• Published 16th Nov 2019
  • 3,746 Views, 81 Comments

Friendship Bewitched - ArgonMatrix



Not long after the Battle of the Bell, Twilight is visited by one of the last creatures she ever thought she'd see in person.

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For Whom the Bewitching Bell Tolls

Twilight facehoofed. “For the last time, Ambassador: No, I will not condone the creation of a ‘Council of Smashing.’ There are so many things wrong with your proposal that I could write a twenty-page essay on the name alone.”

The yak tapped his chin ponderously, then puffed out his chest and beamed. “Ambassador not give up. Yaks think of better name and come back tomorrow with new proposal involving more smashing. Princess come around sooner or later. If not, yaks form Cult of Smashing instead.”

“That’s not—” Twilight tried, but the ambassador had already turned around. He stomped out of the throne room, rattling the windows with each hooffall, and Twilight found herself alone with her royal advisor. She slumped back in her throne with a long sigh and gave Spike a weary look. “Please tell me that’s the last petitioner.”

Spike put a tick on his checklist and nodded. “For the morning, anyway.”

Twilight groaned. “I never realized how much nonsense Celestia and Luna had to put up with. I swear, half of the creatures who come in here could solve their problems by talking to a therapist instead of me. It’s like they don’t even hear themselves!”

“That’s politics for ya.” Spike offered her a wan smile. “But look on the bright side! Every creature that comes here is here because they trust you to make the right call. And you’ve more than earned that trust.” He rested a claw on Twilight’s withers. “Gotta take the bad with the good though, right?”

A small smile crept to Twilight’s lips. “You’re right, Spike. Thankfully there’s a lot more good than bad.” She straightened up, the gleam in her eyes renewed. “What’s next on the schedule?”

Grinning, Spike flitted his eyes across the scroll. “You’ve got a meeting with the School of Magic's board members about the new curriculum, but that’s not for another half hour. We could squeeze in a quick lunch break!” He looked to Twilight hopefully, the tiniest bit of drool on his lips.

Twilight giggled. “Sounds good to me.” She hopped off her throne and stretched the stiffness from her legs. “I’ve been looking for an excuse to visit The Tasty Treat anyway. Pinkie tells me that Saffron Masala makes a mean—”

Three knocks boomed from the door, followed by a royal guard poking her head inside. She looked to Twilight, her eyes a bit manic. “Pardon the intrusion, Your Highness.” She bowed hastily. “I know there are channels for this sort of thing, but someone has requested an immediate audience with you.”

Twilight’s eyes went sharp as daggers. “Is there an emergency?”

“I don’t think so, but…” She looked over her shoulder and bit her lip. Turning back, she lowered her voice and said, “Let’s just say that he doesn’t look like the type who would want to wait his turn.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Who—”

“I grow tired of this,” a gruff voice growled from beyond the door. “Princess Twilight Sparkle, I demand an audience this instant!”

Her heart suddenly beating fast, Twilight scoured her memory to put a name to the voice but came up with nothing. She looked to Spike, who shrugged. Steeling herself, Twilight turned back to the guard and said, “Very well.” She pumped her wings and fluttered up to her throne. “You can let him in.”

With a curt nod, the guard straightened up and cleared her throat. “Next to speak before Princess Twilight in her Court of Friendship, I humbly present the ram, Grogar.”

Twilight’s train of thought crashed.

The guard stepped away, opening the door wide. Standing behind it, plain as day, was the spitting image of the ram sorcerer Twilight had seen countless illustrations of throughout Gusty the Great. His square jaw was carved in a scowl. His jaundiced eyes peered up at her, their depth rivaling the Celestial Sea. He wore a crimson collar adorned with four golden bells—an empty loop in the center where a fifth could hang. He marched past the threshold, each hooffall commanding the gravity of a thousand suns.

For a moment, Twilight couldn't think. Then she remembered herself. Her muscles relaxed as she both glared and rolled her eyes in one sardonic motion. “Very funny, Discord. What’s the meaning of this?”

In a puff of gummy bears, a little black book appeared in the air nearby. Discord slithered out from amid the pages, his ears literally on fire. He doused the flames with a glass of water and said, “Did somepony say my name? I’ll have you know that I was in the middle of a particularly gripping novel, and I don’t appreciate—”

“Wait,” Twilight said, ice flooding her veins. “If you’re there…”

“Then who’s…?” Spike finished, hovering closer to Twilight as he pointed a trembling claw forward. All eyes turned to the ram in the room.

Grogar snarled, his incensed eyes burning into Discord. “I’ll have words with you later, draconequus,” he said, his gravelly voice going volcanic. “Rest assured, your misdeeds in my name will not go unpunished.”

Discord wrapped his hands around his eyes and twisted, extending them like binoculars. A coy smirk played on his lips. “Oh, my! The old goat’s finally escaped his pen, has he?” He reclined in the air, rhythmically tapping his fingers together. In a grim voice that betrayed his age, he said, “It has been some time, Grogar.”

“Indeed it has,” Grogar said, “and I will be more than ready to rekindle our old rivalry after I have said my piece.” His glare shifted to Twilight.

