• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 8,290 Views, 346 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.

  • ...


I’ve become so distanced from everypony in my life that I didn’t think it was possible for them to hurt me any more than they already have. I took solace in that thought, wrapped it around myself like a blanket. A cold comfort is better than none, after all. I should have known it was a lie.

They brought Twilight's friends in to help look for me. They... I don't even know what they were thinking! Subjecting Fluttershy to what I've done? Forcing her to… And Applejack! She took me in, treated me like family. How much has it hurt her to see what I really was, under the lie I presented to her? It's cruelty. The basest form of manipulation, meant to target my friendship with them, forcing me to feel guilt. Guilt! Hah! As if I'd ever let something as banal as guilt stop me. They’re just hurting innocent ponies for no reason!

I could stay away from them, keep more than a couple steps ahead. Pinkie didn’t participate in the hunt, fortunately. I don’t know why, but I’m just glad she is nowhere near this. Dash, though... she caught up with me. Actually managed to... She got to me. Made me lose my focus. Gave Shining Armor enough time to trap me in one of his spells. She set me up. So much for loyalty.

...No. No I can't blame her for what she did. She knows I'm not Twilight. She knows what I've done and what I've lied about since the beginning. I betrayed her long before she betrayed me.

Anyways, I'm here, so you can see that I managed to get away. It wasn't easy, and I might have hurt a few ponies who didn't deserve it. I don't know. I'll probably find out later. I couldn't let them stop me, I'm too close to ending all of this. So close I can see the end of it.

But I can't do anything more right now, so I guess it's a good time to continue my story.


The last couple of days I had to myself before heading back to Ponyville were taken up by preparations for my continued vigilante activities. I’d been doing very well, but that last hideout had shown me that I was far from invulnerable. My creativity was enough to keep me ahead of my opponents for now, but I was too reliant on direct magical attacks. Tricks like those black crystal nodes could limit my usual options severely, and in the proper circumstances an addict could render themselves all but immune to my powers. I needed to come up with ways of attacking obliquely. I needed better tactics.

I also set up a teleportation circle, like I had told Vinyl I would. I had her hunt down a cheap but secure apartment for me, and spent a long night putting everything together. Very interesting business, actually, but only if you care about the hours of absolutely fascinating mathematics I had to do to get it all exactly right. Short version: I did it right, it worked fine.

The night before I left Canterlot I spent with Vinyl and Octavia out on the town. Spike's list hadn't seen as much use as I had been expecting, but it did have several options that would suit both mares and perhaps provide me with a distraction from my own worries. I selected a cabaret show, one that Spike’s notes indicated was probably racy enough to hold my attention.

We sat at a table lit by a pair of candles and talked over a simple dinner while watching the show. Vinyl loved the costumes and the dancing, and Octavia appreciated the surprisingly high-brow sophistication of it all. I was bored. After some of the sex-soaked places I’d visited with Vinyl over the past week searching for information on black crystal, this was almost amusingly tame. I don’t know if it’s just a side-effect of going to all those places or just me growing into my own sexuality, but I definitely prefer the brutal in-your-face approach of places like The Ranch to the tongue-in-cheek cleverness of the cabaret.

Bored as I was, my mind wandered far afield. I tried to keep from focusing on my personal situation, the constant existential crisis that I have lived since I had nearly killed Spike. I knew that it would only upset my companions to see me that maudlin. Instead I spent a lot of time contemplating the impact I was having on Canterlot. I can tell you that the papers were going wild. My last attack especially had been excellent fodder for the media to scream about. Gang wars they were calling it, and using language more appropriate to an actual war than to what was essentially a small, contained policing action.

The Guard were scrambling to find me, of course, and failing wonderfully. I'd taken the time to surreptitiously ask Celestia about it, but she had rebuffed my efforts, determined to keep me out of it. I managed to talk a few guards into giving me more information, though, and I found out that they knew so little I could probably have walked past one in full costume and they wouldn’t have known me from any other pony.

