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True Colors · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Bra Quest!
A stab of pain shot sixteen-year-old Limestone Pie through the heart. She stumbled, catching herself with one hand against the tiny, ill-lit bathroom’s side wall, next to the old stand sink and mirror. She caught only a fleeting glance at her grey-toned, pimply, grimacing face before the agony became too great. Her knees buckled, and she hit the floor screaming.

Whoever invented the bra needs to die, she reflected.

The sudden shock of cold tile on her face and torso brought clarity despite the pain. She pawed desperately at the middle of her back, reaching hard and wriggling more onto her front—which she regretted, as it only intensified the heart-pain. But at length, her fingers felt the complex mechanism keeping the instrument of torture clasped upon her, and they began to pinch and pry at it, trying to figure out its “trick.”

She issued first one, then several, and finally a torrent of profanities as long moments passed amid her struggle. Her gentle prodding soon became full-on wrenching of the mechanism, as the heady cocktail of adrenaline and animal instinct pushed her to fight harder to escape.

There was the tiniest, faintest feeling of give from the stitching next to the mechanism. Limestone clutched the awful thing on either side of that stitching, and dug her nails in so hard that pinpricks of pain danced across her palms.

With a roar, she pulled her elbows wide, and tore the bra asunder.

The pain subsided, and she sucked deep breaths to steady herself. Limestone raised one shaky arm and clutched the lip of the bathroom sink; her other arm followed, still holding the grey torture device’s limp remains. She hauled herself up slowly, breathing hard, almost afraid to survey the damage to her bare chest.

She did so anyway, freezing at the sight of a thin red trail running down the left side and onto her abdomen. As she struggled to process what she was seeing, she raised the offending object in her hand, noting a spot of crimson on its left side and what appeared to be a small wire poking out of it…

Several loud knocks at the door jarred her out of her stupor. “Daughter?” asked a male voice, strong and deep. “Be everything all right in there?”

Limestone grimaced, though this time not with pain. “No it’s not, dad. Do you know what mom just…” Her hand reached for the doorknob, but she stopped it in time. She blushed with embarrassment at what she’d almost done. “Uh, hang on, let me get my shirt back on.”

A pause. “Daughter, be this something that thy mother ought to talk to thee about?”

“I don’t want to talk to her,” she said quickly, shrugging her way into a plain brown t-shirt. “Dad, do you even know…” Limestone opened the door and held the source of so much pain up near her father’s eyes. He recoiled on instinct, despite his greater height and labor-honed build. “Look at this, dad. What do you call this?!”

Igneous Rock Pie raised his brownish-orange hands defensively. “A… brassiere?”

“Ugh. No, dad! Look at the blood!” She shook the bra, which flopped and dangled and visibly exacerbated Igneous’ already considerable level of tension. “That’s an exposed underwire! That’s not only dangerous, it’s crazy!

Her father cleared his throat. “Now daughter, as I understand it, thy mother chooses… brassieres… as she does out of loyalty to thy grandfather’s business.”

“Come on, dad! Grampa Holder sold that business to Wal-Mare a long time ago. Nobody should care if we don’t buy name-brand Boulder Holders every time! If you can even call a Wal-Mare house brand a ‘name.’ And it’s not like mom or the others…” She made a cupped-hand gesture toward her chest. “You know, need the underwire? Mom doesn’t know what she’s buying for, and I’m tired of being the one who gets left hanging because of it.”

Igneous’ eyes glazed. He scratched at his bushy grey sideburns. “I see. I am… grateful that thou wouldst share this with me. I love thee, and I care that thou shouldst… have what thy body needs to be… healthy.”

Limestone put her hands on her hips. “So is the ‘but’ that you're not gonna lay down the law with mom to get me something that'll actually work, and bring this reign of Wal-Mare terror-bras to an end?”

“Too often do I mediate between thee and thy mother,” Igneous said slowly. “Thou must learn to fight thy own battles, and learn when fighting will not help thee.” He turned and took a few steps down the narrow hallway.

“No. Dad.” Limestone hesitated, glancing down at her shirt. “Just… can you take me to the mall?”

“Ask thy mother,” he called back to her.

With a low growl and another glance at her shirt, Limestone set off after him, still holding the evil bra in a death grip. She startled and blushed at the sight of other peoples’ eyes on her in such a state, even though the eyes were just in framed pictures on the walls. Some of the pictures were old and in true black-and-white. Most of the newer ones were also monochrome due to the family’s coloration, save for the smiling face of her sister Pinkie Pie.

Ahead, Igneous rounded the corner to the living room. Limestone took a deep breath and followed him, knowing what she’d likely hear—

“Whoa there! Boingy boingy,” said Pinkie from the couch, waggling her eyebrows above large headgear braces that framed her smile. Next to her, Marble peeked up from above a heavy book, let out a little gasp, then retreated again.

“You should put a bra on,” said Maud, her other sister, from the table in the adjoining dining room.

Limestone turned a glare on Maud, but noted the textbook, yellow notepad, and pencils laid out before her. “Maud, I’m gonna let that go because you’re obviously high on geology or whatever, but this thing is evil. Pure evil. Where’s m—”

“Daughter, put thy bra on please,” said her mother, Cloudy Quartz, who pushed past her into the dining room and set a basket of laundry down on the table next to Maud’s setup. “‘Tis the new one that I bought thee, yes? And ’tis indecent going out in such a state.”

“Oh yeah?” She raised and shook the bra. “Well, what do you make of this?

Her mother took it in both hands and held it up to the overhead light. “Hm. Why wouldst thou put on a bra with an exposed wire?”

Limestone spluttered. “W-why wouldst thou buyeth me a bra with an exposed wire?! Did you even look at this before you threw it in the cart?”

Cloudy’s brows knit as her whole expression darkened.

“I mean, come on, mom! You think you’re smart enough to keep us home and school us yourself, but you can’t even be bothered to notice—”

“Daughter! Mind thy insolence, or I shall have thy father deal with thee!”

