• Member Since 7th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

ocalhoun


I am not contained between my hat and my boots.

T

In the deepest corners of the Everfree Forest, shapes move in the dark. Secrets are kept safe under ancient trees, and glowing green eyes herald the doom of anypony foolish enough to seek them out.

Roseluck has no interest in the secrets of the old forest's guardians. She only wants the vital ingredient for healing her sick friend, Lily. But when she and Daisy go in search of it, they find more than they bargained for. The treasures of the deep forest are not undefended, and a war is brewing under the shadows of the trees.

A story of adventure and discovery in a place where nopony has gone before.
Expect new chapters daily, until all five are published. 17,286 words, total.
'Teen' tag is for one brief scene of innuendo.

As always, I adore comments of all kinds, the more specific and prolific the better. Many thanks to my pre-reader: Seeker my editor: Benny, and my proofreader: Soge

Chapters (5)
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Comments ( 57 )

Pretty good, though I cringe at what might happen if Lily doesn't get her medicine pretty soon. :fluttershysad:

A question though: How did you manage to get that accentuated first letter? I've always wanted to try it in my more fantasy oriented stories, but I can't get it right!

...headcanon updating…

You know what I wanna see? No? Well, I'm gonna tell ya anyway. Instead of Rose learning about respecting the forest and gaining the respect of her captors, I wanna see her tear their whole group down from the inside and get away with the whole rose bush. Maybe burn down their boss, too. Why? Because nobody ever does that in stories like this.

As a side note, I think it's high time I started following this author. Been meaning to for a while.

3786898
It's actually an image file, not text.

Over 5 hours up, and only 19 views? :rainbowhuh:
:facehoof: To be ignored, it is worse than being criticized, by far.
Woe is me! :raritydespair:

Anyway, :twilightsmile: for those of you who did come and read it... even though the numbers are small, it's 100% upvotes, and more than half of the people who viewed it favorited it.
Thank you so much! :yay:


3786810
Oh, it's not that spooky. ^.^

3786898
Entirely the intended reaction. :twilightsmile:
And I get that leading letter thusly:
1- Get lots of fonts. I have about 300,000 fonts.
2- After writing the story, make a list of the letters that begin each chapter. (A H and R for this story)
3- In the Gimp (or Photoshop if you prefer) Make a 50px wide transparent background .png image filled up with the letter you need. Try out different fonts until you find one that fits the story well.
4- Upload the leading letter images to private webserver
5- When converting the story to bbcode, replace the first letter of each chapter with the bbcode for the image of that letter instead. Insert it directly inline in the text; no hard return before or after it.
6- Post and enjoy ^.^

...and if you like those, you should see my section break images! Chapter 1 doesn't have a section break, but I think there's one in chapter 2.

3787049
Excellent. :twilightsmile:

3787093
Well, that would make Rose into a totally different kind of character, but it would be interesting.
And thanks for the follow! :twilightblush: I've got several more good fics in editing right now, so I'm sure you'll find more to enjoy as time goes on.

3787962
Quite so. :twilightsmile:

3788440
Yeah, the lack of attention this story is getting strikes me as bizarre, especially considering the amount of fans you have. But, it does happen to the best of us. It also happens to the not-so-great, such as myself. Perhaps a lot of people are just busy and slipping this onto their "read later" lists, and the attention will pick up after a bit. I do hope so, as I'm always a bit saddened by good stories that get little attention. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more. Also, I like how you only release stories that are finished so readers don't end up with forever-incomplete stories or have to wait long periods for updates. One chapter a day, only beginning when the whole thing is already done is my policy, too.

3788707
Yeah, what gives? :rainbowhuh:
Is good story, good description, good cover image... but where are the readers?
*shrugs it off*
Oh, the vagaries of fate.
I guess this will be one of my slow-growers, but at this point, I'm expecting less than 500 readers, total. :ajsleepy:

Anyway, I look forward to reading more. Also, I like how you only release stories that are finished so readers don't end up with forever-incomplete stories or have to wait long periods for updates. One chapter a day, only beginning when the whole thing is already done is my policy, too.

