• Published 19th Mar 2017
  • 1,277 Views, 51 Comments

Respect and Respectability - bookplayer

Princess Platinum is going to throw a party, whether Clover likes it or not.

  • ...

3 - How to Warm a Hearth

Princess Platinum looked from Clover to the noblemare on the ground, then back to Clover with her eyes narrowed. “What is going on here?”

“Your Majesty! Clover has gone mad!” Lady Radiant gasped, standing and straightening her dress.

“Clover, if this is about your robes, you really have gone too far.” Platinum tilted her head in disappointment.

Clover glared at Lady Radiant. “It’s not about my blasted robes, they can say all they want about those. But she called Cookie—”

“We were just making conversation with Clover and her… suitor,” Lady Sorbet cut in, looking at Platinum with wide eyes.

Platinum looked to Cookie and raised her eyebrows.

His face was set in a dark line as he answered her, “I might have corrected them as to my intentions with regards to Clover, but the more pressing matter was the language they used.” He gave Platinum a pointed look to make his meaning clear. "Considering that half of Girthshire is on their way, I’d say Clover was correcting them rather gently.”

“I see.” Platinum nodded, then turned to her courtiers. “I’m not sure if you heard me before, but the earth ponies and pegasi shall be our honored guests. And anypony who fails to honor them shall be seen to by the guards.” She met Radiant’s eyes with a glare. “And I mean anypony, Lady Radiant.”

Lady Radiant frowned. “Princess! I—”

“Furthermore,” Platinum went on, “Clover and Smart Cookie are personal friends of mine, and leaders of our new nation. So I expect to see my court offer them the respect such positions entail.”

“Of course, Princess.” Lady Radiant bowed and swallowed, turning to Cookie. “I didn’t realize… I do apologize, Sir.”

Platinum caught her eye and nodded pointedly towards Clover.

Lady Radiant swallowed again and turned to look at her. “And… to you as well, Clover.”

Clover and Cookie exchanged glances.

Cookie nodded, so Clover looked back at Lady Radiant. “Thank you.”

“There are bound to be some bumps as we learn to get along,” Cookie added with a nod to Lady Radiant.

Platinum smiled brightly at Clover and Cookie. “Now, both of you shall join me in my tent. I’ve brought Clover her robes!”

She trotted off without waiting for an answer. Clover glanced at Cookie and rolled her eyes.

Cookie shrugged and started towards the tent. “At least you’re getting your robes back.”

“Yes, how bad could they be?” Clover frowned as she followed. “I bet they’re pink. I hate pink.”

“You’d look awful in pink.” Cookie wrinkled his muzzle.

Clover glared at him as he held the tent flap for her. “I know that, but you’re not supposed to say it, you fool.”

Inside, Platinum had set the package on a side table and was pouring herself a glass of wine. She sighed when they walked in. “I must apologize to you both as well. Those with money and political clout often have atrocious manners.” She pursed her lips and lifted her glass. “Do you have any idea how much wine it takes to socialize with those ponies daily?”

Clover raised her eyebrows. “There was that much wine in Monoceros?”

Platinum smirked and took her wine over to a cushion, where she settled herself in. “You’re well aware I always keep plenty on hoof.”

“I had heard that unicorns bought most of our alcohol exports. I wasn’t aware that was you, personally.” Cookie smiled at Platinum and leaned against a table.

“You’re more than welcome to some,” Platinum said, motioning to the decanter. “But Clover has to try on her robes first.”

“Very well.” Clover sighed and untied the package, then held the robes up in her magic.

She tilted her head and stared at them. They were a familiar deep blue with gold trim. Some gold lining had been added, and some decorative stitching in a blue just a shade off from the robes themselves, but those were hardly noticeable and, she had to admit, looked rather fine.

She looked to Platinum, “These— look the same as they did when I got them.”

“Of course they do.” Platinum grinned. “I had them made for you, dear. Star Swirl wouldn't have known where to find a tailor unless it was etched in magic symbols on a crystal ball."

Clover gave a snort. "I never thought of that, but it sounds about right."

