• Member Since 27th Nov, 2013
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago

Jack of a Few Trades

beak enthusiast


Yona experiences the wonders of a nice cup of cocoa on a cold winter day for the first time, and she's eager to share her discovery with her friends and family back home!

Yakyakistan may never recover.

Edited by Muggonny, MissytheAngle

Prereading by BootyPopperzZz

Cover art by Trickate

An entry in The Discovery, a Student 6 Writing Contest.

A retrospective on the story.

Now with a Spanish translation!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 57 )
Comment posted by Muggonny deleted Jan 8th, 2020

Haven't read the story yet but I'm calling bait on this. I just... I have to.

You do what you must. Never forget you’re beautiful.

Consequences will never be the same.

“Hot cocoa is life now!”

What do you mean... now?

this was a fun little read! Thanks for the great story!

and, shocking no one, that didn't happen. Your comment nearly made me not read the story, though, and I doubt that was your intention.

Comment posted by Muggonny deleted Jan 9th, 2020

And so I have been summoned to read horse words once more. Well done. May you have success in your feature box campaign!

Ah yes, a true work. Scholars will look back on this story and agree it exists. A job well done.

(I will be very disappointed if you don't win that contest. Do not lose or I'll fight you in the streets.)

Richard Nixon wishes she could have done a Rutheford and ended the drug war just with a decree like that.

This was one crazy story... and I loved every minute spent reading it!

Great stuff. I liked the exploration of Yak celebration. A bit strange that they smash heirlooms but that's cultural differences for you.

Sandbar's reaction to his gift wasn't quite what I was expecting, but absolute gold
I thought he'd be more on the Naboo end of sand than Tatooine

Also Gallus and Silverstream are adorable.

“Yeah, it’s just how we joke. If we were really fighting, there'd be a lot more blood,” said Gallus.

I don't doubt it, either. Those two are definitely the most rough and tumble of the six, so they certainly wouldn't be holding back in a real fight.

“That only knot griffon know?”

“We don’t exactly have a scout program in Griffonstone, cut me some slack,”

If it helps, Gallus, I'm an Eagle Scout myself...and the square knot was the only knot I ever really got down to memory myself. :twilightblush:

With a huff, Prince Rutherford rolled to his other side. He gasped when he turned over, looked upon the mighty Yakyakistan and despaired.

...and nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level snows stretch far away...

This flew directly in the face of the plan that both of them had advocated, in which they would have quietly taken the drink mix out of the hooves of a few yaks, and then spread awareness throughout the community so the epidemic would stop

And since when has that ever worked? :rainbowlaugh:

“Always give clear instructions so you don’t start a drug crisis in Yakyakistan?”

*shrugs* Sounds like a good friendship lesson to me! :trollestia:

So this was fun. Reminds me that I should do a fic focusing on Yona at some point *files that away for future reference* :twilightsmile:

What was Ocellus's gift in the gift exchange (giving or receiving)?

What do you mean by that?

Oh my GAWD that cover art is adorable!

And lol, Gallus accidentally created the plot of Breaking Bad (Smashing Bad?) in Yakyakistan.

The cocoa must flow.

Fun story. It explains the origin of the Yakyakistan Vice squad, and the proliferation of cream-colored sports coats worn over neon-colored tees.

Whoa. I just thought of something. Drug mule takes on a whole new meaning in Equestria.

Smolder fired back. “Yeah, but I won’t get to stop by the jewelry store for dessert if you keep slowing us down!”

That is the best quote I never knew I needed to hear a dragon say

Truth be told, she had no idea what to get him. Snilldar Fest had the benefit of not focusing on gift-giving; so long as whatever was given could be crushed in a reasonably satisfying manner without much risk of injury from shrapnel, it was a great choice.

I need to borrow this for a barbarian tribe in my D&D game

“Ooh, I’ve heard about that stuff. Isn’t it the thing with the marshmallows and graham crackers?” asked Silverstream.

Well, marshmallow should be included, but not graham crackers

And then Yona noticed that Ocellus was giving them the same look as she had at the market the day before. That was a little weird.

She cal feel the love coming off them

All mugs in the village were rounded up and destroyed. While the guards were smashing the pile of mugs to bits, Yona couldn’t help but smile. Even ponies weren’t immune to the spirit of Snilldar Fest.


Gallus clarified, “Yona drank hot chocolate diluted with milk here, so she was fine. The yaks were eating the powder straight up and snorting it. It’s way stronger that way. That’s why they all went nuts.”

