• Member Since 1st Sep, 2015
  • offline last seen Apr 9th, 2017

The Minister of Scones

"You can use that cupboard over there labelled 'Good French Things'. It's empty."



Ballpoint Smudge has one job. It's not an easy one, but it's one he's determined to do to the best of his ability. The only problem is that as soon as he meets Twilight Sparkle, everything he's ever learned about princesses goes flying out of the window. He was expecting her to be regal, haughty and bossy. Instead she's warm, friendly and welcoming. Perhaps she's genuinely a nice pony? Nah. It's got to be a test.

Based on an idea by Ambrose Bierce, from his excellent Devil's Dictionary. Just look up 'Insurance'.

Featured at 12.30 GMT on 15/06/2016. I am very pleased indeed about that.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 186 )

Short and sweet, and best of all the ending was a pleasant surprise.

Ten / 10 - ME

Surely Twilight is well-read enough to understand the concept of utility of wealth, which says that one's first bits, the ones that pay for food and shelter, are more valuable than one's last bits, that pay for luxuries. And so one pays some of those last bits for an insurance policy, one that protects from a loss that takes away those crucial first bits.

Of course, Twilight Sparkle is a special case, given she could get whatever she wants from Princess Celestia. So she personally doesn't need insurance.

In reality, however, Ponyville is such a great risk that it would be uninsurable. Parasprites, Ursa Minors, Tirek, Discord, timber wolves, crashing rainbow-maned pegasi... the risk factors are abundant.

Nice one. Wouldn't be surprised if it gets featured! I didn't expect this (where we go into Ballpoint's backstory about his cutie mark and his true calling) from a story where someone tries to sell Twilight insurance, but it works! Good job!

That, and she'd successfully parried yet another attempt to insure her castle. The fifth this month, if memory served. Though Applejack would probably have disapproved of her 'feign ignorance' tactics – indeed, she felt rather guilty herself – she had to admit that it certainly helped her counter-argument, and squeezed a little amusement out of what would otherwise have been a fairly dull encounter.


That's probably why insurance has only just been invented in the pony world. You'd need a lot of captital for it to be plausible. The financial argument is true, but I think that, as you say, Twilight's credit is probably good enough. The last time her house was destroyed, she grew another less than an hour later.

7305366 Thanks!
7305442 Much appreciated.
7305590 Yeah, it took me a while to actually make it work, but I think the time payed off. Thanks for the feedback.

7305769 Twilight is a little bit evil, I'm afraid.

7306251 I really didn't expect that! Thanks to everybody and -pony who read this story!

Selling insurance to Twilight or anyone in Ponyville at all is like taking a policy out on the Enterprise The Starship, only people that would actually look at you and not die laughing is from the government! They're the only ones dumb enough not to realise the liability of even TALKING to them.

So, who else only had to read the title to be able to burst out laughing?

That makes me want to read a story where Celestia is in a lot of debt, and not wanting to use the country's coffers for her personal debt, tries to pawn off filly Twilight.

"Small purple unicorn filly for sale! She's adorable, good at several types of magic, and doesn't require a lot of attention. Buy now, and it's 25% off!"

wlam #10 · Jun 15th, 2016 · · 1 ·

For the millionth time since he'd left Canterlot, he ran through the royal protocol he'd been briefed on: bow low once, avoid making eye-contact (that would make his job tricky, but rules were rules), and refer to her as 'your majesty' upon addressing her for the first time and 'ma'am' thereafter.

He didn't pay very good attention, apparently. Twilight is a princess, not a queen, and she definitely isn't the queen of England.

7306415 I dithered endlessly over the title.

7306420 That gave me a shock, too. I now regret not calling it 'Somepony tries to insure Twilight's castle'.
7306430 Since they don't have a queen, I just assumed that princesses get only the very best treatment.

Nicely written.

He looked up at the vast crystal structure. The vast crystalline structure didn't look back. That's not how crystalline structures work. It did, however, loom rather threateningly.

I think I would've preferred if the story had been about someone trying to sell Twilight Insurance - as in, insurance against Acts of Twilight. I think the world needs that a whole lot more.

Since they don't have a queen, I just assumed that princesses get only the very best treatment.

