• Published 13th Jul 2012
  • 3,637 Views, 96 Comments

Greengrass's Night - GrassAndClouds2



Duke Greengrass schemes to force a vote the way he wants it

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Lightning and Fisher

3 AM



“Everything is ready, sir,” said Notary.

“Splendid. Think it’ll work?”

“If it were any other pony, I would say ‘no’, sir. But if you plan to personally be on the scene, assisting the con... I would give it fifty-percent odds.”

“That sounds about right.” Greengrass smiled. “Newspapers? Actors and clothing?”

“Letters too, with the appropriate stamps and postmarks”

“Letters – really? Excellent work!” Greengrass blinked. “You continue to impress me, Notary.”

“I do my best, sir.” Notary smiled at the compliment. “But I do have one more matter for you. A message just arrived from your castle.”

“What is it?”

“The new gardener, sir. He failed the fidelity test.”

Greengrass, like most employers, preferred loyal employees. As such, whenever he hired new help – be it a castle servant, bodyguard, spy, or member of his political network – he arranged things such that they had an opportunity to somehow betray him early on, so that Greengrass could make sure they didn't take it. The gardener, who had money problems, had been left alone in a room with a pouch of bits. Evidently, he’d stolen the money.

Incompetence usually only merited a firing, unless the incompetent employee knew too much and had to be relocated elsewhere for the sake of Greengrass’s political career. Outright theft and disloyalty, though, carried harsher penalties. “That money was from the Equestrian Bank branch in my fiefdom, as I recall.”

“Yes, sir.”

Greengrass’s voice was calm and dispassionate, as if discussing a business report. “Have Brute inform the gardener that he will either volunteer for the Mild West settlement teams, or will go to jail for felony theft.” Greengrass was fond of sending his disloyal or traitorous employees to public works projects in other, far-flung districts. It got rid of the traitors, made Greengrass look good for supporting the public good, and would likely cause the ponies in charge of those districts headaches much later. The director of the Mild West settlements was on some influential committees; if he was saddled with a thief, Greengrass might be able to exploit that eventually.

“Yes, sir.”

Greengrass smiled, indicating that the distasteful part of the conversation was over. “If there’s nothing else, I’ll see you at five, then. I have some personal business to attend to.”

“Very well, sir. Have fun in your secret hideout.”

“It’s - -Notary, you make it sound like a foal’s clubhouse. I do serious work there.”

Notary raised an eyebrow.

“…but yes, I plan to unwind a bit in my private residence.

“It’s a secret hideout, sir.”

Greengrass laughed and departed.



4 AM



There wasn’t a lot of open land available in Canterlot, but Greengrass preferred to have his garden indoors anyway.

It was the basement of an old condominium complex that Greengrass had been able to buy cheaply. He’d knocked down the walls between the basement rooms, then installed pipes and sprinklers, artificial lighting, and soil. The Duke had then planted flowers, shrubs, and even a few small trees. By now, it was a surprisingly verdant garden, and Greengrass made it a point to stop by and do some actual gardening at least three times a week. The garden didn’t technically need it – he’d bought the latest in technology, the lighting and sprinklers ran on gear clocks and could run themselves for months if he had to leave them unattended – but he liked to.

It was, he knew, a weakness. An enemy could exploit his garden by threatening to torch it or something. But he was willing to accept that. He wasn’t going to be a career civil servant who schemed for power his whole life and never used it on himself. His father had been a pony like that – he’d gone into the Court at age twenty, retired at seventy, and had barely ever done anything for himself in the intervening fifty years. All his energy was directed at shoring up his own position and moving ever higher, which he did by accomplishing more and more for the government. And so, quite inadvertently, he’d wound up as one of Equestria’s unsung heroes, an industrious and intelligent pony who continually placed the country’s welfare above his own. The banquet they threw for him when he retired was the only time he’d taken in fifty years to do something for himself.

Greengrass snorted. His father had been a fool. But he wouldn’t make the same mistakes. He’d continue to move up, but he’d spend time on himself too, and if it made things harder later, so what? He’d meet that challenge.

The Duke had always wanted to have a nice garden, but he’d never been any good at growing plants in the outdoors. However, in the basement, in an environment that left nothing to chance, he was finally able to produce a garden. He set the temperature, lighting, watering… everything was tightly controlled, and that the plants flourished and the garden grew brilliantly was more a matter of course than a surprise.

