• Published 20th Sep 2018
  • 2,270 Views, 81 Comments

ReVerse - Petrichord



If Princess Twilight Sparkle had the chance to do everything all over again, would she be willing to leave everything behind?

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The light went out.

“Twilight!”

Spike’s voice. Somewhere nearby. Maybe he was calling her to ask about how her writing was going? Too late for that now.

Then again, what wasn’t it too late for? The world was black, null, void. There wasn’t anything left in it at all. Whatever she had been expecting, she had been expecting something more tangible than oblivion.

“Twilight!”

He was looking for her. Maybe he couldn’t find her in the middle of this hallway? Maybe the scenery hadn’t been in her head? She sort of assumed that once things started getting surreal, it stopped existing in conventional time and space. Or had it been when the staircase became impossibly long? Either way, now she’d have to deal with whatever that was on top of everything else, too. Or maybe everypony at the school would help pitch in—

Something touched her shoulder. “Twilight?”

And Twilight woke up.

With a gasp and a shudder, Twilight reflexively opened her eyes.

Dull yellow. Everything was a wrinkled dull yellow, as if somepony had sucked the vigor out of a honeypot and left only a crumpled husk of the word in its...wait, no. Those were probably curtains. The curtains in her old bedroom?

Something was still touching her shoulder. Twilight turned her head, and her mind went blank.

Spike was there, standing on her bed, looking down at her as if he was too worried to properly shake her shoulder.

“Spike?” Twilight mumbled.

The baby dragon broke out into a broad smile. “Oh, thank goodness! I thought you were sick with the pony flu. You’re normally really good about getting up in the mornings.”

“I...yeah.” Don’t ask if it’s actually the morning, Twilight thought. Don’t ask what time of day it is. Play it cool. “Yes! Because I normally get up early in the mornings! Because I’m punctual! Because I’m Princess Twilight Sparkle!”

“Princess what now?”

Oh, crud. “Sorry…” Twilight backpedaled, weakly waving a hoof in the air. “I, uh...was having a really weird dream.”

“Weird, huh? Maybe you are sick. I know I get really weird dreams sometimes when I’m sick. Like that time I ate too many gems and got chased by a dragon! Then I dreamed that I was chased by a dragon made of gems, and he was breathing gems at me, but if i touched any of them I’d turn into a gem and it was weird.” Spike shuddered. “Maybe you ate too much yesterday? I know Pinkie was throwing, like, a really big party.”

Don’t ask if she was. “Aheh. I guess I shouldn’t eat so much.” Twilight closed her eyes and shook her head. The brief familiarity of darkness was soothing. “So, um…”

“Oh! Right! Breakfast is ready!” Spike piped, turning around and tottering down the steps to the first floor. “I made pancakes!”

Wait, those were the steps to the first floor. Wait, this was…

This was the Golden Oak Library. She was actually in it.

Twilight looked down by her hind legs. This was her old bed. She was sleeping in her old bed.

Brain still running on rudimentary functions, trying not to implode on itself from the strangeness of all these totally familiar things, Twilight got out of bed and followed Spike down the steps. It occurred to her she never actually saw where he made breakfast, or how he did it. It had to be in here somewhere, and…

Had she always been too busy to ask? Did something as important as eating every day just not seem important to her?

Twilight turned back towards the middle of the library. The walls were inset with dozens of dozens of shelves, and on those shelves were dozens and dozens of books: some put away neatly, and some stacked haphazardly nearby (on in one case, on top of) them. There was a little reading table in the middle, and a huge bust of a mighty warrior on top of the table, looking dutifully over all the knowledge crammed into the oak walls around it.

It was like living inside of a photograph. Twilight trotted over and touched the carving’s head.

It even felt real.

Twilight touched the table. It, too, felt real. Quickly checking around to make sure Spike wasn’t looking at her, she trotted around the library, then grabbed a book off of a shelf at random. Even the book felt real, this -

Wait a minute. The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide? She had read this one. She and her friends needed it when Nightmare Moon returned, over a decade ago...

Had it really been that long?

“Twilight?”

Twilight turned again. Spike was standing there, two pancake-filled plates in his claws, whipped cream and chocolate chips decorating each stack.

Spike’s face settled back into concern. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Actually…”

“Actually...what?”

“Actually, um...did you want to eat on the balcony?”

***********************************************************

It was a postcard view of the town.

Above everything else, but not too high above everything else—she could pony watch if she wanted, but she wasn't so far above them all that she couldn't make out anypony else's face. And the weather was fantastic today: the temperature was just right, the faint breeze filled Twilight’s lungs with fresh, clean air and the sky was an absolutely brilliant blue. About the only nitpick was that the clouds looked slightly messy and underfluffed, as if the weather team wasn't completely thorough in making sure the clouds were up to standards...

