"Come on everypony
Smile! Smile! Smile!
Fill my heart up with
I frown almost apologetically at Luca Schiavone. Pinkie Pie singing on my phone had gotten me looks from people before, usually furrowed eyebrows, but Luca's eyes actually lit up a bit despite his situation...I back away from the bed and sit in his rolling chair by his laptop and table.
"No, no, its fine," Luca said nervously. "Let it ring some more. Its one of my favorites."
I cocked an eyebrow. Could this Luca guy really be a brony? I tucked the thought away and answered the call.
"Yes? No, I'm almost done here. Going to Louie's afterwards? Alright. Bye."
I turn my full attention back to my "job" for the evening. Luca Shiavone had been one of our small time guys...mini marts and 7-11s mainly...He was overweight, had glasses, a goatee and mustache. I had only met him a few times at a bar here and there. He didn't talk much and was usually reading a book...who in the hell brings a book to a bar? The only thing I remembered about him was he had a crazy knowledge of fine bourbons and scotch. Luca had turned me off of Jack Daniels, my then favorite drink, to single barrel bourbons and decades old scotches. He had expensive tastes but in our line of work you could afford it.
"So...you're a brony?" He got around to the question before I did.
"Yeah. You?" I shot back.
We both started to snicker and broke into laughter. We laughed for a good four seconds or so until I cocked the hammer of my Beretta 92. We stop laughing.
"Look, I'm not interested in why you did what you did but the boss wants to make an example out of you, and who am I to say no? What I am interested in is the fact that you're a brony..." I lower the gun, pointing it at the floor instead of Luca's head. "In all honesty I've never met another one."
"Heh...that makes two of us."
"You're shitting me. I thought I was one of the weird ones. I never so much as even saw a pony shirt unless I happened to walk around the mall on an errand, and even then it was only in a store, never on someone..."
"Yeah. I graduated college before the Brony thing happened. If I had been a few years younger I'm sure I would have had a nicer time at college. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, its just, all I got out of it was a stupid piece of paper and $25,000 in debt. I haven't seen and have hardly spoken to any of the friends I made in college since I graduated five years ago."
"I could sympathize...I had pretty good grades in school despite my dad leaving me and my mom, but then some rich kid cheated off of me and I got blamed for it. Got expelled and lost a decent scholarship...ended up doing this, same as you, right?"
"In a nutshell, yes. Pretty much the same with me, sans the dad situation...and the cheating part...nevermind, not the same at all...except where we ended up."
I grunt. "Yeah, American dream right there...rich idiots cheat and get great jobs, smart guys flunk out or get degrees and owe money and become criminals. Life sucks..."
"You got that right."
Dammit...I'm getting too chummy. Too...attached. I'm about to shoot this poor guy in the head and we're discussing how flawed the college education system is. WHAT. THE. HELL.
"Look, we'd better stop this. The sad truth is I have to kill you, and all you're doing is delaying it."
"Minutes are better than seconds. Glad I met a brony, though...even if he's, well...the guy with a gun to my head."
I lower my gun. "Goddammit you're not making this easy."
"Easy, huh? Graduating college with $25,000 in student loans, living with my parents because my last job was $9 an hour, enjoying my digital life better than my real one? Oh, yeah, killing's easy. Living's hard. Did you know I'm still a vir..."
Jeez...he was practically a cliche. I just know I'm going to regret this.
"Okay, look...if you pack up everything right now and are out of the city within an hour, I'll tell them I killed you. No one will have to know. You're too small for them to miss. I'll tell them I dumped the body." Luca looked at me, wide eyed. He was wearing hope and a smile on his face.
"You'd really do that?" I nod. "SO AWESOME!"
I wince at his cracking voice imitating Rainbow Dash. It was a poor attempt but I had to hand it to him. Even with imminent death in his lap he still had enough balls to crack a joke. He bounded from the bed and headed to his closet, grabbing a suitcase from it and slamming it on the floor. He was pretty nimble for a guy his size. As he bent over to unzip his suitcase, I stand.
"So," I ask casually. "Who is best pony?" He laughs as he takes out a handful of shirts.
"Are you kidding?" He says in cocky voice. "Rarity is best pon..."
The gunshot drowns out his last syllable. The front of his face explodes out onto his shirts. Thankfully he wasn't facing me. Rarity was the last straw. Not that she's my least favorite pony. Rarity IS best pony. Its just I don't think I could have really killed him if we had started to actually talk about the show, let alone why we like what is seemingly the most hated pony of the Mane Six.
He falls in a slump into his closet, blood smearing against his shirts and pants as he slides down. One of the shirts slides into view as his body weight shifts it towards me. It depicts a sad looking Derpy Hooves, the text "I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT WENT WRONG" underneath. The kicker? The bullet hole is square between Derpy's adorable eyes. I killed Derpy...
Let me repeat that.
