• Member Since 22nd May, 2012
  • offline last seen July 16th

Crystal Secret

A 15 year old girl with a love of ponies and a passion for writing.


Sometimes a good deed or a generous gift can truly go a long way: it can even form new friendships and take a pony places they weren't expecting to go. When a tragedy-stricken Applejack receives a letter in the mail, containing some money from a dear friend of hers, she sets in motion an impulsive series of events that change not only her life, but her heart.

Winner of the Random Romance's July Contest

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 42 )

This is one of the best stories I've ever read here. I love how you wrote this, and I'm really a sucker for the aging of the Apple Family. But this is the first time I've ever read a fic where Big Mac was the one who passed on. Damn, that stings, but in a good way.
You made Rarity actually sound like Rarity, and not Pinkie Pie or something (I've read stuff like that before...)
I love this story so much. I'm going to be following this one till the end.:heart:

Thank you so much. :twilightblush: I will posting the rest in the next few days. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. :raritywink:

One of the your best stories yet. I know that I'll enjoy this story. :moustache:

And so it begins :twilightsmile:
You guys are in for a real treat!

You nailed Rarity's personality, an amazing feet in and of itself. But the death of Big Mac, I have yet to read a fix where this has happened, I like the way this is shaping up.

Heard about this from Cerulean Voice.:yay:

Saw the cover art.:raritystarry:

Put in Read Later instantly.:twilightsmile:

Saw the Group list.:ajbemused:

Still will read.

Racist Fleur is best Fleur :trollestia:
I love how this came together.

...Ok am I very unsure about Fleur here, ok let me honest here I do not like that characterization of her at all

Celestia forbid a writer take a blank character and give them an unorthodox personality. The fandom's quite willing to paint her as a trophy wife: why can she not be a stuck up and obnoxious one?

Because everyone has their own opinion on her, and in my case she is far smarter and pleasant than the fandom thinks her to be. I also generally like to stick to the fandom by makeing Canterlot ponies not being a bunch of racist snobs.

Well, sticking to the fandom isn't a bad thing in itself. You're free to your opinion I suppose.
I am glad that you didn't actually pull the "out-of-character" card, though: background characters have no character to be out of. It irritates me when someone slams a writer for making Vinyl not like dubstep, for example. That's where fanon annoys me: when it's accepted as canon.

It never crossed my mind, and I usually reserve that card when Her Serene Majesty is being shown OOC. And fanon being accepted as canon annoys me as well

At any rate, please don't let her depiction ruin the story for you. You'll soon see that Fleur is an exception, not the rule. :twilightsmile:

I will keep that in mind, and perhaps a little character development may go Fleur's way even if it has to be applied by a sledgehammer to the head... ah the Clue-stick (patient pending) approach to character development.

Pacing as well as characterization is a bit odd, imo. Also, timing of events. I think I saw that last chapter Rarity missed the funeral for the day in question that Applejack arrived in Canterlot, yet she was able to send a letter inviting AJ to Canterlot. A little fast for the postal service and AJ's closure, eh?

I like the way this story is set out it good set on each character which is hard for most people. The only person who might be out of character would be fleur but we truly know like nothing about her. So yeah great story. :)

I have to admit, I wasn't too certain on how this ship would sail at first. Having read it, I like it. A lot. As in I wish there was more to read. Thank you for the story.

Fleur Dis Lee

Should be Fleur De Lis, also:

Cafe Diem

:facehoof: nuff said

*Clears throat*
Ahem... from the wiki itself.
And what's wrong with a little wordplay? The entire story is about Applejack seizing the day, after all.

taking advantage of emotionally vulnerable mare in three days!!! by Fancy Pants. Satisfaction guaranteed! (richness not included):pinkiehappy:

It was all right, but some parts definitely felt a little flat.

4744356 Huh, seems I am mistaken, though those things that make up her cutie mark are called fleur de lis but wharever. Yeah I get thats the theme but its still a lame pun.

Love the story! :heart: Though I do wonder what Fancy's motivation was. He could have any mare he wanted. Why would he choose Applejack? Other than being rustic, what did she do to cause him to fall for her? :applejackunsure:

I don't know if Cerulean warned you about me, so let me provide the disclaimer: I pull no punches. Now, let me see if I can figure out what has him so excited...

So I've gotten maybe 600 words into this things and I've already found something that bugs me. There is a trick to foreshadowing, and that trick is subtly. Thus far we have:

But it seemed that the world had other plans for Big Macintosh and it had even bigger plans for her too. She just didn’t realise it yet.

Clear skies and sunny days would hopefully bring good fortune, a chance to turn things around.

Such a chance was no further than the mailbox.

much like a phoenix

deep inside her heart she knew that such a time would end and she would have to move on and begin anew.

Five clues, some of them extremely glaring, within 658 words (yes, I checked). Not exactly subtle. You could cut the first, third and fourth ones and achieved the same effect with far less annoyance. The very nature of the three I've selected seems to be punching me in the face with "this is important, pay attention to me!"

