• Member Since 9th Apr, 2012
  • offline last seen September 16th

Mooncalf


E

Twilight Sparkle is concerned about herself, her destiny, and how much her mentor Princess Celestia has influenced both with her manipulations and schemes.

However, Celestia has a different point of view...


Cover art vectors by Argeri (Celestia), DecPrincess (Twilight Sparkle), and 90Sigma (background).

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 137 )

Meshes with my headcanon very well. (From Green Grass: When I worked at your school’s entrance exam for the last few years, we always used a ceramic dragon egg for the final test. How the student reacts to their failure to hatch it tells a great deal about how they will react to failing in school.)

A nice, introspective piece on how much we think destiny controls us.

Wonder what brought this on with Twilight, though. She just have an epiphany on how structured her life was? Whatever, it lead to an interesting conversation.

Nice job!

Headcanon blog post fic on a massive scale.

That said, probably the best of its kind. Very JLU!"Epilogue." I wouldn't mind this being a special hidden episode on the final season's box set.

Kill all the headcanons. They were meant to die. I say this as someone fully in the Chessmasterlestia camp. :pinkiehappy:

I think the best part of this fic, is that Celestia is still manipulating all of us the whole time. She never lied, she didn't leave anything out, she merely presented the information in such a way that your interpretation is most likely to line up with what she wants it to be. That's why it's so hard to detect. She doesn't move the pieces on the chessboard, she just convinces them to move where she wants them to and lets them think it's their own idea. She can't touch the pieces, so she manipulates the board instead.

Your fic about how Celestia is not the Chessmaster has actually made me doubt my conviction that she isn't. I'm not sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that may have actually been what you were going for. :unsuresweetie:

A lovely, enjoyable little story :twilightsmile:

Great story, it flows nicely and builds on the well believed thought that Celestia secretly controls everything while also disproving that. I just have two hang-ups about events that aren't so convincing.
The first would be Ponyville supposedly being a town filled with thrill seeking adventurers, when we've seen that there all pretty much chickens with their heads cut off even at the smallest of terrors. And that's not even including the whole Zecora thing.
Secondly it still seems very wrong that Celestia would use a living creature for an entrance exam for children. Especially after she herself admits that things don't always goes to plan, and that she adjust things on the fly. What would she have done if something terrible where to happen to the egg? Replace it with another dragon egg? This also brings up the question of where is she getting all these disposable dragon eggs from.

I’m sorry, but the thought that you could have been an element bearer never crossed my mind.

That's the line where this headcanon goes a little too far astray for me. Twilight has the Element of Magic as her Cutie Mark, surrounded by five other stars. Unlike the other elements, from what we have seen, Magic has always taken that shape. The six-pointed star of Magic is emblazoned on the Tree of Harmony itself, as Celestia well knows. So the idea that the connection would never cross Celestia's mind seems disingenuous at best.

Now, we know that Twilight isn't the first or only pony to have that mark... Shining Armor has the Magic symbol as part of his Cutie Mark as well, and potentially others out there. (Of course, Celestia kept Shining close and eventually made him Captain of her guard...) So there is certainly room for her to say that she didn't know that Twilight would be the one to become the future bearer of Magic, and Twilight's solitary nature indeed could have dampened any hope she might have had, but I can't believe that she never would have entertained the thought.

In any event, an interesting case for a more hooves-off Celestia!

6239895
Considering how nearly indestructible dragons are it would probably extend to their eggs as well. My guess is even Celestia wasn't able to do much with the egg herself and it'd be an interesting story where Celestia got the egg from in the first place.

Maybe a bit about how Twilight would be shocked at how she possibly could have crushed and/or destroyed the egg and Celestia explaining how she pretty much considered the egg one of the most inert things and safe for using in the tests was would be interesting.

6239954
That would make sense but It still doesn't seem right, after all it is still someones child in there.

I feel there's three ways of looking at this.

A) Celestia thought the egg of being impossible to hatch and just kept it around for students to practice magic on. That's pretty morbid.

B)Celestia thought the egg was capable of hatching, but only under conditions she never imagined a student meeting. Much less morbid but still pretty dastardly toying with the life of a creature like that.

