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Rainbow Dash has been absent for longer and longer periods of time, but nopony knows why. Feeling her absence perhaps more than she would like to admit, Applejack decides to find out exactly why her friend seems so distracted and why she seems to be avoiding everypony.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 42 )

Your picture confuses me, as "The Flank" is clearly on Dash's nose, and "The Leg" is clearly on her wing...

But I prefer FlutterDash... :fluttercry:
Oh well, gotta look past that to get to the awesome, right? :rainbowdetermined2:
~ChocoLatte

this was something different from your usual ship fic. what do you normally ship anyway?

Applejack looked away. A couple o’months.”

Missed a quote

... Well, for a one-shot, that wasn't bad. I felt like it could have been expanded upon a bit, that they only rushed to find Dash because the weather team just happened to need something desperately right that second. Felt a little off/forced IMO, but I'm not entirely sure how I could fix it personally. :twilightblush:

Awesome story, D, a few minor typos notwithstanding. Applejack is reminding me a lot of me in this one =P Only the second AppleDash fic I've truly enjoyed, lol. Well done :)

That was good. I can't really say anything else... it was just... really good.

There's some real depth in the notion of stars that steal souls, I have to say, and overall this was quite lovely. :raritystarry:

"In it's own way, I'd say love is the most powerful force on Earth."
- Unknown

I liked this story, having a creepy twist to it without going far enough to require the Dark tag.

On the grammatical side, I noticed this several times:

“Rainbow Dash!” She shouted desperately.

If you're describing how they're talking (said, asked, shouted etc), it is always lowercase, regardless if they end with commas or question/exclamation marks. Only when speech is followed by a sentence without these verbs is a capital letter used.

Finally, it arrives!

Good work, dude-o. :D

Warning: This comment contains spoilers. If you don't want spoilers, DON'T read this comment!

First off, welcome back, sir! I hope everything is going well with you at the moment.

Second, I apologize for not being able to write a shorter comment; I wanted to give my thoughts on as much as I could about this story.

Thirdly, I've just read this story, and I have to say that my first impression is that it's a light, sweet story. Yes, there are typos, although I only remember two of them:

Applejack could see the shore on the other side. The distant pointy tops of the trees marked the sheer width of the lake. To her left, she could see a large rock, jutting out of the trees, covered in moss, it’s (its)lower part looking like a wolf’s muzzle over the edge of the lake.

The trio went into the forest, following Applejack’s half-remembered route, which made her slow down enough to gavi Twilight a chance to catch up.

Other than that, I believe the grammar is pretty tight.

Before I get to your story, I'd like to say that there are criticisms/questions presented in this comment. You're free to ignore them as you will; they're not meant to insult or discourage you in any way, but are rather things I personally noticed in the story. They may not even be bad things; I may just lack the knowledge at the moment to truly appreciate some things, and I apologize for that.

Now to get to the actual story!

Let me begin with the big picture: Applejack likes Rainbow Dash, but doesn't want to risk her friendship by telling her. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash has found this lake in the Everfree Forest that shows a set of stars that have been banished by Luna for being malevolent constellations. I think this, immediately, creates a very interesting premise. I think this plays off interests the characters have nicely; Applejack wants to remain rooted to the ground, and Rainbow Dash has a chance to disappear forever, exploring the limitless world to the point of being unreachable by Applejack.

And I feel like you story portrays that nicely. It does have that conflict in there, where Rainbow Dash becomes lost in the lake's world, becoming truly limitless. Applejack has to take a leap of faith, a literal plunge into the unknown, an adventure from her firmly established roots. The payoff is excellent, in my opinion, because both characters appear to realize something about their lives that they couldn't live without: Applejack took a plunge into unknown territory and came out with what she wants, and Rainbow Dash was brought back to reality by love. This is mainly Applejack's story, but Rainbow Dash's story arc is also very interesting, and nicely portrayed.

