• Published 22nd Sep 2013
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Brother Against Sister - CartsBeforeHorses



Teenage Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake are fighting on opposite sides of a civil war in Equestria. Now completed.

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Chapter 12: Shoulder Pegasus

“How many dead?”

“Three.”

“Hundred?”

“No, just three.”

Twilight Sparkle blinked at the Manehattan Chief of Police. “Just three?”

The police chief nodded. “From what our forensics analysts can tell, it was placed in a trash can right outside the front entrance, rather than inside of the exchange itself. Had it been inside of the exchange on the trading floor, with such tightly packed ponies, there would’ve been dozens of deaths.”

“Hmm,” muttered Twilight. “I wonder why they didn’t place it inside the exchange? Surely they must have known that doing that would have maximized the deaths.”

The chief shrugged.

“Thanks for your help, Chief.”

The chief bowed and exited the room.

“Perhaps whoever did this meant it as a warning sign,” Luna theorized.

Whoever did this?” Soarin scoffed. “As if it’s any mystery. We all know it was those Cloudsdale separatists.”

“Now Soarin, let’s not jump to conclusions,” said Twilight.

Spitfire nodded. “The separatist movement has only been around for all of two weeks. I doubt they’ve had the time to construct a bomb and plan this themselves.”

Luna nodded. “For all we know, this could’ve been a false flag attack by Blueblood. He knows all too well that if Cloudsdale were separate from Equestria, we would be weakened and he could attack. The Cloudsdale separatists might not have been involved.”

“Does it matter?” asked Soarin. “Cloudsdale separatists or Blueblood, both are on the same side. Where do you think that the Cloudsdale Courier got those photographs of the unicorn children in the first place? I’d bet my left flank that Blueblood’s been planning all this just to drive a wedge in our nation.”

“And it appears to be working,” Luna muttered.

“Whether the Cloudsdale separatists did it themselves or had Blueblood do it for them, there’s no denying the incidents are related,” said Soarin.

“So, ideas for what we should do?” asked Twilight Sparkle.

“I say that we double down on security throughout Equestria, and declare martial law. We can’t let anypony believe that we are willing to negotiate with terrorists. That’s the quickest way to have the population lose faith in our ability to govern,” said Soarin.

“What happens if we face more attacks despite whatever new security measures we put into place? This was an obvious warning; I doubt that next time we’d get off with only three dead. Wouldn’t more attacks also cause ponies to lose faith?” asked Spitfire.

Twilight sighed. “It’s times like this that I wish Princess Celestia were still here. She was quite the statespony, and could probably tell us exactly what to do to keep favor with the public.”

“Well, I doubt she would’ve signed off on foalcide,” Spitfire quipped. Twilight glared at the pegasus, and she blushed.

Soarin said, “She’d support the unity of Equestria, and would be steadfast and uncompromising, just like when she refused to just let the Second Kingdom declare independence.”

“But look what that led to,” said Luna. “The Second Kingdom went to war with Equestria and gained independence anyway, except that thousands died. Thousands more are sure to die when the ceasefire is broken. Had she negotiated with them from the start—”

“Then what?” asked Soarin. “Then they still would have attacked, just like they did two years ago after the first treaty. There was peace, but they broke it. They’re nothing but a bunch of greedy pigs, and they’re never satisfied. They just take and take and take to feed their delusions of racial grandeur. There’s no negotiating with ponies who aren’t loyal to anything but themselves and their own fantasies.”

“Well,” Twilight started. “You both make good points…”

Soarin and Luna gazed at Twilight Sparkle expectantly. Spitfire looked indifferent.

“I think that we should allow Cloudsdale to vote on its own independence and respect its wishes.”

Luna smiled, and Soarin scowled.

Twilight continued, “You’re right that Blueblood and his followers are greedy and irrational, Soarin. Princess Celestia was right to not negotiate with them, despite the fact that ponies died in their war of independence, and despite the fact that ponies will die when they resume their war with us.

“But Cloudsdale is different from Canterlot. These ponies like Lightning Dust, Thunderlane, and Stoppen Presses aren’t in this for some geopolitical chess game. They aren’t in this out of some delusion of racial superiority like Blueblood. They aren’t doing it for themselves, other than to save their own city and homes from destruction. They aren’t doing this for some greedy power grab or land grab.

“No, they’re doing this because they see Equestria as an immoral, unfair society that they no longer want to be part of. Anything that we do to keep them joined to us will only make them more convinced that we’re just using them for our own selfish interests, whether or not that’s actually true. Whether we declare martial law, hold military tribunals to prosecute all the deserters, or hold ourselves aloof and refuse to acknowledge their concerns, we’ll drive them further away. I know because I tried that at the press conference. I shied away from the reporters and didn’t answer their questions. I treated them as their better, like they didn’t deserve my answers to their questions. All that led to was the worst protests that we’ve seen in years, and it likely led to this bombing, too.

