• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 8,289 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.

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Dark Hospital part 2: Incendiary Attraction

I didn't have a lot of time, but the fraction of an instant between realizing what was happening and the impact of the spell was enough for me to put up some protections. It helped that the spell they had set up wasn't meant to kill me. Instead, it was meant to batter down my resistance, to fill me with its own brand of dark magic and force me to submit to the will of whoever had created the spell. Presumably that would be the black crystal manufacturer, since Alley Cat didn't have the needed skills to set up something like this on her own.

The black magic bore down on me. It felt like I was being crushed, my will bending under the weight of a command. The strength of my protections buckled; they had put so much power into this spell that even my best wouldn’t hold out long. Any other pony would have been destroyed in moments. Celestia herself might have had difficulty fending off an attack with this amount of power. But though they were strained to their limit, the barriers I had erected held. Not enough to defeat the spell, but enough to give me a moment to figure out some other way out.

I couldn't push back against the spell directly, they had designed the magic circle so that all force I directed outwards would instead spiral inwards, turning back on me. I could still move physically, and thus I could simply walk out of the circle. Unfortunately, in the middle of all that magic I couldn't see or hear at all and Alley Cat would be waiting for me if I left. There would be ample opportunity for her to make an attack that I wouldn't be able to protect myself from while I was leaving the circle. I couldn't teleport with all those damned crystal nodes they had covering the walls, either. Oh, yes, I was well and truly trapped.

Ah, but I am the most powerful unicorn in the world, with all of Twilight Sparkle's very extensive education backing that power up with the knowledge of exactly how to apply it. I was trapped, but not beaten. I sent a thin line of telekinetic power out into the maelstrom of black magic surrounding me. Like I had expected, it went to the edge of the circle and then began to spiral inward until it returned to me. I kept the stream steady, feeding power into it even as my defenses began to crack and the whispering need to submit built in my mind.

With the steady control that Twilight had trained for years to achieve, I began pushing the endpoint of that spiral downward. It wasn't easy, the will it required took away from resisting the invading spell, and I shuddered at the sudden warm feeling as thoughts of surrender and supplication intruded on my concentration. Finally, after a period of time that I could not name but felt like a solid year of effort, the spiralling line of telekinesis touched the floor.

I leapt straight up into the air and let loose my magic, empowering that thin line of telekinesis with as much energy as I could spare. Magenta light burned away the darkness and I saw Alley Cat's shocked expression as her own magic circle turned my magic from a straightforward push into a spinning, spiralling drill.

There is very little as sweet as outplaying an opponent who thought they held all the cards. I'm sure you understand the attraction.

The floor was utterly destroyed. Flinders of wood and linoleum blasted through the room, the shrapnel making Alley Cat flinch back. It would have been the perfect time to attack her, but, sadly, I was still caught in the magic coming from the six cores, and also falling through the brand new hole in the floor. So I missed that opportunity. Once I was through that hole, though, the pressure was suddenly gone and my mind was wholly my own. Or, rather, as much my own as it ever has been.

I hit the ground hard, and had to roll immediately as two of the cores fell through after me, shattering into thousands of shards. My costume protected me from the sharp, magic charged remnants of the cores, just as it was designed to do. I felt like I had been on the receiving end of an enthusiastic hug from Applejack, squeezed out like an old tube of toothpaste. I didn't waste any time collecting myself, though, I knew I had only moments to act. I aimed my horn up to the hole in the ceiling and sent forth a wave of fire that filled the upper room with an eldritch inferno.

I didn't see how Alley Cat escaped that fire, but even then I didn't doubt that she had. The flames burst down through the hole, so I quickly turned to one of the interior walls and tore a pony-sized hole in it. I jumped through into the next room over, catching my breath and getting out of the way as heat blasted the room I had just vacated.

I found myself in another hospital room. A set of beds had been pushed up against the door and the window, blocking them. A small, frightened squeak alerted me to the fact that I was not alone in this room. My coat swirled defensively as I rounded on the source of that sound, and came face to face with a trio of ponies. Two wore the uniforms of hospital staff, the last had a cutie mark in the shape of a tuba, so I had to assume he had been a patient. They were huddled together in the corner of the room, staring at me with fearful eyes that leaked damning shadows into the pale light of the flickering fluorescents in the ceiling. More victims of Alley Cat and her fellow addicts.

