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GrassAndClouds2


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Vicereine Puissance has ruled as one of Princess Luna's richest and most powerful nobles for fifty years, but not even her uncountable wealth or legions of followers can save her from old age. As her health begins to fail and the doctors tell her there is nothing they can do, she rejects the suggestion of Luna and others that she should retire and spend her remaining time with her family. Instead she decides to solve this problem as she has solved all others: by drawing upon her stupendous resources and vast political power in order to obtain the one remaining thing she wants: the immortal, ageless life of an alicorn. But while she thinks she can afford any price, the journey she sets out on could prove to be far more costly than she had ever anticipated.

Lunaverse story. Setup for Golden Horseshoes.

Chapters (6)
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Comments ( 46 )

You know, with a title like that I'm surprised this story isn't based off of that famous Superman story.

“A snippet of time, a snippet of wealth. A snippet of time is difficult to buy with a snippet of wealth.” When wealth becomes virtually infinite, time seems to the limiting factor to enjoy one’s life. Historically, many have tried to fight for immortality with their wealth, but has all failed, often consequentially. But if a typical, albeit incredibly wealthy, noble is capable to become immortal, then what is the meaning of time to him/her? Thoroughly, what is the meaning of her existence? There is an answer to that for princesses - leadership, which takes years of understanding and execution for the betterment of their citizens. This story gives a great insight into the concept of time and wealth.

Other than a few small technical discrepancies, this is a riveting read. Do continue writing!

So like I said, I was saving proper comments for when the story went up.

Still just waiting to hear from RK on what he thinks about this story before deciding exactly where to put it.

and she once more told herself she did not feel cold.

I do love this recurring thing. Feeling cold is of course a symptom of aging, but it also connects to her being frozen by a windigo and everything that went down in Noam.

Perfect Precision [...] Precise Point

I wonder if the two debate who's worse, Puissance or Chrysalis.

Also the two must kind of hate their position since the whole point of coming to the Promised Land is getting more food and then they get stuck with what amounts to a drying well.

“Dad knew you were coming back today so he bought me here to see you! Hi!”

Bit on the nose...

as her secretaries flew in behind her.

Both: "Oh thank the Queen the grub is here we'll actually get a decent meal for a change..."

the foal who mailed her a doll because foals were just nice like that

I do like that Puissance at least acknowledges it as "nice" and foals as "just being nice" rather than writing it off as foalish naivity or expecting ulterior motives (like being sent back candy or something).

“We still do not know where it is.”

While I have no plans to use it and don't mind if anyone wants to change anything, personally I think it ended up half-buried in the sand of the Sea of Sand. Possibly guarded by some kind of owl dragon.

like that one Grogar lunatic who slaughtered his subjects to drain their life force

So in the Gdoc I was going to comment that this was incorrect - the Tamberlaan donkeys were never Grogar's subjects - but then it occurred to me that the entire point of what Luna and Celestia originally did to him was to have the memory of Grogar be warped, distorted, and then fade and disappear. So it actually makes sense that some version of the Grogar myth might mistake him as the ruler of Tambelon.

or a bear

Fizzlepop: "YES. Use bears. I support this."

one noble talked at length about how Luna’s old apprentice Rimeward

Rimewind, although the apprentice's name was acutally Snowy Night and Rimewind the Frigid was her edgy supervillain name.

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Fixed the bought/brought typo and Snowy Night's name, thanks! And glad you like it. I had a lot of fun writing this one. :-)

Oooh, this is gripping! I can't wait to see where this goes. I always appreciate G1 homages and giving a general unlikable character the spotlight for a bit to show what really makes them tick. It did wonders for Greengrass in "Just Us Little Ponies."

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Well, so far I'm liking it. ;) A really good look into the old hag.

Anyway, Puissance? You have an appointment that simply can't be put off any longer. [/evil laugh intensifies]

Well, even with a short appearance Greengrass is an odious asshole. Impressive. ;) I kid... kinda. But another good chapter. As for Corona... yeah. I'd be massively wary of her, too. Good chapter. Puissance, that cold you're feeling? That's your dead soul, shriveled up.

“You can’t just cut,” protested an old scholar. “Even if you are a Vicereine. There’s no law stating that Vicereines can cut lines whenever they want!”
Solar Flare telekinetically floated a lawbook out from her cloak, opened it to a certain page, and showed the scholar.
“...oh,” said the old pony. “I guess there really is such a law.”

Well assuming Puissance is not long for the world this will be very hand when (new) Viceroy Sceptre goes to Disneyland.

Sorry for the delay. This is going to be a general thing with me for a while. Work sucks.

Puissance didn’t know about that, but she did know that Svelte was so cold to others that it was as if she'd had her capacity for friendship surgically removed.

And if Puissance is noting this you know it's bad.

she would not live for millennia with nothing to do besides puttering around her assorted mansions.

