• Published 13th Feb 2013
  • 13,560 Views, 329 Comments

Steel Spirit - Masterweaver

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Finalized Compilation

Sweetie Belle looked at her leg.

"I think.... I think it might be time."

"Time for what, darling?"

"...Time to talk to Twilight about this." Sweetie Belle swallowed. "Time to see if... she knows anything."

Rarity paused in the middle of her sketch, levitating her pencil to a nearby desk. "Sweetie Belle... if you're uncomfortable in any way with this decision, it is entirely okay to give it a longer period of consideration."

"I am, but... I don't know. It feels like if I don't do this now, I won't ever be able to. I can't explain it, I just... I feel that I have to do this."

"Alright." Rarity took a slow breath. "I'll be with you every step of the way, of course."

Sweetie Belle nodded, her thoughts still wrapped tightly around her own fears. She couldn't shake the feeling that what she was doing was... wrong somehow. And yet, she knew she had to do it. She just... knew, somehow.

Was this what it was like to get a cutie mark? To discover her special talent? This sudden certainty that something had to happen, and that she was going to be the one to make it happen?

The filly shook her head, focusing back on the moment. If she let her mind wander, she might lose her confidence... or something. Actually, she couldn't help being nervous even now.

"Um... Rarity?"

"Yes?"

"Can... Can we get the rest of the Crusaders to come with us?"

Rarity nodded with a gentle smile. "That sounds like an excellent idea."

***

"So, uh." Apple Bloom cleared her throat. "How are ya going ta break this ta Twilight?"

Sweetie Belle shrugged. "Basically the same way I did to you, I think. I haven't figured out any other way to do it."

"Riiiiiiight." Scootaloo took a breath. "And you want us to... what?"

"Just... be there, you know. If I need somebody to hide behind."

"You won't need to hide behind anyone," Rarity assured her. "If Twilight gets a little overeager, I'll hold her back."

Sweetie Belle smiled thankfully. "I know. I've just... been avoiding this for so long, it's... become a big thing, you know?"

"And that's why we're all gonna make sure it goes as good as it can," Apple Bloom assured her. "What're friends for, after all?"

"Yeah, that's right! Crusaders to the end." Scootaloo grinned widely. "We're going to get you a cutie mark, no matter what."

"Yeah, well. Thanks." Sweetie Belle took a deep breath as the library tree came into sight. "Well, here we go."

The final few steps were, perhaps, the most difficult she had ever taken. It wasn't as though there was any risk to her, she knew that... and yet, she knew, after this her life would be changed forevermore. Not that it hadn't already, what with discovering the truth beneath her skin, but this... this was more permanent. An outright statement, instead of merely being an acceptance of what was.

To one of her mentor figures, even. One who had serious clout, both politically and personally.

Sweetie Belle's hoof paused, inches from the door handle.

"Okay, see, this is the part where you have a big internal debate with yourself because you're afraid everything will go horribly, and to us it looks like you're just standing there, but then at the last minute Spike opens the door or something and you can't think of a good enough excuse to run away and so you go in and get all awkward and terrified and blah, blah blah." Scootaloo rolled her eyes. "Come on, Sweetie Belle, can we not go through this cliche?"

Apple Bloom shot her a glare. "Ya don't have ta be so insensitive."

"I'm the 'it's no big deal you're overblowing it' friend."

"Really."

"Look, Rarity's already got supportive sister covered, and you've got the 'it's actually amazing even though I won't come out and say it' side of things all locked down, being the casually accepting type is basically the only role left here."

Rarity rolled her eyes. "You don't have to force yourself to be constrained to a specific role."

"Well, no, but..." Scootaloo paused. "I dunno. I just feel like... this is where I'm going to be going anyway."

Sweetie Belle let out a small chuckle. "You are completely ridiculous... but yeah, let's skip the cliche, like you said."

With one final deep breath, she swung the door open.

***

Dear Princess Celestia...

