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On The Wings of a Dream · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
Conscience Does Make Cowards
A stabbing pain shot through her right wing, and instantly Twilight is completely awake again. She kicks out instinctively, and the splashing of water echoes through the nearly-empty Pegasopolan baths chambers.


She tries to pull her wing towards herself, but Feathery Breeze is holding it firmly and applying pressure to the pain.

“I’m so sorry!” blurts out the normally mousey handmaiden. Her own wings are extended in alarm and her eyes are wide and panicked. “I was preening it, and I thought it was loose enough to come out, but, oh my gosh, it started bleeding!”

Slowly, Twilight’s eyes focus through the haze given off by the steamy-hot water, and she sees a lone lavender feather floating a yard or two away, its tip leaving a quickly-disappearing trail of redness in the water as it was lazily swept away by the waves formed from the commotion.

Feathery is young and inexperienced—only nineteen or twenty, if Twilight remembers correctly—but she’s a pegasus. Any mare her age should have already spent most of her life knowing exactly how to tell when a feather is ready to be shed. A little ball of frustration forms in the back of Twilight’s throat.

“It’s fine,” says Twilight. “I think I’ve spent too much time here, anyway.”

Twilight tries to step out of the bath, but Feathery clutches her outstretched wing even more tightly. It jostles the injury, and it sends a surprisingly sharp new pang of pain up the limb. Twilight’s eyes squeeze shut on reflex.

“Just, let me try to stop the bleeding first,” Feathery says, voice warbling with upset.

Irritated, Twilight is about to order to girl to let her go, but then she notices how the pegasus looks to be on the edge of tears. The realization dulls Twilight’s annoyance, and slowly, she lets her body relax in the hot water again.

“Okay,” she says.

Feathery desperately nods, and fetches a small white washcloth to press against Twilight’s wing..

“I’m so sorry,” she whispers. “I know you don’t have the time to relax very often, and I know you usually don’t like to waste time with long baths, and I’ve gone and ruined the whole thing. I’m sorry!”

“It’s fine,” says Twilight. She makes a brushing-off motion with her other wing. “Don’t worry about it.”

Silence stretches out for a few minutes, while Twilight’s eyes lazily drift up and down across the walls of the castle baths room.

The idea of having a handmaiden still strikes Twilight as a little strange and more than a little archaic. Who was it who suggested it to her, again? One of her guards, perhaps? It must have been twenty or thirty years ago at this point, and so far it seems to have been a mostly good idea.

Twilight looks back at her wing, and is greeted by a pang of surprise. Despite the passing minutes, it looks like the bleeding hasn’t stopped yet.

It was never bleeding very much—just barely a trickle, really—but it refuses to slow down, and Feathery’s rag is almost completely crimson now. Enough time and blood has passed for the water near Twilight and Feathery to be noticeably stained.

“It’s not working,” says Twilight.

She unceremoniously plucks her wing from Feathery’s grasp, who ducks her head in shame.

“I’m sorry.”

Twilight steps out of the bath, dripping blood-pink water onto the porcelain white tiles. With a burst of magic, she summons a roll of kaolin-infused hemostatic gauze and a pressure bandage from the castle’s infirmary. Another spell instantly dries the area around the bleed, and she works quickly to dress it.

“I’m just gonna grab a quick shower to get the blood out of my coat. I’ll be okay on my own,” she says as she presses the gauze down and wraps the elastic bandage tight enough to make her feel her own pulse through her wing.

Feathery fidgets and can’t make eye contact.


“It’s been a long day, Feathery, and tomorrow’s going to be a long one too.” Twilight tries to give Feathery her best Celestia-smile. “Get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning. I promise I’ll be okay.”

Feathery nods, but she doesn’t get up. She’s still seated in the bloody water with her head down when Twilight leaves.

At two in the morning, the castle is absolutely silent save for her hoofsteps.

Twilight walks up the stairs to her bedroom. She steps into her private bathroom. She runs the water on a cold setting and ducks under her shower just for ten or so seconds, until the run-off doesn’t smell of iron and salt anymore.

Then she lays under her overly-embroidered covers (the ones that annoy her because they’re so perfectly stitched), and she sleeps.

There’s something wrong with Twilight’s leg. It itches and it hurts, and there’s something wrong with it.

Twilight tries to cast a spell to fix it, but it’s too dark, and she can’t focus, and she doesn’t know why. So she paws at her leg with her hoof and with her teeth. There’s something just underneath the fur and the skin, she knows it.

It’s glass.

Shards of glass and obsidian.

Twilight panics. How did it get there? She tries to get it out, with her magic and her lips and her hooves.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

Then, a gentle mote of blue-white light finally snaps away the pitch blackness.

“Hail, Twilight!” A silky-strong voice comes from the mote.

Twilight shields her eyes from the light. She feels like she ought to recognize the voice—it’s so familiar!—but recognition is slippery, and the names and the faces slide out her head before she can figure it out.

“My apologies that I cannot end this nightmare. Distance weakens my influence, and I’m simply too far away, now.”

The words still don’t quite make sense to Twilight. She remembers the glass in her leg, and she starts picking it out, again.

The ball of light comes closer, as if scrutinizing Twilight, and its light is cool and refreshing.

“You never were a very lucid dreamer,” said the familiar voice. “But it is still good to see you. My journey, though exciting, is a lonely one. I look forward to our next—”

Before there is any conscious thought, Twilight first silences her ringing alarm clock with a well-practiced flick of magic.

Then she remembers the dream, and Luna’s visit. Then, she remembers the glass in her leg, and realizes that the pain is still with her.

The fur around her legs and chest is matted, wet, and uncomfortable, and the reason is immediately apparent. It’s all wet with blood, and her right foreleg—the same one as in the dream—stings all over.

Gingerly, Twilight pushes aside the stained covers and stands up on three legs.

There’s a big, angry welt on her leg, and it’s still slowly weeping blood. The skin around it is losing hair and inflamed.

The diagnosis is simple: an abrasive dermal injury. The cause? A little more perplexing, Twilight admits to herself. An allergic reaction to the new soaps from last night is at the top of her list of possibilities.

Reaching into the infirmary in her mind’s eye, her magic fetches ibuprofen, antibiotics, and bandages. A moment later, she remembers her wing, and she also teleports new gauze for it, even though it looks like the bleeding was mostly stopped.

As she works, her bedroom door shyly opens. Twilight’s back is turned away, but she hears Feathery’s little gasp at the sight of the bedsheets.

