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Twilight in Apocrypha - By Anonymous

PonySamsa Mar 18th, 2017 390 Never
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  1. >Twilight Sparkle sighed contentedly, a leather-bound tome crinkled softly as she closed it with a brush of magic
  2. >The runes on the page glowed faintly for moment, leaking between pages and out into the dusty air, before fading into wisps of thoughts
  3. >That book had been a particularly straining read, needing several powerful wards to safeguard her mind from the traps the author had placed within
  4. >Not to mention the complexity of the knowledge stored inside its hideous pages
  5. >Twilight scarcely had words to describe what she had read; none that others could comprehend
  6. >A dull chime echoed in the aether as she replaced the book
  7. >The soothing sound bounced from impossibly tall bookshelves and stacks of books twisted with weird geometry before dissipating with a whispered hush that filled Twilight with euphoria
  8. >A scarce few years earlier, Twilight would not have been able to imagine a place such as Apocrypha
  9. >A dimension unto itself, filled with nothing but the accumulated knowledge of untold numbers of scholars, all gathered by a strange deity
  10. >Twilight reached for another book, this one precisely adjacent to the one she just read
  11. >She wasn't sure how the great library was organized, but it seemed to know exactly what Twilight wanted before she herself was aware of what it was
  12. >The iron-clad cover opened with a muted screech of aged metal, revealing swirling rings of ideas dancing amongst each other on the page
  13. >Twilight felt her brain pulse at the maddening chaos, acutely aware that she was incapable of deciphering the meaning behind the information laid out to her
  14. >Hesitantly, she traced the page with a small tendril of thought, cautious of any traps that might lay in wait for the idle seeker
  15. >She had learned that lesson swiftly
  16. >As she carefully edged her way around the maelstrom she began to sweat
  17. >She could feel it beckoning to her, urging her onward
  18. >Twilight paused
  19. >These fonts were always the most dangerous; whispers, lies, promises, taunts, tools to coerce the reader forward
  20. >Nothing was more frightening to her than a secret that wanted to be known
  21. >She tasted at the edges of the runes, such as a worm might when faced with a large obstacle
  22. >Something tickled at her mind; a thought
  23. >Twilight took a deep breath to calm herself before casting a quick cantrip
  24. >The tickle grew to an itch and Twilight cast the cantrip again, feeling a crisp awareness that usually came from a well-caffeinated beverage
  25. >The itch warped but soon resolved into knowing
  26. "Oh, of course! Why didn't I think of that?"
  27. >The happy chirp fell upon no ears in the library
  28. >Twilight cast another cantrip, feeling something shift
  29. >Twilight's perception distorted, the swirling runes on the page seemed to grow restless
  30. >If before was chaos, now was entropy; whimpering death-throes; wounded and savage
  31. >The rings grew to columns, glowing with knowledge, ascending into the murky upperness of a strange new landscape
  32. >They pulsed threateningly
  33. >Twilight Sparkle sighed and let a tickle of thought cast forward into her mind
  34. >And she was awash with knowing
  35. >She could feel it pulsing inside as her wards, slaves and sorters worked on parsing and disseminating the information, working like a pack of ravenous parasprites to devour any information they found
  36. >At first, she had been insistent on storing every line herself through traditional methods; oratory, repetition, flash cards, but it had been too slow and cumbersome
  37. >Now, she was much more efficient at digesting the information she was given
  38. >The towers of light faded, used and tired
  39. >That had been disappointing
  40. >The knowledge was wonderful, intoxicating even
  41. >However, there was no challenge
  42. >The safeguards the author had placed were pathetic; a child could decipher and evade them
  43. >She had outgrown its defenses some time ago
  44. >A thought whispered and Twilight's curiosity piqued
  45. >She wasn't sure how long she'd spent reading that passage
  46. >With a thought of a thought, Twilight summoned her timer
  47. >She'd believed it to be a good idea to keep track of how long she had spent in this place
  48. >However, time was frustratingly convoluted in this realm; never seeming to move at any consistent pace or to any purpose
  49. >Fortunately, the realm had provided an answer to the obsessive student in the form of a countdown
  50. >To what and by whom, Twilight could only guess, but it had taken her a mere standard Equestrian day to translate the strange configuration of symbols into a familiar scale
  51. >She clucked her tongue
  52. >Four days
  53. >Not unheard of, but usually reserved for particularly challenging passages
  54. >It seemed that the author merely wanted to waste the time of whoever attempted to read his work
  55. >The book closed with a dull thump of metal on velum, and was placed on the shelf
  56. >Twilight felt something shift, and the book next in line for consumption fell free from shelf
  57. >It tumbled to the tiled floor, pages pressed pathetically against the cold stone
  58. >In the books place, seemingly conjured from the aether, was a plain volume, similar in appearance to many found within Golden Oaks, it's plainness magnified in the strange fugue that surrounded it
  59. >A presence made itself known, and Twilight spun to greet her host
  60. >"Ah, Pony. We meet again. It would seem Apocrypha has a task for you."