It's been a while since I've sent one of these, hasn't it? I suppose I should preface this by saying it is both one of my old fashioned friendship reports and, well, a matter of some political significance. The two are intertwined inextricably, and in fact originate from one central event. Even now... even now I am still trying to grasp the implications, but I feel that they are somewhat beside the point.

First of all, today I learned that sometimes ponies have deep, personal facts about themselves that can change how you look at them. And that it can be hard to reveal these facts even to friends or family, especially if they are afraid that they will be treated with less respect once the truth is known. Being told something like that is a sign of deep trust, and it can be terrifying to do so. But a true friend will always assess you not for what you are, but who you are. Your personality, your sense of identity. Even if you are different than the assumed norm, your friends will remain no matter what. They will support you, and help you when you decide to reveal yourself to others that might be a bit more surprised.

And if a friend reveals something deeply personal, you shouldn't act as though you must know everything. Some questions are okay, but they are not a new font of information. You should treat them with respect, that they were brave enough to talk about it with you, and keep your curiosity to something reasonable. And whatever else you do, you should always ask permission to talk about their secrets with others; violating their trust is not something to be done lightly.

Which, unfortunately, brings us to the political side of this letter. As you might have gathered, a particular individual brought a particular piece of information to me, after some deep personal questioning and discussion with their family. I will admit my initial reaction was a touch overeager--new information is something I am, of course, always interested in. However, after they calmed me down and told me what they were willing, I was left to think about the implications of their particular secret and, unfortunately, I can come to no other conclusion then that it must be a matter of national import.

I am not even dictating this to Spike. These matters are serious enough that I must imprint them personally to the parchment. That said, I have promised said individual that, no matter what your reaction might be, I will protect them from harm or relocation derived from Canterlot. I know this might mean that we are set up in opposition, if you deem this sort of knowledge worth acting on, but I am afraid that I cannot break my promise--it is what finally convinced the individual in question to allow this letter, which I am also allowing them to read before I send. Please, princess, do not force my hoof in this; I assure you that the person is harmless, even if the events surrounding them are not.

Today, Sweetie Belle, the younger sister of Rarity, revealed to me that she is not organic; she is artificial, a constructed and almost indistinguishable replica of a pony, who is unaware of both her origins and her purpose. I know enough about the field of robotics to realize this is beyond our capabilities as a world, excluding perhaps some interference by precursors. The point remains, however, that for what could well have been her whole life, Sweetie Belle walked among our race and believed herself to be one of us. Her biggest worry, after being discovered and dismantled by some mad scientist, is that she will outlive her friends; she is also unsure if her origin will prevent her getting a cutie mark.

The simple fact of the matter is, whatever else Sweetie Belle might be, she is still just a filly. I cannot in good conscience recommend a course of action that would separate her from her friends and family. I recognize that her artificial origin must result in some monitoring, if only for the safety of the nation. I will take full responsibility for such a program, should it be necessary. I am already planning to gather her medical records to form a preliminary basis for research. But, again, I will not allow her forced relocation or invasive experimentation.

As the head of the Equestrian government, I believe you have the final say in what our reaction to this revelation should be. I send this letter in hopes that your response is tempered by wisdom, compassion, and the best intent for both this pony and all of ponykind.

Your faithful former student,

Twilight Sparkle.

Celestia put the letter down on her desk, staring at the wall for a few minutes.

"...and another lost riddle crops up once again." She gave a long, slow sigh. "Luna's going to have a conniption. I just hope we can figure out what's going on this time..."

***

"So. Here you are."

"Here I am."

"And you intend to warn them."

"...I do."

"Do you know how many rules you're violating? No, not even that--you are risking the sanctity of their society for the sake of a single drone!"

"I've already told you why mass drone termination is not a viable--"

"Don't lie to me, brother! I can see it in your helm, you are not using your mind to justify this decision!"

"...you cannot deny the reasoning I have offered."

"You could have waited for the captain to read your argument and approve your plan--"

"Could I? Would he?"

"...You know if you do this, you will have no support. You'll be labeled a traitor."

