• Published 17th Nov 2020
  • 8,353 Views, 285 Comments

Six Little Words - SpectralFury



Six little words slowly destroy Twilight’s faith in her mentor, and lead her to a different destiny.

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Realization

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

The spell contained on the last page of this book is Star Swirl the Bearded's secret unfinished masterpiece. He was never able to get it right, and thus abandoned it. I believe you are the only pony who can understand and rewrite it.

Princess Celestia

Twilight frowned at the letter, reading it and rereading it. There was nothing implicitly wrong with what she was asking, but-

Spike belched out another letter, this one with the seal of the moon on it. Spike dutifully handed it over, knowing that Twilight preferred to read her letters from Princess Luna in private.

Dear Twilight,

I’m sorry to say that my efforts to discourage Celestia from this course have failed. She is aware that your trust in her is broken and of my disapproval for her methods, but she believes that it is for the greater good. She believes that your destiny must be fulfilled, even if her heart is broken for it.

Again, I apologize that my plan to give you access to the knowledge necessary also failed. I expected her to have more faith in you, but we both know just how dangerous dark magic is, and how inquisitive you are.

You now approach the precipice. If you finish the spell, there is no going back. Should you follow this path and hate my sister for the consequences, know that I will always be at your side. We can discuss this more after you have made your decision.

Your friend now and always,

Luna

Twilight frowned before storing the letter away with the others. She sat on one of her chairs, staring at the book.

“Hey Twi, you okay?” Spike asked.

Twilight shook her head. “No, Spike. I’m not alright.”

Spike frowned and walked up to her, leaning into her side for a hug. “Is there anything I can do?”

Twilight smiled at the ever helpful whelp, and brought him closer with a leg. “No, Spike. I don’t think anypony can help. This has been broken for a long time.”

Spike was silent. “How about some hot cocoa?”

Twilight smiled faintly. “I’d like that. Thank you.”

As Spike left, Twilight retreated into her thoughts. Celestia has been testing her character and ability for years. For what? A position in the government? Possibly. What would completing a spell do? It would certainly show her magical aptitude. So what would be the title? Court Mage? Archmage? Did she intend to put Twilight in a spell creation position? That kind of responsibility and resources did require integrity, lest an untrustworthy unicorn make world ending magic.

It was a position that she would have once wanted more than anything, but now she couldn’t care less. She enjoyed her small town life in Ponyville. She enjoyed her friends. She enjoyed her studies, or most of them at least. She felt that there was very little more to learn about friendship. Her reports were getting further and further apart as ‘lessons’ began repeating themselves.

So Celestia was ready for her to ascend to whatever position she had in mind.

What should I do?

She had half a mind to return the book unopened out of spite, but the scholar in her was giddy at the thought of finishing Star Swirl’s masterpiece. Luna said that there was no going back if she did this, but what did that mean? Would something permanent happen, or was it going to be Celestia’s offer of a high position or power? Or both?

Twilight groaned, just as Spike came in with the cocoa.

“Still having trouble?” he asked, handing her the sweet drink.

Twilight nodded before sipping at it. “Yeah. Thanks Spike.”

“You don’t like Princess Celestia anymore, do you?”

Twilight blinked and stared at him. “Is it that obvious?”

“You frown every time you get a letter from her now. When you say her name, you sometimes sound like you’re growling. What did she do?”

Twilight sighed. “It’s complicated, Spike. I think she’s pushing me towards something without asking me what I want.”

“What do you want?”

Twilight didn’t have an answer. “I don’t know, Spike. At first I just wanted to study, then I wanted to spend time with my friends, but it seems like Celestia planned all of it. It just makes it feel all...fake.”

Spike frowned. “Twilight, they’re your friends. They aren’t faking it.”

Twilight smiled, and hugged him close again. “I know, Spike. Thank you.”

“So what are you going to do?”

Twilight looked over at the book, and thus, Celestia’s request.

What do I want?

I want to study magic, and I want to spend time with my friends.

“I’m going to complete this spell, and after that...we’ll see.” Twilight Sparkle never accomplished anything by running away, after all. “You helped a lot, Spike. Thank you.”

“Anytime.”

From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled.

Twilight should have seen it coming, honestly. The spell affected cutie marks. Something benign, in her opinion. After all, there had been a fair few incidents involving them during her time in Ponyville. There were plenty of cures on hand to rectify the issues as well.

