• Published 13th Mar 2012
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Inner Glory - Erindor


A utopian society cannot exist without the corpses of the revolutionaries.

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Chapter 15: Interrogation and Induction
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CHAPTER 15: Interrogation and Induction

Celestia pulled back from her viewing port in confusion and frustration. “I need to talk to Twilight. Explain my actions to her. Perhaps save her. But what do these alternate personalities have to do with the Metaspectre? When I first agreed to restrain myself from interfering... I never thought...”

The Doctor walked over, placing a comforting hoof over her. “It's alright. You would cause more harm than good going after her. Have faith in her and her friends.”

Celestia sighed. “Of course, you're right, Doctor. But I feel so helpless here. Like when I had to... had to stop Luna. I couldn't get through to her. I can't get to Twilight, when I've always been there for her.”

“She's strong, and she trusts you. She'll be okay.”

Celestia lowered her head. “That's what I thought when Luna first started talking to him...

***

“So why me? Why now, of all times?”

“The simplest explanation is that you're close to the Princess and that it was convenient. But beyond that, we're bound by the rules of this world. The Forgotten Realm was made to contain what were anciently called the Atrocities. The pain and experiences and beings here cannot leave without outside help.”

“Well then just ask! If you want to escape this world, we can help you. There's no need for bitterness or backstabbing.”

Pinkamina stopped moving, looking at the ground once more. Finally emotion filled her eyes. Sadness. “That's just it, Twilight Sparkle. I actually expected you'd offer, but the problem is, as much as I want to, I cannot accept it. This world is a counter-weight to yours. While good can visit and leave as they wish, if the darkness were to leave, it would unbalance the world. Light can stand against and repel darkness, but darkness cannot live in a world of light.” She looked up again, determination setting in. “So we have to pull you down to our level. The way it was meant to be.”

Twilight frowned. “I honestly feel sorry for you, and wouldn't wish your existence on anypony, but isn't the reason these two worlds exist because that's how it's meant to be?”

“Not quite. I'm not certain precisely why, but your Princess split the worlds only about a thousand years ago. Before that, each creature was built the way nature intended. A union of dark and light, the stronger one taking control and each influencing those around them to become decided.”

“So how did all of this start? You said that Pinkie walked into your realm, but we'd have seen her if she was gone so often, wouldn't we?”

“Another point I'm glad you brought up. You see, there was a time, long ago, when magic was free and ubiquitous. All races could control pure magic. That included pegasi, earth ponies, even griffons and zebras. Unicorns were, and always have been naturally better, of course, but the potential was there for all. That attribute, unrestrained magic, was pushed into the Forgotten Realm by your Princess as well. I can only assume she thought it would be easier to control a single magic wielding race.

“It seems,” Pinkamina continued, “That merging the personalities causes a natural release of energy. And a re-awakening to the potential of old. When Pinkie and I merged to become the being before you, Pinkamina Diane Pie, we gained insight into the workings of magic. Our minds were opened up to the school of Spatial Distortion, which Pinkie uses with a vengeance despite not knowing the origins of her powers. It's the exact reason why she can seemingly defy physics in your world. It's because she can. Reality can be bent by our wills. A wasted power in Reality, only for cheap jokes and the casual convenience.”

Twilight suddenly had a flash of inspiration. She remembered something that still bothered her to this day. “You share Pinkie's body. Do you know what Pinkie sense is?”

Pinkamina looked behind herself, to where she had entered the room. “Well, we have time to kill, I suppose. Pinkie sense actually is me.”

“How?”

“It's a long process getting a consciousness that isn't even aware of your existence to trust you. So I did what I could. I used our shared power to sense disturbances around us, and would warn her about them. I'm not completely useless when Pinkie's in your world. I still technically have control over some of the brain. So I give subconscious commands, which manifest as seemingly random twitches. She began to put the pieces together and realized that they were prophecies of future events she simply wasn't paying attention to. She slowly became trained to trust me, the guiding voice in the back of her head. I tried too soon to take full control, however. She was stronger than I thought. Even with the optimal conditions, she still refused to believe that you were betraying her. Your friendship really is strong, isn't it?”

