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Sundance is not rich. He's the son of two poor ponies, but he's got something of an obsession with genealogy, and after discovering he's the descendant of Princess Celestia, decides to pay her a visit, to reward himself for his hard work. Celestia, impressed by his competence and surprised that he genuinely wants nothing from her, "offers"note  him a recent vacated Lordship of a neglected fiefdom in the Clock Facenote . Mentored by Fancy Pants, he faces many challenges in repairing the Barony of House Sunfire.

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Firstly, none of his peasants are under 40. Secondly, they've had some bad experiences in the past. And the whole place stinksnote 

Part of The Weedverse by Kudzuhaiku, it can be read here.


This story contains examples of:

  • The Alleged House: The lord's tower is in such a poor state that Sundance honestly would rather live in a barn than the noble residence. His replacement cottage is barely better, with his first night in it making him more miserable than he's ever been, and realizing that this is how his peasants have lived for years pushes housing improvements up his priorities list.
  • Almighty Mom: Sundance's mother makes good use of this in her line of work (she's a policemare), using The Stare to disable criminals then drag them to the police station by their ears. There's a reason she's known as Officer Mom.
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  • Aloof Big Brother: Radiance seems to be trying to act like this, but has sufficient stored up ill-will from his siblings for his previous behaviour that he's got an uphill battle getting anything from them other than a temporary truce to deal with the present crisis.
  • Amazon Chaser: Sundance's focus when he's Eating the Eye Candy implies this, with him favouring tight muscle over any "jiggle".
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Subverted, while Nuance' conditionnote  is never specifically named, it's because Equestrian psychology has yet to name it, not because the author doesn't want to get caught out misportraying a specific real-world condition.
  • Amicable Exes: Sundance's parents are divorced, but friendly enough.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Earwax suffers a very bad break in an accident, and Cucumber expects to have to amputate it. It's very important to the story though, as the previous lord would have taken her out into the woods to die, due to no longer being able to work. Sundance wants to take her to Canterlot to receive medical attention, but the peasants don't believe him. He does get her to a hospital, but, despite the attentions of a healer, the leg is unrecoverable, though it is cleanly amputated.
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  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Played With, as they're triplets, but Nuance finds his twin Corbie's intrusion into his work rather annoying, particularly as she insists on snuggling him while doing so.
  • The Apprentice: Nuance appears as Blueblood's apprentice.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Sundance. After all, to succeed at his genealogy project, he'd have to be. This draws Raven's attention, due to the meticulousness of his worknote , and he gets conscripted.
  • Badass Pacifist: The CoG is an army of them, mustered by Gosling to fight a war against poverty.
  • Bathos: While musing on dark thoughts (beginning with the story noted in Identity Amnesia, below), Sundance finds his way to the palace, where he is ushered to a special waiting room designed to inspire, containing a portrait of Celestia and Luna that has been subjected to Mustache Vandalism and a letter written by a very young "Twiglit Sparkel"note  that (amongst other misspellings) is addressed to "Deer Celestia", along with a masterpiece of a statue of deer Celestia.
  • Bear Hug: Nuance is subjected to one by Corbie while he's trying to work.
  • Beneath Notice: Sundance (when he had ambitions of being a writer in his foalhood) got prompts by wandering around Baltimare and just listening to what people said, as no-one notices a foal listening in, then trying to construct scenarios which would lead to what was said. His writing was apparently unsuccessful, but he did learn empathy from the experience.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Corbie has taken up the mantle for Nuance and is doing a much better job than Radiance, whose actions from Foalsitting Follies drove a deep wedge between them that would likely never recover. When Radiance appeared in the same room as them, Corbie immediately gets protective of Nuance, suspicious of what he might do.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Nuance's relationship with Steadfast comes across this way, it wasn't always like this, though, with Nuance originally having to be sent away for Steadfast's safety, but Dim Dark and Blueblood sorted him out. In turn, Sundance is asked to become one of sorts for Nuance by Celestianote .
  • Black Comedy: Cucumber has a dark sense of humour.
  • Blatant Lies: Twilight insists that her filing system is easy and intuitive. Sundance, despite being a Badass Bureaucrat himself, disagrees.
  • Blood Knight: It's been some time since the rats' last serious assault on Canterlot and Fancy is getting twitchy.
  • Boomerang Bigot: The previous lord apparently held a very low opinion of earth ponies, despite being one himself. This ticked off Cucumber something fierce.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Subverted. Despite his sister's accusations, Nuance is not lazy, it's just hard for him to focus on a single thing due to ADD.
