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Fanfic / Faith and Doubt

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There has always been a little voice in Twilight Sparkle's head, whispering dark musings to her.

Faith and Doubt is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Fic written by defender2222 dealing with the royal wedding at the end of season 2, and some of the darker implications from what happened. It is the first part of The Abstract Saga.

In this Alternate Universe, Twilight makes it back to her room and reflects on the harshness of her rebuke when she confronted Cadence with her accusations, sobbing. She keeps hearing the blame ... until a voice answers.


And things just go downhill from there.

The fiction itself deals with whether feelings of betrayal would well up in Twilight, and what happened the last time jealousy and betrayal and resentment welled up in a powerful pony in this universe. Surprisingly, for a 'Twilight goes dark' fic, there is little physical violence and the author focuses more on ethical debates and the nature of light and darkness, as well as examining emotions and the bonds of friendship.

Faith and Doubt is followed by The Abundance, which deals with the aftermath of the first story and shows the dark side to harmony. A third volume in the series, The Should-Have-Been King, has been released, and deals with the hidden origins of Equestria and the idea that "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."


Tropes in this story include:

  • Abstract Apotheosis: Abstracts are born one of two ways: either the universe wills them to exist or a mortal pony ascends to become an abstract if they show a high level of the needed trait. Faith did this when he was a baby (an earth pony no less!), as did Honesty and Kindness. Scootaloo has now ascended as well to be the new Element of Loyalty.
  • Accusation Fic: In fact, Word of God is that it was written because Post Nuptials didn't accuse Shining Armor enough.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: From A Canterlot Wedding.
  • Advantage Ball: Plays out when Twilight fights Rainbow Dash.
  • Affably Evil: Doubt, if considered the villain, tends to be rather nice and calm. The only time he gets upset is when he delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Celestia and Luna; the rest of the time he is just chatting up the characters and actually gives them all advice on how to save the day. Of course, they think he is evil and playing mind games, which leads them to Doubt... and do things that only cause more problems.
    • Deconstructed with Queen!Fluttershy. Queen Fluttershy, being Kindness, she is naturally polite and kind, and doesn't purposefully cause harm to ponies. However, as Trixie points out, she can only be this way since the other Elements of Harmony are committing their atrocities in the name of Harmony, which to Trixie makes her the worst of all, since she is aware of the horrors her friends are committing, but chooses to let it happen.
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  • Alas, Poor Villain: Doubt, who is revealed to be dying, ends up telling all the characters how sorry he is for what happened and how, even though he turned Twilight into a Dark Magical Girl, she is the one noble thing he ever accomplished. Luckily for him, Twilight figures out how to save him just as he takes his last breath.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: While Twilight is fuming over Faith's decision to destroy Cloudsdale to kill Loyalty, Shining Armor draws comparisons between that and Twilight's freak-out at the wedding to hammer a bit of empathy for Faith in her.
  • Anti-Villain: Kindness, and to a lesser extent, Loyalty.
  • The Atoner: Spike. "The greatest mistake I've ever made was walking away from her last night. I am going to spend the rest of my life making it up to her".
  • Ax-Crazy: Averted in regards to Twilight, unlike many other fics. Faith and Doubt goes out of it's way many times to show that Twilight is very much in control, just very angry and unsure.
    • Played straight in regards to the original Doubt.
  • Babies Ever After: Faith and Trixie at the end of The Abundance.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call the real Doubt crazy.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: How the Abstracts enforce their rule in Abundance.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twilight's friend's think they're this when they interrupt Twilight's ascension.
    • Played straight in the sequel, with Trixie, Faith, and the other prisoners arriving to turn the tide of the Battle of Cloudsdale in the Queen's Cool Airship.
