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Fanfic / The Mask Makes The Pony

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The Mask Makes The Pony is a direct sequel to The Masks We Wear and is written by Kudzuhaiku as part of The Weedverse.

Flicker Nicker is a colt who has just earned his Cutie Mark, so goes to Canterlot to join the Rat Catcher's Guild. Making friends with two fellow apprentices, Hennessey Walker and Piper Pie, he joins the endless war against plague and pests. He's very quickly dragged into the greater Weedverse conflict, and some of the deepest magic of the world.



  • Abnormal Ammo: The shotgun that Flicker is given, once the magical shells are added.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: While Flicker, Hennessey, Piper and Dr. Sterling investigate the attack on Manehattan, the rats invade the Guild. By the end of the night, the Canterlot Guild is lost and the Manehattan Guild has been gutted.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Piper finds her mother's protectiveness highly embarrassing.
  • Ancient Tradition: Lucerna Perpetuum, as before. Flicker, Hennessey and Piper are all inducted as payment for providing Flicker with a powerful artifact.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Any time the apprentices do something stupid, Dr. Sterling tends to respond this way. Mister Chandler does it as well, periodically.
  • The Atoner: Radiant Hope and Sombra. Their exact crimes are unknown, but Lima Bean herself has cursed them.
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  • Badass Bookworm: Expected of Guild members.
  • Badass Gay: Dr Sterling, Flicker and Hennessey.
  • Badass Longcoat: Rarity makes one for Flicker at his request.
  • Badass Pacifist: The Guild recognises this trope exists, and lets its members take a Pacifist's Writ, allowing them to contribute without having to kill. It's not an easy ride though, as the Guild expects everyone to contribute equally, so a pony with a Writ has to work harder to make up. Doesn't stop Hennessey taking one.
  • Bad Dreams: Piper starts getting them after some particularly harrowing experiences.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Unusual in that it's the entity in question (Chronos) that makes the offer, but saving Flicker after he gets thrown from a window during battle costs a life and more.
  • Bandage Mummy: Definitely not played for laughs with Hennessey when he's in intensive care after the fall of the Guild.
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  • Batman Gambit: How the enemy gets Moon Rose. They knew she'd be magicked to Manehattan's Stiff Upper Lip society if attacked, and were able to overcome the guardians there.
  • Bears Are Bad News: An encounter with a rabid bear seriously injures Flicker when he jams a stick of dynamite into its eye socket.
  • Berserk Button: Flicker finds rats in general this.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Flicker's love for his little sister is a major motivation to him. Later on, Piper also benefits from his instincts.
  • Black-and-White Morality: How Flicker sees the world, but not how it actually is.
  • Black Magic: Piper's piping accidentally turns into this during the purge of Ponyville as negative emotions related to her parent's dislike of her magic taint her music.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Flicker orders a burrito covered in salsa de asesinato, to the complaints of his companions.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than most of The Weedverse, given the subject matter. The farm aerator being a particularly notable early example.
  • Bond Creature: After Flicker becomes Chronos' champion, he gains a link to Spud that he doesn't quite understand, but he begins seeing what Spud experienced during the fall of the Guild.
  • Brick Joke: Dr. Sterling reckons he'll be telling Mr Chandler the aerator story over brandy. Later on, we see the telling of the story, and there is indeed brandy.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: On her first mission, Piper gets a case of this.
  • Burying a Substitute: A statue is raised in place of burying Dr. Sterling, as his body was destroyed in the explosion that killed him and Contagion.
  • Call-Back: Chronos mentions Project Eternity, the god-maker project that he and his brother (amongst others) were the result of.
  • Chained Heat: Dr. Sterling and Wicked Chandler were subjected to this by Princess Celestia. It worked.
  • Child Soldiers: The Rat-Catcher's Guild counts as military for the purposes of calling up the militia, and the articles of militia haven't been updated in almost a thousand years, leading to the Guild's apprentices being called up as well. This trope helps to calm the riots they're called into deal with, as it forces the bureaucrats revolting against reforms in the bureaucracy to face just how outdated some bits of it are.
  • The Chosen One: Because of Flicker's cutie mark, the population of Canterlot latch onto him as their saviour from the rat plague, continuing the process of his Enshrinement.
  • Creepy Good: The Guild as a whole tends towards this. Flicker creeps out even other Guild members on occasion.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The guild will take any weapon it can use to fight rats.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The story is about the main characters growing up and finding their place in the world.
