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On The Wings of a Dream · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Illusion and Dream
The wild grass tickled her frogs. That’s all that was in sight, really: grass, from here to the horizons, over the highest hills and the lowest valleys where no building, no errant structure, jutted out for miles. She looked up, up, and up, and not even there could she find an obstruction. No clouds. The sky was white and the moon blue. None were the reason why she was ecstatic, however.

A soft breeze ruffled her coat. It was pushing her, almost lifting her off her hooves, guiding her towards the lip of the cliff like an encouraging mother bird. She imagined it must’ve been blue, too. The only sound was her own ragged breathing and racing heartbeat. These weren't behind this indescribable emotion of hers either.

Something rustled by her side. Wings. Had she always had them? She must've, since she knew exactly how to use them, how to hold them, and how to fold them. She could feel the tingle of electricity at their extremities, aching to be put to use once more, the pinions, the darker shaded primaries, the hundreds and hundreds of tight-packed feathers in each filly-sized appendage bristling at the thought.

She’d been flying, and not just sort of—like a stiff breeze short of stalling—or gliding, or hovering, but actually flying. It had been everything she’d ever dreamed of.

“Good afternoon, Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo jolted up. A moment before she'd thought she was alone. Now, all she could think about was how she was going to explain her totally cool and not-at-all girly peals of laughter over flying to one of the co-rulers of the Nation. “Princess Luna!” Scootaloo exclaimed, her eyes slowly widening. “Is this a dream?!”

Luna waved. Her hoof passed over a grassland where Scootaloo could have sworn a green knoll had been mere moments ago. “Indeed it is. Though I must say, I wasn’t expecting to meet you here at this hour.”

Scootaloo had the decency to look abashed— she’d had to do that often in the past. “I take it that you’ve been enjoying this new dream of yours?”

”You can say that again!” Scootaloo said, wings buzzing. Being almost twice her own size, however, this meant they merely flapped a few times at a leisurely pace. “I haven’t had this much fun since Cutie Mark Day Camp!”

“Splendid!” Luna looked around, an expression on her muzzle that clearly stated she was evaluating what she was seeing on some arbitrary scale. “I see the Tantabus is doing good work.”

“Wait, the Tantabus?” Scootaloo stopped subconsciously preening her wings. “I thought you got rid of it?”

“Not rid, repurposed,” Luna said. “The Tantabus was never supposed to be malevolent. It was only a means to an end, one that I freely admit was misguided.” She lifted a forehoof. A butterfly perched upon it, it's impossible number of gossamer wings condensing and dripping in an out of existence.

“Cool.” Scootaloo gushed, poking the oozing insect and receiving a crystally *ting as a response. “So what’s the Tantabus like, now?”

The butterfly burst into clear flames. Out of the smoke dozens of others flew out, their hues fading into the misty air, like snowfall in reverse. Luna winked with her eyebrows.

“Anything you want it to be.”

Scootaloo blinked, turned around, and looked over the edge the cliff.

Gone were the grassy valleys and canyons. Gone was the gentle slope of the hilltop she had been standing on. In the general sense of the word an ‘up’ may have existed, as well as all cardinal directions, but it was obvious there was much, much less of that than its polar opposite. The cliffside, which normally would have led to the foot of the mountain, was paved with the most incorrectly facing runway possible, leading down the vertical drop for far as the eye could follow.

If she were to jump, and ever came across the ground, she knew it would have been too soon.

“I wish other ponies were as easy to please.” A sigh came from somewhere behind her. Luna trotted into her view and smiled knowingly. “You take on somepony we both know, I see.”

Scootaloo blushed. “So is that why you’re here?” she tried to change the subject. “To make sure the Tantabus doesn’t go all nightmare on me?”

“Not exactly,” Luna said slowly, seemingly weighing her words. “But you shan’t worry your young mind over such matters.” The breeze picked up, ushering her closer to the lip of the cliff. This time, Scootaloo did see wisps of a regally blue aura in it.

But something in Luna’s voice reminded Scootaloo of something she’d often heard from the mouths of well-meaning adults, who just never seemed to quite understand. “Are you sure?”

“Positive. Now go, and perform this ‘Sonic Rainboom’ everyone keeps gushing about.”

Scootaloo gasped and went beet red again. “You can read my mind?!”

Luna smiled, though from the obvious strain she had tried her hardest not to. “Your mind runs on one track, young one.”

