• Member Since 20th Jan, 2013
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ferret


Investigative wordsmith leaving no idea unexplored and no shoe unsniffed.

T
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Rainbow Dash hasn't been having a good time since Discord was defeated. Her supervisor suddenly thinks she can't handle a simple weather schedule. Her relay team all suddenly have a grudge against her. Something isn't right, and it's not limited to her. Applejack's family is watching over her like a jailhouse warden. Twilight is avoiding them all, visiting with strange ponies, and losing sleep on something she won't talk about. Pinkie Pie, and Rarity are both having problems they can't explain. And for Fluttershy, it's the worst of all.

Without Twilight’s guidance, 5 ponies have to figure out what happened to the town, and why their lives are so messed up despite Discord being long gone. Somehow they have to get Twilight to open up to them again, and accept help from her friends. But nothing they do seems to work right. They’re at a loss of what to make of any of this, until Rainbow Dash stumbles upon a truly chilling revalation, that throws into question everything the 5 of them have ever known.

When trouble calls, Dash wants an obvious goal, a big bad monster to defeat, but now the only thing she can see in front of her are all her friends.

Chapters (6)
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Comments ( 331 )

Okay, I'm interested. I can't speak for the others but geeze, the implications of how Rainbow acted before...

And, would she want to go back to how she supposedly used to act? Apparently horrible enough that everyone expects the worst of you...

I can't help but wonder how she got to be the bearer of the element of loyalty in the first place, with that in mind. The same question to Twilight, since her behavior is hardly friendly.

My prediction based on the description, story, and title is that all the bearers were affected by Twilight's mind magic to be the ideals of their element, and it never wore off...

Frankly I'm getting a disturbing image that all of them used to barely qualify before, or maybe never qualified, or was just a title. Or so they thought... Because now they are living the cliche of being their elements personified in a world that never knew them as that before.

*edit* An alternative I just thought up is that Discord altered not just them, but the world and history to believe they were always Discorded... And that wasn't reverted.

Either way, Twilight should be working together with her friends, seriously.

7254139 that doesn't really work because Rainbow was disloyal when discorded, not cruel to people, she just didn't care about them

7254155

On the contrary, she coaches all her niceness in terms of being loyal, so the opposite is entirely possible.

*edit* Besides, Applejack's situation is nonsensical if you don't assume the Discording had an effect.

World in this story reminds me of what happens in there: Winter strudel
Going with that hypothesis, I assume that they accuse Rarity of theft and think that Pinkie suffers of sorrow

Oh I love the plot this story is making! It's really intriguing to see the social changes within someone's life when they finally try to make drastic changes to their own outlook as well as some of the ways that it might be a challenge even without the temptation of returning to their old ways! Please, continue with this largely unexplored theme! I haven't had the pleasure of reading a fresh new idea like this in so long!!!

Very interesting.

I will hold off on making any predictions or assumptions, but I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

Well, this is certainly starting out very interesting alright. Canary really summed it all up nicely. I'm already interested in seeing where this goes.

Oh man I love this so much. It's kind of incredibly terrifying. There's so many weird ethical quandaries about how to deal with people making changes in their lives and how expectations shape us and whether outside influences are valid reasons to stop being who you are and if precedence should be given to the way things are now, or were at first. And you have super unique and interesting perspectives on everything, so I'm really excited to see how it goes.

I really have to appreciate how fantastically likeable you made the new Rainbow Dash. I think that's pretty key, because if she wasn't as sympathetic, this situation wouldn't be nearly as uncomfortable. But I really want things to turn out alright for her, which means... the real Rainbow is kind of screwed? :fluttershysad:

7254139
I read a pitch for this a year ago, so this speculation may be cheating – I don't totally remember – but I have a hunch that RD and co weren't even the original element bearers (hence Twilight acting extra uncomfortable, and having noted conversations with Lyra), and Discord just made Twilight think some random jerks were her (mind-altered) friends. Suddenly her mind control gets broken, and she realizes she's the one who permanently mind-raped a group of strangers into totally different people. I can understand her being out of sorts and wanting to avoid contact with them. This is some I am Not The Actor levels of uncanny.

