• Member Since 31st Aug, 2012
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MyHobby


"For fun" is the best reason to do anything. "The best" is the best way to do everything.

T

Daring Do's ongoing battle against Ahuizotl has come to a bitter turn. The fiendish immortal's plan hits close to home when a local singer is kidnapped to finalize his latest plan to control the sun and become a god. Daring Do must race against the clock and her own aging body to return Sweetie Belle to safety.

Button Mash's luck stays true to form as he finds himself neck-deep in the rescue effort. He's scrawny, weak, and untrained, relying on Daring Do and her crew of warriors to survive the fight. But when Sweetie's fate hangs in the balance, will he have what it takes to step up?

At the heart of it all, Sweetie Belle learns that her voice has the power to change the course of the world. As Ahuizotl tightens his grip on his victims, she might be the only hope for Equestria.

Can an adventurer past her prime, a stallion with more doubts than answers, and a singer with a heavy heart save the world?


Rated Teen and Sex for

Action Violence
and
Muchas Smoochas


Chapters (36)
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Comments ( 174 )

You are off to a fantastic start! Seriously, an ancient, high-tech steam punk changeling city with A.I. and killer robots? How could anyone top that? You also include a bit of humor here and there, such as when Martial was surprised by the finally revealed Anasazi.

“I don’t trust inanimate objects with a mind of their own.”

Note to self, never introduce Daring to any sort of computer, especially ones with things like Siri or Cortana on them.

I'm kinda curious how things will go with Chrissy the Second, and if she's actually sticking with her original plan. If she is, I fully expect something to happen that will have them framed.

I'll get to the next chapter soon, I'm looking forward to it!

First off, I forgot to ask last chapter, if the heart is considered the soul of a pony, then what does that mean for Celestia, given her operation?

This chapter is a lot more amusing than the last one, which helps a lot, since I like humor.

Dr. Caballeron's name is Poni? The sad thing is, that's not the most ridiculous pony name I've ever heard. Also, sounds like Mary Mare gave Sweetie a couple more days of freedom. How's Ahuizotl going to react when he finds out his target has a weak heart condition? I'm pretty sure it will complicate his plans.

Why do I have a sinking feeling that the charity is gonna overlap with the date? Eh, sounds like she'll be kidnapped first anyway, so it won't be that big a deal.

You do a good job of giving all the characters, particularly Scootaloo and Pipsqueak, distinctive voices. It's something I sometimes have trouble with in my own writing, but you can really pull it off.

Scootaloo looked from Sweetie, to Button, and back again. Her eyes widened with realization. “Oh hay, look! It’s a thing! A thing I should check out all by myself! Sweetie, you should stay right here and don’t even move while I go and check out that thing! I’ll just leave you two here all by yourselves! I’ll be right back after I check out the thing! Bye!”

Subtlety, thy name is the complete opposite of Scootaloo.

How big is Button's geek out going to be when he meets the real Daring Do?

“If you love something…” he said, and turned in for the night.

Please, please don't finish that quote Button.

Thanks for the chapter, I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Oh geez. Should I read every story on that list first? ...actually, I probably will do that.

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Not necessarily. Each story is written as a stand-alone, with the continuity acting as a thread that connects the stories at a deeper level. Ongoing, overarching plot, but self-contained episodes. This might actually be one of the best starting spots for the series, if it tickled your fancy. :twilightsmile:

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You are off to a fantastic start! Seriously, an ancient, high-tech steam punk changeling city with A.I. and killer robots? How could anyone top that?

I knew from the beginning that this story needed an explosive opening. Something to get the blood pumping, the mind boggling, and the gears turning.

It's also important to show that yes, this is an action story, even if the rest of the action doesn't kick up for another few chapters. There's a lot of drama to process.

You also include a bit of humor here and there, such as when Martial was surprised by the finally revealed Anasazi.

I like to think of myself as a funny guy. :pinkiehappy: Since this story's lighter than DayBreak, I get to have a little fun here and there.

Note to self, never introduce Daring to any sort of computer, especially ones with things like Siri or Cortana on them.

She doesn't know why, but back at the university, there's this professor named Spellcheck who gives her the creeps.

I'm kinda curious how things will go with Chrissy the Second, and if she's actually sticking with her original plan. If she is, I fully expect something to happen that will have them framed.

The tragedy of being duplicitous that it is indeed expected of you. It would be a shame if Ahuizotl did something that could be... misconstrued, especially during a meeting of the world leaders.

First off, I forgot to ask last chapter, if the heart is considered the soul of a pony, then what does that mean for Celestia, given her operation?

There's something very strange about alicorns all around. Something that wasn't quite answered in DayBreak. Celestia was walking around just fine right after the Crystal Heart rejuvenated her, even though there was no heart in her chest at all. She had a pulse without a heart. Twilight, too, survived more than 15 minutes without oxygen... with no brain damage. Alicorns are not bound to the same rules as other ponies. The question of what rules they are bound to, and why, is to be answered later.

Dr. Caballeron's name is Poni? The sad thing is, that's not the most ridiculous pony name I've ever heard.

Firstly, because I wanted a shout-out to Rene Belloq, the character he's based on. Secondly, Pony "Donut" Joe is a thing.

Thirdly, since Poni is Spanish for Pony, and Caballeron is almost the Spanish for horse rider, his full name translates to Pony Horseman. This amuses me.

Lastly, it's the same as if a human was named Guy. :rainbowkiss:

Also, sounds like Mary Mare gave Sweetie a couple more days of freedom.

It's so neighborly of her!

How's Ahuizotl going to react when he finds out his target has a weak heart condition? I'm pretty sure it will complicate his plans.

I can see ol' Owie now. "Blast and curses! Another defective model! Bring me that Coloratura pony next!" :flutterrage:

Why do I have a sinking feeling that the charity is gonna overlap with the date? Eh, sounds like she'll be kidnapped first anyway, so it won't be that big a deal.

Date's Wednesday, Mayor Gaston won't be back for her answer until Saturday. Somebody's gonna be disappointed either way, but it probably won't be Button!

You do a good job of giving all the characters, particularly Scootaloo and Pipsqueak, distinctive voices. It's something I sometimes have trouble with in my own writing, but you can really pull it off.

Thanks! It's something I've worked hard for, where somebody can read the character's dialogue in their distinctive voice.

One thing that I've done is not only to study speech patterns and word choices, but also look into the character's head and see why they talk the way they do.

Scootaloo's mostly interested in getting her point across, without bothering with making her speech pretty. She's also keen on making others laugh, here, specifically Sweetie, so she spatters jokes throughout. She talks fast, uses quick words, and tries for one too many puns.

Pipsqueak's accent is mostly effected in these stories, due to his dual heritage. As I've stated before, the Ponyville vernacular comes easy, but his Trottinghamisms make girls giggle. As such, he sprinkles British terms throughout his dialogue like he's passing out candy in a parade. Time Turner would probably roll his eyes at Pip's antics. As such, hes quick to use Trottinghamisms where other words wold do... unless he's having a serious moment.

Subtlety, thy name is the complete opposite of Scootaloo.

Subtlety is an art, but a Clue-by-Four to the face is a broadcast. It'll hit harder and reach a bigger audience. :scootangel:

How big is Button's geek out going to be when he meets the real Daring Do?

We may reach Rainbow Dash levels of fangirling.

Please, please don't finish that quote Button.

I can't resist a sterling, thematically-appropriate quote. :twistnerd:

Blankety Blank is here!? Awesome.

Two lovebirds, united in a lack of confidence... but while Sweetie is obviously highly talented with some problems. Button, in contrast, doesn't have anything obviously going for him. I'm pretty sure this is going directly in the direction to address both lack of confidences. The difference is I feel like I can guess where Sweetie's is going.

The Siren Song of Ponyville? Sirens are a pretty specific things... I'm not sure if actually being a good singer is a requirement though. The current ones never seemed that impressive.

Merry continues to be an utterly terrible person. That might actually be an issue of entering the stories late, because it was teased in earlier stories, and here it's just straightforward that she's a pretty bad person.

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Please, please don't finish that quote Button.

I know! Gives me the willies.

Anyway! We've got some good stuff to start. Cold open with adventure, then back to establishing who Sweetie and Button have become.

The promise of adventure and growth is exciting.

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Date's Wednesday, Mayor Gaston won't be back for her answer until Saturday. Somebody's gonna be disappointed either way, but it probably won't be Button!

Ah, I see. I thought the date was next Wednesday.

Lucky me, I come back at the end of the weekend and find two chapters! And right out of the gate this story earns its "Romance" tag. The shipper in me is pleased.

She didn’t like being this high up; it was too easy to imagine what would happen if her wings failed her. Again. Martial at least was strong and fast enough to catch her if she fell.

First out of the gate is these two. How long ago is this set after Daybreak? Because these two have quite a caring vibe. Makes me think the Widow Daring could be ready to move on, and Rainbow Dash may have lost her chance with "Marty."

Martial Paw lifted a bladed leg. He wiggled the joint and nodded. “I’ve rarely seen devices this complex, even in Equestria. This thing seemed alive.” He raised an eyebrow at Blank. “Which fits pretty well with what you’ve been saying.”

It's interesting that in this setting, changlings were both the equivalent of the LoTR elves (first and greatest civilization that saved the world from an ancient evil until they were betrayed) and also the orcs, but without an outside force really turning them from one into another.

