• Published 22nd Feb 2021
  • 4,066 Views, 128 Comments

The Endeavor of the Damned Shadows - dannny43



After having been stripped of everything but name, awakening to a strangely familiar world, and having all of his reality turned on its head, Austin Merkelo is determined to return to Earth, sparing no caution, effort, or opportunity.

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Chapter 5: Fact? Fiction? Both.

*Beep*...

*Beep*...

*Beep*...

"...Ha...hahaha... it never ends. It never ends. It never ends......"

*Beep*...

*Beep*...

*Beep*...

"...I'll... leave you be for now. I shall Inform the Princesses that you're awake." Hesitantly, Doctor Healthy turned away from his unique patient and excused himself to the hall, softly closing the door upon exiting.

Despite what he said, Doctor Healthy opted to linger within the hall for a few moments, allowing his frustration to vent and to reprimand himself from his behavior unto Austin. It was rare for Healthy to issue such a statement as he did within the room, to lose his cool and professionalism. To scold a patient for their shortcoming, as if they were a foal caught with their hoof in the cookie jar, was unheard of within the medical field, especially in a case like this. Healthy felt no lack of shame for the way he displayed himself to the suffering patient, he had not garnered fifteen years of medical experience only to tarnish his record with unprofessional behavior, he should have known better, should have conducted himself better.

Well, in any case, he had no choice but to report his little incident to the C.E.S and no doubt be re-evaluated for his continued employment within the palace infirmary wing if he wished to have any chance to keep his record clean.

Despite there being no witnesses save Austin himself, he just knew that someway, somehow the C.E.S would find out if he didn't report it otherwise, certainly not from Austin though.

And there was the issue of major concern for the doctor, Austin Merkelo. Not only a, relatively speaking, living and breathing wonder of modern health science that the egg-heads would love to get their hooves on should the princesses allow breathing room or public access to them, but now a growing concern stemming from almost all who know of his true nature, considering his actions not only unto himself but to the Crown as well.

He could make a good guess as to the fallout that would entail should the public come to find out some stranger from beyond Equestria had viciously assaulted one of the diarchies, regardless of the circumstances, or perhaps not? Equestria's citizens are a civilized pony, perhaps they won't begin marching with torches and pitchforks or more likely running and screaming like headless chickens. He wouldn't know, he's only a doctor, besides, it's not like Celestia will sit by and allow any of this information to be leaked to the public.

But moving on back to Austin, aside from assaulting Princess Luna, he has begun to display behavior irregular to that of a typical pony when under extreme stress leading to moments of incoherent comprehension and insanity, in particular his aggression.

From multiple cases conducted over many centuries on the fight/flight response, ponies subjected to such a scenario routinely displayed flight instincts as they are the main basis ingrained instinctually within all ponies as they should be from a prey-based species. But knowing the unique circumstances in regards to Austin, it was of little surprise when such instincts were instead replaced by that of the fight response, no doubt due to the otherworldly nature that Austin hails from.

If the Princesses could get another chance to further understand Austin and his native species, perhaps it may resolve several mysteries for the doctor, but that was neither now nor in the near future.

Returning back to Austin, his aggression is only one part, the other is the continued display of ever-decreasing cognitive function and reasoning that Austin is beginning to show at an alarming rate. First, his continued unhealthy and delusional belief and claims of existing within a dream in real-time, then his impulsive decision and subsequent reported rambling when diverting himself to the chariot platform, followed by his committed and successful drive into the great beyond, and now his failure to conduct himself within normal patient behavioral parameters in the room five minutes ago upon resuscitation.

The place from where his spirit had gone upon death may have healed him physically, but it would appear his mentality continues to degrade. Not good under any circumstances, but Doctor Healthy has the utmost faith within the Princesses to find a way to help him, and he has delayed enough as it is to report to them.

