• Published 16th Apr 2014
  • 6,801 Views, 1,805 Comments

Besides the Will of Evil - Jetfire2012


A shadow from the deep past returns to threaten Equestria, along with all the world. Can Twilight Sparkle and her friends be a light in the dark?

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Chapter 50

The celebration carried on for hours upon hours. After all, millions upon millions of the ponies of Equestria, along with those of Gildedale, along with the deerfolk and the griffins and the pronghorns, wanted to cavort and play, to celebrate the defeat of the greatest evil all of them had ever known. Grilling competitions were engaged. Magic target practice pitted antlers against horns. Races tore the newly-regrown green fields up. Talk and laughter, food and drink, went flowing. Even Celestia and Luna and the Deer Elders joined in. Nordeshang carried a hundred pony foals upon his back. Celestia and Luna had a limbo-off. Falalauria told everyone their lucky number. The pronghorns filled the air with lightning fireworks. Joy and laughter were a constant thing, and seemed that they would never end.

However, over time, everypony noticed that those who should have been the center of attention were nowhere to be found. The call was taken up, from pony down to pony, from deer to griffin, asking where the Bearers of the Elements had gone. The answer which eventually came back was: they are gone for now, but not forever, and they are at peace. This was satisfying for most of the folk.

The true answer had more detail. Far across the fields, though still close to the party in its hugeness, there was Ponyville. It too had been restored, perfectly redone down to the last straw out of place upon the beautifully thatched rooftops. Off the center of the town, in a quiet corner, there was the great oak tree with lovely windows popping to and fro out of its trunk, with balconies that hung off of its upper heights, with the telescope and weather vane that marked it as a place of dwelling, with the sign of books that marked it as a place of study. Yes, this was the Golden Oaks Library, Ponyville's library and the dwelling place of its librarian.

Within it, the air was soft and gentle. It was perfect, even. Spike came toddling from the kitchen, a pitcher filled with yellow liquid in his hand. “Lemonade's done!”

Yay!” cried out six voices.

“Oh, Spike dear, I'll get that,” said Rarity. Her horn glowed blue. Seven glasses drifted from the kitchen. The pitcher floated out of Spike's hand. The lemonade went circling in looping yellow arcs that finally deposited it in the seven glasses, which were also filled with ice cubes.

These floated down to Spike, and then to Applejack, and Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie, and Rarity herself, and Rainbow Dash, and lastly- but not least- Twilight Sparkle. She took hold of hers with her own magic, and smiled. “Nice control, Rarity.”

“Well, what can I say? I've gotten a bit of a power boost,” said Rarity. She rolled onto her back, where she lay upon the beautiful deep purple cushion; all of them were laying on the cushion scattered all throughout the library's main room. Rarity leaned back- tink! The motion of her head was halted. She glanced up, and she frowned. Her horn- her new horn, her longer and much sharper horn- was pressed against the floor, preventing her from leaning back her head as she had wanted. She frowned. “Hmph. That is going to take some getting used to.”

“Tell me about it,” said Dash. She opened wide her newer, larger wings. “But it's great! I can't wait to see how fast I can go with these babies!”

“Now I can go flying with you, Dashie!” Pinkie cheered, fluttering her own pink wings.

“You bet, Pinkie! I'll show you all my tricks, and we can have contests and everything!” Dash arched her eyebrows. “How 'bout it, Twilight? Wanna join in?”

Twilight made a face. “I don't think I'm much for acrobatics.”

“Um, actually, I might like to join,” said Fluttershy.

“You? You, Fluttershy, you want to do tricks?” asked Applejack.

“Well, you know... it might be fun. I'll at least give it a try.”

“Heh, never thought I'd see the day,” said Applejack. She pushed her hat back, and she rubbed her horn nub. “Figure this thing'll start comin' in even more soon.”

“My offer to teach you magic still stands, Applejack,” said Twilight.

“And I'll take you up on that offer, Twilight.” Applejack settled more deeply in her cushion. “I'll have plenty o' time, now that things are back to normal.”

There was a pause, a skipped beat. Then- then the whole room burst out laughing. All the six of them erupted with guffaws and chuckles, filling every corner of the library with laughs. “Oh, who are we kidding?” said Fluttershy, the first to stop. “Things are never going to be normal again.”