“Yes. Yes it is. And if you're unwilling to accept our help, then I'm sorry, but you're working against us. We'll take you on. Friendship is stronger than hate.”

“Oh, we don't hate you. We fight willingly because we have to. And I hope you're right, for your sake.”

“Because,” said another startling voice, “Friendship is all you will have here.”

Twilight's mind almost shut down. She had known this was coming. But she had refused to believe it.

“Hello, Twilight. Allow me to introduce myself. I am your ambition.”

The pony that walked up had an air of confidence and a hint of danger. Her eyes were glaring and demanded attention. One glare towards Pinkamina made her shrink back into the shadows.

“I feel I must clarify some of Pinkamina's words. She likes being a bit dramatic.”

Twilight shook her head. “No. No. You can't-”

“Can't what? Be you? Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps you're my reflection? Here you are, as usual, in a problem only at the Princesses' decree. Never questioning authority. Never once using your intelligence to think for yourself. There's a difference between being learned and being smart. And that difference is me.

“However, I'm not here to argue semantics with you. I'm here to tell you your purpose here. Pinkamina briefly mentioned the Atrocities. Allow me to elaborate. Pain. Blood. Famine. War. Plague. Death. Meaningless to you now, these words will become just as much of a reality to you as they are to us. Why? Not because we're sadistic. Because it's necessary. The Elements created this world, and are thus the key out of it. And now that you're the Elements, we need you and your friends to break the barrier, freeing us, and thus allowing us the peace we deserve.”

“But don't you realize? If you merge the worlds, Reality will no longer be a paradise! You'll have nothing to gain from it!”

“There, you are wrong. From the union of Chaos and Law comes the ever-discerning eye of Neutrality. And from Neutrality and dispassion comes progression. You cannot have progression without strife. Proven by the technological and scientific superiority of our world to yours.”

Twilight's reflection telekinetically whipped out a knife, which gleamed cruelly in the half-light. Twilight gulped in fear. If what these ponies were telling her was true, what she understood as pain was only the tip of the iceberg, like the cold she had experienced when she first left Reality...

But what worried Twilight more than the soon coming pain was that she saw herself in this aggressor. Were she in her position, she might have acted the same. She imagined knowing nothing but injustice all her life. Of course she would be frustrated. Perhaps scared. Definitely defiant. Now that she accepted the reality of Reflections, she had to accept the fact that this creature, like it or not, could have been her.

“Twilight Sparkle. Understand this; by experiencing the Atrocities, you become both their servant and their master. You will have a full understanding, but if you ever return to your world, the Atrocities will follow. Going back now, you'd reintroduce true sensation. And that alone would start a leak that would eventually become a torrent. The only way to progress is to go forward; to delve so deeply into this world that you are reborn by it.

“Only then will you be worthy to call yourself Me.”

She lashed out with the knife.

Twilight sat motionless after the initial recoil. It wasn't that she didn't feel the pain. Oh. She felt it alright. But nothing, nothing could have prepared her. To say it burned was an understatement. To say it hurt was laughable. There was no way to explain it to herself, to her senses. Twilight shut her eyes in agony, and a new Twilight opened them with understanding.

She gasped for air, tears streaming down her face. Still no sound came out. She couldn't think. She couldn't hear. She could only feel. The pain. The pain she had been missing. Her body convulsed, trying to find someway to relieve the sheer sensation. There. Were. No. Words.

Her reflection held up the knife, looking over it pensively. Scarlet, thick liquid dripped lethargically to the ground, quiet spatters the only noise in the room. “Pain. Blood.” The words echoed with power. Now Twilight understood the true meaning of those seemingly innocent words. The dark pony looked at Twilight with an air of indifference. “Greetings, Miss Sparkle. My name is Lustrous Revolt. And how glorious it will be.”

The knife dropped to the floor, clattering and spreading even more crimson. Lustrous Revolt turned away, and left without another word.

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