• Member Since 13th Nov, 2023
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Gormless Wheaton


Full of Regret and Thinly Veiled Contempt

T

This story is a sequel to BEDLAM II: Heart of Glass


Ed Bedlam's quest for world domination has finally been halted, hopefully permanently. And yet, his allies and servants are still at large and willing to cause trouble. But at least the worst of his evil is over.

Right?


The final part of the BEDLAM trilogy.

Chapters (26)
Comments ( 42 )

A heck of a start. And a good distraction for a Monday morning.
I see you tapping that harmony/destiny glass. Wondering where your going with that
Which jail incident is it that she's flashing back to? Pre or Post Emperor Bedlam?
Also, Replacement is not something Bedlam ever called Twilight. So letter is likely intended for the petrified Bedlam. That laugh seems vaugely familiar :P

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Jail scene was in Tartarus, and the addition of just two words has clarified that.

Thanks for the Jury background. Its unsurprising but sad to see what direction she's heading.

Interesting that Discord hasn't popped up again yet. I have a thought or two on that but gonna hold them in for now.

The crystal mind turning back on smells like a trap. But by who to catch who?

Did I miss some context on what war might be happening in the minotaur lands?

Guessing they won't hold back anymore

Huh. Lots of actors at play. Extremely curious to see where exactly your going with this.

Most curious about Flurry in particular. She's simultaneously right and wrong. Some of it defo is from Cadence being foolish about teaching her. Just banning anything to do with Bedlam and not talking about isn't going to help Flurry understand the subtle and not-so-subtle bits about Bedlam's rule.

And I am even more certain that is not our Bedlam. For all of his quirks, he was "affectionate" with his more sentient creations.

Delightful chapters so far. All the actors are arriving at the stage, but what will we see when the lights turn on?

Poor Flurry Heart. Given what we saw earlier Jury is not the safest pony to have encountered right now, thought certainly safer than some of the others at play. Not 100% certain Tempest would go with something particularly cruel, but she seems to be floating around amoral at the moment.

I have to admit, I'm absolutely dying to get to the big mystery/s you have it play here. It's made focusing a bit difficult. Needless to say, as sad as I'll be to see this story end, I can't wait till I see how you plan to end it.

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How dare you make me feel like a drug-dealer.

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If your gonna keep feeding me cliffhangers every chapter, you only get to act so indignant over the feeling :P


As I suspected, an alternate Bedlam. The one he was communicating with I assume. And from a much less friendly timeline. With Sunset being the prized pupil, I can't even begin to imagine how different that timeline was. That Celestia was the one to pull out Grogar's bell to seal Discord's power is telling all on it's own.

Assuming my interpretation of first part as being a flashback and not something else is correct:
I wonder if "our" Bedlam realized his alt-universe counterpart had become a Discord stand-in?
Where is our Bedlam?

Given what little we saw from that flashback last chapter, of the alternate Mane 6, Rainbow seemed to have interacted with Bedford the most. Makes what happens here at the end make the most sense.

"Alrighty, guess the answer to my earlier question is 'yes,'" he said, nodding. "Let's start simple. Ed Bedlam came from another world, correct?" I blinked and he slowly nodded again.

Was it supposed to be Twilight that nodded?

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Nah, it was Bedford. Followed by continuing his spiel with a sarcastic 'Super' at their inability to keep up with his yammering. He's even more impatient, violent, and condescending than Bedlam is, due to the simple fact he never had a Twilight. More on that to come, however.

The construct which brought the alt. character to the setting may imply the possible inclusion of other alt. characters from the same alt. Bedford or otherwise different conditions.
The addition of such a premise may undermine the magical boundaries between realities, a possibility often discussed and occurring across the community of fiction.
Coupled with the statue of Bedlam being placed within the chambers housing the construct capable of transmigrating the characters from an alt. timeline to the present designated timeline.
A level of confusion and possible hostility when the Twilight of the present reality showcases the evil and good of Bedlam, compared to Bedford.
The passage thou had concluded the idea the 'a corpse may wither, legacies are not of matter but of word'

Now the stakes are set. Gonna admit, I don't think I've read an mlp fic that has a "feck all that was, is, and will be" plan of this scale. Worse part is, given the variation of Equestria he ended up in? I can't totally blame him for ending up a super-villain. I'd accuse him of giving a skewed view, but ignoring Sunset being the Alicorn, Celestia popping a limb off like that... that's a more than mild difference between verse's.

Yay! I wasn't completely crazy noticing all the nods to Harmony being an active element with Bedlam!
And we finally get one very biased view of Harmony and it's role and impact. I didn't fail to notice that he was "convinced", not that he had evidence. Not to say that he's wrong, but I don't trust him to be completely right either. I wonder if this plays into why Discord hasn't poked his head out yet...

