• Published 1st May 2019
  • 757 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 VI: A Lesson of Two

Twilight’s grip on The Other’s hoof was her only stability as the world warped and twisted around her. There was no light to see, but she could feel the world twisting, hear the mindscape collapsing, nonetheless.

It was only when everything finally seemed to come to rest that she found herself able to relax her grip, hooves aching from the strength she’d clutched to The Other. But she didn’t let go; everything was still dark, and it was impossible to ignore the fear coiling in her gut.

“Where am I?”

You know where you are.

“Where are you?”

I’m right in front of you.

“What did you do?!”

I didn’t do anything, little flower.

Twilight glared angrily into the darkness, searching for the smug face she knew accompanied that amused reply. “Then why can’t I see?”

For a few seconds there was no reply, and then Twilight felt a hoof against her cheek. Open your eyes.

“My eyes are open!”

Are they?

“Of course they are!” Twilight snapped, smacking at the hoof and huffing angrily. “I’d know if my eyes were closed!”

Then why can’t you see?

“Because you did something with my magic. This is another one of your tricks!” But even as she spoke, Twilight knew that there was no magic at work here.

If this is magic, then you would sense it.

“Then—then—you did something else! You’re messing with me, twisting my perception to prove your ridiculous point!”

If that’s the case, then you have no other option but to do as I say.

“I…” Twilight paused before admitting defeat. With a sigh she focused on her eyes, frowning when she found them as open as they’d ever been. “I don’t understand, they’re already open. I can’t open them when they’re al—”

Humour me.

“Argh. Fine!”

It wasn’t easy to pretend to open your eyes, but Twilight forced herself to do it. And suddenly the world was in front of her. More specifically, a very familiar bedroom. “Wait, what? How did I...?”

I told you, all you had to do was open your eyes. Of course, opening your eyes was more a physical representation of you accepting what you’d see if you did so, but the outcome is the same.

Twilight blinked, turning round to glare at the annoyingly smug expression on The Other’s face with a frown. “What do you mean?”

Like I said, you’re not afraid of me. You’re afraid of yourself. Not literally yourself, of course, rather the parts of you that have become more prominent recently such as your anger, your fear, and your regret.

As Twilight watched, the spectral pony before her floated over to the walls and pulled out a pair of glasses and a cap, placing them on and pulling out a chalkboard from seemingly thin air. The rational part of her knew that inside of the mindscape anything was possible, but the strangeness of it left her stunned, giving The Other the perfect opening to continue.

You’ve been pushing down your emotions, refusing to acknowledge them, and to a greater extent yourself, for too long. These repressed emotions have a magic all their own, and it is interfering with both your ability to cast magic and your mental state. As you can see here… she began, waving her hoof across the board to create a diagram consisting of four pieces. An image of Twilight, a picture of her cutie mark, the Element of Magic, and arrows moving from the cutie mark and element to the depiction of Twilight herself.

Once completed, little symbols began to emanate off Twilight’s likeness, a wave of red following shortly after. As more of the red swirls gathered, the glowing arrows started bouncing off, rather than completing their journey. ...the magic that is stemming from your emotions is interrupting your connection to your own natural magic. As well as the harmonic magic that comes from your status as an Element Bearer.

Twilight gasped as the vaguely red cloud grew thicker around the drawing of herself on the board, creating a bubble of sorts that blocked the arrows entirely. “If this is happening, then how can I still use my magic?”

This is a process. Your emotions build up, weakening your magic, until you release them in an outburst such as the one you had earlier. Your magic would only fully be blocked if you kept pushing down your anger and fear, again and again, until there was too much. If that did happen, I think you might even lose your connection to the Elements.

Twilight gasped, her eyes widening in shock, before it was replaced with suspicion. “Wait… you think?”

Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Twilight became aware of her surroundings. She wasn’t in school, and she wasn’t being taught a lesson. Her ‘teacher’ was actually The Other, and they were in the mindscape! What in Equestria had just happened? “What did you just do to me? How was I so… captivated by that explanation?”

