• Member Since 25th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen June 1st

SoloBrony


I'm here to help. Avatar image courtesy of Taggerung

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This story is a sequel to The Mirror


Check out the blogpost to see the full Cozy Hero continuity this builds on.


It's time for Cozy Glow to get back out in the real world and figure out where she fits into Equestria. She's tried superheroics, supervillainy, and accidentally destroyed the world; now she has to try being normal. Yeah, probably not.

The story of a foal once thought beyond redemption, trying to find a way to fit into society and be okay with herself and her past. But this is not just Cozy's story; her actions and experiences will have a serious impact on the lives and directions of the many ponies she comes into contact with – especially her best friend, Sunset Shimmer, and her adoptive mother, Luna.


Serious thanks to Wanderer D for helping me with this. To say he was prereading would be a gross understatement. If you're one of the few people who haven't discovered him, what are you waiting for? Get over there and follow.

Thanks to Cackling Moron and Nyronus for prereading, your commentary and discussion helped keep this train running.

This story was written at a blazing fast pace for its size and complexity, and is, in many ways, my loveletter to MLP:FIM and the Brony community. Thanks to all of you for being here, being great people, and generally supporting each other.

Chapters (31)
Comments ( 248 )

Then my world was a tumbling blur of dark-blue. It took me a second  to register that I’d just been tackled by somepony very familiar.

“Mom?!”

Luna clutched me tightly. “Oh, sweetie, we thought something had happened to you!”

Seconds in and I am reliving the feels of the end of the Isekai chapter, you bastard.

Plus, though I would never, ever admit it to anypony, ever, I was enjoying all of the close contact.

Haha, this, line, relatable? Touch starved? What's that, haha.

"Well, Discord told us about Cozy getting better, so when I saw you and Sunset heading this way I thought 'oh Cozy must be arriving today and they're all going to be so happy and I should see if Cozy wants a welcome-to-Ponyville party but she might be super-sad and freaked out so maybe not' but then I got here and I heard her say she was fine – though it was a little weird she used third person to say that but Pinkie Pie won't judge – and then she seemed to be happy getting hugs so I decided to hug her too so she'd know she's welcome!"

Oh Ponks, never change.

Luna paused for a moment before replying. "Alright, I am finished." She disengaged from the hug, and I nodded, also slipping away. "Yep, I'm out."

Awww, spoilsports.

Luna cleared her throat, setting a hoof on my shoulder. "Actually, I moved here. I realize that may be a shock, but after seeing your life in the other timeline, I decided it would likely be better for both of us."

And now I imagining this is just going to add to the perpetual weirdness that is Ponyville.

"Lyra, what's going on?" "Oh, Discord apparently is having some kind of personal crisis and is turning everyone into random animals to bolster his self confidence. Luna's trying to stop him while Fluttershy and Rainbowdash are arguing over how best to handle the problem." "Okay, but what's Celestia doing, then?" "Having too much fun from the looks of it." "Right. When's dinner going to be ready?"

I started at that, trying to process it. Right, remember, this  isn't 'home'. Not the way you think of it. A lot is probably different... and I guess Luna wants to make sure I don't isolate myself  now that I can't do my superhero thing.

She knows that if you spend too long in your own head you'll just go straight back to villainy.

First line was an oof, second was a "Not this bitch again."

"Of course, dear. Whenever you need her – and frankly probably quite a bit more than that. She's quite outgoing, you know."

We  shared a chuckle at that; Celestia knew how to put the 'tiring' into  'retiring', as mom had said it a few times, always finding new crazy antics to get up to. Sunset snickered as well, and said, "Well, as much  as I don't want to break this up, we should probably go get that armor put up, huh? Luna asked me to show you around Ponyville; a lot's changed  since you were here last."

I cracked up at this.

Man... thinking on it for a hot second though at it feels so weird how easily these two slipped back into this relationship that kind of only happened to one of them. I wonder if any horrible drama will arise from that.

That's one funny little scene. A sass-off !

I giggled, and she joined me. "I would have liked to see that. It was surreal living through the start of that fight as another me , but it was worth it just to see you rush out to confront him like that. You've got some serious guts."

Or a deathwish!

"I can't help it," I said with a shrug, "if somepony as rotten as me  could get better, I have to believe everypony else can do it, too."

I blushed slightly as I realized how negative my phrasing was, but Cozy just nodded. "I can see how that works."

No one comments on this right away, but man, there is some dark context to this exchange.

