• Member Since 18th Mar, 2012
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Inquisitor M

Why 'Inquisitor'? Because 'Forty two': the most important lesson I ever learned. Any answer is worthless until you have the right question. Author, editor, critic, but foremost, a philosopher.


Princess Celestia was there before the oldest mortal pony was born; she will be there when the youngest foal dies of old age. She is as much a fixture of Equestria as the sun, the land, and the sky. She is also the rock that keeps Twilight Sparkle's hooves on the ground. No matter how bad things get, they will always be there for each other.

Princess Luna is a newcomer to modern Equestria: a stranger in a strange land. She is a pony out of her time and out of her place, struggling to escape the shackles of her mistakes. When a spectre from the past manifests in the present and incapacitates Rarity, the two cross paths for the first time since Luna's return and something unexpected happens: they see something they need in each other.

Struggling with self-doubt and haunted by a magical malady, Rarity reaches out to the princess and learns more about Luna than most ponies ever will. While Twilight throws herself at unravelling a magical mystery, Luna and Rarity, with the help of a few of Celestia's hoof-picked elite guards, must fight to make peace with themselves before they can make peace with the past. Luna seeks to reconcile her relationship with Celestia, and Rarity must learn to overcome the harshest, most bitter, most devious enemy she has ever faced: herself.

Completed in it's entirety for the second time, Shades of Grey version 3 is the culmination out many hundreds of hours or work, both mine and that of the editors, teachers, pre-readers, and readers. It is the first story I conceived, and it's taken over two years to bring it to this final revision that I am happy with. This is a story I am proud to have written. For better or worse, it will always be a piece of me and vice versa.

Special thanks go to Chris, without whom my ability to write at all would never have gotten off the ground.
Huge appreciation goes to ReplayMasterOfTime for the cover art that I have come to love so dearly in those two years.
Additional thanks go to: Pascoite, who has helped me grow through his reviewing; Mystic, the one-time EqD pre-reader who also helped with early editing and learning; and InsertAuthorHere, just for being an established name who gave me a shout out and filled me with the will to keep going.

There are dozens more to whom I owe the existence of this story. They know who they are, and I love them all.

Please enjoy this legacy of mine.


Chapters (19)
Comments ( 78 )

Shades of Grey: Second Edition


Chris (onemansponyramblings.blogspot.co.uk)
- I can say with absolute certainty that this story could not have been even a pale shade of what it is without Chris’ supportive, insightful, and detailed efforts on my behalf. You, sir, are an absolute LEGEND and I owe you greatly for your editorial work. Not only have you helped to shape the text itself, but you have taught me as much about taking good criticism. Following that one link from EQD to your blog was truly one of those ‘butterfly effect’ moments that has improved my life in profound, and very enjoyable, ways.

Kev Richardson (Jowgenetsu)
- He-who-made-me-watch-ponies. Your endless positivity and support has been a necessity of getting this far. Without you, this story would not even exist.

- My second editor, who has spared me a great deal of his time in a very short window to drag my massively trimmed and rewritten work into its final(ish) form. Your continued assistance in hammering out my show-versus-tell has been a real boon, and I hope I have made my appreciation for your time perfectly clear.

- You know who you are. You know how much of a crutch you have been whilst I have been working on this. My sounding board, my morale support, my voice of sanity. May we share much more vodka together in the future.

- Thank you so much for your patience in creating not one but TWO images for this piece. It was the last thing I needed to feel like I had created something genuinely whole and complete.

Other mentions for feedback and support (in no particular order):

Aurora Dimmet                                

Here is a good start in this chapter.
Especially Rarity personality is quite strong and interesting.
(I like her personality in the show too. She and AJ are my fav among mane 6.)

I'll keep reading the revised story, I'd love to enjoy this fiction again. ^^
GJ! Sir!

1369317 I think 9 is the one that's going to grab you most in terms of the changes from the original. I'm not expecting it to be ready until next weekend though.

For everyone else, sorry about the formatting screw-up on 7. It's fixed now.

I'm just hoping Sonata gets hammered over her thievery a bit harder than in the previous revision.

Even reading this chapter several times.
I still enjoy this chapter.
The personalites of Rarity, Luna, Stormcloud are interesting and well-introduced.


All of my hate, Sonata, all of my hate. I suppose being magically devoured by a table is a certain amount of punishment.