Cloudy and Limestone leaned toward each other with noses flaring and lips beginning to curl, when a deep but distant voice startled them: “Thou must needs work it out with her thyself this time, beloved wife.”

“Wha… buh… Igneous! Come hither! Dost thou know what thy daughter just said?!”

“Not this time, jewel of my lode,” he shouted. “And that goes for both of thee. What dost thou both need? How canst thou help each other seek it?”

“Ooooo, denied,” Pinkie giggled from the couch.

Limestone and Cloudy both turned rage-filled looks in the girl’s direction before each noticed the other doing so. They paused, blinked simultaneously, and both of their faces transitioned into frowns.

“I want you to take me to Canterville mall,” Limestone said.

Her mother blinked several times. “Surely not! Imagine: my own daughter, gone cavorting amid such a cesspool of mammon-worship and ess-ee-ex-crazed, licentious youth?”

“Look, I swear, I just want to go buy a decent bra. No… cavorting, or whatever. I’ve got a little money saved up and everything. I can even drive and go in by myself if you’ll just sit in the passenger seat.”

“She is behind on hours toward her learner’s permit,” Maud interjected.

“Maud, I swear—”

“Very well,” Cloudy said, giving Limestone a look of stiff-lipped determination. “For thy father’s sake, I’ll go with thee. But rest assured, we shall use our time driving there to talk about the principles of Harmony and good behavior that a daughter of this household shall adhere to! Honesty, generosity, kindness, loyalty, good cheer…”

“Sounds magical,” Limestone muttered through clenched teeth.




“’Tis worse than I imagined!” Cloudy bent to the side, then paused. “Nay, I shan’t lower myself to spitting in my disgust. Besides, that carpeting looks new.”

Limestone looked from her mother up to the huge sign hanging in the glass dome above the mall entrance. On it was pictured a blond-haired, brown-skinned woman sitting nude before a black backdrop. It also bore the words: Chestnut Magnifico welcomes you to the Platinum’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale.

“Come on, mom. With how they’ve got her posed, it’s not like you can see anything.”

“Nothing but those great expanses of bronzed flesh!”

Limestone rolled her eyes. “All right mom, so I don’t have to go into Platinum’s Secret. And it’s not too late for you to turn back, either.”

“Nay, I shan’t stand by and send my eldest as a lamb unto the slaughter. Why, look at those youths there!”

She pointed, and Limestone looked, seeing a green-skinned girl with dreadlocks sitting giggling next to two other girls—one lighter-green, the other cream-colored—who seemed to be rather more than friends with one another.

“Mom, I don’t care if they get naked right here and start posing on signs, too; I’m not leaving without a bra, and that’s final.”

Cloudy frowned back at her. “Very well, daughter. Mayhaps thou shouldst let me have thy money, though, for safekeeping in my purse.”

Limestone narrowed her eyes. “You’re going to let me spend it, right?”

“Of course. ’Tis merely a precaution. These youths may trouble others of their ilk from time to time, but on some level they must needs respect their elders.”

Still holding her mother’s gaze, Limestone slowly produced the beat-up envelope of cash from out of her pocket and handed it over. Cloudy unzipped the top of her austere brown leather purse and put it in.

“Very well, daughter; with that done—”

A blur in tones of red and yellow passed between them. Something pushed Limestone backward, nearly knocking her off her feet. She looked around, trying to get her bearings, and saw her mother in a similarly dazed state. But then Cloudy looked down, and Limestone did as well, and both came to a single realization:

“That girl stole my purse!”

Limestone spotted a figure with red-and-yellow-streaked hair bobbing and weaving through the crowd to her right. A quick glance backward from the girl revealed a flash of deep yellow skin. She and Limestone made eye contact for just a moment before the girl turned away, continuing to make good on her escape.

Cloudy and Limestone met eyes. “She’s got my bra money,” Limestone said.

“She hath my purse! My cards! My driver’s license!”

Limestone smacked her left palm with her right fist. “I think she ought to give that back.”

Cloudy nodded, giving Limestone a wicked smile. Limestone returned it.

They set off through the crowd as quickly as they could manage. Limestone felt it odd to be surrounded by so many people, much less ones of her own age, give or take. She flushed with embarrassment at the thought of standing out among them as some random weird girl pushing past them. But she glanced back at her mother, and saw… frustration. Maybe consternation and fear, as well.

Is she worried about having to get new cards and stuff, or did she honestly believe that being an adult would get her somewhere with the one kid in this whole mall who’d actually try something?

Limestone’s stomach felt hollow as she continued thinking: Of course she wouldn’t just stay in the car, and then this had to happen. She’s never going to let any of us go to the mall ever again!

“Up there!” Cloudy shouted, pointing toward a large glass storefont lined with white mannequins wearing fleecy dark-colored dresses. “She just went in! Let’s try to circle around and stop her!”

“Got it!”

Limestone and Cloudy cleared the entrance together, catching sight of the red-and-yellow-haired girl ducking around a shelf full of sweaters. Without a word, Limestone broke left and Cloudy broke right, each moving around the row of clothes where it looked like the girl was headed.

As she moved through the rows of garments, Limestone slowed just slightly, taking in the broad array of colors adorning the selections of fall clothing. A far cry from the stuff mom makes us, that’s for sure. Here a cute-looking pair of jeans drew her eye; there she saw a jacket of tan suede that looked both warm and soft to the touch.

Another jacket caught her attention, though; this one of black leather, and with a mop of red-and-yellow-streaked hair above it.

“Hey!” Limestone shouted, putting on a burst of speed. “Mom, she’s here! You give me back my bra money, you—”

The girl snarled. For a moment, Limestone was struck by the look of wildness and determination in the girl’s eyes. Rarely did Limestone ever encounter anyone willing to stand up to her, much less to meet her own aggression full-on. But perhaps the more striking thing was just how disheveled the girl looked, now that Limestone could get a decent look at her. The girl’s hair was an absolute mess, as though she didn’t know how to take care of it, or simply hadn’t had the time. She clutched Cloudy’s purse with nails that looked inconsistently long and must have been inexpertly chewed. Her face was streaked with dirt, and her bloodshot eyes had heavy bags.

