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TuesdayProject Bookshelf finished!21 comments · 197 views
Yes, I'm done spamming people!
Project Bookshelf (which is what I’m calling adding all those fics to my new Reviewed Shelf) has turned up some interesting things. Like just how long it took me to start bolding the titles of the reviews, and that that was after I put in the “HRCVN” tallies at the top. Also, my greatest conditional recommendation remains “Recommended for Sneeze Fetishists and People With High Degrees of Self-Loathing”, which came from Ethesto’s peachfic. (Of course, I fucked up My Little Rarity: Rarity Is Rarity by not rating it "Rarecommended".) Good times! :V
God, I hope I got everything though. c.c Interestingly, going through the reviews led me to find a number of stories, mostly from contests, that had been deleted. I’ve struck-out the titles and removed the links for those, but the reviews will stay.
ALSO! I ended up adding a bunch of story collections to the shelf because someone did a reading of one or two entries. Because I am OCD (for srs), I want to get all those chapters read, so expect to see a lot of stories from a LOT of the same names in the near future, especially Cold in Gardez, Benman and Esle Ynopemos. (I am not, however, doing the one with 316 thirty-minute stories. I’m sorry, no.)
The upshot is, things will be better for me in the long run, because when I run into a story marked read and it doesn’t have that big red checkmark on top, I’ll know it’s time to reread it and review!
Speaking of which, now I find myself wanting to go through various authors' galleries and finish up reading all their stuff. People like The Descendant and Pascoite, who I tend to follow but occasionally miss releases from, and who likely don't have more than a half-dozen stories I still need to read. The only author on the site who I've made a concerted effort to read all the fics of is Device Heretic (oh, well, and Goris the Deathclaw). So who would you want to see me do a featured author fic rec journal for? Note that if you say someone like RainbowBob, it'll just be one story per page. :B Also, it'd help if they had 5-10 fics in their gallery, to increase the chances that they have five stories I haven't read. Make suggestions in the comments! (No voting for yourself! :V)
MondayFic recs, October 20th25 comments · 272 views
Bad news first: Hero541 has hung up the fic-reading towel. :( And here I’d only just gotten into his channel!
There's no good news. :B Well, not yet, I suppose.
H: 1 R: 0 C: 5 V: 1 N: 1
Wonderful by obabscribbler
I guess I’ll just comment on these guys quickly. The reading’s on Scribbler’s channel, but she’s not in it. Gutiu is a good narrator, and I’d go for more readings by him, but all he does is creepypastas, not ponyfic. And Rarity has all of one line, so I didn’t get a good feeling for Glory. (Actually, she plays a couple parts in the Truth Be Told radioplay, and she's quite good at them.) She seems to be more of a singer anyway. Okay then!
Genre: Alternative Narrator
One of Rarity’s mannequins has a few opinions on her. Y’know, length aside, this could’ve been a decent Outside Insight entry. Okay, maybe it’s not so much about ponies, but it has the same sort of setup. It’s pretty easy to tell who’s speaking after a bit (I thought it was Spike at first), and otherwise it’s a solid little vignette. I can think of one or two ways to expand on it, but for what it is, it’s a decent read. (And, I should note, the second entry of Scribbler’s Dancing on a Looking Glass that I’ve read. Interesting.)
Recommened as Light Reading
Dream by Cascadejackal
Genre: Big Ideas
A clockmaker, feeling his hopes and dreams have left him, finds the strength to dream anew. This is a marvelous piece of prose, lyrical and flawless, fairy tale-like in the first part and philosophical in the second. It’s so dense and rich, I was shocked to find out how short it was after hearing the reading. It raises a lot of big questions, mostly about the pursuit of beauty, and has a naturally emotional end. Plus, it's got a clockwork pony. It’s pretty much a perfect story, and high-minded on top of that.
Twilight Eats Sonata’s Taco by Admiral Biscuit
It’s pretty obvious, once you click the link and discover a lack of a Sex tag, that this exists primarily to have a sex-joke title. I can get behind it, however, as the author mentions he hasn’t actually seen the movie and was going off the Wikipedia article, which explains why the plot doesn’t make a damned bit of sense. This spends a little too much time setting itself up, but I’ll say that if you like stupid comedies like this, the ending definitely pays off. If not, well, this is not high comedy and can be skipped. (Also, not enough Sonata.)
Quills and Sofas by Just Horsing Around
Genre: Silly Comedy
Twilight’s dad is visiting, helping her answer fanmail, when he learns of Ponyville’s local eccentric, quill supplier. What follows is Night Light goading Davenport in the most hilarious way possible while trying to get to the bottom of the mystery: why quills and sofas? (He never finds out, spoilers.) While this has the trappings of a crackfic — goofy premise, opening narration full of terrible puns — it really comes off as more of a classic comedy. Davenport knows a lot about weird things, Night Light is kind of a jerk (though I was amused at how well he handles the strange situations his children get into). They butt heads, the result is amusing. That said, I’ve read funnier, and I don’t think this is one I’ll remember for long. It’s still worth a quick read, though.
