• Published 6th May 2021
  • 355 Views, 14 Comments

Twilight Opens a Door - Golden Tassel

Twilight Sparkle has a completely normal day in Ponyville.

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Chapter 4

It was a completely normal day in Ponyville.

Twilight Sparkle stood in the middle of the Golden Oaks Library, the last sparks of magical aura fading from her horn as her spell ended.

"Did it work?" Spike asked. When she didn't respond, he climbed up on the table before her—careful not to step on the book there—and waved his hand in front of her face. "Twilight?"

Twilight blinked. "What? Oh. I'm, uh . . . I'm not sure." She craned her head around, glancing across the bookshelves. "How long was I out?"

"No time at all. I mean, you spaced for a second at the end there, but—" Spike hopped off the table and followed after Twilight as she wandered away and looked out the window. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"It's a beautiful day. Let's go for a walk around town," Twilight said.

Spike held up Twilight's notepad and quill. "Don't you want to write down your experimental observations first?"

Twilight shook her head, already moving toward the door. "I can do that later." She grabbed the pad and quill in her magic and floated them over to the table.

"But you've been working on this spell all week." Spike looked up at Twilight in confusion. He had never seen her walk away from an experiment before recording the results, working up a checklist for revisions, controlling her variables, and performing another run. With how quickly this spell worked—he was assuming it had worked—the turnaround time should've given Twilight dozens of datapoints before the day was over.

"Exactly. It's time for a break. Let's get some fresh air and find a nice place to have dinner." Twilight put her hoof on the handle and looked back at Spike with an inviting smile as she nodded her head toward the door.

Spike shrugged; he certainly wasn't going to pass up dinner at a restaurant after being cooped up for so long.

Twilight opened the door and stepped outside. She lingered for a moment on the front step and took in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the warmth of the late spring afternoon. While Spike ran out ahead of her, Twilight meandered along behind him at a leisurely pace and cast her gaze around with an almost melancholy indifference to whatever it landed on. There was no shortage of sights in the town to catch her eye to be sure—colorful ponies going about their daily lives, flowers in full bloom under the light of the sun with their petals arranged in pleasing symmetries, or stray clouds in shapes resembling a train or a bee or a cupcake—but in Twilight's eyes at that moment, they were all but sandcastles before the rising tide; beautiful if only for their ephemeralness.

Spike took advantage of Twilight's apparent disinterest in what path their walk should follow to lead her down the rows of market stalls. He was eager to visit the comic book vendor and see if there was anything new in stock. Twilight was vaguely aware of where he was going and didn't bother to follow once he ran off.

A cheerful voice called out to Twilight, "Hello!"

Twilight looked over to see a pegasus mare behind the counter of a stall waving to her. "Hello," Twilight replied as she wandered over.

"You look lost. Everything okay?"

Twilight smiled and laughed quietly. "Fine, I guess. And I'm not lost, just don't have anywhere in particular to go right now. It's kind of a strange feeling for me."

The mare nodded. "Usually keep pretty busy, huh? So what happened? You in between projects or just taking a break?"

"Kind of both I think," Twilight said. "I was just testing out a new spell that would let me read more books faster by experiencing their contents through a modified dreamscape projection and—I'm sorry. The details are probably very boring."

The mare gasped. "No! That sounds amazing! I always wish I could get more reading done. So how did it go?"

"Oh. Well, I wanted to test it on a book I hadn't read yet, and I also reasoned that if the spell were any good it should work on any kind of subject, even really abstract ones, so I chose a philosophy book I had been meaning to read for years and just never got around to. I'm not sure what I was expecting, and I think I've already forgotten most of what I saw, which makes sense for a dream spell, but it was weird. Like, really weird. But also completely normal?" Twilight rubbed her temple. "That doesn't make much sense, does it?"

"I think I get it. It's like how when you're in a dream even though you're eighty feet tall and made of rubber ducks, there's nothing strange about it at all. Then you wake up and—BAM!—you're like 'how did I not realize that was a dream?' Right?"

"Yeah. . . . Like that." Twilight blinked. Rubber ducks? "Well anyway, I think I ended up talking to the author of the book at the end, or at least a representation of him based on what he wrote. And we just talked for a really long time. That part was very lucid. And then I was conscious."

"I must imagine you're happy," the mare said.

Twilight puzzled over that. Am I?

"Your spell worked, didn't it?"

All at once, Twilight was overcome with laughter. Of course it worked! Her spell worked! How wonderful it was. "Yes. It did. And I'm very happy."

"Congratulations!" The mare put a small baked good on the counter in offer of celebration. "Muffin?"

Comments ( 7 )

Good work! It took until this chapter for me to finally connect the key Albert Camus/Camel/Dromedary reference. Although you set it up with an extra degree of separation, I should have realized it sooner!

I'm glad someone picked up on it. I'm very fond of hiding things in plain sight in my stories.

"I must imagine you're happy," the mare said.

Twilight puzzled over that. Am I?

"Your spell worked, didn't it?"

All at once, Twilight was overcome with laughter. Of course it worked! Her spell worked! How wonderful it was. "Yes. It did. And I'm very happy."

"Congratulations!" The mare put a small baked good on the counter in offer of celebration. "Muffin?"

"Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody's gonna die. Come watch TV."

That is the final point of nihilism, isn't it? Its all well and good to have these big revelations about the pointlessness of it all, but at the end of the day life goes on. The washing needs to be done, you still have work in the morning and you have family who needs you.

When everything is pointless, it is pointless to worry about it.

In a nutshell. But where Absurdist philosophy distinguishes itself from Nihilism is to take it another step further: if that pointlessness applies to everything, then it applies equally to all of it. If Sisyphus is condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity, and such a task is no less meaningless than anything else he could be doing, then he has the absolute freedom to make the task meaningful to himself. I must imagine he is happy.

If life itself has no meaning, then what meaning we find in it is meaningful.

I wish I could save this comment on here somewhere. A very small yet very potent look into nihilism.

This story's gonna stay in the back of my mind forever. All the high-concept philosophical stuff is gonna be forgotten until I read it again, but I'll always remember the experience of reading it. And what an experience it was.

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