• Member Since 22nd Nov, 2014
  • offline last seen Yesterday


I'm CreepyPastaSalad and Sensuous Sonority on YouTube, and I perform audio readings.


Deep in the Royal Archives survives the last remaining copy of the diary of a visionary. Straight from the horse's mouth, follow the story of a defrocked Changeling hunter determined to help ponykind.

With volition ingrained in him, Zeta Cherrypaste strives to combat the menaces plaguing Equestria alongside the Inquisition, an order founded to root out the most nefarious and pernicious forces against the kingdom.

This story is somewhat based off the conjectures and postulations in the comments section of a deviation on dA, especially the comments made by users SomeRandomMinion and BrutalityInc.

Still looking for feedback on this story! I'd love to hear your thoughts! :pinkiehappy:

The audio reading is here! The links are also in the Author's Notes in each installment.
One note on the readings: I'm not so sure I like them anymore, so I'm going to redo them someday. The links should all still work until then.

Chapters (14)
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Comments ( 50 )
Comment posted by TheDizzyDan deleted Feb 21st, 2015

[Haven't read it yet]
For some odd reason, this sounds alot like Assassins Creed: Rouge. But then again, that's only because I get the impression that this is about a Changeling who has become a Changeling Hunter. I could be totally wrong and this is just a pony...

I haven't ever played the Assassins Creed games, but I'd like to. If this story does at all resemble it, I'd like to know. I might consider buying it.
To clarify, this story is not about a Changeling who comes to hunt other Changelings, but I like the concept. Zeta is an Earth pony.

Well, there goes the Changeling turned Changeling Hunter theory... Still worth a fave.

Well, I've only read the first chapter so far, so I'll say if there are similarites after entry 10.

Thank you! And I'd appreciate that immensely.

So, Dan, I told you I'd read this, and Imma do it now. On a scale of 1 to 10, exactly how brutally honest do you want me to be? In this case, 1 is sugar coated to the point of inducing medically-incorrect diabetes, and 10 is where I go over your story with red ink made from the blood of the damned. Anyway, just finished the first chapter, and my first impressions are as follows.

There are, in my opinion, two types of authors; writers and storytellers. Writers (e.g. F. Scott Fitzgerald) write their characters beautifully, with great dialogue and characterization out the wazoo. By contrast, storytellers (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien) focus more on the worlds they create. You seem to be, at least from this first chapter, more of a storyteller. I like your idea of the Inquisition, and I like the way you've set your character up, but the actual mechanics fall a bit flat.

For example, in the opening, you include a lengthy description of Zeta, which kind of made my eyes glaze over while reading it. The other really big thing I noticed on my initial read-through was the large number of parentheses. There's a time and a place for parentheses, but I would avoid them in fiction as much as possible. They bring the flow of the story to a screeching halt. I'd need to go over it more thoroughly to give you a detailed proofreading, but those are just some first impressions.

I can't give you a number. I really have no way to conceive means of quantifying abstract things like honesty.

Here's what I would expect from a reviewer regarding honesty:
I'm going to expect you to be honest, but I don't like to be verbally murdered. There's a stipulation my theatre teacher from tenth grade said regarding responsible critiquing, "Don't have fun at the expense of the artist." In other words, if I, an amateur drawer, were to have drawn Twilight Sparkle and posted it somewhere, a reviewer, however disappointed with my drawing of her, should refrain from commenting something along the lines of, "This drawing is a sparkling example of why only pro artists should attempt to draw Twilight." Using a pun to express one's frustration with a work is unfair and comes across as stereotypical rude behavior on the behalf of critics.
On the other hand, if there's something that I write here that you feel you could just punch me over, I'd like to know exactly that and, of course, an explanation why it's worth my being beaten.
Of course, if there is something you like, I'd be happy to be informed so. However, I don't want you to feel obligated to tell little white lies about liking things someone else might like if you personally are indifferent about them. Don't be afraid to deflate my ego if my writing merits it; I'd much rather you tell me a certain installment was totally disingenuous and say nothing more about it than for you to say that it was overall very poor except for little wordings you liked in it if giving the compliment only serves to soothe your conscience for your needing to summon the damned. Remember, if such instances arise, that my inconsiderate writing necessitated your summoning the damned, not inconsideration on your part.
The greatest ego-stroking you're doing here is by reading this and telling me how you feel about it. I will be earnestly pleased if you like what you read here, and I will likewise dwell upon any mistakes or oversights you point out that I haven't considered because I'm a perfectionist and it's part of my nature. :twilightsmile: I rarely forget the egregious errors people have highlighted for me in works I've previously made. If I write anything more, your insights will likely guide my pen at points.
I'm semi-serious about writing. I don't intend on making a career of it, and it's not something I expect to become famous for, but I take pride in the things I post. I don't write very often and don't enjoy writing as much as I probably should. I spent a strong month and a half milling over ideas for this and would be content with this thing sitting as it is. This is the longest writing project I ever embarked upon, even including school projects, but I'm a little beyond being hurt by what anyone might say about it. It's over and done with now, unless I act upon the ideas I keep getting for a sequel to this. That's beside the point, though.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to respond to your remarks. Let me start by saying that I have never imagined somebody mentioning authors of lofty caliber and then me within a subsequent breath. I understand you're not exactly likening me to them; you're bringing up names that were likely, and are definitely, familiar to me for the sake of my understanding your comparison. I felt I should remark how flattering I find that, though.
Indeed. Before I began writing this, I took into consideration the limits of detail one would normally include in a journal, although this line of thinking may not be very consistent throughout the writing. Generally, when one writes in a journal, the matters are topical and the style is insipid. As I shoot for readability, you'll likely see me struggle with my desire to paint a scene, which I could more easily paint if I had taken a third-person indifferent perspective, and my desire to be as realistically telling, as opposed to showing, as one would truly be if one were writing a journal.
You will likely see more character focus as you read further, but I can't be certain, actually. The concept of there being a duality to story focus, the two sides being on characters and on worlds, is a novel one to me. I think it's an interesting perspective, but it's going to take some thought on my part before I fully grasp it.

