• Member Since 16th May, 2013
  • offline last seen 19 minutes ago

PaulAsaran


Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

T
Source

At long last, Equestria has returned to a state of peace. Celestia can focus on the simple task of ruling her little ponies and bringing about Harmony.

Or she would, if she didn't feel that something was wrong. Wrong with her? Wrong with Equestria? She can't tell, and that only makes it worse. Perhaps her friends are right. Perhaps she's become so used to conflict she doesn't know how to relax.

That's what the voice tells her, anyway.


Preread/edited by Pascoite and OnionPie. Thanks for putting up with me, guys!

Cover art by blueSpaceling.

Chapters (11)
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Comments ( 49 )

Does this story take place in any of your universes?

8897454
Nope. This one is standalone.

Well... this is odd.
Keep up the great work

8897497
Odd is good, for odd is intended.

Updates will be daily!

Interesting. Inconsistencies are mounting, and they may soon be too numerous for Celestia's slipping mind to ignore.

Preread/edited by Pascoite and OnionPie.

That’s some mighty big guns there. You have my attention. :rainbowderp:

Very good start. But... where is Luna?

8897895
I'm just a little gun.

8899384
Don't sell yourself short, Mr. Remington.

Oh, an interesting premise! Oh, hmm, that author name looks familiar...

...the author of Twilight's Inferno.

This is going to be -very- interesting... and probably mindbreaking by the end.

Intriguing~
Please continue~

"yellow draconian slit"
Discord?

At first I wondered why this didn't have an Alternate Universe tag... I'm not wondering now. Well, I'm wondering about lots of other things, but not that.

Hmm... just had a thought. Is the nightingale Luna?

8905633
I was thinking the same thing.

Hmm, the last two guardians haven't given her any memories. I wonder why.

Hmm I wonder... Coma, trapped in a nightmare or prehaps trapped in another's dream or a nightmare like Link's Awakening.

This continues to be both strange and intriguing. I can't wait to see how it gets answered! The mystery is so deep...

Comment posted by MJP deleted May 9th, 2018

I guess I knew that there would be a conclusion that tied it all together and made sense of it, but I couldn't figure out what for the life of me. This resolution is so incredibly satisfying. I heartily enjoyed this journey, even if it was often confusing, dark, and more than a bit uncomfortable.

Incredible. It's not the first time I've see a Celestia banished to the sun story, but I haven't seen one that focused on Celestia, the focus is typically on the mane six and Celestia is more of an after thought. Nice to see one focus on it, and you I did like the misdirection you did with Chrysalis, you had me going that the reveal was going to be at the Canterlot wedding or there and back again, I did not expect it to be the first episode. And Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie, very funny that.

8921010
Good to know! I'm a little surprised, but now that you mention it, no, I don't know of any stories about Celestia in this vein, either. That didn't even occur to me while I was creating this.

Also, the Pinkie Pie scene? A totally unplanned event, that. A lot of fun to write, though.

8921063
I wouldn't say about it so much as brings it up. Considering that it's a logical assumption from the pilot, it shouldn't be a surprise that it gets used occasionally, but it's never the central focus, and the prison is assumed to be a basic prison, not a gilded cage like this.

So would this be Celestia’s headcannon across all timelines (excluding TvE, OoS, and TI)? I was immediately reminded of Missing/Lost during chapter one and couldn’t shake the “continuity bug” that many people who enjoy certain media want to lean into.

And I agree, the ending was very satisfying.
Also, never have too much Nightwish. I liked the choice you went with too.

8923660
This story is unrelated to any of my other franchises or timelines. It is entirely standalone. Every now and then I like to make something separate.

>Not at all. Changelings can’t fight for shit
Well, that caught me off guard.
>She let the feeling buoy her spirits as her wings carried her from the valley.
This isn't real. It's either a memory that's been falsified, a constructed scene by an outside force, or a memory purposefully misremembered. It makes me think of Ghost in the Shell. I'm also getting a 'blessing vibe' from Days of Wasp and Spider. If I'm not on the right track though, good job.
>Lonely Mountain.
Do we get to meet a dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch?
>Somehow you always know just what I need to hear.”
I smell... DECEPTION!
>said Twilight Sparkle
Everything about this is wrong and makes me anxious.
>Seashore Nightingale
If this is not Luna in some form or fashion, I will drink my gallon of water.

