• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen 13 hours ago

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


After a harrowing and dangerous quest, Twilight Sparkle and her friends have recovered Excelsior's Ecstatic Codex from an evil zebra cult intent on ending the world. The Codex, one of the greatest works of dark magic ever forged, carries within its pages a limitless collection of vile, twisted spells, all specially devised for anypony who opens the cover.

What do you do with a book of dark magic? If you're Twilight Sparkle, you put it in your library. Because that's where books go.

After all, books are for everypony.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 203 )

Dang it, CiG. Why do you have to go and make good stories all the time?

Georg #2 · May 6th, 2016 · · ·

Those darned Aardvarks. They're everywhere.

That was good for a pre lunch laugh

To be fair, Rarity validated Twilights posistion at the end of the argument.

Thanks for the enjoyable read, might even make the reference section.

"Twilight, get rid of that book or I'll have Pinkie Pie read it."
There, problem solved. :eeyup:

Say what you want about zebra cultists, they don't lack for manners.

at least pinkie pie wasn't curious.

good tale of wisdom and knowledge.

Twilight frowned. “Applejack is a complex pony with a wide range of interests and characteristics, Rainbow. Not only is Honesty her Element and primary value, but she is also a loving, hardworking and determined mare. You can’t just condense her entire being down to ‘apples’.”

this got me. i had to take a moment and center myself.

I decided to take a look at the winner of the latest round of the Writeoff. I wasn't even surprised when I saw you on top. The story itself was a delight, though it is a shame that Twilight didn't have more way to stop ponies from checking out what they weren't supposed to. I was expecting something very unpleasant to happen to that zebra at the end... or maybe the Mane Six will need to clean up after the countermeasures. One of the two.

In any case, thank you for this.


Because that is what a CiG do, after all.

~Skeeter The Lurker

"She is the smartest stupid mare I’ve ever met!"

@Cold in Gardez...

1. I was very entertained from reading this. Have a well-earned Like.

2. I was a bit curious ( :rainbowhuh: ) to why a fashion designer would keep asbestos on-hand. Though given Rarity's less-than-safe Life as one of the Elements of Harmony, I suppose it is also not totally out of bounds for possibility either.

3. The Ponyville Dark Fire Department. Likely crewed by cowled zebras... :trollestia:

This reminds me quite a bit of Small Town Charm overall.

In both cases the humor primarily stems from characters reacting to absurd situations in a completely serious manner, and the comedy's fairly low key in each story. This one is almost two times as long though, and I'd say the first two-thirds or so dragged on quite a bit. I think it got to the point that I myself react to what's happening with a straight face, so all the humor essentially lost its footing — Ponyville is a madhouse after all, and you get used to the fact. :derpytongue2: Also, Fluttershy adopting extremely dangerous animals doesn't feel like much of a stretch. I think I was expecting more absurdity going in.

I do admit that I laughed wholeheartedly at the "Applejack is a complex pony" and dark fashion bits. :rainbowlaugh: The various throwbacks to the locusts and the "bail Rainbow out of jail" thing were also pretty funny. Actually, just about all the stuff I found humorous was towards the end, and the beginning was more of a run-of-the-mill slice of life, which is primarily why I felt kind of bored initially.

The whole exchange about censorship and the potential dangers of knowledge between Rarity and Twilight was touched lightly enough not to feel obstructive on the whole. Rarity tried being a bit Socratic, but Twilight had her flanks covered too well for that to work; it's not the book that unearths the unholy fashions from hell, but Rarity demanding the book to do that to prove her point. I also liked how they both stick to their principles either way.

Oh, and the writing's superb, as is the norm.

Good stuff all in all, even if I felt mostly ambivalent by the end. :twilightsmile:

Fluttershy shook her head. “There’s too many. He wandered into the Fireworks and Propane store.”

Please tell me I'm not the only one whose head went straight to King of the Hill?

The older I get, the more convinced I am that absolute, abstract freedom of speech is a terrible idea. So it's probably not surprising that I'm completely on the side of Team Marshmallow. :raritydespair:

(Also, it's a very good thing none of the CMCs happened to check the library's reference section...)

Am I the only one who's mind went to Stan Lee when I read the author of the book's name? My mind goes to odd places sometimes. Anyways, great story!

Oh, a little let down by the ending. I had expected Twilight to have the book trapped with some spells, have it explode and then reform on the reference shelf leaving the thief charred, unconscious, and possibly dyed some bright neon polka dot color.

An Omake:

Rarity simply glared at Twilight across the raft.

"Look," said Twilight, "I still stand by my principles!"

That Rarity's gaze remained fixed, tabled, and implacable was a credit to the white unicorn, given the somewhat rough seas the makeshift raft they were now on was bobbing on.

"Don't give me that! Sure, the cultists got the book back...again. I guess that means that I'll have to upgrade the security of the library...again. But that just prove's Celestia's point, not yours! She's been pushing me to get guards for months now, to 'join the Real Princess Club,' which I know isn't a real thing because Cadance and Luna both looked at me funny when I asked them about it."