The Other gave a small grin and shrugged. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice.

“Wouldn’t notice what? What’s going on?” Twilight demanded, glaring daggers at the pony before her, still wearing the strange glasses that only now Twilight recognised as the pair her old Magical Theory teacher had worn. A small part of her noted that The Other had likely pulled them from Twilight’s own memories as a tool to inspire confidence. Another part remarked that that was a manipulative trick and she shouldn’t be so impressed.

I was trying to convey what I’ve been observing in a method that you would accept subconsciously. If you hadn't noticed, this would be a lot easier.

“Well, I did notice! And I don’t appreciate you trying to trick me.”

The Other sighed, shaking her head and floating over. Twilight jumped as the surroundings suddenly shifted from a classroom back to the Golden Oak bedroom. I’m not trying to trick you, little flower. Dealing with consciousness and the mindscape isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, and sometimes the best option is to use… indirect methods.

Twilight’s eyes narrowed. She motioned slowly with a hoof for The Other to go on.

We’re inside your mind. Every mental block, preconceived thought, opinion, fact, memory, it’s all in here. Just being inside of your mindscape like we are right now is risky.

“Risky?” Twilight looked around nervously, her ears twitching as she searched for some unknown threat.

From here, we could theoretically manipulate the way your mind works. Wipe memories, change emotions, even completely alter the way you think. It’s dangerous.

Twilight gasped, horrible thoughts of what The Other could do springing to mind before she thoroughly pushed them away. “How is it dangerous if we’re not going to do that?”

The Other rolled her eyes with a groan. Once again. I can hear your thoughts. I just felt you push away those ideas, so you already know how it could be dangerous.

Twilight winced, looking away.

Letting anypony into your mindscape is the most intimate thing you can possibly do. Mental magic performed on an unwilling pony is one of the most grievous crimes you can commit. Mind Magic and Mental Manipulation - An Introduction.

The Other sighed, and Twilight couldn’t help but look back out of the corner of her eye, eyes narrowing in thought.

Like it or not, little flower, our mindscapes are linked. In fact, as far as I’m aware, they’re the same. Everything we do affects the other; your anger makes me angry. My frustration causes you to lose your patience. But right now we’re torn apart, partly due to our emotions but mostly due to your denial.

The confusion must have been evident on Twilight’s face, because The Other’s frustrated look only seemed to intensify.

Right now, our mind is split almost entirely in two. There’s your half, she began, waving her hoof and creating a small floating brain. And there’s my half. A second image, hovering next to the first, overlapping it by the slightest amounts. These halves are meant to be connected. They’re meant to be one and the same, and the fact that they’re not is putting strain on both of us.

Twilight crossed her forelegs, brow furrowing. “What do you mean ‘meant to be connected’? You’re not meant to be here at all!”

The Other’s glare made Twilight flinch. Of course I’m not. Ideally I would be a part of you, we would be one. My voice in the back of your head would just be your voice in the back of your head. But it isn’t.

Twilight flinched at the accusatory tone, her misunderstanding making itself clear after a moment of thought. With an embarrassed flush she nodded, ”So how do we fix it?”

I’m getting there, The Other snapped, reaching up to rub at her temple and staring down at the image with a look of concentration. Right. So. It’s not that them being separated at all is bad. The amount of overlap is… important. The more our minds overlap, the more we share. If we were to merge our minds more thoroughly— the two images pushed together, phasing into each other and glowing brightly —then our magic wouldn’t be so split apart. We would share more of our thoughts, and we would have less individual autonomy.

The further apart we are, the more we’ll clash and struggle to work together. Remember, it’s not just our magic but our emotions at play here.

Twilight spent a few moments thinking, and then a few moments more. The silence stretched on for so long that The Other had begun to sway in the air impatiently when she finally spoke up. “How do you know all this? You said you didn’t know much more than I did, but this seems like a lot of nothing to know!”