C) Celestia had no idea about the exam proctors using an actual dragon's egg in the test.
This would certainly be the funniest option out of all of them.

6239994
Option B would probably be the best because it fits into the rest of the story. Remember the whole story is about how Celestia never knew for sure but did what she could that to the best of her knowledge would allow things to work out positively. There is no reason why that wouldn't extend to a dragon egg. She admits that she has made mistakes but she has also shown that she does everything in her power to do what she does as informed as possible so my guess would be she had studied the egg, probably abandoned and would never hatch, for a long time. I think she figured if she was unable to hatch it and/or damage it it was unlikely anyone else could so thus why it was a surprise.

Basically her actions are not inherently evil or abhorrent, merely what motives and or though/lack of thought we attribute to the decision to use it as part of tests.

6240036
But it was also an unnecessary risk. That's what I think makes it unethical. There was no need to involve the dragon egg in the examination. If it really was like you said and Celestia never expected the egg to hatch period, then having a bunch of kids play with it for a test is wrong.

6240083 6240036

How about "The dragon egg would only hatch after it had absorbed enough magic"? Dragons have extremely long lifespans, and so long gestation periods would fit and keep the populations down. Considering how long dragons hibernate, a mother dragon may incubate an egg for centuries or more.

In any event, imagine the egg to be practically indestructible and that it absorbs magic to advance the development of the dragon inside, either as a natural function or from a clever bit of spell work applied by Celestia, Starswirl or such. The egg no longer having a mother and Celestia, knowing that dragons won't devote themselves to hatching an egg that isn't their own, entrusts it to her school of gifted unicorns to keep it developing with a regular supply of magic.

So all of the students were trying to hatch the egg... They were simply hundreds of years from being successful until Twilight Sparkle poured an unbelievable amount of magic into it.

Nicely done, despite hitting two of my least favorite tropes: Manipulator Celestia and Unreasonably Ignorant Twilight. I don't believe a word of what Celestia says here. Despite her protestations she still sounds like she's playing Chessmaster. I can't help but feel like every tear here is calculated, every chuckle timed perfectly. I think this is what 6239762 was getting at: she's still at it. Maybe she doesn't even realize it; maybe she can't help it.

I also can't picture Twilight never having considered the possibilities surrounding her accomplishments and how they relate to Celestia: Was the egg actually meant to be hatched? Where were all the other baby dragons? Even if she'd never considered it, Spike would have. Was she really meant to confront Sombra alone? No, and Celestia all but told her as much when she returned victorious. Why is little Ponyville a magnet for monsters and disasters, when the rest of Equestia doesn't seem to be? I can't accept that Twilight never looked into any of those, and more, and certainly not that she'd never have brought the subject(s) up with Celestia previously.

Headcanon wars, I suppose. It's like talking politics or religion: if you're not already on board, one more speech (or story) won't convince anyone. Still, readable and pleasantly written. It does feel like the sort of exchange they'd have, whether or not I liked the contents.

6239994
D) Dragons are magical beings, and their eggs need to be supplied with magic, usually provided by the parents (just like regular eggs need to be kept in the warmth). Because there were no parents, students were used as a magic providing incubator. Spike may be different from other dragons because his egg got pony magic instead of dragon magic during his incubation period.


Not far-fetched at all. :rainbowwild:

6240392 Yeah... I'm not entirely coherent at 3:00am.:twilightblush:

That is what I mean though.

Comment posted by Cotton Sweet deleted Jul 24th, 2015

This story reminds me a lot of RealityCheck's "Parting Words", in which Twilight calls out Celestia during the Crystal Empire event, and quits being her student. Eventually Celestia explains what she had been doing in regards to Nightmare Moon, and except for the Elements being aware her reasoning is very similar.

My headcanon for the Crystal Empire is that Celestia genuinely didn't consider the possibility that Twilight might fail until Luna shows up and asks "WTF?!" Not so much due to stupidity, but from confidence in Twilight's abilities and character.

6238716 She doesn't really need to come up with it on her own. Just a passing comment from one of the girls or Spike while reminiscing on past adventures could make her see how the coincidences and "coincidences" lined up. And it really is an easy result to come to.

Loved it!!! Headcanon accepted!!!

