• Member Since 26th Mar, 2015
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Novel-Idea


"Do it right and do it with style." - Author, Designer & Project Lead of the story-driven DLC Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - (Patreon)


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Dedicated to one of the brightest diamonds I know.


Heavy is the head that bears the crown. Light is the heart that shares its burdens.


Historian’s Note: The Tarnished Crown occurs three weeks before the events in the Season 4 Finale, Twilight’s Kingdom.

Cast: Rarity & Twilight Sparkle
Introducing: Amber Spark

Cover Art: Little-Tweenframes (SciSetDaily)
Rarity Header & Section Breaks Design: Novel Idea
Rarity Cutie Mark: Black-Gryph0n (Yes, that BlackGryp0n)

Beta Reader & Editor Credits
Ebon Quill - Audio Director & Quest Designer on The Manehattan Project
Little Tinker - Master of Systems at Poniverse & Scripting Engineer on The Manehattan Project
Beltorn - Commenter-at-Large on FimFiction
Cursori - Stolen Enchanted Library Editor
Monochromatic - Patron Saint of RariTwi
Painted Heart - Wife of the Author :pinkiesmile:

Word Count: 11,000 Words
Version: 2.6

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 57 )

I cannot come up with any words to appropriately convey how much I enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing it with us. :twilightsmile:

vren55 #2 · 1 week ago · · ·

.... damn never considered the psychological problem of constantly questioning Twilight's princess status...

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I'm delighted you enjoyed it. It was... a very difficult story to write. But also, a very necessary one.

8288579
You hear the same thing over and over again... it'll leak into your head. Then it just gets worse from there. Exponentially worse if you don't have anyone to talk to about it. I may have some personal experience with it. :twilightsheepish:

Fangren #4 · 1 week ago · · ·

Wow...this just...everything was just...perfect. It was just such a wonderful, amazingly-crafted emotional roller coaster, and by the end I was just left sort of...smiling happily and feeling warm and fuzzy. So thank you :raritystarry::twilightsmile: Whoever the person is you dedicated this to, they're very lucky to have you as a friend.

This... This is perfection.

Oh! Almost forgot! I really liked Amber Sparks, and I hope we see more of her in the future. :twilightsmile:

Very, very nice!

Twilight's descent into her bitter, depressive funk was heartbreaking to read; good thing Rarity can be amazingly stubborn, too!

Also, that bartender, Amber Spark. Orange unicorn with green eyes, and purple-and-teal mane. Seems like a newbie at bartending, but has an uncannily good idea of what's going on with Rarity and Twilight. Sooo... Sunset Glimmer, or Starlight Shimmer? Some kind of a joint project to keep the past on the right track, or something more innocuous, yet inexplicable?

8288688, 8288725
Thank you! I had some doubts about it, but I'm utterly ecstatic to find that it's resonated with so many people!

8288742
It's possible. :trollestia:

8288775
The voices in one's head can get really, really loud. It takes a lot of work to get through that. Thankfully, Rarity's more than up to the challenge.

As for Amber... we shall see. :moustache:

8288643 *winces* clearly you got some help for it. But yeah, the whispers are never fun.

Intense story. Hits home pretty hard. Well done.

No comments today. I certainly have them, but they don't feel appropriate.

For some reason, I would love a Dark version of this, where Rarity can't 'save' Twilight, and Twi eventually does succeed in undoing her Alicorn Transformation--but before she does, she confronts Celestia and calmly (or shoutily) tells her her theories, the 'backup plan' speech she gave Rarity. Cue Twilight casting her spell then and there. After... she just... snubs Celestia, just... walks away from Ponyville and everything.

The voices in your friend's head are surely wrong. But if seasons 5 through 7 have proven anything, it's that Twilight's were right. It's probably not a coincidence that this ends long before they begin.

Still, as a glimpse into a more optimistic past, this was nice to see, and definitely well-written enough, with a widely-applicable enough moral despite the inapt vehicle, to deserve a like and a favorite. Which I gave it, if that wasn't clear.

