• Published 13th Feb 2015
  • 935 Views, 37 Comments

Too Much Love Will Kill You - A Hoof-ful of Dust



How much do you trust what you can see? What you can touch? What you experience? How sure can you be that all you have lived through, all you have loved, is not a dream that will fade at daybreak? Twilight must end the spell.

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Five

Twilight blinked. For just a moment, she had forgotten what she was doing.

When she was a little filly, Twilight had been fascinated with her parents' grandfather clock. It was old, crafted by hoof by her father's grandmother, though it showed little signs of age upon its reflective wooden surfaces, and it was beautiful, a stately presence that stood in their living room by the smaller bookshelf and filled the house with a rhythmic tick, tick, tick like the beat of a heart, but that wasn't what had fascinated Twilight. The side panels had glass set in them, windows that showed the gears and cogs and levers of the machinery working away inside, and she had been able to sit in her father's easy chair for hours and stare into the clockwork, trying to puzzle out how all the pieces interacted and drove the hands and the chimes from just the small sliver she could see. The face of the clock blocked any view of the mechanics driving it, so looking in from the front while the door was open was no help, and one of the few times Twilight could remember ever being scolded by her father came after she had tried to climb inside the cabinet itself to try to get a better look without the big gear on the right side obscuring her view, so the exact nature of the grandfather clock's interior remained a mystery to her. It wasn't until many years later that she actually saw the interior of a clock -- one of the many affectations of her eccentric history professor had been a fob watch, its chain a swaying metronome against his barrel as he paced methodically through his lectures, and Twilight had once caught him blowing dust out of it between classes -- and she realized how foolish she had been to think she could figure everything out herself with an incomplete picture.

She had sometimes daydreamed of being able to shrink down, mouse-sized, gnat-sized, and climb amongst the gears and sit upon their teeth as they revolved, able to see where each spring and cog was and what function it performed. Sitting at her desk -- her new desk, made of the same crystalline substance as her new home -- had brought about the feeling like she was dangling her hind legs over the edge of a colossal gear: one that had just lurched forward a step with the passing of a second.

There was an open book before her, sitting in a corona of dim lamplight. She must have just lost her place in what she was reading, but it felt like she had instead lost her place in the world, like her mind had climbed an extra step in a flight of stairs and expected solid purchase only to fall through air. The reflective walls of the castle, each surface holding a copy of the glowing lamp, were suddenly foreign and hostile in the dark, and Twilight thought fleetingly about going home. But this was her home now; there was no more Golden Oaks Library, and if she went there she would find only wreckage and scorched earth.

"Twilight," came a murmur from beyond the desk, beneath the covers, the usually light voice thick with sleep, "come to bed." A brief hint of pink mane shifted in the darkness.

Twilight pursed her lips. She closed the open book and dimmed the lamp, finding the way to her bed by starlight. Whatever she had been reading, it could wait until daylight. She settled under the covers and felt a warm hoof encircle her, its owner pressing up against her back.

The last thing Twilight thought of before she faded into sleep was that she really couldn't remember what she had been reading at all.