Gum0

Lexicon

Aug 9th, 2017
672
Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. >You are Anon.
  2. >Yeah, weird name, but your parents were not the most normal people.
  3. >Their reasoning was that it'd "make you feel more relatable."
  4. >Whatever the fuck that means.
  5. >But your name is probably only the second most interesting thing about you.
  6. >The honor for the most extraordinary thing would have to go to your place of residence.
  7. >That place being Ponyville.
  8. >How you got here, you still have no idea.
  9. >But you're here, and it's been pretty great.
  10. >No pony has ever seen a creature quite like you.
  11. >You're tall, bipedal, and from another world without magic.
  12. >To small technicolor horses, that's probably the most crazy thing they've ever heard of.
  13. >You haven't had to pay for much of anything, they even built you a human sized house expecting nothing in return.
  14. >At most you've had to do a few odd favors and go on a few comical adventures.
  15. >Other than that, not a day of work.
  16. >It's pretty great, the ponies definitely put you on some kind of pedestal.
  17. >Everything from your food to clothes is provided for you.
  18. >And you thought they thwarted Glim Glam's socialist dreams.
  19. >Kidding aside though, you can't think of much that you don't like here.
  20. >Sure, you're missing a lot of the comforts from Earth and you had friends, but people would kill to be in your spot.
  21. >And you can't say you blame them.
  22.  
  23. >It's a pretty average day.
  24. >The bright, technicolor world around you makes every morning feel warm and inviting.
  25. >That is, unless there's some villain of the week bullshit going on, then things can get bad outside.
  26. >But that happens less than you 'd think.
  27. >Ponyville as you know it is like if you took the show and stretched it out.
  28. >It's like life, everything's a filler episode.
  29. >You've witnessed first hand the gripping drama of Applebloom losing her bow and Rarity being out of silk.
  30. >More obsessed fans would probably eat that shit up, but you could care less.
  31. >You're more into the adventurous stuff.
  32. >Being a big, imposing monkey man, you tend to be a pony's first pick for getting help with more risky things.
  33. >"Hey Anon, there's some rogue Changeling's outside of town."
  34. >"Hey Anon, there's a very important book hidden in some swamp."
  35. >"Hey Anon, Discord got bored and turned half the town into foals, care to help?"
  36. >Stuff like that.
  37. >You know it's them using you, but it's fun.
  38. >That and it justifies you having everything handed to you for free.
  39. >Usually you have a few day's notification before being sent out to go do something.
  40. >Which means most likely it's going to be a do nothing day today.
  41. >Days like that tend to mean you sit around inside all day or wander into town when you get overly bored.
  42. >It's kind of disheartening when you know your day is going to be a filler day.
  43. >But that's just a part of living here.
  44.  
  45. >Sighing to yourself, you look through the Earth stuff you have.
  46. >The items that were on your person followed you to Equestria, and luckily you had a backpack on at the time.
  47. >You've got a wallet, a long dead phone, a small lighter running low on fluid, a dead laptop, a paperback copy of "Dune", an old notebook you've used as a diary, the bag itself, and the remnants of the weed you were on your way to sell before you wound up here.
  48. >It's going to be a very sad day when your stash runs out entirely.
  49. >Thankfully you've managed to pace yourself decently.
  50. >Other than these things, everything else you own is from Equestria.
  51. >If you knew you'd be moving to a different world, you'd have packed some other stuff.
  52. >Like your memory foam pillow or some more books.
  53. >But you've managed to piece together new belongings.
  54. >Everything from a deck of cards you swiped from Trixie to some Equestrian literature.
  55. >A shame that they don't really have sci-fi.
  56. >It makes sense seeing as how this is a fantasy world at heart, but still disheartening.
  57. >Nothing can be perfect you suppose.
  58. >Although stuff like your phone and laptop have absolutely no value anymore, you still like holding onto it.
  59. >They serve as something of a keepsake.
  60. >Something to remind yourself of home.
  61. >Because as much as you enjoy living here, you don't want to lose touch with where you're from.
  62. >After all, you're still you.
  63.  
  64. >Not wanting to just sit around all day, you decide to make your own adventure.
  65. >You toss some shit into your bag and sling it into your shoulder.
  66. >Heading out the door, you start walking down a random direction.
  67. >You're bound to find something interesting along the way, you don't leave town for stuff besides work so it's not like you've explored everything.
  68. >You could go camping out in the Everfree or something.
  69. >But that would require you to sleep outside.
  70. >And you have learned the hard way that mosquitoes are still a thing in happy horse land.
  71. >Never again.
  72. >Shuddering a bit to yourself, you notice something from the corner of your eye.
  73. >A cave.
  74. >It's a large looking cave, the entrance seems clean cut and artificial.
  75. >You've never in your life seen it before.
  76. >Odd considering that it's only a few yards away from your house.
  77. >Literally a stone's throw away.
  78. >Maybe somebody has started a mining operation nearby?
  79. >Although you haven't heard any work like that at all.
  80. >Regardless, it's definitely given you something to do.
  81. >Approaching the cave, you can't help but feel odd.
  82. >You can't put your finger on what it is, but something feels off about this place.
  83. >And that only serves to make you want to explore it more.
  84.  
  85. >The cave's insides are relatively small.
  86. >It's a perfect circle, a sort of dome of rock.
  87. >In the far back you can see what looks like an altar of sorts.
  88. >The altar is around average pony height, carved in a dark black stone.
  89. >Your best guess is obsidian or something.
  90. >Upon closer inspection, there's an indentation in the altar filled by a small sphere.
  91. >The light filtering in from outside shines on everything in the room, but the sphere does not reflect that light.
  92. >It's like a black hole swallowing up everything.
  93. >And what do you do with strange, light swallowing artifacts?
  94. >Grab that shit.
  95. >Granted you aren't normally that impulsive.
  96. >Something is just pulling you towards the thing.
  97. >You reach out, placing your hand on it to pull it from the altar.
  98. >It's impossibly cold, sending shocks down your spine.
  99. >Recoiling, you notice your hand is stuck to the sphere.
  100. >Fear welling up in you, you desperately try to free yourself.
  101. >All the while you can hear faint, unintelligible whispers in your head.
  102. >Your vision begins to blur and darken, everything feels heavy.
  103. >Maybe this was a mistake.
  104. >Hindsight is an absolute bitch.
  105. >As you begin to slip out of consciousness, you hope that Twilight can help you when you wake up.
  106. >If you wake up that is.
  107.  
  108. >You do thankfully wake up.
  109. >When you come to, you’re sprawled out on the ground, lying on your belly.
  110. >Almost instantly you notice the small muzzle in the bottom of your line of sight.
  111. >Going to touch it, you find your hand has been changed into a small, tawny hoof.
  112. “Fuck, again?”
  113. >The soft female voice that escapes your mouth all but confirms the situation.
  114. >You woke up as horse.
  115. >When you went pony the first time, it was due to Twilight practicing a body double spell.
  116. >She wanted to see if it would work on other species than ponies, and sure enough you spent the day as Twilight.
  117. >It was weird, but not exactly unlikable.
  118. >After that you had become a pony three other times, this being the fourth instance of ponyification.
  119. >First time you’ve had a coat this color though, you’re usually a green color if you aren’t an existing character.
  120. >Oh well.
  121. >Sighing a little, you pick yourself up off the ground.
  122. >Twilight is probably going to scold you about the dangers of exploring alone before she gives you back your body.
  123. >Annoying but you can’t use magic so you can’t fix things yourself.
  124. >And Twilight is by far the most easy magically skilled pony to talk to.
  125. >Princess of Friendship and all that, you know?
  126.  
  127. >Looking around the cave, you make a startling discovery.
  128. >You can’t find your bag.
  129. >Losing your bag would not be good at all considering your belongings from Earth were in there.
  130. >It’s definitely nowhere in the cave itself.
  131. >Maybe it went to the same weird subspace your clothes went to?
  132. >Those aren’t here either and usually disappear in magical transformations.
  133. >So hope now, panic later.
  134. >Sounds like a plan.
  135. >Best case scenario it’ll be right back on your back once Twilight is done nagging.
  136. >Worst case?
  137. >...You should just go find Twilight.
  138. >The walk from here to town is pretty quick.
