• Published 19th Oct 2014
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Bookworm's Delight - naturalbornderpy



Twilight Sparkle tries to pry herself from a book that she cannot stop reading. The author of such text would love nothing better than to watch her die.

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Chapter 5: The End/The Beginning

CHAPTER FIVE:

THE END/ THE BEGINNING

1

Princess Celestia had barely set down her lengthy scroll before a stallion guard nearly collapsed through the doors. Panting desperately, he said, “There’s… fighting downstairs! Only… it’s one of our own guards! And he won’t stop screaming! He says that we’ve done something to him!”

Celestia did not blanch at the update but instead regarded the shocked stallion gravely. As the thunderous sounds of clanking metal and lunatic shouts found their way into the room from another part of the castle, the white alicorn allowed herself a brief moment to shut her eyes and think.

In just that small motion, Twilight knew they had both come to the same dim conclusion. It would all end tonight, and any chance of getting ahead of their stalker had been painfully pulled away from them. From the shouts and yells and grunts of pain from downstairs, the end to all this was not to be as silent as reading a book unto death.

Twilight turned to her friends, all eyes already on her. “Take Fluttershy to Rainbow Dash’s room and stay there. Lock the door and no matter what you hear, don’t come out. This pony has hurt too many already and that stops tonight. I’ll come for you all when it’s safe.”

Applejack raised a hoof anxiously. “But Twilight! We can help! This isn’t just about you, you know. She’s made a death wish on all of us!”

Twilight shook her head. “I know Applejack, but at the moment I don’t care. If they want me then they can have me. Not my friends. Not anymore. But I think I’m needed downstairs.”

A curt nod in Celestia’s direction was all it took to get her moving. Following close behind was a wordless Princess Luna—determination already set in a scowl.

Twilight had honestly never been so happy to be surrounded by such powerful figures.

2

The gore splattered body of a guard pony lay crumpled against the last few steps of the curving stairway. Long gashes across his chest and face told Twilight all she needed to know. Quickly the loud and sharp sounds found her ears. Near the middle of the hall were three more guards desperately trying to surround a single blood-soaked stallion—one who was hurrying around in senseless like spasms. Already he had been cut in more than a dozen places, a large wound above his brow leaking heavily into an eye. It appeared as though he felt not a thing, as he rhythmically clashed with the remaining guards, spear held tight in his teeth.

Twilight did not have time to count the far too still bodies that littered the castle corridor.

Dropping his spear to one leg, the murderous stallion drove his shoulder into a wavering guard. Crashing into a wall, bits of plaster fell to the floor.

With his mouth free to scream, the attacking guard yelled, “Where is my family? What have you done with them?

He left little time for answers. He grabbed his dripping spear again to swing behind him, clashing into another guard’s chest plate and sending him reeling to the slippery floor. A second later that same spear was coated in a thin purple aura, before being delicately plucked from his mouth and flung towards the entrance of the castle.

His eyes bulged at his missing weapon. “No! You can’t!”

He lunged for a fallen sword on the floor but that was when Luna flung the stallion against a wall with her horn. The instant he shrugged off the hit he scrambled to get back to his hooves, only for the combined magic of all three alicorns to tightly hold him in place. Regardless, he struggled against them as if he was about to be dipped in a pool of acid.

He hollered, “What’s wrong with you? You can’t do this! I need to finish with them so I can save them all! You damn monsters! Give them back to me! Give them back!”

Luna cut a quick glance to her sister, prompting her to start a dialogue (if one truly could). Celestia knelt down beside the flailing guard, bits of his spit dangerously close to dotting her coat. “Who do you believe has taken your family?” she asked calmly.

“You did! You did! And don’t you dare deny it!”

Celestia took a moment, appearing to ponder which direction to go. Twilight thought she chose the easier of the two. “Where do you think I’m keeping your family?”

“In the basement! They need me! They’re waiting for me!”

“What do you think I want with them?”

This time the fighting guard did more than shout in her face. Welling up a ball of phlegm in his mouth, he spat on the side of her cheek, before it ran down to spatter on the floor. Celestia, meanwhile, appeared unobserving of the slight.

He finally said, “You’re going to slice them up! You’re going to kill them! Every one of them!” He shook his head forcefully from side to side, banging it into the wall. “Don’t you deny it! Don’t you dare!”

Casually, Celestia got back to her hooves and flicked off the excess spit from her cheek. “Luna,” she said, “put that guard to sleep and make sure he doesn’t come out of it for some time.”

“Gladly.”

Luna crossed over and placed both hooves to the struggling stallion’s temples. Far stronger than even the most well-trained guard, she held onto him like a vice. Closing her eyes, Twilight watched as the red-stained guard first stopped shouting altogether, before his eyelids drooped. Finally with his eyes completely shut, did his legs stop thrashing about. Letting go of the magic barrier against him, he slouched to the floor to begin snoozing loudly.

“So what does this all mean?” Luna asked as she stood. “That he’d been coerced into believing we were planning on killing his family somehow? In a basement that doesn’t even exist in the castle?”

Celestia hadn’t taken her eyes from the guard. “It appears so. Either Twilight’s stalker has physically hypnotized the guard, or more likely made him read one of her cursed texts. I don’t know how yet, but I will find out. In the meantime we need to get the injured guards to the medical wing and seclude this guard before he comes to. If we’re lucky, her spell might wear off by then.”

Now that the present danger had been quieted, Twilight surveyed the immensely damaged area. The bodies, the blood, the shattered armor and battered weapons. She wanted to feel sad for so much senseless loss. She wanted to nearly cry because she soon realized all this destruction was somehow still all about her. And yet covering everything was an overwhelming feeling of hate—so pure and so raw it almost felt like static in her limbs.

A few more summoned guards were standing by the entrance. One of them glimpsed passed the glass doors and then to the alicorns in the hall. “There’s something going on outside, Princess. And I think it’s getting closer.”

From beyond the clear glass and into the endless dark beyond, Twilight could finally make out the small pin-prinks of light, steadily growing closer and larger. Already she thought she knew what was coming.

3

Once outside in the cool night air, Twilight Sparkle hovered a few meters to stare at the dozens upon dozens of lit torches dotting the darkness and enveloping the castle. They were either held in the mouths of ponies or held aloft with a horn. The glow of each small fire illuminated the set and determined eyes of each marching mare or stallion. Those that weren’t holding torches (and even some that were) held onto makeshift weapons that must have been lying around the house. Rake. Broom. Cleaver. Fire Poker. Sledgehammer. Scythe. Even the select few that had nothing but sticks in their teeth made good by sharpening its edges to a fine point.

When the mass of gathered ponies touched the outskirts of the castle grounds, Celestia’s rigid voice rang clearly to all. “You are not allowed in the castle at this time. You are all now trespassing and must return to your homes. Whatever may have brought you here is—”

Where are they? What have you done with them?

A shriek from the crowd, following by the outmost support by the rest.

They won’t tell us! They’ll only lie! We need to get in there NOW!

Twilight felt air flick at her mane as a rock came dangerously close to hitting her. In the moonlit gloom of the night, she hardly saw it coming. She lowered back to the ground to stand near Celestia.

“They believe the same thing that guard does,” she said breathlessly. “My stalker’s made them all believe the same thing—sent out some hypnotic invitation. What are they going to do when they don’t find anyone inside? They could seriously injure someone. Especially themselves.”

Celestia listened while scanning the faces of the approaching throng. “I will have to agree with you, Twilight. Only now there’s far too many for Luna to possibly put to sleep in a safe manner, and now I believe either option available to us might only antagonize them more. If we let them in the castle, they’ll tear apart everything inside, including any pony that gets in their way. If we deny them access, it’ll only confirm what they’ve been led to believe—that we’re somehow holding onto ponies they know inside.”

Celestia ducked out of the way as a lit torch flew over her. Twilight did the same, crouching against the ground. “So what do we do?” she shouted.

More rocks and heavy objects collided with the sides of the castle, some thrown, some levitated. Windows were smashed and glass debris sprinkled across the ground below.

