ZeroandInfinity

Nine

Nov 4th, 2017
203
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  1. “Radiance?”
  2.  
  3. “I…I…uh…”
  4.  
  5. Despite everything that has transpired, you’re caught off guard by Dr. Money’s…err…Dr. Wilhelm’s question. He looked so similar to Dr. Money and sounded nearly like him, but spoke with a calmer, friendlier tone.
  6.  
  7. “How…How long have I been here?”
  8.  
  9. He looks at you slightly confused.
  10.  
  11. “How long? My dear, I’m afraid you just got here.”
  12.  
  13. You look at him with an almost zombified expression.
  14.  
  15. “But I’ve…I’ve been here for hours…”
  16.  
  17. He in turn begins to frown as his expression becomes riddled with concern.
  18.  
  19. “Hours? It’s only been about a minute or two since you came in. I apologize if I got a little caught up in my work. I was just going over the notes that Nurse Reinhold shared with me from the last time she paid you a visit. Sounds like you’ve been able to move about alright, but she wrote about you suffering from amnesia and that you were possibly experiencing some hallucinations. Would you mind telling me what has been going on with your end of things?”
  20.  
  21. You continue looking at him like a zombie as your mind races over what just happened. Of all the things you have experienced since waking up as Radiance, this latest experience with Dr. Money has shaken you to the core. If everything he said was true, and was in fact not a hallucination, then everything here is completely fake. Dr. Wilhelm, Nurse Reinhold, Beezle, Blueberry, Clockwork, Times R. New, and even your precious sister Nullity were nothing more than a part of your imagination. Vanhoover, the Equestria you were in, and even you being a female pegasus were all a lie. Your life here was a complete and utter lie. A lie that continually twists itself to make you more confused than ever; a lie designed to play on your emotions and your sense of identity; a lie meant to completely alter your perception of reality in its entirety.
  22.  
  23. “Radiance?”
  24.  
  25. “Uh…yuh-yeah?”
  26.  
  27. “Can you answer my question?”
  28.  
  29. Only by lying you thought to yourself. If you told him whatever was truly going on, he’d think you to be crazy. Everyone here would. Heck, if you told anyone back from your old life what happened here, they’d think you to be completely mad. Then again, what does it matter? According to Dr. Money, you were only going to be in this world for one more day, and when you woke up, he’d still have you imprisoned. He’d still experiment on you in truly terrifying ways. Everyone and everything here would disappear, and you’d be trapped in his horrible prison of a lab being continually experimented on until you likely died.
  30.  
  31. “No.”
  32.  
  33. You look down at the floor frowning.
  34.  
  35. “No? And why is that Radiance?”
  36.  
  37. “Because no matter what I say, it won’t make any difference. Whether I say the truth or lie, it’ll all still end the same.”
  38.  
  39. “Why do you say that?”
  40.  
  41. You sigh and feel a tear trickle down your cheek and drop to the floor.
  42.  
  43. “Because none of this is real, including you. You’re just some character in a story my mind’s imagining. Everyone I’ve met here is all fake. I’m not even really a pony. I don’t live here. It’s all a part of my imagination. Dreams of a life I wish I had, but don’t actually have. It doesn’t matter if you lock me up in a mental hospital, or let me go, or if you say this or that. Either way, when today ends and I go to sleep, I’ll wake back up in a true nightmare, and my life here as Radiance will completely disappear. So what would you prefer Doctor?”
  44.  
  45. You look straight back up into his eyes with a pained, teary-eyed expression.
  46.  
  47. “Should I make up a lie that would logically explain things in a way that would seem believable to you, or should I spend hours recalling to you everything that’s really been going on? Because no matter what, it all ends tonight. And after tonight, we all disappear forever.”
  48.  
  49. You’re just about to burst into tears when you see him beginning to form a smile. It’s a rather warm, inviting smile unlike the creepy expressions Dr. Money usually gave. His smile is enough to cause you to pause in confusion.
  50.  
  51. “Whu-Why are you smiling?”
  52.  
  53. “There, there Radiance. It is alright, I assure you. I’m terribly sorry if that’s how you feel, but know that everything is going to be alright. There’s a lot ponies who love and care about you. Hallucinations can be most troubling, but they can be overcome.”
  54.  
  55. “Whu-What are you talking about?”
  56.  
  57. “Perception my dear. Hallucinations can have a way of distorting one’s perceptions of the world. What a pony may hear, see, taste, smell, and touch can easily be distorted by hallucinations. Considering everything that you have been through, especially with the amnesia, it’s understandable that you might be struggling in discerning what’s real or not real. But like I said, it can all be overcome. I can help you.”
  58.  
  59. You blink a couple of times before saying anything. Some of your tears drop down your face while you blink, but you can strangely feel them beginning to dry up around your eyes. Stranger still, you chuckle a little from his offer.
  60.  
  61. “That’s…kind of you Doctor, but I don’t think you fully understand. I’m not sure if it’s possible for you to understand. You, Vanhoover, Equestria, my sister, and all of the ponies in this world are the hallucination. The ‘hallucinations’ that I have been having are what’s real. I wish it was the other way around, but it’s not. You’re not real Doctor. Nothing is real here. You and everyone and everything else here are all just a part of my imagination.”
  62.  
  63. “Is that so?”
  64.  
  65. His smile falls into a semi-serious expression. He walks right up to you and gently bumps your forearm with his hoof.
  66.  
  67. “Do you feel that?”
  68.  
  69. “Yes.”
  70.  
  71. He then uses his magic to bring over a small flashlight from the counter. Dr. Wilhelm briefly flickers it on and shines it in both of your eyes. You blink and look away, seeing some spots here and there in your vision. He then clicks it off and rests it back on the counter.
  72.  
  73. “What about that? You saw the light from my little flashlight shining in your eyes, right?”
  74.  
  75. “Yuh-Yeah.”
  76.  
  77. “So, if you do not mind explaining, how is that what you just felt and saw is fake? I know you can hear me too. You’re having a conversation with me, right? How can I, everypony else, and all of Equestria be fake?”
  78.  
  79. You look back at him and give a small smile yourself, chuckling pessimistically while doing so.
  80.  
  81. “Why, through ‘perception’ Doctor. You want me to tell you the truth?”
  82.  
  83. He nods and looks over you suspiciously and somewhat seriously.
  84.  
  85. “This whole world, all of Equestria, and everyone in it is all a byproduct of my mind. I’m not actually even a pony, as much as I love being one. I’m something that’s called a human. You’ve probably never heard of them.”
  86.  
  87. He shakes his head, but looks at you as if to ask you to continue.
  88.  
  89. “Anyways, I’m hooked up to virtual reality machine of some kind and am held prisoner by another doctor who actually looks very similar to you, but as a human. Goes by the name of Dr. Money. He’s kidnapped me and supposedly others with hopes of creating a newer form of technology that even I don’t quite understand. But he’s a sadistic psychopath who’s constantly been screwing with my mind for the good of his research. And, oh yeah. You know how it’s only been a few days since I woke up from my ‘coma,’ right? Well, a whole year’s passed back in the real world cuz of it. It wouldn’t surprise me either if another year or more has passed when I actually wake up after tonight. And when I wake up, you and this whole world will disappear into nothingness.”
  90.  
  91. You notice him pulling up a clipboard and pen with his magic as he begins writing down what you’re saying. You can’t help but chuckle pessimistically.
  92.  
  93. “Now that I think of it ‘Doctor,’ you were actually Dr. Money when I first came in. You spoke exactly like him, acted just like him, and transformed in a bright flash of light into him as a human. Who’s to say you’re not really Dr. Money trying to screw with my mind further?”
  94.  
  95. “I do not know of anypony by the name of Dr. Money. I am Dr. Wilhelm. Ask any of the ponies around here and they will tell you that I am Dr. Wilhelm.”
  96.  
  97. “Uh-huh. Either way, I know you’re watching Dr. Money. I know you’re trying to screw with my mind and that you’re wanting to do a bunch of horrible stuff. I remember the conversation we had, and everything you said and did to me. No matter what sort of mind games you throw at me in this world, they won’t work anymore. I know the truth. And mark my words, you’re not gonna get away with it. You’ll pay for all that you’ve done. And when I wake up, I’ll…I’ll…”
  98.  
  99. You suddenly lose your train of thought as you notice Dr. Money…or Wilhelm…what does it matter really? You notice him walking back over to the counter to rest his pen and clipboard before walking back to you with a very serious and a very stern expression.
  100.  
  101. “Radiance, that is enough. I am not Dr. Money. I do not know who that is. I’ve never heard of or seen anypony in my office or in this building with that name. I know nothing of what you are talking about.”
  102.  
  103. “Of course you don’t ‘Doctor.’ How could you? You’re not real. It’s impossible for you to know what’s really going on because you’re nothing more than a character in a story trying to make my world seem real, when all you’re doing is making it seem more and more fake.”
  104.  
  105. “What about your sister Nullity?”
  106.  
  107. You pause for a moment and look at him with a little bit of surprise from having been caught off by that question.
  108.  
  109. “Is your sister not real as well? Is the sister who loves you, is worried sick about you, and only wants you to be healthy and happy…is she fake? Could you say that to her face?”
  110.  
  111. You look down at the floor and sigh. No, you couldn’t. Out of all the ponies in this world, she was the friendliest, kindest, and most loving soul to you. No one had ever been that loving except her. You once yelled at her for having accused her of drowning you in that lake, and you felt horrible from having made her cry. She’s too affectionate and sweet and loving and good to you. How could you honestly go to her face and tell her that she’s not real? How could you deal with her crying and sobbing? Your heart’s already in pain after this encounter with Dr. Money, and breaking her heart would only break your heart further. You can’t do that to her.
  112.  
  113. “No. No, I don’t have it in me to say that to her.”
  114.  
  115. “So you love and care about her too then, yes?”
  116.  
  117. You look back up at him with a glare.
  118.  
  119. “Of course I love her. How dare you say that. I love her more than anything.”
  120.  
  121. “But how can you say that when you’re claiming none of us are real? How can you love something that does not exist?”
  122.  
  123. You silently glare at him for several seconds, but soon feel your glare giving way to a teary expression once more. As much as what he’s saying hurts, he’s right. Nullity, the sister you love more than anything and who loves you more than anything, isn’t real. You love a fictitious character that never even existed back on Earth. In truth, you have no one like her. You wish you did. You so desperately wish you did, but the truth is that you don’t. She’s not real. You love something that simply doesn’t exist. And facing up to that cold, harsh realization is just about to start the waterworks once more, but Dr. Wilhelm resumes speaking.
  124.  