In the end, though, I was more interested in what the addicts were thinking of my actions. I wanted to know if I was managing to dissuade some of the more lightly addicted ponies from continuing with their abuse of the drug. If I could do that, if I could save them from that mistake without having to beat their heads against a wall for it? That would be the best thing. Knowing what I do about black crystal, though? I doubt it would happen. Once you start using it, once it gets its obsidian hooks in you, that's it. It only ever gets worse from there.

Speaking of, I was a little paranoid about what had happened at the hideout. The amount of crushed black crystal in the air could have easily become a problem for me. I ran myself through a battery of detection and cleansing spells, but if any of the drug had gotten into me, it was powerless and easily removed. I had gotten lucky. But I couldn’t rely on that luck forever, and thoughts of how to prevent my own infection by the drug were a constant nagging worry for quite a while.

It was because of those worries that I wasn’t exactly paying my best attention to the conversation. The part I remember most about it begins with Octavia asking me: "So you're heading back to Ponyville? Are you ready for that?"

"No," I answered her truthfully. "I feel like it's probably the worst thing I could do right now. but it's not something I can get away from. I have to see my friends again, I have to at least give the appearance of picking up my life and getting on with things."

"You've taken on quite the task," Octavia pointed out. "I already think you're biting off more than you can chew."

"Nah, Twi's got this down," Vinyl said, jumping to my defense. "You see what she did to that place the other night? Pow! Right through the wall!"

"I don't doubt her power," Octavia said. "But Twilight, you're still just a pony. You shouldn't try to do too much or you'll hurt yourself. Perhaps going home and living a double life is too much. Perhaps you should consider taking this at a more measured pace."

“I know my limits,” I assured her. She didn’t look convinced. “This is too important to slow down.”


The question tripped me up for several reasons, not the least of which was that I didn’t know exactly what she was asking about. I decided to play it safe. “You know why, Octavia. The black crystal has to be stopped before it gets out of control.”

“I understand your reasoning,” Octavia said. “But what I am wondering is if this is just another form of running away.”

“What are you talking about?” I demanded, frowning at her.

“Vinyl,” Octavia prompted.

Vinyl sighed. “Yeah, sorry Twilight. I totally talked to Pinkie Pie about hanging out with you. Got the whole story from her about what happened in Ponyville.”

I cringed at that, but fought down a surge of anger that they would go behind my back. It made sense. If Twilight had been confronted with a powerful mare raving about black magic and wanting to go on a vigilante crusade, she’d have done a background check too. It still stung, but I understood why it happened.

“You hurt one friend, and were afraid to face the others,” Octavia pressed. “That’s why you came to Canterlot, to get yourself together and move beyond that. I fail see how what you will be doing now is going to be any better than hiding in your library. You will still be refusing to face your friends with the truth.”

“It’s for their protection,” I insisted. “And yours. You want me to keep you safe from what’s going on in Canterlot? Then the fewer ponies that know about what I’m doing the better.”

“Yes. But if anypony is worthy to trust with this secret, your friends are,” Octavia said.

“Not yet,” I said. “I’m not running away from anything, Octavia. Not my friends, and not fighting the black crystal.” I gave her my most confident smile. “Princess Celestia taught me how to deal with these kinds of problems. Trust me, I know what my limits are and I’ll make sure I don’t go past them.”

I don’t know if that set her at ease, but she did drop the subject for the night. Either way, the rest of the night passed in comfortable camaraderie. We ate, drank, and stumbled back to Vinyl and Octavia’s apartment where I crashed on their couch. One last bit of revelry.

The next day I was on the train platform before noon, saying goodbye to Twilight’s parents. Princess Celestia didn’t come to see me off. I was both disappointed and grateful for that. The mess of feelings she stirs in me would have been bad baggage to carry with me all the long ride back to Ponyville. As it was, Twilight’s parents were bad enough. Their lack of understanding continued, with a touch of added anger at how I had avoided them for most of this visit. I didn’t much care, but I did my level best to soothe them.

Soon enough I was off, back to Ponyville, back to Twilight’s life. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I had no idea how hard it would get.