I will never understand why anyone would inhale powder into their nose

“Maybe sometime you could come out to Mount Aris!” Silverstream nudged Gallus with an elbow. “I promise things aren’t nearly as crazy there.”

Yeah, have the boyfriend meet the parents


Drug mule takes on a whole new meaning in Equestria.

Pinkie Pie, Cranky, and ex-special agent Bon Bon Sweetie Drops form the Ponyville Mafia in order to smuggle copious amount of Bolivian Equestrian Marching Power across the border into Yakistan in a spin-off series Baking Bad.

This had a lot of amazing lines, not gonna lie. I also see you too are a man of Prequel Meme culture.

That said, I kind of felt like the extended focus on the chaos in Yakyakistan and the general despair Yona felt kind of made the fic tonally swerve out of being funny to being kind of messed up. It still had a "funny" resolution in that this was all caused by Yona failing to leave instructions, and maybe I'm being a big baby, but watching a kid see their home be on fire and their family vanish into a general riot did not get the yuks coming.

Still, lots of great fucking bits and I spent a fair time laughing out loud, so good on you.

Also, I was looking for an appriate prequel meme to close this comment out on and I couldn't find an appropriate one, so have this instead.


“That only knot griffon know?”

“We don’t exactly have a scout program in Griffonstone, cut me some slack,”

If it helps, Gallus, I'm an Eagle Scout myself...and the square knot was the only knot I ever really got down to memory myself.

I feel like we missed a one-liner opportunity here - "No need. Yona see plenty of slack on the knot already."

Nocreature can resist a good cup of cocoa.

Except maybe Diamond Dogs and Abyssinians.

This made me laugh, made me think, made me want to make the biggest, creamiest, warmest mug of hot chocolate and sip it by the fire. I don't have a fireplace, but I do have Netflix.

Close enough.

Thank you for writing this, it’s a wonderfully silly story. Yona is severely underrepresented on this site, and I treasure each and every story starring her.

Yak Tales, Woohoo!

This was great and silly, I loved it. I especially like how Gallus and Yona got to play off of one another. Though if I might get a tiny bit critical, I can’t help but feel that things are just a little too sour between the two of them at the end. The two really have a long way to go in becoming friends, it seems.

“Thank you for the sand, Yona!” he choked out through his joyful tears. “It’s so coarse and rough, and it gets everywhere!”

I think I get the reference!

“Always give clear instructions so you don’t start a drug crisis in Yakyakistan?”

Finally a lesson Bronies can learn.

After they found Rutherford...
Yup. It all makes sense.

10026083 Time to slaughter some Sand People...

Yona shook her head. “Never. Prince Rutherford make royal decree banning it. Yaks stick to homegrown vanilla.”

But... vanilla comes from a tropical orchid! How could the yaks be growing it in their icy wasteland?!

Unless... MAGICAL ICE ORCHID VANILLA!!! :pinkiegasp: That stuff goes for 100,000 bits a kilo! It also makes ponies turn into giant draconic rage monsters (it's street name is 'Power of Darkness'. Tirac kept a bag of it around his neck.)


Came for laughs. Laughs were had. Well done.


She cal feel the love coming off them

More like the love coming off of Silverstream. She's trying, bless her bubbly, ditzy, eager heart, but Gallus is a dense little catbird.

Yona is a... difficult friend, isn't she? She really didn't treat him all that well. Kinda sad, really. But, well, self-centredness is a widespread Yak flaw...

Still, I liked the story a lot. Everyone was perfectly in-character. Including Yona's... difficultness.


Aww. was soo expecting a shaggy dog

He was going to get it. Gallus had good aim with a snowball, but he merely adopted the snow. Yona was born in it, molded by it.

HA! He thinks coldness is his ally!

Gallus picked himself up off the ground, his underbelly caked with snow. He shook himself off and spun around to her, still a little dazed. “What did you do, put a rock in that one?”

I can think of other methods of hardening your balls

This year, though, there would be no Snilldar Fest for Yona. It was for a good cause, she supposed, but staying in Ponyville over the break meant that she wouldn’t get to sing yak songs on the way to the forest with her family this year.

But I like that song! (https://youtu.be/WKFkLurbqY8?t=14)

Yona frowned when she checked her new name. Gallus .

Lazy ass cheapskate cat bird!

Yona had gotten a step stool for Snilldar last year, a beloved family heirloom that her grandfather had made decades before she was born. Built of fine mahogany taken from the wheelhouse of a griffon airship, that stool had helped generations of yaks reach the top shelf.

