• Published 25th Jun 2016
  • 6,180 Views, 377 Comments

The Wedding Aftermath - Queen Sanguine Dreams



Queen Chrysalis' hive has been scattered to the winds, but not all Changelings serve Chrysalis.

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Hoofholes

Garotte had been galloping as quickly as her body would allow, directly out of town. No way was she going to get captured, interrogated, tortured, starved or whatever other horror could be conjured by the Heroes in the name of Justice. She had been well informed about the methods and motives of Heroes by her training courses, and she felt sympathy for those that had been unable to escape that tide of Royal Guard that had come from nowhere.

Garotte had to get back to the Citadel, back to the Overlords and- "Oof!"

She had run straight into somepony, and they were like a fiery hot brick wall. Peeling her face from the pony she'd run into, she began to profusely apologise before she opened her eyes and saw just what she had run into.

Princess Celestia.

Garotte could only whimper out a sob as her ears folded, falling backwards from being overwhelmed by grief. She was doomed! Doomed to the dungeons to be forgotten for all time!

"Miss... Garotte, is it?" Celestia asked, squinting at her nametag.

"Please don't hurt me!" Garotte wailed. She covered her face and horn, as traitors usually had their horns severed from their head in punishment for their crimes.

"Why would I do that?" The Diarch asked with a calm, reassuring tone, faintly smiling.

"B-b-because i'm..." Garotte stopped herself. If Celestia hadn't read the remainder of her tag, then she still had a chance. "I'm an Evil slave!"

She raised an eyebrow. "A slave? To whom? Why would I hurt one of my little ponies?"

Did she buy it, or was she testing me?

"T-to the Evil Overlords?" She stammered nervously, slightly lowering her guard but still looking at Celestia through a thin slit between her hooves.

Celestia's face hardened at their mention. "Slaves..." She grumbled, and then adressed Garotte. "Where is their castle?"

Uh oh. Do I betray the Overlords, who have shown me more kindness and generosity than anybeing else, or do I betray Celestia, ruler of Equestria and controller of the sun?

"Ah-I...I don't..." She tried to say, before her voice caught in her throat.

I, Garotte, Pinkie Promise to never reveal the location of the Citadel or the Forces of Evil. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.

She couldn't. She tried, she really did. The promise reduced her to a babbling, incoherent mess of tears, disheveled mane and dirty uniform. All she could do was toss her nametag in frustration before making a final attempt.

"Th-the b-ba-ase i-hhhss in... Guuurrrrrdhurkk!!" She stammered before something leapt into her throat, choking her. "Aaacck!" She fell to the ground, pressing her hooves to her throat as her eyes buldged.

Celestia sprung into action, holding Garotte with her hooves as she scanned her to help. A magical entity she hadn't seen before had lodged itself in her throat. With a quickly thought spell, she used her own magic to reach down Garotte's throat.

Only to pull out a spiked cupcake, that soon vanished in the wind, whispering "Forever!"

Garotte was now able to breathe, but she had passed out from both the emotional turmoil as well as the physical pain and asphyxiation. Celestia turned to a nearby guard.

"Get Ms. Garotte to the chariot, I will personally care for her in Canterlot."

"Yes, Princess!" The nondescript guard saluted sharply, joined by another to his left.

Celestia then brushed Garotte's dirty and smokey smelling mane to the side.

"You'll tell the truth, one day."

*****

Garotte felt like death.

What she didn't expect, was feeling like death wrapped in silk.

She slowly opened her eyes, before quickly shutting them and shielding her eyes to the sun. Her throat burned, and she felt like somepony had trampled her body. Pushing her upper half away from the silk sheets and comfortable mattress, she took stock of her room.

