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Fanfic / The Best Of All Possible Worlds

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A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by McPoodle. Usually, crossovers either set Equestria in an alternate universe or send in a fictional character to deal with a problem in Equestria. Not this story. This time, it's a real person to have visited Equestria, the famous philosopher Voltaire.

Set a few hundred years back in Equestrian history (and ours as well), Celestia is trying not to scream in aggravation. Another Summer Sun Celebration, another year where her beloved little ponies won't get off their knees in genuflection to enjoy the sunrise with her. However, most other Summer Sun Celebrations don't have portals open up to alternate dimensions that send saddened donkey jennies out and pull dazed philosophers in. Once Voltaire gets himself composed and evaluated to be a non-threat, he decides to do what he does best: get nobles to pay him to talk.

Can be found here.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Voltaire causes Cognizant (or Cogs as he later becomes known) to develop a cutie mark about watch making, simply by letting the young colt examine it. This is doubly noteworthy as Cognizant's entire family had been astronomers and/or magicians.
  • Alpha Bitch: Blue Belle before her Character Development. If her harassment of Genevieve didn't already cement her status as this trope, she's also used to ruling her school, having a group of followers, leading other ponies into humiliating themselves, and mocking others.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Even the nicest nobleponies in this story are still believers in Fantastic Racism. Demanding huge taxes and oppressing the lower classes are just the norm here.
  • Art Initiates Life: Whatever Genevieve draws with the magic pencil becomes true. She draws a glass of water into reality. Drawing herself wearing a crown next to the current king with a crossed-out crown makes her queen in his place.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Genevieve wants Blue Belle to pay for what she did to her. After the former becomes a god, Blue Belle removes her magical protection from Genevieve rewriting history. Genevieve is horrified by what becomes of her.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The Bluebloods' spies aren't unicorns in a society that favors unicorns. They count on this in addition to a Perception Filter to keep the spies undetected.
  • Berserk Button: Don't bring up Celestia's immediate family. Besides her sister turning into Nightmare Moon, her father sacrificed her mother to Discord and turned her and Luna into alicorns to fight Discord.
  • Blood Knight: Captain Hardheart is all too eager to use excessive force in any situations, and tries to antagonize Voltaire at any chance he gets.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: A single sentence from Celestia causes reality to ripple, causing Voltaire to conclude that she doesn't actually need guards.
  • Brick Joke: Captain Hardheart tries to harass Voltaire by accusing him of stealing a noblepony's dog's special toy, which was enchanted to float a few inches off the ground (for play purposes). Turns out, it was found, in another dimension.
  • Character Development: Blue Belle starts to feel genuine regret over causing Genevieve to exile herself to the human world and realizing that she's only antagonizing everyone she meets. She starts to disapprove of her father's cruel policies and attitude of superiority that she formerly agreed with and publicly chastises him for his mishandling of the Griffonia crisis. The epilogue implies she graduated from petty bullying schemes to The Chessmaster.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Genevieve magically causes Blue Belle to continuously receive various injuries on top of each other past the point where she doesn't look like a living creature anymore, while keeping her alive and making her cry out for more suffering.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: When Genevieve takes over, her religion is completely copied from Christianity, except male pronouns referring to God are gender-swapped. The extreme similarity is justified in that the creator of the religion has seen Christianity as we know it in the human world. Voltaire points out the ripoff.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Long ago, Celestia cast a spell to prevent ponies from even thinking about certain actions she had deemed repugnant, by making them violently ill if they ever do. The curse breaks for a given concept if anyone manages to think about it without getting sick, which by the time the story starts, had already happened for all but killing and masturbation. Once this is explained, Eveningstar Sparkle easily gets Voltaire to break it for killing by getting him to infodump about the etymology of various languages' words for killing.
  • Devil's Advocate: Voltaire becomes leader of the "Loyal Opposition" in Equestria (later named the Wig Party) whose job is to oppose Celestia's decisions to make sure she considers them properly. When she starts agreeing with the Wig Party too much, this job is passed to the opposing party.
