• Member Since 1st Mar, 2012
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The Psychopath


I adopted the name of my beloved creation and have been spreading the word of the Illogic since. Tell me, are Illogic and chaos the same thing? https://www.patreon.com/WorldofIllogic

T
Source

Sweetie Belle is invited by Twilight Sparkle to the decrepit castle in the Everfree to see if they can't find any other spell books, and Sweetie wouldn't lose such an opportunity. Unfortunately, she gets lost after a brief distraction and can't find her way back. The more she panics, the scarier and more twisted the trees started to become, and the more Sweetie starts to see things coming from the bark that disappear when she looks at them directly.


Cover art by Ralvar. Source on the image.
Psychological Horror
There are hidden symbols in here explaining what is happening. Can you find and decipher the hidden story?

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 47 )

NOT SWEETIE BELLE! Oh please, please tell me she'll be all right at the end of this story!

7683653 You'll have to read to find out. :rainbowkiss:

7683653 Here's a spoiler for you anyways:
Snape kills Dumbledore.

The best way to help me improve on psychological horror is to give me your brains! That's how psychology works, right? You take people's brains and look at them?

Scary trees are scary.

7685898 A comment on fimfic after three years!

Well that had vibes of dark souls, wraiths, and barrow wrights all over it. I loved the reference to a particular junji ito work.
To me it seemed like Sweetiebelle accidentally crossed over into a dead world. Possibly the one Luna and Celestia are from originally. The tree beasts are what remains of soldiers from the dead world, a world where the sun and moon area gone. Whether they are spirits, wraiths, or the result of a spell gone wrong the most terrifying aspect to me is that they are still aware. And still determined to fulfill their goal.

Very well done.

Glen Gorewood

7688079 Reference? Also, I never said they were dead. :coolphoto:

And nope. You got only one thing right: That they were soldiers. Some hints were obvious and others less so...Either I'm terrible at this or I'm too good at this...We'll go with the latter. *Swishes fabulous hair*

7688137
You are good, but I will find out what is behind this no matter how long it takes.

Glen Gorewood

7688367 I hope you do, Michael Myers.

RB_

Heh, never thought I'd find another story about murderous trees.

So... Soldiers who betrayed Celestia for Nightmare Moon during the Battle of Everfree, their tormented souls forever cursed to inhabit the trees that grew above their graves in an area permanently devoid of sunlight? And I guess the fungal spores make you more perceptive of the spirit realm? Unless you just put that in as a last-second fake out.

7693882 Nope. The fungal spores only appeared at the end, and I never said they were dead. :3 The curse thing, we can go with. It's not exactly a curse, though.

RB_

7694799 Well, alright then; you asked for it: These are the survivors of a group of soldiers that betrayed Celestia for Nightmare Moon, their forsaken spirits forever bound to the trees in a realm without sunlight. The y-shaped stick Sweetie found I originally thought to be the marker for a grave of some kind, which is why I assumed they were dead. As for why they are in this state, I couldn't say; you say it isn't exactly a curse, and by that I assume you are referring to the implication that a curse has to be put upon something by someone, meaning that this occurred naturally, either through Everfree's magic or some other force.
An alternative explanation would be that by not dead, you mean that these entities were never alive to begin with; this would support the idea that what Sweetie is experiencing is actually some sort of emotional or psychic 'echo' or 'imprint' left on the forest by the events that occurred during the Battle for Everfree. This also satisfies 'not exactly a curse'.
Alternatively, this was a trap laid by Nightmare Moon for Celestia, in which she turned some of her soldiers into these beings. The trap was never sprung, however, and a millennia has driven these once-ponies insane.

What I can't figure out are the spores; I don't think you would have added that detail if it wasn't important. What especially perplexes me is how they got into her system in the first place; I can think of three possibilities:
1) Sweetie, while in the otherworld the soldiers inhabit, happened to run into a mushroom in the real world but was unable to experience it, or experienced it as breathing in the remains of the pony in the castle.
2) The spearheads on the pilums are actually the mushrooms, and the spores somehow got inside her when they cut her leg; this is somewhat backed by your description of the mushrooms' shape, but doesn't make much sense.
3) The fungal spores are actually the remains of those ponies in the castle that Sweetie breathed in, but they appear as spores in our reality.
I would put money on either 1 or 3. Whichever way they got in, what is more important is their significance: what do they do? Well, based on my assumed timing of her ingestion of the spores, and your previous comment, I will conclude that they are responsible for bringing her back to her normal reality. There is also the possibility that the spores only affect unicorns, since the only mentioned previous interaction with them was by Pinkie, an earth pony.

