• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 7,661 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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The next few days were... exciting. I didn't let them rest. I kept the pressure up. I hounded those bastards until they bled from fear.

The first night had shown me that I couldn't go easy. I couldn't expect hesitation or mercy, and I couldn't show any either. I had to be swift and decisive. I had to start with them off balance and push until they fell over, then stomp their faces in. Metaphorically and literally if I could get away with it. Most of all, I had to be careful about the addicts who had gone too far, who had become saturated with the black crystal. They are... dangerous, and not all of them are as obvious as that first one.

Here's how the problem works: black crystal absorbs dark energies, growing in size and strength the more power its fed. This means that your average addict will soak up dark magic, absorbing the bulk of any black magic you direct against them and using it to empower their high. Annoying, but the same is not true for regular, white magic. I can use my normal compliment of spells against them, and while the crystal gives them some level of resistance, it doesn't make them immune. The same cannot be said for the terminal addicts. The crystal has become ubiquitous in them, empowering itself and empowering them. The saturation of dark power reverses the relationship. They are nearly immune to normal magic, but vulnerable to dark magic. Pick the wrong type of spell to lob at an addict and they will just be made stronger by it.

I've become very good at differentiating the terminal cases from the standard addicts, but, as I said, they aren't always obvious, so it isn't always easy. The worst, though, the absolute worst, are the terminal unicorns. If they catch on soon enough they can control the dark energies, avoid becoming saturated by releasing the power. A common way for them to do that is by strengthening their minions, which I don't have to tell you is immensely annoying. They also have access to abilities far beyond what most unicorns can claim, making them even more dangerous.

Not beyond me, though. I can do what they do and more, and I don't need any magical drug to give me that power. Of course I'm proud of that. Keep listening, and I'll tell you all about what being a master of black magic can get you. The good and the bad.

My second assault took place the night after my first, and worked in much the same way. I approached in the open, used a few tactical teleports to scare the dealers and their thugs, and then dismantled them. They didn't put up much of a fight, still too caught up in their magically induced arrogance to conceive of someone attacking them so brazenly. I eliminated the worst of them and left the ones who could be saved to the dubious mercies of their fellow addicts or the Guard, whoever got to them first.

That morning the news finally broke through to the media. 'Gang Violence Claims Lives' the headline of the Canterlot Gazette read. Not exactly what I was going for, but for the moment it would suffice. The news was getting out, a spotlight was being shone on black crystal. It wouldn't be long until everypony knew what I did about the drug and how it worked. The mysterious suppliers would have a much harder time expanding their empire once that happened. Just another way to put pressure on them, to force them to make a mistake, reveal themselves. I was aching to strike, but it would be a while before they gave me a target.

The Guard had certainly taken notice of my message. Their forensics teams were analyzing the traces I'd left behind, piecing together what had happened. It's almost too bad that Celestia refused my offer to help. I could have taken over that part of the investigation, made it much harder for them to figure out who I was. Not that it mattered. By the time they knew, it was too late to stop me.

The third target, well, it was a little more tricky. This gang had gotten my message and taken it to heart. I discovered this as I was casing their hideout with Vinyl over lunch. The hideout was a trio of third floor apartments not too far away from the place I had followed the addict mare that first night. We were across the street, munching on some street vendor food and holding down a quiet conversation while I scanned the place with my magic.

"So I took the bass to the max, I mean so high I had to levitate my entire table or it'd skip the records," Vinyl was saying, relating another story of her long and mystifyingly varied career. "And this guy just kept bobbing his head completely out of sequence. Even if he was deaf he shoulda at least felt the beat. It was driving me insane. So I got the lights flashing, all right in sequence, just totally flowing with the music, right? Nothing! He’s not even just nodding on the wrong beat, it’s like he’s listening to an entirely different song. The crowd is goin’ nuts and I think a few ears are starting to bleed and the club manager is waving like crazy trying to get me to cut it out, but this guy won’t quit so like hay I’m giving up either! He just keeps on going like I’m not shaking the club down on his head trying to make him listen to the beat I’m actually playing. I’m about to go up and physically force him to bob his frickin’ head right, I mean leave the table in the middle of a set and everything. So this guy, and I mean this, he looks right at me and gives me this grin. And then he winks and I can tell he was just doing all of it specifically to mess with me.” She finished the story with a wild laugh.

