• Published 5th Jul 2013
  • 2,063 Views, 30 Comments

Decisions - hester1

A server waits on six ponies in a restaurant. The diners have drinking contests and discuss social responsibility. The clock ticks ever on and on.

  • ...


The Sun was low in the cloudless sky when the unicorn walked into the restaurant. She had a pink coat and violet mane, wore a yellow-orange saddle and skirt, and her cutie mark was three brilliant-cut diamonds. Bracelets and brooches orbited her head, catching the light and shimmering faintly. She strolled serenely towards me, not even noticing her semiprecious satellites. That would've been odd for any other pony, even here in Ponyville, but this was –

“Sparkler!” I said, striding forward to clasp her hooves in my own. “Ponyville’s finest jeweler-in-training. Will you and your lovely date be joining us this evening?”

She glanced anxiously at the clock on the wall before schooling her expression into a polite smile. “Yeah, Roseluck will be late today.”

I sensed that she wasn't in the mood to stand around and chat, so I led her over to a table in the back corner. Nopony else was here yet, so there was no reason for Sparkler to not take a better-lit table near the front – but this was her regular table, and it had been for years, so she sat without complaint in one of the two chairs. All of our tables seated two; they were dinky little things. And speaking of little things...

“I trust your sister is well?” I asked.

Sparkler toyed with one of the trinkets around her head distractedly, spinning it with her magic. “Oh, Dinky’s fine.”

“I'm glad to hear it,” I said. I waited for Sparkler to continue the conversation, but the only sounds in the restaurant were the tick-tock of the clock and the click-clack as Sparkler rolled the pendant back and forth across the table.

Exactly twenty-three tick-tocks later, it was apparent that Sparkler didn’t feel like talking, so I walked away. I knew from long experience that Sparkler wouldn’t order anything until Roseluck arrived, and I also knew that they ordered the same courses every time, so there was no point to waiting around.

“Wait!” Sparkler cried.

I turned.

“Can you... give me some advice?” She kept idly spinning the piece of jewelry, click-clack click-clack, but the movement had become hesitant and pensive.

I walked back. “Of course. What’s the matter?”

“I... I’ve been wondering. I’ve been thinking of doing something... something big. Something that’d change everything, you know?”

I didn’t, and I said so.

“A decision that’d change my entire life. Change it for the better if it works out, and for the worse if it doesn’t. And I wanna know – is that a risk worth taking?”

I thought about it, tick-tock tick-tock, and then I shrugged. “At the risk of sounding trite, it’s better to regret the things you have done than the things you haven’t done, so I’d advise you to take that risk.” I paused. “Unless it’s something stupid. If I just encouraged you to drop your apprenticeship with Lemony Gem and move to Las Pegasus, Derpy would murder me in cold blood when she found out.”

She giggled. “No, it’s nothing like that.”

I smiled back, glad to have lightened her mood. “In that case, I hope that it goes well, whatever it is.”

“Thanks,” she said, and the jewelry floating around her descended into her saddlebags.

The door opened, and Sparkler looked up hopefully, but it wasn’t Roseluck. Instead, four mares walked in: an earth pony, two pegasi, and a unicorn.

I trotted over to greet them. “Good evening, ladies. Whose name was the reservation made under?”

I noticed that the unicorn looked on the verge of a panic attack, and I hastened to add: “I kid, I kid. There's no need to reserve a table to eat here.”

“That wasn’t very nice of you, my little pony,” the earth pony said, and I gulped nervously. Little was right – she was over a head taller than me and was built like a pro hoofball player. Then again, her frown was tinged with amusement, as if she was fighting back laughter, and the other three ponies were openly laughing – even the unicorn chuckled at herself – so I wasn’t too worried.

Tick-tock went the clock.

“Shall I lead you to your tables?” I offered. The four ponies nodded, and I led them to two tables by the window. The earth pony sat with one of the pegasi, and the unicorn sat with the other.

I addressed the earth pony. “So, Miss...”