  61. >Eyes. So many eyes.
  62. >When Twilight first encountered the creature known as Mora, she had been scared spitless
  63. >It's octopod eyes held a cold malice in them; weighing, measuring
  64. >Tentacles of pitch writhed thoughtlessly and seemed ready to pluck at anything their master fancied
  65. >Over time, Twilight's fear faded
  66. >Hermaeus Mora was a courteous, if distant, host
  67. >Once or twice, it had even guided Twilight, offering advice when Apocrypha refused to divulge its secrets
  68. >Twilight took a breath and steadied her mind
  69. >She had a test
  70. >Mora plucked the book from the shelf, offering it to Twilight on a pitch limb
  71. >"I'm eager to see your abilities, Pony."
  72. >Twilight nodded, swallowing a dry mouth
  73. >With a quick cast, the cover opened
  74. >Nostalgia
  75. >The scent of aged paper flooded Twilight's nose and taste buds while the crinkling of pages drowned out the gentle hum of reality
  76. >She brought the book close, laying eyes upon the first page
  77. >Empty
  78. >The yellowed pages held nothing
  79. >Twilight probed, seeking hidden meaning lost in the geometries of the page as some books were wont to do
  80. >Nothing
  81. >She turned the page
  82. >Empty
  83. >Turn again
  84. >Nothing
  85. >Twilight looked over the edge of the book, at her formless host
  86. >Mora regarded her coldly, the infinite patience of a god evident in its posture, waiting on her
  87. >She turned the page again
  88. >Empty
  89. >The pages began to turn quickly as Twilight poured her faculties into dissecting the tome
  90. >As she continued, a dull ringing grew in her ears, distant but ominous
  91. >Pages began to blur and the ringing grew louder and louder, soon becoming a dread horn; a constant drone of sound as tall and broad as any wall
  92. >The sound grew maddening as Twilight pushed on, fluttering pages passing so quickly as to create a constant chopping sound as they tore at the air
  93. >Empty
  94. >Empty
  95. >Empty
  96. >Empty
  97. >The drone became a primordial roar
  98. >Twilight turned the final page
  99. >Empty
  100. >Pain
  101. >Twilight blinked
  102. >Pain
  103. >She grimaced
  104. >So much pain
  105. >It spread through her body like black tendrils, seeking untouched areas to infect, blasting her thoughts to white hot pieces
  106. >Twilight groaned, her mind screamed, whispers rose and fell in a muted cacophony
  107. >How?
  108. >Twilight clung to the thought desperately, a beacon in the maelstrom
  109. >How?
  110. >There were no traps, she was sure of it
  111. >No hidden pathways, no ancient seals or curses
  112. >Empty
  113. >The book was empty
  114. >Her vision faded
  115. >Betrayal
  116. >A beast reared its head deep in her mind, shrieking one name, over and over; Betrayal
  117. >The Apocrypha tilted, sliding out from under Twilight while her mind raced at her own foolishness
  118. >She had been so careful, so meticulous, but she neglected the possibility of something else's desires acting upon her
  119. >Twilight screamed in her mind
  120. >Her nerves pulled themselves apart
  121. >Her skin separated and drew back across glistening muscle
  122. >Her bones shattered and knit, only to shatter again
  123. >Her mind was alight, fires burning behind her tearful eyes
  124. >Then, as suddenly as it came, the pain left without a trace
  125. >She whimpered as it receded
  126. >Her vision was filled with black and she heard a faint rustle and a book crossed her vision, remarkable in its plainness
  127. >The blackness moved and a thoughtful hum echoed through the empty halls of knowledge
  128. >"I see."