  139. >Passing by a few ponies, none seem really surprised about your appearance.
  140. >Granted, they probably don’t recognize you.
  141. >Makes things a little less awkward you suppose.
  142. >Once in town you catch your reflection in a shop’s window.
  143. >Tawny fur, a chestnut color mane, crystal blue eyes… and a horn to top it all off.
  144. >Pretty cute.
  145. >Curious, you peek at your flank.
  146. >The symbol on there is a big black book, opened to some random page in the middle.
  147. >Not normally what winds up plastered on your ass, usually you get a little question mark or something.
  148. >After a minute of looking yourself over, you tear yourself away from the reflection.
  149. >Cute it may be, but you need to fix this.
  150.  
  151. >Doesn’t take you too long to find Twilight.
  152. >She’s milling about town, mingling with others.
  153. “Hey, Twilight, I need your help!”
  154. >”Oh hey there! I thought you said you were busy today.”
  155. >You blink.
  156. >Did you tell her that?
  157. “Um, sure. But, uh, I need you to do me a favor.”
  158. >”Sure, what do you need Lexi?”
  159. “Huh?”
  160. >Twilight frowns slightly, cocking her head.
  161. “What did you call me?”
  162. >”Lexi! Your… name.”
  163. “Hey, quit messing around! We both know I’m Anon.”
  164. >”What’s an… anon?”
  165. >She’s got to be fucking with you, right?
  166. >Although it’s really not in her nature to do something like that.
  167. >Your ears droop a little as you try to think of something to say.
  168. >”Are you feeling okay Lexi? There isn’t some weird spell on you, is there?”
  169. “A sp-spell? Um, no…”
  170. >”Then what’s wrong?”
  171. “I’m uh… just tired I guess… feeling a little under the weather.”
  172. >She thankfully seems to buy that.
  173. >”Why don’t you head on home? I can bring you some lunch later.”
  174. >Nodding, you turn back towards your house.
  175. >”Lexi… your house is that way.”
  176. >Twilight points a quaint little pony sized house a little ways off in the distance.
  177. “R-right…”
  178. >Blushing, you scurry past her and towards the house that is most definitely not yours.
  179.  
  180. >Approaching the house, you notice a little sign on the door.
  181. >”Scribbled Lexicon’s Residence”
  182. >Pony names have always been a little weird to you.
  183. >Actually having one is a million times worse.
  184. >It’s a miracle that you have a normal sounding nickname…
  185. >You shake your head.
  186. >You don’t /have/ a pony name.
  187. >Twilight is just confused.
  188. >Hell, the actual Lexi is probably sitting in this house right now.
  189. >That however is quickly proven false.
  190. >Looking inside, there’s not a soul in sight.
  191. >The house looks almost nothing like yours.
  192. >Big shelves line the small walls, each full to the brim with books.
  193. >The actual house is rather small, a little parlor area, a kitchenette, and a door you assume leads to a bedroom.
  194. >What is going on here?
  195. >Never in your life have you heard of a pony named “Lexi.”
  196. >But here’s a fully furnished house, one you’ve never seen.
  197. >And Twilight treated you like an old friend.
  198. >Maybe that sphere had a bit more to it than you thought.
  199. >It’s a scary thought, but something is definitely different here.
  200. >That’s when it occurs to you.
  201. >Your house should still be right where it was, right?
  202. >In an instant you bolt out of the house.
  203. >Running at full gallop makes the trip to your house a quick one.
  204. >But there is most definitely no house there.
  205. >It looks exactly like it did before the house was built.
  206. >Uncleared, untouched, not a sign of anybody ever even coming over here.
  207.  
  208. >You feel numb.
  209. >A part of you wants to run off frantically and ask any and everypony if they know the real you.
  210. >That would probably only cause more concern though.
  211. >After all, if Twilight had no idea who you are and your house doesn’t exist…
  212. >Clenching your eyes shut, you desperately don’t want to think about it.
  213. >Whatever is going on, you’re going to have to fix this.
  214. >But that is easier said than done.
  215. >After all, asking anybody for help could lead them to thinking you’re crazy.
  216. >That damn orb messed things up badly.
  217. >The orb.
  218. >If you can take Twilight to it, maybe she’ll know what’s going on!
  219. >It’s worth a shot at the very least.
  220. >However, as you approach the cave, you’re met by nothing but a smooth rock surface.
  221. >It’s not surprising, but it is devastating.
  222. >Takes a lot of effort to not break down right there.
  223. >But you do manage to slowly trudge back to “your” home.
  224. >You’ll think of something eventually.
  225. >Won’t you?
  226.  
  227. >Twilight comes by shortly thereafter.
  228. >She’s got a small picnic basket with her.
  229. >”How are you feeling?”
  230. “Um… better, but I should probably get some sleep, I pulled an all nighter last night.”
  231. >You can’t come up with much better of an excuse off the top of your head.
  232. >”Again? You need to take better care of yourself Lexi…”
  233. >The concern on her face tells you this is a reoccurring issue.
  234. >But as far as you know, this is the first time this has ever come up.
  235. >Whatever has gotten into her mind, it’s potent.
  236. “I’ll keep that in mind, right now I just want to go rest.”
  237. >Nodding, she slides the basket over to you.
  238. >”Just return the basket when you’re done, okay? Feel better soon!”
  239. >And you’re alone again.
  240. >Sighing, you walk off to the small little bedroom in the house.
  241. >It’s nothing special, a bed, a desk, a few odds and ends.
  242. >You flop down onto the bed with a groan.
  243. >Lying down as a horse is awkward to say the least.
  244. >Even though your certain your legs are bending the right way, it doesn’t feel right.
  245. >What the hell are you going to do?
  246. >In this moment, with nobody around and your ideas pretty much exhausted, that question ways heavily on your mind.
  247. >It’s all you can focus on, it’s the only thing you can think about.
  248. >And it hurts.
  249. >Hot tears sting your eyes, threatening to pour out in ugly sobs.
  250. >Going to wipe them off is difficult with your hooves, and the difficultly only makes you want to cry more.
  251. >So you do.
  252. >You cry and cry, burying your face into the pillow.
  253.  
  254. >During the crying you fell asleep.
  255. >It’s a couple hours later that you wake up, groggily lifting your head up.
  256. >Still a horse head.
  257. >And, as you are now privy to, horse heads still get headaches.
  258. >Your body feels heavy and lethargic as you pull yourself up.
  259. >It occurs to you that you aren’t quite sure how to stretch like this.
  260. >You position yourself in a way similar to “Downward Facing Dog.”
  261. >Your body leans in forward, your back end pushes up slightly.
  262. >After holding for a moment, you hastily straighten yourself back up.
  263. >Thankfully nobody around is here to make “I want to cum inside Lexi” jokes.
  264. >Thoroughly embarrassed, you walk back out into the the main area of the house.
  265. >Shit, the picnic basket.
  266. >Your stomach grumbles as you remember the food you left out.
  267. >Hopefully it’s not anything that would spoil.
  268. >You try opening the basket with your hoof.
  269. >That however proves more ineffective than you would have thought.
  270. >You underestimated the power to grip things before, now you’re swiping the edge of a wicker basket hoping for the best.
  271. >Frustrated, you hit the basket a bit too hard, knocking it over and spilling the contents.
  272. >Oh great, jam.
  273. >Jam and broken glass.
  274. ”This is bucking bullshit!”
  275. >Your eyes go wide with a mix of shock and embarrassment.
  276. >There’s no doubt you were thinking of fucking, but it didn’t come out that way.
  277. >Maybe it’s best to focus on cleaning your mess now and how fucked up everything is later.
  278.  
  279. >Opening a basket is one thing, cleaning up broken glass and jam is another.
  280. >You fucked up hard enough as is on opening something, how the hell are you going to fix this?
  281. >That’s when you remember something.
  282. >There’s a horn on your head.
  283. >Unicorns have magic, telekinesis being an example of that.
  284. >You just need to figure out how.
  285. >Grimacing, you try to focus on a piece of glass, trying to get it to work.
  286. >It can’t be too hard, right?
  287. >But, much to your dismay, you just can’t seem to get it to do anything.
  288. >All you’re succeeding at is making your headache worse.