You can also achieve the same result by making a sitting block out of clay and poo

It was reduced to splinters with a very satisfactory crunch. She loved it.

But how are they going to replace the old stool now??

Yona quirked a brow. “What hot cocoa?”

Sandbar whirled to her, mouth agape. “ What?”

Wait a SECOND!!! Didn't you serve hot cocoa to your mama back when you were trying to convince your parents to stay longer in Ponyville to fix the tree?!!

“Always give clear instructions so you don’t start a drug crisis in Yakyakistan?”



All I saw was Yona giving her mom a steaming mug. Literally anything hot could've been in it.

So what? You think it's a cup of hot muddy water-downed tea?

Could've been tea, could've been coffee, could've been cocoa, could've been lemon water, could've been a red-hot rivet.

What? Yaks tough! Yaks can take it!


“Thank you for the sand, Yona!” he choked out through his joyful tears. “It’s so coarse and rough, and it gets everywhere!”

You bastard.

Okay, now that I've reacted to that reference, my compliments on this story. It's just the kind of goofy, irreverent one-shot I love to read on here. The characters were true to form and charming, you managed to give the comedy a nice edge without being too dark, and the reference jokes were a nice touch as well.

Excellent work! :twilightsmile:


“It’s so coarse and rough, and it gets everywhere!”

god damn it you had to go there

Two: is this a psuedo prequel to set sail?


The amount of times that joke has been mentioned in the comments pleases me.

Also yeah, this takes place in the same continuity as Set Sail. It's reasonable to assume that there might be a reference to this somewhere in the bird story :)

Sandbar's hot cocoa?

What was with the weird looks that ocellus kept giving yona?

Ah, but she didn't give Yona a funny look. The recipients of that odd buggy stare were more of the beaked variety :ajsmug:

Short opinion: Well, this was exceedingly boring.

Long opinion: Slice of life stories (and comedy in general) are always hit or miss by nature and while I was excited to read a story involving a lot of Yak culture, when I actually read it I quickly realised it wasn't all I cracked it up to be. It's not your fault I'm pretty sure you got out the most there was in this concept and some more and I'd lie if I said I didn't snickered a few times but it was way to little way to sparsely for me to call it good.

But I can totally see how others like it. It was well written, the pacing was okay, and it did have a lot of creativity in it. But it wasn't for me. Anyhow great job, and congrats on the honourable mention in the contest.

Reviews like this require more detail or else you risk sounding like an internet schmuck. You bring up a good point when you say it wasn't for you and could have left it there, but the addition of the first half isn't necessary unless you take a more in-depth approach. I'm Just letting you know because I read it and thought, This guy sounds like an asshole. Which I'm sure isn't what you were going for. Just go into more detail, say lead by example, and it should sound alright.

Well I have no problem with sounding like an internet shmuck. Who are all these people on the other side of the conversation for me to be concerned about their opinion? Random internet schmucks for all I know. I wanted to read and comment on every single story which was either in the top three or among the honourable mentions and I just did that. (I mean it's an ongoing process but eventually I'll get to it)

But because you tried to be nice to me and thus earned my respect I'll explain some of the more intricate reasons why I didn't like this story:

  • Seeing the main character speak in third person about herself is annyoing in the long run.
  • Seeing Yaks having a giant brawl and wrecking their city is a completely normal phenomenon. Though Yona said the scale was bigger this time, but she also said their city gets wrecked by outside forces on a semi regular basis so there's no problem there either. They're also yaks so this all can't be that funny, because funny is almost always either contradicts with normalcy or points out the contradiction in our normal lives. This was neither. I mean I guess humans don't go berserk because of chocolate (because our hallucinogen is toilette paper) so there is some source of funny there, but for me personally, it was like: Well they are sentient yaks in a magic pony world, so anything goes.
  • They yaks are just fucking dicks. Poor Gallus wanted to provide them with something they desperately craved, put in all his capital into that venture, although not completely on his own but he decided to be generous with his profit margin despite the fact he could have marked up to the fucking sky given there was tremendous demand and he had a monopoly on the supply side on the short term. And they just fucking robbed him and he got no compensation. I understand that it was unintentionally immoral to sell what is basically drug to a whole town so I would say he probably didn't deserve any profit but someone should have paid for his losses. He's a goddamn orphan from the poorest place in the goddamn continent. 250 bits is no laughing matter for him. (Sorry for the outburst, but I've always felt a strange admiration for entrepreneurial spirits because it's one of the few things I could never see myself being able to do.)
  • What kind of fucking neighbours yaks are if crystal empire have pretty well established contingency plan with tranquillizers and guards rushing in if anything goes wrong? How often does this happen really? I understand this is comedy and I'm taking it way to seriously but I guess that's the problem with comedy. Once you fall out of the enchantment of the story you become painfully aware how naked the king really is.

