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The Pone Wars 5.12-13: Better 600 Years Late...

I apologize for the lack of funny on this page (and the following one), since I couldn't think of a suitable joke for 'I accidentally turned my friend into an unliving monster and I feel really guilty about it and she's super mad about the whole thing'. Nevertheless, this scene is vitally important for future developments, so funny or not, I've gotta do it.

For the newcomers and those who haven't read the notes (not that you're likely to read this one either): Fluttershy was killed near the end of the Umbrum Wars 600 years previously, which started when one of the earliest new princesses unearthed Umbrum crystals in the mountains of Halteraan. The Umbrum tricked her into releasing them by imitating the voices and faces of her long-dead friends, and upon release they possessed her and transformed the former crystal pony capital into a hellish world of darkness, with the princess taking Sombra's old place as their puppet.  Those crystal ponies who were not enslaved or transformed into monsters relocated their civilization to Tacktooine (you may have noticed that the crystal ponies tend to get a bit of a raw deal in this 'verse).  Over much of a century, the Umbrum conquered much of the galaxy, literally shattering the young Equestrian Empire, which had never experienced a war on this scale before. It was during this time that Fluttershy first got unwillingly roped into service as the Empire's intelligence chief, using her innocuous animal friends to spy on Umbrum-held worlds. While attempting to infiltrate Halteraan itself, she was caught, tortured, and executed, prompting Rainbow Dash and Princess Luna to lead a daring raid which cost Dash her wing but managed to break the Umbrum's hold on their figurehead, who turned their power against them and banished them from the galaxy forever (maybe).

You can see why I can't actually show any of that in the comic.

Not realizing at the time that Fluttershy's ghost was real and not a last-ditch Umbrum illusion, Twilight attempted to bring her back to life with magic, but given that Twilight's track record with experimental spells is not the best (and remember fillies and colts, necromancy is bad, m'kay), she screwed it up royally and merely returned Fluttershy's spirit to her still-dead body, which repaired most of the damage and preserved it perpetually (so, she's not a zombie) but didn't actually bring her back to life. Since Twilight was totally distraught about this mistake, Fluttershy tried to pretend that it was no big deal so that she wouldn't feel worse.  But the side-effect of this process (apart from the swirly markings and a few vampiric mannerisms) was a total lack of autonomic responses - she doesn't have to do anything that living bodies normally do without thinking about it. The uncanny valley effect this produces made her friends (especially the animal ones) uncomfortable, so to put them at ease she started trying to fake things like breathing, blinking, twitching ears, etc, which only made the uncanny valley effect worse. Eventually she began to withdraw from them altogether because it was painful to watch them pretend not to be bothered.  Twilight, of course, thought that Fluttershy's distance was because she was actually mad at her even though she claimed not to be, and things became Awkward between them for the next few centuries.

Isolation is not good for the sanity, especially when combined with PTSD-induced nightmares, and so over time Fluttershy became more and more embittered about her condition, eventually coming to the conclusion that it was actually Twilight's fault after all. When presented with 'evidence' that Twilight might actually be a Nightmare, therefore, she was already primed to believe it without looking too closely.

(Incidentally, the reason she claims that Discord is scared of her too is due to her misinterpretation of his attempts to help her by arranging amusing but potentially fatal accidents and encouraging monster hunters to attack her--on the grounds that if her body gets destroyed again, she'll reform naturally in a hundred years like she was originally supposed to. He's not actually all that bothered, but he's doing his best to help in his own way. This explains both why in the future he was training Cookiecutter to fight her, and why that training was kind of half-assed.)

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Trope me.
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Interesting. I have a bit of a head-canon regarding the my Little pony show.

Twilight is not the Element of Magic. Her element is not magic.

All of the other elements are things that go into friendship. Yes, Twilight has very strong magic, but so do other ponies.

Magic is what you get out a friendship. Her element is second chances.

Take a good look over the whole series. She is constantly giving people second chances. What was the only time in the entire series when she was not willing to give someone a second chance?

That's right -- the episode where Fluttershy befriends Discord. Even when all 6 of the old pillars were telling her "shoot first, ask questions later", she gave a pony a second chance.

