• Published 28th Jul 2013
  • 8,347 Views, 167 Comments

'Destiny' and Other Lies Told to Foals - Sunchaser

Twilight wakes in the middle of the night, haunted by a terrifying dream—one that's not so hard to see coming true.

  • ...

Alternate Ending: Signs and Portents

‘Destiny’ and Other Lies Told to Foals
Alternate Ending
By Sunchaser (with thanks to M.A. Larson)

Lavender caught the corner of her eye, and she felt a familiar warmth settle down beside her, and a comforting nuzzle against her neck.

"I'm sorry, Celestia. I didn't mean to."

The sun princess was seized just then with terrible, wonderful feeling, cheeks tingling and eyes burning with threat of tears, and it took a great deal of strength for her to choke back the cresting urge to break down and cry right then and there, not least because she knew it would be forgiven.

But she fought it down, and her turbulent heart was reduced to little more than a shaky breath as she laid her head atop Twilight's own, consoling in the comfort.

"I know you didn't, Twilight" she said quietly, her voice steady and composed. But a part of her suspected that, just as she had caught her moment of pain before, the unicorn beside her knew, at least in part, the truth of her feelings just then.

They laid there together for a long moment, in company of the crackling fire and pattering midnight rain.

"...I think," Twilight eventually said, stirring from the hushed embrace, "that the real reason that dream scared me so much was that if you did just arrange my life for me..."

Twilight drew her head up and looked to Celestia, her eyes wide and tremulous.

"I mean, I don't actually know if you can, but if you did just make me an alicorn, and crown me a princess, and, well, whatever else...I don't think I would say no."

To this Celestia said nothing, but just softly smiled as she looked back at the adoring unicorn who had come to define such a great part of her life.

So rich and sparkling, those amethyst eyes. So trusting, admiring...yearning. Dear Twilight, you would do anything I asked of you.

Everything I've always hoped for you; wealth, titles, prestige; accolades, influence, distinguished position...

Twilight was starting to blush now, just a little, unused as she was to such intent attention.

Even those things I only ever so much as dreamed in my most secret moments. The confidant I've always wanted, the daughter I never had, maybe even—

And now the unicorn was burning scarlet, but still she didn't look away.

...All I have to do is ask. She would never refuse me. All I have to do is say a few words, just reach out, and...

"I almost wonder if it isn't perhaps a sign," the princess mused quietly, smiling warmly at her student. "This dream of yours, Twilight. While I would never condone that kind of...gross manipulation, I also can't say that I've never spared thought to possibility of you becoming an alicorn."

Twilight blinked, surprise plain on her face. "You...you have?"

"Your magical talent is self-evident, my student," Celestia replied, nodding. "In fact, I would say that you have already surpassed the level of power that I had going into my own ascension. And for that matter...that book you dreamed of, Twilight—Starswirl's last work, and its interplay with the Elements..."

The sun princess' horn lit in quiet gold, and a plain book with dark gray cover was drawn from a nearby shelf, and settled down before the pair, its engraved cover silently promising great and momentous potential.

"The last spellbook of Starswirl the Bearded," Twilight breathed reverently, reaching a hesitant hoof toward the volume, as to make sure it was truly real.

"Yes, my student. But contrary to your dream, it is not incomplete. Starswirl finished his last work, his ultimate study of the Elements of Harmony."

"You mean...? Twilight whispered, half eager and half terrified, and Celestia slowly nodded.

"Yes. The spell you dreamed of is quite real, Twilight Sparkle. Starswirl the Bearded's Rite of Harmonic Ascension."

Twilight was silent for a moment, her hooves fidgeting as she stared at the book before her, and all it implied.

"So it is possible. I could become an alicorn princess, like in my dream."

"It is possible, Twilight, yes, but not as you dreamed it—I would never allow such a thing to be forced upon you. This is just...one of the choices you may pursue, if you so wish."

The unicorn's eyes went wide, and her gaze turned from the book to her mentor.

"You would be alright with that? My just up and becoming an alicorn? And a princess of Equestria?"

Celestia laughed quietly.

