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...But respect is something I will earn if you have faith. (He/Him)


When Twilight Sparkle's life grew more full of accolades, it grew more full of demands. First, she became Twilight Sparkle, the element of Magic; then she became Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship. Then the savior of two universes, then the rejuvenator of the Tree of Harmony, then owner of the Castle of Friendship. The Redeemer of Starlight Glimmer, the aunt of the world's most powerful alicorn, the headmistress of the School of Friendship. So it went.

And at the end of it all, she realized that Twilight Sparkle didn't really exist anymore - all that was left of her was a series of titles, awards and obligations, and the pony that held it all together was little more than a puppet to the demands of the world around her.

And when she understood that Twilight Sparkle was as good as gone, a second option opened itself up to her: if she could unfetter herself from the glory she had worked all her life to obtain, would Twilight Sparkle exist again - not as a name attached to a role, but a pony with her own hopes, dreams and desires?

And if she did, what would come next?


A brief story about time, reality, pseudophilosophy, self-actualization and surprisingly tasty desserts.

Cover art by KzKsM.

Part of the Re- 'Verse.

Thanks to Wanderer D, Flashgen and Door Belle for their help proofreading, editing and offering advice.

And, more than anything else, my immense thanks to GaPJaxie for inspiring, reviewing and talking to me about this story. Without him, it literally would not exist.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 81 )

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


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?

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 #7 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 1 · Recycle ·

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?

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.


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?

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?


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:


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?

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 #13 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 7 · Recycle ·

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

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

Ri2 #15 · Sep 20th, 2018 · · 3 · Recycle ·

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."

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.


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*

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


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

Given that she had double-checked to make sure the door was locked, told her friends to make sure that nopony bothered her while she was helping set up preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration, did a brief walkthrough of the school beforehoof to make sure that nothing was broken and/or on fire, and made sure that Starlight Glimmer was keeping herself occupied with her friends and not occupied with potentially dangerous magical experiments, Twilight was pretty sure that it was impossible for anypony to actually be behind her, much less using magic.

Jesus that sentance is a beast.

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.

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.

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.


“...Yes, Twilight. It makes her happy to think that I can make you happy in some way or another. And the degree to which she makes me happy is the degree to which she’s created a paradise for me all on her own.”

confirmed: the most powerful character in MLP is flutters.


unless i'm completely missing the mark and that section was about celestia...

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.

You obviously haven't read enough fimfic. A lot of early SS&E stuff was a hell of a lot more depressing.

The presence of Discord inspires run-ons.

I'll admit. Discord's casual sly admittance that Fluttershy is his world hit me almost as hard as "I'll cover you."

I think you're pretty aight too Petri Dish.

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.

It truly was the golden age.

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

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

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

VERY well done.

Got to agree with you there :| I've had to stop reading fics and forget them because of they prodded my depression a little too much.

I find this to actually be a very interesting first chapter, not going to lie. It's got a complex little flavor in my head that's honestly quite enjoyable. I just wish that my reading comprehension was a bit better, or maybe my memory? so that I could fully digest things in a single pass.

Okay, but I do like the "pseudo-philosophy" here. It's complex (to me), and beautiful, and I... quite frankly, wouldn't have it any other way.

Your writing is gorgeous. Thank you for writing this.

... 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.

Once you complete every quest, and achieve every goal, there is nothing more to do...

And that's when you start to install mods!

The might of the royal guard could have shown itself.

And Stormtroopers could hit a target.

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.

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