"You think you know me...."
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The Assassination of Twilight Sparkle
By The Rated Ponystar
Edited by: Clavier and Unnamed Pawn
Art done by: Viofriedsebe
If Celestia had been in a better mood, she would have found the reactions of the castle’s staff humorous. Many had wiped their eyes or slapped themselves to make sure if they were really seeing their former isolated princess walking among them. Nevertheless, bowed before her and made sure to stay out of their way. Nopony spoke to her, either out of respect or fear, but it didn’t matter to Celestia. She was in no mood to talk to them, and instead focused on making her way out of the castle. That was until she arrived at that place.
She stared at the purple double doors decorated with a bright lavender star and smaller white ones in the center. By their side were flowers and candles, offerings to the soul of a princess who not only once slept in these chambers, but also died inside them…
Fear can make one behave, or think strangely, even the most rigid of ponies could fall victim to such emotions. Princess Celestia, to her credit, rarely ever felt fear. Yet even she wasn’t a god. She had the same feelings as any normal pony on the street, and fear was no exception.
The moment she heard the words uttered from the terrified guard’s mouth, everything around her suddenly ceased to exist in her mind. Not the confused and terrified subjects in her court. Not the dozens of guards scrambling to their superiors for orders, all of which were to immediately lock down the palace. Not even her sister, tears streaming down her face, was in her thoughts when she blazed down the hall as fast as she could.
The only thing in her mind was the words the guard uttered:
“P-princess Twilight has b-been m-m-murdered!”
Celestia denied it in her heart. It was not possible. Inconceivable. Not in her castle. Not in a time of peace. Not her Twilight. She had to be asleep still. It was early in the morning and she had to have been up all night like always. It was a mistake. She wasn’t dead, just asleep.
She reached the hall that housed Twilight’s room and saw ponies crying in each other's hooves as guards tried to clear them away. Even then she still denied the idea that Twilight was dead. There had to be a mistake. This was not supposed to happen. Everypony was silent the moment they saw Celestia and made room for her as she entered her student’s chambers, hoping to find her alive and well.
The moment she saw the body she screamed. A single glance was all it took. Lying in a pool of blood, from fresh deep gashes all over her body, lay her beloved student whose eyes were now closed forever. Each step forward felt like the weight of the world; it was even a struggle to breathe. The guards stepped back and bowed their heads. Some had broken their usual stone-faced expressions and openly wept. And yet Celestia did not, she couldn’t. Not until she was sure of it.
After what seemed like ages, Celestia took her beloved unmoving Twilight and cradled her, staring into the empty expression that her student wore instead of her usual loving smile. Celestia stared for a long time until she unleashed her magic. The room lit up as if the sun itself had suddenly appeared. Those on the sidelines stepped back in surprise while protecting themselves from the blinding light. The unicorns were in awe of the amount of power being summoned for the holiest of healing magic that Celestia learned long ago. It required immense energy to perform, but none of that mattered. If it could save Twilight, then Celestia would let the spell take all her magic and leave her a husk.
When it was finished, Celestia cast the spell on Twilight, covering her with a golden aura that made her shine like a star from heaven. The exhaustion and other after effects of the spell soon hit Celestia like a surprise blow to the stomach. While catching her breath, she watched with pleading eyes as she waited for the spell to take effect. Her eyes widen and her out slowly fell open in horror as she watched the golden light faded within Twilight’s body. Celestia fell to her haunches with a loud gasp, her eyes tearing up as she saw not a single wound sealed up, blood spilling forth like nothing had changed. The spell she had cast was so powerful it could heal any wound, but one important factor was needed for it to work.
The one being healed had to be alive.
The hard, cold reality fell upon Celestia. The guard’s words, that she could deny no longer, were proven true before her very eyes. Princess Twilight Sparkle, the Element of Magic, savior of Equestria, and faithful student, was dead.
Celestia snapped out of her dreams and turned around, noticing a nervous Solar Guard approach her, his tail slowly slid between his legs. “I’m sorry, I-I didn’t mean to interrupt y-you. I-I was wondering if there was anything I c-could do?”
She stared at him in silence, which only caused him to sweat profusely. Like all guards he wore the enchanted armor that, to the normal eye, made him look like everypony else but Celestia was immune to it. His brown mane, his yellow coat, and even his face reminded her of somepony, but she didn’t know who. “Tell me your name.”
“I… I’m Gladius Stride, ma’am. I finished my basic training three months ago,” he answered with a shaky salute.
