• Member Since 28th Sep, 2012
  • offline last seen Nov 22nd, 2017

Squinty Mudmane


When yet another unsuccessful attempt at getting Cutie Marks results in Apple Bloom having too much time on her hooves, she turns to books in the hope of hatching a plan that definitely cannot possibly fail. However, one book in particular—an inconspicuous little thing concerning old history and something called a "golem"—catches her attention and becomes the object for her boundless energy, much to her sister's concern.

Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo have their own problems to deal with, consisting of a fussy, overbearing older sister and an undeniably awesome yet slightly oblivious role model. On top of that, they soon have to contend with their best friend's zealous conviction that the answer to their troubles lies well beyond the safety of home.

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 167 )

You had me at "Cutie Mark Crusader Battering Rams." Seriously, though, this story is great. Looking forward to reading more!

1363174 Thank you kindly! This is my first attempt at a fanfic, so it's great to get some feedback on it. Constructive criticism is also more than welcome.

1363251 Honestly? For your first attempt, you're doing a fantastic job. I only caught the odd misspelling here and there, but they were very few and far between. Other than that, I don't really have any criticism to give. I'm really impressed. :pinkiesmile:

Will be watching this. very good opening chapter, i'm wondering where you're gonna take this.

1369572 Glad to hear you're enjoying the story so far! Hopefully I can continue to keep things interesting going forward.

Great chapter. Interesting Rainbow Dash/Scootaloo dynamic, you got their characterization pinned. Plus I'm curious about Apple Blooms plan now though I can kind of guess what it is.

So did SB use her magic to cut off her mane, or did her horn physically cut it?

1378915 Glad to hear it felt right. I was a bit worried that Dash might come off as too much of a jerk.

1380063 I guess I made that somewhat vague. Yeah, it was (uncontrolled) magic on her part that did the cutting.

Another wonderful chapter. Tell me, was the "Long 13" book a Fallout reference, or am I just a loon?

1385140 It is indeed; the Long 15, to be exact. I haven't been able to stop myself from putting in the occasional little reference in here and there. There are more to find along the way, if you fancy looking for them.

1385428 I knew it! :D Glad to hear I'm not quite as nuts as I thought. Looking forward to catching more of these in the future.

I adore your characterization of Pinkie Pie. Glad to see someone get her right. :3 Another splendid chapter.

Now this is interesting. Got me all curious about this Tincoat character, now. Lookin' forward to the next update!

1393937 Thanksies, I was a bit worried this chapter might be a bit heavy on the exposition, but I think it worked out all right.

Definitely looking forward to seeing what is coming up in this. I suspect this is going towards an idea I myself have been tossing around. Something along the lines of Apple Bloom actually discovering something significant, say that magic isn't only limited to Unicorns? :twilightsmile:

We need some more Bloom icons...

1423173 I'm certainly hoping I can keep you guessing as the story progresses, not to mention entertained. There are definitely significant discoveries to be made during the course of the story, that much I can say.

And yes, only one AB icon? She is not a happy filly. :applecry:

Apple-bucking moment, ha. Definitely something he'd pick up from the Apple family and their predecessors. Kinda gave him away on him there a bit and Scoots put the rest together.

Would somepony please explain WHY this great piece of literature has only 8 thumbs up? And WHY it isn't in the featured box?

Wow, thank you for the kind words! It's always encouraging to hear that people enjoy reading what I write. To be honest, even if only one person read my story, but that person happened to like it, it'd still have been worth the effort.

I get the distinct feeling that this will end very... very... VERY... Badly.

Maybe it's my lack of sleep. :pinkiecrazy:

Anyways, great chapter. I really wish this story would find itself in the feature box, but sadly, since this isn't clop, slapstick comedy, or written by one of the set authors, that's unlikely.

Wow, I'm starting to rant here. I better drag myself to bed before I embarras myself further.:facehoof:


Three little fillies going off to Celestia knows where in the company of an animated pile of clay. What could possibly go wrong? :scootangel:

As for the feature box, I'm not overly worried about it. It seems to be something of a fickle beast to begin with. Seeing the story view number and occasionally thumbs-up increase a bit with each chapter is all the encouragement I need to keep writing. :twilightsmile:

It's strange stumbling back into this story. I was just browsing 'recent updates' and saw unread chapters on a story I liked. I can see why I liked it.

