• Member Since 5th Jun, 2015
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Shrink Laureate

“Trixie hates to interrupt a good monologue,” said Trixie, interrupting a good monologue, “but maybe we should continue it somewhere not on fire?”


Vinyl remembers the doll. It's unmistakably hers, right down to the peanut butter stain on the left foot. Except it's in Octavia's closet, and Octavia insists it's always been hers. Why do they have the same doll – and the same memory?

Thanks to Solstice Shimmer, BaeroRemedy, Oliver, Mitch H, Cursed Quill and Admiral Biscuit for editing, feedback, writing assistance, fact checking and extraordinary patience.

“These otherworldly phenomenons are surprisingly interesting.”

“This has been one hell of a ride. I would go so far as to call this a minor masterpiece. It is quite unlike anything I have read up to this point (and I have read, approximately, a metric shit ton,) and it has left a real impression on me. So many try for the psychological mystery and fail horribly, but this was incredible. The reinterpretation of classic characters, concepts, and scenes from the show were amazing. With so many, I expected a few to fall flat, but you nailed every one.”

“So intriguing...
I can't stop reading it!”

“I like that this story is bringing up topics now that are incredibly complicated from both a moral and existential standpoint. [...]
Ok, ok, tldr; I like this a lot, because it’s making me and others think about the possibilities.”

Chapters (23)
Comments ( 321 )
Wanderer D

This looks pretty interesting!

For I have reached out and touched the sky, and run my fingers across the face of heaven.

Hold on tight y'all, this mechanical bull is fulla quarters and they ain't sellin' seat belts!

Added to read later. I'll read when I'm not ill and can give it the attention it deserves. I look forward to it.

The ending of the story is scary but I still really love it


The story is ongoing, it will be updating regularly for the next what is it, Shrink? six nine weeks, twice-weekly?

(In my defense, I'm still groggy from driving about a thousand miles in 18 hours yesterday. :twilightoops:)

9004715 9004766
Yes, new chapters will be published twice a week until it's done, which will take a couple of months. The story is complete, so there'll be no hiatus or unexplained absence.

I'm not going to comment much, because I suck at keeping secrets and this is a mystery. I'll just say two things:

1. Please be careful of spoilers in the comments. Think about your fellow readers and be nice.

2. This story earns its AU badge. In fact, some of the things that happen here are going to be pretty damned strange. Stick with it, and I promise by the end it will all make some sort of sense.

Oh, this is deeply intriguing. I love this sort of scenario. Eagerly looking forward to more.

Well, this is definitely getting Favourited. :D

One question, though: is the system for determining which spacers are used where (in the text, not the story) probabilistic rather than deterministic? Because it seemed to mostly follow the rule of "Whoever was the major and/or viewpoint character in the previous section", but not entirely.

They provide cues and flavour, but are neither deterministic nor strictly necessary (you'd follow the story just fine without them). I'm not trying to replicate the encoded messages of Fringe :pinkiecrazy:

Most of the story uses just a few view viewpoint characters, so there wouldn't be as much visual variety if it followed the strict rule.

I'm getting some serious "Dark City" vibes from this story and really wanna know what happens.

i have to ask, what is with the cutie mark like pictures between the scenes? at first i thought they were indicating a perspective change or something but no it seems to be there for no reason and it's throwing me for a loop.... don't get me wrong, i really like what I've read so far even if it's only chapter one so far; it's just a bit of a nitpick that i have

This is intriguing. I'm rarely hooked by a new ongoing story but I absolutely have to see where this leads.

asset of npc inventory table :rainbowwild:

This is how plot would evolve if Alex Proyas was writing MLP :pinkiehappy:

Oooh! I am excited for this. I’d typically say “keep up the good work,” but I applaud you in having it all finished already.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed:ajsmug:

Ah, thanks. :)

I was wondering about those too; the above-linked comment is where I got an answer.

This is giving me chills. I love this kind of setup, and it’s keeping the suspense despite the fast pace. It has a very Dark City vibe to it, or something similar.

This is definitely cool. I've got some ideas what might be going on, but I'll wait and see how things turn out before blathering!

Also, if this town is a fake populated by simulcra of ponies, of course the Pinkies would be aware of it and form a social club!


I've done that! Well, it was only 900 miles in 15 hours... but it's still a hell of a long way to drive to, and 5 days later, back from A-kon in TX when you're alone in the car and can't swap out drivers.

You had my curiosity, but now you have my fav. :pinkiehappy:

Good cold open, instantly grabbed my attention. Yes, it's very clearly a magical version of the Matrix, only as a videogame with self-aware NPCs. Already having established all that in the first three chapters makes me wonder where else the story is going. :pinkiegasp:

The title alone makes me wonder "What happens if you reach the edge of the cage?"

And what's Chrysalis' reason for being here? Is she simply mining the place for love, biding her time? :rainbowhuh:

“I’d wager [...] none of you are going to remember this in a week.”

...The first thing I expect them to do is to write it down. Set up delayed messages. Put reminders to themselves just about everywhere.

