Chapter 5: Losing Memories
Inkblot had been waiting next to the hospital bed for hours already. If anything, he hoped that Trixie would just wake up. It was only three o' clock, so he figured that if she woke up, then she'd still make it to her show.
In the time that it took for a diagnosis to come in, Inkblot had plenty time to think. She was there when he was running from Hopkins. She saw him as he ran across the bridge and managed to destroy it. It all fit into place. He knew there was no way he could've destroyed the bridge all by himself. Trixie did it. She must have known he was being chased. Maybe she just saw his desperate attempt to destroy it himself and helped out. Either way, it put a dent in his ego, but it gave him a sense of gratitude for Trixie.
Also, when she moved the bridge, she must have seen Hopkins. He probably saw her too. That's bad. What will Hopkins do to her?
The nurse walked into the room with a clipboard, which held the diagnosis. She noticed the visitor in the room still hadn't left, which was no surprise since he didn't leave even when she strongly recommended him to leave. "Well, the diagnosis has arrived. The issue is attributed to an overload of magic."
"That would make sense. She was doing a really big trick," Inkblot said, marking the first time he had spoken for at least an hour.
"Well, that big trick knocked her out for quite a bit," the nurse said with her eyes still fixed on the clipboard in front of her.
Inkblot looked down at the sleeping Trixie, who looked fine, but he knew that something had happened. "So is she alright?"
The nurse pony, who greatly resembled Nurse Redheart, responded kindly, "She'll be...fine."
The pause perturbed the blue eyed colt. "Why did you pause? Are you sure she's alright?"
"As far as health is, she's just fine. No major physical or mental damage except for one little thing."
"And that is..."
The nurse looked at the show pony, and then back to Inkblot. "A small amount of memory loss."
The news hit him like a train. Before, just thinking of memory loss sent a shiver down his spine, but this was devastating. They got Trixie. The HPIRT got Trixie.
"Are you alright, sir?" the nurse pony asked in a concerned tone.
Inkblot realized that he shouldn't be freaking out as much. Otherwise, ponies would get suspicious. Such as this one. "Oh, I'm fine. Just thinking about what she could have forgotten. How much memory did she lose?"
The nurse looked back down at the clipboard. "I've seen many cases of memory loss while I've worked here," Inkblot shuddered at the thought of all those ponies getting their minds erased. "and compared to most cases, this one isn't as bad. Only about three days of memory loss."
Inkblot backtracked. One day ago, Trixie was probably already there in Canterlot. She also recorded that memory for her trick, and most likely perfected it. Two days ago was the incident with the Ursa Minor. It might be better if she didn't remember that. After the incident, there was the kiss. Should he tell her about that? It would be up for debate later. Three days ago, she had just arrived in the town. It had been forever since they had seen each other, and Inkblot still had the little colt crush from when they met in the Ponyville schoolhouse.
So the last thing she would remember is arriving in Ponyville. She'd remember sleeping in her travel trailer and waking up in a Canterlot hospital. She would definitely have questions. Counting out trivial questions, she would first ask how she lost her memory in the first place. Inkblot couldn't tell her about the HPIRT, otherwise her memory would just be wiped again. So he went with the diagnosis from the nurse. He'd just tell her that when she tried the trick that pulled something from her memory, she went unconscious. Her going unconscious messed up the part of memory she was accessing with her magic.
The second question would be more difficult. The show mare would ask what she missed and expect Inkblot to give a detailed report on the last three days. The problem was that some of the things are so far from the truth, she'll think he made them up. So he decided to leave their kiss out to avoid a hoof to the cheek. He also decided to leave out any of the Ponyville residents' response to the Ursa incident to avoid the same hoof to the cheek.
The nurse pony began to leave the room, but was interrupted by Inkblot. "Do you know how long it'll be before she wakes up?"
The mare looked to the cieling as if counting in her head. "About another hour," she answered. "You're not going to stay in here with her for another hour, are you?"
Inkblot sighed as he looked down at Trixie. "I've been here for three hours already."
"Four," the nurse corrected.
"What's another hour?" He marveled at the mare he had feelings for as if it were a magical flower that cast a hypnotic spell on him, making his mind's first priority to marvel at each of the show pony's features. Her deep blue coat looked like the beautiful ocean, while her light blue mane almost shone like clustered field of stars in the sky.
The nurse noticed Inkblot's adoration and decided it would be best for her to leave, so she closed the door as she left.
The second he heard the door shut, the ink-maned pony approached the door and locked it from the inside. While he was next to the door, he pulled the laptop out of his saddlebag, and moved to the corner of the room where nopony in the halls could see him.
With any luck, he had some time before the nurses returned with the key. He used every second of this time, energizing the laptop with his magic on the way to the corner. The device lit up, indicating that it was working.
