• Published 17th Nov 2011
  • 9,029 Views, 874 Comments

The Taste Of Grass - Chatoyance

Within The Conversion Bureau Universe, Newfoal immigrants face settling new lands within Equestria. Unfortunately, not one of them knows how their new universe actually works.

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Guest Alternate Chapter Ten (By PeachClover)


Special Guest Alternate Chapter Ten by PeachClover

Δ Ten: Their Last Wishes
The following is an alternative chapter ten to The Taste of Grass which completely omits chapter thirty.

Windfeather was nervous. When the guard pointed through the back doors of the palace toward the garden with the statues he began to sweat diamonds, but when the guard said the princesses were waiting for him behind the garden maze the hope that keeps all creatures from believing it could be that bad kept him from believing it was... well, that bad.

As Windfeather walked out into the garden his path was subconsciously and expertly calculated to keep him just far enough away from the statues that adorned the entrance to the maze as he could without going out of the way for a direct path to the edge of the maze. The whispers were that those statues were not statues at all, but once living ponies that were turned to stone for some great atrocity. The fact that the legend of absolute chaos, Discord, had been confirmed to have burst forth from a statue of his likeness in this garden had made those tales greatly more disturbing than they would have been otherwise.

Not that he had committed any atrocity, but being called to meet with the Princesses in the place that held these statues after taking an administrative action such that he had was unsettling. Maybe she wanted him to be unsettled. That's what she wanted, and he wasn't going to give in so easily just on a matter of foalish fear. He stopped a moment and took a few breaths willing away the parasprites in his stomach before continuing his trot.

Windfeather was nervous, that is, he was nervous until they came into view. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna sat gracefully and disarmingly at a small table with one extra seat for him. Celestia was in the middle of a sip as she casually looked up to see him.

“Please have a seat, Windfeather.” Celestia's words showed no anger, no disdain at all. That actually shocked Windfeather as he caught himself and made sure to bow respectfully which caused his glasses to slide down his nose. Moving a bit automatically he had already taken his seat at the third chair that was pulled out and waiting for him before he could manage to slide his glasses back into place.

Celestia's horn glowed as she lifted the teapot and filled Windfeather's cup. “As I'm sure you are aware, I have called you here because two thousand of my new little ponies are missing. This was discovered upon an inquiry for the unbalanced distribution of supply crates to the number of newfoals assigned to the Welcome Town where you work.”

Windfeather took a sip of his tea. Here it was; he hoped this day wouldn't come, but he had prepared for the possibility. “The newfoals are not missing your highness. They were placed in locations farther away from the borders of Equestria so as to protect our values and culture from corruption that the newfoals would bring - even if unknowingly - from their twisted evil world.” Haha! His speech was so perfectly selected there just wasn't anything that could be said in defense of those monsters. Maybe he thought, he should try becoming an ambassador.

Celestia took a sip of tea and levitated her cup back down silent for a moment before saying, “Is that really how you see it?”

Windfeather was caught off guard and stammered for a moment. He was expecting an argument, or maybe if he was lucky, for the princess to agree without further debate, but he was not expecting whatever the muffin you call her response. “W- well, yes your highness, and I acted in the best interest of all of us.”

Oh Ponyfeathers! That statement sounded weak and defensive. Maybe he was not yet ready to be an ambassador.

Celestia gave the slightest hum, a pause, sipped again at her tea, and remained silent for a while looking, for all that Windfeather could see, directly at the center of the table with the slightest hint of sadness on her muzzle. Time seemed to crawl. Despite the fact that her gestures seemed to indicate that he had won, Windfeather sat there as still as possible; any movement that he made before she did would be seen as disrespect to her and that would surely mean he would lose... As the moments crept by his careful attention to detail had Windfeather thinking that maybe he wasn't ambassador material, but perhaps he should pursue playing chess.

Celestia lifted her head and smiled softly and sadly at Windfeather. “Windfeather, I had decided before you came here that your actions were completely wrong. I wanted to hear your reasons though, but before you are punished, let me promise you that even though there are many more newfoals than there are native ponies, it is not their problems that will spread to us, but our love and kindness that will blossom in their hearts. I am sad that you were not an example of that compassion toward them.”

Punished?! Windfeather felt a rush of white fear overcome him. His body told him to run, but he couldn't move already knowing he could not get away by either running or flying; they would be ready and just catch him in their magical fields. Stoned, statued, that WAS why she brought him here. Why didn't he just have the sense to flee when he received that summons? I'm going to die, and there won't even be a grave just a gravestone that was once Windfeather. For the briefest of moments Windfeather imagined himself as a statue holding his own gravestone - funny how he could think of humor at a time like this. No, this isn't funny; this is actually happening! Oh Princess save me, but the Princess is going to turn me to stone! Luna's blessed moon Help!

At that last thought Windfeather's head jerked and stared pleadingly mouth agape in the direction of Princess Luna who just sat there sipping her tea as silent as the grave.

“Stand up, please, and come over here.” Celestia had already stood and moved a small distance from the table.

Windfeather slowly stood knees shaking and stood in position. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if he just complied.

“Stand here and lock your knees.” Celestia's horn began to glow.

“W- why?” It was all that came to his mind; none of the other statues stood with knees locked. The idea that maybe just by locking his knees he was about to receive a punishment worse than being turned to stone made the pegasus's stomach knot up.

“Because there is a good chance you will collapse after this otherwise.”

It was too good to think at this point he would not be getting turned to stone, but if the other stories were true then, as Celestia just indicated, when he was turned back into a pony he didn't want to be thought of as the most pathetic looking statue that ever stood here. Windfeather straightened up, locked his knees, closed his eyes, and summoned all his courage to try to make a decent looking statue. Maybe this last act would get him freed early.

