• Published 26th Jun 2013
  • 28,541 Views, 1,869 Comments

You Can Fight Fate - Eakin



Twilight discovers that the Elements of Harmony aren't as benevolent as she thought, and crosses time and space in order to stop them

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Breaking Out

BREAKING OUT

There's a bird. A particular starling born in a tree planted eighty-seven years ago by my own hooves. Hatched three years ago to parents that had been forced to begin migration just a few weeks sooner than usual by the unseasonable cold snap I arranged. Saved from an untimely demise when, subtle manipulation across decades be damned, I caught a hungry cat mid-pounce with my magic and tossed it into the nearby pond. Above me, that bird chirps as it soars through the sunny afternoon sky. The afternoon’s not too hot, or too cold, just right. Everything is just right.

Well, the sun may be a bit on the warm side, I’m sensitive to that sort of thing these days. That’s why I’m wearing this thin white cloak over my graying purple mane. Okay, gray mane with just the tiniest hints there was ever any purple there to begin with. For a mare pushing a hundred and seventy I look pretty dang good, though. That’s old even for a retired alicorn Princess of Equestria. There have been times when I managed to survive longer, through a cocktail of drugs or dark magics, but they always take a toll. About an hour from now, when I die, I want my mind to be clear of their influence. It’s been annoying to have to stay clean for so long, and every billion or so subjective years I had to fight off the urge to give myself just a little boost, a few more years, and hit the slowly onrushing wall ahead of me. But I fought it off every time, and I’m about to reap the reward. Before I do though, this former Princess is going to grant one last audience.

“Granny Sparkle, guess where I am!” says a voice. A simple ventriloquism charm I taught the voice’s owner makes the demand come at me from several directions at once.

I look over at the edge of the clearing. The filly I’m waiting on might be smart, but right now she doesn’t realize that a little, glowing lavender horn sticking out of a bush is something of a giveaway.

“I know that you’re in that bush, Twilight. Come here.”

Her head pops out of the bush, shock written in her young, purple eyes. “No way, I thought I did the charm perfectly!” She hops out of the bush into the tall grass that’s chest high on her, and trots over to me.

I nuzzle her as she takes her familiar place against my side. “You did it very well. But I have my ways.” She stares up at me in wonder, gently pressing herself into me. “Now, did you say the thing I told you to say to your daddy this morning?”

She nods, proud of herself for remembering. Not that I had ever expected my favorite great-great-granddaughter to forget my request. “Uh huh! I told him that if you counted in base four, tomorrow is my twenty-first birthday.” She frowns. “I don’t understand why that made him choke on his porridge, though.”

I chuckle. “It’s because you made him feel old, sweetie. Don’t worry, he’ll be okay.”

“Oh,” says Twilight, not really understanding. “Do grownups always feel old?”

“Some of us more than others,” I reply. I look down on her and while she’s smiling, I can still tell there’s something troubling her. “What’s wrong, Twilight?”

She turns her head up to me, amazed again at my simple deduction. I just love watching her be thrilled and surprised by every new thing, experiencing the world for the first time. “Well...” she begins before she turns her head down and away. “There’s a colt at school. He said mean things about you and I don’t like him.”

“Really? What did he say?” I ask as I stroke her mane.

“He said that his daddy says that you’re crazy and you talk about things that never happened. That I shouldn’t listen to anything you tell me. So I... uh... I sort of punched him in the face,” she admits, preemptively shrinking away from my disapproval.

“Twilight, that was not the the right thing to do,” I say, frowning at her.

“But he was-”

“No buts. If you see him again, you tell him that you’re sorry for what you did and you forgive him for what he said.”

“What he said was wrong, though! Why should I forgive him?”