“Sunshine,” she said. Fittingly, her coat was white, her mane and tail were yellow, and her cutie mark was a stylized sunbeam.

“Alright, Miss Sunshine, what would you like for your first course?”

Sunshine‘s gaze swept over her menu, and she said, “A grilled eggplant panzanella for me, please.”

I nodded and turned to the mare sitting at the other side of the table. She was varying shades of blue and black, and her cutie mark was the same as Sunshine’s, but in grey and silver. She ordered a pumpkin crumble, and declined to introduce herself.

My gaze moved to the other pegasus, who had a pink coat and a yellow-and-purple-streaked mane that went down to her hooves. “I’m Candy Hearts,” she said, pointing to her cutie mark, which was indeed one of those little chalky Hearts and Hooves Day candies. “And I’ll have a chickpea salad with lemon vinaigrette. But could you replace the tomatoes in the salad with pickles? And add some paprika?”

I stared at her in disbelief, and so did the unicorn. The pegasus patiently waited for my response as the clock ticked and tocked away, and it occurred to me that waiting was my job, not hers, so I nodded wordlessly and turned to the unicorn.

The unicorn was purple all over. Mane, coat, tail – even her cutie mark was a purple pentacle. She introduced herself as Dawn Dazzle, and after agonizing for minutes over what to order, eventually decided on the same meal as Sunshine.

I coughed gently to get the attention of all four mares, and said, “Your first courses will be ready within an hour.”

I walked to the kitchen to deliver the orders to the chef.

A half-hour later, Roseluck had arrived, and was already sitting with Sparkler, chatting affectionately. As I approached with a plate-laden serving cart, Sparkler laughed at something Roseluck said, and reached over to ruffle her ruby-red mane. I rapped my hoof on the trolley to announce my presence, and laid their meals – stuffed eggplant with lentils and millet – on the table.

“Would you like some drinks, ladies?” I asked. It was a rhetorical question; they always ordered champagne.

Roseluck met my gaze with her jade-green eyes, and said the next lines of that familiar, weekly performance. “Yeah, two glasses –”

“Actually, Rosy,” Sparkler interjected, “I’m thinking we should get two bottles of champagne.”

Roseluck blinked, as did I. Sparkler had gone off-script.

“But of course,” I said. “Two bottles. Anything else out of the ordinary?”

Sparkler smiled enigmatically, but said nothing.

Tick-tock went the clock.

Roseluck shot her a curious glance, and then turned to me. “No, nothing else.”

I nodded and took my leave of the couple.

I pushed the serving cart to the other four mares – or at least, there used to be four. Only Dawn and Candy were sitting at the table, both gazing out the window at the setting sun. The light covered their coats in streaks of red and orange, like autumn leaves dappling the forest floor. A wedding band gleamed in Candy's wing – tied to a feather, in the pegasus tradition.

Dawn noticed my approach, and turned to meet my inquiring glance. “Oh, you want to know where, uh, Sunshine and her sister went? They went to the...” She trailed off.

“Little fillies’ room. To, ah, powder their noses,” Candy said.

I shrugged, and placed their meals on the table. “Will they be back soon?”

Dawn stared out at twilight while Candy crunched away at her pickles.

Tick-tock. Crunch-crunch.

“Don’t worry,” said Dawn, a bit absent-mindedly. “They’ll be back soon. There’s just something they’ve got to take care of.”

“In that case, I’ll wait until then to get all of your orders for your main courses at once. Would you like some drinks?”

“Cider,” said Dawn. “From Sweet Apple Acres, if possible.”

“Just water for me, please,” said Candy, “but I’d bet Sunshine and, er, Moonshine will want a few bottles of beer when they get back.”

“With a name like Moonshine, I’d have expected kegs,” I said, deadpan.

Candy let out a startled chuckle, Dawn kept staring out the window, and I left to pick up the drinks.

I returned to Sparkler and Roseluck a quarter-hour later, my serving cart full of bottles of social lubricant. They were deep in conversation, so I felt it prudent to leave the bottles on their table and continue on my path.