“Letting them vote will at least show them that we care about their interests. It will allow them a choice. They will no longer want to set off bombs when they have a peaceful solution available to them. Politics is a constructive outlet, and the vote will help us keep the peace more than any extra security.

“A vote will also allow us to state our case. Right now, whenever somepony from our government speaks to the citizens of Cloudsdale, they see a dictatorship. They feel they’re being talked down to and being given orders. Letting them vote would mean that we are talking to them not as subjects, not as subordinates, but as equals. And that’s exactly how they want to be treated. When we can talk to them as equals, we can make the case for why Equestria must stay united in the face of evil tyrants like Blueblood, or else we’ll all end up under his hoof one day. Then, when we make the case to them as equals, they might listen and vote to stand with us.

“Even if they don’t listen, if they are independent, Blueblood has just lost most of his leverage against Equestria. He won’t be able to hold Cloudsdale hostage anymore. The city will be safe. His unicorn magicians will have to raise the moon back into its place in the sky. True, with Cloudsdale independent, we won’t have as many air troops. But we’ll still have the pegasi from the rest of Equestria. We’ll still have those who decide to abandon a newly-independent Cloudsdale and come fight for Equestria.

“And remember, this war won’t last forever. Say that Cloudsdale votes for independence. Eventually, when we win—”

If we win,” Luna corrected.

“If we win, and if the Second Kingdom falls, Equestria will be reunited, and then perhaps Cloudsdale will see that they want to become part of a newly-reunited Equestria.

“Allowing them to vote gives us options to stop an insurgency. It gives Cloudsdale options to either save themselves or stand with us against Blueblood. Right now, with no vote, we have no options. With a vote, we have them, and so does Cloudsdale.”


Cloudsdale, August 2nd, 2022

The sun rose over the eastern horizon, blanketing Cloudsdale in a warm blanket. The moon stood a few kilometers up, ominous as ever. It was just like every other day over the past two years, with one exception: today was the long-awaited election day.

Every building in Cloudsdale was plastered with posters advocating for or against the secession of Cloudsdale from Equestria.

“Save your house, vote Cloudsdale out of Equestria!” one poster screamed.

“Loyalty to the crown!” another poster yelled, with a picture of an Equestrian flag on it.

It had been the most bitterly fought campaign in the history of the sky city, with both sides fiercely holding their ground… but it had been fought with ballots instead of bullets. For the most part, ponies had refrained from violence, and the explosion at the stock exchange had been the deadliest incident since the barn bombing plot had come to light in January. There had been many bar fights and one or two hoofball riots, but few deaths.

Lines at the polling places stretched for blocks and blocks, and ponies waited for hours just to get into the voting booths. Today was a chilly day, and voters wore scarves and coats to keep warm. A few ponies flew around with trays filled with cups of hot cocoa, making sure to only give them to those voters who wore campaign buttons that they agreed with.

Among the ponies waiting in line, Spitfire stood with Pound Cake.

“Spitfire, why are we waiting here?” asked Pound Cake, impatiently shivering as he flew around in circles to stay warm.

Spitfire chuckled. “Stay still for a moment, and I’ll tell you.”

Pound stopped and hovered in the air beside Spitfire.

“Today is a day that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, Pound. You’ll tell your children about this. I want you to be here to see history in the making.”

Pound puzzled. “I don’t get it.”

“Today, Cloudsdale is going to vote on independence.”

“What about you?”

“I plan to vote for us to stay part of Equestria.”

“Why, though? Equestria was going to kill my sister. If we stay with Equestria, Cloudsdale will be smashed by the moon,” said Pound.

Spitfire paused for a moment, and then asked, “Why do you care for your sister, Pound?”

Pound blinked. “Well, because she’s my sister. I’d do anything for her.”

“Would you ever abandon her?”

Pound blushed. “Well, I mean I tried to rescue her at the barn, but—”

“You gave it your best shot despite the odds. Yes, you failed, but you tried.”

Pound nodded.

“You’re loyal to her because you love her no matter what. Have you ever been in a fight with her before?” Spitfire asked as the line crept along.

Pound chuckled. “All the time. Sometimes we’d have pretend wars with our dolls and action figures, and one of us would lose, and we’d actually get into a fight in real life. Sometimes we’d fight over other things, like who got the last piece of cake.”

“But you still loved her despite that?”

“Yes. I’ll always love her,” said Pound, smiling. “She’s my sister!”

Spitfire smiled. “Now you know why I have to vote no to independence. Yes, Equestria isn’t perfect. Yes, I don’t agree with all of their decisions. I’ll never agree with their decision to bomb that barn. I did everything in my power to stop it, and will still keep trying to stop it. Say you found out your sister was doing something terrible like stealing, doing drugs, or even killing other ponies. You would try to stop her, right?”

“Yeah.”

“But you’d still love her and stay with her no matter what she did. I know you would. You wanted to risk your own life to go down and save her just a few months ago.”

