• Published 24th Jan 2012
  • 5,755 Views, 586 Comments

The Conversion Bureau: The 800 Year Promise - Chatoyance



An ancient manuscript written in Middle English, the only surviving artifact from long lost Earth, may hold the true reason for the emergence of Equestria.

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19. The Slyest Of The Sly

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The
800 Year

Promise

A Story From The Conversion Bureau Universe
By Chatoyance
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19. The Slyest Of The Sly
The use of locations from The Ambassador's Son by Midnight Shadow is done with permission.

"Wildfire. I thought you were going to try to stay out of trouble?" The most powerful being in the entire cosmos took another dainty sip of her tea. "Tsk, Tsk."

Perspicacity and Wildfire raised their heads from where they had instantly bowed, as best they could while sitting at the table.

"We didn't mean to... it was all my fault, princess Celestia! Entirely my fault, Perspicacity is blameless! I am a silly, stupid newfoal and I forced her - against her will - to go on a foolish journey that endangered her life! She tried to stop me but..."

"Ah, love. We both know that isn't the truth, Wildfire," Celestia lowered her tea with her field. "Tell me, Wildfire Starshine, what did you think about Ralph Vitoni's last words? A bit overdramatic I thought, but then, it was his final speech. I suppose a little drama is appropriate in such a case. Don't you?"

Wildfire's mind whirled, his thoughts became a storm inside his head. How did she know about that? Wait - she wasn't supposed to be able to know everything, Pers had explained that... but if she knew about everything then why did she allow bad things to happen and...

"Princess Celestia..." Perspicacity had regained her composure surprisingly quickly, or so Wildfire thought. "...do you... watch us all of the time? Do you truly know everything in this world?" Wildfire suspected that Pers was wondering the very same things that he had been wondering, only she had the clarity to dare to ask.

"Goodness, no, my little pony. I wouldn't wish to even if I could." Celestia sipped her tea with a wicked gleam in her eye. The implication that omniscience would not be very entertaining had not been lost on Perspicacity. "A certain dragon holds something of mine for me..." again the gleam "...my crown I believe. He may not know that it is... a part of my person," Celestia smiled.

"I mean that, by the way. He may not know. So don't tell him." The princess of the sun winked at the Starshines. The gesture was cute, but there was no question that it was also a command.

"Of course, princess." The reality that some aspect of the princess lay in a dragon's hoard began to slowly sink into Perspicacity's thoughts, followed by the realization that the crown had been in her mouth for several moments. Celestia must be aware of everything that transpired because a part of her, in some magical way, was in the dragon's home the whole time.

"Why didn't you help us!" Perspicacity was suddenly angry. "I was beaten and Wildfire lost... he got hurt really badly! If you were listening, why didn't you help us?"

Wildfire looked over to see his wife leaning forward, anger on her muzzle, staring with rage at the supreme power in the entire cosmos. "Um... Pers... it's okay. Pers? I think that... maybe..." Wildfire felt a sense of dread.

"It's alright, Wildfire Starshine," Princess Celestia gave the still-bandaged stallion a reassuring look. "Your question is valid, Perspicacity, but I would ask you to think for a moment about that situation. The fate of both ponies and dragons were in the balance, Griffons too, I should think, and the scheme behind it all had not yet been revealed. There was no way at that moment to know just how far the corruption led, or what additional plans existed."

Celestia looked both Starshines over carefully. "Sometimes official Agents Of The Crown may face danger when doing their duties for the preservation of Equestria. We thank thee for thy service, as my sister might put it. If I had popped in at that moment, how would we know what was truly going on?"

Agents Of The Crown. "Are we... enemies? I don't want to be your enemy! I'm a loyal pony! So is Perspicacity! Please believe me, princess, we..." Wildfire was nearly in tears, he'd already caused trouble for Her Majesty once before, being named an 'Agent Of The Crown' was just too much.

Celestia laughed, not mockingly, but gently, comfortingly. "My little ponies, being recognized as an Agent does not always mean that I do not trust somepony. Sometimes it simply means that I am grateful for true service to Equestria. And also for the keeping of state secrets entrusted to such a valued Agent."

So they weren't enemies, thought Wildfire, that was good. But they were on notice. That was clear.

"This is a debriefing, isn't it princess?" Wildfire had watched many exciting holoshows about espionage in his human days.

"Something like that, if I understand the meaning," Celestia sipped her tea again. "This really is good tea, Perspicacity. I do enjoy tea, you know." Celestia paused, briefly. "I feel confident that what you have learned about the past will stay there, where it belongs, but I am curious as to how you feel about what you have learned. A native equestrian and a newfoal, each with their own issues. Please indulge me. Perspicacity, you first."

Perspicacity had slumped back, now she was startled and unsure. "I... well, your majesty..."

"Celestia will do. We're all friends here at this table. Good tea makes friends of everypony," Celestia smiled sweetly.

