A young man attempts to unravel the mystery that is Twilight Sparkle.
Twilight Sparkle has always kept to herself. Isolated in her studies, she leaves the library only to spend time with family. Friends, she has none. No significant other. No pals, no work mates. In fact, no work to speak of, either. And so, it seemed natural to ask - who is this girl, really? And moreover, why am I so drawn to her?
I stand before the enormous library, thinking only about her.
For the better part of my life, the quiet girl with the purple hair has consumed my thoughts. Her violet eyes, like portals into a different world; her demeanor, like that of someone who knows all the secret ins and outs of life but is too afraid to talk about it with anyone. She has the most kind expression, like someone who understands where she is, and has no intention of using anyone else to advance herself. Of course, I could be making all this up. I have no idea what goes on inside her head. What I do know is that since the day I first laid eyes on her, I have wanted to be her confidence. I have wanted to be her voice, the one she spoke to about all the millions of tiny things that happened in her mind.
I do, in all honesty, love her quite so.
I have my doubts as to whether or not she even knows I exist - and this is a fairly common issue, I have been told - but that is no reason for me not to try to make her acquaintance. In fact, that is the whole reason I am here standing in front of the library. Tonight is the night, I promised myself, when I would learn to understand the beautiful but quiet young girl that is Twilight Sparkle.
I take a steep breath in, and a breath out. Steam flows from my mouth as I exhale. My fingers twitch, and I notice myself become rather jittery. My entire body is shivering. When did I become so giddy? I feel my heart jump for joy in terror, and I begin to suspect my trembling might not be entirely due to the cold. Nerves, that must be it. I'm nervous. Excited to finally properly meet Twilight Sparkle, but terrified that I will make a fool of myself.
I hesitate no longer. My hand presses against the wrought iron gate of the library and it creaks inward, allowing me space to enter the yard. Moonlight splashes across my face through a crevice in the clouds. First my shoes are clacking across the cobblestone path. Then they are clacking against the concrete steps. I pull my leather jacket tighter around myself as the nip of the dark winter night penetrates my clothes.
The library before me is familiar in the daylight, but in the darkness of night it seems alien, like nothing I have ever seen before. The large oak door towers over me, set solidly into its granite frame. Through the shimmering glass of the door's viewing port I spy a single lantern upon a table within. She must still be awake and studying! My hand begins to tremble again as I lift my arm, take the heavy brass knocker up in my fingers, and slam it three times upon the door.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (II Pars - Conventus)
The first thing I see is her eye, her beautiful lavender eye, looking out of the glass viewing port. Then, noticing that I am a regular, she stands slightly more upright, allowing me to see her face. She bears an expression of curiosity, as though wondering why a library regular should be calling at this time of night; and it would be a very good question for her to ask.
But the responsibility to instigate that conversation would be mine, not hers. She would likely stay out of my way as I searched for my book of choice - why indeed would she assume that her late-night guest be in fact interested in meeting her, instead of meeting her unabridged written history of the world? To her, the latter appeared far more interesting. But the story of a young girl who seemed to be afraid of making friends - now there was a story I would rather like to hear.
She slowly opens the door, and with a flourish of her free hand, silently offers me the vast selection of her personal collection. I am quite tempted to take her up on that offer, as I have been known to enjoy a fair bit of reading myself, but I choose instead to focus on the task at hand.
I am not sure where to start, so I select a small comment to thread the conversation.
"Beautiful night, isn't it?" I blurt out, "I absolutely love a cool winter evening. A bit frigid, but one can't have it all perfect, I suppose."
She nods and smiles at me, before running off with a stack of books tucked under her arm. I attempt to follow her path, but before I can discern which direction she's headed, she is already lost, well out of my sight.
This is going to be tougher than I suspected.
I grab a lamp from a nearby table and head off in the direction I suspect she had gone. The library is very desolate, but outside the world is still rather active. I nearly flinch when the headlamps from an automobile flash through the large stained-glass window of the dark hall. Waiting for my eyes to re-adjust, I begin scanning through titles from the nearest shelf. The Life and Death of Starswirl the Bearded...One-Thousand More Ways to Start a Thesis Essay...The Equestrian World Atlas......why, these books had all been written by her! Every last one of them! My jaw nearly drops as I skim further titles and see her name stamped into each and every binding.
Surely, I think to myself, she merely stamps them, to indicate that they are part of her personal collection. How silly of me, to believe that she wrote all of them...
But as I continue scanning, it occurs to me that none of the books have author names... nor have I seen any of these books outside of this library. Could they actually be...? No, it is a silly thought. I push it aside.
My attention remains on the innumerable shelves of books, all emblazoned with her name. In fact, I take so little notice of my surroundings that I nearly do a double take when a book approaches me from the side. Actually, it is not a book at all, but is, in fact, several books stacked on top of each other. The stack of books yelps as I collide with them. The heavy volumes meet the wood floor with a dull thud, followed by a slightly louder thud that sounds human.
Twilight! I ran right into her without even noticing. Instinctively, I reach out and offer her my hand.
"Are you alright?" I ask her, "I'm terribly sorry, I didn't see you."
She hesitantly takes my hand, and I pull her upright. She smiles meekly at me. There is a long and awkward pause as we both watch each other carefully.
Finally, crouching down, I say, "here, let's get these books picked up."
"Yeah, alright," she says softly. I almost freeze. This is the first time I have ever heard her speak. Her voice, it's like a thousand tiny pianos all playing in concert. I feel my heart ache for a moment. This feeling I have for her could not get any stronger. I need to act, soon.
"Hey, so umm... who wrote these books? I only see your name on them."
She turns her head in my direction, eyes wide. Her face flushes, and without any further comment, she runs off down the corridor. I follow after, as quickly as I can.
"Hey!" I shout, "what's the matter? Why are you in such a hurry?"
But she doesn't stop. She doesn't even slow down. Even with those heavy volumes in her arms, she can run quite fast. Fortunately, I'm not carrying any books. I run faster. Twenty feet. Ten feet. Five feet. She is right there, within arm's length. I thrust a hand out and reach for her shoulder. If I can just catch up with her, get her to slow down so we can talk, maybe I could-
And then my hand clasps thin air. A flash of violet light shakes my eyes, and before I can tell what has happened, Twilight Sparkle has vanished into thin air.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (III Pars - Stella et Luna)
I find myself sprawled across what I must say is a reasonably comfortable bed. It is my own bed, and I find it a useful place to retreat to. The wool fibres of the plaid comforter tickle my arms and lull me into what can only be called a contemplative sleep. My eyes droop, and my body goes numb.