Twilight just barely held in another gasp. Rainbow Dash was probably still working for the weather ponies, wasn’t she? No wonder the clouds looked a little half-baked: Rainbow Dash was probably napping on the job again. Mind reeling, Twilight tucked into her plate of pancakes.

“...Spike, these are really good!

The baby dragon blushed. “Aw, shucks. I just used a little more butter and baking powder than usual, you know?”

“I-I mean...I guess I know, yeah.” Twilight wiped an errant daub of whipped cream off of her nose. “That’s probably just chemistry, right?”

“I dunno about chemistry, but it is cooking!” Spike cut off a pancake slice and smeared it around some of the chocolate chips on his plate. “Hey, maybe if you hang around Pinkie Pie more often, then you’ll figure out all of her cooking secrets, too! And maybe then you’ll be able to do the cooking for me” Spike added. “Hint hint.”

“When I find out a good recipe for oven-roasted rubies, I’ll let you know” Twilight replied, good-naturedly rolling her eyes. “But...huh. I guess I could hang out with Pinkie today, couldn’t I?”

Twilight paused.

“Um...Spike. Do I have anything on my schedule today?”

“Oh! Right!” Spike stood up and trotted back inside. Twilight was halfway through another pancake by the time he returned, a scroll clasped firmly in one claw. Unravelling it with a flourish, Spike coughed and read aloud: “June 23, A.C. 1002. Today, Twilight Sparkle…um.”

"Um…" Twilight coaxed.

Spike stared at the scroll, shrugged and turned it around. The page was completely blank. “I guess you don’t need to do anything today, Twilight.”

“Oh.” Twilight Sparkle paused. “...Wait, does that mean I can do anything?”

“I mean, yeah. I guess you can spend the entire day inside reading if you want to, but it’s a really nice day.”

“No. Nonononono. Not today!” Twilight shook her head. “I want to see everypony. No, I need to see everypony! I need to find out where everypony is!”

“You mean, besides just looking outside, right?” Spike cocked an eyebrow.

“Yes!” Twilight squealed. “I need to see the Town Square! And the Town Hall! And the Ponyville schoolhouse, and the clock tower, and the marketplace, and the train station…”

“Uh, Twilight?”

“Or the Day Spa! Or that one cafe, or the joke shop, or the costume shop, or Quills and Sofas! Spike, we could go to Quills and Sofas together!”

“And look at what, Quills and Sofas?” Spike asked, scooting backwards. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m great! I’m wonderful! This is amazing!” Twilight gushed. Her horn glowed as she stood up and bolted back inside, yanked the scroll out of Spike’s hands, grabbed a quill and inkpot off a nearby table, ran down the steps and burst through the sun-drenched front door.

**********************************************************

By the time Twilight started walking towards Quills and Sofas, there was barely any spring in her step at all.

It was perfect. Everything was exactly like she thought it would be, how she remembered it—or how she thought she remembered it. How she thought it was supposed to be. And...and that was the problem. None of it felt familiar at all.

No, wait, it did feel familiar. No, it didn’t. It did. It didn’t.

It was her fault.

Everything was exactly in the right place, and it was all stuff she recognized, but...but she didn’t remember any of it. That was the problem. It existed, but she never really…

Twilight walked inside Quills and Sofas, deliberately avoiding eye contact with the ponies working there, and pretended to look over the newest selection of sofas. She knew this place was here, and she’d always known it was real. The floor under her hooves, the ceiling above her head, the chime of a cash register—those were completely real.

But she’d never really been in here before became a princess, had she? It was real, she knew it existed, but this was all new to her. And it felt like she had taken the marketplace and the clock tower for granted, too. They were there, they had always been there, but…

But they might as well have not existed for her. Because she saw them, but she never really saw them. And looking at these familiar things for the first time made her feel like she hadn’t really existed at all, even though she was physically right here, right now.

She still existed, right?

Shaking her head, Twilight walked back outside. She was supposed to feel at home, but she felt like an imposter more than anything. The world wasn’t her world; it was a world, a world that she existed in, but it wasn’t like it was hoof-crafted for her. Discord had gotten her so mixed up…

Wait. Did Discord even exist anymore?

Was battling him the “Beginning of the End” for her? Is that the point where her life became about saving Equestria?

And if he was gone, if all of the magic and craziness of her life was gone, then where did that leave her? Just a phantom hanging around inside the body of…

Twilight looked behind her. For the first time that day, she realized that she didn’t have wings. Of course she wouldn’t still be an alicorn. Of course she had gotten by just fine without being one. And being an alicorn was part of the life she became, not part of the life she used to live in.