  • Direct Line to the Author: This fanfiction is a real written book complete with translations and author's notes In-Universe. When the time shift begins to hit the translator, he starts going absolutely insane.
  • Double Standard: When Genevieve takes over, all the males are in all-concealing burlap robes and the females just wear jewelry. It's also implied men are supposed to Stay in the Kitchen and keep out of politics.
  • Drunk with Power: Genevieve really shouldn't move the sun to illuminate stained glass after the sun is supposed to be down.
  • Edible Ammunition: Deconstructed for laughs. Everypony in Celestia's court are shocked how rioting griffons are shrugging off the police's armaments of pies and cupcakes by not giving a flying feather about them.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Noir sounds a little slow but that's because he isn't completely fluent in Equine language yet.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Voltaire begins to deride Prince Blueblood for one of his proposals when he realizes something. Said proposal is meant to be overly extreme to make people go against it.
  • Evil Chancellor: The true purpose of the Blueblood family is to deliberately be antagonistic towards Celestia, as their snobbishness and ineptitude makes them easy scapegoats as bad advisers when Celestia makes a bad decision.
  • Exact Words:
    • All Celestia is willing to say about her father is that he "made her what she is today". Turns out, he made her and Luna into alicorns to fight Discord.
    • Blueblood implies that he's the one responsible for Voltaire's black eye by pointing out that it's the same size as his hoof. In fact, it was Blue Belle who hit him, but as Voltaire notes, if the ponies present don't recall that bruises are invariably larger than the object that caused them, that's their own fault.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Blue Belle is in the middle of convincing herself of Celestia's divinity and perfection when she realizes otherwise.
    Blue Belle: Her every action has always been just, and She has never been wrong. Her assumption of the title of Princess was justified, Her absorption of the Unicorn and Pegasus kingdoms and the Earth Pony republic were justified, her Judgment of Pinwin (which gave the home village of my ancestors over to the dragons in order to prevent a war) was wise, as was her decision to chase down the Meteor of 6748 by herself, subjecting herself to potentially fatal injury in order to save the whole's true! Celestia is mortal! Celestia is mortal!
  • Expy:
    • Blue Belle is a younger version of Prince Blueblood, but she's starting to get better. Her father, Prince Blueblood (an earlier one: Prince Blueblood the Fifteenth), is a more direct example. As it turns out, this is somewhat intentional–Blueblood the Fifteenth pretends to be a cruel buffoon in order to act as a scapegoat for any bad decisions done by Celestia's administration.
    • The story sets up clear expies of all the mane six. These expy ponies are casted as the ancestors of the mane six, though the only one with any real plot relevance ends up being Eveningstar Sparkle, counterpart to Twilight.
  • Facepalm:
    • Every pony present facehoofs when Voltaire's "praise" to Celestia is a compliment on her mane.
    • Celestia facehoofs after Voltaire accidentally-on-purpose gives everyone an excuse to disobey any of her orders that seem out of character.
  • Fantastic Racism: The love and tolerance of the series hasn't been established yet, so the Unicorns are considered to be on the top, with Pegasi in the middle, while Earth ponies and Equestrian non-ponies (like donkeys) are stuck at the bottom. Celestia is aware of this, but she's never had the means to change it.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The griffons bankrupt themselves helping the Diamond Dogs fight the dragons for independence, which parallels France doing the same by helping the United States of America against Britain. The griffons also go through a parallel of the French Revolution.
  • Formula with a Twist: Of the Fandom-Specific Plot of a human in Equestria. However, the Human in Equestria plot usually involves humans from another fictional series or an everyman, not a Historical Domain Character. It also usually has the human be the first to come in contact with Equestria, whereas Voltaire was preceded by Ovid 1,740 years ago.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Genevieve was bullied by Blue Belle in a society where unicorns are favored. Near the end of the story, she thinks of herself as a monster, and certainly doesn't think her mistreatment was an excuse for anything she did.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Prince Blueblood. Turns out, it's his job.
