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This story is a sequel to Void Trials

Over three weeks have passed since a raid of hyenas had attacked the colony of Horizon and only under great sacrifice had they been beaten back. Three weeks of nightmares, fear and guilt as Shetland takes shaky steps on the way to recovery.

Yet, things are in motion, and as new events kick off, will Shetland pull herself together in order to stop it?

Or will she lose herself?


Cover Art by NixWorlds

Chapters (18)
Comments ( 35 )

Well, Obsi, if you want some notice from your senpai... you have it. This is actually a pretty great start!

I've considered writing a story about a wounded warrior dealing with physical and mental scars. The subject of PTSD is a pretty interesting one, and has a lot of potential. I think you could build on this and turn it into a very interesting story.

A few minor points of criticism:

  • The nightmare section at the start feels just a little overdramatic, though not horrible. Probably not a big deal.
  • Cutie marks appear on both flanks, not just one. So even if Shetland was injured on one flank, her other one which displays her cutie mark should still be fine. Not sure if that affects her "condition" or not.
  • This line: “I’m so sorry.” She hiccuped. “We should go away.” Hiccuped? :rainbowhuh:
  • There are a few spaces between lines that don't need to be there. Minor thing.

Anyway, nice start!

thank you very much. Now, I just want to say: I knew the dream sequence would be a little overdramatic, but it was by far the quickest way to show what the story was about and, in a way, do a little rehash of the first story (there were like 7 months inbetween this and the last chapter of that).

Thats why its so short.

I actually intended Shetland to only lose one of her cutie marks, I'll look to clear that up.

By the way, Toastys return is solely because of your comment on the first story, saying that you liked her. Because I'd forgotten that she existed at that point and I was like "huh. yeah, shes actually perfect for the sequel"

thats always great (and ecouraging!) to hear. Next chapter will be next week, im currently updating every 3 weeks while trying to write ahead of that shedule. When im done on my end, I'll then post a chapter every week.

Right now im doing chapter 4

Another day, another chapter. First, one minor error I noticed:

“It is thou duty to listen to orders!” Luna cut in as she passed a breathing mask over.

It should be thy duty. "Thou" is a subject pronoun, "thy" is the possessive. There are also a few places where quotes end with periods when they shouldn't and some odd inconsistent spacing between paragraphs, but nothing major.

The majority of the chapter is pretty interesting and well-written. There's a good tension and the reactions feel realistic. The characterization of the hyenas is also interesting, as it lets us see them a bit more as a culture than as a race of savage, faceless marauders. Their distaste for AI is puzzling and seems to come a bit out of nowhere, but I suppose it just hasn't been explained yet.

One thing I am getting tired of is the back and forth between Shetland and Twilight about the hyenas involvement. The back and forth has been part of the last two chapters. In fact, Twilight and Shetty arguing in general has mostly defined almost all of their interactions, which is why the opening is a bit refreshing and the ending of this chapter feels stale. A shame, because most of it is pretty good.

and the reactions feel realistic. oh, GOOD, i was really worried about that XD

Thanks for the feedback. Now, I might not have established it well enough, but Toasty did state in the last chapter that Equestria is one of a few nations that even allows robots to live mostly like organics. Most of the planet, in fact, dislikes and distrusts AI.

The hyenas have a bit more reason to than most, however, but thats getting close to spoiler talk :derpytongue2:

oh, and the Sparkles have a very tumultous relationship, but you can expect both arguing and bonding in the future

Good hearing from yea and another great chapter to add to the plat

Ah... you dont know how good it is to have a comment after 4 chapters of silence XD. Makes my dumb brain realize that people actually read this of their free will

Oh trust me I get it. People rarely comment on my stories now a days

I like Toasty's focus on the importance of breakfast, it's very her and absolutely wonderfully-realized characterization.

I'm surprised not many people are looking into your story. Its original with its own story. Gets multiple backgrounds of most of the induvials. Conspiracy, drama. Friendships between Pony and machine.

Not many of those out there.

thanks for the kind words, it really warms my heart to read it :twilightsmile:

by the way, If you have any theory about the direction I might be taking the story, I'd be very grateful if you could tell me in a P.M.
It would be very interesting to me :3

I like this story!
Can't wait to read more! :twilightsmile:

Well, you've certainly put together an engaging narrative here since last I checked in! Color me impressed!

Some thoughts since the last chapter I read:

  • Shetland dealing with her PTSD adds a good amount of depth to her character and makes her very relatable, even as her survivor's guilt drives her toward more erratic behavior.
  • It's good to see more of Twilight and Shetland's back and forth, and while the bickering can still be grating, it feels a lot more realistic and multifaceted, so that's an improvement.
  • Nice work adding character and culture to the hyenas. You managed to avoid the tired "obnoxious foreign dignitaries" trope and give them a distinct warrior tribe culture that makes them a lot more interesting.
  • The relationship between Shetland and Toasty is definitely one of my favorite parts about this story. Their banter and dialogue are endearing and they bring out a lot in each other. I definitely count Shetland's rescue of Toasty from the sandstorm as the emotional high point of the story so far.
  • The explanation of Hiroshimare in the context of a game is a clever device, but maybe not in this context. It seems really insensitive of Shetland to make her mother play through a reenactment of a brutal war she lived through, not to mention how relaxed Toasty is with the depiction of the event that led to robots being marginalized.
  • I see you snuck a reference to "the Giroux Clan" and their sometimes juvenile sense of humor, you sly dog.
  • ...of course, by placing them in Hiroshimare, you've subtly implied that all of Gadget's descendants were murdered. Awkwaaard...
  • The mystery you've built is very engaging as well. I'm genuinely not certain of exactly what's going on, and that's usually a sign of a good mystery. I'm eager to see the payoff!

