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Lie Me a River · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Missing Piece... of Cake
When her niece and nephew visited, Princess Celestia expected a certain amount of shenanigans to take place. Typically at some point something would wind up sticky and a lot of hoof pointing between the cousins would happen. Two weeks ago the pair had somehow managed to transform the western wall of her throne room into a very dense gelatin dessert. It took a little magic and a couple of baths to straighten matters up but no harm was done. Today was an entirely different matter.

Long had that last piece of Germane Chocolate Cake waited for her. Covered in the remaining frosting and bits of chocolate left by previous pieces it was sure to be the most delicious piece out of the entire cake. Celestia dreamt about that piece of moist deliciousness that night. She'd even checked to see if it was safe before she went to bed. Right then she decided it was going to be her breakfast. After all it had milk, eggs, coconut, pecans and cherries on it. It qualified.

Yet, when she made her way to the kitchen that morning the cake was missing. At first she stared, her eyes wide in disbelief. Then her left eye began to twitch, her breathing intensified and she felt as if her mane were about to set itself ablaze. She shrieked a word she dare not say again. It echoed throughout the kitchen before she ordered the guard to send her niece and nephew to her study in which she would present the plate.

Celestia counted to ten and took several deep breaths as she waited for them to arrive. Both Blueblood and Cadence were good foals generally speaking. They were both kind and inventive in their own ways. Cadence was very good at skipping rope, making friends and painting. Celestia thought the hoof print turkey she'd made was rather nice if messy.

Blueblood on the other hoof was her opposite. He was charming and usually reserved unless provoked. He also had a rather large imagination that didn't always bode well when it came time to fess up about something. The last tall tale from him involved a bugbear who had splashed honey on him and written the almost word "fank," on his mirror in crayon. In spite of her reservations she would try to reserve judgment as much as she could.

The click of the door to her study roused Celestia from her thoughts as the two foals entered. After a bit of back and forth between the two their eyes focused on the plate that was caked in crumbs. Their gaze darted in unison from the plate to the princess.

Cadence leaned over to Blueblood and whispered, "You are in so much trouble."

Blueblood's eyes widened as he quickly turned to face his cousin, "It wasn't me," he bellowed.

"Well it wasn't me," Cadence turned to her aunt, "You can ask any of the guards, I haven't been out of my room all night."

"That's a lie! You were tapping around outside my window," said Blueblood before adding an, "Unless...."

"Besides he's got brown stuff on his front hooves," said Cadence, "See? Probably from the cake."

"Now now," began Celestia, "Let's be fair. Unless what Blueblood?"

"It wasn't me and it wasn't Cadence but," Blueblood paused dramatically, "It could bet could be that weird looking bug foal I saw yesterday that thought it was slick by hiding in the bushes."

"Bug... foal?"

"Yeah a she. You could tell because her mane was long and all stringy."

"Oh brother," muttered Cadence.

"Oh auntie you should have seen her. Very tacky. She had holes in her legs and a crooked horn and wings like a fly! I bet she... transformed into something like a cook... got in... and stole the cake!"

Celestia felt her eye twitch again before she sighed, "Then why do you have icing on your hooves?"

"It's not icing it's...," Blueblood shuddered, "mud... I was gonna put a pollywog in Cadence's cereal this morning!"

"You don't like mud Blueblood," said Celestia flatly.

"You don't believe me," he whimpered.

"It's a difficult story to believe."

Blueblood shoved his hooves in his aunt's face, "Then lick them and taste the truth! Taste that it's mud!"

Blueblood was sent out of the study with a week-long ban on dessert for lying and the hoof thing. As he walked down the hall he saw Cadence trotting his way. As he passed her he muttered," Bug girl," leaving Cadence confused.
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#1 ·
Nitpicks: a few grammar issues popped out at me, mostly stuff with said tags versus actions (more specifically, that dialogue followed by a said tag should end with a comma, but dialogue followed by an action should end with a period), and the need for commas in places.

Conceptually, I think that for a prompt that involves lying or dishonesty, invoking changelings can feel like hitting an "easy button" unless there's something very clever done with them beyond the basic premise that changelings are just fundamentally liars by misrepresentation. It's also difficult in a minific to overcome the word limit and find enough space to dig into why this particular changeling is choosing to create this particular misrepresentation, and what bigger story that open up into.