But instead of having to track down one or the others, Doctor Healthy was surprised to find Princess Celestia herself just outside Austin's room, a couple of nurses in tow, "Ah, Doctor Healthy, I was just stopping by to show these two nurses the room our patient is being held in and to check up on his condition. I'm not interrupting anything am I?"

"Oh! No, your majesty, in fact, I was just on my way to inform you or the other Princesses that Lone Star has regained consciousness and is awake within his room, however, I would not recommend contact at the moment."

"Oh? Is something wrong? His condition hasn't worsened already, has it?"

"No, your majesty, his body has maintained peak physical health and will continue to do so, so long as this Astral residue permeates within him which we estimated will last another fifteen minutes, however that hasn't stopped us from confirming that the disease continues to persist within him as my earlier report claimed. But that is not the main issue at this moment. I'm afraid that his mental health continues to deteriorate if the reports from Princess Luna can be corroborated with what I experienced firsthoof with him and he may not be fit for conversation at this moment. I fear that should this continue, he may pose a danger not only to himself but to others as well."

"Hmm, I suppose it would be too soon to hope for such miracles, but my sister is committed to nursing Lone Star back into stable health, both physically and mentally. It will take time, but I have faith in both rec-... I'm sorry but what is that consistent buzzing noise?"

Perplexed by the Princesses' sudden inquiry, it took Healthy only a scant few seconds to focus on what the Princess heard before anypony else did, a muffled sound he did not expect to hear coming from Austin's room.

*beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*

Of his many years within the medical field, Doctor Healthy had come to perform many procedures that over time would be perfected under his figurative belt. Of those many years, he simultaneously hoped and feared that triage would never be one of them.

Without a second to think, medical training and instinct kicked in and before anypony knew it, Doctor Healthy was already by Austin's side, undergoing his by-the-book evaluations.

Celestia herself along with the nurses soon found themselves within and as the nurses immediately began their assistance to the doctor, Celestia herself was given view unto Austin's mask of stark horror.

His face was flushed of all color and his eyes had shrunken to pricks that continuously focused themselves onto the darkened corner of his room, never lingering away from that single spot.

Celestia was perplexed by the manner of these events transpiring. Astral residue was still lingering in his body for the short time that it existed, which should have prevented any and all ailments or medical conditions one can face while regaining awareness. The sudden onset of cardiac failure Austin was currently sustaining goes against everything that she understood from circumstances such as this.

As sudden as the cardiac failure had begun, however, it miraculously recovered in a blink of an eye, leaving behind a normal if slightly elevated heart rate back onto the screen of the machine as Austin himself took a good minute to regain his loss of breath. Doctor Healthy and the nurses were at a complete loss as to the complete recovery Austin displayed before them, but this did not stop Celestia from expressing her concern, "Austin, Are... you alright? What happened?"

Austin was seemingly unaware of his present company when recovering from his attack, and it only took a few seconds for him to register that Celestia had spoken to him. A slow turn of his head revealed a calm demeanor that seemed to be plastered on his face, and he only regarded the beings before him with a quick once-over. It was then that all color flooded back into his face, and the surprisingly calm air he held before was near-instantly shattered in the blink of an eye. The heart monitor began spiking through the roof and his calm deep breaths became frantic heaves. His eyes held a distinct awareness as they focused from one pony to another until they remained solely fixated on her. Those eyes that held a complex intelligence soon enough became fogged with unparalleled dominating madness.


*CRASH*

*CLINK*

*CRUNCH*

"AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

"I'm sorry your Majesty, but we are under orders to keep this room sealed and off-limits to all until further notice. It is for your own protection."

While no misgivings or causes for alarm were presented to the majority of the castle staff and visitors, this did not stop them from having the slightest feelings of anxiety that seemingly hanged in the air.

The guards themselves remained as stoic as ever, but if one had good enough perception, they could almost spot the faintest hint of tension on their hides, and for good reason.

