• Published 2nd Dec 2016
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Unhinged - SirNotAppearingInThisFic



A collection of short stories inspired by Magic cards generated by RoboFoME. No understanding of Magic is required to read these.

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Debt (Or: Trial by Fire) [Dark] [Conteſt Entry]

Celestia slammed the door shut behind her. For the moment, at least, she was alone.

Heathens!” she snarled. The empty library returned only silence, and she sank against the door.

Defilers.” She made no effort to wipe away her tears. Whether they were from her anger or sorrow, she was not certain. That day, the eve of the second year of her sister’s banishment, had been a mess. It had been bloody.

Even now, she could see wisps of smoke through the windows, dissolving into the ashen haze left behind by those that would do her wrong in the name of her sister. The smell of smoke clung to her hair just as surely as the screams of her subjects haunted her mind. The screams that started as soon as she had raised the sun that morning, when the cultists had started lighting fires. She had been taken by surprise, and the town of Everfree paid dearly for it.

“I have been a fool,” she whispered.

Now shaking, she picked herself up off the floor and walked across the library, to the balconies. There was no sense in denying what she had allowed.

She took in the sight down below of smoldering buildings with ponies milling about them, often working to put out the last of the fires, though some simply wandered aimlessly. Almost half the town lay in ashes. There would be much work to settle those displaced by the flames, and several memorials for the lives lost, in the days to come. Most pressing to her mind, though, were the dozen or so cultists that had been captured.

I should have seen this coming, she told herself. The “Disilluminati” cultists had been known to her since Nightmare Moon’s banishment, and she had suspected that they existed since before then. There had always been ponies more loyal to Luna, especially among the chiroptera; It pained Celestia that her sister had never truly realized that before the seeds of jealousy took root.

There were many things that she wished she could have gotten Luna to understand. Namely, the many ways that Nightmare Moon’s hatred was unnecessary. Instead she was now left with the chaos that it had inspired.

How does one find such hatred and violence acceptable? If their minds are not to be swayed, and they long for nothing but victory, my death, what am I to do? Just the thought of them made her sick to her stomach.

They have burned, Celestia noted. They have killed. They do not deserve to see the light of day— or the dark of night, as it may be, again. She stared dumbly into the haze as she put together the implications of that thought. She could not pretend that those who eluded capture would remain peaceful. Not anymore. I cannot let this happen again.

She jumped at the sound of somepony knocking on the door across the room. After taking a moment to wipe the tears away and regain her composure, she responded.

”Enter.”

The door creaked open and General Firefly’s blue-maned head popped into view, shortly followed by the rest of her as she crossed the room. She bowed her head briefly.

“Your Highness.” She paused for a moment. “The fires are out, and the guard will have a body count by tomorrow morn.”

Celestia blinked. “And what of the cultists?”

“They say nothing that we did not already suspect.”

She gave Firefly an unamused glance. “Elaborate for me.”

“They are more than just devout followers of Nightmare Moon. They are true lunatics, if ever I saw any. As they see it, you are a tyrant that will kill all of ponykind with fire, and killing you will free Nightmare Moon.” Firefly let out a nervous laugh. “A load of horseapples, after what they did, however, they are clearly serious.”

“I see.” Celestia turned back towards the balcony, and took a deliberate breath to steady herself. “Dost thou think there are more of them out there?”

“Of course, princess.” Firefly walked to her side. “We have seen them, and the ones we have captured threaten that there will always be more.”

“What of other Cults?”

“What do you mean?” Firefly asked.

“If we take care of this one, if the Disilluminati ceased existing tomorrow, would nopony take their place, their role? Can you promise me that?”

Firefly only blinked in response, mouth hanging slightly open as she considered the question. Celestia did not wait for her response.

“I was naive enough to let this happen once, but I will not do so again. Firefly,” she said, turning her head to the general, “make an example of these… heathens. Tomorrow.” Before Firefly could protest, she added, “This will not wait.”

What?

“Firefly...” Celestia warned.

Firefly shook her head. “No.”

Do not test my patience—”

Firefly stomped a hoof and shifted into a more upset tone. “Listen to thyself! Why should all not fear thee to be the tyrant they say thou art if thou have them all executed? Not a day after, even!”

“They have killed!”

“I have seen, princess. Why should that give thee the right to sink as low as them?”