"I think that you may not truly grasp the scale of your accomplishments, my student. You are arguably the most talented and intelligent unicorn in all Equestria; the pony who returned the Elements of Harmony to living magic. You also thus bear Magic itself, and with it have saved this land and its ponies from catastrophe, the sort that even I could not attend, no less than three times. You are a demonstrated leader, a compassionate soul, and a diligent servant of the public good. If these things do not qualify one to be an alicorn princess, then I should perhaps consider abdication."

"...Huh," Twilight said sheepishly, blushing under the praise. "I...guess there's all that. But Princess, you would really be alright with it?"

"If it is something that you want to pursue, of your own choice," Celestia said, her voice serene, "then I would guide you along the way, my faithful student."

The young unicorn took a long moment to ponder, her expression at times torn, or hopeful, or worried, but finally settling on timidly optimistic, as she raised her eyes again.

"...Would it make you happy?"

Blinking a few times as she processed the surprise query, Celestia eventually settled into a warm smile, as she gazed back into tremulous amethyst eyes.

"...Yes, Twilight. Yes it would."


Twilight turned to look back, smiling, shuffling her hooves a little. Her tiara was a touch off center; sitting on a head unused to crowns. Well, it would adjust.

She would adjust.

Celestia smiled in return, bright, warm, and sincere, and Twilight blushed a little, trying to hide it by quickly turning back to the adoring crowds in the castle square below. They exalted their new princess, to a pony, as Celestia had known they would.

Twilight's new wings fluttered beneath her ceremonial dress, betraying the excitement of their owner. She was hesitant, and precocious, and so adorably unsure of herself in the face of those thousands of loving subjects, but...

She was happy.

She would always be, Celestia knew. She would see to it personally. Her Twilight would always be happy.


Her Twilight.


Comments ( 126 )

Aged like a fine wine, popping the cap off this story is well worth the wait.

And good on you for deploying this before BronyCon. You're sure to have legions of fanboys sniveling at your feet, or something like that.

Really interresting story.

Oh damn, this I liked. Very much so. The alternate ending Celestia scared the crap outa me.


is really good. And I like it

I've always liked your take on Celestia, Sunchaser!

2951682 Twilight is tempting Celestia there, outright giving the princess explicit permission to decide her life for her; and so Celestia is thinking of all the things she's ever hoped Twilight would achieve, the things she believes her student has earned, and most pertinently, the fact that she could personally ensure that they happened.

2951630 This is, indeed, the correct response. Celestia, but just the slightest bit wrong. :pinkiecrazy:

It's why I never read Dusk's Most Dangerous Game, I read the story before it and the Celestia there was terrifying simply because she was just so in character and was so wrong at the same time.

The worst part that the story was so good I couldn't walk away

2951766 I'm reading that right now, you have no idea how badly the side of me that runs away from alt Celestias like this is fighting with my need for resolution.

I always liked a more "human" Celestia more than omnipotent Celestia. People might say she's acting wrong or that it's unnerving, but exactly how many confidants does Celestia have other than Twilight? I think it's perfectly natural for her to want to keep her around and be a bit selfish.

Overall, I liked the story, and it definitely ranks as one of the better short stories, revolving around the Season 3 finale (to be fair though, quite a lot of them have been atrocious so far though.

As a critique of the season finale (if that was even your intention, I don't know) it was a little ham-handed and reaching at times, requiring a very specific interpretation of the finale and reading into Celestia's character a bit too much, if your familiar with the Harry Potter fandom Dumbledore kind of gets the same treatment, i.e. his actions are sometimes interpreted much darker than they actually are rather than being conceits of children's fiction (you have to come up with reasons the adults/princesses/demigods/etc. don't just solve all of the protagonist's problems for them). Well that and children's entertainment would be hard-pressed to get approval for a show dissecting someone like John Locke's views on free will versus determinism. I would watch the hell out of a show featuring cartoon ponies that actually did that though.

Of course maybe none of that was your intention, in which case its still a nice little story about about character's insecurities and choices in their lives. It gives an interesting and fun little take on alternate events that keeps Celestia and Twilight in character enough so as to not break suspension of disbelief, and wraps it up in a few heart-warming scenes in both the original chapter and the alternate ending.

It's a terrible horrible struggle isn't it. Good luck and may god have mercy on canon Celestia.

An applause is in order, sir or madam. A skillful dissection of this issue, and what the characters themselves might think of it.

