• Published 26th Oct 2012
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Simulacrum - OrphiusOlyandra



Twilight is dying due to using so much magic. Now she has to save Celestia from an illness

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Chapter 3

05/29/16

Despite all the gains I have made these past few years, there is still so much I do not know. Sadly, the two extra bases arenot significant in any manner or form that I can identify. Of course, their mere existence is cause for celebration, but they have been less than useful in my scientific enquiry thus far. Originally I had thought that they might play some role in cell defense mechanism against foreign DNA by acting as an identification of some kind, but there are strands devoid of any J or K bases (as I have decided to call them). The extra two chromosomes though, are saturated with them, as are the genes controlling expression of magic. It is my belief that these bases are responsible for the expression of the three pony traits and more specifically, the ability to use their magic. There is the occasional extra base here and there, but whether these are due to mutations or not is another question entirely. There are certain genes that have the J and K base spread throughout in a manner that is too ordered to be pure coincidence and when I ran it through amathematical model, it suggested the same.

As I write this, I have a separate experiment going on where I have taken Chromosome 14 from my DNA and transplanted it into a cell. As Chromosome 14 has no alicornian bases present, it is my hope that it will not be targeted for degradation. Whether that is true or not, is another matter entirely. So far results look promising, but even if this works, how will I integrate the rest of the alicornian genome in?

One step at a time. I just have to take things one step at a time.


Time Till Death: Four days, thirteen hours, twenty-eight minutes

I took deep mouthfuls of water, gulping it down as fast as I could manage without drowning. Beside me, Spitfire and Dash weren't doing much better. Three blind ponies, leading each one on in the hopes of attaining a better future. If it wasn't actually happening, I'd be laughing my head off at how ridiculous it was.

High above us, lightning flashed and the rain intensified. And here I thought if it rained any harder we'd all be swimming.

Brushing a lock of wet mane out of my eyes, I went back to my water. With all the runoff, we were essentially drinking fertilizer, or as Dash so eloquently put it, "Shit and chemicals!", but considering how parched we all were, we really didn't have a choice. We couldn't waste time lying on the ground with our mouth to the sky either.

"Can we start moving again?" I growled in annoyance.

"Yeah, yeah, hold your wyvern." Spitfire looked over at Dash. "You had enough water?"

Silence.

Sighing, Spitfire turned back to me and nodded. "Sure, let's get going. Teleport? Or are we taking another cloud?"

A shudder passed through my body. "Let's not do the cloud again. Almost dying is more than enough for me."

"I said I was sorry," muttered Dash. "And I say we should run. The storm will cover our tracks."

"But a slip will give us a twisted ankle and then we won't be going anywhere," said Spitfire.

"Then we fly," snapped Dash, her face inches from the Wonderbolt.

"Oh is that so? Have you ever flown in a storm this strong before? It's not easy and you'll get thrown aroundlike a ragdoll. And what about afterwards? The whole reason we fly and run is so that we can rest one set of limbs between each leg of the journey." Spitfire shoved Dash back. "You'll risk the entire mission!"

"Better than being such a prissy, cautious, know it all, piece of s-"

"Enough!" I stood between the two warring ponies, the only thing keeping me sane being those five little pills I took this morning. "I will run and you two will fly. We shall do so until either I am unable to walk or until it is impossible to see clearly. Once that happens I shall do the final teleport of the day and hopefully, this dreadful weather will have cleared up. And if it hasn't-" I turned to face the sky. "-I'm going to bucking blow a hole in the clouds!" With an irritated toss of my mane, I smiled sweetly at my partners. "Got that?"

"She probably could too," commented Dash as she took the sky. "Just be careful down there, you hear?"

"Seconded." Spitfire grabbed me by the shoulders. "Remember, you will need to run tomorrow and the day after and the day after that, so don't twist an ankle or break a leg. We need you."

Of course, if I did twist an ankle, it's not like I would even know. With a simple nod in thanks, I broke out into a fast gallop, my headache barely more than a dull thud in the back of my head. I suppose that was the only benefit of being out in such frigid temperatures. Or was it the pain killers? Who cares, I could think!