“It’s very important to be able to forgive ponies for hurting you, Twilight. Everypony makes mistakes, and everypony does things for a reason. Acting out like that when you don’t understand both sides of the story can make you do things that you can’t always take back. Besides...” and at this I smile and wink at her, lowering my voice and leaning in like I’m taking her into my confidence, as if what I’m about to say should never go farther than the two of us, “...you don’t get as old as I am without being at least a little bit loopy.”

Twilight breaks into happy giggles. She might not get the joke, not really, but she loves feeling like she’s just been let in on some gigantic secret about how the world works. She’s so like me when I was her age. I should know; I spent quite a bit of effort making sure of it.

Oh, I’m not saying I grew her in a laboratory or anything like that. And if I’d left everything to chance, the odds of my daughter’s son’s daughter’s daughter expressing so many of the same phenotypes and personality quirks I did at her age is something on the order of one in a quintillion. But with a century and a half worth of variables to play with and all the time I could possibly need to do so, a quintillion isn’t that big. Push a ship off course here so a certain frustrated noblepony’s son will end up getting ambushed by a fiery mare and her pirate fleet. Discard a banana peel in just the right place so that the sprinting tomboy staring upwards to catch a hoofball goes careening into the bookworm who didn’t see her in time to move out of the way. Just so that the two of them share a hospital recovery room for the rest of the summer and a bed for the rest of their lives. And when all else fails, sabotage a condom.

If Celestia suspected anything when we showed up on opposite sides of the aisle at the marriage between her grandson and my great-granddaughter, she never let on. In fact, I’m pretty sure she still thinks the whole thing was her idea in the first place. Their union finally produced exactly what I had been waiting for this whole time. A filly born nine years ago tomorrow, and first conceived of a hundred trillion years before that. Give or take.

“Do you regret anything?”

The question rouses me from my thoughts. I almost drifted off too early there. That wouldn’t do, not when I’m this close to my goal already. “What do you mean, Twilight?”

“Stuff that you did when you couldn’t forgive somepony, stuff that you can’t take back.”

I remember almost everything. For example, I remember exactly the moment I have to back up and jostle an ambassador from the Griffin Empire so he spills a goblet of wine over the Diamond Dog emissary at a cocktail reception to derail an alliance that, fifteen years down the line, would lead to an overconfident attempt to menace Equestria away from a particular shale quarry. The ensuing skirmish would leave Twilight’s grandfather bleeding to death on the battlefield, so every loop I remember to back up right on cue. But I somehow forgot just how insightful young Twilight can be.

“Yes. There is something. Something I did when I was too young to know better that I now wish I hadn’t.” I just want to shake my head at what an arrogant little brat I’d been back when I’d only been in this time loop for a few million years. So sure I could do whatever I wanted, that consequences were things for other ponies and I was too special to need to care. When I thought that the only thing that could get me through each loop was narrow-minded unfair rage. Back when I was too young to understand. I never found out what happened to the pony I took that out on, to my eternal shame. She never did return in any of my loops. “I’m so sorry, Twilight,” I mutter.

“Huh? For what, Granny?”

“...For waiting this long to give you your birthday present, of course! I don’t think you should wait until tomorrow to open it,” I say. Twilight’s confusion is instantly obliterated by excitement as I hover the wrapped gift over, and she tears into it with her hooves as I watch.

“A baseball bat?”

“I call him Home Run,” I say. I cast my eyes over the shiny, varnished wood. Enchanted to resist the wears of time, of course.
“Hi, Home Run! I’m Twilight. We’re going to be best friends!” says Twilight.

I ruffle her mane. “It’s just a bat, Twilight. He was my bat when I was about your age, and I think he should be yours now.” Maybe a dozen-plus years older isn’t ‘about your age’ by most definitions, but I tend to take a longer view.

“Wow! Thank you, Granny Sparkle!” says Twilight. She grunts and strains to lift it and begins swinging it around wildly. Twilight slips in the middle of one of her swings and the bat drops lower, suddenly on the perfect course to clobber me in the head. I drop under it at the last second, joints and muscles screaming as I push them harder than I have in decades. I’m sorry, old friend. No more loops, I think to myself.