Celestia created a small bubble around herself and Twilight. “Luna and I will create a field around the castle, keeping them out. As long as we concentrate, it should be enough. But that still leaves your stalker somewhere inside. If you can get to her, you can get her to stop her spells. I have a feeling this time she’ll allow you to find her. I don’t believe she’s hiding anymore.” She turned to her sister, who was busily blasting away thrown objects with her horn. “We do it now, Luna!”

Luna silently nodded and together they raised a protective barrier that started from the middle of the lawn all the way around the castle. The first few gathered ponies bounced into its unyielding side before becoming angrier than before. The same tools they had carried with them they now leveled into the shield. Not a single blow did noticeable damage. Those that laid claim to not a single weapon, instead bashed against it with their hooves.

“Go, Twilight. While there’s still time.”

“Thank you, Princess.”

Twilight wasted not a moment more and galloped into the castle. More than a hooful of guards passed her by as they went outside to help (as little good it would do). Gingerly avoiding the mess in the hall before the stairs, she bounded up and instantly went in the direction of her friends. That was when a thin wisp of smoke suddenly appeared behind her, before a thin set of legs wrapped around her chest.

“Hello again,” the unicorn said, before teleporting them away.

4

Rarity was oddly the only mare to scream out loud as a heavy rock came crashing through the window. Luckily, it merely clipped the edges of Rainbow Dash’s bed, pushing it off-kilter but hitting no one. A sprinkling of glass followed and instantly Applejack got to bucking the bed away from the gapping hole. While Rarity delicately tried removing as many pieces of glass from Rainbow’s covers, she heard Pinkie Pie exhale at whatever was going on outside.

“Holy-moly, girls!” she trumpeted. “There’s like... a hundred ponies outside! And by the looks of it they don’t look all that happy. Was there some late-night event scheduled here that I didn’t even know about?”

Forgoing good manners, Rarity lightly pushed Pinkie from the window to stare at the castle grounds below. Hundreds of ponies stood in an angry mass. Breakable objects clattered to all sides of the castle. None, thankfully, came close to their window.

Applejack joined them. “We should get down there! I guarantee this is just another trap from that lunatic mare. Even with three Princesses, I think they’d still need our help.”

Rarity pursed her lips. “As much as I’d hate to go against Twilight’s wishes for the second time, I’m inclined to agree. But we still can’t leave Rainbow Dash alone. Fluttershy could—” Rarity turned to find only Pinkie Pie left in the room, rigorously bouncing to get a better view out the window. The door to the castle had been left open a crack.

Applejack noticed. “Where’d Fluttershy go?”

“I hope not far,” she said, before glaring at Pinkie. “Pinkie, stay here and look out for Rainbow Dash. Applejack and I will go look for Fluttershy. It shouldn’t take long.”

Before the pink earth pony could even agree, the pair scrambled out the door.

5

The moment they landed in the center of the throne room, Twilight unfurled her wings while expanding a thick band of energy. The mare holding her released easily enough and landed softly on one of the long carpets covering the floor. Slowly she regained her composure, lifting a stray piece of hair from her eyes.

The unicorn mare was light-green with orange eyes. Her mane was yellow with hints of something brighter underneath. It only took a moment for Twilight to glimpse her over and even in the gloom of the unlit throne room did she come away with one sickening word: normal. The pony that had nearly killed her and her friends; the one that had tricked others into doing her dirty work; the one that was still planning on bringing destruction to everyone around her… looked as normal as could be. A tad thinner than her. Same height as her. The only noticeable difference was from her eyes—desperate and longing, sad and tired.

The unicorn tried for a meek smile before giving up. Almost like a smile one would give an old acquaintance in the market place.

You?” Twilight blurted, her voice ringing in the tall open space. “It’s been you this whole time?

The unicorn nodded. “Yes.”

Twilight took a step towards her. “You tried to murder me. You tried to murder my friends. And now you’ve unleashed Celestia-only-knows what on this place!”

“Yes. I have.” The unicorn spoke near monotone, her eyes hardly blinking from the alicorn.

“Why? What do you have against me? What could I have possibly done to you?”

The unicorn sat comfortably on the ground. “I did it to prove a point.”

Twilight shook her head, teeth gritted in anger. “No more drivel. No more notes hinting at things. You wanted me and here I am. Are you planning on killing me then or is your little spell-induced ‘army’ outside supposed to finish the job for you?”

The unicorn ignored her questions. “Do you believe your friends will last the night, Twilight? Under your protection? Thus far I’ve gotten to everyone close to you and only when I reveal myself, do you finally have your answer.” She said slowly, “You are failing, Princess. You’re not doing as well as you used to. Do you not recognize me?”

Twilight huffed out some air. “I don’t recognize you and I don’t care. I don’t want to talk to you. I want to help my friends and protect this castle. So you need to stop your spell on that crowd right now.”

“That’s it?” The unicorn almost looked confused. “You were going to defeat me in a battle of words? Do I need to remind you of what I planned on doing to your pegasus friend? What I am still doing to her upstairs? Do I need to tell you of what I’ve done to your little pink-and-yellow friend? Even she is not exempt from me. None of you—”

A thin ray of purple magic hit the unicorn in the chest, scraping her across the polished floor. With a thud she hit the adjacent wall. Twilight had to fight herself from striking her again.

6

Princess Celestia tried to tune out every hateful slur shouted her way. Closing her eyes, she focused her attention on the thin shield that guarded the castle along with her sister. A few beads of sweat dotted her brow and she glimpsed at Luna to check on her wellbeing. The blue alicorn, in an almost meditation-like pose, seemed to be fairing the magical strain better than her.

“Luna!” she called to her. “We can’t keep this up all night. Already they’re starting to hurt themselves trying to get in.”

She had seen with upmost horror as one of the larger stallions in the group broke their flimsy weapon against the barrier, only to come back to it with their hardened hooves—hooves that were already cracked and starting to bleed. Against an almost invisible wall, the floating streaks of blood became a gruesome sight indeed.

“What do you purpose?” her sister asked, heavily concentrated on the task.

“We need to move them somewhere safe,” she answered. “Some place where they won’t be able to free themselves. They’d still be under the spell but at least it would put them a distance from the castle. With them gone, it would allow us to help Twilight inside.”

“Where should we send them?” Luna sounded oddly strained.

Celestia motioned to a nearby quivering guard, awestruck by the group of hateful ponies only paces away. Nevertheless he came to her side.

“Princess?” he stammered out.

“I need you to gather as many pegasus guards that are on duty or in the castle and bring them here. Once we’re ready, we’ll open a small hole at the top of the shield to allow them through. After that, we’ll hold the barrier until we’re sure we’ve given them enough time.”

“Enough time for what?”

“I’ll tell that to them.”

7

Fluttershy could not believe the string of bad luck she was having. Dozens of times already she should have caught the small bunny. Since when had he gotten so fast?

Dashing around another corner, she hurriedly dived to the floor, sure that she would claim him. Nothing but air and dust. She turned to stare down the hall as the small white animal hopped through another open doorway and up a winding set of stairs.

“Angel Bunny, come back!” she called, although by that point she didn’t think he was listening.

With little thought given to just how her favorite pet managed to get all the way from her cottage to the castle and inside, Fluttershy hurried after him and up the stairs.

Up and up and up.

8

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

The unicorn sat up against the wall, a hint of red on her lips. She didn’t seem all that surprised by the sudden attack. She said somberly, “I don’t think that’s true, Twilight. I think you’d like to do a great many things to me. And that’s all right. That’s the reason I’m here, actually.”

Twilight approached her again. “Stop your spells. End them all, and then we’ll talk.”

The unicorn disagreed. “No. I think I’ll keep them in place. They will be necessary for what’s to come. But regardless, you and I still need to converse. So you can either fling me into another wall and we can have the same conversation over there… or we can end things right here.”

Twilight could hardly keep her nerves from shaking. “I can’t promise where you’ll end up… depending on the conversation.”