  125. “Nullity is real to you, isn’t she Radiance?”
  126.  
  127. As much as your logical mind says no, your heart is tearfully saying yes. You shake your head up and down slowly, sniffling here and there.
  128.  
  129. “Of course she’s real to me. I want her to be real to me. I want to have a sister like her. She’s the only one who has ever shown me that much love. I love her. I need her. Even then though, she’s also just a part of this world, and is also just a part of my mind. As much as I would love to pretend that this whole world and my whole life here are all real, I can’t. After what I have been through, it’s impossible for me to see this life as real. Trust me, I would much rather this world be real and my sister to be real than my life back on Earth, but it just isn’t.”
  130.  
  131. Dr. Wilhelm continues looking at you seriously, not saying anything for a few seconds. You both look at each other for what feels like forever before he speaks again.
  132.  
  133. “You say that no matter what, you cannot see anypony in this life, let alone all of Equestria as real. Yet here you are looking at me as I look at you. You still continue to talk to me and look at me. And you still visually see yourself as a pony, yes?”
  134.  
  135. You silently nod.
  136.  
  137. “Neither Nullity nor Nurse Reinhold ever mentioned what you have been telling me this visit. Both spoke of you hallucinating at random intervals, but I was never informed of what took place in them. You never mentioned any of the details regarding these hallucinations to them, have you Radiance?”
  138.  
  139. “No, I haven’t. I never told them what happened because I knew they wouldn’t believe me, they would be more worried about me, and I knew they couldn’t help me. I also know that you can’t help either.”
  140.  
  141. “So you say. You are partially correct in that we cannot help you get better if you are not fully honest with us.”
  142.  
  143. You turn your eyes away from him and look back at the door to his office. It stood there closed and looked perfectly intact. There were no signs that you ever tried to buck down the door.
  144.  
  145. “So Radiance, tell me. What happened in these hallucinations of yours?”
  146.  
  147. “You see that door over there Doctor?”
  148.  
  149. You notice out of the corner of your eye Dr. Wilhelm turning to look at the door with you.
  150.  
  151. “Yes? What about it?”
  152.  
  153. “Let’s open that door.”
  154.  
  155. “Would you prefer to have it open? I can open it if you like.”
  156.  
  157. You nod once more and watch him walk right over to the door. Using his magic, he gently opens the door wide open. You quickly hop off the recliner medical bed and walk straight into the doorway, peering your head out.
  158.  
  159. Outside Dr. Wilhelm’s office was the hallway you previously walked through coming here. The ceiling lights illuminated the entire hallway. You saw other doors, tables, and chairs lining up against the hallway walls and at the very end of the hallway, you saw the open doorway that lead into the waiting room. And there Nullity was, calmly sitting there while looking at something that was out of your view. It’s clear that you were no longer trapped in the vastness of that white void.
  160.  
  161. “Radiance? What are you looking for?”
  162.  
  163. “You want me to be honest with you? A moment ago, which really lasted for hours, Dr. Money was in this room looking exactly like you. I tried to break free and buck down this door. And as soon as I did it and came out here, there was…”
  164.  
  165. “Lil Sis!”
  166.  
  167. You both immediately notice Nullity looking back at you two. She’s smiling happily and wastes no time eagerly trotting through the hallway right up to both of you. Without another word, she hugs you into a tight embrace. Regardless of everything, it still felt so very good to have hugs with Nullity.
  168.  
  169. “Did you two finish already? You feeling good my little Radiance? You ready to go home?”
  170.  
  171. You’re just about to speak up and say that you’re definitely ready to get out of here when Dr. Wilhelm beats you to it.
  172.  
  173. “Actually, we are still in the middle of the appointment Nullity. We are not quite finished yet.”
  174.  
  175. “Oops! Sorry about that Dr. Wilhelm. You know that my precious baby sister is super duper important to me, and I just can’t resist sharing our daily snuggles with her.”
  176.  
  177. She’s smiling affectionately back at you, and you try your best to force a convincing smile, even though you weren’t feeling it at all. Truthfully, you didn’t want to talk to Dr. Wilhelm anymore. You just wanted to get out of his office, to stop talking about all this insanity, to just bond with Nullity in peace, and to enjoy whatever time you had left with her. Even if Nullity isn’t real and this is all fake, you still wanted to soak up as much love as possible with her. You needed it, and you knew deep down that you’d never get it again.
  178.  
  179. “You know what? Actually, I think I’d like to stop here today Dr. Wilhelm.”
  180.  
  181. They both look at you a little surprised, but you knew you didn’t want to do this anymore. It just felt like you were wasting your time trying to convince your imaginary friend that he’s not real.
  182.  
  183. “Radiance,” says Dr. Wilhelm, “we are not done yet. There is still a good half an hour left. I would like to talk to you some more.”
  184.  
  185. “Maybe you should stay with him just a little longer Lil Sis. It’s okay. I promise I’ll give ya snuggies the rest of today once you’re done here.”
  186.  
  187. You didn’t want to do this. It’s a waste of time, it’s depressing, and you honestly just want to get away from Dr. Wilhelm and to never see him again. He reminded you so much of Dr. Money. You just wanted to get away from here. You let out a sigh before saying more.
  188.  
  189. “Dr. Wilhelm, please. I’m not feeling my best right now and I just wanna go home and lay down and be with Nullity. I don’t want to talk about this stuff anymore. Can we please just end it early?”
  190.  
  191. He in turn sighs too, but looks at both you and Nullity with a slightly agitated, serious expression.
  192.  
  193. “Alright then. We can continue this later Radiance. However, we will do so tomorrow, first thing in the morning.”
  194.  
  195. You can’t help but chuckle sardonically, knowing full well that there won’t be a tomorrow here in this world.
  196.  
  197. “What’s so funny Radiance?”
  198.  
  199. “Sorry Dr. Wilhelm. Nothing’s funny. I’ll be here right when you open first thing tomorrow.”
  200.  
  201. “Good. And if you don’t mind Radiance, I’d like to have a word with Nullity for a few minutes. Why don’t you go wait outside for a little bit?”
  202.  
  203. You can’t help but feel irked by his tone. You didn’t want to leave Nullity. At the same token, you also wanted to get out of here and see daylight again.
  204.  
  205. “Promise it won’t be long Lil Sis. I’ll be back out there with ya soon. Love you, my precious baby sister of mine.”
  206.  
  207. You blush just a little with her calling you that in front of Dr. Wilhelm, but a bigger part of you didn’t care. It felt nice to have that affection, and you could care less of what Dr. Wilhelm was thinking of you.
  208.  
  209. “Love you too. I’ll be outside.”
  210.  
  211. And with that, you turn away from both of them and walk down the hallway and into the waiting room. Nurse Reinhold was sitting in the reception area behind the glass reading a book. There were three other ponies there sitting in chairs. None of them were sitting next to each other. They all looked a little sick. Not that you had anything against them, but you didn’t like being around others who were sick. Even though it doesn’t really matter if you got sick, you still just wanted to get outside and see the sunshine.
  212.  
  213. “Radiance? Where are you going?”
  214.  
  215. You turn to see Nurse Reinhold staring at you in concern. The other three ponies also turn to look at you.
  216.  
  217. “I’m just going outside Nurse Reinhold. We ended early. Dr. Wilhelm just wanted to talk to my sister privately for a little bit. She knows I’ll be outside. Just want to get some fresh air.”
  218.  
  219. “Don’t wander too far Radiance. Please stay right outside until Nullity comes back.”
  220.  
  221. “Don’t worry, I won’t. I’ll just be right out here Nurse Reinhold. See you tomorrow.”
  222.  
  223. Without a moment more to spare, you turn away from her and the ponies looking at you and walk on through the swinging blue doors. You hear them swinging back and forth a little from behind you as you begin going up the staircase. A few moments later, you’re up at the top, staring out at the empty main room of the building. You notice the other two staircases leading to who knows where, but rather than go exploring, you turn to your left and walk right on through the entrance to the building.
  224.  
  225. A cool breeze brushes through your face as the warm, inviting sunlight shines itself all over your body. It feels so good to be outside again and to breathe in fresh air. Looking around your environment, you can tell that it’s still morning. The sun is shining brightly across the blue cloudless skies; its rays comforting you in mild warmth while the morning breeze kept you rather cool. To see daylight and to not be trapped underground, or in an endless white void feels so very refreshing. Granted, all of this is fake, and you know that you’re not really outside. You’re still trapped in a virtual machine. Still, it’s nice to at least get a taste of fresh air, even if it’s all simulated.
  226.  
  227. Sounds of commotion capture your attention as you turn to see dozens of ponies walking all throughout town. Vanhoover looked so lively as ponies interacted with one another and explored about the town. The city itself is much more alive compared to the ghost town of yesterday. So many ponies going about daily life. Laughing, smiling, talking…they all look so engaged with whatever it is they’re doing.
  228.  
  229. Yet what puzzles you most is that everyone and everything here is fake. Your five senses tell you this is all real, but you know deep down that none of it is. All of this is just a figment of your imagination, and a byproduct of Dr. Money trying to mess with you. Still, how could so many lives, a whole society, a whole world be brought into existence and then just suddenly vanish? Sure, it’s all simulated, but if you hadn’t had those so-called hallucinations, you would have believed this to have all been true.
  230.  
  231. You frown and look down at the ground briefly, sighing before you look back up at the town full of smiling ponies. And would that have been a bad thing? Living among those happy ponies, living a happy life with them and your sister, basking in love and warmth and affection…all of that would be infinitely better than living in that nightmare of a world known as Earth. Heck, you figure that you’d even be fine with forgetting about your old life and living the rest of your life in this virtual simulation. Being a happy, loving, affectionate pony with other loving ponies is infinitely better than being a wage slave struggling with poverty. It’s even better than being held captive by a lunatic.
  232.  
  233. Still, you didn’t choose to uncover the morbid truth behind all of this. You legitimately thought you had woken up in a newer and much better life when you first woke up here. Sure, things were confusing at first, but you took comfort knowing you were in a better place. All of those hallucinations were brought about beyond your control. They confused and terrified you, and made you question and wonder what had actually happened to you. Yet those hallucinations didn’t immediately happen the moment you woke up here. It wasn’t until you began questioning what was truly going on that they began appearing regularly. And what caused you to have those hallucinations and to lose touch with this world? The girl and the lake.
  234.  
  235. The lake memory as you once called it. Always present throughout your entire life with no explanation as to what it meant or where it came from. It’s just always been there. It’s been present your entire life on Earth ever since you were a little kid, and it has been continuously popping up in this world. Why though?
  236.  
