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Forbidden Knowledge · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Return To Sender
“What in the world is going on in here?”

Twilight looked around her castle entryway as shock chased the travel weariness from her system. After all the craziness in the Crystal Empire, she’d been looking forward to a quiet evening curled up in her own bed with a book, but instead she’d returned to find the entire hallways crammed floor to ceiling with packages.

They were packed in everywhere she looked, with scant inches between the stacks. In fact, even if she flew she wasn’t even sure how to get past them and into the castle itself.

“Woah,” Spike said, peeking around her. “Did you order something? A lot of somethings?” he asked. With a quick jump he hopped onto the nearest stack and, producing a claw, began stripping the brown packing paper from one of the parcels. “Ooh, chocolate!”

“Spike, wait-” Twilight began, but she was far too slow to come between the dragon and sweets. He was cramming them into his mouth before she even finished his name. “There must be something wrong here. I didn’t even get this many gifts after my coronation.”

“Whas wong?” Spike said, then cleared his mouth with a giant gulp. “It’s just chocolate. Besides, here’s a note.” he grabbed a piece of paper out of the box. "'My dearest Princess Twilight Sparkle, I have been hoping to get to know you better ever since your coronation. I will be visiting Ponyville to purchase a summer retreat, perhaps we could meet over dinner? Sincerely, Earl High Horse.’”

Did… did somepony just ask me out on a date? The thought made Twilight stop in her tracks. Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t that far-fetched, but why so sudden? And what was with all the other packages?

Spike took advantage of the pause to tear open another package. “Huh, this one’s daisies. And another note… about the same.” He looked at Twilight and shrugged.

Any further investigations were interrupted by a loud knocking at the door. Almost grateful for the distraction, Twilight turned around and pulled the door open. “Welcome! I’m sorry it’s such a mess, but we just got back and-”

“Wonderful, I made it just in time!” a suave voice interrupted her. Twilight blinked, focusing on the handsome blonde and white unicorn standing at her door. She vaguely remembered him from Canterlot and the Gala.. oh yes, Prince Blueblood. Rarity had certainly had a lot to say about him.

She was just about to ask him what he wanted when he continued on like she wasn’t even there. “Pay no attention to those fools who think above their station,” he waved disdainfully at the boxes and wrinkled his nose. “The news was hardly out before counts and earls the realm over started having delusions of grandeur. Instead, please accept these tokens of my generosity.”

He stepped aside, revealing a half dozen servants struggling under the weight of an enormous pile of boxes.

“News? What do you mean?” Twilight asked

“Why, Flurry Heart, of course,” Blueblood offered. “A full blooded alicorn princess, born of the union between an alicorn mare and a unicorn stallion. I dare say all of Canterlot has gone quite mad. At least madness is the only explanation I can think of for thinking they deserve such an honor.”

“Wait… so you mean all this is because everyone wants to… marry me? For my foals?”

“Well, I could hardly marry one of my aunts,” Blueblood stated matter of factly. Then he batted his eyelashes at her.

Twilight’s mouth moved, but no words came out.

“Oh dear, it looks like I’ve left you speechless. I fear I can have that effect on mares.”

She slammed the door shut in his face.

“That insufferable… Alright, Spike, let’s find somewhere to hide the packages until we can return them. I’ll think of some way to deal with Blueblood until this all blows over. Do you think anyone would care if I teleported him to Zebrica?”

“Um, Twilight?” Spike responds. He was standing over the wrappings of another box. “I’m not sure that’s going to work. This one has a note saying he’s visiting Ponyville and looks forward to meeting you as soon as you’re back.”

There was a second, much more ominous, knocking at the door.

“Thanks for coming, Rarity,” Twilight said, pulling the door open for her friend. She took the opportunity to peek around the door at the ever growing crowd of stallions milling around outside the stallion-impermeable shield she’d set up. “I tried sending Spike out for groceries but they just mobbed him asking what kind of sweets I liked. Ugh, I wish this would just end!”