“To be fair, I kinda wanna see it too.”

Scootaloo, once again, looked over the edge. The area had changed again, the ground now being at a visible distance from her patchy knoll, with a vast open square filled with attentive colorful creatures in the middle. Her eyes roamed for a split second before coming across the one closest equine to her—the one dangling from the edge of the hill right in front of her—and stared into his pupiless purple eyes. “Hey Scootaloo. Long time no see, huh?”

“Thorax?” Scootaloo’s eyebrow shot up all on its own. “What are you doing here?”

The Changeling King pranced in mid-air. “What am I doing here? I’m having a whale of a time.”

Despite there being no sea nearby, Scootaloo could distinctly hear a wailing whalesong somewhere in the distance. Thorax grinned all the harder. “It's so good to see you! Oh, and you too, Princess Luna!”

“Yes. Quite,” Luna replied absent-mindedly. Her eyes were stuck staring intently at a spot somewhere in the outspread crowd. “Please excuse me.” She took off abruptly, chasing after something white, big, and that had a multi-coloured mane.

Scootaloo looked back and forth between the crowd, which she now realized were all changelings, standing mindlessly around, and Thorax. “So, you like it here, too?”

“Of course! The Tantabus is awesome!” Thorax beamed brighter than a laser-pointer. “It lets me practice my assertiveness, and the changelings are none the wiser!” He poked Scootaloo on the side. “So how did you figure it out?”

“Figure what out?”

“You know.” Thorax made a descriptive waving motion with his forehoof. “The test. The one by Big Blue Bertha?” he added, when he saw her confused look.

“Big Blue Bertha?” Scootaloo snorted.

“That’s what Discord calls her.” Thorax nudged his head in the direction Luna had flown off. “It’s really simple, it’s actually—”

“Thorax.” ‘Big Blue Bertha’ had apparently returned, and was now standing right beside him, glaring. “I seem to recall my sister explicitly stating you were urgently needed elsewhere.”

Thorax cringed. “Oh, right.” In a blink of an eye he vanished, taking the crowd and the bucolic highland with him.

The Princess pursed her lips when Scootaloo turned to question her. “What test was he talking about?”

Princess Luna—since in that moment it would have been easy to forget she was royalty—closed her eyes, and sighed as if she’d been hit. “I cannot tell you.”

“Why not?”

“Because that would ruin the test.”

Scootaloo looked at Luna befuddled. “What kinda test even is that? Cheerilee never gave us tests that we didn’t know we were taking...oh.” Scootaloo smacked herself in the head. “It’s one of those kinds of tests. Twilight’s told us all about the times Celestia made her...”

Luna lifted a forehoof to interrupt. “I’m not testing you, Scootaloo. This test is quite unlike any other; one that many are set to fail or require copious amounts of time to solve—it took Thorax days. All I can say is that despite being made for good there is an inherent flaw to Tantabus’ design, and it isn’t at all your concern,” she emphasized, subtly hinting towards the open air again.

One thousand and one days worth of Crusading for a Cutie Mark came to Scootaloo’s mind, but she thought of none of them. Instead she went with what she usually ran with.


And the answer most certainly was not ‘give up’.

“Okay,” Scootaloo said resolutely. She began to understand why Luna’d claimed she had a one-track mind, when she realized her wings were already outstretched. “If I don’t know where the problem is, I will just have to go find it!”

She shot off. No other word could have quite described it, despite there never being any gunpowder or hammer, let alone any need for a trigger. She blew into the great expanse, into vast nothingness, and found herself surrounded with pure bliss.

But all she could see was open air. There were no clouds, there was no ground. There were no hills, and there was no sound. She landed back where she’d left off not much later, her wings sagging, wanting to pull her back up. “There is nothing here.” She scuffed her hoof on the grass, until an errant thought gave her pause. “Wait a minute. Can't I just imagine myself fixing the problem? Since this is a dream?”

“You could,” Luna admitted. The alicorn hadn’t budged from her spot. “If you knew what it was.”

“That doesn’t help.” Scootaloo paced absently. “How am I supposed to fix a problem that I don’t even know?”

“That.” Luna’s forehoof pushed into her chest and stopped her from trotting in circles. “Scootaloo, is the problem. Known unknowns and unknown unknowns.”

Scootaloo got a look on her face like somepony had just told her that flying was just falling and missing the ground. “The what now?”

