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Nothing special here, move along, nothing to see, just ignore the lump under the sheet and the red stuff...

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So The Other May Live - Final editing · 5:46pm Sep 5th, 2019

I've been gently chastised by my editors about my tendency to publish before asking their input (thus making a lot of ex post publico changes). So here's the warning: I'm about done with So The Other May Live, a two-chapter look into Green Grass' early life as it would appear in a more Estee-like universe. It fails the Bechdel Test cold, treats the wife in Baron Chrysanthemum's marriage as near-property, and should give moralists cold chills, so those of you who have fragile constitutions are urged to go elsewhere. I'll probably put it out on Monday, so you've got some time.
For the rest of you, I'm attaching a snippet below. Since I already showed off almost the full first chapter, it's only a small bit, so you're just going to have to wait until Monday for the rest.

(Picture courtesy of Farm Yard Nurseries, in Wales)

The following story is not canon to the Triptych series by Estee. What it is… Have you ever wondered just what a story would look like if written by a different writer? Harry Potter written by Jim Butcher. The Dragons of Pern as written by John Scalzi. Star Wars Episode 1-3 and everything after 6 if written by… just about anybody else provided George Lucas is issued a restraining order, and his ex-wife brought in to edit. The Traveling Tutor and the Librarian in the Esteeverse.

Well, nobody really thinks about that last one.

Except me.

We’ve done a little sharing between our ‘verses… well, I’ve borrowed several characters and I think Green Grass got one off-hand reference, but you know what I mean. So I got to thinking.

How would Green Grass have fared in Estee’s ‘verse?

So I wrote something up and sent it to Estee for examination, got it back with a few stunning critiques of my horrible misconceptions, rewrote it to line up better, rewrote it again, and again, and… Well, take a look. I think I’m treading the line between homage and stalking.

Green Grass gave out a little disappointed squeak when the doctor closed his bag and latched the magical hasp, although Doctor Gentle remained kneeling to run one hoof through the little colt’s mane and pat him on the head where a horn should have been. “One of my most unlikely yet successful procedures, I believe. I had not expected his essence to be so pure for his tribe, even though it is near the bottom of the normal thaumic range. As an earth pony with that level of magic, it’s doubtful that he’s ever going to master the Cornucopia effect, but he should have a normal life anyway. He probably won’t even require supplemental nutrition.”

“When Green Grass was born, I was expected…” After all of the effort Martel had placed into building an inviolate wall across his emotions, he could feel the cracks begin already. “Our family is pure,” he managed. “No worse lie. Nopony is pure. My family was certainly not pure. There are a dozen earth ponies in my family tree, perhaps more. Our roots go deep, and I had grown blind to what other families had done for their vaunted purity,” he nearly spat.

“During the tests which my wife endured before his birth, we discovered his tribe. From there, the whispers began. How much easier it would be if he were just… lost. Why would we struggle to bring one of them into this world. I had to wonder if any of their families had made that terrible decision. To cast aside what they labored for, much as pure unicorn families had done in darker times.

“Even after his birth, one of the doctors told us to take him outside and bury him,” stated Martel bluntly. “Struggling for life, with needles and tubes in our child, and he wanted to bury him.” Martel took a deep breath to quash the snarling fury that itched to emerge. “I quite nearly struck him. Only later did I realize the doctor was an earth pony, and maybe…”

Comments ( 11 )

Writing a pony story that manages to fail the Bechdel Test is an achievement in and of itself. Looking forward to seeing how you accomplished it.

5116523 Oh, that's easy. The nurse has 2 lines. The wife has one. The two are never in the same room together.

This is almost entirely a conversation between Martel Chandler, Baron of Chrysanthemum and Doctor Gentle Arrival, with a six month pause between chapters.

I'll have to see about sneaking in to preview this. It looks interesting, to put it mildly.

Have you ever wondered just what a story would look like if written by a different writer?

Oh, like No Nose in the Georgverse? Sure have. It scares me a little. :trollestia:

5116539 Just would take a few minor tweaks...

“Anyway,” said Princess Twilight with a lingering glower at the unfortunate guard. “There is nothing going on between myself and Green Grass. He’s an annoying little twerp who splashed me in the face with a bucket of water when we first met, twice if you count the time I spent the night in his wagon— I mean went out to his wagon to borrow a book! We didn’t sleep together! Well, we were asleep, and we were together, and we bumped noses when I woke up, but—”

One huge white wing enfolded Twilight Sparkle in a warm embrace as Princess Celestia gently placed her cheek against her faithful (and frustrated) student. There had been many other occasions where Twilight had ‘lost it’ only to be brought back to reality by a firm hug across the chest; first by her own mother who always knew how to calm down the panic-prone powerful filly with an all-encompassing hug, and later by her respected teacher⁽¹⁾. All the frustrations of the last week just seemed to drain away and were replaced by a warm glow, much like sleeping in a sunbeam.
(1) Before Twilight Sparkle was permitted to be enrolled as Princess Celestia’s special student, her mother made absolutely certain that the Princess knew how to administer an appropriately reassuring hug. There were tests. The Princess passed on the third try. Twilight Velvet was strict with her grading, as any number of students would testify.