The timing of this places this shortly after the first Equestria Girls. Meaning, Sunset only just started making friends. I kinda want to see Sunset and her inner circle react to this, since Sunset clearly could contribute something with an outsider's perspective. Not sure how she'd feel about her newfound friends being magical constructs, though.

I can't help but think of the Sirens. They were banished more than a millenium prior. But if this world is so hodgepodge, then would there even be a millenium of history? Or would it just have looped? Just how old is this world?

I am reminded of the end of the Siren's "Fiendship is Magic" comic, how, after being banished by Starswirl, they arrived in what seemed like modern day. But that either means they were also banished a millium into the future as well as to another world, or... that's just how that other world was at the time. (Then again, it's Starswirl, so sending them to the future isn't entirely unlikely.)

“Tell me, how many Pinkie Pies do you know?”

Around 50 or so, give or take 15. But I'm guessing this is about "regular human" and "regular pony" Pinkie, who keep switching places?


I'm deeply intrigued. My guess is this is a version of the idea that Pedestria isn't real, just a hologram built into the mirror. The real Chrysalis wandered into here and is stuck, and is hoping to use the locals to get out somehow.

An endless supply of PINK :pinkiecrazy:

Peel back the skin of the world, and you find pink.

The mention of Cerberus is especially intriguing. Is it a person here? An organization? Is this world actually some subdivision of Tartarus? Whatever the case, loving how the mystery has deepened.

Also, I would definitely read an anthology of Vinyl and Octavia's antics.

This is all very insidious... Apologies for headcannon insert, but this intrigued me so much that I can’t help but think about it. I have a few sneaking suspicions here:

1: This world is a sub-dimension created by the Party Cave. The many personalities of Pinkie Pie are all able to come and go to Equestria somehow, which explains a good deal of why Pinkie can warp around, and why she often does not remember or misremembers things that have been said right to her. Anything she doesn’t know ends up with default settings, why lots of peeps have the same past.

2: This is all in Pinkie’s mindscape, and Pinkie’s multiple personalities have to share the load of her being awake 24/7 and planning dozens of different things at the same time... In which case, everyone in the mindscape is merely a mental construct. Which means that Pinkie’s is probably using the vast majority of her brain at all times. This could account for the fact that everypony returns to forgetting about what is going on eventually, as only so many extra minds could be maintained at a time.

Hmmm. Is the Mirror Pool hooked into Starswirl's magic mirror? Seems possible. Or is it just that if there are infinite slightly different dimensions, than a individual who tends to be a dimension-hopper is going to meet themselves a bunch of times, like the Council of Ricks.

It's an interesting idea that Trixie's dad would have a gambling problem. I mean, if your name is Jackpot, it kind of seems likely.

I think you should talk to Morty about that...

Same old story, Gummys killing Gummys.

No, no Cerberus is not an organization and there is no Illusive Man (possibly being manipulated by a Pinkie Pie), that's just wild rumors :pinkiecrazy:

Well, this chapter turned out to be everything I hoped for!

The time-frame has been set!

Interesting. In this story, they purposely lured the Rainbooms to the music shop and get one of them to play the instrument so they can see them transform during the Guitar Centered short.

Nice touch!

Octavia’s frown turned into serious concern. “Vinyl, are you… suggesting that the town is being invaded by shape-shifting alien ponies?”


But yeah, this is shaping into quite a neat story. I'm really curious about why the Best Wedding Planner Bug Queen has been exiled here, or whatever it is that's going on.

How can we send the ponies back, child? They’re already here!

Too many weird things at once, there has to be more than a single explanation. I think we'll need more data.

Huh. Given the roles Vinyl and Trixie play in Rainbow Rocks, this is definitely going in interesting directions.

Initial reaction: The changelings have podded them all and got lazy programming in memories.

Beware spoilers!

This story isn't over yet.

*Sees Fluffle Puff*

*Sees the truth*

No! I refuse to believe this!


I await with keen anticipation the eventual trombone emergency!

...Well. That's a way to end a chapter. :D

Oh. Oh. Well, that may explain the mention of Cerberus.

In any case, our intrepid truthseekers have certainly found quite a few juicy tidbits. The question now is what they do with them.

It does make some sense. Have you met her sister?

So... that’s a problem. On the plus side, all they need to escape is to find and solve the Lament Configuration...

Well. Sunset Shimmer certainly would know something about that. Also explains Chrysalis' presence. I do have to wonder if the meaning of the word "Tartarus" is known in this world, though. So far, pony-places, like Canterlot, seem to all have their equivalent here. So, I'm guessing, Vinyl too would know what that means.

Huh. Turns out I wasn't completely wrong about the Sirens, then. Actually, Tartarus being a nice place to live makes perfect sense, if it was meant to serve as an environment to slowly reform villains over time.

Though, does that mean Tirek was stuck in High School for centuries? :rainbowderp:

Ooooh!! This is one of the best stories I have ever read, and we’re only on the fifth chapter!!:pinkiehappy:

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