She wasn’t always supposed to be an alicorn, was she? Wasn’t that part of her something that didn’t need to exist?

Or did it need to exist after all? Was what she was doing now—running about like a giggling foal—the part that wasn’t real?

Twilight sighed and stared at the ground as she walked. Thinking about what existed and what didn’t was making her head hurt. She needed a distraction.

“Hi!”

Twilight yelped, scrabbled back in surprise, tripped and fell flat on her back. A second later, her perfectly good view of the sky was blocked out by Pinkie Pie’s face.

“Hey, Pinkie.” Twilight replied, mustering up a smile.

“So I went to see Spike and ask him if today was a cake day or a pie day. Because it’s warm enough that today should totally be a pie day, but it’s also sunny enough that it could totally be a cake day, and it’s Sunday so I don’t know if that means it should be a cake day or a pie day and I promised Mr. and Mrs. Cake that I wouldn’t try to make any more pie-cakes, because the last time that happened I made like a really really big explosion and there was strawberry sauce all over everything!” Pinkie giggled. “But he told me it was totally a Twilight’s-being-a-weirdy-cat day, and now I don’t know if I need to try and be a weirdy-cat too, and if maybe not being allowed to make pie-cakes doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to make cake-pies.

Twilight blinked. Pinkie continued chattering—largely to herself—about culinary semantics and the construction of confections that were absurd at best and flat-out violations of the laws of physics at worst.

Then Twilight realized what she needed to do.

“Actually, Pinkie, um...mind if I help out?”

********************************************************

“...And that’s the story of how Equestria was made!” Pinkie concluded. “In spirit, anyway. And also in delicious, not-even-slightly-nutritious cupcake form!”

Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy blanched, ever so slightly, at the misshapen and frosting-covered chocolate lumps on the tray.

“Well...dear. I’m not entirely sure what that has to do with Twilight’s cooking...efforts” Rarity replied, gingerly holding a purple-frosted cupcake up to her mouth in the light of the fading sun. “But I’m sure that you tried your best…”

“Even though it totally looks like the opposite” Rainbow Dash interjected.

Rarity glared at Rainbow Dash, opened her mouth and took a large, defiant bite of the cupcake. Then she chewed, swallowed, brushed a chocolate crumb off of her lips and stared incredulously down at the cupcake.

“Twilight, this is...this is delicious!”

The unicorn blushed. “Aww. I just thought I should use a little more butter and whole milk, you know?”

Applejack grabbed an orange-frosted cupcake, took a huge bite and grinned. “Well, it ain’t particularly fancy,” she added, before noticing that Rarity was staring at her and swallowing. “Aheh. Sorry 'bout talkin’ with my mouth full. But that there’s still a real tasty cupcake, Twi.”

Twilight beamed as her friends reached for her cupcakes, chattering among themselves and making a bit of a mess as they ate her desserts. With a sigh of relief, Twilight looked over at Pinkie Pie, who—with a wink and grin—poked her shoulder with her hoof.

“Go on!” Pinkie Pie giggled. “Say it!”

“Right. Now, girls, I’ve…”

They all looked over at her, smiling. Twilight hadn’t realized how weird having all of their attention felt, even though this wasn’t the first time they had all listened to her. But there was…

“I...wanted to say that I’m really thankful that we’ve gotten to spend so much time together. I know it’s been a couple of years...apparently.” Twilight faltered. “Since we defeated Nightmare Moon and became friends. And even after all that time, I’ve still gotten the chance to try out all sorts of things with you, and it’s almost magical how wonderful everything has been with you. I had such a fun day today learning how to bake with Pinkie Pie, and even putting out a kitchen fire didn’t make things too bad…”

Rainbow Dash snorted.

“But the point is, I want to spend more time with all of you. Because your friendship means a lot to me, and my life has been a lot happier since we became friends.”

A cool breeze swept through Twilight’s mane, and she shivered. It was weird, feeling the cold and the heat more acutely than she had again. It was weird not being an alicorn, sort of. But it was the sort of weird that she could handle. She’d always been able to handle it before, right?

“So I know that you have busy lives, and all sorts of things to do. I just wanted to let you know that I’m always ready to have fun with you and learn things from you whenever you want, okay? And I’m always happy to help out, too.”

“Sounds good to me, Twi” Applejack replied. “I ain’t gonna complain about havin’ an extra set of hooves to help me out with the orchard once apple-buckin’ season rolls around again.”

“And goodness knows that I’m always looking for somepony to model my dresses. There’s such a difference between a mannequin and a model, after all” Rarity added. “And I can think of some designs that would suit you quite well!”