“To be honest, my life ain't been normal since I met you five,” said Applejack.

“At least before we could pretend,” said Dash. She rolled onto her back and stretched her leg out. “Now we have all this power...”

“And we're going to keep getting more powerful, more and more and more,” said Twilight. A shadow crossed her face. “If one of us lets it go to our head, there's no telling how bad we could be! We could be as bad as Elbert!”

“That's why there's six of us!” said Pinkie brightly. “If one or even more than one of us goes rotten, the others will just reel them back in!”

“Things got pretty bad at one point this time,” said Dash. “I mean, from what I've heard, it was pretty much down to Applejack, who wasn't even in Equestria, and Fluttershy.”

“Yes, Fluttershy, dear, from the snippets I've heard, I'm so wondrously proud of you!” said Rarity. “I mean, it hasn't been much, but from what I can tell, it seems as though, for a while, you were the only one who still believed. You kept the faith. You will have to tell me all about what you went through.”

“Oh, well, Pinkie knows as much as I do,” said Fluttershy. “She was there with me, even if she was sick. Speaking of, Pinkie, what was that like?”

“Oh, it was awful! It was gross and icky and yucky!” said Pinkie. “But I guess I'd better tell all about it, just so history remembers!”

“Hold on,” said Twilight. “History... history...” she rubbed her hoof against her chin. “Oh!” The other five and Spike looked at her. “Well, that's what we need to do! We need to record everything that happened! We have to write everything down!”

“I suppose that is a priority,” said Rarity. “For posterity, of course.”

“Sure,” said Dash. “We gotta make sure everyone knows how big and bad Elbert was, and how much more awesome we were when we defeated him!”

“Dash and I were mostly aware and conscious when we were Elbert's servants, so we know a great deal of what he was up to,” said Rarity. “That should be helpful.”

“I'll tell what happened with me on my journey,” said Applejack, “and Spike can help, too!”

“Yeah! I'll definitely help!” said Spike.

“I'll tell everything that happened with me by my own lonesome,” said Pinkie. Plus, I can help everypony else remember, by looking into their minds!

“Oh, yes, well, I can help that way, too,” said Rarity, who blinked her blue and star-filled eyes. “My Long Sight can peer across all time and space, to see anything that any of us may miss in the telling of the tale.”

“We should ask Trixie about her side of the story, too,” said Dash. “She was there for a lot of the beginning, it seems like.”

“And of course we'll ask Celestia and Luna,” said Twilight. “We'll ask the Deer Elders, and all the Royal Guard, and Shiny and Cadence, and everypony!”

Spike groaned. “This is sounding like it's gonna be a really, really long story.”

“Oh, it will,” said Twilight. She pulled Spike to her, and she hugged him tightly. “Don't worry, though, Spike. It's going to take a long time to gather all the information, and to arrange it in a neat and orderly fashion. We won't wear your claws out with writing, I promise.”

“We shall be happy to lend our penmanship as well,” said Rarity. “We'll help you best we can, Spike, dearest.”

“Oh, well, that's great!” said Spike, smiling cheerily.

“Right now, though, let's at least start,” said Twilight. Her horn flashed purple. A massive roll of parchment appeared in the middle of the air, along with ink and quill. All three of them floated down to Spike.

He grabbed the parchment, and he grabbed the quill. He dipped the quill in ink, and then he set its tip to paper. “So... how do you want to start?”

The six exchanged sharp glances. “We gotta find a good startin' place,” said Applejack.

“What about starting with your trip to Gildedale, Applejack?” asked Fluttershy.

“That's too far back,” said Pinkie Pie. “We should only focus on Elbert and all the stuff that happened with him!”

“I concur with Pinkie,” said Rarity. “Let us tell as tight and orderly a story as we can. We should begin with when we first heard of that awful brute.”

“You heard about him first, right, Twilight?” said Rainbow Dash. “Let's start with what you were doing when you did!”

“Hmm... yeah, yes, that seems like the best course of action,” said Twilight Sparkle, nodding as she smiled at her best friends in the world. “So it all started when Spike and I were in Canterlot, and Princess Celestia was trying to teach me how to fly...”

