No Spells Needed

by Ice Star

First published

Starlight Glimmer knew magic was only half of what she needed to make ponies see her way. Double Diamond just knows that he will be much carefuller about listening to Starlight Glimmer.

Starlight Glimmer knew that magic wasn't enough to manipulate ponies. To get them to see things as she knew they were and change themselves, she needed to say the right things. She would do more than bring ponies to water because her words would make them drink it too.

Double Diamond just knows he will be listening to Starlight Glimmer, and extra careful to obey. Anything to keep him away from that house.

Takes place before Season Five's opening episodes 'The Cutie Map'. Contribute to the TVTropes page!


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Double Diamond knew about the rules and reality of Our Town. However, he also sometimes thought he knew Starlight Glimmer. Her smile stuck with him longer than most ponies, and for a while, he tried to tell himself that it was not what he thought it was. The way she leads the town took turns in his mind until it was the mare he started to think about. Daydreams were dead in Our Town, but Double Diamond’s thoughts strayed to what Starlight Glimmer would be like as a mare instead of a beacon.

Eventually, after much turmoil he never wanted to backtrack through, he hid that he thought about what it could be like to love Starlight Glimmer. He justified this to himself with reminders that he only thought about this sometimes. The Starlight Glimmer of his thoughts was an unequal mare, which was bad, but she was harmless. After all, she was no more than the meaningless fancy of dreams. Everypony in Our Town smothered any dreams, if they had any left. Double Diamond knew he would too.


Our Town was a small place, and there were no rumors. Privacy was non-existent. Everything changed, which made it so different from any life in Equestria proper. Starlight Glimmer had a way of learning things, and that was how she learned the first secret of Our Town: Double Diamond was in love with her. He even told her himself, when they were alone.

And then they kept having time together, and Double Diamond kept trying to piece together the mare that might be Starlight Glimmer. Hers was the house that did not change, the only piece of uncomfortable constance in Our Town, and it was there Double Diamond worked towards building a relationship with Starlight Glimmer. His one secret of Our Town became half of the sole secret, and they had a shadow of what would be dates and get-togethers in that house.

That is, until one-day Starlight Glimmer decided there was a different house she wanted Double Diamond to go to.

And she never told him why.


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In Our Town, everypony has a house, but nopony has a home.

All our mirrors are painted over, and every room is exactly the same.

Everypony is given what they deserve, because nopony should have anything more.

Each meal contains everything we need and nothing more.

None of us can ever be any better than another.

Company is always around, because a community is always the same as a friend.

We never have to stay in a cottage for more than one night, because nothing is our own.

There is no style to be made when all our choices are made for us.

Nopony has a job because everypony works for everypony else, and nopony knows how to say just how much they hate that.

No work yields reward when there is nopony to reward - not even ourselves.

We never have to fall in love because romances sow differences and are unneeded.

Nothing we do not need is allowed.

Nopony is special, and everypony is deserving.

Every job is meant to be shared.

Skills are the death of proper contribution.

There is no loneliness because everypony is always smiling and must talk to three other ponies a day.

Nothing is ever bought because no bits can be found.

Nopony is ever refused anything because everything belongs to everypony. That’s what we are told.

We never need to worry about meaning when nothing is allowed to mean anything.

No art is permitted to debase the cottages because art is original, and originality is wrong.

There is no need to believe anything on our own.

Nopony can be displeased when everypony acts the same.

The cost of everypony is always worth the price of me.

Self-expression is group-harm.

Everypony belongs when nopony can refuse.

A social species is the right to a free individual’s wrong.

Going against the herd is always worthy of the highest condemnation without investigation.

I have no way but their way.

Nopony protects anypony because everypony must trust everypony else. There is nothing and nopony to be protected from.

Being oneself in any way is to be wronging the many in every way.

Hope is the thing with feathers because it should be made to fly away.

Defiance and doubt are the enemies of any community.

Nopony should ever be a stranger when they can be made the same.

Any struggle in any task is a sign that it is wrong.

Challenges are incapable of measuring anything.

There is no such thing as mistreatment when it is deserved.

It still counts as caring, even if you’re made to.

Passion is an ill obsession in all instances.

Authenticity is as false as art, and all art is superfluous and without obligation.

The idea of winners and losers is pure barbarism in any context.

Diversity among ponies only causes conflict, and any form of conflict is wrong.

Stagnation is an important part of life.

We never want to be our best because we never want to try. Those kinds of desires are wrong.

In sameness, there is peace.

Exceptionalism is a lie.