Someday, he thought, smiling, All Equestria will be like this garden – one unified nation, controlled by me. I will rule over every bit of it, from the biggest corporation to the smallest house. I will build it into a mighty empire, and run it exactly as I wish. Not wanting to get too far ahead of himself, he hadn’t thought too much about exactly what ruling all Equestria would entail (besides doing something about the Everfree; he saw no reason why such an uncontrolled and chaotic area should be allowed to exist), but he was confident he would indeed rule it someday. Maybe, he thought, it was the earth pony in him, wanting to build something, and just setting its sights a little higher than most, who were content to muck around on a little farm for their whole lives.

In a few years, I will be atop the Court. That alone would be a great achievement and would give me vast power. And then… maybe a few years later, I will find some way to supplant Luna. Alicorns haven’t always ruled the land, after all. It wouldn’t be impossible…

But all of that would have to wait. At the moment, Greengrass was carefully examining a sunflower. Though the garden was almost perfect, with flowers and shrubs in just the right arrangements, this particular sunflower wasn’t doing well. It was drooping, giving the whole line of the flowers a weird look. Like a line of soldiers with one that didn’t quite wake up, thought Greengrass. Not acceptable. Not here.

He examined it carefully, putting his ear to its top, then a hoof to its roots. He took a deep breath. And he focused on his talent, because he had a strong intuition that was what would be needed.

Rootrot.

Aha. He took a small spade and dug, very carefully, until he saw the roots. Yes, something seemed to have infected them.

Moving carefully, he placed the tip of his hoof against the rotten parts, and he focused.

I was never very good at gardening, he thought. Or growing anything, really. Kind of embarrassing, to be an earth pony that can barely keep grass alive… but my father taught me one useful lesson. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘Some earth ponies are good at making things grow. But that’s not all you need to run a farm. Somepony has to make the fertilizer. Somepony has to lay the water pipes. Somepony has to do the accounting. Maybe your talent’s in one of those areas.

The rot began to turn an odd shade of black and peel off of the root.

And it was. Weeding was mine.

Greengrass had gotten his cutie mark when he’d woken up one morning to find that his latest attempt at gardening, a plot of impatients – the easiest, hardiest flower to grow in the world – had been taken over by some weed that grew on everything. Greengrass had stepped into the garden plot in dismay, only to feel some kind of weird feeling come over him. In a daze, he’d walked through the plot, images popping into his head. And by the time he was done, he had a vague recipe – ingredients and proportions – for a crude weedkiller.

He hadn’t been able to save the impatients, but he’d made very sure that every weed was dead. His cutie mark, an ‘X’, the universal symbol of elimination and deletion, appeared immediately afterwards.

And since then, he’d nurtured his talent, taking it far beyond weeds. He could see the weaknesses of things – not just plants, but structures, even ponies. He could see what would break them. Some chemicals for a weed, a strong blow in a weak joint for a building, and something like age, pride, fear, or friendship for a pony. He could find those weaknesses and exploit them. It was just like weeding, but on a much larger scale.

He’d tried a few different careers. He’d been a great interrogator for the police up in Stalliongrad, during his days as a wandering youth, and he’d taken a turn as a lawyer in Amblerja a few years prior. But ultimately, politics was where he was most suited for. The other ponies had political skill of various degrees, but Greengrass also had his talent. He could see how to break the others, how to sink their careers and make room for his own. Hence his rapid rise… and his boundless ambition.

The rot was dead. Greengrass took a sip from a flask of whisky (a rare and expensive vintage; he only had the best when he was gardening) and began to carefully pack the dirt back in around the sunflower. He smiled, looking at the plant whose life he had just saved. It would heal. His garden would continue to improve.

“Perfection,” he said.



5 AM



Captain Lightning’s train pulled into the train station exactly on schedule.

“Alright,” said Greengrass. “We have two votes, but we need his archduchess’s to make three. Where are the actors?”

“All along the route, sir,” said Notary. “I’ve also taken the liberty of seeing the Chamber President to manipulate the vote order.”

“… right, good thinking. We want Blueblood last, since he’ll end up being the deciding vote, and he’s thoughtless enough not to care.” He smiled. “I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“In jail, sir, I would estimate.”

Greengrass laughed, and Notary smiled. “Alright, alright. Your indispensability is noted, and will be accompanied by a substantial Hearth’s Warming Eve bonus. Now. Let’s con this soldier!”

Lightning stepped out of the train and began to trot briskly towards the castle, brushing by a couple of ponies in torn clothes as he did so. “Excuse me,” he said, his voice clear and bright in the morning air.

Greengrass began to follow him, but discretely, and at a distance. Notary had vanished back into the shadows. I really should learn how she does that, he thought.