Giggling like a mad, I raced through the wind and rain, while up above me, Spitfire and Dash led the way. The only source of illumination was the lightning bolts that filled the air. What was that old pegasus saying? Something about tail winds and lightning guiding the way. Who cares!

Leaping over a fallen log, I let out a small shriek of excitement as I began sliding down the muddy hill. At the last second, I leapt forward and tucked myself into a roll and came up without losing a bit of momentum. Panting hard, I lowered my head and kept running on. More than once I slipped, and more than once I completely faceplanted in the mud, but I didn’t let that stop me.

To my surprise, Dash dropped down and began skimming along the ground next to me. “Hey Twi, when we stop tonight, mind if we have a private talk?”

I simply cocked an eyebrow at her. Really? She decides to bring this up now? In fact, how the hay is she still able to talk? I was barely able to get enough oxygen into my body, let along speak. She seemed to get what I was thinking though for she gave me a sheepish smile and took back off to the sky. A sudden fit of coughing brought me to my knees. Entire body trembling, I cradled my head in my hooves and within seconds the fit was over. There was no time to waste, no time to let my body recover, any second now my friends would notice I had stopped running and as soon as that happened, they’d come down all concerned to see what was wrong. We had lost enough time yesterday with the whole cloud-snow fiasco, we did not need to lose even more.

Though I swayed dangerously on my hooves and the metallic taste of blood danced on my lips, I threw my body back into the rhythm of the run. Just like Dash taught me, I lost myself in the beat of my hooves. The constant thump of them slamming into the ground freed my mind from the aches of the body. All I knew, all that drove me on was the simple act of putting one hoof in front of the other. I would not slow down.Never slow down.

Body slamming into a stream, the cold barely registered as I splashed through with steely determination. I opened my mouth and took a deep gulp of water before exiting the other side and continuing on my journey. My hooves slipped on the wet stones, barely able to find any sort of purchase and I was forced to half scramble my way out of the death trap. Though I was back on dry land, I was still swimming through water. Ahead of me were Dash and Spitfire, trotting along at a brisk pace while they waited for me to catch up.

“It’s too windy to fly,” yelled Spitfire above the wind. “We need to teleport!”

“And find somewhere to bunker down for the night,” added Dash. “If we don’t, we’re gonna get hyper-whatcha-ma-call-it.”

Torn between facehoofing and arguing, I was too tired and out of breath to do either. As soon as I stopped my hooves from moving, the weight of the run crashed down upon me and I lay in the mud as a twitching purple heap. Everything hurt. The good type of hurt, but it still hurt.

Poke… Poke… Poke, poke, poke, poke, poke.

Damn it Rainbow Dash, stop poking me!

I breathed out slowly in an attempt to clear my nerves and annoyance. With a helping hoof from Dash, I struggled onto my hooves and began channeling magic through my horn. To my surprise, there was no sudden stab of pain or even a throb. With a mad little grin, the air filled was with bright light as my eyes turned white and then, with something that can only be described as a taut string being cut in half, the world around us shifted and we appeared on a ledge overlooking a dense forest.

Still no pain. How curious.

With a shrug, I charged up my horn once more and we made a second jump. Laughing like mad, I made a third then a forth jump. Just as I was about to make the next one, I collapsed onto the ground and began coughing yet again. Making sure to keep my hooves against my lips, I managed to stop any blood to hit the ground and with the rain, it was quickly washed away.

“You alright?” asked Dash as she knelt next to me.

“Perfectly fine,” I replied with a smile. “Give me a second and I can do another teleport.”

“No.” We both looked up at Spitfire. “You’ve been doing three jumps these past few days and you’ve already made four today. No more. We can’t risk your magic dying out on us, after all, who knows what will happen on this journey? Better to be prepared.”

“One more,” I said as I stood up. “I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I can manage one more without dropping my magic too much.”

Spitfire opened her mouth to argue, but Dash stood between us with a determined look on her face. “Look, none of us are Twi, so who knows how much magic she’s got left? We’ve got to trust her on this.”

