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The Conspiracy's work is the cause of the "Differently Talented" Ponies
Okay, so, we know that Gentle Arrival is high up in the "Great Work's" ranks, if not actively leading it. The whole point of the Great Work is to find a way to artificially induce alicorn ascension in ponies, which means figuring out a way to have a pony bear the magic of all three races at the same time. At the same time, we know of at least four ponies in the Triptych Continuum whose nature is different to the norm for their race:
  • Pinkie Pie: An earth pony who has absolutely no Earth Pony magic at all, even cutting her off from the sacred shiva rites of her tribe. Instead, she has a sort of Wild Magic, which lets her do all kinds of odd things.
  • Fluttershy: A pegasus whose racial magic is extremely weak, but who has the ability to communicate empathically with animals and tame them as well as strength beyond what you'd expect from her physical frame, a surprising resistance to illness, and the ability to get by with only a few hours of sleep a night, all traits which might be seen as more in line with earth pony magic.
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  • Ratchette: A pegasus whose repair talent comes from an instinctive understanding of conveniences and devices, something explicitly called out as being a unicorn trait: when it comes to working on non-pegasus constructs, she's the first device mechanic anypony's ever seen.
  • Snowflake: A pegasus whose crippled wings actually mask a more subtle effect; as noted in Scootalift, he has always felt disconcerted or uncomfortable when walking on clouds and prefers to be on the ground. In fact, he's so comfortable with his hooves on the ground as to lack the frequently-seen claustrophobia of his race: he's perfectly at ease when underground. And both he and Fluttershy have internally thought of cloud surfaces as feeling tacky, like they were sinking slightly...

    All of these ponies have one other thing in common: they were all delivered by Gentle Arrival. With this in mind, logic suggests that this is no mere coincidence: the most likely possibility seems to be that Gentle Arrival is using the unborn foals he interacts with as test subjects, subtly manipulating their anatomy to coax their bodies into producing different forms of magic, so he can then observe the results and ultimately hone the conspiracy's methodology for turning an adult pony into an alicorn.

    * There's a tagline lurking at the bottom of the main Continuum page: a price to pay for every gift... In all four cases, the ponies mentioned don't seem to have had new magic added to what would have been their extant racial capabilities, producing something two-thirds of the way to an alicorn. Instead, it's more like there's been displacement. Pinkie appears to have no feel for earth pony magic and has never used even the simplest of those workings — in 'verse language, tools. For the pegasi, all three have weak fields. Snowflake's been tested out to be below average, can only use the most basic techniques, and has to put more energy into them for anything to happen at all, while getting less in the way of results. Ratchette's been stated as capable of flight and cloudwalking — along with the fact that those two things may be about it. And Fluttershy's general weakness with techniques has been demonstrated. Something's been gained, but something's also been lost.
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  • It bears noting that in chapter 17 of Triptych itself, Her cutie mark is described as seeming beautiful to Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, while the others have trouble even looking at it: Rainbow's visibly shaken, Rarity can't maintain a sight line for more than five seconds, and the first view nearly shattered Twilight just through the sheer disruption for that level of order. (Applejack had left the area by this point, so her reaction is currently unknown.) And for the only non-pony in the group...
    Spike frowned, as if he wasn't sure what the others were reacting to, and kept his gaze steady — but with a sort of disinterested confusion laced in.
  • Two other things worth noting: First, when listing the Bearers before sending them on the mission, Discord lists them as: "one earth pony, one pegasus, one unicorn, one dragon. Also one Pinkie Pie, one Fluttershy, and the one and only, thank goodness, Twilight Sparkle." (emphasis in original). Second, the Exception is specifically noted to work by twisting the field in some way that Twilight can't really understand. It is therefore quite possible that contact with this twisted field could twist a pony's magic, while it is still weak and unformed. Gentle might not even have been aware of this effect at first.
  • Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Snowflake are all noted as having come within a hair's breadth of dying in childbirth. When the soul stands on the border of the shadowlands, perhaps the magic becomes... plastic somehow.
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    • And Pinkie is specifically mentioned to have come closer to dying than any other who did make it through, and her magic is by far the oddest.
  • Something else interesting to note is that the altered ponies all seem to retain the automatic parts of their magic. Pinkie can't hear or speak, but she still has an earth pony's enhanced strength and durability. Fluttershy, Ratchette, and Snowflake may all have limited aptitude for techniques, but they can still fly and walk on clouds.