“Hold on,” Twilight said, squeezing her eyes to make sure they worked. She looked feverishly from Discord to Grogar and back again. “That isn’t really Grogar, is it?

Humming, Discord tapped his chin. He curled his tail up. A piñata bearing Grogar’s likeness hung from the tip. “Looks the part.” Suddenly he was atop Grogar’s head in place of one of the ram’s horns. He took a dramatic sniff and gagged. “Smells the part.” Discord vanished again, and Grogar’s mouth wrenched open. A tiny version of the ram stepped out and said, “Sounds the part,” mimicking his voice perfectly. Grogar chomped down, but Discord was already back at Twilight’s side. “Barring an exceedingly well-read changeling, or Chrysalis, which—” He snapped his talons, and a large statue thudded to the floor at the chamber's far end—the Treacherous Triad still as petrified as ever. Discord shrugged. “I’d say we’ve got a genuine antique sorcerer on our hands. Or hooves. Claws. Whatever.”

Baring his teeth, Grogar said, “I assure you, Princess, I am exactly who I appear to be.”

“But that’s impossible!” Twilight said, feeling her mane bristle. She primed a shield spell in the back of her mind, just in case. “Gusty the Great banished you millennia ago!”

“Shackles which held until those buffoons unsealed my Bewitching Bell.” He chuckled darkly. “At least they achieved something useful.”

“Also,” Spike added, peeking out from behind Twilight’s tail, “we have a pretty good track record of ancient monsters breaking out of containment to exact revenge.”

Everyone collectively blinked.

Twilight shook her head. “Still, the Bell is back in containment at the top of Mount Everhoof. Celestia, Luna, and Starswirl saw to it themselves!”

Grogar ground his teeth and snorted, dark smoke billowing from his nostrils. “The minutiae are irrelevant. I have waited a very long time and traveled a very long way to get here. I will be heard.” He took a step closer.

A translucent magenta dome trapped him like a snowpony in a globe. Twilight rose from her throne and flared her wings. “I don’t think so.” She leapt down so she and Grogar were on the same level, glaring at him with fury that would’ve given a cockatrice pause. “If you really are Grogar, give me one reason why I shouldn’t have Discord bring my friends here to send you back into banishment where you belong.”

Grogar roared and slammed a hoof against the barrier, sending a ripple of pain through Twilight’s skull. “Release me! I have done nothing to provoke this hostility.”

Twilight deadpanned. “‘The Father of Monsters.’ ‘The Tyrant of Tambelon.’ You didn’t exactly earn those titles by being benevolent, did you?”

“Oh!” Discord exclaimed, raising his paw high. “Don’t forget the ‘Scourge of the Seven Realms!’”

“You said it yourself,” Grogar spat, butting his horns against the shield. “That was millennia ago. I have had a great deal of time to think as I watched history unfold. Besides, I am powerless without my Bewitching Bell. If I had malintent, why would I have come here without any means to defend myself?”

“He, uh, does have a point,” Spike said.

“I don’t care,” Twilight said, sweat beading on her brow. “We don’t know what Grogar can do. And Equestria was nearly destroyed less than a month ago—thanks to his magic, no less. I’m not taking any chances. Everything I’ve ever read about him paints him as nothing but evil.”

Grogar narrowed his eyes, his glare penetrating Twilight like light through a window. “The same could be said for the Pony of Shadows, could it not?”

Twilight’s ears flattened. Her scowl softened to a frown. “That’s different. Stygian was corrupted by darkness because his pain made him vulnerable. All of the horrible things you did were by your own free will.”

“And there is living proof in this very room that such a creature can change.”

“Really? Where?” Discord said, lifting the throne and looking under it. “Is Starlight Glimmer hiding in here somewhere?” He dove into the pool of water that trickled nearby and emerged from the pool on the opposite side of the throne. He lifted his snorkel and said, “Or Sunset Shimmer, perhaps?”

Twilight grimaced so hard she felt her cheeks strain. “Okay, okay, I get it. That still doesn’t give me a good reason to believe that Grogar is any different now than he was when he was banished.”

White-hot agony lanced her brain as Grogar rammed the dome. “Perhaps if you granted me a free moment to speak as I have requested, you might find reason!”

A small claw grabbed Twilight’s shoulder. She looked down at Spike, whose frown reached his eyes. “Twilight, I know that we can’t exactly trust him, but shouldn’t we at least hear what he has to say? Maybe he really has changed. And even if he hasn’t, we’ve got an all-powerful Lord of Chaos for backup.”

“Quite right,” Discord said, peeling a starburst from a stained-glass window and eating it. “I’m not just here to chew the scenery, you know.”

Biting her lip, Twilight met Spike’s gaze. Her eyes drifted down to the medal around his neck. It shone in the light of her magic. She gave Spike a little nod before teleporting back to the throne with him in tow. “Alright, Grogar,” she said, releasing her magic. “You have my attention.”

“Finally,” Grogar grumbled. He lifted his head high, and his jaw visibly clenched. “Princess Twilight Sparkle, I come before you today to propose an alliance.”