  • Gilligan Cut: Used frequently for humor in this fic. Section breaks or the end of a chapter serve as the dividing point between the scene where a character says something and the scene where they're contradicted.
    • Voltaire states he'll beat Celestia in cribbage. A section break follows immediately, along with her win.
  • A God Am I: Genevieve, when she takes over Earth and Equestria.
  • God-Emperor: Genevieve takes over Earth and Equestria, and the population worships her as a goddess.
  • A God I Am Not: Celestia. Her subjects think she's an omniscient and omnipotent goddess. She knows better, and wishes they would stop worshipping her very mortal, though very powerful self.
  • God Is Evil: According to Celestia, Discord is the only actual god in Equestria and he visited unspeakable horrors upon ponies for his own amusement. Some he took a liking to and made them immortal so he could torture them forever.
  • Helping Would Be Killstealing: Celestia's approach to ruling.
    Celestia: I watch over my little ponies, but my touch is always light. Always, I worry about how I am stunting their emotional growth by interfering too much in their lives. Oysters live in their gardens, and an oyster must have a grain of sand to make its pearl.
  • Heroic BSoD: Celestia has a brief one when she is accused of causing the revolution in Griffonia, which is about oppressed citizens fighting back against against the Equestrian-inspired nobility. It's arguable how much of it is her fault, but she blames herself and retreats into her room for days anyway.
  • Historical Domain Character: Voltaire, Algarotti, Maupertuis, King Friedrich, Ovid...
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In the afterword, the author says the real Algarotti "went through life offending no one," but he is a villain in the fic because they needed an antagonist from Voltaire's Prussian circle. Algarotti's Wikipedia page says he was friends with Voltaire, and Voltaire's page says nothing to contradict this.
  • Human Resources: Royal bone meal is made from the bones of gryffons.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: The Gryffon nobility are horrified to learn that the royal bone meal isn't made from animals, but other gryphons.
  • Innocent Bigot: The nicest Unicorns are still racist against Pegasi and Earth Ponies.
  • It's Personal: A subversion overlapping with a subversion of Oppose What You Suffered. Algarotti thinks Voltaire opposes the Catholic Church because he's a victim of a Pedophile Priest. Voltaire is infuriated by this, emphasizing he opposes the Church for different reasons.
    Voltaire: I am not to be explained, to be brushed away, merely as someone fighting an injustice for no other reason than because I was a victim of said injustice.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Blue Belle, who's only starting puberty, has this trope in spades. At first.
  • Lie Detector: At least one exists in Equestria. It's an unmarked golden coin that flashes when someone lies, and it works magically.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • President Maupertuis gets Voltaire thrown in an asylum and almost does the same to Algarotti by convincing King Friedrich that they're manipulating him.
    • Algarotti attempts to manipulate Genevieve when he discovers the magic pencil has more power in her hands than in a humans. He succeeds to an extent when she makes herself Queen of Prussia to save their lives, convincing the still confused jenny that the Queen of Prussia is the real Genevieve and the innocent child was a nightmare.
  • The Matchmaker: Implied with Celestia, who is said to maintain "breeding charts" of ponies and happily add new entries at the end of Chapter 12. At the beginning of Chapter 13, she's responsible for introducing two ponies who seem to hit it off romantically.
  • Meaningful Echo: Occurs twice with the same line. Voltaire concludes his story about Princess Fisby saying that her subjects, having learned she's not truly divine, changed their greetings to her to "ribbit" which means thank you. After Celestia's Heroic BSoD, she's greeted by dozens of ceramic frogs singing "ribbit".
    • When he leaves Equestira, Voltaire, having removed his cap and lost most of his Equine vocabulary, simply tells Celestia "ribbit".