Suddenly, my mind is all that exists, and I am alone with my thoughts. Or, more or less, my thoughts are lined up against the wall, and I stand before them holding a baton, threatening to beat them if they did not tell me the truth. There is one thought, I note, that looks particularly shifty. It's that one in the corner, the one that says I saw Twilight Sparkle disappear into thin air. That's a lie if I ever heard one - no such thing is possible. Most likely, this thought is making the whole thing up. I had obviously seen nothing of the sort, and this thought could not have been misinformed by my loyal and dutiful senses, so clearly, the entire story must have been fabricated.
But of course, this begs the question... what did I see?
Personifying my neurons and their instances of firing is not helping me any. I open my eyes, hop up from my bed, and relocate to the kitchen where I begin to boil some tea. The cold of the hardwood floor permeates my soles and I find my mind suddenly stimulated. My thoughts become clearer.
I must have been confused. Maybe I blinked, and missed seeing her run off. That had to be it. At this point I can't even remember if I heard her footsteps. Maybe I did and just don't remember. Maybe I didn't, and she was simply light on her feet. And that flash of magenta - perhaps that was just a reflection. Perhaps she was wearing a cut of amethyst on a necklace or bracelet or a pin, and perhaps a car drove by just as I thought she disappeared.
Perhaps you're certifiably insane, I think to myself. While that certainly is a distinct possibility, I can't just assume anything when a perfectly reasonable explanation presents itself.
Perhaps, my thoughts continue on without me, there is something deeper. Maybe neither answer is right. Neither is right? As if to say that the violet flash wasn't from a car, and I'm also not completely off my rocker? As if to say that she didn't run off, but rather that she did in fact dematerialize right before my eyes? Of course, this is absurd. I've already established that people do not just disappear into thin air; and I would rather not assume I am mentally unstable. Though there were other explanations. It was late at night. Maybe my brain was just playing tricks on me.
Maybe it still is playing tricks on you. You know what? I've had it with these thoughts. I turn the burner off and dump the warm tea water down the drain. Dwelling on the situation is not helping me any. I need to get out. Maybe take a walk? I do love these evenings. I don't necessarily have to go back to the library, not immediately anyway. No, I just need to clear my head is all.
I grab my keys from off my kitchen counter, wrap myself up in my trusty wind breaker, and exit my humble abode. The cool evening air hits me as my feet collide with pavement. My neighborhood is much more lively than that of the library. Sounds of roaring engines and industrial generators fill my ears. I pause for a moment before making an about-face to look up at my home. In the pale glow of the street lamps it vaguely reminds me of the brownstones I had seen on my trip to America several years prior. I take a deep breath in, and sigh it out. Steam. Without further hesitation, I walk.
Keeping a slow and steady pace, I look up at the sky. Despite the harshly polluted air in my industrial neighborhood, the stars are all out and in full view. A smile crosses my face as I look up at the hundreds upon hundreds of constellations. Their presence penetrates my heart. For a reason I've never been able to explain, staring at the stars has always brought me comfort. It makes me feel as if I am not alone. As if each and every one of those stars is my companion on the journey of life. And perhaps they truly are. So long as the sky is visible, the stars will light my path. So long as I can sort them out, they will show me how to find my way. And if I should lose hope and fall into a bottomless pit of emotion, the stars will not hesitate to aid in my escape.
Especially that one star. The one that is not a star, but shines brighter than any star in sight.
That beautiful argentum moon, hanging untarnished in the night sky.
I look up to see what shape appears upon its fascinating surface this particular night. The clusters of craters are pale, and I can barely make it out, but it appears to be some sort of animal, with a spire protruding from its head. I am confused for a moment, because I have never heard of such a shape appearing on the moon. But like everything else today, it is probably just my imagination.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (IV Pars - Nivea Gramina)
Photons ambush my eyes and I awake with a start. The first thing I notice is a chill beneath my hands, feet, and posterior. The second thing is a light tickle upon my skin. I look around and find snow sinking lazily through the air, covering the ground around me and giving my arms and legs a frigid coating. And there's something else, too. Is that...a wrought-iron bar digging into my back? I stand up swiftly and gaze across a white-spackled field of green and tan to see the library. Twilight's library.
I sink back to the ground and bury my head in my hands. Had I walked here last night? I didn't remember adding it to the itinerary for the previous night's excursion. Much the opposite, in fact. And I had certainly not fallen asleep here. I always knew where I fell asleep, mostly because it was always the same place - my own bed, in my own house. It was very unlike me to not go home after taking a walk around the neighbourhood.
I pull my windbreaker even tighter around myself. This morning is a tad nippier than the previous night. My hands are once again trembling, but this time there are no nerves. At least not yet.
Of course, on a morning like this, it would be just like me to speak too soon. And as it would turn out, I just had. In the distance I catch a glimpse of one Twilight Sparkle, keenly flipping through a ring of keys as she approaches. What in the blazes is she doing here?! It takes me a moment to remember that I am sitting in front of her library.
Of course, this doesn't change the fact that her arrival is about to create a serious problem for me. Part of me wants to make a mad dash for my house so as not to be caught in such an incriminating position. Waiting outside her library the morning after I chased her around inside her library? There is no argument - this won't not look good. But part of me also wants to stay and ask her what exactly had happened the previous night. This is the perfect opportunity to ask, and I can't just walk away from it.
I find myself suddenly on my feet again. I glance between Twilight Sparkle and the path that leads back to my house. Do I leave and lose this opportunity? Or do I stay and face the potential implications? I hardly have time to decide before I hear a voice in the distance.
"Sorry to keep you waiting!" she calls out, "I'll open everything up for you!"
She doesn't recognise me yet, then? If she had, there is no doubt in my mind that her greeting would have been much different. I can't be sure though. Do I dare stick around to find out?
In a mad dash to keep my cool, I pull my hood over my head and my hands to my face in a mock-warming gesture. Hopefully I can keep my identity a secret for long enough to get inside the library. Finally, she reaches me.
"Cold out today, huh?" she speaks calmly as she fiddles with the padlock to open the gate, "Sorry you've had to wait out here. If I'd known you'd be back so early I'd have hurried up. I take it you didn't find what you were looking for last night?"
The lock falls slack in sync with my jaw.
