• 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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55. The Girl

“Looking good, Rad,” said Spats, watching Radish comb his hair in their barracks bathroom.

“Thanks.”

“What are you wearing to poetry night?”

“My duster.”

“I mean, under it. Midtowners are trendy, in that they despise the latest trends. You’ll want to wear something from about five years ago- anything newer than that, and they’ll see you as a poser. I’m thinking dark corduroys and plaid.”

Radish sighed.

“Twilight wants me to take pride in my cutie marks. Show them off to the world. I’m going unclothed in the café.”

Spats looked at Radish’s cutie mark. Radish had conditioned and brushed it, making it the cleanest Spats had ever seen it- the colors were bright and the edges were well-defined. Even the little Celestia looked prettier.

“Is that… uh… legal?”

“We’ll have to see.”

“You’ve got moxie, Rad. If the gendarmes harry you over it, send for me. I’ll spring you from the clink.”

“But you don’t have your law degree yet.”

“I don’t need one to defend you. No jury in Canterlot is going to put away a hero of the Battle of the Brides.”

“Is that what they’re calling it? It’s kind of a playful name for a full-scale enemy invasion.”

“Alliteration sells papers. Here, let me get that.”

He took a comb in his aura and flattened a cowlick behind Radish’s ear.

“So… you and Twilight hitting the town. May I ask… uh… is this a night for a floral cologne… or a spicy cologne?”

“If you’re asking if this is a date date… Spats, I don’t know."

"Do you want it to be?"

"Twilight’s wonderful. She’s smart, cute, and a national hero. Any guy would be lucky to date her."

"But?"

"But she just doesn’t… rile me up inside.”

“Ah. That’s pretty important, Rad.”

“Should I just get over myself? Maybe my insides don’t know what’s good for me.”

“How does she feel about you?”

“It’s hard to read. She likes to hug, but her whole group of friends is really huggy. None of her letters ever suggested an interest in dating, with anyone.”

“I guess you’ll find out tonight. Whatever happens… you’ve got us,” Spats said, nodding back to the bunkroom, where Radish’s bunkmates were getting dressed for their own nights out on the town.

“Thanks.”

“I’d go with a woodsy cologne. It signals that you’re open to getting close, but not expecting it.”

“Good. That’s the only kind I have.”

“Really? When’s your birthday?”


Showered, dressed, preened, and smelling of oakmoss and cloves, Radish trotted down the back halls of the palace. He reached the tower containing guest quarters and checked in with the front desk guard.

“Hi, I’m here to see Twilight Sparkle.”

“Nopony gets upstairs without submitting to a Changeling Check.”

“Okay. Hit me.”

“How long does it take to pull a standard cartload of cloud vapor barrels from Timbucktoo to Mooieville?”

“Cloud vapor isn’t transported by cart. Or in barrels. And it’s pronounced ‘Moo-uh-ville’.”

“Correct. A hot air balloon crashes on the border between-”

“You don’t bury survivors.”

“Let me finish, please. Crashes on the border between Zebrica and Giraffenia. Where do they bury the survivors?”

“You don’t bury survivors.”

“Correct. What’s the best way to keep milk fresh?”

“Keep it in the cow.”

“Correct.”

“Are we sure changelings don’t know that one?”

“Why would they? Anyway, you’re clear to go up.”

“Thanks.”

Radish entered the guest tower elevator. This one had an operator on duty. She pulled the lever to take Radish to the girls’ floor.

“Taking Lady Sparkle out on the town, huh?” she asked.

“That’s right.”

“As soon as Shining Armor wasn’t around, huh?”

“You implying something?”

“Not at all. You inferring something?”

“Not at all.”

They reached the floor Twilight and her friends were staying on. Radish exited the elevator.

“Have a good evening. But not too good,” the operator said, and shut the door.

Radish walked down the hall, reading the door numbers. He heard a door open behind him, but before he could turn to look, something yanked his legs out from under him and dragged him through it. The door shut and locked behind him, leaving him in a dimly-lit room surrounded by shadowy figures.

He took a low defensive stance. The lights of the room clicked on, and he found himself facing Twilight’s five friends. He backed away, warily.

“Need something, ladies?”

“Yes. Lieutenant, we wish to have a word with you before you step out with Twilight tonight,” Rarity said.

“Let me guess. Something along the lines of, ‘if you do anything to hurt her’?”