Words were scrawled across the wall behind it—long, coarse letters cut deep into the stone and then covered in red. It was a message to her personally. A message from her greatest foe.
YOU LOSE DARING DO
“That’s one I owe you, Ahuizotl,” she growled. “But I’ll make you pay in blood.”

Like one of his death traps, but for pride. Azzy could see this as a sort of deathtrap investment. How much faster and more recklessly is Daring going to charge through all his future traps because of this?

The changelings were led inside at something slightly less than spear-point. The gate slammed shut, sealing the changelings in.

I hope this involves a lengthy history lesson from the changlings to the ponies, and it ends with certain ponies feeling very guilty indeed.

The unicorn beside him lit their horn, the air becoming hazy around the corona. To the right, a pegasus spread their wings. Dew drops flicked from their feathers. All around, dust rose at earth pony hooves, and grass blades danced of their own accord.

I love this song, and it ties together the whole story. Do non-ponies have any kind of magical resonance when Sweetie sings?

Next up is Peachy Pie and Sunny Daze, with their acrobatic rollerblading act!”

I thought the dark lord was defeated by Celestia at the end of Daybreak? How have they broken free? :trollestia:

Merry Mare slunk out of the shadows. Her tail swished with practiced movements. Caballeron felt like a snake entranced by a charmer.
“Working?” she said, sliding her forelegs over his shoulders and across his chest. “That’s no fun.”

You gave Merry a love interest!?! :pinkiehappy: So excited to see this! And the really sensual writing was well done, the ol' gal' still got it!

Sweetie held back a snort. “You’re not as funny as you think you are.”
“Ah, aha.” Scootaloo landed with a soft pat. “But I’ll never stop trying.”

Love the Scoots/Sweetie banter in this scene. It really feels like how they will sound as adults.

Gaston nodded, bringing his free talon up to stroke a gold button on his shirt. He turned his head to the side so that he could look her right in the eye. “I am holding something of a gala to raise awareness of the needs of Cloudsdale.

So Rarity and Rainbow Dash are too busy working to repair Cloudsdale to see their sisters perform, but Gaston can attend a popular shindig on the excuse he is recruiting for a fancy gala he is throwing.....to raise funds to rebuild Clousdale of course, not to burnish his own profile! :raritywink: I bet Gaston and Merry got along really well on the Mayor's council back in the day.

Her heart rumbled with a parade of magic.

I love this little phrase. It's a bit flowery, but it really fits with the idea that Sweetie is swept up in her own talent, at least when Button is near. A good final ship, provided Mayor Fletcher doesn't make his move during the gala!

Great to be caught up. A lot of good opening pieces in play. I wonder if Merry watched Sweetie Bell sing and regretted her recruitment choices a few years back...

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Blankety Blank is here!? Awesome.

Yes, he is, and yes, it is gonna be awesome. Look for Care Carrot showing up a few thousand words down the line.

Two lovebirds, united in a lack of confidence... but while Sweetie is obviously highly talented with some problems. Button, in contrast, doesn't have anything obviously going for him. I'm pretty sure this is going directly in the direction to address both lack of confidences. The difference is I feel like I can guess where Sweetie's is going.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised either way. They've got more in common than just a mutual lack of confidence. :raritywink:

The Siren Song of Ponyville? Sirens are a pretty specific things... I'm not sure if actually being a good singer is a requirement though. The current ones never seemed that impressive.

Note that Merry said, specifically, "A natural siren's song." There's a key word right there.

Merry continues to be an utterly terrible person. That might actually be an issue of entering the stories late, because it was teased in earlier stories, and here it's just straightforward that she's a pretty bad person.

I'm actually still a genius. You see, in other stories, I introduce her as Merry Mare, former mayor of Ponyville. In this story, I did not mention her former job. Since Merry isn't her canon name, as far as any newcomers know, she's some random pony I made up to be Caballeron's love interest.

Either way, the spoiler is satisfied. :twistnerd:

I know! Gives me the willies.

So what I get from all this is that Button should say it to himself, like, every time he's on screen, right? You guys would love that, right?

Anyway! We've got some good stuff to start. Cold open with adventure, then back to establishing who Sweetie and Button have become.
The promise of adventure and growth is exciting.

I swear, I'm so excited for this story I can taste it. It tastes like a rootbeer float with extra ice cream. Delicious!


7262509

Ah, I see. I thought the date was next Wednesday.

I'm always very careful about the chronology of my stories. Otherwise, I end up with leftover days, and nobody wants those. Problem is, I'm so stingy with dropping hints that deciphering the schedule becomes more complex than figuring out the plot itself.


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Lucky me, I come back at the end of the weekend and find two chapters! And right out of the gate this story earns its "Romance" tag. The shipper in me is pleased.

Insta-Romance! Just add blushing!

First out of the gate is these two. How long ago is this set after Daybreak? Because these two have quite a caring vibe. Makes me think the Widow Daring could be ready to move on, and Rainbow Dash may have lost her chance with "Marty."

You've been shipping MartyDo since Scootaloo Will Fly!, you know that? Guh! Fine! I'll erase all my DashPaw plans and move the entire story towards getting the griffon and the professor together. I mean, I has this really awesome plot about Sweetie Belle and the Spade of Hearts and everything, but I gotta give the readers what they want. Turns out they want 200,000 words of Daring Do rebounding on a cartographer.

It's interesting that in this setting, changlings were both the equivalent of the LoTR elves (first and greatest civilization that saved the world from an ancient evil until they were betrayed) and also the orcs, but without an outside force really turning them from one into another.

Weren't the orcs also elf-like creatures before Saron's precursor corrupted them? I think I remember reading something like that.

We haven't even scratched the surface of changeling history yet. Next chapter, Daring Do gets up close and personal with the city itself!

Like one of his death traps, but for pride. Azzy could see this as a sort of deathtrap investment. How much faster and more recklessly is Daring going to charge through all his future traps because of this?

Ooh. Apt. Ahuizotl strikes me as someone capable of playing the long game. Daring Do just needs to play a longer one, but her impatience gets in the way of that...

I hope this involves a lengthy history lesson from the changlings to the ponies, and it ends with certain ponies feeling very guilty indeed.

Come now, Howie. Do I ever take the easy route? Don't answer that. Point is, ponies aren't the only people scootin' for a bootin'.

I love this song, and it ties together the whole story. Do non-ponies have any kind of magical resonance when Sweetie sings?

The earth moved for one particular diamond dog. Also, never stand too close to a staticy griffon.

The song is pretty special to me. It was one of those where I struggled with it for a long time, but when it clicked, it all fell into place. I actually had it written a few months ago, back when I was finishing up DayBreak. This chapter is one of the big moments for which I wrote the story, from Sweetie onstage, to Button watching, to Caballeron's cigarette.

I thought the dark lord was defeated by Celestia at the end of Daybreak? How have they broken free? :trollestia:

Of course they had you fooled, too. For no one would suspect the mare behind the fairy behind the siren behind the assassin!

You gave Merry a love interest!?! :pinkiehappy: So excited to see this! And the really sensual writing was well done, the ol' gal' still got it!

They've been married for something upwards of thirty years. You can bet your britches that Merry never mentioned his name while campaigning.

Love the Scoots/Sweetie banter in this scene. It really feels like how they will sound as adults.

Always a goal, always a victory. :ajsmug: Scoots and Sweets have the capacity to be one of the great duos of our time.

So Rarity and Rainbow Dash are too busy working to repair Cloudsdale to see their sisters perform, but Gaston can attend a popular shindig on the excuse he is recruiting for a fancy gala he is throwing.....to raise funds to rebuild Clousdale of course, not to burnish his own profile! :raritywink:

Well, when we get to see Cloudsdale, you'll find it hard to fault him for looking for help anywhere he can find it. It's not all parties and fun.

Plus, both Rarity and Rainbow are workaholics.

I bet Gaston and Merry got along really well on the Mayor's council back in the day.

Actually, back when she was in office, his claim to fame was a few golden medals from the Equestria Games. :trixieshiftright:

I love this little phrase. It's a bit flowery, but it really fits with the idea that Sweetie is swept up in her own talent, at least when Button is near.

If I'm not allowed to make up flowery phrases during a cute romantic scene, then please, just shoot me now. :moustache: I hope to carry on in a similarly fuzzy warm feeling fashion, should the romance continue to escalate.

A good final ship, provided Mayor Fletcher doesn't make his move during the gala!

Of course!

No one schmoozes like Gaston
No one chooses like Gaston
No one moves in on my marefriend like Gaston!

"I'm especially quick to suggestive smalltalk!"

My, what a guy, that Gaston!

Great to be caught up. A lot of good opening pieces in play. I wonder if Merry watched Sweetie Bell sing and regretted her recruitment choices a few years back...

Silver must be jealous. Murderously so. :twilightangry2:

You've been shipping MartyDo since Scootaloo Will Fly!, you know that? Guh!

Have I? Man that was so long ago. Feels like just a month or so ago I was reading about the Ponyville Volunteer Fire Department.

Fine! I'll erase all my DashPaw plans and move the entire story towards getting the griffon and the professor together.

When was the last time Martial Paw and Rainbow Dash had any real time together? I mean, I think they had a brief chat back in Scootaloo Will Fly! But really it's been quite a while since Martial and Rainbow had that romantic moment in the gardens back in Sonata. Now, maybe RD was going to join in the quest with Martial and the Party, but if not I could always see Marty settling for the mare she plays on the Big Screen. (On the other hand, how much older is Daring Doo? That could be a factor too.)