Twilight’s checklists have nothing on Pinkie's to-do lists. :pinkiehappy:

1467188 Awww. And saying so makes mine!

Funny thing is, Sonata is the one character that had no planning of any kind. I just started Rarity's Canterlot introduction and she appeared—alongside a big smile on my face, I should add. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed writing her, I'm still pleasantly surprised at the reactions she generates. :)

With a little luck and a following wind, C9 will be up tonight.

ummm... the name...

1475763 put the number 50 in front of it, then you will see my point

1476002 Not really. it's a sensible title, that's an awful book. If anyone is daft enough to avoid a story for a title (which pre-dates the release of the book), then they're probably not the kind of reader that would enjoy this anyway.

1476018 i don't doubt how good this story is, all i'm saying is that that is the first thing that jumped to my head. although to be fair, the title "Shades of Grey" is actually a pretty good title.

1476078 I was appropriately irked when it came out during my initial drafting phase, for sure. Not that I would have felt inclined to change the title anyway, but now that I have art, there's no way in hell! Just looking forward to putting the second piece of art up now (chapter thirteen).

I am a fan of that conversation they woke Rarity up with, though I have to admit that the first time through it confused me a bit.

1557436 More of you favourite tutor up next, DJ. I'm sure you'll enjoy that :P

1561249 Oh boy, I can't wait!

The mane 6 scenes in this chapter are a refreshing break from the seriousness of the last few Canterlot chapters and the snooty school ponies. Especially Pinkie Pie.

2538324 Yeah. Kind of in a rush so I didn't really have enough time to leave a proper comment, just didn't want to leave the chapter completely naked.

Finally, I've read it all, and wow, what a cliffhanger! Poor Rarity, fallin' to pieces!

Comment posted by IvanWiley deleted Mar 28th, 2015

Go Luna! Kick some pony gryphon something flank!

3007580 "Anything that two-bit showmare can do..."

3171386 More than I dare to guess at. While the possible variances in energy states are finite, the step size in possible photonic wavelength multiplied by acceptable tolerance of what constitutes grey from a chromatic perspective allows for a staggering number of greys. Wildly more shades than the human eye could hope to perceive, at any rate.

Epic story, this is just as complex as I love. The thickning of the plot is giving it depth. Now back to waiting for more.

Title reminds me of this 1995 masterpiece.

*looks at the Title* Is this a remake of Fifty Shades Of Grey?

Well this is probably diffrent from Fifty Shades, I dunno, haven't read the trilogy.......

I think ill just add this to my Read Later list...

3172437 The original was finished before 50 Shades was even published. This is so utterly opposite to that rancid pile of excrement that the world ought to ask it to change it's name so as not to sully my fine work.

This is an examination of Rarity's most fundamental flaw, perfectionism, and the way it affects those around her during a crisis. It invokes parallels aplenty, artistic repetition, and a liberal sprinkling of my very British sense of sarcasm and wit. Dracmatais did a blog review of it here, if you need an external appraisal.

3173504 Well that's very good to know, now i don't have to have that weird situation if someone sees me reading this! Thanks for the feedback.

3174355 You know, I suddenly find myself wondering how many of those downvotes are because it isn't fifty shades of ponies...

You know what this fandom's like.

Ponyville pegasi ponies, represent!

Nice to see Rarity finally work through her issues.

Bravo. Simply magnificent.

3419684 *Whew!* Thanks!

You know, I actually had a rare moment of panic this morning. Had I set the bar too high for the ending? Was anyone actually going to 'get' why this, and not the last chapter, was the ending of Rarity's story? Would people see that this was only the first step of a larger, un-narrated, story? Was Rarity's progression from her moment with Fluttershy to her moment with Rainbow Dash clear enough? Or was I selling my audience short and not employing nearly enough subtlety?

At this point, I can feel comfortable that all those questions are moot. I hope you enjoy Luna's epilogue as much!


Glad to know I helped ease your fears! :twilightsmile: I'm sure I'll like the epilogue just as much.
This chapter works perfectly as an ending to Rarity's story - there is always more that can be said for any story, but it doesn't need to be, and you found the perfect way to stop. Ending a story can be a tricky business, but you've pulled it off, as I previously stated, magnificently. I'm looking forward to reading whatever you write next.

That was a great ending to Rarity's story. I do like how you write her.

3421832 Everything else aside, Rarity is the character I find most interesting. There are probably plenty of reasons to say that I prefer Fluttershy as a personality, but Rarity is simply a more interesting and intricate character build. It might be fun to actually write up my psychological profile some time so folks can see how I map my characters prior to writing them into a story.