Celestia shook with her anger. She had appointed Firefly as general because of experience, and most especially because she knew that she may need somepony willing to stand up to her if she were to step too far. Firefly was brash, but right. Every fiber of her being screamed for retribution, but she recognized that this was exactly the type moment her past self had been wary of.

“What wouldst thou have me say?,” she replied in honesty, though she directed some of her malice into a somewhat murderous glare. “I cannot think of an individual that is willing to commit such atrocities as a pony.”

“By thine own words, I will not have them killed. Does nothing less… permenant come to mind?”

Celestia continued her glare. “Whether or not you see fit to carry out their execution, they have no right to enjoy even the most destitute of Equestria’s dungeons.”

“Then banish them!” Firefly said, throwing her hooves into the air.

And when they come back?

“Then lock them up where thou banish them to!”

“Thou know’st just how impractical that would—” Celestia had an idea. There were many places that she could banish them to, and not all of them were in the same realm.

“I take it thou hast had a magical princess-y solution come to—”

“Quiet.”

Tartarus. With neither Luna nor Starswirl to help her anymore, though, the prospect of bridging the realms was daunting. The punishment was fitting, at least, for they truly would not see night or day again in its unending twilight.

I might as well get some practice.

“Very well, Firefly. They may rot in Tartarus for the rest of their days, and if I should ever have a reason to pay them attention for any reason, I shall know just where to find them. Does that satisfy thee?”

Firefly’s expression betrayed her discomfort long before her voice did. “I… suppose. Princess?”

Firefly had adopted a softer tone again, but Celestia still waited a moment in silence, watching soot blow through the wind, before she replied. “Yes?”

“You have dealt with murderers before, but they have never put you in a state like this. Heck, you so rarely consider execution for any reason. What sets these cultists apart?”

She sighed. She wanted to say that they were worse, that she was upset because they had killed so many, but what put it over the top for her was that they had done so in the name of Nightmare Moon, whom most ponies were painfully aware was her own sister.

“Luna deserves better.”

Firefly returned a confused expression at first, but Celestia watched as she put some of the pieces together.

She continued, “I know not what the future holds, but I will not tolerate such a besmirchment of her name. If I can find a way to bring her back someday, what good could come of Equestria’s perception of her being shaped by actions such as these?”

“No less than if you lend credence to their claims.”

Celestia let her glare speak for her.

Firefly shrugged and took a small step back. “Most only dream of a chance to shape the future. None of us are qualified to help you write it.” She bowed her head once again. “If you would excuse me, Princess, I will see to it that the Guard handles any immediate consequences tonight. You should get some rest. We can talk of the safety of the rest of Equestria’s towns tomorrow.”

Celestia nodded. She listened in a half-attentive state as the door closed behind Firefly a moment later. She was tired, even if her mind begged her not to sleep while there were loose ends yet.

She sighed. If only you were with us still, Starswirl, she thought. You warned us that ruling would be a challenge like no other, and followed through with the good sense not to stick around. Celestia cracked a pained smile at that thought.

You were never uncertain of what had to be done, even when you had not the faintest idea of how to do it. What would you do now?

Celestia dropped her gaze to her hooves. In her experience, he would do something crazy, something she would never have thought of, and it would indirectly solve their problem, even if imperfectly. You never did seem to think in a straight line. How can I preserve Luna’s name? How could I possibly untie her from the atrocities committed today?

For that, she had no answer, and that fact crushed her. Her mind did present another, more feasible option; however, it was not one that pleased her.

Perhaps it would be best if Nightmare Moon, Luna, and my sister were forgotten by history.

Author's Note:

RoboFoME card:

Debt
2U
Enchantment — Song
Return that main phase of turn. (It deals damage to the upkeep."

The EUP forced this turn.

Whenever and card’s controls.

Chaotic 2RR (You may return if a cards & Practivate. (Activate enters on the begin without paying, protection top of turn.)

W, Sacrifice a Songs you cast.

The rest on that library. If you controls to control.

Expected yet ponies lurks in a higher putting for the ancient of the world, but are for the world."


Þis ſtory ſerues two prompts, þe ſecond being "Celestia the Survivor", as detailed in FoME's conteſt here.

I elected not to vſe Early Modern Engliſh orþography in þe narration or dialogue becauſe even a þouſand words of þis would be an vnneceßary torment to moſt readers.

Þis General Firefly is based on þe Firefly þat Rainbow Daſh's G4 character was baſed on, in þat I just looſely baſed her on Rainbow Daſh's character, keeping þe different ſetting in mind.

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