Of course, it couldn’t have been that easy. Watching her friends lives get altered on such a fundamental level was at first shocking, but soon it turned into self loathing and hatred for not partaking in proper safety measures. She should have had a control group and a limited sample size. This was after all, an unknown spell.

At least she was able to reverse the effects. It turned out that friendship really was magic, as friendship was the key to completing the spell.

From all of us together, together we're friends. With the marks of our destinies made one, there is magic without end.

And thus, Twilight stepped over the precipice. She found herself in a strange realm of light and fog. The first thing she saw was of course was Princess Celestia.

“Congratulations, Twilight. I knew you could do it.”

I knew you could do it.

Twilight fought back a biting remark. “What did I do?” she asked.

“You did something today that's never been done before. Something even a great unicorn like Star Swirl the Bearded was not able to do, because he did not understand friendship like you do. The lessons you've learned here in Ponyville have taught you well. You have proven that you're ready, Twilight.”

“What am I ready for?”

Harmony magic filled the area as Celestia stepped seamlessly into a song about how she had watched Twilight all these years. Scenes from her life flitted by, most of them warming, others tainted by her realization that they were manufactured by the one walking next to her.

She was so distracted by this that she didn’t notice the magic beginning to swirl around her. She was lifted into the air as Celestia watched with a smile. She wanted to shove it away, to thwart Celestia’s plan, but something stopped her.

Do you want this?

The magic was asking her. It couldn’t force this on her. It wouldn’t force this on her.

I don’t even know what you are offering.

Twilight got a sense of disapproval, but not directed at her. Instead her head was filled with a sense of power, sight, knowledge, wisdom, and eternity.

Immortality. Ascension.

Do you want this?

Twilight considered it for a moment.

What is expected of me?

Twilight felt amusement.

Live.

At first she felt a sense of contentment at that reassurance, but her old skepticism tapped on her shoulder and whispered in her ear. It reminded her that immortals don’t live. After a certain point, they simply exist, watching as the world passes them by. Time meant nothing, and eventually, ponies wouldn’t either as they faded into the background. Just chess pieces to move on a board.

And that was all that was needed to make her decision.

I decline.

As you wish.

Her next sensation was rising from the ground. In the back of her mind, she quietly expected to have been exhausted from dealing with that kind of magic, but instead she felt rejuvenated and fresh.

“Twilight, what happened?” asked Applejack’s voice. Indeed, as she blinked away the white in her vision, Twilight saw her friends standing around her in concern.

“I’m...not entirely sure,” she said in a half-truth. Admitting that ascension was offered to you and declined was something that took a lot of thought first. Alas, she would never get that time.

“We were worried sick!” Rainbow said. “When the Elements blasted you, there was just a scorch mark! We thought you died!” She zipped over and pulled Twilight into a tight hug. “Don’t you ever do that again!”

One by one, each of her friends did the same, soon enveloping Twilight in a tight embrace of love and friendship.

“She shouldn’t have any problems keeping that promise,” said an unwelcome voice. The pony pile turned its heads to the approaching form of Princess Celestia. Her friends let her go, moving to bow.

“My faithful student, I-” she paused, her eyes lingering on Twilight’s wingless sides.

“-knew you could do it,” Twilight finished for her.

And thus, the final piece clicked into place in Twilight’s head. The tests, designed to see if she was worthy of power, to see if she could use that power effectively, to see if she was capable of ruling justly and fairly. Celestia wanted to make a princess of her.

“A princess,” Twilight said evenly, hiding everything she was feeling. “You wanted to make me a princess.”

“...yes,” she said, still obviously trying to comprehend what was before her.

Twilight’s friends let out gasps and words of shock at the statement.

“I...don’t understand,” Celestia finally said. “When you arrived at the Aethereal Realm, I thought it had finally chosen you.”

Twilight took a deep breath, carefully restraining her outrage at this turn of events. “To ascend.” Celestia nodded. "It did."

Celestia’s confusion turned to hope, but then careful neutrality at Twilight’s forced calm and non-alicorn appearance. “Yes, Twilight. Since you've come to Ponyville, you've displayed the charity, compassion, devotion, integrity, optimism, and of course, the leadership of a true princess.”

All around her, her friends displayed their agreement. Whatever that presence was seemed to agree too, but it had no designs on her. At least none she could feel. But there was one question that she recently asked herself, and answered.

What do I want?

Did she want to be a princess? Every filly answered yes when they were young, but those years were far behind Twilight. Now? What did she want? Responsibility? Some, perhaps. Power? Again, a small amount would be nice. But to be a princess? To rule over all of Equestria?

