• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Sunday

horizon


Not a changeling.

T
Source

Clover the Clever never asked for his life to get so complicated.  It was bad enough tricking a drunk Imperatrix Celestia, war goddess of the Three Tribes, out of her accidental coup against Queen Platinum.  But now the most dangerous pony in Equestria has returned to trade her claim on the sun for a chance to woo him.

On top of that, his erstwhile mentor Star Swirl the Bearded has saddled him with a mysterious magical necklace and a uniquely bleak and pointless prophecy: If he's brave enough, and if he's clever enough, he just might survive Celestia for long enough to break her heart.


First place, "Out of Time" Writeoff! (11/2015) At long last, expanded to novella size! The world-spanning, centuries-spanning romance as it was always meant to be told!

Featured on Equestria Daily!

PRAISE FOR THE WRITEOFF VERSION:
"One of my favorite depictions of Celestia in a long time." –billymorph
"To the top of the ballot with it." –AugieDog
"There’s going to be a lot of tears shed when this one hits publish." –Georg
"You need to read Time Enough For Love. I literally swore out loud when my computer crashed when I was halfway through, and then I immediately whipped out my smartphone to finish it. And now I'm reading it again in a desperate attempt to figure out how it does its job so damn well." –Bachiavellian
"I can get behind some historical revisionism for such a brilliant story. The writing is second-to-none … I laughed, I cried, and I felt other things too." –Trick Question

Cover art by Nadnerb.

Chapters (12)
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Comments ( 458 )

First comment reserved for spoiler-free author's notes!

This story clocks in at over 51,000 words … which means that, by a factor of three, it is the longest complete story I have ever written and published. (Hard Reset 2, and some of my old Tomorrowlands Universe stories, are longer, but aren't finished.) This is a HECK of a landmark for me. I have now completed, and released, a book-length work. (It's even going to be available in dead-tree form at Bronycon!)

I can't think of a better story to reach that landmark with. This is the story my fans have been begging me to publish for three and a half years. And it's that story the way it was meant to be told — with the side characters fleshed out, the romance given room to breathe, and the world around Clover and Celestia brought to more vibrant life.

Oh, and if you've read the original Writeoff version and you think you know exactly how this goes … maybe a few things have changed. :raritywink:

For old readers: Thank you for your patience. For new readers: I hope I can show you what everyone's been waiting for.

Without further delay ... let's do this thing!

Oh wow, this was funny! Can't wait till tomorrow!

This time, the pink aura of her well-brushed mane had a streak of blue war-paint dyed in

I wonder how many ponies in the modern day realize that her mane always indicates a state of combat-readiness. (And whatever the green and purple signify.)

In any case, the promised fic has arrived at last! I have no doubt it will be worth the wait. Looking forward to seeing what you've added to it.

Also, kudos for making Clover a stallion years before Forgotten Friendship came out.

Platinum ought to keep that door open.

Off to a roaring good start! :pinkiehappy:

I have not actually read the original, so this should be fun.

And alla you prancers better clear on out, cause you're raising the sun too rutting early,and 'sabout time I showed you how it's done.

Hail, Celestia Invicta! I am dazzled by you’re presence!

You’re already reminding me of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, so we’re off to a good start.

STAND BACK EVERYONE! I take LARGE steps.”

a hundred tankards of cider at a sitting?

Faust have mercy. Assuming each tankard holds a pint, that’s twelve and a half gallons of booze. A typical human only has about a gallon and a half of blood, and a typical MLP pony probably about the same. This isn’t a complaint, by the way, this is me admiring the puissance of earth pony magic that lets them do this. They could drink an entire clan of dwarves under the table. Or one Irishman.

Fun fact, real-world horses actually can’t get drunk at all. Something about their livers being far too good at processing alcohol, partially because their natural digestive process actually produces alcohol.

Nine hundred and seventy-three.

Over a hundred and twenty gallons. Where did she put it?

So alicorns are Aesir, then.

"But never let it be said that the mighty Imperatrix would back down from a fair challenge," Platinum said. "Are We correct?"

Careful, Platinum, you’re not as clever or as cute as Clover.

51k words is a grand expansion of the original concept. I look forward to the read. (and the paper copy, which I have the bills set aside for)

I’m so glad to see this. Celestia as the young impetuous barbarian queen returns!

Really looking forward to seeing how this train wreck rolls on.

The thick stone wall just to the left of the throne exploded as the door hurtled through it. Every pony in the Great Hall froze statue-still, then swiveled their heads toward the projectile's source.

They'd probably be a tiny bit too busy bleeding out of holes shrapnel punched in them to swivel their heads.

