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I'm just here to write.


The minotaur business tycoon, Well-To-Do, is likely dead, his dastardly schemes to build an amusement park in an inconvenient location foiled. All is well for the deerfolk of Thicket again. As the plants recede and the ponies go home happy, Celestia hangs back a while. She and her old friend, King Aspen, still have some matters to discuss.

An epilogue to the IDW comics arc, Revenge of Everfree.

Part of the Borderworld.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 75 )

Incidentally, I just want to state for the record that Aspen in this fic was right, and that Discord totally was behind everything.

I never read any of the comics, but I did hear this arc was pretty bad. Anyway, good story!

Knowing this fandom even if Aspen was cast as the villain the fandom would have still found him sympathetic and find ways to blame everything on Celestia.

That being said, I enjoyed this and I will admit Celestia in this is pretty close to how I picture her; calm and kind but mess with her little ponies then all bets are off.

As fixfics go, I embrace this one! :yay:

You raise some good points about Aspen's character. I wish I had thought of them; then again, I wasn't really impressed with the comic's version of deer who represent the MLP universe's version of elves, but I won't get into that.

I particularly liked how you addressed the issue of how foreign dignitaries might feel about Celestia's decision to free Discord. This is a subject that I haven't seen addressed nearly enough in the fandom and only occurred to me recently. I have my own ideas for how she manages to prevent this from becoming a catalyst for a world war that I am sorely tempted to share right now, but I think I will save it for future stories.


How other nations feel about Celestia's bottomless well of forgiveness would definitely be a topic worth examining. I'm not sure I could do it myself, however, beyond what I already did here with Aspen. The world I write in is not one which lends itself well to such stories.

I hated that comic because Aspen invokes 'tic for tac' when... Mare Do Well's scheme wasn't explicitly to leave animals or deer without a home... they were simply in the way. Just like the ponies were just 'in the way' of Aspen's aggressive replanting.

You know, Aspin is fortunate Celestia rules Equestria and not G1 Majesty, she wouldn't have been so merciful.

If you don't understand how a character can be an antagonist without being a villain, you have a lot to learn about, well, life, really.

I mean, not that that comic arc was great literature either.


I recognise that they are separate concepts, but the comic treated Aspen as neither of them, and I think he works better if he is both.

Wait, if Yggdrasil/Crystal Tree/Deus Ex Machina is in his territory, then wouldn't he be allowed to destroy it as his property?


Well, the Tree is right by the Castle of the Two Sisters. I'm guessing that Aspen wouldn't have ever let that castle be constructed back in the day if he were around at the time, so my assumption is that Celestia had prior claim on the land that the Tree occupies, and now Aspen is forced to respect that, regardless of whether the land is inhabited.

Nicely done on all counts, explaining many of the arc's issues and offering some tantalizing future possibilities. Aspen truly comes off as frightening, not just because of his hidebound nature but because of his total inability to comprehend that which is not him. Treating "the forces of Chaos" as an organized system single-mindedly devoted to dismantling Order completely misses the point of what Chaos is.

Definitely looking forward to seeing what comes of this.


Aspen is a firm believer in Sparkle's razor - "Never attribute to coincidence that which can be adequately explained by Discord."


I love specially the way Celestia points every aspect of the King's hipocrisy, and the possibility of sending Discord himself to enact the punishment. :trollestia:

If I were in Discord's methaphorical shoes, I may as well grant Aspen his wish and remove every last trace of Chaos of his kingdom. If you know physics, you know too, exactly what that would mean.

7078202 Well, the claim is just that though: Prior, as in, she doesn't have it anymore. If she had, the whole exchange between them would have been entirely pointless, because if it were just another part of Equestria (like the Crystal Empire), he wouldn't have been an equal, but a clear subordinate. At least if I uderstood the story correctly.

(I don't really get the Cosmic Councel thing, but it's likely Celestia is the strongest there too, given that she's too obnoxious to not have been killed otherwise. >.>)


Aspen is no subordinate. In this story, he refers to his kingdom as an enclave, meaning that Thicket is a sovereign power that he rules, but that Equestria still owns everything outside of and around it. He's essentially surrounded. Think Vatican City, if the Vatican still had a really uneasy relationship with Italy. However this situation might have come to be, that is the case now, and it's a large part of why Aspen can't just do whatever the hell he wants.

As for the Cosmic Council, it's kind of not really important to what these two are doing here, but it's actually a thing from canon. Specifically, Under the Sparkling Sea. We don't know what exactly it is, but I interpret it here as a council of beings like Celestia and Aspen - immortal monarchs who hold a significant place in the world. In my interpretation, everyone holds equal power on the Cosmic Council, although Celestia technically owns the realm where they meet, in the same way that she technically owns Tartarus.

