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Lie Me a River · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Dog Ate My Homework
“A dog.” Cheerilee looked down at the two dejected unicorn students, who at least appeared to be honest in their explanation of why their four-page report on Equestrian rivers and streams was absent.

“Well.” Snips scuffed one hoof against the schoolroom floor. “We thought it was a dog.”

“It grabbed our report when we were coming to school,” declared Snails. “After we had spent hours and hours and hours—”

“and hours on it!” said Snips. “We chased after the dog, but it ran really, really fast and just when we were about to catch it—”

“The dog turned into a changeling!” said Snails. “Like a real arthropod with wings and everything! I wanted to put it in a jar, but it still had our report.”

“It tried to fly but we shot magic at it! Boom! Pow! Zap!” declared Snips, hopping around the floor.

“And it crashed into the river.”

“With our report.”

“We tried to use our magic to pull out the pages before they got too wet.”

“But they were all soggy and came apart, except for one page that Snails was pulling really, really hard on.”

“Only it wasn’t a page of paper,” said Snails. “It was a sea serpent! A great big one with a giant mustache like the ones the Great and Powerful Trixie gave us when she beat the giant Ursa Major.”

Cheerilee held up a cautionary hoof. “I thought Twilight Sparkle gave you two mustaches after that disaster. And it was an Ursa Minor, and Twilight was the one who made it leave town.”

“Well…” Snails got a look of extreme concentration, or perhaps constipation. “Maybe.”

After a brief pause to scratch the itchy area on her forehead, which was most certainly not a facehoof, Cheerilee said, “Okay. What about the sea serpent?”

Snips nodded. “Yeah, the Great and Powerful Trixie could chase away the sea serpent if she really wanted to.”

“I think she wanted to know about our report,” said Snails. “But we could go get Trixie and show her the sea serp—”

“The report,” said Cheerilee a little harsher than she wanted. “Just… The report, please.”

“The sea serpent couldn’t help us get the report back either,” said Snips. “But he said he’d help us re-write it, if you give us another day.”

“Or two, if you want it writ up really good,” said Snails.

Cheerilee had just gotten done silently counting the first twenty primes and was seriously contemplating taking up a hobby like skydiving when there was a light tapping at the schoolhouse door, done by a welcome and familiar pony.

“Raindrops,” said Cheerilee in what she hoped was an indoor voice. “Are you here to escort your brother and his friend home?”

I hope.

“Yes, Miss Cheerilee,” said the ever-polite pegasus. “Are they in trouble again?”

“No, nothing too bad,” said Cheerilee with a cautionary glance. “Just a paper they need to rewrite by tomorrow.”

“Awww,” chorused the two troublemakers.

“Now hurry on home,” said Cheerilee. “I expect to see your report on my desk by the morning bell.”

Snips and Snails shuffled out of the schoolhouse and down the road next to Raindrops until they were out of sight, at which time their dejected trudges turned into eager gallops.

“Come on, Thorax,” called Snips over his shoulder.

“Yeah, Mister Magnet said he’d show us where a whole bunch of frogs live down in the river.” Snails stopped galloping and gave several long, springy hops. “I want to put them in this report. Frogs are the best part of rivers and screams.”

“I’m coming,” said the changeling as he shifted into his natural bug form and began flying to catch up. “Are you sure you two didn’t get in too much trouble when I grabbed your homework? It was just so full of love I couldn’t help myself.”

“Naa,” said Snips. “We do this to Miss Cheerilee all the time. She loves it.”
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#1 ·
Well, that was refreshing.

I was hoping to run into one of these. Subversion is nice.

It took me a moment to realize that 'Raindrops' was actually Thorax. Also, is that Thorax the Thorax?

Anyways, this was cute and fairly well paced. Setup, progression, twist, stinger; it all fits together nicely. Good work!

EDIT: Also, a dog is a wonderful disguise for a changeling. A cat might be even better; lay around, get petted (love) and nap all the time.
#2 ·
· · >>Posh
Unfortunately, this story kinda loses something for me by using a changeling as an "easy button," which I suspected a lot of stories in this round might.

Also plays kinda hard on the long-suffering-teacher trope. Not a bad thing, just something that's seen a lot.

On the plus side, this definitely gets points for making a pretty literal use of the prompt and making it work, and I like the reversal with the presumed tall tale of snowballing lies turning out in the end to be the truth.

Overall, cute and effective at implementing the prompt. Good job.
#3 ·
This is a cute premise, and one I would like to see more fleshed out. Unfortunately, as it is, the entire first half of the story feels a bit meandering, and it isn't really necessary for the payoff at the end. This could stand to be more focused, and to deliver more humor during the setup phase instead of just waiting for the punchline at the end.
#4 ·
Some points for Cheerilee counting primes, if only because I have a bit of a fetish for those, and more points for her having to deal with persistently annoying children. Kids are just, eww.

And a very nice subversion of our expectations about lying. Bughorse grabbing the report because it was "so full of love" was hilarious, too <3
#5 ·
...Oh, alright. Story, I officially like you. Playing around with Snips's and Snails's characterization from the show gets you points. Cheerilee's character feels like it's played a little straighter, though; I agree with >>Winston that this particular trope is a bit played out.

(Although Cheerilee is wonderful in any form, so that's more an observation than a criticism)

I feel like a bit more could've been done with Cheerilee and Steve, actually. If Snips's line at the end ("she loves it") is true, and Steve feeds off of love, then maybe you could do something with that. At the very least, give the line to Steve. Maybe have Snails, or someone, say that they're worried about pissing off Cheerilee too much, and then have Steve reply "nah, trust me, she loves it. :)"

With the actual smiley face, obviously.