• Member Since 7th Feb, 2014
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Stories about ponies are stories about people. Every challenge is an opportunity to change. My Patrons let me keep writing, at: https://www.patreon.com/RealStarscribe


Sweetie Belle knows there's something wrong with Ponyville. There should probably be plants growing, and less dirt in the air. Maybe the sun should set every now and then.

For her, no incongruity is quite as important as her simple mission. She must reach the center of the maze before her body runs down. It's a good thing she has such good friends along to help her.

The end of magic in Equestria doesn't have to be the end of ponies, not if Sweetie doesn't let it.

This story was written for the Iron Writer competition at Everfree Northwest, where it won an honorable mention. This contest required an idea conform to certain prompts, and be written entirely in the span of two hours.

Cover by Zutcha

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 31 )

This was a delight to read on the submission site. Also, I'm still kicking myself for missing the chance to talk to you in person at EFNW. In any case, thanks for posting this on Fimfic. :twilightsmile:

Comment posted by DannyPhantom79 deleted Sep 5th, 2021

That was great!

Ok, so what actually happened? :)

this sort of reminds me of that video game "the talos principle".
if you follow orders and go through the door the boss tells you to, you will just be sent back to the beginning, but if you disobey and climb the mysterious tower, you will escape into the real world.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, this one really got to me, kudos!

Gonna use one big spoiler tag to poke the, well, spoilery details because it'd look silly to have half the text redacted.

Discovering that you're not really the original, alive you somehow pushes my kinda-sorta-horror buttons just right. The way you hinted here and there at Scoots and Bloom not actually being there in the physical sense was super well done, and I'm going to need a while to recover from the ending, especially Scoots' reluctance to move on and her desire to keep up this make-believe reality. It's a tragic gut-punch, even if it ends on a mildly hopeful and happy note.

Very impressive, Star. Just one question: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

Impressive work, well done.

I remember that game for its sneering attitude that religious people are just zombies. That killed any intention I had of playing it.

The boss should have employed an adventure line.

Interesting but inscrutable.

Absolutely gorgeous story. I felt like the progression and descriptions were both done well, and I didn't feel too lost following Sweetie on her journey through the castle.

One question though. There was a scene where Sweetie described pony like shadows in a metal room. Are those her spare bodies? The new bodies for the other ponies? Or something else? Part of me thought that shadow was referring to the shadows left by victims of the atomic blast, but another part of me wondered if it was Twilight and the others' corpses, the few bodies she couldn't bring herself to touch.

The world building really showed through, with the little hints building up to reveal what Sweetie was. Nice story :)

With such extremely limited time to write, I didn't get to use the detail I might've otherwise used. Ultimately I felt that it was best to keep the story authentic rather than rewriting parts of it now that I have more resources.

I imagine those rooms Sweetie passed by to be places where robotic body designs were tested, possibly with quite unfortunate results. What she saw was a painful reminder of her own artificial nature she wasn't ready to face.

Ah, like Anemoia in reverse.

This was good and gets a like.

Sweetie Bot is so classic in the fandom and it’s nice to see here and there.

So she just plugs herself into the Matrix and all is good, yes?

Iron writer contest?! :/
Didn’t know it was even happening this year 😓 how’d you know about it?

It was part of Everfree Northwest. I was attending. There are lots of contests on the site though, check the sitewide announcements. Every few months another one comes around.

Yeah, I think you were like one row ahead of me in that room. X.x

Alternate ending:
Don't push button. Forget. Repeat.

Sweetie Belle is the best sentient lifeform. Hooray!

So... Sweetie Belle here is Sweetie Bot that think is the real Sweetie Belle in a apocalyptic Equestria?

Damn, I love me a good Sweetie Belle story and this is just another fantastic interpretation of it. A bit sad, a bit somber, but so full of real feeling that you can't help but think she must be the real Sweetie Belle, even under all that. IF she was made in the machine, maybe her consciousness was transferred to her new body when she was made?

I cannot believe this was made in such a short notice. Although the story is simple and straightforward, it finds itself capable of revealing details of the background through subtle implications.
The looking at broken mirrors, the avoidance of ruins, the howling of a storm, it all allures the presence of an Equestria long since gone.
Even within such a small time span, you managed to sneak in revelations and twists.
That you managed to sneak in questions of sanity and existential threat within merely 2600 words and woven in 2 hours is one heck of an achievement!
Bravo! :moustache:

Comment posted by Fatch deleted Jan 5th, 2022

I think you need to replay that game. There were 3 endings and, morally speaking, it's pretty good. The "worst" ending is blind obedience and faith, the "middle" ending is questioning and testing faith, while the "best" ending involves remaining true to that faith but using it to help and save others.

Or don't. That's fine too.

oh, there's a character that asks you some philosophical questions...but ultimately sneers at ANY answers you give!
QUITE annoying.
it MIGHT be possible to ignore him completely and still finish the game, i'll try it next time.
the REST of the game is actually quite fun.

Dang... This is only the fourth story that's made me cry, and I've read a lot of stories. I think Knight of Wands was one of the other three, but this one was just completely out of the blue. Side note, I have no idea what was actually happening.

I’m glad you gave that description, because I’ve planned to revisit that game since I dropped it a few years ago close to the beginning, but was a bit apprehensive, especially after seeing Alex’s comment. I didn’t want to play it if it was just going to dunk on my faith in God, but it sounds like it isn’t so cut and dry from what you’ve said.

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