• Member Since 23rd Aug, 2018
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

semillon


please ubereats me some mcdonalds please

E

Ocellus and Smolder are called to Somnambula for their very first friendship mission, where they encounter ancient magic, and a dangerous temple.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 9 )

Is your username based off of the Sarmillion?

Thought this was going to be a shipfic, actually glad you didn't go there. It's nice to see an intimate platonic relationship in fan-fic for once. We all need breaks from our friends (even our best friends). Also just because something is painful doesn't mean we don't need to know it. Like Frankincense knowing the truth about his mom or Smolder knowing she can be a difficult person.

Well this looks interesting. I’m always up for more Ocellus.

I liked this! It's a nice map-mission adventure, and a good in-depth character story for Smolder and Ocellus. One minor issue is that it focuses mainly on Smolder, and map-missions generally make balanced use of the talent/ability of both characters sent on then. (See Made in Manehattan in Season 5, and Sounds of Silence in Season 8 for some good examples of this.) So for example, Smolder's brashness helps them find the friendship problem, but Ocellus's skills should help resolve it, beyond simply being Smolder's backup in a crisis.

Below is some more detailed feedback. (BTW, if you prefer I can send this to you as a PM instead. Just let me know.)

And she really sort of was. She wasn’t going to cheat on a test again. That wasn’t who she wanted to be. She wasn’t ever going to make cheating a regular thing. Whoever snitched on her should have asked her first, so she could explain. And promptly light them on fire.

Nice one! The opening of this story does a good job of putting us in Smolder's head in general, showing her as she is, showing how she thinks.

“But, you know. If I had a favorite, then...it’s not like I have weekly tea parties with the others.”

This is a nice reference to their interaction during the test in What Lies Beneath, implying that it's helped them build a relationship.

It wasn’t as impressive as Canterlot or Manehatten, of course, but it was beautiful all the same. In the midst of an ocean of pale-golden sand the town stood, strong and unyielding but somehow mysterious. Ancient. Like it was lodged in the past. Like it had proudly refused to move despite the world around it marching forward through time.

This is nice -- in a travel story like this, it helps to occasionally go travel-brochure like this and really sell the effect of the environment.

“Thanks!” Ocellus chirped, skipping towards the town. “And you’re like a cuter Scootaloo.”
Her eye twitched. “I take every nice thing I said back.”

Grin -- this is a fun bit of banter, and is nicely in character for them.

In the distance, just far enough to be hard to see, was something black and winged.

Good foreshadowing, though I'll have a question on this in a bit.

...History was practically oozing out from every crack and splinter in their stone walls.
It creeped Smolder out.
“You know where we’re going?” she asked Ocellus.
“Nope!”
“What?” she said in alarm, turning to—
To see her smug grin at her reaction, an opened map held tightly in her hoof.
Smolder snorted. “You got me.”
“I know.”
“But are you preparedtogetgotyourself?!” she said, words speeding up and building into an incoherent growl as she strafed to the side and stood her ground in front of Ocellus, throwing her arms up and baring her teeth.

This passage threw me a bit: the initial lines set me up to expect something lurching out at them from the shadows, and then it turned into a gag scene, and the intercut of dialogue and description isn't quite smooth enough to carry it. I had to re-read it a couple times before I understood what had actually happened and who had the map. This could be a good comedy scene, it just needs some polish to make it flow more smoothly.

...slithering in place as she basked in her temporary hoard of warmth.

Nice description -- this fits her character as well as her nature as a dragon.

Ocellus shook her head. “It’s fascinating! You know, some of the locals think that they’re still out there. There’s been reports of sightings. Black and orange dragons flying through the sand or standing near strange obelisks. Usually near a mirage, as well, so a lot of those reports get filed away as somepony’s crazy visions in the desert.”

This passage, and the foreshadowing before, sets the reader up to expect both black dragons and orange dragons to appear later on, rather than a black-and-orange dragon, which is probably what you intended at this point. This leaves the reader feeling like something hasn't been paid off properly when we get to the villain at the end.

“Why do I get the busiest place?”
“Comedic value.”

