• Member Since 2nd Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago


Writer, RCL co-curator, EQD prereader, dramatic reader, VA, fic reviewer. Vote for my next fic to release!


What is the value of a secret? What knowledge lurks forgotten in Equestria's past?

After chasing a thief from Canterlot to the desert mountains south of Equestria, Twilight and her friends are beset by tragedy. To save her friend, Twilight will have to delve Equestria's greatest secrets, and discover a truth that even she will wish she hadn't learned. When the thief's full plans come to light, will Twilight be able to save Equestria's secrets, her friend, or even herself?

Written for the July 2014 Pre-Reader Battle, based on the prompt "The Canterlot Archives hold a dark secret." Contains a reimagining of a G1 villain, but does not require knowledge of G1.

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 85 )

42 published stories? Congrats! That's, what, 0.3 shortskirtses? Plus all the reviews …

Anyway, I love your more serious work, and this is setting up a pretty cool premise. Will be looking forward to the rest. Seems pretty clear Catrina is playing the long game and there's more to Dash's paralysis than it seems, though I'm not quite sure yet why it was Rainbow Dash she sandbagged.

4732893 My guess is that it's not necessarily Dash in particular she chose, but whoever she first saw, thus making it a necessity for everyone to return to Canterlot instead of Ponyville, taking Catrina with them. In the confusion, she may have magically bugged Twilight somehow, or the Alicorn Amulet when she was there previously, knowing her actions would result in increased security measures, in order to get a glimpse of the Crown Room - the real one.

It's even entirely possible that she switched out the Amulet for a fake, relying on it (as the most valuable/dangerous artifact) being moved to a higher-security location - one which contains the prize she is really after.

All of this, of course, does rely on Celestia not being able to spot fakes, bugs, or magic traces amongst the artifacts or Twilight. Catrina might be confident in her ability to fake out the Princess, but Celestia is pretty dang hard to slip something past. Maybe she's spotted what's up and is using it as another test for Twilight?

Author Interviewer

For the record, I'll be posting daily updates starting Wednesday. Consider the Prologue Monday's chapter (I submitted at like 11 PM), and chapter 1 today's.

Congrats on 500 followers and 42 stories! You are halfway to 1,000, and you have found the meaning of life. Very nice. And I actually didn't even know these EqD prereader battles still went on. But I'll have to read this when I get a chance.

Author Interviewer

I actually had to start this one myself because we hadn't done one in so long. :B Also, I started it back in June, it kept getting waylaid by certain other contests.

Hmn, so the quest is to restore Dash's internet connection. I gotta say, that's a unique premise.


I get it. Pony brains aren't actually big enough to support conscious thought, are they? So the cloud acts as a server where thought and higher brain functions take place, and the body is just a virtual desktop.

Author Interviewer

Sorry, I sort of forgot I was publishing chapters every day! c.c Caught up now.

For a one-sided conversation, that scene with Spike was surprisingly touching.

I have to say, the Crown Room makes a great deal of sense as an MLP fixfic element. The Alicorn Amulet is far from the only capable-of-world-destruction artifact just randomly lying around Equestria. The notion that Celestia would actually try to do something about them makes far too much sense.

Though I wonder how she would handle things like the mirror pool, which aren't amenable to proper care and sealing.

Woah, we just got an explanation for the name cutie mark similarity problem, didn't we. If every pony is connected to the Cloud and the Cloud has no sense of time, it'd be pretty easy for the cutie mark symbol and the future "secret desires" to leak back into the literal birthday.

The earth pony, her gaze never leaving the child, smiled and said, "Yes, but something tells me Toolbox is a far more fitting name."

Hah! I swear that I wrote the first paragraph up there before I read the bit I just quoted.

Ack, unexpected childbirth tragedy! :rainbowderp:

This has been the worst "one chapter a day" publishing schedule ever. :derpytongue2:

I guess I see what you meant by divisive, but I think it worked pretty well.

Overall I think the idea being explored worked really well.

Edit: Oye, repetitive comment is repetitive. You'd think five minutes wouldn't be enough of a gap in forget how you phrased something, but you would be wrong.

Author Interviewer

It's better than Epic Unicorn History's schedule. :B

Hmm. Divisive? If this were tumblr, the SJWs would be on you like syrup on waffles for that line about reclaiming power not being OK, but the basic structure of the story is sound — Twilight's solution does follow from the premise and seems the most natural ending.

The only quibble I'd have would be Catrina casting that final spell from within jail. I mean, wouldn't prisons in an explicitly magical world account for that? And the Crown Room scene did seem to imply that anti magic technology is explicitly known.

I don't think editors in general are "a crutch", but this story turned out well. There's nothing that needs major revision. :twilightsmile:

Author Interviewer

That's not actually technology, per se, but natural antimagic crystals in the rock structure. You make a good point, though, that's a definite oversight on my part.

Great story. Makes you wonder how Twilight maintained conscious thought while in the Equestria Girls universe.

Funny, how I read about this just as I listen to a pannel at a convention with a guy mentioning something similar working in nature and the human psyche.:unsuresweetie: this is getting to be a very serious subject with very far reaching implications.

Author Interviewer

Awww, man. I was all set to give you mad props for Catrina and then you tell me it's a G1 thing...

Anyway. I'd have to say the lack of editing showed, mostly in the first couple of chapters. Nothing horrid, mind, but neither the flow nor the pacing were quite there – just a lack of smoothing. When your first sentence takes me three re-reads to realise there's a word missing... yeah.

