• Member Since 14th Jan, 2012
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MrNumbers


Experience is the name we give our mistakes.

E
Source

To host the Grand Galloping Gala is a great honor only a select few can aspire to. Rarity deserves the role more than anypony else. She can have everything she ever wanted, if she chooses to.

It might be the wrong choice.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 45 )

This is my love letter to Golden Era Hollywood, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Rarity, and Monochromatic, in no particular order.

This is my official "Fuck You" to everyone who just thinks of Rarity as a backstabbing social climber, and to David Beagleman.

I was told that I had to restrain myself to five thousand words to explain why Rarity isn't trash.

Go fuck yourself sideways with a trowel you can consign me to five thousand words when that's what I'm defending.

Edit: Extra special thanks to Harwick for the coverart. If you haven't seen his stuff go do that. It's gorgeous.

Powerful stuff.

Damn good stuff sir.

8460249
Damn good speech. I tip my hat to you.

Read this as soon as I saw your name.
You did not disappoint.

me, sobbing: rarity best poni,,,,,

Hillbe #7 · Oct 1st, 2017 · · 1 ·

:trollestia: Bagel was found under the APPLEWOOD sign stuffed in a Sweet Apple Acres apple cider barrel smoked and tied into the most interesting knot. His exposed furless burn areas showed signs of tool marks, bite marks and outright claw slashes. But after a lengthy investigation we found a very ornately written suicide note asking all ponies for forgiveness and understanding (I was a kinky little colt) and all his belongings and estate are to be given to poor Rarity Bell according to his last will and testament that was filed just hours ago...any other questions regarding this case be forwarded to Lord Dragon Ember as her jurisdiction prevails.
:duck: Think any pony will believe it?
:moustache: Not on your saddle
:facehoof: Stupid Gala
:trollestia: How'd you get away with it?
:twilightoops: BOOKS?

8460807
See, when I first talked to Numbers about this I suggested something a bit different. I pointed out Rarity is owed massive favors by all sorts of interestin' ponies and that any number of them might feel honor-bound to do something permanent to Bagel.

So I had the following to suggest:

I just like the idea
of her going to the papers ahead of him
(telling him she's going to go and get the money because she saves histrionics for a suitable audience)
getting up tomorrow morning
to find that the papers have nothing about it
and a feature about Bagel retiring far, far, far away
The delivered paper has a note pinned to it
"And now, we are even. --L"
Because Luna wouldn't threaten to just kill him. Luna would bring some Dream of the Endless stuff to bear.
Because, yes, it's not a fair story
and yes, it hinges on sacrifice
but I'll remind you that the most successful story about sacrifice of all time
had the sacrifice stick for three days

I also suggested that Luna going all Old Testament would be a sight to behold.

THOU WRETCHED AND UNWORTHY WORM! WERE THESE THE OLDEN DAYS WE WOULDST SEE LADY RARITY CALL THEE UPON THE FIELD OF HONOR AND SPILL WHATEVER FOUL OOZE SERVES YOUR KIND AS BLOOD AND THE AMASSED RANKS OF THE RIGHTEOUS WOULD MAKE THE EARTH A-QUAKE WITH THE SOUND OF THEIR APPROBATION!

BUT THESE TIMES ARE FALLEN TIMES AND THIS PURE AND NOBLE DEED IS UNJUST AND THAT THOU SHOULDST CONTINUE TO DRAW BREATH IS JUST!

O TEMPORE O MORES!

BUT I YOU VARLET, YOU KIN TO WENDIGOS, YOU SERVANT OF DISCORD, YOU FATHERLESS CUR, AM NOT OF THIS TIME. NEIGH, MY WAYS ARE THE OLD WAYS AND THE OLD WAYS ARE THE WAYS OF BLOOD, OF FIRE FROM ON HIGH, AND OF PILLARS OF HARMONY-BE-DAMNED SALT!

This, I reckon, would go on for a while.

Another way to consider this, of course, now that I think about this is that I have written, aimed, and armed a pony for situations like this.

Living in a palace whose owners are easily twice the height of any pony, and possess inequine strength and tempers to match led to certain practical considerations regarding reinforcement and worst-case engineering.