7695043 You're getting there, but the signs of battle were another hint. Also, the mushroom was at the end. The sky was also an indicator. At least you started speculating about the stick, but it's just a gate. How it came to be is up to you. I'm starting to think I'm terrible at this.

RB_

7695073
I wouldn't say terrible; I've read much worse. If you ask me (and I don't know why you would), your biggest problem is that you're succeeding too hard. You've gone through a lot of trouble to obfuscate these events, and I get that that was what you were trying to do, but you may have done too well of a job; aside from crazy people like myself, most people won't put in the amount of effort it takes to dig through a story like this.
And I really don't want to sound rude or pretentious here, but I don't feel that the story stands on its own without the mystery. The writing is sometimes a bit confusing. As a horror piece, it would benefit from more detailed descriptions, and the pacing could use some tweaking. The scene where we first are introduced to the entities should be slower and rich with detail, while the chase should be fast paced. As Sweetie Belle is our focal character, and the extension of the audience, you should put more effort into showing us how she feels. Horror is all about emotion.

Of course, this is all just my opinion as a horror fan and amateur writer; feel free to ignore it.

Anyway...There's no way this is coming from an alternate universe where Celestia overthrew Luna and destroyed/warped the moon and the night sky, right? I guess that would make the y branch symbolic, a literal 'branching path' in the timeline. "Betrayed her" could then refer to Celestia betraying Luna. "Light eternal, night afar" also works for this concept.

7695649 Let's see what I can do to fix those issues concerning the details. I'll color the scenery a bit more and add a bit more temperature of feel.

Ironically, I didn't do the mystery consciously. I realized it was in there after I was almost finished writing. My sub-conscious is awesome like that. It's why we get along so well. It's not an alternate timeline, but,hmmm...We can call it an 'alternate universe' to facilitate things. It's more of a sub-reality, though.

Also, if you didn't tell me the faults, how could I improve? These are training stories in the matter, and you were being constructive so there's no frustration.

7695649 Oh, but the chase scene wasn't supposed to be super fast.

I also think my lack of description comes from a fear of purple prose.

Am I missing something or am I just overthinking the description?

7696500 Hm? Is there something wrong with it? Should I change it? Or did I miss something in the story itself?

7696504 I'm talking about the very last line, right over the chapter name.

7696674 Oh. The hidden thing. Yeah. This the first time I tried hiding a story within a story (storyception! :D), so it's a second thing you could look for.

No one else has tried finding the hidden messages...Maybe I should just make everything obvious in the future...Can't even try being cryptic.

Spoilers ahead:
I have a theory as to what those creatures purpose to the underlying story:
The creatures were never actually "real" and object Sweetie discovered was a twig containing the souls of those creatures, they were either disciples of Nightmare Moon, or rebellious soldiers that did something wanton. So Celestial ensnared them within the object. Concerning what caused the creatures to appear, I think the object traps whatever comes in contact with it physically, assimilating what Celestia had done to them prior. Or it allows the creatures to connect psychologically to the pony touching the object, allowing the pony to view and interact with the souls. Both of the theories can be debunked by the fact Twilight lost Sweetie Belle, but I hope I'm somewhat close to what happened. As to why they repeat "She betrayed us", maybe they think their actions prior to be long confined within the object were justified? Anyway, it would be appreciated if the author replied to this comment, as I would like to know if I guessed somewhat correctly.

8191663 Of course I reply. What do you take me for? A SEA ONION?! Why I outta bop you right in the schnoz!

Oh, you're indeed very, VERY close, but you're also off by a few things. Namely, the creatures and the stick.

Yes. They do think their actions were justified, but actions relative to what? I'm actually asking to see if you understood this part. This isn't a 'secret hint' like the one above.

P.S. Yay! More theories!

