The Princess Filly, Chapter III

Aug 31st, 2019
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  1. >after the asassination attempt, there was some talk of cancelling the coronation
  2. >surprisingly, it was you who decided to keep it in place
  3. "What are we gonna do, let the terrorists win?"
  4. >Starswirl seemed pretty impressed by that
  5. >all the same, he insisted on heightened security for the ceremony
  6. >you feel kind of bad about taking guards off of the search for the princesses
  7. >but it's become painfully apparent that, unlike the real princesses, you really do need all the security
  8. >oh, there's one more security measure the old geezer insisted on
  9. >you can't eat or drink anything during the whole ceremony
  10. >it seemed reasonable at the time
  11. >after all, there's no telling who exactly wants you dead
  12. >or what connections they have
  13. >but now that the speech is given
  14. >and the little crown rests uncomfortably upon your head
  15. >and the guests have begun to partake of the excessively luxurious banquet
  16. >you're feeling pretty fucking hungry
  17. >you're seated in Princess Celestia's seat
  18. >a stack of royal phonebooks under your ass help you see over the table
  19. >all these richfags eating their richfag food
  20. >there's nobody you know in the banquet hall
  21. >pretty much all of your friends were Twilight's friends
  22. >and they're all running around looking for Twilight right now
  23. >your stomach growls like a caged cougar
  24. >fucking hell what you wouldn't give for a little deep-fried hay right now
  25. >hey, it's an acquired taste
  26. >a faggy voice calls you out of your hunger-fueled runimations
  27. _"Little Princess Nonny, congratulations."
  28. >Blueblood puts his hoof on your shoulder
  29. >you push it off
  30. "Thanks. Please, call me Anon."
  31. _"Anon. My, I'm sure your mother would be very proud."
  32. >kek
  33. >your mother would probably just be shocked to learn that you've been turned into a talking baby pony
  34. >but Blueblood is probably talking about Twilight
  35. >but she'd probably be panicking about this too
  36. "Maybe, maybe not. All I can say is that I sure never dreamed about this sort of thing when I was little."
  37. >Blueblood's smile turns to plastic
  38. _"I did."
  39. "Well, life is weird like that, you know?"
  40. >you grin and punch him in the foreleg
  41. >what you'd really like is to call him a faggot and tell him to fuck off
  42. _"Yes. Life can take some strange turns. Have you thought about what would happen if someone else were to become an alicorn?"
  43. "No. I can't say I have."
  44. _"It's an interesting bit of Equestrian law. Anyone who becomes an alicorn is immediately made a high princess, and ranked above any and all non-alicorn royalty. You would be effectively de-throned."
  45. "Well, that's not something that happens every day. Besides, I'm working toward ascending myself."
  46. _"Ah, but how hard it must be for an earth pony to ascend. I don't believe it's ever happened before."
  47. "Hopefully the real princesses aren't gone long enough for it to be an issue."
  48. _"Do you know, Princess Anon, that I have hired some of Equestria's greatest wizards to help me improve my magic?"
  49. >you let a little smile creep onto your face
  50. >mostly to mask that little bit of panic that's creeping into your throat
  51. >but also to provoke Blueblood
  52. "Trying to ascend?"
  53. >Blueblood hisses
  54. _"Indeed."
  55. "Good luck with that."
  56. >Blueblood wheels around
  57. _"Thank you."
  58. >and he stalks off into the crowd
  59. >as you're watching him go, Starswirl returns to his seat beside you
  60. >his plate stacked high with gourmet food from the buffet table
  61. "Fucking finally, dude. I had to sit through a whole conversation with Blueblood."
  62. <"Would you kindly watch your tongue in the presence of company?"
  63. "Sorry, it's just… geez, he's so passive-aggressive and gay."