But everyone is gonna be better now... right?

... right?

I mentally chided myself for the slip-up. Cozy snickered at me. "Must be weird swapping between two species all the time, huh?"

"Oh, it's not so—hey, wait a minute, I never told you about that!"

I eyed her suspiciously, but Cozy just waved a hoof dismissively. "It's a long story. I'd just blame Discord if I were you."

Pfft. I keep forgetting the Isekai chapter is canon and it keeps coming back up and surprising me.

To my surprise, though, Cozy looked at the mare calmly and raised an eyebrow. "They said I was too adorable and it ruined the image; your ugly face would make a good replacement."

Savage Perk Activated

Cozy nodded to herself. "Saddlebags and the hat to make you look like  you're here to work, but no construction pony would be caught without a safety vest in Ponyville. Not after the Pinkie Pie balloon fiasco,  anyway. And the accent tells me Canterlot, which means you're visiting here with saddlebags but don't want anypony to look too closely..."

The mare's eyes shot wide, and she bolted. Cozy grinned viciously. "Oh, somepony has definitely been naughty."

I stammered a bit, desperate to keep Cozy from figuring out what was actually going on. Not appropriate for fillies! "Er, we should just let her go, Cozy. It's not a big deal."

Cozy  looked at me, puzzlement clear on her face. "What? She's cheating on  her special somepony, right? Anypony could figure that out."

I went scarlet. "Who on Earth told you about that stuff?!"

There was a lot of places I considered this was going, and this was not one of them.

I didn't want to alienate her, but at the same time I couldn't help but feeling I'd unleashed a monster.

No, Sunset, you're enabling one. No one leashes or unleashes Cozy.

Cozy Glow is just an adorable cinnamon roll of aggression, she doesn't need protection.

Sage observation.

I smirked to myself as I laid out the ingredients for the Dragonheart potion. A few purchases – and evasive answers – to Zecora, a carefully-constructed alchemy kit, and some memorized information from my otherworldly 'withdrawals' from the Canterlot Archives had laid the groundwork for my return to power and superheroics!

Oh no.

You know you're in for a ride when the chapter opens with a 12 year old fakes symptoms for a prescription for an incredibly ominously named potion.

Starlight's eyes brightened as she perked up. "Oh, right! Twilight told me all about that. Really fascinating application of mixed magic theory, I really wanted to ask Discord about the details aaaaand that's not really the point right now, is it? Sorry."

You know, I feel like this really nailed Starlight's voice and when I read it I was instantly happy she was in this chapter just like when I would see her in an episode. Kudos.

"I know what you mean, on both counts. I can only imagine somepony  invading my privacy like that, but... well, this is serious, right? And we're only trying to help her; at this point, confronting her directly  about her past is likely to do more harm than good. Based on what you're saying, it might dredge up a lot of painful memories at a time when she  really doesn't need that."

Yes, yes, expose the emotionally unstable hyper intelligent suicidal twelve year old with a murderous vengeful streak to her past abusers when she's highly vulnerable and relying on you for trust and safety.

NOTHING CAN GO WRONG WITH THIS.

"It's for her benefit."

i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/facebook/000/023/021/e02e5ffb5f980cd8262cf7f0ae00a4a9_press-x-to-doubt-memes-memesuper-la-noire-doubt-meme_419-238.jpg

"Yeah. Just... be careful how you go about looking into it, okay?  Cozy's in a pretty vulnerable spot right now, the last thing she needs is to feel like she can't safely come to us for help—"

"HELP! HELP!"

IRONY STRIKES AGAIN!

"Celestia took a full day to get spores to stop growing through the school!"

Cozy glanced between the two of us uneasily. "Soooo, does that mean you don't have to tell mom?"

I smirked at her. "Not a chance, little filly."

Some delightful schoolyard comedy.

Shame it looks like everything is about to go horribly wrong.

When someone is miserable enough, the worst punishment they can get is a quiet, comfortable room with no distractions.

I came out to have a good time and I am honestly feeling so attacked right now.

Minor? 'Oh, gee, it turns out the filly who almost destroyed  Equestria was just fooling around with dangerous alchemy, didn't tell you about the stash of bits she brought over from the other timeline,  and clearly hasn't given up her lust for power!' That's probably what Sunset is telling her right now! You should have known you were already  on thin ice, so when Luna kicks you out you'll deserve every bit of it!

o/` I hate everything about this and wish I could shoot personifications of fictional characters’ emotions right now! o/`

Your real mom was right about you, you know.