The beginning of the story has Applejack talk to Fluttershy about her crush on Rainbow Dash, basically having a confidant in the pegasus. The way it's portrayed is nice, with awkward conversations and sexual innuendos all around. The dialogue is nice, and the body actions are nice. As to where it fits in the story, I think it's fine. It introduces a part of the overall conflict—that Rainbow Dash has been frequently disappearing from Ponyville—in a way that sets the tone for what's happening in the world. However, I do feel like even though the portrayal of the confiding moment is nice, its inclusion in the story is a bit detrimental. The main conflict is internal with Applejack, as she has to deal with confessing her feelings to Rainbow Dash or not, and confiding in Fluttershy to the point of Fluttershy understanding it feels like her feelings are a lot less internal, that she has to share it with friends, and therefore her feelings are kinda out there, and they're not internal, and she doesn't need to keep it from everypony, therefore making a change and undermining the "keep things constant" vibe I got from Applejack for most of the story. I don't know if that makes sense, but tl:dr (or confused as all getup), I feel that to get the impact of Applejack's feelings across stronger, Applejack should've kept the information to herself at this particular part.

So she goes to Twilight's place and asks her if she's seen Rainbow Dash. Twilight discusses why she could be missing, and they end by saying Applejack can call Twilight if she needs help finding her. I think this part is very well done, with necessary simple dialogue that still carries intrigue in it. I also like how you put up a possibility for Rainbow Dash's whereabouts to explain everything, and then shoot it down; there's something about that logical deduction, not just here but through the entire story, that makes the reality much more believable, and much more sinister. I think that scene was very well done.

Applejack follows Rainbow Dash through the Everfree Forest to the lake, and I'll just say this now: your imagery is amazing.

The crystalline water licked the shore, which extended just out of sight in both directions, in silence. The lake itself was covered by a slight mist, just like the one among the trees. Floating just over the water, not high enough to hide anything, but there, always present.

Applejack could see the shore on the other side. The distant pointy tops of the trees marked the sheer width of the lake. To her left, she could see a large rock, jutting out of the trees, covered in moss, it’s lower part looking like a wolf’s muzzle over the edge of the lake.

This is enough for me to get a picture of the outlying area, and it does so in a matter that sets a calm-yet-foreboding atmosphere in my mind. I thought that was excellent, and that with the comment of avoiding touching the waters was titillating. The way you describe the lake's image as well, including the fact that there's no reflection in the water, is awe-inducing for me. :rainbowdetermined2::yay:

The dialogue between Applejack and Rainbow Dash does seem a bit odd, though. I find it odd that Rainbow Dash is calm about Applejack intruding in this serene moment when she could either a)interrupt, sever or scare off the stars that are calling out to her or b) be a predator looking to consume her. It may be because this place has an overwhelming sense of serenity, and there's a feeling that nothing dangerous will find them, but I feel like that should've been addressed—although that could induce unnecessary information. Getting to the dialogue itself, I liked how both in-character and trance-like it was, Rainbow Dash feeling an overwhelming sense of calm, and Applejack wanting to return with Rainbow Dash to normal. I thought the speech was good, but the reaction to the disturbance a bit odd for my tastes.

But that may just be me.

But then I get to my main problem with the story: the part where the three of them embark to save

Change of heart alert!

Crud, now I have a dual opinion on the matter. On one hand, I feel like Twilight coming along with them kinda takes the focus from Applejack unnecessarily; on the other hand, if Twilight hadn't been there, then how would Luna know about the lake being compromised? I feel like you had to make Twilight come along in order for Luna to know, but I still feel like something is wrong here. I almost feel like it should've been instinctive for Luna to know about it, and Applejack could still take the plunge, but by herself, therefore keeping the focus mainly on Applejack.

Feel free to ignore that, since now I see that your way makes sense. :facehoof: Gosh, why can't I think in a clear manner?

