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Brand new and revised edition!

Twilight: I can't really believe your story Anon, buildings with over 100 levels? Flying boats bigger than Ponyville? And yet there's no magic in your world? Please.
>Growing tired of Twilight's berating, you go out into the world to prove her wrong.

That's the prompt that started it all. So what's this thread about? It's about Anon bringing human science and inventions to Equestria and a disbelieving Twilight. Although, that's not necessarily the prompt you need to follow if writing is what you desire.

Thread Story List.
http://pastebin.com/XKLNjAAx

Active stories:
Red Shift
>Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/m5j8aLAB https://pastebin.com/U2qmJcuL https://pastebin.com/6HCHr7ZH
>End of the last update: >>33775982
Shape Your Home (#deca.mare, posted in NMP)
>Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/XMi6VhS5 https://pastebin.com/1TNqYU9f
>End of the last update: >>33818546

Obsolete thread:
#57 >>33571081
>>
>>33821142
>It was a story about an Emperor Palpatine-like anon who had conquered Equestria and turned it into an empire, with Twilight in a Darth Vader role. Ring any bells?

Doesn't ring any bells but a Sith Twilight sounds interesting
>>
>>33821831
Im not a star wars nerd but isnt it like a sith philosophy that their emotions give them strength or something. Because if so I can see why that might appeal to her
>>
>>33821142
Can you share these green? Are they finished?
>>
>>
>>33822421
The Palpanon green? Not at the moment, they're on a doc on my old computer at home, although I'll be able to dig it out on Saturday when I get back. As I said, I didn't finish it, but I do still recall a rough outline of what I had planned for the whole story.
>>
>Mater Solis awakens, and you along with Her.
>Though you see nothing from the darkness of your quarters but for a sliver of light at the edge of your vision, you KNOW She is risen
>Her energy is great, and Her spirit infallible and shared among you and your sisters
>What is you, is you. And what is Her, is Her. But what is yours and Hers is all that you see and think and feel
>These are the sensations by which She communicates herself to you
>Not directly, for Her voice you cannot yet hear.
>But the time is near, this you know to be true
>Time for the Matron Celest to bestow upon you the power to witness a portion of Her divinity
>Your thoughts are scrambled. Confused and uncertain in the darkness, you remove yourself from your bed
>You scratch your tired eyes with a hoof to summon away the drowsiness
>The sliver of light across the room, but a taste of Mater Solis, grows brighter, thicker, and stronger as it crests past the windowsill
>Now the stone room is cast in a soft hazy morning light, and in this light, you may better see
>Not with your eyes, though there is much to see with them, but with your heart and mind
>You had awoken from a shameful dream, yes, one in which you presupposed to know the Matron Celest’s wishes for your fate
>Ascendance? At your age? Don’t be ridiculous
>How this thought could even have entered your humble, stupid mind was all but inconceivable
>The work of a Naiad, perhaps? A tempter of the Depths?
>Or perhaps… something even more sinister
>>
>>33822675
>No… nothing is more sinister than a demon so foul, that which leads ponies to drown in ignorance
>Ignorance of Mater Solis, of her endless devotion to ponykind, of her great and wise nature
>In any case, you should not deign to predict the Matron’s actions, not even within the mists of the dream realm
>You are but a humble disciple, and this you shall remain until the time at which you have been deemed ready
>After relaxing your spirit by offering a libation of words to Mater Solis, you turn from the windowsill and take in your surroundings
>These are not your normal quarters. Where normally you sleep alone, you share these with three other disciples
>They are other Sisters of Solemnity, like yourself, who have been tasked with making the morning meal for the rest of the convent
>You must awaken at first light, before all other sisters, bless the Breaking of Day with the usual offerings, take to the proper ritual of cleansing within the kitchen, and mix the mushroom broth which will be served to everypony at the strike of the Ninth Hour
>This assignment, which has lasted now for nineteen days, will continue for the duration of the month, at which time another group of sisters will take on the task
>As usual, you are the first to rise; the other three are wrestling with their sheets
>You decide to intervene
“Come, sisters. The dawnbreak has arrived. We can’t dawdle each and every day in this fashion.”
>The one named Orange Swirl, her long lavender mane tightly wound into the traditional knot of the Sisterhood, groans and tightens her blankets
>”Five more minutes?”
>You smirk.
“The dawn waits for no mare. Up, sisters.”
>>
>>33822679
>Resigning to their fates, the three cease their struggling and depart their simple cots
>Joining you in the doorway, they appear to be less than prepared to do their duties
>Much less enthusiastic
>Not you, though
>Each day this week has felt like a greater blessing than the last, having the chance to acquaint yourself with the radiance of Mater Solis in a way that is not always available to you
>Single file, the four of you exit the bedroom and, crossing the landing over which the lower halls might be glimpsed, you enter the washroom to don your robes
>Each robe, folded and stacked upon one another in a single neat pile, is wine-colored with bright yellow accents, and the sigil of Mater adorning its flanks
>You retrieve the robe on top and, careful to do so in just the proper fashion as is coded within the scripture, drape it across your body, tying the simple yellow ropes about your midsection to keep the garment in place
>Nothing is sweeter than following the instructions of the scripture to the letter
>Just to convince the frantic part of your brain that you have done exactly so, you step over to the mirror on the far wall to examine yourself
>>
>>33822682
>The mirror is not for self-admiration, you remind yourself again and again as you prepare to look upon your own visage. Your face is nothing, only an aspect of the vessel that carries your shining spirit
>Taking in a deep breath, you raise your head to look on the reflection
>Satisfied with what you see, you lift a forehoof off the floor to grasp the shroud collected at the back of your neck, and pull
>You keep your eyes squarely focused on your reflection as she mirrors your motions, covering with the burgundy hood her dark mane
>Covering her ears, her scalp
>Covering that bony protrusion jutting from her forehead, a symbol of her blaspheming
>A symbol of the hubris of ponykind, who dared to try and match the magic which Mater Solis mastered
>You’ve no use for it, nor for magic.
>You are a Sister of Solemnity.
>You are Twilight Sparkle.
-
>>
>>33822685
>You stand at the cusp of a pot of broth, taking in your handiwork
>For nineteen days now, you and your fellow sisters have made it fresh each morning for the entire convent
>It has been one hour since you awoke. Now, the doors of the dining hall swing open by automation, and three hundred mares, each sporting the same robes as yours, enter in three lines across the threshold and towards the serving table
>Wordlessly, they each step up in turn, taking the ladle in hoof and pouring a helping of broth into their bowls
>Once all others have been served, you are allowed to help yourself and be seated
>Your bowl in hoof, you sit at the nearest table, and soon your three morning service sisters join you
>They are Orange Swirl, a pegasus; Cherry Berry, an earth pony; and Blossom Delight, a fellow unicorn
>These sisters, all of whom you have made close acquaintances with in your time here, have nevertheless become somewhat closer in the last several days
>What once was friendly acknowledgement has become fraternization, an opportunity only afforded by mealtimes
>”Did you hear the news about the construction?”
>”What construction?”
>”Another one of those ghastly labor towers going to be built not four blocks from the convent, to the south. A clear patch of sky in that direction, such a scarcity these days, masked in stone grey.”
>”No! I sit at the corner of the Sun Garden on the elevated mound sometimes and gaze in that direction. Something else ruined by blasphemers.”
“When could you possibly have the time to gaze, Cherry?”
>”Whenever I can catch a break from prayer, Twilight. It could do you some good to gaze sometimes, you know.”
“I don’t know what you mean by that at all. Besides, having a break from prayer means you’re praying to fast. Recite slowly, Mater commends patience.”
>>
>>33822687
>Orange Swirl snorts
>”Regardless, sisters, you just know that if it weren’t for the zoning plea which the Matron bargained out, they’d be building them right to our east and west too.”
>”To blot out the rising and setting sun. What manner of creature could love the darkness so much as to willingly entrench themselves in it, nay, to build it around themselves?”
>”The worst of it is out west. I overheard a food supplier say that in Las Pegasus, they’ve built massive grav-platforms, designs ripped straight from the New Maker’s Handbook, and dotted them all across the city. Imagine, monstrous floating discs underneath which eternal night is cast, all in the name of creating more space for the heathens to reside in the skies.”
“I don’t want to sound condoning, but what use could the pegasi with their flight magic possibly find with… you said, ‘grav-platforms’?”
>”Therein lies the good news, if one could call it that. That zealous Cult of Exsilium has gained a militant foothold in the west these past few months, and have made it dangerous to practice magic. The news is slow, but as it stands, it seems as though the Blight is receding from that whole part of the world, replaced by a foundation of Maker tech.”
>”If you ask my opinion, Maker tech is no less an affront to Her than the Blight.”
>You stare down Blossom, who recedes slightly in her posture
“The Blight of magic is the enemy of ponykind, Blossom Delight.”
>You use her full name to emphasize the severity of her indiscretion
“Meanwhile, Maker tech comes from the earth, Her natural counterpart.”
>”The designs, however, do not. They come from elsewhere and are just as indecipherable in their nature as magic. Twilight, surely you know that what is unnatural to the mind is unnatural to the Syncresis?”
>The Syncresis. A phrase you had never thought would be turned against you
>>
>>33822706
“I don’t find it unnatural. I find it fascinating. In fact, I’ve expressed wishes in the past to the Matron to modernize the convent based on descriptions of-“
>”Twilight! Here I thought you were a purist!”
>The words leave Orange Swirl’s lips in a joking tone, but you can tell there is derision in them
“Orange, if you truly believe that my devotion to Her Radiance is incompatible with my interest in Maker tech, then you sorely misunderstand me as a pony and as Her servant.”
>To your surprise, Orange Swirl is seemingly uninjured by these words
>Rather, she stifles a laugh
>”The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot know enough about the stuff to pass judgment on its applications.”
“And I suppose you do?”
>”I know what is wrong in my heart. As should you, Twilight. You’re worrying me with this talk.”
“Your worry is unfounded, sister. I’ll admit I hardly understand the wonders of the Makers any more than any of you do. But I do know one thing: that it is not synonymous with the Blight, though it may seem to be as mystical. There are underlying explanations for all its functions.”
>”Celestia explains the function of her magic in Verse 4003 of the Ninth Book. She describes it as-“
“As ‘a swirling menagerie of change, a poetry which recites itself, an infinite pool from which to draw the power of undying Mother, and as it is mine only to draw upon, do well, you children of ponies, to listen no more to its recitations, and find solace in the condition of your lessers, who cannot do as you do.’ Yes, I know. It’s hardly an expression of working knowledge.”
>”And yet she knew its functions in a perfect way, and for this reason denied her faithful the permission to use it on behalf of the Mother.”
“The Prophetess knew only what was spoken to her. The mechanisms belying Maker tech were known by the Makers as absolutes.”
>>
>>33822710
>Cherry Berry re-inserts herself into the debate
>”So I suppose if somepony were to develop a map of magical functions as absolute, they would cease to be Blight? Is this your contention, Sister Twilight?”
>You curse silently, immediately offering Mater Solis an invocation of regret for even imagining such language. They’ve cornered you.
“Th-that isn’t what I meant. Besides, the Blight is inherently unpredictable.”
>”What is unpredictable now may one day be fully encompassed in our realm of understanding, but that does not make the Blight any less of a blasphemy. Knowing what evil is capable of does not dispel or even diminish the severity of that evil.”
>You sink into your seat
“They are different, Orange Swirl. I may not convince you of that, but it’s what I believe. We are allowed small conveniences that the Makers invented in this convent by the Matron, but magic is expressly forbidden. Would you call her judgment into question?”
>”I…”
>You’ve got her now
“Sisters, I hardly think the Matron is a hypocrite. Her will is the will of Mater, for Mater speaks through her and all other Matrons across Equestron. Mater Solis does not reject Maker technology. Celestia did not hate the Makers; she was merely humbled by them. I’m offended that you would even compare their creations to magic in the first place.”
>With that, you finish off your broth and set to work at collecting the empty bowls of some of the faster eaters in the dining hall
>From the corner of your eye, you see your sisters exchange worried glances
>They concern themselves with your opinions when they should be concerned about their work
>Glancing around, you see several sisters with eyes firmly locked on your hurried figure, no doubt having listened in on your conversation
>Perhaps that last part was a bit too loud…
>>
>>33822715
>You worry that they may think less of you for being so callous with them
>You’ve never been very… tactful, to say the least, when it comes to your opinions on such matters
>You swallow the pride that has so often gotten you into raw situations and return to the table, where the rest have finished their bowls
“Sisters, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be coarse. It’s just that-“
>”Twilight.” Orange Swirl stands, taking one last gulp of her broth. “I pushed you. I suppose I should have known what would happen. You’re a mare with strong opinions on certain things.”
“We aren’t mares here, Orange. At least, we shouldn’t be. We should be only servants of the Sun.”
>”Should servants not find different interpretations of the same commandment?”
>You smile softly.
“I suppose there’s no harm in that.”
-

Slow start, I know. Don't worry, many of the concepts I've thrown out here will be explained in the following installment, but I don't want to catch up with where I'm at writing just yet. I need SOME buffer space. I'm super appreciative of the warm reception you guys gave me, and I'll try my absolute hardest to stick with this one.
>>
>>33822735
Well I definitely wasn't expecting a story like this. It kind of reminds me a bit of warhammer 40k. I'm curious to see where you take this
>>
>>
>>33822675
I'll check it out later today, but right now I'm running very late.