I found Candy and Dawn still gazing out the window. This time, the skies were inky-black and dotted with stars, and the mares were debating about social responsibility. The odd part wasn’t the topic they had chosen – after all, I’d seen my fair share of philosophical drunks – no, the odd part was that they had chosen it while still sober.

“Don’t you think,” Candy said, “that if I can see that two ponies are going to hurt themselves, I’m obliged to stop them?”

“You can’t see the future; nothing’s set in stone.”

“That’s just semantics. When I see ponies making decisions that they’ll almost certainly regret, or that will almost certainly hurt themselves –”

“But it’s their decision, and I don’t think anypony else should involve themselves in that decision unless they’re asked to,” Dawn replied. She glanced up as I placed bottles of cider and water on their table, and then resumed her argument. “They’re responsible adults, and they have the right to make their own mistakes and learn from them, don’t you think? If you stop ponies from falling, how will they ever learn to get back up?”

“Let’s get somepony else’s opinion on this.” Candy looked up at me. “What do you think?”

I turned to look behind me, in case she was addressing the other two mares in their party of four, and I realised why they were on this topic. Sunshine and Moonshine had somehow already pilfered the beer from my cart, probably while I was serving Sparkler and Roseluck, and were racing to the bottom of their bottles.

“Well,” I said carefully, “I don't believe that you should stop ponies from doing things that you think they’ll regret later. By doing them, they might be better off in the long run. For example, even though I'm certain that Moonshine will pass out halfway through her second bottle, at least she’ll be able to look back on it as a fond memory and bonding experience –”

“What?” Dawn asked. She paused. “Oh, right, yes, those two and their beer.”

Candy, who seemed to have lost interest in the conversation, stared pensively off into the distance – no, not into the distance. She was watching Sparkler and Roseluck.

For a moment the only sounds were the tick-tock of the clock and the frantic chugging at the table behind me.

None of the four mares looked interested in ordering another course, so I returned to the kitchen.

I came back out a half-hour later and trotted to the window. The moon shone down on Moonshine, who was snoring loudly while sprawled on top of her table. Sunshine, meanwhile, had toppled off her chair and was snoozing underneath that table.

I turned to Candy and Dawn, who were chatting amiably. “You’ll be taking these two with you when you leave?” I asked.

Dawn nodded. “Yes. In fact, we might as well just leave right now.”

Candy reached over to Sunshine’s saddlebags, rummaged around inside them, and produced several hooffulls of bits, which Dawn levitated onto the table. I could tell just by looking that they had left a hefty tip – nearly double the actual cost of their meals.

“Will you need help carrying them” – I gestured with a hoof to Sunshine and Moonshine – “out of the restaurant?”

Dawn smiled with the easy self-confidence that comes with being buzzed. “No, we’ll be fine.” Her horn glowed, and both comatose ponies lifted into the air, surrounded by a crimson aura.

“Dawn, are you sure you can carry them? I’ll help, if you want –”

“What was it that you said earlier? Something about not letting ponies make choices that’ll obviously get them hurt? Well, I know that if you try to lift a fully-grown pony, you’re definitely going to hurt yourself, especially in your... current physical condition.”

Candy laughed, but something about the laugh seemed panicked. “What are you trying to say, Dawn?”

Tick-tock went the clock.

“Oh, nothing,” Dawn said, smirking. “You just look tired.”

Dawn led the way out of the restaurant, the bodies of the two unconscious mares trailing behind her. Candy followed them to the door, and shot one last look back over her shoulder at Sparkler and Roseluck, who were in the midst of a heated discussion.

I thought back to Candy’s argument with Dawn, and I wondered which mare had won.


Candy walked out into the Ponyville night, door gently swinging closed behind her, and as I made my way to the kitchen, collecting their bits on my way, I wondered if either mare had won at all.

A half-hour later, I emerged from the kitchen, wheeling my serving cart ahead of me. Only two plates were on it – tonight was the slowest night we’d had in months.