    Confirmed! In chapter 30 of Triptych, Clear Coordinator thinks over the part he has played in the Great Work. As part of his narcissistic ramblings, he confirms that Gentle Arrival has been experimenting on ponies he delivers. In chapter 40, Gentle Arrival explains to his audience that he has been using a form of necromancy to bind the essence of dead ponies into the bodies of dying foals of different tribes, as part of his overall plans to find a way to transform ponies into alicorns. This results in a vast diminishing of birth-tribe magic, but the "infused" foal later manifests the magic of their infused tribe.

Pinkie Pie's "Scrambling" has given her Unicorn Magic
  • Pinkie Pie's Wild Magic is very emphatically Not Earth Pony Magic, as is made quite clear through the various stories in the 'verse that focus on her condition. But look at some of the things that she does; Offscreen Teleportation, conjuring random items, even short-range divination; doesn't all of this sound exactly like things that unicorn magic could achieve? Especially if it's being used by someone who's wielding it on pure instinct, and so doesn't have any preconceived notions of "that's impossible!" psychologically hindering her?

    More tellingly, in chapter 8 of Triptych proper, Pinkie Pie confirms that she felt the resonance — the emotions aligned with a unicorn's projected magical field — given off by Her in the previous chapter. This is explicitly called out as something only unicorns are supposed to be able to do: Twilight Sparkle, the magical history buff, has never, ever heard of an earth pony sensing unicorn resonance note , and Rarity confirms that she and Pinkie were the only ponies other than Twilight who felt it. Twilight believes there's a chance that it was because the spell was just that strong, with Rarity and Pinkie in the most direct line of fire. But...

    This strongly suggests that Pinkie Pie may effectively be a unicorn in an earth pony's body, much like how Fluttershy is more or less an earth pony in a pegasi's body.
    • It's also the source of her supplies, because she's likely teleporting them to her, and her Offscreen Teleportation, is teleportation, but maybe also she automatically avoids things, so she's never had recoil. Maybe it also allows her to break the Differentiation Rule by teleporting things out of sealed boxes?
  • In Pinkie Pie vs. The Soufflé, Pinkie's first out-of-bakery attempt at the dish takes place in the library's mini-kitchen. Twilight gets into an argument with a patron on the other side of the door, and...
    The sudden silence was more than enough for Pinkie to pick up something which wasn't even a sound at all. Twilight's field was up. She knew it. Something in the air was telling her...
  • And in Mechanical Aptitude, Ratchette, the pegasus all but confirmed as having unicorn magic, likewise knows when an out-of-sight Mrs. Wonderment has just ignited her corona, describing it as "the sound which was not a sound."
Confirmed in chapter 40 of Triptych - with a twist! Gentle Arrival did infuse a dying, unborn Pinkie Pie with unicorn essence. But then he further infused her with the raw chaos magic bound up in a chaos pearl that hadn't been charged with essence. Thusly, Pinkie Pie is mostly an earth pony with unicorn magic, but her abilities go beyond that.

There's something very wrong with Celestia's true mane.
She seems to treat displaying it as a personally-traumatizing experience, and every civilian pony who's seen it has been either formally sworn to secrecy or death glared into silence. (The exception is Luna, who made a joke about being glad for the invention of cameras, then threatened to go and fetch one.) Revealing it requires the deliberate suppression of her magic (or total exhaustion), so it's not something she does casually, and it appears to be something she'd rather not do at all. Exactly what is she hiding?
  • Confirmed... sort of? If you thought that there was something "very wrong" as in "supernaturally dangerous" about her mane, you're wrong. If you just thought that it was truly ugly, though... It's a particularly hideous shade of brown that invites comparison to fresh dung, and also so naturally long and wildly tangled that she can't hope to control it with brushes; they just get caught or break trying. No wonder she prefers to magic up a more beautiful and elegant mane.