  289. >You keep pushing however, trying your hardest to cause some movement.
  290. >A shard of glass does seem to twitch slightly, but that’s about it.
  291. “Ugh!”
  292. >You sit down indignantly, a scowl on your face.
  293. >The one upside to this damn body and you can’t figure it out.
  294. >How are you even going to function like this?
  295. >No hands, no telekinesis, no memories related to Lexi…
  296. >Everything has gone to shit.
  297. >Taking a deep breath, you try to calm down.
  298. >This isn’t going to help anything, and it doesn’t feel good either.
  299. >So you might as well just try your best and calm down.
  300. >Deep breathes, in and out, in and out.
  301. >You just sit there with your eyes shut until your headache dissipates.
  302. >That’s something at least.
  303. >Your head feels a lot more clear now, although you still aren’t very happy about this whole thing.
  304. >But this is as solid a start as any.
  305.  
  306. >Turning back to the mess on your floor, you try to focus on a shard of glass once more.
  307. “Move, move…”
  308. >Nothing.
  309. >You whimper slightly, your whole body tensing up.
  310. >Can’t you just get one thing, one little silver lining in this shit show?
  311. >Just something you can latch on to!
  312. >Miraculously, the shard moves, floating upward at your beckoning.
  313. “O-oh my-”
  314. >The moment your concentration breaks, the shard falls again.
  315. “Buck.”
  316. >Take three goes far better, you manage to keep your focus and move the shard around.
  317. >The more you do it, the more natural it feels.
  318. >However, you don’t exactly want to play around.
  319. >You spend the next few moments cleaning up the place, floating the mess out the window.
  320. >Only because you aren’t sure where the garbage goes here, and the window was right there.
  321. >Moving the basket back over to yourself, you survey the remaining contents.
  322. >Something wrapped in thin paper, paper now covered in jam and an apple.
  323. >Great.
  324. >The soggy paper pretty much points to the contents being inedible, so you aren’t even going to try.
  325. >So instead you settle for the apple.
  326. >It’s not great, but it’s something.
  327. >And at this point, you’ll take anything you can get.
  328.  
  329. >After your “meal”, you look over at the large shelves of books.
  330. >At first you wonder how Lexi would have ever been able to reach them, before the obvious dawns on you.
  331. >Magic is some potent shit.
  332. >A combination of curiosity and boredom compels you to pull a book down from a shelf.
  333. >”Magic and Me.”
  334. >Paging through, it looks like some kind of guide on spells, simple stuff.
  335. >Probably helpful, but you’re not exactly interested in learning basic spells at the moment.
  336. >You put the book back in its place, a shelf just below eye level.
  337. >Grabbing a few books from nearby places, you find unassuming guides on a multitude of subjects.
  338. >Stuff like “The Principles of Proper Horn Care.”
  339. >Some of these volumes look like they’ve hardly been touched too.
  340. >That’s when you wonder, what’s on the high shelves?
  341. >The top shelf is high enough that you can hardly see it from where you’re sitting.
  342. >You’d need to move back slightly to see it properly.
  343. >The book you grab from up there is much heavier, but surprisingly less dusty than some of the other ones.
  344. >”On the Matters of Channeling Chaos Magics.”
  345. >You blink, looking it over.
  346. >That’s… odd.
  347. >It’s like finding a book on the occult in a public library’s reference section.
  348. >You grab another.
  349. >”An Incomplete History on Discord.”
  350. >Also far less dusty than her lower shelf books.
  351. >Maybe the lower books are simply there for show?
  352. >Because despite these books obviously seeing more use, they’re definitely tucked out of sight.
  353. >For the first time being Lexi, you’re more curious than frustrated.
  354.  
  355. >Discord.
  356. >The name on the cover is more perplexing than anything.
  357. >Even after Discord’s little reformation, he’s not the most popular guy around.
  358. >A lot of ponies refuse to even mention his name.
  359. >Yet, here’s a book about him.
  360. >You’re fairly certain it’s not required reading for anypony studying magic.
  361. >That coupled with that chaos magic book makes you wonder.
  362. >What has Lexi been up to?
  363. >Twilight mentioned something too come to think of it, but you can’t think of a natural way to press her for info.
  364. >But Discord maybe…
  365. >That’s it!
  366. >Discord is basically a god, he should remember you!
  367. >The only question is… where to find him?
  368. >You could go see Fluttershy, but it’s no guarantee he’d be there.
  369. >And you really want to avoid contact with ponies right now.
  370. >They expect to be speaking with Lexi, and you have no way to emulate that yet.
  371. “Where to find a chaos god…”
  372. >”You ring~?”
  373. >You jump at hearing his voice, looking around frantically.
  374. >He’s nowhere in the room.
  375. >”Down here!”
  376. >You look back at the book, and sure enough, there’s an illustration of Discord on the front.
  377. “Discord! You remember me, don’t you?”
  378. >The illustration moves, scratching its chin.
  379. >”Hm, I dunno, you ponies all look alike to me…”
  380. >Rolling your eyes, you clarify.
  381. “First off, bullshit, secondly, I mean the real me, Anon!”
  382.  
  383. >”Anon?” he asks.
  384. >You nod.
  385. >”Hm, Anon… Isn't an anon a... giant monkey? Right?”
  386. >Your heart skips a beat.
  387. “Y-yes! A human! Finally, someone who remembers!”
  388. >Discord stares for a moment.
  389. >”I… was joking Lexi. I’d accuse you of trying to play along but we both know that’s not your style.”
  390. >The sudden turn is soul crushing.
  391. >Your jaw hangs open as you try to figure out what to say now.
  392. >”Wow, you seem really out of it Lex! Did you mess up another ritual?”
  393. “I... I…”
  394. >”Insanity is not a good look on you, but if you’re going to play with the unfathomable, you have to pay the consequences sometimes! I’ll probably return you to sanity after a while.”
  395. “I’m not insane!”
  396. >Your heart is racing right now.
  397. >For a split second, you almost bought his insanity story.
  398. >Even though you know for a fact that you were a human this morning you almost believed it.
  399. >The sheer lack of will you just expressed makes you shudder.
  400. >No, not lack of will…
  401. >It’s Discord’s overpowering magic, even without trying he can have a subtle effect on those around him.
  402. >You blink.
  403. >Does he?
  404. >You don’t remember anybody mentioning that before, but it sounds right.
  405. >Just put the book up, he’ll get bored and leave you alone.
  406. >Now, you can’t be sure of that, but something inside feels so convincing.
  407. >So you do, and he does.
  408. >How did you know that?
  409. >A lucky guess?
  410. >Intuition?
  411. >Regardless, you’re all shaken up now.
  412.  
  413. >You’d probably roll up a joint right now if your stash hadn’t disappeared with your bag.
  414. >Because you are the definition of a nervous wreck.
  415. >You settle for the next best thing.
  416. >A nice glass of tea.
  417. >Before winding up in Equestria, you never really drank the stuff.
  418. >But your drink choice here is limited, no real alcohol from what you’ve seen.
  419. >So cider and tea have become more of a mainstay in your life.
  420. >And, as far as you’re concerned, it’s pretty nice.
  421. >Although getting shit faced on some cheap beer until you’re numb sounds awfully appealing.
  422. >Alas, you settle for a cup of Earl Gray.
  423. >Your horn makes the process of brewing it somewhat novel.
  424. >Hasn’t taken you long at all to get used to handing it.
  425. >Once you have the tea, you carefully levitate the cup to your mouth.
  426. >Despite your quick learning, it never hurts to be careful.
  427. >Especially when a fuck up will scald you.
  428. >Thankfully you manage to take sips without much spillage.
  429. >The muzzle thankfully doesn’t make things too weird or tough.
  430. >A soft sigh of relief escapes your mouth as the warm liquid passes through you.
  431. >You’re not shaking anymore.
  432. >There’s even a small smile on your face.
  433. >You blow through half a pot of that tea, and by the end of that, you’re feeling calm.
  434.  
  435. >With your head clear, you look over the bookshelves.
  436. >Unassuming at a glance with a dark secret.
  437. >If you’re stuck like this, best to look a bit deeper into what she’s been up to at the very least.
  438. >More books fly off the shelves.
  439. >Ranging from chaos magic to taboo rituals to inflammatory rebukes of Celestia’s rule from draconian cult leaders.