This is one of the things I like about Puissance; she has a lot of problems, but sloth is most definitely not one of them. At the same time, though, she can't exactly be called a workaholic because we have seen her take some time by herself to relax. It's more that she's just got skewed priorities.

and Puissance found she had to keep her eyes averted

Warped space, I'm assuming, plus Moondancer's utilitarian nature also meaning that she migt not particualrly care about architectural rules and simply expands or contracts or adds on as needed and to the size and shape needed.

and she got valedictorian and all the attention and everypony ignored me even though I was just as good as her!

It's interesting to take the time here to note that while Lunaverse-Twilight does have a bit of an ego and occasionally overestimates her own abilities (or rather underestimates her limits), she isn't exactly "I AM THE BEST!" in the way she acts. Meeting a pony who is genuienly more skilled than her in magic isn't something she sees as an affornt to her and doesn't rock her self-confidence; she just sees it as an opportunity to hopefully learn more magic. Point being that I'd best that Twilight would absolutely admit that Moondancer was as good as her in school (she'd probably quaify it by pointing out that she was better in some areas but worse in others and overall it was a wash), and would LOVE to learn more.

Her original intent in going to Ponyville was to learn magic from Trixie, after all, and she wasn't bothered at all by the idea of Trixie being better at magic than her. What bothered her was learning that Trixie was worse.

And one day, when I’ve completed my work, I’ll show it to everypony and they’ll finally know: I’m better than Twilight Sparkle.

And again, I'll 100% guaruntee that if Moondancer appeared in Ponyville and proved this, Twilight would be geuienly congratulatory and ask if Moondancer could teach her.

Which would, I'm getting the feeling, only piss of Moondancer more.

My experts agree that you seem to be one of the most knowledgeable ponies on the subject in the world

Twilight is of course a generalist but her biggest love seems to be Conjuration, using magic to move things, either through space or just zapping them directly to or from a place. Moondancer, I think, is a Transmuter. Her interest is in manipulating the nature of things

misanthrope

I am not remotely skilled enough in Greek to try and ponify this. Misippope?

And almost walked into Princess Luna.

Luna: "Well that makes for a pleasant change, normally something or somepony does hit me..."

Why did she care about her spending time with Flicker?

This is probably technically a typo (Puissance mentally thinking of him as Flicker rather than Scepter), but I delibterately didn't bring it up in the GDoc because it's one of those slips that works. It suggests Puissance, at least for just a moment and without even realizing it, coming around to giving in on her great-grandson's name.

“Lord Cow Cow,” she said slowly. “The cow who would be king.”

Oddly I know very little about the Three Kingdoms, having never read the Romance, watched anything set in it, or played Dynasty Warriors. The biggest thing I know about Cao Cao is that he's a 3/3 Human Soldier for 3BB with "T: Target opponent discards two cards. Activate this ability only during your turn, before attackers are declared."

I do know that there's a rather good Three Kingdoms drama produced in China in 2010, but that mostly from 4chan memes.

or had servants throw him off the castle battlements.

He'd probably catch himself. And then enjoy the climb back up.

Princess Luna of Equestria was deep in the middle of a discussion with Duchess Posey about clouds

I love that in Equestria this can be and most likely is a serious discussion. "Shooting the breeze" has a completely different meaning when a third of your populace probably can kejigger a way to shoot a breeze at you.

By the way this is my favorite scene in the entire fic. Mostly because of the hilarious implications of Puissance actually somehow managing to wrestle Max down and drag him off. Hilarious, but also heartwarming because I can almost imagine that it might be something she used to have to do with her foals to get them to take a bath or something.

and dragons were known to be greedy, avaricious beasts who would never give up anything if they could help it.

Yes. Dragons. And no other creatures.

Greengrass beamed as if he thought Puissance meant the compliment

I can imagine Greengrass genuinely loving this, actually, for a number of reasons. One, it's not much upward motion but it is upward motion, so his fall has been arrested and he's starting to inch back up again, with Luna's approval - he's become a better pony. Second, because he knows this, almost certainly knows that Puissance was being disparaging, but since Greengrass is aware of his current predicament he's equally aware that any upward motion is a victory worth celebrating, even if it doesn't seem that way to Puissance. And, thirdly, because he is an earth pony and his cutie mark is in weeding and he does love gardening. So a chance to be a part of a parks service (or the committee of one) must be great for him.

All in all he doesn't really have anything to complain about, and knows it.

Sprite

Ocellus: "You know, in the Hive, this sort of stuff was considered the worst job, or the equivalent. Tending the lichen and fungus farms. But I actually like it a lot here! I think it's because we're doing it in the sun rather than in dark, wet caves."
Snails: "Or maybe 'cause you're doing it with your friends?"
Ocellus: "Maybe!"

and that odd Sprite pony was licking her lips for some reason

Ocellus: "Your sister was wrong, Snails, she definitely can feel love."
Snails: "Well, I mean, of course she loves her grandcolt! It would be weird if she didn't."
Ocellus: "And Flicker definitely loves Puissance too."

