The first mysterious suicide was that of G.P. Trotsanna, 25, who tragically shot himself through the head last Thursday. She was in good health according to neighbors, and no rational motive for the act of desperate melancholy was revealed at the coroner's inquest.
The second victim of this eerie plague of self-destruction was the first's sister-in-law, Mrs. Barley Trotsanna, 37, who took her own life by drinking iodine poison this Monday. She is survived by her husband, Rev. 'Thumper' Theodore Trotsanna, the well-known pastor of the antique and lovely Old Kirk by the forest and president of the Society for the Propagation of Shining Truth.
Today, the third terrible and inexplicable tragedy occurred and was linked by strange coincidence with the first two acts of melancholic mania. Rev. Clyde Mowing, brother to Mrs. Trotsanna, and vice-president of the Society for the Propagation of Shining Truth, cut his own throat with a razor.
It is difficult to understand how such a contagious wave of insanity could strike a family devoted to pious endeavor in the name of the princess. When questioned about this, the inspector told our reporter, "When you have been a member of the police force for thirty years, you see many bizarre tragedies and learn that literally anybody is capable of literally anything."
The country people, however, say that the area where Everfree meets the town - where the Trotsanna and Mowing households are located - has been "haunted" for many years now. They instance the many appearances of that beast, the mysterious serpentine monster in the forest, as well as tales of a bat-winged second monster, strange noises and lights at night, buzzing voices heard in lonely spots, and many other varieties of supernatural apparitions.
"There is much superstition among the countryfolk," the inspector said when queried about these frightening tales.
Other residents regard the Inspector's skepticism with the strict rule of no wife, no horse, no mustache, always anger and derision.
Granny Smith, 61, who owns a farm near the reputedly haunted area, told our reporter, "The police are - fools. Every colt, mare, and filly in these parts calls that land 'The Damned Acres' and nobody will go into it after dark. Our beast is the least of our worries. The ungodly sounds at night around there, and the lights in the sky and on the ground, and the monstrous creatures people have seen, are enough to make your hair turn white."
Another farmer, who asked that his name be withheld from publication, added more grisly details to Smith's macabre tale, saying that his own son had encountered one of the "monstrous creatures" two years ago and is still under medical attention. He refused to describe the creature, saying, "City folk would laugh at us."
Another farmer, 43, another farmer, sums up the country people's view, saying, "we do not need a policeman as much as we need a witch-finder." He claims to have seen a woman without a head walking on the grounds of the Laird recently.
"Superstition," says the inspector; but our reporter admits he was glad to be back in the city before night came down on "The Damned Acres."
From the private diary of Twilight Sparkle-
What kind of pony is she, or what creature in the form of a pony? True, I have only met her in the flesh two times, but he has been a perpetual presence in my life for these two years now- since I bought that accursed tome and became drawn into the affairs of that part of the royal family and the horrors in the Everfree forest. Even before the blasphemous incident of that damned symbol that drove me out of Ponyville completely, she haunted my sleep, appearing in the most grotesque forms in constant nightmares that verged on sheer delirium. That one hideous vision in particular continues to haunt me - she was wearing an interlocking crown, while all about her danced and piped a crew of insectoid ponies that only the most grusome artist could depict. Like King Neighear, I would fain cry out, "Apothecary, give me something to sweeten my imagination!" But this is not imagination; it is horrid reality. I still recall her last words to me in the capital, as absurt now as ever: "Your Goddess and and princess are dead. Our magick is now stronger, for the Old One has returned." Sometimes, almost, my faith wavers and I believe her. That is the supreme horror: to be drawn passively, without further struggle, all hope gone, to that which I dread most, like one who stands at the edge of an abyss and cannot resist the seductive demoniac voice that whispers, "Jump, jump, jump. . ."