“Things you are aware you don’t know, and things you aren’t. Especially the latter,” Luna elaborated. Scootaloo's lips mouthed the words as she ran her mind through what had been said.

“Well I know there is a problem,” Scootaloo said, “doesn’t that mean I already know what I’m missing?”

Luna shook her head. “You are aware there is a problem. For all you know, there could a dozen others, you know nothing about.”

“Okay, so how do I found out what problems there are?”

Luna didn’t answer.

Scootaloo plonked herself on her plot, and laid her head on her forehooves. Her wings beat of their own accord, her brain too occupied to care.




Scootaloo suddenly careened to one side. Her wings, being apparently cognizant of her frustrated emotional state, proceeded flap too hard once, sending her sprawling on her side.

Scootaloo hummed thoughtfully. She got up, flapped her wings, and landed on her side again. She repeated the process several times before putting a hoof to her chin.

“It doesn’t hurt.”

Few things in life can look more daunting than an alicorn’s bemused stare. “You wish there to be pain in your dream?”

“Well… no,” Scootaloo admitted. “It’s just, why doesn’t it hurt?

“I see.” Luna said. “Have you ever hurt yourself before?”

Scootaloo barked a laugh. “Well, I mean, yeah. Just not quite like that.” The thought alone made her cringe. “Landing on a wing probably hurts.”

“It does.” Luna pursed her lips. Social cues aren’t hard, so long you don’t inquire anything from a tight-lipped alicorn. “I fail to see where you are going with this, however.”

“I mean,” Scootaloo looked around for help, finding only thin air. An idea struck her. “You said it yourself: everything here is how I imagine it to be. The ground, the sky, the runway.” Yeah, the runway was back. Scootaloo got the thought to rename it ‘the Run-Down’. “I can imagine whatever I want, and whatever I do, becomes real.

“But if I stay here I will never know what any of it really feels like. Known whats-its and you know. For all I know I could be completely wrong, and there could a bazillion things better that I would not think to imagine.” Her gaze swept above, landing on the horizon. “There's more to life than just what's inside my head.”

Now, there was no breeze. No sound. She stood atop her mountain spike, a smile having climbed its way to her muzzle. The pony’s opposite her, however, had only grown more and more grim.

“Scootaloo.” A beautifully plumed royal wing reached out and enveloped her. The motion was too rushed and stiff to feel reassuring, but Scootaloo got the notion that it wasn't her it was supposed to comfort. “I wish I had learned that when I was as young as you.”

Scootaloo squirmed in the uncomfortable hug, but only so she could wrap her own wing around her. They separated and Scootaloo could breathe freely again.

“You're free to stay here in the Tantabus for as long as you desire.” Luna's wings spread, ready to make her leave. “Know that you are always welcome here.”

Alright!” Scootaloo hopped up and somersaulted in excitement. She eyed the ledge hungrily, pausing just short of jumping. “But wait, how do I get back here again?”

“That’s easy.” Luna winked. “All you have to do is—”

“Wake up!”

Something nudged her insistently. Something that was calling her name, repeating the three syllables ad nautilus (or however Sweetie Belle says it should be spelled) and all-around managing to make her wish she was blind and in a coma. Scootaloo yawned, her eyes slowly fluttering open.

The light burned. She tried to cover herself with a wing, but was surprised to find the appendage far too short and stubby for that. “Phew, for a minute there, I thought you'd ever wake up,” the raspy voice continued.

Everything was checkered in red and white. Holding the colours in place were piles upon piles of papers. That’s when Scootaloo remembered what had made her fall asleep in the first place.

She tried to inject her voice with enthusiasm, and failed miserably. “As if I'd miss out on spending time with the most awesome sister ever.”

“Oh, really?” Rainbow Dash was looking at her an eyebrow cocked and loaded. “And here I thought I just caught you catching z's.”

“No.” Scootaloo sputtered and muttered. “That's different. Schoolwork's boring!”

Dash about to object, but chose to glance at all the homework piled up on every corner of their picnic blanket at the last second.

“Okay, I'll give you that.” She bit the end of her red pen again. “But somepony's gotta do it. Twilight made you a tutor, and we need everypony we everypony.” Dash pushed aside a note of tiny scribbles, and muttered under her breath. “She should really lay off on the essays.”

Scootaloo moaned, and reached a hoof into a pile. Had she not recognized the chicken-scratch (or in this case, gryphon-scratch) she would have had a hard time parsing together whose paper she was even supposed to be grading. She’d gotten halfway through page one (there was something on the back as well, and not just doodles), before realizing she’d maybe read around ten words total.

