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Alzrius



T

This story is a sequel to The Apple Falls Far from the Tree


Recently returned from the world of Everglow, Lex Legis, a brusque but brilliant unicorn, has finally achieved his dream...after a fashion. Convinced that he can govern Equestria better than the alicorn princesses, he and his new girlfriend, Sonata Dusk, have negotiated for rulership of the distant city of Vanhoover, devastated in the wake of the elemental chaos that has rocked Equestria.

But Vanhoover's problems go far beyond simple disaster-relief, and the pair soon come to learn that maintaining their dreams might be even more difficult - and more dangerous - than achieving them ever was.

Chapters (186)
Comments ( 2208 )

The personalities of both shine through. It's nice to see dear Sonata back, and I'm not even writing her! I'm sure she'll help keep Lex on target, so he can use his natural talents best.

Not to say she can't be distracted on her own. They're good for each other in a lot of little ways.

Their first obstacle is laid before them, and they're not even in the half-destroyed city yet! Has service been suspended due to instability and infastructure damage? Let's find out!

6592822 Thanks! I'm trying to make sure that Sonata is recognizable, since keeping the same tone when handing a character from one author to another can be tricky.

So far the two of them seem to be doing fine; at this point, they're still using their natural strengths to cover each other's weaknesses, which is what makes for a strong couple. The trick will be to see if they can keep doing that, and not have their dynamic fall apart, when they're under pressure...such as the pressure of not being able to get where they're going!

A loose end gets its long-awaited resolution. So far, both characters are flowing naturally from where David left them. Tracking, and I'll try to keep my comments off the politics.

It wasn’t that words that caused him to take an involuntary step back at the rebuke, though.

the

6593228 My very first typo! Thanks for catching that. :twilightsheepish:

More seriously, thanks for the comment about the characters seeming true to their previous depictions (though that was easily done for Lex, since he'd always been written by me). I look forward to your insights and reactions, and I'll likewise try to keep the politics to the story, and not in the comments section.

6593293 One thing is a little odd. Either the railroad knowingly sold them tickets to an unavailable destination, they boarded the wrong train and nopony checked their tickets, or the rail line was recently broken and the conductor should have announced it. Otherwise, they would have discovered this problem several days ago.

Then again, I don't suppose anybody wants to read about the whole three days of train ride, so a little fudging to save time makes sense from a storytelling perspective.

So glad to see these characters continued, I can't wait to see Lex and Sonata teaming up in Vanhoover.

6594063 Oh, there's an explanation for this, and it's in the next chapter. :pinkiehappy:

6594416 Thanks! It's great that people are excited to see what happens with these two!

his eyes stayed firmly affixed to the newspaper even as they suddenly blazed green and purple, his lips pulling back in a snarl of rage. “Those nags!” he hissed in sudden fury. “Those miserable…treacherous…backbiting…nags!”

Hehe, you have to be careful never to take journalists too seriously; they're just trying to get a reaction out of people.

Even with though they’d been given a large sack full of bits,

Extra word

Had the alicorn sisters acceded to his demands abdicated in favor of him,

demands and

6595445 Typos fixed. Thanks for that!

As for the mysterious headline...that will be revealed next chapter!

Now he can use his awesome magic to repair the tracks? :rainbowhuh:

6597567 Maybe...or maybe not. The details of Lex's magic has been one card, or rather, one set of cards, that he's consistently played close to the vest, giving only brief glimpses of the details regarding how they work.

That's not to say those details haven't been thoroughly defined, however. I have a character sheet for Lex that lists exactly what powers he does and doesn't have. I find that very helpful when determining what he can do in response to a given situation.

“This is not a coincidence. Celestia and Luna put Cadance up to this.

Wow. That ego. Two months is a pretty quick response time for a religion that was founded after the elemental incursions.

And the most important thing is that you gain a position of power? Are you not pleased that “your” city will receive dedicated healers to help all of the ponies suffering there?

Did the devil on Lex's shoulder just become his moral compass? That has some very disturbing implications.

Without influence, he wouldn’t be able to direct the years-long recovery efforts, let alone demonstrate his principles of governance!

It's not a big deal. All he has to do is order the acolytes to do what they are already doing, and the masses will see him as a leader. Taking credit for the hard work of others is the foundation of politics, regardless of your platform.

6597648

Wow. That ego. Two months is a pretty quick response time for a religion that was founded after the elemental incursions.