Recommended for Laughs
Let’s Find You a Date! by soundslikeponies
After Rarity brings up the topic of Twilight’s love life, she decides to help Twilight figure out this whole ‘dating’ thing. But Twilight has her eyes set on one mare in particular. This story does a lot of things right, and a few major things, if not wrong, then not-right enough that I felt uncomfortable about them by the end. What I particularly liked was the first chapter’s exploration of sexuality. Twilight’s never considered it before, and though it’s resolved in the first few thousand words, the way they go about figuring out that she likes mares is natural. Not to mention, Rarity puts up with a lot for her sake, despite professing to be bi-curious at best, so she gets a Good Friend award. With that said, let’s talk about character. Rarity I had some qualms about, in regards to her romance-novel approach to dating and her seeming lack of social awareness, but that second part at least is recontextualized nicely in the final chapter. Twilight was a bit more problematic. I’m okay with the fact that she makes mistakes in the pursuit of something she doesn’t know anything about (honestly, if anyone makes an unreasonable mistake in this story, it’s Rarity for letting Twilight off on her own too early, though even that’s cleared up by the ending), but she acts altogether childish throughout a lot of this story. Granted, that didn’t include when she was acting adorable as hell, because this story has a lot of adorable moments, but she still seemed oddly petulant more often than not. The one character who really stands out is May Flower, an OC, a model who acts as something of a sexual antagonist for most of the story. Out of the three mares Twilight ends up entangled with in the course of this piece, May is the one who not only wants her, but knows how to get her. I think the only reason she doesn’t is that A) she had at least a few morals, and B) she’s charmed somewhat by Twilight’s naivete. On that note, Carrot Top. I felt SO BAD for this girl. It’s obvious from the moment Twilight first talks to her that she’s even more naive than Twilight, and the fact that the story makes no bones about being a Twility vehicle makes this revelation even harder to stomach. I was waiting and waiting for Twilight to give up on Rarity and realize she had something good going on with Carrot, but I’m sorry to say it never happens. There’s what I want as a reader and what the story needs narratively, but all distaste for using a pony to get two others together aside, darned if I can’t really figure out what this was about. There’s a passing-of-the-torch thing going on with Twilight and Carrot’s relationship at the end, from what she and Rarity do at the beginning, but that’s about it, and it’s a bittersweet end for CT regardless. Overall, no one who’s not interested in shipping is going to want to read this, and even if you are, well, be warned, you need to be going in with the right expectations.
Recommended for Shippers Only
Peachocalypse Now by Justice4243
This one slipped through my peachfic-finding attempts, so I thought I’d remedy the oversight. The Peachening is upon us and everypony has gone insane, except Pinkie Pie and Spike. This is about as silly as you’d expect, though I like that Pinkie ends up being the straight man. The story doesn’t appear to have been proofread and the ending doesn’t really work, but I have to say, this is the rare story that would have been improved by the addition of more references. This is totally a Wickerman scenario and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Pinkie to shout, “No, not the peaches! Ahh, they’re in my eyes! My eyes!” (Though there is one pretty phenomenal reference joke in this that more or less makes up for the lack of Nicolas Cage.) In all, it’s a pretty fun crackfic, if you like that kind of thing!
Recommended If You Like Silly Things
Twilight’s Play by Twi-Guy
Twilight’s stuck inside without anything to do because reasons, so she gathers up some books and brings them to life. I am thoroughly baffled as to what the point of this story was. The comedy is not terribly strong and is almost entirely centered around some very poorly-titled books (they’re not even puns, just synonyms for actual titles; I mean, “Hook-22”? That doesn’t even make sense!) coming to life and acting like pastiches of their plots: Jurassic Park talks about chaos theory, Fahrenheit 451 is a pyromaniac, The Shining is homicidal. In all, it suggests little more than a passing understanding of any of the books featured. The only one I found actually funny was the untitled self-help book, which seems in need of a dose of its own medicine. More comedic inversions like that might have helped this along. Oh, and this is the punchline, verbatim. Lastly, looking at the text, it’s pretty poorly written. You can safely pass this one up.
Lone Princess by InkRose
A lone princess, trapped in an empty world, sees snatches of what she truly desires. This is a strange case, because the reading linked above only covers first part; there isn’t another, yet the story is two chapters and an epilogue. And unfortunately, while the first chapter is pretty great on its own, the other two don’t add anything to it. The second chapter is just a rehash of the first, and the epilogue puts a needless period on the end of everything. But let me talk about that first chapter for a moment. It does a really great job of showing what’s going on. At first, it seems like this might be after some apocalypse causes the sun to go out, given all the ice on everything. Then, it seems like it might be Luna trapped on the moon. The actual answer is a lot cleverer, and it ends up being a great character study of Luna, in the way that the second chapter is not particularly enlightening about Celestia. Also, given the timeframe of when it takes place, the ending is beautifully tragic. It does suffer a bit from word choice issues, weak words keeping the prose from being as evocative as it could be. But if you like Luna, and you want to see a Sad Luna piece that actually works, do check out the first part of this. The rest you can take or leave.
Recommended for the First Chapter
SundayInto Filly Funtasia?3 comments · 98 views
It seems to be making a comeback after all! :D Well, I discovered that execrable IP two years ago, bought two of the toys, hated them, and vowed to write horrible crossover fanfiction to showcase their terribleness for all the fandom to see.
That... never really happened.
So, today, you can see the first, and only, two chapters of "The Brony Princess" in my speedfic collection. There will never be any more (I include notes about what would have happened had I continued the story, at least). Get it now, while supplies last!