Platinum nodded with a fond smile. "I remember what they’re supposed to look like. Put them on!”

Smiling, Clover pulled them over her head. Platinum floated a mirror over to her, and in it Clover saw a new beginning. She felt as bright and hopeful as she did the day she’d been officially appointed.

She rolled her eyes at herself, hoping this beginning turned out better than that one had.

“You look lovely, Clover,” Cookie said with a smile.

Platinum smiled and nodded, then turned to Cookie, floating a strip of fabric in her magic. “Here now, Cookie. I obviously don’t have a gentlecolt’s wardrobe, but I can at least tie you a cravat.”

His eyes went wide, but Platinum’s magic was already at work, and in a moment he had a charming bit of lace falling on his chest.

Clover grinned. “Quite fancy. The ladies of court will be turning their heads.”

Cookie chuckled and admired himself in the mirror. “Oh yes. Judging by those mares earlier, I’m sure the nobility will see me as quite a catch.”

“One never knows,” Platinum said, arching an eyebrow.

Clover smiled and shook her head. She glanced over at Platinum, feeling more kind than she had since they left the cave. “What are you wearing, Princess?”

“Just my old amber silk.” She smiled apologetically. “I’m afraid my wardrobe is significantly diminished.”

“What happened to it?” Clover asked. “I know you brought a whole cart of dresses with you.”

Platinum raised her eyebrows. “Well we simply couldn’t have a party without decorations. What would the other tribes think of us? And Nimble Thimble has made the most glorious flag! And, of course, my winter ball gown went to trim your robes.”

Clover looked down at her robes, her eyes wide. “You— you shouldn’t have.”

Platinum chuckled. “Of course I should have. I’ve always liked my amber dress the best anyway. And it’s far more important for you to be seen tonight…”

“I’m not exactly fond of being seen,” Clover said with a wry smile.

“Yes, and I’m sorry for this…” Platinum sighed, and the smile fell from her face, replaced with a look of sympathy. “But you, along with Cookie and Pansy, shall be our guests of honor. And as my last act as Princess, I’ll be granting you the duchy of Unicornia.”

Clover blinked. “Pardon?”

She nodded. “You shall outrank all of the courtiers, since yours would be the only title with a claim intact.”

“They hate me,” Clover pointed out, trying to be helpful.

Platinum smirked and took a sip of wine. “It’s a good thing we have a change of regime scheduled for tomorrow, isn’t it? Perhaps they’ll enjoy Equestria more if it means they aren’t required to kiss your hoof.”

Clover’s eyes went wide as she stared at the Princess. “That’s brilliant.”

Cookie chuckled. “So, what exactly does guest of honoring entail?”

“You’ll be up on the dais with Commander Hurricane and Chancellor Puddinghead and myself, and I’ll introduce you in a short speech and tell of your heroic feat of magic.” She leaned forward with an excited smile. “Oh! And you and Clover shall lead the first dance, and Commander Hurricane has Pansy leading the flying.”

“Um, princess?” Clover blushed and bit her lip. “I’ve no idea how to dance.”

Platinum waved a hoof. “I’ll call out the steps for you. I’m sure it’s not as hard as your magic things.”

Clover considered that and nodded. “Well, I’d imagine I’m less likely to collapse our dimension, but far more likely to step on Cookie’s hooves.”

“Look at it as practice.” Cookie smirked and leaned against Clover. “Tomorrow we’re building a country, and we’ve no blasted clue how to do that, either.”

Clover sat staring at a miraculous magic that she had somehow helped to cast, and which saved her life and likely the entire pony race, and she didn’t care. There would be time later to study the whys and hows, to categorize and experiment… there would be time later, bless the stars.

And at that moment, there were other ponies. Smart Cookie and Pansy, who’d bared their souls to her and seen hers in turn. The ponies who’d made her grin in the face of death, glad for that one thing in her entire life, sat cheerful and alive and sharing dreams of a bright future they’d build together, for all of them and everypony else.