No. Especially not with someone she didn’t trust. Someone who didn’t even ask her opinion on the matter.

“Maybe,” Twilight said. “But you never asked me if I wanted that.”

Concern started to show in Celestia’s eyes. “I see. I had considered that, but-”

“You should have,” Twilight interrupted before Celestia could anger her further.

The quiet and misplaced words of encouragement from her friends suddenly went silent. The bystanders from the town suddenly started whispering to themselves. Celestia’s remaining composure started to slip from her like crumbling glass.

“Yes, sister, you should have. Perhaps if you did, you wouldn't be denying the fact that is staring you in the face,” Luna said, stepping out of the shadows. Everyone turned to look at her, save for Celestia, who was frozen stiff.

“Twilight?” Celestia asked quietly. “What did you do?”

Twilight took a deep breath, grabbed ahold of her emotions, and forced them into line. “Your plan failed. I told the realm I didn't want to ascend.” The crowd’s murmuring increased to a roar, and Celestia winced, looking to the crowd.

“Twilight, perhaps we should discuss this indoors,” she suggested.

Twilight shook her head. “No. Outside is fine. There’s no need to hide this.” She noted Luna’s smirk. “Princess, did you ever ask me if I wanted to rule? If I wanted to be an alicorn? To be shackled by immortality, to watch my friends die while I enjoy eternal youth and power?”

“I wanted to help you realize your destiny,” she said softly. Twilight could hear the disappointment, just barely.

“My own destiny, or the destiny that you picked out for me? I wanted to be your student. I wanted to study magic under you. I’m glad that I learned friendship, but you tricked me into doing so. You’ve been watching me this whole time, manipulating me, setting up tests and scenarios to see what I will do. Maybe it was for the best, and, yes, I’m a better pony for it, but it still doesn’t negate the fact that you’ve been lying and withholding information from me in order to steer me towards your own agenda!”

She took a deep breath for a momentary break, glancing at her friends. There was conflict in their eyes, and all of them were begging the Princess for an explanation with their looks. However, she saw in them what she needed before: a spark of sight that allowed them to see the imperfections in Celestia's pedestal. With them by her side, she felt her confidence increase tenfold. She stood up taller, her posture straight and even slightly imperious.

“Dear Princess Celestia. Today I learned something very important about friendship. I learned that true friends stick by you, and support you no matter what your life choices are. If they believe you are on the wrong path, they offer their assistance. They don’t make choices for you, they don't try to force you, and they certainly don't try to manipulate you. I’m afraid this will be my final report, as I am resigning from my position as your student.”

Everyone save for Luna gasped. Celestia winced, but otherwise remained silent.

“I am sorry, but I don’t believe you are fit to teach me anymore. Without trust between a teacher and student, there can be no progress, and I recently realized you lost my trust a long time ago. I don’t hate you, but I do not believe we can be friends anymore. I hope our relationship can remain cordial, as we will have to deal with each other due to my position as the Bearer of Magic. I wish you luck with your next protegé. Your former student, Twilight Sparkle.”

The crowd was silent as Twilight turned around, walked to the library, entered, and shut the door, locking it behind her.

And thus, Princess Twilight Sparkle never came to be, due to six little words.

Author's Note:

I started this back in April after reading Parting Words, and it took me about three weeks off-and-on to write most of this. Then I decided that this was too emo and wrote What is Destiny Against Desire? instead. Then I remembered this, decided to add a new ending, and edited it a bit.

No wait. A lot. I edited this a lot.

There are a lot of anti-alicorn fics out there. I personally don't have a problem with Twilicorn in-universe, and I know that Celestia is canonically the Big Good, but what she did always rubbed me the wrong way.

Unless suicide isn't stigmatized in Equestria, Celestia steered Twilight towards the most horrible of curses imaginable: immortality. Yes, this is a children's show. Yes, the "Lonely Celestia" theory is fan-made. Those arguments are irrelevant. Apply true consequences to her ascension, and Twilight doesn't simply live happily ever after. Twilight will have to struggle with watching her friends die of old age, while she enjoys eternal youth. She will have to watch her parents die. She will watch her advisors die. If she chooses to procreate, she will watch her children die, unless they're alicorns themselves.

Or perhaps I'm wrong, alicorns are simply long lived, and she will eventually be allowed to rest.

I do not like the concept of a predetermined destiny. It implies that free will and self determination are at best an illusion. It implies that successes and failures are simply part of a script, written by some cosmic author. Am I projecting my opinion onto this story here? A bit.