I cringed and curled tighter.

No. Nonono—

It's  true. You couldn't even be obedient for a single day! You only accepted  Luna as your 'mom' because she didn't stand in your way! You're no daughter, just a monster, just like she said!

Hey, Evil Cozy, have you considered falling off of a fucking cliff?

... in retrospect that seems tactless but I stand by it.

[Basically everything from what the flashbacks start to when Luna pops in.]

Man, that was a mix of dregging up very specific unpleasant memories and things somehow bugfuck worse. Thanks, I fucking hate it.

"My meaning is that I do not ever wish you to be afraid of me, Cozy. Even when we have our differences, it is okay. I shan't pretend I never lose my temper, but I shall never intend to do so – not with you. Whatever I may say, it comes from a place of concern and love. Can you accept that?"

Oh wow, I'm crying.

The fuck, man.

Don't be an idiot. She wants you to stop thinking of yourself that way, not just stop saying it.

Oh hey, Evil Cozy is back with legit advice again. Christ, I can't believe I missed this.

Mom nodded, her smile still just as broad. "I know, dear. I know how important that is to you, and I support you in that. It's okay. You don't need to go behind my back to do that. We shall work up to that together."

Oh god, Luna is such a good mom.

"Yeah, it's just... I love you, Mom."

Crying again. Fuck.

I scuffed a hoof on the floor. "W-well, just, she gave me a home and made me feel safe when I felt like the world was out to get me. That's what I tried to do for other ponies as a hero."

The three of them paused. Their eyes went wide. Wait, what's happened? What is this?

"AWWWWWW!"

I cringed and waved a hoof frantically. "Nono, none of that! Come on, guuuuys!"

That whole interaction was great!

It was too late. They were all on me then, in a big, sappy, kill-me-now group hug. Sweetie's voice cracked as she spoke over the other two, "She just loves her moooom!"

Ooooh, I think I can see where this is going.
As slowly Cozy evacuates the darkness that is in her, the crystals will be spreading in her wings.
Now, how this will end up in something superheroic...
I have no clue ! Surprise me ! :)

*dies of laughter*

.... I don’t trust that mare an inch and I haven’t even read the rest of the Cozy Glow timeline.... good writing on your part but now I have heeby Jeebies

That was some very good Celestia writing!

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Wow, you FLEW through this story, huh? Fast reader. Interesting theory regarding her wings, too.

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Glad you two enjoyed it! Not everything can be high drama, hah.

10046161
Aww, skipped the rest, did you? But glad you're having a good time.

Yeah, Bree's a piece of work... based on some people I've unfortunately met.

10046165
I've always related to Celestia the most of the cast (Aside from perhaps Sunset Shimmer in other ways), so I have a good time writing her.

.... I think I need to re read this in the morning to describe the roller coaster I was on. But damn. Good chapter

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I know the feeling. Writing it was no walk in the park.

... well count me as second person who flew through.... on that note those black crystals fill me with dread...

Interesting, so both the hero stories and the mirror are canon to this.

Cozy nodded to herself. "Saddlebags and the hat to make you look like you're here to work, but no construction pony would be caught without a safety vest in Ponyville. Not after the Pinkie Pie balloon fiasco, anyway. And the accent tells me Canterlot, which means you're visiting here with saddlebags but don't want anypony to look too closely..."

Cozy would make for a fine detective.

Looks like the bold text is back, although it seems to be two different representations this time.

"I, uh... I guess I'm fourteen, now."

Huh, older then I thought, but I guess it makes sense.

Ah really like this chapter!!!

Dun dun dunnn.
Ah like the tanks.

Toy with my emotions like this, the nerve of some people.

You fight like a dairy farmer!

And yeah this is just fun, big fan of this.

Yay!! Happy Cozy ftw.

Man, and I thought Spoiled was bad.

I can't remember what my opinion on this was the first time but Sunset does remain lovely.

And it took me so long to notice the marks/POV thing! It's so seamless! Or I'm slow.

And go Cozy! Grow!

Oh Cozy, too clever by half - there's options! As you shall see, no doubt.

And oh Sunset, you grass.

Poor Cozy! And truly, to be trapped with your own thoughts bouncing back and forth, nibbling away at your brain. Here worse than most! And hints of unpleasantness, too. And that bold voice, what a fucker. Hmm.