The girl didn’t give Limestone time to reflect further on her appearance, though. She reached over with both hands and pulled a heavy clothes rack down next to her, then vaulted to the side, dodging around another customer and heading back toward—”

“The door,” her mother called. “Come Limestone, she’s heading back out to the hall!”

Limestone doubled-back around the row of clothes she was in, and jogged back toward the store’s entrance. Her mother stood near it, bobbing from foot to foot, holding something long and grey in her hands.

“Mom… is that…?”

“I found this while I did pursue the girl,” Cloudy said, holding up the bra with a tentative smile. “Now, ’tis not a genuine Boulder Holder, but the similarities—”

No,” Limestone shouted. “I’m picking a bra that I like. Come on!

They dashed out into the hall, swerving as necessary to avoid passing mallgoers. “Where’d she go?” Limestone asked, jumping in place, trying to spot her. After a moment, she saw a red-and-yellow blur streak through a group of teens and into another store across the way. “There,” she said, pointing. “Follow me!”

Cloudy did, and the two of them dashed toward a much smaller storefront displaying pictures of stern-looking, executive businesswomen. The intervening crowd of teens slowed them considerably, though; most had their attention buried in their cell phones, or were laughing at something Limestone couldn’t see or infer from context, and none of them seemed interested in moving.

When they finally reached the storefront, they were intercepted by a prim pink figure with an immaculate white suit and a plastered-on smile standing in the doorway. “Why hello,” the proprietor intoned. “You ladies are welcome to Posh Pantsuits, and it would seem…” A pause, just long enough to size them up briefly but thoroughly. “...not a moment too soon.”

“Did a girl with a purse just run in here?” Limestone asked.

“With my purse,” Cloudy added between breaths.

The proprietor tittered humorlessly. “But of course not. We serve only the finest clientele… or at least those who bathe regularly and are able to pay. We’ve seen that one around from time to time lately, and she seems able to do neither.”

“But I saw her—”

“She was sent out.” The proprietor winked, then pointed a dainty finger down the hallway. “That way, to be specific. Though ladies… if it were my surprisingly halfway fashionable purse on the line, I’d get security involved. That one seems almost… feral.”

“A wise suggestion,” Cloudy said. “Come Limestone, let us seek them.”

“And give up now, while we have no idea where that girl just went?” Limestone raised her hands. “No, mom… maybe we can herd her into a small store and one of us can watch the entrance while the other goes and gets security. I mean, do you really want to risk her getting away with your stuff?”

“Nay,” Cloudy said, setting her jaw and nodding. “Very well; let us keep up pursuit of this Harmony-forsaken wastrel.”

Limestone frowned as they jogged down the hallway, looking to and fro for any signs of the girl. “Mom, something you just said…”

“What, Harmony-forsaken? Daughter, is it not the very thing?! We art here but a handful of moments, have our eyes accosted by lusting teenagers spurred on by a banner of sheer fornication, and soon find our effects stolen by a known bad actor who these so-called authorities tolerate instead of apprehending? Recall, that owner said the girl hath been around lately. And that she cannot even bother bathing?”

Limestone’s frown deepened, to whatever extent that was possible. “Well… yeah, but doesn’t something seem wrong to you about all that? I mean, I got a look at her, and ‘feral…’ yeah, that’s not a bad word to describe her.”

“Well, there thou art, daughter. Look at what kind breeds within this cesspool!”

“No, but… mom, normal people aren’t feral. Even lusting teens have limits. Something would’ve had to go pretty wrong for this girl to be running around, stealing purses, not keeping herself clean…”

Cloudy glanced at her, meeting her eyes for only a moment, likely trying to avoid running headlong into other mallgoers. “What art thou saying, daughter?”

“I… I don’t know. Just that something doesn’t add up.”

“There!” Cloudy shouted, drawing Limestone’s attention. “And there it is; how fitting it should be just there, of all places, where the beast shall finally be caged.”

Limestone slowed, blinking, as she took in the sight of a smaller copy of the Chestnut Magnifico poster that had first greeted them at the mall. It hung just to the right of the black-and-pink sign hanging over the door. And for some indeterminate reason, the display to the left side of the door was emblazoned with the word “PINK” in all-caps over a collection of pink-hued stuffed dogs that appeared to be wearing women’s underthings.

“Platinum’s Secret,” Limestone breathed.

She’d heard things about it, of course; dark rumors from her mother of unspeakable ess-ee-ex clothes and accessories that nevertheless drew in people of all ages. “Whether they had any business thinking of such things or not,” her mother had added. She remembered her father rolling his eyes silently at that one. But then there was the time when one of their catalogs had somehow been found buried in Marble’s things, of all people’s; the resulting apoplexia had gripped their family for weeks.

“I’m going in,” Limestone said as quickly as she dared.

Cloudy looked at her with alarm. “Daughter, no—”

“You’re the adult, mom. The security guards will be quicker to listen to you than me. Right?”

A shadow passed over Cloudy’s features. “...No, you’ll wait out here. Do not go in there, understand? Just watch the entrance.”

Their eyes met. Limestone felt a surge of adrenaline. Her mother tensed and took a long breath. Both seemed to know what was about to happen, and remarkably, Cloudy seemed… hesitant about it. It was as if, in the moment, she was unwilling either to make a comment or to put a stop to it.

“Okay, mom. You go get security.”

Cloudy shook her head briefly, but then turned away without a word, heading back toward the mall’s entrance. Limestone sucked in several deep breaths as she watched her disappear into the crowd. When she felt as sure as she could be that her mother couldn’t see, she turned and plunged herself through the forbidden doorway.

The other side was darker than she had expected. Canister lights set above the various shelves and displays cast only a modicum of illumination. How fitting for the den of Tartarus, Limestone thought automatically, channeling more her mother’s words than her own feelings. If anything, she felt gripped by a magnetic sense of curiosity at what exactly had been so awful as to provoke even more of her mother’s ire than most things did.

