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Sometimes it takes a little extra hope to extinguish the last of hope. 1 to 2 to 0.

God... haven't been this fucked up over writing since Background Pony. You did this to me in 4k words.
Cheers to you, Skirts. Hope you're doing okay, wherever you are.

Maybe it's a good thing that I found this fandom so long after its peak, jeez.

Attached to the immediate hills along the north edge of town, there festers an elaborate facility—a monstrously garish tumor of a building that's been insultingly hammered straight into the cascade of a tranquil waterfall—planted atop the waters accumulating at an otherwise placid lake below.

Awww, come on, PolariSoft isn't that ugly xD

Welcome to Ponyville. Population: 2

Holy shit I didn't know I could get chills from READING A STORY. BRAVO, DUDE.

also fuck you I'm trying not to cry but also I love you

Years later you still find a way to leave me in awe at your writing. Something about the scenes you set, the tones they instill in the reader, and the sheer emotion emitted by your words always blows me away. You have a beautifully poetic way of writing and I adore it.

I uh...don't understand this story. I feel I am missing Context.

It was real. It was absolutely real. I could show up and be whisked away on an adventure worth having, and only be brought out by a distinctive ding and a number. Everyone was excited to make something new or to discuss the latest adventure. Everyone wrote back. No one was The Enemy.

Many do still log on. Often even. But the urgency is gone somehow, even though they have less time than they did before. I feel like if only I could make just one more thing it would all come back to how it was. It wouldn’t last any longer than the last one more thing though.

I didn’t think I would get as invested in Place as I did, but I’ve just spent four days doing nearly nothing but watching and placing. Why does it matter so much to me that we’re still represented in the halls of Culture? When the time came and it was all wiped away it was brilliant, absolutely 10/10 experience, but also I had to go cry.

I suppose, it's about a long time brony reminiscing on simpler times, told through the medium of a former player logging on to a once popular and beloved MMO/MUD - only to find the server deserted.

:404 Server Not Found: :fluttercry:

Thats how the spark of adventure begins. A single thing. A single pixel. And single thought. Shared and expanded with friends. Even if it doesn't lead anywhere, it still sparked a conversation. One that may eventually become its own thing as it expanded and grew, a wildfire where there was once a simple, small idea.
Theres a reason why the saying "the greatest journey begins with a single step" still exists. Because that's all it takes. A passion, can take it even further.

This is an emotional kick in the ribs, though excellently done. It's nostalgia distilled, the fear that depression could only be battled back for a brief respite, cloaked in metaphor, with Lyra the stand in for the author and Ponyville as the stand in for the fandom. It's fantastic, though it does require a hefty bit of background knowledge.

All good things must come to an end I suppose…

And so the longest, strangest trip comes to an end. I've gone through several accounts on here (I'm a klutz when it comes to my passwords) but your name has always been there. Your work is fantastic, and I hope your next long, strange trip is just as exciting as this one.

The end only comes if you let it.

Lyra's yearning for a more innocent past where ponyville was not so interconnected with Big, Important events and Garish, Modern Architecture reminds me of the Japanese concept of "Furusato", excellently explained in this video:

Yeah. I know that feeling.

As someone who first joined this fandom on the cusp of Season 8, reading the resentful, glowering description of the School of Friendship was a sobering moment. It's a bitter pill, knowing my nostalgic memories have supplanted — or, as some of the supplanted themselves may argue, outright tarnished — many others'. I've had to grapple with the notion before, and to see it laid bare in this way struck a chord, to say the least. Perhaps not the chord it was designed to strike, mind you, but it struck it nonetheless.

Thank you for writing this story. I lack a suitable remedy for your hieraeth, but on the off chance it means anything coming from my corner of this world, I’m sorry.

In my mind's eye, I picture a suburban city. One street in particular. A favorite doughnut shop just off a highway. A K-Mart and a Farmer Jack right next to each other. An assortment of gas stations and convenience stores. An upholstery shop run by a relative. A Walgreen's with a friendly clerk, who called me "Smiley" whenever I left. A time when the worst I had to worry about was if any of my classmates tried to follow me home.

The doughnut shop is out of business now, rundown and empty since before the pandemic began. K-Mart and Farmer Jack are long gone, out of business. The gas stations and convenience stores I knew are gone. The upholstery shop is changed, its business most likely different and the relative who used to run it long since passed away. The clerk who used to call me "Smiley" has either left Walgreen's to seek work elsewhere, or retired in the fifteen years since I left home. I sometimes wonder whatever became of her, and how she's doing.

And I... I'm a third of the way across the country from where I grew up. No matter how much I want to walk the streets of my hometown just one more time, I know in my heart that it's never going to be possible due to my own limitations. And I know that no matter how much I want to turn back the clock and change things back to what I wanted them to be, I can't go back.

But for all the grief that change brings me, there's something that keeps me going and prevents me from going insane with boredom.