7254139
Those are all great ideas. I think the real mystery here is how they'll react to whatever it is they find down the rabbit hole.

7254155
You have a point, though I'm curious how you would depict someone as being "disloyal"

7254321
That is beautiful. I actually love soramimi but I haven't seen that one. My favorite ever is this animutation based on Legend of Zelda's "Epona no Uta" but I haven't been able to find APoorNun.swf in years.

7254448
It's... not a very long story, just to give you a head's up. Just going with a funny idea I had once. I hope I don't disappoint you. :fluttershyouch:

7254484
Probably wise. If you make any predictions on a story, you can never know whether you were correct, or whether I just changed it to use your idea instead.

7254502
Thank you! I should have a new chapter ready soon. I have a pretty good idea of how this story's going to go.

7254845
Thanks! I do love me an ethical quandary or five. As for Rainbow Dash being likeable, I don't think even the show writers realize just how important her element is to friendship. You can be brash, short tempered, even abrasive, but if you always follow through, and never give up on your friends, you could end up being the greatest friend anyone could ever have. Kindness is nice, for instance, and generosity is always welcome, but being there for someone when they need you is really what friendship's all about. Or so I've heard... :ajsleepy:

7254845

That spoilered speculation is so unbelievably sad, I just don't know how to respond to it.

Of course it is possible that my earlier speculation that it's all in everypony else's head, including Twilight, and that this was an attempt to shatter the Elements of Harmony by removing the binding sixth element of Friendship. I'd prefer that over your speculation being true because there is, like, literally no right answer to that.

It also strikes me, your speculation, as the kind of thing Discord would do, since seeing her trying to get her 'friends' back, who never were, would be hilarious from rather mean perspective. Up until the point that Twilight harmonizes with them anyway.

7254852

You have a point, though I'm curious how you would depict someone as being "disloyal"

Loyalty is, at its most basic, a sense of obligation and duty. Apathy and abandonment, not being there when needed and in general treating their troubles with a "not my problem" is one of the more obvious ways.

Of course, on the more extreme end of that, you go a step further. There, you have betrayal.

Thank you! I should have a new chapter ready soon. I have a pretty good idea of how this story's going to go.

Glad to hear it.

7254852 Lightning Dust did a pretty good job of it, for one potential way

7254852 o-oh... Well I wasn't expecting a 50 chapter epic but... I was hoping for around a 10 chapter exploration into how each element was handling the situation and what each friend would have to do to reverse or even just repair the effects.

Or maybe just 6... Cause each element would then have their own... I had hoped... I don't really have much place to say how much you will write but I can hope my wishes somewhat align with your own plans!

7254925

I'd prefer that over your speculation being true because there is, like, literally no right answer to that.

I mean, is there really any difference between the two? Either way, you have five ponies who believe something different from the entire rest of the world. If both histories lead to the exact same present, does it really matter which one of them was objectively truth? If you want to 'fix' things, you end up having to erase the existence that somebody knows, and it's sort of a choice on who's.

It's a very interesting, and kind of depressing, question.

7255531
Lightning Dust wasn't disloyal, as much as she was reckless. She never actually let anypony down. You could say she wasn't "loyal to the greater good" or something, but ultimately her independence kept others from depending on her. I suppose it was disloyal how she didn't care about Rainbow Dash's wing getting hurt, but she wasn't deliberately trying to screw Dash over, since she genuinely thought as a Wonderbolt, Rainbow Dash could shake it off.

Plus I kinda like Lightning Dust

7254967
Not being there for who? Everyone? Was Rainbow Dash being disloyal to the Wonderbolts, when she threw away her badge, because she cared about her friends more than her team? What about when she told Gilda to cluck off? It may be cruel to let someone get hurt, but Disloyalty is promising you'll look out for them, then letting them get hurt. There's got to be at least some prior expectation, or obligation, that the person so disloyal actively supported at some point.

