• Member Since 25th Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Oct 31st, 2015

Chocolate Milk

Writer, reader.


Nine months was all it took for one earth pony to put Princess Celestia on the defensive. A fledgling protest movement and its wily leader have risen to challenge both her and Luna's age-old rule. And though Celestia harbors many doubts about her adversary’s true motivations, she can't shake the feeling that her own frantic strategy to restore order just might be proving the protesters’ point. As she and a devoted Royal Guardspony race to tamp down the flames from Just Cause’s torch, the princess will discover firsthoof what happens when her sister’s regrets and resentments are set free, when the loyalty of Equestria’s bravest is pushed to its limits, and when a few ponies’ genuine fears are ignored for just a moment too long. Featured on Equestria Daily!

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 37 )

This is a great piece of work! :pinkiegasp::twilightblush::twilightsheepish::raritywink:
I'll be surprised if you don't already have it on another site?

[edit] oopsie, totally missed that post on EqD, I was asleep at that time :twilightsheepish:

I get the feeling that Luna, and with her this fic, may be headed for some quite dark places...

This story is great. I love the passive-aggressive beginning of a revolution and Luna's justifications for using force against it. I liked seeing the roots of a totalitarian government with the desire to rule by fear, and the dark atmosphere within the story this creates.

I can really sympathise with Just Cause's cause :moustache: and her desire for self determination and liberty. Whether this was intentional or not, you've made it quite easy for the reader to abandon their pre-conceptions that Celestia's rule is just and fair, and instead begin to believe in the validity of the dissenter's cause. Even without the aid my own Libertarian standpoint.

Hope to see an update soon.

Great writing, I like reading this here because of the tracking system. :twilightsheepish:

Thanks guys, I'm glad you're both enjoying it so far! :twilightblush:

That was REALLY good, so good in fact that I made an account for the sole purpose of telling you how good it was.


Just made my day with this one. Thanks!

This chapter was great, hope to see an update soon.

Ah... I was hoping to find this here.

This is progressing nicely. Let's see what comes next!

So, I'm sure you're working on it but I was wondering when we could see an update. (Checking two or three times every single day can get stressful.) :derpyderp1:


A new chapter is on its way everypony—this coming Sunday is a pretty safe bet.
DarkSouls: earliest it'll be out is Friday, so you can stop checking for the time being :twilightsmile:

EDIT: I'd rather be late with a good chapter than on time with something less than my best—and trust me, you would rather it this way too. Thursday's your best bet. I had to relocate IRL after chapter 3, so this is likely to be the longest gap between chapters. Thanks for your patience.

Ah, this story is on FIMFiction as well! It was annoying having to constantly check the google doc to see if the links to new chapters were being posted.

For the longest time I've been wanting to say how much I love this story. It's superbly written, delightfully suspenseful, and over-all entertaining. If this story sees completion, it will definitely sit amongst the best pony fanworks of all time.

Allow me to cordially say FIRST!:pinkiehappy:

Anyway this is really starting to become fascinating and I am interested in where the story is going to go next.
I eagerly await.

Damn. Things are starting to spiral out of hoof, here! I love the idea of Night Guard's "pitch-black ops", too.

They described the difference between the lunar and solar guards. Lunar guards can work in the dead of the night and it seems the princesses aren't above manipulating their celestial body to give their forces an advantage. Very cool though, to see naught but the eyes glowing in the dark.

Also glad to see this one moved here from Google Docs, where I can properly track it. There's a rich vein of political allegory to mine in Equestria, and this story is doing a commanding job of exploring it. You had me sold by Chapter 1 and it's great to see the quality stay strong as it develops. :ajsmug:

For the record, you've singlehandedly established my headcanon for the nighttime guard order. I was discussing with my co-GM how our MLP RP group is going to handle the Lunar Guard (the military counterpart to the Nightmare order that's shaped so much of our game plot), and everything we came up with ended up boiling down to, "Yeah, like in Equestrian Spring."

Thanks guys, glad you're all enjoying it. Won't set a deadline for the next chapter, but I can assure you it'll be here far quickly than this last one was. Not having to move will probably contribute to a quicker release time.

That's great to hear; I'm glad you've been able to make some use of the work I've put into world-building. Feel free to copy/paste sections of the story to board posts, just as long as you credit me and link back to this story. Other than that go wild, and let me know if any art comes out of it! You might be interested to know that in a few weeks I'll be releasing a reworked version of a one-shot called Ordem E Progresso, that goes much further in-depth into what the Night Guard is like on the micro-level—that is, from the perspective of a new recruit.

Thanks for your comments everypony, and thanks for reading.


