• Member Since 7th Feb, 2014
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Stories about ponies are stories about people. Every challenge is an opportunity to change. My Patrons let me keep writing, at: https://www.patreon.com/RealStarscribe


Tracy Maxwell is in a desperate situation: find somewhere to live, or lose the internship he needs to survive. After exhausting every property in the city, one last option appears the day before his deadline. Sure the agent selling the place is a little weird, and more than a little overeager to get the property signed off. At the worst, maybe there's a little mold in the bathroom somewhere, and he has to make do until the lease is up.

But then he steps inside and discovers things can be much worse. The property is in another universe, and while he's there he'll have to play by its rules. He's free to continue working his dream job, so long as he keeps to the contract. Even worse, he's got a roommate who has no intention of leaving him alone.

If he ever wants to escape, he'll have to read the Fine Print.

This story now has a hardcover! If you'd like one of your own, you can grab it here: https://starscribe.net/

This story is a commission by _Kenzu_!

Chapters (68)
Comments ( 4619 )

woo!~ Have been looking foward to this story for a while now :pinkiehappy:

Well, this should be interesting.

Yeah, figured it was Discord by the story description, the second you mentioned the suit it confirmed it. :rainbowlaugh:

More non-answers. He’s going to try and harvest my organs, isn’t he?

I could use a few of those. :pinkiecrazy:

The pen uses the signer's blood as ink, doesn't it? That's why there was that small discharge of energy like static when he slid the key into the lock. The contract he signed was a magical pact with Discord, and putting the key in the lock was the act that finalized the agreement.

Not a nigerian scammer. Literally every scummy businessman ready to take every advantage afforded to them by naive or cocky customers who don't read the fine print. Including putting every detail aside from the bare essentials in the fine print. But not a nigerian scammer. Tracy is getting exactly what the agreement he signed is for. The issue is that Tracy is naive and doesn't realize what it is he agreed to.

Wait, a Starscribe story where the main character doesn't become a mare? Who are you and what did you do with our precious writter? :pinkiegasp:
Well, actually we don't know that yet. But gotta say, that's very Discordy of Discord. I bet he'd aprove :yay:

Certainly following it, the favorite will likely come next chapter, knowing you :twilightsmile:

“Recalculating” didn’t have any gender switching. :)

im waiting for the day we got starscriber story with a women who becomes a stallion

HERESY!!! :flutterrage:
Didn't know that :derpytongue2:

Then stallion becomes woman, capped by mare becomes men. The circle shall be complete!! :pinkiecrazy:

Who could turn down cheap rent in these troubling times?

And so we're off.

I wonder if the property was truly meant to be rented by anyone desperate enough to take it or if it was actually a wonderfully "customized" limited time deal exclusive for our chosen victim Tracy. Given Discord's nature, it feels like the former. Any schmuck crazy enough to go along with it is certainly the kind of person Discord would like to deal with.

More non-answers. He’s going to try and harvest my organs, isn’t he?


Welp. Can't wait to find out what exciting surprises are hidden in that contract, or what Discord has in mind.

Tracy had better hope that he won't need to host any (human) guests, either. That would be *really* fun to explain.

Oh yeah, new story and it sounds great already. Can't wait to see it unfold!

“Here’s the lease. Boilerplate stuff, really. No house parties, no early termination. $500 on the third of every month, no smoking… a copy of this was online, so I’m sure you read it.”

$500 a month? That's never a thing.

Really friend, you didn't read it? The large print giveth, but the fine print taketh away.

I dunno...I had a one-bedroom apartment for awhile that was $550 a month, which, granted, in $50 more than straight-up $500, but still...

Electricity and gas weren't included in that, though, so I guess I can't say utilities were included like they are here. *shrug*

I managed 350 a month once. But it was just renting a room. A harry potter style room. An the rest of the building was empty for half the time I lived there because the city would not let them take on new tenants without significant renovations. The basement stairs were only held up by a stack of paint cans beneath them for 3 months. I threw out 2 disgusting old couches from the common room personally.

Ok, I'm in. Let's do this thing.

Oh, this is gonna be good.

Carry on, my little Author.

Lancer Real Estate?

John De Lancer? :-)

So, work in earth, live in Equestria, with a pony roommate? That doesn't seem like a problem. Where do I sign?