And don't buy any Filly Princess toys, for srs. D:
15 comments · 157 views
I at last decided to make an Incompletes Bookshelf to differentiate from my RIL. This way, I can check it every week, or even once a month, for new completes to add to RIL and not have to worry about what’s on it not being complete. The final counts are 2982 RIL, 1032 Incomplete, and 19 Tracking. Tracking I use for incompletes I want to read the moment they’re done. Go ahead and check out that link to the shelf above; if you see one of your stories on there that you haven’t worked on in a while, maybe it’ll give you a kick in the butt to keep going! :V
So, after going through all four-fucking-thousand stories on my RIL, I said to myself, “Hey, now those 1400 stories you reviewed don’t seem so bad, huh?” So yes, I’ve also made a Reviewed shelf, which is public. This means lots of spamming folks, but the important thing is, people will know I reviewed their stuff. I’ve changed up my userpage to reflect this, so that anyone coming looking will (hopefully) know what to do. (The upshot, though, is that apparently the new bookshelf system is set up to prevent said spamming, and I can't do them all at once. Tune in for more spam tomorrow!)
I also ended up finding some interesting stuff in the older journals!
I actually rec’d The Descendant’s A Cup of Joe. It is Highly Recommended, for the record. This is good, because it was on my “Old Favorites” list to re-review, and I don’t want to read it again because I will cry. ;_; Going back through all my old journals, not just the ones that sound like fic recs, has also made me realize I never reviewed Silent Ponyville, so I’m gonna do that sometime, as it’s a pretty popular fic.
It should really get its own journal, but I mentioned it here already: Pipsqueak the Valiant’s Adventure Journal by Casca is one of my all-time favorite stories, an imaginative piece written from Pipsqueak’s POV as he’s dragged off on a quest to find his ship’s captain father… by Mayor Mare. It won whatever writeoff it was part of, and I put the reason squarely on the perfect child’s voice Casca crafted. It doesn’t go anywhere you’d expect, and the reason I never gave it a proper writeup is that, well, I didn’t realize it was marked complete until now. :B It is Highly Recommended.
Ah, here’s a good one! My journal talking about fiendofthet’s story Fallout Equestria: Lesbians was apparently removed in the big NSFW journal purge. (Which is weird, because I can still see it in the listings.) Here’s the original text, since I went ahead and deleted the blog on my end, as no one can read it now:
If you haven't, I highly recommend reading Fallout Equestria: Lesbians. It's quite short, and hilariously brilliant. It reminds me of what I was trying to do with My Full-Sized Goddess Horse. :D There's even an "Applejack is a background pony" joke!
Even though the words “highly recommended” show up in there, I’m going to officially call this Recommended If You Like Mocking FoE, because if you don’t, and you're not at least somewhat familiar with the original, you’re not gonna get anything out of it. It’s still officially my favorite FoE sidefic, though. :V
Ooh, and not to end on a sour note, but it looks like I almost gave up fic recs before I started. The journal immediately following that one was the very first "official" recommendations blog, however. (My first structured review was actually the vs. Rainbow Factory blog, solely because I used the 5-point rating system.) And now look how far we've come. :D
So I'm calling it: THE SPREADSHEET IS FINISHED. EVERYTHING PRE-2014 IS RECORDED. THAT’S IT, NO MORE GOING BACK TO SEARCH FOR THINGS. Yeesh. Here's to being organized!
SaturdayPresent Perfect vs. G220 comments · 168 views
The Elements of Awesomery
It was a fine spring day in the magical land of Ponylandia. There were no clouds in the very blue sky and the birds were singing and everything was wonderful and everypony was happy. Well, except for one pony. A pegasus pony with rainbow mane and a cutie mark that was an awesome rainbow lightning bolt coming out of a thundercloud who was named Wondercloud Lightningbolt was talking to her friends. She was kind of sad, because even though she had a lot of friends, and they were pretty cool, she thought that she was really lame. This wasn't true, of course; Wondercloud was a totally awesome pony, but for some reason, she didn't think so, and she wouldn't listen to her friends when they tried to convince her otherwise.
"You should cheer up, Wondercloud," said Fashionface. She was a pretty unicorn with purple mane, and she tended to whine about things a lot. Her cutie mark was FASHION. "You're really a very cool pony. I wish I was half as cool as you are!"
"Fashionface is plum right," drawled Johnniepear in her funny accent. She was a really strong orange filly and not a colt like you might think from her name. Her cutie mark was a pear that had a big mouth with lots of teeth. "I don't know anypony else who's as cool as you, 'ceptin' fer me o' course, I reckon."
"Wondercloud, I'll bake you the biggest, most bestest cake ever if it makes you stop being so sad," added Sugar Rush, who was the pinkest pony ever and Wondercloud's closest and very best friend. On her butt was a big pink firework, exploding with sugary candy-coated goodness and sprinkles. "You're so cool, you deserve a hundred cakes! Also, I think you're really hot." She spoke the last part really quietly so no one would hear.
Wondercloud's fourth friend, a yellow pegasus named Whisperlite, didn't say anything, but that was okay, because when she talked you could never hear what she said anyway, and she was really cute so it didn't matter. Her flank-a-dank was a butterfly with a flashlight for a body.
"Gee, girls," sighed Wondercloud, "it's really nice of you to say all those things to me. It's just that I haven't done anything really cool lately and I'm pretty sure that means I'm lame." She sighed again. All her friends thought it was a really cool sigh, but it didn't matter. She just went off to mope on a cloud.
Later that day, a new pony showed up in town, and Wondercloud was the first one to meet her. She was a weird purple unicorn with a cutie thing that looked like a brain reading a book, who wore black clothing and said her name was Midnight Twinkle.
