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And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Forever Together
My captors shoved me into a room where my blindfold was lifted, revealing even more darkness to soak in. Before I had time to do so, I heard a lightswitch click and I groaned as bright white light assaulted my vision. Squinting, my eyes producing moisture on my cheeks as I tried to discern what was presented in front of me.

It was horrific. Musical chairs.

The crowd in front of me cheered one hive mind “Happy Birthday!” I tried to resist smiling. A smirk poked through, so I returned to groaning.

“Twilight. I’m an adult now. I don’t need to have these parties anymore, honestly!” I said, lying through my teeth.

Pinkie Pie pinkied, “C’mon, Spikey! You know you can’t resist an apple butter cupcake!” She shoved one in front of my snout, and I couldn’t help but take the delicacy. Darn it, they were poking through my admittedly thin shield.

Confetti and cups and cakes and cupcakes were dotted across the cozy lobby of Sugarcube Corner. Familiar faces began to turn away from me and talk quietly with each other. There was a circle of chairs, waiting for me to play at any given moment.

I turned my gaze away just as Twilight strode up to me, smiling. “Hey Spike, we can go back to Canterlot tomorrow if you want. Although I’m sure Celestia doesn’t mind if one assistant is gone, even if he’s the best one.” She winked and nudged me with her wing. “Enjoy the party or you might just get what you asked for,” she teased. I knew it was a joke, but I couldn’t help but feel a sharp pang in my heart.

I turned to find the girls, wanting to spend every last second with them. I didn’t have to walk far before I was hit with a myriad of hugs.

“Hey Spike, Canterlot been nice to ya?” Applejack drawled. The others nodded.

“Well… It has its ups and downs. Ups: watching Luna fling a chessboard at Celestia because she lost. Downs: I can’t see you guys as often. I’ve made some friends over there, but I wish I could see you guys more.” I scratched my neck, my heart overflowing with guilt.

Rarity spoke, “It’s alright Spike, we know you have your duties.”

“But it’s not!” I blurted, frustrated. “What happens when- when- when we can’t visit you anymore?” I didn’t want to bring it up, not now, not here, but now it was out in the open for everyone to see.

Conversations kept their pace, all but ours. The silence dragged out impossibly infinite, all eyes locked on me, mouths pursed tight, ears fastened securely against their scalps.

Fluttershy politely interrupted the silence, “You’ll still have a little part of us in your heart, no matter how big or small.” The others agreed in quiet bereavement. “We’ll always be there.”

“Yeah, egghead. We’re gonna haunt you until you stop worrying for once in your life. Which might be…” Rainbow checked an imaginary watch. “Never.”

They all giggled, lightening the heavy black cloud over our heads.

Pinkie bounced in. “Come over for the winter! It’ll make up for this summer, mister.”

I Pinkie Promised.

As I stuck a cupcake in my eye ponies began to clear the floor and polka music commenced. There were five chairs. I wondered who would play first.

“You, silly!” Pinkie Pie said. “All of the elements versus--Spike.” She poked a hoof into my chest and stood me near a chair. They lined up, and we circled the seats like vultures over our prey.

The music stopped. Rarity was left behind. “Goodness me.” She put a hoof to her chest. “I’m rooting for you, Fluttershy.” We giggled and began again. Applejack was next, “Horseapples.” and then, Fluttershy. “Go, Spike!” Rainbow Dash put up a formidable fight but was ultimately defeated by my and Twilight’s oversized bodies. “Twilight, don’t forget you have magic!” Rainbow nudged her shoulder and strode off.

Twilight and I circled one last time. The music stopped and part of my leg stuck on the chair, but Twilight had most of the seat, knocking me off, sending me reeling. She smiled in victory but soon gave a frown as she realized she was alone.

“Hmm… If only there were anybody to share this victory with…” Suddenly, we all piled on, almost knocking her over. Tying them all into one pretty little purple bow, I jumped in, wrapping my tail and wings around them, never letting go.
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#1 ·
· · >>Foehn >>Rocket Lawn Chair >>Anon Y Mous
The second paragraph of this made me laugh out loud, so well done there.