“Did you kill him?” I asked idly, still probing the apartments.

“Nah, man. He got me, fair and square. I wasn’t even mad. Well, okay, we did date for a while, so you could say I gave him his comeuppance.” She leaned close, her smile becoming conspiratorial. “Get it? Co–”

“I get it,” I cut her off before she could explain it to me in full, probably messy, detail.

“Whoa, hey, why all the cranky?” she asked, not seeming too put off by it if I was being more terse than usual.

“Worried about things,” I replied.

“Like?" Vinyl prompted. "Come on, I’m helping you save Equestria, I can help you with whatever’s making you frown too.”

I considered that statement for a while, before deciding that she was probably right. I wasn’t going to give her the full story, of course. A lot of her assistance and good attitude towards what I was doing was predicated on her thinking that I really was Twilight Sparkle. Disabusing her of that notion would not only lead to unnecessary confusion, but might also get her to rethink the entire notion of assisting me at all. I could, however, bring up some entirely legitimate concerns that had only a tangential relationship to my status as an anomaly.

“Ponyville,” I said finally, sighing. “I’ve got to go back soon.”

“Hey, I’ll come visit,” she said with a smile and what I took to be a friendly slap on my shoulder.

“Ha. No. Not my issue. What is my issue is that I won’t be done my work here by then. Not unless I get spectacularly lucky tonight, and I do not think that will happen.”

“You worried the bad guys will get ahead of you?”

I nodded. “I’m thinking of ways to mitigate it. Making it so that my absence won’t be so… well, won’t be an absence. But Celestia has a task for me when I get back, something she hasn’t said anything else about yet. Except that for some reason she needs to consult with Luna before giving it to me. She sounded like she needed permission. I don’t understand what that might mean, but it could be… detrimental to my work here.”

“Can't you tell her no?” Vinyl asked. I gave her a look that told her everything she needed to know about that idea. “Oookay. So you’re worried you’re not gonna be able to keep up your crime-fighting with whatever world-saving task the Princess wants you to do.”

“That’s the general sense of it, yes,” I said. “I’m going to have to rely on you for a lot of the legwork when I’m in Ponyville.”

“But you think you’ll still be able to pull off the ‘mare of the night’ schtick?”

“Yes.”

“How does that work?”

“Simultaneity based trans-location via the Amber Rose consequent and its interactions with symbolic entanglement, abusing a mathematical necessity of ley formulae to spike transmission rates to beyond ranges detectable by any non-irrational difference lattice, and being the most powerful unicorn alive.”

“But mostly that last one, right?”

I nodded. “Mostly the last one.”

“Mind dumbing the first part down?”

“Magic circles help me teleport long distances, and if I do it right nopony will notice,” I replied.

“Cool. So you’ll be, like what? Spending your days in Ponyville and your nights beating up druggies in Canterlot?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

She was silent for a long moment, expression unreadable under her sunglasses. Finally a grin broke out on her face. “This is so awesome.”

“It is,” I agreed, but frowned. “You know what would make it more awesome? If I knew what was up with this damned apartment!” I stomped a hoof in anger. “I’ve been throwing detection spells at it for ten minutes now and I’ve got nothing!”

“That’s weird.”

“You’re damn right it’s weird!” I snipped, then took a deep breath to calm myself. “They’ve got some kind of warding up, but I can’t sense it.”

“Is that going to be a problem?”

I thought about it, but eventually shook my head. “No. It’s nice to know the layout, but I’ve already got the building plans from the city records. I’ll have to watch out for furniture if I have to go in blind, but that’s about it.”

“Okay, so you’re just going to take this one extra careful, right?”

I was about to nod, but something caught my eye. A family was moving a couch out of the building, old and beaten and obviously meant for a junkyard. I stared at this scene for a long moment, my mind turning an idea over in my head. A smile crept onto my face. “No. No, I think this one calls for something a little more… extravagant.”

Author's Note:

True Word Count: 55,370