  • Conscription: When Flicker begins expressing doubts in his calling after the fall of the Guild, a loudmouth threatens this. Fortunately, he's interrupted mid-sentence by Chesty McPuller.
  • Continuity Nod: Princess Celestia is noted as being patron of wainwrights, for reasons Dr. Sterling doesn't know. It's because, for some reason she doesn't know, her descendants have a talent for the trade.
  • Covert Pervert: Piper starts out as this, but once she's more comfortable it very rapidly becomes rather overt.
  • Cultured Badass: Part of the Guild's training is in culture, and several characters are attempting to turn Flicker into this.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Piper's response to Spud, to the cat's annoyance.
  • Darkest Hour: The seventies chapters, Dr. Sterling and most of the Guild are dead, Mr Balister might as well be, Wicked Chandler and all three main characters are badly wounded, the Canterlot Guild is lost and the Manehattan Guild badly damaged, it's been revealed that their masks have been subverted by the rats, Canterlot itself is under curfew with fighting in the streets, Contagion is ascended, and Flicker has had to sell his soul to just have things be that bad.
  • Dark Messiah: Contagion, to the rats.
  • Death of a Child: The Guild has a high turnover rate, and that includes the apprentices. There are also monsters who specifically prey on foals.
  • Death Glare: Quite common in the guild:
    Hard gazes and stern glares were graded in this fine establishment, and Piper was learning.
  • Deep South: The region Hennessey originates from resembles the worst stereotypes of this.
  • Dented Iron: The accumulation of injuries makes this quite common in the Guild, but the main characters start feeling this trope, particularly after the fall of the Guild.
  • Destination Defenestration: Flicker is thrown from a window by Contagion.
  • Detect Evil: Both Flicker and Hennessey have a variant. Flicker can detect rats, whilst Hennessey can smell disease. The Guild's masks have magical lenses that detect vermin. Piper's mother has an Inverted version, allowing her to find trustworthy ponies.
  • Devil's Job Offer: Chronos offers to save Flicker's life in exchange for servitude until Chronos' death. An unusual example, as the power offering the deal seriously tries to discourage the character from taking it, as they deserve to go on to the afterlife they've earned.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Flicker, while dying responds to Chronos' interrogation with angry defiance. Lima Bean approves of this, and uses it to explain exactly why she chose him.
  • Domestic Abuse: After Hennessey's mother helps him escape, she gets just as bad off his father. She's half-dead by the time she reaches Canterlot.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Lima Bean is kind and motherly, despite her role as a Psychopomp, and even her boss, the relatively acerbic Pale, cares about his job and the ponies under his care.
  • Dope Slap: By Chronos to Pale, when the latter is complaining about how Chronos is always too busy to take care of the menial parts of being a god, so he has to do it all.
  • Dream Walker: Contagion becomes this after his death and ascension.
  • Dual Wielding: Flicker's preferred fighting style.
  • The Eeyore: Pale is exceptionally pessimistic, having to watch mortals deal with the thing that tortured him and his fellow gods to death is probably at least partially to blame.
  • Enemy Mine: Invoked by Flicker when trying to calm the bureaucrat's riot. He gets Piper to summon the rats, forcing the rioters and militia to work together to drive them off.
  • Epic Fail: Flicker's first alchemy lesson with Night Light. We see up until they begin the practical. Then cut to after the session, where Flicker returns to his room, still smouldering.
  • Everyone Can See It: Piper and Twisty are the first to notice Flicker's attraction to Hennessey and vice versa. His father is next, and at that point he has a long conversation with Flicker.
  • Fantastic Racism: The community Hennessey originates from doesn't appreciate unicorns. Or anything that isn't an earth pony. Also, Johann Bark is struggling to get started as a pianist because he is a diamond dog, something Octavia calls out Canterlot High Society for.
  • Fire Purifies: Fire is dangerous to undead and vampiric entities.
  • Food as Bribe: The apprentices receive better quality food if they do well on tests or take on more chores.
  • Fun T-Shirt: During Flicker's fencing exam, a portion of the spectators (Piper, Hennessy, and Doctor Sterling) show up in bright yellow shirts with "LORD DEATH OF MURDER MOUNTAIN FAN CLUB" written in bright pink.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Heroic variant. The Guild wears gas masks as part of their job.
  • Geometric Magic: Beneath Canterlot it is discovered that the rats are using a form of scribe-based magic to set up wards and traps.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Powers reveal that prayer gives beings power, both the Alicorns worshipped by the ponies and the champions of the rats can benefit from it. Among the powers granted is a limited ability to persist beyond death, a fact exploited by Grogar, to allow Contagion's Thanatos Gambit to function, and later Flicker also begins receiving prayer.
