U.N.-decent Exposure

by Raleigh

Chapter 1: U.N.-decent Exposure

Celestia watched herself on the television screen in the conference room. These humans, while lacking in the magical arts, could nevertheless provide a suitable alternative in their mastery of technology. Something that would have taxed all but the highest level unicorns of Equestria, recording moving image and sound and playing it back at the user’s request, was an inexpensive commodity available to all.

The Princess sat on her haunches on a cushion the floor before the large oval table, close to the screen. Raven Inkwell, her personal assistant, sat next to her, likewise on a cushion. The humans had found out the hard way that ponies are considerably heavier than them, being about on par with their equine non-sapient evolutionary throwbacks on Earth. After an incident resulting in a broken office chair and a certain obnoxious nephew with a gas piston rammed up somewhere uncomfortable in front of the President of the United States, large, soft cushions and beanbags were provided instead.

The Celestia on the screen wrapped up her speech to the United Nations General Assembly, completing Equestria’s admittance into that family of nations and definitively revealing the existence of ponykind to the people of Earth for the first time. It had only been yesterday since she had delivered it to a packed hall filled with dignitaries from every internationally recognised state on Earth, and had been the culmination of months of hard work and difficult negotiations with a variety of representatives. A new world, and so many new friends to make; it was truly the start of something magical.

“And stop right there, please,” said Sir Nigel Fotherington-Smythe, British special liaison to Equestria. Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Lady Olivia Pryce, pressed a button on another odd rectangular black thing and the video on the screen froze, depicting a still image of Princess Celestia turning around to shake the hand of the UN Secretary General, all to the sound of a rapturous applause, and with her rump to the camera and the audience.

Sir Nigel took a seat opposite Celestia, his pale cheeks tinted red and his pencil-thin moustache quivering as he regarded the callipygian display on the screen. The Princess watched as he took a moment to collect himself, adjusting his tie and cufflinks before placing his hands on the table and clearing his throat.

“Your Highness,” he began, meshing his fingers together. “That was a wonderful speech.”

“Thank you, but I can’t take all of the credit.” Celestia extended a vast wing over Raven’s small frame, causing her to blush at the attention. “I had a lot of help making sure our principles of friendship and harmony would resonate with all of your disparate tribes.”

“Yes, quite,” said Sir Nigel in a tone of voice that implied otherwise. “Truly inspiring. In all of my years representing Great Britain on the world stage, I have never heard such a powerful message of peace and hope. Our leaders have much to learn from the Magic of Friendship.”

Celestia sensed a ‘however’ coming, or a ‘but’. She watched as the man sitting opposite chewed on his lower lip and rubbed his hands together awkwardly; he was probably struggling to think of how to word the following in the most diplomatic manner possible.

“I see what you’re doing,” said Celestia, just as he opened his mouth. She smiled softly as Sir Nigel froze. “You don’t spend a thousand years ruling a country without picking up a thing or two, and politicians in your world are not so different from the ones in mine. You’re about to give me the ‘bad news sandwich’.”


“It’s very simple,” said Celestia. “Raven used to do this all the time, and it works wonders with my sister’s temper. You’ve been tasked to give me some bad news, so you’ve decided to frame it with good news to make it more palatable.”

“Very well, then.” Sir Nigel pointed up at the screen. “But I am being honest when I say that it truly was a fantastic speech, by the way.”

“I believe you.”

“It’s just that…” He wrung his hands together and chewed on his lower lip, and his eyes focused on a particular coffee stain on the wooden table. This went on for a half a minute longer, while Celestia waited patiently as she would with a nervous student and Raven fidgeted on her cushion, before he sucked in a deep breath and pointed up at the screen, jabbing his finger in its direction.

“It’s when you turned around,” he finally said.

“Oh?” Celestia looked up at the screen again, her brow furrowing as she tried to work out what was wrong with the image. Her flanks were turned and were displayed rather prominently at the camera and the audience, and she wondered if Luna’s sisterly teasing about the amount of cake she consumed had some merit to it. “I didn’t realise turning one’s flanks violated etiquette in the General Assembly. Did you, Raven?”

“I thought that just applied to royalty,” said Raven Inkwell, flicking through the pages of her notebook. “Just like in Equestria.”

“There’s still so much for us to learn,” said Celestia. “One species with so many different cultures and customs. Perhaps we should ask Twilight to head a royal commission to investigate all of this, I think she’d like that.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Raven scribbled a note in clean, precise hornwriting.