Here? She is admitting to being at fault, and asking Fluttershy for a second chance.

And Fluttershy's eyes change color, and she says no, a reminder of the Discord episode.
This page is really heartbreaking.  Thanks for the context notes too.
Ok, one of Twilight’s stars has gone dark at this point.  Now, that presumably doesn’t count Princess Celestia, so that means one of her friends is a nightmare at this point.  Is it Applejack or Pinkie?  Or are we not supposed to be certain?
ChrisTheS's avatar
WE know that it's Applejack, but Twilight originally thought it was Rainbow Dash and now thinks that it's Rarity (meanwhile, most of the galaxy still thinks it was Rainbow, except for the Separatists).

Applejack is actually perfect cover because everyone believes everything she says, so as long as Jackboot retains the perception of perfect honesty, she can mislead everyone to her artificial heart's content.
It's like an autoimmune disease. Everyone always wants to fight evil, so they start looking for where evil is rather than for whether evil is.

(Fluttershy really ought to think about the fact that Discord is perfectly capable of executing solid plans disguised as just more antics, so if he arranges a possibly fatal accident for you it means he has chosen not to arrange a definitely fatal accident instead.)
ChrisTheS's avatar
When you put it like that, she sounds like a stereotypical D&D paladin...
tigreanpony's avatar
That was good, that really adds a new layer to this, very nicely done.
Sturmlion1's avatar
Rarity it seems is guilty of playing both sides. Nut if you look at it everything she has done has been for a greater good. Fixing Applejack is pure "I want my friend back!" and leading the team to capture the Viceroy is probably because she was there first. Clone Army is easily explained that she saw that the Galaxy had something bad coming and the Equestrians didn't have a army and were going to need one. Is she being controlled from behind the scenes is the real question.
ChrisTheS's avatar
None of those things are mysteries to us - she was the first on the scene to rescue Applejack, and she led the charge to capture the Viceroy because she has secret root access to the Cloudsdale battlepoids' core programming (since she originally designed the things long ago). The clone army was commissioned by Queen Vespa disguised as Twilight Sparkle, specifically with the intent of convincing one of the remaining Element bearers (they weren't too picky which one) that Twilight was up to something.

The flaw in Twilight's reasoning lies in not realizing that there are two antagonistic changeling factions (which, to be fair, she has no reason to suspect) and a refusal to even consider the possibility that the real Nightmare was who it actually turns out to be.
Sturmlion1's avatar
None of them have the full story. And it drove them apart then.
ChrisTheS's avatar
Being too busy independently heroing at the fringes of the galaxy is what drove them. The conspiracy just drove the wedge far enough to break.

The moral of the whole story so far has been not to let work get in the way of relationships :)
Sturmlion1's avatar
Or not to move out of the same small town!
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PhoenixFlambe's avatar
Twilight: Well, I tried.

*Megalovania continues*
Composer99's avatar
I saw those butterflies around Fluttershy's text boxes turn to bats, however briefly. Not a good sign.
AJR001's avatar
Fluttershy, you know what they say about grudges... ^^;
MeteorstarTheArtcher's avatar
is fluttershy a vampire? XD
ChrisTheS's avatar
Only sometimes, when she gets really stressed. Because the remnants of Twilight's other failed or only partially-successful spells are still part of her, her body remembers being a vampire fruit bat.
MeteorstarTheArtcher's avatar
awesome~! so not vampire in the sense of my MLP OC red heart, but vampire in the sense of fruit bats XD
ChrisTheS's avatar
Well, she also occasionally gets the urge to eat mosquitoes. Which fruit bats also do :)

And she can sense the life force of other beings from miles away, which is how she knows where to aim her eye lasers and why she dislikes poids.
MeteorstarTheArtcher's avatar
LOL thats great XD

i wonder if she feels a vampire's life force? technically they aren't alive either.
LordStalinV2's avatar
So, is this version Applejack is Corde? How she was damaged so badly?
ChrisTheS's avatar
Actually in this scenario she was Qui-gon, and she forgot to come not between the Nightmare and her prey.
LordStalinV2's avatar
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