“Oh come on! Have you forgotten the first day of travel? She was pushing herself way too hard. I mean, look at her now, she can barely stand!” Shoving a lock of mane out of her eyes, Spitfire glared at us. “Normally, I’d trust you, but not in this. You are not in the right frame of mind to be doing anything.”

I simply grinned at the Wonderbolt. “Try to stop me then.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, but before a single sound had come out of her muzzle, I had already cast the spell. She kept looking at me in shock while I smirked at her with our new location as the backdrop.

“How curious, I haven’t fainted over dead yet,” I remarked.

“What the buck!” My head slammed into the ground as Spitfire stood above me, one hoof raised while the other pinned me down. Before she could stomp my head in, Dash tackled her off me. To my surprise, the blue pegasus was immediately thrown into the nearest cliff face and Spitfire was on top of me once more, a foreleg pressed against my throat, chocking me.

“If you could have done so many jumps all along, why didn’t you!” she screamed as a mixture of rain and tears leaked down her cheek. “How much might we have saved? How much sooner might we get to our goal? I thought you cared; I thought you wanted to save Celestia, but no! All this time you’ve been holding back on us. Hiding just how much you can do. Buck you! Buck you to Tartarus!”

Her hoof left my throat and I began gasping for air. A second later, her hoof slammed into the ground, mere inches from my face. From the way the stone cracked, I had no doubt she could splatter my brains everywhere.

“I thought you cared. I thought you wanted to do everything to get her healthy as soon as possible. I thought you understood.” She turned away and stalked off. “I hate you so much.”

The worst part was, she was right. Sure, I had a massive headache most nights, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t manage a simple teleport. After all, I had managed to stop a rampaging greed growth dragon from destroying part of Fillydelphia with a half severed leg, a dozen broken bones and a cracked horn. If I could do that, I could work past a simple headache of all things. Three teleports gave us an extra day ofleeway, but if I could get five in each day, that’d give us another day at least. That meant we got back sooner, cured Celestia sooner and there was less chance of us actually failing. Spitfire was right, and thanks to my own stupidity, Celestia was in more danger than ever.

Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid, stup-

A pair of hooves wrapped around my neck, stopping me from bashing my head against the hard, cold floor.

“Come on Twi, don’t be like that,” whispered Dash in my ear. “Spitfire is just stressed out. Everyone is stressed out. It was a heat of the moment thing and she didn’t mean anything by it.”

To my surprise, she pulled me close to her, and nuzzled my cheek tenderly. “Come on, Twi, let’s get you somewhere nice and dry, there’s a cave off to the left there. Do you need to take your pills?”

I simply shook my head. With Spitfire’s sudden departure, it felt as though she took all my energy with her. The lack of adrenaline though, told me just how bad of an idea it was to make that last jump. My head throbbed and it felt as though a hot cloth was pressed against my forehead.Would I have to pay for it tomorrow? Probably. Good thing I’ve got my pills on me.

As we lay down on the hard floor, Dash gently placed a wing over my body in an attempt to keep me warm. With a soft sigh, I let myself lean against her body ever so slightly as my eyes began closing. All the while, Dash stroked my mane and whispered words of encouragement in my ear. That it wasn’t my fault, that we should stick to our original plan, and that everything was going to be fine in the end. With nothing, but her soft breathing and soft words, I was lulled into a deep dreamless sleep.


06/03/16

Success!

I have finally figured out the recognition site for degradation and it was not what I expected at all. When Chromosome 14 was degraded I knew it had nothing to do with the basesand therefore, it had to relate to the phosphate backbone in some manner. With this in mind, I examined the backbone once more, but this time I went right down to the atomic structural level rather than just looking at what compounds were present. It was only at this level that I noticed a slight variation in charges. It was minute, barely worth mentioning, but upon closer inspection, it was clear that it subtly altered the structure of the backbone and subtly altered its overall charge. It is my belief that this change is the recognition factor used by the enzymes to distinguish between foreign DNA and alicornian DNA.

The question now turns to finding out how to alter the backbone in such a manner as to keep the integrity of the pony DNA. All the current mutagens categorized in the Yggdrasil database all relate to base mutations.