In One Piece, it's said that a man only dies when he is forgotten. Fandoms, or more specifically the things they enjoy, are much the same. As long as there's even one person, just one, that remembers how things were and looks back on them fondly, our enjoyment of the series isn't dead. The things they loved will be remembered. That population sign we saw will have no room for goose eggs.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. For all of its faults and adjustments, my childhood home is still my childhood home. And this crazy, insane fandom that I attached myself to tangentially in 2015 will keep on trucking despite its problems until the Internet as we know it ceases to exist, simply because the impact that Gen-4 MLP has left on them cannot be denied. Our memories may be flaky, but they're not weak.

Never change, bronies. Never change. >^_^<


I'm sorry if I ranted here, but after reading this I had to let it out. I haven't read much of your stuff, but all the same I would like to say 'thanks' for all of your hard work. I'd say you're doing something right if you're getting us all to think. :twilightsmile:

Heh. I don't know if you noticed, but shortskirts also cast shade on Twilight's crystal castle - and that's from the end of season 4. (IMHO, it's considerably uglier than the School of Friendship)

I'm glad that you were able to get an enjoyable experience out of the last two seasons. It undoubtedly was a quite different experience for someone who didn't start out with the mental and emotional baggage of the seven previous seasons.

(For those of us who have been in from the beginning, it's been a long, strange, and often difficult trip: there was so much emotional investment that it was often painful when the show in actuality came to clash with the show in our heads (and thanks to fanfic, fanon, fanart, the show in our heads was often much _bigger_ than the actual show or the amount of thought a changing cast of writers put into it). Some Lauren Faust fans didn't even make it through the second season, feeling the show was diverging too far from the original vision, others left after season three because Alicorn Twilight was something they really, really, didn't want. I myself was emotionally hurt by the season two ender, but I got over it and continued to enjoy the show, albeit with increasing caveats after season five.)

Dunno what this is but right to the top-priority bookshelf it goes.

Unrelated: fantastic user icon SSE. :raritystarry:

I come back to this website for the first time in years, and what do I find but my one time favorite author has decided to do the same. What a wonderfully bittersweet send off.

We never knew each other, but I still remembered you from all those years ago. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

I wish for nothing but the best for you.
Goodbye, and goodnight.

It's like going back to a Small MMO or MUD and finding it still there, in matiance mode, the monuments of when it was in it's glory days still there, the unfinished event that was going on when everyone finally left still active, still just waiting for people to come back as of they just went afk for a moment. I know we fear the fandom becoming like this eventually, but it only will when we give up on it, stoping sharing, stop introducing it to people.

One supposes one should weep, or cry, or call out for days gone by.
One knows of course, that ones mind does not have the force -
nor will, to lie so bluntly just for the thrill,
So while i never knew thee, and so few stories I have seen,
I will say one thing that is true from me,
I miss them too, and all that they did do.


new story new story yay!!!!!!

.....I dont have a face to express with but that just stabbed me through the heart with feels and saddess. It does always stink when a series that has been going on for a long stretch of time finally ends, when you know there will be no more adventures with the characters we've grown to love. True we have a pretty much endless supply of fan works but it's never quite the same.

Part of me does wish we'd gotten more, maybe some more Equestria Girls stuff since that just stopped as opposed to ending properly, but regardless I guess it;s not all bad. Still have the memories and the many stories like this to hold us over.

And so they could make sweet music together, no longer.
This is how I saw it going, though.

Alfred Lord Tennyson quotes came to my mind while reading this new story. I think you successfully captured the agony one experiences when something they love has been lost.


Heh. I don't know if you noticed, but shortskirts also cast shade on Twilight's crystal castle

Rest assured, I noticed that one too. I just wanted to keep my focus centered on the call-out that made me feel the most… well, called out, for lack of a better term. Not that I have any problems with that quote-unquote "call-out", mind you; at worst, I'm acquiescent. It just gave me some mixed emotions I needed to process, that's all.

I'm glad that you were able to get an enjoyable experience out of the last two seasons. It undoubtedly was a quite different experience for someone who didn't start out with the mental and emotional baggage of the seven previous seasons.

Your understanding means a lot. I agree that it's been a much different experience, though I'm struggling to put my interpretation of that difference into succinct words. The best way I can describe it is "I looked at old photos of other people's baggage, then bought [into] the parts I wanted the most." That probably doesn't make much sense in this context, but I feel like I'd just start rambling if I tried diving headfirst into the tangled web of conflicting specifics.

Thanks for talking. I really appreciated your response.

I came so late to the fandom. I don't have a decade of experiences, watching and reacting to the show, going to massive conventions and watching some of the best stories--canon and fanon--unfold.

But I understand this feeling. It won't be the same. It can't be, no matter how hard anyone tries. It's a melancholy that I'm pretty sure grips every single person in the fandom, and has for years before I came.

