• Member Since 11th Oct, 2011
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago


I'm older than your average brony, but then I've always enjoyed cartoons. I'm an experienced reviewer, EqD pre-reader, and occasional author.


In a yard, all alone, a pony whiles away the time caring for the lawn and the roses. Roseluck can understand that, to a point. And she's determined to help.

First-place winner in the /fic/ write-off "Lost in Translation."

Featured on Equestria Daily!

And now featured by the Royal Canterlot Library!

Reading by obabscribbler, Present Perfect, Goombasa, and Reverb Brony.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 101 )

It seems that first place award was well-deserved. This seriously sent chills up my spine. :pinkiecrazy:

God damn. Sorry I can't think of anything more eloquent to say but wow that was...beautiful, I guess. I'm honestly lost for words to convey how I feel about this story. It was so sad and even a little sweet in a grim kind of way.

Wow, that was quite a read. The story is, of course, quite chilling, and I thought that Two's thoughts seemed very realistic for an individual who has been raised in such a harsh environment. His warped narration of events makes very good usage of the Unreliable Narrator device and creates a great deal of interest in the story as a whole. I suppose they tale could have been told from Roseluck's perspective, but choosing to focus on Two's point of view makes it all the more fascinating and disturbing. You have hit the nail on the head, metaphorically speaking. One of my favorite details is when Two gets his cutie mark. In our real world, neglect and other forms of child abuse leave permanent mental alterations to the children that develop under their influence. In Equestria, where the personality and defining traits of a pony are emblazoned on their hindquarters for all to see, it seems logical that such marks of neglect would show themselves as a cutie mark. Two finally gets the opportunity to express himself and his desires, and in the end the only thing that makes him special is his desire for isolation and control, symbolized by a square of grass sectioned off from everything else. He so permanently scarred by his mother's abusive care that his very definition of freedom is segregation.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the novel, "We Have Always Lived in the Castle." by Shirley Jackson. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. The novel describes another family who lives isolated from the rest of the world in an old ancestral home. The youngest, a girl who goes by the name of Merricat, poisoned the rest of her family years ago and now lives alone with only her submissive older sister and weak uncle. They have lived for many years, all on their own on their property, and the book goes on to detail what happens when outside forces make their way into the controlled environment the family has set up around themselves.

Anyways, a great read that reminds me of your short story in theme. And congratulations to you on a well-written story.
Just always remember that
Ann lies.

:trixieshiftleft:The Other One. :trixieshiftright:

Also of note: That screen cap of Roseluck biting the flower is quite hilarious for some reason, probably in context to the serious nature of this story. Brilliant choice, it somehow makes the read more unnerving in hindsight.

The Other One.

This almost reminds me of Yomi's storyin Black Rock Shooter. The dollhouse is Mother, I guess. Carry on, my wayward son.

This was facinating.

Man, this was great. It's truly haunting, and an excellent portrait of the normalization of abuse in the mind of its victims. I almost find it hard to believe it's a MLP fanfiction. Change it up to remove some of the references, and you have an amazing short story.


Omg! u r rigth, ive havent noticed!

This was awesome. It illustrates in a realistic and simple way the whole situation.
Sorry for not showing my actual enthusiasm, its kinda late


Wow, that dark tag sure is warranted. :pinkiecrazy:

Poor Rose, she was just trying to help and now she has a crazed stalker.

Rose will be just fine.:twilightsmile:

He's not getting out of there


Which is sad for completely different reasons. Even if the institution will at least take better care of Two than his so called mother.

This made Equestria Daily?! I give up with you people

At first I was all :pinkiegasp:

Then I was :pinkiesad2:

Now I'm just :trixieshiftright:

Well written, keep up the good work.

Hitting. The nail ont he head

I think this story might just haunt my dreams... I'm not sure whether to thank you for it or to curse you for it. I have to go think now.


Write more like this.

This was brilliant. A jerkish part of me wants to go and yell "Sequel!", but I'm not the kind of person who says things like that.

