• Member Since 27th Apr, 2012
  • offline last seen Mar 22nd, 2018


Very occasionally, I post pony stories. Twilight Sparkle is the best pony. I drink my tea with milk, no sugar. Those would be the important bits.


Rarity doesn't like dirt, she doesn't like dust. Grime and filth are a big no-no. And when it comes to mud, Rarity is usually seen moving at a full gallop in the opposite direction. So just how did she get herself into that muddy pit during the Sisterhooves Social?

Prereading credits go to GhostOfHeraclitus, Bradel, Toafan, and "Nettle".

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 62 )

So this is an idea that's been bouncing around in my head since pretty much when I first saw the episode. That moment where we find out it was Rarity running the race all along, especially given everything about her about her feelings towards dirt, was undoubtedly a crowning moment of awesome for the series. But as soon as I saw Rarity shake off all that mud, I wondered "what, she actually went ahead and forced herself into that pit? That's so, so moving."

So I really needed something short to get back into writing after a long period of life constantly getting in the way of things, so I yanked the idea off the idea pile, and here we are. As usual, many thanks to my prereaders who were cruel enough to be kind enough to tell me the first draft really sucked. Seriously, it was better I found out sooner rather than later.

I also learned I cannot write in Applejack's voice for toffee. If anything in the above readers like Applejack at all, it was probably down to poking and prodding from my prereaders.

This story is dedicated to everyone who has said Applejack is "to perfect" to learn Very Important Lessons About Friendship.
DeftFunk has done a reading of this story.

That's what friends are for; helping you do what needs to be done that you don't have the willpower to do yourself. And your Applejack voice is perfect. The more you try to make it 'sound' like the show, the more jarring it is to read. (something I have found out the hard way)

A nice little story.

I didn't have any problem with the AJ there, particularly the quiet grumbling about knowing the proper names for prissy fancy-society things.

And I have no trouble believing that Rarity would agonize like this, only to in the end nobly demand that she be cast into the pit in spite of herself. Naturally, only to resolve that with a 'huh, you know, it's not that bad'.

I like it! :twilightsmile:

Very nice. Excellent AJ, excellent Rarity. :raritydespair::ajsmug:

My main problem is that I don't come from America and I have not really spent any time around anyone with the accent. In fact, one of my prereaders told me my initial attempt sounded a bit Yorkshire; rural true, but a few thousand miles off-target. I didn't even know there was a difference between a South Western and a South Eastern accent. Bradel and Toafan really helpful here.

The other issue was word choice. I really had to force myself away from using long, complicated sentences that just didn't read like Applejack and I found that hard.

You got inspired by that episode too, huh?

I covered a similar story near the beginning of my stay here but I took a different route where Rarity actually loves the dirt and the filth but she deliberately wears the mask of style, grace and order like a Canterlot snob not only to sell her goods but herself in order to maintain her business. Sort of a "Methinks she doth protest too much" sort of thing.

2951783 Tim Wilson has some of the best bits on the various strains of 'Southern' spoken 'round here, including one he did on the Bob and Tom show (From the 'I Could Be Wrong' album). It's research. Honest. That's what I tell my wife when I buy his albums or I'm listening to First Baptist Bar and Grill at full volume. :facehoof:

Now this was really cute, I also commend you on your Applejack accent. While its American southern in nature, even Ashleigh Ball said its based on certain famous people and not a regional accent. I'm going to have to read your other stories now!

(Ahem. "Indoor voice", Luna.)
(Thy tale of muddy shenanigans hath amused Us greatly, humorous scribe!)

(Ugh. The things I do for a paycheck around here...) :duck:
(Wait... we're s'posed ta be gettin' paid fer this?) :applejackunsure:
(Oh, be quiet.)

...and Applejack’s supply of “being a good big sister” advice was beginning to run dry

Yeah, there are only so many apple-themed parables one can churn out at any given time. :raritywink:

A fantastic story, not least because of how wonderfully you've burrowed into Applejack's mind.
...that sounded less creepy in my head. Anyway, the narration may be third-person, but it's so distinctly Applenese that it's practically turning orange. A great little tale of two friends trying their best with what they have to work with.

Bravo! A delightful tale and both AJ and Rarity felt very much in character.:raritywink::ajsmug:

You really have a hand for the nice, short and sweet. Excellent work on this.


I actually tried to write a pony with a Yorkshire accent. Didn't come off very well.

