• Published 16th Apr 2016
  • 4,999 Views, 56 Comments

Pamphile - Crescent Pulsar



Before going to Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle connects more dots than usual, which gives her more reason to face Nightmare Moon alone. (Pamphile (PAM-feh-lee) means "friend of all" in Greek.)

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Pamphile

Author's Note:

(I would appreciate it if this story wasn't added to any groups.)


While this little story can stand on its own, I'm aware that it can be a premise to a larger one. Between the number of directions that such a story could be taken, and having other commitments, I will not be writing such a story. However, in the unlikely event that someone else would like to, they would need neither my permission nor a list of dos and don'ts. I would only suggest making me aware that it's going to be a thing, 'cause I might like to read it.

Twilight Sparkle stood outside of the Everfree Forest, upon a dirt pathway that led into it. While she didn't like the idea of exploring a strange forest all by herself, especially during the dark of night, she had decided that it would be necessary. It wasn't just because a certain group of ponies were too unknown to her to be reliable, aside from the smidgen of experience that she could ascertain a certain degree of unreliability, but due to the nature of her endeavor. So, to avoid being joined or followed, she had read The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide to herself before teleporting away from the library with the aforementioned book still in her possession.

Secure in the knowledge that she had found a good — and safe — place to hide the book, and that no one would see where she was going, she steeled herself and began to walk into the forest. As she left the relative safety of Ponyville behind, she recalled the reasons for why she had decided to make this a solitary undertaking, instead of enlisting — or accepting — aid.

To begin with, her mentor, Princess Celestia, had given her a certain book to study just before the time that Nightmare Moon would be released from her imprisonment on the moon. It had been a book that had not only contained highly implicit knowledge regarding Princess Celestia having a younger sister, since her mentor had been responsible for the raising and lowering of the sun and moon for the duration of Nightmare Moon's banishment, but that said younger sister was none other than Nightmare Moon. It was very peculiar that such a connection wasn't common knowledge, especially since she was very knowledgeable about the pre-classical era, mostly due to having a strong interest in both her mentor and Star Swirl the Bearded. That she had never encountered anything about her mentor's younger sister, especially now that she knew that she would have been relevant prior to Nightmare Moon's banishment nearly a thousand years ago, to the day, suggested that it wasn't something meant to be common knowledge. Thus, even if it would have been more convenient, she was averse to the idea of getting more ponies involved, since they could learn the secret that way.

She came upon a cliff and looked into the distance, where she could see the ruins of the "royal pony sisters'" castle. Happy that she had a good idea of where to go, she looked for a way to proceed from her current location. However, before she could find one, the ground beneath her hooves suddenly gave way, and she found herself sliding down a steep slope, toward the mouth of a chasm.

It wasn't until she stopped herself from falling over the edge of the chasm, with the lower half of her body hanging over it, that she recovered enough from her initial scare. Once she was able to think rationally about her predicament, she was able to come up with a solution before she could lose her grip and fall. Thus, after focusing her magic for a second, she disappeared in a flash of light and safely reappeared on the grassy floor of the chasm.

With a determined frown on her face, and the chasm giving her two paths to choose from, she picked the direction that she felt would bring her closer to her destination. As she followed her chosen route, she remembered the other reason for why she had opted to do this alone: she believed that Princess Celestia was testing her. After all, not only did it only require one pony to use the Elements of Harmony, as demonstrated by Nightmare Moon's banishment, which her mentor certainly could have done once more, but — as much as it saddened her to think about it — she knew that she wouldn't be her student forever, that her graduation could have come at any time in the near future. It was a little hard to swallow, with the stakes set so high, but what other reason could there be for her mentor to surreptitiously inform her of the situation, rather than handling Nightmare Moon herself, and/or preparing others for what she had known was coming?

Her thoughts were interrupted when a manticore suddenly landed some distance in front of her, who reared up on its hind legs and roared while its gaze was undeniably focused upon her. Having just reminded herself of how important her mission was, of how much was at stake, she narrowed her eyes and tensed her body, preparing herself for the inevitable confrontation. At the same time, her mind raced to figure out a solution, since she didn't want to be harried by the creature while she sought to stop a much more dire situation, should she circumvent it and run away. Unfortunately, she knew enough about manticores to know that she wouldn't be able to overcome it in a test of physical prowess, and there wasn't anything useful — like reeds — that she could use with her magic to put it to sleep.

The manticore didn't give her enough time to think of a good way of dealing with it, because it wasn't long before it descended upon her with a swipe of its paw. After ducking underneath the initial attack, then hopping away from the chomping maw that followed, she briefly considered using her telekinesis to put some distance between them, so she might have a chance of finding a place to hide before the beast could catch up to her. That seemed unlikely to work, however, considering its ability to fly and the length and narrowness of the chasm that she would need to cross in order to find an acceptable hiding place.

However, when the manticore tried to land a downward stroke with its left paw, she noticed the large thorn embedded in it before she dodged out of the way. The idea that it gave her seemed silly, and would have made more sense had she been having an altercation with a fellow pony, but at that precise moment fear and adrenaline made it difficult for her to form purely rational thoughts. Despite that, she figured that it couldn't hurt to try the idea: if it didn't work out, she would already be holding the manticore at bay, so she could safely decide on how to proceed from there.

When the manticore tried to claw her yet again, this time with its right paw, she caught it with her telekinesis and shouted, "Wait!" Remarkably, it did pause, although it may have had more to do with her magic, since it was staring at its arrested paw, so she pointed at its other paw and requested, "Can you show me the underside of your paw?"

After the manticore glanced between her hoof and its paw, as if trying to comprehend what it was seeing, it slowly turned its paw over, which revealed the thorn.

She grasped the thorn with her telekinesis and said, "Sorry, but this might hurt a bit," before yanking it out without warning, since she had once read that it could be helpful if the pain came as a surprise, rather than committing the act when it was being anticipated.

The manticore howled in agony, which was loud and forceful enough for her to lose her hold on its paw. Fortunately, instead of taking advantage of her distraction, the manticore sat on its haunches after its outburst and inspected its now-thornless paw thoughtfully. Then, much to her surprise, it leaned forward and gave the side of her face a nice, long lick, before spreading its wings and taking flight.

She sat there for a time, in a disbelieving stupor, oblivious to the drool-matted fur on one side of her face. Not only had she not expected the manticore to respond reasonably to her act of kindness, but she realized that no book had ever mentioned that such a thing was possible when it came to manticores. She began to seriously consider if Princess Celestia might actually be right about there being more to life than studying, as much as she didn't want to admit the possibility.

Once she shook herself out of her stupor, and began to move forward once more, she began to consider what Princess Celestia had suggested to her, in lieu of studying and aside from supervising the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration: making friends. It had confused her at first, since it didn't seem to have anything to do with her test, until it had occurred to her that what she needed to do, in order to protect the world from Nightmare Moon and her never-ending night, would make her a friend — an ally — to all of the inhabitants of the world.

While it had occurred to her — after arriving at her conclusion — that five of the known Elements of Harmony embodied traits that one might desire in a friend, she had dismissed the possibility that Princess Celestia had meant for her to gather up friends that represented those traits. Aside from the fact that the Elements of Harmony had once been used by a single pony, which meant that a group of ponies wouldn't be required, it was unrealistic to think that someone could make the required amount of friends within a day; at least, she certainly couldn't see herself accomplishing such a feat. Not only was there that, but also the issue of finding and making the kind of friends that would be compatible with the Elements of Harmony.

If Princess Celestia had really intended for her to confront Nightmare Moon with friends, she reasoned that she would have coaxed her to make friends a lot sooner than she had. So, like everything else about her test, it had been a hint of what she had to do, not a direct or literal instruction. Not that the hints had been all that challenging: that reference guide for the Elements of Harmony, in particular, which had been about a subject that she had only caught one mention of in all of her years of study prior, had been incredibly blatant, especially since it just happened to be in the library where she would stay during the Summer Sun Celebration, in the town closest to where the Elements of Harmony resided. Of course, she could understand the sacrifice of subtlety when the fate of the world hung in the balance, in addition to whatever graduation awaited her upon passing her test. A harder puzzle probably would have been overkill, anyway, considering how she already had to overcome the likes of Nightmare Moon.

