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Group Admin

It looks as though there's enough interest to keep these things going, so we're back for May! :yay: In the light of last month's contest, I have rejigged some of the rules a little, a notable change being that feedback is now opt-in. If you want feedback, please put "Feedback welcome" at the foot of your entry. If you're offering feedback (after the closing date), please respect authors' preferences on this matter.

Here are the full rules.

Remember, there is no prize, as such, for this contest -- but if you win, you will be able to choose the prompt for the June contest. You'll also get a mention on the group's front page, which I'm sure will be the absolute highlight of your month. :unsuresweetie:

Prompt: "Laugh so you don't cry" (selected by last month's winner, Pascoite)
Word limit: 150
Closing date: Sunday 21st May 2017, 11:59 pm UK time (world clock)

Please reply to this post with your entry. This makes it easier for me to keep track. Please do not leave feedback until after the closing date.

Entries are now open! Have fun!


"The Party"

“... Twilight, you are invited to Gummy’s Gummaversary at four. Don’t be late!”

Spike put the invitation down.

“Has a year already passed? It’s already almost four now! Coming, Spike?”

Was he? He used to be the one dragging her to parties, or she’d spend all her time studying. But times had changed.

Sure, he liked parties. But he hadn’t been invited to this one. He hadn’t been invited to a lot of them for a while. It wasn’t that he couldn’t go. No one would say anything if he did. But somehow, he didn’t think that he was who they wanted to see.

He didn’t really want to go on that basis, just as a tag-a-long. An eternal sidekick.

“That’s fine, Twilight,” he forced a laugh. “You go ahead. I hear my comics calling my name!”

“Alright, Spike. Don’t stay up too late!”

And then he was all alone. Again.

Here we are with 150 words again! Tried to play this one a little straighter.

I'm okay with feedback!

--Sweetie Belle

Clocking in at 148 words, this is my horrifically horrible entry. Hope someone enjoys.

I wake to the sound of a door opening, a lavender pegasus with a wheelchair cutie mark walks through with a cart.

“Good morning, Ms. Pie, how are we doing today?” the mare asks.

Wait, who is Ms. Pie? I wonder. I’m the only one here… could she mean me? Nonsense, my name is...

my name is...

my name is Pinkamena.

“It’s time for your medicines, Ms. Pie.” She looks at me. No, into me. “You don’t know me, do you?”

I shake my head weakly, somehow unable to speak.

With a look of pain in her eye, she says, “I guess introductions are in order, then. My name is Sunrise, I’m your new nurse. It says on my clipboard it's time for medicines and breakfast, is that correct?”

I can tell she’s feigning ignorance, but I nod anyway.

“Okay, let’s get to it.”

Oh, and feedback is always, and forever, welcome.



"I guess that's my call." Starlight said, gulping as she watched ponies exit the newly arrived train.

Starlight turned around to her mentor one last time, attempting to hide her fear of leaving. "Are you...really sure about this?"

Twilight took a deep breath. "It's hard for me to send you away, but I know it's what I, as your teacher, must do. I wouldn't be able to teach you anything new anymore myself."

Starlight remained silent for a moment. "I'll write you a letter after I meet up with Sunburst, teach." She said.

Twilight smiled at her former student. "Farewell, Starlight. I wish you the best of luck."

Starlight sighed quietly as she trotted towards the train. "See ya." She said before entering the train, hiding the tears in her eyes.

Took me a bit of time and effort to write, as well as to cut it down to ~150 words, but I finally made it.

Oh, and of course feedback is welcome :twilightsmile:

There is no Friday May 21. There's a Friday May 19, or a Sunday May 21.

Also: is there a regular set date for this so that I can just mark it on my calendar for every month? That would be awesome. We have enough time to compose our stories, so maybe we could just always do it on the 21st, or something...?

Group Admin

5947915 5947917

Fixed! I intend that the closing date will always be 11.59pm UK time on the 21st of the month. So in this case, the Sunday.

Thank you!!! That is super awesome. Now I can just set my calendar to let me know each month, thus insuring my participation. :yay:

Group Admin

And as a quick reminder... as of this moment, you have (a couple of minutes less than) 95 hours remaining!

