• Published 27th Sep 2015
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This Is Not An Adventure Clyde Adventure: A Story About Twilight Sparkle - horizon



Spike writes disturbing stories about an alicorn stalker. Twilight Sparkle's cheeks occasionally burst into flames.

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1. The chapter about Twilight Sparkle and Spike

THIRTEEN POINT EIGHT-TWO BILLION YEARS AGO
The Beginning Of All Things

Twilight Sparkle did not exist.

I'm not sure why I started here. Let's skip to the important part.


YESTERDAY
Canterlot

"Zo," Inkblot said, glancing up at the chaise longue where Twilight Sparkle was uncomfortably sprawled out on her back, one perfect wing pinned underneath her body and one stuck out at an awkward angle, "do you beleef in ze conzept of luff at virst sight?"

Twilight stared around the psychiatrist's office, painted in subdued pastel tones of ocean blue and sea green that she knew were subconsciously supposed to set her mind at ease but somehow always seemed to make her feel like she was drowning in her anxieties. Then she took a deep, deep breath.

"No [1]," she said, somehow managing to pronounce the footnote, like a schwa stuck in the IPA of reality. "It's an obsolete holdover from the pre-alicorn era [2], when the discipline of literature was controlled by petty despots scrambling to maintain control of their tribes [3] and any threat to the social order posed by new ideas might have been the crack in the wall that sent their entire power structure tumbling down [4], so they desperately enforced rigid and nonsensical demands upon literary criticism [5]

[1] Horse, Bad (2015). "Review: Critical Theory Since Plato," FIMFiction.net Blog, 541392(1), p1-27.
[2] - [9] op.cit.

which stated that literature's only proper purpose was to entertain ponies in service of indoctrinating them into pursuing the impossible perfection of equinity [6] hypothesized in the glory days of the Roamin empires [7], and among those impossible archetypical constructs was the notion of love, or I should really say lust [8], at first sight because did you ever notice how none of the classical 'love stories' ever talk about the intellect or spirit or morals or interests of the poor stallion that the intrepid heroine falls for —" her voice took on an oddly strained tone as her lungs emptied — "all we ever get is paragraphs of purple prose about the might of his thews [9] and the length of his —"

Inkblot nodded solemnly as Twilight gave up and gasped for breath. He levitated a fountain pen and a small notebook bound in elegant yet understated leather, thought for a moment, then idly jotted down a single word. Twilight knew that the leather was ethically sourced from cows dead of old age whose religion encouraged them to put all their mortal remains to good use, but despite the earnestness of their belief that such donations were a celebration of a life well lived and a way of honoring the Great Circle of Existence, she never failed to find it a bit creepy.

"Go on, Prinzess," Inkblot said.

"On second thought, I don't think there's really any need to finish that sentence."

The pen paused, then leaped to life, flashing through dozens of words punctuated by the grand flourishes of bullet points. "I zee."

"Look, this is all besides the point. I came here to get help for Spike."

The pen continued its rapid scramble across the page. "Unt it is clear zat you obserff in him ze displaced zexual dezire of ze foal for hiz parent. Now vhy would you zink zat, Prinzess? Are you perhaps inclined to see zat in ozers vhich you deny in yourzelf?"

"It's nothing like that!" Twilight's cheeks heated. "Look, it's about these Adventure Clyde stories he's writing!"

The pen stopped dead.


TWO DAYS EARLIER
In A Magical Crystal Tree Palace

"Adventure Clyde, the Alicorn of Adventure, stared out of Twilight's bedroom closet at her peacefully slumbering form, consumed with his love for the best pony in the universe, in much the same way that he knew her every waking moment was consumed with thoughts of the second-best pony, which was him."

Spike tapped the feather to what would have been his lip had he not been a dragon. Hmm … something missing. He returned the quill to the page.

"… At that time she was adventuring in the realm of dreams, which was more than 500 feet from her closet, so he wasn't violating the restraining order."

Much better. He smiled.

