• Member Since 25th Jun, 2018
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Lets Do This


We're going to build an exact copy of Ponyville... right over there! We've got less than a minute!

E

"I am Friendmaker!"

Twilight Sparkle is concerned that she may one day go insanely evil, as with Nightmare Moon or Daybreaker. So, knowing Twilight, do you really think for one moment she's just going to wait for it to happen?

Includes the charter members of the Reformed Villains Society, plus Celestia and Luna, and a brief magic-journal cameo from Sunset Shimmer.

Featured from 9/11-9/16, 2018... wow! Thanks, everypony! It wouldn't have happened without all of you! By way of a thank you, I've uploaded a higher-res version of the cover art for those who asked for it. Enjoy!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 66 )

Where did you get the cover art? I want ti see a bigger sized version than the tiny one we have now. Plus I love Twilight's evil name.

Disapointed she didn't keep the look and all.

The name sounds a bit cheesy, but it actually helps. Nobody expects how big of a problem it is, including Twilight.

9165504
The cover art is actually my first foray into drawing a cover with Inkscape. It was pleasantly non-impossible. :twilightsmile: The cover is based on an screenshot of Celestia obviously, but it's all vector work, apart from the glow effect on Friendmaker's horn, which I added in Photoshop. (As practice, I first redid my Twilight avatar as a vector since that was a simpler challenge, and it came out pretty nice.)

Creating the cover was the (relatively) easy part. Tweaking the colors and glow effects, and picking an upload size that would look halfway decent on both PC and mobile and not look ugly when scaled down... that was hard! :facehoof:

9165648
Huh. Too bad though that I have to super zoom in to see all the details. Just a minor annoyance for me.

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No worries -- once the story's been up for a bit, I can upload a larger version. Just wanted it to look nice out of the gate!

Whatever happen to the name Peacemaker? Since she'll unravel her omnipotent nature to become an evil erasing threat...
.
.
.
.......................or that's just me with more crazy ideas? :pinkiecrazy:

Nice character study. I had a feeling that the amulet would trigger something within Twilight that would make it hard for her to give it up. And it was a sweet move with whom talked her back to her senses.

Liked all the talks Twilight had with all her reformed baddies. Now she's got the experience herself. Huzza!

Nice one!

Wow. I have to say, I was really impressed by the use of Trixie in this story. She's never been a pony that I've liked, and yet, I really have to hand it to her, she really stepped up in that scene! Top-notch work :twilightsmile:

Btw, props on the name "Friendmaker." It's silly-sounding and yet, once I realized what was going on, very insidious. Perfect for a corrupted Princess of Friendship and Magic. ^_^

I love a good character study, and that's certainly what this was. It's always nice to see someone else's take on Daybreaker, so props for that. I think your note at the end sums it up perfectly. "You, armed with a big enough stick."

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No, no. I'm curious. Keep going, you have a good concept there.

The poster child for the "I'm a Good Pony, and So Can You" motivational calendar?"

Nice "I am America, and so can you!" reference here.

Comment posted by wildprince15 deleted September 12th

9165676
Okay, so I get why this fic has a drama tag now. Despite the name it was a very tense fic that had me on the edge of my seat wondering whether Trixie was actually going to ruin herself, not to mention the fact that Twilight went around subjecting herself to being told off by her friends the entire time to teach herself a lesson. All of this is well and good and all, but there was one part that irked me, and it's the reason i'm making this comment. Now, according to the fic, Twilight seemed to have a good grasp on her power, even in the Alicorn amulet form. The only thing that seemed to be slipping was her sense of self. We saw her slowly giving in to Friendmaker's influence, and that was understandable. But then, when you look at it, none of her proposals seemed to get out of hand at all. She had perfectly reasonable ideas-not counting her anger against Trixie- and she didn't seem to be casting any spells or actively overpowering or influencing anyone. At most, she seemed to be passively radiating friendly vibes that made everyone feel good. And that, doesn't seem like a villain thing to do. Now, I know the moral of this story is two-fold. That is, "be careful of how you act with power", and, "You can't force people to be friends." But I go back to Twilight's ideas. If it wasn't for the fact that she almost changed Starlight and Trixie's relationship on a whim, this entire concept would be thrown out the window. Plus, Trixie's actions were so over the top that it broke my immersion and made me want to punt her across the room. It would've made her look even worse if Twilight had asked permission first. I understand why Trixie did it. She was faking so that she could stop Twilight from acting on her thoughts, but as we saw in the last bit of the fic, Twilight stopped herself, meaning she had full control. She was in the driver's seat. She didn't need Trixie's help. And the only reason she'd be able to help is if she still hated her. Sure she may have had the errant thought every now and again, but she ultimately didn't act on it. All she had to do was resist the amulet's influence and everything would be fine. In fact, I was almost under the impression that everything was fine until Trixie butted in and ruined the happy moment. I thought we were going to have a nice, happy ending that didn't make me want to Strangle Trixie until she actually did die. Or at least punch her in that left eye she was so willing to give away. Not to mention what she said? "Stabbing myself in the eye would be a lot less painful than being Friends with you"? And this was after she already said they were friends? Yeah, no. This is why I hate Trixie. This was an amazing and thought provoking fic, but that last part just threw me for a loop. I loved it a lot, though overall. Keep going.

