This article covers a work that may not be suitable for children.
The story's cover art on FIMFiction
|Date published||October 22, 2012|
Slice of Life
|Show connection||A Canterlot Wedding|
The story is written in the first-person, past-tense, and the full thoughts of the protagonist are presented to the reader. The story begins without any description of the protagonist. As the story progresses, small hints and details about the protagonist are given, as well as hints as to the ending. None of the hints will give away the answer, despite narrowing down the possibilities. As the story comes to a close, the identity of the protagonist is still not directly stated. Instead, the final hint as to whom the protagonist is given, and at that point the answer becomes obvious, and all the previous hints become relevant. Hints are still dropped at this point, but are of the sorts that are there to make the ending more understandable.
The story starts with the anonymous protagonist leaving the train station and entering Ponyville. The protagonist's thoughts reflect on how peaceful the town is, as well as how much it changed from last time the protagonist was here. It is revealed immediately that the protagonist is wearing a thick brown coat (article of clothing, not the color of the fur), and has some saddlebags. The protagonist's attention soon catches the sight of some gorgeous dresses being displayed in the window of a store called "Silver Spoon's Closet". Each dress was beautifully crafted with a unique design for each one, and they are credited as being the work of Rarity. The protagonist is then approached by a mailmare with blond hair, a gray coat, and golden eyes, who immediately assumes the protagonist is from Stalliongrad due to the protagonist's thick brown coat. After some quick discussion about how Stalliongrad's wall came down five years ago, the protagonist asks about where would be a good hotel to stay for the night. The protagonist is surprised upon hearing the response "Sparkle's Inn".
The protagonist then navigates to a large building made out of a tree, which happens to be "Sparkle's Inn". At the check in counter, the protagonist mentions to the earth pony manning the check-in counter that this place used to be a library. However, the earth pony simple looks confused at this remark. The protagonist then asks for the cheapest room available, to which she is given room 205 since room 202 is undergoing repairs, since the balcony window regularly needs to be re-fitted. The protagonist is not surprised at this news. The earth pony however is surprised when the protagonist suddenly picks up her room keys with magic, since ponies from Stalliongrad were all supposed to be earth ponies. The protagonist gives a shaky excuse that after the wall came down, the population became more diverse. Before going up to room 205, the protagonist notices a donation box to "Lady Rarity's Home for Orphan Foals".
In the room, the protagonist finds an old newspaper headlined: "The Fabulous Lady Rarity: World-Renown Fashionista from Ponyville Officially Commemorated by Princess Celestia in Canterlot", and it is revealed that the protagonist had already memorized the article before. The protagonist then quickly prepares to do what he/she came to Ponyville to do, before immediately setting off down the street to the local school. The old building had been replaced with a new one. Just as school ends, the protagonist stalks a pair of children to their home after hearing their mother call for them.
Once the protagonist enters the establishment, he/she talks with the mare running the place. The mare in question has white coat, purple mane, and a cutie mark of a mix between a heart and a musical note. The protagonist laughs when she sees the fact that this particular character has a family and sells wine. The protagonist then makes to buy some of the local brand, choosing the year 1002 which the mare makes a remark about how that was the year just before she got her cutie mark. The protagonist finally asks where the zebra Zecora might be found, to which he/she is directed to a new district of Ponyville populated almost entirely by Zebricans. The protagonist also asks the mare if she ever took singing for a career, but she replies that she didn't enjoy it as much as she would have liked, and didn't like the idea of living in the shadow of her great sister's image.
Once the protagonist navigates to the district Zecora lives in, he/she manages to quickly get directions to Zecora's residence. Once he/she manages to secure a meeting with the now esteemed Zebra, she asks her for some rat poison. Zecora gives her a vial of it for free, for Ponyville doesn't have any rat problems, and would never use poison even if they did. The protagonist then compliments the Zebra on her generosity, to which Zecora tells her that if she ventures in town long enough he/she (Zecora used 'you') would find a pony much greater in such respect. The protagonist makes a remark about his/her own age, implying that he/she is old.
