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In a world of snakes and ladders, Rarity has had to learn a single, simple fact:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single mare who desires recognition and success must, without a doubt, be a social-climbing bitch.

Edited version of my entry to Everfree Northwest's Iron Author competition. Special thanks to Swan Song for the encouragement, support, and for believing in this story strongly enough to throw money at it when I was ready to give up on it.

Amazing cover art by the fantastic lilfunkman :heart:

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 46 )

Ooo, I’ll definitely read this ladder.

You writing Rarity reminded me of another auhor who wrote her just like you. I can't seem to remember his nickname, though. A shame, for I wanted to introduce the both of you to eachother.

(It could be PonydoraPrancypants, but I'm not sure)

Anyways, I like how you write her being extremely socially savvy (as your Twilight, to a lesser degree). Still the same old enjoyable Rarity and Twi; a good, simple, self-contained interaction between the two that doesn't forcefully push boundaries and refuses to overstay its welcome. It's like Rarity herself given a word form.

“I should think so,” I said, levitating several logs from a basket and dropping them inside the fireplace. “I do hope you know me better than to be barbaric enough to use magic to heat it up, Twilight!”

I see heating up tea with magic is the equestrian equivalent of heating up tea in the microwave. As a Brit, I wholeheartedly approve.

Mentioned it in DMs to you, but I figured I'd say it here as well: one of the things I love about this story, aside from the very genuine portrayal of Rarity going through this feeling and Twilight trying to help her climb out of it, is the way the discussion goes. There's no linear "we have a plot point to get to so we're getting there quickly" which I think tends to be an issue with character pieces like this. Rather, this discussion seems very natural. A friend with an issue is discontent, they bring up why, then meander from point to point to show things they think proves what they're feeling is right. The other friend refutes these points, all the while trying to deftly return focus to the main topic, sometimes being firm and stern in how they jerk it back to the main and say "no, we're discussing this right now, we're not getting lost in the woods on everything else."

I was excited to hear you were writing this, because I felt you were definitely the person to handle an issue like this with the genuine gravity it deserved, and I'm delighted to see that you didn't put it aside. Even if it took our favorite water fowl throwing money at you to get you to finish it up :p

Excellent work, especially Twilight being able to empathize with Rarity's plight. The Canterlot-born-and-raised personal protege of the Princess can't help but know something about the nest of vipers where she was hatched.

Thank you for a fantastic character piece.

This is beautiful. The best exploration of Rarity and Twilight's place in high society that I've ever seen. It's something I've personally wanted to explore, and if I can even do it a tenth as well as you have I'll have exceeded my wildest dreams.

The raw feeling and experience that emanates from this story is unrivaled, and makes for a haunting read.

That's a very smart title. Social climbing is like playing a game (a board game, thus the name), with vipers (aforementioned-snakes) badmouthing you for climbing the ranks (aforementioned ladder). 'Tis a good title.

The story is also very good. The dialogue is natural and flowing, rather than "hey plot point lets do that". And the emotions are very well-portrayed. I can feel the botterness and desparation (for approval) of Rarity, and even in the POV of Rarity, I can feel Twilight's indignation, confusion, and friendship.

All in all; veri naisu. And it's not even a Raritwi romance,

I don't have time to read this right at this moment, but I love the reference in the description and had to come give points for that. Well done, sir. I'm looking forward to reading this sometime tomorrow.

I was expecting a giant snake at the top of a ladder!

Where's the truth in advertising, I ask ya?!


Look at the picture again. The snake's tail IS the ladder, so the advertisement's "truthful" in a manner of speaking :trollestia:

This is beyond amazing. Mono, you totally killed it on this. The addition of the first-person perspective just makes it all the sweeter. I simply don't have words to say how great this is. Characters, spirit, thoughts... gah, all of it! :yay:

Highly agreed. This is one of the best titles I've ever seen on this site, and I'm quite jealous I never thought of it.

A lie that everypony believes is no different than the truth.

This is a sentiment that I'm quite fond of exploring in some of my own stories. Good stuff.

Fantastic story overall, and now, at last, I understand the context of that statement on the shipping panel a little better.

I was planning to have my own Rari-SciTwi story out soon, but am having some trouble finding a suitable cover.

