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Just Like Old Times · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Just Like Old Times
“I just don’t get why things had to change,” Spike said.

Twilight smiled softly. “Time passes. Ponies grow older. Sometimes things in our lives come to pass, and they change us. It’s up to you to make sure that’s for the better.”

Spike let out a sigh. “Yes, I know. But… remember when we first came to Ponyville? How you and all your friends slowly got to know one another? There were adventures, sure, but also simple friendship problems. Things weren’t complicated yet. No one was going to die because Rarity and Applejack got in a fight at a sleepover.”

“Well, Rarity might have acted like she was dying,” Twilight giggled.

“But she was always so cute when she—” He frowned. “Don’t distract me. I mean there weren’t evil monsters breaking out of Tartarus, or giant crystal castles or… is it a school now? I can’t even keep up. There wasn’t even…” He waved a claw in Twilight’s direction.

“My wings?” she said softly.

Spike snorted. “No, I meant your unstoppable army of killer robot spiders.”

“Spike… we’ve been over this.”

“I know, I know. I’m just saying, it’s scary. And what about me? What will happen to me when I get bigger?”

Twilight unfurled one wing and trotted next to him, pulling him close underneath it. She smiled, reassuringly. “Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold.”

Spike nodded. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.”

The closest spider began an electronic keening, slightly too early. Twilight frowned at it, noting that its programming must have had a—she chuckled to herself—bug.

The gleaming metal surface of the hills surrounding Ponyville shimmered as the rest of the army activated, the individual clicking and whirring magnified by their sheer number. They flowed over one another, coursing down upon the town like a river of aluminum. A cleansing flood, perhaps.

Surely, the Second Coming was at hand.

Spike turned away, unable to look. He held his claws up to his ears and burrowed close against Twilight’s side. She murmured soothing stories to him of cold and barren bones, bleached by the desert sun. The stars overhead slowly faded from view, unable to be distinguished through the smoke rising from below.

Pursing her lips, Twilight whistled tonguelessly. She straightened up, and helped Spike clamber up onto her back. The night air was cold as they winged their way towards Canterlot.

“But, like, what if I get really big?” Spike insisted. “Remember the thing with greed? What if that happens and I hurt one of our friends? I could never live with myself.”

“We wouldn’t let that happen.” Twilight’s horn came aglow in a shower of sparkles, cloaking the both of them as they slipped through the city’s first shield. “And I don’t think you would, either.” She wrinkled her nose in amusement. “I know that sometimes you can go a little overboard, particularly when it comes to ice-cream, but you learned generosity from one of the best, remember?”

“Just like you learned loyalty?”

Twilight paused, hanging in the air outside the an upper room of the castle. Seven wings beat in harmony, thrumming in the night wind.

“Is that meant supposed to be funny?” she said sternly.

Spike shrugged. “I’m just saying. Maybe I learned honesty too.”

Her hooves clacked as she landed on the roof. Light rain pattered against the rooftop as clouds rolled in from the direction of Ponyville, and the crimson liquid sizzled and popped as it hit the marble.

“I will turn this chariot around, mister. We can just pack up, go home, and slouch towards Bethlehem another night.”

Spike crossed his arms, pouting. “You always get like this! You can’t take the slightest criticism!”

“I was trying to help you! That gives you no right to—” Twilight forced herself to breath in and out as she composed herself, her lungs complaining at the unfamiliar task. “I’m sorry,” she said, more calmly. “I know you’re a little on edge. It’s been a rough couple of weeks.”

“Tell me about it,” Spike muttered.

“So let’s just take care of the important things first.” A light on the horizon revealed Celestia’s arrival. “And then…”


Twilight smiled. “Ice-cream. With cherry quartz on top.”

“I can’t wait!” Spike said. He clambered down onto the rooftop, and Twilight sloughed off the last remnants of flesh.

Unmovable, she rose to meet her beginning. Spike tried to remember if he liked hot fudge.
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#1 · 1
Having just found r/fifthworldproblems last night, I was kind of amused to see something that would fit right in there in the writeoff.

Unfortunately, while I enjoy surrealism as much as the next pancake, oranges fluctuate capriciously.

Which is to say, I don’t think that the surrealism did anything for me here. It was supposed to be somewhere between funny and creepy, which is somehow distinct from black humor (horror humor? Not sure) but ultimately, the story was just kind of weird for the sake of being weird, rather than feeling like it had any sort of point. Which, I suppose, fits some of the surrealist vibes, but also is not really something which is generally satisfying.
#2 · 1

I can't tell if there's a story here. It kind of is, but every time I think I've latched onto one, it throws some randomness in my path and insists I'm supposed to find this darkly funny. I guess you just wanted to do an acid-trip version of that poem? One that has bad connotations for me, I'm afraid (not your fault, but it brings to mind an instance of blatant plagiarism I caught someone doing).

I will say this for it: what it tries to do, it does well. It's just that what it tries to do is rarely something that's interesting on more than an academic level. So I don't see the point of it, and maybe that is the point, but that doesn't mean the story connected with me in any way.

If there's one thing I do appreciate, it's having this be the one story that seems to pop up all the time where it uses the prompt, word for word, as the title. That always makes me inwardly groan.
#3 ·
As I read this piece, little familiar turns of phrase kept popping out at me. I finally caved and Googled “slouch towards Bethlehem” when I got to it.

In fairness, it’s been well over a decade since I last read any Yeats.

But, having both “The Second Coming” and “Just Like Old Times” fresh in my mind, I have to say this feels like little more than a classic short poem slathered with a thick coat of pastel paint. There’s plenty of interesting imagery, and I liked it quite a bit for what it was, but it doesn’t feel like there’s anything more to it than imagery, when there easily could have been.
#4 ·
Story title is exactly the prompt title? Author has chosen "Hard mode!"

Super meta references to canon story choices? "Expert mode, unlocked!"

References to obscure Yeats poems? Bad puns about programmed spiders? Seriously, author, are you just TRYING to bait me on this?

References to Yeats poems becoming more obvious.

Sorry, author, if I feel that I'd need a dose of LSD and a nine-year B.A. in poetry to make sense of your ramblings, you lose the game, and I confess I see this as nothing more than drunk/high stream-of-consciousness rambling.
#5 ·
· · >>Pascoite
Also, a better referential use of this poem already won The Twilight at last year's Scribblefest.

#6 ·
· · >>Xepher
And this one would be the blatant plagiarism I referred to earlier. I'm disappointed that none of the judges caught that. Or if they did realize it, that they didn't do anything about it. I mean, if I wholesale copied a scene from a movie with minor substitution jutsu, I wouldn't expect to win anything for it.

Alright, rant over.
#7 ·
· · >>Pascoite
So I was a judge there, and recognized the poetry reference, but as the story borrowed only its title from Yeat's "The Second Coming" I'd hardly call that "blatant plagiarism." "The Second Coming" is 164 words. "Slouching Towards Canterlot" is over 6,000 words. I don't see how it can be plagiarism when it's 37 times longer the the original. If anything, I felt it borrowed a lot from Bladerunner. Was it something else you're saying the story ripped off?
#8 ·
I don’t know what happened here, don’t ask me. I wrote this at 2AM and it turned into... something.