FimFiction Link - Short ID: 498989/future-of-a-kingdom
Published: Nov '21
'Future of a Kingdom' is a two thousand-word oneshot featuring Celestia and Luna. As the two diarchs meet late during an afternoon, they discuss how the kingdom has fared over the many years they've ruled and how things might change once they have relinquished the crown and passed power on to Twilight. Luna is somewhat skeptical, but Celestia is adamant that her student will do things even better than they have. As the two separate and Luna begins her nightly duty of watching over dreams, she too becomes convinced that things will work out just fine.
This one is a tough story to review. On one hand, there is much to be liked here. The prose is very nicely written, the author spares no words on details and flavor text. From the murals to the alicorns' conversation about their subjects, the fic sells that this is indeed a long-lived and prosperous kingdom, ran by two almost godlike beings. I also found the idea intriguing that "time passes faster" for alicorns too. Even for an eternal, how much time is too much time? Can they eventually get chained down in their own preconceptions and cause pain inadvertently? The fic doesn't give a definite answer, but I don't consider that a fault, even asking the question was engaging enough.
However, things start to break down when the main conflict of the story rears its head. Luna's argument of how Twilight is far too young and inexperienced to be given full trust is honestly far more compelling than Celestia's "uhh yeah, but have you considered determination and hope?" reasoning. I wouldn't really have a problem with this, if the fic presented it as a character flaw, but with Luna becoming so quickly convinced, the fic implicitly makes it seem like her worries were unjustified. This is even more annoying because the fic completely side-steps the issue of why they're abdicating fully in the first place, instead of acting as mentors for Twilight and easing her into her role. Not only that, but Luna then even brings up Twilight's friends as the ones who'll give her guidance in her hardest moments, knowing fully well that, - unlike them, - they are not immortal.
I understand fully that the author was bound by the show's questionable narrative choices and they didn't want to turn it into an AU fic, but still, sadly this means that the reader will be left with the same unanswered questions that S8 and S9 also brought with themselves.
Overall: 5/10 I wish I could give this story a higher score. As I've mentioned, the prose is indeed very nicely written and Celestia and Luna debating the future is an intriguing concept. However, this fic's inability to commit to a more believable explanation sours the dignified atmosphere it worked so hard to build up. I recommend this fic for its prose, but be aware that it'll most likely leave more questions than answers.