Wanderer D
Moderator

This was amazing. Thank you for this story. I have my own theory as to the identity of Amber Spark, given Rarity's conversation, but I won't share it here out of respect to other readers. IT WAS—(censored).

Anyway, thanks again. Favorited, of course.

...I have a guess at who you dedicated this story to. If it's who I think it is, I'm jealous of you for being so close, and I hope you can help this person. I try, but I've been wearing myself out this summer at an internship that is nevertheless amazing and what I want to do with my life, and I've been rather out of touch. ...I don't think I ever heard the worst of it, anyways. Their blog posts... Anyways, thank you. I also have depression (Major Depressive Disorder is my clinical diagnosis) and I know an awful lot about that whispering doubt. I've put a lot of time into studying fighting that, among other medical concerns, to get where I am, and I know most of the time that the little voice is lying when I hear it. Most of the time. Thank you for this story, on my behalf and on the behalf of the person you wrote it for, whether or not that's who I think it is. If anyone reading this has their own experience with that voice...all I can say is that I did what I was told and repeated a positive counter whenever it got insistent and had the people I love as support backing that up...and though I think it took years, I slowly started to believe the positive counter--I think it's the truth--over the negative whispers. Keep trying and don't give up. The moment you hear the whisper and know right away that it isn't true is worth it. Even if you still have to work at it after.

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“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ”
― Joss Whedon

8289056
Thanks, Breeze. That means a lot. Both your comments and your respect. :twilightsmile:

8289110
Yeah... that isn't my style. Sorry! I kinda prefer the more hopeful outlook. :twilightsheepish:

8289119
Thank you!

8289174
Wow! Thanks, Wanderer! I'd love to hear your theory (in private). Not saying that I'll confirm or deny, but either way, I'm really happy folks seem to like Amber!

8289200
Thank you for being so open with it. A lot of people suffer from it, here and beyond. Hell, I'm starting to think it's practically required for authors.

One thing I wanted to capture more than anything was Twilight's issue isn't fixed. Even after the Castle. Even after the Title. Even after everything. These aren't things you can ever fix in a day. It takes a long time to kill that voice. Many never do. They just get better at fighting it. Just remember, you don't have to fight alone. :twilightsmile:

Well that was brilliant in ever sense of the world. Absolutely loved it, the characterization and the writing were spot on and the "Couch moment" was just perfect.
You Never fail to deliver Novel, well done.

8289252
You did capture that, and I appreciate it. This sort of thing doesn't just go away. I'm really good at fighting it now...well, a lot better than I was, anyways--but I still have to fight it. I just want to remind people to try to have hope and not give up because it is possible to start winning the fights with the voice, even if you never really end the war. And not fighting alone is key.

Good luck to you, in your fight.

this has to be one of the most adult stories on fim. loved the way you handled twilight. the verbal showdown was the highlight. it felt like cannon twilight. a bit lost on the whole ghost bartender but a light dusting of a deus ex machina is good.

gotta update my top ten list now.

8289411

Offhand, why would a bartender know how hard it is for Princess Celestia to get a cab?

Unless, of course, she was...

When attempting to formulate a review, I found myself lacking in words to convey my thoughts. Perhaps it's for the best though.

I think this story shines on it's own. It doesn't really need any superfluous words from me. Certainly the kind of story I'll be revisiting again and again as the years go by.

8289268
The same to you!

8289411

this has to be one of the most adult stories on fim

Wow. I'd love to hear you expand on this. I don't think I've ever gotten such a response from a story before (and I'm pretty sure I'm reading what you mean, but I'd like to know what it means to you.)

Yeah, that showdown... was intense. Hard to write. As for Amber... well, that's one theory. :raritywink:

8289509
Well, kinda hard to miss that one. Probably just happened to be passing by on the other side of the street. :trollestia:

8289569

Certainly the kind of story I'll be revisiting again and again as the years go by.

To render one speechless is one things... but to hear that it's something you'll want to come back to? That is high praise indeed. Thank you. To know a story resonates always makes it worthwhile.