Inkblot was greeted by the journal entry he had created the night before. The first thing he did was go to CamSystem. He needed to make sure he wasn't being watched. Offered with many choices such as "Everfree", "Ponyville", and "Mountain", the pony clicked on the folder titled "Canterlot", which opened up to reveal more folders. His eyes scanned the names: "Royal Castle", "Royal Garden", "Exterior View" (he was glad he didn't read "Road to Canterlot"), "Canterlot Streets", and "Royal Library", but considering the colossal size of the city, very little was covered. No cameras in the hospital. He was safe.
Inkblot moved his cursot to the bottom where he click the Gmail icon. The page opened with a message written in bold, which the pale pony by now knew that it was a new messge. It was labelled "NOTIFICATION: MEMORY SUPPRESSANT DISPENSED"
A chill went down the colt's spine. He was right. The HPIRT got Trixie. Despite his wrenching gut, he clicked the message, opening it.
"NOTIFICATION: MEMORY SUPPRESSANT DISPENSED
SUPPLIED TO: ID4672
REMAINING MEMORY SUPPRESSANT AVAILABLE: 40g"
It wasn't much, but each bit told a lot. For example, it helped that Trixie hadn't been labelled by the HPIRT before the memory wipe. It also revealed something that was helpful. They were running out of the memory wiping stuff. If they only had 40 "g" left, and it took 24 to wipe out Trixie's memory, it meant that their numbers were declining. Inkblot looked up at the message. It was supplied to "ID 4672". Apparently, ID 4672 was Hopkins, so that was something to remember.
Suddenly, Inkblot heard the doorknob jiggle. Needless to say, he was surprised. He expected at least a couple minutes before the nurse returned so that he'd have more time on the laptop. The black-maned unicorn quickly, but carefully threw the laptop into his saddlebag and returned to his post next to Trixie, as if he were still admiring the showmare.
As the nurse pony eventually opened the door, she spoke apologetically. "I'm sorry, I must've forgotten that I had locked the door." Inkblot gave a sigh of relief to himself. "Anyway, I looked at the recent results, and, after getting permission from the head doctor, I decided that Trixie could be woken up."
"I thought you said it would last an hour." Not that it was a problem or anything.
"Well, that would be if she were to wake up naturally. It's always possible to wake her up manually, it's just that the mind needs rest after an incident such as memory loss. After review, I concluded that her mind has received more than enough rest. That an I didn't want to keep you in this room for much longer," she said smiling.
The unicorn smiled back at the nurse. "Thank you." He was about to give her the poite "You didn't have to," but his mind was changed when he remembered that Trixie had a show that night. If she was in good enough condition to perform magic, that is.
The nurse shook Trixie's shoulder, causing the mare to stir in her slumber. It took a second shake to cause her eyes to slowly open, as if her eyes had to adjust to the light first. She looked around with a predicted look of confusion. "Where am I?"
Inkblot answered her question just as he'd rehearsed it. "You're in the magical wing of Canterlot Hospital. Earlier today, you experienced some memory loss from trying to complete a really tough trick. You only missed about three days, which isn't that bad compared to most cases. At least, that's what the nurse said."
As the nurse left the room, Trixie let the news sink in. While she did, Inkblot saw a side of her that few others had ever seen and would ever see. It was a face that was well-hidden underneath the facade of the Great and Powerful Trixie. Gone was the show-stopping show mare whose tricks were adored by thousands, if not millions. Now, she was just a pitiful pony who couldn't remember the last three days. She sidn't know how she got there, and in order to find out, she had to be dependent. The thought itself seemed strange.
The blue unicorn released the question that Inkblot had been dreading. "So what happened over the last three days?"
Inkblot silently panicked to himself. 'Okay, it's just like you rehearsed it,' he thought. 'Wait! I never rehearsed this!' So, he went with the first thing that came to mind hoping that he wouldn't be the winner of a free hoof to the face.
"Well, what's the last thing you remember? he asked.
Trixie closed her eyes to focus her mind on remembering. With her eyes still squeezed shut, she answered. "I remember arriving in...Ponyville. It was late, and I had just set up my trailer. I went to bed, then I woke up here."
Inkblot filled in the rest of the gaps for her, leaving out the parts not meant for her to remember. "The next day, you looked around Ponyville. You know, see the rest of the town before your show the next day. While you were out, you met up with me."
"Inkblot," he corrected. "Anyway, so we caught up, and now we're friends. I don't know anything else that happened that day. To you, that is. The next day, you performed an amazing show in Ponyville."
"How did it go?"
Without hesitation, the colt returned with, "It went wonderfully. The crowd was amazed. Sure, there were a couple neighsayers, but needless to say, you shut them up quickly."