Derpy is covered in blood and has a bullet hole in her head. I feel like gagging. And I did regret it. Making Luca turn around so I didn't have to see his face when I pulled the trigger. Pretty lousy thing to do but killing always is. This one's going to take a long time to get over...
A LONG time.
I somehow manage to find the bullet without taking a glimpse at what used to be Luca's face. Pushing aside some bloody shirts I was lucky to discover the bullet had lodged into metal pole that acted as support for the frame of the closet's interior. I dig it out with a pair of pliers and drop it into a cellophane bag.
I leave his apartment, straightening my gray blazer as I close the door. No one was looking out their apartment doors yet, but I had little doubt that the police had been called. Making my way to the elevator, someone steps off. Luckily they had their face in a tablet; they wouldn't remember me.
I'm on the ground floor a minute later and exit the building. I look at the floor and sidewalk the whole time, whether more out of pity and shame or to avoid the gaze of any camera or onlooker I'm not sure. It starts to rain as I cross the street. I duck in an alleyway and come out the next street over. By that time I'm pretty soaked. The guys are disappointed when I let them know I won't be making it to Louie's. After I hang up I hail a cab. I just want to go home, have a drink, jerk off and go to bed.
I'm at my apartment in ten minutes. I don't know what bill I hand the cabbie and frankly I don't care; he sounds like it was a fifty or better. I slosh up to the second floor and go two doors down to the familiar red door and notice a familiar pink post it note on it.
"Mr. D, someone came by looking
for you earlier. I told them you were
out. They seemed to want to meet
you. They left a number if you want
to come by and get it.
My landlady...she was such a nice and trusting person. She knew about what I did but didn't seem to care. I was certain she was the widow of a former gangster or something like that. I come home one day, bleeding from my arm, and I draw my gun on her in a panic. What does she do? Walk right up to me and looks at my arm and insist that she patch me up. She even digs out the bullet. I used to wear it around my neck as a memento but she begged me to take it off when she saw it a few days later. She claimed it was tacky, so naturally I complied.
I remove the post it and walk on in. I throw my blazer in the closet and lay my gun and holster in the drawer. The liquor cabinet is calling to me. I pour me a finger of Blanton's bourbon and pound it back, then poor me another. I sit down and fire up my XBOX and go to Netflix. I start up Season 2 of My Little Pony. I look up at the ceiling fan, thankful the light is already off.
Cheerliee's class is making their way through the Canterlot Gardens and I start to doze. Celestia's speech to the Mane Six wakes me up. They must wield the elements of harmony again, blah blah blah. I had long since memorized the episodes. I sometimes just played the episodes in the background. Tara, Tabitha, Ashleigh and the gang had soothing voices, at least to me. I notice the post it is still in my hand.
"Who would want to meet me?" I mutter. "It doesn't make any sense..."
"Make sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?"
John de Lancie spoke up on the Samsung. It was eerie that it coincided with what I just said, but I passed it off as a subconscious thing. Surely I had seen the episodes enough times to say things that matched up with dialogue, but usually I had been aware that I was doing it. This had seemed totally random.
"Random, yes. Random is good. The world needs more random in it, wouldn't you say?"
Now THAT I didn't remember. I look up at the screen and notice the ever familiar rotating white circles indicating that Netflix was buffering the episode. So that voice just now...no. It couldn't be. Fanfics start out this way. First Discord shows up and...
"Causes all sorts of mischief? Oh, well, what's mischief for you is entertainment for me."
I tossed back the bourbon and slammed down the glass. I bolted straight up and sauntered towards my flat screen. I crouched down in front of it and got my nose within an inch of the buffing circle. It was stuck at 17%. It hadn't moved sense I heard the 'random' comment. I started to prod the TV with my finger when a lion's paw reached through the screen and grabbed my hand. I tried to scream but my voice wouldn't come. I backpedaled from my crouched position, the paw holding my hand in a death grip the whole time.
I end up dragging out the Lord of Chaos himself, Discord. He looks down at me, smiling his big snaggletoothed grin at me, violently shaking my hand.
"You should see the look on your face!"
"Priceless?" I finished his sentence for some reason.
"Ahem...Why, yes. Well, Dimitri, what say we get started?"
Oh, fantastic. I retrieve my hand from him and stand up. I'm hesitant.
"Oh, you're a Trekkie, too, aren't you? I chose this voice because it was one most familiar to you in this sort of situation."
Discord stared at me blankly. "My boy, Q is a fictional character. I, on the otherhoof am a true deity, the embodiment of Chaos. That old science fiction show's antagonist was inspired by moi, not the other way around as you humans tend to believe. I seep into various people's inspiration every millennium or so. People transplant me into their stories here and there. Star Trek, Norse Mythology, videogames...anyway."