"Well," Perspicacity needed a sip of tea herself, her throat had become dry. "I was a little upset... at first... to find that I was, well, part human-ish, I suppose. But Wild helped me with that. I feel good that you kept your promise to Willelmus and rescued the humans. Actually, I'm very glad that you did because if you hadn't, I wouldn't have my Wildfire." Perspicacity held out her hoof to her husband who cradled it in his own. They smiled at each other.

"And you, Wildfire. How do you feel about everything, now that you know the expansion of Equestria into your world was not an accident, but a deliberate action on my part?" Celestia studied Wildfire, her tea held close to her muzzle, making her expression unreadable.

"I like being a pony. I love being a pony... Celestia. Even if the Earth had not been... doomed... I would have chosen Conversion. Sometimes I worry that I don't always fit in, and sometimes I feel bad about all the... pain, and loss... that happened during the end of the Earth, but... now that I understand your reasons, now that I see what it is you actually gave us... them, the humans I mean, and when I think about how humans would have reacted if you had tried to tell them the truth..." Wildfire felt unsure how to say what he meant. "Humans wouldn't have accepted the truth, because they wouldn't have believed it. A few, like me, would have Converted just because they wanted to be ponies and live here, but... I think most would have just called you a liar and made endless generations pay the price for it. Humans would never have accepted that not having magic meant not having souls, and... "

Wildfire finally knew what he really wanted to say.

"Celestia, humans had been waiting for thousands of years for the gods they invented to appear and rescue them. Generations came and went, each believing that theirs would be the age where whatever deity they believed in would return, or show up, or appear and save the world. Save them from all the evil and the horror and the bad stuff. Only it never, ever happened. And now I know why." Wildfire looked into the eyes of the living deity of Equestria, and trembled. "You actually are real. You're here. I'm having tea with you. When I was a colt..." Wildfire laughed a nervous, short sound. "When I was... a boy... I prayed to a human god. And he never answered, and no...one... appeared, or sat down and had tea with me. I quickly realized there was no...one... there. But you are there. Here, I mean. In the flesh... or whatever you're made of... you are actually, really here. You came for us. Humans always yearned to be rescued, they just couldn't imagine it would be by... you."

"I'm grateful for what you did. That's all I know. Thank you, princess Celestia." Wildfire looked down, studying his cooling cup of tea. He wished he was a better speaker, that he could have said that better, but... that would have to do.

"You're welcome!" Princess Celestia, solar goddess nibbled another biscuit. "These really are awful. I'll make sure somepony sends you a case of decent biscuits. Just in case we ever need to have another chat someday."

"Princess," Perspicacity seemed troubled.

"Yes, dear?"

"What happens when we die? If we have souls, because there is magic, what does that mean? And... if there is something more, after... here... why do we live... here... at all?" Perspicacity knew she had probably overstepped her bounds, that she once again was pressing things, obsessing over things, but... she had an actual deity, right here, right now.

Celestia froze, her expression undecipherable. For a moment, Perspicacity worried that she had indeed gone too far.

"Ralph Vitoni was not entirely wrong, Persy-Pants." The use of that name almost made Perspicacity laugh. "I and my sister need you, our little ponies, we need you very much. We try to make that service as painless and enjoyable as possible for you, but it is not your only reason for being, nor your only existence. I don't know that the little pony called 'Perspicacity Starshine' can understand any more than that about such things, but just know that you all do a very good job and that my sister and I are grateful to you all, that we care about you very much, and that one day you will understand far more than you can hope to imagine right now."

Princess Celestia rose from her seat at the table and took a few steps. "Your ribs are fine now, by the way, Wildfire, but I will leave your Apples alone. Scars help a pony remember the cost and weight of their adventures. Please try to avoid being of further assistance to the crown if you can help it, you've done enough for just one pony."

Wildfire leaned over in the wrong direction, and found his ribs were completely healed, as if they had never been broken.

"Oh! Perspicacity Starshine... It's been a long time, but I think it might be good to have an 'Official Telescope Maker To The Crown' once more. I know it would please my sister greatly. I will have the arrangements made. Expect a lot of orders in the near future. The nobles tend to jump on anything they imagine is currently trendy."

Perspicacity's mouth slowly, unconsciously dropped open. She didn't understand why Celestia giggled slightly at the way she looked.

"Do try to stay out of trouble, you two." The burst of light made Pers and Wild squint. By the time they had begun to adjust, the light was gone and so was the princess.

"It must be pretty wonderful to travel like that," Perspicacity said quietly, "I'm almost tempted to go back to magic school."

"What?" Wildfire wasn't sure if she meant it.

"Hee hee... don't worry, Wild. I haven't the talent it takes for teleportation. I really don't. I know it. Besides, I apparently have a lot of telescope orders to fill. Or will have." Perspicacity thought for a moment. "Wasn't there an order just before we left? From Clydesdale or someplace? They're not going to be happy. Oh, I've got so much work ahead of me." Pers seemed both glad of this, and also frightened by it.

"Pers?"

"Yes, beloved?" Perspicacity poured them both some fresh, hot tea.

