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Lie Me a River · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Price She Paid
Flurry Heart found her mother napping under a blanket on the southern veranda, near the middle section of the castle's primary tower rise. "Always this same couch, on the same floor, on the same balcony. Why do you like this one so much? They're all pretty much the same," Flurry said to herself.

"Because, my dear," Cadance answered, not quite as asleep as her daughter suspected. "We're just high up enough to look over the whole city, but not so high that everypony looks like ants. Plus, I like to keep an eye on the rest of Equestria, too. Can't do that looking away from it."

"You can't see beyond the snow fields from this elevation, Mom," Flurry replied with barely a trace of her more youthful eye rolling.

"I think you've been spending too much time with your aunt." Cadance opened her eyes to scowl at her daughter. "You're letting silly things like facts and logic and line-of-sight get in the way of a perfectly good poetic moment."

"Yeah, it was an okay line, I guess." Flurry Heart nosed her way under the blanket next to her mother and nuzzled her. "I was looking at some old photo albums when I was in Ponyville with Aunt Twilight, and I realized something about you."

Cadance tossed the blanket up with her wings, grabbed it with her magic, and draped it over Flurry's head like an oversized bonnet. "Is it that I was a total babe, and that you're lucky to take after me so much?"

"No, Mom." Flurry Heart rolled her eyes and sighed. "I already knew that. You remind me at least once a week. I won't ever forget, believe me."

"Good," Cadance said, smiling. "Now tell me, my most precious treasure, what did you learn with your aunt?"

Flurry's eyes narrowed as she looked at her mother, sucking all the levity out of the lazy afternoon. "You're getting old," she said. "It's hard to notice changes when you see somepony everyday, but looking back at those old pictures it's obvious. Your coat's not as bright, your back isn't as straight, and if I look real close I can see a few grey hairs mixed with the pink."

"Mothers age, sweet heart. It's not a ground breaking observation, I hate to tell you." Cadance smiled down at her daughter, but she'd lost much of her earlier mirth.

"But you... shouldn't be, right? I mean, that's not... Aunt Twilight and Aunt Celestia and Aunt Luna all look the same as the old pictures."

Cadance sighed, and draped a wing over her daughter. "Mothers age, dear. As I said."

Flurry pushed away from her mother's embrace. "You mean I'm the reason you're aging?"

"Hush and listen, Flurry Heart." Cadance gestured for Flurry to sit beside her again. "A while after you were born, your aunts asked if there was anything unusual about my pregnancy, since there had never been a natural born Alicorn in Equestria. I said everything was textbook from conception to birth. That was a tiny lie of omission. Ever since we got together, your father and I were very—"


"—affectionate, sweetheart. But, no matter what, I didn't get pregnant. Which was great, for a while. But then we got married, and time went by. I thought more and more about being a mother. One night, after... well, after, I thought about what would happen if I could never have a baby. Never make Shining Armor a father. I wanted you, Flurry Heart, more than anything else in the world. And I would have sacrificed anything to get you."

"I don't know—

"It was like a switch flipped inside of me, and I just knew. The cost of life is life, dear, and I paid it happily. A few weeks after that night, I started throwing up every morning and suddenly couldn't eat pickles unless they were dipped in mayonnaise."

"So, you gave up—"

"Absolutely nothing, compared to what I got. A thousand diapers, a thousand jars of peas, a hundred and one tempter tantrums, countless sleepless nights and exhausted days..." Cadance pulled the blanket off Flurry's head and wrapped it around them both. "One perfect daughter."

Flurry Heart's eyes wet her mother's coat as she snuggled close to her. "Why not tell them? Maybe my aunts would like to be moms someday, too."

"If, someday, they want what I have more than anything else in all the world, they'll know the cost, and they'll pay it gladly."
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#1 ·
· · >>Posh
This is one of those 'here's a neat idea' fics that pops up every so often.

And yeah, it is a neat idea. But... it's a bit lacking in drama and progression for me to find it very satisfying as a story.

I liked it? Your characters are nice, your prose is clean, it all comes together well, and sacrifice is, of course, an excellent theme. It's just a bit unsatisfying, because emotionally, not a whole lot really changes. Maybe if Flurry was more worked up about this or something? I dunno.
#2 ·
This is an interesting idea, as NAH said, but the execution feels flat. Cadence gave up immortality, and she almost sounds bored the entire story. Flurry's reaction is likewise muted. It downplays the seriousness of the narrative and makes it feel pettier than it should.
#3 · 3
Very well executed. I disagree with Not_A_Hat and GaPJaxie's evaluation - I don't think a serious treatment with an overwrought melodramatic reveal and reaction would fit how Cadence would really approach this. There's no particular reason for her to be dramatic; this is something she's already presumably known for many years. Flurry might have difficulty accepting it, but that would most likely manifest over time, rather than being some explosive fit of emotion right there on the spot. Getting into that would be a longer story than a minific has space for.

This story does well by knowing what it's focused on, and sticking to what feels real inside just that timeframe without trying to cram in excessive drama or serious it up too much. Not overextending while still capturing the important central essence of some theme enmeshed within a relevant piece of narrative is a key thing in minifics, and this one hits just the right balance for me.
#4 · 1
>>Not_A_Hat's got the right idea here; I also find it odd that Flurry isn't more surprised than she is, given her age and the fact that her mother just toppled over a central pillar of alicorn identity in Flurry's mind. I figure she'd have more questions than this.

I can see this conversation being drawn out across a slightly longer story, with more of an emotional journey for Flurry as Cadance explains her decision to her. For what it is, it's quite nice; it's just lacking enough of a dramatic hook to make it more than that.
#5 ·
Genre: Not-Immortality Not-Blues

Thoughts: I like where this got to by the end. It ultimately ends up giving us a moment that feels sweet and on-point for these characters.

There is, however, a really big butt: I don't think Cadance's character voicing is on-point for any part of this until the end. Like I hate to just say that and walk away from it, but I straight-up can't envision her either saying half these lines or saying them the way she says them here. Maybe this is a matter of headcanon and/or opinion but I'm kinda stuck on it.

Tier: Keep Developing