• Published 1st May 2019
  • 758 Views, 44 Comments

Empty Horizons: The Lost Student - Psyonicg



The last time Twilight awoke, alone and in the dark, she wanted nothing more than to break free and find the light. This time, she'd rather let that darkness take her. Unfortunately, that decision is no longer just hers to make.

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Chapter IV: A Room of Two

“You cut that far too close.

“Honestly I’m impressed by how close you got it. We had practically no mana left at all after that teleport. Any less and we would have been skewered by those changelings before we made it out.

“And don’t even get me started on our body. Those legs could barely hold up a cushion. Are you even listening to me?”

Twilight groaned, waving a hoof in the general direction of the voice and trying to bury herself back into the bed. Whatever they were talking about could wait until she had slept a little more.

“You have to get up, little flower. ”

Twilight sighed. She knew it was right and she knew she had to get up, but the warmth of her blanket was so inviting.

“If you don’t, we’re never going to wake up again.”

And just like that, her blankets seemed far less inviting. With a groan, she forced herself to open her eyes and look up at her dark reflection, floating above the bed with an expressionless look.

One that still somehow managed to convey immense disappointment.

“Are you going to just lie there until we die?”

Grumbling under her breath, Twilight threw the covers off and shuffled off the bed. To her surprise, rather than landing on the wooden floorboards of the library, or the carpeted stone of the castle, she landed on something indescribably soft and simultaneously hard. Glancing down at her hooves with a frown, she realised what was going on as a featureless plane of vaguely translucent white light shone back at her. “Let me guess. Mindscape again?”

“Very perceptive of you. I’ve been trying to rouse you from subconscious slumber for hours now. Did you know that you kick your left hind leg when someone pokes the cutie mark on your right leg?”

Twilight gasped as she felt The Other’s hoof jab into her cutie mark, grinding her teeth when she felt her leg instinctively twitch out. With a huff she turned to face the floating pony, stepping away to put a little distance between them. “Firstly, don’t touch me. Secondly, why didn’t you just wake me up… you know. Out there?” she said, vaguely motioning upwards with a hoof.

The Other didn’t seem particularly bothered by Twilight’s annoyed tone, simply spinning lazily in the air as it replied. “I can’t. You’re out like a light. The sleep of the dead. Sleeping like a foal. Whatever other terms you want to use. You’re exhausted. Utterly.”

“So why did you wake me up here then?” Twilight asked with a sigh, moving to lie back down when The Other suddenly swooped down and grabbed her. “H-hey!”

“Wake you up? Oh, I think you have it all wrong, little flower. You’re not awake.” Twilight flinched as she came face to face with a disappointed frown that would have put her mother’s to shame, the urge to look away in embarrassment strong enough to momentarily cause her to forget herself.

A moment passed before she realised that she shouldn’t be feeling shame that the insidious dark magic in her brain didn’t approve of her actions, and she looked back up. “I’m not?”

“No. You’re not.” Before Twilight could respond she felt the ground beneath her vanish and suddenly she was falling down into a swirling maelstrom of colour and light, a panicked gasp all she could muster before she was plunged into the storm.

As part of her study into friendship, Twilight had gathered a number of psychological studies to better understand the complex feelings and emotions that went into a pony’s decision-making process. One thing she had learned was that the mindscape was a powerful tool for emotional reading, not least because emotions were capable of physically manifesting as energy within a pony’s subconscious.

It was also a dangerous task, as emotions were passionate things and it was all too easy to find yourself swayed by them even as you tried to study them. Twilight was not trying to study them, but as she burst through layer after layer of emotional energy she found herself consumed by the same emotions she’d tried to suppress.

The first was a seething cloud of black fog, twinkling with burning embers of crimson and yellow, that clung to her coat and pulled at her mane as if to hold her inside and never let go. But finally it relented to her weight, and as she passed through it she felt her body tense and her teeth gnash, magic flaring up inside her.

