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End of an Era · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
The Concubine or How Luna Got Her Groove Back
Breathing had been the most difficult thing to relearn. Celestia reminded Luna constantly over those first few months. Apparently a few of the royal guards had found her stone-still chest and breathless glare disturbing. No matter, if a few guards found her intimidating then all the better. Besides, they couldn't even imagine the time saved by not constantly worrying about a silly little thing like sucking in air every moment of every day until their last exhalation right before their final expiration. No, she only required breath to speak and yell, nothing more. Other than a few uneasy soldiers, things had returned to a state close to normal. Almost as if she was never exiled to the moon in the first place.

And so, boldened by this atmosphere of normalcy, Princess Luna sought out her sister one cold evening in spring to ask her a question that had plagued her mind since her first night back at the castle. She found Celestia upon her throne, eyes closed deep in concentration, or sleep. A thousand years on the moon made her forget Celestia's tells. Oh well, not that it mattered anyway.

"Sister," Luna called out as she approached.

"What's the matter, Luna?" Celestia said. There were no snorts of surprise, and Celestia kept her eyes shut.

"Where is the royal harem?"

Celestia's eyes snapped open. "Luna! What in Equestria prompted you to ask me that?"

Luna scowled. "We cannot find the harem anywhere. We checked the rut room, the stud stables, and even the whinny wing, all cold and empty. Are thou keeping the harem for thinself? If thou art then we shall not hesitate to rise again!"

"Calm down, Luna," Celestia said. She hurried off her throne. "I disbanded the royal harem hundreds of years ago."


Celestia winced at the sudden volume. "Luna! Please calm down," she said.


"Luna, listen to me." Celestia tapped her sister's nose just as she had done when they were children. "Times and perceptions have changed. Keeping a harem now would be seen as deviant and an abuse of power."

Luna gritted her teeth and raised her chin in dignified defiance. "None of our subjects would ever believe thou could abuse thine power, sister, thou always were so woefully submissive. And since when has thou ever taken mind to accusations of deviancy? One thousand years later and we still hear talk of thine visage used as a symbol of fertility. Would thou claim it a coincidence? Do not, for we do not believe in such things, what we do believe is that thou hast fallen to old habits and jealously guard thine stables from me."

"To hear such accusations from my own sister!" Celestia said with an angry blush coloring her cheeks. "I wouldn't even think to have a harem anymore. What would my students say?"

"We are sure they would celebrate their improving grades and lightened workload. Surely, it is a fine opportunity for them to learn of such things."

"Some of them are as young as 8!"

"And is that why thou hast not partaken within their collective lifetimes?"

Celestia shook her head. "Fine! Fine. If you wish to start your harem then by all means proceed. Anything to keep you from talking to me about this."

Luna smiled. "Very well, then we shall begin our search for a suitable head concubine." Luna tapped her chin in thought. The head concubine was the most important cog in a harem. Like a head servant, their responsibilities involved the day to day operations. They would need to manage several ponies and tasks, as well as be very stimulating company. But how could she find one? She had not been on Equestria for long enough to know any of the ponies that intimately. Luna looked at her sister.

"Sister," Luna said. "Sister, in our past we had often partaken of ponies together, and so we know thou hast intimate knowledge of our tastes. Might you recommend a suitable seed to start my harem?"

Celestia groaned and slapped a hoof on her forehead. "Knowing you, I believe the ideal pony resides on a plot of land near Ponyville, in a farm named Sweet Apple Acres."

"Thou speakest of the Element of Honesty?" Luna raised an eyebrow. "We had not considered her, but if thou–"

"No!" Celestia yelled out. She covered her mouth with her hoof, surprised at her own volume. Slowly, she lowered her hoof and took a deep breath. "You are not to lay one inappropriate hoof on them. Do you understand?"

"We understand, thou are keeping them for thine own pleasure. Very well, enjoy thine toys."


Luna rolled her eyes. "Forgive us, we had forgotten your proclivities. Enjoy being their toy then, sister."

"I'm beginning to remember why I sent you to the moon," Celestia mumbled, and Luna pretended not to hear. "No, I am speaking of a stallion of the Apple family."

"Apples? Are they not common stock?" Luna asked with a tilt of her head.

"Times have changed, sister. The Apples have become quite a prominent family. See for yourself." Celestia's horn glowed. A beam of golden light shot through the room, and a gleaming orb grew in the center of the room. It's shine faded until the orb became almost transclucent, and within the orb the form of apple trees came into focus.

"Thou hast developed a method to spy on our subjects?" Luna asked. "Remarkable. Thou must spend many breathless nights with this. Though it is a rather poor substitute for the genuine c–." A large, red stallion walked into the view of the orb, and Luna stopped mid-sentence. "What a specimen!" She stepped closer to the orb to examine the stallion closer. "Imagine the girth of him!"


"Thou art absolutely right, sister. Why imagine? Take the moon for us." Luna's horn glowed, and, with a flash of light and a small pop, she teleported away.

Celestia stared at the spot where Luna had stood mere moments ago. Luna was in the orb now, popping into existence to kiss a very surprised stallion. Celestia sighed and the orb faded away, she couldn't bare to see the farce that was surely to follow. She went back to her throne and rubbed the side of her head. "Please forgive me, Big Macintosh," Celestia said. She shuffled in her seat to find the most comfortable spot and did her best to fall back to sleep.

