• Published 24th Jun 2016
  • 2,219 Views, 59 Comments

Ascending and Transcending, Inch by Inch - AkumaKami64

Twilight discovers she is an old soul, having lived many times yet getting further and improving the world each time. Now an alicorn, she has new options to explore: including remembering, but at a cost. Luckily, Discord is there to help her.

  • ...

Bottomless Teacup

Fourth Princess of the Equestrian Nation, Monarch of Friendship, Steward of Magic, and numerous other titles that came with being a hero-princess. The mare holding these titles currently sat alone in her crystalline castle, resting upon her throne while scowling at the feeling that something was off. It was no one thing setting her off: The way the sound of the wind seemed to blow in a strange manner…the way echoes in the hall were softer yet reached farther…the way her tea never seemed to run dry or get cold.

"Discord!" She called out suspiciously, loudly.

With a poof, the floating Draconequus appeared, "Ello, Princess! What can I-WOW!" Discord started off in greeting, moving aside as a beam of Alicorn magic almost fried him, "Now that wasn't very nice, Twilight! Or am I missing something about Friendship involving friends blasting each other?" Discord asked in disapproval, hands on his hips.

"Who are you?" Twilight asked bluntly, ignoring his comment.

"Do you need your eyes checked? I'm Discord! You called me here!" He reminded with a pout.

Twilight looked massively unimpressed, "You know, whoever you are, you're very bad at this," She said off-hoofedly, "If you had picked another target to imitate, you might have had more luck, but this is just pathetic," She said evenly, glaring steadily at him.

"Oh really? And what, pray tell, makes you think I'm a fake?" Discord asked with a raised eyebrow.

"For one thing, the real Discord would have plucked out my eyes and examined them himself or something else equally absurd and impossible," Twilight said calmly, drinking her never-ending tea again as the Maybe-Not-Discord eyed her warily, "You popping in normally was a bit of a stretch too, but he does do that from time to time."

"Well, maybe I just knew how serious it must be for you to be calling me so sternly- you're not exactly the spoiled, pompous type," "Discord" countered indignantly.

"Ha! And that just further proves you're not Discord. He would have sensed exactly what I'm sensing now and would have mocked me for taking so long- or something to that effect- when he first arrived. You act ignorant of the strangeness that Discord would sense. Let's not even get into the topic of what Discord would have done if I attacked him like I did you," She explained condescendingly.

The Potential-Fake glared at the princess, but offered no counter.

"However, the thing that really gave you away? Discord once confided in me he takes pride that, no matter how he may alter the structure or proportion of his form, he has always had those limbs in the same place," Twilight answered condemningly, eyeing his form, "So, barring briefly for a reference or joke I couldn't understand, Discord would never change which side each of his wings were on, or his hind legs for that matter. Oh, and your scleras aren't the right shade. His are far less pale a yellow than that," She finished off.

"...By the Ancients, you are way too smart nowadays," The False Discord said in surprise, looking to the side, "Discord! Please in get here before Twilight kills me!"

"I told you, this wasn't a good time for this," Discord said...his back now under Twilight with his head on the Cutie-Map.

"See! This is how Discord enters the room: Illogically, Invasively, and Casually. If he doesn't, he's either not Discord or he's being coy because he already has a prank set up," Twilight said pointedly as the Imposter crossed his arms with a pout.

"You know me so well!" Discord said with a sniffle, blowing his nose loudly on a handkerchief that looked suspiciously like a piece of Celestia's Mane, while bubblegum bubbles in the shape of Rainbow Dash emerged, zipping around the room, popping against the crystals.

Twilight sighed, a bit relieved by his antics for once, "So...Discord? What's going on?" She asked curiously.

"Small picture?" Discord said, making a picture appear and float just behind his head...A framed picture of themselves, right then, in the throne room…it was even moving as they did. Twilight glanced to the side, trying to see if anything was recording them, but found nothing, "You're in an environmental time loop of sorts. You can still move freely, but everything inanimate keeps restoring to the way it was before. Luckily it's not a true loop, so this-," He paused, the picture rewinding itself before playing as the Picture-Twilight called for Picture-Discord, and attacked the Picture-Impostor, "-Isn't happening. Instead, this is," He said, flicking the tea cup off the table, making it break on the floor...before reappearing back on the map, fully repaired, the other cup gone.