I'm glad you bring that specific instance up. :twilightsheepish: While I didn't mean for your eyes to actually glaze over while reading that, I meant for it to be dull, and I wanted that to reflect on Zeta, not me. However, I apparently didn't execute this well.
That's funny. I almost never use parentheses to write for myself, but I wanted this to be part of Zeta's own writing mannerisms. I don't continue adding them in as frequently in subsequent entries, as far as I remember (I find parentheses a little icky, too, except in math), but you'll likely notice them since you find them so jarring.

Bro, this story earns the first spot in my new bookshelf...

:raritystarry: Thank you for the honor, and thank you for reading!

Comment posted by Marisher deleted Nov 16th, 2016
Comment posted by Marisher deleted Nov 16th, 2016
Comment posted by Marisher deleted Nov 16th, 2016
Comment posted by Marisher deleted Nov 16th, 2016

Yeah, switching from Word to text that would fit dA's and FimFiction's formatting syntax was awful. The spacing errors, as you'll likely see for the rest of the story, are either a result of mistaken spacing or just bugs from the formatting. It looks perfect when I go to edit it, but it looks awful when it's churned out for public viewing.

Firsthoof. I tried to be consistent with the horse words. Looks like that could be fixed.

I never knew that; I've always heard the word, but I supposed it's a common pronunciation error among my friends. Thanks for catching that!

The second was what I was going for, so I'll need to go back and make those edits.

I was trying to translate "on one hand" and "on the other hand" into something that would be more recognizable in the pony world. "On one hoof" sounds clumsy to me; considering that, although ponies in the show are able to hold things in their hooves, they also use their mouths. They're constantly standing on their hooves, so thought it might be better here to mix the two: "first hoof" then "second hoof" instead of "first" and "on the other hand." I get where the space inconsistency is there, and that's not excusable. I'll get to changing it to two words. It would be clearer to simply say "first" and "second," but I thought there might be an extra significance to the first four ordinal numbers, considering how ponies stand on four legs. On second thought, I'll just remove the "hoof" element. That would make it less confusing, and clarity comes before profundity, even in the dictionary.

Truly, it wasn't so much about taking the train as it was about taking the passengers themselves. My rationalization was that, once the first two Changelings had secured the driving cabin and the conductors, all they'd have to do would be to stop the train somewhere at some point and rendezvous with a larger group to overcome all the passengers, and supplant them with masquerading Changelings. Over time, the Changelings would be able to replace a vast network of ponies riding the rails once a few trains were "hijacked," so to speak. All one would have to do is ride the wrong train at the wrong time, and there'd be nothing to stop a pony from being replaced with a Changeling in disguise. If it got to the point where only Changelings were riding the rails, they would possess almost total control over the train network.

Right. Got it covered now.

Yeah, it is an odd place. I had intended to keep this as just entry by entry, but it seemed a little silly to have chapter fewer than a thousand words in length. The breaking point isn't necessarily a good one, I'll concede. I tried to think as both Zeta the recorder as well as Zeta the writer. For Zeta, he may not be able to outline exactly everything on one day's recollection. Additionally, he, as I tried to allude to in the first chapter with Starfall's point about nopony wanting to read the journal, has some desire to make it worth reading. My thought, which I kinda imposed upon Zeta, was that somepony reading might be more inclined to read the next entry if he terminated this one in the middle of the event.
Manipulative, I know, but Zeta and I are not beyond that. :rainbowlaugh:

I'd hardly say you've been lambasting it. Your concerns have all been legitimate, and your wording is diplomatic, so I don't see any harshness in it.