They’d been joined, as the ice thawed, by Commander Hurricane. The gruff warpony had been told of the dream, or Equestria, and to everypony’s surprise he’d shown a level-headed practicality and cautious good humor towards the idea and the ponies who’d had it. Chancellor Puddinghead had been rather easily persuaded by the prospect of saving her own skin, but was even quicker to flood the cave with fellowship and good cheer towards everypony present as thanks.

Clover smiled and let the magic warm her through to her heart as she listened to the pegasi calmly explain to the baffled earth ponies their complex and rigid system of official and unofficial ranks and honors that encompassed the entire tribe.

Cookie furrowed his brow and looked at Pansy. “So… you’re a lieutenant now, but you’re a fresh one so that puts you lower than other lieutenants, but you’re in Hurricane’s personal troop and you’ve done something notable, so that puts you higher than even some of the captains?”

Pansy nodded. “Yes, as well as the senior officials in most of the support crews except for the Weather Corps.”

“Be honest. You lot keep scrolls in your wings to keep track of this rubbish, don’t you?” Puddinghead smirked.

Hurricane gave a snort and opened his mouth to speak when the now familiar crack rang through the cave. He shut his mouth and glanced behind Clover, but she didn’t need to turn around to know what was happening back there.

Cookie and Pansy looked to Clover.

“Well…” Clover smiled and rose to her hooves. “I suppose it’s my turn now, isn’t it?”

“Do you want us to help?” Pansy asked seriously.

“Let me give it a go.” Clover took a breath and let it out.

She turned around to see Princess Platinum just starting to move.

The princess shook her head, then looked at Clover with wide eyes. “What— why— I was just—”

“It’s alright now, Princess,” Clover said with a calm smile, walking over to her. “You’re alive, and things will be fine.”

“How?” Platinum asked in awe.

“That’s a bit complicated…” Clover started.

Platinum bit her lip, but didn’t say anything, looking at her expectantly.

“Princess… I know you don’t like me very much. And I know you don’t care about my work,” Clover said looking her in the eye. She went on quickly, “But you’ve got to listen to me now, because I’m not speaking on behalf of myself, or magical knowledge… I’m speaking on behalf of everypony in the world. I know how to end this curse.”

Platinum shook her head and then looked back at Clover with a smile. “That’s how I thawed? You did this?”

Clover nodded. “It is. This is caused by creatures called windigos, they’re drawn to hatred and conflict. I overlooked them because Monoceros is peaceful, I couldn’t see what might attract them. But when I saw your behavior with Commander Hurricane and Chancellor Puddinghead and thought about the feelings between all three tribes…” She trailed off with a frown.

“I see,” Platinum said, looking down.

“What drove them off was friendship overcoming that hate.” Clover nodded back to her friends. “Private Pansy and Smart Cookie and I got to talking, and we found we had more in common than we’d ever dreamed. Then, just as we froze over, a spell was cast from the magic between us.”

Clover looked Platinum in the eye. “Your Majesty, we need that magic, from all three tribes. And it’s not going to happen between Monoceros and Girthshire and Hippocampus. It’s going to happen between ponies who live together and get to know one another. For that we need one nation, a new one. Equestria.”

Platinum just stared at her, not even blinking.

“You said you’d get me whatever I need to save our ponies…” Clover took a breath. “Well, I’m going to need your kingdom.”

Without hesitation, Platinum nodded. “Then you shall have it, on one condition.”

Clover blinked. She wasn’t expecting this to be so easy. “That is?”

Platinum looked her in the eye and raised her eyebrows. “You must allow me to assist in building the new nation. I don’t ask for a title or power, but I have experience to offer… experience which you are desperately in need of.”

Clover smiled and shook her head, but held out a hoof. “You can join us as co-founder. I’m sure we’ll consider your input based on how desperately it’s needed.”

Platinum gave her hoof a gentle shake with a bright grin. “Wonderful!” She looked over Clover’s shoulder. “Now please, introduce me to your friends. This seems like a fine company.”

By the early hours of the next morning, Lady Mage Clover the Clever sat on a dais in the center square with her friends.