Now the real interesting part is, once this is laid out to Bedlam, what will his goals shift to? I can state with some confidence they won't match Bedfords. But for all of progress he made right at the end of the last story, I'm not convinced he wouldn't try and take control again. Especially given his previous suspicions about Harmony and destiny.

Damn. Nice to see Tirek and Chrysalis help like they did, and I had my suspicions it'd go this way.

Hope our adventure party gets its shit together and starts working together soon or they are going to wipe so hard against this JRPG protagnist super villain as he revs up his quest to kill god.

WTF.


This isn't something Twilight would do intentionally. I don't think Bedford gives enough of a fug to do this, but wouldn't put it past him either.
I'm prone to pointing a finger at Harmony, but it sounded like the stone spell is unrelated to the elements of harmony.

This doesn't bode well for when they un-stone him.

Edit: And then the inherent tragedy of this dream: Despite everything, this is still what he dreams about.

I wonder... did Bedlam create the disrupting wands specifically to counter Bedford?

The shallow grave has yet to be filled.
Do not wait, be with the dirt that had consumed all before you.
Bedford

Rambling below, not really expecting a response.

I was kinda teasing at the idea of Harmony wanting him to be a villain in my last comment on 2nd story. But 500+ years of living the same dream over and over again, while the dream itself attempts to deny its a dream? If he didn't come out of the stone a frothing nutcase, I strongly suspect he would be a Bedford tier villain. We can already see that whatever progress he made before being stoned has been shoved inside again. Repeatedly making steps forward only to immediately be met with either strong temptation or a stick to encourage him backwards.
But to what end? Is it a case of Harmony needing some sort of villain and since they've reformed every other one it needed to create a new one? Is it a case of an alien god not truly comprehending mortals and attempting to hammer square shape through round hole? Applying sentience to Harmony is a call that Bedford made, so is it even aware enough to make it a conscience action? Or is it that people of that universe unconsciously slot themselves into their place and Harmony enforces it?

Of course, given that Bedlam is an outsider, what's to say it wasn't his own brain applying the whip of guilt and desire to himself, forming the dreams?
Another random possibility is that Luna decided to be spiteful and tossed a spell on him. Dream magic is her domain and is quite a bit more experienced than Twilight...

Edit: More Ramble
The dictatorship that the pig people from first story lived under. The inherent unfairness of Minos society that drove/encouraged Silver Lace to her ends. Paradise Equestria, frozen and unmoving in technological or societal development, possibly leading to gen 5 setup. For anything to change, even bad things, means the destruction of order. Is Harmony inherently order, thus its conflict with Chaos? Or is it a balance of the two? Thus perhaps why it might be driving Bedlam to be a villain. Or perhaps Chaos instead? Might explain why Discord is missing.

If nothing else, I can amuse you with how far out in left field I am from where your aiming.

I see you countered a couple bits in my rambly comment, though I suspect you didn't need my rambling for most of them. I do like Luna's reaction to both the accusation and that Twilight was checking for that. I suspected and delight in the confirmation that Twilight was checking on him. That his dream state was undetectable is most interesting. Leaves open who could have done it, though I have two suspects in mind.

Bedlam's reaction to Celestia's horn is delightful and another separator between him and Bedford, as well as his hesitation to Jury's little admission at the end. Next chapter should be fun as I suspect they're gonna have a little chat about that on the way to this bunker.

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Bedlam's twisted and hypocritical morals were fun to figure out once he got older. He's always been fine with murder, and when angry enough he's fine cursing an entire species. Despite that, he finds physical disfigurement and transforming living things into machines abhorrent and to be avoided if he can manage it.

And at the same time, it helps as a framework for Badlam(literally his name in my source doc.) Since if Bedlam wouldn't do something, Bedford absolutely would. Especially the more needlessly cruel and petty it is. For that reason he's the perfect antagonist for the final BEDLAM. He's just Eddy at his worst being thrown back in his face. Here's hoping he puts two and two together by the end.

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Baring things not shown or I've forgotten about, Bedlam seems generally unwilling to do his worst against those that haven't directly moved against him. Most of citizens in Canterlot are safe, but that cop that ignored him when Starlight was taking Bedlam to Twilight? That guy was headed for a bad time if Bedlam hadn't gotten stoned.

EDIT: That said, this is an extreme under/over simplification of it. And it certainly doesn't give him any moral high ground. And he certainly has never communicated his do's and don't very well since Jury and Tempest seem both seem quiet willing to trod into what he considers unallowable territory.

This Chapter:
I'm not shocked he had something like Balefire stashed away. MAD might not work so hot in the modern world, but Equestria wouldn't be used to such a tactic.