Big Macintosh Apple ambled up to the top of his favorite hill on his family's land. The midday drizzle had left drops on the blades of grass. Macintosh reached the top and took a deep breath. He smiled as the sun eased beneath the horizon and the workday came to a quiet end. Hundreds of apple trees lay below him, each with hundreds of white and pink apple blossoms. It would be a good harvest this year, no doubt about that.

A pair of lips pressed against his and a bolt of lightning shot through his spine. His eyes opened wide as shades of darkened blues filled up his vision. The kiss continued and it seemed to strip away at his very being. Though wearing nothing but a wooden harness around his neck, he felt naked. Every emotion, every thought, every memory on full display. He stepped back to break the kiss and wiped his lips. He felt better, not so bare and out in the open.

"Excellent!" Princess Luna said, grin smeared on her face. "Thou hast greatly impressed us."

Now, normally, Big Macintosh would be happy to go about the proper decorum when greeting a princess: the bowing, the kissing of hooves, the whole apple pie a la mode, but Luna had broken that decorum, and so it was only polite to follow her lead.

"Princess Luna, what in the heck are ya doin'?" Macintosh said.

"Upon our sister's recommendation, we have come to groom thee for the position of head concubine and first seed of the royal harem. It is good to know that our sister's eye for stallions has not dulled over the millennium," Luna said. She circled Macintosh like a vulture hovering over a carcass, paying close attention to his cutie mark. She lifted up one of his back legs, and he quickly pulled himself free of her hoof.

A concubine? Macintosh tilted his head. He managed to catch the eye of a princess? How nice, he supposed. He just wished she hadn't been so forward with it. "Well Ah'm flattered, Luna, Ah really am, but there're so many things wrong with what ya just said Ah ain't sure Ah can list 'em all."

Luna waved a hoof at him as if dispersing his concerns. "Nonsense. Why, a thousand and some odd years ago, stallions and mares would risk their lives for even just the opportunity to join the royal harem. Oh, t'was marvelous times. Great feats of strength, magic, and flexibility were offered to show a pony's capability. In fact, these feats were the origins of many modern sports today, including the ponylympics."

"Well that's all well an' good but–"

Luna pressed a hoof against his lips to shush him. "Thou will want for nothing. All will be provided to thee: shelter, food, status, all of it given and all of it of the highest quality, and as our head concubine thou shall be the first in line to attempt to sate thine majesty's appetite as well as the privilege of using any other member of our harem for thine own pleasure. And if thou hast thine heart set on a family of thine own, then thou would certainly be allowed to take a wife to sire thy bloodline. For what reason couldst thou possibly deny thyself such a position?"

Macintosh blinked. "It's almost dinner time an' it's my turn to cook."

Luna rolled her eyes. "If thou would come with me, thou would never use nor see a cooking pot for as long as you lived."

"That ain't a sellin' point," Macintosh said. He looked over at the horizon, the orb of the sun had fallen below the mountains and only a few scant rays of orange and purple remained. He had missed the sunset. With a frown, he turned back to Princess Luna. "Luna, Ah really gotta get back home, but yer welcome to come along, Ah guess, seein' as how yer a princess and such." He didn't bother waiting for a reply and headed down the hill.

Princess Luna followed him, though stayed behind him at all times. "Very well, we shall continue our attempts as you cook. Until then, we shall enjoy the view."

Macintosh nodded, a small smile creeping into his lips. "Eeyup. The apple blossoms are mighty pretty this year. They're gonna grow into some nice apples."

"Indeed." Luna said. "Our eyes feast upon a firm, juicy one as we speak."

Macintosh sighed. It was going to be a long night, and not in the way Luna was hoping.

The Apple family kitchen could have been mistaken for a gallery of antiques. It was a collection of heavy metal pots and pans so well seasoned you could eat them. The rest of the Apple family were busy cooking and counting cans of preserves and pickles to last for the coming winter. Sure, some ponies might say that preparing for winter in spring was a little silly. But Granny Smith had a name for those ponies: dead.

Big Macintosh set a few pots and pans on the stove and looked over at the chalkboard resting on the counter. What would he serve today? Their stock of apples was nice and full, but even Apples got sick of eating apples for several days in a row. That's where the creativity came in. Thankfully, there were always plenty of vegetables around to fill in the gaps creativity left behind. And tonight, creativity would leave a lot of gaps because of a certain royal guest.

"Does thou truly mean to refuse our offer?" Luna asked for the fifth time that night.

Macintosh decided against saying 'Eeyup' to her question for the fifth time in a row. "Let's say Ah do," Macintosh said as he wrote tonight's menu on the chalkboard. "Would Ah still be able to stay here with my family? Will Ah still be able to cook for them? Will Ah still be able to go out and work the fields and help out around the farm?"

"Absolutely not," Luna said, pounding a hoof on the dining table where she sat. "If thou art to become our head concubine, then thou must reside in the royal palace. We cannot inconvenience ourselves every time we wish to sate our desires by teleporting here and teleporting there. Furthermore, we cannot allow our head concubine to plow fields, only princesses. It would be an utter disgrace if it were known that the Princess of the Night cannot provide enough for her concubine to live without toil. It would be a loss of status. Does thou truly enjoy working in the kitchen and on Sweet Apple Acres enough to refuse our offer?"

Macintosh nodded and started peeling apples. He thought about how he could help Princess Luna understand how he felt. "Princess Luna? You love your sister, don't ya?"

"Do you mean before or after she sent me to the moon?" Luna asked with scoff.