Well, my keyboard's dying.
F
>Lyra sat upon the park bench, staring intently at nothing.
>A passerby could easilymbe lead to believe she was watching something given the look of intense focus that currently adorned her face.
>The truth was she was barely aware of her surroundings, her thoughts taking her to a different place and time.
>Bon-Bon sat beside her, a look of concern growing on her face.
>Not too long ago she'd been sunning herself.
>She'd been relishing the relative tranquility of a public park, the sounds of fillies and colts unwinding after another torturous day of school was apparently relaxing for Bon-Bon.
>Contrasted with hell, the noises of construction work might have seemed soothing.
>”Lyra? What's the matter?”
“Just have a lot on my mind is all.”
>”It's going to be okay, you'll see.”
>Somehow Lyra was unconvinced.
>Way back when it had all began Bon-Bon's words had been comforting.
>Lyra was willing or perhaps even eager to believe her Bonny could make all the bad things go away.
>Things change.
>Lyra looked down at the battered and scarred pony she cherished so dearly.
>Bon-Bon looked fine. Great even!
>The spell work was good. Lyra couldn't detect the illusion at all without first disrupting it.
>But no matter how sound, no matter how believable it was just another lie.
>A beautiful facade that hid a terrible truth.
>Bon-Bon wasn't fine!
>And she wasn't going to be able to stop Eurynomos either.
>”Wanna talk about it?”
“Maybe not here.”
>”I promise you I'll come back home to you. It's- AUGH!”
>Something had knocked her off the bench.
>Bon-Bon reversed their roles in the blink of an eye, pinning her assailant to the ground.
>Bon-Bon looked up to Lyra, a crazed glint in her eye.
>”Run! Get to safety!”
“STOP!”
>Bon-Bon stepped on her attacker's throat, putting the bulk of her bodyweight on their trachea.
>>
>>33824756
>”Why are you here? Who sent you?”
>They didn’t answer.
>They couldn’t! Bon-Bon was crushing their throat!
>”TALK!”
>Their face started to turn blue from lack of breath.
>It was a sharp contrast to Bon-Bon's own face which had turned red with rage and panic.
>Lyra started wrestling with Bon-Bon, using all of her modest strength to pull the crazed pony away.
>To her surprise it wasn’t that hard.
>Bon-Bon was weak.
>It took only a few seconds before Bon-Bon had been physically removed.
“Bonny, stop!”
>”RUN! GET TO SAFETY!”
“No! It’s just Derpy!”
>Bon-Bon looked down at what she’d done.
>Derpy lay upon the ground, gasping desperately for breath.
>Bon-Bon gasped, her eyes far too wide.
>She took a few steps backward but immediately ran into something.
>A small crowd had amassed, fearful and judgemental ponies circling around the scene.
>Lyra offered Derpy a hoof, helping her get up.
“D, I am SO sorry! She didn’t realise it was you, she would NEVER hurt you on purpose!”
>”That’s okay. Nothing to see here, everypony. Just a simple misunderstanding.”
>Derpy was a little hoarse.
>But amazingly enough she didn’t seem upset.
>She faced the world with her usual grin.
>”I’m okay, everypony. Thanks for helping.”
>The crowd began to slowly dissipate.
>There was no shortage of murmurs and worried glances as the masses scattered, but at least they were leaving.
>Bon-Bon didn’t look straight at Derpy.
>She averted her gaze and kept her distance.
>”D, I’m so sorry. I- oh no. I thought you were someone else!”
>Derpy did the last thing any sane pony would expect.
>She quickly trotted over to Bon-Bon and gave her a great big hug.
>”It’s okay! Sorry for crashing into you like that.”
>That mare was way too forgiving.
>Bon-Bon struggled for an uncomfortably long time trying to get out of Derpy’s grasp.
>Her forgiving friend finally got the hint and let go.
>>
>>33824759
>”I’m glad you’re okay, D. I should go. Before I hurt anyone else.”
>”What? No, stay around for a while. How’ve you been?”
>”Uhh… could be better?”
>This was so weird.
>”Aww. What’s wrong?”
>”I’d really rather not talk about it.”
>”Okay, if you’re sure. What about you, Lyra? You just disappeared for weeks without warning! And then we hear these rumors that you tried to blow up the palace? Everypony was worried about you!”
“Oh. That. Yeah, well y’see…”
>She couldn’t say Bon-Bon had been impaled by Eurynomos.
>Derpy wasn’t supposed to know stuff like that!
>What was the cover story again?
“Bonny got hurt by a Bugbear.”
>”No she wasn’t.”
“Yeah? She was. I was in Canterlot helping take care of her.”
>Lyra winked several times in a grossly exaggerated manner, hoping Derpy would get the hint.
>She didn’t.
>”Why was she around bugbears? Wasn’t she supposed to be in hell or something?”
“Ha. Ha. What would give you a crazy idea like that?”
>”Are you feeling okay, Lyra? Did you forget about everything? We’ve spent a lot of time over the last while trying to track S.M.I.L.E. and their actions, remember? At first we were wondering if they were the good guys or the bad guys but since then we’ve kinda decided that it doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad because we need them to win either way?”
>Lyra smacked her own face with her hoof.
>”And then you decided that they weren’t going to win on their own so you kinda became a low profile terrorist and used your magic to force Twilight into saving the day. Don’t you remember?”
“I wasn’t going to tell her that, D.”
>”Who?”
“Bonny. She has enough to worry about without me putting her in an awkward position like that.”
>”Bon-Bon’s not here.”
“Huh?”
>Lyra quickly surveyed her surroundings.
>No Bon-Bon.
>”She left a little while ago.”
>>
>>33824760
“Oh. I’d better go find her. Umm, I learned a lot while I was away. I’ll try to swing by and tell you, but right now I need to be with her.”
>”Okay! You two have GREAT day!”
>She was amazingly chipper for a pony who was being strangled just moments ago.
>Lyra started to search for Bon-Bon.
>What should have been futile turned out to be a very quick and easy task, Bon-Bon having apparently run out of breath shortly after leaving.
>Lyra found her sitting in the grass beneath a large willow, its branches heavy with leaves swaying gently just overhead.
“Bonny? Are you okay?”
>Her ears twitched a bit and she repositioned to hide her face, but other than that she didn’t react.
“If you don’t wanna talk, that’s fine. But I just want you to know it’s okay to be scared. But you’re safe right now! He’s not here. You’re in Ponyville, and nothing’s trying to hurt you.”
>”That’s not it.”
>Her voice was trembling.
>Lyra approached slowly so as not to startle her.
>She made sure that she was plainly visible with every step.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to go back. They’ll find another way to deal with him. You’re safe.”
>”You don’t understand.”
>A few teardrops fell to the ground beneath her.
>She still refused to show her face.
“No. I don’t. Help me understand?”
>She sat down next to the trembling Bon-Bon, making sure she was just close enough to make contact without crowding her out too much.
>"I just don't know anymore."
>The willow swayed gently in the wind.
>The rustling of its many branches was the only sound Lyra could hear for the moment.
>Bon-Bon was doing an excellent job of hiding her pain.
>But still, Lyra could see it.
>The trembling, her balled up posture, the errant tears that fell in defiance of her efforts.
"It's okay. I'm here for you."
>Lyra gently patted Bon-Bon on the back.
>And the dam broke.
>>
>>33824764
>It only took a few minutes for the tears to stop falling from the tormented rictus she bore as her face.
>The illusory visage didn't quite seem to fit her head, instead choosing to sag beyond beyond what was anatomically possible.
>Minutes passed, her fit growing weaker as it took its toll on her battered body.
>Finally she lay still.
>But Lyra knew better than to assume it was over.
>Bon-Bon was not okay.
>She was just too tired to keep crying.
>Lyra searched long and hard, desperately seeking the words she ought to say.
>Hoping against all odds that there was something, ANYTHING she could do to help.
>There wasn't.
>They sat beneath that tree for hours in relative silence.
>Hours doing nothing but holding each other close.
>The sun would set soon.
>”Lyra?”
“Yeah?”
>”Can you take me downtown?”
>Her voice was level and composed.
>Lyra didn’t believe for a second that she’d gotten over it, but she’d collected herself.
“Of course! Should I go get the chair?”
>”I’d rather not. Can you help like last time?”
“Sure! But first.”
>Lyra focused intently on Bon-Bon’s face.
>Not all of it was illusory, just the parts that had been scarred up.
>The rest was tear stained and matted.
>She produced a small cloth and started rubbing at the messy face.
>”Thanks.”
>She didn’t sound thankful.
>But she couldn’t be out in public like this, ponies would talk.
>Though they probably were already come to think of it.
>No need to give them more to gossip about.
>Lyra focus her magic around Bon-Bon’s barrel and began to levitate.
“I could probably carry you if you want.”
>”I’d rather walk. Even if I am cheating a bit.”
“You sure? I don’t mind.”
>”I need this.”
“Alright, lead the way.”
>Bon-Bon started trotting at a fairly brisk pace.
>It was hard for Lyra to get a good read on Bon-Bon’s physical state.
>Sometimes she seemed stronger than Bulk Biceps.
>Other times she seemed weaker than Angel Wings.
>>
>>33824767
>Right now she seemed almost normal, disregarding the magical assistance in walking of course.
>But as they started to get closer and closer to town, her pace slowed to a crawl.
“You okay?”
>Her legs sped up quite suddenly.
>She wasn’t tired, something else was slowing her.
“If you don’t want to go we don’t want. Where are we going anyway?”
>She just sighed.
>The journey was just a little too long through the busy streets.
>Bon-Bon insisted on looking at each and every pony they passed on their way, and more than a few of them made a point of looking at her in turn.
>Ponyville was too large to be the close knit community Lyra used to know.
>But still gossip spread quickly, ponies no doubt knew that Bon-Bon had tried to hurt Derpy.
>And they certainly did not approve.
>Derpy had been kind enough to try and downplay the situation, to tell everypony that it wasn’t a big deal.
>But there were limits even to her power.
>There was nothing to do for it but wait it out.
>Everyone would forget eventually.
>Hopefully.
>Bon-Bon pulled on the front door, a fancy if somewhat sterile glass entrance that showed a somewhat ostentatious interior.
>A welcome blast of cool air met them when they passed through the doorway.
>Lyra was starting to worry.
>Bon-Bon was stalling as much as possible, each step growing ever closer.
>She REALLY didn't want to be there!
>What was the worry?
>Was there some incredible monstrosity lurking in the shadows? Or perhaps a gruesome sight secreted away in the foundation?
>Whatever was going on there was something bad here.
>Something so terrible and awful that even agent Zero dreaded to tread here.
>An eerie oppressive silence set in over them, and before long Lyra too was on guard.
>Through here.
>The two of them flanked a doorway much like any other.
>Lyra called upon Sagittarius and Leo in an attempt to prepare herself for what came next.
>She linked the mana in preperation for battle.
>>
>>33824770
>Nothing could have readied her for what happened when the door opened.
>”I'm sorry, we're- oh! Please, come right in!”
>Lyra knew that voice, but from where?
>She stepped around the corner ready to strike at a moment's notice.
>A powder blue pegasus with a straight black mane was seated at an overly organized desk.
>She bore a pair of half moon glasses over her cyan eyes.
>The room was mostly occupied by plush seating, the decor seeming to follow a theme of warmth and comfort, but taking it far enough that it felt kinda weird.
>”Are you Lyra? Oh it's good to finally meet you!”
>Bon-Bon sat on an overly plush sofa and sank deep into its cushions.
>Only the tip of her muzzle was visible.
>The pegasus motioned for Lyra to sit.
>She chose the oversized office chair.
>”It’s good to finally meet you, Lyra. I’ve heard a lot about you. All of it good.”
“Thanks? Sorry, but have we met?”
>”I don’t believe so. I’m Dr. Breeze, a psychotherapist.”
>That’s where she knew the name from!
>It was Bon-Bon’s psych!
>Oh, it had been so long since Derpy had dug up that recording, she couldn’t remember much of it.
>Had there been important stuff on it?
>“Sorry for showing up so late.”
>”Oh, think nothing of it. You’re welcome here any time. What’s on your mind?”
>She didn’t say anything.
>And then she continued to not say anything.