Why was she the one who had to clean up everypony else’s mess? What had she done to deserve The Other’s poisonous influence in her mind? Why did being a good pony always lead to someone else she cared about getting hurt? It wasn’t fair, she didn’t deserve this! She’d done everything right! Maybe The Other was right. Maybe if she started being a little more hooves-on with her problems they’d finally stay solved.

The anger and hatred seemed reluctant to let her go; wisps of the stuff soaked into her coat as she fell, worming inside her even as she was engulfed by another emotional storm.

This one was less a cloud than a pool of deep greys and blues that swirled around her, soothing her anger and pain away, sucking her emotions from her until she was empty and cold.

She was a failure. A horrible pony who’d hurt her friends. If she’d been able to control her powers, control herself, then none of this would have ever happened. Celestia had been wrong to trust her with the Elements. She wasn’t worth it. Maybe… maybe if she’d worked with The Other from the start, they could have avoided all this pain. Maybe if she’d spoken with her friends straight away it never would have gotten this bad. If she’d only prepared for Fluttershy’s treatment more thoroughly...

Without warning the pool vanished, leaving her shivering and alone in the endless expanse. No. Not alone. There was a mist all around her, becoming thicker and harder to see through by the second. When she realised what it was, it was already far too late.

Sickly green tendrils swirled around her in the impossibly thick fog, trapping her in an endless expanse of nothing as she stumbled, shivering and lost, in search of an exit.

How was she going to deal with Spike? What would she say when she finally saw her friends again? Would they even recognise her, or would The Other’s influence have twisted her into something terrifying and monstrous? It was going to try and put her to sleep again. She was going to have to fight and kill more creatures to complete her task. Her friends were never going to forgive her. There was no solution to her problems and she would die trying to do the impossible.

After what seemed like an eternity, Twilight burst from the fog and collapsed to the floor, her body pulsing angrily with reds, blues and greens. It took minutes—or maybe hours—for the voices to fade away, but even when they left she could still feel them in the back of her mind, waiting for her to remember.

Slowly, Twilight opened her eyes. How long had she been lying there?

“You’re not done.”

Twilight gasped in fear, forcing herself to her hooves and stumbling around to stare at The Other and the indigo shroud that enshrouded her, twinkling with stars in every shade of purple Twilight had ever seen. Fear gripped her and she quickly found herself back pedaling. “No, stop. Stop! Why are you doing this to me? I can’t –”

“You can’t what?! You can’t do this? If you can’t do it, then why do you think I can?”

Twilight’s frantic fleeing slowed. “What are you talking about?”

The Other slammed down onto the translucent ground and began to menacingly stride forward, her eyes burning and her horn shining with crimson light. “What am I talking about? Who do you think has been dealing with all these errant emotions over the last few weeks? Who do you think has been helping you keep them all neatly tucked away in the corners of your mind? This is my mind too! And I refuse to let you fill it with poison any longer!”

Twilight tried to summon up a shield as The Other bared down on her, but every attempt was shattered by a hammering telekinetic force that sent spikes of pain down her horn and turned her legs to jelly.

Finally, she could summon no more magic to protect herself, collapsing to the floor with a whimper as The Other stepped over her. But instead of attacking her as she’d thought, it simply clutched her in it’s magical grip before dragging her up and pulling her along, taking them away from the pools of emotional energy and out into the mindscape.

“Where… where are you taking me?”

“Here.”

Twilight groaned as she was thrown back down, taking a deep breath before pushing herself up to look at whatever it was The Other wanted her to see.

The sight almost made her collapse again.

The Library, her home, was in shambles. The branches were bare, covered in purple algae, and the leaves lay lifeless around the trunk. The windows were broken and the door lay askew, splintered and barely holding onto its hinges. But the worst part was the water that seemed to have flooded the entire bottom section. And even as she looked, Twilight felt that same icy water on her own hooves, the sight of the library causing the lights all around her to pulse erratically.

“What… happened?”

“Your emotions happened! I’ve been dealing with them the best I can, but you’re so determined to just push all the nasty hurtful feelings away. Well, this is what you’ve done, and I refuse to fix it for you anymore.” Twilight could have sworn she heard a hint of pain in The Other’s voice, but it was vastly overshadowed by bitter resentment.