Celestia bent her head and lightly touched her horn to his forehead. Windfeather's eyes shot open as he gasped.

* * * * *

Windfeather was a child; no not a foal, but a human child. And he was... no she was... lonely. Oh princess she was lonely! Her parents were working somewhere. They locked down the holo so that she wouldn't be tempted to use it while they were away. Something about “only barely scraping by.” Wait a minute. Windfeather understood money she was just, no he, was just unsure of why he was now a human child. That was gross... er disgusting, and... lonely. He didn't know how long it continued like that. They talked in the morning and at night after the ten hour wait of doing nothing, but Ashley and her parents, no Windfeather and his, er those parents didn't have much time together. She couldn't go outside because it was dangerous, she could only eat when they ate, and - HE was lonely and in the dark all day. The only outside world he saw was on the holo when they would watch it together.

Windfeather's fight against the vision was difficult and he lost touch of how long it had continued, but he was used to the dull and empty feelings by now.

Then it happened - the night she would never forget. Ashley saw on the holo a free and required program where some beautiful horsie spoke about taking them away, taking them away to a wonderful place. A feeling windfeather had forgotten welled in her chest. No more living in a dark and small house because it wasn't dangerous there? No more cancer, as mommy called the thing that made it hard to see out of her left eye? And they all get to be there as the horsies she saw on the screen. Windfeather cried as she hugged her parent, which ever one was sitting close to her; she kinda forgot while thinking about the impossible miracle that was their future.

Ashley and her family went to the conversion bureau as soon as they could. Neither parent bothered to quit their job, something that seemed bad, and they had to hurry that day. Ashley was the first of their family to be ponified so that her parents could help her where she didn't know how to do things as a pony. She was a yellow pegasus with a purple mane. It was so exciting to think that when she grows a little stronger and after some classes, where she gets to meet other pegasi, she'll be flying in the sky free from the cages that were called buildings, and maybe if mommy and daddy were pegasi too they could all live in the clouds.

They all left for Equestria soon after. Ashley was thinking about how nice it was to be outside. She had met many new friends from her classes at the bureau, even a colt her own age named Ponyboy, a name his parents gave him from some old book because he didn't know what to call himself and didn't like his old human name. When they crossed the barrier, the sky was amazing. It never looked like this before. The air was so fresh, and so many ponies here. She would never be lonely again!

Ashley was awoken later by something loud it was scary she was huddled into a ring with a whole crowd, and then they were somewhere else. This place was empty, and something, her parents looked worried; that made her scared. The blue pony with wings was yelling something at all of them.

"YOU ARE NOT US! YOU MAY WEAR OUR BODIES BUT INSIDE YOU ARE STILL MONSTERS!" Wait a minute, that was her, er, him! That was Windfeather yelling out his practiced speech. It sounded so.... hateful. Windfeather had never used that word before...

Everything was dead. Ashley was laying on her side under the three boxes that had been stacked to form some sort of shelter the colt beside her in the shade was dead and smelled horrible, but she was told to stay there. No, she may have been told not to move, but couldn't even if she wanted to. Her mother... no, her mother was dead, the mother of this colt told her not to move while she went to get water. She stared at the corpse for a while. Hey, that was Ponyboy. The hunger and the heat were so intense. Thoughts didn't stay with her long, maybe that was a good thing for how she felt. Things hurt inside. Why did the nice pony say they would be happy here, when everypony was dying. Just a few days ago her father stopped her crying and said it wasn't the nice pony who said they would be happy here who left them in this bad place, but the blue pony that yelled at them who did.

Ashley saw movement, it was the colt's mother, but then she fell down. Ashley knew that she had died like everypony else, and soon she herself would go. “Mr.Bluepony, why did you do this to us?” Windfeather felt the words as spoken from his own mouth as well as hers, then she died.

NO!!! Dear sweet Celestia NO!

Windfeather only had a moment to contemplate what he was feeling before he found himself as Shawn Alexander, a troubled man walking to the nearest conversion bureau after having just seen the ad on the public kiosk. Two weeks of real food and a warm bed were a most welcomed dream before the ensuing nightmarish mangling of his body that these types of delusions often brought him. This time it was called "ponification" and/or "conversion." He wondered what it was that he would really be eating and where he would really be sleeping while his mind was doing this to him, but after living with the schizophrenia nearly all his life, he just hoped that going along with it would keep a good one lasting.

* * * * *

The visions kept coming and Windfeather was each of his victims, and worse they were each of the ponies from one settlement until they had all died out before seeing those from the next. He tried to block it out, but it kept coming. If he was ever counting he was unable to remember. All of them suffered and died. Some of them were the monsters he had feared, and his parallel mind told him that they were the ones who should have suffered, and shouldn't be allowed among Equestrians... At least until they were converted that is, none of them could be that way after they were converted; even until their death there were decent to one another.

There were two things that remained constant about these lives: the tone of hate in his speech when they were abandoned and their feelings right before they died. Many of them tried to cover it with anger, but after the uncountable times it had happened, Windfeather knew that it was not hate they felt, but sadness for being deceived, for having the hope of a bright, beautiful, and seemingly perfect world in which each of them did their best to better themselves to be accepted, was shattered.

Windfeather was so frustrated and hurt; he wanted Windfeather to know what he had done to him.

* * * * *

Windfeather opened his eyes and gasped hard then half screamed half bellowed at the top of his lungs and bawled with enough force to convince anyone that he was trying to force his very soul to leave his body, and the truth of the matter is - that's exactly what he was hoping would happen. His glasses having been violently flung off of his face landed with a clink in the grass. He felt like he was going to throw up. He heaved, but no amount of air would stay inside of him without it being blasted immediately out as uncontrollable crying.