Sir Nigel breathed a frustrated sigh, and pursed his lips together. The skin around his knuckles had turned white as he clasped his hands together tightly. Despite the difference in species, there were a few mannerisms that appeared to be universal across all sapients, and it did not take an alicorn princess with thousands of years of diplomatic experience to recognise that the human male sitting opposite her was nervous about something.

At first, Celestia had put it down to a sense of awkwardness that most humans, and indeed some ponies, tended to exhibit around her. It was only natural to be nervous when confronted with a being of her immense power, but she prided herself on her ability to put others at ease. No, there was something else here.

“It’s not that,” said Sir Nigel. “Not entirely, I mean. But when you turned around, you presented a rather, uh, significant part of yourself to the General Assembly and the cameras.”

Looking up at the frozen image on the screen, then back at Sir Nigel, Celestia frowned and pursed her lips. Resting her forehooves on the table, she leaned forwards and said, “I know I’m bigger than most ponies and humans, but there’s no need to insinuate I have fat flanks.”

Sir Nigel turned an unsettling shade of beet-red, and his moustache hairs quivered as he tried to formulate a response. “That’s not what I meant!” he exclaimed, gesticulating at the screen. “I-I-I certainly wouldn’t dare to comment on the size of your, uh… flanks. Although, ‘mooning’ the UN General Assembly is bad enough on its own, it's what’s adjacent to that particular part of your royal anatomy, ma’am.”

The two equines exchanged a confused look. “My tail?” posited Celestia.

“Oh, her legs!” suggested Raven, raising her hoof and waving it in the air as though they were playing charades.

“No, no,” said Sir Nigel, with the utmost formality in his voice to disguise what must have been his growing exasperation and embarrassment. He drummed his fingers on the table and considered the frozen image of the Princess on the screen again, brow furrowing as he tried to work out the precise way to word what he needed to say. “It’s your bits.”

“My bits?” Celestia smiled softly. “I’m afraid I don’t carry money. That’s what Ms Inkwell is for.”

Her personal assistant coughed into her hoof, and Celestia gave her an apologetic look. “Among other things,” she added.

“Not money,” said Sir Nigel. “Royalty don’t carry money, of course. I meant your lady bits.”

“Well…” Celestia rubbed her forehooves together and fidgeted in her seat. “Yes, I like to think of myself as being a lady; it comes with the territory of being a princess. I’m sorry, is any of this going anywhere? When you told me we had to have an ‘urgent’ meeting to discuss my speech, I didn’t think it was to play word games.”

“I think I’m being quite plain here,” he said, emphasising the point with short, sharp jabs of his templed fingers. The exasperation in his voice was evident, and bordered on being rude. Celestia frowned.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with the translation spell?” said Celestia. Twilight Sparkle had developed it, and she had her utmost confidence in its efficacy. Granted, there had been one or two issues when it came to idioms and colloquialisms, again, due to the sheer variety of human cultures, subcultures, languages, dialects, and so forth, but on the whole it worked to within a miniscule margin of error.

“I don’t think so,” said Raven Inkwell. “I can hear the words fine, ma’am. Bits and lady bits, he said.”

Sir Nigel leaned back in his seat and rubbed his forehead, letting out a quiet groan. “I’m afraid I don’t know how to make this any more plain. You turned around, and the camera and the entire General Assembly saw…” he gesticulated wildly at the screen “...that.”

The two ponies studied the screen carefully; Princess Celestia stood behind the lecturn with her flanks to the camera, the Secretary General approached from the left side with his hand outstretched, and human and pony delegates were in the background and applauded, all framed against the emblem of the United Nations looming over them. After staring at her own flanks displayed so prominently on the screen, she decided that she could probably stand to lose a few pounds after all.

“I still don’t follow,” she said, defeated.

“Oh for heaven’s sake!” snapped Olivia, who had hitherto remained silent in the corner scowling at her colleague. Sir Nigel and Raven Inkwell both flinched at the sudden outburst.

“Your vulva, ma’am,” she continued, her cheeks flushing red as everyone in the room stared at her. “He’s referring to your vulva. Representatives of every nation-state on earth and billions of people watching on live television saw you expose your privates.”

Celestia templed her hooves, her lips pursed, and she looked between Olivia, Sir Nigel, and the screen. “Oh,” she said flatly.