His paper was encircled by a lavender glow. His eyes widened, and he threw himself atop it with a yelp, but the paper had already darted out of his grasp and over to Twilight.

Twilight read.

Her cheeks burst into flame.


THIRTEEN POINT EIGHT-TWO BILLION YEARS AGO
The Beginning Of All Things [10]

The Creator stared at the formless void.

[10] I knew I forgot something here.

"You know," he thought to himself, "I ought to create existence in such a way that the cute butt-tattooed ponies in one very tiny and slightly irrational corner of reality literally have their cheeks burst into flame when they get super embarrassed. That would be funny."

He reached out one ethereal hand and nudged a very particular quark one Planck length to the left.

The muon next to it got nudged, too.


AT A DRAMATICALLY APPROPRIATE MOMENT
Sugarcube Corner

"… And that's why Adventure Clyde is so obsessed with you!" Pinkie Pie said brightly.

Twilight groaned and facetabled — which wasn't quite as effective nor as memorable a turn of phrase as facedesking, but it was what she had to work with. "Pinkie, Adventure Clyde doesn't exist, and you're not making me any less worried about Spike, just more worried about you."

Pinkie patted Twilight on the withers. "Aww, that's just the cheek bandages talking. Have another cupcake."


AFTER ALL THE PREVIOUS SCENES BUT BEFORE THE REMAINING ONES
Canterlot

"… And he wouldn't even talk to me after that! He just asked if I'd been talking to Inaction Dave, whoever that even is, and stormed out of the room!"

"I'm so sorry, you poor dear," Rarity murmured, taking a surreptitious bite of Twilight's ice cream while her face was tabled. "Should we find you a better psychiatrist?"

"No, my cheeks were about six degrees from bursting into flame again anyhow." Twilight heaved a mighty sigh. "I should just ask Princess Celestia. Or maybe my brother. He's married now, that means he knows how to handle foals, right?"

Rarity cocked her head. "How to handle what?"

Twilight looked up. Rarity hid the spoon.

"Uhhh," Twilight said, "not that I think of Spike as my foal."

"Of course you don't, darling."

Twilight yanked two wet washcloths out of her saddlebags and slapped them onto her cheeks, where they immediately began to steam. "Look," she shouted, "this is NOT about some sublimated parent-child Freudian sexual desire thing! Where did you even GET that idea! I'm just concerned that he's eight years old and writing about some imaginary alicorn stalking me and where did he even LEARN the words 'restraining order'‽" [11]

[11] She also pronounced the interrobang. Twilight was linguistically talented like that.

Rarity paused. Twilight's cheeks receded from the danger zone.

"Well," Rarity said, "have you asked him?"


LATER
Elsewhere

"Spike," Twilight said, "where did you learn the words 'restraining order'?"

"[12]," Spike said, because you don't live with Twilight for eight years without learning some of her linguistic tricks.

[12] Black's Law Dictionary Revised 4th ed. (St. Paul: West, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 168-169

Twilight's mouth opened, but nothing came out. Except air, which rejoined Equestria's atmosphere as part of the Great Circle of Existence.

"We do live in a library, Twilight," Spike added.

"Point conceded," Twilight finally said, then sat down heavily, lighting her horn and pulling Spike across the floor to her. "Be that as it may, we need to talk."

Spike gave her a smile that couldn't have passed as innocent in a room full of lawyers who were also hungry sharks running for elected office. "About raising my allowance?"

"No," Twilight said. "Spike, I'm concerned about the stories you're writing."

Spike's smile wavered.

"Adventure Clyde likes oranges," he said. "Oranges are wholesome."

"Adventure Clyde is stalking me. Why would you write a thing like that?"

Spike's look grew pained. "Look, I know that's super awkward, and I'm sorry. I don't think it's right of him. I've tried to talk him out of it. But Adventure Clyde is my friend too, and someone's got to write about his adventures the same way that you write to Princess Celestia about what you and your friends do, and I'm not going to lie about what he does."