She recognises me, I think to myself. She recognises me and isn't reacting at all.
The gate creaks open. Twilight marches purposefully across the cobblestone path and up to the large oak door to unlock that one as well. I follow slowly. What do I do now? Do I just come out and ask? Or do I follow her inside?
With all the courage I can muster, I call out across the quiet lawn, my voice piercing the silence.
"I'm sorry about last night!" I shout, a bit louder than I intend. She turns back to me.
"Oh no, it's alright, I'm used to late night library-goers."
"No, I mean...what happened just after that."
She glances at me, with a look of puzzlement on her face.
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you coming?"
She holds the oak door wide for me, and with a moment's hesitation, I zip inside.
She follows me in, pulling the door closed and latched. I hang my jacket on a hook just past the library door while she takes a left towards the arch leading into the main hall. There is a stout table in the centre, and she stands just to the right of it. Nonchalantly, almost inconspicuously, she retrieves a volume from the folds of her garments and sets it upon the table. With one hand still resting on the book, she turns back to me. My full attention is on her as she speaks.
"Don't forget...if you don't finish your work when the library closes, you can always take a book or two home with you."
She smiles gently at me, before walking away. My brain is struggling to process what is going on, but her intention is clear. I cross the small antechamber and approach the table with the book. The leather cover is worn and tattered, but the gold-embellished corners remain untarnished. Through years of fading I can barely make out the cover design. This one, just like the rest of her collection, is authorless. But five words show clearly through the years of wear and tear.
The Mare in the Moon.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (V Pars - Insomnium)
Long ago, in the magical land of Equestria... the story begins. I pull my wooden chair tighter in to the table at which I sit. The only other library-goer is an elderly man in the opposite chamber. I would have no disruptions. My eyes return to the page and I continue reading.
...there were two regal sisters who ruled together, and created harmony for all the land. To do this, the eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn. The younger brought out the moon to begin the night. Thus, the two sisters maintained balance for their kingdom and their subjects; all the different types of ponies.
I pause for a moment, beginning to wonder why she wanted me to read this. It's starting to look like a children's story. Something you'd read to your daughter to help them fall asleep. Certainly not serious or legitimate reading material. Had I misinterpreted her message? Perhaps this book is completely irrelevant.
I mean, honestly...ponies...
It really is absurd, isn't it, that such a tale could ever be relevant to whatever she means to tell me. Perhaps, then, there is some note folded up inside the volume? A hidden message, perhaps? I flip the pages one by one, but come out nil each time. None of the pages have any writing on them either. Frustrated, I glance around once more to make sure no one is watching before grabbing the book by its spine and shaking it vigorously over my desk.
Nothing doing, the surface of my table remains completely free of secret letters from that purple-haired girl who gets more and more mysterious by the minute.
It seems I must take this children's book, this fairy tale, at face value. It contains no secrets. Its only purpose, one must surmise, is to be read. By me.
It really is...just an ordinary book.
I continue reading, now determined to watch the details closely and absorb every ounce of literary content the volume has to offer. If I am going to read this book, this message from her to me, then I should do so with the utmost care and concentration. Obviously, this is important to her.
With each passing line, the story weaves itself further and further into an intricate tale of loss, heartbreak, and redemption. The sister of the night, I ascertain, was transformed by bitterness and hate for her inherent inferiority to her sister. Her emotions overwhelmed her, and - donning the new title Nightmare Moon - she sought to bring death and destruction upon the residents of Equestria.
To end Nightmare Moon's rampage, the elder sister exiled her sibling to the moon and sealed her there for a millennium. The elder sister then took upon herself the responsibilities of the night as well as the day. All the while, for that next millennium, Nightmare Moon plotted her revenge, eagerly awaiting the day when the stars would aid in her escape and she would be able to ensnare all of ponykind in an eternal night of despair and sorrow.
And so came the solstice of the thousandth year, and Nightmare Moon was liberated from her celestial prison. She subdued the elder sister at the annual Summer Sun Celebration - a festivity held in honor of the sun and the plentiful harvest season it would bring - and used the large crowd to announce the eternal night that had just been thrust upon all of Equestria. The joy and excitement that had resonated in the hearts of all those in attendance was quickly replaced with dread and terror as-
I feel a hand on my shoulder, and nearly jump out of my chair as I am thrust from the world of the book back into my surroundings. Twilight Sparkle stands next to me, smiling kindly.
"I'm glad you're enjoying yourself," she says, "but it's just about time for the library to close for the night."
I look out the window and find that the street lamps are once again shining bright over the dark, calm avenue of the frigid winter night. I look back down at The Mare in the Moon, and find that I am already a solid chunk of the way in. How long had I been reading? It can't have been less than 18 hours. I had read all the way through breakfast, lunch, and supper, and it isn't until now that I realize how hungry I am. But I also want to finish the book very badly. I'm not going to lie - this fairy tale has me legitimately captivated.
"Like I said," Twilight continues, noticing my plight, "you can feel free to borrow any book you like. This is a library, after all."
A wide grin crosses my face, and I rush to grab the due date card from the back cover. Just sign my name, and the book is all...wait a second...where is the card? There is no pocket. No stamps, no card, no anything. I look back to Twilight with a look of horror, and she just smiles at me.
"This one's not registered in the collection yet," she says, "don't worry, just hang onto it. I'll make a note that you have it, Mr. Kenbroth."
My sense of elation returns, and I'm not sure if it's because she's letting me keep the book, or because she remembered my name.
* * *
I find myself back in my cozy little house, on my cozy little bed, staring down at the epic tale in which I was currently engaged. I cast aside hesitation and thrust the cover back, immersing myself once again within the legend of Nightmare Moon.
Except that the large ink image that greets me is not entirely what I expect.
On the page just past where I left off was a full-color image of what looked like stained glass. In the center was what appeared to be a pony. A unicorn, to be precise. But this was not what struck me. What struck me was that she had purple hair with a pink stripe in it, the deepest violet eyes, and a keen smile that spoke volumes.
"A smile like that of someone who knows all the secret ins and outs of life..." I speak aloud as I think the words. Could it be? No, that's not...that's not possible. Probably just a coincidence. Definitely just a random occurrence. Hesitantly, I read the subsequent paragraph, half-hoping that any resemblance is just my imagination.
