• Story: Southern Storm (Update Chapter 3!)



    [Grimdark][Adventure]

    Author: MONSTERheart
    Description:  Extraordinary circumstances thrust Twilight Sparkle into a world far beyond the reaches of Equestria, into crumbling lands plagued with ruthless warfare and social unrest. Tasked with defending a peasant village from marauding bandits, she must fight not only to save the village, but to also retain her soundness of mind in the torrent of violence. However, she is not alone. Six companions and a telepathic crown will prove their worth in the trials ahead, as a battle for the ages brews in the southern reaches of the oriental nation of Umala. All the while the world continues to simmer as an unfathomable apocalypse looms closer and closer, and war to end all wars brews, threatening to destroy any hope of survival.
    Southern Storm Part 1: Barley
    Southern Storm Part 2: The City on the River
    Southern Storm Part 3: The Canal (New!)

    Additional Tags: War, Epic, Universe-building, Big, Samurai,

    Maps

    South Equestria (Resolution is blowing up this page!)

    Source


    75 comments:

    1. Aw hell yes. I'm definitely reading this.

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    2. Happy 25 million page views everypony! Is this an important event, or will it wait for 30,000?

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    3. @RainbowCrash1

      Happy 25M to you and the rest of the bronies, too. And yes, I'd say it's big. :-)

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    4. Happy 25 million hits

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    5. So, a 1954 Japanese movie has been ponified? How much longer until there is a pony for everything? At this rate, it seems like it won't be long.

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    6. Gettin' a wee bit tired of grimdark. I want something happy.

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    7. I generally don't read fanfiction, but I love the seven samurai so this is very much tempting me...

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    8. Seven Samurai? Seriosly?

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    9. Kimba the White LionAugust 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Cereal, we used ninja pony for a different story already.

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    10. showmetheblueprintsAugust 7, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Wow I had this same exact idea. :P Glad somepony else thought of it.

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    11. Seven Samurai ponies? Welp, time to add another fanfiction to my ridiculously long list of fanfictions to read...

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    12. I'm not sure...
      Of the 7, only 3 are alive in the end...

      And here, we have those add.tags : Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia, The Great and Powerful Trixie, OC Ponies
      ...so, does it mean that 4OCs will die and the other 3 (named) will live ?

      IF yes, or even just a 'nod'... I'm ready to lend my blade to this story.

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    13. @Nova25

      SPOILER ALERT: Snips and Snails die.

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    14. @Nova25

      SPOILER ALERT: Snips and Snails die.

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    15. Tags: "The Great and Powerful Trixie"

      automatically will not read...

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    16. @Jim

      Then go and read "For Your Birthday, Princess" A very happy, and insane, story.

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    17. WTF Celestia sending your young, naive, and unready student into hostile territory to help correct your dirty work. But hey at least you gave her some allies of possibly dubious loyalty.

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    18. @DoubleMallow

      She hasn't even made an appearance in the first four chapters which are very long. I'm not sure the author didn't just accidentally put her tag in.

      As for myself... meh... I don't know, something about the story just doesn't sit well with me. I think it might be how this whole thing is portrayed as, everything you see in the show happens HERE but here in the south is where all the real life hardships and evil happens. I prefer something that I can accept better, I can't really take this seriously that the people of Appleoosa will use pies to fight but just over a certain border everything suddenly turns completely grim and evil. I can like a dark story or one where there ARE violent ponies in Equestria but only when it's meshed in well with the normal tone of the universe. It's like how we in the USA do have it much better than some people in the world but that doesn't mean we're somehow devoid of death and struggle. That's because our world has a different tone than the MLP world.

      But maybe that's not the reason, I don't know, I'm not good at understanding myself.

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    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    20. @Specter Von Baren

      Think of Equestria as an ultra-conservative socialist/communist state in which the average citizens access to knowledge (i.e. living conditions outside Equestria) is extremely restricted. However, everyone is happy because their totalitarian leader has a bad case of the "not a douche-nozzle."

      I touched on this in Part 2, but clearly this was not emphasized enough. That's what editing is for.

      I'll admit, the idea is somewhat unsettling, but that's kind of the point.

      (As for the whole Trixie thing, you'll just have to wait and see. She will show up at some point, I guarantee it.)

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    21. ... Honestly, all I have to say is: need more.

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    22. Ponies with lasers. Alongside samurai. And gratuitously violent mercenaries. My suspension of disbelief is failing.