This is a fun, almost-fourth-wall joke.

“You can go looking for those ponies,” Red Clay said. “If they’re in the desert, and they’re lost and they need help, you can find them.”

This would be stronger if Red Clay had a relative who was missing, and was hesitant about going out looking for them himself.

“Cactus Juice right there lost his colt,” explained Sidewinder.

Cactus Juice would work better as a name if this was set in Appleloosa or Dodge, so you could play on the Western theme, but Somnambula is more like northern Africa. So perhaps something like "Bitter Apple" or "Palm Oil" might work better. And he needs to sound more like someone you'd find in a Middle-Eastern town like this. Alternatively, he might work as-is if you provide him with enough backstory so it's clear he and his son are originally from Appleloosa or the Badlands.

She saw Ocellus sigh, and she saw her began to glow...

This passage was a little confusing -- it wasn't clear if what happened to Ocellus was meant to be part of Smolder's vision (i.e. she didn't actually see Ocellus), or meant to be actual events, and it needs to be clearly one or the other, in particular because Ocellus drops out of the story for a while here, so it's not clear whether Smolder is heading toward her or has left her behind in town.

Bahamut’s skull, why did her first friendship mission have to be so weird?

In mythology (no, D&D doesn't count here!), Bahamut is a giant fish, so this doesn't quite work as a dragon curse -- better choices here might be Typhon, Tiamat, or Fafnir.

“I did not think dragons believed in ghosts,” said Cactus.

“I don’t. I believe in weird pony artifacts, magic and monsters.”

This is a nice comeback for Smolder, and a fun meta-comment on the series as a whole.

“A dragon?” one of the ponies (a stallion with a yellow coat and green mane) said. “And he brought Cactus Juice?”

In straight fiction, as opposed to humor, parentheses aren't really right. Instead, use commas, for example: "... said one of the ponies, a stallion with a yellow coat and green mane."

Her confirmation died in her throat as she caught sight of the golden book on the ground. “Was that there before?”

The appearance of the book here is a little too abrupt -- you need to call it out more clearly, so it's obvious it has appeared and they simply haven't missed it up until now.

Ocellus backed away, stammering incoherently. She was wide-eyed and terrified. She looked like how she did on her first day at school. “I don’t—I don’t know.”

Minor typo.

Without Smolder, things are peaceful.
And I like peaceful.
...
"I hate you," she hissed. "I don’t want to be your friend anymore, and I don’t ever want to see you again, you lying, evil parasite."

The story doesn't quite sell this turn of events well enough -- up to now, there really hasn't been a hint that Ocellus feels this way underneath. Suggestion: it would work better if Ocellus had appeared hesitant more than once in conversation with Smolder; so far they've pretty much been working together willingly without issue.

Another dragon was in front of her, appearing out of thin air. He was male, with one horn on one side of his head, and two on the other. His scales were Black, but with cracks of orange throughout. He looked like a volcano’s surface.

Okay, this is a black-and-orange dragon, so you should tweak the foreshadowing passage earlier.

“My name had faded, but I was a dragon, much like yourself,” he spoke. His voice sizzled quietly, like vermin rotting underneath the sun. “The ponies of the desert named me Ifrit. So that is who I am, I suppose.”

Again, "Ifrit" or "Efreet" is from Arabic mythology, and suggests a djinn, or genie, which doesn't quite work as the name of an evil dragon. What might work better here is something like "Azi", or "Zahhak", borrowing a bit from Persian mythology.

She had been laid in front of a small flight of stairs that lead up to a throne, and on that throne was a young violet unicorn stallion with a messy charcoal mane and shiny amethyst eyes. On his flanks lay a slender black stick, halfway burnt and sending a thin line of smoke into the air.

It would be better to describe his cutie-mark plainly as a cutie-mark, e.g. "On his flank was a cutie-mark of a slender black stick...". As written, it sounds like he's balancing an actual stick on his flank.