"But in the midst of this endless night," I read on, "one unicorn and her five closest friends rose from the shadows of despair and stood united against Nightmare Moon. Together, they fought off the trials that stood between them, as they sought out the power that could dethrone the sinister Princess of the Night - the Elements of Harmony. This one unicorn possessed magical ability beyond belief, and was second to none in her skills.
"Her name was...Twilight Sparkle."
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (VI Pars - Quid Est Intus?)
It is the second night in a row that I have fallen asleep without realizing it. Fortunately, I wake up in my bed this time. Or at least, on the bed. Close enough, I think to myself. Unfortunately, my face has become a makeshift putty mold for the form of the heavy volume I had apparently used as a pillow.
My arms extend forward from my body, lifting me from my excessively comfortable cot and causing me to accidentally topple onto the cold hardwood floor of my humble abode. A clock on the wall lands haphazard in the corner of my vision and I note the time to be a quarter after nine.
I blink one eye hard. Then the other. Then a deep breath in before attempting to put myself right as I become reacquainted with my bedroom. Hello bedroom, nice to meet you. Lovely day, isn't it?
To confirm the accuracy of this nicety I have just had with my non-sentient place of residence, I look out the window and see just the opposite. A flurry of snowfall reduces the visibility outside than no more than a few metres, collecting a white flaky hoard of frigid dust upon my window sill.
With this, I notice a chill in my bones, and I decide to remove myself from the floor so that I might dress myself in warmer attire.
* * *
An hour later I stand at the stove in my kitchen. Before me is a pan, and upon it, an egg. I gaze softly at it as the clear gooey albumen slowly heats itself into a very delicious shade of porcelain white. At the center, the yolk lolls around lazily, seemingly unperturbed by the fiery hell that sits just below its iron resting place. None too happy with its comfort, I slide my spatula underneath the egg and turn the smarmy casket of breakfast protein on its head. Its only scream is a hiss of bubbling lava performed by the ever-talented layer of fat separating the egg from the pan.
Moments later I dump the fried egg unceremoniously upon a free plate. The salt and pepper shakers are upended in my hands as I douse the fried ovum liberally. Grabbing a fork, I seat myself upon a chair and take up the egg upon my utensil.
Without thinking, I cram half of the egg in my mouth. I am absolutely starving. Chew, chew, chew, swallow, breathe. Another forkful, rinse, and repeat, and suddenly the egg is gone. I stare down at my plate.
I need more egg.
Without the slightest bit of thought I yank the refrigerator door open wide and retrieve the carton of eggs from its depths. I crack one more egg over the pan. Then another. Then a third for good measure. They fry, and scream their melodious hissing noise across the merciless griddle. I slish-slosh them around a bit before digging them off the edge of the pan and folding over themselves.
I bring the spatula down sharply upon them and press the juices out of them. Their screams grow and their contents bulge out the sides of the fried white. Yellow and pale mingle on the edge and suddenly my eggs are ready. Plate again. Forget the salt. Forget the pepper.
You know what? Forget the fork, too.
My hand sweeps the large three-in-one egg off the pan and onto my plate. I look at it for a moment, before tipping my plate back and ripping off a large chunk of egg with my teeth. Taking up the remainder in my right hand, I drop the plate to the floor. The piece of dishware shatters upon impact.
I take no notice, choosing instead to shove the remainder of the eggs gracelessly into my mouth. Munch munch munch. The bolus enters my stomach via the esophagus. But I'm still hungry. Still starving, in fact. I rush to the fridge a third time only to find that the carton of eggs is still on the counter. I lift the cover, to see that there are only two eggs left. That's hardly enough. Angrily, I crack the eggs over the edge of the counter and drop the contents into my mouth. Casting the husks aside, I turn back to my refrigerator and scour its contents. Milk, butter, lettuce, chilled tea, tomatoes, olives. I shove them all to the sides and finally spot my prize; the loaf of bread.
I rip open the packaging and shove slice after slice between my teeth as though they were candy. Now this is filling. I take a seat back upon my bed and, dropping the loaf of bread to my side, rest my free hand upon something flat and hard.
My eyes open wide as they land upon the picture of Twilight Sparkle, the previous day now rushing back to me. My eyes slide closed involuntarily and I am suddenly bombarded with images of a flesh-and-blood equine Twilight. Her knowing smile is intact but everything else is strange. Her hair, now a mane, is parted by a unicorn's horn, and her tiny, dexterous hands are replaced by hooves. And upon what I suppose I would call her flank, is some sort of six-point-star insignia. Yet for all her alterations, she is still beautiful. I want to reach out a hand and touch her. I want to hold her face in my hand and caress it softly. But as my arm stretches into view, I realize I have no hand. Just claws, the same hue as Twilight's coat.
I force my eyes open and find myself breathing rapidly. My eyes dart from the shattered plate, to the empty egg carton, to the fridge door left open as food products roll around haphazard and upset upon their shelves. Finally, my eyes rest upon the book. This book, this book this book. I spot the ink print of stained-glass equine Twilight once more. My body leans forward before toppling off my bed and onto the floor. I sit there for a minute, trying to catch my breath and clear my head.
What is happening to me...?
Several moments pass, my eyes blinking and attempting to focus on the floor before me. Suddenly, I feel a sensation welling up inside my gut. I push off from the ground instinctively and force myself to my feet, stumbling through my house, finally reaching the bathroom.
I kneel down just in time for my breakfast to make a rocky return trip.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (VII Pars - Respirare)
At some point in between my gastric purging and my spasm of paranoia, it occurs to me that the day is Monday, and that the time is well after eight in the morning. But why is this important to me? I have absolutely no clue. Twilight Sparkle, my only concern is Twilight Sparkle. Her past, her present, her future. And what of me? My present is falling to ruins and my past is revealing itself to hold unfamiliar memories. When I close my eyes I see equine Twilight. When I open them I see clawed, monstrous Heath Kenbroth. My future is as murky as the eyes of a blind man.
And then it occurs to me. My job! Of course, this is the significance of the time and date. My mind may be in pieces but my reality is still intact. I still have an occupation. Or had, perhaps. I am already several hours late. My supervisor will not take kindly to my latent arrival, no.
I down a large cup of green tea to clear my thoughts and clean my stomach before pulling on my faithful windbreaker and stepping out into the street, my heavy winter boots clomping loudly on the stairs leading down from my loft.
I glance down once more. I see only claws. Blink. Still, the claws remain. I blink twice more and they return to being ordinary hands, albeit rather pale and stiff. I breathe a quick sigh of relief before opening the door to my Volkswagen Microbus and seating myself comfortably behind the steering wheel.