Hm... I'll have to say this one must go over my head. I think it is as well written as usual but I must suppose I'm not the target audience for this one. Still, good work as usual Mono. Look forward to your next story.

Very enjoyable! And yes, Rarity's flawed, melodramatic and often contradictory nature is why she's the Best Pony.

Very well done. I wish I could say more, but a couple of other comments have praised and examined this story much more eloquently and thoughtfully than I could hope to.

Have a fav, and an upvote.

Thank you, Novel! I'm glad it lived up to what we talked about.



But thank you, I'm glad it made you smile, and I hope you like the fic whenever you get to it.

Thank you! I'm exceedingly happy with the title because, as you pointed out, it is very fitting. It actually came up during brainstorming session in a Discord server with my friends, so I can't take aaaaaall the credit for it.

I'm also very happy you liked the flow of the conversation. That was one of my main concerns while writing, as I knew that with such a 'delicate' topic, I couldn't afford to have the story feel like a sermon or one character monologuing.

And, even if it's not a RariTwi romance overtly, this entire dynamic and common bond is entirely the reason I'm so compelled by their relationship, be it friendship or romantic, SO TECHNICALLY TECHNICALLY it is a raritwi fic.

Thank youuuuu, Undome. That means a lot coming from you, and I'm really happy liked it, especially with how excited you were about it when I first mentioned it. And, if I've in some way helped you be able to find ideas for whenever you approach this subject, then my job is more than done. :heart:

Thank you, FOME! I'm glad you liked it! And yes, that's another reason why I wanted to write this. Not just because of Rarity's side of it, but because I also wanted to explore the fact that Twilight is from that universe, a fact which is often forgotten (and even by Rarity herself).

Thank youuuuu, Zommy <3 <3 <3

My editors had a real twenty minute discussion over whether ponies would have microwaves in Equestria or not, I'm not even kidding.

Thank you , G-Ab! I'm really happy you liked it, and especially your remark that it doesn't overstay it's welcome. That was something I was worried about, and I'm glad to see my fears were unfounded.

omg how did i not see that coming :facehoof:


Thank you, Oro!!! That means a lot, I'm v glad you liked it.

Also hAHA yeah this certainly does give much more insight into that moment :twilightblush:

As for cover arts, if you need help finding an image, I'm always there to assist because lord knows I've seen about every RariTwi drawing in this fandom lmao

Very inspiring. Great story.

Hey Ebony! I didn't really have a target audience for this, but I can understand how it could go over one's head. It's a very, I want to say, subtle topic to talk about maybe? But nevertheless, your reads are as appreciated as always. <3

Thank you! And yes, Rarity is very excellent :raritywink:

Thank you, Scholarly! Even if you feel you don't have anything new to add (which I'm sure is untrue!), thank you for taking the time to comment and I'm very happy you liked the story :3c

omg im sorry i replied to someone using your comment rip

But also thank you! I'm glad you also liked the title hehe


As for cover arts, if you need help finding an image, I'm always there to assist because lord knows I've seen about every RariTwi drawing in this fandom lmao

While I certainly don't doubt your credentials (I could say the same about most Sunset Shimmer pictures, in truth), the problem is that it's a Rari-scitwi picture I need, which there are very little of. I'll probably just make Novel do it, but i have to wait for him to be un-busy first.

This was a spectacular read, Mono. Thank you for sharing this with everybody. :heart::twilightsmile:

...and don't reply to this comment, Mono, or else. :trollestia:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single mare who desires recognition and success must, without a doubt, be a social-climbing bitch.

Ooh. You've got me hooked.

After reading: Wow, that was powerful. This is going on my Favorites shelf. Actually, it's going on my review-for-better-than-favorites shelf.


From the title, I was kind of anticipating a story where Rarity was a snake pony who seduced Twilight.

You could write that story. It would be as amazing as everything else you do.

8958922 But that was only the LABEL!! IT'S A... snare. (Alondro subverts your expectations! GENIUS!!)

Hey, friend.

This is a very, very good one. Like... very good.

I've been thinking very hard about the nature of the bonds we have with others. What the word "friend" means, and how my gut feeling that mutual aid is the lifeblood of humanity holds up in the grim realities of the every day. In short, this hit upon just the right note for me.

This is a good one. A very good one.

