• 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 I - Chapter 4

One week later…


"Welcome! Please, come in and make yourself at home," Trail greeted. He stepped aside while opening the door, giving a small bow as Twilight and Spike entered. The two of them replied their thanks, and looked about the abode.Trail watched his two guests expectantly as he closed the door, taking in pride at the fact that they were looking about his home in interest.

"I have to say," Twilight said as she spied the open rooms within sight and their various decor. "This house is really nice. If I hadn't been placed at the library when I first moved here, I might have scooped this place up." Twilight immediately winced afterward from a claw poke from Spike. She returned the gesture with a glare.

Trail moved next to them and proudly waved a hoof in the air. "It is quite the home, especially after I got everything settled in place. It took me a full day, but I managed to get everything where it should be. I know you only saw a part of the house and my items during Miss Pinkie's party, but I assure you, it is more lovely and charming without streamers and confetti."

"I have to admit, I was surprised at the time to hear it was going to be at your house. Normally she hosts them at her work because its much more convenient. If she had been to pressing, you could have told me.”

“Nonsense, it was my pleasure to welcome everypony into my home. And Miss Pinkie was right, this ‘gloomy house’ needed to be celebrated-in for finally being open.”

“Oh dear, she didn’t actually call it that did she?”

“It’s fine, I assure you,” Trail replied honestly.

“I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t bothersome for you. I know Pinkie can be... a little enthusiastic at times. And we had left a large mess…”

“And if you recall I insisted that you leave it. Miss Pinkie and I were capable enough to set everything back in order. She was wonderful through and after as the party cleaner. She was thorough enough to not leave a speck of glitter or confetti, and she even made a batch of cupcakes just for me after everypony left! Oh they were fantastic, I wish I saved some for later."

"That's Pinkie Pie," Spike said.

"She certainly is a delightful mare,” Trail continued. “I imagine she is very well practiced with parties from what I saw."

"You have no idea," Twilight and Spike said at the same time.

“Speaking of which,” Spike said. “Why are you still calling her miss? Didn’t she ask at party that she asked you to just call her Pinkie.”

“It’s merely a habit of mine. When in company of the aforementioned company, I address them as they request. But when they are not present, I still retain a very formal and polite reference, and will continue to address the spoken individuals as Miss or Mister. I am a professional after all, and I must retain proper appearance," Trail said proudly.

“That's really weird,” Spike said, only to momentarily receive a hoof smack on the head by Twilight.

Trail chuckled as he begun to move towards the dining room. "Please follow me, dinner is just about ready. I have a lovely salad prepared for us, Twilight. And of course those sapphires I promised for you as well, Spike. In fact, I prepared each sapphire differently based on some recipes I had. I've never had use for them before of course, but I've always wanted to try them."

"Aw yes!" Spike exclaimed before hurrying in after Trail to grab a seat at the table. It was the same large wooden table that held three punch bowls and over a dozen gifts from the party only a few days before. But tonight, it held a simple bowl of fruit and some coasters on its polished surface. It easily held enough room for eight ponies to eat on, and looked like it had seen its fair share of use from the tiny scuff marks on the edges. The table itself had intricate details carved into its trim and legs, much like the rest of the furniture in the house, each of them much more extravagant than most of the furniture in Ponyville.

Twilight noted little details like these as she sat next to Spike. "I am curious," she called out to Trail who had continued moving into the adjacent room that she assumed was the kitchen. "How do you have recipes on preparing gems for dragons? I don't think I've ever seen a book that covered something like that before."

"I wouldn't be surprised," Trail called back. "Hold on just a moment!" A few seconds later, a large crash and banging noise was heard from the kitchen, followed by a muffled grumble. Twilight and Spike exchanged a glance before turning back towards the doorway.

"Uh, Trail?" Twilight called out. "Are you okay?"

"Fine! I'm fine! Just... a little misstep, that's all!" he shouted back. Moments later, Trail appeared through the doorway with a push cart, his hind leg shaking off a ladle that had fallen onto his back. After delivering an angry glare to the kitchen tool, he lifted his head up high and directed the cart towards the table with his hooves. It held atop of it two bowls of salad, one bowl of blue sapphires, and three glasses of water.

Trail paused when he arrived at the table, then as pompously as he could spoke, "Dinner... is served." Trail let out a bemused chuckle at his waiter impersonation, oblivious to the silent responses of his two guests. "Apologies for the delay, here they are now. This one is yours Twilight, this is yours Spike, and the last one is mine."

