Chapter Three: Hay
While The Sun Shines
believe you actually went to a Human Liberation Front meeting. That
seems very scary to me, to tell you the truth. I guess I can
understand, from what you wrote, how they could feel the way they do.
I've already come to the conclusion that the emergence of Equestria
was probably deliberate. But I no longer feel it is a true invasion.
Like I said, I see it more as a salvage operation.
agree with you that the works of humanity are being erased by this
thing. But really, is that such a big deal compared with what
Equestria offers us all? Let me see if I can sway you with something
I got to experience the other day.
I was out
trotting around - I figured that I would try to see a little more of
the village I have been stationed in. Fetlock isn't very large, but
I've seen very little of it, just the school for newfoals, the
impromptu barracks they set up for us in two barns here, and of
course my excursion to Greater Fetlock. I wanted to see how the
locals live, what the land was like.
a lot of fields, as you can imagine, grains, mostly. A few rather
comfy homes and quite a lot of barns. It's pretty much like something
out of an old twoD from before the nanoage. Probably earth looked
like this, once.
looking at a swarm of butterflies - they still live out in the open
here, and wow, I have to tell you that butterflies are pretty
amazing. They are really beautiful. They are everywhere here.
Sometimes it's like trotting through clouds of colors.
reading once about how, back in the 1700's, sailing ships would
encounter masses of butterflies as they approached shore, vast clouds
of the creatures that extended for tens of kilometers. I could never
imagine that could actually be true, it certainly wasn't even by the
early nineteenth century, and of course it would be impossible now,
but since I have come to Equestria, I can believe those accounts.
There once was beauty to the earth, Stephen. I am confident of that now.
butterflies aren't the cloud I want to tell you about.
how I said that physics was different here? I got a close up look at
just how different, thanks to a new friend, a pegasus pony,
Skysinger. Sky likes to sing, hence his name, and while I was gawking
at the butterflies, I heard him up above me. He has a pretty good
heard that right. Weather has to be manufactured, here - Nature
doesn't run itself in Equestria, like back on earth, we have to make
it run. The Pegasai, as I mentioned in my last letter, are in charge
of weather, and if our crops are to grow, we need rain. The cool
thing is, the rain can be ordered as needed, like ordering something
off of Hyperbay or Megazon.
So there I
was, and Sky was up above me placing clouds. The first thing I
noticed is that the heavens above seem a lot closer than on earth. I
don't think Equestria is as much a planet as it is a place, whatever
that means. You'd probably know more about that stuff than me. But
the clouds were pretty close, and so was Skysinger, and well, I
basically introduced myself.
short, I don't think I dislike pegasai anymore. Sky's a good pony.
What was really cool, though was that he brought a cloud down for me.
earth, clouds just look like a thing, a defined thing, because they
are so far away, and so huge. You drive into one, or fly
into one, and that illusion is dispelled really quickly - a cloud is
no different than fog on the ground, and there is no edge or boundary
to it. It just gradually gets thicker the closer you get, until you
are in fog, right? Not so with Equestrian clouds.
clouds like I imagined when I was just a child. They are really thick
and opaque, and they have a very clear boundary. They look like
objects, pony-scale objects. The cloud Sky brought me was just a
baby, maybe the size of a motorcycle. It just hung there, in front of
me, just above the path. I trotted all around it. I touched it with a
hoof, and there was no resistance, my hoof just went in. It came back
sopping wet, though. It's like the clouds in Equestria are super
dense, but still made out of water vapor. I even stuck my head in. I
came out dripping, but it was awesome. Sky thought I looked pretty
silly after that, but I laughed too, my mane did get good and soaked.
the wild part; all this time, Sky was standing on the cloud. Like it
was a rock or something. The cloud was solid for Sky. It is the
darndest thing to see. Pegasai can just clop all over clouds, like
they were solid things, and they can push them and move them with
their hooves, too. I don't know how this can be, except, you guessed
is something I think you should consider when you are weighing what
the HLF has to say, Stephen. We are talking real, honest to Celestia
magic here. This is a magical realm. Magic makes this place welcoming
to life, not hostile to it.
think about all the things humans have done, it's all been about
surviving a hostile universe. Weather can kill you, plants can kill
you, animals can kill you, hunger, heat, cold, disease, exposure to
ultraviolet light from the sun - everything can hurt or kill you on
earth. So humans had to make cleverer and cleverer ways to avoid the
natural world altogether, so they could live longer, with less
live shut up in giant cities, in huge hives of steel and plascreet,
and the price of that artificial environment has been the destruction
of all the other life on the earth. The place is stripmined and
poisoned and so messed up that if you haven't had cancer three times
by the age of thirty, doctors get concerned. I'm not saying humans
are evil, all they've ever done is just try to not suffer. The real
fault is the universe itself - it's a hard place to live.
Equestria's universe, if that is what it is, is a nice place to live.
It's like it was created, deliberately, unlike the earth and the
universe you live in. This isn't a land of random forces and
evolution - Equestria is like the old fairy stories about gods making
the world. This is a kind place, where life is meant to be here, not
an accident of chemistry in an uncaring cosmos.
have been very clever, but only because they have had to be, just to
deal with the horror. All human fantasies are about a world where
things aren't so harsh. That place exists, Stephen right behind that
Barrier you see on the newsfeeds. The only price is a little change
of species, from ape to pony.
All I can
say is, I don't regret my conversion one bit, not for a moment. I
played with butterflies in sunlight that cannot burn my hide. I stuck
my head in a magic cloud. Nothing in the works of Man can top that.
I'd trade all the works of humankind for more of that in an instant.