I don’t know much more than you do.

Twilight rolled her eyes at the innocent expression on The Other’s face, feeling the frustration welling up inside of her. “That’s not true! I don’t know any of this and you clearly do!”

What do you mean, you don’t know this?

Twilight paused, frustration dropping away to be replaced by confusion as The Other stared down at her, both of them momentarily sharing the same expression. “Wait… what do you mean?”

The two continued to stare at each other for a few seconds before The Other finally spoke up, her words coming slowly. You… do? You do know this.

“Saying it like you’re talking to a foal doesn’t automatically make it true. How would I possibly know any of this, it’s not like I’m an expert on magical constructs and shared sub-consciousnesses!”

The Other’s confused look only seemed to get more intense, much to Twilight’s annoyance. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

What do you know about me?

“I’m not going to—”

Just do it! Stop making it so difficult and just. Do. It. Twilight winced at the way the words seemed to echo around her, as if they had been shouted. Of course, it was impossible for a thought to be shouted.

Or is it? Perhaps it’s possible for thoughts to be as varied as speech in here?

I’m waiting, little flower.

Twilight blinked, her focus snapping back to The Other, and the impatient glare she was being given. “Well you’re a dar—you’re a wild magic construct that was formed from my own mind and thoughts. You seem to share my consciousness to a certain extent and… my own subconscious thoughts and emotions appear to have a significant influence on your personality.”

She spoke slowly, trying to catch whatever it was that she was about to be caught up on before it could be rubbed in her face. Just as she was about to respond, however, The Other shook her head and continued onwards. Much to Twilight’s annoyance.

It’s not that hard. If I’m formed from your thoughts and emotions then that means I can only know things that you know, or that I have seen since manifesting. Right?

Twilight sighed, resisting the urge to grind her jaw together. The Other didn’t seem to intentionally be trying to make her feel stupid. But she was succeeding either way. “Yes, I know, I was just about to say—”

And have you come across any books on the mindscape or pony magi-psychology recently?

“No, I haven't. And I know what you’re going to say—” Twilight replied, her jaw grinding very noticeably now as The Other interrupted her once again.

So, if you haven’t had access to anything on the subject recently, the only time I could have learned this information…

Is by finding it in my memories. Yes, I know. But that implies that I have some sort of perfect recall, that you can simply jump back into my brain and look at anything you want! Which is ridiculous!

Is it?

Twilight paused, the simple question derailing her thought process. The way The Other had said it, it was identical to the way her professors had used to say it.

When she had the answer but refused to accept it.

With a sigh, Twilight shook her head and started back from the beginning.

“So what you’re saying, is that you’ve been studying my mind—our mind—from inside the mindscape this entire time?” Twilight asked, pushing herself off the bed and glancing around at the near perfect recreation of her bedroom.

Yes. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.

“Okay. Assume I accept that. If that’s true and you’ve been using my memories to learn, does that mean I could go back into my memories and reread every book I’ve ever looked at? Is remembering everything that’s ever happened in your life as simple as learning how to navigate the mindscape?” The implications were staggering. It was like a cheat sheet inside of her own head! Imagine how easy tests would be if she could just look into her own memories for the answer?

Unfortunately the memories, while they seem perfectly clear, are not as accurate as you’d hope. I think that your preconceptions, subconscious desires, emotions, and focus or lack thereof affect the contents of the memories to a significant degree.

Twilight bit her lip, ideas racing through her mind. “How do you know? Is there some sort of indication the memory isn’t accurate? Could you show me a memory?”

I didn’t actually know how seriously they could be affected until today. The statement made Twilight pause, glancing up at The Other with an expectant frown. I’ve looked into memories of your time in this palace, and the memories of your room are very different from the room we’re in right now. Many of the items on the shelves simply didn’t exist in your memories.