And the deposit is non-monetary, so you don’t need to worry about making anything until next week.”

Didn't make any attempt to verify what the deposit is? No first months rent in advance?

“Shouldn’t I take a tour or something first?” he asked. “We’re here anyway.”

“I mean… you probably should.”

Ahh yes. You are told you probably should look first. Might have saved you from whatever we'll find in chapter 2.

“Lancer Realty!”

I get it!

For a moment we half expected him to say "John see ya!"

Oh boy... Any plan Dissy ha-... I just realized something... if this is a pony fic, and they are CLEARLY in human world... Did Discord ahove Tracy into pony world...?

This has a lot of potential. I'm already incredibly amused by the idea of Discord tricking someone into being a pony tenant. Keep it up!

Ha! Now this, this is what I call entertainment!

What's wrong, Tracy? Feeling a little... batty?

Could use a little help here, Fluttershy. Though I guess when all the shock fades, Tracy will literally just use the room like he intended, a storage place. Living in the car isn't so bad. Of course, I wonder what other surprises are hidden in the... fine print.

“Well, that’s going to be an interesting challenge. But I suppose I should’ve known what I was getting into, signing one of you ‘technical’ creatures. Not a one in any galaxy can go to bed at a reasonable hour. Well you’ll fit in perfectly here.” Then came a hand on his shoulder, feeling strangely larger than before in a way he couldn’t quite explain.

Well, at least we now know he wasn't specifically targeted. At least, initially. Good job in taking one for the team, Tracy.

All this time you knew my name. Now that I think about it, I don't think I ever introduced myself. “No it isn't."

Probably still in shock, but you did sign your name in the contract, Tracy.

Oh, obviously your currency isn't going to be worth anything through the portal. I would love to convert it for you, but the portal doesn't like lies. It can't handle that fiat you all believe in. I guess you could bring over scrap gold if you want anything to buy on that side. Uh..."

If there's nothing else in the fine print, this won't be a problem, even if Discord only takes payment on the Equestrian side of the portal. $500 is still $500 and is what Discord is asking for. As far as we know it doesn't say anything about bits and doesn't say anything about having to actually live there. For now.

Can anyone tell me what his Cutie Mark is?

Well done good sir, well done!

I would think Discord would be more delighted than disappointed with (some) humans realizing the fundamental truth that all money is totally arbitrary in value. After all, it’s not like gold atoms have a monetary value fixed by physical law (well, aside from the tautological “one gold atom is worth one gold atom”). It’s just a social convention that gold is worth anything, exactly like paper money.

Not sure if it's just the artist's style, but aside from the lack of long eyelashes, Tracy's equine form looks rather feminine in Chapter 2's artwork... :trixieshiftright:

Apart from the fact gold conducts electricity, does not tarnish nor corrode, and like all metals is stable in its total quantity. It does not deplete nor replenish, only shifts location, which is more than can be said for fiat. It’s inflation proof and has intrinsic usage, as can be said for all metals.

Can confirm it's just a style thing. There's no TG suggested here.

No I see it, I just don't know what it's supposed to be in the picture.

Daaang, Discord, you scaaary!

Oh good, the clothes transformed too. I was thinking that it would be pretty hard to explain to the neighbors why he had to change clothes outside.

"Following the grace period of eight (8) days following a default, the leasee agrees to permanently forfeit their human body and submit themselves as a subject to the sole amusement of Discord, for a number of centuries equal to the number of months defaulted on the lease."

Um. Well. That's quite the incentive to not default. Wonder what the penalty for breaking other parts of the lease might be.

The electricity is... well, buy a UPS before you try and plug anything in over there if you don't want it to explode.

...But what happens if the UPS explodes? WHAT DO I DO :raritydespair:

I guess you could bring over scrap gold if you want anything to buy on that side.

Or you can bring back bits and cause a crash in the real-world value of gold before getting visited by some very interested government agents? What could go wrong with that?

I don't think the human police would be terribly thrilled that you've permanently transformed them into ponies too. And without a contract with me, how could they possibly expect to be changed back?

Wait, that applies to everyone except Tracy, right? So that clause allowing for one (1) houseguest pretty much guarantees that either the guest hides in the house longer than three (3) days or they return to our world as a pony? Or maybe Tracy gets to go on an adventure to figure out how to return them to human within that three-day time limit?

