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Carrot Top enters a farming competition in order to try to win the prize money, which she needs to complete a major business contract. Sadly, Sweet Apple Acres has always been the only Ponyville entrant, and Applejack is furious that Carrot Top is trying to compete against her. Carrot Top thus has to deal with hostility from the largest farm in the region, as well as the costs of competing, which quickly promise to bankrupt her if she doesn't win. When a couple of con-artist unicorns begin to interfere in the match, it becomes even harder for the poor, beleaguered carrot farmer. Can Carrot Top and her friends save the farm, fend off the con-artists, and avoid going to war with the Apple Trust? Lunaverse story.

Chapters (12)
Comments ( 400 )

For those who aren't familiar with the Lunaverse: http://www.fimfiction.net/index.php?view=group&group=760 . It's an AU world where Celestia went evil instead of Luna. Trixie is the Element of Magic, and other background characters from the show are the other Elements. It's a shared universe started by RainbowDoubleDash, and there's plenty of other stories in it if you're interested.

Applejack, I hope you lose BIG! And I suspect even if it was one of the smaller competitions she'd object, too. Go, Carrot Top!

Yay! More Carrot Top! And Trixie - on the surface - being genuinely nice! She may have some plan, of course, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact if Trixie's managed to learn how to make genuine "everypony benefits" plans, that's be great for...well, everypony.

Two things, one minor, one Minor.

Now, in celebration of our upcomin’ victora

Pretty sure this is a typo. I say "pretty sure" because even with Applejack's country drawl, I don't think that she'd say "victora." I only point it out because her drawl actually makes the typo more noticeable.

If it weren’t fer that disaster fund, there would have been a lot more ponies without homes fer a lot longer.

This is the Minor one. The Ursa Minor didn't actually destroy homes...it was led to the center of town, wherein it proceeded to smash all the stalls that had been set up for the Eventime, but it actually didn't do any damage to any of Ponyville's homes.

(though I've been considering retconning it to have somehow destroyed Trixie's front window).

I hope this doesn't cause too many major problems...if you want to get the "major damage" idea across, it was right next to the town hall.

L!Applejack has trouble with the concept of friendly competition, doesn't she?

819836: Fixed the 'victora' typo (oops!) and changed it so that AJ's talking about broken workplaces, not homes (Luna did say thousands of bits in property damage happened, so I think that at least some buildings probably got hit pretty hard).

Glad you're enjoying it! I do like when Trixie can be genuinely nice. There may be a hidden plan (*whistles innocently*), but so far, at least, she's being quite helpful!

819860: I think she has trouble with the concept of 'friendly' in general. Business and friendship don't mix all that often with her.

You know, really, really, hope that AJ gets some sense bucked into her. Seriously, in these stories she comes off as either a little stupid, or borderline mafiaish. Doesn't help that the Apple Family is called the Apple Trust here.

If it doesn't happen here, I'd hope that Mane!6 AJ would do it in the crisis crossover...except that I realized that that AJ is probably almost as bad in some ways...that or Mane!Sweet Apple Acres really IS borderline in the red all the time. (Seriously, I'm not a farmer, but if an apple farm relies on seasonal hoofmade cider sales to keep it afloat, something's wrong with their business practices...)

819886: I'm trying to portray her as sincere and at least somewhat intelligent, albeit a bit... deluded. We'll see more of this as the competition gets nearer and Carrot Top appears to have an actual chance at beating the Trust, or at least doing well enough to potentially make it harder for them to win.

As I posted on my blog, I think that M!AJ would be absolutely horrified by L!AJ. She could probably see a lot of herself in her, in a 'this is who I would be if I hadn't met my friends' way.

Aye, and that's the whole point of the Lunaverse versions of the normal mane 6, visions of what they might be like had they never become close friends (minus Rainbow and Fluttershy, but even there the dynamic is very different). But yeah, my point is that both AJs tend to act like the Acres are gonna go under every other episode she takes spotlight in, but again, for all we know IT IS, since the farm's finances have only really been given a major plot point in the Flim Flam Bros. ep. We only know for sure its delusional to think that way in the Lunaverse because its been pounded in that the Apples have a near monopoly in this 'verse.

It's a delusion that she needs to have. As the author has said, most of what makes M!Applejack tick is her need to feel indispensable. She can only maintain the illusion that she's fighting for everypony is by ignoring any evidence that suggests that she has more money than she can spend. Were she to have a million bits in the bank, she'd say that she needed a million and ONE to survive the next five minutes.
Damn right they don't. After all, if she had friends, she'd have to admit that the whole world isn't depending on her and that would mean that she IS far more vain than either Rarity could ever hope to be.

