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Just Like Old Times · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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I've Come to Talk With You Again
The moon shone high in the sky, slender, though waxing. Luna, as she trotted through the castle gardens, did not feel the same way. It was one of those gatherings of the cream of the crop of Canterlot, which is to say, of Equestria (their own words). Supposedly it was some kind of party, though certain pink maned friends of Luna's would have objected to that description, considering it a gross misapplication of the word. Luna herself shared that opinion, but did not say it out loud. There was no point in saying it to Celestia, who she already knew agreed, and she could not say it to anypony else there. She reminisced about the days when she, naive filly, had thought that being a princess meant you could do whatever you wanted.

She looked up. Aside from her moon, the sky was adorned with a few bright stars. Otherwise, it was an empty black, tinged with the orange glow of the city lights. She sighed. At least they were awake and outside at this hour. She remembered all too well when activity like this so long after dark would have been an event in itself. And she remembered all too well when activity like this so long after dark would have been a dangerous thing.

The moon shone high in the sky, full, though waning. Luna trotted through the castle grounds. The nobles were gathered for another inane "celebration." They called it a party, but Luna knew those, and this was not one. She did not say that to anypony, though. Celestia would just tell her to try to enjoy herself anyway, and she could not say it to anypony else. Once she had thought that being a princess meant you could do whatever you wanted. Quickly she had learned that if you wanted anypony to cooperate with you, that was not the case.

She looked up. Stars hung in her sky like a thousand silvery blossoms. She looked around, not one pony was paying the least attention. What was even the point of doing this at night, if nopony was going to appreciate it. She had spent all week traipsing around the Everfree to make sure the area around the castle was safe. Might as well have had it during the day—or, here's an idea: keep the sun up late, why not? Night's overrated anyway.

Luna trotted off. She was good at disappearing. Celestia would miss her, but she was not counting on anypony else. But that was fine; she wasn't counting on it. She closed her eyes and let her hooves carry her among the rows of hedges away from everypony else. They were not afraid, she considered, remembering her earlier thought. At least there was that. Even if they did not appreciate the night as they should, even if they finally realized that the world kept on after sunset, only to blot out the sky with a lurid glare, even if they still flocked to Celestia first before coming to pay there respects to her, at least they were not afraid.

So there was that.

—Even if they had not changed in the last thousand years, these ponies.

And what would she do about it? She would tell Celestia of course. Complaining about ridiculous ponies—that hadn't changed either. And Celestia would laugh, and she would too because it would be funny then. And life would go on, just as it always had with them, just like old times.

Because how much had she herself changed? Didn't it sting? As much now as it had then. But no. No. It was okay. Wasn't that what Celestia, and everypony, always said. She could say it too. She had said it. Many, many times. She looked at the moon.

But what if she didn't need ponies to cooperate with her? What if she could make them appreciate everything she did?

Hooves clattered on the garden path up to her. "Sorry I'm late," said Twilight Sparkle, smiling. "I got caught up in some paperwork—you know how it is."

Luna snorted and rolled her eyes, "Welcome to being a princess."

Twilight looked up. "It's a shame about all the light. You can hardly see anything up there. At least the moon is nice and clear. It's always so pretty when it's a thin crescent like that."

Luna joined her in looking at it. "Yes it is."

The moon shone on those two friends.
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#1 ·
· · >>Pascoite
This was a nice little interweaving of two stories that were actually one story, contrasting Luna then and Luna now, and what had changed between them.

I liked this story, but simultaneously, am not sure what to make of it. This story seems to imply that the difference is not from within – not that Luna has truly changed – but is from without, that this time, she has friends other than her sister. And while that’s kind of… okay, it also seems to sort of imply that Twilight and company are Morality Chains of a sort, rather than that Luna has figured out that she just shouldn’t care about those ponies in the first place (and, while she professes to not really care, it is clear that they bother her). And while it’s okay to say that the difference is friends, I’m not sure if that was actually your intention.

So... I guess what I'm trying to get at is "What has really changed?" I'd like a better glimpse into Luna here - I think this gets most of the way there, but I'm not sure if the difference is within Luna, or is outside of Luna.
#2 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I don't know what happened here.

These are nice scenes, Luna's mood comes through well, and the writing itself is good. I was confused about whether the second scene was supposed to come after the first, showing Luna beginning to descend into bitterness again, or whether it was a mirrored scene showing Luna doing the same thing as in the first, but before her exile. >>TitaniumDragon goes for the latter, but I think the language supports the former better, with the possible exception of that one-line scene.

The first scene references Pinkie, so present day. Second scene is inconclusive, third mentions the thousand years, so present, fourth is inconclusive, but the tone sounds more like past.

The fact that each scene sees her mood darkening further can work for either interpretation, so it didn't relieve my confusion until Twilight showed up. And even then, it could just be popping back to the present again, but I'm going to take the entire thing as present day.

So Luna has a friend now. This is just the beginning of the story. What now? That's where the real conflict is. Is anything going to change as a result of this? Did Twilight come in spontaneously, and this is a pleasant surprise for Luna? Or does Twilight visit regularly, such that Luna's sour mood in the previous scenes shows this friendship hasn't mitigated it?

You've set the story up to have this gesture of friendship be a watershed moment, or at least a turning point, but then we never get to see what comes of it. Open endings are fine, but the trick is to convey the stakes attached to each possible outcome, not just leave the question unanswered and call it a day. Is friendship with Twilight really going to cure what ails her? It's tangential to the problem, and as common as it is to write the princesses as fed up with the nobility, she's grown up now. That's probably just me, but I like to see them more pragmatic about being effective rulers.

What's here is a strong beginning to a story.
#3 ·
Genre: Time Loop?

Thoughts: Count me with >>Pascoite; I wasn't sure what era the various scenes were supposed to be set in. I also felt like there was a lot of repetition in the first three scenes, to the point where I seriously wondered if some kind of time travel/looping shenanigans were going on. I think maybe that's also coming from the exploration of how not much has changed in 1000 years, but in such a short story it's easy to mis-guess whether something like that showing up like this did is supposed to be more of a thematic element or a plot twist.

I rather liked a couple of the bits near the end. The moment where Luna thinks about compelling ponies to love the night does a great job of grabbing my interest. Also, I think the moment with Twilight sticks the landing. But right now I feel like they're held back by the apparent repetition toward the beginning. If there was more to distinguish each moment from the others, I think this would carry more weight.

Tier: Keep Developing
#4 ·
The second scene is (obviously) a repetition of the first. That's a dangerous game to play with such a short word count. The next continues the trend, adding very little. The last... Fall into Nightmare, we get it. Then... friend? Weird.

So, these scenes feel VERY disjunct. None of them show us anything really new about Luna's story, and the ending, with Twilight being a "friend" and complementing the moon feels unearned and unrelated to the rest of the story.

I'm not sure what to suggest, other than this needs to be far longer and more fleshed out.