Today’s story is a tale of love written in the sky.
[Romance] [Slice of Life] • 2,968 words
A thousand years ago he was turning Equestria into a hotbed of mayhem.
Five years ago he was growing moss and lichen on his shoulders.
Today he’s asking Celestia out on a date.
Celestia didn’t know such a creature as Discord would be able to change so radically without it being part of some elaborate prank. But what’s more unsettling, she didn’t know she’d be able to change just as drastically. As she finds new feelings for the Master of Chaos, she begins to have doubts toward the integrity of her desires, and suspicions of her sister’s possible involvement.
FROM THE CURATORS: For a story about Celestia struggling with the ambiguity of her romantic feelings, this had some delicious ambiguity of its own. “The best thing about this story is that Dislestia shippers can read it as a straight romance,” Chris said in his nomination, “and people like me can read it as a psychological horror story, and it still works.” And while we disagreed on the specifics of the piece’s depth — “The subtext, especially of that final scene, steers away from the psychological horror interpretations … which is not to say that Luna’s free of mischief, and that extra layer adds a delicious complexity to the piece,” Horizon said — we agreed on its richness. “The storytelling here is so wonderfully measured, like the ticking of a grandfather clock,” AugieDog said. “It’s still sneaky, though, jumping back and forth in time, and more than a little cryptic with its sparse dialogue and frequent silences. So it’s got a nice mix of qualities associated with Celestia, Discord, and Luna.”
Indeed, the story’s portrayal of those three drove much of our praise. “The characters are presented in interesting ways, and it’s a good bit deeper than your average shipfic,” Present Perfect said. Horizon agreed: “The big thing right is the character work here,” he said, “often subdued and subtle but sometimes with the prose just blossoming like a flower. Like: ‘I think that love, in its own way, is a kind of chaos. Thwarting logic, driving us to do the impossible. Sounds like the kind of thing that would come naturally to him.'”
We found the rest of the prose equally quotable. “The author gets a lot of mileage out of the smallest actions,” Chris said, citing the story’s final sentence (to which Horizon responded, “That last line is goddamn perfect”). Chris’ praise went further: “The whole fic is like that, piling import upon trifling actions, and seeding passing fancies and casual memories with a deeper significance.” That layered with its thematic richness, AugieDog said: “The story here does have a somewhat haunted air to it, with all its talk of night and the sea and autumn.” As Horizon put it, that added up to an exemplary package: “All in all, this is solid and poignant and endlessly surprising.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Rocket Lawn Chair discusses thigh proportions, bending backward, and the seventeenth try.