I pulled up to the table in the back corner. Neither mare looked sociable. Sparkler was staring off into the middle distance, jaw clenched. Roseluck’s head was buried in her forelegs. A half-empty bottle of champagne sat between them. The clock ticked and tocked, and something in Roseluck’s hooves went click-clack.

Upset diners usually just wanted to eat and leave, with a minimum of unnecessary social interaction, so I decided to dispense with the banter as I gently placed both plates on the table. “Your cauliflower casseroles, ladies. I trust they are both to your liking?”

“Oh, I don’t think Roseluck will like it,” Sparkler said, her voice cold and tired. “She’ll probably be scared of committing to it. Maybe she’ll say that we're not ready to choose our main courses yet –”

Roseluck looked up, her green eyes bloodshot and as red as her mane. “Stop it! Just – just stop it, okay?” Her voice was ragged with tears.

Tick-tock. Click-clack.

Sparkler scowled, and the scowl grew like a bramble, spiked and ugly, twisting her features out of shape, and I realized that if I didn’t interrupt she’d say something she’d regret, and –

“Okay, Roseluck. I’ll stop. It’s done. It’s over.” She got up and shoved past me.

Roseluck looked up, shocked, and let out something not quite like a strangled gasp and not quite like a sob.

Sparkler slammed the door on her way out.

Roseluck collapsed, crumpling back onto the table like a puppet whose strings had been cut. I hesitated, and then placed a comforting hoof on her shoulders. She didn’t cry; I think she was too burnt out for that.

The only sounds were the tick-tock of the clock and the click-clack as Roseluck rolled something on the table. I looked at it, and saw that it was the same pendant that Sparkler had been rolling when she first arrived. I looked even closer, and saw that it was, in fact, a ring on a chain. Both were made of gold. The chain gleamed with bits of jade and amethyst, and the ring was inlaid with diamonds and rubies. The gemstones sparkled dully in the restaurant’s dim lighting.

Tick-tock. Click-clack.

I stared at the ring as it rolled, and I made a decision. “You aren’t paying for this meal.”

Sniffling, Roseluck looked up at me. “What?”

“I'll cover the bill for you tonight.”

She stared up at me blankly. Her mouth worked for a few seconds, but all she got out was: “Thank you.”

I expected to feel warm inside, like I had done something good that day, but for some reason I just felt weary. The ring kept rolling, and the clock kept ticking.

Tick-tock. Click-clack.

The bottle of champagne was still on the table. I picked it up, placed it on the cart, and wheeled it back to the kitchen. Then I poured myself a glass.

Comments ( 30 )

Pretty interesting. I wonder if it would be appropriate to add an "other" tag to cover the princesses.

Sometimes I take a chance on a story off the front page from an author I haven't heard of before. This time it paid off. I think it was a good idea to have just Twilight and Fluttershy instead of all of the main six, which would have cluttered the story. Fluttershy didn't really talk like Fluttershy, except for the one line where she said "um". I don't think she would say something was "just semantics". And her name confused me at first into thinking she was Pinky. The connection between the Dawn / Candy discussion, and the Roseluck / Sparkler matter, is tenuous. It would be nice to sharpen that up somehow. The waiter vacillates between formal and informal language in a way that might not be deliberate. I don't think ponies would have rings. But overall I really like this. It's reserved "showing not telling" for the most part, just as long as it needs to be, stylistically strong, and it doesn't use any cheap tricks to play on the reader's emotions. I especially like the last three lines. It's difficult to end a story like this, and those three lines do it admirably.

Consider this review courtesy of The Orient Express Explorers.

Thanks for the feedback.
Candy was actually supposed to be Cadance, so I definitely must have messed up that characterization. Those four were supposed to just be having an alicorns' night out.
Dawn and Candy's discussion was (vaguely) about whether or not Cadance should interfere in other ponies' relationships, and was predicated on the (admittedly sketchy) idea that Cadance's status as Princess of Love somehow gave her an understanding into how these relationships were likely to play out.
I wanted the reader to question whether or not she chose to interfere in this one, and if she had, whether she would have thought that they wouldn't have been happy together and encouraged their relationship's breakdown, or whether she would have tried to keep them together. The waiter's inability to keep a consistent tone is entirely unintentional, and I'll try to clean that up.

