• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
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horizon


Not a changeling.

T
Source

Lyra and Bon Bon love each other, but they have a ... somewhat unusual relationship. One of them is a secret agent. One of them is a changeling.

And the third one is a perfectly normal pony, about to have her life turned upside down.

This may result in some questionable relationship decisions.


Third-place winner of FamousLastWords' "A Two-Faced Charade" competition!
"This story [is] a ride … chaotic, crazy, wild, an emotional rollercoaster." –FamousLastWords

Thanks to Titanium Dragon and BlazzingInferno for prereading suggestions. Cover art by mostlyponyart (whose blog seems to have vanished).

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 102 )

First comment reserved for spoiler-free author's notes!

This one had to be extracted word by agonizing word from the letter mines. It slowly accreted over several weekends, a (failed but productive) mid-week push to make the original Feb. 28 deadline, and then an all-weekend writer's block session and a last-minute push to get something completed before Mar. 7 ended. I hope the path I forged through that wilderness leads somewhere unique; right now it's a little hard to tell through all this sweat and grime. :applejackunsure:

Titanium Dragon went above and beyond the call of duty with (in some cases literally) last-minute editing guidance. Several of the major story beats here only exist because of his feedback. To whatever extent this feels complete, I'm indebted to his work.

I can't wait to read it!

8782702
Hey, you know what they say - there's no minute like the last one. :raritywink:

I'm glad I could help.

1 lovely story very good you had me dawing a couple of times

2 I thought that was a tuxedo on bon-bon in the icon

8782799
Fast reader! Thank you for the kind words. :twilightsmile:

I was hoping the recrop would make the changeling Bon Bon effect more subtle than in the original art. It becoming misinterpretable that way feels like an extra little bonus.

Shilic #7 · March 8th · · ·

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon

JackRipper
Story Approver

An entry into FamousLastWords' "A Two-Faced Charade" competition.

Fuck.

Good lord, these ponies got themselves into a flaming train wreck. There's just about nothing healthy about what just happened.

Hell if it wasn't entertaining to read though. You really nailed the nuance.

Really good story! A great take on how a changeling might work in a relationship.

The romance was sweet and the drama was delicious. I liked the way you transitioned Lyra’s affections from “Bon Bon” to Tymbal, but I loved how Lyra found herself too afraid to tell Sweetie the truth. The way the comfortable lie ballooned out of control for all three of them was very interesting (and a little bit distressing) to read. And then the resolution was simply wonderful.

There’s a part of me that feels like Sweetie Drops doesn’t get as much attention as she deserves in this trio in the sense that it read a little more like “Lyra and Tymbal, then Sweetie Drops.” I guess I would have appreciated greater emphasis on Sweetie’s internal dialogue, though it’s understandably very difficult to portray given our viewpoints are centered on Lyra.

This is amazing. This is the best love triangle I've ever seen. I want more!

I'm imagining Lyra buying two identical accessories, with Sweetie Drops and Tymbal wearing them in different places.

Okay, you made a glorious mess and you made me care alot for the outcome. That I love poly stuff where you need to work for it, changelings, and Agent Sweetie Drops is just...heh...icing at this point. Thank you.

I can't help but wonder - even if the three of them manage to sort out their personal relationships, what's going to happen to the relationship that Ponyville has with 'Bon Bon'? Is the town going to keep thinking that Lyra has just the one lover? If so, Lyra's never going to be able to talk honestly about her love life with anypony local.

Sweetie can't become Bon Bon and Tymbal somepony else; ponies would ask where Bonnie was all the time and Tymbal would effectively not be able to be the pony she'd been for 75% of her life over the last two years.

Tymbal can't take over the role of Bon Bon full-time; Sweetie can't change her looks and would have to be introduced to Ponyville as a lookalike who, oddly, was also shacking up with Lyra.

To be honest, I have to wonder how nopony ever saw Agent Drops leaving on the train from Ponyville, then saw Tymbal in Ponyville the same day. Two identical-looking ponies, down to the exact same cutie mark? Or does Sweetie have access to some kind of disguise which allows her to walk across town and board the station without (a) being recognized, or (b) triggering a Pinkie party?

I hope you gonna continue this because its very good start for practically anything, from adventure stories to comedy filled slice of life and even to serious look at how hard that kind of relationship can be.

Oh. So theres the issue. Anyways I'm very confused on why Bon Bon being a changeling is so popular. Just me though. Hm. I should I post my story that didn't make the contest that one time Horizen.

8783050

Tymbal can't take over the role of Bon Bon full-time; Sweetie can't change her looks and would have to be introduced to Ponyville as a lookalike who, oddly, was also shacking up with Lyra.