“Hi there, can I help you?”

Limestone jolted with surprise. She turned, seeing a pretty and somewhat-older shopgirl. Limestone gawped soundlessly for a moment, reflecting on the girl’s perfectly modest, if completely black, clothing. Not walking all about in lingerie, I see…

“Uhh, I just…”

The girl glanced down at Limestone’s chest and giggled. “I’m sorry,” she said, resuming a more professional expression. “May I guess that this is your first time visiting us?”

“Uh, yeah,” Limestone said, blushing. “I… need a bra.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place for that,” the girl said. Limestone bristled as the girl reached out and took her hands, smiling warmly and tugging her gently toward another set of shelves. “Now if you’re comfortable, we can do a complete set of measurements to make sure you get the absolute best fit. But I can understand if that seems like a lot for your first time, so we—”

“Hold on,” Limestone said, planting her feet and shaking herself loose from the girl’s spell. “Did you see someone run in here a minute ago, carrying a purse?”

The girl frowned, and looked down at the floor. “She ran back into the over-18 room. Poor thing. I’ve been seeing her around lately. Doesn’t… act right. I don’t know.”

Limestone felt another surge of adrenaline. Or tension. Or whatever the specific cocktail of emotional and physical reactions was, it made her ears buzz and her stomach churn. “Look… can you watch the door for me? If she runs out, I need to know which way she’s going. But I… I need to talk to her.”

“Okay. Oh, but are you… over eighteen?”

A deep breath. Deep-rooted recollections of Cloudy lecturing her a thousand times about Harmony, and about honesty in specific. Then: “No,” Limestone admitted. “But I need to talk to her. It’s important.”

The girl frowned, but nodded. “Okay, I guess, but if anyone asks…”

“We tell your boss you tried to stop me, but I was too ess-ee-ex-crazed and I overpowered you. Kay?” Limestone blushed at the potential subtext, reflecting that building and keeping the girl’s loyalty might be a case where honesty had limits.

She nodded. “All right, just… take it easy in there.”

Limestone nodded back, and turned to look across the store toward a doorway hung with black beads and a white sign with black “18+ ONLY” lettering above it.

“Harmony above, please don’t let this be the moment when mom catches up with me,” she breathed.

She entered through the strings of beads slowly. Her eyes found even less illumination in the smaller back area, cast primarily from vivid bars of pink neon set at odd intervals along the walls. Limestone glanced at one of the pictures also hung on the walls, but then blushed fiercely and looked down at her shoes, as this one also seemed to be of Chestnut Magnifico, just… not with quite as careful posing.

“Uh… hello?” Limestone called, quite keen to notice that one of her shoelaces was fraying at the end.

“You stay back,” came a girl’s reply.

Limestone took a deep breath and dared to look up again. She tried to be selective about where her eyes lingered as she glanced along the few rows of items. Some had mere outlines suggested by the garish but dim light, while others were much shinier and reflected it all too readily.

There, at the back of the far row, was a dark silhouette with faintly glistening eyes.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Limestone said, raising a hand.

“You’re buckin’ right you aren’t gonna hurt me,” the girl barked. “I may not be able to blast you where you stand without my horn, but these… hand… things turn out to be pretty good at hitting!”

Limestone furrowed her brows at the girl’s nonsense. “Um… yeah. So maybe we could go and…”

“You aren’t taking me anywhere. Ponies try to get me every so often, but I keep fighting ‘em off. I’ll give you a hoof… hand… for chasing me down, but now it’s time to walk away while you still can.”

“I…” Limestone considered the offer, or the threat as it might be. Let security deal with this nutcase, she thought to herself. But something about the way the girl talked, combined with everything about the way she looked and acted…

A feeling writhed in Limestone’s heart. For a moment it brought to mind the stabbing pain of the last Wal-Mare bra that she’d sworn she’d ever wear. But everything about this girl’s situation just seemed wrong. Limestone wondered what could’ve possibly happened to her, and for the briefest moment, she wondered whether getting arrested was really going to help her out of it.

Generosity, her mother’s voice said in her memory. Kindness too.

Maybe she needs more support more than my bra situation does, Limestone thought to herself, feeling her shoulders slump with disappointment.

“I… I’ll let you keep my money,” Limestone said aloud. She took a breath, determined to press on regardless of the growing knot of discomfort in her gut. “That’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it? Because… you don’t have anyone to help you, right?”

“I’m no charity case,” the girl retorted. “Celestia thinks that I’m not ready to make it on my own, but I’m gonna show her!”

“Celestia…” Limestone frowned and knit her brows, recalling things that Maud had mentioned while arguing to get let out of homeschool. “You mean… like the principal in town?”

The girl paused. “No, I… she’s a principal here?”

Limestone shrugged. “Look, I don’t know, okay? But I can’t let you keep the whole purse. My mom’s gonna freak if she has to cancel and reissue all her cards and stuff. Plus who knows whatever else she’s got in there. But you…” She took a deep breath, and winced as if in pain. “Just take the envelope. That’s all that I can give you in there. Please, give me back the rest of it, and I’ll… do what I can to throw security off your trail.”

There was a long silence punctuated only by both girls’ breathing. Limestone felt a fresh stab of fear about being caught in Platinum’s Secret, much less its over-18 room. But then the silhouette jerked suddenly, and Limestone startled as her mom’s purse landed at her feet.

“Just the envelope, right?” Limestone asked.

“Just the envelope.”

“Th… thank you.” Limestone bent down and picked the purse up, letting herself finger its smooth leather by way of taking a moment to think. “I hope you find what you’re looking for,” she said.

The girl scoffed. “I don’t need anypony.”

With a small shake of her head, Limestone turned away and pushed back out into the rest of the store. She took slow footsteps toward the shopgirl, who was still waiting by the door.

“Oh! Good, you got it back from her!”

“Yeah.” Limestone met the girl’s eyes with a frown. “For all the good that’s going to do my whole bra situation.”