Lightning maneuvered through the crowds skillfully as he got out of the train station and began the short walk to the palace. He had to step around several sets of ponies in torn clothing as he did so, some with what looked like minor injuries. As he trotted, his steps began to slow. Greengrass smiled. He was taking the bait.

“Is something…?” began Lightning, pausing to examine a set of huddled ponies who looked quite frightened and disheveled. And then he started, having had a chance to examine their clothes more closely. “What happened?”

The ponies shrank away from him and vanished into the side streets.

“Come back!” yelled a bewildered Lightning. He approached another group, but they scattered as soon as they saw him coming. “What’s going on?”

Greengrass approached. “Captain, hello! Pleased to—“

“Shut up! Did something happen?”

“What do you mean?”

“Those injured ponies; they’re wearing clothes from the northern provinces,” snapped Lightning. “Was there some problem up north?”

Greengrass pretended to think. “Well, there was that special train that came in about ten minutes before yours… I think it was from the north”

“Special train?!”

“A lot of ponies got off it. They looked kind of like refugees. Shell-shocked and… well, you know.”

This was one of the bigger scams that Greengrass had tried to pull, but it seemed to be working. Lightning’s eyes darted about. “I don’t believe this. I left the front for two days to head back here to vote – if something happened, if there was an attack, they should have sent me a message onboard the train! Get me a newspaper!”

“I—“

Lightning shoved his way past Greengrass and galloped to the nearest newspaper stand, which was just opening for business. “Give me that,” ordered Lightning, seizing a paper. “…no, look. There’s nothing here about it. If something had gone wrong, the papers would have the story before the refugees arrived.”

Greengrass paged through the paper. “Ah – there. Page seven.”

It had been worth getting that printing press, Greengrass thought. As silly as some might think the idea was, it could be very useful to be able to print up a fake page in a newspaper. He had an ex-editor whom he could call on at a moment’s notice to mock up a page that looked perfectly real. Then, all that was needed was to obtain several real newspapers, switch a page with the fake, and then get those newspapers back to the stands where they were needed. It was a lot of work, and it cost a lot of money, but what pony, even a courtier, would think that a newspaper sold at a public stand might be faked?

“Mysterious incidents in northern provinces. Reports sketchy. Possible injuries reported?” Lightning flung the paper away. “What is this? Don’t they know anything? Why isn’t this on the front page?”

“The Court doesn’t have the resources to deal with it right now - -Blueblood’s got everypony terrified of Corona, so most of the military is being positioned against her. They don’t want to panic anypony, so they’re downplaying it,” said Greengrass.

A pony in a tattered shawl bumped into them and dropped a letter as she rushed by. The letter had a stamp and postmark from the northern provinces. Lightning seized it and opened it, and though Greengrass hadn’t read it himself, he was confident that Notary had come up with some horrific tale of woe. “Downplaying this? According to this letter, one in four ponies was injured!” Lightning looked furious. “It doesn’t say what it is, but we have to defend against it!”

“The Court won’t listen.“

“Insane. I’ll make them listen. If ‘something’ happened up north, it’s nothing a few squads of the ground troops and the battle mages can’t fix."

“They won’t deploy them—“

“I didn’t ask your opinion.”

“Look, you know it’ll take a few days to get anypony sent up to the front. Like I said, they’re in full Corona-panic mode now, and they won’t listen to you. I wish it were different, I wish there was something I could do, but the Court’s frozen.”

Lightning ground his teeth. Greengrass nodded to himself – with details this sketchy, it would take days to deploy more than a token force, and Lightning would know it. “I hate politicians. And you’re included in that, Greengrass.”

“I have never done anything—“

“Stow it. If you really want to show you care about this country, give me some of the militia and military forces in your fiefdom. You’re not using them now, and they can reach the provinces in less than a day.”

“I can’t just give them to you; I’d be a laughingstock. That’s not how it’s done in the Court.”

“What’s more important, the whole country or your career?”

Greengrass shook his head. “Look, just give me a token and I promise to lend you half my guards for a month. Like – like this vote coming up. Ask Archduchess Nobility to flip her vote. That way I can say I got something for giving you my guards.”

“Are you that afraid of being accused of altruism?”

“It’s lethal in the Court.”

Lightning laughed at that, a harsh and barking sound. “Sorry. Already pledged to support Fisher.”

“He’ll still get the grant!” Greengrass tried to look frustrated, like he wanted to help Lightning but couldn’t because of the Captain’s own stubbornness. “He’s three votes up and you only control one. Just – just do this for me and you’ll have two squadrons of guards to supplement your forces up north. If you don’t, I can’t help you. And we both know it’ll take days to get any other force up there.”