There would be no stopping the city of Canterlot from breaking down into full-blown panic should they come to discover that Princess Celestia herself had been committed into one of the Infirmary wings for being stabbed within the chest. Of course, Celestia had only suffered a wound akin to that of a mosquito bite since she was stabbed with a medical syringe and suffered only a slight dripping of blood, but it was the fact that that had happened at all that would mark the collapse of Canterlot.

How did she come to be stabbed? Well, with the complete and utter breakdown of what remained of Austin's sanity, all he had that remained within his mind was his instincts, notably his rabid aggression provided by his fight response. Once Celestia understood the situation, she allowed herself to bear the brunt of his attacks as the others were allowed to make an escape before Celestia managed to seal Austin within his room. The wounds she sustained was of no concern for her, but before she even knew it, she was swarmed by hospital staff and was forced to be escorted away to be properly treated, leaving behind Inkwell to her command who proceeded to scrounge up a rogue group of guards to maintain security watch before she took off after the Princess.

Twilight was on her way back to her royal chambers when the commotion of the guards had caught her eye. Having extended her stay further, she wished to have one more chance with conversing to Austin before heading back to Ponyville, but one incident after the other proved to be in her way, and during her stay, she had come to learn of the event that transpired at the chariot platform.

To say the incident rocked her core was vastly understated. She didn't understand the circumstances that could lead to such an event, but she figured that to prevent such a thing from happening again, she would need to assist Luna in her endeavor to help Austin. Upon figuring out that this latest incident involved Austin once again, she wasted not a moment to be forefront before being halted just beyond her target by the Royal Canterlot Guard. "Oh, um alright. I just need to know if Au- *cough* I-I mean Lone Star is ok."

*BANG*

*CRASH*

"EEP!" The thunderous echoes and vibrations resulting from the chaos in the room beyond were enough to startle Twilight, leading the guards to further reinforce their numbers between the present princess and the doorway.

They continued to hold themselves as the chaos was suddenly replaced with an eerie calm before being broken by the continued screams and wails of Austin. "I... um... well I see your point eheheh. I'll just uh, leave you guards to it."

Twilight wanted to help Austin, to understand and resolve his predicament, but the stability that he seemed to lack was preventing any progress at the moment. Not sure how to proceed forward, Twilight decided to recline herself onto a bench further down the hall from the commotion. It wasn't long before Luna had finally received the news and had arrived before Twilight.

"Twilight? I did not expect you to be here. What have you heard? What has transpired with Lone Star?"

"Well... I'm not too sure. One of the doctors told me that Celestia was slightly wounded but that we couldn't interfere with the medical treatment, so I made my way here. I still don't know what happened but... it doesn't sound good, at all. Lone Star doesn't sound very... calm, to put it lightly. You can ask the guards over there. They have to know more."

"And I shall. Stay here for the moment, Twilight, I may be in need of your assistance." Having Twilight reluctantly stay put, Luna proceeded to the head of the security detachment, occupied by one Lieutenant. "I need a report of what has transpired."

"Your Majesty. We were ordered to maintain security around this room and to prevent any breakouts from the occupant inside. They have attempted numerous times to breach the wall and door but all attempts have failed. They have ceased activity but remain vocal. We await further orders."

"Princess! Excuse me, pardon, Princess Luna!"

Huffing just short of the Princess, Doctor Healthy raggedly composed himself and relayed the news, "Princess, there's no need to fear, Princess Celestia's wound is insubstantial when compared to her dexterity."

"Doctor, were you present when all of this transpired?"

"Indeed I was, and I don't know what to make of it, your Highness. I was just conversing with Princess Celestia, relaying my concern and report when Lone Star's heart completely and unexpectedly failed on him, even with the Astral residue still present. I was in the process of triage before he suddenly and completely recovered before us. He appeared fine and lucid before out of nowhere he completely flipped on us, Princess. In a figurative flip of a switch, he turned feral on us! In all my medical years, I've only ever once before seen the sheer insanity he displayed at that moment. In both cases, neither was a pony anymore, just an animal."