The girls grimaced and sullenly looked at the floor.

“Well," said Fluttershy, “the thing is… we’ve all hurt her already.”

“We were completely dismissive of her concerns regarding Cadance, and it nearly led to total disaster,” said Rarity.

“It was doggone thickheaded of us,” sighed Applejack.

“I didn’t believe her either,” admitted Radish.

“But you had an excuse. You had to obey orders,” said Rainbow Dash. “We just got wrapped up in being a part of a royal wedding.”

“We got so dazzled by the glitz and glamor, we didn’t want to believe there was anything wrong!” said Pinkie Pie.

“So, to help make up for it,” said Fluttershy. “We’d like to help you two have the best first date ever!”

"Is, uh, is she actually calling this a date? A date date?”

"Oh, Radish!" laughed Rarity. "Does she have to? She’s been excited about this all day! A girl doesn’t act that way for a mere outing with a friend."

The other girls nodded in smiling agreement.

Radish looked down. "Well, now I don’t know what to do."

"Don't worry 'bout a thing! We're here to help," said Applejack, putting a hoof across his shoulders.

"Meaning?"

“Here you go,” said Pinkie Pie, tossing him a coin bag. “Tonight is on us. Go nuts!”

Radish checked inside the bag. He whistled at the amount.

“We all contributed a chunk of our wedding commissions,” explained Rainbow Dash. “There’s part of a Sonic Rainboom in there.”

“Thanks, gals.”

“Now, the fun part- spiffing you up!” squealed Rarity. “What better way to apologize to Twilight than to ensure her date is the most dapper stallion in the… where are you two going, again?”

“A Midtown coffee bar.”

“Oh, Radish, surely you can do better than that. I have an in with the manager at Plateless. She could squeeze you into a late seating.”

“That’s a restaurant?”

“Well, she calls it a ‘curated tasting experience’.”

“For fuck’s sake, Rarity.”

“Ah, well… perhaps that’s more of a one-year anniversary venue. Though their concept will probably be passé in a year. Now, let’s have a look at the state of you.”

Rarity stepped back to appraise his appearance. She walked a full circle around him, gazing up and down.

“Now,” she said, “did you deliberately comb your mane that way? And if so, what was your line of thinking?”

Radish sighed and dipped his head toward her. “Just do what you want with it.”

“Well, I don’t have time for that. But I can at least…” She floated a comb to his mane and curled it high to one side. “Ah. Now that’s a handsome look. You should consider keeping it this way from now on.”

“My mane has to thread through my helmet.”

“Oh, of course. What sacrifices you make for the service! Don’t think we don’t appreciate it.”

“Thanks.”

“Now, we understand that Twilight wishes you go marks-out tonight. Let’s see them, dear.”

Radish pulled off his duster. The girls gathered around to peer at his marks.

“Why, you’ve cleaned them up nicely! I can even make out the… oh, wait, that’s lint,” Rarity said, pulling it off with her magic. “Now, as for this-”

She held up his duster in her aura.

“Honestly, what were you thinking, Radish? It’s covered in dust!”

“It’s a duster.”

“No, dear, it’s a dust-est. Rainbow Dash, would you go blow-dry this until it ceases to live up to its name?”

“On it,” Rainbow Dash said, taking it out to the balcony.

“Now, don’t worry too much about lookin’ all duded up,” said Applejack. “It’s how you treat a gal that matters.”

"How do you treat a gal?"

“Well, we don’t have time for a full course in etiquette," said Rarity, "but let’s go over some basics. Remember- the gentlecolt allows the lady to go first, except when descending stairs, helping her out of a carriage or gondola, or leading her to the dance floor.”

“Gondola?”

“And compliment her looks,” said Fluttershy. “She’s probably spent a long time getting ready tonight.”

“And girls love a guy who can make them laugh!” said Pinkie Pie. “Here! These are jokes from my private supply! They’re witty, topical, and edge-cuttingly edgy!”

She passed him a stack of index cards. Radish looked at the top card. “What’s brown and sticky? A stick."

Pinkie Pie burst out laughing. “A stick! It works on so many levels!”

“Remember, be a good listener,” said Applejack. “Even when she’s talking borin’ sciencey stuff.”

Rarity pushed Pinkie Pie in front of Radish. “Now, show me how you’d kiss a lady’s hoof. I will critique your technique.”