It would seem that this charmingly rustic town needs a facelift, and we agree that it needs to start developing an exportation of some form of natural resource in order to grow.

I'm surprised this didn't hit AJ in the gut. After all, all indications show that it was Sweet Apple Acres that provided the biggest boon to Ponyville's economy since its founding, so this line suggests that either the orchards have reached their financial limit in terms of growth... or Twilight doesn't expect the orchard to perform well anymore. And that second option hurts.

Just quietly, there is much speculation that we broke up which, while true, was not something I wanted released to the media. Such is the life of an upper class citizen I’m afraid.

I find it curious that he'd share this personal – and perhaps painful – revelation to Applejack, whom he doesn't really know beyond Rarity's gushing. I would think that this would have had much greater impact at a later point in the story. Still, I suppose if he has been listening to Rarity that he'd know AJ can be trusted, and I can see why you'd want to get this bit of info out of the way early.

Y'know, Fancy hardly strikes me as the type to go following a mare like some lovesick puppy, so the fact that he's still around after AJ left the train feels sort of odd to me. I'm a little more curious about AJ's apparent lack of comprehension, but then I never saw her as the most observant in these kinds of matters. Of course, having already said this, I may discover that he has an entirely unrelated reason to be here... but this is a romance, so I doubt it.

You keep referring to AJ as a 'brightly colored pony' while she's in Canterlot. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Canterlot ponies come in all colors, too.

How the heck does Sapphire Shores know that Applejack's an independent mare?

What? Really? Sapphire came to pick up the dresses for—oop, nevermind, I'll leave them here and one of my assistants will pick them up tomorrow. So why is she even here? Answer: because you wanted her to cameo, compliment AJ and talk about Fancy Pants. Not good.

A number of things (aside the aforementioned) bugged me about this. There were little telly things that kept popping up, and sometimes the subject switched a little too quickly. Applejack just buried her brother, but she's already smiling by the time she's at the train station and is going out for tea with the most eligible bachelor in Canterlot? Can you say 'bad timing,' 'cause Fancy Pants clearly has it. I could understand if this was, say, a week after the funeral, but the day of? I would think a pony with the renowned social skills of Fancy would have more tact than that. Yes, he should be aware that the funeral was today; the death of somepony as iconic to the town as Big McIntosh wouldn't go over his head, especially since I'm confident Twilight (whom he was meeting) would have been at the funeral, if not presiding over it.

And the meeting between AJ and Rarity? Shouldn't they be reminiscing, talking about old days, anything at all to distract from the recent events (towards which AJ is mysteriously already aloof)? I'm willing to accept the fact that she's willing to wear the dress tomorrow, though, as it has clearly been many years since the last season and I imagine she'd have gotten used to Rarity's ways.

And yet, despite everything, I still find it strange that Applejack's letting herself be thrown into a date (when she thought it was just going to be tea) with the most prestigious pony in Canterlot (already something that would make her anxious) the day after Big Mac's funeral. This is not something grieving individuals do.

Despite all my complaints, however, I must say that I'm impressed with what I'm seeing so far. Frankly, I wish I was writing this well when I was fifteen. There may be bumps in the logic, but you're still managing a story that has potential and isn't grievous in its missteps. I can see why Cerulean seemed so exited about working with you.

It surprises me that Fancy is taking lessons in generosity from Rarity. I was left with the impression from the show that he needed no prodding in this matter.

A few extra pairs of hooves? I could sure use the help. After all, the apple orchard is in ruins, the barn has collapsed and the soil is no longer fertile. Perhaps I should accept his offer. What’s the worst that could happen?

“I s’pose I could accept your offer. I mean, I could really use the help.”

So basically, you just had her say exactly what she was thinking. So... why did you go through the trouble of telling us what she was thinking? You just added 43 words we didn't need to read.

That said... free labor for the farm? Now that's generosity! No, seriously, that's above and beyond. AJ should have alarm bells ringing in her ears right now.

You are a delight to be around and I am positive you would have a wonderful time.

See, this is the kind of thing that bugs me. "A delight to be around?" Fancy hasn't had a chance to get to know her. They haven't really talked in a common, social fashion, have they? I would understand if they'd been talking animatedly throughout the train ride to Canterlot, or had spent a couple hours at this cafe chatting about things other than the farm, but they haven't done anything like that. Their conversations have all been brief and to the point, without giving him any opportunity to really understand AJ's personality and decide that he likes it. As such, saying she's "a delight to be around" at this point in time just tells me one thing: he's purely interested in her body. I'm sure that's not at all what you intended, but that's the impression I am left with due to the nature of their meetings so far.

“My most sincere apologies, sir—I did not at all recognize the fabulous young mare standing at your side and therefore did not recognize you. It will not happen again.”

Uhh... and at what point did this guy block their passage? Did I miss something?