Time Till Death: Three days, twenty-three hours, fifty-eight minutes

The sound of whimpering woke Dash up. Within seconds she was on her hooves, bleary eyes scanning the world around her in order to find the source of the sound. It was only when a stray hoof caught her in the jaw that Dash finally snapped awake and found the source of the noise. There, on the ground, curled up in a ball was Twilight, whimpering and pleading for death as tears leaked down her cheek.

“Twi?”

Though Dash spoke in a whisper, Twilight curled up even tighter and her ears flattened further against her skull. Moving as silently as possible, Dash made her way towards Twilight’s backpack and with every step she took, the unicorn winced in pain. Giving up all pretenses of trying to cause her less pain, Dash dove straight in and found the bottle in no time flat. Zipping back out, she opened the bottle and tipped it over.

One pill.

A growl of frustration managed to slip out, but she immediately cut it off as Twilight made it very clear that it was not helping her condition at all. Resisting the urge to sigh, Dash gently nudged Twilight only for the unicorn to immediately shrink back.

“Come on Twi, I’ve got some pills for you.” Was she even speaking? Dash couldn’t even hear her own words, but somehow Twilight managed to hear them for she opened her mouth ever so slightly. The pillslipped in and she swallowed it in one gulp, but other than that, she did not move.

“Anything else I can do for you? Any more pills stashed away somewhere?”

Her mouth moved, but no words came out. Leaning in close, Dash pressed her ear right up against Twilight’s lips. If she ignored the rain outside and the whistling winds, and if she let her imagination take over, it was just possible to make out words. A light murmur that conveyed an emotion rather than any sort of words, but there was enough there for Dash to get a faint idea of what Twilight wanted.

Moving quickly, Dash stepped out into the rain and flared open both wings. Eyes closed, she reached out with her hooves and focused on the water all around her, drawing them together and molding it. Though it was something she had done many times in the past, it still felt like she was wading through a swamp and each step she took drew her down further. Finally though, she came bursting out the other side and eyes snapping open, a hovering ball of water floated before her.

Rushing back in, Dash gently tilted Twilight’s head back and allowed the fluid to trickle in. One foreleg wrapped limply around Dash’s foreleg, forcing more water down her muzzle. After a few desperate gulps she seemed to settle down and just let the water slowly make its way down her throat. Though she never uncurled from her position on the ground, and her whimpers continued, her muscles were less tense.

Placing a light hoof on Twi’s forehead, Dash immediately drew back in surprise. She wasn’t just burning up, Twilight was on fire. Collecting more water, Dash pressed it gently against Twilight’s forehead and the purple mare let out a soft sigh. Again and again Dash gathered up water and after the sixth trip, she finally seemed to relax. At some point in the night, the unicorn finally seemed to drift off into sleep. Sure, the occasional whimper escaped, but it was nothing like before.

“Everything alright in here?” whispered Spitfire from the entrance.

“I don’t know…” Dash stepped into the rain and looked up moon the hung in the night sky. “Twi woke up in pain and even whispering seemed to hurt her. A pill and some water seemed to help, but she was seriously burning up. I have no clue what’s going on, but it’s not good.”

“Will she recover enough for tomorrow?”

“I don-“

At the hacking cough coming from Twilight, the two ran into the cave in time to see Twi slump back down onto the ground. The two exchanged a concerned look and began approaching and knelt down next to her. Dash brushed a lock of mane to the side and scratched Twi just behind the ears. Almost immediately, the purple mare let out a sigh of relief and seemed to fall back asleep.

“Dash, over here,” whispered Spitfire, causing the sleeping mare to wince slightly. “This is blood.”

“What?” In a flash, the blue pegasus was beside Spitfire.

“It’s blood. Twilight was coughing up blood.” Rose eyes meet brown ones. “This isn’t good.”

“Nah, really?” sighed Dash as she rubbed her temples. What the buck, Twi. What game are you playing here? “If I’m right, there’s a safe place near here that we can stay at and hopefully get Twilight looked at without having to worry about guards. If worst comes to worst, we can leave her there while we continue on.”

“You’re joking. You know a safe place to stay? The gryphons hate our guts!”

