• Published 13th Mar 2020
  • 4,471 Views, 975 Comments

Skeletor, Master of The Empire. - Hotel_Chicken

A monster was dethroned and a demon was thrusted into a position of power he never wanted. Now, the Displaced Lord Skeletor finds himself in the Frozen North of Equestria, fighting frigid temperatures and an evil king.

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Chapter 17. Truth Lies in Belief and Hope.

The new announcement regarding marriage was, of course, met with confusion, discourse, and partial acceptance. The few citizens who had feeling for a pony they knew they could never marry before felt a wave of joy wash over them as they were given the freedom to be who they wanted to be. Silent mares and stallions who had hidden feelings and fantasies felt encouraged to openly practice their newfound freedom and explore the possibilities of forming relationships that were once taboo, but decided to keep their lives secret until others made the first move.

While a small minority of homosexual or “gay” ponies, as the new lord liked to call them, welcomed this new announcement with open hooves, some questioned the logic behind their new lord’s decision. But, while many were confused or even resentful of the new law, very few felt the compelled to vocally object the new law to Lord Skeletor out of a mixture of fear and impeccable respect.

Among these confused ponies was a yellow stallion who had been baking a loaf of bread with his friend, Fresh Bake. Track Record had mindlessly rolled flattened the dough under his hooves as he listened to Fresh Bake regale him with his time spent with a mare named Lacey who he reunited with at the Crystal Fair. The two had been foal hood friends back when they were still looking for their Cutie marks, and had only stumbled across each other by chance during the festivities.

From how fondly Fresh Bake spoke about the pale blue mare, Track Record was fairly certain that the two of them would be spending a lot of time together in the foreseeable future. As Track Record was marveling at the possibly blooming love between Fresh and Lacey, he caught low whispers from ponies who were trotting outside his shop. Like everypony else, they were gossiping about Lord Skeletor’s latest law, something that had been the topic of a silent controversy ever since it was created a few hours ago.

Track Record wasn’t against Lord Skeletor’s law, since his new lord had helped save the Empire from the tyrant, brought back the Crystal Heart, and established a holiday in honor of their previous princess, all in the span of less than a week. But, even though Track Record didn’t hate the new law, he was still very confused by it.

Princess Amore had taught them that the perceived love between two mares or two stallions was just a sense of confusion that plagued the minds of those who strayed from the path of love, and she had told them that the false love between two stallions or two mares would weaken the barrier over the Empire. It felt counterintuitive for Lord Skeletor to legalize something that would undo a great deal of his hard work, but his lord must have had his reasons. Even if Track Record didn’t know the reasons behind Lord Skeletor’s actions, he still trusted his new lord.

Lord Skeletor hadn’t given Track Record or any of the other ponies any reason to doubt his wisdom and leadership. He was certain that there must have been a good reason for Lord Skeletor’s decision, and he hoped that his lord would reveal those reasons at the assembly later that day.

A large crowd of ponies had already converged around the castle before the flugelhorns were scheduled to signal the beginning of Lord Skeletor’s announcement. From the window of his shop, Track Record could see the balcony of the Crystal Castle, an empty platform that was only important because of who would stand on it. Two large flames danced on the ends of the balcony in stone burning bowls that had the Crystal Empire’s flag carved into the bowls.

Above the balcony, two tapestries of the Crystal Empire’s emblem hung on either side of the doors, a recent addition that was added to the Crystal Castle after Amore Memory Day. Track Record was so busy being lost in the memories that the Crystal Empire’s emblem invoked in him, he failed to notice his friend trot up to his side until he bumped him.

“Are you doing okay, Record? You’ve been staring out the window for a while now.”

“I’m alright. Just… Waiting for Lord Skeletor’s announcement,” Track Record replied as he turned his attention towards the sun, watching as it started its slow descent from its peak in the sky. While it took the citizens of the Crystal Empire some time to adjust to the odd new movement of the sun and moon, they were able to still tell the time of day thanks to the position of the sun.

“Yeah, I’m kind of anxious myself. I’m a little worried that he’s going to make normal relationships illegal now after he legalized the uh… What’s it called again?”


“Yeah, that. Heh, kind of weird that he’d use the word ‘happy’ to describe those relationships. But anyway, I just hope that being ‘gay’ isn’t a mandatory thing now. I mean, he wouldn’t do that, right?” Fresh Bake asked with a concerned smile.

“We’ll just have to wait for his announcement,” Track Record replied.

