• Member Since 13th May, 2012
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Princess Cadance is nearly ready to deliver Princess Flurry Heart into the world, and Shining should be the happiest stallion in the world. After all, he's about to become a father—what stallion wouldn't rejoice at this fact?

And yet... something's eating away at him. Keeping him up nights. Driving him to speak with anypony who'll listen. An anxiety. A fear. A doubt.

An inadequacy.

My submission to Scribblefest 2016. Rated teen for some mild descriptions of birth.

Pre-read and edited by the lovely Plumander. If you like my work, consider donating to my Ko-Fi.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 51 )

Well... I like this.

The subject of "Shining is a mere mortal, Cadance is immortal and amazing" is a pretty serious one, and one that's been on my mind before.

I notice that Shining doesn't actually say his deepest fear, that ultimately he's going to be replaced... that his status as a mortal means that she might choose someone else, possibly someone who is going to be more important to her than he is. And he doesn't share his feelings of inadequacy with his wife at all, really, except implicitly through questions as to why she loves him.

I highly appreciate that you didn't write it that when he sees her all his insecurites just melted away. It's... it's a good bittersweet ending.

That was really heartwarming, Regi.
I'm sure Shining Armour is going to make a good father, and surely S6 will prove that, right?

Pennyroyal tea is highly poisonous to regular ponies


Aw, that was nice. Really nice. I thought the imagery used in the final scene was great. You definitely hit on a powerful issue. And the hopeful ending was lovely.

small criticisms: I think the scene with Twilight could have been shorter. Compared to Nightlight's scene, Twilight's feels weaker, and as such by the time we got to the end of Nightlight's I had all but forgotten what her advice to Shining was.

In terms of your prose, I think you could work on reducing the amount of gerunds (-ing verb forms) and ellipses (they slow down and weaken your prose) you use. There were also a few typos I noticed, but nothing story-breaking.

That's just plain sad. All I know now is that seein' Flurry Heart's gonna leave a bitter taste now that Shining's gonna be phased out with Spike. He's almost done...

Ahhh, I see, it all makes sense... Larson alicornified twilight so he use her to shill Pennyroyal Academy

I think Shiny should be alicornized or whatever. He's honestly better than Twilight (at least at a lot of things) and he has ruling experience. Shining would make an excellent first alicorn stallion.

Also, we don't KNOW Cadance and Flurry Heart will be immortal. So far, the only immortal alicorns who have been confirmed to be immortal (or at least super long-lived) are Luna and Celestia. Cady and Twilight (and Flurry) might have the same lifespan as normal ponies. After all, Celestia and Luna are tied to celestials bodies. My theory is that Celestia will die when the sun burns out, same with Luna, because the burning sun will consume the moon.

I figure, when it comes to alicorn immortality... that unless the story has given us a reason to doubt what someone claims in it, that we trust in the claims of the story. In-canon there's no evidence they'll be immortal or not, so out-of-canon the author can claim whatever they want about it.

Thanks for the lovely little character study! I enjoy the idea of Shiny as a ponified St. Joseph, struggling to be a good husband and father to mythic figures much larger than he is.

EDIT: I was trying to remember the Christmas song this reminded me of:

EDIT 2: I never know what to make of a non-commented downvote, but given my historical dealings with the Internet, I feel like maybe I should clarify: Guys, this isn't me proselytizing. This is comparing a story to another story, drawing analogues between Regidar's ponyfic and a prevalent longstanding tale in Western culture. Take a step back and breathe, y'all.

I grok where Shining Armor's coming from, here - their love will not be eternal, and they certainly both know it. (Well, she may love him forever, but that, itself, will hurt like nothing else...)

A very well-done take on a bittersweet topic, methinks. I'd kinda like to see Cadance's take on the other side of the issue.

(Unless, of course, the circle gets squared by Shining being made an alicorn at some point, which seems not entirely improbable...)

7006991 oi, thanks, will fix

Relax, Shiny. You guys are royalty; if worst comes to worst, you can always hire a nanny to take care of your kid and only see her for half an hour on the second Tuesday of every other month. You are going to have to do something like that if you aren't going to give up your military career and become a stay-at-home dad.

Wow.....Just wow. This was heavy. Really heavy and I loved every second of it. It didn't waste time. It gave everything the due course and just made me love this little family all the more. :pinkiesad2: Thank you for writing this.