  • Call-Back: Sundance's dreams of sunflowers have turned to endless hills of them, the form that Celestia's Astral Realm takes.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: While he's okay talking with Celestia or Fleur, speaking to a mare his own age that he's attracted to is rather a problem for Sundance.
  • Circling Birdies: The local variant of circling alicorns are mentioned in an anecdote from Hailstone.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Sundance was a medical courier, which means he has a wagon license, very useful when moving supplies around.
  • Coming in Hot: Sundance's landing during his emergency flight to get Earwax to hospital. Due to inclement weather, being iced upnote  and the heavy load, his landing fails first time (as well as injuring his wing), and even when he makes it, it's hardly a textbook landing, requiring help from the Underwatch to pull off, and leaving him with nasty injuries. He has a less dramatic one on the way back, having to put down the cart without a runway.
  • Commonality Connection: Nuance and Steadfast have bonded over being the "weak" one in their respective broods, although it took some sorting out of Nuance for him to do anything other than hate Steadfast for what he represents.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The chapter "Flight of Fancy", as Sundance flies to his new barony.
  • Continuity Nod: As is common in The Weedverse:
    • Sundance's peerage is sponsored by Houses Lulamoonnote  and Nickernote .
    • Fancy Pants references the rats' siege of Canterlot.
    • Sundance used to have a hobby of slaloming the smokestacks of the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, previously mentioned in The Mask Makes The Pony.
    • The survivors of the Rat Catcher's Guild still make donations to the Weeping Sister Hospital, as seen when Sundance is forced to seek help there (despite it being primarily a foal's hospital).
    • Celestia again threatens a pony with rich tarts.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The orderly caring for Sundance at the Weeping Sisters, including treating him like a naughty foal for the (justified) rules violations that lead up to Sundance being there. Sundance, for his part, reckons the accusation of hooliganism is inapplicable, after all, he drinks his tea. He's not the only one on staff, shortly after, a nurse waxes snarky when she finds Sundance getting the foals excited before breakfastnote .
    Nurse: If you want somebody your own mental age to play with, perhaps you should adopt.
  • Death by Childbirth: Earwax and Earwig were named by the previous lord after their mother died in childbirth.
  • Dehumanization: The previous lord considered the peasants as tools, to be used and discarded as needed, and the peasants have internalised that they're worth no more than that, causing misunderstandings with Sundance, who views them as people and acts accordingly.
  • Door Dumb: Sundance has a moment when entering his new cottage. It doesn't help his appearance of being inexperienced.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Apparently the only mares the previous lord didn't attempt to bed were Earwax and Earwig, possibly due to being their father.
  • Due to the Dead: Performed very perfunctorily by the peasants after the previous lord's death. They buried him in the cemetery, but in an unmarked grave, and none of them want to remember him.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Fancy Pants is enthusiastic, loud and scarily competent.
  • Enemy Mine: Fancy Pants is rather grateful to the rats for unifying Canterlot against the common foe.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sundance has trouble extracting Silver Lining's name from Cucumber, who refers to her only as "Baroness" or "Milady". Fortunately, Silver herself is more forthcoming. On a more poignant note, the previous lord is never named, with the peasants only referring to him as "the previous Milord", none wish to remember him.
  • Fainting: Sundance accidentally does this to Earwax while trying to get her to ride the cart home, as she's adamant that the peasant should pull the lord. He threatens (not entirely seriously) that if she doesn't comply he'll make all the peasants ride the cart, thus making it her fault things are even more topsy-turvy, and she passes out. Although not the intended result, it does solve the problem.
  • Famous Ancestor: The story is kicked off by Sundance discovering he is the descendant of Princess Celestia.
  • Fantastic Racism: The previous Lord apparently took issue with dragons on his land, much to the dismay of the rulership of neighbouring Lulamoon Hollow. Sundance sees no point in retaining the restriction. Sundance has a little instinctive fear of the Nocturnal Pegasi, though he overcomes it.
  • Fearless Fool: Celestia accuses Sundance of this after he flies into Canterlot during a stormnote . She claims it's common among her pegasus offspring, and unfortunately often paired with being remarkable breeders, so the trait doesn't die out. She has concerns about Corbie too, and while she'd like to say that it's her father's influence, it probably isn't.
  • Fish Eyes: Potato uses hers to keep an eye out for danger, something she's so good at that another lord attempted to buy her from the previous lord.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Played With, the CoG is very rarely referred to by its full name (the Corps of Gringineers) due to a tendency to produce laughter.
  • Happy Rain: Floodgate is almost always outside during rain, he likes watching the running water. This earns him a little scorn from Pinto, but it gives him useful insight for his role protecting the village from flooding and constructing waterways.
