• 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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120. The Town, Part 3

Radish and Starlight stood side-by-side in the cave of the Cutie Mark Vault. Starlight held the Staff of Sameness aloft in her aura.

“Are you sure you don’t want the rest of the village to be here for this?” she asked. “The Unmarking is usually an event for everypony to come together in celebration.”

“No. I got these marks on my own in the middle of the night. I should lose them the same way.”

“Aw, so poetic.”

Radish took off his coat, then his pants. Starlight took her first good look at his cutie marks. “Wow, I can’t believe the universe would actually force this onto a child.”


“It’s time for that child to heal at last.”

Radish looked upon his cutie mark for what could be the last time. He clicked his tongue. “Goodbye, Little Radish. Goodbye, Little Celestia. You don’t have to stop that, but you can’t do it on me anymore.”

Radish fixed his eyes on the remaining blank spaces on the vault. “So, uh, once my cutie mark is up there in the wall, can you make sure kids don’t see it?”

“Like how? Put a big black censor bar over it?”

“Something like that.”

“Radish, I think of all these cutie marks as museum pieces. This is an educational display. Once all of ponykind is unmarked, this vault will be a historic record of the life that ponies evolved beyond. And one should never censor history. Visitors should be able to come here to learn how extreme cutie marks could get in the old days.”

“Just not kids, okay?”

“Okay, okay. I’ll put an age restriction on it. Are you ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

Starlight put her hoof on Radish’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’m here for you.”

She lifted the Staff of Sameness above their heads. She aimed it at Radish. He turned to face the vault, with his hind pointed at Starlight.

“Do I need to do anything?” he asked.

“Just hold still.”

“And this is free, right?”

“Well, I do expect one thing in return.”

“What’s that?”

“An invitation to your wedding,” she said with a wink.

“You’ve got it.” Radish stretched out his back, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. “All right. Hit me.”

He felt a tingle all over his body. The tingle coalesced into a tug at his flanks. He felt another, stronger tug, and then a sustained pull.

“Hmm…” said Starlight.


“Nothing! Just keep still.”

The sustained pull on his flanks moved around, as if his cutie marks were being tugged in several opposite directions. He then felt a series of short, sharp yanks on them. Starlight cursed and grunted.

“Uh, is something wrong?” Radish asked apprehensively.

“They won’t come off!”


“I don’t understand! Usually cutie marks feel as if they’re stuck on their pony like magnets- you just need a good grip, and they pop off! Yours feels like they’re welded on!

“Why? Why am I different!?”

“Just keep calm. No cutie mark has ever gotten the better of me before, and these aren’t going to now.”

Starlight grit her teeth, hunched over, and lit up her horn, illuminating the cavern as bright as day. Radish felt like dragon claws had seized him by his sides and were dragging him backwards towards her. He clutched the floor.

Starlight strained. Her straining grew into a growl, and the growl grew into a full-throated shout.

“COME ON YOU LITTLE-! GET OFF HIM!” She thrashed her head around, pulling back on the staff like a fishing pole that snagged a shark. “GET… OFF… HIM… RIGHT NOW! RRAAGGH!”

Radish heard a cracking sound.

“OW!” howled Starlight. The pull on his flanks ceased and the staff clattered to the floor.

Radish turned around. Starlight had collapsed to the floor. Her shoulders were twisted into odd angles, her forehooves were shuddering, and she had an anguished expression on her face.

“Starlight! What’s wrong!?”

“My neck,” she whimpered. “I pulled something in my neck…”

Radish walked up to her. “Here.”

He helped her spread out on the floor. He massaged her neck and shoulders.

“Oooh. That feels good. Thank you, Radish.”

“Thanks for trying. I guess I’m just destined to keep these marks forever.”

“Don’t say that. Don’t give up. I swear, I’ll free- wait a minute. It moved!”

“What moved?”

“Your cutie mark.”

Radish turned to look. His cutie marks were now positioned further back on his rear, closer to his tail. Their orientations had also shifted- the one on his left flank was tilted so that the little Radish and little Celestia were facing downward, and the one on his right was angled so they were facing up.

“What does it mean?”

“It means, it was working. They were coming off, I just need a stronger magic to finish the job.”

“Do, uh, do you have a stronger magic?”

“I do- but not here. Remember when you asked about the vault’s capacity, and I told you about the next phase?”


“Well, the Phase Two site should have everything we need.”

“Phase Two site?”

“It’s about a day’s travel from here by hoof. Just give me one more day, Radish, and I can free you.”

“One more day, huh? I guess I can wait that long.”

Two high-ranking guards bucked open the door of Princess Celestia’s bedroom and rushed inside with their weapons drawn. They looked around the room, but didn’t see Celestia.

“Princess! We heard you screaming! What’s wrong!?” one of the guards called.

He ran to search her bathroom while his partner rushed to check her balcony.

“Over here!” he called, upon reaching the far side of her bed. He found Princess Celestia splayed out on the floor. Her eyes were glassy and her body was still. Blood trickled out of her mouth.

“Princess!? PRINCESS!”

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