>The doctor seemed perfectly content to wait all night if that’s what it took, she wasn’t going to rush her patient.
>Lyra saw no reason to rush things along either.
>Bon-Bon was under enough stress.
>”We’ll be here if you wish to talk. Lyra? If I may ask, how long have the two of you known each other?”
“Oh. Uhh, do you want a number? I’m not really sure. A long time?”
>”Do you know what her profession is?”
“I do. Do you?”
>>
>>33824775
>”I know enough. I want you to know that it’s very important that we not pry too much. She needs to know that it’s safe to share her thoughts, and that we won’t try to push her.”
“Right!”
>”I also need you to know that everything said in here is strictly confidential. Nothing you say will leave these walls.”
>Then why had she heard the previous meeting?
>”Neither of us will tell anypony what happens in here without your explicit permission.”
>”Stop recording.”
>”Of course.”
>She reached out over her desk and pressed a switch.
>”I record these meetings so that I can review them at a later date. But if she doesn’t wish for that-”
>”I tried to kill Derpy.”
>What?
>Lyra had thought she was just intimidating her.
>”I was going to flatten her brain to make good and sure she was dead.”
>The doctor’s jaw hung agape.
>A chill ran down Lyra’s spine.
>They were seconds away from living in a world without Derpy.
>What would become of Dinky?
>What would Bonny do to herself?
>Lyra didn’t want to think about it.
>”Is Derpy okay?”
>”Yeah. Lyra was there. She stopped me.”
>”Oh that’s a relief. Derpy is such a sweet thing, I’d hate for her to be hurt.”
“Seriously. Does EVERYPONY know her?”
>”I thought I was in Hell.”
>”You had another episode.”
>”Yeah. This would be my third.”
>THIRD?
“Can you help her, doc?”
>”I believe we can help her together. But it will take time for her to recover.”
>She turned to face Bon-Bon.
>”You need to know that this isn’t your fault.”
>That was probably the wrong thing to say.
>Bon-Bon was more likely to be annoyed by such platitudes than comforted.
>”An Earth pony’s magic is able to protect their body, but it does nothing to protect their mind.”
>Bon-Bon’s body was trashed.
>What kind of condition was her mind in?
>”It’s okay to need help sometimes, and you need to know you aren’t the only one.”
>”What am I?”
>>
>>33824781
>It had gone in one ear and out the other.
>That was probably for the best, if Lyra knew Bon-Bon half as well as she thought that approach was doomed for the beginning.
>”I’m not Bon-Bon. Bon-Bon isn’t a psychotic murderer.”
“Attempted!”
>That probably wasn’t helping either.
>”I’m not Sweetie Drops. She protects ponies, she doesn’t slaughter them. And I’m definitely not agent Zero. Zero is strong, I can barely walk. What am I?”
>Dr. Breeze looked over at Lyra.
>Neither of them knew how to handle this one.
>”Zero is a weapon. Sweetie Drops a shield. Bon-Bon a pony. I used to be able to keep them seperate.”
>”It isn’t uncommon for ponies to come up with different labels for themselves when they’re doing different things. A pony’s mind isn’t equipped for the extremes you’ve faced, ponies in your position often need to think and behave in manners that are inequine. They often find it easier to cope if they give the different facets of themselves different names, that way they can think of themselves as one pony while at work and a different one while at home.”
>That sounded WAY too familiar.
>Where had Red come from anyway?
>Lyra remembered making the disguise, but she didn’t really remember making the persona.
>It had just kinda happened.
>”Do you remember a time when it was simple? When you just went by one name?”
>Bon-Bon chewed on her lip for a while.
>”No. I’ve always had two faces, I even got my cutie mark for it.”
>Wait, what was that?”
>”Oh?”
>”I’ve gone over the story in my head a million times. I don’t know how much of this memory is real, and how much I put together myself. When I was really little my family and I lived in Silver Shoals. We had a quiet and peaceful life there. My daddy was a lumberjack, collecting timber for the shipwrights.”
>Lyra had never heard this before!
>>
>>33824784
>Bon-Bon had always dodged the question or said she didn’t want to talk about it.
>”Sometimes I’d go with him when he wasn’t going far or had to do something different for the day. I liked those days. But we didn’t have all the heavy machinery we do now, so he spent a lot of time hauling timber back to town. Sometimes he left before I got up and got home after I went to bed. When he was away I spent time with my mommy, and she was a confectioner.”
>Was that where she’d learned it?
>Bonny had always said she was self taught.
>”When I wasn’t with daddy or at school I was with her. I helped her with everything. I got to learn how to make all sorts of sweets. I loved to see the faces on the ponies when they ate the candies I made. It felt good to know that I’d helped make them smile like that. I’ve loved eating candy my entire life, but I love making candy for others more. I was so sure I’d found my cutie mark, but even after years it never came. I started to think I was never going to get one, and I’d even come to accept that was never going to get one.”
>A filly being okay with no cutie mark?
>Had it been anypony else Lyra wouldn’t have believed it.
>”One day my parents brought me out to the beach on a picnic. We wound up staying out way later than we’d planned, we were just having too much fun. When the sun was starting to set something weird happened. The waves started crashing higher and higher, we hurried to try and pack up our things but we had to leave them to the ocean. We were going to be swept away if we stayed there any longer. We thought we were okay, we’d gotten off the sand and the waves were starting to subside. But then something came out of the water. A giant eel monster, I remember it being bigger than our house.”
>Eel monster?
>Bon-Bon had never once in her life mentioned an eel monster to Lyra.
>>
>>33824786
>”I was so scared of it, I’d never seen a monster before. I was too scared to move, too scared to think. I think my mommy picked me up and started to run.
>”It was a weird one. A giant head, the rest of its body much too small by comparison. Three massive horizontal slits for eyes stacked on top of each other, it had two mouths. One of them was full of sharp teeth, the other full of tongues. It had very few tentacles for a sea monster, only a few. All of them coming off of its long slender tail. It looked like something out of a fever dream. It was fast, too fast for me to get away. My daddy turned around to face it so mommy and I could get away.”
>This must have been where she learned to fight!
>Her father taught her!
>”It wrapped him up with one of its long tongues and swallowed him whole. Things get… blurry after that. I wasn’t scared anymore. I was angry. Angrier than I had ever been. It had taken my daddy away. I liked my daddy. Everything went red for a while… when I’d calmed down there was a terrible mess on the beach. My parents were cowering behind some driftwood.”
>She let out a sigh.
>”And I had a cutie mark. I knew that there was something hidden inside of me. Something scary, disguised as something sweet.”
>Her cutie mark wasn’t candies.
>It was all about the wrapper.
“What did your parents think about it all?”
>”We never talked about it. We didn’t want to. I think we wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened.”
>”I can understand that. It must have been quite traumatising.”
>”I’m scared, doc. There was a terrible monster on that beach, and I don’t know what it was.”
>”There are catalogues of monsters you could consult that likely-”
>”No. Not that monster. The other one.”
>She was talking about herself.
“You’re calling it a monster? That’s a mighty fine way to thank the one that saved your parents.”
>Breeze smiled at Lyra and nodded.
>The two of them were in agreement.
>>
>>33824789
“That was you, Bonny. You saved your parents lives, and you saved any other ponies that sea thing would have hurt.”
>”So that’s who I am.”
“No, that’s part of you. A very small part of you. You’re also the pony that makes the best sweets in Ponyville, the pony that always finds a way to make me smile, and the pony everypony else should try to be! It’s all a part of you. You don’t need to choose one or the other, you can smash things one day and make them the next! And if you don’t want to fight anymore that’s okay.”
>”I agree with Lyra. You don’t have to be that if you don’t want to be. But if you do, it doesn’t have to be what defines you. A pony can do more than just one thing.”
>Bon-Bon sat up and got on her hooves.
>”I’m going home.”
>Breeze smiled at her and nodded.
>”Yes, you must be tired. It’s been a very trying day for you. If I may make a suggestion, try to make more time for Lyra. I think she’s good for you.”
>Bon-Bon didn’t answer.
>She just left.
“Is she cured?”
>”Cured? Pft. She’s completely nuts.”
>And the professional and soothing air was totally gone.
>”But that was a good sign. Sweetie Drops has had a terrible burden placed upon her. She’s special, and when you’re special everypony asks the world of you. They want you to make the most of your gifts, to excel at all times. She knows that there are important jobs that only she can do, and she feels the pressure constantly. Being better is a burden. And she’s more than just better.”
>Poor girl.
>”But today I found out that she remembers that she used to be just another pony. She said she didn’t, but she does remember a time from before she had to live two lives.”
“And that’s a good thing?”
>>
>>33824793
>”A wonderful thing. No matter how special you are, no matter how strong or smart or talented, you’re still just a pony. No matter how much everypony else wants from you, no matter how important you are, you’re never not going to be a pony. She still knows that deep down. Now we need to let her know it’s okay. I think you’re just the mare for the job.”
>Lyra pointed at herself, a look of disbelief on her face.
>”It’s common for their kind to fixate on something normal and healthy. Something that they can use to take their minds off of things, something to keep them grounded. She needs that something really bad. Her world right now must be awful, anypony would try to escape it. Even if they have to escape to a delusion. Ponies with her condition live in their heads because that’s the only place they feel safe. The dream up all sorts of fantastic things and spend their lives in reverie. It helps them cope, but it’s not healthy. The more they do it the more they have to do it. Eventually the fantasy is more real to them than the real world.”
>That was more than frightening.
>”Sweetie Drops sometimes has psychotic episodes when she’s startled or frightened. A loud noise or bright lights or being crashed into by a bubbly pegasus. I think that the surprise pulls her out of her head too abruptly, and she doesn’t have time to acclimate to the real world. I think that she then does what she normally does when frightened. What she’s normally supposed to do. But sometimes it’s not appropriate to do it.”
“If there’s anything I can do to help her, anything at all!”
>”Be there for her. Make sure she knows that you’re waiting for her, and that you want to be with her. You’re something she holds dear, something that she’s willing to fight for. And you’re something that’s real. She has to face the world if she wants to be with you.”
>>
>>33824795
“Bonny told me she’d always come back for me. Is that what she meant?”
>”Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know she needs you. Keep coaxing her out of her shell, and eventually she’ll realise that living in Equestria and hell aren’t the same place. And also make sure she takes her medication!”
“What meds?”
>”Talk to her about them, I don’t think she takes them. Yeah, they probably make her sleepy and make it kinda hard to think, but we can’t have her having another episode like that. I like Derpy, I don’t want her to get hurt. And I like Sweetie Drops, and we both know she’d never forgive herself.”
“Alright. Thanks, doc.”
>”No, thank you. Oh! And one more thing. I know this all sounds terrible to you, but this is good news.”
“I just found out Bonny has had multiple psychotic episodes and is probably living in a fantasy land more often than not. How could that POSSIBLY be good?”
>”She admitted she was in pain. That means she’s FINALLY ready to start healing. It will take years, and the fear might never totally go away, but she will get better if you stay with her. I promise.”
>Somehow, Lyra believed her.

