• Member Since 30th Dec, 2013
  • offline last seen Nov 8th, 2020

Bucking Nonsense


A Little Nonsense Now And Then Is Relished By The Wisest Men.

E

Orchid Mantis, a changeling, has come to the Crystal Empire, hoping to retire in peace. However, a terrible curse set by King Sombra as revenge for his defeat threatens the city, summoning monsters to raze everything to the ground... and only the power of love can stop them. The changeling, being able to tap into that power at will, has been drafted to help fight these monsters when they appear...

However, for a dedicated martial artist, defeating monsters is easy. For a changeling, raising a child is a much greater challenge. And building a meaningful relationship? Harder still...

Part of the the rebooted Cricket-verse, aka The Nonsense-Verse.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 112 )

Now some of you may be a little surprised by the change in the tone of this story from what you might have read in Tales Of The Cricket-Verse. There's a reason for that: this story, and the next story, will run concurrently, Lance and the next changeling will be the focus of the next story, while Mantis and her, ah, love interest, will be the focus of this story.

Thought I'd do something crazy for these last two stories. I hope it works :pinkiehappy::pinkiecrazy::derpytongue2:

yay.
oh, quick question, when will we be seeing more crickitxfluttershy?

was mantis the one that trained cricket or was she part of his unit?

3919070
Couple chapters down the line on Cricket's story. :pinkiesmile:

3919129
No. Mantis and Cricket are related in a, ah, different manner. Cricket's trainer was named Vespidae.

Then brought the hoof down with a solid strike that left her hoofprint carved on the monster's body. The creature stopped moving instantly, as if a switch had been flipped.

Hokuto Zankai Ken!

I've been waiting for this.:moustache:

Discrete: separate; apart.
Discreet: quiet; subtle.

It's: contraction of "it is."
Its: possessive form of "it;" "his, hers, its."

So, Mantis and Vespidae, huh?

Now THIS is a reboot. while the others had good starting points already given from previous stories, Mantis' first appearance from Tales just would not have fit well. This suits her much better.
Also is she going to meet up with Cricket soon? Because that would be great.:pinkiehappy:


3918861 So what I'm taking away from this is that Fives is actually Elle...:trixieshiftleft:
:trixieshiftright: I'll still be calling her Fives though.:facehoof:

3919642
Yeah, there was too much tell, not enough show in the previous setup. Glad I'm fixing it now :pinkiehappy:

And yes, Elle is numero 5-o.

3919595
Corrected. And yes, Mantis is... related to Cricket, but never actually introduced. Vespidae is still the one who trained Cricket.


3918861 Sounds intersting... I'm sure it will be a fun ride... Also I'm loving this story. And the prequil to this story was wonderful! I can't wait to see what else happens with some of the other storys that you are wrighting aswell...! Changlings are fun! :pinkiehappy:

These are very well written and the characters are done well too. Loving these reboots! :heart:

3920461
Believe it or not, that was the original inspiration behind Mole Cricket, and inspired the whole "Good guy changelings" idea for me. An insect-themed character powered by love and can transform? In Japan, the male version would be a Henshin Hero, and the female version would be a Mahou Shoujo. :rainbowlaugh:

Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!
I don't know wether to laugh, cry or hope Lance doesn't turn out like his father (whether that's a good thing or not I don't know). :rainbowlaugh:
Really that title alone made me spit-take and read that scene again.

That makes five, right? Any hints on how these 5 stories are going to updated? Because this one and the one with Ladybird are by far my favorites.

I kinda liked the original story versions better. You probably shoulda spun off with new characters-- or incorporated these stories into the old stuff.
I dunno. I'm left wondering what happened to the little changeling who became a crystal unicorn now...

You should have kept crecket's.story originally, and used these as 'they came after' stories, plus you could continue where you left off

3922155
Don't worry, you'll be seeing her again soon :pinkiehappy:

*Frown*

Critique:

Almost immediately opening this story with a 'lucky escape'.