Weren't the orcs also elf-like creatures before Saron's precursor corrupted them? I think I remember reading something like that.

Sauron can't really create anything, so he basically kidnapped a bunch of elves and tortured them, then magically mutated them into orcs. So now they are brutal race that is a constant threat to the rest of the world, rather like modern changlings. The difference, as far as I know right now, is that no outside force turned the "elf-changlings" into "orc-changlings," it was really just bitterness that turned their civilization against others.

. It was one of those where I struggled with it for a long time, but when it clicked, it all fell into place. I actually had it written a few months ago, back when I was finishing up DayBreak.

It did really tie the whole chapter together. Definitely made me envious of Button, I have to confess.

Of course they had you fooled, too.

I should have realized the Spade of Hearts is really a rollerskate disguised as a dagger!

They've been married for something upwards of thirty years. You can bet your britches that Merry never mentioned his name while campaigning.

Wait.... Is Cabelleron the father of Merry's lost child? If so, did no one ask this small town politician about being a single mom? If not, what happened to Mr. Mare? I hope your not saying she's still married to him. Treason, murder, assassination, I can accept many foibles in a character. But adultery! That's crossing the line!

Well, when we get to see Cloudsdale, you'll find it hard to fault him for looking for help anywhere he can find it

Oh, I have not yet begun to find fault! Button's literally preening rival shall be judged most harshly.

My, what a guy, that Gaston!

He's something, alright.

Silver must be jealous. Murderously so. :twilightangry2:

I hope Button doesn't take Sweetie to the same first date location that Apple Bloom took Spike...

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I also forgot to answer your question about how long this takes place after DayBreak. If we figure that the calendar coincides with the Summer Sun Celebration, meaning the modern calendar starts with the banishment of Nightmare Moon, then we can figure on Episode One taking place in the summer of the year 1000 AU (After Unification. Celestia turned the historical spotlight away from NMM and towards the founders. She's the reason all historians have a yearly aneurysm).

That said, Daybreak takes place in autumn of the year 1009, from late September to mid-November, with the epilogue reaching into mid-December. R&R takes place in summer of 1011, a year and nine months later.

One year away from reelection.

Have I? Man that was so long ago. Feels like just a month or so ago I was reading about the Ponyville Volunteer Fire Department.

Button and the gang are still fire fighters. :rainbowkiss: Just slightly more effective now that they're adults instead of young teens.

When was the last time Martial Paw and Rainbow Dash had any real time together? I mean, I think they had a brief chat back in Scootaloo Will Fly! But really it's been quite a while since Martial and Rainbow had that romantic moment in the gardens back in Sonata.

To be fair, the last time they had time together was Martial's last really visible role. Before R&R, he had exactly four scenes in the whole series, two in Scootaloo Will Fly!, and two in DayBreak. Marty and Dash haven't even talked with each other. I've barely even teased at the relationship, aside from Rainbow saying they've saved each others lives and Marty buying her a scarf.

I'll freely point out that the Martial Paw from Sonata de Equestria was a completely different character than Martial Paw from The Heart's Promise. The new guy's got a lot of history, bad blood, and a generally different outlook on life. Sonata!Martial left his country for the mare he loved. Promise!Martial left for a different reason.

I just like to reuse character ideas. Much like Blankety Blank is a similar yet different character to Mandible from Blueblood's Ascension. There's not an original bone in my body and I like it.

Now, maybe RD was going to join in the quest with Martial and the Party, but if not I could always see Marty settling for the mare she plays on the Big Screen.

Rainbow's role in this story is comparable to and directly tied to Scootaloo's. :scootangel:

(On the other hand, how much older is Daring Doo? That could be a factor too

Daring Do is 41 years of age. Martial Paw is roundabouts 28, 29-ish (Much like Dashie). I don't know if that counts as a cougar, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it.

The difference, as far as I know right now, is that no outside force turned the "elf-changlings" into "orc-changlings," it was really just bitterness that turned their civilization against others.

Bitterness, a long string of bad leaders, and an even longer string of poor choices...

It did really tie the whole chapter together. Definitely made me envious of Button, I have to confess.

On the bright side, you are not about to face off against an immortal otter-thing with the power to steal hearts in a bid to become a god. You've got that going for you. :twilightsmile:

I should have realized the Spade of Hearts is really a rollerskate disguised as a dagger!

Who knew gardening, extreme sports, and supervillainy had to much in common?

Wait.... Is Cabelleron the father of Merry's lost child? If so, did no one ask this small town politician about being a single mom? If not, what happened to Mr. Mare? I hope your not saying she's still married to him. Treason, murder, assassination, I can accept many foibles in a character. But adultery! That's crossing the line!

Merry is many things, but an adulteress is not one of them. He's the father.

Oh, I have not yet begun to find fault! Button's literally preening rival shall be judged most harshly.

And so, Gaston becomes an outlet for your envious feelings surrounding Button Mash. I see this as coping in a healthy, productive way!

I hope Button doesn't take Sweetie to the same first date location that Apple Bloom took Spike...

There's a funny story about that, and I'll be sure to tell it when we get to that part. :pinkiehappy:

Dude that was amazing! I loved the interactions in this story! Between Daring, Blank and Marty, to Cadence and Shining, to Cadence and Luna (that one was my favorite!) Btw, LOVE the Queen! She's creepy... I love it! Can't wait for next chapter, keep up the awesome work!

Oh dear. Is Rumble having complications getting back to Ponyville? That could be a problem.

If that is how the stories Daring writes get changed, I have to wonder how first one was changed?

Did Cicada use the dagger on herself to keep herself alive? I once came up with a similar character who preserved their mind in a computer, but due to differences in how brains and machines work he was unable to learn, and kept trying to become King of the World again since it couldn't imagine any other kind of world.

Nice to see the issue of Luna's age come up, since if she did age on the moon it was probably slower.

“When a thousand years old you reach,” Luna said, swinging her hips, “look this hot, you will not.”

Do they have a ponified Star Wars here? Or at least a ponified Yoda?

“A wise creature once said ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ I prefer to roar loudly and swing a blade.”

Same question about Teddy Roosevelt. I mean, even in the human world from which he obtained gunpowder Teddy hadn't been born yet, I don't think.

Smart of Blank to write down his conversation to report it rather than keep it hidden. That already puts him in a better position than most people who have others try to psychically manipulate them.

This was a cool chapter, I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Good to see the ponies learning the truth about the rise of the changling empire, though they don't yet know about the fall... But of course the real highlight of this chapter was seeing our two favorite chicks again.

I don't know if that counts as a cougar, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it.

Of course there's nothing wrong with it, but yeah, that sounds a bit cougar-y to me. Then again, Marty probably has a cousin who's half cougar, right?

On the bright side, you are not about to face off against an immortal otter-thing with the power to steal hearts in a bid to become a god.

Six dozen of one, half of another, as an old friend of mine likes to say.

Merry is many things, but an adulteress is not one of them. He's the father.

Family values then, for a very specific range of them.

And so, Gaston becomes an outlet for your envious feelings surrounding Button Mash. I see this as coping in a healthy, productive way!

Dang it Hobbs, that was subtext and you made it text!

There's a funny story about that, and I'll be sure to tell it when we get to that part. :pinkiehappy:

:twilightsmile:

Hi Scoots
Hay baby
To my dearest Scootaloo
Hiyah Sexy
Hi Scoots,

He forgot "Hiyah, Scooty-booty."

So she’s a centurion and a captain at the same time. Not confusing at all.

Not in the least. I just wish her full birth name was "Commander Lieutenant Stonewall."

She picked a coat off her cot and slid it over her back. She took her pith helmet, twirled it, and set it on her head. “My emotional health is great. Writing helps me cope. Makes me think about how I’m feeling. Lets me work through everything. Figure it out.”

I agree with Daring's logic, myself. It does seem like a good way to work things out.

Martial’s pen fell from a limp talon. He bent over, scrambling to pick it up before it rolled down the stairs. His wings flared as he regained his balance. “Plucked pinions. The Elements belong to the changelings?”

Dun dun dun! Now to hope Celestia finds out about this before the negotiations conclude.

“This is the last picture. The last chapter in their history. This… this is what led to them building this city. This whole empire! Their story is…”
She finally tore herself away from the wall. She looked to the empty throne, to the dilapidated flying machine, to the grinding clockwork outside. “Their story is Equestria’s.”

Well almost. I mean, they didn't have time to carve the faces of the scurrilous foe that brought them low, so that shall remain a mystery for now. :raritywink:

Shining snagged her elbow with a shimmering pink spell. He cracked a grin, rolling a hoof up and over his head. “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty inconvenient right about now.”

That's how you get the scales named after you!

Cadence leaned her neck back, feeling the wind against her face. “He’s a fan of showboating?”
“He missed his calling as a ringmaster.”

Barely. I mean, his job is 50% lion tamer, and that's almost the same thing! (I guess the other 50% would be falconer).

Luna raised an eyebrow, tilting her ears to the sides. “I wasn’t counting the banishment. I rarely do unless mentioning the added lifespan aids in browbeating an ignoramus.”

One upside of being trapped as a discorporeal entity in a rock is that your body doesn't age. I wonder if that means in a millennium or two Luna will grow as big as Celestia?

“When a thousand years old you reach,” Luna said, swinging her hips, “look this hot, you will not.”