Shortly after leaving the confines of the chasm, she began to enter a denser part of the forest, and before long she could barely see anything within a few feet of herself. Just as she was about to light up her horn, so she could see where she was going, the trees around her were lit up in an unnatural, ominous light, which revealed horrifically twisted visages with gaping orifices that were filled with jagged, misaligned teeth.

Initially frozen by fear, she gathered her courage and waited for the abominations to make their move: not only because she didn't want to let the world down, but Princess Celestia as well — especially Princess Celestia. However, it eventually occurred to her that her attackers weren't, well, attacking. When she realized that the trees had simply been given a visual makeover, after taking a closer look and prodding one with a hoof, she breathed a sigh of relief and quickly vacated the area, glad that her attempt to do so hadn't been impeded in some way.

As she drew closer to her goal, she began to think about one of the only concerns that remained about her situation: actually being able to wield the Elements of Harmony. While she was confident that she had the right idea about what she had to do, she couldn't stomp out the irrational thought that Princess Celestia might have chosen her to take care of Nightmare Moon because she could no longer meet the requirements that the Elements of Harmony demanded of its user. It was a scary thought, because she held her mentor in such high regard and couldn't even begin to imagine herself coming close to that level of excellence. However, Princess Celestia wouldn't have given her such an important responsibility unless she had been confident enough in her student, right?

Fortunately, she was distracted by such thoughts when she heard someone crying somewhere ahead of her. Since it was more or less coming from the direction that she was heading toward anyway, she decided to investigate. What she found, by the time she was standing upon the bank of a river, were the waters of said river being churned up by a sea serpent's writhing body, who appeared to be rather upset about something.

She considered teleporting to the other side of the river, to avoid the situation entirely, but her recent thoughts made her think better of it. After all, whether or not Princess Celestia could wield the Elements of Harmony, she certainly wouldn't have ignored someone in distress, even if they weren't a pony — she was sure of it. Basically, if she ever hoped to stand upon the same stage as her mentor, she couldn't choose who to be a friend to, or when, as a matter of convenience. If she was going to be there for everyone, even though almost every single "one" in "everyone" was a stranger, she shouldn't be making any exceptions on a whim.

So, even though she felt that time was of the essence, she called out, "Excuse me, sir." When she had the sea serpent's attention, she queried, "Why are you crying?"

"Well, I don't know," the sea serpent replied, with a manner of speech and gesticulation that she recognized from some of the upper-class ponies. "I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when this tacky, little cloud of smoke just," he made a sweeping gesture with his hand, "whisked past me and tore half of my beloved mustache clean off. And now," he went on, as his behavior progressed into histrionics, "I look simply horrid!"

With that final declaration, he wailed dramatically and collapsed into the water, which resulted in a splash that was large enough to completely drench her. With an irritated sigh, she shook her soaked hair out of her eyes and tried to be encouraging. "Well, it'll grow back, right?"

The sea serpent morosely settled his head upon the bank of the river, with his arms crossed beneath it. "Oh, sure, but that will take ages. Until then, I'll have no choice but to go into seclusion and hide my face from the public eye."

While she couldn't really relate to his plight, she could tell that he was deeply affected by the loss of his mustache. So, after some self-deliberation, and convincing herself that her solution would be worth it, she used her magic to "detach" most of the hair on her tail, which evoked a gasp of shock from the sea serpent, who abruptly rose into the air to express his reaction in the visual spectrum as well. Before he could say or do anything about her actions either way, she attached her hair to the ruined portion of his mustache and — for good measure — cast a spell that changed it to the same color as the other half of it.

Once his mustache had been restored, the sea serpent laughed in delight and happily exclaimed, "My mustache! How wonderful!"

Pleased with her success, she noticed that the river was now safe to cross, so she opted to do it the old-fashioned way instead of expending more of her magic via teleportation. However, before she had made much progress, the sea serpent managed to slip underneath her and raised her out of the water, saying, "Allow me," before making a bridge out of its body for her.

She obliged him and finally made it to the other side of the river, finding the loss of so much weight on her tail strange when the usual bouncing and pulling sensations failed to happen. Then, she proceeded with cautious haste, because the sea serpent's words had confirmed her suspicion of Nightmare Moon's presence, since she had doubted that what had happened to the trees had been natural, and the crumbling cliff — in retrospect — had been rather suspect as well. She wasn't sure if the manticore had been nothing more than a coincidence, but she wasn't going to rule it out as another one of Nightmare Moon's schemes.

Eventually, she passed through another stretch of the forest before she came to a clearing that allowed her a good view of the castle ruins, mostly due to the fact that she was close enough to be on the path that led to its entrance. She surveyed her surroundings as she moved forward, because she didn't want to be surprised by Nightmare Moon when she was so close to her goal. With her attention so divided, she almost missed the fact that there was a chasm ahead of her, and that the bridge that one would use to cross it was no longer attached on the other side.

Even with the mist within the chasm concealing most of the bridge's length, it was a simple matter to raise the bridge and tie it to the stone pillars on the other side with her telekinesis. However, before she could cross it, she saw the nebulous form of Nightmare Moon's hair appear on the other side of the bridge, which swiftly manifested itself into the entire form of the pony in question.

Nightmare Moon chuckled with amusement at the glare of defiance that she was receiving. "I'm impressed that you've resisted me thus far, little pony. What is your name?"

"Twilight Sparkle," said pony tersely replied.

"Twilight Sparkle," Nightmare Moon repeated, in a way that expressed the name's palatableness to her own ears. "I'll give you a choice: submit to me, and I'll allow you to serve me at my side. If you do not..."

The threat that had been left hanging in the air did nothing to affect Twilight Sparkle's resolve. "I'll serve you..." Nightmare Moon's look of satisfaction was struck down when she added, "That is, once you've been returned to normal and reunited with your sister."

Nightmare Moon narrowed her eyes. "I see. Well, if you think—" She stopped when Twilight Sparkle angled the front of her body closer to the ground and began to paw at it with one of her forehooves, so it was with a mix of boredom and annoyance that she responded to it with, "You're kidding. You're kidding, right?"

Twilight Sparkle charged across the bridge, and readied a teleportation spell as she did so. Nightmare Moon decided to humor her and raced to meet her charge with one of her own. Before they could collide, Twilight Sparkle teleported out of the way, and reappeared a few, short steps from the main entrance of the castle. She spared a quick look over her shoulder, and met Nightmare Moon's furious gaze when she performed the same action, before she opened the doors and hurried inside.

Well, she was still outside, technically, since there was no roof in what remained of the main hall, in addition to the fact that the walls had several holes in them, but she didn't pay such details any mind as her gaze fell upon the unique pedestal that was in the middle of the room, which held the Elements of Harmony. As quickly as she could, she used her telekinesis to bring them together on the floor before her, then tried to use her magic to create the spark that the reference book had only made mention of, rather than explained.

Right at the moment when Nightmare Moon materialized in front of her, she managed to create a spark, one which jolted her with enough force to knock her upon her back, well away from the Elements of Harmony. She raised herself onto her forehooves from a supine position and watched as several sparks jumped from one Element of Harmony to the next, while Nightmare Moon voiced her denial that such a thing was happening, and felt certain of her success. That is, until the light show ceased, and the Elements of Harmony returned to being inert once more.

Shocked, she gasped and said, "But... Where's the sixth element?"

Nightmare Moon proceeded to laugh with both relief and triumph, and Twilight Sparkle could only watch in stupefied dismay as she happily seized the opportunity to rear up and stomp her forehooves amid the Elements of Harmony, which shattered them all into pieces.

"You little foal!" Nightmare Moon unconcernedly declared, now that the one known potential threat to her reign had been dealt with. "Thinking you could defeat me? Now you will never see your princess, or your sun." With a self-satisfied smile, and her tail and mane billowing upward, she proclaimed, "The night... will last... forever!"

While Nightmare Moon laughed maniacally, with her mane and tail forming a funnel-like cloud in the air above her, Twilight Sparkle tried to figure out what had been done wrong, hardly believing that all of her reasoning, which had made so much sense, had amounted to nothing. Had the solution been something as simple as needing to pursue an answer for what the spark was supposed to be before taking action, or had she failed to figure out some other part of the situation? What if she had assumed so much that there had never truly been a test in the first place?