Makes as much sense as anything, I suppose.

7306474 Especially considering that in the fanfic-verse, Twilight messing up spells usually leads to mass-necromancy and/or complete cosmic obliteration.

Because infinite scope is best scope.

Nice characterization, quick pace, and you even managed to put in a friendship lesson that didn't seem tacked-on in the slightest. I was giggling the whole way through, and there were a few moments that made me laugh out loud ("You can lead a cow to water, but you can't teach an old dog nuclear physics.").

Is Crystal Jackpot based on CJ from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin?

Sounds like the kind of thing I'd want to be insured against.

P.s. A bonus scone goes to anyone who can tell me whom the character Crystal Jackpot is based on

Trump. :ajbemused:

7306576 I taught my old dog nuclear physics! Ha!

*New Jersey explodes*

In my defense, I never said it was a good idea.

I wonder if any sane insurance company would actually WANT to insure ANYTHING in Ponyville...

7306420 One would think Celestia would only pawn Twilight, in order to make a few short-term payments and pick up some delayed revenue, with the intent of redeeming her next week.

"This week on Pawn Stars, we go behind the scenes with our cameras and catch the stories behind the names and faces. Pardon me, can I ask you a few questions?"

Princess Celestia nodded at the camerapony. "We have a few moments before the gentlestallion behind the counter is ready for us, so I suppose we can answer a few. My name is Princess Celestia, and this is my student, Twilight Sparkle. I just need a short-term loan to cover some repairs to the school and a few Minotaur bonds coming due, and Twilight volunteered to assist. I was hoping to get a thousand bits out of her, and once tax revenues come in at the top of the month, I'll be right back to pick her up."

"I see. So, why do you have her bound and gagged, with a magic restricting device over her horn? And does this have anything to do with the record eight explosions that have rocked your school in the last month?"

"Nine," said Celestia with only the fractional narrowing of her lips. "We had one just this morning, right before Twilight volunteered."


"I see. So, why do you have her bound and gagged, with a magic restricting device over her horn? And does this have anything to do with the record eight explosions that have rocked your school in the last month?"

"Nine," said Celestia with only the fractional narrowing of her lips. "We had one just this morning, right before Twilight volunteered."

My Little Libertarian: The Free Market is Magic.

Great story! Though, unrelated, from the feature box, it looked like it said "Somepony Tries to Sell Twilight" :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

Heh, insuring anything in ponyville is a fool's game. That is underwriting no firm wants to undertake.

Ballpoint really did blow it here. He should have asked for a position as her editor. He probably could have gotten it.

7306731 That's exactly what I was thinking! I was all, "Is this some sort of T rated thing? Or is it a comedy ransom kinda thing?"

That would be a good story actually. Someone barging into Twilight's castle and says "I'm gonna sell you!" and Twilight is like "Excuse me?" and then hilarity ensues.

7307086 Lol, that would!!! Poor Twilight though lol :rainbowlaugh:

Well, this was a fun story, and I'm glad I came across it.

Personally, I have a hard time imagining insurance companies taking off in Equestria, or at least not in Ponyville based on the sheer number of disasters it has experienced. The only way I can see insurance companies doing remotely well in Equestria is if Ponyville is a massive exception, and that most of the time Equestria is relatively like the real world (i.e.-no weekly improbable disasters).

It's Peter Parkers chief editor from Spider-Man!

When I saw this in the feature box, the title read "Somepony Tries To Sell Twilight." :twilightoops:
Needless to say, I was very concerned.

:trollestia: <Insurance... The one system that makes people hope for catastrophe!)

Honestly, when I clicked and saw the "Insurance", I was slightly disappointed.

Ah well, I doubt I could afford my own princess, anyway.

I'm somewhat legitimately curious just how insanely high the rates would be to make insuring anything remotely related to Ponyville worth it for the insurance company.

I think the Mane 6 would pay out the flank if insurance was a thing in Equestria, just by sheer 'virtue' of reputation.

Kind of a dry read, and the way you write Twilight feels a bit off. It was okay, but not great. But that's just my opinion.

I feel that this story would work a lot better without the weather-report-style opening and the flashback to the guy's boss at the insurance company. When the flashback happened, I found myself wanting nothing more than to get back to the present. It was in the way of the story.