This seemed to be one of the more balanced Applejacks I think I've read in the Lunaverse. Story itself seems like it could be pretty interesting as well. Hope you've got plans to drag the rest of the extended Apple family into this conflict as well since don't think they've been seen yet. Anyway looking forward to the next.

820040: Most certainly. They'll show up in a few chapters. Apple Bloom, Big Mac, and even Granny Smith all have parts to play here. :-)

on behalf of the celery, peach, tomato, potato, yam, and papaya families of ponyville i salute you carrot top!

Oh, this is going to be good! A heated showdown between The Elements of Harmony and the Apple Trust, with the FlimFlam Brothers mixed in? Thou doth be writing a battle for the ages!

Oh man, I hope Applejack (or any of the apples for that matter) don't stoop to doing something.....dishonest to win.

That'd be out of character for them, or at least AJ herself. Even in the Lunaverse, Applejack values honesty.

820475: Yeah, Applejack won't cheat. Doesn't mean she'll be what one might call a 'good sport,' however...

The basic set up for this story is looking good, and I'm eager to see were you go with it. That said, I do have some serious concerns with just how over the top you're playing CT's poor financial skills.

I'm kinda thinking it would be better if the cost of the analysis fee was left ambiguous to the reader rather than specified as 100 silver. More so, as that also happens to be the amount a foal was able to save over the course of a year. I'd somewhat expect a full grown mare, even one with poor business sense, to be able to scrape that amount together for something like this. I mean, we know that she has a luxury budget for hair care products that she can cut into if nothing else.

Furthermore, no matter how bad at business CT is, regularly selling medicinal tonics at exactly cost seems a might extreme. At least have the poor girl making a single bit worth of profit. Also, over on the boards we'd seemed to be leaning to BP being highly successful, so I have trouble believing her ever being short on cash to pay for them. Oh, and I'd think a drink called the "Rainbow Dash" would be more popular as a non-alcoholic soda for kids. The adults are probably a bit more prone to associate it with the weather captain's less respectable qualities. Maybe go with something more generic like the "Chromatic Twister" or "Spectrum Tornado"

On other fronts.

“I was never really into gardening,” mused Trixie. “Don’t think it ever caught my eye.”

I love how dismissive Trixie is here, but, even as nice as CT is I think she should at least give Trixie some kind of patented stare for calling her profession GARDENING.

One more thing, I'm thinking it should be Sweet Apple Acres entering on behalf of Ponyville, seeing as Applejack only runs that single farm. For a nationwide competition I'd expect many other farms associated with the Trust would be entering as well. Actually throughout pretty much this whole chapter you seem to be treating the term "Apple Trust" as just AJs farm rather than the composite of all the farms run by her kinfolk across all of Equestria.


Oh, and one last thing, the intro song seems to come awfully late. I'd probably put it at the transition between the market and town hall rather than the transition from town hall to CT's farm.

821298: Re: the bits. I think I will make it a bit ambiguous.

As for the medical tonics, I would chalk it up mostly to it not being a huge part of CT's business, and her not really having it in her to make money off of the suffering like that (this is the pony who ran into a poison joke field when there was a perfectly good pegasus right besides her; she's not always rational when it comes to suffering). If she was a full-time pharmacist, she'd charge more intelligently.

Changed the Berry Punch thing a little bit. She's still short, but not always now. This fits in better with what I want to have her do later. As for why she's short, it isn't that she doesn't have the money... Carrot Top will bring this up with her in a couple chapters.

As for the SAA/AT confusion, it's mostly due to everyone so far that talks about it being in Ponyville, where they basically mean the same thing. As far as CT and the others are concerned, SAA is the Apple Trust, or at least the only relevant part of it (plus, even though it's just SAA entering, they have the resources of the Trust behind them, so speaking of them as "the Trust is entering" makes a kind of sense). As for AJ, she thinks of herself as representing the Trust, and so refers to it and her farm interchangeably. We'll meet other Apples and their farms later on once we get to the big competish.

And lastly, for the song: this is going to be a longish story (37k or so in draft form), so I wanted to delay the song a bit.

