The Dazzlings Get Too Meta For Their Own Good

by forbloodysummer

First published

FIM's songwriter, Daniel Ingram, is hearing sirens in his head. They're kind of annoying.

Daniel Ingram is a 41 year-old man based in Vancouver, who for the last seven years has been the songwriter and composer for My Little Pony. Let’s have a look inside his head in the run-up to the 2017 MLP movie.

The idea of the beautiful woman as the composer’s muse dates back to Ancient Greece. Friendship Is Magic has borrowed several things from that mythology, including Cerberus, Tartarus, pegasi, centaurs, minotaurs and... sirens. Oh dear.

My first attempt at a meta comedy, and first story to brave the orange genre tag and associated expectations.

The first three chapters are a complete story. After that are assorted metasiren ideas, added whenever I think of them.

Spoilers here for all four Equestria Girls films and up to the end of FIM season six.

Daniel Ingram Chapter 1

Come on. You can do this. Just stop stressing about it and start doing it.

They’ve never asked this much of me before, though. A live orchestra. Eight songs, two of them with a grammy-nominated singer who’s sold millions of records. And this is the movie; it’s taken seven years of Friendship Is Magic bucking all the trends (oh, not too stressed out for puns, huh?) for Hasbro to greenlight a My Little Pony movie, because they still remember how badly the last one did 31 years before. This is a big deal. I can’t get it wrong. And that’s a lot of pressure to deal with when trying to feel creative.

“I don’t think it matters what song we play, as long as we play it together as friends!”

...What was that?! Where did that voice come from? Why is there a random woman’s voice in my head?

“You mean, maybe there’s more to making good music than just having fun? Could it possibly be an art form, requiring years of practice and understanding?”

And she’s... lecturing me? It’s Twilight’s line, if I remember rightly, but that’s not Tara’s voice...

“That to become truly good at it requires not just inspiration, but critical self-evaluation and a dedication that most music students will never live up to? It would be a bit ironic if you wrote a moral about music being as simple as the magic of friendship, and then hit writer’s block when you forgot all the other things it needs.”

“Kazumi?” I ask, “Is that you?”

I thought she was off recording for one of her other shows this week. And where’s her voice coming from? And, since we’re on the subject, what’s she on about?

“Close,” the voice answers. “She plays me on TV.”

...Right. Hearing real voices just isn’t crazy enough, huh?

It’s ok. I’ve been stressing about having to write the songs for the upcoming movie, and I haven’t slept well in days, that’s all. Hearing voices doesn’t automatically make me Sour Sweet. I’m just really strung out right now. Might as well embrace it – goodness knows other musicians have managed to find inspiration from far less healthy sources, and I’ll do anything to provide just a flash of suggestion about how to begin.

“...Octavia?” I ask.

“Very funny,” comes the flat reply. “The cellist can’t help you now.”


“Of course. I’m a siren. Where else would I be, but in a composer’s head?”

Was that deep? Or was it nonsensical, and nothing to do with the original Greek siren myths?

“Awww, you’ve internalised Adagio Dazzle,” a second voice contributes out of the blue.

“And to think, you watched the movie hoping she’d internalise you,” adds a third. That would be Aria, then, with the audible sneer. Well, I guess they always were a three-piece. Also, hey!

“...You didn’t tell Kazumi that bit, I’m guessing?” Aria finishes.

“That would be awwwwkwaaaaard,” Sonata giggles, singing the last word in a way that wouldn’t really work in reality, since her speaking and singing voices came from different actresses. Here it blends seamlessly, though, just as it would were she real and had only one larynx to use for all vocal functions.

I try to abandon the line of thought about what it must be like to have two different voices before it gets too weird. Weirder than the three voices I have in my head already, that is, plus my own, which is fairly crazy to begin with.

But I’m not crazy, I tell myself, just stressed. Although having Sonata Dusk in your head is probably enough to drive anyone loopy.

“Anyway, you’ve got bigger problems,” Adagio brings me back to the moment.

“Who, me?” I speak up.

“Yes, you. That’s why we’re here.”

“That’s not strictly true, though, is it?” Aria cuts in before I can respond.

“Yeah, we’re, like, always here,” Sonata agrees. “It’s pretty much where we live.”

I take it back – maybe I am crazy. The voices in my head all seem to think so. And given how crazy that argument sounds, maybe I should see a doctor tomorrow.

“Well, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned there, Daniel,” Adagio purrs. “We are meta-villains, you know.”

“...There’s no such thing.”

“Sure there is. The first Equestria Girls movie wasn’t terribly well-liked by the MLP fans, receiving criticism for Sunset as a villain, and her instant redemption at the end.”

“And of course for Flash Sentry,” Aria adds.

“Exactly,” Adagio continues. “And so Rainbow Rocks gave Sunset an almost entirely new personality, and revealed early on that no one else at CHS had bought into her redemption or forgiven her.”

“And while Flash was still in it,” Aria picks up their call-and-response thing, “it would have been weird if he vanished entirely.”

“So they kept him to a minimum, and made him hostile more often than not.”

You’re welcome, fanbase,” Sonata contributes annoyingly loudly.

“But there was another criticism the first movie received,” Adagio continues, “from outside the fandom. Look at its Wikipedia page and you’ll see the big paragraph dedicated to complaints that the humanised character designs were overly sexualised.”

“All those concerned parents...” Sonata says, and you can hear her shaking her head with her eyes closed in completely insincere concern.

Adagio carries on, as if Sonata’s addition were planned just so Adagio had a relaxing moment to take a breath. “The writers addressed all the other complaints the second time around, but they were already tied into the character designs, they couldn’t really alter the animation style. And suddenly they needed to come up with a new villain. Hmmm...”

Aria says, “...And suddenly Little Miss Hair & Hips is making children confused and parents uncomfortable the world over.”

“Body image issues?” Adagio scoffs. “No one on Earth could achieve hair like mine.”

“And the world is all the sadder for it,” I can’t help saying.

“You’re finally admitting it then? You know why we’re here?”

“Because you three – one of you in particular – are my muses as a composer.”

“And what lesson can we learn from this?”

Aria snorts, and suggests her own answer before I think of one. “If you’re asked to write songs for meta-villains, don’t give them the highlights of your whole arsenal.”

“Maybe we just inspire the best in him?” Sonata asks, and I feel a flash of gratitude to her.

“Probably,” Adagio says. “That’s what muses do.”

“But we set out to make the world adore us...” Aria says.