  237. You sit on your rear and continue looking out at the town, zoning out and becoming lost in your thoughts. Yes, this whole world is just a virtual simulation based on your mind, but that lake memory is literally what kept you from becoming completely lost to this world. It still somehow kept your grip on reality and protected you from fully succumbing to Dr. Money’s mind games. The whole incident with the lake, meeting that girl, walking with her to the lake, and then falling into it…it just kept on replaying itself over and over in your mind.
  238.  
  239. Who was that girl though? In your memory, she was a human wearing a white gown with light-brown hair. Her demeanor and vibe was so similar to Nullity, but you know her and Nullity aren’t the same ponies. Even when you told Nullity about her, she never saw her when she found you unconscious in the lake. No one here knows anything about her, except Dr. Money.
  240.  
  241. Your mind flashes back to when Dr. Money was torturing you with your past demons. Right when you spared Daniel, Justin, and Grady, the girl appeared. Dr. Money himself said that her being there was nothing of his doing. She wasn’t human though like she was in your memory of her. She was a pony; a light blue pony with a white bluish mane and tail. She was a unicorn, but she had those spindle things sticking out of her neck. She even said we’re not unicorns, or pegasi for that matter. We were something else, but she never did say. She called you Big Sis and even treated you like her bigger sister. As much as you loved Nullity, you knew deep down that this girl…this mare…was your actual sister.
  242.  
  243. Dr. Money said he thought she could have been from a past life. Someone who you were so very close to, but was lost when you fell into the lake and drowned. Yet, why did you both go to the lake, and why did you want to have her around for when that happened? You know she didn’t do that to you to kill you. You could tell that she was riddled with guilt and remorse the moment right before you fell in. You knew it couldn’t have been a murder. Both during that experience with Dr. Money and what little you could remember of her, you knew she loved you and was super attached to you. You knew you loved her and that you were super attached to her too.
  244.  
  245. She’s the only one in this virtual world that you know is real and not a figment of your imagination. It’s like she has been guiding you and looking after you. The gentle humming you’d hear from Nullity every now and then, it was really that girl’s humming. The white gown you saw at Epaulet’s store, that was also a sign that she was still looking after you, watching over you like a guardian angel. And that latest visit from her when she was talking to you in your darkest hour, offering you comfort and love, she’s the one. She’s the only one who is real in this world. She may just be your ticket to getting out of all of this madness.
  246.  
  247. And then, just when you least expect it, you hear the humming. The gentle smooth humming. It sounds so peaceful and comforting. You don’t even move or turn your head. You just continue to stare out at the town full of happy ponies.
  248.  
  249. “Hey Nullity. How’d the talk with Dr. Wilhelm go?”
  250.  
  251. She doesn’t say anything, but simply continues to hum. Even if that hum was really from that girl, it still sounded nice to hear it coming from Nullity. Sure, it unnerved you when you heard it in the past, but now you knew it wasn’t anything to fear. It felt like medicine listening to the humming. You sit there for a few minutes silently, simply enjoying the humming flowing all around you.
  252.  
  253. “Look, I know you’re worried about me Nullity. I just…I’ve been through a lot lately, and I can only take so much. Whatever Dr. Wilhelm told you in there, I just want you to know that I’m alright. I just can’t deal with this stuff today. Would you be okay if we just went home and snuggled?”
  254.  
  255. Just as you ask that, the humming stops. You don’t hear anything aside from the commotion of ponies in the distance.
  256.  
  257. “Nullity? You alright?”
  258.  
  259. You turn to look at the entrance to the building, but there’s no one there. Your eyes dart around back to the town with the ponies. And just as your eyes dart a little more, you see it. That blue wave of energy floating in the air. It’s floating right above you with the breeze, blowing gently over your head. You become fixated on the blue energy floating in the air…floating with the breeze. Your gaze follows its flow as it moves from the opposite direction of the town, flowing straight into the forest, straight into the path that leads back to your house with Nullity. It flows with the breeze for several seconds before disappearing into the forest along that path.
  260.  
  261. Your eyes remain glued to where you last saw it in the trees. As they slowly lower to the entrance of the path, you see her. The girl as that blue pony creature. Sitting on her rear like you are. Smiling at you warmly with her blue eyes. You in turn silently stare at her like a zombie. She raises a forehoof up and waves it slowly back and forth at you as if to say hi, but she says nothing. Several long seconds pass before she stops waving. Placing her hoof on the ground, she stands up on all four hooves, still smiling warmly at you. Slowly, she turns around and begins to walk along that path into the forest. You watch her from a distance until she fades and disappears into the forest.
  262.  
  263. “There you are Lil Sis.”
  264.  
  265. “HUH?!?”
  266.  
  267. You jump, startled by Nullity’s voice. You turn away from the forest and look to see Nullity right beside you. You could tell that she looked worried, but she still was giving you a warm smile.
  268.  
  269. “Easy there Lil Sis. It’s okay. It’s just me.”
  270.  
  271. She proceeds to hug you tightly.
  272.  
  273. “You scared me for a moment there Silly. When you said you’d be outside, I thought you were gonna wait out in the waiting room; not all the way out over here.”
  274.  
  275. “Sorry Nullity. I just wanted to get outside and get some fresh air.”
  276.  
  277. “You doing alright Sweetie?”
  278.  
  279. “I’m okay.”
  280.  
  281. “Yeah?”
  282.  
  283. She releases you from the hug and looks at you with a small smile. As she does so, you two lock eyes with one another. You can tell she’s still trying to put on a happy face and be optimistic to you, but you can see past her front. She looks tired and drained. You know she’s been worried sick about you, and after that private talk with Dr. Wilhelm, she…
  284.  
  285. Your eyes briefly go wide. You turn away from her gaze. She must know then. Nullity spoke to Dr. Wilhelm after you forced yourself out of that appointment. He likely told her everything you told him. Oh fudge.
  286.  
  287. “You don’t look so okay Lil Sis. You mind telling me what’s wrong?”
  288.  
  289. You stumble for words, looking at the town full of happy ponies, and then looking back at the forest. You sigh and continue to look away from Nullity as you begin to speak.
  290.  
  291. “I...I don’t want to. Yesterday and today have been hard. I don’t want to focus on all the bad stuff. I really don’t. I just want to rest.”
  292.  
  293. You hear her softly sigh. She then suddenly embraces you with another hug, only tighter, for what seems like forever. You just sit there and stare off into space.
  294.  
  295. “You know I love you, don’t you Lil Sis?”
  296.  
  297. “I know you do.”
  298.  
  299. “And you know I only wanna help you, right?”
  300.  
  301. “Mhm.”
  302.  
  303. “Well, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong. Please Lil Sis. I’m worried about you. I can’t lose you. Not again.”
  304.  
  305. You feel small drops of water trickling onto your shoulder. You knew she was crying. And it hurt. It hurt bad that she was having to experience this all on the side. She only loves you and cares about you, but how can you feel the same about her now when you know that she…isn’t…real. You want her to be real and to love her unconditionally like she does with you, but you just can’t. The illusion is gone. Nullity doesn’t exist. Suddenly, Dr. Wilhelm’s words from earlier echo through your mind.
  306.  
  307. “How can you love something that does not exist?”
  308.  
  309. And how can nothing love you back when none of this is real? It’s all…fake, including Nullity. She…She isn’t your sister. Whoever that girl is from your memory, that blue pony creature, it seems she’s your real sister. And yet, even if Nullity and this world aren’t real, it still feels like Nullity is here in pain worried sick about you. And if Dr. Wilhelm told her the truth about what you said to him, then she already knows you see her as not real.
  310.  
  311. “You already know what’s wrong with me, don’t you Nullity?”
  312.  
  313. She sniffles a little and lets go of you, pausing a few seconds before responding.
  314.  
  315. “I…I…”
  316.  
  317. “You do, don’t you?”
  318.  
  319. You flash your eyes briefly to your side to catch a glimpse of Nullity’s expression. Her eyes are wide open with tears, appearing to have been caught off guard herself with the question. You in turn sigh and look towards the forest.
  320.  
  321. “What…What Dr. Wilhelm told me in there, that isn’t true, is it Lil Sis?”
  322.  
  323. This is going to be a painful conversation, huh? You knew it had to be had, but you didn’t want to have it. You were tired of this insanity, and of focusing on your doom that laid before you. It has all been too much. And the last thing you want to do is break Nullity’s heart after all this madness. You were just tired from it all. You just wanted to rest in peace and enjoy whatever time you had left.
  324.  
  325. “Can I ask you a favor Nullity?”
  326.  
  327. “Whu-What is it Lil Sis?”
  328.  
  329. “Can we just go home? I…I wanna rest and not think about things. I’m tired. I’ve been through a lot. If you really want to, can we talk more about this when we’re back home? I just need some time to think to myself.”
  330.  
  331. “Oh…okay Lil Sis. We should get you home. It’s not good to be out if you’re not feeling well.”
  332.  
  333. “You ready to go home then?”
  334.  
  335. “We can Lil Sis. But once we’re home and you’re all situated, can we please talk about this? I’m so worried about you. I’m scared. I can’t lose you. I need you Lil Sis. I love you.”
  336.  
  337. You choke up a little on those words and feel a tear drip down your cheek and onto the ground.
  338.  
  339. “I…luh-love you too…”
  340.  
  341. Fact of the matter is that you still somewhat love her as a sister, but you know the truth deep down. And being truly honest with Nullity, oh how you dreaded having that conversation with her. Yet you know it’s going to have to happen.
  342.  
  343. “Thank you for saying that Lil Sis.”
  344.  
  345. She hugs you tightly again for several seconds before releasing you.
  346.  
  347. “Let’s go then. You ready Lil Sis?”
  348.  
  349. “Yeah, I’m ready to go home.”
  350.  
  351. And with that, you stand up on all four hooves with Nullity. Like she has done in the past as a form of protection, she gently folds a wing over you as you two begin to walk into the entrance of the forest on the path home.
  352.  
  353. As you two begin the path, sounds of wildlife echo throughout the forest. The sun glistens through the forestry canopy overhead, painting an almost serene kind of landscape. The temperature isn’t too hot or too cold, and the continued breeze brushing with you as you walk brings a form of peace throughout your being. As down as you are, and as much as you dread waking back up in that nightmare, you strangely feel calm. It’s odd feeling like this, especially since you have been through so much, but the sounds of wildlife and the beauty of nature help to bring you some form of internal peace, even if it is all simulated.
  354.  
