• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 7,544 Views, 342 Comments

Alienation - Longtooth



I am not Twilight Sparkle. We share one body, one past, but not our souls. I do not know why I am here, or why I have done these terrible things. This is my story.

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Body

Sociopath. That’s a word that’s found its way into my reflections more than once, and with great emphasis each time. Am I a sociopath? I certainly fit the definition in many ways. For a time I entertained the notion that I was the result of Twilight losing her soul, or her conscience. It was such an integral part of her that of course she would then feel like a completely different pony, and it could certainly lead to situations like this. Impulsive decisions, violence. Deaths. Foolishness, in the end. If only it were so simple. I have a soul of my own, and I am not merely Twilight minus something essential. It’s simpler to just believe that I’m a sociopath on my own merit.

But I don’t believe it. More accurately, I don’t want to believe it. I don’t think I’m a sociopath, I still care about other ponies, I still empathize and… and I feel. I regret. I’m not a monster. I don’t want to be a bad pony… but I don’t want to be a good pony either. That is my conundrum, my paradox.

How to describe this? How to convey how important this it to me? How to get anypony to believe it when I just admitted to murdering an innocent? I know that isn’t a problem for you, but for the others? No. I can guess what they think of me now, and they don’t even know about this. They don’t know how it all began. If they knew? If they knew half of what I’ve done since? Monster would be the most pleasant of names that they’d call me.

And yet, I would do most of it all over again, given the chance. Not killing that Guard, obviously, but the rest?

…It bears some thinking on. I have my regrets. I am not perfect, nor are all my decisions flawless. The whole reason I am here telling you this is because of the trouble some of those decisions have gotten me into. Trapped in the city with the whole of Equestria hunting for me, only you to listen as I try to put it all into some form of coherent perspective.

Could my self-assessment be just as flawed as my choices? Could my empathy be a vestige of Twilight, a veneer of conscience over the blood soaked creature within? It could be. I can’t say. I guess it’ll be up to you to decide, once you hear it all. Am I just a monster in pony shape, butchering her way across Equestria with only some imagined purpose to justify her violent impulses? Or am I what I think myself to be: a pony like any other who has made mistakes, but tries to do the best she can nonetheless?

I don’t expect your final decision will be kind to me, but I hope that it will at least be fair.

The Guard’s body hit the ground with a dull thud. I looked at it, stared, for a long time. I felt a creeping numbness in my limbs, a vague sense of wonder at how easy it had been. I hadn’t even intended him to die, I don’t think. Or, I did, but I hadn’t thought about what it had meant. He was so still, his eyes open and staring blankly at the wall, head twisted at a clearly unnatural angle. I expected him to twitch at any moment, to blink or cough or just breathe in a little so that his chest rose that fraction of an inch that would show he still lived.

Nothing. I could still hear the sounds of fighting from the apartment building, but it might as well have been static for all I was listening. I’d killed a pony, and the realization of it sunk in with a terrible slowness. I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to have to deal with it. Yet there it was, the result of my brash action and instinctive violence. I could barely move myself, barely breathe as I watched him fail to do the same.

Then, like a rubber band that has been pulled beyond its ability to stretch, the tension snapped, and I came back to my senses in a rush. I shook my head to clear it, took in a lungful of the night air, and began to decide on priorities. I had a dead body in front of me that I certainly couldn’t leave there, and a Guard raid behind me that I really should avoid running into. I also needed to deal with situation A before situation B caught up to me and made the whole thing moot. That meant I needed to find a way to dispose of a body quietly and tracelessly and get out of this part of Canterlot as soon as possible.

The first, easiest solution was the judicious use of teleportation magic. As talented as I am with that spell, I could probably have dumped the Guard on the other side of the mountain and gotten myself to bed with only a day of fatigue to show for it. I ruled that option out when I recalled that forensic magic would be able to trace any magic of the power necessary to send him that far. The magical residue left by my telekinesis would fade soon enough, but a long-range teleport was much too strong to avoid leaving a permanent mark.

So the easy way was out. Alternatives sprang to mind: an incinerator, a freezer, a tub full of caustic substances, etcetera. These were not useful thoughts on their own, seeing as I had no ready access to these things, nor any idea where I could safely and surreptitiously acquire them. I discarded most of those possibilities, focusing on less optimal but actually actionable plans.

Dump sites presented themselves for consideration. I could just toss him in a dumpster or in a different alley, or even just leave him where he was, but the point of this was to make him disappear. I didn’t want a body left behind on the off chance that it could lead back to me. He had to go away for long enough that any traces I may have left, magically of physically, would have decayed to uselessness. Anywhere trafficked was a bad idea, the smell of decomposition would prompt ponies to investigate long before the evidence had vanished.

A flash of memory caught me. Twilight, staring at hundreds of reflections of a sneering pony, telling her that she’d be trapped forever. The caves under Canterlot. They were practically forgotten still, and the crystals that lined them prevented a lot of divination magic from getting through. I could conceivably dump the body in there and it would never be found.

That was a good start, but it presented some problems. The caves were hard to access, for one. Only a few entrances existed, and they weren’t exactly easy to reach from where I was, and the same crystals that prevented divinations also stopped me from simply teleporting in. I would have to walk there, toting the dead Guard, and make my way on hoof to somewhere I could put him. It was a task full of dangers all its own.

