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I've Waited so Long for This... · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Celestia stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her mane was a mess. Hair stuck out in every direction, and ends were split. There were dark bags under her eyes, and they also looked red and puffy. Celestia reached out to the hairbrush with her magic, and began to work on combing the knots out. There was a bang on the door behind her, but she ignored it.

The door exploded into the room, flying off its hinges and showering the red carpet with wooden splinters. Celestia could see the reflection of Luna as she stepped through the doorway. Her sister made her way to a spot behind Celestia and slightly to the side, so they could both see each other’s faces in the mirror, and then she sat on her haunches.

“Didn’t you get the message?” Celestia said eventually. “I told my guards not to let you in.”

Luna nodded. “With how powerful the lock spell was, it was obvious.”

Celestia winced as she pulled through a tighter knot. “I hope you didn’t hurt any of my guards.”

Luna huffed and looked away. “What do you take me for?”

Celestia stopped for a moment, holding the comb still in the air. She took a long moment to look into the eyes of Luna’s reflection. “I’m not sure.”

“I am not a heartless monster!” Luna raised her voice as she stomped a hoof, but it wasn’t quite a shout. “And neither are you!”

Celestia felt like rebuking the other Alicorn, but instead remained silent. She went back to working on her mane.

Luna sighed and relaxed. “Look, I know you’re upset. I’m the only pony in Equestria who understands what you’re going through. But you’re not thinking rationally right now. Sleep on it, and in the morning you’ll come to your senses.”

“I’m tired of thinking rationally,” Celestia said. “I’ve been thinking rationally for thousands of years, and nothing has changed. Rational is nothing but painful.”

Celestia put the hairbrush back onto the dresser, although her mane still lacked most of its usual luster. She looked back at Luna over her shoulder. “Help me put on some makeup.”

Luna stared at Celestia, unmoving. Eventually she got up with a long sigh, and came over to sit beside her sister with a frown. “Are you really prepared to cause the suffering and deaths of millions?”

“Our ponies are good,” Celestia said. “They won’t do that.”

“I believe so too, sister.” Luna brought out a makeup kit with her magic. She dipped a soft brush into some powder, and began to gently dab it onto Celestia’s bags. “But you know there’s always a chance. Once you cast that spell, it’s permanent. We won’t be able to stop them anymore.”

Celestia felt a part of herself bubble with pleasure at Luna’s touch. She always enjoyed being doted on like this by her sister, even though this was hardly the time.

“I can’t do it anymore, Luna,” Celestia said quietly. “I can’t watch another pony I love die. This was the last one, I swear it. Old age, disease… it’s so unnecessary, and we know the cure to it all. We just need to have the courage to trust our ponies.”

Luna moved on to applying the second layer. “What we need is to continue our research. There has to be a way to make them all immortal without making them all Alicorns. The idea of every citizen having the power to level a city with a thought… it would be as if Discord ruled once again.”

Celestia shook her head gently enough not to disturb Luna. “I haven’t been idle while you were gone. I’ve tried every single thing I could think of. It’s impossible. This is the only way.”

Luna pulled away, and Celestia looked at herself in the mirror. She looked mostly presentable, although there were still some visible signs of her distress. Still, it was acceptable. She stood up and started walking for the blasted doorway.

“Even if that is true, ponies are living peaceful lives,” Luna said. “Do you truly wish to let them destroy each other?”

Celestia looked back at her sister, who still sat by the mirror. “They won’t. I will continue to guide them, as I always have.”

Luna exhaled deeply. “You’ve always guided Equestria well. Better than I have. I hope you can make the right decision this time too.”

“Don’t worry, my sister. I will make the right decision.”

Celestia walked into the hallway.
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#1 ·
· · >>Dreamy Days
I have to say that I think this is the weakest offering. I hope that there are no hard feelings over it, author. It's not bad, so don't feel bad; the other two stories are just stronger to me. There are two main reasons: the first is that I have difficulty buying the premise in this one, and the second is that there isn't really a story being told to completion here.

The premise that Celestia will just zap everypony into alicorns isn't something I find credible. Maybe that's just me, but for a variety of reasons I just don't see it. I also have difficulty buying into the motivation for this, that she just doesn't want to see any more ponies die. She's been doing that for at least a thousand years, without cracking or budging on the issue before now. I can't help but think she's comfortable with it as a necessity.

There also isn't a complete story being told. Celestia and Luna talk about the story at hand (hoof?), and... that's it. Ran out of words. Can't really blame you for not having a lot to work with, given the constraints of the minific format, but it might have been much more compelling to do a concisely focused story about the results of Celestia's imminent actions, rather than a dialogue about the debate over it before anything actually happens.
#2 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny >>Dreamy Days
Rational is nothing but painful.

Careful, Tia. You're liable to make Discord swoon with that kind of talk.

Celestia is very clearly, just, absolutely over everything, and you do a fine job illustrating that, dear author. Though a clue as to exactly when we are, or whose death pushed her over this edge, would be go a long way toward getting me on board with her rather extreme plan.

Luna, despite her protests, doesn't seem to try that hard to talk Celestia out of her plan. Based on the raw text she seems to trust that Celestia will see the error of her ways, but I don't quite buy it, though I can't put my finger exactly on what doesn't sit right. Maybe it's that even in the nigh-utopia that is Equestria handing everypony keys to their own personal WMD is an idea worth just a l i t t l e more pushback than it's getting here.