  355. What was that one saying? Stop and smell the roses? Something like that. There’s just something that is so inviting about finding joy in the little things in a life of turmoil. Regardless of everything, simply appreciating the beauty of the surrounding scenery, breathing in that fresh cool breeze, and feeling Nullity’s radiating body heat as she wing-hugged you while walking with you helped to relax your mind, even if it’s only temporary. There’s just something about nature that you can’t help but enjoy. It feels more natural and peaceful. It almost feels like living in a forest is where you belong. If only you could live in one…like you used to.
  356.  
  357. You can feel small tingles of your fur beginning to stand up along your back. Like you used to. Why did that thought suddenly cross your mind? Ever since the hallucinations with the silhouettes began occurring, you haven’t felt any desires or thoughts being placed in your head. That hyper feminine state you were in yesterday morning was nothing like how you normally are. Those urges and feelings almost developed into separate thoughts trying to influence you to give into this world. Not now though. You can only guess that Dr. Money was somehow influencing you with those past thoughts to make this world seem more believable. But this thought, and ever since those hallucinations began occurring, you haven’t experienced any of that. Whatever thoughts you have now are entirely yours; there’s no way Dr. Money is manipulating your mind like this. Like he said, he had no involvement with the events relating to that blue pony creature. Besides, you and that girl used to…live…together…out in…that one…forest…
  358.  
  359.  
  360. “Lil Sis? Why are you stopping? Is something wrong?”
  361.  
  362. You blink and stand there for a few seconds in a daze before turning your gaze to Nullity.
  363.  
  364. “Uh…nothing’s wrong, I’m alright.”
  365.  
  366. “You sure? You aren’t seeing or hearing anything, are you?”
  367.  
  368. “Nuh-No. I’m not having any of those hallucinations Nullity. Just thinking to myself.”
  369.  
  370. “What are you thinking about Lil Sis?”
  371.  
  372. “Uh…nothing. Don’t worry, I’m fine. Just don’t want to talk about it right this moment.”
  373.  
  374. “Okay, but please, when we get home, tell me everything that’s been going on, okay my baby sister? For me?”
  375.  
  376. “Yeah, alright. I will.”
  377.  
  378. Nullity says no more, and you two continue walking along the path to home. And while you both continue to walk and look around the beautiful forest, you can’t help but wonder what your mind is doing. Living in a forest, like you used to. Living together with her in such a forest. It’s like, you feel like you’re onto something, but there’s things that are missing. If Dr. Money said that girl and the lake could have been from a past life, then what your mind is suggesting is supposedly remnants from that life.
  379.  
  380. Your mind once again flashes back to when you were with that girl in your darkest hour. You were both hugging in front of an old fireplace. The wall it was against was wooden like it came from a cabin, but the rest of the room was too blurry to make out. That place…was that your home with that girl? That’s…right. She said it was your home. Wherever that place was. It was in a forest; a similar forest to the one you’re in now. Your home.
  381.  
  382. And then, she just dissolved into that blue wave of energy, flowing all the way to the lake and disappearing into it. What did that mean? And why did you see that blue energy and her a few moments ago? What is she trying to do? Is she trying to guide you to…to…the lake?
  383.  
  384. Suddenly, Nullity begins humming that tune again; the same tune your sister…would hum…to you…when you felt…down. It was…to comfort you. It’s calming to you, listening to it, yet it still presents an air of eeriness hearing it.
  385.  
  386. “Uh, Nullity? Where did you learn that particular hum?”
  387.  
  388. She stops humming, and pauses for a moment before responding.
  389.  
  390. “It was a tune I picked up when I was a little filly, before you were born. I can’t remember who I got it from, but I loved humming it as a filly. And when you were born, I’d always hum it to you and you’d smile big. You were so sweet and cute whenever you heard that tune that I’d just hum it whenever you felt sad.”
  391.  
  392. She looks at you briefly from the corner of your eye and flashes you a warm smile before resuming her humming. You say nothing back while becoming lost in her humming.
  393.  
  394. Dr. Money also said that everything in this world was a byproduct of that lake memory, and that your life here centered around that lake. There’s no way Nullity would know that tune unless she was created by your mind to represent that girl, even though she’s not her. Despite Nullity feeling like she’s real and she’s your sister, you can see past it, as emotionally painful as it is.
  395.  
  396. Still, if everything in this world was simulated to center around your lake memory, then that means the lake has to be in this world. Nullity spoke of it that first night with her. It was a few miles behind your house here. She lost you and found you unconscious in the water. She never saw the girl. And yet, why is this all continuously replaying itself over and over? What was so special about the lake? What was the significance of it?
  397.  
  398. You had to find out. You could go to it today. You must go to it today before the day ends. This may be your only chance at truly uncovering why all of this has been happening to you. There was something about that lake that you know would continue to haunt you unless you went there. You had to come to terms with that memory before you wake back up in Dr. Money’s hell. Still, how were you going to get past Nullity and separate from her to go do this? There’s no way she’d allow you to do this alone. Maybe if you…
  399.  
  400. “And here we are Lil Sis. Home.”
  401.  
  402. She stops the humming. You shake your head and blink a few times, taking a moment to realize that you both are just a few feet in front of the house. It still looks the same as you left it. Your eyes scan over it for several seconds as Nullity goes ahead of you to open the front door. She then looks back at you.
  403.  
  404. “You coming Lil Sis?”
  405.  
  406. “Yeah, I’m coming.”
  407.  
  408. Without a moment to spare, you walk up to the doorway as Nullity disappears inside. The house was a little dark inside, but light was still pouring in plentifully throughout the house. Everything still looks to be exactly where it was, with the blankets and pillows from this morning still spread out in front of the…fireplace…
  409.  
  410. “This is where we’d snuggle up together, right in front of the fireplace.”
  411.  
  412. Her speech from earlier echoes through your mind. A fireplace just like this, but older and more worn down than this one. And there’d be wooden walls here too instead of the solid colored walls surrounding the fireplace.
  413.  
  414. “We’d snuggle, talk about things, keep each other warm, and bond together right here. This was your favorite place to snuggle and now, it’s my favorite place too.”
  415.  
  416. You can’t help but feel a tear trickle down your cheek as a form of longing for the girl begins to well up inside you. You missed her. You missed being with her. She was your sister who looked up to you. And she misses you so very much. She needs you. She needs you to go back to the lake.
  417.  
  418. A soft sigh from behind you startles you from your thoughts. It was from Nullity, who comes right up next to you and gives you a soft wing snuggle. It did feel good, but it’d feel even better if it was with her. She’s the one that needs it most. She needs you.
  419.  
  420. “Can I get you anything Lil Sis? You hungry?”
  421.  
  422. “Uh…nuh-no. I’m fine. I just…”
  423.  
  424. “You just what?”
  425.  
  426. She lifts back her wing and moves a little behind you to close the front door. It closes with a soft clicking sound. She then walks a little in front of you and looks back to you with a semi-serious expression. You gulp a little nervously, realizing that you were going to have to have this talk with her.
  427.  
  428. “Nothing. I just…I just have a lot on my mind. I’m sorry Nullity, but I’m lost in my thoughts. I don’t know what to say.”
  429.  
  430. “If you don’t know what to say, can we start by talking about your thoughts?”
  431.  
  432. Although you didn’t want to give her the impression that you were frustrated, you sigh deeply and walk forward past her, stopping right in front of the fireplace. You stood on top of the pillows and blankets that were laid out in front of it, and despite the warm comfortable softness of them beneath your hooves, you didn’t quite feel the same on the inside.
  433.  
  434. “Lil Sis? Can we please talk? You promised you would when we got back home.”
  435.  
  436. Your eyes scan the fireplace over and over, lost in that brief memory of seeing the old fireplace with that girl in your memory. The whole rest of that room was blurry and unrecognizable, save for the fireplace. Sure, this fireplace looked more modern than the old one did from your memory, but…this was a special place with you and her. A safe place for warm sisterly snuggles. Whenever you two needed each other…it was…it was here. A warm, comfy cozy area with your precious little sister looking up to you for comfort and warmth and love. You…You always loved this spot. It was where you and her would snuggle and care for one another. Like when she would feel scared or upset, you would snuggle away her anxieties over an open flame that crackled with the wood…feeling so warm and safe and…
  437.  
  438. A sudden tight hug from Nullity shakes you from your thoughts. She gently pushes you with her hug down so that both you and her lay on top of the pillows and blankets. You don’t resist and let her do so.
  439.  
  440. “Plu-Please Lil Sis. Tell me what’s going on. I’m so worried about you. I’m so scared, and you’re not telling me anything. I want to protect you and help you, but I can’t do that if you don’t tell me anything. Please Lil Sis. I need you.”
  441.  
  442. Still keeping your gaze on the fireplace itself, you notice the emptiness right in the center. Rather than a warm, open flame full of love, all that was in the fireplace was cold, dark barren ashes. It looked so empty.
  443.  
  444. Nullity hugs onto you even tighter, crying softly into your fur. You can feel tears welling up in you again; your own heart reeling in pain from both Nullity and your true sister.
  445.  
  446. “I duh…I don’t know what to say Nullity, or where to even begin.”
  447.  
  448. Tears drip down from your eyes, but you try your best to not give into the waterworks. You silently cry while Nullity’s sniffling becomes all the more noticeable.
  449.  
  450. “Whu-Why you do keep calling me Nullity Lil Sis? You…You always call me Big Sis. Ever…Ever since we got back from Dr. Wilhelm’s office, you haven’t called me Big Sis any. Why?”
  451.  
  452. You keep your stare focused completely on the center of the fireplace; its ash mirroring the same amount of pain you felt in your heart.
  453.  
  454. “Did Dr. Wilhelm tell you what I told him today?”
  455.  
  456. There’s a noticeable pause in Nullity’s crying, and for about a minute or so, she says nothing.
  457.  
  458. “Please Lil Sis…Please tell me what he said wasn’t true. It wasn’t it, was it?”
  459.  
  460. You choke on your words, the tears flowing more steadily down your face. You can already feel the tear-stained wetness of the pillows and blankets touching your front hooves.
  461.  
  462. “I just…I…miss her Nullity. I miss her so bad. She looked up to me. I brought her happiness and love, and for some dumb reason, I…I think I wanted to go to the lake and bring her with me. And the pain in her eyes just as I was about to fall in…losing her…I lost her. I…I…”
  463.  
  464. Your lip quivering, you bury your head into your hooves and begin bawling for several long minutes. Nullity says nothing while you cry out in pain, though after a little bit of time, she starts patting your back with her hoof and begins to speak up in a little bit of a softer, but sniffling tone.
  465.  
  466. “Who…Who are you talking about?”
  467.  
  468. “The…The girl…who walked with me to…the lake. The girl who…I thought…was you. Buh-But, y-you’re nuh-not her Nullity.”