The fighting was spilling out into the street, and an authoritarian shout uncomfortably close to the alley I stood in made me jump into motion. I didn’t have time to debate it any further. I went to the Guard, quickly stripping the armor from his still body. It was harder than I expected. I’d heard the term ‘dead weight’ before, but it wasn’t until I hefted him up to unbuckle his breastplate that I fully understood what it meant. There’s a certain extra heft to a body that is completely dead, something that even unconscious ponies don’t have. It wasn’t a terrible problem for me, though. I wasn’t going to be able to carry him across my back in any case, he was far too large, so I was already going to have to carry him telekinetically.

I picked him up, draping him with one foreleg thrown over my back. It took a little doing, but I managed to get his legs moving as I moved to make it look like he was staggering along with me, only helped to stay upright by my magic. It wouldn’t fool anypony for close inspection, but from a distance he might just look drunk.

I almost walked out of the alley without addressing the thing that would break the illusion at any distance. The Guard’s neck was still at that obscene angle, his eyes staring and mouth drooping open. “Yeesh, sorry,” I said. It was inane, but I felt like I had to vocalize some sort of apology, and that weak fare would have to suffice. I quickly readjusted his head, only to have it flop into a new and equally terrible position. I cursed and fidgeted as I got his head nestled over my shoulders. It was an uncomfortably intimate position and I felt a creeping embarrassment that made me quicken my steps as I finally left the alley and began heading towards the closest entrance to the deep mines.

I could regale you with every nerve-wracking step there. I could tell you about the other ponies I passed, and how sure I was that they were watching me, seeing everything. I imagined Celestia swooping down to personally smite me from the face of the world. It wasn’t an image that held much power, actually. Another vestige of Twilight’s memories, maybe. I felt that I should be thinking about it. No, what was worried about was a subtler death. A loss of self, a self I was only beginning to discover.

Whatever my worries, I don’t think I’ll bore you with the long march. It took time, and I ran into several other ponies on the way. No Guards, though. They were all too busy trying to deal with the black crystal addicts that had begun to rampage in the part of the city I had just left. I didn’t even look behind me as I went, or I would have noticed the fires they started.

The only really sticky place was when I got close to the cave entrance and I had to bypass a pair of guards patrolling the area. Not Royal Guards, just normal hired ponies keeping an eye on the place. Even then, it wasn’t difficult. I just waited until they were between their rounds, and did a short-range teleport to get into the cave entrance. After that it was a lot of walking in dark and treacherous conditions until I came to a deep pit near where Cadance had been trapped before the Changeling attack.

“Well, uh,” I said, holding the body over the pit. “Well. I’m sorry I killed you. I’m also sorry that I have to hide your body. I just… can’t believe I’m explaining myself to a corpse.” And with that brilliant eulogy, I dropped him, turned, and walked back to where I could teleport out.

Once I was back in my rooms, I just stood and stared into space for a long, long time. I don’t remember much about what I was thinking of then. I might not have been thinking about anything. What I do remember is what I was feeling: nothing. I wasn’t shocked at what I had done. I wasn’t sickened. I wasn’t angry at myself. I wasn’t afraid of what I was capable of. I wasn’t remorseful at all.

I recognized pretty quickly that resorting to murder as my first solution was a bad idea. Alternatives came to mind readily. I could have lied, made up a story that could have had me plausibly where I was without the implications of personal drug abuse. Heck, it would have been close enough to the reality that it might even have held up to truth-detection magic. I could have just told him that I was on personal business, and that he was not to interfere or report it. I could have talked to Celestia and headed off any suspicions… so many choices, but I had just jumped to death.

And I wasn’t sorry. I regretted it, yes. I wasn’t happy with what I had done, but I wasn’t precisely unhappy either. If anything I was annoyed that it had happened at all. A little more clarity, a little more care on my part and I would never have been put into that situation.

I found myself giggling, a little smile forcing its way through my determination to be stoic in the face of my crime. I had killed somepony, and gotten away with it. As far as the world was concerned, Twilight Sparkle had killed somepony and gotten away with it. And all she felt was annoyed, like murder was the equivalent of somepony making her wait a little too long in a lineup. The sheer absurdity of it hit me with a sudden burst of hilarity, and I laughed.

The laughter didn’t last. It was a fleeting thing, a bit of levity that masked the deeper situation, the more important aspect of what I had seen that night. The murder looms large, and it deserves to, but it isn’t the most important thing that happened to me. No, the truly important part of that night was being introduced to the black crystal, and seeing the shadows trailing from the eyes of the mare who had tried to seduce me. The memory of that sight settled into me, and I knew that I had to get to the bottom of it. That power was dangerous, far too dangerous to be passed around in such an accessible form. It was a disaster waiting to happen, and I was determined to make sure it was a disaster that would not happen.

I didn’t realize it then, I didn’t even know it was what I had been looking for, but I had found my purpose. Ironically, for somepony who had spent her existence defining herself in opposition to Twilight Sparkle, I was about to dedicate myself to doing exactly what she would have done: I was going to save Equestria.

Author's Note:

True word count: 32,231. Days 1-21 covered. Days missed: 5. Falling behind. Need a lot of writing to catch up.