Beautiful peace. Thank you.

GhostOfHeraclitus sent me here... :pinkiehappy:

I really enjoyed this story. Short, sweet, and to the point.
Sisterhooves Social was my favourite episode, (as the youngest of 5, I can identify with Sweetie and the little sibling/big sibling dynamic) and I love how you fleshed out and explained Rarity's actions and back story. :heart:

Very enjoyable! "Short, sweet and to the point" is indeed a good description. And funny, too! :raritydespair::ajsmug:

If fanfiction were weed, then I would be so out of it right now I would actually think this analogy (metaphor?) makes sense.

There isn't enough praise I can give to people who recognize the importance of Lesson Zero and include it in their work.

Bravo! That was very short, sweet and had just the right atmosphere.

À la prochaine~

Who would have thought you could make Rarity's normally played for laughs aversion to dirt so seriously.


Just to make things even more confusing, I don't think Applejack's accent is southwestern (Texas drawl) but rather Appalachian (also called a hillbilly accent, but that is a VERY prejudiced term and not really very accurate), which is VERY similar to southwestern.

Yeah, I seriously don't get how some people completely ignore this and say Rarity is a horrible sister.

As for Applejack being too perfect, my early impression of her was actually that she was kind of judgemental and intolerant of differences, so she's definitely learned her share of friendship lessons so far, and I like her much more now than I used to.

Rarity and AJ learn a lot from each other, I think.

Epic Applejack. To actually work lesson zero into the story like that, with a light reference, and... Celestia, that was just right. I was actually kind of impressed by the AJ themed third person narration. I didn't really expect it to make sense, but it ended up being a very unobtrusive way of making her thoughts part of the story. AJ's sudden empathy with Rarity as she's about to throw her into the pit was really quite powerful.

This is really sort of a "deleted scene" for sisterhooves, and though it wouldn't really work in the episode, as it would spoil the surprise, it really makes the resolution more impressive. These events are, of course, implied, but it's still another thing entirely to flesh it out and watch it go down. Thanks for that.

And yet I still dream of writing a long epics someday. Ah well, learn to walk before you run and all that.

It probably helps (or hinders in this case) that I come from about that part of the UK.

That has to be one of the strangest compliments I've ever received. I think I understand what you mean...

I did actually read a few accounts written by people with obsessive compulsive disorder while writing and editing this. I may make expand on this in a blog post sometime, assuming I find the time and motivation to do so because I uncovered a few things that surprised me that don't fit the stereotype.

For example, did you know that sufferers can end up living in squallier because when they start tidying, they end up focusing in on particular thing to tidy and wont stop until it's perfect? Sort of depth-first tidying. With this view, tidying a house seems like an impossibly huge task and they end up not tidying at all. Puts that bit in Loop Before you Sleep where Rarity starts ineffectually tidying a bookcase in a new light, doesn't it?

I couldn't really find a good description of what a compulsion bit of OCD feels like, unfortunately, other than the sufferer feels intense anxiety so I tried my best to convey that. I can only hope I did it justice.

Really though, it's not necessary to know enjoy the fic. Applejack certainly doesn't know exactly what is wrong, but she knows enough to know that something is wrong.

That and Sweetie really did manage to wreck a few of Rarity's things. Rarity getting annoyed is understandable. Rarity is Sweetie's sister, not her mother, and siblings do fight from time to time. Rarity quickly realised she'd gone too far that time and moved to make things up to Sweetie. Honestly, I find Rarity and Sweetie more interesting than AJ and Bloom because they are very different, and it's not always easy for them to get along.

Thank you. I'm particularly happy that Applejack's moment of empathy. It's one of the paragraphs the story was supposed to be building to, so I'm glad it worked for you. As for the narrative mode, mixing character thoughts with my 3rd person limited is something I like to do. I know Bradel has told me he likes to do the opposite, and prefers to always delineate them with italics.

I suppose it doesn't make much sense if you ask the question "who is doing the narration". It's not Applejack because it's not in first person, but who is it? I'm not sure there is actually an answer.

I know someone with a mild form of OCD. I has gotten him fired from jobs, because he is compelled to listen to the managers over fellow employees on how to actually do the work.
The horrid thing about mental disorders is that your mind is your own worst enemy. It is hard for someone without a disorder to comprehend just how f:pinkiesad2:ked up that is. You can't just buck up, or rally against it. Applejack's feelings of incomprehension show this very well. She doesn't understand it. At all. But she is a good enough friend to support Rarity, regardless.