Even if she's not a pharmacist and doesn't want to profit off suffering, selling at exact cost still seems too much to me. Yes she went in to the poison joke without thinking, but she was under a fair amount of stress at the time and quickly admitted how irrational it was. Selling medicinal tonics doesn't appear to just be some spur of the moment decision on her part. If she only sold them when ponies came by her house and had to mix each one up fresh to order I'd understand. Rather, she keeps them as a regular, if side item, of her inventory. Like I said, at least let the girl sell at cost+1, make BP short by 2 (so still cost−1) if you want CT losing on this particular exchange.

As my other complaint, I'm fine with SAA and AT being used with moderate interchangeability, but not total. AJ should at least drop both names throughout her speech. Mentioning her specific farm by name should be part of her good business sense if nothing else, gotta advertise after all, well, not so much when you've got a strangle hold on the local economy, but AJ tends to be blind to such monopolistic practices. Also, meeting more Apples in later chapters is all well and good, but this is the setup chapter, things should be clearer from the start.

I know I seem to be harping the AT/SAA confusion a bit much, but this is actually something I'm starting to see as a problem. I've seen readers who the moment anything is mentioned about the Trust in general, assume it relates in some way directly back to AJ. That's all well and good for most stories set only in Ponyville, but when it starts effecting stories that aren't (my latest for example) it indicates something that needs clarification. That's something we as authors should be providing.

It would also help to lessen the extreme negative opinion some readers seem to be holding AJ in. The Trust is the one running the morally questionable produce monopoly. AJ & SAA are just one branch of that beast, not its head. It's heart/soul maybe, the place where it all started, but the big important decisions are probably made elsewhere.

37k words? Already? And you're probably going to be releasing chapters daily again aren't you? Remind me to remind you how much I hate you please. :twilightangry2:



Poor Carrot Top. But at least she realizes how outclassed she is, and has a plan.

The thing I really liked about the Flim Flam brothers episode was that they were a lot more competent than that kind of villain usually is in cartoons. Their machine actually worked, at least until they turned off the ‘make the apple cider good’ switch. So I tried to keep that here. They’ve got ulterior motives, but they do know fine dining. (I see them as jack-of-all-trades; they have a little expertise in a whole lot of fields, and enough charisma and self-assurance to make that go very far).

And look, Trixie is being competent again. The ‘source’ she mentions is Octavia, from Musicians and Dreamers, although of course Carrot Top wouldn't know that. I don’t think we’ll see the cellist herself in this story, but she’s certainly still out there. Hating Trixie. :-)

This chapter got a bit long on me, but I couldn't find a good breaking point. Oh well. I hope y'all don't mind the extra words. :-)

824376: The thing about the medicine is a fair point. I've edited accordingly.

Applejack's conflation of her farm and the Trust will actually be somewhat significant later on, so I think I'll leave it the way it is now. If it doesn't work later, I'll edit it then.

And you ended just where you needed to: with Applejack sick with the megalomania and entitlement that make her an unlikeable pain in the flanks. She doesn't see that the Apple Trust isn't vital because it would mean that she isn't. It's not just about the paranoia and the need to obsess about disaster, it's about L!Applejack being so monstrously vain that she'd disgust M!Applejack.

Ah, the plot thickens...

I do like the Flim Flam bros; you're right, they did have an actual, good product to sell. Heck, they were even winning their little scam, and even before Applejack's friends got involved they had a huge lead. It's possible that they might have even still won despite Twilight & crew joining in to help. But they panicked.

Nice chapter, now for my usual longwinded lists of things I think you could be doing better.





Sorry, I got nothing. This chapter was pure brilliance made manifest. I'd make mention of every little thing I loved about it, but that list would probably be nearly as long as the story itself.

“My only kind,” chuckled Trixie. “But… uh… what idea, exactly?”

You're really on a roll with these Trixie one liners. I know this is a CT fic, but please do keep up with this kind of stuff.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on the whole AT/SAA issue, for now. Don't disappoint me though. The last time I trusted things in one of your stories to just get better I had to walk off in the middle of DatB. After this wonderful last chapter, I'd hate for that to happen again.

I like where this is going.

And pardon my genre savvy, but I think I know a foolproof way CT can win. I'm wondering if I'm right or not.

830166: Win over Sweet Apple Acres, or win the whole competition? There's over 200 competitors, including multiple Apple Trust teams (which will be discussed more next chapter). Granted, SAA usually does extremely well, so being able to beat them (fairly) would imply that one would place highly, but simply destroying the SAA team (by, say, torching the orchards) wouldn't move one much closer to an overall victory.


I know a way CT can win the entire thing.

If I may quote "The World Ends With You"

'When all anyone is offering is new and exciting, the best thing you can offer is old and familiar'

Brilliant!! That's the strategy M!Applejack used to defeat the M!Flimflam Brothers. Having Carrot Top use it to defeat the entitled creep L!Applejack is would be perfect.

