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Not a changeling.

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3 · 3:32pm Jul 15th, 2019


Time Enough For Love will begin Thursday morning, July 18! Until then, I'll be posting little teasers once per day.

Tomorrow and Wednesday will give little glimpses of the 43,000 words that have been added since the original Writeoff short story. Here's one to introduce the story to newer readers who are wondering what all the hype is about. Meet our main characters!

Clover was approaching Queen Platinum's throne to deliver his usual Sunday morning report when an ear-shattering boom split the air, and five tons of iron door shot past his shoulder.

The thick stone wall just to the left of the throne exploded as the door hurtled through it.  Every pony in the Great Hall froze statue-still, then swiveled their heads toward the projectile's source.

"My name," a voice thundered from the tall white mare in the doorway, "is Celestia Invicta, Slayer of the Dragon Legions, Tamer of Tartarus, Imperatrix of the Tribes.  And alla you prancers better clear on out, cause you're raising the sun too rutting early, and 'sabout time an alicorn took the throne an' showed you how it's done."

Chaos erupted as Celestia tossed back her disheveled pink mane and swaggered into the room.  Nobles and servants alike screamed and galloped for the nearest exit. Platinum remained frozen on her throne, terrified eyes locked with the intruder, her face a blank mask.  The royal guards, to their credit, huddled into a semblance of a defensive line, backing slowly toward the throne in time with the war goddess' casual advance.

The smart thing to do would have been to join the stampede, Clover thought as he leapt up the steps toward his queen's side.  But they didn't call him Clover The Clever because he was smart.

Comments ( 11 )

Of course, we all know the real main character is Mister Smashy:

One of the guards stumbled as he retreated, falling to the floor and quickly scrambling back to his hooves within range of Celestia's weapon. She halted — ah, and there was that predatory smile. She slowly raised a forehoof, curling a pastern over the warhammer's handle, her body teetering toward the lifted hoof until she took a little half-step to compensate. "Finally," she said, drawing out the f a touch too long. "Mister Smashy has been looking forward to a workout."

Celestia? For some reason I was expecting Cadance.

Celestia is good too, though. The best, possibly.

Twilight Sparkle looked at the thing. She had the strangest feeling it was looking back.

She looked up at the princess. Expressions were hard, not like something as straightforward as integrating n-dimensional arcane manifolds. Twilight couldn't tell if Princess Celestia's smile was eager or embarrassed.

No, it had to be eager. Princesses didn't get embarrassed.

That decided, Twilight moved to the next entry on her mental checklist. "What is it?"

"You know how Smarty Pants is your very good friend?"

Twilight nodded, happy to be on familiar ground. She cuddled Smarty and helped her look at the... thing. "She's my very best study buddy!"

Yes, that was definitely an eager smile. "Well, Mr. Smashy is mine." The princess lifted Mr. Smashy with a single foreleg and rested it—him?—against a wither like he'd been made to sit there. "They play very differently, but I thought the four of us could enjoy some quality time together."

Great to see this coming into the light!

I love that as I clicked the uphoof, the number jumped up by two.

To be honest, I liked the original opening lines's phrasing better.

Clover was approaching Queen Platinum's throne for his usual Sunday morning report when a boom split the air and the Great Hall's seven-thousand-pound iron door sailed past his shoulder.

"I am Imperatrix Celestia Invicta, Slayer of the Dragon Legions, Tamer of Tartarus," a voice thundered from the doorway as every pony in the room froze statue-still. "And alla you prancers better clear on out, because you're raising the sun too rutting early, and I've decided I'm gonna take over and do it myself."

I lurve this opener. :pinkiehappy:

... warlord Celestia?!
I'm giggling. Can't wait!

The title does sound like a Cadance sort of story, yeah! But if you've read the original Writeoff short, it definitely makes sense.

I can only hope it's as fun to read as it was to write!

(Editing, that's a different story. But scenes like Celestia vs. the rock dragon were just a joy.)

Oh man. I've been spending so much time on the back half of the story, it's been literal years since I've actually read the original opening.

And you know? You're right. There's more energy in the original. There are good reasons why I made each of the changes, trying to work in little bits of exposition to properly frame the scene and help orient the reader, but it does end up a little bit heavy in a way that's worth walking back.

I wish you'd said something before I sent the book with it to the publishers. :derpytongue2: And I'm not going to overhaul it too severely, because I don't want the book version to be too different from the FIMFic version. But I'll try to massage a few ninja edits in before Thursday.

On the other hand, part of it is that the pace is going to be far more measured in a 50k story than in an 8k story covering the same arc. And I think there are a lot of places where the expansion ended up allowing me to tell the story that needed to be told instead of a fragmentary summary. So I think you'll still like the novella better; but if not, the original short isn't going anywhere. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


They were pouring Mister Smashy's cup of oolong tea when the door burst open.

"Oooh!" Cadance said, poinging into the room. "Hey, Auntie! Hey, Ladybug! Are we showing off trophies of conquest today? Or our adorable childhood friends? I came prepared, either way!" She dragged a chair into the room from the hallway outside and sat down at the tea party table.

Shining Armor poked his head through the door. "Cady?" he said. "What's going on? Your scroll said something about an urgent summons."

5089806 It's the sheer swagger and cockieness of it all that just rolls naturally. And it's less passive voice. Heck, I think I change a little something in all of my stories every week. Even the (ohgodisitthatmany) five books I've got on Lulu right now have a few changes that didn't make it to paper, but are on digital.

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