To excel is to fail. And we should all fail together because that is what Starlight Glimmer says.

Without our cutie marks, we are free.

We chose equality as our special talent. But we don’t think that should be a choice.

Everypony has obligations, and that matters more than our choices. We were falsely branded because of our choices and saddled with more than we could bear.

Because nopony wants to leave, nopony ever should.

There is no higher goal than labor, especially for the herd.

A working pony is the best thing all of us can be; anything else creates staunch inequality.

Nothing to learn means no divides can be made.

Questions are the strongest possible symbols of disrespect.

Talents are a cruel concept, and those without them are left to suffer outside of Our Town.

We should only focus on how to aid the little village.

Nothing outside our gardens and fields matter.

The only walls we need from the outside world are unseen for a reason.

Hiding anything from one another and Starlight Glimmer is wrong.

Privacy is meant to be revoked.

Names are cosmetic differences and meaningless.

Everything the speakers say is technical because Starlight Glimmer would never lie to us. She is the most equal of us all.

Party Favor thinks there might be a speaker in each cottage. But sometimes Party Favor thinks too much.

The reason Starlight Glimmer is our leader is that she showed us the way and we want her to be. Nothing else is needed to be a leader except the will of the ponies to be lead.

The princesses are false and distant while Starlight Glimmer lives among us.

There is no difference between a leader and those who they preside over.

A soul caged in constant safety is better than any freedom to fail or succeed.

Enlightenment and education are false consolations compared to Starlight Glimmer’s House of Re-Education.

Honesty is the cruelest policy.

Kindness is mandatory.

Laughter is subjective and false.

Generosity is an illusion because all should be given when everything is deserved.

Loyalty implies the option to deflect from the herd.

Magic is a curse that would make individuals of us all, and must be damned for the brands of the soul it lays upon us.

And in Our Town, every one of us is fed with lies, but nopony is willing to admit it.


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“Have you learned your lesson?” Starlight Glimmer said, smiling at him with the sharpness of a knife.

Double Diamond nodded. His ears ached with the droning of loudspeakers from the previous days, making the edge of all his thoughts so painfully fuzzy.

Starlight’s eyes narrowed, the edge of hostility in them nothing she had ever shown him before. It was certainly not anything like the look of the Starlight Glimmer behind closed doors. That was a Starlight he hadn’t known could exist. A Starlight that was almost more of a mare than their leader.

“And what was your lesson?”

Double Diamond opened his mouth, and at first, nothing came out. He closed it, swallowed, and pretended he didn’t see her approval at his fear.

“Love de-equalizes ponies.”

“Yes?” she whispered, tapping one of her hindlegs expectantly. Starlight’s steely stare bored into Double Diamond, one foreleg tucked under her muzzle and keeping her in the grim pose of a philosopher, even though there were no thinkers in Our Town, just revolutionaries. “Anything else?”

“L-Love is wrong. Love is foolish,” stammered Double Diamond, throat crushed by either hoof or magic. “There is no love in Our Town.”

“Go on,” she ordered, spellbound and hungry-eyed for something Double Diamond didn’t want to understand, even if he could.

“I don’t love you.” Double Diamond wished that he could say that and make it completely true, but there was no truth in Our Town. Just Starlight’s reality. The only reality. “I never did. I never have. I was blinded. I don’t love mares.”

“Of course,” chimed Starlight with an eerie half-attempt at her usual pleasantness. “Nopony is allowed to let themselves be burdened by something so terrible here. But you struggle with something just as terrible as the idea of loving mares, don’t you?”

“I don’t love stallions either!” Double Diamond pressed his folded forehooves as hard together as possible and tried not to think of Party Favor.

“That’s right.” Starlight Glimmer smiled at him, eyes oddly distant, and her expression snake-like.

Double Diamond beamed at Starlight fearfully, purposefully biting the inside of his cheek as he did so.

“Can you tell me what the most important thing you learned in the House of Re-Education was? More important than following the rules of Our Town?”

Double Diamond knew now that he could never understand Starlight Glimmer, or what could possibly be more important than the rules of Our Town. He knew that Starlight telling him to do something was not so much different from learning it himself. Starlight told him that, but she told everypony else in Our Town that too.

“Nopony loves Starlight Glimmer.”

Starlight stopped smiling when Double Diamond spoke. “That’s right,” she murmured, voice taut and shadowing its usual clipped, authoritative cheer.

Most of all, Double Diamond could not understand why Starlight Glimmer would make him tell her that in the first place.