Reds and oranges, carpetting of a soft pink. Drapes of crimson with goldren trim, probably made of velvet. Her bed had four pillars that connected to a canopy above her, intricate clouds detailed in gold and and dropped against a morning sunrise. Mirrors and windows, a balcony with a pleasant yellow guardrail and two chairs for sitting outside. A dresser with her uniform cleaned and pressed, a new nametag sitting on top of it. The walls held various classical paintings of Equestria's history, from the Unification of the three tribes to Twilight's fight with Discord. The room was pleasantly warm, the air was crisp and refreshing to her groggy mind. Sniffing, she smelt cinnamon.

Was she dead? Is this the afterlife?

Checking herself over after pushing her covers away, she noticed many scrapes and bruises that had gone unnoticed in all the chaos of yesterday... Or whatever day it was when she had last been awake. The memory of her nearly breaking her Pinkie Promise came to the forefront of her thoughts as she heard a knock on the door.

"Come in!" She rasped, and pressed a hoof to her throat to acknowledge the pain with a wince.

The door slowly opened to confirm that it wasn't the afterlife as she had hoped. It was Princess Celestia. Garotte ducked down, quickly pulling the sheets over her head with her magic in a futile attempt to hide. Garotte heard a deep sigh come from Celestia as she calmly walked over to Garotte.

"Ms. Garotte, you have no need for fear. You are safe."

Yeah, until you decide to torture me!

"I-I... Um... I'm not sure." Garotte said from beneath the covers.

"Ms. Garotte, do you need time alone?"

Maybe she could send a letter? No, they would look through it...

"Yeah... I feel terrible right now."

"Very well. I will give you time to recover, and have food brought to you. Please recover quickly, however. We may be at war." Celestia warned, before leaving the room with a quiet click.

*****

Meanwhile, Luna was very confused.

"Sister, I know of no being or magic able to resurrect spirits of the dead in such number. They behaved as if flesh and blood until I spoke of Commander Hurricane, and they thought she still lived!"

This caused Celestia to pause. "Wasn't Commander Hurricane male? It has been quite a while since their time."

"That is fine, Tia. Not many would remember her true... Wait a moment." Luna suddenly grew very suspicious. "The guard whom I spoke with, Gaius... He claimed that Hurricane was male..."

"I doubt ancient spirits would be confused, Luna."

"That is certain, and they would be aware of their Commander's gender at the very least!" Luna was now angry. "Somepony is playing a dangerous game with us!"

"Calm down Luna. They didn't act with malicious intent and probably saved Ponyville."

"What is left of it." Luna added somberly.

"It is my fault, Luna. I should have kept the guard well trained. I haven't had to deal with something like this in ages. I'm very glad to have you back." Celestia nuzzled her sister, before setting out to write a letter.

"To whom is this for?" Luna asked, peeking over Celestia's shoulder.

"It's to Twilight. I have need of her knowledge of Friendship if I am going to learn about our opponent."

*****

Dear Twilight,

I have need of you in Canterlot as soon as possible.

You may bring your friends with you as well, if you wish.

I will explain everything when you arrive.

Signed,
Princess Celestia

Spike blinked after reading the letter. "Well that was to the point."

"Can you help me pack? I don't know what she's going to want me to do; what if it's some kind of test?!" Twilight began to panic.

"Um, Twilight?" Spike asked with raised claw.

"What if she thinks I didn't defend Ponyville well enough, or that I should've found some friendship lesson in all of this?"

"Twilight!"

Startled from the sudden yell, Twilight looked to Spike, who was pointing into the sky.

"Spike?" She questioned.

"What am I pointing at?"

She looked up from his finger into the open sky.

"Nothing?"

Spike nodded. "And where are we standing?"

She looked down to the smouldering remains of her library home.

"Oh."

"I don't think we need to pack, Twilight."

*****

"Well, it's not like ah got anyplace left to look after." Applejack groaned, motioning her head to Sweet Apple Acres.

"That's great! Maybe Celestia will have a place for everypony in the palace while Ponyville is rebuilt!"

"Yeah, swell." Applejack deadpanned, and her barn decided to collapse in agreement.

