There is a MIRACLE at the top of the tower...
... and I need it.
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!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-04 02:24:22 No. 29608294
> Catch up on
> INV:

>>29578997 >>29579728
"What happened after I went out? To Twilight and the giant?"
"Rarity was too busy dragging the two of you away from the blast to check." Ludwig finishes bandaging my leg, "That had you out for a few hours. Oh," She shows me old bandages, "And your throat is fine. Weeks ahead of schedule." She throws the bandage away, "I will keep tying you up for as long as it takes, but as soon as we are done with all the crazy in this tower? Then I'll get a job, build a lab, and study you until I find out just why in the seven pits of hell is your physiology so goddamn weird."

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-04 03:41:05 No. 29608813
"I'll go see what happened to them." I struggle to my hooves.
"Jack, none of the others--"
I just look at her, trembling for entirely too many reasons.
"I'll go alone." I say terminantly.
She doesn't answer.
Once outside Sarim's door it takes effort to climb to the second floor with my burned hindquarters, but I grit my teeth and weather it.
Heat hits me the instant I exit the tower.
The giant, in a

(Too many burns, too mu-- too mu-- too much da--)

crater, looks back at me-- eye contracted to a pinprick and a few hands, spread around, twitching on the flo

(I have to find her to restart this--)

or in a try to reach me.
Water condensates and flows to the giant, it's flesh reforming little by little.
My head hurts.
My eyes feel odd, as if everything looked just a little different.
I do all I can to fight off the feeling of sickness that accompanies Twilight being nearby- And all I manage is to stay conscious and on my hooves.
Twilight shouts, dragging herself out of the crater, her voice filled with pain and fury in equal amounts.
Her horn alights, but it dies off immediately with a burst of blood from her ears.

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-04 08:07:10 No. 29610528
>>29609591 >>29609218
I climb down again and, without hesitation, jump down the window.
She notices me immediately-- My fall is not discrete in the least, the already scorched earth ascending in a dust cloud around me.

(Can't let her can't let her can--)

If I hadn't seen her a moment before I'd think nothing happened to her.

"Twilight!" I shout, blood boiling,
"What?" To anyone who didn't know her she'd sound perfectly calm, talking just loud enough for me to hear across the distance. "This place is dangerous. You'd do well to go away." She pauses for a heartbeat, unblinking. "From this tower. From everything in it."

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-04 09:46:12 No. 29611046
>>29610533 >>29610581 >>29610893
"How much of that danger is there because of you!?" I shout.
"I put no danger in your way. Only barriers, intended not to be trespassed- to be turned away from."
"And do you think I'd turn away?" I start advancing to her, "Do you think I, of all people, would give up!?" Tears stream down my cheeks, "Do you think I'd turn away from my memories and myself!?"

("Applejack? Applejack! What's happening!", Calls Truth to me.)

She walks to me too, and with a pang of fury I realize it's only to take even the dignity of being the one to bear on her from me. "I took nothing of value." She lowers her head to be at eye level with me, and for an instant her disguise falls, "Your argument does not bear it's own words. You sought to remember because, even without memories, you were yourself. Because you have always been one integral piece, unferettable and unbreakable by any force in this world or any other." She touches my cheek fondly and I punch her hoof away even when I can barely stand, and an iota of obvious emotion enters her voice for the first time, "You are yourself, and that's why I love you as much as I do."
"Why!?" The word raises through my throat like bile, a bawl that makes me feel ashamed, "Why did you do that to me if you, if you...!?" The word won't come, too tainted by everything that's happened.
"Because if I could do this to you," She gulps, "Because if I can do what you need me to, the others will be easy in comparison."

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-04 11:33:32 No. 29611554
>>29611107 >>29611118
"The others?" I wonder if I don't feel anything because I am simply too overfilled for it to fit, or because I already knew this on some level. "You'll do this to all of them?"
She nods patiently, "Rarity made the rest of us make do without her. I will not make the same mistake."
I just look at her, struggling to process all of this, and a single word is all I can manage: "Why?"
"Telling you would miss the point, wouldn't it?"
"No! You can't-!" Anger is the only thing I can manage, so I use that, "You can't be so high and mighty, tell me why! Explain me your reasons, if you like picking mine apart so much!"
Her expression shifts in a way that I can't help but think is that of a director whose script was just wasted, "You do have to ask that, don't you..."
"Yes! I don't know how you've changed, but if there's anything of the mare I know-" I sob, "If there's anything of my friend in there, you'd know how wrong this all is! How much you've hurt me!"
"What you do in the tower is outside my grasp. To blame me for your actions, to say I am the villain while you make me watch as you run against a wall, again and again..." Her wings flare and she advances, horn alight and ears bleeding, to offer me a trembling hoof, "It's the height of hypocrisy, and it tears me apart. Grab my hoof, Applejack. Come with me if you truly are my friend."