“...And thanks to you,” Adagio finishes, “it worked.”

“So you might say we owe you.”

“That sounds ominous,” I reply hesitantly.

“It needn’t be,” Adagio says, “especially not now you need us.”

“I see what you did there,” I say.

“Although we were a bit miffed by your tweet of 2015 being the year of the villain, having written three villain songs.”

Sonata, in a voice that implies a pout, says, “There were just as many in our film the year before.”

“Four, if you count Trixie’s,” Aria grunts.

“Ooh, I liked that one,” Sonata agrees. “You’re from the past, I’m from the space age.”

“Meh, too many funny vocal noises at the ends of phrases, especially in the bridge.”

“Better than we gave it credit for at the time, I’d say,” Adagio says.

“Yeah,” Sonata says, “but we didn’t get to hear the really good bits in the movie, just the repetitive chorus.”

Adagio says, “Kind of sad though. I hate to break it to you, Trixie, but in many respects the space age is the past. Mankind hasn’t stepped on the moon in nearly half a century.”

“Maybe that’s the point?” I suggest, defending the intent of a song I co-wrote. “For all the boasting she does, sometimes she isn’t very good at it. And besides, we send more into space than ever before, just not humans beyond orbit.”

“It’s not quite the same, is it?” Adagio laments. “I keep thinking of Luna up there during her banishment, when, after 959 years, someone finally makes a small step and drops in to say hi, and yet after 1972, they stop visiting.”

But then Aria says, “Think we might be getting a little off-topic here, Adagio.”

“Maybe, but it’s a beautiful image," Adagio replies.

“I have a hard enough time as it is keeping Sonata’s tangents under control, I can’t handle yours too.”

“Anyway, I preferred the villain song from the year after, Say Goodbye To The Holiday.”

“You liked that one, huh?” I say. Figures.

“It was a bit Disney, not terribly subtle for my tastes.”

Aria interjects, again before I can think of any response other than ‘ouch.’ “Cough, ‘listen to the sound of my voice, soon you’ll find you won’t have a choice,’ cough.”

“I didn’t write the lyrics for that one!” I say quickly.

“Oh, we know it was Meghan,” Adagio says, and I find myself unsurprised. Even if they weren’t in my own head, Adagio strikes me as the type to just know, with no explanations offered. “And what she lacked in the verses she made up for a hundred times over in the rest of it.”

Sonata starts singing, almost to herself. “We’ve got the music, makes you move it, got the song that makes you lose it, that’s just the best.”

“It really is a very good line,” Adagio agrees, voice shining with pride.

“It’s suddenly got rather self-aggrandising, this whole exchange,” I say, “hasn’t it?”

“Seriously,” Aria ignores my protest, “that prechorus and chorus is the best thing the two of you have ever written.”

“The melody alternating between just two notes at the start,” Adagio says, “while the chords provide the movement around it, before the tune jumps up on ‘song’ and ‘lose,’ drawing attention to the most important line.”

Aria again, “The arrangement with the raw clean guitar and the clap snare – I cannot believe you let them bury that guitar in the stereo mix of it for the soundtrack album; I had to record the audio from the front channels of the 5.1 DVD mix to get the sound I loved from the movie.”

“Although that was so everyone could hear your backing vocal arrangement, Aria, which was both staggeringly pretty and a technical masterclass.”

“Yeah, but it worked better when it was quieter. That was the whole point; it underpinned the main melody without ever distracting from it. If it had been meant to be heard as a tune in its own right, I’d have sung it more forcefully.”

“True. Anyway, I meant the music for Starlight’s song was a bit Disney, not the lyrics.”

“But then, they all are these days, aren’t they?”

Sonata adds, “All the villain ones at least.”

“And you already did that,” Aria jumps straight back in, “Chrysalis blew every Disney song out of the water back in season two.”

“A duet with herself...” Adagio says as if fantasising out loud, “she really was exceptional. And despite both parts having same melody and instrumentation, you can always tell which Cadence is singing.”

“I wish she’d had a song in her later appearance,” Aria grumbles.

“We all do. That was the festering crown atop a bitterly disappointing return.”

“Up until that point, we’d been quite keen on coming back ourselves sometime.”

“Think how much better Legend Of Everfree could have been if we’d turned up at the end,” Sonata says.

“...Again, somewhat self-aggrandising here...” I have to point out.

“But now?” Adagio ploughs on. “All Chrysalis’ return did was take from her. It didn’t add anything.”

Aria says, “Unless you can actually improve a character by bringing them back, or at a bare minimum, have them be every bit as good as before, then they shouldn’t be brought back.”

“They got it right with Trixie,” I protest.

“And Gilda before her.” Sonata agreeing with me is the quickest way to make me doubt myself.

“Absolutely,” Aria says, and somehow I’m a bit comforted by being backed up by a voice from my own subconscious. “But Chrysalis? And on the back of that, I don’t trust the writers to handle our return.”

“I mean,” Adagio muses (much as you would expect a muse to), “how could we be as good as before? Rainbow Rocks was built for us from the ground up – of course you pick us as the adversary for a singing contest, we’re sirens!

“...Jesus,” I breathe, “this whole thing is just you stroking your own ego...”

“But really, what other movie setup would musical villains fit into?” Adagio continues. “We’re like Sweet from Once More With Feeling. How else would we squash three songs into the plot, two of which were on-stage performances, in a way that makes sense in-universe?”

Aria says, “And that was the problem with following us, wasn’t it? You couldn’t find a way. That was why you broke the world.”

“Can we not talk about this?” Adagio says wearily, “It made me angry for days.”

“I broke the world?” I ask, perplexed.

Aria wastes no time answering, “How can you squeeze half a dozen songs into an hour and a half of movie, with the characters singing on-screen, in a movie that’s about anything other than people singing on-screen?”

“Must we bring this up?” Adagio says quietly.

“It works for a movie about a battle of the bands, sure,” Aria carries on regardless. “But what about, say...”


“...A sports competition?”

How, when she’s just a disembodied voice, can I still hear Adagio facepalming?

And that’s when Aria’s fury hits me, impossible to hide from when sharing a skull with her.


“I don’t know what you...” I stutter.

“Oh, don’t you dare,” Adagio cuts in without hesitation, every bit as accusatory as her sister. “How do they all know the words?”

“How are the Shadowbolts singing in unison or harmony, when they’ve never heard the tune before?” Aria rages on.

