Dreams of Reality

Written by Summerset Banjo

Edited by Tucker's Mayflower

Twilight Sparkle and Spike reached the top of the tower where the crystal heart lay… or should have been. To the duo's astonishment, the heart was nowhere in sight.

Twilight ran all over the top of the tower, searching for the heart. If she couldn't find it, Sombra would return and take over the Crystal Empire. And then she would fail her test! "The heart! Where's the heart?"

"Twilight, maybe the heart's somewhere else." Spike said, nervously watching the sky turning dark brown.

"The Crystal Heart must be here! It can't be anywhere else!" She whined, as lightning arched through the sky.

"Twilight, if it isn't here, it isn't here! We gotta go!" Spike leaned against one of the crystal pillars, watching the sky turn more ominous by the minute. Suddenly, Spike felt something sink back inside the pillar he was leaning on, like he leaned on a button of sorts.

Twilight looked up and saw a faint glimmer of something in the middle of the room before it faded away. "Of course! The crystal heart is invisible! That's why I couldn't see it!" she yelled excitedly. But as she reached for it, she felt nothing but air. Wait a second…it's not invisible at all…It's like it's just not here anymore! Come on, Twilight, think! Where could it have gone?

As she racked her brain for an answer, Twilight felt a strange buzz for a moment before hearing a distant voice:

Doctor Corby, please come to isolation ward four immediately. To isolation ward four. Doctor Corb—

"Twilight, I don't see anything."

Twilight shook her head. She needed to focus. She turned to Spike. "Did you trigger anything to cause the heart to appear?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I think I pushed a button or something along the pillar. Sorry, Twilight, I didn't mean to—"

"Show me where it is."

Spike led Twilight back to the pillar where he leaned on. The wind was starting to howl as lightning arced through the dark sky. Sombra was coming. "Here it is. Really sorry, Twilight; I know I promised not to help, but it was an accident! Promise!"

But Twilight failed to hear him as the distant voices returned once more. Doctor Corby, please come to isolation ward four. Doctor Corby to isolation ward four.

"I wish he'd get there." She said, her voice soft and flat.

"Who?" Spike asked, confused.

"Doctor Corby. They're waiting for him." She answered distantly.

"Twilight… are you feeling all right?"

She shook her head as if trying to focus. "Yes, I'm fine." Twilight examined the button that Spike accidentally pushed moments ago. Sombra was clever to hide the heart within a puzzle. If she calculated it correctly, she had to snag it in the small time frame it was visible before it vanished.

Twilight pushed the button and saw the faint ghostly glimmer of the heart. Running towards it, she leaped in the air and grabbed at the phantom outline, crashing into the stone floor. She got up gingerly, then looked down, finding a glistening blue crystal clutched between her hooves: the crystal heart.

"I did it, Spike! I got the heart!" she yelled proudly over the howling wind and lightning.

Miss Twinkle, put it down!

Twilight Sparkle cried out as if in pain and dropped the heart to the floor. The buzzing got so bad it was starting to hurt. She couldn't seem to focus on anything at all.

"Twilight, what's wrong? Twilight?!"

"I said put the pen down, Miss Twinkle," said Doctor Corby sternly.

Twilight Twinkle held the pen close to the wall in her padded cell. The doctors had told her for years that her creations were imaginary, that she was crazy for believing they were real. But in her heart, she knew that they were wrong. Twilight Sparkle and her friends were real, realer than anything else in this asylum.

She let out a sigh and turned to look at the doctor. "I haven't finished my story yet. Twilight Sparkle just found the crystal heart and hasn't had a chance to return it yet." She hoped the doctor would let her finish her story, just this once.

Doctor Corby gave an exasperated sigh as he looked around her padded cell. The floor, ceiling, and walls were all covered with writing, hundreds of stories about everything from fighting insect queens to battling jealous moon princesses. "Miss Twinkle, you promised not to write on the walls."

"No one will give me any paper." she answered.

"I thought we agreed that you weren't going to write at all. That you needed rest."

"No! I don't need rest. I need to tell my stories."

He shook his head, feeling pity for the poor mare. "You were doing so well, Twilight. Making real progress. We were all so proud of you. We were even discussing the possibility of letting you go home."