“Yeah!” Rainbow Dash added in. “And you can totally help me out with a trick tomorrow, too! I want everypony to see how awesome I am when I pull off an inverted Buccaneer Blaze, and I want to make sure it’s as awesome as possible if I ever get to show it to the Wonderbolts!”

Twilight froze. Rainbow crammed a cupcake in her mouth, and it wasn’t until she had finished and was reaching for another that Fluttershy spoke up.

“Um...Twilight? I-is everything okay?

“I...that’s. That’s right. You aren’t a Wonderbolt.”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “You don’t have to rub it in, you know.”

“That’s not what I...no, it’s. You should be one, you—”

Don’t say that she used to be one.

“In another, I mean, if you...you totally could be one. That’s what I’m trying to say.”

“Are you sure you’re all right, dear?” Rarity interjected. Twilight’s friends were staring at her again, and it was definitely making her uncomfortable now.

“I’m fine! Just...amazed. Amazed at the ponies you…” Twilight gasped. “Rarity?”

“Yes, Twilight?”

“You...you don’t have a boutique in Canterlot, do you?”

Rarity sighed. “That’s still a while away, I’m afraid. I’m not sure I’m as famous a pony as I’d need to be in order to have a place in Canterlot.”

“But you could. You really could. You’re...you could do it.”

“Uh, Twi?” Applejack cut in.

Twilight took a step back. “You could all do all of that! You’re good enough at what you do that you could follow your dreams, a-and you could earn everything you wanted, it...Rainbow Dash could be a Wonderbolt, Rarity could be a world-famous fashion designer, all of you could…”

“I mean, sometimes dreams are just dreams, you know?” Rainbow Dash added. “Look, maybe I’m not ever gonna be a Wonderbolt, but who cares? Trying is half the fun!”

“And I certainly wouldn’t mind being famous, but at the end of the day I’m quite content with the pony that I am” Rarity concluded. “I’m doing what I love for ponies I care about, and I live quite comfortably. I can’t think of any way I’d rather be.”

“I…” Twilight stammered. “I...you...I’m…”

“Whatever is the matter, darling?” Rarity frowned. “You look like you’re on the verge of tears.”

“No, you don’t understand, you had that.” Something was clutching at Twilight’s throat, making it difficult to breathe, much less speak. “You had everything you wanted, and then I showed up, and I changed everything, and I…”

Twilight trembled.

“I took it all away.”

Spinning on her heels, Twilight turned and ran. The nighttime gloom made it difficult to see, even without all the water in her eyes. She couldn’t look at them. She didn’t want to look at them anymore. She didn’t want to see anything, anymore, didn’t want to see what she had done.

She had broken everything. She had ruined their lives. She wanted a life where nopony mattered but her, her feelings, her thoughts, her wants. Even by showing up at all, even the first time, she had taken their dreams and crushed them without a second thought. They’d never be the ponies they wanted to be, never have the things they wanted to have, by definition. She had made a world where they never got what they worked all their lives to have. Maybe she had done that to the entire town. Maybe to the entire world.

And that was exactly what she had wanted.

Twilight stumbled through the door to the Golden Oak Library, walked just far enough to collapse on the table in the middle, and burst into tears.

Her chest hurt. Her face hurt. Everything hurt, and it should have hurt more, she deserved it. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. She didn’t mean for things to happen that way. Except she meant for this to happen, it was exactly as fair as it had been offered to her, and it was what she had willingly done.

Twilight barely heard the doorknob rattling behind her. She barely felt something touch her shoulder. She didn’t want to feel it. She didn’t want this to feel real. That would make it worse.

“Uh, Twi?” Rainbow Dash’s voice cut in.

Twilight kept sobbing. She heard Rainbow Dash sigh, and heard her footsteps trot off.

Then they returned, and Twilight heard the clunk of something heavy being set down next to her.

“This is a bucket of water” Rainbow Dash explained. “I’m really awkward at dealing with crying stuff, and I really don’t want to have to be around crying ponies, so here’s the deal: either you stop crying, look at me and tell me what the horsefeathers is going on, or I’m going to dump this bucket of water over your head, get another bucket and keep dumping water on your head until the whole library’s soaked. Okay?”

Twilight’s chest heaved. Lifting her head felt monumental. Trying to hold back the flood in her tear ducts felt almost impossible. Her heart felt like it was ready to explode, and the rest of her body wanted her to scrunch up until everything went away.

But instead, with a small hiccup, Twilight raised her head and stared at Rainbow Dash. The pegasus hadn’t been lying: she looked at least as awkward and uncomfortable as she did concerned. But she was still here, still waiting for an explanation, body language still clearly indicating that the bucket was always an option.