Ponies of all tribes mingled in the square before them. Musicians played on every corner throughout the city, and dancing and laughter filled the streets and pathways between tents. Food and drink were distributed freely, and after months of hardship this in itself was a celebration. Where tensions might have taken hold the day before, they now melted in the face of wonder, contentment, and curiosity, a shift lubricated by barrel upon barrel of cider and wine.

The three ponies who’d cast the spell were hailed by all as the Heroes of Equestria, Bearers of Hope, and Friends of All Ponies. They agreed that those titles were entirely too much and the drink had to be playing a rather large part, but none of them had been able to keep the bewildered grins from their faces all evening. Clover had danced with Cookie and stallions she didn’t know of all three tribes. She’d heard her name shouted cheerfully by any number of ponies she was almost sure she’d never seen before and received compliment after compliment on her magical abilities, saving the pony race, and, she had to admit, her robes.

Considering that a day ago she had been frozen to death, Clover wasn’t entirely sure this wasn’t a pleasant sort of afterlife, except that she had to believe the afterlife wouldn’t be thrown together by Platinum in a morning. She would probably take at least a day with it.

Cookie stood on the edge of the dais, looking out just over the crowd with a grin. “Have you ever seen such a sight? Ponies who wouldn’t have said two words to one another are dancing and singing and falling over drunk together.”

Pansy nodded from the cushion where she sat straight and tall, sipping a mug of cider. “I do believe we’ve taken care of the ice for good.”

“And good riddance.” Clover nodded, laying with her forelegs on a cushion. She smiled and looked around at the ponies with her. Her friends. Her eyes fell on Platinum, and she frowned, considering that she hadn’t exactly been very friendly towards her today.

“Your Majesty…” Clover said, pausing as the princess looked over to her. “I want to say, I’m sorry. I was a bit prickly today, with regards to my robes and this party, and they both turned out lovely. You trusted me enough to give up your whole blasted kingdom, I suppose I could have trusted you with a festival and a bit of cloth.”

Platinum tilted her head in confusion. “Clover, dear, you’ve been prickly since I’ve known you. I’m not sure why you’d apologize for today.”

Clover chuckled. “I suppose I apologize for that as well.”

Platinum smiled and waved a hoof. “There’s no need. As I said earlier, this is new to you. I’m told you’re supposed to be clever, so I’m sure you’ll catch on.”

“Catch on?” Clover raised an eyebrow.

Nodding, Platinum took a sip of wine. “We still have quite a lot to do.”

“Yes, tomorrow is for politics,” Hurricane said with a grim smile, standing behind Pansy with a mug of cider in his hoof. “And when the wine runs dry, many ponies will still need to be convinced, both of Equestria and of the qualifications of you three.”

He looked down at Pansy, and her eyes went wide. She took a long drink from her mug.

Puddinghead smirked and chugged the last of her own cider, placing the mug down with a thump. “Of course, not near as many as we would have had this morning, thanks to Princess Platinum here.”

“I suppose that’s true...” Cookie said with a nod and a suspicious look at Platinum.

“She’s always been genius at this.” Puddinghead smiled at Platinum and shook her head. “I’d argue for a month over a treaty, and she’d have the Saddle Arabian Caliph to tea and get it over with in an afternoon.”

Hurricane nodded. “The last peace I negotiated with the griffons included wrangling an invitation for the king to the Monoceros Winter Ball.”

Platinum smirked and took a sip of wine. “You still owe me a month of lovely weather, you know.”

Clover raised an eyebrow. “You’re saying an invitation to a blasted party was what the griffons required to stop trying to kill you, and it was worth a month of weather dealings?”

Cookie looked over at her, incredulous. “An invitation to a ‘blasted party’ where sovereigns and the most powerful beings in the world gather? I’d have given my cutie mark for an invitation to the Winter Ball. Imagine having their ears for an evening!”

Puddinghead snorted a laugh and nudged Platinum. “There’s nothing Cookie loves like a captive audience.”

Clover blinked, not thinking about Cookie at all. She looked at Platinum out of the corner of her eye. “So, a pony looking for funding for important magical research might have been in a good spot to find a patron or investor...”

Platinum just raised her eyebrows and took a sip of wine.

