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In Over Your Head · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Her Royal Coffee With Sugar
Dry Roast had a good reason for opening Java Le Choza every morning far before the sun rose, despite the rest of Ponyville still being sound asleep. It was not a particularly large reason, or a profitable reason, but he had stumbled into it by accident one morning when he was suffering a bout of insomnia, and had made up his mind at that point to never miss the five AM opening ever again.

On normal nights, he would get the machinery in the coffee shop fired up just a few minutes after he walked through the door. It made the little shop a tiny island of light in the pitch black night filling the town and helped chase away some of the imaginary creatures which he could far too easily imagine lurking in the shadows. Not that he was actually afraid of the night, of course. It was just that with the Everfree Forest a mere stone’s throw outside of the town, some of the less fearful denizens of the dark woods would share his nightly commute, with the occasional bat or curious opossum passing within touching distance before continuing on their indifferent way.

Tonight, he had barely gotten the equipment warmed up and the apron on when the bell at the front door jingled. It was a little early for her, but there were many nights when she did not show at all, so he took Twilight Sparkle’s bedraggled appearance in stride and smiled at the young alicorn princess where she stood spraddle-legged in the middle of the coffee shop doorway. This was actually the most alert he had seen the Princess of Friendship since the first time he had arrived early at the store only to find Twilight sleeping face-first against the door. Her mane was tangled and frayed with the stress of late-night studying while her eyes remained firmly closed against the lights of the shop, but she still radiated an adorable rumpled presence which made Dry Roast give a little sigh of adoration back in return.

“Mid grabble fattamatud filbudget macatonit. Mit fulbadagin.” Twilight’s voice was garbled and spoken nearly into the floor, but Dry had a little bit of critical experience with Her Highness’ Ritual of Far Too Early In The Morning, and repeated her order, or at least what he could interpet.

“Double-double espresso latte with seven pumps of chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and low foam, right?”


“Eight pumps it is. Coming up.” Dry Roast got out the requested foam coffee container from behind the counter and proceeded to violate all the known dietary restrictions for caffeine density and chocolate. He foamed and poured, measuring only vaguely and proceeding mostly by instinct as the massive insulated container of not-quite-coffee filled up to the top and he clipped the lid on it. Behind him, he could hear the distinctive jingle of bits on the counter which always worked out to exact change plus a twenty percent tip.

“Here you go, Your Highness,” said Dry Roast as he moved back over to the counter, the massive container of coffee wobbling in his magic field until he put it down next to the pile of bits. “Will there be anything el—”

“lovya,” muttered Twilight Sparkle, taking a deep breath out of the steam rising from the top of her coffee, then moving in an almost unstoppable motion upwards until her hot lips pressed against his. She kissed him just as hard as any stallion had ever been kissed before in the history of kissing, leaving a blaze of fire which turned Dry Roast’s face a crimson red and left his tail sticking straight out behind him. “Wanahaveyourfoals,” she murmured when coming up for air before resuming the passionate kiss, then, “righthererightnow,” before a third kiss of Royal intensity.

Just as Dry Roast’s knees were about to give out, Twilight Sparkle abruptly stopped her kiss and took a step back. The massive container of coffee levitated up in front of her lips, she took a deep, deep drink with just as much passion as she had put into the kiss moments before, then turned and stumbled toward the door.

“Merglipmuph,” murmured Dry Roast, still trying to get control over his scrambled brains.

“Neglimpth,” muttered Twilight between gulps of coffee. Then she was gone, and the coffee shop was again empty except for the bubbling of the coffee machine and the hammering of Dry Roast’s heart.
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#1 · 1
Congratulations, author. I can't stop grinning.
#2 · 1

But again, it feels like all set-up with no knock-down. Even in a minific, I need some sort of resolution to the situation that the story presents, but here, it's all just presentation. It's OK to have some "what happens next?" at the end of a story, but I need at least a little bit of closure to make the story end rather than stop. I'd be happy to read more of this, but it's got no conclusion right now.

#3 · 1
I thought this was very well written, and there were some nice turns of phrase and descriptions throughout.

It made the little shop a tiny island of light in the pitch black night filling the town

That. I liked that very much. I also liked the closing line, and I do think it works as a point to end the story on, but it did feel as though something else needed to have happened before then. I'm not sure precisely what that 'something else' is, but I have that niggle under the skin that comes from something great feeling incomplete.

Also, 'Royal intensity' is a wonderful qualifier. I'm going to go finish my spreadsheets now with Royal intensity.

Thanks for sharing your work with the community.
#4 · 5
I’m impressed. Only three creatures in Ponyville understand Exhausted Bookhorse Muttering.

In all, one of the more believable Twilight shipfics I’ve ever seen. The quickest way to a mare’s heart is by increasing her pulse rate. No one said you couldn’t use stimulants to do so.
#5 · 1
When you use words like "merglimp", you tempt the reader into thinking they can decode what's being said. I think it works here because it's so far from English that it doesn't look possible, but that's still a potential pitfall.