A grim chuckle escaped as Dash pulled out her map and examined it. “What can I say? Being part of Luna’s elite unit is a pretty crazy life, and it’s not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. There are ponies working here and there you know, and gryphons can come and go as they wish.”

“Are you sure it’s safe?” asked Spitfire.

“Positive.” Dash stood up and gathered everything together. “Mind grabbing a cloud so that we can load Twilight onto it?”

“Will she stay on it? That cloud walking spell was cast a while ago.”

“Yeah… Twi will stay on it no problem.” Dash gazed down at the sleeping mare tenderly. “Regardless, we need to get her some help.”

Spitfire rubbed her temples. “Celestia damn it, why can’t things ever go according to plan?”

“Because you’re in charge,” smirked Dash as she nudged the sleeping mare lightly. “Come on Twi, wakey-wakey, we need to move somewhere safe. Come on, up and at ‘em. You need to get up right now, otherwise you’ll be tardy.”

Twilight let out a muffled groan, but otherwise did not move.

Oh crap. Okay, that was not good, not good at all. Twilight, not reacting to being tardy? If Nightmare Moon, Discord and Chrysalis had teamed up right there and then, Dash would not be surprised, and frankly, she’d less worried about that.

“Come on.” Dash grabbed Twilight’s foreleg and swung it around her neck before gently slipping under the purple mare. Though each slight movement caused Twi to gasp out in pain, Dash blocked it all out and kept working away. Each pained whimper made Dash’s heart throb, but this was not a time to give in. With Twilight secured in place, Dash took a tentative step forward and the unicorn immediately cried out in pain. Eyes locked on the entrance, the Shadowbolt took another step forward, then another and another. Each step was accompanied by a tugging on her heart strings, but she steeled herself and kept moving forward.

“You got her?” asked Spitfire as smoothed down her burnt and spiky mane.

“Yep." Together, the two pegasi gently shifted Twilight onto the cloud and to their relief, she didn’t immediately fall through. “Come on, it’s about an hour’s journey from here.”

With a light nudge, the cloud began floating forward. With Dash directing it from the front while Spitfire pushed it from behind. Every so often there’d be a particularly loud cry from the unicorn, but otherwise they travelled in a tense silence. The constant rain seemed to help somewhat, but Dash was just glad the thunder and lightning had stopped. Who knows how badly Twi would react to that? Dash glanced over her shoulder at the trembling ball of fur and sighed sadly. So much for that talk.

She shook her head, before slapping herself just for good measure. This was not the time for self-depression. Twilight needed help. Twilight first, everything else second – even Princess Celestia and Luna. Even Equestria came second.

“Dash! We’re approaching a castle, should we go around?” asked Spitfire.

“Negative.” Her smile was grim and her eyes hard. “That’s our destination. Wait up here while I slip down.”

“You’re insane.” Spitfire zipped in front of the cyan pegasus. “You are not going down there. That’s the house of a freaking noble. A minor noble, but still a noble. They’ll turn us in the first chance they get.”

“They won’t. If they even think about putting a hoof on Twi, I will personally destroy the place.” Dash’s eyes softened slightly, but they didn’t lose their hard edge. “Trust me”

Before Spitfire had even opened her mouth, Dash ducked her wings against her side and plummeted straight down. The screaming wind was usually such a comfort, but all it did was remind her of Twilight’s cries of pain. As the ground rushed up to meet her, all Dash could see was Twilight curled up in a ball, begging for the pain to stop. Were her cheeks wet? No doubt it was the rain.

At the very last second, Dash threw her wings open, sending dirt and water in all directions as she landed just outside the castle walls. Taking a minute to roll in the mud, she coated her entire body as well as her mane and tail. Good thing Rarity wasn't around, otherwise she'd have a heart attack. Making sure to stay in the shadows, she crept along the wall, eyes constantly darting and ears primed for the slightest sound. With the gate in sight, Dash eyed the guards curiously before frowning. They looked familiar, but this was definitely not the time to take chances.

Alright, time to put that Shadowbolt training to use.

Dash frowned and tried to think back to what Luna and Spitfire had taught her, but all she got was a blank. Something about identifying your goal and then blah-blah-blah. Did she sleep through that lecture? Maybe. Who cares about their egghead method anyways? After all, since when did the awesomest pony since forever need a plan?