  64. >Starswirl takes a big, sadistic bite from his plate
  65. >fuck, you're so hungry
  67. >day one as the officially crowned ruler of all Equestria
  68. >now that you're really a pretty pony princess, a great deal of your training is on-the-job
  69. >that is to say, you've been thrust into real princess work while Starswirl criticizes you
  70. >oh, don't worry though
  71. >you still have your formal training in princess-shit to look forward to
  72. >earth magic, too
  73. >but that's all after working hours
  74. >according to the schedule Starswirl wrote up for you, you're alotted 4 hours of of sleep every night
  75. >for the next 10 years
  76. >anyway
  77. >the duty you're currently attending to is Day Court
  78. >thankfully, Night Court has been cancelled for the duration of Luna's absence
  79. >because this is hellish enough
  80. >"And then I says to him, "Hey you, get offa my cloud!"
  81. "Right, I understand that part. What I want to know is, where is the cloud now?"
  82. >"Oh, it's gone now, it is. Got all blowed to bits by the wind, it did."
  83. "So… what exactly are you asking me to do?"
  84. >the pegasus points at her accused tormentor
  85. >"I want you to make him apologize, is what!"
  86. >you look at the other pegasus
  87. "Mr. McBreeze, will you please apologize to Miss MacCloud?"
  88. >McBreeze turns his nose up
  89. >"Nope!"
  90. >you shrug appealingly at Starswirl
  91. "I tried."
  92. >Starswirl shakes his head
  93. <"Friends, perhaps this issue would be better resolved in private. The princess cannot mend your hurt feelings for you, and the line is growing long-"
  94. "What my colleague is trying to say is, GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY COURTROOM!"
  95. >the pegasi cringe at that
  96. >then MacCloud scowls
  97. >"What a right fuckin' bitch."
  98. >McBreeze nods
  99. >"A right fuckin' bitch indeed."
  100. >"No hard feelings?"
  101. >"No hard feelings."
  102. >the two of them prance out together, wing-in-wing
  103. >Starswirl sighs his disgust
  104. "What? I fixed their friendship, didn't I?"
  105. "Next!"
  106. >the next pony to walk in is a purple unicorn with a big bushy mane
  107. >actually, she looks kind of familiar…
  108. "Starlight! Holy shit, it feels like it's been forever! I thought you were out looking for Twilight. How's that going, by the way?"
  109. >Starlight Glimmer shakes her head sadly
  110. >"It's not going well. The search parties are starting to lose hope. We might have to accept that the other princesses will be gone for longer than we expected."
  111. "Oh, no…"
  112. >"I'm… here to ask about some of Princess Twilight's personal responsibilities. I'd like to make sure that her affairs are well taken care of, in the event of her… prolonged absence."
  113. "Sure, sure."
  114. >"In the first place, her school. With all the remaining staff members on the search parties, the students are starting to wonder what they're paying tuition for. And without Twilight involved, they're losing faith in the institution as a whole. I just want to do what Twilight would want."
  115. "Geez. All right, I realize that I'm technically Twilight's successor, but the responsibilities I've taken on are more like Celestia's. I really don't have time to run Twilight's school."
  116. >which is all technically true
  117. >it's also true that you wouldn't want to deal with it even if you could
  118. >all those dirty foreigners
  119. >the yaks smell like shit
  120. >and the griffons always try to eat you
  121. >not that you'd say that out loud to the element of equality
  122. "Tell you what. Everybody knew Twilight was grooming you to be a princess."
  123. >"She was?"
  124. "Okay, everyone but you knew. My point is, there's nobody better qualified to take over Twilight's school than you."
  125. >"Me?"
  126. >oh, don't act so fucking shocked
  127. >we all know why you brought this to the Day Court
  128. "Yup. You are hereby the official principal-slash-headmaster of the School of Friendliness. You have full autonomy to do whatever you feel is right, and an official stamp of approval from Princess Anon."
  129. >"Thanks, Anon. I guess I'll… get classes started by the end of next week if Twilight isn't found."
  130. "You do that. Ne-"
  131. >"Uh, two more things."
  132. >ugh
  133. "Okay."
  134. >"Regarding the Elements of Harmony. Obviously the Elements themselves are gone, but Twilight and her friends together have the power of the Elements within them. In the interest of national security, we do need a new Element of Magic."
  135. "Frankly, I think that sort of thing is decided by the magic itself, not by me. But once again, you come to mind as the logical candidate."