At that, Twilight quirked an eyebrow. “An alliance? Why?”

Grogar’s sigh sounded like it had been waiting millennia for the right moment. “I had hoped it would be obvious, but clearly your judgment is clouded.” His eyes suddenly sharpened, taking on a nearly academic shine. “Ever since I assisted in the release of Nightmare Moon, you and your friends have been gaining power. I have—”

“Back up,” Twilight went to say, but Spike beat her to it. “You helped Nightmare Moon escape?!”

Raising a stony eyebrow, Grogar said, “Would you have preferred that I hadn’t?”

Twilight’s mouth went dry and her gaze fell to the carpet. “Continue,” she said, her voice a ghost of itself.

“As I was saying”—Grogar turned and paced towards the statue that still lay behind him—“from my starlight prison, I have borne witness to all of your victories. Time and again, powers beyond your ken rose to darken Equestria. And each time, you and your friends triumphed over impossible odds, growing ever stronger for it.” He regarded one of the stained-glass windows with hollow eyes.

“And I could only spectate. Spectate, and ponder.” He wheeled around to face the statue. “Were I to oppose you—even with my Bewitching Bell—I would inevitably fail, and one of two fates would befall me.” He gestured to the immutable forms of Chrysalis, Cozy Glow, and Tirek. “Eradication.” His hoof moved to point at Discord, who was knitting a licorice sweater bearing Fluttershy's likeness. “Or redemption.”

“Hmph,” Discord hmphed. “You’re smarter than I remember.”

Grogar rolled his eyes. “Of these two options, one is objectively better than the other.” He turned to face Twilight again. “So I choose to skip the conflict entirely. There is no point in fighting a war in which the outcome is decided before it begins.”

Twilight beheld the ancient emperor gormlessly, trying and failing to process his words. “I don’t understand. Back when you were in power, all you did was spread hatred and fear. For centuries. Do you really expect me to believe that you’d abandon your ideals, just like that?”

“You have good reason to doubt my intentions,” Grogar said, arching his back, “and I will admit that I do not expect to adjust well to a world where anguish and terror have been replaced by rainbows and tea parties.” He spat the last words like they might burn his tongue.

“Oh, at least give them a fair chance!” Discord called, launching a volley of cucumber sandwiches at the ram’s face. They bounced off his muzzle and flopped to the ground.

Grogar stomped the refreshments into pastel paste. “However, it is clear to anyone who has been paying attention that you are on the right side of history. Those who deny such are either too foolish to understand it or too stubborn to admit it. I refuse to be either. I would rather my name be glorified and remembered than consigned to the dark annals of failure. Hence, an alliance.” He extended a hoof and glared through Twilight, waiting.

Twilight’s muzzle scrunched like she’d taken a whiff of sulfur. “I see.” She glanced down to Spike, and he returned her quizzical stare. Her mouth pulled in a taut line. Craning her head upwards, she said, “Discord, could you keep an eye on him? I need a minute.”

“With pleasure,” Discord said, grinning like a wealthy Diamond Dog. He plucked one eye from its socket and hurled it at Grogar. It clung to his coat like a bur.

Meeting Grogar’s dark eyes, Twilight gave a brittle smile and said, “I’ll be right back.” The world flashed magenta.


In a pop and a blink, Twilight and Spike appeared in her royal suite. “He’s using us,” Twilight blurted, already pacing.

Spike hopped up on her bed. “How do you mean?”

“Didn’t you hear what he said? All he wants is to be remembered—to not be on the losing side. He doesn’t actually care about friendship or harmony, except as a means to an end. He hasn’t changed at all!”

Spike sucked a breath through his teeth. “When you put it like that, it does sound pretty bad.”

“There’s no other way to put it!” Twilight shouted, punctuating it with a stomp. Spike flinched. Seeing that, Twilight reined herself in as best she could and continued, a smoldering fire fueling her voice, “He’s opportunistic. Sure, he’ll play nice and try to win our trust. We might even start to believe him. But the next time some horrible monster tries to take over Equestria? Boom! Stabbed right between the wings!”

Scratching the back of his neck, Spike said, “Okay, maybe. Probably. But we don't know much about him apart from the stuff in books, right?”

“That's all I need to know.” Twilight paused at the window, observing Canterlot below. Creatures of all types wandered to and fro, smiling in the shadow of the castle. “Even after seeing what friendship can do, he doesn't believe in it. If watching all of our victories didn't convince him that friendship is more than just a tool, nothing will.”

“Maybe he's never tried to make any friends. Everyone deserves a chance to do that, right?”

Twilight looked to Spike. He wrung his claws together, only weakly meeting her gaze, as though afraid of what he might find there.

Closing her eyes, Twilight let out a shaky sigh. “Of course. But even if he legitimately wanted to make friends, how could we trust him when the foundation for that friendship isn’t genuine?” She shook her head. “I've made that mistake before. I can’t make it again.” Sudden heat filled her eyes, like an old wound bursting open.