Twilight carried on into her tale. The other five contributed as best they could. Spike wrote fast and neat. His spelling was impeccable, his punctuation first-rate. He did not leave a single word or detail out. So the six ponies and one dragon began to mighty task of setting down their long and awesome tale.

Outside the library, unseen by all within, a figure peered into the window. Discord smiled as he watched the ponies and the dragon start their grand recounting. He couldn't wait to read it. He smiled again, and nodded. Then he turned aside. “Well?” he said, to no one in particular. “What do you think? Good story, huh?”

THE END

Author's Note:

Words cannot express how fortunate- how blessed- I've been to be able to finish this story. There were points when I felt like it wouldn't come together, when I was at a loss to see things ever reaching this conclusion. Yet, thanks in no small part to you, the readers, I have persevered- and now, at long last, we have come to the end of the journey.

A special thanks goes to Chris, my prereader. Without him, the story would not have reached its high heights- and might instead have reached some very low depths. I owe him an immense debt of gratitude. If you ever want to read some good stories, check his out. They're definitely worth it.

I realize that at times in this story, I have frustrated, enraged, and unsettled you all, my readers. I apologize if I ever gave you wrong ideas or led you astray. I can only hope that the end result was worth it. I like to think the story's not bad.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. Goodbye. Be well. Namárië.

Comments ( 70 )

Not that it's going to end for real. Stories don't.

It was a great read from start to finish, and I liked your insertion of having the Mane 6 write a book on the subject:yay:

This, is a great, and magnificent thing you have done here. I'm damn proud to have been here for as long as I have.

Yes, it was, Discord, you magnificent bastard. *salute*

Chris #5 · Aug 6th, 2015 · · ·

It's been a heck of a ride, this past year and a half, and seeing this story grow and develop has been a blast. Unironic epic fantasy is a tough sell in this day and age--a lot of people want their heroes deconstructed, their villains relatable, and their morality ambiguous--but I think there's still room for complex stories that are nevertheless about capital-letters Good and Evil, and about the importance of... what was that word? Ah yes:

Faith.

And on that note, I hope that your readers feel like their faith in you has been rewarded, as you bring this story to an end. I know you've rewarded mine. Prereading for you has been fun, and I'm glad you feel like I've helped.

Now, bask in that warm glow of completion! Goodness knows, you've earned it.

6289652

What was ruined? Gondor rebuilds and expands back to the size of its heyday. Rohan reaffirms it fellowship with Gondor and enters a age of peace and plenty. Helms Deep is rebuilt and the glittering caves there become a thriving dwarf settlement under Gimli's lordship. Arnor is restored as a kingdom and Annúminas rebuilt. Breeland was mostly untouched. The Shire though badly damaged eventually is restored to its peaceful state and is made a royal protectorate. Erebor, dale, the woodlandrelm and lothlorien repel the forces sauron sends at them. Even MORDOR turns out ok being given to the people Sauron enslaved.

As for the elves leaving, you say that like its a bad thing. They weren't even really supposed too dwell in Middle-Earth to start with and only started coming over because of Feanor. They're simply going back to where they belong.

The dwarves do eventually defeat the goblins and take back Moria.

That seems like a happy ending to me.

A good end to a good story - thanks for sharing!

Hopefully, everyone will stop pestering you about condemning Rarity after reading the end.

media2.giphy.com/media/b9aScKLxdv0Y0/giphy.gif

Thank you for sharing this tale. :twilightsmile:

6290813

I hope that your readers feel like their faith in you has been rewarded, as you bring this story to an end.

I'd just like to say that I am one such reader who feels like my faith has most certainly been rewarded. :ajsmug:

It was an amazing story thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you for all the laughs all the tears all the ups all the downs. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking us on this journey.

6290936 That's not what Tolkien thought he was doing. He was writing something about the grace of God and your sort of nihilism isn't welcome in his world.

I for one enjoyed this ride!

This story is.... actually pretty good. I can't say just that did enjoy it but only to say I was in a heck of a ride. Yes, especially, like so many people, when things get grizzly dark make me want to question how things will turn out. The ending, while can be anticlimatic for some people, concludes very well by casting the dark lord into the darkness and every damage that monster cause is restored. Well mostly.