The Deathstones/Chaos Pearls are somehow tied to Discord.
In chapter 5 of Triptych, Pinkie Pie recognizes the deathstone Rarity has found as something that apparently only appears in places where really bad things have happened, such as bloodshed or the heavy use of Black Magic. Nineteen chapters later, Gentle Arrival and Quiet Presence talk about the stone's value to the Great Work, and refer to them as "Chaos Pearls". With Discord's evidently terrible former rule, and the verse's own Darker and Edgier slant on events, the connection between the two seems obvious.
  • Alternatively, or additionally, one could read from the conversation in chapter 24 that the Chaos Pearls were used to store the chaos magic stolen from Discord.
  • Confirmed: Chaos Pearls form at the center of patches of chaos terrain, places that are still under the completely unstable anti-reality rules that Discord imposed during his reign. That said, the Conspiracy also learned to make chaos pearls by draining off Discord's magic during his most recent stint in stone.

The importance of Deathstones/Chaos Pearls to the Great Work.
Gentle Arrival and Quiet Presence's conversation in chapter 24 of Triptych makes it very obvious that deathstones — or, as they call them, chaos pearls, are extremely important to the success of the Great Work. But what that importance is, well, that's open to speculation...
  • One obvious reading of it is that they serve as the "fuel" for the transformation process that ultimately created Her.
  • Gentle Arrival also mentions expending one during a recent very difficult birth to save the foal. This suggests that, maybe, his so-called unique talent is no such thing; rather, he's found a way to tap the magic of chaos pearls to interfere with unborn foals inside the womb, working around the usual hindrance of differentiation.
    • Which raises two questions; firstly, what does this mean when you take note of the fact that many of Gentle Arrival's midwifed foals grow up to have abnormal magical abilities? Is this just a side-effect of using the chaos pearl to save their lives, or is it still a deliberate manipulation on his part? And secondly; which came first? The "swapped" magical talents, inspiring the plan to use chaos pearls to turn an adult pony into an alicorn? Or was the plan born first and his use of chaos pearls on unborn foals came afterwards?
      • Finally explained in chapter 40: Gentle Arrival uses chaos pearls to host the essence of dead ponies in them. When he is midwifing a foal that is likely to die otherwise, he infuses that foal with the essence of a dead pony from a different tribe. This gives them a "hybrid vigor" that helps them survive delivery, but also results in their growing up with "scrambled" powers. Despite his best efforts, though, he has never been able to use this system to cause physical changes in the unborn; his original intent was to try and change the race of the foal entirely. He had the plan for "The Great Work" to begin with, but the chaos pearls were part of his early experiments in achieving it. Her creation was achieved through a combination of using a Snitcher to control her Cutie Mark in hopes of forcing her to get an "Alicorn Cutie Mark", and then shoving a mass of essence into her via chaos pearls when she was getting her mark.

She is infected with the Cutie Mark Incontinence Syndrome from A Mark Of Appeal
The worst part of her botched ascension is that it's somehow become tied to her mark magic, rendering the transformation unstoppable and uncontrollable. The thing is, that isn't what a mark should do. A healthy mark always provides not only a talent, but control of that talent. A mark of transformation should, if anything, help her to control her changes, not render them more uncontrollable. A pony can fall into the mark, but she didn't fall. She was pushed, and the only thing we've seen that does that is the Cutie Mark Incontinence Syndrome (or whatever we're calling it). Moreover, Triptych and A Mark Of Appeal are by far the two largest stories in the Continuum, suggesting that they are twin keys to its storyline.
  • Or worse still: she was infected with this disease deliberately as part of the transformation sequence.
  • This is more plausible with The Reveal in chapter 12 of Mark of Appeal that it's not a disease, it's poison from a magical flower that amplifies a victim's magic to levels beyond their conscious control, sort of a more lethal analogue to Poison Joke.
    • Jossed: Her mark is a result of a deathstone-infused Snitcher, a device known for disrupting Cutie Marks.

Estee is secretly Doctor Cox from Scrubs.
Estee refrains from criticizing or reviewing other stories, citing an inability to hold back criticism. You'll note that Doctor Cox's favorite student was given the job saving the Princesses using his medical know-how. Many of the enemies and obstacles faced in the continuum are very unintelligent or amoral stawmen, the kind of opponent that Cox would delight in destroying in some form or another. Some of the blog post even sound like Doctor Cox rants, like [1] one. Estee seems jaded and cynical, but still clearly likes humanity and comes across less like someone who hates everything and more like someone is really tired of dealing with the sheer stupidity, exactly like Doctor Cox. Its all right there!
  • Jossed by Word Of Fanfic Author, although the average annual salary for a Chief Of Medicine would have been nice...