Heavy silence dominated the room. Spike jumped down from the bed and stepped up to Twilight's side, placing a familiar claw on her shoulder. “Cozy Glow was never honest with us—Grogar is. We know what he wants, so we can work around that. He might be starting off on the wrong hoof, but the fact that he’s willing to start at all is huge. More than we ever got from any other villain.” Despite everything, Spike managed a tiny smile. “And who knows? Maybe he’ll really like friendship once he gives it a try!”

Twilight’s frown didn’t waver. She looked briefly to her desk, where her Book of Memories lay open to a page she couldn't make out. A small pang struck her heart. Turning her droopy eyes back on Spike, she said, “Do you really believe he can change?”

Spike snorted. “Honestly? No.” He squeezed her shoulder tighter. “But, hey, we’ve done the impossible before. And if anypony can help him, it’s you.”

For a moment, Twilight didn’t do anything. The scales in her mind weighed her bricks of thought rigorously, remaining in almost perfect balance. She pulled out of Spike’s grasp and walked over to her dresser, casually glancing across the many framed pictures before landing on the mirror, pondering her own reflection. She tried to imagine looking at herself like this with the knowledge that she had refused someone’s friendship, no matter the reason.

She couldn’t do it.

“Okay,” she whispered. She straightened her back and pivoted to Spike with a smile. She wrapped him in a quick hug, saying nothing more. Pulling in one steady breath, she lit her horn, picturing the throne room in her mind's eye.


They appeared just in time for a parade of ginseng pouches to float past them, singing their chipper melody. Twilight looked across the room to where Discord, Grogar, and Fluttershy sat around a pink dining table—Fluttershy trembled so fiercely that the tea in her teacup had doubtlessly spilled out long ago.

Discord grinned at Twilight and splayed his arms in a welcoming gesture. “Ah, right on time! I was just about to regale our guest with the wonders of raspberry scones. Please, come join us!” He held out a plate of pastries that made a horrible, raspy racket as they grated across the porcelain.

Grogar's coal-like eyes bored into Twilight. He threw his teacup to the floor and said, “I take it you have come to a consensus.”

Fluttershy simply said, “Please help.”

Twilight offered her a sad smile. “It’s alright, Fluttershy. You have nothing to be afraid of.” She leapt from the dais, gliding down to where Grogar stood. Holding her head high, she regarded him warmly and said, “Grogar, I hereby accept your offer of friendship”—the ram’s lip curled at the word, but he didn’t interrupt—“on one condition.”

He snorted and rolled his eyes. “I will make no attempt to retrieve my Bewitching Bell,” he growled.

A few gears clicked into place in Twilight’s head. “Okay, two conditions. That, and you have to enroll in the School of Friendship.”

Grogar suddenly advanced, his mountainous frame casting Twilight in a grim shadow. “I will do nothing of the sort! You would dare subject a being of my stature to such cruel humiliation?! Surely you have a more dignified position that I might hold.”

Twilight stood ironclad. “Until you understand the real value of friendship? No, I don’t.”

“I understand it perfectly fine,” Grogar spat, the veins in his neck bulging. “It is by choice that I do not utilize it. I will tolerate your philosophy, and I respect the power it commands, but I have no need for such folly. It is a waste of time for one such as I.”

For a split second, Twilight didn’t see Grogar standing there. Instead she saw a lonely little unicorn—one who had dismissed friendship out of hoof in favour of something she had deemed more important. Twilight blinked, and the image was gone.

She frowned. “You might think you understand it, but you don’t. Not until you actually make a friend.” She shrugged and extended a hoof. “At any rate, it’s that or back into imprisonment. Your choice.”

Grogar snarled, looking at Twilight’s hoof like it were poisonous. He made a grinding, savage sound that could only loosely be called a groan. “Phrased as such, it is no choice at all.” His titanic hoof grasped hers and shook it.

Twilight grinned.

“Huzzah!” Discord proclaimed, exploding in a burst of Bewitching Bell-shaped confetti. He appeared at Grogar’s side and slung an arm across his shoulders. “Welcome to the club, you caprine codger. You’re going to absolutely hate it here—until you don’t, that is. Now, Fluttershy”—his other arm stretched out and yanked Fluttershy into the huddle—“why don’t we head over to the school to begin the orientation process? Give your new student the old rigamarole, eh?” He squeezed both of them closer. “Oh, this is going to be so much fun.”

Fluttershy blanched, looking between all the creatures in the room. “What just happened?”

Twilight giggled, giving Spike a one-arm hug. “The start of something special.” She smiled at Grogar, whose eyes scorched her very soul.

“I hope,” she added.

Author's Note:

Just some brain candy that I cobbled together in a few hours. Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it!

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Comments ( 81 )

I liked it, i always wondered after the finale what happened to the real Grogar

An interesting short. I really enjoyed your descriptions. You have a really nice handle when it comes to simply painting the world around the ponies in a captivating way. And for face expressions, magic too etc.

Absolutely LOVED the dialogue between (the real) Grogar, Twilight and Discord. Yeah, Grogar made some good points about being pragmatic enough to know his chances against Twilight and her friends and Twilight, while understandably suspicious at first, is at least willing to give a fair chance.