The twinkle of Twilight Sparkle's horn flips pages manically in a search for the tidbit of advice needed for a delicate operation. She reads from her personal notes, carefully maintaned since, was it, the second to last year of school? No academia here resides, infact, to the average scholar and layman alike the knowledge within presents a field typically unregared, though ever present. To simply read of it would give clear ideas as to its purpose, the question then becomes for whom would such a text be needed? The pages roll faster than their sound, the crisp flick of their rise and fall is no less than the sound of the mare combing the laws and their inverses in her mind, the occasional glanced word only an aid to memory. On being pressed for a describtion only would any reader of these questionable observations rule them as laws of interaction. The scope of the work is much more ambitious that this, and it's tone of a more pressing intent than avoiding offense with friends and collegues, though this less trying persute would as well be mastered by milder dedication to those pages. It is select the number in Equstria that can identify the activity taught there in, and any scholar of any merit two hundred years ago or noble of any age would risk hoof and hide should there be a chance to simply READ the secrets within, instead of learning them the hard way. Those in the know, however, would mark it simply as the act of courting, of being and being in the service of the powerful, then read on greedily. And just then, Twilight found just what she needed.
Wisdom: do not speculate towards what may be known to others.
Twilight wrapped about her her scarf, and wasting not a second teleported herself to the courtyard of the twin castles of Equestria, mind set to wording and working, and truely, as any who may know the prediciment and the presedure, there was not a second to loose.
Twilight Sparkle is recognized by the court, and says she in greeting of noon, 'Hail unto Thee in Thy triumphing,
Even unto Thee in Thy beauty,
Who travellest over the Heavens in Thy ark At the Mid-course of the Sun.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!',
her expression locked, the small unassuming smile of the perfect courtier in seeing once more, though only by perhaps a dozen hours, her most adored madame. Behind this, she laments the need to break such fundimental laws to right this mistake, releaved only by the general genteel with which Celestia handles her; she is but a young scholar, after all; any thought that perhaps power is the application for the student's intellect and vigor is one far from any conversation, but the filly gloves, as they say, had gone somewhat tougher in time as it comes nearer to when Twilight will truely be in her misstress' service.
As the final bouncing call of -ing resonates the hall Twilight's reserved smile touches her eyes as she draws in to the throne. This greeting for the Sun was one only known only to magicians trained by Celestia's magical order, The Gilded Rise, this confidence prided her as much as what it represented, her assent to the second degree of her initiations. "My most precious protege," aural rose petal infused honey senses exclaim, "Always a pleasure. Could Luna and yourself keep yourselves engaged last night? I take it by your current presence she didn't have you up but a few hours past my own bed time."
Twilight had felt some hesitation in really meeting Luna, in the past months since her return, she had felt something sinister about the monarch, seemingly confermed by uncomfortable visions during her introduction to the magical art of astral travel, in which she had had several bazaar encounters with what could only be some projection of her pregidis, or some evil pretending to be Nightmare moon. She had tryed to dismiss these none sensical notions, again and again, but still they lingered at the edge of her mind.
"Mmhm. Immortality and absence create so many mutual questions there is but a limit of endurence to our conversations." "Splendid. I know that before last night you two had, conversed, but I'm so happy to see there is no hitch."
" Perhaps one.." NEVER deliver bad news, or else be bad news.
In this moment between lines in the dialogue Twilight had no doubt would arise, she orders once more the lies she will begin to pile, and upon not fliching in the face of each offense against her report with the princess(es?) she will surely suffer, and whats more the consequences should she fail.
"Oh?" Bleached bone barreness, the death of all born. Fear is failure...
"A faol pas, and now I hope vainly for a cure before dusk." Fear is failure...
The princess, without movement or sound, shows for her student to continue. "I think I might have really hurt her feelings," From her misstress' face melts some sterness, however, the loss is lost. "I, accidentally, of course, almost called her"
"Nightmare Moon." Celestia completes over her fading pupil's voice. NEVER take the blame. Fear is failure and the forerunner to failure.
"Yes." Thankfully, The Goddess' features softened. Twilight's plan, or providence, or the Goddess herself, saved her. The trespass was much greater than the slip itself, but the result, she knew, was the same but in magnitude. "Princess Celestia" Twilight does not complete once more "Would I help you mend your mistake?"