"Wondercloud Lightningbolt, I demand you take me to whoever runs this town immediately, because I know a lot of important things that have to be told to that pony right now and no one else!" Midnight Twinkle was kind of bossy and didn't like telling other ponies what she knew.
Wondercloud shrugged and showed Midnight Twinkle to the city hall, where Mayor Sexynickers lived. Once Midnight Twinkle was talking to the Mayor, Wondercloud gathered up her friends and told them about the weird new pony.
"She doesn't sound very nice!" whined Fashionface. "And her fashion sense is awful!"
"I woulda kicked her hindquarters right back to where she came from, consarnit!" Johnniepear frowned. She flexed her hooves and somewhere a bird exploded.
"Well, I think we should throw her a party!" squealed Sugar Rush, bouncing around in a circle. "Parties are the best way to make weird new ponies love everyone!"
If Whisperlite said anything, nopony heard it.
"Maybe we should find out what it is this new pony knows," Wondercloud thought loudly. "I mean, she seemed kind of agitated. Maybe it's something important."
Just then, Midnight Twinkle burst out of city hall! "Just you wait, Mayor Sexynickers!" she yelled behind her. "I'll show you that I'm right and we're all in terrible danger!" Behind her, the mayor, who was really sexy looking in a totally mature way, slapped her flank with a hoof and closed the doors.
"Terrible danger?" asked Johnniepear. "Why, I reckon that sounds downright mighty dangerous!"
Midnight Twinkle stuck out her tongue. "Well, duh! I was reading some moldy old books, when I found out that aliens from the planet Badhorsia are coming to this town, tonight, to destroy the whole world!"
"Oh noooo!" wailed Fashionface. "Whatever shall we doooo?"
"They can't destroy the world!" cried Sugar Rush. "That's where I keep my stuff!"
Whisperlite whimpered and hid underneath Wondercloud because she was scared.
"We have to stop them!" declared Wondercloud firmly. "We can't let the world be destroyed!"
"That there's the spirit, Wondercloud!" Johnniepear whooped, slapping Wondercloud on the back so hard her teeth rattled. "We'll kick them there aliens in their cotton-pickin' teeth! Tarnation!"
Midnight Twinkle rolled her eyes and scoffed. "Ugh. What a bunch of dummies you guys are. Obviously, you can't just go around kicking aliens or whatever. We have to go to the Everlame Forest and find the Elements of Awesomery first. They're the only things that can save us!"
Everypony gasped again.
"The Everlame Forest? But it's the worst place in all of Ponylandia!"
"Yeah, nothing fun ever happens there! It's totally lame!"
"Lame is right, Sugar Rush. I'd never want to go there!"
"Fine," Midnight Twinkle said, rolling her eyes, "whatever. You all can just stay here and let the world get destroyed. I'm going, and don't let me say I told you so when flying saucers burn your house down with exploding laser beams!" She turned in a huff and sauntered off toward the dark, spooky mouth of the Everlame Forest.
"We'd better follow her, girls. There ain't no tellin' what'll happen if'n she moseys on into the Everlame Forest by herself, gol durnit!" Johnniepear charged ahead. The rest of the friends looked at each other and shrugged, and then they all followed.
The Everlame Forest was really dark and really creepy, but mostly it was just lame. The plants were dark and had all kinds of spikes and stuff on them, but up close they were all veiny and covered in warts and junk and looked really dumb. Sometimes an animal would jump out at you, but then you'd realize its teeth were dull and it was way smaller than you first thought. Still, most ponies stayed away from the forest anyway, because it was totally nerve-wracking to be there, what with all the not-dangerous animals jumping out at you all the time.
The six ponies stayed together as they wandered down the path, and the dark, lame trees pushed in closer and closer from every side. Suddenly, an enormous fire-breathing dragon jumped out! It gnashed its huge, pointy teeth and roared and snorted flames at them! All the ponies screamed, except Johnniepear, who strode forward and snorted back at the dragon. Then, they all realized that it wasn't breathing fire at them so much as it was lobbing fiery, explosive boogers. That was kind of lame, since they were expecting actual fire breathing, but it was still dangerous.
Johnniepear didn't care, though. She knew she had to protect her friends. A flaming booger got snotted right at her, and she did a jumping spin-kick over top of it and kicked the dragon right in its lame face! She looked way cool while doing it too, and landed on all fours like a boss. The dragon roared and backed up, trying to hit Johnnie with its wing, but she ducked at just the last minute, making all her friends gasp in fear. But Johnnie wasn't worried; she flip-kicked into the air and smacked the dragon right under its stupid head! She kicked it so hard it went flying up and spun around end over end! And before it hit the ground, Johnnie did a cool-ass spinning dragon punch uppercut and knocked it out! Then she put a cigarette out in its eye, because she didn't give a fuck.
"That was so scary!" cried Fashionface. "I thought I was going to diiiie!"
"Wow, Johnnie, that was so cool!" gasped Wondercloud excitedly. "I wish I could do cool stuff like that."
"You can, Wondercloud, I believe in you," said Sugar Rush quietly.
Johnnie nodded sagely and put on some sweet shades. "It's easy. Y'all jist gotta believe in yerself an' stop givin' two shits." Johnniepear spit on the ground. "Hayseed." And then she walked on and they all followed her.
Soon they came to a bunch of big stone pillars that blocked the path and made them have to go in single file. There was a gate at the end of the path. All of a sudden, a big mean demon dropped down in front of the gate and said, "Halt! You shall not pass!"