Right, that's exactly why every time I see someone say that Rarity treats Sweetie like crap, it makes me want to rant at them about how absurd that is. So they got in an argument once after Sweetie repeatedly wrecked hours of work, and Rarity doesn't always have time to play with her as much as Sweetie would like. That's really so terrible? The worst thing Rarity ever did was make her pull all that luggage, and even that was probably because Sweetie Belle offered, since Rarity has been perfectly willing to carry her share of items when similar situations came up before. Anyone who thinks that's what makes for a bad older sister obviously never had one of their own.

Seriously, it would have been amazing if my sister had been even half as nice as Rarity when we were younger. My sister went out of her way to deride and harass me for her own amusement, and it wasn't until her mid 20s that I could even speak to her and have a chance to receive something other than snide remarks or general condescension and hostility in return. I got in the habit of avoiding her as much as I possibly could just about the entire time we were growing up. So spending an entire day trying to make Sweetie Belle happy? Rarity's the nicest older sister in the world compared to mine.

And to jump in on your other conversation, I'd say OCD feels like having your brain locked in a vice that just won't let go, and the only way you can loosen it a little is to perform tasks that you know are so utterly pointless that the action itself is rather aggravating in a lesser-of-two-evils sort of way. And then because such behaviors don't make sense to the people around you, many of them find it funny or even get personally offended by your aberrations, so they make it their business to confront or deliberately antagonize you about it. So then the whole thing becomes instilled with a sense of shame that just compounds the entire problem by making you feel like you absolutely can't let anyone see, at its very worst resulting in a feeling of perpetual doubt that pervades your entire sense of self, up to the point where practically every choice carries with it a sense of wrongness and excessive self-monitoring. And that utterly overwhelmed feeling pops up way too easily, so even everyday tasks can become a mentally exhausting struggle where sometimes it's easier to just to not bother, even if that means not eating anything for a day or two, or such. Eventually you just kinda get used to it enough to work around it and push it to the back of your mind in most situations, as things become habitual enough to not take as much focus anymore, and it just sorta becomes your new normal that hopefully doesn't interfere with too many things. So then it's not really so bad at that point, things take longer than they should, and that mild nagging feeling of uncertainty and tension needs something unusual to flare up with intensity again.

Rarity's "I just can't" moment was fairly accurate, depending on the situation. Although usually it's more "I can force myself, but I'm going to feel tense as hell throughout, with lingering feelings of unease afterward, until I do anything I can to make the situation 'right' again." But Applejack actually taking her seriously despite not understanding? That almost never happens in ordinary real-life interactions, unless it's someone particularly considerate whom you've had a very frank discussion with. The TV show Monk was extremely unrealistic in how accommodating people were, and like I said before, older sisters find it great fun to deliberately provoke those anxieties.

Excellent tale. Loved it.
Applejack's voice is really hard to get right. I thought you did very well. We could do with someone writing a long blog post discussing the best way to do it.

Now because you had me pre-reading this, I feel I lost a lot of ability to properly comment on it. Or maybe not so much lost, as missed the chance? Anyways, this shows the same overall polish and dedication as everything else you've published, and having said that I'm just going to descend into rambling.

Since I had opportuity to pre-read this, I'm going to say that I feel "biting her verbs" is slightly more powerful than the version including an additional "at". I'm also going to say that I feel that's overly-pedantic of me and not actually worth changing.

This one is if I'm right, however:

so not thin

I suspect that's supposed to be "not so thin".

Oh, and apparently I'm having trouble shutting the overly pedantic part of my brain off today... But I felt this line:

She still didn’t understand, but that didn’t make it not true either.

had more power when it was its own paragraph.

Since I was complaining about the Princess Celestia reference in pre-reading, I think you handled the clue-in very well. Of course, I already had the reveal, so I'm no longer a very good judge of that.

You're thanking me for help with Applejack accent? Oh, no. I may be rural, but I'm rural US northeast, nowhere close to even being in the same vicinity as Applejack. Any "help" you got from me was probably counter-productive.

The best I can claim to offer in that regard is complaining when I don't think something reads cleanly, and I think that only the once.

I ask because we're working together on something else -- well, actually I won't get into "well" -- but do you speak from personal experience regarding OCD? (PM is probably the better response channel for this.)

