• Member Since 14th Jul, 2013
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Piccolo Sky

I really should put something down here someday...


Series finale spoilers.

Many years following the War of the Bell, Equestria is at rest, the land is filled with creatures living in peace, and friendship and the elements of harmony rein supreme. Princess Twilight Sparkle has grown in both maturity and wisdom as well as power, and, as royal advisor, Spike could not be happier with his life.

If only there wasn't the once-a-year event which seems to hurt his princess and friend so badly...

Why does she keep putting herself through this?

Cover art is property of Hasbro, Allspark Studios, and DHX Media.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 227 )

Simple reason why actually.

There's no reason for them too from their perspective, and there won't be till they have one forced on them.

Plus the griffins right, Harmony mind controls and tampers with some to reform them and then does nothing for the others, so it's a very, very questionable Ideal as far as Honesty and fair judgement are concerned.

Easy way to put it is the carts going before the horse, in every sense of the word, and Twilights not thinking cause and effect beyond what got them there.

Oh, this.... this is really well written. You touched on exactly the problems that bothered me about petrifying them, but you went even deeper, asking the hard questions. And you didnt give the easy ending, but that makes it more meaningful. Spike said it best - it’s NOT any one person’s job to “fix” somebody. Everyone’s choices are their own. As a Christian I have to learn this when I want to “fix” people whose self-destructive habits are hurting them, but I have to recognize that only God can heal hurts that deep. We shouldnt stop trying to help, but we have to learn to recognize where our influence stops, and not beat ourselves up for not getting the results we want.

But I also like the hope written into this. The fact that Twilight is giving them a yearly parole hearing feels EXACTLY like something she would do. The fact that she refuses to give up is RIGHT. And there is the hope that someday, however long it may be from now, one or all of them might finally GET IT, and at least get to move to Tartarus where they can live with limited freedom - anything at all would be better than aware immobilization.

Really, really well done. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

(P.S. Not that I wouldnt MIND an epilogue showing them finally getting it... yknow, if you ever felt so inspired. :) But it is quite meaningful as-is, too. Adding to my Favs.)

This was good and intresting. I could definitely see Twilight trying her best to give the three redemption, only for them to stay stuck in their own ways. I also think it would be interesting to see more added to this. Like one year they hold the hearing again and at a point Twilight informs Chrysalis that Starlight has passed, and it just strikes a chord in her. Or Tireks brother shows up one year and tries to make amends with his brother. And say these led to the others being free, leaving Cozy all on her own. At this point Twilight can really hold the hearing by herself, and she just talks with Cozy. It's all up to you though, just some interesting ways this could be expanded into something more. Great little fic, good luck writing.

“Why can’t they just say ‘I’m sorry’?”

Because they aren't. They aren't sorry and they never will be, by their lights they are absolutely justified. And the fact that their continued refusal wounds Twilight so is likely what they treasure most in this long existence.

To be fair, it seems clear that they are entirely unaware that it DOES hurt Twilight so. Tirek and Chrysalis especially seem completely convinced in their own minds that Twilight is just putting this on as a farce to torment and mock them further, and she did an excellent job of staying stone-faced and impassive throughout.

They are blind to anything outside their own perception of reality. But that doesnt mean it cant change eventually. And they certainly have TIME, being encased in stone. If murderers in prison can have a complete turnaround, who knows what miracles can happen?

AC97 #6 · Oct 20th, 2019 · · 4 ·

Chrysalis had dreamed of conquest since she was small, as the song goes. Twilight and her friends had broken her dreams, and whether they were 100% justified or not in foiling said dreams (they were) is irrelevant to a being like her. She sees nothing wrong with any of the atrocities she's either committed or tried to commit, save for the fact that she failed, and she only hates you if you try to get her out of it. Just ask Starlight, who understood her on some level regarding how she operated, what happened when she tried. An appeal regarding her subjects wasn't enough. What's more is that she obviously enjoys the suffering she causes.

Tirek is someone who wants to feel important, that is to say, feel strong, so he eats all the power he can get his hands on, and he bullies others beneath him, to enhance said sense of power, and it seems like he'd go to horrifying lengths to exercise said power, to cement his superiority. His own brother wasn't enough to get him to stop, and in his mind, Scorpan betrayed him in the end, the fact that he tried reasoning with him first being absolutely irrelevant, and so he hates him for it, seeing him as weak minded, and as worthless. But in any case, for him, betrayal is fine when he does it.