The protagonist makes the journey to Sugarcube Corner next (although once again the reader has to figure this out himself, it isn't too difficult). Once there, he/she orders from Pumpkin Cake a glass of water, to which he/she is given one for free. He/she then waits for someponies to arrive, contemplating how "We always went to Sugarcube Corner on Fridays." The protagonist's nerves are almost at breaking points when the door opens to reveal Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy looking in healthy and happy conditions, later followed by Rainbow Dash, then finally Rarity and Pinkie Pie. It is revealed that Twilight Sparkle got married to Caramel, and Applejack has her own sights set on the new mayor of the town. Rainbow Dash had joined the Wonderbolts, and Pinkie Pie was as cheerful and bouncy as ever.
Rarity, pays for the dinner of all her friends, and gives them all presents. As Pumpkin Cake bring them their order, the protagonist subtly causes one of the dishes to spill, and when she sets the tray down to clean up the mess the protagonist makes to poison Rarity’s dish with the rat poison acquired from Zecora. However, before the protagonist does so, Scootaloo shows up with some kids which turn out to be orphans from Rarity’s orphanage. They appear to idolize the mare, and Rarity shows deep concern for them. The protagonist then takes a look at one of the walls of the room, decorated with newspaper clippings; many of which detail the accomplishments and generosity of Rarity. The protagonist then decides not to poison her food. Before the protagonist leaves, Pumpkin refers to her as "ma'am" revealing the protagonist to be female.
The protagonist them makes her way to Carousel Boutique. Once inside Rarity's shop she notices that there is no small bed or water bowl in sight. The protagonist then makes her way to a record, sifts through the albums, and pulls out a vinyl record. She then plays the piece and listens to it until Rarity gets back from her weekly get-together with her friends. When Rarity confronts the protagonist, the protagonist lowers her hood and reveals her true identity to Rarity (but not the reader). Rarity pales, and crumples to the floor, mumbling about how she knew she would come for her. The protagonist then steers the conversation, revealing Rarity to in fact be a changeling. The changeling acting as Rarity then tells a sad story about how after Queen Chrysalis was killed by a griffon raid on the hive, most of the changeling doubles abandoned their posts, but she had stayed. This changeling continued to act as Rarity because the love she received was so great and made her very powerful. At the same time, the changeling felt guilty about the whole ordeal.
From the protagonist's perspective, she states that it was a real bummer to wake up all of a sudden in the hive surrounded by the other unfortunate victims just as the place got bombed to bits. However, the protagonist tells the changeling that a stallion leading an expedition into the fallen hive had dig her out, she say they had gotten married and had two sons. She then tells the changeling that she is going to go back to her "new" life and that she is going to trust her to take care of her old one, since she had already been more generous to Ponyville then she could ever have been. The changeling convinced that the real Rarity is happy with her new life, still feels guilty about her life being a lie. However, the real Rarity tells her that it is a "beautiful lie". The doppelganger gives the real Rarity the vinyl record as a parting gift before she leaves.
Rarity then goes back to Stalliongrad where the sounds of guerrilla warfare, screams, and garbage litter the streets. Walking over a drunken hobo, past the stench of dung, and the sounds of arguing and crying babies from the room of the other tenants in her apartment building, Rarity arrives at her one room apartment. The story about her having been rescued from the collapsed hive by a stallion to which she got married and had two sons with was a lie, the truth being that she had had to dig herself out of the fallen structure with her bare hooves, with scars to prove it. Rarity then plays her music, opens her wine bottle, pours herself a glass, and drinks the lot quickly. After some bitter-sweet refection about Ponyville, she sets down her glass, and falls asleep. However, she set her wineglass down beside an "uncapped emerald vial", which was the vial containing the rat poison, which being open means she used it, which heavily implies she drank it with her wine, which translates to the fact that she just committed suicide.
- The mailmare with the blond hair, gray coat, and golden eyes can be assumed to be Dinky particularly after she makes a comment about how she inherited her clumsiness from her mother.
- The fact that the balcony window doesn't fit properly "like somepony threw a boulder" through it at "Sparkle's Inn" alludes to when Twilight threw "Tom" through the window.
- The excuse that the protagonist gives to the earth pony at the check-in counter about how Stalliongrad's population became more diverse after the wall came down is shaky since it is obvious that the protagonist was in Stalliongrad long before the wall came down.
- The wine merchant mare with the white coat, purple mane, and cutie mark of a mix between a heart and a musical note, who referrers to herself as "Belle" can be assumed to be Sweetie Belle particularly after she mentions that she was "called 'sweet' before".
- The fact that there is no small bed and bowl of water in Carousel Boutique implies that Opal is no longer there, which after a comment about 20 years having gone by, implies that the cat is dead.