Yeah. I can't stand waiting for chapter updates that might not ever come.
I refuse to read unfinished stories, and I don't subject my readers to it, either.

Learning more about them already, I see. An interesting take on the creatures.
Ehh, is "creature" the right word? I suppose they're less like animals and more like golems or something. Oh well.

3792632
:twilightsmile:
More fun descriptions coming up.

“What?” Bark slumped. “Then what do you eat?”

“Well, mostly plants.”

Bark recoiled away from her, holding one paw up to his chest. “You eat plants?”

Turnabout is fair play, ponies!

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter to see where this goes.

3796724
Well, then, good for you. ^.^
The next chapter is up!

As long as Fang Horn lives, no wolf will dare lay a paw on you.

Well, that's not foreboding at all…

You know, it's not often that I think about what fruit really is. A bit gross, when one considers it. Another interesting chapter. I'm just waiting for the bomb to drop, and I'm not sure what's going to happen next.

Fang Horn's clearing was full of timberwolves, completely packed.

I see what you did there. Or I'm just hallucinating puns where none were intended.


3798046
As ominous as it may be, it is still the most accurate statement that could be said at this time.:pinkiehappy:

3798046
<.<
>.>
Ignore that obvious foreshadowing behind the curtain!

3799099
Yay! ^.^ My random thoughts are useful!

3799756

I see what you did there

:rainbowderp:
Good... because I don't see what I did there. :rainbowhuh:

3800693
Timberwolves. Completely packed...?
Anyone?
No...?
Oh well.

And I for one have faith in Fang Horn. He's a smart old guy, I'm sure everything will be fine.

3801825

Timberwolves. Completely packed...?

:rainbowhuh:
Oh! :rainbowkiss:
:rainbowlaugh:

Hmm.... This should be interesting. Still not sure where this will end up, but I eagerly await the conclusion.

Nuuu poor tail-less timberwolf...

Bark's invincible!

I'm thinking his tail has drifted into Ponyville. If nothing else, asking around for it would be an interesting conversation starter.

3802883
I hope it's satisfying! ^.^

3803117
:twilightsheepish:

3806281
That would be fun for a sequel! ^.^

Well... that didn't go in the direction I initially thought it would, that's for sure. Commence spoilers.

When I started reading, this appeared as though it would one of those stories where the protagonist joins a group of nature-lovers and slowly learns to appreciate and respect their ways to the point that the protagonist is willing to go against their own (former) allies if it were to come to war. Eventually, Roseluck would gain such respect that she'd be willingly given what she needed in the first place, and she might even go live with them permanently. It's an idea that's been done numerous times; a dead horse, so to speak. John Carter of Mars, The Last Samurai, James Cameron's Avatar, the list goes on. But that didn't quite happen here, much to my pleasant surprise.

Instead, we get something that sort of treads on the borders of this idea and perhaps even plays with it at times. Roseluck does gain the respect of two of the wolves, but the others still seem to think little of her. She does seem interested in maintaining contact with them, but that just seems to be because she has a friend who is one of them. Her knowledge of their ways lead to her helping her own kind a little, but it probably didn't make much of a difference in the end. She did sort of protect the timberwolves from the ponies, but only if you believe that the ponies would have won the war. This story seems to play with the tropes common to these kinds of stories, and I always find alternative usage of tropes to be interesting.

I would normally expect this sort of story to end with a big battle (because they usually do), but instead the resolution is one that solves the issue present without causing too much of a ruckus. Some might say "anticlimax," but really, why would sensible characters let it escalate further if there was a simpler way to diffuse the situation? The story trades a typical ending for one that wraps things up cleanly and in a way that makes sense, as well as providing some callbacks to timberwolf anatomy and customs. No senseless conflict or pointless idiocy muddles the situation, unless you count what went down with their leader dying (I don't), which may or may not have been a conspiracy.

Overall, I liked this story. It did feel a little short, but I honestly don't know what could make it longer that wouldn't just be padding. It tells the story effectively within the length it has, so I don't really see the length as a problem. I'd say that this is a pretty good story, and it's really sad (and kinda weird) that it's gotten so little attention (as of this writing). Nice work.