Twilight hummed, glancing around for parchment and smiling when a scroll and a quill appeared before her. Opening it up, she placed the quill on the page. “Like what?”

Lots of things. Some of the report cards were changed, there were fewer books. The biggest one was a number of gifts from your mother that seemed to be missing, mostly shampoo?

If the way she froze hadn’t made The Other suspicious, the blush that spread across her cheeks certainly would, and Twilight quickly turned away, coughing into her hoof and laughing nervously. “Oh well, I can’t imagine, haha, why that might be…”

I’d assume you are ashamed by your lack of hygiene when you were younger and your memories have gradually been scrubbed clean of reminders to spare you the embarrassment.

Twilight turned to give the floating pony a flat stare. “You know, all these unnervingly accurate guesses about my emotions and thoughts are starting to get kind of creepy.”

If you don’t want me to point out the truth, then stop trying to hide from it.

For a moment the two stared at each other, one with an embarrassed blush and the other with a matter of fact frown. The moment was only broken when Twilight’s curiosity finally overcame her embarrassment and she turned to look at the mostly intact door beside her. “So, if I go out there am I going to end up in the natural disaster I encountered last time?”

No. While you were having your little nightmare I did some cleaning up. It was much easier after that little burst of rainbow coloured magic burnt away all of the negative emotions nearby. I’m assuming that was the Element?

Twilight blinked, lowering the hoof that had been making its way to the door as another rush of questions sprung up in her mind. “Nearby? How can emotions be nearby? And when did we get to the library anyway? Is that horrible fire going to be out there? What was that awful feeling I got after I grabbed your hoof? Wait, the Elements did what?!”

The Other laughed, floating past Twilight and through the door. Her words echoing behind her.

So many questions. Good. You need to be willing to question things. Let’s continue this downstairs.

Twilight paused. The door in front of her seemed to loom ominously, and for a moment she questioned just what it was she was about to do. Something told her that whatever she was about to learn wasn’t the kind of thing she could come back from. But her curiosity had been piqued, and she wasn’t going to let it go unsated. With a determined huff, she pushed the door open and stepped out onto the stairs.

To Twilight’s disappointment, there was no resounding swell of emotion, or an epiphany of knowledge. It just felt like she had stepped out of her bedroom.

Although the library she’d stepped into was certainly not the one she knew.

The doors were closed and the curtains drawn, blocking any potential view beyond the library’s walls. A strange omnipresent crimson light seemed to filter through them anyway, and Twilight felt a horrible sensation deep in her gut that those curtains were only barely holding back what lay outside.

But she couldn’t let that stop her. Tearing her gaze from the shrouded windows, she headed for the stairs, noticing the pair of eyes that were watching her descend only as she reached the final steps.

Sitting in the centre of the room, at a very familiar table, was The Other; and Twilight felt the compulsion to take a seat grip her, pulling her along until they were both sat across from each other. The seconds seemed to tick past with glacial slowness, Twilight nervously fidgeting in her seat at the unbroken attention she was given, slowly getting more and more anxious until she couldn’t bear it any longer.

“Okay! What are we doing, why did you bring me here?”

If The Other noticed the strange tone of her voice, she didn’t show it. You are here so that I can help you understand the bond between us as I understand it. Before you can do that, however, you need to push past this mental block that you have created inside of yourself. So that is what we’re going to do.

Just like before, Twilight had to resist the urge to immediately refute The Other’s point. She took a slow breath before responding. “Okay. How are we going to do that?”

First, you need to stop talking like that. You need to accept that we are of one mind and recognise that there is no point in trying to arbitrarily put up barriers between us.

“While—” Twilight began before being swiftly silenced by a magical glow around her muzzle. The Other seemed to have no remorse when Twilight glared at her, the spectral pony merely waiting with an expectant look. One that made Twilight’s blood boil.