"Yes." NEVER ask for favors (she and her friends all laughed when they realized the generousity of their Princess when they had all gone to the Gala, who may have as well, but Twilight knew humility shined well.)
"Without doubt. However, you should know, that my want for amiciablity isn't selfless. Cooperation between the two of you could be valueless. You will fix this." No forboding strikes, and the inappropriate 'could be' never addressed. "Yes m'lady, I feel quite bad, we were having such a wonderful time."
Yet more Celestia's face, as evidently her heart, softened, as would anyone who would observe the teacher and student as I do would expect.
"I know you would. Now," She says, shining noon light reflecting from the curling lip brought by an ancient reminesence of living, as that was what it was, given but what was in respect short interruptions, life was in many ways Luna. She did want to make her student and sister feel better, so she supposed she knew;
"You know what you could do, though tonight's dusk is quite out..."
That happened a long week ago. Not hard, just long. Twilight had never done work with Pinkie Pie before. Her understandable weariness had been recovered in the finial stage of her preparations, a relaxing night to herself after a somewhat more stressful one without sleep, not the first, as any involved scholar may recall the terror of the creeping blue dawn while particularly ingrossed. Now indeed did the birds of morning, having no doubt broken their fast with her pale honey complected friend, cry out their sounds warning to those that would ally themselves with night and its goddess, a service lost in their traditions, a secret to puzzle not royalty or academy but Ponyville's hair-hidden inheritor of beastly tongues and arts and the small clan that would claim her, scattered at the wild edges of civilization, near and far. Twilight Sparkle reads on now, to extinguish the fires of the night soon, greet the dawn, and meet Spike over first and last respective meals of respective days, before retiring to feather comfort and heavy filtered mid morning light.
In the orange of late afternoon magic selects an unmarked spine from a pile, one black and covered in stars, and a purple muzzle smiles at the irony as she makes a record of her most recent oneiromanic adventure ad astra in her diary of dreams and magic, and recalls to send it to Celestia tomorrow for her weekly check of progress. She rises and once more through her North facing window greets the sun for noon, the difference of a few hours little, she knew, how many times had she missed dawn, after all? She straightens herself up for the day, then empties her mind with consentration to feel and feel alone. Blankness, nothing, not, clear, calm... she moves slowly, not her body, but her herself, through the physical contortions of trotga, potent meditation. Her breathing controlled but constant, not unlike a newborn, or its mother in birth. She tingles and warms, her vision swims, colors come and go, surfaces ripple bounce or wave, until she must sit and let it pass through her as she puts herself into the peak. More she records. Clopping down the stairs, Twilight, happy and light, per usual after communion, is reminded by riotous laughter that today is the day. She smiles along, as she often must stop when reminded of Spike's Thursday engagements. As little as there is for any combination of boy, two year old, and dragon to do in Equestria, let alone Ponyville, and as Twilight thinks, snickers, one hardly expects 'bridge with the girls', all mares atleast 15 times lover boy's age, to be the highlight of his week as planned. She rounds a corner into the kitchen and takes a look around the earth pony card table (very small, round, with holes in the top for high easels on pegs to hold the cards themselves) to the typical partners, North and South Spike and the mayor, East and West an old hand in cloud control and the local pharmacist, Sunny Fog and Pestle. As always, being the beginning of the second half the evening, Spike and mayor were steadily taking more wins, oddly for his part, if you'd never seen it before, in reality the draw to this particular club is it's apparent unspoken rule to drink as much as they played. "Ey, Twilight, been taken sleeping lessions from Rambow Dash?", teases Sunny. "She's been cooking down a bunch of romancey smalt for a date with Luna tonight.", Spike says to his left, "I'm not supposed to expect her back till morning." Twilight rolled her eyes. He's said that three times now.
The windows more than likely bow out on Thursdays. If the mares laughed any harder at Spike's jokes Twilight could sware the most common rumor about the old friends' procivities may be true. That is, if other rumors weren't more appealing. "Bo'h Princesses Twilight? Sleeping lessions indeed!", the mayor interjects.
