Was this all there was? For her and Maud to die out here, at the foothills of the Crystal Mountains, never having had a chance to live their lives beyond that little rock farm?

There was supposed to be something more, wasn't there?

But what?

Author's Note

Based on various thoughts about how weird the Pie family is, my Dr. Maudileena Daisy Pie headcanon, and just how much more would be different in the various alternate Starlight-induced timelines beyond the little bits we saw.

Based off a prompt from Bean's Writing Group Discord server, "From the beginning, you know the end". Thanks to Short-tale, RDT, and Techno Flare for their feedback.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 37 )

I'm a little surprised, considering this story premise, that this story is only one chapter long. Will there be a sequel?

It was a good story to read, thanks for writing it.

Maud and Pinkie have that special bond, they surely love their other sisters, but Pinkie sees Maud not only as a sister, but as her best friend, and would do anything to make her happy.

While this story was sad, at the same time we can see how they love each other, I mean, when the letters arrived, announcing that she and Maud were being called to war, even knowing that they would probably die, Pinkie doesn't hesitate because she would be with Maud, and that when the war is over, she would be able to make their parents sees Maud the way she sees her.

An interesting story with nice emotional content, I thought. Sorry I don't have better commentary; thank you for writing, though!

Deep down, she knew this even before the day those meaningless balloons had appeared on her flank.

This leads to a very interesting question. Yes, those times we saw the Bearers' cutie marks in the Glimmer timelines, they were the same, but is that necessarily always the case? I imagine that if any of them would deviate in their personal iconography, it would be this Pinkie.

It’s not like I was some wandering party planner going around from town to town before this, you know.

For without a young Pinkie in Ponyville, how could Cheese discover his destiny? Butterfly effect in action.

“Yeah, I do feel this urge to one-up him for some reason…”

But the more things change...

Her cutie mark, just like the fruit slices on Limestone’s or the spheres on Marble’s, didn’t really mean anything.

Ouch. This take on marks really highlights the harm done by such an insular, constraining culture. (Though I still like the idea that Limestone is a party pony of sorts herself.)

Beautiful bit of tragedy winding backward through warped history. Thank you for it.

Dead Pinkie ghost, "Celestia, why didn't you just blow up Sombra with Sun lasers?"

Tyrantlestia, "It's the LITTLE ponies who are meant to do the fighting! Let me eat cake!"

Dead Pinkie, "That's now how that goes."

Tyrantlestia, "What? Do you think YOU lowly creatures deserve MY cake?!"

Tyrantlestia is best Celestia. :trollestia:

10769343 That's the biggest puzzle to me. Given that the Bearers all received their marks based on that one event, it makes me wonder when and how they got them, given they were all in non-conducive situations, except for the militaristic Dash whose natural competitiveness would eventually manifest itself.

Fluttershy, Pinkie, and AJ were in places where their natural inclinations would have a very hard time.

I would also like to note that the alternate timelines we saw are 100% dependent upon Celestia have NO CONTINGENCY PLAN AT ALL for NMM's return, and instead hoping that a random pegasus filly flies really fast at the right time.

God dammit, Trollestia. WTF?

It seems more reasonable to me that Celestia HAD a plan, and then when Twilight exploded with magic, Celestia was like, "Cool! Now I don't have to do anything!" :trollestia:

It's not that they're contingent on Celestia not having another plan for Luna, it's that they're contingent on that plan not working. And given how Nightmare Moon is an issue in at most two timelines—assuming she's responsible for the dusty wasteland—I'd say it worked more often than not. Heck, we get direct proof that Luna was reformed in at least one offshoot.

“But if it weren’t for Maud, we wouldn’t have headed off that attack yesterday!” Pinkie protested. “If she hadn’t hit their bridge exactly, they would have been able to get their reïnforcements through! Shouldn’t that count for something special?“

That's right. Maud is artillery.

Pinkie glimpsed a frown flash across Rainbow Dash’s face and realized she’d slipped up again. She had noticed that most ponies in the company got uncomfortable whenever she talked about the Goddess, and she’d learned to be a bit self-conscious about it.

A+ for implying different religions in Equestria, or at least different levels of religiosity. 'Pie family is in a religious minority' is my headcanon.