  440. >Half of this stuff flies straight over your head.
  441. >The other half you know is some big “no-no” shit.
  442. >Like, you’d expect some minor villain to have a library like this before she gets reformed.
  443. >Could Lexi be a minor villain?
  444. >No, there’s no way.
  445. >Twilight seems to be friendly with her.
  446. >As you go to shelf the books again, a scrap of paper falls from one of them.
  447. >Curious, you pick it up.
  448. >”Dear Lexi, in the chance that Discord or something else destroys your memory or mind, I hope you find this.”
  449. >Well, you suppose that this is a fitting circumstance.
  450. >”No matter what you may think or what anybody may tell you, you are a chaos mage.”
  451. >”That may not make sense to you, but you’ve practiced for a long time. It’s what you study, it’s what you live for.”
  452. >”After all, ever since birth you’ve been destined for this path.”
  453. >”So, good luck on fixing yourself up, and don’t let anybody’s nagging get you down.”
  454. >”Regards, Lexi.”
  455. >You stare at the page for a minute.
  456. >It’s basically what you had assumed, but now it’s all confirmed.
  457. >This Lexi dabbles in some very dark stuff, and does it with pride.
  458. >And, for now, that’s who you are.
  459.  
  460. >You put the paper up, sliding it back into the book.
  461. >Or at least, some book, you aren’t quite sure what thick black volume it was in originally.
  462. >Close enough though.
  463. >Managing to not freak out again, you start pacing around the room.
  464. >Staying like this any longer than necessarily is not wanted.
  465. >So you need to work out your options.
  466. >One: You fix yourself with your magic.
  467. >Two: Twilight fixes you.
  468. >Three: Discord fixes you.
  469. >Four: Somebody else fixes you.
  470. >Five: This is all some weird hallucination caused by a shrew in the moon.
  471. >All of these have their own issues.
  472. >They require you to either get really good at magic really fast, or convince somebody that you’re not a pony.
  473. >And, you know five is a joke, but sometimes dumb shit keeps you going.
  474. >Even if it’s dumb shit you make up off the top of your head.
  475. >Regardless of what path you’re going to take, you can’t rush this.
  476. >Giving somebody the wrong impression or fucking up a powerful spell can be irrevocably damaging.
  477. >So, basically, you’re walking on thin ice right now.
  478. >And you are not used to walking on these hooves.
  479. >Right now, it seems your safest bet is learning more about Lexi.
  480. >After all, you’re going to have to function as her for some time.
  481. >But, how?
  482. >Your glance turns back to the bookshelf once again, a thought beginning to form in your head.
  483. >She’s a researcher and a scholar, that much is obvious.
  484. >Meaning there’s a good chance that she’s got journals.
  485. >You just need to start looking.
  486.  
  487. >So you tear through the entire top shelf of her books.
  488. >Yet, you find not a single journal.
  489. >Although you do find a single smutty novel tucked away with her tomes.
  490. >That’s… something?
  491. >You put it back, noting it’s placement for purely reasons of curiosity.
  492. >But, right now, you’ve got bigger things on your mind.
  493. >You start combing through the next shelf down.
  494. >Doesn’t take you long to notice a small row of books all with the same, uniform blue binding.
  495. >There’s no writing on the spine of any of them.
  496. >Curious, you grab the first one from the group.
  497. >The front cover is embossed with the number “1” in an ornate font.
  498. >Opening it, you are greeted with what you assume is the title.
  499. >”Observations and Recordings: 1”
  500. >Jackpot.
  501. >You eagerly flip through the pages, only to be met by the same thing on every one.
  502. >Nothing.
  503. >They’re blank, every single page.
  504. >Maybe these are also just for show?
  505. >But then, why have the title in the front?
  506. >If anything, you’d want a fake book to have something innocuous on the spine, not something suspicious.
  507. >And a group of blank spines is certainly suspicious.
  508. >In total there are eight of these books.
  509. >Just to be safe, you combed over every single one.
  510. >The volumes continue the “Observations and Recordings” series.
  511. >Yet all lack anything in terms of content.
  512. >Somewhat disheartened, you put those back as well.
  513. >Back to square one really.
  514.  
  515. >After all of this, you’re feeling tired all over again.
  516. >The sun is setting steadily, it’s gotten dark out.
  517. >You yawn a little, heading back to the bedroom.
  518. >You can try learning more about Lexi tomorrow.
  519. >Maybe you can play the Discord angle a bit.
  520. >He thinks you’ve gone mad, or is at least teasing you, so you could play into that.
  521. >Try and weasel stuff from him.
  522. >What’s the worst that an all powerful chaos god could do to you?
  523. >Well a lot.
  524. >But at this point, you don’t have much to lose.
  525. >Hell, his toying around with you might actually lead to a better form.
  526. >Although, you wouldn’t bet on that.
  527. >You can never bet on anything with that noodly fuck.
  528. “Reformed my ass.”
  529. >Hearing your own voice makes you wince a bit.
  530. >You haven’t done much talking, and sitting her by yourself right now, it’s just echoing there.
  531. >This isn’t you, there’s no way.
  532. >And you’re going to fix this.
  533. >As you fall asleep, you feel determined, albeit concerned.
  534. >While you sleep, you feel something nag at your mind.
  535. >Not quite a full dream, but there’s something going on in your head.
  536. >It’s urging you, hammering one thing into your sleeping mind over and over again.
  537. >”Don’t trust Discord.”
  538. >The barrage of the warning makes your sleep restless, you can practically feel yourself tossing and turning in the bed.
  539. >However, upon waking, the message doesn't fully stick.
  540. >You feel haggard and slightly uneasy.
  541. >And you can't figure out why.
  542. >It's on the tip of your tongue though...
  543.  
  544. >Despite your unease, you know what you have to do.
  545. >Sitting around staring at this house won’t accomplish anything.
  546. >No, you've got to start working towards making a difference.
  547. >And that sadly starts with Discord.
  548. >Just thinking of his name makes you shudder.
  549. >But he's about the only person you can think of that might give you some info on Lexi without raising suspicion.
  550. >So, you must.
  551. >Grabbing that book you used to speak with him earlier, you pause for a moment.
  552. >That strange uneasiness passes over you again.
  553. >It's right on the brink of your memory, but you can't force it out.
  554. >Trying to ignore the dread, you pull the book down to your eye level.
  555. "Hey, Discord!"
  556. >The image of the draconequus twists around, facing you.
  557. >"Took you long enough Lexi! Where are your manners?"
  558. "I doubt you were waiting for me this whole time."
  559. >He shrugs off your dry retort.
  560. >"If you don't mind, I'm going to get out of this dreadful book!"
  561. >Even if you did mind, he barrels out of it anyways, filling your house with a plume of thick smoke.
  562. >Probably all just for show, to tick you off.
  563. >Coughing a little, you focus your gaze on him.
  564. >He's not his full size, he's shrunken down to fit into the pony sized house.
  565. >Still large enough to tower over you with ease though.
  566. >It's all about dominance with him.
  567. >As long as he looks like he has the upperhand, he feels comfortable.
  568. >Even if he has to fake it, he wants to look like the smartest guy in the room.
  569. >Where did you read that again?
  570. >You blush, shaking your head.
  571. >Haven't gone through any of these books yet.
  572. >The theory still feels sound, almost too thought out to be your own.
  573. >Maybe Twilight told you it at one point.
  574.  
  575. >"Well Lexi, what is it?" Discord asks, lounging back as if in a chair.
  576. >Of course, he's simply floating in midair, showing off.
  577. "You implied I had lost my mind last time we spoke... is it possible that's true?"
  578. >The path you've decided to head down will require some acting.
  579. >Going straight forward with the "I'm a human!" argument won't yield results.
  580. >But, if you pretend to at least be considering that you're actually Lexi, Discord might tell you some stuff.
  581. >Even if it's just details about your personality.
  582. >"I'd say it's likely."
  583. "O-oh?"
  584. >"After all, you're the one who seemed to feel relieved when I jokingly called you a giant monkey."
  585. >Your face goes flush.
  586. >It's only half an act.
  587. >There's just something about his tone that puts you off, flusters you.
  588. "Maybe I was just messing with you!"