That is to say, if that colt didn't just HAPPEN to interrupt meditation at that exact moment...
Too late and they're snacks.
Too early and Orchid goes back to meditating too soon to notice the silence, and... snacks.

Get out your 1D20s and get ready for 'action'! The problem I have with such a plot contrivance is that it's exactly that. It's a plot contrivance. There are many types of contrivance that exist for the sake of moving a story along, but this is an annoyance I'm particularly wary of. Excessive use of 'luck' as a method to enhance danger or place the hero(ine) in an advantageous situation quickly causes suspension of disbelief to collapse like a house of cards. To give an example that shows the impact more clearly, imagine playing an RPG and the character keeps rolling natural 20s for random events. Pretty soon people are going to start questioning the dice.

This issue is then immediately exacerbated by a second contrivance being stacked on top of it. Said contrivance being that there, at that exact moment (beginning of the story or not), MONSTER ATTACK! It's like that episode of Powerpuff Girls where the narrator opens the episode with: "The City, of Townsville... IS UNDER ATTACK!!!!" Only without the moment being obvious humor. Immediately I'm asking: "Why here? Why now? Why them?"

You've got me, the reader, questioning the whole thing not even a page in. Even as you launch into what seems to be theme for you. The Informed Ability Expose. (Your habit of having a list of theme-named skills or abilities that you immediately tick off like it was Twilight performing a superpower Checkride. Yes, 'Checkride'. It's an aviation test.) This is not a good way to set the story up. I didn't even read past the monster bursting forth from the ground. I skimmed it because I knew what was coming from the appearance of the 'Checkride' list. Do you know what that means? It means you've made your writing predictable. I've barely read most of your work outside of skimming and I can call the shots already. And that's not good. I'm not thinking, I'm not having fun, I'm working. Reading this is a chore. If I wanted to do chores I'd go put the dishes away.

Anyway... [/harsh mode] I don't need to be overly supercritical.

Generally, I would suggest doing your best to avoid using chance encounters and luck to create/solve conflict. It comes across as lazy, but also gets old fast. Especially for an engineer like me, who sees right through that kind of thing. For us, if we designed and built something that relied that much on chance, it would have failed spectacularly a dozen times over. Thus, luck situations leave us mentally cringing every step of the way. It only hurts more if the luck situation is Story Critical. Obviously, they got lucky... because if they didn't, we wouldn't have a story. Never, EVER want a story to come down to: Flip a coin, GAME OVER.

I personally try to write stuff up in such a way that it avoids invoking luck. Yes, it's much more involved a process and requires significant mental mapping of events that could boil down to 'luck'. But the results are often far better than just going 'lucky miss'... and move on.

Anyway, enough out of my pie hole for one day. By now your feel-good is ruined by my criticism. I know how someone dissecting your narrative can hurt. Having ten plus years of experience in the matter gives you plenty of time to have people do that.

3923507
:trixieshiftright: , your critique has been read, and, as I have said more than once, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But in one very important way, your critique is flawed: This was, in a way, the very first roll of the dice, and yes, she did, in fact, roll a twenty. But when someone rolls a twenty the first time they roll, it's beginner's luck. Yes, she got lucky in those first few seconds, but when a character gets ambushed, luck is often the only reason they escaped. She won't always get this lucky. In the first chapter, moreover, the main character's clever plan ends up being ineffective due to abilities the creature had that she was unaware of, and received damage. Not fatal or life-threatening, but significant, and could have easily been much worse. I'm trying to avoid Sue and/or Stu-ish characters these days. But, ah, how can I put this...

Let's use an example from the first episode of an action series (live action, cartoon, anime, take your pick): You have your main character show up, and on that first episode, some baddy or a monster shows up, and attacks... only to get defeated by the good guy. Yes, there might be a little dramatic tension, but given that it's the very first episode in the series, it's more or less a foregone conclusion that the hero will come out alive... this time. But the first bad guy is always the easiest one. They always get progressively tougher as the show goes on.