"You resent her?" Macintosh asked.

"Resentment is...not the most correct word," Luna said. She stared at her hooves folded neatly on the table. "I understand why she exiled me to the moon but..." she trailed off, and Macintosh stared at her, fully aware that she had dropped the archaic speech. Luna shook her head. "A thousand years is a long time to be left simmering in your own hatred and jealousy. But, deep down, I do still love my sister, if just...a little less now, I must admit."

The kitchen stayed silent for several seconds before Macintosh smiled at her. "Well whaddya know, there's a real pony down below all that pomp and circumstance," he said. The sound of the peeler gave a steady rhythm to the otherwise still air. Luna looked up, an eyebrow lifted as she examined him closely. "You know," Macintosh continued, "when you drop all the 'thou's and 'we's you start to sound a bit more genuine."

"That is the royal speech," Luna said with a scowl. "We did not expect a commoner such as thou to appreciate such a high register."

Macintosh chuckled. "Well excuse me, Princess, but last Ah check you wanted to mash genitals with this commoner."

"Yes we do, but that desire is quickly fading," Princess Luna retorted.

"Oh? That why yer cheeks are turnin' almost as red as mine?"

Luna's blush deepened. "Enough of this tordid talk. Why did thou ask us such a question?"

Macintosh started to crack eggs into a bowl. "Well, Ah know for me, Ah would do anything for the ponies Ah love. Ah'd help them work a farm, and Ah'd make them dinner. 'Sides, ain't no better feeling in the world than watching yer hard work grow into somethin' delicious. Only feeling that comes close is having someone you love compliment your cooking. Anyone ever compliment your cooking, Luna?"

"Princess Luna," she corrected.

"What was that, Lulu?"

"Princess Luna"

"Say again, Lulu-bear?"


"Sorry, couldn't quite hear ya, Lulukins."

Princess Luna sighed. "No, nopony has ever complimented our cooking, for we have never cooked before."

Macintosh threw her a pink, frilly apron, and it draped over her horn and covered her face. "Well then, ain't no better time to start than the present."

Luna growled and tugged the apron off her. "We do not appreciate such brazen disrespect. If it continues then thou shalt see the full extent of my magic."

Macintosh smirked. "What? An' lose yer first pick for head concubine? 'Sides, what fun would it be if the royal concubine couldn't tease his mistress?"

"We prefer our concubines to know their place," Luna snapped.

Macintosh tilted his head. He brought a few lemons out and started to zest and juice them, separating each into their own bowls. "And just what exactly is a concubine's place?"

"To serve us," Luna said. "To come to our every beck and call, and to stand silent while looking scrumptious. Our concubines are not only used for sex, but are also trained to be exceptional servants, and for their service they are richly paid with everything a pony requires to live comfortably."

"And what about you?"

"What about us?"

"What do ya get out of it?" Macintosh asked.

Luna narrowed her eyes. "Hast thou not been listening? Sex! We receive sex!"

"That all?"

"Of course, what more could we possibly require?"

Macintosh nodded, but said nothing more on the topic. He instead focused on tossing the apple slices in with the lemon juice. He thought about what Luna said; he thought about the entire situation in general. He had a hunch, and his hunches hardly failed him.

"Alright, Ah'll be yer concubine," Big Macintosh said.

Luna's eyes brightened. "Ha! We knew thou would come to thine sense eventually. Come, let us away and consummate the agreement." Her horn began to glow, but Macintosh raised his hoof before she could pop them back to the castle.

"On one little condition," Macintosh said.

"Thou darest place conditions upon Princess Luna?" Luna said, her tone lowering.

Macintosh bowed with a grand sweep of his hoof. "If thou wouldst be so kind, oh great Princess of the Night. All Ah ask is that ye help me prepare dinner and stay long enough to enjoy the meal and let me take one last look at my beloved farm. Whaddya say? Ah do beseech thee, and such."

Luna sighed. "Very well, but this shall be the first and last request we grant thee." She scooted her chair back and went to stand beside Macintosh. "Where does thou need our divine help?"

Macintosh smiled. "Ah'll put ya in charge of the lemon chiffon pie." He placed a pie tin on the counter in front of her, and Luna stared at it as if it were a rock from the moon.

"We have never...cooked before," Luna said.

"Ya said that already, but it's alright," Macintosh said, his smile getting wider. "Ah'll guide ya. By the time we're through you'll've made a pie good enough to make Celestia cry."

Luna chuckled. "That sounds rather promising."

There had been quite a show when Princess Luna revealed herself to Macintosh's siblings, one of them the Element of Honesty, and grandmother. After the proper decorum had been observed, they had bombarded her with questions, (most of them pertaining to the princess' adjustment to life back on Equestria) but Macintosh excellently distracted them with the prospect of food. He was proving himself more and more a promising candidate for head concubine. His only flaw was his plethora of opinions. No matter, such things could be taught away.

Princess Luna sat down at the dining table now laden with minestrone soup, waldorf salad, and, of course, her lemon chiffon pie. She stared at it as the other members of the Apple family took their seats. A part of her was actually fearful of what the others might say when they tried her dessert. She made sure to squish and destroy that part of her. She was a princess of Equestria! She did not care what the common rabble had to say about her cooking abilities.

"So what're ya doin' here, Princess Luna?" the Element of Harmony asked. Applejack, Luna remembered.