"How much of what we went through... do you think was actually just... stuff happening? Random stuff, I mean. Do you think that...?" Wildfire had a baffled look, filled with both curiosity and concern.

"Could an all-powerful living goddess somehow have arranged things in such a way that the single biggest threat to her peace might be discovered and ended through using a pair of silly, overly obsessed ponies as pawns? Is that what you are asking?" Perspicacity sipped her tea and ate one of the stale biscuits. They weren't that stale!

"When you put it that way..."

"A being that can do anything can't know everything," Pers sipped her tea. "But... she can try to make use of whatever eyes and ears... and hooves... she has available to her. I don't think we will ever know for sure, Wild, and I think that is probably for the best, all things considered. We know too much as it is, and state secrets are a heavy burden."

"She's magic, so why didn't she just zap our memories or wipe our minds or whatever?" Wildfire decided to try a biscuit, they couldn't be all that bad, both Pers and Celestia had been eating them.

"Because Ralph was right. She needs us, just as she said. Why send us a crate of biscuits? I suspect that sometimes, the princess may enjoy having somepony to talk to who knows what is really going on. A non-dragon somepony. And I suspect that may someday be us. Or it may not be. But the option is there, now. We're here, if she needs us. I suspect that's also why she made us Official Telescope Makers too." Pers tried dipping her biscuit in the tea, to see if that was better. "It's not so much a reward, as it is keeping a connection. She may never visit us again. She probably won't. But the option is there for her."

"Think about it Wildfire. Imagine how lonely she must be, even with her sister back. Even with all of us ponies prancing about and laughing our lives away. How terribly, terribly lonely, to be the only ones of their kind, to be what they are, looking out for the entire world but never truly being a part of it." Perspicacity looked very sad for a moment, then ate her tea-soaked biscuit.

* * * * *

When Wildfire finally returned to the Fire Hall, he found that he had been granted a citation from the Crown for Special Services To Her Majesty, and that this reflected well on the Greater Fetlock Fire Department and all of its staff. This made of him a bit of a local hero, at least with the other Fireponies, and especially with the Fire Chief, Bluey.

The fact that he dared not speak of anything that he had done on his sabbatical only made him seem all the more fascinating and mysterious, and his injury, far from being a matter of teasing or ridicule, became a matter of fairly embarrassing respect and awe. More than once, Wildfire found ponies trying to catch a peek under his tail, to see the truth of a stallion so fierce and brave that he nearly gave his all for the sake of Equestria and the princess herself.

It became difficult to avoid the mares that suddenly developed an interest in him. Worse, Perspicacity, being from an old-fashioned pony family, teased him only half-jokingly about who he wanted to share their bed.

Perspicacity, for her part, soon found herself overloaded with orders from Canterlot and other cities too, this necessitated an eventual move to a larger building and the hiring of a small staff of capable unicorns to help construct the telescopes, microscopes, magnifiers and other optical instruments that were demanded of her. While she was proud of achieving her uncle's - and her own - dream of making 'Starshine' THE name for telescopes once more, she did admit more than once to Wildfire, in private, that perhaps success was a kind of trap as well.

Some years later, the townsponies of Greater Fetlock were astonished when two dragons arrived for the first time in the history of either Fetlock. None were surprised when it turned out to be visitors for the Starshines. Fear turned to fascination as all found that the dragons were actually quite nice, though many commented on the odd, pony-like shape of the younger one.

Both Wildfire and Perspicacity lived happy and long lives, along with their other co-spouses Featherhoof, Amaranth and Sweetflower, and had many foals who grew up happy and content in a very traditional and old-fashioned pony family.

And I can assure you of these events because - as I finish this manuscript, written not on leather, but on nice cork-vellum from the Southern Coast - I have lived them. To be precise, I have lived with those who experienced them, and I would not for a moment doubt the veracity of my beloved grandstallion and grandmare, whose story I have presented to you here exactly as they have conveyed it to me.

Ours may be a strange family to some; old fashioned in our arrangements, yet made of newfoals, descendents of the lineage of the first human brought to Equestria, and bound in secrets by the princess herself, but I would hold any Starshine up as an example of a true and proper pony in the world.

Someday, it is my hope that their story may be known, and it is for that reason I have set down their adventures, as they have told them to me, in honor both of them, and of my namesake, who lived so long ago.

I leave you then, future reader, whatever pony you may be, with the understanding that our lives shine across the ages, and that there is greatness in even the most humble of ponies.

I therefore sign this manuscript Willelmus Telescopy Starshine of the Royal Canterlot Empyrean Society, in memory of my grandponies, with all of my love and gratitude. May Celestia herself guide you to whatever lies after, and may someday your great works be known. Foalsday, Trotober the thirty-fourth, 2163 After Discord.

The End

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Comments ( 112 )

A most excellent ending Chat, kudos :twilightsmile:

The END

Opps, you forgot to mark the story complete.

Great ending! Compared to Code Majeste's Bittersweet ending, I think you owe us! Part of me was worried you would be putting off this fic for the writers competition. Thanks for the conclusion!