Two centuries past where Yoda made it, and the midnight milkshake is still bringing all the stallions to the yard!

Two young griffon girls bolted from the airship in a flurry of fur and feathers. “Princess Luna! Princess Luna!” They nearly bowled Luna over from sheer momentum as they wrapped her in a winged embrace. “We missed you!”

I missed you too!

She squeaked her delight in the griffon tongue. “Kroota Vreev! Equestria gawrock chakii!”

And now they shout things in Griffish! :rainbowkiss:

“Father tells us all about you in his bedtime stories,” the eldest, Corona, said. “Is it really true that your firstborn created a snowstorm when she was an infant?”
“Pretty much.” Cadence nodded, her mind flashing back. “Yes, that pretty much covers it.”

Wait a minute..... I thought the HPverse was canon-compliant through the end of S4 and then diverged. Was Flurry Heart born after Daybreak?

Cadence’s eyes widened. Stella seemed to be around the age of her son, Silver Lance,

Nooooo.... Stahhhhppp Cadance, reign in your shipping senses..... Oh who am kidding, go hog wild! :raritystarry:

Corona’s breath left in a whoosh. “Twilight Sparkle? We’re going to stay with Twilight Sparkle?”
Stella’s response was a spatter of high-pitched birdsong.

If I buy an expensive parakeet just so I can preen it, I'm blaming you Hobbs.

His wingtips touched his daughters along their sides. “Now, children, I want you to do your best to make friends with Cadenza’s children. The friendships of today—”
“—are the refuges of tomorrow,” Corona finished.

Andean certainly has grown. It seems he is as implacable a friend as he is a foe. He's a regular care bear-butt!

“No.” Cicada’s voice grew in strength with each word. “We are mighty, the chosen protectors of the world. The chosen rulers. We could be so once again, if only you would help me.”

Uh oh. I was hoping Cicada could be reasonable. In any case, what happens when the changlings find out about this place, return to their ancestral homeland, and also they would like their cultural artifacts, the EoH back, please? :twilightoops:

I'll admit, I was surprised to see that Flurry Heart exists in this universe. It seems like a natural born alicorn would have been a bigger deal in Daybreak, (especially when Hurricane was commanded to "kill the youngest alicorn") but I guess it can't be helped that it was written before season 6

Snips interests me, surprisingly. Perhaps it's taking other fanfictions into account, but I can see him as highly insecure... but hiding all of it behind that veneer of adversarial "giving a hard time" to hide that his insecurities are genuine.

You know, I keep misestimating the adversarial relationship Andean has with most of the alicorns, since he has a good relationship with Luna I sorta automatically think "so this means he's warming up to them!" but it seems like it's still not going so well with most of them...

But maybe that's because I like him, so I presume the other alicorns must too... They just have to start agreeing with me. :pinkiecrazy:

And we're halfway through the show? But I wanna see the after-the-show!

Thanks for putting out a new chapter despite your computer difficulties, did not expect to see this so soon! Lots of adorable romance, and quality bear-butt time!

Something hidden. It didn’t especially surprise Cadence, but it was unnerving to not know exactly what it was. There was something very off.

Chryssi 2 is deliberately playing up the poor-little-match girl routine. She's trying to appeal to Celestia's enormous heart (well, someone's enormous heart).

Featherweight grinned. A grin which, in Button’s mind, had the glee of someone who didn’t quite understand how the world works. “I’m not a minor anymore.”

:rainbowderp: :raritystarry: :pinkiehappy:

Button Mash’s lips popped as he pulled the sucker from his mouth. “How’s the saying go? Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon?”
Snips pressed against the back of the chair, leaning it back and throwing Featherweight off balance. “Hear that, Weightless? Sounds like a different princess has a place in your future.”

In your dreams! :ajbemused: (But not literally, Luna probably has a very strict policy about never visiting the dreams of teenage colts).

Snips’ register cha-chinged as he slid the drawer closed. “You know whose shows have awesome pyrotechnics? The G and P Trixie. Now there’s a mare who can attract a crowd.”

7393543 You know behind all his talk, Snips has his own date tonight with a signed photo from the GaTP, right?

Merry took in her lover, from his salt-and-pepper mane to his golden cutie mark. “Come back to Ponyville. We’ll give you a makeover. Make you a new pony. Bring you back to me.”

Staaaahhhhp Hobbs. They're the bad guys! Stop making me root for them!

He turned to bring her face-to-face. “I’m running towards you, Merry. Everything I do, every move I make, brings me further out of this life and closer to one with you. Just trust me. We can be together again. You and me. Husband and wife.”
Merry’s eyes jumped from his to the photograph. “A family.”

Ahhhhh Hobbs! :raritycry: I'm guessing Merry's a little two old to have a second one, but maybe on his travels Cabelleron could keep his eye out for an orphan earth pony colt to take home? Not too big though, he should be short & round. :trollestia:
But seriously, Ahuizotl's leverage better be a "dead child resurrection potion" if he knows what's good for him. This whole scene was just romantic, dramatic gold.

The fillies hurried to catch up, but the colt held back. His serious little face cast a warm smile towards her. “You really are pretty. Even when you don’t think you are.” He scurried to catch up, his short legs pumping.

Oh wow, I think I've figured out your grand strategy this time around, dear author. All the lonely, unattached characters are being drawn inexorably to Ponyville. There, they shall encounter Shipping Princess 2: Son (and daughters) of Shipping Princess! It will be a regular Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, no one left single! Brilliant!

The gray mare nudged Twilight Sparkle in the shoulder. “Twilight assures me it’s actually ‘family-friendly, all-ages entertainment.’ Just like the Daring Do books, right?”

I would say they're more PG-13, really. Death traps, giant cats get punched in the snoot. I wouldn't take my foals to such a show before they're like 5-6 at least.

“I guess…” Spike grinned, grasping the colt around the middle and twisting him upside down. “Unless I take you down with a sudden betrayal!”

:pinkiesmile: Spike is roughhousing with kids! He's not treating ponies like glass dolls! Looks like a certain alchemist has had quite an effect on him already.

Spike raised an eyebrow. “Twi?”
“Yeah, Spike?”
“I know why you haven’t been on a date in seven years.”

Me too. Because Featherweight was a minor! Kudos to Twilight for holding out so long! :twilightangry2:

Twilight Velvet nestled down beside Sweetie Belle, munching a bagful of popcorn. “Now then,” she said around the kernels, “that wasn’t so terrible, was it?”
“No,” Sweetie said, her mouth dusty dry. “Not terrible at all.”

Just wait until the revised version comes out, when ponies realize River wasn't a pony at all! That show will bring down the house.

He snapped up the tail of his fish and set about cutting his potatoes. “Save for a few unfortunate ponies who refuse to grow up.” He clicked his beak, grinding the sharp edges together. “Are you aware of how great an embarrassment Celestia is?”

Uh oh. My shipping goggles have been welded to my face and cannot be removed. All I see is a friendly single dad who can't stop thinking about newly-mortal Celestia. I wonder if Cadance is as attuned to these things as I am?

A great chapter indeed, even if you're going to make it really hard for me to root for Merry and Cabby to lose in the future.

7396454
I... missed that. Was that in this chapter? I know he says how great Trixie is, but I didn't catch anything about his own date.

7397311 I was making a joke. Snips talks a big game like he knows mares, but it seems pretty obvious he has no clue, and it's not like he's being linked to any mare here.

7393543

Snips interests me, surprisingly. Perhaps it's taking other fanfictions into account, but I can see him as highly insecure... but hiding all of it behind that veneer of adversarial "giving a hard time" to hide that his insecurities are genuine.

He's a blustery fellow, no mistake there. :twistnerd:

But that's the thing about Snips. Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, that's what little boys are made of. In a way, this story takes my original, very unused idea for Fahr Drill--colts becoming stallions--and finally puts it into motion. Snips is a little childish in this way, all talk with no action. He and Button are a bit reflective of each other, both feeling insecure in themselves but dealing with it in different ways.

Looking to grown up, but unsure of how it all works.

You know, I keep misestimating the adversarial relationship Andean has with most of the alicorns, since he has a good relationship with Luna I sorta automatically think "so this means he's warming up to them!" but it seems like it's still not going so well with most of them...

In the very first story, the main defining trait of his relationship with Celestia was that there wasn't one. Being friends with somebody's sister doesn't mean you get along with them. I felt that it would be a detriment to the overarching plot if I ignored just how badly they got along. And how blunt Andean could be about it.

Still, there's a chance things could change before the end.

But maybe that's because I like him, so I presume the other alicorns must too... They just have to start agreeing with me. :pinkiecrazy:

The world would be such a better place if only Celestia and Cadence would just listen to you. :trollestia:

And we're halfway through the show? But I wanna see the after-the-show!

Me, too. So very, very much. The after-show is where things finally get good!


7396454

Thanks for putting out a new chapter despite your computer difficulties, did not expect to see this so soon!

Borrowed laptop. I've been plinking away at this chapter for about a month. That's around how long ago I lost old faithful. Still, the urge to write could not be satiated.

Chryssi 2 is deliberately playing up the poor-little-match girl routine. She's trying to appeal to Celestia's enormous heart (well, someone's enormous heart).

You seen the Disney animated short for the Little Matchstick Girl? Didn't end so well for the girl.

Then again, maybe it ended in the best possible way? :fluttercry:

I see what you did there. I'm pretty sure Celestia's taken ownership by now.