The ponies all gasped. They looked at each other. Johnnie tried kicking the demon, but it blocked her kick with its enormous hand. Sugar Rush tried tickling it, but it wasn't ticklish. Fashionface moaned, "Ohh, come on, just get out of the way, we're really in a hurry here!" But the demon ignored her.
Finally, Whisperlite stepped forward. "Um, excuse me, Mr. Demon, sir," she murmured. It was really hard to hear. "We'd like to move past you, if you wouldn't mind. We have something very important to do on the other side of this gate." Then her eyes got really big and watery and she looked at the demon.
The demon looked at Whisperlite. Suddenly, its eyes got all watery too. "Oh my!" it exclaimed. "You're so adorable! I just want to pick you up and cuddle you forever!" It did so, much to Whisperlite's surprise. But it didn't really cuddle her forever, only for a little bit. "Since you're so cute, I'll let you all go on ahead," it continued saying, and put her back down. It opened the gate for them and bowed gracefully. "Bye-bye, you adorable pony! I hope you come back this way soon!" And it balled up its hands and made a happy face and did a little dance, thinking about how cute Whisperlite was.
"Wow, Whisperlite," said Wondercloud in awe. "That was some trick!" Whisperlite didn't say anything.
Sugar Rush murmured to herself, "I think Wondercloud's cuter," but nopony heard her, except that Wondercloud blushed a little, and she didn't even know why.
Then they came to a wide, wide river, and it didn't look like there was any way they could cross it. Suddenly, Wondercloud shouted, "Look!" and pointed to the middle of the river. There were three big Diamond Dogs in a big boat paddling their way.
"Maybe they'll take us across," mused Midnight Twinkle.
"Yes, we will!" the first dog said, rubbing its paws together. "Please, climb into the boat!"
They all climbed in, and the Diamond Dogs began rowing back across the river. But halfway to the shore, the leader dog started laughing.
"Hahaha, you foolish ponies! You have fallen into our trap! Now we will sink the boat and you will all drown and then we will eat you! Hahahahaha!" He started rocking the boat back and forth and all the ponies were scared that they were going to drown.
"Oh nooo!" cried Fashionface. "Whatever shall we doooo?"
"Stop that!" cried the leader, putting his fingers in his ears. "Don't do that!"
"What do you mean?" she whined. "What don't you want me doing? You're loud and mean and smelly, and I just want to get across this yucky river and out of this awful, dirty boat and onto the other shore so we can find the Elements of Awesomery!"
"All right, that's it!" yelled the dog. "We kill you first!"
"Like hay you will, ya dirty varmint!" shouted Johnniepear, and then she kicked the dog in the face and he fell out of the boat. Wondercloud and Midnight Twinkle kicked the other two dogs and they fell out as well and they all drowned in the river. No one ever said that Diamond Dogs were smart. I mean, what do they even do, really?
"Fashionface, you almost got us all killed!" Wondercloud yelled. "You suck!"
"Well, it isn't myyyyyyy fault!" Fashionface cried. "Those stupid dogs tried to drown us all!"
"Just can it," huffed Midnight Twinkle. "We're almost there."
"Hey Midnight," asked Wondercloud, "what are these Elements of Awesomery supposed to be, anyway?"
"Yeah," added Sugar Rush questioningly, "and what do they do?"
Midnight Twinkle blushed. "Actually, uh, I dunno."
"What???" everypony shouted questioningly.
"I just know that we can find them here, in this forest, and they'll help us stop the aliens. I swear I didn't make it up or anything!"
"So you mean we're risking our lives for something that might not even work or exist?" Wondercloud clucked her tongue. "Sheesh, you suck too, Midnight Twinkle."
Midnight Twinkle got a really indignant look on her face, and then she hmphed and turned her back on them and kept walking without saying anything.
"Don't look now," whispered Sugar Rush to Wondercloud, "but I think you just got 20% cooler."
Wondercloud blushed a little more.
They all decided that they would keep going, because they'd gotten this far. If Midnight Twinkle was wrong (even though she didn't think she would be) then they'd all go home and laugh at her. Eventually, they came to a really really deep, really really dark part of the forest. There was no light except for some glowing mushrooms, but they were lame because the light was plain old white and not blue or pink or something neat like that.
Suddenly, there was an enormous, ferocious beast in front of them! It had the body of a lion, the head of an eagle, the ears of a rabbit, and the butt of a monkey! It was big and mean and ugly, and even though it was really totally lame, it was also really dangerous, unlike the rest of the monsters in the Everlame Forest!
"Oh no!" cried Midnight Twinkle. "It's a nifforg! The most powerful creature in the Everlame Forest! We're doomed!"
It roared loudly and all the ponies shrank back, scared, except for Sugar Rush, who stepped forward (even though she was scared too) and said in a brave voice, "Hey you big, mean meanie-pants! Why don't you go away and leave us alone? We've come way too far to stop here because of some dumb ugly monster!"
The beast sneered at her. "Huh, as if. What's some stupid pink pony gonna do, huh?"
Sugar Rush smiled back. "I'm gonna play a game with you!"
"A game? You think I'm playin' here or somethin'?"
"Yup! It's called, 'Where's Sugar?'!" And then she zipped behind a tree.
The nifforg roared and sliced the tree in half with one giant swipe! All the ponies gasped in fright because they thought Sugar Rush was dead for sure, but she had disappeared!