  • Black Magic: Kinda. Darkness-based magic tends to inflame the user's primal emotions, making them angrier and increasingly emotional. It isn't evil, though, just dangerous.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Abstracts. As Faith explains, they are literally incapable of seeing that Harmony simply cannot be everlasting and that there will always be some form of suffering. When the events of Faith and Doubt showed that their mindset was wrong, they flipped out, possessed the rest of the Mane Six, and began to forcibly implement their own version of Harmony on Equestria, because that's the only Harmony they know.
  • Broken Pedestal: Celestia to Twilight, and as Celestia points out it's been happening long before the wedding.
    • Inverted in regards to Spitfire and Rainbow Dash in The Abundance.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • Twilight in Chapter 2 attacks her brother, Shining Armor, at the wedding, because he leaves her at the rehearsal.
    • Faith kills Loyalty, his own big brother
  • The Cavalry: During the Battle of Cloudsdale, the arrival of the former prisoners aboard the airship definitely counts
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cadance's temporary crossing of the Despair Event Horizon in Faith and Doubt. The Abundance reveals that this incident allowed the original Doubt to take control of her.
  • The Chessmaster: Doubt can be seen as one, as he moves Twilight into the position of becoming an alicorn and giving him a physical alicorn form himself.
    • Faith, in The Abundance, is even more of a chessmaster, manipulating characters to get his way. Word of God has stated the story is a massive chess came pitting Twilight and Faith against the first Doubt.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Twilight becomes one for Faith. She takes it badly when he runs off without telling her and returns with Trixie acting at his beck and call, and their decision to destroy Cloudsdale together with Loyalty without consulting her only makes things worse between them. It takes a harsh wake-up call from Shining Armor to snap her out of it.
  • Cool Airship: The Queens have had one made in The Abundance, which is apparently powerful enough to turn the tide of the war when Trixie and the rebellion steal it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Twilight beating down Chrysalis with The Power of Hate.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Twilight and Doubt advocate this. One subplot of The Abundance is them attempting to convince the other Abstracts of this.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Subverted: Doubt does attach himself to ponies and nudge them to be angrier and less faithful, but he is actively repulsed by the idea of actually controlling them and considers himself a second-in-command.
    • Played straight in The Abundance by the rest of the Mane Six being possessed by the Abstracts, and by the original Doubt possessing Cadence.
  • Enemy Within:
    • The voice that speaks to Twilight. It's a familiar one to Luna, too.
    • Later revealed to be very much not this. Doubt considers the whole Nightmare Moon incident his greatest failure. He was trying to help Luna achieve parity with her sister in exchange for help finding his real name and identity. When she lost it and tried to end the world instead, he separated himself from her to give Celestia a chance to win.
  • Epigraph: Every chapter begins with a famous quote from another work, save for the final chapter of The Abundance which quote's Faith from the first volume.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Chapter 2 is one for New!Twilight.
    • Doubt's intro in the end of chapter 10. Unfailingly polite? Check. Intimate knowledge of things he really shouldn't know? Check. Highly protective of Twilight? Check. Utterly crushing and completely honest "The Reason You Suck" Speech? Check.
    • Abstract-Possessed Pinkie gets one in The Abundance, showing how manipulative she has become.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Twilight at the beginning sees herself as the victim of this when all her friends walk out on her for accusing Cadence as evil. Hammered home when she decides to embrace her dark powers and proves her friends how right she was.
    • Twilight's parents felt this way when they (correctly) accuses Princess Celestia and the other Mane 6 for the way they treated their daughter.
  • Fallen Angel: Doubt was originally Faith, the sixth Element of Harmony. When Celestia erased his name from the history books and then forgot his name (abstracts are defined by how the world views them), he lost his past. He then attempted to work with Luna... only for her to turn into Nightmare Moon and try to destroy the world. Forced to betray her, Faith turned into the fallen abstract Doubt and began a 1000 year journey sowing doubt throughout Equestria.
    • Unlike the typical Fallen Angel, while Doubt is largely the opposite of faith, he still isn't evil.
