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  • E Family Matters

    Dinky Doo has the best mother in the world, and the best mother deserves the best birthday present.
    24,828 words · 6,810 views  ·  483  ·  7
  • E "Daleks Have No Concept of Friendship!"

    A dalek appears in Equestria - not just any dalek, but the one that had been corrupted by Rose Tyler's DNA. It has a choice of life as a pony, or dying, and finds that it cannot bear to die a second time. Thus begins a strange adventure...
    9,135 words · 8,231 views  ·  992  ·  24
  • E An Awkward Day

    Apparently Princess Cadenza's homeland is about to be invaded by Princess Luna. This is...awkward.
    7,787 words · 6,909 views  ·  701  ·  17
  • E Longest Night, Longest Day

    After a thousand years, Corona is free!
    73,186 words · 13,770 views  ·  929  ·  25
  • E Crisis on Two Equestrias

    Trixie appears once more in Ponyville, babbling about how she is supposed to be the Element of Magic and how Celestia is the evil Tyrant Sun. Has she gone insane? Or is something larger happening?
    83,438 words · 8,935 views  ·  1,145  ·  39
  • T Helping...Hands?

    Trixie recruits Lyra to help her with a spell. The results are...not what she had intended.
    40,928 words · 5,680 views  ·  412  ·  11
  • E Countdown to Crisis

    Twilight Sparkle, on the run for months, is cornered in a small town. She escapes by teleporting - teleporting far further than she had ever intended
    8,246 words · 3,172 views  ·  315  ·  8
  • T Tales of Ponyville

    Six mares, six tales, all connecting together
    47,285 words · 4,401 views  ·  321  ·  9

Blog Posts119

  • 2w, 6d
    Coundown II

    RainbowDoubleDomination Status

    The Great Dragon Coronation: Ready to go!

    Treasure Hunt: Almost started!

    The Meaning of Nightmare Night: Ready to go!

    Daleks Have No Concept of Friendship: In Progress!

    The Life and Times of Nightmare Moon: In Progress!

    7 comments · 157 views
  • 3w, 4d
    Saw Rainbow Rocks

    Indeed, there are rainbows. And indeed, it rocked. Don't have a lot of time right now, so that's all I have to say.

    Oh, and Sunset Shimmer is Best Human.

    23 comments · 205 views
  • 4w, 6d
    Countdown

    (Now with correct spelling)

    RainbowDoubleDomination Status

    Great Dragon Coronation: Ready to go!

    Treasure Hunt: Almost started!

    The Meaning of Nightmare Night: In Progress!

    Daleks Have No Concept of Friendship: Almost started!

    The Life and Times of Nightmare Moon: In Progress!

    Some Sunday soon (not this Sunday, but some upcoming Sunday) I'm going to post an update to every one of my incomplete stories (yes, including one I literally haven't touched in years), as well as start a new one. We're gonna call it RainbowDoubleDomination. Expect regular blog posts on the status.

    Hmm. I should have a banner for this...

    11 comments · 160 views
  • 6w, 6h
    Didn't get any work done today at all

    Could have, since I got out of my job at 2. Instead I spent most of the day flipping between CNN and FOX News trying to keep up with the whole ISIS/ISIL thing.

    Meh. I wish there were easy solutions to socio-political problems.

    16 comments · 140 views
  • 6w, 5d
    Signal Boost: Prank Wars and Scary Stories!

    Right! FiMFiction no longer sends notifications when new threads are created in forums. So, I figured I'd help out with signal boosting two new threads in the Lunaverse forums (well, I stole the idea to do it from Emeral Bookwise, but whatever, result is the same).

    First up, GreyGuardPony is currently writing a story that will feature a prank war between Ponyville and Hoofington during the annual Running of the Leaves. Awhile back on the Lunaverse forums, it was decided that Hoofington will be populated entirely by OCs - specifically, the OCs of Lunaverse members! So rev up the ol' pony creator and head on over to GreyGuardPony's thread to give him OC's to work with!

    Secondly, the Lunaverse is starting up Writing Events again. These writing events are a great method for new members of the Lunaverse who want to write for it to get the creative juices flowing and have fun writing around a given theme. Generally speaking writing event stories don't make it into canon, but there have been exceptions. So get writing!

    5 comments · 136 views
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“The ‘flapjack,’” Pinkie said indignantly. She was a little red in the face at this point, though not from her indignation, but rather the vodka that she seemed to have taken a liking to. “What is a flapjack? It’s a pancake! Flapjack was just, just some jerk waiter who got an idea to try and steal the thunder from this delicious breakfast classic!”

“Quite right,” Blueblood agreed. Pinkie did nothing halfway. He was tipsy, she was moving into full drunk territory already – although only her balance seemed affected, not her lucidity. She was half-leaning on Blueblood – or was he half-leaning on her? – but her mouth still moved at a mile a minute.

“Is there anything that would differentiate a flapjack from a pancake? Let's think, what do you put on flapjacks, topping wise…syrup, the same exact syrup that you put on pancakes! That’s why it’s called pancake syrup! Never once have I – ” Blueblood’s horn tingled as he felt a surge of magic, though he didn’t know from where, “ – heard someone refer to it as ‘flapjack sauce’ seriously it’s a pancake it’s in a pan it’s essentially a basic cake-ish recipe pancake I understand…

She continued ranting as Blueblood and she trotted towards the door, intent on ignoring the ruckus going on around himself and his new best pony in favor of going back to his apartments in the castle and seeing where the night went from there. Probably, with him passed out before it could get truly interesting.

…a flapjack has some kind of tie into the great North Equestrian past time of lumberjacking so I will make an exception that if you are one of the remaining lumberjacks on the continent fine in your logging camp only you may refer to them as flapjacks…

That was, at least, until a monster came from nowhere and landed in front of him. A monster that, nevertheless, seemed to be very familiar.

“Zizanie?” he asked.

…but don’t show up on my local pancake pub and start throwing out your lumberjacking slang…

---

There was a moment of silence after Greengrass’ words, as Luna stared at him with wide, puzzled eyes, and he stared back with an expression a thousand times more shocked than that. His outburst had actually banished thought from his mind for the briefest instant of panic – but of course, it did not last.

Oooooh Stars did I really just say that I was only thinking it I didn’t mean to say it what am I doing I’m saying everything out loud in front of the Princess everything I’m thinking everything I’m thinking oh no Luna I really do think you’re a useless cow but I don’t want you to know that –

The words poured from his mouth of their own accord, and there was nothing he could do to stop them. Even as he put his hooves to his mouth to try and stop himself, his mouth kept working. Finally, he did the only thing he could – he turned and ran. He didn’t get far, however, as he found himself wrapped in a midnight-blue aura, lifted up, and floated back to the Princess, who turned him around.

– put me down you worthless figurehead oh Stars I just called Luna a worthless figurehead why can’t I stop talking and telling the truth try to lie try to lie I can’t lie why can’t I lie –

“You appear to be under the effects of a truth poison, Duke Greengrass,” Luna said, setting the duke down and making her horn glow brighter.

– I can see that you idiot and I need you to let go of me before I tell you about how I want to reduce your power to nothing and run Equestria and make it perfect oooh no I didn’t want to say that –

Greengrass turned around, trying to run again. Luna turned him back around, however. “If you run, Greengrass, I won’t be able to find a way to counter it,” she said. Her voice and expression betrayed no emotion, but her wings were spread wide and fluttering in annoyance – and her ears were perked and pointed forward – she was listening to every word he said. All this made him do was panic, and think of the things that he did not want to say, did not want Luna to know – and as he thought of them, his mouth translated them into sound, and Luna learned everything. Every plot. Every plan. Every thought he had on her rulership.

Everything.

– this is a truth poison you can’t use this in any kind of court or trial it’s illegal and not admissible as evidence –

“I am aware,” Luna said, as her magic washed over him. “It’s a very stubborn truth poison, too…but I believe that I have found a counter – ”

Luna was interrupted by the sound of a roar and great crash from within the ice palace, and sounds of ponies shouting, and flashes of light. She turned to look at the ice palace, regarding it for several moments, before starting forward. “Come along, your Grace,” she said, heading towards the Gala and telekinetically bringing the Duke with her – despite his repeated, loud objections.

---

At first, as Zizanie’s spell washed over the Gala, there was nothing. The nothing lasted for only a fraction of a second. Then ponies started talking – whether they wanted to or not.

“ – stars above, you’re fat – ”

“ – that’s because it was me who framed you – ”

“ – really she should have known better banishment was what she deserved – ”

“ – if you don’t give me what I want you’ll regret – ”

“ – wish I was anywhere else but with you  – ”

“ – featherbrains and mudponies the lot of you – ”

Oh no I had punch too – ” Trixie began as the whole of the Gala descended into chaos. It took only a few seconds as ponies realized they were saying things they didn’t want to, panicked, and all tried to run away from whomever they had been talking to – which resulted in them running into other ponies, spouting off more words, and panicking even more. Within seconds the two Night Guards that had been closing in on Zizanie were overrun by panicked ponies, shoved aside as the lithe pony ducked into the chaos, moving effortlessly out of Trixie’s sight.

Trixie’s horn flashed, as she performed the counter-spell, shutting off the Truth is a Scourge. There was wave of blue magic, and everypony fell silent – but it didn’t last more than a moment as a flash of purple, from somewhere in the chaos, set it off again.