While I recognise that for some situations this type of interaction may be advantageous, there is a level of privacy that a pony’s thoughts provide—one that I refuse to relinquish. A pony’s mind should be her last bastion, a place for her to go when she has nowhere else. I won’t give that up.

So you’re going to let some silly emotional qualms get in the way of learning?

Twilight merely held her glare, unable to speak through the magic holding her muzzle and refusing to respond otherwise.

You just don’t understand. With a heavy sigh, The Other released the magic and leant back in her chair, staring up at the roof. Whatever special privacy you think you have, it doesn’t exist. Even if you’re not communicating with me like that, I can still sense your thoughts and emotions. It’s just easier if you direct them towards me. The only time I can’t hear your thoughts is when I actively make the effort to ignore them, and that’s not easy.

“Wait, what? But that doesn’t make any sense! That would mean that you know everything I’ve ever thought since—” Twilight paused, looking down at the table and thinking for a moment “—since the nightmare creature!”

The Other lowered her head and gave Twilight a flat stare, one eyebrow raised ever so slightly. Nothing was said, but the pieces were coming together. Twilight soon found herself standing up to pace a familiar route around the library, her brain working through the information.

“No no no, that doesn’t add up. If you heard everything I’ve been thinking then that means you heard when I—?”

Twilight glanced over to The Other and froze at the way her head was slowly nodding back and forth.

“But if that’s the case, then all those times I held my tongue but still thought about the things I wanted to say to you, well, you would have—”

The nodding continued and Twilight’s ears pinned back, her legs tensing as a horrified shiver ran down her spine. Suddenly the fact that she was alone, in the mindscape, with a powerful creature born of mental magic became very prominent in her thoughts. Ideas of what The Other could do to her ran through her mind.

Wipe her memories, change the way she thought. Oh Celestia, why is it getting so hard to breathe?

The walls were twisting around her, drawing closer with every second. She was trapped. Caught with no way out! What—

You are being ridiculous.

Twilight gasped as everything returned to normal, her legs giving out as relief rushed through her. “I don’t know what—”

You were about to have a panic attack. Your third in so many days. I forcefully pulled you out of it.

“Why?”

You’re already an emotional mess as it is, little flower. Even I couldn't handle you in the throes of a panic attack. I can’t imagine what ridiculous nonsense you’d convince yourself of. Twilight winced at the harsh tone, her legs slowly finding their strength as she pushed herself to her hooves.

“How?”

We’re in the mindscape. Were you not listening to what I just said about affecting your mental state?

Twilight winced, blushing faintly and nodding. “Oh. Right. Thank you?”

The Other sighed, shaking her head as she floated out of her chair and landed on the floorboards with a small thud. Without speaking she stalked forward, following Twilight as she backed away step by step until there was nowhere else to go.

“What are you doing? G-get away, I swear if you don’t—”

The Other reached up to place a hoof on Twilight’s chest, and very gently pushed. The pressure from that hoof radiated warmth, and slowly Twilight felt her panicked thoughts calm.

Why do you think I’m helping you, little flower?

“Wha—”

I could see the confusion in your eyes, I can feel it all around us. So I’m asking you to speak your thoughts. Why do you think I’m helping you?

Twilight opened her mouth. Because The Other wanted to manipulate her, to trick her into doing what she was told so that The Other could get the upper hoof and take control again. It was just another part of an elaborate scheme to get Twilight to drop her guard and trust The Other so that she could be stabbed in the back!

“I don’t know.”

No sooner had the words come out of her mouth than a resounding Slap! echoed out. Twilight staggered back from the hoof that had just struck her, her eyes watering from the pain.

Stop lying to me! I know when you’re doing it and it’s achieving nothing but wasting time!

Twilight reached up to gingerly press a hoof to her cheek, gasping as she saw the traces of blood. “You hit me…”

Oh, well done. Next you’re going to tell me that it hurts. We’re in your mind! I can’t actually hurt you with a little slap. Stop being an idiot.