2951840 This. Just a single selfish thing Celestia really allowed herself.

Does everything she have done so far for the world, for her subjects, not worth the devotion of a single pony? One that presents herself willingly, and gets... Literally, everything remotely possible in return? Is it really too much to ask or want?

No, no it isn't.

The young unicorn took a long moment to ponder, her expression at times torn, or hopeful, or worried, but finally settling on timidly optimistic, as she raised her eyes again.

"...Would it make you happy?"

Well that was creepy. Oh Twilight. Just, oh Twilight.

Yet I find myself agreeing here. This alternate ending is so deliciously morally grey, isn't it?


Yeah that was partially my interpretation of the alternate ending too, if anything I found it better than the first ending because it ties in much more closely to the actual season finale, and wraps it up in a fairly heart-warming way. The original ending just kind of goes with an "it was all a dream, nothing changes" not a bad ending, I just liked the other one better

Free will isn't just about doing what we want sans influence from anyone else, Twilight is dedicated to princess Celestia, and her choice is to take on the responsibility that Celestia wishes to give her. It's actually a nice metaphor for growing up (both the finale in the cartoon and the alternate ending here) that we don't always grow up exactly the way we want, but that doesn't mean that new responsibilities can't be a good thing, to be met with optimism, even if it's not what we planned.

2951846 There was the aspect of it, to critique Magical Mystery Cure, though most of that was constrained to needling the weaknesses of the episode that are primarily drawn from it not having been the two-parter it should have ("Maybe it was pressed for time.", and etc).

The only real issue I had with it, as was the main point of the story here, was that Twilight was never asked if she wanted to become an alicorn princess. Of course she would have said yes, but the point is that choice was never given to her; and that fact can, as you saw here, be extrapolated to some very dark places. It could have been fixed in the episode with the addition of two lines of dialogue—"Do you accept this responsibility?" "Yes, I do"—and I expect that was probably among the things that got overlooked in the rush to conclude three seasons of Ponies in twenty minutes.

The convenient part of making MMC into an AU dream for this story is that it lets me posit and address the idea that Celestia could do such a thing, and then we go through how Twilight and the princess react to that idea, resolving into the restoration of trust and closeness with the realization that it never would happen.

Except in the alternate ending, where Twilight tempts Celestia with something so wonderful, in exchange for such a small, paltry little breach of ethics. But don't worry; the princess has nothing but the best intentions...

2952116 Oh, Twilight, indeed. No one else could have tempted Celestia so, and thus we become so terribly grey. But grey's not so bad; lots of people are satisfied with gray. ...Right?

Granted, there's no guarantee that this little slip would ever end up going anywhere worse...but it's also not impossible that it could. And dear, doting Twilight would stand beside her through it all.

And finally, as for the proper ending not really going anywhere and nothing changing, Celestia does admit earlier on in the story that she has something in mind for Twilight; she's just not going to offer the mare an official title on a night when she showed up deathly afraid of being given an official title. But there are plans; there are always plans. :twilightsmile:

Or are you going to tell me that time isn't a linear progression of cause to event.

Well, from a nonlinear, nonsubjective perspective... :raritywink:

Anyway, a fantastic character study and episode analysis. It's a shame that this is the alternate continuity.

And that alternate ending... ugh. I much prefer Celestia and Twilight just reading together, not as teacher and pupil, but as friends.


I can agree with that, MMC's biggest issue was its length and all the issues that stem from that. I found the EQG movie to be inoffensive and totally didn't mind its existence (still not my cup of tea since a big draw for the normal show for me is the world of Equestria itself, with its mish-mash of magitek, airships, and early industrial revolution meets non-traditional sentient fantasy creatures), but I am still bitter that EQG was partially responsible for giving us a shortened season 3 and likely what kept MMC form being a proper 2 parter.

Honestly, knowing about how Western Children's T.V. works, its very likely that MMC was originally written as a series finale rather than a season finale. When it comes to modern kid's T.V. the 65 episode syndication mark is practically a death sentence and for a girl targeted cartoon the fact that MLP is getting a season 4 and may even break 100 episodes, could very well qualify as a minor miracle, or a sign of the apocalypse. MMC was likely well into production before DHX got the notice that Hasbro would be funding a 4th season, but we still got things like the whole astral plane with clips from previous seasons (a pretty common way to wrap up a whole series that doesn't have an overarching plotline), because the whole thing was planned as a potential send-off to G4 MLP.