Clover nodded firmly. “I think I might make a better mage without my head up my rear end.”

“At least you opened your eyes long enough to befriend Lieutenant Pansy and Smart Cookie.” Platinum smiled. “But now you see why I insisted on offering you help with Equestria.”

Smiling, Clover shook her head at the princess. “You’ve had your eye on politics since we stepped out of that cave, haven’t you?”

Platinum raised her head high with a gentle smile. “When tasked with leading a nation, one controls almost nothing, yet everything is at stake. One of the very few things within our power is presentation: where to direct ponies’ focus and what messages we send with our priorities, behavior, and appearance.” She motioned to Clover’s robes, then nodded out at the crowd of ponies.

“We need Equestria, in order to keep our hearths warm, whether ponies like it or not. But shall we present it to them as the political ambition of three ponies they know nothing about, or a party in honor of our dashing heros?” Platinum finished, raising an eyebrow.

“It is a lovely party.” Pansy smiled. “I’m nearly convinced we’re worthy of it.”

Cookie grinned and gave a nod. “Well done, Platinum.”

Clover just stared at her with an expression of disbelief. “You couldn’t have perhaps mentioned this to me earlier?”

“I was a bit busy. Do you have any idea how much work it takes to plan a festival in five hours?” Platinum smiled as Clover shot her a look. “If you still care, you need more wine… As a matter of fact, you’re responsible for a country now, you need more wine anyway.” Her magic floated her glass to the cask in the corner of the dais and picked up a second one, filling them both.

Cover accepted it and chuckled. “You’ve had far too much wine.”

She returned her own and offered the other to Clover. “I don’t see the problem with that. It’s good wine, I’m in fine company, and there are five other ponies who are equally responsible if this blasted thing goes to Tartarus.” Platinum grinned and lifted her glass, looking around the dais. “To Equestria, and the best possible start to fortune or folly!”

“Here, here!” Hurricane agreed with a smile, raising his mug. Each other pony there joined in with nods or shouts.

Clover lifted her own glass with a nod and added to the wishes, “...And to Princess Platinum, who knows how to warm a blessed hearth.”

Comments ( 36 )
bats #1 · Mar 19th, 2017 · · ·

Just so you know, I'd watch a My Little Pony: Founders of Equestria show with your versions of the founders. Probably more consistently than the actual show.

If you were actually watching it, it would have to be more consistently than you watch the actual show, now wouldn't it? :twilightsmile:

But I appreciate the thought! Might have to aim for Cartoon Network, with Puddinghead and all.

Hey now, I'm still watching the show. The timeframe is just a little bit closer to geologic time than most viewers.

Big surprise that I loved this. Now I really need to go read the tentpole story you keep telling me is so good.

(Anyway, good job with this!)

Wow, a Platinum that isn't all vapor!

honestly at this rate it's amazing Platnium's father let her have any sort of power, (cannonly her father is still alive at this point) she is horrible at resource management, has no sense of priority and honestly would have brought any nation down within ten years of gaining the crown. honestly i'm thankful her family lost almost all there power in equestrian.

I should mention that I only use show canon.

I really love your founder ponies. I haven't read all the Imposing Sovereigns entries (by a longshot) but this is my favorite so far.

8036278 still leaves the fact clover would have more respect at least out of fear for her mentor who is likewise still alive in show cannon at this time.

Thank you so much!

And honestly, I have no idea how the judges are going to read all of the fics entered. :applejackconfused:

He is, but he left the court without much in the way of instructions with regards to her, and without much explanation to Clover at least:

“Of course study of magic is important to this court, we are unicorns. We’ve always had a royal mage, and dedicated resources and support to their studies.” Platinum looked around the room, then back at Clover. “But magic is not our only concern, and you can work just as well in the lower quarters.”

“Right.” Clover nodded, frowning. “Of course, Star Swirl couldn’t. You never moved the laboratory when he was here.”

Platinum raised an eyebrow. “Well he isn’t here now, is he?”

From somewhere behind Clover a mare’s voice muttered, “Now there was a royal mage. He was always so amusing.”