But it really is a nice story..... maybe you should write a sequel..... if that's okay with you... :fluttershysad:

What about it makes you feel like it's unsuitable for Equestria Daily?

I'm impressed. Not only did you dive right into the very touchy subject of child abuse, you were also able to write it from the perspective we don't always get to see through. Very well written, this is going into my "reread later" for sure!

Indoctrination at its...worst? Best?
Idk, good read.


I really liked this story. No wonder it got featured on EQD

Yikes, that was creepy. About half way through I would have been yelling at my screen for Rose to stay away from him if I hadn't been reading this in public.

This is going in my favorites. I read this from start to finished and was enthralled the whole time. The whole thing was brilliant but I audibly gasped during the cutie mark conversation. You really made me consider the specifics of cutie marks and revised my head cannon a bit. I love it when authors do that! Amazing job!

A really, really good story!

I just wonder, though... why are there no therapists in Equestria? I know there's a doctor who encourages Two to write these letters, but that's not behavior therapy, and it's nowhere near the level of counseling a victim of such severe child abuse needs.

I know the people in charge of such things go by many names, and that due to doctor-patient confidentiality and a host of other red tape the work they do is secret. But my mom is one; I've grown up knowing her "students." Now she works in the public school system, so the children she works with are at least capable of functioning in an ordinary classroom, but I remember when she used to work in the foster care system. She worked at a "group home."

Two is probably in one of these group homes now, assuming the Equestrian system works like the U.S. one. I'm just not sure why, with his history, he isn't seeing someone better qualified. With the whole letter trick, the doctor's doing the psychiatric equivalent of slapping a band-aid and some ice on a compound fracture.


Yeah, I was wondering that too. There's a mention of a doctor in the foster home section, but he should have been assigned a therapist immediately with his issues. At the end he seems to have been institutionalized with incompetents running the place.

Thank goodness.
The part about him wanting to keep her on a chain because he loved her was just freaky.
Though, luckily, he doesn't understand enough about real Equestrian society to be a competent criminal/assailant, either.

There are two ways you could take this. First, Two is obviously an unreliable narrator. He may not be accurately portraying what the doctor does to help him. And second, the bulk of Equestrian technology places it relative to a time in our own history when we really didn't understand mental health. They may be treating him the best way they know.


I'll give you unreliable narrator after he gets taken, but Equestrian tech is so anachronistic that you can't place it in any period in our history. Think about it, we've seen arcade machines, X-rays, that giant doggy blow-dryer, Twilight's computer; just because they don't have things they don't need doesn't meant they don't have any tech.

That's just my point. Their tech level is all over the place. You can't assume they will or won't have any specific thing, so it's not unreasonable that they might not understand mental health well.


Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

I don't see that there's any disagreement. We've both said that the tech level is very inconsistent. They have some fairly modern electronic devices, but their transportation is 1940s vintage at best and their farming techniques are 19th century. Absent a specific declaration from canon as to whether something exists or not, authors are pretty free to make a call, and I don't know how anyone can say either choice would be wrong.

Well, as to the first, why would he lie? What reason does he have to skew what the doctor's treatment is?

The second option is infinitely more likely, but also much, much sadder. Seriously, so sad. He's never getting out of that grass patch.

I guess that's why this story stuck with me.

Oh, I'm not necessarily saying he'd be lying. Maybe he just doesn't understand, and he can only give us his best idea of what's going on.

I don't know... his whole problem in the first place wasn't a lack of understanding, but a skewed perspective of what normal is. Normal in this case being "not horribly abusive." Though he is an unreliable narrator when it comes to social cues and other ponies' motivations, I doubt he's misinterpreting his doctor's treatment. After all, it's the only thing he really pays attention to besides his patch of grass.

I've got a couple issues with this story I think are worth mentioning. For me, the hook was a bit weak. There was some staging confusion and some unnecessarily vague prose, and it prevented the story from sucking me in. If I didn't have pre-existing reason to want to continue and see it through, that might have driven me away (which would have been unfortunate).