  • Meaningful Rename: Even with the help of Voltaire wearing a translating cap, the ponies can't pronounce his name, so he chooses to be called "voltige": what circus acrobats do (essentially gymnastics and dance) on top of a running horse.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: Cognizant is an Earth Pony with Unicorn parents.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Celestia is horrified when a nightmare of Luna nearly drowning causes her to badly beat a young filly who'd been caught in the riverbed.
    • Genevieve is horrified at the torture she subjects Blue Belle to.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • Maximilian Peter the griffin for Maximilien Robespierre. Fitting, since the Griffonian Crisis is based off the French Revolution.
    • Hoofdini the earth pony for Harry Houdini.
    • Hoofdini's predecessor, Woofston the Diamond Dog illusionist. Woofston was inspired by the magician Alexander Herrmann.
    • The griffon Citizen Perrygore, also known as Random Tally, corresponds to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord.
    • The earth pony Malice, later named Mallus, is a female Johnny Appleseed with the addition of a background in thievery.
  • No-Sell: The griffon peasants basically ignore conventional weaponry. Justified given that conventional weaponry amounts to throwing cakes and pies at your enemies.
  • Oppose What You Suffered: A subversion overlapping with a subversion of It's Personal. Algarotti thinks Voltaire opposes the Catholic Church because he suffered under it as a victim of a Pedophile Priest. Voltaire is infuriated by this, emphasizing he opposes the Church for different reasons]].
    Voltaire: I am not to be explained, to be brushed away, merely as someone fighting an injustice for no other reason than because I was a victim of said injustice.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: Deconstructed. Unlike canon, ponies manually changing the weather and seasons with the Princesses moving the sun and moon isn't due to Equestria being a magical wonderland. Instead, Discord caused such havoc that none of those things can happen without pony intervention. If not for Celestia moving the sun around the planet, it would hurl off into deep space and they'd all freeze.
  • Perception Filter: An entire family of Earth Ponies have (among other abilities) the ability to render themselves completely uninteresting and Beneath Notice. However, it only works if there's at least six people present.
  • Physical God: What most of Equestria believes Celestia to be, and what Genevieve sets herself up as when she takes over Earth and Equestria. She is seen as omniscient and omnipotent the same way Celestia once was seen.
  • Politically Correct History: One of the In-Universe translator's notes reveals that Prince Blueblood got a Historical Villain Upgrade in the original version of the book. Ponies hated the idea of giving traits from one breed of pony to a different pony breed. Blueblood and his ancestors had a hoof in doing just that.
    Translator Note: ...the tone of this chapter was completely different in the original Equine. Prince Blueblood was a black-hearted villain, K was a quivering victim, and Blue Belle was the outraged voice of the pony reader. It took a great deal of research to prove my gut feeling that not only the Bluebloods, but K himself, had a completely different attitude towards the subject, which I hope I have faithfully portrayed.
  • Punny Name: Genevieve is a young female donkey, aka a jenny.
  • Puppet King: When Genevieve makes herself God-Emperor of Earth and Equestria, Algarotti continues to influence her and has caused her to have weaknesses he can eventually exploit if he needs to kill her.
  • Reality Warper: Genevieve when using the magic pencil can make anything she draws reality. She learns to speak to humans by connecting a speech bubble to a drawing of herself, conjures a glass of water by drawing it, and makes herself Queen of Prussia by crossing out a crown on the king's head and drawing it on her own. Interestingly, even people who are aware something changed will become convinced it was always that way. Algarotti knows that the glass of ice water wasn't there before but his mind comes up with explanations for why it's there and still cold.
  • Rewriting Reality: When Genevieve reverts Equestria and Earth to before she took over, she crosses out sentences about the history of the Founders of Equestria and adds new ones. History changes and falls in line with her cross-outs and additions.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Shortly after the story begins, a revolution begins in Griffonia against the Equestrian-backed noblegriffons. They've already overthrown their government five times by the time Celestia gets to address the issue.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Algarotti remembers how things were before Genevieve made herself Queen of Prussia and theorizes it's because the paper she drew on was touching him at the time.
