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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.)


After you've tried to celebrate it enough times, a holiday might start to feel like nothing more than a group of traditions which all chose the same day to kick you. The bulk of Equestria may see the palace's annual gift-receiving ceremony as their chance to show how much they love their Solar princess, but Celestia mostly perceives it as something she has to get through without dying or actively longing for death. She's usually 50% successful, and most ceremonies end with her convinced it was the wrong half.

But maybe this year will be different.

One of them has to be.

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

Cover art by BonesWolbach, used under open permission. Please contact him with any special background rendering requests.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 58 )

Oh... Wordia.... You only think you're in the clear (once your nose stops running and you've been through seven or eight baths). Revenge will be sweet. Just wait until next year. An alicorn with enough time to plan a subtle revenge is a dangerous thing. Knitting will be involved most certainly. And glowing yarn.

(Oh, nice. For Hearth's Warming, Celestia got her sister a box with a very old fossil in it.)

That ending was amazing.

This is not specified as being part of the Triptych Continuum, so it has been added to the "Non Canon" file

I loved this. What a great fic about an aspect of Celestia's immortality that I'd never thought of.

"...if I give it to you... it's safe. It's -- forever..."

That was about where you gut punched me. That line just made it all hit home. Sad, beautiful and heart-wrenching all at once.

Her fur made contact with the fabric and tried to retreat inside her skin. This allowed for skin contact, which was probably why that level of fully-ineffective biological armor decided it was actually part of a dragon and tried to shed itself. Then again, there seemed to be a good chance that some unknown chemical reaction was currently turning her skin into scales, so it was possible that her body had the right of it. Also the redness, and the itching.

There's itching. ...no. This is beyond itching. I have just identified individual cells. And they are trying to get away from each other.

On a funnier note, this paragraph brings this Thingy to mind.


Oh, my. Celestia's been out-gambitted there, that's for sure...

I see the seeds of a multi-decade prank war being sown here.

I felt for that poor mare who gave Celestia that priceless gift. I love how Celestia made sure that she will receive full compensation for it and it will be in a treasured location with things that Celestia finds important. As for the ending there is always the tradition of siblings giving gag gifts to each other.

This fic says it's got 0 views, and yet a shit ton of likes.


On a sidenote, the concepts of mortality are very strong in this fic.


Votes are updated in realtime. View count is updated every hour or so.

Laughter and tears, in one short story. Well done as usual.

My gift to Continuum Celestia would take an hour to present to her. A full hour, no more, no less.

My gift to Continuum Celestia would be an hour of peace and quiet. No sycophants, no bad cakes, no candles, no perfume. An hour's rest.

it pained me when I realized, even in THIS, it's not a unique gift. Many of the other items there, save the hairs, likely have the same story. The previous owners gave it to her so it would be safe. Forever.

I think Celestia needs a hug.

Ahhhh, my regular Estee fix. That's the stuff.
Perhaps some clever minotaur will one day invent the stomach pump. Failing that, prepping beforehand with some castor oil would probably help. Or activated charcoal.

A new meaning brought to "there is nothing new under the sun". Good gracious these things do get tiresome after a while, no?

Fortunately, from now on Celestia will have some proper company.

What a roller coaster of a story! Funny, exasperating, touching, surprising, heartwarming, surprising, and back to funny again.

Magnificent work, Estee.

"and the seeds were combined out one by one"
"and the seeds were combed out one by one"?

Another good story; thank you for writing, Estee. :)

thank you again for the excellent story.

Yeah, after the first few centuries, I imagine anyone would long for some new spins on the play.

A speckled pony named Sunspot... It's not often that one encounters cuteness in your work, but that's downright adorable.

Gathered from one of the rarest blooms in the world. And when I thought about that plant, and all it represents..."

I thought it would be Rafflesia. It's so big and bold and red... and completely parasitic.

