• 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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23. New Family

Dear Twilight,

I’ve been tasked by Princess Luna to bring the bat ponies up to speed with modern times. I think what they really need are lessons on friendship. Would it be all right if I used the letters you send me- your “Second Looks at Friendship”- to teach them?

Your friend,


The bat ponies gathered attentively around Radish at Luna's breakfast table, listening to him read Twilight’s letter about a slumber party she shared with Applejack and Rarity.

“So,” said Radish, putting the letter down, “what do you make of Twilight’s conclusion that friends can ‘embrace each other’s differences’?”

“This seems counter-productive!” said Nocturn. “Why not embrace similarities first?”

“Fool Nocturn! Because similarities are not a source of conflict!” hissed Murk.

“Is it just me,” said Vesper, “or did the belligerence between Applejack and Rarity cloak a deeper passion? May we read more recent letters to see what becomes of their relationship?”

“Do not skip ahead!” said Murk. “Allow the story to unfold in its own time!”

“I agree with Murk!” said Nocturn.

“You forget, the letter about the gala tickets revealed that Rarity lusts for stallions,” Echo reminded her.

“Perhaps not exclusively!” cautioned Vesper.

“And Applejack lusts for… wait. Envoy, what does Applejack lust for?” Echo asked.

“I don’t know,” shrugged Radish. “Apples?”

“Perhaps Applejack lusts for the Envoy!” suggested Nocturn, cheerily.

“I don’t think so,” said Radish, considering it.

“Do not pester the Envoy with mere orchardists, when his sight is set on the Mistress’s sister!” Vesper warned.

“My sight is not set on Celestia!” said Radish.

Across the room, Luna sat at her desk working through a stack of paperwork. She smirked to herself.

“Look, let’s get back to the letter,” Radish said. “Applejack and Rarity learned to embrace their differences. So how can you four embrace the differences of other ponies?”

“The other ponies did not spend a thousand years in the mountains! We could ask them what they did instead!” said Vesper.


“They were never blessed with the Mistress’s power! We could offer our commiserations!” said Echo.

“They might not understand that. But a lot of ponies don’t know much about Princess Luna. You could tell them what you like about her.”

“Radish Root,” called Luna as she worked, “we do not need the bat ponies to act as our propaganda ministry.”

“I like her soothing presence!” said Echo.

“I like her strategic mind!” said Vesper.

“I like her fearsome power!” said Nocturn.

“I like her skillful cooking!” said Murk.

“Princess Luna, you cooked for them in the old days?” Radish asked.

Luna looked at them.

“Nightmare Moon prided herself on her artistry in many subjects. But no, we don’t remember cooking.”

“You roasted grubs and beetles for us!” Murk said. “In exotic spices and marinades!”

“Ah. The other ponies may not find that appealing,” Luna said. “I believe you four have properly absorbed this letter’s teachings. You may now go out and feed. But be mindful of the city’s right-of-way laws for flying. I don’t want to hear one of you got another ticket.”

The bat ponies looked at each other.

“And what of the preview of the next letter?” asked Murk.

“Ah, right,” said Luna. “Lieutenant, if you would?”

Radish cleared his throat and adopted a dramatic tone. “When bizarrely comedic ailments befall the Ponyville Six, they believe they’ve been cursed… by a mysterious zebra from the Everfree Forest!

The bat ponies collectively gasped.

“Is there a song?” Murk asked.

“You’ll have to wait and see.”

The bat ponies trotted off the balcony and took flight into the night, chattering excitedly about the next letter. Luna watched them go with a smile.

“Thank you for undertaking these instructions, lieutenant. I am finding these lessons helpful in learning about the modern world, as well. We did not have ‘s’mores’ in my day.”

“We can make them next time. I’ll bring the ingredients.”

“You are too kind. You are making a fine brother to the bat ponies.”

“Thank you, princess.”

“I’m sure you will also make a fine husband someday, as well.”

“I… uh… thank you.”

“I do not think Nocturn was being foolish when he suggested you court Lady Applejack.”


“Do you not find her comely?”

“Does ‘comely’ mean pretty?”


“I think she’s very comely.”

“And, as she is not employed here, you are not restricted from ‘dating’ her.”

“That’s true.”

“Would you like my help composing a love poem to her?”

“It’s just that… Applejack has a reputation in the farming community. Ponies ask her out all the time. She turns them all down. Some like to say that being rejected by Applejack is a rite of passage.”

“Oh? Has she given reasons for these rejections?”

“She just wants to focus on her farm.”

“Well, perhaps the rest of these letters will give us insight on how one may win her heart.”

“That feels like cheating.”

“All is fair in love and war, Radish Root.”

“But the Guard has rules of engagement for war.”

“Don’t be so literal.”

Murk flew back into the room. He spat a mouthful of writhing grubs onto the floor.

“Mistress! Will you cook these for us, as in the old days?”

Luna leaned backed, cringing. “That is now the Envoy’s duty. Radish Root, the kitchen is on the first floor.”

Radish held in a dry heave.

“Okay,” he squeaked.

“Thank you, Brother Radish! Could you pan-fry them in ketchup?”

“What? No. I have to draw the line somewhere.”

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