"But I'm fine already, I don't belong here. Please let me go home."

"But you're not fine. Ponies who are fine don't write on walls." He said harshly.

"Then get me a typewriter." She retorted.

"You're not listening. The stories have got to stop, Twilight. They're too dangerous."

"Too dangerous to whom?" Twinkle asked, feeling confused by his bizarre statement.

"To you. This world you created, this Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and the others. None of it is real."

"It is real. If I don't finish my story, if Twilight Sparkle doesn't get the crystal heart to Cadence, then she cannot save the Crystal Empire from Sombra."

"It doesn't matter, Miss Twinkle. Sombra doesn't exist, either. They're all figments of your imagination." He stepped closer to his unhinged patient. "Get rid of them. It's the only way you're going to get well. Now give me the pen."

Twinkle held the pen close. "But my story!"

"It's over. No more stories. You can't keep crawling back to this hollow shell of a world you created. You have to accept reality. Please Twinkle, Just let it go."

Twilight Sparkle stood there frozen, staring down at the crystal heart that lay before her. The sky was getting darker still as the wind grew fiercer.

"Twilight, what's wrong? Sombra is going to be here any minute! We have to get the heart!" Spike yelled, rushing up to Twilight and trying to shake her out of whatever trance she was in. But as he approached her, Twilight's horn glowed, forcing him back.

As Spike got up, he heard the screams of the crystal ponies in the streets below. They were almost out of time.

"Take it, Twilight!" Spike yelled out.

"What for?" She asked, staring the wet, paint brush the doctor was holding.

"I'm offering you an opportunity few ponies ever get. You can wipe away all your mistakes." he said, bringing the brush closer to her.

"You want me to paint over my story!" She gasped.

"They're only words, Miss Twinkle. Meaningless words that no one cares about. Get rid of them and you can walk right out of here, right now, as a free mare." He placed the roller in the mare's hoof. She looked at it several times before bringing it towards the wall. She paused, the brush just inches away from the words she's put her heart and soul into writing. Was destroying these precious stories the right decision? The freedom she desired was so close.

"Go ahead, save yourself." The doctor said, watching his patient closely.

Twilight heard the distant laughter of a patient in the cell across the hall.

The sky was almost black. Spike could hear the dark laughter of Sombra as the tyrant got closer to the tower.

"Twilight, we're out of time! Sombra is here! Take the heart now!" Yelled Spike, desperate to break whatever was holding Twilight Sparkle.

"Must… Destroy it… Free us all…" Twilight said, raising her two front legs in the air, ready to shatter the heart to pieces.

"No!" Running in front of the heart, Spike put himself in between it and her hooves.

"It's for your own good, Twilight. Wipe it away. Destroy it all before it destroys you."

"Twilight, please stop!" He begged.

"Get out of my way!" She growled. Lightning arced through the air showing the look of fury and rage etched on her face.

"Twilight, it's me, Spike! You came here to find the crystal heart! Remember?"

"Move!" she yelled, planting her hooves back on the ground. She aimed her horn at the dragon.

"No, listen to me! The princess told you to protect this empire! Now is your chance! Get the heart Twilight!" He yelled.

Twilight blasted Spike out of the way with her horn. She lined her hooves up with the heart. With one fell swoop, it would be destroyed forever.

Spike struggled to get up from the floor. "Twilight… Remember your brother… Your faithful assistant… Your friends…"

"…don't you want to be with them all again?" asked the doctor impatiently.

"They haven't visited me in… years." Twilight said with a twinge of sadness in her voice.

"Well? What are you waiting for, Miss Twinkle? Don't you want to be back at your home? To be gone from here?"

Twilight Twinkle looked down at the brush she held next to her words and let the brush go. It fell to floor with a loud clang.

"No, I won't destroy it." said Twilight.

Twilight Sparkle planted her hooves back onto the floor.

"No!" yelled the doctor, grabbing the brush. If she wouldn't help herself, then he would have to do it for her.

But as the doctor grabbed the paint brush, Twilight Twinkle hit him with her hooves, knocking him out. She grabbed the pen off the floor. She had a story to finish. She turned to finish the tale, but her pen barely hit the wall before an orderly stabbed her with a syringe full of sedatives. Before slipping into unconsciousness, she wrote five final words to conclude the adventure.