Twilight and Spike both gave their thanks as Trail pushed the cart away after laying out the dinner. He then sat opposite of the table from them, a gleam in his eye at being able to make something special for his guests.

"Now as I was saying, I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't seen a book like that before. I hold a very rare collection, some of which you will not find anywhere else in Equestria. Oh Spike, before you dig in, let me tell you which one is which,” Trail diverted as seeing Spike’s hungry eyes.

“That one right there has been chilled all day in the freezer, to simulate the cold weather the Blue Northern Mist sapphires are normally found in. So you will find that one best suited as the dessert of the four. This one, has been subjected to certain vibrational frequencies with the help of tuning forks. It supposedly helps draw out the flavor and adds a more, how would you say... a glass like crunch to it?"

"That sounds delicious!" Spike nearly shouted. "Glass texture gems are always the best!"

Trail let out a chuckle at Spike’s anticipation and increasingly growing eyes. "Well I hope so, I certainly wouldn't able to tell. Oh, and the one with the greenish hue to it, that one I sprinkled crushed emerald dust onto it. I read those two gems mixed together bring about a fine flavor, I trust you like emeralds?"

"Definitely!"

"Fantastic! And the very last one, it was subjected to a slow heat in the oven. Nothing really special, but it is supposed to add a pleasant warmth to it. I recommend eating that one first and ending with the chilled one."

Spike licked his lips, catching the small drop of drool that had began to trickle down his chin. The longer he stared at the gems and heard about how each one was prepared, the hungrier he grew to finally eat them. His stomach rumbled for the tasty gems like he hadn't had a bite in a week. "Can we eat now?" he blurted out.

"In due time, first I need to explain how I prepared the salads. A very long and lengthy explanation for that. You wouldn't believe were the plants I used originated from," Trail said, giving Twilight a sly wink.

Spike's face fell at hearing that he would have to wait longer before being able to taste the gems. "But-but... I wouldn't want them to lose their temperature!"

The two ponies stared silently at his pleading face before they couldn't hold it anymore, and they both broke out into playful laughs.. "Of course you can eat it now!" Trail exclaimed. "I just wanted to see how big your eyes could grow. Go on, dig in!"

Both ponies held off their remaining giggles as Spike bit into the various gems immediately, nibbling each one first to see how they tasted. The look on his face as he sampled them was one of pure bliss and delight.

"Well the salads look just as delicious," Twilight said, smiling how how much Spike was enjoying his dinner. While she had never tasted a gem herself, she had come to know which ones he liked the most based on his reactions while eating them. And she could tell, that he was enjoying them immensely. .