“Oh?” remarked Sir Nigel.


“What do you mean, ‘oh’?” said Olivia. She hastily added a ‘Your Highness’ accompanied by a modest curtsey.

“I’m afraid I still don’t follow,” said Celestia. “What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s all blurry,” said Raven Inkwell, pointing up at the screen. Indeed, where Princess Celestia’s nethers should have been was obscured by a blob of white and pink pixels.

“Yes, the BBC pixelated the footage for later broadcast,” said Olivia as she tapped away at her tablet. “So did CNN, ITV, NBC, and all of the other news broadcasters, except Fox News, for some reason they’re still showing the uncensored version. But the raw, unedited footage went out live and a few in the audience recorded it on their phones. It’s all over the Internet, and it’s going viral.”

“Viral? I assure you, I’m clean,” said Celestia, her voice level and soft, but harbouring an undercurrent of menace beneath her usual motherly tone.

“Not if you flashed the most powerful men in the world,” muttered Sir Nigel to himself.

“‘Viral’ means the video’s been replicated and shared over the internet, just like a virus,” said Olivia. “It’s already being meme’d over on image boards like Imgur, and faster than moderators can take them down. People are voicing their outrage or support on Twitter and Facebook, but how many of them are bots we can’t say. There’s a third group emerging that’s outraged people are still talking about it.”

Celestia stared blankly at her, and made a mental note to ask Twilight to look into tweaking the translation spell, as though the words seemed to shift from English into Ponish quite well, clearly there were one or two whose meanings still didn’t translate. Nevertheless, she sat there on the cushion, looking between the two humans who shuffled awkwardly under the weight of the bizarre conversation, and slowly began to piece together just why in her head.

“Nudity is taboo amongst your species,” she said, at length. Sir Nigel gave her an encouraging nod, like a teacher trying to help a student understand a difficult topic. “That’s why you wear clothes at all times in public.”

“Correct,” said Sir Nigel. “For the most part, but it varies across cultures.”

“But it only applies for your species,” continued Celestia. “After all, you don’t make animals wear clothes.”

“Well, no.” Sir Nigel rubbed his palms again; after that breakthrough, his nervousness was returning. “That would be impractical.”

“And Equestrian diplomats have been in meetings with human officials and this has never come up. I’ve met your Queen wearing nothing but my regalia but no one told me that I must cover up. Why has this become an issue only now?”

Sir Nigel opened his mouth to answer, but faltered. He held up a hand, and then shook it a little as though doing so would make the words come out. When that failed, he clenched his jaw shut and pouted, then looked to Olivia in a silent plea for help.

“I have a theory,” she said, only just failing to suppress the urge to roll her eyes at her colleague. “Equestrian officials have primarily met with their British counterparts, as the portal between our worlds opened up in Nottingham.”

“Yes.” Celestia gently nodded her head; this discovery of a new world started with one misspelt place name in a poorly-transcribed portal spell. “Starlight Glimmer is still very upset at the way the locals treated her, and wants her kite back.”

“The police are still looking for it.”

“I’m sure.”

“Anyway,” continued Olivia. “Most people in our government are still from a certain class of individual - well-to-do families, privately educated at Eton, Harrow, and so on, and used the established network of old boys to ease their way into the highest echelons of power.”

With a frustrated groan, Sir Nigel shrank down in his seat and pinched the bridge of his nose, while Olivia shot him a rather pointed look before continuing:

“Most of these people have had some experience in the equestrian pursuits; that is to say, horse-riding, hunting, horse-racing, horse-breeding, dressage, and so on. Expensive hobbies that are traditionally the preserve of the upper classes, the British monarchy included. I can only assume that these posh snobs are just completely at ease with equine genitalia with all of their constant exposure to it.”

“Your little class war aside,” said Sir Nigel, “that appears to be the most satisfying explanation.”

“That explains why I keep getting offered sugar lumps,” said Raven Inkwell. “Have you got any?”

“I see,” said Celestia. She didn’t, really, and spent a few seconds stroking her chin with a hoof as she tried to think of how to word her next statement in the most diplomatic manner possible. Eventually, however, she just gave up, and said it: “You mean to tell me that your leaders are more comfortable seeing the genitals of animals than they are of their own species?”

“I-I-I-I…” Sir Nigel spluttered and stammered, moustache quivering. His hands gripped around the edge of the table. “I think that’s normal, right? It shows there’s no, uh… nothing sexual going on.”