I turn the key, and the heart of my old reliable transport hums for a moment before letting out a light revving from its engine. I check my mirrors, and with a tap of the gas I am off.
The road is completely empty. Am I that late? The dashboard clock says ten to noon. I suppose, then, I am. I push the motor slightly, fearing more for my job than for a ticket, and suddenly find myself rocketing down the street.
A red light at an intersection rears its ugly head just a few blocks up. I mutter a fowl word under my breath and grudgingly press my foot upon the brakes. My minibus slows to a halt before the light.
Muttering rather unhappily to myself, I take note of my surroundings and discover that I am idling just outside Twilight's library.
Of all the places to get a red light.
Still, it is a beautiful morning. Trees sway in the breeze and rid themselves of their sticky ice-powder coating. Even though the flurry has died down, a heavy layer of snow still covers the ground outside. Rather involuntarily, I find my eyes wandering to the pallid stone building. Its construction is nearly immaculate, and yet intricate beyond belief. Never before had it crossed my mind all the effort that went into this building.
Hesitantly, I glance at one of the stained glass windows, and would swear I saw that brilliant lavender eye poking through. A moment later, I see the door open. Twilight Sparkle is there. Human, just how I left her. But she is acting rather odd. In her left hand she holds what appears to be a paper airplane. Clipped to the plane's grip is a small manila envelope. It is already an odd enough sight.
And then she decides to make it even more odd.
She throws the paper airplane in the direction of my van. Despite the weight on its back end, it flies halfway across the lawn. The thing is though, it doesn't drop. It disappears. Flash of violet light once again, just like the night before last.
I stare at her for the longest time. When she closes the door and retreats inside, I continue staring in awe at her library, wondering what has just happened. I have very little time to think though, as a car horn from behind me informs me that the light has turned green. I set my eyes forward, gazing over the dashboard.
My foot never reaches the gas pedal, however. Because sitting atop the dashboard is the paper airplane and its manila envelope.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (VIII Pars - Domus Usher)
It is late in the evening. A chill runs through my bones as I look up at the dilapidated house before me. My faithful windbreaker is wrapped tight around my shoulders and my breath draws jet patterns in the frigid air. I retrieve the small manila envelope from my inner pocket and remove the contents, to make sure I have the details right.
A small and tightly folded letter drops out. I open it up and re-read it silently to myself.
The moment you read this, put the enclosed item around your neck. Just do it. It's for your own good.
I clutch a carved piece of wood tied to a length of twine that hangs around my neck. I'm doing good so far.
Meet me tonight at 9pm, on the site of the dilapidated house. You know the one - 'The House of Usher' they call it. Come alone. When you arrive, knock three times, pause, then two times, another pause, then three again, so I know it's you. I have need of your assistance, and if you join me tonight, I can give you answers to any and all of your questions.
PS - Do not fret for your job. Come sun-up tomorrow, you will still have it, I promise.
I can't say I'm not worried for my job, but the way things are panning out, there are bigger concerns in my life. I reread it again. I can give you answers... Answers to what, though? And, come to think of it, how does she know I need answers? Not that it matters now. I'll know in a moment or so.
The next thing that bothers me, though, is that we are meeting at the House of Usher. Since the fire ten years ago, it's just been a cesspool prone to invasion by drug addicts. Certainly not the sort of place I'd expect Twilight Sparkle to hang around. But then, let's be fair, she's already not the person I thought she was.
The premises are still as black and charred as the day the neighborhood had watched it burn. The upper floor has collapsed upon the main floor, and shingles litter the grassy turf. Somebody might have cleaned it up, except...well, this town is rather superstitious.
I should have mentioned - it's called the House of Usher for a reason.
The former owner of the house was an obsessive collector of Edgar Allan Poe. On his bookshelves were countless printings of different Poe stories in more languages than a person could learn in three lifetimes. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a copy of every printing in the history of Poe's works.
But then came the day. The day when that punk threw a crude Molotov through the window. The house burned, its blaze shooting up and burning a hole in the night sky. The entire neighborhood had gathered to gawk and gaze at the horrific spectacle. The collector's screams could be heard from the upstairs window as he no doubt met his untimely and undesirable end. When the fire department had finally arrived and put out the flames, his house was in shambles. The only thing that stood was his bookshelf full of Poe.
And of course, in a town as superstitious as ours, you can imagine the ghost stories that would crop up. To keep their spirits up, people would joke how it 'fell, like Poe's House of Usher'. Eventually, the house itself became known as The House of Usher. Nobody touches it. Nobody except the druggies and the drinkers have the courage to come anywhere near it.
Oh, and me. I'm none of the above and I have no problem with The House of Usher.
I'm not one to believe in ghost stories, and I don't get a chill from this House of Usher. All I get is a slight wave of confusion when I look through the front door and see a light on inside. I blink a few times, and look back at the door. The lights are still on.
That shouldn't be possible, though. I circle the house once. Twice. The entire first floor is visible, and there are no lights. So why is there a light on behind the door.?
I now inspect the door. It's not a trick - there's a room in there! A proper, lit room with all the furnishings of a real home! My confusion has surpassed my ability to be surprised now, and I find myself just rolling with it. I knock on the door three times, then twice, then three times as Twilight instructed. Before long, the door creaks open, and I am invited inside by a now rather familiar pale hand and purple sleeve.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (IX Pars - Malefica)
Before I realize it, Twilight Sparkle and I are marching up a calm, quiet hill. The leaves whisper in hushed tones as shadows flicker and flare across our figures, briefly obscuring the moon as it waltzes slowly across the night sky, preparing to peak as the time approaches midnight.
She walks ahead of me, carrying her wand in her left hand and her spellbook in her right. A gust of wind catches her hair and flings it outward, trailing behind her and allowing it to momentarily eclipse the rock in the sky that watches us silently as we approach our destination.
The entire evening is a blur, and to be honest, I have no idea how we got here. I slowly attempt to recall the night as we near the end of our walk. There was... there was the house. Yes, I had visited the House of Usher, and the inside was perfectly furnished while the outside remained dilapidated. Was I really sure about that? It couldn't have been... but, no matter. It happened. I must move on.
After I had entered the house, Twilight prepared tea and we sat in what appeared to be a living room. I remember her sipping gracefully at her chamomile tea while I stirred mine nervously. She soon broke the silence.
"I knew you'd show up," she had said, shooting a playful grin at me.
