• Published 26th Nov 2012
  • 1,129 Views, 29 Comments

All Good Things - Wheller



Everyone remembers how Twilight Sparkle and her friends defeated Nightmare Moon and restored balance and harmony to Equestria, what everyone does not remember, however, was that this was not the first time that it happened.

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VI

Chapter 6

Rainbow Dash sat back on her cloud resting place, letting out a yawn and stretching her limbs. She loved the feel of the soft cloud against her. Clouds were where she belonged, that she knew for certain. She opened one of her eyes on occasion to 'supervise' the rest of her weather team as they worked to arrange the day's weather patterns. She could do it all herself in under a minute, of course, she was just that awesome. She had made a decision when she got her job to let the others on her team earn their pay. A lot of ponies called Rainbow Dash lazy. She resented such accusations on her character - she was doing her team a favour!

Yep. A favour, she thought to herself as she let out another yawn and rolled over onto her belly, looking absent-mindedly towards the horizon. That was when she noticed it, something distant, faint coming right towards them.

She reached around to her saddlebags and opened them up; she pulled out a pair of binocular goggles and sliding them over her eyes. She reached up and began to adjust the focusing click wheels until she could see clearly.

Up ahead, Rainbow Dash could see that a large group of ponies were pulling several carts down the road coming from the west. Rainbow Dash let out a grin and pulled the binocular goggles off her eyes and placed them back in her bag before turning back towards the town and yelling out in excitement. 'Hey everypony! We've got a trade caravan coming up the road! Half a click out!' she called out to the town ponies as they went about their business.

Everypony stopped and turned to look up at Rainbow Dash for a moment, processing what she had just said before turning to each other and chattering with excitement. Traders from the west! This was truly going to be a treat.

Rainbow Dash hopped off her cloud and landed expertly on the ground. She needed to go tell her friends!

'A trade caravan?' Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow as she gathered with her friends in the town square.

'Oh yes darling!' said the elegant voice of Rarity as she and Fluttershy joined with Rainbow Dash and Twilight in the town square. 'Trade caravans are fairly common among the western cities; they’re usually centred around Manehattan. They bring unique goods with them wherever they go!'

Rainbow Dash nodded her head in agreement. 'You never know what one of these guys are going to have! And they don't usually come this far east, so this ought to be good!' Rainbow Dash added with clear excitement in her voice as the trade caravan pulled into the town square and parked their wagons and began to set up.

'Why not?' Twilight asked, sceptical over the matter of the caravans. 'If they're so great, then why do they not come around here?'

'Because they're centred in Manehattan, darling,' Rarity said, as if the answer should have be obvious. 'It's an awfully long trip on hoof, which makes journeys this far prohibitively expensive. They must be desperate.'

It took Twilight a moment to realise why Rarity would think that. 'The rail lines?' she asked.

Rarity nodded her head in affirmation. 'They're still building the lines between Manehattan and Canterlot provinces, but when they're finished it'll make long distance trade cheap, and practical. It's also going to put the trade caravans out of business because they won't be able to compete.'

'That's terrible! Those poor ponies are going to be out of work!' Fluttershy said, speaking up for the first time in their conversation, and making her friends remember that she was there. 'If the railroads are going to hurt the caravaneers then maybe we shouldn't build them?' Fluttershy asked.

Rarity merely sighed and shook her head. 'Casualties of progress, Fluttershy, we can't just keep doing things the same way we've always done them for the sake of the fact we've always done them that way! Otherwise our society and culture stagnates!' Rarity added, looking fairly nervous about the idea. 'I mean, could you imagine! Moi, being forced to wear the same spring ware spring after spring after spring for the sake that I've always worn them?! I can hardly imagine a worse fate!' Rarity finished her argument with that bit of dramatic flair that her friends had come to expect from her. They all groaned on the inside and shook their heads. Rarity however failed to notice and turned to look at the caravan to find that they'd finished setting up.

The caravan master was an grey earth pony stallion. His mane was a bright orange, cropped short with eyes to match. Strapped to his flanks were two large canvas saddlebags that covered up his cutie mark. He looked out to the crowd that was forming before him and smiled brightly.

'Ponies of Ponyville! My name is Montana Ulan of the Ulan Trading Company, based out of Manehattan. I bring to you today many one of a kind goods that you shall not find elsewhere! Come! Take a look!' the caravan master said gleefully as he stepped behind his cart.

The ponies of Ponyville murmured amongst themselves as they lined themselves up in an uneven mob to take a look at the carts, hoping to find something that struck their interests.

