Story Shuffle

by FanOfMostEverything

Take-Home Assignment

Dear Princess Celestia,

Firstly, I would like to apologize. My recklessness was a sign of great disrespect towards you and everything you have been trying to teach me, especially the lessons I abused today. In my eagerness to apply that knowledge, I neglected true wisdom for thoughtless action, and others paid for my folly. You asked me to think about what I've done, and I have. In particular I have thought about how the law would punish me for my actions today.

My actions were done without first receiving a license from the Canterlot Construct Authority, nor did I first submit the appropriate notifications and registration requests to the CCA prior to beginning assembly and animation. That I am too young to apply for an artificer's license only underscores my violations of proper procedure.

I also violated Article 3 of the Equestrian Artifice Accords, which explicitly proscribes the use of volatile or formerly living materials as golem substrates. Given the nature of my chosen substrate, I technically violated both aspects of this law.

My punishment for these acts would be severe indeed. I would be charged for the sum total of all damages incurred by my creation, as well as an additional fine of no fewer than one hundred thousand bits. I would also have to carry out a period of indentured service to the crown for a period of no fewer than five and no more than twenty years. Given that my personal finances cannot even begin to cover the fine, my indentures would be extended to compensate for this.

The service period would be spent giving back to the society I exploited to create my unlicensed, unpermitted construct. As I am a unicorn, this would likely entail long hours at an assembly line enchanting electromantic components, performing fine-detail telekinesis in assembling those components, or other menial magical labor.

During my indentures, I would have to wear a standard-issue "penitent's ring" around my horn at all times. This would act as a tracking device, and when I was not at work, a magical suppressor. It would also allow me to perceive the city limits of Canterlot as a luminous barrier, because if I were to leave those limits, it would immediately paralyze me and notify the City Guard.

The punishment for this attempted escape would depend on how and why it was carried out. If I was forced out of the city limits against my will, the one who coerced me would be punished with a fine of not more than one thousand bits. If I attempted to leave Canterlot of my own free will, my sentence would be extended by no fewer than two years, or five years on a second offense. A third offense would result in my incarceration for the remainder of my sentence.

As a minor, my sentence would normally be much lighter. Penalties for minors are capped at a fine of no more than five hundred bits and/or thirty days of community service for most crimes, and the use of penitent's rings is virtually unheard of for young offenders. However, the laws assume that all unlawful constructs created by minors are created as a result of magical surges, either in infancy (in which case even the minor punishments are waived) or on or around the time of cutiesynthesis. Intentional creation of a construct by a minor is not even considered, as it would not normally be possible.

Such legal gray areas have traditionally been decided by royal fiat, a tradition that extends back to the Uni Carta. You chose to commute my sentence to this written report and what you described as "a surprise." You went on to state that when the time comes, I'll know.

I suspect that the anticipation is intended to be as much a part of the punishment as whatever action you take. I admit, it's working.

In conclusion, I shouldn't build a golem just because I can. Definitely not when I don't yet know the command spells needed to operate the golem, certainly not when I make that uncontrolled golem out of coal, and most especially not when that golem then catches on fire.

I hope I remain,

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle

Age 7