"You know a lot of things I can't quite grasp," I replied sternly. She frowned, and lifted herself from the wingback chair she had taken. I remember the sound of her feet scuffing the plush carpet as she relocated to the bookshelf and pulled a heavy tome from it.
"That book I gave you... feel free to keep it. It's yours."
"You don't have to-"
"That was a spare copy - I didn't need it. Please don't thank me for it, I actually had an ulterior motive for giving it to you."
She returned to her seat carrying the new volume she had taken from the bookcase.
"Do you remember our first meeting?" she asked softy, settling down into an air of sincerity and concern.
"Well, yes. I mean, it was just a few days ago-"
"No, I mean our first meeting."
"Oh..." I murmured, "well, not precisely, no..."
"You looked at me from across the library," she described, and slowly my memory picked up the threads to follow along, "I was carrying a large stack of books. piled from my midriff all the way up to my nose. And you approached through the crowd. You attempted to help me. You never reached me, but I could see the intention was there. I could see that look in your eye. You wanted to help me."
"Well," I cut in, "I do sort of-"
"Shh, just let me finish first, alright? Then you can say what's on your mind," she stared into my eyes, and I sat back on the ottoman to listen.
"You reminded me of someone," she continued, "that day, as you watched me struggle, you reminded me of an old friend. Someone I knew. Someone who was taken from me long ago. In your knit green cap and your purple windbreaker, with that lost and worried expression painted across your face, you looked like a ghost, like some figment of my past come back to haunt my present... I was afraid, because I didn't understand.
"But then you approached me. Three days ago you approached me and tried talking to me. I wasn't very receptive, as you'll recall. Not because I didn't like you, but because I was worried about what might become of this interaction. But your responses to my actions... the way you continued to try, no matter how I pushed you away... I couldn't help but trust you. And now, I'm realizing, I need your help more than ever.
"Now...say what you were going to say."
I glanced warily at her, before speaking up.
"I just have two questions."
"Ask away," she said, smiling and leaning backward in her recliner. I moved over from the ottoman to the couch so I could face her directly. It only then occurred to me that she had way too much furniture in that room.
"Well, first," I cleared my throat and took a sip of tea to calm myself, "there's been some rather odd stuff going on lately. At first I rather denied it was happening, but as of late it's gotten more difficult to ignore. I hoped you could shed some light on the subject, since most of it seems to revolve around you."
Twilight took a steep breath and exhaled slowly, before shooting a wild grin at me, "I was hoping you'd ask that."
I glanced quizzically at her as she set the tome in her lap down upon the table between us. She flicked swiftly through the pages before appearing to reach her destination. With a flourish, she turned the book around and slid it towards me.
The page displayed was titled Magical Beings and as a subtitle, displayed Section 4-A: Humans. I buried my nose in the page and quickly scanned the lines. Most of the concepts were lost on me. Human anatomy was mentioned sporadically, but most of the entry used vocabulary I was unfamiliar with. And for that matter, this header threw me for a loop. Magical Beings? Surely she didn't mean-
I looked back to Twilight. In her hand, she was twirling a small wooden shaft with a purple helix appended onto the end. She flicked it at the book, and the heavy volume snapped shut on the table before me.
"But... how have you stayed quiet?"
"By being clever. And not taking stupid risks."
I paused, and watched her slowly twiddle the baton in her left hand.
"So you're really a... erm..."
"You can say it. I'm a witch."
"And that's... that's your..."
"My wand, yes."
I paused again, and pondered all the implications of her claims. Was she really telling all this... to me?
"You realize, if this town knew..." I said slowly, "...they would probably burn you at the stake."
"I'm well aware of the danger I'd be in if anyone found out."
"So tell me... why do you trust me?"
She sized me up for a moment, glancing from my suede shoes to my teal plaid shirt, to my eyes looking back at her, before replying.
"Did you see anything out of the ordinary, when I gave you that book? Any visions, any recollections, any memories you couldn't remember having? I think it's about time for you to tell me your story, Mister Heath Spike Kenbroth."
I snap back into reality, into the present time wherein Twilight Sparkle and I are hiking up a hill, as midnight approaches. I don't remember why midnight is important, but I'm guessing she explained it to me. We reach the peak, and she sets the book down on the ground.
"Take my hand," she says, "hold on tight, and don't let go, no matter what happens, until I say. Ready?"
I take her hand in mine, and grip it tightly, feeling the soft squeeze of her palm against my phalanges. She lifts her free hand up to the sky, pointing her wand sharply at the moon that hangs innocently above us. She looks over to me, awaiting my answer. My breathing is tense and heavy, and my brain is running amok with fear and hesitation.
"It's almost midnight, Heath Kenbroth. We need to hurry. Are you ready?"
I have no clue what awaits us, but slowly I nod.
Her wand lights up, and a moment later we cease to exist.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (X Pars - Constitutum)
It is impossible to describe to one who has never witnessed it, but I will do my best; it is as if, for a moment, you come to a halt. You stop thinking, stop feeling, stop knowing. And all you have is your imagination. Nothing you know is relevant, and nothing can be seen. And so the cogs and pistons of your mind manifest themselves. It it is the most wonderful and most terrible sensation a person will ever feel.
Before long, my feet feel solid ground and the world around us begins to materialize. We are no longer on the hill in the park, but rather, in a small and somewhat dank concrete chamber. The walls are plastered with a cheap and unappealing floral wallpaper. The room itself is in the shape of an oblong rectangle, and in the middle of the wall that lies opposite us is a solid metal door with a single circular glass pane riveted into the center of the upper half. I notice the pane is frosted over, and only now do I realize how frigid the room is. Except for my hand, which seems actually rather warm. I look down and notice a second hand in it.
"Heath," comes the voice of the hand's owner, "you can let go now."
The situation dawns on me, and I quickly drop her hand. My face flushes, but Twilight doesn't notice; she is busy digging in her jacket pocket. A second later, she pulls out a small dram of liquid and hands it to me.
"Drink this," she says, "it will calm the Winking Jitters."
"It's what the ancients called that feeling of sickness you get when you teleport. Technically, the recognized modern medical term is teleport-induced retriobile - literally, a defunct in teleportation that sends stomach fluids the wrong direction down your digestive system - but I prefer Winking Jitters. It's a bit more fun to say, and has less unpleasant imagery."
I can only stare at her in awe as I absent-mindedly tip the orange liquid into my mouth.
