• Member Since 25th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 12 hours ago

The Hat Man

Specialties include comedy, robots, and precision strikes to your feelings. Hobbies include hat and watch collecting. May contain alcohol.


Season 5 Finale-related.
So many realities. So many horrible futures. But in yet another alternate timeline, Twilight finds herself in the Golden Oak Library with the Princess of Friendship: Sunset Shimmer. Rather than the awful futures she's seen before, she now finds herself in a timeline that actually seems nice. But that means she has a tough decision to make...

-Awesome cover art used with permission from the amazingly talented Huussii (Teemu Husso).
-Based on an idea from Silver Quill.
-Featured as of 12/8/15! Thank you to all the readers!
-Editors: GenerousGhibli and E3gner

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 212 )

Amazing story :3

this was a truly heart warming nd yet a heart breaking story! kudos to you for writing such fine storiies like this and the iron horse! you are a master story writer and teller! thankyou for these fine stories!!

JFalk #3 · Dec 6th, 2015 · · ·

This was very good - Twilight was very in character in trying find an objective way to decide if she should try restore her original timeline or not... and of course failing to find one, since this was an reasonable timeline to live...
Twlight and Sunset's final talk was very well done, in special Sunset admitting that she would try correct the timeline if she was in Twilight's position
The detail that the Element bearers are a mixture of menbers of original Mane6 and some of background ones was a smart one.

P.S. I think that Sunset's timeline is safe - if the point of divergence was Sunset and Celestia making peace before Sunset would decide to jump into EG World, then it is a timeline that branched from EquestriaPrime before the Sonic Rainboom event, so it would not be affected by its correction...

lolz Season 5 Finally i love your possibilities so much and how you explain theories I'm about to let upon the internet

A nice story and an interesting moral dilemma, even if some things don't entirely make sense.

Anyway, have an upvote and a fave.

Some nice food for thought. JFalk pretty much summed up my feelings for this.

Too bad Sunset seems to be confined to the Equestria Girls universe and doesn't seem to be scheduled to make an appearance in the main show any time soon.

Makes me wonder what happened to the original six that didn't become elemental bearers like Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy.

Nice job!

This sounds too good to be true. It should've happened in the series.

It is nice to see a pretty stable alternate present, though that only makes Twilight's choice harder- erasing all those bad futures is easy, undoing something like this one would be more ambiguous. It would have been nice to have seen Equestria still standing without Twilight and her exact group, but the show doesn't care about that kind of thing. Nice glimpse of a world slightly removed from canon with some intriguing differences.

I've never been a huge Sunset Shimmer fan, but this story made me like her a little more. She still just reminds me of a bratty high schooler, but at least in this alternate world, she's a bratty schoolgirl who's actually willing to learn and treat people as equals. Derpy being Kindness is awesome as well. Despite how much people make fun of her, she's still as kind as can be to them, and she KNOWS she's messed up, just like Fluttershy. Celestia should have had Derpy try and reform Discord in this universe. It would at least be hilarious, regardless of if it worked.

Discord/Derpy reminds me of a comic I saw on DevArt where Discord was trying to "discord" Derpy and even after it was done, he had no idea if it worked or not, because Derpy is Derpy. The alt version of that comic had Discord getting DERPED and becoming like Derpy. Funny ideas, putting those two together. :derpyderp2:

This kind of moral dilemma is always delicious to read, and you did a good job of writing it. Great work! The only thing I'd like little bit of is perhaps for Twilight to contemplate that she might inadvertently be generating more bad timelines by simply going back and trying again, for however long it is until she defeats Starlight.

Also, the whole line about Rainbow Dash becoming a Wonderbolt came out of nowhere. Sure, she could have found it out from somepony else, but there's a difference between it occurring off-screen and actually putting it into the text.

Oh, interesting-looking concept...