"Fascinating. I could get a lot of things done with a spell like this," Twilight mused with interest, though her expression remained stern. With a hum, she grasped the photo with her magic and...stretched it out, the frame expanding, "...I take it this is the big picture?" She guessed with curious eyes.

"You learn so fast," Discord said in mock-pride, wiping away a fake tear-which the Alicorn Princess was betting on being lemonade- as Twilight tried to take in the big picture...

...It was rather strange and hard to understand. She saw roughly drawn, outlined images of herself in dozens of little moving pictures. Yet, none of them she remembered doing and all seemed to be prior to her being an Alicorn, due to the lack of wings. One was her carrying Rainbow Dash on her back into a cave, another had her in some kind of armor while fighting what were either thestrals or vamponies. She spied herself in a mage's robes overlooking what was either a huge assembly of creatures or a huge battle and even one with her battling a dragon with a sword. It wasn't a huge dragon, but still.

A rather haunting image was one with her lying broken before Discord on his old throne.

To Twilight's credit, she didn't look too disturbed by this. It vaguely reminded her of the Astral Realm when she became an Alicorn, she looked back to the Fake Discord with a scowl, "I would appreciate it if you stop taking my friend's form," She commented, still on Discord's back. Honestly, it felt like a good idea to stay close to him at the moment, as she still didn't trust this imposter.

"What the hell is up with her, is she on her period?" The Impostor asked with a scowl, prompting even Discord to look unamused. "Okay, okay! Geeze, can you at least tell her that I'm not an enemy or anything?" He requested in resignation.

"He's not a threat," Discord answered honestly, chin in paw, "But he is the one that engaged this ability of yours."

"Of mine?" Twilight asked skeptically, "Since when can I loop time on my own?"

"Technically, almost all of your lives," Discord explained.

"And I don't-No," Twilight deadpanned as she saw the imposter's new form, "You are NOT Starswirl the Bearded."

The image of the old wizard looked a bit sheepish, "Look, I don't really have a true form, I just take on an appearance to make it easier to converse," He elaborated helplessly.

"Then turn into a Diamond Dog, Rarity as a Vampony, or something," Twilight answered, getting a weird look from Discord, "Spike's in a phase," She answered with a shrug.

The Formless Creature sighed as an illusionary tornado enveloped him for a moment before disappearing and revealing his new form, "How about this?" He offered, motioning to his body. It was a Diamond Dog, but with a celestial body, like an Ursa's; only his was green, and had wings that Twilight would speculate were from a griffon.

"Better," Twilight agreed with a nod, "So, what do we call you?" She asked curiously.

"Well, nothing really. I normally don't have this problem of explaining things too deeply," He answered in annoyance.

"Just call him Voit, short for Voithise," Discord answered idly.

"Voithise?" Twilight and "Voithise" asked in sync.

"Some form of the Ancient Equestrian word for Assist," Discord elaborated smoothly.

"He's hardly doing anything anymore, why aren't' you suspicious of him?!" Voit asked, crossing his now-large arms in indignation.

"He's being casual while invading my personal space while watching you make a foal of yourself and I get wound up into a knot over it: AKA, Discord is, on occasion, perfectly content to watch a good show without interference," Twilight explained monotonely.

"You REALLY don't like me this time, do you?" Voit grumbled, "I miss Unicorn-Twilight."

"...Explain. Now," Twilight ordered, a bit on edge now.

Voit sighed, running a hand over his canine face, "Look, Twilight...oi, this was so easier the other times, when you were too shocked or amazed to get angry," He groaned, gathering his thoughts. Discord just sat there, looking amused at the show he was, technically, in the middle of, "Twilight Sparkle, I called you here to make a choice," Voit explained, trying to look calm and stern, "A choice of continuing on further or going back to the beginning."

"...He for real?" Twilight asked, leaning down to Discord's level as Voit face-faulted.

"Yes, actually. Just like he was the other four times he offered it this cycle," Discord answered with a chuckle.

"...What?!" Twilight screamed in realization, glaring at Voit murderously, "You messed with my memories!?" She yelled, her mane looking like it just might catch on fire.

"Only of our meetings! It's what I always do when you turn down Ascending!" Voit assured quickly, backing away from the clearly upset Alicorn.

"Twilight, he didn't do anything, I promise," Discord assured calmly, purring a bit at the warm spot on his back, "Voity just wanted to make sure you continue through the cycle without distraction."

Twilight took several deep breaths, "...You both keep saying cycles, other times and other lives. As if I've been doing something over and over again without remembering it," She said with a frown.