This is why the door did not fall off its hinges, though mere steel and wood being with they are, it did require a visit from a craftspony of distinction before actually closing again. Dotted made a note of this, somewhere in the file cabinet of his soul, and marked the payment as coming from the Royal Snit sub-account even as most of his brain was involved in the sort of self preservation that insisted on maximum distance between it and an enraged princess of the Moon, Dreams, And Kicking Things Really Hard Until They Stopped Being Things Altogether.[1]

[1] Probably. Dotted's brain was prone to exaggeration when in a panic.

"MY LORD LINE! THIS IS INTOLERABLE! UNBEARABLE! WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT!"

"Your Majesty?" Dotted was amazed at how smooth his voice sounded. He was getting used to Princess Luna, he really was. Why, it's been days since she last startled him into jumping out of a window and that was only a first story one, too!

"THOU CANST NOT BE IGNORANT! THE SITUATION WITH THAT BOLTING-HUTCH OF BEASTLINESS, THAT SWOLLEN PARCEL OF DROPSIES, THAT—"

"Beagle Bagel, Your Majesty?"

"SO THOU KNOWEST?"

"Indeed, Your Majesty."

"AND YET YOU STAND THERE LIKE A STONE WALL! IT CANNOT BE BORNE! IT CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND!" Luna took a deep breath. The first, Dotted estimated, since she walked in.

"My Lord Secretary," she continued,"I will not let this pass. Let my sister rule as she pleases, but my honor does not allow this, not if all the heavens shall fall around mine ears. It is past sundown, mine is the elder word now, and you mine to command."

"I serve the sisters two," Dotted said, dryly.

"Now you serve one in particular, My Lord Secretary. This Bagel... creature cannot be permitted to walk the land after the insult he has offered to one we are proud, neigh, privileged to call friend. I know well the things you are capable of. Have him struck down or I shall do so myself, laws of this fallen age be damned."

"Oh," said Dotted, with polite surprise," Oh! I am so sorry, Your Majesty, but here you are getting exercised over nothing. I'm afraid I can't quite do what you ask."

"Are you so weak-livered that you would refuse?"

"Not quite, Your Majesty. You see, just before sundown, your sister was here to have a, ah, word on the same subject. Though not in the same volume."

"She forbade you from doing what honor demands," Luna spat out.

"Not... not quite. Not in so many words. Rather the opposite."

"You... you had him assassinated on her orders," asked Luna, eyes quite wide.

"Oh, no, no, no Your Majesty."

Luna sat down and gave Dotted a withering glare.

"Explain thyself."

"Well, about an hour before your sister, Her Highness Twilight Sparkle requested a favor, and seeing as both your majesties were very clear that I am to extend every courtesy—"

"You killed him because of her?"

"Well no, Your Majesty," said Dotted and, raising a placating hoof, hurried to explain, "you see some four hours before Princess Twilight showed up at my door I had already taken the liberty of... arranging matters."

Luna stood silent for a few moments blinking.

"And he is dead?"

"Alas, your sister frowns on permanent solutions to problems such as Mr. Bagel, but, ah—"

Dotted's polite talking-to-royalty smile grew considerably wider and seemed to acquire more teeth than the pony jaw could theoretically accommodate. Luna was sure she could see a dorsal fin.

"My Lord Secretary?"

"—ah, well, Your Majesty, you would be astounded at the sort of things a pony can live through. In fact if you would have a cup of te—coffee, and wait a few minutes I'm sure you could see for yourself."

Luna sat, dazed, as Dotted prepared a delic— adeq— not immediately lethal cup of coffee, decanted it into a cup with the aid of a knife, fork, a tiny stool and a even tinier bullwhip, stunned it slightly, and served to her with an expectant smile.

She took a tentative bite. Her eyes crossed briefly.

"A... robust cup of coffee, My Lord Secretary."

"A Civil Service special. We've last cleaned out the coffee pot in 459 and that was an accident."

Luna chewed her coffee thoughtfully.

"A fine vintage, then. But, My Lord Secretary what are we waiting for?"

"Well," replied Dotted, "any minute now—"

"THERE HE IS," came a yell from the city square below, "BURN HIM!"

A number of voices took up the cry "BURN HIM! BURN HIM!"

And, one enthusiast, "TOAST THE BAGEL!"

After a while the clamor grew too loud and mixed to tell voices apart. But it was obvious that somepony down there was paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.

"My Lord Line?"

"Your Majesty?"

"What dids—did you do?"

"Unto him as he had done unto others. With interest."

Excellent work.