2828997 Alicorn's night out makes more sense. Don't feel bad about messing up Cadence's character. She has very little. This makes more sense to me now. I still feel like the Twilight/Cadence talk is underdeveloped, but it would be tricky to flesh it out more without upsetting the balance between the story's different parts.

That was genius. Your words carried so much hidden meaning. The night out, pregnancy, engagement, all that. Just... awesome. Consider youself Followed.

Impressive debut. That was pretty good, so have a fav, a thumbs up, and a watch.

2829045 2829140 Thanks!
Okay, I've slipped in a few tidbits to make it a bit more clear that the mare in question is Cadance, to make the waiter's dialogue more formal (as befits the kind of restaurant where a pony would propose to another), and to establish that ponies wear rings. I definitely see that the waiter's narration changes tone a lot, but I think that informality doesn't really suit that character, and that if I tried to go the other way the prose would just end up all archaic and would slow the story's pace.
Once again, thanks very much for the feedback.

Reminds me of sad music

I love the sense of distant fatality. Like standing on a shore, waving your arms and screaming as loud as you can for someone's attention while two ships plow directly into each other. Sure, you can use the justifications that Twilight/Dawn uses about learning lessons, but that seems more like applying a band-aid to one's conscience because of your own frailty. On the other hand, what more could you ask from the waitress? Cadence could have done something, but she wasn't the protagonist, just an incidental.

I didn't mind the informality, but I figured this was one of those upper middle class restaurants where the waiters kiss your ass for tips.

A part of me does agree with the commenter that the princesses could be expanded on, but that would probably require moving on to other incidents and a story that just kept repeating, "the princesses and X (in this case the waiter) are bound by their circumstances and unable to save those around them from misery" over and over again would get tiresome. Since that is, I think, the point in including the princesses in the first place (to show that whether a waitress or royalty you can't save people from themselves).

2829290 Thanks very much for the feedback. I was definitely aiming for that sense of inexorable disaster, and I'm glad that I got it across. Also, it's interesting that you saw Dawn's point of view as the justification, because I think that Candy and the waitress were also merely justifying the ways that they spent their time while the clock ticked away. No matter what any of the characters' decisions were, the clock ticked and the couple broke apart -- no wonder the two oldest characters chose to spend the night drinking themselves into unconsciousness.

But Candy is a demigod of love. If anyone could do anything, it was her, and I got the feeling that she wanted to but allowed herself to be dissuaded.

It does lead into a weird situation. The narrator was blindsided by a dramatic incident out of her control, but Candy saw a disaster on the horizon and did nothing. So the question, I guess, is should she have? Do we say that people have to make mistakes on their own because it is true, or do we say that because we failed to stop them and we want to gloss over that failure?

How far does blame spread? Who is responsible for a wrong?

EEDIOT: Obviously, I'm not asking you to answer the questions. They're impossible questions. It is just the sort of thing your story got me thinking about.

So I read this story when it appeared in "new", which is unusual for me. Usually when I do that, there's some side reason for it, often related to the device I'm using to view fimfiction. Anyway, I'm glad I did. This was an interesting little philosophical one shot with a lot of subtlety in it. I made the connection to Celestia when Sunshine was described as being tall, white, and referred to the narrator as "my little pony"; I also kind of thought that the unicorn might be Twilight when she was described as almost having a panic attack, but oddly, it didn't occur to me that the rest of the guests were princesses in disguise as well. It was only after looking at the comments that I realized what had been staring me in the face. :facehoof: I probably would have caught on quicker if I'd seen the character tags, but due to the device I was viewing this on, I didn't. I have to say, I really like the way the way the princess discussion was handled, and the fact that the story trusts the reader to be perceptive or awake enough to recognize what it's doing.