“I dare say none of them are going to leave when they’re afraid of another winning you over,” Rarity said. “But… have you considered just picking one?”

Pick one?” Twilight asked in shock. “Rarity, you know what they want, right?”

“Heavens, I don’t mean marry one, Twilight,” Rarity said. “But if you agreed to dinner with one, the others would back off. Besides, they’re not all as bad as that boor of a prince.” She looked at the piles of gifts still on the ground. “See, the Duke of Trottingham is one of the most eligible bachelors in Equestria, and he sent you an original copy of Starswirl’s Treatises On Abjurations! That shows he actually went to the time and effort to learn about your interests. It’s all very romantic.”

“I don’t care about how handsome they are or how nice they act,” Twilight ground out. “None of this would be happening if it wasn't for Flurry Heart; they just want their heir to be an alicorn. And as long as it goes on, I’ll never know if they actually care about me or if the whole time they just thought of me as… as a pair of wings and a horn!”

There was a few seconds of silence, and Twilight took a deep breath. She really shouldn’t be so hard on her friend, whose romantic aspirations were well known. She opened her mouth to apologize, but was interrupted by further knocking at the door.

“Oh, they better not have found a way past the shield,” Twilight grumbled, turning to the door. “I’m sorry, but this is a bad time and- Trixie?”

Twilight looked at the showmare, standing there at her door with a bouquet of flowers held in her magical grip, and her expression rapidly transmuted to one of horror.

"The Great and Powerful Trixie just happened to be in the neighborhood, and she decided-" Trixie began.

This… this can’t be happening. "Stop. Trixie, even assuming I'm interested in mares, the two of us couldn't possibly have a foal."

The unicorn grinned and tossed her head back. "Well, it just so happens that Trixie found a spell that lets two mares-"

This time the door slammed so hard the entire castle shook.

“Is this a bad time?” Princess Luna asked, ducking her head under the phantasm of a tuxedo’d suitor as he was blasted against the wall by a beam of purple light.

“Princess Luna? Oh.. I’m dreaming.” Twilight looked around at the chaos, and with a sigh the rest of the dream faded to white mist. “I’m sorry. It’s been so rough lately, I guess my mind needed a way to vent.”

“No apologies are necessary, Twilight Sparkle,” the princess replied. “Besides, the sentiment is… understandable.”

“Does that mean things are just as bad in Canterlot?”

Luna nodded somberly. “Indeed. The royal guard keeps out the obvious suitors while we hold court, but that does not stop them from sending trifles in the hopes of winning our favor, or assailing us at social events. I also understand that amateur astronomy is undergoing a renaissance of sorts; it would be quite flattering, were the circumstances different.”

Twilight could only nod her head in commiseration. “How long do you think it will last?”

“Unfortunately that is the purpose of my visit tonight,” Luna said. “Since the birth of Flurry Heart, My sister and I have been searching for any records of a natural born alicorn. Deep in the restricted section of the Canterlot archives, we found a dusty tome that described the birth of an alicorn foal to a union of an alicorn princess and a pegasus stallion.”

Twilight gasped. “The restricted section? Did the birth involve dark magic?”

“No, apparently the birth was accomplished in the normal way,” Luna reassured. “Unfortunately, they had a similar problem we now face; the princesses of the day were bombarded with marriage and betrothal offers. In many ways they had it worse, as these were the days before Equestria was united and many sought to use diplomatic pressure to gain their assent. There was also an issue with a love potion that became the foundation for the modern Hearts and Hooves day.”

“That’s horrible,” Twilight replied, grimacing. “How did they deal with it?”

“They arranged to hide any evidence of alicorn foals, burned all the records that mentioned it, and sealed the information in the restricted archives,” Luna replied.

Twilight banged her head into the, thankfully soft, floor of the dreamscape.

“I have never questioned the value of free press as much as I do right now,“ Twilight said morosely as she looked down at the crowd below. “Burning all the records is starting to look tempting.”