Taking a step back, Dash ran at the wall. Kicking off, her hind-hooves connected with the wall and she pushed herself off. She gave a hard flap of herwings and her fore-hooves found the edge of the wall. Hauling herself up, she flipped over the wall and landed with a roll. Tucked up against the wall, her eyes scanned the area, but there was no movement. Eyes darting up, Dash licked her lips as two gryphons began gilding their way over. Considering there was probably a third in the tower, or on the wall, this was not going to end well.

Keeping low, she scrambled along the side of the wall. Glancing up at the tower, her eyes narrowed as another gryphon came into view. Under all that shiny armor though was dark purple fur and brownish-golden feathers. Dash had only ever seen one gryphon with that coloration and a plan began forming in her mind.

In the blink of an eye Dash had closed the distance between her and the guards. The one on the right tried to block with his spear, but her shoulder caught him straight in the jaw. Twisting in midair, metal parted her mane, but a quick punch to the stomach sent him stumbling back. Before he could recover, her buck caught him straight in the face. Dropping onto the ground, a quick sweep of her leg sent the first to the ground and Dash pounced. Within seconds both were taking a nap and she strolled through the gate.

And just as expected, the gryphon on the wall raced towards her. Turning her body to the side, the spear just missed her side. One leg wrapping around it, the other elbow came up and smashed him in the face. Though he didn’t stumble back, there was a grunt of pain and his hold on the spear slackened. Ripping it free from his grasp, Dash tossed it aside and was forced to block a flurry of blows. Try as she might, she couldn’t get past his defenses and she was forced slowly back. Legs digging, Dash ducked under a frustrated swipe. Sliding past his offense, she tossed the guard over her head and into the nearest wall. Instead of following up her advantage, the pegasus merely dusted herself off and threw a cocky grin at the guard.

“Really Carciano, is that how you treat an old friend?”

“Raidia?” The gryphon kept his guard up, but the hard glint was gone from his eyes. “But your coat and mane…”

“Because I’m stupid enough to not darken it right?” Shaking out her mane, her coloration was unmistakable, even in the dark. “Look, I don’t have much time to explain, but I need a place to stay and for Eurissa to look at one of my friends – she’s still around right?”

“Y-Yes. Right this way.” He gave a deep bow and began walking towards the large double doors. “Did you really have to knock out the new recruits though? That’s going to be hard to explain.”

“Say it was a surprise training exercise,” replied Dash with a shrug. “So how has everyone been doing?”

“Alright.” Their footsteps echoed through the empty hall. “Though I suggest you prepare yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah.” The pegasus waved away his concern. “So, found yourself a nice lady friend yet?”

“W-What!?” Despite the dim lightning, his blush was clearly visible.

Laughing at his discomfort, Dash let her eyes roam freely. Everything was exactly as she remembered it. The paintings were in the same place, showing the same things. T hat old rickety table with uneven legs had moved slightly down the hall, but it was still there and even the color of the walls were the same. Though it had been years, there was no doubt in Dash’s mind that she could sneak through entire place with her eyes blindfolded and still not get caught. Really, if she knew it was going to be like this, she would have snuck in using the old catacombs entrance.

“We’re here.” Carciano took a deep breath and knocked politely on the door.

“Come in,” called a distinctly feminine voice.

“I’m sorry for the disturbance Lady Isiana, but there is somebody here to see you.”

The door creaked open and Dash stepped into the firelight, a sheepish smile on her face. There, standing before her, was a gryphon with black fur and silver feathers, light blue swirls adorning the left side of her face, just under her eyes. If Dash didn’t know better, she would have said this was a very vivid dream, or that Twilight had somehow managed to pull dreams into reality.

Twi…

Clearing her throat, Dash stood up straighter and gave the gryphoness a deep bow.

“Hello mother.”

“Raidia D-“

“The name’s Rainbow Dash.”

Though the matriarch frowned, she inclined her head in acceptance. “Rainbow Dash then, it’s good to see you again. I take it you have not come home to beg for forgiveness?”

“I never beg.”