8192002
So, I'm posting this at 11:00 PM, while not going to bed until 2:00 am + several nights in a row prior to me writing this. So disregard any spelling mistakes, or mis-wording. Also, whilst reading several of the comments pertaining to this story, I realized that I didn't take the part about the spores into consideration. Right now I'm not able to construct a theory that's plausible, but I'll be working on that in the next few days. It could also be possible I'm overthinking that part, but who knows :twilightsheepish:. So anyway, their actions, to them, were justified in the sense that whatever they did could be no worse than murder, either that or they committed murder, which is also plausible. Regarding my theory about the stick, when a pony comes into contact with it, does the stick absorb their soul temporarily, or does it assimilate what occurred in Doctor Strange (if you have seen that) where its a sort of mirror realm where the entities are ensnared within, whilst transporting the pony which came in contact with it to that "dimension"?
Thanks, and my best regards, Hurikaner88.
'

8202821 It's not a mirror realm, but it DOES transport them to another reality. It's more like a pocket reality.

Believe it or not, you're the only person so far that figured out that the stick is actually significant, which is sad. I even sent this to EqD just to see what they'd say, and the idiot thought that it was the mushroom at the end that transported her, and that it was all an illusion, disregard PLENTY of physical evidence to the contrary. :twilightangry2:

Interesting story without a doubt, I quite like it. As for theories, that is another part I enjoy. A little late for the party, but none the less I want to add my thoughts to it.
I wonder if the Soldiers, mistook Sweetie for Celestia. At least in the end they seem convinced she was. Sweetie is "White like the sun" after all. I feel as if they were Nightmare moons soldiers, feeling deep loyalty for her even after all this time. Maybe not fallen soldiers, but more so.. Nightmare creatures so to speak, brought up by Nightmare moon. From the little they said, I assume they meant Celestia betrayed Luna by sealing her away, and wanted "Celestia" to bring her back, not be "Left to rot" on the moon. Or maybe even they themselves were left to rot.
I think Sweetie belle was still in the forest/castle, but in another "timeline" so to speak. Nightmare Moon still seemed to happen, but SOMETHING got altered in that dimension/universe, maybe the strange moon is the answer.
When Twilight found the same place Sweetie Belle was, she escaped that place. Maybe the mushroom had something to do with it? The elements of harmony are often seen and connected to a rainbow, like the way the powder looks. It had no effect on Pinkie Pie because she wasn't in the dimension, or needed the elements help maybe? So many ways all of this could be seen and still work makes this story fairly confusing and difficult to figure out, but don't get me wrong, it's pretty fun. Makes you think a lot more.

8348072
i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/001/012/707/bd7.png
After all this time and you're the only one who is pretty much super accurate for what they saw. It's not another timeline, though. What about the stick at the beginning, then?

8348260
Hmm.. That one is rather tricky to be honest. It seems to be the thing that brought Sweetie Belle to the.. Other world so to speak. A gateway, one that could have reacted to her magic when she tried to pull it out using magic. Why exactly it's there, or if that's what it was originally for isn't obvious. Maybe it was something Nightmare moon herself created/used, to bring her soldiers to her to begin with. It was clear the soldiers had no idea Nightmare moon was defeated for real in the end, they still believed she was trapped. It could have also been something Celestia created/used to seal the soldiers away, keeping them from attempting to cause more damage, or avenge their princess. Whether it was used/crafted by one of them, or created through another method, I still believe it's a gateway of some sort.
Another thing that's interesting is that the soldiers remind me of timber wolves, being made of wood and not too happy with ponies.. Also the glowing green eye the one who found Sweetie had, just like the wolves eyes. Not sure if that's what you were going for, or it was just a funny similarity that happened.

8350166
Just a funny similarity.

Would you believe you're one of the two who figured out the stick was what did that to Sweetie? Everyone else, including some git on EqD, thought that it was the mushroom that was only mentioned in the beginning and brought in the end.