"He did not attempt speech? Did he display any awareness before succumbing?"

"I don't know Princess, it all happened too fast, but Lone Star is just simply... gone."

"What of this other case? How does it compare to now?"

"Well Princess, the other subject is currently stationed at the Ponyville Hospital, her file described her behavior akin to a tame dog, but It has been a few years since I last reviewed the case. I'm not sure how these separate cases compare to one another Princess, but I recall the mare showed absolutely no aggression, unlike Lone Star."

"Hmm, I did not expect such an outcome so soon, something must have gone wrong. I spoke to him not but fifteen minutes ago within the Astral Realm. His mind was collapsing for sure but he still possessed enough sanity to hold off longer. Guards, stand aside and maintain formation, I shall resolve this myself. Doctor, I want you to find that other patient's folder, find out how it compares to this, and report your findings back to me." Not taking heed of the objections from the guards before her, Luna cautiously peeled away the door from its frame, forcing the guards to their stations and maintaining silence. Darkness prevailed within, coating all edges with the shadows. Resolving her hesitation, Luna cantered into the room before shutting the door behind her, bathing herself in complete darkness.

Upon casting an illumination spell, Luna was taken aback by the sheer damage and destruction littering the polished floor. Tools, medicine, and liquid puddles dotted all around along with the broken remains of several medical machines, their instruments gouged and innards desecrated to oblivion. The floor, walls, and even the ceiling had scratch marks or dents, how Austin managed to inflict such damage was beyond Luna, the distance and force needed would require the usage of magic by her estimates. She didn't know how but Austin had somehow damaged the light fixtures bathing everything in darkness. It was then that she finally noticed the mattress from the bed in one of the darkened corners of the room, farthest from the doorway. There is where she heard the wrenching screams and cries of Austin in utter anguish. It appeared he had hidden himself from view with the mattress and blanket in a makeshift covering. She did not know how he would react should she remove the fortress, but without much choice and with slight caution, she managed to hold a grip to both and ever softly and gently extracted both pieces from the corner, revealing the broken figure of Austin.

Within a fetal position, A bloody and disheveled pony lay with his back to the wall, rocking back and forth whimpering, crying, and screaming in ever-increasing intervals. Froth foamed on the outer edges of his muzzle as his fogged eyes erratically scanned this way and that, blatantly ignoring Luna and everything else as though he was watching figures of interest that crossed the front of his vision every second. His breaths were nothing more but mangled wheezes and his very hide shivered with tension every other second.

Luna couldn't bear the sight for long before sidling herself ever closer until she was right next to his head. Not knowing exactly what to do, Luna decided on simply comforting Austin by ever gently placing her wing to caress his side.

The very moment her feathers made contact, Austin's erratic eyes jumped right to Luna's, and immediately he began bellowing a screech of terror before further compressing himself within the dark corner, "Austin! I'm sorry I-..."

"AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! TALKING HORSE STAY BACK STAY BAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!!! STUPID FUCKING HORSE! HORSES DONT TALK THEY DON'T TALK THEY NEVER TALK THEY CAN'T TALK WHY ARE YOU TALKING WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!"

"Austin! Please! It's me! Luna!"

"STOP TALKING WHY ARE YOU TALKING YOU CAN'T TALK YOU SHOULDN'T TALK YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK YOU'RE A HORSE A MAGICAL HORSE A REAL HORSE YOU'RE REAL THIS IS REAL IT SHOULDN'T BE REAL HORSES SHOULDN'T TALK BUT THEY CAN BECAUSE THEY'RE REAL AND YOU'RE REAL AND YOU'RE A REAL MAGICAL FLYING HORSEY YOU'RE A REAL PRETTY HORSEY REAL PRETTY HORSEY REAL PRETTY HORSEY AHAHAHAHAHA AHHHHHHHHHH MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOOOOOOP!!!!!!"

