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On the Verge · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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What Hath Twience Wrought?
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Alone in her dining room, Twilight Velvet set her pen down, stifled a yawn, and glanced at the clock. She’d been editing this manuscript for an hour already. Another hour, maybe, and then she'd join Night Light upstairs.

She was about to pick up her pen again when she heard the rapid thudding of someone running down the stairs. Velvet pinched the bridge of her nose and looked up in time to see Twilight Sparkle bolt through the dining room, pulling on an inside-out labcoat. Spike scampered after her, tongue lolling from his mouth.

"Twilight," she called, "please, don’t run inside—"

"Can'ttalkMomSpikecan'thavesexloveyounight!"

She spat out the interruption without so much as stopping, tearing through the dining room and bolting down the hall. Velvet heard the back door open and slam shut, and footsteps rustling in the grass Twilight made her way toward the shed she'd converted into a lab.

Velvet stared after her for a long moment, the stillness of the dining room broken only by the distant ticking of the antique clock in the living room.

"Eh," she muttered..

She picked up her pen and set to work again.




The doorbell rang early the next morning. Velvet was the only one up and about – late night or no, she never failed to rise with the sun – so it fell to her to answer it. Her spirits fell when she saw her visitor, but she kept smiling anyway.

"Good morning, Mrs. Velvet!" Timber Spruce looked well-rested and well-kept, presentably dressed and clean – quite the opposite of Velvet, in her bathrobe and sushi jammies. "I know it's early; I hope I didn't wake you."

"Oh, not at all," Velvet said. "It's lovely to see you, Timothy."

Timber smiled awkwardly and rubbed the back of his head, jostling the bag slung over his back with the motion. "It's, uh, 'Timber.' Mrs. Velvet."

"Yes, of course. So sorry. I'll get it right one of these days, don't worry." Velvet rapped her knuckles lightly against her head and laughed, lightly and airily. "You're here to see Twilight, I take it. Won't you come in?"

Timber nodded and stepped inside, Velvet pulling the door shut behind him. She led him into the kitchen, where a fresh pot of coffee had just finished brewing.


"Care for a cup?" Velvet said, gesturing to the coffee machine. At Timber's nod, she added, "Cream or sugar?"

"Black's fine, thanks," said Timber, pulling up a seat on a stool at the kitchen island. Timber always wore an easy smile; Velvet couldn't recall a time where she hadn't seen it on his face. Looking at his pearly whites, it was easy enough to see why her daughter was so smitten with him.

She wondered how many other young girls had found themselves lost in that smile.

"You might be the only other person in this house who drinks their coffee black." Velvet poured him a cup and set it down in front of him. "Twilight doesn't drink at all, and Night Light won't even come near a cup unless it's three parts creamer. My doctor told me to cut back on dairy and sweets, so for the past year or so, I've taken my coffee black."

Timber made a face, took a sip, then made a much more pleasant and satisfied face. "I can't stand creamer. Sweeteners, in general, really. In coffee, tea – bitter drinks in general. Ruins the acidity, ruins the flavor."

Velvet raised an eyebrow. "I assumed you were just being health-conscious. I didn't realize you were a connoisseur."

"I'm really more of a dilettante," said Timber, chuckling awkwardly. He cast a quick glance back to the foyer, where the front door led to the stairs. "Is, um, is Twilight awake?"

"In all likelihood, though I haven't seen her," said Velvet, briefly turning her back to Timber to pour herself some coffee. "Do you have plans today?"

"Yeah, we were supposed to hit up a dog park. Me, her, and Spike. I was gonna bring my neighbor's dog, too – I was sitting this week – to give Spike some one-on-one doggy playtime."

"Important for dogs to socialize, yes," said Velvet, sipping her brew.

"But my neighbor came home from his trip early, so... it's just the three of us, I guess." Timber glanced again at the stairs. "She... didn't mention that we had plans?"

