• Member Since 13th May, 2012
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago


Specializing in sailing, sword fighting, and scholarship—a piratical polymath.


A brave stallion goes on a quest to save the world by finding a lost princess in an enchanted forest. Things don't work out as he planned.

WARNING: Some spoilers in the comments. Also, a few mild spoilers for the Alicorn Adventure series, though it's not necessary to read those stories to understand this one.

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Zabaware/AT&T Natural Voices "reading" by Modoc

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Comments ( 195 )

Hah! Been lurking for this, I wanted to grab the first fav (track? shelving?) on it as is traditional.

Well, traditional now, twice counts right?


Actually, I think I nabbed it.

~Skeeter The Lurker

5854149 Pretty sure I got it. I refreshed immediately and looked at the stats and it said 1 bookshelf and 1 user.


Stats don't update as fast, I've found. The only one who can confirm for sure...

Is the author himself.

Now. Let's shut the hell up and read the thing.

~Skeeter The Lurker

in Ponlyville,

this was the only major mistake I found. Love your world-building!:raritywink:

5854168 Fair enough.

So...do you consider this the same universe as The Celestia Code and The Luna Cypher?

I'm afraid that I don't have time to read it now, but I've put it on a list for later.

"Yup, sure is!" came a voice from the doorway behind me. I turned to see the taxi driver from Ponyville leaning casually against the jamb. "Hiya, professor!" She waved a friendly hoof at me.

AKA the point where I laughed out loud quite hard.

That was fascinating and very well written. Nice twist on this idea, I'm not sure I've ever seen a magical post-scarcity society. You usually get those in near- to far-future sci-fi.

From my notification feed:
djthomp added The Quest to Tracking
Skeeter The Lurker added The Quest to Oh Look. He Faved Another Story.

So it looks like djthomp hit the button first, but Skeeter wins the "Best Name for a Fave Shelf" award! :pinkiehappy:

Fixed, thank you! :twilightsmile:

Yes, but it's so far removed from those stories, it really doesn't matter.

5854745 True but it's interesting to see the result of Twilight's resolution to come up with a better form of government than what Celestia does. I kinda wonder what your having Celestia and Luna doing in this world though.

There may be a future story about that! Lets just say that most ponies think they're mythical in this era.

Nice story! Really interesting future. I wonder what happened to Celestia and Luna. That brief mention of Luna being considered the moon goddess is such a teaser.

Also, it seems you've already placed this story in the appropriate groups :)

Well, this is fairly fantastic.

This was more of an exploration of what a very intelligent and basically kind immortal might do to fill her time in the long centuries... and how shorter-lived people might (mis)understand her actions.

Very interesting story, iisaw. You definitely succeeded in creating a though-provoking piece on the subject.

Marigold reminds me of Jigsaw. You write these sorts of characters very well.

I salute a true master! Once again, you have written an incredible, engaging and stirring story. The world of The Celestia Code and The Luna Cypher just made a galactic leap forward, leaving room for so many stories to be woven.

You have the best grasp of Twilight's personality of any author I've encountered and (to me) you perfectly describe Twilight's later struggles as her powers and responsibilities grew increasingly larger. The statues with her five friends was a perfect, endearing touch, and I'm pleased to see that her efforts have transformed Changeling society permanently for the better.

Ponies need challenges. They need struggles, and rivals, and yes, even enemies, or they never live their lives to the fullest.

<low whistle> Twilight's encounter with the Red Queen was more than just a little bit enlightening, though this leaves more questions than answers (as it should). The single mention of Luna opens a thread of "what happened" that would take anywhere between a sentence and a thousand pages to tell properly. And, Twilight's climactic exercise of dark power and the regret of destroying people and knowledge... wow.

There's so much to say, but I'll stop here. Again, thank you for sharing yet another masterwork with all of us!

:pinkiehappy: Thanks so much!

BTW, if you're interested in a story with a similar theme, (though quite different in execution) try Modern Medicine by GaPJaxie. It's quite good.

5854908 5855147
Thank you!

As it turned out, Princess Twilight Sparkle was not content to save the world; she wanted to save all the worlds.