  589. >"Then why ask me if it's possible right now?" he replies back without hesitation.
  590. >Your ears droop a bit as you realize that your assertation was dumb.
  591. >Don't just blindly rush through this.
  592. >You don't need to try and prove yourself against him, just get information.
  593. "Heh, yeah, you've got me there..."
  594. >Discord frowns, sitting up a bit in his chair of air.
  595. >"What's really going on here Lexi?"
  596. "Huh?"
  597. >"Something is obviously going on here, it's clear as day."
  598. >You open your mouth to speak, but are abruptly cut off.
  599. >One might expect some sharp reprimand or harsh rebuke.
  600. >Maybe even some show of magical force from the chaos god.
  601. >But, instead, he poses a rather... strange question.
  602. >"What's your favorite food Lexi?"
  603.  
  604. >The question catches you off guard to say the least.
  605. >Is he quizzing you right now?
  606. >Trying to change the subject?
  607. >"Isn't is jam on toast? I remember visiting you several times while eating it!"
  608. >Your face wrinkles up in confusion .
  609. >What is he getting at here?
  610. >Just before you call him out for skipping around the main point, you remember something.
  611. >There was a jar of jam in that little basket of food Twilight brought you.
  612. >So, that might be a tidbit of Lexi's past for you to use.
  613. >It's not much, but it's something.
  614. >Instead of calling him out, you simply nod.
  615. "Y-yeah, apple jam..."
  616. >You even put on a little smile.
  617. >If he's just going to spoon feed you information, you'll take it!
  618. >Discord nods, rubbing his chin.
  619. >"Remembered that it was apple, eh? That's a good sign for your psyche."
  620. >As if!
  621. >You just remember the jar from yesterday, easy as that.
  622. >So what if you never tasted it, it looked like apple jam!
  623. >You... think...
  624. >But of course it was, Discord just confirmed that.
  625. >"And, do tell me..." Discord began, dragging you from your internal confusion.
  626. >"When did you get your cutie mark?
  627. >You look at your flank, blinking.
  628. >Another random piece of Lexi trivia...
  629. >"It was the first time you went into the restricted part of the library." he said, grinning.
  630. >This time he didn't even give you a chance to reply.
  631.  
  632. >As you look into his eyes, you feel as if you've remembered something.
  633. >It kind of spills out from your mouth, you don't even consciously recognize you're saying it.
  634. "Yeah... the teacher said that those spells were to dangerous for us..."
  635. >Discord chuckles, nodding.
  636. >"But you sure showed them, didn't you?"
  637. >You catch yourself from nodding.
  638. >The words that rolled off your tongue have finally met your brain.
  639. >What the hell did you just say?
  640. >Was that just a lucky guess or something?
  641. >But... why guess at all?
  642. >You're letting him tell you stuff, there's no need to guess!
  643. >"Ah, Lexi, you're loosing focus again!" he chides, wagging a claw.
  644. >Your head shoots back up to look at him.
  645. >The information he's feeding you is valuable, you have to keep it going.
  646. "Sorry about that, I appreciate the help..."
  647. >"Of course you do! It's like that time when I taught you that last part of that chocolate rain spell!"
  648. >A soft chuckle escapes your mouth this time.
  649. >"Yeah, and you didn't tell me the rain cloud would be in my house!"
  650. >A genuine feeling of wistful joy wells up from inside of you.
  651. >Nostalgia for an event that never happened.
  652. >With your heart racing, you stare up at Discord.
  653. >Fear is drowning out that nostalgia fast.
  654. >What is going on?
  655. >Discord's grin twists wider and wider as he leans in closer.
  656. >"What's your favorite color Lexi?"
  657. "Royal p-purple..."
  658. >It comes out as a soft whimper.
  659. >That's not your favorite color, is it?
  660. >The idea of it feels wrong, but no other answer comes to mind.
  661. >And, even worse, Discord didn't even give you a hint this time.
  662.  
  663. >"Is something wrong Lexi?" Discord asks, chuckling.
  664. >"You seem tense!"
  665. "I... I..."
  666. >"I understand Lexi, therapy can be tough, but you're remembering so much!"
  667. >Remembering...
  668. >You blink, your eyes locked onto his.
  669. >That's what this is, isn't it?
  670. >Discord is helping you... remember.
  671. >You think back to that note you found yesterday in the book.
  672. >Lexi was concerned about her memory being toyed with.
  673. >And Discord seems to think that's what happened...
  674. >In this moment, everything feels like a big murky bog.
  675. >No, two big bogs, superimposed on one another.
  676. >Each step is tough and arduous, and even then you aren't sure what you're stepping in.
  677. >Are you actually Lexi?
  678. >Was your whole human life a delusion?
  679. >Or are you Anon?
  680. >Is this all some kind of trick?
  681. >Hot tears begin to stream down your face as you look up at the draconequus.
  682. >You just don't know.
  683. >Earlier today everything felt so certain, but now?
  684. >It's hard...
  685. >"Oh, don't cry Lexi, it's so unbecoming!"
  686. >You snivel.
  687. "I-I'm confused..."
  688. >He shakes his head, patting yours.
  689. >"That's just the reprogramming that's rotted your mind! That genius, if misguided, little mind!"
  690. >You nod weakly.
  691. >"But don't worry, I find no more joy in watching you suffer Lexi, a day or two has been more than enough."
  692. >He leans in close, his face pressed up to yours with a wild grin.
  693. >"I'm going to fix you, trust me~!"
  694.  
  695. >That phrase is like a rock being thrown into a tinted window.
  696. >The barrier obscuring everything shatters around you.
  697. >"Trust me."
  698. >Your sleep last night rushes back to you.
  699. >That shitty, restless sleep!
  700. >More importantly, the voice that was bothering you all night...
  701. >"Don't trust Discord."
  702. >You tear your eyes away from his, clamping them shut.
  703. >"Lexi...?"
  704. >His sadistic enjoyment is no longer evident in his voice.
  705. >It's calmer now, more curious if anything.
  706. "Fuck off..."
  707. >You can't see it, but the snort he gives makes you think he recoiled slightly.
  708. "Leave me alone!"
  709. >Your voice cracks a little as you yell at him.
  710. >Sniffing a bit, you peek at him.
  711. >HIs back is turned to you, it's as if he's walking away from you.
  712. >"You're afraid of me, aren't you Lexi?" he asks coldly.
  713. >You don't humor him with an answer.
  714. >He simply sighs, looking back at you.
  715. >"You're sick Lexi, you've messed up your head. If you won't let me fix that, fine, live with this torment."
  716. >He smirks a little, his facade already back up in full.
  717. >"But, don't fear me!"
  718. >He disppears in yet another puff of smoke, his voice echoing in your house.
  719. >"After all, fear is the mind killer!"
  720. >You shudder as his laugh trails off into nothing.
  721.  
  722. >What are you going to do now?
  723. >Talking with Discord was an utter failure.
  724. >Just thinking about it makes you shudder.
  725. >The way you just started reciting these facts about Lexi was just surreal.
  726. >Even now you're still somewhat unsure of if you're actually Lexi or not.
  727. >The only thing that really keeps you from fully falling into that belief is that you don't actually remember anything you said.
  728. >Like it raining chocolate in this house, you have no recollection of that.
  729. >Hell, you don't even remember seeing this before going to that damn cave.
  730. >But in that moment with Discord, you believed it whole heartedly.
  731. >You felt the emotions like they were a part of you.
  732. >Was Discord imposing them onto you?
  733. >If he really did think you were Lexi, it would make sense that he'd do something like that to fix you.
  734. >After all, there's no worries in brainwashing someone if that's fixing them, right?
  735. >But you don't need to be fixed.
  736. >You don't think that you do.
  737. >One thing is for sure though.
  738. >From here on, you will not be leaning on Discord for anything.
  739. >No help, no advice, nothing.
  740. >Even if he means well, it's far too dangerous.
  741. >And you aren't even sure that he means well.
  742. >Instead you're going to seek help elsewhere.
  743. >Literally anywhere else.
  744.  
  745. >Your stomach rumbles softly after a bit.
  746. >Makes sense, you haven't eaten anything since that apple yesterday.
  747. >Looking through your small kitchen, you thankfully do find some food.
