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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)



This story is a sequel to Triptych

For Applejack, the Bearers' most recent adventure had consequences. She was the first in her family to break the Secret. She volunteered to become Twilight's teacher for earth pony magic. And with the chains of tradition still falling away, she did something else. She asked Snowflake to go out with her. To see if they were compatible. If it was possible for love to appear. Whether they could take the first steps together on a new road.

But Apples go out with earth ponies. The line marries pure.

And it won't be long before the rest of the family starts to find out...

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group. New members and trope edits welcome.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 1055 )

Author's Ultra-Public Note: this is not a standalone story. It's not only the first piece in the 'verse to be expressly set after Triptych, it builds on everything that came before. As such, there's an assumption built into this story: that people are at least somewhat familiar with the material.

I'm not asking new arrivals to read all of Triptych before they start on this one, because making a story of that word count into a mandatory opener is arguably an act of cruelty. Instead, I'm saying this directly: if you haven't read that one, don't read this one. Not only would you be getting major spoilers for everything else, but at best, you may wind up very confused and at worst, I was going to get several hundred downvotes for this ship anyway.

This one's for the veterans.

If you're volunteering to go become a veteran, I salute you.

Depending on your family not to overreact to news like this is like hoping Apple Bloom will someday become the Alicorn of Wise Decisions.

"Look, I figgure we done made all the wrong decisions already, so all we got left is right ones. Right?"

Hmm it should be interesting to see where this goes though I am curious. Are we going to see any other stories dealing with the other elements in the aftermath of what happened in Triptych as well?


The first post Triptych story... And it's looking to be very much worth the read.

I've read everything you've posted, Estee, and I've loved it all. I'm with you to the end.

I’m probably missing some key story ingredients as I’ve not yet finished reading Trypitch, but it seems like Malus is thinking about this far too hard. I’ve been on many dates, and I’ve never internalized what may happen beyond the first one, other than to hope the first one went well enough there’d be a second. Maybe that’s a male thing.

In any case, I like where this is going and look forward to reading more.

The beginning of what I’ve been waiting for. I’m looking forward to this.

And I think everyone that has had a serious relationship had a What have I done moment. For both their sakes I hope AJ gets over hers quickly.

It's in the Bible
God invented Heaven
Then Earth
Then humans
Then Hell
Then families
Then High School
The trend is clear.

She'd asked Snowflake out on a date. And he'd said yes. (Well, a word equivalent to 'yes'.)

Yeah! :ajbemused:

Incoherent noises of high-pitched excitement

Mac I could fairly easily see not immediately doing/saying something stupid. From what we've previously seen with his conversations with Twilight, it seems that he's used to contemplating ideas in silence for quite awhile before giving a measured response. Of course, if he later decides that the relationship is illogical, Applejack will have that much tougher of a time persuading him otherwise. Still, I expect him to be pragmatic about it as well as being open to agronomy as long as he sees the benefits.

Granny and Apple Bloom, on the other hand, will probably do or say something stupid within the first ten seconds. Even then, I think the main issue won't be her family but Applejack against her own two-plus decades of socialization and prejudices.

It's already too real with just two chapters. Some of these themes hit close to home for me. I'm so excited to see how this develops, though. Congrats on breaking into the new post-triptych world officially. Appleflake ftw?

Woot!! So glad to see the lives of everypony after the events of your last great novel.

Never thought of this pairing so it should be an interesting read.

You know, I don't think I've ever seen a Bulk BicepsSnowflake focused story before. Certainly nothing serious like this. We're in truly unexplored country now.

This is looking good so far. :D
Thank you for writing, Estee. :)

Maybe you should put that in the description, or at the start of the first chapter? I have gone through all of Triptych, so that's not a problem for me, but I also didn't see this note until I'd read the first two chapters of this story.

You may want to make that first comment a top-mounted author's note for the first chapter.

In any case, you have set up one hell of a romantic drama. Eagerly looking forward to seeing how the S.S. Appleflake makes it through these choppy waters, especially since the real storm hasn't even hit yet.

And I do love how casually you dropped that "what they perceived as nature." Silly ponies.

Finish Triptych, this story will probably contain spoilers.


This is AJ. If they feel the need to react badly, that is very likely to be their problem, as Pinkie's sisters could find you some rocks more likely to be swayed from their chosen path than AJ. Snowflake... well, we know what his mark means, don't we.

That's some quality apple-flavored introspection!

Really looking forward to this, wonderful start!

Oh, Applejack. I wish to Sun and Moon that I could reassure you that it's all going to be okay, that your family will still love you and accept the both of you for who you are. I wish I could.

But I can't.

Because I know how the Continuum works. Because I know how the real world works. The real world, where children are disowned by their parents for the crime of forbidden love. The Continuum, where generations of racism and secrets threaten the very foundation of Harmony.

The Continuum, where one Apple has already been bruised, battered, nearly broken.

I wish I could be sure that will not happen again.

But I can't.

I feel bad for Snowflake, but while he was looking in the mirror, I couldn't help but think of this one Muppets song.

I would have gone with the S.S. Snowjack, but Appleflake works too. Also, that bit with the falling leaves reminded me of Pinkamena in Yakity Sax.

