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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.)


There's nothing quite like a bad idea whose time has come. With ponies, all it can take is one charismatic idiot with an audience: for cattle, the 'charisma' part is optional. The young bulls among Applejack's tenants have gotten ahold of a truly bad idea, and all she wants to do is stop it before anyone really gets hurt.

Which means she's taking on the power of hormonal idiocy.

...it's probably time to bring in a friend.

(Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 80 )

This is going to get referenced in Glimmer, isn't it.

I figured the marks are primarily magical projections, given the Tirek drain effects.

These Idiots would be first in line for the SLAUGHTERHOUSE In our world.

Which story involved an Alpaca?

Another deep breath of spring air. "Y'know cattle are a --" vocabulary was visibly sifted "-- protectorate species. They lease livin' space for (from) whoever's willin' t' host 'em. An' most of 'em ain't citizens. They could be: nothin' stops 'em from tryin' but each other --" with open regret "-- and that's usually enough. But they don't have a nation of their own. An' that's the way it is with pretty much all of the tenants."

The corona winked out. The magazine fell. The unicorn's shudder was fully ignored.
"So..." the vibrating unicorn just barely managed. "Let's just -- go over... there..."

Twilight is specified as being an alicorn

Well, this is an unexpected pleasure! I didn't expect to see anything until at least next weekend!
:heart: :pinkiehappy:

I was wondering how brands were involved!

Cool! And yeah, gross for ponies!



Eww! But great metaphor!


I do wonder what Sheep Magic is now...


Applejack and Twilight story! Wooo!

Expected Fluttershy, but these are sapients.


but frankly, you're a --"


Also, wow! Potions are amazing!



Magazine were > Magazines were


can Tirek happen in the Tryptych verse? At least in the exact way he did in the show?

The Bull narrating didn't know what an Alicorn was.

Why do I get the impression that if Bessie took an interest in Minotaurs, the local bulls would break their necks trying to go bipedal...

This is from the point of view of a bull who previously mentioned that Twilight was a unicorn with wings, and that was supposed to be important somehow, but if it mattered than cattle'd have wings too.

the world building here is wonderful,

10040809 Actually... that makes sense in canon. Starlight Glimmer takes away cutie marks (and replaces them with a 'placeholder') which causes the lack of energy and general malaise we see in those episodes. When she switches Celestia and Luna's cutie marks, she's swapping their magic, which causes the respective projection to switch also. It would also be possible then for Starlight to 'placeholder' a foal born without sufficient magic, if I'm thinking this through.

The same one with the noodle incident, I believe. :trollestia:

.....Which is?

Oh boy, this made me think of Highschool.

Kind of wish Twiligh and the gang could meet someone who has tattoo for cultural reason and try very hard to not cringe. Or watch the ceremony where they get it. :rainbowlaugh:

You’d think Twilight would have enough experience to not be sick when thinking about brands. She’s faced down a lot worse. But anyway, I’m surprised she didn’t try to consider the idea objectively. Nothing is inherently wrong with cosmetics, even permanent ones. Why not simply offer fur dye, and make it a requirement that anyone who wants an actual branding needs to have the dye applied for a year or something? Then, the process could be made medically safe with unicorn supervision. It feels like Twi and AJ want them to stop really because of their personal disgust, when the honest thing to do would be to help them with their goal in a way that doesn’t get them hurt.

Oh dear. Yes, my dear bovines, there are such things as magic-granting tattoos, but not in your particular fictional continuity.

Brought a Far Side cartoon to mind:



Tattoos? What would she think of piercings?

I think I remember ponies with piercing in the show. Earing and the likes.

Could be clip-ons, aside from Pirate Ponies. I dunno, I think if someone is alarmed by the concept of tattoos, they'd be even more put out by the notion of shoving bits of metal through holes cut in your flesh (and in places like tongues or nipples or...), but that may just be my own prejudices talking. :raritydespair:

AJ, you could've just convinced them that ear tags are cooler.

Rereading, maybe you're right :facehoof:

In the exact way as in the show, no.

Tirek's defeat in the cartoon comes at the end of a chain of events that starts with the plunder vines, which didn't happen in the Continuum. Estee broke the chain further by telling us that Rarity went to Manehattan ("Dark Thoughts From a Manehattan Parking Garage") but did not encounter Coco Pommel there ("Hoofticuffs Day") and thus didn't get the magic key to unlock the magic chest that they don't have because they didn't get it from a magic tree which may not even exist.

But I still think Tirek is going to happen. There's a bunch of reasons for that which I'm not going to bore everyone with.