Her head sunk to her chest. Although it was fading, Scootaloo could still feel the spark of excitement at the tips of her primaries.

No. Where they should have been.

“Rainbow Dash?” Scootaloo asked carefully. All the times she’d faked a quiver in her voice, it now came unbidden. “Can we go flying?”

“Ugh,” Rainbow retched, almost ripping the worksheet. The either eldritch runes or doctor’s prescription for some embarrassing medication, looked back at her. “Look, Scootaloo.” She sighed. “I told you: we all have to pitch in. We can go flying when we are do—”

Rainbow stopped dead. She’d barely laid her eyes on Scootaloo when it all happened. The pen fell from her mouth, and she shook so little it was almost imperceptible. Then, it seemed, finally the most rash pegasus in Equestria took the time to learn social cues. She scooped Scootaloo up in her wing and started trotting off, a grin on her face.

“...By which I mean yeah! We've earned a little break.”
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#1 · 1
· · >>Pascoite
Okie dokie. Before we start, I'll make the usual disclaimer: while I have tried to write these reviews with some view towards constructive criticism, there will inevitably be a dose of subjective personal taste and biases. I am not a certified, professional critic. Also also, I am covering my reviews behind spoilers so they don't influence other people before reading the fics. Lastly, there is a chance I might miss references to the latest seasons, so bear that in mind if I talk about something and you immediately think "Well hey, that happened in Season Eight, etc."

Bad stuff first: This fic feels way too insubstantial for a contestant. It's too nice, which is a problem because a major philosophy of story-writing is that there must be a conflict, however small, to engage the reader's interest. Here, though, there isn't so much as a hint of a problem until the test is mentioned halfway through, and even that is so nebulous and has such an unremarkable pay-off (not BAD, really, but it isn't particularly engrossing when it's revealed) that it feels unjustified, like Thorax's random cameo and the Tantabus being there. (Both could be removed and nothing would really change about the story). At the minimum, I think the "test" should be introduced much earlier as a driving question. If Scootaloo's dream escapism is a conflict, then we should see more tension between her escapism and her reality, rather than have it just be discussed all at the end.

This is also a problem because the slow sort of style you're going for is likely to bore some readers and possibly confuse the rest (at one point, you seem to call Luna "Big Blue Bertha", and for a moment I thought yet another character had walked into the story; I'm still not sure I understand what that was all about). The prose doesn't help, either. I noticed typos here and there, but at first I had no problem with them and just glided on. Later, however, they seem to get worse. Examples include:

- Twilight made you a tutor, and we need everypony we everypony.

- it's [N.B. should be "its"] impossible number of gossamer wings condensing and dripping in an out of existence

- Rainbow Dash was looking at her an eyebrow cocked and loaded [N.B. Missing a comma between "her" and "an eyebrow"]

It's not that the prose is a priority, but when the story itself doesn't engross as well as it should, little problems like those become harder to ignore.

Lastly, though this isn't a problem for me personally, I suspect some people might consider the premise a little on the obvious side (Scootaloo having flight worries? Luna coaching her to a moral? So what's new?). But that's me thinking how others might take it. I didn't mind it at all.

Now for the good stuff. I liked this one. It's not something to get the blood running, and you really needed to proofread it and iron out those typos before publishing. But the talk with Luna and Scootaloo was sweet enough, and I do appreciate your decision to just show ponies talking to each other about the dream and about the "problem" and facing reality. None of it is revolutionary or even particularly taxing. It's just a nice change of pace.

The best part for me is the trio of paragraphs at the beginning. This fic moves sedately, and that beautifully fits the evocative feeling and wonder in those paragraphs, with the almost Ghibli-esque reverence for the moment. The description of the countryside, the simile "guiding her... like an encouraging mother bird", the moment of uncertainty when she realizes she has full wings, it's all crafted so well.

In some ways, I even like the calm, patient style of the rest of the story. On its own terms, it's nice to have a fic which isn't about big spectacle or cruel drama, but about little pleasures and a dreamy pace. So regardless of my criticisms above, I did enjoy reading this one, author, and I salute your efforts.

And of course, I hope this comment helps you in some way in the future!
#2 · 1
Dreams are hard to judge. There is a different function of logic in them that is not present in consciousness. So, to be fair, this one was interesting read. It followed the prompt well and made the dreamlike quality a little fuzzy, as it always is when we wake up.