Trixie grimaced. She couldn’t stop the chaos – not as long as Zizanie could just turn the truth poison back on. She instead turned her magic inwards, switching off her own truth poison as she looked to Shining Armor. He had one hoof to his mouth, speaking into a gemstone – a communications node of his own, like Trixie’s enchanted ear clasp. He finished and looked to Trixie, evidently having not had any truth poison that night, either. “I’ve closed the exits and got Night Guards on them,” he shouted to her over the din. “But I can’t keep them closed for long, there’s too many ponies in a panic! Somepony could get hurt!”

Trixie grimaced. “Give me three minutes!” Trixie responded. She also had to shout right into Shining Armor’s ear to be heard. “If we can’t find her by then, then she’s gone! And I’m sorry, I didn’t expect this to happen – ”

“No plan survives contact with the enemy,” Shining Armor assured her. “Just don’t let Zizanie get away!”

She flashed him a smile before shooting off into the crowd, looking around. She touched a hoof to her hear. “Okay!” she called in. “Raindrops! Ditzy! Fly and try to find me!”

The numerous pegasi of in the Gala were already in the air in panic, of course, but it was much easier to spot two pegasi in the air amongst other pegasi, then it was to spot them on the ground amidst ponies of all tribes. Trixie saw the two waving at her, each of their mouths moving at a mile a minute and their eyes wide with panic even as they closed in on Trixie. She sent a burst of magic to each of them, and their mouths stopped moving.

“What’s happening?” Raindrops demanded, as she and Ditzy flew near to Trixie. They couldn’t land, not amidst the crush of ponies moving all around Trixie.

“Zizanie spiked the punch with truth poison!” Trixie declared. “She’s…she’s somewhere in here, but I don’t know where! We’ve got maybe two and a half minutes to find her before Shining Armor has to let everypony leave!”

Ditzy’s eyes had somehow become wider at Trixie’s explanation, and she looked away, over towards the play-area full of foals. Several of the foals had their mouths moving rapidly and looked panicked – Dinky wasn’t one of them, she saw, but her daughter was moving amongst them, trying to keep them calm while trying to also hide her own panic, as was one of the Night Guards Luna had stationed there. The other was nowhere in sight, presumably having run off to close an exit.

“Okay!” Ditzy said. “What do we do?”

Trixie’s mind was whirling. “Ditzy, take me up!” She said, as she touched a hoof to her ear. “Cheerilee, Lyra, look around for Zizanie, I’m going to try and spot her magically! Carrot Top, I don’t know how that mixing is going but if you can hear me, get back to the Gala! We need help!” Trixie looked at Raindrops. “The second I find Zizanie – ”

“Oh, don’t worry, I figured out my part,” Raindrops interrupted, cracking her fetlocks as Ditzy grabbed Trixie about her barrel, taking her into the air and trying to avoid all the pegasi already flying around in a panic. Trixie closed her eyes for a few moments as her horn glowed, then opened them again. They were now glowing bright blue as she regarded all the ponies around and beneath her.

One of the first spells that Trixie had learned, her ability to see magic was almost as good as Luna’s. She could look at not just the stored, raw magic of unicorns, the way any unicorn who knew the detect magic cantrip could – she could also see the flowing, ingrained magic of pegasi and earth ponies, and other races as well. Even better, everypony had a sort of magical signature tied into their very being – Trixie could use her ability to see magic to find Zizanie, she suspected. She didn’t think it would be easy.

It was.

For amidst the stored, glowing pink of the unicorns, the subdued yet powerful green magic of the earth ponies, and the wavy, flowing blue magic of the pegasi currently in the air, there was a trail of jagged, broken, red magic the likes of which Trixie had never seen before. The magic curled and twisted around on itself, getting caught in knots that would then dissolve into nothingness. It reached out ahead of itself and behind itself, twitching, pulsing, shifting without form or reason – but in the center of it all…

Trixie blinked, cancelling her magic sight, and found herself looking at a green unicorn in a mint dress – but the unicorn’s mouth wasn’t moving, her eyes were an unnatrual red and tiger-slit, and she didn’t look panicked, like everypony else – like Trixie herself – but instead she appeared determined, looking for a chance not to simply get out, but to escape. She looked around and up, at Trixie, her eyes flashed with recognition –

“There!” Trixie cried out, pointing. Raindrops was off in a moment. She was not a fast flier by any means, but even she could cover less than a hundred feet faster than a pony could gallop.

Not quite fast enough, however, for a pony to not be able to respond. Zizanie ducked Raindrops’ blow, her disguise falling off of her in a cloud of magic as she did, distracting Raindrops. She lashed out with a hind hoof as Raindrops passed overhead, her blow connecting solidly with the pegasus – but Raindrops took the blow easily, grabbing Zizanie’s hoof and lifting her into the air upside-down. The unicorn cried out, horn glowing, but Trixie sent a telekinetic burst at it, nulling its magic for a moment as she and Ditzy closed in.

That was when it happened again – jagged, chaotic magic lept from Zizanie’s entire form, and she shifted – Trixie wasn’t sure how, but somehow Zizanie was now being held by one of her front hooves instead of one of her hind ones. Raindrops almost dropped her in shock, and when Zizanie lashed out with her tiger’s paw –

“What?” Trixie demanded, as Raindrops tumbled away in the air, bright red, though shallow, scratches across her cheek, having dropped what Trixie was beginning to suspect was not a unicorn at all. Zizanie landed on three hooves, while her right foreleg was now like that of a tiger.

The not-unicorn looked at her own paw in almost horror, before glaring at Trixie and turning around, running, her movement lopsided thanks to her odd appendage. Ditzy was after her in a moment, as was Raindrops again, with Trixie along for the ride. Trixie’s horn glowed, conjuring an image of Shining Armor right in front of Zizanie, his horn glowing as he charged her. Zizanie bought the illusion, crying out and turning, right as Ditzy let Trixie fall a few feet to the ground and closed in on Zizanie, hooves outstretched and colliding with the not-unicorn’s face. She rolled with the blow, however, letting herself fall before striking once more with chaotic magic that wrapped around and suffused Ditzy. The gray pegasus cried out as she tumbled from the air, wings having vanished, disappearing into a swarm of moths that shot up and into the air.

Trixie’s eyes widened at the sight – she had forgotten that Zizanie could do that – but they no sooner had when Ditzy’s wings reappeared, whole and healthy. However powerful this chaos magic was, it apparently was not very stable or long-lasting. They had that going for them, at least.

Zizanie had gotten up to run again, but stumbled – her other front hoof had changed appearance, becoming long and furred, ending with a hand, like that of some kind of monkey. “Gah!” The not-unicorn cried out, stopping her run. She turned her eyes on Trixie, chaotic magic swirling around her once more even as a single gossamer wing, like that of a moth, sprouted from her back. “Look at what you’re making me do…!

Trixie dodged the burst of chaos magic that lashed out from Zizanie’s horn. It collided with a Gala-guest behind her, and the earth pony glowed, shivered, and shrank, suddenly finding himself to be a foal no more than a year or two old.

Trixie stared in disbelief even as the age spell wore off and the pony found himself full-sized again, before looking back at Zizanie. The not-unicorn shouted at her as her single moth wing spread wide, while her tail transformed into one that was short, scaled, and heavy, ending with a club like that of some prehistoric beast. Her horn had been joined by an antenna, and her right hind leg, though still basically pony-shaped, was now black and made of chitin, with several holes in it.

“What are you?” Trixie asked.

Draconequus she’s a draconequus I thought they were just legends – ” A voice from beside Trixie came. She looked, and saw Lyra and Cheerilee, their mouths moving under the effects of the truth poison – she sent a magical burst at Lyra, stopping the effects of the truth poison on her. Lyra offered her a nod of thanks, even as the barest sense of order came to the Gala – in that ponies were backing away from Zizanie. “She’s a draconequus,” Lyra said, horn glowing as she summoned her lyre to her sie. “A kind of chimera, basically, but their body parts could be anything…”

The former unicorn glared hatred at Lyra’s words. “I’m not,” she said, though she almost sounded like she was trying to convince herself. “I’m a pony. There may be a little spark of chaos in me, but I am a pony!

As she shouted this, she threw her monkey paw forward, fingers on it spread wide. A gout of flame lashed out at Lyra. Cheerilee reacted first, jumping and pushing Lyra out of the way and ducking beneath the fire herself. When she came up, her mane and tail were a little singed, but that was all. “Okay,” Trixie said. She had used Zizanie’s momentary distraction to turn herself invisible, even as she created a half-dozen illusory copies of herself. “So how do we get her?”

Cheerilee smiled a little as she scuffed the ice palace’s floor with one hoof. “A good solid buck to the face, I think,” she said, charging. Ditzy and Raindrops followed, while Lyra and Trixie hung back – even as Trixie sent her illusions forward – horns glowing and ready to try and counter any spells Zizanie cast.