“There is no way they could have predicted Twilight needing to unleash the magic, and so no way they could have planned a song about it in advance.”

“And yet there they go, improvising it collectively on the spot, each knowing exactly what the others will sing.”

“I’ve written about 80 songs for the series,” I try to defend, “this is hardly the first time that’s happened...”

“In Equestria it’s fine!” Aria snaps.

“Rainbow Dash even jokes about how unrealistic it is,” Sonata adds, and even she sounds sardonic. Sonata Dusk is treating me like I’m an idiot.

“But it isn’t unrealistic when there’s literally magic in the air,” Adagio says.

“Which there is not in Equestria Girls,” Aria emphatically points out.

Adagio begins, “There are two big differences between the worlds of the series and the movies.”

Sonata picks up half way through, suggesting that either they’ve had this conversation many times before, or those gems they wear sync up far more than just their singing. Or they’re all in my head, so of course they each know what the others are going to say. “They’re all human, and go to school together...”

“...And there is no magic!” Aria finishes.

Adagio says, “That’s the main plot point of all four movies to date: what happens when magic is introduced to a world without it?”

The crown, the gems, the things from Equestria, and the stuff in the forest; yeah, they might be onto something there.

“And so you broke that world,” Aria says, “when you made it a musical with no in-context explanation.”

“But even in the previous Equestria Girls movies, there are plenty of songs,” I say. Just because they have a point about there being no natural magic there, that doesn’t mean they’re right about no songs in the franchise. No suggestion of magic in Phantom, after all, but still songs; sometimes being a musical is just a staple of the medium, and intrinsic part of the premise requiring no explanation.

“All the ones in our film were sung by characters either rehearsing for or performing in the battle of the bands,” Adagio says immediately.

“Every instrument heard is shown being played on-screen by someone who really can play that instrument,” Aria follows without hesitation.

“And none of the songs are spontaneous,” Adagio says.

“They even discuss Rainbow and Fluttershy writing songs in advance, and show the group trying to come up with one together for the counterspell.”

“Ok,” I concede, “but the first movie? Did you forget the cafeteria song?”

“Believe me, I tried to,” Aria says, and I remember who I’m talking to all over again.

“Oh, I quite liked that one,” I say, berating myself for walking into her last line.

“Me too!” Sonata says. “Although I liked it more when Ke$ha did it first.”

“There’s an on-screen explanation for the song, though,” Adagio says.

Aria explains in full, “They start of banging trays and clapping their hands, yes, but once the song comes in properly, Spike is shown switching on an mp3 player.”

“And we have no idea how much time passed between the previous scene and the cafeteria,” Adagio says.

“So they could believably have had time to write and learn a song together.”

Sonata happily adds, “And record the instruments.”

“God dammit, Sonata!” Aria bursts out, before reining herself back in, “...Yeah, that might take longer, that’s true.”

Adagio comes to the rescue, saying, “But unless half of CHS were at Sugarcube Corner in the middle of the school day sometime before lunch, then the cafeteria scene could have taken place the next day, giving them a whole night somewhere to prepare it.”

“Really?” I ask doubtfully, “The plot of the movie also makes strong mention of the limited time window. And it’s seen as new when Princess Twilight has a sleepover at Pinkie’s in your movie.”

“Ok,” Aria says, “so they hang out somewhere like Sugarcube Corner during the evening, write and learn their song, and then everyone goes their separate ways for the night.”

“With Twilight assuring them she has somewhere to stay, and then slinking off back to the school library,” Adagio agrees.

“And the time window?” I ask.

“Luna says they have three days, but we only see Twilight spend one night there, from what I remember,” Aria says, “so they should be able to spare a day.”

“Ok, and what of Twilight’s lonely piano song earlier in the movie?”

“It’s just her involved,” Adagio answers, “so it can feasibly take place entirely in her own head.”

“But isn’t there one where they’re getting dressed for the Fall Formal, too?” Sonata says reluctantly, probably afraid Aria will stress out at her again.

“You never see any character sing, just hear their voices,” Aria replies calmly. “So it’s no weirder than anytime there’s singing on a movie soundtrack.”

“Ever get the impression you’ve over-thinking things?” I say, finally exasperated with Aria enough to ask the ultimate creator-fan question, especially for a show about candy-coloured ponies.

Aria’s response is spirited, to say the least.


“It’s not his fault!” Sonata argues. “He had to do something to distract everyone from how horrible human Twilight was in that movie!”

“That was nothing to do with me!” I say, feeling a bit guilty for selling the people it was something to do with down the river, but confident that they’ll never find out, what with this whole thing taking place in my own head and all. “I’m a songwriter, not a scriptwriter.”

“But you wrote the songs,” Adagio says, leaving me no refuge. “You knew how they’d be used, and you wrote them anyway.”

“You could’ve taken a stand, man,” Sonata says, sounding like every hippie film character ever, although for some reason the one I’m most reminded of is the photographer from the end of Apocalypse Now. ...Yeah, I’m not sure either.

“Instead you sold them the munitions and sat back to watch them slaughter the villagers,” Aria says disparagingly, and not in the best of taste.

“If I’d refused,” I wearily reply, “they’d have fired me and hired someone else.”

“That doesn’t excuse what you did!” Aria snaps.

“Angry. For. Days,” Adagio says.

“The backing vocals were pretty catchy, though,” Sonata says in my defence, but I worry it’ll only set the other two off again.

“Yes. They were,” Adagio says. “But, Sonata, so is avian flu.”

Aria follows quickly, “And that doesn’t make it a good thing!”

“You never complained when I made your songs catchy,” I say, wondering if that’s pushing them too far, but I don’t think it’s an unfair point to make.

“No,” Adagio says, all patience and grinding teeth.

“But they had other things going for them, too,” Aria says, starting up her back and forth double attack strategy with Adagio again.

“And, indeed, one can admire the biological purity that makes a pathogen so contagious.”

“But that’s no defence when it ruins the world!”

“...Remember when you guys said you felt you owed me?” I say, “Whatever happened to that?”

Author's Notes:

At the last minute I thought maybe 9,000 words was too long for a chapter in a comedy, so I split the story into three chapters that follow immediately on from each other.

Daniel Ingram Chapter 2

This is one of those silences that’s somehow worse than what came before it. ‘Dangerous’ is the word that springs to mind.

“...Indeed we did,” Adagio says, nothing but smoothness in her voice. “Perhaps this rant has run its course.”

Hang on, did I just make Adagio Dazzle back down? Now I feel less safe than ever. They’re in my head, so they know where I sleep...