The mare tried for a smile again, the hint of blood on her lips creating something close to ghoulish. “That’s okay. It’s to be expected.” She placed both hooves atop the other. “Do you remember the day you passed your entrance exam? When you hatched that little friend of yours, Spike, and became Celestia’s personal protégé?”

None of Twilight’s anger lifted from her. Instead, she only felt a new layer of unease.

The unicorn continued: “Eighty percent of applicants that want to attend Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns are accepted after their test. Not a bad number. And not only had you been accepted given your outstanding magical abilities, but then the largest ruler in the land decided you were far more talented than the rest. All from one… little… test.”

Twilight found she couldn’t let this go on much longer. She said thickly, “I studied for that test. And while I may have had trouble completing it, I deserved getting accepted. What happened with my encounter with Celestia was by chance and don’t you dare think I’m not thankful for it every single day I’m with her. It’ll always be a moment I’ll treasure forever.”

The unicorn nodded. “I’m sure you will. But there’s one glaring, multi-colored fact that you’re forgetting.”

“Rainbow Dash’s Sonic Rainboom,” Twilight answered evenly. “I haven’t forgotten about it.”

“Do you think you would have passed your test without it?”

“I don’t know. I’d like to think so, but it’s something I’m not completely sure of. It’s just another thing that I’m thankful for. Without it I might not have passed or gotten my cutie-mark that day at all… along with the friends that Celestia introduced me to years later.”

The unicorn nodded slowly, seeming to listen. “I’m not surprised you don’t recognize me. It was on that day we met—briefly, I’ll grant you. But it’s a moment I’ve come to ponder about more than I’d like to. I would also call it a moment that shaped the outcome of my life… a moment’s that’s led up to the events of tonight. I’m sure you’d consider that day close to the same, only in a far warmer light.” She paused, sighing. “I was next to you in line. Behind you, in fact. You were as nervous as me and together we tried to chat away our apprehension, as little good it would do. When we moved up in line, you peered through the glass to the examination room and couldn’t believe your parents hadn’t arrived yet. You panicked. I tried to tell you it would all be okay, but you were not listening. You said you needed time. You said you needed them to be there for you.”

The unease in Twilight’s chest blossomed out as she slowly put the blurry pieces in place. They came sluggishly and with minor detail and yet each scene slowly found its way to her. She had remembered her test well enough—had told it to so many she had completely lost count. The party her parents had thrown that night was another memory she could never forget. But the nerve-wracked few minutes before the test she blotted out from her mind. Not due to embarrassment or any such thing. Only due to lack of interest.

Twilight shook her head. “No. No, please tell me there’s more to this than that.”

The unicorn appeared to enjoy the lackluster reveal. “You asked me to go in front of you—give your parents time to arrive. I did, and I failed my test. Nerves got the better of me and my mind went blank. I’ve come to realize I work better with patience and strategy. How do you think I felt, Twilight? In tears and in one horrible state, watching through the glass as you entered the room and struggled just as I had, only to be saved by some fluke outside the window. That could have been me and since that day that’s all I’ve thought about. I could have been the savior of Equestria—an alicorn with loving friends with the sun beating down on my special tiny head every day.”

Twilight said slowly, “I couldn’t have known what was to happen. That was fate and you need to deal with it… not try and blame it on others. There’s no way you would have known if you would have passed at all, Sonic Rainboom or not. You and I are not the same and just because you were denied that chance on that day does not mean you would have lived the same life as mine. I have my friends and my family by my side because they want to be there. They choose to. Do you honestly think you would have been able to keep those friends if they were introduced to you?” She paused. “I know you need help. I know you need a very large amount of it. But spending your entire life believing in a dream that might not have happened at all due to simple chance has rotted you to the core. And now you only want to punish me for something I had no idea I did—for something I don’t deserve in the slightest.”

She tried to meet the unicorn’s eyes, only to find them focused on the floor. “You could have been great, regardless of what school you went to. The magic you’ve performed—as horrible as it is—still takes more talent than most. All that hate. All that anger. All that time spent miserable and blaming others for the way your life has gone… what has it gotten you? In your mind, how does tonight end? With my death? Along with the death of every one of my friends?”

The unicorn finally appeared interested. “After tonight, I will find myself in the thoughts and minds of every pony in Equestria. After tonight, when they think of you they will then think of me—forever and always. I will become known as the first one to push you over that edge. I will make you do something you never thought you’d need to. And you will have no choice in the matter.”

9

After desperately charging into a dozen and more empty rooms and nearly colliding with an equal number of guards, Rarity and Applejack took a breath to witness the growing commotion outside. Celestia and Luna continued to hold back the small army of townsfolk, desperately trying to carve their way through the magical shield. Although Rarity never thought they could possibly breach a barrier created by the most powerful alicorns in existence, the harm they were causing themselves and the others around them trying to get in was enough to cause worry. Cuts and bruises and bloodied muzzles appeared in fine display through the mass. Bloodied and cracked hooves stamped uselessly against the invisible wall.

As appalling as the sight outside was, the fact that neither mare had come across—

Fluttershy!” Applejack yelled too close to her ears, making her jump.

Rarity glared in the same direction and was tempted to scream in turn. Craning her neck to get a clear view, the unicorn could only gape as she watched her timid yellow-and-pink friend precariously balance near the edges of the castle roof. Already a single hoof was tempting to dip over the side.

“What’s she doing?” Applejack asked.

“It looks like she’s…” Rarity strained to watch more. Leaning out the open window, it almost seemed as though Fluttershy were chasing after some hidden object on the roof, every few trots sending her closer to the brink.

Rarity said, heated, “It doesn’t matter. We need to get to her now!”

10

Twilight could hardly believe what she was hearing. Her mind was already reeling from lack of sleep and constant worry, and now it had all amplified in the last couple minutes… all with a few tense words.

“Kill me, Twilight,” the unicorn repeated, slowly rising to her hooves. She pointed to her chest. “Hit me with everything you got and end this nightmare, once and for all. It’s so simple. It’s so effortless. All the pain I’ve caused you comes to an abrupt end. All the sorrow. All you need to do is end my life tonight.”

“I don’t kill,” Twilight said bluntly. “I never have and I never plan on doing so.”

“Don’t you understand how few options you have, Princess? Think of it like this: If I continue to breathe of my own volition tonight, your comatose pegasus friend remains under my spell; same with every scraping civilian outside. Sooner or later they’ll get in and tear every guard and pony inside apart. You can stop them if you’d like, but you’d more than likely have to kill them in turn for your troubles. And aren’t you forgetting about sweet and innocent Fluttershy? It hasn’t been long since I’ve spoken with her. She even read from one of my personal books—the same type that you read from.”

A harsh glow erupted around Twilight’s horn as the unicorn was slowly shoved against the wall; the raw power from the alicorn causing her cheek to squish against her barred teeth.

Twilight shouted, “What did you do to her?

“I merely sent her on an errand.” Her mashed lips caused her words to slur. “At the moment she’s chasing rabbits that don’t exist. On the roof. And worst of all, that poor pegasus forgot how to fly. Even though she won’t understand she’s falling at all.”

Twilight screamed in rage and fury, lifting the unicorn’s head from the hard wall to crack back down against. Creating a spider-web of crevices and blood on the wall, she levitated her to the middle of the throne room, careening her to the floor with a sickening thud. It was disparaging to note how badly Twilight wanted to continue the onslaught.

“Stop the spells!” she yelled. “Every one of them!”

The unicorn held up a leg, gasping for air. “I won’t. And you won’t beat me into submission. The only way to save your friends is by ending my life… and I’m sure by now the thought’s become more than tantalizing. So do it. Do it now and let’s carve our names together in stone forever.”

Twilight’s horn shinned again, dragging the unicorn to her hooves. “And what do you get out of it? Death? There are thousands of ways you could have achieved that before tonight! You didn’t need to attack me to claim your reward.”