Twilight Sparkle finds the heart and gives it to Cadence!

Twilight felt the buzzing in her head fade away. She saw Spike laying on the floor next to the heart.

"Spike!" She yelled, worried for her assistant.

"Twilight, you did it! You broke free of that last trap!" Spike said, getting up off the floor.

That must have been what that was, wasn't it? She thought for a moment.

"Hurry, get the heart to Cadence!"

"Right!" Picking up the heart, she teleported out of the tower and appeared next to Cadence.

"Cadence, I got the real heart!" She said to the weak and tired Princess, giving her the heart.

As if finding renewed strength, Cadence got up on her four legs and flew down to the frightened ponies in the streets.

"Look, it's the Crystal Princess!"

"My crystal ponies, let not your fears trouble you as the true crystal heart has returned once more. Let love and hope fill your hearts so that Sombra may never return!" She said, rallying the crowd as she placed the heart in its original resting place.

The heart glowed magnificently and sent out a bright shock wave, wiping away Sombra and his dark influence on the land forevermore.

"I am happy to say that you have passed your test," Said Princess Celestia, pulling away a curtain unveiling a new stained glass window, showing Twilight triumphantly defeating the dark King Sombra.

"It's wonderful but… I can't take full credit alone. If it wasn't for Spike, I would've never found the heart in time and Sombra would've won."

"You're right." The princess' horn started to glow as the individual parts of the window started to rearrange itself. "Sometimes the simple help of a friend can be enough to beat any challenge or test that comes your way." The stained glass window now showcased both Twilight and Spike defeating Sombra together. Twilight thanked the princess and left to enter the hall where Spike stood waiting.

"I passed!" She said happily.

"That's great Twilight! I'll go tell the others!" He said with great relief.

As Spike started to leave, Twilight's thoughts drifted back to the strange images that she saw in Sombra's final trap. "Spike, wait."

"Yeah, Twilight?"

"…Have you ever thought about what's reality and what's not? You, me, Equestria, is any of it real? Or are we just the dreams of a different reality, nothing more than just…some kind of illusion?"

"…No, I don't think so?" Clearly, he had no idea what Twilight was talking about.

The unicorn shook her head. "Never mind. Silly question. Go ahead and get the others, I'll wait here."

"Got it!" As Spike ran off to fetch the others, she took a seat at a small bench and waited for them, anxious to tell her friends the exciting news before returning to her studies in Ponyville.

"Ready to be taken back to your room, Twilight?"

Twilight Twinkle looked up and saw the nurse standing there with a wheelchair.

"Yes I am," she said, getting up from the small bench and sitting down in the nurse's chair.

"You know, it wasn't nice to hit the doctor yesterday. I hope that you won't do that again." Said the nurse as she began to push the wheelchair down the asylum's hallway.

"Don't worry, I've learned my lesson."

"That's good. I think the doctor might have learned a lesson as well." She said, seeing Dr. Corby quietly leaving the administrator's office.

They turned the corner and went down another hall passing by two nurses chatting.

"I'm taking my sister on a camping trip this weekend. How about yourself?"

"Well for me, I'm having a big family reunion. Though I got word from my cousin that she can't make it 'cause she's still in training at that big flight academy so we'll…" The two nurses were out of range for Twilight to hear the rest of their conversation.

As they went further down the halls they passed by a white pegasus being pushed in her own wheelchair. "You know what would be sooo exciting and fun? If there was more than one of me! Just think of how much more fun everypony would be having! Fun, fun, fun!" She giggled as the orderly pushed her past Twilight.

Soon the wheel chair pulled to a stop at her room. "All right, Miss Twinkle. We're back at your room. Remember, no more writing on the walls." Said the nurse, opening the door to the room.

"Don't worry, I promise." Smiled Twilight as the nurse brought her inside.

"Alright, now be sure to get some rest and I'll see you in an hour for lunch." She said with a smile as she left the room.

Twilight waited a few minutes for the nurse to be long gone before reaching inside her shirt and pulling out a small note pad she smuggled out of the infirmary this morning. It wasn't much; it only had thirteen pages. But that was more than enough to write some more stories about Twilight and her friends. Reaching under her bed, she pulled out a small pen she had hidden and began to write once more.