The suitors had finally found a way to trick her anti-stallion shield spell, forcing her to relocate to Rainbow Dash’s cloud house. The worst part was the stallion who’d figured it out had actually seemed to expect her to swoon over his cleverness.

“Maybe you could tell them you’re only interested in mares?” Rainbow Dash suggested.

“Half of Equestria already seems to think I’m secretly involved with one or all of you five, and that doesn’t seem to be stopping them from trying,” Twilight replied. “Besides, if Trixie could find a spell to let two mares have foals I’m sure somepony else would, and then I’d be back where I started.”

“Hum…” Rainbow Dash pondered for a moment, then raised a hoof in excitement. “There’s an ancient Pegasus story about a mare who didn’t want to get married, so she challenged all her suitors to a race, saying she’d only marry one who could beat her. Maybe you could do something like that with a magic contest?”

“That’s the story of Atalampa, and a stallion ended up tricking her into losing and she had to marry him,” Twilight responded. "That's not exactly something I want to imitate."

“Oh... I guess I never got past the race part,” the pegasus replied with a shrug. “No wonder my history teacher kept giving me those nasty looks.”

Twilight sighed. “Besides, it’s not like I never want to get married. I just don’t want to get married to somepony that only sees me as a chance to have alicorn foals.”

“Uh, Twilight?” Rainbow Dash began, a hint of urgency in her voice.

“It’s not that much to ask! After all, Celestia’s been around for over a thousand years and Equestria managed just fine without everypony trying to marry her,” Twilight continued, mostly to herself. “There has to be some way to deal with this.”

“Twilight!” Rainbow Dash shouted to get her attention. “You better get away while you can, I see a bunch of sky chariots heading this way.”

“I just don’t know what to do, Zecora.” Twilight said, slumping down until her head rested on the table of Zecora’s cottage. With the courtiers adding sky chariots and cloudwalking spells to their arsenal, there was nowhere in Ponyville to hide from their attempted flirting. Fortunately none of them had decided to brave the Everfree Forest just yet. “They’re not mean or anything, but they’re not giving up.”

The zebra nodded her head sagely, pushing a cup of tea over to the dejected princess. “If all they want is to rear an alicorn, perhaps you can show them their hopes are forlorn.”

“That’s what the alicorns did a long time ago.” Twilight sighed. “But everyone in Equestria has heard the story of Flurry Heart and how we saved the Crystal Empire by now. We can’t exactly claim there’s no such thing as an alicorn foal anymore.”

Zecora shook her head and paused as she reconsidered her words. “You are right that the story cannot be deleted, but what if they thought it would not be repeated?”

“That… wait, that just might work!” Twilight said, excitement starting to enter her voice. “Everyone knows about Flurry Heart, but if we claimed Flurry Heart was only born an alicorn because of some special circumstances, then things would go back to how they used to be!” She bolted forward and wrapped the startled zebra in a tight hug. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”

“I am flattered you think my idea is a winner,” she said with a bit of a blush. Then she smiled and gave Twilight a coy wink. “If you like it so much, why not thank me with dinner?”

Twilight jerked like she’d been zapped with a shock spell. “I… but… I mean…” she stuttered, before noticing Zecora starting to chuckle.

“Oh, don’t scare me like that!” she managed, laughing herself. “All those suitors had me so worked up, I panicked when it sounded like you were one too!” She just shook her head and grinned. “Anyways, I’m going to sneak back into Ponyville and start working on your idea.”

As the pony left, Zecora watched her go. Once she was safely out of earshot, the zebra shook her head and chuckled again.

“She saw a joke where there was not; Still, I think, it was worth a shot.”

“Considering the above, as well as the widely accepted knowledge that alicorns must ascend rather than be born, it appears clear that the birth of the alicorn Flurry Heart can be linked to the deep love of her parents, famously strong enough to defeat a changeling invasion, resonating with the love magic affinity of Princess Cadence and the Crystal Heart.” Twilight dictated. “There, send that to the Journal of Natural Magics, and we just have to make sure it gets a lot of coverage.”