I like it while I can't believe Celestia was ignorant of certain things like Twilight not being an element Bearer, or that Twilight would ever become a "Yes" man kind of princess and think for herself even if it meant going against Celestia. I can see this approach totally working out, loved the reasoning behind why she sent Twilight to Ponyville in the first place too. Also I agree with some of the other commentators that Celestia isn't saying everything. I could see Celestia helping certain families and ponies who have unique traits, personalities, or abilities, and guiding them towards Ponyville directly or indirectly over the centuries in the hopes of being element material or producing offspring with the same intention. Aside from that I like the idea of a semi-hands off Celestia that's not always planning or doesn't know everything, it makes her more fallible which many can relate to.

6239994
Did you saw "Game of thrones"? Daenerys got three dragon eggs that stayed non-hatched very large amount of time. And btw they are eventually hatched.

you read Reality Check, don't you?

Twilight makes for the better princess.

6240392 Manipulator Celestia is hardly a meme. She does it. We know she does it. She sometimes says she was doing it afterward.

A few problems:

1."They were safer in an abandoned castle." Really Celestia? Really?

2.Making Twilight a princess. You know, we went to WAR about not having a representative government.... but no, let's grab the unqualified unicorn and give her absolute power over a nation. Yay, Tyranny! Huzzah, nepotism! Oh, and never mind that **you never asked her if she wanted it...**

3. If Celestia was responsible for her ascension to alicornhood, that makes it worse. Come on, 99 percenters, you seethe at rage about rich men merely keeping the money they actually earned. How would you feel if you discovered that some circle of self-anointed elites had stumbled across an elixir of perpetual youth and power-- and were hoarding it to themselves? But Celestia's sitting on the secret to instant alicornhood and only doling it out to her hoof-picked inner circle? Either alicornhood is just as much a mystery to her, or she's effectively a sociopath.

4. She didn't make any revelation about the Crystal empire that wasn't made on the show. It was a horrible decision that nearly doomed thousands of innocents--- her "test" basically consisted on trusting that her slavishly devoted and fanatically obedient student would break her OCPD conditioning and disobey her teacher. By all rights Celestia should have woken up in chains with Sombra cackling at her from her own throne.

5. NOT making an order of Element Bearers because they wouldn't be "sincere." Well then the elements wouldn't have bonded with anyone who WASN'T, would they? Celestia, you dumb cluck.


So, as always... Celestia, WTF?

6243059 It's hardly accurate to call it "instant" alicornhood, considering it requires years of preparation, being some kind of prodigy on Starswirl's level. and a near-death experience. Celestia won't find a lot of test subjects she can send down this path. As for you going to war over representation...the Equestrians didn't. They aren't Americans. They aren't even human. They're a bunch of aliens, and if you stop and think about how fundamentally weird Winter Wrap-up is, they are psychosocially different from humans in very significant ways. It should hardly come a shock that Equestria has both an aristocracy and a millenia-old benevolent dictator. We knew that from that start and apparently it usually works for them even though it wouldn't work for humans any more than the degree of ecological micromanagement would.

That being said, it hardly matters whether Twilight "asked for it". Celestia is a head of state, and is going to make some decisions based on larger priorities than the contentment of one pony. And Twilight's new political power isn't even remotely absolute. In fact it's virtually nominal. As for the Crystal Empire that kind of assumed that it matters whether Twilight succeeded. Luna and Celestia handled Sombra when he was fully in control of his powers and his sensibilities. Neither was true here.

6238585 I've read at least one fanfic where the egg was actually a painted rock, and Twilight still hatched it.

Star Trek has the Kobayashi Maru scenario, which is unwinnable. Kirk won it anyway.

6238716 The implication was that she's been pondering this for a while now. Exactly when isn't specified, but it's clearly required her to get on equal footing as a princess to convince her to make a confrontation. Given Twilight's practically reverential respect for Celestia, I doubt she wants to be right about this.

6238930 No, no. Raise all the headcanons you want. Feed them, make them strong and healthy and sensible. Then release them into the story 'verse and see which ones die ignobly and which ones can stand on their own. Lots of headcanons can be fun. Especially when they compete against each other.

6239762 If that's your interpretation of the story, then that's good too. It's certainly as interesting as the face value.