  748. >The jam looks tempting, but you make a decisive effort to avoid it.
  749. >Last thing you want to do is prove Discord right.
  750. >You might have found the lack of meat discouraging if you hadn't basically gone vegitarian here anyways.
  751. >In a world where just about every creature can talk or at least convey emotion, eating others is generally frowned upon.
  752. >Not to mention you'd be the one doing the butchering.
  753. >So you've altered your diet a bit.
  754. >Which means finding the ingredients you'd use normally to make oatmeal is rather encouraging for you.
  755. >Either Lexi was a far better cook than you, or working with a horn is criminally easy because the process goes by quickly.
  756. >It's even a little fun.
  757. >And the piping hot mush tastes pretty good on top of that.
  758. >Just what the doctor ordered!
  759. >You scarf the whole bowl down and go for a second one.
  760. >Looks like you've found out the true meaning of comfort food.
  761. >Once you're full, you set the dishes aside in your little sink.
  762. >You can clean them later.
  763. >As you do, you hear a knock on the door.
  764. >Who could be visiting you?
  765. >Discord wouldn't knock, so maybe Twilight?
  766. >Or perhaps somebody else that Lexi associates with?
  767. >But that could be just about anybody at this point.
  768.  
  769. "Um, who is it?"
  770. >You call out, not opening the door yet.
  771. >"I-It's Fl-Fluttershy..."
  772. >Oh, that's not that bad.
  773. >You can deal with her, even if her nervousness can be a little annoying.
  774. >Heading over to the door, you let the yellow pony in.
  775. >She looks around a little, before awkardly averting her gaze to the floor.
  776. "Can I help you?"
  777. >You, as Anon, haven't really interacted much with Fluttershy.
  778. >She was always kind of around, but she'd tend to avoid you.
  779. >Probably out of embarassment or something.
  780. >"Have you t-talked to Discord yet today?" she asks, looking up sheepishly.
  781. "Um, yeah, why?"
  782. >"O-oh, it's nothing! H-he just seemed a little... a-angry. N-not that I'm implying you made him mad!"
  783. >You nod, your eyes darting around as if to look for Discord.
  784. >You know he'd probably be invisible right now if he was watching, but checking does ease the tension a little bit.
  785. "No idea why he'd be mad, he seemed pretty normal when I talked to him."
  786. >Not a lie really, Discord's normal is very abnormal.
  787. >Fluttershy nods slowly, thinking about something.
  788. >"M-must have been nothing then..."
  789. "I suppose so!"
  790. >Putting on a fake smile, you fully expect her to leave.
  791. >But she doesn't, she kind of just waits there.
  792. "Um... Everything okay?"
  793. >"Oh... I was just wondering if... w-well..."
  794. >Fluttershy blushes immensely, looking down.
  795. >"I-If you'd prepared that spell for me yet?"
  796.  
  797. >Well, fuck.
  798. >You have absolutely no clue what she's talking about.
  799. >Fluttershy looks very concerned upon looking at your wide eyes.
  800. >"I-I'm sorry! I really didn't mean to rush you...!"
  801. "I-It's fine, it's fine!"
  802. >No it's not, it is definitely not.
  803. "I've just, well, been very... busy?"
  804. >She nods, a nervous look still plastered on her face.
  805. >"I understand, it's not a request you hear everyday... th-that's why I came to you."
  806. >So Lexi is kind of the black market mage here, huh?
  807. >Does shady jobs and spells under the table and all that.
  808. >Makes sense, it's a decent living from the sounds of it.
  809. "And I'll be more than glad to help, once everything here has settled down a bit."
  810. >"S-settled down?" she asks, cocking her head.
  811. "Well, you know, I've been pretty busy... studying..."
  812. >Realization flashes over Fluttershy's face.
  813. >"O-oh right! That c-cave!"
  814. >Your jaw drops open, your heart soaring for the first time all day.
  815. "Yes exactly! The cave! Wh-what have I told you about it?"
  816. >"Th-that... well.. um... you really didn't Lexi, all you mentioned was that it was 'f-fascinating'..."
  817. >That soaring feeling quickly crashes into an ocean of disapointment.
  818. >Not that you didn't find a silver lining though.
  819. >Somebody has to know about that cave! If not Fluttershy, than somepony else!"
  820. "Y-yeah, it's very fascinating, and I'll happily tell you more later, but right now, I need to get back to work!"
  821. >Fluttershy nods, quickly scurrying out.
  822. >You're back on track to figuring this all out!
  823.  
  824. >You are Twilight Sparkle, and you're concerned.
  825. >Lexi has always been somewhat problematic.
  826. >Ever since she moved here, she's teetered precariously on the edge.
  827. >Her skills and gifts are undeniable, and she's nice enough when you get to know her.
  828. >But her interests are dangerous.
  829. >Chaos magic is some of the most volitile, harmful stuff you can think of.
  830. >Yet Lexi craves to learn more and more about it every day.
  831. >You still remember when she flat out asked to be Discord's pupil.
  832. >Thankfully Discord wasn't interested, but the thought of a pony so willingly wanting to work under him is frightening.
  833. >Outwardly he seems mostly reformed, but you've seen him slip more times than you're comfortable with.
  834. >This line of thought makes you sigh.
  835. >You hate to be so judging and skeptical.
  836. >As a princess of friendship, you should really be more trusting of your friends.
  837. >At least, you think so at least.
  838. >Lexi hasn't shown anything close to outward aggression.
  839. >Anything shady she may be doing she hides rather well.
  840. >Although you hate to admit it, you're fairly certain there is something shady going on.
  841. >But you don't have the evidence to push that, nor do you want to be accusitive from the onset.
  842. >Especially as of late.
  843. >Lexi does not seem to be in the best mental state.
  844. >When she came up to you last, she was acting so bizarrely.
  845. >Bizarre even for her.
  846. >And that's saying something.
  847.  
  848. >As you reflect on this, you're met with a familiar face.
  849. >Discord.
  850. >Sometimes you swear he can read your mind given how often he shows up when he's involved in your thoughts.
  851. >Shaking off that creepy thought, you face him.
  852. "Do you need something Disc-"
  853. >The look on his face is a strange one for him.
  854. >He looks concerned, nervous even.
  855. >You've only seen such a look from him in very, very tense moments.
  856. >"Tw-Twilight! We have a problem!"
  857. "What? What's wrong?"
  858. >Your body tenses up slightly upon hearing the worry in his voice.
  859. >Discord takes a deep breath.
  860. >"It's Lexi, she's not healthy."
  861. "I noticed she was acting strange earlier, yes."
  862. >He shakes his head.
  863. >"It's worse than that, more than that. Her head is sick."
  864. >You frown, not sure what he means.
  865. >"She... she did something to herself, now her identity feels... fractured, like she's somebody else."
  866. >Anon comes to mind.
  867. >When Lexi first came up to you, she insisted she was Anon...
  868. "Do... you know why?"
  869. >"No! If I did I'd have fixed it myself!" he spits back.
  870. >He looks really upset.
  871. >Thoroughly unnerved, you try pressing on.
  872. "What do we do?"
  873.  
  874. >Taking a deep breath, Discord looks at you.
  875. >"Right now, she seems... fine, but there are dangers."
  876. "Dangers?"
  877. >He nods.
  878. >"We have no clue what exactly has overtaken her, so she may be unstable."
  879. >You imagine an unhinged Lexi, and it's not pretty.
  880. >She's powerful, and even though you're fairly certain you could stop her, damage would be done.
  881. >Both to her and the residents of the town.
  882. "Should we watch out for any specific behavior?"
  883. >"Seems like the safest bet. Just make sure she's acting as normal as possible, maybe even recovering."
  884. >He pauses for a moment.
  885. >"And... keep her away from caves."
  886. "Caves?"
  887. >You have no idea what he's hinting at.
  888. >"Remember before all this? She was scoping out this strange cave?"
  889. "Your cave?"
  890. >He looks aside.
  891. >"I will neither confirm or deny that."
  892. >You roll your eyes.
  893. >"Anyways, keep her away from it. Especially if there's some... other entity in her."
  894. >Nervous for your friend's health, you nod slowly.
  895. "Of course."
  896.  
