• Member Since 31st Oct, 2012
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

Sir Mediocre

If the words don't feel like a punch to the face, a slap on the cheek, ice on your back, or fire licking at your heels, then your words are INSUFFICIENT.


Bellenast: A great city, splendorous and powerful in an age gone by, ruined and lost to rumor in the next, and a flame of order and prosperity risen from the ashes of the old world. It lies in a river valley far to the south of that great mark of the old world, Canterlot. The small Kingdom of Dunn and its fabled capital, Bellenast, are known little beyond this valley, save from word of mouth and radio. A fable. That's how ponies to the north know it: A name in the history books, if they're fortunate enough to have history books, or to have been taught to read them.

It's not quite a fable, though. I had a reason to find it and the desperation to fly blind. The roads that lead there are, under most circumstances, relatively safe... unless, of course, you happen to be me. It isn't that I attract horrible monsters and weird wizard ponies and crazy princes hell-bent on ill-timed schemes of vengeance...

My friends do that for me.

Beware spoilers in the comments!

This story takes place about 15 years before the events of Fallout: Equestria, though it does not contain significant tie-ins to any of its events. I highly recommend reading Fallout: Equestria first, if you have not done so already for some inexplicable reason. Having read it is not necessary to understand the events of this story, but doing so will provide context for and explanation of some events and themes in this setting.

Lookie, lookie, I made a map: Clicky da linky!
Lookie Lookie 2: Electric Boogalookiedoo! An adorable painting of Crystal Dew done by Etyco Filly.

Character and/or cover art (original here)by the fabulous amazing fantastic generally awesome {all-inclusive adjective of infinite praise here}Amarynceus. Amateur title addition by me.

Chapters (14)
Comments ( 80 )

I find myself transported to another place and time. That's one sign of fine writing-- when reader doesn't realize that he/she temporarily dissociates.

Holy mother of all nine Hells...I LOVE IT!:pinkiehappy::pinkiecrazy:


I'm not dead, by the way, and neither is this fic. I'm just slow and easily distracted, that's all.

Love the fic so far. Really enjoying it. Some parts get a little confusing, but other than that it's amazing.

I can't wait for more!:pinkiecrazy:

Why did you make the chapters so long?

Because I don't order 6-inch subs, only foot-long.

I break them up when it makes sense to do so. I realize that's a way to make them balloon into gargantuan (Read: MN7) proportions, but I want certain chunks together.

Personally, I like longer chapters. Anyways, love the chapter, though I really dislike the cliffhanger.

I, too, dislike cliffhangers, but I dislike even more a missed opportunity to employ one.:trollestia:

And so the Trollestia shows itself...:rainbowlaugh::pinkiecrazy::twilightangry2:

Comment posted by Quiznak deleted Dec 16th, 2019

I am confused no where in this chapter does it say if the baby/fetus survived.

I meant to have that come up in this chapter, but it will have to wait until the next. It's a consequence of both limiting myself to first-person limited perspective, as well as to a particular narrative style. Crystal is a mare of singular focus; there are a lot of things that take a backseat in her thoughts, and if she doesn't think about it, or remember it, a detail spoken while she was on the way to the operating table may not come up in casual conversation.

Fair enough that makes sense, as I have noticed the narrative has been quite narrow minded...

I can't help but be surprised that this fic hasn't garnered more attention, as the well written ones tend to have quite the followings.

I blame the lack of attention on it being a niche within a niche. It's recursive fanfiction: A fanfic of a fanfic. Moreover, it's barely thematically related to the source material.

Add to that the fact that I write long chapters, posted nearly a 100K words worth of chapters on the initial publishing, and post irregularly... and the volume of readers jumping on the Fallout: Equestria train is lower now than it was in 2011.

Heh, I guess not all people like long chapters...I on the other hand, love long chapters, I guess it takes a lot of focus to read a long chapter.

I wanna squee in happiness, love the chapter! I couldn't find anything wrong with it.