Can't wait to find out what other tidbits are hiding in that contract. Wouldn't be surprised if there was something like the Van Halen no-brown-M&Ms clause in there.

Also, is Tracy going to have to show this to HR? Because they might have a few questions.

I'm curious to learn what Discord's motivation for all this is, although "for the lulz" wouldn't be all too surprising.


There's no TG suggested here.

Who are you and what have you done with Starscribe?

I in fact had a line to the effect that there were reasons to use gold as a currency, but that one could find reasons to use many other things as currencies as well, and many of them have been used as currencies. However, I deleted it since it seemed redundant and obvious from the existence of various non-paper non-gold monies. So thank you, I am aware.

It is also not true that gold (or any other commodity) is “inflation proof”. There have been some quite notable instances of inflation involving metals throughout history. For example, there is the Price Revolution of the 15th-17th centuries, or the significant inflation that affected the Roman Empire later on as it devalued its currency (the latter points up the fact that even metal currencies are ultimately arbitrarily defined). The only real difference is that inflation in metallic currencies tends to be “spikier” due to being connected with devaluations or gold/silver finds, so you have prolonged periods with very little inflation and then a great deal of inflation all at once. Even that’s not totally universal given that the Price Revolution played out over about a century and a half, with inflation rates similar to the modern day (about 1-1.5% annually)

Anyway, presumably a certain number of bits in Equestria can buy a certain amount of stuff there, and a certain number of dollars can buy a similar basket of things on Earth, it wouldn’t be that difficult to devise a translation...not much more difficult than dealing with books written in English versus Equestrian or whatever, I don’t think.

There were still plenty of reasons why most of the world left the gold standard and never (mostly) looked back.

That being said, if Equestria's economy and culture is mostly identical to Earth's at a certain time period, I wouldn't be bringing gold. Aluminum foil is where it's at, baby!

1. Is that punkpin Cake in one of the Images at the wall?:twilightoops:
2. I spotted my favorite Pony in there. :pinkiehappy:
3. I wish something like that would happen to me.

And most importantly it's an amazing story and I can barley wait to see, how this will continue. :twilightsmile:

I am both delighted by this story, and a little sad there isn't more yet...
Keep up the great work, Starscribe.

I don't think Tracy will have to worry about conversions though. At least not until the two worlds meet. I'm pretty sure attempting a translation between a fiat and gold backed system (if Equestria really is one) is more than a simple nightmare. He'll just have to make due with indirect conversions with whatever he can bring in and sell.

Again, if Equestria is identical to a certain historical time frame of Earth, I'm holding out for a Tracy of the Noble House of Maxwell aka "The Lord of Aluminum". With careful supply management he could probably convert aluminum to gold and vice-versa through the universes and probably make a comfortable living this way. He can easily pay off the lease and his dream job on Earth will become a hobby.

Oooooh. Aaahhhh.
Illustrations. How fru fru, fanceee. Yer gooood.


I’m curious whether ponies could abuse pegasi-generated lightning to generate the energy necessary to refine aluminum by modern processes. If they could, then aluminum may not be as valuable to them as it was to us once upon a time.

Oh, of course it would be a problem for him. I was talking about the portal doing the conversions. Magic, see?

Under the terms of that contract, they're one burglary away from leaving unexplained small equines on Earth...


Well, it says that the Leasee assumes a form appropriate to the district while in the property. Nothing about uninvited guests! :derpytongue2:

Now that you brought it up, I wonder if the transformation would still occur for less-conventional entrances (e.g., windows or chimneys).

Look at us, armchair lawyering a fictional contract involving interdimensional portals to a world of smol horses.

No, I mean Tracy wouldn't have a real need to bring dollars and could bypass the problem entirely by buying stuff Earth-side then bringing it over and selling it for Equestrian currency. As Discord apparently suggested with the scrap-gold (unless the gold magically turns to bits).

Though I guess to Tracy the money conversion problem is irrelevant as he is very likely to try to avoid his apartment as much as possible. Only setting foot inside for sleep and hygiene purposes. Why need bits for a place you never plan to spend much time in anyway? Now I'm wondering if the answer to that question will come from the fine print or sheer boredom from living in a car.


Look at us, armchair lawyering a fictional contract involving interdimensional portals to a world of smol horses.

That's how you know a premise is interesting and fun! :pinkiehappy:

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