• Member Since 31st May, 2012
  • offline last seen May 18th

WishyWish


Bringing personal and commission horse words to you over a cup of steaming Earl Gray! I write in many genres, for all audiences. Check my library bookshelves for convenient sorting of my stories.

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Entry for the 2018 Sunset Shimmer "Journeys" Contest.


In a place where pegasi don't move the clouds and no princess walks beside the moon, a young researcher hides early gray beneath her fiery locks. The bags under her eyes are worn in; the friendship she once knew the product of a halcyon childhood. Loneliness makes strange bedfellows, and hers may be the strangest of all. Yet therein she has found a companion - one to whom the gift of her heart is real, and whom she can only protect by vowing never to see again.

Sunset Shimmer travels on a night train, fleeing with her unorthodox partner to their final destination. Only a few hours remain - can she truly let go of everything she has left?


Story Specific Cover Art by: legendaryspider

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 22 )

I called it! I'll give this a read later when I'm free.

I never thought this could work, but it does. And it is fantastic.

9134153
I didn't either! It was a lovely challenge, contest or no!

Ri2

No friends. No family. No loved ones, she saw to that. No future.

What's left for Sunset Shimmer?

9136056
How far to go, to do the "right thing", no?

Sorry, not quite sure how I feel about this.

I love that it’s a thing, though! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore you for trying such an outlandish ship, and while I was a tad disappointed that it was taken so seriously instead of being light-hearted and silly about Sunset’s paramour being gelatinous, I think it’s super cool that you put the effort in to make it serious and convincing. The way the Smooze communicated with Sunset, I really liked, and I thought it was impressive how you could make most of this essentially Sunset monologuing while still being fairly engaging. And I liked how all the backstory was worked in.

That being said, there were a couple of parts that didn’t quite sit right with me. I think chief among those was when Sunset was going over what happened to her friends--Pinkie’s and Rarity’s just felt jarringly dark, without seeming to serve much purpose other than shock value. Feel free to correct me if I’m misunderstanding the intent there, though. It wasn’t a glaring flaw, I think, but it did kinda yank me out of the story for a little while.

And I will admit to not being the biggest fan of the ending--but this is predominantly an “I didn’t like this” complaint, not a “This was handled poorly” criticism. It felt like the “right” ending, in some ways, but I wasn’t thrilled with how Sunset’s life is in such shambles at the end, and I was rather desperately hoping that it would play out differently as the climax drew closer.

So, sorry, bits of this didn’t quite work for me. But it was a cool read, and I’m extremely happy to see people trying stuff like this. Thanks for writing this, and I hope the judges like it :twilightsmile:

9141288
Oh psh, there's no need to be sorry. I appreciate well thought out comments, be they praise or critical :twilightsmile:

Let me see if I can offer some insight as to what was going on in my head for this tale:

My reasoning for avoiding a comedic story was twofold. The primary reason was that I have a thing for challenging myself, and making a pairing with...goo, funny, is the obvious and easy way to take it. Certainly there's merit in that still, but regardless of the contest, I wanted to see if I could take a really outlandish ship and make it work in an unexpected way. The secondary reason does have a bit to do with the contest description, given that it says they're looking for bittersweet and some misty eyes - comedy can provide that, but it's not as conducive to it.

As for the rather dark 'where are they now' Mane 6 descriptions, the intent there was to paint a general backdrop of gray, sorrowful skies in this interpretation of Sunset's future. Pinkie and Rarity do end up with a happy ending, but talking with the Smooze about the rough road to get there is intended to represent a bond with the creature that goes beyond lovey-dovey. She's trying to say "I'm comfortable with you, and you're so intimate to me that I'm going to trust you with the dark and dirty side of my best friends, that I would never tell anybody whom I have a lesser bond than love with."

Telling off the Smooze and claiming she never loved it was something Sunset hated herself for, but it's also something I could see her doing - accepting the role of "bad girl", that she's dealt with before, for
the sake of her lover. I'd intended to portray at least a ray of sunshine for her at the end in the sense that she can't really know for surethat she'll never see the Smooze or her offspring ever again, and now at least she has that to live for. That, and she's hopeful that coming clean with Twilight will establish a dialogue between them again, and maybe renew their friendship. Sunset cries it out, but she walks away from the whole thing with her characteristic head held high. As for the offspring, the Smooze getting pregnant instead of its human female lover I just thought made for interesting irony.

