• Published 16th Nov 2022
  • 1,176 Views, 51 Comments

'How to Pony: The gathered first hoof accounts of a non-pony learning how to be a pony.' By Idol Hooves - KarmaSentinal

A look into the popular foal's series called 'How to Pony.' By Idol Hooves

  • ...

Chapter 1: A deeper look into the non-pony named Idol Hooves.

Author's Note:

This chapter is another look into the events leading our favorite changeling into becoming a world famous author. The next chapter will official kick off a look into several of his more regarded works (ie each chapter will cover a book), and how they influenced a generation.


*Also I would like to thank the Discord community members AbelDuSable and Twilight-Shimmer for coming up with Idol's pen name and the name of his Museum. The of Nowhere is another Idol fan creation that I will be sprinkling in as the story progresses.

“Every year I like starting out with this book for two reasons: It's Idol’s first book, and the importance of its message.” Cheerilee then grabbed the book, an older copy based on its hardcover nature as many books have switched to the cheaper flimsy paper cover.

‘How to Pony: Social interactions for the recluse.’ By See Shell. A personal favorite of mine for several reasons, but mainly this one is signed to me!”

The students were silent as they watched their teacher observing the book with a look some of the children had seen their parents give to either them or their sibling- a mother’s love. The book had come at a point in time Cheerilee didn’t know she needed when her social and love life was non-existent, and had been throwing herself into her job.

Cheerilee looked up from her old memories and coughed into her hoof before continuing.

“Last week I mentioned Mr. Hooves is the author of this wondrous series that many creatures around the world have grown up loving…” She held up her older copy of the book to show the class it's rather bland, and worn hard cover with a faded golden outline of the three pony races. “His early editions were under another name meant to signal other changelings what to read.”

Cheerilee carefully set the book on her desk and moved to the magical board on the wall she often used as a projector, and after pressing some buttons on the little pad next to it caused the lights to dim. The foals couldn’t control themselves and started cooing in wonder and excitement knowing they were about to do something other than work. A flash of light, and suddenly the board was displaying the image of the changeling in question, and this time it earned some hushed whispering amongst them.

“I know his appearance is a bit off putting, but let it be known Mr. Hooves is a very kind and well mannered changeling. As a Precursor, Mr. Hooves has to siphon, or feed off the love of others while modern changelings are able to create their own love and share it with others. Somehow he’s been able to manage just fine.”

She waited a moment for any possible questions, or comments the children might have, mostly the nymph Night Shift, before continuing with her presentation. With a simple voice command, the light flickered and replaced the image of a younger Idol to a more current one standing in guard like fashion while his equally older wife wrapped a leg around his, near the shoulder. Cheerilee found herself smiling when the nymph in question began buzzing her wings in excitement.

“I recognize that picture! We were visiting grandma and grandpa for Uncle Kevin’s promotion party! It was really neat and I got to see Aunt Flurry again!” Night Shift’s causal mention of famed Crystal Princess earned her more curious looks from the non-pony creatures that wouldn’t have known about the nymph’s parentage.

Cheerilee nodded and continued.

“You’re correct, Night Shift. As we can see Idol has kept his original appearance far longer than any other changeling known today. It’s hard to consider it nowadays, but children, you have to remember times were different back then, and Idol used to be one of many changelings living among ponies. Early into his life in Canterlot, and close proximity to Princess Cadence, Idol became a leader of sorts to these castaway changelings, and actually wrote the books to help them.”

She said the command once more, and the screen flashed to reveal a set of hardback books similar to the one she brought from home. There were seven total.

“These are the first editions of his ‘How to Pony.’ series written under the pen name See Shell…”

“I know this one too! Mom says we used to use code names so other changelings could tell us apart!” The nymph once more interrupted the presentation, but Cheerilee knew she was just excited to be able to share anything about her family with the class.

“And I’m glad you brought that up, Night. She is right class. Changelings like Idol used to disguise themselves to look like ponies, or any creature around them to gather their love, but it meant they were unable to tell another changeling apart. So Idol used a changeling code word to alert other disguised changelings to his books- ‘How to Pony.’

With her reveal, most of the class were whispering among themselves after learning the famed series was literally meant to help a creature become a pony. Cheerilee allowed them the opportunity to process the information so far as she watched the little foals, nymphs, cubs, pup, kid, and zony what sounded like them comparing other titles from the series like a scavenger hunt to find that treasure first.

