Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 176: What measure is a Nonpony?

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What measure is a Nonpony?

Standing over the balcony, a safe distance away from the view of the Pinkies, the test is being taken, a few of them rather just playing with the pencil or the paper. Okay, obviously clones, Pinkie doesn’t have that bad an attention span.

I can see Twilight sitting at the teacher’s desk she conjured up or whatever. Though she doesn’t really look like she knows exactly what to do. But then, I don’t even know what teachers do when they wait for kids to take tests. Well, one of my old high school teachers went out for a ‘breath of fresh air’, meaning she smoked like half a pack of cigarettes. Twilight doesn’t seem the type though, so I really don’t know what she’d do.

Is this really all I have to do right now? Stare at Twilight and worry about what she might be worrying about? God this is boring. A Pinkie seems to have gotten really bored and throws a paper airplane made out of her test. Twilight catches it in midair with her magic and places it back on the clone’s desk.

Then comes the talking. Seriously, do these Pinkies even understand what happens if they fail? I mean there’s stupid, and then there’s... this. Great, now I’m repeating my thoughts for every test I’ve ever taken in school and watching the other kids just dick around.

It seems one can’t even understand whispering.

“I bet you can’t make a face crazier than... this!”

...Oh dear god, what abomination of un-nature could possibly spawn this sort of result? What dark magics conjured that?!

I hear the sounds of vomiting from other balconies. Seems I’m not the only one having an adverse reaction to tha- wait, Twilight’s picking that one up. A simple beam of magic later, and the clone swells for a moment, then-

Oh jeez, Twilight, it just popped! Into confetti and glitter and you said that only happens to real people oh shit I need to stop this!

Hoping my speed makes me blurry enough to be unnoticed, I rush down and grab Twilight and set her down on the balcony with me. “What the fuck are you doing!? You’re literally blowing them up!”

“Woah, Anthony, that’s just a-” Twilight begins, but I can’t wait for a petty excuse.

“I know it’s a clone, and that doesn’t change what you are doing to it! I don’t know what that actually did, but that looked like you just inflated it until it popped. Do you realize how disgusting and painful that is, clone or not? That’s a straight-out torture-death! You’re insane!”

“Anthony! Wait a moment and let me explain! That’s just a visual effect, okay? It’s a distortion of physical form as the base essentia is release from a corporeal form, returned to its gaseous state and channeled back towards its point of origin. It’s not hurting them, because they’re going all at once. Now, if I was using a bunch of underpowered unsummonings that only sent back pieces at a time, that’d be both horrific and inequine, but I’m making sure there’s enough power to send them back completely.”

“And what makes you absolutely sure that it’s painless? Have you ever been unsummoned? Has anyone ever been unsummoned and reported the experience?”

“Uhm, plenty of elementals and spirits have been summoned over the years. I’m not very good at binding a summoner, but I’m good at unsummoning things.” Twilight says. “And none of them have ever expressed pain at the process, and often mention wanting to be unsummoned. The one summon I did do well, the elemental said it wanted to go back. Fire elemental, and, y’know, not hot enough in a stone room.”

“And you assume that just because a not-entirely-corporeal form claims painlessness, everything will? Besides, I could technically call what you are doing to them murder.”

Twilight gasps, looking horrified. “Anthony! H- how could you say something like that? They’re just clones!”

“And obviously these clones aren’t normal living beings, aside from the fact that they talk, breathe, walk, and aside from having little emotional or mental capacity, are fully sapient creatures. It’d be less like unsummoning something and more like murdering a dumb child or a wild animal. You are literally putting an end to their existence. In other words, killing them.”

“They- they’re just going back wherever they came from. They aren’t real p-”

“So you have the authority to decide who is considered real or not real? You can decide whether someone lives or dies based on your specifications of what it means to be alive, and end them because you see fit to do so? What kind of sick twisted lessons did that princess teach you for goodness sakes?”

“Wha- Anthony, what are you talking about? They’re just phantoms, fake echoes. they aren’t real.”

“And where I come from, ponies don’t talk or have magic. So that means in my opinion, you aren’t real. Does that mean I can unsummon you and send you back wherever you came from?”

“I’m already at where I came from! The unsummoning wouldn’t send me anywhere! It’d disperse me, which would likely be extremely painful and very messy and I don’t like that thought! If you had summoned me to Earth, then you could unsummon me just fine. I wouldn’t be real there. At least, that’s how it’s been explained by most of the things ponykind has summoned. Lots of them get summoned time and time again, they get called back.”

“And you just assume that they, not knowing where the clones came from, have somewhere to go back to? I’m sorry, but maybe you ponies just have a more definite description of what makes someone real. In that case, without using the word ‘clone’ and just pure biological information, what makes all those Pinkies not real?”

“They’re just magical constructs! They’re incomplete, Anthony, like taking a photograph of a photograph of a photograph! No matter how you develop it, it’s still just a pale copy.”

“And because of that, we can justify doing whatever the hell we want with them because even though they can walk, talk, and, to a point, think... they’re fakes, so that automatically makes them forfeit any sort of rights? Tell me, if an elemental is considered ‘a living thing’ then how are the Pinkies down there not. What measure is a nonh... nonpony? Where is the line drawn? And who decided where the line is anyway? Imperfect clones or not, I’m pretty sure they can feel things like pain, even if they can’t process it.”

“Anthony, I’m trying to tell you, they really aren’t real, and you’re not listening! Why won’t you just listen and accept, just once?” Twilight’s crying now.

“Because all your explanations don’t sound like they apply here. I don’t care if you cry, because that won’t change the fact that you have been planning to just kill these things after you decide they aren’t real enough. You know who does that? Psychopaths. People who don’t care about others or think about what they might be feeling. Are you telling me that you don’t think that, clone or not, they can’t feel anything when they clearly have been trying to seek entertainment, showing a capacity for basic drive? Their goals and minds may be simple compared to us, but does that mean that just because they are essentially stupid children, they deserve to die? To stop existing? How do you know that they existed somewhere before being created? You could just be converting them back to energy or whatever. You take away their bodies and their minds with intent to dispose of them. That’s murder.”

Twilight just shakes her head. “Maybe that’s how it worked on earth. But they really aren’t actual living things any more than a character in a play. They’re made up. And I-” her voice cracks. “I can’t convince you of anything other than your opinion. I’m sorry. But it’s either we unsummon them, like we would a horde of spirits or any other conjured threat, or we let them run amok and destroy the town, like they were doing before we rounded them up. And Anthony?”


“I’m sorry you’re wrong again.” With a flash, Twilight disappears, and I lean over the balcony to see her back down on the main floor, this time, separating a trio of Pinkie who had started gnawing on a table, and had made surprising progress on the metal frame of it. A few moments and a trio of hornbeams, and the clones are gone.

That stupid pony... How can she know what’s happening to them when she’s clearly stated she has no idea how they were made or where they came from? All these assumptions and you can justify murder? You can just disregard someone’s eligibility for life? You’re crossing more lines than I thought you could Twilight... and there aren’t that many left to be crossed.

I just hope you don’t forget what I do to monsters. Real monsters...

I start to head for a door but I’m stopped by Rainbow Dash. “Hey uh, Twilight said that if you’re going back to the library, to keep it open and... Idunno, do whatever librarians do.”

Great, now she’s making me her temp agent... I could use some music. Successfully navigating my way out of the Town hall without detection is difficult, but after what feels like an hour, I make it back to the library. I grab the Lyre from the place I left it in and think about what to play. Next Chapter: Chapter 177 Estimated time remaining: 7 Hours, 12 Minutes

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