• Member Since 6th Nov, 2012
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ArgonMatrix


I've never seen a place that's quite like this. Everything is turned around; this crazy world is upside-down.

E

Sunset Shimmer had hated Cadance since before they'd even met. After working her tail off for so many years as Princess Celestia's personal protégé, striving for perfection and aiming to eventually earn a royal title of her own, to have some random, two-bit nopony fall out of the sky and steal her crown felt like a kick to the horn.

So you can imagine Sunset's absolute delight when Princess Celestia assigns her to be Cadance's private magic tutor.

While at first it seems like some cruel punishment, Sunset quickly sees a golden opportunity. If she does this right, she might stand to gain far more than a mere grade.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 26 )

Cadance: is wholesome
Sunset: UGH

Houyhnhnm's Guide to Magical Arcana

A classic, especially the section on the care and feeding of Yahoos. Hope Sunset read that one carefully...

In any case, great stuff so far. It's honestly sad to see Sunset like this. Even from a more callous perspective, she's throwing away one heck of a chance to network. But she never really appreciated any kind of power that didn't come from a horn until she lost hers, and that's still years in her future. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

Yeah, the title laugh earned a Tracking. I'll probably check it out after a few more chapters are added.

Cheers.

I was kinda disappointed there wasn't a romance or comedy tag. This premise would make for a great ship-fic, or even just a buddy comedy.

Looks interesting. I can't help but wonder just how Sunset is going to screw this up.

I NEED more
This is so ridiculously good
All your Cadance stories are but this is a particularly top notch one

10026470
I 100% agree on how sad it is seeing Sunset with so much vitriol, especially knowing where she ends up. Getting in the right headspace to write her makes me feel miserable after a while. I actually almost swapped the story to Cadance's POV for that reason, but it would definitely lose something that way.

10026523
Thanks! This is one of the rare instances where the title came to me before anything else. I wrote it down like two months ago, but the story to match it didn't strike me so readily.

10026645
Appreciate that, thanks!

10027035
I definitely considered leaning heavier into the comedy angle, but I don't trust myself to write consistently funny material. There'll still be humorous moments, at least! As for romance, I can't say it didn't cross my mind, honestly.

10027073
Thanks! And yeah, that's the thing. We know where both of these characters end up, so this one isn't likely to have the happiest ending. Hopefully it'll be fun seeing how they get there, though.

10027172
I'm happy you think so! I definitely felt The Muse more strongly while writing this one than I have in a good while. Maybe something about a more familiar setting, or the characters' ages, or that I find the core concept really fun—probably some combination thereof. Hopefully I can continue to deliver!

Most of this comment's length comes from quoting the lines I liked. If you find they make it a chore to read, I'll remove them and copy them in a private message instead.

Thank you for writing this. Stories about Sunset and Cadance are extremely few and far between. And I found it so well-written too, a real pleasure to breeze through.

I enjoy the old Sunset so much more than the current one and that's whom I got here. Arrogant, selfish, probably entitled, with simply not a single instant to waste on things—or people—not worth her time... But at the same time clever enough to know to try to hold her tongue rather than paint a (bigger) target on her back for Celestia and with enough self-control to succeed most of the time.

For her part, Cadance was as adorable, cheerful and friendly as I expected her to be—and that meant she reacted to Sunset's harshness the same way. I've always loved the contrast between the two of them, this probable one-sided rivalry we never got to see in either the show or the comics.

I also liked the 'magic-building,' so to speak.

Moving on to more technical matters, the story was delightfully free from the noun groups I see so often, like 'the unicorn,' 'Celestia's student,' 'the yellow mare' and so on so forth. With one exception: "the alicorn." But seeing how bitter Sunset is about Cadance, it just makes sense that she'd occasionally refer to her as that rather than use her name.

In fact, I'm surprised there were so few insults thrown into her mental narration; just one instance of "tiara-wearing ditz," and even then it's more Sunset lamenting being stuck playing tutor than actually describing Cadance that way while focusing on her; and then some genuine whiplash with an outright "this sow."

I've also noticed there were many comparisons of the 'she scrunched her muzzle like she'd been force-fed something foul' variety across the story. Probably a quirk of Sunset's personality and not one I mind in principle, in fact I liked that kind of train of thought a lot, but there were enough such comparisons crammed in shortish succession in the first part to make me raise an eyebrow.