The first of many occasions where I just want go give Cozy a hug and a cup of tea.

Still! She's doing good! Trying, learning. Even if on the inside she's, ah, unkind to herself.

And also rainbow Awww, I like that.

Actually, in retrospect, we don't really get back to this...

Still, good times. And good talks! More growth, more!

Nailed it. We've all seen or heard of someone like this, and they are indeed like this. Brr.

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Don't worry, we will.

Well clearly Celestia is the best. I'm an objective judge of this.

Also do like opinions on other villains. Even if I know nothing about them. But it's good they're not just BAD DUDE. Like it!

Still want an earth pony villain, feel we've been robbed.

And ah, this is nice. Understandably nervous, but a fine talk. Friendship indeed! It's magic, I hear.

It still does amuse me that this came up in discussion prior to me getting here, imagine my surprise!

Also imagine how much I enjoy how Cozy's natural strategic inclinations come into play!

That ending too. Oh my. Not Brie!

I see you, Bold Voice, I see you!

Don't think I don't notice you developing!

My ears slowly folded back in anticipation of some kind of loud outburst, but she said something. We just continued staring for several more seconds, and I saw one of her eyebrows slowly creep up.

Careful Cozy, Applejack has already unleashed her greatest weapon!

Applejack squinted into my eyes. "Why'd you do all that nasty stuff you did?"

Applejack: Queen of Tact

But that's not the truth, and this is the element of honesty speaking to us. So be truthful, if you even remember how.

You can tell it's Cozy because it's a solid through-line of thought. You can tell it's Evil Cozy because it's being a mondo bitch.

She laughed at that, rolling her eyes. "Little filly, you spent a year  in Tartarus, and then most of a year doin' whatever Discord was on about for your reformation. Now you look too scared to buy apples in the  Ponyville market; any pony with eyes can tell you're sorry, I don't need to hear you say it. Way I figure it, the punishin' and makin'  it up has to stop somewhere; I just wanted to understand ya'."

I don't know how to feel about Applejack just randomly putting Cozy on the spot and "lol, k" when she gets her answer but... that's a fairly solid line of reasoning, not gonna lie.

Applejack laughed at that and rolled her eyes. "Someday, you'll run across somepony who needs help, and you'll get it."

Or you'll keep making excuses about why their case is different from yours and keep on hating yourself anyway!

... What do you mean "oversharing?"

I believe it's called 'being cool'. You should try it, but you won't.

Man, Evil Cozy be petty.

"... Thanks?"

Owned.

Uuuuuuugh the less we have to say the better, just let me do my good deed in peace. It's so much easier in a costume!

This is just a great line. No further comment.

Applebloom swatted Scootaloo on the flank, getting an 'Ow! What the hay?' from her. "Scootaloo! Not cool! Don't go remindin' her of that!"

Oh man, I miss these girls.

"AWWWWWW!"

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Really, this whole scene is wonderful

I registered their looks of abject horror, realized what I'd said,  and scrambled to amend my statement, "Whoa, hey, I just mean I ran away! Not like that!"

Pfffft!

"But—" Sweetie Belle's next comment was cut off by Scootaloo, and  Applebloom's attempted objection went quiet at a look from her. Scootaloo just fixed me with a serious look, and for a moment I wasn't  sure what I might have stepped in.

"We get what it means to choose your family, Cozy. If you don't wanna talk about it, that's cool. Why don't you show us how all of these tools work?"

Chad Scoots here to save the fucking day.

Speech bosses are the real challenge.

Aye, they are.

"If it's magic you're after, you've come to the right place, filly! Trixie can teach even the most magically-deficient pegasus to vanish and re-appear, to dazzle and awe, to escape the jaws of death itself!"

Oh no.

Magic I can perform as a pegasus! This is fantastic!

Oh no...

But I didn't have time to overthink it before the curtain parted, showing Trixie – sans her hat and cape – wrapped in a straitjacket with a mean-looking lock on it, itself locked into a cage.

Context says this will end in disappointment, but damn, Trixie knows how to put on a fucking show.

"So?! I had magic, tons of it, but relying on magic to solve all  of your problems just makes you lazy! You've always gotta be smarter than the other pony if you want to keep ahead! This is way cooler than  just 'magic-ing' your way through every problem; you actually have to find ways to solve problems or create illusions without thinking with your horn. I want to learn all of it!"

"That's the problem with you magic-types. You're so reliant on all your special power, you forget to use your brains!"