Granted, that hadn’t worked out as she’d hoped

I seem to recall that dragon was turned into a cat. And was never turned back. Now I kind of want there to be an extremely ornery cat running around one of Puissance's mansions, hoarding bits and being utterly useless at catching mice (because she just catches them, complains to them, and then lets them go).

I smell your greed, pony!

I can totally believe that dragons can smell greed.

Ocellus: "I definitely can. It's...not actually the worst taste in the world. I think I could get used to it."

It would be one of the greatest deals she had ever made.

XYZ years later...

Lawyer: "And so in her last will and testament, Vorel left the library and all of its contents to the Archbarony of Nulpar."
Puissance: "Buck."

“I dreamed he turned you into a cabbage and I accidentally ate you and never got to see you again!”

One of the reasons to release Discord is that Corona's sort of been a looming threat that hasn't affected 99.99% of ponies. Discord...Discord is everywhere. I flexed how I was going to write him in Cozy Glow: FIENDship is Magic. Bluntly, after Discord and given the role Celestia will be playing, the idea that she might be good will be a lot easier for a lot of ponies to swallow. Not all of them, of course, but a lot.

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Warped space, I'm assuming, plus Moondancer's utilitarian nature also meaning that she migt not particualrly care about architectural rules and simply expands or contracts or adds on as needed and to the size and shape needed.

I would see Moondancer's cottage as having a slight eldritch/'House of Leaves' thing going on, where she's just done so many transformations and magical modifications to the building that the structure doesn't quite make physical sense anymore. And you're right, she would just rearrange or alter the building as she needs.

Oddly I know very little about the Three Kingdoms, having never read the Romance, watched anything set in it, or played Dynasty Warriors. The biggest thing I know about Cao Cao is that he's a 3/3 Human Soldier for 3BB with "T: Target opponent discards two cards. Activate this ability only during your turn, before attackers are declared."

I highly recommend reading the Romance--it's a really great story. The 4-volume box set translation by Moss Roberts is spectacular; the prose is very fluid and the books include copious notes detailing historical information, comments by other translators (which is helpful for sections where the text itself is disputed), some commentary by other scholars, and so on.

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I can imagine Greengrass genuinely loving this, actually, for a number of reasons. One, it's not much upward motion but it is upward motion, so his fall has been arrested and he's starting to inch back up again, with Luna's approval - he's become a better pony. Second, because he knows this, almost certainly knows that Puissance was being disparaging, but since Greengrass is aware of his current predicament he's equally aware that any upward motion is a victory worth celebrating, even if it doesn't seem that way to Puissance. And, thirdly, because he is an earth pony and his cutie mark is in weeding and he does love gardening. So a chance to be a part of a parks service (or the committee of one) must be great for him.

This is my interpretation as well. Greengrass is genuinely happy to be inching upwards again, and besides, he loves the idea of making the Canterlot gardens beautiful.

Ocellus: "You know, in the Hive, this sort of stuff was considered the worst job, or the equivalent. Tending the lichen and fungus farms. But I actually like it a lot here! I think it's because we're doing it in the sun rather than in dark, wet caves."
Snails: "Or maybe 'cause you're doing it with your friends?"
Ocellus: "Maybe!"

These two make a good pair. I imagine Ocellus would really enjoy the chance to go to Canterlot, see all kinds of awesome things, taste a bunch of different types of loves, etc. (I bet Greengrass's love for his gardening would have an earthy taste to it.)

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And again, I'll 100% guaruntee that if Moondancer appeared in Ponyville and proved this, Twilight would be geuienly congratulatory and ask if Moondancer could teach her.
Which would, I'm getting the feeling, only piss of Moondancer more.

I'm sure that Twilight being a humble is so much more infuriating to Moondancer.

"Gaaaah! She doesn't even have the good grace to try and lord being better that me over me! She just is!"

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I seem to recall that dragon was turned into a cat. And was never turned back. Now I kind of want there to be an extremely ornery cat running around one of Puissance's mansions, hoarding bits and being utterly useless at catching mice (because she just catches them, complains to them, and then lets them go).

Actually now I've gotten used to be it's not that much different from being a dragon, I'm still the most important creature in any room and everything I see is mine.

Oh and I can try to murder any lesser creature I come across and no one will stop me.

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Dragon-cat: "I am the master of all I survey! I--ack!"
Scepter: "Sorry, kitty, but it's time for your bath!" *dunks Dragon-cat in tub*
Dragon-cat: *quietly seethes, but also actually enjoys the pampering a little*

I'll give it to Puissance. She handled that bully of a bovine well.

