• Member Since 16th Nov, 2019
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Just your average reader and occasional writer. I like exploring 'want of a nail' type scenarios and fallen heroes. For some reason people seem to like my stories. Strange.


Time travel is not a simple case of following someone back to stop them from committing whatever evil deeds they plan on. To stop a change to the past, one must prevent the traveler from going there in the first place.

Twilight and Spike failed to do this, but that's okay.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 60 )

You seem to be missing an Alternate Universe tag, but other than that minute nitpick, I really enjoyed this!

Have a thumbs up. Kudos!

I always thought that Alt Universe tags are for when the entire setting is changed, not when a different decision is made in-story.

Obviously Starlight fares better if Spike touches the scroll. Don't know about the other universes -- I mean here she makes one grim universe and reality stays the same for everypony in the original sans Starlight. In the other case it is weird. It seems impossible that she managed to return to her own future, but since there aren't TWO Twlights there, she must have. Other universes were created, although one can't be certain if they continued without Twi and Starlight in them.


This is how I thought of it. If your universe zigs at some point, the original story isn't an AU but any sequel you write is an AU.

As for this modified universe though, without Starlight, I wonder if/how they would have beaten Chrysalis.

Maybe. Personally, I've always interpreted AU as "featuring events/elements that directly contradict the source's canonical timeline."

This fic and "The Cutie Re-Mark", by design, cannot co-exist in the same continuity—therefore, at least in my eyes, this is an AU.

Of course, that's just my mindset. If it doesn't align with yours, that's perfectly fine! I won't continue to prod.

A very interesting exploration of a what-if scenario. Good on ya, mate!

I'm confused. If Starlight ended up in the dustlands timeline, how come Twilight and her friends are together? She still prevented Rainbow Dash from doing her Sonic Rainboom thus the other Mane 5 didn't get their cutiemarks and would have never met each other. Applejack would've stayed in Manehattan, Dash in Cloudsdale, Fluttershy also Cloudsdale, Twilight in Canterlot, still a unicorn and not Celestia's protege, Rarity in Ponyville and Pinkie in the rock farm.

To be fair, the Mane Six still managed to cross paths in many of the alternate timelines from that episode: Rainbow and Pinkie fought side-by-side in Sombra's, Pinkie and Fluttershy were part of the resistance in Chrysalis's, and Rainbow and Rarity both worked for Nightmare Moon in her timeline.

It's not too much of a stretch to say the Mane Six would still get drawn together, even if it'd be under less-than-desirable circumstances.

So, the way I look at it is that the universe is infinite, and all timelines exist. I got the idea from Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. So here, the divergence is that Twilight stops Spike, but that doesn't destroy the canon timeline where she doesn't from happening. Thus, we have two time travel scenarios. One, where Twilight and Spike fight Starlight, and thus have the scroll to keep trying, and Two, where they don't fight, and Starlight is at the mercy of the consequences when she returns to the present.

So, when Starlight creates this new timeline, she's locked into it, and the spell's destination is now the dustlands. She stupidly discarded the scroll, which she said she needed earlier ("Won't be needing that anymore."), and thus has to try to reverse engineer the spell from scratch. As to why she's locked into this timeline, I'm going to say "because magic" because the magic system in MLP isn't set in stone. As to why she's in the dustlands timeline instead of the Sombra one, it's because it suits my purposes of getting Starlight to see past her hatred. I considered having her end up drafted into the Equestrian army and being yelled at by drill sergeant Twilight, but it didn't click with me.

As to how Chrysalis was defeated and why the dustlands exist, well... I have a background to it, but I'll keep it mostly to myself. Let's just say that Chrysalis had no reason to invade Equestria and leave it at that.

So, basically this is what happens if the time-travel mechanic worked on Avengers: Endgame logic. I dig it.

Would be intresting if the Ruined Equestria this Starlight ended up in was the same one from the actual episode. Of course my running head Cannon is all the alternate realities eventually got saved as Fate stepped in to push this back toward the Prime time line as much as it could. Each time line had similar end results but how they where reached was diffrent, with events happening in diffrent orders, in diffrent ways or just not at all. The Ruined timeline taking the longest with events delayed by decades and many not happening in the same places.
I can imagine the ruined time line is like it is because Princesses had to use thier full power to beat some of the villians, and it caused mass collateral damage.

