• Member Since 18th Oct, 2014
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Trick Question


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Princesses Celestia and Luna take tea under less than ideal circumstances: house arrest for psychiatric care following Luna's revelation about the her use of the Tantabus to torture herself.

Ever the thoughtful sister, Celestia tries to help Luna open up about her addiction to guilt and suffering in order to understand why Luna isn't happy now that the pain has finally left her. But Luna has a very different topic she wishes to discuss.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 51 )

So wite celestia the metal ey sick ......Wow :rainbowderp:

A very intimate and subdued fic. The end was… unexpected to say the least, although it leaves much unexplained.

Is it partly autobiographic?

“The knight and the Sun” might have been a good title too.

I was very not expecting that ending. I like it. :pinkiesmile:

Nice bait and switch, Masterfully done. Not gunna lie, that was impressive! And let me tell ya, I've read more than a few fics. Well done, and best of luck in future projects!

6307413
Thank you! :twilightsmile: (Please spoiler your comments if you can, though.)

6307117

I thought Luna drank coffee, though.

In the extended canon, Luna drinks coffee in the evenings when she wakes up, I believe. Celestia chose a non-caffeinated herbal tea for them to drink together in the mornings so it wouldn't interfere with Luna's sleep.

6306691

Is it partly autobiographic?

See here.

Oh, wow. This fic was impressive enough even before you revealed the twist at the end. Bravo.

Touching, with the right subdued tone for the story we see unfold. And congratulations for the other good things too.

I was surprised and yet it made all sense at the end, the switch contextualising Celestia's behaviour.

Actually we've seen Celestia's facade crack twice in canon.
When Discord got free, and wrt Sunset Shimmer. (And when she battled luna, but this is stating she didn't have that practiced facade then.)


But yes, very well written short fic.

6307435
Yeah, I had read that before, and that was the reason why I asked.
Your answer vindicated my understanding.

she joked flatly.

This bit is unnecessary.

6308041
I see your point.

How about something like, "...she said, with a touch of dry sarcasm."?

6308080
I don't think you need a dialogue tag there at all, to be honest. I think it gets the point across textually.

6308346
Mm, I'm not sure. I want to send the subtle impression that Celestia is kidding (as foreshadowing for the fridge moment on the second read-through), and it reads "she's serious" to me without something there. I'll mull it over.

Wow, I'm just. Wow.
I guess I'm just so used to Luna being the one to have a break down. I mean having Nightmare Moon have no definite origin besides Luna's own feelings and mind in hard canon kind of give that impression. But when it was revealed that it was Celestia that had the breakdown, jaunt wow. Most stories allude or state that Celestia wears a mask so to speak, but having it have negative effects isn't as widespread.
This was certainly a very good story.

This was a masterfully done fic, I loved rereading it with the new context the ending provided, bravo indeed. Faves and up thumbs all around! vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/mlpfanart/images/d/d7/Octavia_Clapping.gif/revision/latest?cb=20130102165456

I reviewed this story!

My review can be found here.

I'm sorry, but the "house arrest" thing ruined this story for me. With the Tantabus gone, the danger has passed and Luna is now stronger and healthier then ever before. I really don't see how Celestia has either the right or the authority to force Luna to do anything against her will, especially when you consider that they are supposedly co-regents and equals. That's all I have to say.

6314473
As indicated in the beginning of the story, the 'house arrest' is a protective measure because the princess flipped out and destroyed the castle gardens. But it's clear you missed something (assuming you read the story), because: while it initially looks like Luna is under house arrest, at the end it's revealed to be Celestia.

I appreciate the headcanon, though! :pinkiesmile: No story pleases everypony, so hopefully you'll enjoy the next one you read. Keep reading!

Well written, simple, effective.

*Hugs for the Celly*

EDIT
6314895

But it's clear you missed something

Hmm. I actually missed this too.

I'm unsure that twist adds to the story. Much of the presentation is inconsistent with it. The introductory statement of Celestia sitting down next to her weeping sister, Luna complaining that she's always the knight, the metaphor about the night sky being prisoner...everything is consistently painting a picture, and then at the end your'e saying "nahh, that's not what's going on."

