• Member Since 14th Jul, 2012
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Nothing special here, move along, nothing to see, just ignore the lump under the sheet and the red stuff...


While the Elements of Harmony are away from Ponyville, a group of dedicated, honest, resourceful, and dedicated… Oh, wait. We said dedicated already. Anyway, some ponies have to fill the gaps, like spackle. This is the story of one.

He has to fill in for Twilight Sparkle. The poor guy.

Editors: Tek
Cover art: Screenshot

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 563 )

Many of you know I've followed Estee for some time, borrowed a few characters at times, and such. You may not know that I'm such a cheapskate that I only support one person (Estee, nach) on Patreon, even if it is for small change. (I excuse it by blaming my wife at times, because She Who Holds The Checkbook rules my life.)

You see, I was reading Three Hoofwidths To The Left when somebody made a comment that got me thinking: What if Green Grass had encountered Estee's Twilight Sparkle as a substitute librarian? It would be like Star Trek II in certain ways (excepting library-antilibrary explosions) because the two main characters would never be in the same room. An admittedly interesting idea, but could I pull it off? So I wrote a few paragraphs to get a feel for it. Then a few more. Wake-up juice instead of coffee. Green Grass as the eternal cheerful optimist being fed into the meat grinder of an Estee story. Trying to keep The Triptych Continuum separate from Kudzuhaiku’s voluminous work. Being grateful that some kind (and insane) soul put together a Character Listing of the Continuum, and blessing of blessings, an unofficial (slightly outdated) timeline.

It all flowed out fairly naturally, so when I hit the second chapter, I tossed a sample over to Estee to chum the waters… I mean test the waters. Didn’t hear anything for a week. Feared the worst. (and with Estee, that means a *lot* of worst) Then got an encouraging note back… well, for a given value of encouraging (see excerpt).

But aping my style -- *glances up* -- dear sweet pony gawds, is that what I write like?

So I’ve gotten six chapters together in the first ‘arc’ like Letters From a Little Princess Monster, with each arc covering one trip that Green Grass (i.e Emerald City) makes to the library, the one chapter where he gets arrested, etc… This will be a non-canon story as closely related to the Continuum as I can get it with none of the Mane 6 in it at all other than brief notes and threatening letters. I can’t copy Estee’s style, but I can let it influence me as much as I can for this. But don’t just Post negative comments only. A few nice ones would be… nice.

Now that the first six eight lucky thirteen chapters are out, I put it on hiatus. We'll see if I can come up with anything else in the course of my remaining work.

FYI: This is actually my THIRD attempt I've made at Estee's style.

First was an attempt to make a sequel to the fabulous 100% Move - 50% Fire where the Legend of the Piano got started, so I had to write Cutting the Chord, Swinging the Hammer, and Dropping the Piano to deal with the return. Hey, I liked it.

The second and most recent was So The Other May Live, where you will get a peek into Green Grass' early years, an understanding of why his parents are so controlling, and a vague (and probably inaccurate) idea of what Doctor Gentle's role is when reading Estee's Triptych. Spoilers apply. Cold, chilling spoilers with scalpels.

“No problem. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

you never say that, thats like at least it not raining or how could it get worse

Emerald really better hope he is up on his bOOK skills.:trollestia:

An orangutan could do the job. A degreed orangutan,” he corrected at Papercut’s sharp glance. “One who has attended the university and learned the deep mysteries of the library science program, of course.


“Check the books out, put the books back. An orangutan could do the job. A degreed orangutan,”

Honestly, I would quite enjoy reading an iteration of Three Hoofwidths To The Left featuring the Librarian instead of some anonymous clerk. I know, the anonymity was the point, but it would be amusing to see Twilight's implacable OCD smack up against the confidently impossible existence of that most literate of orangutans.

Someone should do a study on how big a referential shadow any given non-MLP character casts on fanfic here.

One would be prim(at)e.


Or, that nobody notices the species.

I mean, he's in his natural habitat.

9870456 9870485 I could see that too.

"Look, Starswirl's Transformational Imaginary Numbering Sequences does not go next to Pocket Lint's Space, Above, Below, Sideways, and Quirk! One goes in Mathmatics, and the other in SubSpace Theory!"


"Yes, I know transformational imaginary numbers require subspace to function, but--"


"Oh. I didn't know that."

Emulating Estee's style... Yeah, don't know if I could manage that. Or anyone else's style, honestly. The words flow in a way that has carved a channel in my brain. I could try digging a canal, but that seems painful.