"Yoo-hoo!" cried the pink pony, sticking out from another tree and waggling her hooves. "I'm over here, you big dumb, ugly, dumb thing you!"
The nifforg turned around and swiped at that tree, but once again, Sugar Rush was gone! She appeared inside another tree, and then she came out from under a rock, saying, "This one time, I saw a thing that was ugly and slimy and totally stupid, and I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever saw, until I saw your gross butt just now, and now I know that's the ugliest thing ever!" And then kicked the thing in its big, ugly butt!
She appeared out of the foliage and stuck a pillowcase over the beast's eyes, and then she showed up in its mane and gave it a huge noogie!
"Argh!" cried the nifforg. "I'm outta here, you weirdos! I thought this place was lame, but you're dorking it up!" And it spread its huge, ugly, stinky, dumb wings and took off over the trees.
"Hooray!" cried the ponies, and they all gave Sugar Rush a hug.
"Wow," Wondercloud said, "that was really random, Sugar Rush! But it was really funny to watch!"
"Thanks, Boltie," Sugar Rush said shyly. "I'm glad you liked it." And then when nopony else was looking, she mustered up her courage and gave Wondercloud a tiny peck on the cheek. Wondercloud blushed really deeply this time, and her wings stood up straight, and she couldn't get them to go back down for five minutes, and she didn't really understand why.
They crossed a big chasm on a rickety, swaying rope bridge. It was scary and high, but they did their best not to look down, and somehow they all made it across.
That is, they almost did! Just as they reached the other side, another pony showed up out of the mist. He was an earth pony, who was all grey, and he was way bigger than any of them. He was even twice as big as Johnniepear! He scowled at them and grumbled, "My name is Hokey Smokes, and I'm here to stop you all from getting to the Elements of Awesomery!"
"Oh yeah?" cried Johnnie. "You wanna fight or somethin'?"
"Pfft, please. You look kinda girly and shrimpy. I'd probably kick your flank from here to Badhorsia."
"Hey!" cried Wondercloud. "You can't talk to my friends that way! If you wanna fight one of us, you gotta fight all of us!"
Then something weird happened. Hokey Smokes' jaw dropped and he stared at Wondercloud.
"Whoa," he breathed breathlessly, "where'd you get that awesome rainbow color in your mane?"
Wondercloud almost didn't know what to say. "Uhh, it's natural, I guess. I mean, I've always had it."
Hokey Smokes started freaking out and jumping around. "Wow, dude, that's so awesome! Oh, I wish I was as cool as you! I mean, I'm just grey all over, what kind of color is that? Bo-ring! I totally can't stand up to a pony as cool as you! I mean, I'll have to let you through to face my friends, and they'll probably tear you apart because they're cooler than I am, but gee! You just look awesome! Remember me, okay? I'll totally be your biggest fan when you get famous!"
And he stepped aside and let them pass. Wondercloud looked kind of bewildered, but Sugar Rush gave her a hug.
"That was awesome, Wondercloud! You did great!"
"But... I didn't do anything!"
"I guess you didn't have to," smirked Midnight Twinkle with a smile. "You do look pretty cool, after all."
"Gee, thanks," Wondercloud blushed.
In front of them was a big huge castle, made out of moldy old blocks of stone and covered in portcullises. I mean portcullises everywhere, it was just crawling with 'em! Anyway, they were trying to figure out a way in when suddenly a big black pegasus with a monocle swooped down and landed in front of the gate!
"Who goes there?" he cried, his voice all snobbish. "I am Black Snooty, and I am here to see that none may enter the castle!"
The ponies all looked at him. "We could fight ya," declared Johnniepear.
"Oh please," Black Snooty huffed. "While I absolutely detest fisticuffs of any sort, I believe that my superior skill in the martial arts would render your actions most ineffective."
"Well, how can we get past you then?" asked Midnight Twinkle.
"If you can impress me somehow, then perhaps I'll consider allowing you to pass."
So Johnniepear kicked over a tree, but Black Snooty yawned, "How crass!"
Whisperlite tried making big, cute eyes at him, but he snorted, "Oh please, you're so common!"
Fashionface whined, "Oh please please please, let us in! We're so close to our goal, and we've come all this way, and my hooves are sore and my legs are tired, and my eyes have those yucky crusty things in them, and I'm hungry and I'm cold, and I just want to find these Elements and go hoooooome!"
Black Snooty made a disgusted face. "My dear lady, your manners are simply atrocious!"
Sugar Rush made funny faces at him from every angle she could think of, including a few that don't really exist, but he ignored her. Midnight Twinkle even tried to cast some magic at him, but at the last second a bug flew up her nose and all that came out was a puff of smoke and a noise that sounded like a fart.
"Laughable," coughed Black Snooty, polishing his hoof on his cravat. "If only it weren't so pathetic. So, does anypony else have any tricks up their sleeve, or shall we call it a night?"
"I do!" declared Wondercloud. She reared back and launched herself into the sky, and started doing all kinds of somersaults and making the clouds spin. She zoomed over the treetops and shook all the leaves down. She even wrote her name in the sky with a rainbow contrail. The ponies all began cheering, and Black Snooty's monocle popped right out of his eye!
"My word! Such aerial skill! In all my days, I have never seen anything so breathtaking! Please, I must insist that you all go inside. There is one more pony waiting for you, of course, and you will no doubt be unable to impress her so easily, but I am defeated! Enter!"