Voit nodded sternly, "That something would be living, Twilight Sparkle," He answered, glad that Twilight didn't get angry this time, even if she was surprised.

"So, I've been living the same life over and over against without remembrance?" She asked slowly, a bit troubled by that.

"Yes to not remembering, no to the same life," Voit answered, pacing on top of the Cutie Map, "You have been gifted with a very rare and unusual form of Immortality, Twilight Sparkle, if it can even be called that. In your first life, the world was a much different place and far less peaceful, with numerous enemies that rarely had easy solutions. Some you have faced, others you avoided, but more are still to come. Thanks to this gift though, you are indeed sent back to your birth at the end of your life- or at certain points that, I'll be honest, I just sense. However, in between those two instances, you have a time where you get to..." Voit paused, considering his words.

"Cash in your bits," Discord supplied with a smirk, "And souls, too."

Twilight blinked, "I...I don't even know where to begin with questions," She stated honestly, "What do you mean by souls?" She asked, mostly to herself.

"She doesn't hyperventilate anymore," Voit noted idly, "She use to do that if we got to this point."

"Did she now? Good, we're making progress," Discord said with a chuckle, "As for your question, well, I can just show you..." He proposed, rising off the chair with Twilight still on his back.

"Hey, hey!" Voit yelled in protest, waving his hands for them to stop, "I'm only supposed to show her it if she accepts!"

"Oh pishaw, give the mare a little preview. Besides, things are different this time or did you forget?" Discord asked with a smirk.

Voit stiffened before pouting with an unintelligible grumble.

"Is he always like this?" Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow.

"That's my impression, yes," Discord answered vaguely as he flew in a loop before shooting up into the middle of the tree-root-chandelier. As a testament to her bravery, Twilight merely gulped while resisting the urge to teleport as they flew right through it...

...and emerged out of the Cutie Map?

"Did we just loop back?" Twilight asked, looking around. Everything looked the same, minus Voit's absence. Except...

"I did NOT Grey the room, Twilight," Discord said bluntly as Voit climbed out of the map and into the colorless room.

"This places changes shape every cycle to become some place you're familiar with," He explained.

"Like you, then?" Twilight asked with a frown, scrunching her brow.

Discord whistled as the room dissolved into...the Royal Canterlot Garden? "Not my favorite place, obviously," Discord mused as Voit gaped at the still-colorless landscape.

"How'd you do that?! You could never do that before!" Voit demanded in disbelief.

Discord pushed down on his right ear, a weird whirling sound coming from his mouth before he let go and in a distorted voice, reminded, "Besides, things are different this time, or did you forget?"

Voit glared again as Twilight raised an eyebrow, "What's so different this time?" Twilight asked curiously, "In fact, just how many cycles have I gone through?" She asked in irritation.

"I have no idea," Discord admitted freely, a light bulb over his head fizzing out- which he then grabbed and proceeded to lick it like a lollipop, rapidly make it shrink

"I lost count," Voit answered, shrugging helplessly.

"Wait," Twilight said, blinking before looking down at Discord, "Are you saying...this affects you too?" She asked in confusion. Discord remembering everything or remembering nothing made sense either way, strange as it was.

"In a manner," Discord admitted, eating the now shrunken bulb and licking his talons afterward, "While I don't remember previous cycles, I am aware that someone's soul is doing what yours is doing- going back in time and altering the entire world in doing so, but never who or how. Though, I do seem to have some impressions from last time and the current changes, which I believe is also true for you. Little things that feel out of place to me for no current-cycle reason. Of course, I recognized it was your soul the day we met, which I'm sure is true every time," Discord admitted, chuckling as he held up squeaky toy versions of the Cutie-Mark Crusaders, "One impression I got was that the cute little trio that released me were connected to the Elements of Harmony, so that must have still been a thing last time."

"Others are aware of it too, on varying levels," Voit butted in, "But Discord here is the true wild card. One time he was almost entirely benign from the start, but was a loyal ally of an enemy nation of Equestria. Another time he worked as a counterbalance for Good and Evil, usurping either before they got too powerful," He elaborated.

"Well, even if I'm not aware of it, being the same shade of chaos every cycle would just be boring," Discord commented dismissively.

"Wait, wait, this is going a bit too fast," Twilight said, gripping her forehead with her hooves.

"Don't worry, I'll take it nice and gentle," Discord promised suggestively with a wicked grin.

