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Cutting Corners · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Element Substitute
“Princess Celestia, have you found Twilight and the others yet?” Spike asked Princess Celestia, hoping everything could go back to normal. Or, at least as much as it could.
He was joined by the Cutie Mark crusaders, Angel Bunny and a griffin named Gabby. There had been a climatic battle a few days ago, but the less said about that the better…
He heard the Cutie Mark Crusaders ask questions that mirrored his own.
“Ya, when can ah see ma sis again?” Applebloom asked excitedly, “Ah missed her so much!”
“I planned on watching Rainbow Dash preform some stunts for her next tryouts! Where is she?” Scootaloo shouted.
“Yeah, I’ve been wanting to head home for a few days now, and I can’t leave without her!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed.
Spike, Applebloom and Scootaloo turned toward Sweetie Belle with a flat expression.
She turned toward them, wearing a confused look. “What? It’s true! Besides, Rarity will want to go home as much as I would!”
The others shook there heads, and turned their gaze back to Princess Celestia, awaiting her answer.

What happened next, well it was something that nopony, no, nocreature expected.
Princess Celestia broke down and began to cry.
Spike’s heart shattered. Twilight was gone. And she wouldn’t-
“I-I don’t know!” Celestia sobbed. “I-I really don’t know. I’m sorry-”
“Sorry won’t bring Fluttershy back!” a small, masculine voice yelled. “Where is she!”
Spike turned toward a very angry and crying Angel Bunny. Had he just spoke!? How was that possible!?
As Spike pondered on this new revelation, Angel Bunny bounced up to Princess Celestia’s throne and grabbed her regalia. “If you don’t tell me where Fluttershy is I’ll, I’ll…”
Angel let the threat drop as he saw a look of horror grow on Princess Celestia’s face.
“No, no, no, no!” Princess Celestia muttered, clearly panic stricken. “Not them. Please.”
“Princess Celestia?” Spike asked, concerned, “Are you-”
“PLEASE! THEY’RE ONLY CHILDERN! I CAN’T LOSE THEM TOO!” Princess Celestia shouted in the Royal Canterlot Voice. Tears streamed down her face, as she started to sob again.
Spike heard the throne room doors bust open behind them. He saw Princess Luna run in with the Royal Guard at her flank.
Spike began to run toward them, hoping to tell Princess Luna what happened. However, she ran past him, heading to a now shaken Princess Celestia. The she looked like she had seen a ghost, and Spike was after that was putting it lightly.
“Sister!” Princess Luna shouted, trying to get her sister to snap out of it. “Are thou hurt!? Sister!? CELESTIA!”
Princess Celestia blinked and looked around, confused. Upon noticing how worried the guards looked, Princess Celestia turned toward her sister. “What’s wrong?!Luna, are you alright!?”
Princess Luna locked her eyes with her sister, her gaze unwavering. “Sister, it was you who was using the Royal Canterlot Voice. We thought you was in trouble.”
Princess Celestia began to shudder uncontrollably, and Spike swore the temperature had dropped a few degrees in there.
Scarily, the throne room was beginning to feel like a tomb, and Spike was sure he wasn’t the only one to notice it either.
The room was so still, they could hear a pin drop. As well as Princess Celestia’s next few words.
“I’ve failed them Luna.” she muttered darkly. “And there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve hurt someone close to me yet again.”
“What do you mean sister? We can still help Twilight and-”
Princess Celestia let out a cold laugh, and locked eyes with Spike. “I wasn’t talking about Twilight, but yes. I’ve failed them too. It’s my fault they’re gone.”
Spike felt a dark pit grow in his stomach. What had Princess Celestia shaken so bad? And why did he feel a foreboding sense of doom hang over him?
“Sister! What are thou talking about?” Luna asked worriedly, “You aren’t making any sense!”
Princess Celestia waved her hoof in an exaggerated motion, as if trying to point out something obvious.
“Sister, meet the new Element Bearers!” Princess Celestia announced, her voice laced with venom.
All at once, all Tartarus broke loose.
“The. WHAT!” Angel howled with rage, fresh tears cascading down his face, “No, I refuse! That’s Fluttershy’s job, not mine!”
“No. Sis, Ah can’t lose you too!” Applebloom sobbed.
“Big sis, please come back! It-it won’t be the same without you.” Sweetie Belle exclaimed, wiping tears from her eyes, “Please, come back.”
“That, that can't be right! Rainbow Dash wouldn’t let this setback stop her from being the coolest pony in Equestria!” Scootaloo said defiantly, ignoring the tears that flowed, “ She’ll come through those doors any moment now!”
However, when said doors stayed shut, the defiant look in her eyes died.
Spike was crying as well, however he tried to bury the feeling. He had to be strong for the CMC’s sake.
It’s what Twilight would do.” he thought to himself.
