• Published 14th Sep 2015
  • 23,378 Views, 1,036 Comments

Would It Matter If I Was? - GaPJaxie



In the wake of the Canterlot Wedding, Fluttershy has to ask Twilight a very difficult question.

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Should it?

“What?” Twilight asked, staring across the room. Her mouth hung slightly open, and her ears were folded back a few degrees. Fluttershy stared back without answering, and Twilight’s brow furrowed. “I’m sorry, I think I misunderstood.”

“Would it matter?” Fluttershy repeated, setting aside one of the larger boxes of books. Her voice was quiet, but not timid, and she held Twilight’s stare across the long gap between them. She’d been helping Twilight clean up the old library, and had several books tucked under her wings. “If I was. That is.”

“Would it matter if you were a changeling?” Twilight repeated, adding a firmness to the words. Her puzzled expression turned narrow, and her tail flicked. “That’s what you're asking me?” Fluttershy nodded. “Okay, well then. Yes. The changelings just tried to invade Canterlot and enslave all of Equestria, so I’d have to say it would matter.”

“Changelings just tried to invade Canterlot and enslave all of Equestria,” Fluttershy said, more gently than Twilight had. Her voice was soft, but the structure of her words was orderly, like she was reading from a well-practiced statement. She turned back to the shelf in front of her, and resumed shelving the books she had under her wing.

“That’s what I said.” Twilight continued to stare at Fluttershy, now at her back. Fluttershy picked up a book, and considered its spine. There was plenty of work to be done, getting Twilight's old Canterlot tower back in order. They still hadn’t left the library. Fluttershy was shelving books, and Twilight was spread out on one of the couches, with Spike asleep nearby.

“No, you said the changelings invaded Canterlot.” Fluttershy finished with her books, and used her wings to smooth out a section of her coat the covers had ruffled. After she was done, she turned back to Twilight. “I mean, it’s the difference between, ‘Some unicorns called Applejack a… m-word pony, today, and the unicorns called Applejack a m-word pony today.’”

“‘Mud’ isn’t a dirty word, Fluttershy,” Twilight replied, frowning as she spoke. Her left ear twitched.

“It is when you use it that way.” She walked across the room, but not over to Twilight’s couch. Instead, she headed over to the old desk, still covered in paper and dusty cups from before Twilight left for Ponyville. “And don’t change the subject.”

“I’m not changing the subject. You’re just…” Twilight sighed, flicking her tail back and forth and stretching her neck. “Look, Fluttershy. This isn’t the time. Okay? I’m still picking changeling goo out of my hooves. My brother and foalsitter are still traumatized from being mind controlled and kidnapped. I’m pretty sure the changeling queen made Shining…” she grimaced, forcing the words out, “sleep with her. And he’s not taking it terribly well. Not well at all. So if you want to have a philosophical debate later, sure, but this isn’t funny.”

“It’s not funny because I’m not joking.” Fluttershy reached the desk, and began to neatly stack the plates and cups to more easily carry them away. The tips of her wings made a good feather duster, brushing away the fine grey layers that had accrued on the wood. It was only after a pause that she went on. “I mean, I’ve been your friend for a long time. I’ve held the Element of Kindness. I fought with you against the queen and her swarm. Shining and Cadance’s spell didn’t banish me. And, well…”

She went quiet for a second, her eyes focused resolutely on the desk as she worked. “I mean, if I was going to betray you, I’ve had ample opportunity. So I think at this point, I’ve proven by my actions that my friendship is real.” She swallowed. “So. If it did turn out that I was a changeling the whole time. Would it matter?”

Twilight paused and stared across the room. She sat up straight, and her ears perked to attention as her eyes narrowed. She began to speak, but shut her jaw without saying anything. Fluttershy still didn’t look up. “You’re serious,” Twilight finally said.

“I’m serious that I want to know your answer to that question,” Fluttershy answered. She let out the breath she’d been holding, and picked up the stack of dishes. Her eyes stayed on her work, and her head stayed down.

“Are…” Twilight’s breath caught in her throat, and she had to force the words out. Her eyes were wide. “You’re a changeling?”

“I didn’t say that,” Fluttershy replied. The little library area had no kitchen—that was downstairs—so she took the dirty dishes to the top of the stair, and set them down beside it.

“So you’re not a changeling?” Twilight sat forward. “You’re just asking me this stuff for no reason!?”