And... I'll be honest. I would not forgive Celestia either. And they ALL have the right not to forgive her, too.

“What if there is nothing?” asked Solar Flare. “Moondancer needs all four Golden Horseshoes for her spell. If Cow has one of the Horseshoes and refuses to give it up, we will have no way to extend your life. You could…”

That's only true while Cow lives. Cow has many enemies, if something unfortunate where to happen to her...

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Cow's right, though. "For the Prince, it is better to be feared than loved"
& you CAN'T AFFORD to allow anyone to betray you.
It gives people Ideas

10230867

Puissance knows Luna would be displeased, to put it mildly, if Puissance assassinated a foreign leader. Especially one in an unsettled region of the world where her actions could risk drawing Equestria into a multi-sided war.

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The Eleventh Commandment
"Thou shalt not get caught"

It's called "plausible deniability"

D48

Excellent work as always. You did a fantastic job getting inside Puissance's head and showing just how miserable a pony she is, especially with her inability to understand why her family despises her. I'm also liking the other characters popping in, although my favorite was Fragrant getting jealous of Vorel. That said, there were two issues I wanted to bring up.

First is a very minor technical one in chapter 2 where you drag Moondancer's recruitment on for a few paragraphs longer than needed since she has essentially agreed when she asks what Puissance wants her to do and it's blindingly obvious the old bat is going to throw lab equipment at her until she says yes at that point.

The second one on the other hand is serious. I think the decision to copy the book and send the original away was a huge mistake. Prior to this decision it provided a great setup for a running story about how everyone deals with its location and effective immovability in a dragon's hoard, but you effectively threw it away with a cheap trick which also managed to make Vorel look like an idiot. I think it would have been much better to instead respect that immovability and instead force Puissance to negotiate between the two to set up a deal where she helps them move up to where the book is in exchange for the horseshoe (which brings them under the protection of Equestria and a dragon without political problems). That would be much more compelling than a simple trick since it involves a chain of negotiation and creates space to do more with the interesting but underutilized Vorel.

Anyways, besides that this is excellent and I'm looking forward to the conclusion.

Sunbeam Truth put me in mind of the scene in An Early Reunion with all the Celestia impersonators.

[The three alicorns are looking at a collection of "faithful" Solartics]
Cadenza: "So...do you think I have a little brother or sister among these ponies?"
Celestia: "Pffffft - "
Luna: [sighs] "No. You don't."
Celestia: "A cousin, on the other hand, is not beyond possibility..."
Luna: "WHAT?!"
Celestia: "Gotcha~!"
Cadenza: "I think we're going to get along well, Auntie."

They say an army moves on its stomachs, and our army certainly mooves on its cud.”

Cow: "Also we have four stomachs each."

Trixie was still an idiot at heart

Trixie: "Hah! Hearts don't do any thinking, I'm an idiot in my head! ...wait...darn it, I think I've been spending too much time around Pinkie Pie."

only to see him abruptly stop before he walked into Luna

Luna: "Okay I'll grant I'm not as big as my sister but I am still huge, how do ponies keep walking into me?"
Celestia: "Maybe if you dressed in brighter clothing instead of 'trying to reflect the darkness of you soul - '"
Luna: "I was going through a phase!"
Celestia: "Yes. A phase. Oh, look, a Night Guard. You can tell thanks to the bat wings and fangs."
Luna: "Oh shut up."

and had little caps that seemed to indicate they had a measure of authority.

Ocellus: "W-wait, I'm a lieutenant to Hive Lord Greengrass?"
Snails: "I guess. I think he's a Duke, though."
Ocellus: "A-and you're a lieutenant too?"
Snails: "Yeah! Isn't it great?"
Ocellus: "Uh...o-okay, um...HHHZZZKK!"
Snails: "Waaagh! Ocellus, what're you - "
Ocellus: "Fighting you so we determine who's first lieutenant and who's second lieutenant? Don't worry, I know ponies can't regrow limbs so I won't bite any off - "
Snails: "I surrender! You can be first lieutenant!"
Ocellus: "Oh, okay. Yay! Now let's see...DRONEZZZ! GET IN LINE FOR INZZZPECTION! HIVE LORD GREENGRAZZZZ COMMANDZZZ! FOR THE HIVE! FOR THE QUEEN!"
Greengrass: "I'd be very worried by the implications of this if any of it was canon."

Grass, it says a lot about the quality of your writing that I feel myself oddly wishing Puissance succeeds. You make her very compelling and interesting and even help show her positive sides...unlike Fisher who I could never stand. I really hope he gets strung up and used as a pinata for earth pony and pegasi foals. I do love how she handle Cow. Cersei Lannister -wishes- she was this level of maneuver.