From what I've been able to tell, there is supposed to be one more part - an epilogue. I've been holding off on reading this until it's posted. However, it's been a very long time since an update. Will the final piece ever be posted?

4137593 You know what, I have to admit that I'd completely forgotten about the epilogue with other projects on the go. I got stuck on the re-write of one scene and things just got away from me.

Thank you very much for keeping it in mind; I promise I'll get on it now. I don't much like leaving it unfinished, either!

My vacation starts Monday and I'm very tempted to (finally) read this in the free-time I have before TrotCon; if there's one fic on my list I'd like to read without the interruption of work, it'd be this one. Problem is, it doesn't wanna play nice with the other fics when it comes to my reading schedule, which I'm having enough trouble with already. Damn all these 100,000+ word fics littering my queue!

4544277 Does it help if I'm appropriately nervous about the result?


Mayhaps :ajsmug:

If your other stories are any indication of its quality, you have no reason to worry. My goal's to have it done by the end of Tuesday, but I might take longer to really enjoy it. It definitely won't be any sooner, since I can't read nearly as much online as I can with a printed book - it's just too exhausting! I'll definitely have it done before TrotCon, in any case

This may take longer than I thought. I don't know if you've ever tried reading while a fourteen year-old boy plays an online FPS in the same room, screaming about "hacks", but it's not something I'd recommend - or wish on anyone, for that matter

While I'm commenting, I might as well share my thoughts on the first chapter. I'm enjoying it so far, as expected. The bit about the eyes has definitely got me intrigued! There are a few choices I don't entirely agree with - I can see why you'd have Rarity speak in the third person at the beginning, but it doesn't entirely sound right to me; describing Dash's pose as "victory-esque" is a little... purple for my tastes - and I've also noticed a few typos:

Fluttershy is obviously so distraught that even Rainbow Dash is acting oddly.

Maybe you’d be better go to the spa to pick up Twilight, Rarity?

For a moment, [Twilight] just stared back at Applejack.

Still, it seemed to loomed over her.

Also, I'm a little confused by the parenthetical roman numerals. At first I thought they'd be numbering sections, but apparently not. Maybe I'll find out later, if that's not a mistake

This was a great read cant wait to read the others

4553165 Sadly, I know that feeling all to well (the teenage bit doesn't make a lot of difference in my experience).

I'm not all that surprised by the typos. I've been over this so many times already, but with it's age and comparatively low quality (by current standards) I never got an external editor to go over it. It's a funny thing to be torn between commitment to readers and unreasonable requests of editors.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that 'purple' is the word you're looking for in your comments. Given my understanding of it, I'm not sure it even could apply to a one-word (albeit open-compound) adjective. It's probably just different implementation, so I'm assuming that I don't know what you meant at this point.

No, "purple" was definitely the wrong choice there, but I was having a brain fart and couldn't think of what the right word would've been - didn't help that I was being rushed to run an errand - so just went with that in hopes you could guess what I'd meant. Basically, I think appending the "-esque" was unnecessary and not entirely appropriate; "victorious" would've worked, and "vicory pose" is a commonly recognized term

4553852 Thank you! For all the flaws that remain, I'm still very proud of it.

4556217 Yep, that makes more sense. It is kinda what I assumed, but that's been getting me in hot water lately!

Took longer than I'd intended, but I finally finished reading this story! Overall, it was pretty enjoyable. There were more typos and missing words than I would've liked, but while distracting, they never got to the point of being fic ruining. It was more than made up for by the smile that found my face every time I read "leapt" - how sad is it that something which should be ordinary and expected manages to bring me so much happiness?

I'm reminded of another fic of yours, Every Mare Needs Her Stallion. The way characters in both stories think and interact with each other's something I don't entirely "get". Like I said before, though, this may just be because I don't fully understand people in real life either. Seeker was a notable exception

The writing could be a little repetitive sometimes. I suppose there's only so many ways you can describe crying, but that was a little much for me too. Seems every character, especially Rarity, did their fair share of tear shedding, followed by some obligatory nuzzling. This ties in with what I was saying in the previous paragraph, 'cause it was those moments that confused me the most. Heh, maybe that's my problem; I just don't understand women! It's a wonder they make up most of my friends

So many stories, so little time. I finally finished Shades of Grey, and I've found I really enjoyed the story portions which were from Rarity's viewpoint. Revealing insight into her character which she's not quite brave enough to show.

The interaction with the OC involvement was, while at the center of the plot, was not the center of the -story-, which is something that you've pulled off right without falling into the same trap many authors have. Quite well done.

Thank you for finishing it so that I could read it.

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