Spike busied himself rolling up the scroll, then paused as a thought occurred to him. “Hey Twilight, Cadence is an immortal alicorn too. Won’t this cause her a lot of trouble in the future?”

Twilight hesitated for a moment, then looked out the castle window at the crowd of suitors that was beginning to reassemble. “Everypony will probably have forgotten about it within a few years. Besides, Cadence is the princess of love; I'm sure she’ll know exactly how to handle any problems. Now let's hurry up and send it.”

Two hundred years later, Cadence still hadn’t forgiven her.
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#1 ·
The ending felt a bit rushed, but that's the sole negative aspect I can think about the story. It's a solid comedy, and plays nicely with the expanded lore about alicorns and its impact on society.

Well done.

PS: Poor Zecora...
#2 ·
Solid work.

It would be better if Spike read a letter from a Noble using the honest straightforward approach including phrases like "matrimonial cohabitation" "Issue of heir" and "transfer of land"
#3 ·
This was cute, I liked the ending, and now for some amusing reason I am thinking the original alicorn mom is Celestia and Luna is her secret babby. A silly story.
#4 · 1
· · >>The_Letter_J >>Bremen
Like the above said, this was cute. I liked it. The ending felt a bit rushed—or perhaps concise, if you want to mince words, as I found the final line suitably effective.

One thing I can definitely critique here, though, is Zecora's dialogue. Traditionally, she speaks in iambic tetrameter—four sets of unstressed-stressed syllables. That can be argued, as she has a few appearances where she breaks from this to use practically rhymed free verse, but I'll stick to my guns here for the sake of critiquing. Her lines, in chronological order, are as follows:

If all they want is to rear an alicorn,
Perhaps you can show them their hopes are forlorn.

You are right that the story cannot be deleted,
But what if they thought it would not be repeated?

I am flattered you think my idea is a winner,
If you like it so much, why not thank me with dinner?

She saw a joke where there was not;
Still, I think, it was worth a shot.

Now, the same with stressors and [syllable, foot] counts:

If all they want is to rear an al-i-corn, [11, 5]
Perhaps you can show them their hopes are forlorn. [11, 4]

You are right that the story cannot be deleted, [13, 4]
But what if they thought it would not be repeated? [12, 4]

I am flattered you think my i-dea is a winner, [13, 4]
If you like it so much, why not thank me with dinner? [13, 4]

She saw a joke where there was not; [8, 4]
Still, I think, it was worth a shot. [8,4]

If you look, only line 7 is iambic tetrameter, and also the only perfectly iambic line in here. Lines 3 through 6 are effectively* anapestic tetrameter (un-un-stressed), which is why they feel right, while line 2 is true anapestic tetrameter. The rest is just a mish-mash of syllables. The number of feet (sets of stressed and unstressed syllables) are consistent on a couplet basis, save the first, which helps her speech come across as not too stilted, but the lack of consistent meter is still very much noticeable. Here's a website I've come to reference as a 'poetry bible.' It'll get you writing Zecora—and any other creature you please!—and her rhymes like tequila 'til the clothes come off.

I apologize for the per-line spoiler tags... I used fimfiction as a guide, and it wasn't letting me spoiler separate paragraphs for some reason, so I played it safe here.

*There's names for the trimmed syllable on line 7 at the leading anapest and for the added unstressed syllable at the end of both lines, but I don't know them; ask Baal Bunny/AugieDog.
#5 · 1
· · >>Corejo
I haven't read this story yet, but I noticed you talking about Zecora's rhyme scheme, and I think you're giving her way too much credit. I think that almost all of her dialogue is basically just rhyming free verse. Look at her quotes on the wiki. There is almost no consistency at all there.
I don't know what this author's rhymes look like, but I don't think you should dock them too much for not having perfect iambic tetrameter when the show doesn't either. That being said, I do think that giving Zecora a consistent rhyme scheme makes for better fics, even if it's not entirely accurate.
#6 ·
I did mention that she does go off in what's pretty much free verse above, but I recall at least her debut episode that she kept a pretty solid meter. I'll have to rewatch a few of hers when I get home this morning.