On a side note, I would've been so happy if Twilight was in control, and just looked at Trixie like she was stupid the whole time. Like, "I'm fine, I'm just waiting on you. We can do this all day." I so wanted her to sock her in the face at the end. To be honest, If Friendmaker was real, I feel like she'd do a lot more good that evil in the world. I see how you tried to use Twilight's nature to make her evil, and it almost worked, but Twilight is the Princess of Friendship. She's just too nice to be evil, even when she wants to be.

Nice but could use more polish.

9166491
Thanks! Anything in particular? :twilightsmile:

9166387
Thanks for the in-depth response -- it's always helpful finding out what works and what doesn't for readers!

One thing that's always troubled me a little bit about supremely powerful/evil characters in most stories is how obvious it is that one should dislike/resist them. (Sure, sure, in the case of MLP:FIM, it's a show for young kids, keep it simple, etc.) In doing Twilight's "evil" side, I wanted to reach for the kind of villain where it's not so obvious, even to the "villain" character themselves. As history has shown, in general, it always sounds perfectly reasonable, or at least it's simpler to just go along, right up to the point where you're looking around and asking "okay, how did things get this bad so fast?"

The deal with Friendmaker is that it's Twilight coming very close to that cliff edge, to that tipping point, and it's only thanks to her friends, in particular the new friend she has in Trixie, that she's able to come to her senses in time and see where things are going. And this can be tricky to do, while at the same time maintaining the impression that everything's fine, nothing's wrong, it's all sweetness and light, etc. right up until the walls are melting. Yet in the end I did want Twilight to demonstrate the strength of character Celestia mentions -- given the hint, she is able to persuade her more powerful/evil side to back down just in time. And that's not always as easy as it looks! Sure, this could have ended as an AU story where Friendmaker is the new ruler of a happy, united Equestria, or a dystopia where everything goes to Tartarus in a handbasket, but that's the "obvious" ending -- I wanted something different from that.

And Trixie -- well, I've come to realize that the show needs a gadfly like her, somepony who doesn't generally play nice, doesn't always think of anyone else's feelings, who has her own unrelenting perspective / persona, and is constantly on the fence about whose side she's on other than her own. And is able to come out swinging, stage-persona and all, when it's called for. A character like that can be abrasive and frustrating at times, but also keeps the show from becoming too one-note. It's one of the reasons she's become so popular on the strength of only a couple episodes in the first five seasons. As with Starlight, I've gradually come around to seeing what her role in the show is, and how a story can play off that.

Again, thanks so much for the detailed feedback -- it helps a lot! It really does! :twilightsheepish:

9166087
Thanks! In addition to the main plotline of the story, this was also an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone a bit and try writing for characters other than the Mane 6, such as Trixie, Starlight, and Discord, seeing if I could capture their individual personas. So if it feels a bit like character study at points, it is, although hopefully it works as part of the overall progression of the story!

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Thanks! I'm glad the character's name works so well -- it is meant to sound deceptively reassuring. I went around a bit trying to come up with something as sinister as Daybreaker or Nightmare Moon, but in writing the story realized that's not what makes this kind of villain scary.

And I've grown on the Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie! as a character myself. I love what a mixed bag she is as a character: stage-persona bravado and fear of being found out, airy cynicism and inner neediness, etc.
:trixieshiftright: "Starliiiigght! I can't use a trick that doesn't work in my act! ... Why's it not working?!?"

Haven't read this fic, but from that description alone, I can only think of one thing:

Somepony gonna' get... BEFRIENDED.

The one form of evil you're never prepared to deal with is you... armed with a big enough stick.

Huh? This is surprisingly true.

9166556
Truth is like that, sometimes. :twilightsmile:

I haven't read it yet, but she needs Cozy Glow as her partner.

"Don't turn anything else in the castle into a teacup. We've got more than enough to serve the entire Royal Guard now."