The theme of this story while simple is well played. Although things may get pretty dark and questioning and doubting of how thing will turned out, thing will turned out in the end when we make it out to be. Just like with me and so many commenters thoughout this story.

If I had a problem with this fiction, is the idea, in the middle of the story, of the evolution from non-sapient animals to sapient beings. Personally I am not keen with the idea that there are creatures in the world that will someday became sapient. But who am I kidding about complaining of the ideal in fiction.

But I just don't like when the truth has been reveal that turned these townsfolk into a misunderstood and incompitent jerks. It's kind of a prime example that darkness can turned into an audience apathy. Believe me, I felt sick to my heart after reading those dark chapter. However what saved this story is the later chapters that things are pulling together, plus some light humor into the mix. Oh yes we really do need those moment.

So yes I like this story and loved it's predecessor so I may recommend it for the high adventure fans in this community.

Good work Jetfire and thank you for a fun ride.

I was never disappointed in the story unlike some folks, good always wins ya know? You have to earn the happy ending, it isn't easy as pie because of magical power.

I don't know where your interests lie at this point, but I for one would love to see a story about the deer in the future, now that this journey has come to an end. It would be amazing to see a Silmarillion of sorts, but you are the writer, not me.

Thanks for the masterpiece.

This seemed fitting:
Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind’s in the free-top, the wind’s in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!
Soft is the grass, and let foot be like feather!
The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;
Merry is May-time, and merry our meeting.

Sing we now softly, and dreams let us weave him!
Wind him in slumber and there let us leave him!
The wanderer sleepeth. Now soft be his pillow!
Lullaby! Lullaby! Alder and Willow!

Sigh no more Pine, till the wind of the morn!
Fall Moon! Dark be the land!
Hush! Hush! Oak, Ash, and Thorn!
Hushed be all water, till dawn is at hand!
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Falalauria told everyone their lucky number.

But if everybody is lucky, luckiness will be the new normal!

A book? Probably not a bad plan.

“I'll tell everything that happened with me by my own lonesome,” said Pinkie. Plus, I can help everypony else remember, by looking into their minds!

:twilightoops:

Not bad, Jetfire, not bad.

6291430 Your italics tag isn't closed.

6291571
There was an attempt

So. This is it. From humble beginnings of a birthday party and learning how to teleport, to ascending as full gods of the realm...it's finally over. I am sad and yet glad to see it end. Good on you, Jetfire, good on you.

One thing's for sure; the Mane 6 are too powerful for there to be a sequel. Not that I think you should make one, but if you ever wish to, I wonder how you'd go about it. It couldn't have any real threatening antagonist, but maybe some non-world shattering problems, like war between two countries, whereas the Mane 6 wonder if they should use their power, or if doing such a thing would be the first step towards the end of free will for everyone but them.

tl;dr At what point is using their nigh-Omnipotence considered "wrong"? A street murder? Death in hospitals? Death of old age? Stop wars? Stop a coup d'état? Making it so that changelings can live on food alone, even if they wished to keep feeding on love?

From the beginning to the end thank you thank you! What a wonderful story, well strung together, and as a LOTR fan you have really outshone any expectations I had when I first saw that Damgerous Buisiness was a story-this fan fiction had been the one I most eagerly awaited new chapters for so once again thank you!

Fantastic.

It was a great ride. I do love me some good epics.

This was a wild ride. A bumpy ride at times, yes, but you definitely succeeded in bringing a bit of fantastical epicness into Friendship is Magic.

But, while I want to preface this with I believe this is a worthy successor overall, I didn't enjoy this as much as Dangerous Business. I just don't feel the moral of having faith melded very well with the bleakness of what was going on. It's not that the two are incompatible - a bleak atmosphere can be a great place for such a moral. Just in this instance, I felt they weren't elegantly blended. I wish I could pinpoint the reason I feel this way - you've definitely got the characters acknowledging the terribleness of what's happening, and you've got their faith strained all over the place. So I don't know why it feels there's a...weight of some kind that feels like its missing. It might be the ease with which things feel like they're resolved.