That's it.
Okay, so. I can't make up my mind so I'm going to ask for guidance. Minor spoilers ahead.
When I started I was planning on having a brief arc near the end in which Lyra gets captured and Bon-Bon is trying to get he back. It would be a good opportunity to show the world through Bon-Bon's eyes, and it would let us get some idea of just how far she'd go for Lyra. But the problem is it feels like un-necessary bloat in a story that's already very long. I keep procrastinating on this decision figuring it can wait until later, but we're near the end. I need to decide soon. Would you like to see that, or is it unnecessary?
>>
>>33824795
Thanks for the update. As for the spoiler part deciding what to cut and what to keep is almost always a tough choice. Good luck
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>>33822735
>A bell rings.
>The great bell, to be precise
>It is outfitted with an automated timer, nothing too fancy, just a magnetic oscillator which runs at just the right frequency to measure out the hours of the day
>It was an early little trick presented to ponykind by the Makers over a thousand years ago, and yet this one was only installed in the convent relatively recently
>On the hour, the pulse from the timer triggers the bell mechanism, while also running through additional wires as electrical currents spread all across the building
>These pulses would trigger little clanging bells inside boxes about the size of a hoof to alert those in rooms where the great bell was not audible
>You had studied the masses of wires within the walls on occasion, and even repaired them once or twice
>You are the only one who ever bothered to learn how
>It’s easy to imagine that when you’re gone from the earth to the Mother’s Garden, nopony would bother to maintain them, and the small luxury would fall into disrepair as so many others have
>You’ve lost yourself in thought again
>You, along with a group of about forty other sisters, shuffle across the wide courtyard at the center of the convent
>The great bell continues to boom within its residence above you, in the bell tower
>Cherry Berry, Blossom Delight, and Orange Swirl march to your left, their heads bowed, their mouths moving wordlessly
>You do so as well, mouthing the Litany of Praise over and over
>You are careful not to allow the edges of the robe draped across your form to drag along the ground
>Each pony in the crowd is shrouded, so as not to allow the light of the sun to touch their eyes until after the morning study has begun
>A grouping of plain wooden benches is set up before you, lining the dewy grass in neat rows
>Before them, a small altar, three stairs high, and atop it an earth pony whom you know all too well
>You seat yourself beside your sisters, and the service begins
>>
>>33825860
>The mare on the altar mutters an inaudible phrase, though you know well its meaning
>She lifts her muzzle ever so slightly, swaying her head side to side, her eyes closed to the world, her mind open to Her Radiance
>She speaks, loudly enough to hear this time
>”Mater Solis fas liberare capita phaleras humilitatis. Lucem permittit nos intuemur tuum et grati estote. Gloriam quasi decima hora vestra liceat ordinari. Nos gratias ago vos Mater Solis, in hac die et in omnibus diebus.”
>As the final syllable of the ancient tongue leaves her lips, the bell at last ceases its tolling
>Ten strikes.
>All at once, you, the sisters seated all about you, and other sisters in your field of vision trotting across the courtyard remove your hoods, allowing the light above you to wash over your countenances
>The spring Sun is the most beautiful, you have always conceded
>Others claim that honor goes to the summer Sun, when Vestal Celestia emboldens Her with warmth
>Others still prefer the winter Sun, which blazes above a frozen land as a sole beacon of faith
>But for your part, the spring Sun is golden and glorious, warm and lasting, pleasing and easy to please
>”Rise, sisters, recite the Litany of Truth.”
>As one, you and your thirty-nine sisters stand and whisper in tandem.
“Blessed is the truth of Celestia as it is spoken through her by the Mother of wisdom and compassion. Blessed is the word of the prophetess of the Goddess, it is Truth, it is to be praised. I am humble, I am bound to Her by Her will, and Her word is my law. What She wills, She commands in my heart, and I am entrusted to deliver Her will to the nations of the world. Praise be to Her, the Goddess Mater Solis. Amen.”
>”Sit.”
>As you do so, the mare steps down from her podium and walks down the center “aisle”, a space between two groups of twenty chairs each
>Her pitch black robe flows gently behind her as a cool breeze picks up in the yard
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>>33825865
>”The Fable of the Mountain Pass. When the prophetess Celestia crossed the mountain Fillai to warn the villagers at its back of an impending flood, which would sweep away their homes, drown their crops, and cause great mayhem and even death to all who experienced the wrath of the Naiads, she came across an old stallion guarding the narrowest point of the mountain pass. She inquired unto him, ‘Why, sir, do you stand guard here, when there is no home to be found in these mountains, nor anywhere in sight?’ The stallion replied, ‘I have no home but the pass. I guard this pass from the invaders that once defiled my home, and may do so once more. If they should overpower me, I shall run back down the slope to the village and warn my kith and kin of their doom.’ In turn, Celestia spoke unto him, ‘A greater doom than nomads comes. A furious flood shall overtake this pass and sweep into the valley below, bringing horrible misery to your kith and kin.’ The stallion simply replied, ‘I see no flood, nor the rain that might bring it. I see only you as a threat, bringing dark news to worry my people. I shall not let you pass and encumber them with your false words.’”
>The Matron Celest stops upon reaching the last row of chairs, turning round on old joints and marching back towards the altar, her head held high
>>
>>33825867
>”Celestia had wings. She could fly over this stubborn pony and deliver her warning regardless of his approval, for she had seen the flood and its lethality. She could overpower him, for he was frail, and she mighty. But, for a moment, she sat with him, and shared a glance. She asked him who numbered among his family in the village beyond the pass, to which he replied, ‘I am the only son of a glassblower. He is dead now, as is his wife.’ She asked him who numbered among his friends in the village, to which he replied, ‘All those I knew once have passed into nothing. Only I remain of a time which remembered pain.’ So Celestia asked him this: why did he call them his kith and kin, and why did he devote his life to defending them from tyranny, when he knew not their names, nor their faces? The stallion replied, ‘It is my burden to bear, and I bear it gladly, so that others shall not share my fate.’ To which Celestia said, ‘You protect the villagers without knowing them, for their bliss is Truth in your eyes. Yet you deny my word that there is danger looming, for you cannot see it? Your hypocrisy is plain to see.’”
>Turning once more, the Matron focuses her eyes, scanning the expressions of each sister in turn
>Her eyes seem to lock onto yours for a moment longer than the others
>>
>>33825869
>”The stallion stood, and offered this: ‘I know you, Celestia. You were a princess once, and as a princess you told lies. But when the first of the Makers came and cast you out from your temple, you came to see the light of Truth, and weighed it against the judgment with which you had been born. Your hypocrisy is ever plainer. You seek to save lives, yet you refuse to save your own.’ Referring, of course, to the Prophecy of the Prophetess, which by this point had become common knowledge in the land of Old Equestria. In some versions of the story, usually those intended for foals, Celestia convinces the stallion by his own turn of phrase to let her pass, and he does so, and she warns the villagers, and they evacuate. But in the more common version, and this is the version we will be discussing, Celestia turns back, her acolytes in tow, and retreats from the pass, and the village is flooded, and the villagers all drowned.”
>The Matron pauses for emphasis, offers a brief prayer, then speaks aloud once more
>”The message is cryptic, but let us analyze what has happened. Celestia’s words were the Truth. They came from her own sight, her own knowledge of the situation at hand. She was not deceived in this, and she made the conscious effort to warn the villagers. Yet when she backed down, she was not reprimanded by Mater Solis; in fact, she was commended for her insight and for taking a step down the path to perfection. Perfection, for being convinced by an old stallion in a pass to abandon what she knew was right. Of course, we all know why she did it, in the end. Does somepony want to show off their knowledge? Twilight, perhaps?”
>You blush slightly, and stand
“Because the old stallion was an avatar of Mater Solis. Because his word was a greater Truth than even Celestia could hope to counter.”
>>
>>33825873
>”Good. This is supported by many writers, and has come to be taken as the best interpretation of the fable. But, you will note, nowhere in the fable is this expressly stated. Implied, perhaps. But let us imagine for a moment that we are Celestia, and we cannot say for certain that this old stallion is anything but just that. Let us even throw away our understanding of the Truth altogether, and say that neither party has the extant high ground. What then, in terms of pure logic, might be the reason that Celestia turned around and left the village to their doom?”
>Out of the corner of your eye, you see a light blue hoof shoot up into the air
>”Sister Bluebell?”
>The yellow-maned sister stands, and briefly recites a prayer under her breath before speaking
>”I’ve always considered the fable to show that Celestia, though a prophetess, was not infallible, and that she realized that her hypocrisy was greater than that of the stallion. Where hers was the ultimate futility of not knowing if her efforts would save Old Equestria from a dark fate while also resigning herself to a fate that she could prevent by not choosing to follow the path she did, the stallion’s was simply that he refused to believe what he could not see when he existed solely to defend a perceived innocence that he also couldn’t see.”
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>>33825877
>”A valid point, Bluebell. Good answer. But there is something else to this fable that is often overlooked in interpretation, and that is the role of her acolytes. Though they followed Celestia and obeyed her wishes, they would hardly stand idly by as she abandoned her own cause if she were not justified in doing so. Simply weighing her hypocrisy against that of another should not make Celestia’s quest to save the villagers any less noble, and yet she abandons them all the same. Celestia was not hypocritical in her life’s work per se, but solely in this moment. Saving the villagers from the flood was never about their lives, it was about preserving the land they walked upon. Though the flood ravaged that soil, today it is fertile, and has been for nearly a thousand years. The acolytes knew this when they recorded Celestia’s teachings. So, then we return to the stallion’s final words to Celestia: ‘You seek to save lives, yet you refuse to save your own.’ A phrase that would seem to apply to him as well.”
>The Matron Celest swipes her hoof through the air, a show of finality
>”The old stallion was not Mater Solis, but Celestia herself. His hypocrisy was not tantamount to her own, it was equivalent. The ponies of the valley were Old Equestria, and the flood its future. The most crushing of sacrifices, all hanging on moral principle, and all involved let it pass. When two hypocrisies meet, one must give in to the other. But Celestia learned her lesson that day, and the village, its denizens, and the old stallion were drowned. He had exchanged the wisdom he bore to her for death. Ultimately, it was Celestia who was victorious, even at the cost of her own life.”
>In your mind’s eye, you see the wires in the walls shorting, corroding, failing
>In time, there will be nothing left of them
>”Now, Sister Lavender Hoof, will you kindly distribute the study books? Everypony, please turn to page 172, and recite after me…”
-
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>>33822675
Alright. Don't take my word as gospel because I screw up plenty. But since you asked for input here it is.