Now for the fifth, I suppose. This comment feels dirty.

:ajsmug: I dunno, man. "Discern" is just a little bit too saucy a word for for teen story.

Hey there, I just dropped by when I saw you promoting your fic at the Self-Promotion Bureau. I was about to leave the fic, for you see it's not my cup of tea, but then I encountered a certain passing remark in one might call the end notes of the works, or suffice to say, the Author Notes. Darn it, your story's style has washed off on me. Bringing myself back, I quite like the story, but if I had to pick out something that bothered me, it would just be the fact that it read much like Frankenstein. It's both good and bad in my opinion. I like to be honest in my review, but bear in mind there is bias, because most stylistic critiques are based in the feel of the writing.

Simply put, your writing fails to engage me.

Now for some parts it's fairly simple. Since it is made in Diary Entry format, you can't avoid the 'I did this', and 'I did that' mode of reveal, what you can avoid is obvious telling, and out of character reveals. As tennantApostle has noted, this chapter includes a rather lengthy description of the protagonist, but for most part, people who write in journals rarely note their physical features. Physical ailments perhaps, if they are pertinent, but not 'I'm so high, so coloured, so bearing the cutie mark of'. Besides, this bores the reader, and can be revealed in character interactions that are more engaging. For example, 'Sue laughed at me, dismissing me with an imperious wave of her hoof. She likened me to a mop-head that had seen better days in mud-drenched kitchen of her stall'. Or something similar along those lines. It can be revealed slowly without the info-dump.

Actually, looking at the chapter I noticed this was published two years ago, but since I don't see 'rewrite' and still see 'please leave comments', I'm going to assume that you still want to hear the rest of what I have to say. If you don't, well, it's probably best to remove that section in your author notes, so other people don't come around and leave their thoughts on chapter one.

Some other things I noted were the constant asides, which were made in parenthesis. This is already noted so I won't go into that.

Another thing that struck me was establishment prose. Too much mechanics. World building is exciting, but often it bores people. Listing the pathways to becoming a graduate of the Academy had me skimming rather than engaging. Interesting tidbits, but they're like anecdotes, you have to get to know the character before the anecdotes start to engage you.

The last three paragraphs were the most engaging for me. It also revealed the purpose of our protagonist's usage of such long-winded text, but I actually would have found it more humorous and more engaging personally to have him switch his tone. This kind of record is good more for a one-shot because taking it past that reminds me of trying to read the classics. Dry prose is still dry, no matter how it is presented. It may have insightful comments and themes, but heck something you just want to throw your hands up and strangle the pretentious-bleeding Author. Not that I'm saying this to you.

Still, this has been none but critique, and I feel like this work also deserves some praise. Though there were faults, the subject matter was good enough to keep me going, and I see that a lot of thought has been put into the work. If you have the drive to improve my advice is to tighten up the prose and think about what an audience might like to read, after you've thought about what you've liked to write. After all, even if you enjoy this, the hard work comes in making it accessible when you publish something public.

Flowers for the gravestone of my brevity. Hope this helps.

First and foremost, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to critique my work. I am glad you found the endurance to read on, although I'm sorry my writing requires endurance to be read.

I know that this is a small thing, but this story has not been around for even a year yet, so I am not sure how you got that idea. For me, it says that the first chapter was uploaded on the 22nd of December, and this jives with what I remember.

Indeed, this writing was, in many senses, an experiment for me. Prior to this, I had not read or written a fanfiction or a journal in full. I would not have written this if I hadn't kept getting ideas for it and feeling inspired. I do not write often, and any insights I glean from comments are often new and invaluable to me; that's why I still ask for them. Indeed, I do not enjoy writing very much, but I have been told that I am a fair writer with some good ideas, so I feel obliged not to squander them. I write out of fearing the prospect of suffering remorse for having not written anything when I could have. This is not to say that I had no fun writing this or usually don't have fun when I write, but fun is not my primary motivator for writing, so it often does come across as hard work to me. :twilightsheepish:

Keeping all this in mind, your critique still sounds fair to me. Most of the background in the beginning was included because I started out writing this thinking that only my non-Brony friends were likely to read it, and I saw no harm in including these details uploading it here, but it seems that I was mistaken in that judgment.

Sadly, I have not read Frankenstein, so I am not sure exactly sure what you mean; however, it sounds a lot like my writing comes across as the writer having fun at the expense of the audience's enjoyment. Although I can understand that sentiment, it disheartens me a little because that was not at all what I had intended.