Zizanie’s moth wing flared at the rush – but, rather than stand and take it, she turned and ran. Her moth wing battered aside Ditzy when the gray pegasus tried to tackle her from the sky, while she lept and spun in place at Raindrops’ own charge, avoiding an incoming hoof-stomp and responding with a solid push from her monkey paw that knocked Raindrops from the air, though she was up in moments and closed in with a series of quick hoof stomps that put Zizanie on the retreat even as Cheerilee vaulted over her – unfortunately, forgetting her club tail. The tail swung and struck Cheerilee on her barrel; she rolled with it, but still went tumbling away into the crowd of ponies that had by now left panic far behind and had entered a state concern that had yet to be given a word in the Equestrian tongue.

Trixie’s illusory copies were on Zizanie then, but the not-pony didn’t buy them for a moment, bringing her forelegs around in a wide arc and dispelling all of them before jagged chaos magic again struck out at Lyra. Trixie pushed her out of the way, and found herself subject to the chaos magic’s effects.

It was wrong, plain and simple – sharp and invasive, seeming to take a special dislike to her entire being and how ordered it was. It rendered Trixie partially visible again – partially, in that one could see her muscles and bones and veins for a few brief, horrifying seconds as Trixie wondered if she’d been flayed alive. But the chaos magic was also short – even as Trixie wondered how her blood was staying in her body, her skin and coat and Gala dress re-appeared, having been rendered selectively invisible, not removed.

Lyra had picked herself up. She dragged her hooves across her lyre in a series of short, quick notes aimed at Zizanie, finishing with a chord that sent reverberations across the Gala and shattered the nearby glass. It struck Zizanie square on, and she stumbled away. Even as she did, however, chaos magic seized Lyra’s lyre, and she suddenly found herself gripping a living swordfish as big as she was. Lyra fell under its weight and its confused gyrations before her lyre returned to normal. She was up again in a moment, as Trixie recovered from the shock of seeing her own insides, and charged forward.

Zizanie avoided Raindrops’ and Cheerilee’s blows both before sweeping both out with her tail. She turned around, saw that only Ditzy and a pair of Night Guards were between her and the nearest door, and again struck out with chaos magic. The Night Guards were turned into fluttering, confused fruit bats, while Ditzy suddenly grew forty feet tall – more than large enough for Zizanie to charge beneath her legs, reach the door –

The door flew open, inwards, having been bucked open by an orange earth pony in a rush to get into the Gala – Carrot Top, panting heavily, for though she was more than used to hard work, she wasn’t used to galloping halfway across a city to get somewhere in a rush. The door collided with Zizanie’s face, sending the not-unicorn spinning away and landing in a crouch, eyes spinning. Carrot Top took one look at her, drew her own conclusions, and lept at the not-unicorn, bucking Zizanie in her chest and sending her sprawling on the floor.

Zizanie shook her head from the blow, got up, and saw Trixie bearing down on her. Zizanie roared, chaos magic lashing out again – and passing harmlessly through the illusion. Her eyes had just enough time to grow wide as the real Trixie, invisible and right beside her, bucked her solidly in the side of her head, and her world went dark.

---

Luna entered the ice palace – dragging a ranting Greengrass behind her – and found a scene of utter panic and chaos. Everypony was shouting and screaming at the top of their lungs, pegasi flitted through the air in a panic, Shining Armor was coordinating Night Guards to protect the entrances to the ice palace to keep somepony from escaping, and, on the far side of the room, near the main entrance, Luna saw her apprentice Trixie become visible after having just bucked what looked suspiciously like a draconequus square in her face, though the being’s non-equine parts seemed to slough off of her and disappear as she fell into unconsciousness, leaving behind a white unicorn mare with a purple mane.

The Princess of the Night frowned as she beat her wings, taking into the air and landing on the second floor of the Gala, horn glowing brightly. This truth poison had been a tough nut to crack, but after a few minutes of examining Greengrass, she’d been able to find a counter-spell, and it took only a few moments to modify the counter in her mind to apply to a mass of ponies. Her horn flashed, and she sent a wave of silvery, selenic magic out from her being. The light washed over and purged each and every pony of the truth poison – save one. Even as the rest of the Gala fell silent faster than Luna had ever seen ponies quiet down before, Greengrass’ mouth still worked.

– finally you’re dispelling it wait I’m still talking why am I still talking you useless cow what are you doing every one of these worthless ponies can hear me what are you going to do let me keep talking ‘til I say how I want to see each and every one of these sycophants locked away in dungeons and forgotten about while I take over the country and run it because you’re useless –

Luna let Greengrass continue for a few more seconds in the silence, before looking at him. “Ah,” she said. “My apologies, Duke Greengrass, I appear to have missed you.” Her horn glowed, and with a light touch of magic, the truth poison was purged from his body, too.

Greengrass’ mouth clamped shut as he stared at Luna, with wide eyes. “You – but – I – ” he stuttered.

“Not to worry, Duke Greengrass,” Luna said, offering a beatific smile. “As you said, nothing said while under truth poison is admissible in a court of law.”

Greengrass’ eyes somehow grew wider. “This – that’s…that’s not right! That’s not – ” He backed away from Luna. “That’s…but I was going to…to win the Game…just wanted to enjoy…this isn’t…this isn’t fun anymore!

Greengrass turned and ran, barreling past ponies as he charged for the nearest door. Several Night Guards moved to block him, but an outstretched hoof from Luna saw to it that he was allowed to pass without incident through the door, out into Canterlot.

Luna watched him go impassively, before looking back to the Gala and, specifically, her apprentice, who was with Shining Armor even as the Night Guards procured an anti-magic ring and slipped it around Zizanie’s horn. Luna was honestly not sure, however, if that would have any effect on the Discordian’s – for that was surely what she was, to have reverted to looking like a normal pony once out cold – chaos magic.

“Captain Shining Armor and my Night Guards,” Luna said, looking around. “See to the needs of the ponies here, make sure nopony is hurt. Look after the foals first – ”

“We’re okay!” One foal called out – Scepter, if Luna was correct, Vicereine Puissance’s great-grandcolt, who was a  combination of too young and too hopped up on adrenaline to care about interrupting the Princess, even as the foals were quickly joined by their parents, most of whom looked far worse for wear then their children. “A little scared, but okay!”

Luna breathed out a visible sigh of relief at that, though she didn’t otherwise respond to the foal other than to nod. “Needless to say, the rest of the Gala will be cancelled,” Luna told the participants in the event, as she took flight, flying over to Trixie and her friends. “I must ask for everypony here to remain while the Night Guard ascertains what happened and if anypony needs immediate help, then you may leave. I ask for patience for just a little bit.”

Luna landed in front of Trixie. Once everypony else in the Gala had turned around, checking on each other and making sure that everything was alright – while more than a few looked thoroughly embarrassed and mortified at what they had said during the chaos of the truth poison, Archduke Fisher in particular being given a wide berth by all the earth ponies and pegasi in the room.

Satisfied that the panic was over, Luna looked to Trixie. “Tread very, very carefully, I believe I said,” she said in a low voice. “This Gala was more delicate than most. I have a distinct memory of this, Trixie.”

Trixie wilted a little under Luna’s gaze. “I…I tried, Princess – ”

“She did,” Raindrops said, stepping forward, as did all of Trixie’s friends. “We didn’t know that Zizanie was a…what was it?”

“A draconequus,” Lyra said. “I thought they were myth…”

“But we didn’t know,” Carrot Top said. “Please, don’t blame Trixie, your Majesty. It’s Zizanie’s fault…and everything worked out in the end! Right?”

Luna looked between Trixie’s friends, before letting out a tired sigh, shaking her head. “You are right, of course,” she said. “Goodness knows that I have had plans blow up in my face in the past…” Luna looked to Lyra. “She is not a draconequus, I assure you. She is a Discordian. There is a seed of chaos within her, and a potent one, but apart from that seed, she is a normal pony.”

“She’s coming to!” One of the Night Guards at Zizanie’s side warned.

The Night Guards both took up ready postures as Zizanie’s eyes fluttered open, as did Trixie and her friends. Zizanie opened her eyes, tried to stand, but found herself being held down by several Night Guards. She looked around, her eyes settled on Luna, and she froze. “Oh no,” she whispered.

Luna frowned as she stepped forward. “Zizanie, isn’t it?” she asked. Her frown deepened. “Poisoning the Night Court…that is high treason. One of the very few crimes in Equestria that still is still punishable by death if the crime is heinous enough. Certainly you can expect to go to jail for the rest of your natural life.”

Zizanie’s eyes widened at that for a moment, before narrowing. She moved into a sitting position, something the Night Guard only let her do with a nod from Luna. “I don’t think so,” she said. “Oh, I’m going to go to jail, but I think you’ll go easy on me.”

Luna blinked at that. “Oh?” she asked.

Zizanie waved a hoof at Luna, beckoning her closer. Luna considered a moment, before leaning in, listening as Zizanie whispered six words into Luna’s ear.

The Discordian unicorn jumped when Luna laughed. Well, not laughed, but chuckled, as she stepped back from Zizanie. “I am afraid,” she said, “that your information is a little out of date. Princess Cadenza knows that she is my daughter. She has for some months now.”

“Wait, what?” Zizanie exclaimed, eyes wide. Her sentiment was echoed by Trixie and her friends – save Ditzy, of course – and, despite themselves, by the Night Guards that flanked Zizanie.

