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Songs of Sanity and Insanity

by Pandora

Chapter 1: Song Zero: Prelude

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/// SONG ZERO ///

PRELUDE

Hey everyone! My name’s Pandora. Thank you so much for taking the time to click into Songs of Sanity and Insanity. The story behind this fanfiction is a little bit special and a little bit different so I just want to touch on a few things before you click ahead and get into reading all of the neat horse words that I’ve written.

First things first: this first act is terrible. It was written during the time of two to four years ago, back when I was a simple Sophomore / Junior in high school, trying to get my writing juices flowing. I was a terrible writer. That being said, I don’t want you to have to read the first few chapters written during that time, which make up of the entirety of Song Zero, but I couldn’t exactly get rid of them as they do provide exposition and a general base to the entire story. That being said, I’m going to name each chapter in Song Zero right here, spoil all of them and give a brief synopsis of what happens (you really do not have to read them), and then provide a direct link to skip right to the beginning of the first act, “Song One: Prophesies and Fallacies.” If you don't want it to be spoiled for you and want to keep reading anyway, I'm so, so sorry, but just keep scrolling down until you see the little marker that shows the start of the Prologue chapter.

This introductory chapter simply gives the basis to our main character, Adrian Decimus. I was an edgy teen, I will admit, but I have grown sort of fond of the name over the years. Adrian has had a hard existence in Equestria since being forcibly pulled from Earth by reasons which he cannot remember. Unbeknownst to the readers or Adrian at the time of the first chapter, in the process of being pulled from Earth into Gaia (the world where Equestria is based), his body was infused with chaos magic, causing him to appear like a ghastly monster to anyone he comes across. In the beginning of this story (which starts a few years already into his curse), he travels to Ponyville, where a mob quickly forms. The Elements of Harmony, always slightly less affected by the curse surrounding Adrian, help to diffuse the situation. Princess Twilight allows Adrian to spend the night in the library, but because of the curse she only brings herself to offer him a bed of books to lay on.

Flashbacks shows the first few days of Adrian’s time in Equestria in which he visited the Crystal Empire and spoke with Princess Cadance about Equestria, Earth, and reveals the effects of his curse to her, to her dismay. While Adrian escapes, Princess Cadance is attacked by her own guard, leading the Princesses and Adrian to learn that the effects of his curse can be transmitted to other ponies if they remain in close physical proximity with Adrian for a long enough period of time, and with time these effects fade. After Adrian escapes the Crystal Empire, he travels back to Ponyville in search of Twilight Sparkle, a name given to him from Cadance. He meets Apple Bloom, who—while frightened by Adrian’s appearance—speaks with him and tells him where the library is.

In the same chapter (not a flashback), Rainbow Dash visits the library and points out how Adrian is looking remarkably better to her, much less monster-esque. Twilight is also surprised to see this, and—at Adrian’s request—teleports him back to his apartment in the Canterlot Castle.

In Twilight, Adrian has an audience with the crown, meeting with Princesses Celestia and Luna in their throne room at Canterlot Castle. On the way, he runs into an old friend named Golden Bow, accompanied with a short flashback scene of how they met (in the early days of Adrian’s curse, while he was under investigation and testing at Canterlot Castle, Golden was one of the guards assigned to him). Celestia and Luna request that Adrian visit the medical science wing once again for additional testing, where the scientists are visibly uncomfortable with his presence, but afterwards Adrian goes for training at the military training arena. Self taught in most magic and physical combat, he wins round after round against opponents before being called to face another round in a separate wing of the training complex. This opponent turns out to be Twilight. The reasoning behind her challenging Adrian is sketchy at best and downright awful at worst, so let’s skip over that with a simple “she wanted to kill him.”

Twilight and Adrian duke it out while Rainbow Dash and Applejack watch from an observation deck above the arena in Bending Reality. Their fight quickly becomes personal, if it didn’t already start that way, and they both lose control, allowing their magic to grow out of control, destroying part of the arena in the process and severely endangering Applejack and Rainbow Dash, who are rescued by a Wonderbolts division moments before death. During the battle, only three ponies are injured: Adrian, Princess Twilight, and a Wonderbolt named Rhino. Adrian saves Twilight at the last second, but most of the fight is forgotten upon waking up in the hospital.

Marked shows Adrian and Princess Twilight in recovery in the hospital. After saving Twilight and risking his own life in the process, Adrian receives his cutie mark, a silver triangle with a golden circle in the center. Princess Celestia tells Adrian that he has been stripped of his chaos magic by a special magic nullification ring created from traces of King Sombra’s Horn, and as long as the ring stays on, ponies will not see the mutated, false form he once projected to them, while still retaining full control over his magic. Adrian and Twilight have a heart to heart conversation, moderated by Princess Celestia, before Celestia leaves and Twilight makes a comment to Adrian about still having to run tests on him.

