• Member Since 25th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen January 3rd

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Deft Hoof isn't the strongest earth pony around. He's definitely not the biggest. What he is is one of the greatest thieves in Equestria. Possibly the whole world. Now, his employer has decided he needs a vacation, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

How's a thief supposed to get by in a town like Ponyville, anyway?

Multiple Image Sources:
Applejack - Shocked Applejack by MyLittlePinkieDash
Sweet Apple Acres - Sweet Apple Acres by GameGuy001
Orange Meringue and Final Image - by SUBJECT-241

Chapters (14)
Comments ( 203 )

First Post Author Notes:
For purposes of this story, and for having Deft tease Shining Armor, we shall assume that there is a pony version of Monty Python's Flying Circus doing stage shows all across Equestria. Or something. Because I couldn't resist that Holy Grail reference.

581785 We're Knights of the Round Stable!
We prance when ere we're able!
We do routines and chorus scenes
With hoofwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Canterlot,
We eat sham and jam and cram a lot.
We're Knights of the Round Stable,
Our shows are formidable,
But many times, we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're Opera mad in Canterlot,
We sing from the diaphragm
a looooooot.
In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable,
Between our quests we sequin vests,
And impersonate Wark Fable.
It's a busy life in Canterlot,
I have to pull the pram a lot.

There we go! One ponified Grail song! :pinkiecrazy:

By the nine gods, I canNOT wait for an update! I know, I know... but still! This promises to be extremely good! XD My only question... who was the overseer during the 1000 years Luna was banished to the moon? Celestia?

581785
WHY ARE THEY USING COCONUTS :raritydespair:

Actually, giving this a second read made me think of something. Deft seems to mr to be a Robin Hoof.

On an unrelated topic. A friend of mine, Flame-LoneWolf, is writing a fic about an assassin- or hitclot- who settles in Ponyville. I'd kinda like to do a cameo at some point with Defty, and maybe you can do the same with Storm Scratch or Red (Crimson)? The story is called Remorse: Color of Crimson. Just tell me if you'd be okay with us using Deft, okay? I can already think of three scenes he'd be good in. XD

583504
Which brings us back to that line in Fastest Fall: "No, on second thought, let's not go to Canterlot. It is a silly place."
584096
Indeed, Princess Celestia maintained the post in her sister's stead because it's just so darn useful. I'd venture to say Deft gets almost as much of his personality from her as he does from his father. (More on that in a couple of chapters.)
584101
To simulate the sound of...

Oh.

Um...
Because coconut is a funny word to say it. Give it a try! Coconut coconut coconut coconut coconut coconut coconut coconut! :pinkiehappy:
584516
I like fics that cross-reference each other, so I don't see why not. (More on that next chapter! :trollestia:) I'd like to go over any references before submission, though, if only to keep his personality intact (if that's the appropriate word).

First Post Author Notes:
I want to give a huge thank you to Sketchy Sounds for not only letting me borrow Salad Sandwich (Sally) from Sketchy Salad Symphony, but helping me with her dialogue and suggesting her last line and the further use of Freeze Pop.

Movie References: I can't seem to stop making these. There's a Beatles reference and a rather roundabout one to The Warriors in here. I'll go ahead and tell you the latter one: The Fillyfoolers are partly inspired by the Tin Lizzies gang. Instead of being lesbians and having a punny name that hints at it, they're fillies and have a name that means lesbian. Do they know what it means? As Deft says, probably.

Stealing the Moon: In point of fact, I dropped a couple of references to a shelved story idea in Chapter 1, regarding what Deft got up to while Shiny was out of town on his honeymoon, and that inspired this tradition. In that story, Shiny set out to prove to a blowhard pegasus guard that no, he was not better Captain material than Shining Armor, by thoroughly embarrassing the Guard and "kidnapping" Princess Luna. I may have Deft tell that story later, but it was having flow problems, so I cut it in favor of Shiny's return to Canterlot.

Foalnapper!: Yeah, this isn't the last we've heard about the Smarty Pants Incident. Remember where Defty's going tomorrow afternoon.

Kissing the Dog: I got the pickpocket slang (except for "duster") from one of Spider Robinson's Callahan books. Another term I'm rather proud of creating is "thunderhead" as a pegasus-specific insult. As Deft put it in the discarded chapter, it's the pegasus pony equivalent of "all whinny and no kick." The unicorn equivalent is "fizzler" or "all flash and no pow."