Trixie gave a weak smile, slowly transitioning back into the audacious Great and Powerful Trixie. This was the hard part. She was feeling genuinely happy, so telling her about the Ursa Minor would just drag her attitude down. But then again, she was bound to find out about it sooner or later, since it was big news. But did he have to be the bearer of bad news. But wouldn't it be worse if she found out from some pretentious snob in Canterlot, and that would be accompanied with humiliation. He bit the bullet and decided to tell her.
"But, uh, after that..." Inkblot started, his optimistic tone changing to one of hesitation.
The blue mare turned her head toward her friend, detecting the shift in tone and preparing for the worst. Inkblot looked into her eyes, which spoke louder than most of her showy speeches. They told him that as much as she didn't want to hear it, she knew that bad news was coming. It might break her heart, but she was ready for anything.
"There was...an incident. Including an Ursa Major. You told two little dim-witted colts that you had slayed an Ursa Major. They went into the Everfree Forest and brought one into the town." Trixie's face was filled with horror. "Everypony expected you to take it out. But you didn't. Some local conquered it instead. You told the town you had never beaten an Ursa Major. Then, you fled," he ended with a voice filled with sorrow.
It was apparent that the news was hard for even the Great and Powerful Trixie to take. She seemed to stare into her own imagination, attempting to relive the forgotten memory. Her superinflated ego had vanished completely.
Inkblot, knowing the worst was over, continued to refresh Trixie's memory. "After the incident, the two of us caught up on a hilltop, and then you told me you were on your way to Canterlot. I had promised to see your show. Looks like there isn't really a show, though."
The show mare gave a sigh. "Using magic won't help this little issue."
Suddenly, the door opened. The nurse walked in, carrying a small, leather, book in her mouth. She placed it on the table next to them, exposing the golden letters written on the book. The letters spelled the word "DIARY".
"I apologize for interrupting, but the paramedics found this in her room while searching for things to jog her memory. I'll leave you two again." She said as she promptly left as quickly as she came.
Trixie used her memory to lift the diary in front of her face. "Um, Trixie, I don't think you should be doing ma-"
"It's okay. It's only small magic. Nothing that would hurt me," she interrupted, flipping to the most recent page as if Inkblot hadn't interjected.
As she read through the pages, the white pony could only imagine what she was reading. The question is did she write down how she saw him at the waterfall? If she did, then she'd know about humans again. Then she would get her memory taken again, making it an endless cycle. Or, less importantly, she wrote about the kiss. Either way, Inkblot noticed that every so often, she would look up from the pages and look at him with nearly a look of shock, which drove him crazy.
After a couple agonizing minutes of flipping pages and shocked looks, Trixie finally put the book down. Knowing that everything in the book was private, but still wanting to read everyrhing in the book, Inkblot chose his words carefully. "So, did that jog your memory?"
The blue unicorn paused for a minute, as if to straighten out all of the information she had just taken in. "Yes. I remember the...important things."
Inkblot spent the rest of the day in the hospital with Trixie, filling in the specific details to refresh her memory. Then they caught up and talked like two friends rather than a celebrity and an obsessed fan. It was different, but it was a good different. It seemed as if something had changed in her. Inkblot liked it.
The colt had a late dinner with Trixie in the hospital cafeteria. The mare didn't have to stay in the hospital any more, but it had surprisingly good food, and the food was cheap. After the dinner, they gave their goodbyes, planning to meet up some time later in Ponyville, since Inkblot had to go back home the next day. He never saw the diary.
By the time he was out of the hospital, it was dark and after the eventful day and the less-than-wonderful sleeping conditions of the night before, he was ready to hit the hay, so he was on his way to the Hearth Hotel. The roads were still crowded with other ponies, and the city was lit up. In an odd way, it sort of resembled pictures of Manehattan he had seen, only not as showy. It was lit up in a tame sort of way, if that made any sense.
Last time he had walked through the streets, he was driven by getting Trixie to the hospital. The time before, he was driven by his stomach. This time, he was driven by the need to sleep. The unicorn was as tired as a workhorse, so his legs moved him as quickly as they could.
As he sped across the city, drawing looks from the sophisticated cityfolk, he noticed a big sign on the doors of the Royal Theatre saying that the show was cancelled.
Before he even knew it, he was at the Hearth Hotel, ready to crash for the night. From what he could see in the lobby, the Hearth Hotel wasn't nearly as fancy as the Comfy Stable, resembling the inside of a huge log cabin. He made a beeline to the reception desk to pick up his room key.
He approached the desk, where he was suprised to see Hearth talking with the desk pony. "Inkblot! Good to see you again! How was your day?"
"Exhausting. Can I have my room key?" he responded bluntly.
