• Member Since 21st Mar, 2013
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I'm a go playing brony who reads and writes fan fiction works. That's about all you need to know.


Starlight Glimmer was once the head of a cult. She used her magic to control minds, enslave ponies, and nearly destroyed all of Equestria. Such acts are unforgivable, but somehow she was forgiven by Princess Twilight, and has become her student. It is certainly more than she deserves.

While Starlight admires the grace with which Twilight forgave her, and frankly, the grace that the Princess displays in all areas of life, she has to wonder: What's her secret?

Chapters (7)
Comments ( 36 )

How dark will this story get?

I'm not sure how to measure that. If I had to give something... I find the idea rather dark, but the rationale of the situation has some gray areas. I actually hope the opinions will vary. To give some bound to it: I think I can safely assume no one will find it as dark as stories like Rainbow Factory or Blink.

What if there really is a pony in that room?

It's a bit unexpected that her next thought wasn't about changelings (yeah, that's most likely wrong, but still is the most probable next thought).

A fair point. To be completely honest, this never occurred to me, but in hindsight, it does seem obvious. :rainbowderp:

I wrote this chapter the night it was published, as I felt there needed to be more time given to a reaction from Starlight before the next chapter. Had I sat on it until today, perhaps that thought would have come to me. For the next unwritten chapter, I will give myself a cooling period before publishing so that I can consider ideas like that for edits.

Would it be wrong for me to call alicorn Twilight a monster?

That is certainly a possible interpretation, but I'd be interested to know how you feel at the end of the story.

Hard to think of a benign explanation that results in a pony being kept chained up in a room permanently.

I tend to agree. But, if you want some perspective on why I say this... another person I discussed this story with in full felt that alicorn Twilight was doing nothing wrong. In any case, I do think there are some options in between "monster" and "benign."

Huh is Twilight having having a literal split personality, is Starlight crazy or is the real villain here Celestia given the mention of a contract?

The contract mentioned is the Price Acceptance and Consent Form from the episode Once Upon a Zeppelin that Twilight's parent's signed to agree to the terms of the cruise.


Ah, well that still leaves the possibility of Twilight having a literal split personality, starlight being crazy, a combination of the two or something I haven't thought of I guess.

Is Twilight implementing some form of "All Bottled Up" on steroids then? :rainbowlaugh:
Also how she hasn't noticed that chains were removed?

Reverse scrying was obviously less useful...

It's crazy useful for espionage: put small plate of water somewhere in the room where it is hard to notice (under potted plant for example) and you know everything that's happening it the room. Cup of tea should work too. I wonder if saliva in pony's mouths is ok? It's useful up to the point that everypony doing something secret should be very paranoid about it and aware of countermeasures. (It's not clarified what properties direct scrying has: it potentially may be even more of a killer feature. Starlight hasn't used it here for some reason, though).

She simply untangled the chains that had tripped the other Twilight up. She didn't remove them.

Now, if you want to push the limits on such things, the water in someone's eyes basically forms a crystal ball. So, by the logic of scrying, anyone should be able to use it whenever they want without needing a medium.

A lot of the magic in MLP starts to look OP when you take into consideration the implications of how it could actually be used. Like, in the season 4 finale, Twilight is shown in her empowered state to be able to teleport just about anywhere in Equestria. She has also been shown to be able to teleport others with her on other occasions. So, why not touch Tirek, teleport them both to the top of a volcano in the dragon lands, and then let him fall while she flies away? Or so deep into the ocean that he could never come up for air in time and Twilight just teleports back? Or she could use her spell that lets her enter books to put him into a book, come back out, and then torch the book?

A story about how broken the magic in the show actually is when applied to extremes could be amusing, but this is not such a story.

Also: You are spot on, that is exactly what Twilight is doing.

Oops, looks like I misinterpreted

She simply and diligently worked each chain free.


... the water in someone's eyes basically forms a crystal ball.

You mean ripping out eyeballs to use instead of crystal balls? That's really metal! (especially in case of using caster's own eyeball) :rainbowlaugh:

Idea with saliva is indeed pushing the limits, but water plate trick is almost as effective and it's exactly the same thing you've described with tear puddle.
Issue with Tirek/teleportation could probably be hand-waved with something like standard Star Wars explanation (powerful guys are protected from some magical abilities if they are aware of threat and their "concentration" is not broken). Or Tirek is just too big.

Twilight is sounding more and more like a monster. It is kinda reminding me of that one episode of Star Trek The Next Generation, The Measure of a Man .

Is this going to be The Measure of a Pony?

Holy shit... :twilightoops: This story definitely earns its "Dark" label. I'm definitely intrigued - and worried - about where this will go next...

poor clone Twilight having to take in all those negative memories with no joy to help ease the suffering. But poor Princess Twilght feeling like she had to cut away part of herself to be good enough to live up to people's expectations of her

That episode of Star Trek is one of my favorites. There are certainly some parallels here that I hadn't noticed, but overall I think they are quite different stories.

Well, I'm glad you think so. I was seriously having doubts over whether or not this story was a dark enough concept to earn that tag. It's hard to extrapolate from internal thoughts what another's reaction to an idea will be, and this story doesn't have the disturbing gore or abject horror that most popular Dark stories on the site seem to have.

This is the sort of reaction I had as I contemplated the ideas for this story. There is a relationship there, and things are not entirely one-sided. I see the construct as an analogy for that part of our minds that holds the thoughts and feelings we don't let ourselves think or feel.

It's the place where the anger-we-didn't-know-we-had comes from, that makes us lash out at a friend for something they did years ago. The place that can make us start crying when we don't want to admit we're sad over something everyone has convinced us is not a big issue. That ties our stomachs in knots from anxiety towards things we refuse to consider, because they are too scary to deal with head-on.