Speaking of finding myself agreeing with the wrong ponies ... yeah, I'm on board with Svelte saying to ditch the nobility and monarchy. For all the myriad faults Celestia's Equestria had in the show-canon, I will always prefer it to Luna's Night Court-run Equestria. That's not a critique or attack on the Lunaverse, mind you. The Night Court provides for a great way to show how Celestia's fall could impact Equestria and helps make it distinct from the Equestria we know. It's great from a story-telling perspective. But if I was pony, I would never want to live in that society and would be militating for the Night Court's abolition at every turn. If Luna offered me a Knighthood or ennoblement, I'd reject it outright. Loudly and publicly.

It's also reeeeally hard to argue against the point that if Celestia wasn't Luna's sister, this wouldn't be an issue at all. Twilight's dad is totally right about the differing standards of punishment. The line-up on the Celestia question is pretty interesting and I can't wait until we get to that story itself.

Although, speaking of different standards ... one thing that sometimes irks me in Lunaverse is Derpy's moral myopia. In Return of Tambelon she was outraged and indignant that Luna had Grogar banished to an empty shadow world, despite no real time having passed there. She behaved as if this was the most horrible thing ever ... while I never saw her complain once about Celestia/Corona being similarly imprisoned, also alone, in the sun for a thousand years. If anything, Derpy was all too-keen to send Corona back there.

Moreover, Derpy didn't want to ally with Corona then and apparently doesn't want to forgive Celestia now because Corona once threatened Dinky. And that's fair enough, being a mom and all. I don't expect complete objectivity from the mother of a threatened child. And one is not obligated to forgive someone. Forgiveness is not a right someone is due. It's up to the individual to determine for themselves if they can forgive a transgression or not.

HOWEVER, at the same time, Derpy was all "everyone deserves some kindness" about Grogar, who committed mass murder against ten thousand donkeys, including hundreds, if not thousands, of children. To do that and then flip out about Corona having once making a threat--one she never meant to actually act on and I doubt ever would have--yeeeeeah, I think Derpy's vision isn't the only sense of hers that's skewed. I adore Derpy, but I really hope someone points that out to her.

It's easy to talk kindness about folks who haven't wronged you or those you care about personally. But when it does get personal--when it counts the most--her attitude about kindness changes. Which, I really want to stress, is totally understandable. It IS hard to be forgiving to someone who hurts you or someone you love. And if Derpy doesn't want to forgive Celestia, that's totally her call. But I at least want to see her grapple with the question a bit; have somepony point out the disconnect between Derpy's approach to Celestia and her approach to others and let Derpy recognize the truth behind and come to grips with it.

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D'aaaww. Yay Ocellus, cutest first lieutenant!

10231342
If I could just step up to Ditzy’s defense, in Tambelon she didn’t object to the exile in and of itself. What she objected to was that by Luna’s own admission she and Celestia thought that Grogar should have been killed for what he’d done, but instead Luna stepped in and came up with a punishment designed to make Grogar suffer first. They were still going to kill him eventually, but first Luna wanted to torment the goat by “unpersoning” him, making everyone forget everything about him so that he was denied even the immortality of an infamous reputation, and then when that happened confronting him with this fact and mocking him for it before killing him.

That being said you’re not otherwise wrong. Tambelon deliberately has our heroes make mistakes and fail at a number of points for entirely avoidable reasons. Heck, the entire last act could have been avoided if only the Luna-6 has trusted Corona when she had, in fact, given them every reason to think that she was trustworthy, up to and including putting herself in mortal danger for them and passing up an opportunity at power in order to help Trixie.

10231342

Glad you're enjoying the story! I had a lot of fun writing it. :-) And I love having the opportunity to explore some of these themes within the Lunaverse.

It's also reeeeally hard to argue against the point that if Celestia wasn't Luna's sister, this wouldn't be an issue at all. Twilight's dad is totally right about the differing standards of punishment. The line-up on the Celestia question is pretty interesting and I can't wait until we get to that story itself.

Yeah, I'm looking forwards to it too.

I tried to set up the lists of ponies on the pro/con Celestia side to represent a bunch of interesting viewpoints that I think would be good to showcase whenever we do get to the 'Celestia redemption arc'. Of course, we can change things later in case we find certain viewpoints should be added or removed, but for now they are:

* Max, who believes in forgiveness and probably wants to forgive Celestia on a personal level, but who feels he can't do that in good conscience because Celestia hurt the ponies he's supposed to represent. (He might even say something like, 'on a personal level as Montgomery Maximus, I forgive you, but on a political level as Baron Max, I have to object to this pardon). He'd probably come around eventually, in part because he really wants to come around and just feels at the moment like honor won't let him.

* Blueblood, who opposes mercy here for two reasons. First, he's by nature proud and unwilling to forgive a slight, and while Pinkie has no doubt been making him better, she probably hasn't totally erased that aspect of his personality. And second, Blueblood's family is still stigmatized because his ancestor supported Corona, so to show once and for all how he is not like his traitorous ancestor, he might make a show of denouncing and not supporting Celestia.