Another voice answered the first, “Can’t imagine why he might have left such pleasant company.”

Clover bit her tongue to keep her face from cringing, and ignored the stab in her chest. She couldn’t even glare at whoever said it for fear of giving herself away.

Platinum may not be a mage, but she's one heck of an illusionist. Perception is nine tenths of reality, and she controls it with an artist's hoof.

Exquisite work, especially how you toy with the reader's perceptions in sympathizing with Clover throughout, only to reveal just what was going through Platinum's apparently empty head. (Or maybe that was just one nerd empathizing with another. :derpytongue2:) As always, you present the founders so that they resemble their respective Mane Six actresses without feeling like direct copies of them.

Great job all around. I hope you do something from Pansy's perspective to complete the trinity. For now, thank you for this, and best of luck in the judging.

8038929 there are a few hundred ponies relying on them, she and three others have to still take orders from idiots after they saved everyone. two of said idiots want to expend needed resources for a frivolous party they can't afford to throw instead of considering the future of the country they supposedly just formed. the country that they are called founders of and yet the three idiiots act as though there opinions don't matter.

ontop of all those she, the personal student of the greatest mage in generations, who holds a title that in pretty much any royal structure would be answerable only to the king/queen themselves has to take orders from a mare who has the intelligence of a particularly slow minded rock and no forsight. now this mare is demanding her last semblance of self control from her because she dislikes the way her robes look.

quite frankly you'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't be pissed off given the conditions, and frankly had it been starswirl there platinum may very well have ended up hopping back to the unicorn kingdom as a frog.

at least hurricane seems to vaguely understand if things continue this way his title well be empty at the best outcome.

This chapter does show how little Clover understood about social conventions. And it's those that, in the end, helped save them all—not her magical reasearch, which ended up being totally useless. Clover is an idiot in her own way. Platinum is way smarter than Clover thinks because Clover believes anything outside her mage lab is worthless, partly from her wounded pride.

Furthermore, this party is needed to set Equestria on the right path. If they simply dictate it from above, it won't work. What kind of message would it send? That this new sense of togetherness shouldn't be celebrated? Considering that it worked, this party is anything but frivolous. Equestria still celebrates it thousands of years later.

Also, it was established that there are potential resources to be tapped later. They're taking a risk, but not a completely foolish one.

As a matter of trivia, in Sun and Hearth it's noted that it was Clover who both opened up first and made the leap to friendship that formed the spell in this version of the setting:

From Chapter 5:
When Pansy had, in her gentle way, called Clover by the honorific “lady,” the bitter scoff rang through the cave. Clover’s correction unleashed a torrent through chattering teeth: how, despite being an apprentice of Star Swirl and the finest magician of her generation, she had fallen hopelessly at court; how she’d been regulated to a basement workshop, barely better than a dungeon, called upon like a magic wand to fix problems then expected to disappear back to her hole so as not to embarrass the courtiers. Even the maids and guards at the castle were treated with more respect, and more likely to rise in position.

That was what prompted Pansy to observe that they weren’t so different after all.


Their bodies were shaking as the magical ice crept up their hooves, so he didn’t notice Clover chuckling until it turned to a laugh. He and Pansy looked at her oddly.

Clover just shook her head, still grinning, and said, “Well, the world may be better off without us, but I can’t help feeling that I’m better off spending my last with the two of you, tribes be damned.”

Not that that invalidates your opinion of her. Just thought it was interesting you brought it up.

8039046 no hurricane said they'd spotted some plants, not giving the number or the variety of this, given his objections earlier in the same conversations this states he didn't believe it was enough to feed them for long. still a stupid move.

You know, this applies to the episode as well, but there really is something a tad ironic about overcoming hatred by bonding over how much you all dislike someone else. Fortunately, the situation didn't stay that way.

Not that that invalidates your opinion of her. Just thought it was interesting you brought it up.

Well, I also think the Clover in the flashback was projecting pretty hard. :raritywink: "I know you don't like me, and you think what I do is stupid, and you don't respect what I'm telling you, and you're too pig-headed to listen at all..."