"See you at the train station!" Twilight called, running to the home of her next friend with Spike trudging after her on his stubby legs.

"Darn evil forces."

*****

<My Queen, we may have a problem.>

<Oh? What is it, Lanius.>

<A fire has spread from the fighting in Ponyville and is threatening White Tail Woods.>

<Oh.>

<We may have to relocate the hive if it gets too close.>

<I understand. Is there a source of water nearby? Perhaps we could douse the flames.>

<We've tried that already, my Queen. It is magical in nature.>

Hmm... Oh! I know a pony for that.

<I have an idea. I will travel to Canterlot for a solution. Keep me informed of the fire's progress.>

<Yes, my Queen.>

*****

A full day later, Aze was awaiting her turn for an audience with Princess Celestia in her mini-hive quarters.

Twilight, her five friends and Spike were also waiting.

Garotte, most of all, was in full panic mode. Celestia had called in EVERYBEING. She even told her about it! Aether's mother, his Aunties, and the three Princesses, all to speak with her about Aether. She was completely bucked. At best, she could get a quick hanging and be done with it all. Maybe she could leap from a window and be spared the torture? Should she leave a note?

A knocking at the door.

"C-come in?" Here we go!

A shy looking yellow coated mare with pink hair and soft blue eyes poked her head through the door.

"Hello? I hope I'm not disturbing you." She softly said.

"Uh... Not at all!" Garotte nervously chucked, her fear rising as she knew they had sent the heavy artillery. The cute side-hero.

She walked a bit more from the door into the room, quietly closing it behind her and turning to face Garotte. "Um... Hello. My name is Fluttershy. What's yours?"

"I'm Garotte... Didn't they brief you before sending you in?"

"Brief me? I just wanted to say hello... I could leave if I'm bothering you..." She looked sad and turned towards the door.

Oh, my heart! Curse you noble fiends!

"Wait! You don't have to go... I'm just suspicious is all. Nopony has come in here to speak with me unless they were interrogating me."

She turned around with a suprised look on her face. "Interrogating you? That sounds awful!" She voiced in quiet shock.

"It's... actually not that bad. No torture or beatings... At least yet."

"You didn't say anything to make them upset, did you? That would be terrible if they treated you badly when you're only trying to help."

"N-no! I haven't been able to tell them anything even if I wanted to. I Pinkie Promised..."

Her eyes became wider for a moment. "Oh..."

"Do you... Want to talk about things? I'm not a bad pony." Garotte said with sincerety.

"That sounds nice. Do you have anyplace comfortable we could lay down to talk?"

Garotte became nervous. "Um... Only the bed, but I don't want you to feel awkward."

She smiled. "That's okay. I share a bed with alot of my animal friends all the time. I think it would be nice to share one with another pony for once."

Oh. Well that went well.

"Well, hop on up and we can talk!" Garotte said cheerfully, turning away in time to miss the flash of Pink from 'Fluttershy's' eyes.

*****

"Princess Celestia, thank you for seeing me." I bowed politely.

"Of course, Queen Aze. What troubles you?"

"There is a great danger to the White Tail Woods, and I request your assistance."

"Are there raiders in your lands?"

"No, it is a bright orange fire that refuses to be extinguished. We believe it is magical in origin, and have no means to counter it."

Celestia hummed. "I will see if my student, Twilight Sparkle, has a method of solving this. She will inform you directly."

"Thank you, Princess."

I then exited with a bow, and walked towards my quarters. However, something I hadn't heard before stopped me in my tracks.

Fluttershy. Being loud.

Backpedaling, I came to an unlocked door and slowly opened it. I saw a grey coated unicorn with gradient white and black mane and tail, laying next to Fluttershy who was giggling with her hoof covering her mouth.

Fluttershy doesn't giggle... At least I think she doesn't?

And where are the guards?

Poking my head through, I announced myself.

"Hello?"