“I didn’t say that either,” Fluttershy nudged the stack of dishes with a hoof.

“Fluttershy!” Twilight snapped, her voice abruptly rising. “This isn’t funny!

“Well I’m not joking, am I, Twilight!?” Fluttershy snapped back, turning to make eye contact across the room. Her wings flared out from her body, and her ears tilted back. “I’m asking you a question.”

“Well if you’re not a changeling, why does it matter?” Twilight demanded. Her breaths came quickly and unsteadily, and her legs trembled as she rose from the couch. “Huh!? Why do you need to know?”

“Because you don’t know what happened yesterday, Twilight.” Fluttershy’s voice dropped from a shout, but her tone stayed firm, and she didn’t look away from her friend. “None of us do. All you know is that a group of changelings attacked you, for some reason, and then were banished. You don’t know where they’re from, or what they’re like, or even really why they did it, unless you count the queen’s puffed up monologue, which you shouldn't. But on just that, you’re prepared to brand an entire race ‘Evil Shapeshifters.’”

Twilight stared at Fluttershy. She lowered her head a few degrees, then lifted it back up. Her legs shifted uncertainly. “I didn’t say they were evil shapeshifters.”

“You just said that the thought that one of your friends might turn out to be one was terrifying.” Fluttershy fluffed her wings, lifted a foreleg, and put it back down. She lowered her head a few degrees, but kept her eyes on Twilight. “I mean,” she said after a moment, “you’ve been through a lot. You’re allowed to be scared. You’re even allowed to be angry. But it’s not the same.”

“So what are you saying?” Twilight asked. “That there are other changeling swarms that aren’t evil?”

“Maybe.” Fluttershy took a breath, and then lifted her chin to look at Twilight head on. “Maybe not all changelings swarm. You don’t know. And for what it’s worth, I’m not entirely convinced the swarm that attacked us was evil.”

“What!?” Twilight took a sharp step forward. “They enslaved my brother and tried to destroy us all! Did you miss that part?”

Fluttershy took a half step back as Twilight suddenly advanced, and pulled away from her glare, one hoof leaving the ground. She froze that way, and Twilight froze as well, the two staring at each other across the gap. Eventually, Twilight’s expression calmed, and Fluttershy returned her hoof to the ground. “Sorry,” Twilight said.

“It’s…” Fluttershy swallowed. “It’s okay. But, their queen enslaved your brother and tried to destroy us all. The others were just soldiers. They might be evil. I don’t know. They were definitely mean. Plus, Shining’s spell banished them, and I remember you said it runs off of ill intent. But… maybe they were just doing what they were ordered to do.” Fluttershy turned away from Twilight, quickly, and walked back across to the desk with a stiff step. “They look like bugs. Maybe they’re really loyal to their hive. You don’t know.”

Fluttershy reached the desk and put a hoof up on it. She didn’t work though, and instead stared at it for several seconds as she caught her breath. “You don’t know and you shouldn't make decisions on the assumption that you do.”

“If you’re not a changeling, why are you bringing this up now?” Twilight demanded. Her eyes stayed on Fluttershy’s back. “It’s not like you to be this assertive.”

“Because if I wait, it will be too late.” Fluttershy started neatening the papers on the desk, using little swipes of her feathers to work the dust out of the shadows under the paper. “If you and Shining and Cadence and Celestia and Luna go off and talk about how we need to… I don’t know. Start drawing ponies’ blood or pulling out their hair to see if they’re really shapeshifters. And then it turns out somepony was a changeling all along? I mean, think about it. Think about the mindset you’re in.” Fluttershy took a breath, and then let it out abruptly. Speaking quickly, she shot out, “I mean, if Derpy or Bon Bon or someone turned out to be a changeling all along. Would we sit down and have a nice chat about what that meant?”

“Why do you care?” Twilight demanded.

“Oh, gosh. Why would I care that you might be condemning an innocent creature because of its race?” She snorted, and knocked the desk hard with a hoof. “You’re right. That does sound out of character for me.”

“Getting snippy and sarcastic is out of character for you as well,” Twilight pointed out. Her tone slowed however, becoming more wary than angry. “That doesn’t seem to be stopping you.”

“Well you’re yelling at me,” Fluttershy said, lowering her voice. She turned her head back towards Twilight, looking over her shoulder.