But all that aside, this story did have some things going for it. The comedy of the situation was well played, for one. I laughed out loud at Blueblood shoving his hooves into Celestia's face. "Lick them and taste the truth!" was great.
#2 · 1
· · >>horizon
This left me feeling “meh” more than anything. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. The dialogue felt unnatural, especially Blueblood’s parts. He’s basically laying out his complete version of what he thinks happened with very little prompting. It might have been better if he had actually seen the changeling steal the cake, which would give him a solid reason for being so willing to spill his guts about the whole thing, causing Celestia to think he’s making up a crazy story to cover for himself again.

The lack of commas is a minor issue that can be fixed with a prereader or editor, so don’t stress about that too much.

I’m 90% sure this is intended to be a comedy, but it lacks one major thing: excess. When going for humor, go all out. Try to squeeze a funny out of every single letter. The descriptions for Cadance—and partly Blueblood—are wasted words that add neither humor nor plot.
Both Blueblood and Cadence were good foals generally speaking. They were both kind and inventive in their own ways. Cadence was very good at skipping rope, making friends and painting. Celestia thought the hoof print turkey she'd made was rather nice if messy.

Blueblood on the other hoof was her opposite. He was charming and usually reserved unless provoked.

Removing these sentences wouldn’t affect the story at all.

It’s decent conceptually, but the execution falls short.
#3 · 2
Don't really have time for reviews this round, but at least can bring everything up to three.

>>2Merr makes an excellent point about excess: in comedy, excess is your friend. This one is on a slower burn right now, and while normally the descriptions and character-establishing are good things for your writing, in this story they drag you down two different ways. One, because of the lack of excess previously mentioned; and two, because you've only got 750 words total and every word spent establishing details the reader can be reasonably expected to bring into the story with them is wordcount that you can't use to reach your story/plot goals. Given that this is at the upper limit, the decision to cut a line isn't about "is the story better with this or not?" — it's about "Is there something more effective I could use that wordcount for?"

For instance, the end of the paragraph describing Blueblood: "In spite of her reservations she would try to reserve judgment as much as she could." Sixteen words just to tell us that Celestia finds his story about a graffiti-writing bugbear dubious, which is not just implied but nearly required by the circumstances. Instead, I would have loved for you to have sixteen words free at the end of the story to show us Celestia's reaction to Blueblood's "taste the mud" thing, because that was good but felt to me like it was setting up for an even greater punchline we didn't see.

(I would have loved for more words in general, here, because unlike previous commenters I think the changeling thing had potential. It just felt to me like not enough was made of it — we just have a story about a strange bug filly in the bushes and a sort-of punchline foreshadowing the Royal Wedding. There's not enough to it right now to reach some sort of subversion of expectations. Perhaps a final scene where Cadance finds a pollywog in her cereal and we see a smirking palace staffer in the background with mud on her hooves — or even just cutting away to a brief scene of the changeling eating cake for some sort of gag — would have tied a nice bow on the story, but 750 words is what it is and I'm just gonna gloss over my usual complaint about wanting minific rounds to go up to 1000 because 750's just too short to be satisfying. *ahem.* As is, the final line takes a weird sort of somber ironic tone — a callout to a very non-comic canon moment, and young Blueblood being punished for apparently telling the truth for once in his life — that stands at odds with the rest of the story.)

Anyway, kudos on some descriptions that I think *were* both fresh and necessary: establishing young Blueblood as a milder sort of Calvin-from-Calvin-and-Hobbes figure, which is cool. "Taste the mud" was going good places. I think the second half of this feels much more solid on the pacing; it's just front-loaded with a lot of unnecessary material.
#4 ·
Funny how we got two stories with the same general premise this round. This and The Dog Ate My Homework are both about characters who tell highly improbable stories which turn out to be true. In "Dog," however, the reader is shown that the story is true, whereas in this'un, the reader is left to infer it, based on knowledge about the universe which we know, which the cast in-universe isn't privy to. And both stories involve changelings, to boot!

Points for dramatic irony, then. But the infodumpy part at the very beginning drags it down, and the whole "chocolate vs. mud" conundrum just makes Sunbutt look foolish.

Which is keeping with canon, come to think of it.

Wouldn't it be funny if the changeling in this one was also Thorax?