:rainbowderp: :raritystarry: :pinkiehappy:

I see you shipping there. Behave!

In your dreams! :ajbemused: (But not literally, Luna probably has a very strict policy about never visiting the dreams of teenage colts).

The first wish of a pony who can read minds is that they might no longer read minds. Things cannot be unseen. The eyes have been afflicted with every imaginable horror.

You know behind all his talk, Snips has his own date tonight with a signed photo from the GaTP, right?

Yes, but he probably forged her signature. There's that restraining order in place, after all. Must remain more than twenty-hooves from her cart or Hydra caves at all times.

Staaaahhhhp Hobbs. They're the bad guys! Stop making me root for them!

Don't worry. There will come a time when you feel it perfectly justifiable that they get punched in the face!

Besides, are you telling me it's impossible to root both for and against somebody? How bizarre. :rainbowhuh:

Ahhhhh Hobbs! :raritycry: I'm guessing Merry's a little two old to have a second one, but maybe on his travels Cabelleron could keep his eye out for an orphan earth pony colt to take home? Not too big though, he should be short & round. :trollestia:

I dunno, man. That reeks of Emperor Palpatine taking little Anakin Skywalker under his wing. :raritydespair:

But seriously, Ahuizotl's leverage better be a "dead child resurrection potion" if he knows what's good for him. This whole scene was just romantic, dramatic gold.

I'm afraid the leverage, as you say, is less a dangling carrot than a executioner's axe, so to speak. More on that as it develops.

Oh wow, I think I've figured out your grand strategy this time around, dear author. All the lonely, unattached characters are being drawn inexorably to Ponyville. There, they shall encounter Shipping Princess 2: Son (and daughters) of Shipping Princess! It will be a regular Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, no one left single! Brilliant!

Ship all the ponies! Ship all the griffons! Ship Ahuizotl with anybody that's left! There shall be romancing in the streets, serenades in the halls, torch songs on every balcony! There will be such a kiss in all of Equestria, such as never has been or will be again!

I would say they're more PG-13, really. Death traps, giant cats get punched in the snoot. I wouldn't take my foals to such a show before they're like 5-6 at least.

As Applewood's rating system goes, the Daring Do films are appropriate for audiences of Cutie Marks and older.

P to the G to the S-U-G-G-E-S-T-E-D.

:pinkiesmile: Spike is roughhousing with kids! He's not treating ponies like glass dolls! Looks like a certain alchemist has had quite an effect on him already.

It's been six months since their big darn kiss in Worst Kept Secret. He's cautious, but maybe, just maybe, he's no longer afraid.

Me too. Because Featherweight was a minor! Kudos to Twilight for holding out so long! :twilightangry2:

You just know that she goes to Ponytones shows not to support Fluttershy--well, that too--but to live out a fantasy with the aid of Featherweight's deep baritone.

You know, if Fluttershy and Bulk ever work things out, and Featherweight finally woos Twilight, Fluttershy will be Twilight Sparkle's mother in law.

Now that would be an Eldrich family tree.

Just wait until the revised version comes out, when ponies realize River wasn't a pony at all! That show will bring down the house.

The house, the system, and if we're not careful, the very sun and moon!

Uh oh. My shipping goggles have been welded to my face and cannot be removed. All I see is a friendly single dad who can't stop thinking about newly-mortal Celestia. I wonder if Cadance is as attuned to these things as I am?

:trixieshiftleft:

:trixieshiftright:

It's... possible that Cadence has not achieve quite the level of shipping nirvana you've reached. But don't worry, all she needs to do is bury herself in fanfiction starring herself for 24 hours straight. Then, only then, shall she reach full romantic enlightenment.

A great chapter indeed, even if you're going to make it really hard for me to root for Merry and Cabby to lose in the future.

Don't worry! The next chapter will be along soon to remind you that they actually are horrible people! :twilightsmile:

Then again, Marty probably has a cousin who's half cougar, right?

Um... his uncle's a tabby/owl hybrid? So kinda not?

Six dozen of one, half of another, as an old friend of mine likes to say.

:rainbowlaugh:

Not in the least. I just wish her full birth name was "Commander Lieutenant Stonewall."

Actually, the fun part is that Stonewall is not her birth name. It's actually something themed around sweets, much like her sister Sweetie Drops. Don't know if I'll get into things in this story, but I fully intend to one day reveal her true nature.

One upside of being trapped as a discorporeal entity in a rock is that your body doesn't age. I wonder if that means in a millennium or two Luna will grow as big as Celestia?

She's already seriously caught up. Cadence is about as tall now as Luna was in the show, and Twilight's as tall as Cadence was. They're either reaching maturity, or they're about to experience alicorn mitosis.

Now there really will be a Twilight Sparkle for everyone.

I missed you too!

Me, three!

And now they shout things in Griffish!

I'm gonna seriously expand the griffon language this time around. Maybe include a key if it becomes necessary to understand it. Right now, things can be inferred.

But this is a story about music, so... :rainbowdetermined2:

Wait a minute..... I thought the HPverse was canon-compliant through the end of S4 and then diverged. Was Flurry Heart born after Daybreak?

I've purposefully never noted a firm, unbreakable cutoff point. I've just sort of woven my narrative between the cracks, filling in the blanks where I can. Flurry Heart appeared after DayBreak was already in its final hours, and yes, I did make note of the fact that there were four alicorns... but I felt like I could include her in the story without really retconning that much.

As it is, Flurry spends the fall and winter months in Canterlot, where she takes classes at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. When Celestia was cut down, she was shipped underground faster than you can say "Not a character in this story." She was only allowed to return home after Hurricane was confirmed dead and the fae were no longer a present threat.

So, yeah, there are still points where she should have been mentioned, but wasn't. But then, that's why I haven't mentioned what Sweetie Belle's cutie mark looks like. The show changed, and readers might not have followed all the stories. Therefore, Flurry's line “I especially like the story of how you got your cutie marks” is either referencing Scootaloo Will Fly!, where I did my darnedest to make it a good one, or "Crusaders of the Last Mark," which affected me quite strongly.

If I keep the story self-contained, I don't have to worry as much about people dumping the book because of references they have no context for.

I see no reason to ignore Starlight Glimmer, or Flurry Heart, or Ember, or any number of other characters and events if I can fit them together in a way that, at the end of the day, makes sense. :pinkiehappy:

If I buy an expensive parakeet just so I can preen it, I'm blaming you Hobbs.

MyHobby Productions accepts no responsibility for the actions and/or poorly-timed purchases of its readers. But it does encourage them.

You're duty-bound to teach Stella the parakeet the My Little Pony theme song.

7397311

I... missed that. Was that in this chapter? I know he says how great Trixie is, but I didn't catch anything about his own date.

Our resident conspiracy theorist is making an off-color joke about how Snips spends his private moments. Candlelit dinners sitting across from a framed image, for instance. Please, cover your foals' eyes.

7398030
Re: becoming stallions:

One of the reasons I'm so excited for this story is that I anticipate that the younger generation will finally be heroic. There are a LOT of older generation heroes that are going to be involved, though...

7398219

There are a LOT of older generation heroes that are going to be involved, though...

How can the younger generation grow unless the elder is around to teach them? :raritywink: You shall be pleased.

Is that a parody song or one you made up? BTW, LOVE the new chapter! Keep it up!

7404089
The words are my own.

Suspiciously enough, though, it can be sung to the tune of "The Bells of Notre Dame", ala The Huchback of Notre Dame.

That said, Button Mash doesn't actually have access to a Latin Choir. :twilightsheepish:

Sweetie looked to the stars. Her coat shone in the light of the moon, all but glowing by herself. “How do you explain Daring Do, then?”

“Daring—” Button laughed. He slapped his knee and sucked a breath through clenched teeth. “Point taken. She’s just a little fantastical, isn’t she?”

:rainbowlaugh: Knowing where this is going, this amuses me.

Also, well timed for yesterday's episode, which had another character in basically this position.

I'm happy Sweetie is impressed by Button's showmanship, singing voice, writing... etc. It helps put together this puzzle of why would they be attracted to each other on a deeper level, and what would make them good partners for each other.

... Come to think of it, being able to write and direct people in a production (which is somewhat what Button did, yes?) is another application of puppeteering, isn't it?

Like RadicalDishonesty said, this is an incredibly well timed chapter.

Would Kiln be so eager to help if he knew/thought Merry was the one who killed his wife? Also, is the "n" silent? I don't think it is, but I could be mistaken.

That play by Button was pretty good, even if I suspect it will be outdated within a few years. Of course, it should be possible to change it up by changing the puppets.

Speaking of the music, you do better at songs than anyone else on this site, even if I'm not sure how the music is supposed to be. It fits with the story, but is good by itself.

That dinner scene was very sweet, you've met your minimum daily requirement of *hnghh*. Also, it appears that Rarity is better at keeping secrets than Rainbow.

I loved the fake out with Scootaloo, although I didn't expect her to be kidnapped along with the others. Seriously, if she had used the technique I had suggested she probably could have defeated all of them, even if they would have needed to be taken to the hospital afterwards. Ah well, maybe she'll make herself some cool ice armor later.

Thanks for the chapter, I'm looking forward to the next one.

This chapter the action returns to Ponyville.

