• Published 9th Jun 2013
  • 6,506 Views, 792 Comments

Judge Luna - Aegis Shield



Princess Luna runs a Judge Judy-like show, but quickly grows ill as the show's popularity grows.

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Case #10: King

Judge Luna
Case #10: King

Celestia arrived from on high, having gone super-sonic between Ponyville and Canterlot. The explosion of displaced air made ponies across the city flinch, and sent insects skittering in circles as their brains scrambled. The alicorn Princess’ hooves snapped down to the stone, where she landed alongside a group of soldiers just outside the palace.

“Your Highness! Thank goodness you’re safe!” A soldier thrust his helmet off to salute her. “Some sort of crystalline structure has enveloped the throne room! Even the windows and doors are completely sealed off. What should we do?”

“There are hostages inside, captain,” Celestia said, walking quickly across the drawbridge and into the courtyard. She glanced up to see countless armored pegasi heaving and bucking at the black structure. It was no good. Even the strong, dive-bombing ones could only strain against the mountainous growth. “My sister is inside as well,” she looked down at him.

“Princess Luna?” he said, looking up at the palace fearfully. “What should we do?” he asked again. “If there are ponies inside, we can’t very well just blow it open like a collapsed mineshaft.”

“I agree,” Celestia murmured, studying the geometric chaos that had jutted out of her home. “It’s completely sealed from the inside… has anypony tried teleporting in?”

“Er, yes, actually,” the captain said with a troubled frown. “The best we got were a few broken muzzles. It was like they’d galloped straight into a wall, trying to teleport in.”

Celestia took a deep breath to steady herself. “We can’t break it, we can’t teleport in, and we can’t blow it up… what does that leave?” she closed her eyes and bowed her head for a time, thinking. Soldiers rushed to and fro all around her. The palace was being rapidly evacuated, as well as the streets around it. Royal guards, both solar and lunar, were rushing innocent ponies to safety and out of the reach of the odd black structure.

“We hope somepony inside has a plan, and keep working out here in the meantime,” said the captain, donning his helmet with a serious expression. “I’m going to send a few groups into the waterways, your Highness. Maybe there’s a pipeline or something we can burrow up through, directly through the palace itself.”

“Alright,” Celestia said, nodding. Spreading her wings, she flew around the palace to the far side of the intruding crystals. Landing neatly in the palace gardens, she made sure no innocent ponies were around to be harmed. Nodding to herself, she reared up on her hind legs and ignited her horn. All the fury of the SUN!

=-=-=-=

Sombra gave pause when the room gave a mild vibration, as though somepony had set off fireworks nearby. He smirked a little, “Try though they may, there’s no way in, I’m afraid.” He resettled his focus on Luna.

The poor alicorn was splattered with her own blood, confined to a teenage-like form, and looked to be on the edge of death. It didn’t keep the fire from her eyes, or the sneer from her lips, though. “You’ll not escape alive. Attempted assassination is a crime punishable by-!”

“By death? Just like the forceful unseating of a monarch?” King Sombra snapped. “You’ll speak when spoken to, or I’ll hold you in contempt.” Luna snorted, not amused by his clown-shoes stab at being a judge. “Or rather, I’ll hold them in contempt.” He gestured to the audience of innocent ponies, and the limp soldiers splayed out all over the room. “You’re in no shape to fight me, nor defend them.” Luna’s eyes narrowed defiantly, but she soon hung her head. “Good girl.” He ran his tongue over his left-front canine with a chuckle. “Now then. Princess Luna, you are being charged with the unseating of a monarch, the unlawful repossession of the Crystal Empire, and the unlawful imprisonment of a pony without trial or due process.” Luna could only quirk an eyebrow at his complaints. “Neither Equestria’s laws nor the laws of any other nation dictate the Crystal Empire. It is against statute 3009 dash 2 dash A3. ‘No country may puppet its laws unto another nation, nor interfere with its form of government or legislative system.’” Sombra flipped a few papers over as he spoke. He’d prepared for this! “How do you plead?” he flicked his gaze at her.

Luna stared at him, dumbfounded. “You took over and enslaved an entire nation! My sister and I could not sit idly by while you-!”

“How do you plead?!” Sombra snapped, stamping a mighty hoof down to silence her. “On the charge of unseating a ruler, how do you plead?” he gestured to the audience behind her with his stump of a horn. Alicorn magic burbled in the air around him, Luna could feel it.