That was great, I really do need to read the accompanying story. I bookshelved it on release but haven't gotten around to starting it yet. The number of great stories being written for FOME's contest is making that a little difficult, too, so many interesting stories to read.

Lovely story, and great work on the protagonist/pov split and reinforcement.

But goddamn if that didn't entail putting me in the head of an insufferable, dense jackass. :facehoof:

Your choice of Clover as the POV character was inspired. It allowed you to structure her development like a murder mystery.

Yes, a murder mystery: the central question is "whodunit"--who killed Clover's career at court? And like all good whodunits:

1) The one who seems most guilty is really innocent
2) The one who seems most innocent is really guilty
3) The evidence was right there all along

Explaining everything from Clover's POV half-obscures what's really going on in court, and audience sympathy covers up the rest.

Because the audience is nerds. And us nerds know that all you really need to be is smart, right? And if somebody else refuses to acknowledge OBVIOUS FACTS, why a little sarcasm will help them see the light.

And if a little won't work, a lot definitely will.

Now, there's a nice bit of symmetry in that Platinum's acting exactly the same way. Except her monomania isn't academic intelligence, but social intelligence. She is just as unwilling to pause and try to understand Clover's point of view as Clover is hers, because that would involve acknowledging that other forms of intelligence are as important as her own--she barely recognizes that they even exist as such.

So of course she comes across as just being mean to someone who's only trying to help her. Just as Clover comes across to her.

That says, "See, nerds? See what it's like when someone thinks you just need to be good at one thing and lords it over you because they are?"

Because you do it. I do it too.

Remember the fool
Frustrating the good
And that you did it
Whenever you could...

Or if James Stephens isn't your style, there's always Devo...

Alternate end-title:


Drinking game for this story: take a sip every time they say 'blessed' and two each time 'blasted' is said. Take three each time Clover is a cutie pie.


Dude. Is your userpic Frank N. Sombra? :pinkiehappy:

8083153 Genderbent Sombra, actually.

8038964 Why do you keep saying Platinum is unintelligent? She's basically the exact opposite of that. Basically every action she took in the entire story, flashback present tense, was to the benefit of herself, her nation (Equestria and Monoceros alike), and Clover. She was constantly trying to manipulate situations in Clover's favor, whether by giving her access to the funds and connections she needs, or by distracting the nobles from Clover's failure, or by generally trying to defuse tensions to grant Clover a social edge. The winter ball was an event that Platinum apparently used as a crazy nexus of diplomacy, likely extending her political reach and general power by a ton.

The party that serves as the centerpiece of this work was far more valuable than whatever resources they were using. With only five hours of preparation, she managed to make the idea of combining three tribes that hated each other so much that they brought down supernatural entities to destroy them seem palatable to those tribes. Cookie or Clover would have stood up on a podium and made proclamations about the nature of this new government they were starting, something none of these ponies had ever heard of, and there would have been a frigging riot. Cookie, Clover, and Pansy may have granted Equestria its intellectual and philosophical foundation, but Platinum is a far more capable leader, able to do the things necessary to make a brand new country happen,

So what, precisely, did Platinum do to make you think her stupid? There are only two things I could possibly fault her for, which is a pretty small number given that this story is a conflict of two sides. First, shipping Clover away to the dungeon. We never get a precise explanation for why it occurred as far as I can tell, which makes it harder to defend. But we can guess. Clover is incredibly bad at politics. Things could have easily happened in the background to make this necessary.

The rosiest possible reading is that there were demands for Clover's removal, ones that got too loud to ignore, so Platinum had to hide her away to keep her safer from the situation at hand. It's actually a pretty reasonable interpretation. Sticking Clover in the dungeon allows her to keep up her magical research while giving her a lower profile. Even the ridicule she faced served to diminish the idea that she should be forced to leave, because she's being "punished" already. There's not really a reading without political pressure involved, but they don't necessarily have to be primarily driven by Clover's benefit. I'd hesitate to call those priorities stupid though. What is Platinum losing in this exchange? She maintains access to the same kind of magical research she always had, she appeases the noble folk, and Clover causes less problems in the court. Only downside is that it sucks for Clover, but, and let's keep this in mind, keeping Clover really happy is not and really should not be the primary goal of the Princess of Monoceros. Screwing her over may be jerkish (though I'm not convinced of that, in this case), but it's far from stupid.