“Why?” Twilight squeaked.

“Uh, because somepony had to go after you? And being fast is, like, my thing. I wanted to go grab you by your tail, you know, but we had to spend time talking about feelings and behavior and was there something Spike could tell us and where has Spike been this afternoon, anyway and just...ugh. So I just kind of figured that you’d be here, since this is, like your home. And now I guess we’re here?” Rainbow Dash shrugged. “So yeah, uh. Why are you crying?”

Twilight’s face crumpled.

“No, seriously.” Rainbow Dash pushed the bucket forward with one wing. “Stop it.”

Twilight took a deep breath, tried to uncrumple her face, hiccuped and replied:

“I ruined your dream.”

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash quirked an eyebrow.

“I...Where I came from. It’s...I’m not from this Equestria, Rainbow Dash.”

“Oooooookay. Spooky magic nonsense. Got it.”

“It’s not—”

“Look.” Rainbow Dash raised a hoof. “It sounds either like science or like prophecy or something, so either way I’m not gonna understand it. And if you’re gonna try and explain it to me, we’re both just gonna get frustrated.”

“But—”

“You’re not from this Equestria, huh? So, like, the Twilight Sparkle I’ve been friends with for years isn’t the Twilight Sparkle I think she is? Is she a spy or something?”

“No!” Twilight hiccuped. “I’m still Twilight Sparkle! I’ve always been Twilight Sparkle!”

“Then who cares? You can say you’re a Twilight Sparkle from one place or another, but since you’re the Twilight Sparkle I’ve known for as long as I’ve known Twilight Sparkle, then who cares about what the other one’s like?”

“Don’t you?”

“I don’t know her, duh. You might as well paint up the mailpony and tell me that’s who you really are, or something. I don’t care. I’m still not going to hang out with her. 'Cause even though you’re dweeby and nerdy and an egghead, you’re still a fun dweeby, nerdy egghead. I hang out with you because I want to, and I don’t care what you want to call yourself, or who you think you are.”

Twilight hiccuped. “Oh.”

“And enough with the hiccups. I know you can use some unicorn mumbo-jumbo to fix that, and it’s getting annoying.” Rainbow Dash sighed. “So, fine. You’re Twilight Sparkle, and you’ve always been Twilight Sparkle, and since everypony here knows and likes Twilight Sparkle that’s basically good enough for us. Is that seriously it?”

Twilight shook her head. “No, it’s that...where I came from, you were a Wonderbolt. The best Wonderbolt ever, actually. And now you aren’t.”

Silence fell. Twilight felt a hiccup well up inside her, but a quick glow of her horn and waver around her neck fixed that problem for good.

Finally, Rainbow Dash replied.

“So?”

Twilight’s jaw dropped.

“So you know a Rainbow Dash—who’s this total stranger that I’ve never met before, but who looks like me and has the same name as me, I guess—and she’s a Wonderbolt. So, uh, why should I care?”

“Rainbow Dash, it’s not a stranger! It’s you!

“Look, if you want to tell me that there’s a version of me that became a really awesome Wonderbolt, that’s fine. But I’m me. I’m not her. And I’m not a Wonderbolt, okay?”

“I…”

“I mean, I’m not a Wonderbolt yet. I’ll get there. But like I said, trying is half the fun, so unless you’re telling me that you can travel through time…”

“I can! I did!”

“Oh, really?” Rainbow Dash arched her other eyebrow. “So then everything’s going to turn out exactly the same as it did where you came from?”

“It—”

Twilight paused.

“...It won’t.”

“So you have literally no way of knowing what the future’s gonna be like. I mean, feel free to make crazy guesses, but I’m pretty sure making crazy guesses is against the Egghead’s Code, or something. Look, will I ever get to meet her?” Rainbow Dash pressed.

“...I don’t think so. I think that’s impossible.”

“So then why bother talking about it? You’re just gonna make yourself feel depressed, and it’s not gonna change anything. Besides, like I said, just because I’m not a Wonderbolt now doesn’t mean I’m never gonna be a Wonderbolt. And your crazy guess is as good as mine as to what comes next, and hey—even if things stay like this forever, that’s not really bad, is it?”

“It isn’t?”

“No duh, Twilight. Life is fun! Being with you guys is fun! I’m totally happy with this life I have, and if things never change, then I don’t think I’m ever gonna stop being happy, you know? That’s just common sense.”