Luna nodded. The surest way to defeat blackmail was to expose the information on one’s own terms. “Cadance and I have been trying to think of a way to break it to the general public,” she said. “Our current thinking is for me to do it at her thousandth birthday next year. But I know that Cadance would not want me to let somepony use that information to try and control my actions.” She looked down at Zizanie, though she was addressing everypony who had heard her. “Although, having said that, I am equally certain that she would not want the surprise to be ruined unless it had to be. Cadance and I can long outlive any scandal, but that does not mean we wish to.”

Zizanie stared at Luna a moment more, before looking down at her hooves, eyes wide. She had probably thought that her six words – “I know Cadenza is your daughter” – would save her from prison or worse. She had been mistaken, and now her smug attitude had been replaced by despair.

Luna thought of all that she had heard due the truth poison’s effects, however, from Greengrass – and the snippets she had heard upon entering the Gala as well. And no matter the crime, she did not wish to leave a pony at the mercy of the hangpony’s noose, not when there was some way for them to at least begin to make up for their crimes. The entire point of capturing Zizanie had, after all, been to find a way to learn the full extent of the crimes of the Night Court…

The Princess reached out a hoof, lifting Zizanie’s chip up so that the pony was looking her in the eyes. “However,” Luna said, her horn glowing. Her eyes glowed white, as did Zizanie’s –

---

Zizanie opened her eyes. She wasn’t in the Gala anymore. She wasn’t anywhere anymore. As she looked around, she saw nothing but blackness in all directions – blackness, and herself.

She wasn’t alone for long. Just as Zizanie stood, Luna was there, right in front of her, looking down at the pony with a look of disappointment and concern.

Zizanie stared back. “Where are we?” she asked.

“Your mind,” Luna said. “My mind…both, in a sense. This is but a dream. Normally there would be some sort of dreamscape, but I feel we could do without the distractions.”

Zizanie recoiled at Luna’s words. “Get out of my head!” she screamed, backing away from Luna.

Luna held up one hoof. “I’m not really in your head,” she said. “We are conversing only. Even your surface thoughts are unknown to me. I would never invade a pony’s privacy so, not even yours – though entering this dream-state does allow us to speak in private. The only way I will learn something from you, is if you choose to give me that information.”

Luna started trotting in a long, slow circle around Zizanie. “More importantly,” she said, “hours in here are but moments outside.”

Zizanie stared at Luna. “So what?” she asked. “Are you going to, what, trap me in here? Make me get stuck in some kind of dream limbo?”

The Princess frowned. “No,” she said.

“Then what?”

Luna considered. “The Night Court,” Luna said. “I want you to tell me everything you know about what goes on behind my back – about your trade in secrets and lies, and who it is you are trading those secrets and lies with.”

Zizanie glared at Luna. “You want me to sell out.”

“Yes.”

“No. No! No way! I do that and my reputation is ruined – ”

“Do you honestly believe you have a career as a saboteur after what has happened tonight? Is your clients’ secrecy truly worth life imprisonment and dying for?”

Zizanie blanched at that. The alicorn of the Moon had a point – she was caught. She had no chance. And she owed nopony anything, really, certainly not enough to risk being hanged over. She looked at Luna. “I want to be sent to a medium security prison,” she said. “I want to – ”

Luna’s frown deepened, and held up a hoof. “I am afraid you have the wrong impression, Zizanie,” she said. “This is not a negotiation. You will tell me what I want to know, and then I will help you in whatever way I see fit. Certainly I will see to it that you do not face capital punishment, but I make no further promises. Or, you will not tell me what I want to know, and so I will not help you, and the court that you are set before will judge you as they see fit. Those are your choices.”

Zizanie began to rail at that, at how unfair that was, about what Luna could do with her ultimatum and where she should stick it. Even as she did, however, a change overcame Luna. It was nothing grand or overt – but her expression became a little harder, her muscles a little more tense, her eyes just slightly narrower, her wings raised just slightly…

It occurred to Zizanie that Luna was already being incredibly merciful when she did not have to be. That she had just poisoned the entire Night Court – never mind as part of a sting to try and capture her, as the choice had still fundamentally been hers, and she had made it. What was it that Luna had said earlier in the night? That the Night Court was fundamentally an extension of Luna herself? Meaning an attack on the Night Court was an attack on Luna – on a being more ancient, more powerful, more unfathomable than any other still free, save only Corona.

“Why would you believe anything I say?” Zizanie asked. She didn’t intend to lie. She only wanted to know how Luna could keep to her vow of not invading her mind, if she didn’t intend to verify everything she said. “How would you know if I’m lying?”

Luna’s expression grew colder somehow. “I wouldn’t, if I were you,” she said in a low voice.

Zizanie did not want to test the limits of Luna’s patience, and so considered the options in front of her. She didn’t want to sell out – she really, really didn’t want to, as in her business, reputation was everything. But what did she really gain by staying silent? Nothing. She would never go free from prison if she didn’t work with Luna, work with the courts, and that was assuming that she wasn’t hanged for what she had done. And when she was gone, what would her reputation mean? The only ponies who respected it would simply see her as a resource lost, and nothing more.

Luna was giving her a choice…but really, there was no choice at all. She hung her head in defeat.

“What do you want to know?”

---

To the outside world, the entire conversation – hours of it – took only a second. Zizanie stumbled slightly when the connection was broken, blinking at the sudden glare of the ice palace’s light. Her expression had changed to one of resignation. “Th…there’s more…” she mumbled absently.

Luna’s expression had shifted as well – becoming a look of cold, unforgiving anger. She stood up straight as she looked past Zizanie, and out at the Gala – the members of the Night Court in particular – with utter contempt, before looking to her Night Guards. “Wait one hour,” she said, “then I want the Night Court before the Selenic Cathedra.” The Night Guards bowed in obeisance, and Luna nodded, looking back to Zizanie. “I know there is more, Zizanie. And you will tell me all of it. And then…then I will decide what to do. I am…satisfied with our progress so far.”

Luna cantered off, Zizanie following, a faint blue glow around her – Luna keeping a telekinetic grip around the professional blackmailer, though Zizanie looked in no mood to run.

Trixie watched Luna trot away, before looking back to her friends. Ditzy had left as soon as Zizanie had been knocked out, of course, retrieving her daughter, but she was back now. “I think…I think it worked,” Trixie said. “I’ve seen Luna do that before…she can have hours-long conversations with somepony mentally in just a few seconds.”

“She looked pissed,” Raindrops noted.

Ditzy covered Dinky’s ears. “Raindrops!” she cried out. Raindrops looked suitably mollified at that, bowing her head a little in embarrassment. After a moment, Ditzy took her hooves from Dinky’s ears, and looked her straight on.

“I’m not to use that word, I know,” Dinky assured her mother. Her head tilted to the side. “What worked, though?”

“It’s…complicated,” Cheerilee told the foal. “The short version is that we were trying to get Princess Luna to act more, in order to make the Night Court a better place.”

“Hopefully we didn’t go overboard,” Carrot Top said.

---

The nobles of Equestria – the dukes and margravines, the vicereines and barons, and all the ranks in between – filed into the throne room in the small hours of the night. It was rare for Luna to call them all together like this, and none of them knew quite what to expect – especially not after the chaos that they had just been through at the Gala, the truth poison and the mad scramble to capture Zizanie before she could escape. The nobles knew that Luna had seen to Zizanie herself, and all had been about to leave the Gala finally, muttering and complaining about a ruined night, when they had received this extraordinary summons.

It quickly became known that only one pony was missing – Duke Greengrass of Caneighda. All others were in attendance, even viceroy Night Light, found in his office and brought to the throne room, and Viscount Blueblood, who was more than a little tipsy and looked like he’d be nursing quite the hangover the following morning.

The throne room was light in blue and purple lights, magically enhanced moonlight and starlight from the night sky outside. Though more than bright enough to see by, it made the shadows of the room long as the ponies arranged themselves into their familiar positions, filling the available space before the steps that lead up to the Selenic Cathedra, the throne of Equestria, carved from obsidian, cushioned with silk, and inlaid with silver and platinum, a throne that glistened in bright, silvery light. With almost every member of the Night Court in attendance, it was standing-room only as the nobility filed in.

The process was drawn out, however, as every single one of the nobles who entered the throne room paused at what they saw at the throne itself: Luna, standing rather than sitting, once more in her royal regalia with her mane and tail animate, flanked by several Night Guards – and, in front of her, her back to the Night Court but her form unmistakable to those whom had so recently been her victims, Zizanie, a ring around her horn to negate magic and manacles around her hooves to restrict movement. Further, both Luna’s and Zizanie’s eyes glowed a bright, brilliant white, the two of them staring into each other.

As the last of the nobility entered, Luna’s eyes lost their glow, as did Zizanie’s. The unicorn stumbled slightly, an expression on her face of fear, and worry – not imminent, overriding fear, however, more like she had a sense of impending doom. Luna’s own gaze hardened slightly as she regarded the unicorn, before saying something to her. Those in the Night Court who could read lips – of which there were more than a few – knew that Luna said “thank-you for your cooperation. It will be taken under consideration at your trial, as promised. You have my word that you will not face the noose.”

The expressions of those in the room who knew that Zizanie held secrets they did not want exposed – of which there were more than a few – suddenly changed to that of impending doom to match that of Zizanie as the two Night Guards on Luna’s sides directed the unicorn forward. She trotted with her head low, not looking any of the nobles in the eyes. Once she had left the throne room, the Night Guards closed the door behind them, and Luna was left alone with her Night Court.