"...I walked into that one," Twilight admitted with a smile and a sigh, "You keep saying how me cycling back changes the world, but not how...or what bits and souls have to do with it?" She inquired thoughtfully.

"Notice anything different around here?" Voit asked with a smirk, wanting to take back his proper role here.

Twilight blinked as she looked around the garden. At first, nothing stood out to her. There was the maze, the flowers, the statue of Discord, the statue of the Tree of Harmony, the-

"The statues are different!" Twilight realized, before glancing at Discord's, "Well, mostly," She added on before taking in a few of them.

One was a weighing scale, with an eye in the middle, with the symbol of magic on one side and a globe of the world on the other. Next was a perfect stone replica of the Crystal Heart, inside which could be seen a tiny replica of the Crystal Empire. Third to catch her eye was a pony...made of flames...inside what she could only think of as a frozen block of ice...shaped like a heart with spikes coming out of it.

"They're Spirits," Voit explained simply, "Entities that you have "purchased" or discovered over your various cycles," He elaborated.

"I take it this relates back to the Bits and Souls part?" Twilight asked, far more patient now.

"Souls," Discord answered, a sphere appearing in his hand: It was the size of a baseball, made of a see-through grey color with a black core.

"I'm assuming this isn't what we normally think of at the word soul?" Twilight asked, just a bit hopefully.

"You'd be right and wrong," Discord answered idly, "You can switch the terminology around, but in this context, soul refers to the raw material that surrounds someone's spirit, their self and being. Adding more soul to a spirit will give them more potential, power, and ability to work with at birth," He elaborated, plopping it into his mouth to chew it like bubblegum.

"Okay, I get you so far...," Twilight answered cautiously.

"Whenever you choose to ascend, you get a certain amount of Souls to do what you want with," Voit continued on, "You can use them to unlock a new Spirit, but that gets more expensive each time and you can only choose between three random ones."

"You can also spend some on other ponies," Discord answered teasingly.

"...The Sonic Rainboom, Pinkie's...strangeness, Fluttershy's stare...," Twilight realized with wide eyes.

"All products of you generously putting some more souls into them," Discord agreed with a grin, "Of course, you do keep a lot for yourself."

"Which is a good thing!" Voit pointed out quickly, "While it's important to keep your allies strong, if you're not powerful enough, you'll just end up getting a slow and unproductive trip back here- or standing back while they do most of the work, either or."

"Well, nothing wrong with taking a cycle off to relax," Discord countered with a chuckle, snapping his lion paw.

Twilight suddenly found herself and Discord sitting on lawn chairs with sunshades on. He was holding a tanning mirror while she was sipping absently from a coconut. Oh, and he had a pink-with-yellow-flowers Hawaiian shirt, while she was wearing a lei of colorful flowers.

"You've been waiting to do that," Voit commented with a sweat-drop.

"You should join us, Voity Toity. Hang back, live a little," Discord advised with a grin.

"I live plenty, just not on the clock!" Voit retorted in annoyance.

"Professionalism, gak," Discord murmured in distaste.

Twilight raised an eyebrow as she discarded the sunglasses, sat up and finished her drink, "Okay, so I can spend souls to improve my friends and the world, and keep them to improve myself?" She summed up.

"For the most part, yes," Voit confirmed, "The reason why you have such a massive amount of magic is because you've horded many souls to yourself."

Twilight hummed as she looked at the celestial diamond dog, "And Bits?" She asked thoughtfully.

"It buys miscellaneous things and things unrelated to potential- such as keeping your family out of poverty," Voit answered with a sigh, mentally counting down in his head.

"Then what is so different this time?" Twilight asked curiously.

There was a brief silence as Discord tilted down his shades to look at Voit, "You telling her or should I?"

"Oh, really? I can do my job now?" Voit asked sarcastically. Discord snapped his claws, turning Voit into a crab with bat wings, made entirely out of strawberry ice cream with a chocolate chip shell, "Alright, alright, I'm sorry! Change me back!" Voit pleaded, turning back into a winged hound with another snap, this one from the tail.

"Don't like him either?" Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow from her chair.

"I like everyone," Discord retorted with a grin, "At one cycle or another."

Twilight rolled her eyes as Voit sighed, "Look, the thing that changed this time is...you're an Alicorn. That's never happened before!" Voit announced, looking both troubled and excited, "This...is the first really new thing I've experienced in a long time, to be honest."

"...Maybe you don't like him because he might be you plus sanity?" Twilight mused absently.