"I am aware."

"It might not even help. The keem'Potriitch are closing in. Even should you arrive before they, what could the Equestrians do?"

"You've seen the reports. They have a few surprises."

"Not enough."

"...will you stop me, brother?"

"...."

"...I thank you."

"Don't. This madness, this break of trust.... This is the last gift I grant."

"Brother, I--"

"From this moment forth, we are no longer brothers."

"...I see. Nevertheless... I wish you fortune. Goodbye."

Author's Note:

The Steel Spirit has started to spread. But for now, we close the book.

When the time comes, perhaps, the Steel Sentinel will rise.

Comments ( 49 )

:pinkiehappy: - It's complete!

Scootaloo knowing her role! So funny! So cool!

That letter! So awesome a letter! And the reaction! What could it mean??!

And the Secret People part! Drama! So Awesome!

So, at the start of this chapter, was it Sweetie who was talking to Rarity about it being time?

Or was it you?

You can't stop it there. I see that you don't intend to, but I'm telling you that you can't. We must know what comes next! We must!

Tell us your secrets!

this wasa very good story im glad i found it

8443891
Agreed.

Well, Weaver, it was a decent ending to an interesting story; this "Steel Sentinel" you speak of, needs to happen. But for now, i can cope with having to wait for the sequel; the last thing i want to do is force you into doing something, when your not in the right frame of mind for it.

I saw the Complete tag and began to worry, but then that sequel hook made everything better.

YOU HAD BETTER MAKE THAT SEQUEL!

844438 Uh not a he. (yes that joke fits)

Oh hey, this is complete. wooo
And I am once again reminded that there are not enough Sweetie Bot fics.

If the sequel doesn't appear, then WMG will ensue.

Soon enough matters will escalate beyond the average pony's conception and the world will enter battle with a threat that will shake its foundations!
For now, let's train them up a leader...
Scoots' Meta was kinda annoying and didn't add to the story whatsoever, though it was kinda funny.
Keep going! ;)

*sets a timer for a year*

Here we go again.


Really though, great work so far, excited to read the sequel, no matter how long it takes!

Genre-savvy Scootaloo is a thing of wonder and beauty.

I do like how much is implied in Twilight's letter, both explicitly and implicitly. We have the gist of the scene, but the details are left for us to paint in on our own.

An excellent conclusion to this part of the Steel Saga. Looking forward to the next component.

WOW!! The letter part is excellent! I really will wait for the sequel.

Eee, you could cut the tension with a knife! :pinkiehappy:

That is not how to end a story, by the way. :pinkiesmile: But I'm sure you know this.

I hope Equestria will be ready for the discovery of a highly advanced civilization of gerbils.

I want to say something great here, about this story, but truth be told, the time since the last update made me forget most of what this story was about. Going back, I know this was one I really liked, and I honestly cannot blame you for wrapping it up quickly with a final chapter as you've done here. Celestia knows I've been dragging out my own story far longer.

So yeah... I feel this is a hard cut to a story that needed a better end. If you're doing an immediate sequel, then that makes sense. If not, I still understand though, and wish you all the best. Sometimes, we just have to move on. I'll await the next awesomeness!

Blargh! Cliffhangers! Good story nontheless.

Wait, what?! Where is the next chapter? It has to be something more, right? :rainbowhuh:

I can come to no other conclusion then that it must be a matter of national import.

I assume you mean 'than' :moustache:

I note that the short description says 'The ongoing sequel to Steel Soul.', but this is no longer ongoing :moustache:

8593765
Do you not understand the Author's Note? :unsuresweetie:

Do you have a set date for the next book?

I want to say 4 years did a number on this story, but the sci-fi stuff at the end of each chapter.... :\

SEQUEL! NOW!

well i found that bloody fantastic. i hope you continue this eventually.

So, any hope for a sequel?