Was there ever a time before when everything felt so wrong? Windfeather remembered Discord's appearance, but Discord had done nothing so horrible on purpose that he had done accidentally.... Accidentally? Could he honestly say that? He didn't mean to... kill them did he? Windfeather wasn't sure of himself. He wanted to believe that he was not a monster, but as the thoughts and feelings of those lost newfoals flooded his memory, he bawled harder and wished he could have done something to stop himself.

Princess Celestia was right, he would have collapsed flat on his face if he hadn't have locked his knees, it also made crying a little bit easier by not having to support himself. By the time Windfeather had stopped crying and could see again, the ground was darker. The sun must be setting. A towel floated toward him. He took it with one wobbly hoof and worked his way to the ground so that he could clean his face.

“Your punishment, Windfeather,” He heard the princess speaking and knew that he deserved whatever she said and wanted it to make amends for what he had done, not that that would be happening in this life, but just as each of those lost newfoals saw beauty in this world and wanted to be beautiful for it so too had he, and only wanted to protect that beauty when he had made that horrible mistake. “is to live with the knowledge of what you have done. That is all.”

“No,” His words left him as a whimper, “Princess, I've done something unthinkable, please give me a real punishment. Please let me... walk into the Exponential Lands and die as they did.”

“I think you have died enough before the end of your natural life, and if you did that, the lesson would not sink in. In the end, what did each one of those newfoals want?”

Windfeather sniffed, the pain came again, not once had he looked up since he come to his senses, “They wanted... to know why I had done that to them, and for me... to know, feel what they were feeling.”

“And if you went and let yourself die, would that be fair to them? To try to escape what they wanted you to know as a punishment for what you did?”

Windfeather whimpered like a foal, “No.”

“Then live, Windfeather.”

“Can you... Can't you change the past with your magic?”

“No, not really.... You may go now, Windfeather.”

Windfeather wiped his eyes once more laying the towel on his chair and left somber and not once looking up. The guards wondered what happened to him as he walked slowly out of the castle and just kept walking. It was only when he had reached Ponyville and was greeted by a rather happy pink mare that he remembered that he had forgotten his glasses at the palace... That was alright, he thought, he needed a new pair as his eyes weren't the same anymore.

* * * * *

Luna comforted her sister. Tia was wrapped around her drying her own tears with the other cloth from the table. She was so upset she was using her hoof instead of her magic to hold it. Windfeather never saw that, but he left as was asked. Celestia didn't like to look directly at the memories of her ponies because it made life feel like nothing more than a daydream, but she could not give those memories to Windfeather without living them herself. Celestia asked her sister just to be here and comfort her when she did this. Soon they were walking back to the castle.

“Was it the right thing to do, sister, not turning the pegasus Windfeather to stone?”

Celestia's response was not rushed, but was given with little pause, “As Nightmare Moon, even in all your rage, you did not mean to kill anypony. It was only because I could not show you how you were effecting everypony that I had to use the elements against you. Windfeather is no powerful being, just an ignorant foal. I love all my little ponies, Luna, even him, and I meant what I said; he should learn this lesson. Harmony, should not be a delusion held only by those who have not suffered, but the knowledge that wrongs can be forgiven and life eventually returned to peace.”

Celestia stopped by a statue of three foals that seemed to be balanced one on top of the other. They were once extremely powerful three earth ponies who could fly and cast magic, breaking the understood rules of how ponies work. They were just too powerful, too young, too dangerous, and that wasn't their fault. Celestia dealt with them as she had too, and it never brought her joy. Even though it took a long time, they lived happily now. It was only their being family and born triplets that made the bizarre thing happen in the first place, and that was all that remained trapped inside of that statue. They always manage to find each other, no matter what life they have; she even remembered how, not too long ago, all three of them had walked right past this statue and didn't think anything of it.

Celestia remembered why she had this statue moved here all those years ago, and her usual smile returned to her face; all was right in the world, or no, it wasn't really, but it would be, and that was worth smiling about.

Comments ( 124 )

A new chapter? Wut? :rainbowhuh:

Nonetheless, very good! :twilightsmile:

*slow applause*

Give the guest author a pat on the back on my behalf.

The CMC are then 3 earth ponys arnt they?

I was thinking that it would be either the CMC or the Flower Trio but as far as we know only the CMC have been to the Canterlot Gardens.

No pats on the back please. Hugs, however, are much appreciated.

1035295 I can't see the flower trio as them since they don't seem the to cause chaos and havok but I get that their all earth ponys.

1034818 They always manage to find each other, no matter what life they have; she even remembered how, not too long ago, all three of them had walked right past this statue and didn't think anything of it. Good eye there, BronyBlob. I completely missed that. And, as Royal Brisk pointed out, only the 3 members of the CMC where shown going to the Cantelot Gardens, so I'd have to agree.

I loooooved that last bit with CMC.

What a terrible thing to live with.

This was a great one, I felt like I should comment, but I had no idea how to express how much I liked this story, then my friend on skype commented: "just say that!". So I have.

You really had me worried about the ending there for a bit, but it all pulled through marvelously! I also really like the amount of world building, for instance, I never really got the reasoning behind a rock farm before, or thought about an equines need for salt, or what ground level products could be made from clouds!

Overall, 10/10, Everything I wanted, and more! :heart:


Thank you very much, Puck7845. It was very happy to hear that you enjoyed Taste Of Grass, and something of what you got out of it. Thank you for that! Yay!

This was incredible. I have no words.