  136. >"M-me again?"
  137. >oh, you're just so fucking modest, aren't you?
  138. "Who else? You've recieved extensive education in both friendship and magic from Twilight herself, and you're fairly close to all of her friends. I suggest you start growing closer to them and hope that the friendship beams come out when you need them."
  139. >Starlight bows deeply
  140. >"Thank you for your faith in me. I have just one more concern."
  141. "I know, you said 'two more' earlier."
  142. >"It's about Spike. He's worried about living alone, and he's not sure how he's going to find work from now on. And he misses Twilight terribly. He's really, really bringing everyone down."
  143. >huh
  144. >now this is an issue that actually piques your concern
  145. >Spike is a cool dude
  146. >no doubt Starlight is hoping you assign him as her own personal assistant
  147. >but honestly, a change of scenery would probably do Spike some good
  148. "Tell Spike he can come stay with me. I'd give him a place to stay in the castle, and to be honest I could really use an assistant."
  149. >Starlight smiles
  150. >"I think he'll really appreciate that. Thank you, Anon. I'll head back to Ponyville right away."
  151. "No problem. Tell the gang I said hi!"
  152. >Starlight canters out
  153. >the next petitioner stumbles in
  154. >Starswirl whispers in your ear
  155. <"Impressive. You actually addressed her concerns. And without spouting vulgarities, at that."
  156. "I wanted to spout a few vulgarities."
  157. <"We all start somewhere."
  159. >day two as the crown princess of ponykind
  160. >Starswirl has taken tonight's princess training to the classroom
  161. >you've been asking a lot about alicorn ascension
  162. >as the guy who's famous for facilitating two of those, he's happy to share what he knows
  163. <"As I've told you, ascension is granted when one performs a prodigious feat of magic in the service of others."
  164. "Right, I remember."
  165. <"Thus, the first requirement for alicorn ascension is to channel a great deal of magic. That much is simple to understand, yes?"
  166. "Yeah I think I get it."
  167. <"To understand the second requirement, you will need a bit of explanation. Are you ready?"
  168. >you grab your pencil
  169. "Ready."
  170. <"In this world, there is an objective order. It is, if you will, a universal mind. It is a conscious will which, in its own way, enforces a moral law and a natural order upon living creatures. Sorcerers refer to this order as the 'Aether.'"
  171. "That's a bit much to wrap my mind around, but if you say so."
  172. <"To make it a bit easier for you to understand, consider this: Ponies often speak of 'magic' as though it were a conscious force which frequently acts according to its own will. They are not entirely wrong. When ponies speak of 'magic' in this way, they are referring to the Aether."
  173. "So the Aether is magic?"
  174. <"There's a bit more to it than that, but in a manner of speaking, yes. When one channels a great deal of magic, one also channels a great deal of the Aether."
  175. >understanding dawns upon you
  176. "And that's how it knows if the magic you did was for others."
  177. <"Precisely. The second requirement for alicorn ascension is to prove oneself worthy to the Aether. Most ponies who do great acts of magic, even for good purposes, never become alicorns. Noone can claim to know the Aether's exact selection process, but it would seem to include an assessment of both worthiness and of need."
  178. "All right. I'm gonna take you on your word here."
  179. <"You won't be disappointed. My word tends to be very reliable in matters of magic. The third requirement is much simpler. Are you ready?"
  180. "Always ready."
  181. <"The third requirement is approval by the existing alicorns. Should the Aether select you for ascension, it will take you to the eldest alicorn in Equestria. As far as we know, that pony is still Princess Celestia. The final decision shall be left to her, and she will either permit or prevent you from ascending."
  182. >you finish writing this down
  183. >and you spit out the pencil with a contented sigh
  184. "Well that's a relief."
  185. <"What is?"
  186. "The other day, Blueblood was telling me that he planned to become an alicorn and take the throne."
  187. >Starswirl grins
  188. >a laugh threatens to come out
  189. >but doesn't quite survive the journey
  190. <"No, no, I don't believe you'll have to worry about that. I'll own that he is a fairly powerful spellcaster, but his character leaves much to be desired."