9152411
The only time I can recall that Pinkie broke the fourth wall was in Over A Barrel. I'll give Magic Duel a pass. But that was the show in general breaking the fourth wall, not specifically Pinkie Pie. And in Magic Duel, there's absolutely no reason to assume Pinkie led Twilight there. Because even if she did, Twilight would have been confused about what was going on.

As for everything else you mentioned, that's not remotely what the definition of breaking the fourth wall is. First of all, claiming that it can't be explained "in-universe" is an argument from ignorance. Just because you can't explain it, it doesn't mean it can't be explained. And I can debunk your claim in just one word...Discord.

Breaking the fourth wall is specifically defined as a character saying or doing something that demonstrates that they are aware that they're world is fictional. And to my recollection, that's only happened twice. But being able to break the laws of physics is not a demonstration of awareness of a fictional world. With that said, it's been 5 years since Pinkie has actually broken the fourth wall. In fact, half of what you mentioned isn't even breaking the in-universe laws of physics.

Also, what was the point you were making about her being an earth pony and looking at the "camera"?

9155082
OK, let's start from the top.
I'll start with definitionts.
Earth ponies normally don't have any sort of teleportation magic or flight. Their only possible transportation is walking, running or using gear(ropes or transport). Pinkie is shown several times to have LOST SIGHT of Rainbow Dashm but finding her anyways. That's not about speed.
She doesn't SEE Rainbow going in those places. She also breaks gravity at the beginning. She PREDICTS where Rainbow will go. And she's there BEFORE her.

She's also ignores the "reality" of her world. She can appear INSIDE mirrors. I think, "green isn't your color", she follows Twilight, who has both sides of the story, and want's to tell both Raruty and Fluttershy that they want the same thing. She pops in the mirro after Twilight breaks a Pinkie promise.

Discord? He's another fourth-waller. He looks at the camera, and makes jabs at "watching" the show...

You know what? Let me just list things Pinkie deos reliably(others MAY do so from time to time, but not always).
1)Breaking the fourth wall.
She hangs from air in Friendship is Magic 2. In the end she DIRECTLY inserts herself in the "Iris Out".
In Swarm Of the Century she plays "sad trombone" to us, audience. In the "camera".
Green isn't your color.

Do I need to continue? Do I need to write a stinking essay on why Pinkie Pie is a wall breaker?!

9156285
And most of what you said has nothing to do with breaking the fourth wall.
Let me start with the teleporting. Though I'll agree that Earth Ponies can't use magic in the same way unicorns can, it doesn't mean they don't have magic, or can't use it. All three races have magic. Otherwise, the alicorns, who represent all three races, would have nothing about them to represent Earth Ponies. If a wizard doesn't have a wand, it doesn't mean they can't use magic, it just means that they don't have something to focus it with. But back to the topic of teleporting, are you gonna ignore the times when Maud Pie, Fluttershy, and the CMCs also teleported in a similar manner as Pinkie Pie? (Yeah, Sweetie Belle's a unicorn. But she can't cast a teleportation spell yet.)

Also, most of what you described happened in the early years, when the show relied more on cartoon logic than an actual set logic. Cartoon logic and breaking the fourth wall are not the same thing. And to address a specific aspect of cartoon logic that isn't even original, Pinkie Pie keeping up with Rainbow Dash is known as the Pepe Le Pew gag. It's common in cartoons. And if looking at the camera is a sign of breaking the fourth wall, then the entire cast of the show can break the fourth wall, since in the end of the season 5 finale, they have all those ponies LOOKING AT THE CAMERA (except for Bulk Biceps, who was looking awkwardly at Starlight).

I would concede that Pinkie has an awareness of the fourth wall. But how I would describe that as being different from breaking the fourth wall is that breaking the fourth wall is an awareness that you and the world you're in are fictional. And awareness of the fourth wall would be that she may know there's something there to some extent, but still believes that her world and herself are real.

If I concede that Pinkie has an awareness of the fourth wall, will you admit that a large amount of the fandom assumes Pinkie can break the fourth wall far beyond what the show implies?

