• Published 9th Jun 2012
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The Conversion Bureau: Thus Saith The Lord - Kamin 989



Celestia's Conversion Bureau project meets a totally unexpected problem.

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Chapter III: Until You Break, Until You Yield!

Chapter III: Until You Break, Until You Yield

This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies upon you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are.
- Exodus 8:20-21

Ponyville, Equestria

Sunset was approaching.

Ponyville, and all Equestria, was breathing a sigh of relief. The frogs had vanished - not died or gone away, but vanished completely even as far away as Appleoosa, after a week of chaos. The general assumption was that Celestia, who never left Canterlot now, had done something to get rid of them, and for that the pegasi and unicorns, never mind the earth ponies, were thankful indeed. Ponyville was preparing a celebration in honour of the Princess when the woman walked into the town, her expression stern. The ponies backed away nervously, not knowing what would happen.

'Did you think my chastisements would stop or let up after a few weeks?' she asked rhetorically. 'Did you think you would be forgiven, after you did nothing? You should have driven out Celestia before the week was up, but you did not. You should have tried to stop her Conversion Bureaus, but you did nothing. You should have tried to resist, but you were cowards.'

'Your magic protects you,' she continued. 'You manage nature like a garden. You think you're the masters of it. Well, I suppose you're about to be proven wrong. You should read up on survival of the fittest, because before long, you'll be living it.'

She struck her staff on the ground once.

The ponies had no idea what was going to happen.

Away, in a small forest on the outskirts of town, a wildcat growled.

~*~

Appleoosa

It was a little more than a day since the woman had come to Ponyville, and already the ponies knew what was happening. Lions and bears stalked the streets, wolves circling the lights of houses in the dark of early morning. The first thing the ponies had learned was constant vigilance. The animals hunting them ignored both the effects of magic and their own natural enmities. If ponies slept with locked doors, apes and monkeys sneaked in through windows and unlocked the doors from inside. If ponies tried to run, wolves and jackals came after them with unnatural persistence. If they kept going, all they did was die tired. If ponies barred their windows, strong animals like bears broke through the walls like living battering rams, letting the others in.

Worse, flight was impossible too. Eagles, other birds of prey, bats and pterodactyls ruled the air in large flights, which would descend on anypony trying to fly and shred their flesh with beak and claw. Hiding had been tried, but failed when snakes sniffed out ponies trying to stay hidden. The animals were in all the cities and towns too, even in the halls of Canterlot, they said. There were cobras in the grass and pythons in the forests. The one thing they seemed to ignore were the newfoals, but that simply meant they only hunted regular ponies.

And the worst part was that of all the ponies they killed, they didn't even take one bite of flesh.

~*~

The lizard-kings of the Cretaceous reigned again. Tyrannosaurus Rex had, before the dinosaurs were struck dead by a meteor, been the apex predator of what would become North America. And now they were the same for Equestria. The ponies had quickly learned to travel in large groups, but even those weren't enough to properly defend against one of those creatures. Not when the animals were, perversely, completely untouchable by any magic the ponies possessed.

It wasn't just the large dinosaurs that had been ressurected. Utahraptors hunted in packs through the Manehattan streets, while Smilodons and cave bears lurked in dark spaces and the great pteranodons patrolled the skies. Massive insects, centipedes and arachnids last seen when Earth had much more oxygen in its air lurked in tunnels and sewers, infesting even the corridors of Canterlot.

The ponies knew, for perhaps the first time in their history, total and absolute fear of the creatures that lurked in the shadows.

~*~

Oxford, England

The scientific community was a-twitter over the events in Equestria. The first reports of the poisoned water and the endless armies of frogs had been able to be dismissed as the result of a collusion of panicked hysteria and confused rumour, but with the latest evidence and photos, it was impossible to dismiss. The animals plagueing the country were working together and using tactics to ravage the ponies, while photos showed dinosaurs walking in broad daylight. The first was hard enough to explain, but the second was impossible by any reasonable standard. Some scientists had converted to various monotheistic religions as a result, and various commentators were comparing it to the destruction of Sennacherib's army.

Celestia was helpless to do anything, the news clearly showed. The general consensus was that eventually the ponies would depose her. It wasn't usually the newspapers' job to speculate on Equestrian politics, but now they were asking pointed questions to do with her sister, who had been in Canterlot when Equestria appeared but had disappeared from the castle shortly after Celestia had proposed her solution to the Equestria Crisis.

The lack of answers only emboldened them.

~*~

Everfree Forest, Equestria

'Rarity, we have to go.'

'Where to?' the unicorn asked.

'Applejack's farm,' Luna replied. 'I don't know exactly what's happening, but it sounds safe there.'

'Sure.'

They were sneaking out of Everfree Forest, under the light of the full moon (no longer controlled by Luna, since the Translation), trying to avoid Celestia's unicorns and pegasi, who would certainly be looking for them. But there were no pegasi, no unicorns to be seen. Luna wondered why, wouldn't Celestia know where she was if she ever got out of the forest?

A pack of wolves howled at the full moon, before running in the direction of Ponyville. Luna didn't think they looked friendly.

~*~

Canterlot

She walked through the corridors, unheeding of the wild animals stalking through it, Celestia's guards shying away as she walked past them.

She stepped on to the balcony where the Princess was overlooking her territory by the light of the full moon, carrying a staff of iron now, her clothes the colour of freshly spilled blood.

'Celestia,' she said, the Princess turning round to meet her face.

'What have you to say now?' Celestia spat.

'I would be more polite if I were you,' she said. 'But that is no concern at this moment. What I'm saying is that I'm quite willing to let bygones be bygones, if you accept the terms.'

'What terms?'

'The terms I gave you in your throne room, Princess Celestia.'

'Why should you presume to judge the leader of the superior race, you jumped-up ape?'

'Because I have been given the authority,' came the reply. 'Besides, it's such a short jump from "superior" to "master", don't you think?'

'What are you talking about?'

'Read up on your history? About seventy years ago, we had a man who killed a hundred million people for the sake of his "master race".'

'Your words condemn humanity as unfit to exist.'

'That wasn't my point. My point is, he was defeated by more powerful people he made enemies of, and destroyed himself in the end. If I dare say so, you're headed the same way. Of course, you could still accept the terms and live in peace.'

'Enough!'

'You have one last chance. After that, my Father's sentence is final.'

She left without another word.