I think that's all I have for now, but thanks for the good read so far. I look forward to seeing how this all turns out!

first of all, WHAAAAT:pinkiegasp: I thought you'd read one more chapter, not all of them!

Twilight plays the game with Shetland out of her own will. She is demonstrating to Shetland through action, playing the war game, that the pain of loss will lessen with time.

*high-pitched squealing*

So... What would've happened in the third story, had it been made?

Thats not easy to say, since the events in the second story would have been totally different as well. Here's the gist of it:
Toasty didnt make an appearance.
Shetland had been tricked into murdering Gan and Khunbish
Shetland becomes psychotic.
Shetland goes flies to the blasted lands of Hiroshimare to go on a revenge killing spree against the cyborg changeling who tricked her.

TOO EDGY! So I changed it.

It took me a good long while, but I've finished this at last!

Well, many thanks for the shout-outs! If my work so served as an inspiration for this wonderful story, then I take it as a fine compliment indeed. :twilightsmile:

As I've said before, I think this story greatly improves on its predecessor. It's a skillful blend of action, mystery, and great character moments. Overall, it holds up as a compelling story of overcoming trauma and finding peace through friendship. It has a twist near the end that's believable without being too predictable, and that's a hard thing to pull off.

There are a few issues I can identify, though. During these last few chapters, you have Shetland licking her lips enough times (I count at least 4 or 5) to become noticeably awkward. The resolution also feels a bit too neat. I cannot believe the AI allowed Shet to approach without disarming her first, nor that anyone would simply let a genocidal being go free. Hell, for a moment, I really thought Shet would execute that Skynet mofo instead of just threatening it. Broke my suspension of disbelief a little, in all honesty.

That said, I otherwise approve of the resolution. It nicely completes Shetland's character arc, and the end stuff with Toasty is quite sweet. Nice work, my friend. :pinkiesmile:

thank you. Does that mean you enjoyed the action bits this time?

if yes, please tell me what the best bit was in your opinion, I got my own favorite, but I wanna know yours :P

I definitely did! Mainly because there wasn't rapid-fire character death (though I honestly would have expected at least one casualty).

I don't think I have a particular favorite part, however. I tend to look at action scenes as a whole, so no individual part jumped out at me. I'm just happy they were well-placed and engaging.

So much to get over, so few chances to heal. At least a friend from far away back home is here now, to lend support in such a trying time.

Toasty wants to learn about more food. SHE WILL LEARN ALL THE FOOD SECRETS!!! :flutterrage:

Magenta opened her mouth, but Toasty was faster: “THERE IS PROBABLY NO TIME. LETS GO!” As neither mare made any attempt to follow her order, the robot buckled under their glares. “Alright,” she huffed. “But I do not think you smell that bad.”

Oh oh? Weren't you just saying you can't smell before, Toasty? Methinks someone protests too much. :raritystarry:

I know the plot is getting better and better, but now I'm seeing things with shipping glasses on and I can't WAIT to see what happens next from that perspective. Especially after the 'lie' that Shetty said about Toasty...oooooo! :raritywink:

You know, the best lies are ones that have a bit of truth mixed in with them. Perhaps she did want to see his country...even if she wasn't aware of it herself. Oooo, it's a real drama playing out now! :duck:

The irony is that Shetland would actually fit in very well with the Hyena Empire. Better than Equestria, at least

Failure is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet one must not let the dead drag them down. They are to be remembered, honored, but it would sadden those that have passed to know that they are holding their loved ones back. These are hard things to realize of course...so we do what we can to press on while we are able.

Damn good story mate, got me tearing up here. Must be all the onions. Yeah, totally. :raritycry:

"Oh no a hyena get in the sandtank!" Hmmm...nah, it doesn't have the right feel to it. Still, the suspense! And I had a feeling it was something like that with how things were playing out and the hints dropped here and there...damn good stuff! :pinkiesmile:

Had a feeling the chapter title was related to the song. And it certainly was hell that came and busted in alright. Damn...what a punch-up! Some daaamn good stuff! Also yay for reasoning in the end! :eeyup:

Ooo, it's over! I read both stories, three if you include the Nightmare Night one, over the course of two days. They were so GOOD! Plus the heartfelt part at the end...kinda wonder what they see in each other. A part of me was jumping for joy at them finally going to make it 'official' there as well. :pinkiehappy:

I'm immensely satisfied, though my only personal desire from it might be an epilogue of some sort. See how the colony recovers, what happens to the Hyenas, maybe how some ponies like, or possibly dislike, the new relationship that came out of this, little things like that. I still love the outcome in the end, and the ride it took to get here was well worth it.

Thank you Obsi, and your editors as well. It was a hard, painful journey, but it also was inspiring at the same time. A funny position to be in, but still one that I enjoyed immensely. :twilightsmile:

Comment posted by Obsi deleted Jan 19th, 2021
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