I may not have depression, but my mother does, and so I know what it can do to a person. I, rather, have Social Anxiety, which has led me to see actions that would have serious, irreversible consequences as attractive courses of action. I may not have depression, I've got my own negative voices.

These conditions are things that can be hard to tell people about unless those people have experience with it themselves, and thus they are under-appreciated in terms of just how difficult they can make day-to-day life. The only thing that I can say is that you have to tell someone, no matter how difficult it may be. I had one such intervention a few days ago with my parents, and I feel worlds better for it. It'll be hard, but once they know, they know, and they'll never forget. They'll always want to help you once you tell them what you're going through.

I realise that this is coming from someone who has no personal experience with more serious mental conditions than Social Anxiety, and please believe me when I'm not trying to be like that guy who tells someone with depression not to be sad. I know what that feels like. Someone told me that I've "just gotta get over" my anxiety a few weeks ago because I didn't want to go out in front of a hundred people and sing on a karaoke night. It's nowhere near that fucking easy. I'm honestly trying to help, for what little effect it may have, and I like to thing that I'm not talking with nigh-insulting nieveté here.

Well written fanfic with powerful emotions.
Also, good to see, once in a while, a fanfic in which romance truly affects the plot and has a real place in the way things happen.

No, he shut you down harder than Applejack with Rainbow Dash after her sixth cider.”

:raritydespair: You monster!

Well, i'll take solace in the fact she probably didn't shut Dash down once she asked again while sober! :rainbowkiss:

The strong thing about this story... it's that it works for all. As in, you could swap characters around to other M6, and still find similar issues - similar words spoken about them. Shows how they're all not perfect, how they all have some flaws in their own way. Makes them more real, and allows for such great fics to be written about them.

8290016
Anxiety and depression can be closely related and the battle against each can often appear quite similar. Well said!

8290186

Also, good to see, once in a while, a fanfic in which romance truly affects the plot and has a real place in the way things happen.

Romance should always have a reason. :duck::twilightsmile: (Though I'd argue happy fluffiness is a good enough reason too! :raritywink:)

8290317
Yeah, yeah. Don't worry. The next Saturday they were both six ciders to the wind in celebration (Or something like that).

8290621
Good, good. I can recall the ninjas then. :trixieshiftright:

8290621
Sadly, too many authors (and readers) just stop at (only care about) "kiss" and "marefriend", out of the blue, for the sake of it and adding nothing to the story, and growl at any criticism...
Your romance did have significant place and effect on your story, and that is a good thing.

8289589
to expand on my comment:

i acknowledge that there's a metric fuck ton of smut, psychological dramas, and others that have written stories that have dealt with the issue of depression. all fall under the adult category.

but I've never seen anyone address twilight's insecurities in a tight controlled manner. or even impose those accusations towards rarity in such precision.

up till the bartender scene, this could be any real life couple. (lol, disregard the magic) i know a lot of girls that fall under the "at risk" description. 21st century life is hard and when you think you're all alone, drowning in expectations...

8290704
Thank you! :twilightsmile:

8290777
Oh, I fully agree. I've read too many stories that have a romance that isn't earned. A wonderful romantic story I once read fumbled the end by adding 'those three words' at the end... but it hadn't earned that level of relationship yet. Yeah, romance--even between cartoon pastel horses--should be treated with respect (or with full knowledge that its a parody :pinkiehappy:).

8290839

but I've never seen anyone address twilight's insecurities in a tight controlled manner. or even impose those accusations towards rarity in such precision.

Wow. Thank you so much for expanding that. Kinda in shock from that level of compliment. Though I will say, I have seen others do it and do it even better. One author in particular, in fact! The Patron Saint of RariTwi herself, Monochromatic!

...this could be any real life couple

Well, I have been married for over twelve years. I've got a little bit of experience in crazy fights... :twilightoops:

21st century life is hard and when you think you're all alone, drowning in expectations...