“Twilight, really. You bumped noses with this young stallion?"

There was a snuffled snort, and a faint princess-to-princess nod from under Celestia's wing.

Celestia let out her breath in a long sigh. "Well, I better get the wedding set up. If you want to have it today in Ponyville with all of your friends, I can send back for Luna, and we can have the two of you officially wed by nightfall. Can you accept that?”

The snuffling from under Celestia's wing came to an abrupt halt. "What?"

Maybe next time you add content warnings you could consider phrasing them in a way that doesn't insult people who don't like seeing their sex portrayed as property?

That is awesome.

And in hindsight, it’d prevent that pesky issue of pregnancy before marriage that they ended up dealing with!

5116558 You mean like... in the description? Right there at the top? In words?

5116580 Yep. Not as effectively as in the "The Substitute Librarian" that I'm doodling with, where GG and Twilight never actually meet, because GG gets drafted as a substitute librarian whenever Twilight is out on Elements business. So she goes away, he shows up. She shows back up and he's gone. It's an interesting setup that makes for some interesting interactions for my favorite practical protagonist operating under an alias.

He waited for a time, just looking out into the darkening night, until he was certain that Dinky and her mother were out of sight, then cleared his throat and asked, “Can I help you, officer?”

There was a rustle in the bushes, and a dappled grey unicorn mare emerged out into the library’s porch lighting. “How did you know I was there?” she asked.

“Because a complete stranger was playing with three of the town’s unicorn foals at the fountain while Sun is setting. If there isn’t a police officer watching the suspect, something is wrong. Emerald City,” he added. “Education student at Canterlot.”

“Miranda Rights,” said the unicorn, looking a little like she had just bitten into an unripe lemon. “Chief of Police.”

Emerald stood there silently and observed.

“Interesting teaching technique,” said Miranda.

Emerald nodded.

“So, are you going to invite me in?”

Emerald shook his head. “I have a lot of homework to do this evening.”

“I know what you mean,” said Miranda with a slow shake of her head. “Every time the Crown sends a group of substitutes for our local heroes, I get a report.” She paused. “Sir.”

Letting out his breath in one long huff, Emerald put a hoof against his forehead. “What do you want?”

“I have no idea what you mean.” Miranda Rights paused again. “Sir.”

“I’m not offering a bribe,” said Emerald rather quickly. “I’m just here to do a job and get paid for it, but everypony wants something. I want to be left alone. You want the ponies of the town to be safe. Twilight Sparkle wants—” Emerald looked over his shoulder at the neat shelves full of books, the neat stacks of instructions on her neat desk…

“Another book,” prompted Miranda.

“To find the library in slightly worse condition than she left it in,” said Emerald, “with just enough things out of place or needing to be corrected when she returns so she feels good about herself, so she can think she’s a little better than her temporary replacement, and most of all, worthwhile.”

Officer Rights looked as if she were going to make a snarky retort, but after a few moments of thought, she closed her mouth and nodded.

I hesitate to ask what you studied while researching the topic for this story.

I read through counseling sessions for Iraq War veterans to study neuro linguistic programming for writing a chapter. This topic strikes me as much more personally taxing.

Well, I can't speak for Peridance Glow. But to me, at least, it kinda seems like the bits about "moralists" and "fragile constitution" are suggesting that those who object to the content are pearl-clutching fuddie-duddies and/or thin-skinned weaklings. Maybe that's not what you mean, though!

5117016 Naa, it's just that there are people who lack the ability to read a story and understand that it is a story, not a real-life occasion or the author proposing the actions involved. I got some of those on Changelings, Love and Lollipops, because of the concussion-damage to the changeling, and it's annoying. The last thing I want to do is start every story with something to the effect of "The author does not advocate for the actions of the characters. Cannibalism is wrong. Don't eat insurance salesmen." I have no idea how comedy songwriters manage.

Oh. Along the lines of Poisoning Pigeons in the Park?

There’s fiction about bad people, and then there’s bad people writing fiction. It’s usually pretty easy to tell the difference.

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