Why does everyone assume that "three fillies" automatically means the CMC? All three of them are earth ponies, and the CMC don't match that description.

Every time I finish one of your fics, all I can think is, "Damn you Chatoyance, and your good looks."

Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Applebloom are the spirits of the most powerful Earth Pony triplets of history. To PeachCpover, beautifully, wonderfully written! I like both of yours and Chatoyance's outcomes of Windchaser. Both contain an ironical justice, but both presented differently. Chatoyance's was more comedic, while yours was a tragedy that dragged out the horrors and emotions of the old chapter. Bravo!

Well. I loved both endings. I have no idea which to headcanon.

On one hand, Chatoyance, yours is the strictly canon variant, and I enjoyed the look into the cycles of reincarnation.
On the other, PeachClover, I appreciated your earlier comments on Windfeather's stoning, and agree that this seems to fit my personal understanding of Celestia's justice. It saddens me immensely though, that Celestia allowed either eventuality to occur.

Thinking more about it, I have come to some conclusions.
Good is not Nice is a trope which certainly applies to Celestia.

However, I'm not sure she's even Good. Lawful, certainly.
But really, what Good does she do? She IS. She runs things, certainly, but really, other than a physical presence, how does she differ from any other monotheistic God? She doesn't intervene, she didn't create THAT much nicer a world. She didn't even create particularly nice creatures, if they can be horrible and bigoted, even in their nicer, less vicious world.

To be honest, out of all of the serious portrayals of Celestia, this is one of my least favorite.
Make her a really powerful mortal, sure. That matches the show's attitude.
Make her an omniscient, omnipotent deity who is just keeping up appearances, sure. But don't try to reconcile that with the show. Total deism doesn't go with personality, at least, not much. There's no gotcha, as far as I can see. A being like that doesn't even have bored in their range of emotions. They are literally infinity already.

What I dislike in your portrayal, Chatoyance, is the compromise. It isn't always possible to reconcile the show with even itself, let alone anything else like Faust-Canon or Head-Canon. I love your worlds because they feel real. Beautifully real. You see the chains of cause and effect, and you trace them to their logical conclusions. I fear that Celestia isn't like that here. You've shoehorned in what you want her to be, as opposed to what she should be. It's not your fault - it's the show's writers and executive meddling which make her impossible to make sense of. Still, it lacks the realism of the rest of your work, I feel.

Sorry for the ranting. Really, it's more the juxtaposition of your usually amazing work with anything less than that that makes me upset. I still love this work, and your work as a whole.

I hope you come back. We miss you.

After thinking some more, I have realised that I was mistaken. I was still too wrapped up in the emotions of this work. Looking at it more objectively, I have come to some new conclusions.

'The Taste of Grass' is a story about life. A very sad one. Not just the story, but the message it sends. Chatoyance has stated its conclusion in many arguments, and I believe she is correct. However, this story is not about this conclusion, but the heartrending journey we take to it.

(This is a review, therefore there will be spoilers. You have been warned.)
(No Tl;dr - those are for slackers. :P )

We start 'The Taste of Grass' in hope and high spirits. Leading on from '27 Ounces', the newfoals are going on to start their new lives in the utopia of Equestria. A land of plenty and kindness.

Almost immediately, we are exposed to the betrayal of a racist abusing a position of power. Our idyllic understanding of the perfect Equestria is shattered. It is noting that this is the first of Chatoyance's works in the recommended reading order to explore Equestria. We are as green as the newfoals.

The newfoals manage to survive on despite their betrayal. They teach themselves how to survive, and build an ideal society from the books they were given in the crates. They strive to uphold the Equestrian ideals perfectly, and they seem to have succeeded. Utopia. When they are rudely awakened from their idyll by the arrival of the Unicorn Corps, we all start to see the facade crumble. Comet Tail's bit is the key. I could write an essay on that bit. Sure, things in Equestria proper are better than on Earth (No ridges on the coin: no shaving: more trust), but they have currency. Summerland didn't need currency. They actually functioned as a perfect communist societal microcosm. As it becomes clear Summerland will reintegrate, we see that ideal of society fall away.

Again, idealism gives way to pragmatism. Perfection gives way to reality. The innocent become disillusioned.

Countless other examples could be given: Alexi's abandonment of the herd and his relationship with Caprice; Pumpkin's 'easy' birth; Alexi and Caprice's first sexual experience; Celestia as a problem solver; the attitude of the town toward Caprice 'saving' them. I could go on.

Chatoyance masterfully repeats the essential theme of this piece over and over again: our innocence simply hides reality. The world is not good. The world is not kind. Equestria isn't special, or perfect. It's just a reflection of Earth. We are disappointed time and time again. Our entire lives are just one disappointment after another as we are slowly disillusioned. I don't think anyone has ever seen it all. It's just too much pain to comprehend. Think about PeachClover's punishment for Windfeather, but instead of a couple thousand ponies, all of the billions of humans ever to have lived. And all the animals. And all the plants, for all I know. Even the aliens we have yet to meet, but likely exist. Still, though no one has seen it all, I think Chatoyance has come almost as close as anyone. I don't know anyone else as qualified to speak about the human condition, or existence in general.

Chatoyance has lived a terribly hard life. It shows in her work. She has become thoroughly disillusioned. But that is not a bad thing. As the word suggests, she now sees the truth. This story about ponies, on a pony fanfiction site, contains within it an essential truth:

Things are worse than you can possibly imagine. We ignore and avoid the truth. We just plain haven't ever seen it, in many cases. Chatoyance has. Listen to her. She's seen some of the worst human nature has to offer. That biology has to offer. That politics has to offer. That the law has to offer.