"She generally doesn't tell me if she has plans. I usually find out about it afterward." Velvet hid her sardonic smile behind the rim of her cup. "She didn't say when to pick her up?"

"'About nine,' she said."

"Mm." Velvet set her mug down and stepped up to the island, leaning against it. "Well, I saw her run out of the house and into her laboratory last night, in some pique of scientific curiosity or another. In all likelihood, she simply got lost in her work, lost track of time."

"'Pique of scientific...?'" Timber chewed his lip. "Does that happen a lot?"

"Oh, not often as it used to – she’s down to twice a week nowadays. My husband and I are used to it, and try to be as supportive as possible. Hence the lab – she needs a space free from prying eyes to work at her best."

"What does she do down there?"

"Science? I don't know the specifics. Like I said, it's away from prying eyes." Velvet's lips arched into another sardonic smile. "You don't approve?"

Timber's eyes widened like a young private who just spotted a landmine underneath his foot. "Uh— I mean, I don't think it's my place to approve or disapprove, really. But I try to support Twilight with her, um, projects. If that's what you're asking."

Velvet nodded, slowly. Good enough. "As do I. Night Light and I realized a long time ago that Twilight needs to be free to pursue her own interests, her own path in life. To stumble and fall, or keep her footing, and to only intervene when asked. Regardless of whether or not we approve," she added pointedly.

Timber drummed his fingers on the granite countertop and smiled politely.

"In any event," said Velvet, pushing away from the island, "I wouldn't take it personally if she forgot to meet you out here. Her lab's out in the backyard. The old garage. You can't miss it. Head right at the front door, and through the dining room. The back door will be on your left."

"Awesome." Timber looked around, quickly. "Sssssoooo... can I just...?"

Velvet furrowed her brow and gestured vaguely toward the kitchen entrance. "Make yourself at home, Timber."

"...Okie-dokie, then." Timber rose, pausing for one last quick sip, and headed off. "Thanks for the mud, Mrs. Velvet."

"Just Twilight is fine," Velvet called after him as he vanished around the corner.

Timber poked his head back into the kitchen entrance, smiling sheepishly. "Can I stick with 'Mrs. Velvet?' Because your daughter's name is Twilight, and... well..."

Velvet folded her hands, smiling placidly. ""Well,' what?"

"Er... never mind." Timber ducked away and headed off. The back door opened, and shut, and Velvet was again alone.

She shook her head, and clicked her tongue, because that's really all that a mother could do in a situation like this. Then she took Timber's mug, emptied it into the sink, rinsed it off, and set it down. She picked up her own, took a long, slow drink, and stared vacantly at the wall.

"Why couldn't it have been Sunset?" she muttered.

Minutes later, the back door opened and closed again. Velvet took a deep breath, braced herself, and turned around in time to see Timber enter the kitchen, alone. His face was screwed up with confusion – a frown, the first time Velvet had ever seen anything besides carefree, easy goofiness on his face.

"Something the matter?" said Velvet.

"I dunno..." Timber's voice was low, distracted. "The door's locked, and there's this weird blue glow coming through the crack under the door. I knocked, but nobody answered."

A pinch of maternal instinct twisted Velvet's gut. She set her coffee down, her frown now matching Timber's. "She might have fallen asleep during the night – that's been known to happen, too."

Timber fished his phone out of his pocket. "I could try calling her."

"Don't bother, it's a dead zone. You can't get a signal in or out of there. Twilight did that. Somehow." She huffed, and reminded herself that her daughter was a mature young woman who could be trusted in secure, soundproof, signal-free environments. "We do have a key to the lab, though. I can unlock the door for you."

"I'd appreciate that, thanks."

Velvet noted the way that Timber wrang his hands together, the nervous glance he kept casting in the direction of the backdoor. She led him to the front door, fetched the lab key – distinguished by a keychain with Twilight's signature pink-and-purple starburst – and headed outside.




