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Everyone's* Favorite Author | 2019 Hugo Award Winner** | Iced Ko-Fi, scalding glances


Mother sky mushrooms grow in just a few remote peaks of the Eastern Stonewood Mountains. For the monks whose subsistence and religion is built on these mushrooms, they offer far more than just a profound psychedelic experience. Eating the fruit of the mountain is said to give earth ponies super strength, future sight, and the ability to fly.

But the monks aren't the only ones interested in mother sky's power. A pegasus republic gathers strength in the west, rallying around the exploits of a ruthless general and a scheming senator. With the Stonewood mountains in their sights, the two tribes spiral towards an inevitable and horrific war.

Hypha, a young acolyte, aspires to learn the secrets of mother sky's magic and become a full-fledged monk. When tragedy strikes and his world explodes into violence, can Hypha save the secrets of mother sky's near-unlimited power from the hooves of those who would use it for evil?

A story about unlikely friendships and the cycles of history. Updates regularly.

Prereading by lovable literati TheDriderPony and Syke Jr!

Chapters (43)
Comments ( 96 )

Very nice, 9/10


I'm certainly sold.

How much of this is done and what's your target word count, if I may?

~Skeeter The Lurker

11381759 Thanks for reading! The entire story's complete, with updates coming as soon as I am able to proofread things. I'm aiming for two chapters a week.

I'm not sure where this is going, but I'm very interested to find out :twistnerd:

Mushrooms, flying, on a mountain, very.. high. Logically this makes sense.

Ignoring the blatantly obvious joke, I'm curious as to why it was mushrooms specifically. As decomposers, they consume what they are growing on. So why would it be something which lives and eats on the ground something which allows flight? Hmm.
It also begs the question if there is a more direct way to siphon whatever these mushrooms are eating.

I've been in need for an OC adventure fic to ease my fix. Definitely looking forward to more. :raritywink:

Keeping track of cloud cities' locations must be a nightmare. I wonder if Derecho has been moving around quite a bit and nothing happened to draw the monks' attention.

He could barely read the names, but the dates stood out clearly. The last one in the column read, 10,796.

Hypha’s eyes went wide. This was the roster of the founding members of the Roseroot monastery. The names on it were nearly two thousand years old.

Huh. Always interesting to see how different authors handle dates. Wonder if the diarchy changed anything.

This story is shaping out to be really good so far!

11392977 Canon timelines aside, I really like the idea of histories as unreliable narrators. Questionable calendar conventions serve that end.

Our unlucky boy finally found himself some buddies, however unwillingly. Beats being all alone honestly.

Huh, didn't realize Blue's mute. Should be obvious in hindsight, but the details somehow escaped me.

I'm probably wrong, but it kinda feels like Hypha's 'shroom trip might've lasted longer than he thinks.

Figured something like this was going on. I doubt this approach would keep the monastery alive for much longer however. Why pay if you can get what you want by force?

Well, he could’ve asked the elder for the records, I don’t see why he would refuse. Or was Hypha hoping that the lovers would get angry and tear the whole place down for serving Blue’s dad?

Not unexpected, but still kinda sad. I don’t think Prairie Sky was walking a right path, but Hypha’s recent life choices have been even more questionable.

Well, I was sympathetic to Hypha...

Haze's distrust of outsiders strikes again. Curious to see his inner guilt stir up, and I guess that Red is not that keen on actually abandoning that Earth Pony. Maybe a traitor to the Order ranks higher to these mares on a mission? Wonder if Blue was mute from birth...

Your question just got answered.

And in the most horrifying way too!

Interesting back story. Azzurra was clearly Blue, so who was Red?

Interesting decision by our protagonists, I wonder when Hypha would fully realize that he’d also deviated greatly from the ancient path of his order. Also, why were the previous two chapters reposted?

11433859 Yeah I meant to reach out! I made some minor edits to chapters 15 and 16, and I didn't realize that by deleting old chapters, the comments associated with those chapters are also deleted. I'm very sorry about that. It was an honest accident. I really enjoy reading your comments :pinkiehappy:

Where there any rewrites in this chapter? Also noticed after rereading, how was Blue licking Red at the end if she was missing a tongue? Or were only her teeth pulled out?

11434101 Glad you pointed that out :twilightsheepish: Blue has no tongue. The mention of it here was just an oversight on my part

On that note, I am not sure now, but Blue was also eating hay in latests chapter. I am not sure if that is possible without teeth. Perhaps grounded hay or blended? I was wondering how was she eating since her mouth unfortunate event revelation.

