Search Bookmarks Jump: Comments
    Header Background Image

    “Twilight, if what Captain Armor told me is true, then I agree with Spike. You are not at fault.”

    Princess Twilight Sparkle did not immediately reply to Captain Iron Cobbler’s remark. She knew he meant it. She knew Shining Armor had meant it, as had Princess Luna, and Princess Celestia, and Cadance, and Spike. They had all meant it, and it was only polite she acknowledged their statement, wasn’t it?

    “Thank you, Captain,” she said, looking up at him with what she hoped wasn’t an insincere smile. She appreciated his sentiment, even if she didn’t quite believe it.

    Iron Cobbler yawned, the night sky looming overhead. “Well then, Princess, we better get back inside. My nephew should be arriving from his trip tonight, and somepony should be awake to greet him.” He looked down to his son, Apple Crisp, standing beside him, and then nodded toward Twilight’s library in the distance. “Would you like to come with me and escort the princess?” he asked, and Twilight could hardly stop a warm smile when the colt eagerly nodded.

    As they made their way toward the tree, Twilight felt her steps growing heavier and heavier. Spike was gone, and without him, the thought of being alone inside the library was an unpleasant one. She missed home. She missed Canter Capital, and her mother, and her father, and her brother, and the princesses. She missed them terribly, and ever since they’d all separated to find the Elements, it felt like it’d been years since she last saw them.

    Shining Armor was supposed to come see her soon, at least.

    Just as they reached the library, she felt somepony patting her leg and she looked down to find Crisp gawking up at her.

    “Do you want me to read you a bedtime story, Princess Twilight?” he asked.

    “A bedtime story?” his father asked. “Are you trying to get out of going to bed early?”

    The colt gasped. “N-no!”

    In the back of her mind, Twilight thought a bedtime story would be wonderful. Maybe one where a bereaved little princess finally perfects a time-travelling spell and fixes all her problems.

    “How about tomorrow?” she suggested. “I need to finish some research tonight on the elemental magics and essences of Equestria. Though… you did remind me of something.” With a spark of magic, she summoned a book from within her library, which she offered to the colt. “Here you are,” she said with a wide smile. “It’s a book on ancient Equestrian myths. Why don’t you read the first chapter, and we can read the second one tomorrow?”

    The foal quickly accepted the gift and examined the cover, excitedly pointing out an armored pony that looked like his father. She waited patiently for him to finally open it to the first page and then allowed a proper grin to adorn her face when he saw the dedication meant just for him.

    “It’s for me?! Thank you, Princess Twilight!” he exclaimed, barely giving her enough time to welcome him before he threw himself at her, book and all.

    “It also has illustrations!” she added. “Princess Celestia illustrated some of the final chapters,” she elaborated. “I marked them out for you.”

    “Can’t we read it tonight?” Crisp insisted, whining when she shook her head.

    “Tomorrow,” she replied firmly, even though now she did want to read it again. “I promise.” As an added measure, she teleported a spare bag Spike had left lying around in the library and offered it to him just to make sure the book was transported in safe conditions.

    “Thank you, Princess,” Iron said, bowing his head.

    Twilight shook her head. “No, Captain. Thank you and your family,” she said. It feels like it’s the only family I have left…

    She turned around and lifted the trapdoor to her library, staring down into the dark abyss that awaited her. Maybe, one day, when it was all over, she’d move her library up from the underground. It would be much more inviting, at least.

    “Good night, Princess Twilight.”

    Twilight looked away from the tunnel and smiled at the colt grinning at her. “Good night, Apple Crisp. Good night, Captain Iron,” she said before looking away, stepping down into the tunnel and closing the trapdoor behind her—just like that.

    She let out a breath of air and began her descent, trying to go over her mental checklist of the many things she had to do, one of which had been her priority for so many years now that she’d stopped counting: find the Elements of Harmony.

    She made her way through the dusky tunnel until she finally reached the pitch-black library. She placed her saddlebag on the floor and looked around for her companion—if it could even be referred to as such.

    “Star?” she called out. “Light, please!”

    In the distance, she watched as a candelabra flew up into the air and transformed into a beautiful chandelier without exploding! A pleased smile brightened her face at seeing her most recent invention finally working. No more having candelabras everywhere!