Now, increasing the overall Continuum influence of a piece, that could work better. Something to think about...

Heh. Greenie working under Papercut... nominally, anyway.

"Cowtown" takes on some interesting implications in Equestria. Also, very nice Sherlock Scan.

I always appreciate a tip of the hat to the patron ape of libraries.

“No problem. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

Oh, you poor fool.

Looking forward to more. This should be quite fun indeed, especially when "Emerald" realizes that it wasn't politics (or not just politics) that brought him here. He might be one of the few ponies who can survive the Wrath of Sparkle.

“No problem. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

Oh you poor, poor deluded fool. You have no idea what you're getting into :rainbowlaugh:

Here comes Murphy banging on the door, door falls off and in he comes

Oh, this is going to be interesting!

Ah, one of the many variants of "What could possibly go wrong?"


One should always listen to one's elders, and Twilight could do far worse for a tutor in literary errata.

And then he blew up.

Oh I like this.
I don't think it is so much as emulating Estee's style as much as borrowing Estee's world (or elements of it).

I have read Three Hoofwidths to the Left, and I think this will be a good companion story.

That poor poor pony.

Nicely written :)

The Doctor from Doctor Who presumably wins in a landslide due to his substantial referential shadow on the show itself. >_>;


To quote the great man:
“Indeed, if someone were to point out that there is an orang-utan in the library, the wizards would probably ask the librarian if he had seen it.”

It wouldn't be the first time the Librarian has been there. Estee had him sneak in during The Remainders of the Day.

She’d probably object to the banana skins more than anything.

On a semi-related tangent, I've always believed that, in the show, Twilight's library wasn't a public library, but rather one that the government owns for their personal use only. Consider:

1: We don't see any signs of Twilight replacing anyone when she moves in.

2: Not once do we EVER see anyone check out a book other than Twilight's close friends, meaning she could just be personally lending them her own books.

3: Similarly, we never see anyone but her friends enter the library (outside of the party in episode 1 and the weather team meeting hosted by her friend), and even they often knock, something you don't do for public buildings.

4: Twilight is often away from the first floor on her personal time during the day (reading on her balcony, doing experiments in the basement, or just roaming Ponyville) with no replacement, nor do we ever see her doing public library work, so she doesn't seem to have any library-based duties.

5: Twilight sometimes monopolizes the main floor for non-library things (such as Twilight Time or her research on the S4 box), which would hinder any book borrowing.

5: There was no replacememt public library after it was destroyed, since Twilight's castle isn't freely open to the public (except maybe when someone has a cutie map mission).

6: Apparently it wasn't even super widely known that Twilight lived there, given Diamond Tiara's surprise at a princess living there.

7: Twilight has never been mentioned to work at a library or as a librarian, only that she lives in one.

“No problem. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

I totally love this character -- he's sincerely trying not to be a stuck-up entitled noble, but he was raised that way so hard that he's not really succeeding. . . he's just barely managing to not-succeed in a way that makes it clear he's being sincere. . . he just has no freaking idea how snooty and arrogant he's coming off about how "easy" a job library science is.

Jumping from zero library experience outside of a little theory and a how-to manual into Twilight level hyper-OCD overachiever? This is going to be one hell of a wake-up call. It'll be good for him, if he doesn't go completely crazy. . .

Sherlock pone the librarian. I can dig that. Looking forward to where this goes.

Since when was Greenie Sherlock hooves?

Piece of cake?
If so, you’re going to swallow a crumb the wrong way & choke on it.

9871120 9870919 Part intense observation, part research, part guessing. His talent helps, because he's practiced in seeing just how young unicorns react to external stimuli and how they act, he's had a few years in college theatre to boot, and he's been matching wits with his father for years. That'll sharpen anybody up. So he knew what Papercut *wasn't* which only left guessing from his school tie and clothes what he *is* so "Papercut isn't a member of the nobility, but he is wearing an expensive shirt and jacket, with some wear showing that any respectable wealthy poser would have replaced, and a Shocker's school tie. That places him in the local vicinity of the school, with working-class parents, but still assigned a very high-profile task."

