The crowning achievement of today’s story is a look at some royal growing pains.
[Drama] [Slice of Life] [Alternate Universe] • 56,413 words
Being seventeen is hard — especially if you happen to be a Princess.
I’m Princess Celestia, but everyone calls me Cece. My life has been crazier than normal lately — my big brother Blueblood is a selfish jerk, my best friend Twilight just moved away to Ponyville, and, oh yeah — Nightmare Moon turned out to be my long-lost somethingth-Great Aunt, Princess Luna. No biggie.
But, no matter how my life is going, I’m still Princess. I’ve gotta keep it together. Somehow. I can make it at least until the Grand Galloping Gala in a month-and-a-half … right?
FROM THE CURATORS: “It’s no secret that I love a good alternate universe, and this is a truly fascinating one,” FanOfMostEverything said in his nomination. “It all stems from a simple question: ‘What if alicorns were mortal?’ The resulting dynastic Equestria is at once familiar and strange, especially when seen through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old version of the Celestia we know, forced to take the throne and the wings far too early.” And that core concept got accolades from every curator. “Wow, just wow,” Soge quipped, while Horizon said: “This is proof that, seven years in, the fandom is still capable of coming up with unique ideas.”
Not only that, but we found the writing polished enough to show that idea off. “It is one of those fics that shines in the small details,” Soge said, “like the small changes in Twilight’s and Blueblood’s characterization, the way it subtly restructures character interactions, and how it twists oh-so-subtly the scenes the fic cribs from the show.” Horizon commented on that too: “I appreciate the author trusting their audience to know canon rather than to recapitulate each beat of the episodes it’s re-envisioning.” That allowed them to keep their focus tight, Soge said: “More than anything, the execution here was spot-on … it is slow and methodical, plumbing the depths of characterization built through the course of the novel.”
In some ways, the story sold its vision of the setting almost too well. “Is it weird if I say that this fic is one of the few pony stories I’ve ever read which could work better humanized?” Horizon said. But, AugieDog noted, that just reinforced how perfectly it captured the true core of show canon. “For all the ‘bipeds or quadrupeds’ moments, it’s a very Pony story,” he said, “with multiple characters learning multiple lessons and coming to realize how much they need each other. And the AU is simply marvelous — these are simultaneously the characters we know and characters we’re meeting for the first time.”
Read on for our author interview, in which brokenimage321 discusses skill theft, sisterly subtext, and purring cars.