I love how you're playing with the CMC's characters, it's really interesting and nothing feels cliche. I'm quite pleased you avoided the orphan scootaloo trope.

Umm... If you don't mind.. I'm um.. gonna post first.

I.. I really like your story so far, um.. Squinty. I uh, really can't wait for the next chapter.:yay:

Whoo! I was actually hoping to read the letter. you know the crap kids write. "we gone exploring across equestria.. be back soon!"

Lovely story Squinty. I'm really impressed by.. well everything, like I said the characters are on point and now we have this intriguing story, thats a mix of adventure and mystery with some humour. Its such a pleasant read. I don't know why your fic isn't featured, half the crap in that box don't deserve the spot. I suppose thats just luck and politics. Either way, aslong as you keep writing, i'll keep reading.


:yay: -- Yay.

It's always nice to feel appreciated, so thank you!


Thank you for the kind words. I do try to strike a balance between the humourous moments that are bound to arise from the Crusaders' antics and some of the more serious-faced stuff, and also to provide my own little spin on the characters without deviating too far from the established stuff.

Regarding the feature box, well, if I'm lucky and the stars align, perhaps it'll pop up there some day. For now, it's enough knowing that you guys read and enjoy the stuff I write.

Warning: This comment contains spoilers. If you don't want spoilers, DON'T read this comment!

I know you've been waiting for this for a long time, Squinty, and here it is. I will be commenting on the things you asked for, mainly characterization and narrative strength, as well as commenting on other things. I advise you to take caution with this "critique"; even though it's meant to help you, there may be some things said that may go against your style that you won't want to implement. Keep that in mind.

Now, I need to get this out of the way before I say anything: I really like what you have here thus far. It's something I'll be keeping an eye on (as in favoriting), that's for sure.

Critique Timez!! :yay:

Let me begin with grammar. I do know that English is your second language, so I would like to point something out that, throughout your entire story, bothered me:

“Huh? What? I’m awake! I wasn’t sleeping, I was nap—“ Spike blurted frantically before he noticed Apple Bloom. “Oh, hey there, Apple Bloom,Chapter 1: Boring Books and Tortoises

My main complaint, something you do consistently, is end your quotes awkwardly. I believe it definitely works to your detriment. When you end a paragraph with a character saying something, you either need to complete the quote like this:

“Huh? What? I’m awake! I wasn’t sleeping, I was nap—“ Spike blurted frantically before he noticed Apple Bloom. “Oh, hey there, Apple Bloom.”

(also acceptable)

“Huh? What? I’m awake! I wasn’t sleeping, I was nap—“ Spike blurted frantically before he noticed Apple Bloom. “Oh, hey there, Apple Bloom!”

OR end it by cutting it off like this:

“Huh? What? I’m awake! I wasn’t sleeping, I was nap—“ Spike blurted frantically before he noticed Apple Bloom. “Oh, hey there, App—”

"Can it!"

Ending it with a comma like you have is not correct. There are also a few time you end it awkwardly in the middle of a paragraph or as its own paragraph. I'll point them out, and show you how it should be.

“Wow, thank ya kindly, miss. That’s real nice of ya,” she beamed at the mailpony. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo nodded enthusiastically in agreement. Clover smiled warmly at them.

When the thing directly after the quote is a non-speaking action (like nodding or, in this case, beaming), the quote needs to end with a period or exclamation mark, and the next word be capitalized.

“Wow, thank ya kindly, miss. That’s real nice of ya.” She beamed at the mailpony. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo nodded enthusiastically in agreement. Clover smiled warmly at them.

“Yeah,” Dash muttered, rubbing the back of her head. “Anyway, uh, I can see you’ve got this sister thing under control, so that’s… great for you. Heh, no need for me to get you a book from Twilight about how to be a good sister, right?” she said with a grin.

You don't put *character* said after a question mark. That needs to be either "asked" or "inquired" or something along those lines.

“Yeah,” Dash muttered, rubbing the back of her head. “Anyway, uh, I can see you’ve got this sister thing under control, so that’s… great for you. Heh, no need for me to get you a book from Twilight about how to be a good sister, right?” she asked with a grin.

“Apple Bloom? Sugar cube, would ya like ta come down an’ have a bite of apple pie? Granny Smith just made it,” she asked.

That last part was not asked, so that's the wrong word in this case. You should either do away with that last part

“Apple Bloom? Sugar cube, would ya like ta come down an’ have a bite of apple pie? Granny Smith just made it.”