Fluttershy will use Discord's gift to remove Her mark, stabilizing her transformation.
Before sending the Elements off on their mission, Discord gave Fluttershy the power to have him remove any one thing from existence at some future date. This is a textbook Chekhov's Gun, and one that has yet to fire. Moreover, we know that Her mark controls her transformations. As it rotates, she changes from earth pony to Pegasus to unicorn. Therefore, should Fluttershy remove the mark, it might very possibly freeze the change, locking her into whatever form she's in at that moment. Time it just right, and She will be just an abnormally strong unicorn or pegasus or earth pony. She'll probably never gain a second mark, but a life without the transformation and the pain it brings wouldn't be that bad even without a talent.
  • Jossed: She uses the gift to remove the pain that Her transformations cause her.

Luna and Celestia will be exposed to Red-tinge by the end of A Mark Of Appeal
.As the Continuum continues to grow, we've seen just how traumatic the Discordian Era was for Luna and Celestia. Over a thousand years later, they still have not recovered from what Discord put them through. So they must have had one Tartarus of a compelling reason to release him, and so far we know of exactly one thing that they consider terrifying enough to run the risk of releasing Discord: their losing control of their marks and falling into madness.
  • Jossed. They never get exposed. Chocolate Bear does, but he gets cured alongside Joyous and the rest.

Star Swirl became — what?
From putting several stories together, we know that Celestia went to Star Swirl on his deathbed, after the Alicorn Amulet had taken over, and cast something on him — a spell she's never used again, something which would only begin with his death. Something where she doesn't even know if it worked. And to some degree, she doesn't even know if she was trying to save or punish him. For the younger sibling's part, Luna describes the working as a abomination and says Celestia was trying to call him back. It's possible the spell did nothing. But if it did function — then what did it do?
  • Theory One: It turned him into Sombra.
    With his billowing, ephemeral form and bestial mind, Sombra is something of an Animalistic Abomination even in canon, and this Darker and Edgier fanfic verse, it's obvious he was worse. In many ways, Sombra is a lot more like some kind of pony-wraith or equine shadow-lich than anything living, which would fit a horrifically botched resurrection's outcome. Before his death, Starswirl was dabbling with necromancy, harvesting the essence from the dead and dying to produce an Amplifier Amulet in the form of the Alicon Amulet —an item whose effects on a pony have been noted as rather reminiscent of Sombra, too. In this 'verse, Sombra is noted as having practiced Blood Magic, of the "magic fueled to greater heights by pony sacrifice" variety — which many would consider a logical step up from Starswirl's original necromantic leanings. Additionally, during A Mark of Appeal, Celestia uses a working later confirmed as being one of Starswirl's that seems to involve similar Casting a Shadow abilities to Sombra's. With this evidence, perhaps Sombra was born from Starswirl's reanimation, creating a pony that was more undead or an unliving shadow in the shell of a corpse, retaining only Starswirl's powerful magic and little, if anything, else of the original.
  • Theory Two: Celestia was trying to back him up.
    • So we know that it is possible to communicate with and transfer information to and from SUN and MOON. What if Celestia was attempting to transfer Starswirl's entire self: memories, personality, intellect, the works, to either one of those two devices or possibly to the earth itself? And while she knows the spell "worked" in that something was stored, what she doesn't and can't know is whether the thing she preserved is Starswirl himself or merely a record of his knowledge and memories?
      • Seemingly Confirmed in chapter 54, if in a different way to that stated here. Whilst caught in her own thoughts over the dilemma she has been presented with, Celestia inadvertently reveals to Twilight that she cast a spell on Starswirl before Starswirl's death that she believes has forced him to reincarnate. In fact, she believes that Twilight is Starswirl's reincarnation.

She is Quiet Presence's sister.
  • It would explain why certain characters view her as having been "broken all her life", and while Gentle Arrival's "Let's hope she remembers you" line could be referring to Quiet Presence's talent, it might have a certain other subtext to it.
    • This is highly unlikely since it's mentioned that She is a few years older than Fluttershy, who is six months older than Quiet, who is several years older than his sister.
  • Jossed: She is Gentle Arrival's daughter.