Rarity however, merely shook her head and sighed. Twilight looked at her and raised an eyebrow. 'What? Did he say something—?’

Rarity raised a hoof to quiet Twilight. 'Allow me to translate the business speak for you,' Rarity said, and cleared her throat. '"Everything in this cart is randomly assorted pieces of junk that I have no idea as to what any of it actually is, and should you ask me about it, the explanation I will give you will be nonsense that I have made up on the spot as to not make myself look like a complete idiot."'

'How do you—' Twilight began again before Rarity interrupted her.

'Darling, I run a business. I speak the same language that he does,' Rarity said with a smirk before trotting over the carts to take a look at them. 'Still, that doesn't mean that we won't find anything interesting. Let's take a look.'

Carrot Top's eyes burned.

She blinked and raised her hoof over her head. Sunlight was shining brightly into her bedroom, the sun's harsh rays bouncing right into her eyes.

That was how it always was, of course, no matter its position in the sky. The sun always seemed to be in the perfect position to get into one's eyes. She let out a groan of annoyance and pulled the covers over her head as she rolled over in her bed.

It had to be somewhere in the order of ten o'clock in the morning by now, and after the long night Carrot Top had just had, she was more than perfectly willing to stay in bed for the rest of the day. She rolled over and let out a curse as she felt something jab her in the stomach. She pulled the covers off her head and looked down on the bed to find the book she had been reading late last night laying there.

Social Theory of Modern Rejectionism.

Carrot Top let out a yawn as she picked up the book and set it on her bedside table without a thought, then laid her head back down to meet her pillow. She lay there for only a few seconds before promptly sitting back up and taking the book in her grasp. Setting it down on her bedroom floor and sliding it under the bed where no one would be able to see it.

Maybe she was being paranoid, but better safe than sorry.

Carrot Top had moved around too much and now she found herself wide awake. She frowned and shook her head before throwing the covers completely off her and climbing out of bed. She let out another yawn before lying back down on the floor; limbs sprawled out to stretch for a moment before getting back up and neatly making her bed.

Her mind wandered back to the book that she had been reading late into the night, now safe under her bed. She was content that unless someone was actively searching her house that it would go unnoticed until it was time for her to read more from it once more.

Carrot Top was different than most of the ponies in Ponyville. For one thing, she was a social liberal, those who considered themselves on the left wing of the political spectrum were rare in the rural areas of Canterlot Province's South and West Division, where small towns like Ponyville littered the countryside and were mostly homogeneous when it came to ideology.

Secondly, she was a rejectionist, a subscriber to the thought that one's cutie mark should not determine their role in society. In other words she didn't agree with how equestrian society operated in the slightest bit.

The idea behind cutie marks was that they were meant to tell ponies, the owner and others, what they were good at in life, otherwise known as their 'special talent'. Equestria's social structure therefore, revolved around placing those with administration related cutie marks in administrative rolls, farming cutie marks in farming rolls, and so on and so forth. Carrot Top, for example, had a cutie mark of three carrots, which had suggested that she had a talent for growing the root vegetable.

Well, it wasn't exactly wrong. Carrot Top had a small garden in which she grew fresh veggies for her to eat. Her home sat upon a small bit of land, just over half a hectare. The amount of land she owned was very little, and otherwise surrounded completely by Sweet Apple Acres.

She had to admit that she wasn't exactly sure where her property ended, and the Apple family's began. Fortunately for her, Big McIntosh had said that it was alright with him if her garden encroached on their property a bit.

In any case, her cutie mark told her, and others, that she was good at growing vegetables. The problem with that was that the life of a food grower did not satisfy her in the slightest bit. Despite it being her so called 'special talent' she had no interest in growing carrots. The truth of the matter was that she absolutely hated carrots, she didn't just hate the physical specimen; she hated the very idea of carrots. She hated everything about them. She didn't like their taste, she didn't like their look, and she most of all hated the constant reminder of what her life was supposed to be according to her cutie mark.

Even her residence was a reminder, for it had the basic shape and colouring of a carrot. When she had had the place built, it had been for the irony of it, but the irony had worn off very quickly and it turned into more resentment. Carrot Top didn't want to grow carrots, but it didn't matter what she wanted as far as society was concerned.

Carrot Top had attended the University of Canterlot, majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology. She'd graduated in the top five per cent of her class, despite multiple ponies telling her that she was wasting her time, and that she should focus on the area that her cutie mark suggested that she would be good in.