“At least they fixed all those problems in Legend Of Everfree,” Sonata says, presumably with a shrug.

“And it must be said,” Adagio admits, “it was in many ways our own fault.”

“Sorry, but yeah,” I agree with her, sounding reluctant, but also knowing I’m glad to shift some of the blame in her direction, “that one’s partly on you. Everyone loved Rainbow Rocks, and so Hasbro wanted just as many songs in Friendship Games, even though they didn’t really suit the setup.”

“No, that’s not what I mean. My point is that the whole of Friendship Games was pretty much down to us.”

“Ok, yes, I concede that the first Equestria Girls movie wasn’t too well received, and if not for you three and your movie, there would quite possibly have not been a third one.”

“...You’re still not getting it,” Aria says.

Again, audible facepalming.

Well, I would if you explained it clearly, instead of withholding details to be needlessly dramatic. I guess sirens are performers by nature, automatically communicating in a way that makes audiences hang on their every word.

“In Rainbow Rocks,” Adagio says patiently, “precisely three characters were asking what would be so wrong with a little competition, and wielding the ability to improvise songs in-sync with each other and conjure backing tracks from thin air. Come Friendship Games, everyone’s doing both of those things.”

“...That’s... that’s true, actually,” I say while turning it over in my mind.

Adagio continues, “It’s almost like being able to do that was our special ability as sirens, and the magic which made it possible was contained within gems, which then shattered, spilling the sirenia magic all over CHS.”

Aria adds, “With the amusing side effect of making everyone in the school suddenly hyper-competitive.”

“Sunset even said that winning wasn’t enough; they wanted to see the other side lose,” Adagio says.

“Yeah,” Sonata says, “never mind ‘it doesn’t matter who you hurt,’ she had a list.”

“And that’s a vicious line to come from a hero,” Aria confirms. “Way worse than anything we ever said. Yet the fandom still loves their baconwaifu.”

“She’s a great character,” I say, feeling protective of Rebecca and the pony-girl she’s done so well with, “and people dig the redemption arc. Perhaps it might be worth a try?”

“You need to rewatch Rainbow Rocks,” Sonata says, “and ask yourself if you’d really want us to be good, when we’re so much fun being bad.” Suddenly I’m forced to reassess my view of her as the most innocent of the three.

The other two sirens say nothing for a moment, letting Sonata’s sentiment sink in, and leaving me daydreaming of how generally magnificent they were as villains (which is almost certainly exactly what they intended me to spend the time thinking about).

“Sunset’s a fantastic character,” Adagio then says, agreeing with my earlier statement. “I’d go as far as to say she’s the perfect lead for the franchise, a mirror of Princess Twilight adapted to suit the Equestria Girls world.”

“That was another thing that grated with the inclusion of Twilight’s human counterpart in movies three and four,” Aria grumbles. “We already had a human-world Twilight equivalent, and her name was Sunset. But now there are two very similar characters both trying to lead the movie franchise, and the focus seems to be naturally leaning towards Twilight, as she also leads the series.”

“Make your mind up which one you’re complaining about,” I say, trying to lighten it with a laugh.

“Sci-Twi,” Adagio says succinctly, “as she’s called, I have nothing positive to say about. I think stories are better when she’s not in them. But Sunset? Good character, great jacket. I just find it quite amusing how in love with her a lot of the fandom is, and I have done so ever since working out why.”

I manage to hold it for a moment, the conversation hesitating as my curiosity battles with my self-restraint. Unsurprisingly, curiosity soon wins out.

“I know I’m going to regret asking this,” I say, “but – why?”

“She’s a new character with an outside perspective looking in on the established mane six,” Adagio says nonchalantly, “she’s humble and flawed but still liked by the main characters, and she doesn’t make any mistakes, at least in the second film, that the audience would actually condemn her for.”

Hardly pausing for breath, she barrels on, but still in the same, it-doesn’t-really-matter-but tone.

“She’s the second-ever-seen personal protégé of Princess Celestia – an accolade only ever held until that point by the lead character of the series – she has a dark and edgy past, and even I will admit that she’s drop-dead gorgeous. And at the end of Rainbow Rocks, the film we like to focus on, she miraculously saves the day out of nowhere, after the conventional heroes were defeated on their own.”

“Oh,” I groan internally – I mean, technically, this whole conversation is internal, but still – “I have a bad feeling about where this is going.”

At which Adagio promptly declares, “She’s a self-insert Mary Sue! That’s why the fandom loves her so much, she’s their dream character!”

That’s a surprisingly solid condemnation I hadn’t realised before now. Then I consider how much trouble I’d be in if I aired something like that aloud, and how I should probably be seen defending Sunset from such allegations.

“But wait,” I say, “she’s popular. You said yourself, the fandom love her. That doesn’t sound like an OC.”

“Well exactly. She’s how people envision their own OCs being received, like an ideal version of how they think it should go. That may even be why there are so many OCs written like that, because it worked for Sunset. And those people have the temerity to term their characters original...”

“Even just saying that is likely to make you enemies in the fandom,” I wince.

“About Sunset, or about OCs?”


Then Sonata interrupts, “Yup, that’s why we’re staying out of it!”

“But particularly about Sunset,” I say.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying,” Adagio tells me. “And it’s nothing that can’t be solved if people stop writing her that way.”

I say nothing, because I don’t think there’s anything safe I can say. I mean, obviously Sunset isn’t a Mary Sue, and certainly not a self-insert (I shudder at the thought), but the very fact that those points can be raised and not easily refuted is quite damning to begin with.

Is that the sort of thing I should consider mentioning to the writers? Just something to drop into the next lyric writing session Meghan and I have together?

But then, how much water did the argument actually hold? And what if Meghan had three sirens in her head, encouraging her to raise the Disney song thing with me? Ok, that last point might be stretching the bounds of credibility a bit too far.

“If it were mostly the redemption thing,” Aria says, “people might be more keen on Starlight Glimmer.”

“Well, yes and no,” I try to defend, “Sunset did it first, so Starlight could be just seen as an unoriginal imitation.” I probably shouldn’t talk that way about the franchise I do a lot of work for, but, you know, it’s inside my own head and all.

“And Sunset being hot has nothing to do with it, right?” Sonata says knowingly.