  897. >"It... may be prudent to consider hospitalize her, at least until she's better."
  898. >He's not exactly wrong, but you don't like the thought.
  899. "If things get worse I suppose... we can consider it."
  900. >He frowns a bit, but nods.
  901. >"I suppose I should be off then, we've both got business to attend to."
  902. "Thank you for being so... serious about this, it's unlike you."
  903. >He smirks a little.
  904. >"Lexi isn't like other ponies, not even you have what she has, I have direct investment in her."
  905. "Then... why didn't you take her on as a student?"
  906. >His smirk fades as he thinks of how to word his answer.
  907. >"That's not my style, I've been her teacher, but never her mentor."
  908. >With that he leaves, leaving you concerned but resolute.
  909. >Lexi will get better, she's not doing well right now, but that can be fixed.
  910. >You hope...
  911. >Closing your eyes for a moment, you return to your work, or at least try to.
  912. >Something is still nagging at you though.
  913. >Why not the cave?
  914. >Lexi hadn't told you much about it, but she seemed to believe it used to be Discord's.
  915. >Or at least related to him in some way.
  916. >She went to it recently too, saying that she "figured out the lock!"
  917. >How do you lock a cave?
  918. >It distracts you from your work, taking up more of your thoughts than you'd have hoped.
  919. >You may want to do some digging...
  920.  
  921. >You are Lexi and you’ve got work to do.
  922. >It feels like it’s been ages since you’ve stepped outside.
  923. >Looking about the town fills you with an uncanny sense of unease.
  924. >Ponies big and small know Lexi better than you do, yet you have to pass as her.
  925. >Standing here worrying about it won’t help though, it’s time for action.
  926. >With a deep breath you start walking around, looking for someone who may have connection with Lexi.
  927. >Somebody who has worked with her before, or hired or, or is a friend…
  928. >Because if they’re close, they may know something about this cave.
  929. >Nobody seems to pay you much regard however.
  930. >There’s the pleasant greeting now and again, but nobody stopping you or approaching you.
  931. >The most meaningful interaction you really get is the odd lingering glace from a stallion.
  932. >That obviously doesn’t sit to well with you.
  933. >The sooner you’re back to being yourself, the better.
  934. >Anon doesn’t have to worry about ponies giving them “fuck me” eyes.
  935. >At least, you certainly hope not.
  936. >In an attempt to get your mind out of the gutter and back on track, you decide to try and be more proactive.
  937. >You’ll start the conversation!
  938. >After all, if it’s you leading the conversation, you can keep it on topics you feel comfortable talking about as Lexi.
  939. >Which, granted, isn’t a ton of topics.
  940. >Feeling as ready as you’ll ever, you walk up to the first pony that you see.
  941. >That just happens to be Big Mac!
  942. >A surprisingly perfect candidate if you do say so yourself.
  943. >He’s soft spoken so conversation won’t get out of hand.
  944. >He may not have anything to do with you though.
  945. >So this can basically be your warm up for talking with random ponies as Lexi.
  946.  
  947. “Hey, Mac, how are you?”
  948. >The large red stallion cranes his neck over, looking at you.
  949. >”I’m fine.”
  950. >Silence hangs in the air for a bit.
  951. “Well, that’s… good to hear!”
  952. >”Eeeyup.”
  953. “So uh… hear about any cool caves recently?”
  954. >Smooth as a low poly cactus.
  955. >Big Mac stands there, the gears in his brain churning in monotonous silence.
  956. >”Nope.”
  957. >You frown, inhaling sharply.
  958. “Alright, I didn’t expect you to anyways… well… how’s your family doing?”
  959. >Resorting to small talk already feels bad, but you don’t want to look crazy by pressing on this cave business.
  960. >And you really do need to practice in conversation.
  961. >”They’re fine.”
  962. “Well I’m glad…”
  963. >”Eeeyup.”
  964. >Would it kill this guy to give you something to go off of here?
  965. “Anything of note happen recently? Like, at all?”
  966. >He contemplates the question again, looking up at nothing in particular.
  967. >”Nope.”
  968. “Okay then, have a nice day.”
  969. >”Eeeyup.”
  970. >You walk off feeling frustrated and a little embarrassed.
  971. >That was totally him being bad at conversations, right?
  972. >Right, you’re pretty bad, but you’re not that bad.
  973. >You think.
  974.  
  975. >You assumed that finding someone actually worth talking to would be pretty difficult.
  976. >However, it seems that your best bet has just walked into your hooves.
  977. >There’s a zebra walking into town, clear as day.
  978. >Your eyes light up with sudden excitement.
  979. >She’s perfect!
  980. >Zecora is a master of weird magic stuff, right?
  981. >Lexi and her must work together sometimes.
  982. >Approaching her, you put on as confident of a smile as you can muster.
  983. “Hey there Zecora!”
  984. >”Oh, Lexi, I didn’t see you there. On this day how do you fare?”
  985. >Despite the rhyming, she’s already a million times easier to talk to than Mac.
  986. “I’ve been better, work has been unexpectedly difficult recently.”
  987. >Zecora nods understandingly.
  988. >Either she’s being polite, or your tone is convincingly like Lexi’s.
  989. “Yeah, my memory got a little scrambled so that set me back a bit.”
  990. >You chuckle awkwardly, trying to play off memory issues as nothing major as soon as possible.
  991. >”Lucky for you I know of this moss, I’ve found it quite good for memory loss.”
  992. >Stupid friendly horses always trying to be helpful!
  993. “I… don’t think that will be of much help. Besides, everything has been gradually sorting itself out anyways.”
  994. >The zebra frowns slightly but doesn’t press any further.
  995. >”Hopefully a least you remember what you worked on last, we don’t want that effort lost to the past.”
  996. >It has to have been the cave, right?
  997. >If so, you’ll have your first real lead in figuring out what happened to you.
  998. >If not, Zecora is going to be way more skeptical of your memory fixing itself.
  999. >Saying anything here is a gamble.
  1000. >But you’re going to have to make it.
  1001. >You’ll have to roll the dice and have faith.
  1002.  
  1003. “The details are still a bit foggy but… the cave-”
  1004. >Zecora quickly shushes you, looking around.
  1005. >”Lexi, don’t be a fool! Don’t you remember that rule?”
  1006. >You blink, caught off guard by her sudden shift in tone.
  1007. >She sighs, leaning in and whispering in your ear.
  1008. >”Only mention the cave when we are alone, secrets like these should not be known.”
  1009. >Well that’s pretty ominous.
  1010. >But at least it proves that this cave is both important and what Lexi was studying.
  1011. >”Come with me now, don’t delay. We need to talk and it must be today.”
  1012. >Ever since the cave has been brought up, Zecora has seemed different, on edge even.
  1013. >Pleasantries are most likely over for the time being.
  1014. >Fine by you if it means you’re one step closer to leaving this hell.
  1015. “Of course, lead the way.”
  1016. >She probably came into town for a reason, but she’s pretty much abandoned that.
  1017. >Apparently this is much more important to her.
  1018. >Good to have someone around with similar priorities.
  1019.  
  1020. >Zecora doesn’t say a word as the two of you leave town.
  1021. >The walk isn’t too terribly long.
  1022. >Your surroundings soon melt away into the dense green of the Everfree forest.
  1023. >This is where you first wound up in Equestria.
  1024. >You were confused, scared, and riding the tail end of a high.
  1025. >It was probably one of the most strange nights of your life, if not the strangest.
  1026. >You’d probably give anything to return to being that awkward monkey.
  1027. >”Come inside so we’ll have no need to hide.”
  1028. “Huh?”
  1029. >You’re outside her hut now, you were so caught up in your reflecting you hadn’t noticed.
  1030. “Oh, right, right…”
  1031. >Heading inside, you make yourself comfortable.
  1032. >If things go well you’re going to be here for a while.
  1033. “I’ll be honest, my memory of the cave is kind of foggy. Everything is sort of a blur.”
  1034. >”I understand, magic sometimes gets out of hand.”
  1035. >You’d drink to that.
  1036. >”The cave, as you may recall, is an important site from before Discord’s fall.”
  1037. >A shudder goes down your spine just thinking about Discord.
  1038. “Yeah, the place reeked of him for sure.”
  1039. >Zecora’s eyes widen a bit in surprise.