Most amongst the nobility were doing their best to hide knowing smiles or pained looks of sympathy, as befitted their feelings on what they thought was about to happen – the public humiliation of two or three of their number from whatever Zizanie had told Luna. They expected her to open with some speech about the expectations of the Night Court, before calling out the ponies and talking them down.

They were disappointed. Luna was still – absolutely still – for several long moments, before standing. She did not speak as she descended from the Selenic Cathedra, trotting slowly yet determinedly up to the nearest noble – Vicereine Wallflower – and looking her in the eye.

More than a few ponies in the Night Court felt slight elation. A vicereine! A vicereine was going to be exposed for some crime! It meant the entire hierarchy would move and shift! The sheer change, the opportunities, would be immense!

Luna did not stop at Wallflower, however, even as the earth pony began to wilt slightly under Luna’s gaze. Luna instead trotted past each of the Night Court that had assembled to the left of the throne, looking each noble in his or her eye. Her face, previously a look of impassivity, gradually came to be one of almost stunned shock and disbelief.

Slowly – very slowly – Luna reached the end of the ponies gathered to her left. She still did not speak. She turned, trotting past them – still gazing at them – and then moved to the ponies assembled on her throne’s right. She repeated her process – slow step, looking the noble in the eye, then moving on – the whole endeavor taking five minutes, five minutes where not a pony spoke. Gradually – slowly, and with mounting horror – it began to dawn upon the nobles of the Night Court exactly what Luna had learned from Zizanie – how many of them had been betrayed by the professional blackmailer.

Luna completed her walk, and returned to near the Selenic Cathedra. She stopped in front of Archduke Fisher, looking him over in his entirety. It was as though she was comparing a photograph in her mind to the pony she saw before her – what she knew verses what she saw.

“Archduke Bobbing Fisher,” Luna said, breaking her silence at last. Her voice was calm, neutral – almost consoling, despite what she asked next. “Did you really burn down one of your own factories?”

Fisher seemed taken aback. He blinked. “Majesty, you can’t trust – ”

“Answer the question,” Luna interrupted softly. Neither her volume nor her tone shifted.

Fisher blinked. “Majesty, I…” he began. Luna stared at him – saying nothing more, doing nothing other than breathing and blinking. Almost against his will, Fisher looked away from her, no longer capable of looking her in the eyes. “Yes, Majesty.”

Luna blinked once. She leaned in slightly, opened her mouth as though about to say something – then leaned back again. She began trotting again, moving until another pony caught her eye, this one closer to her throne than any other. “Vicereine Puissance,” she said, her voice still soft and calm. “Your youngest son, Lance. Did you falsify the evidence at his trial?”

Puissance was nearly as tall as Luna, and unlike Fisher, she did not wilt. “I did not!” she objected, loudly – far louder than Luna had spoken. “And – and begging your pardon, your Majesty, but I resent the implication!”

Luna stared, unmoving. Puissance was breathing heavily, sweating all of a sudden, wings extending and retracting pensively. “I…I must insist on an apology, Majesty!” Puissance said.

The Princess stared a moment more, then trotted on. Gritting her teeth, Puissance stepped from where she was. “Majesty!” she objected. “You cannot honestly believe the lies that –

Luna turned around, looking to Puissance. She said nothing, she did nothing, other than gaze at Puissance with a carefully neutral expression. There was no magic, no words, nothing more than a glance, but Puissance rocked back on her hooves regardless. She bit her lip, staring a moment more, before bowing her head to the Princess, resuming her place amongst the nobility.

Luna resumed her trek. She stopped at ponies randomly, asked them a question. Sometimes vague – sometimes specific. Often they were questions of their own corruption; sometimes, they were inquiries about the crimes of others, whether they knew, whether they did anything about it. Sometimes the pony tried to deny it, even keeping to their denials after a harsh look from Luna. Others would not answer, looking away in shame. All the questions were on generally the same subject – questions about blackmail, or extortion, or bribes, or even simply looking the other way when the pony asked knew of a wrongdoing.

Duchess Posey’s reaction was the only remarkable one, for being the only one that actually elicited a reaction from Luna. She came up to the pegasus, who had already been sweating and wilting as she observed the castigation of the rest of her peers, and wondered if her turn was coming. She looked Posey in the eye, and said only two words – “a bribe?”

Posey lasted only a second, before losing her balance and falling to her knees and hocks in tears. “I…I’m sorry!” she exclaimed. “It was years ago! I…I was young and Cloudsdale needed the bill to pass and it was only once – ”

“Only once?” Luna asked, the ghost of a smile on her face, a slight trace of incredibly inappropriate mirth in her voice. “Only once? That is a great relief, Duchess Posey, that you are pony of such integrity.

The sarcasm was thick and cut into Posey like a knife. She buried her head in her hooves. Luna lingered for only a moment – there was the barest trace of regret, of mercy – but it disappeared quickly as Luna stepped away from her nobles, as though trying to put as much distance between herself and them as she could, before finally turning around to regard them all.

“IS THERE A SINGLE HONEST PONY AMONGST YOU?”

To call the shout deafening would have implied that it used sound – it did not seem to, as the gathered ponies all felt Luna’s shout far more than heard it. They instinctively brayed and whinnied in fear as Luna’s head whipped back and forth, glaring at each of them in turn. Gone was the quiet, patient pony of a moment ago. Her head was low, her lips curled back in an animalistic snarl, her wings spread wide. She stamped a hoof to the ground.

Liars! Imposters! Cruel, worthless, vain, selfish, undeserving MAGGOTS, every single one of you!” Though the volume was reduced from her initial outburst, Luna’s rage was no less palpable for it as she cantered forward and amongst them, glaring left and right, her mane and tail raging and roiling as the stars within glowed angrily. “You are supposed to be the high-born, the great leaders of Equestria, born and bred and trained for your positions. But you are all corrupt! THE WORMS OF THE EARTH HAVE MORE TO OFFER EQUESTRIA THAN YOU DO!

“Majesty!” one noble – Margrave Club Special – exclaimed. It was a mistake, as Luna’s head whipped around, her eyes locked on his, and she stalked forwards and towards him. The other nobles scurried away from Luna, and the marquess himself backed away before realizing that the effort was futile. “M-majesty,” he begged. “You can’t…you can’t honestly believe what a career criminal is saying?”

Should I not?” Luna asked, stomping one hoof. The impact made the floor shake, and the marquess nearly lost his balance. “Then it appears that I would do well to ignore every word from your mouth from this day forward. How much do you make per year off of Zaldian bribes? ANSWER ME, MARGRAVE.

“Majesty – ”

Look me in the eye, Margrave Club Special. LOOK AT ME. And tell me that Zizanie lied about you. ABOUT ANY OF YOU!

The marquess looked to his Princess, mouth opening, ready to speak – but he could hold his gaze with Luna’s turquoise eyes for only a moment, before turning away, hiding behind the nearest convenient baronet. Luna followed his retreat with a sneer, before turning around, making her way from the nobility and ascending the steps to the Selenic Cathedra. “I have a mind to purge every last one of you! Throw you all in jail, dissolve the Night Court entirely and try something new for Equestria!

A viscount with more knowledge of the nuances of law then common sense raised his voice at that. “But – but the laws of Equestria, Majesty! Laws you yourself are beholden to – they say that only the nobility or gentry of Equestria can – ”

Then it is fortunate indeed, viscount,” Luna said as she reached the throne, turned around, and sat at it with her wings still spread wide, “that every mayoral office in Equestria was bequeathed a Lordship hundreds of years ago!

Silence. Slowly – very slowly – it began to occur to the gathered nobility that this was not a knee-jerk reaction of Luna’s to learning the extent of their crimes. The idea that this was no accident, no random happenstance, but an actual plan on Luna’s part, began to seep into their minds – and at the same time, it began to occur to them that all the time that they had been lying, and cheating, and breaking the law, and looking the other way, and accepting bribes and arranging blackmail and banishments – that the entire time, even as they patted themselves on the back for being so clever, for working beneath Luna’s notice…that they had not evaded her. That she had known. That all Zizanie had done was provide her an excuse to remove them from power, remove their families from power, and do away with the nobility entirely, and legally at that.

It was not true, of course. But Luna did not see a valid reason for them to ever know that.

The Princess’ scowl had not dropped as she regarded them all. A measure of calmness at last returned to her voice, though it was precariously balanced on the edge of a knife. “This ends,” she said. “The corruption. The degradation. The ruination of so many ponies’ lives. The bribes and blackmail and gossip campaigns, the thefts and threats, the spies and saboteurs and all other acts of petty gain. They are finished and done and I will brook no argument on the matter.

“You may consider yourselves to be on probation. You will act in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the laws of Equestria. You will work honestly and openly and fairly. If you have issue with your fellow members of the Court then you will bring those issues to me, and I shall arbitrate and my decisions will be final. You will do this, because if it begins again, if the slightest whisper of corruption from any of you reaches my ears, then I will dissolve this Night Court, strip all of you of your ranks and titles, and create a new body of ponies who are willing to work for the good of Equestria and are capable of doing so without defiling the very ideals that this nation was founded upon! Do I make myself clear?