Still, neat idea, solid character work. I'll never get tired of "end of her rope" Celestia.
#3 ·
· · >>Dreamy Days
>>Rao pretty much:

Sums up my reaction. I like the open ending, but I need more build-up, more of an idea of how we get from the end of the series with the sisters retired and Twilight ruling Equestria to the start of this story with the sister back in the castle. If it's Twilight's death that's triggered Celestia's decision here, Celestia can maybe cite Twilight's work as Princess of Friendship with having made such a change in the characters of all ponies everywhere that she's sure they can handle being alicorns now. I just need more background again in this one...

#4 ·
· · >>Rao
Thank you all for your feedback. This is my first time writing a story in years, so I had no doubt I would be somewhat rusty. It's also my first time participating on this site, and I hope to use it to improve some more. I'd like to provide some of my thought processes that went into writing the story, and compare what I intended to your feedback.

Celestia's plan was indeed extreme, but that's why I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore. You said you had trouble believing that she would ever do this, and I agree, if she were thinking rationally. But I was hoping I made it clear enough that Celestia was specifically avoiding thinking about it rationally, and when Luna suggested she go to bed and sleep on it and she'd change her mind, Celestia knew that she was right. Which is why she avoided going to bed and instead stubbornly wanted to push her plan forward immediately. Everyone has a breaking point, no matter how strong they are, especially in the face of strong and terrible emotions like those of losing a loved one, and I was hoping that would be demonstrated here. If you didn't understand these things in the story, perhaps I need to work on ways to make them more explicit in the future.

Surely, the results of the conversion of everypony in Equestria into Alicorns would be extremely interesting. However, I felt like that scope far outstrips the 750 word limit. That's more like the territory of a novel. This scene was the best way I could think of to demonstrate the weight of the dilemma, although perhaps it wasn't as successful as I hoped.

Does who died matter? I felt like it didn't, for the scope of the story. I think the most important parts are the fact that it was somebody Celestia loved dearly, and their loss finally broke her after thousands of years. I felt like explaining beyond that would be a waste of precious words.

While Equestria is no doubt a diarchy, I always felt like Luna was much more passive as a ruler than her sister was. Especially after her return, I felt like Luna still feels unsure of herself after going down the path that led her to become Nightmare Moon. Thus, I felt like she would be comfortable with trusting Celestia to know what is best for Equestria, since in her eyes, Celestia has never gone off the deep end and tried to harm ponies as much as Luna has. When Luna said that she trusts Celestia to make the right decision, she didn't mean that she trusts her "to see the error of her ways," as you put it. She actually meant that she trusts Celestia to make the best decision for Equestria, no matter what it is, even if that means turning everypony into Alicorns. If Celestia believes that is a good path for everyone's welfare and happiness, Luna will support her, no matter what. I realize this is a lot of implication to glean from a couple of sentences of dialogue, so I will be sure to try to imply these things much more clearly in the future.

>>Baal Bunny
Why do you believe this story takes place after the ending of the series? If I implied that in any way, it is certainly a grave error. Unfortunately, I saw no way to give more background without preserving the important parts of dialogue that actually speak of the dilemma that is the focal point of the story. I do not want to blame the word count limit, since the essence of a good writer is being able to tell a good story despite any such limitations. So perhaps I should have focused on other details, and the dialogue I presented here was not actually the most interesting part of this scene.
#5 · 1
· · >>Dreamy Days
>>Dreamy Days
Welcome to the party. It's a bit scant these days but new faces are always welcome. In celebration of shaking the rust off—a feeling I'm all too acquainted with—let's continue the dialogue!
Does who died matter? I felt like it didn't, for the scope of the story.

It does a little bit, I think. Maybe not many specifics about the individual, but at least some deeper clue to who exactly this pony was to Celestia for their loss to drive her into such a desperate state that she's fundamentally alter the makeup of the nation—arguably the world since suddenly there would be a whole country of immortals overnight—without anypony's consent.

Based on Luna's speech and the castle setting, we're looking at season ~3-9 for the timeline. Celestia is no stranger to loss and coping with grief. It's perfectly reasonable that, eventually, one straw would finally break her back (and to reiterate, it's plainly clear that she's at wits end) but that straw would have to have been a mighty heavy one. Knowing anything would help me, as a reader, align myself better with not only Celestia's grief, but also her desperation to never have to go through it again after coping normally for so long.

But! You are absolutely correct that word economy is a high priority in mini rounds. If it were me, I'd have her counting out or naming spouses/friends/lovers/whatever she just lost as Luna bursts in to help give the mystery pony some context and identity, just by way of example.

She actually meant that she trusts Celestia to make the best decision for Equestria, no matter what it is, even if that means turning everypony into Alicorns.

This is a perfectly reasonable reading of that section that I hadn't considered. I think Luna bursting into the room like she owns the place sets her up as more sure and assertive in my mind, which is where the disconnect between my reading and the intended reading of her response to Celestia's plan. A shift to a cooler introduction would smooth things into the "I trust you, onee-chan," perhaps.

This is kind of rambly because I'm tired and it took 2 days to write it between work and napping at home, but I hope the added thoughts are useful all the same. Maybe next round I won't be in the ER for the writing period and we'll get to square up in the ring :)
#6 ·
Thanks again for the insight, I appreciate it. Hope whatever you're going through gets better soon.