The unicorn spat at her through bloodstained teeth. “The moment you kill me is the moment I stop being your enemy and become your greatest rival. Your foes in the past have either been defeated by love or by friendship or from rainbows in the sky. I will not be slain like that tonight and I will not yield.” She held a hoof to her chest again. “Right here. One shot and make it count. You took my best chance of becoming a hero in this world. I only wanted to be something bigger and better than normal. I only wanted to be remembered for all time. If I can be the one that pushes the great Twilight Sparkle over the edge—causes her to take a life for the very first time—it would all have been worth it.”

Tears were nearly brimming in Twilight’s eyes. “You’ve lost your mind long ago.”

The unicorn smiled heinously. “I’m sure they’ll come to say that. And once they find my well-placed journal, I’m sure they’ll go on to say a lot more. Many will think like you; that the gears in my head had fallen from their axis. But I’m sure some will think that I might have still been worth saving; that I led a troubled life and deserved redemption. I won’t be alive to hear of such things. But you will. And you will live forever as something new. A murderer. Same as me.”

11

Combined with her sister’s magical strength, Celestia could have left the barrier covering the castle up and secure for hours more. But that was not what was making her uneasy. It was instead the mass of clamoring and barbaric ponies only steps away from her.

Let me in there! Let me in there, you damn monsters!

Most of them were yelling at the top of their lungs, shoving the individual in front of them to get closer to the castle. The ponies in front smashed at what they could and came away bloodied and broken. Even in more pain than Celestia could imagine, they continued to hammer on, small bones in their muzzles snapping while clipped teeth fell to the grass.

She thought she had waited long enough.

“Luna,” she called to her sister. “When I give the command, we need to concentrate our magic and teleport every pony away from here. All to the same location.”

Luna regarded her wearily. “Won’t they only come back? And attack whoever gets in their way?”

Celestia only hoped that what she was about to say next held true. “Earlier, I sent every pegasus in the castle to the stadium in Ponyville. If we’re lucky, we’ve given them enough time to set up a tarp above the building as well as seal shut each door. After we have teleported them there, we will open a lone gate to allow a single few out at a time. Together with the guards, we should be able to hold them long enough to bound them or put them to sleep.”

She could tell her sister was uneasy about the idea.

Celestia added, “At least then they would be trying to get out, instead of in. And with a bottleneck in place, we could control their movements. It will be slow, Luna, but I believe it to be the safest means possible.”

Although Luna barely moved her chin, Celestia knew she had her agreement. Steeling herself, Celestia shouted, “On the count of three! One… two—”

12

The cool night wind nipped at her stylized mane. Her teeth chattered together noisily, not completely from the cold. The snug rope around her waist helped stave off a bit of her nervousness, but not nearly enough to feel calm walking around the top of the Canterlot roof.

“Fluttershy, dear!” Rarity called calmly, eyeing each slow step with a lot more care than the pegasus. “Come over to me, please. Then we’ll go back inside where it’s warmer… and lower.”

Fluttershy seemed to not hear a word as she continued to chase the rabbit that only she could see. It must have been running in steady circles, looping closer and closer to the edge of the covering. Even though she had almost slipped a number of times already, the pegasus’ wings were still held tight against her body. Instantly, Rarity knew her friend’s encounter with their stalker had done more than scare the poor creature, and here was the proof.

Rarity turned to the open window where Applejack held tight to her lasso, a large grit of determination causing her to grimace. Rarity whispered over the wind, “I’m going to grab her. Be ready. I don’t know if it’s possible to spook her or not in whatever state she’s in, but I don’t want to take that chance. I’ll try and take it nice and slow.”

Applejack’s eyes bulged while she took in a breath. “I don’t recon you’re going to have that chance. Get her, Rarity! Now!”

Rarity spun on the uneven roof to glimpse at what she was hollering about. Fluttershy had stopped her lazy circles well away from the roof’s edge, now facing the drop with avid interest.

She heard her friend say, “There you are, Angel bunny! Now don’t you move again!”

As Fluttershy galloped forwards with her head down, Rarity did the same, hooves scraping awkwardly against helter-skelter shingles. She leapt for her floating tail and missed it by a few inches. Fluttershy kept going until her first hoof trotted into nothingness. With one last jump, Rarity lunged ahead with legs outstretched, uncaring that she had overshot the lip of the roof and was now staring at the ground, dozens of meters below.

Gripping hard enough to make her legs shake, Rarity gripped the still trotting Fluttershy’s tail and yelled for Applejack to hoist them back up. When her legs felt on the verge of giving out, Rarity angrily shoved a batch of pink tail into her mouth to lighten the load.

Inch by heavy inch they were slowly heaved back onto the roof, where once there she and Applejack tied their running friend into a neat bow before carrying her back inside.

Feeling some blood rush back into her body from her flushed face, Rarity kissed the first marble floor she found.

13

“You won’t get the end you’re looking for from me,” Twilight said, regarding the unicorn for the first time not with loathing but with something else. Sadness? It was likely. As much as she knew she was a far different pony than the one bleeding in front of her, there were still parts of her that sounded oddly at home. She was a gifted unicorn to be sure, same as her. The major difference was that she had clung to a single disparaging moment in her life in an attempt to cloud out everything else. Twilight, as fortunate as she was, could not remember a time when she had been beaten to such lowly a place. Sure, her and her friends fought trouble countless times a year, both large and small, but those had always resolved themselves in a matter of days at most.

How would Twilight have acted if she had failed to save someone entirely? It had never happened, but it always could have. She could have failed at the Canterlot wedding with her brother; the same could have happened at the Crystal Empire or even during her first encounter with Nightmare Moon. Every time she had triumphed above them all, yet how would she have acted if she lost just a single time? Would she continue past it and move on? Or would it fill her thoughts like some darkened gas, toxic and deadly?

All this unicorn wanted was someone to blame for the way things had worked out for her. She had chosen a moment in time that she thought would have been her life’s turning point but hadn’t been. More than anything, she wanted to prove herself better than her—possibly better than everyone. Even if that meant a field of death and destruction left in her wake.

Without a doubt, this was clearly the oddest pony Twilight had ever met in her life.

“What more must I do to you?” the unicorn pleaded. “If you do not end this tonight then I will only come back until you finish this. I will not go out with a whimper! I will be inked in history books until the end of time!”

“I think you’ll find yourself somewhere in the middle of those two places.”

The unicorn barred her teeth. “You can’t save everyone, Princess! Someone will be hurt tonight! Someone will die because of what I’ve started!”

From the bare window on the other side of the room, Twilight watched as the steady glow of the bright shield outside faded from existence. When she did not hear the sudden sounds of anarchy and anguish, she found she could breathe normally again.

Twilight shook her head. “But there’s something you’re forgetting I have… something that you do not. I have friends. And I have family. Ponies that care about me and my wellbeing and my feelings and everything that comes along with me. Right now, I’m sure they’re doing what they can to stop your spells and I’m going to trust in their judgment. They may not have believed in your depravity before, but I’m sure they do now.”

The unicorn moaned aloud as specks of tears dotted the corners of her eyes. “I’ve worked too hard for this… I don’t want to exist in this world as some normal pony.”

Twilight almost wanted to laugh. “I don’t think anyone will ever consider you normal. And there’s one more thing you’re forgetting.” She trotted closer to her, placing a hoof on her shoulder. “You’re not the only one that can teleport.”

A burst of energy enveloped them both as they disappeared from the room.

14

The fresh air from outside felt like a gift to her lungs. Twilight surveyed the castle lawn and found only a sprinkling of guards standing idle. She turned to the other side and glimpsed each one of her friends save for Rainbow Dash, huddled together. Fluttershy, obviously bound by Applejack’s rope, was lying on her back as she attempted to trot in the air.

Twilight quivered out a breath.

Get up! Get up now!

It didn’t take long for the guards to notice the one mare that didn’t belong. Six of them had their swords and spears near her head, as she silently climbed to her hooves. Staring at the ground, her tears dried on her cheeks.

Heavy chains were called for and a few guards scurried after them. Twilight didn’t know if they’d be necessary or not.