5951882 Ack, thanks for the reminder! Must write!! :raritydespair:


"Her Highness Celestia, ruler of Equestria, Queen of Everfree, Sovereign of Sun and Moon would have thine ears! Hear one, hear all!

"With the op'ning of Her court at Canterlot, Her Highness Celestia declares the next new moon as the Moon of Merriment! Plays, games, theatre, and revelry are to abound in the newly-crowned city!

"Sound thy sonnets! Muse thy music! Ply thy plays! Her Highness Celestia welcomes all to perform before her and the Moon of Merriment!

"For thine efforts, Her Highness Celestia bestows a princessly sum to all so moved to perform!

"Mark ye well, for at the conclusion of the Moon, Her Highness Celestia shall bestow lady- or lorddom upon that pony which most draws mirth from the crown!

"Hear one, hear all, the Moon of Merriment draws nigh!"

Review and critique welcome.

Can't think of a good title to this, unfortunately!

Princess Celestia smiled magnanimously from her throne.

"What is that?" she asked the small, purple filly in front of her.

"It's your birthday present! Mom said that nopony knows when your birthday is, so I wasn't sure when to give it to you, but eventually I just decided to bring it to you today!"

Princess Celestia laughed, and her eyes almost seemed to twinkle in the light, "Nopony has given me a birthday present in over a thousand years. Thank you, young filly. What is your name?"

Review and critique welcome!


"Dreams" (150 words)

"... and then Twilight said we'd made the biggest cutie mark discovery since she doesn't know when, and we’d be getting our names in papers all across Equestria, and..."
Rarity swallowed, smiled, and looked up to meet her sister’s joyful eyes. "That’s wonderful, Sweetie Belle."
"And that would’ve been the best part of the night, 'cept Scoots pushed me to finally go ask Thoroughblood -" She flicked her tail over the tall cream colt next to her, who tried to hide his blush. "And he said yes!"
"Of course," Thoroughblood said, nuzzling his... (Rarity swallowed again) his marefriend.
For a moment, Rarity froze. Thoroughblood's voice was the spitting image of his cousin Blueblood. Ruined Gala dreams flew through her mind.
"Rarity?" Sweetie Belle cocked her head.
Rarity stretched out her mouth in a smile and reached to give her sister a hug. "Why, Sweetie Belle, I'm so happy for you."

(Feedback welcome!)


"Scootaloo's smile"

Rainbow Dash craved flight. It was more than her wings itching after holding still for five minutes; it was deeper, and somehow stronger.

She lay on a cloud, drifting half-heartedly above Ponyville like a leaf in the mid autumn wind. Her heart tied her down, close to her friends, while her mind soared beyond the endless horizon, where adventure was awaiting.

What lies beyond the sky? How high could I fly if I tried? Does all this blue ever end?


The shout broke her reverie, as she floated between two irreconcilable worlds. She looked down to see Scootaloo waving.

“Pinkie’s gonna find out how many cupcakes fit in her mouth!” Scootaloo called, smiling brightly. “Wanna watch?”

With a pang of regret, Rainbow mimicked the filly’s expression. “I’m coming.” She was down in two flaps right beside Scootaloo, and they trotted to Sugarcube Corner together.

She could always fly tomorrow.

150 words, that was close. Feedback is welcome.


Because I've been wanting:

To write more Pony poetry and because the average sonnet is just over 100 words long... :pinkiehappy:


Upside Down

"I'm sorry, darling." Soft as morning mist,
The words go slicing, stabbing Pinkie’s brain.
Her lips aquiver, aching to be kissed,
Approach a certain terrible terrain.

A frown? She can't! Her life's a giant smile!
Delight defines her spirit's very core!
She won't allow the darkness, won't defile
Her inner essence! Stifle! Twist! Ignore!

"All righty, then!" A swallow clears her throat.
"Forget I said a thing! I'm still your friend!"
She spins before that gorgeous snowy coat
Can beckon her to touch it. Don't pretend!

Awake at night, she cuddles Gummy close,
Afraid in sleep, her dreams will grow morose.