I hear a snap and see a flash of light. I'm teleported to a technicolor chamber. An assortment of different colors of tile make up the floor; they look like Starburst. Columns of candy canes and liquorice surround the room, supporting a ceiling of poptarts. A judge's bench made of ginger bread stands before me and Discord is seated there, a pink powdered wig atop his head. He holds a purple lollipop as if it were a gavel and bangs it on a large marshmallow, which, somehow, makes a squeaking noise.
I teleport again to the witness stand beside Discord. I am seated and discover I'm glued to the...taffy chair. I look to my left and see them. A dozen background ponies, most of whom I recognize. They're all looking around, stunned, all except for Derpy, who seems to be more fascinated with the structure of the candied courtroom than with than how she ended up here. To my front are Celestia and Luna, one on the left and one on the right. They must be the prosecution and defense. Having not watched enough courtroom dramas in my time, I couldn't remember which side was which. Guess I'll find out...
Behind the princesses are the reason I watch the show. The Elements of Harmony seem as puzzled as the ponies that I assume are the jury, save Pinkie Pie. I almost smile. She's the spitting image of Derpy. When Discord speaks up, they snap to attention. Even Fluttershy. That got my attention.
"Fillies and Gentlecolts, WELCOME! I have gathered you all here today to pay witness to a truly rare occurrence. A human!" A gasp went out in the jury box. I turned to see the Unicorn, Lyra, wide eyed. I had never read any of the Lyra fics that had discussed her obsession with humans, but seeing her reaction had me convinced. She was a humanophile...if that was even a word...
"Yes, indeed...a human. What's so special about him, you ask? Well, he knows about you ponies, for one. He watches a fictional yet accurate representation of you and ponykind on a television show." A murmur started among the jury ponies and the Mane Six; Celestia and Luna were the only ponies that didn't seem affected by Discord's revelation. The "judge" continued.
"He even styles himself to be identified as part of a group of people who are fans of the show. These fans like to promote harmony, love, and tolerance, BUT!" Discord pointed a talon at me.
"THIS HUMAN, THIS VERY NIGHT, KILLED A FELLOW FAN OF THE SHOW! HIS OWN KIND! Shot him dead in the back of the head." Discord mocked shooting a gun and made an exploding noise followed by a series of gargles and chokes, gripping his head. He even pantomimed scooping his brain back into his head. A hush fell over the courtroom, and suddenly I wished I was a million miles away.
"Dimitri, you are on trial for your very existence. Can somepony practice love and tolerance and yet still do what you have done this evening? Kill another sentient living thing? I look to you, the jury, to deliver the answer to this question. Should you rule in his favor, he will go back to his realm of existence, to do what he pleases. If you rule against him, he will have ceased to have ever existed and all of his crimes will have never been committed. So, if there aren't any objections...LET'S GET TO IT!"
Celestia was absolutely livid.
"Discord! What is the meaning of this? Return us to Equestria THIS INSTANT!"
For a moment I forgot that I was on trial. I had to admit, it was utterly awesome to see the Princess (and arguably God) of Equestria giving orders to Discord. I was literally in awe. This was the coolest thing I had ever experienced. Then my ears started to bleed.
"HEATHEN! DO AS OUR SISTER COMMANDS! RETURN THESE PONIES TO EQUESTRIA AT ONCE OR YE SHALL SURELY REGRET IT!!!"
Luna had forgotten her lessons from Twilight and Fluttershy. All the ponies in the room had cowered to the floor...and Pinkie was licking the floor. Actually licking it. It was made of candy, I suppose...She couldn't possibly know where that floor had been...I couldn't stop myself. I started to laugh, at first through my nose but my hands couldn't contain it. My mouth exploded with laughter. Luna accosted me, but not as loudly as she had been before.
"HUMAN, WHY ARE THOU LAUGHING? TIS A SERIOUS SITUATION WE ARE ALL IN, THYSELF INCLUDED!"
I tried to compose myself. "Pink...Pinkie Pie...she's...she's..." I lost it again. I was practically gasping for air.
"Oh. I see. Pinkie's licking the floor." Rarity's posh accent hung in the air. I stopped laughing long enough to see my favorite pony look down at Pinkie Pie, who was still licking the floor. Rarity sighed, roll her eyes, and blew a stray strand of hair out of her face.
"Well, that's enough of that..." Discord snapped his fingers and I was silent. Air ceased to exist. No oxygen entered my lungs. I gripped my chest and tried to inhale. I lurched forward, trying to gasp. Shaking violently and starting to convulse, I was sure I was going to die. Celestia, calm but stern and commanding, saved me.
"Enough of this. Discord, release him."
"As you wish." Discord snapped his fingers again and I gulped in precious sweet oxygen. Despite the Star Wars reference delivered spot on by two supernatural beings, I was done laughing.
"I'm good..." I coughed out. "No more funny business from me."
Pinkie Pie started to giggle. "Funny Business! Its funny because he was laughing!"
"PINKIE!" The other girls hushed her up.
"Discord, aren't you supposed to use the gavel to silence anypony that you find disruptive?"