"Hmm, that makes sense," Discord admitted, looking a bit revolted by the idea of being Voit, "Another reason why I don't like making sense."

"Are you even listening?!" Voit yelled in exasperation, wiping his paws over his face.

"Yes, very intently if I'm being honest," Twilight admitted with a small smirk, "But I've long gotten used to the idea that being an Alicorn changes things for me. That this is my first time becoming one is interesting, but the fact that it has consequences, be they good or bad, is not news to me," She explained.

Voit sighed, giving her that point, "Well, yes, it does change things. Namely, you've unlocked something," He explained, looking to the maze.

"Would you mind telling me or do I have to go stare and marvel?" Twilight deadpanned.

Discord chuckled as Voit rubbed the bridge of his nose, "They're call The Eldritch," The Draconequus answered simply, "They're like Spirits in effect, but more costly…yet they will grant you very...promising advantages, ones I'm sure an analytically inclined mare like yourself could appreciate," He elaborated with a knowing smirk.

Twilight paused, "You both know something, something big and important about these Eldritch," She said sharply.

"Right on the money," Discord said with a chuckle, "These are, more or less, a higher grade of the spirits as far as your perspective goes. Right on down to how you pay for them. Before, to get souls for Spirits and yourself, you had to Ascend. Now? You have to Transcend for Elder Souls to give to the Eldritch," He answered casually, looking off into the distance.

Twilight stared at him for a moment with an unsure scowl, turning slowing to Voit, "What's the catch?" She asked cautiously.

Voit looked grim at that, "With Ascendance, you kept your previous souls and your allies kept theirs. You kept all the Spirits you unlocked and other things. However, while you were strengthened, you would be sent back to the beginning with no memories and your remaining bits would be drained down to Zero," He elaborated, looking down hesitantly, "Transcendence is the ultimate conclusion of that. In exchange for the Elder Souls, you will lose all of your enhancements, spirits and everything else. It is almost a hard reset."

Twilight paled at the thought of that; just by the things she saw, she had a good idea that a lot of the good things in Equestria were a result of her progress in the Cycles. If she didn't unlock the spirits and these statues were representing what they looked like...No Crystal Heart, no Tree of Harmony. From the first time since this crazy thing started, she began to panic, imagining how horrible it might just be. And that scale with the symbol of magic? Did that mean there would be no magic?!

"...D-discord," She called, steadying herself, "I...I know how you work. I know you wouldn't drag this out so much if you didn't think I'd be tempted..." She said, glancing at his back, "So what in Bucking Tartarus makes you think I would give up everything I've accomplished, even if I don't remember it?!" She asked, sweating nervously.

Discord chuckled, just a little darkly, "Well, first off, Elder Souls increase the amount of Souls you get from ascending, making your next trip all the easier. But that wouldn't be nearly enough for you, no," Discord said with a smirk as he glanced back at her, "No, two things will win you over, Twilight Sparkle. The first is the simple fact that you did it once and made it all the way here. Doing it again should be a cake-walk," Discord answered smoothly.

"Yes, except that I don't remember any of that," Twilight retorted with an edge to her voice, missing how Voit stiffened at her words.

"And there's point number two," Discord mused coyly, "Spoiler alert, Twilight Sparkle: One Eldritch's effect is, essentially, Memory Retention," He revealed, glancing at her blank, stunned face, "That's right, Twilight. You may have a complete reset, but you'll have your memories and know what you're striving towards."

Author's Note:

Well, there you have it. Twilight Sparkle is in a Clicker Hero-type situation, anidle game. After a recent update on the game, I had the interesting idea of making a modified Gamer fic based on that game. And the result wastihs ide,a which I wrote very rapidly.

Any who plays it knows aboutthe Ancients, these expensive things you buy to make our lifeeasier, while trying to keep enough hero souls to make your DPS stronger. In this story, the Ancients are Spirits, and the Outsiders(the newest update) are the Eldritch. Now, I haven't thought up all the Eldritch or Spirits yet, but I'll there.

Obviously Twilight isn't going to Transcend right off the bat. She's going to think long and hard about it, trying to grasp just whatherworld could be like with all these things she's apparently given the world.

Speaking of her, she and Discord finally seem to have a decent friendship going. That and she trusts him over Voit. And while Discord doesn't remember the past cycles, that doesn't keep him from figuring it out again.

Any way, hope you all enjoyed this opener. If you have any ideas for a Spirit or Eldritch, do tell.

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