I maintain that to understand Chatoyance's work, you must first understand her life. Read her autobiography. Read her stories again, with that in mind. As she says, she writes about things that have happened to her and those she knows. Her stories are her autobiography. To disregard the depths of despair this universe has to offer is to disregard Chatoyance's pain. To refute her very life.

Thank you Chatoyance, for opening my mind just a little wider.

Argh! Why did I take so long to start reading this?! :applecry:

Oh God this was sad to read. But I like this ending that Windfeather learned his lesson

Maybe my search skills are lacking, but it seems to me that in the 12 pages of comments to this story nobody yet mentioned something obvious.
This story definitely owes much to Heinlein's "The Tunnel in the Sky".

Thank you very much! FINALLY!

You have either helped me not feel so damn old -or- you have suggested you are damn old -or- you have given me hope that Heinlein's works survive, despite not being in print anymore.

I fear the second choice is true: I'm forty-one. RAH works were a part of the Great SF Delayed Deluge I'd much benefited from in my college years, when Soviet Union fell. So I did grok it. :twilightblush:

I am very influenced by Heinlein. Even to the point of my real life - I live in a polyamory with three spouses.

I grew up living in the worlds of the golden and silver age science fiction authors. That was my entire life until I was twenty. They are my true teachers and my true parents.

I just wanted to say this is my favorite story, ever.

I honestly can't decide which end I want more for Windfeather. In my human brain, this would be the ideal punishment for him- something that seems to satisfy both my human need for vengeance with the pony ideal of always looking toward the best solution. However, there is no question that the punishment you gave him was the truest sort in the pony way. This one sacrifices that pony purity to insert a little humanity. It is pleasing to my human brain, but what does it mean? I have no idea, to be honest. Perhaps, in absorbing our world, Celestia has also chosen to adopt a few of our ways which she deems prudent. There are certainly some things we do better than ponies, and who wiser than Celestia to pick and chose without getting something wrong? I don't remember where I was going with this anymore so I'll stop.

Overall, this was a terrific terrific story, and just serves to further cement your place as my new favorite author. And no, I do not mean "fanfiction author". I simply mean author. I do hope you continue to enjoy my journeys through your stories! It's really all I have to offer in return for your immense generosity in providing them to us, at least until an opportunity arises such that I might hug you for it!

I think I'll go through the Lost in the Herd series next, concluding with 800 Year Promise. For now, bed!

It is true, you are a very pretty pony!

Thank you so much for reading The Taste Of Grass, and for all of your amazing comments! I really enjoy your comments as you read. It's actually making me feel better, as I come out of being sick and depressed. Thank you - you are helping me in ways you don't even know, just by reading and commenting.

You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that! :pinkiehappy:

That's kind of the problem though- every good message is something they just do naturally anyway, making such messages redundant and a tad rude to leave in. It'd be like if one of the commandments on Earth was to remember to keep breathing air, that's how innate those characteristics are to Equestrians. So all you're left with are the parts which don't make any sense in an alien universe and the parts which don't mesh with Equestrian society or pony instincts.


Anyone with access to a Bible or the Internet can search and see that nowhere in the New Testament does Christ tell people to fight with others, or to be greedy, selfish, hateful, or any of that. -Webhamster

The problem, Webhamster, is that I am an atheist. And because I am an atheist, I am statistically more likely to be an expert on the bible than a religious person (look it up! It's true!).

And this means, basically, that when talking Christianity with me, well. Let's listen to your Jesus, shall we? In his own words....

"He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'" - Jesus Christ, (Luke 22:36)

"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works." - Jesus Christ, (Revelation 2:22-23)

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." - Jesus Christ, (Matthew 10:34-10:36)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” - Jesus Christ, (Matthew 5:17)

And what is this law Jesus supports completely and utterly?

There’s Nothing Wrong With Slavery — Leviticus 25:44
Blasphemy is Punishable by Death — Leviticus 24:16
Cheaters Must Die — Leviticus 20:10
Gays Should be Put to Death — Leviticus 25:44
People Who Work on Sunday Should be Killed — Exodus 35:2
Women Should Shut the Hell Up and Do as They’re Told — Timothy 2:11-12
If a Woman is Not a Virgin When She Gets Married, She Has to Die — Deuteronomy 22:13-14,20-21

If these are values that princess Celestia would approve of, then I would have to agree with the Anti-TCB people and say we need to nuke Equestria from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Because all that stuff up there? All that stuff Jesus said and supports?

It's the very definition of evil.

Not even Discord, Sombra, or the Changelings were as evil.

I'm sorry you don't actually know your own religious book. I understand, though - the bible is very long, it's very boring, and it is filled with contradictions and flat out lies. It's a real bear to try to stand reading.

And the problem with reading well is that you might understand, and in understanding realize that the bible is evil bullshit. Sorry.

Thank you, very kindly. I am glad my words mattered to you.


I have felt that I failed chapter ten (and by extension, thirty). The guest alternate chapter ten by PeachClover is much better than my work. I think.

My readers, at the time, were very angry with Windfeather. I was riding high on feedback, and... I tried to give the audience what they wanted. Sometimes, that is the best thing to do - after all, the audience is here for a show just for them.

But sometimes it's a bad idea, especially if it deforms characters. My Celestia is supposed to have two out of three godlike traits: Omnipotence and Omnibenevolence. She does not know everything, thus answering the problem of theodicy.

I made her a bit of a Trollestia, here, I think - and I shouldn't have. The readers wanted blood, so to speak, and I wanted my readers to like me. I learned a lesson from this incident.

I will always regret the way I handled Windfeather. But then... writing is a learning experience, always.