"Thank you very much,” Trail replied. “Now, let us join our scaly friend in some dinner.

~~~~~~~~~~

"If I may, would it be possible to see your collection?" Twilight asked after dinner. Ever since Trail had mentioned his book collection, she had been waiting politely for an opportunity to ask further about what he held in his possession, and if possible, browse it as well.

"Of course!" Trail replied quickly. "I forgotten to have shown it to you earlier, what with the party and all. It's upstairs in my study slash workroom." After putting away the last of the dishes, he lead them towards the stairs and continued to speak as they moved up them. "Miss Pinkie originally wanted the party to be in the study room due to its size. But since it's where I do my work, I wanted it to remain private and isolated from the world. I can't have any potential clients imagine the room a place other than— OOF!" Trail moaned, having slipped on a step and fallen forward onto the stairs.

"Are you okay?" Twilight asked quickly.

"Fine, I'm fine. Just... still a little clumsy I'm afraid." Trail lifted himself off the ground and laughed nervously, "If you hang around me long enough, you'll find that I'm not the most coordinated of ponies."

"Don't worry," Spike said reassuringly. "There's plenty of ponies in Ponyville that bump around accidentally. There's this one mare who delivers mail, you wouldn't believe the goof ups she can make."

"Yeah, she can goof up alright," Twilight said sarcastically, recalling the same mare was also responsible for the large and heavy pegasus's household items to fall from the sky onto a certain unicorn at the time who was directly below.

Trail gave another one of his small chuckles that he frequently did, always finding some amusement in just about everything. "Maybe she should visit me sometime. I have been successful with a few ponies before in correcting clumsiness. I believe most of the time it's from the lack of concentration. A pity I can't seem to do it to myself."

Spike raised an eyebrow as he asked, "How would you fix clumsiness?"

After reaching the top of the stairs, Trail led them down twisting hallways, ever closer towards the study Twilight was growing eager to see with each moment. "You see, while I am a therapist, I specialize in a particular type of therapy. I found it to be quite useful during my career and capable of astounding results. Although most of my clients are a little resistant to it at first, what with not believing it to be real."

"Believe what to be real?" Twilight asked.

"Why Hypnotherapy of course!"

"Really?" Spike said flatly, nearly stopping in place. "Isn't hypnosis all fake and stage acting?"

Trail's cheery tone dropped to a low frustration as he replied, "Now see, it's ponies like you... I mean, dragons...I mean... you know what I mean! That are misinformed, on what hypnosis actually is. I assure you, that when done by a professional, that it is a real and practical form of therapy with results. You could ask my clients back in Fillydelphia and they will tell you the same. Most of them were neighsayers at first, but after a few sessions, they improved greatly. Ah, here we are."

They paused in front of a pair of double doors. With a small cough and pause for dramatic effect, Trail pushed opened both doors and moved aside to let them in before him.

Twilight gave a small gasp at the sight of the room as she entered. Opposite of the doorway from where they stood and across the floor, was a large window that looked out onto Ponyville. It was as tall as the room itself and reminded her of a small version of the large wall windows she had back in her Canterlot suite before moving to Ponyville. The room itself was built wide, with its walls extending past the doorway on both sides, creating a rectangle room shape with the doorway in the middle of its length. Decorating the room was a wide assortment of objects: Globes, a desk, fancy carpet, drawers, a few filing cabinets, and the typical chaise chair set facing away from a more comfier looking chair.

But what caught Twilight's eye more was of course, the books. Each section of the walls was covered in rows of books. The shelves filled the entire wall space from floor to ceiling. With a grin she was barely able to contain, she quickly walked towards the nearest shelf and began to browse. Not only is this an amazing room of books, the best part is I don't even recognize half of them!

"Oh my gosh, where did you find all these? I've never heard of some of these titles before," Twilight excitedly shouted out as she walked down the particular row she was on.

Trail walked to the center of the room, a proud smile that he didn't even try to hide spreading across his face. "I may be from Fillydelphia, but I've done my fair share of traveling. As I said, I like to collect books. Rare ones if possible. I've been doing it ever since I inherited my grandfather's belongings. In fact, most of the items in this house where once his, which he inherited himself from an older family member. It's something my family have been doing for generations, passing down history to another."

Spike paused from spinning a globe on its axis as Trail finished his sentence. As gently as he could, he slowed it down to a standstill and stepped away with nervous laugh.

"That makes more sense," Twilight said; her eyes still glued to the collection in front of her. "I noticed some of the your furniture to belong to some famous crafting ponies. Some of it even looked to be of Norchevez Woodmane design."

Trail's proud smile vanished in surprise at the her knowledge. "You- you recognized Woodmane's works?"

"I've read about him before in Origins of Antique Furniture. He was considered to be the father of Scandiequinen furniture design. Most of his works were blessed by unicorns so they would be preserved over the years. I've never seen a real piece before tonight, thankfully I remembered he used more of a ‘jevn kurve’ design, rather than the popular ‘ujevn kant’ at the time. Besides some of these books, I'm sure your furniture is worth a fortune alone! His last piece I believe was finished over one-thousand and a hundred years ago."