Twilight took several long breaths. She looked at Fluttershy, and Fluttershy looked at her. Twilight’s hoof scraped on the ground. She swallowed. “I notice you surround yourself with creatures that love you.”

Fluttershy hesitated, her ears tilting back as her tail lowered. “I suppose that I do.”

“And that you have a nasty side.” Twilight pressed on, her voice slowly raising. “A really nasty side, in fact. Cruel, even. You don’t let it out much. And…” Twilight’s eyes wide. “Oh my gosh. The stare! You can control creature’s minds!”

“I suppose that I can,” Fluttershy agreed, shying away and turning her head.

“Fluttershy…” Twilight took a half step forward. “Are you a changeling?”

“Would it matter if I was?” Fluttershy repeated.

“Fluttershy, I need you to answer the question,” Twilight said. She took a step towards her friend, but then paused, and took a step back. She kept a distance between them, her horn lowered a few degrees towards her friend’s back.

“Well,” Fluttershy said. Her eyes stayed forward. “I need you to answer my question first.”

Twilight didn’t answer. She stared at her friend’s back, making no sound other than her breath. After several seconds of silence had passed, Fluttershy looked back at Twilight. Her eyes were wide, but not like Twilight’s had been. They weren’t dilated with fear or alarm. She simply seemed to stare at Twilight very intently, and Twilight took a half-step back.

Twilight looked to one side, breaking eye contact.

“No, it… no. It wouldn't matter,” Twilight said. “It would be weird, sure. But… well. Like you said. You’ve proven you’re really my friend. It doesn’t matter if you’re an earth pony, or a pegasus, or a giant bug. The friendship is what matters. I’m just um… just a little uncomfortable with it.” She cleared her throat. “Heh.”

“Twilight, I think you’re more than a little uncomfortable.” Fluttershy let out a little half-breath. She even smiled a little, though it didn’t extend up to her eyes. “But, you’ve been through a lot. It’s… understandable. I mean, I don’t care if Applejack is an earth pony or a pegasus, but if it turned out she was a pegasus this whole time who just… I don’t know. Had her wings hidden somehow? I know I’d probably freak out.”

“Rainbow would freak out too,” Twilight agreed. She let out a stiff laugh, and Fluttershy laughed as well. “Those two.” The laughter faded, and Twilight drew in a deep breath. “So that’s it then? You’re a changeling?”

“No,” Fluttershy said simply. “I’m not.”

Twilight blinked. “What?”

“I’m not a changeling,” Fluttershy repeated, with a firm tone. “It was just hypothetical.”

“But…” Twilight’s jaw opened and shut. Her ears shot up. “No. No! You specifically refused to deny it!”

“Because it’s easy to say you’d do the right thing when it’s abstract,” Fluttershy replied, adding a bit of a shrug. “Harder in person.”

“But… the Stare!” Twilight insisted. “And the creatures that love you!”

“I just like caring for animals, Twilight. Don’t overthink it.” Fluttershy turned, and moved back to the stairs. She scooped up the dishes she’d left there. “I’m going to go take these downstairs. Applejack will probably be by soon and she said she was bringing food.”

Fluttershy!” Twilight shouted, stepping after Fluttershy as she went down the stairs. “No! Just… no! You can’t do that!” She made a sharp, swinging gesture. “Because I know that’s exactly what you’d say if you were a changeling!”

“Even if I was a changeling, why would I lie?” Fluttershy asked. “I mean, since you just explained it didn’t matter.”

“I…” Twilight stammered. “I mean…”

“I’m going to go take these downstairs,” Fluttershy said. She held the plates against her with her wings, and quickly proceeded downstairs. The spiral staircase turned under her, and she was soon lost to Twilight’s sight.

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Comments ( 1035 )

An interesting little piece. :)

...Though, I must say, I did notice:
"“But… the Stare!” Twilight insisted. “And the creatures that love you!”
“I just like caring for animals, Twilight. Don’t overthink it.”"
That reply only really answers one of those questions. And since it does seem that Fluttershy isn't a changeling here... I'm wondering what that might mean.

It's very credible that Fluttershy might stand up for the Changelings, or at least feel sympathy for them. They are, after all, just creatures doing what they need to do to survive. One can go about it better and worse ways, but are you really going to yell at cheetahs on the African savanna and wave signs in front of their faces advising them that "meat is murder"?

Georg #3 · Sep 14th, 2015 · · 2 ·

6421978 Actually.... there are people who would do that. What's worse is they bring a camera crew to film themselves doing it. What's even worse is.... we watch it.