Celestia came off almost like a gang boss: polite and kind on the surface (with a hint of vulnerability, to boot!) but with an undeniable sense of force, strategy, and command in her words. No malice, per se, but I bet she could say "puppies" and make it sound intimidating....

215725
Which is entirely the point. She is, after all, the ruler of the place.

Oh I did like the ending, they're definitely going to get into trouble over it eventually though... cut 800 years later when somepony finds that manuscript and tries to chase down the first... at least this time the whole thing is in the claws/hooves of Chip :rainbowlaugh:

And Celestia, you are such a tease. Only she could make the appointment of agent to the crown into a punishment. I wonder if she ever came back?

I'd like to have known more about the purpose for it all, but, well... I guess it would take a long time to explain to a mortal.

A fitting end!

addendum: but what about the orgy? I was promised an orgy!

"Fear turned to fascination as all found that the dragons were actually quite nice, though many commented on the odd, pony-like shape of the younger one."

He looks like the subject of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyuNoCUm4Qw, I bet. Just with less Flutter.

What a wonderful story. And of course we all know that Princess Celestia had, in no way, guided the two ponies on their great adventure. She would never do that. :trollestia:

Anyway, can't wait to read your next adventure.

Apparently either Celestia didn't get the letter or she just decided not to comment on the odd way it was addressed. It's nice to see things turned out ok in the end and I think it's funny that they have a grandfoal named Willelmus.

215782
Maybe they were really good biscuits. Possibly the variety she only has set out for very special occasions...:rainbowwild:

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215875

Please, it's obvious! Chapter 20: :trollestia:

This was... there's no other word for it but 'beautiful'. I won't lie, I cried a bit reading this chapter. It wasn't just tied up into a tidy little package at the end, it was neatly, masterfully finished in a gorgeous way.

Sisters, I love your work. Well done.

Dat awkwardly sad feelings when a story got completed :applecry:
At least they lived the last of their lives in good times :twilightsheepish:

So...
>Chip got not one, but two mares
>pony afterlife unconfirmed
>tia got a sweet tooth

i aint read any conversion bureau storys, so what would be a good fic to start on to get to know its universe n such?

216505
if you want a silly and fun adventure, try mine (midnight's tail, a twist in the tail or community service). If you want serious, try 27 ounces and the sequel a taste of grass (by chatoyance). If you like adventure, try yellowstone or last man standing, a mare's tail or change of life.

You could, of course, try this one, but you may not get where it's coming from.

Another story well done! Congratulations are in order. Now, lets see what else you have in store. I'll be waiting. :raritywink:

216773
I can't speak for Chatoyance, but one thing to note is that, being western, christianity is probably the religion she knows best, even if she follows no particular denomination. When I want to write about religion in general, it is easiest for both me and my readers to relate to christianity (I doubt I have a following in the middle east, let alone a following) - both sides (as it were) knows that one the best. Unless I wish to instruct my readers on the five pillars of islam, or the six virtues of the buddha (both of which I'd have to learn a lot more about to say anything meaningful), then "magic sky pixie #23" will probably be enough (I am personally not fond of any of the abrahamic religions, nor religion in general, but this isn't the time or place for me to launch into a diatribe. I get ranty and ugly when I do).

I also wouldn't, if I were you, put too much in the message from the story - I think if she were to lecture on the failings of the great beard in the sky she could do a lot better than invent a world without magic and say it takes magic to create souls.

I know I could.

I guess if you think this story is a polemic, then you can feel insulted about it. Maybe it is her views bleeding through - I think that's also unavoidable. Either way, as a story idea, a logical supposition, it makes sense.

One thing I will say, is that the non-believer has to deal with a very, very pro-religious slant on everything. I know in the USA the money says "in god we trust" on it, and the pledge of allegiance currently contains "under god", and churches (even whacked out ones that believe in space holocausts and exploding volcanos) get so much preferential treatment it's unreal. As a story theme, pro or con, religion underpins so much - and opinions are so strong they can and do lead to readers turning away and bad-mouthing a story because they don't agree with the perceived message of a story.

Humans are strange like that.

I am a Christian, and I thought the idea was interesting. I reject it totally out of hand, but it doesn't mean I don't think it's interesting that a non-believer would see a fulfillment of second-coming-like hopes in ponification. I'm not really bothered, and I don't think others shouldn't be, honestly.


Hurray! My worries were unfounded. :pinkiehappy: All is well. The ending was actually sort of perfect- the main player in all of this that was utterly silent was Celestia. We had her actions but none of her words to explain them. We had only one half of the story the whole time, and rectifying that was a great way to end the story. The depiction of the princess was also well-written I thought: calm, friendly, but very much in control. She doesn't need to threaten or command as much as she simply gets results by being Celestia. I liked it.

(Seeing Hoofington made me think of FoE: Project Horizons.... Poor Blackjack.)