And he raised the portcullis in front of the gate and bowed deeply as they went inside. Then the gate shut behind them with a huge BOOM and they were in the castle. It was cold and dank and dark, so Midnight Twinkle made a light on her horn.
"That was really cool, Wondercloud," she gasped. "I didn't know you had it in you!"
"Yeah, me neither!" said Wondercloud, feeling a little embarrassed.
"You were really cool, Wondercloud!" exclaimed Sugar Rush excitedly. She wanted to give Wondercloud a big kiss on the lips, but before she could do anything, a giant trap door opened underneath them and they all slid screaming down into the basement!
"Welcome to my dungeon!" called a hideous voice. They all saw a dark purple unicorn, dressed in leather and holding a whip, standing atop a platform in front of a throne. She laughed evilly and declared, "I am Queen Meanie, and your quest for the Elements of Awesomery ends here!"
She cast a spell, and they all found themselves being wrapped up by vines and chains and tentacles! Wondercloud was able to avoid the spell by flying up super fast, but the rest of her friends got caught. Fashionface was tied to a rack, while Midnight Twinkle was chained spread-eagled to a rotating wheel. Sugar Rush had a blindfold over her eyes and was tied facedown to a table, and Johnniepear and Whisperlite both were trussed up and hung from the ceiling with big red balls shoved in their mouths! It was awful!
"What do you think you can do to save them, little pegasus?" crowed Queen Meanie. "I defeated all of your friends easily. One pony is no match for me!"
"That's what you think!" cried Wondercloud. But inside, she was afraid. What could she do against this powerful, evil sorceress? Suddenly, she had the answer. She thought about all the things that her friends had done to help get them through the trials of the Forest. They had all done something really awesome (well, maybe except for Fashionface, who just whined a lot about everything) but it was her, Wondercloud, who had been able to defeat two ponies in a row, just by being cool!
"It all makes sense now!" she smiled. "All this time, my friends have been telling me how cool I am, but I ignored them because I thought they were only trying to be nice to me! But it's true! I really am cool! In fact, I think I might be the coolest pony in all of Ponylandia!"
Suddenly, there was a bright light that shone from inside of Wondercloud. When it faded, she had gotten her cutie mark a second time! Only this time, instead of a rainbow lightning bolt on her flank, she had rainbow lightning bolts everywhere! She looked 120% cooler than she used to, and she could fly faster too, because rainbow lightning bolts make you fly really fast.
Queen Meanie screamed and tried to hit Wondercloud with another spell, but she was faster than magic now! She swooped down and knocked Queen Meanie off her throne and into an iron maiden, which closed on her up to the neck. Screaming, but also making oohing sounds, she screeched, "How can this be? How did you defeat me?"
"It's simple," said Midnight Twinkle. "She harnessed the power of the Elements of Awesomery!"
"What? I did?"
Midnight nodded. "I figured it out just now. The Elements aren't some kind of treasure to be found; they were in all of us the entire time! We just needed to realize it for ourselves!
"Johnniepear, who gave not a single fuck when fighting that awful dragon, represents the Element of... Badassery!"
There was a glow, and Johnnie was freed from the chains that had held her to the ceiling. When the light faded, she was wearing awesome shades and a huge fucking gold necklace with a ginormous bit sign on the end.
"Shee-it," she said, chomping on a fat cigar.
"Whisperlite, whose unending adorableness charmed the pants off a demon, represents the Element... Moe as Fuck!"
Another light, and Whisperlite was freed from the black, gooey tendrils that had held her captive. She was now wearing a bunny costume, and it was too adorable, you really have no fucking idea omg.
"Fashionface, who couldn't fucking shut up for two fucking seconds the entire fucking time, represents the Element of... Whining!"
Fashionface was suddenly free, and wearing a baggy jogging suit. It looked like she might have suddenly put on a few pounds, too, and her hair was all up in curlers. She screamed and fainted.
"Wait," said Wondercloud haltingly, "whining isn't exactly awesome."
"Shut up, okay?" rumbled Midnight Twinkle irritably. "I didn't just make this shit up or anything, this is old magic, dammit. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Sugar Rush, who confounded that nifforg by breaking every damned law of physics, represents the Element of... Randomness!"
Sugar Rush was freed, then, and she appeared wearing a pair of funny glasses, a fake arrow through her head, and a big red nose. She tweetled on a party tickler and flopped around, wearing big blue swim fins.
"And because I figured all this crap out, I get the Element of Smartypantsitude!" Midnight Twinkle smirked and rose up from the wheel, landing gently on her hooves. She was wearing a big, grey wig, a bushy grey moustache, and really thick, horn-rimmed glasses.
"That's not even a real word!" Wondercloud grumbled.
"Shut up already, I said!"
"Well, then what about me? What's my Element?"
Midnight Twinkle looked at the rest of the ponies. They smiled at her. "Isn't it obvious?" she said.
"Y'all done wowed that Hokey Smokes feller. He's yer biggest fan now, hooves down!"
"You impressed the heck out of that snobbish Black Snooty," mumbled Fashionface, who had woken back up and was trying to get the curlers out of her mane.
"You beat Queen Meanie without so much as batting an eye," Whisperlite added.
"And you look totally freaking sweet!" Sugar Rush yelled, jumping up and down and making floppy noises with her flippers.
Midnight Twinkle nodded. "So your Element is..." All together, they yelled, "120% COOLER!"
Suddenly, Wondercloud was wearing an awesome rainbow helmet that swept to a point in the back, and a cool red lightning-bolt cape and gold wing shoes. Fashionface stuck her tongue out.