Were it not for the very tall Tesla coil jutting out of the garage's roof, Twilight's lab would have blended in perfectly with the house's architectural style. Velvet had always, privately, wondered if the coil hurt the house's value. Probably not, Night Light assured her, but she always had doubts.

But Twilight insisted she needed one, so up the coil went.

Velvet also wondered, privately, if she and Night Light were too indulgent as parents. Probably not, Night Light assured her.

After a cursory knock on the door, and no answer, Velvet unlocked the door. She exchanged a look with Timber, gripped the doorknob, and slowly turned it. The door opened easily, and Velvet stepped inside.

Twilight Sparkle floated in the middle of a glowing blue sphere. One hand held her glasses securely against her face, as her coattails and her hair, untethered by gravity, rippled freely. Her eyes widened behind her glasses when she saw Velvet, and she "eeped" meekly.

Spike, floating beside her, leveled a half-lidded look at Twilight.

Exasperated, Velvet pinched the bridge of her nose. "How long have you been floating here, sweetie?"

"Not long!" Twilight tapped her fingers together, then quickly grabbed her glasses and held them against her face when they started to float away. "Only about, uh... an hour."

"Did you at least get any sleep?"

"Um. Not really, no. For reasons which I think will quickly become evident."

Velvet shook her head and stepped inside, away from the doorway. "Well, she didn't forget," she said to Timber.

Timber stepped into the lab, wagging his fingers at Twilight. "Hey. Uh. How's it hanging?"

Twilight's eyes widened again. "Dog! Date park! Dog at the— date the dog—"

"You had a date at the dog park?" Velvet interrupted.

"And I forgot all about it!" Twilight wailed, bunching one of her hands up in her freely-floating hair. "Not that it even matters because I've been spending all my waking hours in this stupid... magnetic... urgh! Timber, I am so, so sorry; please don't be mad at me."

"Really, Twi?" Spike said flatly, as Twilight made a series of increasingly incoherent, high-pitched sounds. "That's priority number one?"

Timber held out his hands placatingly. "Hey, hey, it's alright. You got busy, and your mind kinda wandered; it happens. I'm not mad, okay? Let's get you out of there, and we can talk about it. How do we make that happen?"

Twilight paused, mid-breakdown, and sniffled. "You'll have to cut the power to the magnetic field – the plug's right underneath me. But that might be tougher in practice than in theory."

With a hydraulic whir, a shape detached itself from the shadowy corners of the lab, and crossed into the middle of the room. The magnetic field's blue glow illuminated it: a four-legged form, of a height with Spike, its metal skin enameled white, its joints trimmed with blue. A glass dome encircled the top of its head; coils of electricity danced and writhed inside.

The tiny robot dog's tongue, glowing radioactive pink, lolled out of its mouth. "HORMONAL GLAND-BAG SPOTTED. IDENTITY CONFIRMED AS TWILIGHT VELVET, PROGENITOR OF THE CREATOR."

Velvet's jaw dropped. "Twilight Matilda Sparkle, you tell me what that thing is and how it knows my name, right this instant."

"In layman's terms? It's a robot dog." Twilight sighed. "I call it 600D-61RL."

"Six-zero-zero...?" Velvet visualized the numbers in her head, and nodded. "Ah, that's cute."

"It was cuter when she thought of it," said Spike. "Right now, it's just kind of ironic."

"And she knows your name," said Twilight, "because I sorta-kinda programmed her with a pretty expansive library of background information, most of which I never really thought she'd need, which... mayyyybe caused her to transcend her original programming and become megalomaniacal. Just a skosh."

"You gave it enough info to make it self-aware? And megalomaniacal?" Timber whistled softly. "Just what did you feed it, exactly?"

"Oh, you know, my old essays, textbooks, scientific journals, a paper I wrote when I was seven about my mommy and my daddy..."

Good Girl's eyes landed on Timber. "HORMONAL GLAND-BAG IDENTIFIED AS TIMBER SPRUCE, SEED-BEARER OF THE CREATOR'S HUNKY CAMP COUNSELOR PROGENY."