Twin yelps of surprise.

"Queen Aze?!" The grey coated mare gasped.

"You know her?" Fluttershy asked.

The unicorn tried to speak, but something lodged in her throat and she was reduced to coughing.

"Oh my!" Fluttershy exclaimed, trying to squeeze the mare's stomach until she coughed out an ethereal apple.

"S-sorry. Can't say."

"That's okay." 'Fluttershy' said, patting the mare on her back.

"Fluttershy, my memory fails me." I started, testing the knowledge of this impostor. "How did we first meet?"

"Oh! You came to my cottage, remember?"

"Right. I remembered you offered me something, but I refused as I couldn't eat cookies."

'FakeShy' nodded. "Uhuh!"

"Thank for for your help. Good luck to you, mysterious friend of Fluttershy." I offered with a nod.

I then calmly left the room, and headed right back to Celestia.

*****

Knocking.

"Enter."

Celestia was slightly suprised. "Queen Aze? I hope everything is to your liking in your quarters..."

"The room is perfect. I come for a different matter. An infiltrator is currently with a grey coated mare in your care, and thought you should know."

"Are you certain?" Celestia asked, rising from her chair and setting her tea down.

"They were Fluttershy, being loud."

"I see. Come with me, and we'll apprehend this spy."

*****

Garotte was disturbed from her relaxing time with Fluttershy when another knock sounded at the door.

"Come in!"

And then the door opened to horror. Princess Celestia and Queen Aze, flanked by six royal unicorns.

"I didn't do anything!" Garotte yelped, hiding under the covers.

"Oh, you must be here for me." Fluttershy said while looking to the floor.

"Reveal yourself, impostor." Celestia commanded.

In a burst of pink flame, Fluttershy transformed into Queen Song, standing over Garotte on the bed.

"I guess Granny gave me away?"

Aze nodded.

"Dang."

"What have you done with the real Fluttershy?" Celestia demanded.

"Huh? Oh, she's fine. She's taking care of our zoo in our secret evil lair!" Song replied with childlike glee.

"Zoo."

"Yep!"

"Right. What is the purpose of this?"

"To see if a Pinkie Promise was breakable. Turns out, its a doosie!"

Celestia raised an eyebrow. "You were seeking a way to release yourself from your Pinkie Promise?"

"Nope! We were wondering if you could escape yours" she taunted.

Garotte, meanwhile, was slowly inching her way under the covers towards the edge of the bed, where she could drop down and hide beneath.

"Why would I break the promise?"

"Well~ lets just say we don't think you're very trustworthy. Heroes tend to stab villains in the back at earliest convenience."

Celestia glared at Song. "We don't have time for this. Seize her!" She commanded, and her guard sprang into action by hurling stun blasts at the changeling Queen.

And said blasts deflected off of her, due to her runed shell with enchanted defenses.

"Well, that was fun. Bye, Great Auntie!" Song saluted, before leaping out of the window and taking to the skies.

"Get some Pegasus to follow her!"

"Celestia, if I may." Queen Aze asked.

"Yes?"

"I have connections everywhere. Let my changelings follow her."

Celestia then looked annoyed at Aze. "Didn't you visit their citadel in person?"

Aze made a zipping motion across her lips. "Pinkie Promise."

Celestia sighed in aggravation. "Those promises will be the death of me."

*****

Later that day, Garotte was in a well lit and comfortable room. Wintergreen tea and a blueberry muffin were in front of her on a table, and the room itself was precisely 'cheery'. This set Garotte's internal red flag launcher to rapid fire.

Tea time with the Princess? I'm doomed!

She was sitting across a very calm and collected Princess Celestia, whom was sipping on tea of her own and staring at Garotte. Nopony had spoken a word since she had invited the Delegate of Evil into her tea room, and guards were curiously absent.

Or, more worryingly, the Princess wanted to deal with Garotte without witnesses.