Stunned silence greeted Luna. Her eyes narrowed, and she stood from her throne. “Do not make me ask again,” she hissed.

The response from that was immediate, if discordant – a mixture of yeses, and absolutlies, and of courses. The precise wording did not matter to Luna – she heard agreement and consensus, and for now, that would be enough. She sat back down on the Selenic Cathedra, folding her wings up as her horn glowed, opening the doors to the throne room. “Leave. Now.

Most of the nobles did so – a few, like Viscount Blueblood, running as though for their lives, most leaving at a somewhat more measured pace. Many ponies, including Archduke Fisher, had their heads cast down in shame. Some – Vicereine Puissance amongst them – still walked with their heads held high, and looked as though they felt undeserving of what had just occurred. No doubt, Luna thought, that they were even now scheming for a way to continue with their lifestyles as though nothing had changed – that they were planning on trying the extent of Luna’s patience, the limits of her ultimatum.

If they actually did…then they would be in for a very, very rude surprise.

Some lingered, rushing to the foot of the Selenic Cathedra. Duchess Fragrant was amongst them, as they bowed and begged forgiveness and pleaded to know what it would take to make Luna stop glaring at them so. That this last group even existed – even though it consisted of less than a dozen ponies – was a bittersweet consolation to Luna, but she was in no mood for mercy now as she pointed to the doors of her throne room. “Go and earn your forgiveness,” she ordered.

Those ponies left, as quickly as they could. Luna watched them go, remaining stoic, tall, regal, as a Princess should…until they were all gone. Then she rocked back on her haunches, nearly falling over. She sat on her barrel upon the Selenic Cathedra, laying her head on one of its arms - for all her power, she suddenly found she lacked the strength to even sit up straight.

She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. She wanted to split herself up into hundreds of bodies and chase after the nobles, whip them into shape and make sure that they took her words to heart. She felt…she felt tired. Spent. Exhausted.

But the night was not quite done. As the Night Guard once more entered into the throne room, she looked to one in particular, Sassaflash. “Please,” she said, “go and find my apprentice. Bring Trixie to me…and the largest flagon of wine you can find.”

The Night Guard nodded. “I will bring Trixie,” she said, trotting off, “and a flagon of water, your Majesty.”

Luna blinked, staring after her retreating form. Did she – was she – had she really – now, of all times, was she really going to enforce…?

As Sassaflash left the throne room, the Night Guard thought she heard exhausted, yet relieved laughter coming from the Selenic Cathedra. But if asked, she would have said it was only the wind.

Author's Note:

.

The burden has been lifted! This is not the last chapter, of course, but posting this, I literally feel lighter.

Come what may, this chapter is up and posted. In fact, we're now just one chapter from the finish. Maybe an epilogue if I feel like it.

*sigh*

What a long, hard trip it's been...but we're pulling into the station at last.

Oh, the "castigation" scene is based off of this scene from I, Claudius

#1 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

Head canon says you purposely waited for me to reply to your comment before posting the newest chapter.

#2 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

Just a quick note the second scene starts form BBs perspective but I think it is meant to be GGs! Sorry if i'm wrong!

#3 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253322

Whoops! Good catch.

#4 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

.......you know, it's easy to forget just how frightening Luna can be.......

#5 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253350

I know, right! It's almost enough to make you want to actually read that hack AU series that some jackass made where Luna went evil instead of Celestia and became "Nightmare Moon."

:pinkiecrazy:

#6 · 84w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

>>2253379

I read that. THey made Scootaloo an orphan! No sign of parents whatsoever! WHat kind of monster does that!?

*ahem*

Anyway, I am most interested in learning what Posey did....I thought she'd be decent....

#7 · 84w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

>>2253392

The bribe was apparently a one-time thing, probably years ago when she was just starting out and had no favors to call in or any other way to get the bill to pass, and I definitely think that she's otherwise been upstanding since then.

Point being that the Night Court is kind of like Irish politics, wherein politicians will almost literally run on a platform of "I didn't accept as many bribes as my opponent, therefore you should vote for me!" (my dad is Irish and lives in Ireland, and I visit there often enough, so I think I can get away with saying such things)

Even the ponies in the Night Court who were otherwise basically good still did little things, or else were perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to others. "Well, yes, the Marquess accepts Zaldian bribes. But I don't, and it's really not any of my business what he does with his time as long as it doesn't threaten my interests."

#8 · 84w, 2d ago · 3 · ·

And the word of the day is "Castigation". It starts with the letter C. C also stands for "Cathartic."

Example: "DAMN the castigation of the Night Court was cathartic!"

Great, great chapter here. Man, I really felt for Luna here. She must have believed she had more time before the Court got as bad as it was, but to have Zizanie dump it all into her head all at once... no wonder she's so worn down at the very end there.

#9 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

That...was incredibly uncomfortable.

I like it.:pinkiecrazy:

#10 · 84w, 2d ago · 4 · 1 ·

>>2253404

Somewhat reminds me of the saying that the only honest politician is one who when bribed stays bought.

Anyway I was quite impressed by this chapter.  It pretty much met all my expectations and more.  I especially enjoyed the way you wrote Zizanie's chaos magic, as well as her reactions as she fearfully realizes how quickly she's losing control, but while still making suitibly indignat retorts when Lyra proclaims her a draconequus.  You handled her take down admirably, leaving me both impressed and just a wee bit intimidated.

I was, however, just a touch disappointed in Greengrass's confessions -- they just felt rather flat and one note, all the bad devoid of what little nobility exists in his twisted ambitions, and mostly just him being generically vulgar and insulting without even the vaguest pretense of his more clever scheming side.  Truth poison or not, he felt more like a caricature than the actual Duke Greengrass.  Also, I'm personally still not convinced that he'd be quite that sore a loser.  Pouting about how unfair things are and about how the game is no longer fun and then just running away with his tail tucked between his legs... it all just seems far too banally ignoble an end to his villain arc, more an incidental side affect than a grand finale.  Still, I'm not really going to press the issue, he needed to fall and that much was accomplished, so I'll leave it at that for now.

#11 · 84w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

I knew you wouldn't have Trixie and the gang do something outrageously illegal and bad. I had total faith you would deliver and you did! :pinkiehappy:This chapter was MAGNIFICENT! I think you write Zizanie better than I could :derpytongue2: she's certainly shown her stuff in this one!

That scene with Luna was just great! Sometimes you just want to shout at politicians like that... I really can't wait for the next chapter!

#12 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253602

I was, however, just a touch disappointed in Greengrass's confessions -- they just felt rather flat and one note, all the bad devoid of what little nobility exists in his twisted ambitions, and mostly just him being generically vulgar and insulting without even the vaguest pretense of his more clever scheming side.  Truth poison or not, he felt more like a caricature than the actual Duke Greengrass.

Perhaps the caricature thing might be a side effect of the poison? I mean, think about anyone completely unfiltered. Just how unrepresentative would that ultimately be of anyone?

#13 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

Element of Honesty for mayor, shortest campaign failure possible...

#14 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253707

A truly "unfiltered" presentation of someone should be just that, unfiltered -- meaning both the extremes of their best and worst qualities stripped clean and born naked to the world.  Granted the nature of the poison does somewhat incline the victim to the worst over the best, as the reflexive response to such verbal diarrhea is basically, "don't say anything bad," at which point the thought instantly becomes speech and then perpetuates it's self in vicious cycle.  Still, their should be at least some minor trace of the other half of that coin hitching a ride, even if it is by and large downed out by the worst thing the victim could possibly say.

#15 · 84w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

>>2253602

I'll admit to being somewhat less than happy with it myself. I'm open to suggestions to make it better - but I really do think that, faced with spilling one's guts to Luna followed by a very public castigation, anyone would run away.

>>2253697

Incidentally - Zizanie's draconequus form now has a tiger's eyes and one front leg, a monkey for the other leg, a pony hoof, a changeling hoof, an ankylosaur's tail, a moth's antenna, and one moth's wing (no other wing...reference to the "one winged angel" trope). Sound okay? Your character so ultimately it should be your choice.

She repeats a bit more than Discord, but of course, she isn't a real draconequus.

#16 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

:raritystarry: Excellent! Bravo! A stunning and swift retribution! I feel a bit bad for Luna, learning that the Night Court which was supposed to be an extension of her self is so full of depravity and discord. The Epic Shout made me think a little of the Voice of God in Dogma - less of an actual sound, more of a total engulfment. I'm a bit sad Greengrass missed out on that, though getting totally wrecked without any legal involvement at all was pretty awesome of Luna also. Such a good, good chapter! :raritywink:

Comment posted by RainbowDoubleDash deleted at 6:03am on the 12th of March, 2013
#18 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253404

The bribe was apparently a one-time thing, probably years ago when she was just starting out and had no favors to call in or any other way to get the bill to pass, and I definitely think that she's otherwise been upstanding since then.

She's a lucky one, then. As I have been told, everybody has a price (so figure out early what yours is so you don't sell out for too little). In the grand scheme of things, though, a single bribe compared with everything else really isn't that bad, and it was clear that the one, single bribe has been weighing of Duchess Posey for a very long time. I don't know about the rest of you, but as for me?

I believe in Fragrant Posey.