The irony of being more connected than ever... yet still more isolated, eh? :rainbowderp:

Comment posted by Ember_Arts deleted July 11th

Love the writing style in this one, it reminded me very much of Monochromatic's. In fact I was constantly comparing the style with hers for the first few paragraphs, but then the story grabbed my full attention and kept it till the end.
It was interesting to see Twilight here, with these familiar but still slightly different problems, and I like how positive and hopeful the story is. Liked, fav'd, followed :twilightsmile:

All I can say is wow. You have a true talent for the writing you do, and I'm happy to say that it inspired me in so many ways. You wrote things that made my heart break for both of them, to the point that I cried. Thank you for sharing this wonderful work with all of us.

I really enjoyed this, so don't take this criticism as harsh or even really of quality, but I felt Amber Spark was unnecessary (some salt there; it's my least favorite trope in romance writing to have a third party weigh in and exposition/explain/summarize/fix the conflict or push the story forward) and I assume she was a sort of reference? You could almost completely cut her out and the story works just fine. Or have had Rarity come to her resolution in another way. Because that's the thing about the "wise outsider" trope is that it ultimately just amounts two characters talking, which is far less interesting in a story that is already hinging a lot of its drama on the dialogue between the two mains. So much of this story takes place in dialogue or in Rarity's head, it's a lot of telling and there is very little ambiguity as it what is and what isn't, so something visual or symbolic or more dynamic might have added more interest to Rarity's epiphany. Something unsaid, I guess?

Why must you cut so many onions!? :flutterrage:

On that note: You know you've written a good story when you can make your readers feel the emotion you want to convey.:twilightsmile::raritywink:

Sun Sage #40 · 1 week ago · · 1 ·

I may have picked the wrong day to read this, but I'll say off the bat that it has an upvote from me. So there's that. Now to argue with it for a bit. To skip the vitriol and read the positive section, look for the pony faces below! INCOMING SPOILERS DO NOT READ THIS BEFORE THE FIC YOU SILLY PONY!
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The only reason I’m here is because Sunset got greedy and made a dumb mistake.

Also because you didn't. Further, the 'Plan B' for dealing with various world ending problems including 'insane, possibly demonically possessed alicorn' is nothing to look down upon.

the second-rate backup. The one who would need to step into the shoes of Celestia and Luna. In case they didn’t come back.

Well, there again, anyone taking over for those two isn't second rate anything. Yeesh, which is it, you're nothing or you're worthy to take over a thousand year reign? For that matter, if you're so useless how is Rarity supposed to use you to climb the social ladder? 'Oh, you're with worst princess from Ponyville, eh? What, was Appleloosa out of eligible bachelors?' Which is it? Use your rationality, dammit.

Have you ever once thought about what your little games did to Spike? I’ve seen the way you flirt. You do it without thinking. Manipulate everypony around you

That one hurts... there's nothing wrong with a girl being flirty... if you get 'manipulated' by that it's your own fault. Spike's a kid (sorta, depending on the writer), so it's a bit different there, but she treats him the same as anyone and frankly that's to her credit. Well no, she's closer to him than most, but if he can't spit it out except when he thinks they're about to die... that's not on her. Spike's not dumb; he knows there's nothing there. It's just a puppy love crush (hell I blame it for him becoming a puppy in EQG). I'm not sure they'll ever resolve it in canon (it'd be weird if they did at this point, it's faded to a background gag, though I'd be interested to see if they did).

“Sometimes, ponies push others away because they want to be alone. Sometimes… they do it because they want to see if you care enough to push back and tell them that the voices in their head are wrong.”

Yeah, Twi's pretty lucky... in my experience, when you test others you're the one who fails. Then again, since she really is worthwhile she's actually got nothing to worry about.

For some odd reason, Rarity wasn’t the slightest bit surprised to see nopony there.

Literally no one was; Pinkie can probably explain it. I almost like to think Amber Spark was a product of Rarity's rather creative imagination, because this little tête-à-tête feels a smidge contrived otherwise. Then again, this is Equestria we're talking about. I suppose I can't complain too much about an extremely convenient character randomly showing up with all the other goings on.

