• Published 18th Apr 2018
  • 15,264 Views, 247 Comments

Continue? - naturalbornderpy

Following her tragic death by yet another villain of the week, Twilight Sparkle finds herself facing something all alicorns eventually uncover. The continue screen.

  • ...

Prince Chad

Rainbow Dash! Look out!” was the last thing Twilight Sparkle remembered shouting before being struck down herself. It must’ve been a mighty blow, too, considering the dancing black dots in her eyes that had still yet to clear—dots than only expanded and expanded until they filled her vision whole.

It was at that moment Twilight knew something was off.

She stood, angling her head to check if anything was broken. No pain. Not even a dull ache in her body whatsoever. So, just what had occurred? And just why did she now find herself at the very center of some bizarre blackened world?

“Hello? Is anypony—” she began, before the first message appeared.

CONTINUE?” was all it said, each letter the size of a pony; burning hot white against the all black background.

Twilight was at a loss for words. “Beg pardon?”

The ominous message remained in the air. Unmoving. Unwavering.

Until it added another question mark.


“Continue what exactly?” Twilight asked, furrowing her brows. “Continue fighting that giant monster rampaging across Ponyville? Continue with whatever this place is? Continue to—” She gasped and held a hoof to her mouth as realization took hold. “Or… continue to that next place? The place beyond Equestria? Is that what you’re asking me?”


Three question marks now. Things were getting serious.

Twilight stomped a hoof. “At least be a little clearer with what you’re asking!”

9… 8… 7…

Twilight sighed. “Oh, great! And now it’s counting down, too!” She glared at the floating words and numbers, thinking as fast as she could. “Fine! Continue! I choose to continue!”

6… 5… 4…

Twilight had been so focused on the countdown she hadn’t even noticed the rather large “YES/NO” option below. She tried touching them with a hoof, before angling her horn to them. Once she did, the option “YES” appeared highlighted in a purple box.

3… 2…

“How do I even submit my answer?” she asked, before vigorously nodding her head up and down. Finally, it seemed as if her response was accepted, as the entire world she’d found herself in flipped from black to a calming white and mid-tempo techno music rushed in—the type of music that looped every twenty seconds or so; not quite catchy enough to get stuck in your head but soothing just the same.

Choose your character!” an unseen voice happily announced.

The message on the wall had quickly been replaced with a wide screen. On it, two pony silhouettes stood side by side—one clearly a mare and one clearly a stallion.

“W-what?” Twilight sputtered out, bewildered. “Character? But I’m already me, though. Twilight Sparkle! Hello? Why would I want to be somepony else?”

Her response went unnoted as the techno music continued its short loop.

Seeing no other options, Twilight reluctantly used her horn to point at the mare silhouette, highlighting it, before rethinking.

“Well, clearly,” she began timidly, “I’m starting over again, hopefully still in Equestria; I’ll just chalk this up to another alicorn perk that I had no idea about. But…” She sheepishly glanced at the stallion silhouette again. “Come back as a stallion? Hmm. What would I even call myself? Trevor Sparkle? Now that would just be ridiculous. I really wish I could talk to Shining right now. He’d know more about being a stallion than anyone. Cause he is one.”

Twilight literally squeaked as the mental image of Shining Armor and herself as a stallion popped inside her head.

“That would make us Best Brothers Forever, though! Or, better yet… Best Bros Forever!” She tapped her chin in thought. “And he’d totally let me call him ‘bro’, right? Of course, he would! Then we could do all sorts of ‘bro’ stuff. Like watch wrestling together! Or have cider drinking contests! Or not shave for a month and see who grows the biggest mustaches!”

The bizarre image in her head then flickered away as quickly as it came.

“Then again… we could do all that stuff together whether I was a stallion or not. Besides that last one, obviously. Fine. Mare. Selected. Maybe next time I find myself in this weird place, I’ll try something else.”

Once her answer was submitted, the mare silhouette jumped to the center of the screen along with a new row of empty boxes above it. The word “NAME” stood at its side.

“Seriously!?” Twilight snapped at no one in particular. “Twilight Sparkle! Twilight Sparkle! Twilight Sparkle! Do I have to spell it out for you?”

Clearly, she did. Using her horn, she very sluggishly selected the very first empty box and began scrolling through letters, finally coming across the first “T” in her name. Then she moved onto the next, grumbling the entire time.

“Couldn’t have had all the letters available from the start?”

Eventually, she selected the “W” and the “I” after that.