Shoot, maybe the ending is a big reason it feels this way. Thanks to the Elements, the whole thing is practically fixed up consequence free. When just moments ago all of Equestria was dead. It definitely showcases the sheer power of the Elements, but it just feels so...easy. Perhaps that was your intent.

Regardless of all that though, I want to say again I believe this is a worthy successor. I'm glad you wrote it, and I'm very glad I got to read it.

I... I have no words. This story is just perfect. Every bit of it, from beginning to end was wondrous and engrossing and I never once lost faith in you as a writer. (At least, I don't think so.) Some people call stories great because of their length. Others call them great because they were read for a long time. But this story is great because it is good. It is a story, and that means it has the elements of a story.

And you pull it all off marvellously. Of all the stories I've ever read, I can put this high, high up in my list. Proudly. :raritywink:

Aww poo. I was hoping there would be a third story - like how there are the lotr movies. But nevertheless, these were an incredible couple of stories. Seriously, well done.

Bad discord...the fourth wall is pinkies domain *slaps him with rolled up newspaper* go back to annoying picard.

I loved this story from start to finish. I hope to see other stories from you once you;ve recovered from this one.

Congratulations on completing this work of art. Even though this was completely different in tone from Dangerous Business, it was nonetheless a masterpiece. Enjoy the like and fave.

Much weaker than " It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door " . I think it was ultimately the scope that killed it for me.

Still a great story, but you kicked us far too hard for too long in the middle.

Rarity is still the worst ; no one can convince me that being able to see all possible futures she couldn't and shouldn't have done better.

How many of the dead who came back blamed rainbow and rarity ? They killed my family who wanted to stay dead I'd still hold a grudge.

You should be very proud of your writing , brilliant prose that gave me little to complain about.

So, maybe I'm reading too far into this. But I feel like you left room for a sequal. The end feels like the fall of Morgoth, and the first fall of Sauron. Dol Amaroth sounds a lot like Rivendell, and Equestria seems like a mix of Gondor and Belerand. I don't recall any of his minions getting out, but you have a basis for a Sauron figure to rise up and attack again. Was that intentional, or will this be the end?

6293854 I agree. Jetfire sort of wrote himself into a corner with Rarity's Sight. He had to take her away from the heroes to keep their side from being OP, and even then, I can think of ways Rarity could have handled it better. She could have quietly gone away with AJ and RD on another world tour and left the others to level up by themselves. Hell, I'm even writing my own epilogue thingy that addresses this.

6292104

Hey, I completely forgot it started with a birthday party! Nice ref, Jetfire2012!

6291571

A book? Probably not a bad plan.

The Red Book of Ponyville, perhaps?

6291430 Your italics tag isn't closed.

Self-demonstrating comment?

Namárië

“Farewell.” (As if you didn’t all know that already. :twilightsmile:)

I admit now that I was wrong about Rarity knowing about Dash's capture ahead of time. I went back and re-read that chapter and you were very careful with the timing. Rarity's Sight started working properly just after Reiziger enslaved Dash, which was awfully convenient for the plot and inconvenient for Dash. I still think you sort of wrote Rarity into a corner. You made it work as well as you could, but I'd advise against giving main characters the ability to predict the future. It tends to either make the character OP or suck the tension out of the story.

Other problems I had with this tale:

- Rainbow got screwed and the horror of her experience seemed like it was brushed over.
- The story got too dark for my taste, especially with Pinkie's sickness dragging on too long.
- Trixie was forgiven too easily - I still say it would have helped to write out the conversation between her and Celestia.

Parts I liked:

- Applejack and Ashtail
- Fluttershy's backstory with the deer
- Applejack and Spike's world tour (reminded me of "Dangerous Business" in the best possible way)
- Pinkie's Crowning Moment of Awesome when she trounced Ziggy, Looney Tunes style
- Feanor apparently decided to stay dead

Overall this is a good story, but I didn't enjoy it as much as "Dangerous Business." It was a more ambitious effort, and perhaps because of that, it had more problems with the plot and pacing.

Out-freaking-standing. So glad you stuck with it--this is by far one of the best stories I've ever read on this site! You've been blessed with fantastic writing skills, my friend--thanks for letting us tag along for the ride.