The pain in Twilight’s chest was fading. Her eyes felt slightly less leaky. Her body felt like it was more in her control, now…

...Wait. It wasn’t just her body. It was...her. Her, in this place, with her friends. This actually felt…

“I guess...I guess you aren’t wrong.” Twilight sighed. “And I mean, I’m really happy being with you guys, too. Wait, no, not just happy, it’s not just fun, I mean, it’s…”

And as if she was seeing it for the first time that day, Twilight drank it all in: the richness of the library, the books and scrolls full of thoughts and things to learn, and her friend.

A friend that was as real as anything else here. No, not just “here.” This Rainbow Dash was real. Her friends were real. The world was real, she was real, everything continued to exist as she believed it would, and…

And the comfort and security that had eluded Twilight for years and years finally settled themselves back on her, and she grabbed Rainbow Dash and wrapped the slightly surprised pegasus up in a hug.

“I’m home.” Twilight sniffed. “I’m finally home.”

Rainbow Dash didn’t say anything for a couple of seconds. Then she wriggled her forelegs out of Twilight’s grip and squeezed back.

“Yeah. Yeah, you are, Twi” Rainbow Dash said. “Welcome home.”

Comments ( 62 )

I endorse this madness!

When I first saw this story, my knee-jerk reaction was "No." No, I don't want to read about Twilight unwinding herself. No, I don't want to see her slip on nostalgia goggles and eat the lotus. No, I don't want to see years of adventures so casually undone.

But this is Petrichord we're talking about. I should've known better from the start.

I may not agree with some of what's posed here, but I can't deny that I enjoyed the story and I'm intrigued by whatever may come of Twilight's New Game +. Thank you for this. I'm glad I didn't go with that first gut decision.

Well, I liked this Verse, hope to see more stories

I... I wasn't going to read this
But I did... and... maaan
A story written about a cartoon originally designed for little girls...
This is deep

Ri2

9183065
I know I'm probably missing something, but how ISN'T this basically Twilight throwing everything away to nostalgically start over and being happier for it? I mean, she feels bad at first, then she's happy and seems to think that 'this' is home, implying that the life she'd built for herself and her friends...wasn't?

9183220
That other Equestria still exists, and The Hero may still be present even if Twilight Sparkle has chosen to leave. After all, losing one of her best friends would upset Fluttershy terribly, and that would destroy Discord's paradise. Indeed, Discord might well have forked Twilight's personality in that snap. With his power, you really can have your cake and eat it too, for a given value of "you."

Ri2
Ri2 #7 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 1 ·

9183235
So...she left the world without leaving a Twilight-shaped hole in it? Or did someone else take her place as The Hero?

Though if there's a fork, does that mean there's a Twilight left in the 'first' world bitterly lamenting she wasn't the one that got shunted over?

9183255
My thought was that there'd be one who came out of an enigmatic, went-nowhere conversation with Discord mildly disgruntled. Then it was back to the grind. Hopefully she finds some novelty in a few years.

Ri2

9183265
I dunno, it still feels like one Twilight is running away for an idealized version of the past and a chance to 'do-over' by...what, letting someone else do the hard work instead? Is that really something Twilight Sparkle would do?

9183277
One this worn down by routine, with no new lessons to learn, grades to earn, progress to make? One who's tried the postgame content and found it not to her taste? One whose fatigue is so bone-deep that she could even contemplate the conversation around which this entire story revolves?

Perhaps.

Of course, your question also relies on New Game + Twilight being aware of any hypothetical replacement, which wasn't at all what I had in mind. :derpytongue2:

Ri2

9183315
Is she so tired she's fine with replacing everyone she's known and loved with younger and less experienced versions of themselves? Yeah, she seems fine by the end of the story, but are they REALLY still the friends she knew? They lack the shared memories and experiences of everyone she more or less abandoned. They might as well be strangers with the same names and faces, something she seemed to realize then just...got over after a talk with Rainbow, unless I read that wrong. Hasn't she really just made herself more isolated and lonely than she can imagine, trapped forever in a world like the one she quit but...not quite there?

9183327
Possibly. Why do you think I'm looking forward to seeing what else Petrichord does with the concept? There are a wide number of approaches to take from here, both positive and negative.

Ri2
Ri2 #13 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 7 ·

9183351
What's positive about this? Other than the standard Peggy Sue 'I'll do everything better this time?'

9183354
For one, "I'll do something completely different that I could never do after I got the wings and crown."

Ri2
Ri2 #15 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 3 ·

9183370
Ah, right, authorial code words for "I hate Twilight after she became a Princess so I'm going to revert her to how she was before because she was better then."

9183376
To paraphrase the mantra, just repeat to yourself, "It's just a fic. I should really just relax."

And yes, that isn't a very good response to your last comment. At this point, our positions are clear: I'm happy with the story, or at least with the potential it offers. You aren't. We have firmly established this and are unlikely to convince one another to adopt our respective viewpoints. If anything, I get the impression that each of my responses has made you more angry, for which I apologize if that's the case. I'm more than willing to agree to disagree.