“Granny! Are you... Did I...”

“I’m just fine, Twilight. Now come, I’ll show you how to hit a baseball.”

We spend the next forty-five minutes or so playing together in the clearing, as I show Twilight the proper way to hold a bat in her magic, and slowly levitate a few balls towards her for her to hit. I think I could stretch that window of time out for centuries and never grow tired of it, but in the middle of one ‘pitch’ my magic falters under the strain and I collapse. My body is failing me, organ by organ. I’ve been hiding it for the last three days but I can’t put it off too much longer. Then again I don’t need to. Just five minutes more will do.

“-Sparkle? Granny Sparkle?” asks Twilight’s voice as I come to. Tiny hooves are shaking me as I force myself to smile up at her.

“It’s fine Twilight. Everything is finally going to be fine. I’m just so tired all of a sudden. Let’s rest under that tree, just for a few minutes. Then I’ll show you how to catch a fly ball.” She helps me over to a spot in the shade where I collapse as gracefully as possible.

My horn buzzes. It’s coming now. Well, it’s been coming since the moment I cast the time loop spell, and the moment that the other timeline’s Twilight and Star Swirl quarantined my knotted, disjointed timeline away from theirs. The universe has finally noticed what I’ve been doing. With every loop, the damage got that much worse. The quantum... something has been decoupling from the... well I can’t remember right now, as my memories start to grow fuzzy. But the thingie that’s going to make time stop has been growing asymptotically closer to the moment I cast the spell in each subsequent loop. Both Princesses know it’s about to happen, along with maybe a half a dozen of the foremost minds on the planet. All were sworn to secrecy to prevent mass panic when we couldn’t figure out a solution. Or more accurately, when they couldn’t figure out a solution and I chose not to help. It’s taken so, so long for me achieve an overlap between my lifespan and the big stop. Once I’m stopped I can’t die. If I can’t die I can’t go back. I just have to hold on long enough to reach it.

“I love you, Twilight.” I’ve told her that ten thousand times, but not enough. I reach for her as my vision starts to fail at the edges and I begin to slip away, but I grope around in vain. No. Where is she? I want her with me at the end. I need her to forgive me, to promise me that she lived a long and happy life doing things I can’t even imagine in her timeline. To whisper me the story of what she created from the wealth of other possibilities open to her.

Just when I’m about to give up hope of finding her, of ever getting the closure I want, something unexpected happens. Two tiny lips press down on the tip of my muzzle. With just seconds left I hear Twilight speak to me for the last time.

“I love you too.”

I’ve done a lot of bad things, some of them unforgivably terrible. But if the last two sensations I’ll ever feel are surprise and that I’m loved, I must have done a whole lot more right.

The shroud of death lowers over me, and time stops.

Well. That worked.

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Comments ( 622 )

Standing ovation, That was brilliant.

I'M SO CONFUSED

Jumped on this bandwagon very late but it's been a damn fun ride. Still got the Reign of Queen Twilight to read through, so that should tide me over until you write something equally brilliant.

2908541
Damn, I am not sure I can compete with that. But I have to say, this song basically fits the entire fic, from start to finish

A most fitting end.

Words are insufficient. This was, in its entirety, from matching opening and closing lines, truly brilliant. Straczynski, if he hadn't gotten cut short and then over-extended a year. Whedon, if he'd gone somewhere besides Fox. I'd say Chris Carter, but if memory serves he was pulling his entire series out of his :yay:. I can't really find in my mind a good example of how well-executed this convoluted plan was, because very little else I've read or seen even begins to compare.

About the only thing I didn't truly lose myself in was the chapter of notes, as I'm reading this first thing in my 8pm morning, and I began to glaze over there, for knowledge of that one extra chapter afterward. I'll be going back to read it properly once I've got the focus, because at this point I doubt there's anything you ever have or ever will write that I won't read.