What really did get me finally into it was such a simple thing that worked absurdly well. I'm not quite sure if you planned it that way, but the time delay on the telepathy managed to be be jarring in such a way that it actually dragged me into[/] the story. To me, that's a seriously fucking epic achievement. The story is totally worth it for that alone.

I must have missed something, though, 'cos I have no idea what the hell all this has to do with naming conventions.

4774303 Anime Festival Orlando. we recently had the guy who voices Ken on street fighter come and visit, I don't know if he posts pictures or anything, but he did take one of me and him with a Princess Celestia plush between us. He was also the one that Explained the theory of the human memory cloud. He's actually pretty cool.:twilightsmile:

Author Interviewer

All those scenes featuring ponies being born and, more specifically, named, are meant to suggest that the parents were somehow tapping into the Cloud themselves. I decided not to be very explicit about it, despite the idea being the impetus of the story, because that's not what this story ultimately ended up being about. :B Glad you approve of the telepathy thing, though.

Also what word is missing. D: I'm not seeing this.

I liked this story a lot. Reminded me of 'Fluttershy Goes to Hell' in many ways, although it was significantly less dark. Rarity's delayed telepathic responses were probably my favorite part of this story, and I don't really have any idea why.

Author Interviewer

It's probably 'cuz I wrote both and they're both short adventures. :B Folks seem to like the telepathic delay, and I wish I knew why. It's the kind of thing I should seek to include more often in stories.

This was good. I really enjoy magical theory as well as a good story.

Catrina ran into a classic problem: a Cloud full of vital business data, and no way to make sense of it! With an enterprise-quality suite of Big Data Analytics solutions, she could have been on her way to restoring the former glory of the Felyptian empire, rather than locked in analysis paralysis (and the Canterlot dungeons).

Author Interviewer

This is my new favorite comment. :D

4971950 And this is why all the fuss about the NSA thing is nonsense.

4741709 This story is clearly prejudiced against ponies!

If anime characters can have ridiculously large eyes and still have independent minds, so can little horses!

*leads protests, which quickly turn to rioting and looting... all according to The Plan..* :trixieshiftright:

Your people moved into the Equestrian valley and drove the Diamond Dogs out. It was they who migrated south and slaughtered my people!" Her eyes flashed with lightning. "They murdered children in their cribs, toppled our cities by digging beneath them, and turned our lush, green empire into a barren desert with their endless tunnels!"

Uhmm.... Catrina, no offense but Rarity beat a whole bunch of Diamond Dogs just by whining.

If your so-called 'empire' got beaten by then, you guys must have been more impotent that Neville Chamberlain.


And after this Twilight comes across an artificial intelligence spy pony program known only as 'Project 2501'. She merges with it and becomes part of the Internet.


I liked this story. It ended up being much darker than the title and cover image imply, but not in a bad way. The sense of ominous foreboding in the earlier chapters is what I'll remember most.

As a technician, my mind also went immediately to iCloud/Dropbox/OneDrive et. al. I'm thinking Catrina must have guessed the security questions, they really should be using two-factor verification. :rainbowlaugh:

Keep up the good work!

Books and Branches, huh? I've never heard that name before, though it was apparently used a few months before I joined the fandom. I like it :pinkiehappy:

Author Interviewer

Dammit, the MLP wiki took the info out. :| Bastards are trying to cover up the real and true name of the library!

Actually, until it's named in the show (haha, good luck!) it doesn't technically have a "canon" name. It's been called Golden Oak and Golden Oaks; Books and Branches was the first name, but it was quickly subsumed by the other two for reasons I don't quite recall.

4985923 Yeah, I was already familiar with Golden Oak(s). Only other name I'd heard was the Tree of Knowing. As for why it was replaced, I guess official merch trumps random thing on the Hub's website. The replacement's not bad. Kinda reminds me of Powerpuff Girls

Author Interviewer

It's all side canon, as far as I'm concerned, and therefore all equally valid. :B At this point, I think I use Books and Branches just to be different. (This is oddly one of the few times where I don't follow Word of Faust, and I have no idea why.)

4986378 Probably 'cause Books and Branches arguably sounds the best, though I do like Golden Oaks (not so much without the "s"). The Tree of Knowing might work better for Twi's castle. Not too fond of calling that the Friendship Rainbow Kingdom

It seems to me that Books And Branches might've been the former name of the library, and that Twilight renamed it Golden Oaks or Golden Oak after her arrival. we never have met the previous librarian...

Author Interviewer

I still say nothing about the Ponyville library has made sense from day one. I'm glad it's gone. :|

'Leaves and Branches' is clearly the best name, because it's a double library/tree pun. :trixieshiftright:

Really, this problem could be solved by putting Dash on a big squishy beanbag. Why?
Because then Rainbow a Dash would be "syncing" :trollestia:

Oh God I'm sorry.

Great world building! I love when previous generations are shown to be at least somewhat connected to each other because it makes he whole world feel more connected.

Author Interviewer

Though this story won't factor in, I'm working on a Grand Unified Theory of MLP that links all the gens. Interestingly, they aren't chronological.

Well, we all know that G3 comes after the Rainbowpocalypse, so that theory makes a lot of sense.

"It can't be much farther now," Twilight grunted, Twilight grunted, holding Applejack's hind leg straight with magic while hauling on her.

This sentence, man. I think it could use some work.

This was a pretty cool read.

There seems to be a bit of a delay in the telepathy spell. I hadn't anticipated that, but hopefully it won't become an issue.

Hmm, do I detect Chekohvs gun?

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