Yeah, I wanted to put more in there about how it seemed oddly fast that new clerics could have cropped up in such a short period of time, but since there's no real guideline for that, and since oracles and other spontaneous divine spellcasters can crop up almost overnight (and because I'm using the Pathfinder character class rules more as a guideline, since I prefer an alternate approach to character-building), I left all of that out.

Did the devil on Lex's shoulder just become his moral compass? That has some very disturbing implications.

So long as it has ways it can needle him, it will. He holds himself to very high standards of conduct, and so if there's any way he could be worried that he's not living up to them, his shadow will rub it in his face.

It's not a big deal. All he has to do is order the acolytes to do what they are already doing, and the masses will see him as a leader.

That's also an area I wanted to flesh out more; instead, I tried to make it self-evident that, since any such clerics would have both a temporal (e.g. Cadance) and religious (e.g. Lashtada) authority, then it would have been hard for Lex to claim that he was responsible for their good work, even if he was able to claim to be a local authority figure.

I like seeing Lex rationalize things out loud, and then his shadow call him on his own BS. I can't wait to meet the Vancouver priests of shippingLashtada. I feel like it will be very helpful to Lex to have a marefriend when he meets with them. Perhaps even a dark bargain will be worked out, where Lex is allowed to claim a large share of the credit for the divine relief efforts, if only he will take Sonata out on proper dates like a good Lashtadite would? :raritystarry:

Yeah, I think Lex and Sonata need to put something in the budget for a small airship, because trains and them just don't seem to mix.

Also. given Celestia's reluctance to allow divine magic into Equestria, I doubt she was involved in this. Luna, maybe, but more likely this is all of Cadance's own initiative and the timing just happens to match.

Aw, they are adorable together. One only hopes Lex learns to enjoy what is before him, though to not is a very common human failing.

Damn trains, why does anypony trust them? I like your story so far! I will gladly read on.

6599419 I have the impression that obsessing over what he wants, rather than valuing what he has, is one of Lex's myriad flaws. But given how he was able to be captivated by how pretty Sonata looked during this chapter, there may be hope for him yet.

6597915 The fact that Lex is in a loving relationship will definitely give him a boost with any worshippers of Lashtada that he meets. I also suspect that Sonata would welcome an arrangement like the one you describe.

And yeah, Lex can try and spin things all he wants, but his shadow makes it quite literally impossible - or at least exceptionally difficult - to lie to himself.

6598218 It'll be amusing to consider if they ever get into a third train-related accident. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is deliberate action.

As for whether or not Lex's suspicions are correct...that remains to be seen.

6599440 Thanks! I'm excited to actually be writing it!

Well, we’ll need four days to get back, since we’ll want to go a little slower in reverse just to be safe.

I would think they would be able to turn the train around at the first station on the way back, since trains presumably go both ways. Then again, Equestria's rail infrastructure is not given much screen time in the show, so it's all headcanon.

She repeated the process a few times before finally admitting, “sorries.

Sorries

100 miles. That's two full days of quick marching, even if they cut into their sleeping time. I hope they brought camping supplies. The way their luck is going, getting to Vanhoover is going to be the final climax of the story.

6601198

I would think they would be able to turn the train around at the first station on the way back, since trains presumably go both ways. Then again, Equestria's rail infrastructure is not given much screen time in the show, so it's all headcanon.

I was operating under the idea that only certain major cities would have a railway turntable. To be fair, they could have a wye instead, but that struck me as less practical given that these trains tend to have quite a few cars that they pull.

Sorries

I'm pretty sure that shouldn't be capitalized, because her dialogue there isn't the beginning of a new sentence, hence the comma that precedes the opening quotation mark.

100 miles. That's two full days of quick marching, even if they cut into their sleeping time. I hope they brought camping supplies. The way their luck is going, getting to Vanhoover is going to be the final climax of the story.

They do seem to be having a difficult time of it so far, don't they?

6601645

Putting a hoof to her chin, she looked upwards in consideration before glancing at the tracks and giving a loud “hmm.” She repeated the process a few times before finally admitting, “sorries.

"Sorries" is the start of a new sentence of dialogue, since "hmm" concluded with a period, and "She repeated the process..." is a new sentence.

The mystery thickens! Lex can see something, but neither knows what.

6602256 I did some checking, and it turns out you're right! Correction made.

6602765 It's nice to have Lex get a chance to show off his much-vaunted intelligence, rather than just be irascible all the time.