Discord looked inquisitively down at Twilight Sparkle, as if her question had the most obvious answer in the world.
"My dear Twilight..." An evil grin crossed his lips. "This is my courtroom, not a courtroom of Earth or Equestria. I will do as I please and if anypony does something I deem unfit, I will deal with it in my own way...Would you like to see how long you can hold your breath?"
Twilight shrunk away, lowering her ears in the process. I hadn't seen her look so sad and terrified since the time she was talking to herself in "Lesson Zero." I felt bad knowing that she was in this situation because of me, assuming this was real and not some sort of hallucination.
"You shall do no such thing, Discord. Threaten anypony else in this room, or the human, for that matter, and you will have to deal with me." Celestia took a step forward.
"WE, TOO, SHALL HAVE NO MORE OF THY SHENANIGANS."
Discord held his hands...paws, claws...in the air in mock defeat. "Oh, fine, have it your way, your highnesses...on with the case. Celestia, you will be the prosecution. Princess Luna, having had a rough and tumble past, similar in some ways to this human's, you will be the defense."
"Discord, end this farce. We are not about to sit here and let you have your fun. Stop this at once!"
"Celestia, dear...I'm trying to prove a point. A point that you will, no doubt, want to try and prove me wrong about."
"And what might that be, Discord?"
Discord chuckled. "Why, that somepony, or human, in this case, learn and admire the teachings, guidance, and practices of the Elements of Harmony and still turn out the way this human is: A murdering, horrible piece of trash."
I shot Discord a nasty look. "There, you see? If he had a weapon right now he would have probably beat my head in or tried to smite me or something."
I swallowed. "Princess Celestia? Princess Luna? If we could..." The celestial pair straightened up at the sound of their names. "Could we just get this over with? The sooner we do the sooner you and your ponies can get back to Equestria. I've never been in a situation such as this, that is to say, in a courtroom. I've been, well, lucky in my occupation up until this point, but I guess I'm past due."
Celestia locked her eyes with mine and blinked. She slowly nodded, comprehending the acceptance of the fate I had brought upon myself.
"Very well, Discord. We'll play your game. But heed my warning." Her eyes narrowed and suddenly I regretted agreeing to let Celestia be the prosecution in my trial. "Once this is over, if you fail to return us to Equestria and leave us in peace, I will personally see that this is the last thing you ever do. That stone prison you were in will seem like paradise once my sister and I are finished with you."
A whimper behind her shook Celestia from her death glare. She saw me with my hand over my mouth, my eyes big and sad. Celestia followed my gaze and saw her Elements of Harmony with scared looks on their faces, chief among them Fluttershy, who was on the verge of tears.
"Oh, my little ponies...I'm sorry you had to hear me like that. You don't know Discord like I do. Had he done anymore the last time you turned him to stone...it would have been horrible. The last time he was in Equestria...something horrible happened. Luna..."
"Sister...please. Let us not discuss it." Luna's quiet voice spoke volumes. She looked clearly shaken by the untold tale. My guess was the resulting battle with Discord somehow led to Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon. If I had a chance to ask Luna later, I definitely would.
It took a surprisingly short amount of time to get things prepared. With a snap of his paw Discord produced dozens of documents, each one detailing the crimes I had committed over the years. And I do mean all of them. In all, there were 233 different crimes I was accused of. Discord allowed me to read them and verify them. I scanned through each one, confirming that they were accurate. I'll say this much. Discord might have been the Lord of Chaos, but he was a damned thorough civil servant.
Discord also produced a stack of the good deeds I had done over the years, and the whole of a biography of my life. I took about ten minutes to skim over this, as well. For seemingly wanting to condemn me in the eyes of the ponies, I naively thought I had a case. Suddenly, a white flash engulfed the room and everypony went gray and froze in place, save for Celestia, Luna, Discord and myself.
"What is the meaning of this, Discord?"
"Oh, calm down, Celestia. I'm merely stopping time for a bit while you and Luna build your case. No harm will come to them." Celestia's eyes narrowed again. Discord sighed. "I promise. As for you..." He looked down at me.
"I'm sending you back to your apartment, and there you will stay. You'll find any and all exits to be...inaccessible." He grinned. "Eat a good meal, drink, take a nap. I'll snap you back here once Celestia builds her case. Until then, I bit you adieu."
"Discord! Show yourself!" Celestia was calling out Discord after she discovered the Elements of Harmony were missing. I was back in my apartment watching the first episode of season two. My first thought was to finish the episode, THEN reflect on what may or may not have happened. I had almost forgotten that Discord's maniacal laughter ended the episode, and I when I went to front door of the apartment I found it bricked up. Discord wasn't lying about all the exits, either.