* Wallflower, who believes in forgiveness and would be willing to forgive Celestia if she thought Luna was acting rationally, but who grew skeptical of Luna's judgement in other circumstances and so now is skeptical that Luna has really thought this through, that Luna's assessment of Celestia no longer being dangerous can be trusted, etc. Convincing her would probably involve Luna either somehow 'proving' that Celestia was really reformed, or Luna herself working to gain more trust from her ponies so they put faith in her judgement.

* Night Light, who believes in forgiveness and would be willing to forgive Celestia if not for his family circumstances, but who feels he can't tolerate a situation in which Celestia is given more forgiveness than a non-royal pony, especially his daughter. Convincing him would probably involve Luna proving that Celestia is in fact being given a similar type of punishment as Twilight and other ponies in their position (as Twilight's 'punishment' is basically community service, Luna could show similarly that Celestia wouldn't just get pardoned and then spend her time eating cake and attending fancy parties with dignitaries but would also be expected to do service for the benefit of the nation in some capacity)

* Puissance, who doesn't really like forgiving ponies that hurt her, and would probably be one of the die-hard anti-Celestia ponies in heart, but who can more or less be bribed into going along with it, and who could perhaps in time learn to look past it.

* Svelte, who is deeply cynical to the point of not really believing in friendship or forgiveness (as in, literally not believing that those things exist, on account of her experiences in Stalliongrad), who thinks all crimes by the nobility and royalty should be punished mercilessly because she believes that is the only just option as well as the only way to deter other ponies from doing those same crimes, and who--by virtue of being personally incorruptible and having not been a noble at the time of the Castigation, meaning she's one of the only ponies there where Luna can't pull the 'I forgave you so you should forgive my sister' card--would be virtually intransigent in the matter. She would be one of the hardest ponies to convince.

10231546

That's why Tambelon is one of my favorite stories in the Lunaverse. The Celestia-helping-Trixie bit in particular was really cool.

10231546
I guess that's fair, though re-reading it gave the impression that Derpy wanted Grogar brought to Equestria for imprisonment, rather than left alone in the shadow realm, as if that in itself was such a terrible fate. (Parenthetically, the concept of Damnatio memoriae is both cool and horrifying as a history buff). Oh yes, I like the Lunaverse cast and have no problem with them being flawed--it's just that I'd wish certain members were a bit more self-aware of their own flaws at times.

10231740

Question: was the scene with the mages feeding Puissance´s youth with magic a Dark Crystal reference?

Once again, I'm awed by your ability to get me behind the deeply flawed Puissance and want to see the best for her. To point where I am thoroughly disgusted and appalled by Moondancer's refusal to perform one spell--one she KNOWS is crucial to keeping her patron alive. Her grudge against Twilight we know is misplaced, but it somewhat understandable from her skewed perspective. THIS, however, is just loathsome and makes her the least likeable pony in this whole story.

Random note: I keep forgetting who is Wallflower? I know she's the third Vicerene but has she really done much in the Lunaverse? For a while I conflated her character and Duchess Posey's together. But beyond that, I'm totally blanking on her.

10232861

Wallflower is the third Vicereine, yes. She's an earth pony. Her province is Canterlot itself, which theoretically puts her directly behind Luna in the line of succession (although the discovery that Cadence is Luna's daughter will eventually result in Cadence supplanting Wallflower there, per RDD).
She hasn't shown up much in the Lunaverse, but she has several appearances in Talon and Thorn's stories "Climbing the Mountain" and "Climbing the Mountain 2." In those she's shown to have been a mentor to Posey and in charge of the Royal Diplomatic Corps (Equestria's spy services). She's also been shown to be generally kind and well-adjusted; she is happily married, breeds two-headed dogs as a hobby (and gave one to Fluttershy as a pet), etc.

Glad you're enjoying the story!

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And--to be slightly charitable to Moondancer--she doesn't think that she, specifically, must cast the find-horseshoe-#4 spell to keep Puissance alive. She thinks that Puissance can either use another method to find the last shoe (since she did find the first 3 without magical help) or have another powerful mage cast the 'find the last horseshoe' spell and thus get the horseshoe, at which point Moondancer (and only Moondancer) could cast the immortality spell to keep Puissance alive. It's still a very selfish and mean thing to do, of course, but Moondancer doesn't think she's literally risking Puissance's life by refusing to cast that spell and insisting on continuing her own research.

Moondancer is largely in this story as a sort of counterpart to Twilight; whereas Twilight made friends in Ponyville and is generally a good pony, Moondancer--though also a very powerful mage--eschewed friendship, and as a result is a jerk. That's where I was going with the character. Hope I succeeded. :-)

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Ooooh yeah, I'd definitely say she's a jerk, at the very least.