“That’s stupid,” she snapped, forcing herself to start wading through the icy water towards her home. “It’s far more likely that the hostile parasitic wild magic infection I’ve got is damaging my mind.”

To her surprise, The Other didn’t retort. Twilight’s anger drove her to turn around with a snarl. “Oh, run out of lame excuses and witty remarks?”

The Other was gone. She was alone with the destroyed remnants of her library. The library which had apparently been destroyed by her ‘emotions’. “Ridiculous.” But even she couldn’t shake the horrible feeling it might be right; the intensity of those emotional clouds had terrified her. Was that really how she felt? The thought was far too worrying to entertain and she quickly pushed it away, focusing back on the library.

With a tired sigh she pressed on. The closer she got, the more apparent it became just how bad it had got. The water, which she’d first assumed had been filled with leaves, were filled with the destroyed remains of library books; a sight that made her pause with a horrified shudder. “What did it do…?”

Slowly, hesitantly, she reached out to push the door aside and made her way into the library. Inside, the home she’d once known had become something more akin to the library she’d visited alongside the Argo. A grave.

Everything she’d expected from the inside of the library was gone, replaced with fragments of broken furniture, waterlogged piles of paper, and a pulsating fog of red and black. Was this really what had become of her own mind?

The longer she stared, the more the library began to twist and distort; her vision went blurry and her legs gave out beneath her, leaving her to collapse into the water which seemed all too eager to rush in and soak her coat, weighing her down and stealing her breath away.

She wasn’t sure how long she lay there, trying to recover her strength enough to stand back up. It could have been seconds, minutes or even hours, and every moment that passed she felt her anger building up inside of her.

But something else was building as well, an electrifying feeling that started in the frog of her hooves and ran up all the way to the tip of her horn. Wherever the spark went she felt the boiling anger fade and, as she watched, the water began to recede away from her—and with it, the crushing weight holding her down.

Twilight pushed herself up to her hooves with a groan, wincing as her eyes were inexorably drawn to watch as a spark leapt out from her horn; a spark which arced slowly up before falling back down to explode in a dazzling array of colours.

Wincing in pain, Twilight averted her eyes until the blinding light had faded. When she looked back, the sight took her breath away.

A shimmering orb of energy hung delicately in the centre of the library, illuminating the walls with beams of every colour under the sun, overlapping and mixing before her very eyes. But that wasn’t what had left Twilight so awestruck.

Suspended in the centre of the orb was a familiar tiara.

“The element…”

Hope surged through her and any rational thought was discarded as Twilight raced forward, reaching out to grab at the solution to all her problems, slamming it down onto her head and praying for something, anything, to happen.

Harmony...

Hope was quickly replaced by panic as flashes of light and sound began to rush through her head, flickers of tunnels and darkness; a tower and an amulet and dashing lights. The moon hung in the sky, burning with a green light, and throughout it all she could hear a chanting that refused to become any clearer no matter how she strained to listen.

The longer she listened the brighter the tiara grew and with it, a burning pain began to sear into her head. Desperation to understand became a panicked desire to escape as she tried to tear the artefact from her, but no matter what she did it didn’t stop. A crack through the world itself, the world falling from the sky, tunnels twisting and turning. Deeper and deeper. Into the abyss.

Everything stopped. And she was alone in the darkness. No. Not alone. Something was with her, something dangerous. Twilight, run!

She tried to flee, but no matter how fast she ran she couldn’t escape the darkness, and the feeling of something creeping closer and closer.

You can’t run from me, Twilight!

Fangs burst from the darkness, clamping down onto her throat.

“A-ahh!”

Twilight jerked up in a cold sweat, grasping at the covers as she tried to slow her racing heart and relax her breathing. What in Equestria had she just been dreaming about?
All she could remember was a pair of cold green eyes, and the feeling of being chased. Even now she felt like she was being hunted and her eyes reflexively darted to the corners of the room.