Pinkie Pie extended her right hoof and put on a posh accent. “Good evening, good sir! Let us away to the merriment!”

“Salutations and felicitations, milady,” said Radish, bowing. He took her hoof in his and kissed it. Pinkie Pie giggled.

“Well, that will do, minus the sarcasm,” said Rarity.

“Hey, this thing is ready,” said Rainbow Dash, returning with the duster. “No charge.”

Radish took it and put it back on. “Thanks. Are we done here? She’s waiting.”

“One last thing,” said Rainbow Dash. “I put something in the pocket. Open it when you’re alone.”

Radish pulled a small envelope out of his pocket. He opened it.

“Hey!” protested Dash.

Radish pulled out a note. “Dear Radish. Twilight has a bright future ahead of her. Please play it safe.”

Radish shook the envelope over his hoof. A condom fell out.

“Oh, my,” said Fluttershy, blushing behind her wings.

“Dash!” hissed Applejack. “What were you thinkin’?”

“What?” asked Rainbow Dash. “We want them to be responsible, don’t we?”

“It’s a medium,” said Radish.

“Well, what did you want me to do, measure you!? Honestly, you try to do something nice for a guy-”

The door to the hall swung open. Twilight walked in. She wore a mauve turtleneck and had her mane in a simple side plait.

“Oh, Radish! There you are! My room is the next one over.”

Radish quickly stuffed his gift from Rainbow Dash into his pocket.

“Er, Twilight,” said Rarity. “Would you like our help finishing getting ready? Or… starting getting ready?”

“This is what I’m wearing,” said Twilight. “The Canterlot city guidebook said that Midtowners frown upon putting too much effort into one’s appearance.”

“Oh, do they?” scoffed Rarity.

Radish walked up to Twilight. “Good evening, Twilight. You look lovely,” he said, taking and kissing her hoof.

“My, my!” she giggled. “What a gentlecolt!”

“Goodnight, girls,” he said to the rest of the group, and led Twilight out.

“Night, Radish! Night, Twilight!” said Pinkie Pie, waving.

“Enjoy yourselves!” said Rarity.

“And be safe!" called Rainbow Dash as Radish shut the door. Radish led Twilight back to the elevator.

“I like your hair,” she said. “And you smell nice.”

“Thanks. So do... you…” Radish recognized Twilight’s fragrance. It was the one Rarity took from Nightmare Moon’s lair. “Did Rarity give you that perfume?”

“She did! She said a spicy perfume would be just perfect for tonight.”

“Did she say why?”

“It must have something to do with the aromas of a coffeehouse, I guess.”

“Your friends are pretty thoughtful.”

“I think they all feel guilty about the wedding.”

“Probably. I feel guilty about it.”

“Well, stop," said Twilight firmly. "It’s time for all of us to move on.”

“Yeah, moving on works for me.”


The two took a cab into Midtown Canterlot’s Arts and Entertainment District. They stepped out in front of a coffeehouse.

“Well, this is it,” said Radish, looking up at the sign. “Bold Roast’s Blooming Grounds. I saw an article about their poetry nights when I first moved to Canterlot. Poetry is an old Ranger tradition, so I’ve always been curious what city poetry is like.”

“I’ve never been here. But I didn’t get out much when I lived in Canterlot,” said Twilight. “And remember our deal.”

“I know,” said Radish, looking at his duster-covered body. “It’s just that… I’ve never gone out in public showing them.”

“Nopony should be ashamed of their marks. Especially not one with an Iron Barding medal. And look!”

She pointed to a sign on the door which read “No minors”.

“Well, that’s a relief,” said Radish. “Okay. Let’s go.”

They entered the café. It was crowded. Radish saw a coat rack and walked up to it. He took a deep breath, and looked back to Twilight, who smiled and nodded. He removed his duster, and hung it up.

He turned back to the room. Nopony was staring at him. None were even noticing him. Some passed their eyes over him while looking around, and then returned to other sights. They chatted, but not about him. They laughed, but not at his expense. A unicorn waitress trotted past him, floating a tray.

“There’s open tables over there,” she said, instead of telling him to leave.

A group passed him as they left the café. They just smiled or nodded, instead of sneering and recoiling.

Radish stood silent, taking in the inattention. Twilight trotted up to him.

“You good?” she asked.

“No one cares. I’ve hid these all my life, and no one in here cares.”