This will end, or has ended.



I'm not letting go just yet. I've seen doors shut, and others open. This story is but the end of a chapter, and I have stepped into another. Not as big a chapter, nor as popular or as emotional and frantic, but another nonetheless.

Thank you for writing what you have and leaving a mark for those that come after you. I hope you stay but don't blame you if you go.

Perhaps it is better to be a background pony, floating free of obligations and attachments, than to be a fixture, anchored in a moment, watching the current of time weather away connections, ideals and favored haunts.

I feel like I'm Lyra walking down those streets.
You put the pain in nostalgia and the beauty.

This story gave me a painful yet comfortable nostalgia. Of times once a plenty and beautiful but now gone and only lives on in our memories. Thank you shortskirts for writing this and gifting us readers something to enjoy.

Now that I'm older and half the stories I've read along with the authors long gone I feel this even more. Seeing ghosts of the past and of lost futures. I was there at the start and I suppose I'll be here at the end that will hopefully never come. I hope you do well and that you keep writing the silly, the sad, the wonderful things you do. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Excerpt from a blog post from SS&E last year :

"... it makes one wonder why fic #200 didn't turn out to be an abysmally depressing angst-story about Lyra logging into a paradigital liminal space approximation of Ponyville devoid of sapient ponies where the only emotional recourse is depressive introspective sad!bonering mental bullshit shortly followed by adorable mint-green unicorn suicideunicorn"

Looks like we got that fic :applecry:

I will say that while I resonate with the nostalgia and loss in this fic, I also feel hopeful for the future! Maybe I'm just riding off the r/place high right now, lol. But there were so many people coming together in a show of solidarity. I think we'll get some new fans out of all that. It might never be the same, but we're not dead yet. New pony show is coming, and I'm super excited!

Here's to the bittersweet past and a hopeful future :twilightsmile:

Last one out, turn off the lights.

I fully expect the fandom to continue into perpetuity. Look at other fandoms that continue to live long after their respective IPs have ended. Avatar is a big one but there are so many others. You'd think one as big, as huge as MLP will continue on for a long while yet.

Never the same. But still here.

All good things come to their ends; this too shall pass. Carrying the good memories forward, sharing them, and remembering as much we can of the sweet and not the bitter - this is how we try to honor their legacy.

I’ve never considered the fandom dead. When it was at its lowest, around 2018, when I joined, I fought against the notion that the fandom was dead for those YouTube commenters who always said it was on the old pmvs. To me, 2018 in the whole of fandom felt more like a transition period until we consolidated and started becoming a more active, yet smaller fandom.

And the fact that so much pony stuff got onto r/place seems to rejuvenate that idea. We’re still very active, but not as active as we used to be, and that’s fine.

The fandom doesn’t die until you let it, and let me tell you, I’m not planning on letting it die.

Yeah! All the dedicated people are left :twilightsmile: smaller base, but stronger core

Such is life.

Why am I not surprised to find out this is a ShortSkirtsAndExplosions fic. This is incredible.

Poor Lyra though :(

And once again, Shortskirts continues the torture of the single mint-green pony. :rainbowhuh:

Lyra must have beaten Shortskirts at poker. :trollestia:

Ah, that bittersweetness. :raritycry:

It's like coming back to the World of Warcraft server you used to play on. It could've been massive, the world bursting with players looking to raid:rainbowdetermined2:, troll:trollestia:, or just hang out:moustache::eeyup:.

You could have spent years of your life having adventures through the world, knowing those days would last forever.

Eventually, you stepped away, needing a break. Perhaps something came up in your life:raritydespair:, perhaps you didn't like what the newest update had done:twilightangry2:, perhaps you just got burnt out:pinkiesick:. Whatever the reason you left, you did so certain that it would always be there waiting for you to return.

Then you do, and this is what you find. Nothing but an empty world, the sounds of life and fun a distant echo through the empty streets of Stormwind. :pinkiesad2:

In short, great story! Loved the lonesomeness. :twilightsmile:

11203707 People forget that G4 and its fandom was built by the fans of the original series all the way back in 1984.

Fandoms exist for every virtually single property ever made. They all rise and fall. This is why I find immortality so useful, it granted me perspective in the vision of ages. Limitations are so... limiting! I SHALL TREAD THE COSMOS WHEN THIS LITTLE WORLD IS A BURNT OUT CINDER ORBITING A DEAD STAR!!

(All shall be... ALONDRO!!) :pinkiecrazy:

This is one sad but deep story.

Beautiful story, truly this is amazing, bravo, you deserve the applause. Keep doing what you're doing, these are the types of stories I love. This made me shed a tear, and that says something. I picture this as it is. Through a band I don't think any Brony listens too, expect me. Im 99% I'm the only Brony that listens to them. And almost all of they're songs fit in these types of stories.

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