What was the glazier's name again? Shiney Sands? After that outburst of laughter Spike revives again with an 'I don't get it', and Twilight excuses herself to collect the final elements to the evening and gladly leave them to do whatever it is three older mares and a baby dragon do once their too drunk to play anything wholesome. It's not as if she need worry, she knew that the neighbors can hear Spike scream should he need to.
At dusk, Twilight returns, and at dusk, Twilight departs, perscibed gifts and luxuries in her saddlebags. Her return the following morning would be hailed by the beat of pegesi at the library door, to deliver the unconcious foal to her bed. On waking, but after a brief moment, she screamed. She had hoped, but for that brief moment of doubt, her recollections were nightmares, but even in the light of morning did her visions persist. Spike the two remaining ponies of last night's game, too drunk to leave on Spike's good concience, Pestle and Sunny, rushed to her. "Twilight, what's wrong?"
"Everything Spike! The whole world's wrong!" The pony was now balled up in a confusion of sheets, her tremors evident to everyone in the room.
"We thought we saved Luna, but we were wrong, Spike, dead wrong! Nightmare Moon lives!"
"She's not making any sense. She must be in shock. Twilight, Luna's been fine for months now, she's gone back to protecting us!"
The pegusis to her right made a skeptical noise, not even offering a word, the group knew her oppinion on the matter.
"Politics is all a masquerade," the unicorn said with the same urgency, looking at them all with vacant, evasive eyes.
The doctor remained cordial. "Few people these days believe Luna is a threat," she said, thinking privately: Nine out of ten schizophrenics have an obsession with evil, and eight out of ten will produce some variation on that masquerade metaphor.
"Few people these days," Twilight responds shaking, "can see beyond the end of their own nose."
"You have reason to know better, eh?" prodded the doctor.
"Are you an therapist too?" she asked abruptly.
There it is again, the pharmacist thought: the astonishing intuition, or extrasensory perception, these types so often exhibit. "No," he said carefully, "but I do treat mental and nervous disorders - but not from the position of the traditional therapist."
"I do not need a therapist," she said bitterly, ignoring the doctor's refusal to accept that label.
"Who said that you did?" asked the doctor, "I am merely curious what would convice you that. I was a bit hard won over myself."
A skeptical sound comes from the pegasus.
"Excuse me" Twilight says with faultering control as she leaves her bed for the bathroom "Has she ever been like this before?"
"No, she's usually so calm, I can't believe that she's just, snapped or something!" "Quieter, Spike. Did she tell you what she was going to be doing with Luna last night?"
Twilight stands on the presipese to her room, eyes heavily lided.
"Talking about me behind my back? Get out, I'm going back to bed."
No protest is made as the trio exits around her, standing in the door they watch Twilight drops against the mattress, sleeping suddenly.
"She must have taken something," pestle speculates.
Later, Spike, alone again after the mares had left after some time waiting, returns to Twilight's side. He hears some sound, and as he proceeds up the stairs, they grow louder "No. . . no. . . I won't go into the garden. . . not again. . . Oh, Celestia, that thing. . . the bat wings flapping. . . the enormous red eye. . .Celestia help me!"
The dragon looks on in pity and revulsion, yet hessitates to wake her.
"The Invisible College," Twilight mumbled in a silly schizophrenic singsong. "Now you see it, now you don't. . . into air, into thin air. . . Even Celestia wasn't real"
He had heard enough. "You were having a bad dream," he said as he shook her awake "Just a bad dream. . ."
"But it was it Spike, even now they're after me."
"Twilight," Spike said urgently, "whatever you fear is inside your own mind. It is not outside you at all. Please try to understand that."
"You fool," she says, no shake left in her voice "inside and outside are the same to them. They can enter our minds whenever they will. And they can change the world whenever they will."
"They?" the baby dragon asked shrewdly. "The Invisible College?"
"The Invisible College is dead. The Black Brotherhood has taken over the world."