She shook her head, set her jaw, and gathered her resolve as she glared at Nightmare Moon. There were more important things to think about than herself, or what she should have done differently. Even if overcoming Nightmare Moon was an impossibility, she couldn't accept whatever fate Nightmare Moon had in store for Princess Celestia, or that her younger sister couldn't be restored. Neither would she want Spike, her family, or her former foalsitter, Cadance, to live in a world of never-ending night, one that was ruled by the likes of Nightmare Moon. Not even that group of overly-friendly ponies from Ponyville deserved such a future, who had only — for the most part — rubbed her the wrong way because of the circumstances. Ultimately, though, no one should have to endure what Nightmare Moon had planned for them.

Suddenly, while she was bolstering herself for what lie ahead of her with the feelings of love and compassion that she felt for others, because she highly doubted that resisting Nightmare Moon would do her any favors, she had an epiphany. Her eyes widened with shock upon the realization that she had gone about things in the wrong way: while friendship could certainly be identified and measured intellectually, the condition and experience of friendship itself was rooted in emotion. She had failed to initiate a spark because she had been distant on an emotional level, rather than feeling her special bonds with others and wishing to preserve the ones that could be made within everyone.

While Nightmare Moon had noticed her change in demeanor, now that she had regained her confidence, she spoke before her adversary could comment on it, saying, "You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony, just like that? Well, you're wrong: because the spirits of the Elements of Harmony are right here!"

The remnants of the Elements of Harmony began to shift and glow before rising into the air, which Nightmare Moon observed with worry and confusion, which she voiced. "What?"

"Honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, loyalty," Twilight Sparkle calmly began, with a group of what remained of the Elements of Harmony being drawn to her at every mention, which swirled about her upon their arrival. "These Elements bring us together, and enrich our lives. When I realized their value, and felt what they meant to me, I knew that I had to protect them and the bonds that they've helped to create, for everyone's sake." She stared determinedly into Nightmare Moon's eyes and added, "I also knew that I couldn't allow your bitterness and resentment to blind you to them."

"You still don't have the sixth element!" Nightmare Moon argued, who had to fight to keep her concern over these turn of events from getting the better of her, despite her lack of self-assurance making a negative impact on her confidence. "The spark didn't work!"

"But it did!" Twilight Sparkle confidently countered, before her expression softened. "A different kind of spark. I felt it ignite within me the very moment that I realized how much I care about the special bonds that you threaten, how it would feel for others if I were in their hooves, and that they had to be protected."

There was a flash of light from above, and the sixth element continued to shine brightly as it descended, until it hovered above her head. Seeing that Nightmare Moon couldn't handle its luminosity, and was being distracted as she tried to keep the light out of her eyes, she continued from where she had left off, saying, "You see, Nightmare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the... the spark that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth element: the element of..." She paused, as she prepared to heed the Elements of Harmony's call, before she closed her eyes and said, "Magic!"

With her eyes closed, she failed to see the first five Elements of Harmony transforming into a necklace with five star-shaped jewels embedded in it, while the sixth took the form of a crown which displayed a star-shaped jewel that was larger than the other five, although she could feel their weight even as she began to feel weightless. She also failed to see the rainbow that had manifested as the attack of the Elements of Harmony, but she could certainly hear Nightmare Moon's panicked cries of refusal as she was overwhelmed by it.

Details got fuzzy from that point onward, for an indeterminate amount of time, until she found herself lying on her belly, feeling drained and disoriented. Fortunately, it wasn't long before she had recovered enough to stand up, although something felt... off about her body, in some way that she couldn't readily define. When she went to check and see that everything was in order, after giving her new accessories a quick look, she received not just one surprise, but two: a pair of wings, and hair that flowed much like Princess Celestia's did.

Her hair color was more or less the same, except her pink and purple stripes were at the bottom, with the purple stripe separating the pink from the midnight blue that still made up most of her hair. However, the pink and purple appeared to be luminous, while the midnight blue literally looked like the night sky, because of the twinkling pinpoints of light that gave the impression of stars, which appeared intermittently within her purple and pink stripes. It reminded her of the sky at dawn or dusk, while the sun was hiding just underneath the horizon.

While she tried to flex her wings, and watched them move with a mixture of awe and disbelief, she absently said, "Why do I look like the princess?"

"That's because you are a princess," a familiar voice answered her, even as sunlight began to grace the land once more.

She saw a brilliant orb of light separate itself from the rising sun and descend into the room, where it resolved itself into a familiar and welcome form upon alighting on the ground. With a gasp of delight, she happily said, "Princess Celestia," before trotting up to the aforementioned pony for a hug.

"Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student," Celestia replied as she lowered her head to give said student a hug, before rising and proudly adding, "I knew you could do it, yet even I hadn't anticipated how well."

Twilight Sparkle took a step back so she could gaze up at her mentor, feeling overwhelmed by the situation, especially once the words that Princess Celestia had spoken prior to her arrival had finally caught up to her. "But... Wait... Me, a princess?"

Princess Celestia chuckled softly at her reaction and said, "Indeed. Although you have yet to display the qualities of a true princess, that doesn't mean that they don't already exist within you," she gently placed a forehoof over Twilight Sparkle's heart, "here. The Elements of Harmony must have seen that, your capacity for friendship, and — I imagine — your willingness to take up the same burden as I have to promote and maintain harmony."

Twilight Sparkle blushed at both the contact and words, and began to fidget self-consciously. Before she could formulate a response, both she and Princess Celestia heard a groan, which inspired them to turn their attention to its source, close to where Nightmare Moon had once stood. In her place, lying prone on the ground, was a smaller alicorn with a muted purple coat and periwinkle-colored hair.

"Princess Luna," Princess Celestia addressed her sister evenly, as she made her approach, causing her sister to gasp and open her eyes, within which could be seen a great tumult of emotions when they found her own. "It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this." She lowered herself before her sister, who clenched her eyes shut and shied away, until she was certain that she only intended to speak to her. "It's time to put our differences behind us. We were meant to rule together, little sister." She stood back up and entreated, "Will you accept my friendship?"

After some hesitation, Princess Luna rushed over to Celestia for a hug and tearfully declared, "I'm so sorry! I missed you so much, big sister!"

Princess Celestia returned the hug and shed a few tears of her own as she said, "I've missed you, too."

Twilight Sparkle wiped at her moist eyes as she watched the touching reunion, and stayed quiet so she didn't interrupt it, even though there were several questions that she was burning to ask. Of course, high on her list of questions were ones that involved her new body, being a princess, and her status as Princess Celestia's student. However, she also couldn't help wondering about some of the details surrounding the two sisters, concerning their history and the plan that had managed to restore Princess Luna to her proper body and identity.

Fortunately, she would get her answers from Princess Celestia before the day was done. As it would turn out, Princess Celestia had banished her sister for a thousand years, and suppressed any accounts regarding her existence, even going so far as to keep the connection between her sister and Nightmare Moon separate from the ideas behind the Summer Sun Celebration and Nightmare Night, so Princess Luna could get a fresh start upon her return, rather than leaving her image to stew with — and be stained by — that of Nightmare Moon's for generations, or allow enough of a trace of her sister's existence so that such a connection might be drawn regardless. It had been easy for Princess Celestia to accomplish because Nightmare Moon had only been present for mere moments before being banished, and her subjects only had the briefly-interrupted morning and the damage to the castle, in addition to Princess Luna's disappearance, as evidence that anything at all had happened — none had seen the transformation that would have told them that Princess Luna and Nightmare Moon were one and the same.

While a thousand years might seem like an absurd amount of time, especially to any whose lives were at the mercy of time's passage, it wasn't chosen simply to ensure that Princess Luna would get a fresh start once she was restored. A thousand years would also allow for the progression of magic, technology and culture, so that Princess Luna could return to a world where many of her subjects took advantage of her nights, occasionally if not often. That plan had borne fruit, because there were plenty of nighttime activities and lifestyles now, to the extent that Manehatten had gotten the nickname "The City that Never Slumbers," although it certainly wasn't the only city that was known for its nightlife. Nightmare Night was the cherry on top of it all, because it took place at night and involved fun activities, despite what it had been based upon.

Due to Princess Celestia's long-standing dishonest behavior, where her sister was concerned, she had been one Element short of being able to use the Elements of Harmony on her own, and that was why she'd had to rely on someone else. She had chosen Twilight Sparkle because she knew her well enough to put her faith in her. The hints had been given at the last minute because the task was of such a nature that it needed to be realized and undertaken by oneself, not at the behest of another, and matters would have been complicated had Princess Celestia not seemed too busy to receive a personal visit. However, Princess Celestia had known enough about the residents of Ponyville to feel confident about her student making friends there in such a short span of time, in order to share the responsibility of using the Elements of Harmony, especially if trying to wield the Elements of Harmony on her own didn't occur to her.