    She trotted to a nearby desk, her notes scattered over it. She sat down on her haunches and tapped her hoof against the table, as if the rhythmic tapping would somehow inspire some sort of epiphany within her. She shuffled through her scrolls until her eyes landed on a drawing of an old withered tree inside a cave.

    That’s where she’d found the Element of Magic. Well, technically speaking, that’s where she’d found the rock that turned into the Element of Magic and, unfortunately, she’d found nothing else. Maybe she ought to go back and look again. It would be the hundredth time, but maybe she was just that bad of a finder.

    If I even knew what the other Elements were, she thought somberly. She was starting to accept that there might be no such things as Elements of Sun, Moon, and Love, but admitting that meant admitting that she’d been wrong for the past…

    “Focus, Twilight,” she murmured, rubbing her eyes with her hooves.

    She got up from the table and stretched her legs. Maybe some magic exercises would help her. Teleportation training was always a good choice, especially considering how it had taken her a few months to properly master short-range teleportation. She didn’t want to suddenly up and forget how to do it.

    “All right, book,” she said to the tome that appeared before her. “Let’s see what you have.”

    “Ah, so the rumors are true!” a chillingly familiar voice said, echoing throughout the room. “The princess is so lonely, she talks to her books. What a sad, pathetic sight.”

    Every single hair on her coat stood on its end, and had she not been in the heat of the moment, she might have marveled at how fast one could go from relaxed to absolutely furious.

    Coward!” she roared, looking around the room for the Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony. “Come out and face me, Discord! Come out!

    Discord’s laugh filled the room. “Face you?! My dear filly, what confidence for somepony so outmatched!” In a poof of smoke, he appeared in front of her, chin resting on his intertwined hands. “You know, I always did admire that of you, Twilight.”

    A growl left Twilight’s throat, and he’d barely finished his remark when a beam of magic assailed him—but his wicked grin only grew as he vanished before it could hit him. The beam hit the wall, leaving a large black mark and burning several nearby books to a crisp and enraging the alicorn even further.

    “What do you want, Discord?!” she demanded. “My Element doesn’t work, and you know that!”

    Discord appeared behind her, fluttering his eyelashes. “Your crown?” He snapped his fingers and Twilight’s crown appeared over her head, crooked and falling off. “I don’t want your silly little tiara!” He leaned back and arrows made of smoke appeared all over, every single one pointed at Twilight. “I’m here for youPrincess!”

    “Me?” she asked, and for a split moment, fear gripped her, but as soon as she felt it, she smothered it. He disappeared before she could attack him again, and she looked around the library. “What do you want from me?! Haven’t you taken enough?!”

    “Taken enough? Princess Twilight, there is nothing I have taken that you haven’t lost on your own!” he taunted from nowhere and everywhere at once. “I truly don’t understand why you’re so angry at me!”

    “You won’t get away with this, Discord!” she warned, spreading her wings out. “The others will be here soon, and the four of us are strong enough to defeat you without the Elements!”

    “Oh, will they?” he asked, and rematerialized next to her with a wide grin and, at the snap of his fingers, a horrifyingly familiar black crown appeared atop his head. “I do love Luny’s crown, really. Be honest, Twilight, who wore it better?”

    “No,” she whispered, before rage fully consumed her and she launched another attack at him. “Where did you get that?! What did you do to Princess Luna?!”

    “Twilight, this is quite the library you’ve made for yourself! The perfect secret lair for Equestria’s soon-to-be most-hated pony!” he exclaimed, nodding his head in approval as he looked around, ignoring her. He then directed his gaze downward. “And there’s another floor? Oooooh!”

    And with a wicked grin, Discord quite literally phased down to the lower level. Twilight gritted her teeth and rushed to the stairs. When she finally crossed the threshold below, she saw Discord floating over her rows of neatly arranged bookcases, a yellow magic aura concentrated about his paw.

    Discord!” she roared, flying into the air and toward him.

    She landed with a thud atop one of the bookcases and charged another magic beam. But before she could actually launch it, Discord gestured with his other hand and the bookcase Twilight was standing on brusquely moved away, toppling her to the floor with a painful thud.

    “Princess Twilight!” Discord exclaimed. “Shall I show you my Element of Chaos?”

    Just as soon as he’d finished the sentence, the magic forming around his paw grew in size, crackling and bursting with energy, and then, with a flick of his wrist, the sphere of chaos magic streaked toward Twilight, striking her before she could move to avoid it.