7006998 In episode, no, but Meghan McCarthy already said it's not the case they're immortal. "Twilight will not outlive her friends" is what she said.

"While I admit, it unnerves me that you’ll be one of the few who won’t age around me...”

Didn't Meghan McCarthy say this isn't the case? She was referring to Twilight but it was in response to her alicornication, which Cadence went through too.

7008318 IIRC she retracted this statement, in addition to that statement not necessarily implying alicorns aren't immortal

This is nice. I can see Shiny freaking out like this, if he's anything like Twi, or any kind of father.

7008318 to be fair, that isn't a clear cut answer. She might be as long lived as Celly or Luna, but something happens and she isn't around, gone even before any of her friends. Thats just Word of God. Although I like to think she's mortal, as well.

Thank you for writing this story, I hope you win one of Scribblefest's prizes...although I do have to admit this makes my entry feel well, a bit inferior... :ajsleepy:

I enjoy how you depicted Shining and Twilight was as dorky as ever in her scene, the ending was simply divine :raritywink: and Cadance was written quite lovely as well. :moustache:

Please keep writing more stories. :twilightsmile: Especially with Cadance, for the Princess of Love I feel like she doesn't get enough of it.

(It's also a bit weird 'cause I just saved this pic to my computer a few days ago.) :applejackconfused:

Yeah, but... I think not-actually-in-canon staff opinions are not the kind of things that, as fanfiction authors, need to be taken as gospel. Especially of something with multiple writers like this where they can change their opinion before publishing things.

Don't get me wrong, I actually prefer not immortal Twilight and Cadance. But I'm pretty sure not everybody has that headcanon, and that's pretty okay.

Y'know, the other reason that Twilight might not outlive her friends, is that they might be advanced to alicornhood, too - and possibly also Shining.

Considering the non-stop wave of Things Getting Better for All of Equestria that's been happening since the very first episode, that wouldn't entirely shock me.

An Everfree entry, huh? Well, best of luck. Hope no hard feeling if one of us beats the other

Cadance and Shining Armor look stoned

7008771 I was just assuming that line from the creators meant that either all would become immortal somehow or Twilight simply isn't immortal.

Nice work! It's good to see Shining's feelings explored like this, and written well besides.

Regular, I've never told you this before and I should change that: you have a talent and your ability to pick away at human nature when you set your mind to it is refreshing.

I've been considering this as well. That our mortal romantic/erotic loves might well be enabled only by the urgency of death, circumscribed by the borders of our living. What would an ageless being think of human love and domesticity?

I'm not sure.

The concept of unchanging agelessness is terrifying, deep down. I'm right there with Shining. I too would fear.

7009922 Well, I mean yeah, "The Picture of Dorian Grey" basically told us that you get to do anything you want once you get to live forever, but it doesn't mean a damn thing. The only reason there's meaning to anything is because of the fact that it ends. So Shining's actually the lucky one—he has purpose and meaning. He has to make his time count.

Existential angst aside, I'm very flattered that you've said this to me and my ego has swelled to the point where I actually gained a few pounds. :pinkiehappy:

7010005 Dorian Gray is a wonderful example. I hadn't thought of it at all.

Be careful! You're gonna carry that weight! Hehe

7008316 You could also interpret not outliving her friends another way: the mane six could all be immortal. But, this isn't really the place for that headcanon.

Eh. Sorry, but this one did nothing for me. At no point did the dialogue actually sound like the Shining Armor from the show It's stilted, overly formal. I read it back and I just can't HEAR him. Nice enough concept, but the dialogue just kills it for me.

Ah well.

7007003 s-senpai noticed me

It really means a lot to get praise from someone like you. :pinkiehappy: I can't express how happy I was to find that you favorited and commented on my story. It really means a lot to me.

The thanks is all to you for writing it!

7007003 Oh, solid connection made there.

Excellent story, Regi!

While reading this story an odd detail stuck out in my mind that needed further attention. When something serious was going to be discussed and one party needed to calm down the chacters sat down. I was curious to see if there is some sort of scientific basis for this. Stress can be relieved through sitting down because it allows the muscles to relax which triggers certain synapses while Anxiety is best handled standing up (even on one's toes in some cases) by fully stressing the muscles which triggers a mental confidence boost.