9870845 Half-crazy? He's got a good start.
9870835 Most of that is just "We don't want to spend the budget to put another pony in there, and it would just complicate the scene anyway." I actually throttled back on the normal library patrons, because in the Continuum, Mr. Waddle is in there frequently to sneak peeks at her rump, and several schoolfoals are constantly trying to get access to the questionable reading material, so closing the library for a few hours to do personal tasks involves chasing everypony out, or leaving Spike to run the place while she's out.
9870683 9870683 Well, every librarian is always looking to expand their collection. Even if they have to travel.
9870651 Just remember, Three Hoofprints was written in the 'Just Before Becoming a Princess Who Really Doesn't Want To Be Called A Princess' phase, and this would be 'Just a few months after arrival' phase.
9870545 Trust me, before this is over he's going to be in the fountain.
9870535 Style is relative. I've *tried* to emulate JK Rowling's style in the Sweetie Belle story, and I keep backsliding.

I mean, it doesn't take much of a budget at all to occasionally have a background pony by the bookshelves with no lines, or to once (in the many dozens of episodes where the library was active) have anyone make an offhand mention that demonstrates that public library-ing is something that happens even if completely offscreen. It only takes 1 sentence in a series where less important content takes up lines all the time.

I wasn't attacking your fic or anything, just mentioning something I noticed about the show.


The deduction part comes off as Sherlock Holmes style observation and a broad base of reference knowlege, yeah.

“No problem. This’ll be a piece of cake.”

Directions unclear... Ended up bucking bookshelves and lending out bushels of apples

I like how the head landscaper burro was introduced. I’m looking forward to learning more about his true reason or reasons for being there. Also, if he has any hidden abilities.

Oh, also his name.

9871479 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Librarian. Heh. Dude, it's Green Grass. He's my go-to half inch socket wrench for writing hapless male characters.
9871417 That's debatable. It's not more than about three degrees off canon.
9871400 Dear Princess Celestia. My mission as substitute librarian worked perfectly. I sold off all the books, cut down the tree, and we'll be erecting a three story brick library building there in the next twelve to eighteen months, depending on how the permits come through. Your faithful subject, Emerald.
9871298 Well to be honest, Twilight Sparkle is not that good of a librarian even in canon. In the Esteeverse, she's probably a little worse, it's just that the Princess *made* her the librarian, therefore she *has* to do a good job because otherwise she'll make the princess look bad and she'll be disappointed and...

Dear Princess Celestia,
I've been here only one day, and I've already caught four criminals! This job is so exciting! I mean the criminals just walked right into the library, took books off the shelves, and tried to walk out with them. Can you imagine that? Well, I wasted no time dragging the first one down to the town jail, and by the time I got back, there was another one! He even claimed he was 'checking out' the books, and produced an obviously forged library identification card. Well, the town knows better than to steal from my library now.
Your Librarian,
Twilight Sparkle
P.S. If you can come to Ponyville to preside over the trials, that would be so great! Particularly since one of the criminals was the mayor, and she normally judged over trials.

I am unsure at how serious that post is, haha. I'm not trying to say she's a very good keeper of books, just that all in-show evidence points towards her not officially being one in the first place.

Just taking a peek at it, but Twilight definitely did not have a responsibility to manage any Canterlot libraries. That tower was just her home, as evidenced by it being abandoned after she left and her being able to offer it to Moondancer on a whim (I am aware that episode was not out yet when you made that post).

Someone with a brain and a eye for detail. With Sherlock Holmes style deductions. With a name referencing The Wizard of Oz.

Hmm, very interesting. I look forward to where this goes.

Hee, hee! I joked with you a while ago about how it was near impossible to get the pronoun "he" confused in Equestria because there were so few examples of males...and here I did it!

I meant, "what is the burro's name?" but a more careful re-reading revealed it to be "Dawn," or at least that's his the landscaper's nickname.

9871616 Yes, but... This is set in the Estee interpretation of events. From the amazing 100% Move - 50% Fire

"Okay. I don't know if you're all aware of this, but there's a couple of requirements and benefits attached to Twilight's research grant. One of the requirements is that wherever she's researching, she has to have a job. In Ponyville, she's the librarian. For Canterlot -- same thing, only she didn't have the entire library. She worked in one of the semi-public parts of the Canterlot Archives. The Ancient History department with a little bit of time in Rare Documents. She kind of -- got shoved up there. The other Archivists got sick of her trying to reorganize the place every week."

"So now she just redoes a whole library every day!" Pinkie declared. "I guess for Twilight, that's one of the benefits..."

She also did not have to deal with Piano II - The Return in the cartoon, although it would have been awesome.

“Pinkie!” shouted Twilight, still concealed by the huge crate. “This is my responsibility. I’m Princess Twilight Sparkle, and I’ve faced Nightmare Moon, and Discord, and King Sombra, and even bucking Tirek, and I will not be defeated by a piano!” Leaves from nearby trees swirled in the roar of her voice, the ground shook, and Twilight flung herself against the crate with all of her strength.