Of course, that was what happened when you joined a sect and took a vow of poverty.

My dad tells this story about how once in the early 80’s he met a member of some vow-of-poverty monastic order sitting on a wall, eating a piece of cheese he’d been given and listening to a portable radio. He looked at my dad and nodded to the radio. “It’s a sin, you know,” he said, but otherwise he was as happy as could be. My dad has to seriously rethink his life after that. He didn’t take up a vow of poverty, of course, but he did keep it in mind.

She would not tell a foal she had been scared, not even for a moment.

This has nothing to do with her general attitude or foibles, I think. It’s probably more of the fact that she has been a mother and has raised foals. She’s know that nothing frightens children more than frightened adults.

And the dentist. Dentists are frightening too.

and this trick my friend taught me for drinking ten sodas at once without getting sick…

Again, if she objects to this, it’ll be for pretty normal reasons. Although this is a useful skill to have...but not at Scepter’s current age and not for soda.

and then settle in to enjoy her eternity and all the wonderful treasures it would offer.

To paint a contrast of Puissance with Grogar here, for Grogar, he wanted to live forever merely out of a fear of death, and like Luna observed, even after achieving his immortality he thought of nothing but continuing it.

By contrast, Puissance is already planning out what she wants to do with her eternity. Even if it’s just sort of vague desires, she still wants to do something.

Grogar merely wanted to continue existing; Puissance wants to live. It’s one of the other reasons why I’ve never been comfortable with her ending up as chunky salsa; even before this story it was obvious that she has things to live for even if it was just to keep having her stuff and acquiring new stuff, nevermind this story making it plain that she also wants her family and friendships even if she doesn’t fully understand them anymore.

Puissance looked back at Perfect Precision and Precise Point, who had followed her in.

“Puissance tried to ignore that they were salivating. It tended to happen when Scepter came over; they’d told her it was an allergic reaction.”

“But I have ensured they are completely incomprehensible to anypony who isn’t me. It’s standard practice among magic engineers and archmages.”

Scepter: “Oh, hey, cool! How’d you learn to write backwards and upside down and invert all your words?”
Puissance: “I love you, Flicker.”
Moondancer: “...I’m a mage; not a cryptologist!”

I am going to prove that I am her superior!

Twilight: “Wow! This is some really interesting stuff, Moondancer! I never would have thought to try and reflect the thaumic motes off of a dweomerized mirror! You’re the best transmuter I’ve ever heard of!”
Moondancer: “Exactly! And I - wait what do you mean transmuter? I’m the best mage, surely!”
Twilight: “Well, I mean, Princess Luna is probably better…”
Moondancer: “Okay, yes, fine, Luna - “
Twilight: “And this really doesn’t have anything to do with Conjuration so I think I can still claim to be the best conjuror in the world…”
Moondancer: “I am working on that, you’ll see - “
Twilight: “And he might be in jail now but Ispelu Magikoa is definitely still the best Diviner…”
Moondancer: “Divination barely counts as real magic! It’s only a half-step above reading tea leaves!”
Twilight: “And I don’t know who the best Illusionist in the world is, which makes sense when you think about it, but I’m pretty sure that Trixie - “
Moondancer: NO! NO! Buck you! I am not worse than bucking Trixie bucking Lulamoon!

Perhaps then they would stop whatever strange diet they were on and indulge a little.

In all honesty if the horseshoes thing were to work out and had a repeatable effect then the two of them would achieve a goal for the changelings almost as large as Chrysalis’ portal. The world of Equestria is already a vast cornucopia compared to the dead Protea; if the food stock can be made immortal than it becomes a never-ending cornucopia. The Sampo, basically. So it actually makes perfect sense that the changelings might be encouraging this quest of Puissance’s.

Puissance recognized the new pony a half-second before the others. “Princess Luna!” she gasped.

Luna: “Urge to cause a night that never ends rising.”

In seriousness, though, Luna continuing to pop up around Puissance is actually kind of sweet when you stop to think about it. She must know how close to the end Puissance is, and can obviously tell that Puissance is frightened out of her mind. 

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This has nothing to do with her general attitude or foibles, I think. It’s probably more of the fact that she has been a mother and has raised foals. She’s know that nothing frightens children more than frightened adults.

This is true. It's also a reference to something you posted on the Lunaverse boards a long time ago, saying that if you were writing Golden Horseshoes you might have a culminating moment in which Puissance finally admitted to Scepter that she was scared of dying. (Here) So, in the interest of setting up the possibility for that, I thought it would be good to have a scene here in the proposed GH prequel where Puissance explicitly refuses to admit that she's scared, so if we do have Puissance admit it later it would be an explicit change.