Twilight did that really cute thing she does with the leg salute and taking the deep breath. "Adventure Clyde doesn't exist, Spike. He's a fictional character that you made up, which means he's a reflection of feelings buried inside you, which means oh my goddesses I'm starting to sound like that crackpot psychiatrist." She buried her muzzle in her hooves. "Shoot me now."

Spike took a cautious step toward Twilight. When she didn't react, he tentatively placed a claw on her shoulder.

"Twilight," he said gently, "have you considered that maybe you're just not seeing Adventure Clyde?"

Twilight's head didn't move. "Because he doesn't exist."

"No," Spike said. "Because the restraining order always keeps him 500 feet away from you."

Twilight paused.

She lifted her head. A smile slowly spread across her muzzle.


11:42 A.M.
Mount Science, Canterlot Range

"Strap in, Spike."

He buckled his seatbelt and lowered his flight goggles over his eyes. "Check."

Twilight spread her wings and leapt from Reproducibility Cliff. The air currents quickly carried the two of them out into open sky.

"Alright," Twilight shouted over the wind. "You've introduced a testable proposition, so we're testing it. You claim that Adventure Clyde can never be closer than 152.4 meters to me, but you ALSO claim that he's so obsessed with me that he is never much further than that distance." She checked her altimeter. "We're now 153 meters over Equestria, and surrounded by a sphere of open sky. Wouldn't you agree that if this 'Adventure Clyde' actually existed, he should now be visible to both of us?"

"Of course," Spike shouted back, then pointed over her shoulder down toward the ground. "In fact, there he is now."

Twilight stared.

"What," she shouted, "hiding in the patch of pickling cucumbers?"

"No! He IS the patch of cucumbers!"

Twilight facehoofed, then glanced back over her shoulder at Spike. "Ponies can't turn into vegetables!"

"You turned a frog into an orange once."

"I'm the alicorn of magic!"

"And he's the alicorn of adventuring!"

"THERE'S NO SUCH THING!"

Spike fidgeted on her back. "Uhh, Twilight, look. Maybe this was a bad idea. You always get so upset about Clyde. How about we go home so you can ignore him again?"

"NO! WE'RE HERE TO DISPROVE HIS EXISTENCE, AND YOU CAN JUST STAY RIGHT THERE, MISTER, UNTIL —"

"Hey!" a voice called from the distance as a rainbow blur zoomed toward them. "What's all this shouti…" Rainbow Dash pulled up alongside them and raised her eyebrows. "Oh! Hi, Twilight. Spike."

Twilight pressed her hoof back to her throbbing temple. "Dash, can this wait? We're doing science."

"Uh, sure, I guess," Dash said, then hesitated. "Sorry, I just didn't expect to see you out here."

"Why not?"

"Well, everypony knows how you get around Adventure Clyde."

Twilight stared at Dash. The hiss of the wind suddenly died away. The world metaphorically held its breath.

"It's why you stay indoors with your books all the time, instead of being outside where he can stare at you from 500 feet away."

Twilight's lower eyelid twitched.

"So what are you out here to study?"


11:44 A.M.
Low Equestria Orbit

"AAAAAAAAIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!"


1:57 P.M.
Solar Throne Room

*WHAM!* The enormous gilded doors burst open with a crack that echoed through the hall like distant thunder in the mountains.

"Princess!" yelled the newest royal to her mentor, somehow outstripping the volume of her dramatic entrance. [13]

[13] It's not plagiarism if you steal from yourself.

Every head in the room turned toward the newcomer. Seven and a half monocles dropped from their faces. A courtier sprayed out a mouthful of tea. Celestia glanced up from her Day Court paperwork, a spark of interest rekindling in her eyes for the first time in hours, only to have the spark quickly extinguished by the tepid tapwater of gnawing fear and the ice cubes of faulty metaphor.