The boulder was a gratuitous cruelty. Sispyhus just needed to reign in perpetuity to regret his hubris. Though having a sister with him for it might have helped. Lovely look at the alicorn condition and recent improvements thereunto. Thank you for it.

"I don't know what the exchange rate would be if your nation and my home nation were ever to have trade, but... it's said that the value of the chemicals in a human body is around a few hundred dollars. However, as I only intend to leave a few micrograms of dead bits of it, I feel it would come in at well under the price limit. Celestia, for all you go through, all you have to put up with and deal with, tough decisions where even the best option you can think of is painful, for all the times ponies think you're capable of what you know you cannot do..." (hug)

That ending was perfect. What a sweet little story! I really enjoyed this from start to finish. Especially when the blue mare gave Celestia the globe to honor her mom, and the Bearers giving Celestia Luna as a gift. That was cute and clever. The whole ending section was entertaining as well. You did a great job showing how dull it must become to have to endure the same traditions, year after year, for centuries. I can't even imagine. Celestia has done well to not go crazy after living for so long, imo. Thank you for getting this one out, I know things are really difficult for you right now so this is really appreciated.

Heheheh. Oh thank you needed this. Somewhat dreary Christmas without being able to visit anyone.

After the Great Budget Donation Shortage Make-Up Scramble Of 395 had finally collapsed into both history and advanced calculus, she'd worked out what had eventually become the current system. Every year, there would be two hundred ponies bringing their gifts. They had to win the honor, and the only way to do that was to send the palace a postcard which had been stamped in the first moon after the last Hearth's Warming Eve.

The hard part was creating the postal system.

I love this!

Also, I completely agree with Celestia about the holiday music; one of the few benefits of this year’s lockdowns and limited gathering was not being bombarded by the same songs over and over again.

At first, I thought Luna had also spiked Celestia's previous meal with some sort of concentrated castor oil/prune juice concoction, carefully timed to take full effect once she got into the box. But that seemed overly crass for Luna.

Ah, Royal Sister pranks. My favorite.

And it's really painful in more ways than one, because it also means that the gift isn't really meant for Celestia. It's more using Celestia as a way to preserve what's being gifted.

This ended as such a charming story... I wasn’t too sure at first, as Celestia’s attitude, while understandable, was quite the downer... but it grew more and more heartwarming and funny. I had to go back and reread the Mane Six’s dialog after their gift was received (as I didn’t guess it myself... loved Spike’s line to Twilight, as well as AJ and Rarity’s admissions.) And a bit of sisterly trolling rounded it out nicely... as she said, the holiday is for spending time with family.

Starting with sadness at immortality, Celestia gradually realizing that actually life has been getting better lately, a heartwarming sister moment, and then ending in a prank and a butt joke.

I didn’t actually realize that you had wrote this when I started reading, but am entirely unsurprised XD Well done.

The mare with the egg. Just ow.

I am only minorly disappointed this isn't a macro story with one or more of the princesses growing hyoog.

A very beautiful and heartwarming story...though I think the part with the egg was what hit me the hardest.

" She had spent the bulk of her life in trying to lead a nation where so many of the citizens were working with good intentions."

It's really no wonder that Equestrians are familiar with the route to Tartarus: there must be so many well-paved roads.

(I wonder if we'll ever see the Triptych-verse version of Tartarus? I bet it will be an improvement on the show's combination of ASPCA violation and old goat's home.)


The part about keeping things forever got to me.

It's nice to see Wordia and Celestia give gifts from the heart.

The one from which generally one stabs at thee.

I thought I was here to laugh. And instead, I'm crying. :raritycry:

This was too beautiful. Too beautiful by far.

There are so very few stories which brush upon the ACTUAL societial rampifications of having an immortal benevoent ruler who literally controls the sun and moon for a full thousand years. (Nevermind the time before.) This is not particularly a critism, just an observation.