I accidentally looked into BCIV's review. So, now my review is flawed.

I agree with BCIV that Thorax seemed to be a loose part that was added to this machinery. Not necessarily a part you should remove, but a part that can be done away with and the machine would be fine without with.

Then, my second is that the dream got lost at a few parts on me. The part where Luna had Scoots looking for something abstract that she couldn't point out. Then, the thing about pain, then what Scoots learned got a little lost on me... oh, then she woke up after catching a couple Zs from homework and asks Rainbow to go fly with her.

But, nonetheless, it was a good piece. It didn't grow on me, but that is the joy of discovery. Not everyone is going to like the same things. So I can say I am indifferent, but I can respect the good writing that was put into this one!

Great writing for the interaction between Luna and Scootaloo!

Thanks for writing!
#3 · 1
To start off, I really liked all the little bits of imagery scattered here and there. In particular, the butterfly and the runway do stick out to me as evoking pretty vivid impressions. The voicing is also pretty strong, which makes the more dialogue-heavy parts flow easier.

As for nitpicks, once or twice I did find myself wondering about Scootaloo's age; whether this was a slightly aged-up version or if this was show-age. It was never significantly distracting, and our other two reviewers didn't seem to have this issue, so just take this as one person's read. To put in my two cents about Thorax, I didn't think he was as distracting as Pinoy or BCVI thought, but I did think that from a pacing perspective, the entire first 1/3ish of the story (where he shows up) was definitely a bit slow.

To elaborate on that, I think one of this piece's biggest struggles is that it takes quite a long time to get to the central conflict. We don't hear a word about Luna's test until it's introduced by Thorax, and then Thorax suddenly leaves the picture. Maybe that's why our other two reviewers are put off by the way you used him—readers will naturally start paying a lot more attention when the capital-P Point of the story comes into play, so discarding what seemed to be a new major player feels out of left field.

I think it's also worth mentioning for a moment that this piece does suffer a bit from "Happening-in-a-Dream" syndrome. It's often difficult to convince readers that what happens in a dream sequence is important, even in a magical setting like MLP. I do have to admit that there was a moment or two where even the great imagery had trouble keeping my attention, because it's hard to shake off the presumption that what happens in a dream doesn't matter. Which, interestingly enough, does play into your payoff in a way, I guess?

As for the payoff itself, I think it's perfectly adequate and has a great sentiment. It does feel a little simple on my second and third reads, but I think you made a good choice to keep this entry short and punchy with the themes you've selected.

All in all, I think what would take this story to the next level would be working on a more grabby hook. Try to find a way to make the reader care more and care sooner. Your story has a few characteristics that make it easier for the reader to start clocking out (dream sequence, late reveal, etc.), so I think you should try to put a little extra focus on making sure you're really supergluing the reader to the page.
#4 · 1
Very intriguing. Very intriguing indeed.

It's a nice little vignette about fantasies and not getting bogged down in them, and I appreciate it.

The problem being, it feels like a vignette, not a story. There's no conflict, no real set up and no definite conclusion. It is a scene without connection or context, and it honestly hurts it.

There are strengths here, though. The imagery in the dream is very vivid and strong and had me sucked in from the first few paragraphs, Luna's riddle-like words and questions elicited some curiosity from me on where it would go, and I really liked how you handled it.

I just wish there was more! I want to know more about what caused Scootaloo to dream this. Were she and Rainbow talking about flying before she fell asleep? Did something set her off that reminded her of her condition? When she flies with RD after the dream, does she feel sad that it's not like her dream but enjoys the experience nonetheless because it's real?

I had far too many questions that left me far too unsatisfied, but there are very strong elements present here.
#5 · 1
Oh, okay. This is Scootaloo. At first, I assumed it was Dash, and I was going to say you did a good job of using somewhat fancy language and still making it sound in character for her. But this might be a bit much for Scootaloo.

Let me go back to the first sentence, though, and see how good a hook it is. It's kind of a weird sentence, as someone said in the Discord chat. That alone might generate some interest factor, but it quickly dies down as the rest of the paragraph just goes on to tell me that things are very ordinary. It's nice descriptive language, but it's all telling me there's nothing to be excited about, which probably isn't a good idea. That's until we get to the end of the first paragraph, when we're finally told there is a reason to be excited. You've buried the lede, but at least only one paragraph deep. But it's not until the fourth paragraph that we find out why she's excited, and by proxy why I should be.

