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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.)


This story is a sequel to Hoofticuffs Day

The days after Hearth's Warming saw an especially hard hit in returns, and there won't be any real seasonal sales traffic for a while. When the Boutique's thermostat setting starts to move down, it's a sign that Rarity is expecting a hard winter. And after everything she's given to them, her friends see nothing wrong with trying to give something back. A few paid requests, here and there, to ease the burden.

But there's only so many dresses anypony truly needs.

And only so much one mare can stand.

(A stand-alone, no-prior-reading required part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group: new members and trope edits welcome. While this story is tagged as a sequel, it just takes place after the linked one: no knowledge of those events is required.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages. Cover art taken from an image created by Visfor Yoshi.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 66 )

Your ability to convey emotional and mental state prior to any dialogue being uttered is like witchcraft. Your consistency in maintaining these characters while continuing to develop them..

Well. You've got one heck of a knack for this. Thank you for always gifting us with new stories =)

Sometimes, the herd is there to help. Also, good on Rainbow!

Rainbow I’m pretty sure Spike doesn’t like to cook but if he didn’t Twilight would wind up a tiny pile of bones and books so there that.

Twilight, we seem to have an intersection with the absence of shoe sales in the Boutique, for the same reason: lack of the necessary forge.

And now I can't help but think of one of my favorite pieces of fan art...

Unicorn Petite would be available. Alicorn Small would require a custom order.

Twilight has been growing, but she doesn't have Celestia's head start. Just the opposite, really.

It was chill within the building, and the unicorn's white coat seemed to be radiating ice.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's an association between Generosity and cold.

And there's the rub. It's one thing to be inspired by someone else's suggestions. It's quite another for them to say "This is what you're going to do." Still, there are good intentions behind the requests... mostly. And a lovely moment from Mayor Mare, who tends to be a harbinger of doom (or at least annoyance) in this setting more often than not.

Wonderful work. Thank you for it.

"No!" Rainbow reared off the bench just enough to momentarily spread her forehooves into a gesture of outrage. "That she talks about this sort of stuff so much, even when she's the only one who's interested, that you just kind of wind up with it stuck in your head? When you don't really care, when nopony of sanity would ever care..."

I love Rainbow Dash so much.

Aw, I like the mayor now.

When Discord was being talked about, I expected him to make an appearance...

But, his name wasn't mentioned. Maybe that's the key...


Wow! Mayor Mare bringing resolution! Nice!


All Apologies Are Free

Mmm! Double Meanings!

And this sets up a long-term winter income for Rarity! Woo!


Great titles, as always!

And some new characters!

Great story in general!

This might be the first time in an Estee story when the Herd has been a good thing.

Aww. Your writing can be so sweet sometimes. Ponies really are lucky.

“the Boutique itself came with four shielding walls”
But it’s a cylindrical structure, with only one wall around the whole thing. Two if you count the second floor.


Fair: I just forgot much of a circle it really is. Modified accordingly.


On the timeline, this probably the first winter post-Triptych, placing it ahead of A Duet For Land And Sky. This is also ahead of Anchor Foal, meaning that Joyous may have moved into Ponyville in this universe.

Moosoon Season spoiler:
The search for Scootaloo's parents at this point is either still ongoing or already resolved.

Trixie in Platinum Cape would have liked the "armour" that Twilight has. And I think a collaboration between Trixie, Twilight and Rachette could finish the Platinum Cape.

Can someone remind me if Trixie was going to move to Ponyville by the end of Triptych?

This is winter of year 4.
When Rarity moved to town, she got a mortgage on the boutique.
How long was the mortgage for?
If it was a 10 year mortgage.....final payment SHOULD be coming soon.

Also, TYPES of mortgage matter
Nowadays, payments are part interest, part repayment of the principal.
USED TO BE, Payments were 100% interest. When the mortgage period was over,
the principal had to be repaid in a lump sum.
The usual procedure was to roll over the mortgage & refinance
The bank won't/can't roll it over? You've got problems.

I'm old enough to remember "mortgage burning" parties after the last payment.
I also remember Death Of A Salesman, Willy's widow
was "You can't be dead. The mortgage is paid."

Remember: none of us alone are as dumb as all of us together!


From Tricks of the Trade Show:

"It's a ten-year loan," he said.