:pinkiecrazy: Nothing will be clear in the morning. We're cuil theory diving, inception dreaming, time twisting, and memory blurring. Consider me intrigued.

9030565
I won't answer most of your commentary, because this is the kind of story where doing so spoils things. But I will say this:

It continuously frustrates me that everyone connects my term for Canterlot's mountain to The Lord of the Rings. It's not where the idea came from at all, but everyone does that. And what's worse is that I can't even blame them for making the nonexistent connection. :ajbemused:

Before I start this chapter, I'm suddenly reminded of Paranoia Agent. I almost get the feeling that this may be a looping story.

>she was surrounded by happy ponies speaking over one another and vying for her attention.
Maybe it's the Made in Abyss soundtrack I have playing making me take dark roads, but I almost feel like the princess is about to get stabbed.

>but how could that be?
A glitch in the Martix.

>“Very good. Take me to Twilight Sparkle.”
A crack in the illusion

>Forget it. It is nothing worth worrying about.
I almost feel like these entire scenes were misdirection. We shall see.

>She turned to look east, where her sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon.
False. This is her job and she's very clearly not the one doing it. the real question is who is in control of whatever inception/ dream manipulation/ memory manipulation is going on here.
>a spell that used fear as a weapon.
inb4 I missed a mindbreak tag.
>But there is no monster, Celestia.”
Filthy lies. However, I think the monster is neither here nor there. The real puppeteer has already been shown. I just don't have enough evidence to prove which one it is yet.
>You’d never lie to me, never lead me astray.
Twilight is also part of the deception. This is a tell tale heart story.

This certainly gets my imagination going. Yet all the same, I don't even think Discord is doing any of this. Let us find out.

>bird’s frantic calls fading.
I want to make a call for solving the mystery since all the pieces are already in place, but I simply can't pin down who the antagonist is just yet. There are just two options, though I'm very strongly favoring one over another.

>Missing. Celestia turned her gaze back to the sky.
Well, the moon would be the obvious guess, but once again I'm certain the bird is Luna trying to get Celestia out of whatever this is. Based on the mention of fear tactics, I can only think this is Sombra's doing, but in the same way Celestia is questioning herself here, I'm just uncertain that that's right. It feels too easy. I need more evidence.

>“You are unwell, Celestia.”
This is a TV trope. 'Unwell' is a word only used in a situation like this.

>the pony she’d nurtured and raised in their absence
And, boom goes the dynamite.

An antagonist in mind, the truth revealed behind the town where everyone smiles, and our blue butterfly to lead us to safety, the next question to answer is how did we get here in true mystery fashion. Onward!

9030578
:derpytongue2: That was most definitely a joke and I already knew better. Just from the one chapter, I could tell that this was well constructed and pieced together, and an off hand reference just doesn't fit here. The real connections I'm making are coming from my vast reserves of useless knowledge and previous experience with this kind of story, which I love by the way.

There are no less than five chapters in Super that do something similar to this thanks to a few things I put in there because I wanted something like this in that story. I love the intrigue and making the reader distrust the narrator. It's almost like a competition to see if you can beat the narrator to the conclusion. Being proven right feels good, and being proven wrong because you never picked up on the hints is even better.

I would love to talk to you about this after I finish it though. However, I'd like to be proven one way or another first. I get the sneaking suspicion that my initial guesses aren't wrong, but that has yet to be seen.

>The young mare chuckled. “Sure you can.” She swayed back and forth, humming a quick tune.
1) Reading this sentence suddenly turned Pinkie into Danny Avidon in the Starbomb Street Fighter rap. (explicit) 2) Shining vibes from Pinkie here? A better example would be Fate/Extra's Alice since I've actually seen that, but that's an obscure Anime reference, even for a weeb like myself.

>“I k-killed her.”
So. Archduke ferdi- cough Starswirl is assassinated. In true McCarthyism fashion, a witch hunt ensues and Celestia bares down upon the gryphon emissary for revenge. After which, the real war probably broke out.

We travel deeper into silent hi- cough the Everfree, and we learn a little more about the incident that started the equestrian crusades. Dant- cough Celestia confronts her first two circles of hell. Starswirl's death results in Wrath, which leads to killing Dova which leads to Envy, to take away what the gryphons have. Onward to... Lust probably, given the earlier interactions.

>“I don’t know,” Twilight repeated.
This one is the dirtiest trick.