Celestia nodded and was ready to leave, but she couldn’t shake the feeling she knew him. Sighing, she asked, “I’m sorry, but have we met? You look very familiar to me.”
The guard froze and stuttered a bit, his eyes filled with terror. To her surprise, the young stallion threw himself to the floor in tears. “Please, Princess Celestia, don’t hate me! I beg of you! I’m not like him! I am loyal and would never do what my brother did!”
“Your brother…” muttered Celestia. Her eyes widened as she finally remembered who this guard reminded her of. “Your brother was…”
Gladius nodded, slowly sitting up. “Yes… he is… was Solar Lieutenant Gallant Heart, one of the assassins who killed Princess Twilight.”
For a long time, Celestia stared at the guard who bore similarities to one of those who had killed her beloved Twilight. His brother was one of them. Her left hoof shook despite her efforts to calm it down. Celestia turned her back to him and said, “I order you to leave this hall."
She heard him run away, his hoofsteps fading into the distance until they were no more. Alone, Celestia grunted in frustration as she grabbed the floating spell book and hugged it to calm the rage in her heart. However, even that wasn’t enough. She could easily remember all ten faces that took Twilight away from her while also taking away Equestria’s future, that guard's brother among them. While they had sweated with fear, and cowered before her, he was the only one who stood still with a calm expression. Like he had no regrets in what he had done. With a loud cry, Celestia smashed her hoof into the nearby wall, creating a giant hole.
“My, you certainly have lost your cool haven’t you?” Celestia turned her head and growled at who she saw levitating on a purple comfy chair with a soda pop in his claw. Discord waved his free hand, and said, “Oh, please ignore me. Continue with your little burst of rage. I dare say, it’s nice to see you show some emotions besides that happy little smile of yours you always put on.”
“I am not in the mood for your games, Discord,” spat Celestia as she continued her walk. “Leave me alone or else I won’t be responsible for what happens.”
Snapping his fingers, the sofa spawned a small propeller on its end and started flying forward, keeping up with the retreating princess. “My dear, Princess Celestia,” said Discord, stroking her mane a bit before a hateful glare with promises of pain stopped him. “I would like to obey your orders, but unfortunately, Fluttershy has asked me to check up on you out of concern.”
Celestia paused as her eyes lit up. She turned around towards Discord and asked, “How are they? The girls?”
The smile on Discord’s face vanished instantly. “About as well as one can expect when losing somepony you care about. Still, the girls have gotten better over the months, supporting each other like the close little band that they are.”
A sigh of relief escaped Celestia’s lips as she put aside her worst fears, only to realize that there was one individual Discord forgot to mention. “What… about Spike?”
Discord, in a rare moment of silence, hesitated before sighing in frustration. “Spike is still hurting, worse then any of them. He cries at night and sometimes goes on a little rampage, cursing worse than a sailor. If Twilight hadn’t put up those flameproof spells in the library the fireponies would have been working overtime. He’s rarely ever coming out anymore and barely letting anypony in to see him except the girls sometimes. Shame since I’ve grown to somewhat like the little guy. Everypony’s tried talking to him, even your sister, but he just tells everypony that he wants to be left alone.”
“Oh, Spike…” whispered Celestia, wiping a fresh tears from her eyes. “I’ve always known he saw Twilight as a mother… now that she’s gone…”
“You’re the only one who can talk to him, Celestia,” said Discord in a rare serious tone. “If anybody can get through to him, knows the pain he’s going through, it’s you. Everpony’s been just as worried about you, however, since you’ve locked yourself in your room. It’s gotten everypony in Equestria assuming so many crazy things.”
“What do you mean?” asked Celestia, eying her old foe.
“Haven’t you heard?” inquired Discord as places his claw over his mouth with a gasp only to soon smile and snap his fingers. He and his sofa soon disappeared and the spirit of chaos popped right next to Celestia, along with a sketch pad and pencil levitating nearby. “Let me show you what your subjects have been thinking about you lately. The word on the street as it were.”
The pencil started to draw so fast it almost made Celestia’s eyes roll out of their sockets. Soon it stopped, revealing what seemed to be a kindergartener’s drawing of herself running away in tears from the city of Canterlot.
“Most seem to think that, in your grief, you have fled Equestria to live in solitude forever. I think your little breakdown at the trial may have caused that.”
“The trial…” whispered Celestia.