Anyway, after all of that, we get to where Applejack finds herself in this realm, and for once I feel like the phrase "sea of stars" is an apt image, since it fits with the body-of-water being used here. To summarize this part, I like how both compact and vivid it feels, and I think you did excellently with it. Plotwise, I think you did something very well here: you not only took Applejack out of her comfort zone by placing her in the unknown, but taking her to an extreme in the unknown—the limitless potential—and challenge her self there. And her explanation for why she firmly resists the call of the malevolent constellations makes sense, and more importantly, I think, it comes from a place in her heart that tells her that limitless world is not a place for her. This entire scene is great.

The climax where Rainbow Dash tries to rescue Applejack bothers me. Applejack came to get Rainbow Dash out of the world, to ground her, and yet in the end, it's Rainbow Dash who ends up saving her. I feel like that's less of an Applejack-succeeding-in-her-ultimate-goal moment and more of a I'm-a-damsel-in-distress moment, and it comes off as inauthentic to the story. The dialogue, though, is great, staying in character, resolving the conflict as well as being witty and funny at places. I do have a problem with Rainbow Dash just says her friends were holding her back, and doesn't encounter any sort of downside to it or doesn't have Applejack question her about how they'd hold her back.

But, again, that may just be me.

The resolution with Luna closing off the lake in onyx-like material and Applejack and Rainbow Dash confessing their love is sweet, and I like the explanation Luna gives for these malevolent spirits. It makes it seem like Rainbow was truly "shooting for the stars," but needed to learn that some stars were dangerous, and would feed off of her and potentially end her life in a state of depression or despair. Overall, I think the ending is nice.

Also, that quip about Applejack not confessing her love sooner because she's a slowpoke was brilliant, in my opinion.

So that's what I think of each individual part of this story. Now lastly, I'd like to talk about how it registered on an emotional level, if you'd permit me. For a story of this length, I think it's nice, although with the parts that felt inauthentic or confusing to me, and how Applejack's conflict wasn't entirely contained throughout (in my opinion), it resonated within me, but not by a lot. I very much enjoyed the plot, but the romance was hurt by those things.

And that's my comments on this story. Again, you're free to ignore criticisms and questions as you see fit, and I intend no insult in any way. I would like to say that I enjoyed it, and it earns an upvote from me.

This is a beautiful, adventurous romantic story. I actually cheered for Luna when she appeared!

You nailed their Hero's Journey, by the way. Because the Magic Flight didn't free them and the threat remained in the Final Arena, it took a little help from a Big Damn Hero.

The concept behind this story is very interesting. I'd like t see this expanded upon. Maybe a sequel? Anyway, this was well-written and I enjoyed it. I hope to see more stories like this.

This was quite enjoyable! Though I can't shake the feeling that the, well, feelings in here seemed a bit rushed. The relationship aspect of things.

The worldbuilding, the crafting of the setting, the lake in particular, that was awesome. I could just picture it, imagine it. But the driving force, the AppleDash... seems a bit lacking in something. Can't quite put my finger on what.

Good romance, eldritch horrors, conflicting emotions...
What's not to love?

Yeah, D didn't consult his harem cult team of editors on this one, so it was bound to have a few errors. *shrug*

Good story, D

I am going to repeat some of the above sentiment that this story has a few things going for it, particularly the nod to worldbuilding and the intent behind the narrative, but there was an irritating wrongness as it is written. Put succinctly, any typos aside, the overall structure and pacing came across as clunky and awkward, with the relationship (both between the characters and the reader with the narrative) seemed forced.

The setup at the very beginning was great: establishing the mood and the character's feelings with a prompt to get the story rolling. The first hint that something is failing, however, is how abruptly Fluttershy leaves. Were this a play, there would surely be a beat or two there indicating that perhaps her withdrawal is to leave an awkward situation (as one possibility), but, as written, becomes indicative of one of the overarching errors of this fic: this is what's happening, get it, moving on now.

To expand upon the latter point, we are told that the weather crew is up in hysterics over Dash's erratic behaviour, but there is no sense of urgency when regaled nor any impact in the story other than to excuse to the reader why Fluttershy and Twilight are coming to Applejack. We are shown the pool once, told that Dash feels a connection with it, then the scene abruptly pulls away, the 'introduction' having been completed. The disparate scenes are disjointed, abrupt, dry, and function well enough to merely convey the sequence of events.