I love this dynamic already.

Dear Twilight,

If you allow the Council of Smashing, then you get to regulate Smashing.

This could be a good thing.

--Spade

my only gripe is that this is a one-shot
this idea has so much potential
i wanna read about grogar attempting reformation
and should he succeed, maybe a few chapters' worth of that

Please make a sequel. There must be a sequel! Who will become Grogars friend? I must know! :fluttercry:

He gestured to the immutable forms of Chrysalis, Cozy Glow, and Tirek. “Eradication.”

:fluttershyouch:

DId you absolutely have to use that word in reference to those three?

I can imagine this being how Grogar (the real one that is) would've been portrayed on the show had this actual scenario come up.

This is interesting! There's just one tiny problem: This CAN'T be completed! This story needs to continue, it'd be an awesome trip to see Grogar learn about friendship.

:trixieshiftright:You have created a MONSTER!!! You must finish it or it will finish you.

9944072
Same here! That's a large part of why I wanted to write this—especially since Grogar seems like such an interesting character to me. Glad you enjoyed it!

9944086
Thank you so much! I fret a lot over my descriptions, wondering whether I'm ever going overboard or not detailing enough. It means a lot to hear that you enjoyed that aspect.

9944093
Dialogue is always so fun to write, and these characters play off of each other so well that it often writes itself. Happy you enjoyed it!

9944142
This is an extremely valid point. Twilight should probably consider that the next time the yaks come around.

9944178
Admittedly, I played around with a few different choices for which word to use there. I settled on that one since it just felt appropriate coming from Grogar. It's a harsh descriptor, but he's a harsh character.

9944182
Happy to hear that! I typically strive for a show-accurate tone in my stories, so I'm glad I hit that mark.

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I hear y'all loud and clear! I knew once I finished writing it that this feels more like the start of a longer piece than a complete story itself. I considered expanding it, but I wasn't sure how receptive people would be to this idea in general. Judging by the response so far, I had little to fear in that regard.

I can't promise that I'll continue this story anytime soon since I have other projects I'd like to work on first, but a sequel is definitely on the table. There's a lot of potential in exploring Grogar's (mis)adventures at the School of Friendship—and in Equestria in general. I had a lot of fun writing this story on its own, and I've got a fair few ideas for how a sequel might play out. Bear with me, though. I'm a slow writer.:twilightblush:

Glad you all enjoyed it!

9944318
i only hope that it happens
also, any ideas for Autumn Blaze in the school?

I liked that! I would love to see some sort of sequel to this. :pinkiehappy:

I quite like Grogar in this. I could go on a spiel describing the intricacies I see in his character, but I've done enough typing for today. With that said, I'm hoping, if you continue this story, that you don't force Grogar down the path of friendship; it just isn't for him. Rather, it seems like it'd be more interesting to have a character whose sole purpose is to take kindness, laughter, loyalty, generosity, and honesty and throw it back in the recipient's face. With the exception of Discord, I can't think of any character in MLP that he would actually get along with.

a few hours later
"Okay, THIRD condition, for the both of you. Hold your skeleton/ghost/custard/napalm fight SOMEWHERE ELSE. And by that I do not mean 'on the other side of Mount Canter'."

more please?

I kind of liked the vibe Twilight gave here, in that she doesn't really seem to be the type to unhesitatingly give others like Grogar a chance, on account of him not really feeling much in the way of regret, aside from failure, and she also strikes me as being a Twilight who knows that there are... lost causes. Twilight did kill Sombra, after all, and it's not like she never tried with Tirek, or Chrysalis, and I kinda doubt she lost much sleep over Sombra, in either case, regarding the outcomes.

Still, giving it a go could indeed be worth it. Not really expecting him to go full Starlight or Sunset on us, regarding turnaround (the former did change a lot, y'know), but there's a lot more promise in this endeavor than with say, Chrysalis (I can't for the life of me imagine Spike vouching for her, for glaringly obvious reasons, and I'm not convinced Twilight can forgive her, for how viscerally personal it got).

I like how Grogar realized how it's probably ultimately fruitless to try going down the path the others went, so he'll try "redemption" for selfish/pragmatic reasons... at least initially. It strikes me as interesting, where it might go. Is he quite "powerless," as in no magic, or is that just in comparison to the others (which yeah, Twilight is very powerful, so is Discord)? It was mentioned he influenced Nightmare Moon getting free.

Discord's appearance was well-done here (why wouldn't Grogar be annoyed by the impersonation? lol), with the casual summoning of the statue to check.

“Maybe he's never tried to make and friends. Everyone deserves a chance to do that, right?”

I think you meant "any," not "and."

I love villains that show honest intellect.

Good story, though other than Discord, Celestia or Luna, I imagine Grogar has very few beings who could relate to him, like a grumpy old man with only small children around them to make friends with.

