With today’s story, idol hooves are the devil’s workshop.
The Truth Hurts
[Dark] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 4,914 words
Lightning Dust has been in a bit of a rut ever since getting kicked out of the Wonderbolt Academy. Day after day, she’s been sticking to a strict exercise regimen under the guidance of Cloudsdale’s premier personal trainer, Haymaker. Her hope is that she’ll unlock her true potential and show Haymaker how awesome she is, thus prompting him to use his connections to get her back into the Wonderbolts. No matter how many times Haymaker tells her it’s impossible, Lightning simply refuses to listen.
Then one fateful night, Lightning Dust’s training is interrupted by the appearance of her greatest idol, Wind Rider. It turns out he too has difficulty accepting reality, and he has his own, more nefarious schemes to get himself back in the game. Haymaker sees this as his last chance to save Lightning Dust from walking Wind Rider’s path. And if that means rubbing salt in a few wounds and shattering a few dreams, then so be it.
FROM THE CURATORS: Sometimes, a story’s brilliance lies in expressing one of life’s greatest rarities — a truly original idea. “Lightning Dust is a character I tend to forget was ever on the show,” Present Perfect said in his nomination. “Therefore, it’s maybe easy to see why no one ever considered comparing her to dethroned Wonderbolt Wind Rider before. But it’s so obvious in hindsight.” Soge agreed, and added: “Having read the story, it really surprises me that this is the only fic tagged with both characters on the site.”
Though there was some curator dissent on the quality of the execution, there was none on what made it exemplary. “What makes this story work, beyond that excellent premise, is the portrayal of the characters,” Present Perfect said, echoed by Soge: “The concept is strong enough to make it memorable, and it is executed perfectly well, thanks to the snappy dialogue and pitch-perfect characterization.” And FanOfMostEverything pointed out that it wasn’t just the protagonists done well: “Haymaker really ties it all together, knowing when to offer wisdom and when to just shine a spotlight on bullcrap.”
And ultimately, the story talked about redemption in a way that reflected the core of the show. “I can’t help but draw parallels between Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer here,” FanOfMostEverything said. “Both prodigies, both arrogant, both humbled by a member of the Mane Six. The difference is that Twilight gave Sunset a support network. Haymaker tries to act as that for Lightning, but she’s not yet seen the error of her ways. Seeing Wind Rider’s true colors is, appropriately enough, her rainbow to the face.” Soge summed it up: “I got left with the feeling that Lightning Dust has a real shot at redemption here, so long as she is able to change her path radically.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Metool Bard discusses dark mirrors, pegasus partiality, and never-ending hurricanes.