to make sure I’m doing it right. If I recall, Celestia hadn’t been able to do it, so maybe that’s the final puzzle in a cure. How do I get it though? Do I just merge memories with her? Or do I get her to teach me? Even then, will she go away after I cure myself, or do I need to get rid of her afterwards. Pony feathers, will she even cooperate while knowing that I’m going to get rid of her?

Crossing over a hill, Twilight paused at the sight of a winding creek that flowed in front of a forest, and gulped in thirst at its sparkling surface. Bringing a hoof to her throat, Twilight rubbed the section that had been steadily increasing in irritation, a slight burning sensation emanating from it. I hope water will work.

With her eyes locked onto the creek, she made her way down the hill and towards the shallow edge, peering closely at her reflection in its shifting surface. Staring at herself, she grimaced at the faint sight of her crimson eyes, and quickly dipped her head to drink mouthfuls of the fresh water.

Gulp after gulp, she drank heavily from the creek. Yet, despite how much she did, the slight burn in her throat never vanished, and the irritation only intensified. Twilight forcibly made herself continue drinking until her stomach became full, and she despondently pulled away from the creek.

Water streamed down her face, as well as new tears.

I need to figure this out soon. It’s getting worse, and I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t possibly drink b… blo….

Unable to even think of the word, Twilight shook her head and stretched her wings. Though they felt stiff and weak, she felt the familiar weightlessness they provided for her, and flapped them tentatively with a small smile.

Looks like they’re working again. Maybe now I can fly home.

With a few practice strokes to ensure correct form, she lifted herself over the creek and began to aim above the treeline, but the loud and excitable laughter of a pony caused her to fumble her balance, and she fell back to the ground. Scrambling onto her hooves, her ears swiveled to the noisy group of ponies behind her crossing over the hill, and she charged into the forest for cover.

Feeling confident she was hidden well enough a few tree rows back, she cautiously peeked her head out, and saw a group of fillies and colts rushing towards the creek.

“Rawr! I am the evil monster! I will take you and steal all your cookies!”

The remaining children laughed and screamed as the loud colt ran after them.

“Eeek! Help us!”

“A monster is coming!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll save you!”

Twilight watched in curiosity as a filly pegasus fluttered herself above the pretend-frightened children, and blocked the monsters path.

“I am Princess Twilight, and I will stop you!”

Twilight blinked and leaned closer to see.

“Why are you Princess Twilight?” the ‘monster’ said.

“Yeah, we need Princess Celestia or Princess Luna. They’re more powerful.”

“Nuh uh!”

“Yeah, huh!”

The filly landed back amongst the group, and turned her head upwards. “Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are awesome, but Princess Twilight is even more awesome!

Twilight’s ears flattened.

“How do you know?”

“Because I do!” Waving her hoof, the filly hovered back into the air. “She’s kind, strong, has awesome friends, you can always trust her, and she’s really smart! Nothing can beat her! And even if she’s in trouble, she’s got her friends! With them, nothing bad can happen, which is why we’re going to stop that monster together!”

While the rest of them cheered in unison at her proclamation, Twilight’s heart fell.

“Yeah, nothing can stop us!”

“Nope! We’re going to be friends forever, and stop everything evil thing that comes our way!”

“H-Hey! Next time someone else gets to be the monster,” the colt whined.

“Don’t worry, you will,” the filly said with a smile. “Now, get him!”

With resounding laughter, the rest of the fillies and colts charged the ‘monster’, tumbling about in a pile of giggles and hoof smacks, unaware of Twilight slowly disappearing into the forest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With a wheezy breath, Twilight trudged up the last few steps of the hill, her eyes expertly seeing each stone and branch in the cover of darkness. The sun had set some hours ago, and her wings were sore from pushing them so hard. But she pushed on, taking each step with a desperate determination that filled her mind and body. And as she crested over the hill with the final step, she let out a shaky laugh in relief. She had finally arrived.

Ponyville.

Below, the quaint town appeared as normal as it had ever been. The lights from houses gave off soft glows to the nearby bushes and trees, one or two ponies up and about on the dimly lit streets, and the sweet scent of flowers along with orchards of apples were carried on the gentle breeze. It was the scene she had always remembered it by, accented by the lofty stars above and the distant lights of Canterlot.

Yet, as relieving as the sight of the town was, she couldn’t help but frown at her new sight upon it. The shadows of night were no longer mysterious and accenting to the bright colors. Instead, she could make out the majority of the details that normally had been gentle corners of nighttime that made the whole scene feel as if it was from a fairy tale.

A tree with a kite stuck on top of it, a couple walking away into the forest, an older pony appearing content on a bench in the park, and a hundred other details that she could faintly make out.

Before her was Ponyville, but not entirely the same as she once knew it. The nostalgic scene was changed, and it only served as a reminder of the change in her.

Holding her jaw line steady, she stepped down the hill, and strode into the town in the edge of the shadows.

She took her route slowly and carefully, avoiding any sections of light that would reveal her, or running into anypony that would announce her presence. In a leisurely and hesitant fashion, she walked about looking in awe at the town. Voices that she knew emanated from the houses she passed, scents that she could dimly recall were now a vivid detail to her. Laughter and peace that held such comfort and warmth were nothing but a painful reminder. She realized she had been wrong atop the hill; the town had never changed, only her.

Eventually through carefully chosen paths, ensuring to avoid any sight of the homes and stores her friends had lived in, she arrived silently in front of a tree, and stood for an insurmountable amount of time standing in front of it.

Each light was on, and the faint noise of movement inside reached her ears now and then. More than once she lifted a hoof to walk forward, but held herself back each time. All the miles she had walked and flown had been infinitely easier than the few steps between her and the library.

Part of her wanted to run, run far away from this world that she felt no longer apart of. But the passing shadow in the window, a small figure with spines atop his head, held her in place, and she knew she could not leave, not again.

With a shuddered breath, Twilight slowly walked to the library, and opened the door.

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