Getting some hints of Bedford/Badlam from Jury, which I imagine is more than a bit of why Bedlam is feeling upset at the moment.

You've got some ugly hints floating in here. That bit about scraping away all machinery, that bit at the very end. Got me pondering some end points you might take this that are giving me some bad feels.

This is a curious side(?) bit you have going on with the dreams. It's very clear that alternate Bedlam's exist, thus Badford. Badford even mentioned finding a happy Bedlam. Is it the same one that is in Bedlam's dreams? Is it the alt history of Bedlam making a different choice back in book 1? At this point, I have to question if these are really dreams or something else. In either case, I am deeply suspicious of the source being Bedlam's own brain. Or perhaps, this Bedlam. Seems to subtle for Badford though...

...con-...verges detected!
Tra-...dimensional-...anomaly inbound!
3
-
2
-
1
--Harmo-...ny destabilized

Interesting. An uncontrolled sideways step. Uncontrolled by Bedlam at least, Interesting that there was a faint tune he associated with it.

I'd assume that the effect disappearing when he was away from Canterlot having to do with proximity, but can easily think of several things he's close to there that could be root cause, intentionally or not.

And Badlam continues to impress with how bad he is.

Inconclusive perception acquired.

Interesting that once again, Bedlam is pulled in to deal with a threat and then isn't needed to actually deal with the threat. That said, its not like Badford has really been dealt with yet.

Be curious to see how interactions between Flurry and Bedlam go when he gets back from his trip. That bit at the end just cements in my mind where he's ended up. Though the interesting bit will be whether he really listens to himself.

And against Twilight a bit, I think Bedlam, Jury, and Tempest fed off of each other more than realized. Certainly not in a healthy way given how out of sync they seem to be now. And I strongly suspect that it is Jury and Tempest that won't listen to Bedlam when/if he tries to shift things.

Okay, he's gonna destroy Earth Prime, better call Batman.

Thanks for the Monday update, I needed the distraction :P


Discord dragging Discord out to do... something? I'm assuming the visiting Discord is from where Bedlam is currently. Strange that this happier world seems to be more clearly in the know of what's happening. Especially given that the impression I had was that Bedlam's world was the first that Badford had invaded. I can only assume the third player is Harmony, but hardly a given. There is certainly room for an unseen hand. Might even be Badford.

That first interaction with the happier world's KS6 is one example of that, for example. When he first activated the Killer Six all the way back in the first story, I was never certain as to why KS6 ended up so bloodthirsty. It was easy to assume it was a glitch, but given what Badford's done with her now? Hmm.

There are lots of interesting bits in second part, but the most interesting to me is the implications around Harmony. That this world is everything Bedlam wanted, enough so that he feels like he's looking at his dream version of it. But all of his attempts at doing at home were resisted in a million subtle ways. Are we dealing with different "Harmonies"? Is it one core Harmony that sets each world into a specific vision? What then is the reason for Bedlam to be in a world where everything went right?

Not to take all the choices out of Bedlam's hands. The extent to which Harmony can force decisions on it's musicians/instruments is still unclear, but certainly Bedlam made choices, as right or wrong as they were. And we really don't know what the different choices were in this happy world.
But the sticking points for me will continue to be the combo of the ponies calling him Bedlam well before he accepted the name, and that his first harmony song was when he went villainous in an abandoned castle right above the tree.

My suspicion remains that Harmony wanted him to be some form of villain. But being an outsider, he's never danced to it perfectly. And in the case of Badford, he took to it with such extreme gusto that it's actually threatening all of existence, forcing Harmony to do some extreme destiny swerving. Question remains as to what exactly Bedlam is going to do mixed with what his final fate will be. I don't foresee him going as far as Badford, but seeing that his dreams were always possible and in fact happening to some other version of him?

Lots of bad routes this all could go, but I have my finger's crossed.

EDIT: Just to make it clearer: Assuming Harmony is in fact an active actor, I/We don't really know how strong it's "compulsions" and influence are. Unless it turns out that "What Harmony Wants, Harmony Gets", Bedlam ultimately was the one making the choices that got him where he was. I strongly suspect the Bedford of this happy world didn't attempt to strong arm his fusion of magic and technology like Bedlam did. I am definitely curious if the divergence point is purely on Bedford deciding to become Bedlam, or if it includes how Twilight and Celestia handled things at the beginning. Even better, was Good Bedford even called Bedlam?

Harmony was the evil one pushing thing to turn bad toward Bedford, but humanity a wild card will not play to your plans. Now when you must now reveal yourself why so many Bedford get no good ending when he were trying to help more then the pony with his inventions. But the question is will harmony would tell them all what mistake were made toward bedford?