  191. "I noticed."
  192. <"Indeed. If Blueblood were to undergo a change radical enough to be worthy of ascension, you would have no need to fear him. As it stands, you are quite safe."
  193. "Thanks Starswirl."
  194. <"You're quite welcome. Now, I think a practical lesson in royal table-manners is what we'll do next. Come with me."
  195. >ugh
  196. >table-manners
  197. "Coming."
  198. >Starswirl holds the door open for you
  199. >and after he closes the door behind him
  200. >things move sort of…
  201. >fast
  202. >firstly, there's a loud CLICK
  203. >then, you're inside of a big, glowing bubble
  204. >there's a lot of light and noise
  205. >then the bubble goes away
  206. >the door is in splinters
  207. >the classroom beyond it is in ruins
  208. >the passageway you're standing in is in shambles
  209. >Starswirl is glaring in thought
  210. >you look from Starswirl to the rubble
  211. >then from the rubble to Starswirl
  212. >and then…
  213. >holy shit!
  214. "A bomb!"
  216. >day three of princesshood
  217. >you're following Rockhoof to the grove
  218. >he hasn't said a word all night
  219. >and he stays silent til he reaches the center of the grove
  220. ^"With all these ponies after your hide, you need tae learn how tae defend yourself."
  221. >there's not so much as a hint of the old warrior's usual jollity in his voice
  222. "Oh, neat. So we're gonna do some fighting moves then?"
  223. ^"Aye. Throw me a punch. Give it everything you've got."
  224. "Okay."
  225. >you trot over to Rockhoof
  226. >pulling back a forehoof, you send it into Rockhoof's leg as hard as you can
  227. "That's no good, lass. I didnae feel a thing."
  228. >so you throw another punch
  229. >and another
  230. >but the mythic hero stands silent, as if you weren't even there
  231. >soon you're reared up on your hind legs, hitting him as fast as you can
  232. ^"Stop, stop. That's no good."
  233. >you drop back down on all fours, already sweating
  234. "Well, shit. What do you want from me? You're like ten times my size!"
  235. ^"Stop relying on your own strength! You're too small to hurt me on your own!"
  236. "Well, whose strength can I rely on? There's only me here."
  237. ^"Have you learned nothing? A proper earth pony can draw strength from the earth anywhere. If you can't do it inside of a magic grove, you're doomed already."
  238. "Uh…"
  239. ^"Feel it, Anon! The Aether is here! It's waiting for you tae rely in it! Draw your strength from it, from the earth, from the leylines. Let it flow through your hooves!"
  240. >your mind begins to focus on your hooves
  241. >where they're positioned
  242. >how they're planted
  243. >soon you've got them lined up in a perfect square
  244. >you're standing heavily upon them
  245. >and then
  246. >beneath your hooves
  247. >the earth throbs
  248. "I think… I think I feel something."
  249. ^"All right then! Hit me properly!"
  250. >you pull back a forehoof
  251. >it feels powerful
  252. >and then you drive it forward with all you've got
  253. "Ow."
  254. ^"That's. No. Good!"
  255. "Well geez, what do you want from me? I didn't know there even was magic for earth ponies til like a week ago!"
  256. ^"There are ponies trying tae kill you! Do you even care?! Defend yourself!"
  257. "Eh?"
  258. >that's when you see the shovel racing for your head
  259. >dropping to your belly, you barely avoid it
  260. >the head of the shovel scoops right through where your neck would have been
  261. "Holy fuck!"
  262. >when you see the point of the shovel poised above your head, you roll
  263. >the shovel impales itself deep within the earth where your face would have been
  264. >your roll takes you over the edge of the brook
  265. >the cold water is disorienting
  266. >the stony bed of the brook hurts to lie on
  267. "Hey, self-defense lessons seem kind of pointless if I die in class!"
