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"Every story ever told actually happened. Stories are where memories go when they're forgotten." - Dr. Who.


  • TSunspots
    When a devastating plague rips through Equestria not even the rulers of the nation are spared. When a quirky but knowledgeable hippogriff arrives to help, Celestia is all too glad for his assistance. But for her, not all ailments are physical wounds.
    RadBunny · 120k words  ·  350  6 · 6k views

Time is a neutral party. It takes no sides, only proceeding without a care for those caught in its trap. That is how it should be...
But not all traps are foolproof.

When a pony seeking the Night Princess's counsel intervenes during an assassination attempt, Luna knew there was more to this stallion than met the eye.
However, even her expectations had limits. That, Luna discovered, was a mistake.

One question troubles her thoughts as a new problem presents itself in the form of this stallion; how does a heart and mind cope when one escapes the trap of time? What happens to a good heart when it is worn away, year after year, all stemming from a single mistake, no matter how good the intentions?

Equestria Daily seal of approval: https://www.equestriadaily.com/2019/11/fanfiction-timeless.html

Takes place during/after Season 9.
Sequel: Sunspots

Chapters (13)
Comments ( 570 )

I'm in. Looks good with lots of potential.

Fuck. A monkey's paw. No matter what you wish for, or how you wish for it, the paw finds a way to twist it to make you regret it.

Exactly. No matter how it's used...the game was rigged from the start.

Unlike genies, who usually give you what you want in the END, even if they make it unnecessarily difficult in the first place. (See the movie Aladdin for an example of this)
The monkey's paw wants nothing more than for you to SUFFER.

EDIT: Come to think of it, you never stated what he wished for or how it went wrong. Next chapter, I assume?

Yup. It is truly a cursed artifact. No matter how good a wish, the Paw will make sure you suffer for it.
And correct; next chapter we hear his sad story, and the how/why it occured.


Love the story so far and gets me itching to know more.

With pleasure! I'm so glad you like it! I'll be releasing the chapters fairly soon, but don't want to burn out on the fic =P

You have my full undivided attention...

Please continue. :pinkiegasp:

I'm glad you're enjoy it! :pinkiehappy:
I didn't expect this story to explode like it did, so I'm rather excited to see what people think of it!

Djinni twist your wishes too, few are benevolent like Disney's Aladdin's Genie.

The difference is that Djinni usually give you exactly what you want, without making sure you suffer. Yes, Djinni like to twist those wishes for some kicks/petty revenge, but they still usually give you what you wish for in the end.

I'm so glad you're enjoying it! (dangit we need some Luna emotes here! :pinkiehappy:

You had my interest with the brief description, now that I have read it you have my undivided attention.

I’m looking forward to more of this and hopefully soon

Those author's notes promise some interesting method of dealing with the OC. I am curious to see.


I hope the methods don't disappoint! I'm walking a fine line, because Shifting Sands IS rather powerful (simply due to how he has lived, and so forth), but at the same time, has very real limits and weaknesses. To assuage any fears....Luna or Celestia could absolutely flatten him. :rainbowlaugh: I hope it is explained in a cohesive fashion!

Okay I am in! I have been looking for something like this for a bit and I hope to see more!

If I remember right, the only way to Trick a Monkey's Paw is to wish for only things that would Hurt you in the long run as any wish made to benefit you is twisted, but if it does not benefit you the Paw twists it in the Opposite direction.

Glad you're enjoying it!
Hmmmm, perhaps, but I imagine the paw would twist it regardless though. Wish for something negative, and the opposite may come to pass in a deadly or horrifying way. From what I remember/have read, the paw is a cursed item from the start (but would love to hear otherwise!)

But, from what I understand, the rule of the monkey's paw is 'you will always regret it.' :rainbowlaugh:

Ah, the monkey's paw. Who doesn't love a gruesomely evil and murderous genie equivalent?

Essentially. No matter what the wish is, you WILL regret it.