  129. >The book was offered to her on a pitch limb, it's cover blank save for a small engraving of her Cutie Mark
  130. >Twilight retched, feeling the need to cleanse herself of that blackened essence, but extended a tendril of thought nonetheless
  131. >The first page held a simple line, written in Equestrian runes
  132. "Twilight Sparkle"
  133. >She read the name aloud
  134. >Twilight Sparkle
  135. >A half-felt feeling rose in her gut, dulled by the distance of mind from reality
  136. >A voice whispered in her mind, urging her to turn the page
  137. >The paper creaked as she turned it, dreading the return of pain from only moments before
  138. >Part of her screamed to stop, to close the book and put it back on the shelf, that there were countless tomes in Apocrypha and that skipping one would be of no consequence
  139. >The voice was small, going unheard amidst the cacophony urging her forward, eager to filter and disseminate whatever lay within
  140. >This page, too, was occupied
  141. >At the very top, placed in a position of dignity, was a familiar sequence that followed Twilight throughout her entire life
  142. >Twilight's lips mouthed the words as she read the digits of her birthday for the first time in what seemed like eternity
  143. >Tears formed in her eyes and her brow furrowed in confusion
  144. "I don't understand."
  145. >She flipped through the book, each chapter bearing her Cutie Mark and name; each page a date from her life
  146. >Tears gathered and fell; the more she read the more she cried
  147. >She read of her loneliness, of her studies
  148. >She read of her friend and her triumphs
  149. >She reached the final page
  150. >A tentacle blacker than the dark between stars blocked her sight
  151. >"To read this page is to know thyself, Twilight Sparkle. To read it sets your fate in stone."
  152. >The voices screamed, a muted roar of want, baying with hunger and promising retribution for failure
  153. >Twilight's lip trembled as realization dawned; she had crossed Fate's border long ago
  154. >She gently brushed the obscuring limb aside and gazed at the page
  155. >Twilight gazed back
  156. >Tears of grey ooze leaked from her eyes
  157. >So many eyes
  158. >Some were hers; most were not
  159. >Many regarded Twilight with cold interest, weighing their author
  160. >Blighted black lips, thick with corruption trembled on a swollen muzzle
  161. >A horn poked from between a mangy fringe of hair set between two ears set between two ears set between two ears, horns poking weakly from their own prisons of indigo mane
  162. >Twilight traced down her neck, watching as a tentacle did the same on the creature staring at her from within the pages
  163. >Formless
  164. >Twilight vomited black bile; Ink
  165. >Her skin crinkled as she thrashed in confusion and terror
  166. "I want to go home."
  167. >The voice burbled from her throat, she was sure of it
  168. "I want to go home, now."
  169. >"You know the path, Twilight Sparkle."
  170. "Where's my book? I want to go home."
  171. >A black tentacle traced the corners of the tome that lay in from of the former unicorn
  172. >"You are no longer a creature of the material plane, Twilight Sparkle. To return is to experience agony beyond compare."
  173. "I want to go home."
  174. >"Apocrypha has claimed you, Twilight Sparkle. Would you so readily deny its wishes?"
  175. "Yes."
  176. >"Very well. The way lies open. You may return whenever you feel the call of Apocrypha."
  177. >A tentacle of parchment closed the book and reopened it to the first page
  178. >Twilight focused her being onto the page, seeking a way home
  179. >The runes rose from the page, glowing quietly in the growing murk
  180. >"Farewell, Twilight Sparkle."
  181.  
  182. >"Twilight? Twilight, where have you gone?"
  183. >A concerned voice reached Twilight's ears, melodious and comforting
  184. >Princess Celestia
  185. >Everything rushed back into Twilight
  186. >She had come to the Princess for help, seeking knowledge on pocket dimensions and travel within them
  187. >Very secret knowledge and open for abuse to whomever mastered it
  188. >Understandably, the Princess hoarded any tome on the subject in her own personal library within Canterlot Castle
  189. >Twilight called out
  190. "Princess? Princess Celestia!"
  191. >She raced into the stacks, eager to see her mentor once again
  192. >"Twilight, is that you? Is everything okay?"
  193. >Trepidation
  194. >Twilight didn't care, she was going to see her friends again
  195. >There, a flowing tale floated from behind one of the elegant cases
  196. "Princess!"
  197. >Twilight cheered as she turned the corner
  198. >"Twilight? Oh, dearest Twilight..."
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