“I never realized just how long my name was before,” she muttered out miserably. “I guess if I wanted to, I could always shorten it, considering I’m picking a whole new name right now.” She instantly brightened at the idea. “But what would I even call myself? Just Twilight? Could I get away with just the single name? Rarity does it. So does Fluttershy. And I can’t forget about Celestia, Luna, and Cadence. But what happens if some filly wants the first name Twilight? Perhaps some poor filly that wants to be Twilight Sprinkle out there? I’d hate to limit pony names just because I’m lazy right now. Or could I go as Twi? Or would that only come off as pretentious? I’m going to have to think a bit on this.”

A tad curious, Twilight used her horn to flip the letter wheel all the way around, coming out the other side to glimpse various symbols and small cartoon images.

“Imagine I selected one of these and made ponies call me that.” She flipped to a random picture of a tree. “What would ponies even call me, then? The Princess formally known as Twilight Sparkle?” And then, just for a laugh, she took the time to write out “BOOKFACE MCGEE” as her new name. For some reason seeing the name above the mare silhouette made her chuckle. Until—

SAVE CHANGES?” appeared beside it.

“No! No! Delete! Delete!” Twilight screamed, quickly erasing her hard work.

Two and a half minutes later, Twilight had finally finished spelling out her name. In full. After submitting her answer yet another screen arrived, causing her shoulders to slump.

“More?” she asked hotly. “Just bring me back to Equestria already!”

The latest screen showed the basic outline of a mare with several arrows and boxes surrounding it. Selecting one, Twilight found a color wheel with seemingly thousands of variations. Other options included how many strands of color in her mane or tail as well as its shape style. It took Twilight some time, but she managed to track down a few basic trademarks of hers.

Resting for a moment, she glimpsed two more boxes near the bottom right of the screen.

One showed a horn. The other a set of wings.

“Unlocked!” read the text overtop the wings.

Twilight didn’t hesitate selecting the horn. “Magic, baby! Gotta have it!” she chirped, before pausing overtop the wings. “Well, it does make getting around a lot easier.”

With the wings selected, as well as the horn, Twilight got back to work on the rest of her “character”, requiring another break only minutes later. Flipping her horn around to select stuff was already giving her a headache. And a neckache.

“There’s got to be an easier way to do all this,” she exhaled, a second before she found an easier way to do all that. “Hello there. What’s this?”

There was a third box beside the wings and horn one. “PREMADE CUSTOMS”.

She gave it a flick and an assortment of smaller boxes appeared, each with a little bit of text on top. Twilight selected “cowgirl twi” first. Then snorted.

The mare on the screen reappeared as herself, only with a cowboy hat and boots on.

Twilight shook her head. “I don’t think Ponyville’s big enough for two cowgirls.”

Next was “sneaky twi”. Which was basically the black suit she wore while trying to steal a particularly well-guarded book once. Not a bad option, but would she really want to dress up like that forever?

Then came “edgy twi”, an all black and red version of herself that hurt to look at.

After that was “fire twi”, and Twilight had to ponder to herself why it looked so darn familiar. Then it hit her. It was that split moment she got overheated trying to figure out Pinkie Pie’s “Pinkie Sense”. And as cool as she might’ve looked at that particular moment, she honestly couldn’t imagine looking like that all the time.

“I mean… how would I ever get to sleep being on fire all the time?”

Last on the short list was “reg twi” and Twilight happily selected it.

Up on the screen appeared an exact replica of herself, happy and smiling. Twilight angled her horn to hit the approve button, but thought twice. “Too much purple? Hmm. I could change it. But… nah. Screw anypony that doesn’t like purple. I like purple.”

With the body selection out of the way, next came the “TRAITS” section. Finally, something Twilight was genuinely excited to see pop up on the screen.

Happily, she clapped her hooves together. “Oh, now things are getting good. First category? Smarts? Let’s see what I can do.” Using her horn, she added ten points to the category, maxing it out. “Up next? Athletics? I’ll give you a three. That should be enough. Following that is—”

Twilight inhaled sharply, before dancing on the spot.

The third trait category was “BOOK READING SPEED”.

“Now we’re talking!” Twilight exclaimed, pointing at the screen again. “Give me one point! Now two! Now three! Fine! Let’s skip to ten, already!” But the counter wouldn’t budge past seven, causing Twilight to grimace. “What gives? I want more points! I want to read even faster, darn it!”

Then she realized she only had twenty points to dish out in total, across all four trait categories. The last being “FLIGHT”, which Twilight childishly stuck her tongue out at.

“Who needs more flight skills when I could just read a book on flying at the speed of light!”