Twilight kind of implies insurance itself is a scam, which really isn't true. The reason it's dumb in her case is the irreplaceable nature combined with the distressingly high likelihood of destruction; the premiums would be nonsensical. Also the government would probably handle any damage to it anyway.

Really awesome. Could be a episode on FiM if Faust thought so and insurance is a thing in Equestria..

I'd have preferred Jackpot as Cave Johnson rather than Trump. :pinkiesick:

Jackpot was famous for firing ponies.

Waitaminute :trixieshiftleft: Would you say that "jackpot" represents winning in a game of chance, much like drawing a "trump" card? :trixieshiftright:

Anyway, how is any insurance company in Equestria still afloat despite being crazy enough to sell insurance in Ponyville? Seriously, they have some kind of disaster almost every weekend, and a major monster attack at least twice a season year, like clockwork! :trollestia:

“Theft, then.”

But who's gonna steal a cast---


oh nevermind.

“So what if a spell went wrong, or a monster attacked, and destroyed some of your, um...” He glanced around, looking for inspiration. “Books?”

At this, Twilight's entire body went rigid, and her eyes wide.

She's definitely not over the library yet.

her voice little more than a hoarse whisper

horse whisper?

“Yes, please.”
“One lump or two?”

Oh look, it's Professor Chronotis! :pinkiehappy:

Well, we assess the area and its history, local demographic trends, weather conditions and climate, the castle's security and structural soundness, the allure to thieves, charlatans and super-villains

Twilight is not gonna afford that premium.

7307791 Very very high premiums.

Most amusing. I particularly like Mr Jackpot, he reads like something out of Jeeves And Wooster.

I seem to remember someone wrote a story in which it was claimed that Princess Celestia subsidised Ponyville's insurance rates, in particular the ones headed "Act Of CMC", out of her personal entertainment budget. :trollestia:
Can anyone remember which story that was, and who wrote it? I seem to remember it being rather good.

“Let me see your cutie-mark.”

Obediently, Ballpoint stood up and turned to one side, allowing full view of his mark, a ballpoint pen leaving a trail of ink behind it.

"Show me dat plot."

"Well, whatever it takes to get the sale..."

Twilight, all of ponyville is one gigantic insurance scam, yes it's very difficult to value a literal one of a kind crystal castle but seriously the coverage will pay out before the premiums.

The whole town is like if new Orleans were built on top of a fault line in tornado alley next to an active volcano

7307919 I know letters of an irritated princess does it

They should call them Acts of Discord rather than Acts of Celestia. Although he might see it as a challenge.

7308490 Yes. I now want a story where he finds out that they call them 'acts of discord' so he goes around causing them...

Well, if nobody else makes it by the end of the week, I might give it a shot.

This story was great! I really liked every aspect of it, from Twilight's out-logic of the insurance to helping the pony find his true calling in life.

7308549 Ha! Send me a message if you do that.

7307788 Came close with the C.J., but it's probably Charles Jefferson from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

I found this amusing. So, I liked and faved. :yay:
Have a moustache! :moustache:

"So let me get this straight: this little town regularly gets attacked by various monsters and villains, including but not limited to: Nightmare Moon, an Ursa Minor, parasprites, Discord, you, a dragon, a flood of Pinkie Pies, a unicorn using the Alicorn Amulet, timberwolves, some evil vines, a unicorn possessed by a magic book, Tirek, a bugbear, and several times by this group that call themselves the 'Crusaders'?"
"Err... that's correct."
"And a portion or even the entire town has been levelled to the ground several times by these threats? And now Discord lives here? And prior to living in this castle, you lived in the Ponyville library, which was basically a tree filled with dusty tinder? And you lived there with a fire breathing dragon? Oh wait, I'm sorry, it wasn't dusty because you had Spike doing the dusting. You know, the baby dragon that breathes fire when he sneezes? ... But I suppose that's in the past. Now you live in a giant crystal castle, not much that's flammable here... And you live in here with a gem eating dragon... That can grow to the size of a giant dragon in less than a day."
"I'm sorry Princess, but there's no way this can be profitable." *runs

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