Ri2

9183401
Oh no, I'm not angry. I suppose I'm just more confused and pessimistic than you are, that's all. I apologize if I gave that impression. I'm not sure if I'll read future stories, but perhaps I will. We'll have to see. I, too, am willing to agree to disagree...and I admit you've made me mildly curious to see where things go from here. You're always good at that. *offers hand*

9183412
*shakes* Glad we could end this amicably. :twilightsmile:

Ri2

9183434
I could never hate you. You're too amazing.

9183351
For the record, I consider writing a story that's designed to be happy but which is actually full of horrifying implications to be fairly easy, since the latter is normally accidental.

To quote a Discord conversation:

I couldn't write the story without having it turn up dark. People were going to implicitly read darkness into it, regardless of how much was there. And trying to completely ignore it would make the whole thing feel like a sham at best and nightmarish at worst.
That darkness has to be faced before you can decide that it's scary or not.

Ultimately, it's up to you guys to figure out how sweet or horrifying the story is. Assume this author is, for all intents and purposes, very much dead.

9183376
Princess Twily is pretty aight. I think the only reason i don't like her more is because Starlight Glimmer seems to have taken over the role of "incredibly snarky and incredibly powerful unicorn," and I find Glimmy very enjoyable. I certainly don't begrudge the show for having taken an alicorn twist, because they've done fairly reasonable things with Twily's character.

9183065
Petrichord also wrote We'll Go Down Together. You shouldn't place too much trust in the guy.

Well. I don't think I agree with some of the philosophy posited in this fic, but I don't think I need to in order to find it fascinating. A wonderful exploration of Discord's character, the nature of happiness, and identity - good job mate.

I really liked this story. It showed to “me” what the “Heart” wants and what the “Mind” wants in a way. In this show, alicorns are Immortal so when Twilight the mortal unicorn became a Immortal alicorn...her life was no longer “Twilight Sparkle.” Having the ability to decide on what “you became” or what “you were” is something. And I’m very happy that Twilight returned to her “home” :twilightsmile:

i immensely enjoyed the first two chapters.

this one just kinda felt like a fix fic from 2014.

good use of dash, on actual speed and dumbing it down to laymans terms. i laughed at the time travel bit.

i couldn't place the time frame where this takes place.

9183525
I think you're pretty aight too Petri Dish.

9184255
It is. Kinda. It's more than that, but it's a beautiful return to a simpler time, when only Ponyville and Canterlot were mapped and then just barely and we had full run of the place.
When there were so many more ideas. Sure the average quality of fiction, artwork, music, everything was lower- but just because there was MORE of it.
On the RP group I once frequented, every new or interesting character spawned tens of people playing that role in tens of different interpretations.
When every new episode spawned dozens of fics involving it, people dissecting it, when the fandom was full of life and activity and vibrancy.

It was, and now shall ever be, beautiful. Trapped in the amber of this work, a perfect unspoiled moment forever more. The show ended, there are no more rails, and only possibility.

Now I'm imagining Celestia's face when Twilight waves at the Discord in the stained glass and greets him as if he was an old friend. And he does the same.

Got to say this is easily the most philosophical existential crisis I’ve ever come across. Kudos as well for wrapping things up in a manner that would make a sequel completely unnecessary.

9184646
It truly was the golden age.

9184709
That's not his style. He'd tip a wink.

9184813
Unless he aims to annoy or flabbergast Celestia. A wink would be too subtle.

Wow...
A very poignant version of what could happen and opens a whole new world to the entire world they live in.

VERY well done.

... Fuck that got heavy for a minute.

Gorgeous writing, like I said. This was beautifully well-written.

“This is a bucket of water.” Rainbow Dash explained. “I’m really awkward at dealing with crying stuff, and I really don’t want to have to be around crying ponies, so here’s the deal: either you stop crying, look at me and tell me what the horsefeathers is going on, or i’m going to dump this bucket of water over your head, get another bucket and keep dumping water on your head until the whole library’s soaked. Okay?”

So perfect. Wonderful characterization.

That was interesting. Not sure if I want to respond by being pseudo-philosophical (that would be too easy) but it's definitely an interesting way to look at everything as a whole.

I suppose when the question is "what really matters," the process of cutting away everything until you've found yourself at the heart of it all is one way to find an answer. Maybe not the answer, but it's an answer.

I could say something about responsibilities, but the crux of it all was that there actually weren't any. If Twilight didn't do it, someone else would've, so she never actually had to do anything. Implying she chose the responsibility, chose to become the hero (/main character), chose to have everything in the end.