Spike felt a claw on his shoulder, and he turned around to see Gabby staring at him with a sad smile on her face.
“It’ll get better, I promise.” she said softly.
She quickly scooped Spike into a hug, then let him go. She walked over toward the CMC and began to repeat the process.
“From what you three have told me, your sisters have been in tough situations before.”
“Yeah, they have.” Scootaloo said, dejectedly.
“So what makes this any different?” Gabby asked with a slight grin.
“They’re GONE! Not even Princess Celestia knows where they are!” Sweetie Belle screamed.
Princess Celestia let out an audible sigh, reminding everycreature that she was still present.
Sweetie Belle flinched, “I’m sorry Princess, I didn’t mean-”
“It’s quite alright Sweetie Belle. I know. You’re just worried, like we all are. You’re also right.”
Sweetie Belle looked like see wanted to say something else, but decided against it.
Gabby rubbed her arm, unable to meet Sweetie Belle’s gaze, “That’s… not what I meant.”
“Ah know,” Applebloom said softly, “Ah just don’t understand what ya meant.”
Gabby sighed, “They can handle themselves just fine. You will see them again, you… you just need to have faith in them.”
A dry chuckle escaped from Scootaloo’s muzzle. “Y-yeah. Yeah. Your right. Rainbow Dash and the others are fine.”
“How are you so sure!?” Sweetie Belle asked, curiously.
“It’s Rainbow Dash we’re talking about here! They’ll be fine!” Scootaloo exclaimed, “Besides, with Applejack besides her, there isn’t anything in Equestria that can stand in their way!”
Spike nodded. Despite all of Rainbow Dash’s flaws, she was one of the most reliable ponies he ever knew. Well, during a crisis at least.
“Well Rainbow Dash better make sure nothing happens to Fluttershy! ‘Cause I’ll kick her flank after I find who, or what, dared to harm her in the first place!” Angel threatened.
A slight chill permeated through the room as Angel’s threat hung in the air. Spike shuddered slightly.
Spike didn’t know how Angel would enact this threat, nor did he want to. He had a gnawing feeling at the back of his mind, and to said to never get on Angel’s bad side. Ever.
“I see what you mean, sister.” Princess Luna said softly, unintentionally getting everycreature’s attention while doing so.
She wore an excellent poker face, or she would have, had her eyes not betrayed her. She seemed concerned, and… afraid? Spike couldn’t tell, but see was she was definitely worried. Then he remembered…
“Both Princess Celestia and Luna were previous wielders of the Elements of Harmony.” Spike recalled, “It’s how you beat Discord the first time.”
Again, Spike shuddered upon mentioning that name. He was the sole reason that Twilight and the others were gone, the reason that they were the new Element Bearers, the reason that-
Stop it!” he chided himself, “Thinking about… that… hurts, hurts more that it helps. Focus on what is important now, then worry about that later. Be strong, like Twilight.
"That previous connection, its, its how you know we are the current bearers, is it not?” Spike deduced.
Princess Celestia chuckled weakly, “As bright as ever, Spike. I hope that never changes.”
“Indeed.” Princess Luna agreed. “If we was to take a guess, that would explain how Sir Angel is able to communicate with us. Without requiring aid from the Element of Kindness.”
“I already told you,” Angel growled, “That’s Fluttershy’s job. Not mine!”
Suddenly, Scootaloo jumped up to her hooves. She turned to meet the gaze of her fellow Element Bearers, there was a mischievous glint in her eye.
“I’ve figured out why we are the new Element Bearers.” she declared, trying to hide her enthusiasm.
“What do ya mean, Scoots?” Applebloom asked, with obvious confusion, “Ah thought we became da new bearers, ‘cause Discord went rogue.”
“I agree with Applebloom,” Sweetie Belle chimed in, “I thought we wasn’t needed anymore.”
“Wait, this wasn’t a one time thing?” Gabby asked, she didn’t expect this to become a commitment.
Spike hadn’t either, nor did he want it to. Honestly, he wished this was just a bad dream, and he was sure the others feel this way too.
Princess Celestia began to say something when Scootaloo, accidentally, interrupted her.
“There are two things: First, we are the new Element Bearers while our friends are gone. Se-”
“I refuse,” Princess Luna interrupted, “and I know Celestia feels the same way. We, I, refuse to send foals to do a grown pony’s job.”
“I second the notion.” Princess Celestia said, flatly. She was no longer crying, but one wrong move…“I’ve already lost six ponies, I don’t intend on losing more.”
Scootaloo gave the princesses a stern look, then she continued, as if she hadn’t been interrupted. “Second, when the time comes, we save them.”
“NO!” both Princess Celestia and Luna shouted in unison.
“As I just said-” Luna began.
“I DON’T CARE!” Angel bellowed, turning to Scootaloo, “Are. You. Sure?”
Scootaloo, seemingly unaffected by Angel’s outburst, simply nodded, “A hundred and ten percent.”