Story.
>Theological debates on whether or not sufficiently advanced tech is equivalent to magic.
>Religious fervor opposing development pitted against the inexorable march of of progress.
>Twilight Sparkle is opposed to the use of magic.
I think I'm going to love this. Without knowing where you intend to go with it I can't say much, but that's an interesting way to open things.

Characterization.
These characters speak very formally. It feels like they're carefully planning what they say, almost as though they were reading a prepared speech. This might be okay depending on how you use it. If this is meant to portray the coven as being extremely orderly, formal, or something of the like it's working fine. If this is how commoners speak it'll probably feel weird. Definitely use it when reciting scripture, and use it if you wish in formal settings, but remember that people generally don't speak formally.

Execution.
There are a few typos, nothing to get bent out of shape over. Even professional publications drop the ball from time to time, you'll never be perfect with that. One thing I would like to see is more consistency in punctuation. Some people don't put a period at the end of a green line, others do. You're doing occasionally. Either do or don't. You also seem to overuse commas a fair bit. I'm guilty of this myself, truth be told. I was about to try and explain to you when one should and shouldn't use a comma, however I'm not the right one to teach this lesson.

And now the single most important piece of advice I can give. Don't stop. People are looking forward to more, you're doing good work here. It would be a terrible shame if you were to drop it. Please continue.
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>>33825867
Looks like I should have clicked "update" first. Oh well.
This is an interesting insight to their faith. We now know that there is a good deal of ambiguity in their teachings which allows for creative interpretations and flexibility. One could have two followers of the same faith arrive at opposite conclusions. We also find that Celestia isn't an infallible prophetess, she's made mistakes and had to learn things the hard way. This raises a question though, if she is flawed then are her teachings not also subject to error? Or are we meant to believe that her teachings are Truth regardless? It's also interesting that she would allow so many to drown, perhaps this faith doesn't value life that highly?
I don't know what you're planning on doing with this stuff, just wanted to give you an idea of what the reader might pick up from it.
Quick request for clarity.
Mater Solis is basically a deity.
Celestia is NOT a deity but a prophet of some sort.
Matron Celest is a high ranking figure in their church, something similar to a priest.
Is that right? It might be worth spelling it out for us at some point just to make sure we're on the same page.
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>>33825883 #
Oh there's just something about this update starting with the inner workings of a clock and ending with it's possibly inevitable breakdown when Twilight dies that I love
>>
Will post more later tonight, studying quantum physics is a bitch.

>>33826033
>These characters speak very formally. It feels like they're carefully planning what they say, almost as though they were reading a prepared speech. This might be okay depending on how you use it. If this is meant to portray the coven as being extremely orderly, formal, or something of the like it's working fine
It's definitely intentional in this environment. The convent is like a nunnery on steroids, with most of the sisters not even leaving its grounds under any circumstances. They've been taught to speak this way. However, I do have a bad habit of writing really formally, so I'm going to force myself to break that habit once we leave the convent for the outside world.

>You're doing occasionally. Either do or don't
I've been putting periods at the end of shorter sentences or impactful statements to give them more weight. If it's jarring, I can stop, but it is intentional for the time being.

>too many commas
Yeah. I have an addiction. I'll work on it.

>>33826112
Most of your questions here will actually be more or less explained in the next few installments! For the ones that are unclear: yes, Mater Solis is the one god of the faith. She is literally the Sun, similar to Apollo, though there is also an idea of the physical Sun vs. the living Sun. The line is blurred, as it is with most iconic religions.

Celestia's role will be expanded upon, as you've probably already guessed. Suffice it to say now that she was a prophetess of Mater in ancient times.

The Matron Celest is the high priestess of this convent, of which there are many across the world.

>>33826200
What can I say, clocks are easy to write about. They just tick, tick, tick...

Loving the support guys. WiK, would it be possible to exchange contact info on here? I'm 100% on board with you proofreading as long as you have the time.
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>>33825883
>>33826603
>The great bell chimes eleven times
>The morning study session has concluded, and gradually the sisters around you stand and stretch
>Cherry Berry yawns, raising her forehooves into the air
>”Was this the longest study session we’ve ever had or what?”
“You’re only tired because you refuse to adjust to our new sleep schedule.”
>”My body sleeps when it wants to sleep, I have no control over it. The Mater guides my cycle as she deems proper.”
>”That’s a long-winded way of calling yourself lazy, Cherry.”
>You can’t help but stifle a giggle at Orange’s comment
“Sisters, *hmph*, calm yourselves. Group meditation begins in fifteen minutes.”
>Blossom Delight suddenly gasps
>”Naiads drown me. I think my blindfold slipped out of the pocket of my robe. I can’t find it.”
>”I’ll help you look for it in our quarters.”
>”Me too.”
>As you prepare to offer your own assistance, a voice calls out your name from behind
“I… I’ll meet you three at meditation!”
>Your sisters trot off across the sunlit courtyard, and you turn to face the source of the voice
>The Matron Celest stands before you, her old eyes smiling with wisdom
>”Sister Twilight. Come walk with me, child.”
>You obey, and the two of you set off at a slow gait towards the stone path bisecting the yard
“I didn’t know you were leading the study session today, Matron. Is Sister Freshleaf well?”
>”She is not sick, if that is your question. I’ve given her the morning off, and all the rest this week, so that I might directly engage with each group.”
“It caught me off guard. But you made for a wonderful instructor.”
>>
>>33827142
>”I should certainly hope so. I only served in the position for 34 years before my current standing. What did you think of the little excursion at the beginning?”
“The mountain pass? It’s always puzzled me. But your insights were fascinating. Who could guess that after all this time, new cases could be made about Celestia’s true intentions?”
>”Celestia was a complicated mare, Twilight. Those who claim to know absolutely the Truth of why she did what she did to serve the Mater are either fools or liars. All we may offer are guesses. It’s simply the best we can do.”
>Coming to the end of the stone path, you walk into the shade of the overhang
>Turning left, the slotted pillars adorning the edge of the inner path make a slideshow out of the exterior yard as you move past them
>A group of filly initiates, led by a sister instructress, seems to jump to a new spot every time you are given the chance to glimpse them
“Matron… why did you ask to see me? Am I in trouble?”
>The Matron chuckles, and your gaze is diverted back to her eyes
>Twin grey pools stare back at you
>Her sight has been gradually failing her for years, yet she does not require a guide in these halls
>She knows this place as a mother knows her foal
>”Twilight, you ask me the same question every time I pull you aside from your peers. You are not a filly anymore, and I cannot discipline you as I once did. No, I require your presence for… other matters.”
>The two of you turn once more, this time passing beneath a stone archway leading into the interior of the convent
>With another left turn, you realize at once she is leading you to her office
>This was the path you once took whenever you needed the guidance of this great mare
>She had been, without any shadow of doubt in your mind, a mother to you
>The closest you had
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>>33827143
>She had stepped outside the boundaries of her position on numerous occasions to nurture your growth, for you had seemed to her a prodigy of sorts
>At least, this is what she had told you
>You refused to believe you were special simply because you had been dropped on the doorstep of the convent rather than initiated proper
>But it had led you to cross paths with the wisest pony who has ever existed
>To be close with her, and to share in her knowledge, was and is a treasure to be coveted
>You utter a silent prayer of libation to Mater and find yourself standing before twin oak chamber doors, immaculately carved with images of fire-breathing dragons, solenoidal angels, and other evocative imageries
>Without a word, you open the doors, letting the Matron pass through first, and then following in tow
>The Matron’s office is a fascinating room, one where many of your fondest memories were created
>Soft velvet carpets of varying, exotic patterns are spread symmetrically across the flooring, a far cry from the stone tiles which make up the floor of most of the convent’s chambers
>The painted walls are decorated with fabrics which flow in the gentle breeze circulating through them from the open windows
>Copies of paintings depicting important moments from the Twelve Books of the Sun line the walls, many of them tilted on their hooks
>You’ve long suspected the Matron tilts them on purpose to make them more noticeable to the eye, and therefore more powerful
>The Matron Celest takes a seat at her rich mahogany desk, and gestures for you to sit across from her on one of the curved wooden chairs
>By her left hoof, there is a brass telephone, the only one in the entire convent
>The Matron sighs deeply, and begins
>”Twilight, I am about to say some things. You may not like to hear them. This is my warning to you beforehand.”
>Your throat tightens, and your hindlegs begin to shake beneath the desk
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>>33827146
“I knew it! I am in trouble! Oh, Celestia forgive me! Matron, I deeply apologize for whatever my transgression may be, and I promise you I shall repent to the best of my-“
>”Twilight.”
“Sorry.”
>”You aren’t in any trouble, child. But you are deeply troubled, and that is plain to see. You haven’t come to visit me here in my office for some time. And though I’d like to believe it’s because you no longer need my guidance to find the right path, it’s clear to me that the opposite is true. What is preventing you from coming to talk with me, as we once did?”
“I’ve only been busy, Matron. That’s all. The first light breakfast duties, morning study. I’ve been studying alone much more often recently. I’ve taken up interest in sewing, too. If you’d like to see some of my designs-“
>”Yet. Something else pulls at your heart.”
“There’s no point in hiding it then, is there? From you.”
>”Or from anypony else. Even my tired eyes can see the longing written across your face. I know that you desire to be ascended. The question is, do you think that you deserve such an honor?”
“I’ve dreamed of it for years. To be at your side, for that to be a requirement of my position here. To take on all the responsibilities that entails. Matron, I-“
>”Do you deserve it?”
>You struggle for words, before taking on a resigned posture
“I don’t know. I… I feel ready, maybe. But I just don’t know. Everything I’ve done since the age of seven has been in service of becoming a Sister Solaris. I want to know Mater Solis’ Truth, her will, everything, from instinct, not just through study. Don’t get me wrong, Matron, I love the texts, I devote every waking hour I have to myself to understanding them, criticizing them, knowing what they represent. But to witness Her glory, even a piece of it, directly, as you do… it would be worth ten thousand lifetimes as a disciple.”
>”Yet you have only lived a fraction of one.”
>>
>>33827148
“I know. And I know that my thoughts are selfish. And that I should never presuppose your intentions for me. But I can’t help it. It comes to me in dreams, the thought of being a Sister Solaris. I’ve justified them as temptations of the Naiads, but in truth, they are simply my own thoughts, free from persuasion.”
>The Matron Celest reaches across the narrow desk, wiping away the tear which has manifested on your cheek
>”Twilight, I shall say this only once. My will is the will of Mater, and my Truth her Truth. So you may understand that my judgment in this is absolute.
>You cringe, bracing yourself for a great emotional blow…
>”It is my opinion that you are not ready to ascend to the position of Sister Solaris.”
>There it is
>You sink in your seat, eyes cast downward to hide your shame, heart cast into oblivion
>How could you think that at only seventeen, you would be considered for such a high honor?
>You find yourself infinitely more distraught that you thought imaginable
>Yes, it was hubris that put you in this position, hubris and false hope
>Prodigy or not, you were not ready
>Perhaps you never would be…
>”No, Twilight, you are not to be a Sister Solaris.”
>You are nearly too emotional to hear the Matron’s words
>”You shall be the Matron Celest.”
>
>
>
-


Short update, I know. But there's a pretty sizable one coming up that I didn't want to break up. If I catch up to where I'm at too soon I fear that I'll fall behind on my self-imposed schedule.
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>>33824767
>Weaker than Angel Wings
F

>>33824804
Surprised there was absolutely no mention of the amulet, since it was such a big thing keeping Bon Bon calm, and now without it already having had 3 attacks not mentioned if any while with it or before, but things kept going down after every visit so

About the side plot, dont think itd be unnecessary, in fact could be quite nice to see more of Bon Bon interacting with Lyra or vice versa in the green, not having much time between themselves as a whole so far, but mostly Lyra's team
Not sure how how you planned to write it, but a few points from what i think it d go like:

>Point 1: Do it, fully
Would be a complete side arc, changing the pony in focus and what she needs to go through, her views of the world, missions past and concerns may need to be explored a bit to give the reader a bigger picture of whats going on her head before actually getting to the shock of the event
More could be explored this way, her ranks, history with other agents and princesses, maybe even old characters like Aryanne or the agent Lyra faced could be brought for a confrontation of this "weapon" that she isreason better explained after point 2, but for a link, being the possible exploration of a shock of worlds for Bon Bon and ponies different views of her as a whole, as she makes her way thru the facility before getting to Lyra, but it d need to stray further from what the history has been, thus far focused on Lyra and her views, which brings up point 2.

