“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the ancient proverb says. In today’s story, that relationship goes a little deeper.
A Persimmon Spring
[Sad] [Dark] [Alternate Universe] • 2,935 words
I, Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings, was a paragon of my kind. I was the greatest military ruler my people have ever known. I was mere months from conquering the most prosperous nation in the world.
Then a strange dragon rose from the stone, and everything changed.
I do not think of conquest any more. Now, I think of persimmons.
FROM THE CURATORS: Exemplary Alternate Universe stories require walking a fine line — balancing events that contradict the show with the familiar characters and themes that readers love about it — and A Persimmon Spring rises to meet that challenge. “It’s a great idea — a memoir, with elements of romance, about a very nuanced and powerful Chrysalis dealing with Discord’s reappearance in the midst of her attempted takeover of Canterlot,” Present Perfect explained. Horizon marveled at its thematic balancing act: “It feels very much like a pony story despite the essential grimness of the setting.”
We unanimously agreed on the story’s emotional power. “I love how the author uses the ‘little’ things, like Hythacine and the titular persimmon,” Chris said. JohnPerry opined that “[the Chrysalis/Shining relationship] is one of those all-too-rare instances of romance written with a distinctly mature tone,” and Bradel agreed: “I’m in love with the way Chuckfinley threads the Chrysalis/Cadance juxtaposition throughout.” Present Perfect’s admiration was more wide-ranging: “I loved the narrative voice. It’s a good example of world-building with limited resources.”
The construction of the alternate-universe elements provoked some curator dissent, but Horizon’s position was typical of our majority. “The AU didn’t bother me at all,” he said, “but I’m coming from a sci-fi background, where you learn to go in willing to spot the story its core premise and then see what cool things it does with it. This easily passes the cool threshold.” Even those who disagreed never had any doubt about the quality of the writing. “The presentation of the AU leaves one feeling like there’s a lot being left out,” JohnPerry said, “but judging it strictly on its own, this fic is brilliant.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Chuckfinley discusses Bruce Campbell’s names, George Orwell’s porn advice, and Genghis Khan’s life lessons.