Just...words fail me. Amazing show.

Words fail to describe this. If it was a novel, it would be a bestseller. If it was a movie, it would be a blockbuster.
Through the highs, and the lows, and the massive overload of Timey-Wimey, this story never failed to deliver. The emotional moments felt truly genuine, and the squicky moments made me feel green.
Most of all, the awesome moments were mind-blowingly awesome.
Beyond just a standing ovation, this deserves a ticker-tape parade.
I'm so glad I got to read this trilogy.
Bravo, Eakin. Bravo.

An excellent ending to a fantastic series. :yay:

Bravo, sir. Simply magnificent, a masterpiece if you will.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Queen Sparkle right?

If it is then can I get a free virtual cookie.

AND WHERE WAS THE DOCTOR!!!??? He's always there at the moments before the whole debacle.

At least this was fun and now I feel sorry for Queen Sparkle...does that make me a horrible pony/person?

I... I have no words. That was beautiful. I'm almost misty. I'm dead serious, I have this void in my chest. I had to sit back in my chair and just... That last line...

Eakin, brother. Well done.

Nicely played, Eakin. I was wondering when you'd tell us the result of Princess Spakle's failure to sabotage everything

Okay, now that I can think.

I had to get up and walk around a bit to clear my self. That was the most goddamn heartwrenching thing I've read in a long time. You know how bad I felt for Princess Twilight, and to see that. Trillions and trillions of years she spent in that loop, while the rest of existence moved on, but her waiting until the end of time, the literal END of TIME before she can rest. How hard she worked to get that last moment of catharsis! Could it be the "real" Twilight kissing her on the forehead? Could she have found some way to contact her, to let her know, in that final moment, that she understood? That maybe, just maybe... all is forgiven? That somepony out there in the multi-verse gets it, and that she's earned her rest?

And that FEELING! That after an eternity of struggle, after traveling so far down the road to insanity that she came back out the other end, after suffering more than even the gods themselves could imagine, FINALLY... she gets to sleep. And the last thing she feels, after trillions of years?

Love.

Forgiveness.

Hope.

Well. That worked.

A fitting end to a wonderful trilogy. All three stories were amazingly written, and this last little bit is a perfect ending for it.

I look forward to whatever you write in the future. I'm sure it will be spectacular.

Exquisitely done. You have crafted a tripartite masterpiece, and I thank you for it. My only regret is that I'll never see the weathervane flow chart. :raritywink:

2908095

I am not sure if you and I are having a similar reaction. Here is my feeling on this third installment. Normally when I read a story I certainly get into the action but ultimately feel like a bit of an observer. For Fate it felt like Twilight was an observer herself and I was in turn observing her. This severely limited my investment in the story.

That said it was still an enjoyable story, I just didn't feel sucked in like the previous two.

And so the ride is finally over. Kinda sad now. And not just because of Queen Sparkle's end and her last desire to be forgiven. :<

So I guess the question is, what's next?

Dam it's over.... This was perfect.

Words can not describe......

Rarely does a story so great come along. This is up there among the giants of not only pony fiction, not only fan fiction, but in my opinion, fiction in general. I don't know what you have planned next, but I can only hope it's half as good as this was.

And to think it almost ended with Hard Reset.

All I can say now is well done, and thank you.

I don't even know what to say. You, Sir, are a genius.

I to regret that I will never see this weathervane flowchart. Also this ending is both perfect and BEAUTIFUL! <3 <3

I am actually crying that this masterpiece is over. Damn.
I love how you ended all just the way you started it.
That did work.
Yes it did.

i think its one of the timelines that got separated back when "original" Twilight and Starswirl had to remove connected timelines or else they would face the end of time. these timelines were so close to their's that either they had to be removed or it would be the end for all. That's why Twilight in this timeline still turned into an alicorn yet the end of time still occurred.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the end of the ride. Please make sure to grab your complementary bag of feels on the way out.:fluttercry:

Death. It is the final peace we all get. You cannot avoid it, no matter what you do. And after her life, I believe it is a most fitting end. This story has gone so very long, probably longer than anticipated. And for there to be a happy ending in a story so very much filled with strife, anger, death... I think this is the best I could ask for.