581785
Pony Python's Pegacircus!
Yes, I'm replying to myself because I only just thought of that.

585744 Oh sweet Luna! This is awesome! And I'll have to ask Flame where he'd like Deft to appear, but our next chapter's a bar scene, and the LT of the Celestial Army is in there. His name is Storm Scratch, and he's made one snide comment about Shiny already. It'd be funny to see him and Deft get to talking, only to find Defty holding his coin purse and tsking. "What's this? Seems you already been cleaned out there, Sprinkles. I'll just slip a bit in here, you don't mind?" Then Storm only realizes when he leaves. It might also be funny to bring up everypony's favorite doll! :pinkiecrazy::trollestia:

586119
Oooh, yeah, insulting Shining Armor in front of Deft is like holding up a big flashing neon arrow that says "MARK" on it, then jumping up and down saying "I'm an idiot! Look at me! Look!"

587304 Storm is an ass (no offence to any donkeys in the audience), and he's pretty much Celestia's righthoof colt. He commands the elite of the elite. He doesn't even wear celestial bronze armor. Just a coat announcing his rank. He worked to get to the top, from a slum of an orphanage. He finds Shiny's dreams and goals simple and stupid. Storm is just there to get rid of the Company; a big time group of assassins, under the control of Boss. Red, one of the best in the bitter business, is Storm's best friend/most hated rival. Storm is always trying to best Red, but they keep coming to a draw. Storm looks out for one pony. His sister, Vinyl "Vinny" Scratch. He hates his parents, because they threw them out in the street because they weren't perfect enough for them. Vinyl still tries to maintain a semblance of reason and rationale. But, yes. He has a certain amount of scorn reserved for Shiny. Ironic since he also strung Twilight along for a while before passing her brother in rank. He broke her heart and forgot about her. So, to say that there's bad blood between them is like saying that Twilight is lavender.

585744
Speaking of Twili, she does know about the whole 'Agent on a mission from the Princess, so don't blow his cover' thing, right? Shining didn't neglect to send her a letter about that like he did with the wedding, did he?

First Post Author's Notes:
Long chapter is long. I would have cut it after the little segue where Shorty returns to Lost Town, but I promised myself I would end this chapter the way it ends. I tried to ensure it would be an entertaining enough read to justify the length. Now for the comments on the actual content of the chapter!

And thus hostilities between the Solar Empire and the New Lunar Republic began, a cold war that would last for... at least a week of very messy dinners. I loved writing this. It was nice to get from the sociopolitical stuff back to the wackiness that is Deft Hoof having fun. Hopefully, the early conversation about the Oath answers the prior question about whether or not Twiley knows about Deft's status. Also, I wonder who could possibly have gotten the drop on an experienced burglar like Defty? :trollestia:

Semantics Schmemantics: "At full tilt" is derived from a jousting term referring to the position of the rider when his (or her) mount is galloping full speed, so it's kind of weird for a pony to be saying it. But it beats "full throttle" which kind of requires internal combustion engines in order to make sense, and as schizo-tech as Equestria is, I don't recall ever seeing an automobile. (I could be wrong.) Also, I feel the need to defend my use of the made-up term "pickpacking". While ponies do occasionally wear clothing, with pockets even, they mostly carry things around in saddlebags, and I felt the terminology would reflect that difference in some way.

References: Well, let's see... there's a Meat Loaf reference in there. More accurately, it's a Jim Steinman reference, to one of the spoken word tracks on Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell: "Wasted Youth", the intro to "Everything Louder than Everything Else". Which is absolutely hilarious, IMO, as are all of Jim's spoken word sketches on that album.

Bright Eyes is, of course, the pre-fandom nickname for the pony now known as Ditzy Doo or Derpy Hooves. In this case, it'd be a blank-flank, probably non-derped Derpy, serving as Wendy to Shanks' Peter Pan.

The Lost Colts are a mix of the original Lost Boys from J. M. Barrie's book, the later ones from Hook, and, most importantly, the Baker Street Irregulars from the Sherlock Holmes books.

And the New Lunar Republic vs. Solar Empire thing makes its way to Equestria in exactly the sort of harmless, all-in-fun way it uses here on the internet. No, it will not escalate. Well, beyond maybe a few pranks.

Short chapter is short! :applecry:

Bah, it was still great! :rainbowkiss:

I'm lurvin dis! :yay::pinkiehappy:

595545
It's as long as the other two put together...

596797 Uh-huh. I read Great Expectations in like, 4th grade. It's a 12th grade reading level. I like my books like women like my cock. Long and hard. :trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia:

596868
Heh... I like to take my time, spread out the pleasure. It keeps them coming back for OH MY CELESTIA THIS STORY IS RATED E! ABORT ABORT NO INNUENDO GOING ON NOTHING TO SEE HERE!