  469.  
  470. Without warning, you feel yourself being pulled and turned, facing straight at Nullity while she looks directly at you in tears.
  471.  
  472. “Luh-Lil Sis? Do you see my face here?”
  473.  
  474. You nod up and down, tearing and sniffling yourself.
  475.  
  476. “Do you see how worried and scared I am about you? What you’re saying hurts and scares me, and I don’t know what you’re going through. It hurts me so much. I love you, my baby sister, and…I need you to be safe. I want to bring you back to health. I wanna help you so very badly. I can’t though if you’re not honest with me. Please, I’m begging you Lil Sis. Tell me what’s truly going on. Please tell me. Who’s this girl you keep talking about?”
  477.  
  478. Looking at her teary eyes makes you feel more and more saddened. You…You can’t do this to Nullity. You…You love that girl, and…even though Nullity was just a figment of your imagination, you still…you still loved her. And you knew that if you told the truth, you would destroy her. Oh God…can you really do this to her?
  479.  
  480. “Do…Do you remember that first night of waking up, when I told you what I experienced at the lake before falling into it?”
  481.  
  482. She slowly nods, looking intently at you. You dart your eyes away from her gaze, frequently looking to the ground and occasionally to your side.
  483.  
  484. “There was someone with me. A girl. I…I originally thought that girl was you. Yet, you told me that you stayed behind at the entrance of that forest while I went in by myself. When…When I found the river that would eventually lead to the lake, I saw someone else appear from behind. She was a human as far as I can remember, and yet, I kind of think that she’s actually some kind of unique pony. She doesn’t look anything like you.”
  485.  
  486. Nullity says nothing, and as you briefly flash a glance towards Nullity’s gaze, you see her looking at you seriously, albeit with a look of concern, worry, and tears.
  487.  
  488. “She…She looks something similar to a unicorn, but…she said she wasn’t one. She told me she has these things called spindles on the back of her neck for sensing things. They kinda look like quills to me. Aside from that though, she looks like any other unicorn. She’s got light blue fur, a white-bluish mane and tail, and…she’s…she’s loving and kind to me. Kinda like how you are. Though I think she was a little bit smaller than me, but not by much.”
  489.  
  490. “What’s her name?”
  491.  
  492. “I…I don’t know Nullity. She never told me. I know she has a name, but I can’t remember it. There’s so much about her I just don’t know. She calls me her Big Sis though. I…I think she might have been a sister to me in a previous life.”
  493.  
  494. You shakily sigh and look back up to Nullity face to face. You can see her tears have stopped for the moment, but she is still casting a worrying, concerned look to you.
  495.  
  496. “Ever since I woke up from my coma here, I thought…I thought that you might have been her. I thought we might have been reunited in a new life together. You remind me so much of her Nullity, but you aren’t her. The story you told me that first night proves you weren’t with me when I fell into the lake. You were out looking for me, and you said you never did see her, right?”
  497.  
  498. Nullity shakes her head, but speaks up.
  499.  
  500. “You and I were the only ones who went out to go explore that area Lil Sis. And when I found you, you…you were unconscious in the lake. I…I never saw anypony else with you. You were all by yourself.”
  501.  
  502. You sigh, taking a moment to respond.
  503.  
  504. “I know it sounds crazy, but those moments leading up to falling in the lake were the last moments of my previous life. After I fell in, I woke up in a new life as a human. And all throughout my life as a human, that lake memory, as I called it, kept replaying itself over and over. Usually in my dreams, but every time it played itself out, it always disturbed me. I could never figure out what that memory meant, or who that girl I was with was. And then, something bad happened where I…”
  505.  
  506. You pause, suddenly realizing that you were going to tell her how you got kidnapped by Dr. Money, and how much of a monster he truly is. Even though Nullity isn’t truly real, you still don’t have the heart in you to tell her about that madness. She doesn’t need to know about any of that.
  507.  
  508. “You what, Lil Sis? What happened?”
  509.  
  510. “Something bad happened in that life. I got put to sleep, and then suddenly, I woke up here in my bedroom. I was so confused by what happened, and I didn’t entirely understand it at first. Yet the longer I was here, the more it felt like I had entered a new life. And yet, when I learned about the coma incident of me falling into the lake, I immediately thought of that lake memory. I thought…I thought I was back home with that girl; I thought I was back home with you. But, you aren’t her Nullity. I’m not back in that old life with her. I’m somewhere else. I don’t remember you or this house or anything about Vanhoover or Equestria. I don’t…I don’t think any of that existed back when I was with that girl. I…I know it really hurts to say it, but…truthfully…I duh-don’t remember anything about our lives together prior to me waking up from my coma here. Anything that might have happened here in this world prior to my accident, I can’t remember any of it.”
  511.  
  512. She sniffles and backs up just a little, hurt by what you just said. It feels bad hurting her, but keeping the truth from her hurts her even more. Even unbeknownst to Nullity, you knew deep down that she would be forever gone after today. You hated having to break her heart, and you didn’t think you’d have it in you to tell her that you both will never see each other again after today. At the same time, you also wanted to go to the lake today without her. You had to. You had to find your true sister.
  513.  
  514. “Buh-But you said you remembered some things we did when we were fillies, ruh-right? I know that…that you forgot a lot of things, but…you at least remember some of the stuff we did together, right?”
  515.  
  516. You bite your lip, hesitant to answer.
  517.  
  518. “Please, my little Radiance, please. Please tell me the truth. I need to know.”
  519.  
  520. You sigh and close your eyes, slowly opening them back up as you respond.
  521.  
  522. “I’m sorry. I duh-don’t. I don’t remember anything we did together before the accident at the lake. And, although I remember you writing me that ‘Get Well Soon’ card by my bed, I still didn’t really know who you were, or even what your name was. Again, I thought…I thought you were her. I thought you were my true sister, but you’re not.”
  523.  
  524. She flinches and backs up a little more, readily taken aback by what you just said. You can already feel the heartache growing within you as your choice of words pierced through Nullity’s increasingly fragile heart.
  525.  
  526. “Buh-But…I…I…am your sister Lil Sis. I’m Big Sis. I…we…you…”
  527.  
  528. She stumbles on her words; her whole body beginning to shake. She looks at you with big, teary eyes, and as she struggles to voice a coherent sentence, she collapses and falls on the blankets and pillows. She buries her head in them, bawling.
  529.  
  530. The one soul who has shown you nothing but unconditional comforting love just had their heart shattered to a million pieces. The one soul, who promised to love you no matter what, was slapped in the face with words of emptiness and abandonment. The one soul, who might not have ever been a real soul in the first place, was crushed being told she wasn’t your true sister despite always seeing you as her little sister.
  531.  
  532. You feel a sharp, emotional jab of pain go right through your heart. It hurt more than any form of pain anyone may have inflicted on you in the past. Despite all the madness Dr. Money threw at you with those mind games of his, this…this was probably the most emotionally painful. Sure, it might not be as intense as when you spared Daniel, Justin, and Grady their lives, but to outright go and break the heart of one of the few souls who has ever actually loved you hurts more than anything else.
  533.  
  534. “Nullity, I…”
  535.  
  536. You start to say something, but stop as her wailing becomes louder and louder. It’s readily obvious you’ve broken her heart irreparably. As much as you and her are a softy, you’ve never seen Nullity bawl and cry this hard. She even grabs another pillow and quickly plants her face into it, looking away from you.
  537.  
  538. “I’m sorry.”
  539.  
  540. She says nothing and continues crying nonstop. You let her cry her heart out in pain as you silently watch her with remorse for what feels like forever. As much as it hurts to say what you said to her, it’s the truth. Nullity isn’t real. You love her, and you’re eternally grateful for everything that she has done for you, but she’s also just a character created by your own imagination. She isn’t real. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you were to leave right this moment, or if you were to spend the next several hours trying to comfort her. It’s all going to end soon, and once it does so, the story is over. She’ll be gone forever.
  541.  
  542. And yet, even if Nullity is just a fictional character in this virtual world, she has done everything that she can to try to help you. She has tried to change you into a better person. She has shown you the beauty and the magic of love. She has shown you what it’s like to have a family. She has shown you what it’s like to experience true happiness. No one, with the possible exception of your true sister, has ever done something like that for you. In more ways than one, Nullity is still special, even if she is just a fictional character.
  543.  
  544. “I’m sorry Nullity. What I said to you…”
  545.  
  546. It is only now that she lifts her head out of the pillow and faces you, her face stained with countless tears. She looks at you, tearing in pain.
  547.  
  548. “What I said to you was wrong. In a way, you’re still a sister to me. You may not be that girl, and you might not have been my sister from my old life, but still…you treated me like family. You loved me unconditionally. No one has ever treated me like that. No one. I just…what I have been through has been so hard on me, and…I just…I have just been lost for so long, not quite understanding what is real and not real. Even if you aren’t my true sister, you’re still like a sister to me. You always will be.”
  549.  
  550. Nullity sniffles a little more before wiping one of her forehooves across her face. Her expression slowly turns into a small, shaky smile.
  551.  
  552. “Lil Sis…I mean, Radiance, thu-thank you for telling me the truth. As…As much as it hurts what you just said to me, you…you whu-were honest with me. I knu-know it’s only because of the coma that you’re feeling like this, but…but…I know you’ll get your memories back, and…and soon, you’ll remember everything! You’ll remember all the good times we shared with each other, the sisterly bonding, the…the…love we both shared with each other. Yuh-You still luh-love me, don’t you Radiance?”
  553.  
  554. She sits there looking at you, her whole body shaking with an equally shaking small smile. Your heart aches by what you’re seeing, and by how much you had hurt her. Of course you loved her, and you only wanted her to be happy and to live in peace.
  555.  
  556. “I…do Nullity, I do.”
  557.  
  558. She quickly latches onto you with a tight hug, squeezing you as much as she possibly can. You slowly raise one of your forehooves up to gently pat her back.
  559.  
  560. “Aside from that girl, that pony, at the lake, you’re the very first pony to ever show me the kind of love I thought was never possible. Nullity, like I just said, you’ve given me more love than anyone else I know of, with the exception being that girl. Although bad things have happened here with my hallucinations, you’ve still been able to bring me comfort and joy. I’ll always be grateful for your love, and I will always love you.”
  561.  
  562. Nullity says nothing at first, hugging onto you tighter and tighter, while also crying into your fur. You hold onto her and give her an even tighter hug.
  563.  
  564. “I…I nuh-need you Luh-Lil Sis. I love you so very much with all of my everything. Even if you can’t remember me and the things we used to do, just…thu-thank you for still loving me. Thank you for letting me hug you. Thank you for hugging me.”