Comments welcome.

Group Admin

Thank you to everyone who's entered so far, and to everyone who intends to do so before the closing date.

Please make sure you've said explicitly if you want feedback, since if you don't it will be assumed that you don't want any! (I haven't read any of the entries yet, so I haven't checked.)

23 hours to go!

An Emotional Response
by Trick Question

She laughed. "So, you don't cry?"

"Never have," said Maud Pie, currently glued to a large pillar of stone.

"Challenge accepted," said Queen Chrysalis. "You're not the only filly we captured." She motioned, and her changelings brought out Pinkie Pie.

"Pinkie," said Maud. "Let her go. This is your only warning."

"It's okay Maud," said Pinkie, wiping her already-wet and bleary eyes. "I can cry enough for both of us."

Chrysalis grinned, leaning in toward Maud's face. "And she will! We'll see how much torture she can take before your waterworks turn on."

Maud shifted her shoulders.

A crack sounded. An enormous segment of pillar split off in Maud's forehooves. Another crack sounded, but with a chitin ring to it. Chrysalis lay sprawled unconscious as her changelings fled.

"I knew you'd save me," cried Pinkie, hugging her sister close.

Maud simply nodded and surreptitiously wiped a tear from one eye.

Feedback welcome.


Luna hated hospitals. In every world, they stank of death.

She looked at her sister in the improvised recovery-room bed. Celestia's chest barely moved beneath the sheets. The plastic tubing of the ventilator machine that breathed for her stuck out of her muzzle obscenely. She listened to the soft beeping of the heart monitor, and regarded her sister's erstwhile bodyguard.

The human, his suit rumpled and filthy, his arm and forehead bandaged, his face a stone mask of barely controlled rage, sat with the weapon--a "submachinegun"--across his knees, holding Celestia's forehoof.

"She's not a porcelain doll! She's tough! She's been through far worse--" She broke down sobbing. He stood and embraced her.

"Fortunately equines can't vomit," he said.

"Actually, we can."

"Dammit. I'd been hoping she wouldn't be sick when she awakens."

"Didst thou just admit to hoping my sister lacks a gag reflex?" she asked, tears on her cheeks.

150 words exactly. It's a challenge to set a scene and a mood so quickly, much less change direction gracefully. I'm not sure I've done everything right, but I think it's one of my better short-short works.

Feedback welcome.

I forgot to put the "feedback want" thing at the end so I just updated it.

The presumption of no feedback seems strange. Is there anypony who doesn't want feedback...?

Okay, apparently you're the only one who doesn't want feedback, but I'm still going to tell you I really liked this. :derpytongue2: So there.

AJ's parents is ancient terrain that makes it hard to carve out a niche, but you did two things very well that set this piece apart. You expertly set the mood without being overstated, and the line at the end took us somewhere new and interesting—making it bittersweet. Bravo. :ajsmug:

This one's for Posh, who wrote this and gave me this idea (and later the one in the author's note here) after I wrote this.

The Eye That Floats, Silent and Unblinking, in Petunia Paleo's Sandbox

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” shrieked an unseen mare.

Many ears perked at the sound, but only one pony sprang into action, dropping his groceries and dashing down an alley off Ponyville’s market street: The Doctor.

He rushed around the corner of a wooden privacy fence, spotting a small blue filly playing gleefully in her sandbox. A terrified mare stood at their nearby home’s back door.

A giant disembodied eyeball floated between them.

He cleared his throat. “Now, I thought we'd agreed we wouldn't just drop in on the material plane unannounced?”

The eyeball’s pupil seemed to flatten and undulate before reverting to normal.

“Ah. I… can't fault you for that.” The mare looked at him plaintively. “Her contact fell out during her last dimension-jump. Needs help finding it. Thought it landed somewhere over here.”

The filly giggled and tossed up a hoofful of sand.

The mare tittered humorlessly for a moment, then fainted.

EDIT: Boo, forgot to mention that feedback or whatnot is cool.

EDIT 2: EDIT HARDER: Now cross-posted to my shorts collection.