I could observe the city outside my living room window, but when I opened it, wind began to gust in. A gale, maelstrom...I shielded my face and looked out and down. I was miles in the sky, a vast ocean staring up at me. There was nothing beneath me but vast ocean, and miles of sky in between. I slammed the window shut. I tried my bedroom window next. This time I was in the ocean. Thankfully, the water stayed on the other side of the window sill. I was hesitant to touch the water, fearing it would come rushing in at the slightest touch, but my curiosity got the better of me. I put in a finger, then my whole hand. A fish swam by, looked at my hand, then went on its way.
I closed the bedroom window and went to the bathroom. I took a leak and thought better than to open the bathroom window. Who knew what would be on the other side? I opened the door to my living room and was almost bowled over by the sound wave that hit me.
"HUMAN! LET US BEGIN YOUR DEFENSE!!!"
Princess Luna, THE Princess Luna was sitting in my chair. Princess Luna was in my apartment. Normally this would be any brony's dream, but given the circumstances I wasn't exactly thrilled to share my apartment with the Princess of the Night.
"Princess Luna," I managed. "What an honor. I apologize for the mess." I motioned towards some empty coke bottles strewn about the place as well as a pizza box that was sitting on the table before her.
"Before we start...I have a, umm...request."
"YES?" she bellowed.
I inserted my pinky finger into my ear and gave it a wiggle. "Would you mind not using the Royal Canterlot voice? Its a bit much on the ears, especially in this small space."
Luna suddenly blushed. "Oh, we're still not quite used to speaking thus. Our time on the moon still lingers on in my behavior. My sister and I...we always talked this way back then..."
I had struck a nerve. Might as well...
"Luna...if I may drop the honorific..."
"You may." She smiled. I blushed this time. Rarity may be best pony, but I sympathized with Luna the most. "Luna Eclipsed" was my favorite episode. Luna's return was marred by fear, everypony's fear of her. Twilight was the only pony who understood her. Luna had made mistakes in the past as Nightmare Moon, to be sure, and I figured that fact was my best shot of being acquitted in the eyes of my jurors. Then again, they never showed Nightmare Moon never shot anyone in the back of the head before.
"If its a touchy subject, and I'm sure it is...what happened between you and your sister? I mean, I know a thousand years ago the two of you had a spat and you became Nightmare Moon..." She shuttered at the name, yet I had to know. "Your sister forgave you, and I suppose that's what I'm hoping for in this trial. I've done terrible things, sure, but from what I've seen I've done worse than anything you've done as Nightmare Moon..."
"What could you possibly know?" She practically whispered. Her voice was tinged with ice.
'Well, I saw what you did to the Elements of Harmony, Twilight and the others. Testing their friendship and whatnot...you didn't directly harm them in any way..."
Luna laughed as quietly as she spoke. "That? You think that was the worst thing I've done? Tell me what else you think you know?"
I sat down on the couch across from her, picking up my 360's controller. I went to season one and loaded up the first episode. Luna's eyes went wide when she heard Celestia's voice over the television. I paused Netflix.
"Your sister's not here, Luna. Its just the television show that Discord was talking about. This is what I know about you and Nightmare Moon." We sat in silence until the first episode ended with Nightmare Moon's cruel laughter. She was clearly distraught.
"I'm sorry to have put you through that. Do you want to continue?" Luna's horn glowed as she lifted a tissue from the table with her magic. She dabbed her eyes.
"It happened exactly as was depicted. I returned, intent on ruling Equestria in a state of never ending night. I was so jealous of my sister and was ever so bitter that she had banished me to the moon. We had defeated Discord together...but then...It was so cold on the moon. But it was the loneliness that froze me...froze my very soul. Eventually I reverted to my old self, but Nightmare Moon remained. She...twisted me into something I am ashamed of." She looked at me, tears returning.
"What we just witnessed, while accurate, didn't show everything. Celestia had no intention of having me return from the moon, but such powerful magic must always have a clause. No magic is absolute. She had to make it one thousand years...as of then, that was the most powerful sealing spell known to ponykind. When Celestia didn't appear at the Summer Sun Celebration, it was because she was waiting for me. She knew I was coming. Twilight Sparkle and the others...they were her back up plan." She shivered, remembering what that plan was.
"In truth, I used most of my dark powers to defeat my sister. I left her broken and helpless, but in doing so I became weak. The magic I used on the Elements of Harmony? Mere tricks. As Nightmare Moon, I could conjure the Gates of Tartarus and release all the evil within them. Everything would be under my control. I suppose you've seen hydras, manticores, and Ursa Majors in this depiction of Equestria we have just witnessed?"
Terrified, I nod slowly.
"Hmph...those creatures are but ants and sheep beside the monstrosities I could conceive."
I cock my head at 'conceive.' "Twilight mentions Tartarus later on in the series...she even guides Cerberus back to the Gates..."
Luna looks confused. "Cerberus may be imposing to any foe that would threaten the Gate, but Celestia made him so that nothing I created could escape." My eyes go wide.