With a sigh, Twilight rethought her choices, giving five points to each category to keep things even… right before giving “READING SPEED” an extra point while leaving “FLIGHT” one point behind. Good enough.

As the next screen popped up, Twilight said to herself, “We must be getting close to the end, right? What else could I possibly pick?”

Another picture of herself appeared. Along with a list of body parts next to slider bars.

“Now we’re just nitpicking,” Twilight said, fiddling with one of the sliders that changed the size of her eyes. “Seriously now. If my eyes were any bigger than they are, I’d have no head left. I wonder what this last could mean?”

She touched the one labeled “ASSETS” and her face flushed.

In a fraction of a second, the Twilight Sparkle on the screen’s buttocks went from perfectly round to the size of two beachballs. With a mixture of curiosity and horror, Twilight pushed the slider even further, until it looked as if the Twilight on the screen’s spine would give out carrying such a massive rump around.

Twilight wrinkled her nose at it. “Everypony knows I have no problem with butts… but there does come a time and a place when I have to say that that is just too much pony butt for anypony to handle.”

She returned the slider back to its starting position and hesitated.

Then flicked it 0.001 percent back in the “bigger” direction.

Twilight hesitantly glanced from side to side as if anypony might be watching. She asked herself quietly, “What’s that old librarian saying? More cushion for the shushing?”

Saving her results, Twilight came to the final screen. Two more boxes hovered near the corner. One labeled “CUSTOMS” and another reading “SOLD OUT” while flashing red.

Twilight clicked on the “CUSTOMS” box and was overwhelmed with new options to add to her “character”. Eyepatches. Peg legs. Afros. Mohawks. Zebra stripes. Space pony suits. Hats upon hats upon hats. Freckles. Cutie marks. Makeup. Steel hooves. Body armor.

Twilight stopped on a picture of a longer, sharper unicorn horn.

“Now who would need something like this?”

Then she noted the “15 FP” text in the corner.

“FP?” Twilight said. “What does that stand for?”

Her question was answered as she glanced back up to her name floating atop the screen. Beside it was a counter: “FRIENDSHIP POINTS: 195”.

Twilight raised a brow. “I have friendship points? One hundred and ninety-five of them?” She did the math in her head. “I guess that sounds about right.” Then she faced the longer, sharper horn image again. “So, if I wanted this, it would cost me fifteen points? Nah. I think I’m good the way I am.”

She went from one custom add-on to the next.

Clown nose: 10 FP.

Lasso: 15 FP.

Fire breath: 75 FP.

Built in tea dispenser: 90 FP.

Snorting as she glanced through them, Twilight said, “I can’t see anypony buying these. Come on. Five Friendship Points for a mustache? Ten for a sweater? You’re going to have to try a whole lot harder to get any of my Friendship Points, because—”

And that was when Twilight Sparkle did indeed find something worth a few hard-earned friendship points.


Princess Celestia glanced up from her morning paper as Princess Luna entered the kitchen, a scrap of parchment held in her aura.

“I think Twilight is angry with us,” Luna told her bluntly.

“How can you tell?”

Luna indicated the bit of parchment. “The heading of her letter is ‘I am mad at you’. Plus, she’s already outlined the argument she’ll be having with us in a few seconds.”

Celestia set her paper down and sipped on her coffee. “How much time has she set aside?”

Glancing at the letter again, Luna said, “Twenty minutes. Including two full minutes of us getting yelled at.”

Pursing her lips, Celestia finished off the rest of her coffee, before rising. “If I’m going to get yelled at this morning, I need at least two cups of coffee in me.”

Celestia made it less than halfway across the kitchen before Twilight teleported inside, already inhaling deeply to begin her rant—a rant that was undone before it even began due to both Luna’s and Celestia’s barely supressed laughter.

“Hey! Hey!” Twilight began testily, her brand new flowing beard swaying from side to side. A very purple beard, in fact. “Just what’s so funny? Huh? I have a serious concern here!”

Luna wiped at her shimmering eyes. “Please, tell me you did not spend over twenty Friendship Points on that.”

More of Twilight’s original anger evaporated. “Well… maybe fifty points… but it’s the Starswirl the Bearded’s Beard! It said it was limited edition!”

“Limited edition?” Celestia said, also snorting. “Oh, my dear, Twilight. There are things in the Continuation Portal that have been ‘limited’ since before I was even born.”

“Continuation Portal?” Twilight asked. “Is that where I was? What even was that place? And you’ve both been there before?”