She is Gentle Arrival's daughter.
  • Consider the following:
    • First, this quote.
    Gentle: Gold. Gold, Quiet. The same gold as the shield. Metallic-hued fields are rare to begin with, and they run in families.
    • So She is related to a unicorn with a metallic field. Quiet's field is transparent, but Gentle's is silver.
    • Something happened right around the time Gentle lost his wife, something that started him on the path to the Great Work. His wife bearing an earth pony filly and then dying in childbirth would fit the bill
    • Another quote. Note that it's Quiet who's addressing Gentle, not the other way around.
    It's less to deal with anyway. There's something to be said for the life of a normal pony... all right, let me get started. We can discuss the rest in the morning — except for one thing. I've been meaning to ask you this for years and given how many times you've hit everypony else with it, you have this coming. Have you picked out a name?
    • Gentle is entering middle age, about right to have a young adult daughter.
  • Confirmed across the board. Chapter 40 of Triptych has Doctor Gentle establish that she is his daughter, was born as an earth pony, and his spouse died in childbirth.

Fleur is a Differently Talented Pony.
  • Her power is sort of telepathic, and doesn't relate to standard casting. In that sense, it's somewhat like Fluttershy's Earth-Pony-like ability to connect with animals.

Cadance ascended to Alicorn status from a Unicorn base.
  • She uses Love Spells, instead of talking ponies through their problems, like I presume a Earth Pony might, or however a Pegasus of Love would express a talent in Love.
    • Jossed: A Mark Of Appeal directly states that Cadance, as in canon, started as a pegasus.

Discord wants the Mane 6 to get help from everyone they could, because he knows when they recruit, allowing him to do stuff to them... And is why it's a mistake when Twilight recruits Quiet Presence.
  • Maybe Discord learns of the Great Work through the recruitment.

Discord knows how Alicorns are made, it's just that no one's asked him.

Discord is a former / male Alicorn.
  • From Chapter 4 of Triptych, presuming it's not being idiomatic or anything, but the literal truth. Also, he might even be the Princesses' brother...:
    The fallen prince [Discord] and ruling Princess [Celestia] looked at each other across a millennium and more.

    Oh, and that brings us to Rule Two, which I also already gave you, generous deposed prince that I am.
    • Celestia and Princess Luna were born during the Discordant Era, so he can't be their brother. Also, the sheer level of Blue and Orange Morality we get from him makes it highly improbable that he could have ever been a normal creature.

Chaos Pearls are made by Alicorn Magic.
  • Jossed. They're created by the land slowly building up a protective shell around any residual chaos magic which has soaked into the soil.

Lyra has minotaur traits.
  • She casually bends in ways ponies shouldn't be able to, has greater bulk and presumably greater strength than the average unicorn (which one might initially assume points towards earth pony magic), and plays an instrument- the lyre -which is either a hand or field instrument... with her hooves.
    • This seems to suggest that: 1. Doctor Gentle's "warping" is physical as well as magical, and 2. Doctor Gentle does not have full control over the chaos pearls (he may not have much control at all), because what part of an alicorn is minotaur?
  • Jossed to heck, either in Presentation or Cum Cera (With Wax).

Cutie Marks didn't exist or were lost during the Discordian Era.
  • In A Mark of Appeal, when Celestia links with Sun, she recounts discussing her connection to Sun and says:
    "On my flanks, where... the 'mark' is."
  • As if a 'mark' is something new and/or unusual that needs emphasis...

At the party, Pinkie's Pinkie Sense is going off, telling her that something's wrong, and she'll burst into where Twilight is, at some point.
  • Jossed: Nothing like that happens.

Clear Coordinator is "warped".
  • He has weak unicorn magic (to the point of his field winking out if he's stressed) and seems to have some sort of empathetic magical ability, and magical empathy seems to be an earth pony power.
    For on the day he'd been born, Gentle Arrival had not been in Trotter's Falls, completely unable to attend or assist. Coordinator was not one of his, not in any way for which the word could apply and never for the truest definition. It meant he was still pure. He would always be pure. He was safe.

Pinkie Pie is more powerful than Twilight.
  • Rock-farming ability is in Pinkie's blood, as said in Earth Tones. In Pinkie, it got turned into Unicorn Magic, a.k.a mainly teleportation. So with that potential, she might be even stronger than Twilight. Just unfocused.

Pinkie Pie isn't teleporting like a normal Unicorn
like Twilight does.
  • Maybe she's using a Tool, "asking" the "between" to let her through, or something.