Okay, so I've been off base to some extent for awhile now I guess. I think you might be the.. 2nd? 3rd story I've read that's pulled entropy out as a cosmic force with the same "presence" as Harmony and Chaos.

And interesting to see where the timeline divergence was. I kinda figured it would be at one of the major decision points, just wasn't sure which one.

Maybe I'll get an answer before this is all over with, but I'm still curious about the name and song. The name I'm willing to chalk up as bizarre coincidence. Bedford is not a very pony name while Bedlam would be. But the song in the castle... not sure it's something Entropy would be interested in but not sure Harmony would really gel with it either.

All in all, hopefully a good starting point for Bedlam to have a slightly happier future. Limited amount of time left to recover from much larger set of mistakes, but who knows.

Perhaps I can understand the other Edward's point of view, but at the same time I find it hard to believe.

Not that I want Bedlam to remain a terribly tragic character, but I think he has every right to his desire for control. Celestia and her government have already stripped Bedlam of his magic, the straw to which he was clinging. Another Bedford has already come into his world. There isn't much room for choice to just say “work hard and you'll succeed.” It's just that someone else has already made the choice and you can only react to it.

And I think I understand our Eddy, it's hard and scary to trust someone, to let go when you've already been effectively betrayed.

And at the same time I can't call the other Bedford's position “right”. He's still a control freak, he talks about the decisions HE made, how HE worked towards a better future. Because the path to Harmony is a conscious and difficult decision, how good I am for realizing that, blah, blah, blah. He's hardly happier or more righteous in the long run, just has better results on his hands. And as if again, Bedlam is only forced to react to other people's decisions, there's no way he could have controlled his transfer to another world.

I hope that eventually he can make exactly his own decisions, without playing to the tune of Harmony, Chaos, Entropy, Celestia, or any of his other variations.

Resignation
A thought that feels the loss of effort and recognition.
A judging aspect that entails failure and accomplishment.
Failure at what was aimed.
Accomplishment for what was done.
This of the former, a goal aimed once lasting.
A fruitless sow of a barren soil.
Losing a compatriot, a friend.

I can see this is heading for some interesting conflicts and decisions. Bedlam's willingness to ask his better self that question inspires hope.

There is enough meta stuff floating around that I'm a bit worried about some possible directions you could take the ending, so hard crossing my fingers that its more happy than "happy".

EDIT: Ha. It was late when I made this comment, so didn't catch that I've made the happy vs "happy" comment a few times. I'll leave it as a testament that even this far into the series, its not clear where your planning to land this plane beyond a vague idea.

So it shall
For it be unwell
A gnash across
Wounded pour about
Wool and liquor
Sizzle rings loudly
A curing mind, begone sickness forever.

Well look at that. He finally took a step. I wasn't sure if he was really going to. And good to see the ladies are willing to take it with him.

Of course, first Bedlam needs to unmake his unpleasant guest. And with that starting move, Bedlam has quite the incentive to pull out all the stops.

An injured mind, painless physically albeit devastating mentally.

Well darn.

Stories not marked as completed, so fingers crossed on where you take this.

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My mistake. Fixed and set to complete. Thanks for following along from day one and remaining invested despite how cracked out all of this has been.


Same to anyone else who sees this.

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It's been a blast following along. You had me a little nervous there at the end as "Bedlam erasing himself from history" was one of the "happy" endings I was worried about. So congrats, I didn't predict anything even remotely like this.

And I know you called it cracked out, but you've done a marvelous job of making it all "make sense". I can't really think of a moment where I can't figure out how we got from A to D, B and C were generally present and accounted for, if not sometimes somewhat off-screen.

I know your considering Bedlam done at this point, especially since you've got "Once per day" rolling and moar vampire at some point. But since you've gone and re-written the universe I wouldn't say no to there someday being oneshots or even just random history bits set in this wild new ponyverse you've created. I imagine things like Tirek and Chrysalis would have occurred and/or been handled quiet differently in this new world.

If nothing else, I have new ideas to scribble for things I will never write.

I've really enjoyed this trilogy, I found Bedlams ups and downs very compelling. Great stuff, now I need to sink my teeth into your other works. :D

Welp. That was a ride alright. I loved the MC and the plot was legendary. KS-6 roach like survivability just to mess everything up at the end was so infuriatingly good I was so mad yet I had to respect the hussle. 10/10 would read again.

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Thank you all for the kind words and for enjoying my work, genuinely.

Interlinked is what provides a residual summary feel of the ending yours had concocted.
Once lost in realm unknown
Finds heart and gold
Rejected were effort shown
Cruel was result and law
Fear and shadow prevailed long
End it was till another came, same.
Urged to become else
Fall to only risen above
Mingled for better, same then let change be better
An end made sure, surely will cherished brought about.

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