Chapter VI - Punishment and Understanding
Princess Celestia was using all of her willpower to not let out a large sigh. All around her in the courtroom were angry nobles, servants, maids and all manner of ponies who happened to be in the palace at the time of Archimedes… incident. All of them were crying out for the offenders blood, or, they would be if they were barbaric. They merely wanted to know what the Princess was going to do and wanted Archimedes to have some form of punishment.
“He nearly gave me a heart attack!” one noble mare shouted.
“Nearly trampled me!” another stallion shouted.
“He should be locked up for a year!! a mare shouted.
“I was told there’d be cake!” came a voice from somewhere.
Celestia frowned as she looked over the large angry crowd. She was about to raise a hoof in order to call for silence amongst the rabble but Luna beat her to the punch.
“Calm yourselves this instant!” she boomed in her Royal Canterlot voice, “stop behaving like foals and be quiet!”
The crowd instantly shushed up under the steely gaze and loud voice of the night princess, who nodded in triumph and smiled over to her sister who resisted the urge to slap her own face with her hoof.
“Thank you, Luna,” Celestia began before turning to the crowd, “Now, my little ponies, I know you are all somewhat upset… but please, rest assured. I will be giving Archimedes a proper punishment for his actions.”
“And what pray tell, is that punishment?” a rather large noble stallion said as others muttered to themselves.
Celestia looked down at him and held back the urge to groan.
This was Money Bags. A brown stallion who wore a monocle, a black tuxedo with a bow tie and had a bears face next to what appeared to be a brown bag with a gem on it as his cutie mark, something Celestia to this day was puzzled over. She didn’t particularly like this stallion, usually making things difficult for her by demanding stupid fees for projects she knew either didn’t need it in the first place, or probably would have cost less. But because he would always ask for it in times of urgency when she didn’t have another option, she usually was forced to pay him.
“Well, given his motive was to protect me from what he thought was an assault—”
“Of tickley proportions, I might add!” Discord interrupted from his perch above the court on a support beam.
Celestia glared at him before continuing, “As I was saying, his motives were clear and true, anything a guard stallion or mare would have done in the same situation. Granted, not as… extreme, but the thought of valor is still there.”
The nobles muttered to themselves again, as if they were mulling over her words as the Princess continued.
“As such, I have the most fitting punishment in mind for Archimedes…” she smiled before turning to two guards.
“Aww… cheer up, Archy,” Moon frowned as she sat beside the robot.
Archimedes groaned into the ground where he lay. After the incident, they had taken Archimedes back to Starswirl’s old laboratory room to await what fate had in store for him as the three princess’ left to deal with the crowd of angry nobles. When they arrived, Archimedes simply fell onto his front and laid still, groaning every now and again on his mistake. Pinky and Moon sat beside him and tried to comfort him and cheer him up, but to no avail.
“But, I embarrassed m-my love!” the titan wailed, “I assaulted Rainbow Dash with my chest and hurt many, many others! I destroyed her castle and for what? My over reacting nature!”
Moon sighed as Archimedes rolled over onto his back with a groan and a wail, Pinkie clambering onto his stomach and wrapping her legs around him as best she could to hug him.
“Ah it’ll be fine, hun,” Applejack started, “Rainbow won’t hold anything against ya, and ah’m sure as punch the Princess’ won’t be to harsh on ya!”
“Yes, darling. I agree,” Rarity added, “Discord himself said he had no ill grudge against you, which was surprisingly decent of him if I may say so.”
Archimedes scowled at the ceiling at the mention of the draconequus’ name. He still thought the beast was evil, just… in a different way to what he originally thought, for now, he was to be cautious of him. Be weary of his actions and watch him at all times possible. He was not going to let him get his hands on his love again.
“And besides,” Blueblood added, the prince having opted to stay with Archimedes before the princess’ had gone to the court, “If I know my aunts, and I do, they will be able to calm the crowds down easily. And as for a punishment…”
The prince tapped his chin with a hoof as he thought, the others watching with interest and a little nervousness.
“They’d, at best, give you community service or something. You know, pay back the community with some good old fashioned labour.”
“You don’t even know what labour is, do you?” Moon snickered.
Blueblood huffed and looked away with a tinge of annoyance as the others giggled softly.