Pinkie Pie will manage to bring someone along with her, when she teleports. And it reveals she travels through the Between or something.
  • Either Twilight, Spike, or Applejack would have a reaction.

Thestrals- Harry Potter style thestrals -exist. And Applejack has seen one.

Quiet's "condition of the blood" is his earth pony ancestry.
  • The story makes us think that he's talking about his breathing problems and physical weakness, but after the traumatic incident where his sister was born as an earth pony and subsequently taken away he just doesn't want to pass his earth pony ancestry on in case it would come through in his children and result in more trouble, from his wife for example.
    • Gentle's thoughts have on several occasions noted that Quiet is the most faithful follower of the Great Work, that even if every other pony deserts him Quiet will stay true. Furthermore, he is specifically noted to not want ascension for himself. In addition, when Gentle confirms that they've found a way to turn an earth pony into a unicorn or so they thought, at least, Quiet immediately starts thinking about how he can now have the children he'd always wanted.

Those "chapters on equine sexuality" that Anchor!Fleur said she could rewrite? Main!Fleur is rewriting them.

One of the Mane6 is gonna use the Shiftstone to cast magic. ... Or Spike's gonna eat it.
  • Dunno what it's gonna do, but we do know that mixing it with Unicorn Magic breaks the Differentiation Rule? Or maybe it doesn't. The main guess still stands, though.

Earth Pony Lynchings were actually just done to those who abused their power to hurt others, like how the Unicorn Nobles and Pegasi mercenaries did.
  • It got turned into the Secret as a distortion or something, and because Earth Pony magic is effectively invisible.

Alicorn ascension works by essence harvesting and fusion.
  • Consider the following points:
    • On at least two occasions, we've seen one of the Diarchs duplicate one of the Original Six's trick. In A Mark Of Appeal, Luna duplicates Star Swirl's trick to cast through the isolation suit, and in A Night Before Nightmare Celestia duplicates Luna's trick to interface with MOON. In both cases, they speak of it as "calling on" the pony whose trick they are duplicating.
    • Twilight can only access her Pegasus magic through the construction of a mental Rainbow Dash.
    • The one successful ascension we actually see (Twilight's) involved that spell, and that spell splits off the cutie mark — a portion of a pony's soul— and swaps it around.
    • Her failed ascension involved taking a large amount of harvested essence and trying to infuse her with it.
    • According to Trixie, Star Swirl's notes from when he was studying ascension confirm that there is a way to add additional essence to a pony, but that he could not use it for some reason.
  • Therefore, I propose the following theory: In order to create an alicorn, you must remove a portion of essence from at least one pony of each race, and fuse them together with the essence of the pony you wish to ascend. In the case of Twilight and the Diarchs, this process did not harm the donors because the magic of Harmony replaced the excised essence along with enabling successful fusion. That's why Luna could duplicate Star Swirl's trick and Celestia could duplicate Luna's: Each of them literally had part of the other's soul inside them. That's why Twilight needs to pretend to be Rainbow Dash to fly: She's actually using Rainbow Dash's magic to fly with.
    • To further develop this theory, consider two additional facts. First, in one of Estee's recent blog posts, it is implied that for Cadence, the true trauma lies in the actual moment of ascension, not in the aftermath as is the case with Twilight and the Diarchs. Second, in Blessing, it's confirmed that Celestia has often and desperately wished for others to ascend, others who could answer the prayers she cannot. And yet despite that, she has never tried to duplicate Cadence's transformation. Now, this could, of course, mean that she doesn't know how to duplicate whatever path it was that enabled Cadence to ascend, but it could also mean that she knows how to do it, but the price is too great for even her pain to drive her to that path. Both these facts can be perfectly explained if we suppose that whatever powered Cadence's ascension did not replace the harvested essence, that Cadence was unwittingly lifted to divinity by the deaths of others.

She will swap marks with Gentle Arrival
  • Because just taking out Gentle Arrival means the loss of his obstetrics, and that should be kept? ... Or be dosed with the Red Tinge Flower, which also keeps his mark in play. But that might be too cruel? ... But, the easiest option might be to have Discord prevent the birthing accidents that make obstetrics required in the first place? Or automate what Gentle Arrival does.
    • Jossed.

Random thought: what if Rachette doesn't have a dip in her snout? What if it just looks that way because her forehead projects a little?