“I am glad some things never change. Carciano, grab my husband and make sure no one interrupts us.”

“Yes m’lady.” With yet another bow, he silently left the room.

“So…” Isiana took a sip from her glass of wine. “Why exactly have you come back then? I hear you’ve made a rather big name for yourself in Equestria. Element of Loyalty, fastest pegasus to have ever lived, Captain of the Shadowbolts… You mere presence here without political sanction is a violation of the treaty between our two nations and could start a war.”

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have to,” hissed Dash. “They couldn’t pay me enough to get me to set foot in this cesspool.”

“My, my, your vocabulary has increased as well, that is certainly a surprise.”

“Keep your damn attitude to yourself,” snapped Dash, wings half open in annoyance. “I don’t even know why I came back here in the first place.”

“Well it is not a-“

“Isiana.” The deep baritone voice cut through the air and caused the gryphoness to fall silent. “Please, it has been years since we last saw our daughter. I realize you two have never gotten along, but please try at least.”

“Sorry dear.”

“Hello father,” replied Dash with an equally annoyed tone.

“Rainbow Dash. Why are you here?” There was no accusation in Silreno’s voice, no piercing look in his blue eyes. It was a simple, honest question.

“Because I need help. My friends and I are passing through, but one of them has fallen ill and we just need some medication and for Eurissa to look at her. Nothing more, nothing less. We’ll be gone in an hour or so.”

"To where?"

"The C-" Dash licked her lips. "The Silverdale Ranges."

"One more day of travel then."

Dash nodded in reply, but kept her mouth shut. It'd take another day to reach Yggdrasil if Luna's map was correct and if things were lucky. Twilight falling sick? Definitely not lucky. Not lucky at all.

“Dear, you can’t be serious about helping,” cooed the black and silver gryphon. “After all, this will be putting our entire house in jeopardy.”

“But she is our daughter and I doubt she’ll leave without the medication at least. After all, she got her bone-headedness from you.” At that comment, he got a glare from two very angry females. “N-No offense or anything. Just- Ah… erm… Food! Why don’t we get something to eat, and you can bring your friends down?”

“Males,” sighed Isiana.

“Agreed.” With a toss of her mane, Dash threw open the windows. “I take it the private dining room is still in the north tower?”

“Yes. And you better wash yourself young lady, I will not have you tracking mud through the castle!”

"Whatever." Dash zipped up to the cloud line and scanned the area, looking for that familiar yellow and orange coloration. When none could be seen, a frown creased her brow and she began flying over the area while calling out softly, “Spitfire?”

A yellow hoof stuck out of dark cloud and gave a little wave. Gently banking to the right, Dash wheeled around and landed on the cloud. A couple seconds later, the top layer was brushed away and there lay Twilight and Spitfire in a small hollow.

“So?” asked Spitfire as she placed another layer of water over Twilight’s forehead.

“They’ve agreed to help us,” replied Dash. A dark silhouette suddenly passed overhead causing Spitfire flare her wings open and crouch low in a defensive stance. Dash on the other hand merely rolled her eyes and looked up. “Yeah, yeah, real funny Carciano, now stop fooling around and get us into the North Tower.”

“You… know this gryphon?” Though she visibly relaxed, Spitfire stayed in her stance. “Can we trust them?”

“Yeah…” replied Dash with a distant look in her eyes.

“Not exactly a voice of confidence,” muttered Spitfire under her breath as Carciano landed lightly on the ground.

“Y-Y-You're Spitfire!” he squealed. “I love you! You're my second favorite Wonderbolt ever!”

The pegasus in question blinked in surprise. “I… have gryphon fans…?”

“Oh yeah, you’re an elite aerial unit after all, and responsible for some really awesome stuff,” replied Dash with a shrug. “I mean, Gilda was really into Fleetfoot. Hey Carciano, remember that time with the tickets?”

Despite the dark coloring of his feathers, the blush was clearly visible. “You promised me you’d never bring that up again!”

“Like I said, he’s good, we’re good, everything will be good,” chuckled Dash as the cloud began moving down towards the ground. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a shower before I get yelled at again.” With a swift buck to the cloud, it immediately began pouring rain and Spitfire gave Dash a look that could have killed.

