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Rot · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Twilight sat by a window in the empty train car and sighed. She'd never expected to use her authority as a princess for something like clearing everypony else out of a train car so she could mope in peace, but there were a lot of things that had happened that she hadn't expected recently.

She could still remember it so clearly. Walking to Sugar Cube Corner for her Saturday morning pastry but finding it surrounded by guards. The usual mob of gossiping Ponyville residents was nearby, but they were keeping their distance, and there was an air of tension surrounding everything.

The guards had attempted to stop her, but a flash of her wings quickly cut off their protests. She wished she had listened to them. Outside, the Cakes were sobbing and holding onto each other. Inside, she saw Pinkie Pie in hoofcuffs.

She clenched her eyes shut. Other details were slowly starting to fog, but everything after this was burned into her memory. She tried to force it back down, but it refused.

"Hiya, Twilight!" Pinkie had said.

"Pinkie? What's going on? Why are you in hoofcuffs?"

Pinkie did that gigglesnort of hers that used to be cute. "Because I did something bad, silly!" She furrowed her brow thoughtfully. "Well, many somethings, really." That grin of hers sprang back onto her face. "You can go look at my works if you want! I'm really proud of them."

Twilight hesitated. "What... what did you do, Pinkie?"

"Just go down to the basement! It'll speak for itself."

Twilight nervously walked towards the cellar doors, currently closed and guarded by two unicorns. "Excuse me, sirs, I need to go down there."

They glanced at each other nervously. "Princess Twilight, I really don't think you should..." one started to say, but trailed off. He grimaced and looked to the side, turning a little green.

His companion continued for him, "It's horrible down there, princess. We can't stop you, but I strongly advise you to reconsider."

Her stomach felt like lead. She wanted to listen to them. She wanted to run back to her castle and bury her head in her pillows and pretend it was all a bad dream and that Pinkie hadn't done whatever unspeakably awful things that had affected all of these guards so deeply, but she had to know. She had to know what Pinkie had done.

Tears welling in her eyes, Twilight responded, "I need to see."

Resignation showing on the guards' faces, they stepped aside and opened the doors with their magic.

The first thing to hit Twilight was the awful stench. She had smelled rotting vegetables before, back in her student days in times Spike wasn't around to help her out. This was so much worse.

As she descended the stairs, she saw streaks and specks of brown which increased the more steps she took. At the bottom, the smell of rot made her eyes water, but it wasn't the worst part.

From floor to ceiling there was blood running the gamut from red to brown. Multiple carcasses in varying states of decay hung from meat hooks, mostly animals but some distinctly pony shapes as well. There were chains and shackles connected to tables and support beams and so many knives and—

Twilight couldn't fight the tide of vomit anymore. She stared at the way it splattered against the floor of the train and sobbed. She felt like a stupid foal.

Canterlot was a stark departure from the somber air of mourning surrounding Ponyville. Locals buzzed with disdain that their great city would play host to the final hours of one of the worst criminals Equestria had seen in centuries. Newsponies kept flooding off of trains, turning a horrible event into a spectacle to get that big scoop so they could sell more papers.

Twilight stumbled through streets and crowds and guards and hallways and stairwells into the castle dungeons. As she walked to the cell of her friend, she wondered if Pinkie even deserved such a place in her heart now.

“Hi, Twilight,” Pinkie said, smiling at her.

Twilight stopped in front of her cell, staring at the bright pink mare sitting on the cobblestone floor. She still seemed so carefree. Twilight stared at her, struggling to find words.

Finally, she asked, "Do you regret any of it, Pinkie?"

Pinkie Pie gigglesnorted. "Of course I do, silly! I mean, I didn't even consider that meat would go bad if I didn't use it fast enough."
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#1 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Genre: Cupcakes 2: Electric Boogaloo

Rest in pieces, Rainbow Dash. You will be missed. 😔✌️

Now, onto the story. I love the idea that Pinkie Pie still acts like herself even after she’s been caught. That’s good. I have to admit that I was giggling throughout this because of the absurdity, but that doesn’t mean you did a bad job. It just means that the setup wasn’t there. That’s no fault of your own, either, you didn’t have enough words to do so.

Well paced, but I have literally no idea where to put this on my slate.
#2 · 4
As noted previously, this definitely is building on the setting from the cult classic Cupcakes, yet still lays enough groundwork to stand on its own in a gruesome kind of way.