Yes! Exactly like that! :rainbowlaugh:

Wow. This story is insane (meant only in a good way). This was expertly crafted, and quite possibly your best work to date. Hopefully, we'll get to see more from this continuity (perhaps a longer, epic tale, maybe....hint, hint). :pinkiehappy:

I am very glad to have read this. I don't usually favorite completed stories, but this one definitely requires it!

A very nice continuation of your universe. I hope you really plan on writing more about it, 'cause those hints at Luna and Celestia made me quite hungry for more.
Also, is the Red Queen still locked away, or did she join forces with Twilight? Seems like something entirely possible...

Well, that was worth a read. Kept me interested all the way through.
Then I realised you wrote the Celesita Code as well. Figures...

This was really rather creepy. I'm...not sure what to make of it. I like Twi a lot, but... Oh, I don't know. :ajsleepy:

Oh, this was chillingly good.

Perfectly understandable. There's a reason Steel Line calls her a monster at the end. I don't remember the exact quote, but it's something like, "Even the wisest and most beneficent monarch cannot rule with clean hands." That's not a very comforting truth.

Co-incidentally, there's another story with a similar theme, (though quite different in execution) that was posted just recently: Modern Medicine by GaPJaxie. It's quite good, and it depicts Twilight's change in personality over the centuries very effectively.

Holy freaking crap. That was awesome!

Wow. This was amazing, and tense. It's been a long time since a story left me feeling so... winded at the end. An awesome 'ten thousand years' view of Equestria and what would happen with/to Twilight after the Luna Cypher, etc. Very interesting how close she's come to recognizing the Red Queen's original design while still putting a more benevolent twist on daily pony life.

I gotta admit, I'm curious what her arguments were to convince Celestia to let things go in this direction.

The thought of Twilight being so old that she's essentially above good and evil, or thinks of our betterment on a level like that?
That's unnerving.

Son of a bitch. This story sent chills down my spine.

Once again you've written quite interesting and thought provoking tale. I hope to see more of this universe, whether more side stories that add to it through out the ages. Or a direct sequel.
As for my more personal thoughts. First off of Luna and Celestia. The fact that they are considered goddess' and don't seem to be around makes me feel like they must've ascended further or something, and no longer have ties to the physical plains.
As for her friends. The statues are obviously wearing the elements and when Twilight touched Pinkie's and spoke in her voice, along with there being no new Bearers leads me to believe that her friends aren't truly dead, but live on through the elements, perhaps like spirits comparable to Discord. Maybe because the Elements can only choose new Bearers when they die or become unworthy and since Twilight is immortal(-ish?) they live on through the Elements.
But that's my thoughts, tell me if I'm getting warm? ;)

Yep. Creeps the heck out of me, too!

:pinkiehappy: Toasty warm, on both points!

5857565 Wait. Did you come up with this by realizing it was scary, or realize it midway through?

The way twilight thinks in this story about ponies needing challenged and hardship to continue to be productive is something iv'e always thought and believed. It's cool to see other people thinking about it as well.

........... i am still trying to figure out how she would be capable of this. she could not have fallen further away from harmony, and harmony is the source of her power. be like discord cutting himself off from chaos yet still having his powers. it makes no sense.

aka, she would not be strong in any sense of the word if she acted like this. it is more likely that the tree would ahve crafted something to bring her down than let her behave as she is. harmony is of balance, not absolutes.

WOW that was a journey. It started almost like a fairy tail, with the dragon keeping the princess hostage - even though we all knew who they were from the start - with the chosen one going to succeed where all others have failed.

Then we got to a slightly more grim state, with an undercover spy going to the princess to ask her to fix a crumbling, ruined world, pitting his wits against the forest with the aid of the awful amulet. Also, that foreshadow of him recognizing Marigold as another spy.

And then he actually got into the tower, and things got surreal. Cutter, Marigold's return, Twilight apparently having kept the souls of her friends in their Elements, and a subtle hint that Celestia and Luna are... no longer with us.