Being unable to comprehend what was happening, Luna was forced to witness Austin smash his head repeatedly against the floor or wall or whatever solid object his head could reach, soon enough blood began to seep through the wounds as he continued to pound away, "FACT BUT FICTION BUT FACT BUT FICTION BUT FACT BUT FICTION BUT REAL BUT FAKE BUT REAL BUT FAKE BUT REAL BUT FAKE BUT REAL BUT REAL BUT REAL BUT REAL BUT REAL THIS IS REAL THIS IS REAL THIS IS REAL CAN'T BE REAL BUT IT IS REAL BUT IT CAN'T BUT IT IS BUT IT CAN'T BUT IT IS BUT IT CAN'T BUT IT IS HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!"

Luna hadn't even tried yet, but she was sure that with the immense madness festering and controlling Austin, any attempts to calm him down without magic would be met with no results. She knew of one spell that could potentially help him, a powerful spell that could bottle up the madness within and allow her to get through, but the cost would pay a heavy toll on Austin's health. With no other alternative available on such short notice, Luna committed herself to this action. A quick survey around revealed two intact glass jars off to the side. Their size would allow a considerable amount of madness to be drained, hopefully just enough to get by.

Upon casting the spell onto Austin, he immediately began to thrash and squirm, once again bellowing out in unimaginable pain as the madness was stripped from his very being and was converted into magical energy upon being transferred and sealed within the first bottle. The magic was barely contained as the chaotic energy bounced, repulsed, and thrashed itself throughout the bottle. Once she managed to secure the first bottle away, Luna turned her gaze back onto the ragged pony. Not long after, his body began convulsing until he managed to void his innards, staining the dark corner with crimson. The spell did indeed work but only to a certain extent as Austin's eyes continued to hold their foggy lenses. "...*COUGH*... *COUGH* *COUGH*...Not possible... Impossible... y-you c-can't be real... you should not be real. YOU CAN'T BE *COUGH*...real. Yet you are. YOU ARE REAL. Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god. How? Why?"

"Austin, I need you to calm down. If you can calm down, then we-"

"Calm down? Ha...hahahaha. Do... do you not understand anything you stupid goddamn horse? How dare you, tell me to just calm down, after everything that's just happened! Do you not comprehend was has been revealed to me? Hmm? Does your tiny animal mind fail to see the bigger picture going on here!? You're real! You, you cartoon fictional magically flying girly horsey princess, are a real living and breathing being! The world we are standing on here and now, the very air that I'm breathing, the blood flowing in my veins is all real! Don't you get it!? It's not supposed to be real! There is no such thing as magic or alternate worlds or dimensions or parallel universes! All that shit is fake! Nothing but the machinations of philosophers, clergymen, and primitive minds, riding high off their power or drugs with no real understanding of the world from millennia past! Nothing but goddamn fairytales, no different than the boogieman under a child's bed or the tooth fairy or Santa or ghosts or God or religion or any of that hocus-pocus Bull-shit whos only use was to stifle the minds of the sheep for control! Smoke and mirrors to control the masses! Works and tales of fiction that have been perfected for our amusement and entertainment to distract us from our ever collapsing civilized world! But...but then that... oh god, that demon, that entity, that... thing, just fucking snaps its fingers and then...haha... and then... ~Suddenly, the world I used to know I see it differently, It woke me from a dream now here's reality, why oh why did this happen to me?~ ha...hahaha...HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

The madness plaguing his mind was still too much as Austin once again crumpled back into a maniacally cackling heap preventing any further discussion. Summoning her magic, Luna managed to painstakingly drain Austin once more, leaving him to hurdle through the aftereffects in the same corner. With both jars filled to the brim with the mad magic, Luna took note of the clearness instilled within Austin's eyes, the madness having been significantly purged.