If its any consolation, Megan has admitted that the first 2 episodes of season 4 are about Twilight dealing with being a princess, so hopefully we'll get some expansion on MMC. If the Crystal Heart spell book is considered canon then the whole process of becoming an alicorn may be something that is automatic whenever you do something extraordinary in the presence of powerful magical artifacts. The book talks about how cadence became an alicorn, even though she started as a pegasus, and didn't really involve Celestia as necessary for it, just doing something amazing and having a powerful magical artifact nearby as a catalyst, then 'boom!' automatic alicornification.

The impression I got from the episode though is that twilight made the decision to become an alicorn for herself. Remember that in the episode Celestia doesn't cast any magic on Twilight when she transforms, all the effects come from Twilight herself, it gave me the impression that Twilight made the internal decision to accept her transformation, and that's what started it.

Either way though, like I said that's why I like your story, because it doesn't get on a soap box or act as a thinly veiled author tract. You take your interpretation of events and expand it into its own little world based on the idea that "Celestia might not have given Twilight a choice" which works on its own and even if we have our different interpretations on MMC itself, you still spin an entertaining and believable, "what if?" story.

In the end, that's part of what I think makes fanfiction so enjoyable, when an author shares a different view of popular media with their audience and can make that view interesting, even if the reader doesn't share it with the author.

Also as for your original ending, I think the alternate works better as the oneshot it currently is while the original ending would work fantastic expanded out into a full story. One where Twilight and Celestia work towards Twilight's ascension in a drawn out and eventually open manner, that allows Twilight to explore all the implications of being a princess that MMC didn't have time to expound upon.

And the alt ending to this fic...

Not bad at all. Impressive.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Wow... this is one of the most... real portrayls of celestia I've ever come across, the small touches showing how well they know eachother really emphasize their bond.

That, and Celestia's refusal to "chessmaster" her students is a refreshing rain on a hot summer day.

I'm surprised you didn't do more with the discrepancy between what marks indicated in every episode before MMC and what they indicated in MMC. Or, for that matter, how Dash's mark goes from representing her speed to representing controlling the weather, something literally all pegasi can do.

But I do agree that the biggest non-metafictional issue with Twilicorn is that Twily gets no choice in the matter.

While I disagree with your breakdown of the episode (I will not go farther than that; MMC has caused me nothing but grief), I will always respect great writing, and this is a very well-written story.

I think what I loved the most was that it didn't descend into anger or fury at the episode it's addressing, but rather approached things from a polite, intelligent level. You took time to explore the implications the episode raises and address them, and take things to a believable conclusion that avoids blaming any one character, but instead builds them all up in a positive manner. Both endings are fantastic and make perfect sense given what has come before, both in the story and in the show.

So...good job. You get a happy Twilight. :twilightsmile:

Beautiful, just beatiful. Seriously, just that.

I remember reading another alternate ending in Deviantart, something of a similar nature but with a vastly different execution, I don't know if would be correct to just post the link here but if you're interested just search Magic Mystery Cure Alternate Ending on Deviantart.

Everything was going pretty well! Then... those last five lines. And then I was all like "Back away slowly..."

And that italicization on the last "Her" was brutal.

I don't usually comment, but I have to say that I think the non-alt ending version should be the opening of S4, it was that good.
Well written!

YAY! Anti-Tyrant Celestia works. This is a good work. I just have one questoin.

What's Emperyean Arrangement?

The alternate ending sort of creeped me out. Always. :pinkiecrazy: I loved the story though.

I'm glad I still decided to read this story, though I doubted at first. I liked it, especially this little creepy scene at the end. :trollestia::twilightblush:


It could have been fixed in the episode with the addition of two lines of dialogue—"Do you accept this responsibility?" "Yes, I do"—and I expect that was probably among the things that got overlooked in the rush to conclude three seasons of Ponies in twenty minutes.

And people would still say that Twilight was not given time to think, she was forced to say "Yes, i do" or something like this.
I think it's for the best that they decided to skip it than to take question that would have completely changed Twilight's life in a mere five seconds.

Suck it up, wimp. Expand your intellectual horizons.

