FimFiction Link - Short ID: 508992/boundary-point
Published: Dec '21 — Sep '22
(As of chapter 20, which is the end of part 1.)
This is an RGRE HiE fic set in a classic shithole Equestria, with a dash of tumblr soulmate AU mixed in.
In the backstory, humans came to Equestria and turned the tide of the war against Sombra, but as a side effect, they also revealed to the world that Celestia doesn't actually raise the sun. Now everyone hates her and half of Equestria has seceded. The arrival of humans also nerfed magic in general, so pegasi can't walk on clouds any more (RIP Cloudsdale) and unicorn magic is much weaker. Manehattan's referendum to rejoin the kingdom, which may or may not have even passed, leads to rioting in the streets, or in other words, ponies trashing each other's homes and businesses just for the hell of it. A lot of ponies are just assholes, really, like the one who recognizes Twilight (who's banished from the kingdom, by the way, and whose friends have wound up scattered across the continent) and immediately tries to beat the shit out of her right there in public (during the riot, but still).
As for the soulmate thing: in this fic, a "heartsong" is a magical song a mare can sing to identify her soulmate; if he's nearby when she sings it, he'll be compelled to respond. Nopony does this in the current year, and it's considered a pretty weird and desperate way to find a stallion. But Twilight, being both a turbo-nerd and a depressed foreveralone loser, tries it anyway and ends up with the main human character. There's also some weird ancient traditions around heartsongs, and since Twilight gets a response, she's now Xavier's "knight" and he is her "eques", and she's supposed to protect him.
In the RGRE department, it's pretty standard: small number of stallions, herding, psychotically overprotective mares, and so on.
Humans do get access to some pretty decent magic in this fic, which is nice. Though it goes a bit far in Xavier's case. He was, of course, directly involved in taking down Sombra, contributed directly to the final magical working there, and on top of that mastered an ability that no pony has been able to figure out for centuries.
The characters in this fic often behave in bizarre ways to make the plot or the setting work the way the author wants. One example that comes to mind is Xavier reaction to Twilight after she uses the heartsong and he's forced to reply. He spends several chapters running away and generally working hard to avoid her, rather than confront the one pony who actually knows exactly what the hell is going on. There's also the pony I mentioned above, who beats up Twilight to satisfy a years-old grudge over her being an asshole to someone else (not the pony giving the beating) in the Canterlot Castle kitchens.
I'll probably keep reading this (assuming it ever comes back from hiatus), but I have a pretty high tolerance for shitfics as long as it seems like they're going to do something interesting.