  • High-Up Ice-Up: Sundance becomes iced up while trying to get to Canterlot during a feral storm and having to go over it, rather than through it for most of the flight. He doesn't know how to de-ice himself, due to never having to do so before, so it really doesn't help with his landing.
  • Hospital Hottie: Sundance becoming rather distracted by one of the nurses gives us some insight into what he actually wants in a mare, focusing on her strong muscles.
  • Hypocrite: Corbie accuses Radiance of this when he complains about her winning by "cheating", despite having previously claimed a good soldier uses any means available.
  • Identity Amnesia: We hear from a nurse a story told by Princess Cadance, of when Cadance used her magic to heal a pegasus who'd taken severe brain damage in an accident. While the damaged tissue was repaired and the mare returned to full physical health, she suffered from total amnesia. Played more seriously than most cases, as the mare is described as needing to relearn everything: talking, toilet training, even walking. The point of the tale was that not every patient can be saved, even with magic, and it was harrowing enough that many of the medical trainees listening changed careers.
  • The Ingenue: Sauerkraut Pie, despite being much older than standard for the archetype. It even provided a measure of protection against the old lord, she was just too innocent. She never married or produced offspring, though not for lack of trying from others.
  • Inopportune Voice Cracking: Nuance is subject to this due to his ongoing puberty. Blueblood looks forwards to it passing.
  • Laughing Mad: Sundance begins cackling madly after Coming in Hot the second time around, the stress leaking out.
  • Land Poor: The Barony is in serious debt because of the previous Lord taking out multiple loans against the land. Despite royal assistance, much of the debt can't be removed by any means other than paying it off, and it's enough that Blueblood reckons Sundance'll be paying it off until he's on his deathbed, but it's not so much that he can't leave a debt-free barony to his heir.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Steadfast is the weak one of Luna's brood, and is described as having to fight for every day of life. When Nuance is asked what is wrong with him, the answer is a flat "Everything". It's all-but stated that he's the longest-living of Luna's earth ponies.
  • Loophole Abuse: Nuance helps Sundance get access to what he needs without further indebting his barony, holding a "training exercise" for the CoG which will build him some new homes, and Radiance holds a Cadet's Retreat for the Canterlot Military Academy in the portion of Sundance's land that extends into the Everfree, as Sundance cannot use the land but the Academy will pay rent for it, rent paid directly to Sundance in another invocation of the trope, as then it won't be lost to the barony's debts. Also, the military will repair the train depot, something that Sundance previously noted as potentially of use.
  • Loyal to the Position: All the remaining peasants. They've stayed through bad lords and a steady reduction in said lord's power to hold them.
  • The Magnificent: Pebble Pie is "The Dominator" to the nobles, due to her highly-effective and very competitive approach to nobility.
  • Marry Them All: It seems that Sumac went for this option in the end anyway, seeing as he's married to both Pebble and Silver Lining in this story.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The various livestock scarpers when a griffon shows up, as they don't know that Silver Lining is a nice griffon.
  • Meet the New Boss: The previous two lords (and possibly prior ones, but none of the surviving peasants are that old) were very bad lords, so Sundance has an uphill battle to convince them that this trope isn't in play.
  • Mentor Archetype: Fancy Pants mentors Sundance in his lordship.
  • Moral Guardians: An unusual version. Sauerkraut has a tendency to crusade against the "lewds", but isn't a standard archetype, instead being a genuinely nice and innocent Ingenue.
  • Mundane Wish: Many who discover their descent from the Royal Sisters and bother to approach them want something for their efforts (often not insignificant, given the number of generations involved). Sundance genuinely just wanted to say "Hello" to his many-times-great-Grandmother. This baffles Celestia, due to his very poor background and devotion to the project.
  • Mustache Vandalism: While in a dark mood, Sundance finds himself in Canterlot castle and beneath a portrait of Celestia and Luna that has been defaced in this waynote . He fails to notice this, or the nearby statuette of "Deer Celestia".
  • Nepotism: Discussed, Blueblood publicly blames it for having been saddled with his "dolt apprentice" note . Privately, there's very good reasons for the decision.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Sundance does find intelligence attractive, but it's pretty clear from narrationnote  where his real preferences lie, even if he struggles to work it out.
  • No Sense of Direction: Earwax is apparently unable to tell left from right. Fortunately, Earwig is more capable.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sundance's reaction to figuring out just what Celestia is offering him. Or rather, a progression of these moments as he gets further insight into just what is in store for him.
  • Older Than They Look: Cucumber. Which is quite impressive given how old he looks. He doesn't really realize it (he's lost track), but Word of God is that he's over 100.