Of course, this entire sequence could have been averted if Twilight had a short little sit-down with Celestia regarding that little white lie, but that's not what this was about. This was about a naive young adult getting her life tossed around by the one being she trusted most.

Make no mistake, Celestia was not a villain here. She simply executed her plan rather poorly, in my opinion. The cartoon lets her get away with these mistakes. I do not.

Regardless, I hope you enjoyed Six Little Words. For those of you waiting on the next installment Seven of Six, I am slowly chipping away at it when I'm bored, but it's not a focus of mine right now.

Comments are back open. Please try to keep it cordial.

Comments ( 223 )

*whistle* this was a lovely read. Kinda fun to witness this alternate reality where Twi doesn't ascend because her trust in Celestia is/has been broken. Not enough to hate her like I've seen done before, but enough to not really want to associate unless needed. (y'know cause she recognizes that she's a hero and ultimately she'd have to defend the realm from some kind of threat.)

Bitter but understandable, especially given an anti-immortaility premise. The show really could have written Celestia better in some ways.

I really loved this story.

Upvoted and added to favorites

I liked this up until the ending which fell a little flat. I can see Twilight possibly rejecting ascension at this time, but the elements didn't do enough. It would have been stronger if the elements had said "As you wish, but the offer still stands if you should ever change your mind." I also wonder just how shaky Celestia's alicornhood would be at this point. I mean she already lost her connection to the elements in the past by blasting Luna. What she did here just compounds things.

I could really see this as going one of two ways. Either word of what Twilight did here goes viral and Celestia loses the respect of her kingdom, or it all sweeps under the rug and Celestia essentially goes back to ruling alone without Twilight and without her sister. In either case, I feel Twilight's alicornhood is merely postponed as opposed to being denied as things might require it at some future date -- like when Tirek shows up.

The best leaders are not who want it but who have it thrust upon them and they accept it only out of duty and that they have a job to do.

NOTE in this case, I could see the main 6 ascending as opposed to just Twilight doing so.

daniboyi #5 · Nov 17th, 2020 · · 17 ·

and then Equestria is destroyed later on because Twilight is not alicorn and can't defeat the next big villain, likely Tirek. Proving Celestia right.
The fanfic followed canon until then, so no reason it shouldn't follow canon in terms of what villains arrives later on.

That being said, I did enjoy the read, so props to the author, even if I disagree with Twilight's choice.

Good fic. It always bugged me how Twilights life was basically planned out for her.

Made even worse when Sunset Shimmer rolled around and we got her backstory. Really gave the impression that Celestia just went 'Well, plan A didn't work out so well, I'll just have to tell her replacement even less.'

I wonder, without Twilight ascending, when Sunset comes back through the mirror, would Celestia just try and go back to the one who actually WANTS to become an Alicorn?

Stories like this really make you think, in a good way. The show did pretty much gloss over Celestia manipulating Twilight. But, will Twilight's choice end up dooming Equestria when Tirek or the other villains come along? Will she end up having the take the role Celestia wanted for her out of necessity? That's stuff that tends to be glossed over in fics like this, or simply not addressed.

I sure wouldn't mind seeing a sequel where that consequence is faced and dealt with.

On a related note, I never brought the idea that alicorns are immoral, but are simply long-lived.

What happens with Tirek now?

also as an afterthought...
Don't get why Twilight is so high on the whole 'freedom of destiny' when cutie marks are literally a physical manifestation of destiny itself.
Their cutie marks literally dictate 99 % of the time what their work is for the rest of their life. Ponies doing something unrelated to their mark is the rare exception.

And then Equestria was destroyed.

10536266
To your first comment, there can be other ways to beat Tirek. Maybe Discord shows a different understanding of Twilight now that she chose her own path, defied "Destiny", so he will choose not to ally with Tirek? Either way, that's all just theory of course.

On the topic of cutie marks, there are two ways to approach that argument. First, cutie marks are a very cultural thing in Equestria, much more so than alicorn ascension, and present on a daily basis, so there can be made the case that cutie marks and what they represent aren't tied in with the concept of 'being forced their hoof by Destiny' as the ascension would have been.
Second, cutie marks in many cases are rather vague in what they actually mean. A lightning bolt can mean anything from handling clouds to being really fast to being actually lightning-affine in terms of innate magic. As we saw with a multitude of magic-related cutie marks, they may represent a certain affinity for casting spells in general but by far does that not dictate what that pony can actually do.

