• Member Since 15th Jul, 2016
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The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai'don.


All her life, Twilight Sparkle has tried to be good, hard-working, and well-behaved. She's been told that's what she should strive to be, but what if she's missing out on the secret delights of being a rebel? A punk? A bad girl?

Following this train of thought, she concludes there's only one thing to do: an experiment.

And since she knows very little about rebelling, she'll need to find an expert to learn from...

Story idea pitched by Hopeful_Ink_Hoof in the Uncommon Dazzling Ships group.
Cover picture by rileyav
Proofread by NaiadSagaIotaOar

Chapters (7)
Comments ( 243 )

Sugarcoat’s assessment of Principal Cinch’s behaviour at the Friendship Games. Indigo Zap walking into class the morning after getting her ears pierced. Lemon Zest being escorted out of the school library after turning her music up and dancing on the table. Sour Sweet’s unintentional demonstration of her health condition in morning assembly on their first day, right after Dean Cadance had warned them all about it.

Sugarcoat: Hey, she called it like she saw it.

Indigo: I don't know if an ear piercing qualifies as a defining moment.

Lemon: I can totally see her doing that.

Sour Sweet: Um... what? Health condition?

A kind and patient explanation from Dean Cadance about how much better it was to wait until marriage, and–

Oh lord, not that speech. I say do it when you've found the right person and love them.

“That’s good to hear,” Twilight said, feeling her spirits lift at the sight of Fluttershy’s smile, and ignoring the number of public health code violations that knowingly keeping roosting bats in a school office would cause.

XD Oh, Twilight.

Twilight managed to keep the friendly enthusiasm in her voice until she finished, despite the flat look she was receiving. A few moments of silence stretched after she finished, where the other girl continued to stare at her, expressionless.



Sugarcoat: Hey, she called it like she saw it.

Indigo: I don't know if an ear piercing qualifies as a defining moment.

Lemon: I can totally see her doing that.

Sour Sweet: Um... what? Health condition?

Sugarcoat: She definitely did, and I think that's the most Sugarcoat of the Sugarcoat moments. My personal favourite, the Equestria Girls line that comes back to me again and again (especially when viewing others' parking) is "You're really bad at this."

Indigo: Indigo is one of very few characters in the show to have pierced ears, so I'm wondering if it's against Crystal Prep uniform rules. It's partly that Indigo still did it, therefore, but also how she did it, and I invite you to imagine her striding into class the next morning completely brash about the whole thing despite them being not allowed.

Sour Sweet: Hard to be sure, but most likely a form of schizophrenia.


Sour Sweet: Hard to be sure, but most likely a form of schizophrenia.

Oh, I thought you meant like a physical ailment. Yeah, I can imagine her with some sort of mental illness.

I actually had to double back and re-read before realizing: Twilight thought Sunny was performing scientific experiments in the bathroom with a boy assisting, and not getting sexually explicit with one.

I also imagine that Fluttershy got her order a little backwards, a la Fake It 'Til You Make It, and other students started avoiding her as she got into it until her friends held an intervention.

I may have some idea where this is going from the conversation, but I look forward to seeing how it gets there.


I actually had to double back and re-read before realizing: Twilight thought Sunny was performing scientific experiments in the bathroom with a boy assisting, and not getting sexually explicit with one.

XD Totally missed that bit. Nice catch!

9570808 I had a feeling you might be on board with that one, eeyup!

Twilight thought Sunny was performing scientific experiments in the bathroom with a boy assisting, and not getting sexually explicit with one.

I was thinking she was wandering past, kind of lost in her own world, when that word pulled her out of it. I'd guess Twilight probably isn't as good as the average reader at detecting euphemisms, especially when not paying attention, so it took her a little while to grasp the situation, by which time she couldn't sneak off without drawing Sunny and Cadance's attention.

9570829 I hadn't realised until you mentioned the conversation that the whole arc of the rest of the story is spelled out in that thread :facehoof: Might have to go back and edit that message!