3923702

That may well be true, to an extent. But usually you have to consider that most stories that use this ploy are either working with established characters who are known to be able to handle it, or the 'lucky' character comes out of it nearly shellshocked.

You however, are trying to establish a retired badass nobody's ever heard of before the opening credits even roll. This is not an established character where we can expect something, or a newbie character where you can entertain the audience by having them running around desperately trying not to get eaten/fragged/captured/poisoned/drowned/unalived by Deadpool.

It's not an issue with mary sues, and I'm not accusing you of that. It's an issue with event sequence execution.

And the execution is sloppy, raises several flags, and quickly becomes a chore to read. Allow me to summarize:

We open with random disguised changeling, apparently retired.
Colt interrupts internal monologue/meditation.
Huh, something is strange in this completely random park for no reason. Maybe I should-
MONSTER ATTACK!
Run little colt!
Fighting Ensues.... etc.

Do you see it? Probably, but most people will defend their decision to the death when it comes to writing. But you've essentially rolled a random encounter AND the lucky spot check right on top of each other. For no reason. (Except to jump-start the action) All things considered, that colt rolled a natural 1 and was about to be a snack. Why? Out of the entire crystal empire, out of all the easy targets, why that attack, right then? Right there?

If it's part of some overplot about to go down, a random child makes no sense for a coordinated attacker. If it's a beast just out for a snack, why in the middle of a city when it probably can pick off targets that are alone much better? Why? Why? Why?

I could care less about the fight itself. It's more the reason for the fight itself. Luck on top of luck. Which is why I was making the commentary in the first place. You start using luck as an excuse, and it quickly becomes your catch all for all things you 'need to have happen to advance the plot'. The problem is that if you aren't AWARE that you are even doing this, then this random chance BECOMES the plot.

Next thing you know, this is your typical Stallone action movie. Where bad guys ten feet away with automatic weapons somehow manage to hit ladders, and pipes, and walls, but never the stationary target that isn't even aware of their presence yet. (I watched such a movie earlier. Some movie with Stallone and Shwartznegger on a supertanker turned into a private supermax prison. Guard missed three shots at a stationary Stallone at point blank range, WITH surprise on his side. Of course, had he connected those shots, the movie would be over. So obviously, he has to be utterly incompetent with a sub-machine gun when the target is practically a shooting gallery.)


If you want my solid opinion on a sequence that might work better WITHOUT changing the intent, this is the order of events I would use, with plenty of why I would do it in the details.

1: Establishing shot as in the original here. Meditating while a colt bothers the changeling.
2: Extend establishing scene and expand on character. Maybe a little backstory (But nothing infomercial level, just stuff that lends to establishing personality), add some slice of life if needed. Make us FEEL a little for the character. Just enough to go 'okay, I can relate'. Maybe more cute/funny with the colt. (You seem to have that down well enough from other stories.)

3: Monster attack occurs, but colt and changeling are not the target, as the attack is 'off screen' and only known because of...
4: The changeling is alerted to the presence of the monster by the guard reacting to screams, roars, sounds of property damage. And morbid curiosity to see what's going on kicks in.

5: This is where things REALLY get divergent. Instead of the random monster being random. Make it something the changeling has seen before. (As in: "An X?! Here? I retired here to get AWAY from those bucking things!") This establishes a lead in, a warning to the reader if you will, that the changeling may just know what they're doing. (Which is rather important early on. For a new character, the reader has to know its coming before you pull it, or it just comes across as an ass pull.)

6: NOW you start showcasing the characters skills, AND establishing that they are retired and skilled enough as a result of those years leading up to the retirement. By having the changeling take charge of the counter offensive against the critter when it seems the guard are struggling to handle it. Especially considering that the changeling has seen this thing before and you can now utilize the Authority through Expertise form of social power. (Which is also important. It gives a non-arbitrary reason to believe the changeling can just 'take charge' of the situation without it existing in a vacuum.)