3807058
Thanks! :twilightsmile: I'm glad I can bring a little originality to it! :yay:

Extremely good world-building. I liked the way you made use of a Tolkienian influence without writing a precisely Tolkienian story. Very well done! :twilightsmile:

4169772
Thanks! :twilightsmile:
And yeah, Tolkien references abound in the story, in addition to the overall influence.
My version of timberwolves is heavily influenced by Tolkien's ents.

Such a underrated gem of story but I do have two complaint. One is that you could of done without the romance since it didn't really have much to it. The other is that I could of expand this a bit like have Rose explore more of the place she is given. But other then that this is a good gem I have read.

4258258
I know, right? :ajbemused:
This is one of the stories I'm most proud of, yet one of my least popular.
Well, at least that doesn't happen to me all the time.

Anyway, yeah, I probably could have stood to build it up a bit more.

This story needs more reads than it has. (And maybe a sequel of some kind? :pinkiehappy:)

The romance was ... pretty whack*, but other than that the story was pretty good.

*Can't friends take grave risks for each others' lives without having some romantic subtext?

4881626
:facehoof:
I should have listened to my editors on that one.

3802653 Unintentional puns are best puns. :twilightsmile:

I loved reading every sentence of this story :twilightsmile: Great work!
(Seriously, my eyes were glued to my laptop screen)

Well, this is normally where I put my complaints and/or criticisms about the story, but I honestly found nothing to complain about. It is just that good :ajsmug:

Well, seeing as I have nothing more to say... I'll end this comment here.

Cheers!

5696219
Thanks! ^.^
Yeah, even though it's not all that popular, I do think this is one of my higher-quality stories.

5705455 I don't see how it hasn't got much attention... It makes no sense...

5705461
Cover image and description not up to snuff, probably.

Definitely a suspenseful kickoff. I shall read this one with interest.

As far as feedback goes, I'll give you the pros and cons in bullet point form:

PROs

- Holy heck, you don't waste time. I was a little curious as to how the scenario would build up, and I was a bit surprised at finding it in media res. In an original story, that would probably be problematic, as I wouldn't have the necessary background to understand what's going on. But in hindsight, I appreciate the swift pace. It works wonderfully to grab my attention.

- Constant twists and escalations: life-and-death flower-seeking, timberwolf attack, avoiding certain death only to end up forced to live among killers, the existence of timberwolf society, Bark Hide's secret interest, the backstory that conflicts with the aforementioned life-and-death flower-seeking, all add up to a thrill ride.

- Intriguing worldbuilding. Timberwolves regarding themselves as Everfree's defenders is an interesting take, definitely, and the legend was a nice touch. Also, is Fang Horn a LotR reference to Fanghorn Forest?

- Kind of impressed with how you handled Roseluck's behaviour. I won't say she's deep, but neither did she feel like a departure from the lovable coward of the show. She clearly won't abandon a friend even when being chased and cornered by timber wolves. And I think the fact that she's a normal pony makes it easier to feel the tension with her, because you know she wouldn't stand much chance if things went south. She only survives because she has a rose for a cutie mark. That sheer luck is pretty horrifying right there.

- The culture clash between Roseluck and Bark Hide. Got me eager to see how she navigates this!

CONS

- Formatting feels a bit off. Too many single-sentence or short paragraphs in rows, which is distracting when overused. Even if they occur during faster-paced action scenes, it feels like it could be better to simply combine a few, and reserve the single-sentence paragraph form strictly for important emphasis. Too much use dampens the effect.

- Also, I see a few spelling mistakes, such as spelling Lily as Lilly, and I'm sure I saw an "l" where a "t" should have been at one point. It might be worth giving this the once-over with a fine-toothed comb.

- Kind of a double-edged sword deal, but the fact that it starts in media res means I don't get to see much of Rose's relationship with Daisy and Lily, which hobbles my understanding of her character at this point. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but at the moment they're more like satellites to Rose's character, and at this point I am hoping that the relationship is developed later on, because there wasn't much to go on here beyond Rose as an amazingly awesome and devoted friend thrust into a really bad situation.

