• 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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59. The Course

Light Fantastic lived in a townhouse a short flight from her store. Radish and Light were now in her living room, snuggling on the couch in front of a glowing fireplace. He nuzzled her muzzle, and she kissed him, pushing him down onto the couch.

“Mmm… Light…”

“Rad…”

Lieutenant Root.

They looked up. Celestia was standing over them, scowling.

Radish gasped. “Princess?”

Celestia bared her teeth. “So, this is the skinny little trollop you chose over me?”

“What?”

Celestia seized Light’s neck with her aura and hoisted her into the air. Light struggled, gasping for breath. Celestia lowered her head, then thrust her horn through Light’s chest. Light gurgled and went limp.

“No!” howled Radish.

Celestia dropped Light’s body back onto the couch and sneered. “Let that be a lesson to you, Radish. If I can't have you, no one can.”

Radish launched himself at Celestia. “I’ll kill you!”

She swatted him to the floor with a wing, then pressed a hoof into his chest. Light, the couch, and the rest of the room burst into flames and dissolved into a fiery field- Celestia was crushing Radish into the surface of the sun.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Now, apologize to me.”

For what!?

“For having the audacity to forget that I, and I alone, am the center of your universe.”

He jabbed at her leg in a wild fury. She pressed her hoof harder.

A purple beam shot through Celestia. She disappeared in a whiff of smoke. Princess Luna approached Radish and held out a hoof.

“Be at peace, Radish. You are having a nightmare.”

“I… oh. Oh…”

The sun underneath them melted into blackness. Radish stood up.

“Thank you, Princess Luna.”

“Your distress was palpable. Talk to me, Radish. What is the matter?”

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about it in person...”

“We are in person.”

“I… I have a girlfriend now.”

Luna smiled and put a wing on his shoulder. “That is splendid, Radish! There is none more deserving of love than you.”

“Thanks. But the thing is… I’m… afraid to tell Celestia.”

“I think I can guess why.”

“You can, huh?”

“But of course. Any mare worthy of my Champion’s affections must be a very important pony, indeed. A member of high society, I take it?”

The blackness around them flashed into a new scene. Radish and Luna now stood in the middle of a grand ballroom, where nobleponies were holding a tea social.

“Celestia has long been envied by the gentlemares of the upper classes,” said Luna, leading Radish through the crowd. “Tensions run high between them. By consorting with one, you have waded into a battlefield.”

Luna pointed to the door. Another version of Princess Celestia entered the room and approached one of the small circular tables, around which three expensively-dressed ladies had gathered for tea. Luna led Radish over to the tableau.

“Could it be Lady Chalcedony?” asked Luna. “She and Celestia have been at each other’s throats for years.”

“At each other’s throats?” asked Radish.

One of the ladies at the table, a slender unicorn with a long mane, cast a glance at Celestia. “Ah, princess. Welcome. Lovely to see you again.”

“Why, thank you, Lady Chalcedony,” said Celestia, pleasantly.

The scene froze. Luna shuddered and looked at Radish. “See what I mean?”

“No.”

“Well, once you are attuned to the mannerisms of the elites, you’ll be able to discern how that exchange held more venom than a Never Atoll stinglet."

“Princess Luna, my girlfriend isn’t a high-society type.”

“Oh? Then, she must be one of Celestia’s political rivals!”

The world changed again. Radish and Luna were now in the castle’s senate chamber, a large round wood-paneled room. The senate was in session. Luna led Radish over to the podium, where a shapely earth mare in a smart blue pantsuit stood, going over a stack of papers on the lectern. Celestia now stood in the center of the floor.

“Ooh! Is it Senator Brass Tacks?” asked Luna. “She and Celestia have sparred contentiously over many matters.”

“Now, princess,” said Brass Tacks, “I see here that you have requested treasury funds for a full remodeling of your throne room. Didn’t you remodel your throne room just eighty years ago?”

“Indeed,” said Celestia. “Many fine projects were funded that year, including the hospital in which you were born.”

The scene froze again.

“I'm not dating a politician either,” said Radish, shaking his head. “I wouldn't even know where to meet one.”

“Well, then, who could you be…” Luna looked at Radish sternly. “Oh. I see what is going on. Radish, how could you!?”

“How could I what?”

“You are having an affair with our niece Cadance, aren’t you!? That is why you are afraid to tell Celestia!”

“What!?”

The scene changed again, to a nondescript hallway in the palace. Shining Armor was groveling at Princess Cadance’s hooves.