Angel sighed, “Fine, I’m in.”
Spike blinked, “Just like that? I thought this wasn’t your job?”
“It wasn’t!” Angel argued, “But if we were chosen to save Fluttershy, and her friends by extension, then I have no choice to join.”
Spike sighed, “Then count me in too.”
Scootaloo then turned toward Applebloom and Sweetie Belle, “Are you guys with me?”
Applebloom shook her head, and let out a small chuckle, “Y’all are crazy, but your like family to mah. An Apple never turns back on family. Of course ah am.”
Sweetie Belle simply replied, “Cutie Mark Crusaders…”
“Together forever!” all three finished in unison. Suddenly, they was lifted up into the air, but an unknown force.
“What’s happening!?” Gabby asked, clearly confused.
“They’re getting their Cutie Marks.” Spike whispered, awestruck. He had heard stories about foals getting there Cutie Marks, but never seen it happen in person before.
There was a bright flash, that died out as fast as it came.
The CMC began to float back down to solid ground, with their Cutie Marks adorning their flanks.
Applebloom had a pink apple, Sweetie Belle had a white music note inside a purple star, and Scootaloo had a pink lightning bolt.
However, there was a few things that their Cutie Marks had in common. Such as being surround by a multicolored shield. The shield looked similar to Shining Armor’s Cutie Mark, however, his wasn’t red, white and pink.
That… was odd. Their Cutie Marks were identical to each other, except for the image inside of them…
Spike facepalmed. It was so obvious, now that he thought about it.
“What’s wrong Spike?” Princess Luna asked. “I hope thou art fine.”
“I am.” Spike deadpanned, “I just figured out what the CMC’s Cutie Marks meant.”
“You did?!” Scootaloo shouted.
“Tell us!” Applebloom exclaimed.
“Come on Spike! Don’t keep us waiting!” Sweetie Belle whined.
“I do have a theory myself,” Princess Celestia began, “but I’m interested in what you have to say yourself.”
Spike swallowed nervously. Great, time to make a fool of himself in front of Princess Celestia. Twilight would never let him live this down.
“The apple, music note, and lightning bolt represent your individual talents. However, I figured you all already knew that.”
The CMC nodded.
“Figured as such.” Spike sighed, “The shield, however, represents unity. Whether you share goals, interests, or a destiny yet unrealized I’m not sure. Whatever it is, you will face it together.”
Spike gazed at Princess Celestia expectantly, waiting for her to eventuality correct him.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself.” Princess Celestia said, “Besides, I haven’t seen such an event like this before either.”
Princess Celestia turned toward the CMC, “You three share something special. Treasure it always.”
The three fillies nodded, before joining there other friends.
It looked like Princess Celestia wanted to add something, but she just gave them a slight smile instead.
Spike would have to talk to Princess Celestia later, she needed it.
Gabby turned to Spike and shrugged, "If this is my destiny, then who am I to say no?"
She extended her claw out, inviting the others to join her in a cheer.
The CMC eagerly placed their hooves on top of Gabby's claw. They then turn their attention toward Spike and Angel, waiting for them to join in.
Spike shrugged, and placed his claw in.
Angel sighed, he climbed onto Scootaloo's shoulder and put his paw in too.
"Friendship on the count of three?" Spike asked.
Gabby and the CMC nodded, while Angel rolled his eyes.
"1, 2, 3, FRIENDSHIP!"
Somehow, Spike knew, no matter what was threw in their way, it would turn out well in the end. He just needed to have a little faith.
* * *
Princess Celestia sighed, she had sent the new Element Bearers back to the guest rooms for the today.
Nothing went her way today, and thinking about it was beginning to sour her mood.
“Luna, as much as I hate to admit it they’re right.” Celestia muttered in defeat, “It’s their duty to protect Equestria.”
“Sister, you can’t be serious! They’re just foals!” Luna countered.
“I know. However, the gears of fate are already in motion. We cannot change this, even if we wished too.”
Luna hesitated, clearly unable to counter her sister’s point. “So, what do we do? Sit back and do nothing?!”
“Of course not!” Celestia shouted, “As I said earlier, I’ve already lost six ponies, I refuse to lose any more!”
“SO WHAT DO WE DO!?” Luna shouted in the Royal Canterlot Voice. Tears began to stream down her face.
Celestia embraced her sister in a hug, “What we can. We cannot fight fate, but we can shape it.”
“Will it be enough?” Luna asked softly.
“I’m not sure, but I promised myself that I won’t stop until it is.” Celestia declared.
Luna sighed, “It’s not fair. They have to give up their foalhoods, and they’re still so young…”
“I know. But we can try to minimize the impact.”
“...I hope you’re right. For their sake.” Luna muttered darkly.
“I do too.”
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#1 ·
To start with:

Let me link you to The Writeoff Formatting & Style Guide where it says, "Paragraphs should be separated by a single blank line." That avoids the whole "wall of text" thing that's going on here and makes it a lot easier on us readers.

I'll then point you toward the Fimfiction Writing Guide's section on punctuating dialogue. It's got the rules for when to use commas and when to use periods with all sorts of examples. Because lines like “I’ve failed them Luna.” she muttered darkly. and It-it won’t be the same without you.” Sweetie Belle exclaimed, and Scootaloo said defiantly, ignoring the tears that flowed, “She’ll come through those doors any moment now!” are punctuated incorrectly, the first two with periods that should be commas and the third with a comma that should be a period. This happens here every time a line of dialogue doesn't end with a question mark or an exclamation point.

Also? There are misspellings scattered throughout: "Your right", for instance, and "its how you know". There are incorrect verb forms: "If we was to take a guess", for instance, and "We thought you was in trouble". There's rampant "said-bookism" here, too, using words like "shouted" and "exclaimed" and "sobbed" that don't really do anything except draw attention to themselves and away from the things that're actually happening.

Basically, I'm finding it really hard to dig through all the missteps and mistakes to make any possibly useful comments on the story itself. I could say that I'd like to know we're in an alternate universe earlier, I suppose, or that I'd like to know whether the Mane Six are dead or just missing--the story seems to go back and forth on that point. But the grammar and the syntax are so tangled here, those problems need to be fixed before anything else.

#2 ·
Baal Bunny has the most important things covered in his post, so I won't go over them again. Please work first on achieving basic technical proficiency in English. That's the biggest and most important effort you should make right now.

With that said, I still decided to try to look past the mechanics and comment on the story this piece tries to tell because it looks like the work of a new writer just trying to find a footing and get started, and it's in that situation where I think critique is the most especially important and helpful. Improving is really what these writeoffs are all about, and I think it's worth the time to try to help new writers grow.

So. The big problem in regard to the story is that, well, there's not really a story. There's a scene. It could have come from the middle of a story; we don't know how this started and we don't get to see how things turn out. This scene is also a big problem because it's essentially just a big briefing, with some attempt made to cram all of what action we do get into it. The characters discuss what's happened, more for the purpose of informing the reader than for their own benefit. This kind of info-dumping feels, naively, like it might be a clever way to convey a lot of information, but there are a lot of problems with it - it's inorganic, coming off as very contrived because people don't do that in real life.

There's also a lot of disjoint logic that just sort of pops up out of nowhere out of the characters' mouths. Fact A is stated, and characters suddenly realize that it implies Fact B (example: Angel Bunny can talk => OMG new bearers of the Elements of Harmony!). The reader has no way of knowing the reasons why this should be so, it just gets declared as exposition out the characters' mouths and we're asked to just believe it. Trying to tell a story through having characters just issue declarations like that doesn't really work. If characters have to do that to inform the reader of something important, that's usually something you should have already informed the reader about. Not always, of course; surprises can be used to great effect. But that needs to be a deliberate thing. It's important to be conscious of what you've told the reader (or haven't) and why or why not, and how it's timed.
#3 ·
I would do my normal format for reviewing here and go into some depth about what I did and didn't like, but... I legitimately didn't know what was going on? Re-reading on desktop was somehow more nightmarish than mobile.

Reformat the story and I'll be sure to give it a proper review.