Then finally, we learn just what is wrong with his mission. At first I read through and thought 'five? A dozen? That doesn't seem so bad for a war'. And I was right; it's not that bad because Twilight's made it so. You built up the world outside the tower from within beautifully, with Twilight's failures and ultimate success... that was simply amazing.

Your description of Dark Magic was, by far and large, the best I have ever seen. Eyes like nightmares, leaking fumes from a noxious cauldron, roiling darkness around her horn. That was just amazingly done.

And of course, the end, where we read the same paragraph from the start, but the beautiful princess is cut out by something far more chilling.

This was such a journey. Have a like and favorite as my payment.

I can't help but think it's going to backfire on her someday. Maybe not for another few thousand years, maybe not even in this world. But if ponies can secretly make a personal weapon that could kill her, it seems nigh-inevitable that eventually, some country or organization is going to secretly come up with the magical equivalent of the atomic bomb. And, if they have any suspicions that they're being manipulated by the occupants of the Everfree, they may well decide to launch first and ask questions later.

5858259 It's a dark story with Nightmare Twilight... if you think about it, it can't possibly work.

Therefore, always remember, DON'T THINK!! (Hillary 2016!)


She turned to go, but then paused in the doorway. "As for me..." A swirl of green fire swept around her and left behind a dark insect-like creature. "...I ain't exactly a pony."

Alondro sits and stares for a while... then he speaks softly, "Twilight has employed an accursed cherngelerng.." He then calmly programs a megaspell nuke with the coordinates and pushes the big red button. :pinkiecrazy:

Marigold shook her head. "I'm telling you that those plants didn't exist before the princess created them. Even the common ol' grasses you see everywhere have a bunch more protein, vitamins, and minerals than they used to. There once was whole areas of the world and times of the year where ponies could actually die of hunger if'n they didn't have the means to buy their food.

Eh? Now wait just a moment... that's not right. I've seen enough of Equestria to know that plants ponies can eat grew EVERYWHERE during Celestia's reign.

Clearly what has happened is that Twilight was corrupted by Palpatine to to Dark Side to save her waifu-stealing Flash Sentry from dying in childbirth (he had a sex-change... because that's trendy and hip now) and then killed all the alicorns including the younglings... and Celestia is actually hidden away somewhere and really shriveled and green now... and Twilight is so insane with power she actually believes she invented grass.

Clearly somepony needs to pop a cap in dat crazy mare's head! :twilightoops:

"Then why haven't you unified the world into one nation? Why are we fragmented into all these little squabbling states that range from strict fascism to pure anarchy? You could bring us all together in one peaceful empire by sheer force of personality!"

"The Lost Citadel of Camargue was real. There was a Princess Cayuse, and the Carthusian Council actually guided that utopian empire that united the world for three generations before it was destroyed."

Oh, and of course Princess Celestia ruled Equestria in peace and pretty much had complete peace with the whole world for a thousand years UNTIL YOU TURNED TO THE DARK SIDE AND KILLED HER YOU BEEEYATCH!! :flutterrage: (This is now Alondro's official head canon for Evil Twilight)

This was more of an exploration of what a very intelligent and basically kind immortal might do to fill her time in the long centuries... and how shorter-lived people might (mis)understand her actions.

Or, how someone who doesn't really know any immortals imagines how one might end up if they remained so woefully mortal in thought and imagination.

We're rather different than you can comprehend, you know. I don't fault it, thought. It's quite a tall order to conceive the thoughts of a million year old mind when humans scarcely can recall a century at their best.


5856769 the problem with both that story and this is that there would have to be a detrimental result to her abilities if tiwlight fell to a dark place, like she did here. especially with the existence of the tree of harmony.

especially here, this is not harmony. harmony is not someone sitting on top of a cliff believing herself better than all others, it is the complex task of chaos and order, light and darkness, to coexist. neither of these are stories about thsoe factors, yet twilight inexplicably stands despite losing comprehension of harmony and friendship.

the tree of harmony is a mysterious and uncertain force, but it is very likely a thinking entity of some kind. it at least reacts to scenarios. mainly be creating things. it created the castle tree for the mane six when they had to return the elements of harmony. it seems unlikely that the tree of harmony would tolerate twilight betraying her aspect as the princess of friendship, and it would be more than capable of fixing such a 'mistake' as that.