Whenever I read a story I always try to imagine what will happen - to predict the plot. It's just a foible of mine.

With your works, Mono, not only are my guesses completely wrong but _joyously_ so!

The wend of your words is bright and full of life. It feels less like reading and more like being in the room with your characters. I find that I want to join the conversation...

I sincerely hope that you enjoy weaving these worlds as much as I enjoy walking them. Which is quite a lot, if that wasn't clear. :pinkiehappy:

You did it again, Mono. Bravo.

It’s always fascinating to see how different viewpoints color the same situation, or otherwise informs someone of how to interpret what this or that means.

Tending to view the world transactionally myself, I struggle to understand Rarity’s viewpoint but have an easy time understanding Twilight’s. Besides giving insight into their characters, it also helped ground me in the story.

That is to say, I liked it and it’s well-written, which by this point surprises exactly nobody. Vote Monochromatic for Best Friend 2018!

Rarity haters: 0 | Twilight: Several Billion. :twilightsmile:

I really can't add anything that someone else hasn't said already, and far better than I ever could, but even so, not only is this an absolute delight in it's showing of Rarity and the world she want into, but I love it when Twilight (or any of her friends, but ESPECIALLY Twilight) really gets her. And with very good reason.

Hmm, now I wonder how Sassy Saddles might view this...

>Rarity and Twilight
>no romance tag


I kind of expected a Rarilestia setting because of the brooch (and because it's not Raritwi) and maybe because of the tiara? I wonder why Rarity is wearing one. Oh and because I forgot about the 'single' thing. But yeah the canon setting is evidently enough to make people say those things about Rarity.

I loved this... this is exactly why I have always been frustrated that we haven’t gotten a true Twilight/Rarity episode on the show: they have a connection through social standings in Canterlot that is just begging to be explored. I have always been fascinated by the idea of young Twilight in Canterlot as the Princess’s personal student, and how that aspect of her might have led to her isolation. And once Twilight became a princess, the two things I most wanted to see were her getting flying lessons from Dash and her getting high society social lessons from Rarity (and only the Dash part was barely touched on in the show.)

So thank you for continuing to explore the interesting ins and outs of this pairing!

*GASP* A Mono RariTwi story that isnt romance!? What madness be this!?

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Dense but unrefined.

I'm glad you posted this. :twilightsmile:

Clearly I need to make provocative statements about Rarity more often. :trollestia:

This fic...
Mmmm. I haven't read one this good in a long time. I absolutely love fics that apply the more cynical socio-political realities of our own world to Equestria. You've done it extremely well.

If I had any tips to give it would be that maybe Rarity did seem a little bit like "the snob she used to be" in regarding Twilight as naive to her situation. Maybe that was your intention, maybe not, but I did find myself questioning if that would be something Rarity's character would actually think. That is, if she's truly moved passed being a snob like she claims to have.

Nobody writes Rarity and Twilight like you do. Even something like this just so perfectly captures their personalities. I really enjoyed this story (even if it was just friend-shipping 🤣)

Whether it's in friendship or romance, Twilight and Rarity have an incredible dynamic, and always lift each other up, and always sincerely, because they're both too smart to be fooled by platitudes. They're both strong, but when the world gets to them, I can't think of better ponies to comfort them than each other. Both flawed, both smart, both caring. It really doesn't get much better than that! You always capture why these two are the best. ;) Well done!

...My heart hurts. :raritycry: Gonna go cry over how real this kind of thing is. Well done Mono. :twilightsmile:

As usual, a charming character study, and a good look into the relationship of one of my favorite OTPs.

Where's the sobbing? Where's the tubs of ice cream? Where's the chaise lounge?! This pity party was poorly planned. :pinkiegasp:

:ajbemused: Social climber?
:pinkiesmile: But she married little ol Spike
:rainbowhuh: He knows all the princesses on a first name basis
:yay: Knows the leaders of the Dragon Lands and Changeling Nation
:twilightsheepish: Not to mention he's the hero of the Crystal Empire
:duck: You see Twilight . . .
:twilightangry2: You ARE a social climbing bitch!
:moustache: Did I miss something?

Author Interviewer

Wow, Mono wrote Rarity and Twilight in the same story and didn't ship them

This was real good. Even better, given why you wrote it. :D

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