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A Deal is a Deal Sidestory: A Worried Aside

By twilightgamenight
Created: 18th December 2020 10:51:56 PM

  1. The humans have a saying: "Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."
  2. I killed half a billion. What does that make me?
  3. I ask myself that every night. After four years, I have yet to find a true answer.
  4. Murderer? Though my heart tells me I am, I know that I acted to protect Equestria. I may be a murderer, but that is not what I *am*.
  5. Conqueror? No. Never. Equestria wanted - *wants* - friends, not subjects. Partners, not servants. Besides, I conquered nothing, not even my own emotions. Their people stand strong, even if their world is stricken.
  6. God? Certainly not. A god would be infallible, something I most definitely failed to be. Most importantly, I didn't kill them all. Even accounting for the deaths after the fact from starvation or disease, the ones I did not personally cause, over half the human race survived. I don't know if that is why the nightmares come every night, or why some nights they aren't as bad. I could have killed more. I wish I had, almost as much as I wish I hadn't killed anypony at all.
  7. So if I am not a murderer, conqueror, or god, then what am I?
  8. The sleepless nights have never given me an answer, only a commentary on my own nature. After four years, two facts remain the same: I am Twilight Sparkle and I am horrified by what I have done. A part of me welcomes the nightmares that come every night, because if I ever find myself accepting the deaths or no longer questioning the choices I made that led to them, I will know it is time to turn myself in.
  9. Of course, when that time comes, will I still feel the same way? Will I still think that I’ve become a monster?
  10. I can only hope that a part of me will and that on that day I am still a princess of Equestria. I hope that I can abandon my research and surrender peacefully to the first patrol I meet, human or pony. I also hope that by the time I'm dragged in chains before my brother, I no longer am.
  11. That, more than anything, is what keeps me here in the Everfree Forest. I cannot bear to face the others. Not while I am still, at my core, myself.
  12. The nightmares, the self-loathing, the sheer horror of that day mean that I am still me. And if I am me, I believe I can fix this. I have never come across a problem I could not solve given time, luck, and friends. But I have had time. Four years, in fact. I have had luck, with wondrous new discoveries that have benefited the people of both worlds, though they will never know their source. But friends? I am running short on those.
  13. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash were captured - or rather rescued might be the right word - by the humans when Ponyville burned. Rarity stopped talking to me when I was declared a war criminal. For Sweetie Belle's sake, she said. I don't blame her. Pinkie Pie... of all my friends, she's the only one to still seek me out, but she’s always been the most innocent. She could never understand and it would break her heart. Moondancer ceased responding to my letters when her husband died. Starlight tried to stand in my way. I think she's still alive, somewhere in Manehattan, but she said I betrayed everything I stood for. After all the lessons I tried to teach her about not taking the easy path to success, I'm not sure I have any right to disagree. I can't. The Element of Magic has chosen a new bearer. Or perhaps it hasn't. Perhaps it simply chose to *not* have me.
  14. AJ... I don't know.
  15. Princess Luna no longer exists and Nightmare Moon was banished by my own hoof.
  16. Celestia is dead.
  17. I am alone.
  18. The Princess of Friendship is alone.
  19. Or did I abandon that post when I shut the portals?
  20. Did I cease to be the Princess of Friendship when I turned my back on the humans?
  21. I wish I could blame it on somepony else. I remember us urging Princess Luna to absolve herself of the guilt of what Nightmare Moon did. It wasn't her.
  22. Does her guilt equal my own?
  23. When I closed the portals, I remember thinking for a fraction of a second that this was what it must have felt like when Princess Luna became Nightmare Moon, but I immediately squashed that thought. Nightmare Moon was born of jealousy and greed. Purely selfish reasons. *Subjective* reasons.
  24. What I was doing was justice.
  25. I didn't have to worry about losing control to an evil force, because what I was doing was right.
  26. That thought lingered.
  27. It's gone now.
  28. I was wrong.
  29. Not necessarily in my actions; nopony will ever know how things would have gone if I hadn't made those choices. It might have been the best thing to do.