Lightning glared at Greengrass, but the Duke already knew what Lightning would do. He wouldn’t leave his forces or the province hanging. “Fine. Now get the Hay out of my way.” He stormed off.

Greengrass looked around. The ‘injured’ ponies would disburse in a few minutes; they’d only been paid to act for a short while. None of them knew his real identity; Notary had handled hiring them, and as far as they knew, this was all just some big improvised street production, an ‘artiste’ thing. The newspaper vendors didn’t know either. There was nothing tying the scam back to him.

Perfect. All that was left was the vote.



6 AM



“Not a bad night’s work,” Greengrass said, smiling, as Notary opened the door into his booth. “Not bad at all.”

“We haven’t won yet.”

“Ah, but we will. Now is when we can savor our triumph before moving on to our next adventure!”

“Of course, sir.” Notary smiled. “Would this be like when we were savoring our triumph in obtaining the services of Lyra Heartstrings?”

“… I should hope not.” Greengrass shook his head. “I admit it; I underestimated Lulamoon’s immaturity. To throw a fit and frame her ‘friend’ because Lyra was going to leave her… honestly, the thought of her controlling the Elements scares me.”

“It scares many ponies.”

“But she’s Luna’s favorite, so she can’t be targeted directly. Ah well.” He sighed. “Well, no matter. We’ll get them all eventually. None of them have the resources to beat me.”

“The vote is starting, sir.”

Down below, ponies were rising. “I vote that the grant be awarded to Archduke Fisher.”

“I vote that the grant be awarded to Vicereine Puissance.”

“Fisher.”

“Puissance.”

After several votes, Notary murmured, “All votes so far as expected, sir.”

“Splendid.”

There was a pause. “It’s your turn, sir.”

“Oh, right.” He stuck his head out of the booth. “I vote for Puissance!”

The first unexpected part was when Baron Mounty Max got up. He was nervous and shaking a bit, but he managed to say, “I vote – I vote for Puissance!” And there were whispers.

The second surprise was when Archduchess Nobility spoke. “Vicereine Puissance,” she said, her voice regal and strong. “Without question.”

Fisher was looking nervous and was whispering to his whole entourage – he was one of those ponies, Greengrass thought, who seemed to need at least five others to follow him around wherever he went. Greengrass thought it was a bit pathetic. He needed only Notary most of the time, and he could get by without her if he had to. Fisher, though, looked lost on the rare occasions that he didn’t have his crew. For that matter, he looked a bit lost now.

Blueblood voted last. He should have voted early, given his relatively junior rank of Viscount, but it seemed the voting order was somehow jumbled. “I vote for Puissance,” he said.

Puissance herself seemed a bit surprised, only belatedly rising up to thank the Court for bestowing the grant upon her lands. Builder Brick, in the audience, appeared to be restraining the urge to cheer. Fisher, from his booth, looked shocked and said nothing. The rest of the Court erupted into murmurs and whispers, as everypony tried to figure out how this sudden reversal had come to be.

Greengrass smiled. “Now can we celebrate?”

“I think that would be acceptable, sir.”



7 AM



Greengrass had just poured himself a large tumbler of bourbon when Lightning stormed into his office.

“There was no attack up north!” he yelled. “You made it all up!”

“Made what up? I saw what you saw. Any ‘fakery’ fooled me too.”

Lightning ground his teeth. “Liar. I will end you!”

“End me how?” Greengrass smiled politely, as if the discussion were academic.

“I will tell the whole Court of your depraved efforts to fool me into repositioning Equestrian military forces! Had you succeeded, national defense—“

Greengrass held up a hoof. “Wait. First of all, do you have any evidence that I did anything?”

“Those ponies! The papers!”

“I had nothing to do with them, and if you have any evidence to the contrary, I would be quite surprised.”

“Then – then you lied about the special train. There was no such train!”

“I never said I saw it myself. I just told you what I’d heard. I suppose we were both fooled.” Greengrass smirked. “I wish you luck in finding the culprit.”

“Forget proof. I’ll tell the Court anyway.”

“You’ll tell the Court that I fooled you with a few actors and some newspapers? Go ahead if you want, but if you tell the world that you’re that foolish, I don’t see you having a long career,” said Greengrass. I don’t see you having a long one anyway. If I know the Archduchess, she’ll be furious when she finds out what happened. She trusted you, and you let her down by having her vote for the wrong pony in the name of a fictitious crisis. I predict you’ll be removed from the political scene and deployed to the middle of nowhere within two weeks. I can weather your anger until then.

