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Seeing Double · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Lace Over Chitin
Chrysalis tugged at one of the many colorful lace bands snaking up her legs. “You know we breathe through our skin, correct?”

“You can’t fool me,” Chrysalis ’s lead designer, an earth pony named Palette, chided her from across the room. “They teach us Changeling anatomy in school.”

Chrysalis scowled. They’d been in this room for hours now, Palette mummifying her in traditional Changeling wedding attire, Chrysalis trying to dissociate but not having much luck. “They teach Changeling anatomy in design school?”

Palette giggled. “Gotta know where all the holes are. And the pointy bits.”

She grabbed more lace from her workbench. Chrysalis let out a groan. “Must you?”

“It’s imperative.” Palette went to work criss-crossing Chrysalis’s midsection with the lace. The lace was imported, deep blues and greens like peacock feathers, and could not totally conceal her black exoskeleton, no matter how many layers Palette applied. “It’s sending a message.”

“And that is?”

“Your empire is legitimate and wealthy. Your bride, and by extension her kingdom, is lucky to have you. Other leaders respect you and your traditions. This is a celebration.”

“None of those things are true.”

Palette smiled again. When she spoke, however, her voice betrayed a hint of bitterness. “Believe me, I know. You’re a bayonet, and I have to make you up like a butter knife.”

“Did any of your ancestors fight in the first invasion of Canterlot?” Chrysalis blurted.

Palette’s hoof slipped. Bright red pony blood wept across Chrysalis’s left leg lace. The queen reached out towards the earth pony. A delicate sound filled the room, that of fine imported lace tearing.

“Don’t move,” Palette ordered. “If you move laterally, you’ll ruin it.”

Chrysalis obeyed, forcing herself to stay still while Palette applied a bandage to her hoof.

“...I’m sorry,” Chrysalis said as Palette returned to work. “That was monsterous of me to say.”

“Don’t... ugh. It’s fine.” She lapsed into silence. Her eyes focused solely on their work, which now consisted of threading red-spotted feathers through the shoulder pads of the queen’s dress. “Changelings aren’t monsters. You’re our friends.”

“And yet friends so often hurt their friends.”

The two fell silent for awhile. Chrysalis risked a glance in a nearby mirror. A feeling like dissociation, like the feeling she got when she was impersonating some other creature and she looked in the mirror and saw herself without seeing herself, assailed her. “I have worn many disguises in my life. This, I think, is the most beautiful.”

“Thank you,” Palette said. “It’s not a disguise, it’s an accentuation.”

“That is where I must disagree. You are correct when you say this sends a message. But what message, exactly?” Feathers complete, Palette stitched some last-minute replacement lace to one side of Chrysalis‘s chest, where she’d accidentally cut through some of the original. “The lace is a brilliant disguise for the pointy bits.”

Palette finished her work a minute later. “Alright, your highness, what do you think?” She rolled a full-length mirror over to Chrys for her to see.

Chrysalis moved her eyes up and down her body. It scarcely looked real. The dress flowed like an immaculate oil painting, the lace ephemeral and floating. The dress was a haze of intricate motion that bobbed slightly at the frills as she moved around.

She turned slowly, carefully, to face Palette. “I see now. It’s ponies that are the real monsters.”

Palette gave her a confused look bordering on anger. “Excuse me?”

“Yes, I see now. You ponies--we hurt you, and you continue to pour out your love like the wound is not there. Love is your treachery. It reveals us.”

Palette scrunched up her nose. Anger flashed in her eyes. Then, a moment later, the levy burst and she let out a long, rattling laugh. When she didn’t stop after a few seconds, Chrysalis hesitantly joined in.

When the earth pony finally got herself under control, she wiped her eyes and said, “So you like it.”

“I’ve never felt beautiful before. Not in my own skin.”

“Good. You changelings have a funny way of showing your appreciation. Palette nodded and gestured towards the door. “And don’t rip the lace on the way out.”
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#1 ·
· · >>thebandbrony
Clever handling of subtext.

Palette’s hoof slipped. Bright red pony blood wept across Chrysalis’s left leg lace. The queen reached out towards the earth pony. A delicate sound filled the room, that of fine imported lace tearing.

is condensed and effective.

I enjoy how Chrysalis suspects Palette's 'inclination' before she herself does.

The lace is useful as a metaphor but could be powerful as a concrete image. The writer wants to 'relate':

It’s ponies that are the real monsters[...]we hurt you, and you continue to pour out your love like the wound is not there. Love is your treachery. It reveals us.

Find a way to let the lace 'relate'.
#2 ·
· · >>thebandbrony
First thing I like is how the seamstress (trying to reach for a word other than dressmaker, but 'seamstress' doesn't feel right either) has mentioned that she studied changeling anatomy, obviously showing its usefulness in her current project. It shows how deep of thought went into this piece.

Also... the metaphor of 'bayonet and butter knife' is a nice touch! Ooh!

So, as for terms of improvement, I was a little disoriented while reading this, the lack of context of whom Chyrsalis is getting married to (unless I completely missed it, in which, ignore my insolence), and the time period. I'm guessing it is not in the past, since she mentions the 'First Invasion of Canterlot' and obviously, Palette is pony (unless she is not, which, the same warning applies from before). But, if it is in the future, then this has the task of some explaining to do, as last I checked, Chyrsalis was a statue.

But... that just could be me.

Thanks for writing!
#3 ·
· · >>thebandbrony
The writing here:

Is just gorgeous, but I need a lot more context to figure out where we are, when we are, and what all is going on. I hope, author, that you'll provide that context when filling this out for posting on Fimfiction!

#4 · 1
>>Baal Bunny

WOOO, thank you all for your kind critique! And congratulations to GroaningGreyAgony and Monokeras on the well-deserved medals.

As always, I'm disappointed in the lack of material 750 words can cover. I'm definitely looking forward to elaborating on this concept for eventual fimfic publication. This concept draws a great deal of its vibe from GaPJaxie's Third Wheel saga, and though a more minimalistic approach helped me fit in the word count requirement, I'm not sure it'll work so well to explain away why our swiss cheese-looking bug friend is no longer encased in stone.