    And yet, it didn’t so much hit her as it went inside her, filtering under her coat and, it felt, into her very soul. The first thing she felt was pain. Agonizing pain, washing all over her, followed by a calmness because her consciousness was subdued, beaten into submission by a stronger second presence. She fell limp to the floor, a black haze clouding her eyes, and her mind as blank as a freshly carved slate.

    “Poor little Princess Twilight,” Discord’s voice said, flowing inside her and leaving its mark in her thoughts. Why shouldn’t it, when he was the master of the magic now possessing her body? “It was all your fault, wasn’t it?”

    The three words resonated inside Twilight’s mind, and a voice inside her—the chaos magic or her own subconscious, maybe both—repeated the three words that had long ago become her mantra.

    It’s my fault.

    And yet, another voice fought inside her, taking the form of Spike’s voice, telling her to fight it, fight it, fight it and with a power she did not know she had, Twilight Sparkle—what little of her remained—gritted her teeth and looked up.


    Discord simply smiled and snapped his fingers.

    Nothing happened at first, and then it happened all at once. If the pain from moments before had been agonizing, this was on an entirely new level. It felt like her very soul was being ripped from her body. There was no other way to describe it. A suffocating feeling took over her, like the air was being sucked out of her lungs, like her bones were being forcibly extracted from her body.

    For a moment, for a very brief and terrible moment, she wished for death, to spare her this pain.

    And then it stopped, and the chaos magic burst from her body and swirled into the dozens of bookcases surrounding her.

    After what seemed like an eternity, she managed to stand up, breathing in and out yet feeling as if no amount of breathing would refill her aching lungs. With what energy she had left, she splayed her wings and glowered at the Spirit, tears bordering her eyes.


    “Silence now!” Discord shouted, clapping his hands together. “The show has just begun!”

    What a show it was, indeed.

    Before Twilight could try to make sense of his statement, the deafening sound of creaking wood filled the room from every direction. She looked around in horror as the bookcases levitated into the air and began to rearrange themselves. Some dropped into a large ring with Twilight at the center, trapping her—except for a single bookcase-width gap in front of her. But before she could step toward it, another smaller ring of bookcases slammed back to the floor, cutting off her exit. She spun in place and saw another gap in this new ring, offset from the first, but then another ring slammed down, and another and another, and mere moments later she was trapped inside a maze built from her own beloved books with barely enough room to move.

    Twilight looked back up at Discord, who was peering down at her over the top of the tightly circled bookcases. “This is your show?!”

    Discord laughed, shaking his head. “Oh, no, no no! That’s just a little bonus!” He then smiled at her, tilting his head to the side. “The real show, Twilight, is what will happen when you realize what I did to you.”

    Did to me…?

    Twilight looked down at herself, trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with her. She still felt her magic aura, her wings were intact—she was having a bit of trouble breathing, but beyond that, nothing seemed superficially wrong. Fear overtook her at the idea that he’d somehow caused her internal damage. She looked herself over and noticed her right wing was sticking through a bookcase. The bookcases were encircling her so closely that she didn’t even have room to spread her wings properly. But her wing wasn’t sticking into an open area, into space on an empty shelf, but rather phasing straight through solid wood and clothbound paper.

    She let out a piercing scream, stumbling back and through a nearby bookcase, and another, and another, Discord’s laugh intermingling with her terrified yells, until she was out of the maze.

    “Why are you doing this?!” she finally yelled, tears bordering her eyes and disappearing before they could roll down her cheeks and land on the floor.

    “Why?” he asked, and now did the mirth fade from his voice. “To teach a valuable lesson to little ponies who think they can trick me.”

    “W-we had no choice!” Twilight protested, the terrible voice in her head screaming three words at her. “You were destroying Equestria!”

    “We?! Oh, now, Twilight, let’s not play the blaming game!” Discord exclaimed, teleporting in front of her as she helplessly stepped away, wishing the nightmare would end, please, Princess Luna, please. “As far as I remember, you were the one who attacked me, weren’t you? You were my friend, and you betrayed me.”

