• Member Since 16th Nov, 2019
  • offline last seen 10 hours ago

SpectralFury


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.

T
Source

All rulers eventually reach a point where they must take a life to save the realm. If a ruler is just, they will never know when it will happen, and will never do it lightly. Still, such actions are necessary. Princess Celestia knows this, and has given this lesson many times.

You can find a YouTube reading of this story here!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 63 )

I liked Celestia comforting Twilight and asking her questions she already knew or at least guessed the answers to. I also, for some weird reason, enjoyed the little tidbit about Celestia’s secret door knock thing... :twilightblush:

A strange little tale, but very sweet towards the end. Poor Twily needs a hug.

Normally I'm not much of a fan of Darksad, but this one... This one I did like. You wrote Celestia so damn well!

This made more sense than the episode but will of course have repercussions in the future. Starlight's travels down the road of friendship always seemed unlikely. When she took over the other five to complete a friendship lesson she was being what she was. For her to make the transition she did was very against her nature.

An interesting hypothetical. Kudos!

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."-Henry IV Part 2

10461434

Darksad is only grimdark if it is too angsty.

It is normal for someone like Twilight to struggle with the bad decisions once must make when they are in charge.

Sad, but also heartwarming, and very well written. As someone with mild anxiety, I can confirm that hindsight sucks sometimes.

A good story, giving the right measure of gravitas to the tragedy. Celestia and Twilight both come through very much in-character. I liked that Celestia doesn't try to pretend there won't be consequences - investigation, media attention, and so on - but she also makes it clear from the start that Twilight did the right thing.

That's the main thing I like here: you didn't make a mistake that many people do and call such killing a 'necessary evil.' Instead, you call it what it is: a necessary tragedy. Twilight did a moral good, not evil, no matter how unpleasant and how much a better solution would have been preferred had one been available.

Starlight forced Twilight's hand, gave her no way to save the world other than to stop her permanently. This is why there is both a moral and legal distinction between murder and justifiable homicide, why we have concepts like Just War Theory. We live in a broken world. People are flawed, sinful. We all have capacity for both good and evil; we're born that way. Sometimes there are no perfect solutions because sometimes people don't give that option. Twilight bears the burden of making the hard choice so that others don't have to, and deserves more respect for that than some will probably give her (though fortunately Celestia and her other friends will do better in that regard).

All told, a good story - you took a difficult topic handled very well. Kudos.

Well, this universe is doomed, while it's a total victory for Queen Chrysalis.

Or before that, at least half the Mane 6 end up frozen to death, while at the same time losing the Crystal Empire all over again,

10462023

Twilight did a moral good, not evil

This is true in no ethical system other than either divine right or might-makes-right. What she did was murder (calling it "execution" and saying it was her right as a sovereign is just a way of sliding into either divine right or might-makes-right), and knowing what we know about Starlight's life, it wasn't even a murder with good consequences, as titanhades points out.

We all have to learn that we can't save everyone... and not everyone wants to be saved.

A Kobayashi Maru. Ouch that will stick with Twilight for a long time. It make me wonder if a magical simulation could be come up with just to help those that this could happen to in the setting?

Awesome fic, a great look at a terrible situation without it coming off as preachy in anyway. Expected done

10463580
Murdering Starlight doesn't even net you more utils than letting her live, though. Again, as titanhades points out, murdering her leads to Chrysalis conquering the realm anyway.

10462742
you've forgotten literally every system that uses the concept of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", if killing one prevents the deaths of many (again, /wasteland/ and ergo genocide of all life on equestria is an outcome of Starlight's actions) in those situations the killing of the one is absolutely considered a good thing. Utilitarianism and Pragmatism would both laud Twilight as doing good, neither of which are might-makes-right nor divine right (also divine right would only apply in the sense that as divine or divinely appointed twilight and celestia can do whatever they want and still be considered "good", not on the ethos of killing itself)

10463681
That's not how the Butterfly Effect works. Maybe if Chrysalis was a glacier, but not with something as chaotic and unpredictable as brain activity.

Besides, Canon is just a suggestion.

10462742 By that extremely skewed 'moral' perspective, every armed police officer who's had to 'take the shot' to save lives, every victim who kills their attacker in self defence, every soldier defending innocents from attackers is just as evil as the most deranged psychopath.

I enjoyed this, but I always thought the alternative where Twilight strips Starlight of her magic and cutie mark like Starlight did to those villagers was the best alternative and seemed in her character.

I do see your point though that Twilight learns not everything can end without death as this is an important lesson she needs to learn. I'd say it was better to happen sooner rather than later in her immortal to long-lasting life.

10462742

Well then, I'd love to hear your proposed solution.

10462742
oh look, the Twilight-hater is back.
Up for another round of your mindless stupidity I see.