On the topic of the debate itself, whether or not you can be certain that someone will regret a decision you know they're about to make, it is also important to consider whether you can predict the outcome of the situation if you do choose to intervene, or more simply, whether you are capable of intervening in a way that will turn out better for anyone. From experience, I find that often if I try to interject between two people with the intention of improving understanding or calming a situation, I do little more than earn myself the ire of both parties, and quite possibly make everything worse. Of course, Cadence's magical talent according to the show seems to be designed to resolve exactly this sort of problem, so perhaps that is less of a consideration for her.

I was a little put off by the fact that the story was tagged "sad", and was a <5k word one-shot. I tend to think that "sad" doesn't really work in short fics because it depends on investment in the characters, which takes time to build, in order to create empathy for their loss. However, once again this story manages to, in a subtle way, fill us in on the background of it's couple with very little overt exposition. We can understand how long, and how significant their relationship has been from the narrator commenting on how regular their dinners have become, first when she leads them to their "usual" table, and again when she notes how they've deviated from the "script". I think the atmosphere of the setting also worked in favor of this, with the constant pauses during which time passing is denoted by the ticking of the clock.

So, thanks for the pleasant surprise. You can have a thumbs up. :twilightsmile:

2827258 Good idea, thanks.
2833593 Thank you for the review.
To be honest, I was worried that "my little pony" was a bit too heavy-handed, but it seems like it worked out for the best.
Your view on the debate is very interesting, and I think it ties back to one of the lessons that, in my opinion, most cartoons unwittingly teach: it's okay to tactlessly jump into other people's arguments without fully understanding the issue as long as you have good intentions (because at the end of the day, you'll end up somehow resolving the issue). FiM subverted this with Pinkie's song in Over a Barrel, which is why I thought that Twilight (who had been in Appleloosa for that fiasco) would want to avoid the risk of interfering and messing things up, while Cadance (whose powers basically prevent her from ever having this kind of difficulty) would hold the opposite view.
And once again, thanks, both for the review and for the opportunity to get on my soapbox. :twilightsheepish:

A very interesting little story, I gotta say. :twilightsmile:

I'm not planning on entering the debate on right/wrong of what Cadence can do with her powers, though I always thought that she was more a 'goddess of love' in the sense that she helped out with little fights, like the small spat that we saw in Canterlot Wedding, or world threatening problems, a la the Crystal Empire. I dunno if that even makes sense, but hey, it's just an idea.

I do feel bad for Sparkler and Roseluck, though... :fluttershysad:

There's a surprising degree of depth to it, but the whole alicorn thing soared past my head. I guess I wasn't paying too much attention, but I think you could have made it a lettle more obvious without spilling the beans.

As it stands on its own, sans the angle of insight about the significance of the discussion in relation to Roseluck/Sparkler, it's... interesting, certainly. Well-written and edited, and there's this nice atmosphere to the writing. Kinda like Bartender, a manga I adore greatly for its maturity in selection of themes. Are service providers as involved as this, though? You get away for it being in Ponyville, essentially a small commuity, but just a thought. All in all, well done.

Congratulations, this story has good enough grammar to be included in the Good Grammar Directory, a comprehensive list of grammatically-correct stories on Fimfiction.

2829194 I remembered that my misidentification of Cadence wasn't based on how she acted at all. I noticed all the rest were identified by colors, and then jumped on "pink & yellow" & assumed it was Fluttershy.

I read this story when it popped up a while ago, and gave it a thumbs up.

After spotting a review of it, I reread it. And then again. Took me reading the comments to realize that the party of four weren't just random OCs but actually the princesses, and it made their conversation take on a whole new dimension, with Cadance debating whether or not to intervene in the little fiasco between Roseluck and Sparkler.

It was a cute story told from an interesting perspective.