Anyway. Loved this. :raritywink:

Don't think so....I mean they are both dead now

Great and sad story...especially with the undertones of who Maud is and wants to be plus the relationship with Pinkie it's really touching

So beautiful and touching, and a nice look at an alternate Pinkie Pie.

We need more Crystal War stories.

So instead of a war story, this is a view on the harm of insular religious culture. Suprising, but welcome.

10769413 Those alt timelines are just silly, when you get down to it. The only one that really would be inevitable is the Discord one.

Clearly he gets out without the EoH being given to other Bearers, since one timeline shows that. Therefore, he would also get loose in every other timeline. Remember, without the attempted reformation, he'd NEVER try to befriend Tirek. He'd have absolutely no reason to, therefore even if Tirek still escaped from Tartarus, Discord would curb-stomp him in an instant long before Tirek could power up. Sombra would be no match for him at all, which the show demonstrated conclusively. Outside of their anti-magic castle, the changelings are utterly helpless against Discord. Now, there is the slight chance that Discord went there, was depowered and defeated, so mayyyyybe the Chrysalis timeline could happen.

And if there's a way that Celestia managed to reform Luna without new Bearers (which frankly I cannot even imagine given how the whole thing is constructed) then Sombra is still no match as TWO alicorns previously kicked his flank without any effort at all and sent him running. And this time, Celestia had agents watching for the INSTANT the Crystal Empire returned. Sombra was weak at first, remember? So weak Celestia sent Twi & Co there to face him without the EoH AS A TEST!!

And the dead world was just sheer laziness. A random apocalypse to force insta-reformation for Starlight and nothing more. Remember, Twi and Starlight always popped back to their present day, the exact same time. So none of the villains who show up AFTER season 5 could be responsible for it... and Grogar was just Discord all along.

That's about all the thought I want to put into it, as it's already WAYYYY more than the show's writers did. :twilightoops:

Yep, Maud is Pinkie's best sister friend five-ever! And that was in the timeline where she lived in a different town and had hundreds of other friends.
Thank you for reading!

This leads to a very interesting question. Yes, those times we saw the Bearers' cutie marks in the Glimmer timelines, they were the same, but is that necessarily always the case? I imagine that if any of them would deviate in their personal iconography, it would be this Pinkie.

I did notice all of the Crystal War Timeline ponies wore clothes, despite ponies normally not wearing clothes, which I originally thought was a very clever way to get around revealing the Mane Six's cutie marks in the timeline where they didn't get them as they should have. But then in every other timeline they all have their original ones, so I figure they do in this one as well, just in different circumstances and interpretations.

For without a young Pinkie in Ponyville, how could Cheese discover his destiny? Butterfly effect in action.

It was interesting that just like Pinkie's non-best-friend sisters, Cheese Sandwich's cutie mark is a reference to his name and seemingly has nothing to do with his interests or life goals or personality. So in the absence of Pinkie, naturally he'd figure he was supposed to work with food in some capacity.

Beautiful bit of tragedy winding backward through warped history. Thank you for it.

I was really happy with the structure. Thanks for reading!


Dead Pinkie ghost, "Celestia, why didn't you just blow up Sombra with Sun lasers?"

This Pinkie would never address her Goddess in this matter, ghost or not!

That's right. Maud is artillery.

Yes, she is strong enough to crush me with her hooves, which is definitely awesome

A+ for implying different religions in Equestria, or at least different levels of religiosity. 'Pie family is in a religious minority' is my headcanon.

They are canonically a weird cultural minority, and all that talk about Choosing Stones and Pairing Stones does sound like a religious practice. And Celestia-worship being a lot stronger in marginal and insular areas is my favorite headcanon, with the Pie family being a perfect example to draw with.

Anyway. Loved this. :raritywink:


Technically Pinkie hasn't died yet in the story. It's not inconceivable that there could be a sequel with her waking up in the infirmary and having to deal with the traumatic aftermath of all of this, but that isn't something I'm currently planning on writing.
Always intended to write this so that it would stand strong even if the more subtle throughline was missed by the reader. My heart really does break for Maud here.
Thank you! And yeah, the setting really is fascinating. I'd've loved to see more of what was going on in the home front as the economy and society reorients to full war footing.
Yep, definitely not meant to be a war fic, just set in one. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Really interesting to see someone else's take on one of the Starlight timelines. I have a couple of my own (written, not yet published). One set in the changeling timeline, and one in the final timeline (where I explain what happened).