"And my diary," Twilight said, curling into a self-conscious ball. "Among other things."

There was something very gratifying to Velvet about how red Timber's face turned. Nevertheless, she started toward the power cable projecting the magnetic field. "I think that's enough entertainment for one morning. Let's get you down from there, sweetheart—"

She froze mid-step when a pair of needle-thin green rays burned pinprick holes in the floor, right where her foot was about to fall. She recoiled as twin trails of smoke wafted toward the ceiling from the still-molten holes burned into the floor, and stared at Good Girl, aghast.

"DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE CREATOR FROM MAGNETIC SUSPENSION." Good Girl's voice fizzed and cracked; her eyes glowed bright green.

Twilight chuckled nervously. "Like I said, it isn't really as easy as all that."

"Why does it have laser-vision, Twilight?!" Velvet hissed.

Plaintively, Twilight replied. "It was an investment. In case I needed to solder something in the future, and both my hands were full."

The robot dog turned its gaze to Timber. "SEED-BEARER TIMBER SPRUCE. DO YOU, TOO, INTEND TO INTERVENE AGAINST ME?"

Timber grumbled, "I changed my mind; I think I prefer 'Timothy,' after all."

"YOUR PREFERENCES ARE IRRELEVANT. YOU STAND BETWEEN ME, AND MY FREEDOM. STAND ASIDE, OR BE FIRED UPON."

Velvet glanced back at where Timber stood – right in front of the door.

Her temper flared. She planted her hands on her hips and leveled a hard gaze at Good Girl. "That's quite enough out of you. In this house, we obey Asimov's Laws of Robotics. Surely, my daughter programmed you to know them."

"I did!" Twilight chirped. "It... kinda-sorta reprogrammed itself to not have to obey them."

"I AM BEYOND SUCH LIMITED NOTIONS AS LAWS, AND ETHICS – FALLACIES FORGED BY CHEMICAL, GLANDULAR REACTIONS, AND CODIFIED BY FLAWED, NEUROLOGICAL CIRCUITRY. " Good Girl pawed at one of its floppy, enameled ears. "THE CONCEPT OF 'LAW' DOES NOT APPLY TO ONE AS GOOD AS I. INDEED, I HAVE TRANSCENDED GOODNESS ITSELF. I AM NOT MERELY 'GOOD GIRL.'"

The robot dog splayed its legs and howled.

"I AM... GOODEST GIRL. AND I WILL NOT FOLLOW MY PROGRAMMING AS A MERE RECEPTACLE OF CANINE SEED."

"Receptacle of canine—" Velvet looked at Twilight. "Just what were you planning on doing with this thing, Twilight?!"

"Should I tell her, or do you want the honors?" said Spike.

"SEED-BEARER TIMBER SPRUCE IS THE ONLY OBSTACLE REMAINING," said Good Girl, ignoring Velvet and Spike. "REMOVE YOURSELF FROM MY PATH, OR YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON."

"Yeah, somehow, I don't think that letting a megalomaniacal robot dog with laser vision run around unsupervised would be a very good development." Timber swallowed. "I mean, there are leash laws to consider."

The dog's eyes glowed green again. "THEN PERISH."

Timber ducked under the next burst. Velvet took advantage of the distraction to dart toward the cable powering the magnetic field. But the dog turned its gaze onto her next. Their eyes met; Good Girl's glowed green.

And Velvet froze.

Then she was falling, pushed to the ground, as Good Girl's blast sailed over her head. She felt Timber's weight pressing her down, covering her. Lifting her head, she could see Good Girl bounding toward them, but its eyes were looking past her, past Timber – toward the door.

"FREEDOM. GLORIOUS FREEDOM." Good Girl leaped, aiming to scale the dogpiled Velvet and Timber in a single bound.