“Right.” Celestia pointed at the screen again, and the two humans turned to look back up at it once more. “But the fact that everyhuman-”

“Everyone,” said Raven. “Ma’am, they say ‘everyone’.”

“Of course.” Celestia forced the kind, perfectly insincere smile she had spent over a thousand years perfecting. “The fact that everyone else is upset over seeing my vulva implies that there is a sexual element. I can’t say I fully understand; this is a part of my physical anatomy with a normal, healthy biological function that happens to be rather fun. Miss Pryce has one, after all.”

Spluttering a little in shock, Olivia almost dropped her tablet. However, she quickly straightened her posture, though her pale cheeks flushed a deep crimson as she folded her arms over her chest. Meanwhile, Sir Nigel appeared to be doing his damnedest to suppress his grin.

“Well, yes, I do,” said Olivia. “But I don’t go around showing it to people.”

“And yet images of humans performing sexual acts so are easily available. Your entire species has such a strange, contradictory relationship with your own anatomy. You are obsessed and disgusted with it in equal measure.”

“It’s just not something discussed in polite society,” said Sir Nigel. “Or seen for that matter.”

Olivia tapped a few more times on her tablet, humming to herself as she waited for whatever it was she was looking for to load. “The fact is, Your Highness, regardless of our differences in social norms around nudity, your wonderful speech has been completely overshadowed by this controversy.”

“I’m sorry that’s the case,” said Celestia, holding out her forehooves on the table. “But what sort of controversy do you mean? “

“Well…” Olivia sucked air through gritted teeth and grimaced at the vitriol on her tablet screen. “Reaction has been… varied, shall we say. The Times calls it a ‘gaffe’; The Daily Telegraph calls it an ‘insult’; The Daily Mail calls it ‘disgusting’; the BBC isn’t allowed an opinion; The Daily Express now wants all ponies banned to protect our children’s innocence - they weren’t too keen on ‘pastel-coloured, quadrupedal immigrants coming to take our jobs’ anyway; The Sun has a rather, ahem, stunning image of your backside on page three; and The Guardian dismissed all of the above as prudes imposing their imperialist patriarchy on your idyllic utopia.”

“What about The Daily Mirror?” asked Sir Nigel.

“Can’t seem to offer an opinion until Her Highness explains her stance on trade unions.”

“What’s a trade union?” asked Celestia.

Sir Nigel shook his head, and muttered something about explaining it later. “And the Americans?”

“Same sort of response,” said Olivia, shrugging. “If a bit more extreme. Ranging from the sensible, ‘it was an honest mistake’, to Fox News’ latest blonde lady calling you 'despicable, vile, and obscene' and saying ‘won’t someone please think of the children?’.”

“And anything from world governments?”

“Let’s see. The British prime minister told reporters, ‘what, have you never seen a horse’s bum before?’. The German chancellor says this as a wonderful celebration of Freikörperkultur, and everyone should try naked diplomacy. The president of Iran denounced her as a brazen harlot. The president of the United States of America said-” Olivia’s thin, arched eyebrows shot up and her eyes bugged out of their sockets. “I, uh, I-I can’t say that out loud in front of royalty, I’m sorry.”

“Excuse me,” said Celestia, raising her hoof. “Didn’t you also say that this ‘Fox News’ is airing the uncensored footage?”


“And yet they said that hurtful thing about me.”

“The FCC protested, but Fox claimed that obscenity laws only apply to humans and not ‘animals’.”


“I don’t get it either, but I wouldn’t dwell on it.”

Celestia slumped back from the table, letting the rather large cushion take her full weight. And things had been going so well, she thought; granted, there had been one or two hiccups along the way, but they had tended to be bureaucratic issues that naturally arise in the negotiations between sovereign nation-states. This, aside from the meat-eating thing, had been the first major issue of contention between these two disparate species that came from a difference far deeper than mere trade negotiations.

“Perhaps I should make an apology,” said Celestia

“I don’t think an apology would help,” said Sir Nigel. His sudden decisiveness, where before was simply anxiety and juvenile embarrassment, was at once startling and reassuring, thought Celestia. “If you apologise, those awful media outlets will take that as an admission of guilt. Fundamentally, this is simply a case of values dissonance. Don’t worry, Your Highness, my press team will work with your representatives to prepare a press statement explaining that public nudity is not a cultural taboo on your world and that no offence was intended. I think it’s best, ma’am, if you try to remain as aloof as possible.”