  565.  
  566. Her words screw with your heart further. On one hand, you did very much love her. You cared about her, wanted to make her happy and to feel good, and you loved sharing snuggles with her. On the other hand though, you also knew deep down that she’s not real, and after today, neither of you will see each other again. As much as you loved her, you needed to leave her and to go to the lake alone.
  567.  
  568. “Pluh-Please Lil Sis. I can’t stand to ever lose you again. I love you, I love you, I love you! I know Dr. Wilhelm can help ya in time with getting your memories back, and before you know it, you’ll be back to normal! You’ll remember everything, and we can go back to doing all of the loving things we did together as a family! And…And…”
  569.  
  570. She looks up at you with giant tearing puppy-dog eyes. You know she’s super fragile right now, and that she needs you more than ever, but you have to leave. You have to find your true sister. You have to break from Nullity and find her. How can you leave Nullity though? How can you tell that to her face in her most vulnerable state? You softly sigh before interrupting her.
  571.  
  572. “Nullity, I love you. Nothing in a million years is ever going to change that. You’re the one pony who I love and care about, and the fact that you have done so much taking care of me and taking care of others shows how much of a wonderful mare you are. I’m probably one of the luckiest ponies around to have your love and care. I’ll always be grateful for your love, and I will always love you.”
  573.  
  574. You produce a small smile as she sniffles a little more back at you, her shaky smile getting bigger.
  575.  
  576. “To be honest with you, you inspire me to want to love and bring kindness to others. I’m not as strong as you, but you’ve changed me. Even if I don’t remember anything before the accident, I’ll always remember your love and everything you’ve done for me. You’ve helped to nurture and heal me, you’ve looked after me, and regardless of whatever happens or whatever it is I say to you, you continue to shower me with endless affection. Before the lake, before all of this, I remember in my nightmare being a really depressed person with a bleak outlook on life. Love to me felt like a completely alien emotion. Having experienced its beauty with you, and having love in my heart, I…I want to make things better for others. I want to help and better others. Overall, I wanna be a better pony. There’s so many ponies out there who need help. So many ponies who need the kind of love and affection you’ve shared with me.”
  577.  
  578. She sniffles and smiles even brighter, the tears around her eyes beginning to dry up.
  579.  
  580. “I love you Lil Sis. Thank you so very much! I…I know what you said earlier about not remember things really hurt me, but that means so much to me what you just said. Even if you can’t remember any of the things we did for others around Vanhoover, the fact that you still wanna help ponies heal and find love and peace makes me so very happy. Most of all though, you’re being honest with me. You truly do love me, and I will always love you baby sister of mine, even if you can’t remember for now.”
  581.  
  582. She again buries her muzzle into your chest, hugging onto you tighter and tighter. You can’t help but smile more from her love and affection. You let her snuggle with you for several more minutes in silence before you respond.
  583.  
  584. “You may not be that one girl Nullity, but I promise you I still love you, and that will never change. Like I said, I’ll always remember you and our time together, and the things we did. But now, I…I have to go and do something.”
  585.  
  586. Nullity releases you from her grasp and backs up a little, looking at you with confusion.
  587.  
  588. “Huh? What are you talking about Lil Sis?”
  589.  
  590. “There’s one pony out there who needs my help more than anyone else I know of. I have to go find her and be with her one more time. I need to show her the love you’ve given me. The pony at the lake, I have to find her.”
  591.  
  592. Nullity freezes, looking at you with a rapidly evolving expression of worry and fear.
  593.  
  594. “Whu-What are you saying Lil Sis?”
  595.  
  596. You pause for a moment and sigh, looking towards the back door that lead out to the enclosed porch.
  597.  
  598. “I have to find her. I have to…I have to go back to the lake and find her.”
  599.  
  600. You turn back to face her. She blinks a few times, unable to coin up a response, but you can tell she’s now becoming unnerved. You absolutely had to get over there before the day gets away from you.
  601.  
  602. “Nuh-No. No Lil Sis. You can’t go there. Nonononononono! I’m never letting you get anywhere near there again. Absolutely not!”
  603.  
  604. You sigh once more, realizing that there’s no way Nullity’s gonna let you go there. You figured that would be the case, but still…there’s no way to get over there without gravely upsetting Nullity. You know you have to get over there soon, but you also have to get away from Nullity. How can you do so while also leaving her on a positive happy note?
  605.  
  606. You look back at the door longingly to find your true sister. Nullity can readily observe what you’re wanting to do, and she just as quickly latches back onto you.
  607.  
  608. “No Lil Sis. No. I can’t let you ever go back there. That lake is a dangerous place, and I can’t stand the thought of ever losing you again. Please Lil Sis. Stay here. Stay with me and all the other happy ponies here, and we can all live a happy, peaceful, loving life with family. Don’t you want that Lil Sis? Don’t you?”
  609.  
  610. You do. You want that more than anything. If anything, you figure you’d actually be content living out the rest of your life in this world, a virtual world generated by your mind. It’s certainly so much better than the real world, and you knew you had no desire to return to Dr. Money’s madness. But you had to; you had to find your true sister and finally uncover the true meaning to this whole lake memory stuff. You had to have closure. Most of all, if you ever wanted a family, you wanted that girl, that blue pony creature, to be a part of your family too. She’s your real sister, and there’s no way you’re ever gonna have a family without her.
  611.  
  612. In addition, as much as you loathed Dr. Money and the atrocities he was committing, you had to wake back up in the real world and stop him before he harmed anyone else. There’s others out there in the real world who so desperately need your help, and you have to help them. Much as you would be content staying here for the rest of your life living a life of fantasy-generated ignorant bliss, you had to go back. You had to go back to the lake.
  613.  
  614. “I do Nullity, I do. I want that more than anything else. I just want a family who loves me for who I am, and a family for me to love unconditionally. I so yearn to be happy. At this point, all I want is love and happiness. I want peace. I want to end all of the madness and darkness spawned by that nightmare. I have to end it all so that I can save her. You’ll always be family to me Nullity, but so will that girl at the lake. I’ll always love her too, and she needs me more than anything right now. Today’s the only day where I can finally see her again and try to fix everything. Please Nullity, I have to go there. I have to save her. I…I need closure. I need her. I need…I need all of my family back. And, as much as you don’t want me to, I have to do this…alone.”
  615.  
  616. Nullity lessens her grasp on you and slowly steps back again. She looks at you, but also darts her eyes to somewhere else. She appears like she’s going to say a response to you, but she looks as though she’s awestricken. As seconds pass, her gaze shifts from you and looks up.
  617.  
  618. “Lil Sis…look at that up there. What is that?”
  619.  
  620. “What’s what?”
  621.  
  622. You turn around to see where she’s looking at. Just as soon as you see it though, you feel your heart beat in nervous excitement. It’s the blue wave of energy floating in the air! It’s floating just in front of you, right above you…flowing through the back door. It’s her. It’s…It’s time. You have to. You have to go and see her. It’s now or never!
  623.  
  624. “It’s her Nullity! It’s her!”
  625.  
  626. “Who Lil Sis?”
  627.  
  628. “That’s the girl at the lake! She’s wanting me to go back! It’s a sign. I absolutely have to!”
  629.  
  630. Nullity immediately grabs you from behind and hangs onto you as tightly as is physically possible.
  631.  
  632. “NO! NO Lil Sis! You can’t go back there. Stay…Stay here! Please! Our family is right here! It’s too dangerous to go out there. Stay here with me and everypony here. I promise ya, I’ll give ya the happiest life you could ever imagine! I love you, I need you, and I promise I’ll always care for ya Lil Sis. Just please; please don’t leave.”
  633.  
  634. The blue wave of energy flows in the air for a few seconds longer before becoming more and more faint. Upon immediately realizing it, it fades and disappears straight through the back door. NO! You have to go! NOW!
  635.  
  636. You jerk and shake as much as you can, trying your best to slide out of Nullity’s grasp and to get her hooves off of you. Soon you two find yourselves physically struggling with one another as you try to break free while she holds onto you as best as she can.
  637.  
  638. “I gotta go Nullity! I gotta go now! Lemme go!”
  639.  
  640. “NO! I’m not losing you ever again! You’re my precious baby sister, and I need you Lil Sis. Please don’t leave. I need you. I love you!”
  641.  
  642. “I love you too Nullity, but I have to go. NOW!”
  643.  
  644. Suddenly, you find a slip in Nullity’s grasp on you. You wiggle a little, and once you have enough room, you bounce out of her grasp and off of her. She stumbles backwards confused, but just as quickly rebalances herself. You immediately dash for the back door and fidget with the door knob. Once you hear that distinct audible click, you pull the door wide open and dash onto the porch, slamming against the screen door that blocks your way to freedom. You just as quickly unlock it.
  645.  
  646. “NO! NO! NO! Come back Lil Sis! NOOOOOO!!!”
  647.  
  648. You turn your head slightly to see out of the corner of your eye Nullity sprinting after you. You immediately slam against the screen door and open it wide open. In just a matter of seconds, you sprint and run as fast as you can forward without looking back.
  649.  
  650. Somewhere behind you, you can hear Nullity screaming and yelling for you, but you don’t stop to look. You continue to run and run and run as fast as you can forward. You had to get away from her. As much as you loved her, you had to break free from her. She knows you love her and care about her. You may have hurt her earlier and just now, but at least…at least you made your peace as best you could. As much as you’d love to be there for Nullity, you also want to be there for that girl. She especially needed you the most.
  651.  
  652. After five minutes or so running, you begin coughing as your lungs start to ache as though they were on fire. Your running begins to slow, and after another two or three minutes, you finally stop to catch your breath. You’re coughing uncontrollably, taking in deep breaths from the sprint you just endured. You look back to see if Nullity was following you, but you don’t see her in sight, nor do you see the house the two of you shared. You must have run pretty far for a pony. Course, you never could run as fast as a human, but maybe pony bodies are just built for running faster. You didn’t know for sure, especially since you’re in a virtual world, but it sure as heck feels good to be free. Granted, your heart actually still yearns for Nullity, and it does hurt to realize that you just abandoned her. Nullity’s probably freaking out and worried sick about you after what you just did, but…you…you have to remember; as much as you and her love one another, Nullity’s not real. She’s just a figment of your imagination. You’ll always remember her, but…you…you have to find your true sister. She may be the only one who’s actually real in this virtual world.
  653.  
  654. You sit there for a few minutes trying to rest and recover from your sprint, and when you don’t hear or see Nullity coming after you, you begin walking forward once more. Looking around, you see that you are still in an open stretch of land. Actually, that isn’t entirely true. Although most of the surrounding environment are green plains, you still see hills to your left and right. And sure enough, you also see them; the trees and bushes in the distance. You are getting close to the forest.