“It’s okay,” says Twilight. “Just call the maids in, after we’re done.”

As though it were any other morning, Twilight takes a seat in front of her dresser, and leans to the side to let Feathery do her mane, which was frizzled from going to bed wet.

It takes a moment for Feathery to grab her brush, add a drop of lavender oil, and begin running it through Twilight’s hair.

“You should see a doctor,” the pegasus finally says from around the handle of the comb.

“I am a doctor, Feathery,” says Twilight. “I just got my MD recertification, remember?”

“I mean… you should see another doctor.” There’s a thick layer of concern in Feathery Breeze’s voice. “You can’t… You shouldn’t try to take care of yourself. It’s why you have ponies like me. To help you.”

Twilight thinks about this for a moment.

“Okay, I will,” she finally says. “Can you schedule something for this week?”

“Yes! I will!” The relief is evident in Feathery’s voice.

“Thank you. Do you have today’s schedule?”

“Yes, I do,” says Feathery.

She retrieves a manilla folder tucked under one of her wings, and sets it on the dresser. Twilight’s hornglow takes it and opens it up, revealing the neatly typewritten schedule, detailed down to the minute.

It is, as usual, mind bogglingly busy.

Feathery always tried her best to avoid conflicts, but there were inevitably a few places where two or three commitments spilled into each other.

She’d be lucky if she can resolve half of these by the end of the day. Not for the first time, Twilight knows that it was really too much for one pony to handle. It’d take a team of dedicated, skilled individuals to get every single item done. Maybe, five ponies, altogether.

… Or maybe six.

It’s a stupid thought.

“Feathery,” she says, switching gears, “Luna and I had another chat last night. Could you pen in a reminder to send Celestia a letter about it at the end of the day?”

“Of course!” says Feathery. “How is she doing?”

Like everypony else her age, Feathery never met Luna before the she left. But Twilight had tried her best to let Feathery know the kind of pony Luna is, at least secondhand.

“It sounded like she’s still flying,” said Twilight. “The void is huge, and the stars are very, very far away. I wish I had been lucid enough to talk more with her.”

“I’m sure she still enjoyed your company.”

“I hope she did.”

WIth an experienced flip, Feathery tucks Twilight’s mane into her usual bun, and secures it in place with a small length of elastic.When its done, Twilight fetches her modest little tiara from an unadorned jewel box and gently sets it on top of her head.

“Are we on time?” asks Twilight.

Feathery checks her ever-present pocketwatch and shakes her head, apologetically.

“Almost,” she says.

Twilight sighs. Truth be told, they’re never on time.

“Okay, let’s go.”

“Well, it’s not an infection. Cultures all came out negative,” says Doctor Whiteoak.

Twilight tilts her head. This is a surprise to her.

“Then what could it possibly be? It’s spreading,” she says.

“I’m very sorry, but I’m afraid I’m just as confused as you are,” says Whiteoak. His magic begins unwrapping the bandages around Twilight’s forelegs and wings.

The princess squirms in her seat. Exposure to air made the welts sting and burn.

“We’ll know more once we run a more comprehensive battery of tests.” The doctor tries to sound optimistic. “At least, after we do the histamine assay, we’ll know if it’s an allergy or not.”

Twilight frowns. Whiteoak is arguably the best dermatologist on this side of the Great Sea. And it’s clear to Twilight that he has no idea why the fur and skin on her legs is peeling off like cellophane.

When the bandages are off, Twilight can already tell that it’s gotten worse. On her left arm, the raw spot is as large as an apple. On her right arm, where it began, bloody, scabbed splotches run up and down the entire length. Her wings are missing many more feathers now—enough to make unaided flight extremely difficult.

Whiteoak picked up an aerosol can of local anesthesia and begins spraying. Even the moisture of the mist is enough to send white-hot pinpricks up and down Twilight’s limbs.

“Stop,” she said, squeezing her eyes shut to hold back automatic tears. “It’s not worth it. Just take the samples.”

Whiteoak hesitates for only a second before he says, “Of course,” and retrieves his equipment.

An array of scalpels and forceps and collection tubes fly into the air, hoisted by a cloud of the doctor’s magic. Like a swarm of insects, they flitter to the left and to the right and upwards and downwards. And like insects, every moment or so one of them darted forward to sting Twilight and pick away at her.

Whiteoak is extremely thorough. He takes feathers, pieces of the ineffective scabs, swabs of oozing blood from several spots, tiny snips of the diseased flesh, and even samples of seemingly healthy skin and fur. In the end, he fills more than thirty sample tubes, each one neatly floating one by one into a waiting rack.

When it’s finally over, Whiteoak dumps his tools into a biohazard bin, and bandages up Twilight’s legs and wing in under a minute.

“I’m going to ship some of these samples on ice to some of my colleagues overseas,” says Whiteoak. “We’ve collaborated on similar cases, and I think their input could be very helpful.”

More proof that the doctor really has no idea what’s wrong with her. Twilight sighs.

“How long will it take?” she asks.

“I’ll try to give you an update in two or three weeks,” he said. “I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific than that.”

“Of course, doctor.”

Twilight takes her tiara from where she placed it on a countertop, and floats it back on her head. She steps off of the examination table, and painfully puts on the little, simple dress that Feathery chose this morning to hide the bandages.

And then she leaves, because she’s late, and she has work to do.

Twilight distinctly has the impression that she’s dreaming, mostly because she hadn’t been a student at Magic Kindergarten for more than a hundred years.

When a faint little blue ball of light approaches her as she tries to shuffle her alicorn-sized body into a child-sized desk, she considered her impression confirmed.

“Hail, Twilight Sparkle!”

“Hello, Luna,” she whispered, because the teacher was talking and she didn’t want to get in trouble. Her eye itches, and she rubs at it with the tip of a wing.

“Ah! I see we’re a little more self-aware this time.” Luna’s musical voice carries a touch of laughter. “How are you?”

“I’m doing fine,” says Twilight. Then she remembers her wings and her legs and her chest, and she realizes that she can still feel them burning, even in the dream. She squirms in the too-small chair. “How’s your journey?”

“Marvelous!” Luna declares. “The Song is so clear, so loud now. I can see each dream in flight as it dances on its way to the Stars—there are so many! It’s truly spectacular, and I wish I could share the sight with you.”

