Chapter Two: Three
learning a lot about Equestria this week. From outside, where you
are, Equestria seems like heaven. It's green and lush, and filled
with singing and food and fun. But there is a darker side to pony
life. Well, not exactly dark, not like out there with the terrorists
and the corporate wars and the cesium in the tapwater and all that,
but still, it surprised me a little.
this is not an egalitarian, everyone is equal society. Equestrian
life is highly stratified, and there is definitely some tensions
going on. We feel it most clearly here in Earth Pony society. It
isn't just the unicorns, the pegasai are even worse.
society is set up like a three-layer cake, with two cherries on top.
The bottom layer, which does all the real work, growing food,
building roads and buildings, basically hauling the dung
(literally!), that's us, the Earth Ponies. We are the tax base for
the whole society, and taxes are fairly high.
layer up is the unicorns. Those horns let them do the fiddily bits,
the detail work, and they are kind of the middle class. They make the
clocks, sew the clothing, write all the important books, become
doctors or students of magic or anything that requires brains and
fine control. They live pretty well as a rule, and not out on the farm.
are the pegasai. Pegasai have one function in Equestria, they
manufacture and distribute weather. Seriously. Equestria is some kind
of controlled environment, every thing we would call the 'natural
world' has to be done by us, by the ponies. We Earth-types don't just
plant seeds, apparently our actions literally make things grow. They
wouldn't without our tending. There would be no weather without the
Pegasai. In their cloud cities - they can walk on clouds and sculpt
clouds into permanent structures - they have factories, I am told,
for making everything from snowflakes to rainclouds.
for a moment what power they represent. No pony can stand up to them,
no insurrection would be possible against their rule. They can
construct and deploy tornadoes at will. Lightning storms. Freeze the
countryside forever, if they so wished. It is no surprise that more
than fifty percent of the taxes collected in Equestria go to
supporting their lavish, literally pie-in-the-sky lifestyles. They
can't grow food on cloud, it seems. Everything has to be brought up
to their floating cities from below. Think of them as the
super-wealthy, the corporate gods of Equestria.
cherries on the top of the cake are our princesses, Celestia and
Luna. They have both wings and horns, the only ponies of their type.
They aren't like anypony else. I'm not even sure they are actually
made of flesh. I got a glimpse of Celestia, from a distance, when I
first arrived, and her mane doesn't look like hair - it looks like a
curtain of light and energy. I think the princesses are energy
beings, like from the old sci-fi shows, devoid of a true physical
body. I don't think they are real creatures, in the way ponies and
humans are. I think they only look more or less like ponies because
it suits their purpose.
is absolute, and, from the inside, I am sure the story they have told
the world about why Equestria is expanding isn't the whole story.
There is no overpopulation here. Why they are allowing us newfoals in
is anypony's guess. I think the conversion bureaus really are a
the deal: I'm really OK with that. Go Equestria! Let's face it, we've
made a royal crapsack of the earth, and maybe Mankind just doesn't
make the cut. I think maybe the princesses are doing a salvage
operation. I think they are salvaging a dying planet, before it
entirely goes down.
maybe now that I am a pony, I can't help but think this way. I wonder
about that one, sometimes. I've tried to see if me, now, would agree
on such things with the me that you once knew. I think I would agree
with myself, but maybe you can tell me if that is true.
I guess I
don't dislike the unicorns as much as I thought, now. Let me tell you
about one I met.
after pony school, we had finally finished our door. We fixed these
really nice, brass handles on it, it turned out pretty sweet. I'm
proud of that door. From log to door, dang. I've never felt proud of
a door before.
were heading into town. Town is Greater Fetlock. I live in just plain
Fetlock, which is basically a tiny farming community, Greater Fetlock
is a few kilometers down the road, and it is a bustling mid-sized
city. They don't just have a general store, they have shops and
restaurants and a park. I was pretty excited to be seeing it, after
all those weeks down on the farm.
colt I told you about, the newfoal kid who annoys me was with us, as
was about half of the class. The punk calls himself 'Rocket Racer',
and everytime I hear that name I want to buck him in the flanks. I
don't see anything wrong with taking an Equestrian-styled name, heck,
I'm trying to figure out one for myself (any suggestions?) Human
names just kind of stick out here, and get a funny look. I want to
fit in, only reasonable, really. But if I do finally settle on a new
name, it isn't going to be some crazy-ass thing like 'Rocket Racer'.
