Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 177

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Chapter 177

I set the Lyre aside, done with music for the time being. Six songs played, and none really did more than make me feel ‘okay’.

Am I just overthinking this, or am I right? I don’t know really. I mean I know I want them gone but... Fucking morals, why can’t I just be an uncaring bastard? Then I wouldn’t have all these things to worry about. Is that the secret to happiness? To just have no fucks to give? That can’t be right, I know it... the plan was to at least start filtering them, not watch what they do and zap the ‘losers’ into oblivion.

But apparently that’s a perfect solution, and the best way to go about things is to not worry about what the other person thinks. Twilight called them mindless and so did I, I admit, but I’m not really sure. Where is the line between ‘real’ and ‘not real’. Maybe I should tell Twilight the story of Pinocchio. If it doesn’t teach her anything, it’ll at least make her sleep with an eye open and a severe fear of marionettes and whales.

I get the feeling someone is here. “Yeah, whatcha want?”

“Well, normally I’d ask for an encore, but you looked pensive.” It’s Clark. He understands this, I know. “Mind if I sit down?”

“Nah. Anyway, Twilight and I had a bit of a... rift when it comes to morality.” I don’t really think about my next words, much before saying. “Did you see what she was doing to those clones? I mean, she barely even thought about what they might be going through, and then she says they’re just mindless copies and aren’t actually alive. Can you believe that? Elementals and spirits are ‘alive’ but clones aren’t?”

“Huh, the way she explained it to me was different. They’re like... xerox copies of poor photos of copies of something that was put through upside down. My interpretation, they still don’t have anything more complex than typewriters. And something about them being mostly energy, not matter. ‘Course, then she said that the original Pinkie floats real close to that line, too, but is more solid than not. Still, at least the clones’re going fast. Still a waste, though.”

“Twilight got her horn up to eleven and going laser happy on anything not holding its pencil right?”

“Hmm? Nah. There was, like, sixty of those clones in there. If how they smell is any indication, I’d bet pony meat would be delicious.” He shrugs. “Too bad Twilight threw a fit when I suggested a barbecue for disposal. I’d eat it all, at least. Figured you might, too.”

“I figure they’d taste like beef or something. Besides, how could you cook something that’s ‘more energy than solid’? Only solids can be chopped up into meat. Or she’s just being a hypocrite and trying to justify borderline homicide.”

“Oh, I already saw one bite it. Fell off a tree at a funky angle, but Twilight just zapped the body back to glitter. That was earlier this morning, and I think the rest of ‘em learned from that not to play in high places.”

“Be honest. Do you think I’m stupid or nuts for thinking Twilight isn’t entirely... y’know... sane?”

“Nah, I just think you’re overthinkin’ this. I mean, come on. I would’ve given an arm and a leg, literally, to get ahold of whatever’s making these dupes back on earth. Man, I could’ve ate well every night, had tons of blanks to just start handing out as party favors... Oh, that would’ve been nice... still, if it dupes an entire creature like a demon, that could’ve gone over terribly bad real fast, but still. I mean, how do you know they actually are suffering? How are you so damned sure they are people? The whole assumptions thing is just as much a problem the other way, y’know.”

“I get that, but... look, I just have a problem with the idea of randomly dispelling something if I don’t know if it’s right or not. Sure maybe they are clones, but how does Twilight know that for sure? She said she had no idea how they came to be, and couldn’t identify any kind of source she recognized. Considering how much she knows about magic, that covers a lot of possibilities. It would have to be something that Pinkie knew about that wouldn’t be in any of the books in this library or the one in Canterlot. I just... don’t like it when she seems so sure of something when she barely thinks about ramifications or if she really doesn’t know.”

“Maybe that’s because it’s usually not a problem. According to the history books, taken with a  grain of salt, of course, almost every problem since the founding of Equestria has been either ‘everyone’s wrong’ or ‘this side is right, and that side is wrong’ situations. And if what I’m guessing about Twilight is true, then she’s been raised on a continuous ‘being right’ streak. And I don’t mean an engineered one, though I don’t know if fate is an embodied thing here,-” My thoughts interrupt him with a response of ‘If it is, it could just kick me in the balls rather than doing all the other garbage it does to me.’ “but actual tendency towards her being right by trusting her instincts. Most of her failures, from what I’ve discussed with her, seem to come from when she tries to ignore those instincts. Mostly because she’s been ‘taught’ otherwise, and finds those teachings incorrect later.”

“But there’s no light-gray/dark-gray morality scale to her! And just because you have been right before doesn’t mean you always will be. What if they weren’t just clones but something else? What if Twilight cast the spell and it didn’t work, and it just blew them into meaty chunks like she said would happen if cast on a real person? Does she just not think of that?”

“Actually, she already knew it worked. Remember? She zapped the dead clone and it just turned into glitter and confetti sprinkles. Either way though, playing ‘what if’ till day’s end will only get you killed by indecision. What if they were all demonspawn, waiting to find you, the hero of Equestria and kill you? What if they had been infectious, and all those hugs you’d been given was turning you into one of them? What if the spell had worked, but they had been magically reflective, and caused all of us to blow up instead? What if, what if, what if. It gets you nowhere unless you have somewhere to start.” He reaches out a finger and pokes me on the nose. “And you have no grounding but fiction to work with. Twilight has practical grounding, and said they’re summoned things. If you had a leg falling off, and a doctor told you it’s gangrene, are you going to contest that it might just be an exceptionally bad rash, in case they don’t really have to cut the leg off? Or are you going to trust the fuckin’ professional?”