“I agree,” said Olivia. “The best thing we can hope for is to wait for the twenty four hour news cycle to do its thing and move onto the next scandal.” She glanced up at the clock on the wall. “Give it a few more hours, when the next White House briefing wraps up.”

Celestia hummed thoughtfully. “I’ll trust in your judgement,” she said with a sigh. “I’ve ruled Equestria for thousands of years and weathered crises far worse than this. It’s such a shame that a happy occasion has been sullied by all of this.”

“In the meantime,” said Sir Nigel. “We should think about how we can stop this from happening again. Very soon, the borders will open and ponies and humans will be able to visit each others’ worlds. How do you feel about ensuring all ponies, including yourself, cover up in the presence of humans?”

“I have no objection in principle,” said Celestia. Raven Inkwell frowned, but otherwise maintained her professional demeanour as the Princess’ personal assistant. “If humans will cast off their clothing when visiting Equestria.”

“I…” Sir Nigel rubbed his palms together and chewed his lower lip. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

“And why not? Forcing my subjects to put on clothes to visit Earth and make new friends is as much an imposition as forcing human citizens to remove theirs. As you said, there is nothing sexual or ‘obscene’ about the genitals of other creatures.”

“Well,” said Olivia, once again making that awkward grimace as she looked at her screen. “The Internet seems to disagree.”

Pardon?” Sir Nigel blurted out.

Olivia paused, apparently taking a moment to compose herself. She sucked in a deep breath, and when she spoke again she appeared to be addressing her tablet computer instead of the occupants of the room.

“You mentioned the ‘bad news sandwich’ earlier. Well, I’ve just found a bit of good news to sandwich this bad news. Your speech is currently the most viewed political broadcast on PornHub.”


“Sister, it could have been much worse.” Princess Luna lowered her newspaper and peered over its top at Celestia, sitting at the opposite end of the table.

Both sisters had returned to Canterlot following the speech and subsequent meeting, for which Luna had been too busy sightseeing around New York City to attend. It was morning, and the breakfast/dinner where the two rulers had some moment of time together before Celestia began her duties as Princess of the Day and Luna dragged herself to bed after a long night patrolling the dream realm.

Celestia looked up from her breakfast pancakes, which she had barely touched. “How could it have been worse? I violated an entrenched cultural norm and ruined a perfect speech.”

“You were not experiencing estrus at the time, as I was,” said Luna with a grin. “Could you imagine how the humans would have reacted had you winked at the camera?”

“I doubt that would have made any difference. Human females don’t wink, so most of them probably wouldn’t understand.”

Luna arched an eyebrow.

“Or so I’ve heard.” Celestia adjusted the blueberry smile on her pancakes with a fork. “Forgive me, but did you say you were in heat during your visit? As you went sightseeing around New York?”

“Yes,” said Luna, “but I didn’t have the eyes of an entire world of prudish hypocrites observing my nethers, recording it for all posterity, and arguing upon it as though such a thing was more important than your message of friendship.”

At that, Luna picked up the next newspaper in her pile. At her request, Raven Inkwell had furnished her with a selection of human newspapers on a daily basis as part of her desire to learn more about their many disparate cultures and practice reading without the use of the translation spell. However, many of the human delegates she had spoken with made great pains to point out that these organs of the press were hardly indicative of the true state of their country. Nevertheless, she found the exercise both useful and entertaining, if somewhat bewildering.

When she looked at the front page, Luna’s face dropped, and then settled into a hard, steely glare. Her brows furrowed into a deep frown, her jaw clenched, and her lips curled into a grim snarl.

“What’s wrong?” said Celestia, hiding her smile behind a cup of tea.

Without saying a word, Luna turned the newspaper around so Celestia could see the front page. There, taking up the entirety of the page, was a photograph of Equestria’s Princess of the Night, having flown to the very top of the torch that the Statue of Liberty held aloft. Taken from the webcam in the torch, the photo had zoomed in on a familiar pair of dark blue flanks dappled with black. Between them, and impossible to miss and shockingly uncensored for a race of ‘prudish hypocrites’ as she had described them, was her vulva, exposed to a beloved national symbol.

“They found their next scandal.”

Author's Notes:

Some nonsense I wrote mid-quarantine to take a break from the Blueblood nonsense.

Normal service will resume soon.

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