She nudged him. “What did I say? This is Midtown. These ponies see a dozen weirder things than you before breakfast. Come on, before all the seats are taken.”

They took a table in the center of the café. Radish had never felt so exposed, or so comfortable in his own fur.

“This is my treat, by the way,” said Twilight.

“What? No. You’re the hero of the Battle of the Brides.”

“Is that what the Guard is calling it? That’s an awfully flippant name for a full-scale invasion.”

“Alliteration sells papers. Just let me pay, okay?”

“Okay, but only if you get up there and read your poem.”

“What makes you think I brought a poem?”

“You said poetry is a Ranger tradition. And you look like a guy who’s got something to say to the world.”

“It’s… just a few thoughts.”

“I can’t wait to hear it! A Radish Root original.”

“Twilight… there are more ponies in here than I thought there’d be.”

“That means there are more who will love it.”

“Maybe you should proofread it first.”

“But I want to be surprised when I hear it.”

“I don’t think I can do it.”

“Lieutenant Root, did her majesty hire a coward? Did the Plains Rangers employ a scaredy-cat?”

Radish bristled, then relaxed.

“Fine. I’ll go.”

“Great!”

“After I’ve had some coffee.”

The waitress from before took their orders. They looked around, taking in the crowd. Twilight and Radish both noticed a trio of mares in a far booth. Two were pegasi, one was a unicorn. One was familiar.

“Hey, I know her- in the middle,” said Twilight. “That’s Hazy Shade. She works at a bookstore in town. I used to see her all the time.”

“Oh yeah, we’ve met. I asked her out once,” chuckled Radish.

“Really?” asked Twilight in surprise. “You two have dated?”

“No, she said she was with someone.”

Hazy Shade leaned over to one of her companions, a peach-colored unicorn mare. The two kissed.

“That might be the someone,” guessed Radish.

Twilight looked at Radish, then glanced around the room, then noticed how close she was sitting to Radish. She made a small gasp.

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “I just realized. It might look to everyone here like we’re on a date. If you were hoping to meet girls tonight, I may be stopping them from approaching you.”

Radish looked at Twilight. He saw sincere concern for him in her eyes. A warmth spread from his chest up to the back of his head. He smiled.

“Twilight…”

“I didn’t mean to cramp your style. That’s the term, right?”

Twilight.”

“Should I say something? Like, make an announcement to the room that we’re just friends? Do you want to take separate tables?”

Radish laughed. “Twilight! Calm down! You wanted to hang out with your friend tonight, right?”

“Right.”

“Then let’s hang out. I can meet girls any time. Thanks to you, I’m not afraid anymore.”

“Okay.”

“Besides, I doubt anyone here would think we're dating."

"Why not?"

"You’re part of the royal family now. Everyone probably expects you to date some noblepony. I probably just look like your bodyguard.”

“You think?”

“And you know what? If I were given that role, I’d be honored. I'd protect you and your special somepony with my life."

“Aww, thanks. But I don’t want a bodyguard. I've put you in enough danger. And I’m still learning about friendship, so I’m a long way off from having a boyfriend.”

Radish held up his hooves. “So, then, friends for life?”

She pressed her hooves into his. “Of course! Friends for life.”

“That feels right.”

“But it looks like you're done with your coffee. It's poetry time.”

“Ugh, this is going to hurt.”

“At least you have a friend with you.”

“Yeah, I do. Thanks, Twilight.”


“Three, four, five!” said Pinkie Pie, dropping her game piece on a square across the board from her. “Ooh! I made it to Go! King me!”

“That ain’t how this is played, Pinkie,” sighed Applejack. “Hey, Rarity, your turn!”

“Coming, dear!” called Rarity from the guest room’s bathroom. She returned to the game with her hair in curlers. She checked the wall clock. “Ooh, Twilight and Radish must be well into their date by now. I do hope it’s going well.”

“How well?” asked Fluttershy. “Do you think they’re still at the café, or do you think they’ve gone… somewhere else?”

Pinkie Pie tittered.

“I’m sure he’s being a complete gentlecolt,” said Rarity sternly. “I would expect nothing less from a lieutenant of their majesties’ Royal Guard. And Twilight doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl who would… go somewhere else… on a first date.”

“Are you kidding?” laughed Pinkie Pie. “I bet they’re both super-duper pent up! They’re probably going at it like rabbits now!”