Cozy Glow, what can you say? She goes through all of the motions of being nice, but they mean less than nothing to her. She doesn't care how much you love her, just how much she can use you, or how much you'd get in the way. She can know the words, but not the music.

It may or may not be kinda tragic on some level, but sometimes you're left with little choice... because they have be willing to change, on any level, which they don't.

(In case it wasn't obvious, I find Chrysalis to be the most interesting of them, in part due to how... vehement she is in wanting to be monstrous)

Free will can be a real byayh at times. No matter what they see or think or do, as long as the three of them never feel like saying sorry, they’re never gonna do it. Well, maybe Cozy will, but only if she thinks it will help her because she’s probably a full blown literal psychopath. Twi’s gonna have to learn eventually you can only really help those who want help to begin with.

Of course, Discord was the exact same way until Fluttershy got her hooves on him.


AC97 #10 · Oct 20th, 2019 · · 2 ·


Discord had the fortuitous occasion of being considered possibly useful by Celestia happen, and considering these three are at least forty times more murderous with those they hate, and in general, odds don't really look good with them.

Discord couldn't even be trusted in S4, and in S9, he'd fucked up there, out of a misguided desire to help Twilight. And that's the optimistic scenario, the outcome for it all, with him. With them, it seems even worse.

Perhaps you could have an above 0% chance of reaching Tirek and/or Cozy, on some level, but Chrysalis, I think she's the least theoretically redeemable of them, as thoroughly consumed with hate and sadism as she seems to be, ironically for being someone that eats love to gain power.

I say Cozy’s the worst out of them. Buglady’s obviously got issues but that seems more rage and self centeredness than anything. Cozy’s likely an actual psychopath. Not what internet people like to call mean people online, I mean the medical definition psychopath. There’s no known cure for psychopathy and you have to handle it early in children before they get too far lost. Cozy’s a kid but I think she’s too far gone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you are likely to get a sorry out of either of them ever (tirek of all people is still probably the best bet for that) but I’d still have to say Chrysalis is an ant compared to the monster cozy is.

AC97 #12 · Oct 20th, 2019 · · 2 ·


Yeah, ironically enough, perhaps Tirek is the one that has the biggest shred of a chance (which isn't saying much).

He's possibly the least sadistic of them (not to say he isn't sadistic, but he wanted to hunt down Twilight, instead of either executing her friends [Cozy], or torturing them [Chrysalis and her "we should have fun with our guests"], coupled with the suggestion of killing the Windigos ASAP out of pragmatism).

Cozy Glow indeed seems like she lacks empathy on a rather fundamental level.

Chrysalis, I think should be noted, is a severe narcissist, and is rather sociopathic, along with the aforementioned sadism... and those things are not easy to treat, especially when she's entirely unwilling, to the point of being murderous, coupled with her probable attitude of "they're the ones with the problem, being infected by friendship and sentimentality, not me."

Chrysalis blames Starlight for losing her hive, ruining her life, as she has stated numerous times, when in reality, she only has herself to blame (and yeah, that's kinda like how Tirek thinks regarding Scorpan). She herself has a pathological inability to accept responsibility for any of her actions.

I think it would just feel... the most wrong if Cozy or Chrysalis reformed, if I had to choose. It wouldn't feel entirely right with Tirek, but maybe I could understand that thought process.


I'll admit, I'm rather biased because I firmly think it would take away what's appealing about Chrysalis, if she would ever let herself care about someone other than herself, on a selfless level. Her absolute stubbornness is one of her defining traits in my eyes, as is her sadism (which I really appreciate about her as a villain: perfect fodder for a sadistic writer, and it's not going OOC with her).

She's a pretty Disneyesque villain, and I like it.

I think Chrysalis is the most interesting one of the three because she seems to want friendship on some level, but after being left to stew alone for ages she ended up almost totally consumed by her rage and egomania. When Starlight offers a hoof to Chrysalis after reforming her hive she genuinely considers it before snapping back, and then later as part of the Legion of Doom she ends up apparently abandoning her desire to be in charge of the trio and treats the others as more or less equals when they're out getting stuff done. She also uses her transformation powers to entertain the others around a campfire, which isn't something you'd expect from someone that cares entirely and only about themselves and how they can dominate others.