7255722
I could go more into it, I suppose... but mostly I just wanted to get this out there. A tight, self contained story where I didn't have to think about a million things that cropped up in previous chapters. I could elaborate more on it I suppose, but... there's other stuff I would rather write, if I can. Also, this story is pretty much from Rainbow Dash's perspective the whole time.

7256088

Well, it does matter because one way implies the elements can re-bond to other ponies on a whim, and that the bearers aren't so special. The other way, they are special and there is only one bonded group at a time, and changing that is a big deal. Besides, if it was the whole world changed kind of thing, the tree of harmony was obviously immune somehow since its bonded group didn't change, so there may be a way to restore reality. The people who suffer in this case are the ones who thought they were Twilight's friends but weren't, and Twilight can always try to make more friends in that scenario.

The other scenario means that somehow there were 5 ponies that few liked that suddenly had their personalities change for the better to the betterment of all. (I do find it ridiculous to imagine this scenario as true though. No animal would go near Fluttershy in the first place, no one would go to Pinkie's Parties, no one would frequent Rarity's Boutique, no one would buy apples from Applejack, and Rainbow Dash probably couldn't hold her weather job. The fact that they had jobs is, I think, a big hint.) The former bearers are kinda shafted in this case, but they weren't there to defeat Discord, so others were chosen instead. Sad, but thems the breaks. Changing the new bearers back to who they used to be is probably bad for everypony, especially the new bearers since they are honestly good characters now.

It does bring up the question: If the elements can change who they are bonded to so easily, can't they just be given back to the others and the new personalities kept? That way they get the opportunity to be good ponies while the old bearers aren't shafted.

I do, however, have a nasty suspicion that Twilight will attempt to resolve this in the worst possible way thinking it was for the better. She is failing as a friend hardcore here for everypony involved; If she is unable to be friends with the others, they can't use the Elements of Harmony again. That means that it may be she who is next to be replaced as a bearer (if that is what happened) if she can't broaden her group of friends. She should come clean as to what the deal is and work with everypony involved in trying to sort it out instead of lies, deception, and even more manipulation. Plus, you know, as the ponies affected, they really should have a say in all this.

7256126
Well, like said, obligation. Loyalty is a kind of moral duty. It is 'owed' and 'commanded' both. Disloyalty means breaking with that duty and refusing to give someone what they have a right to receive from you. Loyalty is putting your desires and needs under those of something or someone else. Self-sacrifice is an essential part of it. Promising someone you'll help them and then not doing it is just lying. There's a reason why, many times in history, it has been the case that promises to outsiders just didn't carry the same weight to certain groups as promises within the group. Loyalty was to the tribe. Everyone else was owed nothing.

It's really probably the most complex and nuanced of the elements and I actually kind of wonder sometimes why they even put it in there. It's like "honor," just too complicated of a topic to teach children in a way they can easily understand in such a simplified format.

"Rainbow Dash got to working with Drizzle"
"got used to"?

"her self confidence"
"self-confidence"?

Well now, I'm a bit tired and rushed at the moment, but looks like another good story from you. :)

My current hypothesis:
If you see only part of someone's life, and if even that part is filtered through your own perception and relationship with them... just how likely are you to be able to perfectly reconstruct the entirety of their personality?
And how much worse is dealing with your errors if they've made the other person better?

Some interesting other hypotheses in the comments, though, it looks like.

7256126 Lightning Dust was given a duty as part of her training, by pushing her own recklessness without thinking of others she was being disloyal to them, and then when her actions caused problems she attempted to shrug them off

CCC

Ooooh. Well, this is interesting... and Twilight clearly knows something that she's not saying...

Well, this story has me hooked. Seriously intriguing stuff, here. My speculation isn't much different from what others have said, except that the mane 5 here might have volunteered to use the Elements with Twilight, with nopony knowing the consequences.

7256160

I do, however, have a nasty suspicion that Twilight will attempt to resolve this in the worst possible way thinking it was for the better.