Well, see, the issue with that is any scene in the original work that is even slightly different, even if the change is ultimately meaningless becomes an AU by that definition. Thus, all fanfiction is essentially AU. Which makes it useless as a tag.

And that's not helpful.

In my opinion, "Alternate Universe" requires a significant change to the canon of the show (as of the posting of the fic) that happens before the fic's narrative starts. In this fic, the assumption is that everything is entirely canon up until Twilight stops Spike, a la For Want of a Nail. Thus, it's not an AU.

That's why you never time travel kids. Also it logically speaking can't happen. It's a Theseus paradox. True time travel is impossible.

I'm guessing Starlight created an alternative reality?

I see someone watches the "Everything Wrong" series.

I think 10418511 was referring to the Season 6 finale with the Chrysalis line, not her original appearance. That goes a bit more poorly with the Season 5 finale having gone off the rails.

A fitting end to this villain.

I wonder what happened to Tirek and Cozy, though...

It may or may not have been an inspiration ;)

Ah. Well, the issue is that Equestria is still a destroyed wasteland where most of the ponies died during the apocalypse or subsequent famine. Love is jealously guarded between tight knit groups, and everyone is paranoid. It's a matter of risk-reward here. The changelings would get very little from infiltrating the Equestrian remnant, and the chance of getting caught is very high, if we're going with how bad changelings are at impersonation canonically.

Of course, Chrysalis is an idiot, so who really knows.

No, no, in the timeline that Starlight left, which is being presumed to still exist in some manner. If that is incorrect, at least be upfront about it.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why one does not introduce time travel to an ongoing series unless
A) It's part of the premise
2) It's a one time deal

MLP got away with it twice solely due to the nature of the time travel. It's a one time use spell, and it seems like Starlight's mod was merely altering her 1 time use into a fixed point use sort of thing. Doubtful she could make it work later. And no, the Groundhog's Day loop doesn't count the same, the mechanics there are entirely different than normal time travel. Still, it is an interesting look into how this one works, and I quite enjoyed it. Curious about her final timeline, and it again begs the question of what happened to the Twilight in all the alternate timelines.

Pinkie Pie seemed to be the only one who completely understood, so there was that.

:pinkiehappy: "It's just like the funny monkey world where Twilight's boyfriend lives! Only these other us-es don't have fingers."

Also, this does set up the timeline Starlight left behind to get taken over by Chrysalis... though there's the question of how long Celestia and Luna's replacements can keep up the charade when they can't move the sun and moon. :trixieshiftright:

In any case, nice exercise in temporal dynamics. Thank you for it. :twilightsmile:

Ah you mean the main timeline. Gotcha. Yeah that might be an issue.

This is where it fails. Starlight was able to cast the time travel spell, without using the scroll. Plus on two occasions it was confirmed she is still able to use the spell, despite the scroll being long gone.

Comment posted by titanhades70 deleted Sep 5th, 2020

10418511 Well, the original timeline is doomed without Starlight. The changelings will have kidnapped everyone important and nobody will ever be the wiser.

But of course, before that the Crystal Empire is fu**ed and is lost again.

I’ve always felt the Wasteland timeline is where Sunset won and came back as a demon. Fire demon + Sun Princess = ash-filled wastes.

Because of Flurry during the Crystalling? During the evacuation they’d have come across Sunburst anyway, so the empire probably would’ve been fine. The changelings return... I mean it’d have to be that Sunburst basically fills Starlight’s role from the Crystalling and on...

Interesting. Never really considered that the dust bowl might be a localized phenomenon.

I wonder what could happened if Starlight managed to end in another timeline... Maybe trying to re-do the spell to get out of that timeline and return to her timeline only to end in the others by mistake

Nope it would not. Sunburst only got the idea because of Starlight. And the Mane 6 have absolutely no reason to ever make contact with him.

Not to mention he would never have the connection with Trixie that helped Trixie form her bond with Starlight. Plus he can't use invisibility or flight, which is what allowed Starlight to avoid detection by the Changelings impersonating the Mane 6. If he wasn't just plain replaced himself.

Eh, Dragonball Z did fine with it.

Yeah, that was always my favourite theory too. Whoever got Magic in that universe had no Spike, so Sunset gets away with it easily, goes insane due to the Element, then comes back and nukes the place.