Twilight's estimation of Chrysalis in this story is pretty spot on: her contempt and rage is a defence mechanism. She cannot allow herself to appear weak in front of anyone, and hatred is powerful. It's possible to break down these defences, but I don't think Twilight's parole method is capable of it - Chrysalis decided to hate Twilight and anyone she judges as her lackeys a long, long time ago, and abandoning that hatred would mean making Chrysalis' fears come true: showing weakness in front of a mortal enemy. It doesn't matter that said enemy has you soundly defeated and you're utterly powerless to do anything at all against them, as long as Chrysalis gets to spit vitriol for ten minutes a year then she can keep convincing herself that she hasn't lost yet, not really.

If Chrysalis is to heal then she needs the company of equally strong and/or devious beings that she can relate to on some level, and the tragedy of it is that the only ones that ever managed to fit that description are trapped in stone alongside her.

It’s too bad Twilight can’t just travel back in time to learn their origins at a personal level since Starswirl’s time spell is between time. Unless... she memorized it. Hint, Hint

This was an extremely well written story. Dont know if you ever plan to do a sequel but if not this was an excellent one shot. As Twilight said, Celestia had to go 1000 years without her Sister. I wonder how long Twilight can handle this until she just gives up or not.

Doubt it, Twilight focus on the good of friendship, now she’s experiencing the bad of friendship


Well they don't have time. Chrysalis at least is starving by inches, which honestly sounds like a hideous way to die, one day at a time over the span of a thousand years or so. Cozy has also gone without food or water, give it about 10-20 minutes per interview, twenty times over, it's been between three to six hours so far as her body's concerned. She's only got about a day's worth of time or so before thirst begins to be a major issue.

I suppose deprivation is a way to break the stalemate, but I doubt that's how Twilight wants to "win" this.

“You didn’t fail,” Spike immediately insisted, toward her as he tried to find the right words. “And neither did friendship. It’s just…just…just that some things mean both sides have to work at them is all.

My boy Spike nails it right here.

Twilight shouldn't cry over failing them. She did her part, and gave them more chances than they deserved. They need to be the ones that bring themselves to apologize. Forgiveness is not something we do for others. It's what we do for ourselves to get well and move on. Twilight can and should forgive them for her own sake, to free herself from that misery. Holding a grudge is like letting someone you hate stay in your souls rent-free. But being forgiven does not mean being reformed, and nowhere near redemption. That, not forgiveness, is what they need to be freed. And that is entirely on them, not Twilight.

...If this is one of those stories where Twilight's friends are already dead or dying... :ajsleepy:

...Is it? :ajbemused:

Isn't "I'm sorry" technically three words?

Why can’t they see it?

Because Tirek is absolutely right about what you’re doing and you just don’t want to admit it?

You’re not helping them, you’re leaving them alone with their thoughts for an entire year, then waving freedom in front of their faces if they just capitulate to you and your demands. You are not making any effort to HELP them, you’re demanding they change on their own with the threat of overwhelming power used against them if they don’t.

At present the only incentive for them to say “sorry” is to end the cycle of petrification - which is exactly what Cozy just tried to do, but instead of even taking the chance and moving her somewhere to get her the help she, a child, so obviously needs, you petrified her again.

I’m sorry. I don’t know exactly what you intended when you wrote this fic, but that’s my take. Twilight expects three lunatics to be capable of recognizing and self-examining their own lunacy without any outside help. And she keeps doing it over and over and expecting different results herself. Insert FarCry 3 quote here.

This isn’t merciful or beneficent on her part. It’s just torture.

And the stupidest part is that it's legitimately in-character for her. This is absolutely something Twilight would miss.

From a pragmatic standpoint, the entire point of having friends is to have other people you trust to cover your blind spots even as you cover theirs. I can believe that Twilight would miss this, but the fact that no one else seems to have pointed her mistake out to her and instead is only focused on consoling her tells me Twilight either doesn’t have friends; or the friends she has think in basically the same terms as her, are basically sycophants; or that she does have friends but doesn’t listen to them.

Do you want Midnight Sparkle? Because this is how you end up with Midnight Sparkle.

Sorry Twi, but I gotta side with Spike on this one. You can do everything under the sun, and there will always be a select few that absolutely cannot be worked with. Don't torture yourself over this, it's not your fault.

The issue with that from a storytelling perspective is that if there was to be a truly, completely irredeemable character in Friendship is Magic, you’d think it would be Discord, the literal personification of chaos, evil, and disharmony, who was presented as the antithesis of friendship and the elements that make it up.