This is actually very possible.
1. We don't know what enough ponies look like to say how likely it is to find a double.
a. For humans, finding a double is SO easy there's literally an app for that. Scratch that, several.
b. This story is a very plasuable one for Ponyville. "Oh! I ran into Sweetie and mistook her for Bonbon because, I mean, look at her! And she's a bit awkward and just rolled with it to avoid making a scene and we got as far as... Well, Bonbon caught us in bed, there was a bit of confusion, and um, well... To make a long story short all of us kinda like multiple partners so it ended in a threeway and we just clicked, you know?"
c. Other people are not that interested in you or our love life unless they are your friends. No cashier, train station attendant, random passerby, mom in the grocery store, dude reading a book on a bench, thinks about you again after seeing you. Sorry, but while you're the main character of your life story, you're just a background character in theirs. At the most, other ponies would think "Oh hey, that mare's dating twins. Nice."

2. If Lyra, Bonbon, and Sweetie don't mind being thought of as perverts, this would also work... "Huh, oh that. She's Bonbon's twin sister. Turns out they had a crush on each other and I felt bad about coming between them. So now I cum between them. Heh heh!"

8783105

Anyways I'm very confused on why Bon Bon being a changeling is so popular.

Lyra, Bon Bon, Derpy, ect. were originally all background ponies. Lyra and Bon Bon ended up getting stuck next to each other in a bunch of scenes because their colors set off nicely against each other, and the fandom decided they were best friends/shipped them, while the show creators thought it was fun and riffed on it and started sticking them together more (likewise, they deliberately derped Derpy's eyes).

However, as a result of this, Bon Bon periodically would get a speaking role as a random background pony. And because she wasn't a particular character back then, as a result, her voice was different on different occasions.

People thus started making jokes about her being multiple ponies or being a secret agent or a changeling to "justify" her having multiple different voices.

I would read the hell out of a continuation of this. MOAR PLS!

Dear horizon,

Great story.

Sincerely,
UniqueKD

P.S - I'm not wasting my time or yours writing a lengthy comment saying how good this story is when a few words says it all.

This was fantastic.

This is incredible. The character dynamics between Lyra and Bon Bon and Lyra and Tymbal are very well-developed, and I could very clearly empathize with the position Lyra found herself trapped in.

I still need to read the other entries, but if this doesn't at least place then I will be ecstatic, because that would mean that there are three impossibly beautiful stories still out there for me to read.

A bit of a different story, and a simple twist, with a different outcome. Its uncertain, but looks to achieve what I hope you set out for.

8782702
I’m glad I was able to help you get this one out the door in time! Bon Bon and Lyra and Bon Bon’s relationship redefines “it’s complicated” :raritywink:

Fantastic work, alloying fanon and canon into an exquisitely paced tale of quasifidelity. Now I'm just wondering what will happen first: Sweetie getting decommissioned or Tymbal turning into a Crayola lovebug. :raritywink:

In all seriousness, fantastic work. Worth every pickaxe swing in the letter mines. Thank you for it.

Very good story, very good drama. I quite enjoyed it, and would like to read more about our trio, but it certainly does have an air of finality about it.

I will admit though, I was slightly disappointed. You used the same image as an old story that has been cold for nigh on six years now, and when I saw the picture on the front page, I got hopeful.

That was good, and I generally don't appreciate shipping stories. It was spiky and uncomfortable without being mean or dispiriting, and ended well. I liked it quite a bit.

And the third one

What ?

This is damned adorable.

That was a very awesome story! Truly amazing!

This was a very weird and convoluted idea that totally needed to be written, and I applaud you for doing so this skillfully. :twilightsmile:

8783050 She just has to wear a cloak. Apparently the mere act of wearing one renders ponies from being able to identify the wearer.

8783112 Seriously love the idea of them playing it off as twins. That would make for some interesting interactions with the general populace.


I loved this. Would really love to see a continuation of this. It could be a wonderful way to explore the possibilities and challenges of a poly relationship.

Oh wow, that's messed up. I feel like the ending is perhaps a bit simplistic, but I'm not sure that blowing things up would have been any more satisfying.

Still, good stuff.

I really, really hope you end up doing a continuation to this. I've read quite a bit of fanfiction, yet I've NEVER seen this sort of love triangle done before, not even with actual twins. It was beautiful and a complete mind-screw and I love it! Totally added to my best of the best bookmarks :pinkiehappy:

8783182
That's part of it. Also, Bon Bon was one of a number of background ponies in the early days to pop up a bit too frequently; sometimes more than once in a single scene.

8783182

Don't forget she was also a Pegasus at one point.

Okay, I want this relationship to work out for them. I really do. The characters all felt raw and fairly real in this, and they each need this to go well. The three of them each had the best intentions, and also fucked up, and deserve for this to go right so they can heal and enjoy each other. Also because instead of having Bon Bon in the bedroom now Lyra can have Bon and Bon and that's just funny to me.