8350238
Really? I figured that was one of the most obvious clues in the entire story to be honest.

8350264
As did I. It's actually a great indicator of who reads the story and who skims it.

Hmmmm, well this one was interesting. I am sorry if my theory overlaps with some others here. Looking through the comment section I could definitely see a lot of theories that really fit with what I was thinking. however, gathering all of the information I think I have a good conclusion to what happened. So here we go:

The stick shaped like the letter y was a lever that allowed Sweetie Bell to enter a dimension of Nightmare Moon. Seeing as Luna can enter dreams (which could be interpreted like a different dimension) it would stand to reason that N.M. could do something similar. Perhaps she would create a pocket reality where she could hide away her forces. It's rather ingenious when you think about it. A dimension where she could train her soldiers and could serve as a potential trap for Celestia. The shields that were found within this dimension were probably fallen soldiers of the Sun brought either by Nightmare Moon herself (as practice dummies) or simply Royal unicorns that made a wrong turn at Albaquirky. The Castle of the Two Sisters was the final battleground between NM and Celestia and it was a 'safe haven' so to speak. NM's magic probably couldn't consume the castle seeing as the castle itself held the Elements of HArmony and Celestia. Both of these could easily fend off NM's influence which is why Sweetie Bell was able to come back to the reality.

The green light emitting from one of the soldiers really goes in support of this thory since they are magical constructs. Loyalty they had towards NM was really why they were built for. Their purpose is the destruction of the Sun and they cannot be reasoned with.

"Return...meaning..."

"Give...forever..."

"White...like sun..."

"Kill the sun!"

Okay the reason I selected these is because they really go with my theory. These soldiers are lost. Much like a butter passing robot in a world where cows are extinct and there is no more butter, they keep searching for it. Because that is all they do. That is the purpose of their creation. To kill Celestia. To end all those who worship the Sun and bring forth the eternal night. However, since that did not happen these sentient killing machines were left to rot in the world outside of reality. They probably went completely corrupt such as their slow movement (given the purpose of their creation you'd think a speedier soldiers would be better), rotting body parts (not even magical soldiers can last forever) and the fact that they confuse Sweetie Belle with Celestia. Without NM to guide them they can never become anything else than murderous machinations of a malignant mind. They want their leader back and they are destined to roam their dimension for as long as it would take.

It's also very reminiscent of the beginning of mine Umbra Memoria, where Luna creates a whole battle scenario for Darkrim within his dreams. Similarly NM could have created these things to fight Celestia.

Oh and as far as the mushrooms go I think you just put that in as a gag and a possible reminder that we are truly back to reality. Because in the "Nightmare Dimension" there was nothing but the trees.

Well that was my theory for what had transpired here. It's definitely an interesting horror and quite a unique mindfuck at that. THough I still think your "Twilight coming to reality" horror was better, this was a good shot. Keep this up and you'll surpass my own horrors lol.

Is the stick actually a stick? I know it sounds like a silly question, but bear with me. It just seems like more than a fancy chunk of magic wood.

9464216
It is a stick. It just acts as a portal.

Surprised anyone still cares about this story. You going to try and decipher it?

9464282
Perhaps. I'll need to reread it a few times though. I just got back into fanfiction, and horror is tied with romance for my favorite genre. I'll let you know if I develop any insights. May open a txt document and jot down any details that seem to matter.

9464780
Ooo. Analyzer.

That's curious because I've been developping a psychological horror idea for a book rather than a fimfic story. I write in fantasy and sci-fi, but I've always wanted to write in horror, too.

Ever played Alice: Madness Returns?

9464805
Religiously, for a time. Beat it about three times, iirc. Mostly do Dark Souls now, though, so my memory isn't all that fresh.

9465028
Ah. Well, American McGee showed me that the horror I'd been looking for for so long was psychological horror. The first game is abandonware as well. There's a way to still play it by integrating it into Alice: Madness Returns, but I'd have to share the steam link if I can find it.

9465187
That's fine. Apparently, a third game is in the works.

9465225
I saw that. A prequel of some kind.

Let this be a lesson to not go random touching sticks unless you are prepared to throw hands, they'll pull you into a Nightmare Moon-themed, Link to the Past esq Dark World.
Also, "in the light of the dead moon" is just a super cool visual descriptor that is just atmosphericly great. :moustache:

10111540
Thanks a lot. I thought that dead moon would fit well with the rest of the scenery.

It's been an eternity since I've had a comment on anything.

10111754
Im sorry to hear that. It was an excellently creepy story.

10111941
Exactly like I really wanted it to be. I'm glad this old experiment worked out for you.

And Sweetie never went near the Everfree again.

Probably moved to Canterlot if we're being honest :| Or Appleoosa. *Shudder.*

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