  655.  
  656. Hesitant, but excited over the prospect of seeing the girl again, you continue walking along the grass. Strangely, warmth coursed throughout your body as the warmth from the sunshine above spread across the landscape. You can’t help but look back up at the sky. Although the sun is still shining brilliantly, you also see the clouds slowly moving across the sky underneath the sun’s beacon of heat. The shadows of the clouds, you soon notice, blanket themselves across the grassy landscape. They look so bubbly and poofy and soft that a part of you actually feels a little at home. Course, you’re not sure where your real home is, but something about this landscape strangely feels like home.
  657.  
  658. A soft, cool breeze blows with you in the direction that you’re walking. It feels nice feeling it blow against the back of your neck, blowing your mane out in front of you. Sure, your mane is periodically getting in the way of your eyesight, but you don’t care. A part of you feels free. In a way, you feel welcome here. You feel more alive here. This landscape, this is the home you grew up in with your true sister, isn’t it?
  659.  
  660. Walking with the breeze, you soon find yourself entering into the forest you saw in the distance a few minutes ago. The same forest that has always shown itself in your replay of this memory. Not too many trees like you were in a thick rainforest, but enough to the point where you can at least partially cover yourself under the trees’ canopy from the sun’s glowing rays. The bushes too are similarly becoming more and more plentiful the more you traverse into the forest. Although no actual pathway exists in this forest, you simply use the breeze as your guide.
  661.  
  662. As minutes pass, you soon notice sounds of water splashing and running. It’s the river; the river that runs to the lake. The breeze is flowing with you towards the river, and without hesitation, you walk for about another five minutes before finally stumbling onto it. It sits on your right; small and slim, but graceful and peaceful. Curious, you step right up to the edge of it and look down. Like in your memory, the water here is so abundantly clear. You can see all the little details in the water, from the plethora of sediment and tiny rocks, to small plants laying in the water, you can clear as day see the river move with the breeze.
  663.  
  664. Still, you also faintly notice your reflection hovering over the surface of the water. You can faintly see yourself. You look like you for the most part, but something about the reflection seems peculiar. You’re not sure why exactly. You still see you as Radiance, as a pony, but you look slightly different. Same eyes, same coat of fur, same mane, but there’s something pointing slightly above your head. You can’t quite make it out, though you do find yourself fascinated with it. Reflections aren’t supposed to appear differently from your own actual appearance, right?
  665.  
  666. “Hi Big Sis.”
  667.  
  668. You jump what feels like five feet in the air. You can feel your heart beating rapidly from having been startled. Immediately, you turn around and see…her.
  669.  
  670.  
  671. She smiles at you while sitting next to you. You look back at her in a daze, with neither of you saying anything to each other for several long moments. You look her over while she simply casts you a warm smile. Her beautiful blue eyes look straight through yours as if to cast a warmth of reassurance through you. Her similarly light blue fur covers most of her body, appearing almost freshly and beautifully groomed. Her white-blueish mane is styled the same as you saw it last time; neatly organized at the top of her head, dipping ever-so slightly above her muzzle, while the rest of it past her ears flows freely. Her mane is just about as long as yours, and like you, she too has a big fluffy tail, only it’s white-blueish in color like her mane. And from her side, you can see those sapphire blue quills sticking out of her mane from behind her neck. Her spindles…
  672.  
  673. “You…I…but…are you…are you really here? Are you…Are you real?”
  674.  
  675. She actually giggles a little at your response, but still continues to sit there next to you.
  676.  
  677. “Of course I’m real Big Sis. I always have been. Why would you think I’m not?”
  678.  
  679. “Uh…”
  680.  
  681. You can’t find yourself to bring forth words of your own. You knew you would encounter her the moment you began heading for the lake, but you’re still surprised to actually be here with her, talking to her right this moment.
  682.  
  683. “It’s okay Big Sis. I know you’re confused, and I know of everything you have endured. It’s okay.”
  684.  
  685. She hugs you tightly for what feels like forever in the tightest hug you can imagine. You in turn hug her back, still dumbstruck that you’re actually hugging the girl from your lake memory for real.
  686.  
  687. “You…You know everything?”
  688.  
  689. She separates from you and looks straight into your eyes, casting you a warm, reassuring smile.
  690.  
  691. “I do. I know of all of the trials and tribulations you have been through as Anon on Earth, as well as what you have been through here as Radiance in this virtual world. I know it all.”
  692.  
  693. You stammer a little, surprised by what she has just said. She knows everything. She even knows this is just a virtual world. No other pony in this world has ever said such a thing. Is she…Is she actually real?
  694.  
  695. “Are…yuh-you real? You’re…You’re not a fictional character generated from somewhere in my mind, are you?”
  696.  
  697. She shakes her head and embraces you in another warm, tight hug.
  698.  
  699. “I’m real Big Sis, I’m real. I always have been. Ever since you fell in the lake, I have watched you progress throughout your life on Earth and through your life here. I know that bad man you call Dr. Money. I know you’re in a Virtual Dream Machine. I know everything. I promise you this though Big Sis, I’m real. I’m really real, and I’m really here with you right now.”
  700.  
  701. She releases you and looks at you happily with tears in her eyes.
  702.  
  703. “I know you don’t remember why you jumped into the lake, and why you keep having this memory over and over. It’s the last thing you can remember from our lives together. But, I know you’re starting to gain back your memories Big Sis. And before long, you’ll finally be back home again.”
  704.  
  705. If you weren’t stunned before, you most certainly are now. She…She knows about Dr. Money and all of his crazy junk. She…She has to be real. Of course, she could just be a mental projection of that girl right now, relaying what you already think of this virtual world and how you view it all as fake. She could still be a fictional character your mind is creating, but somewhere deep inside of you, she seems like she really is real.
  706.  
  707. “I…I…I can’t remember. What is the whole point of this lake memory? Why did I jump inside of it? Why did you and I go to it together? What even is the purpose behind this lake? And most importantly, what do you mean I’m gonna be back home again? I don’t understand. Why is all of this happening?”
  708.  
  709. She gently kisses you on your cheek, nuzzling against your side.
  710.  
  711. “I know you have so many questions Big Sis, and I am so sorry for everything you have been through. The whole point of all of this happening was so you could become stronger; to be a stronger being all around. You wanted to face these trials and tribulations on Earth. Even though we both didn’t expect you to stumble into a virtual world such as this, it has caused you to face the biggest challenge you sought to achieve. And you did it Big Sis. You really did it.”
  712.  
  713. “Whu-What is that big challenge? I…I don’t understand.”
  714.  
  715. She softly sighs against you, gently squeezing you for warmth.
  716.  
  717. “You stayed true to your heart. In a dark world that has caused you to forget nearly everything, in a world that is unforgiving and has pushed you to your very limits, in a world that nearly transformed you into the polar opposite of who you are, you never truly lost yourself. You didn’t succumb to your inner darkness. You’re not evil. You have a loving heart, and even if you can’t remember everything from our lives together, you’re still you Big Sis. You’ve managed to survive hatred and darkness like no other, and with it, you are still able to shine with light and love. You’ve proven that no amount of evil can break you. You really have gotten stronger Big Sis, and I’m so proud of you.”
  718.  
  719. Suddenly, she begins to hum a tune; the same tune Nullity has hummed to you; the same tune you heard from her back outside Dr. Wilhelm’s office. You can’t help but hug onto her tightly for comfort. You still don’t understand what the heck is going on, but a part of you feels like you’re really home with her. You’re actually talking to her, and you…you can finally get closure on all of this.
  720.  
  721. “Luh-Lil Suh-Sis?
  722.  
  723. “Hm?”
  724.  
  725. She continues humming while waiting for your question.
  726.  
  727. “Please, I have to know. Why did we go to the lake? Why did I jump into it ‘to get stronger’ and face all of these trials and tribulations? Why did I do all of this? And…And…where did you get that hum? It’s been haunting me every time I hear it, and even though it makes me feel good, I don’t understand where it really came from. And…And…where are we from? Who are we? What was with that whole setting in front of that old fireplace? What happened to you? Why and how have you been looking after me? I have so many questions to ask you. Please, I need to know all of these answers. I’ve been searching for them all my life, but never really got any answers. Please, I want to remember. I want to remember.”
  728.  
  729. You sniffle a little while hugging onto her. She continues to simply hum.
  730.  
  731. “And please, please don’t disappear. I need you more than anything right now. You said you’ve been looking after me, ruh-right? Please, I need you here. I need answers. I…I need to be with you. Please.”
  732.  
  733. She stops humming, reaching out a hoof to pat you gently on your back.
  734.  
  735. “Big Sis, you’ve done so much. You’ve passed the trials and tribulations you set out for yourself in your life on Earth, and with it, you can finally come back. You can come back home Big Sis.”
  736.  
  737. “I…wuh-what?”
  738.  
  739. Go…back home? You going back home to your old life with her? How the heck is that even possible?
  740.  
  741. “You’ve been gone for so long. I know it may be hard for you to understand, but when you jumped into that lake so long ago, you never died. That lake…it’s no ordinary lake. It’s a portal; a gateway between worlds. Your old body still exists. You’re still alive. Just unconscious. And I have been by your side every day taking care of you, watching over you, transferring energy signals to you with my spindles. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. But when you sense them, you’re sensing me. You’ve been gone for so long, and now, it’s time to come back and wake up.”
  742.  
  743. “Huh-How?”
  744.  
  745. “You may not like this, but we have to go back. We have to go back to the lake so that you can wake back up.”
  746.  
  747. You stammer and let go of her, looking at her as she looks at you. Her smile is small, but for once she actually looked a little serious. You can’t help but feel unnerved over where this is going.
  748.  
  749. “I know you might be scared Big Sis, but it’s the only way. The world we’re both in right now is a virtual memory in itself. None of this is real, except you and me. Once you go to the lake, you’ll wake back up on Earth. From there, I will guide you. There is still one more thing there you have to face, but once it is dealt with, you will truly be free to return back home. I’ll help you as much as I can, and do everything I can. For now though, we need to go to the lake. You need to wake back up on Earth. It’s time.”
  750.  
  751. You can’t even conjure up a response. This memory really is going to replay itself out. You’re gonna go to the lake, fall in, and then wake back up in Dr. Money’s hell. Is he the thing you’re gonna have to deal with? Even if he’s defeated, how would you be able to go back to a previous life that you thought was over?
  752.  
  753. “Come, come Big Sis. We must go before the day ends. I’m going to bring you home, I promise, but we must do this. I’ll answer the questions you want me to, but you must come with me. It’s going to be okay.”