Not that we would ever feel the need to cut off dark parts of our minds to be good enough to live up to people's expectations of us[!]

That's a wrinkle I didn't expect. Though, given that we are dealing with a construct of Twilight, I shouldn't be surprised that her double would still be so devoted to her "duty," even one that's so wretched and horrific.
Starlight is really in quite the dilemma here. I'm wondering just what she'll do next... and hope that the situation doesn't blow up in her face. (But let's face it, with the way her plans usually go...)

Wrong is still wrong. No matter the excuse. You start making excuses, how long before you start doing the same for other situations? I know I wouldn't trust the so called 'Princess of Friendship ', if I knew she did something like this.

Plus it's unhealthy for someone not to face their own problems. She's pretty much just running away from them.

So... what about the problem where bottling your emotions leaves you a drained husk? It wasn't *only* bad because the bottle broke. :facehoof:

Not even getting into the deal where if you don't remember anything that made you feel bad you'll keep making the same mistake over and over like Twilight is doing in this story.

This was very well done. I'm glad I read this story - it was a hard experience in some ways, but it really provoked a lot of thought about the implications of the construct, of the emotions involved, and to that end I say, "Great job!"

I agree. Everything that Twilight is doing here is full of problems, and I'm sure most folks would think that she was wrong to do this. But I'm also guessing most folks, in the first chapter, felt for Starlight and hoped that she could make her own dark thoughts go away.

Those kinds of thoughts are what I hope this story gets people to consider - the deep thoughts we wish we didn't have.

In our universe, we can't throw feelings into bottles or beings, but we can (and do) try to repress them. How many of us are actually brave enough to face our own demons head on? Isn't it easier when we just make ourselves forget such things? And, in some cases, is it actually better if we let those thoughts fade away? Even if it means we might end up right back where we started?

I honestly can't decide which approach is best. I think it probably depends on the individual case, which is a big flaw in Twilight's set-up: she doesn't show discernment about which thoughts should be given away.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that it made you think. And I hope the process wasn't more difficult than it needed to be.

I really liked the story :) Great job !!!:raritystarry:

I think there SHOULD be a sequel to this one, I wasn't satisfied by this ending at all and Princess Twilight wasn't even called off on her actions and such, I would love it if she was confronted and that Pony was set free. This needs a sequel BAD.

I like the story but I am not satisfied by the ending just so you know

From a certain point of view, the construct was set free. To be set free and to be given the right to choose the course of one's life are the same idea; the latter is essentially the definition of the former. And Starlight did give the construct the freedom to make her own choice. This is the essence of the line "It's different when you choose your chains."

That's probably not a happy way to think about it - it's definitely not a happy ending! - and I did also write "It was not a good solution. It was not even a satisfying one." So I can't fault you for concluding the ending is not satisfying.

As for Twilight being confronted about her actions, that would definitely be a part of the sequel. I'm exploring some options for that. There are many paths it could take, but all of them do have to include Princess Twilight being called out in some fashion for enslaving the construct.

Well I see your point I believe but Twilight is a hypocrite and is being like Starlight's old self back in her village, I'd like to see Spike take Starlight's side eventually and her friends finding out too.

And I'd love it if Twilight was called out in full fashion, not just some.

I agree. I also think Twilight should learn to handle her emotions instead of forcing them onto someone else.

Like most readers, I imagine, I have conflicting feelings about this story. On the one hand, it was written rather well, with my only concern being Spike's Heelface Turn. On the other hand, Spike Heelface Turn felt kind of baffling.

I can accept Starlight's and the Construct's actions, even, to a certain degree, Princess Twilight's. However, I find myself growing increasingly concerned with how Spike changed his mind.

Regardless, I enjoyed the story, and it certainly succeeded in making me think. Good job thus far, and I hope the sequel is as good, if more satisfying, than this was.

I'll admit, Spike's part was the hardest one for me to write. I didn't see a good way to explain his decision without either dragging out his explanation to Starlight, which felt forced considering Starlight's anger at it, or switching to Spike's perspective for a bit, which didn't seem right as the whole story was intended to be from Starlight's perspective. In the end, I went with what I wrote, intending it to be part 1 of the double plot-twist in that chapter, but I agree that it is a sudden turn that can come off as forced.

The idea I was trying to express was that, in his first conversation, he made an emotional choice to believe that the Construct was real. After a few days had passed, however, and he actually thought about the implications of freeing the Construct, he began to rationalize away his emotional response in the hopes of maintaining the status quo.

Spike's character is supposed to represent the part of us that, when we see our brokenness and/or darkness, has a gut reaction of wanting to deal with it, but after a night's sleep, decides that it is better left undealt-with. When we see that part of ourselves, we often do feel ashamed of or afraid of or even disgusted by it, yet so often we don't want to address it when the light of day comes again. It is easier for us to leave that part of our mind untouched.

As for the sequel, so far it is more about the actual characters and less about the symbolic implications of their roles. This is probably because, unlike this story, I'm not staring from the ideas I want to express, but instead starting from the characters and seeing what they do. Perhaps the ideas will bubble up to the forefront before it's done, or maybe the story will remain character driven. The one thing I really want, that I don't have yet, is an ending, but I'm considering just letting the story write itself toward one. I haven't decided yet.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story overall and thank you for the critique.

I suppose that falls enough in line with what we've occasionally seen from the show. I can see that, much like Spike, my intial reaction was negative, followed by weary acceptance.

There NEEDS to be a sequel to this. I really want to see Twi's reaction to Starlight knowing about the construct.

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