1. Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
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Stories about ponies are stories about people.

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Starlight Glimmer never thought much about the map table in Twilight Sparkle's throne room, except to consider taking it apart to learn its secrets. It didn't have much use for her. But all that changes when the table selects her and Twilight Sparkle for a mission in Las Pegasus. Now they're in pursuit of a crazed villain and a magic spell that threatens to undo their entire timeline.

Starlight Glimmer knows a thing or two about timelines. But the dreams she's been having? They're the deepest mystery yet.


Winner of the March Writeoff Competition.

First Published
10th Apr 2017
Last Modified
10th Apr 2017
#1 · 2w, 2d ago · · ·

Thanks for the new story!

#2 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

My one issue so far is that the map, so far at least, hasn't sent two different pairs of ponies to the same location, so the fact that it sent Starlight and Twilight to Las Pegasus just doesn't sit right with me.

I'm also glad this doesn't have the romance tag, since that way I can interpret Starlight's want for Twilight's warmth to be for platonic comfort.

Otherwise, this was a pretty interesting first chapter, though I have no idea where it's going to go, which I guess is a good thing.

#3 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · 1 ·

Wonderful start! I'm secretly hoping for a little GlimGlam/TwiTwi romance, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

#4 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

All these carefully laid parallel themes... you've still got it, all right.

#5 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · 6 ·

I haven't even read it yet but the description... and the cover picture... Starly is best pony/waifu... I will fight anypony who disagrees... or tries to take her away from me!

Noc
#6 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Every story you release reminds me why you’re my favorite writer on this site, and this is no different. You pack the grandeur of a tale four times longer into a mere 9,000 words. It’s only too bad we don’t see a little of what happens next with Chryssy.

Eagerly awaiting that upcoming epic you mentioned in your recent blog post. I adored Salvation and I have doubt I’ll love the new one, too.

#7 · 2w, 2d ago · 7 · ·

This story is excellent! But honestly, my favorite parts aren't the dramatic twists. It's the little bits of interaction between Starlight and Twilight.

“Mhm.” Twilight took another sip of her cocoa. Her horn glowed briefly, and Starlight felt a warm rush wash across her body.

“Did… you just check if I was a changeling?”

“No.” Twilight set her mug down. “Okay, yes. Can you blame me for being careful, though?”

Yes, yes she could. But Starlight could never say that to Twilight’s face. She wondered if there were some way to get Twilight to scan her again, if only to feel the gentle warmth of her magic.

“Of course not,” Starlight said. “Can never be too safe, right? Ha, ha. So, am I?”

“Are you what?”

“A changeling.”

“Oh!” Twilight blinked. “No, of course not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a changeling! But I would certainly wonder where the real you went if you were.”

That whole exchange was just glorious. :twilightsmile:

#8 · 2w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Oh, very nice!

As soon as I understood Starlight was getting hints through her dreams, I assumed Princess Luna was somehow, sneakily, involved. But you were doing something sneakier and more clever by half!

#9 · 2w, 2d ago · · ·

Most excellent fanfic. Favourited!

#10 · 2w, 1d ago · 4 · ·

A deep, multilayered story about morality and mistakes. And nerd horse cuddles. Excellent stuff all around; no wonder this won the Writeoff. Thank you for it.

#11 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8088454 Given you wrote "Would it matter if I was" I should think you'd like that :trollestia:

Though yes, there's a lot going on in that passage, not just the possible shout out.  I totally agree with you that the social interaction between the two is a joy to read.

#12 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

I love the parallels you drew between Starlight and Chrysalis here, what with them both losing their homes to Twi and company and then trying to get back what they lost through time magic. The twist also shows that Chrysalis can also be redeemed if given enough time.

The dreams also hit a nice balance of giving the reader just enough information to speculate on without giving too much away. My one gripe is that, logically, future!Chrysalis shouldn't know how she defeated Star and Twi because that fight never happened in her timeline.

#13 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

Winner of the March Writeoff Competition.

And so freakin' well deserved. I would have been livid if this hadn't won. :twilightsmile:

#14 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

That was an absolutely wonderful story.

#15 · 2w, 1d ago · 4 · ·

Deserved both its gold medal and its overwhelming margin of victory.  Great to see it here.

However, I've still got to grump about the title, because in relation to the story, it makes no more sense to me now than it did in the original version.  The only time the stars are relevant to the plot is in relation to their relative position; their color is never once mentioned anywhere.  Stars-as-symbols are inherently relevant neither to your protagonist nor antagonist.  Are you name-dropping a quote I should be recognizing, or something?

#16 · 2w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

Hey now! I remember awhile back you wrote me asking for advice on writing fight scenes. (That's right everyone, the Great Gardez asked little ol' me for help penning a fight scene! Yes, I am bragging. No, I don't care how shameless it sounds :rainbowwild:). You did a stellar job with the opening duel. I haven't finished the story yet, but your old message just came to mind when I read the opening scene, and... yeah...

I'm'a go now.

#17 · 2w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Great story all around, nice character work and I liked the twist with the dream. Great job!

Personally, Starlight loved them. Equestria needed more buildings like this.

Why do I suspect she would enjoy Brutalist architecture.

#18 · 2w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

Who drew the cover art? Because I think Starlight Glimmer looks very beautiful in it.