“That’s great to hear,” Twilight whispers. The pain is coming in waves now; each one threatening to tear her into the waking world.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

She knows that trying to focus would make her wake up faster—mental acuity kills dreams—so she instead closes her eyes and tries to relax, letting the droning sound of the teacher’s voice wash over her without paying attention to the words. Both of her eyes burn, like it’s the middle of hay fever season without her allergy medication.

“Twilight, are you uncomfortable?” Luna’s voice has suddenly lost its boisterousness.

Twilight doesn’t have the focus to reply.

“No,” says Luna, in realization. “You’re in pain. Great pain.”

“It’s nothing.” Twilight breathed slowly. “Tell me about the Song, Luna. Tell me what the Stars dream of.”

“Twilight, you are worrying me,” said Luna. “Say the word and I will turn around and come back.”

“No!” Twilight yells.

The entire room of blank-faced foals turn their heads to look at the commotion.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

“Don’t!” Twilight pleads. “You’ve spent so long. This is so important to you. Don’t throw it away because of me.”

There’s a long silence. The teacher and foals continue to stare with eyeless faces. Twilight rubs her eyes with her hooves.

“Sometimes, our talks worry me greatly, Twilight Sparkle,” says Luna, finally. “You say things that are not… healthy.”

“None of it matters,” says Twilight. “Please, don’t turn around. I’d hate myself for it if you did.”

“I won’t,” says Luna. “Not if it distresses you. But you need to promise me that—”

The alarm clock jolted Twilight up.

Feathery gently clicks it off when it’s clear that Twilight is awake. The handmaid sleeps in the same room as Twilight, now, on a little cot at the foot of Twilight’s bed. It’s easier, this way.

Carefully, Feathery peels away the sheets, and the simple woolen comforter and throws them down the laundry chute. They’re much easier to clean than the embroidered quilts and pillows. She’s about to help Twilight up to her feet, using only the softest parts of her wings to support her, when Twilight bats her away.

“Gauze,” says Twilight. “There’s something wrong with my eyes.”

In the middle of a meeting about the big new reclassification laws concerning building safety in regards to the use of magically enhanced materials, a courier slips into the room and whispers into Feathery’s ear. Twilight watches as the girl nods and scribbles notes into her clipboard. She exchanges a few words with the courier—who salutes and leaves—before approaching Twilight from the side.

“I’m very sorry; one moment please,” says Twilight to the hoof-full of ponies in gathered in the presentation room. She turns to Feathery Breeze.

“You have a visitor,” says Feathery. “The Draconic Ambassador is here to see you.”

“Can we pen him in after lunch?” asks Twilight.

“I’m afraid not,” says Feathery, with an apologetic glance at the rest of the meeting attendees.

“I understand,” says Twilight. She motions Feathery to help her get up.

It’s a bit of a protracted affair, made awkward by the big, frilly dress that Twilight wore. Twilight doesn’t allow the time to go to waste, though.

“I’m afraid I have to leave the rest of these deliberations to your capable hooves, mares and gentlestallions,” she says as Feathery props her up with her wing. “Please have your proposals submitted by the end of the day, and we’ll review them at next week’s follow-up. We’re only a month away from our meet with the industry reps, so let’s figure out how many resources we need to pull in from Development to make this happen.”

The gathered ponies mutter their agreement and bid her farewell.

When they leave the room, Twilight’s posture slumps. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

“Where is he?” she asks.

“I’ve asked the guards to put him in the Western Sunroom.”

It’s the closest room tall enough to comfortably hold the Ambassador. Twilight nods in appreciation. At least the walk isn’t going to be long.

As their hooves click and clack against the marble floor, Twilight feels fluid welling up in her eyes again. Automatically, she fetches one of the handkerchiefs she keeps in dress’s many pockets and dabs her eyes. When she’s done, she inspects the handkerchief. It still looks unused and perfectly dry.


When they pass by a garbage can, she tosses it in.

Soon, they reach the sunroom, and Feathery steps in front to open the door for Twilight.

The ambassador isn’t the largest dragon, but he’s a tall and lithe one. Even on all fours, he would have to crouch to pass through the halls of the castle. The pegasus guards had opened up the roof of the sunroom to allow him easy admittance.

He smiles when he sees the two of them.

“Twilight, Feathery, great to see you guys,” he says.

Feathery beams and waves with the tip of one of her wings.

“Hi, Spike!” she exclaims. “It’s been a while.”

Spike is seated on the floor, his oversized claws holding a comically regular-sized teacup. Every moment or two he brings it up to his scaly lips, as though the liquid it held could possibly make a difference. It’s an immediately disarming sight, and Twilight knows that it’s just the way he likes it.

“You look good, Spike,” says Twilight. She Celestia-smiles and carefully takes a seat. The Sunroom is dotted with little archipelagos of tables and chairs. She selects the seat nearest to Spike. The welts have spread to her hind legs and haunches, so finding a position that pained her the least was a trial-and-error process.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

“New dress?” asked Spike. There’s a sharp flicker in her eye when he speaks.

“Yes, it is.” Twilight decides to change the subject. “What brings you here? Ember not keeping you busy enough?”

Spike huffs and sips his tea. “She keeps me plenty busy. I just… wanted to see you.”

A little frown works its way into the edge of Twilight’s lip.

“You know I’m busy, Spike. We’re both busy people.”

“I know, I know,” says Spike. He’s trying to inject levity into his tone. “But can we pretend that we’re not? I’m sure Feathery can make something work with that schedule of hers.”

Feathery chuckles, but Twilight does not.

“Okay,” says Twilight.

And then, she waits.

The silence stretches for several moments. Twilight raised Spike; she knows that he can’t stand awkward silences. Even when he was a little wyrmling, he’d babble sarcastic remarks at himself before he let a room sit quiet for too long. It’s always been the fastest way to get him to admit what was really on his mind.

A minute or two later, Spike crumples.

He sets the little teacup down on a little saucer and puts it away on one of the little tables. The room seems to rumble when he sighs.

“I’m worried about you,” he says, averting his eyes. “I still have a little bit of pull with the staff here. And what they say… isn’t very good.”

“We’ve had this conversation before, I think,” says Twilight. Like the ones before it, she’s already mapping out how this talk will go. “You know me, Spike. I’m not freaking out. I’m not ‘Twilight-ing’ again. I’m just handling things.”

This would be the part where Spike insists she needs a vacation, or something.

But he didn’t.

“How many times have you seen your doctor?” he asks.

Twilight freezes. She instinctively glances down at herself and checks for red.

“I don’t need to see the blood, Twilight. I can smell it.” says Spike. He turns to Feathery. “How many times did she see her doctor?”