“Oh, that’s a misconception,” said Fluttershy. “Rabbits actually-”

“She didn’t ask,” sighed Rainbow Dash. “Say, Radish sure seemed offended at the medium. How far off do you think I was?"

“I bet Twilight is taking his measurement right now,” chuckled Pinkie Pie. “Over and over and over...”

Rainbow Dash lowered her voice. "You don't think he's, like, sized for Celestia, do you?"

"Could we talk about somethin' other than Radish's... root?" sighed Applejack.

"Now, Applejack, there's nothing wrong with a little naughty talk about friends," said Rarity. "Why, I say it's high time for both of them."

"You know," said Fluttershy, "one time Radish asked me out."

“No foolin’?” laughed Applejack. “Me too! Last Hearts and Hooves Day.”

Fluttershy frowned. “Oh.”

“What, was he working his way through this group?” mused Rainbow Dash.

“Whoa, could you imagine if he got rejected by all six of us?” pondered Pinkie Pie. “That’s a supervillain origin story if I’ve ever heard one!”

“Then we should make a pact,” said Rainbow Dash. “If none of us are married to Radish by the time he’s thirty…”

The others leaned in close.

“…we kill him.”


Radish returned to his table amidst light and scattered applause. He slumped down into his seat and hunched over the table.

“That was great!” Twilight cheered.

“No, it wasn’t. Barely anyone was listening. Hardly anyone reacted.”

“That’s how these places work- it’s uncool to enjoy something too much. Your poem was technically proficient and suitably poignant. And don’t think the audience didn’t catch those metaphors.”

“Well, I never metaphor I didn’t like.”

“Ooh. Good thing this wasn’t comedy night.”

“Aww.”

“Hey, let me get the next round of drinks,” said Twilight. “As your reward for going up there.”

“Okay. Could you get me something strong?”

“Strongly caffeinated or strongly alcoholic?”

“See if there’s something that’s both.”

Twilight patted his shoulder and walked to the counter. Radish put his head on the table and closed his eyes. He heard the chair opposite him scrape the floor, and he looked.

Sitting in Twilight’s chair was a fuchsia pegasus mare with a short, yellow mane. She was grinning at him.

“Hi there,” she said. “I liked your poem.”


“Okay, but seriously, girls,” said Rarity, filing her hooves, “marry, fuck, kill: Radish, Shining Armor, and… oh! Twilight’s father.”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Seriously?”

"Not a fan of those options? Well then, how about Radish, Shining Armor... and Soarin'," Rarity said, grinning and leaning into Dash's personal space.

Dash frowned. "Are you implying something?"

“Oh, I don’t want to kill anyone,” said Fluttershy. “And could we use something else besides, f- uh, that middle word?”

“Okay, fine,” sighed Rarity. “Marry, hug, and, uh, wave at from a distance?”

“I think I actually did wave at Soarin' from a distance,” said Pinkie Pie. “And Shining Armor probably makes the biggest paycheck, so…”

“Oh?” said Applejack, sitting up. “So you’re sayin’ you would… hug… Radish?”

“Well… he seems pretty huggable to me,” she said, smirking. “What about you, Fluttershy?”

“I’d hug Twilight’s dad.”

The others gasped.


“Hey Radish,” Twilight said, carrying their drinks in her aura, “turns out they do have something that’s both. Check out this- oh!”

Twilight stopped in her tracks. The pegasus girl who was with Hazy Shade had sat down with Radish and was engaged in conversation with him. She looked cool. He looked interested. They looked good together. Twilight waited by the counter, sipping her latte.

“Hey, Twilight Sparkle! Long time, no see!”

She turned to see Hazy Shade, carrying a beer in one wing and a smoothie in the other.

“Hazy Shade! Good to see you. You were always my favorite bookseller in Canterlot.”

“Aww, thanks. So, I see you finally got Radish Root out of his pants.”

“Yes. I’m very proud of him. Oh! But we’re not dating!”

Hazy Shade laughed. “No one here thought you were. But everyone’s excited to finally see those famous cutie marks of his. They’re amazing.”

“Really? Nopony’s reacted to them.”

“Well, that would be rude, wouldn’t it?”

“Is she your friend?” Twilight asked, nodding to the girl with Radish.

“Yep. She brought a poem to read tonight, but chickened out. How’d you get yours to do it?”

“I called him a coward.”