“I don’t deserve these things,” Twilight continued, looking at her back and fluffing her bedraggled wings just a little. “I wonder… I wonder if Celestia can remove them?”

Ugh, this is like that comic that's on the DC, isn't it? Sheesh, Twi, what did you think? Celestia took you under her proverbial and literal wing so you could be a damn farmtown librarian? Seriously? This feels like author voice complaining about Twilicorn, and is really my biggest problem with this work (which on the whole is quite good, and I'll get to that). Twilight has never shown any signs of wanting to go back to being a unicorn. She specifically asked for more to do. Not 'let me hide in my books again', it was 'how can I make these matter?' This gripe of hers feels far less real than the rest which, despite my picking at them, are really well pointed out, just as I'd expect of her and the author here.

Rarity, the evidence is overwhelming. Since I became an alicorn, I have heard five hundred and thirty-two comments regarding my status. 

Twilight... comments sections are minefields... you have to tread carefully and not take them personally. The vast majority of em don't know you at all and are just feeding their own egos with snark or working their way through emotional turmoil with gripes. One is self-aware in making this comment...

Now that that's out of the way...
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:twilightsmile::raritywink: On to the fun part, and why this story was wonderful.

“I didn’t save it—”
“No,” Rarity snapped. “That may be the story the Crystal Ponies know. 

Thank you for that exchange... It's entirely accurate that they both (Twi and Spike) played major roles in that whole ordeal. The whole notion of doing it alone, or giving credit to one alone, was ridiculous in the first place. This highlights one of the best things this fic does for me, and that's take the canon (one n, people, the other kind just shoots ya... and parties) into account. I was wondering where Twilight's doubts would come from here and what sort of muck I'd be slogging through with that drama tag... and was pleasantly surprised to find that Twi had several valid (albeit negatively twisted) points based on events we were all familiar with. It wouldn't take much to push her towards the darkness we see here.

The best thing it did was present a full on argument that felt genuine. I was visibly annoyed by what I was reading (*wince* see above), but a big part of that was that this felt real. I could see her feeling this way and Rarity trying, and eventually succeeding, at dealing with it as she did, other than the bartender interlude which... ehh.
The fact that it wasn't fully resolved, but fully forgiven, also rang quite true. Sometimes, time and understanding are the only things you can give. Specifically, time together, as that will slowly but steadily erase the biggest doubt Twilight has here in believing she isn't worth loving. You don't have to be someone's first love to be the best thing that ever happened to them. It helps to show them you feel the same way, of course. Kicking down a wall to try to talk to them is a pretty good gesture along those lines, and a hilariously in character touch of high drama from Rarity here. Dumb wall!

Like many here, I do believe I know to whom this is dedicated. Funny, I've made a comparison between that person and Twilight which was rejected rather vehemently. In capturing someone here who still has demons to exercise, I'd say you've done justice to that person, assuming I'm right. You've certainly done justice to this work, and thank you for telling it.

This was completely fantastic. A must have story for any RariTwi fan.

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Well, Mono is the Patron Saint of RariTwi, so it's only natural to see some similarities. And having finished EL a little while ago, I'm sure some of her style leaked into mine. I tend to unconsciously pick up styles from the authors I read.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Even more glad when it just yanked you into the story!


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...I'm happy to say that it inspired me in so many ways. You wrote things that made my heart break for both of them, to the point that I cried.

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Thank you a thousand times over. Any moment I've managed to move someone with my words on an emotional level is tremendously special to me. :pinkiesmile:


8291545
Different strokes for different folks, in this case. However, I will say that in real life, I've found that a third party is often critical in this sort of situation, as they often offer a better perspective of what's really going on (as Rarity tried to do to Twilight). My goal with Amber was for her to tell Rarity what Rarity already knew. Rarity already knew what to do. She just needed a nudge. However, I may have had a bit too fun with her. That being said, the "Water" and "Princess Celestia Needs A Cab" punchlines were both something I sorely needed to release some tension on a personal level. (I also happen to think they were hysterical, but that's me!)