It might possibly have moved, if somepony had been holding a micrometer to the crate and measuring very carefully at that moment.

Nothing could go wrong from making this offer, right?

Recurring library fines were why I switched to simply buying the books I wanted, as a cheaper alternative. This in turn led to my presence here, as I was still spending entirely too much money on paper and pony fan-fiction proved an acceptable alternative for my rampant bibliophilia.

This, is the Neighcronomicon.:twilightoops:

We call him Fred. :scootangel:

Forogot to take the book back due to loosing it, paid a fine larger than the price on the back of the book. Found the book. Had to pay more fine.

The library then placed capped fines and book prices have increased.

Shouldnt there be someting like a horn gem available for magic keys, so its tuned to non magical carrier and given keys, like a matching key or socket driver?

A pebble falls from Canterlot high,

By the time it reaches Ponyville, avalanche.

No harm ever came from returning a book?

Always wonderful seeing Greenie in his element.

"Doormat as hoof brush" is one of those brilliant ideas that I'd never think of but seem obvious in hindsight.

I do love the closet full of unused cosmetics. Rarity's trying, bless her. I imagine every other Bearer got the full starter pack shortly after their first trek through the Everfree.

and the world had not started when Twilight Sparkle set hoof here.

No, it started several hours earlier, when she started cross-referencing the Elements of Harmony with other old legends.

Princess Celestia with her legendary love of the leaf could have walked through the low doorway to the kitchen and made herself perfectly at home.

This, of course, was the entire point.

...which was presently being pillaged by a marauding band of barbarians.

Duchess Cheerilee was putting up a valiant but ultimately futile resistance.

Ohhh boy. Greenie's going to wish he'd at least read that schedule. And when Twilight finds out how many guilty parties got out of their debt with a slap on the fetlock... It's a very good thing the two main characters of this story will never be in the same room.

Also, lovely touch with how casually Green can sense unicorn magic at work.

Thankfully, the packet said Thistle Burr had been the previous librarian, commander of the leafed legion, and squirrely nut in the library tree. Since she had been an earth pony

And we have our first violation of Estee's continuity.

Thistle Burr is a stallion currently residing in Ponyville. He was previously (pre-Bearer) a perennial failed candidate for mayor, hates the Crown, and is the owner of the meanest border collie in the settled zone.

The previous librarian was a unicorn, seen a few years before Return in A Series of Egotistical Events. Rarity provides more description in The Remainders of the Day. As far as I know, she's never named.

Rarity says Thistle Burr deserves a kicking because he is spreading the rumor that Celestia had the previous librarian fired to make way for Twilight.

Why yes, I am aware that my user name is appropriate.

9872365 Hey Estee! (points above) Got a continuity question.
9872279 As I grew up on a farm, I know what doormats are really for. They're not just the flat plastic mats with pretty saying on them that city folk use, they're deep bristly brushy mats that you can rub the soles of your boots against so you don't track cow crap into the house. (or at least the three or four feet of house that you walk through to get to the Boot-Tossing-Box) And GG *knows* he can't really sense unicorn magic. Locking wards always have a 'tingle' about them so any of the three tribes can touch the door and know its locked, so in the Continuity, anything he's getting other than "Yep, it's locked" is just psychosomatic. Or so he thinks.

9872200 I have a bad habit of losing library books in the house. It's the protective camouflage of a book against hundreds of other books. I've taken to bringing the library books back in a grocery bag, and only taking out *one* to read at a time, then returning it to the bag before getting out another. Discipline!
9872257 Yes, there are two kinds of spellkeys for unicorn magic locks (per Estee): one that is self-powered, and one that requires plugging in. Both generate the 'key' frequency of the lock. There *is* a third kind of key, a Tarsus Key that can override just about any unicorn locking ward that showed up in Natural Conductors, but it falls into the category of "If you have one and don't have ten pounds of paperwork with a Princess seal on it, you're going to jail."

Cheerilee, of course, is Cheerilee-colored. :trollestia:


Origionally it was only a joke when Cavendish used his Gravity Meter to weight the paperwork, but because it worked by angular deflection, the amount of paperwork quickly became colloquially known as dying by degrees?

And then then students started calling themselves Grad Students?

And then Twilight discoverd Pi.:pinkiehappy:

Which some thought Rad?:scootangel:


Trust me, before this is over he's going to be in the fountain.

I see some things remain constant across universes.

It’s only supposed to be 10 cents per day in appreciation

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