This story is currently at the top of the feature box. Have a celebratory screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/4q7w6TB.png

"It's funny," Lyra said. "When I even noticed anything strange, I always wrote it off as mood swings. I had no idea. Two whole years. And then everything goes absolutely crazy over shampoo ."

It's always the little things that trip you up.

Tymbal, eh? Let's call her Tym Tym.

Oh my god, so now they're lying to Bon Bon. Piling lies upon lies should end well.

Slowly, deliberately, she leaned in to the monstrosity, and kissed it on the lips.

Nice.

Was this entire story a double Bon joke? If so I approve. If not I still approve, because it was good.

Once, “X is secretly a changeling” stories were all the rage.
Then that evolved into the obvious “Your lover is secretly a changeling” story, and a few “Your lover is secretly Chrysalis” around.
But after a while, that saturated the feature box so parodies and crazy ideas sprung up, like “X is secretly multiple changelings” or “Everybody is a changeling”.
Now, we have progressed to “Your lover is secretly both a changeling and not a changeling, and two people at once”.

What a great read, but I shudder at what could be next.

geb
geb #42 · March 9th · · ·

It’s good.

Comment posted by Random Bits deleted March 9th

8785672

“Everybody is a changeling”.

Those were worth it just to see the changeling Twilight Sparkle wondering whether ponies even exist, or they're just a rogue idea that infected the hivemind and got way out of control.

What a great read, but I shudder at what could be next.

"You are secretly a changeling and you don't even know it" is the obvious next step. Although I don't see how that would make a good story...

Ah! I know what is the next step that does make a good story. Try "The Price of a Smile".

8785824

"You are secretly a changeling and you don't even know it" is the obvious next step

It's been done, several times in fact. There's also "Everybody is secretly a changeling but they don't know everybody is a changeling", which has occurred in several variations.
The X is a Changeling Group has a ridiculous variety.

This story is kind of hilarious to me for probably all the wrong reasons, because the moment Bon Drone revealed the extent of their little conspiracy of two, my first reaction was go "what!? This is ridiculous! What kind of idiot would even do this, never even mind think it is a good idea or that it could work out long term?" My second reaction? That was to think "...the kind of idiot who has more love than good sense, the contacts necessary to get a perfect body double, and who wants to be there for her partner even though she knows personal relationships would always have to take a backseat to professional duty."

It's so incredibly, incredibly stupid, but it's exactly the kind of stupid you get out of people who are heads over heels for someone and who end up in some kind of double bind situation where it sometimes feels like there's no right answer no matter what you do. Now scale that up to the level of someone who lives in a world where you actually can have a shapeshifter or robot clone stand in for you and access to one of them, instead of just jokingly saying they wish they did... well, I can completely seeing this be a thing that someone actually tries to do.

I mean, the rest of it really doesn't work quite that well. The immediate reaction feels kind of nonsensical. People just don't behave like that, they don't take this kind of thing in stride and then try to pretend it never happened while going on with their strange relationship triangle. What would have made sense to me would be for the relationship to immediately break down to the point while Lyra tries to decide who it even is that she really loves: the person she met and fell in love with, or the one who actually there to be loved by her for majority of the month ever since... while wondering how much of even that was real.

Maybe the ending is a bit too open in that regard. It tries to kinda hint at an eventual happy ending of sorts, but I just can't quite believe in it. It's all nice and feel-good and stuff, but there are things that a relationship can't really come back from, and this feels like it should be one of them. I think it would have benefited the story to not try and preserve the status quo, but rather allow itself to be unequivocally the sad end to an unhealthy relationship that never was.

Otherwise, I can't really complain. For all that you'd think this should come across as humorous and like part of the silly secret agent pastiche that is Sweetie Drops, I think everyone in this story feels very human, very real. That's good.

8786212
Part of me sees the appeal of this ending up as a massively tragic story that ends in heartbreak, it see's the logic in that.

Meanwhile another less serious part is thinking THEY'RE PONIES! LOVE AND TOLERATE! FRIENDSHIP AND STUFF MOTHERFUCKER!

8786340
To also be not too serious but still run with the point I was making there, I think the "love and tolerate" part is sufficiently covered by discovering that your girlfriend is a secret bug monster, but you don't care, you love her anyway. The problem that persists is that it doesn't really fix the issue where the beloved bug monster and the person you thought you were sleeping with were lying to you for years and gladly would've kept doing so forever.

That's the kind of total relationship breakdown where you can keep going through the motions afterwards, but it's really just a hollow shell of everything it used to be.

8786386
that depends on if the person values their sense of truth more than their sense of love, or anything else.

that also depends on if the person stopped themselves from thinking after a certain level of complexity, in order to cope with the rising stress logical observation induced.

I feel conflicted about this ending, which means I was suitably engaged! =)

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