Well, this has now led to the point at which Just Cause begins her version of the Beer Hall Putsch, ends up in prison and begins writing Mein Wenig Pferd. I'm very serious, her vague arguments and gathering a group of anonymous half-informed followers into a room to voice their dissent and come to a conclusion that the Sisters must go... it's a social engineering tactic, one used by those of the ilk of Lenin and Mao. If I'd been there, it would have been quite easy to diffuse the entire thing. Heck, any brony who knew the full story of the events they're complaining about could make most of them see reason in less than an hour.

The incident with the dragon, for instance. Would they have tried to kill it? With what exactly? Dragons are immune to friggin' liquid hot magma. Their teeth can chew diamonds. They can plow through trees and boulders with their bodies. An adult one's claws could slice a row of ponies in half with one swing. These idiots would have attacked the dragon, gotten themselves killed, and then the dragon in a rage would have burned all of Ponyville to the ground (and probably a lot more, as we've seen nothing the ponies possess so far which can even put a scratch on a dragon). Instead, Flutteryshy gets the dragon to leave peacefully and no one dies. I'd say that's quite a feat and a justification of Celestia's faith in the Bearers.

No, I do not like Just Cause's methods. They smack of half-truth and distortion. I really hate that. She sat back and let the ponies talk, smiling like a devil in the corner (that little scene gave me a chill, for I have seen it many times before), never correcting their errors, allowing them to delude themselves into her way of thinking, watching the ponies lead themselves to their own destruction.

And this Luna... who is that? That's not canon Luna. Certainly not "Luna Eclipsed" Luna, who only wanted to be loved by her subjects.

I recall another Night Guard, only it was called the "Night Watch", and it was put into place by President Santiago in the show "Babylon 5", as a fictional demonstration of how easily a democracy can be hijacked. Indeed, the conspiracy was perpetrated so well that a plot card had to be used to validate the opposition of his regime, that being a transmission in which Clarke openly admits to the assassination. Had it been a fully realistic course of events, no one would ever have learned the truth.

Just Cause is foalishly opening a Pandora's Box she can't even begin to understand. I do hope she meets Discord. I'm sure he'd be very supportive of her cause. After all, he'd end up ruling the planet within days afterward.

Final note: how well have most large modern 'popular' revolutions gone for the people?

French Revolution: mass murder, poverty, instability, led quickly to the rise of a new empire.
Russian Revolution: mass murder, poverty, instabiltiy, and a hyper-oppressive communist regime which collapsed on itself in 70 years.
Chinese Revolution: mass murder (indeed, more murders than the Soviets and Nazis combined), poverty, instability, and a hyper-oppressive communist regime. Moderation and pseudo-capitalist economics have given it additional time, but it's clearly unstable. Time will tell if it manages to last even a century. I doubt it.
North Korea: Do I even need to bother?

And there's the whole 'Arab Spring' now. It's barely been a year, far too short a time to know where that will inevitably lead those countries. And let's not forget, they were rebelling against either democratic governments which had become corrupt demi-dictatorships, or governments which had come to exist from previous revolutions less than a lifetime ago! If anything, it's even more proof of how unstable democracy usually is. America, a Republic, has already outlasted any other form of democracy. And now it's showing it's own weakness and corruption, eating itself to death from the inside out in a glut of obsessive spending to maintain the status quo and artificially stave off what is now an inevitable economic depression for another election cycle, making it even worse when the gilded tissue paper masking the decay finally tears.

I stand by the sentiments I've had for quite a while now: Send me to the canon Equestria. I shall be quite happy there. And any pony I hear spreading this sort of dissent will soon find my hoof planted squarely up their nose. I shall keep the Princesses quite out of the loop on my 'debates' with these annoying ponies, as I don't want any of the dissenters to even fantasize that I was under their orders. No, as I beat them into a bloody pulp I shall recount the history of my world, and hope they see reason before they end up in a coma.


Hey dude don't listen to the comments saying that Equestria is perfect and how dare you ruin it and all that, keep writing this story is an incredible "what if?" scenario. Which I am a sucker for.

A very interesting chapter, Just Cause showed she's not taking anyone but those who are seriously committed to the idea of democracy, not letting it get hijacked by those who don't truly believe, Luna's approach is very much one an old school dictator would take to dissent, if what's going to happen is what I think it puts her in the same mindset as autocrats like the Saudi King and Bahrains Emir/King, they tolerate no dissent from what they see is an ideal system and are not willing to even consider the approach of those voicing their dissent and her Night Guards are akin to the secret police, greatly feared, or they will be after this

Similarly the sisters don't seem to be able to grasp that their almost paternalistic approach to dealing their subjects isn't working or isn't going to work any longer, like with the one who wanted to know what would happen if something happened to Celestia. Celestia didn't tell her what the contingency was (if there is one), to allay her fears she took the paternalistic approach that it's not something she need ever concern herself with and by ex tension, she knows more and is better and that her worries, like her, don't matter or mean anything. It's what turned that mare from a supporter to a questioner and may, after Lunas storming of the brownstone, make her a dissenter

The misunderstandings that are driving the plot are fun, you can see why things happen instead of just witnessing them take place, it allows you to sink deeper into the story and understand why its going down the road it is, all in all a good chapter, looking forward to more and finding out more about Just Cause

Here's what would actually happen if a pony started expressing such dissent to Celestia: "Very well, my little pony. If you believe you are more fit than my sister and I to lead Equestria, you may request an election whenever you wish, with any safeguards you desire to ensure a fair result."