I have never done one of these before, feedback welcome. :twilightsheepish:

Discarding Yourself

Luna felt herself changing as the dark magic enveloped her. It swarmed over her, it was like drowning in ink.

She knew that this was wrong, so very wrong.

Luna understood that she was losing herself to her magic. She was giving away her freedom as a person, willingly turning into somepony else. Somepony terrible.

But, it was better than living with her feelings a moment longer. This change would take it all away, free her of these emotions.

Luna glanced at her sister as the magic formed into the shape of a helmet around her head. The expression of utter horror and sadness on Celestia's face didn't bring her any joy, only more pain

She felt tears on her cheeks and tried to cry out, to ask for forgiveness before her consciousness faded away.

Instead, what Luna heard coming out of her mouth was wild, uncontrollable laughter.

5956815 Be sure to put this as a reply to Loganberry's initial post. That way he'll see it and it'll be counted in the contest.


"Warmth for the Night" (142 words)

It was cold tonight.

The queen grimaced and looked down at her nest. It was a simple conglomeration of loose grass and twigs from the canyons. Only the cave’s walls provided any shelter from the chilled wind.

She closed her eyes.

She saw them. Those ponies scrambling through her black halls. Turning her subjects against her.

Laughing at her.

A tear began to form.

No, she thought.

She remembered right before she jumped off the tower. She could see the pony, with her mane of various purples. She stretched her hoof out to the queen, a false smile on her face.

She imagined the mare’s smile twisting into horror, as the queen’s magic wrapped around her body and squeezed. The mare’s eyes widened, and her delicious emotions flowed into the monarch.

The queen’s laugh echoed throughout the cave.

She felt warmer now.

A little experiment in minimalism. Feel free to leave feedback!


96 Tears

“So what’s the prognosis?” The nurse asked.

The surgery was a success; symmetrical skin grafts went from the cheek to the jawline, giving the patient the appearance of a perpetually sad clown.

“He’ll live.” The tan doctor applied a salve to the pony’s face. “He won’t be the happiest colt in the world, but he should be fine, nonetheless.”

The patient gave a pained grunt as his eyes fluttered open. He looked at the doctor and nurse.

They looked back.

The doctor broke the silence. “This is the third time this year, son. You know your tears are caustic, so what has you in a mood this time?”

“Have you ever heard a joke so funny that you skipped the laughing phase and went straight to crying?”

The pony pushed away the sheet, exposing his cutie mark of a microphone against a brick wall.

“I really should find new work.”

150 words. Feedback welcome.

5928754 This one's only going to make sense to people who have read the arc from the comics where Celestia travels through the mirror to a world where everyone is their opposite. To be very brief to those who haven't, Sombra is good, and our Celestia falls in love with him, but he ends up giving in to evil in order to serve a greater good. And I'm going to cheat a little bit by having my title, which doesn't count against my word limit, serve as an opening line of sorts, a take on one of the most cliched phrases you'll ever see. 150 words on the nose.

Oh, and I don't care either way on feedback. This isn't something I'm ever going to revise, but if you want to tell me what you thought of it, go ahead.

A Single Tear Ran Down His Cheek

It seemed like such a cliched thought. At an earlier time, Sombra might have laughed at it. He peered at the pony who had approached his hiding place, unaware.

If that stupid mirror hadn’t taken away his dear Celestia, made him into this

He loved her, he did, so much that he’d do anything, anything. He already had—violated his morals, lost himself to save her, his body ruined, so if he could extend his life just another day, another hour for when she might return…

Nothing left but hope.

A second tear, then a third, merging into a jagged rip. This face hadn’t lasted as long as the previous one. He’d need another. Again.

Forgiveness, dear Celestia, please. He no longer had the capacity to do anything but laugh, quietly. That pony had approached even closer, probably looking for berries.

He burst into a cackle as he pounced on her.


This takes place before the events of Season 5

"A Lesson Learned"

Twilight heard a howling noise come from Sugar Cube Corner.

Terrified, she rushed in to see what was the matter.

She was greeted by the sight of Pinkie standing at the counter, knife in hoof, tears running down her cheeks.

"Hi Twilight! What's up?" Pinkie said, sounding cheery.