That was a fun read, but MAN this AU (tag pending) would have some serious problems in the future! :rainbowlaugh:

With ties thus severed between Twilight and Celestia, Discord will likely never get reformed. Tirek would probably win, or maybe the Elements can Deus Ex the day against him. Unicorn Twilight, however, isn't probably on par magic-wise with Starlight Glimmer, (who, as we know, is strong enough to fight an alicorn to a standstill) so I predict that, at latest, by Cutie Re-mark Equestria is well and truly f*cked. :derpytongue2:

I like this one. I always found Celestia's actions sorta strange but couldn't quite put my finger on it...

10536266

Don't get why Twilight is so high on the whole 'freedom of destiny' when cutie marks are literally a physical manifestation of destiny itself.
Their cutie marks literally dictate 99 % of the time what their work is for the rest of their life. Ponies doing something unrelated to their mark is the rare exception.

I would say that, while Cutie Marks kinda do dictate what ponies would go on to do, it's still the choice of the pony, and the mark is really just a side of themselves. It's also possible that, thanks to pony culture, Twilight doesn't think that way about Cutie Marks, because she grew up in that culture.

Though, if parents were to plan (or start planning) for what the foals' Cutie Marks mean and this Twilight becomes aware of it, oh boy. She could get Celestia flashbacks and, potentially, start resenting them. She might then go on to become like the unreformed Starlight Glimmer in Cutie Mark views, except Twilight just might not take them, even if she learned how to.

Hard meh on this one. I'll be completely honest, Twilight seems a lot less like a character here, and more like a mouthpiece for the author's headcanon on how she should have acted. The writing itself lends to that, its not really a narrative so much as a bunch of headcanons cobbled together. Many of which fall apart on examination, and with the context of future events in the show Post S3.

So much of the conflict here is based on Twilight's frustrations with being manipulated by Celestia and poor communication, but she never once thinks to remedy it herself by communicating honestly and openly with her. Instead, she settles on passive aggresive jibes with Luna as though that makes her any better than Celestia in this context. It really does make all three characters feel wildly out of character.

To that end, you would think Applejack would have intervened.

As a reaction fic to the S3 finale when it was fresh, I could see it working. As it stands this doesnt really work as either a character study nor a compelling story.

Man, I wish there were more fics like this, cause this was gold!

Really liked this! Your characterization of Twilight made her feel much more independent, and her rejecting immortality in the end really felt significant, since it was actually her decision to make. Also liked that Luna was more the a shiny wall hanging.

This was great!

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"Celestia is not trying to control your life to make it fit into her nice little plan, Twilight, you're just being paranoid!"

I've read a number of stories like this where Twilight stops trusting Celestia. This one is particularly well written, and the characterization is spot on. Especially with regards to Twilight. Her careful, logical gathering of evidence for her hypothesis was absolutely perfect.

Well done!

Immortality a curse? If you say so.

Great story. Really hits the nail on the head as far as my problems with Celestia's character.

I agree with your stance on immortality let alone twilights view of it. And they discover a way to beat tirek because ingenuity?

I don't know if you have read ("The Great Alicorn Hunt" by RealityCheck) He has left the site but the story can be found here. https://archiveofourown.org/users/RHJunior/works The start of the first chapter has another outcome of this scenario. Not necessarily better just different.

(Just reread the opening part. Most likely you have read it. Will leave this up just in case others want to look at it.)

10536463
Dude, this fic was literally directly inspired by TGAH's prequel. I'm pretty sure they've read it.

I will never believe that immortality is a curse, unless it is combined with something that would be unpleasant anyway (eternal torture, becoming immortal but still aging normally). Being like Captain Jack from Doctor Who/Torchwood (can pull himself together after being blown up with a bomb) would, IMO, be awesome and not a curse at all. Maybe I would change my opinion after 100 thousand years, but I doubt it.

However, I still think that Twilight should have said "no" to either becoming an alicorn or to taking over from Celestia (and Celestia would have no way to force her) and I consider the ending of FIM to be the sad ending for Twilight. All of her friends got what they wanted, while she got what Celestia had planned for her without asking. Then again, maybe this is the bad consequence for being so afraid of disappointing Celestia and not telling here where to shove the suicide missions, I mean "tests".

bring a tear to my eye why dont you, bitter sweet, a bitter telling with a sweet background/ending?, i love that she decided to remain mortal for her friends also i read this while listening to johnny cash's song 'hurt'

This ending is incredibly frustrating. Why would she deny Immortality and ascension here? Because she lost her trust in Celestia? Really, that's all?