Bulk Biceps Snowflake explicitly has pierced ears. There's also no reason to think Zecora's earrings aren't the real thing.

Lol this one was pretty funny. Kinda wild how the teenage mind perfectly maps to a herd species with the collective reasoning skills of a concussed third-year dropout. :rainbowlaugh:


Yes, but Bessie doesn't know what Alicorns are. So she's just a unicorn in that brief bit from the cattles' pov.


We do not talk about the noodle incident. :trollestia:

Although I am still blaming Sizzler for this.

The next words were pushed forward in a blast of purest frustration. "-- an' how do Ah know that?"

Twilight's lips quirked. "I'd never stop casting it."

Let us all stop for a moment and acknowledge the truth in this statement.

I didn’t realise what I was looking at in that cover art at first. I thought the metal was some sort of snare.

Tenants like that are the whole reason that anti-social behaviour grounds for eviction ever managed to find their way into law...

I furthermore think they're a metaphysical organ that twists fate a certain way around their possessors, but that's getting into bizarre theorycrafting. Tirek sucked all the charge out of the circuit, Glimglam unscrewed the lightbulb and put an infinitely crappier one in place.

He happened in Daily Equestrian Life With Monstergirl, which is a branch on the continuum tree. He hasn't happened yet, and may or may not, in other words.

This and the last one also have me wondering about Equestrian subcultures in general. Like, "Luna meets the band Spåwn øf Ňïghtmårë. How many windows end up broken? How many pronunciation guides does Twilight send them later?"

It is amazing how everyone else in the world saw that but I didn't :raritydespair:

I mean, magical tattoos are a thing, anywhere you can get runic magic, you can get magical tattoos. It's just a matter of materials and tools, ink and skin instead of chisel and stone. Perhaps it's a minotaur thing.

"Y'can't rinse out your mouth with the entire water tower --"

"-- WATCH ME!"

Come on, is not that bad.


Twilight could had asked Sunset Shimmer to send her a visual report about cattle husbandry and the meat industry in the human world. That would have stopped the whole thing ( also traumazing the crap of them for life).

I do have to wonder what species in this setting has thin enough body hair to make tattooing work.

"They ain't! An' you wrote the article! Ah swear, Twi, there's times when y'all try t' work around me, an' if you're expectin' me t' be happy 'bout that --"

It's hard being the paladin. Especially when the mission calls for a non-lawful good approach.

All too familiar tale of pubescent groupthink and how to exploit it. Very fun read. Thank you for it.

Nothing we've seen yet.

I'm impressed you managed to come up with something that is more stupid than hum...

*thinks for a long moment about what some human cultures do or have done historically to themselves*

... almost more stupid than some humans.

Applejack's standards for normal labor started at two hundred percent of the average pony, which was why most of the Acres' temporary hires barely made it through one-third of a workday

Applejack only expects her hired hooves to work half the day. It's up to them if it's from sunup to subdown, or vice versa.

Twilight's lips quirked. "I'd never stop casting it."

reminds me of a gag in the online comic "erfworld":
"do you have a headache spell?"
"of course-wait did you mean one that CURES headaches? no. if i had that, i'd never stop casting it."

The scary part is that Applejack stops 99% of shenanigans before they reach town. Imagine what there daily life is like,

:pinkiesick: Move over Twilight, it’s my turn with the water.

10041515 Teens branding themselves WAS fashionable amongst a certain subset for a time.

Fortunately, there weren't too may THAT stupid, so the trend fizzled out.

10040812 Alas, I can't even eat them anymore, or I break out in hives.

But I would totally take a bite, just because stupid creatures deserve devouring! :pinkiecrazy:


I was thinking more about stuff like foot-binding, actually; which is sufficiently unsettling it makes ME wince just reading about it, but it was a prevalant practise in China for about a thousand years.

(If anyone in the audience doesn't know what foot-binding is, it was essentially the practise of... let's say deforming the feet of women in China (and possibly other places) and essentially hobbling them. You can wiki it for more information, but given that it is... Pretty horrific, I'm just going to warn you beforehand to maybe not look at the pictures on wikipedia too hard if you're easily upset.)

It’s probably for the best that cattle don’t have anything that Flim and Flam types would want... and for being more trouble than exploiting them would be worth.