- I also don't have anything but the blandest and vaguest of ideas of what Rose's character is normally like, since she's basically a total action survivor here. It doesn't feel like we've learned that much about her, however likeable and sympathetic she is. This isn't a brilliant criticism to trot out this early, I admit. I just think it's important to let you know what kind of trade-off you inevitably deal with when starting in media res.

I think that's all for now. Just have to see how the next few chapters turn out.

6026045
Wow -- with a review like that, I'm definitely eager to see what you have to say about later chapters! ^.^

and...

Also, is Fang Horn a LotR reference to Fanghorn Forest?

It very much is. ^.^ I'm impressed. You're one of the very few who picked up on that without being prompted.

Whoa, that was short compared with yesterday's. Granted, the previous chapter is easily the longest from the contents page, but after the exciting opening, this felt like it ended abruptly right when it was getting started. I might have either expanded it or combined it with the next one, but we'll see how the next one goes before I say anything definite.

PROs

- The culture clash is consistently entertaining and fascinating. The food dispute, the Lupus Mal and its ferocity, and the timberwolf attitudes towards eating plants are wonderful and make sense, given their alien biology. If half-wolf, half-plant creatures were real, I could easily see them thinking as they do.

- The zap apple reference and explanation was marvellous; now we know why the wolves howl. And Bark Hide getting excited over it in particular was adorable, in an "ugly cute" way.

- Speaking of Bark Hide, he's proving to be pretty fascinating. It would be too easy to make him the token "nice guy" among the timberwolves, so seeing him disgusted at herbivory, and seeing his dark side when he eats the rabbit, and when he admits he does it solely because he wants to, keeps things nicely on edge.

- Having Bark Hide be a gardener was kind of out-of-the-blue, but it's a clever way to get him and Rose to actually start getting along rather than just have Rose as the unfortunate tag-along. I'm sure it'll balance the relationship well enough to make developing it into a friendship likely. Plus, given his interests and curiosity, I wouldn't put it past him to have experimented with the art.

- Rose is OK. She's fine as the pony-out-of-town having to adjust to timberwolf society, so it's good groundwork for later chapters. She's still a sympathetic and likeable character, so well done.

CONs

- Most of these are technical more than anything at this stage, since the story itself is shaping up fine. Formatting is still a weakness: a long paragraph precedes a speech which should probably have been in its own paragraph. Putting description before speech is fine, so long as it's short and focuses on the speaker.

- Again, too many short paragraphs that could probably do with being combined.

- During the fight, I think the second comma here should be replaced with a full stop, since Bark Hide's not continuing a sentence when speech resumes, but starting a new one:

“They're fighting a Lupus Mal,” Bark said, “It’s how we settle disputes. Don't ponies do it the same way?”

- Overuse of dashes is also distracting. I think a few of those could be replaced with ordinary full stops and so on, since most dashes either link to a parenthetical statement (basically an aside) or indicate an interruption.

- In general, the worldbuilding is all there really is here. Not much happens plotwise, and characterization is level but doesn't feel like it's moved much.

Another good chapter.

PROs

- In contrast to the other chapters, this one feels much more leisurely and laid back, which is precisely what the story needed at this point. Some breathing space is dedicated towards letting Rose's and Bark Hide's relationship develop, which is helped by what's already been established.

- Definitely a nice note of sadness in the growing realization that Rose's goal is becoming hopeless. At this rate, I'm psyched as to how she actually does resolve that particular issue.

- A particularly good bit was the "crossing the river" scene. It seems like an odd thing to pick up on, but I enjoy these constant reminders of their biological differences, and this one was more subtle than most. Crossing a river on stones when you're bigger and capable of regenerating must give the timberwolves a different sense of danger to regular flesh-and-blood ponies, and of course these little conflicts across the route help to break up the nicer elements so that they don't feel too facile or excessive.

- I have to admit the berry scene made hilariously logical sense to me. She is essentially eating a plant womb, when all's said and done. Small wonder Bark Hide cringes at it. It also goes a good way, getting around the herbivory taboo without forcing Rose to starve.

- Dark bits are a little sparser here, but the beaver bit keeps a good trend alive. I also liked how Bark Hide feigned hostility at the start, even if Rose was a little slow in catching on.

