• Published 19th Mar 2020
  • 1,187 Views, 30 Comments

Lunar Rosemary - Liquid Truth



Luna journeyed through bizarre worlds to find and bring Twilight back.

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9 - Discovery

A visible line between thick red liquid and clear, see-through waters marked the end of a Worldsbridge to another. Creatures from both avoided the line entirely, Dandelion and his ship not an exception. The Verenigost captain bit into two sprigs of thyme as the Slitherfort passed the barrier and into the clear waters of the Sea of Peace. A quiet trombone greeted the crew slowly, and they answered with a cautious a capella.

As Twilight peered down from the deck, her vision shot through the water and straight down to the bottom of the sea. Coral reefs and fishes sped by her vision, hundreds of meters deep yet visible as if there wasn’t any water there. Dim colors glowed from the corals under the twinkling midnight Sun, accentuated by more vibrant ones from the fishes’ bioluminescence.

Luna, still dead, lay upon a makeshift bed just before the bow, her mane limp and lifeless, the stars inside gone to a flat light blue Twilight first saw upon her return from Nightmare. “Luna,” Twilight whispered, “I’m going to bring you back.”

Without winds blowing through the Peace Sea, the windmill on the bow was folded back. The Slitherfort moved slower with only the crews driving it forward, and Dandelion wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking at the empty horizon, Twilight asked Dandelion, “What’s so dangerous about this place?” She looked down on the majestic fishes swimming without a care in the not-world. “It’s all peaceful here.”

“It is,” Gus answered. “But always the opening sequence only.” He scowled to the horizon they were heading toward. “Never trust what you can see.”

“I don’t trust anything.”

“Which is a death sentence.” Dandelion locked the steering plate in place and hopped off. “Trust what you cannot see.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

Dandelion darted his eyes from horizon to horizon, chewing more and more sprigs of thyme. He offered one to Twilight. “Brace yourself. It soon will.”

The Sun made way for the Moon in an instant, flashing the sky like a sudden floodlight. A storm that hadn’t been there blinked into existence. Fishes down below vanished like a mirage, in their place giant monsters flashing their teeth alongside tentacles lashing out to the uninvited guest.

Twilight stumbled and jumped as the ship rose and fell. She clung to the bed Luna was lying upon, lighting her horn and desperately trying to keep her in place.

An indefinite amount of time passed as the ship sailed ahead, bracing the endless storm that sung a terrible orchestra down to a pair of deaf ears. Thyme between her teeth and horror written all over her eyes, Twilight clung to the deck and bed like welded bars of steel.

“Where did this storm come from!?” shouted Twilight.

“Nowhere!” answered Dandelion. “It’s always here!”

“Can’t we go through safer waters, then?”

“If we want to get you two to Undrykken Valley with enough time to spare for me to get to Evermoor, then no.” Dandelion spat out his chewed-out thyme. “Just deal with it!”

And so the Slitherfort sailed up and down the moving hills of crystal-clear water, the crews jumping about the segmented decks and trying to ignore the horrible monstrosities that awaited them down below the visible ocean floor with gaping jaws.

Thunder roared across the storm and lightning propagated through the clouds, darkening the sky for a split second before it lit up again, displaying totally different waves and clouds and underwater leviathans from before.

Twilight hyperventilated, her eyes shut tight and hooves each locked to the deck’s railing and Luna’s bed’s frame.

“You’re okay there, Twilight?”

She took a deep shuddering breath. “What’s going on? It’s all… It’s all...”

“Different?”

“Nothing stays the same!”

“Nothing does.” Dandelion put a hand to Twilight’s shoulder. “Doesn’t that happen often in your world?”

“But I know that it will.” She pulled her hooves closer. “I don’t know anything anymore!”

Gus laughed. “In the Sea of Peace, only those who don’t know can cross.” He grabbed Twilight’s other shoulder. “That’s why we dare to cut through here!” He tugged at her. “You don’t know anything! You can get us through!”

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

“But that’s how it is.” Gus and Dandelion pulled Twilight. “Open your eyes, Twilight! See what we cannot.”

Twilight opened her eyes, finding the storm still raging and the Slitherfort jumping up and down to the chaotic rhythm of the Worldsbridge. She shut them again.

“What do you see, Twilight?”

“Nonsense. Danger.”

Gus pulled her again, this time forcibly lifting her up and depositing her on the steering plate. “Look again. Tell us what you see.”

Twilight clung to the steering rails and lay as low as she could. She risked peeking an eye open.

“What do you see?”