I found one typo; the line "Her eyes continued to wander, for a lack of anything else to do" misses either a period or an em dash at the end.

There were also two sentences that gave me pause.

"If you listened close, you could hear the gears at work in Sunset’s brain" felt like a sudden, jarring switch to an external point of view when the entire story is firmly described from Sunset's own mind.

"Grabbing the pitcher from the top tray, Cadance set about pouring two goblets of pink-orange liquid" also felt off, considering this is Sunset's favorite drink here and it struck me as strange to see her describe it in such a clinical, generic way. But the rest of the conclusion made it clear Sunset had become incredibly distracted, so it made sense that she doesn't register it as anything else than a liquid of which color she distantly notes.

Finally, the lines I liked start as soon as the description, with "felt like a kick to the horn." Surprisingly a sentence I've never seen before, but it just fits and conveys its message and the emotions it implies well.

Here's the rest of them;

Sunset half-knocked half-punched the door. It rattled companionably in its rose gold frame, the sound far too similar to snickering for her liking. Laugh now, door, she thought, irrationally. You’ll be mine one day.

the pretender, known to others as Mi Amore Cadenza: the pony as ridiculous and out of place as her name suggested.

Sunset shouldered her way into the room and gave it a once-over, her eyes straining from pastel fatigue. Sour apples filled her mouth at the sight of the plush violet carpet, the fuchsia four-poster, and the vanity overflowing with more beauty products than Sunset had awards on her Walls of Achievement.

a gaudy pendant in a glass case, its heart-cut gem the same sky blue as Cadance’s cutie mark—a blatant symbol of narcissism if she’d ever seen one.

Cadance gasped, verging on a squeak.

Sunset almost fell for the trap and blurted her answer: Skyspark, obviously. “What’s yours?” she countered.

“I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for Where the White Raspberries Grow, but it couldn’t be anything other than Skyspark.”

Figures you’d steal that too.

Scrunching her muzzle like she’d been force-fed Meadowbrook’s Tincture No. 9

Cadance’s smile fractured. “Oh. Okay. I suppose that’s fair, seeing as we’ve only just met. Sorry if I offended you.”

You offend me by existing.

Cadance’s cheeks pinkened, though it was difficult to tell since she was already a walking blush.

Cadance’s ears pressed against her head like they were afraid to be seen.

“I’m sorry. Like I said: pegasus.” She flared her wings as if Sunset wouldn’t believe her otherwise.

The black storm of a migraine thundered on Sunset’s mental horizon. “First, it’s called levitation. Second, I’m better than you were told.”

A little frown crossed Cadance’s muzzle. “Are you all right?” she asked. “You seem a bit on edge.”

I jumped that edge back at ‘Call me Cadance.’ Now I’m drowning.

“Would a nap help? You’re welcome to use my bed.” She gestured to the fuschia nightmare. “Arabian cotton, so I’m told. And I promise there are no feathers.” Her eyes went stark like she’d realized some horrible truth. “I think.”

In that moment, Sunset convinced herself she could melt Cadance’s horn if she glared hard enough.

“I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to, so please just”—shut your mouth and—“open to section one already.”

“You’re right,” she said, her bubbly tone dead and dry.

Sunset looked down her muzzle at Cadance like she’d told her the square root of four is heliotrope.

“To your credit,” Sunset said, hardly believing she’d said it, “it’s a bad analogy. It works well for foals, but it’s less useful when you’re older—once you get into real magic.”

Wisps of flame had risen in her voice. She smothered them and kept on.

By some miracle, Sunset almost found it tolerable. Without Cadance’s prattling, progress came remarkably quickly. No proper magic happened, other than a few miserable tries at levitation, one of which ended with Cadance’s mane covered in ink, a memory Sunset would cherish.

She didn’t have any other plans, but her patience was thinning by the minute. Frankly, if she had to answer one more of Cadance’s questions about how leylines worked, an ink-stained mane scrunchie would be the least of the alicorn’s problems.

“Actually, I need to get going,” she said, parading her supplies through the air and into her bags. “Got that big summoning exam tomorrow. And an astronomy dissertation due.” A paper she’d finished last week, but Cadance didn’t need to know that.