In truth, Track Record was just as confused as Fresh Bake was. The guards and maids of the castle who started to spread the gossip about Lord Skeletor’s new law failed to say whether or not gay relationships would be a mandatory practice in the Empire like previous relationships had been. Relationships could only be formed between a mare and a stallion during Princess Amore’s reign, and consensual relationships were nonexistent during Somrba’s cruel reign over the Empire. So, Track Record was left to wonder what his new lord’s plans were and what they would entail.

Would every relationship need to be between two mares or two stallions, would the old relationships still be allowed to be practiced, was there a new form of punishment for ponies who practiced the old forms of relationships? So many questions went through Track Record’s mind, and like a sign from the heavens promising to answer them, the booming noise of flugelhorns bellowed through the Empire to signal Lord Skeletor’s announcement.

With great haste, Track Record and Fresh Bake galloped out of his shop and towards the Crystal Castle. Track Record’s eyes never left the balcony as he raced down the streets with Fresh Bake in tow, dodging the few ponies who cantered to the plaza instead of breaking into a full gallop.

The mysterious deity that had chosen to take the form of a monster to slay Sombra stepped onto the balcony above the crystal ponies. A face for evil to fear gazed down upon a crowd of colorful ponies who looked back up at him with a mixture of emotions. A hush descended over them as they waited for Lord Skeletor to speak. For a brief moment, Track Record thought that his silence spoke louder than anything he had ever heard.

Lord Skeletor’s silence demanded the respect and attention of the crystal ponies, a power that even the terrifying tyrant, Sombra, failed to achieve. The tyrant used his powers of fear and manipulation to force his slaves to show him respect, while Lord Skeletor’s presence simply demanded it naturally.

After taking a deep breath, Lord Skeletor’s voice boomed over the crowd. “Citizens of the Crystal Empire! I thank you all for gathering here today. I know that you all have important things to do, so I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible for you. I realize that many of you have questions regarding my decision to allow ponies of the same gender to form relationships, and I have appeared to shed light on my new law. To put it bluntly, I saw nothing wrong with the relationship of the two mares who were arrested earlier today.

“The two mares I met were delightful, a farmer and a miner, two ordinary ponies who help their fellow citizens day in and day out. They were no different than the pony standing next to you right now, they held the same aspirations, desires, and fears that all of you have.

“When I entered the throne room, the miner offered her life as tribute to me without any hesitation, in the hopes of sparing her lover from punishment. She was willing to die for her love, to sacrifice herself to keep her lover safe from harm. I have never seen something so moving in my long life.

“The disbelief on their faces when I told them that no harm would befall them both warmed my spirits and threatened to shatter my hope. To know that they had been living in fear for years, even under the rule of Princess Amore, hurt me deeply. They didn’t deserve to live in constant fear, they were good mares who simply wanted to express their love for one another. As such, I have come to the decision to rescind any laws that harmed ponies who sought relationships with the same gender, and I have decided to pass a law legalizing the union between two mares or two stallions,” Lord Skeletor told them.

Low whispers made their way through the crowd of crystal ponies as they silently picked apart Lord Skeletor’s words. A few ponies threw around theories about which mares he was talking about while others questioned if there was anything more to his decision. Quiet questions about the lord’s preferences in sexual partners and ideas about what motivated his choice rippled through the crowd, with only a select few voices reaching Track Record’s ears.

He didn’t care about what the ponies around him were saying, even when Fresh Bake whispered something to him. His attention laid solely on Lord Skeletor, watching his lord silently observe the ponies sharing hushed comments. After allowing his subjects to part with a few more quiet words to the ponies next to them, Lord Skeletor banged his scepter against the balcony to gain the attention of the crowd once again.

All eyes and ears instantly turned back to their lord. Conversations died without any resolution, fearful whispers were cut off without hesitation, and their worried glances were forcefully pulled towards Lord Skeletor.

“If there are any remaining questions I—"

“What about the law Princess Amore passed?!” A stallion in the crowd shouted.

Thousands of heads in the crowd turned to their neighbors, searching for the unidentified voice that interrupted Lord Skeletor, even Track Record’s attention was taken away from Lord Skeletor as he searched for the stallion who spoke out against Lord Skeletor. Whoever the stallion was, they faded into the anonymity of the crowd, becoming one of the many confused faces that looked around for the culprit.

With nowhere else to turn their attention towards after their quick search turned up nothing, the crystal ponies looked back up to Lord Skeletor to hear what he would say. Lord Skeletor glanced behind himself to look at the closer doors to the balcony for a few moments before he returned his focus to the crystal ponies. He fiddled with the collar of his navy-blue cloak, loosening it slightly as he quietly cleared his throat.