You seen the Disney animated short for the Little Matchstick Girl? Didn't end so well for the girl.
Then again, maybe it ended in the best possible way? :fluttercry:

I saw a alt ending of that story on this site where Celestia appears, takes the soul of the match girl, brings her to Equestria and turns her into a pony.

I dunno, man. That reeks of Emperor Palpatine taking little Anakin Skywalker under his wing. :raritydespair:

Now I'm not the 'Wars expert, but old Pappy seemed like he did his best for Anakin. Sure, he made him do a lot of difficult things, but he also taught him quite a lot, got him a good job, and seemed ready to save Anakin's wife's life when the time was right. He also saved his life and gave him a shiny new body.

There will be such a kiss in all of Equestria, such as never has been or will be again!

All the changlings will waddly fatly through the streets in peace!

You know, if Fluttershy and Bulk ever work things out, and Featherweight finally woos Twilight, Fluttershy will be Twilight Sparkle's mother in law.

Ugh-oh, the second most motherly pony Twilight knows (after Celestia) is now her mother-in-law. "Uhm, you know Twilight, Bulk and I would be happy to babysit any grandfoals you give us... if that's alright with you." :fluttershysad: :facehoof:

It's... possible that Cadence has not achieve quite the level of shipping nirvana you've reached.

Tell Cadance to get on my level!

Don't worry! The next chapter will be along soon to remind you that they actually are horrible people! :twilightsmile:

Yes, yes it did.

7397311

Our resident conspiracy theorist

Hey! Just because I know that chemtrails from the Breezy migration release diluted Ambrosia to keep the populace docile, or that when Hurricane tried to assassinate Celestia there was a second hitman on the grassy knoll (a diamond dog named Grassy Gnoll), doesn't make me a conspiracy theorist! You're just claiming that because you were told to by the earth pony bakers who run the world!

7440822

“She was always a beautiful mare.” Caballeron moved beside the stallion. He pulled his hat from his head and holding it over his chest. His heart caught in his throat as he read the epitaph: Amber Waves, beloved mother, wife, and friend. “Too good for this world, it seems.”

This reminded me why Merry is a villain, right off the bat. I wonder if Cab knows what his wife did? That's going to come back and haunt him.

Spike’s face appeared above Button’s, bearing a predatory smile. “Actually, Button here was just finishing up. Twist and Dinky and I have it from here. You guys just go on ahead and do what you do. Together.”

Strange, I thought you said Spike didn't develop wings? He's certainly showing off his wingman-skills here.

A picture of Mayor Applejack was taped to it, offering a more interesting target for their activities. Fun Police was lovingly scrawled beneath her portrait.

Should be of the Deputy Mayor, she'd make the most fun police ever! :pinkiehappy:

The server’s skin retracted beneath his touch, squirming with a mind of its own. “I see you’ve some interesting customers tonight, Scuttlebutt.”

Does he work two jobs or has he just not found working under Mayor AJ agreeable? Either way, I pity the poor stallion who passes out in this bar, they might now wake up...

Rhombus ended the kiss with a shove, sending the mare stumbling back. He brought his face close enough that his breath tickled Glasses’ untrimmed whiskers. “You mouth off at me again, I’ll take your nose off at range.”

Charming, yet also a complete flankhole. I like Poni's crew already.

He looked her right in the eye, past the frameless glasses, through the crystal clear irises.
“But you should do your best.” The stars dimmed in comparison to the light in Sweetie’s heart. “That’s all anyone can ask.”
“It’s what I want to do,” Button said. “I want to do my very best. Always.”
Sweetie took a deep, soft, slow breath. She leaned her head forward. “I know.”

Man this scene was sweet. I know it's kind of obvious with the title, but singing does seem like the best way to a mare's heart. Even Rhombus knows that!

“But you get a story built on a foundation of truth… it can stick with you.” Button patted his chest, just above his thundering heart. “Y-you get in a hard time and you can think back to that story. You can remember ‘Yes, this is real. This is good and right. This matters.’”

Sounds like a parable to me. The truth isn't in the details, it's in the lesson. Hopefully not everything about Button's play will need to change in the end.

“Sweetie!” Button took a step forward, but stopped with a scrape of hooves on pavement. The biggest stallion was five times his weight. The others weren’t much better odds. Rushing in would get all of them killed. He had to do something! It was an emergency!
An emergency like a fire.

I love that Button was smart enough to do this instead of just rushing in and making things worse. Props to his brains.

The blade flashed. Button fell, a deep gash across his chest. He stared up at the ceiling, his breath coming in spurts, the bright light overhead darkening with the outline of a pony’s face.
“Be careful how you change the world, boy,” Caballeron said. “Sometimes, it changes for the worse.”

And now I'm rooting against Caballeron again, so I guess it worked. Not sure how Button will be up and ready to chase after Cab with those bruises and a hole in his chest though.

So the main plot has kicked off, and Button has been given the push he needs to become a hero, if he's got the stones for it.

Man! I just LOVE these chapters! Keep up the awesome work! Btw, I know I asked this in the last chapter but when there's a song in a story, I really like to know the tune while reading it. I assume you wrote these lyrics, which is totally cool (!), but I was wondering if it was inspired by a song or something. If not then I'll just make a tune on the spot. Btw, I don't know if this is me but I'm hearing Rhombus in a Irish accent for an odd reason, but still awesome character! Really funny! Again, keep up the awesome work and can't wait for the next one!:pinkiehappy:

You know what I just realized? Unless I'm remembering wrong, this is the first story in this continuity to not feature an adorable baby speaking gibberish.

“I think we all went through a ‘Real life’s not like that!’ phase, right?”

Either you added this line in response to the new episode, or this is a really amazing coincidence.

Great chapter, but you really need an editor!

Another great chapter MyHobby. You did a good job bookending the chapter with Flurry's vision and them discovering it wasn't a dream. Maybe now they'll listen to her, she could be a valuable resource. So long as, you know, they also help the poor filly who only seems to get visions of evil.

So, Quibble Pants, canon, even if Daring either can't or won't say his name right. You did a good job of getting his character down.

I have to wonder, do those robots have to have hearts to work? Could they be reconfigured to run on, say, human-made generators? Tightly compacted thunder clouds? The power source those giant griffon airships used in Daybreak?

So, Thorax, either not canon or his attempt to spread friendship to the Changeling Kingdom didn't go so well for him, or for Equestria. As for Cadence's reaction, well, I'm sure most of that is relief, right? Also, Jade is cute.

Thanks for the chapter, looking forward to more!

Quibble, huh?

Let me check that schedule... yes that aired on the day you released the previous chapter. So he's in there suddenly. :rainbowkiss:

Careful, though. I'd totally want to know if Daring Do is just always a dismissive jerk who resents him, or if that's teasing, and if Quibble is a half-decent adventurer or not. This story has enough characters already!

I figured this was gonna be Button's and Sweetie's show just on their own, but it looks like a lot of people are gonna get involved...

I like this chapter, but it also made me feel sorry for you Hobbs: You put all this work into retroactively fitting in Quibble Pants and Flurry Heart in this chapter, meanwhile Thorax the friendly changling is running around, playing havoc with cannon!

“It was just a nightmare, Flurry.” He ran his claws through her mane, combing it back. She yawned and rested her head against the pillow. “It’s not real.

Yeah, it's not like alicorns get precognitive visio-OH WAIT!

“Hi, Humph.” Daring slipped a foreleg around the camel’s long neck. She hissed into his ear. “You were supposed to keep the tourist out of my mane.”

Oh man, has Daring Do been funding her expeditions in part by cashing in on the "adventure tours" market? Smart move. Great Quibble appearence overall.

Cicada might have nodded. “When you return, remind the changelings of what once was. Of what might be again.

Yeah, I'm sure telling the changlings about this is at the top of AK's to-do list.

He smiled, hunching his wings back and splaying the feathers. “So that was childhood. Mapmaking, navigating, and geography in the morning, swordsmanship in the afternoon.”

For people who haven't read your oldest stuff, it's good to finally get a handle on Martial. I bet Martial Paw is related to old Chancellor Southpaw, isn't he? I bet he owes something to Corvus.

Also cool to see Blankey working on learning more self-defense. Flight, fingers, disemboweling claws, a Griffon is a solid combat form.

Her cousin, Prince Blueblood, struggled to hold onto his young daughter. “Now, now, Jade,” he said. “A lady does not swear in public.”
“Cuss!” Jade giggled proudly at her perfect enunciation. The little unicorn filly puffed her cheeks out until they looked like tiny green tomatoes. “Cuss!”

OMG, I totally forgot about baby Blueblood! Exactly as adorable as I would have guessed.

She blinked rapidly, her eyes turned to her hooves. “The corpse of Queen Chrysalis the Tyrant.”
Celestia raised her wing and her voice. “Bring in the gurney!”

Now that's how you make an entrance! Chryssi Jr inserted the spear as a coup, right?

“Oh gosh.” Spike knelt down to look his young charges in the eye. “Guys, I’m going to visit my friend in the hospital. I’m gonna find out who did this, why, and where they’ve gone. I’m gonna make this right.”

Wish I could take out a life insurance policy on Poni Caballeron right now.

Ah, yep. There it is. There's the obligatory cute baby. The story is now official. I like how you explained Flurry Heart's absence from Daybreak, but the show is not making things any easier for you with all of these new characters and canons is it? I think at some point you're just gonna have to cut your losses and call this an AU series, but if you can keep working new elements of the show in like this, more power to you!