597225
I now love you. :pinkiesmile:
Will you be my sepical smoeopny? :derpytongue2:

If not, then... to the MOON WITH YOU!!!

[Realizes I can't send you to the moon]

.... Aww, here. Have Derpy being cute.

4.bp.blogspot.com/-3lsOSe-U17k/T3gf4t55CXI/AAAAAAAAkr0/YQgu_1jPBvo/s1600/157289+-+animated+cursor+derpy_hooves.gif

First! Post Author Notes:
So, did you see it? Or did your brain trick you?

This chapter starts off establishing that the italicized, present-tense sections are outside of Deft Hoof's knowledge of events. It's important that readers understand what's happening, even if Deft is kept in the dark. Usually, they'll be about Short Shanks (named for his manecut, if I wasn't clear earlier. He doesn't shank ponies.) but not always directly.

Meanie: Originally, Deft wasn't going to be related to "Meanie" as well as A.J., but the combination of his personality and the real name I decided on sort of forced it. After all, what is Orange Meringue if not a type of pie? Do the Princesses know about this relationship? :trollestia: Probably. It's not really relevant to the story whether or not they do, but it's nice to think they did that much looking into Deft's family and relationships and thought to surprise him with that. Also, I had decided in fleshing out the character that another OC I've been toying with, Rhubarb Pie, would be his sister. More on her next chapter. (She's not plot-relevant at the moment, and I don't foresee her becoming so, as I've pretty much got the plot worked out.)

Leverage: It occurred to me, while writing the bit about Flim and Flam, that I had always wanted to do a pony Leverage crossover, and that seemed to be manifesting in Defty here. After the Invisible Manticore line, I knew how I could make that connection. Leverage referred to the Invisible Gorilla principle as "the dancing bear", but it was based on the study that video at the top of the chapter is from. You can find out more about the study and the way your attention span works (and at times doesn't) at http://theinvisiblegorilla.com Funnily enough, I don't know the actual numbers on the study - how many people involved, how many noticed the gorilla, and so on. All of that is probably in the book, because it's not in the video or on the website (that I can find). It might be in the TED Talk video.

On and Off and On Again: Equestrian (horse riding, not the nation) terminology - 'on' is right, 'off' is left. So when Deft says 'on hoof' he's just saying the right forehoof. Why doesn't he just say "right"? Because it can also mean "on the dominant side". "Off", "sinister", and "under" all mean the same thing: left. They also have negative connotations. That's what he's getting at here, the element of deception involved.

"Help!  Help!  I'm being repressed!  Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"

BLOODY PEASANT!!!!!! :flutterrage:

609772
Bust hump coming up with semi-original humor
Silence
Monty Python Reference
Comments
...
Seriously, though, if I didn't like it, I wouldn't make the references. :D

Dayum... Now that's interesting. I'm going to bed now. Goodnight.

:ajsleepy: I remember that test. I first found out about it while reading an online article, so I never got a chance to blind try it. Kind of disappointing really.

I'm going to laugh if everyone of the Mane Six is Deft's fifth cousin somehow. :rainbowlaugh:

609892
I assume that would be Cracked.com, the same place I first heard about it myself.

Actually, depending on the size of Equestria's population... In any case I will say that the situation as presented so far is unlikely but within the realm of possibilities, especially with both families being farming families. The situation as you've suggested? ....less likely.

But damn that would be pretty darn funny.

609643

The dancing bear you're looking for is here.

609643
Luna, of course, is left-hooved. (And left-winged as well, while we're at it.)

610695
Thanks, bro! Of course, while the Invisible Gorilla predates that, the players in the dancing bear vid are more dynamic, making the illusion more effective. Knowing he was there, I almost missed him... until he started dancing.

Hmm... most of the end of the chapter is italicized. Otherwise, all the new looks good!

647178
Bugger all, I could have sworn I checked for that. Fixed.

Sadly, the "Import from GDocs" feature is buggy as all hell and drops chunks of story, so I had to copy-paste and re-insert tags manually instead.

This is AWESOME :flutterrage:
Never seen such a good theif fic

I LOVE THIS FIC. you have my fave and I will be watching this fic with all my attention. Also, the smartypants doll was a great touch. :twilightsmile:

Someone is sneaking around the barn :yay: I want moar! It is so difficult to find a good thievery or adventure fic these days. I can't sit still :pinkiehappy:

I noticed the gorilla the first time. The only reason I noticed it was because of the white teeth, though.