"So where are we now?" I ask, glancing around the bleak chamber, perhaps expecting someone to march through the door and greet us. Or arrest us for breaking and entering. Teleporting and entering maybe? The situation is already well beyond my grasp, so I continue to roll with it. I breathe in. I breathe out. Steam rises from my mouth.
"Well, if I did my job right - and I sincerely hope I did..." she pauses for a breath, "...We'll be in the antechamber to the Lunar Complex."
"I'm not familiar with it. What part of Europe are we in?"
"We're not in Europe anymore."
I pause. "Okay, so what part of the world are we in?"
"Heath," she turns to me, and grabs my shoulder dramatically, "we're on the moon."
The thought rattles around in my brain for several moments. The moon.
"Okay," I say to her, smiling and nodding, "I can deal with this."
"Really? Good, because we have work to do." She takes out a sketchpad and pen and starts doodling out what I assume to be some sort of a plan.
"Actually," I murmur, "that was complete lie. But for your sake, I'm pretending I can."
She continued on as though she couldn't hear me; and for all I know, she might not have. Her pen races ever faster across the page as she scribbles note after vital note. Finally, she clicks the pen closed, rips the paper from the booklet and hands it to me with a flourish.
I look down at it, but it is completely blank.
"Are you sure you gave me the right paper?"
"It's telepathic," she says to me, "when the time is right, and only when the time is right, it will show a certain part of what I wrote, and only you will be able to see it. If anyone but you or I looks at the paper, it will appear blank to them. Pretty clever, huh?"
"It's... it's amazing..."
"Well, no time to worry about that. Now that you're set, we have an appointment."
"Yes, here, what did you think?"
"There are people here?" I repeat, astounded, "On the moon?"
"Well, not people, per se. You'll see soon enough."
She steps with a stern and professional elegance over to the door across from us and flings it open. Fluorescent lights blare in at us for a moment, obscuring thousands of figures dashing about in the corridor before us. A split second later we are greeted by a rush of somewhat warmer air, though still not completely to my liking. When my eyes adjust, I am able to bring the moving figures into focus. They are... ponies. Miniature horses, all running about in a tizzy. Only their faces seem somewhat human; their coats, a tad garish. They certainly aren't ordinary ponies at all.
Keeping close to Twilight, we make our way over to what appears to be a reception desk. Behind the desk is an older, bespectacled pony. I glance at Twilight for a moment before a very un-Twilight voice punctuates the white noise of the complex.
"Yes, how can I help you?"
The voice seems to be coming from the pony, and if I let my imagination wander, it seems to match her as well. Older and creakier, with the faintest hint of tobacco rasp.
"Hello, yes," Twilight approaches calmly, "my name is Twilight Sparkle, and this is my associate, Heath Kenbroth. We have an appointment with the Director of Lunar Affairs."
The fluent (and also apparently literate) pony behind the desk flips a page in the ledger before her and scans the list with her gaze. She stops at our names.
"Alright, then," she says to us, "the Director is currently busy, but she will be available in just a few moments. Please take a seat. There's coffee and tea just around the corner if you'd care for some while you wait."
Twilight thanks her and led me back across the room, allowing at least ten of the busy ponies to pass us in the process. It suddenly occurred to me that most of them were carrying large amounts of papers in the bags at their sides. Was this an office, then? I leaned in towards Twilight and whispered as quietly as I could,
"I do wish you would tell me what's going on."
"You'll understand in a minute. The paper will tell you everything you need to know."
"But what if I still don't get it?"
"You will," she says, smiling, "trust me, you will."
We both take our seats in what is now clearly the waiting room. The rather dated and obnoxiously cheap furnishings remind me all too well of human offices; they are the sort of place I rather try to avoid whenever possible. Add to that the rather uncomfortable upholstery on our chairs and the unfamiliarity of the creatures surrounding us - save for one, who (let's be honest) I had only just spoken to a few days ago - and you find me very awkward and unsettled. Moments tick by with all the speed of molasses. I stretch my legs. I cross them. I uncross them. I cross my arms. I scratch my head.
When the receptionist finally calls our names, my head is resting in the palm of my hand and I am almost asleep. Twilight jolts me awake and motions towards a rather important looking door ahead of us. We exchange a glance, and Twilight ushers me through.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (XI Pars - Penultima)
We enter the room slowly, carefully, our feet almost colliding as I struggle to decide if I go ahead or behind. Both are equally appealing - get it over with and jump in, or wait in safety behind the shield of Twilight's charisma and talent. Having not fully decided by the time Twilight steps through the door, it is decided for me - I slip past Twilght and skirt off to a corner of the dank chamber.
The room is dimly lit by candles that stand on pedestals around the floor. The walls are painted a deep, engulfing shade of indigo. It doesn't appear at all the sort of thing one would expect in an office-like environment. But neither - I must remind myself - are cognitive miniature equines, nor an office complex on the moon. Clearly, I must re-prioritize my objections to the circumstances. The decorative state of our current room is not in need of scrutiny.
I turn my wavering attention instead towards the creature behind the desk at the center of the room - who also happens to be a pony. I almost didn't notice her sitting there, because she blended with the room so well. Her coat was dark, as dark as the paint on the walls, and she wore a helm and chest plate. On her forehead was a horn, and at her sides were wings.
"Nightmare Moon," Twilight spoke, approaching the desk, "I do hope we aren't interrupting your work."
The pony named Nightmare Moon retracted nonchalantly and smirked at Twilight. "Not at all! How can I be of service?"
"Plenty of ways," said Twilight, "but I can easily simplify that to two options for you to choose from. The first, quite simply, is that you confess your guilt and sit still while I do my job. This is the optimal route for all parties involved."
Nightmare Moon rolled her eyes, and I'd swear I heard a cough of some sort.
"The other should be quite implicit given the first option."
Twilight stepped forward apace.
"It wasn't a yes-or-no question."
"Well that's your fault, isn't it? I decline."
The tension between them was so strong, I had almost forgotten I was holding Twilight's magic paper. I unfolded it and read the text silently.
Take my wand.
I looked over to Twilight, who was holding the helix-shaped wand behind her back. It is glowing a violent hue of purple.
"Heath!" Twilight called out, just in time, "come over here and explain something to this mare, if you would."
I hurried over to her side, snatching the wand as inconspicuously as I could before taking my place. It is still glowing after it leaves her hand.
"Would you care to tell Nightmare Moon what becomes of those who don't come quietly?"