The Captain hesitated. He wasn’t much good at politics, Greengrass knew, but even he knew that admitting he’d been fooled would destroy him. “I will ruin you,” vowed Lightning. “I don’t know how, but I will.” He swept out.

Five minutes later, Puissance entered. “Well done,” she said. “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

“I get that a lot. Bourbon?”

They drank a toast, and then Puissance smiled. “Whatever your plans are for this Gala, you may count on my support.”

“Splendid. Glad to be working with such an esteemed politician.”

“I think I like you, Greengrass. Please, take care not to overextend yourself. I would be quite sad to have to destroy you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

And after she left, when Greengrass was about to go to bed for the day, Archduke Fisher strode into his room.

“Please explain to me,” said the archduke, “Why I shouldn’t crush you.”

Greengrass carefully considered how to play his next move. He decided on a confident, yet slightly placating tact. In a calm voice, he said, “It was a small grant. We both know it won’t hurt you much to lose it. But I had to get your attention somehow.”

“Attention?”

Greengrass nodded. “I’ve been trying to get on your calendar for months, but you seemed to think I was beneath your notice.”

“Ah. I see. Well… I’ve noticed you now. I don’t think you’ll like it.”

“Let me make it up to you,” said Greengrass. “I have a few plans that could lead to handsome profit for us both, provided we work together. My secretary will send you the details. If you like what you see, and I think you will, I’d be happy to let you take a bit larger of a share of the profits as… well, as recompense for this.”

“Mmm.” Fisher frowned. “I suppose you are… interesting enough that I would like to see your offer. But take care, Greengrass. I do intend for you to make this up to me. And, if I don’t feel like you have, I can make your Night Court career nasty, brutish, and quite short.”

“Understood.”

And then he too was gone.

Greengrass entered his room and sat on his bed. “Notary?”

“Yes, sir?” His secretary poked her head in from his office area.

“It seems that, whenever I talk with another pony in the Court, the conversation ends with them threatening to crush me. Do you think we could just let it be known that it’s understood? It would save me quite a bit of time in the long run.”

“I’ll look into it, sir.”

Greengrass laughed, a deep and warm sound. “Ah, but that was fun. Remind me to do that again sometime.”

“Of course. And congratulations are in order. That was a masterful plan.”

Greengrass chuckled. “Well, I do have them on occasion.”

He lay down and was asleep within moments, dreaming of an Equestrian Empire, perfect in every way, and ruled by him.

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Comments ( 45 )

Looks like Greengrass got what he wanted. Woohoo! For a certain value of 'woohoo.'

Gee, I wonder if it's a deliberate feature that trying to be 'corrupt' on the Court leads many of the ponies, like Greengrass's father, into working all the harder for the good of Equestria. Surely Luna wouldn't be that devious. :-)

I love the idea of Greengrass's garden, especially the bit indicating that he's finally able to grow one because he finally has the resources to control the whole thing (instead of an outdoor garden, which is subject to the vagaries of the weather and stuff). And of course he wants to turn all of Equestria into his garden, a perfectly controlled environment dictated by him... excepting the Everfree, which he can't control and therefore doesn't like (I don't think Fluttershy would like him very much).

Mmmm, yes this chapter was most delicious. :rainbowwild:

Being able to enjoy this so thoroughly was just what I need after the sour taste that the penultimate chapter of Carrot Top Season was leaving me with. Should make it much easier to approach the final chapter with a fair and open mind.

I won't lie, the concept of Greengrass never interested me much when you first dropped his name back in Musicians and Dreamers, seeming nothing more than another generic corrupt courtier for the L6 to contend with, and bt the time he was mentioned again as the FlimFlam's patron I was starting to get a little bored of him, but seeing him in action has put him right near the top of my list of OCs. Certainly I don't want to see his edge diluted through over exposure, but at the same time I can hardly wait to see more of him. Heck, I might just have to figure out if I can work at least a briefer cameo somewhere in my own writings.

He miiiiiight have a bit of a problem getting Luna out of the way. She, after all, has had a thousand years or so more experience dealing with this sort of thing.

900045: Yes, just a bit. Hee hee.
(By the way, to head off any thoughts in a certain direction: he wouldn't ally with Corona. He's not crazy, and he's not chaotic evil enough to want Equestria to burn. From a pragmatic perspective, he'd also note that she's lost twice, the last time a few months ago, so she'd be unlikely to actually be a useful ally. She's also insane enough that she can't be dealt with rationally like Luna and the Courtiers can, meaning he couldn't control her. Besides, he wants power, and he knows that Corona is very unlikely to share.).