Even re-reading the story knowing the twist, things still don't fit with the twist. Several of Luna's statements in particular, even the very last sentence of the story, dont' make very much sense with the idea that Celestia is the one who'd had the outburst. Clearly she isn't keeping up the facade if she' sunder house arrest because she freaked out and destroyed the palace grounds.

I think to do what you're intended, it would have been better if everything had been ambiguous. If everything was presented and phrased so as to be legitimately interpretable in either way.

That's not what you've done. Instead you've painted a very specific picture, consistently, and then retconned it in the last few sentences.

6317115
Clearly YMMV on it, but I think on a reread it makes sense to most readers. The underlying idea is that Celestia is the one with the mental issues because she's been hiding her true emotions from coming to the surface for centuries. On the other hoof, Luna is angry about Celestia being forced into her room by the doctors, but her anger is actually a normal reaction, rather than an indication of mental instability.

Try to spoiler your comments if you can, and thanks for the feedback! :pinkiesmile:

6312102
Thank you for the review!

I was pretty sure you'd find Celestia to be out of character given the manner in which you typically write her. :pinkiesmile: This piece is mainly about Celestia being nuts, because she strikes me as being hooves-down the most emotionally unstable character in the entire show, even including Trixie and Fluttershy. In fact, even though the topic of withdrawal is obviously relevant to who I am as a pony, it's the portrayal of Celestia here that is more personal to me. (As always, I am all of the characters I write.)

Psychology is filled with interesting dichotomies, and among them is the idea that what looks on the surface like emotional stability often isn't, and vice versa. That's the underlying theme I'm going for here. Put another way, being an emotionless rock for several hundred years might not be healthy unless you think Celestia isn't actually a person underneath; contrariwise, Luna's reaction to a regent being held under house arrest is perhaps more normal and healthy than Celestia's (even if the doctors and court have legitimate concerns). It's the holding back of emotion that is the warning flag, not its expression.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and I totally know the "headcanon doesn't work for me" feeling myself. (But I do like how you write Celestia.) :trollestia:

6317878

Psychology is filled with interesting dichotomies, and among them is the idea that what looks on the surface like emotional stability often isn't, and vice versa.

One of the most important things they teach doctors is that, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. While appearances can be deceiving, they usually aren’t. I suspect that a failure to teach this to psychology students this is one of the reasons why many in psychiatric care are infamously incapable of distinguishing the sane from the insane and have a tendency to view normal, healthy behavior as pathological in nature.

6318337
I agree, and I wasn't speaking to a general case. But you might be surprised to find the problem is heavier on the medical end than the psychological one, ironically.

The main reason for this is that psychologists and (to an extent) psychiatrists spend a great deal of time training clinicians on normal controls, whereas general medical doctors generally only see people who have something truly wrong with them. Without a strong background in normal controls, you can't recognize when something isn't normal: all behavior becomes abnormal because you don't have experience with normality to see how just how strange "normal" behavior can actually be. (This remains a huge problem in court cases to this day.)

First year doctors and first year psych students both have a habit of over-diagnosing themselves, and it's enough of a problem that it is addressed in schooling in both professions. In psych diagnosis, the problem is that the categorization we use to diagnose disorders is highly unscientific in the first place; but in medicine, it's largely the lack of experience with normal controls. In my experience working both with neurologists and neuropsychologists, I trust the latter much more when it comes to behavioral diagnosis of abnormality.

(This is one of the reasons I'm very glad the vast majority of my work experience in psychometric testing is with normal controls. You'd be stunned by what bizarre behaviors are actually normal.)

6317852

YMMV on it, but I think on a reread it makes sense

A few examples:

Luna shook her head. "Sister, my thoughts seethe with vexation. Had I simply kept details of the Tantabus private, it is likely there would be no need for this examination," she grumbled under her breath, lowering her gaze to the table. "All things were perfectly under control..."

How would Luna keeping her self punishment secret have resulted in Celestia not being under house arrest?

Luna shook her head. "It helped me, Celie. It made me feel adequate, as a pony, when nothing else could," said Luna. "I do not expect you to understand this... and, forthwith? I am truly grateful that you are unable to do so."

Does it really make sense for Luna to be pulling the "oh, you can't possibly understand what it's like" card after Celestia has freaked out, destroyed the palace grounds and been put under house arrest?