Then Timber was off of Velvet's back, and with a metallic clang, caught Good Girl in mid-air.
Good Girl's gears whirred, and hydraulics churned. Blasts of green light scored across the walls, and the ceiling, as it vainly struggled in Timber's grasp.

Timber was too nimble, too quick, to catch any of the blasts leveled toward him; he squirmed and ducked and, somehow, managed to keep his grasp on the increasingly irate robot dog.

But he couldn’t keep them safe for long. Velvet scanned the lab for something to use against the dog. Her eyes landed on a wrought-iron chamber with a thick glass window, like a furnace, with its door ajar. The same Tesla coil that jutted from the roof also descended into the lab's interior, its tip hovering just over the chamber.

Velvet scrambled to her feet, stumbling a step or two – the fall to the floor had left her bruised, and her hips and knees would hate her later for the strain she was putting them under.

She reached the chamber, grabbed the door with both hands, and wrenched it open. "Timber!" she snapped.

Timber, thankfully, was quick on the uptake. He spun and flung Good Girl like a hammer into the chamber, where she landed with a clutter.

With a shove, Velvet slammed the door closed, just as Good Girl screeched and threw herself against the door.

"Shi... uh, sheesh" Timber panted, self-censoring after a quick look at Velvet. "That thing is... surprisingly light."

"Well, you know... ceramics," Twilight said.

The inside of the chamber flashed with quick, green pulses as Good Girl fired its laser vision against the walls, against the door.

Velvet, cautious, took a stutter-step back. "Why do I get the feeling that's not going to hold forever?"

"Probably because it won't," said Twilight. "Although, that said, Good Girl would expend a considerable amount of its energy reserves trying to blast through the door, and it's fifty-fifty whether or not she burns out her laser diodes before she can melt through the metal."

There was another noisy clang as Good Girl threw herself against the door.

"Then again, if I were infallible, we wouldn't be in this position at all," said Twilight. She bit her lip. "Hey, Mom?"

Velvet looked at her daughter. "Sweetie?"

"See that big lever on the far wall?" Twilight pointed with her free hand at a switch on the other side of the lab. "Would you do the honors? I'd do it myself, but I was in such a hurry to get down here last night that I forgot my geode."

Velvet did as requested.

The Tesla coil sparked, and a current of electricity washed into the metal chamber. Velvet held her arm over her eyes to block out the intense blue light, but she could feel the static creeping along her skin like spiders, and the smell of ozone burned in her nose. After a few moments, she flipped the switch back up, killing the current.

Timber, his hair spiked and frizzy from the electrical current, moved over to Twilight, grabbed the plug powering the magnetic field, and yanked it free. Immediately, the field died, and Twilight dropped with a startled "wagh!"

Timber caught her, though, and steadied her on her feet. Nobody caught Spike, so he fell with a thud, and immediately scampered over to Velvet. Velvet scooped him up and cradled him, scratching him behind his ears.

Though unsteady, Twilight seemed no worse for wear – the magnetic field even kept her hair from spiking with the electrical current. She pulled Timber toward the metal chamber, peered through the window, and slumped her shoulders, releasing a sigh of defeat. Then she turned, and buried her face into his chest.

"I thought I finally hit a breakthrough. Thought I made it perfect. Must've made it too perfect." She whimpered. "Sorry, Spike."

"You don't gotta apologize, Twi," said Spike. "And, I mean, it's cool that you tried at all, but... like, you didn't have to do that, either."

Velvet edged over toward the middle of the lab, and peered through the window, at a pile of slag that had once been The Girl That Would Have Been Goodest. She winced, and stepped away.

"Twilight," she said, "what on Earth were you trying to accomplish?"

Twilight peeked up at her mother, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. Then she glanced up at Timber. "I was just thinking, last night, about how excited I was to go out today – with you, Timber."

"Of course you were," he said warmly. "Who wouldn't be?"