Twilight Sparkle strode forward, wings regally flared, hornglow blazing, her thaumic field dragging a small purple dragon behind her as he desperately dug his claws into the marble floor, leaving behind a neat row of parallel gouges. "I am having parenting issues," Twilight hissed, marching up to Celestia and glaring at her from less than a muzzle-length away, "with the dragon that you had me hatch. So maybe you would like to explain to him that there is no such thing as an Alicorn of Adventuring."

Silence descended on the room. A family of ponies with flower butt-tattoos, distantly related to the ones in Ponyville, all simultaneously fainted.

"Um," Celestia said.

Twilight hauled Spike from behind her — along with a large block of marble that his claws were dug deeply into — and floated them in front of Celestia's face.

Celestia coughed into a hoof, then looked past Spike to Twilight, her trademark gentle smile creeping hesitantly back to her muzzle. "Are you sure it's healthy to be working yourself up this way, Twilight?" Celestia said. "It's a terribly beautiful day. Can you feel that spring breeze on your face? Can you hear the sweet song of the birds? Maybe you should go to the library and read a book."

Twilight snorted, eyes narrowing.

Celestia tugged on her peytral with one hoof. "Well," she said. "This is awkward."


1:62 P.M.
Dimension Q

*WHAM!* The enormous gilded door burst open with a crack that echoed through the Land of Chaos like distant mountains in the thunder.

"Discord!" yelled the newest royal to the object of her vengeance, sounding like she was speaking through a kazoo.

There was no response, because there was a second closed door immediately behind the one she'd bucked open. A placard in the middle of the door was engraved with a single word: "POLITENESS." [13.5]

[13.5] Yes, she had in fact bucked the door inward. Don't think about it too hard or your brain will hurt as much as Twilight's.

Twilight did that utterly adorable hoof-breathy-salute thing again, then raised a hoof and knocked, gritting her teeth. "Discord."

The door opened ajar, then the jar grew legs and walked away, and the door opened itself to reveal the draconequus himself. "That's better!" he said brightly. "So how might I inject whimsy into your drab and ordered life today, my dear?"

Twilight stepped through the door into Discord's house. "You," she hissed, leaning forward, "can stop putting your sick ideas in the head of a child."

Discord stared at her, blinked, then reached up to one eyebrow, plucking it from his face and lifting it several inches in the air. "Is this about helping Pipsqueak play pirate? Because I already apologized for flooding Ponyville, and teleported the ship back to Horseshoe Bay."

"Don't play dumb with me," Twilight said, taking a step forward until her muzzle physically bumped into his. "Mister 'Alicorn of Adventuring.'"


RIGHT NOW
Your House

"Dun dun DUN!" Plot Twist Pete says from behind your chair.


PREVIOUS SCENE
Previous Location

Discord blinked.

"Pfft," he said, his muzzle fighting a smile. "Snrk."

"What," Twilight said.

"You think that I have anything to do with Adventure Clyde?" Discord said, grabbing the corners of his mouth and holding them level. "Oh, sweet stars, Princess, I wish I could take credit for that." He glanced sideways at the rising mercury of a passing thermometer. "Actually, I don't, because you look like you're just about ready to rip a hole in spacetime and throw someone out. Again. But the truth is — as much as I regret to admit it — I lost that title to Inaction Dave about a millennium ago in an ill-conceived game of Dragon Poker, along with five octothorpes of chaos concentrate." Discord leaned back, stared into space, and tapped his chin. "Rumor was, he threw them into some sort of Poorly Concealed Holding Device in his Suspiciously Unguarded Castle, confident that since the spirit of adventuring itself was within the device, it would be impossible for any pony to actually do the adventuring necessary to retrieve it."

An Expos-pigeon flew by and roosted in a nearby tree. "Fanon," it trilled in the mating call of its kind.

Twilight pressed her hoof to her temple again, and wished that ponies had invented ibuprofen.