  754.  
  755. She stands up on all four hooves and turns slightly away from you. She then begins to walk with the direction the water and the breeze were flowing. Afraid of losing her once again, you spring off your butt and rush to her side, slowly walking with her. She is to your left, and you are walking alongside the river to your right. You both walk for a while without exchanging words with one another. Finally, you break the silence.
  756.  
  757. “I…uh…Lil Sis…can you…can you tell me the answers to the questions I asked you earlier? I…please, I need to know. Before we reach the lake, I need to know. Please.”
  758.  
  759. She doesn’t say anything for a few moments, seemingly contemplating on what to say.
  760.  
  761. “You know Big Sis, the very first time we walked down this path, we reminisced over everything we did together. We’d talk and talk, remembering and reminiscing. They were memories you knew you’d forget once you entered your new life on Earth, but you wanted to share them with me one more time before you left.”
  762.  
  763. “Please tell me Lil Sis, please. What did we reminisce about? What did we talk about exactly?”
  764.  
  765. She gently sighs once more, flashing you a soft smile while you two continue to walk.
  766.  
  767. “One of the things you loved doing was to snuggle with me out in front of our special fireplace. To just snuggle and be next to one another for love, for warmth, for reassurance, or just for fun. You were and are the snuggliest and sweetest being I’ve ever known. I always looked up to you, and I still do. You taught me love, showed me kindness, and always went out of your way to help me whenever I needed you. Not only me, but you’ve done that with countless others too. That hum you keep hearing? That was the tune you taught me. You’d hum it to me every day, and it’d make us both smile. Once I learned it myself, I’d hum it to you whenever you felt down or sad. I know you can’t remember it now, but that’s what we’d do together. Enjoying nature, enjoying peace, enjoying love, enjoying life, and enjoying helping others.”
  768.  
  769. She inhales and exhales a long, drawn-out deep breath. You notice some tears streaming down from her eyes. You too start to tear up.
  770.  
  771. “Everything about this virtual world in some way mirrors shards of your old life. What your mind conjured up here with Nullity, going out and helping others, being there for others, enjoying nature, and simply bonding and snuggling all somewhat reflect what you and I did together back home. Forgotten memories can be hard to recall, and even harder to accept. But, you never really lost them. They’re all still within you, and they will all come back to you in time. I can’t state it enough Big Sis; you’re a beautiful soul with a beautiful heart. You’ve been more like your true self here in this virtual world than you have on Earth. So much of this virtual world reminds you of home, and because of that, your memories are already starting to come back to you. You’re going to be free soon, and before you know it, you’ll be back home, and I promise to snuggle you for all of eternity.”
  772.  
  773. You stop for a moment and brush your tears off your face with your forehoof. She stops and does the same, with both of you tearfully smiling at each other.
  774.  
  775. “And, for any doubt you might be having Big Sis, I promise I’m not a figment of your imagination, or a virtual character in a story. I’m real, and while this virtual world is not, you and I both are. Both on Earth and here, I’ve watched over you to protect you from the truest of evils. And I promise you, I will guide you and bring you back home. I’ll always be by your side, even when you do not sense me. I’ll always be here with you. I love you Big Sis.”
  776.  
  777. Both of you quickly grab onto one another and snuggle onto each other as tightly as possible. You hug and hug and hug for what feels like forever, each of you happily and silently crying with one another.
  778.  
  779. She’s real. She’s really real. She knows the truth behind everything, and knows things that you do not. Sure, you might have fragments of past memories with her, but she knows more about them than you do. She can’t be a virtual fictitious character. She’s your long-lost sister, and here you are finally with her, hugging her. And it feels so very good. She feels so warm and soft and comfy, almost like Nullity, but even better. Your true sister, right here with you. It feels so right.
  780.  
  781. “I love you Lil Sis.”
  782.  
  783. “I love you too Big Sis. We need to keep going though. We are running out of time. We must get to the lake. We must.”
  784.  
  785. She releases you, kissing you on your cheek once more. From behind her, you can see the sun beginning to set behind the hills. The shades of the sky were changing into a beautiful luminescent orange glow over the hills. The clouds too appear to shift from bubbly white to that of a magenta-like violet hue. The sky is looking more and more alive than ever before.
  786.  
  787. She then turns and begins walking forward once more, with you following closely next to her. From the peripherals of your vision, you notice the water in the river getting deeper and darker and foggier. You two are getting closer to the lake.
  788.  
  789. “Lil Sis, I…I know we’re getting close to the lake, and…I…well…can you answer some of my other questions?”
  790.  
  791. “Sure, I can Big Sis.”
  792.  
  793. You pause and try to think of what to ask her exactly, knowing full well that your time is almost over.
  794.  
  795. “You said that I’m gonna gain my memories back in time, right? How long will that take? And, how are you gonna guide me back home? I mean, I know I’m gonna wake back up on Earth soon, but once I do, how the heck am I gonna be able to leave that world and come back home?”
  796.  
  797. “You are already starting to recall additional memories Big Sis. The process is already taking place. Once you faced your inner darkness and expunged it, you freed yourself from the grip others on Earth had on you. The shadows, the darkness, the fogginess, that all is already fading. And within it, your true self will shine and become more and more apparent. You’ve awoken Big Sis. You’re gonna become your true self back on Earth, and when you finally do and gain back all of your memories, you can come back home with me. And until you reach that point, I’ll be looking out over you, protecting you from the evils of that world.”
  798.  
  799. Becoming your true self, awakening, remembering…who…who are you? Who is she? What are you both?
  800.  
  801. “Buh-But…Lil Sis, who are we? You and me, we…we were both humans when we went to the lake the first time. Neither of us were ponies, yet here we are now as them. What are we? What are you?”
  802.  
  803. She giggles and stops for a brief moment, gently moving a forehoof up to boop you on your muzzle.
  804.  
  805. “I’m your little sister Silly Big Sis, and you’re my big sister. We’re neither human, nor pony. I know your memory of the lake was distorted when you entered into a new life on Earth, but remembering us as human was the result of you being a human on Earth. Likewise, us being here, we both appear like we’re ponies. And, technically, we are ponies, but not regular ponies. You will remember more, but you see the spindles on the back of my neck?”
  806.  
  807. You silently nod, dashing your gaze briefly to the blue quills that stuck out of her neck.
  808.  
  809. “We’re a hybridized species of unicorn. We’re Kuberends, or as you used to call them, Kubies. I always giggled whenever you said that word, but that’s what we are. We don’t live in an Equestria like you experienced here in this world, but it’s a world seemingly reminiscent of it. Even though we both appear as ponies here, how you’re seeing me now is how I really look. And you look so similar to how you used to look Big Sis.”
  810.  
  811. Just as you are about to think and respond to that, you notice that you both have exited the forest. Just a few feet in front of you, the lake stood out before you, connecting from the river that leads up to it. The hills that are on your right and left join and circle around the lake. The sun too is now slipping completely behind the hills, the sky itself becoming dark. It’s night, just like in the memory. The breeze has stopped, and the overall atmosphere is beginning to feel cooler and cooler. You pause for a moment, looking at the lake that has haunted you for most of your life. However, you notice your little sister has stopped just a foot or two away from the lake, looking intently at it. Hesitantly and cautiously, you walk right up next to her.
  812.  
  813. “Big Sis, look down at the lake. What do you see?”
  814.  
  815. You look over at the murky dark water. You can’t see the bottom of the lake, but one thing that does surprise you is the reflection that stares back out at you. Unlike in your past experiences with this memory, you don’t see a silhouette. Instead, you actually see a full-color reflection of yourself. You look similar to how you do now, only…you actually see a horn on you. Turning your head to get a better look, you also see white quills sticking out from your neck. Spindles…just like hers, only white. A…Kuberend. A…Kuby.
  816.  
  817. “You see that reflection Big Sis? That’s what you truly look like. So similar to how you look now, but that’s who you truly are. When we first came here, that reflection appeared as a silhouette. It was at that time that I had begun using magic to wipe away your memories. I felt so horrible, and I was so sad to see you losing yourself as you entered into a new life on Earth. But, you wanted to do this. You wanted to become stronger so that you could face any threat, any danger without ever truly losing yourself. You became a silhouette, a shadow of your former self. But you’re not a silhouette anymore. You’ve broken free from that darkness, and now, you’re gonna become more and more like the true you.”
  818.  
  819. You stand back up and look to her, noticing that she’s crying, but still holding together a loving smile. She gently places a hoof on your upper back.
  820.  
  821. “I promise you Big Sis, I’ll bring you back. You’re free, and so very soon, I’ll release you from Earth and bring you back home with me. I’ll guide you. You’re almost there.”
  822.  
  823. A part of you starts to internally panic, realizing that you’re gonna separate from her shortly.
  824.  
  825. “WAIT! Lil Sis!”
  826.  
  827. “What Big Sis?”
  828.  
  829. “What’s…What’s your real name? Please, I need to know.”
  830.  
  831. She actually giggles a little through her tears, and instead hugs onto you extremely tightly.
  832.  
  833. “I’m Farra Big Sis. I’m Farra, you’re little sister. And I love you so very much, always and forever.”
  834.  
  835. You hug back onto her tightly and clingily, savoring every single second with her. Farra…that’s her name…her true name. Farra…she’s…she’s the girl. She’s…She’s your true sister.
  836.  
  837. “And, wuh-what’s my real name Farra? Am I…Am I Radiance?”
  838.  
  839. “You are who you’ve always been Silly Big Sis. You have a radiant heart, a radiant soul, filled with an overabundance of glowing, radiant love. That’s your gift Big Sis; you love and help others. You radiate with an endless supply of love. And the more you awaken, the more you’ll soon realize that. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll find the way back home. You just need to use that ability of yours one more time on the people who need it most on Earth.”
  840.  
  841. You feel her squeezing on you even tighter, attempting to lean with you a little more forward.
  842.  
  843. “In a way, Radiance is a good name for you. Radiating love, that’s who you truly are. Radiance, I like that as a nickname, but it’s not your true name Big Sis.”
  844.  
  845. “Whu-What is it then Farra?”
  846.  
  847. She pauses for a moment and kisses you one last time on your cheek.
  848.  
  849. “Marra.”
  850.  
  851. Without warning, you suddenly feel yourself being pushed forward. You immediately fall straight into the water, flailing your hooves and splashing water all around you. You are sinking, sinking back into the abyss.
  852.  
  853. No! Lil Sis! Farra! Nooooooooo! You don’t want to leave her! You want to be with her! You want to...go…home…
  854.  
  855. Home…
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