>Point 2: Do it, partially
Would be a slight side arc, but since the history would be told on Lyra's view it wouldnt stir too far, possibly being mostly the failed mission, awakening while capturedtime skips if too long jailed? and the rescue and escape. Also would be a good place for Bon Bon to find about Lyra's stuff, considering her weakened state Lyra could be necessary to step in for some reason

[cont...]
>>
uh, need to find the time to read all of these
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>>33827547
>For both points, either/both of the following lines apply
Lyra is a pony trying to act like an agent, the arc would show her and the reader how far away she is still from getting any close to that
Bon-Bon is an agent trying to pass as a pony, could be an experience of "clashing worlds" to her, if Lyra is her beacon that brings her back to herself but having to act while on the job, being called Zero, while being Sweetie Drops but being there for Lyra against reason as Bon Bon being called a weapon, being a shield, going against reason as a pony

>No part in the following spoiler really serves for either of the first 2 points, just throwing the extra idea
In fact an old idea i often said when making my theories, would to make them fight at first (yea im the "cant wait for the Bon Bon vs Lyra" guy), if you ask how could it be, looking from Lyra's angle maybe something like
>Another day in confinement
>Lyra notices something weird going on
>Suddenly security measures on her cell go off
>Leaves, no guards around
>Power goes off, dark and surrounded in shadows
>See blur, and move to contain whoever is coming at her
>Immobilized without trouble
>In middle of one of Bons attacks, Lyra almost passes out before she gets back to herself
>Bon Bon has a shock of worlds, weapon, shield and pony conflicting after attacking Lyra
>Escape continues
And for Bon Bon the steps getting to Lyra, challenges in between, single unicorn challenging to be in her way, reveal
No need to do it like this of course, just a very abridged idea from what you said you wanted to do


>Point 3: Don't do it
You say you re burned from writing this, so the best for you may be avoiding adding more side plots and closing the ones still left open for a conclusion, being free from this and not needing to feel bad for "having to do it for completion sake"
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page 8 bump
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>>33828091
yes
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>>33824795
>Living in her head because she can't stand the real world anymore
>Spends so much time disconnected from reality that her imagination is more real to her
>Everyone expects a lot from her because she's gifted but she can't handle the pressure
>From the guy who dreamt up half a million horse words and has a thread that's practically devoted to him but he still hates his writing no matter how much people suck his dick
>The guy who likes Derpy because she finds a way to keep smiling even though everything goes wrong for her
Are you feeling okay?
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>>33828897
I think you might be reading into that a bit too much.

>>33826603
I suppose I could get discord or make make a new email address. I'll get back to you in a bit.
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>>33824804
Poor Derpy. I hope she is okay and not jzst pretending. Also Lyra could have used her magic to shut her mouth closed.
Lyra also needs a psychotherapist. She instantly assumed the worst when entering the building. While 0 was there. What could she do that Bonny cant?
They need a few days off, possibly in some remote are that is also new(ish) and absolutely non threatening to BonBon. Just so both can take care of each other in a caring level/way.
The explanation of BonBons cutie mark got me by suprise, its good and fits very well.
Im not against a BonBon saves Lyra, but I think Lyra should set up a scenario where BonBon feels challenged but secretly its super easy.

Thanks for the update.
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this is a bump
everybody decided to drop an update last night, literally have like 100 posts of green to read
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>>33827157
Back home again! And finished with finals. Which means I'll have much more time to write. Which means I'm now much less apprehensive about dumping this next chapter on y'all.

>”Twlht…”
>”Twiiiiilhhh…”
>You groan
>Colors begin to take shape out of the darkness, materializing from infinite shadows
>Your hearing, too, gradually returns to you, as though you were resurfacing from the depths of deafening waves
>Why are you lying on the floor?
>”Twilight?”
>A voice, somewhere, somehow
>The voice you heard in your dream
>What a terrifying dream you just had!
>To imagine that the Matron would say something so inappropriate, so shocking, was nearly blasphemy in and of itself
>”Twilight, are you alright?”
“Whuuu… what?”
>”Twilight, you passed out. You fell out of your seat.”
>Your eyes snap wide open
>The colors cease their swirling and take definite form
>The strange sounds rippling within your eardrums become recognizable
>Oh, dear Celestia… oh, Prophetess of the Sun and the Stars…
>That was no dream
“Matron…”
>”Is your head alright, child? You’re swimming.”
“I’m… okay. I’m alright, Matron. Just a little hazy, that’s all.”
>Another voice whispers behind you, one you cannot bring yourself to turn and face
>The Matron disappears for a moment, then returns to your field of vision holding a glass of water
>”Drink this, child. Pick yourself up.”
>You do so, gulping down every last drop in a second and a half
>Only in the moment that the cool liquid washes down your throat do you realize how dry it had become
>Slowly, trembling with every movement, you set the empty glass down on the carpet and lift your shivering body off the floor
“M-Matron, I…”
>”Shhh. It’s alright, child. I understand completely. You mustn’t justify your reaction to me. Though I must admit, it was quite a bit… MORE than I anticipated. I’m simply happy you didn’t hurt yourself falling off that chair.”
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>>33832179
>You are dizzy, uncertain
>Conflicting thoughts slam against one another within your brain
>At last, you conjure up a complete thought
“How? How could you possibly believe I’m ready for something like that?”
>The Matron smiles warmly, placing her hoof upon your wither
>”Twilight, you’ve become a devout sister, a learned young disciple, and a worthy acolyte of Celestia’s teachings. You have spent the entirety of your life within the walls of this convent. Your peers, Bluebell, Orange Swirl, the others… they came here of their own volition, when they were old enough to understand what being a sister here meant, and yet none of them share the devotion to Mater that you have. You were barely a day old when I found you at the common shrine in the front garden, and on that day I promised to do all that I could to foster your growth into what you have already become. There was no favoritism involved. I did not extend additional honors towards you, nor did I allow you to shirk the responsibilities you were given. I only ever offered you guidance, Twilight. I wanted to see you become a Sister Solaris, and perhaps, eventually take on my responsibilities when I am gone. And yet…”
>The Matron turns away from you, shuffles across the carpet, and stares longingly out the open window into the light of the sun
>”I am old. Far too old to consider the possibility that I might continue to lead you naturally into my position. Before long, I will pass, and there is nothing that can be done about that. What I wanted for you can no longer be. When I pass into the Mother’s Garden, Sister Freshleaf or Sister Tenderheart shall take my place. When this occurs, there is no guarantee that you will live to become my successor. You, too, shall grow old, as a Sister Solaris rather than in the position you rightfully deserve.”
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>>33832181
>This is all far too much to take in
>You breathe in, then out, focusing on the meditative practices which you were taught from a young age to relieve stress
“Why me? Why nopony else? Who am I to be the Matron Celest? To replace you?”
>”Let me answer your question with a question, if I may. What do we mean when we talk about the Blight?”
“The Blight? It’s the dark consequence of ponies using magic in cheap imitation of Mater Solis. It’s a mockery of the faith, and it turns the hearts of ponies black.”
>”Precisely. And what is the single unavoidable consequence of the Blight, that which even the Sisters of Solemnity, the most devout practitioners of Mater Solis’ will, cannot prevent themselves from indulging? Not even me?”
>You know where this is going
“The cutie mark. When a sister taps her potential, the Blight inexplicably marks them with a symbol of their talent for life. An unnatural event, and unexplainable as all magics are. Nopony can prevent their cutie mark from manifesting. Except…”
>”Except for you, Twilight.”
>The Matron approaches you, lifting the tail-end of your robe from your flank, revealing…
>Nothing.
>”Your flank is untainted by the cutie mark. Even now, beyond any reasonable timeframe during which you might have attained it, you are pure even of that aspect of the Blight. As time passed then, when all others of your age began to receive theirs, you never did. I daresay it is a sign of divinity.”
“But-“
>”Ah, but to say so, nay, to even think so, may be blasphemous. And above all, a Matron shall not be blasphemous. She shall not assume the nature of the Truth that is fed to her by Mater, she should only accept what she is given, and make of the world which She created, only what is known. Which brings me to my final justification, and by far the most important.”
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>>33832188
“Matron, if I may interject. I just don’t know if I’m capable of handling anywhere near the level of responsibility which you handle on a daily basis. I’m not ready.”
>”Twilight, one thing at a time. To answer your concerns in a brief sense, to shortly be elaborated upon, you are not ready. But soon you will be.”
>This comment leaves you even more confused
>First she says you’re ready to be a Matron, now you aren’t?
>How is your blank flank alone an indication that you should receive this position on a silver platter?
>The Matron seems to notice the puzzled look on your face, turning her body and walking towards the far wall
>She stops before the largest painting in her office, raising her head seemingly to admire it
>Slowly, you walk forward and plant yourself by her side
>The painting depicts the prophetess Celestia in her radiant glory, having only just been denied entry to her own palace by the Makers, who had forcibly taken it from her
>She stands tall upon a rocky outcropping, one foreleg raised, her body poised in its revealing nudity
>After a time, all depictions of Celestia, in keeping with the modesty laws of the church, dressed her in the black garments of a Matron Celest
>This painting is of an older era, one which enforced no such rules on faithful artists
>Exposed in a barren land, devoid of her people, with nothing but the Truth of Mater Solis to guide her, Celestia is nevertheless unshaken in her resolve to release Old Equestria from the shackles of its ignorance
>Her face, positioned directly in front of the rising sun, is awash in shadow
>It is possible to make out its features; the curve of a muzzle, the soft glimmer of wet, shining eyes, the faint contour of a pair of closed lips
>But, at a glance, it appears that her countenance is tastefully invisible
>”Twilight, I have been informed that you’ve been involved in numerous arguments with other sisters about the value of Maker technology.”
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>>33832189
>Your cheeks turn bright red
>”You are quite adamant that its mystifying nature is incomparable to that of magic, and therefore it should not be viewed in the same light by the Sisterhood.”
“I… yes. I know it’s a controversial opinion, but yes. I believe that if somepony knows how to build such contraptions, then we, too, could learn. Compare that to the Blight, which only comes about because magic is inherently unexplainable.”
>”We use the word ‘unexplainable’ far too often when describing magic, I think. We see that aspect as the primary quality which we reject when dealing with its associations. Of course, besides the inherent teachings of Celestia about the dangers of the Blight, and its nature as an affront against Mater Solis, as most tactfully put in the Litany Against Magic. No, magic is not the enemy because it is unexplainable. Magic is the enemy because it is not ours to use.”
>The brush strokes individually are nothing; mere colors upon a canvas
>But together, such a beautiful image they create
>One of longing, humility, fear, passion, Truth
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>>33832194
>”Our convent, and all convents across Equestron, are allowed by the rules agreed upon by the Sisterhood two hundred years ago to employ small Maker innovations as mere conveniences. We would not allow them to automate our duties, nor would they fundamentally alter the methods by which we serve our faith and Mater. They would simply make our lives within the convent a tad easier. But, alas, then came the New Maker’s Handbook. An astounding discovery, no doubt. Tomes upon ancient tomes left behind by a Maker society, discovered in an archaeological dig in the Badlands, and instantly set upon by decipherers to discover its meaning. Millions and millions of advanced designs that vastly compounded upon those machines which ponykind had already employed, and which rendered what had once been formally taught to our species by the Makers entirely obsolete. With the right materials, the proper precision of craftsmanship, and the research into their mechanical ways necessary to comprehend the designs, any of them could be built with our own hooves. It was undoubtedly the single most important discovery of the millennium.”
>The Matron sighs
>She appears lost in the whorls of lily white oil paint which constitute Celestia’s figure
>You are lost as well, deeply enamored by this familiar painting in a capacity that you never had been as a filly, spending so much time with the Matron in this very office
>”Of course, the Sisterhood rejected it. These designs were too complex, too unknowable. Surely at a certain level, the technologies of the Makers were indistinguishable from the Blight? It was decided that the rules laid down about the allowance of their inventions within the convents of the Sisterhood would not apply to those designs discovered in the New Maker’s Handbook.”
>The sun’s rays, immaculately portrayed as shining arrows radiating from the centerpoint of the entire piece
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>>33832202
>White gold paint, no different in its composition than any of the other colors mixed to create the painting, and yet it seems… something more
>Something beautiful
>”I went along with their decision. In fact, I staunchly agreed with said position. But one of the most difficult lessons I have ever learned, in my advanced age, is that senescence is not an indicator of wisdom in all things.”
“Matron, what are you talking about? You’re the wisest mare I’ve ever known!”
>”We cling to our devotion to a past that is all but forgotten all about us. We, the old guard, those ancient enough to remember a time before the New Maker’s Handbook, find peace and comfort in what we once knew to be absolute. But those like you, the young, the unsullied, are imprinted upon by our will, our truth.”
“Your Truth is the Truth of Mater Solis. You’re privy to Her word.”
>”I am. But Her word is cryptic, and Her intentions are mysterious. I am not a translator, Twilight, I am an interpreter. And as one Matron might interpret the will of Mater one way, another might see things differently, and alter what is written. My fault as a Matron, my greatest flaw, so to speak, has become my blindness to the changing world out there, and my inability to change along with it. As I agreed with the law of the Sisterhood then, so too do I now. Even now, as my most devoted disciple, she who I have always called my prodigy, she who has pored over every word of every text in our library a thousand times, she who studies far more intensely than any of her peers the word of Celestia and her interpretation of the Truth, even as she STILL, in spite of all this, advocates so strongly for the integration of New Maker technology into our faith, I cannot bring myself to agree with her. Twilight, this is the one issue which I simply cannot reconcile with you.”
>>
>>33832206
“I know that. And I’m sorry, Matron. I know I shouldn’t be starting arguments with other sisters. But I can’t help but believe that what is within the New Maker’s Handbook is the future of our faith. These discoveries could very well bring us closer to Mater Solis, not push us away as does the Blight! I… I cannot compromise on that. And I don’t think my mind will ever change on the subject.”
>”There’s no need for apologies, Twilight. Besides, you didn’t let me finish.”
>Celestia's mane, an amalgam of color, muted shades of pink, silver, scarlet, green
>The colors of the sun, the colors of nature
>All represented by mere swashes on what was once white
>That something so powerful could come from the mind of an artist, and physically only from the raw ingredients of his trade…
>Canvas, oils, dyes…
>Perhaps it was an expression of Mater’s magic
>Not the Blight, not the imitation, not the ultimate blasphemy
>No, REAL magic, Her magic, what was Hers alone, shared only with Celestia
>”I cannot reconcile my stance on New Maker tech with yours. However, this is precisely why I want you to replace me when I pass on.”
“That… hardly makes sense, Matron. No offense.”
>>
>>33832211
>”None taken. To name as one’s successor somepony whose views on what is unequivocally the most important question of our time are diametrically opposed to one’s own would seem insane from a practical perspective. But as I told you, my weakness is my inability to let go of a world where my perspective was absolute, and dissention was nonexistent. Your peers believe what I believe because it is what has been ingrained in their minds through rigid study and my own ordinances. But you, among all of them, are untainted by those teachings. Yes, I would call my own instructions a taint, for they are incompatible with reality. I cannot break from what I have believed my entire life, no matter how hard I try. But you, Twilight Sparkle, can change the fate of this entire faith with what you believe.”
“Matron… what you’re suggesting is that I should become the Matron Celest of this convent solely to promote an idea which you yourself have always vehemently opposed!”
>”I’m suggesting that you give the faith no other choice. That you give me no other choice. I am old, and I am blind. I have raised a prodigy, and her flank is proof enough of that to me. I have my opinions, and you have yours, but as it stands my word is the Truth of Mater Solis, and yours is simply that of a disciple. Were you Matron, you could do what I could not.”
“Even as Matron, I couldn’t hope to reverse a decision that affects all the convents, all the monasteries, all the devout of the faith across Equestron! Even that wouldn’t be enough!”
>”Your words ring true, Twilight Sparkle. As Matron, you could not do these things. But perhaps as a Supermatron…”
>For the first time in what has felt like an hour, you rip your gaze from the intricacies of the painting and look squarely into the grey eyes of your mother
“S-S-S-Superm-m-matron?”
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>>33832213
>”I have seen it in dreams. I have contacted five other Matrons Celest of five other convents in five other cities, and they all have witnessed the same Truth. There will be a Supermatron of the Faith within ten years’ time, an acolyte who is all but an incarnation of Celestia herself, with all her gifts and knowledge, all her magic, all her strength, all her will. One who shall guide this faith into a new age.”
“There hasn’t been a Supermatron marked by the stars in four centuries!”
>”Mater’s Truth is the only Truth. She has spoken to me, and all others. The time is now. I can only imagine that the mare of which She speaks is you. You, and you alone. My prodigy.”
“I… I don’t…”
>”Twilight?”
“Yes?”
>”Try not to pass out again.”
-
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>>33832215
good horse words
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>>33830138
I could be wrong but doesn't pastebin have a private message feature you could use?
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>>33827550
Yeah I know what you mean.
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>>33837453
That is absolutely precious.
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>>33836746
Literally everyone that I follow posted an update on wednesday night/friday morning. This means 10+ updates, each with 7-15(/20) posts. Just starting to catch up, still having 3 updates to read and write a small response to.