“I asked for sparkling guava juice,” Cadance said. Her eyes twinkled, persistent as trick birthday candles. “Auntie said it was your favourite.”

Sunset had half a mind to chew her out for asking Princess Celestia for such invasive information. But on the other hoof, it was her favourite, and her mouth had gone drier than the San Palomino after answering so many inane questions.

The heart also looked to be glowing—dimly, but definitively—and it instantly went from some prissy noble’s jewelry to the most interesting object in the room.

Sunset flinched. Cadance had stepped up beside her, silent as a librarian.

And suddenly, nothing else mattered.

“I hope you’re hungry, because I also managed to please-and-thank-you my way to two helpings of rarebit, which is my favourite.”

10027691
Not a chore to read whatsoever! As a matter of fact, this is one of the loveliest comments I've received on any story I've written. The sheer amount of feedback, both on the positives and the negatives, is very welcome. It's rare that readers give insight into exactly what they did and didn't like, especially down to the granular level of their favourite lines. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to do all of that! I appreciate it more than I can appropriately put into words.

Now I'll do you the courtesy of addressing a few of your points!

I also noticed the dearth of fics involving Sunset and Cadance. The few I have come across weren't as gripping as I hoped they'd be, and they didn't quite get into the potential that I (and you) see, given their unique relationship. So I figured I'd just write my own! I'm glad you've found it enjoyable thus far.

Getting the characters right is one of my top priorities in any story, so I'm happy to hear that you thought both Cadance and Sunset were recognizable and played off each other well. I can't say that I personally enjoy this version of Sunset more than her reformed personality, but this side of her didn't get explored all that much, so it's interesting trying to think how she got to be this way and how she would react to things. It's kind of emotionally draining to write her given how vitriolic her mindset is, but I'm happy that it seems to have paid off!

As far as magic- and world-building goes, I had a lot of fun with that. I feel like it helps to throw in those little details to make the world feel larger and realer. I also learn a lot through researching the stuff to throw in there, so that's awesome.

The mild overuse of "the alicorn" was a conscious choice, primarily for the reason you already pointed out. Same goes for the more detached flow that the narrative took towards the end, once Sunset got distracted. I toyed with working the distraction itself into the narrative to better illustrate the point, but it bogged things down too much. I feel like this was a good compromise, and I'm glad it's something you noticed.

In the original draft, Sunset was throwing a lot more insults Cadance's way throughout the narrative. But at a certain point it just felt needless and repetitive. My mind was saying, "We get it. Sunset doesn't like Cadance. Move on with the story already!" So I opted to sacrifice some of it and focused more on showing her contempt through her actions and the occasional dip into insults. That way they really hit you hard when they happen and remind you just how bitter Sunset really is—see: "this sow."

I am aware that there's an overabundance of comparisons and similes—murder by metaphor, if you will. It's a bad habit of mine and a tricky one to break, since I love them so much! I'll likely go through and pare them down a little, and I'll try to use them more sparingly going forward.

Thanks for catching the typo! I'm usually able to weed them out by listening to the story with the text-to-speech function, but punctuation sometimes slips through the cracks. I'll also be changing that perspective shift, since it is especially jarring.

All in all, thank you greatly for so much feedback. I'll do my best to keep it all in mind moving forward, and I hope it makes the story that much better!

10026470

I think it's kind of expected for Sunset to be envious.

Sunset's been studying for years to get the power of being a princess.

Then comes along Cadence, a Pegasus who suddenly got the power Sunset has coveted. And now Sunset has to tutor that pony.

Even a non-megalomaniac would be somewhat annoyed to be in Sunset's position.

10028303
Thank you very much for replying.

I assume it's rare for people to write such extensive comments because they take a lot of time and effort—they're genuine homework. Homework spent away from one's own fanworks, and those won't complete themselves.

I can't say that I personally enjoy this version of Sunset more than her reformed personality, but this side of her didn't get explored all that much, so it's interesting trying to think how she got to be this way and how she would react to things.

That's the thing with the old Sunset; she's pure, unbridled storytelling and character-building potential. The new Sunset is just one redeemed antagonist among so many others in Friendship is Magic.

I feel like it helps to throw in those little details to make the world feel larger and realer.