The shopgirl’s brows knit, but Limestone waved a hand dismissively. “Just… it’s fine. I probably just did the right thing. Or I just gave all my money to a crazy person who’s gonna blow it on Harmony-knows-what. Yay me.

“Oh, I’m very sorry. But you… helped that girl?”

Limestone shook her head. “I don’t know. Look, I’m sorry about all this crap.” She turned a longing gaze toward the nearest rack of bras, which were blue and red and scandalous and lacy and looked so very, very comfortable. “I gotta go.”

“Well… thank you, I think.” The shopgirl frowned, then suddenly looked in each of her pants pockets before pulling a slip of glossy paper out of one of them. “Here,” she said, raising it toward Limestone. “We’re only supposed to give these out after a purchase, but…” The shopgirl giggled a little. “It sounds like you already spent a fair amount in our store.”

Limestone took it and stared down at it. The words, ALL BRAS Buy One Get One NO EXCLUSIONS stared back.

She looked back up at the shopgirl’s small smile. “I could kiss you right now if that wouldn’t literally make my mom’s hair catch on fire.”

“Oh, get out of here, you,” she said back with a wink. “And thank you for shopping at Platinum’s Secret!”

Limestone walked out of the store, still clutching the purse in one hand and the coupon in the other. She glanced back toward the over-18 room, frowning and shaking her head, and not completely sure if she meant the gesture for the room itself, or for the girl who she’d just given more than three months’ worth of her allowance.

“There she is!”

A familiar voice called out to Limestone. She looked up, spotting her mother weaving through the crowd with two bored-looking security guards in lukewarm pursuit.

“Daughter, didst thou…” Cloudy looked down, eyes going wide as she spotted the purse in her hand. “But I… how did…?”

“I think I scared her,” Limestone said, finding solace in a half-truth. “I don’t know what all you had in here, but I’m pretty sure she only took my money.”

“Oh, my poor dear,” Cloudy said, putting her hand on Limestone’s hand that held the purse. “I know that thou hadst saved for quite a while to earn that.”

Limestone sighed. “It’s… fine. Look, I don’t know where she’s going from here.” Another half-truth, but she felt it was the best she could manage. She looked up at the security guards. “Sorry, guys.”

They mumbled something Limestone couldn’t hear. Cloudy recoiled at it. “What?! Of course I wish to press charges if she’s found! ’Tis my daughter’s money she hath stolen. Go, yes, call me if thou finds anything!” She shook her head as the guards shuffled away. “Useless. A force befitting the rank indecency of this place!”

“Mom?”

“Yes, daughter?”

Limestone cocked her head, adopting a pained expression. “Whatever happened to be of good cheer?

“How can I? Mine own daughter hath been—”

“Mom.”

“...Yes?”

“I don’t mean about the girl. I mean the rest of it.” Limestone looked down at her chest, then at the coupon, and finally back up at her mother. “What are you expecting? That everyone else is going to have the same super-serious view of Harmony as you do? That you’re never going to have to go out into somewhere like this and show what you believe, not just sit there complaining about how nobody else even tries to live up to it like you do?”

Cloudy blinked. She looked down at the floor. Then her eyes fell on the coupon.

“Daugher?”

“Why don’t we get ice cream,” Limestone said, forestalling her. She glanced back toward the store, and squinted to make out where its over-18 room must be, and thought she saw a ripple in the curtain of beads. “Like… right now.”

“Daughter, what art thou not telling me?”

“Ice cream, mom. Please. And we can talk. Won’t dad be super glad to know we sat and talked together without shouting at each other for once?” Limestone took a breath. “And then… I might have to ask if you can lend me some money to get what we came for.”

Cloudy narrowed her eyes. Limestone’s pulse raced as she watched unspoken questions and protests dance across her mother’s expression. But eventually, Cloudy began nodding. “Verily, ice cream doth sound pleasant after such exertion.”

Limestone exhaled. She hadn’t realized she was holding her breath, but out it came. She carefully slipped the coupon into her pocket, then smiled and linked her elbow with her mother’s free arm.

Cloudy’s brows knit quickly. She looked down at their linked arms, then back up at Limestone.

Fine,” Limestone said, unlinking their arms with a sigh and an eye roll.
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#1 ·
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>CoffeeMinion
Ah, interesting reveal at the end. But, I do have a slight problem with how this is a slice of life and action-packed little story.

All-in-all, however, this is pretty dern good. And thanks for your contribution!
#2 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>CoffeeMinion
Hmm. Well, that was interesting, with shades of ridiculous.

Good use of a fairly weird concept to build an engaging story. The pacing was pretty good, the flow was fairly strong, the characters were nicely defined, it all made sense.

I did feel that the interactions between Limestone and her mom, right after the purse was snatched, were a bit odd; one moment they're sharing a grin, the next moment Limestone seems really disappointed with her?

Other than that, the lack of nuance in Limestone's mom's character grated on me a bit. She ended up feeling rather overly one-dimensional. I mean, I get that she's caricatured, but it would be nice to see some shading to that, I think. Surely she has redeeming qualities?

In the end, though, this was quite enjoyable. Good work, thanks for writing!
#3 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
What >>Not_A_Hat said.

As fun as this was, I feel it lacked a bit of depth. Limestone's characterisation was solid, though the same can't be said for the rest. Everyone feels as though they serve as stand ins for the duration of the scenes. Cloudy Quartz got more time to shine, but she never quite broke her shtick of sanctimonious mom character.

I enjoyed this story, and even laughed a couple of times, but I'm not left with any big impressions after being done.
#4 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Most of the comments above me have said something about Cloudy's characterisation, and, though I didn't find it nearly as offputting as it seems that they did, I have to admit that her characterisation is a teensy, tiny bit flat in this story. What frustrated me about that wasn't the fact that she was little more than a caricature: it was that the story ends right at a point that could be a powerful character moment for her, and allow her to break out of those restrictions. I'm not saying that the story is incomplete because of this—far from it, because I thought that this was a delightful and compactly-structured story—but I certainly do think that a rethink of Cloudy's character arc (or, as it stands, mostly lack thereof) would be beneficial to the story as a whole.