7078477 Oh. Ok, I misunderstood the situation: I thought that he didn't have the right opposed to Celestia playing a round of "Obey or Die". From that aspect, it does make a lot more of sense (and explains why Aspen would prefer Equestrians to be lawful instead of harmonious).

Makes one wonder if Discord has a seat in that council too... He is for all we know immortal and he did rule Equestria...


I imagine that he doesn't right now, but he'd certainly be eligible for a position in future.

"That is not fair," Celestia said, pointedly. "That is cruel, and assigns responsibility to the whole for the actions of a few. You cannot treat ponies like we're a hive mind. I should hope that you have a concept of individual responsibility."

"So you blame rogue elements for the slight your species has committed? I am not surprised. Those that carry the stink of chaos on them always do, and I would point to this incident as one of many reasons why you should abandon harmony. There is much less room for disobedience in order. But very well. I am sorry for instructing the forest to encroach upon your towns and cities."

And then a few days later Discord suddenly is allowed to cause chaos in his lands, Aspen caused problems for the ponies and blames all ponies for it. So ponies send Discord to deal with his Deer for his own actions. Fair is Fair is it not?

Man that series was one of the few I absolutely loathed, something which is becoming rather common with the comics. I am just quite glad they take place in another continuity of their own.

Good story, interesting you chose the king of the deer for the cosmic council so that means King Leo also exist in this verse.

I prefer Celestia and Aspen remain friends and NOT enemies, thank you.

I must say, I did like this story. It was nice to see King Aspen get called out on what he did. Also

"you do remember that your mind magic doesn't work on me, don't you?"

"It is a passive effect, not directed towards you. It was to keep those mares complacent so that they would assist in removing the minotaur interloper."

If this happen in the Comics, that would explain the Mane Six's OOC behavior. And while I'm not fan of making a 'Jerk into a villain' Trope, King Aspen could have been a better villain if the comic arc was put into the hands of a better writer.

PS, you just got yourself a new follower.


Glad to have you onboard.


For instance, assuming that Pinkie Pie does Discord's bidding, and totally missing her strong sense of honor. Aspen's problem is that he assumes that everyone is either exactly like him, emotionally weak, or evil. Neither Celestia nor Pinkie Pie are weak nor evil, though Pinkie's a bit immature (to be precise, emotionally neotenous). Celestia in particular is not at all weak when it comes to defending her ponies, she's merciful, which is another matter entirely. Given her power and intelligence, it's a bad idea to push her past her point of mercy.

And then everything made sense in the world.

Now, explain The Good, The Bad and the Ponies.


I'm just going with FOME's "magical gas leak" idea for that one; nothing else can explain the kind of stupidity witnessed in that arc.

7961715 Fair enough. Even genius has its limits.

Hmmm, let's see... access to mind control magic (blue), has domain over nature and has plant-controlling magic (green), and a dedication to order two such an overwhelming degree that it leads to complete inflexibility (white). And he completely despise is chaos (blue, white). So let's see... wow, a Bant villain, that's pretty novel.

Also, wow, Aspen. Telling Celestia she should've murdered her sister. You're lucky she didn't kick your ass right there.


Alas, your MTG references are lost on me, although I'm sure 7078215 would appreciate your observations.

Glad you liked it.


You're welcome. :)

Good job on calling Aspen out on his actions. As for his threat to Luna, someone is begging for his bloodline to end.

Honestly, the comic has a crapton of problems in terms of writing...

I am someone who had problems with the deer arc also absolutely adored the deer from the comics. As such I absolutely LOVE the amount of characterization you give Aspen here. He would've been a much more interesting antagonist than Well-To-Do, IMO.

Love it; thank you for writing this! <3


He was already the most interesting thing in the comic even without being an antagonist. It's why it frustrates me how they wasted the potential of his character. Good to see you liked the fic, though.

Personally I was more a fan of Blackthorn in the end, but I can agree with you on Aspen. I'll be honest; this fic kinda enlightened on his character and made me look at him in a different light, and I really like it!


Hey, thanks. I'm happy it did that for you.

That comic is part of the reason I stopped reading the MLP comics. The chieftain of this little village in the Everfree attacks Canterlot, abducts the Princesses. All without even bothering to make sure that his letters were actuality being delivered. And he gets off scot-free!

Some of the comics are alright. But there are so many not-so-good ones, I gave up on them.


True that. Though, it took me a while longer to give up on the comics, myself. I stopped reading a little after the fiftieth issue, when they started doing a bunch of tie-ins to season seven. Much as I dislike Revenge of Everfree, some of the arcs that came after it were way worse.

Heh, I hadn’t thought about that arc in a while. It’s nice to see Celestia give a good smackdown (verbal or otherwise) for once. And also to have a new ficverse to binge.