But there was nothing here. It was just a nightmare. She was in her room, in Canterlot.

Slowly she felt her pulse begin to relax, the trembling in her limbs dying away. With a sigh, she flopped back onto the bed. She’d been so wrapped up in the wedding she’d barely been sleeping, and now nightmares? Her thoughts were interrupted quite suddenly by a painful rumbling from her stomach, and she reluctantly threw the blankets aside and forced herself to roll out of bed and onto her hooves.

The second she hit the floor, a spike of pain raced along her legs, prompting Twilight to wince and look down at the floor in tired confusion. She had been very busy the last few days, perhaps she’d pulled something? Come to think of it, how long had she been asleep? It must’ve been late into the night – it was pitch black outside. Had she slept through the entire day?

Her momentary concern was quickly slept aside, the guards would have woken her up if she was needed.

Twilight paused, glancing upwards with a frown. Questions were springing to mind, ones that left an uncomfortable chill in her stomach. Quickly she pushed them away to be dealt with later. Getting food was very much a ‘now’ problem, so that could come first!

With a satisfied smile and a little nod to herself, Twilight strode towards the door with her eyes still half shut, reaching up with a hoof to push the door open.


...to push the door open.

...to push the door open!

Twilight stopped, the same horrible chill in her stomach making her hesitate. Slowly she pulled her hoof away from the door and took a nervous step backwards, reaching up to rub at her eyes until she was sure there was no sleepiness clouding her vision. The door was closed and locked as normal, but it was also surrounded by the faint glow of magic, as if it had been enchanted. Which made no sense. Why would her door be enchanted? The answer seemed to be on the tip of her tongue, but Twilight couldn’t find it. Maybe her room would reveal something.

Twilight turned to glance around her room, eyes narrowed as she studied every detail she could. Her bookshelves were all neatly stacked, just as she’d left them. Her bed wasn’t exactly tidy, but that was her own fault. Her bathroom door was shut, and her desk was covered in books and sheets of paper covered in jotted notes. Everything was as it should be, besides the magical lock on her door and the muted darkness.

Once again, Twilight felt a reluctance to pursue the answer for very long, her hooves pawing at the stone beneath her. What was going on? What was she forgetting?

Finally the questions couldn’t be ignored any longer and, with a wave of her horn, she summoned an orb of light that illuminated the room around her—and the pony sitting in the centre of her bed, smirking at her with blood soaked eyes.

Twilight gasped, falling backwards and opening her mouth to scream, until suddenly the questions that she’d tried to ignore came flooding in, until she realised that the figure on the bed was her, until she came to the realisation of where she was. She was in Canterlot. She had just escaped the changelings.

She was alone.

“Are… you okay? I mean, obviously you’re not okay. I take you to the mindscape to resolve your clearly prohibitive emotional issues, and instead you magically repress your own memories, cast another spell on our mind that does who knows what, and then wake up looking like a lost foal crying for her mother.”

Twilight squeezed her eyes shut tightly as everything rushed back to her, barely listening to her companion’s little rant as she struggled to control her breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

The Other floated up from the bed, crossing the room before landing down in front of Twilight with a frown that seemed as confused as it was angry. “What is wrong with you?”

“What?” Twilight opened her eyes, flinching as she came face to face with a bloody copy of said eyes, scant inches away from her.

“What did you do, little flower? What was that spell you cast?”

A frown spread across her features. Maybe not everything had come back to her. “What spell are you talking about?”

The Other scoffed, shaking her head. “Oh, that’s really mature. Don’t play games with me, you lunatic. If you’re not going to tell me just say so and I’ll find out the hard way.”

Twilight’s frown only deepened as she watched The Other float back to the bed, muttering under her breath, “Although I expect you have no idea what you did anyway, considering your track record.”

For a brief second she considered a retort at the sarcastic mumbling, but her stomach chose that moment to remind her how starving she was, and how close she’d managed to come to killing herself.

