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“Immortal princesses,” Starlight Glimmer said. “It really works, I’m telling you.” Sol 354, The Maretian

More Blog Posts9

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Nov
6th
2016

The Celestia Files - Let the Punishment Fit the Crime · 12:46am Nov 6th, 2016

My latest story got featured - an incredible honor. I've been reading some of the comments and I've noticed that a few people have some concerns about whether the battles referenced make sense, the actions of Celestia, and the fact that Brace Girdle isn't a very nice person.

I am very happy that people took the time to share their concerns with me and thought I'd post a little snippet with a little more backstory to frame the actual story. Of course, NONE OF THIS SNIPPET IS CANON to the main story unless I actually publish it.

Prepare yourself for the Celestia Files - lollipop level top secrets ahead.


“We demand he be punished!”

“You demand?” Celestia asked with a confused tilt of her head. Her posture straightened and her gaze became more focused. “By what right do you demand anything of The Royal Court of Canterlot?”

Flinching almost imperceptibly, Lord High Brow breathed deep, a wheeze now evident from too much bubble piping, and steeled himself for his moment to shine. Lord Hay Tow smirked beside him, his posture portrayed a confidence that no rational pony should ever have when making demands of the court.

“As is our right by virtue of the agreement between the Unicorn Kingdom and Canterlot made on the fields that ran red with the blood of our ancestors.”

Hay Tow piped up, “An agreement is an agreement, your majesty. You agreed to give us the right to punish those below us for damage to our honor. He has not only insulted our families beyond forbearance, but he has dared to lay hands upon our heirs. This heinous crime cannot go unpunished!”

Celestia sighed, allowing the air to pass through her nostrils in an attempt to control her pique. “Yes, there was such an agreement between the Canterlot Court and Unicornia, but it has never been invoked.”

Hay Tow bowed mockingly. “The fact that no lord of old Unicornia has ever invoked the law does not imply abrogation of it. We have the support of the Great Houses behind us.” His smile was oily and his eyes were alight with the glow of victory. “Your Highness” he added almost as an afterthought.

Celestia looked down from her dais and regarded the two little unicorn ponies before her. High Brow had always been a follower and Hay Tow had always been overconfident to a fault. She’d hoped that High Brow’s marriage to Lady Iris would have straightened him out, but he was still following along on Hay Tow’s coat-tails.

“The Royal Court of Canterlot ALWAYS keeps its agreements. To imply otherwise is slander against the Court and Slandering the Court is Treason.” She paused to let her weighty word sink in.

“No pony has ever been accused of treason as far back as anyone can remember!” Lord High Brow exclaimed. “Of course we would never think of committing treason, your Royal Highness.” He bowed sincerely.

“I never said you did, Lord High Brow. I merely wished to remind you and Lord Hay Tow to have care in wording your requests of the Court... lest they be misinterpreted.” She looked squarely at Hay Tow, whose smirk had faded somewhat, but he still seemed far more smug than she should be.

“I will keep your words in a small corner of my heart, Princess. And while we’re on the subject of reminders, I should like to remind you that it is not a request. We demand satisfaction for this injustice against our families. Isn’t that right, Lord High Brow.”

High Brow visibly squirmed as he realized he was caught a power struggle between the two. “Y-yes,” he stammered out before a nudge from Hay Tow caused him to stiffen his stance.

Celestia looked to her side and spotted Raven with her ever present parchment and quill. Raven closed her eyes and gave a minuscule nod of her head. It was true then. Most or all of the Great Houses were backing Hay Tow’s push, either willingly or through coercion. Which meant that she couldn’t just diffuse the situation, Hay Tow would push and push until he got what he wanted and with the backing of the Great Houses, he could cause enough trouble that Chaos might erupt in the capital. A shiver ran down the Alicorn’s back as her thoughts flowed to the inevitable conclusion. Enough Chaos and Discord might find a way to escape. Nearly nothing was worth risking Discord’s return. She resolved to allow this barbarism from ages past to continue, but it would be on her terms as long the two Lords cooperated.

“If that is what you, the offended parties, wish, then by the authority of the Royal Court of Canterlot, I Celestia Aeternae Lux will pass judgment on Professor Brace Girdle.”
Hay Tows smirk cropped up again and before Celestia had time to wonder at it, her hastily conceived plan fell apart.

“Begging your pardon, your Majesty,” Lord High Brow said. “But we demand he be punished according to the Old Laws.”

“Carp baskets...” Celestia hissed under her breath. She’d thought to find a way to make it so he got a slap on the wrist so long as they didn’t say exactly that in open court.

“The Old Laws?” she hedged with masterful poise and control. “The Old Laws haven’t been invoked in generations.”