Either way, I'm happy you enjoyed the story overall!

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On that note: You know you've written a good story when you can make your readers feel the emotion you want to convey.:twilightsmile::raritywink:

Hey, I didn't do that. That was all Rarity and Twi. Honestly, a great deal of this was discovery written (hell, I was shocked when Twilight suddenly turned on Rarity in the first scene. Even I didn't see that coming!). However, emotional resonance is always a goal for me, especially for stories like this. So thank you! :twilightsmile:

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You had a lot of comments about Twilight's doubts, but I think one comment (ironically about comments), in particular, encapsulates all the others:

Twilight... comments sections are minefields... you have to tread carefully and not take them personally. The vast majority of em don't know you at all and are just feeding their own egos with snark or working their way through emotional turmoil with gripes. One is self-aware in making this comment...

You said this quite clearly in the second part of your comment, but I wanted to weigh in a little. We know that Twilight's perspective is warped. It's supposed to be warped. Because the truth is, for some people, panic and worry override rationality all too easily. "It's About Time" and "Lesson Zero" are the best examples of Twilight doing exactly this. She goes mad with worry because her brain keeps spinning. But when it's something small, it can eat at you under the surface and grow into something truly terrible. Comments can be like that. I've read comments before that overshadow all others. Trying to get out of that spiral... it's freaking hard.

It was never about what was real. It was all about what Twilight started to believe... and the slippery slope.

I do want to address one other comment, though:

This feels like author voice complaining about Twilicorn, and is really my biggest problem with this work...

Not at all. I actually started watching right around the Season 3 finale. I've never had a problem with Twi's wings. In this case, the goal was for the wings to represent Twilight's status as a princess (since Celestia linked being an alicorn to being a princess in the very same episode). Sorry if that didn't come off right for you!

The best thing it did was present a full on argument that felt genuine.

Yeah... a bit too genuine in places. Some folks who know me said they had trouble reading it because it hit a bit too close to home... :ajsleepy:

The fact that it wasn't fully resolved, but fully forgiven, also rang quite true. Sometimes, time and understanding are the only things you can give.

Yeah. Anyone who thinks these demons can be killed with a single conversation has never dealt with them. :twilightoops:

Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed the story overall!

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Thank you kindly! Considering the quality of RariTwi stories out there, that is indeed saying something! :pinkiehappy:

It's alright I didn't need that heart anyway

8293122

the goal was for the wings to represent Twilight's status as a princess (since Celestia linked being an alicorn to being a princess in the very same episode). Sorry if that didn't come off right for you!

No worries; you can't control interpretation other than to tell the story as best you can. I bear some negative responsibility on the matter for guessing at authorial intent when the proper thing to do as a reader is disregard it (though with fanfiction that's less important), or at most take it as an aside with a grain of salt. This hit me at a weird time and in a weird mood... drawing an eyeroll and that response to that particular part. It was my biggest gripe, but that doesn't make it a large gripe in the grand scheme.
I'm sorry this had to come from a place so close to home, but it's a testament to your character that you can put it to the page for others to see, learn from, and feel. It's something to take pride in.

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No thank you, thank you for giving us readers the gift of this story, thank you for sharing your talent with us in this way, and thank you for being one of those authors who actually cares.

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I'm sorry this had to come from a place so close to home, but it's a testament to your character that you can put it to the page for others to see, learn from, and feel. It's something to take pride in.

There is indeed quite a bit of merit to "Write what you know." :twilightblush:

As for the rest, don't worry. I had to learn a while back to be careful of my frame of mind when reading stories. I've been destroyed by stories I wasn't ready for. Lost Time by Bookplayer is definitely one that I was not prepared for: I went on a seven-day emergency vacation with my family within 36 hours of finishing it. :twilightoops:

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Dangit. I told Twi to give that back. Well, I'll see what I can do. :duck:

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In that case, you are most welcome. :pinkiehappy:

Comment posted by Dan deleted July 13th
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