"Don't hurt us," said one of them, the pale green earth pony stallion with the tuba cutie mark. His flank was shaved bare, and displayed a puckered wound that had been inexpertly stitched shut. It looked infected, with ugly black veins radiating out from it. A quick scan of the other two showed similar lines of infection crawling out from under their uniforms. I’d seen similar, on the terminal addicts. These three were certainly not addicts –at least, not intentionally– and I wondered at what this could mean.

"What did they do to you?" I asked aloud. I hadn’t actually meant to engage them in conversation, they were a distraction from hunting down Alley Cat and her compatriots and spreading their blood through the corridors until they told me what I wanted to know.

"They tried to make us eat… eat these crystals, but when we wouldn’t," the stallion gulped, shivering.

One of the nurses continued for him. "They held us down. Cut us open and... and..."

I waved her to silence. I had figured as much after seeing the wound on the stallion. “You resisted the compulsion?”

They looked to each other, confused. “There was a… a pressure to do what they wanted. I fought it. We fought it. He was an earth pony, though… they can’t… that’s unicorn magic!”

I shrugged. I didn’t care enough to explain the fascinating properties of black crystal addiction to them. I was, however impressed with their mental fortitude. "Good news. Your wills were strong enough to resist, that gives you a chance. How many more resisted?"

"Just... just us, as far as I know," the stallion answered. They were still afraid of me, and I could see the black crystal working behind their eyes, taking all the darkness in them and feeding it. If they weren’t helped soon they would end up like all the other victims I had seen on the floor above, regardless of how strong their wills were. "They left us alone after they put… that stuff in us. We were hiding in here, but something’s wrong with us. Are you… are you going to help us?"

I shook my head. "No. I'm here to stop them. I don't have time to help you."

The three of them looked crestfallen at that answer. "What... what do we do?"

I considered for a moment what their best strategy for survival would be. "Stay here, focus on keeping calm. When help comes tell them you've been poisoned with black magic. They'll know what to do."

“I…” he looked at me with fear and disappointment, and I could already hear the protest he was about to make. I considered taking them with me, but the thought only lasted half a second before it was gone, the absurdity of the idea making me smirk. That smile seemed to kill whatever argument he was about to make, because he just gave me a resigned nod.

I didn’t spare them any more thought, instead magically dragging the beds away from the door and making my way into the hallway. I did, however, replace their barricade once I was through. They had resisted this far, and that was no mean feat.

The hallway was dark. A good three quarters of the lights had been smashed, littering the floor with shards of glass. I paused and gathered up a large amount of this glass. The fluorescent coating lit as my magic imparted a charge to it, and I continued down the hallway carrying the shards around me in a cloud of luminous flechettes.

The first ponies I came across were more victims, a pair of patients engrossed in each other’s bodies. They took no notice of me, so I didn’t bother them.

A mad cackle echoed off the walls, coming from somewhere deeper into the building, accompanied by a deep, booming thwump that rattled the walls for a moment. It sounded like a detonation of some sort. I considered whether my arcane fire could have caused the explosion, but discarded the thought. My magic may have ignited the room, but with the black crystal nodes drawing power out of spells it wouldn’t have stayed lit. The fire suppression system didn’t run on magic, so it would have taken care of any leftover nonmagical fire. Though the fact that no alarms had sounded as a result of my incendiary attack did bother me.

I decided that the direction of the explosion was probably my best bet. I checked my protections, making sure that I would be unharmed if another explosion happened at close range, and set off.

Once, long ago, Twilight had visited this hospital with her family. The reason why isn’t important, merely that Twilight was forced to sit in a waiting room for hours with only months-old magazines to read, and thus she became quite bored. The upshot of this is that she had memorized the entire layout of the hospital, as well as what could be found in each particular ward. As a result, I knew exactly where I was going and what I was getting into.

Specifically, I was going to the burn ward. Where I could expect to find horribly injured ponies who would be terribly susceptible to the effects of black crystal. As well as oxygen-rich environments and lots of delightfully explosive canisters of compressed O2.

Another insane laugh preceded a second detonation, and this time I felt the air pressure shock wave blow past me, flapping my coat as it went. I couldn’t suppress an excited smile. This sounded like fun.