“Yes, I heard what happened. Nasty business. Didn’t think you had it in you to send ten ponies to their deaths,” commented Discord, as a fresh sheet appeared and the pencil went to work again. When it finished, it showed an evil looking Celestia with black fur instead of white and wielding fire all around her as her subjects fled in panic. “Oh this is a rich one. Seems a few paranoid ponies think you’re planning to enact your ‘righteous vengeance’ on all of them with flames and death. Of course, no matter how angry you are, you would never do something like that. I'm more likely to join a priesthood than that ever happening.”
Celestia paused and stared at what her subjects were thinking about her. A part of her tried to deny what she heard, since this was Discord, but upon remembering what Luna had said earlier made her realize there was merit in these claims. Has my isolation from the world really unsettled so many?
“And now for the most ludicrous one yet,” claimed Discord, as the pencil went to work on another new sheet. Celestia stepped back upon seeing its completed work. It was her, in a coffin, while her subjects were weeping. “A few whisperers think you’ve killed yourself in despair and that your death is being hidden from the rest of the world.”
The writing utensils disappeared as Discord, now with a black veil on his head, covered his forehead with his lion paw and started to cry gumdrops. “Oh it’s true isn’t it?! Our dear Celestia has gone off to a better place by her own hooves! Oh what a tragedy it is for all of us!”
“Discord, I am still here and I will be sure to inform the public that I am alive and well,” said Celestia, rolling her eyes.
“Well, I don’t know about the second part,” commented Discord, throwing away the veil. “You’ve been locked up in your room for months. Understandable, considering we’ve lost Twilight Sparkle.”
“What do you mean we?” demanded Celestia. “You and Twilight didn’t particularly care for one another. At best you were on civil terms.”
Discord crossed his arms and stared. “Just because I wasn’t friends with her like I am with Fluttershy and some of the other Ponyville residents doesn't mean I didn’t respect her. To be fair it takes something to beat the Spirit of Chaos. Granted it was all luck sure, but still she won... barely...” he mumbled. “You could have least let me go to the funeral.”
Celestia looked at Discord and had to admit that it still surprised her to see this side of him. A thousand years ago he was a menace, using his powers to overthrow the government and for years treated Equestria like his personal playpen. Although he never killed his enemies like other darker forces that once plagued this world, he was still a corrupted and insane tyrant back in the day. Now he was different, mostly. He was still wild, chaotic, and was rarely ever serious, but he held back; mostly because he now had friends.
“Yes, I suppose I should have allowed you to come as well," admitted Celestia, lowering her head.
“It’s alright. I snuck in when you weren’t looking,” said Discord, ignoring Celestia’s glare. “Anyway, I would just go out in public and give them some heartfelt speech like you always do just so they know you’re alright. Might give those papers something to talk about other than the ‘trial of the century’ they keep bringing up all the time. You did make quite a scene that day, you know?”
Celestia bit her lip. She could remember it like it was yesterday...
The throne room in the Royal Palace was more than just the sitting place for the Princesses of Equestria. It was also the setting for the various special events in Equestria, like the Grand Galloping Gala or a Royal Wedding. And sometimes it was used to deliver judgement upon the wicked. No simple law breaker would be judged in the presence of the rulers, but only the most high profile of criminals; ones whose actions had affected the very fate of Equestria. The last time a criminal was judged in the throne room was a hundred and eighty years ago, when a noble’s son tried to poison his older brother so he could become the heir to his family’s wealth. The large room was filled to the brim with observers, guards of both the Solar and Lunar branches, and the press that had all come to see today’s events unfold.
All eyes were locked upon the figure that loomed over her throne like a vulture, waiting for its prey to shrivel up and die. Celestia's eyes, cold as ice and piercing as the sharp edge of a sword, never wavered from their focus on the doors across the room. Not at her sister, who showed concern for her elder sibling, nor Twilight’s friends and family who were crying or waiting in silence for the murderers to arrive.
At last the large double doors opened and all was quiet. Two rows of guards, armed with the heaviest of armor and weapons, dragged the criminals from their chains. Each of them looked like they had been through Tartarus and back; the bruises and cuts from their ruined coats made some have pity for the murderers. Those who were unicorns and pegasi no longer had the appendages of their body that made them famous, rather they had been torn and removed through methods most would call 'barbaric' in nature.