"She came to see me, actually," Big Macintosh said before Luna could answer. "They're thinkin' of puttin' some apple trees in the palace garden, and they wanted one of us to come have a look. Y'all had enough on yer plates so Ah figured it'd be fine to volunteer. Thought it might be a nice chance to see that big ol' castle up close. Hope that was okay."

"Of course, Mac, that sounds fine," Applejack said.

Luna frowned. Honestly, she saw no need for the lie. Back in her day ponies would brag about being picked for the royal harem to every pony they knew. To lie about it, as if it were something taboo and dirty, was an absolute affront. She looked at Macintosh, sitting beside her, and their eyes met. They had a conversation in a split second, and Luna rolled her eyes. Very well, she supposed just this once she would let it slide. Times and attitudes change and all that.

"What was it like on the moon?" the smallest filly asked. Luna didn't remember her name.

Applejack winced. "Applebloom, ya shouldn't–"

"It was cold and lonely, with nothing but the festering desire for revenge to keep me company," Luna said. She took a sip of water. "But other than that it was quite lovely."

A thick silence filled the room and stayed there until Applejack cleared her throat to shatter it. "Well, uh, Ah'm sure we're all hungry, so let's eat."

And that was the end of it.

Conversation took place mostly within the Apple family while Princess Luna kept comfortably to herself. Her eyes kept going back to the lemon chiffon pie, however, and with every course finished her anxiety would rise just a little more. Finally the moment came when the food had all been gobbled up, and all that remained was the dessert. If Princess Luna drew breath, she would have held it as Macintosh sliced into the pie and served everyone a piece.

Applejack was the first to take the whipped yellow meringue and lemon curd into her mouth. She smiled as soon as the graham crust touched her tongue. "Wow, Big Mac, this is delicious!"

"Luna made it," Macintosh said with a smile.

Applejack turned to Princess Luna with a grin. "Really? Ah never woulda guessed. Yer one heck of a baker, Princess Luna." The others bit into Luna's dessert and heartily agreed.

Luna's cheeks warmed. "Oh, thank you very much. We–I am very proud of the result." She turned to Macintosh, a knowing smile gracing his lips. Was this what he was talking about? This feeling, this...warm sensation growing from her chest and into her stomach? It felt somehow familiar.

Macintosh stood from his seat. "C'mon, Luna, let me show ya around the farm."

The rest of the Apple family bid her farewell as they helped themselves to a second slice of the pie. Princess Luna followed Macintosh's lead and walked out the front door with him. The moon was high above them. Well, it looked as if Celestia had no trouble taking over Luna's duties. The moon stayed as they walked along the blooms of the apple trees. Macintosh was silent for several minutes into their walk. He would stop at a seemingly random tree and place his hoof flatly on its bark. He did this a dozen times before he spoke.

"Do me a favor, Princess Luna, and take a nice, deep breath from yer nose."

Luna cocked an eyebrow and shrugged, finding no reason to refuse. She took a deep breath, and her eyes widened. The sweetness of the apple blossoms greeted her first, then the calm earthiness of freshly-tilled soil. They both mingled with the heady scent of wood. All these smells along with the cold air seemed to wake Luna up, and for the first time she took in her surroundings. The hundreds of stars glinting high above them, her moon shining down to illuminate them. The small flowers, almost as numerous as the stars, adorning the apple trees, and the large, red stallion offering her a kind smile.

"Amazing," Princess Luna said.

Macintosh chuckled. "A farm is an honest thing. It doesn't care who ya are or where ya came from. You work hard, treat it right, give it what it needs, it'll pay ya back a hundredfold."

Luna smirked. "Are you speaking metaphorically now, Big Macintosh?"

"Ah don't believe in metaphors," Macintosh said, returning her smirk. He stood upon the ground and stared down the long path that wound through the apple trees. He stared like a pony that didn't believe in metaphors. "You keep talking about how yer concubines'll have everythin' they could ever need, but Ah already got everythin' Ah'll ever want right here. Ah'll never go hungry working on a farm. Ah got a family that loves me, and a warm place to rest my head. Ah'll be sad to leave."

Princess Luna considered him for a long time. He had planned this all from the beginning, hadn't he? She sighed. "Why is it that, when I am with you, alone like this, I feel as if I have much to learn?”

“Easy. It’s ‘cause you do,” Macintosh stuck his tongue out at her, and Princess Luna, appalled, gladly returned the gesture.

“Perhaps I have been too eager to fulfill the position of head concubine,” Luna said. “After all, one day and a magical kiss are hardly enough to truly see if you are indeed fit for the position. So, I suppose, it would be in both of our best interests for you to stay."

"That so, yer highness?" Macintosh asked with a chuckle.

"Yes, for now, but I'll be visiting you quite often from now on. Consider it an extensive and very thorough interview process." Luna's horn began to glow with magic. "These visits will of course be unannounced. I wish to catch you unawares. Until we meet again, Big Macintosh Apple, you had better keep to my standards."

Macintosh grinned. "See ya later, Lulu."

"Luna!" And with a flash of light and a quick pop, Luna vanished from Sweet Apple Acres.


Celestia awoke with such a fright that she almost fell from her throne. She blinked rapidly and searched the throne room and found her sister smiling up at her. Celestia scanned the room once more for any sign of another pony, but there was none.

"Luna, you're back," Celestia said, "alone. What happened?"

"Not much," Luna said, her smile never faltering. "I will tell you all about it later. Right now, allow me to make you a lemon chiffon pie."

