• Published 2nd Oct 2014
  • 820 Views, 35 Comments

Clever Scraps - cleverpun

Story snippets, outlines, short one-shots, and the like.

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Author's Note:

Yesterday/today at around 4 AM, I had an idea; Celestia would just choose to outlive everypony instead of assassinating them. I had planned to write a sentence or two to illustrate it on the forum I frequent, but, well, obviously it outgrew that. Works as a one-shot, but probably missing some details.

"Well, we could assassinate him."

The room froze. It happened instantaneously, in a way that no normal conversation could have. Every pair of eyes swung onto her, like archers tracking targets. Indigo Morning nearly adjusted her dress shirt or coughed, but she resisted the urge. Weakness from a new MP was exactly what they expected, and she wouldn't give them the ammunition.

Princess Celestia smiled. Indigo couldn't tell if it was sincere or patronizing or predatory. The princess was far better at body language and control than her.

"Tell me, Lady Indigo, why that would be a good idea." Celestia's smile did not flicker or waver in the slightest. If it wasn't for the hundred pairs of eyes on her, Indigo might have sworn the princess was sincere.

She coughed. It was like scratching poison ivy—giving into the urge only made her want to do it more. The princess did not react. Celestia simply sat there stoically, that serene smile taunting Indigo with its control and patience.

"Well, Your Highness, we've been discussing the Griffon Empire's declaration of war for hours now." She swallowed, and she knew the motion took longer than it should have. "But, well, the Griffon Emperor has a well-known...difference of opinions with his son on the matters of war. If we killed him, then..." She gulped. She could've sworn the princess' smile flickered on the verb. "then his son would take the throne and call off the war."

Every pair of eyes in the room swung onto Celestia, like spectators at a game waiting for the match point.

Celestia did not stop smiling. It felt infuriating. It felt mocking. It felt painful and incriminating and neutral.

"And how would you propose we do this?" Celestia asked.

"The Equestrian Armed Forces contain over four-hundred ponies with cutie marks in marksmanship, archery, combat magic, or teleportation. It would only require some vetting and a small amount of extra training."

Celestia's smiled dimmed, just for a moment. Everypony saw it—a room full of politicians would notice a pin drop in a tornado if the report afterward called for it. "You've thought about this."

"A good leader considers every tool available to them, Your Highness."

"Tell me, Lady Indigo, how long has the Griffon Empire been a monarchy?"

"Since its inception. About six-hundred B.D. I think."

"And how many emperors do you think they've had?"

Indigo's ears flattened. There was some trap coming, but she couldn't figure out what it was. The Princess never asked rhetorical questions unless it was a trap. "I don't remember high school civics that well. About forty, give or take."

"And what is the average lifespan of Griffons?"

"About 80 years, I suppose. Same as ponies."

"And how old am I?" Celestia asked.

There it was. She had walked right into it, no less. "Your Highness, while I applaud your long-term strategizing, you can't write off such an immediate problem that way."

The eyes of the other MPs snapped back to Celestia. They switched back and forth so quickly that Indigo suspected they had rigged themselves to pendulums for just such an occasion.

Celestia chuckled. "But Lady Indigo, I am agreeing with you. The Griffon Emperor dying would solve all of our problems. Your choice of weapon, however, is lacking in subtlety and effectiveness. After all, good leader considers every tool available to them."

Celestia stood up. "I think we need to take a break to compose ourselves. I expect more careful thinking from the Equestrian government. We shall reconvene in an hour, to discuss more reactions to this issue."

The room followed her order instantly. Save Indigo. She stayed in her seat. The room cleared, members of parliament filtering into countless break rooms and offices.

Finally, the room was empty, a hundred chairs and desks and one podium vacant and still. Finally, when she was absolutely certain that nopony could see her, Indigo Morning exhaled.