I have just finished reading this chapter of the Conversion Bureau, and I must say I have enjoyed all the chapters I read enormously. Actually, in the end, Caprice somewhat broke my heart :fluttercry:

It is canon that Discord tortured the pony sisters for 'a thousand years' with pure chaos. We have seen that chaos used on Ponyville in the show. It is a hell of total dissolution of reality itself.

Celestia and Luna defeated Discord, and reconstructed Equestria from that totality of chaos. This is also canon. Equestria had to come from somewhere, and Discord certainly didn't rebuild the land, the sun and the moon.

The sisters are immortal and apparently capable of powers that would humble the entire pantheon of Greek and Roman gods: moving the heavenly bodies, creating night and day, shapeshifting, transformation into multiple, individually sapient entities, becoming an abstract aspect, teleportation, transmogrification of matter, and - in the episode where Twilight blows herself up leaving a smoking stain on the floor of her treehouse - existing within a past-life review in a cloudy spirit-world and then sending a being back to corporeal form. With added wings.

I am not concerned with monolithic desert religions with their monotheistic uber-gods. Celestia and Luna are easily proper gods - Greek, Roman, or Indian gods... or Kami from Japan. That they are humble and call themselves 'princesses' and rule gently is only evidence of virtue and compassion.

Yet he loves us anyway, and wants us to follow his rules and his teachings, to love one another, care for the earth, and allow his guidance, so that we can be happy, fulfilled, and healed.

Job. The sanctioned slaughter of neighboring tribes while simultaneously claiming 'Thous Shalt Not Kill'. Terrible sexism and homophobia. Stoning and burning and torture. A talking magical snake cons one vulnerable woman and all of humanity is cursed and damned for all eternity except wait! There's Jesus, only instead of magically fixing everything, he has to be torture-murdered in order to magically fix everything. The flood, drowning the majority of the entire species just because - with no attempt to actually sit down, face to face, and work things out.

The Abrahamic god is a filthy, evil bastard who thrives on pain and suffering and horror. Why would any person worship such a monster? Oh, because of the hell he created. A place of eternal suffering designed to perpetually punish people for some slight wrong they committed in their short, brutal 30-year average lifespan (lifespan average calculated for all of history, not just the modern age). Cthulu at least has the compassion to quickly eat souls and end their pain.

Fuck the Abrahamic god. Fuck him up the ass straight to the hell he created to torture others for ever and ever and ever and ever... for nothing. Just because he was miffed. Fuck that piece of shit. Seriously. I mean that, I'm not just being funny here. Though it is pretty funny, reading it back.

Celestia and Luna, if you did something wrong, would sit down, face to face, and have tea with you, and explain how what you did wasn't kind.

The god of Abraham would remain silent and invisible, and when you died, throw you down into eternal, neverending torment, for ages beyond the heat-death of the universe, because you ate shrimp or wore two fabrics woven together from different sources.

And don't tell me that Jesus changed all that, because I know the fucking bible, and he is real clear on the point that his coming does not in any way invalidate all that old, insane, shitty Old Testiment stuff.

I will take the likes of Celestia and Luna... and Amaterasu, and E'leos and Wiccan Diana and Guan Yin and Hathor and Discordian Eris and Eir and Brigid any day of the week over the serial-killer schizoid antics of the god of Abraham.

Why? Because I do not tolerate bullies.

Robert Heinlein — 'Men rarely if ever dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. '


Well, maybe. Unless they just turn you to stone, or banish you to a heavenly body, or....whatever was done to Sombra. :applejackunsure:

Also, most of what you have said about religion here is completely uncalled for. Just my two bits.


Also, most of what you have said about religion here is completely uncalled for. Just my two bits.

The second any person decides to argue that the Abrahamic god is devoted to love and kindness and everyone being happy, that instantly permits, even demands a strong statement of fact. Dressing those facts in whimsical snark is a perk... and also helps to defuse things with dark humor, a little, perhaps. A door, once opened, allows both entry and exit.

Your original two bits were plug nickles, and that is illegitimate coinage. Religious bullshit needs to be challenged at every turn, because it is the primary force that holds Mankind back and makes good people commit historic atrocity.

“Those who can make you believe absurdity can make you commit atrocity.” ~ Voltaire


Ok, here we go.

I grew up Jewish in Salt Lake City, Utah. During this time, I told many of my non-Mormon friends who asked that I could not find a difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity. They railed and raged against what I said, demanding how I could possibly not see the difference between their faiths and the 'brutal cult that ruled the land.' (We said stuff like that.) For me, there was no difference. Both had Jesus. Both had the same symbolism. Both had missionaries. the trappings were the same.

That last trapping, however, I needed to rethink. See, I learned as time went on that in effect, atheists had missionaries too. Oh, I know you don't want to think about it, but really, what is a missionary, really? From what I can tell, a missionary's function is to teach others to abandon their faith and join their own. Now, from Christians, I understand this - it's in their faith to do so, and there are punishments prepared for those who are not with them. But atheists? I have a baffling time trying to figure out why they care. I mean, if a person is given hope by something, what kind of person want's to just take that hope away?

You claim religion holds back mankind, but haven't you said before that you believe mankind is doomed? If that is your stance, what profit is there in denying any scrap of hope someone can hold on to in the darkness?