A couple typos

"Twilight herself in as best she could" - This is missing word
“Maybe he's never tried to make and friends. " - *any

I like the idea of Grogar being something utterly pragmatic, and utterly honest. Which in a strange way would make him very difficult to befriend, as he, honestly, tells this or that being his exact opinion on whatever topic. If Grogar thinks you are a stupid waste of oxygen, he will tell you quite plainly that you are a stupid waste of oxygen. Discord reformed because he's inherently changeable, Grogar is a basalt monolith waiting for the nuisances to die of old age.

One thing's for sure, nothing is going to happen until he finds someone worth respecting, and the first step towards that will be someone who respects him.

“Or Sunset Shimmer, perhaps?”

"Hang on, do rainbows to the face invalidate the 'by your free will' part? Because that could rule out Condiment Mane and yours truly."

Wait, starlight prison? Was Grogar sealed in Capricorn? (Also, fascinating take on the stars aiding in her escape.)

Brilliant way to answer one of the larger questions hanging over the finale: What happened to the goat? And Twilight's decision is perfect for her. Sorry, Grogar, but an alliance requires give and take, and you've let the other party know you're desperate. Not surprising that the Father of Monsters doesn't have a lot of negotiation experience.

Thank you for this, and best of luck in the... Whoops, sorry, force of habit. :derpytongue2: Though this is a delightful take on that prompt.

Everyone seems to like how you portrayed Grogar in this.

I love how you portrayed Spike in this. Royal advisor, through and through, even when his advice is against both his and Twilight's gut instincts.

Ah, one of my all-time favorite Tropes. The dreaded Heel-Face Turn. Honestly, the only thing I like about post-reform Discord... But Grogar, I'm sure, will take a longer, more drawn-out process, and will end up all the better for it. Since "honest neutrality" is better in my book than "chaotic with a Morality Chain".

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Ship him through the mirror to hang out with the shadowbolts? Imagine him interacting with Sugarcoat.

"So..." Starlight Glimmer moved her ficus to the other side of the principal's desk next to the 'Best Headmare Ever' mug full of empathy cocoa and just observed Twilight for a moment. There were twitches, and sprung up hairs, as well as that creepy smile to observe, which really did not proclaim 'The Princess of the Realm is Sane' in any kind of body language. Instead of calling for the School Counselor (which would not have helped Twilight's stress level, since Starlight Glimmer had not found a way to break the news about Trixie's new job to Twilight Sparkle yet), she let out her breath and asked, "How can the School of Friendship help you?"

"I've... got a new student for you," started Twilight before rolling right into her next question. "Do you remember when we talked a few months ago about how I had been so angry that Princess Celestia would pawn off her problems on me, and you said it was because she was testing to see if I'd be a good princess at first, and to see how good a job I'd do with ruling the kingdom later, and I laughed and laughed?

"Yes..." started Starlight Glimmer slowly.

"Well, I just wanted to say congratulations ahead of time and to get preening lessons from Rainbow Dash when you have a chance because here's your new student and good luck!"

There was a flash of purple, and Twilight Sparkle was gone. There was, however, a creature remaining in her place.

Starlight took a cautious sip of her cocoa, let out her breath, and made her best attempt at a smile. "Welcome to our school?"

Spike used my usual argument...

I could think Grogar counter...

"I will also have a condition... If I need to go, Discord should go"

And see who give up first, him, Discord or Twilight

9944764
Indeed, it has become quite the cliche of the scheming liar of a villain (the moustache twirling sort). That makes Grogar more scary, he's not hiding his way of thinking nor sugarcoating his stance towards the rest and that speaks volumes of his confidence

(ahem)
ARGONMATRIX

9945190
"So.... I take it YOU are this Starlight Glimmer I've heard so much about. A once iron hoofed ruler of a cultist town turned into a casual Headmare? I am Grogar the former Emperor of all of Equestria. Father of Monsters and Ruler of All. I trust that you will be able to assist me in my..... (ahem) Rehabilitation.

9944841

I'd say that he does have "negotiation" experience, of the "give me the thing or the bugbear eats your face/family" variety. I think that's why he's going along with this, because as far as he knows this is how negotiation/compromise works.

Might makes right.

Ironically, keeping him in this probationary state will also mean that he assumes that might still makes right, and Twilight is simply indulging the hypocritical privilege her power grants her.

9944318
I couldn't have written a better canon version of Grogar myself. Might I suggest a potential friend for the Father of Monsters? I think Starlight might be an interesting choice to pair up with Grogar. I mostly say this because I believe they could really bounce off of each other relatively well. Besides, Starlight seems to have a knack for understanding ex-villains (except understandably Discord).

9945164
Hello new ship.

Grogar x Starswirl friendshipping sequel when? :raritywink:

9944343
I'm not entirely convinced that Autumn Blaze would need to go to the school, but I'm all for more Best Kirin.

9944412
I honestly don't know whether Grogar would take to friendship. I'd obviously have to figure that out if/when I write a sequel to this, but I could see it going either way.

9944482
Probably not anytime soon, but there's enough interest that I'd be remiss not to continue it at some point!

9944718
Fixed the typos; thank you! As for beings Grogar can relate to, the ones you mentioned are definitely the most obvious candidates—but I think there could be some interesting dynamics between him and other characters, too. Whether that would translate to any kind of friendship, I'm not so sure.

