FimFiction Link - Short ID: 508382/salvation-a-la-mode-and-a-cup-of-tea
Published: Dec '21
'Salvation a la Mode and a Cup of Tea' is a twenty three thousand and two hundred-word shortfic, that largely retells the story of 'Keep Calm and Flutter On' while also extending it with some original story beats. After Discord was turned into stone, Fluttershy is deeply concerned about the destructive power of the Elements. She confesses to the Princess, who figures out a way to help both her and Equestria as a whole.
Aside from one or two things, this entire fic feels like an episode right out of the show and I very much mean that as a compliment. Fluttershy's character development is slow, but consistent throughout the entire fic, as she slowly becomes a bit more confident and trusting of others, especially after she was able to befriend Discord. Speaking of whom, the author put great emphasis on portraying his chaotic nature by depicting his shenanigans in detail. The prose is also really nice and I specifically really like how the author used italics and dashes to portray Fluttershy's awkward thinking.
One thing I'm not entirely sure about is the last two chapters. Don't get me wrong, it's not that they feel tackled on, but had the story ended at Chapter 4, I still would have said that it's a very nice, self-contained story. There is just such a great time-skip between Ch4 and 5, and ultimately they didn't add that much to the plot, other than reaffirming that Discord cares deeply about Fluttershy, which is something the story already pretty heavily implied. Another thing that I don't necessarily consider a problem, but did surprise me, were Fluttershy's dreams. As I've mentioned, most of the fic really reads like an actual (albeit far longer) episode of FiM, so suddenly seeing the M6 yell about murder and reading about implied gore was unexpected, even if it turned out to be just a nightmare.
As for the negatives, there are two things I didn't like in this story. The first is a minor thing: The scene in which Celestia mentions that the "universe is at stake" and then Fluttershy echoes this back. I really don't like when characters suddenly blurt out absurd stakes like this, it just feels way too cartoonish, (I understand the irony in my sentence, but please try to understand what I mean.) The second thing was when the fic tried to be openly humorous. As usual, comedy is a very subjective thing, but while I did find the random actions of Discord amusing, when he breaks the fourth wall and, for instance, mentions the "Spanish Inquisition" or creates a dog out of a pumpkin which isn't a one-off joke, because it keeps coming back in the story, it just threw me out of my immersion a little. I know he's often like this in the show too, but I still couldn't really find it funny here.
Overall: 7/10 A lovely short story with nice characterization, a clear and finished arc and a really interesting exploration of a protagonist, who's rarely in focus. I recommend it.