It’s done! Whew, that took a while, especially when you surprised me with a new version! So, I guess the place to start would be some general formatting, and then we’ll zoom right into the specific stuff, okay?
The very, very first thing that I noticed was that you double-space your periods. Twilight told me a while ago that double-spaced periods were left over from the age of typewriters and that nopony should be using them anymore, not if she had anything to say about it. I know that’s a lot of spaces to fix already, but I know you can do it!
The other thing, like only the very first thing, was that you removed all the enters around your paragraphs, which is weird, because you had it right before. Paragraphs are separated by enters (which Twilight calls line breaks for some reason), unless there’s a scene break involved somewhere.
Oh, oh! And why are you only using a single space for indents? It must be so lonely, normally they come in sets of eight, or at least ponies use a tab, or do away with the indents at all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen only a single-spaced indent before.
Which brings me to my lastest, other other point, is that ponies normally use horizontal lines as scene breaks, instead of a bunch of squigglies. On FiMFiction, they use [hr], but I don’t know about whatever site you’re using. Oh, and most ponies also set the scene break off from the surrounding lines by a line break on both sides.
>“It’s been six years since the Changelings first attempted to infiltrate Equestria, taking a visiting Alicorn Princess from the Crystal Empire hostage in an attempt to marry into our royal hierarchy.”
This is really confusing me, because I think you’re talking about Princess Cadence, but I’ve never heard of any Crystal Empire... do you think they have crystal cakes there? I bet you they have a lot of rock candy! Oh, but as for this, maybe you should just be direct and use Princess Cadence’s name. That way you won’t lose the ponies who don’t know their geography that well.
>An exert from
You probably meant excerpt, right? Right!
Sooo... I don’t really feel super excited about this opening. It’s supposed to be to a bunch of cadets, or something like that, right? Because it’s not nearly as energetic or prideful as I would think it would be - I mean, have you heard the way Granny Smith talks to her new jars? It’s no wonder they actually swell with pride! That’s what this opening speech needs, some life, some juice, some Equestrian pride!
>For most of her life, Rainbow Dash had been unshakably confident. As far back as she could remember, she had rarely ever doubted her own abilities, regardless of what was standing in her way.
Uh oh, I’d watch out for all those “to be” verbs, like “had.” They show up a lot in passive voice, which is boooring and slow-paced. If you can, I’d say think about reducing how many times you use “had” in this sentence, and in general. It’s sure to make the story a lot more exciting!
>only Pegasus in Equestrias history to pull
When you do possessives, you usually use a single-quote. “Equestria’s history” is the right way to do it.
>She'd been summoned by the Military Council only minutes ago, and her reaction to this had been... unbecoming.
I’m not sure about this, using ellipses in narration isn’t super-duper popular, and I know Twilight doesn’t like it, but there’s nothing exaaactly wrong with it. It’s just, you don’t need the ellipses to get your emphasis across, really, so, I mean, why not just save it for dialogue or thoughts when you really do need one?
>A nervous young Earth Pony who had probably only been employed at Equestrias primary military base for the better part of a week had delivered her the message, mere seconds after the painful, drawn-out death of one of Rainbow's most valued team-mates.
Ooh, ooh! Lotsa stuff to talk about here. Firstest is the possessive thing again - “Equestria’s.” Second is that it’s long and drawn out and says a whole bunch, which is kinda hard to read and still be interested. Still, the biggest thing is the way you approached the sentence - it’s removed from Dashie’s point of view, which is weird considering the story is from her point of view. Think about:
>The nervous-looking Earth Pony who had probably only been employed at Equestria’s primary military base for the better part of a week had been given the unfortunate task of delivering her the message, mere seconds after the painful, drawn-out death of one of her most valued teammates.
Oh, and I think it’s teammates, not team-mates. But let good ole’ Pinkie Pie give you a hoof with cutting it down into manageable, bite-sized (your bite size, not mine) cupcakes.
>The nervous-looking cadet, who had probably only been employed at the base for the better part of a week, had been given the unfortunate task of delivering her the message mere seconds after the painful, drawn-out death of one of her most valued teammates.
Sure, some of those details were nice, but you didn’t need them at all, really, and they made the sentence longer and wordy-er then it needed to be. Icing is nice, but if you have more icing than cake, you’ll get a tummy ache.
>The blood on the proud Major's sky blue fur was still fresh.
I just don’t see Dashie referring to herself as a “proud Major,” well, not unless she was bragging to somepony, so...
>The blood on her coat was still fresh.
Or something like that!