Twilight’s original idea had been to transfer as much magic from the unicorn as she could—hold onto it before she could try something reckless. Yet after viewing the visibly broken mare—and knowing most of her advantage came from planning and not full on battle spells—she abruptly changed her mind.

Applejack watched as they carried the chained unicorn away. “That was her? Little ol’ her did all of this?” Twilight wasn’t sure if she sounded pissed or impressed. “I see the angry mob’s taken care of, Twilight, but what about the spell on Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash?”

“When the Princesses come back, I’ll have Luna place her in the deepest sleep possible. If we put her down far enough we should be able to lose that connection, and it should unhook them both. And if it doesn’t, we’ll find another way to get her to stop.”

Applejack removed her sweat soaked hat. “Why did she do it, Twilight? What did she want?”

The alicorn thought for a moment. “She wanted to die tonight by my hooves. To prove she could be someone to be remembered. She thought I had slighted her in the past for something miniscule, and then formed an identity around it. She wanted to be the opposite of me. She thought I was the ‘savior’ of Equestria and in-turn wanted to be the villain of the piece; someone that couldn’t be left alive in the slightest.”

Applejack had fewer words for the mare. “She sounds like a nut-bar to me.”

Twilight sighed. “In a way, Applejack, you’re right. But imagine if someone cut in front of you while entering a building, locking the door behind them. Imagine they hadn’t even known they had done it. Now you live outside in the cold, while a window allows you a glimpse of the pony that had stepped ahead of you, toasty and warm, happy and content. Some would shrug it off and move to the next open door. Others… like her… would revolve their lives around it.”

Applejack fidgeted with her hat again. “So… nut-bar, then?”

Not feeling the need to discuss the topic further, Twilight turned and gathered with the rest of her friends. Soon the night would end and the morning sun would glimpse over the horizon. Honestly, she couldn’t think of a better sight to behold. Or a nicer feeling than warmth.

THE END

Author's Note:

So that was sure a thing.

I'm not sure what to say of this story. To me it's a mixed bag, but I really hate leaving stories unfinished. It started as a one-shot that would have ended with Pinkie Pie (possibly) sensing the invisible Twilight in her castle. When I started writing and got to all the mean messages in the book, I thought I could have fun with a new and very demented enemy. And I did.

I'll more than likely get some well-deserved flak for the overall reveal, but I think that's why I like it so much. Villains in the MLP universe "look" like villains. I wanted someone who looks as normal as could be and blend into a crowd. The villains in the show also have deep reasons for doing what they're doing. I wanted a simple slight to be enough, and I almost think that's scariest of all. Also, from another perspective, imagine if someone at a supermarket asked to cut in line because they had less items. Imagine if they suddenly became customer one-million and won money for it. Some would let it slide and move on and some would ruminate on it forever.

I also like the theme of jealousy and having a lasting legacy. Even a bad one unto death. That a villain can twist themselves towards nastiness if they create their own reasons for it. But then again, this fic is far from perfect.

I think I made everything too one sided--as if Twilight and friends couldn't stop a single ploy if they wanted to. Originally, I had envisioned a more cat and mouse-like story. Twilight learning facts about the villain while doing research and yadda, yadda, but that was quickly dropped as I thought it would become uninteresting.

Anyway, it's done. Now to move onto something less bleak.

Comments ( 50 )

5402429 A weird little story that may have gone off the rails at some point during construction. :applejackconfused: Sorry about that.

Well, this was sure a neat read!:pinkiehappy: I like the way you took the villain, and also, what's her name?

5910187 Thank you for saying so! In the end I left the villain unnamed for a couple reasons. First: I hate coming up with pony names. :unsuresweetie: Second: I think it fits the theme I was going for--that a rival doesn't need to be huge and monstrous or even have a valid reason for hating someone. If they want to, they'll find a reason. So I left her anonymous and as basic in appearance as they come.

Thank you for reading and for commenting!

5914246 Ah. Nice! I wonder if I should do that in my story...:duck:

This fic was amazing. The characterization was damn near perfect, the villain was incredibly well written and thought out, the writing was very good, the pacing was good for the most part (it felt a tiny bit rushed in the last two chapters), and the fic was incredibly immersive. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

~Crystalline Electrostatic~

The bad guy should have won.

Still earned my like, though.

For most of the story I was half wondering if the villain was an author self-insert, but i eventually decided that even you weren't that evil.

Then I got to this chapter and i'm back to wondering if you are that evil. Either way, an excellent Fic.

6615625 I don't think I'm that evil. In real life, I'm actually very nice. Maybe that's why I don't tell anyone about these stories.

A self-insert you say? That's an interesting question. This story started off when I asked myself what the most ironic death of Twilight Sparkle could be--reading a book to death. Then I wondered who sent the book and that's how this story became an original villain study basically. How a villain of my own creation would fare against the Elements doing things they're not used to: keeping a distance, not having an ancient history with Celestia or Equestria, having an unknown motivation, using others to do their bidding, ect.

But now that you mention it, my biggest sin of all is envy. I get very, very jealous of others sometimes, so maybe this is a type of self-insert. The villain was jealous of Twilight for very little reasoning, but used that reasoning to drive her regardless. So... maybe I am evil. :twilightoops: Thanks a lot, doc!

Amazing. :raritystarry:

I know you didn't intend it, but after the initial book scare, this story adopted some similar vibes to Trigun, one of the greatest anime ever made. In that show, the main character, Vash, refuses to take lives due to his convictions. However, a certain individual, through the use of their hypnotic powers, forces him into a series of conflicts with many lives at stake. With his skills as a gunslinger, Vash manages to stop the violence without breaking his own taboo. At the climax, when he has the villain backed into a corner, he must either end this person's life or let his friends die. He is forced by the villain's powers to do the former, and wallows in misery for a long while afterwards.

I'm going to call this mare Bluesummers. I can't help but wish she lived up to that name. Though, the way you chose to end things worked equally well.

6617952 Sorry. Never been a big anime fan. The strongest parallels I was feeling (especially in the last chapter) was with this villain and The Joker, both of who were willing to be hurt and die in order to prove a point. Or in this case, die and be remembered alongside those they hate forever, staining their name from here on out.

I think my original ending was close to what you mentioned. It was a long time ago, but I think I might've chicken out at the last minute because this story was being pretty negatively received at first and I didn't want anymore backlash by having a darker ending. Think the movie Seven, if you will.

Still, it seems to have found a tiny cult following since then, which I am quite happy about. :twilightsmile:

6618048

Well, more like I'm just going through the story backlogs of all the people I'm following. It was a very good idea on my part.

PT

Holy shit...Holy shit, holy shit

I went into this not knowing what I would be reading, but as I went through the beginning of the first chapter, I found myself riveted. It was terrifying, it was horrendous, but I couldn't turn away.

Now I've read a handful of scary stories on the site before, and I always found myself indulging on the morbid curiosity that is the fate that would befall the characters in a story, and I was expecting a satisfying fulfillment of that as I went on. However, as I neared the end, expecting Twilight to perish in a macabre manner that seemed befitting of her, you did something unexpected--something that made my fingers quake, made my breath grow short, and made shivers run down my spine.

You gave her hope.

No more was this simply a horror story where a grizzly end awaited the main character; it became a thriller--a race against time as all the others fought the mechanisms and machinations of the one that gave Twilight that book.

Stephen King once wrote that nightmares exist outside of logic and there's little fun to be had in explanations. They're antithetical to the poetry of fear. In a horror story the victim keeps asking why, but there can be no explanation and there shouldn't be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest and is what we'll remember in the end. And another quote from the game where I got that quote from also states that in a horror story, "you never know if the character is going to live or die" and this is played in good measure throughout the story.

And even as you gave perspective to the elusive and mysterious watcher on the hill, it really gave an effect that amplified the mystery and panic. Getting into the mind of this cold calculating psychopath and seeing their plans and motives unfurling, put me well on the edge, with the pacing of unnerving action, and disturbing interludes really digging into your chest.

