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"[FoME] manages the impossible combination of being an actual legitimate nerd while staying unabashedly pleasant." —Aragón


Principal Cinch managed to leave Canterlot High with her dignity largely intact. Of course, that leaves the question of where she went afterwards. While the two schools celebrated the continuing existence of the universe, Cinch went off to sulk.

It just so happens that one member of the Canterlot faculty knows precisely how she sulks. And in his experience, he plays an essential part in the process. He may have shirked that duty for quite some time now, but tonight, he'll take up the mantle once again, whether Cinch likes it or not.

An entry in the F*CK THIS PROMPT! 9. Prompt: A major villain is a completely sympathetic character.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 58 )

Before reading, I have to ask the question: which of them is the major villain here? :trollestia:

Is Discord even a villain in the Humanoidverse? Or is Cinch the villain?

Actually, her motivations in Friendship Games just reek of "someone else's patsy." She knows just enough to get into some major trouble, but not enough to grasp why she shouldn't.

What I'm not sure of is this -- just who would be Cinch's analogue in the Ponyverse?

Pffft, you just uploaded this story because my rapid uploading was making you look bad!


>Goes to read story immediately


Seriously, I loved it. Concise yet well warped. We need more stories about antagonist being more than mere obstacles for the heroes to overcome.

This brought a very realistic and interesting dimension to Cinch's character, both in terms of her having past relationships, and in terms of her having doubts about her own actions. While in the movie she comes across as certain of her own actions, regardless of how misguided they seem, here we see an interpretation of Cinch as conflicted, driven by the same suffocating pathology as her students.

Very well done.

Wanderer D

Nice story, bro. You know, I didn't realize earlier it was you who wrote it. Figures you'd make me feel sympathetic towards Cinch of all people.

Impressive fan, a worthy opponent you are.

6823759 None so far. Though the obvious answer would be a dickish administrator at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns or some rival school


I have a good handle on two of the three subversive conspiracies against the Realm fomented by the NIght Shadows and Random Flag.

There's Windvane's Rebellion, for the Pegasi.

There's the Leveller Uprising, for the Earth Ponies.

That leaves the Unicorns. They need a vile noble conspiracy.

I'm thinking Cinch is part of it.

This is one of those stories that leave me with really nothing to comment on. There's nothing that's badly done about it, but at the same time, it feels like there is nothing to really say about it, either. Two people meet, they talk and then they part again. Except for the context it's set in, it feels like one of those things people are always doing for creative writing classes.

You're really trying to get a-hold of the "Favourite Author" spot, aren't you? :raritywink:

The best (and only) presentation of pony Cinch I've seen is Baal Bunny's This Side of the Mirror, where she was Sombra's second-in-command, nearly as feared as he was.

Cinch herself is definitely a villain in Disney tradition. She's a thin Ursula with no need for magic in her deals with poor, unfortunate souls; a secular Frollo looking after a cute purple Quasimodo. Midnight Sparkle may be the threat, but Cinch is the one who pushed Twilight to unleash the magic.

As for Cinch's motivations, they were one of my gripes with Friendship Games. After two movies where the fates of worlds hung in the balance, a scenario where the antagonist's victory would only perpetuate the status quo felt like something of a letdown. I went into the movie hoping that there would be some darker reason why Cinch insisted on maintaining the winning streak, whether it was some compact with dark forces or simply a deal with the mob. But no, there doesn't seem to be anyone behind her. She's just really obsessed with reputation.

But I could work with that. If there was no external pressure forcing Cinch to obsess over winning, perhaps the internal pressure was enough. What would happen, I asked myself, if she did fail? What does she fear? What could she lose? That's when I hit upon the circular logic keeping Crystal Prep afloat. Any institution with an incredible winning streak suffers from the same problem as Batman: They have to win every time, while their opponents have to win only once. A tie is close enough in Cinch's mind.

As for knowing just enough to doom herself, that's hardly unusual. For quite some time, only one person in the entire human world knew anything concrete about magic, and only because she hailed from another, more magical universe. All Cinch saw were the winged students and trained attack plants. All she knew was that she was working at a disadvantage and she needed to win to keep Crystal Prep from collapsing under the weight of its own reputation for another four years. So she told Twilight to open the spectrocapacitor, hoping that it will somehow help. She didn't think she had any other choice.

At least, that's how I see it.

Yes. :trollestia:

Agreed. Actual people are always preferable to mustache twirlers. Especially when they're women.

Pretty sure no one else has tried to. It's the cute factor. People leap to the sirens' defense, but no one gives any thought to the hatchet-faced woman.

Fair enough. The story was mostly meant to explore an area of character space largely overlooked by the fandom thus far. The narrative itself kind of took a backseat to that.