At the time that I began writing this, I had just started reading Robinson Crusoe, so I guess I gave in to the temptation of channeling my creative thoughts into a more restrictive prosaic medium, and I guess I failed to take into account certain realism that shouldn't have been overlooked. I actually intend to write something to follow this story, and it certainly won't be in the style of a journal. I overestimated my abilities as a writer to take on the challenges of writing a realistic fictional journal, I guess, and I can deal with that accordingly. The same would go for the style and storytelling with a different audience in mind next time I stab at this.

Once again, I appreciate your feedback and will keep it in mind for future writings. If you continue reading, I hope you find more to relish.

Are you guys planning on reading and commenting on the rest of this? I do appreciate the feedback and insights you have both given me. However, I would like to know from you, who weren't completely pleased by the first chapter, whether any part of the rest of this story makes up for it or whether it continues to drag. Honestly, I think some might be completely deterred from reading any of it, judging by these comments that the first chapter must wholly reflect the writing for the entire piece, although I would staunchly disagree. Having your feedback on the rest of it, both they and I would be better able to gauge the effectiveness of my writing in this work.

So far you have my interest.
The background seems interesting and well-thought and can be the foundation to many interesting plots. I really like the details you put in, such as the carbon paper or Mortar's books.
Also, I'm glad to see anybody else touching the matter of 'changeling can be confused by disguise'.

Thank you! I personally find a lot of intrigue in the small details of my favorite stories, so I tried to give them special attention in this one. Indeed, ever since I saw the season two finale, I was very much fascinated with the concept of Changelings. Unfortunately, this story no longer jives with the canon of the latest season, I believe. It was written well before it.

I'm sorry it took me so long to read the next chapter. Honestly, I'd never expected something about Manehattan porters in a changeling hunter story. Good job on that! You did well on all the descriptions as I believe I know have quite a detailed map of the mansion in my mind. The occasional remarks and Zeta generally thinking out the box is just icing on the cupcake!

Thank you very kindly, EverfreePony! I'm quite glad you came back to read the second chapter and gave me your thoughts! :raritystarry:
:rainbowlaugh: Some people don't seem to survive the first chapter.

I'm glad you liked the details I included. My favorite stories tend to be rich in them. The mansion is probably the most exhaustively described thing in my story, so if you are worried about me getting perhaps tedious in my descriptions, you may rest assured that you've hit "the worst" of it. I figured that, to Zeta, this is basically his second home, and he'd know it well. It also isn't quite like a lot of other ponies' homes, so I felt he would feel an urge to describe his extraordinary living accommodations.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the rest of it, friend! :pinkiehappy:

The Black Hills.

Oh, those Black Hills. I'm not exactly sure how they're pertinent to my story, though.

7872821 They're everything to your story.

7872836 Is it strange that I'm in love with the Black Hills, The Great Plains, and The Rocky Mountains?

I don't think so. Some people really like their geography. :ajsmug: I know you do.

7872918 But it's not my geography. I don't live in nor am I currently in any of those places right now. :raritycry:

I live in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois. :fluttercry:

I'm closer to it than you though... :pinkiesad2:

Well, does it not make sense that distant places would be more intriguing than one's immediate surroundings since they are less familiar?

You're right. And I've never even been to those places. :ajsmug:

7872932 I suppose. I have been to those places I mentioned numerous times. But yes obviously not as much as I've been to Illinois/Indiana where I've spent the vast majority of my life, just like you with Pennsylvania.

You've never been west of Florida! :pinkiegasp:

That is a matter of fact, in the geological sense. On an astronomical scale, we technically all have due to Earth's rotation. :twistnerd:

7872962 Since the Earth turns, the direction of west is constantly changing with respect to the universe.

7872968 Lol. I figured you meant something like that. Well when you look at it like that there really is know north south east west up down or side to side. XD

Yes. That's why, in physics, directions must be stated in regard to a relatively fixed point.

7872977 For earth that fixed point I believe is the equator. Man this stuff is way over my head right now... I'm having trouble just reading these days... XD

Well, we don't have to continue on this point.

7872989 It's fine I just don't really have a mind for math these days so I might not know what you're talking about XD.

Hey, I don't have to constantly talk about math. I certainly wouldn't care to. :rainbowlaugh:

7873139 Can we talk about... Nebraska?

I'm not sure the comments section on my story is the most appropriate place for it; it would be better if we discussed it PM. But sure!

Slow... the only fitting word to describe my reading. Oh well... hopefully I'll manage to stop neglecting you like this :ajsleepy:

Anyway, I really enjoyed this look into the alchemy as well as more about changelings. I hope to see more of that in the next chapters. Also, the analysis of Zeta's mental state was really intriguing too :twilightsmile:
Also, yay for Princess Luna!

No worries, friend! I appreciate that you are giving this an honest read. :rainbowkiss:
:twilightsheepish: When I wrote this feels so long ago. I actually had to look back to see what happened in this chapter to understand what you were saying.

Yeah, a little Dea ex machina. :trollestia:

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