:trixieshiftright: "Oh, alright. *Flash!* Teakettle!"

Twilight moved to sit between them, and hugged them both. "I don't need a kite," she told them.

Kites? Where we're going we don't need... Kites.:twilightsmile:

Interesting story. Nice job! :)

Xzrea #25 · 1 week ago · · ·

9166526
Not to mention that Twilight is pretty much Princess of Magic, or at least the one closest to it. And we have already seen that she tends to use magic to help do things.

I will make everyone my friend ... with help of magic - does it sound sinister enough?

Also, bring Joy to everyone )

Huh.....this was actually quite good. Kudos. :moustache:

9166526
You're very welcome. In the interest of keeping the discussion going, I honestly can't see friendmaker doing anything wrong. I mean it. She's literally an anti- hero. Shes the embodiment of perfect friendship and wants to bring happiness to all. That's what equestria Is all about. The only thing she can even remotely get in trouble for is doing things against a pony' s will, and who's gonna complain about having their lives changed for the better? It's made even worse when you realize friendmaker only ever thought of others, even after getting angry that Trixie challenged her authority. It wasn't an "I'm going to make you pay" anger. It was a "What can I do to make you see" anger. Just like Celestia when she was angry at Sunset shimmer. The only thing we have to fear is Twilight going overboard in her attempts to help people. That's literally it. I see no villainy here.

Xzrea #28 · 1 week ago · · ·

9166814
If everyone is friends with everyone, can there be competition?
And if there is no competition, will there be evolution?

Also, that's not anger. Friendmaker saw Trixie as an obstacle on a way to her perfect world and prepared to solve this problem in her style - with friendship and magic.

And about "helping people" - as people say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

9167081
And I actively recognize those, but there is a difference. First of all, there's is a such thing as friendly competition. You ever played chess? Its a strategic game where you use your vast knowledge of the game to outwit your opponent. None of that involves hating the person you're playing, and, if the players are equally matched, they both grow from the experience, thus, evolution. This is a non issue. As for the anger thing. Sure it wasn't anger, that's called disappointment. But Twilight wasn't even disappointed. Her thought process was literally, "Oh, it seems Trixie doesn't understand. What can I do to make her happier?"
And as for the "Good intentions" bit. This is Twilight we're talking about. She may have allowed herself to cross over, but she didn't lose her mind. She's too paranoid and organized to let that happen, and she even had a contingency plan in case it all went wrong. Not to mention that that quote only applies to certain situations.

What a lovely ending. The cover art threw me for a bit, but this all felt very Twilight - especially the ridiculous name and just how insidious such a benign-sounding motive could be at its extreme. And your usage of Trixie here was glorious.

Nice story. good job :twilightsmile:

Feels like a real MLP EP. Neat.

9167154
Friendly competition is for fun, as in real work it doesn't work. Its motto is "In the end we stay friends, and it's everything that matters". Thus, it does not create a reason to push forward.

Disappointment - thanks, I agree on her state. As well as on "Trixie doesn't understand" part. It's "What can I do" I have issues with. Mainly because of Twilight instantly creating a spell to induce "more intimate" feelings in Trixie. If she's ready to use mind altering spells just because of Trixie's "not understanding", what will she use in more extreme cases, such as disinterest or rivalry?

Considering "contingency plan" - "Lesson Zero" anyone? Where the only variantwas to go to Princess Celestia? And current plan pretty much was her friends' ability to see if she's dark and broody. Didn't really work out, did it?
Not to mention that to invoke the contingency, you have to understand that something goes wrong, and Friendmaker's desire looks entirely benevolent, as long as you don't look into it.
Our purple princess and mind spells don't mix well.

That author note should be part of story :ajsmug:

9165759
That'd be dark Shining.

9167234
Twilight - Friendmaker - Tzeench.
Cadence - unknown - Slaanesh.
Celestia - Daybreaker - Khorne.
Luna - Nightmare Moon - Nurgle (because life needs light).

Pony Fantastic Four.

9167253
Nah, Discord is Tzeench. twilight is Phraz-Etar.

Silliness aside, none of them are chaos-based except Discord. :applejackunsure:

9167225
Friendly rivalry works everywhere it can. Real life or not. You're forgetting a key component in the phrase. Rivalry. The whole point behind rivalry is to push each other to be better by seeing each other's successes and thinking, "I can do better." Restaurants and other sales places do this with advertisements, but no one hates anyone, do they? Its the basis of capitalism in a nutshell. A more relevant example is, like Dash and AJ. Speaking of Dash and AJ, Twilight knows what rivalry is because she has two friends who do it all the time. She won't act out of turn because she understands it. And disinterest is an entirely different issue. Disinterest, if I am correct in assuming you mean love, is Cadences department and will never be messed with. And her friendship vibe fixes that without her having to do anything if you're talking about someone not wanting to play or hangout with someone else. All without taking away free will. And speaking of free will, despite what I said, she is still under friendmaker's influence, which is what she brought her friends out for, so if she does have a lesson zero moment, they can stop her. And on the same subject, her mind went to manipulation because of friendmaker's influence, otherwise twilight wouldn't have cared, and she would've no doubt stomped the thought out of her head even as Friendmaker if the fic is to be believed.