So yeah, I see what you're saying. It's a cloudy tale, with a silver lining that might be a bit thinner than I intended. Sorta makes me want to bust out a sequel to see where it might go. The only direction left for Sunset is up! :pinkiehappy:

9141693
Thoughtful comments are my favorite kind too, so I try to give them out where possible :twilightsmile:

The primary reason was that I have a thing for challenging myself, and making a pairing with...goo, funny, is the obvious and easy way to take it. Certainly there's merit in that still, but regardless of the contest, I wanted to see if I could take a really outlandish ship and make it work in an unexpected way.

Totally fair! I will admit to still thinking that Sunset being shipped with the Smooze could be hilarious if the tone were different, but I can’t fault you for liking challenging things. The pairing made this very unique, and I’m happy to see that regardless of whether it’s funny or serious :pinkiehappy:

As for the rather dark 'where are they now' Mane 6 descriptions, the intent there was to paint a general backdrop of gray, sorrowful skies in this interpretation of Sunset's future.

Ah, okay. So, I can totally agree with you, on some level, but at the same time I’m not sure how clearly that came across to me--that Rarity’s and Pinkie’s came first, to me, really made it feel more like “This is a super bleak world and nobody gets their happy ending without suffering” as opposed to “Sunset’s future is kind of a dreary one.” I know that’s a bit of an exaggeration, since even Pinkie and Rarity are said to be happy in the end, but I think Rarity’s in particular left a bad taste in my mouth for a while. And while the later parts of that section didn’t quite follow the same trend, I also don’t think they ever quite countered that first impression that Pinkie’s and Rarity’s gave me.

Part of that is a bias on my part, though, I’m sure--I tend to not be the biggest fan of people suffering pointlessly, so Pinkie and Rarity both falling into dubious circumstances as a result of their environment (College and fashion industry, respectively) really bugged me. Like with the ending, at least part of this is me not liking it as opposed to it being flawed.

She's trying to say "I'm comfortable with you, and you're so intimate to me that I'm going to trust you with the dark and dirty side of my best friends, that I would never tell anybody whom I have a lesser bond than love with.

This makes much more sense, thanks! Yep, can totally see how the darker details do have something of a purpose to them. If I might make on suggestion, though, I wonder if that might be highlighted more by dwelling on Sunset’s friends’ flaws rather than their circumstances? With Rarity’s in particular, I’m left fixating on what happened to her, whereas it sounds like, with what you’re saying, it’d make more to highlight not just that it was a bad situation, but that she went along with it for a little while?

I'd intended to portray at least a ray of sunshine for her at the end in the sense that she can't really know for surethat she'll never see the Smooze or her offspring ever again, and now at least she has that to live for. That, and she's hopeful that coming clean with Twilight will establish a dialogue between them again, and maybe renew their friendship. Sunset cries it out, but she walks away from the whole thing with her characteristic head held high.

So, I can totally see that, and, looking back at the last few scenes, I can totally see how the ending isn’t quite as bleak as I’d first thought--the bit with The Smooze staying long enough that its child pops out before it really vanishes, while it’s subtle, I think definitely does leave a bit of room for hope.

But then I think that might’ve been undercut a bit by the second-to-last paragraph?
Just looking at this part:

Certainly, Sunset Shimmer would be fired, and probably blacklisted from other doctoral research projects. Likely she would face criminal theft charges, and possibly, due to any sort of evidence to back her claims, she would be subject to psychological evaluation/

It’s all about the bad things that Sunset views her future as holding--as you said, she’s optimistic and, in some way, satisfied, but to me, her positive feelings were mostly concerned with the past and what she’d already done than with what could possibly come next for her. The part with Twilight does make her optimism for the future a bit more explicit, but I think that kinda felt like a tragically necessary step down from her companionship with The Smooze, which makes it feel a bit less substantial.

So yeah, I see what you're saying. It's a cloudy tale, with a silver lining that might be a bit thinner than I intended. Sorta makes me want to bust out a sequel to see where it might go. The only direction left for Sunset is up! :pinkiehappy:

If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t think this needs a sequel? I dunno, while the ending didn’t quite do it for me (Could definitely have done with the silver lining being a tad thicker, personally :twilightsheepish:), it seemed like it wrapped up the part of the story that was most interesting, which makes me a bit skeptical of the idea of a sequel.

