• 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 V: I Send the Locusts on the Wind, Such as the World has never Seen!


Chapter V: I Send The Locusts on the Wind, Such as the World Has Never Seen!

This is what the LORD,the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.
- Exodus 10:3-6

Manehattan, Equestria]

Steffy looked around the streets of Manehattan, on her way to the recording studio - she had a career as a musician, and the studio had miraculously been through the storm unscathed. After a whole week of the fire and hail raining down on all Equestria, the sky had finally cleared. However, the sun seemed dimmer now, for a reason she couldn't discern. Emergency construction workers were rushing around, trying to ascertain the immense level of damage. There were scorched trees in the parks and craters in the streets, while the rubble of a collapsed skyscraper had blocked 3rd Avenue lengthwise. Ponies were looking upward, nervous that the worst storm in all Equestrian history would start again. Smoke rose from many buildings, and the tallest building in all Equestria, inaugurated 3 years ago, was heavily damaged, its facade pitted and torn while its top floors had simply ceased to exist.

Still, it stood defiant over a city trying and utterly determined to recover. After all, many said, how could things get worse than what had already happened? But still, the attitude toward Celestia was notably different than a few weeks ago. While ponies weren't making there thoughts clear, there was a general feeling of discontent tinged with fear.

~*~

Appleoosa

Applejack had not been driven into Everfree Forest along with Luna and the five other bearers of the Elements of Harmony after the altercation in Canterlot. She had fled to her own farm that day, and had sold her apples quite happily for the past two years or so. Which meant that she had happily given Luna and the others, including Twilight Sparkle, a place to live.

Twilight was quite fascinated by humans (not so much as Pinkie Pie, though), and it had taken Celestia's trickery for her to create the formula for the ponification serum. The humans just had so many new books for her to read. She was quite intently perusing one of these books when suddenly she rushed to Luna.

'What is it?'

'I was reading one of the humans' religious books,' she said. 'You know, the ones they write because they don't have Celestia or you to follow. And...and...'

'What?'

'There's a story in this book where one of the human gods punishes a country with ten terrible plagues because they were enslaving his people. It was thousands of years before where the humans are today, really long ago, and...oh no. The punishments in this book, they're happening right now - to Equestria.'

There was a long silence.

'I think,' Twilight said. 'That Celestia provoked somebody she couldn't fight back against.'

~*~

Appleoosa was a peaceful farming town. Its people were generally not violent, and so, when the woman walked into their town centre, they began to back away. It wasn't like they thought attacking her would help, and they knew when she came to a town something bad would follow in all Equestria.

The crops and apple trees were damaged by the hail, and several houses were now charred husks. The sun shone dimmer now, the smoke from the fires burning that terrible week had absorbed some of its life-giving light.

She began to speak and a dreadful silence filled the town as the ponies awaited whatever terrible pronouncement would follow.

'You have given food to Celestia,' she said. 'You could have starved out Canterlot by denying it its food supply. You might even have made her reconsider her "Purification". Well, that will be repaid a thousandfold. The locusts will come, in such numbers as will blot out the sun over all your land. All Equestria will be punished by the swarm I will send upon you. You will cry out for food and it will not come. You will beg for something to fill your bellies, and your cries will fall on deaf ears. The chastisement begins.'

She raised her staff and struck it on the ground, then left. Some minutes later, the ponies of Appleoosa looked to the west, and saw a black cloud on the horizon, followed by a loud and terrible buzzing.

~*~

Equestria

There had been bad years on Celestia's watch, but Equestria had never been in any serious danger of starving. That time was past. The swarms of iron-wrought locusts blocked out the sun for hundreds of miles wherever they went. When part of a storm descended on a farm, in less than an hour there was nothing but bare earth. Where corn was stored in barns, the locusts ate both the wood the barn was made of and the corn kept inside. Apple trees were strippd clean by the hundreds by the endless swarms.

In times of desperate need a pony could perform the dreadfully barbarous act of grazing, but even that was stripped away by the locusts, who completely denuded massive areas of soil in hours. Equestria had expanded to cover much of the rich Midwestern farmland, but now the locusts were stripping much of that territory bare as an utterly relentless swarm.

The gardens of Canterlot were swept bare by the locusts as well, and with the locusts stripping away the soil's protection came what Oklahoma had known in the Great Depression but which Equestria had never heard of. The dust bowl. Strong winds blew the dust as far as Manehattan, blotting out sight and forcing whole towns to flee for the protection of Ponyville and Canterlot.

Only one farm stood amongst the sea of dust: Applejack's. Something made the locusts completely avoid it, an island of green in an endless sea of red-brown.

In two days Equestria had begun one of the most extensive famines in both worlds' history. Everypony was suffering, except for the newfoals, who always seemed to be well-fed. There were empty stomachs even in Canterlot, where Celestia still stubbornly tried to do something to defy the punishment she had been given.

Four days into the week, Equestria sent its first ambassador to the United Nations in months.

Geneva, Switzerland

The United Nations was located in Geneva now, New York was still too close to the current limit of Equestria's borders.

The pegasus walked into the General Assembly hall, and spoke.

'Our people are starving,' she said. 'The locusts have devoured our entire food stocks, and Celestia-'

'Is getting what she very well deserves,' the American representative said. 'We have a degree of circumstantial evidence that the Barrier is not a natural phenomenon, and its expansion was related to Princess Celestia's activity.'

The pegasus lost her cool then. She was screaming insults at the human delegates, ranting and raving quite dramatically.

'A fine example of Princess Celestia's idea of diplomacy,' the German delegate said. 'Given that she has been so consistently disrespectful and antagonistic to all our countries, the UN, and humanity as a whole, Germany proposes this item. No UN member will give any food, medicine, or other aid to Equestria while Celestia still holds power. Not even if she offers all the contents of her treasury for a single ear of corn. Furthermore, the UN member countries will endeavour to close all Conversion Bureaus still open, through force if necessary. Furthermore, the member countries will endeavour to stop any aid by private organisations or individuals to Celestia or her genocide plan.'

'France is in favour.'

'India.'

'China.'

'America.'

'Great Britain.'

'Israel!'

'Russia.'

'Korea.'

'Portugal.'

'Brazil.'

'South Africa!'

The pegasus had stopped ranting - she looked around silently, uncomprehending. It was one of the only completely unanimous votes ever in the UN. Celestia would be furious when she heard of this.

The ambassador Celestia sent to the UN never came back to her.