7: At which point you can cascade it into your original scenario. The critter messes up changeling polymorphism, causing her disguise to fail. I'm sure the crystal guards won't be too hostile to changelings, especially ones that just helped them stop a rampaging critter.
8: But they'll still ask her to stick around because thanks are in order... At which point you can segue into...
9: Shining armor coming along and displaying surprise that a CHANGELING of all things helped his guard out. Which is 'interesting'.

10: And you can go from there. One of the many obvious questions being 'Why was an 'X' in the Crystal Empire? Those things aren't native to the Tundra." And that can pull the plot into gear.


Now, I understand that the random monster might actually be a plot component that we're not fully given details on, and reworking that would require some mental gymnastics, but honestly, you'd get more out of improving the opening of the story than you'd lose having to tweak the random encounter tables.

static3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080225004331/girlgenius/images/2/22/Otharportrait.jpg
I can't be the only one thinking it. If that's his dad, this kid's going to be epic.

Is it just me, or do these reboots seem to drop marginally in quality the farther they get from the original premise?
I mean, it's still pretty okay, especially compared to a lot of things I've (tried to) read, but this story in particular feels rushed, forced, and just plain clunky compared to the original, and having everything take place so much earlier seems somehow wrong.
To be honest, I wouldn't mind having the stories take place at different times, or even waiting for you to publish them in the right order if that helps you keep things straight, but having everything happening at once is just asking for your story threads to get tangled (trust me, I've been there:facehoof:).

3924301
A lot of your complaint still has to do with luck, and while I do understand a lot of it, I think the primary issue is that you feel that there are too many coincidences at the start. Well, more than a few stories begin because person A meets person B right at the beginning of a story, either right when they needed help the most, or just before something terrible happens. Yes, person A or person B just happens to have a set of skills that allows the two to escape the encounter unscathed, or at least just alive, but if neither of them did, then it would be a very short story with a bad ending. Life is, in many ways, comprised of random encounters. This story starts with one, yes, but I don't plan on overusing the "dumb luck" factor here.

As for why: sometimes something crazy happens at the beginning of a story that sets everything into motion, and we don't find out why those things happened until either later in the chapter, or maybe even several chapters later. The heroes don't always have the answers right at the start: part of the story is finding the answers.

As for rewriting the opening chapter, I'm not of a mind to do that, firstly because it's already out and has been read, and in spite of the criticisms you've placed, this story has substantially more positive than negative votes, so it's possible that the criticisms you have are ones based mostly on your own personal bias (I can understand that: there have been a few great movies, books, and shows that I couldn't get into simply because of complaints like the ones you have that others wouldn't even notice). Secondly, I've already got things planned for ongoing chapters that are, in many ways, based around everything that's already been established in this chapter. If I pull out one of the bricks here, I'll have to put the entire building back together from brick one. Besides, as posted below, this story is going to run concurrent to another story I'm about to post: I would basically have to replan TWO stories at that point.

Like I said: you own opinion > mine in your view, at least in your own eyes, so I'm not going to start an argument here. I accept that no matter what I do, not everyone will like it. I accept that. But I've learned enough to know that at least SOME of the people here will like it... and that's good enough for me.

3925132

That's up to you then. And I understand.

But I stand by my observations and opinion. If you want to question my Credentials in the matter before final dismissal, take a looksee at who I am and what I've written in my profile. I'm giving you my best 'professional advice' on the matter and I just want to inform you that I've been down this path a while and that I'm not simply talking out my plot. You say "It's good enough", I say "Could be More Awesome. :rainbowdetermined2: " Make of my advice as you will.

But yeah. You're determined to hold your vision and I can't force that.