The second thing is that Platinum didn't really explain all this stuff well enough. She kept providing Clover with opportunities, small and large, but she didn't really outright say, "You should use the winter ball to get access to a patron so you can continue your teleportation research." And she probably should have. My inclination is to think that Platinum lives in a world of innuendo and half hidden connotations, and she doesn't get that not everyone speaks that language. Which, yeah, it's a fault, but I wouldn't call that stupid. And I hesitate to ascribe too much badness to Platinum for not mapping out exactly what all the great things she's doing for Clover are.


The second thing is that Platinum didn't really explain all this stuff well enough.

This is probably something that's underserved by the scene order. In the first flashback scene, Platinum offers to explain things to Clover when she's not having tea with the Duke of Maretonia, but Clover is having none of it. In the case of the Winter Ball, Clover carelessly insults Platinum's work before Platinum gets a chance, and, well, Platinum isn't a saint. By the time the windigos have shown up, Platinum knows that Clover isn't going to listen to her, which is why she's frustrated when Clover tried to empathize.

On the day of the party, Platinum really could have explained better, but she was short on time, and Clover kept making assumptions about her anyway.

Neither of them are perfect, and they both do plenty of offending each other without meaning it, but where as Clover reacts with snark and complaining, Platinum bites her tongue and brushes Clover off.

Edit: Now I will say, as far as Platinum being stupid, that she is a bit of a ditz when it comes to magic. She understands it's important as a general thing, but isn't really interested in trying to learn any details herself. People can blame her for that if they want, Clover certainly does, but she also doesn't know how to bake a pie or build a wagon or... you get the picture.

8084226 doesn't really know how to run a country either
8084118 keep in min that platinum's style of doing things happened to have happened in history before, why don't you go ask the French royalty how that turned out, oh wait you really can't because they all ended up in the guillotine.

“It is a lovely party.” Pansy smiled. “I’m nearly convinced we’re worthy of it.”

That's adorable!

A good show, all around!

8084226 Yeah, Clover was being a pretty big jerk. I'm honestly a bit surprised that people were surprised by the ending, Where Platinum was revealed as having all these other purposes to her actions. I didn't assume that the winter ball thing was for the purpose of patronage, but I did figure that it was at least intended to push Clover into a closer political circle, showing favor to her even if not in the form of money.

8084470 I don't really care all that much about styles, as it were. There are many ways to rule, and those ways can be executed well or poorly. For whatever historical parallels can be drawn, Platinum undoubtedly executed this manner of rule incredibly well, both shown early and said late to be a skilled diplomat. What we saw in this chapter was a festival based plan that was very effective, not just because the story said it worked but because it would have more than likely worked in reality if done well.

Agreed. Also, pretty much everyone ended up under the guillotine, nobles, intellectuals, rabble... On the other hand, we do have an example of a kingdom based on individual magical power in Equestria too: The Crystal Empire under a fine fellow called Sombra.

Author Interviewer

Fiendishly clever. But I wasn't fooled for an instant! >:V

Had the John Adams HBO series theme on repeat the whole time. So much fun!

Excellent fic. Looking forward to updates on the other one!

I love the name Monoceros, but I'm not a fan of Hippocampus or Girthshire. Hippocampus makes me think of hippogriffs and Girthshire is ehhh . . . Not good.

But those are just nitpicks that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this story. I predicted the reveal at the end, but the journey was still rewarding, and it's the characters that shine more than the plot in this fanfic. It seems like Platinum understood friendship better than Clover all along. Or at the very least, she had much better people - er, pony skills.

Another really good story. I’m really enjoying these.

This was a great read! Earlier I also gave Sun and Hearth a go, sadly that one didn't really grab me and I eventually abandoned it (there's nothing wrong with it, it just didn't grab me personally). I'm very glad that I still gave this one a go!

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