Oh man, if you actually plan to go through the whole thing, you'll be in for a ride.

Ooh, threatened with Discord! I love it when Celestia gets dangerous.

You did something good with Aspen there. I am eager to see him back in your stories.

Celestia frowned. "No, you didn't. You expanded the borders of the forest without my permission and you specifically targeted Equestrian settlements while doing so, for no other reason than to provoke me to act. And don't you dare claim that the expansion was indiscriminate, because Canterlot is nowhere near the Everfree's borders. The plants could only reach that far up the mountain because you made them."

"Ponies helped carry out Well-To-Do's schemes, so ponies were made to pay for them. It was not malice. It was about what was fair."

"That is not fair," Celestia said, pointedly. "That is cruel, and assigns responsibility to the whole for the actions of a few. You cannot treat ponies like we're a hive mind. I should hope that you have a concept of individual responsibility."

Sorry to say that, but this is where your version of Celestia turns into a huge hypocrite.

Aspen: "Dear Celestia... let's reflect for a minute on how the Well-To-Do scheme came to be, and what role you played in this. Yes, that's right: I'm not blaming the ponies working for Well-To-Do, I very specifically blame you and your administration. Well-To-Do employed ponies, but more importantly, his company is Equestria-based and operates by Equestrian laws. As I see it, there are two possibilities here. Either your administration had literally no clue what Well-To-Do was doing on the border between a neighboring country and your own territory and that it would provoke a diplomatic incident, then someone in your administration is utterly incompetent and needs to be replaced. Or you did know about it and decided to turn a blind eye, then that was in and of itself a hostile act towards us. Either way, we do have the right to defend ourselves against hostile incursion. And it's not like this is an isolated incident either. Do you really think I do not know about your people's attempted land grab on Buffalo territory not too long ago? Did you know nothing about that either? Maybe you really are incompetent. Or maybe it's Manifest Harmony - what a pathetic euphemism for brutal imperialism. Who knows?

As for your demand to me to not hold ponies responsible collectively, you are the head of Equestria's government and thus represent them. If you risk a war against us, whether by neglect or by malice, you represent them in that as well. Your demand is also hypocritical as hell. You seem to forget that I am not only capable of mind manipulation, but also of mind reading. Do you really think your thought of using Discord as a threat against my people would slip by me? Do you really think that if you let Discord loose in Everfree, I would be the only one to suffer? Do you think I am so prideful that I would only take it as a personal threat and not a threat against my people? With this threat, you admit that you hold collectives responsible for the actions of individuals just as much as I do."

(Disclaimer: No, I don't actually subscribe to the Tyrant Celestia interpretation. Celestia and her foreign policies were just handled really badly in the comic, without regard for the implications. The entire comic was a bad rehash of the Buffalo episode when it comes down to it, and with a less optimistic outcome - but this fact actually has a lot of really unfortunate implications. The Buffalo episode was a single diplomatic incident as far as the show is concerned, and in isolation, it's absolutely believable that it originated in a misunderstanding - but in the context of the Everfree comic, you have two very similar incidents, and that begins to paint a picture of Equestrian foreign policies - a very unfortunate picture. It's a good thing the comics aren't treated as canon for the show.)

Oh yeah, one more thing:

Celestia shook her head and sighed.

"You have respect for the letter of the law, but not its spirit. Ironic, considering the entity you worship."

I have no idea what you mean by that, but it sounds like something I would like to see expanded upon. :twilightsmile:

Despite my criticism in my first comment, I did like your story, by the way - and I did give it a fave and an upvote. This was a good read and one of the most interesting takes on the Everfree deer I've seen in fanfiction so far.

Given Bant's rigid caste system, I'm actually surprised WotC hasn't introduced Bant villains yet.

Yeah, I feel similar about the comic. I think it was really badly executed, but I still like the deer quite a bit. In fact, I founded the Everfree Deer group and the Blackthorn fan group. In fact, I think Blackthorn was the most well-done deer character in that arc.

Comment posted by Aristagtle deleted Mar 9th, 2019


Sorry to say that, but this is where your version of Celestia turns into a huge hypocrite.

An interesting perspective. Though it makes a few incorrect assumptions (such as that Aspen would be aware of the buffalo), it's an argument that I could easily see him raising in slightly different circumstances (and if I'd characterised him slightly differently). There may indeed be a point to make that as the ruler of all Equestria, Celestia is in some way responsible for what Well-To-Do's company were doing, and given the deer's devotion to order, that's certainly something they'd believe in. Celestia, of course, does not take that perspective. Well-To-Do's actions were already illegal, and she would've done something about him if she'd been made aware of his actions, but he and his company were actively hindering any effort to make her aware, not just intercepting communications from the deer, but also operating under the radar in general. He was a rogue element. He may be Equestria's responsibility to deal with, but they wouldn't see themselves as responsible for his decisions to attack the deer.