:rainbowlaugh: New chapter will be arriving tomorrow! So fear not!


The Monkey's Paw isn't overtly evil per se; rather, it will obey the letter of the wish presented but not the original intent of the wish-requester. It seems to me that any perceived evil in the granted wish lies in the requester of the wish and not in the Monkey's Paw granting the wish; after all, the Monkey's Paw does not act of its own volition.


Soooo, if you treat it like a Jinn (meaning word it correctly and give specific, detailed commands) you can bypass the downsides to using it?

You would have to be very precise, but yes. The moral of the story is to be careful of what you wish for; you might just get it.

“If I may interject, your Highness. I was a member for the sole purpose of discovering their plans. I contributed in no way, other than laying false information to delay their attack as long as I could. They did, for a time, consider attacking Princess Twilight as well. I managed to keep their target to you, as such an attempt would have a higher chance of failure.”

Luna is cool and all, with lots of relatability and a different personality from the other princesses.

That being said, Twilight's my favorite, and I really must thank Shifting Sands for diverting the attack.

Thank you. :twilightsmile:

Shift shook his head, finally letting out a sigh. The guard stood as tall as he could, despite an invisible weight that made his shoulders shiver. “I used a Satyr's Paw , over one thousand years ago.”

Just read the linked article.

... What was the boon, and what was the price? :applejackconfused:

An interesting story! I have it tracked and liked.

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter. :twilightsmile:

P.S. Haven't I seen you before? :rainbowhuh:

*quick search through your stories*

Ooh! You're the one writing Of Stars and Sails!


If I had to guess? The Boon requested was Magic and the Price was Immortality.

Edit: Though would Immortality be considered a Price/Curse in this case?

It depends, really.

If you have the mental fortitude to see all (or most) your original friends die of old age while you remain and yet go on, it's fine once you learn to cope with it.

You can always go to Night Court and ask for advice from Princess Luna. :raritywink:

My prediction is that immortality was both the boon and the curse, and what he asked was simply to be reunited with his Princess. So the paw said "sure - as long as you're willing to wait."

I highly dislike writing completely over-powered characters (no fun in that), so bear with me if this seems to be the case in this first chapter.

A thousand years gives plenty of time to amass quite the store of competence. I would have a harder time believing idiocy than intelligence.


In all honesty, you may loose friends but you always gain more. For every friend you lose you make three more.

Theyay be dead but the memories will always keep them alive in your heart.

True. But there is a line to being powerful/skilled, and just over-the-top.
Glad you like it! And the newest chapter will explain the boon and the price!
Heh, that'd be me! That story is winding down, so thought I'd get one or two rolling too!

Enjoyed the chapter looking forward to more

Very, very solid foundation for your story-line. I'm feeling comfortable with wherever you take this thanks to this really splendid opening; it's as concise as Shifting said, and full of a lot of 'show, but not tell.' Looking forward to seeing what else there is to his story!

“You are indeed free, with limits for now. We wish to further discuss how best to help you after processing all of this. Now then, some Guards will show you to some guest quarters, and on the morrow, my sister and I will discuss your predicament with you further.” Perhaps… The spinning of a certain rogue and rather devious idea continued to form in Luna’s mind, and she had to resist the urge to clop her hooves together with a knowing smirk. It would help this poor pony immensely, at least, she hoped.

Bodyguard for Princess Twilight!

That sounds really nice to me. Seriously.

A nice backstory we have here! While perhaps it may have been a lot of telling with little showing, Shifting Sands' speech pattern actually has an entrancing effect. Like, you know, you can't put your finger on it but it just sounds nice?

Anyway, his story is a philosophical debate that'll probably never end. Do the ends justify the means? I think that there's no clear answer, and I only think deeply about such moral quandaries when I want my head to explode and implode at the same time.

In his case, though, I think we can all agree that he did the best he could, and he's suffered plenty enough for his goodwill.