Leaving aside any of my personal opinions on the character, there is no narrative point to reforming Discord unless it is to send a clear message to the audience that anyone is capable of it, that there is no such thing as an irredeemable monster, all that matters is finding the means of doing it. In the universe of the show, there are not a select few who absolutely cannot be worked with. Else Discord’s reformation means literally nothing, is a narratively empty event devoid of moral or story purpose.

It seems to be set about the same time as the bookends of the last episode, meaning that the Mane Six are all still alive but everypony except Twilight has visibly aged. They're not dead, but they are middle-aged. And it seems from the references in the text that there was a time when the implications of that hit Twilight like a bag of bricks.

Yea well I'm not saying this from a story telling perspective, I'm telling it from a real life perspective, because I don't live entirely in a fantasy world. Saying that some people can't be worked with would mean that discord should still be evil is nothing more than applying ones personal opinions to a group instead of approaching the situation on an individual basis. Yea, discord was evil. Yea, he fucked up by betraying his friends. He still learned his lesson. Discord is a completely separate entity from Tirek, Chrysalis and Cozy, and should be treated as such. Hell, the 3 of them are separate from each other, though they can't seem to get away from each other's throats long enough to try and redeem themselves.

The definition of insanity is trying to do the same over and over again and expect a different outcome... Maybe Twilight should try something different... Separate them, talk with them a little more, etc.

So there were these two inmates in a lunatic asylum. One day, they get sick of being in there and decide that they’re gonna escape. So they spend some time gathering supplies, learning guard routes, and finally one night they make their attempt. They get to the roof of the asylum, and see freedom at long last. All they have to do is jump from the asylum roof to another nearby one. Now, the first guy, he makes the jump no problem, but the second lunatic, he won’t jump. He’s too scared that he’ll fall and not make it. So the first lunatic says, “hey, I have this flashlight I stole from one of the guards! I’ll just shine the light across the gap, and you can walk across the beam like a bridge!” And the second lunatic throws his hands in the air and shouts, “what do you think I am, CRAZY?

“You’d turn the flashlight off when I was halfway across!”

Batman: the Killing Joke is one of writer Alan Moore’s better works. The joke above comes from the end, a joke that the Joker tells Batman after the former has been defeated yet again, failed yet again. See, the entire comic is about the Joker trying to prove that everyone is just one bad day away from being like him. While meanwhile Batman spends most of the comic trying to reach out to the Joker and try to help him, because he knows that the two of them are basically locked in a death grip, and the only way their lives will go if they continue the way they are is with one of them killing the other - and Batman doesn’t want to kill the Joker, he wants to help him.

The joke is funny, but it serves a narrative point too: it illustrates how absolutely batshit insane it is to expect one lunatic to be able to help another lunatic leave the asylum.

I still don’t get why people are upset Cozy got petrified even though she’s a kid. Kids can be irredeemable monsters too.

Because in terms of ability she still a kid, and “Frenemies” shows us pretty clearly what happens when she runs into someone (Rusty Bucket) who has no interest in giving in to her demands: she’s powerless to do anything other than moan and whine and scream, like any other kid.

It’s not like she has magical mind control powers. Her entire plan in Season 8 depended on no one knowing her true nature or intentions. If she was in a mental institution or juvenile hall we have no reason to think she’d be any more troublesome than any other kid as long as she had competent wardens who were made aware of her silver tongue.

And if the ponies of Equestria are really so convinced that she’s a potential danger, it’s not like you need some special weapon or power to stop her. She’s a kid. There must be a baseball bat somewhere in Equestria if you find her that terrifying.

I have yet to be convinced Cozy Glow is a real child; she's consistently been better at being bad than the ancient apocalyptic threats that make up the resr of her team. I'm also against her being reformed for the same reason: as a villian, she does a great job a representating the dangers of false friends and is not interesting as a reformed character.

Very nice drama piece.

Really loved this. Great job!

Wow! This is a powerful story! Definitely well written and the emotion is so strong.

There isn't one distinct part that is better than the others. The whole story just has perfect synergy wthe transition from scene-to-scene.

The ending is also good for how it shows exactly why Twilight puts herself through this and why she wants to keep doing it. She wants to know she can fix the problem. She wants to not worry how creatures might see her view on 'friendship' as one that is conditional until you get petrified for not falling in-line.