In the nearly impossible event that the princesses actually lost such an election, they're immortal and they aren't going anywhere. Either the replacement actually does a good job (in which case what's the problem, since their concern is for their subjects' well-being), or they screw a bunch of things up and the population demands the princesses return. Celestia is all about letting ponies learn from their own mistakes, and not trying to run their lives for them.

But then again, I don't really believe the princesses run an authoritarian dictatorship, so dismissive of the citizens' concerns, for the issue to come up in the first place.

I like this story very much. Unlike some others perhaps, I find myself quite sympathetic to Just Cause's movement. Now, whether she herself is a nefarious character or not, I don't yet know, but nevertheless, the cause she finds herself at the head of is an admirable one. Based on all the available evidence, there are no built-in, legal checks of any kind on the princesses' authority. Setting aside the demonstrable truth of the diarchs' benevolence, fundamentally, the ponies of Equestria are entirely at the mercy of the whims of two alicorns. Celestia and Luna's pronouncements on matters are unchallengeable and beyond legal recourse. There is no high court or legislative body to overturn any unjust decrees. What if the princesses make a mistake, or are flat-out wrong on something? Celestia has shown that she is capable of making terrible errors in judgment, and Luna has a history of instability and is a liability with absolute power.
Even if we were to assume the diarchs' infallibility henceforth, there is still the danger of an outside hostile force corrupting, impersonating, or otherwise controlling one or both of the princesses for their own ends. Changelings are just one such example.
There is simply no room in civilized, modern pony society for absolutism in government. It is not healthy and it is dangerous. Equestria needs a constitution. It needs some form of representative, participative government. A republic is probably not in line with the ponies' values and traditions, but a constitutional diarchy would be acceptable to most, I think. Celestia and Luna would retain their roles as principal administrators of the nation, any proposed new laws would need to be ratified by a representative body of elected ponies, and disputes would be decided by an independent high court. Something along those lines, at least.
These are noble goals and something that all ponies (princesses included) should aspire.
Just Cause may or may not turn out to be a villain, but she has nevertheless tapped into something, consciously or unconsciously, deep and swelling in all sentient creatures. The universal desire for freedom and self-determination.

Yeah, I'm feeling this. I'm still completely on Celestia's side, but I can already see the cracks spreading further and further. It's wonderfully detailed and intimate; I just know this is going to hurt, but I feel no inclination to stop. Congrats and keep going.

I do hope you continue this excellent story!

I'd think the correct response would be to allow Just Cause some way to test her ideas, and to be there as a safety net if it fails catastrophically.

Well, this is a dilemma. If you publicly support Luna's actions, you give Just Cause a weapon to use against you. If you publicly oppose them, you throw Luna to the wolves. If you try to take a middle path, or take no public stance at all, you probably do both. You'd best think of something good quickly. Just Cause won't wait forever to make her next move, and I don't see how you can keep her from gaining a lot of ground.

Right. Sometimes I forget that public opinion is often a game where you're supposed to pretend you're not playing. With a report of Just Cause's scheming from a reasonable and seemingly trustworthy source, she'll be in no position to call last night's arrests tyranny and have anypony listen who wasn't already in her camp, and you can safely support Luna.
Well played.

Hmm. I'm still behind Tia, but I must admit the movie is getting a bit overexposed . . . and don't worry if that doesn't make sense, I hardly know what I mean by it.

“Think this through, Tempered Steel,” she repeated, slowly and deliberately, as the crowd parted around her. At her feet he saw the helmet: dirty, but undented. “This morning, the Night Guard were on the front page of every major newspaper for detaining 120 protesters. Are the Royal Guard going to be on the front page of tomorrow’s, because their commander couldn’t hold it together over a piece of armor?”