900139
Which would explain why he wants to control the Elements. In his lights, he could contain Corona far more effectively were he calling the shots.

He could see how to break the others, how to sink their careers and make room for his own. Hence his rapid rise… and his boundless ambition.

Ha! Joke's on him, Trixie doesn't have a career to sink and everypony hates her anyway!

...

i48.tinypic.com/xp8zex.png

900587: Heh. Poor Trixie. So alone and unloved by all. Maybe her sad state will persuade the Duke to forego his plans at the Gala and leave her be...
Nah. :-)

900602
Good thing for Octavia that Greengrass bought her con...

...though now I'm wondering if Trixie can turn her bottom-of-the-ladder position into an advantage somehow. After all, she doesn't have much to lose beyond Luna's respect at this point (at least as far as anypony knows), and she's pretty much demonstrated that she's willing to torpedo that to make a point anyway.

Comment posted by GrassAndClouds2 deleted Jul 26th, 2015

Three things I love about this chapter.
1) Greengrass's inability to recognize why his dad was awesome. It's one thing to not respect him for putting others ahead of himself, but the good Duke here doesn't even understand what his father was doing.
2) The sheer arrogance of the stallion. I mean come on, he actually wants to take over Equestria? And purely for the sake of his own ego. What a dick.
3) The fact that he in no way suspects that Trixie conned him. Ties back in to that whole arrogance thing. All she really has to do is keep playing up her own arrogance to con him again and again. Sure he'll figure it out eventually, but it'll take a few encounters.

Great story. Keep up the good work.

Oh, and what's your next story going to be about?

900723: It's not exactly for the sake of his ego. He wants to build something. Some earth ponies build farms (well, most it seems), and he wants to build an empire. If he just wanted an ego trip, he could hire sycophants and go hang out in his own castle all day.
Also, Trixie did con him... but I would argue that she is legitimately arrogant and jealous. He underestimates her, but his understanding of her isn't entirely off, and he could probably anticipate some of her moves. Plus, he does have Notary around, who can serve as a check to his ego. "Okay, sir, but assuming she isn't a complete and total idiot, perhaps we should come up with plan B."

900750
Oh I know that she really is that arrogant. She didn't pretend to have those flaws, she just amped them up past what they would normally be. And that's why it's going to keep working for awhile. After all, the best lies are the ones that have a bit (or a lot) of truth in them.

900723: As for my next story...

I'm not really sure. I had a couple ideas:

1. (L-verse, noncanon) Riffing off of the 'Dinky's going to make lots of friends and become a powerful mage' idea in brainstorming, a series of vignettes showing Dinky befriending foals of various species. I have 'Dinky and the Lion' first draft almost done, and I've also got 'Dinky and the Ghost' plotted a bit. It would basically just be 10k words or so of Dinky and another foal/kitten/puppy cuteness.

2. (M-verse) I was thinking over a 'Trixie teaches Sweetie Belle magic' story, although most of the places I have that going wind up pretty dark (mostly relating to Trixie's history and her plans that brought her back to Ponyville in the first place). There's one scene in particular I really like that I might write up as a one-shot.

3. (L-verse, either noncanon or webisode) I was toying with the idea of doing some kind of Octavia story, but I'm not sure what to do it about. Octavia at this point (in my view, at least) is somewhat depressed and self-loathing after being forced to confront what she did to Lyra, so reading about her would likely be depressing. (I did have the thought that maybe Fleur de Lis or another pony might try to start her on her redemption arc, but at the same time I'd like to leave her kind of like she is so others can use her before she inevitably comes back to the good side).

I've been wondering for a bit if Greengrass was the kind of politician who the L!Fancy Pants I've been slapping together would directly oppose. This chapter answered that question with an unqualified 'YES' when you showed that his ultimate ambition was to supplant Luna as supreme ruler of Equestria.

I also love that his special talent is 'weeding' and that he's chosen to apply it on a grand and symbolic level. Extra creepiness points there.

901577: Sad thing is... Greengrass wants a great garden, but he has a poor track record of growing anything where he can't perfectly control the environment. So even if he wins the throne... well, to rule well he'd need to be able to get rid of anything he couldn't control. I don't think that's terribly likely. (This is why he already knows he'd have to 'do something' about the Everfree, should he win).