Aria says, “Perhaps also that Starlight wasn’t terrible as a villain. She was quite good fun, wreaked a fair bit of devastation, twisted established events with the rainboom – which, if done well, has more impact than setting things in motion from scratch, as it’s doing clever things with stuff we’ve already seen from one angle – gave us a glimpse of what might have been and allowed us to revisit old favourite villains in the process, and was genuinely talked down with the magic of friendship rather than being blasted with rainbow lasers, which is more true to the name of the show.”

“Ok,” I ask, “and how does that change things?”

“Just that Starlight was popular as a villain,” Aria replies, “and so might be seen as being a shadow of her former self now that she’s reformed and not tearing the world apart, along the same lines as Discord. Whereas, as we said earlier, no one liked Sunset as a villain, so she’s inarguably better now.”

That could be it, I guess. It’s a kids’ show, obviously the audience is meant to like the character more now that she’s nice. But I suppose there is the ‘terrible, but great’ angle from Harry Potter, that power can be impressive in its own right, regardless of the morality behind it, and so by that measure, Starlight is lesser in season six than the year before. And Discord has had a couple of episodes since his reformation that I thought of as duds, at least until I gave them a second viewing. Whereas Sunset mopes around a bit in Rainbow Rocks, but she’s back at full power by the end of the movie, and by Friendship Games her Daydream form is supposedly just as strong as her demonic one was, so perhaps she doesn’t suffer from that problem as much as the others.

“Starlight’s backstory left a bit to be desired,” Adagio says in a measured tone, like she’s trying to be fair and give Starlight her dues, but also accepting that she wasn’t handled perfectly.

“Yeah,” Sonata chips in, “it’s like, ok, so your friend got his cutie mark before you and went off to special school, and that’s sad for you, but come on, get over it girl!”

“Or maybe try being happy for your friend on his behalf?” Aria offers.

“That... would’ve been the friendly thing to do, wouldn’t it?” I say, a little stumped by the suggestion. “I guess maybe that was a bit much empathy to expect from someone that age?”

“Right, ‘cause we never see empathy from the Cutie Mark Crusaders,” Aria responds.

“Ok, maybe empathy was the wrong word,” I say. “Emotional maturity, perhaps?”

“Hey,” Sonata says jovially, “if children were already good at friendship, you wouldn’t have a job making a show to teach them about it, so it’s all good.”

“I’m not sure that’s quite the happy moral I was going for, but it does seem to be the one I ended up at,” I agree, puzzled.

“Would you prefer the less cynical one about it all being a marketing ploy to sell toys?” Aria asks, and I wish I’d kept my mouth shut. Mouth in my head, that is, not mouth in... Well, obviously my actual mouth is part of my head, but I mean the internal one, which only exists as a construct of thought.

“There’s a time and a place for that argument,” Adagio says, putting the lid on it.

“And that is?” I feel I have to ask.

“When arguing with Transformers fans,” Adagio says. “Don’t try to look down on MLP in comparison to the show you like, they’re both just commercials for Hasbro toys.”

Aria adds, “If you believe one is more manly or womanly than the other, that’s all just down to what a certain marketing department has decided you’ll spend more money on.”

“The only real difference,” Adagio continues, “other than the gender each show is aimed at, is that we were lucky enough to get Lauren Faust for the 2010s reboot.”

“Where they ended up with Michael Bay,” Aria says.

I can’t quite tell, but I think everyone in the conversation might have shuddered at the mention of that last name.

“Nevertheless,” Adagio says after a moment, “it’s a rather damning indictment of Starlight’s character that the suggestion that she simply be happy for her friend comes from Aria Blaze, of all people.”

“What?” Aria says, not aghast or outraged, but a little put out. “Just ‘cause I don’t do that doesn’t mean I don’t understand it. Jesus, I’m not a psychopath, I just find people profoundly disappointing.”

Adagio says nothing, because she probably understands the sentiment all too well, so I step in and ask, “...Did you just say ‘Jesus?’ Do sirens believe in Jesus? Does Jesus even exist in the Equestria Girls world?”

“Are we in the Equestria Girls world right now?” Adagio jumps in. “Our characterisation’s in your head, sweetie, so not only is there some wiggle room, but the faults and contradictions are on you.”

“I have always wanted to say it though,” Aria says thoughtfully. “It feels like something I’d say.”

“Probably while facepalming,” I suggest.

“Hey, it’s my own form of sign language, ok?” Aria replies indignantly. “It’s very varied and expressive, it just so happens that when I’m around Sonata, ‘facepalm’ is the only gesture I need.”

Adagio then returns to the parent topic. “Anyway, Starlight’s backstory didn’t line up with her equality obsession as cohesively as I’d have liked.”

“I could understand it more if that was something they’d just come up with for The Cutie Map,” Aria says, “but even in The Cutie Re-Mark, she’s going on about the virtues of equality to Fluttershy and the other young pegasi.”

“And it’s not like they couldn’t have made an effective, sympathetic and interesting backstory for her using inequality as a motivator.”

“We all know about the power balance between the three pony tribes, and how earth ponies have a rather raw deal, but it’s partly true with cutie marks as well.”

“It was highlighted that very season, in Bloom & Gloom, with the pest control pony: having that cutie mark is great; that’s clearly what you’re good at and meant to be doing with your life, so doing that job should give you a feeling of fulfilment. But the same is true of Spitfire, and her cutie mark and her job, which is undeniably more glorious, and, to the outside observer, a bit more fun?”

“But in both cases they’re just doing the roles Equestria has assigned them. And it’s all in the luck of the draw that one has the purpose in life to captain the Wonderbolts, and the other to vacuum up twittermites.”

“So Starlight could have been done well,” Adagio concludes, “but the way it was, the last ten or fifteen minutes of the season five finale fell a little flat for me.”

“But, as we mentioned earlier, not anything like as flat as the same part of the next year’s finale.”

Sonata then speaks up, “Someone on the internet said that Starlight had a better backstory as Snowfall Frost than she did as herself, and I kind of agreed.”

We did see flashbacks to both of their childhoods; one of which had a pony happily playing until her friend got a cutie mark, the other for some reason had Professor Snape telling her to work harder and play less if she wanted to make something with her life, which, however strange it sounded, actually did seem a bit more believable for a start of darkness event.

“I thought working for the betterment of Equestria was a fairly noble goal,” Adagio says, “and a rather positive motivation, but what do I know...?”

I suggest, “I think the point was–”

“I know what the point was. My point was that they could have explained it a lot better.”