This is off to a good start. I wonder how much of headcannon you have with Snowflake, i.e., Bulk Biceps.

He's already joined the Wonderbolts as a recruit/reserve, but some fans (including myself) also have him as Featherweight's father:


I'm thinking the real trouble will be from the vast Apple extended family.

Oooh, this is gonna be interesting. Or tragic...!

With that chapter title, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't post this: The Cars- Moving in Stereo/All Mixed Up

Ooh, a follow up to Triptych! I'm super excited! I'm sure that, no matter how long this story takes (possibly even because) this story will be incredible.

I'm so looking forwards to Fluttershy giving Applejack the 'If you break his heart' speech :flutterrage: :applejackconfused:

Snowflake has been a major supporting character in Estee's ficverse since almost the beginning and he even has a couple stories that he stars in. Most of which was written before the official Bulk Biceps name was revealed on the show. In a sense Estee's Snowflake and the show's Bulk Biceps could be considered different characters because all they have in common is appearance and favorite word.

Should I post a link to the Triptych Recap I finished?

I don't know if it's as serious, buuuuut...

Ah I'd been meaning to find and read that, thanks. And it explained how he got his pet! Bonus.

Oof, those are some serious body image issues. Poor Snowflake.


The real world, where children are disowned by their parents for the crime of forbidden love.

Well, at least Applejack's one up on that possibility.

I just saw this on the feature list, considered it for a very short while because it seemed like a very strange coincidence (as far as I know, the ship doesn't actually exist outside the continuum, which is rather impressive) and then dismissed it with an "eh, it's not like anyone but Estee can really pull it off, even if that's where the inspiration came from." Looks like someone just pulled a fast one on me. 👌

EDIT: Oh damn, this is an actual full-blown sequel to Triptych. In real life. Oh boy. Oooh boy. Let's get so hyped!

So excited to start seeing the fallout from Tryptich! I’m curious to see if much of the Twilight stuff will be touched on, with AJ teaching her how to sing and her self-Imposed deadline for telling the others what she learned about herself coming up soon. Regardless, though, I’m excited to see how Applejack and Snowflake navigate the dating world and the reactions to their attempts.

I was a little surprised by this at first, but when I think about it it actually makes a lot of sense. According to Lazy River, Applejack lost her parents right around the time she was going into puberty. So just when she's beginning to form her criteria for a potential Very Special Somepony, she loses her parents and Big Mac steps into the parental role in her life. Not altogether surprising that she'd end up with a certain level of subconscious fixation on physical development. So instead of the usual instinctive revulsion at Snowflake's overdone musculature, she's impressed. Impressed enough to pay a little closer attention, and notice all the admirable things about his personality and character. Yeah, I can see where this is coming from.

My grandfather was a Protestant of German and English stock. He was essentially disowned by his family for having the gall to marry a woman who was not only Catholic, but Polish as well. Crazy world.

You know why I like this story? Because it's a tomorrow.
Tons of stories have big things happen that "will change everything" but rarely do we see any of it aside from the resolution chapter and then the story is over. Show me the fallout baby! Woo!

I'm not sure to what extent it's going to impact this story, but you might also want to include a link to Snowflake-Shoe Hare in the description.

Very foreboding :fluttercry:


Agreed. But I'm always thinking about the twist. That he might not be angry or anything, but it's something he accidentally did, that made things bad.


Oooh, that reminisce on Sweet Apple Acres! So nice!

Comment posted by Justy deleted Feb 16th, 2019

Could you possibly give us an estimate as to how long will the Duet be?
Asking because I'm (again...) torn between reading as it releases and waiting for it to finish.


I'm not asking new arrivals to read all of Triptych before they start on this one, because making a story of that word count into a mandatory opener is arguably an act of cruelty.

Getting to read Triptych is one of the best gifts anyone on this site can receive. Inarguably.

Oh f:yay: this is too ominous. I give it two chapters max before my heart is crushed.

This will not end well for anypony, will it?

She did, and so many things began to end.

I don't think I've ever seen a sentence that filled me with that much hope and dread in equal measure.

Later on, she would try to remember those two minutes. Over and over, to remind herself that she loved him still, after it all went wrong.

Welp, that tipped those scales.

Fascinating to get a better sense of tenant species, particularly pigs. I never would've even guessed they were sapient otherwise (though that would lead to the question of why the Apples would have them on the farm...) As for what will come, well, it'll come. It'll hurt. Change usually does, at least at first. Though it seems like this pain will linger for quite some time, and this chapter outlines all the reasons it will do so.

Wonderfully foreboding stuff. Looking forward to more.

Ultimately, it was the choice between protection or, if everypony turned them away, extinction.

Interesting how the other 'E' word is not used: Exploitation.

Lie of Omission: Definition

Tell them the truth.

But not all at once. Jus' -- lead into it.

She knew where to kick him.
(Yeah, but if you want any little nieces or nephews, Applejack, that's probably a bad idea)

"Do y'wanna talk 'bout it?" (Says the little earth pony whose best friends were a pegasus and a unicorn, and who had been badgered endlessly through school by two earth ponies. Yeah, she's a good one to talk to, AJ, if'n you can tolerate taking advice from somepony you've been trying to guide for that long.)

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