I mean, they don't even HAVE rockets here. Get a clue, dumbcolt.
So the kid
is going on about some dung I don't know what, and suddenly gallops
off, I guess he saw something 'cool' or whatever. Glimmershine, our
instructor, told us to stick together on our first trip to the city,
and by Luna, that is what I figured we should do. So, off we go to
find the little snot.
Fetlock still looks like a Renaissance Faire, but it is a fancy one,
unlike Just Fetlock. There are stalls of really great looking stuff,
shops for just about anything a pony could need, or for that matter,
just covet. But where we ended up was a telescope store.
figured the kid for the science type, but apparently he likes him
some serious telescope. Or maybe it was the vague 'steampunk' thing
going on with all of the brass and polished wood. But there we all
are, in and around this funny looking shop, filled with telescopes
and at least one microscope.
things were really primitive. Lenses and tubes. But they were
beautiful, just works of art. They looked like the kind of thing rich
humans would have to show off how little price meant to them. I can't
imagine any of them were very powerful, at least by outside
standards. But they were pretty, I'll give 'em that.
kid, Rocket (ugh!), is craning his neck to look through this big
telescope, it has to be the most expensive one there, of course, and
he doesn't keep track of his hindquarters. He knocks over this
sweet-looking brass job, and it bangs into another and so on, and
we're looking a full-on disaster here.
already told you about how we ponies seem to get gifted with some
kind of super-dexterity. Next thing I know I am diving across the
floor, all four hooves out, somehow catching telescopes. It's not
like I can grab anything, of course, but balancing things on my
hooves has become trivial. Pretty soon I have a telescope on each
hoof, and I'm lying on my back, still sliding on the floor, and of
course I hit the kid's hind legs and he just sits on my face. Yeah,
point I hear a mixture of upset and laughter coming from somewhere
past Rocket Racer's big fat ass, and I don't dare move because I can
just picture all the telescopes hitting the floor and smashing to
bits. It was not one of my best moments.
that the voice belonged to the owner of the shop, a cute little mare
named Perspicuity. She's probably about as old as me, and a thousand
times better to look at. She really appreciated my efforts to save
her creations from destruction.
'Retard Rock-head' was off of me, and made to apologize (I swear,
someday, -buck-, right in the flank, both hooves) I had a chance to
properly say hello.
when I finally noticed Perspicuity was a unicorn.
that horn of hers to lift and float all the telescopes back to
upright, and I have to say I had mixed feelings. I haven't felt
kindly towards unicorns since I arrived in Equestria, feeling that
they are loners, have it too easy, and don't know the meaning of
work. But the back of her shop was filled with benches of the most
complicated parts and pieces, and she had a set-up for dealing with
casting metal. I wouldn't dare work with molten metal, not with teeth
and hooves. Baking those cupcakes was hot enough for my muzzle, thank you.
didn't make a good impression on me with her first words about 'we
country bumpkins' crashing through her store like 'wild-eyed
manticores' (what the heck is a manticore? Could you look that up for
me? No hypernet here), but like I said, she was a looker.
you'll be all curious about how it is that a former human could find
a pony attractive. Listen, I'm a pony now, so let's just leave it at
that. The taste of food has changed for me, and I guess other tastes
have changed as well. I think about human women I knew, and nothing.
Less than nothing, they are like strange animals, beasts, to me. I
guess whatever controls that stuff gets changed when we change. Just
try to imagine Perspicuity as a really pretty woman, if it helps.
out that this country bumpkin, meaning myself, had just saved a heck
of a lot of telescopes, sacrificing my dignity in the process, so
that maybe she was judging some ponies a little harshly.
credit, she apologized with grace.
short, I've got a date lined up with her tomorrow. I guess unicorns
aren't so bad after all.
you how it went, next letter. For now, I've got a certain little pony
to have a talk with about running off.
know whether to finally kick him, or thank him.
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