The Value of Calling Ahead

by TheDriderPony

Always Schedule Your Invasion at Least Three Weeks in Advance


In the long gallery of Canterlot Castle, every stained glass window shattered as the force of the bellow passed them by, littering the floor with shards of broken glass. Lord Tirek paid them no mind as he marched down the hall, arcane fire melting them to slag as he passed.

Gilding peeled off the filigree and candles melted then evaporated as he made his way to the lone door at the end of the hall which led to Princess Celestia’s private study.

A pony stood in front of the door, though he was little more than an insect to Tirek’s might, so the titan paid him no heed. His target lay within.


Just before he was in punching distance of the doors, Tirek felt a tiny hoof tapping on his leg. He glanced down. It was the pony he'd elected to ignore. A particularly old and feeble one at that. He was frankly amazed that the pitiful thing hadn’t collapsed from his mere presence.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Tirek paused, his rage momentarily supplanted by confusion. “What?”

“I said,” the old stallion repeated, “Do you have an appointment?”

“...I am Lord Tirek! Devourer of magic! Scourge of ponykind! Bane of the princesses! I have no need of appointments!

“That’s a ‘no’ then.” The stallion shook his head as though the mighty centaur was no more than a naughty foal. “I’m afraid the Princess’s schedule is completely booked today. Not even a free minute for a quick death. We may be able to squeeze you in tomorrow. Though it would be more convenient for everyone involved if you followed proper protocol and provided at least a week’s notice.”

Tirek scowled and a nearby torch burst into flames before burning down to nothing. He did not have time for this! Nor did have to put up with it! He was Lord Tirek, and he would do as he pleased. If this pony thought he could stop the mightiest of monsters from passing through, then he would soon learn the error of his ways.

“Consider this my notice, you fool!” Tirek opened his jaw and began to inhale. A mighty maelstrom of magic grew between his horns, swirling and pulsing and pulling in all magic around him. It would take but a fraction of a second to drain this pony of his power. Tirek doubted he’d even notice the extra energy.

After quite a few fractions of a second, Tirek came to the conclusion that something was wrong. Not only did the pony not seem to be being drained of his magic, he in fact seemed completely nonplussed by Tirek’s might! He ceased his spell and scowled in confusion. “What manner of sorcery is this? How could you resist my power?”

Sir,” the stallion said forcefully, “I am a servant of the Crown. Not just that, but her majesty’s majordomo. I live, breathe, and die by my Princess’s command. And nowhere in today’s orders was I commanded to have my magic stolen. Now,” He took a moment to smooth his ruffled moustache that had been agitated by Tirek’s wind. “If you wish to submit an appointment for an assassination or coup attempt, I can call forth her Majesty’s secretary who can show you to the relevant paperwork. She-”

He was cut off by the door opening from behind him. A white pony with librarian glasses and a bunned mane stepped out and softly closed it behind her. “Kibitz, what is all this commotion? The Princess is trying to negotiate a new tax bill.” Despite the wreckage and the considerably large centaur, her voice was as calm and flat as a stilled sea.

“My apologies, Miss Raven. This gentlecreature,” Kibitz gestured to Tirek, “wishes to have a regicidal audience with the Princess.” He looked down over the edge of his glasses. “Without an appointment.

She frowned. “Did you tell him that no one can have a meeting without an appointment?”

“I did.”

“Did you tell him about the availability we have tomorrow?”

“I did as well.”

Lord Tirek was feeling rather left out of this conversation. “I am Lord Tirek,” he insisted, “ I have no need of appointments. I-”

“Of course you need to make an appointment,” Raven interrupted him as though he were no more than an annoyingly persistent salespony. “Scheduling is very important. Otherwise-”


A high, grating shriek echoed down the long gallery, shattering the remaining shards of stained glass into stained sand. With a flare of green fire and a buzzing of wings, Queen Chrysalis barreled through the remains of a window and made herself known.

FACE ME CELESTIA! FOR THIS DAY SHALL BE YOU LAST AND- oh, Tirek? What are you doing here?”

“You see?” Raven said pointedly, though thoroughly unfazed. “This is what happens when you do not follow proper scheduling procedures. Double booking.” She turned to the changeling queen who was easily three times her height. “The Crown apologizes, Miss Chrysalis, but the Princess is completely booked today, even for murder. There is an opening tomorrow, but Mr. Tirek was here first and therefore has priority claim.“

“That’s Lord Tirek,” said Mr. Tirek, who was feeling increasingly forgotten.

Chrysalis regarded the secretary with a scowl. “I have no time for this you foolish little pony. After spending a week in Las Pegasus, I have collected so much love that my magic knows no bounds.” She licked her lips. “Though I always welcome a willing appetizer before the main feast.”