- Phoenix pollinating. Answered a question I didn't even think of answering about phoenix ecology, so props to that. Worldbuilding like this is great, even if it's only for one scene. No wonder Rose was so fascinated by the fire lilies.

- More internal conflicts within the timberwolf pack, and a political one by the look of it. Excellent. Rose should keep an eye on this one. Given Fang Horn's opposition to her using the Wolfstone rose, it might turn to her advantage.

CONs

- I still can't feel invested in Rose's relationship to Lily. It's a sign of increasing trust that she divulges it to Bark Hide at all, but it feels like I'd have to read a different fic to get the actual details, which makes it feel a little empty and more transparently a plot device. I understand it's not the focus of the story, but a subplot expounding on it a little would have added more punch to the "ticking clock" fear of Rose failing her task.

- On that note, I grant the odds are stacked against her, but given that this is supposed to be a big stake, it feels like Rose gives up a little too easily here. I was expecting the determination to at least keep her alert for a chance to get the flowers, even if she wasn't confident enough to actually try anything. After her much stronger presence in the first chapter, it feels a bit of a let-down.

- I'm kind of confused about the Wolfstone rose bit. It says "if no trees are murdered to give it substance". I don't get it. That sounds to me like it's either caused by tree felling as a magical byproduct, or it's somehow fed dead trees, but the former isn't obvious from the wording - I had to stop and think around the "murdered to give it substance" part - and the latter runs too strongly against the grain of the timberwolf dislike of forest damage for me to consider it plausible, even though it's the more comprehensible reading. Might need to rephrase this to clarify.

- Against my will, I am kind of with Moon Howl here. Fang Horn comes across as a bit too passive and blind at times, even though we're supposed to understand that he's wiser than Moon Howl. It's not that Moon Howl couldn't have a point - compelling villains usually do - and I appreciate we're not seeing the whole debate here, but the flipside is that Fang Horn comes across as slightly naive to pin his hopes on a pony he only just met who may sympathize with his kind. That's especially considering the way she was "recruited" into his program to begin with.

- That last bit at the end was very heavy foreshadowing. You didn't need it; the dispute between Fang Horn and Moon Howl was fine the way it was.

- Usual formatting and text issues, including a missing quotation mark at that bit in which Bark Hide is describing the Wolfstone rose and how they grow.

6032402
I am continually impressed with your review! ^.^ (And I can only hope you'll review some of my other stories when you're done.)

6051537

Firstly, I'm sorry about the delay. Full details below, but TL;DR, the internet suddenly hated me for a couple of weeks. Anyway, let me continue:

PROs

- Briar Thorn is interesting. He's not openly a vicious wolf, but neither is he clearly good like Bark Hide. I'll be interested to see what his sneaking around and passing on warnings leads to.

- The chase scene was good. It went pear-shaped fast, which is always fun in an action scene. I'm not sure how Bark Hide diving into the water is supposed to lose them when I'm sure they could run along the river or even try diving after him, but I at least get it's a desperate move, and the scene is still enjoyable. I've met worse issues.

- Bark Hide losing his legs and tail was pretty funny, as well as a nice reminder of biological differences. I am vaguely curious though; could timberwolves just co-opt bits of plants to rebuild their bodies? I know the ones in Season Three used the same parts over and over, but then I remember that scene in which they used other parts to build a king wolf body. Also, the "shreds" line made me chuckle, after doing a double-take. Heaven forbid they should tear a timberwolf to shreds, and heaven forbid they then burn the shre - wait, that bit actually would work. :rainbowderp: :rainbowlaugh: Well played twist on a common phrase, ocalhoun. Well played.

- Role reversal for the win! I like how Roseluck is so darn determined here. She knows he can't go back, so she just gets up and says "OK, Ponyville it is." That pragmaticism is intriguing, and I like how her friendship with Bark Hide is demonstrated both by that quick decision and by her insistence in safeguarding his arrival. Also, after all the culture- and species-clash moments of before, it'll be fascinating to see how things work the other way.

- I particularly like how Rose weighs the pros and cons of getting her fur all muddy retrieving his legs. I found it both a nice character touch and amusing. Even florists don't necessarily like getting messy, it seems.

