Blank Book

by Regidar

Chapter 1: "Chapter One..."

Twilight sat, blinking at the pages of the blank book. It was an odd book, completely blank, completely unreadable due to the lack of text, but it kept her entrapped anyways.

She turned another page—yes, it too was blank. An empty, boundless, blank expanse where beautiful black bunches of text should have been. Her eyes scanned it, to check if the font was just very small or very light—but no. If the font had been small, she could have been able to detect faint lines of black scurrying across the page, shading the paper grey. If it had simply been too light, a similar circumstance would have been achieved.

No, this paper was blank.

Twilight turned yet another page. The same sight greeted her there: no words to be found. Just pristine, untouched pages, pure white from lack of inscribing.

“Wait...” Twilight muttered to herself, staring at the pages. “Pure? No damage at all?”

She flipped through the pages, faster now. One after another, the pages were the same. No page markers, no tiny quips, not even some ink stains. Just barren page after barren page. Twilight glanced down at the book, sighing.

Gently, she flipped over the book, looking at the back cover. It was a simple leather cover, with some dirt pressed into it from where it had lain in the ground. Other than that, it was undamaged, completely devoid of marks, scratches, or burns. Its leather cover told Twilight where it was from—only the Griffon Empire bound their books with leather.

“Why would I have a blank book from the Griffon Empire?” Twilight mused aloud. No one answered her. She heard a shout for another bucket of water, which she dismissed right away. She had to keep her mind focused on the book. Setting it down on the ground again, she opened it to the first page.

Where a title page would usually be, there was nothing. She flipped a page. Where a table of contents would usually be, there was nothing. Groaning in frustration as her annoyance with the book mounted, Twilight slammed the book shut, staring at the front cover.

No title.

At first, Twilight had thought it to be a journal; yet there was no name written inside. There were no lines to guide the writing of an individual so that it would not run messy all along the page, wild and out of control. The pages were not numbered as dates, so it could not be a day planner.

Its being empty made it a curiosity, one that she needed to explore at all costs.

“Could there be something hidden in the book?” Twilight wondered to herself. “Maybe hidden in the binding...”

Taking a deep breath, Twilight lifted the book into the air with her magic, and scrolled through the book to the page where the papers were threaded together with red twine. Shaking slightly, Twilight began to unthread the pages of the book. Painstakingly, she removed the string, and the papers broke apart into two neat stacks, held together no doubt by some sort of adhesive. Still, they’d be easy enough to pry apart now.

Twilight slowly disassembled the book, checking every piece of paper once more, just in case words had decided to show their faces now that the book had been torn asunder lovingly. Breathing slow, deep breaths, the alicorn set all the pages to one side, and moved on to the cover.

The cover was where she had suspected the book’s secret items were hiding, if it held any secret items at all. Staring down at the cover, she hesitated. Was she really willing to damage the cover of a book on the off chance something may be there?

She moved her magical aura to contain only a small portion, vertical across the cover of the book. Twilight swallowed hard. Could she do this?

The magical aura dissipated, and Twilight slumped, sighing in a pained manner. She couldn’t bring herself to break the book’s cover. Not when she wasn’t absolutely sure what was within.

Taking all the books pieces, she bound it back together. The pages were divided evenly on the inside of the front and back covers, and they were threaded back together thusly. At last, she magically adhered the book back together, and flipped through it. Good as new!

Which still told her nothing.

Twilight pouted, her bottom lip jutting out. This was beyond exasperating! Why would there just be a simple, blank book from the Griffon Empire sitting in her—

Unless, of course, it wasn’t so simple after all...

Twilight Sparkle giggled to herself. Of course! Why hadn’t she thought of it earlier? It was magical! The secrets of this book had to be magically disguised. Nothing grandiose, though—she would have noticed a particularly strong aura emanating from it by default. This meant this book hadn’t be transfigured from something else, or tethering an object in the ether. However, the spell that made text invisible was a very light, almost undetectable spell...

“Unless somepony’s looking for it!” she exclaimed out loud, getting a strange look from a passing pony carrying burnt branches on her back. Twilight ignored this, and turned her attention back to the book. Firing up her detect magic spell, she enwrapped the book in a light lavender glow, and sprunged the book for magical detail.


Twilight stared at the book, transfixed, her facial expression unwavering. Slowly, her left eye began to twitch, and her teeth began to slide over one another, grinding audibly. In a moment of utter despair, the alicorn flung the book onto the ground, letting out a cry of anguish.

The book fell open to a random page, closer to the front than the back. Twilight did not look at it at first, and she felt that she didn’t need to; it would be as blank as always. Nothing would have changed. She screwed her eyes shut, a tear falling from both as she was hammered by waves of frustration.

Still, curiosity gnawed at her. She had to check, just to be certain.

Carefully, almost tentatively, Twilight opened one eye, and glanced down at the book. Predictably, the pages were still bare of words; she didn’t even feel any sorrow from having it reaffirmed.

She did feel sorrow, a blazing, intense sorrow, from what was now laying on top of the pages. A few scattered ashes lay on the white paper, now marring it with little black marks. The marks were nothing as well—no text came from them. Just contact smudges.

A hoof rested on her shoulder as Twilight continued to stare back at the book. “Twilight?” she heard Applejack’s voice say to her. “Ah think it’s safe to go inside now.”

Twilight nodded, and brushed the ashes away with a hoof. The little black marks smeared slightly, but they would not leave. Closing the book, she levitated it beside her as she stood upright and began to walk slowly towards what remained of The Golden Oaks Library.