Estee is secretly Alan Moore.
Both authors rely on darker interpretations of pre-existing characters. Both of them are really good at creating complex and nuanced characters. Alan Moore isn't as well off as the aforementioned Dr. Cox, and is a major introvert, much like Estee. And he's retired, so writing the stories he actually wants to write and get paid for them without 'editors' or what have you makes a certain amount of sense.
  • Jossed

Fluttershy's Gift will be used to remove the Differentiation Rule for all Unicorns.
  • Really Wild Guess. Made just 'cause its another way to keep obstetrics available, even if Gentle Arrival is removed. Maybe just give the Differentiation exception to midwives??

The Exception comes from Gentle's earth pony heritage.
  • She was born an earth pony, which by the rules of pony genetics means that one (or both) of her parents must have had some earth pony heritage. So let's assume that Gentle has a trace of earth pony heritage. In his case, it wasn't fully expressed and he was born a unicorn, but what if a little bit of that heritage was expressed? Just enough to infuse his field with the earth pony ability to pass through matter and affect objects inside other objects?
    • Jossed. Chapter 53 has Celestia declare that the Exception is a Cutie Mark-granted Talent, as Gentle Arrival has the incredibly rare Cutie Mark for (irony of ironies) "being a good parent/caring for children".

Chaos Pearls is the remnants of Discord's blood.
  • In Chapter 3, when talking about Diamond Dog Blood, the narration goes into how Discord can sense something, which I assume is his own blood, lost during the Discordian Era, in fights.

Estee is secretly Estee Lauder.
Sure, she's a super rich and influential women who was on the cover of Times at one point and is also dead, but its possible beacuse... Look guys, I'm running out of guesses, okay? What is an Estee, even? It just raises so many questions.

Fluttershy's Gift will be used to something physical, but not doing harm to anyone. Spoilers for Chapter 44.
  • The Blindfold or the Cells or Twilight's restraint, etc. Something that's useful to them, but not directly affecting the antagonists.
    • Jossed: Fluttershy uses her abilities to communicate with animals to summon rats, which work through the Bearers' various bindings.

Rarity's Cutie Mark being triggered by a rock farmed geode, as revealed in Triptych - Converging Lines means something about the magic system.
  • Earth Pony magic triggers exceptional Unicorn Magic... Rainbow Dash's Sonic Rainboom triggers Cutie Marks across the nation... What does it mean??

The Murdocks presence in Trotter's Falls leads rescuers to Twilight and the others.
  • Because Celestia monitors the news, and so, such an article provides info on where the Mane 6 are. ... Depending on if there is an Equestrian Spy Agency, they'll be called in to assist, as direct Princessly intervention has been blocked by Discord. Maybe.
    • Jossed. The Mane 6 rescue themselves.

The Royal Physicians are going to appear in Triptych.
  • Because they need to investigate the Great Work.
    • Confirmed.

Triptych will end on chapter 50.
  • Because it's a nice round number. ... And then there'll be a epilogue, perhaps.
    • Jossed. Triptych is on chapter 54 and still going.

Discord is the result of essence experiments that those of the Pre-Discordian Era performed.
  • Alicorns happen via essence/DNA(?) transfer/donation/replacement/something-or-other. They may have been a thing in the Pre-Discordian Era, and possibly not even known as alicorns. Perhaps fusions between all sorts of creatures was possible, and "alicorn" is just one of countless possible combinations. With that in mind, considering Discord's strange anatomy, completely unique magic, and sheer power, perhaps he was the result of the Pre-Discordian creatures attempting to play God.

Discord is either immune to recoil, or knows how to detect things at his destination to avoid it.
  • He arrived in Barnyard Bargins, in Barnyard Barge-ins, cleanly. Even though there were many ponies there.

Princess Celestia is responsible for much of her own suffering.
  • It's a recurring aspect of the Continuum that whenever we get to see much of Celestia, we are shown that she's a Stepford Smiler, and a huge part of her issues have to do with all of the secrets she keeps about her past. It's also Continuum canon that Celestia is not as all-wise as her little ponies like to think. A logical inferral, then, is that much of her present suffering comes from bad decisions she made in the past and which, for whatever reason, she either can't or won't fix by coming forward and correcting ponies. A non-lethal variant of Hoist by Their Own Petard, in other words.