This also continues to show the problems with having Discord reformed, because as the one character both capable and willing to feed Bagel his own limbs in hell until he gives up the photos, he's the Deus Ex Machina which can never be switched on.

(Of course, as G of H has pointed out, he's just the worst of several options...)

8461073
This made me smile sooooo much. :pinkiehappy:

8461073
Thank you. I feel much better now.

This was wonderful... some great comedy at the start, rising tension, really interesting new characters, painful sacrifice worthy of admiration and a mare who can only be pushed so far... it did a stellar job of capturing the many sides of Rarity. I quite liked the scene between Rarity and Pinkie at the train station. Not just for the metaphor and foreshadowing, but for the sweetness of it as well. I would have liked to have seen Pinkie again in the end of the story, or perhaps I just would have liked to linger on it all a bit longer and be comforted by what Rarity retained...

Either way, excellent job!

All Rarity needed to do was, after getting that message from Bagel, bring it right to Celestia.
She would have had Bagel brought before her and have him explain, in detail, why he was trying to extort a close personal friend of the Crown. And that the Crown has heard testimony that Bagel has been extorting many ponies, including his parents.

Celestia: Mister Bagel, the penalty is that you pay back all the Bits you have taken to all your victims, immediately. If you do not have enough, your possessions and property shall be sold to raise the Bits required. Your Princess has spoken. Be thankful it was I and not my sister to pass judgement over you, for she would likely have not only taken all you own, but exiled you as well.

8461073

With all due respect for MrNumbers, but as far as I'm concerned, that last was the canon end of this story.

Trust you, my dear Ghost, to come up with something that satifies even my violently inappropriately bloody sense of deliberately dispropotionate retributive punishment. (That is typically such that it makes Hillbe's look like a light slap on the wrist; necromancers can, after all, be much more... inventive... and permenant... in what they can do to one.)



And you, My dear MrNumbers, please do not be too miffed at my reaction - you are in good company, for I often feel the same way about the antagonists in Estee's stories. (And the less said about what I think about that mare in Demesne that was going around starting wars the better...!) I'm afraid those who hide behind societies laws and limiations make me (as a Lawful Evil person) rather more... irate than my usual anti-tolerance of criminals and whatnot. (And indeed, this extends to an increasingly large amount of humanity in positions of authority, for that matter.) I am, after all, as I frequently observe, basically not a very nice person.

(And this is me AFTER nearly seven years of the drag factor of pony....!)

8463020
Rarity needed to do it in a way that protected Celestia's reputation as well. Had she gone straight to Celestia with the proof of the extortion, the evidence of her original bribe would still have made its way to the papers and her own reputation would be forever tarnished, plus anything Celestia did to Bagel would be called into question for cronyism instead of Justice. In fact, it might make Bagel look *less* guilty, as one could concoct the story that he had exposed Rarity's bribe in a fit of conscience and the crown was crushing him in retaliation.

Rarity made sure to limit any dishonor to herself and protect her royal friends from any appearance of impropriety.

For those who didn't pick up the real-life analogue, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Begelman. And I have to say, when I first joined the fandom about five years ago I did not expect it would lead to a 20,000 word story about him.

Beautiful story for beautiful not-trash poni :raritystarry: And in the immortal words of George Washington, "fuck that guy".

Man, screw this Beagle guy. I'm going to choose to believe that his ultimate fate is appropriately karmic.

Great story, though.

FTL

8460249
Too few are willing to trade a dream for an ideal... especially when that ideal may burn them. I think you have done an excellent job of showing the strength of character you see in a fashion designer (and part-time national hero) who has realised, in the worst way possible, that she has two hooves in one world and two hooves in another and that these worlds have very different standards.

Some may say that an individual like Bagel would realise that Rarity would be too risky a proposition for his usual machinations, but history is full of situations where 'professionals' like that have believed themselves untouchable and targeted people who seemed to have the resources to defend themselves, often seemingly more for the challenge than the money... sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they didn't.... often it ended badly for both parties.

8461073
It may seem odd that some of my thoughts in the latter parts of this story were "There are two ponies to sort this out... Luna and/or Dotted Line(1)... I am sure that this group could reconstruct most of Rarity's bridges, probably even improving them in the process."

Little did I know that the Ghost himself would provide two scenarios immediately in the comments section. I also like to think of Luna as having a very strong 'Old Testament' style view on morality and judgement... it would be tempered with personal awareness but certain things would have definite 'consequences'.