Once one is convinced a person is a liar, one assumes their assertion that they're not must also be a lie. Right?

6239895 I can't really make a stance on the ethical ramifications of using the egg for the test. It's canon. It happened on the show. If we assume that Celestia is benevolent, then using the egg must be ethical in one way or another. If we assume that Celestia is malevolent, then all bets are off. Either way isn't relevant. Same with where they got it in the first place.

6243059
You make it sound like Dictatorships or Monarchies (or Diarchies as is the case in MLP) are unconditionally "bad things." They aren't. Sorry to burst the "Freedom and Democracy" thing Americans are brainwashed with (despite the fact that the US really has very little that can truly be called either) but that's not the case. A good King (or Queen or Dictator or whatever) can be a very good thing for a nation. If gives the nation focus, precision, quick and effective decision making, and speedy implementation of said decisions. Of course a bad King would be terrible for a nation. Despite what you might feel about her, looking at everything we can see from the show Celestia certainly appears to be a good ruler. Her country is prospering greatly (and certainly seems to be one of, if not the, major power of their world) and her ponies are deliriously happy with their lives and her (for the most part).

As for Alicornhood, there is no reason to think Celestia has any control over it (in Twilight's case it was really more like the Elements judged her worthy, and in Cadance's case I'm not actually aware of any "thing" directly judging her). It's instead a kind of ascension like you see with ancient mythology. A hero completing a godly task and in turn becoming a god themselves. Instead of a task however it's more coming to an understanding regarding aspects of life (Friendship for Twilight, Love for Cadance) so maybe a more philosophical example would be better, like Buddah. In any case Celestia can't just go up to Blueblood and say "Hey do what I say and I'll make to a god" so saying she's hoarding it and giving it out to her inner circle just makes you sound like a fool.

Lots of headcanons can be fun. Especially when they compete against each other.

I used to think that. Then I joined this fandom.

After VinylEyeColorGate, I now have far less patience. :D

6243059 You're not saying anything you didn't say in your own fanfic, you know.

1."They were safer in an abandoned castle." Really Celestia? Really?

Yes. It obviously worked, didn't it? They were right there, untouched and ready.

2.Making Twilight a princess. You know, we went to WAR about not having a representative government.... but no, let's grab the unqualified unicorn and give her absolute power over a nation. Yay, Tyranny! Huzzah, nepotism! Oh, and never mind that **you never asked her if she wanted it...**

In my eyes, being a princess in Equestria is far less about authority than it is about responsibility. Canon Twilight never uses her new position to get ahead. She doesn't use it to get things, she doesn't recruit guards to fight for her or ponies to do her work for her, and she doesn't use it to make other ponies admire her. Even when important things could have been sped along quicker by throwing her title around, she doesn't bring it up, because she's used to dealing with things on her own and with her own strength, and her friends.

Conversely, she takes her responsibilities very seriously. One of her first remarks after ascending is to find a book on the subject, because she wants to be the very best princess Equestria can get. Her grievance at the S4 finale is that she doesn't have enough responsibilities. Throughout S5 she keeps remarking on the responsibility of being the Princess of Friendship and the importance of doing it right.

Unqualified? If full dedication to responsibility and absolutely no desire to abuse power aren't proper leadership qualities, then I don't know what you're looking for in a leader.

As for the old "I didn't ask for this" argument (which, again, she's never once complained about in canon) goes, consider this: Your parents gave birth to you without (I'm assuming) asking for your permission. Are you holding them in contempt for bringing you into a world of responsibilities and possibilities?

3. If Celestia was responsible for her ascension to alicornhood, that makes it worse. Come on, 99 percenters, you seethe at rage about rich men merely keeping the money they actually earned. How would you feel if you discovered that some circle of self-anointed elites had stumbled across an elixir of perpetual youth and power-- and were hoarding it to themselves? But Celestia's sitting on the secret to instant alicornhood and only doling it out to her hoof-picked inner circle? Either alicornhood is just as much a mystery to her, or she's effectively a sociopath.

This is assuming that a) alicornhood assures immortality b) everypony wants to live forever and c) everypony wants the responsibility that comes with alicorn powers.