The pain was short lived, but the shock quickly melded into anger as Twilight lowered her hoof back down. “You hit me.”

The Other paused for a moment, before grinning. Yes, I know exactly what I did. Now what are you going to do about it?

Twilight slowly looked up, her horn already alight. “I’m going to do this!” With a cry, a jagged beam of lavender arced out, only to strike at a barrier of crimson that sprung up to block it. All around them the library was bathed in a sea of flickering colours as the magical energies clashed.

Is that all? A pathetic little beam of magic?

Growling, Twilight increased the flow of magic to her horn, the sound of her spell resonating through the air and shaking her down to her bones. No matter how much energy she put in however, The Other’s shield refused to buckle.

Is this it? You’re just going to cast a spell at me with that stupid pout on your face? What’s the matter, too idiotic to cast and speak at the same time?

“Shut up!” Even with her shouting, the words were swept up by the overwhelming thrum of magic and rendered inaudible. Something The Other seemed to very quickly pick up on.

Amazing. You’re not very good with words to begin with, but that was an impressive level of stupid. ‘Shut up’, that’s your retort?

I said, shut up! Twilight’s thoughts echoed out, rippling the air and causing The Other’s shield to flicker visibly. Something which didn’t go past unnoticed by either of the two.

Ohh, you almost made a dent there. But I guess that’s all you’re good for, ‘almost’ succeeding and then hoping someone else comes in to save the day! But your precious princess is gone, and you abandoned your friends like an idiot, so all you’re left with is me! And I’m not planning on cleaning up after all your mistakes!

Anger that had been building for weeks, that had been pushed down again and again, finally reared up inside of her, and Twilight felt something in her crumble. With a scream she cancelled her spell, her magic twisting into a chain that pulled the shielded Other down into the floor with a resounding slam.

Useless? Me? It’s my magic that you’re using to murder everything that you think is an issue, it’s my horn and my hooves that are putting in all the effort! Without me, you’d be nothing!

The Other flinched back, ears flattening against the side of her head as her eyes widened in shock. But Twilight could feel the anger inside of her uncoiling, demanding she continue.

And you’re right. I was lying. But I wasn’t trying to hide anything, I was just trying to spare your feelings, if you even have any. You’re not a pony, you’re not even a creature. You’re a twisted fragment of my psyche given life by dark magic. I don’t care what reason you have for helping me. I don’t want any of the ‘help’ you’d give me.

The shield began to splinter, fragmenting into shards and crumbling beneath Twilight’s anger.

But I’m sick of lying. Sick of trying to play nice. You hurt my friends, you tried to steal my body. And now you’re trying to use the same emotions you mock me for having against me? And you think I’m not going to notice? The one-eighty you did was so obvious I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash. You’re not clever. You’re not subtle. You’re pathetic!

With a final flash of light, the shield vanished and Twilight’s hooves slammed into the ground on either side of The Other’s head, her horn aimed directly down at the spectral pony’s thoat.

The Other stared up at the horn, a brief shudder running through her before her lip curled into a snarl. So much for ‘not giving into your anger’. It’s been, what, minutes since then and we’re right back where we were. I’d ask you if you’ve figured out anything from that, but I can already tell I’m going to need to spell it out for you.

Twilight’s horn began to glow, the tip shimmering just brightly enough to be noticable. Give me one reason I shouldn’t try and finish what I started.

I don’t have any. Go on. Do it.

The magic flared up, blindingly bright, before vanishing with a pop; leaving Twilight to huff in anger, stomping her hoof against the floorboard. You knew I wouldn’t. You’re still manipulating me!

Of course I am. But the question is, did it work? What can you hear, sister?

Twilight froze, shock momentarily overriding her anger. “What did you just call me?”

The Other’s hoof came up to press against her lips in a shushing motion, her other hoof reaching up to brush Twilight’s ear. I said, what can you hear?