9167154
The crucial element that's missing from Friendmaker's plan is consent. Most people would probably be perfectly happy being helped into friendship with magic, and everything is fine and dandy right up until someone says "no" and Friendmaker ignores the protest. Notice that , when preparing to cast something at Trixie, the thought of asking what Trixie herself wants never even crosses her mind.

9167299
I actually mentioed that in my other comment

A wonderfully insidious take on a Nightmarish Twilight. After all, she's grown beyond the insatiable curiosity of Midnight Sparkle. Her central passion isn't knowledge for the sake of knowledge but spreading harmony to all and sundry. Whether they like it or not. And that's not exactly a new development; Luna wasn't exactly asking for that offer of friendship.

In short, wonderful story of the Great and Powerful Trixie vanquishing a threat far greater than any Ursa Major or changeling queen, armed only with her wits and a fork. Thank you for it.

Dan

Is she like The Mule from Foundation?

9166814
Just to follow up your original comment (though it's also cool seeing how the discussion has progressed!), I hear you, without more concrete examples of "invasive friendmaking", it can seem on a surface read that Friendmaker isn't really a threat.

But for the purposes of this story, I didn't want to go too far down that path, since that undermines the goal of showing Twilight falling into a trap she's essentially built for herself. Her belief that "Friendship is the way out", and her goal of spreading Friendship to all of Equestria and beyond, when put through the dark lens of the Amulet, results in a tailor-made "evil self" that left unchecked could stifle individuality and the very difference of opinion that makes friendship worth having.

I tried to suggest this more subtly by showing how everyone in the room suddenly fell in line -- even Discord, who seems to have a particular grudge against Twilight for reasons of his own. (See for example the What About Discord? episode.) Only Trixie, who recognized the Amulet's effect, was able to fight back against it at all. Sure, we could add more turns of the Apocalypse knob, showing Equestria falling pony by pony to the Great Friendmaker, but that wouldn't really add all that much, and we'd end up at the same point: with Twilight coming to the realization that even her best-laid plans couldn't save her from herself. (Without the help of a good frenemy, like Trixie, of course! :twilightsmile:)

9167191
Thanks for the feedback! And this is the first time I've used Trixie as a character, so it's reassuring to know she came across so well!

9167513

Is she like The Mule from Foundation?

To some extent, though the Mule used his ability to influence emotions to rally others to his cause, for the purpose of conquering the Foundation and its trade confederacy, and in so doing threw a spanner into the works of Hari Seldon's plan.
Twilight isn't out to conquer Equestria, per se -- she merely wants to spread the understanding of Friendship to all corners of the realm. But even the nicest of intentions can get out of hand, when magnified into an implacable force of manipulation.

9167332
You're very welcome, and thanks for the detailed feedback on what worked for you!
I've really gotten to like the Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie as a character, myself! :twilightsmile:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In many ways, Friendmaker would be the most insidious of villains as you could see exactly what her justificaitons are and why she is doing what she is doing, all while realizing that her end goal and means aren't evil in the slightest. And then you learn that too much of a good thing is every bit as poisonous as any toxin out there.

That the Amulet which empowered her is warping her by making her want to use its power even more. And Trixie, knowing full well from her own experience with it, recognizes it. Twilight got her to remove it by targeting her pride. She got Twilight to remove it by forcing her into the conundrum of potentially losing a friend.

9167662

Twilight as Friendmaker is the most gentle and insidious of villains.

Although a Dark Cadance would be interesting as well -- I imagine she'd be along the lines of Galadriel had she succumbed to the temptation of the One Ring: ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!

9166814
There is another way it gets dark here.

Friendmaker's response to Trixie *was* fundamentally "how can I make her see?"

But what ultimately led to each of them falling into darkness? It's what happened when they *lost* their friends.

What happens when one of her friends betrays her because they believe something needs to be done that she doesn't like?

What happens when time inevitably catches up with her friends and they begin to die?

Twilight can cope with things like that, learn from them.

Can Friendmaker?

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