9944764
That's the exact picture of Grogar I hoped to paint while writing this. Glad it came through so clearly!

9944841

Was Grogar sealed in Capricorn?

My intention was Aries, but Capricorn also works! Maybe even both at once.

9944867
Thank you! Spike is far and away one of my favourite characters. I always enjoy writing him, and I've been told I have a knack for it. I haven't written him in some time though, so I wasn't sure if his portrayal here was up to snuff. Glad you thought it was!

9944950
Grogar definitely wouldn't be able to be reformed in the same way Discord was. It would definitely be a more gradual process, and it might not even work in the end. He's very set in his ways.

9945164
I'm terrible at writing Sugarcoat; otherwise I would absolutely want to do this.

9945403
Please don't hurt me!

9945654
The dynamic between Grogar and Starlight would definitely be interesting—and easy enough to realize, since he'd be at the School of Friendship anyway. Absolutely something I'll consider going forward!

9945831
Ooh, that one hadn't crossed my mind. But the more I think about it, the more intriguing it becomes!

9944178

I mean, it's not like they didn't earn it. They were either offered a chance (or several), or did things too heinous and dangerous to try and allow a chance for.

Redemption only works if someone wants to be redeemed. If you extend your hand at their vulnerable moment and show them you're willing to help instead of hurt them, and they spit in your face, it's pretty clear next time you meet it'll be on their terms and you'll be the vulnerable one so they can hurt you - no offer of friendship. They don't want to be redeemed, they already believe they're right and you're wrong. They want to destroy, dominate, kill, and rule the ashes.

Putting them in pony Hell was already a kindness. 'Plop your butt down here and maybe after awhile you'll want redemption.'

They got out and tried to destroy Equestria again. So they got what they earned. Eradication.