Or rearrange it so the "she asked" is actually describing something being asked

“Apple Bloom? Sugar cube, would ya like ta come down an’ have a bite of apple pie?" she asked. "Granny Smith just made it.”

I don't think you did this incorrect thing:

"I'm going to end this with a period because I don't know grammar." he said.

My final bit of advice on this: Don't end a paragraph with a comma. I can't think of a situation where this is acceptable.

There weren't any other consistent grammar errors you made that I noticed. You used the correct its/it's most if not all of the time, as well as the correct led/lead. I commend you on that.

Your writing style is fluid to me; it reads very well. I do feel like you rush things, like the school day (which I think could've been a good point for suspicion and characterization—since characterization's such a big deal, I felt like focusing on how the schoolmates reacted to the CMC would've been interesting) and, like 1684465 said, the letters. That's my largest problem with your style, though. I don't think it was ever redundant, and you didn't focus on unnecessary details (that I can recall). You had a nice variation in style, so I commend you on that.

Getting to more important matters!

I have to praise you on your setting. You vary it up nicely, and you don't draw attention to it when the plot's at hand. It's vivid enough, which is a very good thing.

Now to the two things you mainly want: narrative strength and characterization. This requires that I observe each character's current storyline, as well as the overall main plotline.

Let me begin with :applecry:, since she seems to be the main character. Out of all the characters, she's probably the weakest characterized. You say that they, whoever they are, were drew her to create it, but first it had her go through a bunch of superfluous books to get to that particular entry? That doesn't make sense (unless her newfound knowledge of travel will play a role later on). She doesn't have much of anything to conquer, I don't think. She was just driven to make this thing, and then guide it to you-know-what.

:unsuresweetie:'s magical resonance confuses me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I can't figure out what her resonance is precisely, but I think you have a plan for that. I take it has something to do with those ghostly apparitions. I think that scene with Sweetie Belle and Rarity fighting at the beginning was a very good one, and effectively set the tone for their relationship and the plot in a clever manner.

:scootangel:'s story is very engaging. I find her relationship with her father to be interesting, although I would complain that there's not much relaying with Rainbow Dash, which I think works to your detriment. From what I've gathered, Scootaloo links Rainbow Dash partially to her mother, since they're both fearless and strong, so I find it odd that there's not much of a conversation about Rainbow Dash in your story. I'd think that Burning Ember would make the connection.

Those comments from :applejackconfused: about her reading not being right are nice, even though I question Applejack not looking at the books Apple Bloom has, if it really bothered her. I do think that may strengthen your story, if you made her a bit more prying.

:rainbowhuh: is a good character in this story. I've no complaints about her, personally.

I kinda don't think you've utilized :fluttershysad: well. I like what you're doing with her, but you have her set up as a mediator for Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, and there's very little execution going on there. I don't know what you're planning, but take it as you will.

The other characters are nice. I like your characterization.

Now there's the plot with Golem, and here's where I have to begin complaining. First off, I don't like how it's just Apple Bloom it's inclined to; given the strength of the CMC's bond and the focus on relationships, I find it a tad frustrating that Apple Bloom was the only one that could create this. This is most likely a personal complaint, though, so take it as you will.

The fact that Golem has a mission, but won't say anything about it, bothers me as well. I could call this weak characterization on its part, as this thing's come to life to get a mission done that five others also needed to do (in a very confusing explanation), or I could call it just making this thing more mindlessly-determined. I dunno, I think Golem's characterization is shaky.

Suggestions for this story:

-Have Apple Bloom go through some problems. She's beginning to drift to Mary Sue territory.
-Have Fluttershy either take a more active role in the RD-Scoots relationship or step out of it entirely
-Perhaps have Sweetie Belle miss Rarity a bit.
-Have Burning Ember and Rainbow Dash have more time together
-Get to a main point of this journey soon; it's dragging on a bit, almost too long
-Have Applejack reminisce about her travelling as a filly
-Have Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo have more of an influence on Golem
-Watch how you end your dialogue.

And there are my suggestions. I like your story thus far, and I will be keeping my eye on it. Take my suggestions as you will, and feel free to ignore some if you feel like it will work against your story. I wish you the best of your talents with this!

It's back baby! It's like slipping into an old sweater.

