Palette tapped the long stick around, dodging any nearby obstacles as she made her way to the park. Even though she had lost one of her senses, she had honed the others to an almost terrifying degree, being able to separate environmental noises such as wind from the chats of ponies around her.
“My breakfast wasn’t that great.”
“The Weather team better not repeat the same weather again!”
“Ha! Yeah, right! Spitfire’s the best Wonderbolt!”
She continued to weave through the street effortlessly, before her stick stopped mid swing, the solid sound of it hitting reaching Palette’s sharp ear. She tapped it against the object a few more times before adjusting her walk a little to the left.
Wood. Must be the entrance to the park. After just a step forward, she felt the dirt texture underneath her hooves change to one of rocks. Another thing that told her she was right was the distant sound of rushing water and the smell of fresh air. Palette took a whiff before sighing, quickening her pace. Always a welcome smell.
After a few seconds, Palette trotted off the stone pathway and onto the grass. Mom would scold me to no end if she saw me doing this.
“Walk on the path, dear!” Palette feigned her mother’s voice as she felt the cooling winds increase in intensity. “Don’t stray off, dear! Listen for incoming ponies, dear!” She felt the ground softly incline upwards before levelling again.
I’m not helpless… Palette turned towards her left, where the sound was echoing from. She laid down on the warm grass, feeling the morning sun warm her body. I’m just… challenged. Resting comfortably, she shut her eyes, hooves placed on her chest. And there’s nothing wrong with a little challenge… Her mouth grew into a yawn as she smacked her lips. Challenges are... always...fun…
Muffled sounds lightly pulled her from her dream world, where she was on a cliff, overlooking the breathtaking sights of the environment and the ravine below. The loud sounds of the gushing river, the beautiful green that covered the entire cliff, the—
“...use… e” Palette gave a soft groan, lifting her hooves to her eyes. She just wanted to see the stained tangerine sky and—
“Excuse me, Miss!” the deep voice called out, finally breaking through the illusion in Palette’s mind. Groggily pushing herself up, with her hooves still placed on her face, she gave another soft groan.
“W-what is it?” She rubbed her eyes, still trying to regain her composure.
“Miss, there’s a storm brewing. You need to get home,” the voice urged.
“What!?” Palette exclaimed, turning her head towards the voice. She dropped her hooves from her eyes, leaving her mouth hanging open.
“Yes, now please get ho—”
Palette didn’t need vision to know why the voice paused.
“M-Miss, are you…?”
“Yes,” she replied in a heartbeat. “I am.”
“Where do you live? I’ll escort you back post haste.” She felt a hoof on her shoulder. Grabbing it, she felt the pony pull her upright.
“I don’t need an escort. I’m fine by my own,” Palette replied, dusting herself off.
“Miss, the storm is going to be coming any moment now. At least tell me where you live.”
“Alright, whoever you are, just point me in the direction of Sugercube Corner and I’ll get going!” Palette felt two hooves on her shoulders before being spun 180 degrees around.
“Well, this is the direction to Sugercube Corner from the park exit but—”
“Thank you! Now, I’ll be heading back.” She started her trot down the hill, feeling the soft grass beneath her hooves. At the same time, her ears caught the sound of more grass being stepped on just a few centimeters to her left. “Why are you following me?”
“I’m just here to make sure you get back safely, miss. It’s my job,” the voice answered, still the same distance away no matter how fast Palette walked.
“Well, why don’t you make sure somepony else here gets home safely?” she snapped back.
“There is nopony else here, Miss.”
Palette bit her lip, quickening her pace. “Alright, just trust me. I’m not helpless, I know what I’m doing.” Tapping her cane around, she weaved past a large tree to her right, returning to the stone pathway.
“Impressive,” the voice complimented, his tone raising slightly.
This stallion just won’t leave me alone! Palette trotted forth, feeling her stick smack into another object. Feeling the intensity of the vibrations, she knew it was the park entrance once again and trotted through it. Her ears continued to pick up the sound of hooves on the dirt, the same distance away from her as they always had been. What do I have to do? Threaten him?
“Okay okay, look,” Palette interrupted, turning to face the pony. “I appreciate all of this ‘accompanying to my home’ thing but I’m fine alright?”
“Miss I understand but—”
“Just let me go home by myself! I’ll be fine! I’m not helpless! I’m fine!” Palette threw her hooves in the air.
“Miss, please hear me out.”
“Just, leave me alone and don’t—” She paused, feeling a drop of water fall onto her muzzle. Before she even had time to react, she felt her hoof get grabbed and pulled, causing her to stumble to try to regain her balance. “Hey! What are you doing!?”