Feathery wilts under the sudden scrutiny. Her eyes desperately dart between the two of them, before she finally makes up her mind.

“Three times,” she says. “Once in the beginning, and two follow-ups. She hasn’t seen Doctor Whiteoak since March.”

Spike turns back to the Princess.

“What are you doing Twilight?”

“I’ve sent letters to him,” Twilight insists. “He’s agreed that he’s taken all the biopsies he needs, and he’ll let me know if they figure out what it is. Nothing we can do until then.”

“He agreed because you’re his Princess,” said Spike. “This is… This is insane.”

Twilight’s eyes are wet and uncomfortable again. She fetches a new handkerchief and dabs the thick moisture away. The handkerchief, of course, still looks perfectly dry.

Spike stares at the handkerchief, vehemently.

“That’s more blood, isn’t it?” he asked. “You’ve turned yours invisible, the staff told me.”

A thin lance of betrayal strikes through Twilight’s heart. But she puts her hurt feelings aside.

For now.

“What else did they tell you?” she asks.

“That the best way to tell when you’re finally asleep, is when your spell wears off, and there are little red splotches in all of the rooms you’ve been in.” Spike gritted his teeth. “They clean it up before you can see it in the morning.”

Twilight turns to Feathery.

“Leave,” she all but growls. “Wait for me at the door.”

The handmaid bows, almost trips over herself, and exits the room quickly.

When she’s gone, Twilight sets down her hankercheif and looks at Spike.

“I’m not stupid,” she says. “I know it’s Feathery. There are seven ponies in the castle with access to the dragonfire stores, and she’s the only one of them who was here when you were around.”

Spike knows he’s a bad liar. So he nods.

“Don’t take this out on her,” he says. “She’s worried. Very worried.”

“She has no right to be worried on my behalf,” said Twilight.

“Having no right isn’t the same as having no reason.” Spike set his jaw. “What are you doing Twilight? This isn’t you.”

“What in the world is that supposed to mean?” Twilight can’t help but to let just a little bit more of the pretense of civility drop away.

There’s a pause. Spike sighs.

“You know exactly what I mean,” says the ambassador.

Twilight knows that Spike doesn’t want to say what he’s thinking. She knows he shouldn’t have to say it. But the searing pain across her legs and her wings and her belly and her chest has stolen away her patience, and she presses him on.

“No,” she says, venomously. “I don’t.”

Spike’s eyes become set, like concrete.

“You’re not acting like the pony who knew that Applejack was working herself to death,” he says. “You’re not acting like the pony who’d fly out to Manehattan every time Rarity’s boutique needed another set of hooves. Or the pony who helped Starlight become the become the best version of herself. You’re not acting like a Princess of Friendship.”

It’s exactly what Twilight expected, but hearing it out loud makes her heart pound and her teeth gnash.

She gets up out of her chair. Without Feathery’s help, it’s an even longer and painful process than before.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

“Go home, Spike,” she says. Her voice is ice. “You have a wife and a kingdom to worry about.”

She turns and slowly walks away, and she knew Spike could do nothing to stop her. She does not turn back to look as she shoves the doors open with a burst from her horn and lets them swing shut behind her.

Feathery, who was slumped by the doors, immediately stands up to attention. Renewed worry washes across her face when she sees the state that Twilight’s in.

“Feathery,” she says, in a measured voice. “Do you have this week’s agenda finalized?”

Feathery is confused and upset. It takes her a minute, but she nods.

“Put it on my desk,” says Twilight. “Then, go to the seneschal’s office and inform them that I’ve dismissed you.”

Twilight makes sure that her tone leaves no question as to what she means.

Feathery Breeze is on the brink of tears, but she nods.

Twilight nods back, and limps away.

The little pile of correspondence on her desk is only getting larger, Twilight knows.

She tries to chip away at it every night, but usually she opens only handful of the letters before giving up and collapsing on her bed. Now, there are letters that are weeks old, sitting unopened. It’s a perpetually messy part of her desk.

But today, as soon as Twilight enters her office, she notices the scroll.

It’s an old-fashioned one, made of thick, hardy, beige paper and sealed with a unmarked circle of red wax. There’s no written addresses or stamps; there’s only a little sketch of a sun on the back of it.

Twilight is not entirely sure how it got here, but she knows exactly what it is. It’s Spike’s playing his last card.

She breaks the wax and reads the letter, written in Celestia’s familiar hornwriting. And despite herself, she can’t help but feel a little warm.

Celestia wants Twilight to visit her, and she’s suggested a time next week. She suggests Twilight to come at noon, and stay for supper. Which is, of course, her way of telling Twilight to clear the entire afternoon.

And, well, Twilight can’t say no. It’s been a year or so since she last spoke to Celestia face-to-face, so she knows that she’s been owing her a visit for some time. It wouldn’t make sense to say no.

So Twilight drafts a little reply letter. A short one, because she doesn’t have the focus or the time to write a longer one.

She’s not sure what will come out of this, but she’ll cross that bridge when she gets there.

The location of Celestia’s island is all but a national secret. Twilight isn’t sure of the exact number of ponies who knew, but it's certainly less than two or three hundred.

It isn’t particularly far, but it’s part of the Western Shoals, where there are easily three or four hundred little islands within fifty miles of Equestria’s most remote shore. Most are undocumented, just like Celestia’s was before she chose it.

It’s the definition of picturesque. A little hoof-made cabin, on a grassy cliff that peeks out of a meadowy woods. The ocean below, and no other land as far as the eye can see. A bustling garden.

The skycharriot touches down on the grass and rumbles as the two officers pulling it bring it to a stop.

Twilight’s entire body screams at her—It hurts! It hurts! It hurts!—but she bites down in the inside of her cheek and bears it until it’s finally over.

“Ma’am?” asks one of the pilots.

“Thank you, sirs,” she says. She steps out of the carriage, carefully. “I’ll take it from here. Be back here at sundown.”

The pair nicker in acknowledgement and take off as soon as Twilight is at a safe distance.

Twilight walks down an ill-defined little dirt path through the vegetable garden. She’s wearing a simple yellow dress, long enough and loose enough to cover every part of her body, almost up to her chin. As she walks and tries to avoid getting her dress caught in the shoots and thistles, she thinks about what she’s going to say to Celestia.

She has no ideas, by the time she reaches the door and knocks.

Celestia opens it and beams.

“Twilight!” says Celestia. “Come inside!”