  1040. >”You managed to break through the seal? Now this is a big deal…”
  1041. “The… seal?”
  1042. >”An insignia carved in the cave’s center, it made it impossible for anyone to enter.”
  1043. >For a moment you wonder if this was actually the cave you went into, you don’t remember anything like that in the cave.
  1044. >”It was made to look like smooth rock and be hidden away, I thought it impenetrable until today.”
  1045.  
  1046. >When you went to look at it after everything that happened, all you saw was a rock face.
  1047. >Your heart is hammering in your chest.
  1048. >This has to be the right cave.
  1049. “I-I got it open alright, but it’s sealed itself back up. I don’t remember how I got in the first time.”
  1050. >Zecora sighs, obviously disappointed by that.
  1051. >”What did you find in that temple of the chaos lord? What relics from the Cult of Discord?”
  1052. >You feel as if you’ve just been dropped from a plane.
  1053. >The what?
  1054. >Cult of Discord?!
  1055. >Picking up on your shock, Zecora elaborates.
  1056. >”At the beginning of the reign the princesses of Moon and Sun, there were some ponies still thought it was Discord who should run.” Zecora began.
  1057. >”They were driven by chaos, warped by Discord’s call. They’d have done anything to bring about the princesses’ fall.”
  1058. >”It’s hard to say in the end where they did go, or even more so what they did know.”
  1059. >This is all a bit much.
  1060. >Did you really stumble into a temple for Discord?
  1061. >What was that altar for then and what did it do to you?
  1062. >”But, most importantly, I need to hear, did you find t-”
  1063. >Zecora’s mouth suddenly clamps shut.
  1064. >The two of you share shocked, confused glances.
  1065. >And that’s when a third voice enters the room.
  1066. >”Now, I’ve heard just enough of this! Talking behind my back is so rude you know!”
  1067.  
  1068. “D-Discord…?!”
  1069. >The draconequus makes himself visible, a devilish smirk on his face.
  1070. >”You call Anon?”
  1071. “A-Anon?”
  1072. >He laughs, rolling his eyes.
  1073. >”Yes, Anon, I was having fun playing pretend, but you apparently can’t keep well enough alone!”
  1074. >Zecora seems to reach for a bottle of something, trying to be as subtle as possible.
  1075. >In an instant she’s no longer in the room.
  1076. “Wh-what did you do to her?”
  1077. >”Oh, I just sent her into town and gave her a craving for oranges and no memory of the past hour. Should keep her busy!”
  1078. >You groan, getting up to go help the zebra.
  1079. >Discord however instantly cuts you off.
  1080. >”No, no, no Anon, you’re not going anywhere!”
  1081. >Gulping, you sit back down.
  1082. >”Good, good, at least you can do something right.”
  1083. >His normal jovial nature is abnormally lacking right now.
  1084. >He seems genuinely annoyed.
  1085. >”I don’t ask for much you know, just some basic life changing chaos!”
  1086. “That doesn’t sound very basic…”
  1087. >”Oh hush, you’re the one ruining everything!”
  1088. “I don’t follow.”
  1089. >Sighing and rolling his eyes, he looks at you.
  1090. >”Couldn’t just take being a horse on a chin? Just had to go around and start making ponies worry and try and fix things!”
  1091. >You don’t even know how to respond to all of this.
  1092. >It’s just an overwhelming wave of confusion.
  1093.  
  1094. >Taking a breath, you try to talk through this.
  1095. “You… you did this to me?”
  1096. >He gives a sharp chuckle, shaking his head.
  1097. >”No, no, you did this to yourself. I just happened to leave the tools lying around. Or rather, the entrance open.”
  1098. “The cave…”
  1099. >”Yes, the cave! That cave you just couldn’t stop bothering over.”
  1100. >He’s like an angry teacher scolding a student.
  1101. >”I thought ‘hey, Anon’s gone and turned himself into a mare! This should be fun!’”
  1102. >He flops over onto Zecora’s table, sending random papers and potions flying to the floor.
  1103. >”But you’re being so booooring! It’s horrible!” he bellows, groaning.
  1104. “I’m… sorry? Wait, why am I apologizing? Fuck you, fix this!”
  1105. >He sits up, looking at you with a malicious grin.
  1106. >”Fix this? I never thought you’d ask.”
  1107. >Why do you feel that things have taken a sudden, awful turn?
  1108. >Capitalizing on your growing worry, he leans closer, smirking.
  1109. >”I should get to fixing this right away, after all, poor Lexi must really want her body back!”
  1110. “...Huh? L-Lexi?”
  1111. >”What, did you think that altar shat out some random made up pony? Oh no, Lexi is very real!”
  1112. “I’ve never met her, I’ve never even heard of her before!”
  1113. >He shrugs.
  1114. >”Everybody else seems to know her, I know that I know her.”
  1115. >He raises an eyebrow.
  1116. >”But who knows Anon, hmm~?”
  1117. “Um… you and me?”
  1118. >He nods slowly.
  1119. >”So, weighing the options, it would seem Lexi has far more value to the world, wouldn’t you agree?”
  1120. >You try to stammer out an answer, but are met by Discord snapping his claws.
  1121. >In an instant you spiral into a deep dark abyss, the words “Good talk~” echoing in your head until the nothingness consumes you.
  1122.  
  1123. >Your body is sore and heavy.
  1124. >You sit up, confused by the thin gown draped over you.
  1125. >A hospital gown?
  1126. >The room you’re in is a sterile white.
  1127. >This isn’t your house.
  1128. >You stumble out of bed, your balance offset and wobbly.
  1129. >Part of you wants to go back to bed, but you can’t.
  1130. >Something is very wrong here.
  1131. “Hey, is anybody here?”
  1132. >An older looking female pony walks into your room, a warm smile on her face.
  1133. >”Oh, Miss Lexicon, you’re awake. How do you feel?”
  1134. “Not the best... why am I here?”
  1135. >She glances down, trying to formulate a response.
  1136. >”You’ve been acting strange recently Miss Lexicon, you’re here for your own health and safety.
  1137. >You bite your tongue, holding back your disdain for this situation.
  1138. >What has Discord done this time?
  1139. >Day in and day out you jump through hoops for him and he still pulls stunts like this.
  1140. >If it weren’t for his knowledge you’d probably limit your interactions with him for your own safety.
  1141. “Thank you for your concern, but I’m sure you’ll find that whatever Discord admitted me for I-”
  1142. >The nurse shakes her head.
  1143. >”No dear, it was Princess Twilight who had you come here. She seemed quite concerned for you.”
  1144. >What?
  1145. >Twi sent you here?
  1146.  
  1147. “I-I don’t understand…”
  1148. >”Twilight mentioned you’ve been having memory issues, can you not recall what happened?”
  1149. >You shake your head, a strange feeling of defeat bubbling inside of you.
  1150. >”Well, you seemed to have a little breakdown, thinking you were somebody else. Called yourself Anon and acted very dangerously.”
  1151. >Anon…
  1152. >Don’t you know an Anon?
  1153. >You rack your brain, pondering all the ponies and other creatures you know.
  1154. >Nobody specific comes to mind.
  1155. “You’re saying I thought I was… Anon?”
  1156. >She nods.
  1157. >This smells of Discord, but there’s no way Twi would ever play along with that.
  1158. >Unless of course Discord has manipulated her mind…
  1159. >He wouldn’t stoop that low would he?
  1160. >Ugh, this is already too much of a headache.
  1161. “Um… thank you for the information. Could I have some time to think?”
  1162. >”Of course, if you need anybody, just call.”
  1163. >The nurse leaves the room, shutting the door behind you.
  1164. >You try opening it with your magic.
  1165. >As you expected, it doesn’t budge.
  1166. >So even if you were up for it, there will be no daring escapes for you.
  1167. >You walk back over to the bed and lie down.
  1168. >Your body is still heavy and your brain is foggy.
  1169. >And you doubt you’ll be able to get much of anything done feeling like this.
  1170. >Scribbled Lexicon does not shirk her work.
  1171. >Lying down and closing your eyes, you wonder how you’re going to get out of this one.
  1172. >And also, who in the name of Celestia is Anon?
  1173.  
  1174. End of Part One
RAW Paste Data