Earlier in the story, Twilight actively sought power in the form of an army and warship to save the Crystal Empire; she risked the lives of these ponies because she felt she was not strong enough to defeat a threat on her own. Now, when power is literally given to her on a silver platter, power that could do tremendous good for both Equestria and the ponies she cares about, she actively denies it?

Was snubbing Celestia here worth the potential future pain for Equestria and her friends? Twilight does not know what the future has in store and she is risking the lives of millions of ponies if a threat comes that she is too weak to fight against. Unlike her, however, we the audience know what is coming (considering the rest of this story is so close to canon, we can only assume the future will also be like canon). When Tirek returns and Twilight needs the ability to store the power of all the Alicorns to defeat him (Celestia explicitly mentions she needed to be an Alicorn/Princess to control the magic), she will not have the ability. I can only assume Equestria is doomed because of her selfish disregard.

The thing to really consider here in the end is not whether Celestia had pushed the position of princess onto Twilight, but rather that was the title something Twilight wanted?

Because I think Twilight did want to be a princess. Maybe not as a ruler of Equestria, (I do have issues with the finale), but as a pony who can spread the magic of friendship as far and wide as she could. She did after all use her authority to start a school. I think Twilight would have been ecstatic to have the opportunity to continue spreading friendship.

So ya, I think Twilight would have been fine with being an alicorn, but I do hope she and Celestia had a very long talk about it before the coronation.

Makuta #29 · Nov 17th, 2020 · · 3 ·

There is something important I came to learn about MLP:FiM, if you take it to seriously, you will be disappointed. Not that overthinking the show is a bad thing in of itself, there are many stories that takes different views, interpretations, and make great works of art with them! It can go awry however if one starts taking it to seriously as I said earlier. This guy can explain it better then me.

Your story is about something I myself thought about for a long time, then this animation came out. In the end, it was a matter of interpretation.

the most horrible of curses imaginable: immortality.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on that one.

As for free will, I do love me some philosophy! Now, I'm not gonna write an essay, I'm gonna link one! In short: Libertarian free will does not make sense, and hard-determinism is not practical. So "Compatibilism" or "soft-determinism" lets you keep both self determination and determinism.

So yes, I enjoyed your story; it was well written, good pacing, it didn't get booged down and kept the plot moving. The only criticism I feel worth mentioning is that the message was a bit to... "Unambiguous". It felt more like a statement. Not an essay mind you, but something in the way of "Celestia should not have done what she did, here is why". While not a bad thing per se, it did make me feel... Unwelcomed is perhaps to strong a word for it, but it did make me write all of this ("The Folly of Celestia" made me feel the same thing the first time I watched it).

Still, you did a good job, keep it up!

While there are a few parts I question as to whether or not it would be done in the pony culture, I do agree with how you approached this and with your reasons. This story is the closest I've seen to what could be written for a Twilight in an alternate timeline should she actually question Princess Celestia's character, it has credibility and I don't believe the writers of the comics could do any better.

I liked the alt U aspect you took. Strength through confidence? Win

Interesting fic, I’ve never been a fan of people saying that Celestia was actually the big bad but seeing docs explore it is always intriguing to see.

I do have a problem with this fic though, and it’s that the ending just feels like it just stops. I get the point that Twilight never becomes an alicorn but I would have like to see at least one more chapter for Celestia to actually explain herself. At a little context to her side of things. The endings not bad, and the point of the story comes across, but even in this Celestia isn’t portrayed as evil or heartless so not getting to see it from her side feels like a missed opportunity.

All that said it still is a great read, and involving Luna a bit more was a nice touch. I do feel for Twilight in this, and it comes off so naturally l

I'm pretty firmly believe that people who say that immortality would be a curse are suffering from a severe case of sour grapes. If it really was preferable to die than to live and see your loved ones die, every funeral would kick off a round of suicides. Instead, we grieve and move on, as is natural and healthy. Yes, even people who lose all of their loved ones.

Well, unless it's double-down, no takey-backsies immortality, because floating for eternity in empty space after the heat death of the universe isn't anyone's idea of a good time.