Even this is not achieved at times, but for different reasons. An example most clear in my mind as I type is Applejack following Dash's contrail: nearly each time this was used, it was difficult to discern exactly what was intended, as well as featuring bizarre language.
For instance, this paragraph, and how it fit with those immediately pre- and succeeding :

Her thoughts were interrupted by a glimpse in the sky of a rainbow mane. She frowned and looked carefully at the clouds. Had she just imagined it? There were no more sightings, and she finally shook her head, heading back to work.

There were probably a few other points I wanted to make when I started commenting, but I've since lost them. As such, I'll move along to leave some due praise...

As stated above, there is promising intent and possibilities here. The relationships (Dash and the Constellation, Applejack and Dash) could be better developed and conveyed, but the heart is there. The Constellation, Luna's history with it, and the threats it poses are all intriguing notions, and I, personally, would love to see this built up in a slightly darker and edgier work, perhaps with this as the focus (or at least thematic centrepiece) and AppleDash being ancillary... just a thought. How Applejack obfuscated actually telling anything to Fluttershy was well done, and might be expanded upon; similarly, the following scene at the library left the impression of being very well-done.

I, for another, would like to see this story expanded upon! :rainbowwild:

This story stayed interesting to read till the very end! Luna was a very nice addition. :heart:

while i like the story's concept, there are some glaring continuity errors that i must mention. the biggest of which being that it doesn't feel as if enough time has passed to get back to town and spike didn't seem to have writing materials on him before hand, so where the heck did the letter come from?

the other big issue would be the rushed romance plotline. the dialogue is there but the characters motivations don't actually feel romantic. more like the relationship was slapped on as a plot device. i haven't a damn clue how to fix that, but yeah, clunky psudo-romance. not really romance. maybe it switches gears too fast for me to get into? i dunno.

I was angry at Applejack for kicking Fluttershy out of the tree, because I didn't see that she apologized until I looked over it a second time. The star pool idea was a cool idea. Ponies yelling Apple Bloom at Applejack was pretty funny...

Interesting concept - nice to switch up the shipping short story with something like this. However, I felt like it was a bit rushed. I think you probably could have expanded on it by making it into three chapters and taking time with the relationship, the discoveries, the reveals, and building up how ominous the lake really is.

For a story like this, where there is some world building, it can almost seem comical when you introduce a magical element. This story, for me, boarders on being comical simply because it's rushed. Convincing the reader that there are stars that talk to ponies to suck on their souls is ALMOST not passing in this story. But it actually held up really well in your story. Still, it might help to show Dash's interaction with the lake more, or Applejack noticing how distracted Rainbow is over the next few days, or maybe even showing Dash not only being mesmerized by the lake, but almost nervous to be taken away from it or like she wanted to jump in when Applejack was there. Or maybe even showing a strain in their relationship or showing that RD felt that way for Applejack more, and how it hurts her that she doesn't have what she wants.

But these things take time, and that's why I mentioned at least three chapters >_< Also, it was pretty rushed, as most people said, when they discovered RD was missing, and a little convenient. Taking more time with the story to maybe let Applejack realize suddenly that the clouds in the sky had not been cleared, and having a moment of dread, then rushing to get Twilight because she knew there was some abnormal magic going on there might have helped.

Still, I like the story. The description of the glade is done quite well, and the idea of stars in a lake during the day is a very powerful image. Even the explanation as to why they are there is quite epic and fits well with the MLP universe. I would love to see artwork of Applejack in mid-jump into the lake of stars.

Anyways, good job, and happy writing!

Cute creepy makes u want to stop night swiming

2527290

Are you calling RD a flank-kisser? :rainbowhuh:

But yes, perhaps a bit more effort could have been made to line the pegasus constellation up with the silhouette.

That was an excellent little story. Well done.