#19 · 2w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>8089398

Of the handful of general things I know about stars, one is that their color varies depending on their temperature, which doesn't seem much relevant to the story,  and two: that their light takes ages to reach us.  It's like looking at a message left behind from something far, far, far, in the future. We don't see the stars as they are, only as they once were.  The Chrysalis in Starlight's dream is dead, the way that Starlight is witnessing her message is the same as how we witness stars in the night sky.  Broken down further, seeing something only as it once was and not what it could possibly become is the root of Starlight's personal struggle in this story.  Focusing on what she was, not imaging what she could become.  Hence the import of her final line: "I'd like to be kind."  Chrysalis couldn't do this, couldn't imagine herself as changing for the better.  That is Starlight's true victory.

I suppose it goes without saying that I loved this?

#20 · 2w, 1d ago · 7 · ·

>>8090042

I did. I paint as well as write.

#21 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090127 Awesome! Do you accept commissions?

#22 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

The cover art is so beautiful!

#23 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

Not bad. Reads like an especially good issue of the pony comic.

#24 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090406

It's tough to do more than that with only three days. Such is the WriteOff.

#25 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090422

Hey, bruh, that's high praise I just gave you! The pony comic is mad underrated.

#26 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090461 Which pony comic?

Because if you choose the wrong one.... hoo-boy are you in for a dressing-down in Fiction Writing 101.  

#27 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090489

The good one. There, did I win?

Oh, and is there a prize if I did? I hope there's a prize!

#28 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

Chrysalis was also going to have to use changeling magic... whiiiiich the show has clearly made stand out as RADICALLY different from all other forms of magic since the stone throne blocked everything except changeling magic... implying a totally different form of magical energy.  Ya know?  Else it would have blocked them too?  Kinda makes sense that anything too similar would all be blocked.  Even Discord's magic was blocked.  

So anyway, point is, if Chrysalis tries to power a pony--magic-based spell that's really complex and dependent on magical structure with her radically different changeling magic without knowing exactly how to modify the spell matrix.... yeah, Twi and Glimmy would just need to sit back and let her blow herself up.  

Also:  

“No friends to save you now, are there?” the queen hissed. She grinned, exposing a forest of wickedly sharp teeth. “I think I will enjoy this.”

Starlight just stared with a nonplussed expression and droned in boredom, "Bug Queen, we literally stood there doing nothing while you ran away right in front of our eyes.  Rather slowly at that.  Heck, Fluttershy could have caught up to you.  Would you like to see how much of a threat you AIN'T right now?"

Chrysalis whimpered, "Uhm... no?"

Starlight smirked, "Here's a little technique I learned from a certain Neighponese cartoon which fits the circumstances... SPIRIT FLYSWATTER!!"  SQUISH!!

You go, Kuwabara.  :trollestia:

#29 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

I would try to follow this time line stuff and all the paradoxes it creates... but like DBZ: Abridged Goku, I fear if I do everything will start tasting like copper... from the aneurysm... that's what that meant for those who didn't get it.  

See, if a flexible multiverse is a thing, then paradoxes pretty much can't happen, BUT all the possible timelines MUST ALWAYS EXIST, which means Future Chrysalis and her unhappy timeline (was it really that bad?  We don't really get a sense of why she suddenly cares about love when she was such a beeyatch her entire life) will still be there.  If the multiverse ISN'T flexible, then paradoxes WILL happen, which means this story pretty much broke the universe and these things are gonna show up and eat everything.  

Time travel is very hard to write, because it's so easy to mess up and make irrational and contradictory.  I've found the better time travel stories try to avoid focusing on the why and centering the plot on the time travel itself, and rather use it as only a vehicle for the true plot.  "The Time Machine" was the earliest and best example.  

#30 · 2w, 1d ago · · ·

>>8090499 The prize is... a bottle of Koolaid.  

Go ahead, take a sip.  It's tropical punch!  :pinkiecrazy:

#31 · 2w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Another really solid read from you, CiG. Only criticism I can think of is that the ending is a bit abrupt for my tastes.

Very curious to see what this big epic you're working on is all about. Godspeed.

--CG

#32 · 2w, 11h ago · 1 · ·

This was brilliant. I loved it. Though to be honest I would have liked to see what would happen if she was victorious or how the world is empty. Or even how Chrysalis goes from now on.

#33 · 2w, 11h ago · 1 · ·

Damn, CiG, back in full form. That's a good sign for that new adventure you're cooking up.

To me, it feels like the sort of story that could probably benefit from some more meat, but even as is the impact is very strong. It's always nice when altered timeline stories work without any crazy contradictions.

My question to you: what's the title meant to mean?

#34 · 2w, 5h ago · 1 · ·

Sometimes all we have to do is find the right pony and talk to them. Other times we end up finding some ancient eldritch horror and have to fight it for the fate of the world. You’d think the map would have some way of telling the difference when it sends us to places.

"Frick, it's a terror mission!  And we're not ready for chryssalids Chrysalis, yet!"

#35 · 1w, 6d ago · 4 · ·

And this... this is why Cold in Gardez is one of the best... if not the best writer in MLP... that maintenance of suspense that mystery, all wrapped up in an ending that makes sense as it's being constantly hinted throughout. God that was a good read.

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