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Btw, I know I asked this in the last chapter but when there's a song in a story, I really like to know the tune while reading it.

From now on, when there's a song in a chapter I'll put a link to the tune in the description. (Unless, of course, I write a song that isn't just using the music of another one. :twilightblush:)

Rhombus' song is based on 'The Rocky Road to Dublin'. (He totally has an Irish Brogue! :pinkiehappy:)

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Maybe now they'll listen to her, she could be a valuable resource. So long as, you know, they also help the poor filly who only seems to get visions of evil.

Now, now, you know the rules. Superheros and princesses don't get to go to therapy. They get to have their issues exasperated to prolong the drama. :scootangel:

I have to wonder, do those robots have to have hearts to work? Could they be reconfigured to run on, say, human-made generators? Tightly compacted thunder clouds? The power source those giant griffon airships used in Daybreak?

Sad to say, but Equestria (and the ancient changelings) don't have much in the way of AI. Something needs to lend intelligence to the automaton.

So, Thorax, either not canon or his attempt to spread friendship to the Changeling Kingdom didn't go so well for him, or for Equestria.

I actually haven't seen the episode yet, but I think we might be able to explain Thorax's lack of success... at a later date.


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Careful, though. I'd totally want to know if Daring Do is just always a dismissive jerk who resents him, or if that's teasing, and if Quibble is a half-decent adventurer or not.

He's only getting a cameo, since I've only known about him for roughly a week, but I do have a nice, thorough history of his adventures with Daring Do.

She's a dismissive jerk, yeah, who doesn't necessarily appreciate his presence. She's not malicious about it, but she does have the darndest time recognizing his contributions. She mostly resents the fact that he's better at solving puzzles than her, due to his unbelievable logic skills. He's one of those folks who solves Rubiks cubes for fun.

This story has enough characters already!

I was just worrying about that, actually. I've thought about comparing the cast of this one to DayBreak, which had my largest cast ever, but I think doing so might drive me crazy. So many characters have full arcs in this story, it's nuts. I think it'll be manageable once the characters start teaming up, but we'll see.

I figured this was gonna be Button's and Sweetie's show just on their own, but it looks like a lot of people are gonna get involved...

This is the next big climactic episode in the ongoing story that is The Heart's Promise, so there's gonna be a lot of characters all doing their thing. But it all revolves around Button and Sweetie. The plot, the backstory, the machinations, it all comes together with those two ponies.

They will get their day. And that day is today. But not right now today. More like in a couple chapters today.


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I like this chapter, but it also made me feel sorry for you Hobbs: You put all this work into retroactively fitting in Quibble Pants and Flurry Heart in this chapter, meanwhile Thorax the friendly changling is running around, playing havoc with cannon!

Havoc nothing! I'll find some way to use him! I swear it! AhAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!

Yeah, it's not like alicorns get precognitive visio-OH WAIT!

In Flurry's case it's more like a presentcognitive, wouldn't you say?

In Spike's defense, the only Alicorn who's shown to have such visions is Celestia, and she probably doesn't air that particular set of dirty laundry too often.

Oh man, has Daring Do been funding her expeditions in part by cashing in on the "adventure tours" market? Smart move. Great Quibble appearence overall.

Problem there is that there's actual threat to life and limb during her adventures. It gets hard to find a pony willing to sign that particular waver.

Quibble's appearance is totally your fault, you'll be happy to hear. I just wish I could have done more with him, but that's what happens when a new character appears mid-story. :duck:

Yeah, I'm sure telling the changlings about this is at the top of AK's to-do list.

Nobody wants a ticked off changeling ghost haunting them in the middle of the night.

"Daaaaring! Whyyy haven't you told the changelings--"

"The heck are you doing in my shower!? Out! Out!"

"Buuut the chaaaaangelings!"

"Holy water! Holy water! Holy water!"

"That's not holy water, it's just your shampoo."

"At these prices it had better be holy!"

For people who haven't read your oldest stuff, it's good to finally get a handle on Martial

Funny story about that. I re-read a couple of Martial-centric chapters in Sonata de Equestria and had to laugh when the poor guy couldn't even handle a sword. And then had to admit to Dash that he got clobbered in his one action scene prior to the finale. I think Heart's Promise Martial is to Sonata Martial like Batman is to Barnacle Boy.

That said, he did woo Rainbow Dash and defeat an Alicorn Amulet-empowered mad griffon lord, so hey, maybe it's Heart!Martial who has the living up to do.

I bet Martial Paw is related to old Chancellor Southpaw, isn't he? I bet he owes something to Corvus.

Southpaw is unrelated--and currently enjoying retirement in the Equestrian equivalent of Tahiti--but there is something ubiquitously seedy about the Corvus clan.

"Hello, my name is Martial Paw. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

Also cool to see Blankey working on learning more self-defense. Flight, fingers, disemboweling claws, a Griffon is a solid combat form.

I wonder if a dragon is a compatible form for changelings...

OMG, I totally forgot about baby Blueblood! Exactly as adorable as I would have guessed.

How could I neglect to show how Blueblood was making out? The guy's got a special place in my (red)heart, don't you know. :raritywink:

Now that's how you make an entrance! Chryssi Jr inserted the spear as a coup, right?

Oh yes, as she told Ahuizotl:

“I slew her,” Chrysalis II said. “It was the only way to stop her suicidal plans.”
She reached out to cup the chin of a changeling beside her throne. The drone closed its eyes and all but purred. “I realize something my mother never did. These creatures are my brothers and sisters. They are family. It is my responsibility to see them to safety.”

There's some baaaad blood in that there family.

Wish I could take out a life insurance policy on Poni Caballeron right now.

I really, really, really hope that you remember you said this. It will be absolutely wonderful if you remember you said this.


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Ah, yep. There it is. There's the obligatory cute baby. The story is now official.

After you mentioned that, I looked through the whole of the Heart's Promise continuity for cute baby appearances (hereafter known as CBAs) and found shocking results.

Fahr Drill had no CBAs, on account of being short and to the point, focusing on teenage colts. And Big Mac.

Lord Mayor Applejack had no CBAs, on account of the youngest character, Crisperfall, being seven years old. However, Megan's appearance resulted in some language issues, so there were examples of applied malapropism.

The Unmitigated Disaster had no CBAs at all. And frankly, if Twilight ever wants a CBA of her own, she might want to consider rethinking Featherweight's proposal.

Nature in the Wild has a similar issue to Farh Drill in that all appearing characters are teenagers. Unless you wanna count the scene at the end when they reach the beach.

Lightning Struck Home was similarly devoid of CBAs. But it did have a cute owl appearance (COA), so it balanced out.

An Equestrian Griffon almost counts, because Stella was ever-present. But she was nine. A Cute Stella Appearance might be even better than a CBA...

The Worst Kept Secret didn't even have an owl to break up the childless monotony!

All in all, while I'd like to say that CBAs are a Heart's Promise staple, they are not available in all the stories. But believe you me, the longer the story is, the more chance I'll feature at least one CBA. :twilightsmile:

I like how you explained Flurry Heart's absence from Daybreak, but the show is not making things any easier for you with all of these new characters and canons is it? I think at some point you're just gonna have to cut your losses and call this an AU series, but if you can keep working new elements of the show in like this, more power to you!

Just you wait! The next story will have Thorax and Quibble teaming up with Sassy Saddles and Treehugger in a grand adventure across the world to battle the Equestrian equivalent of the Equestria Girls Shadowbolts!

I will not write this story, but somebody should. :twistnerd:

Funny thing is, the series as a whole became an AU the instant Friendship Games aired. So, the next EG story is gonna have to be marked AU based on that alone. However, I don't know if I really need to mark this story AU since by and large it follows canon. The non-canon stuff doesn't get mentioned.

I don't know! I just go with my gut. :trixieshiftleft:

7535750 Thank you so much!

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Havoc nothing! I'll find some way to use him! I swear it! AhAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!

Who Thorax? Are we still talking about him? I was focused on the episode yesterday. For a episode focused on a local sport, it was weird they way they had Twilight Sparkle give this lengthy exposition on how there are no such things as faeries, magical healing is impossible, and Diamond Dogs wielded the original Elements of Harmony.

Quibble's appearance is totally your fault, you'll be happy to hear.

"Daaaaring! Whyyy haven't you told the changelings--"
"The heck are you doing in my shower!? Out! Out!"
"Buuut the chaaaaangelings!"

Hehehe. I bet she would be more likely to haunt Blankety, like a nasty version of Princess Luna. "Face your fears Mandible! Your fears of not being superior to all other life-forms!"

I think Heart's Promise Martial is to Sonata Martial like Batman is to Barnacle Boy.

Oh I like that. The old one was gutsy, but the new one definitely fits the role of Gentletiercel Adventurer.

"Hello, my name is Martial Paw. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

I definitely think of Corvus as the 6-taloned man.

How could I neglect to show how Blueblood was making out? The guy's got a special place in my (red)heart, don't you know

I like to imagine Blueblood and Fleur ended up going into labor while in Ponyville, and Redheart helped deliver the baby.

All in all, while I'd like to say that CBAs are a Heart's Promise staple, they are not available in all the stories.

I was as surprised at this result as Flynt Coal. But then I realized I had been thinking of kids up to like 12 as cute babies, so that's on me. I was counting Bearbutt's kids, Pumpkin and Pound in the most recent story, and Flurry Heart and siblings. Extremely adorable children, but none of them babies. Wait, wasn't the youngest Cake a CBA in Scootaloo Will Fly?

