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Shrink Laureate

“Trixie hates to interrupt a good monologue,” said Trixie, interrupting a good monologue, “but maybe we should continue it somewhere not on fire?”


Princess Celestia has inspired many writers, artists and poets over her centuries as both ruler and Princess of the Sun. Now she invites one pony to do a special task for her.

A tale of poetry, pornography, puns, printing presses and pretty pony princesses.

Audiobook by Illya Leonov, ft Luna Farrowe and Shadow of Cygnus

Cover image by Linnpuzzle
Edited by Solstice Shimmer and BaeroRemedy.
Special thanks to Dr Bethan Tovey for help with the Old English.

“How is it that gems like these are always hidden so deep? I love your poetry, can't get enough of it.”

“This is just really stellar, I hope everyone checks it out.”

“A concept which in the hands of just about anyone would have become empty prurience is instead warm and brilliant and funny and just lovely.”

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 49 )

That was rather beautiful, and quite brilliant.

Oh wow this is amazing!


Hear hear!

And not least for the excellent verse,- the quatrains are especially well-balanced, and the feminine rhymes very refreshing. :twilightsmile:

This is amazing.
Enough said.

Thank you. I'm currently of playing an Inquisitor of Asmodaeus, so your patronage is appreciated. :twilightsheepish:

You know... This is really quite beautiful. It really is, and not only that but I'm impressed that you managed to write a story all about smut, "very uncommon smut" as you put it- but it's not dirty in the least.
I hope you feel proud of yourself, you deserve to.

Thank you, I am. I'm also pleased with the combination of serious poetry with bad horse puns. I'll be amazed if anyone gets all of them.

This was adorable. Like, unexpected, but...very beautiful, too. Then again I love portraits of Sunhorse as a normal pony and well-crafted ones like this are too few and far between. Thanks for the lovely tale!

I can't words good tonight, so this will have to do even though it is horribly overused:

that was beautiful. I appreciate your hard work.

Of course, this story demands a sequel: Principal Celestia's Private Library.

I've published a minor edit, because I got some useful help with the Old English poetry.

How is it that gems like these are always hidden so deep? I love your poetry, can't get enough of it

Awww, this is lovely. Great work.

Just one minor quibble: I never quite got why Celestia wanted to do this for Luna specifically. In a sense, isn't it her showing off how much she was loved during Luna's absence?

Since the story isn't from Celestia's PoV, and she isn't answering many questions, it never really got explained.

The printing isn't exactly for Luna specifically, but it's something she wants to get done before Luna arrives - or whatever else may happen when Nightmare Moon returns. It was quite possible that Celestia might be defeated, after all, in which case other ponies would eventually unseal the library and judge what they found - not unlike the way Verdant's poems were found after her death. Or the castle could be demolished in the ensuing battle, in which case she'd lose all of them at once. She wants them reprinted so they can be safely moved and stashed away somewhere.

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, when she told Tercet he had two years she was giving herself an extra few moons leeway, which is why the end of the story is after Hearthswarming but before Winter Wrap Up, and long before the Summer Sun Celebration.

But do I understand it right that Tercet made ASCII-art off the Princess? Cause when you think about it, that's really cool! I'm only wondering about the statues and other physical art-pieces pony's made about the Princess? Had Tercet also find a way to bookize those? (If digitize is a word, bookize is also a word.)

Almost. I was aiming for something more like an impressionist scattering of glyphs, rather than a regular grid.

Also, my headcanon says that ponies have several different writing scripts in use, derived from the traditional scripts of the three tribes, which themselves are influenced by biology - ie whether they're writing with horn, wings of hooves. When you add in numbers, punctuation and control characters is probably more than 255 code points in total. While it's possible that they'd use multiple code pages, It's likely that they'd invent some sort of multi-byte encoding earlier than we did.

Note that the changes to FimFiction’s layout make it harder for me to format the initial poem correctly. It works in “double spaced” mode thanks to the magic of Unicode, but in “indented” mode it just looks weird.

Really lovely story. But I can’t help but wish we saw Tercet at least once more.

Holy crud, your writing is absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to read more of it!

This... Well, I simply have no words. That takes a lot.

I wondered about the ending myself. After all, the rule when writing third person limited narration is not to switch character perspective as it weakens the connection.

I eventually realised that it works in this case because Tercet isn't the main character. Neither is Celestia. The collection is the main character, so the moment it passes from his hooves to hers, the perspective goes with it.

A delightful story. Princess Celestia would be the kind of a pony to collect erotica about herself, and you could have written a pretty funny story about that, but you made this one something more. :trollestia:

Cool! The concept feels like one of the more true-to-life ways for an immortal person to respond to romantic overtures by mortals, and your execution really sells it. Celestia is emotionally plausible. Tercet is a neat character in and of himself.

Lord Bridle's daughter, Lady Straightlace

I see what you did there. Did she write any programs?

I'm glad somebody got that. :yay:

It's actually an interesting thought. Equestrian science proceeds along different paths than our own, with magic making some things easier and others less likely, which is why we haven't seen any computers in the show other than a games console. The real Ada Lovelace didn't allow that to stop her, writing programs a century in advance of the necessary hardware being developed (seriously, she was that awesome), but the importance her work wasn't really appreciated until later. That paints a picture of somepony who probably remains unappreciated centuries later.