Uh-huh. This entire date reeks of storybook. I'm willing to let a number of things slide because A) it has been a few years and AJ could have had some changes in that time, and B) she is probably not behaving quite like normal due to her recent loss. Even so, if there's anything I don't want to see it's a 'love at first date' story. It's got to be one of the most unrealistic – and might I add unoriginal – types of romance there is, and it also doesn't suit the practical, down-to-earth Applejack in any way. Of all the Mane 6, she is the last one I'd expect to get all dreamy on a date with Fancy Pants like this (with the notable exception of Rainbow Dash).

Once again, I find the shift from subject to subject to be too quick. This is made most obvious by the dialogue, which at times felt forced. Some of the things being said were either completely irrelevant or didn't fit the context of the situation. Proper dialogue flow is a major tool, and it didn't really show up here.

Nowhere was this more apparent than when Fleur showed up. That entire scene could have been twice as long and been much more effective. As it is, Applejack's response felt rushed and Fancy's defense of her felt weak. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Applejack – Applejack – would run away in tears just because some uppity unicorn said she wasn't elitist material. It doesn't fit her character at all, because she is the last pony in Equestria to care about such things.

And yet I must, once again, confess that this is far better than anything I would have written fifteen years ago. With some polishing and a little extra time, this could be turned into a pretty solid story. The seeds are there, they just didn't quite grow correctly.

Rarity doesn't seem all that broken up about her friend's night being ruined, especially considering she doesn't know how it was ruined.

Was it because she had needed a change of pace? Perhaps she had merely decided on a whim that she wanted some grand adventure? No, she had wanted to return the money to Rarity and thank her for the thought,

Yes, she did want a change in pace and yes, she was looking for a grand adventure. Why is this 100% opposite to everything she concluded in the opening chapter? Applejack doesn't lie, even to herself.

She should have returned home before the mayhem started, before Fancy Pants even had the chance to ask her out to tea.

How the hell was she supposed to do that when he asked her right off the bucking train?

Didn't Fancy mention that these ponies he's brought along are factory workers? Shouldn't they get some instruction, first? I would think a little segue of AJ showing them what to do so that her farm shines like it did in its heyday would have been a much more compelling moment for everyone. Besides, AJ would never let others do all the work for her, she'd rather push up daisies.

Final thoughts...

In the end, this story had too many plot pitfalls to really pull me in. The entire relationship came so quick and with reasons not entirely clear that it all just felt forced. When you have two characters so directly opposite in lifestyle, personality and function, you can't put them together in two days and expect me to believe it. Fancy and Applejack needed time to really grow into one another, and you didn't give them that at all, so the whole thing came out as blatantly unbelievable for me. Give me a real, solid reason for these two to be together, and then I'll bite.

There are definitely some things done right with this story. The grammar and style of writing are nearly impeccable. I can see Cerulean's hand in this – he is truly a great editor in this vein and your are lucky to have him. The concept is solid and original enough to warrant my attention.

Yet I am one of those rare few out there who cares less about grammar, specializing instead in plot flow, realism and execution. These fields of literature are not so commonly addressed, partially because the rules for them aren't so clear cut as when to use a em-dash over an en-dash. These are areas that you clearly need to work on.

Take heart! These things take practice, and with your wonderfully early start you've got plenty of time to do so. If you can learn to weave the tale, I see great stories in your future.


First of all I would like to formally apologize for such a late response to your many though provoking and detailed comments. It's certainly a pleasure to have you review my story like that out of the blue but it does beg the question; Why are you reviewing my story if the winner of the competition hasn't even be announced yet? :rainbowderp:

But I would like to give my most sincere thanks anyway. After all, your constructive criticism is most appreciated it. :raritywink: Yet in life all good things must come to an end and that is why I would like to point you in the direction of this blog: Blog

Yes, I would like for you to give it a read if you haven't already. But might I point out that if I do end up winning then it wouldn't be the first I won a writing competition shortly before/after leaving a place of significance.

Your feedback is most appreciated and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day/night. :twilightsmile:


Crystal Secret

This isn't my idea of a review, although I can see why you'd think that. Plus, if you win I most likely won't be the one doing the reviewing. But, to answer your question: I offer this level of criticism with every chapter of every story I read. Every writer deserves a chance to improve, and I want to grant that by offering my thoughts thoroughly. So whether this was for a contest or not, I would have given it the same attention. I love writing and I love watching other writers get better at it.

I'm sorry to see that you've left FIMFiction, but I can understand your reasons. I wish you luck on all your writing endeavors in the future.

Author Interviewer

Wait, is this ApplePants? @_@ I came here for Rarijack!

Author Interviewer

Never would have pegged Fleur as a classist, but I was rather wondering why they broke up! :B

Author Interviewer

If I may be so bold, I read The Last of Its Kind back in 2016 and saw a lot of potential. I feel like you've definitely lived up to it. I hope you're proud of how far you've come as a writer, and continue to improve with time. :D

(Of course, having said that, I realize you wrote these literally months apart. c.c Well, whatevs, you're good, so feel good, darnit!)

Whatever its flaws, the writing in this story itself is very beautiful. You definitely have a talent. The tale was engaging and wonderfully descriptive. I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing. :twilightsmile:

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