Ha, so many canon confirmed!! Well done

10536491
In terms of immortality your argument is /still/ incredibly short-sighted especially when we look at alicorn track records.
Luna went Nightmare Moon from neglect, and while yes Twilight "has her friends to prevent that from happening" guess what? they're not being promised immortality /they'll still die/. The followup is "okay, well then she'll just make new friends and that'll keep her going" in which case really? how many do you think she'll go through before the grief outweighs any joy her new friends might give her? how long before she can't even look at another pony without asking herself "why should I bother to get to know them? they'll just die soon enough." Would you try to befirend mayflies? Why would she? And what immortals does she have to spend it with? Luna who already went insane once and may very well snap again and Celestia: the number one reason she might snap herself. So while yes she could save people/ponies/creatures in the future she also might personally kill just as many when she goes insane, after all if as per your argument we assume this will be similar to canon she ends up the sole princess of Equestria after the other two retire: there's no Celestia to banish /her/ to the moon when she goes Nightmare. But that raises a second problem with your argument: is the assumption that it will stay close to cannon even a fair assumption to make?
We already have through this fic several story arcs short-circuted: Cadence and Shining Armor aren't in the Crystal Empire so even if they have Flurry there will be no Crystaling crisis and depending on how Chrysalis' torture session ended she may very well be dead completely derailing everything in regards to cannon Changeling interactions: with two major plot points completely derailed /that we can see/ as a result of this fic who's to say more won't be, either because Celestia will plan differently without the presence of Princess Twilight or because Luna and Twilight bring more pragmatism to the process.

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Maybe Discord shows a different understanding of Twilight now that she chose her own path, defied "Destiny", so he will choose not to ally with Tirek? Either way, that's all just theory of course.

His understanding of Twilight had nothing to do with his betrayal.
He simply chose Tirek over ponies because ponies promised friendship and what he perceived as chains on his personal freedom and powers, while Tirek promised friendship and freedom, or at least he thought so. It is that simple in reality.

By all accounts, nothing about Tirek's takeover should go different until the point where Celestia, or another alicorn, is unable to defeat him, because the combined force of 4 alicorn's powers could only force Tirek to a stand-still, so the force of 3 will logically not be able to compete with him. Equestria is doomed by all logical reasoning.

I think immortality isn’t a blessing or a curse, its both. It’s what you do with it that makes the difference.

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objectively the best way to look at it.
We are in control of our own happiness (for the most part with obvious exceptions).

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Yes exactly, you could wallow in sadness. People do that without immortality( not a bash, just a fact). Or you could move on and make something of the lack of a time limit. There is always something to improve.

Well, this blew up while I was sleeping! I thank you all for your comments.

Was this a bit heavy handed in the anti-immortality thing? Maybe, however that wasn't the focus of the story. The original ending actually had her accepting it after whatever force triggered it implied that it had no designs for her. I decided to have her reject it after it seemed a bit too similar to What is Destiny Against Desire? Was this the best decision? Should I have kept the original?

Coulda woulda shoulda...didn't. This is where we are at, and I'm not going back now.

Edit: All that being said, I did add a line during her decision to show that it was influenced by Celestia's treatment of her.

"Equestria is doomed because this happened." I often get these kinds of comments in my timeline divergence stories, and they usually don't make sense to me. FiM isn't the one true timeline where everything goes well. People (and ponies) adapt to changing situations all the time. Twilight's not an alicorn? Okay, but she still has the magic of friendship, which was the point of the entire show. Twilight may never well be a paragon of friendship in this timeline, but she was still a shut-in nerd in the pilot episode, and the Elements responded to her anyway. They'll figure something out.

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FiM isn't the one true timeline where everything goes well. People (and ponies) adapt to changing situations all the time.

I mean... it technically is by default the canon of the show.
Twilight and her friends don't become the bearers of harmony? No one else steps up and Equestria is doomed multiple times over. No one adapted or changed to defeat evil when the mane six couldn't.
Not that hard to imagine the same won't apply to Twilight becoming an alicorn, which was needed to beat Tirek.

as said in a previous comment, it is not a bad story, so don't think I am hating, I did enjoy it.
I just think that since we are exploring the idea of consequences, like the consequences of Celestia's manipulations and treatment of Twilight, we could also explore the consequences of Twilight's refusal to become an alicorn.