  • Old Soldier: Cucumber was a Loyalist who fought to keep the Separatists from succeeding in returning to unicorn rule.
  • Offered the Crown: Sundance is offered the lordship of a recently-deceased distant relative due to his competence and the lack of other candidates.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: When Earwax is badly wounded and the peasants think Sundance is going to follow the previous lord's policy, Earwig earnestly begs him to spare her, promising all sorts of things and apologizing for her earlier insults. This just confuses Sundance, who only wanted to get Earwax to a hospital, but with a storm coming in there's no time to convince her otherwise, either Sundance goes now, or not at all.
  • Porn Stash: As he's not coming home, Sundance warns his mother about the location of his "confusing porn", as she'd find it eventually anyway.
  • Portent of Doom: The peasants see the collapse of the tower during a storm and Sundance's absence, believing him to have fled and the barony dead, as a result of what an earlier Lord had said. Sundance uses it as a symbol that the old ways of evil Lords and lying are over, and that he is different from his predecessors.
  • Potty Emergency: While being treated at the Weeping Sisters hospital, Sundance has to go in search of a bathroom, getting him in a little trouble with the nurse, particularly as he stops off afterwards to play with the foals.
  • Praetorian Guard: Olive appears as an Immortal Solar, Celestia's personal guard. Sundance gets rather tongue-tied when her realises she's a mare (the Immortal armour is enchanted to make those that wear it uniform).
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Nurses in foal hospitals are immune to this, even en masse.
  • Reality Ensues: Radiance's rather poor treatment of Nuance in Foalsitting Follies drove a wedge between him and his siblings that will never fully recover. Even if he got slightly better, Nuance and Corbie retain their suspicions of him, meaning the best Radiance could get out of them is a temporary truce.
  • Russian Reversal: Used to describe Dim Dark.
    Corbie: When nightmares have bad dreams, they dream of Dim!
  • Sadist Teacher: The public face of Blueblood's treatment of Nuance.
  • Servile Snarker: Several of the peasants, particularly Cucumber and Earwax, have no problem having a go at their new lord's inexperience.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: Fancy Pants is trying to pair Sundance up with a nice mare (and while he's a little more subtle than some, it's not by much). Of course, Sundance does need to produce a heir.
  • Sibling Team: The older Royal Brood come across as this, at least once truce is declared. They don't all like each other, but they can work together well.
  • Signature Scent: The barony has one, stinking of sulphur due to the hot springs.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Radiance is causing some concern, being very good at the cold calculus of war, but almost never showing any emotion and treating those around him poorly.
    Celestia: Radiance is going to make for a magnificent soldier, but a truly terrible pony.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Sundance never really thought about what he'd do after achieving his goal. It's part of why he takes the offer of a lordship.
  • Spot of Tea: Officer Mom is apparently of the opinion that a life without tea is a turn to hooliganism, and has passed this on to Sundance.
  • Stealing from the Till: The rent from the Academy's retreat is paid directly to Sundance, rather than to the barony. It's very dodgy, though legal, and the Royal Brood are wary of Celestia's reaction, instructing Sundance to keep very good books, as the previous Lord used this loophole to outright steal from the barony, but Sundance is taking it so that the barony has some income he can use for development, rather than being lost to pay the previous lord's debts.
  • That Wasn't a Request: Celestia's offer to have tea with Sundance.
  • Trickster Mentor: Celestia has more than a little of this.
    Princess Celestia: Good, I will continue to play with your assumptions.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Sundance is rendered somewhat lost when taken out for lunch and the menu has no prices on it.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Sundance's predecessor is described as being somewhat unpleasant and a very poor manager of the barony. His predecessor was apparently little better, given Cucumber's comments about two bad lords. It gives Sundance some problems, as the remaining peasants are wary of Meet the New Boss applying.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Celestia assigning Nuance to help Sundance is this. If it all goes pear-shaped, she can blame the inexperienced city-boy, but Nuance now has valuable experience in politics and feudalism. If it goes well, Nuance still gets the experience (plus no small amount of credit) and the Sunfire Barony is recovered and has a competent Lord.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Celestia takes time to do this for Sundance, praising him for his fearless (if slightly foolish) actions, and his generosity to Steadfast, as while Sundance thinks it nothing, Celestia is genuinely grateful to him for his honest and kind support to the others.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The old lord had a nasty habit of taking those unable to work out into the woods to abandon them, even in face of promises otherwise, which causes problems when Sundance needs to take Earwax to Canterlot to receive urgent medical attention, as they don't believe he won't just leave her to die.

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