"Nightmare Loom" is a fucking gorgeous name :raritystarry::heart:

I'm enjoying this so far!

Although I do have to wonder why Twilight didn't follow up when Fluttershy had admitted earlier to have shown up at school dressed in the sort of fashion Twilight seemed to be trying to emulate--was the idea there just to get out of the aforementioned echo chamber? Or that Fluttershy was just familiar with the clothes, whereas someone like Aria would have a deeper understanding of the lifestyle, something like that?

9570884 :pinkiehappy: Thank you! I was quite happy with that name! It was going to be a generic Hot Topic store, but then it's a real-world brand name, and it's rather dull, so I made up my own based on a couple of local shops.

Ooh, good question. I think Fluttershy makes it clear here that, while she dressed up in a way very different to her usual style, it was never done with the intention of rebelling. So I think she's a good person to point Twilight in the direction of the shop, but not really to advise on levels of rule-breaking.

Glad to hear you're enjoying it :twilightsmile:

That last line.
I think I like where this is going.

So, is this relationshipping or friendshipping?

This story is really good. Keep it up man! :twilightsheepish:

black T-shirt with surprisingly pretty purple image of castle, looking like her pony counterpart’s home might if it had been built by malice personified

Definitely buy that tee, Twilight.

....rule 34. I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Perfect way to introduce yourself to a goth! Present your submissive nature from the start so she knows EXACTLY where you lie in the pecking order!

9571438 I would hazard a guess that it's down to the passage of time. The goth movement is about forty years old now, so it's seeped into everyones' bones as a recognisable subculture and style. I knew what goths were at school, even though my school didn't really have any. Because it's so established, and known to parental generations just as well as child ones, it's not seen as different or threatening, so there isn't the same stigma of teenagers who hang out with those people leading to trouble. It's become safe, in a way.

To a lesser extent, this is all true for Punk, as well.

Goth is a very distinctive look, which has stood the test of time, and it's that instant identifiability (not technically a word, but I think you get what I mean) that makes it a keen reference point for fashion design. Not too many of the subculture fashions to have come since are as iconic, or as interesting in terms of clothing variety. Imagine a challenge on Project Runway or something where they have to create, say, a skater look. Or a chav look. It doesn't feel as arty, because it's mostly trousers and a hoodie, and there isn't as much you can do with that. That's why Inky Rose was a goth, I'd say, so that viewers would immediately get her aesthetic, and to some extent who she was, while also leaving a lot of scope for her to be creative in the sewing challenges. Same with Rarity's wonderful punk look.

So, while I've never encountered the derision of goths you mention, I have noticed how kindly they've been treated in other media over the last ten or so years. Particularly the goth kids in South Park caught my attention - they're dour, and just as hypocritical as everyone else, but they just want to do their own thing. Then there was Fluttergoth, and Moonlight Raven, not to mention Princess Luna herself. There was an episode of The Big Bang Theory on it, Elvira appearing on Drag Race more than once, doubtless many other examples I've forgotten. I think it's mostly down to it having become a recognisable (and safe) archetype.

9571309 Definitely! But are you sure she's ready for that one quite yet? :rainbowderp:

That's because what you speak of is the popular media stereotype of what goths are. Actual goths aren't anywhere near as miserable and antisocial as the media has portrayed them to be; quite the opposite, actually. For the most part, all goth really means is that an individual has a passionate interest in the dark and macabre, and likes to express it in their clothing and sometimes their speech. I myself am actually a closet goth, meaning I share the interests but don't talk or dress it, and am genuinely interested in the general look and feel. Also, that stereotype? Actual, real life goths make fun and scoff at that as well; not just normal people.

Well, I'm intrigued!
..Most Goth I've ever gone is dark lipstick. And a black dress or two.

Fuck. Yes! Do I even need to say? :rainbowkiss:
This story's gonna be a must read.

Twilight managed to keep the friendly enthusiasm in her voice until she finished, despite the flat look she was receiving. A few moments of silence stretched after she finished, where the other girl continued to stare at her, expressionless.