Despite Twilight Sparkle's own attempt to allow Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to have their moment, it seemed destined to be interrupted, because a familiar group of ponies raced through the front door — with the exception of a certain rainbow-haired pegasus, who had chosen to fly over the wall. In a manner that she couldn't help seeing as comical, their eyes went wide as they skid to an abrupt halt, when they noticed the most recognizable and prestigious figure within view.

Almost as one, they all bowed respectfully, and it was with a mixture of joy and relief that they exclaimed, "Princess Celestia!"

Princess Celestia did not seem to mind the interruption, who turned to face them and calmly said, "Be at ease, my little ponies. Might I ask what has brought all of you out here?"

Rarity stepped forward and said, "Well, we came out here because—"

"Found ya!" Pinkie Pie gleefully declared, at about the same time as some of the others noticed Twilight Sparkle's presence, and proceeded to knock her to the floor with the force of her aerial hug, which also managed to dislodge the crown from the top of her head. "Now you're it!"

A little put off by Pinkie Pie's interruption, Rarity awkwardly gestured toward Twilight Sparkle to indicate to Princess Celestia what the subject of her response would have been.

Once Twilight Sparkle was on her hooves again, with Pinkie Pie happily bouncing up and down at her accomplishment beside her, whatever anyone would have said or done next was derailed by a collective gasp, when the new arrivals finally noticed the state of her hair, and the wings that hadn't been present back in Ponyville. They were amazed further when Princess Celestia returned the crown to her head, which — along with the necklace — completed her image as a princess. Of course, with all of that attention, and the nature of said attention, she began to feel rather self-conscious.

Rainbow Dash, who had been planning to give Twilight Sparkle a tongue-lashing for ditching her and the others like she had, allowed her confusion to do the talking instead. "Since when did you have wings?"

"Yeah," Applejack agreed, as she began to scrutinize the entire package. "I'm pretty sure that ya weren't like that before."

"Oh, well, you see..." Twilight Sparkle temporized, as she tried to think of how to explain what had happened to her.

Either because Fluttershy was understanding of her situation, or was aloof enough from the group to divert her attention elsewhere, she was both relieved and thankful when she noticed the other alicorn in the room and quietly said, "Um... Who's that standing next to Princess Celestia?"

When the group's attention fully shifted to Princess Luna, she shied away, not liking it any more than Twilight Sparkle had at that precise moment. Princess Celestia stepped closer to her, in a way that could have been interpreted as being protective, and fondly stated, "This is my younger sister: Princess Luna."

That seemed to surprise them a lot more than Twilight Sparkle's appearance, to the point of being speechless after their initial reactions to the news, so Princess Celestia chuckled with mirth and said, "I can see that some explanations are in order. Why don't we head back to Ponyville, and talk along the way?"

Everyone was willing to agree to her suggestion, so they started to file out of the ruins. While Princess Celestia began to enlighten the others, Twilight Sparkle hung back a bit, so she could see all five of the ponies that had cared about her so much that they had managed to discover where she had gone and followed her there. It was a strange notion to consider, especially since she had been a stranger to them prior to meeting them only hours ago, but she felt touched by their actions nonetheless.

"Maybe," she thought, with a slight smile forming on her lips, "taking a break from studying, and making some friends, isn't such a bad idea."

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Comments ( 56 )

Just leave it to Twilight Sparkle to do it wrong, better. :rainbowlaugh:

BTW, is it 'pamphile' or 'panphile'? Pamphile is the daughter of Platea, and credited with being the first to weave silk and thread from cotton. :twilightsmile:

7131768 It's "Pamphile." Although the root word for "all" is "pan," as in the case of "Pandora," sometimes the N is substituted for an M, depending on the sound that follows (I'm supposing). I'll be happy, though, so long as people pronounce the last two syllables in a way that's similar to "filly," rather than exactly like "file." :yay:

I wonder why they didn't try getting the manticore or Stephen to come along in their quest...

7132127 Manticore, Steven, a haunted tree, a Shadowbolt... and Nightmare Moon. Add Twilight and that makes six... :rainbowlaugh:

I....I might just do this one. Gods, I can't even begin to imagine how Discord would react to....I'm trying come up with a good nickname for this Twilgiht. Harmony-Twilight? Either way, I might do this. Thank you for creating this piece.

7136115 I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Whether you pick it up or not, I just want to stress that you don't have to worry about limiting your imagination. Have fun, even if it never leaves the confines of your mind.

A wild writing workshopper appears!

This looks like it could be a cool story, and I'm curious to know more! Unfortunately, the prose is too cluttered for me to be willing to read 6500 words. I'd suggest trying to pare down what you're saying and concretize your prose more. Let me grab the first paragraph for reference:

Twilight Sparkle stood just outside of the Everfree Forest, upon a dirt pathway that led into it. While she didn't like the idea of exploring a strange forest all by herself, especially during the dark of night, she had decided that it would be necessary. It wasn't just because a certain group of ponies were too unknown to her to be reliable, aside from the smidgen of experience that she could ascertain a certain degree of unreliability, but due to the nature of her endeavor. So, to avoid being joined or followed, she had read The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide to herself before teleporting away from the library with the aforementioned book still in her possession.

There are a lot of little low-information phrases and structures filling this up and slowing down your story so that it's hard for the reader to really get into it. "Just" is rarely useful. Strings of prepositional phrases are often unnecessary, and in many cases can be reworded. Bits like "a certain group of ponies" are unnecessarily vague and can be spiced up by concretizing them. If I were editing this guy, I might do a (pretty light) first pass on that paragraph and end up with something more like this:

Twilight Sparkle stood on a dirt pathway leading into the Everfree Forest. She disliked the idea of exploring a strange forest by herself, especially during the dark of night, but she'd decided it was necessary. She had read The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide—she understood what she was supposed to do, and that she was supposed to seek help—but Twilight hardly knew these Ponyville ponies, and she had grave doubts about their reliability. [Concrete example w/ Rainbow or Pinkie would be good here.] So, to avoid being joined or followed, she had retrieved the reference guide from the library and teleported here directly.

This could still be pared down and made more concrete (e.g. I don't think it'd hurt to have Twilight thinking about Nightmare Moon and setting the high stakes for this story straight out of the gate), but the above is at least a start on smoothing out some of the language. To be clear, I'm not trying to knock your story here—just to give some writing pointers for moving up to the next level. It's pretty rare for a story to catch my attention these days, and the premise and a 37+ / 0- vote record got me in the door—so you're doing a lot right already. But I think you can do even more right by working on spicing up your prose.

7139341 I appreciate the input. It's extremely rare that I receive any that's even half as constructive and objective. Unfortunately, it's not going to do a person like myself much good; not any time soon, at least. By that, I mean to say that my literacy in language — despite its appearance — is nearly non-existent, and I'm not particularly intelligent besides, so a lot of the technical stuff goes right over my head. What you see here is the result of "feeling things out" for a decade and a half, some referencing of professional works, and the odd feedback that conveyed information that I could understand and implement. (Using the em dash instead of parenthesis, or using both, within the context of a story, for instance.) I'll try to keep the advice in mind, and hopefully it'll worm its way into my writing over time.

That said, most of the low-information phrases are intentional, and I consider it a part of my style to a certain extent, more or less. That may or may not seem strange, but I probably don't have a typical background for a writer, and — admittedly — I'm fine with it if what I write is readable to most. That, and I kind of have this thing about being homogeneous that I can do little about, so I don't mind if I happen to stick out in some way, even if that way happens to be a flaw. I figure I'm fine so long as I'm not making an utter mess out of the language.

I didn't mention Nightmare Moon sooner since I assume that most will read the summary. I know that doesn't make mentioning it in the first paragraph redundant, but I prefer to give my readers the benefit of the doubt: that they're intelligent enough to think of certain, relevant things, and figuring out the implicit information, rather than needing neon signs and silver platters for everything.