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-05 01:08:15 No. 29611904
>>29611597 >>29611607
I look at her, reading beyond all the masks she wears -for my sake and for her own- noticing her every twitch and every glimmer on her eyes, and even the way she breathes.
Fear, anger, frustration, hurt... hope, and....
And cold, utter, calculating determination, equal in volume and opposite in means to mine.
I lift my hoof, but don't touch hers.
Both of us stand still for a moment, trembling.
"This is me making the same offer." My jaw trembles when I speak, "Grab my hoof. Come with me."
"That defeats the whole purpose of this." She doesn't lower hers. I don't either.
"I hate you." I say plainly, trying to muster some calm. "I can't lie about that. I hate you for all you've done to me. But I also hate you because you did this being my friend. If you came with me..." I am at a loss of words for a moment, "If you came with me, I could try to forgive you."
She just looks at me, and after a moment starts reciting: "And thereupon stood two dancers, communing despite their transgressions. Each offered her hoof, what she believed to be true salvation, and each beheld the other's hoof, what she believed to be utter doom."
I don't answer. Her horn dies down, but her wings stay flared.
"That's a warning as much as an offer, Applejack. I have been patient until now," She flaps her wings, raising, "I won't be anymore. Turn away now, or face me."
"Don't go." Is all I can manage to say.
"You could've come with me." Is all she says.
She flies up to the structure in the sky.
I turn away- to the tower, and head for it again.
The wind blows past the trees, and I feel cold.
"AJ?" Lud peeks in from the window of the second floor and extends down a rope for me to climb. fastening its other end. "I didn't feel it was my place to interrupt. Do you want to talk about it?"

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-05 05:40:11 No. 29616696
Unadorned armor, glimmering violet...
...Fractured pauldrons, destroyed between the weight and the shoulders that bear it...
...Pierced chest armor, blood flowing over it...
...Bent knees, unable to straighten anymore.

Something awakes me. I make the effort of standing and, after realizing how low it is, do so with my head tall. Rainbow would be mad if I had bad poise- ruins your back, she insists.
"I didn't want to wake you up." The head of the Twilight-looking machine that spoke to me earlier floats besides Ludwig in telekinesis, "I made it work again. Sort of. But the thing insists only you are authorized to talk with it." A burst of electricity flares from the thing's horn, making Ludwig yelp, "And it keeps doing that." She leaves it in the floor besides me.
"Unauthorized access to systems detected." Says the head simply. "Undo the alterations or contact an authorized user."

!!6rS9Q/1DV6r 2017-03-05 09:23:41 No. 29617863
I grab the head, "I am Applejack."
"Confirming voice print... main databases unreachable, using cached copy. Identity confirmed, User Applejack authorized. Please, undo all changes to the system."
"What changes?"
"Main energy system not found. Secondary energy system not found. Tertiary energy system added, not sanctioned by the main database. Radio communications system not found. Etheric communications system not found. Geolocalization systems not found. Repeated tries to access the main data loop. Repeated tries to tamper with the data relay loop. Subspace relay present, but nonfunctional for unknown reasons."
"What happened to all those?" I ask Lud.
"You think I'd guide Twilight here?" She gives me a bothered look, "I took out anything that looked like it could."
"Queen of lies." Says a familiar voice behind me.
"What?" I ask aloud, turning to see no one.
My vision flashes green again, another headache splitting my head.
"Purple widow, killing her beloved."
"Applejack?" Asks Ludwig.
"Who are you?" I ask, not expecting an answer.
"What's wrong?" Ludwig looks around too, "We are alone."
Truth's voice comes to me, "What in Tartarus happened before?"
"And thereupon stood...." The unknown voice fades for a moment, "...still as the world moved."
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