I hazard a glance at the paper.
Make something up. Oh yes, terribly helpful.
A moment later it adds, make her angry. I falter for a moment, before putting on my best business face and walking directly up to Nightmare Moon's desk.
For you, Twilight.
"Miss... Nightmare Moon, was it? Would you like to know what will happen if you don't do as you are told? Would you like to discover that truth? Because I have reason to believe you don't. Many reasons, actually. You are currently the most dangerous and most wanted creature in existence. Your base of operations resides within a vacuum. You are currently faced with the greatest spellcaster of the past millennium. Shall I go on?"
"Please do. I'm eager for you to get to the compelling reasons."
The room is, for a brief moment, completely silent.
Cantamen Primum - Bibliotheca Hieme (XII Pars - Diluculum)
The room remains silent for a long, painful moment. To break the silence, I help myself to some candies that lay in a bowl on Nightmare Moon's desk, and in the process glance back at the paper in my hand. Count of five. I take a deep breath, step back and resume my lecture momentarily.
"Those reasons don't compel you..." One, "...to take our advice? Are you quite sure?" Two, "Because the way I see it, that means..." Three, "you're either cocky, bluffing or brain-dead. Which one are you?"
"-DARE INSULT ME-"
I brandish Twilight's wand and a flash of lilac hue engulfs the room. It lingers for a moment, and I hear the faintest sound of rattling chains. When the light fades, Nightmare Moon is being held upright by not-quite-solid-looking bonds, that are apparently more than solid enough to completely immobilize her.
"Yes, Nightmare Moon, I dare. Your very existence is in need of insult. You brought a curse upon the land. Your homeland. You remember, don't you? I don't. I slept through it. But Twilight remembers quite vividly, and I'm sure she'd love to speak with you about it."
I hand the wand back to Twilight, who takes it calmly. When it leaves my hand I breathe a sigh of relief and barely keep myself from collapsing.
"Nightmare Moon, it brings me great pleasure to have this second encounter with you. Our previous meeting was cut rather short. Still you have not learned the merits which felled you then, and so too shall you now fall by those merits..."
From the case at her side, Twilight extracts a thin, delicate tiara of sorts, pure glistening gold and fitted with a star-shaped gem as the center piece.
"Farewell, Nightmare Moon. Bid that your departure might bring back that which was lost to us..."
She places the tiara upon her head and chants a short mantra. The gem begins to glow and hum. The room grows brighter. Nightmare Moon is screaming, writhing in agony, like a thousand mythical gods being tortured in unison. Layers seem to dissolve off her coat, streaming into the air. Slowly, the room joins in as well. Paint peels from the walls, the candles burn to stumps, the desk turns to dust. It all drifts slowly upwards, as though the unfiltered universe is assimilating it all into its collective existence. Paint turns to drywall, turns to beams and insulation, turns to nothingness and suddenly we were in space. Drifting, as it were. Standing upon absolutely nothing.
Barely aware of what is happening, I am unable to even muster a scream. If we are truly in space – and at this point I am willing to believe that we are – then we can't possibly still be alive. We must have died, or...
Twilight drifts over to me. She wraps her arms around my shoulders and whispers into my ear.
You did well today, Spike. I'm so proud of you.
I can feel her heartbeat. I feel her warmth pulsating throughout the cold of space.
The world is safe for the moment. Let's go home.
* * *
We touch down softly on the boulevard in front of my loft. The sun is just barely caressing the horizon.
“Get some sleep, Spike. You've earned it.”
I reach the front door and turn my key in the deadbolt slowly, careful not to wake the neighbors as I enter. The door closes softly behind me, and I make my way up the stairs, careful to bypass the creaky ones.
I reach out and try to place my coat on a hook by the door, but I miss by roughly two meters and it drops to the floor. Only now am I aware of how tired I am. I just want to collapse on my bed and catch some-
My bed is not unoccupied.
The occupant is a small child. A girl no older than eight or nine, with a head of hair tinted a wild shade of blue. She is asleep on top of the covers, still in her overalls, and wearing an oversized paper hat on her head. She yawns and turns over.
Unsure what to do, I do the only thing that seems reasonable to me. I cross the room to the closet, extract a sleeping bag, and roll it out on the floor for myself. There's nothing afoot now that can't wait until morning. I close my eyes and drift almost instantly to sleep.
“Good morning, Mister Spike!” cries a sharp, eager voice. I open my eyes and see the face of the girl with the overalls staring at me.
“Are you ready for a big day today? Huh? Are we going to see Miss Twilight?”
I sit up groggily, not quite content with the miniscule sleep I got.
“I'm sorry... who are you?”
“Oh, you know who I am, silly! Silly silly Spikey Spike! It's me! Don't you remember? I thought you said you remembered!”
My eyes start to drift closed behind the squealing and I attempt to pull my makeshift pillow over my head.
Let me take a moment to get my thoughts together, since I myself am still reeling from last night's events (assuming 'events' is a sufficient word to describe all that):
The blue-haired girl and I are sitting at the dining room table. She pouts at me from the opposite end, while I stare at the ceiling, waiting for her to give in. Allow me to explain: there is no food in the house. At least, none that either of us is willing to touch. All the eggs are gone. She hates vegetables of all kinds. I'm going to need about a week before I can stand the sight of sliced bread again.
Oh, and she refuses to leave the house, meaning if I was going to get groceries, I'd need to leave her here.
Yeah, not going to happen.
Until now, I've never had a reason to wish I was good with kids. I certainly never anticipated being in a situation like this. The strangest questions begin surfacing in my mind. Things like 'why is her hair blue? Isn't she, like, eight years old?' or 'where did she get the newspaper to make that hat...?' The human mind is so useless sometimes. If I can waste time asking these meaningless questions, I can think my way out of this conundrum.
"What would I have to do to get you to leave the house with me?"
"It's not that I don't want to leave the house, Spikey-Spike. I just can't. Not unless Twilight is here."
"What does Twilight have to do with this?"
"Everything, you silly."
"I don't understand at all. I feel like I'm missing something here. Can you please just tell me what you know?"
"Not until I get breakfast, Mister Spike."
I let out an exasperated sigh and hang my head in frustration. Something inside of me just gives up.
"Okay. Fine. You win. I'll go get groceries, and then I'll go track down Twilight. Then I'll come back here, and we'll all have tea and biscuits and have a lovely time talking about everything you're not telling me right now."