  • Fate Worse than Death: When Laughter decides to pull a 'prank' on Faith ( She trapped him in a dream world where he had a son, then forced him to 'wake up' and thus erase the foal from existence), he transforms into Doubt and attacks her. Laughter manages to defeat him and proceeds to torture the rest of the group (merging Applejack with the Super Cider Squeezer, ripping out Twilight's eyes and making her subservient to her, etc). But this isn't the horrible part. It turns out that nothing after Faith erasing his son happened. Faith trapped Laughter in an endless dream; every time she wins, she is pulled back to the beginning, taunted, then has to do it all over again, with the knowledge that she will never know what is a dream and what is reality. As Faith explains, not knowing what is real AND being stuck in a cycle is the worst thing he could do to a prankster. Laughter finally kills herself at the 20th time just to escape
  • Foreshadowing: The fricken title. Doubt isn't revealed to be Faith until chapter 19. Or, in other words, he's Faith AND Doubt, but not in that order.
    • And again, the title of The Abundance is Foreshadowing. Not only does it symbolize the overabundance of Harmony as a result of the Queens, it is also the name of the Cool Airship that will turn the tide of the war.
  • A God Am I: Loyalty in The Abundance is shown to be this in spades. One can assume that the other Abstracts are as well.
  • God in Human Form: In The Abundance, Scootaloo, Trixie, and Pinkie become the new Abstracts of Loyalty, Doubt, and Generosity, respectfully. Discord also become the new Abstract of Laughter, which is actually a step up from his former self in his eyes.
  • Go for the Eye: Twilight vs Celestia, the de facto Sun Goddess. Extra Irony in that Twilight renders said sun goddess temporarily Blinded by the Light.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Part of the reason for Shining Armor's cruel treatment of Twilight is that he's jealous that, no matter how far he rises in the ranks, Twilight is considered the real hero.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Honesty, Kindness, and Generosity.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Generosity at the end of The Abundance.
  • I Have Many Names: The voice in Twilight's mind.
  • Jerkass Realization: Twilight has one when Shining Armor rebukes her for her petty anger towards Faith over destroying Cloudsdale to finish off Loyalty. She and Trixie share an even bigger one together when Celestia points out that by destroying Cloudsdale, Faith has killed his beloved brother, and having to endure Loyalty and Twilight's hatred has left him emotionally shattered. Trixie is floored since she'd praised Faith for murdering what she thought to be an inconsequential Abstract, while Twilight feels so horrid that she vomits.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Keeping with canon, Rainbow Dash crashes in on Cadance's peaceful attempts to get Twilight to come in. Granted, Cadance already messed up, but she didn't know that.
  • Mercy Kill: This is how Shining Armor words Faith's decision to destroy Cloudsdale to keep Loyalty from bastardizing it by making it a part of him.
  • Motive Rant: The Elemental Abstracts give a ton of these in The Abundance, most notably Loyalty and the original Doubt.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rainbow Dash has one of these moments after breaking free of her possession in The Abundance.
    • Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle have one when Twilight frees them from the abstracts' enchantments.
  • No Antagonist: In the first story. The closest thing we have it Doubt, and he has barely any villainous traits and legitimate reason to be pissed at Celestia.
  • Noodle Incident: During the ending of The Abundance, it's stated that when Honesty and Kindness tried to help the ponies rebuild after the war, the ponies were still suspicious of them, and it somehow got so out of hand that it ended with Faith giving a long rant and Trixie mooning everyone in attendance.
  • Not Brainwashed: Everybody is convinced that Doubt has corrupted Twilight into being as she is. Of course, he hasn't.
  • Not So Above It All: Celestia. A good deal on the conflict is her losing her Omniscient Morality License, including Twilight pointing out how screwed up it was for her to risk her completely loyal and devoted student to save her hateful, Omnicidal Maniac sister.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone present at the wedding in chapter two of Faith and Doubt, when Twilight temporarily blinds Celestia and attacks Chrysalis-as-Cadance. It's this moment when they collectively realize that this is Twilight very angry and very broken, and not just drunkenly ranting.