So let me part with a warning. Beware the slippery slope of forcing things to work 'For the Sake of the Plot'. If you aren't asking yourself 'how can I avoid this' at every impasse, you are doomed to fall right into the pattern. And the story will become more and more utterly unbelievable as these pile up. Watch out for this. Be aware of this. Because it is not a sudden thing. It is a gradual meltdown that you don't notice until you're ten chapters past the point of no return. Start watching NOW.

It will save you.

Good as always, my good friend. Keep up the good work! :derpytongue2:

Well, things went down rather quickly...
Is it common to offer adoption to a complete stranger? A changeling no less?
And Shinning Armor is aware of the 3 other changelings already? I understand for Ling, as she was picked up by the guards, but what about Cricket and Ladybird? How much time went by between each chapters? I though they would happen at the same time.
I'm confused.

3926677
Each of the stories has a different starting point. If you read carefully, you'll catch it. However, for the sake of the readers, I'll give you the info:

The Changeling Knight starts just a week after Canterlot. There will be a time skip later on, but that's where it starts.
The Monster Under The Bed starts four weeks after Canterlot.
Ling starts one week after Canterlot.
This story starts five weeks after Canterlot.

3925192
I appreciate the warnings and the advice. Really, I do.

The only thing I really disagree with is this: You say "Could Be More Awesome". I say "It's awesome enough for chapter one." If I blow all of my awesomeness on chapter one, then there won't be any left for the finale :rainbowdetermined2: .

And I am watching. And I'm watching my watching. And I'm watching my watching of my watching. I take this very seriously.

3927230
Okay, thanks for the timeline!
I now realize that the hints were there, but I was expecting it to be simultaneous and disregarded them.
I still have some issues with this particular chapter, but it's a prologue, the real show comes now.

3927387
Exactly. Chapter one sets the scene. It's the stuff that follows that makes the story :pinkiehappy: .

Ooooo, I love this refreshed take on Orchid, and as always it's nice to see a post-wedding Shining that doesn't have a crazy hate on for changelings.

This kid's dad was Dashing Rogue, (GENTLECOLT ADVENTURER!)?

Hmn, gentleman adventurer is a very familiar phrase. Girl Genius reference, or maybe Order of the Stick?

3927251 In spite of the positive comment I just left, you could do worse than take ATC's advice into consideration. Don't be so eagar to toss aside the suggestions of an experienced author like him.

3931848
Yes, that is, in fact, where a good portion of his inspiration came from. Equestria was a wild and crazy place a thousand years ago: they needed heroes like that back then :pinkiehappy:

God you got so many good no scratch that great stories coming out every day that you might not have time to do them all!

A purple crystal pegasus, eh? I feel like I've seen him on screen somewhere. :derpytongue2:

I take it the backstory from the old set of stories is being tweaked a bit?

3962959
Yeah, that's "Not-Flash", the one that appeared with Flash's appearance during this season.

Yeah, it is. In what way, I'm not giving the details yet, but it will come.

Excellent, through the trials of hardship and camadrie a lifelong friendship will be formed. Here I thought this story would be all about Orchid fighting Sombra's creations. This is more of what if was expecting from Bucking.

And I like it.:pinkiehappy:

Damn Orchid 40 years old and still turning heads!

3963132
Like it says in the description: for someone used to fighting, taking out monsters isn't a trial. But for someone who's only known fighting, things like romance and child-rearing are a lot harder.
:pinkiehappy:

3963227
Surprised? Don't be. There wouldn't be terms like "MILF" and "Cougar" if there weren't women in their 40's (or later) who could still turn a young man's head. :rainbowlaugh:

3963297 Yea I admit I probably tap her. *Shrugs* Don't look at me like that! I here changelings make good lovers!

Being forced together whether they like it or not, a classic.

I can't help but think that one the seeds that Sombra left behind is under Lance's house. That would be a very Sombra move wouldn't it? Spite the guy who resisted you the most.

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