Really liked the different leaps in thought and then the ending they lead to. Very neat way of getting there. I've always wished there was more crystal war timeline fics, personally.

Thanks, good luck with your writing!
Thanks! It was a neat structure to work with, and a very satisfying way to get at the themes I wanted. And I definitely agree we need more such fics.

Hey, greetings! Have a review!

Thank you so much!

There's a lot of themes being tackled here, but there's three big ones that are prominent throughout the story.

The first and probably the biggest being fate. It's what pushes the entire concept forward, and it's referenced commonly throughout the entire story. Pinkie has this disregard for cutiemarks that is explained through another theme, but it's interesting how her beliefs are bolstered by the situation she's in. If Pinkie had had these beliefs in the show, the Rainboom completely destroyed them, so without it, we see how it grows over time.

Another theme that goes hoof-in-hoof with fate is religion. Pinkie still sticks with her beliefs despite what's happening, possibly because it comforts her that things could go back to how things once were, her on the farm being lectured on the Celestial being by her parents. Again, her parents hammering the falsity of cutiemarks into her head kind of merges the two with each other, and with how strongly she feels on them, it makes sense she would relate them to each other.

The last theme is a lot more subtle, being that it's focused on a character besides Pinkie, Maud. She's trans, as alluded to by the ending scene which I'll get back to later, and everything makes sense. She keeps her eyeliner and eyeshadow on the entire time because she's taking pride in who she is, and wants to be remembered in her final moments as herself, something Pinkie knows. It's not the only part of her identity she takes with her into death, but also her stoicism she's characterized by. Lidded or closed eyes, and a neutral face.

Anyways the ending. It's the best part of the story to me. The wording you used is just perfect because it can mean so many things. That they both know that cutiemarks are more important than they believe, that they're waiting for color in a bleak world, or maybe the important thing is already there, and it's them spending time together. It's such a simple, but encompassing line, and I love it. The entire scene is great, but that last sentence just makes the entire story for me. Bravo!

It's scary how much of our lives are determined by things completely outside our control. Going back and imagining a history where everything is terrible and Maud dies is depressing, but somehow also cathartic. It was so profoundly sad in a way I love to read.

The reverse timeline was the best way to present this story. It worked well. Great characterization and prose, and an interesting look at an AU that doesn't get enough love.

Howdy, hi

This story gives me Horizon Zero Dawn vibes in the way it presents this after-death scenario of the two leads and I love it.

The subtle nodes to Maud being trans were well executed and I particularly liked the mentions of all the other Mane 6 hidden throughout the text. The cameo of Cheese Sandwich was great and the various hints at what life should have been like for them.

I just love the melancholic feel of the whole narrative. Pinkie reflecting back on her life with Maud and their really strong bond with each other. That "sisters first" mentality is just amazing and the execution of the idea was on point.

Thank you so much for writing this.

It was all so wrong. They weren’t supposed to die out here, at the foothills of the Crystal Mountains. This was supposed to be their chance. Their chance to serve the Goddess and to find their destinies beyond that little rock farm. Well, Maud already knew her destiny. Pinkie’s eyes welled up with tears as she thought of it. She was supposed to start her rocktorate once Equestria returned to peace and the schools reopened. And Pinkie…

It's moments like these that remind you that things aren't where they are supposed to be, that everything's gone to hell and back. I don't know. It gets me all the time.

“All right, that’s it!” the Morale Officer spoke up. “Happy birthday…” He trailed off as he glanced at his clipboard performatively, at the name in Pinkie’s hoofwriting scribbled over the one typed underneath. “Maud Pie. Now, I must requisition back the supplies.”
“That’s it?” Pinkie shouted, incredulous.

The details. War's forced them to ration even their spare time.

That did get a response: a look of annoyance. “Hey, what do you expect me to do? Keep a detailed dossier on everypony in the company so that I can plan extra-special parties just for them?”


“Anthracite. It’s actually very common. The shine on the surface must be due to water erosion.” She took a bite of it, letting the mouthful crumble and crunch between her teeth. “Good, smoky flavor, though. Thank you.”
Rainbow Dash frowned, clearly not expecting that reaction.
“Well, uh, glad you like it, Maud! And happy birthday, again! But I gotta get going…”

Truly friendship goals. I like how this tiny moment showed both their characters so well, in this fallen timeline. No matter how far it's fallen, there's still traces of them around.