  30. Rather, I was wrong about justice.
  31. Justice is subjective.
  32. What I did may have been the right thing and it might have even been just, but *only* from my point of view. Some days, I question even that.
  33. It’s been hard without Spike.
  34. Every day, I worry that a little more of myself is slipping away. Not the part of me that feels guilt or is trying to fix my mistakes, but the part of me that is *me*.
  35. If my friends – if they are still my friends – saw me, would they recognize me? If I had a chance to relax and pretend that everything is normal, would I still enjoy the same books? Would I read at all?
  36. I spoke yesterday. I don’t know to whom. Myself, I guess, or perhaps a ghost or fleeting memory. The sound terrified me.
  37. I hadn’t heard a voice in months.
  38. Only when I screamed did I realize I was the one speaking.
  39. That’s why I have started to keep this journal, apart from my notes and research. That’s all it is: a journal, though I assume that if it is found, they will call it my manifesto like I’m some political revolutionary or terrorist. Perhaps this is. Perhaps I am.
  40. Even so, I cannot stop myself from putting this to practical use. This may be a journal, but it is still an experiment of sorts. Two years from now, maybe three, will I read this back and be utterly confused by what is written within?
  41. At that time, will I still be me?
  42. Will I still be Twilight Sparkle?
  43.  
  44. The nightmares still come.
  45. I am still horrified by what I have done and what I might have to do.
  46. As of today, I am still Twilight Sparkle. Still myself. Not...
  47. What were the tabloids calling me? Midnight Sparkle?
  48. I am not her. Not yet.
  49. I look over the past entries in my journal and find myself nodding in agreement with the former me, the me of yesterday and the day before and the day before that.
  50. And yet I still feel myself slipping further away from things.
  51. I may have chained myself in place with this journal, but the world - as always - continues on.
  52. Perhaps that's not the right way to phrase that.
  53. The sun hasn't moved in three days.
  54. I hadn't realized.
  55. Seems so absurd now that I *think* about it! Of course it can't be noon every single time I glance out a window!
  56. Cadence must be growing tired. It must be such a strain moving both sun and moon day after day with no help.
  57. The air feels warmer. Slightly.
  58. None of the snow has receded, but neither has there been any new accumulation.
  59. I wonder if this was her intent, but if so the citizens of the Crystal Empire must be suffering.
  60. The heat must be unbearable.
  61. Or Shining Armor's shield finally gave out.
  62. Last I heard, he was pushed beyond his limit trying to keep that small corner of the world habitable.
  63. Yes, perhaps this is for the best, though the ecological consequences...
  64. Could they be any worse than what has already happened?
  65. I hear Fluttershy is back.
  66. She must be crying.
  67. It is... not my problem.
  68. Still on my list, of course, but nowhere near the top.
  69. I did not cause this.
  70. Not directly.
  71. I didn't cause the pegasi to seal their flying clouds.
  72. Nor did I suggest the Earth ponies retreat to their valleys and fields.
  73. The unicorns - the unicorns stayed.
  74. They had nowhere but the cities, but they became *theirs*.
  75. I did none of that.
  76. *I* didn't bring *them*.
  77. That cannot be blamed solely on me - or on any one pony.
  78. I leave that to Cadence and my brother to solve.
  79. And Spike.
  80. He gave up.
  81. I had no idea.
  82. He gave up on finding me.
  83. Long ago.
  84. I hear the dragons have come to our aid.
  85. It only took him years to convince them.
  86. Though slow to rouse, perhaps they shall save Equestria.
  87. When the news reached me, I almost abandoned my research.
  88. To see them in action!
  89. Oh, I wish I could.
  90. Will it work?
  91. Who would win?
  92. I could not stop myself - I looked through a few reference tomes, but if such a conflict had ever been fought, nopony was there to write of its outcome.
  93. As I write this, another thought occurs to me.
  94. The sun.
  95. Is *this* why it hasn't moved, to give our new allies the warmth they need to bring life back to our land?
  96. I wish I could go.
  97. It would be worth whatever my punishment shall be.
  98. But my work is not yet done.
  99. Soon, perhaps.
  100. Things progress.
  101. I have successfully stabilized the feeding loop - on a small scale. A minuscule scale. But I have succeeded! I have the key!