But if you think you can make it work, go for it! Sunset x Smooze is not something I’d want to discourage often :twilightsmile:

And, just to reiterate, because I’ve spent most of the rest of this comment criticizing it, I did enjoy reading this story. It stumbled slightly once or twice for me, but I’m glad to have had a chance to read it.

9141763
Honestly I don't think this is all that likely to get a sequel, unless people are really gung ho about seeing one. I have so many other projects, commissions, and sequels to other things that have been waiting way longer. I just mean that if there was to be one, it would likely be more positive than this, since I feel as though Sunset is at the bottom of her barrel and only has up left as a direction to go.

Again, don't worry about being critical. I tend to be more critical than complimentary when my comments get complicated. In my mind, what I'm trying to tell the author is that I was interested enough in their story to want to share my feelings about it. Clearly you read this, and you took the time to think about it, or you wouldn't be able to comment as far as you have. The only time I would take any sort of exception to critical commentary is if it shows that the reader didn't read the work in question at all (in which case their opinion, be it positive or negative, is worthless), or if it's just blind hate without reason. By the same token, I hope you're not feeling as though I'm trying to challenge your opinions with any of my responses. I'm not one for doing stuff like that, but I do like to share at least what was going through my head in such situations, for clarity's sake.

I usually don't go back and alter stories that have already been published (because as far as I'm concerned that's the same thing as pulling a book off of a Barnes & Noble shelf to edit it - if it needs editing it shouldn't have been published in the first place), but this one may warrant a tiny exception. The second to last paragraph was intended to be Sunset considering what her future is likely to hold, but I suppose it comes off as a bit too much 'tell', since it's not clear she's attached to those thoughts.

If it helps to take into account, not all the Mane 6 ended up on an unhappy road to their goals. Some don't go into in great detail, but again, all the bits about them are intended as mood-setting stuff, to set a 'bleak' tone for the story yet suggest the possibility that Sunset might be able to be happy too, at the end of her tunnel. I have one other story with similar tales of 'where are the EQG girls now' that has a more positive spin on it, if you like :pinkiehappy:

How did you take such a ridiculous pairing and make it so bleak? I'm honestly kind of impressed.

In any case, I don't usually read this sort of story. I know it's a probable outcome—goodness knows I haven't talked to any of my high school friends in years—but it's not an outcome I like to consider. Still, this was an excellently crafted drama, set closer to the center than the series's usual place on the idealism-cynicism axis... though the impact's slightly reduced when there's undoubtedly a place waiting for Sunset in Equestria. Thank you for this.

(And I can't help but think that there was one way to get Twilight to face facts, or at least take a look at herself:

"So, what you're saying is so you're so focused on what we can learn that you don't care who you'll hurt or what you'll tear apart in the process."
"Sunset, that's—"
"No, no, it's fine. I just wanted to confirm who I'm working with. Midnight.")

9155882
That's precisely what I wanted to do here. Take an idea as comical as Sunset Shimmer and The Smooze, and make it...not comical at all. I really wanted to challenge myself with this, so I tried to avoid going the route I thought would be easiest (humor). Not that making this pairing funny doesn't have merit, but that's the first place my brain would go if anybody suggested putting these two together. And thus, it was just what I wanted to avoid. You have a point about Equestria, but I was trying to stay off of that as an option for Sunset entirely and place her only in her chosen world, as I thought including it might detract from the general theme. I wanted her to be hoping to make amends with human Twi who had been there with her all those years, rather than just thinking on giving up and escaping back to her old life.

It sounds like you enjoyed it, and I'm glad for that. Perhaps it worked out in the end :twilightsmile:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Why did you have to make me hurt? ;_;

9292938
Because cleansing hurt is good :applecry:

That was simultaneously heart wrenching, beautiful, and a bit terrifying... Well done!

9629907
Terrifying, hm? That's an interesting way to put it, I'm glad you enjoyed! :twilightsmile:

I like it if may be weird but good

9733694
Well, it was intended to be unorthodox. Glad you enjoyed it :twilightsmile:

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