“Finally. While your display of utter obliviousness is charming, in a sort of pathetic way, I’m expecting us both to end up dead because of it sooner or later. Maybe you should let me take over?”

Twilight found her jaw clenching at the patronising tone of The Other in her ear, the faux care doing nothing to mask the clear disdain. “No. You’re not ‘taking over’ ever again. I know what I’m doing,” she finished lamely, eyes turned towards the floor.

“Ha! That’s a good one. We’re trapped in a bedroom with no food and… less than a day from starvation by my estimate. And look at you. You’re not even going to look me in the eye when you lie to me?”

Twilight tensed as echoing memories whispered from the back of her mind. It wasn’t fair, she didn’t deserve this!

She didn’t deserve this. She knew what she was doing. She’d brought them exactly where they needed to go. Was she just going to stand here and let it insult her?

“Oh, someones getting a little heated. I can hear you panting all the way from over here. Are you gonna cry?”

“Shut up!” Twilight snapped her head up, her horn blazing brightly as she flung the bed upwards, slamming it into the ceiling with a crack.

The Other blinked as fragments of wooden bedframe rained down all around her, raising an eyebrow slowly. “Wow. Very scary. Perhaps next time, show our enemies that sort of anger. You know, rather than running away like a scared filly?”

With a snarl, Twilight pulled the large chest that had been revealed out into the centre of the room, dropping the bed back down before turning to glare at her reflection’s smug look. She flipped the lid upwards to reveal a week’s worth of magically preserved food and water. For a few moments they stayed like that, staring at each other. Twilight, daring The Other to make another snarky comment, and her reflection fighting the urge to do just that.

“Fine. So you have some idea of what you’re doing. Let me guess. The plan is to rest here for a few days, recover our strength, and make a plan before heading out into Canterlot?

Twilight gave a curt nod, already beginning to unpack the neatly sorted food and water onto her bed. But the satisfaction of finally getting one over on her companion hadn’t satisfied the rage bubbling below the surface. It wasn’t fair!


Twilight watched with a sour look on her face as her Sister spent the next few hours slowly and methodically sorting almost everything that she had hidden away beneath her bed, a few exceptions being consumed as she worked. She had been unable to pick out any sort of flaw in the plan, and that worried her.

It was becoming more and more clear that her Sister was losing it. The brief attacks, the strange magic. How long before one of those instinctive spells ended up doing something catastrophic? But she couldn’t solve it head on. It was very obvious now that any sort of force would only be responded to in turn, so Twilight resigned herself to simply studying the room that had once been the home of Twilight Sparkle, idly scanning the shelves for something that might help her better understand.

Unfortunately, it seemed that she’d seen the majority of the shelves contents already when she was first emerging within the mindscape. In fact, as she scanned the shelves, she remembered having seen that exact box. Floating over, Twilight cautiously opened the small keepsafe, glancing over her shoulder to confirm she wasn’t being observed, before turning to stare at the single scroll inside. This was her Sister’s first “friendship report.”

She remembered when she’d first discovered these, and how she’d struggled to come to terms with what they meant. They appeared to be reports written about friendship and social etiquette, which was understandable at first. Her Sister was a brilliant academic. But the context had confused her. It seemed as if they had been written after actual real life experiences, something that she had confirmed by rooting around in the memories occurring just before they were written.

Learning that her Sister had spent a considerable number of months actually studying how making and maintaining social relationships with other ponies worked had confused her immensely, at least initially. When she began to learn about The Elements, however, it had become much clearer. They worked on friendship and ‘harmony’, so it made sense that the ground of friends had to be as well versed in the art as possible. Still, the notion left her uneasy, no matter how many times she approached it.

Putting the thoughts aside with a frown, Twilight continued her exploration of the shelves, studying the trophies, keepsakes, memorabilia and books that filled them. To her surprise, Twilight didn’t recognise a vast majority of the items on the shelves, which left her puzzled, as she was sure she’d explored this very room quite thoroughly while studying their memories.