“I don’t know what I’m seeing.”

“What don’t you see?”

“Safety. Familiarity. A safe way through the storm. A way back home.”

Gus grinned. “Good! Bring us there, then!”

“I said that’s what I don’t see!”

Down on the horizon, a giant gaping mouth blinked into existence, as if unveiled from an invisible fog. Indistinct congregations of tentacles and fins and hands and hooves writhed about from it, calling for anything to join its feast.

Twilight couldn’t take her eyes off the abomination, her muscles limp and thoughts halted through sheer disbelief and the absolute knowledge that more of those unknowns were waiting behind the unseen veil; possibly bigger and more horrifying, possibly containing the unspeakable miscreations of The Nonexistence. She sobbed. “Why did I agree to do this!?”

“For your beloved.”

She glared at Dandelion. “I could’ve been more patient and waited another year!” she cried. “Now we’re all going to die!”

“No one’s going to die,” Gus said, offering her a sprig of thyme. “‘Cause you’re on the wheel.”

“We’re all going to die.” Twilight bit the thyme from Gus’ hand. “Because I’m on the wheel.”

“You have to believe in yourself, Twilight! You can do this!”

“I always avoid these things whenever possible!”

“That’s why you’re doing this now!” Dandelion grinned at her. “Take yourself to where you don’t want to be!”

Twilight swallowed the thyme and stared forward. The Slitherfort was heading slightly away from the abomination, she saw. “Where I don’t want to be?”

“Courage, Twilight.” Gus put an arm over her back. “Fortune favors the brave.”

“I don’t want to be courageous.” She shut her eyes. “I can be happy without any fortune. I have her.”

Dandelion put an arm over her back. “But would she want you to not be successful?”

“But I’ll be happy as long as she’s successful.”

“And she’ll want you to be successful as well.”

Twilight opened her eyes. “I have my own life.” She looked at Dandelion. “That’s what you’re trying to say? That I shouldn’t dream so low just because I can?”

Dandelion and Gus grinned, dropped their arms from her back, then cheered. “So take us away, Twilight!”

Twilight nodded in determination and let out a long breath. “Dream big...” She unlocked the steering plate and put a firm grip on it with her hind hooves, taking control of the ship.

“Wait, Twilight, what are you—”

She barked an order to slither faster.

“You’re taking us straight into—”

Twilight spat out the thyme she couldn’t remember eating. She laughed as tears of fear ran down her cheeks along with the merciless rain. “...Dream beyond the skies!”

The gaping mouth roared an incomprehensible gargle, its sound rippling the raging seas and its shockwaves propagating through the clear stormy sky.

“Twilight, what are you doing!?”

Twilight grinned. “Where I can’t see safety.”

The mouth rose higher up the air, the semi-circle now fully round and ready to slurp the Slitherfort like a single strand of noodle. Twilight kept her eyes open as she locked the steering plate in place.

“Where I don’t want to be.”

The mouth lurched forward as it screamed a horrible note, the writhing mass of limbs stretching out to grab her.

Twilight chuckled as she cried. “Where I don’t know what everything is, where death lurks in every corner, where risk is constant and failure inevitable, therein lies the place I can’t see myself in.”

The Slitherfort jumped up a sudden rogue wave like a ramp and straight into the mouth.

“And therein lies the place I don’t know I want to be.”

All eyes closed, everyone on board the Slitherfort braced themselves as she bashed against the mouth. A resounding splash soon followed, the light from the blinding Moon snuffed out like a burnt-out candle, and the storm disappeared as if it had never been there.

Twilight peeked open an eye, then opened it all the way, then opened both eyes, then chuckled. She giggled. She laughed.

The sky was clear and the Sun was up, darkening everything in her wake. The sea below her peaceful and tranquil, the fishes and corals enjoying their own dim bioluminescence and ignoring the giant slithering ship passing by. A landmass appeared on the horizon, the twinkling lights on the shore and a spinning shaft of powerful light inviting sailors for refuge.

And Twilight laughed a little bit more, and she sang a giddy song she remembered from her childhood. She perked her ears up and found, to her ever-expanding euphoria, that she could hear the Peace Sea’s orchestra of cheer and celebration. She sang back along with the rhythm and danced her way down the deck, giggling and laughing and dancing with the ecstatic crew.

Luna would not believe what she missed! she thought, then giggled some more and danced ‘round the crewmen. “Imagine how her face would look!”

Dandelion laughed and slapped Twilight’s back as they met in a dance. “Welcome to the Worldsbridges, Twilight!”