Wonky story but time travel stuff is always wonky.

Aren't these kinda stories kinda overdone and outdated at this point? It's well written, but the premise feels like a throw back to the "Starlight was too easily forgiven, so I'm gonna write her getting hers!" You do the characters in character and follow the premise to it's logical conclusion. But I can't help but feel I'm reading a story from six years ago. I hope you can accept my different opinion.

Ow, my fragile sense of self worth has been shattered by your valid issues!
In all seriousness, yes there are quite a few of these. The issue with me is that I dropped FiM shortly after the start of Season 3 and only really picked it back up near the end of Season 9, so I missed pretty much all of the 'what if' waves that followed each season finale and controversial episode. Everything's still relatively fresh for me.

So are ya gonna write a classic "Rainbow Dash adopts Scootaloo" story? :-)

Wasn't planning on it, but anything's possible. I suppose.

As an aside, I don't what 'lesson' Starlight was supposed to learn when strangers came to her town, corrupted her friends, turned those she loves against her, and destroyed her utopia, after she tried to save them all from their brainwashing mind control butt tattoos enslaving them to a particular societal role.

I personally think that episode's lesson was supposed to be "everyone should be able to choose what kind of future they want for themselves". If you look at it from a certain angle, in a certain lighting, from a certain distance. Probably.

Point is they didn't do a good job trying to sell the lesson if that indeed was what they were going for.

well she learned her lesson the hard way, it was a far better punishment than in canon.

All downvotes are from die-hard Glim-Glam fans who think she's perfect in every way.


did you forget the part where sugar belle asked the mane 6 to meet them in secret with a few other ponies to ask for their cutie marks back?

if some ponies were unhappy, willing to rebel against starlight, but too afraid of her to the point that they had to meet in secret, then really the town wasn't all that good.

If you were convinced people had been brainwashed, and were suffering from stockholm syndrome of a sort without the mind control butt tattoo telling them how to live, how eager would you be to give it back to them?

your cutie mark dosen't define who you are. there was literally an episode about this:



That is objectively true. That isn't how Starlight sees it.
I'm saying Starlight only lesson she learned was Evil Ponies destroyed Her Utopia, and so her only sane goal was to go back in time and Make Right What Went Wrong.

well, you gotta word your comments right man, i thought you were supporting her for a second. but i get what you mean. the mane 6 came, saw, conquered, but didn't stop to tell her why it's wrong.

or maybe they did. and she didn't want to listen.

Also, I felt episode was a WASTE as it would have been a golden opportunity for Starlight to speak with Rumble about him going down the same she did. Also a golden chance for Diamond Tiara to show up given her attitude of "cutie marks mean everything", and explain she ONLY spoke that view because it hurt Apple Bloom... heck, it would have been a great chance to a call back to the CMC's first formal episode where Twilight said how them being Blank Flanks gives them plenty of potential, and one filly even being causally inspired to remark how "maybe I got my cutie mark too early" and the CMC telling Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon how at least Apple Bloom wasn't "stuck being stuck up like you."

Startrek managed to turn one-time deal into recurrent premise :P

From what Starlight said, her intention was to create a loop as a safeguard againt mistakes or tampering

To be fair, My Fair Trekky...no that does not work. Anyway, to be fair, Star Trek did it a lot of times as a one shot sort of deal, usually in a way the POV/Protagonists could not control, and instead had them adapting to the Time Travel happening around them. And even then, we see there are those who will keep you from mucking about with time(Star Fleet's Temporal Affairs office, the Romulan Time Blade, and the even some of the Borg's rules straight say no Time Travel). All those organizations and rules exist because they've tried it, and it never works the way you want it to.

Heck, even the Temporal Cold War was a result of someone screwing up royally, and forcing the hand of a lot of those aforementioned groups to counter them.

And yeah, it sounded like she would always be returned to that moment in time, every time Twilight used the spell. I do enjoy what this story, and others have done with that premise alone. Some light hearted, some, like this one, much less so.

It actually looks like that origin of Cold War was in 30th century where... right, Tox was coming from, the stranded timeship from Enterprise and artifact are linchpin to rise of conflict and time-travelled Discovery may be instrumental, too. Cold War started because someone tried to change timeline and save galaxy, but left injured parties behind. Not to mention that new movies are separate timeline created by Spock's failure

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