The retired princess looks oddly naked without her regalia. Her mane, striped in the colors of the sunrise, is inexpertly bobbed short and tied into a messy ponytail. It sits flat across one shoulder, no longer magical and billowing. Her once pristine coat is almost a golden-brown now, with dirt and sawdust. She stinks of mud and wood and sweat.

And this is the happiest Twilight has ever seen her.

“Mind your head!” she says, ducking through the low doorway of the house she built herself.

Twilight follows her, and notices that things have changed since her last visit.

The wooden loom still takes up a big portion of the main room, but there’s a new shelf in the back of the living area, opposite the fireplace. A collection of wooden figures fills it from top to bottom, all expertly carved. Twilight sees a seapony, a griffon mid-flight, and… herself. Several of the pieces are dedicated to her, both with and without wings.

“I hope I didn’t flub those up,” Celestia giggles. “I was working off of memory, after all.”

“They’re beautiful,” whispers Twilight. She wonders how they could be so beautiful.

“Thank you!” says Celestia. She pulls a copper kettle out of the fire and pours its contents into two wooden cups. With a glow of magic, she offers one to Twilight.

Twilight bring it up to her lips and drinks.

It’s, honestly, pretty awful. Sour, grassy, and bitter.

She coughs, and Celestia sighs.

“I’ve been trying to mock-up some kind of tea for a while now. There’s something similar to lemongrass that grows near that freshwater spring on the other side of the island.”

“This is nothing like lemongrass,” says Twilight, a smile creeping on her face.

“You’re talking to an addict in withdrawal.” Celestia grins and sips deeply from her own cup. “Everything begins tasting like tea, given the time.”

They sit next to the fire for a little while longer, enjoying the warmth and the raw crackle. Next to the tea kettle in the fire, there’s also a covered cauldron hissing steam. Dinner, Twilight assumes. She takes another sip of the ‘tea’, and then gives up on it and leaves it on the table.

“I built this house,” says Celestia, her eyes faraway, “to match the one Luna and I grew up in. She barely remembers it, but I do. I remember the garden, I remember the fireplace and the warmth. The loom, and the stone foundation, the chilly nights.”

“But that place is gone now, isn’t it?” asks Twilight.

“Yes, it’s gone. But not forgotten.” Celestia’s posture shifts. “Do you know what the difference between gardening and carpentry is?” she asks.

“Gardening is making things grow,” said Twilight. “Carpentry is cutting them away.”

“That’s an interesting answer,” says Celestia.

Suddenly, Twilight feels like a little foal. It frightens her a little, but it’s also nostalgic.

“My answer would be, carpentry is perfect,” Celestia says. “While gardening, isn’t.”

Celestia takes hold of one of the figures from the shelf—one of a sleeping fox—and gives it to Twilight.

“I planned this, just the same way I planned the house, and these chairs, and the shelves.” she says. “ Every last detail came out exactly the way I wanted it. And if it didn’t, it was because I did something wrong. Gardening is different. A million things can go wrong. I can’t plan which way the vines will grow, and I can’t plan how much rain I’m going to get.”

Twilight sets the fox down on the table, but she still stares at it.

“When I first came here, I tried my hand at gardening, and I grew frustrated.” Celestia smirks at the memory. “So I turned to whittling instead, to pass the time. It felt much more in my control. And for about a year or so, it’s all I did.

“But then, I realized that as rewarding as it was, it was sterile. There was nothing involved but myself.” She cocks her head to the side. “Plus, I was getting really sick of eating grass.”

Twilight’s own laugh catches her by surprise. Her figure shakes, and suddenly the laugh is cut short when pain assaults her.

It hurts! It hurts! It hurts!

She almost gags, and immediately grabs her cup of tea and gulps it down, to stifle herself.

Celestia notices. Of course Celestia notices.

She gets out of her seat and sits on the floor in front of Twilight, at the foot of Twilight’s chair. Now, Twilight’s head is much higher than Celestia’s, and it makes her uncomfortable.

“Gardening,” Celestia says, slowly, “has an element of Discord in it. Things don’t go to plan. It takes skill, but in the end, every gardener wonders at least a little if things will turn out horribly wrong, or horribly wonderfully.”

Celestia holds out her hoof, in an obvious manner.

Twilight hesitates, and then finally offers her own hoof to her former teacher.

Celestia pulls up the sleeve of Twilight’s dress. The edges of her eyes pinch and wrinkle when she sees the bandages that encase Twilight’s leg.

Without speaking, she begins to unwrap them.

Twilight’s body and mind scream that this isn’t a good idea. Already the pain in her leg is growing, from its usual buzz dulled by diazepam and opiates, to a full-on lava-hot burning..

But Twilight doesn’t lift a feather to stop Celestia.

When the final layer is peeled away and the wound is exposed to open air, everything becomes a hundred—a thousand!—times worse.

It hurts! It hurts! IT HURTS!

Twilight writhes in her chair, every limb stiff as a plank. Because she knows that if she moves too much, it’ll only make the pain worse.

Then, she screams.

It’s the first time she has, ever since it started happening. She’s not quite sure why she’s screaming, because the pain has been worse before.

But back then, there were ponies in the castle who would have heard her, as she scrubbed at her bloody flesh in her shower, or as she tripped and fell in the hallways when she couldn’t keep her balance any longer.

Now, there’s only her and Celestia alone in the middle of the ocean, and everything pours out.

Celestia sobs. Her magic fetches the cauldron from the fire, and she pulls out white rags that she had been boiling in clay and water. She throws away the bloody used bandages, and gently—so gently—wraps the warm new ones around Twilight’s leg.

“Twilight,” she says, in a pained voice. “You’re hurt.”

“It’s okay,” pleaded Twilight. “It’s okay, and it’s going to be okay. I can still do my job. I can still be the Princess.”

Celestia shakes her head.

“No, please!” Twilight squeezes out her words from between hiccups. “You were the only Princess for a thousand years. Less than a century, is nothing! You deserve to be able to— I should be able to—”

“Twilight,” said Celestia, “I was the Princess of the Sun. The Sun sustains me. It Sings to me, and it guides me. I had the Sun with me for the last fifteen hundred years, and I will have it for another fifteen hundred more, as far as we can tell.”

A tear slips out of the side of her clenched-shut eye.

“I’m sorry; I was foolish,” says Celestia. “When They passed, I thought you would need time and space, as I did. I was stupid not to realize that the Princess of Friendship would need her friends.”