"Are you alright?" Twilight asked, concerned.

"Absotutely! Just chopping some onions!" Pinkie responded, "Why?"

"I heard a noise coming from over here and I thought..."

"Oh that!" Pinkie replied, "Granny Pie said that to keep from crying when chopping onions I should laugh, but you still cry some while you're laughing, which makes a pretty unsettling sound."


Relaxing, she walked over next to her friend.

"What're you making?" Twilight asked.

"Salsa and quesadillas!"

Pinkie pulled out a plate of quesadillas.

"Want some?"

As she turned to face Twilight, Pinkie found her friend had bolted.

"Huh," Pinkie said, "I guess not."

I had to cut this down way past my comfort level, but I hope that it's still enjoyable.

Feedback is welcome!


Joy of Tears

Chestnut’s world was drowning in tears.

“I can always come with a visit, right?”

“You know we don’t do such things once we’re out,” Wind Whisper replied. “Speaking of, I guess you should go now.”

She followed his stare to the Canterlot Orphanarium’s gate behind which her new, kind of super cool parents were waiting. “Goodbye, Wind.” She embraced her bestest friend ever, heavy droplets burning her cheeks. “See you in ten years when we’re both grown-up?”

Wind Whisper snickered mischievously. “Let me check the calendar,” he said on a serious note. “Because, you know, I may be busy breaking some Wonderbolt records in ten years.”

“I’m sure you will. Why do you think I’m setting our meeting up already? Wait, you’re not telling me you’re actually already busy, are you?”

The colt shrugged. “I’ll have my manager contact your secretary.”

They shared one last chuckle. Then they parted ways.

Group Admin

5930389 5931991 5936907 5953913 5953942 5954907 5955566 5955580 5955644 5955846 5956203 5956652 5956815 5956842 5956856 5956919 5956939 5956944

Entries are now closed! Everyone managed to post their fics before the deadline, so yay for that. Prane, you got in two seconds before midnight. That's quite impressive. :coolphoto:

Authors who have opted to receive feedback
AugieDog, CoffeeMinion, Dream Seeker, Eruntalon, Fenton, Humanoid, KwirkyJ, libertydude, Lil_Penpusher, MLPmatthewl419, Pascoite ("I don't care either way" counts!), PostNinja, Quixotic Quill, SweetAl Belle, Trick Question, Zyrian

Authors who did not opt in
monokeras, Prane

If you change your mind as to which category you want to be in, please post to say so clearly and also edit your submission post accordingly.

Discussion/feedback is now open -- you're welcome to post whether or not you entered the contest. As per the new rules this month, please only leave feedback for those authors who've opted in, and please keep feedback descriptive rather than giving scores/grades.

I will announce the winner on Thursday 25th May. Thank you to everyone who entered! :twilightsmile:

5930389 This one is my favorite here. Not only did you embody the entirety of the prompt in a clear, defined way, but I really liked the piece as a whole as well.

That being said, I do feel like I have to doc a few points for creativity- Spike being treated as a side-friend has been done before many, many times.

Still my favorite though!

5931991 This one is definitely interesting, but I'm not quite sure it fully embodies 'laugh, so you don't cry'. It's a very interesting story, and in fact, I read it several times just trying to understand the full implications of what's going on.

I can easily feel Pinkie's sadness here- but there was no laughter. If this was part of Pinkie's backstory, I think it would make a lot more sense and would be a very clever way of addressing the prompt, but as is it felt more like this was an aging, ill Pinkie with some form of mental disease. I don't know if that assumption was correct, but going off of that, I couldn't feel where the laughter was supposed to be.

Good work, though! Very thought-provoking. I certainly enjoyed.

I'm sorry I didn't write anything for this prompt. I kinda had some idea of what I wanted to do, but I just couldn't manage to get my fingers to scribble down a single word... :fluttershyouch:

5936907 This one is pretty good! I like the extension on Starlight's graduation, this is what I'd thought would happen in that episode.

However, there are a few places the wording seemed a little off, and I think I spotted a place or two where you had to cut a few words. It's a pity you couldn't post your initial version- I feel that it'd be just a tad better in a few places, most notably with Starlight Glimmer's calling Twilight 'teach'.