I'm not sure what was with Rarity is Sleepless in Ponyville, she really seemed like a bit of a caricature of herself. I don't know if the writers decided they'd just play everything up for comic effect, but the result didn't really feel like Rarity. Honestly, where were they no good Rarity episodes in season 3? :raritycry:

Thank you for explaining what OCD feels like. I have a few friends who have been affected by mental illness and I've been through bad depression, so being sympathetic to people going through similar things is something I try my best to do. I've made mistakes in the past, mostly because back then I had no idea what was wrong with someone, and even if I had done, I wouldn't have had a clue what to do. I guess that's one reason I wrote this, as a sort of Aesop story. I ain't gunna lie, my main reason was because who wouldn't want to write about cute friendship moments between pony friends? But the Aesop was a reason too.

Humm... I wonder if I should have actually have ended with an actual letter to Princess Celestia? I know it's cliché in MLP fanfiction these days, but here it might actually be appropriate.

I'll have the "so not thin" error fixed soon. I'm on the fence on the biting of verbs, so I'll remove the "at" on the principle that fewer words are snappier. As for "She still didn’t understand, but that didn’t make it not true either"... I was going to say I like it where it is, but now I've tried reading it both ways... ahhhrr! Now I can't decide which I like better. :raritydespair:

As for the accent, I do remember you chiming in a few times with pointers, so as far as I'm concerned, you get credit. I, on the other hand, ended up with this in the first draft:

so Applejack, being the helpful pony she was, had staup [sic] up late last night with the uncharacteristically distraught unicorn devising a workable means for her to make it up to Sweetie.

—Middle Management Applejack

I mean, really, "devising a workable means"?


Yeah, Sleepless in Ponyville was one of my favorite episodes of season three, but the way Rarity acted in it was definitely the big weak point. Of course season three in general had a bit too much exaggerating Rarity's more negative traits for the sake of comedy, and forgetting to show her actual depth.

Although it is interesting how well she and AJ were getting along. They had some pretty cute moments together in season three that show them understanding each other better than they used to.

A friendship report could easily fit pretty well here, but it works either way. It's certainly the sort of story where it would be appropriate, though, especially since the episode where this took place was early after Celestia said they should all write letters to her. Although, didn't Sisterhooves Social already have a report? I think it was by Sweetie and Rarity, though, so maybe Applejack wrote one too, about her side of the situation.

It does, it went:

Dear Princess Celestia,

Having a sister is just about the bestest thing in the world. But it sure isn't the easiest.[-Sweetie]

I agree that being sisters is a wonderful thing, but it takes teamwork. Sometimes it's about compromising. Sometimes it's about accepting each others' differences. But mostly, it's about having fun together. Even if it means getting your hooves a [-Rariy] medium amount of dirty, not too little, not too much, just right. [-Spike's suggestion]

-Rarity and Sweetie Bell

I made sure to rewatch the episode, and when I got to that bit, it really struck me who they were writing that too. "Having a sister is just about the bestest thing in the world". I was very tempted to write a little coda where Celestia starts reading and has to drop the letter and go have a little cry. I mean, Luna's back, but still...

Twilight never wrote her letters about having a sister.


Ah, yes, I remember also thinking about how that one was likely more personal for Celestia than most of the letters she receives.

Perhaps not sisters, but maybe Twilight should have written a letter at some point about "Hey, don't I have a brother somewhere? What ever happened to that guy anyway?"

Anyway, now that I think about it, that's one thing I haven't seen before-- a 2nd friendship report from a different perspective of a situation that already had one letter. Rarity was so focused on Sweetie Belle, and thinking of Applejack as already having a better relationship with her own sister, I bet it wouldn't even occur to Rarity that she could have inadvertently helped AJ learn a friendship lesson of her own in the process.

Maybe Celestia has little groupings of multiple friendship reports on the same situation, and likes to compare them to each other as examples of how each individual can take away something different from the same event.

Heh, and maybe after season three's finale, Twilight's friends will start sending friendship reports to her instead of Celestia.

Oh, now that might be an idea for a fic, actually! You have first dips of course, as it's your idea.

