Act II - Part 5: Memories
A silence fell over Silver Shield and Twilight Sparkle as both pairs of eyes settled on the illusion conjured in the middle of the room. Twilight's breathing froze, while Silver's seemed to quicken. They both felt their hearts racing. The image of Stone Wall stood proudly, her golden mane flowing down her back. Her lustrous armor hid most of her fur, but white tufts jutted out at the edges. The only thing that had changed about her since Twilight's last dream was her expression. Before, she had been smiling, and every part of her face had been filled with kindness. Now her eyelids hung lower, her frowning mouth revealing her desperation.
"I need you to kill me," the image repeated. "Help me, Twilight Sparkle. You're my only hope." Stone Wall froze, her piece given. The illusion flickered, stretching and shearing in different direction, making it obvious she wasn't real.
Silver Shield's eyes darted between Twilight and Stone Wall, his jaw hanging open and quivering. She could tell he was trying to find a way reestablish control over the situation, and that involved figuring out exactly what was going on around him. But every time his brain started down a particular line of logic, it froze up in contradiction. Nothing made sense. There was no explanation.
"What... is... this?" he finally thought to ask.
Twilight looked over the newcomer. The picture was startlingly detailed. The mare's silver armor even seemed to reflect the light that was already in the room naturally. "I don't know," Twilight said as she stood up and began to move around Stone Wall, examining her from every angle. "I think..." She closed her eyes and began to concentrate, forcing herself through the strain that had started in her horn and was beginning to work its way down her body.
"Stop," warned Silver Shield. "Don't act. Explain." Even though Twilight was no longer in any immediate danger; she could maybe teleport away before Silver Shield would be able to reach her, the force and conviction in his command persuaded her to obey.
"The memories are there," said Twilight, softly. "Even if I can't recall them on my own, they still exist, somewhere in my brain, just out of reach. Maybe I can use magic to draw them out."
If Twilight had been offered a choice for her circumstances, she would have asked for a week alone, with her computing machine, all her books on magic, and her trusted abacus. Improvised magic, such as what she was now suggesting, was not her area of expertise. It was possible, she knew, devising spells on the fly; many of the mages on Celestia's court were sorcerers, but she had always considered it a crude form of spellcasting. Less understanding meant less capability.
She thought back to the time she had tried to hypnotize the parasprites, figuring that the spell would be easier if she had a baseline to work from. This time, however, she would be retrieving thoughts instead of implanting them. She tried to remember how that spell had felt as she had cast it. Next, she buried her consciousness into the fine-woven structure of the Third Eye spell, trying to figure out where in her brain it had begun looking.
Silver Shield watched her, quickly becoming bored. To him, Twilight appeared to be quietly meditating, her face occasionally twisting up in concentration before settling back into a relaxed state. She was interesting to watch at the beginning, but after five minutes Silver turned his attention to Stone Wall.
Twilight had captured her beauty well. Looking at the image, knowing it wasn't real, still took Silver Shield's breath away. Stone Wall was the most dazzling pony to ever grace Equestria. Silver softened, remembering the times he had spent with her. Chasing the infamous jewel thief Sapphire Stones down a back alley in Tampa Bray, escorting the Princess on her diplomatic mission to the Land of Fiends and Fire, and even that time he and Stone Wall had gotten caught in the vicious ice storm after the Canterlot weather crew had fled; Silver Shield remembered all these things and let himself fall into their comforting embrace.
Then he remembered why these were only memories instead of his current fate. He remembered the mare who had killed his lover.
"Are you done yet?" he asked Twilight. The unicorn opened one eye and looked at Silver, unfocused.
"Just about," she said as she retrieved the pointer from the Eye's emulated brainspace and fed it into her projection spell. She smiled, pleased with what she hoped was success. "Would you like to see the whole scene?"
Silver Shield wasn't impressed. "How do I know you're not making this all up?" he asked. "How do I know that what you show me is real."
Twilight scoffed, and the act did much to improve her attitude. "I almost died today. Do you really think I'd have the clarity to improvise an entire exchange with somepony you know a lot better than I do? If I'm faking, you'd probably be able to tell."
