• Published 20th Nov 2019
  • 1,064 Views, 63 Comments

Dividing Infinity - Coyote de La Mancha

When Cadence destroys the Crystal Palace, Queen Twilight must find out why... before her world tears itself apart.

  • ...


“What?” The Queen stared at the ebon stallion, her mind all but frozen.

But Forthright Lance only nodded. “There can be no mistake, Your Highness. I have the report for you, of course.”

He held the stuffed manila envelope out to his liege, continuing, “But the scene has been investigated thoroughly. Fragments of bodies are everywhere, and the blast definitely came from within. Only someone of a princess’ power could have destroyed the palace so completely with a single blast. I’m sorry, but there were no--”

With a violet flash from her horn, the Queen flicked the envelope to land on a nearby table.

“Gather your soldiers,” she commanded as she began to pace. “I should have been informed of this immediately. I want Canterlot secure against attack or infiltration from all directions, and send word to have every town and village evacuated into the major cities.”

He blinked. “All of them? You mean, throughout Equestria?”

She shook her head. “No, I mean everywhere. Now go.” She turned to the door. “Falstaff!”

Even as the captain of the Queen’s Personal Guard departed, her Major Domo entered, puzzled and bowing. “Your Majesty—”

“There’s no time, just listen. Hours ago, the Crystal Palace was destroyed. The crime scene has already been gone over, and the criminals are still at large. Send word to the Crystal Empire that nothing about the crime scene is to be touched further; I am hereby conducting my own investigation. Alert the Hierarchy of Magi that they are to have every major city in the world shielded and prepared for an influx of evacuees. I want every sapient in those cities screened, every point of egress warded against magical assault.

“Also, inform the Council of Wyrms that the skies and the ley lines are to be held, and send word to the Sea Kingdoms that the oceans are to be bound until I decree otherwise. Now.

Another hasty bow. “Your Majesty.”

As Falstaff galloped away, the World Queen turned to the Apparatus, and again her horn glowed with power. An instant later, the sound of scores of confused voices could be heard in the nearby rooms, suddenly filled with Scouts unceremoniously returned from their missions.

Her eyes narrowed. There was a terrible sound, and the gem-like walls separating the Scouts from her were curled and peeled away, the stones forming themselves into block pillars as they assembled themselves in the far corners. Now three hundred ponies surrounded her, their views unimpeded.

“Hear me,” she said, and the entire area was filled with silence. “There has been a murder. Princess Cadence, her family, and all those within and around their palace home are dead.”

There was a stirring among the Scouts. Disbelief, anger, shock, grief. But all lapsed into silence as their queen spoke again.

“You are going there.” She said. “All of you. The devastated ruins of a palace are massive. The emotional shock will be tremendous, and effective clean-up will not have been started yet. You are hereby empowered in my name to conduct searches, seize evidence, and arrest and detain suspects as need be, regardless of their status or rank. You are going to examine everything about the place.”

She bared her teeth. “Everything. You will see what others did not know how to see. You will find what others did not know how to find. You will use everything you have learned in your travels. And you will identify those responsible.

“However,” she went on, “regardless of their identities, the murderers are not to be harmed any more than necessary. I want them here. I want them to stand trial. And above all, you are to take no unnecessary risks in bringing these criminals in.”

She took a breath. “I want you back alive. All of you.”

Queen Twilight looked out across the sea of faces before her, each one personally chosen by her for their talents, their strengths, and their passion for learning. Each pony, a story she knew too well.

“Report to your superiors within the Order, or directly to me, rather than endanger your own life,” she said. “Some of you have been with me since this project started. Others, only a little while. I know this might sound strange, with the dangerous nature of what we do here. But… I don’t want to lose you, too.”

Her voice cracked as she added, “Not one of you…”

There was a moment’s pause, and one of her first Scouts, a silver-haired stallion named Wind Walker, stepped up and looked at Her Dread Majesty for a moment, before lunging forward and hugging her in a fierce embrace. She was taken aback, even as she felt another pony embrace her from the side. And another. And another. Feeling very foolish, she hugged them back, with forelegs and wings, even as the sound of ponies stepping forward became a wave of support, even as she fought against the tears that threatened to fall.

How? How had this happened? When did she start making friends again? Why hadn’t she learned? With their strength holding her up, the tears escaped her control at last, and Twilight Sparkle, the World Queen, the last surviving alicorn, buried her face in Wind Walker’s shoulder, openly and loudly weeping with her people.

Throughout the world, the Alicorn Queen commanded the loyalty of her subjects. Some through pride, some through honor, and many through simple fear. Only among the Royal Scouts was that loyalty given out of love.

Sometime later, after teleporting the Royal Scouts to the Crystal Empire, the Queen summoned one of her Minor Domos as she strode down her castle halls.

“Do you have the contact information for Akane Apple?” she asked. “I’d like to bring her in on the Crystal Empire murder.”

“Your Highness?”

“Akane Apple. I think we could use her unorthodoxy on this case.”

At her Minor Domo’s blank look, she tried, “Court Investigator? Martial artist? Daughter of Roundhouse Pell and…” she trailed off, her hoofsteps coming to a halt.

She sighed. “Remind me, what’s your name again?”

“Abacus Plinth, Your Highness.”

“Right. Sooooo, Abacus. Who is the current Court Investigator?”

“We don’t have one, Your Highness.”

Becoming less and less pleased by the second, Twilight inquired, “And just how long has there been no Court Investigator?”

“The office was dissolved twelve years ago, Your Highness.”

“Of course it was!”

Twilight took a breath to steady herself. “Well, Akane had a daughter. Anna. I just bet she taught her little girl a thing or two about detecting…”

She started to say something else to the stallion, then thought better of it.

“Tell you what, I’m going to Sweet Apple Acres,” she said instead. “If anypony needs me, I’ll be either there or on my way back here.”

There was a burst of purple light, and she was gone, leaving Abacus Plinth to stare at where she had been in dismay.

“But… Sweet Apple Acres is gone…”