  • Satire: In-Universe, "The Frog Princess of Fomalhaut" satirizes the ponies who believe Celestia is a goddess. Princess Fisby works her hardest to provide for and protect her froggy subjects. They hail her as a goddess despite her protests, since she's much more powerful and longer-lived than them. Now replace "Fisby" with "Celestia" and "frog" with "pony."
  • Silent Scapegoat: Prince Blueblood's job is to be the scapegoat for any serious problems with Celestia's rule. It's why he comes across as such an extremist.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Equestria is Level 6. Though Voltaire, a man, is the protagonist of the story, Equestria is female-dominated. Traditionally, a husband takes his wife’s surname and a child takes their mother’s surname. Princess Celestia rules the land and is worshipped like a goddess, and adult men seem to be lower on the social totem pole than teenage girls. However, men can still hold positions of power, and nobody outright says men are lesser than women. Becomes level 7 or 8 when Genevieve takes over, and men are made to Stay in the Kitchen and it’s outwardly expressed that they’re not supposed to “ge[t] above his station” and discuss politics or talk to strangers.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Inverted. When Genevieve takes over, it's heavily implied this is the prevailing attitude towards males.
  • Stepford Smiler: For all she acts like a loving and doting parent, Celestia is filled with self-hatred over her past decisions.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Even more so in than in the main series. Ponies will invariably genuflect whenever Celestia uses serious magic, and see her as perfect and infallible. Part of the reason why Celestia likes Voltaire so much is that he's taken steps to end this image of her.
  • Story Within a Story: Voltaire tells the court his made-up story "The Frog Princess of Fomalhaut." Soon, he's selling copies of "Frog Princess" on scrolls, since the ponies hadn't invented books yet.
  • The Theocracy: Earth and Equestria become this when Genevieve takes over as the goddess and ruler, and the only other governing power is her advisor archbishop.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Voltaire worries about what the king or priests in the human world would do if they found the young, relatively defenseless, talking donkey Genevieve. It's implied he thinks this trope is what would happen to her.
  • Title Drop: In the first sentence of the first chapter.
    Blue Belle: [thinking] Equestria is surely the best of all possible worlds.
  • Translator Microbes: Equestria has caps designed to translate words from one language to their own but require a pony to be linked to it to translate the words. Words that aren't known yet have to be added in.
  • Unperson:
    • Nightmare Moon, and the mare she once was, got this treatment.
    • An entire family was given this treatment after it was revealed the Bluebloods bred them to be the perfect spies. No one, including Celestia (who is rumored to have performed psychic surgery on herself) knows who they are anymore or where they went.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Genevieve starts off downtrodden and bullied by the unicorn Blue Belle. She ends up a goddess who turned Equestria into a Dystopia where unicorns are The Scapegoat. They're deponified, have no rights, and have many regulations limiting what they can do compared to the rest of the population. Genevieve's religion singles out Blue Belle as completely evil, and she subjects Blue Belle to horrific torture.
  • Willfully Weak: In a manner of speaking. Noir refuses to use a cap made for Diamond Dogs to translate his words because he's a lawyer, words are his weapons and if he uses the cap, it will choose his words and his voice. He'd rather just learn Equine the old fashioned way, not minding if he sounds dumb in the meantime.
  • You No Take Candle: The Diamond Dog ambassador Noir is a mild version. Voltaire suffers from this as well when not using the magic cap.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Voltaire only refers to someone by their title when things are serious, most commonly to subtly call them out for something they just did. Such as Cog yelling at Lifter for daring to think a peasant like him could improve his work.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Invoking this trope is actually the entire purpose of the Blueblood family. By presenting ideas they know are bad through their abrasive Upper-Class Twit facade, they can turn public opinion away from those ideas, making it easier to implement the actually good ones.