#19 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

This was very good.

The quiet wrap up chapter is I suppose useful for pacing.

But this could be an ending and it would be great.

:pinkiehappy:

I have read your works for this in almost near entirety and I can say with all honesty you have grown and grown very well in your writing.

I look forward to more.

Maybe Season 2

?

Although I'm thinking Discord getting loose is going to have to be a pretty sizable endeavor since Luna's over all genre savy is far to high to just leave that statue in the GARDENS.

#20 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253759 I hope at least one couple came about from an untimely admittance in there! Maybe Mounty got himself a marefriend :derpytongue2:

>>2253791 No no that's perfectly fine! I sounds pretty fearsome. Though if she decides to ditch jail she might be even more enclined to take extreme vengeance on Trixie... and Shining Armor :pinkiegasp:

#21 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253899

Well that would give Mounty something new to climb.:trollestia:

>>2253759

I...Don't think I'll be able to quite explain myself here. Sorry if this seems like a cop out.:unsuresweetie::unsuresweetie:

#22 · 84w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

I have many things to say about this chapter, but for now I will only say one: the Night Court isn't gone yet. It's been beaten down, humiliated, castrated, and beset with fear for its very life, but it isn't gone. They are still around, although they can't indulge in any of the dark plots and subterfuges they are known for. If anypony does anything that gets back to Luna, all of them with be removed from power.

Or you could look at it another way.

The Night Court can do one more thing, and then they will be removed from power.

The Night Court hasn't been disarmed. It's gun has a single bullet left, and now it's just a matter of carefully choosing how to use it. Because if it truly is inevitable for one of these ponies to fall back on bad habits, and with a group this large is really is just a matter of time, then the smart members of the Court know that the final act of the Night Court needs to be something big. Something that will deliver the most reward or revenge or whatever, because they will never have another try again. And they have to make sure that no other member of the Court tries anything first and ruins the one shot they've got left. The Night Court can fall apart, or they can gather together and plan one last coup...

The game isn't gone, it's just changed. And from a story-writing perspective, there's nothing better we could have gotten!:raritywink:

#23 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253956

Yes.......that ONE BIG THING is to

a) Form a secret society bent on ingratiating itself with Corona

or

b) use a living weapon to defeat Corona and prove that they're better at this 'saving Equestria' business than some Z-grade wannabe and her friends. Too bad that said living weapon is currently wandering around a freakish mirror Equestria where LUNA went nuts and Celestia didn't.

Also, I think that Zizanie is more frightened by what she is than anypony else. Imagine having to deal with that all of a heap.

As for Greengrass, they all thought that he was a low-rent hood who lucked his way into power and now, they have proof.

#24 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

Poor Lulu.  After reading that I feel exhausted myself.

(Eeee,Brian Blessed!  Eeeee, CLAVDIVS!)

I was pretty okay with the Night Court being dodgy, but this was impressive way to diffuse a plot bomb, and it was excellent piece of character work to show that even you are a "small g" god, hard choices are still hard choices.

Though, I was expecting Luna's crazy-flank, on-fire sibling to be pretty good Night Court galvanising force too...   :pinkiehappy:

#25 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2253602

>>2253707

I get what Bookwise is saying.  He's talking about Greengrass's actions when the poison was removed.  I would have thought he'd have been more like Puissance, totally trapped in his world and not even sure what it is he'd done wrong.  He knew he wasn't the only one made to look like an ass hole.  And if his goal is replace the Equestrian government with his model of efficiency, why does he use more juvenile words like "game" and "fun?"  Still, hardly a giant letdown.  My judgement will come from what will be done next with his character.  

Two things that seemed off to me:

1)  It seems rather convenient that Trixie knows a "see magic" spell.  Even more so that her quarry turns out to be a newly revealed, entirely different species of pony, and STICKS OUT like a sore thumb.  Has Trixie exhibited this spell before?

2)  Lyra has musical-based offensive spells??  Again, I might have just missed the boat on this.  Even so, the very idea seems to be jumping the shark in order for her to be an action hero.  It wasn't even needed; Trixie uses deception and a plethora of advanced spells.  As the only other unicorn in the L-Mane 6 (what's the name for them?) she could have used her telekinesis to help take down Zizanie, which we know she's good at!  In fact, where did she even get her lyre?  Did she summon it?  Was she ever playing?

#26 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254104

Actually words like "game" and "fun" are perfectly in character for Greengrass as established in Greengrass's Night; it's the rest that is a bit out of sorts.  As for you other concerns...

1) Yes Trixie has used the spell before in Where There is Smoke.  Also, Zizanie's "species" was revealed -- if only to the audience -- in her original debut fic, File Under 'I' for 'Impossible'

2) Lyra has had mesuic based magic (and the ability to summon her lyra at-will) as far back as Longest Night, Longest Day, and her talents have been further touched upon in Secret of Andalantis.

#27 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254104 Trixie learned her Magic Sight (or 'Alicorn Sight' as I call it in my head) from Luna. It's different from the classic 'Detect Magic' spell used by Unicorn (which basically detects the 'intent' behind a unicorn spell) in that it sees MAGIC in itself. Trixie has used this ability more than once in the past. For exemple to observe the effects of the zebra rituals in Helping Hands?, to track down Philomena in Where there is Smoke, to try and find Ditzy in Secret of Andalantis and to see who was controlling the Basilisk in Hero of Oaton.

Zizanie's troubled lineage was hinted at in File Under 'I' for 'Impossible' and another of her kin was mistakenly chosen by Twilight to be Element of Generosity in Elements of Insanity.

One of Lyra's known specialty is to be able to summon her lyre at will. It's the only object she can summon that way (Trixie copied the spell and can now apply it to her hat, cape and a handful of everyday item found in her house). Lyra first displayed magical musical might in Longest Night: Longest Day when she battled the Everfree Sirens. she has an affinity for learning spells when they are presented in the form of sheet music, a.k.a. spell songs, instead of technical manuals (like Twilight would use). She knows, among others, a spell to let ponies breath underwater. The music itself isn't magical, it's essentially a memorization technique where the unicorn copies the harmonics and beat of the music with the flow of their magic, producing an effect.

#28 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254151

Psst... I think you meant Element of Generosity.

#29 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254159 Whatever can you mean *whistles innocently*

thanks

#30 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254149 I just realized...that's a lot of my fics :derpytongue2:

#31 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

Yeesh.  :trixieshiftright:  And you scolded me for what I did to Greengrass in my story.  Although I suspect that being forced to spit out your stream of consciousness in front of the immortal and (as far as most ponies are concerned) all powerful ruler of Equestria might do that to a guy.  :unsuresweetie:

#32 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254177

What can I say, you write good stuff.

>>2254178

The difference is that this fic is meant to be Greengrass's finale -- the end of his villain arc -- so there's no more need to maintain him as a credible threat going forward, and in fact dismantling him is pretty much the entire point.

#33 · 84w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

>>2254196  Considering the only skill Greengrass appears to demonstrate consistently is covering his ass when any plan of his that's removed by a little more than one degree of separation from his direct control crashes and burns, that's not saying a whole lot.  He hardly ever comes off as deviously brilliant as he was hyped up to be, most of his plans ending up being some variation of the formula: send agent A to enact dastardly plan B to ensnare Element holder C.

#34 · 84w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2254149

>>2254151

Thank you for the fast responses.

Can anyone tell me now what we call the Lunaverse Mane 6?

#35 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

My goodness. That was intense.

It's really satisfying to see Luna cut through the corruption and lay down some royal and divine law. The sudden 48 point bold and italics was the best display of the Royal Canterlot Voice I've seen. And what made the whole thing more effective was that Luna actually seemed upset! Not just angry, but hurt. Even though she'd been planning this for decades, and knew that the court was corrupt, she didn't truly understand just how bad it was.

I'm really looking forward to the conversation between Luna and Trixie. I do think Trixie has to be held a bit responsible for the chaos at the Gala, since she was the one who gave Zizanie the truth poison in the first place. It's nice that Fragrant Posey wasn't very corrupt - Fluttershy's family can't be so very bad.

I know what Prince Blueblood needs to do. He needs to hire Pinkie Pie as his ethical advisor, so she can look over his shoulder at all of his plans and tell him when he's being evil.

And the ice palace didn't melt! It's a bit like getting to the end of Maskerade and seeing that the chandelier never got around to falling. Weird. :eeyup:

#36 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

>>2254251

Just drop the "mane" and call them the Lunaverse-Six, Luna-Six, or for simplest brevity the L6.

On a further, and moderatly related note when attempting to distinguish between the Lunaverse version of a character and their counterpart from the show, the common convention is to affix L! or M! in front of the name.  So for example L!Trixie is the Element of Magic, whereas M!Trixie is a wandering stage magician.  This will likely become increasingly relevant for discussions about RainbowDoubleDash's next fic, Crisis on Two Equestrias.

#37 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

Great climax RDD. :twilightsmile:

Just about everything I may have wanted to say has been touched upon by everyone else but I did want to ask:

Will we be seeing more of Posey? I'm interested in seeing were this goes for her.

#38 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

Archduke Fisher in particular being given a wide berth by all the earth ponies and pegasi in the room.

Also, I love that Z's one big dirtball on Luna is a complete no-sell.