Consider the fact that a lot of belief systems today (and in the past) espouses death as part of the natural cycle, often with the promise of a heavenly reward after your toil. In the case of Buddhism, the ideal existence is a complete separation from the cycle of life and rebirth. People who believe this isn't going to want to live forever. That's essentially getting trapped. You can't move on.

Personally, I don't believe that becoming an alicorn makes you immortal; my pet headcanon on the subject is that Celestia and Luna are so because they've tied themselves to the sun and the moon respectively. Cadence and Twilight could perhaps become immortal by some magic or other contrivance (and so could Applejack, Rarity, Scootaloo and Cranky) but they aren't by default (and I can't see Cadence marrying the love of her life if she had already made sure she'll outlive him). Since the show canon hasn't made any clarifications either way (and if you want to get technical, they haven't actually said that Celestia and Luna are immortal, only very old), it's open to each fan's interpretation.

4. She didn't make any revelation about the Crystal empire that wasn't made on the show. It was a horrible decision that nearly doomed thousands of innocents--- her "test" basically consisted on trusting that her slavishly devoted and fanatically obedient student would break her OCPD conditioning and disobey her teacher. By all rights Celestia should have woken up in chains with Sombra cackling at her from her own throne.

I made my arguments about this issue in the story.

5. NOT making an order of Element Bearers because they wouldn't be "sincere." Well then the elements wouldn't have bonded with anyone who WASN'T, would they? Celestia, you dumb cluck.

So spending a ton of government money on a project that you're convinced will provide absolutely no appreciable results - and wasting a bunch of ponies' time in the process - is wise and sensible to you?

Consider that Celestia feared that the Elements were intentionally rejecting her for her betrayal. She doesn't want to get involved directly.

6243059
I'm not going to bother with the rest, but I'm addressing your #4:

Remember that Luna and Celestia stomped Sombra down flat the last time? In the event of Twilight and the Elemental Harmony Squad failing, they were perfectly capable of going there straight away, stomping him flat again, and saving the day.

It's a gamble, for sure, but they clearly have a back-up plan to solve the situation in case Twilight blows it.

No, wait, I'm going to address #3, too:
Alicornhood is clearly implied to be kind of an enlightenment thing. You can lead a pony to the correct place, but you can't make them ascend. Twilight does so, because she's grokked the Magic of Friendship on a deep, deep level, and has the connection to the Elements and her friends bearing those to power her ascension, something wrought over years of friendship and shared adventures and experiences. Comparing it to elixir of youth that could be given to anyone, yet hoarded to a small group of elites, just shows that you don't understand the show.

Ah fuck it, let's see #2, as well. "Unqualified unicorn", eh? It's not as if Celestia picked Twilight randomly out of all the unicorns of Canterlot and boosted her into princesshood, you know. She's a powerful mage, a well-educated scholar, a capable organizer, a national hero many times over, and an actual leader of ponies. For all of her youth, Twilight is very well suited to being a ruler. And as we've seen in the show, she's being eased into rulership, as she keeps getting more and more important tasks.

And the whole "she never asked if Twilight wanted this!" thing is disingenuous, too. When the Elements activate and zap her with magic beams, pay attention to Twilight's expression there. She looks alarmed, then confused... and then, she relaxes and smiles. She's accepting whatever is happening to her, right there. And on the astral plane, Celestia never does anything. She explains to Twilight what's been going on, but the magic transforming Twilight is her own. The whole ascension is not something Celestia does or causes, it's all coming from within Twilight. Do you think ponies are asked when they get their cutie mark? It's an external manifestation of what they are within, and Twilight's alicornication is exactly the same thing,

Oh wow, this is almost exactly my headcanon! With one exception. I believe it was Starswirl's spell that made her into an alicorn, Celestia just guided the last step (the whole 'flashbacks in the clouds' scene). Yes, Celestia wanted Twilight to become a princess, after all she gave her the spell, but I believe Twilight would have discovered it eventually on her own. Celestia just guides Twilight, Twilight is following her own destiny. I mean, it may have taken Twilight years to figure out that spell, Celestia couldn't have known she'd solve it so quickly. This also explains why Celestia never asked Twilight if she wanted to become a princess, because if it was meant to be, it would be, if not, then Twilight would have never solved it. Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter, everything else in this story though is exactly how I've always thought of it.