Coming back now to the description and the comments section, you highlight that this was supposed to be a one shot that spiraled out of control. I agree that I see the foundations of it in the first chapter, but it all pans out rather well into an end that is both lacking and satisfying. Even as other clamor against the conclusion of the story that you have written, I don't think that this horror story or its readers (including me) deserve any closure to the horrendous events that lead them to the end and the beginning. After all, sometimes the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all...

There's a lot more I want to say about this story, -but I think I've gone on long enough and I'll save those words for another time. Good job, author. You've kept me awake into the wee hours of the night once more.

===========
EDIT1:

I think I need to say a few more things that I've been itching to put into words rather than blabber to myself in my room as I shakingly clutch my glasses.

Now, I won't be delving into much (or at all, really) about the flaws in this story. Everyone else who commented or even the author himself has highlighted the weak points contained in these sets of words, and I don't think I'd be contributing anything that haven't been said before. However, I'd like to highlight some good things that have left a visible crimson imprint in my mind which have wormed their way into the section of my brain that controls muscle movement, forcing me to write this additional comment.

Firstly, the fear of the unknown is ever present, growing, and oppressive. A good chunk of the first chapter, we never truly know much about who sent the book, and how it did that to Twilight. All we know is it is some very powerful magic that has bound the alicorn princess in a grip that she cannot get out of.

This coincides well into the fear of ambiguity as we slowly get to know more about this stranger through the following chapters. We find ourselves clawing in our minds, in our bellies, trying to collaborate clues and understand who this stranger could be. This lingers on and on and on, simmering as the story reaches it's final chapter. Yet, even with the details provided, with the backstory unearthed, and the appearance revealed, we still do not know who this monster is. As to Twilight and as to us, they are still exactly that--a stranger.

Finally, even with the mastermind of malice revealed under the spotlight, we also sense the gnawing feeling crawling it's way from the back of our necks into the open--the fear of realism. This figure, this character, albeit a colorful pony in a fictional story also holds weight in our own universe. This realism that anchors them to the chilling plane of plausibility is the reminder that there is more of them out there. Figures unknown, unseen, blending into the crowd of people we bump into every day, seemingly normal. Yet within themselves, they hold something sinister--something incomprehensible that makes them do terrifying things that is not in the parameters of sanity or reason. No remorse, no guilt, no sympathy or compassion, only cold machinations of unspeakable acts lingering within. They exist and they are among us. And to see these figures embodied in a universe of cute magical ponies...well, the jarring contrast is enough its own kind of fear.

I like to think these words have already been said by someone in the comments, but I needed to put them to light again. I liked the story a lot, and I wish you the best of luck in your future writing endeavors. Stay sleepless.

6648888 Damn. Another review-sized comment. Thanks once again!

Hmm. It's hard to say a lot about this story as it's been over a year since I wrote it and I think my head space has changed a lot since then. As I said in an earlier comment, this story was at one point my most hated, and I finished the last three or so parts as quick as I could just to complete the story for those very few still interested. It's too bad people are coming to enjoy it only recently, because I really don't have a lot to add to their comments.

I wish people's opinions on my stories didn't matter so much to me, truthfully. People tell me they don't like the story, I tend to agree with them even if I might like the story quite a bit. Same with people that liked a story of mine that I thought was mediocre. The last three comments on this definitely make me want to re-read this story, just to see what kind of a storyteller I was a year ago and how I've changed. Could be interesting. :rainbowderp:

As I said in other comments, the heart of the story was the villain. Everything sort of revolved around her and I tried to keep characters (somewhat) in character, even if I've never been very good at that. I liked your thoughts on keeping the villain as "The Stranger", or I guess "The Watcher", as I called them in the story. They could have led a life of their own, but decided Twilight's life was the real life stolen from them. Even if they were obviously gifted in magic (doing all the things she does), she decides to ruminate on what makes them hurt rather than move on. Jealously. Envy. Wanting what others have so bad it hurts and all you want to do in return is make them hurt as well, even if it's the last thing you might do.

I would still consider this the darkest story I've ever written and I'm glad you liked it, regardless. This and "Open Door" are as dark as they get from me, so sadly, you can't go downward anymore. Not unless I cough up something new... but it seems I've changed my tune as of late. You never know, though. I might just say fuck it one day and let out a little wrath again. :pinkiecrazy: Hard to say.

PT

6649213 I get carried away sometimes. I read 2/3 of the piece in one sitting as I was waiting for some hotdogs to cook, and I was on edge the entire time. Hence, I needed an outlet afterwards, thus this lengthy thing-y came out.

I apologize if I suddenly brought this thing back from its deep slumber; I had been on a dark-horror-thriller trip the past few days and had been downloading ePUB fics to my phone for easy access, and the latest in my list was this. I only realize now that it was written in 2014, and while I understand (and recognize) that you churned this out in a rush for those still following it, I must still say that it was a lovely piece of work, and that my praise still stands.

Your characterization of the watcher still impresses me in the way (intentional or not) that it strikes the fine balance between revealing too little and revealing too much. As with my points with fear and ambiguity in my original comment, your dance around the stranger grips you around the neck and drags you to the past and the present, into the mind and mischief of this troubled soul. Really, it left me thirsting for more about this figure's vendetta, but like I said, you've given away just enough.

I am glad to know that people are picking up on your tales, and with my previous encounters in your other stories is any consideration, I rather like your grimdark style. Now before I go, I'd like to ask a few questions:

1. If you were given the chance to change things, edit the story, re-write from scratch, what would you change?

2. What are your thoughts on the ending? If you could change it (or give alternate endings) how would they play out? (I'm thinking Stephen King's 'The Mist' when I got to the ending, and the differing natures of the novel and the film. Though personally, I had a thirst for the stranger to be punished by being forgotten--by being a normal pony--and all their efforts never being remembered. Yum.)

3. Do you have specific inspirations in the way you write these dark tales? Or the way you write in general?

4. Are there any Dark/Horror/Thriller/Gore/Mystery stories on FiMFiction you'd recommend? I'm still on a hunger for these tales. Maybe even some general recommendations of good solid writing from other authors?

Best of luck over there, and stay sleepless.

6649351 1. Probably some simple edits, for sure. Re-read the bastard and fix any little thing. Now that I start to remember this story a bit, I recall I thought of the first chapter and liked it so much, I wrote it and released it without thinking how the rest would play out. Obviously, in a rewrite, I'd infuse more of the overall tone and theme into the first part: villain motivations and personality.

I'd also change the dynamic between Twilight and the villain. As it is, the villain screws around with Twilight and she takes it and tries to fix things from there. There's no back and forth here. Perhaps I was trying too hard to present a villain that was "better" than the mane six. If I could, I'd add a new plot of the villain's that actually doesn't work and she's almost caught. Twilight pieces a few bits of information together or something like that.

Writing wise, I wouldn't change much. This was back before I understood this site all that much and wrote as longwinded as I felt like. 4k chapters to 7k chapters, it didn't matter. Just as long as it contained what it needed to. Now I've learned most readers really won't jump into a story with a first chapter longer than 3k, unless they're a well-known author. Most of my stories nowadays start on a 2k chapter to hook people in easier.

2. Endings? Hmm. Endings are tricky. My first ending (as I think I mentioned somewhere) involved Twilight killing the villain and getting their way. Maybe Twilight has a monologue or something to wrap it all up, but otherwise doesn't go crazy because of it. Maybe just saddened by it all.

Perhaps I went with the "happier" ending because I was on a string of negative endings, where no one wins and even the reader suffers. Still, it's not a cheerful ending in any regard.

3. A few people have asked me for writing advice and I tell them that's the worst thing they can do. I've never taken a creative writing course or became interested in writing until a few years ago, and have only been showing them to others for the last year and a bit.

I really don't know what I'm doing. I wrote screenplays and made films in high school and university, so I've always had an interest in storytelling. I only decided way too late to try and tell stories via writing, as that's the most expressive way to go about it. Writing for me is very trial and error. I've deleted a third of my stories on this site because they didn't work, and I'm sure I'll delete more in the future.