Hay Tow’s smirk had disappeared and his face was a remarkably serious. “Nevertheless, Lord High Brow and I are in agreement. We want Brace Girdle punished in accordance with the Old Laws.”

A fiery radiance erupted from Celestia.“You want humiliation and torture to the death through crushing for an insult to your honor!?” She asked very slowly, her voice slightly raised.

“Yes.” They both said with a nod each.

“And I take it neither of you will be swayed from this course even if I were to point out that this punishment has till now only ever been applied to instances of line theft?”

“No, your highness. All we wish is what is due to us by right.”

Celestia closed her eyes for a moment, not something she did lightly in front of the nobility. When she opened them again she let her sight fall upon the bound form of Professor Brace Girdle who was being held fast by two guard ponies that probably worked for Lord Hay Tow. He looked miserable but resigned.

He’d had his problems in the past. His temperament was not well suited for teaching and his skepticism was at unhealthy levels. He had a passion for past battles and military strategy, but he preferred to cherry pick, highlighting those that fit his theories and disregarding ones that did not. He had been cautioned to change his ways several times and warned not to do the head slaps he was so fond of from his days in the Equestrian Armed Forces, but it appeared this time, he let his temper get the best of him once too often.

Steeling herself to order her subject’s death, she caught sight of Twilight entering the Throne Room. She didn’t want her student to see... wait. Black spots? Twilight had obviously gotten into Celestia’s writing supplies. She had black spots all over her. Some sort of mishap with an inkwell, she guessed? Then Cadance swooped up behind Twilight and telekinetically carted her off, presumeably to take a bath.

All emotion was wiped from Celestia’s face as an idea struck her. A terrible, wonderful, horrible idea.

Resuming her imperious bearing, she proclaimed, “In accordance with the Old Laws, I must sentence 2nd Lieutenant Brace Girdle to public humiliation for his crimes. He must then be crushed for a span of time not less than four hours. If this does not render him dead, he must then be executed. That is, unless you might allow me to modify this sentence slightly to make his end even crueler?”

“What would you suggest, your Highness?” Asked High Brow, who was evidently breaking the carefully prepared script Hay Tow had devised. But Lord Hay Tow couldn’t do anything to stop his fellow lord.

“In the spirit of the law, I suggest that in the morning, we bring Brace Girdle to his place of work, allow him to go through his teaching routine, humiliate him in front of his class, and then, in place of crushing with a millstone, fling his very own coveted hard wood desk at him After four hours or more, so much crimson liquid will have leaked from underneath the crumpled desk that magic will be necessary to clean up the blood red stain that forms. I guarantee that I will fling the desk at him with such force that there will be no further need to execute him at the end.

“You, your Highness? exclaimed both lords, the very idea of Celestia KILLING leaving them in equal shock.

“I take my obligations very seriously, Lord High Brow, Lord Hay Tow. For a task of such importance I would trust none but myself to carry it out.”

“We wouldn’t dream of forcing you to get your own hooves dirty on such a menial task, would we Hay Tow?”

Hay Tow was unmoving as if trying to take in the sudden change to his plan. He had thought to force Celestia into an unwinnable situation. If she refused to follow through with her ages old obligation, the nobility could claim breach and large swatches of land including the fertile land East of Mt. Canter might be reclaimed. If she should agree to their unreasonable demands then they could use the first execution in living memory to paint her as a tyrant and despot and conveniently maneuver themselves to pick up the power she would be forced to relinquish. A win in either scenario. Her offer sounded good, but something didn’t sit right about it with him. Better to delay and consider all the options before agreeing to any-”

“I like it!” High Brow stomped a hoof as he said it, oblivious to his partner’s silence in his own enthusiasm . “It has a certain ironic justice to it. I think I speak for myself and Lord Hay Tow when I say your consideration for our injury and your swift redress is most gracious. And might I say, you’re Highness, you are magnificent in your ruthlessness.”

Hay Tow was frozen in apoplectic rage. What was this fool doing? He was agreeing to the Princess’ suggestion, without input from the plan’s mastermind? He looked at High Brow and he prepared to... wait- was he smitten?” It suddenly occurred to Hay Tow that not including High Brow in on the true scheme might have been a bad idea.

The Princess of the Sun smiled and accepted the praise graciously. “The Crown thanks you for your kind words and would like to request a small consideration?”

“Name it!” High Brow said with gusto.

”-And we’ll discuss it.” added Hay Tow.

High Brow, the senior lord in the room looked askance at Hay Tow but said no more.