9945938
Right, I've done this a million times already so I'll just go over my major talking points all at once.

  1. No one has ever made an offer of friendship to TIrek, except perhaps Scorpan more than a thousand years ago, and even that is vague. Not a single pony in the modern times has ever attempted to reach out to him or understand him or see if there is more to him, although we the audience know that, in fact, there is; case and point, his catching a falling bird and then helping it fly off again in "The Summer Sun Setback" suggests that he is capable of mercy and kindness.
  2. An offer of friendship was extended once to Chrysalis. It consisted of three short sentences from Starlight Glimmer at a moment when Starlight had played a direct role in taking everything Chrysalis had ever had from her, including but not limited to blowing up her home. The idea that Chrysalis would be in a mental or emotional state to accept friendship then is stretching at best. After that she spent time alone in the woods, utterly harmless (as her last solo evil scheme shows, since it defeated itself without anypony even being aware of it happening). We saw that she was cripplingly lonely given that she was making up people to talk to. Then she was dragged to Discord's lair and commanded to work with Tirek and Cozy to take over Equestria while Discord reinforced her megalomaniacal tendencies. We cannot know what would have happened if she had been left alone at this point, we only know that what happened is because of Discord.
  3. No one ever extended an offer of friendship to Cozy Glow, period, who revealed at the end of "School Raze" to have a fundamentally flawed understanding of friendship. Twilight only said that she (Twilight) had failed and then immediately threw the child into Tartaros, without actually making any kind of follow-up offer of friendship, offer to try and teach her again, or anything. She is a child, and "Frenemies" shows pretty clearly how useless her supposed silver tongue is when faced with a pony who has no interest in helping her (and Rusty Bucket isn't even aware of her true nature and genuinely wants to be helpful to her otherwise). Sending her to Tartaros was fucked up no matter what she'd done already. Petrifying her after she'd spent months with three maniacs all telling her that her superiority complex is justified and she does deserve to take over Equestria, is simply denying responsibility.
  4. At no point during the finale does any creature make any attempt to reach out to the trio. Not a single hoof or hand or claw is held out. No one questions them, seeks to understand them, or offers them a better way, they simply take their actions at face value.
  5. At the conclusion of the finale, Twilight is in a position of absolute power over the villains, who are in a position of absolute weakness. She does not extend an offer of friendship, she only expresses friendship as power and then stands blithely aside while Celestia, Luna, and Discord petrify the trio.
  6. The lack of effort to redeem the trio stands in stark contrast to the effort put into redeeming Discord (who in "keep Calm and Flutter On" openly, plainly, and repeatedly mocked the idea that he could be redeemed), Starlight Glimmer (who only evinced any kind of regret after repeated attempts by Twilight to reach her), and Tempest Shadow (who had expressed zero regret at her deeds, openly mocked the idea of friendship in song form, and indeed had just finished professing a complete willingness to continue conquering kingdoms for the Storm King).
  7. Tempest Shadow bears particular focus because at a moment of absolute weakness of Twilight, without her alicorn powers, when faced with a choice to either grab the Staff of Sacanas and reverse everything the Storm King had done to Equestria, or else grab Tempest and save her from certain death but to no other benefit, Twilight chose to save Tempest, again, despite Tempest expressing and displaying no regret whatsoever at any of her past actions and a complete willingness to continue to act as she had. Basically, Twilight from the movie and Twilight from the finale are incompatible characters; they evince fundamentally different ideals and values. One was willing to sacrifice all of Equestria to save a single pony who didn't deserve to be saved, the other is willing to allow the summary execution of her enemies even though staying that execution would put no one in any risk due to her position of absolute power. The difference is that movie-Twilight is actually in line with the character she displays throughout the rest of the series; finale-Twilight isn't.
  8. This lack of effort also stands in apparent contradiction to the recent episode "Daring Done", where Fluttershy states in plain terms that every creature is deserving of kindness and every creature should be listened to so that their true motives can be ascertained, as they are not always what they appear to be even to themselves. "Daring Done" and "The Ending of the End" are teaching diametrically opposed lessons; they can't both be right. Nominally the latter is better written, but the former is more in-line thematically and narratively with the nine seasons and one movie of Friendship is Magic that preceded it.
  9. Tirek and Cozy did not "get out" of Pony Hell. They were broken out by Discord. We have no reason to believe that Cozy could escape under her own power, and Tirek only managed one escape after being imprisoned for more than a thousand years, and that only when the guardian of Tartaros left his post and left the door open. Chrysalis, meanwhile, was never in Tartaros, or even captured by the heroes. We do not know if she is capable of escaping under her own power or not, but we are not given a reason to think she could have.
  10. From a storytelling standpoint, as Discord was introduced as the literal opposite of Harmony and Friendship, there is no point to redeeming him unless it is to send the message that everyone is capable of friendship, everyone can be redeemed. You are approaching the series from a fundamentally wrong standpoint if you honestly believe that the three were incapable of friendship or redemption, like someone looking for Shinto wisdom in The Lord of the Rings.
  11. Even within the context of the episode itself, the Bewitching Bell was right there. It was within the powers of the heroes to take away Chrysalis' shapeshifting, TIrek's magic stealing, and Cozy's flight. Starlight Glimmer could also take away Cozy's cutie mark, which demonstrably makes ponies pretty inept. The heroes could then have put a modicum of effort into trying to reach out to the trio, the same effort they'd demonstrated themselves as being willing to do with Discord. Instead they take the easy way out.
  12. This really bears repeating and bolding: Twilight was in a position of absolute power over the trio, who were themselves in a position of absolute weakness. It would have cost Twilight absolutely nothing but a few minutes of her time to land instead of hovering over them like a judgmental god, explain how the three of them could try and make friends, and hold out her hoof. Instead, Twilight simply expresses friendship in terms of it being a raw multiplicative power, and then lets the princesses and Discord petrify the trio. The lesson learned is that when you have absolute power over a defeated foe, you should kick them while they're down. If you don't, they might get back up.
  13. Despite being the architect of the entire scheme who's Plan A was to show up and trash Twilight's coronation, Discord receives no punishment whatsoever, even though this is the fifth time that he had played a direct, deliberate role in an attempt to take over/destroy Equestria, three of which are after his supposed "reformation" in "Keep Calm and Flutter On", with absolutely zero indication that he won't pull something like this again (after all, he didn't learn the first three times). It is hypocritical in the extreme that the ponies had access to Grogar's Bewitching Bell and yet chose to return the full breadth of his powers to him instead of putting him on some kind of probation until he matures; yet decide to petrify in apparent perpetuity the trio despite none of them committing crimes on any larger a scale than Tempest Shadow or Discord

Oh PLEASE please PLEASE please pLeAsE pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaze write more, I NEED the slice of life adventures of Grogar attensing friendship school with a bunch of kiddos 🤣🤣🤣

9945938
And now for one specific point.

If you extend your hand at their vulnerable moment and show them you're willing to help instead of hurt them, and they spit in your face, it's pretty clear next time you meet it'll be on their terms and you'll be the vulnerable one so they can hurt you - no offer of friendship. They don't want to be redeemed, they already believe they're right and you're wrong. They want to destroy, dominate, kill, and rule the ashes.

Twilight should have petrified Starlight Glimmer outside of Our Town if she'd had the chance. She should have let Tempest Shadow die and gone for the Staff of Sacanas instead. That is exactly what you are telling me, exactly how this logic train works. I'll respect you more if you own up to this fact rather than try and dodge it; since even though I'll find it repugnant it will at least be consistent in application.

9945910

Grogar has a point. Does Twilight think forcing an eldery dark lord to go to school and make friends with children is going to help?

This is fantastic. Every character was portrayed excellently and fit their roles in the story like a glove. Count me among the many looking forward to a sequel whenever you get there!

9946186

It really won't, but operating under the logic of "might makes right" as he is, he'll do it anyway.

Im eager to think that you based this fic in the video of grogar by the brony notion, and I like it!

9946186
It likely won't turn him around completely, but it could be a good first step. Grogar has a fundamentally flawed idea of what friendship is—Twilight has a school that teaches the value of friendship. It's a logical place to start, and Twilight is nothing if not logical!

9946014
Why is this comment getting downvotes? He's right with basically every single point he made.
Holy shit.

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