"It wasn’t destroyed in this timeline!"
Hm. You know, now that I think of it, it quite likely survived in the Nightmare Moon timeline, too.
I do wonder why the table moved from the edge of town to the library-- Ohhhh, unless this timeline already has a table. :)

Interesting. Looks like Cheese Sandwich may have gotten his cutie mark without Pinkie Pie here.

And also interesting. How was Sunset's departure determined by the rainboom? Or is that not actually the PoD at play here?

A good story, I think. One thing I noticed in the finale was when Zecora basically said "Oh, hm, these are real people, but the universe abhors all of us". In that timeline, maybe it's not surprising that that went over so easily; after all, the people who heard it appear to have seen the civilization destroyed and their species effectively destroyed, and they're fighting an increasingly hopeless-looking battle from a forest hideaway. Could have been nice to hear that none of that was supposed to happen, and I imagine that the Tirek timeline, and maybe the Discord timeline, would be the same way. About the Flim Flam timeline I don't know, since we don't see much of it. But in the Sombra or Nightmare Moon timelines? Sure, they both have their problems, and the Nightmare Moon one probably has more we didn't see. Life seems to be going on, though. The ponies there may have suffered, but are things really bad and hopeless enough for them to hear "You should not exist" and just nod?

re the postscript:
Oh! That's a nice point. :D
Though then I wonder how the spell got Twilight and Spike there.

Awesome fic. I gotta say that I fully support Spike and Twilight's decision though, if for no other reason than my headcanon tells me their universe is simply better off. Luna definitely deserved to be saved more than Sombra, since we see that Equestria appeared to be far more stable and peaceful under her Nightmare persona's rule, than it was during an apocalyptic war against Sombra. Also, a "neutral" Discord sounds like a backslide waiting to happen, and without the Fluttershy and the others' friendship to rein him back in, that's a disaster in the making. Then there's the fact that we can be reasonably sure that the element bearers in this timeline still have decent lives in the primary timeline, whereas the same cannot be said for Fluttershy, or possibly even Pinkie Pie. The only positive difference that really matters in this version is alicorn Sunset, but given how awesomely she ponied up in the Friendship games, I feel like she could still become an alicorn sometime down the line. So yeah, a weighty decision for Twilight and Spike to be sure, but not a terribly difficult one by my reckoning.

This is an outstanding story! :twilightsmile:

It makes me wish that it was a part of the finale. Great job! Have a well-deserved like and fave. :pinkiehappy:

Very nice; well-rounded and smoothly characterized! :twilightsmile:

Also, I dropped the below (minus a few modifications) on a similar story, I figure it might work here as well:

The time portal burst into existence over the landing strip in Cloudsdale, depositing Princess Twilight and Spike onto its rough surface with a shout and a grunt, just as it had many times before. Twilight's horn surged almost on instinct, producing a twinkling magenta shield that deflected the beam of energy sent their way as the attack's caster, Starlight Glimmer, floated over the edge of the cloud platform wrapped in the glow of her own magic. The unicorn mage grinned.

"Back for another round, Princess?" Starlight taunted. "I'm honestly surprised you haven't given up already. Not that I have a problem making you watch me tear your friendships apart again!" She practically snarled as her horn charged up, but before she could unleash her next spell a blast of teal energy struck her from the side, sending her spiraling out of control. Starlight gasped as she fought to right herself, breathing heavily as a gold-coated alicorn with flowing red and gold locks stepped out from behind another nearby puff of cloud.

"Who in the hay are you supposed to be?!" Starlight shouted.

"Starlight," Twilight said with an air of formality, "meet Sunset Shimmer."

"Don't worry, I'm sure you haven't heard of me," Sunset said as she stopped at the edge of the cloud platform, "but in case it hadn't occurred to you, not all of Twilight's friends were the result of this Rainboom. I'm one of the ones she made the old-fashioned way." She shot Twilight and Spike a quick wink, which they returned with a smile.

Starlight's eyes widened. "B-but, how? How can you be here?"