  268. >Rockhoof silently makes his way toward you
  269. >you scramble to your hooves
  270. >and then you notice the rocks you're standing on
  271. >when the idea occurs to you
  272. >you don't stop to think about whether or not it's wise
  273. >you just pick up a rock
  274. >and throw it
  275. >the stone strikes Rockhoof on the brow
  276. >that's when he stops
  277. >wobbles
  278. >and falls
  279. >and then?
  280. >he laughs
  281. ^"Hah! That's more like it!"
  282. "Holy BALLS, Rockhoof."
  283. ^"You can say that again. What a throw! Now you're working with earth magics!"
  284. "No, I mean you, going all fucking… terminator on me! Like, you were holding back, right? You weren't actually gonna murder me with a shovel, right?"
  285. ^"You were in no danger, lass. I only meant tae scare ye. And it worked pretty well at that, didn't it?"
  286. "Fucking shit I thought I was gonna die."
  287. ^"Just do that again next time you're in trouble, and you never will."
  289. >day four of princesshood
  290. >at long last, the day is done
  291. >you've tossed that awful fucking crown into the corner of your chamber
  292. >you've got about a dozen guards posted outside the door
  293. >you've got the curtains drawn tightly against the midnight Sun
  294. >and now
  295. >you're climbing onto the unreasonably large bed
  296. >burying yourself under the green silk quilt upon it
  297. >and burrowing into the pillows
  298. >already, your tight schedule is leaving you positively exhausted at the end of each day
  299. >as you yawn and roll over, you know you'll be asleep in a few seconds
  300. >sleep tight, poner
  301. >…
  302. >then your eyelids snap wide open
  303. >there was a…
  304. >noise
  305. >sort of a
  306. >slithery
  307. >hissy
  308. >noise
  309. >you slowly crane your neck to look around the room
  310. >did you see something darting between the cupboard and the chest?
  311. >no
  312. >that's just your imagination
  313. >your sleep time is too scant as it is
  314. >no time to waste on silliness
  315. >you close your eyes again
  316. >oh, shit, something just bumped into something
  317. >you're sitting stiff upright in bed now
  318. >aw, fuck it
  319. >you're not gonna get to sleep without getting to the bottom of this now
  320. >of course, you could just call in the guards to search the room for you
  321. >but…
  322. >d'aw, wook at da widdle pwincess, scawed of da monsters under her bed
  323. >yeah, fuck that
  324. >you hop out of bed
  325. >you'll find it yourself
  326. >probably just a bat or something that got into the castle
  327. >with cautious, quiet steps, you prowl about the royal bedchamber
  328. >checking under the chest
  329. >in the cupboards
  330. >between the sofa cushions
  331. >under the bed
  332. >but nothing can be found
  333. >a breeze blows in through the open window and cools the nervous sweat that's pooled on your brow
  334. >you sigh
  335. >it's probably nothing
  336. >and then you begin sweating again
  337. >you never left the window open!
  338. >the curtains you had so tightly drawn…
  339. >they've been disturbed!
  340. >oh, hell, something is IN here!
  341. >you'd scream
  342. >but your throat feels glued shut
  343. >and then
  344. >there's the noise
  345. >it's close
  346. >very close
  347. >it might even be…
  348. >you look down
  349. >sitting at your very hooves!
  350. >imagine the love-child of a scorpion and a snake
  351. >a wide head tapering into a narrow tail
  352. >a glistening exoskeleton over its whole body
  353. >but a perpetual, undulating slither in its motions
  354. >a pair of long fangs sticking straight out from its mouth
  355. >and two legs that seem to slither the creature rather than walk it
  356. >oh yeah, you scream
  357. >rearing by terrified instinct allows you to just barely dodge the venomous fangs of the hideous monster
  358. >a legion of guards all but break down the door at the sound
  359. >"Princess Anon!"
  360. "Kill it kill it kill it kill it!"
  361. >the nightmare ends when a brawny guard gallops over and crushes the thing with an armored hoof
  362. >a flash of light hails the entrance of Starswirl the Bearded
  363. <"Anonymous! Are you in danger?"
  364. >you try to shake off some of the terror from your face
  365. >try
  366. "I was. You just missed it."