Ha! Too kind you say! Take the complinens! You obviously need more!

One of many reasons one should enlist the services of an editor: Continuity error checking.

Rarely do I find a Fallout: Equestria story with a first protagonist this helpless and protected. I like it.

Also, you should really either have put "Fallout: Equestria" in the title or added this to a Fallout: Equestria group. If not for Entibus, I would never have seen this.

That's the idea I was going for: Not psychologically or physically prepared for the crush-kill-destroy-ness of the post-apocalypse, but not completely helpless, either.

And yes, I probably should have, and I have considered changing the title. I never really thought about it until recently, for some reason.

I did wonder why it took so much longer to read this chapter than the first... Also, I greatly dislike your world-building, but your characters are enjoyable enough to merit further reading.

Is it weird that I want to thank you for disliking something about it?

Anyway: Thanks.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I did some things the way I did when writing this, because I wrote most of chapters 1-4 more than three years ago and only refined bits of them prior to publishing. Any technical feedback is welcome, but the worldbuilding, flawed as it is, is here to stay.

Crystal is such an adorable little filly. Her curling into a ball is a really cute mental image.

Don't forget the stuffed animal substitute, her super shotgun.:twilightsmile:

“Did you have fun?”

“Huh?” I looked past her neck at the mare’s mild, hopeful smile. The first rays of sunlight had begun to peek over the horizon; the alicorn’s blue-white orb of light at the tip of her horn vanished, plunging us into early morning semidarkness. “Um… I…” Her ears drooped slightly. “I… yeah.” They flicked up again. I nodded. “I was… kinda scared for a moment, but, um…” I giggled and patted my chest. “Yeah, it was… exciting

Honestly, I was hoping that she would say no. It did not seem like she was having fun.

She's afraid of heights, not flying itself.

“Um… I…” Her ears drooped slightly. “I… yeah.”

Crystal tends to look at the end result positively, even if the steps to arrive there are uncertain. She also is not especially subtle in her desire to please, on the rare occasion that she cares to do so.
She trusts Night Cloud not to drop her in a bed of prickly pears; that doesn't mean that the cactus is no longer there, looming menacingly, as a cactus is wont to do, or that the possibility of falling is not in the back of her mind.

Trust is far more powerful than fear, but it does not eliminate fear.

Pony has a gun.

That's a funny way to spell 'contingency.'

How many chapters long will this story be?

2-3 more chapters at most and probably an epilogue. The resolution may come more suddenly than you'd expect because there isn't really a protagonist vs antagonist conflict. The mysterious Prince and his wayward army are sort of a big red herring, if that wasn't obvious by now.

Yes! Another chapter!
The wait is worth it for more of this story!

Sorry it took so long, and I'm glad you think so! I think I managed to dissolve all the rust on my writing gears, so the last few chapters should come faster than this one did.

Interesting premise, but I can't quite tell how old Crystal is. At first I thought she was adult, just small, but then it clicked for me. Still, I can't quite tell her age range.
In general, the prose doesn't really feel like it's a filly's POV (certainly not with some of the vocabulary choices), but her actions make her seem younger (like when she makes those growling noises or when she curls up).
Meanwhile, her dialogue also makes her seem a bit older. Particularly small frame and cherchez la filly make me think she's a teen.

I don't know how willing you are to tolerate my constructive criticism, but I do have other comments, some admittedly nitpicky in nature.

Thanks for the comment, and for reading!

Her age is directly stated later on. As for her vocabulary and general behavior, well... it is perhaps a tad advanced for her age, but there are good reasons for it, which should become evident as you read on.

I rather wished I had not included the perks and footnotes, now that I think of it; they're somewhat blatant and on-the-nose, and I've completely forgotten to add them on some of the more recent chapters until days or weeks after publishing, anyway. Oh well.