That being said, it's not as if L!Applejack has much of a choice to think the way she does. After all, she's spent her entire life having it drubbed into her that Ponyville MUST HAVE a strong Apple Trust or starve gruesomely. The idea that ponies would eat as well (or better) were she and her family to get eaten by a manticore is not one she can have.


That is one half of their fatal flaw. The first half is that they are extremely overconfident and tend to inadvertently sabotage themselves as a result.

This is a great story. Poor Carrot Top :( she would have felt humiliated without any fore knowledge of the competition.

830202 Agreed!

Either that, or challenge applejack to a SLAM OFF!


832206 :pinkiehappy: wasn't it a LOT of fun? Plus it's the one of the only place you can access Shadow Ramen and buy stuff from them.

Gotta wonder what kind of psych you'd get out of Cutie Mark pins...

But this is nor the place or time for such a philosophical debate.

Ah, Applejack... So close, yet so far.

As for Flim and Flam, great job with those two. And i have a bachelor's in culinary arts, so I recognized some of the stuff there. Nice job. :twilightsmile:

I dislike the consistent use of the Mane 6 as antagonists of these stories. It ends up making it look like the L6 are being shown to be superior which annoys me.

And I don't think Lunaverse AJ is so unreasonably paranoid. One of the key parts of their business is Zap Apples. Something which only grow properly thanks to Granny Smith. Who knows if when she dies anyone else will be able to give the right kind of pep talks to the jars.etc. THey finance settlements and in at least one of these stories Applelosa failed, possibly even with deaths. She lives on the border of Everfree which means their main farm lacks the guarenteed weather of most of the other farms. And their was a blight in recent history.

Think you need to slow this down and think it out a little more. Pacing is a bit too rapid and revelations are coming a bit too quickly to be overly satisfying. Still a very nice story though.

I can think of someone else who does that a lot. He's voiced by Frank Welker and spent a lot of time yelling "Decepticons!!! RETREAT!!! RETREAT!!!" because one little thing went wrong.


G1 Megatron's a perfectionist, not a con artist. He reacts badly to deviations from his plans. Xanatos Speed Chess is not the guy's strength.

The Flim Flam brothers are actually comparatively adaptable when backed into a corner. Their backup plan (turning off the quality control on their machine) may not be an intelligent course of action, but at least they have one. Their problem is that they get backed into a corner as mush as a result of their own actions as by other ponies' action. They had to resort to a backup plan because they were so utterly overconfident that they casually allowed Applejack's friends to help her family with making cider for the competition, and then panicked when it looked like they actually had a chance of catching up.


Her problem is one M!Applejack has to a lesser degree: she was brought up to not notice the good things in her life. Were Carrot Top to learn that Applejack can't see all of the advantages she has because she was raised to avoid optimism, she might just be tempted to give way.

Alcohol! The ubiquitous solution.

In the M-verse, it took a couple annoying and insulting salesponies to get the Apples to wager their farm. Here, it takes the promise of being able to improve the lives of all the farmers. Hopefully it’ll go as well for L-verse CT as it did for M-verse AJ.

So if BoxxyBrown, in M-verse, is a mover who was a cherry farmer one time for no reason, in L-verse he can be a cherry farmer who maybe moves something once for no reason. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Green Grape was mentioned in Boast Busted as having the idea of mixing ingredients between farms to sell more dishes, so I made her the ultra-businessy pony here. Banana Split, Red Onion, and the rest I just made up.

Kind of a bad time for AJ, realizing that the farmers she considers herself to be ‘supporting’ don’t seem to appreciate her ‘sacrifices.’ She really does believe that, because she brings in money to the town (through grants and taxes) and because she’s willing to let some of the other farmers buy her apples instead of starving, that she’s vital to the town. (I debated including a scene with her thinking something like I should let the other farms fail out, so I can buy their arable land and build the farm/the Trust up more, but I'm just so compassionate and generous that I can’t help but try to sell the farmers food so they can get by during the winter months. I took it out because it seemed over the top, but I hope that AJ’s narcissism showed through regardless).

Note: ability to answer comments will be a bit curtailed over the next couple days, due to the people in the Prague dorm not knowing how to configure Internet (which, to be fair, includes me). I'll try to respond to everyone within... two days or so.