Princess Celestia tilted her head. Was Luna actually breathing in regular intervals now? "I...okay. I'm...looking forward to it?"

Luna's smile widened and she walked out of the throne room with a happy skip. Celestia could only stare after her. Luna offering to cook something for her? Celestia yawned and leaned back into her throne. Her horn glowed with a golden light and the orb appeared in the throne room for the second time that day. She needed to make sure Equestria wasn't currently burning to the ground.
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#1 ·
· · >>Derpmind
I really wasn't expecting this story to go where it did based on the title and first scene. You start with a shameless sex comedy and a premise willing to go as ridiculous as Luna literally forgetting to breathe after her return from banishment. Where you end up is a surprisingly played-straight romantic comedy, probably directly inspired by "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (disclaimer: which I know nothing about beyond Google's summary). It's a strange gear-shift, and I found myself wondering at several points throughout the story if this really knew what it wanted to be.

It does, I think; it settles into its gentle and sweet and sappy groove midway through, and feels like it connects. But the tonal roller-coaster here makes this an odd reading experience; hooking readers with sex jokes means you're going to lose them when it turns serious, and the readers who would appreciate the romantic comedy might get turned off by the up-front silliness.

I feel like, having won a Writeoff with a comedy that equally veered between emotional extremes, I ought to offer some advice on how to make that work. And that would be: start and end on the same tone. Where you start and end is your foundation, the core of your story; you can veer from it as long as you close the story on the tone your opening promises, but it will feel lopsided if you change your core in midstream.

This would, I should emphasize, be an easy Strong if it didn't feel bait-and-switchy; the down-home wisdom and subtle shipteasing of the latter half landed for me, and there were some smiles in Luna's goofy S1 out-of-placeness. Right now it feels like it's kind of on that lower border; it'll probably land at the bottom of my Strongs, but I think it still deserves the tier.
#2 · 3
· · >>Xepher
Bawdy, low-brow Luna-centric comedy, and it works very, very well. It feels a little season one-y, like something that'd be written before Luna Eclipsed (royal we and archaic diction notwithstanding), but that's not a bad thing, per se. Personally, I felt nostalgic reading it.

Sure, some ponies might say that preparing for winter in spring was a little silly. But Granny Smith had a name for those ponies: dead.

This line, in particular, had me rolling.

If I had any one criticism in particular, it'd be that Celestia is a bit too quick to go back on her anti-harem stance with Luna. Drawn out a little more, over a longer period of time, with Luna constantly wearing down on her nerves until she capitulates? I could see that happening. In the course of a single conversation, going from "it's a sign of decadence" to "okay fine have your damn sex orgy"? Seems a bit of a stretch.
#3 ·
Disclaimer: I am a person. Therefore, I have biases. I try to look at things objectively, but that does not mean I always succeed. Furthermore, I'm not an authority. If any of my critique does not make sense on its own, poke me to convey my reasoning, and upon hearing it, decide for yourself if it has validity or not. Also, all exaggerations and comparisons made are not to ridicule, but to better convey the essence of my critique. Last but not least, my reviews contain unmarked spoilers, although I may use the [.spoiler] command occasionally.

I'm probably blind to the things horizon sees fault in because I melt when stories end like this. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now, so thank you for writing and submitting your story!

I actually don't find the tonal shift to be so extreme, but that might be because I wrote a minific during one of the write-offs in which Luna's banishment was described as being teleported to the moon's surface, and the feeling of suffocation due to the absence of air was an important part of it. The notion of having to re-learn breathing didn't seem silly at all to me, probably because it fit my head canon perfectly.

As for other critique: I don't think replacing the "I" with "Ah" in Apple family accent is a good choice. I've even done that myself in my very first story, but it's really immersion-breaking, as it takes the focus off the meaning of a word and instead makes it necessary to interpret the sound the letters describe, which is a big mental shift. I also think it's pretty superfluous, as anyone who has seen the show will read it in the correct accent automatically if you are writing close enough to the correct sentence pattern and word choice.

I also think you dropped Luna's royal expressions unintentionally during the first scene, and I think I found a comma splice somewhere. Apart from that, great work on the technical side, too!

I could list a lot of things I loved about this, apart from the heart-warming ending, but the best laugh I had probably was with the "ploughing princesses" joke.

Concluding remarks:
I found this story funny and heart-warming, and I'd be happy to reread, like, and favourite it if it gets published on fimfic.
#4 ·
· · >>horizon
First up for reviewing is a kind gentle story that seems to try to explain things with how Luna transitions between a formerly released Lulu into a modern day society Princess. Which we’ve all come to know and love by now. It can do a heart good, but leave the mind boggled. Now that’s just the start. Here we have a story that fell into a genre I don’t normally come to enjoy. Yet every so often, I find a good one that can lift up my heart. Without of course adding major drama or some complex feature that would overdo the story.

Description-This is often times a tricky thing to do well and can be a heartache or a blessing in disguise. Now. Enough said with the obvious. This story mentions things without there being some sort of buff to the fact that there are “things” happening within the story. Often it felt bland to read and continue onwards. So I could not relate with the characters or understand certain actions. Just with how little it left for me to imagine. A good example is the use of the word “tilt”. It is used a lot in this piece. So much so, that the characters’ reactions do not feel genuine. They feel stiff almost like a cut out of some sorts. My advice is to add variety and explain a bit more on these characters feelings. Show me what Luna is feeling through use of her eyes, brow, hoof movements, or even her tail. The face is not the only means of expressing a character. Give me something different to taste, to keep my interest up.