Only this time, it was to be the first to reach some conclusion only they seemed to be looking for.

“See Shell was the name he chose, and while I don’t know its exact meaning among changelings, it was enough to draw them to his book.” She continued and then once more held up her own first edition of volume one. “This is my personal, and original copy I was given around that time, and one of my most prized possessions as I had the privilege of meeting Idol during a book signing.”

“As I’ve been describing, his books unexpectedly found a wider audience than just changelings and by the time of the seventh book, his books were selling out regularly. This was also the time of his hiatus for several years when the Canterlot Attack happened and his eventual move to the Crystal Empire. Since then, he released the first seven under his own name to the Crystal Ponies before resuming work on the series under his own name.”

Cheerilee paused expecting Night Shift to be clamoring to speak, but when her hoof remained still while a paw was raised instead, she felt surprise before calling on the student.

“Why use his name not first?” It was the lone Diamond Dog pup in the entire school district whose adoptive mother was also a local, and national celebrity- Rarity.

“Another good point, Dusty Belle, and there’s a reason for that. The attack on Canterlot revealed Changelings to the masses…” She noticed how most of the class except the couple of nymphs looked the most uncomfortable already knowing the details of their kind’s past. “...Idol wasn’t spared either, but had proven himself true even if it took time to rebuild his image. The move to the Crystal Empire became another turning point in his life because it exposed him to ponies that honestly didn’t know how to act in modern times.”

She said the command, and the screen flickered. The image changed from the seven books to a picture of Idol in his Guard Dress Slacks, his all but official yet wife Topaz in a lovely emerald dress with a ‘Beehive' style mane, and a disgruntled filly sporting her own ‘Beehive’.

“This picture was taken during his second year in the Empire, and acting as their Guard’s commander. Colonel Hooves, and family did nearly as much for the Empire as the Royal Family did’ one citizen was quoted saying and that is still the feeling today. Books during the first couple of years were scarce, and non-existent to the common pony forcing Idol and Topaz to buy their own printing press to publish the books needed for the university.”

“He later took this a step further and bought the rights to publish his own book in the Crystal Empire under his own name so the Crystal Ponies would be more accepting of it. The bet worked. “Shower and Hooves Publishing is the largest printer/publisher within the Crystal Empire to this very day, and works almost exclusively with learning institutions throughout Equestria to bring them up-to-date textbooks near the cost of printing.”

She said the command, and the picture changed to another of Idol Hooves, and his wife Topaz meeting with King Thorax. Cheerilee waited so the children could absorb everything she’d highlight, and ask questions- they did.

“Yes. Silver Standard?”

“Hao is hat?” The filly was pointing at the picture, but quickly began gesturing to her head on each side, and it was the other nymph, Skittle Pop, that answered it for her.

“It’s Uncle Thorax!” She happily cheered, earning a few questioning looks if she really was related to the King, while Night Shift seemed uninterested.

“All changelings refer to the King as ‘Uncle’ as a sign of endearment, and camaraderie much like we ponies refer to Princess Twilight and High Steward Spike as by their first names instead of titles. It helps bridge the gap between social status, and foster a connection we wouldn’t see otherwise. While not publicly stated, the two changelings are seen together enough to suggest they do respect each other with it on record Thorax asking for advice more than once; what that advice is, no creature knows, but it must have proven fruitful for Thorax has opened several public learning centers in coordination with Idol’s own efforts. The most notable example being Thorax’s School for Labored Arts in the town of Nowhere, next to the Hooves Pottery Center where he houses not only his early works, but the finest collection of potted wares in the world with two dating back all the way to the founding of Equestria!”

What was left of the class continued in much the same way until the bell rang for the children to go home.

After reminding them to bring a pencil for tomorrow, Cheerilee bid them a farewell and looked to her desk where her original copy of ‘How to Pony: Social Interactions for the recluse.’ By See Shell still remained. She could have used her plans from previous school years, but something about this year made her want to change it up just a bit, and she didn’t know if it was because the famed changeling’s granddaughter was present or not, but need to do something different was nipping at her ears like a particularly cold day.

She sighed understanding the work ahead, and that she would be coming home a little late tonight.