“More time for songs the way they went for, though,” I point out. “Would you prefer a detailed but ultimately flawed reason for why we should join Communist cults or stop celebrating Christmas–”

“–Or Applejack singing Prog,” Aria cuts in. “Ok, you’re right about that one.”

“Touché,” says an impressed-sounding Adagio.

Daniel Ingram Chapter 3

“...Would we call that Prog?” I have to ask, skeptically. “There were no funny time signatures or extended guitar breaks.”

Out of nowhere, the conversation stops, and after a moment I realise I must’ve put a foot wrong. Metaphorically, because obviously I don’t actually have feet here. Man, these internal observations are getting old. No, I don’t have a body here, I’m just a, well, disembodied voice, just like everyone’s internal monologue is. And so are the sirens, who I appear to have upset somehow...?

At last, a strict Adagio says, “Everyone here knows that only we get that kind of treatment.”

“Because we’re the only ones who can pull it off,” Aria says.

“And make it catchy,” Sonata adds.

Adagio, now less unimpressed with me and more impressed with herself, says, “Chrysalis may have managed the duet with herself, but we did Phrygian in 15/8 in a kids’ movie and made it sexy.”

“I’m not sure how many people would try to be sexy in a kids’ movie,” I say, a little uncomfortably.

“Remember what I said earlier about that being part of our meta-villain angle?” she reminds me.

“But anyway,” Aria says, getting back to business, “the parallel substitution between Ionian and Mixolydian is fairly Prog, by Applejack’s usual Bluegrass standards.”

Adagio jumps straight in, “And then you change time signature for the ‘seeds of the past’ line.”

Aria takes it up again the moment Adagio finishes, “And then suddenly, after modulating to the parallel dominant for the bridge...”

“Boom!” Sonata exclaims.

“...Stairway To Heaven!” Adagio says, sounding satisfied.

Aria finishes off the analysis with, “Only the chord sequence is topped off with the VI-VII-and-back-to-i progression from most of the best Iron Maiden songs.”

Well, I mean, I guess it was a little bit Prog, by some standards...

“I wish that bit had been longer,” Sonata says, and I just manage to stomp on my inner Jake Peralta before he can say anything about that being the title of Sonata’s sex tape.

I know what she means, though; I wanted more of that bit too, but it was as long as it needed to be, and any more would have been indulgent and excessive. And since that stopped me, maybe it wasn’t very Prog after all.

“Do you think we should read anything into the fact that the best bit of the song comes just after Snowfall takes her first step towards becoming a villain?” Aria asks mischievously.

I hear Adagio and Sonata giggle to themselves, and Aria join in with them, but none of them actually say anything further on the matter, so I elect to shift the conversation before I have to give Aria an answer.

“Well-aware that last time I asked if you liked a song,” I say, “you told me it was unsubtle; how did you feel about this one?”

“I liked it very much,” Adagio says immediately, and I rest just a little easier. “And I didn’t say I didn’t like the last one, just that the orchestration was rather on the nose.”

“Pony Scrooge traditionally being a character best treated with the utmost nuance and understatement,” I agree with only the barest hint of detectable sarcasm.

“I didn’t say it didn’t fit the character, either. In fact, I loved all of A Hearth’s Warming Tail, and I think it was the high point of the whole season.”

“Pinkie’s song could have been better, I thought,” Aria counters.

“Yes,” Adagio responds. “But Luna’s Future more than made up for it. That was the best one since Rainbow Rocks.”

“Again, I wish that one had been longer,” Sonata says, and once more I agree with her. Is it healthy to agree with Sonata that often? Surely it can’t be a good sign...?

“Sorry, 22-minute runtime limit,” I say.

“Yeah, I know,” she answers. “At least the note range is so narrow that I can extend the song when singing it myself by repeating it an octave higher.”

“It just didn’t feel right pushing into higher territory; Luna’s character demanded more low resonance in the voice, so there was only so wide a range the melody could cover and keep that tone.”

“I get it, it’s cool. It was the right thing to do in the episode.”

Aria then says, “But we’re not Luna.”

“Well, I kind of am,” Adagio argues, sounding embarrassed, “when she’s singing, just like Rarity...”

“I know, I know,” Aria replies, “but not for this song. Anyway, when not trying to be Princess of the Night, sometimes it’s just fun to belt stuff out at the top of your lungs, and repeating the tune an octave higher is a good opportunity for that. And it gets it out of my system so I don’t mind doing the delicate bits in our three-piece arrangements.”

Lots of people forget how soft and controlled Aria’s singing voice is in the Dazzling songs. Some even assume the labels on her track and Sonata’s must be mixed up, as Aria is gruff and pushy in person where Sonata often comes across as more docile.

And some of those that do remember take it as a sign that her tough girl persona is only an act to hide a fragile interior. I think it’s the other way around, though. I think she’s every bit as rough and tumble as she seems to be, but takes her role as main support harmonist so seriously when singing that she’ll adapt her voice to be as gentle as it needs to be to enrich Adagio’s line without ever drawing attention to itself and distracting from the lead melody.

“And I very much enjoyed Crusaders of the Lost Mark, too,” Adagio says, snapping me back to the conversation and swiftly moving it onto other musical episodes.

“I cried,” Sonata says wistfully. “Only time the show has done that to me.”

“Jesus, Sonata,” Aria says, “it wasn’t that bad...”

With my voice full to bursting with insincere jollity, I say, “Oh, Aria, you’re so hilarious and your quips so original!”

Ignoring my sarcasm, Aria carries on, “It brought everything together in such a perfect resolution. I mean, of course Diamond Tiara and her redemption, after five years unrepentant, is instrumental in the CMCs getting their cutie marks; she’s the one who made them so obsessed with not being blank flanks in the first place.”

“...Ok, that ‘instrumental’ pun repaired quite a lot,” I say, “and I forgive you.”

“I didn’t ask for your forgiveness, is there a cash equivalent?”

“I think A Hearth’s Warming Tail had the stronger songs, of the two,” Adagio interjects, “but obviously Crusaders meant more to the story as a whole.”

“Although they were both great!” Sonata says gleefully.

“Whereas the earlier two musicals: Pinkie Pride and Magical Mystery Cure, I wasn’t so keen on,” Aria says.

“Even with Weird Al?” I ask.

“He was great, and the episode was funny,” Aria replies in a consolation prize voice, “but I don’t think any of the songs had persistent melodies that stayed with me after the event.”

Adagio then says, “Not in the same way as, for example...”

“Oh no, don’t...” I plead.