6603462 Seeing the problem is step #1. What you do with it, that's the real catch.

6603459 I think it's hilarious that we are getting all technical about the grammar in anything that Sonata says, since she perpetually talks like an eight-year-old on a sugar high.

The plot thickens! I feel like it wouldn't be a dragon, because why would a dragon tear off a random stretch of rail in the road? The only reason I can think of is to stall the train for an attack to steal a bunch of gems and riches from the ponies on the trains. But if the dragon (or any other creature) was going to do that, they would attack as soon as the train stopped, and that hasn't happened. For the same reason it doesn't seem to be a dragon, I can't think what else it would be that would do this but not attack a stalled train. The only other motive I can think of is some mysterious force doesn't want Lex and Sonata to reach Van Hoover, but they would have to know that Sonata accidentally put them on a different train line.

Also, I like that Lex's not overpowered and able to fix anything with his magic, this makes him a more interesting character.

6604470 Thanks for the insightful comment! Well-thought-out responses are what makes this all worthwhile to write!

Ascertaining the motive is one of the key instances of figuring out who (or what) is behind a particular wrongdoing, but what motive would a creature have for tearing up a stretch of track, and otherwise ignoring the trains that follow it? Curious, very curious...

Also, I completely agree with you in that limits make characters more interesting. Lex has a great deal of capability, but it's very far from giving him a plethora of viable options in every situation he runs into.

Don't slay the dragon. Charm it! :moustache:

Although his haversack was enchanted so that each of its pockets had storage capacity far in excess of what their appearance suggested – with the central pouch being notably deeper than its two counterparts on the sides – the multiplicity of items that he had already placed into it during his time on Everglow, where he had originally acquired this particular bauble, made it so that the five days’ worth of food that he and Sonata had bought for themselves had barely fit into storage.

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that is a really long sentence.

It was, in other words, a device of truly impressive utility.

They don't call it "handy" for nothing. It may not be wise to call too much attention to Pathfinder's careless use of hammerspace luggage, lest you make it seem less like a story and more like a game.

This is a catch up chapter. The smooch at the end made it worth it, amusingly. To the dragon!

6606189 Having a story that's a sequel to a sequel means that virtually no one is going to come into the story sight-unseen. I wanted to have a chapter that put the major elements of the backstory front-and-center, so that on the off chance that anyone was giving this a shot without having read the previous two works, they'd have some idea of what the basic setup was.

6605771 Apparently the way to do that is to offer it a fake mustache; hey, it works on baby dragons and sea monsters, after all!

6605958

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that is a really long sentence.

Long, but not technically a run-on!

They don't call it "handy" for nothing.

Heward knew his stuff, even if his name doesn't get invoked too often anymore (darn legal restrictions!).

It may not be wise to call too much attention to Pathfinder's careless use of hammerspace luggage, lest you make it seem less like a story and more like a game.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here. I'm presuming you're warning against getting too bogged down in explaining game elements rather than plot and character advancement, right?

6607048

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here. I'm presuming you're warning against getting too bogged down in explaining game elements rather than plot and character advancement, right?

That's part of it, but I was mostly worried about the cheapness of time-lord bags. The reason they have things like that in the game is to reduce the amount of game time spent calculating the weight of your gear. It's an intentional sacrifice of realism for the convenience of the players. The logic quickly falls apart if you look at it too closely (why don't they use it everywhere?). It's similar to giving a technical explanation for Pinkie's ability to pull out the party cannon, or allowing a character to literally have bonus lives. Some game aspects don't adapt well to stories.

6607440 Thanks for clarifying your position. I've thought about what you said, and come to the conclusion that I don't agree (a surprise, I know).

There are some specific points I wanted to address:

The reason they have things like that in the game is to reduce the amount of game time spent calculating the weight of your gear. It's an intentional sacrifice of realism for the convenience of the players.

It's entirely possible that the prevalence of extradimensional storage items was for entirely "gamist" aspects (I've read Playing at the World, and I don't recall that being in there, but it's worth a second look). That said, I don't believe that your second sentence follows the first. The use of magical "bigger on the inside than on the outside" storage devices is not a sacrifice of "realism" per se, where "realism" is a reference to the internal logic and consistency of the game world. That's because these have in in-game element to them that is entirely consistent with how D&D approaches magic. Ways of fiddling with space, whether for storage, movement, or other tricks, are part-and-parcel of the magic that has always been a part of the game. There's nothing "unrealistic" about them.