"Good point," said Silver Shield, feeling foalish for suspecting that a brute like Twilight would be able to make up a story about his beloved without him immediately seeing through it. "But if you try to teleport away, I'm tying you up again. Or maybe just killing you outright. I can recognize a teleport spell now." He thought back to the book on defending against dark magic he had been reading. One thing he had learned was that different spells had distinct visual effects upon use. Thus, a trained observer would be able to recognize if a spell being cast was attack magic or escape magic, even before the spell was completed. Of course, his statement was still a bluff. Silver doubted he'd be able to remember exactly which effect corresponded with which spell.
Twilight nodded and closed her eyes again, feeling around her own mind, guided by the pointer. Each new fragment of the memory was fed into the projector, and the image expanded, revealing rough rock walls and the lab equipment Twilight had seen in the cave in her previous dreams.
Silver Shield became extremely disoriented as the floor fell away beneath him. The blackness that replaced it slowly faded into a stone floor that Silver could feel beneath his hooves. The new setting was unfamiliar, and Silver Shield slowly took it in. He assumed this was Twilight's base in the Swayback mountains, and he wondered if she had found the cave or if she had carved it herself. While the walls were flat and the corners sharp, parts of the room seemed unfinished and natural, like the stalactites that hung from the ceiling.
In addition to Stone Wall, the illusion now contained a second Twilight. Silver Shield could easily tell them apart, as the younger Twilight was missing the scars and bandages that obscured parts of the older Twilight's face.
The scene began to rewind. Both ponies' lips moved, but neither made any intelligible sound. The fake Twilight took steps backward.
The movement slowed to a crawl; the scene had halted, ready to play from the beginning. Twilight looked down at the floor, as if she was trying to process some new piece of information, but she was shaking, and her breathing was ragged. Silver Shield suspected that she had just seen what she was about to show him. Whatever she saw had startled her. "Are you ready?" she asked, managing a weak smile. "This is Stone Wall's final message to you."
The words "final message" chilled Silver Shield, but he refused to let it show. "Do it," he ordered.
The image of Stone Wall lost its statuesque appearance as it took on the movements of a living, breathing, being. "I am coming in good faith, and I ask you for help. I believe that the two of us, together, can heal this broken world."
Impossible, thought Silver Shield, but he said nothing. Stone Wall wouldn't reach out to the enemy like this.
"You're wrong," said Fake Twilight. "I'm hardly suited to save anypony."
Stone Wall laughed, softly and gently. "I think you underestimate your own ability."
"I don't know what stunt you're trying to pull," said Twilight. "At worst you're cruel. At best, you're overly optimistic. Neither of those traits cause anything but pain and disappointment. You don't know the first thing about me."
"Twilight Sparkle. Daughter of Sun Sparkle and Twilight Star. Sister to April Bluff, also known as The Great and Powerful Trixie. Graduate of the Hoofington School of Wizardry. According to Professor Tweed Jacket, you show amazing potential but suffer from a lack of control. Overall, however, he thought you were one of his most inventive students."
Twilight was dumbstruck. "How did you..." she began.
"It turns out," explained Stone Wall, "that private records are a lot easier to access if you pretend to be a Shadowbolt."
Twilight shivered, and Silver Shield shook with her. The Shadowbolts, Silver Shield knew, were Nightmare Moon's trusted pegasus guard. They were the eyes and ears for the tyrannical pony and were spread all across Equestria. Together with the Ironhooves, an army of earth ponies, and the Aethernauts, Nightmare Moon's circle of magi, the three Shadow Cults were the most dangerous forces in Equestria, short of the Nightmare Queen herself.
"And I see you haven't let your magical talent go to waste," Stone Wall remarked as she gave the cave the scrutinous look-over. "I can't begin to guess what half of these things do, but surely something here can help us."
"There's quite a few of us ponies who still want to fight, Twilight. We're not all broken shells. Granted, the hard months have gotten to a good deal of us. There's only a couple of ways to get food, and that's to be born rich or work for Nightmare Moon. As our supplies ran low, quite a few of us defected." Stone Wall, while she talked, meandered over to a machine mounted on the wall, examining its features. It was nearly a perfect cube and was decorated with lights and dials. "Perhaps that's for the best, though. It means those who stayed are the truly loyal ones, the ponies we can trust. But we still need a miracle, and that's where you come in."
"I still think you have the wrong pony," scoffed Twilight. "And don't touch that."
"Why? Is it fragile? It looks sturdy enough to me." She pressed a switch with her hoof, and a grinding sound emanated from deep within the machine. A tube connected to the machine began to glow with golden light, and Stone Wall followed it to an oversized bowl with half a dozen equally spaced cylindrical protrusions all pointing to a space above it.