However, it could be argued that magic is programming. We've seen that it can be taught and codified, though the show obviously remains vague on the details. It could be that Lady Straightlace had some part in the development of programming for enchanted devices?

Very nice!

Author Interviewer

Brilliant, well done!

Part of me can't help but wonder if Celestia wanted the sundry solar smut assembled into one collection so it would be easier to hide from snooping sisters...

In any case, a fantastic study of Celestia, her ponies, and the effect each had on the other over the centuries. Thank you for it.

"She left me too soon. They all leave me too soon."
Luna rolled her eyes. "Like it or not, Sister, they have to graduate eventually."

Novel idea really well written.

Thank you for writing this.

I think Tom Lehrer has something to say about Celestia's collection:

Huh. Is that first poem a deliberate reference to Conrad Aiken's "Music I Heard?" The form is the same, the tone very similar, and Aiken's poem could be your whole story in twelve lines, from Celestia's point of view.

No, any similarity there is completely unintentional.

Superbly done. A concept which in the hands of just about anyone would have become empty prurience is instead warm and brilliant and funny and just lovely. I commend your poetic sensibilities and your devotion to use of dead languages in fic. And from me that's practically a professional opinion. ;)


That's especially strange given you've pretty much captured the odd musicality of Aiken's verse.

To me it's always sounded like piano music: gently played, of moderate tempo, and sweetly sad. I thought he must be using some unusual meter until I sounded it out and realized, no, it's just plain old iambic pentameter. He rhymes it XAXA with an extra syllable on the unrhymed lines, but I think it's more than that which makes it sound the way it does: unexpected yet completely natural.

(EDIT: I just noticed your verses rhyme ABAB, but the A rhymes are double and often imperfect--which I think is good, because that moderates the tubthumping effect of strict meter combined with exact rhyme).

All I'm thinking of to say is "Well done", but I thought that that would still perhaps be better than leaving no comment at all. And more prominent people than me have recently weighed in with more substantive commentary. :)
(Oh, and the cover image works well for this, I think.)

Things that had to be said have already been said. Wonderful work, and a touching character study.

“I’m glad to hear it, because this is exceedingly uncommon smut, my dear printer."

*nearly dies laughing*

“Did you punish her?”
“Not exactly. We had a long and somewhat awkward conversation. She went away with a head full of difficult thoughts, and a few weeks later contributed something of her own to the collection.”

I don't know if I should laugh or awwww. XD

But what I like most about it is that Celestia is preserving mementos of the ponies around her, the tokens of love (from innocent and heartfelt to downright salacious). I think I understand why she does not share them. They are intensely personal.

Hmm, I expected Tercets contribution to heavily draw from his revelation about Celestia:

For that slim chance, you’ve carried these memories with you. Carried them for centuries, all alone. A lie you could never escape. A… a splinter of sorrow cut through every moment of joy. Everything you’ve ever done… has been for her.

Instead we get something that's very much by him, but only in form and does not reflect his new understanding of Celestia, which seems to be a big deal for him at the time. I am a hobbyist artist, and in Tercet's place my portrayal would draw heavily on this new perspective. It would probably a simple portrait, pencil on paper or some such, Celestia's gaze a bit distant, and the expression would be her usual serenity, perhaps with a hint of a smile, but tinged with loss and longing. It would convey a great inner strength in the face of tragedy. Getting it right would be murder and I'd spend months doing it anyway.

It could be argued that since Tercet is not an artist and used a somewhat restrictive medium, he has simply failed at getting this across. But still, I am ever so slightly disappointed.

Also, the bit about a thief with a scroll is unresolved atnd makes me wonder whether it was necessary.

Other than that, this was great. I particularly like how instead of dwelling on its premise this story throws some beautiful poetry at you and shifts into a study of Celestia's relationship with her subjects and with Luna.

I listened to one of the YT readings of this wonderful piece and just had to stop by to pay my compliments. It's insightful look at WHO Celestia is was a joy to hear and read. Well done and dare I say a literary work of art.

Well, that was lovely! It's been so long since I read a story themed around Luna's return, and Celestia's memories. At the beginning, that used to be one of my very favourite themes, was Celestia agonizing those thousand years, torturing herself with thoughts of what she ought to have done differently, having no-one in whom to confide as she tried to find a balance between her love for her Little Ponies and her love for her sister, one that would be fair to both. One that she could live with if it all went wrong.

And the unspoken implications of 30 copies brought all that back to me, quite effectively.

I went into this expecting a silly little romp, maybe with a bit of commentary about romance, and instead I got a gorgeous character study on Celestia. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

An excellent character study. Your prose flows wonderfully, and Celestia's dialogue really feels weighted and matches her venerability. The best part is how much she doesn't say, but lets the ponies around her figure out for themselves. I felt a bit like I was reading about one of the elves from The Lord of the Rings. Very good work with the poetry too, and the little hints about her preparation for Nightmare Moon are very fun.

Hmmmm, I fully buy and totally already feel Tia has a library like this, and this fic added a lot of emotion to her reasoning for it that was amazing. Have a harder time seeing her being so adamant about stuff like this never being made public. The more personal things written directly for her, sure, personal. But the idea of actively hunting down anything of this sort to avoid it leaking out feels a tad overkill.

But still, very emotional, and well done story.

Well, that was excellent. Thank you for that.

This was amazing! Thank You!

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