10462207

I don’t think so. Given some time to think I bet Shining Armor and Cadance would have come immediately to Ponyville to see Twilight. While there Cadance gives birth and they must race her back to the empire to do the crystaling to stabilize Flurry Hearts powers. This allows Starburst to find out what happened to his old friend and in shame he asks Twilight to help him be a better friend because his actions caused this. Twilight would agree because not only because she wants to understand Starlight better but she thinks that she can make amends for her being forced to kill. At this point Thoraxis still going to happen and Starburst simply takes Starlight’s place for the lessons. We would be meeting her father far earlier and see how he would react to his daughter having made her final error. I think things would be safe but very different.

10464996
I like this version as well.

A nice continuity to a different timeline that is also believable in terms of characters and their actions.

10464680
Twilight provides the solution in the story: do nothing. Give up your position of responsibility and live as a hermit the better to philosophize about virtue. There is nothing to be done to help the world, to try is both arrogant presumption and only likely to cause harm.

10465602

Then Twilight has failed. She was forced into a situation that she didn’t have many options for and had to make a choice with no time to think. Now looking back on it she can find things she could have done but with the clear and present danger Starlight was posing Twilight was close to breaking from everything that was happening to her.

By choosing to renounce her role in Equestria and go away to be a hermit she is running from her problems. She would be a far lesser being by confronting what happened if is ran away and by staying she is showing that she is willing to accept responsibility for her actions. As Celestia pointed out ponies will judge her but running away is not the answer.

You have nothing to fear from the law.

Princess, duh
i.imgur.com/cJlBUVL.gif?noredirect

10465785

Then Twilight has failed.

Well, yes. And after having proved a failure, it is only right not to subject others to more of her failure. She has already proved she can't improve the world - the least she can do is stop making it worse.

iji

10465602

How does that help anyone? If she does that, any assistance she provides to people from that point onwards can't happen. Not only that, but the school of friendship is never founded, so the different species of the world can't grow together in harmony.

You're being overly simplistic here. Yes, Twilight is guilty of manslaughter, but that doesn't make her evil and it doesn't mean that every action she will ever carry out from that point on is also evil.

10466297
The saying goes "Hindvision is 20/20". So any knowledge WE have regarding future developments cannot be taken into account unless it was obviously predictable at that point (besides the fact that the ripple effects are unknowledgeable even to us. The new circumstances might now lead to the even most unlikely results like Chrysalis redeeming herself etc.)

Killing someone is the ultima ratio. But there are situations that leave you with no other options (see the trolley problem) and in these situations you can only try to minimize the harm suffered by others.

Let us pretend that Twilight, having exhausted all other options she could think of in this situation, decided not to kill Starlight (who then proceeded to rip up the scroll, stranding Twilight and indirectly causing whatever extinction level events seen in the alternate timelines): Starlight still is dead (only this time due to whatever wiped out Equestria reaching her village)... with the difference that the rest of Equestria is too.

10466452
10466297

Well my personal view of infinitely branching timelines dictates that Starlight achieved nothing more than creating more worldlines, and thus her scheme was utterly pointless so far as vengeance against the Elements goes. I think there was a story about that recently in fact...

Anyway, abstaining from action in that final wasteland could really only affect three people. Twilight, Starlight, and Spike. Let Starlight destroy the scroll, and they're stuck there. Probably die of dehydration in a few days time, possibly longer in Spike's case depending on dragon physiology. So really, given that this starlight refuses to relent, she's going to die either way. A painless death by curse, or a wasting death of hunger and thirst. Or suicide, she might take the coward's way out.

So then, let's consider the actual variables, Twilight, and Spike. Twilight has a choice between life and death, not just for herself, but also for Spike, her son/brother/confidant/friend/other. There's responsibility there, she brought him into this, it's on her to bring him out again. Furthermore, as the saying goes, "those with the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action". Twilight is an alicorn, a princess, and a gifted mage. Her potential to serve and better Equestria beggars the mind, depriving the nation of that service through suicide or hermitage would be an appalling act of selfishness.

Consequences. We must always consider consequence, "if this, therefore..." Hammering every action along a singular moral absolute for no reason other than dogma will cause far more problems than it solves.

This is from Mercedes Lackey's "Valdemar" series, but applies here as well.

10466297
By that logic who would she be abdicating to? if ANY lethal consequences or "failures" negate the entirety of your efforts then both Celestia and Luna should have abdicated LONG ago, Luna because of her attempts to genocide the planet as Nightmare Moon (eternal night means the equestrian half of the world freezes while the other half burns, meanwhile the twilight zone around the equator doesn't actually have enough light to sustain most plants and too much for the rest so freezing burning or starving is the fate of the entire planet) and Celestia if not for allowing her sister to transform then for her role in the Crystal Empire being banished for a thousand years: when they got back any family they had outside the empire would have been dead for quite some time, so for those banished the banishment effectively killed their outside family.