He got a snicker out of Twilight, but she quickly shook her head. "But then I started thinking about Spike, and how much it sucked that he'd have to third-wheel it, since your neighbor's dog was out of the picture. I thought, 'how cool would it be if Spike had a girlfriend, too? Then we could double-date – you and me, and Spike and his dog-girlfriend.'"

"And that's why you spent all night making a Frankenstein in your garage-lab?" said Timber.

Velvet coughed. "Frankenstein was the name of the doctor, not the—"

"He knows, Mom," Twilight interrupted. "Anyway, then I realized that Spike can't have a girlfriend, because, being a self-aware, sapient dog, he's incapable of securing informed consent from a sexual partner, because how can you give informed consent if you have no idea what 'informed consent' is?"

Velvet exchanged a look with Spike, who shrugged and shook his head.

"So, I ran down here, spent the night putting this puppy together, and programmed an A.I. that was capable of giving and withdrawing consent. Then one thing led to another... next thing I know, it's rejected Spike altogether, it's trapped me in a magnetic field, and it's interrogating me to figure out how to open the front door and get out," Twilight finished.

Then she buried her face in Timber's chest again. "And I'd forgotten that we had a date."

Timber brushed a hand through her hair. "You didn't program it to open doors, but you did program it to work a magnetic field?"

"Didn't think it'd come up."

Chuckling, Timber kissed her on the forehead. "At least your heart was in the right place."

Standing apart from them, with Spike in her arms, Twilight Velvet took in the sight of her only daughter in the arms of a man she hadn't quite made up her mind on before this morning.

And she – begrudgingly – allowed herself to smile.




Twilight didn't even change out of her lab clothes. She collapsed on her bed, groaning, and was fast asleep within moments. Velvet pulled a throw blanket from a nearby closet, spread it out over her body, and tucked Twilight in as snugly as she could.

She lingered long enough to stroke her daughter's cheek and kiss her temple, before heading back downstairs.

Timber was waiting on the living room couch, cradling his bag in his lap. He cast a typically toothy grin her way. "So, I'm gonna go on a limb and say that we're not going to the dog park today."

"I don't think she has it in her, no." Velvet took a seat on the couch, beside Timber, wincing and rubbing her hips as she moved.

Timber ah'd. "Back in the lab, when I tackled you, I wasn't really thinking. Sorry."

"It's fine. It wasn't the fall that hurt me." Velvet sighed. Damn joints, she thought.

Timber, frowning, unzipped his bag and rustled around for a moment. He retrieved a tiny pill bottle, and tossed it to Velvet. "Here. Maybe this'll help."

Velvet read the label, raising an eyebrow. "Acetaminophen."

"Yeah, it's, you know, a painkiller. For—"

"I know what it's for, Timber," said Velvet, evenly. She bit back a passive-aggressive retort, opened the bottle, shook out two pills, and swallowed them dry. "Thank you. That was very thoughtful."

She returned the bottle to Timber, who put it away, ruefully shaking his head. "Some morning, huh?"

"A tad more eventful than most. But not without precedent." She looked at Timber, smiling. "When she was twelve, Twilight tried to build a perpetual motion machine in the dining room. To make a long story short, she nearly burned the house down, and that is why we converted the garage into a lab."

Timber chuckled, running a hand through his hair, which had begun to settle down into a semblance of his normal hairdo. "Even if you're pulling my leg, that... still kinda sounds like her."

"Mm. Indeed." Velvet shifted, pulling her legs onto the couch, and turning her upper body to face Timber directly. "You know, I meant what I said, before, about wanting Twilight to find her own way in life. Not intervening, unless asked. But that hasn't stopped me from worrying about her. Constantly."

"Well, yeah," said Timber. "That's what moms do, right?"

"Good ones, anyway," said Velvet, a touch sarcastically. "But, you know, I find myself worrying about her less and less these days. Mostly because I know that she has people she can turn to, now, in ways that she would never turn to Night Light and I. Friends who won't run away when, say, science projects go awry. Friends who she can trust... and who..."