With a gentle push of magic, Celestia picks Twilight up, and carefully pulls her simple, yellow dress off.

Twilight screams again when Celestia undoes the bandages around her wings, and her chest, and her other legs, but she lets Celestia do it. It's worth it, when Celestia puts the warm, fresh bandages on her wounds.

Celestia puts Twilight in her own bed, and covers her with a blanket made from her own down.

“Sleep,” she says. “I’ll have dinner ready when you wake.”

So Twilight closes her eyes and sleeps.

Twilight dreams of a cliff, impossibly tall. She dreams that she is on its peak, and there is something there, invisible and pushing her slowly towards the edge.

Twilight digs her hooves in and screams and tries to call on her magic to shield her, but nothing is working, and her first hoof slips off the edge, and she feels the dark, empty, nothingness below her.

Suddenly, the nightmare is shattered.

Twilight is laying on a grassy hill. The sun is warm on her face, and Luna is laying next to her, looking at her with a smile.

“Hail, Twilight,” says the Night Princess.

Twilight reaches out with her hoof and touches Luna. Luna is warm and firm and real. She feels more real than even the waking world.

“You made it,” whispers Twilight. “You’ve reached the place where dreams go.”

“I have!” Luna’s happiness is melodic and her voice is clear and strong. “It is… indescribable, Twilight Sparkle. I’ve reached the Stars and… well they’re not quite people, but they know things. Many things. I could spend a thousand years here, trying to learn a thousandth of what they’ve seen.”

A pang goes through Twilight’s heart.

“Will you?” she asks.

Luna’s smile evaporates.

“Last we spoke,” she says, “you were in terrible pain.”

Twilight nods. She paws at the dirt, because she could. It feels rich and crumbly under her hoof.

“I hurt,” she admits, finally. “I hurt all over, and I hurt inside too. I… I’m not as strong as I think I was.”

Luna doesn’t cry, like Celestia did. She doesn’t even speak.

She only lies next to Twilight, and together, with their backs on the big, grassy hill, they look at the sun in the sky and count the hundred thousand stars and the hundred million Dreams behind it.

Luna stays with Twilight until she wakes.

Today, Twilight wakes the same way she has woken for the past two months.

She wakes from the midmorning sun, when it’s finally high enough to stream through her hospital window and warm her face.

Today, as it has been for the past two months, there is no schedule.

Feathery is there, when Twilight opens her eyes, and it makes Twilight smile. The doctors had originally given them trouble about Feathery staying there, but Celestia made it absolutely clear that Twilight would not get better if Feathery wasn't in the room with her.

As Twilight eats breakfast, Feathery opens and reads aloud the mail Twilight received overnight. Hearing the well-wishes from across the nation actually makes Twilight’s legs and skin hurt just a little less. But Twilight suspects that the it’s not the letters that’s doing it, but instead the Friendship in the voice reading those letters.

Celestia visits, at lunchtime, as she does every day.

She doesn’t quite seem the same, with her coat washed out to a perfect white again. But her smile is the same and her eyes are the same, even when there’s a crown sitting on her forehead above them.

They talk, but only for a short while. Celestia has gotten right back into the swing of running Equestria, despite the fact that two or three generations of politicians had never known her but by name.

Twilight once asked her how she did it, and she only smiled and said “Bureaucrats will always be bureaucrats.”

Today, Twilight wants to go to the courtyard.

“Help me up?” she asks Feathery.

And Feathery Breeze is there in an instant, going through the well-practiced motions to help Twilight sit up, turn around, and stand. She’s there as Twilight leans against her. Feathery puts one wing across Twilight’s shoulders, and Twilight puts one wing across Feathery’s haunches, and together they walk.

“Spike is still in town, I’ve heard,” she says. “Want me to send a guard to fetch him?”

“Yes, please.” Twilight focuses on walking, while Feathery talks.

Feathery talks about her little sisters, and how they’re trying to learn to bake cookies, like their grandmother. She talks about the other staff members of Twilight’s castle—did Twilight know that Bookends was going to have twins?

Twilight laughs at the appropriateness. And she tells Feathery what Luna showed her last night, in the presence of the Stars. How the Night Princess was searching their knowledge for a path back to the planet that wouldn’t take almost twenty three years of flight.

“I look forward to meeting her, finally,” says Feathery.

And Twilight’s heart glows just a little brighter at the thought.

Together, the two of them, each leaning on the other, walk out into the sun.

« Prev   2   Next »
#1 · 2
· · >>Bachiavellian
Same disclaimer as in my last comment. I ain't copy-pasting, mate.

Again, I'll start with the bad stuff: The fic heavily sets up the disease at the beginning as the driving question, and then never (as far as I can tell) really explains it. My best guess is that it's like Discord being orderly, but a lot more gory: Twilight shuns her friends, and that causes her, as Princess of Friendship, increasingly intense pain. But note I call this a guess. I have no clue, and it's immensely dissatisfying to feel like the whole plot is a shocking swerve bait-and-switch. I'm not against the more psychological angle of the second half - I'd expect it to be present somewhere - but it feels less like a facet of the plot and more like a completely different thread just took over. It didn't feel well-balanced overall.

Instead, it shifts focus - most obviously around the point Spike enters the picture - to Twilight doing the whole martyr thing which I swear I've encountered in about a dozen plus stories prior to now, including canon ones. The ubiquity is not the problem - Scootaloo-Rainbow stories are a dime a dozen, and I still like those - but Twilight's brand of workaholic martyrdom I find tedious anyway. Especially when the disease is so grisly and horrifying, she becomes less a tragic figure and more an outright moron. Sure, she's getting nowhere medically, but after that one scene with the doctor, there's no frantic effort to solve the problem. She literally just papers over a massive haemorrhaging disease and acts outraged at anyone who points out the perfectly sensible, I mean, what the actual hell!? Couple that with her petty angry moment firing Feathery, and all sympathy I had for our main character dried up completely by the two-thirds mark. Which is a problem, because it lessens the investment I felt going into the finale.

Another point is that the worldbuilding is too vague for my tastes. The instant I read "Pegasopolan" and "Feathery Breeze", my first interpretation was "Alternate Universe", especially with the lack of Main Six and Spike. An AU with canon elements added, as it turned out, when Luna appeared with her dream-walker abilities, which left me uncertain whether this might actually be canonical, but in the future. My point is that, while I did clock that this was the future around the time Spike comes in... that's a huge chunk of the story where I was still trying to get my bearings. An OC like Whiteoak talking about a Great Sea didn't do much to resolve my confusion. This too is a potential problem because, if the reader doesn't get their bearings as solidly as possible, as early as possible, the ongoing confusion will distract them from the rest of the story, if only slightly. That diminishes the impact somewhat.