(1) - possibly with his cohorts Leafy Salad and Spinning Top assisting (2)
(2) - I actually thought 'I hope Dotted Line and Co. exist in this world build'(3)
(3) - Footnotes rule. Everyone needs footnotes

*sees this on the front page*
Interesting, but probably won't be worth my time.
*clicks feed*
IT'S FROM NUMBERS!?
*clicks immediately*

And this is why Rarity is the Element of Generosity. Though the show would never bring up stuff as dark as this, I believe that, should a similar situation occur, she would behave the same way in canon as she did here.

8460249

This is my official "Fuck You" to everyone who just thinks of Rarity as a backstabbing social climber, and to David Beagleman.

But why?

EDIT: Confused him with the neuroscientist, David Eagleman. :facehoof: I get it now.

Powerful. Very good work.

Was Beagle Bagel at the Gala? Because the look on his face and the reactions of those around him would be something to see.

In fact, Shining Armor's officers might be in an ideal position if Beagle Bagel was there and panicked. He'd probably try to leave immediately and destroy evidence and, in doing so, trip himself up.

This was absolutely fantastic.

Read it. Perfect.

Would say more but I'm in Lisbon with crap Internet.

First, I feel the Drama tag would've been more appropriate than Slice of Life. This story felt neither small nor light to me. Secondly, the cartoonish opening scene clashed with the rest of the story I felt; it never quite sat with me.

That done, this was really good. Layered, smart, respectable, and professional. A slow burn that just gets better and better. The kind of story that pulls the wool over your eyes and really leads you to believe that there can't be a happy ending (or in this case, bittersweet yet hopeful) no matter what the lack of a Sad or Tragedy tag tells you. The sort of thing I expect (hope) to see when I click on a serious Rarity story. And, man, that scene in the pizza kitchen felt so real, like one of the down to earth scenes in a Harry Potter book.

Like, fave, and cheers.

A minor nitpick regarding an otherwise masterfully crafted work of fiction: I'm pretty sure the Equestrian version of sleeping pills would be magic, and not mix with alcohol to lethal affect.

I like to think I can write a good story now and again. Then I sit down and read something like this and I'm very pointedly reminded that there's a difference between a good story and a great story.

This would be a prime example of a great story. One that pulls you in and leaves you engrossed the entire time you're reading, and lingers long after it's been read. Bravo, good sir. Were it up to me, I'd have kept this story in the contest on quality alone.

8463020
The only thing you're forgetting is that all of his "victims" were also getting something out of working with him and stand to lose if he is exposed. Bagel is in hock to the Equestrian IRS for ten years worth of back taxes, for instance. If Celestia just sweeps all that under the rug, then she's just a bigger Beagle.

Remember that Beagle's victims aren't so much the people he made a deal with - people like Rarity and Copa - they are the people he swept aside so that he put his pawns in their place. Whose dream of hosting the Gala was smashed by Rarity agreeing to pay a bribe? We may not have a name or face for this pony, but that's someone who lost out and is owed recompense by Beagle and Rarity alike.

That's why you see pain in Celestia's eyes. She knows that however natural it is to immediately leap to the defense of a friend, that's the not the same as doing justice. And her duty to do justice takes precedence over defending a friend.

I'm not sure which idea is the more foolish on paper: Threatening a pony who has the ear of the entire reigning pantheon, or using a scam that relies on the victim's self-interest against the literal avatar of selflessness and charity.

Regardless, you didn't just make this fairly unfair (or possibly the other way around,) you made a masterpiece. The transition from silly, Aragón-esque Ponyville to anxious, venomous Canterlot to Manehattan, the shining seat of despair, is executed perfectly and subtly. The events flow into one another like finest silk, and past elements come back in ways both thematic and surprising. And while the ending has Rarity preparing for the worst, I'm expecting the best, even without Ghost's epilogue.

Thank you for this. It's an honor and a delight to get blown out of the water by you. Here's hoping the judges don't mind the whole "writing four times the word limit" thing.

8466933
[Humble Noises]

*slams hands on desk*

THIS, this is what I LOVE. This is fanfiction used as a road for true art, to show something with real meaning. This is possibly one of the most powerful, excellent oneshots I have ever read. I was prepared to leave a nice review in the very first section, when you made me laugh with the excellent witty dialogue of the ponies, so true to character. I felt a wave of foreboding at Rarity going to Beagle Bailey's hotel room, thinking it would be a stereotypical "sleep with me for the position" storyline - but no, he acted so innocent that even I was almost fooled, even I who was expecting scandal had to question with Rarity if anything truly illicit had happened. You made me feel Rarity's moral quandary as my own, and that is stunning.