"Eew, that's so tacky!"
"Shut up, Miss Tracksuit," yelled Wondercloud, and pulled on some sweet shades out of nowhere. "Deal with it. Let's go kill some aliens!"
"Hah!" barked Queen Meanie, who everpony had forgotten about. "You'll never stop the Badhorsia invasion fleet! My people will swarm down from the skies and rain fire upon your homes! You will never--"
"Can it, lady!" shouted Wondercloud, and she bucked the iron maiden that Queen Meanie was in. It toppled backward and landed in a pool of acid that was also on fire, and then Wondercloud used her Element powers to throw lightning at the burning acid. Queen Meanie exploded. Twice.
They all cheered, and then Wondercloud busted a hole all the way through the roof of the castle and they all took off after her (because the Elements could make them fly). And when they got back to the city, the alien invasion fleet was coming down out of the clouds! Ponies were running and screaming through the streets, and lasers were making explosions that burned their houses down! But then Wondercloud and her friends swooped in, and through the powers of sheer Awesomery, they created a sweet, sweet rainbow beam that destroyed all the flying saucers and sent the aliens packing!
And when it was all over, there was a big parade for them, with Wondercloud at the head. The parade went all through town and ended right at city hall, where Mayor Sexynickers gave a speech.
"Citizens of Ponylandia, I present to you your saviors! Also I need to apologize to Wondercloud and Midnight Twinkle for not believing them about the Elements of Awesomery!"
"But I was the only one who told you about them," objected Midnight Twinkle.
Wondercloud elbowed her in the ribs. "Shut up, already. Rude, much?"
"In honor of our heroes, I must ask -- nay, demand -- that Wondercloud choose one of her friends to kiss, right now, in front of everypony!"
Wondercloud turned bright red. "R-really? But who?"
"It should be me!" whined Fashionface. "After all, I am the prettiest pony in Ponylandia!"
"Yeah," grumbled Wondercloud, "but you're also really whiny and kind of a bitch. No offense."
Fashionface gasped. "Well, if not me, then who?"
Wondercloud considered. Midnight Twinkle was really irritating. Johnnie was too... manly. And she'd never really heard Whisperlite say anything before today.
But wait, she didn't have to think so hard after all! There was only one answer. It should have been obvious from the start.
"It would have to be my bestest friend ever in the whole wide world," Wondercloud cried, her eyes filling with tears. "The pony who was there with me every step of the way, to cheer me on and encourage me and believe in me, even when I didn't. Sugar Rush, would you do me the honor of this kiss?"
Sugar Rush's face turned from pink to bright red. "Oh yes, Wondercloud! I love you so much!" She wrapped her hooves around Wondercloud and they kissed, tenderly. The crowd cheered. And then Sugar Rush tackled Wondercloud and they started making out.
It was hot.
"It... was... hot. There!"
Pinkie Pie hit 'save', smiling in self-satisfaction. As she savored that last scene, the glow from the computer monitor illuminated bright red spots on her cheeks. It was a masterpiece. If Rainbow Dash saw this, she would certainly be cheered up, no matter how bad she was feeling. Not that Pinkie would ever show her, of course...
She closed her eyes, thoughts turning to her friend. Rainbow Dash had been so... un-Dash-like lately, moping around and complaining that she was no good at anything, for no reason at all. It tore at Pinkie's heart to see her so sad. Rainbow meant so much more to her than just a friend. She'd tried throwing Rainbow Dash a party, but when that hadn't helped, she'd been at a total loss. Writing was the only way to work through those feelings. There was just no way that she was ever going to show it to...
"Hi, Pinkie Pie."
"AAAAAGH! RAINBOW DASH!" Pinkie, in a single motion, hit the power button on her monitor and spun her chair around until she was nose-to-upside-down-nose with her friend.
"Don't scare me like that, Rainbow Dash!"
The rainbow-maned pegasus laughed softly. "Sorry, Pinkie. What were ya doin'? Not writing creepy slash fiction about your friends again, I hope?"
"No, Dashie, of course not!" She giggled and put on her best 'I wasn't doing anything' grin. "I learned my lesson last time, remember?"
Rainbow Dash stuck out her tongue. "Ugh, I'd rather not think about it. Anyway, well..." She grew quiet, rubbing her hooves together nervously. "There was no one downstairs, so I let myself in, I hope that's okay. I just... Well, I made you something."
Pinkie Pie's smile relaxed. She took a deep breath. "You did?"
"Yeah, some, uh... cupcakes."
Pinkie's face split into a huge grin. "Rainbow Dash, you made me cupcakes?"
"Well, Applejack helped," she said quickly. "The muffins didn't go so well, you see, and..."
Pinkie threw her hooves around her friend. "That's so sweet, Rainbow Dash! Nopony ever makes me things like that!"
Rainbow blushed deeply. "And I thought, maybe, we could talk for a while too."
Now Pinkie was just a little worried. Baked goods, from Rainbow Dash, and a 'talk'? She swallowed the sudden rise of fear, replacing it with something from deeper inside herself.
"Okie-dokie. And afterwards, maybe I can show you something too, okay?"
Rainbow Dash nodded. "Well, hey," she said with a slightly nervous laugh, "those cupcakes aren't gonna eat themselves! Let's go!"
Pinkie smiled. "Okay, Rainbow Dash, lead on!" She smiled as she watched her friend trot back downstairs, and wiped at her eyes.