217228
I'd love to cross TCB and FO:E... that would be so much fun!

217306
I can only see that working as a comedy. I could see TCB interacting with generic Fallout in a variety of possible stories, but FO:E? It's either comedy or I don't even know. Making the Goddess and her Alicorns some abominable combination of Catoyance~verse and Ten Rounds/Ten Minutes~verse Ponies would be hilarious, but anyone incorporating TCB themes with the SUPER SPOILER from Project Horizons could only lead to mind-shattering levels of horror/stupid. :pinkiesick:

217769
Honestly? You can't see it working? I can. Take an emerging Equestria, allow humans to cook up some macguffin to halt the expansion and have the conversion to ponies result in very human ponies and have both societies collapse because of it. Get the zebras to attack, the dragons to take advantage and the griffons and diamond dogs to attempt to screw everybody over and the resultant mixture of both magical fallout and radiation poisoning to do the rest.

Would you gain much over TCB or FO:E on their own? I don't know - it widens the playing field somewhat, but I'm not sure it brings anything not available without it, apart from an Equestria which is also a crapsack world, and that's of dubious value when TCB plays off the two extremes of good and bad. Bad and bad requires a different type of story. It can be done, and done well, but it's not something I have time for.

*stands up and claps*
Please continue to write.
*wips away some manly tears*
That is one of the best stories I have read in a long time. So keep up the writing.

its over?... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
*dies*

chat. your stories are SO good i concider you to be one of the people who truely keep TCB alive.
hopefully there is more stores you have rattling around so we are not left without more.

*slams hooves into desk*
It's so beautiful!
*drags arms across desk pushing stuff off*
Icantbelieveitsoooooveeeeer


May I please have another?

Another fine yarn spun by the master storyteller Chatoyance. I have read all of your work thus far, and I always conclude each reading being impressed. I have said it before, but your fan fiction puts the griffon's share of standalone novels to shame. Keep up the great work, and never stop dreaming, for a new story is ever out on the horizon, across the exponential lands, waiting to reveal itself to a bold and creative artist such as yourself.

219196
I suppose I should clarify that I meant I can't see it working well. Too late anyways, but whatever.

simply amazing

I wonder, is your Willelmus based on True Thomas, or is that just a coincidence? Perhaps an English relative who also enjoyed writing stories about himself meeting fairie queens and visiting "Elfland" but spoke English instead of Scots :rainbowlaugh:

Also I'm enjoying the story so far! The only annoyance is that I expected the Middle-English quotations to have a rhyme scheme, since they're in verse and written by a bard.

Oh and also, in chapter 4 I noticed some typos:

"I wente then to Hym for to seke
And have just vengeaunce for
For his foule thefte of the
Fairye Queene was now myn purpos,
To brynge her out of her adversitee."

"Hym" is spelled with a capital H, which is traditionally reserved for God. And also you say "For" twice.

296222

I was born in Baker Oregon, which had one library, two schools (grade and junior high) and the landscape was desert grassland. Population 10,000. So, for my experience, this would not be unlikely, you see.

It all depends, I think, on two factors: availability of essential resources, such as water, and productivity; what the population can produce in order to import what they don't have. Adding to this would be transport: Tacksworn has a railroad into and out of it.

This suggests they have stuff there that makes it worth the population of 8K, and I suggest that it is probably products unique to that region: gemstones, desert plants and medicinals, exotic Griffon and Dragon works, and very likely stone, for building materials. They seem to have a LOT of stone, and we have already seen evidence that stone is a needed material, so needed that rock farms exist.

I reasoned that the stone supply alone would make Tasksworn a thriving community, perhaps one that the rest of Equestria greatly benefits from.

Okay. I don't want to play the Devil's Advocate here, but I find Celestia's 'fulfillment' of Willelmus's plea to 'save' humanity very... urgh, what's the word I'm looking for? Ignorant? Naïve? Just because he has 'seen the truth' and wants for everyone else experience his joy as a pony doesn't mean that everyone else wants to experience it as well.

800 years is a considerable time gap and a lot changed as one can see. Despite what some may say, life has gotten better; slavery is mostly done away with; health as a whole has improved. One reason why I get turned off by many TCB stories is the bleakness of the near future. Even when faced against insurmountable odds, our drive and hope got us through difficult times. The Great Depression was supposed to force civilization back for several years because it was thought that it would've been impossible to pay the reparations. Instead we perservered through the depression. I find the apocalyptic scenarios brough on by our actions in those TCB stories either a passing of rough times or an impossible human achievement. In spite of how many villains there are in the world, we're not that irresponsible nor are we that cruel: We'd do something about it before it'd be too late.

So really Celestia is nothing more than a scumbag Steve in this TCB. She admitted to forcing people to convert when there was no need to. Why couldn't she leave those who didn't wish to change alone, leave them to the Earth? It makes me suspect that Chatoyance is implying that Celestia is a tyrant, a tired and weak trope.

Furthermore I find the whole 'humans don't have a soul' very... misanthropic. I realize that you have little faith in mankind Chat, but would you honestly say that people like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the 14th Dalai Lama are souless? We may have a lot of scumbag in the world, but we have a lot of heroes as well, often more of the latter than the former.