The Princess couldn’t believe this circus. On her own throne no less! But she could do nothing at the moment. She was too weak, he was right. Hopefully Tia had been roused and was trying to get inside to aid her. She could only pray. Until then, she would have to play along. “G… guilty I suppose. My sister and I struck you down from your throne of lies and violence.”

“On the charge of unlawful repossession of a nation, how do you plead?” Sombra asked, carefully going through procedures (though he knew only a few of them).

“Not guilty.” Luna said.

“Why is that?!” Sombra snapped angrily, looking up.

“After we sealed you beneath the ice, the Crystal Empire vanished under your curse. We would not have had the opportunity to take something if we didn’t know where it was.” Luna smirked.

“…fair enough.” Sombra scowled. This bitch and her logic. This bitch and her… her LOGIC! It made him furious, but he was too busy enjoying himself to linger on it. He flipped over another paper.

“On the charge of unlawful imprisonment of a pony without trial or due process, how do you plead?” Sombra’s tone dared her to argue with that one.

“Unlawful? No. Due process? Perhaps guilty, yes.” Luna was scrubbing at her chest wound. Her alicorn physiology was desperately trying to knit it. But, her lack of magic and weakness was making it hard. The illusion of godhood to other ponies was often cited by alicorn ‘immortality’, when really it was all potent magic. A body that could heal almost instantly would look immortal to a passerby. “But as they say, all is fair in love and war. There are no laws when one nation attacks another.”

Sombra cocked his head with a scowl, “The court recognizes a plea of guilty from Princess Luna,” he told the puppet that used to be Steel Wing. The crystal-golem-pony nodded twice, but said nothing.

“I had freshly conquered the Crystal Empire, it’s true. And all is fair in love and war,” Sombra brushed the fur on his chest a bit. “However, nations change hooves all the time throughout history, by the blood of many. There was no logic in your attack on the Crystal Empire other than a personal vendetta against myself, the king.”

“Equestria-!” Luna began.

“Equestria has not attacked another nation in over a thousand years, and those attacks were merely to carve out her borders!” Sombra interrupted. “And in that millennia of complete peace time, you thought it right to turn and attack a nation that had just changed rulers. Neigh, all-but-assassinate it’s new ruler?”

“Something about a nation rising on the backs of slaves really brushed our mane the wrong way.” Luna said acidly, glaring at him from under her eyebrows. “And if it meant destroying one pony to save millions… so be it.”

“Cow flop,” Sombra snapped. “A nation freshly emerged from complete political uprooting needs cheap labor to rebuild what it once had. But you and your sister would not have it, because things were not done the way you would have done it.”

“There is a difference between cheap labor and slavery,” Luna shot back.

“What do you think I found in the coffers of the Crystal Palace, mere days after I destroyed the royal family, huhm? Mounds of gold? Stocks and bonds? A dragons horde? IOU’s from other nations?” Sombra clenched his teeth. “Neigh! Little more than three seasons worth of tax money and the title to a few thousand miles of tundra. When I took over the Crystal Empire, it was economically dead from resisting me!”

“Whose fault is that?” Luna whispered. A crackle of blinding lightning arced across the room, blasting Luna onto her back. Feathers went in all directions and she spasmed on the marble tile. Her screams were torturous and her hooves bicycled in the air.

“The court has granted permission to treat the accused as hostile. Set her up again,” Sombra snapped to Steel Wing.

“Yes Master,” droned the golem-pony, walking quickly and easily forward. He stepped on a fair number of unconscious Lunar Stallions while crossing the platform and toddling down the stairs. The tink-tank-tink-tank of his crystalline hooves was a little disturbing. He walked over bits of broken armor and stone, stepped in a bit of Luna’s blood, and his tail dragged over the debris. Leaning down with an expressionless, half-ripped off face, he turned Luna over. She looked up into his eyes, and for a split second they locked gazes.

Sombra waited patiently while Steel Wing brought Luna to her haunches behind the podium again. He watched his puppet lean down to spread her hooves properly, then rested her chin on it so she could be seen. Steel Wing turned, looking up at his Majesty for approval. Sombra nodded once. Steel Wing’s hoof rotated ninety degrees and he nudged the Princess as though to rouse her, then returned to his post.

Luna fidgeted, then finally lifted her head. She shuddered, very near the end of her strength. The room hummed again, and Sombra looked towards the ceiling. She looked too. The stalactites of black crystal hanging from the ceiling were waggling, making a sound like a wind-chime. Tia was trying to get in. No other creature was so mighty.

