Prepare for today’s story to drag you through the doubts of impending parenthood.
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 6,038 words
Princess Cadance is nearly ready to deliver Princess Flurry Heart into the world, and Shining should be the happiest stallion in the world. After all, he’s about to become a father — what stallion wouldn’t rejoice at this fact?
And yet … something’s eating away at him. Keeping him up nights. Driving him to speak with anypony that’ll listen. An anxiety. A fear. A doubt.
FROM THE CURATORS: When the Season 6 opener introduced us to Cadance and Shining Armor’s foal, it was inevitable that we would see a rush of stories examining their parenthood — but this one stood out for how squarely it hit the nail on the head. “This is a fantastic, believable look into Shining Armor’s character and things he should rightfully feel doubtful about,” Present Perfect said. Horizon also praised the way the story handled its characters: “It takes a lot for a story about the joys of parenting to burst through my shell, but the honesty and maturity on display here from everyone won me over.” And AugieDog was similarly won over by that core maturity: “I’m a big fan of stories where characters come to realize that they’re in over their heads, then go out and find help to deal with the problem,” he said. “And the situation here is both nicely specific to Shining Armor and nicely general to the experience of fatherhood.”
Augie wasn’t the only one who appreciated the way the story was structured around that search for perspective. “Shining’s continued denial gives the supporting cast a chance to really shine — the scene with Night Light was particularly impressive — and winds up to a powerful ending that reinforces the story’s major themes,” Horizon said. That ending, too, impressed multiple curators. “I’m very pleased that he doesn’t magically get over his troubles by the end,” Present Perfect said. “I love that he doesn’t even know who to talk to — starting off with that random private, then slowly going for better and better choices. Of course, the scene with Cadance ended up being the best, as it should be.” And Chris agreed on both counts: “There was a structure to what Shining Armor learned that made it feel like it needed to happen. … And the lack of a total, instantaneous, and-then-everything-was-perfect-style resolution is a big point in this fic’s favor.”
But ultimately, it was the core authenticity here that made this such an exemplary read — and such a powerful one. “Shiny feels pleasantly human,” Chris said, and Horizon added: “The way that it explores his emotions just feels important.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Regidar discusses cave goblins, osmosis snippets, and the misreading of Dungeons & Dragons.