I guess this story isn't really meant to change something, just a peek on Cinch's aftermath of Friendship Games. Though I didn't expect Discord, this is a good read.

This is exactly the kind of fic I was hoping to see. Much as people love the Dazzlings, I can honestly say that Cinch has always interested me more, because I was always asking these kinds of questions about her with regards to motivation. She just does so much more to fire up the imagination for me, and new interpretations of her like this are fascinating to me because of that.

I know I was joking when I said in that blog of yours that you should only write about Cinch from now on, but for real, we need more stories about this character, both from you, and from this site in general. Cinch is best human. Because Sunset is a pony.

6826424 well if they are, they have got my vote for this piece alone.

6823759 Probably a stuck up Magic Teacher who bashes even on Celstia behind her back.

We have the best facilities, the best faculty, the best of everything. We can afford them because we also have the highest tuition of any private school in the state, and because we receive incredibly generous donations from alumni. My foolish actions yesterday broke that circular logic. The alumni will be furious. Parents are sure to question why they’re paying so much if their students will benefit just as much from a public school where, if rumors are to be believed, the admissions process consists of walking through the front doors.

Almost makes you understand why she did what she did. Almost.

Twilight reminds me of myself at that age.

I find that hard to believe, all things considered.

They thought they completed one another, but it turned out that what each brought to the table, the other couldn't stand in the long term.

That's the tricky part in the "opposites attract" motife. You need to make certain that both parties understand, appreciate, and if possible, benefit from the differences between them.


Pretty sure no one else has tried to. It's the cute factor. People leap to the sirens' defense, but no one gives any thought to the hatchet-faced woman.

I have a moderately successful story where I kinda tried to get into her head, but apparently people were even more irritated with Cinch in the story than in the movie :facehoof: Although the reception has been mostly positive. (It's my only story here, but I'm in the process of doing a sequel).

Haven't read yours yet since it's way too late over here right now, but I'll do it as soon as I can (probably tomorrow at work :trollestia: ) because I love Cinch's character. Maybe you could check out mine sometime as well? It's short.

I wonder what was the nature of Discord's chaoticness.

And if you don't stop playing the world's smallest violin, I will not be responsible for my actions!”

I reluctantly separated thumb and forefinger. “Sorry, I thought that needed the proper ambiance.

*first thinks of-*

I like this. I would've never thought of giving these two a history together but now I love hte idea.

For the record, I had also decided that Human Discord's full name should be John Q. Discord. I'll probably never use him in an EG fic, but for awhile I toyed with the idea.

What subject does he teach? I'm thinking literature, with a focus on poetry. I'd love to hear his interpretations of classic authors.

This is good. I can imagine the kind of pressure someone with this job would have, and what kind of terrible reputation hit would occur when a public school equals (or outperforms) the private school.

It's not like she still didn't make a mistake or anything, pushing Twilight like that, encouraging terrible things to happen, with coercion and bribery, but it does put what she did in a lot of perspective.

A lovely character piece, this. Great work in making Cinch sympathetic. It's nice to see a least one good showing for her amist the endless inexplicably reformed siren fics.

Hm. . . Discord and Cinch. Not a very common pair, but I'm glad you chose to write about them.

This actually works surprisingly well. I've never hated Cinch, but I didn't like her either; in this universe, at least, I can now understand her. Discord really adds to this story, and doesn't seem to break character despite the fact that I never would have imagined him in such a setting before. Maybe I'm being too nice to this story because I liked it, but hey, I liked it!

Why isn't this tagged as "drama". Doesn't it essentially contain some?

In all honesty, I can't really figure out what that tag is supposed to be for in the first place. Every story would need to be tagged Drama by that logic, because they all do that to a degree. Every play is a drama literally by definition.

6828188 Well drama to me is when there is moralist bs, lamentation like this and when you litteraly write a drama.


Who's to say Cinch wasn't shy and afraid of others when she was young? Maybe what reminds her the most of herself about Sci-Twi are Sci-Twi's flaws.

Only in the sense of trying to provide good stories.

I can't promise a great deal more. My inspiration has a tendency to drift (even if it does gravitate towards certain ponies. :derpytongue2:) Still, if I get more ideas for Cinch stories, I'll be sure to explore them.

A serious, dedicated student who'd rather focus on academics than surround herself with idiots? From Cinch's perspective, it's like looking into her own memories. Though Twilight's greater pliability proved useful as well.

Sometimes the most unexpected thing you can do is a random act of kindness. Especially when that act benefits someone who never even expected to see you again, much less be glad they did.

My usual headcanon has him teaching physics. He started studying it in the hopes of finding loopholes and came to appreciate the beauty and surprising ludicrousness of the world around him. He may be the only person on the planet who intuitively understands quantum physics.