The most damaged were the five fallen ex-guards who walked with their heads held high, yet in their eyes one could see fear. Every guard from both divisions gave their former brothers-in-arms looks that could kill. Prince Shining Armor of the Crystal Empire, their former captain, looked like he was ready to draw his sword and cut them in half were it not for his wife sobbing in his hooves. There were whispered words of “oath breakers” and “traitors” as they passed, making them lower their heads in shame. All but one of them: former Solar Lieutenant Gallant Heart, who entered with perfect military posture.
Next to follow the guards were four ex-nobles who looked more miserable than the entire slums of Canterlot. Once they were popular politicians on the Council of Nobles, bright and rich with powerful friends. Now they were alone, ruined and forgotten by all whom they once associated with, be it friend or family. Their grand plan to halt the investigation, to get away with murder, foiled by a servant overhearing their secret meeting which lead to their arrest hours later. After tough negotiation, they eventually revealed of which royal guards did the deed and they too were locked up with their co-conspires.
Some of their family members began to weep for them, others turned their noses away and huffed, yet even they held sorrow in their eyes. Both sides had betrayed the country they had sworn to serve, even if they still proclaimed it was the right thing to do. Their 'patriotism', however, couldn’t protect them from the wrath of Celestia. The moment she saw both groups her magic flared out like the sun she guided every day. The room started to feel like it was on fire, the very air turned dry like a desert had suddenly appeared. With white eyes of fury, and a mane filled with flames of anger, the once gentle princess had become a goddess of vengeance.
Yet it was nothing compared to the fury and power she unleashed when the last one, struggling against his bonds and proclaiming mercy, entered the room. The ponies in the room trembled upon feeling such power. Film in the cameras that the photographers were shooting with started to melt. Some, like Rarity and Fluttershy, fainted momentarily while others slowly made pools of sweat beneath them. Only Luna was unaffected by the insane amount of power, but even she managed to break a sweat. It was like Judgment Day had arrived, and it was all aimed at the ringleader of the entire group. The one who said theirs was “A noble task to rescue Equestria from a scheming usurper.”
“A-Aunty...” muttered Blueblood as the former prince was forced to bow by the guards dragging him.
When the ten were lined up in a row, the power from Celestia slowly receded to the point where everypony could breathe again. The silence in the throne room was deafening until Celestia finally spoke. “We are here… to pass judgment on those who have committed the most horrible crime Equestria has seen in centuries. Countless times in the old days, and in times of war, the Royal Family has been targeted for assassination. Yet for the first time, it was a success.
"And who was it that caused this? Was it changelings? Griffins? A creature from Tartarus? No. It was none other than the same subjects that Princess Twilight Sparkle trusted and loved. The ones she worked hard for everyday to tend to their needs, and how do they reward her?!” Celestia’s eyes went as pure as white as she let out the Canterlot Voice. “By acting as the cowards they are and killing her in her sleep! Betraying their oaths to me, my family, and their nation, they have taken from us one of the greatest heroes of our time as well as Equestria’s newest princess only a year after her coronation!”
She turned to her former guards. “Those who once swore to serve me had turned their blade not against enemies of the state, but towards the very princess they swore to protect. The same princess who once paraded through these halls as a young filly, asking help from the ponies that she had regarded as her second family. She put her life in your hooves and you responded by ending it before it could reach its potential.”
All of the former guards winced and a few started shaking in fear with only Gallant Heart standing strong. Celestia then turned her gaze towards the whimpering nobles. “You are worms, all of you. For a long time I have seen how corrupt and sleazy the so called ‘nobility’ in Canterlot is. You are no different from snakes, each of you seeking power at the cost of anything. I tried to counter play it fairly, but you have forced my hoof. Princess Twilight Sparkle was a ‘threat’ to your power so you sought to eliminate her, hoping it would change things.” Celestia growled. “But it has done nothing but seal your fate. I will make sure every plan Twilight had for this nation is put into action, whether you or the rest of the nobility like it or not. This nation will no longer be living in ideals or beliefs from a thousand years ago nor will it stand to live under such corruption again. It will change into a nation all, ponies or otherwise, can benefit under.”
All the noble families sweated in terror as their princess’s watchful eyes stared upon each and every one of them. It was a clear message that any attempts to undermine her efforts to change Equestria would not come without a price. A few cursed their luck under their breaths, but wisely kept their mouths shuts from saying anything further.
Then finally Princess Celestia’s gaze came upon the one in the center of it all, the terrified and hornless Blueblood who looked in all directions for somepony to help him. None would look at him with pity, not even his family who had once pampered him in their image.