“I just dried off.”

“Yeah, yeah, a bit of rain won’t kill you.” Shaking the water off like a dog would, Dash approached Twilight and nuzzled her gently. “Hey, Twi, just hang in there alright? We’re gonna get you some medication and get you looked at.”

The unicorn merely mumbled something unintelligible.

“Wow, she’s really don-“ Carciano’s eyes widened. “No. Way. That’s the Archmage isn’t it? Archmage Twilight Sparkle. Raid- Rainbow Dash, did you tell your pa-“

“No. No I did not.” With an irritated growl, Dash stomped the cloud. “And if they’ve got an issue with it, they can shove it up their ass.”

“Dash! That is hardly a diplomatic thing to say,” snapped Spitfire. “And you didn’t tell them? What were you thinking, this might change everything.”

“Trust me,” sighed Dash. “We’ll be perfectly fine.”

“Sorry to interrupt ladies, but we’re here,” called the gryphon from out front.

“Come on.” With a jerk of her head, Dash took the lead and together, the three managed to get Twilight into the room without jolting her too much.

“What have you done?” whispered Silreno. “Are you trying to destroy this House?”

“Please, if I wanted to do that, it would be destroyed,” replied Dash. “You agreed to help us and you never go back on your word. Remember?”

“I did not know your friends were the Wonderbolt Captain and the Archmage,” he hissed in reply before sighing. “Though I suppose it is my own fault, letting my own sentimentalities get in the way. Isiana did always say you’d lead to the fall of this House. Very well, we shall do this one last thing for you, but no more. I am sorry my daughter, but-“

“Daughter?” Spitfire whirled on me, a snarl plastered all over her face. “You’re the daughter of a gryphon noble!?”

“Don’t worry, Luna knows.” Dash simply brushed off Spitfire’s anger before turning back to face her father. “I understand and I expected as much. And here I thought that I’d be the one to finally cut all ties in the end.”

“I wish we could say that we’re sorry for the past, but I cannot. We did it for a reason, even if you disagree with us,” he whispered.

“Just another thing we will never see eye to eye on it seems.”

“The Seer is in your old room and is waiting for you. You are to stay in that room at all times and I want you gone by day break.”

“Not soon enough,” muttered Dash under her breath. “Come on, let’s get the egghead into the room and get her checked up on.”

Before she could turn away though, Spitfire grabbed Dash’s shoulder. “We are going to have a talk about this.”

“Whatever.”

“I’m serious.”

“And I don’t give a buck,” snapped Dash. “How about we focus on getting Twi back on her hooves and this mission?”


03/24/50

It has taken many years, but I have finally found something of significance. It was sparked by Clover the Clever’s hypothesis of bodily limitation when it comes to magical usage. She proposed the body can only withstand so much magic being channeled at once before it would begin degrading due to the amount of energy contained. I can’t remember why I suddenly thought of it, or how it came up in conversation, but it did. While this is a viable explanation, I proposed an alternative hypothesis: that the increase in magic actually acted as a mutagen and induced too many mutations for the body to repair. I have no clue who is accurate and there is the distinct possibility that we both were, so I tested it out. My conclusion is the following:

Magic can act as a mutagen at high enough levels.

Using Starswirl’s time travel spell, I managed construct a four dimensional amplification matrix by sending resonation crystals into the past with a modified spatial identification hook. Through this massive amplification of my powers, I was able to induce limited change in the pony genome, altering the basic backbone of DNA. Unfortunately, I lacked the power to make it cause a full mutation. After a minute, the mutated sections were degraded and I was left with nothing. The simplest solution is to decrease the time it takes to mutate the entire genome which therefore means an increase in power and that leaves me with a conundrum. Do I increase my power output and plunge the world into eternal night for a couple of days? Some would argue tha-

I am an idiot.

The Elements of Harmony are the ultimate source of power. In the brief window of time when I held all six against my sister, I felt an immense power beyond anything that I had ever known. Compared to them, I was an ant. Yes. That is my course of action. I shall build a devicecapable of holding, amplifying and channeling the immense power within the Elements. With this, I will finally be able to complete my research.