“You think so, your highness?” Archimedes asked, rolling his head to look at the stallion.
“I do so, and besides. I think the others can confirm that Princess Twilight would be damned dead if the nobles tried to take away such a fine specimen of science and technology such as yourself before she got a chance to know you better.”
The others nodded, knowing their friend all too well when it came to this type of thing. Their smiles and the words of Blueblood made Archimedes let out a sigh of relief as he looked back up at the ceiling.
“Thank you, my friends,” he started, “Though… I still feel as if I should do something special for my beloved, to truly show her I’m sorry.”
Fluttershy coughed gently into her hoof. She’d been talking with Zecora and the two had come up with an idea.
“Then, my metal friend, perhaps there is something we can recommend?” Zecora said.
The robot looked over at the two as Fluttershy continued Zecora’s sentence.
“Maybe you could… give Discord a c-chance?” she suggested, “I-I think that if you were to get to know him you’d see that he’s a real sweetheart. Plus, i-it will make the Princess happy…”
“That thing?” Archimedes snorted, “why in the blue blazes should I try to get to know that filthy, heathounes and foul demon—”
Archimedes was interrupted by a loud clang as something smacked the side of his shoulder guard. He looked over to see Applejack giving him a deadpan look.
“Come over here, Archy,” she said and began to walk away from the others to the far side of the room.
Archimedes hesitantly got up, making the cuddling pink mare on his chest squeak in surprise and fall off onto the ground where she bounced, her body squeaking as it landed. The hulking machine stomped after Applejack who stopped at one of the far corners of the room.
The laboratory was fairly large both in width and height, so she was sure the others wouldn’t be able to hear her.
“Sit down, sugarcube,” she told him, pointing to the corner before sitting on her rump.
Archimedes slowly walked over to the corner and turned to face her, crouching down suddenly so he was face to face with her before he slowly leant backwards and fell onto his backside. The force making the room boom and Applejack be partly lifted into the air, the action however not phasing the mare at all.
“Comfy?” she asked.
Archimedes shifted his legs flat out either side of her and nodded down at her.
“Good… now, we all told ya about the elements of harmony, right?” she began.
“Of course. Fluttershy is kindness, Rarity is Generosity, Pinkie is Laughter—”
“Ya don’t need to tell me, Archy,” Applejack chuckled, “but you know what I am, right?”
“Honesty,” he replied.
“Darn straight! Now, Archimedes… ah may not be the best liar in Equestria, heck, I refuse to ever play poker cos I ain’t got no poker face!”
Archimedes chuckled, despite having no clue what she meant by poker or poker face. Maybe a red hot poker? But why would she play with one of those?
“Whilst ah might not be the best liar in the world, I pride myself on judging a ponies character and being able to spot lies a lot better than most’ ponies.”
The robot nodded as she continued.
“Discord… is a tricky fellah… When the Princess first asked Fluttershy to reform him, she was the only one who cared enough to try and see it through. The rest of us were jus’ plain suspicious of him the whole time.”
“Understandable,” Archimedes said.
“Even after his reformation, none of us bar Fluttershy really trusted him that much… especially with the incident with Tirek.”
“What happened?” Archimedes growled softly.
Applejack heard him growl and gave him a stern glare, “Ah’ll tell ya another time.”
Archimedes crossed his arms in a huff but nodded as the mare continued.
“Anyways, before we managed to defeat Tirek, Discord apologised to all of us and… I’ll be real honest with you here, Archy…”
Applejack looked Archimedes dead in the eye before she continued, “In all the time ah have known Discord, that was the first time he had spoken nothing but the Faust honest truth without a single hint of mischief behind it. It may seem strange to you, and ah do understand that. But Discord is our friend now, and ah genuinely trust him, as we all do. It was rocky to get here, yes, but he did his time after what happened with Tirek, he took his punishment without protest just like you will with yours.”
Applejack sighed before adjusting her hat.
“Ahm not asking ya to immediately befriend him, heck it took us near a darn year to even get close to him really… but for the sake of the Princess and to a slightly more important degree, for Fluttershy’s sake… can ya make the effort at your own pace?”