Also, what was up with the present tense throughout? Even ignoring those times it slipped up and went into the past tense anyway, what purpose did it serve? I can't see any other than as doing it just for the sake of doing something different. I adjusted eventually, (having been trained heavily for past tense stories myself, I needed time to adjust), but it still bugs me to an extent.

That said, this fic has a hell of an opening. Immediately, I found myself horrified and curious as to the disease, and for as long as I interpreted this as a kind of medical horror-slash-drama, I was really engaged. The frustration and nagging uncertainty around the disease, especially when even a professional investigation is throwing up no clues, really does suck you in and is a fantastic way to generate a sense of unease and mystery. I was really looking forward to finding out where Twilight got this spreading, bleeding illness, and what it was eventually going to be revealed as. The pacing is also nicely steady and patient, contributing greatly to the feeling of low-key dread as the story progresses. Very well written.

Character-wise, there's not much going on with Feathery Breeze. She's sort of a bland nice girl, which is fine and functional, but nothing remarkable. I've already given my views of Twilight. That said, I do like Celestia's humble and nostalgic retirement, as well as the reveal that Luna's delving further into the cosmos. Excellently executed, especially the wisdom shown by Celestia in comparing carpentry and gardening to emphasize boring order and uncertain chaos (I'm not 100% sure you're not exaggerating the difference a little between the two, but I got the point of the analogy). Although mentioning "Pegasopolan bath houses" and then having Luna say "Hail Twilight" didn't do much for my confusion re: whether this was future canon or an AU with a heavy Classical Civilization bent (reminds me too much of "Hail, Caesar!").

There are typos and spelling errors here too, but for the most part, the prose I wouldn't change a bit. Good style, comfortable reading, helps with the mood, I love it. I'll rate this on its craftsmanship, definitely.

So overall, most of my problems with it are probably more personal interpretation than anything concrete, but they were big problems. Hopefully, I've phrased them in a way that you might find something useful in all this rambling of mine.
#2 · 2
· · >>Bachiavellian
Dangit! Why do you amazing writers have to make it hard for me to decide on my slate?

That aside, I liked this one for the fact of the imagery of a glimpse of the potential future post show.

oh I am so depressed.

This has a good ending to it, something hollow and satisfying at the same time.

Just a thing that I'll nitpick. (Gosh, now I'll be some type of closure fanatic critic from now on). Mysterious disease shows up, my presumption is that it is a effect of her inner self crumbling. When she finally becomes vulnerable, she heals, at least from what I can tell. (I'm going to sound like a hypochondriac.) But, the servants act like it is nothing contagious (which is implied, but it would help to mention that since Feathery seems to be the overly careful type). It also led me to make a fake implication when this sentence showed up:

“I’m not stupid,” she says. “I know it’s Feathery.

My mind went something like this: Of course, overly careful character assigned as servant poisons her ruler. But how?

..But then I realized- it is just them talking about unneeded hullabaloo around her castle.

But all in all, I liked the imagery of Celestia's cottage- that scene stood out for sure. I will remember that when weighing my slate. :Twilightsmile:

Anyways, that's my two cents!
Thank you for sharing!
#3 · 1
· · >>Bachiavellian
Third person present tense is an interesting choice, and for the first few paragraphs I was pouring over every sentence and word looking for a slip up. I found none because I was simply engrossed in the story.

This was a beautiful and poignant story, the disease functioned as a perfect metaphor for growing too distant and cold. It served as a driving force to get her to speak to Celestia, to make things right again. It was wonderfully moving and filled with such strong imagery and emotions. I was beginning to tear up when she was speaking to Celestia even!

It's a wonderful story.

But it doesn't fit the prompt, not really.

There are dreams in the story, but they don't correlate to what's happening. They serve to let us know what Luna is up to, and nothing else. If you had set it up a bit better, open the story with a dream of her friends who are long gone, that pain just pushes her farther away from those around her. Then the disease starts. The dreams become more intense, the disease gets worse.

That would have fit the prompt, but as the story stands right now....it's wonderful and I love it. It's such a good story, but it just doesn't mesh with the prompt.

Stunning prose, Author. Stunning.
#4 · 3
· · >>Pascoite >>Bachiavellian
First sentences again! We have a sharp action up front, which isn't bad, but someone reacting generically to a pain is pretty common. Look how it's structured, though. Twilight feels a pain, and her immediate reaction should be to say that "ow." But the narration (as you've written it, effectively her thought process) has time to wedge in quite a bit before that "ow" happens. That defeats the immediacy of it, and immediacy, while important for effects like this in general, is especially important if you're going to write in present tense (more on this in a minute). I'd recommend having her "Ouch!" come right after the pain hits her, then put the rest of the explanation after it. As you've arranged it, her shout is a much more conscious choice, so it comes across as her doing it deliberately, almost in a passive-aggressive way to let Feathery know she hurt her. I'd suggest paying attention to the ordering here, and give a more evocative description of the pain to have that hook right at the beginning, something more unique than "a stabbing pain."

It's easy to complain about editing in write-off entries, but you owe it to yourself to avoid making too many errors. The problem here isn't that there are a ton throughout. It's that you have several stacked up right at the beginning, so it sets a bad tone for how the rest will go. If you have to skimp on editing to meet the deadline, I get it, but do your best to make the opening page or so really clean.

You're also straight-up informing me of how characters feel at nearly every turn. There are places you can get away with that, but for the most part, you need to be putting on a stage play, not giving me the Cliff's Notes.

The effect you're going for here is a really tricky one to pull off, and you did it reasonably well, but the other side of that coin is that it's hard to keep it going over an entire story this long, and that's where you started to lose me. This should be an upsetting thing for Twilight, but the narration sounds so blase that she doesn't seem to care. If she doesn't, it's tough to make the reader care. Or if you're trying to make it sound like this has been going on so long that it's old news to her, make that clear right from the first scene (and you'll still have the problem of keeping that mood interesting for the whole story).

What does it buy you to have Twilight be a doctor? It doesn't end up being important to the plot, and you're drawing close to all those stories on FiMFic where Twilight always has whatever expertise is required for any situation. There's kind of a whole genre of those, and if you're not going to do something different with it, it might be better to skip it.