The crimson pony laughed. "Of course you can, my friend. I keep my promises," he said giving him
"By the way, your meal card for the Comfy Stable expired," Inkblot added.
Hearth gave another laugh. This one was more uncomfortable. "Sorry about that. Did you get a meal?"
"Oh, don't worry. I ate breakfast just fine," he assured his acquaintance as he gave back the now useless card and turned to go to his room.
"Good to know. Your room is down the first floor hallway and to your right. Room 152," the hotel owner called to his guest.
"Got it!" Inkblot called back, already on his way down the hallway. He followed the wooden hallway for a short period of time before the lanterns lit up the number 152 on a door. He used his key to open the door.
Cozy was the best word to describe the room. Like the rest of the hotel, it was a total contrast from the rest of bustling Canterlot, with most of its light eminating from the already lit fireplace. Other available lights were old-timey lanterns, which shone dimly across the wooden floors. Even the bed seemed to be taken out of an old log cabin.
As tired as Inkblot was, before he retired for the night, he wanted to check up to see if there was anything new with the laptop. He repeated the usual process of opening and powering the device.
The laptop revealed the Gmail page as it usually does. No new messages this time, but there was a chat going on. Most likely between Hopkins and his boss again. The conversation was already in progress:
"Me: Well, I have good news!"
"Thiessen: Is it about Franklin?"
"Me: No, but it's about the laptop."
Inkblot began to feel uneasy. Good news about the laptop for them was bad news for him.
"Thiessen: Go on..."
"Me: One of the spies gave me an ID on the pony that matched my description."
The unicorn reading nearly had a heart attack. Spies?! There were spies spread out doing the humans' work? Now he couldn't trust anypony, especially with a secret such as the one he had. Now who was the spy that busted him? Before he could answer himself, the computer gave another PING!
"Thiessen: Perfect! I'll send the HPIRT bots to the pony. Can you give me an ID number?"
"Me: Pony #501"
Completely freaking out and acting on instinct, he felt his magic type using the keys. He knew it was stupid, but they got him anyway. He might as well go down in some style.
"Me: well good job you found me. just so you know i wont go down easily. youll have to work in order to find this laptop."
Inkblot marvelled at his idiotic handiwork. He was going to go down heroically. So what no one else would know? Some of the best heroes are unknown anyway.
"Thiessen: So, you're the pony with the laptop. I assure you we'll find that laptop. Then you'll have your memory erased and forget this all happened. I can assure you, it's painless."
Inkblot typed again. While he did, he felt a strange sensation well up inside of him. One that he had never felt before. It felt like some strange breed of joy and excitement.
"Me: come and get me. you wont find the laptop. ill be asleep waiting for you to take away my sacred memories."
With that, he shut the laptop and put it in his saddlebags. The saddlebags were then forced behind the bedframe. It wasn't a good hiding spot, but it would be the last place they looked.
Now that he had everything settled, he slipped into his bed and used his magic to dim the lights. As tired as he was, he couldn't sleep knowing he would wake up without his memories. He would wake up without answers he still asked himself, such as "Who is the HPIRT?" or "Why us?" or "What was in Trixie's diary?" or "Who was the spy?". So many questions unanswered, but it didn't matter. He wouldn't remember them.
As he closed his eyes, accepting the approaching sleep, Inkblot thought of Trixie's kiss to the cheek one last time, wishing he could never give it up.
The next morning was a peaceful one. The chirping birds woke up Inkblot, who was well rested and woke up without a problem.
He got out of his bed and looked around at the familiar log cabin hotel room, checking behind the bed to see if they took the laptop. They didn't.
"Wait. I remember everything?" he asked dumbly to himself. He paced in circles as everything came into his memory perfectly. He could remember the kiss as if it was yesterday. He could see himself in Trixie's room as clearly as glass. He didn't understand.
Inkblot froze in his tracks when he saw what was behind him. It seemed to be attached to his flank, and it was blue. He couldn't see it clearly, so he moved to the mirror. In the mirror, the colt saw himself the same as always with one difference. On his flank was a blue bridge. Inkblot had gotten his cutie mark. And it was a bridge?
As if his mind wasn't overloaded enough, before he could register the new cutie mark, he heard a knock at the door. Still hyped up by his new cutie mark, he sped to the door and opened it with near lightning speed. Standing at the door were two royal guards, which almost made Inkblot flinch.
The two stone-faced guards looked at the hyperactive, jumpy unicorn as the right one spoke. "When was the last time you saw a pony named Hearth?"
In front of the two statuesque guards, the colt took a couple deep breaths to calm down and get a handle on this situation. "I...saw him when I got back from the hospital. He gave me a room key, and I went to my room. Why?"
"Hearth went missing last night."