- I'll criticize the overall scheme later, but I want to make it clear that the majority of the content of this chapter was good and I wouldn't recommend many changes. It's still entertaining with some good scenes, mind.

CONs

- Whoa, Fang Horn's dead already? I know I like cutting to the chase, but I swear he was out of it before I even digested how important he was. Feels way too soon for this sort of thing. I'm not against it, not in the least, but besides his wonderfully Treebeard-esque persona in the first chapter, he's too obviously a plot device. Couldn't we at least have learned a little bit more about his character and his importance in the grand scheme of things before he snuffed it?

- I laugh at Monty Python references as much as anyone, but "It's just a flesh wound" doesn't work in the context of the story. I don't think it makes sense when he's a plant-being. Maybe if he acknowledged its strangeness, like "It's what you lot would call 'just a flesh wound'", or used a phrase that made more sense, like "Eh, trees lose branches, flowers get beheaded, life grows on", it wouldn't take me out of the moment so much.

- Princess Luna really comes out of left field. So far, this story has focused on Rose's struggle and mostly kept to her POV, so this sudden shift was unwelcome, especially with such a high-profile character. It's really discordant with the story so far, even with the rationale behind it (that the timberwolves gathering is a huge deal).

- In fact, it feels a bit like we're missing something in general. So far, Rose has been struggling to get a much-needed life-saving plant, abducted by vicious wolves against her will, befriended by a wolf who's half puppy-dog cute and half triffid-esque creepy, and given one day to see kill-or-be-killed timberwolf politics and a breather, ending in her being forced to flee and nearly getting drowned. I'll be clear: it's a great story. But it's losing focus a bit. With that whole timberwolf rebellion plot and the involvement of the Princesses, it feels like it's wandering off the original heart-pounding "ticking time-bomb" plot and into something less well established, and it feels less tense and suspenseful as a result.

Overall, it's not a bad chapter. It does, however, feel like a near-the-end scene placed too early in a movie that's just getting started, and I'm not sure I like the direction it's taking. As much as I appreciate this is a short story, and the next chapter will be the decider, and while the majority of the content is fine, its placement feels a bit off.


P.S. About the lateness: I did read this one a way back - last day of May, I think - with the intention of leaving it, gathering my thoughts, and coming back to review, which is what I did for the others. Unfortunately, my hub for some reason decided to be a troll, had a fit, and refused to work, and it took my internet service provider way longer than it should have done to send a working replacement. So I was involuntarily offline for a stretch. Heck, I've only just today got it to work without wires.

P.P.S.

(And I can only hope you'll review some of my other stories when you're done.)

:trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright: Maybe so. Maybe not. I make no promises.

6081214
No worries about the delay. ^.^
I'm really enjoying your review -- especially since it's on an older story of mine that I like to think of as quite good, but which hasn't been reviewed in depth very much yet.

6081468

Well, here's the finisher. Unfortunately, I have to end on a bit of a downer, since the final chapter wasn't quite my cup of tea.

PROs

- That first scene is brilliant. I like how assertive Rose was, and it was also funny in parts, such as when she deliberately blocks the guard. In fact, Rose is back to her quietly awesome self here, which is always good. Still not a particularly deep character, but still a pretty enjoyable one. It's just a pity she doesn't do much here after the opening and talking.

- "Should I sniff him!" That's the species-clash stuff I'm talking about! Bark Hide's not bowing at the right time was also a moment that deserves a nod and a smile. This is the sort of stuff you do well, and you should be proud of that.

- The Lupus Mal gets off to a good start and holds firm. It's nothing particularly original, but it's done well all the same. I could imagine every crunch of wood and crack of branch joints as they went at each other, and the way Bark Hide resolves it is a competent example of Chekhov's gun being pulled down and fired. Also, as much as I found this chapter a bit anticlimactic, it was kind of awesome and funny when Bark Hide announces that the attack is cancelled. I don't know why. I just smiled at the thought of the wolves moaning and complaining as they slunk away about how they never get any fun. Also, Bark Hide as the new leader will definitely be interesting.