I hate when that happens in a story. It's like people look at Lesson Zero and use that as an excuse for Twilight to do some stupidly terrible things. It's in character for Twilight to make bad decisions sometimes, but then you have stories where she casually throws around dark magic because 'greater good' or whatever. If Twilight makes mistakes, it's because she's inexperienced or over-eager, not because she's the kind of pony that would ever say something like "the ends justify the means." In the show, she's often the designated audience surrogate, and as such she's meant to be learning things, hence Twilight making dumb mistakes sometimes. I don't mind 'Twilight solving problems in worst way possible' much in AUs where Twilight is meant to be some kind of antagonist, but when cleaving towards the show I'd argue that it's stretching her character too far. /rant

(The ponies in this story still count in base four, so 10 comes after 3, 20 after 13, 100 after 33, etc.)

Whelp. I've never actually seen someone do this, despite the speculation coming up now and again. Do you do this in your other stories? I think it only came up once in this chapter, but seeing "When the eleven of her best friends met for a weekly picnic," was really confusing. I had no way of knowing that eleven actually equals five until I read the author's note, which had me do some weird speculation while I was reading. :derpyderp2:

7257225

I hate when that happens in a story. It's like people look at Lesson Zero and use that as an excuse for Twilight to do some stupidly terrible things. It's in character for Twilight to make bad decisions sometimes, but then you have stories where she casually throws around dark magic because 'greater good' or whatever. If Twilight makes mistakes, it's because she's inexperienced or over-eager, not because she's the kind of pony that would ever say something like "the ends justify the means."

Well, a few thoughts:

1) This is Lesson Zero territory, as in the time-frame matches up exactly. This is Twilight's Lesson Zero. And similar to Lesson Zero, she probably doesn't want Celestia finding out she messed with the minds of 5 random ponies, completely altering their personalities, if that is indeed the case, so she'll be under pressure to resolve the situation in secret. In Lesson Zero, she did this on an entire town, admittedly on accident, though her first try was targeted at three fillies.

2) If Twilight believes all the bearers are false bearers and thus not Twilight's friends, she'll have less restraint in her actions.

3) If the spoilered stuff is true, then in my mind the Worst Possible Action is Twilight attempting to restore the status quo. Reversing any character change or development of the bearers, without their consent or even input, just so she won't get in trouble with Celestia for mind controlling ponies against their will (the first time) and also have made a substantial change like changing whom the Elements are bonded to. Did I mention that she isn't their friend, and the elements probably couldn't be used in the current scenario because of that reason? Elements that we have seen are absolutely needed to keep threats like Discord in check. So that is also hanging over her, again, if the idea in the spoilers is true.

Honestly, Twilight doing that would probably render her unfit to be the bearer of the Element of Magic (and friendship). And it's very easy to see her do it, thinking it was the Right Thing To Do. I'm sorry if that sounds pessimistic, but consider the circumstances and time-frame. If she rises above this, I'll actually be impressed.

*edit*

My speculation isn't much different from what others have said, except that the mane 5 here might have volunteered to use the Elements with Twilight, with nopony knowing the consequences.

This is an interesting theory. I like it, as it removes culpability from Twilight like the other suggestion implies. It's still tragic for the rest of them, but they willingly agreed to it on some level beforehoof, and it may have a decent, if still slightly sad resolution. I can't see Rainbow wanting to return to how she used to be. The thought may make her physically ill, if she really knew.

7257283

1) This is Lesson Zero territory, as in the time-frame matches up exactly. This is Twilight's Lesson Zero.

You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, here. I can't argue against any of that.

Uh oh. :twilightoops:

7256883
I don't recall her ever being ordered not to act recklessly. Well, not until it was too late that is.

7256224
Well said.

7256457

"Rainbow Dash got to working with Drizzle"

It's a colloquialism that pretty much means "Rainbow Dash began to work with Drizzle on a regular and habitual basis," except it doesn't sound all pretentious and snooty.

7256913
Yep, she's having problems too.

7257225
Don't worry, I won't write a compellingly sympathetic Twilight Sparkle throwing around dark magic for the greater good, until I get to my ponies on earth story.

I had ponies counting in base 3+1 previously, in Feeding Problems but I'm sure there's at least one other author out there who has ponies counting in fours. ...somewhere. :twilightblush:

which had me do some weird speculation while I was reading.