11434502 Yeah that makes sense, I can't imagine hay would be edible without teeth to chew it up, lol

Finally managed to set up some time to catch up on this story. What I'm enjoying the most is the ambiguity of whether we can trust Hypha as our protagonist. He's already done some pretty questionable stuff.

Yep. Hypha’s all out of copium, which should be a good thing. It’s understandable that affected by tragedies he did shitty things here and there, but he had to realize what he did was wrong, so that next time he’d hopefully make some better choices. Also, Hypha running into Walik is a little bit too coincidental for my taste. I guess for the plot to advance as intended something like this is bound to happen, but still.

Why are they called Mother sky mushrooms?

Ah, bathhouses, a classic. Now we just need the Praetorian Guard to kill the emperor once in a while to confirm that Derecho is indeed Rome.:rainbowlaugh:

Batmare Blue is cute. I kinda wish there would be more slower paced slice-of-life-like segments without things at stake, just to ease the tension a little.

Welp. That happened. To be honest this chapter’s simply frustrating. Hypha has always been frustrating to watch, and the assassination seemed like completely unrehearsed. Shouldn’t they just kill the senator first things first and be done with it? Why did they kill the defenseless mares and leave their true target alive?

....Why did they not just drop in and stab?
wha.....that also happened so fast with little planning. You mean after ten years of work and months of planning they just fog, drop in and punch two random people?
Could Hypha not just start with a electric strike? Or they could all start with arrows then close in?

The story still feels like this is just the main story beats with zero filler. Like point A, then point B, then point C with little to no information or actions in between.

No comment here, except for the fact that I cannot sympathize with Hypha more than I can with, say, Giesu. I’m curious to see where this would go but my eyebrows wouldn’t even give a twitch if he had all his limbs chopped off and became Darth Hypha. He showed even less emotion other than hate than Anakin in the Prequels.

At least this assassination attempt was better prepared than the previous one.

Did Girsu want him to do that? I can’t tell

Guess we know what he wants from Hypha…

This story really deserves more attention 💯

Romulus knowing his soldiers’ names is an intriguing fact.

I’m actually rooting for Romulus now. He might be ruthless and manipulative, but he’s certainly not the worst pony out there, and I don’t think Hypha’s doing much better morally speaking. Also the general seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, unlike Hypha who has been utterly confused from start to finish.

Breaking bad moment

Serious question, earth ponies can make plants grow better, but does their power work on fungi? After all plants and fungi are vastly different. They share only one thing in common, that is they don't typically move much.

11468644 Not sure if there's a canon take on this actually! I imagine earth pony powers work on fungi too, despite how different they are to plants.

If earth ponies ever went rogue and started domesticating cattle, would the cattle grow bigger too?

I mean, ponies milk cows in the show. Considering cows are also sapient, I guess this is more like a collaboration of some sorts. But the Apples do raise pigs in their farm, and these pigs don’t seem particularly intelligent. They also appear to be on the smaller side too. Guess finding truffles isn’t easy and the Apples don’t really feed them too well, which is a shame.:applejackunsure:

11468712 You're right. "Apple family labor crimes" was not a sentence I expected to think about today.

The guards snatched the paper from Dropsy’s hooves. With a shrug, they took their hooves off Hypha and left the two ponies alone.

Was that supposed to be Flannel?

11469675 Yes it was :twilightblush: Thanks for the save.

Hypha thought about what Cumulus would say in this situation. How much to give away. He finally settled on a curt, “It’s a sacred plant. It gives you insightful visions and enhances earth pony magic.”

My respect for Hypha just went down another level.

Jokes aside, after the conquest, how long do you need to rule and colonize a place before it's rightfully yours? Some peoples conquered and some peoples were conquered. Some peoples have countries of their own, some are struggling for one, and some went extinct or were long assimilated. Human history is just full of this kind of mess. I guess in magical pony land griffons will always remain as griffons unless you kill them off. Same with different pony tribes: ultimately they all fit into one of the three categories. Not sure how it would impact things compared to us hairless monkeys.

11470555 Blame falls on the author for the "plant" slip :facehoof: spare Hypha some sympathy there, lol

You raise some really interesting questions. While this story isn't an analog for native american struggles with land theft, the questions you raised are certainly applicable. People far smarter than me have failed to come up with an adequate answer, but the question still begs to be asked: what is the threshold for calling a place "yours?" And could such a question even be answered in terms of number of years passed since the land was taken? Or is there some other way to quantify it?

I can't say I know the answers. All I can say is that similar things had happened and is happening all around the globe. Some of the past events are long forgotten by most living people while some are still haunting us. I don't think we can truly escape these ancient and not-so-ancient wrongdoings and bloodsheds, but I sure do hope they are drifting away from us, not toward us.

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