Just think about it. Yes, Shakespear is probably too dark for
Ponykind. But what are a few stage plays to the wonder of real,
actual magic, every day, with no sickness (of any concern, anyway)
and no poverty?
almost no poverty. I saw my first homeless pony this week. Sort of
homeless. Let me explain.
can't starve in Equestria - we eat grass, and the stuff grows
everywhere. I mean everywhere, tasty flowers too. It's like living
inside a perpetual banquet, all the time. So, you are probably
asking, why do we bother to grow crops? Why grow hay, and alfalfa,
and celery and carrots and suchlike? Hey, there's eating, and then
there's dining. It's one thing to not go hungry, and another entirely
to sup on the tenderest shoots and the most savory hothouse flowers.
Not to mention pies, cakes, stews and soups. You can survive on
grass, but it takes home cookin' (or a good restaurant) to make
feed-time happy time.
this pony - I didn't catch her name. She was blue in every sense of
the word, skulking about at the edge of the trees, not far from our
newfoal barracks. According to one of the locals, she had been
haunting the area for a while. Nopony knew where she had come from,
because she didn't seem to want to talk about it, but it was clear
she was just wandering, homeless.
dressed funny, too, like some shabby wizard or some stage magician.
She had a big hat, and a cape, which were looking pretty ragged. I
tried to say hello, but she just galloped off. She looked pretty sad.
there is poverty, or some kind of rejection or shunning that can
happen here in Equestria - I don't know the story here - but unlike
back on earth, I can be sure of one thing: whoever she was, I know
she is not going to die starving and sick, lost down some alley,
covered in soot, cesium, and nanodust. The locals plainly said that
if she was willing to talk, they'd help her out. And they
would. There is more than enough to go around, all the time. So, it
isn't like earth, where, if you are poor, or out of work, you cease
being a pony anymore.
comes back, I intend to chase her down and see if I can get her to
open up. Maybe all she needs is somepony willing to try a little harder.
stop trying to proselytize you with the Glory Of Celestia, and tell
you about my date. You remember the unicorn, Perspicuity, the
telescope maker from my last letter, right?
took her to the best restaurant I could afford. We newfoals are
provided a small allowance during our education, until we are able to
find the work that best suits us. I haven't had much to spend mine
on, so I've been saving it up. Money here is called 'bits', and it is
all tiny coins made out of gold. I think it is gold, anyway.
our bits in little bags which can be hung off of our manes. Mane hair
is pretty thick and sturdy, and the bags have a little comb-hook
thing that snags in there real solidly. Getting bits in and out of
the bag takes some practice, but that bonus dexterity stuff really
helps with that.
things only cost a bit or two. I don't know what gold is worth here,
relative to the earth credit, but it does seem that gold and precious
jewels are pretty common. Those telescopes that Perspicuity makes?
Many were covered in jemstones, and some had decorative elements made
of what must be gold. Economics here is kind of confusing.
example, I can buy a crate of apples for three to five bits. A whole
crate, and they are some darn good apples. But a full night out on
the town, like I had with Perspicuity, only ran me about fifteen
bits. Maybe eight bits for dinner, another four for the show we saw,
and the rest just kind of went. I think we had ice cream later. I
don't remember all the details after the show, she was kind of taking
up all my attention by then.
mentioned Shakespeare, and threevee shows and all the art humans
make, well, ponies have artists too. The show I took Perspicuity to
was pretty good. It was a musical, and I don't usually like musicals,
but hey, I thought, fillies do, so, you know the idea. I actually
found myself having a pretty good time. Imagine that!
was about this stallion that was given a quest outside of the
boundaries of Equestria, to bring back a rare plant that could save a
little filly that had ventured into the Everfree Forest. She'd been
attacked by some monsterous thing I've never heard the likes of
before - apparently outside of Equestria it is monster city or
something. Me, I'm staying out of monster forests, thank you. But in
this knightly stallion goes, with a blade on his helmet and armor on
his back. It was pretty cool looking, I have to say.
fights all these strange monsters right out of the Lord Of The Rings
or Narnia or whatever, and I have to say they did the effects pretty
well. They used puppetry and lighting effects, and it wasn't bad.
Long story short, he gets the plant, saves the filly, and hooks up
with her mom. I'm not saying it was the best thing ever written, but
it had really catchy music -I'm still humming the stallion's theme-
and some great choreography. If there were any small towns left on
earth, I think they would have been proud to have done a show half as good.
seemed to appreciate it. Quite a lot, actually.
I'm dating a unicorn, is what I am saying. Who knew? First I didn't
like unicorns, now I seriously like one of them. Then I didn't like
pegasai, but now it seems I have a friend who is one. This place does
stuff to a pony, stuff that seems to melt away being angry.
the colt, Rocket, isn't so annoying anymore. Seems he was such a mess
because his parents abandoned him so they could live in an exclusive,
elite-class condo. Didn't allow kids, so they just up and left. He
came home to an empty apartment with only a note and a creditstick
with enough to get by for a few weeks. How can humans do that to each
I guess I've kind of ended up feeling sorry for him. It'll probably
be a bad idea, he's already starting to get clingy. Oh well, I always
was a sucker for a sad story. At least I don't want to hoof him
across the barn anymore.
I'm sorry about Addy. You can do better than her. Finding her with
that guy, well, it would have made me mad too. I don't blame you one
bit. She just wasn't the relationship type, I guess. That's all I'll
say, other than you deserve better, my friend. I'm sorry I can't be
there for you. Hey, you could always come here. I know a nice unicorn
that has a sister. Just saying.
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