Poor move. Tempered takes his helmet back by force, Tia demotes him, the newspaper publishes that an altercation broke out after a group of ponies lead by Just Cause, a known subversive, attempted to rob a Royal Guard, Tia releases an official statement that Tempered's behavior was unbefitting of a royal guard but remind those involved that stealing is illegal. Tempered loses, but it's worth it to him; you lose, though admittedly by a smaller margin; Tia is largely unaffected.
Or, a less likely but still possible alternative: Tempered retains his cool, arrests you all to the best of his ability (which is likely to be unpleasant for you, and to not actually involve arresting every one of you, but how else is one guard supposed to even try to arrest an entire crowd of thieves on his own?), and gets his helmet back.
Or if you're really lucky, this might just end in a bunch of guards arresting you all for assaulting an officer of the law after he tries to arrest you all and you resist.
You've got to stop burning your credibility like this; it's a very limited resource, and it's a pretty valuable resource if you want to incite a rebellion.

Yeah, I was afraid he wouldn't think this through enough to realize that you were bullshitting, but I can live with no change to your reputation. There'll be more opportunities for you to sabotage yourself.

Okay, so you're not actually that stupid. You just needed to show a united face to Tempered. I get that. I don't know if you made the right choice, but it was definitely a reasonable choice.
You still messed up with the protest against Luna, though. There was no need for you to be there; I'm sure a couple lieutenants could have handled organizing a crowd of Luna-haters into getting Luna angry. All your presence accomplished was to ensure that if you try to use the incident to your advantage, everypony will know you arranged the whole thing deliberately.

804891 Say what you will about the dangers of autocracy, but you can't deny that there is no government more efficient than a properly-structured dictatorship. Benevolent, enlightened dictatorship may not be a very easy system to create in practice, but immortality removing the need to change leaders is quite helpful. Democracy, on the other hand, is designed to be reliably mediocre. It guarantees that leaders will change, potentially unexpectedly, which makes long-term projects much more difficult; it encourages leaders to prioritize short-term bread and circuses for the majority over preparing for the long term and fixing the minority's problems; it favors those who can lead charismatically over those who actually know where they're going. The presidency in the US, for example, is a system based around making what's probably a mild mistake every four years, and never making the same exact mistake more than twice, because we got tired of relying on luck and getting stuck with each result for a generation. Not to mention how checks and balances mean bureaucracy, and bureaucracy is expensive. A benevolent, enlightened dictatorship (or diarchy, in this case), or anything close, is the best system by a huge margin when you can get it.
Anyway, if necessary one sister can lead the populace in fighting the other. There's your checks and balances.
. . . Right, I got a bit sidetracked there, didn't I. You were proposing a constitutional monarchy, weren't you. Well, see above about bureaucracy.
Apparently I've got some more to say, on the subject of self-determination (and maybe I'll touch on freedom a bit too). Self-determination, just from the name, should mean I can completely freely choose what I do, except every living thing already has that right. So we'll have to stipulate that I need to be able to choose what I do without fear of punishment. So, then, what we should ask is whether I (or anybody else) have self-determination, and whether I need it. I think I should have the right to marry another man (whether or not I choose to exercise it is irrelevant); the law disagrees. Thus we conclude that I do not have self-determination, and by examining the core principles behind this example we realize that nobody but an autocrat has self-determination. "But wait," I hear you say, "you live in a democracy, so you at least have a say." Not so; when the relevant vote happened I was a mere child of 16, and thus not considered capable of having an informed opinion. "Well at least now you get a vote," you point out. And while that is true, I cannot vote for the leader I want; I want a leader who, among other things, is socially liberal and supports a balanced budget, but the first requires me to vote Democrat and the second rules out all democrats and most Republicans. And even if I had some way to make a majority of voters agree with me, it would take quite some time to clear out all the previous politicians, and all the various holders of appointed positions who were appointed by said previous politicians. So we see that I don't really have much self-determination. But does that bother me? A little bit, I admit, but I have enough ability to analyze myself to know I should ignore that bit. Having a consistent legal system, so long as it is for the most part reasonable, is better than everybody deciding for themselves what the laws they follow should be (AKA anarchy). The problem with autocracy is not that the legal system does not come from the people; the problem is that some autocrats tend to make laws that violate "for the most part reasonable," for reasons such as stupidity, greed, ego, et cetera. Celestia, on the other hoof, is like a parent to her subjects, and has at least a millennium of experience at ruling. She should be able to construct a for-the-most-part-reasonable legal system in her sleep. And that matters much more than illusions of self-determination.
And, since I said I might say a bit on freedom: if Tia doesn't think you should be free to do it, she's probably right. Large-scale anarchy does not work very well.

Did you ever intend to finish this? I found this when going through my favorites list, looks like it was forgotten long, long ago.

4126876 I genuinely did think I would for a long time, but I think it's time I let that idea go.

4454418 Well I'm kinda bummed out by that, but I guess I understand. This was one of the first stories I read on here, I thought it had promise.

civil disobedience the greatest right of the citizen and the people. I wonder how Tuscan police like this treatment?

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