Austin wasn't sure what Luna did to cause him to regain his senses, but the crippling feeling of being drained of all energy left his body and mind in a lethargic state. Too tired to do anything otherwise, he continued to lay in the corner, trying to calm all senses that he could and re-capture his breath to ease his screaming insides, but having been gifted the forbidden knowledge of everything hindered all attempts, leaving him a hyperventilating but rational wreck of a pony. "...L-Luna?"

With her name called, Luna rushed forth to Austin's side, laying herself to his level and comforting him with her physical presence, "Shh. I'm here Austin," Luna relayed as she ever gently caressed her wing around his many wounds, "I'm here, please calm yourself."

"...Luna... I-I-I'm s-sorry... I'm so so sorry... oh god, I'm so scared, this can't be happening to me, this can't be happening. I want to go home, I want my momma, I want my family, ...I want my dad back..." Breaking down from cohesive speech, Austin devolved back into a babble of cries and calls for his loved ones until the toll of everything had finally reached its peak and Austin exhausted himself into slumber.


"I want him discreetly placed within the guest quarters just offshoot of my bedchambers, gently fasten him to the bed and report back to your stations, you will remain diligent until the closing of this day. You will not speak of the events that have transpired nor will you divulge the nature of our guest to anypony, am I clear?"

"Yes, Princess!" With that, the royal guard that had secured the outside moved with swiftness to escort the slumbering body of Austin to his new chambers, ever careful to keep prying eyes blind to their actions.

Having waited for the Princess to conclude her orders, Doctor Healthy finally approached once an opening presented itself, "Princess, I must object to this course of action, Lone star is in need of medical attention and I fail to see any benefits he will receive being away from the infirmary."

"Doctor, Lone Star has had continuously detrimental experiences within one or another of your patient rooms, I do believe it is in his best interest to have a... change in perspective, now that all obstacles have been seemingly cleared."

"Princess, Lone Star's mentality is a point of major concern, and should he be housed once more in one of our patient rooms, we will be able to provide twenty-four-seven surveillance on his condition and we shall immediately begin to provide any aid or therapy on the spot. With him being in the guest cha-"

"I understand your concerns, Doctor Healthy, but as you already know, alicorn physiology has inherited a far superior healing factor than anything our Infirmary can provide. Due to this, Star has not sustained any brain damage or other health defects from his mental breakdown. Should he have been any of the other pony tribes, then your concerns would be valid. All he needs for now is undisturbed rest. Now, what have you found with the other case?"

*sigh* "Nothing of value I'm afraid. They shared similar behavior, but the circumstances regarding the two differ in almost all ways imaginable. Comparing the two further will yield no substantial information for us."

"Then you shall disregard this lead unless told otherwise. You may perform a quick check-up on Lone Star once he's secured and then you shall be free for the rest of the day Doctor."

"As you wish Princess." Disappointed by the Princess's decree, Doctor Healthy grumbly turned away to get his instruments and assistants ready for Austin's appointment. Without paying much attention to his surroundings, Healthy collided head-on with one of the janitorial staff.

"Oops! Sorry, mister doctor-nurse sir. I tend to get distracted and not watch where I'm going."

"No issues here lad. You part of the janitorial crew?"

"Yes sir, mister doctor-nurse sir! Hayseed Turnip at yer' service!"

"Good, I need you to relay to Squeaky Clean for a janitorial detachment to room 154 pronto. Now if you'll excuse me."

"Oh, uh sure thing mister doctor-nurse sir!"

Hayseed was a... peculiar specimen of the Apple Clan. Having been one of only a handful of earth ponies to make residence within Canterlot, his employment found him working odd jobs all around the magnificent city, but it mostly consisted of the manual labor that most, if not all, the local unicorns considered themselves too good to be seen working in such crude employment ...or perhaps they just reserved them for someone special like Turnip, at least that was how he liked to see it.

And Turnip was always loyal to each and every job he landed on, always going above and beyond the call of duty and today would be no exception. Sure he was going to tell his boss about the clean-up request for room 154, but just imagine how impressed Squeaky would be once he and his crew came to find the room spotless once they arrived, all thanks to none other than Hayseed Turnip! Turnip loved to be in everypony's good graces, so with that plan set in mind, Turnip wasted not a second upon entering the dark and empty room to begin his entailed duties.