Also, no, her lines aren't playing much into my ranking. That'd be more than a little rude to base thus story's rank by and large by a small bit of it. I merely went into detail cause it's something that I can critique.
#7 · 1
· · >>Bremen
A smart premise makes for a pretty entertaining read. There's some really golden character situations in here, and I really liked everyone's voicing overall.

The biggest shortcoming IMHO is that for a comedy piece, there's actually not all that many laughs. Don't get me wrong; this definitely put a smile on my face, but I'm afraid that not much struck me as outright humorous.

I think a lot to do with it is that while Twilight is playing a good straight mare to the ridiculousness, we actually never really get to see said ridiculousness. For instance, this line is probably one of the most entertaining in the story:

The suitors had finally found a way to trick her anti-stallion shield spell, forcing her to relocate to Rainbow Dash’s cloud house. The worst part was the stallion who’d figured it out had actually seemed to expect her to swoon over his cleverness.

... but it doesn't quite cross the line into laughter-inducing. I can't help but think this would be a great exchange to actually see, but instead we hear about it.

In other words, give it to us full strength; don't water it down by limiting things to recollections and summaries. I think that would really make the story shine.
#8 · 1
· · >>Bremen
Return To Sender - solid A - Oh, Trixie. Never change. Good intro, good exit, the middle could use a little work. Comedy is one of the hardest things to pull off, other than poetry, and although you’ve taken a few dings on Zecora here, ignore them. Her text is fine. One thing to consider is cranking up the physical comedy a little (that may be personal preference for fountains) I like that you skipped several of the M6. Far too often we get cornered into having to have a scene with each and every one of them, and that just gets clunky. The mental eye follows interpersonal actions, and since most of the comedy bits are between Twilight and a suitor, they need extended out somewhat and described to make them seem more ‘real.’
#9 · 1
· · >>Bremen
*skips over other reviews so as to not yet taint his opinions*

Well, I thought that was pretty well done! All of the characters were very... in character. I particularly liked the bit with Rainbow Dash and not actually reading the entire story... ;> Each little segment was amusing and reasonable, and I definitely enjoyed it.

I have two critiques however... The ending was a tad... abrupt. And ha some, well, not dark, but let's say dim implications. The fact that Shining Armor, Cadence's beloved, Flurry Heart's father, and Twilight's brother will inevitably die could have been handled a touch more delicately.

Secondly... I'm not quite sure how to describe this issue... Each scene was well done, concise, in character, and amusing. But somehow it felt like we were hopping from scene to scene purely for those events to happen, as opposed to being part of some overarching plot. I guess that might dovetail nicely with the rather abrupt ending... It's like the story was meandering down this lovely path with lots of nice scenery... But when you reach the end, you discover that it didn't really lead anywhere in particular. O.o

Not a very instructive critique, I know. But that's the best I've got. Regardless, good story! :)
#10 ·
· · >>Bremen
Everyone in Equestria tries to marry Twilight/Luna/Celestia in hopes of having an alicorn baby with them.

Twilight gets very frustrated.

This amused me, though I’m not quite sure why they cared so much about having an alicorn baby; wouldn’t marrying a princess be enough?

The biggest problem I had with this story was that I was only ever mildly amused by it; the ending line was funny, as was Zecora’s bit and Rainbow Dash never getting past the race, but frankly a lot of it was just a sort of mildly amusing harrying. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No, but it never really rose above for me.
#11 ·
· · >>Cassius >>Bremen
I don't have much to add, here. This reminds me a bit of the old Pepé Le Pew cartoon character. It's funny, but then you realize the joke is predicated on aggressive sexual propositioning, stalking, and basically a complete lack of female agency.