"Yes, yes, I know; yet..." said Luna. She paused to collect her thoughts. "Try to consider this, if you would. All circumstances contain veiled perks, even the most terrible ones. When something major in one's life changes, though the change may remove a sickness, along with it disappear those hidden benefits. In such a manner, one can unknowingly become addicted to unusual things; even to pain and suffering."

"It is not proper," said Luna, leaning back against the bed as she frowned. "A princess of Equestria, confined to her room like a common criminal! I should not stand for this."

"It is not proper," said Luna, leaning back against the bed as she frowned. "A princess of Equestria, confined to her room like a common criminal! I should not stand for this."

How do you reconcile Luna explaining that there are benefits even to difficult situations, yet being so opposed to accepting the difficult situation of her sister beign under house arrest...when even that sister seems to agree it's a good idea?

Luna thinks torturing herself to deal with her her stress was ok and justifiable, but Celestia accepting house arrest is wholy unacceptable?

Is your Luna simpy a hypocrite?

"Wherefore you are always the Knight, dear sister," answered Luna.

"Then the rumors are true?" asked Luna, in hushed tones. "You no longer laugh with bravado? No longer can you weep?"

How can you reconcile Luna stating that she's always maintaining her facade, despite the very premise of the story being that she's under house arrest because she freaked out and destroyed the palace grounds?

"A psychotic break," Celestia calmly replied, as she placed tea leaves into the infuser. "It isn't meant to be an insult. It refers to a temporary loss of sanity brought on by stress. To be fair, given the current state of the palace grounds..."

she quietly cried a few small tears.
It wasn't much. But for the first time in nine hundred years, it was a start.

Make up your mind. Did she freak out and destroy the palace, or are these quiet few tears the first time she's lost her facade?

It doesn't work. Some of the things you've said are ambiguous and make sense either way. Many of them aren't and don't. To pull this off, on second read the reaction should be either "oh, wow, that totally works" or "of course! How did I miss it?"

Instead my reaction is "no, that doesn't really fit very well. They wouldn't have said these things if that had been what was going on." It comes across as a retcon, not a twist.

6319091
Again, YMMV. I'm sorry it didn't fit for you, but feedback is always appreciated. :pinkiesmile:

Yeah, even on a reread I'm with 6319091, there are too many details that just don't seem to make any sense when put together with the reveal at the end.

I enjoyed the dialogue but I don't know what that bait and switch added to the story apart from confusion, at least to me.

Most of the story sets it up to be around Luna and the Tantabus, and they aren't speaking in terms that could be applied to both of them.

I guess it feels like assembling a puzzle then having half the pieces decide to change where they fit leaving a strange image rather then one continuous picture.

Am I missing something here? Is there some kind of background piece to this I needed to read first?

6326729
Neigh, it's a one-shot. For a small insight into the intended meaning, see my response here:

6317878

It's clearly a matter of taste as the last couple of commenters agreed the twist at the end didn't fit, but most of the readers felt otherwise. I think whether or not it fits will depend in part on headcanon for the characters; my view of Celestia as a real pony hidden beneath a facade may not jive with some of them.

6326911 You are reading more deeply into why the twist didn't work (for me, at least) than is necessary. When you have readers who point to specific bits of the story that don't feel consistent with the twist ending, the more reasonable course of action is to accept them at their word as opposed to inventing alternate explanations that they never posted or hinted at.

Personally, I don't mind a more complex, interesting Celestia in the slightest. That wasn't why I thought the twist didn't work.

6337063

When you have readers who point to specific bits of the story that don't feel consistent with the twist ending, the more reasonable course of action is to accept them at their word as opposed to inventing alternate explanations that they never posted or hinted at.

I totally misspoke in that message. When I said "I think whether or not it fits will depend in part on headcanon" I wasn't specifically referring to you, but the way I wrote my response it certainly looks like I was, so that's my bad. I was thinking of other readers (TD in particular, who enjoyed the twist but writes Celestia in a very particular manner) who have commented here (or to me privately) that Celestia felt out of character to them.

My sincere apologies for sounding like I was putting words in your muzzle.