However, I don't know if I really need to mark this story AU since by and large it follows canon. The non-canon stuff doesn't get mentioned.

I really appreciate all the effort you put into keeping this canon, it helps it feel still tightly tied to the show, and I enjoy that. I know it might not last forever, but I do appreciate you keeping things close together while you can.

For some reason, I kind of imagined parts of Ahuizotl's song (namely the verses that start with Omnipresence) having a beat and tune similar to parts of the TF2 musical Medic!. (The actual musical, not the song from the soundtrack of the game itself.)

Of course, Rainbow Dash leaked this to Scootaloo...

I find myself interested in how Spike reacts to Aunt Yearling... given that he might already suspect that Daring Do is real... and that he's going to meet Carrot Care again!

And Apple Bloom isn't there yet and I bet she will be. And Button is probably about to move to the next stage of his determination, the one of realizing he wants to change!

I think the term for what my mind is doing is "brimming with possiblities."

Of course, things are far worse for Sweetie and Scootaloo... and that worries me.

This was pretty cool. I have to ask though, if part of the reason the bars were so tight was because they were wet, how come Scootaloo didn't just, you know, unwet them? And that's only if she could use the water itself to burst them apart.

I still say Scoots would have had a chance if she had been willing to grab Ahuizotl's blood, but it looks like she won't be able to even try now. I like how her heart kept trying to zap him, but once it lost the mind and memories of who he was "she" stopped going full force. On the upside, it sounds like so long as body, mind, and spirit remain unbroken they can always put them back together again.

I'm really curious how you intend to have Button Mash join the adventure. I get the sense that he will end up joining the Knights on this quest, but he doesn't really have skills to contribute. He might sneak after them, but that's a little too similar to "If You Weren't Afraid". Like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes.

Did Rhombus just try to protest Scoot's treatment? He still deserves to get his tail handed to him, but it's nice to know he's not completely evil. Just a really, really, big jerk. Actually, a better fate for him would be for him to find a girl besides Scootaloo who he'll stay with. Best of both worlds there.

I noticed parts of your song were in limerick form, and I tried reading it as such.

Thanks for the chapter, looking forward to more!

Man was that an exciting scene! Up 'til now I had been thinking "oh, I can't wait to see that whacky, bumbling villain Ahuizotl, I wonder if he'll have his little kitten with him when he arrives." Well this Ahuizotl is not whacky or bumbling at all. Great work with the detail that this Water-dog is amphibious. The lore of the Painted Ones is fascinating too.

“Hold up, now.” Pipsqueak sat up, half-reaching for Button. “There’s no need to beat yourself… up…”
He slapped himself in the face. He slumped back into place, rubbing the edge of his muzzle. “In any case, you did more than most would.”

Button raised the alarm, significantly hastening the pursuit of Caballeron. He also got a name and description of the attacker. Without Buttons people would not have noticed they were missing for days, let alone who took them.

Sweetie Belle placed her hoof over her heart and sung aloud in her crystal clear voice. “Shoo be doo, shoo-shoo be doo!”

I love this sequence! Missed "Alohomora" though.

Scootaloo glanced at the blade embedded in Sweetie’s cage, then gaped at the score of similar blades glinting throughout Rhombus’ feathers.

Meh, not that impressed. If wingblades are such an awesome weapon, then they'll train the Royal Guard in how to use them. I do hope to see Rumble introduced to Rhombus.

“Poni.” Rhombus bit his lower lip, fluffing his feathers. “How are you?”
“Peeved.”

Saying the P-word in front of minors! I think this is Caballeron's moral horizon moment.

“Yeah, and all her villains?” Scootaloo waved at Caballeron, who stood stone-faced and silent. “Totally real, too.”

I just realized, Poni probably has to go around disguised in Equestria, just like Daring Do does. I wonder if he has some version of AK Yearling, a harmless non-criminal identity he buys train tickets and rents hotel rooms with.

“What
Is the price
Of a god?”

This was SO COOL! I can't really think of anything to compare it to, but Ahuizotl is officially the new Big Bad.

Rhombus surged forward, his face a picture of handsome, fiery fury. “Someone has to stop this—!”
A spear butt to the gut sent him to his knees.

Well that's weird. What did he think was going to happen?

“He’s not sure. He—the witness mentioned the name Caballeron.” Celestia shook her head and folded the letter up.

The one thing I'm disappointed in was that I was sure Celestia would take this moment to go into an exposition-y speech on Poni's checkered past. Aw well, I suspect that will come soon enough. When Daring Do is speaking to Twilight Velvet, she will need to give every biographical detail possible to help find this fiend!

:raritystarry:

This is a pretty fun chapter, actually.

From Andean doing his friendliest and most encouragey Equestrian-subversive speech, to the very young princes (or, just the one prince, right?) and princesses of nations meeting for dinner, to Rumble and Spike and Carrot Care and Apple Bloom and plans and everything.

But... Button Mash is still in bed. And ordered to stay there.

In fact, so far it seems like he's the one that's going to be left behind and hasn't yet resolved to pursue this to the ends of the earth. And yet I don't actually believe that it will stay that way.

Wonder why. :scootangel:

Glad to see this story is back in the rhythm of things!

Hey look, it's your friendly uncle Andy! Watch him casually display his incredible firepower, and try to bond with you over the fact that you both got your current jobs via Klingon Promotion. I wonder if he was trying to recruit the changlings to be vassals to the Felacian Empire, or just join the unofficial "contain Celestia if she goes nuts" alliance he has with other nations. Either way I hope Chryssy eventually says yes.

Glad to see Rumble joining the rescue team, and Bloomy as well. Stella and Corona continue to be an absolute treasure, I do hope we get to see them taking a historical tour of Ponyville.

And of course, great to get more background on the cool new villain. Interesting fact I noticed: Everyone who hears the description of Poni Caballeron and Kiln Stovetype is either younger than 25 or didn't live in Ponyville back then, which makes sense because a native could probably recognize those two from their descriptions and cutie marks. I wonder what say, Filthy Rich would think if he learned the descriptions of the attackers.

I see you're dialing back on the tension for a bit. Seems like a good idea, especially given how you said this is going to be a long story.

I really can't make up my mind about Andean. He's not that bad of a guy, as a leader or a father. That said, I'm not sure his ideas on how to fix the power imbalance is necessarily a good thing, especially since we've seen him discussing with other world leaders the possibility of using some of Ahuitzotl's sun controlling techniques in case Celestia were to fall in earlier stories. Don't get me wrong, morally complex characters are a good thing, but usually I can sorta guess the shape of an arc, even if I guess wrong, but right now I'm predicting a heavy fall for him long term, which makes all his nicer, more reasonable moments harder.

I'm gonna echo RadicalDishonest here, we all know Button's gonna come along for the ride, but there's not a lot of clues about how he's gonna do that. Either that, or there are clues that we can't find, in which case, points to you.

Thanks for this, I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

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I like Andean! I've hoped I could like Andean from the very beginning, and now I do!

I think that the center of the conflict of Andean and the other world leaders is that Equestria sees themselves as the protagonists of the world. It's their job to save it. And not just that they see their job is saving the world, but they see their role in world politics the same way. Especially Celestia. The rest of the world leaders are fools and misers and nutjobs. Only Equestria can be trusted to be the real good guys. Everyone else can be Equestria's allies, if they decide to follow.

But all the other countries also want to save it. They also want to carve their own paths. They don't want to fall in line. For a prideful race like the Griffons this is particularly bad, and he's not strictly wrong about what he says.

So, naturally, there's a significant part of conflict.

But... Equestria is screwing up too as a result of this. There is a faction infiltrating the various nations of the world, that was able to orchestrate an assassination attempt on the most immortal of them... and the Equestrian royalty decides not to tell the rest of the nations what they know. Because the Equestrians handled it. I guess Andean was there too, but it was the Equestrians! So nobody else needs to know the very valuable information on who their enemies are and ideas on how to combat them.

Button Mash tried to smile and failed. “Take care, guys.”

Captain Carrot winked. “It’s not like I was going anywhere else.”

Glad to see this updating again. Like the easier pace for this chapter, especially considering the previous one. It's always fun seeing someone react to the knowledge that the Daring Do books are real. That's something that's hard to make believable for a number of reasons, but I think it works here. Looking forward to the next one!

Journeying to alternate worlds for memorial services.”

...I seem to have completely forgotten about this? Or did I somehow miss a story somewhere...

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In the Absence of Sunset Shimmer. :raritywink:

The contrast between Snips and Button is pretty sharply felt, here. Snips can't handle his friend almost dying, so even though he was more than adequate to help him he just... falls apart emotionally...

And Button feels ashamed he couldn't help and doesn't just jump at the chance for adventure, but goes and finds a cliff to jump off of. :pinkiehappy:

You did hammer home in that he doesn't know what he's doing and is expected to just be a support role... But I doubt it's gonna be that simple. I also fully expect puppeteering to be important at some point, just so you know, if you have that planned, I'm on to you.

Also, a wild Button tag appears! Hooray.

... Wait. Andean is five hundred years old?

Did... we already know he was really old? It feels like new information but I also have a niggling feeling that we already knew how old he was and I just forgot?

Is it a special child-power to know that Merry Mare is a terrible person, or does Twilight also know but just thinks that it only applies to mundane things?

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