Stone Wall felt the heat before she saw the light. The air rippled around the bowl, as if everything around her were merely painted in precise detail into a tapestry that was now blowing in the wind. From a seeming fold in the imaginary fabric, a small red sphere appeared above the bowl. The ball burned bright spots in her vision, and she shied away.
"What is this?" she asked, already having a sneaking suspicion.
"It's an artificial sun," explained Twilight. "It's an idea Madame Orange came up with. It mimics the properties of actual sunlight, and we can use it to grow food. Or we could, if I could figure out the right proportions of elements to include in it. The current model can't be sustained for more than half a minute, if we're lucky." As she finished speaking, the sun shook violently and then exploded, splashing Stone Wall with a searing and sticky red liquid that matted her fur. The pegasus yelped and tried to shake it off. Twilight, panicking, cast a spell that condensed the water vapor around Stone Wall, soaking her in water that dissolved the liquid.
Silver Shield shot the real Twilight a disapproving glance. "You really don't remember any of this?" he asked.
Twilight shook her head. "It's strange," she said slowly. "I'm still trying to figure it out. But she doesn't seem much like me. She's too cold."
In the illusion, Stone Wall laughed softly, never losing her cheerful demeanor. "I suppose I deserved that," she said. "That's ingenious, though. What else do you have?"
The friendly attitude startled Twilight. Weren't we supposed to be enemies? she thought. "You really think I can help you?" she asked.
"Listen to me, Twilight. I know the ponies around here don't respect you; they fear you. But it's not all like that. You were the first pony to stand up to Nightmare Moon, even if you lost. You fought her when she first appeared at the Summer Sun Celebration, and nopony's forgotten that. You're an icon, Twilight Sparkle. An inspiration. I know for a fact that some of my comrades get through the day by thinking of you. You're already a hero."
"Now, I don't think you've spent these last few months hiding and doing nothing. And if you have anything, anything at all, that can stop Nightmare Moon, I want you to share it with us. Save us, Twilight."
Save us. Twilight had never been called upon before for a favor of such magnitude. "You want to know," she said slowly, "if I have something that can defeat Nightmare Moon. Some sort of weakness."
"Pretty much. Anything would be a lifesaver at this point."
Twilight paused, wresting with the decision to share her greatest secret. "Fine," she said at last. "I may have something."
"A weapon we can use against Nightmare Moon?"
"Better than that. A lot better." Twilight motioned once for Stone Wall to follow her and began walking deeper into the lab.
Twilight's sudden enthusiasm bewildered Stone Wall. What is she planning? the pegasus wondered. Twilight was smiling now, the sort of smile that meant she had a secret that nopony else knew. Something that gave her an advantage, and she knew it. Stone Wall wondered what could possibly give Twilight such a spring in her step, and she followed eagerly.
Twilight led Stone Wall all the way to the back of the large chamber, stopping at the far wall. Small cylindrical rods were attached to the wall at even intervals, each one studded with smaller spikes and ending with a disc. They reminded Stone Wall of mechanical flowers. "There's a question every little filly asks, at least once. Have you ever gazed at the stars and wondered what's out there, miss Stone Wall?"
Twilight was giving her "miss", Stone Wall realized. She was certainly putting on a show. "You mean, like life out among the stars?"
"Not quite. The question, technically, is 'Are we alone in the universe?' The answer is no. There's life out there. Zecora and I found it. But it's not in the stars. It's here, in Equestria. Just a stone's throw away, but it's hidden out of reach." She pulled a switch on the wall, and the protrusions began humming with energy. Stone Wall watched the bolts of energy that built up in each rod before jumping between them.
The bolts smoothed and became a bright, pulsating grid that slowly faded into an image. At first, Stone Wall wasn't sure what she was looking at. Within the transparent picture was another cave, although this one appeared more natural than Twilight's base. Many more stalactites hung from the ceiling, and the corners were rounded, much unlike the blockish shape of the lab, which were signs of deliberate intervention by hoof. The high level of detail in the image almost convinced Stone Wall that the room had suddenly doubled in length; in fact, when she moved the image seemed to shift with her to a new vantage point, as if she were looking through a window, but she could still faintly see the wall behind the picture.