Now you know what I go through ahahahaha! :pinkiecrazy:

7257283
Yeah, the timing of that episode was not lost on me... sadly, this story is not from her perspective, so I don't get to go into Twilight's mental breakdown, over whatever she's worried about this time. I think it might be a bit more serious than just being tardy on your friendship report though. Well, at least I get to have Twilight being all delightfully anxious, right?

derpicdn.net/img/2014/7/6/668652/thumb.gif

Isn't she just adorable? :pinkiesad2:

7258166

Great, now you have me believing that everything was caused by Twilight on purpose, but got out of control, as the basis of a friendship report instead of what happened in Lesson Zero.

I hope you are amused by all my speculation because that's all I can do in absence of new material.

Good story buuuut...

“Oh! Nothing special, just taking the chromeo...manticoremilliliter and arcing the tangent until my statistical summary indicates positive correlations in—”

My Honors Chemistry and Pre-Calculus are hurting my brain from the fact you put "mililiters" (the unit) instead of just ending that as a method of measure such as "meter" and arcing the tangent would just be taking the inverse of the tangent. Even my AP Psychology hurts due to your use of the word Correlation. My brain just hurts from that one sentence. It hertz. :pinkiecrazy::facehoof:

7259484
Well that's just what you get, for going to school, and getting an education. :trollestia:

My personal theory here is that Discord didn't actually mind control Twilight's friends, he just found an alternate version of them who were inherently jerks and swapped them with the nice ones. And then Twilight mind controlled the jerks into thinking they were the nice versions, while the real ones remained stranded in the alternate dimension.

7259484 Especially since they're supposed to be using Base 4.

7259890
What I'm curious about isn't what you think happened so much as what you think's going to happen, and how they're going to react to it.

perhaps something like this?

7261394 Clearly, Twilight needs to use a spell to dump a bunch of memories of the local versions of them being jerks into their heads.

Why does it keep saying there are eleven ponies at the party? It's only Pinkie, Rarity, Rainbow, Applejack, and Fluttershy, right?

This is a good story and I'm really looking forward to future chapters. I only have one problem with it: The whole base four thing. It's annoying and needlessly complicates the story. I have to stop and do math for a second any time a number bigger than four is mentioned and it throws off my immersion just a little bit. Please consider changing that.

Just the twelve...uh... eleven of us,

:rainbowhuh:

7257225
It's also incorrect. The word eleven means something very specific and has nothing to do with the system of representation you use. '11 base 4' (pronounce as either 'five' or 'one-one base four') is not and never will be 'eleven.'


7271366
The implication is supposed to be that ponies use as quaternary number system (1, 2, 3, 4, 10, etc...) instead of our decimal, but the writing doesn't match how radix representation actually works.

7271451
I'm sure you're correct. In modern, human society it is unlikely that "eleven" is going to mean anything other than 11 in base 9+1. :twilightsmile:

Don't make me go full retard, and have them pronounce the number "oneone" like it should be. :twilightangry2:

7271402
7271366

Base four (aka base 3+1) works like this: you count from 0 to 3, then instead of going to 4, you carry to the next place. 0, 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, etc. So our number 4 would be 10 in base four. 6 would be 10+2, aka 12. It's the most convenient numbering system I can think of for ponies to be counting in.

7271373
And the word "mouthwriting" doesn't disturb your immersion?

For the most part I'm only using 2 numbers here anyway: 11 and 12. That shouldn't be too hard to keep in mind, I hope? I try not to make the plot rely on your math skills, even if some easter eggs on the side might.

It's interesting how much people care about this. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me. If they start doing complicated mathematical equations in my story, I'll leave an author's note on how to calculate it in base 9+1, and also how I am a terrible person for having complicated math in my story.

7271512

I read it in your previous chapter notes, and I completely forgot. I was trying to divine a special meaning behind the term 11, as in there were 6 'additional entities' there that were not being mentioned in the narrative but was secretly foreshadowing for some amazing concept you were just totally hinting at... instead of realizing the base 4 thing meant 11 was 5 and 12 is 6.