An extra section at the end of this chapter shows a dark council meeting in a secret location, where the remnants of King Sombra and what is left of his original disciples, where they outline the secret plan they had begun to hatch the second Adrian was being pulled from Earth. Sombra explains that Gaia has an ambient magical diffusal field surrounding its atmosphere, which had kept Earth and Equestria from being able to know of each other’s existence. That diffusal magic had been what was clinging to Adrian’s being and warping other pony’s perceptions of him. Sombra was able to hatch a plan: implant magical energy into Adrian’s being as he passed through the diffusal field, strip him of choice memories (those being his memories of being transported to Equestria), and allow the Equestrians to deal with him, thus having a mole close to the Equestrian crown. Equestria has unfortunately played directly into Sombra’s hooves, by using a nullification ring created from King Sombra’s horn, he is now closer to Adrian’s mind than anyone else.

In Revelation, the true nature of the prophecy surrounding Adrian and his cutie mark are revealed, calling him the Guardian of the Elements. Princess Celestia sends Twilight a box with two daggers within it, each one encrusted with six coloured gems, corresponding to each of the six elements. They walk outside Ponyville’s city limits to practice using the daggers. Twilight brings a catalog of the Royal Archives with her, looking up the daggers and where they came from. Finding the lot number, Adrian asks how often the catalogs are updated, as the dark magic artifacts are continuously tested but the knowledge about them contained within the catalog may be dated. Twilight agrees, and they decide to visit the Royal Archives themselves and see what they can learn about Adrian’s role in protecting the Elements of Harmony from dangers that none of them can fathom… yet.

Sombra is once again shown at the end, gearing up his disciples for a “move on Canterlot” in two days. A pony named Citrine and another pony have a quiet discussion outside the meeting chambers, where it becomes evident that they are running a resistance against Sombra from the inside, and plan on sabotaging his operation in Canterlot.

That’s about the entirety of Song Zero, the Prelude. I will try and fill in as many holes as possible in the first few chapters of Song One. For now, if you wish to read the awful writing that is Song Zero in its entirety: go ahead, I’m not going to stop you. But, if this summary was enough for you, go ahead and skip directly to the chapter called Song One: Prophesies and Fallacies, and enjoy reading Songs of Sanity and Insanity!

Thanks so much.

-Emmy (Pandora)

* [] * [] *

Prelude

For three years I have been living on the outskirts of Canterlot in the dense cover of the Everfree. It has been my home ever since I showed up in the castle’s throne room, covered in scrapes and magical burns in front of multiple members of the royal family. But none of them helped me up, nursed me back to health. No one even threw me in a hospital and left me there to rot.

No one ever would.

My home in the Everfree is basic, yet reliable. It is a three room wood-frame house, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, and living room which doubles as a kitchen and dining room. But no one ever visits.

No one ever would.

My garden outside is full of vegetables, such as carrots, beans, parsley, and broccoli. My food was delicious and I could grow a whole meal for myself because of my previous culinary experiences back on Earth. I went to the Canterlot Farmer’s Market with my wares and produce a few times when I first showed up here, but no one would buy my products.

No one ever would.

See a pattern? Everything I am, everything I HAVE, is tainted. By something that other ponies see in me that I cannot see in myself.

I am hated by every one of them. And I have done nothing to deserve this kind of hatred. When I’m on the street the best situation for me to be in is where everyone leaves me alone. Parts away like I’m fucking Moses and the Red Sea. But that’s the best that can happen.

The worst is much worse and has happened quite a few times. On these such occasions I am afraid to leave my house, not just for my own safety but for the people who don’t know what they’re doing. First time a mob rushed me three ponies almost got trampled to death. Guess who they blamed it on?

Fuckin’ me.

And when a mob rushes you, you better haul ass out of there. First it was blatant taunts, meant to make me run away. Then the insults. Then the rocks. And then finally the wall of death, carrying knives, pitchforks, anything they could get their hands on. And those ponies were relentless.

Even in my very few trips to Ponyville, the home of the Elements of Harmony, the mobs were there. In force. The Elements may have slowed their advances somewhat, but it did little to help. The only ponies who weren’t in the mob that day were the elements themselves, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy.

Fluttershy was shy. Hard to know, right? She was probably holed up in her cabin until I left. Rarity was probably at the Boutique, finishing up some last minute dresses or outfits for Filthy Rich or Photo Finish-and more importantly staying out of my way. Pinkie Pie was probably at Sugarcube Corner, wondering where all her customers went, but as soon as she looked out the window she would know. Adrian was in town. Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife. Hide yo husband.

The only people who were ever on my side were Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Twilight Sparkle. But even they could only help me so much. The elements of harmony protected their minds from the hatred that universally consumed all the other ponies when I came near, but they had to stay hidden while they helped me. Considering Twilight was a newly coronated princess and Rainbow and Applejack were holders of the elements, they would be hated just as much as me if they helped me in any way.

But you’re probably wondering why Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie didn’t help me like the others did. I didn’t know either, but my best guess was that the elements of Magic, Honesty and Loyalty were the fighters of the group, and they were less susceptible to the hate.