What makes me think that particular letter might get to her is that it would completely unexpected. Twilight has a brother and she probably talks about him sometimes (I assume? Right?), and she no doubt deals with ponies who have siblings from time to time. But that letter is out of the blue. She has no time to put up any mental armour. She picks it up, expecting to read about some usual Ponyville shenanigans straight away and it's: "Dear Princess Celestia, having a sister is just about the bestest thing in the world."


Hmm, my immediate reaction whenever someone says that is to just say that the odds of me doing anything with the idea are pretty much nil, so you can use it, if you like it. I've tried writing stories a few times, and just can't seem to get anywhere.

However, I started pondering the concept a little more this time, and found myself hemming and hawing for the last day, trying to figure out if I actually could use the idea myself. I can think of a few ways it could start, but beyond that, I don't really know, other than one or two vague possibilities. Although, it could even potentially work in combination with one of those other story ideas I didn't know what to do with. Random title idea: "How Do You Princess?"

So, rather than simply say you can have it, then leave it at that, this time I'm going to say how about you send me a PM if you think you really want to use the idea, and come up with a solid concept for how to do it. So my "go ahead" will depend on knowing that you actually intend to write it, rather than that you hypothetically might some time in the future, since that's pretty much where I am with it myself.

Seven paragraphs in and I can already tell that you've nailed AJ's voice so well that you've got my like and fave. Maybe a watch, too—let me see what else you've got. I'd say there's a pretty damn good chance, though.

I must admit that it would just be thrown on the idea pile to be retrieved at some later date, if at all. The thing I want/should to tackle at the moment is stories of about 20-30k length, because I'm not good at plotting things out in advance and it's good practice.

So I recommend you have a go especially as a story-by-letters (or to use a fancy word I recently learned, an "epistolary story") would probably make for a very good beginner project. You can squeeze an awful lot of story and plot into a low word count with a letter based format, and you'll be writing in a manner closer to the way you do in real life. The only two things you have to worry about is the character voices and what actually happens.

Feel free to PM me or otherwise let me know if you do decide to go ahead; I wouldn't mind seeing what you come up with.

Pointers? :rainbowhuh: As I recall, all I did was complain about an 'r' I didn't like. I mean, it's probably still possible that I could go check, but why?

Dude. That's, let me pull out my "important caps" voice, that's Quite A Thought. I like that thought. I'm going to have to toy with that.

As always, I'm amazed by your talents Mr. Tea.

This feels like "The Wrong Fork 2.0" – Another very small scene, but excellently dealt with, with great dominion over each character, and what make them tick. Loved it with every fiber of my being.

This reminds me of Aragorn and Gimli.

Fairly deep, and not just the mud.
Rarity can't bring herself to enter a pit filled with mud, but once she is fully saturated with it and nothing horrible has happened, she is able to accept it to some degree. Edgy stuff, there.
I once forced myself to deal with a fear of heights... You don't need to know the details, I guess, but this story seems to carry a familiar ...theme. In the end, it is impossible to be terrified and bored at the same time, and sooner or later, boredom always wins. :applejackunsure:

Heh, I somehow knew it would involve Applejack somehow tossing Rarity into the mud pit. Doesn't make when it actually happened any less amusing. Reminded me a bit of Gimli's "toss me" moment.
It was also especially heartwarming. As you say, that Rarity would be willing to run the race muddied for Sweetie Belle, but more so in this story because despite even when her drive abandons her at the edge of the mud pit, she still finds a way to do it.

Anyway, save a few typos here and there, story's well written. I like.

Oh, and your Applejack is fine. I am so glad you did not replace every "I" with "Ah". You have no idea how annoying I find it.

Funny and a little sweet. Applejack remembering lessons learned from Twilight's freak out, and Rarity being thrown in the pit are the 2 best things in this story.

This is what I imagined happening in SS with Rarity and AJ. :twilightsmile:

Ugh...I do have to agree that basically being in a mud pit is kinda nasty. > ___ <

Wow. Really solid story I just found here. :ajsmug::raritywink: Easily thumbed. :moustache:

Author Interviewer

The best AJ/Rarity interaction I've seen outside of shipping. :D

Sometimes being willfully ignorant about certain topics was hard work.

I probably enjoyed that line far more than I should have...

Thanks for writing! :ajsmug:

I did a reading of this story if you are interested.

I listened to DeftFunk's reading, and I thought he did a great job with it. I always thought the dynamic between these two was one of the most interesting in the show.

Keep up the good work!

Also, your username is a Hitchhiker's Guide reference, amirite?

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