|Fear and Trembling|
The story's cover art on FIMFiction
|Date published||December 4, 2012|
Slice of Life
The story is written in the third-person present tense, written from Twilight's point of view. Each chapter is written to put emphasis on a certain aspect. For instance chapter two focuses almost completely on Twilight’s conflicting thoughts and emotions, whereas the event leading up to the murder spotlight the cheerful mood of the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony.
Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Twilight Sparkle are having lunch together. Rainbow Dash tells Rarity all about the latest performance of a pony named Wavebreaker who won a recent swimming competition. Rarity does not seem particularly interested, and Twilight is hardly there at all. Twilight’s friends inquire as to what is on her mind, but Twilight simply dismisses them and decides to head home.
While at home Twilight find Wavebreaker checking out a book on philosophy. She tells Twilight that she is planning to ditch swimming so that she can major in philosophy in college. Twilight encourages her in her pursuit before retreating to her bedroom. While in her room, she re-reads a letter she received from Princess Celestia telling her that a wave of darkness is taking over Equestria and that it has already infected her friends. The rest of the detail explains in so many words that Twilight is to kill the other Elements of Harmony so that new bearers will cycle, while also explaining to Twilight that she is the only one who is untainted by the curse of evil.
Twilight then spends the next twenty-four hours sweating over the contents of the letter before deciding to reply and ask the Princess for an alternative solution. Almost instantly she gets a reply telling her that she is wasting valuable time, that there is no alternative solution, and to take the magic crystal enclosed in the letter which will multiply the power of her spells and give her the ability to vaporize her friends.
Twilight then decides to set up a picnic with the rest of her friends, telling them that it is the request of Princess Celestia, and chooses Mount Mare as their destination. The next morning the six friends take the train to Trottingham and hike up the mountain. Eventually they come across a good spot and decide to have their picnic. Twilight however, takes out the crystal the Princess gave her and holds it up for a few seconds before Applejack finally asks why she is still standing and staring at a crystal. Twilight then breaks down into tears and tells her friends how she loves them and would never do anything to hurt them.
After Twilight’s friends help her recover from her sudden breakdown, they all take a look at the fancy crystal before getting back to their happy picnic. Twilight then seems to be in a considerably better mood. When she gets home, she packs up her saddlebags and heads for the train station. After being intercepted by Rainbow Dash and Applejack, she manages to get Applejack alone and tells her that if she doesn’t make it back that she should send Spike to live with Princess Cadence and Shining Armor.
Twilight then makes it to Canterlot and marches right up to Princess Celestia's throne room. There, she dumps her saddlebags on the ground (apparently filled with all her studies) and declares that she no longer wishes to be her student any longer. Princess Celestia is confused by this, more so when Twilight explains that she had requested she kill her friends, so Twilight shows her the letters (which match Celestia's handwriting perfectly). Princess Celestia then tells Twilight that someone is apparently posing as her, and that she is proud of Twilight for not killing her friends on a whim.
Twilight is incredibly distraught at first; since she is surprised that she was so easily fooled into thinking the Princess would ask her to murder her friends. This quickly changes to being ecstatic since she doesn't need to worry about this anymore. As Twilight leaves the castle with her high spirits, Princess Luna inquires on Twilight’s mood, and upon hearing that Twilight is happy, replies “Then I suppose that you made the right decision.”
Twilight lets that sentence sink in for a moment before running after the Princess to accuse her having sent the letters. Princess Luna then gives a hearty explanation about how it was a test of a nature that she knew her sister would not be one to give. She plans on telling her sister about what she did soon, and that she is happy that Twilight did the right thing, unlike certain general she used to know back in the days of Nightmare Moon.
Twilight then arrives home to find that Wavebreaker is looking for "Hoonotes" (pun on cliffnotes) for the books on philosophy she is reading. Twilight then interrogates her on whether or not she is actually satisfied with a career in philosophy, and upon hearing that she is only doing it to fulfill the wishes of her parents, tells her that she should just stick to swimming. Wavebreaker decides to take her advice, and leaves. Twilight’s friends then come into the library, and they all have a heartwarming moment.