The "certain group of ponies" was decided upon because it was reflective of Twilight's perspective, rather than me purely being implicit about it, although it was also a means of paring things down, instead of dropping names and/or examples. It was one of those things where I gave the readers the benefit of the doubt, concerning what I said in the last paragraph. (If they don't know who I'm referring to, I might just have to wonder if they've watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. :twilightsheepish: )

Anyway, what you said about the usage of "just" should be easy enough for me to do something about. Overall, though, it may take some time for my writing to evolve in the direction that you're pointing me toward. I'm slow like that. Slow and steady wins the race, though, right? :trollestia:

This was a great read, and the idea of Twilight doing it all alone is not one I've seen before, which made it even more interesting.

Twilight's thought processes got across really well, and her line of thinking was perfectly logical, which makes it believable as she is the academic type. She seemed a little more self-confident than her canon counterpart, but still very much herself, and the story itself couldn't have happened the same way were she not a little more confident than we usually see her. Overall, your Twilight is a smart, well-executed interpretation of her character and a likeable protagonist.

That said, I think the segment after the fight could have been better if instead of telling the reader all of Celestia's reasons, you'd written a conversation between her and Twilight in which Celestia explains. Not to bash your writing, but I think that part would have felt more natural if it hadn't been just stated to the reader. Other than that, though, I had no issues with the way the story was written and found it much more entertaining than I had expected.

Another thing: you should really add the 'Alternate Universe' tag to the story. The setting may be the same, but what Twilight does in the story is considerably different from canon, so the story does technically take place in an alternate universe (one in which Twilight goes it alone, rather than with her friends).

I will admit that the idea of writing something with this idea interests me a great deal. I have a lot on my plate right now, but if I ever write something, I'll be sure to let you know.

Thanks for the story and keep up the good work!

7139815 I'm glad that you liked it.

The self-confidence wasn't so much an artificial addition as it was reasoned out for the change in circumstances, because now she had to get herself to do it all on her own. Frankly, because she can go overboard to not disappoint Celestia, I was more worried that people would think she wasn't manic enough. :pinkiecrazy:

I didn't attribute the story with an alternate universe tag because most stories on this site would have to have it according to the requirements being suggested; you'd have to write little that's different from canon for it to not apply. I put it like that, which sounds like hyperbole, because what I did (with the material, not my execution; I have nothing to assert on that front) was probably as close to being canonical as one can get with a divergence, because all of the catalysts for the divergence are from the canon, not an injection of something new. (I had found it odd that Twilight was surprised when Luna was revealed to be Celestia's sister, given what she had learned, and things snowballed from there.) Personally, I reserve the alternate universe tag when there are enough changes — without development in the story itself; it just is, already — in: character sex, race/species or personality/past experience, setting, date and the like.

As for the ending: I agree that it could have been better. That bit after the defeat of Nightmare Moon had taken the longest for me to write, because I'd had trouble figuring out exactly how to convey what needed to be conveyed without a bunch of dialogue that pads the story and doesn't quite fit with what came before it. There was that, and my own limitations as a writer, since I was unsure of how successfully I would have been able to juggle the behavior, actions and reactions of eight distinctive personalities, many of whom would be active in some way at the same time. Well, it could have just been between Celestia and Twilight, as you said, but I didn't want to leave out the other characters entirely, and not just because it was important for the story (and what may be hinted afterward). In the end, I opted for three paragraphs to fill a lull in the scene, instead of tacking on another scene full of dialogue and lacking a decent sunrise to ride off into. :derpytongue2:

This story is extremely clunky, being so exposition-heavy and long-winded that it feels like Twilight is stopping once every five feet to think back on the past twenty-four hours and remind herself that she has good reasons for acting the way she is. It feels like you're afraid the reader won't accept your premise, so you choose to bog down your story with these unnecessarily long explanations of why she's doing all of this, when most of it can just be reasonably extrapolated from the base premise 'Twilight thinks the way every Internet commenter thinks instead of being a flawed character with emotional bias'. You also substitute dialogue with exposition very needlessly.

Finally, this story does need an alternate universe tag.

7141728 I won't contest the clunkiness or long-windedness, whether you're right about them or not, but I think the use of exposition is fine, overall. Do note that much of it is present during the transition between events, when she is moving, and I chose to do it that way because I didn't want it to get in the way of the action.

I can't even fathom where you got the idea that I was replacing dialogue with exposition "very needlessly." You'd need to give me at least a good example or two of what you're talking about if your intent was to be helpful.

I don't really know what you're saying with the "Internet commenter" bit, but I feel like it has something to do with your assumption that I was afraid that the readers wouldn't accept my premise without selling it hard, which is false. In reality, I impart all of that information because I'm not assuming that every reader will know all of the details that are driving Twilight to take a different course of action. This way, not only can the not-so-informed reader be informed as they're reading the story, rather than not exploring voids and assuming I pulled something out of my butt, which damages believability, they could check back with the canon and — perhaps — have a, "Huh; I didn't notice that," moment. I just have a thing about staying as true to the material as I can, so I want to avoid looking like someone who makes too much stuff up for the desired effect.

I will maintain that this story does not need an alternate universe tag. I don't know what your definition of an alternate universe is (because it certainly doesn't match up with the site's definition), but I made no changes to the canon material to create the divergence, which a reader could find out with my helpful (not necessarily perfectly-executed) exposition. Twilight acts on information that she already had in canon, and nothing more. She was clearly against having company in canon, so actually managing to go it alone isn't strange. Aside from that, it's arguable how well I kept her in character, but I tried, because that's important to me. If she seems more brave than she should be, I reasoned that she could be under these new circumstances, where she only has herself to rely on.

7142020

I made no changes to the canon material to create the divergence

That is wrong.

You took the events of the pilot episode, threw them out, and instead wrote a new scenario based on Twilight's canon characterization. This story can be summarized as "What if Twilight didn't make friends?" If a story can be summarized as "What if something that happened in the show didn't happen/happened differently", then it takes place in an alternate universe.

This is a rewrite of an episode. Rewrites of episodes are not canon, therefore are not in the show's universe, therefore are labelled as AU.

Tack on a few hundred words at the end of this being a hypothetical scenario Twilight is telling Spike about, and it would count as being canon. But as it stands, this story posits that Twilight Sparkle became an alicorn in the first episode. Which I shouldn't have to tell you, ISN'T CANON.

7142052 ...That's so out-there in how wrong it is. That can't be true because what she acts upon also happened in canon; I had not changed that, and all of the resultant changes take place in the story. She read the books, just like in canon, and simply noticed the obvious connection between Celestia and Nightmare Moon. Just because I did not write that part out, and it was implied instead, does not give one liberty to deny its relevance or existence.

I think the truth of the matter actually lies between us living in alternate universes, in our heads. You're welcome to assume that I'm the one that lives in the wrong one and move on, because I have better things to do with my time, and you may or may not share that sentiment.

7142121 Why do you think that it should be considered canon because there are some canon details in it?

By that logic, every AU is canon, because they all have Twilight Sparkle and Twilight Sparkle is a pony who was born at some point in the canon past.

7142167 I could be wrong, but I think we have a misunderstanding. I'm not sure if what I said actually could be misinterpreted in the way that it seems to have been, but I'll clarify anyway: the story I wrote, itself, is not canon. It is, however, based entirely on canon, rather than any non-canon — not even a little. This Twilight receives the same information that canon Twilight did, which was responsible for the usual canon events, except she doesn't miss one of the highly-implied details (which is about as small of a change as one can make, as a reaction), and changes in events snowball from there.

Anyway, if that describes an alternate universe, whether it's based on the site's definition or our own, then fan-fiction — as a rule — would require that tag. If you still disagree with me, then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

7142346 'Changes in events snowball[ing] from there' is the definition of an alternate universe.

7142384 We'll just have to agree to disagree, then.

Meeester
Moderator

Probably needs an AU tag, yeah.

7142503 Probably? Can you give me a specific reason?

I'm not unwilling to add it, since it would — technically — give the story more opportunities to be exposed, but I've yet to be convinced that it matches the requirements mentioned in the FAQ. I even just finished seeking out an outside opinion myself, a total stranger, who I assume would have a better idea than I would, because I'm fine with being wrong and coming out of it the wiser.

7142503
7142422 After some correspondence with SweetAI Belle, I've decided to agree with you (and one other commenter that suggested the alternate universe tag). Mainly because I don't see anything to gain from sticking with my own lengthy experiences when it comes to the grey area where divergence leads to an alternate universe, as if it's the be all and end all of things.