"Realer" is appropriate, Equestria felt a little bit more like a genuine place with its own history rather than just a medium for the protagonists to have their adventures in, only dug into more deeply when said protagonists require it.

I'd say you've succeeded in making it larger too, by the simple virtue of not mentioning Starswirl at all. If I remember correctly, he was literally the only pony of the past worth bringing up for a long time in the show, which inevitably makes Equestria feels much smaller.

In the original draft, Sunset was throwing a lot more insults Cadance's way throughout the narrative. But at a certain point it just felt needless and repetitive. My mind was saying, "We get it. Sunset doesn't like Cadance. Move on with the story already!"

I think it would indeed feel repetitive and even more needless, seeing how well you've managed to convey Sunset's absolute, depthless contempt without any of these insults. "You offend me by existing" will be a very hard line to top, I feel.

I am aware that there's an overabundance of comparisons and similes—murder by metaphor, if you will. It's a bad habit of mine and a tricky one to break, since I love them so much! I'll likely go through and pare them down a little, and I'll try to use them more sparingly going forward.

"Murder by metaphor" is a great line.

As I mentioned, I've enjoyed them a lot. And it's plausible and even natural for someone to think that way, to throw as many similes as they can back at what life saddles them with. It's just that, this is a story, so some realism probably needs to be cut down; it's easy to think repeatedly, to not vary one's vocabulary in one's mind, but so much repetition likely just won't do in a story.

I also suggest getting a second opinion about this "overabundance" before you start paring down; I myself only raised an eyebrow at them and others may enjoy them one-hundred percent.

Being a blank canvas, the old Sunset makes this "murder" work, incidentally. I feel that similing the world to death could suit Rainbow Dash's voice, for example, but I'm not so sure it'd fit Twilight's. Or the current Sunset's, for that matter.

All in all, thank you greatly for so much feedback.

You're welcome, and thanks again for taking the time to reply.

This is always a fascinating bit of fan-lore; watching the ambitious, frustrated Sunset square off against the very embodiment of all she wants but cannot have is extremely engaging. I'm so glad to see you taking a crack at it. Looking forward to more!

10031952
Thank you! It's such a unique dynamic—one that's been on my mind since way back when—and it's so ripe for potential stories. This particular idea struck me while working on If It Takes a Lifetime, and I just had to run with it and see where it took me. Hopefully the rest of the story will live up to expectations!

10031952 Happy obliviousness squared against brooding malice is always a wonderful combo, a little like Pinkie Pie accompanying Batman on a nightly patrol.

As I was reading this chapter, I connected with Sunset on a spiritual level. Namely because my mother showed up to interrupt me, much as Cadance did, to bombard me with pleasantries and things I already knew. She won't even let me sleep.

Oh, Sunset. She'll learn. Eventually. For now, at least she's capable of forcing herself to interact with other ponies.

It's telling that Celestia really doesn't know how to manage either her student or her niece. Too soft and subtle with one, and insisting on calling the other by her full title at all times.

I quite enjoyed seeing Celestia's problem children bounce off of one another. I do love the idea of Sunset having a history with Philomena.

As for Cadence's code phrase... well, I trust we'll see what's going there soon enough.

10057521
I personally relate to Cadance more, as I’m often the one inundating people with niceties to an excessive degree. Hooray for crushing optimism!

10058153
Sunset and Philomena having a close relationship just made so much sense to me, and I’m glad you like the idea too! Can’t wait to explore it more throughout this story.

And don’t worry. You won’t have to wait too long to find out what Cadance was going on about there. :raritywink:

Was that something out of a book? I feel Cadence just made reference to a book.

... nah. I'm probably wrong.

10058832
It does admittedly sound like it could be a quote from a book!

10060133
That is neither a yes or a no, dear Author.

10060319
Don't want to share too much too soon! :raritywink:

Scrolling warning: this comment is over 1700 words.

I'm loving this Sunset so much. Studious and committed to her goals, scornful and opportunistic... but her edge is shown in a slightly lighter shade of steel in this chapter, thanks to Philomena.

I'm doubly glad to see her included, incidentally. First, because it's nice to see her at all after she ceased to exist altogether in the show after A Bird in the Hoof.