Almost all ponies are natural hybrids, and this is the source of mark magic's ability to "break the rules"
  • It's an established fact in the Continuum that, as Pinkie puts it, "An earth pony and an earth pony make an earth pony, a unicorn with a unicorn is a baby unicorn, pegasus plus pegasus equals pegasus — but add any other, even once, and even if it takes generations, that other will come again...". Which means that there must be some way in which that other is being passed down through the intervening generations.
  • In addition, it's an established fact that mark magic "breaks the rules", allowing ponies to do things outside the normal sphere of their tribe's powers. But a lot of the time, those extra abilities sound an awful lot like bits of another tribe's magic. Cup and Carrot Cake can instinctively know the exact temperature of a oven just by letting the air wash over them. That's not something earth pony magic can do, but we know pegasi can see and sense heat. Rarity's gem-finding spell can detect gems that are completely surrounded by earth and stone. That's impossible for unicorn magic, but it's among the most basic of earth pony powers. Similarly, her father has extreme strength and toughness for a unicorn, almost as though he has a touch of earth magic boosting his body.
  • We also know that in the case of Dr. Gentle's deliberate hybrids, the magic of their donor tribe will usually find expression through their cutie mark.
  • Putting all of the above together, we get the following theory:
    • When a pony is conceived, they get a random sampling of their parents' essences, which combine to give them some proportion of all three tribes' essences.
    • Whichever essence they have the most of, that tribe's genetic sequences get activated and the embryo grows into a normal foal of that tribe.
    • But they still have essence from the other two tribes, and that extra essence can find expression through their mark.
    • Since the majority of a pony's essence will always be from their tribe, their children are most likely to be of that tribe, but random chance may lead to the new embryo getting a disproportionate amount of some other tribe's essence.
    • Dr. Gentle's essence-swapping spell warps this whole mechanic by changing a foal's essence ratio at birth, after the genetic sequences have already been activated and the physical form is fixed.

Earth Ponies can learn how to use their magic, more easily than they think they can.
  • Earth Pony magic is mainly asking the Earth for something to happen, and either it happens or it doesn't. But, could they ask the Earth what's currently allowed, instead of just asking for specific outcomes? ... If the computer metaphor is used, asking for the help file, instead of randomly trying commands.

Fleur's talent doesn't work on hybrids
.
  • Pinkie Pie gets "trysexual", while Fluttershy gets "blank slate"... Now, there's two others that we know of, in Ponyville... and she'll likely try out her talent on one of them. Likely, Snowflake, so this should be Jossed or Confirmed fairly soon.
    • Jossed: We aren't told what Snowflake's desires are, but Fleur is able to get a very clear reading of him, as she specifically searches him to see if he had paedophilic desires.

Earth pony magic works via the earth ponies interfacing with the earth
.
  • The earth is like Sun and Moon. It's described how earth ponies need to "ask the right questions" in order to get a desired result and that the earth talks back. Similar to how Celestia can request things from Sun when she interfaces with it. Earth ponies all have the ability to interface with the planet under their hooves as a natural part of their maggic. This ties into how the sun and moon used to be raised by many unicorns working together before Celestia and Luna took over.

There is a connection between Redtinge and falling into the mark
.
  • Both afflict ponies with very similar symptoms: the mark magic and associated talent grow stronger, but the mental stability and personality of the pony in question diminishes until they can't think about or do anything that isn't related to their mark. Compare Blank Canvas and Joyous Release's parents. They behave almost exactly the same way even though they are afflicted by what are supposed to be two very different things. This suggests that there's some sort of connection between the two.

The harvesting of essence kills because part of the process involves stealing DNA
  • As essence is both described as a "shadow" and a "snapshot" of the respective pony, it can potentially be interpreted as a... 4-dimensional picture, perhaps? A piece of everything of the pony being used to make a complete image of the whole. Something like that. And, predictably, stealing the DNA from a pony's cells is going to kill the pony.

Celestia's worries about the future of the pony population is going to be unfounded, for reasons.
  • Possibly if Capless Births are some rare genetic sequence, and most of the survivors have that sequence, their kids would be capless, and that means the death of the mother, for a Unicorn, and likely death of the baby, for a Pegasus. So the possibility of the Hybrids becoming more of the population, are self-limiting, unless they're Earth Ponies...

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