I will warn you, there are a number of things in the first four chapters in particular that may make you scratch your head. A couple badly done transitions/jumps between scenes, for one, and poorly written explanations (or lack thereof) of some characters' actions and some narrative circumstances. I intend to fix those select bits at some point with additional scenes and minor changes to smooth things out as needed, but that will be after I've finished the rest of the story. Chapters 1-6 are somewhat rocky, technically speaking, and are where I most want to make edits, while Chapter 7 to the present are where I began to analyze my writing more seriously and improve it as much as I could prior to hitting the publish button... I'll let you be the judge of such.

I'd love constructive criticism. I can't promise I'll do anything as a result of it immediately, but I'd love it nonetheless.

I'm having a rough time following certain chains of events. I didn't thoroughly analyse why it was hard to follow, so this might just be a skill issue on my end. It might also be because of the next problem.
The text doesn't feel as hectic as the scene should be. Every paragraph feels like a snapshot in time, where the protagonist calmly lists off everything happening. It's partly because of how long the paragraphs are, but it's also because of how many things are going on an the same time, and each gets its own sentence detailing it. Had that impression in the snake scene, as well as in the sentinel scene.
In general, the prose rarely reflects Crystal's inner turmoil (or at least it feels that way to me). Take for instance the scene where she wakes up, injured. It's confusing as hell for both the reader and Crystal (great job on that, by the way), but her confusion doesn't bleed into the text.

There's also the vocabulary used to avoid repetition when referring to a character. Referring to her guardians as "the armoured mare" and "the stallion" is kinda jarring; makes you feel like she doesn't even know her names. You're much better off repeating their names. Similarly (and this is at the beginning of the next chapter, but I did note it down so I might as well mention it), referring to the ghoul as "cadaver". Kinda sticks out and draws attention away from the tenseness of the situation.

Those aren't fic-killers by any means, but I can tell the story takes itself seriously, so I do wanna point them out.

Also, I'd recommend rewriting the long description. I kinda skipped it because I generally skip long descriptions, but I'm starting to think it might have been expected to read it first. If that's the case, it should be in a prologue chapter. If not, it should be trimmed down significantly. It's not really an issue with the fic itself, but a better description might draw more attention to the story next time you update it :twilightsmile:

Finally, some mistakes that I happened to pick up on. Good job on that front, though, 'cause those were the only two I noticed.

second pair of impressive, steel doors

That comma shouldn't be there.

I began to jerk and buck inside the ice as the ice grew over my nostrils and cracked lips.

Not strictly a mistake, but I can tell the repetition slipped by during editing

I will argue that the comma should be there. My comma usage is mostly consistent. Get used to those (or don't), because I adhere to the "separate consecutive adjectives with a comma" rule pretty religiously... although, I think there are cases where I purposefully didn't do that in the later chapters, probably because it can interrupt the flow of a sentence. Bah humbug. Sue me for my consistent inconsistency. "Impressive" modifies "steel," which in turn modifies "doors." Thus, comma separation. If you treat "steel doors" as a single thing being modified, it's unnecessary.

As for the repetition, the second "ice" could be an "it."

The long description could be much better, and less long. I'll fix it eventually. It's meant to be a retrospective told from Crystal's point of view, which is somewhat jarring when you start reading the actual story, as 99% of it is told in extremely focused, limited perspective.

Referring to Eagle and Zephyr not by their names was a deliberate obfuscation that, yes, I probably should omit. I know I've done that in more places, but mostly in instances where it helps avoid repetition, funnily enough; later on, I try to use character's names as much as possible instead of the descriptions. Keep in mind that I wrote most of this chapter seven years ago. Some changes came later. Believe it or not, the chapter originally began on the scene where Crystal wakes up at the bottom of the collapsed building in the rain. Everything before that, I added later on to give some much-needed context to her journey. The jump from them taking shelter for the night and Crystal being injured and alone is meant to imply that she suffered a blow to the head, or the shock otherwise affected her memory of very recent events, thus leaving her confused on top of injured. Exactly what happened is described briefly later, but I left much of it deliberately vague because there isn't a compelling reason for the characters to describe it in the narrative.