Almost immediately, however, something caught his attention in the dark, a faint glow emanating within one of the corners. His curiosity unsated, Turnip tracked down the glow to a medical cupboard where the glowing only ever increased.

Opening the cupboard revealed two of the most spectacular finds that Turnip ever had with any of his many jobs.

A habit he had formed during his stay in Canterlot would be to collect various knick-knacks of interest that caught his eye; buttons, nut's an bolts, quills, spoons, you get the idea, mundane everyday items that nonetheless brought joy to the young stallion.

So it wasn't hard to imagine the sheer joy and surprise that swelled within Turnip upon finding the two most amazing, beautiful, and awesome lava lamps this side of Equestria! Oh, these energetic vibrating babies would make a fine addition to his collection, specifically as an epic display on his Janitor closet's shelf.

And that's exactly what he did, too ecstatic to finish his work, Turnip came galloping out of the room on a dead sprint for his workstation. Arriving out of breath, Turnip flung the door open and entered his little cave where at the very back was a small empty shelf just waiting to be filled with a glorious display of any and all treasured items.

It was a good day for both Turnip and the shelf as he ever gently placed both bottles neatly and perfectly on their immaculate display. Satisfied with his findings secure, Turnip exited his little closet and was once again set on finishing his work to impress his boss.

And there the bottles were displayed, their beauty radiating a glow through the darkness, like a beacon to the sea, but the chaotic energy still prevailed within, confined within a tight mass that was only serving to agitate it further. This energy sought a way to be free but the lid proved to be too tight a fit. No, instead it could sense the edge that was so close, a way of escape was ever-present and this energy knew it. And so with all the energy it could muster, it surged forth with lightning speed and *Clink* nudged the bottle the distance of one atom. This was for sure gonna take a while, but with enough time, escape was inevitable.


The Doctor and his nurses had come and gone in the hours that followed today's events, having confirmed the stable condition Austin was in and were allowed to retire for the day.

Luna finally managed to heave a sigh of relief, after everything that had happened, she would be happy to take a few days off from duties if only to just relax under the night sky.

Things were looking up for her and especially for Austin. It seemed that for whatever reason, his mind had finally decided to accept the truth of this reality, but at the cost of temporary insanity and aggression.

Austin may have been drained for the moment, but there was still an uphill struggle he will have to battle through until he would finally be home, but at least progress could finally be made soon, that much he deserved having gone through all this. Hopefully by tomorrow, he would be recovered enough to explain what had happened in greater detail, the slips of information in his crazed state brought some worry for Luna, especially a mention of some 'entity'.

Perhaps it was just that, the ramblings of a crazed stallion, but she was going to know for sure once another interview could be established.

In the meantime, Luna had instructed Twilight to begin her research on finding a way home for Austin. Twilight was optimistic and the many possibilities and research she would need to conduct were exactly in her area of expertise, she would even attempt to contact Discord, his extra-dimensional nature could very well be the key.

Celestia may even reveal the restricted section in the Canterlot Library should Twilight have continuous trouble.

Luna's personal hope for a solution rested on the magical mirror to the other world. The mirror had remained a mystery for both diarchies since the earliest of memories associated with it, she wasn't even sure how or when the mirror came to be. Perhaps Twilight could replicate the magic it holds and construct an entirely new one from scratch, she would suggest such a plan by midnight tonight.

Aside from that, all that remained for Luna, was for her to be the anchor for Austin's recovery, to be his never wavering base of support as he'll continue to struggle, coping with the truth that seeks to tear his mind asunder.

Author's Note:

I'm writing these chapters one at a time and dialogue so far ain't been much an issue for me, but if some of you big brains out there see some intellectually complex dialogue that makes no sense, then please do let me know.