This story made me smile, and I feel like it managed to avoid being too glurgy. However, at the same time, it still felt WAFFy. And while warm and fuzzy feelings aren't a bad thing - in fact, they're one of the reasons why this show is so wholesome - at the same time, this story didn't feel like it ended up actually having much in the way of emotional punch - it isn't the sort of thing that ultimately will linger with the audience, and leave them with lingering feelings of warmth, but instead sort of brings out a bit of sweetness but it is fleeting because there's nothing to walk away with. Spike loves his friends, but it isn't something that feels like it endures in the heart the way a really good story of this type does.
#2 ·
· · >>Anon Y Mous
I was trying to figure out how to phrase what I wanted to say here, but >>TitaniumDragon said it well - the story's a sweet vignette, but doesn't aspire to more than that. Which isn't a bad thing. It just is.

However:

“But it’s not!” I blurted, frustrated. “What happens when- when- when we can’t visit you anymore?” I didn’t want to bring it up, not now, not here, but now it was out in the open for everyone to see.


Felt slightly forced? I don't know. Something in the way it was written felt too telly for me, as did other parts, though that's possibly a result of the Writeoff time limit. Nonetheless, something to work on!
#3 ·
· · >>Anon Y Mous
I like the idea of a moved-out-of-the-house Spike; it gives the the warm and fuzzies in a way that's not entirely rational. Overall, I'm really in love with the idea, here.

But, I will have to say that a lot of this story did feel like fluffy padding. There's about 5 or 6 paragraphs of conflict almost precisely smack dab in the middle of this story. Which feels funny, because the story seems to end about 1/3 of the way from the words actually stopping. The rest of the word count is spent on cute stuff, which is—of course—cute, but not really driving or resolving the conflict.

So it does feel like we spend a lot of time spinning our wheels and not moving. And while it can certainly be entertaining just to be in the presence of these characters, it does make a lot of the story feel a little sparse.
#4 · 1
· · >>Pascoite >>Anon Y Mous
Pleasant and cozy. Certainly made me smile. I liked your little bait-and-switch intro, which, in my opinion, delightfully pulled off its party trick without overstaying its welcome.

Not much I can say about the fic as a whole aside from complimenting its warm tone and banter that felt very much in-line with the show and its characters. I agree with >>TitaniumDragon's point regarding a lack of lingering impact, and I might be able to make a suggestion.

Way I see it, you end the story with a nice, lighthearted gesture that, to me, feels too low-resolution. Rather than a focused emotional blow, we're left with this indistinct feeling of warmth. Maybe that's all your story was looking for. Nothing wrong with that.

However, if you want something with staying power, I might try ending on a more specific gesture. Perhaps Twilight or Rarity (or somepony we don't expect) pulls him aside to share a few private words. Maybe he pulls one of them aside himself. Maybe their exchange involves tears or a gift. One of the trickiest things about the Mane Six is how often their individual characters become lumped into a single block. Giving Spike a little one-on-one with one of these characters could remind us that, though he loves them all, there's something unique about the way he loves each of them, and vice-versa.

That's my two cents. I liked your story, and I wish you luck!
#5 · 1
· · >>Anon Y Mous
This is an effective bait and switch, but once we get past that, the story's very level. Spike does talk about hypothetically losing touch with them, but we're never given any context as to why he thinks that? What's going to prevent it? I like >>Rocket Lawn Chair 's suggestion to give some sort of uniqueness to at least a couple of his interactions with individual characters.

I'll expand on that a bit. One thing I often tell writers is that being specific will almost always carry more power than speaking in generalities. When a shipping story tells of all the wonderful times a couple has shared, that doesn't evoke any reaction in me. But seeing just a few examples of it will really illustrate their relationship and bring it alive. The same goes here. Even a quick hit for each of them will do a lot, or if you pick two or three of them to give a little more in-depth look, it'd mean a lot more. You really could use more of a picture of what's at stake here, though. Spike's obviously concerned about something, but it's pretty nebulous what.
#6 · 1
·
>>TitaniumDragon
>>Foehn
>>Bachiavellian
>>Rocket Lawn Chair
>>Pascoite

Thank you all for reviewing this!

First of all I would like to thank Pascoite for being my editor. I can't give enough thanks!

I'm sorry this is a few months too old but I kind of forgot about it. I was pretty nervous submitting this, so I kind of wanted to forget about it anyway. I should have either gone all fluff or all conflict-resolution, instead I straddled the line and doing that is a death wish in this contest. I appreciate all of your reviews, guys. GL next round! ;)