My favorite author is Steve King, so I guess that's where some of the horror elements come from. Also, just from being human and if something scares me, it might scare others, same with interest in a story idea. If an idea pulls me away from a book I'm reading and demands that I stop everything and start thinking about it, then it just might do the same for someone else.

I sadly don't know how best to write horror/thriller type stories. I've always just had an interest in them. Nothing too crazy like portals into other dimension or rocket ships, but what I've always called "real life with a twist", which is what I think Steve King does best. You mentioned parts of this story had a "real" feel to them and I guess that's my favorite type of horror story. You can almost see it happening to you. You go to the grocery store, right? Say a thick fog rolls in and there are monsters lurking within?

4. Before I wrote mlp fiction, I read a lot of mlp fiction. Now that I write a lot of mlp fiction, I don't read very much mlp fiction... or catch up with new episodes, either. :twilightoops: I think a reason for this is because I don't want to be too influenced by what others are doing. Maybe I also don't want to see how much better people's stories are then mine. :unsuresweetie: Anyway, the only "dark" stories I read on here and probably ones you already read, as they're the biggest of the big: "Hard Reset" and "Fallout: Equestria". Other than those, I've mainly stuck to short comedies that don't require much thought. Maybe that has something to do with writing dark and not feeling like reading dark as well.

My editor recommended me an online serial called "Worm" that's been finished for a few years. It's an original story and around 1.7 million words. (Yes. Very fucking long.) But I must be at the midway point by now and I'd easily call it one of the best stories I've ever read. And dark and dangerously gross. As in I worry about the author's mental state. So if you think I write dark...

Anywho, there's some longwinded answers for you... sort of.

6653874
But who was it?! I thought that it was Trixie, but she would never have a death wish, not even an alternate universe version of her...so who was it?!

6657446 It was a complete stranger with no name. One that decided to hate Twilight due to a single grievance and let it control their life. It wasn't anyone important to Twilight or even worth remembering, which perhaps makes it even worse. Just a pony that decides to hurt someone else. Or something like that. Some of the other comments make more sense on the subject.

I understand your misgivings in the closing comments, but I still believe this was a wonderfully executed story. The problem I often have with MLP-based horror is either shock and gore simply for their own sake or characters acting completely OOC. You avoided both.

You also managed a clever ending with Twilight not compromising her principles, though she came damn close. Her violence towards the stalker was, I felt, still in character. Seriously, one only needs to look back to her titantic battle with Tirek to see that she does have a berserk button that can be pushed, and she can be fucking DANGEROUS when it is.

If I had been in her position, I'm not sure I would have restrained myself, to be perfectly honest.

6708562 Thank you for saying so! :twilightsmile: I dunno... at the time when I finished the story, it was receiving a lot of hate, so that might have clouded the story for me. It's still not perfect though, but I've come to enjoy it more since then. Thanks for the comment and for reading along! :pinkiehappy:

A well done and interesting dark story. I like how you managed the villain, the fact she was just a normal pony as far as anyone cared. Very much a sociopath with a desperate need to prove herself against an unknowing foe. I also approve of her never getting a name, I find that to be a nice touch.

I'm still interested in why she killed Mr. Leaf. She didn't need to get him out of the way, and the book was clearly made to hit a specific button as an ironic echo. Oddly it feels like there is a far more personal beef there then the one with Twilight. I suspect it's probably the remains of your original cat and mouse idea, still it's to bad it wasn't followed up upon.

6735832 Glad you enjoyed the story, and I think the death of Mr. Leaf might've been an accident due to poor planning. I think I rushed out the second chapter because there was mild interest in the first without thinking how everything would connect in the end. It's the worst way to write and yet I've done it time and time again. :pinkiesick: I wish I had more patience.

6738285 I know how that goes, and sometimes that happens. You never know, maybe that could be the root for a squeal story... Dangling plot threads are good for that.

Then again, I'm also a mystery buff, and the odd man out on the serial killers hit list is usual the important clue (doubly so if it's also there first kill).

While I wasn't particularly impressed by the ending (I would have preferred a more melancholy feel to go with the rest of the story), this was definitely an excellent fic. One that I -ahem- could not put down (definitely intended). Congrats on writing one of the single most chilling pieces I have found on here.

6759403 Thank you! :pinkiehappy: Glad it was scary enough. Yeah, I think if I was to re-write the thing, the ending would get a do-over. Still don't hate it, though... :moustache:

Damnit I thought it was Moondancer :fluttercry:

6773756 This was written quite a while before Moon Dancer's episode. So... no Moon Dancer. :unsuresweetie:

An interesting read. Could use a little checking - there are a lot of incorrect word substitutions. The sense of tension and terror when the antagonist was completely unknown, and Twilight was reacting by locking everything down, was well done. The climactic confrontation could perhaps have been ramped up a little - only Fluttershy was in immediate danger, and Twilight wasn't needed to save her. Twilight's own confidence in her friends meant she didn't even feel pressed for time; there was no real sense of narrative urgency.

The band constricting Rainbow, too, seemed to have gone into slow-mo; it went from loose to bone-breaking in minutes, but had only gotten to "needs help breathing" by the climax, and no-one seems terribly worried about leaving it on for an unknown amount of time until Luna does her thing? Might have helped to have Twilight urgently ask Luna to instantly drop Miss Light Green into a near-coma, in order to free Dash and Fluttershy ASAP. Twilight's ability to drain most of her magic comes out of nowhere, too. And then she doesn't use it. On an unpredictable villain who can teleport.

I did like Dash's band as a good character-based horror, though. Twilight and books, Dash being constrained, Fluttershy's concern for animals... even Spike being used to betray Twilight's privacy. The villain has a sense of style. Would she have made Pinkie unable to see the good in anything, or Rarity violently repulsed by artifice and driven into the Everfree, or Applejack think she was being attacked by her family?

The concepts behind Miss Failed The Exam are definitely interesting. As pointed out in the text, she's a new kind of opponent altogether - a completely normal (if fairly powerful) unicorn who has picked Twilight and friends as personal assassination targets. Even Starlight Glimmer and Trixie didn't do that after being thwarted by Twilight and friends, Sunset Shimmer had her own goals, and none of them acted based on something Twilight did unknowingly as a child. This is new.

6782287 Yeah, this was when I didn't use an editor/ didn't edit as well as I should. And yes, there's a lot of things that don't quite work in the story. It's still a mixed one for me.

Thanks for reading through it all, regardless! :twilightsmile:

6885713 Technically, when I got to this point the like/dislike ratio was at around five likes to four dislikes. That was a long time ago, obviously. I'm still not a hundred percent sure why dislikes disappear sometimes (I've seen it happen in a lot of my stories), but clearly the story balanced out over time.

And, yes, I'm hard on myself no matter what... :unsuresweetie:

I couldn’t have known what was to happen. That was fate and you need to deal with it… not try and blame it on others.

This is kind of ironic, in a way. What is fate, if not blaming things on outside forces? "Destiny decreed that I was always supposed to be more special and deserving than you! Shut the fuck up already and cope, you inferior creature." I can't entirely blame her for being pissed about this. It's one of the reasons I hate even the concept of fate: because it means that some people are scheduled, right from the beginning, to always get fucked over in every possible way for no adequate reason, just because they exist. Fate is the ultimate injustice.

6885729
People are weird like that sometimes. There's certainly nothing qualitatively wrong with it and I would have liked for it to be longer. Still, doesn't keep me from thinking that was a silly thing to say.

Personally, by the way, I think the ending would have been stronger if she had gotten her wish. We never even so much as find out her name. If that doesn't, in its own way, symbolize the unfairness of it all, I don't know what does.

Ok, this story was amazing. No flak should be given, and your portrayal of a real villain is perfect. True villains don't have curled mustaches, or demonic horns or any other distinguishing features. The face of true evil looks just like everyone else, and the worst effect it brings about isn't pain or suffering, but the desire to get even, and make the villain suffer. True evil tries to drag down all those who stand against it, until they themselves become the villain. You have done an amazing job of showcasing all of this. I congratulate you.