The logic quickly falls apart if you look at it too closely (why don't they use it everywhere?).

The idea of why and how magic isn't more ubiquitous when it's already so prevalent and can be used regularly with no particular risks involved is an issue that has long been with the game, but I don't see this as being specific to extradimensional devices. Rather, this gets into questions of how magic works in general, and even then there are some (admittedly prima facie-level) answers for this, usually in terms of costs, time, and personal talent.

There may be issues with the logic of magic (items) and the market economy in D&D, but that's no particular reason to single out bags of holding and their ilk above other convenient, cheap magic items that similarly aren't everywhere in the game world. (Something which is especially true for Equestria, which either is even more bizarrely lacking in magical conveniences, or is already overflowing with them, depending on how you look at it.)

It's similar to giving a technical explanation for Pinkie's ability to pull out the party cannon, or allowing a character to literally have bonus lives.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "bonus lives" thing - I think that's a video game reference? - but Pinkie Pie isn't a comparable example of the point you're trying to make here. Pinkie's antics defy explanation because (more for the "sight gags" than for things like her Pinkie Sense) they make it difficult to determine if she's breaking the fourth wall or not.

When we see her walk off the left side of the TV screen while Applejack watches, and then walk back in from the right side of the screen and startle Applejack, who does a double-take, that's the sort of thing that's difficult to explain, because from an in-character point of view that shouldn't have been possible. Someone who was actually there wouldn't have had "tunnel vision" imposed by a TV screen, and would have seen how Pinkie could have been walking away from Applejack even as she also appeared behind her.

Moreover, this sort of thing is tough to explain because it flies in the face of what Pinkie "should" be able to do. Putting aside explanations of "party magic" (e.g. every pony has some magic to help with their special talent), Pinkie acts in complete defiance of what her capabilities and limitations should be as an earth pony; that is, she casually transgresses the internal logic and consistency of the world, including what little we've been told about how magic works in Equestria (leaving aside the whole "it's part of her special talent" idea). Magic items that allow for extradimensional storage don't do that, because they're entirely in compliance with what magic, in D&D, does on a regular basis.

As such, I think that they adapt just fine to stories.

6607579

I'm not sure what you mean by the "bonus lives" thing - I think that's a video game reference? - but Pinkie Pie isn't a comparable example of the point you're trying to make here.

Both are examples of something that never even pretends to make sense, and is offered without any explanation. Trying to explain it just calls attention to how absurd it is.

Magic items that allow for extradimensional storage don't do that, because they're entirely in compliance with what magic, in D&D, does on a regular basis.

I think D&D dropped the ball when it comes to extradimensional spaces. It is possible to make a wizard that fills all of their daily slots with those spells (daily slots is another game mechanic that sounds really dumb in a story). Said wizard will do just fine in combat, but the DM will spend a lot of time figuring out what happens if you stick a portable hole in a bag of holding and all that nonsense. My point is that, while it may be completely legal, that kind of magic use is heavy on the gaming and light on the story-telling.

6607729

Both are examples of something that never even pretends to make sense, and is offered without any explanation. Trying to explain it just calls attention to how absurd it is.

In terms of storytelling, the idea of having "multiple lives" in a video game indeed does not make sense. But then again, it's not expected to. Having extra lives is a non-diegetic part of the story, usually to the point that when a character "dies," the "extra life" has them starting that particular section of the game all over again, literally making it a "do-over" in terms of the narrative sequence of events; the instance where the character "died" is literally retconned out of existence.

The absurdity with Pinkie Pie is altogether different, since it has her effectively straddling the fourth wall. Whereas issues with video game 1-ups are explicitly outside of the narrative (at least presumably, since the narrative usually doesn't address them), it's ambiguous as to how Pinkie Pie's antics are perceived by those actually within the context of the story. Clearly something is happening - hence the other characters' reactions - but it remains unknown exactly what that is or how it works.

They're not the same, in other words, save only for being meta-contextual elements that have some level (albeit very different ones) of interaction with the narrative.

I think D&D dropped the ball when it comes to extradimensional spaces. It is possible to make a wizard that fills all of their daily slots with those spells (daily slots is another game mechanic that sounds really dumb in a story). Said wizard will do just fine in combat, but the DM will spend a lot of time figuring out what happens if you stick a portable hole in a bag of holding and all that nonsense. My point is that, while it may be completely legal, that kind of magic use is heavy on the gaming and light on the story-telling.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a wizard that fills all of their spell slots with extradimensional spaces will do fine in combat," though from your comment about the DM, I suspect you're referring to a wizard deliberately overlapping extradimensional spaces in order to use the catastrophic effects those tend to cause as an offensive tactic.