Yeah, I still remain unconvinced that the sirens are psychologically capable of shame. But Cinch, loathsome as she is at times, is human, with all of the emotional complexity that that entails. Someone needed to be her advocate, at least for one story.

In my experience, Discord is best when you aren't expecting him. :raritywink:

The same reason it doesn't have a Comedy tag; the drama isn't the main focus of the story and the atmosphere isn't designed to promote the dramatic beyond the bounds of what would normally be expected in this sort of situation. Plus, it doesn't last all that long.


All I'm saying is that I think if Cinch really saw herself in Twilight, she wouldn't have threatened her future the way she did. Personally, I generally prefer stories where she learns her lesson and changes her ways, such as in Jay-the-Brony's Of Wondercolts and Shadowbolts (although part of that may have been because she was one of the character's mother). Of course, I also enjoyed the karmic kick in the teeth Darth Link gave her in Aftermath of the Games. I'm only human. :trollestia:

John Q. Discord is such a perfect name.

6828793 *names future child that, regardless of gender*

John Q. Discord. I love it.

6826461 EXCUSE ME PRINCESS! I happen to LIKE mustache twirling villainy. I've got my card and everything. As a proper villain knows you don't need actual motivations. You just make the heroes think you have them so you can abuse their sympathies to further your plans. There is absolutely no chance that my mustache twirling antics are a cover for anything.

“We were both young and foolish, John.”

Is his last name what I think it is? :rainbowlaugh:

Edit: Oh, I guess he's still named Discord; right. I half-expected it to be a nickname and his real one to actually be De Lancie. :trollestia:

Principal Platinum

This. I like this.

where, if rumors are to be believed, the admissions process consists of walking through the front doors

I wondered how Sunset and the Dazzlings pulled that off without any paperwork to speak of.

The alumni only stopped comparing me to Sombra a few years ago

I like that this leaves open whether they were calling her "as bad as Sombra" or "not as great as Sombra". I mean, for all we know this universe's version is a beloved ex-principal with maybe a bit too much fondness for stairs.

Okay, reading this through, it's both amusing and pleasant how much we agree on Cinch about. Some of the same ideas here that I had: Sombra as the previous principal, the possibility of Cadence replacing Cinch to save the school (which was an ending I've considered for my story but chose to drop), Cinch having a certain amount of respect for Twilight despite treating her like she did, and feeling guilt about it (which is just something I'm looking to touch upon in a sequel, but it's definitely there in my mind). Heck, Cinch's entire reasoning for the "...->reputation stays spotless->school stays the best->..." cycle is pretty much exactly what I imagined, though much more eloquently put through her words that I ever could.

All in all, I think this does a much better service to Cinch's character than I managed with my attempt, and in much fewer words, too. I'm definitely glad that this story exists and that I read it!

First time I've seen anything approaching a good reason for Cinch's villainy. Good job.

This was a great little read. Definitely worth a like and favorite. :pinkiehappy:

I think you nailed both human Discord and Cinch quite well here. Also I have to agree with you on Disclrd's name, it not fitting in is it fitting in. That and John Q Discord also gave he a really great laugh to boot. :rainbowlaugh:

"You foolish girl, you don't understand what you're doing! I've been there, I know what you think and how you feel. But I have forty years of experience and wisdom that you lack. I'm not going to let you sabotage yourself, even if that means I need to threaten you!"

Rationalization is a powerful, powerful force.

I've gotta stop reading fanfiction when I'm tired.

When I first saw the name "John", rather than wondering who this person is, my mind immediately pulled a Pinky (of the Pinky and the Brain kind) and started wondering, in how many parallel universes is Tirek's full name "John Tirek" and how many of them are jaunty wrecks?

6833119 Delancey. John Delancey, look him up.


It's "de Lancie" and I'm well aware who he is. (And, if I weren't, it'd be pretty damn obvious when I got to the end and saw "John Q. Discord" in the author's note)

I was just commenting on how strange my brain gets when sleep-deprived.

6835384 Alright, sorry. Didn't mean to offend.


Actually, I should be apologizing. Usually, I'm pretty good about compensating for the lack of vocal cues in online communications but, lately, I've been so addled that I've been coming across as snippy when I don't mean to.

(Ugh. And I'm really getting tired of how, for the last few months, I've had to log out and log back in before every comment if I want them to post successfully. Nothing else on the site is broken this way.)

683550 I still should apologize, my comment was incredibly snide.

Wow. This was really good! And I was in just the right mental mood to read it; I could hear their voices and everything (a trick that only works for me once in a while, and probably has something to do with your excellent writing). Very nice job, and great work making the villain sympathetic. =) It's nice to get a different perspective sometimes, and to remember that even the "bad guys" have a soul down there somewhere.

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