Pound nodded. The line inched forward.

“You love her because you’re her brother, and always will be. In the same way, we are Equestrian, and always will be. If we leave, we leave the rest of Equestria at the mercy of Blueblood’s forces. Equestria will very likely be overrun without the pegasi of Cloudsdale there to provide air support.

“True love is sticking with someone no matter what they do. It’s unconditional. I love my country, Pound. I could never vote to leave it. One day, we’ll win the war. One day, we’ll win the civil war and reunite Equestria. But our nation won’t be whole again without Cloudsdale.”

Spitfire didn’t know anypony else but Pound was paying attention to her, but a few seconds after she had finished speaking, several of the ponies in line clapped.

“That was a beautiful speech, miss,” one mare said.

“Bravo,” said a stallion.

“Eh, whatever,” said a mare who didn’t clap. She rolled her eyes, chuckling. “Patriotism won’t save my house from the moon. My vote will.”

Pound felt a slight bit of churning in his stomach at hearing this treasonous pony, as he realized Spitfire was right. How could the mare vote for her own property when an entire nation was at stake? How could she ever abandon her country for her own selfish reasons? Did she not know she was a part of something bigger than herself, bigger than Cloudsdale?

Finally, Spitfire and Pound Cake reached the polling station. Pound stood outside and Spitfire entered the voting booth, casting her ballot. Despite the privacy curtain she stood behind, everypony in town knew exactly what she voted for. She exited, and flew back to her house with Pound Cake.

The next day, the ballots were counted and the results came in. Sixty-five percent of Cloudsdale voted to become an independent nation, while only thirty-five percent voted to remain part of Equestria. Though the results surprised Pound Cake and Spitfire, they didn’t shock the professional pollsters. In fact, the pollsters were more shocked at the number of ponies who voted to stay part of Equestria.

A few ponies, like Thunderlane, voted just because they detested Equestria’s decision to commit war crimes. But the driving force was ponies’ desire to preserve their city. There might as well have been a miniature pegasus sitting on the shoulder of each voter, prodding them and whispering in their ear, urging them to vote themselves out of Equestria to save their own homes.


Cloudsdale, January 2023

Ponies waved and threw confetti into the air as the caravan flew down the street of Cloudsdale towards the capitol building. Pegasi carried chariots behind them, in which a delegation of unicorns sat.

The chariots arrived at the capitol, and the unicorns stepped out onto the clouds, enchanted to walk on them. The crowd cheered cheered the unicorns as they entered the building. King Blueblood smiled and waved to the crowd as he walked through the door.

Blueblood and his delegation walked down the hallway and into the conference room. He walked in, where the government of the newly-formed Cloud Confederacy sat. They stood up to greet the delegation.

“King Blueblood,” said Lightning Dust, shaking his hoof.

“President Lightning Dust,” he said, shaking her hoof back.

Lightning Dust had won in a landslide election in November. She’d promised to sign a peace treaty with the Second Kingdom, and promised that Cloudsdale would never go to war again. She lacked much practical experience in leadership beyond organizing the campaign for independence, but her reputation, speeches, and bold promises of reform catapulted her into the new country’s highest office.

The Cloud Confederacy was a nation composed of Cloudsdale and Los Pegasus, which also seceded shortly after Cloudsdale. The other cloud cities were expected to follow suit as soon as this peace treaty was signed. After all, if Blueblood could threaten Cloudsdale with the moon, he could threaten any city in the sky with the moon. So long as Equestria was still at war with the Second Kingdom, no cloud city was safe while it was still part of Equestria. The Cloud Confederacy promised them the safety that Equestria could not.

A crowd had gathered in the rotunda of the captial building where they could see the conference room through a window in the wall.

A grey-maned older unicorn levitated the peace treaty in front of him, which he read from.

“King Blueblood, the leader of the Second Kingdom of Unicornia, and President Lightning Dust, the leader of the Confederation of Cloudsdale and Los Pegasus, hereby resolve on today, January 5th, 2023, that their two nations should now and forevermore be peaceful neighbors and conduct normal relations with each other.

The undersigned hereby decree that peace shall reign supreme over both lands. The Second Kingdom additionally agrees to raise the moon back into its proper place in the sky, and the Cloud Confederacy agrees that none of its citizens shall hold any military positions in the armed forces of Equestria, lest their citizenship be revoked.”

Lightning Dust took the pen in her hoof, and Blueblood took the pen in his magic, and they both signed the treaty. The crowd outside cheered. Blueblood and Lightning Dust exited the building and the crowd showered them with confetti, cheering them both.

The delegation of unicorns who had traveled with King Blueblood lit up their horns, and for the first time in over two years, the moon lifted back up into the sky. The pegasi squinted their eyes as the sun shone in its full brightness. They cheered as the cloak of dimness was finally gone.

Author's Note:

Next chapter, we get to see Pumpkin Cake again.

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