Shining is clearly not ready to become a father due to his appalling lack of dad jokes.

the crystal decorations sending all manners of rainbows dancing around the room.

I couldn't help but visualize a couple versions of Dash zipping around the room. There's nothing like aerial acrobatics to set the mood right!
:rainbowdetermined2: :rainbowwild: :rainbowlaugh:

But in all seriousness, this was a fine look at what must be going through Shining's mind during all of this. His position is one of existential crisis. Mortality, Paternity, Living in the Shadow of Greatness: It's getting hard to breath in here!

All that said, while it got me thinking deeper than the average fanfic, it was lacking in the internal conflict department. Notably, my favorite part was where Shining said;

“I don’t love her any less,” Shining said. “I still love them both a lot! I just... I’m just scared that I’m not going to be enough for them. That a unicorn can’t be enough for two alicorns.” And that they’ll replace me when I’m gone.

Most of it was straight statements of his feelings. But that blip at the end was the part that got to me. It's an insight into his mind that the rest of his plain and blunt words don't give to the reader. It implies uncertainty about more troubling concerns that are eating away at him. I wanted that little worry, (which is in no way a small thing to worry about!) to be addressed more later on, especially once he started talking to Cadence. I was mildly disappointed that it wasn't.

All in all, I enjoyed it. It was well written, true to character, and above all, thought provoking. Thumbs up!

7013051 I'm glad you liked it so much!

I wanted that little worry, (which is in no way a small thing to worry about!) to be addressed more later on, especially once he started talking to Cadence. I was mildly disappointed that it wasn't.

Sometimes you aren't able to tell your loved ones your deepest fears, and you have to test the waters a little bit beforehand. Sometimes you might not ever be ready to address the issue. I wanted this story to be more about Shining's paternal anxiety rather than so much about his existential angst. While the two are related, I didn't want the second one to override the first one as it's not the direct focus of the story.

Makes perfect sense! Not all of Life's problems get worked out in a twenty minute episode after all! :raritywink:

To be honest the "immortal alicorns be replacing mortals" shtick feels old. I sorta was expecting the "not being enough" part and it felt more relateable with Night Light but... it sorta kept ruining the experience for me that this was happenning. I would rather you kept it that way that continiously tackle the immortality issue. I was thinking that Shining here would berate himself for his failures and thinking he would fail Flurry Heart as well. Eh... just would like the problems Shining had to be more Shining-centric rather than alicorn-centric.

There's also the fact that it seems like the change of scenes is... awkward. I feel like I'm jumping through portals left and right.

Overall enjoyed this but it had it's problems.

A little more alicorn-centric than I'd like, but I love the story as a whole.

Cute as fuck. Have a like!

Author Interviewer

Well done. :D

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later #45.

You can find my review here.

7012809 that was accidental, but still cool
I am accidentally a good writer

That was an enjoyable story; I can see why the RCL recommended it! If you don't mind, I have a few nits to pick:

1) Skyla McFlurry wasn't given her name until after her birth and Crystalling
2) Shining Armor's dialogue could've used some work. It's not that it was bad, but that it didn't sound like him
3) I spotted a couple typos that can be easily fixed (errors are emboldened):

Shining, I know you’re knew to this...

shining stared at the two of them for a moment...


1) Skyla McFlurry wasn't given her name until after her birth and Crystalling

I wrote this story before the season 6 premier, so I did not know this at the time

Also, thanks for pointing out the typos, I'll go fix 'em

Such a great character piece, this one. I think you captured Shining's fears very well. Each conversation he has, first with the solider, then Twi, then his own father, and, finally, Cadance, circles closer and closer to the underlying issues without spelling them out too much. I like how you included the birth scene, rather than just ending the story with Shining being uplifted through these conversations. The truth of the matter is that a lot of these issues can only be overcome through living them.

It didn’t melt, the horrible inadequacy, those doubts that hounded him and fed off of his psyche; but in that moment, with his daughter giggling and smiling at him, raising her hoof upward from within the swath of blankets, Shining felt the heavy pendulum in his chest that swung back and forth, tearing his ribs and heart and lungs into a horrible whirlwind of unease go still.

What a gorgeous sentence. God damn!

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