But there's a bigger problem here than even that: if failing to be "good" in one decision once means you need to absent yourself from power for life then only evil people would have power. Because all mortals are fallible (and in this case all immortals as well that we see except possibly the Tree) failures will inevitably happen, at which point you've demanded that the "good" retreat to a life of solitude and reject power. Them simply vanishing from power DOES NOT IN ANY WAY REMOVE THE POWER. If all the princesses abdicate, the government still exists, and then who's next in line? Cadence because we haven't seen her screw up yet? And once she does who next? Blueblood, which for all the character assassination he receives in this show does still very clearly view society as a pyramid meant to siphon benefits to the highest strata of society and does not care in the slightest for your morality. At that point, not being a "good" person and having no desire to be one the Blueblood I have described would then stay in power and continue to make things worse for everyone who isn't in his select group of "superior" people/ponies. Now I don't know about you but a flawed "I made a difficult decision and it weighs on me because there might theoretically have been a better way" Twilight Sparkle sounds a hell of a lot better to me both morally and the situation i would be living in than a "lol you should have thought of that before being born lesser" Blueblood. As cute as calling running away from your problems "noble" is, it would be first off the least responsible thing she could do, and one of the worst things for the world as a whole

10462742
So what should she have done?

My goodness, the sorrow and inspirational combo you wrote this fic with, it's just simply amazing work! I can't even begin to describe how many different feelings can be felt through this whole story, but it all certainly shows your emotional writing prowess! I hope you didn't mind, but I made a reading of this fantastically written fic of yours!

Audio Linkerloo!: https://youtu.be/Y4Hu1wq6OJc

(I don't mean to offend anyone with this comment in any way!)

10466832
I never expected a youtube reading to happen, but here it is. Thank you.

10466297

Then by your logic Spider-Man should have quit after he found out the person who killed Uncle Ben was the robber he let go. Or how about Batman after The Joker killed Jason Todd? Or Captain James T. Kirk after his choices let Kahn wreck the Enterprise and Spock had to give up his own life to save everyone? The measure of a person is how they respond to failure so Twilight choosing to call it quits makes herself look like a failure.

10466758

10466859
Don't bother with Zimmer.
He really doesn't care about the whole 'trying to be good and failing vs being good all the time' debate.
I have seen him around in comment-sections and he never wastes a chance to shit on Twilight and try to make her appear awful or put her in a bad light.

This is simply another excuse for him to badmouth a character he hates. The reason why does not matter to him.

I´m a 45 years man, and i do not to cry for this and.... bwaaa poor twily );
Great job, i love, it's short very good. I like how do write Celestia's character. Keep this way.

10466486
one of my first favorite PMV's

On a separate comment, I agree that there could have been a better way, but of all the Villains save for maybe NMM, Starlight was by far one of the most dangerous and dark in the series. She was willing to consign all of creation to utter destruction to satisfy what could be boiled down to a filly-hood grudge. One thing that I've seen multiple times in many other fanfics, particularly "war" fics is where characters act exactly how Twilight acted. Forget the news, forget GTA and other shoot-em-up games, taking a life is NOT easy, and just about every character I have come across grieves or is physically ill after their first. Twilight is a scholar, a librarian, she's no saint, but outside of maybe some play "training" with her BBBFF, I doubt she's ever had so much as a self-defense course (in the physical sense anyway). Her reaction is completely justified and Celestia's responses are exactly what I envision any good mentor figure saying. Liking and favoriting.

10467003
oh that was obvious from his first comment don't worry (seriously let's ignore some of the most prevalent modern philosophical doctrines in an attempt to make a point, coupled with completely ignoring comments that point out how flatly /wrong/ the argument is on its own merits and either you just want cover for your ad hominem or you're completely retarded, possibly both in his case) however these conversations can be useful for multiple reasons both in the exchange of ideas in all of us who do have commentary on his poor arguments (shouting out Venerable Ro in particular but I've seen a few others holding up points that wouldn't have occurred to me as my default philosophical mindset doesn't come from that angle) and serve as a warning to the more intelligent that if behavior like this continues they will be called out for it.

“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.”

-Catherine Aird

10462742
I've seen you post on nearly every Twilight focused story and you have something really against her I don't know what it is but its to the point of following every group that's centered around her. I'm agreeing with the majority here, Twilight used every alternative to stop her and she didn't listen so Twilight had no other choice, it was either risking the lives of everyone else and the realm for a selfish unicorn that couldn't let go of her anger.

10467209
Nice to see someone who understands the threat Starlight poses.

10467242
That is exactly why I'm glad they had her in the show in the first place, and while I wouldn't say I wasn't a tad disappointed in how quickly she was reformed, the fact that she still screwed up whole seasons later kinda took the edge off. If anything, Starlight became a kind of...anti-hero I guess you could call it?

10467324
She's still a villain in my eyes and I refuse to believe otherwise.

10467329
Fair enough, and to each their own. She made a fantastic villain, much better than say Cozy Glow or the "re-incarnated" Sombra.

10467376
They switched Sombra's and Tirek's personalities on purpose.

10467392
oh? I knew some things, but that is a new one for me. oh and btw thanks for the like, I am not exactly the most prolific writer, but every once in a blue moon I'll get a lightbulb over my head and write a snippet of something or other. I'm more of a reader with a dash of helpful critique or silly observation than anything on this site.

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