In seriousness, though, Luna continuing to pop up around Puissance is actually kind of sweet when you stop to think about it. She must know how close to the end Puissance is, and can obviously tell that Puissance is frightened out of her mind.

I like this idea. Puissance has worked for Luna for over fifty years, and I imagine that Luna has grown close to her despite her various issues. So I can totally see Luna making time to comfort or advise the increasingly-terrified Puissance.

In all honesty if the horseshoes thing were to work out and had a repeatable effect then the two of them would achieve a goal for the changelings almost as large as Chrysalis’ portal. The world of Equestria is already a vast cornucopia compared to the dead Protea; if the food stock can be made immortal than it becomes a never-ending cornucopia. The Sampo, basically. So it actually makes perfect sense that the changelings might be encouraging this quest of Puissance’s.

I figure that the changelings have a long-standing goal of making sure that they know all of Puissance's artifacts and collections, know which ones could either help them or be used against them, and are set up to steal the former or hide/sabotage the latter at any time. As such, while they might not want Puissance in particular to become immortal since she's a very capable member of Luna's government and might be effective in opposing their invasion, they would rather her collect all the Horseshoes--so that they're in one known place which the changelings could rob, instead of be scattered all over the world--and perfect, if possible, the immortality procedure so they could use it too. Then they could try to control the immortal Puissance by other means, such as by pushing her to take those trips to Neighpon and Naqah she was thinking about, during the invasion.

And, of course, if the Horseshoes don't work and one of the changelings' foes instead spends the last months of her life on a futile quest instead of doing anything that might hinder the invasion, the changelings win that way too.

And the winner of Craziest Pony goes to... Solar Flare!
A hard-earned late-breaking victory from such an enterprising pony up against such fierce competition as her own boss, and Moondancer.
(Of course, we must acknowledge that the previous favourite to win this race, Queen Celestia, had to bow out at the last moment due to "family issues" and "sudden attack of sanity".)

... guess that's what Puissance gets for wanting a crazy pony as her utterly devoted bodyguard (and, no doubt, for the idea of having "Celestia" as her bodyguard in the first place).
Hey, she got exactly what she wanted.

Is it a good or bad thing I wanted to punch Moondancer hard here? I mean what an asshole!

And finished and... I love it. I really, really do.

Puissance has softened slightly... but she still NEEDS to get punched. Greengrass, too. But that's par for the course for them. Really deep insights into punchable Puissance.

So, yeah. I also have no problem with this being canon and can be a good lead-up to my Golden Horseshoes story. Long as they arrive at Paradise Estate.

Twilight Sparkle, to back up Moondancer as the expedition wizard (though that would no doubt infuriate Moondancer)

Twilight: "Moondancer?! It's been forever!"
Moondancer: "Yes. Well. After today, I'll finally demonstrate that I am the greatest mage in the world!"
Twilight: "Awesome! I can't wait to congratulate you!"
Moondancer: "I hate you."

Anyway, I loved this through and through. I think that the edits you made to the areas I had issues with worked out very well. For now I'll be moving this into the Season 2 Movies & Tie-Ins folder, but when (when) Season 3 begins we can move it there.

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Pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. And I'd have no problem at all stating that the dungeon is built out of the ruins of Paradise Estate, or that the Estate is part of the hamlet near the dungeon, or however else you'd want to work it.

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Thank you! I'm glad you loved it. I really enjoyed writing it. It was fun getting to dig into Puissance's character a little more, and to draw upon the beginnings of some of the ideas you've brought up regarding Golden Horseshoes and Puissance's ultimate fate.

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Carrot Top: Wait a minute, is that how me and Applejack act around each other?
Cheerilee: Well, sort of. You're much more endearing.
Carrot Top: On my god!

This was a really interestingly told and well written story. The exploration of the politics in the Lunaverse is always one of my favorite parts of it and seeing the wheeling and dealing here was really neat. Such a shame that you totally spoiled that Corona would eventually be defeated though. I was so so convinced that wouldn't happen. :P Anyway thanks a lot for sharing this. It's a shame it didn't get more notice and exposure.

Two things, one I find it amazing that the empress has become so hated a civil war has broken out. That is an impressive feat. In Rome's long history of civil wars after the fall of the republic most were because the Emperor did not have legitimacy, which the Empress did, only a few were so hated they had revolts to overthrow them with a charismatic leader, rather then assasinations with someone waiting to replace them. Commodus would not have been killed had there not been a Pertinax to replace him.
Second on Cow. He is right that Yang needs to be punished for him to gain respect, but I think there can be a comprimise. Have Yang come back, kiss cows feet, beg for mercy, and suffer many other humilations, and finally Cow formally exiles him, with a statement like "If now must live on others charity because you betrayed my trust. So grovel and beg for scraps to live" or something like that. That way Cow gains respect and punishes Yang and Yang does not die or even change his position from what it currently is.

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