Twilight doesn't want to rule with fear and her analytical skills refuse to stop trying to figure out how 'she' could make things different. She only needs those two words to have a foundation to start. However it is unlikely she'll get them.

Definitely a powerful tale of what happens after 'The Ending of the End'. Bravo!

A wonderful little thought experiment, and quite well-written, too! Part of me was hoping to see Scorpan as Tirek's representative on the committee, but I suppose tracking him down would be pretty tough. Plus his very presence might throw the whole parole hearing sideways.

The one thing that nagged me about this idea is that Twilight isn't giving them any degree of freedom or offering to help them in any appreciable capacity. I mean, look at Discord. He was given incredible latitude to mostly do what he wanted during his reformation period—under close surveillance and threat of being imprisoned again, sure, but the freedom was important. He was allowed to be himself. That was a huge part of what got him to reform at all. If Fluttershy had tried to change who he was or asked him to stop causing chaos, he never would've accepted her kindness.

I could go on and draw parallels between these three villains and others that have been reformed—Starlight Glimmer to Chrysalis, Sunset Shimmer to Cozy Glow, and Nightmare Moon to Tirek—but the point remains the same. These three aren't gonna change if they're just left to stew in their bitterness and hatred for a year, only to be given a chance at "freedom" without any guidance or assistance. They need to be shown some degree of understanding for where they're coming from, offered space to make their own decisions (under close supervision), and they need to be trusted in some capacity.

Still, this story is a reasonable way for Twilight to approach the idea of helping them. She's probably still blinded by how close these three came to ruining her life and destroying her worldview that she's not willing to give them an inch, even though she's likely powerful enough to keep all of them in check, given their weakened state. In some capacity, she still fears them and resents them, but she wants to help them see the light. Hopefully one day she'll be able to see that the method she's using just isn't the right one.

Thank you for writing this! It definitely got my brain churning. :twilightsmile:

Very much this. This is a good story in terms of technical merits and character, but it’s difficult for me to view it as anything other than a story of and about failure - and not just the Legion’s.

She has Spike, but Spike is mostly focused on how this is hurting Twilight. It would be interesting to know her other friends' perspectives, though.
It's a tragedy, after all - and the key of that genre is chracters being undone by their own flaws.

Oh, side note, yup. Making two words into a contraction doesn’t stop them from still being considered two words. I was binge-watching season 4 of The Flash recently and that actually came up.

Which maybe is a metaphor for this whole situation. Twilight is looking at what she wants with a priori wrong assumptions.

The real sad part is that when her family and friends are gone. She will still have these three.

No, because although I’m is a shortened form of two separate words it still counts as only a single word.

“Why can’t they just say ‘I’m sorry’?”

Yep, saw that coming. Honestly, Chrysalis probably wouldn't say it if you straight-up told her to her face that she would be granted the lesser sentence. Tirek… Might say it just so he wouldn't get statued again, or perhaps to see if that's really all it took. Cozy Glow, on the other hoof... She'd say it just to get the chance at Tartarus, and then try to talk her way out of that. I mean, maybe it'd work, and maybe it wouldn't, but she'd try.
...I wonder what would happen if a petrified Chrysalis was placed in a Tartarus cell right beside an unpetrified Cozy Glow, I reckon she'd say "I'm sorry" just for the chance to request a cell change. Probably far prefer Tirek to Cozy...

Wow, everyone! I didn't expect this story to get such a buzz, let alone trend. Thank you very much! :pinkiehappy:

Very good story.
The first post-finale story involving the Tyrant Three that I have read.

Not quite sure where you're going with that one

I think Tirek might actually be the least evil of them. I do believe he wouldn’t ever enter equestria again, or he wouldn’t try to rule it again if he were freed.

I'd only beleive that if there was some other race besides ponies out there with easily devorable magic. And sicing him on them is hardly much better.

- None of the three will be able to help themselves on their own because they’re lunatics.
- None of the three will be able to help each other, because they’re all lunatics.
- Twilight won’t be able to help the three, because she’s got a lunatic expectation of what constitutes “help”, and the three have a lunatic interpretation of that help - although even they can see that it’s not actually help.

Twilight is the one who’s outside the asylum shining a light across a gap and trying to convince the lunatics still in the asylum that it’s really a bridge. Her “parole hearings” are as helpful as the flashlight, and any competent mental health expert would be able to tell her that.

So, in an extremely roundabout way, you're agreeing with Spike as well?

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