But generally speaking? This was a fun story to read. It managed to tie together what felt like totally distinct and disjointed narratives in a satisfying, engaging way. You managed to take the contrast of the Pie generations' speech as a joke and got about as much mileage out of it as possible—I'd almost suggest cutting down a little on that, or at least spacing it out somewhat, because it skated dangerously close to wearing thin for me, but I think it can work as-is.

One thing to consider, if you go on to revise this, is the story's focus, because as it stands I'm not entirely sure I can pinpoint it. Perhaps it's because of the disjointed narratives I mentioned before (and I wouldn't recommend getting rid of that because, as I said, the way they come together over the course of the story is really rather excellent), but it's very hard to pinpoint exactly what this story is trying to be. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing! But most stories benefit from having a tighter focus, and I don't think it would harm this story if you tried to make it clear just exactly what that focus should be.

All in all, though, I enjoyed this piece a lot. Unlike other reviewers, it's certainly left an impression on me, and a fond one at that. For me, then, this piece is definitely a Strong entry—though based on just the handful of stories I've seen so far, it's certainly up against some tough competition!

(Horse? HHHOOOORRRRSSSSSSEEE)
#5 · 2
·
Okay, I've been steadily making my way through my slate, and I haven't reviewed anything yet (time and energy kinda not really there), but when I read this...

“Why hello,” the proprietor intoned. “You ladies are welcome to Posh Pantsuits,


...I kinda had to say something.
#6 · 1
· · >>Posh >>Rao >>MrExtra >>CoffeeMinion
First story on my slate, and the first one I've read all the way through. When I opened this page up, there were no reviews! What the hell happened? D:

Anyway... I liked this one a lot more than I was expecting to! Despite how much I write crude comedy, when I saw the title, I was preparing myself for a dumb sex story. Little did I know that I would get cool worldbuilding, a well-written Limestone, and a great interpretation of Sunset! Thoughts as they came to me:

I'm not sure how I feel about the opening. Part of me feels that it's overexaggerated past the point it should be, but I'm sure others will disagree.

I liked Limestone's interactions with her parents, found them funny. Igneous' horror at Limestone's issues got a laugh out of me. I don't agree with others about Cloudy being one-dimensional. Her love for her family is as clear as her prudishness and fury at being confronted. I also like how you can see her parents' affectations rubbing off on Limestone, like at the end when she's in Platinum's and spells out sex.

I didn't like the scene in the start with Limestone's sisters commenting on her. You haven't described Limestone running or anything, so unless her breasts are rocket powered, I'm not sure how her sisters were all immediately aware that she wasn't wearing a bra. Unless waggling eyebrows are a Pinkie Sense...

I thought the conflict was really interesting! Both of them, in fact (the titular bra quest and chasing Sunset). Feral Sunset was a great idea, and a perfect piece of characterization for her. It makes sense that this pampered almost-princess would be totally lost on the street in a new world, betrayed and bewildered by her past.

I don't know what happened in those last few paragraphs. >>MLPmatthewl419's comment and my instincts make me feel like there's some twist I'm not getting. What is Limestone not saying? What's with the weird tenseness between them?
#7 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Pretty much the same feeling than the others.
It was a rather funny story with a little world building around. Careful with the first sentence though. The "sixteen-year-old" is very jarring anda bit pointless. From what we see later, we understand that Limestone isn't an adult at the moment.

I don't know why, but human Pinkie Pie with braces is fucking adorable. Just like this .

Thank you for sharing
#8 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Snerf. Limestone-centric EqG comedy (with Posh-pandering!). I could read an entire anthology of this and not get bored; it's terrific all around.

...But I kinda don't get the family dynamic that you're putting on display here. Apart from Cloudy's archaic mores regarding sex and nudity, and the thees and thous and permeate the elder Pies' dialogue, this doesn't feel like the kind of isolated, home-schooled family structure you're trying to convey. I can buy Iggy being a fairly open and progressive father, but the scene at the dinner table (for example) just seemed like an average, modern family in an average, modern home, in terms of the family dynamics on display.

Does that make sense? This story is otherwise excellent; I just feel like the family's behavior is inconsistent with what you're trying to say about said family.

>>Dubs_Rewatcher
I don't know what happened in those last few paragraphs. >>MLPmatthewl419's comment and my instincts make me feel like there's some twist I'm not getting. What is Limestone not saying? What's with the weird tenseness between them?


I interpreted it as Limestone trying to distract her mother from Sunset, knowing that, if she knew Sunset were still in the store, her mother would want to go after her. Cloudy, for her part, can see through Limestone's ruse, but ultimately decides to indulge her. I take it as a sign of character development, and of progress in their relationship; something between them has changed just enough for her to give in to her daughter a little bit. On this, at least.
#9 · 3
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>CoffeeMinion
I was not expecting this ride to take the track it did, and nothing really disappointed me. My sister is... of Limestone's similar persuasion, shall we say, and has often complained about similar issues. My mom isn't a homeschooling Petriculturist, so her problems were easier to resolve. 7/10, would play this EqGRPG again.
>>Dubs_Rewatcher
I think the linked elbows is "inappropriate touching" by the elder Pie standards. Seems consistent with their Puritan real-world counterparts/inspiration.
#10 ·
· · >>QuillScratch >>Rao
>>Rao
Not what I meant. I'm referring to Cloudy's repetition of "Daughter..." and Limestone's pleading with her.
#11 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Dubs_Rewatcher
That'll be Limestone wanting to move away before Sunset comes into sight to help Sunset out, if I'm reading it correctly. The tenseness comes from Limestone's sense of urgency at seeing "a ripple in the curtain of beads".
#12 · 1
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>CoffeeMinion
>>Dubs_Rewatcher
Oh. In that case, what Quill said. Limestone, somehow, seems quite forgiving given the circumstances, but doubts her mother to follow in her footsteps. Lead the cat away so the mouse can escape.
#13 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Rao
I get that now—I was thrown off by Cloudy starting the ominous "Daughter" repetition before Limestone even tried to get her away. I guess the explanation is that she saw the coupon and thought "How did she get that" but even that explanation doesn't 100% work for me... she already knowingly sent Limestone into Platinum's. How weird is it really that she'd have a coupon?
#14 ·
· · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
Genre: Best Crankiest Pony Human

Thoughts: Okay, look, how can I do anything but love this? It's got Limestone, and not just Limestone but EqG Limestone. My only wish is that this had popped up on my prelims slate so I could've gotten to it sooner. I'm telling you people, if you're ever looking for an underutilized character to write a story about, look no further.