I was mostly sold by the explanation (given by SweetAI Belle, and paraphrased here) that non-alternate universes go about their business as if the new circumstances are normal, whereas the alternate universe highlights the differences from canon. It makes it much easier to see where the line is drawn.

I apologize if I was being a pain, Moriarty. I just don't make a habit of changing my mind wherever the wind blows, so I can appear stubborn if I'm not sufficiently convinced.

7142842 Appear stubborn? No shit. You have been the very definition of stubborn.

7142911 In this context, as opposed to being, say, gullible or weak-minded, not really. I think it's reasonable to expect someone to want belief and agreement to match up, rather than agreeing dishonestly. Also, do recall that I was the first to suggest a stopping point to our argument, and offered it more than once.

It just seems worse than it was because of how long it lasted, and not being what concluded the matter. But, as you can see, I can be convinced otherwise. I even reached out to a stranger: not to find out if I you were wrong, but because I prefer being right, which includes learning when I'm not so I can be. I didn't reach out to them to argue, but to offer and compare perspectives, to try and bridge the gap separating truth and understanding from another angle. That turned out well, I made a public admission of being wrong, and I even offered an apology, all of which I didn't have to do at all.

So, what more do you want from me? Not intelligence, hopefully, because I'm afraid that my idiocy cannot be cured. :pinkiecrazy:

7142948 All I wanted was for you to acknowledge a very silly, stupid mistake. You have done this.

I will now hopefully forget that I ever had the misfortune of wasting my day talking to you.

7142975 Insults, now? It might seem like it to you, but I don't think the mistake was either silly or stupid, much less very. The part of the FAQ that is relevant is not explicit. How much is significant? How far must things diverge during the story, not outside of it, before "generally do not qualify" can be cast aside? If the matter were strictly black and white, I'd agree with you, because I don't mind claiming stupidity when I'm being stupid, but it's not, so I won't.

Anyway, you've expressed a distinct disinterest in carrying on a conversation with me, so I'll leave it at that.

7143013 If its any comfort, Crescent, I've been in the same situation: literally. I started a fic where Discord got free when Nightmare Moon did in the series openers and I wasn't sure if I should add in the AU tag or not. But I kind of figured I should. Partially because its changing the very setting stone of the entire series, but also because when expanding on such a concept, you may end up rewriting a bit of the past in subtle ways.

In other words, its grey area where you should probably use it, just in case you want to expand more. I know you said you won't be expanding on this, but I mean this in general.

7150358 Well, I never really had a problem with following the definition being used here, if convinced that my story applies. The problem, for me, is that the alternate universe tag itself isn't informative enough: it doesn't tell a potential reader, whom I hope to attract, whether the departure from canon is a significant change to what someone would expect from the series they watched before they even glimpse the first word, or if the basis is the same but events play out very differently.

To me, that's a big difference that a single tag shouldn't encompass, because I'd certainly want to know if what I'm thinking of reading isn't going to be the familiar stuff I prefer, or if it's the familiar stuff that I prefer taken to an unfamiliar place. On the writer side of this, especially for this story, the alternate universe tag has a real potential to undermine what I wrote, because "alternate universe" is pretty much synonymous with "I made this stuff up," but the point of the story was an exercise in causing change while staying true to preexisting information.

In the end, though, I know that what I write isn't the sort of stuff that the vast majority of people are looking for, regardless of the venue, so it's not like I'm being all that disadvantaged by it.

i like the story. as for your comments.... i would not call you stupid...... i would call you too smart. or too logical..... but not stupid.

7171803 I'm glad you liked it.

I won't presume to be an intelligent person, and I have too many excuses for my self-deprecating behavior, so... :derpytongue2:

huh very interesting.

bep

Not only had she not expected the manticore to respond reasonably to her act of kindness, but she realized that no book had ever mentioned that such a thing was possible when it came to manticores. She began to seriously consider if Princess Celestia might actually be right about there being more to life than studying, as much as she didn't want to admit the possibility.

Yeah! The other part of life is research!

I think I prefer the original version, all things considered.

7237007 Well, it wasn't meant to be a replacement. It was just an exercise in creating change using the same information in the canon. I was kind of hoping that the story's merits would be based more on that, on the technical side of things, rather than the subjective, personal one.

7237808
I don't think you can really separate the technical from the subjective, really, given that literature (to use the term loosely) is all about personal impressions, but I suppose I can do that also.

The grammar was fine and no spelling errors stuck out, that is as much as I can say about it in purely technical terms.

As a story, I do not think it was a good one. This here falls under the broader umbrella of "stories that retell the pilot episodes with the names switched out." There is no real creativity to this. In all honesty, there's no meaningful difference to the original at all before the ending - and the changes to the ending are not an improvement. The entire thing feels like a Mary Sue story, except about Twilight instead an OC. She inexplicably and unreasonably solves a half dozen problems she shouldn't even be aware of all on her lonesome and gets Phenomenal Cosmic Power all out of nowhere, if only a few seasons early. It doesn't help that the explanation sounds like so much woo-woo handwaving and only makes sense in the most tenuous of ways.

This isn't really an independent story of its own. It's a proof of concept. Experimental, but also an experiment that didn't work out.

Also, while I don't exactly speak Greek, Pamphile kind of sounds like a neologism. I would have gone with Agapé. It has more historical context and fits the idea just as well.

7237925 I wasn't asking for them to be separated. It's just that, in my personal experience, most people judge things heavily on a fraction of what there is to judge. I know I shouldn't expect anything more from readers, all things considered, but I can still hope.

Okay, before I address the rest, please elaborate on what you mean with this: "She inexplicably and unreasonably solves a half dozen problems she shouldn't even be aware of..."

What is it that she shouldn't be aware of, and in what way are the problems inexplicably and unreasonably solved? Because I did not write what I did on a whim; I made sure to research and check relevant information thoroughly before I decided to do anything. The whole point was to make believable changes.

7237998
Well, the entire part of the early parts of the show is that every character has strengths and shortcomings. Twilight's are supposed to become visible during that early "hero's journey." She needs her friends to do these things for her, because they represent qualities she herself doesn't have and needs to slowly cultivate in herself through her friendship with them. Instead, she spontaneously develops something halfway between omniscience and enlightenment here and then poof! alicorn. I think it isn't hard to see how that is just a bit much.

7238014 I do get that, and that's perfectly fine. I didn't ask about that part of your response because that's a legit reason to like the original, and that's why I prefer the original myself (even if not for the reasoning mentioned, verbatim). However, that had in no way answered what I had asked. If I'm asking too much on the specifics, I'm perfectly willing to write a blog that addresses every step I took in the story.

7238057
I am afraid I simply do not understand your question, then. Sorry.

7238076 Alright. Let's start with a simple (not for you, but in comparison to other details that could be addressed) and direct question, then, and see what that turns up. Do you think it's inexplicable/unreasonable for Twilight to realize that Celestia had a sister before the time she realizes it in canon?

7238122
I believe I see what you mean. Yes, I think that to a degree, it is unreasonable. The thing about Luna's familial relationship to Celestia is that it is obvious in hindsight. It is something that you can pick out from context clues, I'll honestly say. It's a conclusion that someone could naturally come to. The problem is that it's something that makes sense more in terms of narrative logic than in-universe logic. The sun and the moon being siblings is something that makes for a good story twist, it has interesting mythological allusions, but it's not a solid conclusion you could come to from what is actually known at that point. It's guesswork that she somehow just knows is actually fact somehow.

Twilight could have worked that out, but she doesn't really have anything to base it on. It's an intuitive conclusion, a leap in logic, and that's the kind of thing her character just doesn't do. A lot of the other things in the lead-up to the confrontation have the same character. They are things she could have figured out, but really shouldn't have had, because it doesn't grow from who she is in the same way it grows from who the other characters are.

Twilight might have decided to give a river serpent her tail, example, but she wouldn't have done it out of generosity. She would have done it because she doesn't really care what her tail looks like - and more reasonably, she also would likely have simply teleported to the other side and ignored the whole thing. That's who she is, in the early episodes.