I don't really read too much fanfics... I don't read much, though I absolutely love to read!! Damn ADHD--but that's besides the point. When I do read one, I try my best to leave something... <.< >.>

I like this. I haven't seen a fanfic written like this before. It reminds me a little of Kawabata. I makes me think, but also want to jump in with renewed inspiration into a fic I'm working on with a similar theme... well, several:twilightblush: I won't bother you with that:twilightoops:

I came into the fic after having read the comments, so I knew more what was going on:rainbowwild: Which begged the question throughout: the alicorns were in disguise, were they? That also makes me wonder why? Though I suppose that could be explained from the conversation that happened between them? But then, are they diviners:rainbowderp:?

I loved the subtlety, but in the end, for me, the story felt like it was reaching for something and stopped short. It left a pungent taste, indeed, but the bottle merely sipped. The ring toyed with, but unoffered. But that was your decision to the reader:raritywink:

You, good sir--pardon my all-over-the-placeness--have created a fantastic piece! The suggestion was perfect; the implications on the edge of slippery. Simple. Direct. Clear and murky at the same time. Art:moustache:

Might I inquire into your writing experience?

Can't wait to see how you improve, too. In writing, as in all art, in life, one never stops improving.

In case we may not talk again, maybe:trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:, and because I love hugs:

Site Blogger

This was interesting. I picked up on the hidden characterizations fairly quickly, so no worries there.

Well done.



Allow me to be your hundredth upthumb.

This is really good. Just the right mix of subtle and poignant while being to-the-point and not wasting anything.

Poor waiter. Nice guys get screwed all the time. :ajsleepy: Brutality of life.
Then again, no use comparing good ol' Earth to Equestria.

Good thing I read some of your comments. The Twilight-Cadence discussion about relationships would have slipped by me otherwise. I mean, I figured out it was those two, but I would have never guessed that Cadence was asking about whether or not she should intervene with her special talent.
I must be getting too old for fanfics. :pinkiesad2:

Author Interviewer

It's a shame you're not still around. We need more stories like this.

With great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes the responsible thing to do is not to exercise that power at all. Sometimes.

An excellent tale of gods among mortals and the ethics of divine intervention. Thank you for it.

It seems like Sunbutt and Moonbutt are lightweights when it comes to beer.

favourited. this was good.

I reviewed this! Okay, you haven't been here for nearly seven years, but hey ho. Anyway, Sparkler and Rose's secret is not exactly hard to work out, but I'm assuming you didn't intend it to be. That and the other plot strand mesh well, and it's a satisfying scene all round. Liked.

With all the identity confusion this fic has concocted I figure it's worth sharing my identity-bound takeaway~

I didn't recognize the name "Sparkler" (and didn't look at the tags) so I got all confused on who this apparent OC is. Brilliantly cut diamonds as a cutie mark? Ah, this must be Rarity! But wait, pink coat? Jeweler? "Sparkler"? I could see jeweler being an alternate path she could have taken and that name is an obvious play on "Twilight Sparkle"... so I concluded this to be an AU where I cannot trust my knowledge of characterization and who is who.

Thus I went in looking for patterns but not relying on them. Moonshine and Sunshine? That sure sounds like a pair of thinly veiled princessy disguises so I marked them off as probably royal sisters but also that it probably wouldn't matter. They are dining as civilians and will be behaving differently anyway, independently of whether this is an AU.

Thus I completely missed the identity of the other two!

As for the fic itself, it definitely gets me thinking. I have opinions on how to handle this, what the various characters ought to have done within the limits of their skill and experience, and was eager to see more of Dawn and Candy's argument and respective philosophies. Perhaps this isn't the place to discuss that, however. The fic's point appears to be more abstracted from the particulars of any situation.

...Nonetheless. Dawn's argument that ponies should be allowed to learn from their mistakes is interesting but kind of non-operative. Should not Candy, then, be allowed to learn from the mistake of interference~? In other words, the argument is asymmetrical.

Furthermore, if Candy has experience on the matter (and we know she does), it seems cruel to me to disallow her to utilize it—to offer her advice and guidance to those who need it. What other use is there for the old guard if they may not bequeath their hard earned wisdom to the new~?

The waiter(ess) sadly must suffer their own prophecy. "It’s better to regret the things you have done than the things you haven’t done."

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