“Shall we all say it together?” she asks.

“Seriously?” I say, exasperated. “That’s still the benchmark, six years on?”


“Winter Wrap Up!”

In resignation I say it with them half-heartedly, while the other three shout it from the rooftops.

“Look,” I explain, “I love the song; it was the first proper, big musical number we did with the show, and it was only doing that that really gave us the confidence to go onto stuff like At The Gala.” Hard to imagine what the show, or indeed, life, would be like now if not for it. Would there be so many songs in the movie? Would I still be involved with the franchise at all? Would it even still be going? ...That last one is a bit of a long shot, I admit, crediting myself and the first song I wrote as being necessary for the survival of the hottest kids’ show around. I’m sure it would have flourished all the same. And maybe we would have tried At The Gala anyway and ended up at the same place as now.

“But really,” I continue, “it was so long ago now, and I think we’ve had some much better ones since, so why is that the one everyone still talks about? I was hoping I Am Just A Pony would have taken over by now.”

“Maybe because it was the first?” Adagio suggests.

“Or one of only two or three full songs that season,” Aria offers, “when they seem to be in every two or three episodes now?”

But then Sonata has her say on the matter. “OMG, guys, you’re really missing the obvious here. People love Winter Wrap Up because it’s so, so happy! That’s why they like the show in the first place – sure, they might get distracted by awesome villains from time to time, but if that was the most important thing then they’d just watch The Dark Knight on a loop. Winter Wrap Up makes you smile; probably even more than Pinkie’s song about smiling does, because it’s so innocent and upbeat and just plain happy.”

She then takes a huge breath before starting up again, “BUT, it’s so wacky and silly, with the idea of cartoon ponies having to clean up winter with shovels and stuff before spring can come, that it doesn’t feel cheesy in the way that BBBFF or Let The Rainbow Remind You do.”

Happy but surreal. Maybe she’s onto something.

“Huh,” I say. “And that didn’t come across with Celestia’s Ballad, from Magical Mystery Cure? It’s a defining character moment, a turning point in the series, not to mention the first time we hear Princess Celestia sing. But the subject matter ran such a risk of being cheesy that we tried really hard to make sure the instrumentation wasn’t.”

“And you succeeded,” Aria says unexpectedly firmly. “The arrangement of ethereal choir and arpeggiating piano was sublime, the accompanying animation was perfect, and the fanfare at the climax, with the key change as Twilight’s cutie mark fills the sky, was nothing short of spectacular.” She pauses and sighs, and then says, “But no, to go back to the same point as with Pinkie Pride, the melody didn’t stick with me afterwards.”

“Ah, that’s a shame,” I say. “I guess it doesn’t really have a repeating chorus or anything, so I can kind of understand that.”

There’s a moment of quiet, perhaps with others agreeing but not wanting to rub salt in the wounds.

“Aria,” Adagio says, quietly but insistently.

“...No,” comes Aria’s no-nonsense reply.

“Tell him,” Adagio pushes.

“Why? It’s nothing to do with you, so just leave it.”

“Because he needs to know. And he deserves to.”

“I really hate you sometimes, Adagio.”

“I’m pleasantly surprised it’s only sometimes. Now tell him.”


As has happened before in the conversation, a tense silence stretches. This time I’m just thankful it’s not down to something I’ve said. That makes it no less nerve-wracking, though, and all the more mystifying.

Eventually Aria drops her wham line.

“I cried at that one.”

And if the silence before was tense, the one after isn’t much less so. Kind of confusing, too, as I don’t know what to say to her admission, but have a feeling that saying the wrong thing would lead to an explosion.

Adagio then steps in to change the subject, guiding us away from the risk of Aria ordinance, “So, the first two musical episodes had their moments, but overall didn’t stand out as much as they should have done. The two since, however, have been brilliant.”

“So you’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Aria says, with no trace of her former self-consciousness.

“Yeah,” Sonata agrees, “if it had been the other way around then you ought to have been really worried.”

“Goodness,” Adagio says in a way that brings to mind her admiring her painted nails while idly speculating aloud, “what could possibly have happened between seasons four and five to prompt an explosion of such dazzling musicals?”

“What could have changed?” Aria asks no one in particular. “What’s different now?”

“Uh, guys?” Sonata says hesitantly, “I think it might be us. He has us now; Rainbow Rocks is what happened between seasons four and five, and we’ve been here anytime you’ve needed us since.”

More audible facepalming. It’s a small wonder the other two don’t have permanent forehead bruises.

“Not to disappoint you or anything,” I say, “but I had muses before you three.”

“Much to Starlight Glimmer’s dismay,” comes Aria’s drawling reply, “not all muses are equal.”

Adagio, as ever, has the smooth answer, “You’re the one who wrote the words – why pretend we’re all the same, when some of us shine brighter?”

We’re your chance to find your flame,” Aria finishes with a conviction that lives up to her surname.

“And how do I do that?” I ask. “That was why you came to me today in the first place, before we got distracted discussing headcanons and so on – I’m floundering here.” And immediately it’s all flooding back, swirling around me and rising higher. “I’ve been given this huge opportunity loaded with huge expectations, and it’s terrifying. So, what do I do?”

Adagio answers without having to pause for thought. “Aim high. You gave Chrysalis the self-duet. You gave Discord the tongue twister that sounded straight out of Dr. Seuss. You gave us the dark scale and awkward time signature.”

Aria follows hot on her (spiked) heels, “And also so many different harmonies between the parts of Under Our Spell, both vocal and instrumental, that I still struggle to understand how you carried that off.”

Good to know that the avatars of my subconscious are that optimistic about it, at least.

“You can do these things when you don’t compromise,” Adagio says, “and let nothing stand in your way. Why should the sky be the limit, when there are footprints on the moon?”


That one, I’m pretty sure, really is profound. I should get it on a plaque on my desk or something. It might be kind of missing the problem here, though.

“But I managed it before,” I say, “with your songs, because I was confident. I believed in myself enough to take risks, and try new things. This movie matters too much to be that cavalier about it.”

“It’s very hard to create something exceptional when you’re trying to play it safe,” Aria says sympathetically.

Adagio agrees, “You have to have the confidence to throw the line if necessary.”

“I know that,” I say. “And acknowledging that lack of confidence is the issue is, funnily enough, not helping with it in the slightest, because it only makes me less confident.”

Then, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, Sonata says simply, “Then we’ll be your confidence.”

“And your technical skill,” Aria adds.