Is that too harsh a metric to judge a comedy by? Probably. But then, it's probably also the reason Pepé Le Pew cartoons don't air anymore.

I think I'll have to N/A this one on my slate. Sorry, author. Just not the kind of comedy that works for me.
#12 · 1
>>Cold in Gardez

I feel inclined to defend Pepe Le Pew. I don't feel the show ceases to be comedic simply because the comedy comes from a situation in real-life that would be considered disturbing. Context and execution is the key to all comedy. Pepe isn't written with the intention that he is the right when he pursues Penelope Pussycat, it just uses it as a medium for comedic interactions. The Kanker sisters did the same shtick in Ed Edd N Eddy, and I hardly ever hear anyone throwing out the same complaint.

Something something, George Carlin skit, something something.


I'll come back and review this in a bit .
#13 ·
The word that comes to mind when I think of this story is restrained. It starts with a fun, silly premise that is presumably set-up to be a comedy, but ends up being so tame and fast-paced in its execution that it comes across as being played straight with minor interludes of comedy permeating the story occasionally. There needs to be more development in these scenes so you can establish the rhythm and progression of the comedy—a build-up to a pay off, or a series of increasingly ridiculous antics that culminates in a punch-line—in order to get the big laughs. For example, the scenes with Trixie, Zecora, and Blueblood, are all very brief and predicated on the strength of one comedic situation that doesn't really build up (except in the case of Zecora, but even that can be expanded further). Scenes in general seem more functional for explaining the progression of the plot rather than containing any comedic beats to them (i.e. the Rarity, Luna, and Rainbow Dash conversations) and because they're so short and contained to explaining that particular element of the story, the scene transitions seem rushed and disjointed. Some scenes have more comedic potential than others, so I would recommend to the author to omit the least necessary and less humorous scenes in favor of further developing the humor in other scenes (in my opinion, the Zecora scene is the best of the story, although the last line is funny as well).

The story in general along with the conclusion, is rushed. This is a story that could use a good amount of expanding, provided it expands in a matter that injects more humor and development as opposed to attempting to tack on additional plot points. A lot of the dialogue in this story is function for the purposes of establishing some information, and I would think it suit this story well for there to be a little more room for the characters to emote and have fun reactions to one another, play off of each other a little more—flesh out the story with more description. What I feel is lacking in this story is a true sense of light-hearted fun in the narrative, bits and pieces of it poke through, but I imagine the author put more priority on getting the story finished and having all of the necessary plot points for the write off than including those niceties, which is generally fine, unless you're writing a comedy.

The narrative needs more room to breathe between the dialogue pieces, and it would greatly serve the author to include more description, particularly if it described more wacky situations for the reader to imagine. The story as is suffers from a bit of a talking heads problem, where the scene is simply two characters talking back and forth with one another, describing what they have to do and how they're going to do it, instead of doing it or what's going on in the background of scene instead of just showing it to the reader. An example of this would be the paragraph in which Luna talks about ponies bombarding them with gifts and harassing them at social events or Rarity speaking about the Duke of Trottingham. There's a sense that this gift-giving scene should have been shown along with the Blueblood scene beforehand.

This story has the potential to be a gut-buster, it just needs more refinement.

Things to Consider:
-Injecting more comedic moments
-Developing scenes further / add additional scenes in order to smooth out pacing and build up jokes
-Adding more description / additional content to the narrative between dialogue
-Hacking off scenes that contribute little aside from exposition and incorporate their ideas into existing scenes
-Elongating the build-up to the conclusion and expanding the conclusion itself so it does not feel abrupt or rushed.
-Giving characters more things to do aside from talk with one another
#14 · 2
I came up with this idea when the first previews for The Crystalling started airing; that is, coincidentally, why Starlight doesn't show up anywhere in the story. I even tried to write it up at the time, but I couldn't think of a way to make it a workable story, and it was only through the encouragement of a friend that I ended up rewriting it for the Forbidden Knowledge prompt.