Okay, assuming that Celestia didn't mean souls as how we understand but rather magic, then why in the heck does she want to 'fix' that? We've been doing fine enough for the 10,000 years we've been on this Earth and we hadn't had a precious little Godess telling us what to do. Our ancestors may have believed that they had been guided by a higher power, but it has been nothing but human wit, cunning and perseverence leading the way. Say what you will of competition, it has made us better. Had it not been for it I doubt that we would even have boats to connect our isolated communities.

I rest my case.

538825

Please note that my depiction of the future is actually more kind than the world of today: all people are fed and have water.
Secondly, Willelmus was not motivated by a 'happier life as a pony', if anything, the evidence is that he never fit in, and I made a point that his humanity and frustration was passed down and was the cause of characters such as Trixie and Prince Blueblood being assholes. Willelmus demanded a promise from Celestia because of one thing only: permanent death.

Willelmus realized that a world without magic is a world without souls, because souls are, if anything MAGIC. That meant his religion, all religion, was just silly stories, and that when humans died in their empty, godless, mechanical universe, they ceased to exist, forever. This was a horror to him, oblivion, as it was to Celestia. All those sapient minds, destroyed forever, lost to an uncaring cosmos. THAT is why Willelmus was willing to be a pony, even though he didn't like it, and why he wanted his species, Man, saved. The horror of universal oblivion was impossible to accept.

Equestria is a magical universe, it has real goddesses, and it has an afterlife, unlike Mundis, the universe of Earth. You did not understand what you read. If you actually read it at all.

► Slavery
Slavery has not been gotten rid of in the least. There is actually more of it now than ever before in human history, though to be fair, this is simply the result of a much higher population overall. Basically, it never left. 1 Infoplease , 2 Wikipedia , 3 Free The Slaves

► The messed up world
Mankind is currently NOT doing anything about the oncoming fall of civilization, and it is not likely that he will. He never has; this is why all the Great Civilizations of history perished; The inca because of ecological mismanagement leading to starvation, Greedy banking practices combined with endless war destroying the economy, the exact same recipe that destroyed Egypt, Rome and every other major civilization. Exactly what is going on today, only now, we are also the cause of the greatest mass extinction in history, even including the Permian. 1 Extinction, 2 Our collapse (Smithsonian) , 3 Historical collapse (Oxford)

My future, in my stories, is significantly more hopeful than current realistic predictions. I offer nanotech as a panacea to all the ills of Man, it is unlikely this will occur. I am being GENEROUS and kind to humanity in my 'dystopian' future - the real future is likely to be far worse than mine. Mine is a relatively positive future, if you actually understand things.

Humans are hunter-gatherers, they are not long-term planners and have an abysmal record beyond immediate gain. That is just what we are. I paint Mankind as being smarter and kinder than it really is. In my future slavery is fixed, everyone gets fed, and despite the destruction of the biosphere, the Worldgovernment really is trying to do its best to keep humanity alive. This is pure fantasy.

We aren't feeding people NOW, we never HAVE, and it isn't likely the entire species will suddenly have a change of heart for no reason.

If you are going to complain, do some research first. But before you bother to learn stuff, ACTUALLY read the story you are bitching about! You didn't even know the real reason for Willelmus's upset. You didn't read it, he's pretty clear about the issue. He wanted a soul. He wanted souls for humanity. He couldn't bear the idea of people living and dying as chemical machines devoid of any afterlife. It was intolerable to him. That was the reason for the 800 year promise: Earth has no magic, so it has no spirits, or gods, or afterlife.

Disagree? Set up that personal audience with a physical, real, actually there god(s), and let's ask them. Until then, Celestia trots among the ponies.

What did you do? Skim the text? Pick out every eighth word? I will apologize, slightly, if you are dyslexic or have some other reading or comprehension disability, but... Muffin, man, the entire point of the entire fricking story is that Earth Has No Souls. You missed it.

Along with all the other facts about the real world.

You do not know your own world, why are you complaining about my fictional one - which, clearly, you also don't know?

If you are going to read, then READ. Actually read the words of the story you criticize. I suppose 'Don Quixote' is just some story about a guy on a horse to you, huh? 'Gulliver's Travels' is just Lilliput and nothing else? '1984' is about a guy in a room watching television? READ THE DAMN TEXT before you criticize. Jesus. (Who doesn't exist in a no-magic universe)

Thaumaturgy: Magic
Theurgy: Religious Magic

Religion is magic. It's just magic that is associated with a specific deity. It's still magic. That was the point of the story. You missed it.