Also, Platinum's Secret? I wonder where that came from. :trollestia: ...Which actually does a lot to reduce the possible set of finalist authors I could guess among. Don't get me wrong though, I love seeing it pop up here.

But I digress. I'm going to cut to the chase with my criticism because I'm willing to bet that the Author already knows how much I love this based on the sheer fact that they wrote it. And I'll try to keep my personal spin on the Pie family dynamics as minimal as I can in saying this.

My #1 criticism is that Cloudy is not really written as a character. As-presented, she is much more of a plot device and/or cardboard cutout. She manages to do what she needs to do to further the story, but I feel like there are brobdingnagian depths of missed potential in terms of the substance of Limestone's conflict with Cloudy. The opening scene seems like it's setting up not just the titular (hee, hee) quest but also a more drama-oriented intra-family aspect to the story, but that almost randomly gets tossed aside when the purse gets snatched. Which brings me to:

My #2 thing is that there's such a huge and overt pivot to the story when the purse gets snatched. It's like the feel and focus change entirely, and the tonal whiplash is really hard for me to get past. Suddenly we have an action story--and a good one! But dang I didn't see that coming.

Thing is, though, I think this ultimately sticks the landing. It comes close to not sticking it, hence the confusion some readers have felt. But I agree with the prevailing interpretation of what's happening there, and I think it works overall, even if it could be tuned up a little for maximum clarity.

I give this at least an 8/10. :trollestia:

Tier: Strong
#15 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>CoffeeMinion
I hope you know that I've already put you down as writing this story. We both know why.
#16 · 1
·
>>Dubs_Rewatcher
Y'know what I think? Mr. Fraud, sir? I think, he who smelt it dealt it.

...

Er. That one kinda got away from me. Anyway, I've got my own theory but time's gonna tell.
#17 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I liked it. Limestone gave me the impression that she was a real teenage girl dealing with relatable problems. She was unquestionably my favorite part of the story, followed by Sunset. I did have a few quips though, regarding Limestone's money and Cloudy's voice.

I don't see any reason why Limestone would agree to hand over the money, or why Cloudy would even suggest such a thing, and that lead to the whole conflict feeling a little contrived. Was Cloudy afraid that Limestone would spend it all on ball gags and condoms while she was standing next to her? It was Limestone's money anyway and she'd kept it safe thus far, why mess with a good thing just to make yourself feel a little more in control?

I also think that there was a missed opportunity for Cloudy here. When the purse was stolen Limestone had a very prominent moment of "mom just wants her stuff back", setting up for the subversion of Limestone's expectations with a moment of "Mom is more worried about your things than hers" that we never got. That also would have given Cloudy more character development by pointing out that, although she is severe, she does care for her children more than things or her own ideals. This could have been solved by Cloudy looking through her purse and, finding the money gone, freaking out about it and demanding that she be allowed to pay for the bra wherever it came from.

Cloudy's voice is kind of a personal nit-pick of mine. I couldn't find a sound that fit her in my head and I kept defaulting to Luna's, which just sounded wrong. Again, minor nit-pick but it had a tendency to annoy me throughout the story. Maybe something that could be more clearly defined.

>>Dubs_Rewatcher
As for how the Pie family knew Limestone was... unfettered by the usual attire, when the assets are significant enough it's hard not to notice (she was also holding a snapped bra). Once one sibling notices the others tend to zero in on things.

In addition, I've seen several instances of nipples poking through shirts that I really wish I hadn't, but it's impossible not to notice sometimes. They also tend to be much more mobile when unrestrained, and given Limestone's supposed size I have to wonder how she was able to bolt around the mall like that. If nothing else I'd think that'd hurt and slow her down. Maybe she clamped down on them like I see some girls do when they run, but again that slows you down and Sunset sounded fast.
#18 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I think what I appreciated the most about this story was how it juggled all these story threads rather seamlessly. There’s a goofy plot about Limestone getting a bra, a half-serious plot about finding some kind of common ground with her ultra-religious mother, and a glimpse into Sunset’s first days in the human world. That’s a lot to present to the reader, but this story managed to make it fairly digestible. I think one of the main reasons is the rather quick pace. In another story, the breakneck speed of the plot would’ve made details zoom by too fast for us to appreciate them. Here, however, Limestone’s emotions are the main subject, and the action of the story keeps the plot from getting too bogged down in introspection. It’s a risky tactic, but I think it paid off here.

The one thing that I think doesn’t entirely work is the parents’ antiquated speaking. I understand why they have it: it allows them to easily be distinguished as characters and provides a lot of comedy through the sheer odd choice of words. However, there’s a few inconsistencies that stand out, and they ruin the immersion of said speaking styles. The most obvious is when Sunset steals the purse and Cloudy remarks “That girl stole my purse!” Given how she’s inserted antiquated language in every sentence she’s said, it feels odd to hear her say this relatively normal line. There are a few other examples throughout the story (“Got it!” when they chase after Sunset being another prime demonstration), and they really stick out when they occur. If you’re going to give them such odd diction, make sure that diction is consistent.

Other than that, this was a surprisingly effective little story. Limestone is an interesting character, and I’m happy that the Equestria Girls setting allowed her to be examined so intimately. I’m definitely putting this high in my final vote.
#19 · 3
· · >>libertydude >>MrExtra >>MLPmatthewl419
Well of course I wrote this one!


