FimFiction Link - Short ID: 502551/there-are-monsters-at-the-door
Published: Nov '21
'There Are Monsters At The Door' is a four thousand and four hundred-word oneshot. The castle of Canterlot has been enveloped by a spreading void that threatens to engulf the whole building. Inside the throne room a shivering group of guards, a grown up Spike and Princess Celestia contemplate what to do about the situation. The only thing seemingly able to halt the encroaching darkness is dragonfire. Twilight has promised to figure out a spell to reverse the process, but there is no time. To make matters worse, monsters lurk inside the void, so Celestia sends out the dragon with some guards to deal with them. Upon returning most of the guards are gone and one of them had to be carried back as he's now missing half of his face and forelegs. As Celestia sends them out again and again, slowly everyone disappears except for Spike. Seeing no more reason for formalities anymore, Celestia invites Spike to save himself by setting the throne room on fire and to finally call her "mom." As they sit on the throne, the princess hugs Spike and imbues in him her own power, reducing herself to a filly in the process. The story ends with Twilight's spell finally coming through.
I really like the horror parts, the void acts like a force of nature that can't be reasoned with or be stopped, and its effects on the characters are terrifying. Also, while I really like the godlike renditions of Celestia, seeing her here as a broken figurehead worked surprisingly well. She understands that actively trying to help would just demoralize the troops, so instead she grits her teeth and acts like she has everything under control, even though she's deep down terrified and blaming herself for being so useless.
Sadly, however, I found it really hard to enjoy this story. I'm a fan of creative expressions and playful usage of languages, but this story's writing fits squarely into being purple prose. It's like the author can't go for two normal sentences, because everything has to be a metaphor, an allusion or has to have a flowery description. If you like such things, you'll have a blast here. For me, it felt like it impedes the narrative somewhat. Another thing, and this will be very subjective criticism, I found the motherly bond between Spike and Celestia to be very off-putting. It didn't really come across as maternal, but rather as almost fetishistic. Even after I've read the author's explanation that the fic was inspired by Metroid, I couldn't help but feel a bit uncomfortable, especially because it's implied that for Spike the whole thing was at least a bit romantic. I suppose if you like this particular ship and are into nursing, this will be a really enjoyable story for you.
Overall: 6/10 A great horror story dragged down by excessive eloquence and - to me - bizarre character interactions.