5858549 She is also reaching far beyond her capacity. I can already see so many flaws in her reasoning, I grimace at the notion of trying to point all of them out. She has given into a false rationale, that either ponies must have suffering or they become slothful and wicked.

This is yet another false dichotomy. She has utterly ignored the capability a self-actualized society, governed by a strong moral code and a powerful, positive intellectual drive.

And that is but one alternative.

This Twilight is a terrible disappointment. I shall have to send her to the Chinese hell where ponies are skinned alive for eternity.

5858707 I'd come up with a well-thought out argument to point out the - gaping - holes in your argument... but then I remembered who you were.:trollestia:

5858221 It is not the case for those like myself, driven from childhood to create and build.

I, an evolved being, lack the weaknesses and destructive tendencies of you lesser creatures!

Which is why I must destroy you all! (Alondro doesn't quite grasp the contradictions in his thoughts...) :pinkiecrazy:

5856769 Actually, it's quite comforting. A being that could rule with absolute perfection would be truly terrifying.

I am quite content to know that even God will achieve His new heaven and new Earth by burning everything to ash!

It makes Him quite a bit more relatable! I can totally understand being so frustrated you just want to watch the world burn... sayyyyyy, wanna know how I got my scars? :pinkiecrazy:

Chicken pox. When I was 6. (anticlimactic a little...)

5858715 There are as many gaping holes in my theory as there are in hers.

Fact is, this FICTIONAL Twilight hasn't actually lived at all.

Therefore, ALL her arguments are lies and slander!

(And this is why it's silly to take fiction about things that don't and/or can't exist too seriously.) :trollestia:

5858915 I'd come up with a well-thought out argument to point out the - gaping - holes in your argument... but then I remembered who you were.:trollestia:

5858918 Face it boy, I'm older than you and I have more insurance. :trollestia:

Midway through the headwork on the story, before I actually started writing it down.

There are other sources of power, (Crystal Heart, Alicorn Amulet, etc.) and seeing how Twilight's name-sisters turned out, I don't think it's much of a stretch. Sunset Shimmer used the Element of Magic to give herself demonic, mind-control powers, after all, and the crystal castle (the extension of the Tree of Harmony) is in ruins at the time of this story: That was not an accident on my part.

Twilight is employing a Utilitarian-like philosophy. Killing a pony is a bad thing, but not if that is the only way to stop that pony from killing two other ponies. Who's to say that the elements would disagree? You can debate the matter all you want... in fact, I'm glad you're really thinking about it.

Thank you very much! I'm glad to know the structure I built into the story works as I intended.

5859047 harmoyn would dictate that ponies would band together to face that pony and be victorious, as is what is manifested by the power of the elements of harmony. harmony is of balance and is more or less reactionary. there is nothing comparatively wrong if a pony makes itself a threat and eliminating it. but to hunt for threats to begin with is an act of order, and easily order will create its own chaos in order to fight it, without realizing it.
twilight's actions are not of harmony, as she has rejected chaos. and chaos is one half of harmony. and that is what makes it soo powreful, that it has a connection to both light and dark, chaos and order, day and night. it creates balance between chaos and order, as both are capable of evil.

and any other source of power would be inferior to harmony. the alicorn amulet is incomparable to the power of harmony. the crystal heart is too limited in its abilities. and even the scenario of the element of magic turning sunset into a demon, that was because of the evil already inside of sunset being drawn out, becaues the elements have a hand in both light and darkness. however it responded to its proper owner and subdued sunset's evil. one could even say that it was intentional, that the element did this to force sunset to confront the darkness she hid from herself.

also the crystal tree castle being in ruins seems rather........ contrived. what would have the power to destroy something born of such power? and even then, the tree of harmony would react to that and create something new, and adapt to the circumstances........ also it seems implausible that the tree would let the mane six hold on to the elements for so long. harmony has chaos in it, and chaos begets change.

put simply, tiwlight is not part of harmony anymore, and anything she could find would be insufficient. especially since her alicorn state was born from harmony's magic.

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