May we all take a moment to remember this story. It will certainly resound through all the time loops that life throws at us.

What a happy coincidence that the day I decide to sit down and read through the second and third installments of the Time Loop Trilogy is the same day that it finishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride beginning to end though I feel that the third installment was a tad weaker than the others. I give this story a 9/10, would read again. The story gets a bit more difficult to follow toward the end with the different characters and their different timelines but it still works regardless.:pinkiehappy:

*sniff* That made water come out of my eyes.

so that was the end of the once evil Twilight right?

well bravo bravo bravo to it all

I couldn't find a video that properly conveyed how much-lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aUh5v5vtrRs/T1FjxKjNJQI/AAAAAAAABGg/ax7BeA2igxQ/s288/ali%2520g%2520says%2520respect.jpg - I have for you right now, so I just took the first result from youtube

It has nothing to do with anything but the beat fits the "YEA DIS BE A GREAT ENDING" feels I have right now

2909103 That was a Shooting Star from a different timeline.

2908523

It went like this (I think)

Twilight cast the spell and made HER the center of time, where all time bends around her. Time stops in that strand, but restarts in a new one. The counter-spell that 'freed' her just locked the fate into her, so that when she died, time stopped (See the chapter were she is blasted by the Elements). The Elements, being outside the universe, warped fate (as seen in the following chapter) Now, without the Elements as a 3rd party, when Twilight died, time stops.

DAMN THAT WAS AWESOME!!

I wish I could fave it a million times.

Ok, first off. This comment will probably be pretty messy. One of the reasons may be that it's getting closer to 5 AM over here, I've been reading this massive ending-update in one nightly-go.

Anyhow, As others have mentioned, it's pretty hard to find words to describe this series, especially this close after just reaching the end; I'll try getting something written here.

When I first read Hard Reset, I was confused but intrigued. The idea was great and your writing was as good. Already, back then, we could feel sorry for Twilight, really. Who wouldn't get messed up after getting stuck in something like that?
Reading this universe evolve from there have been an great experience. So many characters, evils, ideas, themes, feelings, confusions ... It's hard to comprehend how much of everything this fic has.
Yet following it hasn't been intimidating .. if that's the right word to use. What I mean is, as confusing as the timelines were, you spent a good amount of words on describing what actually was going on. As Twilight, or Star Swirl, found something out about Harmony, you'd share this with the readers. I'm thinking especially of that scene where Star Swirl is using yarn (if I recall right) to explain timelines. Throughout this fic, we've seen descriptions ranging from complex theoretical descriptions courtesy of mostly Twilight's of Star Swirl's ideas, but also simpler descriptions, like the yarn idea.

Having stuff beeing continous in the fic, or as you put it, "continuity porn", has been fun indeed. It have made me perk up some times now and then and think 'Wait, oooh, that's from there. Good one.' :twilightsheepish:

The characters have been greatly written as far as I can see. All the characters have been interesting to read and follow. You mention some flaws yourself in your Notes chapter, but, without you pointing them out, I wouldn't think that much of it. Sure, Shooting Star & Morning Glow could have some more influence or background in the fic, but even as they are now, the ideas of having them there have brought some comedy and, hm, feels-inducing moments. - All the characters presented have played some role in the fic.

So, summarizing, the story has been great to follow. The idea was great, and your follow-through with it was awesome. The characters have all been fun and interesting to follow.

Oh, and the ending(s)!
(Note, minor/major ending spoilers here!)
The "first" ending, in chapter #6, was pretty powerful. Twilight did finally achieve what she was fighting for. She and Azaela could just sit there, not controlled by any forces, but neither knowing nor expecting any distasters. Sure, they could happen, but, that was for another day. She had her free will and can (as far as she/we know at least :derpyderp1:) decide herself however to act when something happens.