Sunset laughed. "Did you really think you were the only pony who knew a thing or three about time travel?" Her horn lit up and a familiar scroll slipped out of the saddlebags she was wearing, hovering in air beside her as she unfurled it with magic. "It took us a couple of weeks and an unaltered version of Starswirl's spell from the Canterlot Archives in my native timeline to use as a point of reference, but together Twilight and I managed to make some... modifications of our own." The scroll curled back up and disappeared from whence it came. "Twilight, Spike and I are all anchored to the spell just as you are, and when this is all over the four of us will be going back to our respective timelines--you three to your own, and me to mine."

"All we need to do is stop you from stopping the Rainboom," Twilight said.

Starlight sputtered for words as she looked back and forth between Twilight and Sunset wildly. "I... I don't believe this! This is ridiculous! There's no way you could've pulled something like that off! It's impossible!!"

"Oh, try not to worry about it too much," Twilight replied dismissively as she made a great show of admiring the shine on one of her hooves. "In fact, there's only one question you should be worried about right now, Starlight." Twilight's demeanor changed as she hunkered down into a battle ready stance, her horn sparking with power as she narrowed her eyes. "Are you gonna choose the easy way..."

Grinning, Sunset dropped into her own ready position and charged her magic. "... Or the hard way?"


Great alternate timeline story. I watched that review as well and you did a good job of using that idea. I liked the way you showed Twilight's struggle with her choice and (despite how I hate it) you did do a decent job by leaving the ending open ended like that. It was interesting to see how Rarity and AJ were still elements and still Generosity and Honesty but the others were different.

There is also the SunLight part of me that was happy to see that Sunset and Twilight were still friends, and seemingly good friends at that, even in this other timeline. I also liked how you gave Sombra redemption instead of Luna in this story. It was also nice how even when they counted up the positives and negatives of each timeline they ended up equal. I also loved how Sunset responded to the choice in the end. It shows she does deserve her title. It was a really good story :pinkiesmile:.

Hnnng, my heart can't take the sadness, of that timeline disappearing after she leaves, it is so cool.

One thing about time travel or multi-verse jumping...someone is always bound to get hurt :fluttercry:
Untill we actually grasp the implications we live in this wierd time where we have no idea what would happen and that terrifys us.

We just have to do what our decendents did. Cross our fingers and hope everything will turn out all right

I'm glad that stories with this perspective exists. I honestly can't believe that every altered timeline that Twilight would go to would be bad, but I can understand that actually showing these might not fit into the show proper. But still, for a show that likes to harp about 'Destiny' so much, they didn't make use of the 'Destiny finds a way' theme. Overall, this was a good AU.

This was really good. You established a good timeline, you made the pros and cons even, and you gave a really good reason for Twilight and Spike going back and Twilight agreeing with them. I love the inclusion of Doc and Derpy as their own characters like from Slice of Life (I'm really growing to love them apart from the whole 'Doctor Whooves' fandom thing). And it's quite a realistic conundrum they face: either this reality goes away, or all of those terrible realities still exist. Personally, I hope that it's the first one; technically all of these ponies will still exist, just with different relationships and outcomes (most of them for the better, like Luna and Fluttershy and Discord), and it won't mean that millions of alternate ponies are suffering. But that can't really be determined. Either way, good job. This was a well-written piece and, while sad, felt worth the read. ^^

You know first thing I saw in the story description was the based on an idea from Silver Quill part and after that I didn't know wether to be very excited or extremely scared... :rainbowlaugh::trollestia:

Kidding aside though this was an excellent story. Definitely getting a like and going on the favorites shelf.

I don't believe that by simply changing the past you eliminate a future. I see what happened with Twilight and Spike as simply walking back the road they've been on, and simply going down another path at the crossroads. Just because you went left instead of right doesn't mean the right path doesn't exist, it just means this version of you went a different direction.