Celestia in an almost unheard of breach of Court decorum stood and began to descend the stairs toward the astonished nobles. Standing closer than was really polite, she address Lord High Brow directly. “Society has changed somewhat since the last time I took sword in hoof and took somepony’s life. Though I am not squeamish, our modern ponies have more delicate sensibilities. If you’ll allow it, I’d like to keep the real reason for my visit to the school unspoken.” She looked at the crumpled form of the professor. “This is not the first time he has been reprimanded for his behavior and he was in fact on his last chance when he behaved so foolishly with your heirs.” She looked at High Brow with large beseeching eyes. “I thought to preserve the reputation of the Crown by making this all seem a routine disciplinary action resulting in his permanent... termination.” She giggled and looked at High Brow coyly as if inviting him into a conspiracy.

Lord High Brow’s mouth dropped open. “That is fiendishly clever. You’ll do exactly as you described regarding the modified punishment you recommended?” He asked, a hint of suspicion in his voice despite how charming the Princess was being.

“To the letter,” the Princess said. “You have my word.”

“That is good enough for me. In case he should try to flee your custody we’ll post a watch around the castle. We, of course, have the highest regard for your Majesty’s forces, but these ex-military ponies are quite clever when put to it. We’ll have observers watching the good professor tomorrow throughout the day as well. Come along Hay Tow, let’s tell the others how splendidly things went.” As if remembering where he was he suddenly bowed and said, “With your permission, Princess?”

“You have my leave to go. Thank you very much, Lord High Brow. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.”

Lord Hay Tow just glared hatred at the Princess as he was almost dragged from the Throne Room.


“Court is in recess until I say otherwise.” She sedately walked over to Brace Girdle and with some of the most powerful telekinesis in the world, made short work of the ropes binding the prone pony. “Let’s talk for a bit. Raven, a word as we walk.” The three ponies trotted off to a private antechamber and Celestia whispered instruction to the dark haired unicorn. ”-exactly that color. Several bottles as large as they sell -by tonight. Understood?”

“Yes, your Highness.” Raven moved off and began to gallop.

Once alone in the chamber with Royal Guards outside the door, Brace Girdle collapsed into a heap. “I swear, your Highness, you’re looking at a completely new Brace Girdle. I will be the sweetest, kindest fellow you ever did see, if only you can find some way to get me out of this mess my temper got me into. I never took the head slap warning seriously.” He began pounding a hoof into his head while chanting, “stupid, stupid...”

Celestia gently prevented him from giving himself brain damage. “You may wish to hold off on that promise for a bit.

“Wah?”

The Princess looked speculatively at him. “Can you be abrasive, bull-headed, close-minded and insufferable?”

Brace Girdle snorted. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Excellent. I won’t say anymore since you acting believably is very important. However, I should thank you for agreeing to teach a lesson on Military Strategy to Twilight Sparkle tomorrow.”

Taken aback, Brace Girdle sputtered, “I agreed to give your filly age student a lesson on Military Strategy normally for students twice her age?”

“Yes.”

“When!?”

“Just now. That is, you did if you wanted me to get you out of this mess your temper got you into.”

“Cockatrice and Minotaur tangoing on my back.”

“What was that?” Celestia said with an eyebrow raised.

“I was merely clearing my throat. I meant to say, ‘Of course, Princess. I would be happy to teach your personal student Military Strategy... despite my tendency to lose my temper at students... and in spite of the fact that this student is powerful enough to hatch dragon eggs.”

“It was only the one egg.” Celestia explained.

Brace Girdle didn’t look comforted.

“I’d be more worried about her turning you into a potted plant if you head slap her... or me putting you through the wall instead of just pinning you to one.”

“Noted.”

“Oh, it’s a little off topic, but before I have a guard take you to a guest room for the night, 'Baltimare or Manehatten?'”

“Baltimare or Manehatten?”

“Large cities both with very good witness protection programs. I’m afraid one way or the other, Brace Girdle dies tomorrow.”

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Comments ( 5 )

I like it. This addition has Celestia acting more in character than the end of the actual story. It's also believable that nobles would ask this of her.

i like your mini story things

such force that there will be no further need to execute him at the end.

Having gotten them to agree to this punishment in the stead of their demands, she has removed the need to execute him. Thus, there is none to fulfill that this action will change. So, even if he is alive, "there is no further need to execute him". Thereby has she circumlocuted around killing him.

4287205
Yes, she no longer has to kill him, but the lords haven't realized that. For complete success, two things have to occur: Celestia has to get them to agree not to kill him, which they did; and they have to remain ignorant that they agreed to not killing him, which is why the whole rigamarole has to take place in the story proper.

4336697
… at least until he's out of the fire and everypony stops caring at the "pull strings to torpedo teacher" level.

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