"That's right. As Nightmare Moon, I created nightmares. Living nightmares. They plagued the nights over Equestria for weeks until Celestia finally stopped me. You've killed a dozen humans in your time?"
I hesitate. "Twenty three...and I've hurt dozens of others, maybe a hundred. I've lost count."
Luna scoffed. "A hundred, you say?" Luna inhaled a deep breath and let it go slowly. What she said next I had to strain to hear, and when I did, I saw anguish I could not conceive.
"Tens of thousands." Ten seconds of silence followed. It felt like ten hours.
"Luna...I had no idea..."
"NOPONY DOES!" She yelled, her voice cracking. Her tears were flowing freely now. "Celestia stopped me and finally rounded up all my Nightmare creatures she sealed them away in Tartarus! By then the death tole was almost one hundred thousand. It was almost one tenth of Equestria's ENTIRE population..."
She was sobbing now. Tears were filling my eyes, too. I couldn't remember the last time I cried because I was sad; I had this weird empathetic thing where Disney movies and the like made me cry, yet when I attended funerals of relatives and friends I didn't shed a single tear. I always felt the pain of fictional characters more than any real life person, maybe because I never had many friends and my life was pretty dull. I could live out emotions through them, so that's what I did.
"So many ponies were so traumatized by what they saw...Celestia couldn't save all them. She had to euthanize so many. I forgot to mention that. I probably maimed or injured as many as I killed." She wiped her eyes. "Of the ponies I left broken, Celestia could only save about half. The remaining ponies begged Celestia to undo what I had done. She tried..."
Luna looked at me as if for an answer. She just found the sad and confused face of a human she had only just met, a human she was pouring her heart and soul out to, even if she didn't understand why.
"After exhausting her magic to try and turn back time, she finally resorted to erasing everypony's memory of those horrible events. And for that I am thankful. I was the cause of so much pain. When I returned to Equestria as myself, not Nightmare Moon, everypony was still afraid of me. I guess there is an innate fear I impose on all of pony kind. Equestria remembers me and its inhabitants must feel Equestria's fear, too. I'm a monster..."
She tucked her head down and covered it with her wing. I could hear her crying softly. I didn't know what to do. No one had opened up to me like that before, let alone someone that made the pain and suffering I had caused look like a speeding ticket in comparison. I stood up and approached her, putting a hand on her head. I don't pet her, I just rest my hand, somehow thinking physical contact will cure all her pain.
Strangely, the only thing I can think of right now is her hair. Its solid just like in "Luna Eclipsed" when Pip pulls it, and yet its gaseous and constantly moving. The twinkles seemed almost alive...
"They are...the stars in my mane." I look at her, wondering if she's been reading my thoughts this entire time. "I'm sorry. Force of habit. My sister and I are near omnipotent beings. We can read thoughts at will, and honestly I needed to know how you were taking all this." I smile at her.
"The stars are parts of the ponies I killed; slivers of their souls or psyches is what I eventually concluded...Each one was emblazoned on my mane by Celestia as a show of penance when she banished me to the moon. When my other half wasn't tormenting me, I took the time to learn each of their names. Would you believe I've memorized them all?" She cracked a faint smile, fresh tears forming.
"They have been a precious memento of what I have done and they constantly remind me to never return to being Nightmare Moon. When the thousandth year came around and the prophecy was fulfilled, I hesitated. Nightmare Moon's will was stronger than those ponies that I had slaughtered so many centuries ago, and I begged for their forgiveness after the Elements of Harmony cleansed me of Nightmare Moon once and for all."
"And did they forgive you?"
She sniffled. "Yes." She smiles. She practically beamed at me, and I that's when I started to cry. It was one of the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen. "They forgave me."
Ten hours later we were back in the courtroom. After a couple of bucket fulls of tears the two of us go to work on my defense. Luna actually offered to use her dark past as a the core of my defense but I immediately refused. I couldn't see her going through that again, and I couldn't let her image be utterly destroyed over little ole me. Instead we went through my stack of good deeds and tried to compile them into groups that corresponded with the Elements of Harmony. Luna actually seemed impressed with some of my past deeds. Even though I was a bad guy and I did bad things, I did my fair share of good things, too.
Every time I did a hit, I donated to a children's charity. Yeah, that's right. A hitman with a heart of gold. What a crock. I honestly did it for the kids like me. Kids that grew up in bad neighborhoods and had no money to get a good education. Despite sometimes making $20,000 a hit, my apartment was only 1000 sq. feet. My laptop was my most expensive possession, and it was only about $1,200 with warranty and I had had it for about three years. Nobody knew I had near $100,000 in my savings account; I wasn't a big spender. I rarely had company over and I had overheard people mistook my vanishing profits for drugs or hookers. I doubt they'd ever imagine I was giving back to the community. I had Generosity and Kindness covered.
Yeah, a generous, kindhearted hitman. I was an oddity. Unfortunately, I was short on Laughter and Honesty. I killed people. Not much to laugh about...and if asked about people I may or may not have allegedly killed, I most certainly wouldn't have been honest, lest I end up in prison. And then telling Luca I'd let him go...
