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From time to time, despite our best efforts, we don’t have a feature ready to post come Friday—but that doesn’t mean we can’t recommend some reading material! We keep track of the stories which passed our approval process but whose authors have proven impossible to contact. We’d like to give these stories their time in the spotlight too, so read on for two RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.

By hester1
[Sad][Slice of Life] • 2,818 words

A server waits on six ponies in a restaurant. The diners have drinking contests and discuss social responsibility. The clock ticks ever on and on.

FROM THE CURATORS: Everyone appreciated this story’s attention to detail and excellent use of “show-don’t-tell.” “The more I think about this one, as more pieces fall together inside my head, the more I appreciate the subtlety and power hidden inside what’s apparently a little Slice of Life piece about an evening in a restaurant,” said Horizon. “Piecing together the situation from the details draws you into the story, letting you explore a second layer to the conversation that works more richly as subtext than it would out in the open.”

RBDash47 seconded the nomination: “It’s definitely a fantastic example of show-don’t-tell, and it’s a bonus to me that it’s done in first person; using the waiter’s POV to bounce us between the three tables is a nice framing element.” Present Perfect called it “a masterwork in subtlety and how to tell a story with a scattered focus” and Soge said “it is in looking at how everything suddenly fits together that this becomes something special.” FanOfMostEverything applauded how the story asked “fascinating questions about responsibility and duty that settings other than Equestria can’t pull off nearly as effectively.”

the unicorn and the crowThe Unicorn and the Crow
By Foxmane Vulpequus
[Drama][Mystery] • 128,032 words

Madeleine Crumpet: A world-trotting jeweler with an eye for gems… and pleasant company. Of the stallion persuasion.

Rubyk of Trotheim: A cold noble of the forbidden Equestrian North.

What cause could bring these two unlikely figures together?

FROM THE CURATORS: In his nomination, Horizon felt this story was shockingly underappreciated; at the time, it hadn’t received enough votes to have its ratio displayed, “which is startling, because having read through it this is some pretty high-level stuff … it definitely deserves more attention than it’s getting.” He went on to compliment the story’s style, “languid and stately and modestly archaic … but that style works in synergy both with the fantastic character work and the foreign feel of the setting.” Chris agreed that “it’s not going to be for everyone, but I found it very effective for what it was. It’s the kind of prose that encourages slow reading, but doesn’t demand an unattainable attention to detail — perfect for reading by the fire while sipping at a glass of scotch. And the setting is clever and original, without abandoning the feeling of being an MLP fic.”

Present Perfect loved the character work: “few fanfic authors strive to be this deliberate with their words. By the second chapter (not part), I was hooked, and never failed to be impressed by a character.” Horizon felt the same way, and noted that “as the story goes on, Frost Pane begins stealing every scene she’s in, turning that larger-than-life bombast into a positive, and Madeleine’s inner narration is consistently engaging. The supporting cast is almost uniformly vibrant, and are written sharply enough that I found myself analyzing them in the same way the protagonists did.”