• Published 23rd Sep 2021
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The Only Mark That Matters - CocktailOlive



The story of Radish Root, a pony with obscene cutie marks.

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111. The Wish

“What do you think of these, Spats?” Radish asked.

The two were in a downtown department store, examining rings in display counters. They had been there for quite some time.

“These are for unicorns, Rad. See how they’re tapered for a horn?”

“We’re here to get ideas, not to buy. What about that jewel?”

“Now, what about that jewel says, ‘Light Fantastic’ to you?”

“It’s the same color as her coat.”

“Which means it’ll just blend in,” noted Spats. “You want an opposite color so it will stand out.”

“Colors have opposites?”

Spats took a deep breath. “Yes, Radish. Colors have opposites.”

“Huh.”

Spats noticed a stationery counter. “Hey, we can get a start on invitations while we’re here.”

“Bit early for that. I don’t even know if she’ll say yes.”

“Of course she’ll say yes. What’s the matter with you?”

“She’s, you know, non-traditional. She might not see the point in marriage.”

“She’ll say yes, Rad. She’d be an idiot not to lock you down.”

“Thanks, Spats.”

They looked through a book of wedding invitation templates. Radish felt sicker with each page turned. A clerk approached them.

“Hi! Any questions?”

“All these invitations… they all have the couples’ cutie marks right on front,” said Radish.

“That’s right.”

“Are there any that… don’t?”

She seemed confused by this. She took the book and flipped through it.

“Hmm, not seeing any. It’s the common thing to do. And not just for invitations, you usually have the couples' marks on everything- banners, table placards, gift bags...”

“What if your mark doesn’t… show up well in print?” Radish asked.

“Oh, our printers are the best. We can get the finest details, and any color you need. What’s your cutie mark?”

“I…”

“But you can use alternatives, right?” asked Spats. “My buddy here’s a royal guard- he could use their emblem if he wanted to, right?”

“Sure. We’ve done that. But for their special day, most ponies really want it to be about them personally, you know?”

Radish saw a list of their print shop’s rules in the front of the book. He read one near the bottom and frowned.

“What’s this?”

“Oh, a morality clause. This one couple thought it would be funny to make invitations full of profanity and lewd descriptions. It got us into trouble, so the company put a ban on anything obscene.”

“Thank you, miss,” said Radish, closing the book. “I need more time.”

“No problem.”

Radish walked away and slumped on a bench. Spats sat next to him.

“I can’t even give her real wedding invitations, Spats.”

“Come on, that’s one printer out of dozens in town. Light’s got a hundred artsy friends who could make invitations for you.”

“And just mail my mark to all our friends and family?”

“Everypony who’s important to you knows about it. Nopony cares.”

“I don’t want hundreds of pictures of my mark out there in print. PC shouldn’t have to deal with that.”

“She’d be happy for you.”

“She deserves better. I’m not going to distribute obscene pictures of Celestia just because I want guests at my wedding.”

“So use the Guard emblem, or that radish you had.”

“That’s just hiding who I am, and everyone will know it.”

“Then make invitations without any marks at all.”

“And just throw out Fanny’s mark because mine can’t be seen? Hers is nice- it should be seen.”

“Rad, you’re letting one little piece of paper get to you. This is the least important part of your wedding.”

“It’s not just that, Spats.”

“What, then?”

“I’m just tired of them, Spats. It’s one of the most basic things about a pony, and it’s all complicated for me and I don’t know why. No one knows why. It’s like growing up with a name no one can pronounce.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know how to help.”

“You’ve been great, Spats. I just wish things could be different.”


Radish Root slept over at Light Fantastic’s house whenever he could, which wasn’t often. He slept there tonight. Light sighed contentedly, feeling his hooves around her. He breathed softly into the back of her neck.

She could have lain like that forever, except the several glasses of wine she drank earlier were done with her. She slipped out of Radish’s caress and used her bathroom.

On her way back, she stumbled in the dark on Radish’s saddle bags. She cut her curse short so as not to wake him. As they flopped over, some of their contents spilled out onto the carpet. She bent low to put it all back.

She saw a scrap of paper crammed full of notes. She knew better than to read something from a guard’s belongings- it could be state secrets.

But it had her name on it.

She glanced up at Radish and confirmed he was still sleeping soundly. She moved the paper over to where rays of light from slits in her blinds were illuminating lines on her floor. She read the paper.

Her heart beat faster.

Radish had sketched out plans for designing a custom ring- a ring made to be worn on a wing metacarpal, between primary feathers, the place where pegasi wear engagement rings.

He had written a list of possibilities for messages to engrave inside it. Some were simply their names. Some were short sayings about love, and he had scratched out a few that were too dorky even for him.

He had written down numerous ideas for gemstones, precious metals, and fittings, trying out various combinations. At the bottom of the page was Rarity’s contact information. He was going to ask her to build it for him. He had even put down a price he was willing to pay her. It was high.

She gazed up at Radish’s sleeping body. He looked so happy. Light put the paper back in his bag and set it upright again. She climbed back into bed with Radish and pulled his hooves back over her. Her heart beat so fast she could feel the blood racing under her face.

Radish softly whispered in his sleep. Light’s heart froze solid. She knew that tone. She knew what was coming next. It used to make her laugh.

“Mmm… Celestia.”

Light didn’t laugh this time. She curled herself under her bedsheet, pondering her future.

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