Finally, she spoke!

“Get bent.”

Why do I get the feeling that this will only encourage her since that is exactly what she wants to learn.

9571438 A further thought - something that's changing rapidly at the moment is the decline in religiousness in Western societies. Forty years ago goths and metallers were branded Satanists, and conservative parents fought much harder to keep them away from their children (see the whole controversy with the PMRC and their Filthy Fifteen). This led to the introduction of the Parental Advisory stickers, which over time attitudes have relaxed towards. So goths aren't so looked down on now because there isn't as much of that stigma from conservative religious circles.

There've also been some big changes in the music industry in the last twenty years. Two decades ago, piracy came in, and one decade ago, streaming replaced it. In both cases, that's meant a huge reduction in money going into the industry, so labels (much like film studios faced with the same problem) responded in typical fashion of taking far fewer risks and only signing 'guaranteed' successes. That means more and more churning out of the same tried-and-tested formula. Doubly so when there are reality TV shows involved, as seems to happen to the pop charts every Christmas.

What this leaves is a big puddle of apathy. No one cares about listening to music anymore, because no one cares about making music anymore. This means more societal respect for older music, made by people who did care. And also a bit more for the older music fans, because goths really do care about their music. There's a passion on full display there that you don't see in mainstream music scenes, or some other subcultures.

So I'd guess it's a lot of answers all added together, but basically summed up with 'the world is changing.'

9572323 I'm afraid I couldn't really say much either way about a popular resurgence of metal, I'm much too close to it, so to me it's always right there. I do remember reading that rock and metal albums sell more during recessions, as people want something dependable they can escape into. And since the 2008 crash seems to have permanently altered some aspects of the economy, and many are still feeling the pinch, I wouldn't be too surprised if that's had an effect too.

I think there's some more sympathy towards goths and other subcultures, too, in the wake of Sophie Lancaster and events of that ilk. Several UK police forces, for example, now recognise attacking people because of the subculture they belong to as a hate crime. There's also a miniature revolution in progress in terms of how we look at mental health; it should come as no surprise that there's a higher rate of depression and self-harm among goth teens, for example, and that's now seen as a lot less taboo.

And, as the original poster noted, there's the effect of nerd culture. Geekdom has started to become a lot more openly acceptable in the last ten years, which has the knock on effect that people are more ok being something that isn't a jock or similarly straight-laced. Add in gay rights, trans rights, and others, and it's become a lot more acceptable to be 'different' now.

So once you remove a lot of the bias against punks, goths and metallers, you're left with groups which have been contentedly doing their own thing for a long time, indifferent to the tastes of society as a whole. And we start to see that independence as admirable.

Interesting concept, you have here... You have my attention...

9572718 Thanks, the concept I can take no credit for, that's a mix of the person who drew the cover art, and the original prompt from Hopeful_Ink_Hoof!


and safe

Which probably cheeses the goths to no end.

9572832 Very much so! Obviously the equivalent of police racial profiling is a good thing to be away from, but yeah. Metal even more than goth, I think, since it goes out of its way to appear aggressive. It's kind of been gentrified - parents aren't worried about their kids being into it, because they're into it themselves. So it's hardly rebellious anymore. I think it's a net positive for now, but I do worry if it's ultimately the death knell for the genre, since rebellion fuelled it in the first place.

I was thinking today (listening to some older music at work) and it just seems like there isn't much new, interesting music. Or rather, it's not a lot of what I find interesting, which tends to be the rebellious, the anarchist, or the plain anti religious. (Okay that makes me sound super edgy but eh).

Thing is, I was thinking about a what a lot of the modern music comes down to, and why it sounds so empty, and that's because it's basically saying fuck everything, have sex and party. Which is kind of a message in and of itself? Kinda sums up this image


Oh yeah for sure. Casual nihilism is probably the next thing along that line. Sure, if you wear all black and write a lot of poetry it's "just a phase" or "exploring your creative side" but if you just drop a suicidal thought in the middle of a conversation and refuse to acknowledge it that's probably more concerning.