>“Your eyes were yellow for a moment,
D E C I E T

>“But what if it’s true? What if I only exist to keep you occupied?”
O O F.

Instead of my expected lust, which may very well come last, we received Celestia's Pride amid an effort to outwit the shadow with no name sombra. Of course, this could very well be another mislead away from the real antagonist which may very well be Discord. The possibility is there, and this just feels too obviously Sombra now. The biggest twist would be neither and maybe a possibility I'm not considering here, but some of the other possibilities wouldn't make sense simply in the given context. I might also be reading too deep into this and picking apart every line I can. I could swear there was a line that said 'ash-something' somewhere before the witch burning, but couldn't find it where I thought it was, so maybe I'm the one going crazy. Onward!

>“Go back to your lazy, peaceful little life.
And thus we come across Sloth, the indolent.

And so Celestia unleashes the power of Sunny D on the shadow of the true self and purges it, and quite possibly Luna's bird form, from the plane of existence. ProbablyNotTwilight runs into the dark wall of darkness, and the world becomes a black void with an even blacker void holding her precious. we have Wrath, Envy, Pride, and Sloth so far and exactly three more chapters to draw parallels from, provided this whole conflict doesn't come to a head in the 9th chapter. I will say that my parallels may be reaching a bit for the last two chapters though. I'm kind of the mind that I've just about figured it out at this point, so now I'm just along for the ride.

>Celestia. Only me.
Ah covetous Greed, a sin borne out of the deepest distortion of love. But now I'm beginning to question who these sins belong to. This is most definitely the theme I'm picking up on, and this is too well constructed to not be a large part of the story on purpose...

Hmm. I suppose I've been looking too far outward and not taking what was right in front of me. While this is reminiscent of Sombra's trap, I thought that the Bird being Luna had to mean that Nightmare Moon was gone. Ah well. Onward!

>They settled upon a dark horizon of endless water, and her curiosity was instantly sated by the sight of waves lapping against a sandy beach.
Immediately Kingdom Hearts.

Mmhmm. This was one of my three initial theories, but I dismissed it early on. I didn't think that made enough sense and it wasn't until I wrote out the words 'distorted love' did I make the connection in the right direction. That is what sin is, after all. A perversion, an obsession that drives a person away from love that is borne out of it.
Let's end this.

:ajbemused: I feel played. I figured it out early, but I misdirected myself by over thinking it for well longer than I needed to. It's just like trying to solve a puzzle and the after spending hours on it to make no progress, you suddenly decide to try something new and that was it all along. The answer was simple and right in front of your face the whole time, but I was too focused on my own deception.

:ajsmug: None the less, this was great, and I'll certainly be keeping this in mind as I progress in my own works.

9030877
I have to say, it's been fun watching you try to figure it out. I don't usually get such entertainment from user commentary like that. Anyway, glad you enjoyed it!

This needs more likes.

Just saying.

9145580
Needs more views first. :unsuresweetie: Glad you enjoyed it, though!

9145592
Good point. Correction: needs more views and likes.

I definitely thought it was the Changelings for a good portion of the story, maybe Celestia's mind while she was trapped in a cocoon or some such thing.

The subsequent reveal of the truth behind the fake world was all the more satisfying because of it, I'm not often wrong on this kind of thing. Truly a masterful execution of a Celestia fic, both in the writing of Celestia and her character in the story but the writing itself. I could've sworn I smelled the ocean in the prologue (as is typical for you, I love your writing in general).

I'd love to see another Celestia-focused fic from you sometime in the future (though hopefully not evil-Celestia, even if that would be pretty awesome).

9181627
Celestia's not a character I consider working with a lot, at least as a central character. I have some 'Equestrian history' stories on the backburner, but only one of them really feature Celestia as a major character.

Regardless, it's great to see someone has discovered and enjoyed Songbird. It was a lot of hard work, and Pascoite and OnionPie can tell you I didn't enjoy the majority of it, but all that makes me more proud of this one than most.

This is an interesting one. Very few Celestia stories that are good reads.

9247208
Glad to hear mine is an exception. :twilightsmile:

Such a delightfully twisted story. By the second chapter I was sure that Celestia was trapped in a changeling pod during Cadance and Shiny's wedding. The actual reveal was much more satisfying. Thanks for the ride!

9566892
Glad you enjoyed it!

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