If it makes you feel any better, several of those people told you it was a bull who said that when it in fact was a cow.:pinkiehappy:

Well, in the Continuum, pretty much the highest sacrilege and most horrendous thing that anypony can do is to mutilate or interfere with a Mark. And then there are these cattle, who are burning bizarre mimicries of Marks into their own flesh. Add to that a Pony's natural aversion to any kind of gore, and then add to that Twilight's OCD-Induced visceral revulsion when faced with particularly horrifying Un-Logic...

...so yeah. Purely objectively, she's seen worse than a bull with a burnt butt. That doesn't mean she's mentally ready to deal with the scale of insane self-mutilation she's seeing here.

" An' shaved cattle look 'bout as dumb as a shaved pony, so none of 'em wanted t' try that -- but they still wanted t' be cool . "

Oh come on, surely a hard-working pony like AJ needs a clip now and then: https://www.deviantart.com/yulyeen/art/Ponies-with-fur-359428105

Also, I liked the MiB reference.

Another deep breath of spring air. "Y'know cattle are a --" vocabulary was visibly sifted "-- protectorate species. They lease livin' space from whoever's willin' t' host 'em. An' most of 'em ain't citizens. They could be: nothin' stops 'em from tryin' but each other --" with open regret "-- and that's usually enough. But they don't have a nation of their own. An' that's the way it is with pretty much all of the tenants."

So I have questions.

If most of them aren't considered citizens of Equestria and, I assume, all of the surrounding nations, how does their crossing borders from one country to another work? I mean, surely this happens at least from time to time--as this fic demonstrates, they can't be supervised all the time, so what the protocol for addressing that? Can they just do it freely as many times as they want, and nobody ever bats an eye at it? If their herd mentality is so strong to the point they're so easily led into doing dumb things, would that really be wise? What's keeping some enemy of the state from abusing that for their advantage?

Also, if they aren't citizens per se, does that mean they're tax exempt? Or is their "lease" considered to compensate for that? What does that "lease" entail? Is it paid with money? If so, where do the cattle get the money to pay it? Do they have jobs somewhere? How does that work with the herd mentality issue? Does this also mean that, since they aren't full citizens, they aren't entitled to the same rights as a full-fledged citizen? How is that addressed? Is that addressed?

If them being a protectorate species compensates for all of that somehow, then why aren't they just full-on citizens by default, seeing that'd effectively accomplish much of the same goals? Why keep them at only a "protectorate" status at all, strong herd mentality or no? Or why not just kill two birds and have them be both protectorate and citizens? Assuming it applies in Equestria (not too familiar with how the Equestrian government works in this universe, but I've gotten the impression there are at least some democratic practices), can they vote? I know letting something with such herd mentality vote might seem like a bad idea, but then I feel obligated to point to human politics and ask that if that's true, then why does anybody let us knucklehead humans vote? :rainbowlaugh:

...I could go on, I'm now realizing, so I better stop there. Maybe this whole concept needs further explaining to me... :twilightoops:

Anyway, just thinking too hard about this, is all. It's what I do. :raritywink:

Slowly, Twilight's hackles settled back into place. "Okay. So aside from the incredible amount of pain, ridiculously cumulative chance of infection, and only getting one mistake..."

Twilight, you've just summed up everything that keeps me from getting a tattoo myself. Not that I've ever really wanted one, but this just reaffirms that I don't want one. Honestly, I've just never understood the appeal. :unsuresweetie:

She'd met a few cattle, and had once found an alpaca following her through every back alley of Ponyville because Twilight qualified as a quadrupedal moving object and so an alpaca was going to follow her.

I wanna hear more about this alpaca and it's story on how this situation came to be, because surely there's a story to tell there. :rainbowlaugh:

"Minors can't make legally binding contracts, right? So any promises we give, we get to decide if we keep."

That is both somewhat intelligent and yet rather idiotic at the same time.

I'm beginning to see the full scope of AJ's problem now. :twilightoops:

Cutie marks viewed like an organ...now there's a thought...there might actually be something worthwhile to that...

But you're right--massive headcanon territory, going deep enough that you're required to have a lifeguard on duty in order to swim there. :rainbowlaugh:

Well I can't say for most of that, but in Goosed! there's a scene where a bull gets in an argument with Applejack, and refuses to pay his grazing fees. So at the very least, for cows, they are getting some bits one way or another, which are then used to pay for the use of an area for grazing. Whether that is due to them having some sort of job, or if Equestria gives them an allowance to use as necessary, that has not been explored as far as I recall.

I'm old. Explain to me how branding is any stupider than body piercings

10040809 I thought Estee said Starlight Glimmer wasn't going to show up in this continuum, since removing cutie marks is impossible?

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