Leaving aside issues of viability, I'll admit that it can be burdensome to look up the rules about what happens when various extradimensional spaces overlap. That said, this - once again - is not so much an issue of extradimensional spaces as it is with having myriad rules to the point where there needs to be such a high degree of referencing the books. This would be true for any outre magical tactic; for that matter, it's true for plenty of common tactics also, just look at the grapple rules.

I'll also add that "spell slots," while not narratively intuitive, are in fact something that was invented in a story first and then ported over to D&D. There's a reason why that particular spell system is called "Vancian," in that it originates from the works of Jack Vance in his Dying Earth series of books (though, to be fair, several of the details are different). I'd need to double-check that, but I believe that D&D used that particular system since it was one of the comparatively few examples where the limits on how much magic could be used (leaving aside old pulp instances of magic requiring burdensome components and rituals, such as specific places, times, and unique components to cast), and so made for easy adaptation to a game.

To look at the broader point, though, there's a lot of instances of magic - and other parts of the game rules - being heavy on gaming and light on story-telling. That's because a lot of players tend to focus on gamism over narrativism, and if they find an effective combination will tend to spam it over and over so long as it remains useful. That's not conducive to creating a story, certainly, but D&D wasn't created to be a writer's aid; that said, using it in that way doesn't create particularly large problems that need to be overcome in terms of a sequence of events happening with any sort of narrative credibility, at least to my mind.

6607814

I'm not sure what you mean by "a wizard that fills all of their spell slots with extradimensional spaces will do fine in combat,"

It has been happening to me in the game I run. A single pit spell turned a near-invincible lich into such a minor threat that the party could take a break to discuss strategy right in front of him. It was embarrassing.:facehoof: And that's one of the weakest of that kind; some spells let you make whole pocket dimensions with customizable physics to banish your enemies to.

6607896 Those pit spells can be annoying against enemies that don't have much in the way of special movement options, but how does a "near-invincible lich" not have a fly spell (or magic item) on tap for exactly this sort of thing? (And for that matter, if the tactic is so supreme, why wasn't he using it to begin with?)

I thought Haversacks and Rope Tricks were fairly safe -- the inner extradimensional space is inaccessible but it doesn't explode or anything. That's weirdly specific to the portable hole.

6608238 You're technically correct, but there are some interesting points to consider. One is that, while the Pathfinder version of rope trick doesn't have any warnings against bringing other extradimensional spaces inside it, the 3.5 version does have a general warning that doing so is "hazardous."

Given that I'm using the game rules as guidelines, rather than absolute rules, that's something I'm keenly cognizant of. Throw in with that that a handy haversack's description says that it is "like a bag of holding" (which has its own note for what happens if it's placed within a portable hole), and you can start to see how there's room to be uncertain of what might happen if one is brought inside the other.

Now consider that that magic item (and possibly that spell as well) are from Everglow and so still relatively new to Lex, and it's easy to see why he considers the entire thing to be more uncertain than he's comfortable with.

Heward's Hoofy Haversack! :rainbowlaugh:

Ok, but seriously, there has been some progress since the days of the Crystal Empire. Trains, hydroelectric dams, refrigerators, I really doubt those were around in Lex's time. Yeah, progress has been a lot slower than it would be for earth (I'm guessing the Crystal Empire had middle ages technology, and modern Equestria has early 20th century tech, so ~600 years advancement in 1000 years?) Mostly explained by the lack of warfare which is one of the primary accelerators of technology. Magical development, however, is woefully underdeveloped. No magic trains, no magic communications (unless you count Celestia and Sunset's journal, but that shouldn't count if there's only like 1 copy). Part of the reason technological growth is slower compared to humanity is that the smartest unicorns invent new spells instead of new machines (think Twilight Prime versus Equestrian Girls Twilight), and Celestia has this established school of unicorns that should have formed a magical tech cluster centuries ago. The fact that it didn't is an indictment of Celestia's economic stewardship.

6611849

Ok, but seriously, there has been some progress since the days of the Crystal Empire. Trains, hydroelectric dams, refrigerators, I really doubt those were around in Lex's time.