“Miss, I’m really sorry! Be mad at me later but for now we need to get you to shelter!”
“I said I can go home!” Palette felt more and more droplets of rain fall onto her, the harsh wind starting to pick up its pace. “Just let me go and I - Ah!” A sudden roar of thunder interrupted her speech.
The rain had started to pour heavily, drenching Palette completely. Although her hearing was consumed with the deluge, she could barely pick out the din of a door knob being turned before being pulled once more. However, she immediately felt the harsh rainfall on her coat cease and the noise decreasing following the slam of a door.
“Miss? Are you alright?” the voice asked in a concerned tone.
“Y-y-y-yes.” Palette shivered, wrapping her hooves around herself, cane still tightly in her grasp. “I-I-I’m f-fine.”
“Sorry about that. The storm was too close and the winds would blow anypony off their hooves.”
Nodding several times to acknowledge the voice, she turned towards him once again. “W-w-where a-a-are we?”
“Ponyville’s Weather Team Facility,” the voice replied before Palette felt something being pressed against her chest, something slightly rough yet mostly smooth. She reached her hoof up to grasp the object. “Towel. Dry yourself off, I’ll go make something warm for us.”
Palette was sitting at the table when she heard hoofsteps once again, before something aromatic was sat in front of her.
“Miss, I made hot cocoa. You’re fine with that?”
She nodded her head softly a few times, before reaching down to try to grasp the handle. After a few blind taps, she felt another hoof guide hers to the cup, allowing her to grip it and sip it lightly. Just my luck…
“Don’t call me miss please. My name’s Palette Brush,” she spoke, setting the cup back down.
“Alright Palette Brush. I’m Hilt. Hilt Scope,” the voice replied, before the grating sound of wood scraping against wood echoed through the building. “Sorry. Old chair and older floors.”
The mare threw her head back and focused on her hearing, hoping to hear any other sounds but thunder, rain and wind, but none came. “Is this really the Ponyville Weather facility?”
“Yes? Why do you ask?” Hilt asked, before the audible sound of a sip reached Palette’s ears.
“It seems too quiet. I mean, shouldn’t a facility be bustling with other ponies?”
A light laugh was the answer Palette received. What? Is he mocking me?
“Sharp ears. Yeah, there’s nopony else here.” Another sip rang out from across her. “When we dispatch for a storm this big, everypony is involved. Some make the storm, others make sure nopony is out or in danger while its happening.”
“Like you?” Palette lifted her right hoof and gave her eye a small rub, still reeling from the chain of events.
“Like me.” Palette felt the top of the table descend just a tiny bit, knowing that Hilt must’ve set his hooves on the table as well. “I was dispatched the closest to the facility, so I could at least bring you back. The others are probably under one of the many designated buildings in Ponyville.”
Palette rested her head on the top rail of the wooden chair, shutting her eyes. “And how long is this storm supposed to last?”
“Oh… about two more hours.” Hilt didn’t even have a chance to finish his sentence before Palette released a long and heavy sigh.
“Perfect,” she exhaled, feeling both boredom and exhaustion taking over her form. And when I get home, all I’m going to hear it ‘Oh why didn’t you listen to me? You’re never going out alone again! It’s too dangerous!’ Palette continued to list off many other scoldings in her mind, each one causing her shoulders to drop lower and lower.
“Okay, Palette Brush, how about we pass the time?” Hilt suggested, causing Palette to lightly open her eyes and lean forward on the table.
“Okay, fine. What do you want to do? Read comics? Play board games? Oh wait, none of the choices are available,” she voiced out bitterly, throwing herself back in the chair and crossing her hooves.
While sitting in silence, Palette rubbed the side of her face once again, her heart even heavier than before. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be so—”
“It’s fine.” Palette heard the now familiar sound of Hilt’s sip. “Do you know colors, Palette?”
Palette looked forward with confusion. “What do you mean do I know colors?”
“Can you imagine blue, green, orange ,et cetera in your mind?” Hilt clarified.
Resting her left hoof on the table, Palette nodded.
“Alright, so I have a small game. Well, okay, not really a game. Think of it more as an...activity.”
Palette gestured her hoof forward for Hilt to continue.
“Okay, first things first, close your eyes.” Hilt’s request drew a spiteful gaze from Palette, who stared forward, mouth in a frown. “Just, trust me. I’m not here to make fun of you.”
Exhaling softly, Palette closed her eyes.
“Step two, I want you to imagine any place you want to. Maybe, the beach? Or a forest.”
“Got it.” Palette swiftly responded.
“What do you see?” She felt the table press down even further, Hilt’s voice a small bit louder.