“And your artistic vision,” Adagio concludes.

Would that work? As Adagio said earlier, muses inspire the music. If they’re internalised, can they be more direct about it?

“We’ll be right here with you, singing in your ear,” Sonata says.

“So let us guide you,” Adagio urges comfortingly.

“We haven’t led you aground before, we won’t now,” Aria says.

Since they’re manifestations of my subconscious, the music would still ultimately be all from me, so it wouldn’t technically be copying someone else’s work. It might feel like it at first though. But right now I really don’t have any other ideas, and I have to get the movie score done.

“You don’t have to be that weird forest woman, telling everyone you got this,” Sonata laughs.

“Because you might not have it,” Aria says more seriously.

“But you have us,” Sonata says.

“And we’ve got you,” Adagio finishes. And she’s a voice in my head; the voice of a cartoon hippocampus no less, and I know how ridiculous it is. And I also know she and her sisters won’t let me fall.

And then all three sirens raise their voices and sing me to a warm place, to the tune of the line they earlier said to be their favourite: the prechorus from Under Our Spell.

“You’ve got the muses to get through it, got it all inside, just do it,
Greatness waiting if you try, don’t aim lower than the sky.”

Author's Notes:

I've always found the comedy tag rather intimidating. A couple of times I've considered adding it for stories, because they had their funny moments and were written to be lighthearted, but I think it brings with it an expectation that the story will make you laugh, and therefore the story will be a failure if it doesn't.

The comedy tag didn't fit on my previous works, because aiming to be funny wasn't the primary reason I wrote them; it was always more about plot or character. But this one was written with humour foremost in mind, so I think the tag belongs, although that doesn't make it any less scary as a standard to be striving for. There are still plenty of moments of the characters having their say, though, whether funny or not, so I think the slice of life tag belongs here too.

This story is a concoction of many different thoughts and observations I've had on pony things for a while, though it was written in a very linear fashion, with no end or route in mind, and so none of it was made simply as a framing device for topics I wanted to cover, and hopefully that means they don't just feel shoehorned in.

As such, and thanks to its real-world format, the story can incorporate some of the things I've previously said in blogs (like the meta-villain thing - so I might now delete that blog) or in comment sections (you can see the original siren-magic-responsible-for-Friendship-Games-discrepancies comment here). One line is a direct response from Eyeswirl The Weirded (and the observation that Starlight was genuinely defeated by the magic of friendship, rather than brainwash-redemption-rainbow-lasers, came from him), and another is a reference to NaiadSagaIotaOar, who was kind enough to pre-read the first half of this a couple of months ago. There's even a line that someone said to me as an ill-thought out criticism, along with the response that I wanted to (but restrained myself) give at the time. Obviously, I'm not telling you which lines any of those ones are.

Also, hopefully the musical bits aren't too intrusive. It's something I've wanted to discuss for a long time, and since all the characters involved know the precise terminology, no effort is made to explain what they mean to the reader (which would have taken way longer and completely derailed the story). But I hope that they were brief enough moments that they can be glossed over if you don't know what they're talking about, simply being content with the knowledge that they know about something and are discussing it at expert-level with technical terms.

The format for this story is quite different from my other works, and there are two reasons for that. The first is that of the above paragraph; that anything not explained is moved on from quickly. The second is that I felt the pacing needed to be much faster for the comedy to work best. All my favourite comedy shows keep jokes flowing thick and fast, never repeating or rephrasing a gag, but moving onto the next the second the punchline lands, and that's what I tried to do here.

As such, 60% of all the text here is dialogue, where my average is 20%, and the highest I've previously gone is 37%, with the dialogue-heavy 10,000-word second chapter of my Rainbow Dash story. Originally this story was almost entirely dialogue-only, with colour-coding to show who was speaking, but the story would not have passed moderation in that format, so I went back and changed it. Something about 'says' doesn't blend quite as well as 'said,' I think, and so there's quite a bit more said-abuse (or rather says-abuse) than would be ideal, and a lot more adverbs after 'says' than I'd have liked, too. But when unable to describe characters' actions, that seemed the best compromise solution.

Although I had the idea for the story around half a year ago, I only started writing anything down for it in February, and did so because I happened to be thinking about it while working on something else, and dialogue ideas kept suggesting themselves. And I remembered some of the comedy one-shots CGPH has written (of which this is an excellent example, although written much more recently), and how they're often not far off dialogue-only, and wondered if that might work well here, both for keeping the pacing up and for being quick to do when I had no time to spare. So I got the first draft down in a few quick sections, and refining it didn't take too long as it was mostly adding dialogue tags, and a few thoughts which were hardly deep and meaningful.

That's how I've justified writing this rather than focusing solely on the third chapter of my ongoing story, because I got nine thousand words done here in the time it would have taken to do one or two thousand there, and I'm really meant to be working flat out on IRL things at the moment. So being able to open this story up for a few minutes at a time and write or add tags for just a page of dialogue, and then go back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing, is far less disruptive than putting whole evenings aside to sit down and focus on getting each line in the other story just right.

Finally, I've had a couple of other (much shorter) meta-siren ideas over the last few months, ones not involving Daniel Ingram, so there's a chance this work might become a conglomeration of unconnected tales of siren stupidity, if I can make those ideas work in print. No plans for that anytime soon, though, hence the completed tag.

Adagio Writes Fanfiction vol. 1: The Fix Fic

Author's Notes:

This is the first metasiren chapter added after the main story was finished, and does not in any way relate canonically to the three chapters in Daniel Ingram's head.

This chapter features Rarity, as written by Adagio, and was suggested to me by someone I watched Dance Magic with (though it doesn't contain any spoilers for that story).

Gathering up her many designer shopping bags, Rarity thanked the cashier and turned towards the door. She headed for it with a spring in her step, her delight at the day’s purchases not dampened by having to carry them all home. She had almost reached the wide archway separating the department store from the rest of Canterlot Mall when she caught sight of the makeup counter, remembering that her favourite everyday mascara was running low.

Diverting course towards the stand, her eyes sought out the spot where her familiar brand resided, but couldn’t help noticing something else too. There, off to the left of her usual choice, a display sign stood on the countertop, surrounded by a cluster of mascara pens stood upright, like a tiny forest.

“Waterproof mascara?” she wondered aloud. “That’s a really good idea.”

Adagio recommends Max Factor Masterpiece or Max Factor False Lash Effect. Waterproof, not water-resistant.
Rarity, sort your life out.

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