Here's a suggestion Chat: what if you slightly reorganized the text for new readers? Since you now consider that your chapters 10 and 30 didn't come out quite right, and since PeachClover's alternate chapter 10 does justice to Celestia's omnibelevolence aspect (at least I think it does), you could swap them. And then also move Midnight Shadow's epilogue one position earlier so that the story ended with it, and then your original chapter 30 to the very end. It'd become something like this:

Nine: Whether Thither Weather
Ten: A Walk In The Garden (By PeachClover)
Eleven: Thunder Road
Twenty-Nine: It's Only Human
Guest Epilogue: A Taste Of Home (By Midnight Shadow)
Original Chapter Ten: A Walk In The Garden
Original Chapter Thirty: The Permutation Bureau

It'd make the experience for new readers more, I don't know, fluid? I mean, the emotional tone of the story seems to work better this way, as the original 10 and the 30 have a different vibe from the others.

What do you think?

Ah, another minor idea! I'd love to see a small change in chapter 30 so as to link it with Code Majeste. It'd be a matter of much fun speculation if instead of only Celestia and Luna appearing at the end a third ponifaloon, gray with gold details, were present. After all one can suppose that over an absurdly gigantic amount of aeons the two sisters would have managed a way to safely uplift Lillian and have her joining them both. It'd be a nice touch! :heart:

3426463 Relevant to your views...

It is truly ironic, for the situation of this story has created the conditions for the ideal reading of religion, from the view of the slaughtered lamb, yet it seems like no pony bothers to read things past the very immediate text, never bothering to look beneath the surface. If nobody in this universe can look past what is immediately present, how can they expect to understand each other?


It is canon that Discord tortured the pony sisters for 'a thousand years' with pure chaos.

You know, you keep mentioning this "a thousand years" business with respect to Discord and it's really starting to bug me that I can't find any reference to it in the show. Where did you pull this number from? As far as I can find in the show, Celestia outright states that Discord's rule had been "eternal".

From episode 27:

CELESTIA: Before my sister and I stood up to him, he ruled Equestria in an eternal state of unrest and unhappiness. Luna and I saw how miserable life was for Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns alike, so after discovering the Elements of Harmony we combined our powers and rose up against him, turning him to stone.

You know. The last time I read this was over a year ago. Then I was thinking in the shower (you know how it is) and I think I finally got the message.

It isn't necessarily about ponies. Or changing species. As was pointed out by Caprice near the end, despite a few hardwired aversions to things like murder, ponies are just as capable of cruelty and hatred as we are.

It's about change. About wanting to change, to be better. It's easy to dump the petty little hatreds and cruelties when you change species. It's much harder to dump the deep-seated neurosis and nasty little habits. Like Caprice's manipulation, which drove Alexi away. Luckily, when he gave her a second chance, she had changed for real. Because she wanted to be better.

Even in the prequel. When Caprice is headed for the Bureau, when she saves the kid, when she spares him the knowledge that his dog is dying, when she comforts that same dog as it passes. She keeps thinking to herself 'it's what a pony would do.' Which isn't necessarily true. There are plenty of ponies that would save their own hides, or leave the dog be, or dump it in a ditch so they didn't have to carry it. No, she wasn't doing what a pony would do. She was doing 'What a better Caprice would do.'

So the message I take from this, after letting it percolate properly, whether Chat intended the message or not... "You want to be Better? You Can."


You are exactly, and precisely right. That is the intended message of every last one of my TCB stories.

I don't write about humans becoming ponies. That's just science fiction special effects. The only real story worth telling is the story of a human either becoming better, or worse as a person. I choose to write about the process and motivation to become better. Everything else is just to make that story exciting and otherworldly. Tolkien could have written about Sam and Frodo being best friends in a dull contemporary setting... but magic rings and Orc armies and volcanoes of doom are - much - more thrilling.

You understand perfectly.

Thank you for that. Such understanding is rare, or so I have seen over the past several years.

I salute you.

Midnight is a hell of a writer. It was an honor to have him write a chapter based on my work.

I'm... a bit of a fan of Lovecraft... and I thought referencing the previous MLP series was neat to do, too.

I am so happy you liked it all!

Well here we are again. It's always such a pleasure. Wait, what? I'm going to try and keep the length down compared to what it was. See how good a job I do. I'm very excited to see what becomes of this little formerly-human family. No doubt seeing conditions for them will show me what life is going to be like for all the people coming to Equestria, all the billions and billions of them.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report (2004) projects the world population to peak at 9.22 billion in 2075. So... I guess my "date by population projection" theory is a bust. I'll just have to wonder on that. Good thing, too. If we kept growing at the rate the humans do in your stories, we would be royally, totally screwed. Kinda like they are. And need Celestia to come and save us. Kinda like they do.

Speaking of scrwed, all the people who died before Celestia showed up. Current estimates place those numbers at 90-110 billion. How many did she save, I wonder? Out of 19 billion? Maybe... 14? 15 Billion? Just a little over 10%? That's pretty sad for all those people. Moving on!

Princess Celestia offers her gratitude for your pioneering spirit she just decided you would have. Remember when the United States was alluring for this same reason? All the people who flocked here to go to new lands and build cities and stuff for themselves. Okay, probably not. I'm not even old enough to remember the gulf war, let alone the 1800s.

Oh look, our first look at an evil pony. I guess that answers my question from a previous review. Yes, Ponies can be evil. And that means that they can also be good. Good to know.

Alexi is best pony. I already liked him a great deal, but now I like him even more. He's like... a less greedy version of Quark from the beginning of DS9. "I need a community leader, Quark." Too bad Sisco isn't here too. He really knew how to get things done.

Theory time. Expanding over earth doesn't actually imply that Equestria should be getting bigger. Not that we have any mathmatical models on universal expansion. Nor could this Celestia have allowed this to be an accident as she seems to be allowing people to believe. This is an active universal invasion, the HLF are right about that much at least. Why, though? What could Celesta's reasons be? Future stories, no doubt.