You're making that assertion based on what, exactly? Because the only thing I can think of that would support this is the presumption of parallelism with Earth, and I don't think that idea has any credibility at all...not when Equestria and its ponies are so radically different from Earth in terms of cosmology and biology that any assumption that "it was like this on Earth, so it was probably like that on Equestria" strikes me as hard to believe. It's far more likely that any parallels in technological/cultural advancement are coincidental (or even just cosmetic) in nature.

There's some very, very anecdotal evidence to suggest that pony civilization on Equestria was at medieval levels during the events depicted in the Hearth's Warming Eve play (which seems to be long, possibly very long, before the events with Sombra and the Crystal Empire), but beyond that there's absolutely nothing that makes even the slightest intimation regarding the level of progress, nor the pace at which that progress was achieved at.

Personally, my take on it is that, once the three tribes came together and Equestria was founded, things advanced rapidly until they reached their current state, at which point things simply stopped advancing simply because life was already so idyllic that there became no real impetus to do more. If necessity is the mother of invention, then Equestria is a land with no mother. Outside of catastrophic incidents like Discord's (presumably brief) reign, there hasn't been any major threat to pony civilization that we've seen that would spur innovation or change, and even that only went so far as to prompt the discovery of a new artifact (the Elements of Harmony).

While Sombra's takeover of the Crystal Empire, and Luna's corruption, were both tragic, neither seemed to have any lasting impact greater than the formation of the Wonderbolts...and if one-half of the ruling diarchy betraying her family and attempting a coup can't do more than inspire the creation of a minor air force-turned-stunt team, then it's hard for me to believe that Equestria has much, if any, impetus for change.

6611957 Historical parallelism with Earth is very relevant to understanding the world of Equestria. Yes, the cosmology and biology of Equestria are significantly different, but there are also broad biological similarities that manifest themselves in historical parallels. Ponies are still social creatures with basic biological drives, and that manifests itself in the societies they create. It's not "cosmetic" or "superficial" that the three tribes of old bear such striking resemblance to peasants, soldiers and nobility, its because there are only so many ways you can organize a society at certain technological levels, and we can infer broad strokes about their development from our own history.

The train, for example, comes into being from the need to move large amounts of goods long distances at a rapid speed, something you see come into play in large developed nation states, where a unified authority can make people on one side of the country confident they will be able to buy and sell from people on the other side of the country. It's also highly dependent on a huge number of other industrial-age technology involving materials extraction and metallurgy, as well as a fairly advanced understanding of physics so the steam train doesn't blow up as soon as you activate it. You can't jump to trains without 50 other useful inventions in between a society would also have built, scaled and sold widely, and those take decades to dissipate throughout society. The existence of trains, and other major inventions like them (power lines, automobiles, the internet) serves as a helpful marker of the approximate level of technology and political/economic development of a society as a whole. The trains we see in the show aren't there in the pilot, and at first they are run on pony-power to save precious coal. Clearly trains are in their early stages in Equestria.

Now, trains were already advanced by the time we'ed harnessed hydroelectric dams and a lot of the necessary building techniques you see on display in Manehatten, because Equestria and Earth are very different, and things like the existence or practice of magic and controlled weather create different economic conditions and political needs. Trains can't tell you the exact year, but they can help you guess which century you're in, metaphorically speaking.

As for the gap between Hearth's Warming and the Two Sisters, I go off the handbook saying a teenage Celestia and Luna were appointed by an aging Starswirl the Bearded, who taught Clover the Clever and the Royal Sisters both. All the events we hear about are roughly a thousand years ago. I doubt they were actually in the same year, but I really doubt Luna ruled for more than a few decades before she got banished.

I do agree with you that Celestia and Luna are an extremely conservative force on society, focused on preserving the status quo much more than economic or technological growth. I think Celestia deliberately keeps the inefficent Pegasi Weather Industry running rather than just having wild weather with irrigation for crops and emergency weather management, for example, primarily to give jobs to all those Pegasi now that the army is smaller, and since new pegasi are always getting weather cutie marks, she keeps things the same so nobody has to see the industry they're destined to work in disappear. However, human governments were also anti-technology for much of history, that slows the rate of technological growth but doesn't stop it, there's too much money for too many people. As long as Celestia doesn't actually ban new tech outright, you get slow technological change and reduced but still real economic growth, which is what we see.

One final thought: Other countries, like maybe the minotaurs, could well be the ones developing the technology and selling them to Equestria, it would explain how the technology in health care is so advanced (something Celestia would support) while the weapons technology is so primitive (something I doubt Celestia is eager to spend her budget on.)

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