I wonder… Perhaps my Sister’s memories aren’t as reliable as I thought. I’ve definitely seen this trophy for ‘foal’s first writing award’ but I don’t remember seeing a medal for magical prowess. How much of my knowledge is based on flawed information?

Twilight frowned, continuing to idly toy with the thought as she scanned the shelves. Unfortunately it seemed her internal commentary had caught her companion’s attention, and she quickly spun round with her best disarming smile when she heard the sound of a pony getting to her hooves.

“What are you doing?”

Wincing at the harsh tone, Twilight gave her best smile. “Me? I’m merely looking over all these fantastic awards. I never realised we were so talented.”

“I’, not ‘we’. You weren’t involved in any of this and you never will be. Don’t damage anything. These are the only things I have from my past.”

“Oh, wow, I didn’t realise that you cared more about a bunch of useless books you’ve probably read a hundred times then you do about your friends. That’s pretty cold of you.”

Twilight grinned as her jab got the intended reaction, her Sister’s face all scrunched up in an angry pout. Something deep inside her urged her on and she plucked one of the books from the shelf, holding it out in her magic and squeezing down on it. The Basics of Magical Concentration? You don’t need this, little flower. These stupid attachments to your ‘past’ are the reason you keep slipping up. Maybe I should do you a favor and get rid of it?”

The bed was roughly shoved out of the way as her companion rushed forward, a look of fear in her eyes. “Don’t you dare! That book is important!”

Twilight felt the familiar stirrings of anger inside of her, a disgusted look slowly spreading across her features as she snapped back. “This book is important? More important than your friends? More important than our life?! Barely an hour ago you were practically on your deathbed and yet you still refuse to reorganise your priorities. They’re gone, you idiot! Keeping around some stupid books isn’t going to change that!”

Slowly but surely, her magical grip began to crush the book, eliciting a horrified gasp from her companion. “You’re just resentful that I value a bunch of books more than I value you! I know that you think I should admire you, that I should worship you for helping me. But I don’t. You’re a monster, and you taint everything you touch! Now give me the book!”

“And what if I don’t?” Twilight felt her Sister’s anger and it only made her own flare brighter. “What are you going to do when I—” She let her actions complete the sentence, her magic igniting the book and reducing it to ash in moments— to the shock of the pony watching.

She watched as surprise, horror, and sadness spread across her Sister’s features, waiting for the realisation that it was just a book to settle in. Anger flared up instead, rage stirring inside her Sister’s mind as she was wrapped up in a magical grip and dragged forward to stare straight into a furious glare.

Twilight responded with the most condescending smile she could. “Oh, did I do something bad? Are you going to put me in time out?”

Her taunt was rewarded with magic squeezing around her hard enough to crush anything that wasn’t, well, her. The action made her pause; she’d never felt this much of their magic used aggressively even when their life was at risk. “Ouch. Careful little one, that almost hurt.”

“Good.”

Twilight flinched at the vicious look she was given, the heat of her own anger dying away to be replaced by an icy feeling. “Okay, perhaps I shouldn’t have destroyed the book, but my point still stands!”

There was no response externally, but Twilight could feel the emotions surging through the pony before her, and every second that passed only seemed to make that anger grow. The magic around her lifted her up into the air and, before she could break free, she felt a very real and very unnerving weight settle down on her limbs, bringing with it the crushing pain of the magic holding her up. “Wait, what are you—nng!”

The air rushed out of her lungs as she was slammed into the ground with a loud splintering crack! She could feel the urge to fight back, to indulge in the same anger her Sister was feeling, but there was no telling what might happen then. She needed to stop this.

Her own horn lit up as she furiously wrestled for control of the magic, loosening and then breaking her Sister’s grip on her body. As soon as she did, she felt the unfamiliar weight fade away as she became spectral again, quickly rising into the air and looking down to the pony who was still pointing a horn up at her, shimmering with malicious intent.

“This is ridiculous!” She shouted as she jerked to the side to avoid a blast of magic, eyes widening as a second shot almost hit her straight between the eyes. “After everything that’s happened, me crushing some stupid little book is the thing that gets you angry enough? You need to take a look at yourself, and what’s important, because this is insane!”