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    23. Massive Out Of Character here: Celestia siding with a deposed, murderous tyrant. Massive fail. Complete implosion of suspension of disbelief. She is supposed to be a completely benevolent leader, not a scheming advocate of "political expediency" and employer of assassins. If she had refused to aid them for fear of igniting a border war, or even because she had binding treaties with other neighboring nations, that would have been believable. Refusing because she had given her word-- and the employ of assassins--- to a deposed despot because it was "politically expedient?" A ruler who is supposed to be the living embodiment of benevolence and their society's morality? No.

      Anyone with two braincells to rub together knows that a leader who "sets aside her morals if the situation demands it" creates a catastrophe a thousand times worse than if she breaks faith with a deposed tyrant. Noone trusts an assassin; noone trusts a leader who bloodies their hand shaking it with a mass murderer.

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    24. loving it!
      need moar!
      and RealityCheck guy...
      even for Celestia it must have been impossible to "Remove" some threats to her power every now and then during 1000s of years worth of ruling Equestria...
      especcially if this story takes place in 1587 (when "the 7 Samurai"-story happens) in which most of the world was corrupt and basically fucked up to the bone...

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    25. @RealityCheck

      I appreciate your response, but I believe you are looking at it the wrong way. I never imply that the emperor was ever a tyrant. The peasant rebellion could have been caused by all sorts of things; drought, economic pressures, etc. He may have been the best ruler, but there is no reason to believe he was wicked.

      Celestia is not siding with a murderer. She is acting upon an agreement with an honorable political ally.

      Also, in case you missed it, one of the major points of that conversation was that Celestia is NOT in fact the living embodiment of benevolence.

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    26. “Freedom comes at a price. Here in Equestria, we are, thanks to many legislations and government services, safe from scam, scandal, battery and violence. Our laws are, compared to other nations, extremely restrictive. The price for our safety and happiness is our much of our liberty."

      Nobody can possibly be this effing stupid.

      Restrictive laws and tyranny always produce LESS safety and MORE corruption. That's not speculation, that's history-- hell, that's current events 101. The more government regulation and bureaucracy you have, the MORE graft and corruption you have. The more oppressive the government becomes, the more desperate and violent the lives of the people... both from the criminals who thrive in such an environment, and under the bootheel of the government itself.

      Again, MASSIVELY out of canon, to boot. Canonically Equestria is both capitalist and largely lassez faire-- to the point where any Tom Dick or Larry can set up a vending booth at a royal shindig, and police presence is limited to one sheriff out on the borderlands and a couple of royal guards at the palace. The ruler of the country even goes gadding about with only at most two guards, or none at all.... Anal-retentive weather and seasonal control to the contrary (and in a world where the sun and moon have to be controlled, it's only to be expected that the climate has to be hand-cranked), the context suggests a constitutional monarchy with a very loose and libertarian hand.

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    27. @RealityCheck

      Immature personal attacks against me aside...

      "Restrictive laws and tyranny always produce LESS safety and MORE corruption. That's not speculation, that's history-- hell, that's current events 101. The more government regulation and bureaucracy you have, the MORE graft and corruption you have. The more oppressive the government becomes, the more desperate and violent the lives of the people... both from the criminals who thrive in such an environment, and under the bootheel of the government itself."

      That is, of course, human history. You couldn't possibly expect a species with an entirely different history and temperament to behave the same way when placed under the same circumstances. They are completely dependent on the ultimate authority of Celestia, who in turn provides them with her protection, as well as her services regarding the sun and moon.

      It is never said that the ponies of Equestria have no freedom of speech, or other such limitations of what we would consider "basic human rights." The fact that the borderlands exist as a political entity is proof enough of that. It is completely plausible for an all-controlling government to be nice.

      Now if you don't mind, I'm done discussing this. I don't care if you do not happen to enjoy the story, but I have no intention of continuing a conversation that is ultimately fruitless.

      Again, I appreciate your thoughts, "RealityCheck", but I think you'll find that real-world history does not apply as strictly to a make-believe land of unicorns and pegasi.

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    28. The world is canonically heavily government run, no matter how you look at it: mandatory community service, weather that's run by government, mandatory changing of seasons... lots of things are run on far less than private enterprise.

      If anything, they're an Authoritarian Capitalism state.

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    29. "No sense trying to be a hero. I have a village to save."

      Oh now that is a beautiful quote :)

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    30. Well?! *pout*
      Where is The Great And Powerfull Trixie?