After that, we're only told that she found it exciting and that she'd been flying, and there's no emotional link to the memory of it. I can't visualize what's exciting her, so I can't be excited on her behalf. The weirdness of Luna showing up and mentioning the Tantabus is the first real hook, and that's a good page in. Much further than that before there's much shown about how thrilling Scootaloo finds all this, though, which is what the beginning of the story promised.

In short, you need a better hook. And decide whether that hook is Scootaloo or the Tantabus. Probably the former, as you likely want to keep the latter a surprise.

So, returning to how the language might sound advanced for Scootaloo, that's a really tough thing to account for as a writer. I've struggled with it myself. You want to write this beautiful, flowing prose, but you've picked a character not really suited for it. Plenty of readers can gloss that over, so YMMV. You might consider writing this as omniscient voice or choosing a perspective that matches better, though (maybe Luna?), unless you don't mind making it sound closer to Scootaloo's characterization.

Hey, cool idea of the Tantabus being turned to different uses.

Aw, the editing was great at the start, but now I've hit three obvious errors in the space of a few sentences.

This isn't a long entry, and it's not that it felt like it dragged in places. More that it feels like a very simple plot that didn't need that much space. Does that make sense? I didn't get bored with it as I read, but in the end, it didn't feel like it accomplished much. Like you could have done this in one of the minific rounds, and this might be a good expanded version of it you put on FiMFic.

Anyway, I'm a little mystified by Luna's motives here. Deliberately subject creatures to temptation in order to gauge whether they can resist it? And if they don't, what happens then? She yells at them, or she allows them to become lotus-eaters? Thorax felt like a pretty extraneous addition to the story. If you'd cut him out, I don't think the story would suffer for it. There's no evidence of the test Luna says he'd gone through as well; her mention of that is completely disconnected from what he does in the story. Give him a strong reason to be there.

This reminded me a lot of "Come Fly With Me" in that both are stories that tackle well-worn plots without adding much new to them. Your use of the Tantabus is creative here, but given my suspicion of Luna's motives, it didn't hit home for me. So then what I'm left with is a pretty standard plot, though certainly a quality example of it. That only buys you so much, though.

Plus I agree with >>BlueChameleonVI that you pushed off any hint of conflict until so far into the story that the beginning is pretty stagnant. It'll appeal to fluff fans, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's really tough to write an impressive story that way. You did start out with some nice, evocative descriptions, but again, it's hard to take those, as they're worded, for a product of Scootaloo's mind. You stuck to her perspective well, except for one notable slip:
Scootaloo got a look on her face like somepony had just told her that flying was just falling and missing the ground.
This is a good writer, just not writing something that original.
#6 · 1
Frog (n.) 3. an elastic horny pad growing in the sole of a horse's hoof, helping to absorb the shock when the hoof hits the ground.


The plot of this story is entirely carried by dialogue, yet there's an awful lot of narration to it. Basically every space between lines of dialogue is filled with a character action, a character thought, or a saidism. I think that really hurt my understanding of the story, because I kept getting distracted from what everypony was talking about. But then, there's quite a few typos here, so I wonder if you would have noticed this on another read-through.

I think Luna's characterization is good here. I originally found her frustrating for being so obtuse, but on a second read (skimming past the narration) I understand more about where she's coming from. It seems she's not testing Scootaloo, she's testing the tantabus, to see how much it can help with unknown unknowns, and she can't tell Scootaloo because it would affect the test.

That's all fine, but I then start to wonder if this story is about the tantabus, or about Scootaloo. Author, on a re-read, I think this story would be stronger if Luna were withholding the information, but without telling us she's doing so. Have her lie to Scootaloo and say she's just visiting, encourage the filly to try flying, ask what it feels like, that kind of stuff. That way, if it's not working for the poor girl, the conflict is much more clear: You'd think this was the only place she can fly! What's going wrong?! D:

Then Luna can explain what's going wrong, reveal that she was testing the repurposed dream-demon, and explain unknown unknowns. That way, Thorax's introduction, and his practice at being more assertive, might be easier to tie in. And you can tweak all of that stuff to hit the beats you're looking for. Obviously.


Sorry if that got a little "not your story, asshole." Just an idea.

Last thing: I wanted to compliment you on your last scene. The characterization of Rainbow Dash was on-point, and for that I thank you.

Thanks for writing!