#39 · 84w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

:rainbowderp: This chapter was everything that I always wanted it to be.

This is how I was hoping the Night Court would be dealt. With a firm reminder that while they try to grab a piece of the Pie, they are no match the for the Mare controlling the bakery.

The more I read the part with Greengrass the more I find his end was suitably anticlimatic. For all his scheming and manipulating, having him just spill his guts and then run out like a child being a badsport, that's almost as close to perfect Karma as you can get, and this coming from someone who actually liked him as a villain.

Really, as much as I've enjoyed having the Night antagonists, reading this chapter has cemented my belief of this being the place where the Night Court needs to stop having main villians. I'm not saying no more NIght Court Villians at all but after this, having anymore main Villians be Night Court based would potentially cheapen what to me is Luna most awesome moment so far.

This was also a fitting end to Zizanie's scheming. The whole time she reminded me of Ratigan from Basil The Great mouse detective in how she would use this air of control and sophistocation to hide how truly out of control she was. And having what she thought was the secret  that would have leverage against Luna just fizzel like that; that was the cherry on top.

Like I said, this chapter was everything I wanted to be.

Well done and I look forward to seeing how you finish it off.

#40 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

Overall I really liked this chapter, it was excellent!

This ending feels a bit sudden, but not overly so. I probably would have liked to see a bit more of GGs ranting just to see how low he really is, or possibly something from his perspective when he realizes his entire career and all his plans to conquer the land lay in ruins. But that's a minor thing and him being brushed aside to focus on the true problem, the environment of the court that allows him and those like him to succeed and silences the good is really quite fitting Much like Zap Apple Smash said, :D. His reaction (This isn't fun anymore!) was great and worked flawlessly with the character and his views of himself and his games. Pinkie/Blood was amusing as usual.

I do have a bit of a hard time believing everyone had done something illegal/close to it & i'm a tad saddened there was no dance/red-wing,but those are minor quibbles and have no real bearing on the story and therefore cannot be counted against it!

Zizaine's "I'm a pony, not a monster!" was also fantastic and the court scene where she is in chains and the nobles filing in with the glowing eye's was incredibly immersive.

The truth serum activation scene was excellently hectic and wild, perfectly fitting into the mood as were many of the lines that were being thrown out, the battle against Zizaine was great and her chimera form was really imaginative. Loved the Luna mind meld scene and I was wondering when the attempt as Cadence blackmail was going to come up, I hope there's still a party! that can really focus on the two of them and maybe Celestia if she's returned. :scootangel:

and Luna's court scene, was, words fail me but it was magnificent, fantastic and so many other things, the start was just perfect there was a bit right when she was "checking" each of the courtiers that seemed a tad stilted but her rant that marvelous rant was just infinite stars! :pinkiehappy: Sorry I truly am lost for words. oh and the good courtiers reaction, begging and pleading and wondering how they could just make Luna stop looking at them like that was just pure brilliance! :pinkiehappy:

Luna;'s disappointment was conveyed brilliantly as well, though i'm a tad shocked she has no intention of removing any of them.

You know something I find great about the plan and how it brought own GG, it's so poetic! The plan involved using GG as an unknowing pawn (something he does often) It was somewhat hasty and very risky (just what he loves) but stayed within the confines of the law and was designed with serious and good objectives, to help better the nation in mind (unlike his) , the plan was designed to use the courts own corruption against it (he loves the corruption and that strategy) But also, he was brought down entirely on accident, he wasn't the focus, and what brought him down wasn't the focus of everyone's attention it wasn't even the plan, it was a corrupt element in the court trying to evade justice!

Sorry of that wasn't explained well. :scootangel:

heh part of me wants to see a fic where Luna does split herself into hundreds and follow the court around bugging them.

I look forward to seeing what changes this fallout brings about. If this is the cast chapter congratulation on an excellent roller-coaster ride of a story, if not, i'll be looking forward to the next one!

>>2253328

NP :D

#41 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Very nicely done. I have to agree that I support Fragrant. She's not perfect, but she's overall a nice mare. I've actually come to fel rather sorry for her in this story. I hope things go well for her in the future.

But yeah, Luna's confrontation of her court was really well done.

#42 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

It's all fun and games until you detail your plans to depose the Princess directly to her face. I suppose it wouldn't really be an Elements of Harmony style Gala if it didn't end in a riot.

“Oh, don’t worry, I figured out my part,” Raindrops interrupted, cracking her fetlocks

:rainbowlaugh:

Oh shit, she's a draconequus, hadn't even guessed that. A leftover minion of Discord who has been manipulating the Night Court for years, perhaps? Or maybe not, unless she is in denial about it or something.

Nice work Carrot Top!

A Discordian? Interesting.

“Hopefully we didn’t go overboard,” Carrot Top said.

Hah! Maybe just a little. On the other hand, overkill is better than underkill.

Daaaaaaamn, Luna, tell them what you really think!

Again, that was excellent.

#43 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Hmm...

I actually think Luna is being a little judgemental for a pony who spent the first 20+ years of her solo reign completely drunk and letting the nation crumble into a state of total disrepair. It's also been implied that she's no stranger to bribes herself; 'Countdown to Crisis' for instance heavily implied that she gave the ruler of Latigo a vice-royalty, a vastly important political position, not based on merit but just to make it easier to persuade Latigo to do what she wants. Her castigation of those like Greengrass works well, but it's weird that she flips out at Posey for stuff she herself has done, and done on a far grander scale.

Agree with DagaYamar above that it's a bit weird that Luna is going to be punishing the Court collectively from now on, effectively putting them all at the mercy of their dumbest or most corrupt member. "If any one of you screws up, I'm firing all 243 of you," doesn't work as well when one of the 243 is Blueblood, who has the wisdom of a potted plant and the impulse control of Pinkie Pie, and the other Courtiers know it.

The battle against Zizanie worked alright; wasn't a huge fan of the Deus Ex Carrot Top, but I suppose Luna would have been able to catch Zizanie anyway in the next few moments so it's not a big deal. Zizanie's chaos magics did work very nicely.

While it would have been stupid, I feel like someone (maybe Greengrass, had he stuck around) should have pointed out that dissolving the government now would likely lead to widespread chaos, which is bad considering Corona is still out there. Plus, the Lords and Ladies of the towns have no actual experience running a government, so rebooting from scratch with them would take years before things began running smoothly again. It'd be like a government entirely full of Mounty Max's, and while he's cool and all, I think it's been implied that he's not the best at actually running the country yet. And, while not even Greengrass would say this, Luna would have to know that firing all the nobles would likely cause some to start wondering if maybe they should side with Corona (and Corona, being reasonably smart tactically, would probably take advantage of this).

Granted, Luna might not care about any of that -- she'd probably take the view that, however harder it made the war or government, purging the corruption is worth it anyway for the sake of the little pony. But it might have been nice to see Greengrass (or some other idiot noble) bring this up, if only to explicitly reject the view that Greengrass claimed to have in the last chapter, that the few should be sacrificed for the sake of the group.

Yay, Scepter cameo!

#44 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

Wow. Just... wow.

Apologies for the lack of eloquence, but seriously...

wow.

#45 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

One question, in chapter ten Zizaine says

"“Waste of time,” Zizanie said. “The Starlights don’t have any skeletons in their closet, trust me, I know. They didn’t even try to cover up Twilight’s disappearance or the reasons for it. Also, I don’t think the Viceroy is even here – I didn’t see him come in and I know that he didn’t have any plans to attend.”"

Bit of confused on this point. Does that mean that Night Light had been rather uncorrupt in which case Luna' rant would have not been fair towards him or that he was just open about the corruption? The only real thing we've seen in the story that he's done really wrong is withhold the funds, which he now seems rather regretful for.

#46 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>2254944

Night Light is rather uncorrupt in that he has not done anything himself. Note, though, that Luna is flipping out not just at the ponies who have been bad themselves, but the ponies who turned a blind eye and let it all happen - something which Night Light is more than guilty for.

#47 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>2254895

I actually think Luna is being a little judgemental for a pony who spent the first 20+ years of her solo reign completely drunk and letting the nation crumble into a state of total disrepair.

In this case though, she cannot show mercy, as that would result in others thinking "Hey, I can get away with a little corruption".

#48 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>2255060: It still seems unfair for Luna to castigate the nobles who only did one or two minor things (or did nothing, but just didn't report others), while no one can really call her out on the stuff she's done.

Not saying that Luna shouldn't call Posey out, or put her on probation with the rest of them, but her mocking of Posey and being all, "Wow, I guess you're so honest, only giving a bribe once" seems a bit much.

Comment posted by GrassAndClouds2 deleted at 3:31pm on the 12th of March, 2013
#50 · 84w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>2255060

Indeed (though it was the first twelve years after Corona was banished - by the time Cadance arrived in Canterlot, Luna had been back and trying to fix things for eight already, and had been on the wagon for those eight years, mostly, though she was struggling, and she still struggles sometimes).

Also...there's also a huge difference between the corruption of the Night Court, which are often for petty, small reasons; and spending a protracted period in a state of utter despair over permanently banishing your only sister - the one constant over near forty thousand years of life (according to my head-canon) - into the heart of the Sun, and then having to actually feel the hate that she feels for you every single morning and evening when you raise and set the Sun.

They're not even comparable.

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