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    31. I don't like it.
      Seriously, I didn't find it entertaining. I suppose its a retelling of the Seven Samurais using ponies, but the way Celestia act, the "Politics" of the Emperor and the supposed pact, how Twilight is portrayed, the Farmers, the world of the Ponies.

      They might mesh together in someway, but this story isn't the way.

      Its between dull and just plain Grimdark, and not in the good sense.

      3/10.
      Can't get a better score.

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    32. @Anonymous

      That's for me to know and you to find out.

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    33. @Antiguo

      The closest term I've come up with for why I don't like this story is that it feels... mean spirited. Things like Cupcakes or Silent Ponyville change the tone of the cartoon and stories where Celestia is a tyrant change the base character but... when they do it, they still feel like they're part of the world, something like Pinkie being a psychopathic murder can make sense, changing Celestia's personality can be explained as a hidden side but in this fic it feels like too much of what makes the show what it is is changed. In just the most recent chapter, Trixie has been portrayed as not having any of the personality she does in canon and just uses it to go undercover and she's now a cold blooded murderer with a twisted style of killing. Celestia is portrayed as secretly not being as kind or benevolent as her canon self and her land is just the Matrix, the entire world of My Little Pony is portrayed as not being what it is in canon. And we get to see Twilight going down a path that anyone can see coming, one where she will be a broken person that isn't happy anymore because of what she's seen and done and which will leave anyone that reads this to the end with a feeling of emptiness. And all the changes made are ones that are done to make the story more gritty, gory, dark, sexual, sad, and shocking. I think it's that TOO much is being changed from the source material and that it makes the final product completely detached from the elements that made us love the show to begin with.

      I guess it could be said that this fic incorporates too much of the movie it's based on with the expense being too little of the cartoon it's using as its setting.

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    34. @Specter Von Baren

      I'd call it deviating from, not changing, the source material. I see what you're saying, though. All the lighter characters are suddenly extremely intense and without much explanation.

      The main theme I'm trying to convey is the price of knowledge. How would a pony react to learning their world is less perfect than they thought? How would they cope with being thrust into said world? The story is both about a bunch of ponies saving a village and an ignorant child coming into the real world.

      I'm not just throwing in elements of shock into the fray just for the sake of having them; there is a purpose in making the world more "gritty, gory, dark, sexual, sad, and shocking," as you say. Fret not, it will all come together by the end. And not in such a predictable manner like you're suggesting.

      Thanks for the criticism, regardless of positive or negative.

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    35. The problem is that for that thematic to work, you had to destroy the entire setting, literally what make Equestria Equestria in the first place.

      And yes, yes you are using this elements for the Valure of shock. The simple tag "The Price of Knowledge" gives you away. The crux of the matter is that you could have done this in a more tasteful, subtley way; a Hero journey where twilight (with actual reasons instead of the forced "Celestia bid you because...") is forced to roam a world that is far from the safe, nice land of Equestria and it could have been a great work, but instead is coming as a Dystopia essay of why a world like my little pony can't exist as innocent and pure because "CRRRAAAWWWWWWLLLIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGG INNNNNNN MYYYYY SKIIIIIIIINNNNN"

      Okay, being serious, take for example Timelords and Terror and its sequel Mines of Dragoun Mountain. With the Introduction of the Doctor, the mane cast has been trust in to a World more complex and moraly ambiguous that they could ever hope to know. The story had introduced: Eldritch Abominations, bloodthirsty monsters, kidnapping, the mafia, amoral attorneys, Emperors and harems, torture and interrogation, a genocidial war for resourcess between one advanced race against another and even sexual themes here and there... and still its the same cuddly, kind, bend in good Sugar Bowl world we know and love, where the Power of Friendship, trust and kindess are forces to be reckoned with; where Celestia and Luna are still the motherly loving Princess, the Mane are still the youthfull, kind of sometimes silly young girls even after the adventures had forged them into a efficient team for the Greater good and Equestria is a just, peaceful realm out of many.

      Or as explained by the Doctor:

      "Amazingly the big empires in this universe were surprisingly mellow, even the Minponi to an extent. Where there had been genocides in his universe, here there had been somewhat unpleasant occupations; where there had been wars in his universe, here there had been skirmishes; where there had been hate in his universe, here there was love. It’s like this universe had consciously dialed back the horrific extremes aggression could bring out in all its occupants, a decision he was in full support of".

      Honestly advice: give a check to the story, so you can compare how to introduce your thematic without having to rip appart the world Of Equestria and its constant Universe for another.