The ending to this left me confused. Kind of. I have to admit that while I normally avoid reading any reviews before the story, I have been reading the reviews of all of them, so I was already informed of Twilight suffering from a disease possibly caused by lack of friendship.

I just don't know what this ending means. It sounds vaguely hopeful, but maybe it's just capitulating to her circumstances? It has the feel of an open ending, but the trick with those is to lay out or hint at what the possible outcomes are, and what stakes the characters have in them. There are some obvious ones here, like many ponies will care if Twilight dies, but we didn't really see that on a personal level for the specific outcomes. Feathery and Celestia both very clearly care about her, but in a general way.

If I step back and look at the story as a whole, the seeds for that were planted all through it. Twilight sounding so lackadaisical about her predicament, for example. There's not that much emotional engagement to it, yet it's a story that should absolutely be driven by the emotion of what's happening. Same deal with Feathery. When Twilight dismisses her, that's supposed to be a big emotional moment for the story, but I never got a sense of what attachments Twilight had to her, so it couldn't impact me but so much.

You know how to do this, though, author, because you got it right in other places. The little touches of what Spike used to do when he was little, and how you mention Bookends. Those add so much realism to the story. They're what insists that this is an actual thing happening, because life is like that, with a million memories and characters and distractions.

I also like the idea of what Luna's doing, but I would have liked to see that developed more. Why did she feel it was so necessary to do that? How would it change the plot any if you'd instead just had them meet in dreams because it was the most convenient way? It kind of felt like a way to get Luna off stage for no reason, and maybe to make a prompt connection, too, though it's more of a side plot than the main thread. Is that enough? I don't care, because I don't hassle people about prompt relevance, but I do care if it feels shoehorned in.

I have to talk about the (mostly) present tense. It's different, and I can't call it wrong, but there are things it tends to be better at. It creates a real immediacy that accents poignant emotional moments, but as I said, the narration never gets very emotional, so it ends up fighting the tone you've created. This can be a very subjective thing, so gauge what multiple people say about it. For my part, I'll ask myself if the story would be as good in past tense, and I think it would, so then I don't see the benefit of using present, except just for the sake of being different. If you want us to feel like we're right there, in the moment with her, then it really does need to stick the emotional connection.

Now that I think about it, I wonder how hard it would be to write a present-tense comedy that felt like it earned the gimmick. The kind of sharp emotional conflicts present tense does a good job of are usually geared more toward romance or tragedy, but never say never. Jokes are almost always told in present tense, but I can't think of any comedy stories that are at the moment.

So. Pretty ambitious story, I like the thread of it, the prose was fine (minus the editing trouble), though I think it could use more emotional engagement, a firmer role for Luna to play, a fine-tuned hook, and more attention toward how to structure the open ending. You've got the framework you need.
#5 ·
· · >>Bachiavellian
Okay, I've got some really mixed feelings about this one. While I have to admit that I'm a capital-S Sucker for this kind of worldbuilding, and I think some of your ideas do have a lot of potential, the fact that the piece as a whole never really comes together coherently for me is a big issue, IMO.

We have what feel like three or so mostly unrelated plotlines, which intersect only towards the end in plot perspective. From a thematic one, the connection is even more tenuous between them. I mentioned in the Discord chat that it feels to an extent like you're tying to get the Princesses (Luna, in particular) out of the picture just for Twilight's arc to make sense.

As for characterization, while the voicing doesn't strike me as off, I have to admit that Twilight's motivations never seemed concrete to me. Which is probably a lot of the reason why the piece has trouble gelling together IMO. Give her some stronger immediate concerns! Actually, you've already got a pretty big flipping immediate concern (the whole bleeding and all), so maybe refocus on making this more of the driving element behind the plot progression?

In the end, I do think I understand what you're going for, but this piece could definitely use some thematic clean-up and some better defined character arcs to make it as solid as it has to be before it can deliver the punch it wants to throw.
#6 · 2
... Is it time already?

Yeah, it is.

Retrospective: Conscience Does Make Cowards

So, for anyone who hasn't seen it in the Discord chat yet, this was the story that was inspired from a literal dream I had of reading a really sad ponyfic. The dream itself was pretty barebones. I think the only specific things I remember about it was the disease, the feeling that Twilight was soul-crushingly alone, and the concept that the only person she could talk to was Luna, but only through dreams.

To be honest, I'm not all that satisfied with how this shaped up, in the end. I don't think I did a good job of making Twilight feel as hopelessly alone as I originally envisioned. Instead, she definitely comes across as a self-imposed recluse, and it kind of hurts the overall feel.

Still, I should admit that I really did enjoy some of the worldbuilding I did here, and I'm pretty happy with how Celestia turned out. :)

It'll probably take a lot more work to fix this up than to actually write a new story, so this will probably never see a revised draft, if I'm being perfectly honest. Oh well!

Thank you for your review! Yes, I totally agree that I did a bad job of handling Twilight's emotional state. I never do seem to get the hang of how to make my main characters make bad decisions without looking like assholes. This is definitely an area that I need to look into more closely.

Thanks for your thoughts! I'm glad that the Celestia bits felt good to you, and I do agree that the whole piece is vague in a way that makes it easy to misinterpret the little things. I was definitely sloppy in that regard.

It sounds like the story worked even better for you than it did for me, so I'm happy that you enjoyed it! As for the prompt relevance, yeah I knew I was stretching things. I'm not always the best when it comes to making my stories feel relevant to the prompt, TBH. Thank you for leaving your thoughts!

I agree with pretty much 110% of this. There are oodles of things that I struggled with while writing, and you've highlighted a great many of them from the perspective of how it impacted the reader, which is extremely enlightening. Thank you very much for your feedback!

Begone, thot.

I can't help but feel like I didn't really deserve the medal, but I appreciate it regardless. Thank you all for contributing to this round, and I'll see you next time!
#7 · 1
· · >>Bachiavellian
Sorry this comes in a little late.

I’m glad that I read this story more than once; the vagueness in some of the characters’ actions and the descriptions became more understandable on that second read through. Take that as you will, but I’d understood that the point of being vague is to eventually make sense, and I think you did that well, seeing as I enjoyed it more the more I read. That's just my opinion, though, and I don't know much about writing.

In any case, thank you for writing this, and best of luck in the future!
#8 ·
>>Anonymous Potato
The issue here, is that I wasn't trying to deliberately be vague. Any literary genius you see is purely by accident. :P

But really, thank you for leaving your thoughts, and your kinds words!