Contest is over! Which means you get the review you requested. Here it comes, then.

So this story has two things going for it; character writing (with a slight caveat I'll add later) and voicing, and general structure of the fic. The way the scenes flow into each other, the way fast, emotionally highlighted bits are followed by moments of comedy or calm -- macro stuff? That was good. The story was easy and fun to read, didn't drag, and I found myself enjoying it rather than judging it when reading it the first time.

Which is good! It's really, really good. It wasn't a surprise that many people thought this was going to win, and it was very well-regarded among the judges, too. That said, there are some things I feel could be tightened up a little?

I mentioned earlier that the voicing of the characters is well-done; Yona being the narrator, getting her voice right was mandatory, and the story certainly delivers there. Gallus is also a highlight, but the rest of the Young Six were good enough. So that was good! I liked the small dtails -- Gallus getting his own name in the Secret Santa and swapping it with Yona stuck out as a very deliberate, very in-character fun little moment, and so was Yona's entire odyssey with Sandbar's present.

But there's also like, a weird mean undertone to it? Which is what struck me as odd.

See, the story gets the voicing right in so many other ways that this sticks out a lot -- Yona seems to just, genuinely dislike Gallus? Like, sure, Gallus is doing the whole hustle thing, trying to get some profit out of the Yaks' love for cocoa, but the general callousness in which she treats him was weird. At points she doesn't give a hoot about him, and other times she actively thinks that everything is his fault, or that he's terrible, or stuff like that?

Which like -- I mean, I suppose by the end everybody interprets the characters their own way, but seeing how Gallus is at worst a bit of a trickster, while still trying to be genuinely nice to Yona, I kept feeling that Yona was a bit of an ass here. Within the story I kept seeing how Gallus acted, how Yona reacted, and there was a discrepancy there, like I was missing something.

(And the moral of the story seems to be "fuck Gallus"? To a degree? I mean I liked the ending, but the mean undertone never went away, and it kept weirding me out throughout the whole fic. Also Smolder being a dick with the Secret Santa present? Stuff like that kept nagging me. These characters don't feel like they're friends. They feel like hey can barely stand each other at points).

That aside, there are a lot of bits that need tightening. Plot-wise, the way cocoa is handled is... weird. Cocoa is like drug for yaks, that's a great idea, that's a great way to build up conflict -- but stuff like why Yona is immune feels like it was thrown there without a second thought. "Oh yeah she's immune, or developed an immunity, or something".

Then there's stuff like the ending -- the situation escalates, we reach a high dramatic point, and then it' just a quick recap of Gallus asking for help and everything is solved, the end. It's a bit -- it feels unfinished? Like there was supposed to be something else there but then the story gave up halfway through.

I feel this comment is getting overly negative. The story is fun, it's competent enough and it's entertaining, the macro stuff is nice, the characters are well-written, I had fun -- but it very much feels like a first draft. At points the plot introduces ideas that aren't fully developed or that go nowhere (the entire opening with the snow, for example, was fun but overly long, and kind of meaningless? You can safely skip it and nothing changes, which is always a bad sign) and the characters have this strange discrepancy where the text tells us they're friends, but the subtext and the way they act tell us they really, really aren't.

So that's something to fix, I suppose. It's little things, but they added up, and sadly this meant that the story wasn't as tight as it could've been. That said, still -- I had fun and I enjoyed myself while reading it, which is first and foremost the most important thing in a fic like this. So congrats for that! And thank you for joining the contest, and best of luck next time.

I really liked this story. It wrapped up very nicely and was one of the longer entries, which made it feel like a double helping of fun. The somewhat jerk-like friendship and grumbling between Yona and Gallus was absolutely a delightful highlight of the story. It really drove home a solid buddy comedy dynamic between the two. The comedy had some sardonic elements while still keeping the warm, fuzzy holiday feeling that wasn't too cynical for happy adolescent characters. Yona's immigrant-esque cultural exchange as she learns new holiday perspectives and writes to her family gave this a very interesting perspective, and I loved the little focus on the name exchanges, the gift-giving, and every creature helping each other out and having fun. This was definitely superior to Spike and Trixie getting fast food, y'know.

The subtle shippy bits were also good. You know the ones. Now gimme that Yonabargall. :raritywink:

And happy birthday too!

Login or register to comment