7238136 Then we are in disagreement. I think the connection is rather obvious as it is, and doesn't require much in the way of a leap in logic to conclude, if any. Who else has been raising the sun and moon "for generations since" (which is an indefinite amount of time) for Equestria, and what are the chances that there wouldn't be any documentation of Celestia performing that task for at least a thousand years, when Twilight is known for her historical knowledge (which goes at least as far back as Starswirl the Bearded, whom was around before Luna's banishment, as suggested in Luna Eclipsed) and general bookworminess? (There is the Summer Sun Celebration as well, which is about Nightmare Moon's banishment, and that probably helps as well.) Then there's the information from the second book she reads, about the Mare in the Moon. It tells of a pony who was banished to the moon, just like what was mentioned in the first book, by the elements of harmony, also mentioned in the first book, because she desired a world of eternal night, which -- again -- was mentioned in the first book. All of these connections very implicitly illustrates that she is the younger sister mentioned in the first book, to the one who has been raising the sun and moon for the last thousand years, yet she inexplicably stops making connections at the Mare in the Moon being Nightmare Moon.

...And what she ultimately decides to focus on is something that she possibly only heard of once before, from a subject that she probably isn't all that interested in (as illustrated in Feeling Pinkie Keen), which demonstrates having the kind of memory that would have helped her (given her historical knowledge) connect the dots about Celestia having a younger sister who became Nightmare Moon.

As for the part with the sea serpent: I half-agree. I wasn't trying to illustrate that Twilight is a prime example of generosity, but she's neither unkind, ungenerous or completely aloof, either. For me, at least, the point of the first two episodes was for Twilight to realize that friendship is more important/relevant than she realized, rather than her being some kind of delinquent in need of reformation, or something along those lines. How we see her develop later in the series, is more due to changing her priorities and expressing and cultivating what was already there, rather than introducing her to novel ideas. With the sea serpent, I figured her actions would depend on the circumstances, since she was willing to ask the sea serpent what the matter was in the original version of events. That's why I had her consider taking the teleportation route, but prefaced the scene with thoughts that would lead her to helping the serpent, since I also doubted that she would care about cutting off a significant length of her tail.

I hope all that makes what I chose to do understandable, even if you still don't agree with it.

7238363

Then we are in disagreement.

No doubt. You probably wouldn't have written the story otherwise, so that was kind of my assumption. :derpytongue2:

she inexplicably stops making connections at the Mare in the Moon being Nightmare Moon.

She could have died. She could have left. She could be sick. She could be on vacation. Nightmare Moon could have eaten her. There are an endless amount of possibilities to what else could have happened to the younger sister and nearly all of them are basically equally likely from the actual proof she has. Like I said, it's something that you can conclude just from what is known at that point, but that's why I said it's obvious in hindsight: retrospect makes it seem like the obvious conclusion, but lacking that foreknowledge, she basically latches onto one possibility out of many for no clear reason. She doesn't know what we know. Nothing about all those hints actually excludes any of the other possibilities.

I wasn't trying to illustrate that Twilight is a prime example of generosity, but she's neither unkind, ungenerous or completely aloof, either.

No, I suppose not. My point was more that even in doing the same thing as Rarity, she doesn't demonstrate generosity in the same way as Rarity. It's one of those things about virtues. Where I come from, we say that generosity means giving something away that you can't afford. When Rarity cuts of her tail, she demonstrates generosity on a bone-deep level because she genuinely cares about her image. Losing her tail is a real loss to her, but she parts from it anyway and gives away a piece of herself in the process. When Twilight does it, it's just hair, because she doesn't actually care all that much. She's giving away something she can afford to lose. Do you see the difference? It's subtle, but there's a strong symbolic component to what each of the characters does that's just sort of lost here. She's giving it freely, but she isn't generous.

7238731

No doubt. You probably wouldn't have written the story otherwise, so that was kind of my assumption. :derpytongue2:

Wait, I wrote the story so we could disagree? :pinkiegasp: :pinkiehappy:

She could have died. She could have left. She could be sick. She could be on vacation. Nightmare Moon could have eaten her. There are an endless amount of possibilities to what else could have happened to the younger sister and nearly all of them are basically equally likely from the actual proof she has. Like I said, it's something that you can conclude just from what is known at that point, but that's why I said it's obvious in hindsight: retrospect makes it seem like the obvious conclusion, but lacking that foreknowledge, she basically latches onto one possibility out of many for no clear reason. She doesn't know what we know. Nothing about all those hints actually excludes any of the other possibilities.

Except it's based on what Twilight knows, not what we know. Almost all of the required information is in those two books, which she read. Also, the possibilities aren't all equal, because there actually is a living, breathing princess who raises the sun and moon (as mentioned in the first book). In addition to that (and this is the portion that's implied to us, as far as what Twilight could or should know at the beginning of the series), there are plenty of things that suggest that it would be stranger if Twilight had no earthly idea about Celestia's history or the length of her rule/her responsibility for the sun and moon (considering how long she's been performing the same duty and role). Given all that (including the other details that I mentioned from the two books before), and how far Twilight connected the dots in canon, any further connection-making is far from being far-fetched or tenuous. There's not much more that could have been done for the final connection to be any more obvious, especially since she got as far as she had before I did anything, which was basically just finishing what had been started.

No, I suppose not. My point was more that even in doing the same thing as Rarity, she doesn't demonstrate generosity in the same way as Rarity. It's one of those things about virtues. Where I come from, we say that generosity means giving something away that you can't afford. When Rarity cuts of her tail, she demonstrates generosity on a bone-deep level because she genuinely cares about her image. Losing her tail is a real loss to her, but she parts from it anyway and gives away a piece of herself in the process. When Twilight does it, it's just hair, because she doesn't actually care all that much. She's giving away something she can afford to lose. Do you see the difference? It's subtle, but there's a strong symbolic component to what each of the characters does that's just sort of lost here. She's giving it freely, but she isn't generous.

I got your point, and I agree with it as far it concerns the context of the event we're discussing. Otherwise, it's semantics when we really get down to it, because not everyone sees generosity as a meaningful loss: many think that it simply falls under an act of kindness, that a sacrifice isn't necessary to distinguish between being kind and being generous; it's simply giving more than what was necessary, whether it has a negative impact on the giver or not. It's pretty much synonymous with kindness. (That's why I would have preferred that they had stuck with Rarity's element being inspiration.)

As far as the Elements of Harmony are concerned? I figure the spark is enough. I mean, did it really matter that any of the five who became element bearers had to prove themselves with one act of their respective quality to qualify? They only behaved in the manner that they had because that's the kind of person they each are, and the circumstances allowed them to express that side of themselves. When Twilight switches her priorities after the incident with Nightmare Moon, to learn about friendship, we see that she already had all of those qualities, rather than having to learn how to be those things and incorporating them into her personality. She's plenty kind, honest, generous, loyal and pleasing; she just lacked the lifestyle and experience to utilize those qualities often enough and well. It shouldn't be surprising that she has a good heart and character, considering the ponies she's been close to while growing up.

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Wait, I wrote the story so we could disagree? :pinkiegasp: :pinkiehappy:

Naturally. All stories here are actually just written for my personal benefit. Didn't you know?

Except it's based on what Twilight knows, not what we know. Almost all of the required information is in those two books, which she read. Also, the possibilities aren't all equal, because there actually is a living, breathing princess who raises the sun and moon (as mentioned in the first book).

Well, I'll just have to disagree there, then. The fact that Celestia exists doesn't really say anything about Luna in and of itself, and even if it isn't much of a surprise, it's still somewhat ambiguous.The reveal did come as a surprise to at least some people, or at least as a confirmation of a vague and indistinct hunch. It isn't actually something that forces itself on you, the way a solid conclusion does.

I guess the problem I have with it is that while she could have guessed it, she is acting a lot more confident than she really has any right to be. A bit of doubt and second-guessing wouldn't have gone amiss, in my opinion. It's humanizing, which is something the story lacks a bit right now.

As far as the Elements of Harmony are concerned? I figure the spark is enough.

I don't, honestly. I think this kind of thing is what makes it meaningful. Without real significance to it, it's not a virtue, it's just a word - and one of the big premises and central messages is that all the elements are equally important. You have either all of them or none of them. Nothing is secondary.

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Naturally. All stories here are actually just written for my personal benefit. Didn't you know?

Mind. Blown. :pinkiecrazy:

Well, I'll just have to disagree there, then. The fact that Celestia exists doesn't really say anything about Luna in and of itself, and even if it isn't much of a surprise, it's still somewhat ambiguous.The reveal did come as a surprise to at least some people, or at least as a confirmation of a vague and indistinct hunch. It isn't actually something that forces itself on you, the way a solid conclusion does.