In broad strokes, my impression is that Twilight's reactions come across as rote. Expected. Dispassionate. They are real to her, but for us, the reader, there's nothing particularly interesting about what she's experiencing and displaying. "Oh, isn't it so horrible, she's going to puke." Also, I'm not sold on the structure of this overall: on the train also technically finding Pinkie and the basement (reflection / ascended flashback), then fast forward slightly to the Canterlot prison cell. It's just weird, and seems more distracting than purposeful.

The kicker at the end pulls this together, and it is interesting seeing how that this is somehow still very much like the Pinkie Pie we otherwise know. However, as so little of the story actually ties directly into that last line, it feels listless.
#3 · 2
Genre: <joke already scooped by >>Anon Y Mous>

Thoughts: As I read this, I had this very distinct feeling that this was building toward an ending line that would either make or break the story as a whole. That's because there isn't really room enough for much in the way of a plot to develop. And indeed, not much does; this is basically just a few scenes focusing on Twilight facing horrible news more-or-less alone, and it drills into her thoughts and feelings about them.

The ending line wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I think it sticks the landing pretty darn well. Congratulations on that front, Author.

I return to my thought above about there not being a lot of plot here. I feel like that could pull this downward somewhat in my rankings, because I want plot. (Har har, yes, inevitable joke is funny.) Especially when we have something like this that murders a character (by which I mean Pinkie, though I could also mean her victims), I want more scaffolding and structure and stuff around it to answer the same question Twilight wants answered: Why? This story in some ways does a thing that I've done myself in the past: it tosses an awful situation out in front of readers, does a pert little bow, and scampers off, leaving them alone with their revulsion.

And yet, for what this is, I think it does so pretty well. Twilight's aghast reactions are sparse but well-communicated. The detail of kicking everypony out of the train car is pitch-perfect. It never gets telly, not even when presenting the guards' feeling of horror, nor when picking through the structural weirdness of the flashback. I mean, it is weird, but I think it worked far better than I would expect.

This story takes some big risks. First, by invoking Cupcakes. Second, by being so dang sparse, as I've already noted. Third, by leaning on a flashback. And fourth, by leaving us as fundamentally unsatisfied with why as Twilight must be. And yet, I'm pretty sure that was exactly what the Author was going for, and I can in no way deny their success.

When one of our Authors rolls in with something this bigly risky and weird and pulls it off regardless, there's really only one thing I can do--

Tier: Top Contender
#4 · 3
Cupcakes was kind of a crap story, but important for the fandom because of the derivative works it produced. This story manages to tell a truly horrifying tale in a tiny number of words because it's building on something else.

All by itself, we would ask, why did Pinkie do this? Why Pinkie? Isn't this out of character? But because it's building on Cupcakes (which didn't answer those questions either), we can focus on Twilight's emotions, which are where the horror is. Not really with the excessively grimdark basement (where we aren't clearly shown anything anyway, so we can fill in the blanks with Cupcakes or any other horror gorefest), but the gut punch of my friend isn't who we thought she was.

When my son was around 10 I took him to see a highly recommended child psychiatrist who didn't take our insurance, so we had only one session. He gave us a lot of insight into my son's condition (severe ADD, inattentive type, also video game addiction) and helped us find ways to understand and help him. Six years later I found out this psychiatrist who I'd been remembering as a really helpful guy had been arrested for molesting little boys in his practice. I brought my son to that motherfucker. How much worse would it be to discover someone who was a friend, someone you cared about as a person, who you'd laughed with and confided in and had adventures with, was a serial killer?

The story does not imply the fate of Rainbow Dash, and I think this might be a problem. Going off Cupcakes we would expect Rainbow to be dead or mutilated, but Twilight doesn't act like someone whose best friend was murdered by her other best friend; the focus is all on the horror of learning what Pinkie is. Because the story leans heavily on Cupcakes I think Rainbow should be allowed to appear briefly, healthy albeit horrified, to let the readers know that the reason Twilight appears to be solely focused on the horror of what Pinkie is and has done, rather than grief for Rainbow, is that this diverges from "canonical" Cupcakes and Rainbow isn't dead.
#5 · 2
I enjoyed this story. I thought it packed a whole bunch of detail into the short format. Nothing felt wasted or extraneous. It could make for an interesting longer piece in which Twilight has to really deal with the baggage that has been placed upon her which honestly is quite considerable. You could even keep the ending somewhat similar in that really there is no happy or pat answer or solution to what had happened and what she'd hoped to get as some final answer just isn't there.

Just a thought anyway.