  102. It's not simply theoretical anymore.
  103. The loop sustains itself on whatever energy it can leech. That was the first issue, that I made the spell adaptable enough to draw on Equestria's natural magic and electricity from the other side.
  104. Or in the absence of those, whatever energy it can - light, heat, life, so on. Anything necessary to keep the portal open.
  105. It seemed a good idea at the time, a fail safe to save those traveling between worlds in the event of a power interruption from either end of the portal.
  106. Unfortunately I didn't plan a fail safe for the fail safe, which lead to my second problem - how efficient the loop is.
  107. It takes barely any energy to keep the loop going, even when it's not gathering enough to maintain a portal.
  108. Entropy will eventually shut it down, but that will take decades. Perhaps centuries. The barrier spells I wove into the cores of the pylons won't last that long.
  109. I suspect the first will begin to fail in five years.
  110. If the loops expand, some may be able to keep running indefinitely purely on sunlight alone.
  111. But if enough energy is fed into a loop, then -
  112. No.
  113. Despite my excitement, this journal is not the place for the details.
  114. I have already filled a notebook with the findings from this last experiment.
  115. What matters is I am one step closer. I am happy - I am *proud* of what I have accomplished in these last few days.
  116. And more than that, I am proud of *Spike*.
  117. May he be the hero to Equestria that I should have been.
  118.  
  119. I was expecting this, yet am still disappointed.
  120. Despite the dragons' aid, I shouldn't be surprised the end doesn't come quickly.
  121. It started slowly, after all. Very slowly. Before I closed the portals.
  122. It started in the darkness.
  123. They turned on each other, the ponies of Equestria, finding fault with their neighbors. In the dark, in those first three days after Celestia's death, when a pony needed their friends the most, the seeds for Equestria's downfall were planted.
  124. Not with the arrival of the humans, not with Celestia's death, but in the dark.
  125. In the arguments between neighbors, between friends.
  126. Your house was destroyed in Nightmare Moon's trail of destruction? Or - or in the attempts to stop her? Of course she was to blame - or the humans. But your neighbors? Why wouldn't they take you in?
  127. That's what ponies are supposed to do, what makes - *made* - us special. The magic of friendship.
  128. It was a betrayal more intimate than anything that had come before.
  129. The humans suspected you were involved in the assassination? Or the Guard? The word 'pariah' has been in the dictionary for as long as I can read. Most likely far longer.
  130. The memory of stumbling across it is burned into my mind. As a foal, I thought it was impossible. As a mare, I thought it a fictional concept. As a princess, I *knew* it was.
  131. I never *saw* it, never know how wrong I truly was, until the darkness came.
  132. Ponies being turned away by their friends because they feared they would bring the Guard down on them...
  133. It troubles me that they were feared more than the humans.
  134. They had something to *prove*, a need to redeem themselves, a burning drive that none of the humans could match. This was *their* home. *Their* princess. *Their* job.
  135. After Nightmare Moon's rampage, after... *mine* ... when war truly came to Equestria, it only grew worse.
  136. What happens when you can't rely on friendship anymore?
  137. When you don't have enough for yourself, let alone your closest companion.
  138. The cracks that formed in that dark time only grew, splitting what used to be tight knit communities along family lines.
  139. If you had to choose between your friends or your family... to most the choice was obvious.
  140. And families being what they are...
  141. It was a bad harvest. Fields ruined by war, other crops left to rot because nopony could stop bickering or fighting or fleeing to bring them in.
  142. That first winter was rough.
  143. And then... it didn't seem to end.
  144. At first we thought Winter Wrap -up had gone wrong. Too few communities participating, too few ponies willing to go out in the cold, to risk themselves when they could hide.
  145. Too many willing to let somepony else do it.
  146. Celestia had been dead for nearly a year when we realized what was happening - what *had* happened.
  147. By then, it was too late.
  148. Luna was banished, Celestia was dead, I was hunted, and Cadence was stretched thin doing her everything to keep Equestria together.