540463 Nice ad hominem and way to get defensive about your work.

I admit I skimmed through some of the non-Willelmus text when I felt nothing significant was happening, a bad habit I have since I started reading, and at times I found the Willelmus text a bit hard to follow; plus I read this while I was feeling tired. So if I missed it it's my fault, I'm sorry. But to call me dyslexic because of that... well let's just say it offends to put it lightly. :ajbemused:

I swear though that I read somewhere that Celestia could only sense the 'souls' of animals. So I might have misread that part making me say that 'only humans have souls'. Now: I understand how Willelmus, or anyone from his era would find a world without an afterlife the most terrifying of prospects, but in modern times, with religion less influential than it had once been, I don't think people are as afraid of the possibility of no afterlife. I (as an agnostic) feel somewhat indifferent if there is no afterlife, and I believe there are others who feel the same way as I do on the subject. I am afraid of death of course, but that's more of an instinct more than any fear of having something afterwards to look forwards to. So I feel that the people in the near future, if not most of them, a significant portion of them wouldn't be as outraged as our ancestors would be if they learned the truth about the afterlife and the existence of a god and would be more than happy to continue life on Earth. 'Course there would be reprimands from religious authorities, but that's a given.

And there you go assuming things from what I write: First off, I said and I quote, "slavery is mostly done away with." Do you think I don't know about modern-day slavery and human trafficking? I might be young but I'm not clueless about the world. But: the slave population nowadays is proportionately the smallest in recorded history, despite the many millions indubitably forced into it. It even says that on that wiki page you put. IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE ARTICLE. It is an issue but people are doing something about it. Governments are doing something about it. I expect the slave trade to be cut in half within the next ten years.

The extinction rates that we are witnessing is a complex issue that I myself am not familiar with so I can't take a stance on it. However the various BBC articles shown first in the page you provided are a tad... old. 2003 is quite a few years back. Now there are a lot of links to articles and the such that are more recent and I haven't had the opportunity to read them so I won't say anything else on the matter.

The article on the limits of growth, despite showing a more than outdated trend graph from the 1970's, it also had this to say: "However, the study also noted that unlimited economic growth was possible, if governments forged policies and invested in technologies to regulate the expansion of humanity’s ecological footprint. Prominent economists disagreed with the report’s methodology and conclusions. Yale’s Henry Wallich opposed active intervention, declaring that limiting economic growth too soon would be “consigning billions to permanent poverty.“" If you honestly think if governments aren't taking serious steps to limit our ecological footprint then you're the one's who's ignorant.

Even so, assuming that the trend graph is correct on the amount of non-renewable resources, look at the strides we've done in the renewable energy department; sustainable agriculture is also being tackled. We haven't reached the point where sustainable energy is truly that, but we'll get there soon enough, I have relatives who work in the agriculture department and they have good things to say about the near future.

Your Oxford journal requires a subscription which I don't have unfortunately, so no comment.

Also, just because I've read this story does NOT mean that I've read your other TCB stories. So far, all I've read was your Pony Singularity (partly, stopped reading it because the amount of misanthropy drove me away from it) and this. I haven't read anything in your TCB stories that suggests that 'hey we're in pretty bad shape but it ain't as bad as it could be' besides the first few chapters of PS.

I also like how you assume that I was 'bitching' at the story. Since when has 'I'm stating my opinion as to why I don't feel this story is very good' become the equivalent of 'your story is stupid because I don't like you or anything that this story stands for'?

Also, your suggestion that this piece is comparable to literary classics such as 1984 or Don Quixote is something that I can't help but find amusing. Sorry, this is a fanfic. No matter how well written this can be or how deep it is, it can never be considered as a literary classic and frankly shouldn't be compared to any of the likes of Orwell's or Cervantes. Not only that, because this isn't a literary milestone like the examples you listed, I didn't read it as such; I read it as if it were a fanfic, or at most as a novel. So don't be surprised if some who read this don't find your deeper meanings such as 'a soul is magical, our world has no magic, therefore our world has no soul'.

:ajsleepy: Sigh, I'm sorry I misunderstood what Willelmus wanted to do to mankind. I was tired, and I had been skimming over some scenes where I should have been paying more attention, I don't mean to upset you or sound aggressive.

Yet what he wanted was 800 years ago. Now people think in a different manner than in the middle ages. He still wants to save mankind by providing them 'souls' and the possibility to an afterlife. My point still stands: what about those people who don't want to be 'saved'? Is it fair on them to be forced into ponydom? If Celestia really has a love for all things that have life, would she really force them into doing anything? Perhaps I'm comparing her too much to the Western idea of God, but still... either that, or she herself too believes that people should be 'uplifted' into ponykind and would do so despite any objections. Either way, it's morally unjust to those who do not wish to change, despite what your moral compass may be.

I don't wish to continue this discussion because frankly I don't believe I can't convince you the moral flaws in the idea of TCB nor can you change my stance. Can't we agree to disagree?

Good day ma'am.

584127
Some people say that I am a misanthrope. I strongly disagree with such people. Sometimes rudely, for which I feel bad. I just get so angry at being called that, you know? I think I portray humans as significantly more noble than they commonly are. I imagine humans always trying to be better, to grow, to be nicer, kinder, smarter, more compassionate and more forgiving.

You define yourself as an 'asshole', a 'dick'. You are proud of it, and say it defines you. That without the characteristic of being an asshole, you would have, and be, nothing. You're not alone are you? There are a lot of people with your values and self-definition, despite all of my high ideals about what humans might someday learn to be. You're probably in the majority, actually, which is why my entire life I have honestly felt myself an outcast in a world that I cannot believe is as mean and awful as it truly is.