6243522 That's actually a good point, yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Kinda wish I'd thought of that, now.

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

“So it’s your fault everypony in that town is crazy,” Twilight muttered.

:twilightoops:
:rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh:

OMG. This is hilarious. :twilightsmile:

"The ponies in Ponyville aren't crazy, it's the rest of Equestria that is." - Unknown pony
:pinkiesmile:

6243338 Didn't Kirk cheat, though?

6244023 Yup. It was considered legitimate, though, since they didn't have any rules against cheating. At least not before then.

So it's scoring a victory by thinking outside the box... while missing the point of the exercise.

Slimy, manipulative, forked tongued though maybe more than that, JUST short of back stabbing, at the very least quadruple faced and that's all I can manage to choke out!
Well, except: WOW!:twilightoops::pinkiesick: I don't get this much bile in the back of my throat when I can force myself to listen to half of one of obama's speeches and he's going on about how much he has done, is doing and is going to do for America.
Twilight is SERIOUSLY indoctrinated by this hag

Some nitpicks:

The Elements are sentient?

- sapient
Actualy funny thing they might be sapient (thinking) and not be sentient (feeling pain etc.) at all :twilightoops:

Again, they were just tools to be used for Luna and I.

So you did prepare my friends and I?

They had accepted Luna and I when we were the only ponies driven to brave the dangers and confront Discord.

- and me
(before I got 'corrected' by well meaning commenter: this and that
tl;dr version is to make quick switch:
"ZZZZZ and I" = we (or they) "ZZZZZ and me" = us (or them)
and test sentence with "we" then with "us".

6244329 Thank you for catching those. Corrected. Twilight would definitely use that term accurately.

6244329 Actually no. Sentient is the right word. "Sentient" actually means "aware". It has been used in the past in the right context to refer to refer to aliens who have a human-like self-awareness but that has fallen out of fashion. But in this case there's no particular need to think that the crystals actually possess a humanlike (sapient) consciousness. They may not think in words at all. But they are aware of the world around them and react to as they see fit.

6244563

Actually no. Sentient is the right word. "Sentient" actually means "aware". It has been used in the past in the right context to refer to refer to aliens who have a human-like self-awareness but that has fallen out of fashion. But in this case there's no particular need to think that the crystals actually possess a humanlike (sapient) consciousness. They may not think in words at all. But they are aware of the world around them and react to as they see fit.

You mean Star Trek ? And in the "wrong context"?
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3617321/1/Sapient-NOT-Sentient
:)

Well sentient mostly means "Experiencing sensation or feeling"
So IMHO the stones aren't sentient in the dictionary definition: they don't feel pain etc. nor experience any sensations .

And them being "sapient" is author's call here. If they have wisdom or (cough) awareness to choose theirs bearers they certainly qualify
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Sapient

6244563
6244625
Given the context, it would probably make sense for Twilight to jump to conclusions with "sapient" while Celestia sticks to the vague "aware". Neither pony has any clear idea how far it goes, so it's all conjecture anyway.

6244625 Actually I mean the science fiction of the era between 1950 and 1975. In that time frame "sentient" was used in science fiction to refer to creatures who were "self-aware", possessing the capacity for introspection and the recognition of ones self as a separate individual from the external environment. The reason "sapient" took over is that we became increasingly skeptical that, say, monkeys and dogs, really did lack a recognition of one's self as a separate individual so that sfnal meaning for sentient was lost leaving only the original meaning of "possessing senses and feelings". It's not just the sense of touch. Any sense at all qualifies for sentience. Since the elements can sense and react to certain things, (notably emotions and "disharmony"), they are definitely sentient, and not just rocks or even lenses.

6244717
Well "sapience" was used properly then too.
I would have to go through some old anthologies/Project Gutenberg archives to make any judgement how they compared to each other (numerically), no time for it so I will pass.

I would not go as far/low to classify sentience as "any sense".
As it would include practically every one living thing even plants (they do "react" if cut, sense sun etc.)

Jarkes #49 · Jul 25th, 2015 · · 2 ·

6243475
6243476

It's RealityCheck. You're better off not arguing with him; he thinks he's always right and refuses to listen to any other side.

Headcanon...ACCEPTED!

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