“Ha! You really go for the throat. You’re a good friend, Twilight Sparkle. Well, I should get this beer to Peachy. And it looks like Radish has some good news to share.”

The girl wrote something down for Radish, then hovered away, grinning. Twilight carried the drinks back to their table.

“Well, well, well! I step away for one minute, and girls immediately pounce on you. I ought to be insulted.”

“Look!” he said, proudly showing her the scrap of paper. “It’s her personal messenger pigeon number. Her name is Light Fantastic. She said my cutie mark is a trip!”

“That’s great!”

“You were right, Twilight. Thanks for coming out with me here tonight. I owe you big time.”

“Friends don’t keep track.”


Pinkie Pie pressed her ear up against the guest room door, listening to hoofsteps in the hallway. She grinned.

“Guys! I can hear Twilight! She’s returning to her ro-oom!” She frowned. “But she’s alone.”

A magic aura flung the door open, shoving Pinkie Pie into the wall. Twilight stepped in, grinning.

“Hey, girls! I saw the light on in here. I’m glad you’re all still awake.”

“Twilight? You’re back already?” asked Fluttershy.

“Already? We were out pretty late.”

“Did you and Radish have a nice time tonight?” asked Applejack.

“Oh, you bet! I got to hear his poetry, and we shared an affogato!”

“Poetry? I had no idea the lieutenant had a poet’s heart,” Rarity remarked.

“Affo-what now?” asked Pinkie Pie, peeling herself off the wall.

“It’s a scoop of ice cream drowned in espresso and liqueur,” explained Twilight. “It’s both caffeinated and alcoholic.”

“So, after Radish read you his poetry, did he… try anything?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“I just told you. An affogato.”


Radish hung up his duster and lay back in his bunk. He leaned his head on his hooves and smiled.

Spats walked into the room, muttering to himself. He saw Radish.

“Rad! You look happy. Nice night?”

“It was. I met someone.”

“Someone? Someone other than Twilight?”

“Twilight’s not looking for a relationship. And that’s fine. She’s a great friend, and I’ll always love her as one.”

“Ah. That’s nice. Closure and a new beginning on the same night. So, tell me about her.”

“Her name is Light Fantastic. She's a pegasus. She's got big pretty eyes, a big bright smile, and a short mane that flips from side-to-side when she talks. And she likes my cutie mark."

"She sounds like a jewel, Rad. Congrats."

"Wait, why are you here? I thought you had a date tonight. You’re never back from a date this early.”

“I got closure, too. She broke up with me.”

“Aw, I’m sorry, Spats.”

“Don’t be. Her sister asked me out. We’re seeing each other next week.”

“We’re a lucky couple of stallions, Spats. Need one of these? Rainbow Dash thought she was being helpful.”

He held out the condom. Spats squinted at it.

“A medium? That’s hurtful.”

“I know, right?”

“Let’s put it in the captain’s mailbox.”


“Hey, guys, what’s all the racket?” asked Spike, entering the girls’ guest room while rubbing his eyes and yawning. “Whoa, Twilight? You’re back? Tonight?”

“Spike!” said Twilight excitedly, “I’m glad you’re here! I was just about to tell everyone- Radish met a girl tonight!”

Spike and the others looked at each other.

“Like… a different girl?” asked Spike.

“Different? Different from what?” Twilight asked.

“Think we can get our money back?” Pinkie Pie whispered to Applejack.

“You know what?” Rainbow Dash said. “If you’re happy, and he’s happy, we’re happy.”

“You bet I’m happy! Spike, take a letter. And use the extra-nice ink. This is an extra-nice occasion.”



Dear Princess Celestia,

I finally got to spend an evening on the town with my pen pal, Lt. Radish Root. I saw a whole new side to him, and had the privilege of getting to see him start a new relationship with a very cute girl.

I know that must come as a relief to you as well, seeing you were the object of his precocial infatuation for so very long. You must be proud that he’s moved past his crush on you and found something real.

I've never seen him so happy! He thanked me for encouraging him to take the extra step needed to make it happen. It goes to show that a friend by your side may be just what you need to get you out of your comfort zone and into a new adventure.

Yours faithfully,

Twilight Sparkle



Celestia read the letter over again. She leaned back on her courtyard bench, looking up at the Balencian orange tree. She magically picked an orange and let the peel fall away. She nibbled a slice.

“Well, I suppose that’s that.”

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