  149. The Elements were split.
  150. The humans... for all their technological prowess, they could not fight this new threat.
  151. Spike saved us.
  152. Yesterday, the dragons launch their first attack.
  153. I watched them - remotely, of course. I dare not leave this refuge yet. But watching as the first flight of five great serpents dove into the blizzard without hesitation...!
  154. Their claws and teeth did nothing to the ethereal windigo, but their fire - oh, their fire! - I never thought I'd hear a windigo *scream*!
  155. Their howling has become background noise to me at this point, but that scream!
  156. I will remember it for the rest of my life.
  157. It sounded like - and I shudder to put this to paper, but I must - it sounded like *salvation*.
  158. It is wrong to find happiness in *any* creature's death - that is something that *Midnight* Sparkle would do - and yet I can't help but feel that fire kindled a spark of joy in my heart.
  159. Death never sounded so... so *beautiful*.
  160. I *must* record that.
  161. That is the purpose of this journal, after all.
  162. So long as I can look back tomorrow and feel the same shame as I do now...
  163. But is that really good enough?
  164. I can't help it. One of *them* is finally *dead*. I didn't even know they *could* die! I'm not sure if they knew it either, the way they scattered and flew away! Still, it did not die easily, or quickly. It took three dragons to slay it, to pen it in with their flaming breath and burn it until nothing was left while the other two chased the rest of the monsters.
  165. Behind them, escorted by smaller dragons, came the helicopters full of food and supplies. Specialists, too, trained by my brother and Sunburst. Others by Cadence, Rarity, and Pinkie. Unicorns, pegasi, earth ponies, *humans*. The first will set up wards to keep the windigo at bay, though I've studied their spells.
  166. I still have my sources in the Court.
  167. It won't stop the broken remnants of Appleloosa from feeling the effects of this unnatural winter, but it *will* keep the windigo from feeding there. With this help, they'll survive. But only survive.
  168. The therapists and councilors from my friends are what will bring healing. Mend the cracks that have split the town apart, that *brought* the windigo.
  169. It won't be easy, but things will only grow harder. This was only a test run. Proof of concept.
  170. I'm surprised at how smoothly ponies, humans, and dragons worked together.
  171. That harmony drove back the windigo as surely as any dragonfire.
  172. The first of many towns has been saved.
  173. It will end slowly, but there is hope.
  174. I would help - I would *try* - but I... made a mistake.
  175.  
  176. I’ve been staring at that line for the last hour and laughing. I don't have the time for that, but I couldn't help myself.
  177. I should sleep. It's been... I'm not sure. Without the sun moving, I can't tell anymore. My clock is... gone.
  178. Let me correct myself: I have made *many* mistakes.
  179. The most recent and most pressing being the pylons holding back the portals’ entropic fields.
  180. A *specific* pylon.
  181. I estimated the first would begin to fail in five years.
  182.  
  183. I was wrong.
  184.  
  185. After my latest successes, I asked several of my allies to test the wards.
  186. At the core of each pylon is one of my flight feathers, fueling a spell to ward off the fields’ expansion.
  187. The residual magic imbued in each one should have kept the wards strong for years. Optimistically, for decades.
  188. I wanted to know how much time I had, if - perhaps - I had overestimated their strength - and my own. Or - with any luck - if I had *underestimated*.
  189. My recent estimate of five years seems accurate in most cases. *Most*.
  190. Some will last far longer. Some will fail a little bit sooner.
  191. One is damaged.
  192. I give it six months. Maybe a year.
  193. I'm not willing to assume the later.
  194. Six months.
  195. And then people will begin to die. Slowly. Without ever realizing what's happening. Like Equestria.
  196. Only a select few know what the pylons actually do, that they contain - and not just mark out - the entropic fields.
  197. And that the fields used to be approximately double the size they are now, but the effect were so subtle that far out that no one noticed them.
  198. My allies thought it best that humanity at large not know exactly how much damage had been done, and I agreed.
  199. I don’t have a practical solution, not entirely, but I *do* have a theoretical.
  200. Energy.
  201. *Any* energy.