this is a bump
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>>33838848
Hey brightside is that it's better to have too much green instead of not enough
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Update tomorrow, hopefully. Maybe. Let's set our sights on hopefully. I really want to get this plot moving, and there are a lot of ideas floating around in my head. I know I haven't given much yet, but I want to hear opinions: are there any aspects of this world you guys want to see explored? Any concepts that should be expanded upon? I'm really looking forward to banging away at this once the going gets good, and any kind of input is greatly appreciated.
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>>33833448
It does, but it's locked only for paid accounts.
>>33841047
Sorry for taking so long. I tend to procrastinate when possible.
I've downloaded Discord. WiK#4640
I think this thread had a Discord once upon a time, not sure if it's still alive.
And if you'd prefer I can make a new email.
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>>33841259
Oops, I derped. That is me though.
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>>33841259
Interesting, I've never used Discord either but I think I just friended you. I'm 9301.
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>>33838339
Her smile must be protected
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>>33841259
I dont remember this thread having a discord
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>>33843105
Somebody launched it but it never really took off.
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>>33844466
Good. Discord is the bane of threads, hugboxes that are complete opposite of what /mulp/ culture thrives for
Also checked that full house
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>>33844466
>Never really took off
>That word choice
Too soon Anon...too soon
Really hope she will be back for us
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>>33824804
Damn, I must've missed the spoilered part earlier.
I'd be love to read it, if you decide to add it. It would certainly flesh out Bonnie's character more. Plus that way we get the story that you intended to write and not a trimmed down one. Another thing is that now that you mentioned it, I'm aware of it too and if you decide to drop it I'm gonna be forever curious about "what could have been".
The only thing that worries me is that you call it a "brief arc" and then worry yourself that it will bloat the story (you're not exactly known for doing "brief" arcs anyway, you know). You average about one update every 14 days, or two updates a month, so if this plotline is going to take a few of them I don't mind, but if it goes on for over 10+ updates, that's five months of writing we're talking about.
tl;dr
I vote in favor of this arc.
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>>33844559
save her
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>>33845660
you can't
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>>33844559
My brain must be failing me but who is that?
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>>33846042
>Who is that
/mlp/ adopted daughter, with how everyone overreacts after her, trying to see her succeed in her mission to go to spes and see her happy
To be direct, she is none other than- [Miasma interference]
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>>33832215
>You are Cherry Berry
>You are worried
>Sister Twilight has been missing all day!
>After helping Sister Blossom recover her meditation blindfold from your quarters in the Sun Tower, you expected to find Twilight already waiting for you in the darkroom
>But no such luck
>The Matron Celest had called her away from the rest of you earlier, after the study session had concluded
>You found your meditation cycle somewhat perturbed, what with anxiously waiting to hear her hoofsteps mark her arrival
>When you removed your blindfold, she was not there
>When you entered the dining hall for lunch with your sisters, she was not there
>When you retired together to your quarters for personal study and prayer, she was not there
>Now, departing those same quarters to attend Sister Tenderheart’s afternoon congregation, descending the narrow stairs with Orange Swirl before you and Blossom Delight behind, you are becoming increasingly nervous
”Sisters, I’m still concerned about Twilight’s whereabouts. Surely she has not been with the Matron all this time?”
>”She’s close with the Matron, you know that. They could very well be lost in conversation as we speak, having missed the whole day.”
“Perhaps. Regardless, it’s unlike Twilight to shirk her daily responsibilities for idle chit-chat. If she’s with the Matron still, I can’t help but wonder about the importance of their conversation.”
>”You think something big is about to happen to Twilight?”
>”It couldn’t be THAT, if that’s what you two are thinking.” Orange Swirl moves aside as she reaches the bottom of the staircase, letting you and Blossom pass. “She’s far too young.”
>”She studies more intensely every day. The Matron or Sister Freshleaf shouldn’t take notice of that?”
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>>33846096
“It isn’t her work ethic that matters, it’s her youth. It’s plain to see what Twilight wants, but surely she can’t hope to ascend at such an age? The Matron herself was 33 and already an instructor when she was ascended, if I recall correctly. Meanwhile, Twilight is… well, our age.”
>”And that should disqualify her from the honor? Age is no written factor in becoming a Sister Solaris.”
“You’re correct, Blossom, but I simply can’t see it happening. And I can’t imagine that Twilight could expect it to happen either. The basis of this entire conversation is built on a presupposition of an event that may or may not even be taking place.”
>”I… do agree with Blossom in one regard. If anypony will ascend to the position in any due course, it will be Twilight. The Matron has always favored her.”
>”That’s not fair, Orange. Twilight stands on her own merits.”
>”Her merits are her studious nature, her immense devotion to Mater, her wisdom beyond her years, and her willingness to take on any task without question. Am I missing anything?”
“That about sums it up.”
>”Indeed. But she is also too quick to judge her fellow sisters, despite the fact that she holds some choice opinions that the Sisterhood at large would find most unappealing if they were ever made aware of her status. She’s shown signs of impulsiveness, she can be most temperamental at times, and she lacks a yearning spirit.”
“I object to that last one. Is being focused on the good of the convent rather than idly dreaming of life beyond these walls such a bad thing? I do my fair share of yearning in private, but I see no reason that a lack of such expression should be reprimanded. Really, it should be the opposite.”
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>>33846099
>”You have to wonder, though, about a mare who has spent all her life within these walls, yet shows no interest in exploring what lies beyond. Never once has she applied for a mission, never has she asked questions of those who have returned from their missions.”
“You’ve never applied for a mission either.”
>”I’ve no ambition for Solarity. All I’m saying is, it’s unnatural to say the least that-“
>”Stay your tongue, Sister Orange Swirl!”
>Your eyes widen, and you head jerkily swivels to take in the hard, stern expression on Blossom’s face
>She is usually so mild-mannered…
>”I don’t know how you normally conduct yourself within task groups, but to call somepony with whom you share your bedchambers ‘unnatural’ sounds very rude to my ears!”
>”I didn’t intend for it to sound that way, Blossom. My apologies.”
>”There’s no sense in apologizing to me, Sister Orange. Say the same to Twilight, wherever or whenever we may find her.”
“Blossom, I’m surprised you’re so quick to defend Sister Twilight when she directed her own impulses towards you just this morning, at breakfast.”
>Blossom simply hardens her gaze, this time locking it squarely on you
>”We are all servants of Mater Solis. Twilight exerts her service in her own way. We don’t agree on choice matters, but the faith isn’t about dogma, not like those lecherous Exsilists on the borderlands we hear so much about from the vendors. No, the faith is about the Truth, and the Truth is interpretable. I could never see what Twilight sees, but perhaps that only means that I lack the insight she has on those matters.”
“Sister Blossom… your humility is admirable. As is your loyalty to a friend.”
>You smile at Blossom Delight
>Her breathing slows, and she smiles bashfully back
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>>33846102
>”I don’t know what came over me just then, sisters. Nor can I pretend to understand what Sister Twilight believes she knows, or what she wants to know. But I’m certain that if this meeting entails what we think it entails, Twilight could very well be ready, even at her age.”
>Orange Swirl appears to ponder for a moment
>”Even if you’re right, Sister Blossom, it isn’t merit alone that grants ascendance. In all likelihood, Twilight will have to partake in a mission. She’ll have to journey into the Temple of the Eyes in Crystallatia and train under the priests there. She’ll have to spend months in self-isolation, developing a thesis.”
>”None of those are requirements for ascension.”
>”But they do bring favor.”
“Which Sister Twilight already has in spades with the Matron.”
>”I won’t deign to know the Matron’s will, and her Truth is absolute as the Truth of Mater. But from a mere pony perspective, it wouldn’t bode well with the faith if the Matron Celest of this convent displayed what could be interpreted as blatant favoritism. For Twilight’s status to be accelerated down such a path at her age, she’ll need every advantage she can get.”
“You’re saying she needs an excuse to be as worthy as she already is.”
>”She needs several. And I remain skeptical of exactly how worthy she really is, despite all the points Sister Blossom has made.”
>There is a pause in the conversation
>Having been lost in the abstractions of discussing Twilight’s fate, imagining the places she might go, the things she might be compelled to do, you suddenly realize the three of you have walked almost half the distance to the Hall of Sermons
>A buttressed archway passes over your head, and you take the time to notice its intricacies
>Carved festoons, reliefs of garlands, twisting vines and sunflowers, the long, narrow faces of nondescript disciples jutting from the edges
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>>33846109
>All modeled by hoof, not by horn or any other means of artificial assistance
>The architecture of the convent truly is something to behold, even with your narrow frame of reference
>All here bespeaks warmth, solace, an expression of the light of the sun, a show of the Truth for its beauty
>All around you, wherever you go, are modest displays of true craftsmanship, devotion to the faith, and the splendid quaintness which you had come to adore
>Often, you sit quietly within the walled Sun Garden, the light of Mater shining directly above, the trees rustling in the breeze, and each time you do you find yourself more and more thankful for what you have here
>You yearn, this is so, for what is beyond, but you always leave that place contented and with a renewed sense of devotion
>But in those moments, as you trace the intricate patterns on the walls with your eyes, as you delicately give each flower, each blade of grass its time in the spotlight of your mind, so as not to spoil any one, your eyes sometimes lock on what is in the distance
>And there, past the grisly black steel of the labor towers, past the plain, brutal whites and greys of factory stacks and the vast plots of tenements, intertwining and labyrinthine…
>Beyond even the Undermaw, those treacherous slums where you came up as an urchin and from which you were saved…
>Past all of the materialistic flatness and the cold, inequine sheen of the surrounding miles, was something beautiful and recognizable
>Something in the shape of the rainclouds, ever positioned over the basin by unidentifiable machinery
>Something in the tint of the southern sky, always faintly darker and more saturated than the rest of what you could see
>In this haven, and out beyond what surrounded you, in that general direction, were the only places besides Mater Herself up above you could ever even hope of gleaning Her Truth
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>>33846113
>You are not and have never been ambitious for that taste, not like Twilight at all
>You barely even understand the feelings which own your soul
>But above all, you are aware in all the ways in which you know that Sister Twilight Sparkle is ignorant
>If she can witness the light, you are privy to the dark
>If she takes for granted the revelry of nurturing in these convent halls, you know a fair comparison
>If she is fascinated by what lies beyond, and wishes with all her heart to know more about what the Makers buried, left forgotten, and which was uncovered and perverted into impossible machines, then you are the opposite
>What you see in the world beyond is chaos and misery, for you see the shapes moving, constructing, standing still, and you know what those forms represent
>Hardly anypony knows how they function, least of all you
>But you know, and have known how New Maker tech inflicts itself on the sanctity of the soul
>How it ravages one’s faith and decency, and hides one from the light of Mater
>You know because you were hidden for so long, only to be found in a state of absolution
>You had never seen beauty the likes of which this place offered in its twin simplicity and intricacy
>The stonework was both humble and extravagant, plain and glorious
>Above all, it had been modeled with intention, each archway, each wall, each pillar chiseled out by the mind, body, and soul of a pony laborer
>How else could Her works be enacted?
>”All I know is, I’d be dreadfully worried if Sister Twilight ventured out there, alone, into Celestia knows what part of the world, without any experience.”
>Your feelings exactly
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>>33846117
“My feelings exactly. I know only this city, and the cruelty of which it is capable. Celestia knows what manner of cruelty lies beyond its reach, now more than ever. For Sister Twilight, somepony who has never left these halls, to become a missionary, to attempt to convert those addicted to the Blight… I wouldn’t be able to rest at night.”
>”Fighting in the east. Terror in the west. The dark waters loom all around us, and Naiads drown on a whim. Inner naiads most egregiously.”
>”I don’t want to hear it!”
>You turn
>Blossom stands still behind you, a pained expression cast downward
>The lasting remembrances of past suffering has scalded her mind
“Blossom, what is it? What did we say?”
>Blossom sniffles and struggles to catch her breath
>She’s beginning to cry
>”No, Blossom, don’t… we weren’t…”
“We weren’t speaking in absolutes. We don’t know why Sister Twilight is with the Matron, or why she’s taken so long to return to us. We don’t even know if she’d leave this convent if it was a matter of ascension. We’re only speaking in hypotheticals.”
>”It’s only that… you remember, don’t you, Cherry? My grandfather’s stories, of what happens in the Outlands? The dangers he experienced, the death and disease and misery…”
>”Sister Blossom, first of all, it doesn’t suit you to stand here in the middle of the hall and sob over nothing. Compose yourself in a manner befitting a Sister of Solemnity. Second of all, we do not conduct missions in the Outlands. Not on an official basis. So there is no reason to fuss about Twilight’s fate in that regard.”
>”Yes… yes, you’re right…”
>Blossom blinks rapidly, catching the moisture around her eyes with her long lashes, refusing to shed a tear
>She whispers a prayer, perhaps the Litany Against Darkness, before continuing
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>>33846124
>”It’s only that the world has gotten rougher since then, everywhere. I heard that the lev-rails connecting us to Unicronia are being sabotaged by Exsilists. Bands of excoms from Saddle Arabia are pillaging on the high roads and… oh, the violence I hear of! Gunneries and armies of ponies raised from the waters of death and-“
“And myths and fairytales. Don’t you know it’s unwise to listen to the tall tales of every fruit vendor you overhear conversing with the trade sisters?”
>”I can’t help but believe some of these things. After what my grandfather told me, about his time abroad, away from the city, away from safety, I can’t bear to even dream of Twilight, whose experience of that world out there amounts to nearly nothing, going out there and facing those horrors. Not just in the Outlands, within our own borders. Horrors, all around us.”
>”The light of Mater Solis will protect her.”
>Orange Swirl takes Blossom by the hoof and leads her into a walk once more
>You follow close behind, taking notice of Orange’s sudden serenity
>You swear by the Solenoids that you see her left wing flutter beneath her robe, for a brief instant, as if to wrap itself around Blossom’s shivering figure before catching and retreating
>”If the Matron wills that Twilight shall go out there and face whatever trials await her, be it tomorrow or ten years from now, however long it takes for her to find it in herself to ascend, the Matron does so with purpose. She knows that challenge herself, she’s lived it herself, and she would never send Twilight or any of us away from this place if it meant endangering us.”
>”Right… yes you’re right. The Matron’s Truth is the Truth of Mater Solis, blessed be Her countenance which shines upon Her daughters and Her sons…”
>”Good. As I said, Blossom Delight, compose yourself, and come. We’ll have marks from Sister Tenderheart if we’re late for her congregation.”
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>>33846129
>There is tenderness beneath Orange Swirl’s defiant pegasus nature
>This much you know to be true
>Wither to wither, the three of you set off at a trot towards the Chapel of the Sunset, towards the peace and enlightenment of a long reading from the Books of the Sun
>As you cross an intersection of two immaculate stone halls, for an instant in the corner of your eye, you swear you see the flash of a purple mane galloping past beyond a decorated archway
>Before you can turn your head, it’s gone
>When your nerves at last react to your senses, and your head twists in the direction of what you thought you saw, you see only stone faces staring back at you from above
>The faces of the faith, humble and passionate
>The Syncresis in what you feel in this moment is immaculate
>Where Twilight has gone no longer matters
>What only matters is where she is going to go
>Archways, vines, gardens, the sky you share with heathens and the naiad worshippers of a faraway land
>All based on hearsay, of course
>All based on presupposition
>It could all be a big nothing, in the end
>None of it could matter at all
-