Everything feels like it's winding down and I'm eager for it. I know RD is taking the lead on the rescue but it would be a shame to leave the other sisters out but you have the reigns, and I didn't read 15 chapters because you're a bad driver. Consistent characterization as always, aj and rarity fight being a really nice mood-builder. Plus, I think this is the first chapter that doesn't really star any of the CMC? I might be forgetting, but if so, it's a nice interlude.

Oh and I read your blog post, 100 page assignment? And here I am complaining about my widdle drawing assignments.


It sure has been a while, hasn't it? Normally I wouldn't have waited this long with picking up again, but stuff happens.

The Subtlety interlude also didn't have any of the CMC in it, revolving mostly around Rainbow Dash being slick, but otherwise, yes. Stay tuned for big things going down soon.

The quality on this is still strong. I especially like how Golem's getting some empathetic qualities about it. The conflicts between the crusaders, and the conflicts between the Element Bearers, was also nice. Keep it up!

Loving this :heart: I love how Golem is getting some more emotions/humanistic traits (ponyistic?). Keep up the good work!

Oh mai. Oh mai, oh mai. Dis nawt gon b gewd.:applecry::unsuresweetie::scootangel:

Scootaloo? Scootaloo, Stahp! STAHP eet nao! STAAAAAAHHHP!!! Dis not da time ta be smilin!

As always the dang cliffhangers... they confound me so. I shall await the chapter.

Oh... my... gosh.

So epic.

Can't wait to see how this ends. I guess the next time is "Princess story time"?

There may or may not be a bit of exposition in the next chapter, but don't worry, I can guarantee you that it's going to be exciting!

I know, cheap shot with a cliffhanger, but I have to keep you all hooked somehow, right? :twilightsmile:
Next part should come up around the weekend, so never fear.

1955203 I agree with the fact that RD needs moar motherly development! XD

I'd need to read the whole story through again in order to fairly discern my thoughts about your other comments though.

2223567 I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say on it. :twilightsmile:Please keep in mind that my comment pertains up to "Chapter 12: Improvisation." I need to read the two most recent chapters.

Oh. I'd been under the impression that the golems were inherently wrong somehow. I like this idea much better.

Also, how awesome is it that this thing updates the same day I get caught up on all the chapters?

Poor Golem. He has no choice but to follow his nature...

This story is a diamond in the rough imo

Dude. Duuuuuuuuude.


Y U so awesome?

You hit me in the feels man. Straight in the feels.

And why this thing still hasn't been featured?

Yes, I was hoping to make the whole issue a little less clearcut than just "golems = bad". Glad to hear you're enjoying it thus far.

It does seem like a pretty rotten situation to find yourself in, doesn't it? Especially if you're aware of what you're doing the whole time.

The feature box uses a system where stories are selected based on how many views, likes and favourites they get in a short time frame (I think). I don't really understand it fully, but I think it's often just luck of the draw depending on how many happen to be online looking for a story with your particular tags. Or something.

Not that I’ve ever read any sappy romance novels

Scootaloo is just fantastic in this. XD

Okay, good luck with Scootaloo


This story is so darn good, your characters have so much life and depth and it's such a fun read! Like everyone's been saying, it really needs more love.

Oh my gosh Luna. This just keeps getting better and better.

I'm very happy to hear that! Every reader is a boon, and I do hope you'll continue to enjoy the story.

1 dislike. WHAT IS THAT ONE PERSON'S PROBLEM!!:flutterrage::flutterrage: story rocks!:pinkiehappy::raritywink::twilightsmile::yay:

I bucking love this story.
100/10. So good.

:pinkiegasp: Whoever gave this a thumbs down has serious issues.....
Cuz i :heart: it!!!!!! And I think everyone else does too!!!!

Sweet baby Jesus on Christmas pie.

This was awesome.

Also, this isn't the end yet, is it? You know, since there's still that "Incomplete" tag on the story?

Also, Applejack seemed to channel a bit of the 60's robin there, didn't she? :ajsmug:

Heh, nope, there's still a chapter or two left before this is all wrapped up, so you'll have to stick around for a bit longer. :scootangel:

2306590 and 2315269
To be fair, I haven't yet seen a story on the entire site that hasn't had at least one thumbs down. There's probably a good reason for it - story, setting or characters not to their liking, etc - but it'd be nice if it came with some constructive feedback too. But ah well.

High praise! I sure am glad you like it. Stay tuned for a hopefully satisfying conclusion. :ajsmug:

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