6931426 Very well said. Glad you enjoyed the story. I'm still very surprised people continue to find this story and enjoy it... even when while I was writing it, it wasn't doing all that well.

Time is... odd, in that way. :applejackconfused:

That was very good. I really liked it I hope you write similiar dark stories after you finish bad dude. I hoped to see Sparkle kill the unicorn, or her to seriously injure her then the unicorn to break her own neck to blame Twillight. It would be more dramatic but nevertheless it is a very good ending. Your dark stories deserve more likes than the main stream ones.

You created an original epic Hannibal and Joker like character. However, like I metioned before the story should have ended with a tragedy for greater emotional breakdown. Because of Twillight's hesitance Fluttershy and Rainbow should have died. Twillight would stricken with a grief and kill her.

If you had add more pain and tragedy the story would have reached the epicness level of ''Killing Joke'' of Alan Moore.

6994854 The original plan was for Twilight to kill the villain, but I chickened out at the last minute due to possible public backlash.

I plan on doing more dark stories eventually -- either one-shots or short, planned out dark stories -- but I've come to realize dark stories really aren't this website's style. It's either slice of life, comedy, or clop that tends to dominate. But hey! At least I can do two of those sort of okay! :ajbemused:

Thanks for letting me know you liked it!

So... this was planned as a one shot... it should have stayed that way.
I really want to like this story, but... I just can't. The ending was absolutely devastating, not only because it made the entire story up to that point absolutely pointless, but because the moral is just over the top crushingly depressing. This could have been prevented in a number of ways, but it just wasn't. I really wanna favorite and like this story so much, because it would normally be the kind of story I love, but I already know that I'll never read it again and it feels so unfinished...

As a one shot this would have been amazing, the book is a nice idea after all, but like this?

So many words for the moral of "your entire life is based on luck, don't even try to make anything of yourself"...
It at least brings back memories of 8-bit Theater in that regard, I guess.
Yes, it makes absolute sense that the villain couldn't just have hypnotized Twilight into killing her with noone the wiser, I know that, it would have meant that someone who wasn't born to be famous would end up that way, defeating the entire purpose of the story.
The moment Twilight put the word fate in her mouth, with the special font, buildup and all, you already knew that this had nothing to do with a battle between good and evil, but with the battle between the entiteled and the worker, the battle about whether or not free will and hard work can battle talent and fate.

In this story, they can't. No matter what you do, you cannot beat those who are talented or lucky by hard work. What you take your life to do, they can just end or do better in a matter of days without any consequences for themselves. Just like we all know it is in the real world. We know that that is a fact we can't change. That's what fanfics etc. are there for though, isn't it? To offer escape from this harsh reality. This one didn't... and I kinda hate it for that.

I've read a lot of Dark fics. Like a lot of them.
Someone murdering people and baking them in your pies? Sure, it's horrible, but at the end, we have read it to the end, we can sit it to the side and tell ourselves that this is nothing we need to worry about.
Someone luring children in a basement and raping them? Horrible as well, yeah, but even so, we know that that has nothing to do with us, that it's far away and all "in good fun".
Kinda crazy if you think about it: We write and read stuff like those two scenarios, heck, a lot of games we humans play are about war, a horror in a massive scale, and we use stuff like that to escape our reality.
And it works, it's far away and all, it seems somewhat exciting et cetera.

This however, this is something different.
We live in a capitalist society, a place where your survival depends on money. Where people with luck and/or talent just make the big money and don't have to worry about a thing, while you work and work and have barely a scrap of their money, the thing that dictates life and survival in this world, to show.
In this story? We have someone who worked their entire life, and it sure as all hell wasn't Twilight and her Tree of Deus Ex Machina. In the show, this is actually ok. That is because in the show, this isn't the main issue at hand, because all of the enemies there were all entiteled f**ks as well. In most shows the villain wants to rule the world. Here, she wants to prove that she can go down in history without some level of genius intellect, godlike power or fate.
Even if the villain doesn't win in other shows, they still go down in history, even if it's just as the guy that died opposing hero xyz.
Here however, even that bit of recognition is denied to her. She just get's dragged off, thrown away like the trash not-talented, not-lucky people seem to represent.
If she had left a single important, relateable mark, that would have changed...
She didn't. After this, the Main 6, the "Chosen", will just go home, grab a burger while they are on the way, and in a week or two, laugh over it. Laugh at the lifework of someone below themselves.

Again, I like Dark stories myself, I really do, but after reading this, I don't... I think I can't even muster a fitting description for it.
This story just... After reading it, I just felt really horrible. Just downright horrible. Have a crushing feeling in my stomach, the whole package.
Until the ending, I was tense, but after this ending, the shortness after the climax symbolizing how incredibly pointless the other persons... every other persons life is.


It makes me feel just really, really horrible.

This was amazing! The suspense was intense! Hahah! :rainbowlaugh:

Hap

I really enjoyed this. The pacing and suspense was excellent.

There were a few spelling errors here and there, and a few word choices that lead me to believe you don't know what they mean. It sort of feels like a good author for whom English is a second language.

Unfortunately, several of these were in the first few paragraphs. I nearly didn't continue to read. I'm very glad I did.

That said, I think the ending was weak. I liked her justification better when it was vague. It just feels rushed.

I did thoroughly enjoy this story.

This was good.

7307398 I really need to try a story like this again. Uncaring of views or likes.

7307420 I think you should too. I really do not know how to phrase this without it coming off as insulting, but lately a lot of your stories have been bit feature box bait-y. It might feel nice to just switch up your style and do something different.

An excellent story. I just couldn't stop reading! The banality of her grievance meshed very well with her goal of subverting Twilight's better nature. Making the heroes do something unheroic is a common enough trope, but the vast majority of the time it comes of as contrived (Batman v Superman movie). Even her being nameless helped reinforce the theme. She cared so little about her own goals and self in pursuit of bringing down Twilight that in her evil speech she didn't even mention her name!

The reveal was done well, although the pacing of the last chapter dragged a bit.

I want to read this... But I can't. I don't do well with horror stories... Especially in my dark room in the middle of the night, where I'm already checking every few minutes to make sure there's no one there. Maybe someday I'll read it... But not anytime soon. :fluttershyouch: Luckily I have many other fics to chose from.

7934294 I've avoid this one. It's easily the meanest/darkest story I've ever written. So unless you really like stuff like that... yeah. :applejackunsure:

Really wish that I had gotten more out of this fic. Fantastic concept, with a villain with an interesting proposition, but the execution, particularly of the final act, was lacking. There is no real dilemma for Twilight, as all the things the villain set in motion can be stopped without killing her. You even had a perfect way of having a real dilemma, what with Rainbow's seemingly unsolvable condition. It's a shame, as this fic could have been truly great had you managed to stick the landing.

Lyra... The villain.. was Lyra. BUT WAIT! It can't be.

I know you never did a chapter after thos but ever though of doing an epilogue telling what happened to the characters the ending wasn't very satasfying

"Complex" *wheeze*

Honestly, I feel for her. She had a chance to be something great and it was whisked away from her because of "fate". She wasn't the "chosen one" and that made her bitter. She thought that she could make an impact on the world and be more than just another somepony on the streets. She went through all that planning, all that studying, thinking she could finally ascend, be greater.

And she got beat by "Friendship". Like the ones before her. Another lesson to be learned, another memory to be laughed about in the future, another stepping stone for Twilight as she continues to cultivate her view of friendship.

Another statistic. Another enemy great in their own right, only to be out shadowed by the even greater Twilight Sparkle. No one will remember her, why bother remembering her over all of the other "friendship problems"? Yup, at the end of the day she's just another...

Side Character. :eeyup:

I know the author acc is dead, but I do what to say that this story was insightful and well-written. I hope he's still out there living fine and doing what he loves.

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