Aspen does see them as responsible, but his response is actually weird in several ways, owing to his ideology/religion. Firstly, though he does have a right to defend himself and his people, in his mind, he did not actually exercise that right until Blackthorn's attack. Well-To-Do's company was left unharmed by the deer until then, because he believed it would be a violation of Celestia's laws for him to attack them. Yet despite this, he still sent the plants after both Canterlot and Ponyville. This is the second strange thing. Although the Equestrians understandably interpreted this as an attack, in Aspen's mind, this was not a military response to a hostile action by Equestria. This was simply collecting compensation, and in his eyes, it was both legally and morally justifiable, because he does hold ponies collectively responsible as a species for Well-To-Do's actions. If he only held Celestia's administration responsible, his "attack" would've been limited to Canterlot. His decision to go after Ponyville as well only really makes sense in the context of the deer's authoritarian beliefs, in which there is no distinction between the individual and the state. To them, the actions of individuals are always the responsibility of the state, and because all individuals are representatives of the state, any individual can also be held responsible for the state's actions.

This is also the reason for what you term as Celestia's hypocrisy. To the deer, if Celestia interpreted Aspen's actions as hostile, then sending Discord to terrorise their entire civilization would be an appropriate response, and that is the fear that Celestia preys on here. Of course, tellingly, she never actually said that. That's just the assumption that Aspen would make, and which you made as well, it seems. Her actual threat was that she would send Discord to depose Aspen, and if she ever really did send Discord to Thicket, it would be for just that. I know Discord isn't known for his mercy or restraint, but if Celestia was able to keep him from terrorising Equestrian citizens, then she could get him to hold back with the deer as well. In fact, given how powerful Aspen is, Discord is probably the only one who could depose him without collateral damage to Thicket.

I have no idea what you mean by that, but it sounds like something I would like to see expanded upon. :twilightsmile:

The entity referred to here is Order, one of the three Eternals (the other two being Discord and the Tree of Harmony). I wrote quite extensively about him in this essay, if you want to learn more.

Despite my criticism in my first comment, I did like your story, by the way - and I did give it a fave and an upvote. This was a good read and one of the most interesting takes on the Everfree deer I've seen in fanfiction so far.

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for your comments as well. I found them very engaging.


Her actual threat was that she would send Discord to depose Aspen, and if she ever really did send Discord to Thicket, it would be for just that.

In that case, your Celestia isn't hypocritical, she's just mind-bogglingly thoughtless and irresponsible. Even after his reformation, Discord still has a habit of interpreting rules and orders in a very loose way so as to ensure his own fun, and he was not above risking the well-being of ponies for his own amusement even after his reformation by not telling them about the vines. Not to mention his powers aren't exactly known for being precision strikes either. There is no way he wouldn't find a way have his fun with such an order. Celestia simply has no reason to believe that Discord wouldn't make the deer suffer. Not to mention that the loss of their leader in and of itself has potential to cause them harm - in particular because there are certain "rogue elements" in Equestria that have reason to take advantage of such a situation. Not to mention that given Everfree's fear of chaos, Discord of all people disposing of Aspen would cause both grief and insult to Everfree's population, and possibly traumatizing terror to the point of shattering their cultural backbone (the Heart of the Forest is just as much a cultural cornerstone of Everfree as Celestia as ruler over the sun is one of Equestria, and the deer would experience sheer and utter helplessness against the one thing they fear the most). Not to mention that I haven't even addressed the issue of creating a power vacuum yet (and don't tell me Discord would somehow install a new ruler on Celestia's behalf). Not to mention the psychological effect it has on a nation if its leaders are installed and deposed at the whims of the leader of another nation, which essentially destroys their national souvereignity and turns them into a puppet state. There is no way around this: Using Discord as an assassin would cement your Celestia as either an evil tyrant or as careless and irresponsible to the point of political incompetence (or both). Keep in mind that I had my Aspen say that Celestia is one of these two.

Of course, I can hardly accuse your Celestia of blaming the people of Everfree for Aspen's actions if they're so far below her notice to begin with that she doesn't even consider how her actions could affect them. So she wouldn't be a hypocrite. It would still make her either a sociopath or an irresponsible child though - and also kind of a racist. Now of course, I actually do believe that Aspen is also incompetent (and I actually compared him to Ulfric Stormcloak once, who I believe is the worst possible choice for Skyrim), and as I see it, the only even remotely competent leader we see among the deer is Blackthorn. But that doesn't mean that Celestia didn't fail with Well-To-Do, and her failure is one crucial part of what caused this situation to begin with.

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