  • One-Winged Angel: By Abundance, Spike has Full Control over his growth.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Chrysalis' poor performance as Cadance was due to Cadance intentionally acting that way when caught, in hopes that her poor performance would clue somepony in. The fact that Celestia misses this is a sure sign as to how much of a blind spot she has for her family's bad behavior.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: What Faith did to Laughter (see Fate Worse than Death) is horrible, but considering what she had already done to him (making him dream he had a son, then waking up so he'll lose him) and the things she carries out while trapped, all for her sadistic amusement, its hard to blame him.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: When Celestia, Luna and the rest of the Mane 6 burst in to stop Twilight after she transforms into a dark alicorn, Twilight pleads with them to not to hurt her and her friends, quite violently, slam her into a wall. This causes Doubt, who was pulling all the strings, to appear: he proceeds to LIVE by this trope, treating the heroes with respect even as they accuse him of being the Antichrist.
  • The Power of Hate: Used by Twilight to defeat Queen Chrysalis. It sends the changeling queen into a fit of excruciating agony, and later we find out it was this close to being lethal.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Doubt gives a lot of these.
      "You know...normally I'd enjoy dissecting your emotions like a frog and rebuilding you into a more polite pony but even immortals have time limits."
      • Doubt turns Twilight into an alicorn. Luna, who realizes Doubt is the same voice that she heard when she was Nightmare Moon, calls him out and declares him a liar and a monster. With utter calmness, Doubt rips her apart.
    Doubt: I gave you the power to rival your sister. I whispered in your ear about how she treated you as like a foal and did not let you take a larger part in governing Equestria; that is something you agreed with and something you still think now. [Cuts off Luna's retort] Do not deny it. I can read your thoughts as easily. I know that to be true... just as I know that Fluttershy here fears that I will hurt all of you. I assure you, little one, I could not hurt you if I wanted to. Nothing would bring me greater joy than to aid each and every one of you little ponies. But Nightmare Moon... everything comes back to that, doesn't it Luna? Everything you are now and everything you will ever be is tied to that horrible day when you took the mantle of the Mare in the Moon. Long you and your sister have convinced yourselves and your subjects that you were not in control... that some dark boogeyman had taken you over and twisted you into a weapon of evil and the real Luna was trapped inside. And you have now decided to cast me in that role. That... is a lie.
    Luna: No... it was you. It was all you! I was good before you...
    Doubt: Now who is the liar? All I gave you was the power. My words were a reflection of your own thoughts, nothing more. I can influence your mind as much as a foal can stop the rain from falling. Everything that happened was your fault, Luna; every dark word, every bitter thought was your own. The hatred for your sister came not from me. Nightmare Moon wasn't a separate entity or some corruption; it was merely a name you used to deflect blame. Your own feelings of self worth drove you to attack your sister and try and destroy all of Equestria. It was then that I removed my protection from you and allowed the dear traitor you call sister to banish you.
    Luna: That... that isn't true, I... I would never.
    Doubt: But you did, Luna. You did. Darkness is not evil… it is those that wield it that make it so. The sun can give life on a farm... or kill in the desert.
    • Twilight gives one to Rainbow Dash in Chapter 8, and again to her Abstract-Possessed self in The Abundance, which leads to a Heel–Face Turn on Rainbow's part.
  • Redemption Promotion: After being freed from Loyalty's control and talking Rainbow Dash out of her Heroic BSoD over Cloudsdale's destruction, Scootaloo becomes the new abstract of Loyalty.
  • Sadistic Choice: This is used by Shining Armor to justify why he turned on Twilight during the wedding rehearsal, in that he couldn't easily pick who to side with — his beloved little sister or his bride-to-be. Twilight reluctantly accepts this reason.
  • The Scapegoat: Doubt became this to Celestia and Luna when they didn't want to face what Nightmare Moon had done.
  • Sequel Escalation: The Abundance to Faith and Doubt. From a very personal story centering around a hurt Twilight, to battling the physical embodiments of the concepts of the Elements of Harmony for the fate of all of Equestria.
  • Sequel Hook: In Faith and Doubt: Twilight, Faith and Spike leave Ponyville so that Twilight can be properly trained in her new powers. Meanwhile, the other abstracts of the Elements decide to merge with their bearers, because they view Faith as a threat that has to be stopped at any cost.
    • In The Abundance: Three years after the war, Equestria is entering a new age of prosperity. However, Celestia and Luna's father returns, bringing news that an apparent precursor race that used to rule Equestria is returning.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Put on a good beat for me to kick my friend's ass to."