I'm not trying to be defensive. When LordBucket posted a long point-by-point message here 6319091 (which I very much appreciate, actually), I considered responding with a point-by-point to explain the intended meaning and answer the questions. I ended up deciding against for two reasons: I suspect it may boil down to POV, and it wouldn't negate the criticism since my explaining something outside the story does not change the fact that in the story the message was not successful. If a reader feels inconsistencies, me explaining them after the fact doesn't fix how the story was broken for them, because that information should be something you can glean just by reading the story itself, if that makes sense.

My reluctance to take the feedback to heart enough to make changes to the story is because a few writers and reviewers whose opinions I trust deeply have already read the story, and none of them felt there was an issue with the twist. The sample size of people who didn't like it is still pretty small. I don't think the up/down ratio would be this high if the twist felt like it was out of place to most readers, so I think it's probably not a pervasive issue.

Anyway, I didn't mean to make it sound like I was suggesting you or LordBucket didn't like the story because of issues with headcanon for the characters, and I apologize for that. Your POV are valid on their own and I accept them for what they are. :pinkiesmile:

6337537 Ahh, gotcha. I wasn't actually intending to push for a rewrite or anything, it just felt like the criticisms being offered were falling on deaf ears and I wanted to try one last time.

Though now that you mention it, if you did edit anything, I would recommend doing something with the bit about Luna wanting to have kept the details of the Tantabus private to have avoided this entire situation. It's not a plot hole (by my definition of the word), as there are any number of possibilities that would connect that statement to the twist at the end. The problem is that there is nothing informing the reader as to what that connection would be, what about Luna and the Tantabus that would have caused Celestia to nuke the gardens, and we're left with no clear guessable path. It's one thing to leave something important undefined such that a reader would have to assume a fairly obvious B that connects A to C, but in this case it's more like guessing everything between A and G. That's honestly the main bit I would tweak, most everything else that comes to mind can be handwaved away on the basis of Luna not being perfectly logical about an upsetting situation.

For what it's worth, I didn't downvote the story, so the ratio you are seeing is not 100% representative of the people who didn't think the twist worked. I dole out downvotes pretty sparsely; it takes more than the sort of issue I had with your story to actually earn one from me, and I prefer to engage with an author in the comments as opposed to just voting with my, er, vote. So, it's off by one, at the very least.

6337654
I agree that part's a bit unclear, and it might be worth a sentence in there somewhere near the end. The idea was that Celestia completely flipped out when she learned her sister had been torturing herself.

6337754 So, Celestia is outside when she learns about it and briefly goes nova with anger? Feels odd that she'd get that mad at Luna instead of super concerned, unless she was angry about her sister backsliding into Nightmare Moon-esque behavior or something like that. Or maybe it had to do with how the message was delivered, some conniving noble trying to take advantage of the situation and getting a nice sunburn for his trouble?

6337807
Nah, she just temporarily lost her mind. Celestia was fairly unstable after being without her sister for one-thousand years (by her own actions), and learning that her sister started torturing herself after she finally returned was just the last straw for her psyche. It isn't indicated how or when or why she torched the gardens, just that she snapped and did it.

I'm sorry I think you need to define Celly's psychotic break and frankly the one line about the bars it to little. I skimmed over it and so had no idea that Celestia was supposed to be the one with the break. Overall, I'm not a person who feels repression is a bad thing, so this story didn't really reach me

Also. after having read some of your comments, I'd just like to say it's perfectly possible to see Celestia both as a "real pony" and exactly who she seems to be.

some sun is butthurt that she's the one who need psychoanalyszing here.

This is pure, solid gold.

6353313
I did end up adding a couple of sentences at the end to increase clarity, in preparation for the sequel.

I clearly skim more than I should. I completely missed that twist ending on my first read.

Well done, I really appreciate the fact that not only did you highlight issues concerning both sisters but you managed to get something even bigger off your chest through the power of prose. :moustache:

I often feel as if Celestia is forgotten or hated while Luna is over-exaggerated to be helpless or something similar in many stories, which is greatly disappointing. The fact that you choose the cover from such a wonderful moment in the show-and one of my personal faves-really made me smile.

7181227
There's a sequel coming soon. :trollestia:

7181237

Well, I think I might have to follow you for that one... :raritywink:

Cool. Welp, time for me to read the SEQUEL!

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