Finally read the last chapter and it was a nice conclusion to this whole story. It was a bit different than the previous story, but it was very enjoyable nonetheless. I'm sure I said what I needed to on the last chapter, so once again, great job with it!

Short C&C:
Yes, this was the Golden Oaks Library…
> Remove the ‘s’ from ‘Oaks’.

6296716 Thanks for the breakdown, been a bit since I last read the Silmarilion.:twilightsheepish: No need to splurge about Beleriand, I am a Gondolian at heart, after all, Glamdring the Foehammer is a badass sword, made for the badass king, Turin himself!

OK. Now that I have read it in it's entirety, it's time to put my thoughts in comment. Never before I have been so conflicted on if I love or hate a fanfic. There was no middle-grounds, it was one or the other. Yet somehow, I kept reading, hoping for a good payoff in the end. And in short, I didn't get it. It's a LOT weaker than It's Dangerous Going out your Door and yet it has a lot going for it.

First, let me list off what you definitely got right.

- The world building was amazing with a capital A. There's so much details that it feels like you were being inspired by Tolkien while still trying to do your own thing. It didn't felt like a carbon copy of Middle-Earth, so kudoes for that.
- Some of the character development was really well done. Most particularly Fluttershy, Applejack and Pinkie Pie (I don't need at this point to mention what's wrong with Rarity's characterisation. While Twilight got good development in the end, her massive idiot ball moment killed it for me. And Rainbow Dash was barely in the fic at all on account of being corrupted). I have a feeling that these three characters were the best written. And let me tell you that Fluttershy is an hard character to get right.
- The romance subplot between Ashtrail and Applejack. This is probably the part I enjoyed the most in this fic. It didn't felt forced, progressed naturally, was well integrated and actually felt cute (which is easy to overdo). How many authors can brag that they were able to include an OC romance with one of the main six in their epic and get it right?
- The war sequences were excellent. They had a good build-up and an uncertainty about how they would go (some of them, better than others). This is the second part I enjoyed the most.