As for Crystal's confusion not bleeding into the text... that's a narrative style decision and/or problem. You'll probably notice that there is virtually no internal monologue. Most of the narration is strictly descriptive, not contemplative. As a result, it may seem a bit detached in some cases, but it's meant to draw attention to the subjects of Crystal's attention, and keep the narrative tightly focused on what she observes. I rightly could be criticized for this stylistic decision. In retrospect, it's kind of dumb. It has made writing certain portions of the narrative more difficult for me. In fact, in two instances, I depart entirely from her viewpoint and show events happening in third-person-limited perspective, because those details are crucial enough that they need to be there, but otherwise couldn't be told.

Fair enough for the commas, to me steel door would always be a unit (and imo sounds better, but things like that hardly ever bother me).

Everything before that, I added later on to give some much-needed context to her journey.

Oh, that makes sense. Though, if you ask me, it could have made for a very interesting entry point to the story. Not that there's anything wrong with the current one, I just think both options would have been neat.
As for the stylistic choice, yeah, that's fair. It's just a bit odd to see it in a first person story of all things x)

Don't know why it took me so long to read this chapter. For some reason, my reading speed drops dramatically with this fic. Maybe it's the slightly rigid prose, idk. The ghoul scene didn't feel tense at all, and kinda felt like it dragged on. I'm also finding the choice to cut out her internal monologue more and more of a shame. I really wish I'd get to see her angsty (or not!) thoughts when she found out just how invasive the implants are, or when she heard her leg would get amputated.

With the bad things out of the way, onto the good/great things. I'm enjoying the read so far (I just complain a lot). Crystal is very much adorable, and I get strong urges to protect her. I find myself thinking "poor filly" a lot, and that's great.
I liked the way her sexual trauma was revealed. The part with Carbide and his voice was a neat introduction to it, but the confirmation through Night Cloud was what really made it a good reveal. The way it kinda came out of nowhere was really nice. I do feel like the confirmation could have been done later for extra payoff.
I like her exoskeleton and augments; it's a neat idea to have them on such a young and otherwise weak character. It bumps her power level to the point where she can defend herself, but also has pretty grim implications for when she'll grow.
I wonder what's going on with the alicorns here. Why do they seem like completely normal ponies, other than the alicornity? Does it have to do with Bellenast, or are they somehow Unity alicorns? (I doubt it, but you never know). Anyway, I can't wait to find out.
I wonder where the fic's gonna go; I was expecting a big chunk of it to be about finding her guardians, but I guess not.
Not sure how I feel about her overt sexuality. It makes sense for a teen to look at ponies that way because hormones, but I can't help but feel a smidge uncomfortable.
Also, is that a death flag I spot for Night Cloud?

Yo, spoiler those spoilers!

I like her exoskeleton and augments; it's a neat idea to have them on such a young and otherwise weak character. It bumps her power level to the point where she can defend herself, but also has pretty grim implications for when she'll grow.

Careful, you might trip on that buried plot point. It amuses me to see that you think it bumps her power level, for multiple reasons that may become evident later on.

To clarify, though, the augments are not what you think. I never got around to detailing it in the narrative, so I'll explain here: The leg is not much stronger than a biological one; this is mostly due to power limitations, rather than mechanical constraints of the tech. It's driven by pony magic; exactly how that works, I can't explain it beyond "some kind of energy conversion" but the underlying biological/magical mechanism and/or head-canon behind it being possible does show up in a later chapter, if you make inferences from the right things. The implants in and around her spine and pelvis are interfaces between her nervous system and the armor/exoskeleton, as well as power delivery for the prosthetic leg. Where the Steel Ranger and Equestrian Skyguard/Enclave power armor uses spell matrices to amplify the wearer's strength and lighten the armor, respectively, Crystal's suit relies on more traditionally sci-fi power armor things, like servo motors, hydraulics, and artificial muscles... and was literally thrown together from a modified project template by Carbide and the Spannerworks facility's AI caretaker overnight, purely as a means of getting Crystal away from the fleet of rogue sentry bots and giant death bot; Carbide opted for building the janky suit of armor because he didn't think Crystal would be able to escape without it, and the armor's design necessitated the addition of the control implants. The malfunctions and the crashing EFS are things I came up with years ago when a friend advised me that, if I wanted the power armor to be a prototype or kitbash, then it would make more sense if it didn't work properly (smart friend!).

