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Today’s story drives home the difficulties of odd roommate choices.

Complex Apartments
[Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Romance] [Sad] • 9,829 words

Choosing an apartment to live in is important and requires good planning. Location, needs, cost, a lot must be taken into account when looking.

One girl looks to her animals and peace, hoping to have a quiet, fun time with her friends as she goes through high school. For her, the apartment is cheap, comfortable, allows pets, and is close to school. Perfect!

The other is looking to take over a high school, enslave everyone inside, and bring war to another dimension all in the name of proving her mentor wrong. A small, cheap apartment near the school to plan in is all she needs.

Fluttershy really should have met the neighbors before signing her lease…

FROM THE CURATORS: While My Little Pony is excellent about showing sympathy and redemption to its villains, one of the ways that fanfic complements the show is in offering the nuance that children’s programming can lack.  “What got me wanting to feature this in the first place is the careful depiction of Sunset as reluctant bully,” Present Perfect said in his nomination.  “She’s fueled by vengeance, not evil, and as we watch her first tentative steps toward driving CHS into the friendless chaos Twilight found in the first movie, you start to think that maybe being cold, heartless and manipulative doesn’t exactly come easy to a former pony or something.”

That wasn’t the only way that this story aimed high — nor the only way it succeeded.  “With the ‘Changing Seasons’ contest’s stated goal being ‘ship Sunset with someone’, setting the story prior to Equestria Girls was about the hardest thing a writer could do to themselves,” Present Perfect said.  “Well, other than also trying to ship her with Fluttershy. But the odd back-and-forth relationship they stumble into is a highlight of this piece.”  Our broad agreement sent this toward its feature.  “My love for the romantic dynamic in this story honestly surprised me,” Soge said.  “It’s dysfunctional as all hell … and yet it’s the kind of passionate love that, though it may not be eternal, is infinite while it lasts, to paraphrase one of my favourite poems.”  FanOfMostEverything agreed: “I’ve been stewing it over since I read it, especially that beach scene. In the end, though, as Soge said, it is perfect for this horribly dysfunctional relationship. It’s twisted. It’s manipulative. To call it morally questionable would be being generous. Yet Sunset offers Fluttershy a chance at physical intimacy without any prying eyes making her feel self-conscious.”

That balancing act wouldn’t have been possible without exemplary character work.  “It is quintessentially Fluttershy, two legs or not, to spend a night hugging away the tears of someone that constantly abuses her,” Soge said.  And that extended beyond the protagonists into exemplary writing in general, AugieDog said: “The few lines Fluttershy gives us about her parents are absolute models for concise character backstory presentation, too, and they serve really well to show how this Sunset and Fluttershy are both twisted in ways that twine them more closely together.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Phaoray discusses troll hunters, homeless anomalies, and blood ambitions.


Give us the standard biography.

Well, I’ve been writing for years now — just for RPG characters I was playing, though. MLP is the first fandom I have become a real part of, and the fun of writing something and getting responses from more than a few friends was quite appealing. I started off editing for others and reading a lot of stories until I felt ready to try my hand at writing. Currently I am a Veterinary Technician, but working on becoming a phlebotomist.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Phaoray is actually an old name from my first World of Warcraft character, a troll hunter. I figured it rolled off the tongue nicely and wasn’t too hard for others to spell.

Who’s your favorite pony?

Trixie. Always has, always will be.

What’s your favorite episode?

Hard to pick just one, but the two-parter “To Where and Back Again” was fantastic. Any episode showing Trixie and another character interacting in a semi-friendly manner is amusing. “Forgotten Friendship” did not disappoint.

What do you get from the show?

Characters I like to read about and write about on occasion. The first few seasons were a look into a world far more peaceful and different than our own. Different ideals, viewpoints, the ways in which technology and magic interacted, it was fascinating — and the characters are, at their core, appealing and fun to see.

What do you want from life?

Happiness. And for it to never end, buuuut not really any way to go alicorn in our world.

Why do you write?

For the fun of it. I like seeing what I can do with the personalities and characters and seeing how my stories develop. I like the feedback I get from others a lot as well.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Have fun with it. Read other stories, and try out different things in your own. Most of my stories have some experimentation in them because I saw another author do something intriguing and was curious to see if I could add that tool into my repertoire. I read the works of many others before trying things like flashbacks, time jumps, and dream sequences, learning what I liked about them, and what I felt was overused before doing my own.

What inspired “Complex Apartments”?

Well, I was curious to try a contest, and the Sunset Shipping contest was appealing since I like shipping. All of the parameters the contest required also worked into one of the concepts that I had written down some time ago, but never planned to write. It seemed like a good opportunity.

Why focus on a pre-redemption Sunset Shimmer?

It’s an appealing time in Sunset’s life to write about. Nothing is really known about her time before the first movie, only that she had been trapped in the EQG world for some time. She was angry, hurt, and clearly trying to lash out at those she felt had wronged her. She was emotionally unstable, and I tend to find characters that are broken in some way more appealing to write. Sunset after her redemption is actually harder for me to work with, despite reading so many stories involving her.

Do you see Fluttershy and Sunset’s relationship continuing after this?

Yes and no.  The story was meant to show a unhealthy relationship developing between the two main characters. Fluttershy can be a pushover at times, even more so if it would upset someone. And Sunset is quite the emotional wreck after being blasted by the Elements. It took till the Battle of the Bands for her to start regaining her self-confidence.

I’d like to say they would make it as a couple, but with the way the story ends, we don’t know if Sunset’s desire to be with Fluttershy is due to actual feelings, or the desperate need to have someone to cling to now that all of her plans and self-confidence have been destroyed. I can see it developing into Sunset needing Fluttershy as her lifeline and Fluttershy being too kind to refuse despite how needy Sunset could get. I will say that if I were to write a sequel, they would continue the relationship and overcome the odds though.

In the notes, you point out that this is your “first non-Trixie story.” What is it about Trixie as a character that attracts you?

What’s not to love? Trixie has a lot of personality quirks and issues that you can make fit dozens of unfortunate backstories or amusing reasons for. Her desperate need for attention, and her third-person style of talking which can be used as a defense mechanism, trying to pretend she is someone she isn’t. I like broken characters, and so much about Trixie shows she is a broken person.

She is also one of the few people in MLP who the mane six actually, though unintentionally, nearly made homeless. Quite a few of them really disliked her, even after the reveal that she was pushed out of towns and lost everything thanks to what happened in Ponyville. She is kind of an anomaly in MLP as being the one pony Twilight does not really care about in general.

On another note with her, she is also impressively stubborn and strong. Nothing keeps her down in either world — she pushes on and gets over it. So what if she has seen real magic and has none? The Trixie in EqG still claims she can awe and amaze a crowd!

I have been very thankful the writers haven’t had a memory lapse with her character yet as well. So many of the main characters seem to forget a lesson they learned already, or act in a way counter to their established personality at one point or another, yet they have managed to nail Trixie every time.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I do plan to continue writing! I’ve just been a bit out of it since most of the writers I know have stopped or disappeared. That and college has not helped. I will be at Bronycon this year if anyone wants to talk writing or about anything in general.

Thank you all for enjoying my stories and it is really amazing to think that I would ever be interviewed like this.

You can read Complex Apartments at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.