Also, while this did embody much of the mood of the prompt, I feel like it didn't quite reach the 'laughter' in the prompt. While both ponies attempted to part happily, I feel their moods were a little more outwardly sad than fit the prompt.

I still like the story though!

5956961 Nuts, thanks for the reminder.

Everyone feel free to take shots at the eyeball story!

5953913 I like how this one used the prompt. Very fitting. However, I do feel that presenting the idea in scroll form vastly depleated potential emotional reaction. Very clever idea, and a cool method of execution, but it didn't impact me emotionally like many of the other submissions did. I don't know if this was by design, or if you just didn't consider that factor, but yeah. That's why this isn't my favorite here.

Still interesting and cool though!

5956979 There's always next time!

Group Admin

No worries, I've been there too. Nothing stopping you turning your idea into a non-contest story, of course!

Okay, I've edited the post to reflect that.

5954907 I like what you did here. I felt that you did a good job of expressing the prompt, and I enjoyed the story as a whole.

However, I'm not quite sure the first half of the opening was necessary. Other than giving Sweetie Belle an event at which to ask Thoroughblood too, it seems like this just took up words. Those used words could probably go towards making Rarity's reactions, both internal and external, just a little more detailed.

Very good job here! I really like this one.

5955566 This story was interesting, but I had a few concerns. My main concern is that the characterization didn't really feel like Rainbow to me. Also, if answering her questions were really anything more than a flight of fancy for her, why hadn't she tried it before? It seems trivially easy for her to try, find an answer, and she's out of a philosophical question.

I think as a whole, this story could do with some backstory. I feel a broader character introduction would go a long way for introducing your interpretation of Rainbow.

That, or have a more permanent reason for her to have rather been flying, something that couldn't be answered in an afternoon, like practicing for something or just enjoying flight in general.

Also, I'm not sure this story fully embodied the prompt. It seemed to have the same general tone, except less intense. More like 'smile, so you don't frown' than 'laugh, so you don't cry'.

Interesting idea though!

5955580 Very cool! I like it. I wasn't quite sure how to read it, as I'm not very well versed in poetry.

I don't know if I can critique this well, again, I'm not very well versed in poetry, but as far as being a story goes, it could use more imagery of the surroundings, maybe noting particulars of the surroundings to add to the emotions and feelings expressed in Pinkie's interactions and thoughts.

On a whole, well written! Poetry is, in my opinion, the hardest form of writing.

5955644 I do hope you opt in to critique next time- I think learning what others feel about your work can be very helpful for improving your writing.

I will respect your decision, however. :twilightsmile:

Still want to say I enjoyed it though!

5955846 This was interesting. However, I feel like it only embodies half of the prompt. There wasn't much laughter at all here. Also, it wasn't exactly clear what Maud did here, I'd like a little more detail there.

Cool story though!

Group Admin

5957041 You might want to group your reviews together a little and put more than one in a post -- 18 successive posts is maybe a little much! :raritywink: Also, small point: please don't try to persuade people to change their decisions on whether to invite feedback.

Okay, carry on. :twilightsmile:

5956203 This was interesting, but even after reading it several times, I'm still not entirely sure if the backstory. Referring to the submachine gun as 'the weapon' was an interesting choice, because of your use of 'the'. To me, it implied that it was 'the weapon' responsible for injuring Celestia, which puts everything else in an interesting light. Aside from a little backstory qualm, the scene was set right and the punchline was hilarious! I greatly enjoyed this one.

5957050 Oops! My bad! Apologies for cluttering your inbox. I'll try to do the rest together.

And fair enough. Won't happen again.

Group Admin

5957054 Thanks! And that's okay, not a big deal. Certainly won't affect your chances in the judging. :twilightsmile:

I find that Spike in this one bothers me. My first reaction what that he is some grumpy teenager or something, but upon re-reads, I find that I am incorrect. He's feeling unwanted. This probably would have been better with more than a 150-word limit.

While I find the characters a little forced, this is pretty good so far. But it could use some expansion to really flesh it out.

