Have another quick fic born out of that post last week, this one more in the spirit of the holiday season. Courtesy of drmonkey:
Luna, unaware that the Hearth's Warming Inquisition was abolished centuries ago, begins hunting down heretics who deny the existence of Santa Hooves.
Princess Celestia pushed open the door to her castle’s cellar, peering inside as her eyes gradually adjusted to the dim light. Aside from its palatial size, normally there wasn’t anything unique about this cellar. It had all the typical features of a cellar: a dank odor, some barrels of wine, unutilized exercise equipment, more than its fair share of cobwebs, and a hot water heater.
But at the moment, it also held torches mounted into the walls, chains dangling from the ceiling, dastardly-looking instruments of torture, Night Guards wearing festively-decorated hoods over their heads, several ponies clapped in irons, and Celestia’s own sister looking up at her from the center of the room.
“Luna,” Celestia began, adopting her practiced ‘I know exactly what this is but I want to hear you say it’ voice, “permit me to ask what may be a silly question.”
“Thou art permitted,” Luna replied.
“Why is there a torture chamber in my basement?”
Luna shared a glance with one of the Night Guards before looking back at her sister. “We were told that the contemporary term was ‘enhanced interrogation facility.’”
“Ah yes, forgive me. Why is there an enhanced interrogation facility in my basement?”
Luna waved a hoof around the room. “Also, we believe this is technically a dungeon, not a basement.”
“Why is there an enhanced interrogation facility in my basement?” Celestia repeated, placing the slightest amount of emphasis on the last word.
Luna pawed at the floor, looking down at her hooves as she murmured, “I thought it was supposed to be our basement.”
“Luna,” Celestia repeated, her ‘I want to hear you say it’ voice now becoming replaced by her rarely used ‘No, seriously, we’re going to stand here until you tell me what is going on, because I can outlast you and you know it’ voice.
Luna sighed. “Very well, Sister. We couldn’t find any suitable dungeon in the palace, so we decided to commandeer your humble cellar for our purposes.”
Celestia raised an eyebrow. “And what purpose would that be?”
“Why, for the Hearth’s Warming Inquisition, of course!”
There was a momentary silence in the cellar as Celestia absorbed her sister’s words. “Well… I certainly wasn’t expecting that.”
“No one was expecting it,” quipped a Night Guard who had a strand of sparkling garland adorning his black hood.
“Nopony seemed to know where the Inquisition Headquarters were, so we had to make do with what we could find,” Luna said. “War calls for desperate measures, after all.”
Celestia’s ear twitched and she blinked, experiencing a rare moment of total surprise. “I’m sorry, did you say ‘war?’”
Now it was Luna’s turn to be surprised. “Why, the War on Hearth’s Warming, of course! We did not realize that the situation had become so desperate in our time away. But we are ready to lead the Inquisition, striking in the dark against all heretics who fail to share in the Hearth’s Warming spirit! We shall crush our opposition! We shall take no prisoners and give no quarter!”
Celestia glanced around the room. “But… you are taking prisoners.”
“‘Tis an expression, Sister.”
A young filly strapped to a chair cleared her throat. “Princess Celestia, can I go home now?”
“Silence, Virginia!” Luna roared. “Thou shalt not leave until thou reveals the identity of thy little friends who dare question the existence of Santa Hooves!”
“Oh no, make it stop!” wailed a bespectacled gray pegasus chained to the wall between some rusted water pipes and a dusty pilates machine. “Her grammar is atrocious!”
“Luna,” Celestia began, now falling into her more academic ‘I know where I want this conversation to end but I want you to get us there’ tone, “Where did you hear about this War on Hearth’s Warming?”
“We saw it on the front page of the Canterlot Post,” Luna answered.
“Ah. I think I see the problem. Luna, may I have a word with you upstairs?”
“So there is no actual war against Hearth’s Warming.”
“‘Tis merely a hyperbolic term designed to sell more newspapers.”
“That is correct.”
“And the Hearth’s Warming Inquisition has been abolished for many centuries.”
“As you put it, verily.”
Silence fell between the two sisters as they sat alone in the throne room, Luna mulling over what her sister had told her. Eventually, she sighed. “Baa, humbug, if we may use the modern sheep term.”
“Well, we must admit, this is rather embarrassing.”
“At least we got this resolved before anything serious happened,” Celestia offered.
“Verily.” Luna pawed at the floor for a moment. “Shall, uh, shall I go free the prisoners, then?”
Celestia smiled. “Yes, I believe that would be prudent. And how about in the future, you let me know before you set up any more extrajudicial detention facilities.”
“What about the official Kangaroo Court for the Hoofstralian penal colony? Can I still run that?” Luna asked.
Celestia chuckled. “But of course!”