The physical Twilight and Silver Shield were equally dumbfounded. A glimmer of something unidentifiable flared up inside Twilight, perhaps determination or familiarity or some combination of the two, as she desperately tried to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. All she could tell with certainty was that this memory was important, and critically so.
"What is this?" Stone Wall asked for the second time.
"It's a very specific type of mirror," explained Twilight.
Stone Wall shifted again, watching the angle of the image change. Indeed, it did seem to behave how a mirror should behave, except for an obvious glaring problem. "I don't have a reflection. And this isn't your lab."
"I did say it was a special mirror. It filters the light that passes through it. I assure you, what you're seeing is real. It's just not something you can usually reach. Or even see."
"What am I looking at?" To Stone Wall, it just looked like a normal cave. Clearly, there was something special, something Twilight found extraordinary, but Stone Wall wasn't able to comprehend it.
"The B-side of the world. An alternate universe. Filled with alternate versions of me and you, in theory. And more importantly than anything else, a sun."
Twilight had expected this revelation to stun Stone Wall. Instead, perhaps because Stone Wall had never encountered anything of this sort before, she did not quite understand what she was looking at, even after the verbal explanation. The full impact and implications of this discovery were lost on her.
The same impact was not lost on the real Twilight. For her, the nightmare around her finally made sense.
This was not her world. She was not the Twilight Silver Shield was hunting. She glanced over at Silver Shield to see if he was coming to any of the same conclusions. His expression was blank, and he was completely focused on the scene playing out before them.
"I don't understand," said Stone Wall.
The Twilight in the illusion decided to create an example. "Why did you decide to join the Royal Guard?"
Stone Wall thought for a moment. "I grew up in Trottingham," she said. "I was a little filly during the griffin occupation."
Twilight had heard about the occupation. It was part of a series of conflicts between the ponies and the griffins before Twilight was born. Although she didn't look it, if Stone Wall was a filly during that time, then she was nearly old enough to be Twilight's mother.
"One day, a fight broke out in town square, and I was caught in the crossfire. A curse, cast by one of the unicorn soldiers, struck me, gummed up my insides. It was the most painful thing that had ever happened to me, and I thought I was going to die. But I didn't, clearly. As I was lying there, in the middle of the impromptu battlefield, one of the griffins thought I'd make a good prisoner of war. And prisoners aren't effecting bargaining chips if they're dead. So one of the griffin soldiers who knew a little bit about magic patched me up. And in the days following that, we got to know each other a little better, and it turned out he didn't help me just because he was ordered to. He was just as opposed to the war as I was. A lot of griffins were. The whole thing was their chief's idea, and he was starting to get old. Soon, he thought, one of his offspring was going to challenge him for the throne, and most of them didn't want the war either.
"About a week after I was captured, there was a raid on the complex. I was rescued, but the ponies that saved me slaughtered all the griffins in the place, including my friend. I never even got to learn his name.
"Before then, I hated all the soldiers, Pony and Griffin both. It was because of them that so many ponies I knew died. But I realized that it didn't have to be that way. A true soldier sought piece and understanding. A true soldier protected everyone around her, kept them safe. I couldn't control the actions of those around me. The only way I could control a soldier was to become one myself. So I did. Eventually I was promoted to the royal guard. And who knew? Maybe, in time, I could join the Princess's cabinet, make some real changes to this world."
"All in the unknown name of a griffin."
Stone Wall sneered at the lack of respect Twilight was giving her fallen friend. "Yes."
"An honorable motive, I suppose, becoming a soldier. But what if you hadn't? Can you imagine where you might be if only things had played out differently. What if the pony that shot you had been assigned someplace else? Or the griffin who helped you? Perhaps you never decided to join the royal guard. Perhaps you're dead. What do you imagine the world would be like."
Stone Wall didn't know. "It's an interesting thought to ponder," she said, "but I don't see the use of it. It doesn't matter what would have happened; it didn't."
"Fortunately, then, Stone Wall, you don't need to imagine. You may be looking at it."
For the first time, Stone Wall understood what she was looking at. "You're saying that there's another me out there, through this mirror, in a world where I turned out differently."
"I believe I may have said that, although not in as many words. And it's not just you that's changed. It's a world where the sun still shines." In the back of the mirror's image, the cave began to slope upward. Stone Wall could barely make out the sunlight streaming in from the opening.
"Tell me, Twilight," began Stone Wall, her voice suddenly losing all of its enthusiasm. The sudden shift came with a drop in pitch that startled Twilight. "Is it possible to actually travel to this world?"