Actions-This may seem like the same as the above, but it is a close trait. The author in this piece tends to skip certain things and comes right down to the point. “Luna sat down next to Big Mac.” is an example. The use here could have been hightlighted better “Luna took to her seat. Resting her anxious filled self next to the closest comfort she had on the Apple Farm.” This can do two things. One: it offers a reasoning behind the action and two:It gives way for the reader to sense and see how Luna might be seating herself, thus adding to the simple action of sitting without adding a bunch of unneeded fluff. Aside from the way the characters acted, the side characters felt like they weren’t there or really needed. Big Mac could have had a midnight pinic with Luna and the story could have been better. Including the rest of the Apple family requires a bit of interaction that I just can’t see in this story. Granny could have been dead at the table with how little she said and Applebloom only had a single line with no essence into it. Might as well have dropped the two of them if that’s the case.

Sensibility-This one really rode me the whole story. I didn’t know what was going on and why. All I got was that, Celestia’s little sister needed a “loving” companion and needed it badly because she was ogling guards? Celestia still somehow manages to raise the moon and drop the sun while completely asleep? Why didn’t Luna in her Archia manner command Big Mac to just do the “deed” and why was she dealing with a commoner? Farmers were known to be bottom tier in society. So wouldn’t Princess Luna know better than to provide such a position to an uncouth individual who can’t even speak properly? And this is just considering that Luna is actually following what royal society use to be back in the days. I get I don’t know pony culture, but the story even hints at lowly Big Mac’s position is compared to Luna’s own. Showing that she does have that sense of the long forgotten social tiers in her mind. Also why is Celestia sleeping on her throne? She probably has a dozen rooms to sleep in and no other being could deny her that. There was just so many things not explained well in this story. While it did hit on the comedic side it was overbearing to think of why things were happening, rather than laugh at the punchlines provided.

Archia-The use and sense of having the Archia Luna overcome her natural frustrations with her sister was a brilliant idea and I believed that you played it quite well. We get a story that comes to further explain how Luna changed so drastically from her second appearance in the show on nightmare night. Where Luna was always serious about her royal traditions and keeping them intact. Now the problem here is, that this Luna here didn’t even seem to have been taught by Twilight. It feels as if this story takes a different twist from a different universe altogether. Same characters different kinds of teachers for our moon Goddess. It just didn’t really belong in multiple reasons that the story itself seems to tell its readers about. Which can get very confusing. Thus it breaks what we know about Luna as a whole. You played her part right but gave her something different in life. It felt like you went against that whole thousand year old Luna bit and gave us something different than the Nightmare Night episode. Not to mention you seemed to have broken Luna’s speech several times before the moment Big Mac forces it from her. It’s minor errors, but it’s tricky to write about and I find it a joy to read something that uses “old speech” in its stories.

Moral-This one made my day. Right when I thought I was going to get a horrible pun in the end, the story twists itself into a self correcting sexual phase? And gives Luna a life moral in which an honest man tells her that she doesn’t need glamourous things in her life to be happy. But by living a good honest one, you can find everything you need in the simplicity of things. Now honest and simple I can work with but denying it all for constant sexual favors and being spoiled. Not sure about you but this white booty would drop dead at the mention of such a deal. Now enough about me back on the story. Being a slice of life/romance I felt the need for the comedic and the intro was off-putting together along with the ending. It comes to no surprise as it’s already given to us that Mac himself was going to teach Luna and that Luna was somehow going to live a better life. My next question is “Why is an Alicorn that had lived 100s of centuries getting a lesson from the most silent guy in the show?” It is a wonderful trait of the story and can make your heart melt just exactly how the show does it. But getting there is rough and rocky. It could have done better without the silliness honestly. With this you could have changed “Harem” into personal servants. That would have been great to read. Also the intro mentions Luna’s sexual frustrations. In the end we get that it is solved through Pie...Lemon Chiffon Pie to be exact. Um...problem and solution didn’t actually go into one another.

Luna: Celestia please can we have a bunch of hot studs serve us?

Celestia: No.

L: But I need it.
C: No.

L But I need it.

C: No.

L But I need it.

C: No

L: But I need it.

C: FINE! By all that is a Goddess in me! I’m sick of your s***!

(If you get this reference you are awesome!)

Now this being my first review for this round is kinda disappointing. There were good points and bad points. I liked this one and cringed at it. But it was a good read. There are elements that seem to struggle within itself that make it kinda disturbing. My advice keep writing. You are doing wonderful. Though it wouldn’t hurt to try a bit of scripting to smooth things out.
#5 · 3
· · >>Posh
The author in this piece tends to skip certain things and comes right down to the point. “Luna sat down next to Big Mac.” is an example. The use here could have been hightlighted better “Luna took to her seat. Resting her anxious filled self next to the closest comfort she had on the Apple Farm.” This can do two things. One: it offers a reasoning behind the action and two:It gives way for the reader to sense and see how Luna might be seating herself, thus adding to the simple action of sitting without adding a bunch of unneeded fluff.

I'm going to have to disagree here that this is a problem. Bare actions are kind of the staging equivalent of using the speaking verb "said" a lot — it might feel like that's a repetition issue, but the reality is that it's a sort of invisible word, retreating into the background, and readers will gloss over it in order to put more emphasis on the dialogue itself.