Once all three alicorns settled themselves (and got three more strong cups of coffee), they sat around the kitchen table to chat. Twice Twilight’s newfound beard dipped into her coffee cup. They all pretended not to notice.

“You see, Twilight,” Celestia began studiously, “once an alicorn has been bested in battle—”

“Killed,” Luna corrected. “Or murdered.”

Celestia glared at her. “I was trying to soften the blow, Luna. Anyways, once they are ‘defeated’, all alicorns end up at the Continuation Portal, where they must decide if they wish to continue or not.”

Twilight leaned across the table. “And if they don’t?”

Celestia shook her head. “Even that we do not know, Twilight.”

“Too spooky,” Luna added. “Even for me.”

“But the great thing about the Continuation Portal,” Celestia continued, “is that it gives alicorns a chance to start anew… perhaps as the same alicorn they were before… or as something completely different. I recall one time I returned as a normal Earth pony with no special traits whatsoever. For a whole year, I worked on a fig farm picking figs.”

“And did you learn anything important doing that?” Twilight asked.

“Yes. That I don’t like figs all that much. Or farming. Or stairs, really.”

“Then what did you do?”

“One quick jump off the windmill and I was sent right back to the Continuation Portal to start again.”


Luna took a sip from her cup. “I changed myself once, too. Remember when Nightmare Moon attacked you and your friends when you first arrived in Ponyville? And I returned following our battle? In the Continuation Portal, I decided to try a new shade of blue on myself. Turns out… I did not like it too much. But one quick jump off the local windmill and I was back to normal once more. Along with the custom wavy mane option, of course.”

“Wait.” Hurriedly, Twilight glanced from one sparkling mane to the other. “Your manes… are custom? You actually spent Friendship Points on those?”

“Only thirty-five points,” Luna told her. “I would seriously consider it next time, Twilight. It’s just like having a lava lamp stuck to your head at all times. It’s totally cool.”

“Anything else I should know about?” Twilight asked earnestly.

Both Celestia and Luna shared a glance, before nodding.

Celestia faced Twilight again. “Recall the very first screen you encountered, Twilight?”

Twilight’s jaw fell. “The one with the mare and the stallion options? Does that mean… you two came back as stallions once?”

That made Celestia smirk. “Mostly on a whim, but yes, once upon a time, both Luna and I did.”

Luna did not smirk. Instead, she nodded proudly. “I do not believe a single pony in Equestria disliked Prince Chad and Prince Larry’s hundred-year rule over them. Truthfully, I did not notice much of a difference during my time as a stallion, besides having to always carry around those standard heavy stallion appendages everywhere we went.”

“Luna!” Celestia spat.

Luna merely shrugged. “What? Do stallions not have large trademark pointed chins? I cannot be the only one that’s noticed that before.”

“What about Cadence?” Twilight asked. “Does she know anything about this?”

Celestia explained, “To the best of my knowledge, she does not. But my sister and I definitely know another who’s been to the Continuation Portal more than once.”



Twilight blanched. “Discord? But… isn’t that place strictly for alicorns?”

“Alicorns. Gods. Immortals. Those with extra lives,” Luna explained tiredly.

Celestia continued, “Did you happen to notice that box besides the Customs one? The one labeled Sold Out?”

Twilight nodded. “Yeah. What about it?”

“That particular box has been Sold Out for quite some time. Inside it, years ago, were the very, very most expensive of customs that one could add to themselves. Also, the most powerful and weird.”

“So, Discord’s the one that bought them all?”

Celestia nodded and sipped at her coffee. “After hundreds of years spent saving up Friendship Points, he did. Mostly, he’d just steal somepony’s pet before returning it to them a few minutes later. How this got him Friendship Points, I’ll never know. Regardless, once he’d saved up enough points, he did one quick jump—”

“Off the windmill,” Twilight interrupted irritably. “Yes, yes. I get it.”

“And since then he’s never been quite the same. Those mismatched horns, arms, and legs of his? Cost him an arm and a leg. Literally. His ridiculous amount of power and chaos? All purchased at the Continuation Portal. He cleaned out the store, basically.”

“And what were these custom things even called, Princess?” Twilight asked in a hushed tone.

“Dangerously Ludicrous Customs,” Celestia replied with a grin.

Twilight grimaced. “So, you’re saying the source of Discord’s power is nothing more than purchased DLCs?”

Author's Note:

Twilight wrinkled her nose at it. “Everypony knows I have no problem with butts… but there does come a time and a place when I have to say that that is just too much pony butt for anypony to handle.”

Bendy's response: