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Tax Season

By PastTheSouthPole
Created: 1st March 2021 04:22:14 AM
Modified: 1st March 2021 06:01:28 AM

  1. >To an outside observer the economy of Equestria seems really simple.
  2. >If a pony wants something, they exchange bits for the product or service.
  3. >It’s as simple as can be.
  4. >But you know better.
  5. >You are Penny Pinch, one of the few ponies in Equestria tasked with collecting annual taxes.
  6. >Your job is no easy feat.  You have to be a master of mathematics, capable of both addition and subtraction.
  7. >Sometimes you deal with numbers so big it goes into the quadruple digits!
  8. >But you’re not just a living abacus, despite that being the cutie mark on your flank.
  9. >Being a tax collector also requires excellent social skills.
  10. >Today you are making rounds throughout Canterlot, collecting from the populous.
  11. >You trot up to each pony’s house, knock on their door, and hold your donation jar proudly above your head.
  12. >Some ponies, upon opening the door and seeing your donation jar, happily toss in a few bits and wish you luck.
  13. >Sometimes you're not sure if they even know what they’re donating to.
  14. >They often close the door before you can even finish saying thank you.
  15. >But other ponies are often stingy and want to save their bits.
  16. >Which is okay!  You’d never force a pony to give up their money, that’d be stealing!
  17. >But you do start performing a sob story, or as your partner calls it, “The shmooze”:
  18. “Oh... that’s okay, maybe we have enough bits that this year's Hearth’s Warming play will still happen.”
  19. “No, no… keep your money!  All the ponies could just walk around the potholes across town, or use them like a game of hop-scotch!”
  20. “D-don’t worry about it if you want to keep your bits!  I mean, we still don’t have enough money  to buy coal for the trains, but it could be a good thing!  Think about how strong everypony’s legs will be if we have to walk between Canterlot and Ponyville!”
  21. >It works every time, allowing you to collect a couple bits from normally stubborn ponies.
  22. >You felt a little guilty using this tactic at first, but you're not doing anything wrong!
  23. >It’s not a lie that a lot of services in Equestria rely on the funds you collect!
  24. >Money doesn’t just appear out of thin air!
  25.  
  26. >Your final stop for Canterlot tax collection is always the Castle.
  27. >There’s only two very special ponies left to collect from.
  28. >Entering the Castle during tax season always makes you feel so special.
  29. >You giddily trot to the front gate with your donation jar balanced on your back.
  30. >The guards recognize the distinct sound of coins jingling in glass and open the massive oak doors for you without a word.
  31. >It’s all so formal and professional!  It takes all your willpower to not giggle like a school filly as you pass through the threshold.
  32. “Thank you sirs that very poli-”
  33. >”Hold on a second!”
  34. >You freeze at the baritone voice of the guard pony as he walks towards you.
  35. >Did you do something wrong?
  36. >Are there new rules and you were supposed to bow before entering the Castle?
  37. >Or maybe they think you’re stealing some of the bits for yourself?
  38. >But you’d never steal! Never ever ever eve-
  39. >You hear the sound of a couple coins being dropped into your donation jar.
  40. >”Wasn’t at home today, figured I could just give my taxes here.”
  41. >You blink as you get out of your disaster fantasizing head.
  42. “Oh, thank you very much sir!”
  43. >The guard nods and walks back to the gate.
  44. >Crisis averted.
  45. >More like the crisis didn’t exist in the first place, but still.
  46. >You walk through the halls of Canterlot Castle, ogling the beautiful stained glass and marble pillars.
  47. >The hued glass paints swatches of colored light all over the carpet you’re walking on.
  48. >You so desperately want to jump from one patch of color to the next, like a frog hopping across lily pads.
  49. >But you have to remain professional, you’ve got a meeting with Princess Celestia herself!
  50. >You reach the engraved maroon doors that lead to the throne room.
  51. >Somehow these doors seem even larger than the ones at the front of the castle.
  52. >You take a deep breath, pull your jar off your back and raise your hoof to the door.
  53.  
  54. >You are Princess Celestia.
  55. >You are currently waiting for a very special guest.
  56. >For a very special occasion.
  57. >It’s so rare that you get to participate, and more importantly enjoy, an activity amongst your little ponies.
  58. >You grew out of playgrounds and juice boxes, and even naptime centuries ago.
  59. >With each century your wisdom and maturity grew, but your connection to your little ponies weakened.
  60. >You’d never admit it, but you’ve felt… off.
  61. >It’s only little things so far, like having to force yourself to enjoy the chicken dance at the Galloping Gala or not wanting to go play on the jungle gym during court recess, but it’s adding up.
  62. >But not this!
  63. >It’s tax season and like everypony else you will pay what you can.
  64. >It’s your little connection to your little ponies, to show you’re just like them!
  65. >Well, sort of like them.
  66. >You hear a gentle knock upon your throne room door.
  67. >It’s her!
  68. >You canter over to the throne door.
  69. >You cough lightly and assume your regal expression.
  70. >With a gilded hoof you open the door to your throne room.
  71. >Only a little, only enough so that your head and barrel take up all vision through the ajar door.
  72. >Before you is a small little earth pony.
  73. >Well they all look small to you nowadays.
  74. >Her coat is copper, with a patina of teal for a mane.
  75. >She’s holding a jar that read’s “DONATIONS” above her head with her eyes closed.
  76. >She must be nervous.  Which is odd, this is the fourth time Penny’s collected taxes from you.
  77. >You were hoping she’d be more casual by now.  Oh well.
  78. >You look at the jar, it’s barely a fourth full.
  79. >Hmm, well that new flavor of Jambini Juice did come out last week.
  80. >A lot of your ponies probably spent all their money on that.
  81. >You turn your attention back to the little pony.
  82. “Hello Penny Pinch, it’s a pleasure to see you again.”
  83. >You talk in your regular maternal tone.
  84. >You see little Penny peek from one eye and then open both in awe.
  85. >you hear her mumer, “She remembers my name…” before clearing her throat and sitting up straight.
  86. >”H-hello Princess Celestia!  I’ve gone throughout all of Canterlot and collected from everypony!  I saved you and your sister for last just like you asked.”
  87. >You smile warmly.
  88. “Thank you Penny, my sister and I appreciate that.  Unfortunately, Luna is asleep right now.  She had a long shift through Night Court, so she asked me to give you her donation while she rests.”
  89. >Your horn glows as you float a small pouch of money over the jar and pour in twenty bits.
  90. >You see Penny’s eyes dart from coin to coin as they plink into the glass vessel.
  91. >She’s keeping track so well.
  92. “If you don’t mind me asking Penny, what does that bring your total to?”
  93. >”Uhhh…”
  94. >You see the copper ponies eyes dancing around as she does calculations in her head.
  95. >”With the twenty bits you added, that brings the total to… two hundred and ninety six bits!”
  96. >You can’t help but smile at how proud this pony is for her mathematical accomplishments.
  97. >Still, Canterlot’s public services cannot run for a year on only two hundred and ninety six bits.
  98. “Oh my!  How generous of everypony!  If you’d give me a moment I’ll be right back with my tax donation.”
  99. >”Of course Princess!”
  100. >You close the door to the throne room and turn your attention to the ornate chest just left of it.
  101. >Using your magic, you turn the lock inside the chest and swing open the lid, revealing a coffer of coins that would make any pirate drool with envy.
  102. ”Okay let’s think, so the Summer Sun celebration is in Ponyville again this year so no cost there… but Luna has something planned for Nightmare Night, not to mention the water pipes in the lower districts…”
  103. >You murmur to yourself as you calculate how much finance Canterlot will need this year.
  104.  
  105. >You are Penny Pinch.
  106. >You’ve been politely waiting for the Princess to return to the door for only five minutes.
  107. >But it’s felt like an eternity.
  108. >Maybe she got distracted and forgot you were here?
  109. >You should knock again.
  110. >Wait, what if she views you knocking again as rude and then doesn’t give any taxes.
  111. >Oh no… you forgot to shmooze the Princess!  You shmoozed everypony else except the most important pony!
  112. >Wait, what if when you knock again she’s way too close to the door and it falls on her and everythi-
  113. >The door creaks open.
  114. >”Thank you for waiting Penny.  I hope you’ll accept this… small donation.”
  115. >The Princess is smiling weirdly at you.  Is there something on your face?
  116. “Of course!”
  117. >”Well here’s three thousand seven hundred and four bits.”
  118. >Celestia floats a massive bag of coins over your jar.
  119. >She releases her telekinesis and the bag lands on top of the glass container.
  120. >You have to shift your body weight to adjust for its heft, almost falling forward.
  121. ”P-Princess Celestia thank you!  This is extremely generous, even for you!”
  122. >You use your hoof to try to press the bag of bits into the jar.
  123. >”Oh think nothing of it, just doing my part just like everypony else.”
  124. >The Princess giggles at your futile attempt to fit the coins in the jar.
  125. >You decide to leave it be, this is your last collection for the day anyway.
  126. >You right yourself and bow before the Princess.
  127. >She’s a living beacon of generosity.
  128. >”Oh no no, don’t bow.  You don’t bow to the other ponies when they pay their taxes.  Just treat me like you would any other pony.”
  129. >You quickly right yourself and attempt a serious expression.
  130. “Right!  Um... The city of Canterlot thanks you for your generous donation.”
  131. >”It was my pleasure Penny, and please, when you hand these taxes to Bean Counter, tell him the Princesses say hello and thank you for your hard work.”
  132. >She even remembers Bean Counters name!
  133. ”Yes Princess!”
  134. >You start to bow but catch yourself.
  135. >You think for a moment.
  136. >Then you give the Princess a casual wave farewell.
  137. ”Bye bye Princess Celestia!”
  138. >She chuckles.
  139. >”Goodbye Penny.”
  140. >You turn to leave, but are stopped by the Princess’s call.
  141. >”Oh, one more thing Penny.”
  142. >You turn to the Princess and look up at her.
  143. >Did you do something wrong? Does she want her money back?  How could have messed up thi-
  144. >”You did an excellent job this year, as you do every year.”
  145. >You can’t help grinning ear to ear.
  146. >You feel the praise from the Princess fill your heart.
  147. “O-of course Princess, thank you so much!  Um, I should go now, and get these bits to Bean Counter, but thank you Princess, have a good rest of the day!”
  148.  
  149. >You are Princess Celestia.
  150. >You’re watching a little copper pony bounce down the hall, a mountain of money jiggling on her back.
  151. >You smile to yourself as you close the throne room door.
  152. >With a grunt you lift up the coin chest with your magic and start walking to the back of the throne room.
  153. >It’s absurd.  You lift the Sun every morning but yet a simple chest of coins is heavy to you.
  154. >This isn’t the first time Canterlot needed a “Royal Taxing” in order to keep running smoothly.
  155. >In fact you can’t remember the last time you didn’t cover at least half the annual finances.
  156. >You step behind a tapestry into a small hallway that leads to the royal vaults
  157. >But you don’t hold it against your little ponies, you only started being fiscally responsible yourself 900 years ago!
  158. >You thought about implementing the tax policy other nations use, but it just feels off…
  159. >Oh well, your current system will continue to work for a long, long time.
  160. >You reach a grand metal door that leads to the royal vaults.
  161. >The door is decorated with small holes that form embossed constellations in the metal.
  162. >Walking over to a specific hole, you slide the tip of your horn in.
  163. >You shoot a small beam of sunlight into the workings of the vault door.
  164. >The gears click and turn as each hole in the door illuminates, emulating the night sky itself.
  165. >Then with the sound of stone sliding on stone the royal vaults open.
  166. >With one final exertion of effort, you lift the chest and place it inside the vault, right where it belongs.
  167. >Surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of it’s identical brethren, all filled to the brim with coinage.
  168. >When you started being responsible with your money 900 years ago you learned an important lesson.
  169. >Never underestimate the power of compound interest.
Kinderquestria OC Celestia slice of life

The Eternal Twifag

by PastTheSouthPole

Tax Season

by PastTheSouthPole