Trail's stunned expression slowly turned into one of amusement as he shook his head. "Twilight Sparkle, you do amaze me. It takes a good eye to pick out things like that."

"Well I only recognized it tonight, now that they weren't covered in streamers and confetti! Honestly you should have never let Pinkie Pie have a party with such antiques around! For Celestia's sake there was sherbet cake spilled on the chairs!"

"Oh it's no problem,” Trail said waving a hoof dismissively. “What use is something if you aren't afraid to get it dirty and scuffed up now and then. And besides, Miss Pinkie was able to clean every smudge and stain that was left over."

Twilight still held a frown on her face as she replied; her eyes having not left the rows of books yet, "Still, next time I'm inspecting a ponies house before Pinkie gets there. I can't in good faith allow more rare history be used in such a way. I'm sure your grandfather would be very upset at them being used like this."

"Well they weren't all passed down to me. Some of them I purchased myself," Trail said while putting a hoof onto a antique lamp desk, admiring its wooden detailing on the drawers.

"You must have saved up for such a long time to obtain them," Twilight remarked. "Like I said, some of this stuff is worth a fortune."

Laughing as he always did he replied with a knowing eye, "Well in my line of work, you meet certain ponies. And sometimes those ponies can be great boons if you do you job well. I must admit, some of the bits that helped purchase the various items I did not already possess were generously donated by a benefactor I had acquired in Fillydelphia. He was such a fan of my work that he even contributed to the expanses of my moving here to Ponyville."

"Wow, you got to be good thing to get a rich pony on your side," Spike commentated. His impressed expression changed into a frown as he spoke, "Surprisingly we don't get nearly as much as I think we should."

Still scanning the shelves intently as she half listen in on the conversation, Twilight’s eyes suddenly lit up as she spotted a certain title. “Ooo, is this the book you got the recipes from?"

"Ah yes, Draconian Delights," Trail replied moving to join her.

"Let me see too!" Spike cried as he rushed over.

Twilight turned to the room with the book held a short distance away so the three of them could see together, its pages turning one by one by her magic. Spike's eyes intently followed each recipe on its pages, his stomach almost growling again at the idea of eating some of the dishes the book held. "Oh my gosh! That looks looks great! No, that one too! Oh oh! Can we have that one next time?"

"Spike," Twilight said interrupting him. "Some of these look difficult to prepare, and we don't even have the correct gems right now. Maybe we can jot a few of the simpler ones down and make them for you when we are able to gather everything for it."

"Can't we just borrow it?" Spike asked insistently.

"No! We can't borrow a book like this! Do you even have any idea how valuable this could be? You know we couldn't find anything about dragons, and this one somehow knows what their favorite treats are!" Twilight exclaimed.

Spike's face fell as he dragged a claw on the floor, "I guess you're right.” Turning to the stallion Spike pleadingly asked, “Trail, would it be to much trouble to come back now and then to get recipes?"

"I'll do better than that, I'll give it to you!" he replied with a cheerful tone.

"Really?" Spike immediately shouted, accompanied at the same time with Twilight shouting, "What!?"

"Trail," Twilight began to say. "We couldn't accept something like this. I would much rather just stop by now and then to write things down, I wouldn't even dream of taking it to our place and somehow damaging it."

"Oh come now Twilight, think of it as a gift for everything you all have done for welcoming me here. And as payment for the book you gave me earlier."

“That’s a lent copy. You borrowed from a library,” Twilight said flatly, the look of her face not approving of where the conversation was going.

“Was it? Oh dear, then that serves a bit of a problem,” Trail said, feigning distress. “You see I seem to have lost that book and will be unable to return it to the library. You better accept this as payment for it, an eye for an eye you know.”

Spike didn't need to hear another word as he dashed forward and held the book tightly against his chest, thoughts of the delicious gems he would eat dancing in his head.

"Trail, I really don't think we could. That book is way too valuable historically. It belongs in a museum! Not a kitchen!" Twilight continued to argue.

"Twilight, I already gave it as a gift and payment for the loss book. And I accept no refunds on gifts or payments!" he stated simply. "Besides, you can't live your life on material possessions purely. Yes they are nice and it's fun to collect them as you can see from my home. But you can't fret on keeping them the way they are forever. Few things last forever and it certainly isn't furniture, although they do a darn good job at trying. I would be a very petty pony if I couldn't part with a book in a show of friendship."

Twilight opened her mouth to protest further, but nothing came out. She was still not convinced it was the best idea and wanted to argue against it further. But looking at Spike and the grin he held on his face for having the book, her urge to preserve the it as best as possible faded away at the idea of his happiness. I've never seen Spike hold onto a book so tightly before, I suppose if it makes him happy...

"Fine, we accept your gift… and payment," Twilight admitted, not to happily. "But Spike, that book is only allowed in the kitchen when you are specifically preparing something from it. It needs to be safely far away from any ingredients and to be stored in my private shelf near my bed when not being used. It’s the libraries now and it is going to be kept as preserved as possible."

"Anything you say!" Spike immediately replied, causing Twilight to wonder if he even fully heard her.

"Um, Twilight." Trail asked hesitantly, drawing her attention. "I also have a gift for you. Well to be honest, it's more like a free sample and advertising."