The anger inside of her demanded she ignore The Other’s leading question, but her shock kept her stunned long enough for a familiar hum to return to her. But this time, it wasn’t just a hum. Voices echoed all around her, hundreds of them. Thousands of them!

And they were all her own.

This time, when she focused, the sounds didn’t fade away. Instead, she found herself able to pick out individual voices, listening to what they had to say. And what they had to say was not pleasant. Every one she sought out was her, shouting or crying or yelling. All of them angry. All of them upset.

What—is this?

Your thoughts. My thoughts. Our thoughts. Every thought we’ve ever had is here, somewhere.

Why are they all so angry?

You are angry, little flower. What kind of thoughts do you think you have when you’re angry?

Twilight frowned, hesitantly responding. Angry ones?

The Other’s laughter made Twilight tense up and she snapped, Don’t laugh at— The thought was cut off as the same words echoed all around her, along with dozens of other similar comments.

If you laugh one more time…
This isn’t a joke!
I swear to Celestia if you laugh...

For a brief moment Twilight felt buried beneath the wave of angry remarks, but as soon as they’d started, they vanished again.

It’s not pleasant. Is it?

Twilight turned to look at The Other, who had at some point vanished from under her and returned to her chair. And was now giving Twilight a strange look.

Wha—

The voices. Hearing all the thoughts echoing back at you. It can be overwhelming. But it’s only overwhelming if you let it be.

Let it be?

These are your thoughts. The more emotional you are, the louder they’ll be. And the harder it is to ignore them.

Twilight winced at the constant background chatter of the thoughts, and how loud they were. She’d felt anger before, but this was different.

Are these really all my thoughts? All my anger?

The Other simply nodded.

Being loud isn’t always bad. You can have loud positive emotions too. It can also be a
tool.

Twilight recognised what The Other was doing, baiting her curiosity to distract her from the anger, and wasn’t ashamed to admit it worked. A tool?

When we talk to each other, it’s the exact same thing. Except those thoughts are projected ‘loudly’ at one another by intention. It took me weeks to figure it out; it was far easier for you because you just copied me.

Twilight frowned and opened her mouth but was cut off when The Other held up a hoof and grinned. Yes, I’m aware you didn’t copy me intentionally. Everything I have learnt about the mindscape, you know too. You just instinctively picked this up before your paranoid mental block cut me off.

Twilight sighed, shaking away the last vestiges of anger and approaching the table. So that was all… a trick? You were trying to get me angry so my emotions would be strong enough to hear?

In a sense. I also wanted you to stop hiding your emotions away. Which, by the way, you’re still doing. The frustration must have been visible on Twilight’s face because The Other sighed. Again. Look, you’re almost there. There’s just one more step. Close your eyes.

Twilight paused, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. The Other’s expression seemed mostly genuine, however, and she hesitantly closed her eyes. After taking a step back.

Now I want you to listen to the voices again. Focus on them.

Twilight nodded, taking a deep breath and focusing on the background hum at the edge of her hearing. Slowly the hum intensified, growing louder and louder as the seconds ticked past. More than once it seemed to recede, much to Twilight’s annoyance, but that irritation worked to her favor as the more irritated she got the louder the hum became until suddenly—

If I don’t get this soon…
This is pointless, that thing is just trying to…
Why can’t I get this? You’re meant to be good at magic, Twilight!

The frustrated comments flared up in her head for a moment, and then the realisation that she’d done it swept them away. She’d done it! Her excitement only lasted a moment before she realised that same excitement had broken her concentration and pushed the hum to the background again. Urghhh..

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? I can’t tell you how many times that exact thing happened to me. I found that the best way around it was to focus on the next step. That way, even once you hear it, your annoyance persists until you have achieved the next step, too. Funny how easy it is to manipulate yourself here.

Twilight nodded slowly. It made sense in a weird sort of way. And as she was quickly realising, in here, everything worked in a weird sort of way. In fact, perhaps she could use that to her advantage?