Even more powerful than The Stare, it's... the Mind Screw!

Nice to see another story from you buddy, even if it's a short one. I always like these little moral dilemmas, and given the state of things in the world, they're probably worth thinking about.

6421987
Okay, point. Fluttershy wouldn't.

It's an interesting idea and I thought Fluttershy's side was very well executed; Twilight's, though, could have been much stronger. There was too much of Fluttershy leading the argument and Twilight not doing enough to take it herself. As you said, Twilight is rather angry and given what happened to her family, I would have expected that to drive more of her side.

Specifically, I would have thought that she'd point out to Fluttershy that they were lucky to have won that battle. They were taken completely unawares. Chrysalis and her swam had already come out on top by the end, and it was a literal last-second miracle that saved them from the bugs. If that is what first contact with the changelings is like, then yes, they have a right to be worried. True, they may be wrong in the end and that was just a rogue swarm, but given what was almost lost, to not be worried about them at all is foolish. Additionally, at the end, Twilight could have turned Fluttershy's argument against her; Yes, it would matter if you were a changeling, for all the reasons you listed. You would be living proof, something we could take to the princesses, to show that not all changelings are evil, to show that this was a horrible mistake what just happened and that maybe we shouldn't go off all half-cocked. Put the ball back in Fluttershy's court by saying that if she is, then she should prove it and deal with this now, before things get worse.

Still, in the end, good stuff. Have a Like.

Well now. That was a fun read and some very good points. Poor Twilights gonna go Pinky ability discovering crazy working the entire conversation around in her head.

Side note has anyone done any Fluttershy is a changeling stories?

My first thought from the beginning was the parallel to 9/11, and the natural paranoia that drove many people to automatically assume that all Muslims were evil people, who lived by a moral code that allowed for and encouraged the murder of those who are "not like us". I like your characterization of Fluttershy in this, because without people who have the courage to express an opinion - or take action - against such reactionary points of view, there would likely be far more people willing to condemn everyone who is "not like us" no matter what the cause. In some ways she feels a little off for Fluttershy, but then this is a very special situation. I feel you really handled her actions and dialogue very well.

Would it HYPOTHETICALLY matter if Pinkie was Diabetic?
Would it HYPOTHETICALLY matter if Applejack was a de-horned Unicorn?
Would it HYPOTHETICALLY matter if you're really a Vampony who drinks our blood on sleepovers?

Yes Fluttershy, it would literally mean you have lied about who you are for as long as we have known you.
The ENTIRE basis of our friendship becomes suspect when one of the pillars of that relationship is proven to be fictitious.
Perhaps it will prove to be inconsequential, but the fact remains that it DOES MATTER.

“Because if I wait, it will be too late.” Fluttershy started neatening the papers on the desk, using little swipes of her feathers to work the dust out of the shadows under the paper. “If you and Shining and Cadence and Celestia and Luna go off and talk about how we need to… I don’t know. Start drawing ponies’ blood or pulling out their hair to see if they’re really shapeshifters. And then it turns out somepony was a changeling all along? I mean, think about it. Think about the mindset you’re in.” Fluttershy took a breath, and then let it out abruptly. Speaking quickly, she shot out, “I mean, if Derpy or Bon Bon or someone turned out to be a changeling all along. Would we sit down and have a nice chat about what that meant?”

FLUTTERSHY 2016! :yay:

6422114
Why are you required to say what race you are?

It only has limited bearing on WHO you are.

Why would anyone else care?

Moreover, why is it wrong to hide that you're what others would consider a monster, and thereby prevent them from judging you for who you are?

6422114

Yes.
No.
Yes. (Caveat)

1. Potentially deadly self-harm through sugar, if true. I would want to know so I could help overcome a harmful addiction.
2. It's not my business if you had tragedy in your past. If you want to talk about it, talk about it, but it doesn't change who you are, now.
3. You're actually hurting us, if true. Caveat: If you'd said "If Fluttershy were a vampony." and left it at that, I would say "no."

I might be hurt that they didn't trust me, but so long as it's not being hidden to harm, it's not my business.

Very well written. Of course, now I'm jonesing for a sequel, but please don't write one. This type of story is best left as a solo piece.

Deep. I like it.