"Look," she said, "at this point I don't even care that you're making things up to stop me from being mad at you. If you insist on this stupid Adventure Clyde thing … fine, I'll just put up with it, because that's what friends do." She drew in a deep breath. "But please, Discord, leave Spike out of it. If you want to draw my friends into your prank, fine. Even Rarity, if you must. But Spike is too young to be exposed to such a deeply unhealthy model of obsessive, one-sided relationships in which the male internalizes that an unattainable female somehow innately belongs to him and then spends all his time obsessing over her, convinced that the strength of his emotion will one day sway her to reciprocate."

Discord's eyebrow grabbed a passing balloon and floated away into the sky.

"Okay, bad example," Twilight said. "But seriously, can you just … not corrupt him?"

Discord sighed. "You still don't get it, do you?"

"Get what?"

Discord grabbed Twilight around the barrel, hugging her to his chest with a squeak like a rubber duck, then snapped his fingers. The two of them vanished.


IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD
Is this even a scene break? [14]

[14] Given that it's heavily implied the two of them just teleported, that establishes a movement in space, which means yes. [15]

[15] But there was no division in time, and no logical ending to the narrative arc represented by this conversation. Earlier, "Twilight stepped through the door into Discord's house", which is an explicit movement in space, yet THAT didn't require a scene break, because it didn't mark any narrative boundaries. [16]

[16] And yet there was a scene break when the focus shifted to Low Equestria Orbit, which also did not mark any narrative boundaries. [17]

[17] That was in service of a joke! There was a logical reason for it! [18]

[18] … so you're expecting the scene in which Twilight talks to Discord to follow established logical narrative rules? [19]

[19] Don't go all meta on me. [20]

[20] Too late.

The two reappeared with a flash, deep in the Everfree Forest, inside the ancient Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, conveniently available as a playset for $39.99 plus sales tax.

Twilight blinked the teleport out of her eyes, then glanced around. "I don't get it," she said. "This is where I fought off Nightmare Moon. What does this have to do with the whole stupid Adventure Clyde thing?"

"Wait for it," Discord said, licking the adhesive back of two watch hands and sticking them to his wrist before lifting his arm and staring at it.

A little spark blinked in Twilight's eye.

"Wait … a Poorly Concealed Holding Device in a Suspiciously Unguarded Castle … retrieved through an unexpected and somewhat impossible adventure …" She gasped.

"I'M Adventure Clyde‽‽‽"


RIGHT NOW
Your House

Plot Twist Pete leaps out from behind your sofa. "Dun dun DUN!"

You really wish he would stop ruining the mood.



SUSPENSE O'CLOCK
Thrillsville

"No," Discord said, "that would be stupid."



RIGHT NOW
Your House

Plot Twist Pete stares at your computer screen, then coughs and slinks back away.


AT THE CLIMAX
The Final Scene

"I don't get it, then," Twilight said.

"Look, it's simple," Discord said, gesturing to the shattered remains of the Elements of Harmony's thousand-year prison. "Inaction Dave thought he could keep the Element of Adventuring safely hidden away. But his arrogance was his undoing, because like friendship or harmony or magic or upvoting this story, Adventuring isn't a thing, it's a state of mind. Clyde may embody Adventure in the same way that you embody Magic, but his absence didn't stop ponies like you from being adventuresome any more than your absence stopped unicorns from being magical."

"Hold on a second," Twilight said, filling out a form 321/B subsection 18, "Request for Migraine Displacement," scribbling furiously in the "Extenuating Circumstances" entry. "Okay, there, done. So, what are you saying, Clyde is real?"

"Would it matter if he was?" Discord said.

Somewhere, a copyright lawyer blinked and sat up.

"Uhh. I mean." Discord reached up two lines and redacted the reference. "It doesn't matter, Twilight. What matters is that he's real in here." He tapped her skull. "And here." He tapped her heart.

"Eww," Twilight said.

"My point exactly. And as for Spike?" Discord leaned in. "Neither I nor Clyde did a single thing to him, no more than we did anything to you …

"… there's a little bit of Adventure Clyde in all of us."