Comment posted by Sailorleo deleted Jun 3rd, 2016

so it’s just gonna be the eleven of us, an Elements of Harmony super meeting party... minus one.

thought at first that it meant eleven minus one, which means two ponies missing

The best thing we can do now is get back to our lives, and keep our ears to the ground, so to speak.

But don't they have time to investigate what's happening outside the town? To check how local their reputation is. To check if they're able to get away if things get extreme.

“You really messed up,”

If anypony figured out it was Scootaloo who did it, they didn’t act on it.

Alarming. She needs to somehow check how it affected Scootaloo - she practically said to her fan that everything she did in the past was wrong.

7271512
The right way to do it, if you are adamant about not calling it 'five' (which is a correct pronunciation for 11 base 4), would be to invent new names for the numbers. A society based on an unusual body form and a similarly unusual number system would not produce a language directly analogous to English.

Hm. I'm thinking my hypothesis was incorrect; the "Discord change the the world, Twilight only changed her friends" variety is seeming more likely now.

"strike her as it would be "
"as if it would"?

"out of shape or what"
"shape, or"?

"devotion for her"
"devotion to her"?

...Oh. My. Now that's interesting. Very interesting. Why would her mouthwriting have changed?

7271647
The right way to do it would be to invent a totally new language based entirely on humming and snorts. Sometimes the wrong way to do it is just better, sorry.

7271653
"strike her as something that would be" I think is what I'm trying to say.

and uhm, I'm pretty sure that one can be devoted to someone, but one can only have devotion for them. But maybe that's not right? Does it really matter if I use "to" or "for"?

As evidenced by the fact that a majority of the comments concern the confusion over the number base despite being forwarned (I was also wondering who the extra 6 ponies were going to be at the meeting), some things just don't go over as well as you hoped.

Aside from that tiny detail, I'm loving this story. That moment with Scootaloo was sweet as hell. The poor girl must be so confused! And really didn't expect a different writing style in the diary... Can a personality shift change ones writing? I don't think so... that's all muscle memory. I think the only way for Rainbow Dash's writing to look different from Rainbow Dash's writing is for it to be an entirely different Rainbow Dash. Or someone managed to re-write the entirety of their lives. I really wonder what's going on here...

7271749
Oh, don't worry. I didn't hope it would go over well at all.

I can change my own writing style. There are whole books on learning to write Italic and such like that. It takes a lot of dedication and effort, but it's one of the more malleable things you can learn. Compare that with learning to beat eggs with your off hand, forgetting how to ride a bicycle, or whether you flinch at touching a clothing iron. What else would change besides your handwriting, when you got your head messed with?

7271733
"The right way to do it would be to invent a totally new language based entirely on humming and snorts. Sometimes the wrong way to do it is just better, sorry."
I tend to just assume a translation convention, yeah.

""strike her as something that would be" I think is what I'm trying to say."
Ah, thanks.

"and uhm, I'm pretty sure that one can be devoted to someone, but one can only have devotion for them. But maybe that's not right? Does it really matter if I use "to" or "for"?"
Hm. Interesting. Perhaps it's a matter of the style and/or dialect? I don't recall ever encountering the usage you have as correct, and you appear to be in the same situation regarding mine. Well, it's your story; you can certainly use a different style than mine if you like. I'm pointing out what I think might be mistakes the author overlooked (being occupied with the creative work of churning out plots, characters, and worlds), not insisting that everyone has to do it my way. :)
I am quite curious now, though, where this difference in style originated...

7271796
"Oh, don't worry. I didn't hope it would go over well at all."
Well, I like it. :)

7271749 Considering my handwriting can change with my mood, I'm sure a complete personality shift would easily change someone's handwriting.
Also it has been proven you can tell a lot about a person by their handwriting.

7271512
I understand how base 4 works, but with all the other anachronisms in MLP, that's the one you choose to change? The one that's going to confuse the most people?

7272044
It's really not that confusing, compared to hair magic.

7272549
Still, I strongly suspect most of your readers typically count in base 10, and I'm pretty sure they've used base 10 numbers in the show, so you're really just confusing people to be pedantic about it.

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