(I fully expect readers to draw parallels between the Spannerworks facilities, especially the surgical center, and the Dome of Big Mountain in Fallout: New Vegas.)

The alicorns all have their own explanations, some more complicated than others. Whether you like those explanations depends on how you feel about my interpretations of Unity's inner workings and its reach in Equestria and, to a lesser extent, beyond it. As for Crystal's overtness and/or forwardness... at one point, Night Cloud says that Crystal is "very shy." This is a blatant lie, and she knows it. Crystal isn't shy; she just has low Charisma. Decent Speech skill, though. She has a way with words... but she is not especially subtle.

Also, is that a death flag I spot for Night Cloud?

Night Cloud is tougher than she looks, or as tough as she looks, depending on which character is doing the looking.:trixieshiftright:

Yesssssss, feed my comment-starved brain, yesssss, prrrrrrecioussssssss...

Spoilers? Did I make some accurate guesses? :rainbowhuh:
As for the power level… yeah maybe the implants themselves don't do much, but they do give her access to the exoskeleton. Janky as it may be, it's still pretty useful.
Huh. I love Big MT, but somehow didn't make the connection at all lol
And tough or not, not many characters can survive death flags :raritywink:

I meant putting things in the comments that are direct spoilers for other potential readers, is all.

And tough or not, not many characters can survive death flags

Night Cloud may be the blatantly obvious romantic interest, but I try to subvert tropes where I can. No named characters in this story have a death flag, and I never intended the story to be focused around violence. As a hint of dangers to come, however, note that Night Cloud is not particularly Perceptive of how she makes Crystal uncomfortable during the scene in the clinic, and consider how that might be disadvantageous in perilous circumstances. Exceptional eyesight begets neither hindsight nor foresight.
Addendum: Chapter 3 has a LOT of narrative structure problems. That is all I will say about it for now...

Aren't the comments on a chapter meant for that, though? I always figured you're not supposed to read the comments under a chapter if you ain't done with the chapter yet.
And yeah, figures, I was half joking with the death flag comment anyway :p Death flags are a horrible way to try to predict a fic
As for her being a blatant love interest… Yeah I didn't think that meant to be an actual thing. I kinda thought it was just Crystal having a crush on any pretty mare, not that it had any chances of being a two-way street. Given she's a filly and all that...

Eh, plenty of people scroll down to leave comments before reading, in my experience, so it's generally polite to spoiler anything you refer to directly. Doesn't really matter too much, I suppose.
The love interest and potential problems that might arise from it do not go unnoticed or unmentioned by the other characters. There is no Sex tag, because I never intended for there to be any. The Mature tag is there because it's a story about a young mare who has to contend with mature problems, and who has gone most of her adolescence thus far being treated as younger and less mature than she is because of stunted growth.

I see. I kinda feel like you shouldn't be telling me all that since it changes my experience with the fic, but I don't really mind.
And I was actually starting to wonder why it was tagged with mature given it could comfortably get away with a teen rating. If it's more about tone then I understand the decision. Though if it were me I'd still go with a T rating to reach a larger audience

