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Mirror Mirror
by on November 15, 2021
Crystalline water. Grass so green it looked almost fake. Sunlight streaming in through the trees and playing through it all.
The clearing had not changed since Faith had left it, that fateful day, and she went still staring around at where she had lived for twelve years. Mirror stepped past her. She fit perfectly into the magical place. Her mane was tied back in braids, but it still glittered and shone in the light - like glass, Faith thought.
It was one of those moments that made her heart twist and flutter at the same time. One that made it harder to stick to her plan, to betray the same pony that she had once given up everything to rescue, just to get ahead in life.
Mirror stood already by the pond, looking down into the water, and for the first time, Faith got a good look at just how much Mirror had protected her from. A deep, velvety red rose bloomed right out of the flesh of her chest. Three smaller buds were still pushing their way out, and there were green leaves, too, the youngest of which were the same colour as Mirror’s eyes.
And thorns.
Little thorns poked out from place to place, sharp and curved.
Smaller ones pressed out against the skin, not yet strong enough to burst through, and made irritated bumps.
Mirror had always loved so much more fiercely than Faith - it had taken several long months for Jonquil’s curse to get anywhere near this bad for the pegasus, and even then, she’d only had buttercups. Thin stems with no thorns to speak of, tiny flowers she could just cut off whenever they got too aggressive. It had only been a month or two at most since Mirror had transferred the curse.
Faith’s heart wrenched again, looking at the tender red skin that was swollen in each place plant matter had claimed, and then at her shoulders, her throat, her legs, where she had taken every wound that had been meant to make Faith talk.
Burns with angry blisters, and with grey, dead skin around them. Bruises that were every colour from black to purple to lime green circled each ankle, with another ring around her throat. Thin slices of varying pressure were deep enough not to have a proper scab; they were a shade of dark red, with lighter sections and some spots that were healing over.
And yet, there Mirror stood, running one hoof over the surface of the water. Her foreleg was bent at an awkward angle - just another thing Faith hadn’t noticed, swept up in her own plans, her own ambitions. It was broken and wrapped in several layers of tight gauze to keep it from getting worse.
Of course Mirror had noticed her capture. Of course she had noticed when suddenly this had stopped. How could she not?
A chill rippled up Faith’s spine. She spread one wing over Mirror’s back, quietly, careful not to touch any of the injuries.
“I love you.”
The tiny smile Mirror shot her felt more like a punch to the gut. She looked so sad so much of the time. Even that smile had swiftly faded away, back into a sort of melancholy, and Mirror was looking down at the water again.
Faith could hardly blame her. Mirror was smart and resourceful. However much she pretended that she trusted Faith again, she had figured out more than Faith had anticipated. She had realized when Faith had made an attempt to dissuade her from spending time with her friends by using her own spell against her. She had reasoned out that Faith had been released, and that that meant Faith had made some sort of bargain.
She’d even figured out that she had been part of the bargain, and fought back when Faith tried to enact her plan. Mirror knew Faith was manipulating her for her own gain, somehow; she just didn’t know how exactly.
That last bit was the part that kept Faith second guessing her plans. She knew what Faith was up to, and she stayed anyway.
Mirror really, truly loved her. It had been the lynchpin in her plan: if Faith made her think she needed to, Mirror would go to war against the laws of nature. She would run to the edges of Equestria and beyond for the chance to protect Faith. She had even sworn away her own life so that Faith could be a part of the world.
It was exactly what Faith had always wanted from her mother. Here was Mirror, offering her that and asking nothing in return, and yet like her mother, Faith only ever wanted more. Would anything be enough for her? Would her mother’s love make her happy? Would ruling an entire kingdom be good enough?
Deep inside, she knew it wouldn’t. She knew she should be happy with Mirror. Somehow, though, she had found herself prepared to toss Mirror away like an old plaything, just to get her hooves on something shiny and new.
She really was like her mother.
Jonquil had far outlived a normal lifespan simply by her own nature. The Queen was a lectoblix; by draining the life from others, she kept herself young and fit, while those unfortunate enough to become her target aged rapidly and often died. If they survived, they were locked away, never to be allowed to share their experience or warn anyone else of what was to come.
Another thing Faith intended to exploit. By gaining social status and exposing that to Jonquil’s citizens, Faith was certain she would make herself a hero in the eyes of the kingdom, securing her reign as the next Queen. She stopped herself from really worrying about Mirror that way, by imagining a world where she was Queen of an entire kingdom, where she could defeat her mother and take her place.
If she let herself fold just because Mirror looked sad, she would never be strong enough or callous enough to gain the power she wanted.
It didn’t matter that Mirror was hurting because of her. It didn’t matter that she would only hurt Mirror more to get what she wanted.
She could be the Queen.
A Queen didn’t need to worry about individuals other than herself. A Queen only needed to have power over her subjects as a whole.
A Queen could inflict this level of pain with the flick of a quill, and go on to have tea and pastries, without even the slightest worry for someone on so low a rung as Mirror.
Mirror was a stepping stone.
Nothing more.
Post in: Lore
Topics: lore gang