Hey guys, I only preread the first chapter, because my life is such a hot mess that it is literally on fire. But what I read was really good. But I mean, of course it was, it’s Horizon! Either way, I highly encourage you to read this story!

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I wonder how many ponies in the modern day realize that her mane always indicates a state of combat-readiness. (And whatever the green and purple signify.)

The green was given to her several centuries later by the Grand Council of Zebra --- a stripe color they reserved as a mark of their greatest honor -- after she fought and banished the starbeast who laid waste to half their continent.

The purple stripe was because she lost a bet.

kudos for making Clover a stallion years before Forgotten Friendship came out

I was swimming against the tide at the time! All we had was the Journal of the Two Sisters, which had Clover as female.

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Platinum ought to keep that door open

But then how would goddesses knock? We don't want them to be rude! :rainbowwild:

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Faust have mercy. Assuming each tankard holds a pint, that’s twelve and a half gallons of booze. A typical human only has about a gallon and a half of blood, and a typical MLP pony probably about the same. This isn’t a complaint, by the way ...

I'm glad you brought it up, because those numbers are actually quite deliberate! (And what's the comment section for, if not discussion that can't go into the fic itself?)

As ridiculous as 100 tankards sounds, it is not far from the outer limits of human capability, and ponies (as you note!) do have innate magic on their side despite their greatly reduced size. As ridiculous as 1000 tankards sounds ... yup, it's ridiculous. that's literally multiple times the drinker's body weight in alcohol. It's physically impossible. And that's the point.

This story's Celestia is not just a large winged horned pony. She is a goddess. I dropped that number -- and her casual launching of a five-ton projectile as a way of saying hello -- to frame the nature of the romance (and the surrounding world) right up front. It's an age of mythic heroes (including Clover), and we're going to pour pure, concentrated epic into the engine.

It's also, in its own way, the literary equivalent of the last verse of the MST3k theme song. If someone is going to get tripped up on the number of ciders being physically impossible, I want them to do it now, and fight the cognitive dissonance early -- and hopefully turn off the part of their brain that tries to ground every number in Earth physics, because it's only going to get in the way here.

:twilightsmile:

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See last paragraph directly above (9738204). :twistnerd:

Don't let me stop you from reading the way you want -- I'm not bothered by physics nitpicking, and we've seen plenty of fun come from trying to square reality with the equally ridiculous elements of the show. Just signposting up front that this one runs on Rule of Cool.

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Thank you! I am equally hyped :pinkiehappy:

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Nah, like I said, the alicorns are putting me in mind of the Aesir of Norse mythos. If Thor can drink a significant portion of the ocean, surely Celestia Invicta can manage a mere 120 gallons of booze.

I have a policy of judging stories by the standards they set for themselves. For this one, I’ll just queue up the score to Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess.

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On the same page, then! :twilightsmile:

(I knew you weren't complaining, I just wanted to explain for the audience.)

The world-spanning, centuries-spanning

You probably meant to use two different words here.

This story is complete, and will be posted one chapter per day until the last Bronycon!

Wait, you're passing up on the opportunity to have people swarm the bookstore just to see how this story ends? :raritystarry:

Shame on you, horizon, ripping off Time Enough for Wub so brazenly.

>when your upvote is one of the last ones before the story hits the feature box

ihelped.mpg

Also you should write a sidestory where all they do is cook and call it Thyme Enough for Love.

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The romance does in fact span both continents and eras. :raritywink:

Wait, you're passing up on the opportunity to have people swarm the bookstore just to see how this story ends? :raritystarry:

I don't need to! Even without TEFL's ending as a draw, my book will have an all-new, unpublished story -- the equally anticipated sequel to Administrative Angel!

(That'll hit FIMFiction in September. Bookstore patrons get it a full month early!)

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:rainbowlaugh:

Coffee's gonna have to update the story description now that TEFL is actually live.

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:pinkiehappy:

Oh my god ancient Celestia was a drunk....if only twilight and or sunset could see this side of they’re teacher also poor Clover now that this mare gots you in her sight even death won’t be able to separate you

I love that Platinum immediately ships them.

:rainbowderp: Drunk Celestia - Old Equestria - and a Giant Hammer of the Sun :rainbowderp:

Discord had to be editing this right :trollestia:

You, Sir, have my attention.

*clears throat*

WOO! FINALLY!! YYEEEAAAAAAAHHH!!!! :yay:

Run Clover! Run like you stole something!

interesting story so far can't wait to see how Clover will get himself out of this.

Oh shit dude.... no more bronycon??!? Not one nex't year? Fuck I haven't went since 2014 I was really hoping yo make the election bronycon and go as former President Trump "
:<<<<<

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Us prereaders painstakingly fact-checked every part of this story for realistic accuracy, mythbusters style. We got a supply of traditional cider, invited a few alicorns, and tested it out together.