Where do I start? Note that I'm really tired, so I didn't proofread this comment so expect schizo ramblings
I really liked the first half of the chapter. I love the characters, and adore their interactions. Blitz and Crystal talking was a blast to read, and I didn't see the pages fly by.
I can't say the same about the bandit attack. It dragged way on and was hard to follow. It had the same pacing issues that plagued chapters 1 and 2 in that it completely failed to feel tense. Except it was way longer. I won't harp on it too much, since I already did, but yeah.
I really like Blitz. She's such a fun, multi-faceted character. Caring mom, degenerate and also competent mage. Very neat. Though I'll admit, her attitude towards Night Cloud when she was drunk was really weird.
I really like Night Cloud. I already liked her in the previous chapter, but now I like her even more. Same thing as Blitz, all around interesting character.
I loved Crystal's outburst way too much. I'm a sucker for callbacks like that.
In terms of world building, I find this fic pretty interesting. It feels like the fic only took the Fo:E setting as a starting point and used it to switch to a completely different AU. I can really respect that.
Also, the armour is growing on me even further. I like it a lot, and it's just so damn cool. Even if janky as hell.
The part with the pony talking to Blitz before the confrontation was pretty damn interesting, and I wonder where it's gonna go.
Crystal immolating a stallion alive was amazingly angsty and also super cool. The absolute best combination in the universe.
Crystal compressing a rifle into a small dodecahedron was a bit OP, though. There's "powerful unicorn" and there's "hydraulic press telekinesis" levels of power, and it's a bit odd to see a character reach that level this early on.

Now, for some small typos/mistakes.

on a sleek control boom protruding from my armor

Is the "boom" here a typo? Not sure if I'm just misunderstanding.

You complement my wings first

Shouldn't that be compliment?
Also, this chapter made me realise that, in chapter 2, there's an inconsistent spelling of "bandolier" (it's spelt "bandoleer" in that chapter)

Edit: I completely forgot to mention that I'm actually starting to like the romantic interest subplot. The idea just works, and it promises lots of angst, so I'm all for it.


I really like Blitz. She's such a fun, multi-faceted character. Caring mom, degenerate and also competent mage. Very neat. Though I'll admit, her attitude towards Night Cloud when she was drunk was really weird.

Blitz has a drinking problem, is sometimes an inappropriately flirtacious drunk, and (minor spoilers, but not detailed in the story yet) Night Cloud's revelation that Blitz tried to kiss her is what shocks her enough to reevaluate her habit. Night Cloud hit her hard enough to cause a concussion, though followed it up with a healing potion and forced rest. As Blitz said, she doesn't remember this. That scene was meant to show that Blitz has a serious behavioral problem.

It feels like the fic only took the Fo:E setting as a starting point and used it to switch to a completely different AU.

I wanted to show a side of Fallout: Equestria's source material that prospective FoE authors often overlook: That there were developed nations in the Fallout series, and that FoE doesn't have to take place in bombed-out ruins infested with ghouls and mindless raider types. Equestria may be covered by the Enclave's blanket of oppressive clouds, but Equestria is only one portion of a much larger world. Civilization can rise up, when given the chance to do so, as a phoenix from its ashes. Bellenast is one such phoenix.

Crystal compressing a rifle into a small dodecahedron was a bit OP, though. There's "powerful unicorn" and there's "hydraulic press telekinesis" levels of power, and it's a bit odd to see a character reach that level this early on.

It's interesting that you phrase it as "reach that level this early on" in the sense that she would be a powerful combatant. She reached that level a couple years prior. Crystal's whole schtick with her magic, both for general spell casting and telekinesis, is that she has tremendous power potential, but is unable to exert it over a large volume. In the beginning of this chapter, for example, she has difficulty levitating Blitz way from herself in the saloon. Blitz is the size of a proper terrestrial horse, at ~160cm tall at the withers, and in the neighborhood of 500kg (But don't ask her about that!:duck::raritydespair:). A 500kg mass is well within Crystal's ability to move with ease, but something Blitz's dimensions is not, hence her struggle. Eagle or Zephyr, and even Night Cloud, contrastingly, are significantly smaller. As the volume she is trying to manipulate with telekinesis shrinks, the force she can apply to it increases dramatically. Compare that to Littlepip, who manages to keep multiple train cars from tipping off the railway when it is careening around a downhill track on the side of a mountain, and also slows the descent of an Enclave Raptor gunship, with assistance from Crane, but cannot apply great force with her telekinesis.
Crystal's ludicrous power is hamstrung, at present, by the fact that she is absolutely lousy at fighting. She's a filly with a giant mallet, but she's wearing a blindfold, and the piñata is dancing circles around her. Oh, and it has guns.