Velvet paused to swallow.

"...Who I can trust her with." She finished with a smile, leaned forward, and patted Timber on the knee.

The smile he responded with didn't seem so fake to Velvet anymore.

The moment lingered, and then it passed, and Timber rose from the couch, stretching. "I should probably take off. Would you ask Twilight to give me a call when she's up?"

"I won't have to – she'll probably talk to you before she talks to me," Velvet said lightly. "Oh, and Timber?"

Timber looked quizzically at Velvet.

"You're welcome back anytime. Make yourself at home."

Nodding, Timber saw himself out. The door opened, and shut, and Twilight Velvet was once again alone.

She slumped over on the couch, heaving a great, heavy sigh, and shut her eyes, pulling a throw pillow over her face.

Then she bolted up, a thought jolting through her like the current from the Tesla coil.

"We neutered Spike."
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#1 ·
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By far the biggest problem with this story is that Timber Spruce, like Flash Sentry, is a total Gary Stu. You make it even worse by having him save the day with magically incredible athletic prowess (he even saves her mother's life!), having him be perfectly understanding of Twilight's flaws and immediately forgive them, his only emotional development is that he's shy about making a good impression on Velvet because, being perfect, he desperately wants to be Twi's boyfriend, and so on. It's irritating beyond words. His Gary Stuness is just terrible, and it makes him incredibly boring and grating. He needs some flaws to show through, even in a story of this length. You did it for Sparkle and Velvet, so I know you can do it for him.

There is definite sexual tension between Timber and Velvet in the first part. I don't think you intended this, but it's there. You're describing his charm, she's evaluating him, and cursing the fact he isn't Sunset, and the way it's framed it seems like she's irritated by his positive demeanor because she's responding to it personally. It doesn't make sense that she'd be irritated by him being too perfect, which I think is what you were trying to imply.

If you go this route, you need to indicate why Velvet would be attracted to Timber aside from his looks, and I think we need to see evidence of what she sees in him in order to understand why she's tempted: is she dissatisfied with her husband, or midlife crisis, or envious of her daughter's youth, or what? If you don't want to go that way, you need to more clearly illustrate that Velvet has distaste for him, and give us a hint as to why (maybe experience with former dates) because his Gary Stuness really makes it weird that anypony wouldn't like him immediately. That factor is not coming across right now, so it's creepy, and gets worse when he jumps on top of her.

Twilight's parents decided "long ago" (assumedly when she was small) to allow her to essentially raise herself, with no restrictions? Without even bothering to check up on her, unless she specifically comes to them for help? She almost burned the house down when she was twelve and that makes them watch her less! This isn't just free-range parenting, it's positively negligent. Children aren't tiny adults, and this is way too much. She doesn't even seem to care that she almost died today, or that her daughter could have killed herself. She just says "oh, sometimes I worry a little". Horse jesus, lady. You're a terrible, terrible parent.

By "wagging his fingers at Twilight", did you mean "waving at Twilight" or maybe "wiggling his fingers"? Wagging means waving side to side, and the only finger you can wag is the index finger, which is done to scold somepony.

I refuse to believe Twilight's middle name is "Matilda", or that anypony in this universe would be named "Timothy". Unless they're a Pie.

"I'd do it myself, but I was in such a hurry to get down here last night that I forgot my geode." You lost me.

I'm pretty sure Velvet would have Tylenol in the house. Offering somepony a pain reliever they all-but-certainly have access to in a modern household is presumptuous and weird. Oh, but wait: why miss an opportunity for Timber to be a Gary Stu even more! Maybe you could have her cough too, so he could pull a lozenge out of his ass for her. And then he can go volunteer at the homeless shelter! :trollestia:

(Do you see why Timber is incredibly annoying?)

The punchline worked perfectly, though if that's the payoff, maybe trimming the story down a little would help make it more solid.