If sitting down next to Big Mac is establishing a physical fact and other parts of the scene are carrying the emotional resonance, then throwing the action in and moving past it to the emotionally important parts is perfectly fine. Now, there's nothing saying that you shouldn't use actions to establish emotions — just like nobody but the pedants are going to object to you tagging occasional dialogue with "whispered" or "growled" — but the fact is that it can be made to work either way, as long as the story is covering the emotional ground in some fashion. (My own impression was that it did. Author, you may want to straw-poll this, and see whether most readers found the story moving or whether most readers found it flat; that will tell you much more about how problematic this is than any individual opinion.)

But the bigger reason I'm speaking up here is that, if you are going to fix it and use actions to emotionally liven up the scene, don't do it by naked telling. "Resting her anxious filled self" is the narrator straight-up making an editorial judgment on Luna's state (note also: "anxious" is an adjective, so it can't fill things). "Anxiously" is equally telly, but much better in that at least it compresses the judgment into one word instead of five. If you're trying to establish Luna's emotional state with action, do it by showing: describe her tense muscles, or say she sat "stiffly".

"Next to the closest comfort she had on the Apple Farm" actually isn't as bad, because while strictly speaking it's telling, the story is from Luna's perspective, and it's telling us her thoughts. "The closest comfort" isn't the narrator's judgment, it's Luna's, and so we are learning information that would be more unwieldy to establish through dialogue (unless there was already a conversation planned about the subject) and difficult to convey through body language.

… and actually, searching the story for "Luna sat", this is the only occurrence of those words:

Princess Luna sat down at the dining table now laden with minestrone soup, waldorf salad, and, of course, her lemon chiffon pie. She stared at it as the other members of the Apple family took their seats. A part of her was actually fearful of what the others might say when they tried her dessert. She made sure to squish and destroy that part of her. She was a princess of Equestria! She did not care what the common rabble had to say about her cooking abilities.

… so I would say that the author here is neither using bare action nor shying away from the emotional struggles. (Nor for that matter, skimping on the descriptions.) The actual text of the story frankly is better than either of our off-the-cuff examples.

Remedy, can you copy and paste a quote from the story that you felt was thin on description, or matter-of-fact about the action? Let's ground this discussion in the story's text as written.
#6 ·
Author, you may want to straw-poll this, and see whether most readers found the story moving or whether most readers found it flat; that will tell you much more about how problematic this is than any individual opinion.)

I'm erring on your side here, Orange Horse Person. That kind of prose is overladen with unnecessary description, not to mention it's unpleasant to read. It's also impractical in a contest where you have to be economical with your word choice.
#7 ·
Disclaimer: Shipfics are not for me. Sexual comedies are also not for me. So the long and the short of it is this story was very, very much not for me.

That being said, I can't find anything wrong with it besides my general disinterest in basically everything. So, uh, I think this is a good job?

Oh, and you did get one genuine hearty laugh from me for this bit:

"Thou will want for nothing. All will be provided to thee: shelter, food, status, all of it given and all of it of the highest quality, and as our head concubine thou shall be the first in line to attempt to sate thine majesty's appetite as well as the privilege of using any other member of our harem for thine own pleasure. And if thou hast thine heart set on a family of thine own, then thou would certainly be allowed to take a wife to sire thy bloodline. For what reason couldst thou possibly deny thyself such a position?"

Macintosh blinked. "It's almost dinner time an' it's my turn to cook."

Anyway, sorry I'm not much help, but there is basically nothing here for me.

Verdict: not for me.
#8 ·
· · >>horizon >>Bad Horse
If you want to make Luna speak archaic, then do it without making a mistake almost every line. Thyself not thinself, Thy not thine, thou werest not thou were, art thou not are thou, etc. The text is full of those typos/mistakes, and it makes the burden of reading early modern English more cumbersome than normal.

The premise is fine, silly and good, but the execution is lacking. I mean, it starts well, meanders a bit into cliché with Big Macintosh as the hunk of all Equestria, and then well… it veers into being somewhat maudlin. And there's little tension here, as we know of course Big Mac won't pander to Luna's desires, so as soon as he invites her to the kitchen, the dice are thrown. At the end, I'm still wondering why Luna didn't take him away all the same. It failed to convince me she had a good reason to remit.

Fair, but not hitting out of the park, at least for me.
#9 · 3
· · >>Monokeras
Fun Early Modern English fact:

Both thy and thine can be correct, depending on the context. The rule is simple:

"Thy" (and "my") are the normal, default forms for possessives. "Thy sword", "my queen", etc.

"Thine" (and "mine") are used BEFORE A WORD STARTING WITH A VOWEL. "Mine eyes", "thine own pleasure" (as the story accidentally correctly uses), etc.

Also, as a nitpick, I've never heard "thou werest"; I'm pretty sure it's the irregular conjugation "wert", but "thou were" also seems commonly used, perhaps depending on era. I'd have to do some research before I felt confident on that one. But on the whole, >>Monokeras is correct.
#10 · 2
· · >>Monokeras
>>Monokeras Actually thou wert, not thou werest.

Examples from Shakespeare:

TIMON_0: Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!
TITUS_0: I am not bid to wait upon this bride. Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone, Dishonoured thus, and challenged of wrongs?
TOUCHSTONE_0: I do, truly, for thou swear'st to me thou art honest; now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst feign.
TOUCHSTONE_0: No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd; for honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
TRANIO_0: Then thou wert best say that I am not Lucentio.
TRINCULO_0: Thou wert but a lost monster.
TROILUS_0: Wert thou the devil and wor'st it on thy horn, It should be challeng'd.