Now that, was quite interesting! Honestly, that would have been a nice idea for an episode! You know, aside from the romance factor. X3 I'm okay with it, but I seriously doubt Hasbro would be. :derpytongue2:

Very well done, D! :pinkiehappy:

It's a great story but the actual AppleDash does feel kinda tacked on.
Still great though :ajsmug:

This was a fantastic story! :pinkiehappy:
The emotion and love held in this was truly a work of art. It was really cute too :twilightsmile:
Good job! Instant favorite!

Interesting mesh of AppleDash and Eldritch Abomination.

The big question in the comments seems to be whether the ending could have been accomplished with "just friends" instead of a romance. i think Luna does a good job of answering that question.

A very nice, well put together story. I applaud you and your work, sir!

This has all the elements of a great story. Good characterization, engaging yarn, a sprinkling of romance, and a pinch of danger. Such a good read is hard to come by.

Interesting story and concept although I was kind of annoyed with the layout and some grammar of the story (although that's probably because I'm a grammar nazi :P ). AppleDash felt a bit cliche, especially when AJ just kissed Rainbow suddenly. Felt like the whole pond and the imprisoned stars could've had more depth too.
All in all good short story

2528360
I am a bit late in getting around to reading this, but I do know what you can't place. An editor told me once what he found lacking in most romance fics... the why. This story doesn't tell us anything about why Applejack and Rainbow Dash have feelings for each other, just that they do. Because of this, the romance feels even more rushed than it is (and it kind of is already).

That aside, the imagery and world building was fantastic, and it was an enjoyable read. The idea that stars could be ill-willed is certainly an interesting one and could make for an entire fic on its own. I would read it.

Wanderer D
Moderator

2550301 This is a very good point. I'll take it under advice for future stories!

2534567 Am I not worthy? :fluttercry:

2530370 Thank you for your thought-out review! :pinkiehappy: Yeah, it is a bit rushed :facehoof: tbh I did feel the need to make it into a small series (3 to 5 chapters max) but then decided against it. I guess my first instinct was better. Still, glad you enjoyed the story regardless!

2530105 Thank you, I've taken notes to avoid such discrepancies in future romance one-shots. :raritywink:

2529825 Thanks! As I've mentioned above I'm taking all this advice into consideration. One-shot romances are not my specialty, since I'm usually drawn to the long, epic-type stories where the romance is usually found as a subplot that I can build over several chapters. But all the criticism is good advice so far, and each of you is giving me little insights into how to one-shot romance better.

2527877 Wow, this is really in-depth! Thanks for the scene-by-scene comments. I see your points, and I'll make sure your time (and the other reviewers') is not wasted. I've learned a few things from the comments here about better writing one-shot romances... and pacing. :twilightblush:

2527631 You know, the sad thing is that I know the rule and yet, like 'hoofs' it keeps getting past me so much! :facehoof: I almost never notice until it's too late.

2555307 Best of luck with your next crack at this!

Also, I can't resist:

>> DbzOrDie Am I not worthy?

No, I'm Not Worthy. :twilightsmile:

enough to gavi

Gavi? :derpyderp1:

dark, velvety darkness

Is that anything like creamy, cold ice cream or hot, burning heat?

holding her hat in her head

That has to be somewhat painful.

Nicely written, love the concepts. Mean stars trapped in a pool in the everfree seems like it would fit nicely into the mythos of the show.

Wanderer D
Moderator

2621950 It's... uh, intentionally redundant! Yes it is! :pinkiehappy: :rainbowderp: :facehoof:

Great story! A little adventure, a little romance, a little mystery, a little slice of life, all wrapped together in a wonderfully authentic feeling package! :pinkiehappy::ajsmug::rainbowlaugh::twilightsmile:

Daaaaaamnnnn.

Forgot all about this one and how bloody deep it was...

Glad I took the time to reread it!

~Skeeter The Lurker

This is beautiful! I've read many romances during my time here, but this is one of those stories where I haven't expected to hit me hard in the emotions. :pinkiehappy:

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