Retrospective Quest!


5th place! Thank you guys! The mortarboard doesn't make sense though... isn't that for best new entrant? I'm a lot of things, but not really new…

So yeah, I wrote the Limestone story. Grumpy pone is best pone. Or human, as the case may be. Now I just need other people to start writing her too so I can maintain plausible deniability. :-P

I tend to write the Limestone/Igneous relationship as a semi-idealized version of my relationship with my Oldest, which has its good elements, but to be honest, isn’t always as strong as I wish it was. As such, the Limestone/Cloudy relationship usually gets short shrift in my writing, because the Pie family clearly has some issues, and it’s really easy to make “the other parent” be the more obvious person driving those when you’re (semi-) idealizing the one parent. But that’s not really fair to Cloudy as a character, nor is it a realistic depiction of family dynamics. So with this I wanted to explore Cloudy’s side of things in a deeper way. I tentatively thought that might look like a rather less-idealized version of my relationship with Oldest. Either way, it would let us get to see Cloudy as a person and understand why she influences her family to be the way it is.

...Which, of course, wasn’t what the story ended up like at all. D:

I decided I was going to spend Sunday night writing come (metaphorical) hell or high water. Unfortunately I’d only been able to write the opening by that point, and I knew I didn’t have enough time left to develop both the Lime/Cloudy plot and the action plot. So as I noted in my self-review, there’s a moment where you can see the story pivot as I made the choice to go all-in on the action plot. It's where Limestone hands over the money. And it's painfully contrived, but it let me glue the opener to the rest of the action, which was the best I could realistically hope for at that point.

I did at least manage to work in some things that might’ve been explored more fully in the Lime/Cloudy plot. Employing the show’s virtues of “Harmony” as a quasi-religious concept offers some headcanon for why the Pie family might end up looking like a (stereotypical) insular super-religious IRL family. But more importantly, it lets Limestone demonstrate how a sincere belief in those virtues might lead her to act very differently than Cloudy does because she believes it’s the better way to live the virtues. All of this is more IRL stuff for me, but where Cloudy enforces order in the name of virtue, Limestone instead seeks to apply her virtues to the world she lives in, which is far from orderly. And Limestone doesn’t come away from that unscathed… she doesn’t know that Sunset will eventually get acclimated to the world, and later redeemed, and later will become a hero of the multiverse. Nope, all Limestone knows is that she blew her chance to get a decent bra while maybe helping someone in need.

>>MLPmatthewl419
Glad you liked it. I confess I didn't fully understand your first sentence, though. Was it just about the mix of action and slice-of-life stuff?

>>Not_A_Hat
The Limestone/Cloudy grin moment was supposed to convey that they both feel an urge to fight when pushed. That shared tendency could've been used to explore why they don't always get along--once a spark is lit, neither one of them wants to back down. In this case, they would find mutual purpose in wanting to catch and deal with the thief. But IMO this totally failed to get that across and it just ended up looking weird.

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Yep, it was definitely some: "oh crap I have no time for supporting characters, only Limestone and the action plot."

>>QuillScratch
Thank you for the kind words. ^^ Yep, see above; this was trying to be two things at once but one of those things had to be cut for time and there were still pointers from the other one out into null space.

>>Dubs_Rewatcher
unless her breasts are rocket powered

headcanon accepted

No, seriously, thank you. Given that you helped with my last foray into EqG Limestone, I was glad to see so much of this working for you. I also had a moment of not-mild panic when you replied to my self-review and called me out as the author. :-P To be honest, I've come to hate doing self-reviews, but with only 8 other finalists I figured it'd be possible to review all of them, and at that point it would look pretty obvious that I'd written it if I didn't do one. Maybe I should go back to self-reviewing during prelims when the stakes are lower…

>>Fenton
The mention of her age is definitely something I'd rather get across in a long description on FimFiction rather than embedding it in the story. But I thought it was important to establish that detail because I wanted to help make it clear that we're dealing with a younger Sunset. I'll take this under advisement as I edit this, though.

Also, that Pinkie is ridiculously cute. ^^

>>Posh
What you say makes sense. Also, your reading of the end is dead-on. (Which >>QuillScratch and >>Rao also picked up on… >>Dubs_Rewatcher, she didn’t exactly send Limestone in there, she just realized that Limestone might go in there and decided to let it slide at the time. It’s different though, at least in her head, now that she can see Limestone actually did go in there.)

Also, yes, the pandering. I regret nothing.

>>Rao
I hadn't actually meant the elbows thing to be that, but I love the idea and might steal it. I was going more for Limestone being kind of emotionally ragged and seeking comfort through touch after giving up her money, and Cloudy going "WTF mate?" because she and Limestone just don't have that kind of closeness in their relationship under normal circumstances. Like there are times when I’d just like to give my Oldest a hug because… parenthood, I dunno… but Oldest’s reaction is pretty much, “WTF dad?”

>>MrExtra
Lotsa good feedback and suggestions in here. ^^

>>libertydude
You are clearly a person who knows a good story when they see one. :-P On that note, if you enjoyed EqG Limestone, may I recommend some further reading? :trollestia: :derpytongue2:
#20 · 1
·
>>CoffeeMinion
Ugh, Flash Sentry is in this? I must automatically dislike this story, because a character I don't like in canon can obviously never be improved on in another written work. /s

But in all seriousness, I might sneak a peek. Anything with old Limestone piques my interest.
#21 · 1
·
>>CoffeeMinion
Hrmm... Random thought, so take it or leave it however you like, but if Cloudy asked Limestone to count her money then she would need to take it out, exposing it and the purse to grabbing hands.

I look forward to seeing this again!
#22 · 1
·
>>CoffeeMinion
The reveal part was because of Sunset, and I was a little tired and couldn't think straight when I wrote it. Needless to say, it's confusing. Even I'm confused a little about my own comment.

The rest was just the slice of life and action mix.