You're right; ten year loan. Estee probably has an idea of when Rarity will finally pay off the mortgage.

Shout out to Rainbow for coordinating this for Rarity. Masterfully done Estee. Your characters always feel so real, even those with only a few paragraphs to show it.

I always get such a strong presence from your stories. They just strike me when I read them. I can come back over and over and things will just jump out at me that I hadn't caught the first time. Every story added to the catalog makes the older stories richer by forming new connections I catch on re-reads that make reading your work so rewarding. Thank you for this beautiful and sad story. I love what the Mayor said about the Bearers, it makes sense and is exactly the kind of sweet quality your Equestria does so well.


There isn't that far to go.

With Pinkie at the helm, there's a chance that the ceremonial burning will be visible from Canterlot.

I’m reminded of one of the many catch phrases from Get Smart.

“If only they used their [McGuffin] for niceness, instead of nastiness.”

That’s exactly what Rainbow did. She turned the towns gossip machine to do a nice thing for her friend. It’s not her fault the Ponyville gossip machine is just so effective that it got all the way down to scrubbing rags...

make sure all Want It-Need It castings are worked well away from her vicinity


(No Shoes Or Sandals)


:raritystarry: Twilight it's so toasty warm inside, What did you do?
:twilightsheepish: I didn't do anything, Spike?
:moustache: I dindo nutin
:twilightsmile: Spike?
:raritywink: Spikey?
:moustache: Aw you caught me, I cut the cheese
:pinkiegasp: Nooooooooooooooooo!
:moustache: I farted
:twilightoops::raritycry::flutterrage::ajbemused: :pinkiehappy:
:derpytongue2: and guess where Twilight installed the ...:facehoof:
:trollestia: Spike is now central heating for all of Ponyville, A public Utility

"Weather coordinator, remember?" The cyan forehoof merrily tapped against Twilight's right temple. "I've got a ]i]team. And maybe it's time to show up a little early for the next pre-dawn briefing." And immediately reconsidered. "It's probably fine if I just show up on time. Not that I don't do that. I show up on my time. I'll just show up on theirs. Whenever that is. Anyway, team . There's got to be somepony on it who needs something!"

I think that's a typo

With Pinkie in charge,
there's a chance that the Ceremonial Burning will *BE* Canterlot :pinkiehappy:

“Darling, what’s that glow on the horizon?”

“Oh, didn’t I mention it? Twilly wrote to me earlier. Apparently Rarity is having a mortgage burning party.”

“But Ponyville is thousands of... And there is a mountain range between us... How?”

“Shush. If you cant your ears just right...”

“Mortgage burning party. Mortgage burning party. Mortgage burning party. No more loans for you!”

“Wha? Is the Crystal Empire going to have to take out a noise complaint against Equestria?”

“Pinkie Pie. My sister. Possibly even Discord. Don’t question it, just come to bed, honey.”

“Is it too late to reconsider...”

”Looking forward to your wedding anniversary in two moons time, Cadance!”


"No!" Rainbow reared off the bench just enough to momentarily spread her forehooves into a gesture of outrage. "That she talks about this sort of stuff so much, even when she's the only one who's interested, that you just kind of wind up with it stuck in your head? When you don't really care, when nopony of sanity would ever care..."

A small, slender mare, with any potential answering expression weighed down under the mass of acquired (and unwanted) Wonderbolts stats, rather eloquently shrugged.

You know, the cross-contamination of knowledge between these six has got to be epic, with Twilight knowing all about animal care and Applejack having a good idea on the differences in standing Rossby waves and Pinkie knowing that gumdrops and candy buttons are in this year and....


And there's Georg's next story.

Title: Cross-Contamination

Theme: It's possible that they've been spending a little too much time around each other...

I just remembered. In Anchor Foal (admittedly AU, BUT....)
it was mentioned that ever since Swarm Of The Century
the Ponyville bank keeps its records CARVED IN STONE :pinkiegasp:

10207809 But thieves can now steal your title online!

Unless you get HOME TITLE LOCK!! (bag of shill cash drops into his lap) Man, selling out is awesome!


its the stories like this with so much.... depth? reality? feeling? i dont have the word, i am not a writer but its these stories that remind me why you are my favorite author on here. thank you!

:pinkiehappy:👍many thumbs up!!!

I wish I could upvote this more than once.