Even as she tried to talk her Sister down, Twilight had to admit she was impressed. The blasts of magic that she was dodging were powerful, controlled, and precise; the energy was even dispersing almost immediately after they missed, testament to her Sister’s commitment to preserving the room’s contents. If they’d been aimed at anyone but her she’d probably have been proud. But that wasn’t the case, and it was only making her annoyed. “What are you trying to accomplish? You can’t kill me, you can’t even hurt me!”

To prove her point, Twilight floated down to stare her Sister in the eyes, spreading her hooves to make herself an easy target and waiting for the pony to come to her senses. But there was no hesitation and Twilight only had a moment to gasp as the magic hit her, dispelling her ethereal form with a painful zap.

She finished her gasp in the Mindscape, her eyes blinking rapidly as she adjusted to the sudden shift in perspective. All around her, angry sparks of red and black swirled and the sight of it made the deep blue haze around her deepen. This was bad.

Okay, you did it. I’m gone. Let’s stop now before either of us do something we regret, okay?

Twilight flinched as her Sister suddenly appeared before her, taking a step back as the angry pulsing clouds flared brighter. She’d never seen her Sister so angry, so full of rage, and she quickly began to back away as the furious mare stormed forward, the crimson shroud trailing her like a cloak.

I know you’re angry, but you’re the one that taught me to—

Shut up!

Twilight froze. That wasn’t just anger or rage. She could feel the hatred her Sister held. For her? Before she could even begin to process that the shroud of darkness descended on her, burning into her mind and consuming her.

You’re a sickness. You’ve ruined my life. Why won’t you just die?!

Twilight grit her teeth as the anger tried to take hold of her. But unlike her Sister, she had far more experience with controlling her anger, and refused to let it overwhelm her.

Slowly, carefully, she let the rage in, focusing it, letting it build until she couldn’t stand it a moment longer. Then, with a scream, she let it out in a burst of magic; dispelling the haze of anger and replacing it with a cold calculating fury.

With an icy glare, Twilight forced herself back to her hooves, locking eyes with the surprised face of her companion.

That hate is going to run out, and you’re going to regret what you’re about to do. Last chance. Twilight slowly, methodically, stalked forward as she spoke, magical shields subtly shimmering to life around her. Is this really the thing you want to lose control for? A book?

She watched as those bright purple eyes stared up at her, hoping that her shields wouldn’t be necessary as logic warred with hate. But there was only one winner, and she sighed as she saw her Sister’s expression twist into a hateful snarl.

All I’m trying to do, she began, her horn flaring painfully bright, “Is get rid of you!”

Twilight gasped at the sudden increase in power, throwing her magic into the shields to strengthen them as a beam of lavender energy struck the first straight on. Even with the extra magic, her first and second shield shattered like glass. Her third shield survived barely a few seconds before eventually it, too, broke.

With nothing left to protect her, the magic ripped its way through her body. It took a second for the pain to register, a second longer for the shock to jade, and that’s when she screamed.

Almost instantly the attack ceased, leaving Twilight to collapse to the floor with a groan. Gasping for breath, she tried to push herself back to her hooves and failed, trembling as agony wracked her. But she refused to just lie there, her Sister needed her.

She forced herself to roll over, watching as the hate drained away from her Sister’s expression to be replaced with horror.

Don’t worry, you didn’t… get me… just… yet.

Purple eyes, already starting to tear up, snapped up to look at her, and Twilight tried her best to give a cocky smile. But judging by the strangled whimper her Sister gave, and the fact that she vanished shortly after, it likely hadn’t been a very good one.

With a gasp she collapsed onto her back. Maybe she’d stay here for a while and give her Sister time to work through her emotions. Yes. That sounded like an excellent idea. Stay here and give her space, what a selfless decision, entirely unrelated to the pain coursing through her.

She’d be okay; nothing had been hurt except her pride. She only hoped that her Sister would be similarly unaffected.

Ha… that’s not gonna happen.

What had she done?