9157000
Unfortunatly, this is something I don't have a good anwser for. The ONLY thing I can say is "blame writers". After all, why did they even made Pinkie break the wall in the first two seasons, but completely forgot about it in all of later episodes. More over, just because she didn't break the fourth wall in recent episodes, does this mean she's no longer ABLE to break it?

9157277
Considering that her fourth wall breaking in early seasons can be attributed to cartoon logic, I think I can reasonably assume that she can't currently break the fourth wall. Especially considering that it wasn't exclusive to her.

And it's a demonstrable fact that fans have pushed that fourth wall breaking far beyond what would be remotely expected in the show. So no, you can't blame the writers for it.

9157747
Actually, she was a lot more frequent in breaking the fourth wall than others. Other ponies sometimes did so, but Pinkie was the "official" fourth-waller.

Fans pushed a lot of things. Did you know that Luna's dreamwalking was not a canon ability at first? Or "Slice of Life"? That wasn't even fans telling writers to do stuff, that was authors taking fanon stuff, and making it canon.

Just because writers FORGOT, doesn't mean she can't(now) or couldn't break the wall(before). Also, I can blame writers. Trixie never learned even a LITTLE humility in all her three visits to Twilight. "Boast Busters", Magic Duel" and last is "No Second Prances". She was still condescending as hell, and tried to tear Twilight down, all three times. They made Twilight seemed in the wrong, while she had her country burning, and despite her friends being an OBSTACLE, and not an ASSET, they made THEM right. Before you get on my case, tell me what would YOU do if your presidents are killed, and your whole country burning? This is life, and no retakes.

9157747
9157840

Okay, this conversation is now not only nothing to do with the fic but has degraded into "I have to be right and you must be wrong" gussied up with fancy words. As the author of said fic, I must insist you leave the room and continue your discussion elsewhere.

9157898
I'd argue that I did admit to being wrong on certain topics when the proper evidence was presented. I wasn't just saying "I have to be right". But you are right that this has gone far of topic and has nothing to do with the fic.

9157840
Rather than continue to argue over this, let's settle this now. Can we agree to disagree? Because I don't want you to think I have anything against you.

9157898
Sorry about that, got carried away.

So, Weaver, any hope of sequel?

Another tale, please!!! So many questions that need answers!!!
Who made Sweetie Belle??
Why did they toss her??
Who's threatening Equestria??
Will there be any drone destruction??

I NEED ANSWERS!!!! PLEASE GIVE ME ANSWERS!!!

Right. I forgot that the underlying plot was going to be reserved for a sequel that does not exist right now.

Well, the slice of life aspects were great.

And if this was combined with the oneshot prequel and expanded on, it would almost be the perfect story.

Though I do hope the sequel eventually gets written. There is only one other good Sweetie Bot story (that I have found) that has a full plotline that resolves her origins in an engaging way. (Not that Slice of Life stories are bad - there are some ways that I find they are superior to ones constrained by traditional plots.)

Great story, but where is the rest? Feels like it ended in the middle.
Anyway a definite thumbs up an follow, I should think.

9417914
It is meant to have a sequel, but it seems that the writer either lost inspiration, or the sequel simply didn't hold up.

Or it could be that a year from now, the sequel drops because they suddenly got the inspiration.

Unfortunately, we can't exactly expect it. The scale of fic that is implied is a large undertaking, and stopping in the middle of that would perhaps be worse than just ending it here.

9763522
Yeah, too many good stories never gets finished.

9763522
9763691

I'm still here you know.

9763703
Sorry! :fluttershysad:

I know the last chapter of this wasn't that long ago in the scheme of things.

9763703
Cool. I'll have to read some of your other stories then. :raritystarry:

any sequels planned? this story is getting way too interesting to stop. especially the cliffhanger in the end.

Are you, or are you not, planning a sequel? It would be not the smartest thing to do - to leave such an open end... It's not even an open end, it's an unfinished story.

I hope you write some more soon!^_^

Needs a sequel badly.

Please make the sequel!!

Please do a another sequel.

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