Also, behold, THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING!

Trixie's smile froze on her face, along with the rest of her. A wind blew past, and I spotted a tumbleweed making its way past. Seriously?

That feel when the universe is just being extra to rub it in.

"Oooh, well, um, that's... unexpected. Um, Trixie feels like she should mention,  just as a sort of general disclaimer mind you, that the awesome powers of stage magic aren't really useful for taking over Equestria."

Given she's besties with Glimglam and (per a given definition of bestie) Discord I presume this is a standard issue disclaimer she's had to come with.

Trixie's eyes widened. "Oh, a dual act! I love that—I-I mean, Trixie approves of this idea!"

When you're so hyped the mask slips.

Trixie pondered that, and then surprised me when she came over to  where I sat and plopped down next to me. "Trixie is sorry if she offended you, Cozy. She's—I've been getting used to my new role  at the school, and I do miss traveling the road and performing. Everypony in Ponyville has seen my act already, so nopony comes around anymore. Aside from dazzling the students once in a while, sometimes I  feel like I've lost my calling."

I did not expect to be here for the Real Sad Blue Horse Hours but, here we are.

Also, this is why you should have just married her, Trixie. That way you'd at least get nookie to go along with the complications of inserting yourself into every facet of her life.

"but I know a thing or two about mending fences."

Somewhere, both Twilight and Moondancer sneezed.

Trixie chewed her lip over for a second in thought. Calling back some of that counselor training? "So... Cozy, how did that make you feel, when you did it?"

Oh shit, here we go!

Trixie winced. "Ooo, that's awful. Discord didn't tell you about the memory transfer spells beforehand?"

Hey, Discord?

What the fuck.

I nodded, and she forged on. "Sometimes, the hero doesn't start off  all that impressive, right? But they fight villains, they make friends, they get new gadgets or spells or whatever, and they get stronger. They  stop being tricked by villains so easily and they really grow, until you can barely recognize them anymore. And sometimes they change their costume or their name to mark what a change has happened to them.  We even refer to the different 'eras' in a hero's life, because they change so much. To an outsider, it's like they're totally different characters; but to us, watching, it's so gradual it might as well be invisible. I like to think of growing up in those terms;  separate your life into eras, and think of it like a change to your performance and your costume. You may be the same filly underneath, but the way you interpret that and put it on display is different."

Did... did Trixie just explain growing up using comic book characters as a metaphore?

... I am both stunned by the brilliance of it and offended by it.

Trixie hushed me, which startled me into silence, and waved a hoof. "No no, that's the act. You act good or evil, or heroic or villainous, outgoing or aloof, but in the end those are all your choices.  Sure, you may be strongly inclined to act one way or another, talented at something and terrible at another... but in the end, when ponies start throwing around judgey words like 'evil' or 'stupid', you just need to understand they're focusing on what they can see. And all they can see is this," she rustled her cape for me, and then pressed a hoof into my barrel, "but not this. You decide what act to put on, but don't ever start letting your critics tell you what kind of act you can put on. Let the haters hate; even if you aren't good at something yet, you'll show them all, someday. It just comes down to your choices."

This is why she gets the big bucks.

Anyone else remember Trixie's new cape in the epilogue?

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Sleeves on that bad boy, so arguably more of a coat than a cape.

But yes, I do, and she kills it.

That was certainly an uncomfortable flashback. Nice to see Bold Text being helpfull for once.

Gotto love Sunset's ability. So convenient.

"She does seem to understand parenting in terms of rules

Well, one can rather see why...poor Cozy

Luna groaned. "And no lie! I asked her to pick up groceries once; now the house is always stocked. I commented that I liked her cooking; now she cooks an evening breakfast for me regularly. She even replaced our microwave! I never gave her bits for that, which means she spent her own money to do it!" Luna sighed, rubbing her head, and I cringed slightly from what she'd said. I nuzzled Luna while I thought of what to say.

I remember the microwave!

I began formulating a plan of attack, so to speak, as I responded. "Well, now that we know what her old home was like, it's not hard to see why she has the perception of parenting and authority that she does. And now that she has a loving home, she's obviously going to do whatever she can to hold on to it..."

Yeah, see? Me and Celestia? Same wavelength, like that.

Raw though. Legit concerns. And emotions. I've heard of those.

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So you just went for low humor instead?

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It's a story about a kid! I just want to cover her life, ups and downs and shenanigans and tomfoolery.

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