There is no sickness in Equestria... before season 2.

I really, really hope this sort of thing didn't happen that often. Granted, people are resourceful and tend not just accept the burdens of fate, (if anything, humans are more this way than Equestrians it seems, so much so that we tend to ignore the conciquences), but at the same time... untrained settlers with no idea what they're doing. It would work on earth, but on in a world where the world depends on you to keep it running. I really hope there weren't many other groups just dumped like that.

Go Celestia! You're still a horrifing Eldrich Abomination, but at least you're bound to some very predictable rules that share some similarities with concepts of justice and kindness.

Carbunkle. Crud, where does that name come from again? I totally have seen that before, but I don't know where it comes from.

I don't think post-Singularity means the same thing to these people as it does to me. Whatever else this world might be, it never reached the Singularity. Probably for the better. If it had, Celestia might have been too late. For one reason or another. The Ponies are right about the charity, though. Dang if it wasn't the nicest thing Celestia could've done. For all her alienness, she's the greatest hero in human history.

This story's been a little slow, but it's picking up now. I guess I was so worried about the ponies that I was afraid to read, because something awful might be happening to them. Now that they're figuring things out, I'm more and more interested to see what's going to happen. I wonder if this is the same reason I look away from holos when something bad is happening to the characters. It hurts too much.

I wouldn't mind living in Summerland. Not anymore. Here's another thought. So nature requires ponies. The exponental land is as big as thousands of earths. So doesn't that mean that a large percentage of its area will be an inhospitable wasteland? Equestria is going to be mostly wasteland, because there aren't enough ponies to tend to even a small part of it, and it's going to shrivel into an empty desert?

Once again I am reminded of why I love Alexi, even though if he's not handling life well right now. He comes from a background I can relate to; a mother and father who love him, and a family he loves. Speaking of games, these ponies need roleplaying games. I'd be all over that. Maybe they do have them. What would World of Darkness be like? You would play normal humans, and there wouldn't need to be any other monsters, because to these ponies that would be monster enough.

Dang you Angry Christians. The Scent of the Angry Christians, more commonly known as the Christians who don't act Christian in any way. There have been quite a few of these over the years. Pretty much most of them.

Their medical magic is quite a bit more powerful than it is in the show in later seasons, when their hospitals look exactly like earth and it takes... about the same time to heal from injuries? Based on all the ponies that were in there. Again a non-issue though, since this is based on season 1. Can see why you chose that. The more the show went on, the more similarities it started to have to earth.

Hmm. If lots of these newfoals are dying... which it starts to reason is happening in the other groups, and ponies have souls, and Celestia is god, can't they tell her where their groups are? Or maybe... Maybe she's letting the unicorns fix it since it's their problem? But wouldn't that make her complicit in all the ponies that are dying while they get their incompetence together?

There's no way Equestria is going to be able to outfit and supply colonies for earth's population without incredibly advanced mass production. Juding on what happens in Los Pegasus, the Princesses solve this problem by using the barrier itself to outfit new areas as it goes. I still wonder how they'll solve the "most of the exponencial lands will be a desolate wasteland without inhabitants forever" problem though. Maybe just let it happen and reclaim the desert piece by piece as they need to.

Here's an interesting concept. Newfoals are escaping hell, what their world is. But does that make the choice to go to Equestria less meanigful? Is it even a choice?

Cutie Marks, yay! And... it's three in the morning. And I still have nine chapters to go. Dear goodness. I have to GM a roleplaying game tomorrow. Not sure how I'm going to have the energy at this rate. Ah, well. Can't put it down. Dang it would be so awesome to be there with these ponies right now. Such an adventure.

The loss of English shall be a sad thing indeed. Such a beautiful and expressive tongue.

Yay rescue! Yay, take that. The former monkeys did a pretty good job!

I remember reading some of your stuff said ponies lived 300... wait, it may've been propiganda. Or did it change as you wrote more stories? I mean, 150 is surely more resonable for something approxomating a mamalian form.

Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Did not see that story ending that way. Mind=Blown. That was worth the trade for some sleep. It was a good story in the end, very good. A little slow at the beginning, but it picked up later on. Had some questions, but those already got asked up there. Raises some other questions about the universes. Like, what happens to the souls of the ponies? Celestia and Luna are trapped. But what about everyone else? Do they just go through birth after birth, forever? Just like Celestia and Luna? Or is this answered in another story?

By I digress. I need to sleep. (dies)


Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason why you artistically shape and color the titles of your pony stories?

Typography is cool! But more than that, creating attractive typographical headers and layout is just a professional thing to do. This is normal for books and magazines - making the text attractive is like properly plating a meal. Yes, you can slop food on a dish, but that isn't very appetizing, is it? A fine restaurant carefully plates your dinner, arranging the food, adding dipping areas, providing garnishes, artistically applying sauces - all to make the dish served to you look as good as it tastes.

I want those who read my works to have a very appetizing and delicious experience!

They do look nice. I suppose I've just gotten used to the authors of my online reading not bothering. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, I think, especially in places, such as FIMFiction, where the website's format obviates the need to include the titles in the chapter bodies at all, but your titles certainly do stand out when the second most exotic title format usually seen in the area is "Extant, centered, and in a slightly larger font".


Apparently Rome nearly went with Isis instead; I'd like to see that alternate universe.

I'd rather live in that alternate universe. In any case, as you can probably tell, I am no fan of any organized religion. But... if there must be deities, I'll take loving, nurturing mothers over angry father-figures any day.

Aaaaand done! An enjoyable experience. :)

Sadly, back in the real world, though, I'm hungry, and my professor still hasn't written back. Ah well.

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