832545: I don't think we've had an M6 antagonist since LNLD. My previous one had Octavia as the antagonist. Carrot Top of the Line didn't really have an antagonist, unless you count Angel.
AJ has many resources the others don't, though. For one, she has a huge Trust behind her that can assist her if something goes wrong. She also has more resources. What's devastating to other farmers is a minor inconvenience to her. Sure, she's not invincible, but she's a lot better off than she lets on.

832495: Glad you like it! I just love the idea of Carrot Top being all, "deconstructed what now?"

835484: That was their other big problem, yes. Had they just said, "Look, the whole point here is to see who can make more cider for Ponyville on a regular basis, so nopony can help unless they'll also help with all of the cider-making from here on," they'd have won easily.

Yikes, Carrot Top has it all on the line here, doesn't she? But I have faith in her!

(Also, I'm surprised that she doesn't think that, if the worst happened, she couldn't shack up with Trixie or Lyra or somepony).

ya find out first hand

Um...Applejack, how did you get the zebra spellbook?

I actually like Applejack in this chapter. She definitely, actually feels bad about what she's going to be trying to do...she's just going to try to do it anyway.

835796: Oops! Fixed both appearances of 'hand.'

Carrot Top is being slightly melodramatic, but she's also worried that, while she could stay with someone for a couple days, it might be a very long time before she found somewhere else to live, and she couldn't sit on Trixie's couch for two months. If this plan fails, she might wind up not only homeless, but in enough debt that any future wages she makes get garnished. Basically, she'll have no money and no way to get any for a while.

Glad that you got the characterization of AJ that I was going for. AJ isn't chaotic evil or a sociopath; she's not Snidely Whiplash; she doesn't actually want to hurt other ponies. She just believes, fervently, that it's necessary for the protection of everypony, and that she's just gotta make the hard choice.

Let's not forget that L!Applejack has had it drubbed into her over the years that she has to behave this way to survive. The Trust cannot have genuine compassion in its representatives at this stage in the game. Once one of them has been ennobled, the more zealous subordinates (like AJ) will no doubt be removed in order to impress the other members of the Night Court with House Apple's benevolence but until that day, towns like Ponyville have to contend with insane monsters like her. I half-way intend to write a side story that has Braeburn and Granny Smith decide that once he gets to be Baron Braeburn, Big Macintosh can sweep in and be Ponyville's saviour.


...somehow the Lunaverse has come across as much, much darker than I ever intended it to be...

Also ennobling might not be an end-goal for any member of the Apple Trust. Far from it; it might be better for the Trust if they're consistantly the power *backing* some member of the Night Court rather than having any actual presence in the Night Court. The rewards are nearly as great, while the risks are far smaller.

(Also in the "Dune" parody I wanted to write but probably never will, the Apples were actually going to be the Fremen. The Bluebloods wre the Harkonnen, and Trixie was Paul, at least until the very end when the Bluebloods start acting more like Paul triumphant and Trixie has to step in as Feyd-Ruatha, with Luna standing in as the Padishah Emperor).

835825: I'm not sure I'd go that far. In particular, I have different characterizations in mind for the other Apples. Granny Smith (who'll show up in a couple chapters, once the FF brothers begin messing things), I don't see as a schemer, and she probably opposes a lot of AJ's actions, but she doesn't have the power to do anything, since she's not really in charge. As for Big Mac... well, one thing I want this story to touch on is why AJ's the prospective heir even though BM is older, stronger, and less prone to random bouts of craziness. Shouldn't it naturally be him? But maybe he's not all that fond of AJ and the Trust's direction...

I also don't think 'becoming a noble' should really be on the Trust's radar at this point. Hobknobing with them, sure, but promotion to Baron is perhaps a bit much.

835838: And, yeah, seconding RDD. No assassinations, please. Besides, it would be very bad for the company if they rewarded competence and following the Trust's direction with firing (or killing) that employee.

Point taken. The Trust seems to reward crazy ponies to the detriment of the Granny Smiths and Big Macintoshes of the world. I should think that at some point or another, his trying to explain that the Trust isn't within light-years of collapse was rebuffed by a comment about not caring about fancy mathematics. The comfy lie that she's indispensable isn't AS suppressed by honesty as it is in the Celestiaverse.

(As for the Apple family, part of me wants to think of them as actually being descended from Smart Cookie.)

835853: Yeah, BM has probably tried to get AJ to lighten up, but there's little hope of that.

The Trust rewards ponies that make lots of money. AJ is willing to do what it takes to do that, and is motivated by her beliefs in the absolute importance of the Trust. BM probably isn't, so much. Hence AJ is in charge.

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