That's it for now. Things are about to get set into motion, and ponies are about to go places of which they could never dream. Or could they?
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>>33846138
Ooh nice thanks for the update
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>>33846082
Ok thank you
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#deca.mare update >>33846219
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I promise I will read the Solanon green someday. But Im not promising that it will be soon (eg in this month). Im still catching up since the freaking green cunami on the previous friday.
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>>33848853
tsunami
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>>33849381
>real men dont use spellcheckers
So I dont. Its annoying. And Im not a native english speaker.
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>>33849520
i know, that's why i corrected you

tsunami's a japanese word, anyway
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>>33846096
>>”You think something big is about to happen to Twilight?”
>>”It couldn’t be THAT, if that’s what you two are thinking.”
Heh I wonder what they would think if they knew about the Matron believing Twilight will become a Supermatron
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>be poni
>spend all day shitpostan
What a truly vile creature.
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this is a high quality bump.
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Hey everyone. I'm on vacation right now so don't expect green for another couple days, sorry. However, this next update will be a major one, and I'll be posting it more or less right when I get back. Cheers.
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>>33854884
Have fun on your vacation
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>>33854884
>this next update will be a major one
Looking forward to it
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This seems like it could fit here.
>>33857361
>>33857364
>>33857408
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>>33857411
Looks Interesting I'll check it out when I've got some time
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>>
bamp
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>>33851722
>>33854040
Silly Twilight even Derpy (>>33860273) and Apple Bloom (>>33848119) knew to wear protective eyewear when experimenting.
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>>33862302
Even smart ponies make dumb mistakes
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>>33854884
Gah, that was... satisfying, to say the least. Update tomorrow, at least 13 posts, and then expect another one maybe a few days later about 7 posts long. My manuscript is already at 20k words and I barely feel like I've kicked off the plot yet. Needless to say, this is going far more smoothly than I'd thought, and I'm so grateful for all you guys' support.

Also, on the subject of a pastebin: I'll try to get one up and running in the next few days so that OP doesn't hang me out to dry in the next thread description. Still working on a title though...

Oh, one more thing: if anyone is interested, I'll see about copying over the Star Wars themed story I started years ago onto the new paste. Like I said, it's by no means finished, but who knows? Maybe I'll pick it up again in the future if I get the itch...
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>>33864485
Awesome!
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>>33864485
Hey glad you enjoyed your vacation. Looking forward to the update



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