The stallion on the throne laughed. “Why would I do that? You’re obviously here because you’re a guilty little liar, or else the spell I put on Somnambula wouldn’t have taken you. You’re going to join the rest of your kind when I parade you through Somnambula with your special little sins over your heads for the rest of the good, honest townsponies to see.”

The relationship between Ifrit and Frankincense isn't spelled out plainly enough here, so it's not clear who's working for whom. It needs to be made clear that Ifrit has taken advantage of Frankincense's abilities and personal anger here -- and hence that Ifrit is dependant on him -- in order to really sell the defeat and banishment of Ifrit at the end as a victory of friendship.

Harsh neon light began to flare from behind her. She turned back and saw floating phrases forming above each of the ponies thrown to the pile.

Floating phrases/numbers is a little overused as a visual element -- suggestion: maybe have Smolder hear a voice whispering in her ear when she looks at them, like an irrepressible gossip or tattle-tale, spreading damaging rumors.

“Boo!” she yelled up at him. “You sound way too goodey-two-shoes to pull off that villain stuff.”

Suggestion: "Bah!" would be more in character for Smolder here.

“Friendship,” sang Smolder. “Friendship always wins. And I have a second chance at make it!”

Minor typo.

The colt grit his teeth and slammed his hooves into the floor. His eyes glowed with a fiery magic. Glowing tendrils came out of his horn and made contact with Cactus, who stood there, shivering as they sank into his chest.
...
“It’s the truth,” Cactus Juice said. He began to trot slowly to his son. “I’m sorry, son. I wish I was the villain you thought I was. But it’s not. I’m not. She was.”

The story should make it clear that Frankincense's power only displayed the literal truth (e.g. Lied to his son...) -- until he was compelled to dig deeper for the actual truth. Otherwise it simply sounds like he should have known it all along.

“For what it’s worth,” Ocellus started. “I shouldn’t have hid my feelings from you. I won’t do it again.”
“It’s okay,” she replied. “We’re past that.”

This is a nice ending, in particular their decision not to hurry back. As noted above, the story really should hint earlier on that there's this background issue between them to make the reveal in the middle and the ending pay off most effectively.

One final note: I really like your custom story-break graphic. It beats the heck out of the simple row of dashes I tend to use. One caution: with a complex graphic like this you need to be careful not to overdo it, e.g. some of the short scenes here cause it to come up a lot, which makes it feel repetitive since it stands out so stongly. One possible tweak is to make it shorter vertically, or less intricate, and that would make it easier to use more often. But I have no issue with the graphic itself -- it shows you were willing to put the effort into making the story stand out.

Again, I liked the story overall, so take all this commentary as suggestions for making it even better!
:twilightsmile:

9452923
Oh my god! First off, I'm so surprised that my fic was compelling enough to fuel an in-depth comment like this, thank you so much!

I definitely agree with the nitpicks you had –– there are a lot of things that I could have elaborated on and foreshadowed and such.

This really helped me with a lot of things that felt a little off in this story and again, this is such a helpful piece of feedback. Thank you.

9451194
No, hahaha

It's one of my favorite wine varietals

9453327
Hey, no problem -- this struck me as exactly the kind of straight-up, true-to-the-show story we need more of around here, to tide us over until Season 9. Glad I could help!
:twilightsmile:

9453441
None of the characters introduced in season 5-8 will never appear after season 9 again. They are deleting them for Gen 5. All we will have left of them is fanfics and fan art.

Season 9 will be the beginning of the end. Dread it, don't wish for it.

9463637
I hear ya... just remember the four words that make you sad whenever you're happy, and happy whenever you're sad:
This too shall pass... :twilightsmile:

But seriously... it's really a joy whenever a series and fandom like this comes along, one that I can so willingly and trustingly chuck myself into. I appreciate it each time it happens, and worry that it'll be the last time, that this time I'll grow up and get wise, so to speak. And I never do. If it doesn't happen to be Season 9 or G5, it'll be something else equally creative and positive, even if it takes a while to find it. There'll always be a next thing. And there's always DVD/streaming of G4 to remember the good stuff in the meantime. Hang in there and keep smiling! :pinkiesmile:

9463835
Can't agree more, hahaha

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