Carrot Top had ignored them and went on to graduate... however when it had come time to find a job in her desired career, she'd been turned down by every newspaper company in Canterlot Province. Her credentials hadn't mattered to these companies in the slightest. Her cutie mark wasn't journalism related, so they passed her over for less qualified journalists with a cutie mark of a newspaper or a camera.

Carrot Top had been forced to admit defeat, and returned to Ponyville with a degree that no one cared about. Her cutie mark suggested that she would be good at farming, so as far as society was concerned, that is what she would do.

Well, Carrot Top didn't eat carrots, so all of the carrots that she grew she contributed to the Ponyville co-op. Ponyville was an Apple town, in more ways than one. Food markets were dominated by Sweet Apple Acres, apples were cheap and plentiful, and the Apple family had a practical monopoly on the food market.

The co-op had been founded by other food growers who were too small to effectively compete against Sweet Apple Acres on their own. Everypony who contributed pulled their resources together for an equal share of any profits. Co-op money kept Carrot Top a float, she wasn't rich, by any means, but she wasn't poor either.

Apples were the cheapest food item in Ponyville, but the co-op had one thing to their advantage. The Apple Family dealt only in apples, and not everyone wanted apples all the time. However, that didn't keep the other farmers from worrying. If the Apple Family were to ever wise up and diversify their crops... they would be in trouble. The Apple Family owned a lot of land, more then everyone in Ponyville combined, and there was a lot of it that sat unused.

Carrot Top shook her head, now was not the time to think about the Apples. She let out another yawn and headed into her washroom to clean herself up for the day.

Her mind wandered back to rejectionism. She wasn't the only rejectionist in Ponyville, fortunately for her she had a good number of friends who agreed with her politically. Colgate, who had an hourglass for a cutie mark, was stuck in a dead end job working as a receptionist and administrative assistant at the Canterlot Province South and West Regional Hospital here in Ponyville. Cheerilee, the teacher at the Schoolhouse in Ponyville who had been able to make up some nonsense of a story as to what her cutie mark of three sunflowers with smiling faces in the middle of them to somehow be related to teaching. Cheerilee was the only one of her friends to actually have a job doing what she wanted to be doing. And then there was Flitter, who was a couple of years younger than the rest of her friends, still in university, studying cultural anthropology, but was quickly discovering that society would be expecting her to take up a job in a weather facility.

The four of them made up the core of a group known simply to them as 'the club’; they'd kept the name vague intentionally. Rejectionism was seen to be socially subversive to the order of their society, and it was not taken kindly to by the majority. They each kept their subscription to rejectionist thought a secret. Carrot Top didn't think what could happen to them if it came out to the public as to what they really thought.

That was enough thinking about it, Carrot Top had determined, now it was time to get on with her day. She turned on her shower and stepped inside, knowing that her day would consist of the same unending nonsense that it always did.

Carrot Top hated her life.

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Comments ( 2 )

1688538 New reader here. So if I'm understanding you correctly, this story is meant to clean up the continuity and such of your original All Good Things series, hence why we don't need to read that one to fully appreciate this one? I can't say I mind the fact. No offense meant, but your earlier stories seemed a bit daunting from the comments left under them - I wasn't sure if I was up for reading them. Don't get me wrong, I'm good with darkness if it's well-written and not just dark for the sake of being dark.

In any event, this looks good so far - a bit slow, but that's probably just to establish a firm foundation before the action kicks into gear. Good job on the characters, too - Twilight is the adorkable unicorn I know and love, Applejack is stubborn and proud but (so far) ultimately reasonable, Rainbow is the loyal and awesome pegasus she's always been, Rarity is her classically beautiful and elegant and wise self, Fluttershy lives up to her name as always...I don't think we've seen Pinkie yet, but I could be mistaken. Anyway, Luna is obviously closer to her Season Two self (I usually ignore that personality because it doesn't quite gel with our glimpse of her at the end of the two-part Season One premiere, but that's just me) than she is from what little I've seen of The Kindness of Strangers, but I can live with it. :derpytongue2: Heh, kidding. And Celestia...well, she's obviously the villain at this point, especially from what her future (and evidently dead) self has to say. I approve of an Evil Celestia story if, again, it's well-done - I do not have the bias against it that others do.

Oh, right - let's not forget Carrot Top. I'm guessing she will prove more than a little significant as the story progresses, given her secret opposition to the way Celestia runs things. I might be missing someone or something else, but even so...keep up the good work. :pinkiehappy:

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