      • By the way, said beat was "Beat It".
    • Chapter 19 is a big Shout-Out to Doctor Who, what with being titled "Not Today", River Song's "Everybody knows that everybody dies" speech being quoted in the beginning and end of said chapter, and Twilight quoting the Doctor's "This is it! You and me, one last hurdle!" line. The author must've liked "Forest of the Dead".
    • The plotline of The Abundance has several to Les Misérables. Including a scene that was ultimately removed in which the prisoners would have sung Do You Hear The People Sing.
    • The final chapter of The Abundance sees Discord return with a band and handing out cigars... much as Q did when he returned.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Abundance, Loyalty gives a big speech about how the Abstracts are responsible for the defeats of Nightmare Moon and Discord, not the Mane Six, and how he and his fellow Abstracts alone are the ones who should rule and dictate what is and isn't "Harmony". Twilight responds by basically calling him a child.
    • Happens again a few chapters later, when Faith responds to Loyalty's goads by simply zapping him with magic.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: When Twilight and Rainbow Dash get into a fight at the club, an onlooker bets they'll start kissing after a while. They don't.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Everypony at the wedding does this when Twilight pumps "hate poison" into Queen Chrysalis.
  • Undying Loyalty: Spike sticks by Twilight despite, like the others, being wary of her dark powers. As a result, he's the only one forgiven almost immediately.
    • The Abstract Loyalty has the ability to induce something like this in The Abundance. It's really more along the lines of Undying Blind Obedience.
    • Even after confessing how much she hates Rainbow Dash for opening her eyes to what she's done while under Loyalty's control, Scootaloo tells Rainbow that she will never give up on her. It's at this moment that she transforms into the new Loyalty.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Everybody's attempts to "rescue" Twilight from Doubt in chapter 8.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Elemental Abstracts want to create a world free of war, suffering and misery. Unfortunately, their methods of achieving this are basically becoming the pony versions of Big Brother.
    • However, the Battle of Cloudsdale casts this into doubt, at least in regards to Loyalty. As Twilight points out, his motivation seems to be less a desire to bring "Harmony" to the world and more a temper tantrum that the mortal ponies dared to decide to live by their own laws instead of blindly obeying the Abstracts.
    • Faith demonstrates his extremity when he destroys Cloudsdale while a dying Loyalty tries to merge a part of his essence, mainly to ensure Loyalty never returns, but also to keep his brother from turning the city from a beacon of hope into a powerful weapon. The members of the resistance who don't realize his intentions are less than pleased with him, needless to say.
  • Wham Line:
    • Luna gives one in Chapter 15 after realizing Doubt’s true motives.
    Luna: Coming back here, seeing all of us, settling old debts and scores, finding an heir... these aren't the moves of a stallion looking for revenge... these are the marks of a creature preparing to die.
    • The original Doubt revealing that she is no longer an abstract, because she's the reason all of the chaos hasn't awoken Discord: she stole his power to become the new spirit of chaos.
    • Followed in the next chapter by Trixie declaring "I...inspire...Doubt" showing that since the original Doubt is no longer an Abstract, Trixie is free to become the new one.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Twilight towards... um... everyone except Spike. Word of God is that he's at least aware that Twilight does have some coming to her too.
    • Rainbow Dash tries to give one to Twilight. It backfires horribly.
    • Doubt's complaints about Celestia forgetting about him and turning him into the creature he is now (after her helped her save Equestria) is one of these.
    • In Abundance, Spitfire is not happy about Twilight welcoming Rainbow back with open arms after everything she did while under Loyalty's control. She calms down after Flim explains to her how selfish she's being.
    • Twilight is furious with Faith for destroying Cloudsdale, seemingly without a second thought, when Loyalty tries to merge with it. Shining Armor quickly turns this on her head for failing to understand the emotional turmoil Faith is going through for killing his brother and being hated by his truest friend for something so petty as the destruction of a city.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Doubt and he's attracted to Twilight because of this.


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