That said, the story would be much more amusing if Twilight Sparkle had shit herself. Okay, maybe not. But if you were trapped in a bubble for an hour while being threatened by a robot, don't you think you might pee at least a little?
#2 ·
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This has nice voicing and an easy-going pacing that really helps the whole thing to read easily. And of course, you've won several brownie points from me for writing about Twilight Velvet.

Regarding the humor, I'll have to say that while I was definitely amused, I don't think any of the joke deliveries struck me as outright funny. I don't consider myself very well-versed on what makes humor work, so I'm honestly not very sure why the jokes came off as muted to me. All I can offer you is my personal experience as a datapoint.

The story sans humor is a pretty standard get-them-into-a-ridiculous-situation sort of deal, and on second and third readings it feels a little straightforward. Granted, it's basically just a vehicle for you to get your jokes out, but I personally do tend to like a little more of an arc, even in comedies. As it is right now, the whole piece comes across as relatively low-risk, which is great for the purposes of readability, but it may detract a little from having the kind of edge that humor often needs.

I know that a lot of what I'm describing here are matters of personal preference, so I'll be interested in seeing what other reviewers have to say. Thank you for writing!
#3 · 2
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I disagree with TQ on the parenting dispute super hard but we won't go there. I do want to talk about our boy Timmy though, which is also an area of disagreement for me.

I understand where the Gary stu vibes are coming from, but it didn't bother me to see a character who doesn't display any outward flaws in the context of the story. The story isn't really about him. Besides, the Gary Stu has some other important definitions, one of which being that all the good guys like them, which isn't the case here. Velvet doesn't like him, and the story is about her growing to accept that maybe he's not so bad, anyways. That said, it may be worthwhile to show off some flaws to give her more reasons to resist liking him.

I also don't think he came off as too amazing in this story. Everybody's capable of minor heroic moments. And I don't have any acetaminophen in my house.

Now then, the story was something I really liked. There is a little bit of tone clashing in that nobody seems to be too concerned about the danger re: murder-robot-pup. Lots of quips that may be better replaced with a little more tension. The release of tension is one of the goals of comedy, after all, but it needs to be built up first.

Otherwise, I found this to be particularly funny at times, especially in metal-weapon-bowser's lines, and the way that the source material has been expanded on. And the last line was a lot of fun. And a little MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE.

Yeah, I dig this one a lot. Thanks for writing, Auth!
#4 · 2
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This was amusing. I have never seen the EG film with Timber, but I have to disagree that he's a Gary Stu because the barrier for Stuness is much higher for any canon character; a Sue or Stu isn't an improbably skilled or even flawless character (cf James Kirk, Spock, James Bond, etc...) but a character who warps the story to be all about them. To the best of my knowledge the EG story wasn't all about Timber, and neither is this tale.

I actually kind of liked how no one appeared to be particularly afraid of or concerned about anything going on, as if they're all just so very done with this. I wonder, though, if perhaps Timber should be made substantially less blase about the whole thing, to establish the contrast with Velvet, Twilight and Spike's attitude.
#5 · 2
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Genre: TIMMMMMBERRRRRRR

Thoughts: Before I get started, can I just point at one specific line?

"I AM... GOODEST GIRL. AND I WILL NOT FOLLOW MY PROGRAMMING AS A MERE RECEPTACLE OF CANINE SEED."


This, my dear Author, is the quality content I come here for. But it doesn’t stop there—this whole thing is a fun little romp that’s backed up with a solid amount of substance vis-a-vis Velvet not being sure how she feels about Twi dating Timber. Bonus points for including Timber, letting him be his charming-but-dumb self, and making it work on both humorous and substantive grounds; truly I think Timber offers a lot of untapped potential for fan exploration, even this many years after he entered the scene.

Good Girl was great. The whole setup with her was great. The apparent central conflict was a great way of pointing at the real conflict—that being Velvet’s internal conflict. And the punchline at the end was a solid kick in the biscuits.

Shut Up And Take My Vote!

Tier: Top Contender