  202. That’s what the scraps of the portals are continuing to feed on. I know this. I know they're too stable. I wrote on it here... I'm not sure how long ago.
  203. I created them too well. When I cut off the source of magical energy from Equestria, it was too sudden. The layered spells tried to find a way to stabilize themselves. They still are.
  204. If they could be fed enough energy to stabilize, if only for a moment, they could be properly closed.
  205. The spells would die.
  206. All I have to do is feed them enough energy to do that – and therein lies the problem.
  207. My experiments have had mixed results.
  208. I cannot reconnect the portals from this side. It would be too dangerous, for myself and Equestria. There is a corner of my workbench that is now - for lack of a more succinct word - tainted.
  209. The technical details are in my research journal, but that portal was only large enough to send a letter.
  210. I cannot establish the proper safeguards – a ring of pylons prior to attempting to reconnect the primary portals. I lack the resources and allies in this world. I don’t believe Cadance would trust me.
  211. Going forward without them would be too reckless. The stabilization spell would grow stronger as it was fed, and strengthen the entropic field exponentially. I can't feed it the power *fast* enough to shut it down before... before things go bad.
  212. If I am wrong, if I make *any* mistakes - and I *must* concede that is possible - two worlds would die by my hoof.
  213. This is a sign of growth, isn’t it?
  214. The old me would have had faith in her abilities and gone ahead with the plan.
  215. The new me knows I can fail.
  216. I cannot risk what remains of Equestria. The energy must be fed into the portals from the other side, where any sudden growth in the fields would be contained.
  217. I have a theoretical.
  218. Several.
  219. Nuclear weapons could provide enough energy to short out the portals. Unfortunately, that solution will always remain theoretical. Their mechanisms are surprisingly fragile. That... *could* be solved, but to what end? All it would do is finally close the portals. It would not suddenly make the land livable. The opposite, actually.
  220. Besides, my allies have made it clear that they do not trust me that far.
  221. I won’t risk what little faith they have in me by asking again, not unless all else fails.
  222. There is another solution.
  223.  
  224. The portals were powered by *any* supply of energy they could reach, from electricity to light, but what was *most* effective was *magic*. *Our* magic.
  225. The magic of friendship.
  226. If Moondancer’s work on the magic suppressants progressed as I expect - and it did, unless I have been mislead - the medication will block a pony’s ability to feel magic or make use of it, but not stop it from accumulating.
  227. After four years, how full of magic will those bodies be?
  228. How horrible am I to even be considering this?
  229. How horrible is it that I know it would only take two?
  230.  
  231. It scares me how much the humans can do with but a few words.
  232. Only a handful doomed two worlds.
  233. 'Someone should do something about her.'
  234. That is all that had to be said.
  235. And yet that talent might be our salvation. I don't know how to ask somepony to martyr herself for our worlds - I don't have the faintest clue! - but I don't have to.
  236. It should be me, but how can it?
  237. I've killed so many already.
  238. But if a human were to ask...
  239. All it would take is two - two to buy me the time to find another solution for the rest, but I *can't*!
  240. It has to be a human. They can convince somepony. Somehow.
  241. Is this pragmatism or cowardice?
  242.  
  243. I have thought about it, about my solution.
  244. Even slept on it.
  245. Yes, I have slept. It has been a while, but there is only so much magic and potions can do to uncloud a mind.
  246. As always, the nightmares came. The thousands of voices that suddenly went silent, thousands more erupting into sudden screaming. Everything I felt then and now.
  247. But I slept.
  248. I couldn't think of anything else to do.
  249. It would only take two ponies to stabilize the entropic field, but it would kill them.
  250. Using more would make no impact. I ran the test dozens of times at least, thinking surely there would be a difference. That one more pony, ten more, twenty, would allow them all - or *any* - to come out alive.
  251. Nothing changed except the number of dead, or how long they would linger after the collapse of the field.
  252. They don't kill quickly, but they kill nonetheless, and I still have not found a way to reverse the process once a body reaches the tipping point.