Regardless, I can't wait to see where this goes! :twilightsmile:

9571586 She could buy it as "supplies" for future experiments in gothdom :pinkiecrazy:

Twi has her work cut out for her.

Twilight's line of reasoning in this fic vaguely reminds me of a backup comic I once read in the "Killing Joke" trade hardcover. The comic was literally just a guy sitting in a room debating the merits of good and evil, and ultimately deciding that if he were to reject evil, he'd first have to be evil to truly determine whether or not good was truly superior. He resolved to commit an evil act as a test to see whether or not evil would feel better than good, and decided he'd murder Batman. If I recall correctly, most of the comic was just him spelling out how he'd pull it off, and then ending on an ambiguous note as to whether he'd try to go through with it or not.

Just an interesting comparison I noticed.

9574141 I know the one you mean, since that is the one comic I have ever read!

“Get bent.”

That is easily the best line in the whole chapter, AND the best way to end it. :rainbowlaugh:

9574366 Thanks, it's definitely my favourite one!

I'm definatly hooked. I loved Twilight's thought process that lead to this new experiment. I can't wait to see what you do next for it. Keep it interesting.

Surprisingly levelly, Fluttershy appeared to ponder that. She even tapped her finger against her pursed lips. “I, um, may have an idea.”

Twilight shot forwards on her stool, listening attentively.

“A few years ago, a family of bats started nesting in the roof of the school gym. Vice Principal Luna liked them, but most students were scared of them and wanted them removed, saying they were nasty and scary. So I went and bought some clothes that night, and came into school the next day dressed all in black, with jagged piercings, dark eyeliner and big spiky boots.”

Oh this brought back a memory! :pinkiehappy:
Growing up, I made friends with everyone from my childhood onward. During my freshman year, I made friends with some goths and one time before school started they dressed me up to see what I looked like as a goth. I remember it being a fun experience!...Gave my mother a heart attack though when I came home still decked out in my goth duds and my hair styled into a mohawk. :twilightblush:

9575213 I love it! It makes a great birthday event/present, too, if you can goth up all your more normal friends and go out to a rock club like that :pinkiehappy:

“What happened to the bats?”

“They disappeared one night, with no official explanation given. But I’m sure I’ve heard bat chittering coming from Vice Principal Luna’s office a couple of times, so I think it turned out ok in the end.”

Oh nooooooo...

So, I've done some research on whether or not bats make good pets because sometimes you get lonely and bored. Bats uh... bats die SUPER quick in captivity. Like, live two years instead of twenty-five quick. And also can't really be domesticated. I'm just going to pretend Luna moonlights (heh) as a trained professional bat-keeper and that this is fine.

Can't wait to see where the story goes besides!

9576525 :pinkiegasp: I had no idea! I guess that's why we're so reluctant to relocate them once they roost in deserted buildings or something, even if millions could be made tearing them down and building something new?

I will assume that, since Princess Luna was accompanied by healthy-looking bat ponies in Equestria, then Vice-Principal Luna knows what she's doing taking care of them and stuff :twilightsheepish:

Thanks for pointing this out! It's really interesting to learn, and definitely the best plot hole notification comment I've ever received :pinkiehappy:

‘NIGHTMARE LOOM,’ the sign across the top of the entrance read. Welp, this was the place, just as Fluttershy had said. And it certainly looked the part! Black T-shirts and hoodies filled the front windows, each adorned with the logo of one band she’d never heard of or another.

This pun is too perfect.

Aria's introduction is too perfect.

I'd like some more.

This is interesting! I’d like to see more!

A fine example of Twilogic.

I see Flutters shares her pony counterparts tendency to theatrics and disguise and altered personality.

Oh I think you nailed Twilight’s voice pretty good in this one. I giggled at her description of running through a light for an exhilarating first experiment in being naughty.

Fluttershy was great in this too and a splendid use of her dress up nature to introduce Twilight to the possibility of dressing the part. The comment about how Fluttershy said after awhile her experience started to backfire and she felt dark and mysterious had me grinning.