Comedy isn't really my forte; I have occasional moments of inspiration, but generally speaking when given a set of A and B my mind will skip right to the quickest path between them and ignore other options. This makes for a lousy comedy, unfortunately. I think that's the problem with this story; I came up with a few jokes, but too much of it is played straight to really be a full comedy.

Additionally, I tried to work in at least a bit of a point; Twilight complains about the stallions just seeing her as a "pair of wings and a horn" as a meta-allusion to the objectification of women. Pepe Le Pew got brought up, but I was actually going with the opposite; there's an unfortunate tendency to excuse objectifying women for their beauty as "complimenting" them, and I tried to use the example of objectifying Twilight as a broodmare (something much more clearly objectionable) as a metaphor to show the problems it can cause. In hindsight, this was probably another misstep; treating it too seriously would be tonal whiplash in a comedy, and not treating it seriously enough muddled the message and also interrupted the comedy.

This was my first short story (as opposed to minific) and it shows. Additionally, I kind of tapped out near the end; the scene with Zecora definitely deserved to be longer, at least, as well as more descriptions and less summarizing. I probably would have done better to do more outlining and pacing myself, but again, first short story. For both my minifics I just had a single scene in mind and let it flow.


I maintain that Zecora doesn't make a habit of using iambic anything :p. I certainly didn't try for it in my story; I tried to give the lines decent flow and matched syllable counts (and even then I missed one), but I can't do scansion and it wasn't worth trying to make someone do it for me. Any resemblance to actual meter was purely coincidental.


For the most part I agree, though I think that particular scene works better as a reference; I can't think of any way to make it actually be funny. But having established the suitors better first would probably have at least set the scene for it better.


This probably could have used more Twilight and suitor scenes; I blame conservation of effort, since I'd went through the two obvious candidates with Blueblood and Trixie, and adding more would probably have involved putting more effort into coming up with OCs.

Good call on it needing physical humor, though again I'm not very humorously inclined. I also wanted to avoid any scenes of Twilight running from or physically struggling with the suitors, for obvious reasons.


I actually tried to minimize the troubling aspects of Shining's mortality as much as I could. Admitedly, "skirting the subject" is a pretty clumsy way of minimizing it, but... all the other ways I could think of were worse. Any attempt at treating it more delicately would involve actually calling out him being dead, which felt wrong in a comedy fic. I actually wouldn't mind any suggestions here, if you have any.

As for the second point.. yeah, this was an idea I had but with no idea how to end it. I was actually fairly happy with what I eventually came up with, but I can see why it comes off as meandering. The scene with Trixie, for instance, was written before I even had a clue how to end it, and originally the story actually ended at the Zecora scene. It would have been better if I'd come up with some clever ending that involved pieces from every scene, but... I've got nothing. That's the problem with clever endings.


I think of it like this: If scientists discovered a dozen people in the world had a gene that meant their babies would be extremely smart, athletic, and free of mental and physical health problems, those people would be mobbed. More to provide donations to other couples, probably, but that wasn't an option in this story.

Now imagine that this gene gives their children super powers and immortality, and well. People have done much more to accomplish much less towards securing their children's legacy.

>>Cold in Gardez

This is a tricky one. Certainly I want to avoid any problematic elements, and unlike Pepe Le Pew I tried to avoid any scenes of Twilight actually being chased, or the suitors trying to batter her door down, or anything like that. My goal was more to paint her as annoyed by all the stallions trying to flirt with her than them being aggressive or stalkerish about it, but that might not have shown through as well as I intended. Ironically writing out more scenes with the suitors, instead of summarizing them, might have helped with this.

I'd hoped to avoid any unfortunate implications by having Twilight be the one in the position of power, and also portraying the suitors as clearly in the wrong, but clearly I wasn't entirely successful.