Garotte gulped, having not yet eaten anything and being extra wary of poisons or tricks that the leader of heroes might pull. If she said anything, the Promise would get her instantly, and there was no escaping a promise made to The Pink One.

Shifting her hooves and looking around the room discreetly, she noticed several documents and scrolls strewn about. Some had very fancy writing; others had chicken scratch. Returning her focus to Celestia, she almost leapt out of her coat. She was staring directly at Garotte, still never having said a word.

"Uhm... Eheh?" Garotte chattered nervously, not knowing what to say and feeling like she was going to fall apart at any moment.

Celestia's eyes slowly narrowed, and Garotte imagined them as two guillotines, falling on her neck.

"Do you have any friends, Ms. Garotte?" Celestia suddenly asked.

Garotte herself was sweating profusely at this point. "N-no! No friends." She stammered, trying not to fall over from fear.

"Was this your choice, or circumstance?"

"I don't want to talk about it..."

Celestia took a sip of tea, before floating over several scrolls. She then unraveled one, and read from it.

Canterlot Police Department
Canterlot

Time: 12:43 PM
Date: Fourth of Marelin, Year 989 AB

Previous Record: Three accounts of assault and attempted strangulation.
Current Crime: Attempted strangulation.

Suspect's plea: "This is a HUGE misunderstanding!"
Suspect was in tears. This investigator is inclined to disbelieve suspect's assertion that 'she hugs too strongly'.

Recommend one month's time in rehabilitation clinic.

Celestia looked from the report to see Garotte's face buried in her hooves.

"There are seven more just like this."

"It wasn't on purpose!" Garotte cried. "I didn't want to hurt anypony!"

Celestia took a moment to think as Garotte attempted to gain a hold on herself.

"Are you 'Evil', Ms. Garotte?"

A look of pain and confusion greeted Celestia, before Garotte hid her face again.

"I see."

Celestia stood, and walked slowly towards a nearby door.

"I have somepony I'd like you to meet, Ms. Garotte."

"H-huh?" Garotte looked from her hooves towards Celestia, to see Twilight Sparkle staring at her. Previous anger and distrust quickly being replaced with confusion and concern.

"Princess Celestia... what is she doing here?" Asked Twilight, her scowl returning.

"She is the mare that needs your help, Twilight. She has never had a friend in her life."

"But she's evil! She brainwashed all of Ponyville to join the Forces of Evil before Princess Luna showed up!"

The Solar Princess sighed. "My faithful student, please. I think that Ms. Garotte here is no more 'evil' than you or I. She simply lacks something that the both of us have had our entire lives."

Twilight and Garotte were both confused.

"What is that, exactly?" Twilight asked.

"The opportunity for friendship."

"You're kidding!" Twilight yelled, but a stern look from Celestia was all that was needed.

"I understand your hesitation, Twilight. I would not expect you to jump at this opportunity, but imagine how many other ponies were never given the hope that friendship brings? How many of those in the army of evil never had a second option?"

Twilight looked from Celestia to Garotte, who was hiding behind her hooves, still distraught from the memories dragged to the surface by the entire situation.

"All I ask is that you give her a chance to make friends."

Twilight seemed to freeze, taking stock of the situation and all the implications that had gone unsaid. Like what would happen to Garotte if she simply walked away from it all. What would happen to those that served evil if they never wanted to, but were left no choice. Those that could be so much more if somepony just...

Twilight then walked slowly over to Garotte, extending a hoof until she noticed. With blurry vision, Garotte saw her offering a hoof.

Garotte took Twilight's offer with a hopeful smile and a sniffle.

Maybe things would look up for Garotte, maybe Twilight could see a friend in anybeing, and maybe Celestia could give hope to the hopeless again.

Maybe Tirek would return from Tartarus.

Pfft. Fat chance.

Author's Note:

Let me know about your opinions on your top 3 liked and disliked characters, and why!

Any helpful feedback or comments are greatly appreciated!

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