It was nothing but a shell now—a burnt husk, the top leaves almost all gone, the trunk now scorched and twisted, what was left of it hanging off, completely blackened. The door, which had been blasted to bits earlier by Twilight herself by a strong blast of alicorn magic, lead into the remains of the first floor.

Twilight stepped through the doorframe and onto the ash coated remains of the inside of her library. Bookcases were smoldering, their flames having been put out by the helpful members of Ponyville’s Volunteer Fire Department. Some smoke still swam in the air, and for the most part it had risen out of the decimated trunk that had at one time been Twilight’s home.

Two other ponies stood there: Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. Fluttershy was staring at Twilight, her eyes watering. Pinkie Pie was staring down at the floor, a somber expression on her face, something Twilight was not used to seeing. The pink pony turned to look at the approaching one, and smiled a half-hearted, empty smile.

“H-hey, Twilight!” Pinkie began, stuttering slightly, and then falling silent at the look Twilight gave her back. It was not an angry, aggressive look, but rather a deep gaze of grief. Pinkie Pie stepped back as Twilight stepped forward.

Fluttershy turned to Twilight, who was looking upon the bookshelf nearest to her. “Oh, Twilight... I’m so sorry...”

Twilight said nothing, and instead continued to look at the shelf. It had been where, at one point, almost all the books on Equestrian history had sat. Now, there was nothing but a few scorched pieces of planks, and a half burnt book, the title having been eaten away by the flames.

Twilight levitated it up, ashes and burnt pages fluttering out from it. Opening the ruined book, she choked back a sob as she scanned it, all the pages unreadable. She heard the sound of hooves behind her, multiple pairs, and shivered as she felt three hooves rest around her shoulders.

Applejack, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie all scooted closer, enveloping Twilight in a warm, inviting hug. Twilight’s magic relinquished the book, and it fell into an ash pile on the floor. She closed her eyes, letting their embrace swallow her, as if it numbed the pain of so much knowledge lost.

She heard more hooves enter the library, and felt another join the hug: Rarity.

In a rush of smokey air, there was a final addition to the embrace: Rainbow Dash.

The six of them stood there, in a big hug, as they once had in the same place all that time ago, back when the library was a full, beautiful tree, and when they had been smiling. There were no smiles here, just the sombre holding of friends, hoping that for just one moment, it would all go away.

Twilight was the first to open her eyes. She glanced around at the ponies hugging her, all of them still close-eyed and squeezing tightly. Heaving a heavy sigh, she began to squirm out from between the group of them. They graciously parted, all opening their eyes one after another, watching as Twilight walked outward.

Rainbow Dash was the first to speak. “Did... did you find anything? Any books, I mean? Safe books?”

Twilight lifted her wing, where she guessed she must have put the blank book when she went to pick up the burnt one. “Just... just one.”

“What’s it about?” asked Rarity.

“Nothing.” Twilight’s voice was a dry croak as she spoke the words.


Twilight nodded, levitating the book up, and flipping through the pages for the others to see. “Empty. Blank. No one wrote in it... not a griffon, not a pony, not a dragon... no one.”

Looking out about the ruins of her library, Twilight closed her eyes again. Tears were beginning to flow fresh from her eyes, the pain of so much lost almost overwhelming, and completely unbearable.

Twilight inhaled deeply, the smoky air causing her to cough violently. Looking down at the blank book in her magical grasp, she almost felt... at peace. This strange new feeling dawning upon her, Twilight’s face screwed up in perplexity. What was going on?

Trotting over to her lectern, the only fixture of the library that had survived completely, a mere scorch mark running down the side, she cleared its top of ashes. The blank book was dropped upon it, and she looked at the cover with an increasing sense of tranquility.

After a few moments, Twilight heaved a sigh, and smiled softly down at the book. Turning back to her friends, she gestured for them to come closer. As they did so, she herself looked down at the lectern shelves, her smile getting wider as she saw that most of the contents had been unharmed; some bottle of ink had broken and spilled on the parchment below, and some of the quills had been singed, but for the most part almost all of it was fine. Levitating up an unbroken ink bottle, and an un-scorched quill, she lay them to the side of her book.

“While I was looking at this blank book,” Twilight told her friends as they gathered around her. “I had something of... an epiphany, I guess you could say. I don’t know how this book came to be in my possession, nor do I know what its purpose was. For everything I know, it was just a blank book that a careless griffon printer accidentally boxed with a bunch of other books. I do know one thing, though—I need to move on. We need to move on. It won’t be immediate, and it won’t be quick, and it certainly won’t be easy...” Twilight paused, and took a breath. “And it needs to start sometime. So how about now?”

Twilight levitated the book up into the air. “This is a blank book. Blank books positively beg to be written in, to be filled. So, let’s do it!”

Her friends were silent for a moment, before Rainbow Dash broke the tension. “Um... what exactly are we supposed to write about in it?”

Twilight grinned. “ The Golden Oaks Library, of course! Every building needs a bit of history to it... and we were here for part of it! I lived in it, even! All of you can help out, and I can do the research for the deeper history. I’ve always wondered who owned it before me...”

All of her friends nodded in agreement and chattered amongst themselves, content with this decision. Twilight’s smile widened, and she dipped the quill in ink. Carefully, she wrote “The Golden Oaks Library” on the cover of the blank book. Waiting a moment for it to dry, she opened the cover of the book, and skipped two pages: one for the title page, another for the table of contents. Staring at the page she had flipped to, Twilight paused for a moment, and then moved her quill down to the page.

“Chapter one...”

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