Alternate realities can't necessarily be proven without a doubt, but they can't be proven that they don't exist without a doubt.

Wanderer D

Nice story, I definitely enjoyed it!

Is it Pinkie sobbing in her room? Because that would be the minus that break the tie.

Wonder how Cheese got his cutie mark without Pinkie being Pinkie since he got his at a Pinkie Pie Party.

Gotta love when an author handles a 'Which is the lesser of two evils?' dilemma the right way.


You're would make an awesome sequel or something :pinkiehappy:

I did not like this... I don't know why. But I don't. :pinkiesad2:

I am saying this because I don't want to thumb down.:fluttershyouch:

Ah yes. This is one of the stories that makes the whole situation even worse.

Let me explain: Before, it was just about stopping Starlight from making present Equestria worse and worse. Every timeline became subsequently more horrible than the last. Stopping them was a no-brainer.

This one? Isn't objectively worse than the one Twilight originated from. To return to her own version, she has to sacrifice the happiness of everypony who has a better life in Sunset's Equestria.

Starlight now basically forced her into making a Sadistic Choice: Who gets to be happy, who doesn't? It's literally about life and death, as Sombra showed.

Twilight has every reason in the world to want to strangle Starlight after this.

I'm glad to hear about what Alternate Twilight is up to in this timeline. She doesn't appear or even get a mention in the show's other timelines, it's like she vanished from the face of the earth!


This needs an AU sequel somehow, like What if we see that sunset is still a princess still existing moments after twilight left and ends up having the doc make a stable (no pun intended) portal to twilight's Equestria, all the shenanigans that can happen, Queen Celestia meets her sister again, ponies freak out at the alternate EOH and king Sombra. Not to mention the other alternate timelines that could appear and try taking over one or both ideal Equestrias, Sombra VS Sombra NMM VS Luna, Nightmare Star showing up because alternate realities! And so on, o many awesome possibilities for an entire saga. but I'm getting ahead of myself that would be if someone wanted to write it (I certainly couldn't) just lemmie know if my idea doesn't sound dumb or crazy

Nice, have a like and a :yay:

Nice. I presumed they didn't have any good timelines in the finale to avoid any moral ambiguity for the technical demographic. I must admit, now I'm picturing an unofficial epilogue where Time Turner wanders up to Twilight afterwards with a note in his lab that says 'We're okay, tell Princess Twilight. P.S: Keep hold of Muffins!'...

6714600 It might have been the sort of time loop where she and Spike replaced themselves by traveling back...


Honestly, Twilight ALREADY had every reason to throw Starlight in jail the moment they stopped traveling though time. Treason, several counts of Les majeste, trespassing and breaking and entering.... Starlight would be lucky to be merely hung for her crimes instead of being drawn and quartered, let alone receive a life sentence.

6714706 I can see why going tongue future would erase her from the timeline but why the past? After all we saw a young Starlight along with her present self...

I'm going to stop thinking about this before I drive myself nuts.:derpytongue2:

6714705 I would be quite okay with this.

A wonderful read :twilightsmile:

Nice comic reference with Celestia and Sombra!
Also, I think the multiverse theory makes the most sense in terms of fictional worlds that don't have God to predetermine things. Technically, every fanfic on this site is an alternate universe.
If this fanfic continued, I foresee and outcome like this:

6714811 Time travel always makes me think of Hawkin's (paraphrased) quote about quantum physics; if you think you understand it, you really don't...

FWIW, this scenario works into my feeling that Starlight's changes were affecting time back as well as forward of the moment of the first Rainboom. After all, Sunset's fall was probably before Twilight got her cutie mark for the position of 'Princess Celestia's Personal Student' to be free. Time was distorting and trying to heal itself. It is unlikely that any of the alternate time-lines would have been stable.

Ultimately, in the end, no matter now nice or horrible, they were all distorted time anomalies that would have disrupted in a dangerous manner sooner rather than later, possibly destroying everything.