I was wondering if you were referencing Hot Topic or Spencer’s (The backroom made me wonder.) Nightmare Loom though, that is a genius name as other’s have said :)

And Twilight’s chipper hello to Aria and their response was perfect. It’s a fun thing to remember on how little the sirens actually talk to girls in Rainbow Rocks. For all they know, Twilight was some backup singer for Rainbow’s band. Not an Equestrian princess. Fun to see the flip here that of course Sci-Twi has no idea who they are. :twilightsheepish:

A great start! And happy to see it featured, and the lovely in-depth conversations in the comments too.

9611300 Thanks! :pinkiehappy:

Of course, couldn't discuss goths in MLP without Fluttergoth, she's the star :yay: I was quite pleased with how Sci-Twi came out here, too; I've not really tried writing her before :twilightsmile:

Ah, the shop :heart: It was originally going to be a Hot Topic, but that meant including a real-world brand name. And I've never actually been inside one, knowing it mostly from the goth kids in South Park and their reaction to one opening in their town. So instead I went with a couple of local stores I know. The way to the back room being almost hidden amongst all the clothes is from a military surplus store I've recently found, but all the rest, including the unending sea of black clothes, comes from an alternative shop near where I live that closed down a few years ago. A shame, that, because it was a great place for making members of the subculture feel at home. The first time I went in there and mentioned that I didn't know the local nightlife, the shop assistant gave me his number and invited me out clubbing.

I should point out, just in case it's being assumed, that Aria doesn't necessarily recognise Sci-Twi here as looking like Pri-Twi. Aria doesn't bother to remember the Rainbooms' band name correctly in Rainbow Rocks, so I think it's quite possible the faces wouldn't really stick with her, especially when confronted with one unexpectedly. There's every chance Aria would react in the exact same way no matter who it was who approached her in that fashion :twilightsheepish:

That artwork is amazing and funny, lol.

Fluttershy's goth phase is all the better now that it's canon. We now know how she got into Skullcrusher (who doubtless have their logo on some shirts in Nightmare Loom, which is a brilliant name for the store.) Eagerly looking forward to seeing where you go with this. I can only imagine how Sunset will feel about Twilight's experiments. And the fact that she never asked her friend with the shady past to help.

"I used to be bad! I know all about circumventing laws without getting caught! I rebelled against an immortal sun god queen! I'm an infamous graffiti artist! I still wear a spiky leather jacket! Why am I not good enough for her?"
"Darling, are you jealous?"
"No! Yes. Maybe? Twilight doesn't see me as mean, and that's good, but I feel like I've lost street cred."
"And she's quite striking with that haircut and the fishnets."
"That too."

9771657 Ooh, think I missed the bit where it became canon, is that a newer EG short? I was extrapolating here from Fluttergoth in Equestria, so it's good to see that's mirrored on the EG side of things :twilightsmile:

I think there's about nine months between Equestria Girls and Friendship Games, so by the time Sci-Twi meets Sunset, the latter has been reformed for a while. So I don't know how much of that darker Sunset Sci-Twi has ever seen, beyond Sunset's short temper? The angle I find curious for not being brought up here is Sci-Twi's own dark past - she's probably come much closer to directly harming either world than Aria ever has.

But EG in particular seems pretty big on redemption wiping the slate clean, and previous evils being carried out by essentially different people ("Urgh! The old me really was just awful, wasn't she?"), so I think the important factor is that Aria is, as far as anyone knows, completely unreformed.

I'm putting a new chapter together in my head at the moment, hopefully that should be out within a few weeks. But I wrote this opening without much of a plan for going forwards beyond the broadest strokes, so I don't know how often it'll be updating beyond that - it's mostly contingent on thinking of good scenes.

If you're enjoying the one-on-one siren x good guy interaction, then this is the one I'd very much recommend, as both a much better story and something that's all finished being written. Unless you came here for the detailed exploration of goth culture, that is, in which case I'd like to include more of that in the next chapter :twilightsheepish:

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