“Cliff overlooking the sea.” And that was what Palette saw in her mind. A landscape in a dull, monochrome shade. Even though there was a sun in the air (or at least, what appeared to be one), it was just the same shade of grey as the sky.
“What color is the sky?”
“A...light blue?” She shrugged, ‘seeing’ the sky paint itself a generic shade entirely, even coloring the supposed sun the same.
“Why don’t we make it…tangerine orange? Like when the sun is slowly starting to rise over the horizon.”
Almost immediately, a rush of orange splattered the sky, consuming the previous color entirely. Palette turned her attention to the horizon, and sure enough, the sun was there, rising ever so slowly, sending out intense peace-colored beams that spreaded out throughout the sky and drenching the world in an apricot light.
“Got it?” Hilt’s voice shocked Palette back to reality, losing some focus of the scenery.
“Y-yeah,” she stuttered out, trying her best to focus on the environment and shutting out the thought of rain and thunder.
“Alright, and the color of the sea?”
“Dark blue?” she stuttered, unsure. Once again, the still grey waters started to color as cerulean slowly spread throughout. Even though the sea was colored correctly, the one shade and lifeless waves caused the sea to look as dead as a desert.
“Hmm, dark blue sounds a bit… bland. How about pink?”
“W-what?” Palette stammered, perplexed.
“Go on, give it a try.” Hilt coaxed.
The once turquoise sea was immediately saturated with a bright pink and, even though Palette had no idea why, the waves started to crash against the cliff, flowing like it should. The fuchsia ocean ebbed and flowed underneath the orange light, reflecting it off its surface.
“How does it look?”
“Odd… but nice.” Palette smiled a little, her eyes locked on the unique scenery she was seeing.
“What about the grass?” Hilt wondered.
“Well, green, right?” Palette saw the turf she was standing on wash over over with a normal green. However, the grass didn’t move, simply standing straight as if they had been frozen.
“Why don’t you try a soft yellow? To compliment the sky? And let them move along with the breeze that’s about to roll past?”
Hilt’s words stained the glass a bright lemon and caused them to flow with the breeze. The orange light bathing across each strand made them glitter, almost like the gold on a bit. When multiplied a thousand times, it made the once normal grass seem like the stars that hung in a night sky, the rushing waters still filling Palette’s ears.
“So how does it look?” Hilt’s voice drew closer.
“It looks...strange, but beautiful.”
Hilt gave a chuckle as his reply.
“What is this place?”
“Hmm…” Hilt’s voice trailed off slowly, before continuing, “Spectrum. The world of Spectrum, and it’s yours.”
Palette took a few steps forward in her new world, breathing in the scent of the nearby ocean. She looked around and felt an uncomfortable feeling well inside her. “This place looks a bit too big for me.” Hilt didn’t respond, leaving Palette in silence. “What do you look like?”
“Heh, me?” Hilt repeated, not expecting such a question. “Well, lets see. I have a long, silver mane that goes around halfway down my body. It sorta covers half of my face.”
A form of a pony took shape beside Palette, though merely a mannequin looking object save was the argent hair that draped down from the top of his head and around his neck, obscuring almost half of its eyes.
“Tail’s the same, though shorter and a little more messy. My coat’s a… salmon shade. I think that would be the best way to describe it.”
Each description Hilt provided, the form took with ease. Its tail was now a slightly unkempt shape, small strands appearing out of place but all of them matching the color of its mane. Its coat was now colored a light orange, lighter than the sky which hung over them.
“I’m also a pegasus, so, wings, naturally. And I have these maroon eyes my mom says is special, but I just think makes it look like I’m a vampony.” Hilt laughed, but Palette was too engrossed in her own world to hear anything other than what she needed to.
The form sprouted a pair of wings almost instantly and two large eyes with alluring crimson pupils, still half hidden underneath the flowing hair. Palette watched it give several blinks, before turning towards her.
“Well, that’s about it.” Hilt’s voice was back a small distance away, the distinct squeak of the backrest of a chair slightly interrupted Palette’s vision, but not for long. “Do you see me?”
Palette smiled wide, watching the stallion in front of her look at the world they had created. “Yes, I see you.”
“Well,” the words she heard matched up with Hilt’s mouth perfectly as she watched him speak, “I guess this is our world now.” Hilt’s head turned towards Palette, opening his eyes which only caused Palette to look at him in shock and confusion. His eyes were a cloudy white, a sign of something she remembered all too clearly from her visit to the doctor.
The air grew still for a moment until Hilt gave a small smile. “Hey there.”
Palette grinned back, hearing the waves hit the walls of the cliff.