I owe all of those people who call me a misanthrope an apology.

While I really liked your trilogy with Venice/Caprice, this fic is the best IMO. It really put in the foreground what you lose when becoming a Pony. What makes Equestria so wonderful, so peaceful, also make Ponies very vulnerable.

I have to say I was really conflicted in the more intense parts; I wanted to harm or kill the antagonists very much, but I knew I wouldn't be able to if I was a Pony. It's not like I didn't already know that, but those parts really drove the point home.

And when the bad guys got their comeuppance, it didn't feel good. I was just relieved. If the stories had been about humans, maybe I would had felt happy about their fate, but I was just sad it had to come to that.

Despite all of that, I would still get ponified if I could, no question, but I would probably be much more anxious on the conversion table than before.

Oh, and I can't get enough of your Fanfics. Please keep writing. :twilightblush:

157351 Ponies becoming the mascot of the singularity. :pinkiehappy:
Definitely on my read list.

"This is a debriefing, isn't it princess?" Wildfire had watched many exciting holoshows about espionage in his human days.
"Something like that, if I understand the meaning," Celestia sipped her tea again. "This really is good tea, Perspicacity. I do enjoy tea, you know." Celestia paused, briefly. "I feel confident that what you have learned about the past will stay there, where it belongs, but I am curious as to how you feel about what you have learned. A native equestrian and a newfoal, each with their own issues. Please indulge me. Perspicacity, you first."

"Dear Princess Celestia..."

"Celestia, humans had been waiting for thousands of years for the gods they invented to appear and rescue them. Generations came and went, each believing that theirs would be the age where whatever deity they believed in would return, or show up, or appear and save the world. Save them from all the evil and the horror and the bad stuff. Only it never, ever happened. And now I know why." Wildfire looked into the eyes of the living deity of Equestria, and trembled. "You actually are real. You're here. I'm having tea with you. When I was a colt..." Wildfire laughed a nervous, short sound. "When I was... a boy... I prayed to a human god. And he never answered, and no...one... appeared, or sat down and had tea with me. I quickly realized there was no...one... there. But you are there. Here, I mean. In the flesh... or whatever you're made of... you are actually, really here. You came for us. Humans always yearned to be rescued, they just couldn't imagine it would be by... you."

:rainbowderp:
Sprock me sideways.
He's right.

The fact that he dared not speak of anything that he had done on his sabbatical only made him seem all the more fascinating and mysterious, and his injury, far from being a matter of teasing or ridicule, became a matter of fairly embarrassing respect and awe. More than once, Wildfire found ponies trying to catch a peek under his tail, to see the truth of a stallion so fierce and brave that he nearly gave his all for the sake of Equestria and the princess herself.
It became difficult to avoid the mares that suddenly developed an interest in him. Worse, Perspicacity, being from an old-fashioned pony family, teased him only half-jokingly about who he wanted to share their bed.

This is... cute and badass and embarrassing and hilarious all at once. I don't know how you did that, but it's great.

Both Wildfire and Perspicacity lived happy and long lives, along with their other co-spouses Featherhoof, Amaranth and Sweetflower, and had many foals who grew up happy and content in a very traditional and old-fashioned pony family.

Yes! Score one for Equestrian family values.
...
Wait. Sweetflower? And Featherhoof? And... dammit I'm going to have to go back at some point and find out who Amaranth is, aren't I. I bet s/he's not even in here, but I'm going to end up looking anyway.

... wait, this got published in Equestria? In its entirety?
Hmm.
I guess including the return of the manuscript to the Leatherbacks will probably prevent any international incidents, and making the record public while the Leatherbacks are still around to confirm it will ensure its credibility. So congratulations, Willelmus Telescopy, you managed to get the truth out there and hopefully not end with anybody getting killed who didn't want to kill anybody else. And that is probably a feat worthy of its own biography.

May Celestia herself guide you to whatever lies after, and may someday your great works be known.

Damn, that's a good signoff.
Same to you, Big C.:twilightsmile:

Healed his ribs but not his apples!!!!?????:flutterrage:
Celestia WTF!!!!!!!!! And after all the trouble they went through for you!

3200990
This was actually Ralph's first story. In my mind, he is voiced by Danny DeVito.

3201071
I kinda see him as more of a Vincent Gambini myself, but whatever works! :)

A beautiful ending indeed :) thanks for another wonderful story *hug* I wonder what to read next? Perhaps I'll read a bunch of the short ones. I'm trying to avoid Code Majeste as long as I can because it sounds super-depressing, but I know I'll have to read it eventually.

3204114
I don't, generally, write super depressing. Oddly, Majeste is an adventure, and it ends happily, if very strangely. That happy ending is further explored in Tales Of Los Pegasus.

I think I have written only one super depressing story, and it is a short one, done experimentally.

Well now there's no way I can not-reread this.

Comment posted by ngrey651 deleted May 1st, 2014
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