- "Did Fang Horn plan all of this?" I don't agree he did for one minute, but Bark Hide speculating like this and regarding Fang Horn almost like a Celestia-tier chessmaster was actually pretty intriguing.

CONs

Hoo boy...

- I don't really like the scene with the Princesses, and pretty much most of how the following chapter goes. I get why it's there; because the issue with the gathering timberwolves requires a military response and negotiation from the country's leaders. Yet, it still feels like too much escalation too soon, involving highly powered characters who didn't really need to be there and who are pretty distracting. For what is essentially a local skirmish, introducing them - and doing it like this - really kills any tension as well, because even if things go downhill, I can't imagine much danger occurring.

- Also, the scene felt too formal, even with Rose and Bark Hide interrupting. The fact that it feels a bit like a roll-call of major-league characters doesn't help either. Maybe if this had been kept to a local issue, with more action to underscore the seriousness of the situation, it might have at least kept to the fic's track record. For instance, imagine how nail-biting it might have been if the Mayor and a few locals had to prepare on short notice, against wolves who feel increasingly emboldened to wander into Ponyville at night and go after stragglers.

- The scene negotiating and announcing the Lupus Mal came across as dry. I don't know what it is, because the scene doesn't seem that different from your prose while writing all the other talky scenes I liked, but I found this one kind of stilted. It might be because there's just ponies and wolves moving into position for the next scene to happen, but it didn't feel tense at all. Considering what excitement and thrills have happened so far, that's disappointing.

- The Lupus Mal itself is fine, but I'm not sure about how it's used. After a history of being unable to defeat Moon Howl, suddenly Bark Hide does so, though I will give you props that he was almost snuffed out himself when he won with such a risky move. Also, as much as it resolves the timberwolf issue, it's a bit disappointing that the timberwolf pack is swayed simply by who's boss. That was kind of anti-climactic, though the fight was still pretty awesome (if a bit short).

- Pretty much everything after that is just way too anti-climactic. As soon as the closest thing to tension is resolved in the Lupus Mal, that's pretty much it. The story feels like it's on autopilot after that; Rose is made an ambassador, Briar Thorn turns out to be a full-on good guy, the cure is delivered with little to no fanfare, and there's not a hint of the atmosphere that had permeated the fic until around halfway through the last chapter. You had a brilliant opening and some good chapters up to now. What happened?

- The epilogue - apart from Daisy moaning because she was left behind - left little to no impression on me and could just as easily have been left out. The relationship was so underdeveloped that I didn't really care. If only there had been more scenes detailing it and convincing me that there was any kind of chemistry between the two, or at least something to make me care about Lily's fate. She's just too obviously a plot device.


So overall?

This was a fic with a rousing start, a good middle, a likeable pair of main characters, some brilliant culture-clashes and world-building, and mostly fine prose, give or take odd stylistic choices like the superabundance of short paragraphs. Where it's good, it's really good. Where it's suspenseful, it's entertainingly so. It's just a shame it suffers from an underdeveloped plot device romance, a kind of narrative bait-and-switch in the last two chapters when the princesses arrive, and a weak and non-suspenseful ending that somehow both escalates things too soon and drops the ball a long way immediately afterwards. There's more to like than dislike, though, so I think if one were to suggest re-edits, then I'd probably point to the last two chapters mostly and expand on a few things, try to get that nail-biting suspense and "ticking time bomb" aspect to the fore, remove the Princesses altogether in favour of a less suspense-killing alternative, and add much more substance to the climax and the Lily subplot.

As it is, it's still a respectable offering. You get a like and a fave from me. Well done! :twilightsmile:

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Thanks! I've really enjoyed your review of it... and I do think I may have gleaned a thing or two that will help me in future stories.

And I really do mean that. Usually the best feedback one can get is finding out what one did wrong... but in your review, I could also get a sense of what I did right. ^.^ That's not only fun to read (of course), but it's really valuable knowing what to do more of.

I can only hope you'll deign to review some of my other stories, and thanks again for your really impressive work!

You are full of ideas! Already into the story! :twilightsheepish:

I can't see the first letter of chapters, but it might just be my devise.

Amazimg story!

:moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

5/5 moustaches!

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