Twilight felt for the pegasus. She understand the allure of the mirror world, the desire to reach another world where everything was better. "Theoretically," she said. "We've managed to transport small objects, so presumably you can move a pony as well. We just haven't tried it yet."
"Listen carefully to me," said Stone Wall with newfound determination. "We can save Equestria, together, but first I need to die. You have to kill me, Twilight Sparkle."
Silver Shield was dumbfounded. He had hoped that this performance would shed some light on Twilight's motives or his lover's disappearance. Instead, they were back at the beginning, and nothing was any clearer. Even in context, he couldn't comprehend why Stone Wall would say what she did.
The Twilight in the memory was equally shocked. "I don't follow," she said sheepishly.
"Think about it. This other world, for some reason or another, is free from Nightmare Moon. Now either she never existed over there, or she did and was stopped. This world is, if anything, proof that Nightmare Moon is not invincible. Somepony defeated her, and maybe that somepony can help us. All we need to do is find her and ask her for help."
"I don't see what this has to do with you dying, Stone Wall."
"I want to travel to the other side," said Stone Wall, her voice lacking a single shred of doubt or insecurity. "If the other world is the paradise you claim, I want to see it firsthand, and leave this world behind. As far as this world is concerned, I'm dead."
"That's not dying, Stone Wall."
"Isn't it? I cease to exist in this world. I leave behind everything I know, this sinful, tragic earth, and ascend to paradise. How is that not dying? I need you to kill me. Help me, Twilight Sparkle. You're my only hope."
Twilight groaned as she realized she was dealing with an existential poet. "It's not that easy," she argued. "We barely know anything about the barrier that separates the worlds, except that it incurs a large amount of stress. I wouldn't want to send living tissue through it once, let alone try and make a return trip."
"That's fine, Twilight," said Stone Wall, smiling softly. "I have no intention of returning."
Twilight stared into Stone Wall's fierce eyes and felt like she was falling into a tide of unending resolve. Something was driving her. Nopony was this determined on a whim. In the same moment, both Twilights realized what was pushing the pegasus.
She was running from something. Somepony. Somehow, despite Stone Wall's confidence and courage, she had seen paradise and decided she needed to escape to it. Still, Twilight was hesitant to use Stone Wall as her test subject. "I can't do this," she said. "I'm sorry, Stone Wall. I can't help you."
Stone Wall seemed brokenhearted. Her eyes were cast downward, and she slowly raised them, tears forming at the edges that somehow failed to diminish her resolve or force of presence. "You don't understand," she said. "I have to do this. A pony I love dearly is counting on me. It's the only way."
Twilight knew that she wasn't going to change Stone Wall's mind, and the guardpony was still the one in control. Twilight had no doubt that Stone Wall was fast enough to subdue her before she could use magic, and the pegasus was under order to bring Twilight to justice.
"Fine," relented Twilight. "I don't really have a choice, do I?"
Silver Shield, who had been gradually becoming more and more furious throughout the entire presentation, used this moment to finally snap.
"Enough!" he cried, and he charged into the scene and through the illusion of Twilight, which dissolved like mist. He then wheeled on the other Twilight. "I thought I told you not to try and pull one on me!"
Around the destroyed Twilight, the image began to dissipate, like a frayed carpet. The floor fell away and was quickly replaced by the wooden floor of the library.
"I didn't!" assured Twilight. "This is what really happened!"
"Stone Wall's dead, Twilight! You killed her! And to cover it up, you made up some stupid story about her leaving me forever to travel to some fantasy land! As if Stone Wall would ever abandon me! She loves me. Nice try, though, the bit about her leaving to protect me. But that's not her. The things she said, the things she did, I know us better than that. So don't even start that bullcrap!" Silver Shield padded his front hooves on the ground twice, gave an unintelligible scream of rage, and charged toward Twilight. Twilight, seeing no other option and too surprised to prepare magic, ran toward the front door.
She emerged from the front of library and into the empty street, turning a sharp right as soon as she was able to do so. Silver Shield, not expecting the turn, skidded out into the middle of the street before chasing after her.
Twilight had already figured out that Silver Shield was a faster runner. A chase like this would be futile, and brief. She quickly charged a teleportation spell, leaving the destination field blank. She didn't care where she ended up. She could land on the moon, for all she cared. Right now, what she needed was to escape.