I think that Fancy Pants would definitely oppose him. He might respect how nakedly honest Greengrass is about his ambitions, instead of hiding behind platitudes like so many of the other ponies, but they would definitely be enemies (even if they wouldn't admit it to each other).

I really liked the bit with the garden, the reveal of his special talent, and overall how everything went off. The bit about wanting to supplant Luna and try to 'fix' Equestria was very interesting, and this chapter really made Greengrass more human (pony?) for me. :pinkiehappy:

901881: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

901864

Yeah, and wouldn't it be a kick in the face if he learned that the Everfree was necessary to Equestria's ecosystem?

I rather ambiguously described Fancy Pants's job as countering 'internal threats to Equestria'. Whatever that entails, I think that anypony with designs on Luna's throne is at the top of his list as a matter of course.

I really enjoyed this story. So far you seem to be the one among us with the best grasp of the whole Night Court principle. I know I wouldn't hold a candle to you, so I think I won't try and focus on other stuff :derpyderp2:

Keep up the good work man!

What I love The most about this story is that Greengrass, who's doing all of thisamazing political manuvering, is treating it like another day at the office.


"The day Greengrass plotted against you was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday"

902171: Yeah, that'd be unfortunate. The Everfree is tricky that way.
He probably wouldn't be quite at the top of the threat list, since as he says here he wants to consolidate his power in the Court first. He wouldn't seek to oust Luna until he dominated the Court, which he anticipates taking several more years. Folks like Corona, and maybe some of the stupid/crazy nobles are more immediate threats.
(Also, he's not an idiot enough to do anything that would give her reason to kill him or send him into space. If he does ever move against Luna, it would be along the lines of using politics to force her or somehow convincing her to hand over power peacefully, not finding a strong enough gun or spell to kill her. So he wouldn't be quite as much danger to Luna or the country as Corona or another chaotic crazy pony).
But yes, he could definitely be seen as a sort of long-term danger.


902791: I'm quite interested, actually, to see other interpretations of the Court and the ponies within it. There's a whole bunch that never showed up here, or were only seen through Greengrass's skewed perspective (like Fleur).

904593: Ah, but for him it really is just another night. This is what he does every night. And, in his opinion, he has the best job in the world. Tons of fun, and with lots of perks.

905377

and that's what's so awesome. He just plays the game for love of the game.


"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life"

It seems even in Lunaverse Blueblood is simply a punching bag for authors- ah well. Arrogant yet clueless, that's he in a nutshell; it's hard not to take advantage of that.

I do wonder though... Noone has ever played upon the fact that he might be Celestia's nephew, but not Luna's (as in, they share only a father). What would that entail in Lunaverse, where Celestia isn't redeemed, merely fought off?

Ooh... taking over from Luna? He makes his move and she incinerates him on the spot? :derpytongue2:

Still, masterful game here by him. He'll rise far. I love the garden, and how he got his cutie mark. Rather... ominous. As for Trixie and the Elements, he needs some sense pounded into him methinks. Perhaps by Raindrops? :duck:

906947: Greengrass in space could be a meme of its own.

Heh. Raindrops can try, but Ox and Bear might have something to say. (Honestly, it might be interesting to write an attempt at a 'quick and dirty' takedown of Greengrass -- maybe by some other, dumber noble -- just to show off what his assistants can do. I like to think that Ox, Bear, and even Notary are all very adept at defending their boss, as well as his other employees.)

The only thing that made me pause after these three chapters was the total lack of Luna. It's her Night Court and she doesn't get so much as a line of dialog? :trixieshiftleft:

907141: I like to think that she's in one of the higher booths, watching all of this and chuckling at the idea that any of the ponies have put one over on her. :-)

I couldn't stop thinking, through all this, of how likely Notary plotting against Greengrass was. Playing the long game, as it were.

907767: What document did he falsify? Just the private letter and the newspaper, right? The letter isn't illegal; it's not required that any piece of mail you happen to write (or carry on your person) be honest. Otherwise, a lot of vacation postcards wouldn't get mailed. :-) Greengrass never told Lightning it was official; Lightning picked it up off the ground and jumped to conclusions, but that's not the Duke's fault.
The newspaper might be illegal in that Greengrass could be seen as kind of reselling it without a license, but it's highly unlikely that he'd be caught or charged (the vendors might get yelled at, though).

907709: Hmm, Notary as a traitor? I have to admit, I like her more as just a supremely loyal and devoted servant. She might not want the headaches that come with vast political power, after all.