So, that 10-year loan, if paid in sufficiently large amounts over time, will end in 5 years? Is that it?

EDIT: Oh, I'm wrong. The loan started ~5 years before Twilight moved to Ponyville. Right.

I wonder what Rarity will put the money to, once she pays off the loan...

Rarity's actions here are completely understandable if a bit extreme. It's been my experience that those who are the most generous have a hard time accepting generosity. Remind you of anyone, Author?

Good on Rarity for coming around.

I think Spike could use one of these.
Technically you don't need a forge or metalworking skills if you have a source of wire for the rings.

10208004 "Twilight?" called out Spike. "Why is there a party cannon in the broom closet?"

"Where else would I store it?" called back Twilight from the kitchen. "The pantry's full of apples, and I'm hemming wing-slits into the outfits in my closet, so it wouldn't fit there."

Now I just need to know the cost to commission the story written about that mortgage burning.
I'd happily burn my bits to see that bank slip turn to ash like last seasons fashion line!

Well, in the show she opened a second shop

Fantastic ending. All Apologies Are Free is a killer line full of Rarity's particular grace.

What a very comfortable story. Given that the story you’ve been focusing on recently is very emotionally challenging, this is like a cool cloth against the forehead after an intense yet satisfying workout.


Yeah, and I hope the Triptych-verse stays in business long enough for some stories about Rarity enjoying success (and no doubt suffering all sorts of new drama from the problems thereof.) :pinkiecrazy:

Every now and then, when you think that Rainbow Dash is the shallowest of the Bearers, when you get distracted by her delusional levels of ego, when you watch her find creative ways to ruin things just by violently being herself at them...

...you're reminded that she's Loyalty. And that she completely understands pride, and not wanting to just accept charity, even from a close friend. And that she'll never, ever leave a friend hanging, even if she has to call in every favour that she can think of to do it.

She's a simple Mare, but simple isn't the same as stupid, even if she sometimes thinks that about herself. And I do love this version of Rainbow Dash, even if I feel that she's perhaps the least-developed of the six Bearers sometimes. And honestly, this story showed us more about Rainbow Dash than it did about Rarity.

A beautiful, sweet, fluffy little piece of a community simply caring for one of their own. Love it.

Use the dictionary, so your Element won't crack.

I now I'm missing something here ....

Thank you for writing. :)

That was one of your most wholesome story ever. It leaves you with a warm feeling inside. Would love to be able to put multiple Likes on this one.

With all the secondary and original character on display here, I was surprised you didn't use the opportunity for rarer ones that we usually don't see in your stories, like Cranky for example.

Oh my. I thought Twilight and Trixie was going to be top level of "mad scientist" this universe could reach without Sunburst and Starlight but this? The three of them? They might be able to create a few incredible devices... some will probably end up in Celestia secret Vault somewhere in order to protect the population or stopping it from landing in the wrong hoof.

If that party don't break a few laws or create one or two in its wake, I'll be disappointed. This is a story I am really looking forward to.


watch her find creative ways to ruin things just by violently being herself at them

If I was writing the Scumble chapter of Triptych today (in which Twilight tries to locate and define her inner Rainbow Dash), I would have a very hard time excluding that (although any use would have been with permission and credit). It is such a Twilight line, and it's also one of the best shorthand descriptions of Rainbow I've ever seen.


Well now you've gone and made me blush. If the opportunity comes to use the line in the future, by all means do so with my blessing. In the meantime I'll just sit here with a great big smile on my face.

(No Shoes Or Sandals)

That's one thing that has always bugged me since I saw Rainbow Dash wearing them back in Season 2. How does a pony even wear sandals? What's the point of it?

This right here.
It makes the nice things she does even more meaningful because you know it's straight from the soul without pretense or hesitation.

The herd can be annoying and stupid sometimes, but when it finds the right direction it's a glorious thing.

That exact question drove Rarity a peculiar type of crazy in one of Estee’s previous stories.

Apparently, I've read that one before, but I don't remember doing so. :derpyderp2:


Well, that's the thing. When all is said and done, the Herd Instinct is a Survival Instinct. It's not a crippling handicap that was randomly handed out to the species, it's something that's proven advantageous enough to stay ingrained.

It's lovely to see one of those advantages finally come to the fore, isn't it?

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