“Blueblood,” whispered Celestia yet the silence in the room made it clear enough for all to hear, “your ancestor, the first Sir Blueblood, was the most noble and virtuous knight I ever knew. I loved him and our three children until the day they all passed from this world.” She turned her eyes to the nervous looking Blueblood clan in the crowd. “Now the family has fallen into a disgrace beyond saving. Arrogant. Pompous. Rude. Greedy. Lazy. Selfish. These are just a few of the traits they all share. My second husband would roll in his grave if he knew the fate of his bloodline. And you, Blueblood, are the worst of them all!”
By his own bravery, or stupidly, Blueblood growled and shouted, “Shut up! I deserved to be an alicorn! I carry your blood in my veins, the noblest blood in all of Equestria! Becoming an alicorn was a privilege only somepony of my family was worthy of having! Not some low noble unicorn that was good for nothing except cleaning up your mistakes! Everypony knows that’s all she was good for!”
More than half of the ponies in the crowd expected Blueblood to be vaporized right then and there, but Celestia remained calm. She slowly rose from her seat and walked toward her nephew who had realized what he had just said and cowered into a ball.
And then the entire room was shocked again by what happened next.
Celestia started crying.
She didn’t wail or cry out in sorrow, but let the tears drip down her cheeks without a care. No photos were taken and nopony said anything. For the first time in her entire life, Princess Celestia had lost all control of her mask and cried in public.
“Maybe Twilight Sparkle was a ‘fixer’ of my mistakes, but she was more than that,” muttered Celestia, slowly facing the crowd of stunned ponies. “She was not a usurper in the making, nor a power hungry pony who would lose control and damn us all. What she was, and always had been, was a kind and smart pony who loved magic more than any mage I had ever met. She came to my home as a student, and became like a daughter to me.” She turned to Twilight’s friends and family. “She had become a master of magic, friendship, and love. Saving us from dangerous forces who sought to destroy us and our harmony.” She then turned to the glass window that showed Twilight becoming an alicorn while her friends held their Elements out, enrapturing her with the power of friendship that had transformed her. “And she had become an alicorn, the only pony not of my bloodline capable of doing so. She became a princess because she alone could help the ponies of Equestria more than I ever could. She wanted to lead us into a new golden age. Not because she wanted glory or power, but because, like my sister and I, she loved each and every one of you.”
Wiping the tears from her eyes, Celestia lowered her head and gritted her teeth. “And despite all this there were so many of you that hated her. You whispered behind her back, insulted her, and treated her like trash from the lowest of garbage pits. After risking her life multiple times to keep you all safe and happy, you abandoned her because you were afraid of her. No matter what I or my sister said, you betrayed her love and kindness with fear and hate. You knew nothing about Twilight Sparkle.”
Not a single pony in the audience, visitor, guard, or press, made a sound. It was like the entire throne room had turned into a graveyard. Celestia soon announced the ten criminals’ fate: death by burning them at the stake, the most painful kind of death she could give. Celestia declared the court adjourned and quickly left the room, leaving all others to silence.
“Hello?! Equestria to Celestia!”
Celestia shook her head and stepped back while smacking Discord’s hand away with the book. To her disgust it fell off of his arm and onto the floor. Discord grabbed it and twisted it back on before giving it a few flexes. “Geez, last time I give you a hand. You really need to work on that anger issue you have.”
“Sorry if I feel upset that my own subjects treated my student like a pariah,” grumbled Celestia.
“Not everypony hated the idea of Twilight being a princess, but you’ve really gotta stop thinking that all your ponies are some paragons of virtue and will accept everything like obedient pets,” said Discord. “Your ponies are so paranoid about anything different from the normal status quo. Anything they don’t like or don’t understand they treat like a threat. It happened with Twilight, it happened with Luna… and even me…”
Celestia’s eyes widened as she turned towards Discord whose face was as still as the stone prison he once occupied. “Discord… were you…”
“Let’s just say that if I had somepony like Fluttershy a long time ago… things might have been different…” answered Discord. He then yawned and scratched his back before a nightcap appeared on his head. “Well, my work here is done. I’m going to get home and get some sleep. We’re making waffles with candy corn in the morning. My favorite. Tootles.”
With a snap of his fingers, Discord was gone in a flash. Alone, Celestia stood there, still holding the book before making her way further down the hall, her mind plagued with the revelations that she had learned from her once terrible enemy.