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    37. I wasn't implying that you made the changes for shock value, what I was trying to say is that all the changes are ones that evoke negative feelings from the person that reads it. When there are so many changes and all of them have that bent then it makes things a bit more bitter.

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    38. @Specter Von Baren

      The entire point of it is that the world is repulsive, and Twilight is correct in thinking so. I wouldn't want the reader to be enthralled with the dark twist on the universe. This isn't at all a sunshine and rainbows story.

      I could be interpreting you incorrectly, though. "evoke negative feelings" is a bit vague.

      @Antiguo

      I'm not quite seeing how I destroyed the entire setting. I have not changed anything canon from the show (as far as I can recall. Mistakes are possible.), and all of the 'dark' additions to the universe do not overlap at all with the show. I'm just filling in whatever gaps I can find.

      Also, just to clarify: using shocking elements just for the sake of having them would mean placing in gratuitous acts of depravity for absolutely no reason other than to disgust the reader. I have purpose in what I am doing, though you seem to be implying I don't.

      Again, it all comes together in the end. That includes Celestia's reason for sending Twilight. It's just going to take a while to reach that point...

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    39. That's a lot of sex.

      Most sex I've seen out of a shipping fic.

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    40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    42. @Rubik Hooves

      Just submitted a new part to the queue a few hours ago, if you must know. Schools been keeping me busy, so writing one part per week has so far been impossible. It's looking more like one part per two-three weeks at this point.

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    43. @MONSTERheart

      I figured as much, but then I heard that often, fanfic's dont endbecause of random things -.-
      so I got worried because this story is BALLER!! (so to speak..)

      keep up the great work!! :D

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    44. @Rubik Hooves

      Fear not, I have no plans to abandon this.

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    45. Liked the new chapter. The more time goes on the more I'm questioning why Celestia sent Twilight on this mission. I'm pretty much agreeing with Wood Wey's opinion of Celestia at this point. It certainly will be interesting to see how he and Twilight end up getting along.

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    46. First of all, your chapter links at the bottom of the google docs seem pretty mixed up, as far as I can tell chapter 11 in unaccessible and the link that should go to Ch. 10 goes to Ch. 12. Quality work as far as Ch.9 and 12 go though, enjoyed them as I have the past few chapters. Still think Celestia is a bitch though. Perhaps its just the journal type style but I thought Ch. 10 was a bit boring other really making me wonder what happened in Operation Thunderhead.

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    47. @iastfan112

      Bah. I was rearranging the order of Parts 9-12, and in doing so probably jacked up those links.

      On a related note: Part 12 is finished, and I'm in the midst of writing Part 11!

      For that matter, Parts 11 and 12 should adequately fill in any current plot holes. Expect to see those out soon.

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    48. I've been following this for a while, but I gotta say, it's losing momentum. Also, i'm not a fan of unicorns being the totally dominant and most powerful race. The 3 pony races are supposed to be generally equal, with earth ponies playing the most important role. In RPGs, the knights and the rogues don't get completely dominated by spellcasters; they play off of each other's strengths to achieve their goals. But to say that Trixie could kill these experienced, hardened soldiers without blinking just ruins all immersion and destroys all reverence towards the non-unicorn characters.

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    49. @Firmly_Grasp_It

      I understand that viewpoint, but I have no intention of sacrificing realism for the sake of pleasing the majority of the reader base. If you want to read a fic that gives each breed a fair advantage over each other, look elsewhere, because you're not finding it here. I've never been a fan of 'rock-paper-scissors' type battles, because situations like that would almost never happen in real life.

      That said, it's not entirely one-sided in favor of unicorns. Earth ponies and pegasi are utterly dominant in physical aspects, with the earth ponies having pure strength and speed and the pegasi having agility (and wings, obviously).

      The unicorns presented in the story thus far are also very exceptional in their magical ability. Trixie and Wood Wey are/were top-tier government operatives, and Twilight is ridiculously powerful by nature. Most unicorns are far less talented than them, to the point that their prowess in combat is negligible. A fairly average unicorn would not fare well against an earth pony if it was one-on-one.

      In other words, the only reason it seems unicorns are overpowered is because the only three we've really seen are the exceptions. There will be some 'normal' unicorns later on.

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    50. Should I read this story? Is it any good? I mean, we are talking Seven Samurai here. Kurosawa's classic does not deserve a "four star" story when there are six stars to be had...

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    51. @The Commander

      Depends on what kind of story you like. This one is very gritty and dirty, gore, violence, sex... it's a harsh, clinical story. If that's the kind of thing you like then there's no better story in the fandom.