    “You were my friend, too!” Twilight retorted. “I trusted you! I didn’t want to lie to you! I know it was wrong, but I wanted to make it bett—”

    “Yes! Yes, Twilight, good! You were wrong, and I was the victim! I was innocent!” he interrupted, almost hissing at her. He then leaned back and crossed his arms. “Oh, but that’s not the only time you’ve been wrong, has it?

    “Twilight, Twilight, Twilight, what a sorry string of mistakes you have trailing after you,” he continued, now floating around her, throwing her a pitiful expression. A book appeared before him, which Twilight recognized as the very book she’d been writing on the events of the wars. “Look at all of this!” He let out a long-suffering sigh, flipping through the pages. “You didn’t find the Elements of Harmony; you forced your fellow princesses to lie to their kingdom; Celestia gave you another chance to find them and again you failed, and now Equestria is at war again because you couldn’t let go of one simple thing.”

    “Stop it!” she cried, angry tears clouding her eyes. “I wasn’t going to let you keep Spike like a pet!”

    “Of course you wouldn’t!” he agreed, looking toward her. “How could you when it meant losing your only friend? Really, even I befriended you out of pity! Who would ever want to spend time with a failure like you?”

    “I-I’m no—”

    He arched an eyebrow. “Oh, no? Tell me, Twilight, whose fault is it that the princesses had to resort to trickery to win a war?”

    And, finally, the terrible acceptance left her lips.

    “It was my fault,” she said, and Discord let out a vulpine smile.

    The book floated away from him and toward her, opened to the chapter detailing the second Chaos War—which she caused.

    “Your fault,” Discord repeated, and the same two words stamped themselves on the book as he said them, again and again as he repeated the same two words, over and over, moving forward as Twilight backtracked, the heart that no longer served a purpose compressing in her chest.

    “Please,” she pleaded, falling to the floor, wanting to hear no more. “Stop… Go away…”

    Finally, Discord did as told, the book disappearing as he leaned back. “Oh, I will! But only because I have to fetch my prize!”

    Twilight looked, dread filling her up. “Prize? What prize?”

    He snapped his fingers and books started flying off bookshelves and toward him.

    “Now, where is the book I need? No, no, no—ah-hah!” A large book floated in the air, and the Spirit cleared his throat. “As I was saying, it might be much more fun to play with this.

    The book flew over and opened itself in front of her, the pages turning rapidly until they stopped at an illustration. The drawing depicted a large and fearsome fire-breathing creature flying overtop a volcano; volcanoes were, after all, the preferred dwelling of dragons.

    “No. No! Stay away from him, Discord!” she roared, pushing the book out of the way only to find a small, very crude imitation of a purple and green dragon smiling at her from atop one of the bookcases. Its wings were much too short for its body, and the spikes on its head were much too large.

    “You know, I do think the resemblance is uncanny, don’t you? Well, the only difference is that I have wings, like any proper dragon should,” he said, admiring himself. He lifted himself into the air despite the disproportionate wing to body ratio, and flew over to the top of another bookcase. “How sad that he’s your only friend left. And before you say you have ‘plenty of friends,’ let me remind you, books don’t count!”

    “Y-you’ll never find him!” she exclaimed, ignoring his question and stamping her hoof against the ground.

    The “dragon” laughed. “Never find him? My dearest princess, who do you take me for? I already have!” He snapped his fingers and a cage appeared around him. He turned to her and put on a pleading face, fluttering his eyes. “Poor wittle baby dragon, all alone with no one to help him.”

    Where is he?! What did you do to him?!

    The cage vanished, as did the smile on the dragon’s face. “You want to find him?” he asked, expression as grim as the atmosphere permeating the library. He disappeared and reappeared in front of the princess, having regained his original form. Before she could react, his magic took hold of her chin, forcing their eyes to meet.

    “Listen well, my little pony,” he hissed. “I’ve hidden a coded map somewhere in the bowels of your precious library and if you step out of here even once without it… If a single hoof or hint of magic crosses that doorway without you having found that map… It will vanish and you shall never see your friend again.”

    When he finally let go of her, he snapped his fingers and a large heart-shaped emerald appeared in his claw. “Spike made this for you once, didn’t he?”

    “G-give that back!” she commanded, levitating books out of bookshelves and throwing them at him, watching helplessly as he effortlessly avoided any impact.