This story has amazing depths to it, and while I hoped and mostly expected the ending you gave, you executed it in such a way that I was still holding my breath. Your characters were lifelike, Rarity's inner struggles palpable, the conflict complex and true to life. You didn't give a sugarcoat ending, but addressed the consequences that Rarity will no doubt face. You had someone doing something truly, truly difficult with dignity, choosing integrity over personal gain - something I dearly hope more people will realize is the best way, in a world where we DO regularly choose the easy route and sacrifice what is really important. And while one could say that Rarity was just lucky for having been in a position to have friends who could help her through it, you didn't have that as her main escape route; and really, since so many others were in positions where they couldn't hope to be believed, it makes sense that the person who would finally out Beagle Bailey was the one he chose the most poorly on, the one on whom he lost his gamble. It doesn't even necessarily make Rarity out to be a better pony than all the others; merely the pony with the best chance to win if she made the right decision. With great power comes great responsibility, and seeing Rarity grasp that responsibility is inspiring. (Also I really love that you had Copa recovering from her alcoholism; I love seeing secondary characters get a good break, rather than simply being regrettable losses.)

I genuinely hope you write many, many more stories, because you have a wonderful skill and talent. You have patience to draw out the long game for the sake of helping your readers really understand the gravity of the situation, and you have that wonderful (and sometimes unfortunately scarce) quality of giving your story a meaningful, hopeful quality in spite of all of the pain the characters are going through. Bravo, my friend. You truly deserve to be on the Featured List for this one.

https://media.giphy.com/media/jShr8wkP38XTO/giphy.gif

Oh my! *slow clap* This was wonderful! I laughed. I didn't quite cry, but I was quietly thoughtful several times. Stories like this are why I'm such a rabid reader on this site. People are able to make such powerfully human works ..... on colorful ponies.


*adds to faves*

I was waiting the entire second half of the story, hoping, praying that Rarity would go and pull a Hamilton, and you did not disappoint. I like the fire imagery.

This story single handedly gave me a sense of love and respect for Rarity I never even knew I had. The way she put her neck out there for so many others at the cost of her own reputation in such a public manner so as to save themselves is such an incredible sacrifice that few people would ever do. This is a character I can back fully and wish that there were more stories (and episodes) that portrayed Rarity in such an incredible light. This story is easy in my top 20 and this is coming from someone who does not even like Rarity all that much.

You sir deserved to win.

Whoa... just whoa. Now that's some deep stuff. And you kept it so to the world of MLP without the filter the writers have to. Definitely going into my favs.

it was odd, Rarity realized, seeing an earth pony in the position of power.

Gladmane, Svengallop, Hoity Toity, Prim Hemline, and Miss Harshwinny would disagree with this assertion.

Wait, was this published before all the Harvey Weinstein stuff went public?

Wow.

Incredible story, powerfully told, believably plausible, consistent with show and head-canon of Rarity (who is best pony), and made all the more relevant by recent events.

I could see just about every twist and turn in this story coming a mile away, in theme and intent if not in detail. From the start, I knew how this story would play out, and how it would end.

That did not matter one bit. Every moment, every reveal, every painful realization still managed to hit me like a ton of bricks. They say good ideas are a dime a dozen, and good execution is what really matters. Well, this was one hell of a good execution. It felt unbelievably real, and the timing of it is also hilariously on point.

It's also a very creative way of using the Barcast's intent for the contest. I've heard it said that a good story can make you think "that's so obvious. Why didn't anyone else think of this before?" I think I've found something better in this story: "that's so obvious. And yet, I am completely unsurprised that no one else thought of it because its brilliant in how well it works."

This story is the very definition of "losing on a technicality," and that's a damn shame. But at least you can say you won the contest so hard that you broke it.

Telegraphed like a punch to the face.

But a story too few hear of or understand. Sometimes the best way to deal with something is to fuck everything.

9098666
I kind of liked it for that reason honestly. It's a horror story in that you see it coming a mile away but there's still nothing you can do about it. Social horror.

8461073
Your depiction of Old Testament Luna reminded me of the Lunaverse story At the Grand Galloping Gala and particular excerpt from that.

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