6422167 6422198
If Fluttershy is a Changeling, then everything they think they know about her is suspect.
That is what you get when you deceive others on a fundamental factor of your identity.
Twilight would internally ask herself:
What Else is she lying about? Why did she not speak up until now? Did she not trust her family?
WAS HER FRIENDSHIP ALL A LIE?
Logical and Emotional responses would stem from these internal questions.

Again, will it amount to anything substantial? Unknown.
Does it matter as it suddenly became a Matter of National Security... YES.

6422211
If you thought someone was white, but it turned out they were black, but always wore makeup to appear white, why would that matter?

Or the opposite - if someone claimed to be black, but it later turned out that they're pure-blooded white?

6422211

WAS HER FRIENDSHIP ALL A LIE?

She managed to help fire the Orbital Friendship Laser twice at this point in canon, so no. I'm pretty sure the friendship is legit.

6422223
It's true! In Equestria, you can tell if you are true friends by your ability to shoot magical rainbow lasers.

Indeed, in Equestria, the word for "magical laser beam" is the same as the word for "friendship", which is why nobody finds it strange that Twilight fights a bunch of magical monsters, and why everyone is terrified of the Equestrians offering to extend their "Friendship" to their nation, especially after what happened to the griffons. :duck:

6422225
Indeed. As Discord helped proved, with no friendship, no friendship beam.

6422073 The Vampony Chronicles brought that in on 10/26/2012. It is the oldest I can remember and the only one I remember the name of off the top of my head.

Have you ever read Fluttershy Is Free ...? That deals with a similar issue, though it takes place earlier and Fluttershy tries to reveal her secret to Rainbow Dash instead of Twilight.

My reasons for suspecting Fluttershy of being at least part-Changeling are the same as the ones adduced here, and one more. Though Chrysalis is a megalomaniac aggressor and hence launched a massed assault on Canterlot, that's not normal for Changeling Hives. For the most part, Changelings are very shy -- in point of fact, they're mostly terrified of non-Changelings, and this is also Fluttershy's personality.

To me, The Stare is what truly clinches it. That's the exact same ability that Chrysalis uses on Shining Armor. It's a high-caste Changeling power, and that means that Fluttershy probably has high-caste Changeling in her ancestry.

I find the comparison of your story and mine of interest, because in the Shadow Wars Storyverse, the point at which Fluttershy successfully reveals her secret (Rainbow Dash doesn't believe her in Fluttershy Is Free) is also right after the Changeling attack on Canterlot. Before this, you see, Fluttershy hadn't known that the Changelings were dangerous to any Ponies outside of the vicinity of the Badlands --- the moment she met Chrysalis in Canterlot, she knew this was the same creature she'd met at 14 in the Badlands, and she knew that she had to speak of what she knew to Celestia.

This isn't easy for Fluttershy, because she's well aware she may be taken for a concealed enemy. And it is the incident that first shakes Rainbow Dash's love for her; one of the main reasons the Shadow Wars Fluttershy doesn't wind up with her childhood best friend. So it's consequential.

6422221
Your fiance is actually preop. You had no clue.
Does this suddenly change the dynamics of your relationship?

Drop a drama bomb, expect something to explode.
Even if it's Fluttershy doing it.

The question is not if it's RIGHT... the question is if it MATTERS.
6422223

Logical and Emotional responses would stem from these internal questions.
Again, will it amount to anything substantial? Unknown.

I, personally, do not question the validity of the Friendship.
Just the from a logical and emotional point of view it would be called to question, in light of such revelations.
Out loud or internally, no matter how fleeting or brief.
Hypothetically of course.

6422283
Yes, and that is completely different, because being transgender is precisely about having a mental preoccupation with gender.

Being preoccupied with your gender is not a matter of what you are, but of who you are. It changes your behavior.

The same applies to a preoccupation with race. Some people identify as being black, or white, or Asian, in a very powerful, central way. That defines who they are. But that is not because race defines who you are, but because those people have chosen to make it define them, and indeed, often create an identity for "white people" or "black people" or "Japanese" or whatever and then align themselves with that, regardless of the reality of said identity. It changes their behavior. But it isn't because being black changes their behavior, but because their definition of what it means for them to be a black person that changes their behavior.

The same applies to transgendered individuals - while it isn't a choice, it does define them in ways it does not define ordinary individuals. I don't spend a lot of time obsessing over my gender, but that is not the case for transgendered individuals - they are very conscious of it in ways that I am not. Many transgendered individuals will get upset if they get misgendered. I don't get upset if people misgender me, because it isn't a big deal to me.