She unhinged her jaw and began to pull, forcing the mare to give up all her precious emotional energy, leaving her as hollow and dry as an old gourd. Chrysalis blinked and almost gagged as her magic made a sound like a straw hitting the bottom of a nearly empty milkshake. “What is this?” she demanded even as she continued to try and draw forth any emotional energy, “I’m pulling nothing. You cannot have no emotional energy. That would make you a- a-”

“A civil servant.” Raven finished, still completely unfazed even as sickly green magic washed over her. “And as such, I have had all my emotions, both positive and negative, ground out of me by the bureaucracy many years ago. So unless you have an appetite for apathy, I suggest you cease this foolishness.”

Shocked, Chrysalis actually complied.

“Right then.” Raven turned back to Tirek and removed a pencil from her bun. “Mr. Tirek. As previously stated, there is no time in the Princess’s schedule for dying today. However there was a cancellation, so we do have an opening tomorrow between third lunch and the Princess’s weekly budget meeting. Will two-thirty work?”

YES!” he roared, suddenly full of vigor now that ponies were paying attention to him again, “AND I SHALL COME AND FINALLY PUT THAT ACCURSED ALICORN TO REST ONCE AND FOR ALL AT… I’m sorry, was that two-thirty?”

Raven nodded and Tirek scratched at his sideburns awkwardly. “Ah. Well. You see, two-thirty really doesn’t work for me. I’m actually on my lunch break right now and I-”

“Then you shall have to schedule an arching at an appropriate time through proper channels.” She turned to the other villain, leaving him gobsmacked and wordless at the casual dismissal. “Miss Chrysalis. We've recently had an opening in the Princess's schedule tomorrow. Would two-thirty be acceptable?"

Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings and would-be monarch of all she surveys, drew circles on the sandy marble with her hoof like a nervous filly. "Ah, that's two-thirty in the afternoon, right?"

"Unless you were looking to meet with Princess Luna, yes."

Chrysalis sucked through her teeth with a noise that would terrify most foals and small animals. "Here's the thing. I have a dentist's appointment right then —fang sharpening— and he's a very in-demand specialist so asking him to reschedule on such short notice is a little..."

“I understand,” Raven cut in before giving Tirek a glare. “At least someone here values maintaining good scheduling procedures. Now, since tomorrow is no good you’ll need to apply for time at least three or four weeks down the line. Appointments can be made either in-pony or through the mail. Proper documentation may be found-"

"Stop right there!" Tirek thundered. The visible magic aura that had slowly been diminishing surged to full force again. "I don't have to listen to this! What are your rules to one such as me?" He thumped his chest. " I am Lord Tirek, and I am going through that door, right this minute, to confront Celestia and defeat her whether you like it or not."

The hall went perfectly silent for a moment before Kibitz stepped forward. Pushing his pince-nez up the bridge of his nose, he raised his head to make firm and direct eye contact with the centaur.

“So you will not be following proper procedures?”

Tirek cracked his neck, followed by his knuckles, and then his neck once more for good measure. "No. No, I don't think I will."

"Very well." Kibitz nodded curtly. "Then I shall have to remove you from the premises."

"This should be amusing," Chrysalis chuckled as she settled in to enjoy the free show before her meal.

"Come on then," Tirek boasted, his voice heavy with swaggering machismo, " Have at me, little pony. I'll even let you take the first shot."

Kibitz considered the centaur before him, with his bulging muscles, clear height advantage, and burning magical aura. He took a step back towards the wall.

Tirek smirked and took a heavy step forward. "What? All bark and no bite? Pity. Though I don't know why I expected more from a cowardly little pon-"

Kibitz reached behind him and calmly pulled an ornate lever concealed in the door’s decorated frame, which caused a large trapdoor to open beneath Tirek's hooves.

The centaur looked down at it —"Oh."— and fell, his scream reverbing back up the pit.

Chrysalis' jaw dropped nearly as fast as Tirek had. Trapdoors? Impossible. That was not Celestia's style. She preferred a good confrontation with grand monologues from either side. At the sound of hoofsteps turned to see that Raven already had her hoof on her own lever.

The queen's eyes narrowed and her voice dropped to a low growl. "Don't you dare..."

Stonefaced, Raven dared. As the floor dropped away, Chrysalis hopped into the air, leaving her hovering as her wings buzzed furiously.

"Ha! Missed me you-UUGH!"

Caught up in her success, she was completely unprepared for a springpad to exit the pit and hit her square on. As such, Chrysalis had no time to react and was launched into the air, out the window, through the sky, and over the horizon until she was little more than a twinkling speck in the distance.

The two loyal servants of the Crown eased their respective levers back into position and the floor returned to its usual state.

"I must say," Raven began as she flipped open her notepad to log the incident, "Princess Luna's new additions to the castle have made getting rid of the riff-raff easier than ever."

"Quite so," Kibitz agreed. "How is the princess?"

Raven eased the grand door open then closed it after a quick peek. "Still sound asleep."

“Excellent. We wouldn't want anything to interrupt the most important part of her day.”