I guess the problem I have with it is that while she could have guessed it, she is acting a lot more confident than she really has any right to be. A bit of doubt and second-guessing wouldn't have gone amiss, in my opinion. It's humanizing, which is something the story lacks a bit right now.

No, no, no. It has nothing to do with Luna, because Twilight already covered that in the canon. She connects the Mare in the Moon mentioned in the second book to the Nightmare Moon mentioned in the first book, who is the sister to the princess who has been raising the sun and moon (as mentioned in the first book). That means that the only remaining question is whether Twilight would know enough about Celestia (whether through her personally and/or historical accounts), someone who has been around longer than a thousand years and is probably well-documented, to figure out that Celestia has been the princess raising the sun and moon for the last thousand years, and thus the older sister of the younger, who had become Nightmare Moon. Are you honestly saying that it's less likely for Twilight to not know enough to even wonder who the older sister was, or that the writers of the show are infallible on the matter?

As for the second part of what you said: actually, that shouldn't be odd or a problem. If you look closely, you'll notice that Twilight confidently and readily assumed that the thousandth year was the current year, without knowing when Nightmare Moon was banished to the moon or checking the stars. And you forget that Twilight is usually pretty confident when it comes to certain things: what do you think a part of Feeling Pinkie Keen was all about? She wanted to feel confident in what she knew, and wanted to find some way to understand the PInkie Sense, or prove it to be bunk, so she could fit it into her world view, rather than doubt herself and wonder if she could be wrong. She maintained that mindset until she exhausted herself.

This relates back to that Mary Sue comment, too. Twilight is plenty confident, brave and capable. Even in the beginning, she shows no doubts or fears about taking care of Nightmare Moon herself, which she had intended to do before she picked up five tag-alongs. Even when she ended up being alone with Nightmare Moon, she confronted her without flinching. If I'm going to be considered doing wrong for trying to portray her character as accurately as I can manage (I highly doubt I'll ever get anything perfectly right), then I'll gladly accept being guilty as charged.

I don't, honestly. I think this kind of thing is what makes it meaningful. Without real significance to it, it's not a virtue, it's just a word - and one of the big premises and central messages is that all the elements are equally important. You have either all of them or none of them. Nothing is secondary.

Well, if you're saying that, then you missed the gist of what I had said. Again, though, I will say that I agree that the way it was done in canon was preferable -- for the audience, and as a part of said audience. The way I approach things are typically rooted in-universe, though, so what I do usually isn't for the sake of how it impacts the reader; at least, not in the way that the source material would do it. Here, all I did was have Twilight go alone, as she had wanted to do in canon, and I hoped that others would see that the qualities required are not only ultimately innate, rather than strictly expressed, but that Twilight already has these qualities to an adequate degree, and is thus able to succeed despite being alone.

No, Twilight isn't perfect, but who is? Heck, even up to the sixth season, despite being an alicorn princess of friendship, she's still able to make basic friendship mistakes. (I wouldn't be surprised if she even failed to follow one of her friendship lessons in No Second Prances. She certainly went as far as being a hypocrite, if I remember correctly.)

Anyway, since we haven't really been able to resolve much between us, we should probably put this to rest. (You're welcome to respond to this, of course.) As much as I like to yap about perceptions, perspectives and canon material, I'm seriously behind on the next chapter that I should be writing. I gave myself a week off so I could try and improve how much sleep I was getting, so my mind would be in a better condition when I got back to writing, but this and a couple of other things have either distracted me or put me into the wrong mindset for writing. In three days, I've only been able to write two paragraphs ^^;

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Very well, if you feel that way about it, there's really no point in continuing this. It's all really getting a bit too wordy for me to follow at this time of night, anyway. No biggie.

Here, all I did was have Twilight go alone, as she had wanted to do in canon, and I hoped that others would see that the qualities required are not only ultimately innate, rather than strictly expressed, but that Twilight already has these qualities to an adequate degree, and is thus able to succeed despite being alone.

I want to address this bit at least, though: this is exactly the problem. She doesn't. She acts out the part of the other elements, but she doesn't do it for the right reason. Everybody has all of the elements qualities to some degree, but she's an exemplar of none of the rest of them. If she was, she would have been a different element to begin with, rather than magic. It doesn't grow naturally from her character. We've been using Rarity here as an example so far, but the manticore is another one. Fluttershy realizes the manticore is injured when she pays close attention to him because she actually cares about everyone's well-being and wants to find a solution where nobody is harmed. Twilight just notices it. It's not just the act that matters. Intent and sentiment are what make it actually symbolically powerful and meaningful, and she doesn't have that.

It it isn't supposed to look that way, it really doesn't become apparent in the story at all. In that case, frankly, she isn't really Twilight as we see her in the show to begin with, though. She's just an entirely new character who unites all these qualities and has been given her name.

7241150 We'll just have to agree to disagree, then. In part because I don't exactly know how far you're taking "exemplary" to mean, since the element bearers aren't perfect in their respective ways, and because there's nothing that explicitly dictates the exact quality/quantity required of those traits. To me, Twilight doesn't change drastically throughout the series, which leads me to believe that most of what we see from her has been within her since the start of the series, and what I've seen of that is enough -- for me -- as far as those traits are concerned. (I see her as a diamond in the rough, and over time the rough edges are smoothed over.) In the end, I think we just set our bars at different heights.

Also, I just wanted to point out that Fluttershy didn't know about the injury. That's not to counter your point of view on the matter, since it would have actually been a better match had you used it: I just like to show that I study this stuff. Harder to do, obviously, is showing my preference to not treat the canon material irreverently, despite how things might seem to someone else.

With that said, I disagree with your assessment that the Twilight depicted in this story is an entirely new character who only bears her name, especially if you're basing that off of a retroactive application of your own expectations for the kind of pony who can use all of the elements. I'd hope not, since it would obviously be misguided, what with Twilight not exemplifying any of the elements (aside from loyalty, perhaps) during her journey through the Everfree (and thus not meeting your expectations), which -- by the sound of things -- I figured you'd find more like the actual Twilight than not. It's a rather extreme opinion, or a very irresponsible usage of hyperbole, so I hope you can point out all of the instances where Twilight behaved in such an uncharacteristic manner that there's nothing at all of Twilight to see in her, if you're going to stand by what you said. Being marginally OOC is something I'm fine with, since I don't expect myself to portray characters perfectly in my attempts to be as accurate as I can, but going so far as to say that the portrayal is zero percent accurate (or thereabouts) isn't something to be taken lying down.

Anyway, yeah, it looks like I'll just have to try and pace how often I respond, at least so long as you continue your end of the conversation. (I may even take days to respond.) I blame you for saying something that couldn't be ignored by a writer who still draws breath. You fiend! :raritydespair:

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n part because I don't exactly know how far you're taking "exemplary" to mean, since the element bearers aren't perfect in their respective ways

"Exemplar," not exemplary. It's a word of its own. In rough terms, it really just means someone who is outstanding about a certain thing and has it as one of their strongest qualities. I think we can reasonably say they each are at least that. Applejack, if nothing else, is an exemplar of honesty, enough so that it bites her in the ass at times. The way Discord messed with them and turned around their personalities kind of proves that, I think. They're that strongly defined by their elements.

I read a very interesting story here called "Harmony Theory" that actually explores this quite in detail, if you'd be interested. The opposite of exemplary honesty is deceit. The opposite of exemplary generosity is greed. But the opposite of exemplary magic is... still magic, and the Twilight Sparkle of that story is rather terrified by the implications of what that could mean for her. It's long, but I really, really recommend it. It's that good.

7243853 No, you're right that those are their strongest traits, so I won't argue that. (Not that Discord is required to prove that in any capacity.) But, consider this for a moment: Celestia had once wielded all of the elements of harmony herself, which -- by your point of view -- would imply that she was an exemplar of all five traits at that time. All things considered, do you think that's beyond the realm of possibility, to the extent that it's an unquestionable fact? Personally, I wouldn't expect one, two or even three (generosity, honesty and laughter) of the five traits to be as strong in her as you would require them to be.

Harmony Theory? I'll give it a look-see when I've put some writing of my own story behind me, since I really need to make up for lost time. (Lemme bookmark it now so I don't forget... Oh, I remember seeing this one before.) Although I figured we already saw what Discord's affect on Twilight had been, which was severing important connections. Friendship is magic, after all, so it makes sense that she would feel like leaving her friends, which she had been in the process of doing before she read those letters.

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