I enjoyed the reverse chronology employed here, Bike. How things were completely out of their control, and that sucks. But that's also life. It just is, sometimes.

“I’ll wait here with you.” Maud sat down next to her, and looked up at the sky as well. “Maybe it’s just a little late.”
The two sisters sat side by side, looking up at the sky together. Waiting for the really important thing.

I adored this. They understand one another in their own way, and I find that really sweet, especially when juxtaposed with what should have been.

I find myself struggling to find words for this, but overall -- a lovely, if tragic little tale of sisterly love. Thank you.


“Yeah! I just wish I knew what it was, Maulder—”
It was all so wrong. As far back as she could remember, whenever she said or heard that name her right ear twitched painfully, though it wasn’t until she was a bit older that she even knew why. That’s why she had always avoided addressing her older sibling by name.
But there was something that felt right. Something she learned only very recently.
The response came. “You don’t have to call me that, Pinkie. I just thought it was a nice name.”

Awww. I love this.

Interesting story. I must say the beginning and end were the most enjoyable, since they're the ones where I think the feelings are best conveyed. The section about the party I feel was the most lacking due to the little references becoming a lot less subtle for my liking. Still I enjoyed how it showed Rainbow's and to some extent the other's M6 situations during the war.

Speaking of war, I like your depiction of it. Even if it's Equestria, there's no time for parties and celebrations, just the fight against Sombra.

Another thing I really liked was how you transitioned through time with memories, makes it feel like it's Pinkie's dying brain trying to find meaning for her now ending life, to have at least some resolution to the question she has probably been asking herself for her entire existence.

Good stuff here. Well done.

PS: Also, had I not read previous stories of you, the Mauler thing would've probably gone over my head.

I struggled through this story.

Not because it was badly written, more like the opposite.

It hurts me inside to see Pinkie so depressed, so...not Pinkie. During the show, we could always count on her to be the one that cheered everyone up,(except that one episode), even in the hardest times. Even other stories have used this before.

But what the best thing about this story does is that it shows Pinkie wanting more. The story has a hidden meaning behind(I think, correct me if I'm wrong), showing how without her true destiny Pinkie's want to protect and love her sister is stronger than ever.

When I got to the part where Pinkie said she didn't know how to throw a party, that hurt me emotionally too.

I wish I could give you a hug, Pinkie. Maud may be dead, but that's no reason to give up. Live your life for her! Show her you will live on, and cherish your life!

Thanks for writing, Bike, it was a really well written story.

This tore at me, because I knew going in that Maud and Pinkie were going to die. And yet despite knowing that, I pressed onward to see where you would take us.

I was not disappointed. I don't mind the on the nose jokes in the party as much as some other readers might have, because I felt like they were a good choice for added melancholy. The thought of Cheese Sandwich as a sad morale pony doing a job no one likes and no one thanks him for... it just makes my heart hurt. It's like he's doing what he's supposed to, in a way, but it's so twisted and messed up to be completely wrong.

I also really liked the way the story went backwards, further in time, given us a good idea of how they ultimately ended up where they did. There was also a hint that felt particularly strong near the end, that Maud is trans. Knowing your stories I'm certain I'm reading this correctly and thus will celebrate it, even if Maud is dead.

I appreciate that the story doesn't hardly mention war outside of the limitations it put on their party supplies and the initial fatal injuries... too often stories that invoke war like to revel in details, like the explosions and body parts and blood are all welcome, wonderful things. This story does not glorify war in the slightest, which is very good indeed.

Ultimately though, this is sad, and it tugs at my heart strings, in just the right way. Pinkie's family, their belief in Celestia, the trust may feel misplaced when the news of their deaths gets back to Limestone and Marble.

But any speculation along those lines is irrelevant. What matters is, I really enjoyed this story.


Yep, definitely not meant to be a war fic, just set in one.

hey, that's what I got in the royal Canterlot library for!

so of course you can imagine whatever future you want! but there is now a sequel story where they are not both dead

King Sombra is defeated, and the Crystal War is finally over. But Pinkie has only one place left to go.
Bicyclette · 2.1k words  ·  74  5 · 1.3k views

shitting and crying and screaming and pissing

can a better review of a story be had than these seven words? impossible

Finally got around to reading this. This was sad yet also hopeful in a way, and wonderfully written.

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