And thus, being transgender does define who you are in a way that being white or black does not. It makes you behave differently, in very important ways. The color of your skin doesn't change how you behave.

It is the difference between the physical and the mental.

I will also note that the rules change in romantic relationships - you are allowed to not like someone romantically because they are ugly. That is not wrong. It is not wrong to not be sexually attracted on any arbitrary basis whatsoever.

Someone breaking up with Fluttershy because she was a changeling would be more acceptable, because there is a very physical aspect to romantic relationships which that could easily disrupt.

Though I mean, seriously, who would? Now she can make all the fanfics come true! *eyebrow waggle*

While be over thinking because of the bats episode fact that her appearance has change because of a accident spell supposed to alter mind and some that same spell has changed her appearance.

6422353

Mate, how many times do you need to be told that "preoccupation" or whatever you've gotten into your head this time isn't what "transgender" is?

I still refuse to hold a conversation with you, but I thought I would at least point out that you're making an ass of yourself again and give you the opportunity to do some real study before you go beyond the mouth and start cramming your foot down your throat.

For all that fluttershy seems kinda off in how she speaks, I can see her speaking against the condemnation of a race based on the actions of one group. I guess its like condemning aliens from country X because aliens form country Y were crazy axe maniacs.

I'm curious as to why fluttershy chose such a stressing way of doing it through, I get that she wanted an honest answer from twilight but surely there was potential for panicked reactions and fluttershy getting blasted by twilight. I guess the other ways didn't have as much tension to them, story wise?

“Would it matter if you were a changeling?”

Yes it would Fluttershy, and you made the perfect argument for why.

“Maybe not all changelings swarm. You don’t know.
You don’t know and you shouldn't make decisions on the assumption that you do.”

The thing about potential threats is they are always and forever based on assumptions, guesses, and incomplete information. All Twilight and the Princesses really know is that a group of shape-shifters attacked Canterlot, infiltrated the country at the highest level, and almost conquered the country, because ponies were too trusting and not suspicious enough.
Maybe not all changlings swarm. Maybe most changlings are friendly and have a positive symbiotic relationship with ponies. Or maybe, every last one of them is linked in a symbiotic hive mind with Chrysalis, and some are deep sleeper agents who can integrate into pony society for decades and then suddenly be activated, like a pony Bourne Identity. Either way, no one knows. But it's the responsibility of a nation's leaders to first prepare for the worst possible outcome, not the best.

The tiny slice of incomplete information Equestria has indicates changlings seem to be a threat to the Equestrian way of life. Not necessarily evil, or doing anything other than trying to survive, but the the morality of ones foes is not the chief concern, it is their threat level, and changlings are obviously capable of being a significant threat. How long until the changlings attack again, if they ever will?

You don't know.

Equestria's rulers are forced to make decisions and take actions with practically no information (and of course, taking no action at all is itself an action). What's a smart first step?
Fluttershy you've done it again!

Start drawing ponies’ blood or pulling out their hair to see if they’re really shapeshifters.

Or some kind of detection spell. That doesn't mean if Derpy is a changling she should be arrested, but yeah, incomplete information, like the number and placement of changlings in pony society, needs to be remedied. The most dangerous threat of all is always the unknown one, the threat you didn't really consider because it seemed so unlikely or harmless.

Don't get me wrong, this was a great story. Fluttershy was in character here, worried about hypothetical friendly changlings, and using a quiet teachable moment to help Twilight consider the full range of possibilities instead of going off half-cocked with the princesses and attacking potential innocents without thinking first. That said, this is also a good reminder of why Fluttershy needs Angel Bunny and Rainbow "Are you a spy" Dash.

Heavy-handed, melodramatic, anvil-laden, boring.

2 thumbs down.

6422435
Identity is "who you define yourself as being". That's why we use the term "cultural identity", "racial identity", "gender identity", "religious identity", ect.

How you define yourself is one of the most important things in determining who you are from a psychological standpoint.

When someone focuses on some identity as being an important part of themselves, that does in fact fundamentally change who they are as a person. To change your identity is to change how you interact with the world, because how we act is in part a reflection of what we see ourselves as being.

Identifying yourself as being X changes your behavior, makes you more socially conscious about acting as a member of X, makes you want to behave more like fellow members of X, ect.