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Boy that sure is a lot of assumptions you're making there. Why shouldn't his attempted takeover be different? The Butterfly Effect alone from the fact that Cadence and Shining aren't in the Crystal Empire would be enough to call that assumption in to question, not to mention the open-ended fate of Chrysalis after the "implied torture" noted in the description. Is she dead? Is she still imprisoned? With no way of knowing there's no guarantee that any of the Changeling interactions will go as cannon from here on. With the story so clearly off the rails at this point anything we "know" from cannon cannot be considered gospel anymore, there's no logical reason to assume that these changes won't have ripple effects on what "should" happen later down the line, especially when your entire /conclusion/ is that the /outcome of those same events will be different because of events within this fic/. Especially when given that this fic is a callout of "Chessmaster" Celestia and her long plans without consent of those involved. How much of the cannon story was to make her immortal, and then how much of the following was done simply to prepare Twilight for her role once the other princesses retire? Do you really think that Celestia's plan would remain the same without Princess Twilight? Or would she simply take a direct approach to the problem since if there's no bond between her and Twilight she has to treat /every/ element of harmony with a degree of suspicion, as Twilight is her intermediary there and point of contact. Would she even trust Fluttershy to "reform" Discord in the first place? And would she trust that reformation as much as she does in the show to assign him to deal with Tirek instead of taking (or more likely as this fic has demonstrated Luna and Twilight taking) a more direct approach in preventing his theft of magic entirely?

TL,DR: Using cannon knowledge to dictate future events when there are clear and present divergences in cannon already is illogical and not even remotely a safe assumption

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Okay I worded that wrong. Yes, FiM is canon and everything goes well there. However fanfiction is neat in that we can write any timeline we want. Mane 6 aren't Bearers, thus not defeating Nightmare Moon? Celestia takes care of it, there's a rebellion, other nations invade because no sun means they all starve. Ideal scenarios? Absolutely not, however they're plausible outside cartoon-world. It depends on the context and the rules the author have set for their story.

I've responded to a few comments on here directly but I feel I should also give my two cents on the fic directly: rejecting immortality was absolutely the right call for Twilight and you've captured the "why" beautifully here: because will all that power comes a terrible price and even more terrible for Twilight specifically.

At first she felt a sense of contentment at that reassurance, but her old skepticism tapped on her shoulder and whispered in her ear. It reminded her that immortals don’t live. After a certain point, they simply exist, watching as the world passes them by. Time meant nothing, and eventually, ponies wouldn’t either as they faded into the background. Just chess pieces to move on a board.

This is 100% perfect. It encapsulates the isolation immortality causes all those who have it and if friendship is Twilight's entire thing, which it is, that isolation would be even worse for her than it was for Luna. She'd snap within her first few centuries, much less later on like Celestia and Luna, who at least had their jobs to keep themselves occupied. And I'm still convinced the only reason Celestia hasn't snapped (if you don't consider trying to manipulate someone into becoming an immortal at the very least without their consent and without even considering whether or not that individual even wants immortality in the first place to be snapping) is because narrative causality demanded it. Seriously think about it, she might "have" the "love and adoration" of the ponies which led to Luna's jealousy but does she really? Does the Mare with wants needs and desires have the love and affection of everypony, or the divine ruler who governs the heavens and ensures everypony's bountiful harvests and safe living? Because the latter is just a built up image, not a pony. And so after Luna's banishment Celestia is surrounded by people who either are contractually required to be there (servants, guards, /students/) or the nobility who see her as a tool to further their own agendas. How long before she gets sick of it all? How long before she comes to despise that image? And while she can try to bury herself in her work that fact will remain.
And now we come back to Twilight: how well do you think she'll handle what already drove Luna insane and what by all rights should've driven Celestia insane by now? How long until all anypony remembers is the /new/ divine ruler who governs the heavens and ensures everypony's bountiful harvests and save living? If friendship is your entire thing, then that level of isolation is the greatest curse anyone could've wished on Twilight, and yet Celestia did so.

Sometimes, you don't really realize how many stories you enjoy that are written by the same author until you actually check. I didn't realize how much you've written and how many I've read and enjoyed. This is just one more in a long line of wonderful fics I read. I wish there was more to it, but this is still a hearty meal to me and I enjoyed every second of it.

A bittersweet tale of what happens when you push someone’s trust. A good story, though I think it could have used one more , for Celestia to process what just happened here.

Also, what happened to Queen Chrysalis? Did they ever get around to helping feed her subjects, or is she still under house arrest? It would be interesting to see her role in this new AU.

This was fun. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ll admit to hoping for at least a one shot follow up (if you decide to come back to this) showing in more detail what Twilights refusal to be manipulated does. (Mostly, I’m curious as to what Celestia does now that all her grand plans are toast)
That all said, great work. Much love and I’m gonna tag this so I can come back and reread it again and again.
See ya ‘round!

This was a very nice story.

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