  367. >you point to the guard who saved your life
  368. >he's currently looking with disgust at the crushed creature that's stuck to his armored horseshoe
  369. >Starswirl sees the creature and gasps
  370. <"Ophidious Ippolit, the dream worm!"
  371. "Familiar with it?"
  372. <"It's an extremely dangerous animal. The dream worm is so venomous that… actually, guard, take off that horseshoe. Never wear it again."
  373. >with a "gah," the guard shakes the tainted apparel from his hoof
  374. >Starswirl shakes his head
  375. <"You will not find a creature like that anywhere within Equestria. Having it imported must have cost someone a small fortune."
  376. >but who, you wonder
  377. >is someone?
  379. >day five since you were crowned
  380. >the guards insist that they're already investigating the attempts on your life
  381. >but now, after the third one, you want to look into the investigation yourself
  382. >for your sanity
  383. >it is, after all, your life on the line here
  384. >so you're sitting in a dark room, surrounded by guards
  385. >and this time, that's a good thing
  386. >Starswirl is lurking in the corner
  387. >he's probably just hoping you don't insult half the royal guard into quitting
  388. >don't worry, you won't
  389. >though it's sort of tempting
  390. >the guards are presenting their findings to you
  391. >but they haven't really found anything
  392. >they have no idea who the tall swordspony could have been
  393. >they have no idea who could have planted that bomb
  394. >and there's no likely suspect on record as having purchased a dream worm recently
  395. >in fact, there's no likely suspect as all
  396. >as far as they can tell, whoever's behind all this is someone with access to the castle
  397. >but that's literally hundreds of ponies
  398. "Gentlemen, it's time for a fresh perspective on things."
  399. >a snoring guard sits next to you, wearing a pair of sunglasses in a feeble attempt to hide what his slumber
  400. >you snatch these sunglasses and put them on
  401. >they're too big, so you have to hold them on your snoot with your hoof
  402. "Tell me, have you ever heard of a stand-alone complex?"
  403. >"What are you talking about?"
  404. "I'm talking, gentlemen, about memes, the DNA of the soul."
  405. >the guards are looking at you like you're fucking retarded
  406. >no matter, you're about to blow their minds
  407. "Consider this. One pony, perhaps someone with influence, voices discontent with the current administration. Half a dozen other ponies - without any connection to each other - hear this, take it to heart, and try to kill me. An accidental conspirator. Copycats without an original, acting out the will of the memes."
  408. >the major who's been presenting the findings is none other than the guard who saved your life last night
  409. >he cocks his head and speaks uncomfortably
  410. >"No, princess. There certainly are multiple ponies involved here, but in cases like this there's always an intentional conspirator behind it all, most likely paying off the others. Generally speaking it would be someone from an opposing faction of the government, or a rival for your position, or-"
  411. "You think I'm crazy, do you? What if I could tell you who the meme-smith behind it all is? Behold, our accidental conspitlrator!"
  412. >you toss today's copy of the Canterlot Chronicle onto the conference table
  413. >the cover story?
  415. "Every single day, this scum-fucker writes horiffic slander about me-"
  416. <"He wouldn't have anything to write about you if you didn't cause a dozen scandals every day during Court."
  417. "And I think he's brainwashing otherwise perfectly patriotic ponies into plotting against me."
  418. >the major sighs
  419. >"Are you saying you want us to make the Canterlot Chronicle stop saying mean things about you?"
  420. "Have I ever told you that I've been meaning to promote you?"
  421. >"I'll have one of my guards drop off a temporary gag-order later today."
  422. "H-hey now, don't get the wrong idea here. I'm not just doing this out of spite, there might really be something there! Check their, uh, financial records too or something."
  423. >"Sure thing, princess. It's as good a lead as anything else at this point."
  424. >this motherfucker thinks he's sly
  425. >but you see him throw a pleading look at Starswirl
  426. >which Starswirl takes as his cue
  427. <"Come along now, Anonymous. I think you've distracted these gentlecolts quite enough for one day. It's time for Day Court."
  428. >an inescapable magic grip takes you by the scruff of your neck and hoists you in the air
  429. "No, please, not Day Court!"