X can be anything - a man, a gamer, an Egyptian, a devout Hindu, a Yankees fan, a statistician. How you think of yourself changes how you interact with the rest of humanity, and defines you and your thinking in very important ways.

6422353
Wall of text veers into the brush, attempting to bring this back to topic related material.

When a galvanized, identifiable "what" invades, the "who" takes a back seat.
Fluttershy's attempt to emotionally blackmail Twilight does not change the fact that a unified and wholly changeling force just attacked the capital, and that is the fact that must be addressed.
And as a Changeling, Fluttershy would suddenly be required to answer a LOT of questions, especially on those "who" and "what".

The POTENTIAL relationship damage is equal to my given examples.
She LIED about her personal history, thus everything on "who" she is, is now questionable.

6422445

I'm curious as to why fluttershy chose such a stressing way of doing it through, I get that she wanted an honest answer from twilight but surely there was potential for panicked reactions and fluttershy getting blasted by twilight. I guess the other ways didn't have as much tension to them, story wise?

Clearly, because Fluttershy actually is a changeling, and if she didn't change Twilight's mind, that'd be discovered sooner or later. :trixieshiftright:

Also, because Fluttershy IS Twilight's friend, and trusts Twilight, and doesn't think that Twilight would attack her or bring her to harm. She loves Twilight as a friend, and trusts that Twilight loves her.

By putting Twilight in that situation, she put Twilight into the right mindset to appreciate her own thought processes.

6422499

TIL 'normal' people get a valid gender but trans people only get a debate over a gender identity.

good talk mate
til next time

6422499
You can stop now.
"What" does not exclusively define "who".
"What" does factor in creating the "who".
Deny this and you prove yourself a fool.

6422501
Sure - if you're a bad person.

The US imprisoned many, many thousands of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II, an episode that the US looks back on in shame, as a blemish on their otherwise virtuous conduct during the course of the war, while fighting against some pretty bad folks.

It wasn't right.

Fluttershy's attempt to emotionally blackmail Twilight does not change the fact that a unified and wholly changeling force just attacked the capital, and that is the fact that must be addressed.

Is it wrong for gays to call out their loved ones, to point out that they are gay, and they are loved by them despite them being gay. If them being gay doesn't matter, why do they condemn gays in society?

People who are friends with gays could be argued to be "emotionally blackmailed" by the gays into accepting homosexuality as normal. But is that really how we see it societally?

Is it really a bad thing to ask someone, "If I was a member of (insert social group you don't like here), would you hate me?" Is that really emotionally manipulative?

I don't think so. Twilight, in condemning others, might well be condemning other people to undergo the same thing - facing their friends and loved ones being changelings. By making it immediate for Twilight - by forcing Twilight to confront the issue as others would confront it - she is put into the mindset of those who are going to be hit hardest by any anti-changeling program.

And that is an important mindset to keep in mind when making a decision.

Good job writing Twilight Sparkle as Twilight Sparkle!

ALl of it was very Twilight Sparkle!

Most authors have two modes of writing Twilight Sparkle: Writing Twilight Sparkle, and writing Twilight Sparkle's script.
The first is an active action and analysis, applying the voice to the lines in your head, just like reading "Good News Everyone!" with Farnsworth's voice in your head.
The second is a persistent pre-planned action, writing the lines for the character with personality traits X Y Z, but leaving the actor's name for the casting role blank.

Congrats on doing the first one!

6422526
If Fluttershy was secretly spying on them for the changelings, then yes, of course it would matter. But that's not because she's a changeling, but because she's a spy - indeed, it would have the same ramifications if she was a pony who was spying for them.

But if Fluttershy is just Fluttershy, just a changeling who lives in pony society, and does the exact same things that Fluttershy has always done, why does her being a changeling matter at all?

It is our actions which define us.

Do genetics influence our behavior?

Undoubtedly.

But our behavior is the end point of everything - how we act is already taking our genetics into account.

What matters is what people are actually doing.

Moreover, consider it from Fluttershy's point of view - if you were living in, say, 1950s Alabama, would you advertise the fact that you were mixed race if you could pass as white?

Would it be a betrayal of your neighbors to keep that a secret?

[Edit: I was answering "does it matter". That is an absolute yes / no.
I was Not answering "should it matter". That is a subjective question.
How, What, the Degree, and the Outcome of everything was debatable.]
6422530
Well that's it then.
You brought in morality.