  253. Returning the dead to life, even if they still move, is beyond me. I do not know if any being truly has that power. Perhaps Discord. Maybe.
  254. Of course I have also considered alternatives, including combining multiple approaches.
  255. If, perhaps, the humans' power structure was still in place, if every generator was running at full capacity, if many of them hadn't been broken down for parts, if others hadn't starved and gone silent as their fuel ran dry...
  256. No, this will have to be ponies alone and it would take hundreds to make a difference.
  257. Could I even organize such a thing? Could my allies?
  258. I fear they would not.
  259. I *know* I can't.
  260. So the choice is between two or - or one.
  261. Myself.
  262. I could do it.
  263. An alicorn's body holds so much more magic than any other being's - save, perhaps, a draconequus.
  264. I have considered that as well, if the two of us together might -
  265. It doesn't matter. Discord still hasn't revealed himself, not even when Fluttershy returned.
  266. From the reports I've gathered, he was last seen with Applejack. If I can find her, then -
  267. I don't have time for that. Fruitlessly repeating the same experiment over and over has taken too long already.
  268. The damaged pylon will fail in five months.
  269. After that, the entropic field will expand and two necessary sacrifices will become twenty, then two hundred...
  270. Besides, I am starting to wonder if Discord didn't go into hiding; if, instead, he is dead.
  271. And perhaps if I should be, too.
  272. There is a small town near there. Several farms. Hundreds of ponies. Thousands of humans.
  273. At first, my sleep-deprived mind thought this was a problem that would solve itself. Hundreds of ponies would be required to collapse the field without any deaths. Hundreds of ponies live nearby.
  274. As the field grows, it would encompass them and shut itself down, right?
  275. This was why I had to sleep. For a short time, I thought that would actually work, but no.
  276. And as the field grows, the power it would demand would also grow.
  277. It wouldn't need hundreds to collapse safely, but *thousands*.
  278. This has to be taken care of before the wards fail.
  279. It would only take me. I could walk into that field and give my life to save them all.
  280. I don't have to convince anypony to do it in my place.
  281. But... what about the rest?
  282. Will somepony take up my task? Will somepony find my notes and continue the work?
  283. I can save a few thousand from death, but in five years when the other wards fail... what then?
  284. No, I couldn't think of any other solution.
  285. Sleep has left me refreshed, but a clear mind hasn't unraveled any further options.
  286. It must be two ponies.
  287. No more, no fewer.
  288. The only part up for debate is *how* to convince them.
  289. I - I do not trust my allies with this information.
  290. Some are good people. Some see the good I am doing and understand the necessity of compromise.
  291. Others would throw the two closest ponies into each and every entropic field with no concern for the lives they were ending.
  292. If I misjudge someone, if I trust this information to the wrong person, so many more deaths will be on my hooves.
  293. I would ask Dr. Stiers, but... of all my allies, his mind is the most scientific. The most practical. The most advanced.
  294. After all, if I were to leave my research to anyone, it would be him.
  295. Yet I fear for his ethics.
  296. He is no Mengele. The man treats his ponies well. He only takes grafts from willing volunteers and they are provided for afterward.
  297. Yet there doesn't seem to be any true compassion or kindness behind the act, merely a sense of propriety, of... of justice of a sort.
  298. He is getting more out of the bargain than the ponies and he feels absolutely no guilt over it.
  299. How would he react when he knows he can save the world at the cost of a few hundred lives?
  300. Would that be justice to him?
  301. If it was only my life, I would agree.
  302. He cares more for the outcome than the means. No not even that. He cares only for the scientific journey, for the progress.
  303. It doesn't matter how his discoveries are used or by whom.
  304. Some of his backers...
  305. There are humans I wish I *had* killed.
  306. I still might, given the chance.
  307. And some I never wish to, but my hoof might be forced.
  308. Something is wrong with me.
  309. I can't conscience sacrificing two ponies to save thousands, but I would kill a human - a *scientist* - to stop him from giving the secrets to the magic of friendship to certain people.
  310. This must be Midnight Sparkle coming to the fore, but some humans can't be trusted with the magic of Equestria - if any can at all.