>Having left her equipment behind outside of the operating room, Rainbow Dash stood frozen like a statue, eyes still red from her flurry of angry tears,
Shouldn’t the focus of the sentence be on Dashie? I know some ponies think that extra stuff - like details and thoughts - is bad, but I really do like just the right amount, in the right place. In this case, I don’t really know what equipment Dashie would have left behind, and I really don’t know what it’s important that I know she left it behind.
If you think about both of those things together, doesn’t it give you a bit of a headache trying to imagine Dashie not wearing equipment, when you don’t even know what the equipment is? It makes my head hurt, that’s for sure!
>she wanted nothing more than to leap across the room, land next to her and bite the jugular right out of her royal neck.
Wowie, that’s really violent of Dashie... oh, uh, but besides that, see that bolded pronoun? It’s tech-nick-ly ambiguous - you could be referring to Dashie or Celestia. But it’s okay, I know who you mean, because Dashie doing... that... to herself would be silly, right? But maybe you should say Celestia anyways, just to be sure.
>"At the beginning," Celestia replied, from her throne
I wouldn’t keep that comma, okay? It makes the sentence all chunky.
>Not having much of a choice, she opened her mouth, but quickly found herself unable to form words.
This line right here marks my first biggest issue, and sorta-kinda the halfway-point of the review. `Cause, you know how this is basically starting Dashie retelling what happened? Well... you don’t actually narrate the flashbacks in a way that’s consistent with that framing device. If Dashie is retelling the story to the Princess, that means that all the events have already happened from the reader’s perspective. I’m really fine that you used first-person, even though it’s a gutsy choice, but it’s good for a pony to have moxxy, right? At least that’s what Dashie tells me...
Anyways! But that the whole incident is in present-tense, that’s what I don’t get. If it was in first-person, past-tense, then it would be consistent with the framing device (Dashie remember/retelling the events) and it frees up what you can do with the narration in terms of Dashie’s thoughts. Besides, why present-tense? Maybe to make it more action-y? I don’t really know, so I’m asking if you could maybe explain, and think super-hard about the benefits of keeping the battle-mission thingy in present-tense, versus past-tense.
So that’s the end of specifics, kinda, and the start of generals. If I did nothing but line-by-lines, we’d be here forever! And you’d never get to editing and I’d never get to baking, so there’s that too.
Okie dokie lokie, here we go! It’s a little list of things and issues, so let’s get to it!
1) Some of your sentences are loooooooooooong! So long and so busy, actually, that sometimes I lose track of what you’re trying to build up to. Look at this:
>With a cloud of steam that rushed out into the room, fogging up her one window, Rainbow Dash ambled lifelessly out of her shower, her fur finally clean again, and collapsed into her bed.
That’s a big big big sentence, and it doesn’t have to be that way! Making it two sentences would be a lot easier to follow, and it wouldn’t hurt the story, right? So be on the lookout for sentences that are trying to do way too much.
2) Speaking of trying to do way too much, that’s you! You’re trying to set-up a whole great big wide world in just a little space, and it kinda shows. Some side-details and world-building are nice, but if you go super overboard, then they get in the way of the progress of the story! It’s a lot easier to tell the reader things, kinda like you did with that opening quote, than it is to show them things. What do I mean by telling?
Well, the quote from Spitfire’s speech establishes a whole lot of stuff in a way that’s a little dry, and not really gratifying to read - I guess you could say that when I read it, I don’t see a story, I see the author trying to set things up? Since that’s the case, your job is to make it so that every little sentence and line fits in snugly with the story, in the sense that it recounts events and progress action, not just detail for the sake of detail. If you have any questions about finding those dry telling/detail bits, just ask it in the thread, okay?
3) Possessives! Everywhere, all over, Mr. Apostrophe is being ignored! It makes me so sad, that poor punctuation mark... but you can make it all better! Remember, a single object possessive is <noun>’s, a plural object possessive is <noun>s’! Easy, right?
4) The first time you use “Marenobog,” you quote it, like I just did, but you don’t do that again. It’s kinda confusing, because Dashie somehow becomes familiar with the concept of the Marenobog almost immediately, that’s all.
5) All these magical, mystical superpowers! I have my Pinkie Sense, so I guess I can’t complain too much, but do you really need so many ponies to have such strange powers, and with no explanation? It just seems a little weird, that’s all, and I would like the story just as much without them.
6) Don’t forget to fix that formatting!
8) That ending. W-w-what are you implying!?
I think that just about covers it for now! If you have any questions, you know where to find me!