Good day sir.
6422573
No, we are done.

Huh
i guess it would be apt to say
Who is not a species, but a name and a character
is Flutters a changeling?
it does not interfere with who she is
just the what
and what she is does not matter
Great story mate.

I’m not entirely convinced the swarm that attacks us was evil.”

Attacked, did you mean?

6422047
Twilight would be wise to make sure that the other Princesses were on board with that before actually doing something that risky - if Twilight is wrong, and the other princesses are freaked out about changelings, that could very well lead to conflict between her and the princesses and losing her friend.

Also, Twilight probably wouldn't think about it on the spot when she is still freaking out about it.

But yes, the good changeling would be important.

Of course, all of this assumes that the princesses don't know more about changelings than they're letting on - Cadance spoke about them being changeling as if others (or, at the very least, as if Celestia) would know what that means.

This was a neat little piece. Philosophical, hypothetical. Perhaps a bit too on-the-nose as pertaining to certain real-world ethnic relations, which may have been the point. You've earned that place on the spotlight list.

Best part about this story was it put Twilight in a pretty negative light, which I'm always glad to see, since I don't like her.

I'm reminded of the story where a Pinkie-clone was thought to be a changeling and Twilight's reaction was even more insane and murderous. Is Fluttershy a changeling? She says no, but the tone of the story means the actual answer is ambiguous. My reaction is (and everyone's ought to be): "I don't care."

Except Changelings in MLP are, by definition, evil parasitic monsters.

I don't mean to be spiteful, but I have a pet peeve about moral ambiguity for the sake of moral ambiguity.

6422645 Well, I care, because I wanna see the adorable FlutterLing.

6422670 - I meant "I don't care" in the sense that it doesn't matter whether or not Fluttershy is a changeling, because she is who she is regardless of what she is. I actually agree with you. Changeling Fluttershy is/would be adorable.

Was downvoting me really necessary?

6422657
To be fair, there was that one changeling at the wedding in Slice of Life; he didn't seem to be hurting anyone.

or pulling out their hair to see if they’re really shapeshifters.

I see what you did there.
voiceofthenorth.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/parasyte-splitting-hairs.jpg

6422677 what? I didn't downvote you. I didn't vote at all.

6422573 There's a disconnect going on here.

You're arguing about the individual (the Twilight/Fluttershy angle) when the point Fluttershy is making is towards the group (the country as a whole angle).

A person can and should be very forgiving of their friends, even when their friends lie to them. No matter what the lie is about, lies do cause harm - however small - and are best avoided. You can't remove pain from life, it's too firmly ingrained into it, but you can lessen the amount you cause. When our friends fail to do that, it's our job to help them get past it. They have to do the lion's share of the work through apology and reparations, but we have a part too in forgiving them. Hurts heal and friends can be stronger on the other side of them.

On a national level though - the thing Fluttershy is actually talking about - you *can't* act like that. It doesn't work. Mostly because you aren't working with a friend to get past a hurt. Those in charge are working to protect others. That is government's chief duty (even if they fail at it), the defense of its citizens. Just as you can't forgive for me, the government can't forgive for its citizens. It's primary job is to protect, and so Fluttershy's hypothetical question is actually being used to argue against government doing its job. Now, I do believe that the diplomatic approach is the best course of action, and a retaliatory response actually damages both sides, but to offer peace talks or a "I'm sure *this* one won't do anything bad to us" approach from the get go is lunacy.

The US interning people of Japanese descent was a retaliatory response - that's why it was so bad. It was an overreaction based on panic due to a horrific attack. The reaction by the government to 9/11 was actually much more realistic. They didn't just round up everybody who was Muslim or of Arabic descent - but they did pay more attention to them. Given what was going on, and that its government's job to protect - not to forgive, it was a reasonable, if unfortunate response.

Fluttershy would be better off not arguing in such a way as to cast doubt on any and all actions other than information gathering, but to instead argue for reason, restraint, and an abandoning of and caution against vengeance.

And that's why this story fails for me. Fluttershy wouldn't ever have to make this argument. Celestia has always shown herself as a calm, reasonable, and welcoming ruler. We have never seen her act out of pettiness or anger - and never in a selfish way. Who would Fluttershy actually need to convince? And of what? The reality is, Equestria's ruler is depicted as the most welcoming and accepting on the whole planet. This whole conversation is unnecessary.

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