Today’s story is a rarity: a rich romance between an unexpected pair.
[Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 14,210 words
Rarity always wanted to be Lady Rarity. Over time, it became more clear it was not meant to be. But she’s fine, she’s got a successful business in Ponyville, her fashion line showing in Manehattan and she has her friends, even if most of them are moving on with their lives. A prince sweeping her off her hooves was just not meant to be.
So how in Equestria did she end up on a date with the richest pony in town?
Confusion, feelings and wine mix for a potentially explosive, heartwarming (or rending?) evening, along with a pinch of generosity.
FROM THE CURATORS: Any romance writer can tell you that mashing characters’ lips together is the easy part — and this is a story that makes the hard parts look effortless. “Royals follows Rarity as she goes on a date with Filthy Rich,” Soge said in his nomination, “and what follows not only is a delightfully well-constructed romance on its own right, but also an amazing exploration of what makes both characters tick, and an exploration of the nature of fame and success and what those mean in the greater scheme of things.” On its way to a rare unanimous approval, that was far from the only praise it accumulated. “This does a flawless job of selling a ship I’d never even considered,” Horizon said. “Within a scene and a half it had endeared me to both characters AND shown me their chemistry.” Present Perfect, meanwhile, noted that “excellent romance needs to be built on relationships, characters and dialogue, and this has all three in spades. This is what romance should always be like.”
Even in the details, we kept finding things that surprised and delighted us. “I adored the clever touches around the main plot: Diamond Tiara reacting to Rarity, the reason for her name, even just getting to experience a pre-season-five fic [before the show canonically made Spoiled Rich his wife] again,” Present Perfect said. Horizon added that “the dialogue was never anything less than sharp and stellar,” while FanOfMostEverything was impressed by how casually it made its stars shine. “The story even celebrates both characters at their best even when they’re not trying to romance each other,” he said, “from Mr. Rich’s drive to save Sweet Apple Acres to Rarity’s Bisonian moment in the last flashback. (‘For you, it was the greatest day of your life. For Rarity, it was Tuesday.’)”
That exemplary character work extended throughout the story, and drew praise from every one of us. “I’ll just add how well the author draws even the background characters here,” AugieDog said. “The flashback in chapter two give us a perfectly written Applejack, for instance, and it’s in a scene that’s nothing but dialogue.” All in all, as Horizon said, that elevated it into a story with broad appeal: “As sweet as the romance was, these two characters could have been watching paint dry and it still would have held my attention.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Einhander discusses belated tinkering, short circuits, and universe sharing.