Archimedes mulled the words over in his mind. There was no doubt in his mind that the mare was being sincere and honest with him, making him chuckle internally given her status, He looked over to see Fluttershy sniffling, clearly trying not to cry as the others comforted her and he felt a twinge of guilt hit him. With a heavy rumble and a sigh he looked down at Applejack.
“I may not like it…” he began, “but for the sake of the one I love… and for my new friends. I will try to get along with the de—… Discord,”
Applejack gave him a grin and reached out with her hoof to which Archimedes simply stared at, “Uh.. sugarcube? Ya meant to hoof bump me.”
“Uhm… alright then?” Archimedes gently bumped his fist onto her hoof, confused at the strange gesture. What was wrong with a handshake?
“I will say this now, though, Applejack. I don’t like this, and it isn’t going to be easy, as long as Discord acts like a tolerable fellow, I will do my best to be the same and try to meet him on the middle ground.”
“That’s all ah ask for, hun. Now come one, ah think there’s a yellow mare you need to apologise to.”
Archimedes slapped his head and quickly rose up, “You’re right!”
He quickly stomped over to the others, followed closely by Applejack before he knelt in front of the sniffling Fluttershy.
“My dear friend… please forgive my actions. I allowed my emotions to get the better of me, and after speaking with Applejack…” he said before looking over to Applejack who smiled and nodded.
“I will try my best to find some middle ground with Discord, for yours and my loves sake.”
Fluttershy smiled and reached up to hug him, which the robot happily returned and gently held her to him, “Apology accepted, Archy… and i-if you want me to help you with being friends with Discord, I-I’m more than happy to.”
Archimedes chuckled and placed her down gently, “Yes, I think that is best as well… might stop us from trying to kill one another if you’re there.”
Applejack rolled her eyes as she shook her head, giving him a sharp buck to the leg to make him behave. As the group laughed, there was a knock at the door and two guards stood there, saluting the group.
“The Princess’ wish for Archimedes to join them in the courtroom for his sentence, they ask all of you to attend as well,” one the guards said.
Blueblood nodded and turned to the others, “Shall we, then?”
The group all slowly made their way after the two guards with Archimedes shuffling behind nervously as Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie and Moon all helping him along.
The nobles gasped as Archimedes and the others entered the courtroom. Just as Celestia was about to tell them his punishment, she had sent two guards to collect him and the others, believing he had the right to hear first hand what she had in mind for him. At first, Money Bags had been irritated by this idea but one sharp dual gaze from Twilight and Luna stopped him from saying anything.
“Welcome, Archimedes. Thank you for coming,” Celestia said with a warm smile.
“Yo, what up?” Discord called from above, offering the robot a cheery wave.
Archimedes glared at him, but slowly returned the wave before looking back to Celestia.
“Thank you, your highness, “ he replied, choosing to keep up formalities given the situation, “I am ready for whatever you have in store for me.”
Celestia smiled and nodded before clearing her throat and turning her attention to the now hushed crowd of nobles, “I will now deliver Archimedes’ judgement.”
She then turned to the still robot and looked up at him, “Archimedes, you are charged with property damage, disturbing the peace and assault of at least a dozen ponies who, thankfully, have only received a few scrapes and bruises. How do you plead?”
It was pointless asking him that, she and the others knew, but the nobles were sticklers for protocol.
“Guilty, my Princess,” Archimedes replied.
“Then I shall pass sentence. In light of your actions, given the noble intentions behind them, I will not be sentencing you to prison, Archimedes. Instead, I sentence you to two months of community service.”
And with that, Celestia called the courtroom meeting to and end. The nobles seemed pleased, with the exception of a few including Money Bags, and began to fill out of the courtroom. Celestia waited till they had all gone before she looked back up at Archimedes.
“So… when do I begin, my love?” he asked.
“Well, before you begin your official services. There is one further thing I am adding to your punishment that is mandatory,” she replied.
“And that is?” he asked, tilting his head.
Celestia allowed herself a small mischievous grin.
“You are to have tea, with myself and Discord this afternoon. No excuses.”
Archimedes groaned loudly and brought a hand to his face, as the draconequus squealed loudly and teleported onto Archimedes, wrapping an arm around his neck.
“We’re gunna be best buds! I just know it!” Discord grinned.
“Oh creator save me…” Archimedes grumbled.