• Published 19th Jul 2012
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The Best of All Possible Worlds - McPoodle

The philosopher Voltaire finds himself in the most-frustrating place imaginable: Equestria

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Chapter 33

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Chapter 33

The Griffish Relief Expedition of 6764 was winding to a close.

The situation with the griffon nobility, if not resolved, was at least contained. Those griffons that chose to stay had been housed, and a system for maintaining them for a decade in a diminished version of “the manner in which they were accustomed” had been established. Those griffons who were willing to try their luck with the Griffon Republic departed for the border with Citizen Perrygore, who seemed even more nervous than he had been when he thought they were his enemies. As for the ones in the middle, those who wished to invade Griffonia with pony support, they were quickly becoming aware that there just wasn’t enough pony support in light of the Bakery revelations for any such invasion to be practical, and so this group gradually melted away.

A training academy was set up in Stalliongrad for future members of the Royal Guard, one of what would eventually be three such academies. The graduates from these institutions would not just be servants of the Princess, but also were highly sought after by local law enforcement and the local border patrol. After all, the situation with the griffons and the dragons was far from permanently settled, and an invasion was always a possibility.

The economies of the two provinces had been vastly improved, with Canterlot investment money being applied to a host of lagging businesses.

And the royal government of Equestria had been broadened to embrace the other two pony breeds. A new Minister of Earth Pony Affairs was appointed—the corresponding pegasus position still theoretically held by Pensive Thought was held open for Butterbold Wheatstraw as soon as she had completed her term as mayor of Trottingham. Additional positions were opened up for Weather, Transportation, Agriculture and Mining, with local experts on all but Agriculture appointed. The Princess gave a stern lecture to the “generalist” ministers that they were henceforth to serve not only their own breed but also the other two, and Blue Belle was made Minister of Unicorn Affairs.

All in all, thought Voltaire, the mission had been a complete success, and a shining example to the ages of how to address a monumental crisis. The human dreamed that if his own kind faced a crisis of this magnitude that it would respond with something even a tenth this amount of hope, of understanding, and of genuine compromise. Or at the very least, that the authorities wouldn’t start burning Jews and heretics at the stake to cover up for their massive incompetence.

Translator’s Note: Ouch.

~ ~ ~

Voltaire, as chancellor, tended to get pulled into every decision being made by the Princess and her council, no matter how little he might be qualified for it.

And so it was that he was drawn into an argument about the rules of hoofball.

Captain Hardheart had decided that the game would be an excellent way for the three breeds in his expanded troop to begin to get to know each other.

The trouble was, the game had three completely different sets of rules for the three breeds, with no expectation that they would ever play directly against one another or beside each other.

Voltaire’s suggestions in this matter were no better or worse than those of any of the ponies the Captain consulted, although the one about incorporating Steelteeth’s floating ring into the game was gleefully accepted...especially as Steelteeth was free to assault anypony foolish enough to try to actually touch it. Finally, when the group was debating the best way of determining which team should be first “at play”, he suggested flipping a coin.

Captain Hardheart looked down at his hooves. “And how, pray tell, do you expect an earth pony or pegasus to be able to flip a coin?”

Voltaire pulled his Reichsthaler out of his pocket and roughly threw it into the air. “Something like that, I would suppose,” he said with a smile. He watched as the coin flipped over and over through the air and landed with a “poof!” in the dirt of the field.

“Hooves!” the Captain declared playfully, looking down at the coin.

“‘Hooves’?” Voltaire said, a growing feeling of nameless dread growing in his gut, as he looked down as well.

The side of the Prussian coin facing upwards was engraved with a large horseshoe instead of the portrait of the royal donkey he remembered. To him, the U-shape resembled nothing so much as a holy symbol.

Author's Note:

Chapters 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33 were all posted at once, and they were accompanied at the time by the blog post "Recovery", which resolves the major blog plotline.