“As I was saying,” Sombra smirked. “There is no rebuilding a nation without monies, which I didn’t have. So, they could work or they could die when we ran out of food and fuel,” he shrugged a bit. “I do not care what messenger reached you saying what a mean ruler I was, I did what was necessary to rebuild my new empire. With slaves as needed.”

“My sister and I saw the state of things when we came to stop you,” Luna said weakly, lifting her head at last to look at him. “Misery and chains and sadness abound.”

“Funny how nations look bad only a few months after they’re conquered,” Sombra snorted. “Equestria should really go to war sometime. Taste it like every other nation has. Your country is fledgling when it comes to time, despite its ageless rulers.” The black stallion turned and flipped through a few more papers. “Now then, as you have pled guilty to… well, one and a half of the three crimes I have brought forth,” he smiled like he was being very fair to her, “We’ll discuss your punishment.”

“Punishment?” Luna said. “Art thou judge, jury, and executioner as well, Sombra?”

King Sombra,” he corrected. “And yes, in the worst ways.” He conjured a great, black book from nowhere at all, his broken horn lighting. “The punishment for imprisoning a pony without due process in MY Crystal Empire is five lashes.”

“Five-- what now?” Luna stared.

“Well it couldn’t be death, or I would run out of soldiers rather quickly,” Sombra told her matter of factly. “Whenever you take over a nation, you have to destroy whatever rebellion remains. But if you jail a random pony who’s minding his own business, well…” he shrugged a bit. Luna stared at him, unsure of what to think of that. “Do you have any idea how many ponies I captured, tortured, and brow-beated in the months after I took over the Crystal Empire? I had to keep my soldiers in line so they didn’t just arrest anypony that sneezed at them.” He laughed at his own joke. “Unlike you, Princess Luna, who charged in horn blazing and sealed me in the ice for a thousand years!” Sombra roared angrily. His temperament swayed back and forth so wildly Luna wondered if he might be pregnant.

“I…see,” The Princess said carefully, tilting her head in confusion. A layer of Sombra’s ‘paper thin evil’ reputation fell away. It disturbed her, and blurred the lines of history just a bit. She didn’t like it.

“Therefore! Five lashes!” Sombra stamped a hoof to make it official. “My whip, slave,” he gestured to Steel Wing.

“What, now?!” Luna said, eyes wide. “What of my other charges?”

Sombra leaned and took the handle of the whip in his teeth when Steel Wing offered it to him. He set it down briefly so he could speak, “He who gives the punishment swings the whip, Princess. One thing at a time.” He smirked with all his fangs, then walked slowly from the throne. His hooves sounded forceful and metallic as he went down the stairs and across the defendant’s table from her. Luna’s eyes turned into pinpricks as he lifted the whip and unfurled it. “Will you turn and bear it with dignity? Or shall I pin you with your royal hiney in the air like a foal?”

Luna felt the tug of powerful alicorn magic on her ankles and thighs. She looked around fearfully. “Don’t touch my Princess!” a Lunar Stallion broke from the limp rabble to tackle Sombra, teeth flashing like a beast. Steel Wing stood motionless, as though stunned.

Sombra turned, eyes wide. His newly gathered magic coiled on instinct. Thunder without sound concussed the air. A shapeless, choking force grabbed the leaping stallion out of the air—shook him like a rag doll, then flung him to the far wall over a hundred feet away. He hit with a cry, spittle flying from his mouth. He slid to the floor, motionless, moaning pathetically. Sombra panted a little, as though he hadn’t been expecting such force out of his own magicks. He finally smiled again, trying not to slather down his front fangs like he sometimes did. Licking his two front teeth, he started past Luna, “The punishment for attacking the Crown is death!” he said. “Slave, fetch him to me,” he told Steel Wing.

Steel Wing flinched like he’d been slapped, jolting into movement again, “Yes Master.” The golem pony stomped past the terrified audience to the back of the room. He collected the soldier on his back and brought him forward to his Majesty.

“Wait,” Luna said. Sombra looked over, halfway through a spell that would turn his whip into a beheading sword. “Enough I-I…” she lowered herself to her belly, submissive. “I will bear my punishment, and more. Please, just don’t hurt my little ponies.” She said quietly. Her eyes were soft with tears. The sight of her subjects suffering at her behest, it had finally broken her. “Please,” she leaned her head down, as though to present the crown on her head.