  431. >day six of doing Day Court every morning
  432. >the guards were good enough to give you a little reading material before today's court-session
  433. >the findings from the audit on the Canterlot Chronicle
  434. >now Starswirl seems to have nodded off in his chair
  435. >so there's nobody to tell you to do stupid shit like "being responsible" or whatever
  436. >thus, you've decided to ignore the current petitoner's irate rambling in favor of reading the documents
  437. >incredibly, the audit indicates that you may have been onto something
  438. >every article written to shit on you seems to have been followed up with a large, anonymous donation to the paper
  439. >the guards can't trace where the bits are coming from
  440. >so whoever they are coming from must be fairly wealthy and well-connected
  441. >when you combine this with the donor's apparent antipathy for you…
  442. >even the major admits that this fits the profile of the conspirator against your life
  443. >as for your meme theory?
  444. >the major still insists that it's nonsense
  445. >well, he's probably right about that, now that you think about it
  446. >"Hey! Are you listening to me?"
  447. >you look down from the audit report
  448. "Uh, no. Who are you?"
  449. >"My name is Rhyme Broderick. Your goons issued a gag-order to my paper, and I want to know why you hate the free press!"
  450. "Oh, neat! What a coincidence, I was just planning to have you arrested."
  451. >"Huh? You can't do that!"
  452. >the guards in the courtroom are looking askance at you
  453. >you nod impatiently at them
  454. >finally, Canterlot's top shithead journalist is surrounded by spears
  455. "Sorry, I can do this. State of emergency. There have been three attempts on my life this week, you know."
  456. >"Well that's because you're a tyrant! You're a childish, impulsive-"
  457. "Wow! You really want to see the inside of my dungeons, don't you?"
  458. >"Wh-wh-what do you want from me?"
  459. >ah, do you smell that?
  460. >that's the sweet, sweet smell of power
  461. >you wave the audit documents in your hoof
  462. "Somebody's been paying you to shit on me. Tell me who it is and you might go home today."
  463. >"Wh-this is a violation of my rights! I have a right to privacy, and freedom of the press!"
  464. "You'll have a whole lot of privacy in solitary confinement, bud."
  465. >a snort at your side alerts you to the fact that Starswirl has just woken up
  466. <"By the Sun! Anonymous, for the last time, you cannot have petitioners arrested for being annoying!"
  467. "Glad you're up, teach. Mr. Rhyme here was just about to tell me who's been trying to kill me."
  468. >Starswirl strokes his beard at that
  469. <"I see."
  470. >then he nods
  471. <"Carry on. Just don't do anything cruel or unusual."
  472. >"Th-there's no proof that my supporter is the one behind the attempts on your life! Th-that's slander!"
  473. "I'll let my guards be the judge of that, after they investigate your 'supporter' thoroughly."
  474. _"There's no need for that. I confess."
  475. >you look up at the intruder
  476. "Oh, hey Blueblood. When did you get in here?"
  477. >then you look at him again
  478. "Also, did you do something with your hair? And your eyes? And your… teeth?"
  479. >Blueblood laughs
  480. >Rhyme faints
  481. >Starswirl keeps tapping you on the shoulder
  482. >your eyes widen in realization
  483. "It was you!"
  485. >Blueblood's beach-blonde mane is now a gaseous wisp of opaque, black smoke
  486. >his baby-blue eyes are now a piercing red
  487. >and his carefully bleached and straightened teeth are now yellowed and sharp
  488. >also, he's hefting a gigantic, obsidian sword in his magic
  489. <"Th-the Black Blade!"
  490. "Is that bad?"
  491. <"Forged a billion years ago… killing so its power grows!"
  492. "Should I take that as a yes?"
  493. >Blueblood takes his new evil laugh out for another spin
  494. _"It's very bad indeed. You've survived hired asassins, bombs, deadly animals, and even memetic warfare. But you won't survive the Black Blade!"
  495. >you tug on Starswirl's leg
  496. "See? Memetic warfare! The paper really was out to kill me with memes!"
  497. _"You seem to be taking this awful lightly."