Loyalty was probably my biggest strength as well as my biggest flaw. While I never sold out an associate or betrayed a friend, said individuals were a bunch of cold, heartless people. They didn't discriminate with who they targeted, but I wouldn't work for them if they had anything to do with children. There were enough child pornographers and pimps peddling minors to turn my stomach, but the people I worked for had no part of that, so I didn't feel bad letting them do what they did, and maybe that was the problem. It was definitely Luna's biggest concern.
Celestia had brought up all of my past crimes...well, the big ones anyway. J walking and speeding tickets weren't that interesting to the ponies. Just the murders and assaults...property destruction and thefts. All in all, she informed me that I had been directly responsible for the deaths of 61 people and had hospitalized another 89. The other crimes were robberies and heists, that sort of thing. Six arson cases came up, too. Celestia did a rough estimate and found that the resulting damages from the arsons, robberies and heists had ruined the lives of no fewer than three hundred people.
In my mind I kept going back to the figures Nightmare Moon had amassed...I didn't mean to, it just kept popping in my head. As Celestia read off the charges and I compared them to Luna's past doings, I noticed Luna would cringe ever so slightly. It was an eye twitch her, a lip tick there. I was constantly apologizing in my head, hoping Luna would hear me. If she did, she gave no sign.
Most of the Jury ponies had good poker faces, but I could tell that they really loathed me. Each time Celestia would bring up one of my hits and go into detail, my cut and dry responses would raise murmurs in the crowd behind the two princesses. The Mane Six especially. Fluttershy couldn't make eye contact with me, Pinkie Pie's hair had gone Pinkamena Diane flat, and Applejack and Rainbow Dash had nothing but contempt on their faces. Twilight face was one of curiosity, the kind of curiosity that came when someone was utterly baffled at why a criminal did what they did.
The most heart wrenching part of the trial came when my last crime to date was brought up: Luca Schiavane. Upon the mentioning of Rarity's name, the white unicorn pony perked up when she heard that some strange creature thought she was the best of her group of friends. Upon hearing I killed Luca when I heard his response, anger and tears took over. She stood up and stomped towards the door. Discord made a fuss but Rarity just glared at him with her teeth bared, and I swear I saw a hint of fear on the Lord of Chaos' face. When she found out the door was shut she went into a corner, plopped down, and didn't face me for the remainder of my trial.
The ponies on the jury seemed to lighten up slightly on the mentions of my good deeds from Luna. My donations to children got most of the audience to go from angry to neutral. Luna made the case that I helped more people overall than I had hurt, to which Celestia immediately objected, citing the number of murders and assaults I had committed outweighed the number of times I had donated to charities. Luna explained that the majority of people I had killed were, in fact, killers and thieves like myself. She argued my killings actually made other humans lives easier. Discord agreed with Luna, much to Celestia's disdain.
The look on the ponies' faces at the justification of killing others was gut wrenching. It was like they were actually weighing the consequences of killing someone that was, in turn, doing evil deeds. Batman, eat your heart out. I hated that I was the one to bring gray morality to ponykind, but hopefully seeing the trouble that murder got you into, I wouldn't be anypony's example.
Closing arguments had been short and sweet...err, bitter. Celestia opted for me to cease to exist, that evil deeds should always be punished, regardless of whether they favored the good or not. She did so with a heavy heart, though. She concluded that my world would be better off without me, that my crimes outweighed my good deeds, that no one should commit crimes such as I had without punishment. It was unfortunate that I had become a criminal, because she said that she saw good in me.
Luna urged the ponies on the jury to let me go, that they shouldn't have anything to do with the workings and goings on of another race. Who were the ponies to judge what someone, not of ponykind, had done? Discord had brought them here, and had he not, the existence of humans might not have ever been revealed. As long as they, the ponies, live in harmony, they had no need to judge others. Luna said that if they judged me then they might start to judge others, and once they began that slippery slope then the ponies would start finding everything not to everypony's liking, and that ponykind might develop into a race just like the humans.
Discord excused the jury, and once again, we waited.
Deliberations only took little more than an hour. That worried me. Discord was gracious enough to materialize my laptop while we waited. I watched some youtube, got on Equestria Daily...strangely, even though I had internet access I couldn't send an email. No surprise there. Why couldn't Discord give me limited internet access? I decided to make a word document as a sort of last will and testament. Should anyone find it, that is. About halfway through I realized that if I was made to never have existed, I wouldn't have any of the money in my savings to give to anyone. I glanced up at Discord who just sniggered. The jury made their way back into the jury box and Discord cleared his throat.
"I see the jury is finished. Have you reached a decision?" Derpy Hooves stood and spoke. My fate is being decided by the most loveable pony of them all. I found it rather funny.
"We have, your...umm...honor?"