So Twilight was holed up in her library with a clear view of the street where the mob was gathering and where I stood, fear in my eyes, smack dab in the middle. She began muttering incantations to herself while a light purple aura surrounded her horn, violet light flashing off the golden spines of books and casting an orange tint around the room.

The commotion was building outside, some already throwing rocks. My magic was firing again and again to repel the rocks from my body, but I was weak. I never got practical magic lessons and was self taught in all my magical endeavors.

A particularly sharp stone glanced my flank, drawing blood and sending pain shooting through my system, clouding my mind. My magic faltered.

Just then I heard the crack of lightning and the boom of thunder from above my head. Several of the ponies in the mob turned their noses upwards to the sky, to see dark rain clouds gathering right above the mob. Lightning flashed again, lighting the surrounding houses and businesses with an electric blue glow. I smiled sadly, knowing that another element of harmony was helping draw the crowd away.

I turned my gaze back down to the crowd to see many of them fleeing back to their homes as the first drops of rain fell, shouting things like “it wasn’t supposed to rain until Thursday!” or “what in the world are those Pegasi doing up there?”

On the periphery of my vision I saw another rock come hurtling from the crowd at my face. I barely fired my magic and caught it in midair before another came from my exposed side, bruising my gray coat. I winced in pain and dropped my magical shield for a moment, only for ponies in the crowd to take advantage of my wounded state and launch another volley of objects my way.

I braced for impact, hunkering down to the ground and trying my hardest for my magic to fire before the cloud of rocks, sticks, and rotten apples met their mark.

But I didn’t have to, because at that moment a light purple aura enveloped my body and burst outwards, freezing the ordinary-objects-turned-weapons in midair. They slowly fell to the ground. I backed away from the mob as they stared, dumbfounded.

“I thought that monster’s aura was orange!”

“What is that horrible thing doing?”

“HEY EVERYPONY!”

That one I wasn’t expecting. The southern drawl was unmistakably Applejack’s, and she caused heads to turn away from me.

“WE GOT SOME MIGHTY FINE CIDER DOWN AT SWEET APPLE ACRES!” the orange pony yelled, gesturing with her hoof. “Come on everypony! First pony there gets the best pick! Ah’ll make sure of that!”

I knew what she was doing and wasted no time in what she wanted me to do. I bolted straight for the library door and threw it open, running in and closing it as quickly and quietly as possible behind me. Drawing the shades I could hear ponies agreeing with Applejack.

“She is right, all this mob business has gotten me pretty thirsty…”

“Bucker should never have come here.”

“He’s not here anymore!”

I peeked through the shades of the window saw ponies on the street staring at the circle of fallen weapons around where I used to stand.

“At least he’s gone and won’t be back soon, for our sake.”

I closed the shades and turned around to see a purple alicorn standing on the stairs, looking away from me deliberately. Twilight’s wings were folded against her body, and she stood there stiffly, almost waiting for me to say something. So I did.

“Thank you, Princess Twil-”

“If they find you here they will kill me,” she said, turning her head so her eyes were staring into mine. I lowered my head, my orange mane falling lower around my neck.

“I… I’ll wait in the attic. Until my magic is enough to teleport me to Ca… b… back.”

“That would be for the best,” the alicorn said, unlocking her eyes from mine.

I slowly trotted up the stairs, passing Twilight. She had tears in her eyes.

“I…” she began. I stopped and turned my head towards her. She turned around to face me, but upon seeing my eyes on her she immediately faced the wall again. “I’m sorry, Adrian. I… I know you never did… anything to deserve this treatment. B… but even I can’t resist hating you, even a little bit. I try as hard as I c-can, but…” A tear fell from her eye.

“I know,” I replied, truthfully. “And I don’t hold it against you. You have done more for me than any other pony I know. Thank you.”

I shakily held up my hoof and brushed away the tear from her cheek. I could feel her muscles tense as I did, but relax once my hoof was back on the ground.

I finished climbing the stairs and was tackling the ladder towards the attic when I heard her voice from downstairs again.

“I’ll send a letter to the Princesses tonight. I’ll see if they’ve come up with anything yet.”

I faltered, thinking of a response. But I couldn’t find any. My mind wandered, and I began to sweat. The last 80 times I had asked the Princesses the results had been negative. Plus the tests they did wasn't exactly pleasant. But Twilight sending a letter? This was definitely progress. Maybe all of this would come to pass on its own. For the first time in two and a half years I was hopeful. My vision started to blur. “... Adrian?”

“Ye… yeah, Twilight. That would be amazing. I can’t thank you enough.”

“It’s nothing.” I could feel the reluctance in her voice.

“I’ll… see you later.”

“Y-yeah… you will. Yeah. Good night.”

And with that I closed the trapdoor and was alone with my thoughts in the musky, dusty attic of a library. Twilight’s library.

My sort-of-a-little-bit friend. Better than nothing.

I cried myself to sleep.

Next Chapter: Prelude 1 // Flashbacks Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 60 Minutes
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