Besides, Twilicorn is just the beginning of MMC's problems.

2953399 Empyrean Arrangement, or the Harmony Form, is a magical structure consisting of six bind points containing an energy mass, spatially arranged as a regular octahedron.

It's the least complex / most efficient independently stable structure in arcane magic, at least in the canon I'm building here. :twilightsmile:

mimimi #31 · Jul 29th, 2013 · · 17 ·

wut? another "woe is me, I am alicorn, it is baaaaaaaad" fic?

2952311 it must be mentioned that the Elements changed Twilight, not Celestia. But reflecting on it it did seem rather manipulative of her, so I can see where this gripe comes from, and the nitpicks are all valid. Also, more Twilestia is never unwelcome :pinkiecrazy:

Alternate Alternate ending:

"Are you kidding? I've been looking forward to this for months."

"Wait, Twilight. I should ask you: Do you want to be an alicorn princess? Your wings would be so pretty!"

"Well, only if you marry me first."

They shared a laugh, the chiming of magic accompanying the opening of a new book filled with fresh pages of adventure, and then Princess Celestia and Twilight Sparkle settled in, and started to read.

And one day and 16 hours later, I've edited this stupid joke a little bit. It's still the same joke, just a little less terribly done.

This alternate ending is good too--- but it raises the great big ten ton question:

If this spell exists, why aren't they up to their elbows in alicorns?


What would have really fixed it would be clarifying that her ascendance was NOT caused by the princess, or by the spell, but was a natural metamorphosis--- that she was a nascent alicorn right from day one (my own headcanon, and the one used in my own fics.)

Congrats on getting Featured! Will read later tonight. I was wondering when you'd post this, Chaser.

A good story, exposing some of the problematic issues of the MLP universe.
Although I agree with others on the alternate ending having a pretty glaring plot-hole in it. It's not entirely necessary either, though I don't put that as a mark against it.

The alternate ending is sweet and has d'aww. :)

I love the ever-so-subtle creepiness in Celestia's behaviour in the alternate ending.


I think it's supposed to be sweet but creepy. It's adorable, nopony is likely to be unhappy, but it doesn't shy from the fact that Celestia is very much holding the reins.

The blend of sweet/creepy is PERFECT. I almost feel like I'm reading about a benevolent version of GLaDOS...
Well done :twilightsmile:

Because one of...
A) the spell only works for ponies with a certain quality, which is very, very rare, but is offered to every pony who qualifies.
B) The spell is only used as a reward for exceptional ponies, AND does not convey longevity (Celestia and Luna are immortal because they're tied to the sun and the moon, or some such non-reproducable thing)
C) Celestia is a complete monster (how else can you label someone responsible for more deaths* than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Hong Xiuquan combined?)

I think that about covers every possibility.

*Assuming that pony civilization has an even remotely significant population.

Onto the story. I really enjoyed it. Especially the alternate ending. It's delightful, the way I wanted it to turn out that way but not that way. Or to be less clever with the wording, and more clear with the meaning, the way that the alternate ending gave me Princess Twilight (which I think is a good thing) while at the same time creeping me out. I'm impressed.


Umm, explain answer C, cause I really don't see your reasoning.

I rather enjoyed the story. The actual story points out things we all agree were wrong with the finale of season three. The problem is that season three was more of a rush job setup for season four and Equestria Girls. But they could have planned it out so much better than they did.

The alternate ending honestly gave me the creeps at the end. It just goes to show you no matter how benevolent some people are, even they will give into temptation.

Very, very nice indeed! :twilightsmile:

It also inspired me to start thinking up a headcanon explanation that makes Celestia turn out to be less tyrant-y. Hmmm...

I love Celestia's characterization in this one. Instafave.

And the Alternate ending. As awesomely cute as it is creepy.

I mean, in the end, would it really really be that bad?

Maybe not. :ajsmug:

2955615 his reasoning is that by not offering immortality to these ponies when she knew how to, she was directly responsible for their eventual deaths. Of course, that hardly makes her a monster given how hard it would be to sustain a reproducing, immortal population. As for how unkillable beings would be able to handle the fallout of living on a world where none of them could die, I suggest further reading.

And that's the problem really, it's wrong but from almost any viewpoint it's not bad.

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