    Discord laughed, throwing the emerald in the air and catching it in his claw before flying up toward the ceiling. “Princess Luna was so easy to trick! And now your little dragon friend, and I can hardly imagine Celestia and Cadance will be any harder!” he exclaimed joyfully. “Twilight, I must commend you! Look at all these ponies whose lives you’ve affected so terribly! But, before I go to them, I should really do something about those silly little farmers! I do believe I heard them say they wished more trees grew in the area! And they did point me to your location; it’s only right I return the favor!”

    “No!” Twilight screamed, flying into the air and trying to no avail to catch Discord. “No, don’t you dare! Leave them out of this!”

    Before she could stop him, Discord disappeared into the upper level, and seconds later, the maze below flashed twice, sending jolts of magic into the ground and triggering an earth-shattering quake. Twilight shrieked, watching as the ceiling quite literally sunk toward her.

    Not wanting to go through the ceiling, she teleported upstairs and found Discord hovering by the exit tunnel, which was now blocked off by some sort of black barrier.

    “Do you believe in ghost stories?” Discord asked. “Have you ever heard the one about the ghostly princess trapped for eternity inside a library? I hear it’s quite the tale!” He laughed and waved at her. “Goodbye, Princess! I do hope your beloved books will be good company!”

    And with not another word, Discord floated back into the wall and through the tunnel, prompting Twilight to run after him and slam herself against the barrier, rolling back from the impact.


    She got up and tried again, and again, and again, and she slammed herself against the barrier again, and again, and again, each attempt accompanied by a desperate call for help. “Let me out!” she begged, slamming her now ethereal hooves against the only thing they could touch. “Spike! Princess Celestia! Luna! Cadance!” She slumped down against the wall. “Please… I’m sorry…”

    A lonely princess walked the length of her library, having long ago lost the notion of time. It was curious, she thought, how she’d been used to a quiet library for so long and yet now…

    Now the silence haunted her.

    No fillies running around, screaming while they played tag. No soothing voice softly singing to the owls. No rhythmic whirring of a sewing machine. No lovely voice announcing her arrival with a sing-song calling of the alicorn’s name.

    The princess made her way toward the entrance of her library, sitting down in front of the translucent raspberry barrier blocking her exit. She didn’t know how long it had been since a pony last walked through the tunnel behind it. Weeks? Months? Years? She didn’t know, and in the end, she didn’t really care.

    She would wait for Rarity regardless of whether it was for a month or a thousand years more.

    You can support me on


    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.
    1. A Deer
      Mar 14, '23 at 8:24 am

      Interesting that Twilight refuses to reconsider her ideas on the elements because it would mean that she spent so much time being wrong. Sunk cost fallacy. Sometimes the best thing to do is to start over.

      The whole interaction between Discord and Twilight is so good. Really brings the previous background information and events together in this one moment. And then the amplification of her guilt he does gives us a lot about where her head’s been all the time she’s been trapped. It’s similar to poison. Basically he poisoned her mind against her. Reminds me of toxic guilt. The kind of guilt that goes beyond what is reasonable and seeps into every part of your life. Her being in a ghost form could be a metaphor for the effects of toxic guilt. A ghost of your former self basically.

      Also her waiting for Rarity and pledging to wait 1000 years if needed shows the effect Rarity has had on her. She has that hope. Also she needs a hug. After 1000 years of being a ghost I’d want a hug.

    2. Zanna Zannolin
      Sep 28, '22 at 7:11 pm

      y’know that meme of moon dancer that gets sent in the server all the time. the haha YESSSSS one. me reading this chapter. it’s so satisfying to finally get to see the full events of what happened that night in the library after getting bits and pieces for the last thirty chapters like YESSSSS NOW WE KNOW FOR SURE! also the way discord talks to twilight is both saddening and chilling. like on one hand…yeah i think he really does believe that he was wronged, and that twilight didn’t care about him at all. but on the other hand, the way he’s talking is horrifyingly reminiscent of faeries in folktales who twist the truth just enough to ruin your life. him literally planting the added guilt of “your fault” in twilight’s mind when most of it was out of her control…like that’s terrifying. and cruel. and sad.

      urgh they’re so messy and disastrous and i love them i want to study them under a microscope discord TELL ME YOUR SECRETSSSSS. also how dare you hit me with that line about twilight being willing to wait a thousand years for rarity. she has that much faith that rarity will come back. why do you HATE ME.