Rarity didn't shift even a muscle, remaining fixed in place as Pinkie tightened a knot next to her.

"Come on! Even Applejack read the book, and you don't see anything happening because of that!"

The Earth pony mare pushed her hat back up on her head, not leaving her reclined position. "Hey, leave me outa this one, and I only read it to find out what the Evil Zebra Shaman Cultist of the Week was readin', not 'cause I was doin' any research for m'self."

Rarity flicked an ear, but that was mostly because of the small insect that buzzed her head more than any conscious choice.

"I suppose letting Rainbow Dash have another crack at the book was probably a bad idea..."

The aforementioned pegasus simply groaned, still face first on the raft, all six of her limbs spread out and mane and tail in even more disarray than usual. "Please..." came her somewhat shaky voice, muffled by the wooden planking beneath her, "Make the sunlight stop hurting my brain!"

Fluttershy was rubbing her childhood friend's back, "Now, now. You've had these 'corruption hangovers' enough times now that you know it will fade in a few hours."

While it was unquestionable that Rarity heard the interaction (given her proximity in the confines of the jerry-rigged boat), she made no acknowledgement of it save to, somehow, intensify her glare without moving a muscle.

Forcing a smile on her face, Twilight soldiered on, "...and I guess Pinkie reading it without supervision was, perhaps, possibly, maybe..."

The Party Pony, proving she was never going to let her spirit be stifled for too long, suddenly sat next to Rarity, mimicking the other pony's seated posture, crossed forelegs, glowering face, and even breathing perfectly, took on a nasally voice and blurted, "Worst...idea...ever...!" and then broke the spell by giggle-snorting at a joke only she could see.

Rarity finally moved, but only to raise an eyebrow. Had she spoken, Twilight theorized, the white mare would probably have simply said, "When even Pinkie thinks that Pinkie being Darth Pinkie because 'the Dark Side has cookies' is a Bad Thing(tm)..." with the further unspoken, "...then the idea is so bad there isn't even a scale to measure how bad an idea it is." But then, when two ponies are good friends like Rarity and Twilight, then some things don't need to be said out loud when a simple raised eyebrow will do.

Realizing her cheeks were hurting from how big she was forcing her smile to go, she started sweating a bit under the glare, and she wasn't referring to the sun.

"Yes, I know telling Spike not to let you tell Princess Celestia about the book being in the reference section was just a little hypocritical, but you don't know how she gets with these things! She once grounded me for a month! Just for trying to read Damien Dark's Deathly Tome of All Dark Magic! A month! I still maintain the historical accounts of ponies going insane just reading the preface was all rumor and hearsay!"

Spike, who was leaning over the side of the raft and looking a bit green where he shouldn't, simply glared at the alicorn before returning to contemplating the waves.

Rarity remained unmoved, save for returning her previously raised eyebrow to match it's mate.

The silence held, save for an occasional whimper or moan from Rainbow. It stretched into a minute, then two.

It was minute six when Twilight broke. "Ffffff~ine!" she groaned, "I'll contact Princess Celestia and have her put the book in her Restricted vault."

The groans of relief from around the raft cut the air, mingled with Applejack's muttered, "Finally!" Rarity said nothing, but simply smiled, allowed herself a blink, and moved over to comfort Spike.

I wish the CMC had gotten to read that book, that result sure would have been... interesting. :scootangel: Too bad Twilight's castle was still standing, wonder how long until one of those disasters would have brought it down.


I’ve already ready it.” She trailed off in a high mouse-like squeak.

I believe that is supposed to be read.

Nonetheless, that was a thoroughly entertaining comedy!

Locust plagues never go out of style!

Carry On

Twilight winced at the rough treatment. “I appreciate that concern, Rarity, but I don’t believe in destroying books, or hiding them. The citizens of Ponyville are responsible, upstanding ponies, and I trust their wisdom and discretion. That book is quite safe where it is.”

For the first few years of the nuclear age, UK nuclear bombs had a yield dial, and a bike lock for activation. the RAF officer in charge of arming the device kept the key on a chain around his neck. The quote effectively was, a officer of honor and integrity would only activate the device on command from his superiours, and not refuse the order.

Dime bar Aardvaarks?

And theres me thinking that such an restricted book would trigger a Dan class antitheft warning system.

But darling, you burnt him to a crisp.:duck:

That was the warning. :twilightangry2:

What are the odds that the incinerator is just the salamander finding gainful employment? Fried locust can be delicious.

Poor Rarity. Verbals duels with the Smartest Stupid Pony in the world, plagues of locusts, mild PTSD from dark magic tomes, and the dread prospect of introducing Hot Topic fashion into Equestria, just to prove a point.