Now, here are the bad parts. And this is going to be a long one.
- The deerfolk. In the previous story, they were criticized about them having no characterization and being little more than a plot device. In the previous story, it didn't really matter that much since they were not the focus. In this story, however, they ARE the focus and it becomes a problem. Feanor was the only one with decent characterization and he was the token asshole of the group. Everyone else was merely sprouting exposition (some good, some bad) in their usual cryptic tone from the previous story. I expect that from their leader Falalauria, but not from the entire race. Even those with names do nothing except talking exactly like her, which made me hard to care about their hardship in the later part of the story.
- Plot points that were introduced and then tossed aside. This one only hit me once I hit the end of the fic. But there are a lot of stuff that ends up being inconsequential. Reizeger taking over the changeling hive is an example. It is stated that he intends to use the changelings to spread rumors and cause distrusts among ponies, and even after he kills Chrysalis and takes over the hive, he does nothing with it. He ends up doing the whole thing himself and the changelings are no longer mentioned in the story anymore. Then, what was the point of that plot point? Zecora is another one. She gives a warning to Twilight about the deer that they can't be trusted (which was pretty clever foreshadowing, I have to admit), but then, she disappears from the fic without any indication that she left. I really don't get it. Zecora would be the first person Twilight would consult if her faith in Princess Celestia was shaken (and she went to Feanor which she explicitly didn't trust), and she doesn't even appear in the ending for crying out loud. That made me wonder if you were planning this as carefully as you said you did.
- The villain. I made enough complains about the villain at this point in the comments before and even after the ending, they still holds. Reizeger was way too powerful and competent as a villain and the only way the mane 6 won was because of either an off-screen lobotomy or an extra sticky idiot ball. I know he's supposed to be arrogant, but he took the mane 6 seriously even back when he didn't considered them to be a threat. And now that he knew that they were a threat (through Trixie's rescue) he suddenly loses all ability to plan and adapt to the circumstances. Which leads to my other point...
- The anti-climatic final battle. Just...why? This is basically the ending of "The Return of Harmony" only without the appropriate payoff. After all the build-up you gave Reizeger and all the grief he caused to our protagonists and the world, I expected WAY more. I expected a struggle that would not only force the mane 6 to act together but also make use of all they learned and gained through their journey (kinda like the climax with the World Snake of your previous fic). Especially since Reizeger has access to all six gifts and knows how to use them in an intelligent fashion. Instead, he does...nothing. He just stands here, runs his mouth and gets zapped. How can a villain be so smart and yet so dumb? Again, I know that he was supposed to be arrogant, but it would've worked better if he tried something and failed. He didn't do jack in this "battle". It makes the final confrontation look a bit too easy in comparison to all the problems he has caused. Which leads to...
- The ENTIRE second third of the story. Argh... This is basically what killed the story for me. I think I have to make another list to show all that was wrong with it.
- It went on for way too long. This second third was basically Torture Porn for our protagonist and the world. It went to a point where I went into not caring status because I knew things couldn't get better. I know that you have to make your villain into a credible threat, but...you already did at this point. You've made him kill Chrysalis, you had him overtake the changeling hive, you had him bring down Cloudsdale and you had him spread mistrust amongst the ponies and the deer. As Linkara once said "You don't need to heighten the stakes. They're already high enough!". It was just 13 painful chapters of Equestria being more and more miserable and our protagonists holding on an idiot ball that went way longer than necessary.
- It was drama for the sake of drama. The whole "the deer were slavers all along" was interesting, but afterwards, it went way, WAY out of hand. And it ended up being completely pointless in the end. The only part that I remember that actually had a point was Twilight and Feanor's defeat that finally caused Twilight to break out of her funk (and it was about DAMN time). Drama for the sake of drama is a big pet-peeve of mine (which is why I'm not a big fan of Game of Thrones). I know that meaningful drama is the key to conflict, but the key word here is "meaningful". All of the other stuff (Canterlot falling, Rarity and Rainbow Dash being corrupted, the rest of Equestria falling, the collective suicide) was just there to make the story darker without actually contributing to anything. This is one of the times where going for a darker tone hurt the story more than it enhanced it.
- All that darkness didn't made the final victory better. And I'll explain why. As I said earlier, your story was already dark enough for what you were trying to do. It's a battle of good against evil. And don't get me wrong, I like those stories and I like when our protagonists have to earn their happy ending. Except that the pain and grief you put them through is disproportionate to the amount of effort they put in the end (after 10 chapter of misery, it takes theme a single chapter of reflecting to get back in action and go from hopeless to peppy and high spirit? Not even suspension of disbelief can make me believe that). That ironically makes their victories more unearned and cheap. To go back to an earlier point, after all Reizeger did to them, both physically and emotionally, all they needed to do once they recovered from their depression was to blast him with their elements? The worst offenders in this were Rarity and Rainbow Dash (where they recovered from being corrupted way too quickly), to the point where I was wondering "What was the point of them being corrupted in the first place except for piling up more drama?"
- And finally, with the ending being basically a "reset button", it turned out that all of it was inconsequential. The slaver-deer plot point was referred exactly twice in the story after it was introduced and then brushed off. So was the ponies' distrust in Rarity (yeah, I'm still iffy about this plot point). While I applaud you for trying to keep your promise of happy endings (I prefer happy endings in stories), the fact that such dark elements (that normally would have huge consequences) were so casually brushed off made me wonder why they were introduced in the first place (outside of, again, piling up more unnecessary drama). Not to mention that this "reset button" option came completely out of nowhere. It wasn't foreshadowed ONCE in the entire story. There's a reason why the readers expected a bittersweet ending AT BEST. I'm not saying that it couldn't have been done. It could. But what we got here felt incredibly lazy.

I never graded a fan-fiction before, but if I have to, I'd give it a 4/10 (if it wasn't for that second act, I would've given it a 8/10 easily).

And in my opinion, the majority of this fic's problems can be summed up in three words: Trying. Too. Hard.

Jetfire, I know you're a good writer. But here, it felt like you were more concerned about topping your previous work instead of delivering a good story. There's this annoying trend that "Darker and grittier = Better" that I especially hate because it makes authors work more on creating darker stories without necessarily making them good. If the tone was more consistent throughout the fic, I could've understood (even if I wouldn't necessarily like it), but that shift of gear was more detrimental than anything.