Also, I think you probably could have done some foreshadowing on the manacle. Now maybe it was there and I just missed it, but I felt like you did a very good job running a number of other themes through the piece. Just one or possibly two out of place but easily ignored mentions of clanking or soreness in the leg would have made the reveal there feel more natural and less like you were conveniently reinventing the scenario to make it go where you wanted. 'course, you may have already done this and I just happened to miss it, in which case my bad.

Those things aside, this is an excellent piece of work and I'm very glad it was brought to my attention. Having just tried working with symbols for the first time, I've got a lot more appreciation for the use of color in this piece than I would have a couple weeks ago, and I like that you keep a lot of the story background unexplored instead of wrapping everything up in a nice, tidy bow. And I found it very immersive, and very efficient, after getting past that first section.

This'll be going in my favorites.

Fair point on the manacle. I deliberately avoided having it make any sound before for two reasons. First, I wanted it to be a complete surprise, and second, with Two as the narrator, it doesn't even bear mentioning to him, since he's used to it. But having him complain about his ankle once or twice is the kind of thing that wouldn't stand out at first, but would make sense with the later context. That'd work.

For the hook, well... In the write-off where this first appeared, one judge said it was great as is. Another said the beginning dragged, but he enjoyed it once it got going. And a third said the beginning was great, but the ending dragged. So, not gonna please everyone, I guess. I've long since called that a wash.

I tend to agree about any sort of clanking being too weird to slip past reader notice, but I do think it's worth mentioning the one thing that gives me a bit of pause in that agreement.

I don't know if you've ever read Robert Jordan's fantasy series "The Wheel of Time", but (littered among many other things) it involves assassins that appear so bland and uninteresting that they can go undetected almost anywhere. One of the things I always found rather impressive in his writing was that he'd always tell you precisely when they showed up in a scene. He'd slip a quick line of description into the middle of an argument, or some sort of event, or even a stack of other more relevant description. Then, a few paragraphs or pages later, the assassins would actually try to kill someone. And it was always a shock when they showed up—or at least I always found it to be such. You could go back and see exactly where they made their appearance, but if you were reading along and decently immersed, you'd be as oblivious to them as the characters were.

So my point being, were one to do some sort of manacle foreshadowing thing (incidentally, the bracket tag is "spoiler"), it'd certainly be less obtrusive to go with a pain cue rather than a sound cue, but when you've got your reader immersed enough, you can do some pretty wild things and still have them fly. And frankly, I found this story very immersive once I got past that first section—though it sounds like that was a bit of a YMMV thing.

Damn, dude. You have a way with getting into a character's head. Another for the favorites pile.

Just so you know, I did go back and add a couple of instances where he complains about his ankle hurting.

uhhh #44 · Mar 29th, 2014 · · 1 ·

Much like everyone else says, a very chilling story. Two's personality is oddly inspiring in some way, mostly because you made his personality simple to understand, yet very intricate and explorable by nature. It's no wonder now why the site mods had a "vigorous argument" over whether or not to feature this on FIMficiton.

The doctor actually encourages me to write them, but he won’t give me anything sharp like a pencil—just a charcoal stick. It tastes awful.

Wonderful story. Thank you.

...I feel your pain there, Two.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go feed the ground. :pinkiecrazy:

No offense to the staff over at EqD, but they tend to feature show-quality (subjective term) slice-of-life stories, or deep psychological character studies (like this story).

I know I'll never [be able to] write the type of stuff they feature, but that's fine. I'm not here to impress or cater to anyone's desires.

4150267 all our pretty songs

4154718 but 'e, don' know what it means,

Personally, I'm glad you did. I read In-Bloom just today, and I had no idea that those mentions were made after the fact. In fact, I was rather impressed with it... I had been wondering what his mother could have done to him so that his foreleg still had a sore spot, potentially ages after the rosebush incident.

This... is a very sad story. Not only because of the abuses Two suffered, but also because of how things ended up with Roseluck. I had no illusions of the two having a happy ending together... but the truth still hurt when push came to shove.

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