  • Götterdämmerung: Grogar was responsible for one in the distant past. The Gods are still around as the Powers That Be but they're no longer what they were.
  • The Grim Reaper: Lima Bean, who makes Flicker her champion.
  • Healing Factor: Contagion has developed this power, make it near-impossible to kill.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Sterling pins Contagion in place and fills the room with gas before setting off every grenade he can reach in order to kill it. Shortly afterwards, we learn Mr Balister stayed behind to buy time for students to flee the Canterlot Guild when it fell. He wasn't killed (although he was expecting to be), and the other survivors don't know how he managed it, despite being carved apart by claw and spellfire.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Rat Catcher's Guild, due to their successes largely being unknown and the Creepy Good motif demanded of them by their job.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Hennessey's family were this, which caused problems for him.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Flicker does not approve of what his hormones are doing to him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Flicker's death, resulting in the Devil's Job Offer above, is by impalement on a fence spike after being thrown from a window.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After the aerator incident, Dr. Sterling reckons he'll be telling the story over brandy, or whiskey, or brandy and then whiskey.
  • It Can Think: The guild has several of these moments during their war against the rats, particularly when a rat sabotages the Canterlot airdock and plans for its own escape from a crashing airship, and when they discover the magical traps in the sewers while investigating the attack on Moon Rose.
  • It's Always Sunny at Funerals: Flicker's internal monologue disapproves of the weather at Dr. Sterling's funeral.
  • Le Parkour: Part of Guild training, as they need to be able to move quickly.
  • Like a Son to Me: Dr. Sterling says that he sees Flicker and Hennessey as his sons as his final goodbye to them before he destroys himself and Contagion.
  • Literal-Minded: Flicker is this.
  • Love at First Sight: Discussed, as Hennessey appears subject to the trope. Dr. Sterling chooses to be an optimist, and believe there is more to it than lust.
  • Malaproper: Hennessey has a mild case of this, due to a lack of education. He's trying to get better, and is pleased that Flicker doesn't make him feel stupid for it.
  • Magitek: The masks the Guild uses involve quite a lot of this.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Dr. Sterling's. It's overflowing with mourners. Luna is seen weeping into Gosling's shoulder, Silver Spoon (Dr. Sterling's niece) offers Flicker a place in her family due to Dr. Sterling considering him a son, Wicked Chandler delivers a eulogy that he doesn't manage to finish, so Luna takes over, and in the end, Flicker (with Gosling's help) makes a declaration that they will continue his work, being a light to others even as they go to darkness. Also, during the funeral, Flicker sees Dr. Sterling there, along with Lima Bean.
  • Mercy Kill: Part of Guild culture. They get exposed to a lot of horrific diseases, and occasionally, they contract one. This is often the result.
  • Moment Killer: Piper interrupts an intimate moment between Flicker and Hennessy. She suggests they carry on anyway.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Spud, as is standard for his breed, has hyperdontia.
  • Mook Horror Show: Any time the Guild begins a purge, the fate of the vermin they're purging is made quite gruesomely clear.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Overcoming this attitude is part of Flicker's Character Development.
  • The Nameless: The Power that oversees magic is known only as "The Nameless One".
  • Neat Freak: Cleaning up after a job is just as important as the job itself to prevent disease.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Part of the Guild traditions.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Common in the Guild. Flicker and Piper in particular show some tendencies towards this.
  • Non-Human Undead: Grogar is creating undead rats, something that Lima Bean wants to rectify.
  • No-Sell: Flicker's mind is rather resistant to attempts to shock it with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. It's speculated that even Grogar unleashing the Black Void on him wouldn't do much.
    Lima Bean: His brain has the consistency of a well-boiled pudding.
  • No Sense of Humor: Flicker suffers from this, although his friends are trying to educate him.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Flicker has one, despite being too young for the time he's nostalgic about, about how ponies didn't used to be coddled and were tougher. Piper points out that this wasn't a good thing, as the hardship forced many cruelties, and that Flicker and Hennessey in particular would suffer, as homosexuality was a crime.
  • Not So Above It All: Chronos seems the most dignified of the trio of Powers That Be that show up, until a mortal completely shakes off the revelation of the true nature of eternity, flabbergasting him, and he Dope Slaps his brother.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The fight in Manehattan, involving most of the Stiff Upper Lip HQ defending Moon Rose, Sumac and Pebble against Grogar's minions. None of them survived, although their charges did, and the main characters are left with the job of investigating.