Very amusing, and very well written. I particularly like the way you can actually feel just how precariously balanced on a knifes edge is both unicorns' sanity under the very calm surface of their conversation. It's hard to do this style of deadpan absurdity well, but you pull it off beautifully.

My usual rule of thumb for these things is that I'd rather have everyone know what's in the book than have only the book's owner know what's in the book. It levels the playing field against those who would abuse their knowledge. Still, I can understand why nuclear weapon designs are classified, and this book seems like it has similar potential.

Nice and funny. Even pretty realistic since I could see Twilight doing something like this... Maybe with better anti-theft precautions though.


7192931 That would be the best thing ever. :twilightsmile:

Please get the author to include that in the story.


A thoroughly enjoyable read, and an example of MLP FIM fanfiction at its finest.

Would have liked to have seen AppleJack develop a dark apple crop to sell to all the villains though. Mare's got to make some bits and villains got to eat. Why it's an entirely untapped market! And not supporting evil at all. She's just a neutral famer providing a service to ponies that others may not agree with who would probably just get their dark produce from somepony else anyway so there's no harm in it. Plus she's just going to defeat them anyway with the rest of the girls so it's really having them starve while foiling their plans just seems a mite cruel.

“I believe we would be fine,” Twilight said. “Whatever evils ponies make, ponies of good heart can unmake.”

"Eventually." You're missing that key word, Twilight. Nightmare Moon didn't turn back into Luna within a day after she transformed, you know.

Truly Twilight's devotion to the written word will preserve all good things

Rarity, buy an equally rare, completely safe, signed 1st edition, and hold it to ransom over a woodchipper. That's an ultimatum.

Edit: a flaming woodchipper that ejects into a vat of acid. Or just threaten to give it to Sweetie Belle, which is pretty much the same thing.

Nicely done as always CiG

Perhaps if there was a spell that PREVENTED the book from leaving the library... :facehoof:


Dime bar Aardvaarks?

I think you might be thinking of armadillos ("crunchy on the outside; smooth on the inside"). Aardvarks lack the armour and haven't starred in any Just So Stories


Cupcakes, anyone?:pinkiecrazy:


Personally, I'm surprised Rainbow didn't go with flaming hail instead of locusts. I mean locusts are just locusts. But flaming hail? It's ice—and it's on fire! How awesome is that?

It's hilarious how you turned the whole 'household termite infestation' thing on it's head with aardvarks. You have me concerned, though:

I was in the library helping Twilight with the castle’s aardvark infestation, and we were waiting for the traps to cool down

What? Cool down from what, exactly? What are you doing to those aardvarks, you monster! :fluttershysad:

A week had passed since their extra-dimensional escape. It was late afternoon, and the sunlight pouring through the huge crystal windows spanning her castle library cast warm pools on the floor that moved in time with the sun. Every quarter of an hour she stopped, shifted her cushion back into the center of the sunlight, and resumed reading.

Twilight Sparkle is now like a cat that can read books. Where can I buy one?


You have to be careful handling those traps. The outsides get super hot :(

Not nearly as hot as the insides, though.

I was expecting Twillight to say that nobody read the books in the reference section anyway.
They gatter dust usually.

Reference books cannot be checked out of the library.

As a librarian, I have had to state/explain this concept to so many people. While her thought process may be dumb, I understand where she is coming from.


Twilight frowned. “Applejack is a complex pony with a wide range of interests and characteristics, Rainbow. Not only is Honesty her Element and primary value, but she is also a loving, hardworking and determined mare. You can’t just condense her entire being down to ‘apples’.”

By saying that, even though in the form of Twilight, you have earned my utmost respect. Nice touch in the ending too!:twilightsmile:

As always, loved the story~! :raritywink:

as for who was right, I'm gonna have to go with Twilight on this one.
Probably because I wouldn't mind cracking that sucker open myself.

She could see it now. Little fillies and colts, eager for knowledge, visiting her library. But she had no knowledge! For Excelsior’s Ecstatic Codex was banished, censored, prohibited. And after the Codex, what other books might go? Could she stop anything from being banned? How would the shelves of her library look, emptied?

Oh come now, Twilight. You're a scholar: don't you recognize a fallacious Slippery Slope argument when you think one? :facehoof:


Not as bad as owls, anyway.

It's kind of funny that Twilight has personally broken into a guarded library in a castle in order to read about restricted magic before. I guess Pinkie Pie wasn't interested this time.

As amusing as this was, the entire story only one thing kept popping into my head, why aardvarks?

“Sorry, here you are cleaning and I’m tracking new locusts all over the place.”

Imagine hearing just this line out of context... come to think of it, you'd probably have the same reaction that I had on reading about the aardvark infestation.

This is your funniest story since "Naked Singularity"! Liked and Favorited. :yay:

She put the empty traps in a barrel of water to cool,

Are... are we thinking of the same aardvarks, here? What the hay?! :rainbowlaugh:

Awesome work, well done.

Login or register to comment