Overall this is a good story, but there is something I find myself wondering. why exactly did the Elements of Harmony purify Luna in Twlight's timeline but not Sunsets. Samething with Sombra, why did he blow up in Twilight's Timeline but not here?

I mean I know the element bearers are different and all, but still shouldn't the elements still work the same. I mean it's not like they have a switch that says, Banish or Purify. Just saying it's something I would prefer explained.

That being said it is interesting to see this kind of timeline, which isn't perfect yet still pretty good. It has it's negatives with Fluttershy and Rainbow but has positives as well. A perfectly "grey" world that isn't worth destroying but isn't perfect either.

Overall good, but there are somethings I would like explained.

Well after reading this, my vote is that the alternate universes should keep existing... somehow. Serious credit to Sunset Shimmer for being willing to risk her entire existence on doing the right thing for someone who she doesn't, in that timeline, even know.

Of course, the drawback to these alternate timelines existing is that there are also a non-trivial number of hellscapes out there that nobody wants to exist in. Both options suck in their own way. Hence the value of this story!

I greatly enjoyed it, especially the reasonable AU setting, and the exploration of non-dystopic alternates that we didn't get to see. I hope to read more of your work!

The only thing that bugs me here is Cheese. If Pinkie Pie never became a party freak, then it's unlikely Cheese would have ended up one as well, right?

Other than that, brilliant story. I liked it a lot! And as far as I'm concerned, this timeline didn't cease to exist after Twilight returned to her own. It's too awesome for that to be allowed.

Just saying, though, if his theory is right and every new timeline is a separate universe, then do we really want this universe to still exist? That would mean that the war-torn worlds still exists, that the ponies fighting these wars have died. A universe is shrouded in darkness, with a dictator. A universe is barren. A universe is a living hell with a soul-sucking, fire-producing demon. A universe is the the play-toy of of a magical maniac. Remember AJ's "I hope you do." She doesn't want this to happen to any pony. And, for the betterment of other Equestrias, I hope that this one doesn't last. I know that we should be rooting for the option where it all stays because that's a happy ending, but it's not a happy ending for too many ponies.

Really great story, though. Nice character building and the 0 for 2 tea line was funny.


Ah, but if wiping away the bleak timelines means potentially losing some good ones along with them, I'd still have to hope against that scenario.

Besides, if there's one thing Twilight's time shenanigans proved to us, is that the possibilities for Equestria are near-limitless. The hard facts are fairly sparse. Whose to say that even the bleakest futures shown to us are devoid of any hope for a good outcome? One could never say for sure.

Got to admit, you made an interesting story here. A timeline that's both good and bad. Even if the titles would make you think it's suspect at first glance. Queen Celestia and Grand Vizer Twilight :rainbowlaugh:

6707243 Wild theory, but it might have effected the selection of the bearers. Sunset might have stayed as Celestia's student, but had the rainboom occurred, Twilight would have been taken on earlier than she was in this time line. In that sense, she might have been involved in the Nightmare Moon debacle and been one of the bears instead of the current set. Whether or not she or Sunset would have gain the princess status is up in the air though. It might have been the main timeline mane six with Sunset as a close friend.

6715101 Perhaps motivation? Twilight's research had exposed her to both the Mare in the Moon and Nightmare Moon myths. Also, Twilight has an older brother so might have a better subconscious understanding of Luna's original feelings, compared to Sunset who doesn't have that sort of relationship. On the flip side, she got over her potential turn to the dark side, so would sorta get Sombra more. Plus, no Spike to ferry the heart, so the whole situation would be different.

6715696 Fair point. Still, though, this universe isn't perfect and a few marriages don't seem to be worth keeping, if the others still exist. There could be other positives and the bad universes' problems could be resolved, but it seems unlikely. I suppose those with more optimism would believe that there were happier endings out there. Could be, but very scarce.

Ok, I loved literally everything about this.

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