"What it is?" Twilight asked curiously.

"Well, I was hoping... if you would allow me to do a session with you."

"Excuse me?" Twilight said raising an eyebrow.

"Just a introductory one! I have to admit, I've been curious of what's been going on in your mind and have been dieing at a chance to evaluate you."

Twilight was silent for a few moments before giggling lightly. "Evaluate me? Oh come on Trail, you honestly expect me, of all ponies, to have mental problems?"

"I would," Spike replied quickly.

Twilight shot him a glare for the second time that night as she responded, "I do not, have problems."

"Remember that time you forgot to send Princess Celestia a letter?"

"Yes, but that was a one time thing. And she fixed that so—"

"Or that time you visited yourself from the future?" Spike interrupted.

"Well... I.. that one became resolved on its own."

"Or the time you obsessively followed Pinkie Pie around all day trying to prove her Pinkie Sense was wrong?"

"I got over that!"

"How about the time-"

"That's enough!" Twilight shouted.

An awkward silence filled in the room from Twilight’s shout and the growing red on her face. It was some time before Trail coughed politely and said as reassuringly as he could, "Twilight, even the most stable of ponies can still have problems. It would actually be odd to not have problems. It's really nothing to worry or fret over."

"Worry is all she does," Spike said.

Twilight glared at both of them for a few seconds. When she saw they weren’t going to budge she finally exhaled in defeat, "Fine, I'll do one session.” Turning her head away she mumbled, “I guess a check up... wouldn't hurt..."

Trail's face lit up at her acceptance of his offer, "Great! I promise you won't regret it. Please, seat yourself comfortable on the chaise while I prepare for the hypnotherapy."

"Um," Twilight said before moving. "Does it have to be with hypnosis? I'd only read a little bit about it before but to be honest, I share Spike's opinion on it."

Trail's face took on a sour look as he replied, "Not you as well! Honestly, I expected a mare of your knowledge to see the truth between false information. Very well, I'll just have to explain it as I see it. If you would please have your seat, I'll explain how real hypnosis works and why I use it."

Twilight held a skeptical and unenthusiastic attitude towards the whole thing, but reluctantly followed his directions and moved towards the chaise.

"Spike, I'm going to have to ask you to leave please," Trail requested.

"Aww, why do I have to go? I promise to be quiet!" he pleaded.

"Doesn't matter. All my sessions are one on one with customer to therapist confidentiality only. Everypony deserves their privacy, and they need to be by themselves to feel fully comfortable to truly become open."

"Fine," Spike groaned. As he began to walk out his attitude suddenly picked up. "I'll just... be downstairs reading." His excitement to read more about the future meals he was already planning showed easily as he hurried down the hall.

Chuckling at the dragons behavior, Trail moved towards the door and closed both of them, then came back and settled himself onto his chair behind Twilight.

"Now please, lay back comfortably while I explain. To begin, hypnosis is very real. But it does not work how some ponies think it does. There is no mind control and falling asleep. Instead, you are being put into a state of hyper focus. Think of it as being in a dark room with only a small flashlight, you are only able to be aware of exactly what it is revealing within a large room. That is effectively, what is happening in your brain when you are under in a trance like state."

"...Okay," Twilight said, paying full attention to the stallion behind her. "But why do I need to be put under for talking about... me?"

"I find that patients aren't very comfortable at opening up fully. Sometimes it can take multiple sessions just to get them to reveal a tiny detail that I could have addressed long ago. Hypnosis puts asides one's worries or embarrassment so I can more effectively deal with it during treatment. I assure you I can quite experienced in this.”

Twilight’s ears flicked in irritation but despite her reluctancy, she remained in the chair, and listened.

“Now just relax,” Trail said. “There are multiple ways of going about an induction, and I feel two are the best options for you. One is the typical method of talking you into a focused state, while the other is a confusion induction which I think will be more successful for you."

"What's that?"

"It's an induction that is most effective against analytical minds that pick apart anything and everything it doesn't understand or agree with. Sound familiar?" Trail asked teasingly.

Twilight held some comfort that from his position he couldn't see the small blush that formed on her cheeks.

"But before I start, I have to ask one question. Hypnosis will not work unless the patient willingly accepts it. You have to trust me and let go, otherwise it will not work and I'll look foalish sitting here for however long it takes for me to realize it's not working for you. So I ask... do you trust me... Twilight Sparkle?

Twilight was about to automatically answer yes, but paused as she really thought about it. Do I really? she thought. She recalled everything she knew about him that she had learned over the last week. He was odd, eccentric, quick to become happy, and laughed at things only he found funny. But he had been nothing but kind since she's met him. To top it off, he was kind to all her friends as well. Not even counting the fact that his love for books might even match Twilight's, he willingly gave a potentially valuable book to Spike just to make him happy.

While there was the tiniest notion inside her that she shouldn't be completely opening up to him in such a vulnerable way, she dismissed it for paranoia of being introduced to something she never full heartedly believed to work. He has been nothing but friendly and kind. I suppose I should return the favor and give him the benefit of a doubt.

With a deep breath she softly answered. "Yes, I do."

Trail's lips parted in the faintest of smiles," Good. Now, let us begin..."