  • The Only One Allowed To Kill You: Grogar insisted that Contagion must be the one to kill Flicker. The reason isn't yet known, but may be linked to them both being Enshrined entities.
  • On One Condition: Flicker is Dr. Sterling's heir on the condition that he continue Madam Pakora's employment. This isn't a problem, as the inheritance easily covers her salary.
  • Parental Abuse: Hennessey's father was seriously abusive due to his son's homosexuality.
  • Plague Doctor: The Guild wears this sort of outfit due to its practicality for their job.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Flicker doesn't quite have a permanent frown, but the times when he doesn't attract notice.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Subverted by the motto of The Underwatch, as suggested by Piper:
    Piper Pie: Pertinax mater irrumator praetores.note 
  • The Powers That Be: They're rather more directly involved in this story than in preceding ones in The Weedverse, with Lima Bean, Chronos and Pale all having a direct impact on the plot.
  • Power Trio: Flicker, Hennessey and Piper. There's a reason Lucerna Perpetuum wants all of them.
  • Precision F-Strike: Flicker's response to the true form of the grandmother-monster.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Guild leadership favours this approach.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Why Malfeasance is helping the heroes, and his good behaviour is enforced by a Geas and the presence of Warden Maestus.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Works on normal zombies, but not Grogar's undead rats.
  • Sadistic Choice: When Flicker is brought back by Chronos, he must choose which one of his friends dies in his place.
  • Seers: Malfeasance can create magical eyes for remote viewing, as well as seeing through solid objects. This is why he is used by the Wardens, he's too useful to ignore. Of course, they don't trust him, and like him even less.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When faced with a dream-walking monster that won't stay dead, and is threatening to inflict nightmares on all living things and is crawling through his head to make an A God Am I-themed Breaking Speech, Flicker chooses to spit in his face, and deliver the following:
    Flicker Nicker: Oh, shut up! If you were capable of actually hurting me, you would have done so by now! You’re just showing off! You’re no different than a colt discovering his dick for the first time and thinking it’s the greatest thing ever!
  • Slasher Smile: Flicker tends to wear one on the job, fortunately, it can't usually be seen.
  • So Proud of You: Dr. Sterling is truly proud of what the Power Trio have achieved.
  • Stern Teacher: All the Guild tutors, but Mr Balister stands out.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: How the rabid bear is destroyed.
  • The Stoic: Flicker.
  • Team Pet: Spud.
  • Thanatos Gambit: If Flicker's nightmares are to be believed (and they probably can, a Dream Walker is involved), Grogar and Contagion deliberately planned the latter's explosive end to allow it to Come Back Strong.
  • That's an Order!: When Dr. Sterling tells Flicker to flee the bear. It doesn't work, and Flicker nearly gets himself killed.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. When Flicker has cutie mark problems the Guild arranges a meeting with the CMC, as part of Cadance's crusade against this trope.
  • Training from Hell: The Guild puts its apprentices through hell. It's necessary to keep them alive, the job does not allow for mistakes.
  • Transparent Closet: Hennessey. Not that it lasts very long.
  • Unfortunate Names: Justice Good Reason is aware of the trope.
    Justice Good Reason: Good day, Mister Nicker. My name is Justice Good Reason. You are permitted a moment to laugh.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Lampshaded by Flicker, when Piper, faced with Flicker's enthusiastic use of a farm aerator for rat-killing, shrieks:
  • Walking the Earth: Radiant Hope and Sombra, due to a curse by Lima Bean.
  • Walk the Plank: Discussed, Dr. Sterling jokes that infractions aboard the Don't Panic will be punished with this. Flicker Nicker spends some time looking for the plank.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Flicker's magic isn't terribly strong, so Night Light provides him a wand to help.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Mr. Balister's fate after the fall of the Guild, using Centaur tech.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Asked by Piper upon meeting Malfeasance. The only explanation he offers is that he was "not a good foal".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Flicker has a phobia of spiders, so of course the monster S.M.I.L.E. hires him to kill is arachnoform.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Flicker is used as bait to lure out a monster preying on foals and avoiding the adults.
  • Vader Breath: Mr. Balister after his rebuilding.
  • Vampire Hunter: Doctor Fiasco, the last Slayer.
  • Vomiting Cop: The aftermath of the aerator incident causes Dr. Sterling to suffer this trope.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Mister Balister stayed behind to buy time for students to escape the Guild when it fell; he didn't die, but he was torn apart.


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