Let me finish it by saying that I didn't want to hate the story. I wanted to like it so hard, especially since the first one was so good. I only kept reading for an Author Saving Throw (thanks TV Tropes) that never came and after my initial rage was over (you know that moment), I was simply disappointed. I do hope that you'll learn from the experience (even though I'm not sure if you'll read this, considering how rarely you reply to comments).

Final verdict, Read the first act (up to chapter 30) and the climax (chapter 44 onwards). The rest is easily skippable and you won't miss much.

6297566 Best comment on the entire fanfic! I wish I could add it to my favorites shelf. :pinkiehappy:

I wholeheartedly agree with you about the "second third" portion of the story. It wasn't just that it was too dark, it had "drama for the sake of drama" that ended up having no impact on the plot. Like, there was already enough tension with Ziggy wanting to consume the world. It wasn't necessary to make the ponies disproportionally angry with the deer for something they did before the pony race was even sapient. Their anger and distrust towards Celestia was also exaggerated, especially with Twilight. It was an unpleasant diversion from the main plot.

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Thank you. I was afraid that I was the only one who felt that way (looking at the like/dislike bar).

My biggest problem with those dark elements was how easily brushed off they were. I expected them to play a big part in the final battle, or at least in the epilogue, but they were kinda forgotten after the big war sequence.

Such a great story! I have to agree with a lot of the other commenters, I love this story, but the middle got too dark for too many chapters. I almost stopped reading a couple of times, but the first third and last third made up for it! Those chapters were amazing, like, Dangerous Business amazing, if not even more amazing at some points!

So yes, I'll have to debate with myself a bit if this will go into my 'best of the best' shelf, or my 'stories I like shelf'. In any case, this has been a hell of a fan fic, and I'll be sad to see it go! I truly truly hope you are planning for a sequel, because this world is just too awesome for words. Just maybe do a bit more adventure and less dark for the sequel if you decide to do one. The adventure made Dangerous Business, the darkness didn't make this fic.

Thank you, thank you for such an amazing story/series!

I just skipped to the end. I think the ending could use a bit of detail, but the story seems alright. I'm not a fan of all main 6 being alicorns. So I'm not gonna read the story sorry.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. It engaged me more than the lord of the rings, and I felt more connected to this story than other stories. That ending felt perfect. You sir, are a great writer, and I hope to read more stories in the future.

Once again a wonderful story, it has been quite the tale, and I have enjoyed reading it. Congratulations to you once again for writing such a epic tale.

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:facehoof::facehoof:

We need a :rimshot: smiley.

Well done.

:moustache:

Thank you. I haven't read something like this in a long while. It's definitely something that'that I won't forget anytime soon.

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Blood libels are blatantly not true, and the crucifixion of Jesus, if it occurred, was not a wide-scale injustice but a single incident (whose fault would actually lie on the Romans). These points may have been parts of the justification for the Holocaust, but Jews had never in the past ruled over Germans (or Christians generally) and oppressed them, to the best of my knowledge. I reiterate that I do not know of any genocide that was committed against a past oppressor by the previously-oppressed, and if such a genocide has occurred, it is the exception, not the norm.

Javier, here, was at once acknowledging that what the deer (his ancestors) did was wrong, that racism still exists among the deer, and that modern deer bear some responsibility because they have benefited from the actions of their ancestors, even if they did not control them. That's how I read it, anyway. Nothing about what Javier said would support a genocide.

Well. Now that I have actually had time to catch up on the final chapters:

Very well done. The stumbling in the middle-late quarter I think is the part that stops it being utterly exceptional, but the ending recovered very nicely; seeing Ziggy crack at the last was very satisfying and well worth the wait.

I also give you points for them having the power to "fix" everything, but stopping to think about it, getting permission and doing it on a volentary basis, a conclusion which I agree with 100%.

Overall then, I think I preferred Dangerous Journey a little more, but in the end, this was still an excellent story and I thank you for all the considerable effort you have put into writing it.

This is one of those stories where I had to drop everything and read the whole thing in one go.

Also someone here should organize a printed version of this series. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

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