      However, it won't leave you with any warm fuzzy feelings and if you have any sense of morals then you're going to be completely disgusted by the actions of the characters in the fic. Take that as you will.

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    52. @Specter Von Baren

      You know, if you don't like the story, you don't need to go around bashing it. I don't mind criticism, but it seems to me that you're going out of your way to be a dick about this.

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    53. @The Commander

      That would depend on who you ask. I tried to make it accurate to the setting of the source material, that being feudal Japan.

      People seem to REALLY not like what I did with the franchise universe and some of the characters, though.

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    54. I loved this chapter we got some nice world building, the only risk I think your taking is there seem to be a lot of side stories that will need to be resolved before the end, thus far I feel you've done a good job balancing the side stories and keeping the main plot marching ahead. At this point, I think the biggest questions I have are supposed to be unanswered: Why Twilight is in Umala and the larger Equestria political situation/crisis. I like this story despite it making Celestia a bitch(she's my 2nd favorite pony). Other thing I don't like(and this goes for any story)- making Trixie awesome, I think this stems from too many stories not making her an arrogant fraud. For this story I essentially just pretend she's another OC(So sue me!).

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    55. @iastfan112

      The next part will be much juicier in regards to plot (heh). It's actually already written, but I'm going to wait a bit before releasing it. I need to give myself some time to catch up on other work, and having the distraction of writing doesn't help me do that.

      Celestia will also be a bit less of a bitch. And sooner or later, Trixie will be expanded upon in what I feel is a fairly unique twist on her persona, even beyond what I've already established. Same goes for all the other characters; what's been revealed so far hardly scratches the surface for most of them.

      At this point in the story, it's more important that I set up the stage before I go about delving into character studies. Their backstories won't hold any meaning unless you know the context first.

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    56. I need more of this... xD
      I just... need it... :P

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    57. @Rubik Hooves

      Massive rewrite forthcoming. Most of what you've read so far will be more or less scrapped. Hold your ponies, and bear with me while I get everything prepped.

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    58. yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes

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    59. A complete rewrite? Might risk a look or two...

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    60. The greatest film of all time. Citizen Kane has got jack on Kurosawa-sensi's masterpiece.

      If you haven't seen it (preferably the Criterion Collection blue ray), you cannot call yourself a film buff.

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    61. Been reading the comments, and I'll admit, I was super confused at first, with all this talk of Celestia and everything, and I'm just sitting here going "What? Celestia's not even in this!" And then I realized that you've rewritten it! *facehoof* No wonder I was so confused. ^^;

      Anyways, since I'm coming into this with no knowledge of what the fic was like before the rewrite, I can most definitely say that I'm greatly enjoying it. ;) I look forward to seeing Pan and Koi finally arrive in Equestria and meeting other ponies, and I love the worldbuilding you've done so far on this! I also love your writing - you're very descriptive, and everything flows well and reads easy.

      Can't wait for more!

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    62. @Fox Scarlen

      I wanted them to make a brand new post, but instead they just recycled the old one, which leaves me with a premature '4-star' tag and all these comments that don't have a whole ton of relevance anymore. It's moderately frustrating and annoying.

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    63. AAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH
      What happened to Seven Ponies?
      Back when I was here it was update 7 and now its part 3 and with a different name? Is this a sequel and if so where has the original gone? I don't want to read through in case it is a sequel and contains massive spoilers...

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    64. Oh... You scrapped the entire things and did a rewrite? :l

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    65. @MONSTERheart

      Are you sure you can't ask Sethisto?

      Go over to ponychan's pre-readers and ask them to see if they can get a straight link to Sethisto so you get you own page seeing how this is now a new story (you'll probably will need to have it re-preread or something, but you would get a new page).

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    66. @VHS

      Before I started the rewrite (back in December), I emailed Sethisto asking about that. He said they'd make a new post and delete this one.

      Guess not.

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    67. @MONSTERheart
      Well, trust me when I say this, Sethisto is forgetful guy who is constantly flooded with far more than he can take (in more ways than one).

      So, getting in contact with the pre-readers to rearrange a new round of pre-reading, contacting Sethisto so he knows what you are doing, and in just contacting again, will do wonders.

      Trust me, he misses many things, a lot of the time, for no apparent reason.

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    68. @VHS

      I did ask them to do it in the initial email to the submission address, but nothing came of it.

      Maybe I'll try again when I have Part 4 ready for release.

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