The sub chapter concludes with another Kinkade-esque scene where Nyx cuddles up next to Twilight in bed, complete with a paragraph about Twilight staring out the window and thinking about Nightmare Moon. Other than dropping in the obligatory 'You're a faggot, Peen Stroke,' we can probably skip this bit since I don't really have any complaints about it that I haven't voiced already about similar scenes.
So anyway, next we get a little more development of the main plot. Here, we cut to our shadowy secret organization that wishes to use LCIF for their nefarious, but yet unknown, purposes.
>The butler, Proper Etiquette, stepped back and opened the manor’s door wider, allowing the trio of ponies to slip inside.
Okay, I just want to take a minute to say that so far, Peen Stroke seems to really suck balls at thinking up pony names. "Proper Etiquette" isn't quite as bad as "Affluent Rich," but it just smacks of laziness. "Nyx" is an okay name I guess, and I like that he troubled himself to think up a backstory for where the name came from. "Spell Nexus" isn't terrible. However, it seems like any time he needs a name for an incidental background character, he just takes the first lazy thing that comes to mind and runs with it. What's something that goes with rich? Uh, "affluent", I guess. What do I call the butler? Well, butlers have proper etiquette so…I think I'll name him that. At least try to make it a pun or something. Personally I'd have named him Kurt Manners.
The rest of his OC names are okay, but fairly generic sounding. "Night Wind" sounds like something that happens when you eat too much pizza close to bedtime. "Gray Gale" sounds alright but doesn't really evoke any strong imagery. Same with "Stonewall." It's okay for a generic goombah tough guy character I guess, but it's not tremendously imaginative. His cutie mark, incidentally, is literally a stone wall. Like what the hell does that signify? Is he a mason of some kind? Is it to suggest that he's strong and dependable? Is his special talent protecting the inner bailey of a castle from invaders and absorbing missiles fired by trebuchets? I'll shut up now.
Anyway, we are once again introduced to Spell Nexus, the unicorn we met in the prologue, who was dressing up like Nightmare Moon and playing Skinny Puppy records in the woods. We see him now, sitting in his manor house without his makeup on, and we learn that apparently he is the headmaster of Celestia's school as well as some kind of highly placed royal advisor.
>“And not all of us have cushy jobs like you do,” Stonewall grumbled. “The commander is already suspicious of why I was late reporting in after what happened in Everfree. I’m skating on thin ice with the Town Guard.”
Okay, so I guess Stonewall is a guard. That basically makes sense I guess.
This scene actually demonstrates why I've been kvetching so much about all the mentions of Nightmare Moon by Twilight so far. This scene is fairly well placed in terms of pacing, but it lacks the oomph that it would ordinarily have, because this is not even close to being the first mention we've seen of the subject. The reader already knows
that Nyx is Nightmare Moon reborn, so there's really no big reveal here. Obviously, the reader would probably be able to deduce Nyx's identity fairly easily one way or the other, but having Twilight be as aware of it as she is rather deflates the impact of this part of the story.
Ideally, the outline of the story so far should go something like this: spoopy prologue with spoopy ritual
, Twilight finds filly in woods and takes her home, cute stuff happens with filly, pls diamn tira no bully filly, filly lost in woods cus bully, filly find castle and awaken ancient power, filly goes home with Twilight and denouement of mini-arc, cutaway to spoopy cult talking about Nighmare Moon
. The only points on this outline where Nightmare Moon should even be mentioned at all are in boldface. Other than some incidental mention, like it might be necessary to have Twilight and Rarity briefly discuss the resemblance in order for things to make sense, the story in between the prologue and this second cult scene should focus entirely on Twilight and Nyx building their bond, as well as the mini-arc about Nyx getting bullied. The main plot of the story, about Nyx being NM reborn, is something that should be teased at in the beginning to get the reader interested, then set aside for a bit while you build the characters up. Then, at about this point in the story, you reintroduce the cult and have the main arc start picking up steam. If we've already heard about how Nyx looks like Nightmare Moon a billion different ways from Sunday, hearing it one more time isn't going to make things any more interesting.
Anyways, next we have a character named…Bastion Yorsets? What the shit? Is that his real name?
Okay, so, my first impression was that Peen Stroke was just drunk and mashing his keyboard when he came up with this name, but apparently he's referencing an existing background pony. The image he links to in the text (again, I'm not a huge fan of hyperlinks to outside content in story text) is broken, but some light googling turned up a bit of information. Apparently Bastion Yorsets is a fan nickname for a pony officially named Top Marks, who was one of the judges when filly Twilight was trying to hatch Spike. As to where the hell the name Bastion Yorsets came from, or what it means, I couldn't even begin to say. This is probably one of those in-jokes that you have to have been in the fandom a long time to get. If anyone knows more, feel free to share with the class.
Well, whatever. Bastion Yorsets gets woken up in the middle of the night by Princess Celestia visiting his room, but not for the reason he was probably hoping. Apparently he is the leader of a group researching the cult's spell, and I am running out of characters so to be continued.