Now, for some small typos/mistakes.

A boom is a mechanical arm, like a telescoping rod or support bar. In this case, it's an aluminum frame that Carbide made to connect the armor's weapon mount with Crystal's homemade plasma rifle/tesla cannon/thing.
Bandolier and bandoleer are both correct spellings; I'm just inconsistent with which I use, apparently. No surprise there!
"Complement" should be "compliment, yes.":facehoof: Thanks.

Oh, the part about Blitz is neat, and I guess I should have picked up on that. Derp.
And yeah, it's why I like this angle so much. Because it makes sense, and yet it's surprising to see it explored.
I guess my complaint with the compressing things thing is that it doesn't feel "balanced" (for lack of a better word) for telekinesis to be able to squish things. Levitate them, sure, but squishing and pressing seems to be a bit more. The way I always thought about telekinesis is it's more about lightening things than being a physical force (though it does have some physical force). I guess if you do treat it as a purely physical force at all times, it makes sense for this kind of crushing power.
Also i know for the bandoleer thing, I was just pointing out the inconsistency :rainbowwild:

Lemme start off with the negatives (admittedly they're mild this time)
While whole "maximillian" part was pretty interesting, the switch to third person was less than graceful. I get why you'd wanna foreshadow it, but in my opinion it defeats the purpose of this very specific POV you've chosen. It's not a huge deal, but it does strike me as an odd decision.
An issue I had in the previous chapter, but I was reminded of it during this one, was that it's sometimes hard to tell who's talking. Like I said, though, this chapter was fine.
There's also the fact that, at some point, Night Cloud says she grew into her height and is used to it, and then she says it's been four years and she's still not used to earth pony strength. I know they're not strictly mutually exclusive, but it does seem a bit contradictory.
Aaaand that's about it for the negatives. I really liked this chapter. The tense scene actually felt tense, even though I logically knew none of the characters were going to die, and the action sequence also didn't overstay its welcome.
Night Cloud is a complete and utter badass, I think that goes without saying, and makes me all kinds of inspired.
Crystal deciding she absolutely needs to make NC an armour was cool.
At first I was a smidge creeped out by the idea of NC and Crystal's potential romantic involvement, but the fic has been handling it really well so far.
Even with that, for a while I thought it was still odd to have a kid end up with not a kid. My definition of an adult in the wastes is someone who's independent. For a while, I thought that Crystal having guardians meant she didn't have that independence, but seeing how little time she actually spends around them or depends on them, I've changed my mind. While she's still slightly dependent on them, so is Night Cloud on Blitz. In a way, NC and Crystal have the same level of maturity. Well, maybe not the same but similar. It's really well handled. I mean, it's still kinda messed up for my non-wastelander brain, but if I can abstract that away, it's frankly fine, and their relationship doesn't feel predatory.
I imagine writing this kind of relationship is similar to navigating a minefield with a lorry, and so far you've managed to pull it off. So grats.
And yeah, the moments those two had throughout the chapter were beyond precious and mad me go "aww" more than once. I won't bother listing them, though, even though I have them in my notes. (this chapter actually doubled the amount of notes I made lol)

“Um…” Her voice was distant and soft. The alicorn nodded and murmured, “Yeah… sure, baby.”

What I imagine was going on in Night Cloud's head:
"Oh god oh fuck, does she like me? Do I like her? What?"

Nearly hyperventilating, myself, I pressed

Not entirely sure about it, but I think that first comma shouldn't be there.

we simply lacks the means to recreate the potions

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