The next day nopony could remember what exactly happened, so we just made up some numbers and gave them to the author.

Then we repeated the test a few more times, to be scientific.

I've been waiting for this to post ever since I got linked back to the original from the DA Cover Art.

Oh man oh man oh man justtakemymoneyalready

Ahem.

All hype aside, one chapter in and this already feels like some of the best Horizon words I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’ve steered clear of the original write off version just so it wouldn’t color my appreciation of this one, and now all can say is... well aside from repeating the frothing excitement above, is: I’m eagerly looking forward to more :pinkiehappy:

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Since you brought up Hard Reset 2, I don't suppose now that this is complete you might be convinced to return to that story too?

Marking this so I can read a bunch at once. I have a feeling this is a story that can be enjoyed more thoroughly as a cohesive unit.

I haven't even opened the story, and my inner nerd is already super impressed by the little details. I mean, she is an Imperatrix. :pinkiehappy:

Oh god I'm so excited.
I've had the original writeoff for this story bookmarked for years.
I think this is the only story I've ever favorited without even reading the first page.

I unfortunately don't have plans to attend Bronycon; do you think you'll have plans for selling dead-tree copies afterwards?

I am not normally impressed, but your work....has impressed me.

Oooh yeah. This is gonna be good!

I'm loving your characterization of Celestia -- she's really calmed down over the years, to the point that these days, it's the quiet and reasonable Luna who seems like the boisterous one -- and of Clover, who is exceedingly clever if not so smart.

(And yes, I've always imagined Celly as the "big blunt instrument" sort of fighter, too! In my headcanon, her traditional weapon was a huge, flanged and spiked orichalcum mace, the Morning Star, that had the whole category of weapons named after it.)

Isn't Clover a mare? (Ihaven't read this yet.)

"Well!" Clover examined a hoof. "I'm certain that I'm twice the drinker that an earth pony is. So you'll merely need a nine-hundred-tankard head start for us to be fairly matched."

They don't call him Clever for nothing.

"I do not think we should waste time on formalities," Luna interrupted. Despite the mildness of her voice, it didn't feel like a suggestion. "If you bested one alicorn, surely you can speak to another as an equal."

He's doomed.

"But lights within the deepest darkness shine all the brighter for their surroundings. One such was Star Swirl. When the Calamity scattered the alicorn herd to the six stellar poles, and two fillies yet to reach apotheosis were abandoned here to die, he saved them and raised them as daughters and as students."

Interesting.

"Star Swirl smiled in that knowing way that meant the conversation was over, and said, 'Oh, it's quite stupid. But they don't call him clever because he is smart.'"

Dooooomed.

If you keep staring at Celestia's hips you're really gonna die, Clover.

Heat rose to his cheeks as he tried to process the situation, staring in disbelief at the Imperatrix's sculpted form and the smirk on her lips. What had just happened? He had cheated the Tribes' war-goddess out of a coup. And she had kissed him.

Well, we know he's gonna die eventually since he isn't an alicorn, might as well be to Celestia.

Fun stuff! I look forward to seeing how it's evolved from the writeoff version.

Kinky is using the feather, perverted is using the entire alicorn. Does this qualify for both?

Damn, Clover's getting bold! Can't wait for more!

Applied cleverness.

Looking forward to more close moments, this is going to be quite sweet.

I keep being reminded of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, though Clover makes quite an odd Ishtar.

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tomorrowlands.org/images/pony/aj-i-like-how-you-think.jpg

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Given her reputation, bold is not smart. Fortunately, they don't call him clever because he is smart.

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Despite Twilight getting the role in that Hearth's Warming pageant, Clover is canonically a stallion (see Forgotten Friendship)

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And in fact, the number I used was the one they made up three times in a row. The odds of that happening are so infinitesimal that we can be confident it wasn't the product of chance.

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It is indeed gorgeous art! :pinkiehappy: I'm glad it's been getting people's minds going!

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I love that Platinum immediately ships them

This is one of those cases where self-preservation perfectly aligns with the shipping instinct!

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Thank you! I hope the rest of the story lives up to that high bar! :twilightsmile:

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I'd like to think that it's that sort of attention to detail which makes my writing stand out :moustache:

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Isn't Clover a mare? (Ihaven't read this yet.)

Depends on which canon you trust. The original Hearth's Warming episode never said. The Journal of the Two Sisters had female Clover. The Equestria Girls episode "Forgotten Friendship" had male Clover. I'm going with the one inside my head. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I kinda like this version of Celestia.

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