907889 Also the financial reports and whatever for Mounty.

908013: Those weren't official, and he didn't really pretend they were. They were in the style of a fact-checker's report. They were totally fabricated, but he wasn't identifying them as Official Government Documents, so I don't think he violated any laws.

I'll be honest. When I first saw that this story was going to bring Greengrass in from out of the shadows I was (slightly) worried because in the past I have read some otherwise great stories where the villians had been ruined because we were given too much too soon.

But, like always, you did not disappiont. This is exactly how I pictured Greengrass to be. He was charismatic enough that I couldn't help but want to see if he can pull it off but slimey enough that I don't forget that he's the villian. While this whole story brillantly showed what the Duke was capable of, not to mention introduced us to his entourage, my favourite part was the garden scene because it was the perfect character establishing moment.

908001
Personally I think that she is loyal to Greengrass but has a disdain for nobles in general and likes to see the Duke taking them apart.

909541: I like that idea too. She probably appreciates that Greengrass is refreshingly honest in his goals. He doesn't couch his schemes in the whole 'oh, I just want to take power so I can help Equestria, I'm so selfless and noble' nonsense. It's very much just, "Yeah, I want power."

I like notary.
:rainbowlaugh:

The garden scene was rather jaring to me and I can't decide if its in a good way or not. Greengrasses sudden 'and I will rule the world Bwa ha ha' seemed to come out of nowhere up until then he seems a rather charasmatic semi villian then suddenly he into super villian teritory and a control freak as well when his previous plans seem to be more free wheeling. It seems a bit to much, alternatively his garden in the only place he can truely be himself and up until that point he's even lying to himself, does even Notary know about this side of him? (and is there a smidge of sexual tension between them?) if so its brillient but I'm still undecided.

900587
Oh god, I am still laughing at this!:rainbowlaugh:

...

I hate politicians. I hate them so! bloody! much!

About the only Night Court politician I can actually stand is Fancy Pants, but if he ever tries anything...

BRAAAAARGH, I just want to crush every one of these slimy wastes of existence. I want to watch them squirm as I destroy everything they've ever held dear, just because I can. Set their political careers on fire, kill their wives, children, friends and associates... preferably in front of them for added amusement. :pinkiecrazy:

But none of that would be the right thing to do, so it'll probably never happen. :ajsleepy: Doesn't change the fact that I freaking want it, though.

Fics like this are part of why I love political dramas.
You've managed to take the nebulous and boringly vague Greengrass and turn him into both a threat and at least vaguely sympathetic. Oh, he still deserves to have somepony pop a cap in him, but at least we know a bit more about his motivations.

Notary is the real standout of this story, though. I'm curious to know how much she's really on board with her master's plans, or if there's a line she won't cross when it comes down to it, or if perhaps she's a total sociopath and he's the pawn.
Now, wouldn't that just be delicious?

I enjoyed this story. It did a good job of introducing Greeengrass as a character and giving the reader insight into his character and the Night Court. He seem suitably intelligent, and interesting to be a solid villain. Thought he doesn't seem to quite grasp that he is going to overstretch with his ability, but I figure that's the whole point with the garden scene. Good luck controlling every aspect of a complex nation like Equestria in teh Lunaverse.

I think Murphy should have a word with him sooner or later about his complex plans that require many multiple parts to work perfectly in order to succeed. No plan survives first contact with the enemy after all.


Man this was fun to do. I love a good political intrigue story and this delivered. I have to admit, I am startign to like Greengrass, if only because I love a character like him. That, and he makes me think of Checker Monarch
As always, the first chapter o the live read

“Very well, sir. Have fun in your secret hideout.”

“It’s - -Notary, you make it sound like a foal’s clubhouse. I do serious work there.”

Notary raised an eyebrow.

“…but yes, I plan to unwind a bit in my private residence.”

“It’s a secret hideout, sir.”

...
...
I laughed so hard at this :rainbowlaugh:
Notary is awesome.

In a few years, I will be atop the Court. That alone would be a great achievement and would give me vast power. And then… maybe a few years later, I will find some way to supplant Luna. Alicorns haven’t always ruled the land, after all. It wouldn’t be impossible…

Up till now, I just assumed he was a typical self-serving aristocrat, with a vendetta against Trixie and a hunger for Elements. Now? He's nuts. How the buck does the think he can pull this off?! Still a great story though

8250843
I've never heard of David Xanatos. Welp! Off to YouTube! Away!! :yay:

Greengrass began to follow him, but discretely, and at a distance. Notary had vanished back into the shadows. I really should learn how she does that, he thought.

Oh, just a few years with Cheerilee as a roommate and a thirty for knowledge.

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