If that wasn't the case, it would've been a very different kind of story. But that's hardly worth mentioning - the idea here wasn't about the consequence of ignoring responsibilities, or about the question of what responsibility means to the individual.

So, what is this, really? Can I call it a story about turning Twilight Sparkle and the other Mane Six into background ponies? Making them characters who have dreams and hopes, troubles and tribulations we can relate to, but who we never really see because they aren't in the focus? Is it about wanting something to relate to? But from the perspective as written, it's the character herself who wants to relate to her life again.

If stories could be pictures, you managed it here, Petrichord. I feel like I'm looking at a snapshot of something older, when the show was still young and people found themselves liking it because they could empathize with it. Not that that's necessarily gone away, but I suppose everything else is only secondary to it.

... Huh. Didn't I say I wasn't going to be all pseudo-philosophical? I guess it's easier to do things the easy way.

Comment posted by Tapestry deleted Sep 21st, 2018

Definitely an interesting story! I'm not quite sure about how much of it I fundamentally disagree with, but throughout I was enjoying it, if that makes any sense.

And seconding Georg, above: Rainbow Dash using threats of a bucket full of cold water to get through Twilight's existential crisis moment was both extraordinarily funny, and totally true to Dash. Or a Dash, as it may be. I'm not being very clear in these comments, it seems.

Gonna be interesting to see how this compares to Where Things Are Hollow, which explores a similar premise.

Capitalize "twilight" here:

the comfort and security that had eluded twilight

----

Hmm... Presuming that there are multiple timelines, and the current Twilight has split from the Twilight at this story's beginning...

There might be a timeline where Twilight chose a different solution, so that initial Universe isn't left without a Twilight...

Cool stuff no matter what.

Gonna join the group. Bye!

Humm, Dash's logic seems to be a bit off.
If Dash, Twilight is talking about, is "a total stranger she never met before", then shouldn't this Twilight be a total stranger she just met, with her Twilight, the one she knew for a few years, be gone?
I mean, this one certainly behaves differently compared to the way she did the day before (from their point of view).
And what happened to both Twilights anyway? Did one just disappeared in her original timeline, and the other was deleted so the new one could take her place? Or were they merged into one? It didn't seem like it.

The one thing I don't get - Thise who made it before. If I parse it right.... Discord handles the question of forever - Because really, this is a microcosm of immortality blues - by going intentionally insane and taking delight in what that randomness causes.

Luna couldn't face it fully and so went crazy, and now is ???

And similarly it sounds like Celestia has faced it without facing it? Like it really sounds as if Discord and Twilight are the only two to make a full choice.

Confusing and poignant

I'm really interested in Luna's choice now. I couldn't glean that from the story at all.

I have wild guesses running through my head based solely on my understanding of her character, and since the mechanics of the choice are so vague, I have absolutely nothing to falsify them. Ugh.

If Princess Twilight Sparkle had the chance to do everything all over again, would she be willing to leave everything behind?

Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?

A well deserved feature. Congrads!

I think it would be interesting to see Twilight have a conversation with this world's Discord and Celestia.

9186044
I'd let it slip. I've asked this question to others before, and I've looked at myself as well.

I wouldn't be the same person I am now, if I hadn't made the decisions I made.
I would've graduated medical school, but I might've lost some of the closest people in my life right now if I had. I might've been a f*ck ton millionaire... or at least a hundred-thousandaire (back when 'dot com' companies were a thing I was heavily told to invest in Google shares when they were $35 a share.)

... I mean, It'd be fucking awesome to be rich as hell. It'd be amazing to make stupid money just by existing, even through hard work...

But I wouldn't be me.

So no, I wouldn't go back. I'd undo it, because that world, that ME isn't ME. It's the reverse of R.D's logic in a way. I am me, because I am the sum of my experiences. That other me? ... She'll be fine. I'll live in my small townhouse with two other ladies, with my sister and my friends. I'm fine with me, and all the burdens that come with it. Could use some money though. Hahah.

9186044
DISCORD'S SPAGHETTI

This is so deep

Alexa play big bang theory on CBS

9185453
You made me laugh.

After reading this, that's quite something.

The key to avoiding this isn't to start over, play a different game, or stop playing. What you do, is find a new victory objective to shoot for.

So you spread friendship to the four corners of Equestria? Good for you, now get a degree in architecture and start planning out new cities for people to live in. Or make spaceships. Or become a crime lord. Or any of a million other things.

The world is too big and too complex for even an immortal to experience everything. If you find yourself getting bogged down like this, stop, take a breather, center yourself, expand your horizons, and pick a new path. Because there will always be new paths.

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