Taking a deep breath, Twilight focused on the excitement she’d felt every time she’d learnt a new spell. The delight at mastering a new magical skill. To her surprise, the background hum began to grow louder, and the louder it got, the more excited she became—until her head was filled with happy thoughts.

I did it!

Yes… you did. And not in the way I expected. Well done.

Right. What’s the next step? I can do this!

This step is easy. Now you’re aware of your thoughts, all you need to do is imagine them as something physical. Something visible. Anything can work, a ghostly version of yourself, a strand of thread—

A cloud of coloured fog!

Twilight could feel the surprised pause. It was easy to imagine the confusion on The Other’s face as the silence stretched out until— Yes. Or that, I guess?

Okay, I’ve got it! Twilight replied, her hooves pawing at the floor in excitement. Finally, something that was easy.

If you’re sure then just… open your eyes. The thoughts that you heard should now be… clouds of coloured fog?

Twilight paused, biting her lip for a few nervous seconds. What if I can’t see it?

Oh, just open your eyes!

With a deep breath, Twilight forced herself to open her eyes.

The Other sat in her chair, surrounded by a greyish cloud speckled with small sparks of fire. Some part of her instinctively knew that the cloud represented frustration, anger, annoyance. Even that couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face at the realisation that she’d done it. And to her surprise, The Other’s cloud seemed to brighten ever so slightly, streaks of yellow weaving in as she saw Twilight’s smile, and gave one of her own.

Well done. I knew you could do it.

And Twilight knew it was the truth. She could hear it, see it. Feel it.

Oh, Celestia. That’s strange. Is this what you feel everytime I say something?

The Other nodded, stepping down from her chair and walking over. It’s certainly something, isn’t it? You can imagine why I was so frustrated with you when I could feel the emotions in everything you said, emotions which so often contradicted your words perfectly.

Twilight nodded slowly, strange bouts of anger and frustration suddenly becoming clear in her mind. Everything she’d done since the island, since Luna! It was all cast in a new light.

I… I’m sorry. I never realised.

I know. Before you apologise though, there’s something I want you to see.

Twilight’s brow furrowed as The Other glided past her, following along with a confused hum. Why couldn’t I… did I mess it up?

The Other’s sly smirk was proof enough that Twilight hadn’t been the one to make a mistake, and the reply that came shortly after confirmed her suspicions. I hid them from you. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Surprise?

You’ll see. Trust me.

At any other moment, Twilight would have found it hard to trust anything The Other had to say. But this time, this time she could feel the sincerity, could practically see the truth floating around The Other like a haze.

Okay. I trust you.

The smirk turned into an excited smile as the door was slowly opened by The Other’s magical grip, and Twilight hesitantly stepped forward into the unknown.

Oh, Celestia...

Comments ( 3 )

For a few seconds there was no reply, and then Twilight felt a hoof against her cheek. Open your eyes.

77 seconds ;P

This was a really fun story, and very different comapared to how sunken horizons tackled the relationship between "The other" and Twilight, and it was very well done in my opinion, I really liked the non-stop Twilight. I do hope you will continue this story, nobody likes it when you leave on a cliff hanger :ajsmug:. Plus, a story this good being left to rot is an insult unto itself:fluttershysad:.

10288736

Well now I feel like I have to add another chapter! If only to make you feel better! Consider it done... (don't quote me on that but definitely do hold me to it!)

Absolutely cool cartoon and idea! he learned about it a long time ago, and I watch it for free on YouTube. Watching the series, I find motives and subjects for my work. The thing is, I'm a writer and I make a living writing student papers. I look at pictures, I read books, I listen to music, and it makes me write, so I come up with different themes. I wrote about it here ess https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/world/ you can read it for free. I recommend everyone to read fanfiction, in general, few people really appreciate such cool work, there are many meta ideas in the cartoon, I am convinced of this.

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