The energy built up in her horn, but before she could release it, she felt a large force crush her flank. She cried out and reared instinctively, and Silver Shield launched himself into the air and landed on top of her. The air left her lungs and her magic left her horn as she crumpled to the ground.
"This is it," said Silver Shield, raging. "It's over, Twilight. For the crime of two counts of murder, I find you guilty. Your punishment is death." Glancing down at her flank, Twilight realized that Silver Shield had bitten her. "Goodbye, Twilight Sparkle. If you follow a god, then pray he have mercy on your soul." He raised his forehooves and brought them down against Twilight's neck, blocking the flow of air.
Twilight was frozen, unable to move or think clearly. She tried to struggle, to push Silver Shield off of her, but her movements were sluggish. She kept trying to breath, but every attempt created an unbearable and unnatural strain in her stomach; she felt like she was going to explode. A strange light was filling the corner of her vision. Is this what it's like to suffocate? she wondered. The stories she'd read seemed to imply everything would go black instead.
She closed her eyes and tried again to teleport, but she could find neither the strength or the focus to pull off the spell. Tears pooled on her face as she realized she was going to die.
Then Silver Shield screamed. Twilight opened her eyes instantly closed them again as she was blinded by a bright light. Squeezing her eyes shut did not fully protect her, as the light stained the back of her eyelids a dull throbbing red.
She felt Silver Shield's weight leave her, and her breath returned, rapidly and raggedly. She stumbled backwards and opened her eyes. An intense glowing ball was pressed against the stallion's face, and he had released her to shield his eyes from the glare with his hooves. At first Twilight thought the ball was her Third Eye, but it was a pure brilliant white, with a small hint of amber, as opposed to the Eye's solid violet. The Eye probably dispersed when Silver Shield destroyed the projection, anyway, she thought. Looking into the light, Twilight thought she saw movement, but the intensity of the glow quickly drove her away.
This was her chance. The light had saved her, and now it was providing her distraction. She focused on the magic inside her, willing it to well up in her horn and take her away. The spell was slow, slower than she was used to, and she hurried it along as quickly as she could, panicking as she strung the subroutines together. She wasn't used to casting under stress, but she knew that this was her last opportunity. Teleport now, or die.
The world winked out around her. Twilight opened her eyes, exhausted and out of breath. She was somewhere up in the mountains. Away from Ponyville. Away from Silver Shield. Satisfied, Twilight collapsed onto the uneven rocky floor. She nearly fell asleep, but she felt a hoof nudge her face.
"Twilight?" a voice asked quizzically.
Twilight froze. Somehow, Silver Shield had tracked her down. Now she really was going to die. In her fear and panic, it took her seconds to realize that the voice belonged to a mare. A very familiar mare. Twilight looked up and into the comforting gaze of Madam Orange.
Below her, in Ponyville, Silver Shield howled as he tried to bat away the light that had blinded him. It wasn't fair, he thought, falling for the exact same trick twice. Whatever stunt Twilight had managed to pull this time, he swore she would regret it.
The light moved away, and Silver's vision cleared. Twilight was gone. Vanished. He was so close to finally getting his revenge, and he had lost her. He tried to stare at the light, but he ended up squinting. Whatever the light was, it seemed to sense that he was looking at it, because it bobbed once, and then slowly ascended back into the sky, moving in a careless looping pattern as it rose.
On the rooftop a few buildings away, an adult unicorn watched it rise. The strong wind tore at her mane, which somehow managed to still appear elegant, as if the wind were merely cradling it as a mother would a small foal.
"What are you?" she whispered as the Ponyville Light resumed its place in the sky. "You're the only riddle I haven't solved. The only missing piece of the puzzle. You saved her life, and I don't have the first clue where you came from."
She sighed as she removed a book from her plain brown burlap saddlebag. The paint on the cover was flaking off, revealing the splintered wood underneath. The mare closed her eyes and inhaled; in all the years she had owned the book, the smell was the only thing that hadn't faded, and it reminded her of the dew on grass in the morning. The book was her most precious possession. It was also her most useful one. "I'm not going to screw this up," she said to herself as she began flipping through the book, somehow simultaneously quickly and daintily, rushing but taking the utmost care not to bend any pages.. "Not when we're so close to the Final Moment." Giving up, she put the book back in her bag.
She needed to prepare for her meeting with Rainbow Dash.