“No, Cadance! Please don’t leave me for him!” blubbered Shining Armor.

“Oh, get off me, Shiny,” said Cadance disdainfully. “Radish is twice the stallion you’ll ever be!”

Radish leapt in front of the scene. “Princess Luna! I barely know Princess Cadenza! She left for her honeymoon while I was still unconscious.”

“Ah, true. Well then, who is your love?”

“Well, let me show you.”

Radish concentrated. Light’s living room reappeared around them. Light was sleeping peacefully on her couch.

“Her name is Light Fantastic,” said Radish, drawing her blanket up onto her. “She owns an art shop. I met her in a cafe after the wedding.”

Luna stared. She looked at Radish and pointed to Light. “Your ladylove is… a mere commoner?”

“Well, I don’t think there’s anything mere or common about her.”

“I see. Why, then, do you fear telling Celestia?”

“I guess I’m afraid she might think I’m… turning my back on her.”

Luna shook her head. “Radish, you must know that Celestia cares for your wellbeing. She only wants you to be happy.”

“I suppose I knew that. But it helps to hear you say it. Thank you, Princess Luna.”

“You are welcome. I must get going now- Ponyville has been experiencing many nightmares about gremlins as of late.”

“Good luck.”

“Thank you. Enjoy your dreams, whether they be large… or small.”

Radish opened his eyes. He was on the couch again, with Light cuddled up to him. She was staring at his face, smiling.

“Hey,” she said. “You were talking in your sleep. Saying Celestia’s name.”

“I’ve been known to do that. Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. You can have her all you want in your dreams. But I get you when you’re awake, all right?”

“Light… I need to tell Celestia about us.”

“You haven’t already?”

“No.”

“What if she wants you to dump me and run away with her?”

“I wouldn’t.”

Light put her head on Radish’s chest. “Wow. That’s nice to hear. Insane, but still nice to hear.”


Radish walked into the Royal Aviary, a large open-air enclosure which served as the home of Philomena, Celestia’s pet phoenix, among other birds. He found Celestia relaxing in a grove of trees with Philomena by her side. Philomena gave Radish a suspicious glance as he approached.

“Hello, Radish,” said Celestia. “Luna told me you wish to speak with me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He took a deep breath. “I felt I should… I want to… uh… I want to tell you…”

Celestia turned to Philomena. “Could you give us some space, dear?”

Philomena squawked and flew off. Celestia leaned forward.

“Go on, Radish. It’s okay.”

“Princess, I’m with someone. A girl, I mean. We’re dating. Each other, I mean. I have a girlfriend now!”

Celestia put a hoof on her heart and smiled. “That’s wonderful, Radish. Congratulations.”

“And I wanted to thank you.”

“Thank me? For what?”

“For rejecting me.”

“Really?”

“Yes. See, all my life, I always thought of you as my guiding star. I spent my life steering myself towards you. But I realize now that I was wrong. You’re not my guiding star- you’re the wind in my sails, always pushing me towards greater horizons. By rejecting me, you weren’t trying to scuttle my destiny, you were setting me on the right course. I, uh, don’t know why I’m using nautical metaphors. I’ve never even seen the ocean. I guess I’m just feeling… romantic.”

Celestia stared at him. "That's… that's a lovely sentiment."

“And I want you to know that I’ll always appreciate everything you’ve done for me. You fixed things between me and my parents. You gave me a job and a home in the palace. I have new friends and new family because of the adventures I’ve had as your guard. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.”

Celestia looked at the ground. “You are welcome, Radish.”

“Well, that’s all I wanted to say. I should get going. I’m meeting her for lunch.” Radish saluted. “Take care, princess.”

She returned the salute. “And yourself, lieutenant.”

Radish walked away. Celestia leaned back against a tree and watched him go. Philomena landed on Celestia’s shoulder and nuzzled her.

“Thank you, dear.”


Radish and Light entered Bold Roast’s Blooming Grounds. Radish walked over to the coat rack and hung up his jacket, leaving himself unclothed.

Light grinned. “You didn’t even hesitate that time. You’re getting used to getting nude.”

“I never thought I would.” They took a booth. “So, I uh, told Celestia. About you. About us.”

“How’d she take it?”

“She was happy for me.”

“Aww, I was hoping she’d fly into a jealous rage. Challenge me to a duel over you.”

“You don’t want that. Trust me.”

“What did you tell her about me?”

“That you’re the right course to a greater horizon.”

Light turned her head and hid her blush behind her wing. “Sheesh, Radish, we’re in public.”

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