I narrow my eyes. “Fine, I get it. Twilight’s fucking perfect and I’m just a whiner. Lesson learned, happy now?”

“No, because you haven’t actually learned, you’re just trying get me to change topics. Fine, that’s alright. Still, maybe we should just let me loose in there. I’ll save one for you guys, and we can just hope it’s the real Pinkie or one that can lead us to wherever she’s being held. Twilight says it’s a terrible idea, but I’d love to find out what another six-hundred-plus-pounds of muscles would make me look like until I digest myself.”

“Look, everyone seems to make Twilight look like the messiah or something and I don’t get it, okay? Yeah, so she’s smart, great, I’m smart too, just in different ways. She’s just as reckless as I am, but when she makes a mistake, which obviously is incredibly rare, it’s nowhere near as bad as when I screw up, is it? At least I try to know whether something deserves to be eliminated before just zapping it. Okay, so she zapped a dead one, that suddenly makes doing it to live ones just fine? You know as well as I do that it’s fully possible to be zapped and have it hurt really bad but not be able to express that. She’s just running with her assumptions, and if I call her out on that, I’m the bad guy. But when I get called out on my mistakes which I know I’ve made, I’m just a problem!”

“Well, y’know what? Fuck this. You’re not listening to anyone, so I’m not going to bother talking anymore. It’s been explained, like, a bajillion times to you, and you don’t give a shit. I’m going to go entertain myself by trying to snag one of the obvious clones before Twilight can get to it.” Clark shakes his head as he leaves the library.

Stupid Twilight, how come she can just get everyone on her side and just... brush me off? I’m thinking about very important things, and she just doesn’t give a crap! Just coming up with an assumption and running with it. But what I really can’t stand is how this seems like she’s always right. I tried to slap the shit out of her when she fucked up, but she’s still going around assuming that things will go this way and goes all out in that direction.

Her skills and knowledge aside, she’s a total moron. Whoever taught her about life must be dumb as hell, have basically no connection to the world and instead... spends time... secluded in a giant castle... on top a mountain... in the center of a town that is more concerned with politics than morality.

Goddamnit that ‘princess’. Why is she so perfect too? Every time I point out a flaw in her or her subjects it’s just waved away, but when I make a mistake, she shoves my face in it like a dog. She’s the main reason there are so many problems around anyway. If she’s so great, why can’t she fix the issues herself? All the talk about how important harmony and togetherness and all her other preachy bullshit just makes the people stupid. They don’t know how to react in danger, they can’t even tell the difference between chaos and evil and when it’s explained they throw fits!

Bored of sitting around the library, I figure I might see what kind of crazy stuff Twilight is up to... aside from blasting clones. I head down into the basement and look around. The containment tube I was in has been replaced, and it looks like everythings been slightly reinforced in case of another mishap. Aside from that, not much is different. A few weird looking machines, a pile of metal scraps in a corner, and a bunch of paper littering the floor coming out of some form of readout device.

Around the place I see a bunch of random scribblings, hypotheses, things to try, it’s all really boring. Maybe this would be more interesting if she actually was a mad scientist. Sighing, I walk back up to the library. I’m just lazing about, wondering how the supposed most powerful magic-user in Ponyville could be so... ugh.

Discord isn’t around either. I figure he’s off doing whatever, but I could really go for some Chaos magic right now. I just start walking around the giant tree aimlessly.

I’m making my third lap around the upstairs when something catches my eye. Twi’s desk, and the locked drawer. That still piques my curiosity. What would be so important that she’d keep away from everyone else?

Maybe it’s her diary. I wonder what kind of dirt I could get on that mare? It’d be nice to have something to hang over her head for once. I check the drawer again, and it’s locked like before. And the enchantment seems to still be in place, meaning I need to have the key to unlock it. I doubt she’d just leave the key out in plain sight though. If she did, I’d probably have found it by now.

There is one thing, however, that Twilight might not have planned for: Human ingenuity and resourcefulness. I grab one of the desk legs and jostle it until I break it off. I use the blunt object to whack the desk and eventually bust the top in, revealing the contents of the drawers. Yanking out the drawer above the locked one, I finally get to see what she’s hiding.

It’s a book, like a journal of some sort by the looks of it. Heh, diary; called it. Now let’s see what’s going on in that little head of yours, shall we?

I take the book up to my room and open it up to the first page. It’s not so much a diary as it is an examination. Descriptions, data, records... and... wait.

The main subject is referred to as a ‘he’ rather than ‘I’ or typical diary fare. I continue flipping through it and a few pages in I realize this is all the stuff she has about me! These are her findings about my powers and how they work and... their limits. Some of this stuff even I didn’t know, how does she...

I flip through the book faster. Why hasn’t she told me any of this? According to this, theoretically my powers could reach near demigod levels at some point! Why doesn’t she want me seeing this?

Continuing on, learn more about my powers, how they probably work, and... how to stop them.

How to stop me.

Why would she need to- Oh, she’s in big trouble now. Next Chapter: Past the Breaking Point Estimated time remaining: 7 Hours, 3 Minutes

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