  498. "Well, there is a legendary sorcerer standing right behind me."
  499. <"That sword can cut through unicorn magic like butter."
  500. "Oh."
  501. >Blueblood laughs again
  502. _"So what'll it be, little Princess Nonny? You can come down here for a peaceful transfer of power, or I can slaughter all of your guards, all of the petitioners in line out there, and then kill you."
  503. "Now when you say peaceful transition of power, do you mean…"
  504. _"You die."
  505. "Shit."
  506. >you shrug
  507. "All right."
  508. >you proceed to step down from the throne
  509. >only for Starswirl to pull you back up by your tail
  510. <"What are you doing?!"
  511. "It's super basic ethics. One life vs dozens. Unless you can pull magic friendship beams out of your ass like Twilight Sparkle, this is kind of our best option."
  512. <"You foal! Would you think for once in your life? Think you that the Black Blade will be sated with the blood of one filly? The sword is death from the beginning to the end of time!"
  513. "Well how was I supposed to know that?"
  514. <"Look at who you're speaking to! He's evil!"
  515. _"What are you whispering about? I'm growing impatient!
  516. "All right. You said that thing can cut through unicorn magic, right?"
  517. <"Yes."
  518. "How about earth magic?"
  519. <"What are you getting at?"
  520. "I have a bad idea."
  521. >with a wink, you skip down the steps to the floor
  522. _"Finally. I'm glad to see you're bearing this with a little more dignity than you did the other attempts."
  523. "Ah, well, you know… Hey, isn't that one of those friendship death-rays rushing up behind you?"
  524. _"What? Impossible!"
  525. >when Blueblood turns around
  526. >you bolt for the door
  528. >the line of petitioners is understandably upset to see you canceling Day Court early
  529. >but a few seconds later, they understand
  530. >Blueblood, a red-eyed screaming ghoul, comes tearing out of the courtroom after you
  531. >by a fortunate twist of logic, the entrance to the courtyard is only a short gallop from the entrance to the courtroom
  532. >and in the courtyard, there's the palace gardens
  533. >and in the gardens?
  534. >the grove!
  535. >once you're in the grove, you know you've only got a few seconds before Blueblood finds you
  536. >so you hop into the brook and grab a rock
  537. >oh fuck oh fuck this such an awful idea
  538. >you had all those guards with spears right there and didn't ask a single one to help you!
  539. >and now you're about to face down Celestia's own nephew and his apocalyptic sword
  540. >with a rock
  541. >finally, Blueblood stalks into the grove
  542. >he has no words for you
  543. >only manic laughter
  544. >and he raises the Black Blade for your death-blow
  545. >and it howls
  546. >it howls like hell
  547. >that's when you close your eyes
  548. >and throw the rock
  549. >there's a sickening CRUNCH
  550. >oh man oh shit that was your skull, wasn't it?
  551. >you reach up to feel your head
  552. >actually, your skull seems intact
  553. >you dare to open one eye
  554. >Blueblood lies unconscious on the ground
  555. >he looks more or less back to normal
  556. >except, of course, for the broken jaw
  557. >the Black Blade lies silent beside him
  558. >oh, nice!
  559. >you're alive!
  560. >you hop out of the brook and shake yourself dry
  561. >and you look at the Black Blade
  562. >geez, this thing almost killed you, didn't it?
  563. >you reach out to feel the flat of the blade
  564. <"Don't touch it! You'll go as insane as he did!."
  565. >Starswirl limps and wheezes into the grove
  566. >as if he did so fucking much today
  567. <"I'll have to make sure that this gets back to the deepest part of the forbidden archives where it belongs. Are you all right, Anonymous?"
  568. "Who, me? I'm great. All I did was solve my own asassination and risk my hide for my subjects, no big deal."
  569. >Starswirl shakes his head
  570. <"You've done well, Anonymous. But for now, you'll have to get away from that sword. Come along."
  571. "Yeah, all right."
  572. <"And one more thing, Princess Anonymous."
  573. "What's that?"
  574. >Starswirl smiles warmly
  575. <"You appear to have earned your cutie mark."
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