Lured away from the soldier by the much tastier offering, Sombra leered at the Princess. “Very well. Try not to swallow your tongue, then.” He lifted the whip with his magic. “Drop him,” he said over his shoulder.

“Yes Master.” Steel Wing eaaaaased the limp soldier to the ground, letting him slide gently to the floor. Then he straightened up again, stock still.

Sombra lifted the whip, unfurled it, and let it fly behind himself before dashing it forward.


WHUP-CRCK!


Ponies across Equestria who were tuning in watched in horror. The ponies in the audience couldn’t look, and held each other. The soldiers strewn around the room could only twitch when they heard her cry out raggedly. Luna clenched her teeth, tears sprouting and going down her cheeks. Sombra lifted the whip again.

=-=-=-=

Celestia stared where she’d blasted, over and over, with the pure tectonic force of a pony that could move the sun. The crystal, which had been black as night, had blushed to a lighter shade of purple and pink. “It’s just the opposite,” she whispered. “The power crystals in the TV’s would turn black when given magic, but… these turn pink. Which means…” she suddenly smiled. “They’ll disperse.” Turning, she took wing to gather as many soldiers as she could. They still patrolled the castle grounds and nearby streets, looking for ponies that needed help getting away. She brought all the unicorns back with her, carried by eager pegasi. “Everypony line up!” Turning, she lit her horn. A great and golden ‘X’ appeared on the crystal where she’d been fruitlessly blasting for the past ten minutes or so.

“Unicorns up front, move move move!” Shining Armor had appeared out of the fray. “Line up! Ten ponies to a row, I want everypony else out of the way! Secure the perimeter!” he shouted orders while galloping to stand next to Celestia. “Your Majesty,” he bowed briefly, his Spartan-like helmet fluffing fur at her. “We’ve tried concentrating fire before, nothing has worked.”

"I thought you were deathly ill, Shining Armor." Celestia gave an earnest frown, remembering Cadence's letter. "When did you arrive?"

"W-well, not nearly as sick as Luna, My wife can over-exaggerate." Shining Armor tried to wave it off, but when Celestia frowned more deeply, he broke under the pressure. "Cadence doesn't know I gave her the slip! Please don't tattle! I couldn't just sit back and watch, so I teleported here! I came to help!"

“A greater captain, there is no other," Celestia smirked, "But you still need training in your husbandly duties."

"Ahem!" Shining Armor flushed, coughing loudly. It was light and airy, like an oncoming illness had struck him. Cadence had spoken like he was dying but... Celestia saw the quiver in his back legs. He was putting up a front. She sighed a little. Anything, for crown and country, it seemed. Even though he was technically the prince of another country right now he--! "How can we get in? We concentrated fire earlier!" he said very, very loudly.

The white alicorn shook her head. Silly stallion. His wife would kill him. But that was for later. "Well, you have an alicorn to help you now, Shining Armor,” Celestia smiled gently. “I believe there’s a threshold to be overcome. After that, whatever magic hits the crystals will help break them apart.”

“I can conjure about 4500 magi-jules,” the white stallion said, furrowing his brow worriedly. His horn lit and he blasted the high crystal wall. There was no effect. “How much do we need?” he asked her.

“We’ll have to find out.” Celestia said, tossing her mane. It was rare to see Celestia in such a battle-worthy mood, for she’d pushed her mane back so she can see better.

“You heard her Majesty!” Shining Armor shouted to the gathered troops. “I want full output from everypony here!” he took off his helmet to free his head and horn from the weight. The gathered ponies did the same. “Dig deep, remember your training and don’t cross the streams!” He furrowed his brow to lead them, sparkles and bits of light gathering to his cause. The whir of magic in the air grew and grew until it was almost deafening. Over fifty unicorns had gathered just from Celestia’s brief sweep of the castle grounds. “Er, your Majesty?” Shining Armor asked out of the side of his mouth while everypony was concentrating.

“Yes?” Celestia said, already focusing to follow suite with the soldiers.

“How many magi-jules can you put out?” he whispered curiously. “Us soldiers get measured once a month, but… I was just wondering, before things get crazy.” He offered her a coltish smile. The solar diarch saw the charming young stallion Cadance had fallen in love with in that honest smile.

Forty-nine unicorns raised their horns as one, brilliant beams of every color lancing forward into the side of the palace. Celestia smiled rather mischievously. She raised her horn, and her arcane beam dwarfed all of the others. Burning, frothing, swirling solar magic. “Oh my little pony… I bury the needle every time.”


End of Case 10

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