"Will the defendant please rise?"
I just stare at Discord, my hand under my chin. My chair had kept its adhesiveness but Discord seemed to have forgotten.
"Oh, that's right." He snapped his fingers and I could stand. "How did you rule?"
"We find the defendant not guilty!" She said it in such a bubbly voice that I almost burst out into laughter again, but quickly remembered Darth Discord from earlier and decided against it.
The courtroom erupted with a mixture of sighs and murmurs of confusion. Luna approached the bench and gave me a hug. I met Celestia's gaze and to her credit she actually smiled at me. I could see she was disappointed but more relieved that this mess was over. After a deep breath, she stood and addressed Discord.
"Discord, this kangaroo court is over. Send us back to Equestria and this human back to Earth. You've made your point, haven't you?"
"And what point would that be, Celestia? I'm sure you and Luna understand what I tried to do here today but I'm not sure your subjects do..." He looked across his courtroom, the ponies suddenly hushed, intent on hearing what the two deities had to say.
"Discord..." This was bad.
"PONIES! Equestrians! Would you all like to know why I convened this hearing today? Why I put this human on trial?"
"Discord..." He drowns me out.
"Could somepony care to guess why your Princess Celestia wanted this human out of the way? He's a bad influence! If he were to be found innocent, then the mistake she made one thousand years ago would be for nothing, wouldn't it?" Luna's eyes became as big as saucers.
"Discord..." Celestia stammered. "Don't you dare..."
"That condemning somepony on trial for terrible deeds would only make you look like a tyrant after what you did to your..."
I reach into my blazer and draw my Beretta. Luckily I had put it on before Luna and I returned. I cock it on the fly and empty my fifteen round magazine at Discord's head in two seconds. The ponies scream and dive under their seats. The Lord of Chaos just looks at me with cinders where his pupils should be. His pink wig bursts into flames. Discord grimaced and raised a glowing talon. My gun started to melt from the barrel on down. Before it got to my hand, I was enveloped in a blue glow. Luna lifted me from the witness chair and Celestia's own horn started to glow a brilliant gold. She dove towards the judge's chair while Discord's attention was still on me and that was his undoing.
Discord began to yell some sort of curse but upon coming into contact with Celestia's horn he immediately started turning into stone.
"Until next time, Celestia!" His maniacal laughter filled the air as the courtroom started to dissolve into nothingness.
I was back in my apartment, sitting in my chair. I still had my glass of bourbon in my hand, untouched. I put the bourbon down and go to my window. No miles long fall greeted me. My bedroom window yielded the same result; nothing but the night sky of the city. I go into m bathroom and rinse my face with cold water. That hadn't really just happened, had it? I must have gotten a headrush from my first drink of bourbon. I sigh and head back through the bedroom.
Luna is standing in my window. This time I really do fall down in surprise. She didn't even have to use the Royal Canterlot voice.
"So...that really did just happen?"
Luna sighed. "Yes, it did. Since Discord was defeated by Celestia, it might as well not have happened. The whole incident was Discord's fabrication and when his consciousness was dissipated, everything went back to the way it was. Only you, my sister and I have any recollection of the event." She looked down, somehow sad.
"I suppose this means you're free to do as you will." Luna turned and began to hover outside my window. "Although...after hearing what I went through, I don't want that to happen to any other being. Please, for me, reconsider your life. Get out of this criminal organization you're in. Do some good. I'm not sure if what you have saved away is enough to live your life the way you want to, but it surely must be better than what you're currently doing."
I smile and walk over to the window. "Thank you, Luna. For everything. For defending me and opening up to me. I haven't experienced anything like it before and I gotta say, you honestly touched me. I definitely won't be doing anymore killing..." I pause then ask the stupid question you've always got to ask in situations like this. "Will I ever see you again?"
"I do not believe so. This isn't Equestria. By rights my sister and I have no reason to be here. I'm only here due to the connection Discord made with you. I must get back to Equestria soon, or my magic might influence the surrounding area. Fare thee well, human." Luna flew off into the night and vanished in a flash of light that was the moon.
I went back into the living room and sat down. I go to pick up my bourbon but notice my phone is vibrating, indicating a text message. It says that Luca Shiavone had some friends he had shared the information that had gotten him killed. Three guys, by the looks of it, all in one place, too. I take a sip of the bourbon and stand up and make my way to the door. I put on my gun holster and pick up my blazer from the bottom of the closet. I straighten it out in the mirror then take a long, hard look at myself.
"Honesty is your least favorite element, isn't she, you sonuvabitch?" My reflection stares back at me and I at it. Honesty was never something I held too dear, save to my employers. I hated to lie to Luna, but some hands you just can't clean, least of all mine. I leave my apartment. I'm going to kill three more people tonight or they're going to kill me. Who knows? I might even donate all the money to charities and orphanages this time and I might not. All I know is that I'm a killer and not even the magic of friendship can change that.