  311. Such a casual comment - 'Someone should do something about her' - and yet it devastated our worlds.
  312. The magic of friendship resonates strongest with ponies, but it affects all creatures. It gives griffins and dragons the strength to fly, despite physics saying it's impossible - physics we hadn't even full unravelled until we found a world without magic and realized everything we believed was fundamentally wrong.
  313. It's that magic that fuels the fires of the kirin, grants impossible strength and endurance to the yaks, allows the hippogriffs to - to do *everything* they do. Even changelings - even the ones like Chrysalis, who refuse to accept the new ways - can tap into this magic and use it for their own purposes.
  314. And humans?
  315. They are an incredibly strong species, in their own way. They can't fly. They can't breathe fire. An injury that would merely inconvenience a yak or an Earth pony could cripple one of them. They can't breathe underwater or change their shape. They lack the speed of the pegasi. They can't weave the magic into spells like a unicorn.
  316. Stiers' experiments proceed on the basic belief that magic only amplifies what is already there, that yaks are strong and the magic of Equestria makes them stronger, but there is more to it than that. A pony - in general - cannot shape the weather, but a pegasus *can*. Without the magic, they *can't*. There is no diminished ability, simply a total *in*ability.
  317. And yet that theory still prevails among the philosophers and scientists that can afford to waste their time on such diversions.
  318. I can understand why.
  319. Some ponies look to humans' technology as their strength, that their advancement is on par with the development of other species' abilities, but that simply isn't true. Ponies have created flying machines, too, for example. The humans' excessive development is due to their *reliance* on technology, not any innate or enhanced ability. Though we are far behind them in many ways, I have no doubt ponykind can replicate or surpass many or all of their feats, given the need.
  320. Our minds are just as deft as theirs.
  321. They cannot control the weather or speak with animals - many can't even communicate with one another, due to language differences! - but that hasn't stopped them from taming much of their world.
  322. Humanity endures - even prospers - against all odds.
  323. They have... I wouldn't call it friendship as we ponies know it, but *teamwork*.
  324. And - above all - they can be remarkably convincing.
  325.  
  326. I don't see any way around it.
  327. There are few ponies willing to work with me, fewer still in the humans' world.
  328. None in a position to help with this.
  329. Whether I walk into the entropic field alone or I convince two others to do it in my place, I will have to leave my sanctuary in the Everfree Forest.
  330. I must cross over to their world.
  331. There is no other option, yet I dare not opening a portal large enough for me to cross over.
  332. It's too great of a risk.
  333. The portals I use to communicate with my allies in the other world are so much smaller. So much easier to hide.
  334. They're barely large enough to connect to an unsecured wifi network or to slip through a letter to a secure drop site.
  335. A portal for a full-sized alicorn is impossible.
  336. While I should be able to manage one without help, I cannot without draining my power and - more importantly - not without causing a massive disruption to what remains of Equestria's magical field.
  337. Cadence would notice it immediately.
  338. It doesn't matter how distracted or tired she is.
  339. She would know. And she would know who was casting the spell.
  340. And she would take action.
  341. The Guard would be on me before I could finish.
  342. My sanctuary's passive wards, befuddlements, and defenses might be able to keep them at bay long enough - *might* - but they would break through eventually.
  343. I still have hope that I can return here once this emergency is over and continue my research.
  344. Therefore, while it seems like the more dangerous option, I must go through one of the few remaining open portals.
  345. A second refugee column is set to go through in approximately three weeks.
  346. It was scheduled for later, but the departure date was recently pushed up.
  347. There are reasons, I am sure, but my loyal agent couldn't uncover why.
  348. It hardly matters. Instead, I shall take advantage of their haste.
  349. I see no other choice but to disguise myself and cross over with them.
  350. After that...
  351. I have become accustomed to 'winging it'.
  352. This won't be my first clandestine visit to their world.
  353. But I will need a new persona. The don't believe the last is still secure.
  354. Perhaps -
  355. Perhaps I shouldn't write it here, lest my sanctuary is uncovered before I return.
Twilight Sparkle Grimdark Grimderp /spg/ SAFE

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