Second, because that way, Sunset is given a friend (or as close to that as she can consider anyone, obsessed as she seems to be with "her legend") before her fall. It's a welcome change from Friendship is Magic's usual route.

Cadance is as adorable as ever, to the point of seeing Sunset as "passionate and inspiring" And, true, "a bit brusque" too.

Celestia, for her part... well, this was her first appearance and I can already see the seeds that will grow into Sunset's contempt for her. She just doesn't take no for an answer, does she? And considering her suspiciously specific question—“Did anything noteworthy take place?”—, I can't help but look at a line from the previous chapter in a new light: “That’s why you’re here. Partly, anyway.”

Is giving Cadance the Everheart before sending Sunset off to her room another one of the tests you seem to love so much, Princess Celestia? I wouldn't put it past you, 'Destiny's Hoof.'

I also see other seeds, which may explain why she has apparently discarded friendship itself as something worth pursuing in the first movie.

As unimpressed as I am with canon Celestia, though, let me make it clear: I loved Sunset and Cadance to bits here.

Moving on to more technical matters.

I loved that you used "said" rather than 'lied' in "“It was fine,” Sunset said." It'd have been entirely unnecessary, redundant even, given the context, and so you settled for "said." Lovely.

A look at my earlier notes tells me you've changed some bits since this chapter was first uploaded. I'd say it was for the better; "candle glow" feels better than "lunar glow" and so does the "venom boiled on her tongue" sentence compared to the original.

Picturing Sunset standing at the end of a lonely pier, trying desperately not to be snatched by the waves, when you called Celestia's eyes "oceanic" was an interesting image, at least; I just couldn't reconcile her pink eyes with the ocean otherwise.

Speaking of eyes and adjectives, Philomena's "forge-coal eyes." I like it (although I liked what I originally misread it as, 'forge-cold,' more), but I found it out of place for two reasons. First, it's (as far as I remember) the only time the color of anything that's not an object is described in the story; in fact, it's the only time any character's natural features are described, period, if you ignore Sunset's dismissive thoughts about "the pink horror herself" and her "shiny amethyst bubbles."

Second, it feels off to me to describe the eyes of someone you've known for a long time. But this one goes back to my interpretation of 'internal narration,' so to speak, which I'll talk about now.

I've narrowed down why your "murder by metaphor" sometimes threw me off, even though I love it a lot, and that's for the same reason. Note that this isn't a criticism or even a suggestion, just an explanation of why I feel this way.

My 'in-character narration' can be described as 'first-person masquerading as third-person;' a character's thoughts, as they think them in their own head, except with "he" or "she" rather than "I."

A lot of this story is described from Sunset's point of view. I find lines like "For a razor-thin moment, Cadance’s eyes hardened into what could generously be called a glare" to work very well, for instance, because I can imagine her thinking 'that's what she calls a glare? Cute' as the event unfolds.

On the other hand, a line like "Sunset met the princess’s eyes, furrowing her brow like she'd been tasked with solving one of Erudite Enigma's infamous riddles" feels off to me, because the point of view shifts to outside her mind; this sounds like someone else describing what they see as they look at Sunset, again as the event unfolds. I also can't picture Sunset thinking 'have I just been tasked with solving one of these riddles?', perhaps because it doesn't fit the context, or maybe because of how the sentence is worded.

In contrast, I find "Cadance’s wings fluttered like party streamers" to work beautifully, because that's Sunset's description of something she's seeing. I can imagine her being reminded of party streamers.

This is also why referring to Philomena as a "divine bird" gave me pause; I wasn't sure Sunset would add that qualifier given the context and her familiarity with her. At the same time, it was kind of cute that there was one creature in all of existence which Sunset would genuinely call "divine" of all things.

Once again, though, this is an explanation. I'm not telling you to change your writing style. Just because I'm locked into mine doesn't mean others shouldn't exist. I sprinkle all these 'I found' and 'for me' in my comments for a reason.

One last thing about Sunset's perspective before I go into typos and quote the lines I liked; I noticed that she always, always refers to Celestia as "Princess Celestia" during the dinner between them; in fact, she's first introduced into the narration as "Equestria’s reigning monarch." This says a lot about what Sunset sees when she looks at her...

The typos;

Sunset snapped back the moment.