Had she gotten a good look at me back then? I had the sinking feeling, supported by the expression of dawning anger in her eyes, that she had.

Hahaha, oh snap. :3

941338
Yes, Defty lives a charmed life, doesn't he? At some point he seems to have gotten the personal attention of Sod's Law.

Oh, hey, I forgot to do something when I updated!
Fourth Post Author Notes Commentary Track
Hey, look, the plot is beginning to creep in on all the silly! I can't imagine what's going on in Canterlot! And where did the sneaky unicorn go when Deft lost her? What's with all these questions?

References
Well, of course we have the "I'm a cloud. Beep beep." reference that's pointed out in the chapter title. In addition to that, the bit about "getting nailed by Big Macintosh" is a reference to the Pony Psychology series - specifically, the Ditzy Doo/Derpy Hooves story in that series. Once again, Rainbow Dash proves that she is not a sneaky pony, as she did in "Read It and Weep". We have an obligatory Cupcakes reference.

I Don't Talk About My Process
The "iota of Iota" line is terrible and forced, which I kind of love about it. When I was coming up with Greek letter code-names for the Apples, I had to resist using Pi to refer to Orange Meringue, and decided to base the code names on their initials: A for Applejack, B for Big Macintosh, G for Granny Smith, O for Orange Meringue, and... well, that left me a bit stuck for Apple Bloom, as both A and B were taken. I went with Iota because she's the smallest in the family. Twilight came up with the "not an iota" line herself. :twilightsheepish:

I was going to end the chapter with the party cannons going off in the hay loft, but I decided you guys have had enough false cliffhangers in this story.

In any event, we're coming up on the meat of the story now.

Next time: Applejack is not a stupid pony. Twilight may be holding a grudge. And grudge rhymes with fudge, but if you eat to much fudge, you'll get a pudge and then you can't budge. And what the heck kind of cutie mark do you call that?

"...only disclosing it to those chosen...
"...by the Sun, the Moon, or Their Eyes.

Huh, so presumably there are Eyes of the Sun, as well? I love tiny details like that.

I would have to be subtle, I decided. I could do subtle. Subtle is my middle name! Deft Subtle Hoof, that's… No, that's a terrible name. That's… that's an adult entertainment name, is what that is.

:rainbowlaugh: I love this guy.

943228 He's like me... If I were a sneaky ninja earth pony who had lived on the streets.

Same humor, same brain functions, I think of something, and he's saying it by the time I scroll down the page. He's freaking ME.

Stop reading my brain waves, Parch. *Dons Tinfoil hat and bubble wrap pants.* "The Styrofoam shirt really helps make the look. I'm a package deal, you see." :pinkiecrazy:

Oh my dear celestia.... I love this here story! Really really good, I shall be tracking this and making advertising attempts. :pinkiehappy: This deserves a feature from what I've read so far!

Author's Notes: Sorry about the long wait. As I said recently in my blog, my laptop was stolen. Now I have a better laptop, so I guess these things work out! Now let's talk about this chapter!

I don't know what it is with Deft Hoof and food fights. He just sort of seems to bring that out in ponies, huh? It's a good thing he's not in food service. Speaking of the food fight, that bit at the end of it was inspired by a movie. I wonder if any of you can figure out what movie?

Originally, the bit with Defty kicking a Zap Apple tree was going to be applebucking practice - he was going to be trying it out on a "dead" tree in case he screwed it up. It was also going to have Applebloom as a witness, who was going to try to stop him just a little too late. I like this version better, because he really puts his all into the kick, which makes it funnier, in my opinion.

Oh, yeah, and actual plot-type stuff happening to Shorty, too!

Don't worry all of that plot stuff is gonna reach Deft Hoof, too. Shorty's not all on his own.

1273431 Woo~ I'm glad to hear you got a new lappy! :pinkiehappy:

This fic is awesome! Deft Hoof is definitely one of my top five pony OC characters. That ending was not only hilarious, but also fits with canon.

Excellent chapter, let's hope no theavin' ponies try and steal you're brand new laptop.

I always love reading your work. Here's to many more great chapters to come :twilightsmile:

HAHAHA! That's funny right there :rainbowwild:

1274288
So am I! :derpytongue2: It also greatly aids the update process.
1274433
I try to stay within canon except when the concept is expressly outside of canon (e.g.: "What if _____ hadn't _____?") so I'm glad to see my efforts in that regard are appreciated. I'm also gratified you like Deft Hoof. He's fun to write, and no doubt.
1274887
Thanks for proofing this for me.
1275849
Any part in particular? Personally, I like the dramatic conclusion to the food fight. :pinkiecrazy:

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