~~~~~~~~~~

Halfway through the induction, Trail noticed Twilight's breathing becoming more regular and even. Her body slowly becoming more relaxed and limp as he spoke to her, his voice having changed from his usual cheerful and eccentric demeanor, to a much more calming and soothing one. And though he wasn’t able to see how her eyes glossed over and slowly closed themselves shut, he didn’t need to. For as he continued to speak to her, his eyes that were once red, transitioned themselves into a soft glowing white light.

While before he was only able to see her hair and horn poking over the top of the chaise, and her hoof hanging limply over the edge, his magical vision revealed even more.

Through the chair, laid an orb that was both translucent and opaque. It was located exactly where Twilight’s chest was, nestled within her core. The room around Trail began to fade away as his vision drew closer onto it, causing a distorting effect as if he was actually moving towards it. The longer he stared at it, the larger it appeared to him, almost as if was standing directly behind Twilight, close enough to feel her coat.

Then, the opaqueness gave away, and an impossibly multilayered structure could be seen within it. Strange shapes coalesced together into separate sections, each flickering in their own pace and color. Between those shapes, fiber like bridges connected them in an intricate framework. More numerous than a pile of christmas lights, yet more defined as if woven by a master weaver, they bridged the various sections in an eye dizzying display of connections.

Looking upon it further, recognition formed within his mind as he began to piece the function and purpose of each section, built from countless experiments and trials from similar attempts.

What makes the Night Walker so dangerous?

What makes his presence to stifling and tempting?

It is not the threatening fangs he bares,

Nor the offers you find hard resisting.

It is the gift, known to all of his kind,

And by the Shepherd known as Dead,

That unknown force mortal ponies know not,

That twisting and turning of the soul we dread.

Soul Sight, an unholy command,

Piercing deep within your being,

To feel his gaze is to know fear,

And to know secrets are fleeting.

He seeps into your thoughts,

Snatches your heart and mind,

Changing the very pony you are,

To suit whatever he designs.

Mad you could be,

Or calmer than the eye of a storm,

You could be set free,

Or bound more than any stone.

That is what makes the Night Walker so,

What makes him more fearsome and cunning,

Though others have wielded such power before,

None have mastered it as naturally as running.

Not even the Dead.


And how I’ve missed using it, Trail thought to himself smugly. To Trail, looking into Twilight’s soul was being able to see nearly every aspect that made her Twilight Sparkle. Though it did not hold direct memories, it allowed him to see her emotional strengths and flaws, her morals and patterns. It was the ability to see how a pony had grown in their lives, whether they would be quick to anger or not, their consideration for others, the very traits that form their personalities and how they act. It was to him, like reading an open book titled ‘Twilight Sparkle’ that held more information than what could ever be conveyed in words.

Had she not been under hypnosis and falling deeper by the moment, he would have been able to watch in motion her soul flicker and fire flashes of lights on the various sections within her as she interacted with the world. Her apprehension growing as an unsightly stranger approached, the warmth and happiness that would spread at the sight of a friend, or the rare moment of watching fibers connect new sections together if she had gone through a life changing moment, permanently altering her view on the world.

But it was because she was under hypnosis that allowed him such easy access, and left her internal defenses unchecked. For when altered and manipulated, one can feel as if their very chest was being plucked apart from a variety of emotions spewing forth without reason or control.

And as her soul began to ease it’s flickering, its colors slowing dulling due to inactivity, he knew the time to begin his work was quickly approaching.

It seems the confusion induction worked wonders. Her mind is more alert and analyzing than I thought, though a little bit of pushing the right spot never hurt to help sooth a timid soul.