That was incredibly hard to follow. I get that it's supposed to be a scroll format, and in old equish, but it lost me.

An alternate universe? Something about this bothers me, though. And I think how it's kind of an excerpt from something, not a story itself.

Why is Rarity so horrified? Anyway, this is a short, cute scene... I just wish it had a little more to it.

Give me an adventure fic out of this, right now. It is a great set up for one, and I expect the first chapter written within a week.

I got a really weird picture in my head from this. Like, the ages were all messed up. I guess my only complaint is that last line. It's too... out of place for the setup.


Um, okay. Sure? Doesn't quite reach the comedic side of me, though.

Well, this is one of my favorites. Even though I've never read the comics, I have looked stuff up for it. And you did a great job of it.

This needs more context surrounding it. Who are Chestnut and Wind Whisper? Without an expansion, it's just a scene. A solid scene, but a scene. Regardless, this is one of my favorites.

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

It was based on something unpleasantly dark I've had in my head a while. Yours is a different possible interpretation of the scene but I suppose it's a reasonable and valid one, though it doesn't match up with what was in my head. I suppose it also means I'm not communicating clearly enough or implying clearly enough.

I'm not happy with every aspect of it and there are bits I'd rewrite even now--but a deadline imposes a useful sort of discipline and focus and at some point you have to stop swapping words around and changing the order of sentences and actually make a commitment to submitting it on time.

Spoilers follow, if you really want to know what I was attempting to set up with this.

Celestia was visiting our world, or at least a human world (the unfinished story from which I pulled this scene had a very dystopian setting, an alternate timeline diverging from ours with World War III in Europe in 1991 and things deteriorated from there), and at a public appearance there was a terrorist attack and attempted assassination. Her bodyguard--the hardcase sitting by her bed with the automatic weapon in his lap--was wounded, but won the fight (in the sense that the would-be assassins got the martyrdom they said they wanted) but also lost (in the sense that his client was badly wounded and nearly died). He is very unhappy about the situation--to put it mildly--and may in fact be starting to lose his usual professional detachment. That is why he's still there, still willing to fight despite his wounds, instead of cashing his check and walking away, and why he's holding her hoof and fretting about her.

This characterization of Luna taps into headcanon I've borrowed from some other authors (*cough* Estee *cough*)--that Celestia is traditionally the Diarchy's "nice" face, who as part of diplomacy plays "good cop" ("good sirs, please do not be unreasonable, and please do not issue such threats and crudities across the negotiating table, it's really unbecoming of representatives of such an ancient and respected culture") to Luna's "bad cop" ("shut your pieholes and sign the treaty or I'll kill you all right here and now, you primitive screw-heads"). It also happens that this Luna has the martial and magical skills to back up her forthright words. Where Celestia is patient and even-tempered, Luna is mercurial and quick to anger. She loves a good fight and is obsessed with military technology and tactics, which is why she notes the bodyguard is armed (most ponies would have decided he had some kind of tool in his lap and not thought any further about the matter), and recalls the weapon's nomenclature, though she has not seen him use it and does not know what it actually does, beyond being aware that humans have weaponry that uses an explosive propellant to fling bits of metal at high velocities (and as soon as circumstances permit, she's going to want to watch him disassemble and reassemble it, tell her how it works, and she will consider what sort of magic could plausibly stop it from working or otherwise counter what it does--as well as, since he apparently put it to skillful and effective use a few hours before, what sort of magic might be able to duplicate its effects). And while she has learned current modern English (or whatever the ponies call their language), when under emotional strain (or she's had a few drinks--which is not a phenomenon many ponies now alive have been permitted to witness) she reverts to the 17th Century talk. Oh, and, she has a sense of gallows humor as a coping mechanism, which in this situation has resulted in a somewhat inappropriate bawdy jest popping out of her mouth as a response to the bodyguard worrying that Celestia may soon be suffering postoperative nausea. So: Luna is saying "thee" and "thou" while stone cold sober, which means she is more upset than she's letting on, more upset than she has been in a very long time, since before her banishment.

The prompt is the first line of the story. :twilightsmile:

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