I'm glad! =D

:pinkiehappy: I was hoping it wasn't a wall of boring dialogue!

Heh, not quiiiiiite that.
I am EXTREMELY relieved his dialogue had a positive effect. As you said, it's a LOT of exposition (tell, rather than show,) which is a very grey area when it comes to writing, and something I wanted to avoid at all cost. I was worried it would be less of a 'enthralling backstory' and more of 'HAMMER OF EXPOSITION!'
So, I am extremely happy it came off as sounding nice. I honestly had no other good way to summarize his story (other than perhaps a ton of flashbacks,), since it makes little sense to piecemeal his life along throughout the entire fic.

And it is a conundrum to say the least. In Shifting's case, he used a cursed artifact for the sake of good- and that alone puts him apart from others. I would indeed say he has suffered enough- and I only touch on how difficult things have been for him.


Good work so far. I used that same song as a basis for one of my stories, it is rather quite fitting, but i prefer the Dis mix or one of the earlier remixs to the disco mix, makes it sound more somber.

Good job. Is it just me or is the obvious answer to my friends keep dying of old age is to hang with the famous and more importantly ageless ponies that rule equestria? Like really dude.

He was terrified of the consequences. Keep in mind, old penalties in general were harsher. And it WAS Celestia, who he didn't really feel close to in any way shape or form. However, now that he is free.....:trixieshiftright:

It has held up rather well over the years, I think. Oooh I'll check out that mix!

This story is going into my overall favorites. You have created a gold mine and I am looking forward to seeing how deep it goes.

As a side note I'm hoping that he gets introduced to Time Turner who would be a possible decendant of his family, it would fit in with Shifting Sands name as a familial tradition, like the apple family naming every newborn an apple based name.

Hmmmm. I never thought about that :trixieshiftright: is an interesting idea!
And I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Please slip that moment somewhere in the story, it would at least give him some sort of closure knowing that he still has family in Equestria. With everything that shifting sands has gone through, having the knowledge that he still has family as an anchor would give him some sort of drive to make sure that Equestria remains a peaceful place. I'm not sure if you're going to have any more fighting but shifting sands seems like the type of pony who would turn himself into a shield to protect those he cares about and Time Turner being family would cement that as a driving point.

P.S. this is just an idea I hope you do. As an idea man this kind of stuff pops into my head I'm not trying to tell you how to write I just thought it'd be an interesting addition to the story. :twilightblush:

I mention that he knows that he has family all over, so many over the centuries he just couldn't keep track of them all. That was a comforting thing for him, knowing his actions had a positive legacy (as I mention). After a millennium though, that's a LOT of ponies distantly related to him. I honestly can't see it being that big of a connection though, logically. (Basically, it's the modern the equivalent of being related to Ghengis Khan, without the fame- it's just so far removed.) Not wanting to just shoot down your idea, because it's an interesting one, but the time/distance is so great it pretty much dilutes it, especially since he knows that his family is out there. There isn't really any closure to be had in that sense.

Now that I think about it, that could...actually be painful. Contacting current relations, and nobody even knowing he exists. Because how could they, over a thousand years? I didn't even think of that possibility :twilightoops:

And as for fighting....just going to have to wait and see!

I know that you mention that he has family but take into consideration that it also mentions that he constantly moved around never staying in one place so well he knows he has family he doesn't know anything about anyone, and considering how unusual Time Turner is you could point out the fact that his family knew what he had done, knew what he had given up and that knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and Time Turner is the only one who was able to keep track of everything in piece it together and if you consider all the unusual projects he's got sitting around his house in the hundredth episode you could say that he was trying to find a way to cure his ancestor of his curse. Or at least that's how I would have tried to tie it in. But honestly I think having him get to know a part of his family would bring about some sort of closure, his guilt is tied into the wish and seeing that his family, or at least a member of it, remembers what he sacrificed then it wouldn't feel as hopeless considering all the bad he's seen.

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