I can buy the shipping (which is quite hot), but I'm not entirely sure why Twilight is behaving this way or is in need of caffeine for "late night studying". Does she still do that much studying? It's hard to imagine her leaving her castle to get a coffee, even though I think the situation is marginally believable. It's also unclear whether Twilight actually intends to be so forward or if she's sleepwalking rather than interacting, but I suspect that ambiguity is intentional.

I think the aggression of the kisses seems uncharacteristic for Twilight, even if she is a somnambulist here. This is the opposite end of the spectrum from how she acts in EQG, or even how she interacts with business-ponies on the show.

...he had stumbled into it by accident one morning when he was suffering a bout of insomnia...

This line of explanation gets confusing fast. Is he telling the story of that morning, I wonder at first? Was that the morning he found Twilight already waiting which you mention two paras later?

Also, early morning is not night. When you talk about opening the store at night, that's a totally different thing from opening it before dawn. I think there's something going on here with the time that I don't understand, but you need to make the time stuff a lot less confusing. Be straightforward rather than putting up a puzzle the reader must decode to figure out the basics of what's happening.
#6 · 1
I liked this one, though I really expected Luna to show up, not Twilight. Both because it happens during the night, and because Luna’s addiction on coffee.

Some nice descriptions throughout.

It's a heartwarming tale, and I really doted on the idea of Twilight kissing the bartender and then just forgetting about it. Great job for making me actually like a ship story. On top of my slate. Welcome to the second week.
#7 ·
I was expecting Sunhorse, myself, since she'd make sense to show up pre-dawn for a sudden pick-me-up.

I mean, shouldn't Twilight be about to go to bed if up so late?

Other than this nitpick it was full of fun fluffy cotton candy!
#8 · 1
This was cute, but I was slightly confused about whether the story is about what happened this morning, or if the kiss was why he now opens every day at 5 am?

The kisses were amusing, as was Dry Roast’s response to them, and there was a nice little bit of atmosphere here which worked well.

It isn’t much as far as a shipfic goes, but it sure is a good reason to open your store at 5 am every day.

I’m not quite sure if I buy Twilight doing this… but, well, whatever.
#9 ·
Some nice prose ("leaving a blaze of fire which turned Dry Roast’s face a crimson red and left his tail sticking straight out behind him" was my fave). Very cute. Not much substance, but cute. I'd love to see this continued. Does Twilight even remember doing this?
#10 · 4
Mea Cuppa, Mea Maxima Cuppa.

Confession time: Her Royal Coffee With Sugar is mine, all mine! Buhahahahaha! The idea has been perking (sorry) around in the back of my head ever since I finished Traveling Tutor. I started it with a title of “Twilight’s Unknown Coltfriend” but that was too obvious, then “Twi Ships Who Pass At Night” but that was not very related. A few doodles got dropped, a little bit of coffee slipped into Letters From a Litttle Princess Monster, but nothing really until this prompt came up. After all, there’s nothing more ‘over your head’ than to have the Princess of Friendship become interested in some poor colt, or even worse, if she doesn’t remember sleepwalking to the store.

I didn’t draft, I didn’t sketch, I just typed. Well, and went back through and polished afterwards, but most of this is just the way it flowed out of the coffee pot. Eventually someday it may become part of a longer Coffee Based Ship because I’ve doodled some more parts to it. After all, nothing in Ponyville stays a secret forever. (Below is a hat-tip to Bad Horse, who gave me the idea)

“Here you go, ma’am.” Dry Roast floated the foam cup over to the counter and picked up the offered bits. He was tucking them away in the cash register when he became aware of Rarity’s intense scrutiny of the filled cup. “Is something the matter, ma’am?”

“Actually… yes.” Turning to Applejack, Rarity asked, “Darling, do you remember a few days ago when we were having lunch with our dear friend Twilight in the castle, and she mentioned something about all of the places she still had not visited in town, despite having been here for several years?”

“Sure do. Ah remember she didn’t even know nothing about—” Applejack paused and looked quizzically at Dry Roast “—here.”

“Even before they moved to the castle, Spike kept a pot of coffee pot brewing all day,” said Rarity, “but I can distinctly remember one of these cups in her castle kitchen when we were talking.”

“Yeah, you asked about it,” said Applejack. “She claimed she didn’t know nuttin about it, though.”

“Interesting.” Rarity moved closer to the counter and leaned forward, which was a little disturbing, but not nearly as much as the sudden squeal of glee she let out and the abrupt smile which followed. Her horn lit up and a light magical touch brushed across Dry Roast’s face before he could react, but by then it was too late.

“Applejack, do you see this?” Something hovered in Rarity’s magic between the two mares, a very small and nearly impossible to see object that even Applejack seemed to be having trouble with. “It’s a hair, exactly the same shade as Twilight’s and far too short to be anything but a facial hair.”

“How in the heck would one of her hairs get on Dry’s face, though?” asked Applejack with a thoughtful look indicating the question was somewhat less of an unanswered statement than it appeared.