Thine before a word starting with a vowel sound. Sound, not spelling, matters. Also, 'thine' when the object is left unstated or is moved away from after the 'thy', including anytime 'thine' appears at the end of a sentence. Always 'thyself', never 'thine self' unless there is an adjective starting with a vowel sound in between, e.g., "to thine own self be true".

WARWICK_0: Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears.
WARWICK_0: Possess it, York; For this is thine, and not King Henry's heirs'.
WARWICK_0: Then 'twas my turn to fly, and now 'tis thine.
YORK_0: Upon thine honour, is he prisoner? [the 'h' in 'honour' is silent]
YORK_RICHARD_0: It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. [the 'h' in 'hand' is pronounced]

Also, in Elizabethan, use "shall" where moderns use "will", and "will" where moderns say "want to".

Also, use "thou" only when talking to social inferiors, family members, or people you want to insult. Otherwise, "you". Don't use the King James Bible as a model of Elizabethan grammar. It uses thou and you to indicate word choice in the original languages.
#11 ·
>>Bad Horse
Thanks to both for ‘wert’!

Yeah, I know for ‘thine’ before vowel, but in the text there are multiples examples of ‘thine’ used instead of ‘thy’ before a consonant.

Interesting the semantic shift between ‘shall’, ‘will’ and ‘want’.
#12 · 1
· · >>Posh
First off...

It's McIntosh not Macintosh.
He's named after the apple, not the computer. http://mlp.wikia.com/wiki/Big_McIntosh

As a comedy, a lot of the technical stuff gets to slide, so I can easily gloss over that, as well as the various arguments others already made about the archaic speech stuff. As such, I have to say I found this rather amusing. I thought I was in for a typical crackfic style, but it actually worked rather well, though there are some rough spots. The main issue, as Horizon pointed out, is how the story oscillates in tone between farcical comedy and genuine relationship building. I would've liked to see an arc from one, leading to the other, but that would require Luna being a little less... dense. I think that may be the crux of the issue. Her personality is too much in flux, from calling the Apples "common rabble" one moment, to being genuinely pleased at their reactions later. Her growth should be more linear, from "aloof" to "personable" or something like it.

Still, a fun read, and like >>Posh I loved the Granny Smith bit. :-)
#13 · 5
· · >>Derpmind
I read the story and liked it a lot. I think an ideal reader--one raised in a different civilization that didn't have 2000 years of Christianity--wouldn't see a comically sexual introductory section, and a common-folk homespun conclusion, as contradictory.
#14 · 1
>>Xepher Seriously?! Damn.

Well, Ctrl.+F, old buddy, we're gonna be seeing a lot more of one another. Meet me over on FIMfic.
#15 · 1
The missing comma in the title bothers me more than it probably should.

As others have noted, your command of Early Modern English leaves much to be desired. Research on the subject would be greatly helpful.

While the EME is way off, I do love your description of the Apples’ kitchen.

Okay, there is no excuse for Luna slipping into modern vernacular during a moment of vulnerability. If anything, the opposite should happen, falling back on old linguistic habits when not thinking about her diction.

I’m pretty sure thouing a princess is grounds for a smiting.

Luna’s description of the moon made me laugh out loud. Nice work there.

Aside from the linguistic quibbles, this was a great character piece for both parties. Big Mac shines in his quiet wisdom, while Luna slipped some humility in the lemon chiffon pie. It needs polishing in places, but there are spots where it already shines. I look forward to seeing it on Fimfiction.
#16 · 1
Finally: The last story!
And it is definitely one of my favorites.

"Wacky Shipping Comedy" is practically my genre of choice when reading ponyfics, and this story stands with the best of them. All of the jokes landed for me, and I was smiling or laughing the entire time. Though my favorite part might have been how the bit about Luna not breathing turned out to be a Chekhov's gun. That was quite well done. The entire story was, really.

The only problem with this story is that now I'm not sure if it or Slingshot should take the top spot on my ballot.

His only flaw was his plethora of opinions.

This might be the first time anyone has ever said that about Big Mac
#17 · 2
There's only one real flaw with this story. >>horizon says it quite well, but he failed to outright state the problem: This story needs a sex joke at the end. Somewhere between Luna returning to Celestia and Luna offering to bake a lemon chiffon pie, there is a missing sex joke. That's it. I'd elaborate why, but it's already been said better than I could.

Anyways, I seriously enjoyed both types of comedy here. Just don't forget that even if Luna's heart grew three sizes that day, she still didn't get any sex.

>>Bad Horse I believe it's meant to be transitional. (?) The problem is that romantic love doesn't exactly make lust disappear. A similar story might have the main character continue interjecting a small number of sex jokes even during the part when being pulled fully under sway of romanticism. After the dinner with the Apple family, Luna makes the sensible decision to not make sex jokes. In the similar-yet-different hypothetical story, what would happen is that after the scene of full-on common-folk homespun-ness, sexual comedy would come back in full force only to be defeated by romanticism. Then the return, where the protagonist demonstrates the change by baking a pie. But this is not a story where romantic love defeats lust. They are not in opposition here, as this is not a story where one force defeats the other. The story merely transitions from one style of comedy to another. Hence the need for a sex joke at the denouncement. (See?)