(Let us remember that 1020... is in the very early high middle ages thus would require a trip to wikipedia to find out what was going on. Heck, its 46 years before the first major event in British history since the decline of Roman Britain happens. )

One reason, of course, is that while mightbe interesting as an exploration for me personally, from a historical perspective sort of view, it would obviate a lot of potential social discord/drama/politics from a narrative (heck, there is a lot of fanfiction that has The Nobles as the Enemy or some sort, just to have something to BE an internal one).

This story? Comes closer than many do; you can feel the weight of the years and the level of worship Celestia is subjected to.

(But even here, I would not say I would necessarily 100% believe that Murdochs - or Wordia - would be able to have existed (even WITH 1000 years of effort on Celestia's part) or at least not to be more than a sole screaming nutter on a cardboard box in the street King Canute-ing at the populace[1].

The one story I think that said it best was Skywriter's Princess Celestia Hates Tea; for all it was comedy, the almost unthinking hero-worship to the point of mania is accurate, I think, to what you would actually get.

The Plunder Vines incident in canon also seems close, as the first thing that happens when the Princess disappear is the guards panicking and running to Twilight.)

[1]As it so happens, it would be abother 15 years before King Cnut died. People also forget that when he (supposedly) went out to command the waves to stop coming, it was not otu of delusions of his own power, it was to explictly prove the point to his idiot courtiers that he couldn't (which is ironically relevant to my point, and HE wa'n't even immortal...)

donating to a favorite charity was probably a better idea she just needed to create her own charity that is a trickle fund for several charities

As always Estee bats it out of the ballpark.

You never dissapoint, do you?

Thank You, Estee

Death truly is a preferable alternative to communism.

I have habit to pick story without checking author name.

Some description regarding theatrical play had set off my suspicions.

Description of pastry gift almost made me to scroll up and check.

But then two paragraphs later I saw name Wordia.

Of course Said I and continued reading, being sure who wrote it.

Since Salad Spinner story I'm addicted to this style.

It was absolutely sad. Well, until the ending. Just an usual Estee fanfic. 10/10.

An ugly sweater times a million. There needs to be a name for something both hilarious and disturbing.

I... don't really know how to feel about what I just read. I liked the first half well enough. Fun and thought provoking, if unfortunate. I was rather looking forward to warm fuzzies in the second half, but then you did... that.

There's no bearing on you. I just have a problem with pranks. I've never had a prank pulled on me that was light hearted or fun. Just mean and intended to hurt. And the initial scare of being locked in a box to potentially be abducted was terrifying and dark enough, especially when the box proved more and more to have been built well towards keeping Celestia contained, which speaks of all sorts of nefarious purposes.

All in all, it's a good thing I'm not Celestia, because I would have likely blown up a good chunk of the palace in a panic, lamented the dead guards, and never forgiven Luna for the rest of my days.

Kinda wanna see what happened to the ponies who made the box because I bet Celestia has some... choice words for them.

I believe Celestia quickly realised it was a prank by Luna when she saw the colour of the magic powering the box.

It occurs to me that, given the near-worship given to Alicorns and Celestia's long-standing reluctance to pass laws specifically against said worship... somewhere in the ancient Equestrian lawbooks, I'd lay good money that there are laws about sedition, undermining the authority of the Princesses, inciting rebellion and riots, or even simply giving them insult by not giving them a proper greeting or showing formal procedure in their presence.

Of course, those laws would be deeply buried and perhaps deliberately hidden behind walls of legalese, because not only would both Celestia and Luna find any such law mortifying, they'd never enforce them for fear of the slippery slope to tyranthood.

But I do wonder if, late at night when Celestia can't sleep, she contemplates the fact that if she ever chose to do so, she could trot out those old laws and have both Murdocks and Wordia Spinner arrested for a dozen different archaic charges of high treason...

Yes, I noticed that, but it wouldn't have helped.

I wonder if boredom had some subconscious influence over the decision to free Discord. He at least, could show them something they've never seen before.

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