'to the moment' (as far as I can tell)

Cadance, by her own admission, knew horseapples about the amulet.

'didn't know horseapples' (again, as far as I understand the idiom)

“I almost flinched that time.”

'this time' (I think)

And the lines I liked;

not long after escaping Cadance’s tower

After all, if Equestria’s own Research Rodeo Queen—four years running—couldn’t pinpoint such a potent artifact given so many resources, it must not exist. But she’d already ruled out that possibility, having seen it herself, so it was only a matter of time.

Princess Celestia was always saying something, even with her silences. Especially with her silences. Not that Sunset could decipher their meanings most of the time, but being aware of the message at all was an acquired skill.

“Speaking of which,” Princess Celestia continued, “how did you find your first meeting with Princess Mi Amore Cadenza?”

Torture, thanks for asking.

The next bite froze at her teeth.

Another break, but brief—a silent exclamation point.

Sunset met the princess’s eyes, furrowing her brow like she'd been tasked with solving one of Erudite Enigma's infamous riddles.

Maybe because being forced to see her three times a week already makes me wish for stone sleep.

In a flash of gold, a quill and spiral planner winked into being.

Had Sunset not been so familiar with Princess Celestia’s many frowns, she would’ve needed a microscope to see the corners of her mouth dip.

The quill hovered over, and the aura holding it bled from gold to teal.

Sunset narrowed her eyes at the page before her. Small, colour-coordinated blocks filled the six rightmost day columns in a rainbow mosaic of academic perfection—the far left column an unbroken black streak that tied it all together. She took a few moments to admire the sheer beauty.

Already she felt the conversation slipping to the back of her mind and being replaced by the many articles and indices waiting in her suite—seeds of knowledge ripe for harvesting.

She would be one step closer to the end of her quest—the start of her legend.

The floor had become a wasteland. Tumbleweeds of balled-up notes littered the arid stretches between towering book-hoodoos. Traitors, Sunset thought as she scanned the crooked silhouettes.

Apparently the Everheart didn’t exist. Not on paper at any rate, which meant that it might as well have been adrift in Limbo for all she could learn about it.

She’d come up with two theories: either Cadance had lied about the name, or she had been lied to about the name and had never bothered looking into it herself. The latter seemed more probable for a dunce like her. Besides, she didn’t strike Sunset as a good liar.

Forget the books then, her inner pragmatist said. You have a primary source.

all the wrath of a supernova packed into two heartbeats

Ignoring the fact that it was physically impossible, Philomena smirked.

Ever since their bombastic first meeting which had earned Sunset her cutie mark, she’d understood that the phoenix harbored wisdom beyond her comprehension. And oddly enough, she was okay with that.

“Who is it?” she called, making zero effort to sand the edge in her voice.

Sunset’s eyes sharpened—daggers hot from the grindstone. She marched for the double doors, considering what sin she must have committed in a previous life to deserve this. Murder, probably.

“No, you certainly don’t,” Cadance said, her voice frustratingly even—a flaccid attempt at mimicking Princess Celestia’s tone, no doubt.

For a razor-thin moment, Cadance’s eyes hardened into what could generously be called a glare. It looked wrong among her soft features, like a butter knife in a bouquet. She hid it behind her eyelids, exhaled audibly, and her eyes came back as shiny amethyst bubbles.

A thousand biting retorts swarmed in Sunset’s mind, but she eventually settled on, “Why?”

“Not that,” Sunset said. “I really don’t care. Why are you inviting me in the first place?” What makes you think I’d say yes?

Some of the light drained from Cadance’s face, going from noonday sun to candle glow.

Window’s closing, Shimmer. What, you hoping to find something when cross-referencing The Unabridged History of Amulets for the twentieth time?

Cadance’s wings fluttered like party streamers.

Remaining on the threshold for a full minute longer, Sunset replayed the conversation in her head to see if she had missed something. She arrived to the conclusion that Cadance was insane, which actually answered more questions than it raised. She shook her head, plodded back inside, and finished her grand odyssey to the coffee pot.

She skipped the mug and chugged the whole carafe.

10065191
Another absolutely lovely comment. Thank you for taking the time to provide so much feedback! It will always be appreciated, and it motivates me to get the next part of the story out that much sooner. Not that I expect such in-depth comments on every chapter, but just knowing that you're so invested in the story is really phenomenal.