The "last" ending, in chapter #9 was epic though. I was happy to see Queen Twilight, assuming she still can be called that, get a happy ending, if it can be called that as well. She got her wish fullfilled too, so I guess that counts for something. Though, ending on that line, just, that was perfect. - Perfect is my word of choice - This fic ended perfectly.
:twilightblush:

Thanks for writing this and putting it up for everyone to enjoy!
Now I'm off to sleep, it's getting too close to 5 AM, but as they say - I regret nothing!
:twilightsmile:
M

2909153

No, no, it -seems- to be that each time Looping-Twi dies, the point where the universe goes 'wait, what?' and terminates itself draws a little closer; hence why she is talking about being tempted every billion years or so to use dark magic/drugs to make her live a few more years longer - because if she's still alive when the universe self-terminates, she snaps out of the loop.

This is where she finally hits that moment. Although I do admit to being somewhat confused about the 'Twilight going on to have a long and happy life' since it seems like, well, her great times-abunch grandaughter and all of existence just stopped too, and for that matter, if each previous loop somehow kept existing, all of the ponies in those loops were eventually frozen as well.

:fluttercry: This last chapter... so good and sad :fluttercry: I love it. Overall this trilogy has been absolutely fantastic, and you are awesome. Seeing Queen Sparkle finally reach her own bitter sweet end really makes me want to cry. I'm happy that she achieved forgiveness and a final resting end, but at the same time I'm sad that she had such an awful and long life. You write amazingly. Thank you for this trilogy. :pinkiesmile:

Eakin's Time Loop Trilogy.

It worked.

It worked so damn well.

2909304

She broke out. Nobody's all that concerned, Star can pretty much keep her on a leash.

Huge chapter dump? Bring it on.

A part of me still feels that this could/should have stopped before the prologue in Hard Reset – besides the Queen Twilight bonus scene. Still, I guess there is a lot to be said about turning that initial concept into such a complex (and strange) narrative. In fact, I'd say that "You can fight fate" is, as a story, much better realized than any of the others, with a tight knit narrative and without some of the meandering of the other ones. Everything seemed to be related to the plot, and even if the new characters were kind of bland, they worked well enough with the plot.

All in all, thanks for writing this story. It is certainly the best ponyfic trilogy I have seen so far.

Bravo, bravo. What an end to a thrilling trilogy. I was wondering whatever happened to Queen Sparkle after she visited Twilight Prime, and I'm glad that she both finally got a happy ending, and that she finally learned forgiveness, even if the lesson spanned trillions of years. I'm glad you had fun writing this story, and that we were all along for the ride. Although this story has ended, I wish you luck on your future endeavors.
Thanks for the wonderful experience! :twilightsmile:

That's a new twist on "Well, that didn't work".

Bum

I have few words to say, its just well, one of the best storys I have read, Im glad to have spent hours of my life reading this, its just so,so....troll.me/images/sad-guy/its-so-beautiful-thumb.jpg

Zeg

Wow.

I remember back when I read Hard Reset, thinking that it was pretty damn amazing, and then it just got better with Stitch. Now looking back at the entire trilogy, all I can think is that the word 'epic' isn't epic enough to describe it all.

You deserve all the praise you get. Thank you for sharing this story.

This is probably the best adventure I've read in a long time. This was amazing. It almost hurts to have it stop though... Either way, great story. Bravo.

Well, that was awesome. 10/10, would read again.

-Mis

Eakin. You, you sir, are my favorite author.

These tears
Are not manly
In the slightest.

You, sir, rock. And. Roll.

Of course, now she's going to be trapped, forever, on the edge of death, with time stopped.

And given she thought "That worked", doesn't that just make things even worse? :duck:

:fluttercry: That is all.

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