Satisfied that she was deep enough, he began analyzing the routes he would need to modify or create. At this point, his words could go anywhere or change anything within her. It will take a couple sessions to lay the foundation, but why don't we start with your problems.

“Now then,” he said soothingly, his voice coaxing her attention obediently. “Lets add some more confidence to your ability to solve problems. You are a smart pony, capable of handling whatever life throws your way. Though you have always had friends to depend on, you were always able to make yourself push through. In fact, I believe I can see that you are already holding doubts about others opinions of you on whether or not you should be doing something on your own, that you should be who you are and figure things like like the capable pony you are.”

“But if it wasn’t for who you are, you would not have defeated the challenges that have presented themselves to you. You are a very capable pony, and you can do anything if you put your mind to it. All you need, is the information to work off of, and that unyielding determination you only let out onto your desire to read. Perhaps you should exercise your ability to solve things, try your hoof at more challenges. You wouldn’t be here otherwise if you weren’t able to. You are a capable pony aren’t you?”

"...Yes..." Twilight whispered.

“Afterall, you are a princess. You are expected to handle more responsibility, and to do that, you need more experience.”

As he whispered within her mind, he ever so delicately connected and disconnected certain fibers to the sections he coaxed brighter. More assertiveness and pride, and less humility and urge to seek help. As he did, he watched as her confidence began to establish itself further within her.

“Good, you should feel confident. Your smart, capable, and alert. There is nothing if you put your mind to it that you can’t solve.”

As Trail snipped a section, a sudden flare burned within Twilight, causing him to grimace. She’s more skilled that I assumed.

Twilight, once a unicorn that had wielded more magical ability than most could ever hope for, was used to dealing with a variety of sensations and complex multitasking. Summoning magic required a mind that could consciously and subconsciously deal with fluctuations or errors as quickly and skillfully as possible. And though her soul was not an area she had ever experienced first hoof, it was part of the source for her magical abilities, and not outside her field of attention.

A pity I never had to chance to work with alicorns before. If you were not so important, you would make a fine learning experience.

At this point, even the slightest error in the guiding process could potentially snap her out of the trance. Even while under, her subconscious continued to constantly scan and calculate, searching autonomously for anything wrong or out of place, a habit she had developed out of years of dealing with magical energy and her own paranoia. Trail needed to direct its attention to where he wanted it to go, and never realize that it was his voice that guided it. He needed to create the illusion that it was looking over exactly what it wanted to, without know it was being kept blind to where he worked on.

“It appears to me that you worry too much, it stops you from fully realizing all the variables in a situation. You must be calm and collective. I see you already built up some resistance to the stress of worry, from a close friend perhaps? A technique or gesture that will calm you down?”

"...Yes..."

“That's very good. Why don't we increase its effectiveness?”

His lips parted into a sly smile as he patiently worked through Twilight's mind, heart, and soul. There was much to do, and he little time for tonight. But before I forget...

Walking across the room, he quietly opened a wooden box on his chest, pulling out a empty vial with a cork on the top. "Why don't we drain out some of that worry? Just imagine it fading away and bringing your entire being into a more calm like state. Fading away from your hind hooves as it's drawn away from your body..."

In her trance like state, Twilight was unaware of the wisp of shadow that seeped from Trail’s mouth and over her hind hooves, effectively dulling the senses to the area, or the tiny cut he created with a fang. Slowly, he coaxed the blood to pool out and into the vial, all while keeping Twilight's mind relaxed and wrapped in his words.

"You're beginning to feel more calm, more open. You enjoy feeling like this don't you? Not a care in the world as the worries flows out."

"...Yes..."

~~~~~~~~~~

An hour later, Trail had laid the foundation and changes he was able to create during their time, and had a full vial of alicorn blood for later use. He had cleaned her wound expertly, and if she did manage to notice the small cut on her back legs, placed where ponies wouldn’t question where a nick or two came from.

Having tucked the vial away, and seated comfortably on his chair once more, he began the final process before waking her up. "Now remember, these changes are there because you want them there. They will help you, but only if you act on them. Laying the foundation for something means nothing if they aren't used. The pathways you have created tonight will fade away if you do not actively use them. Do you understand?"

"...Yes.."

“Good”, Trail thought in satisfaction at his handiwork. While she may be aware of the positive changes that she herself will be responsible for keeping up — if she truly desires them that is — the safety precautions I implanted will be rather more... difficult, to fade away.

"Now then, let’s wake you up."

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