I'm doubly glad to see [Philomena] included. . .because that way, Sunset is given a friend (or as close to that as she can consider anyone, obsessed as she seems to be with "her legend") before her fall. It's a welcome change from Friendship is Magic's usual route.

That was my primary reason for including her, beyond the fact that the two of them having some kind of relationship just seemed logical. While pre-reform Sunset is indisputably a lone wolf, I think giving her someone she can realistically confide in and trust in some capacity resembling friendship is important, and it will become increasingly important as the story progresses.

I can't help but look at a line from the previous chapter in a new light: “That’s why you’re here. Partly, anyway.”

Very astute observation, but I think that's all I can say on the matter without giving too much away. :raritywink:

I also see other seeds, which may explain why she has apparently discarded friendship itself as something worth pursuing in the first movie.

Good to know that you see other seeds, because I've definitely planted a few! Hopefully I can nurture them in a satisfying way as the story continues.

I loved that you used "said" rather than 'lied' in "“It was fine,” Sunset said." It'd have been entirely unnecessary, redundant even, given the context, and so you settled for "said." Lovely.

Thanks! I've been trying to get better about that. I've never been especially bad with said-isms, but I'm working on making it a point not to use anything more complex than "said" or "asked" unless it adds something to the narrative beyond what's already provided by the context.

A look at my earlier notes tells me you've changed some bits since this chapter was first uploaded.

Indeed I have. I might still go in to tinker with a few things since I don't feel like this chapter is as strong as it could be, and probably not as strong as the first chapter overall, but I'm glad to know that you think the changes I've made were improvements.

Speaking of eyes and adjectives, Philomena's "forge-coal eyes.". . .I found it out of place for two reasons. First, it's (as far as I remember) the only time the color of anything that's not an object is described in the story; in fact, it's the only time any character's natural features are described, period, if you ignore Sunset's dismissive thoughts about "the pink horror herself" and her "shiny amethyst bubbles." Second, it feels off to me to describe the eyes of someone you've known for a long time.

This is something I have difficulty deciding on a lot of the time. How much narrative space do you dedicate to describing a character's physical attributes? I err on the side of "very little," especially since we know what these characters look like already, but sometimes it's definitely important to emphasize them if it adds to the story in an appreciable way. I think this particular description helps to expand upon Sunset's image of Philomena, albeit in a minor way, which is why I left it in, but thank you for letting me know that you thought it was a bit off.

On the topic of Sunset's internal narrative (not going to quote anything for this one since it would be a relatively long quote), I think you've touched upon an important point. By and large, most of the stories I've written in the past have been of the objective third-person variety, where the world and events are described in an entirely neutral manner and readers are left to interpret things their own way, and I've only recently been branching out into the realm of limited third-person, where the narrative is firmly locked in one character's head and the world needs to be described through that lens. The examples you've pointed out indicate to me that I still occasionally slip back into that objective narration because it's what I'm most familiar with, and while you're right that I don't need to radically change my writing style just based on one opinion, I will try to be more cognizant of this going forward. Colouring the world through Sunset's eyes is integral for this story to work to its fullest capacity, and I want to be as consistent with that as I can be. Thank you for the insight.

One last thing about Sunset's perspective before I go into typos and quote the lines I liked; I noticed that she always, always refers to Celestia as "Princess Celestia" during the dinner between them; in fact, she's first introduced into the narration as "Equestria’s reigning monarch." This says a lot about what Sunset sees when she looks at her...

Another very sharp observation! That particular line about "Equestria's reigning monarch" is actually one of my personal favourites, because it touches not only on her view of Celestia but also subtly emphasizes her views on Cadance. After all, Equestria is no longer a monarchy as of her coronation.

Thanks again for catching the typos and showcasing the lines you enjoyed. I also appreciate you using spoiler tags to keep the comments as safe for new readers as possible. I will continue to keep your feedback in mind as I work on the rest of the story. Hopefully it'll only get better from here!

Celestia likes to torture Sunset in this verse I see.

As far as back and forth passwords my favorite is still from The Shadow.
“The Sun is shining.”
“But the ice is slippery.”

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