“Heh, yes well… Well … There's a good explanation that I have... You see, the thing about that is… She was… uh … She was manipulated!” Lord Skeletor suddenly exclaimed, causing the crowd below him to gasp in surprise. Quiet conversations between ponies started up again as they asked each other for confirmation on what they had heard, even Track Record felt the urge to check with Fresh Bake to see if he didn’t mishear Lord Skeletor.

Taking advantage of the crowd’s surprise, Lord Skeletor continued his explanation with vigor. “Y-yes, I too was appalled by this news. You see, she was lied to by a… A dark spirit that disguised itself as a heavenly ange-ahhhh-I mean messenger! Yes, a fake messenger that claimed to be sent from Faust! The false servant of Faust whispered lies into Princess Amore’s ears, warning her that if two ponies of the same gender loved each other, that it would break the barrier.

“She hated hurting her subjects, forcing them to find love in the opposite gender when they had already found love, but her fear for them and her blind devotion to the lying demon drove her to do anything to protect them. The monster who lied to her used this opportunity to gather the pain she was forced to inflict on her subjects and… and he created a body!” Lord Skeletor revealed to them, causing them to gasp once again. The conversations broke out of whispers and into loud conversations. Questions flew in the air as ponies began to panic at the sudden revelation that their princess, their goddess, was manipulated.

“That’s right! The monster who deceived your goddess was none other than the one who killed her! Like a coward, he chose to deceive her in a form that wasn’t his own, and when his plan failed to lead to mass genocide like he wanted it to, he took it into his own hooves and made a physical body. How else do you think a mortal could slay a goddess? Only a demon of pure evil could slay a goddess of love,” Lord Skeletor revealed to them.

Suddenly, everything made sense to Track Record. He had always wondered how somepony like Sombra could exist, a stallion of pure evil that held not respect for the Alicorns or any sense of morality. Sombra wasn’t a pony at all, he was a demon disguised as a powerful ruva the entire time. How had he not seen it before?! It explained why Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, goddesses who could raise and lower the sun and moon, had difficulty fighting him even when they outnumbered him.

Everything began to make sense as the final puzzle piece fell into place. Sombra was a demon, a monster from the deepest depths of Tartarus. That’s why it took a monster to save them, because only a monster could slay the demon that had disguised itself as a pony.

“I understand that this is a shocking revelation for all of you,” Lord Skeletor told them, breaking Track Record out of his trance as he looked back up at his lord. “It is another thing to add onto the list of atrocities committed by Sombra. He used the spell that was designed to brainwash gay ponies, and turned it on the entire Empire. And now the trickster devil is dead, forever banished to a place where he may never harm us.

“And now that he is dead, I shall end one of his many sickening deeds. I do not know how many times the dark stallion was able to deceive Princess Amore into legalizing, but know that I shall remove them. I will not let his wicked deeds sully the name of your previous princess, I will not let her history and legacy be tainted by his evil. I will purge the Empire of his sins, and bring glory to Princess Amore’s memory!” He exclaimed proudly.

The many ponies below broke out into a chaotic chorus of cheers at his statement, feeling overjoyed at the prospect of purging all of Sombra’s monstrous acts. Lord Skeletor would honor the memory of Princess Amore by fixing the problems caused by Sombra, all while singing the real praises of Princess Amore to his adoring subjects.

Track Record joined in the uproarious cheers, praising Lord Skeletor for honoring their goddess. He was so swept up in the loud cheers that he failed to notice Lord Skeletor disappear behind the balcony doors as the crowd continued to cheer his plans for the Empire.

The faint cheers of thousands of ponies seeped through the closed doors of the balcony. The quiet roar of ponies chanting the name, “Skeletor” trickled in through the walls of the castle, allowing Skeletor to listen to the repetition of his adopted name as he walked alongside Emerald Secret.

The green coated mare was patiently waiting on the other side of the balcony doors as Skeletor delivered his planned speech. Everything was going surprisingly well and, despite his speech being made up in under ten minutes, the crowd received it well until one stallion in the crowd shouted at him.

Thankfully, Skeletor was able to improvise an explanation that didn’t demonize Princess Amore or vilify himself for suggesting that she wasn’t perfect. He was actually pretty proud about how quickly he was able to pull that lie out of his ass. Not only had he managed to avoid any judgment for changing the law, but he also managed to use Sombra as a scapegoat for any future decisions. If there was another law passed by Princess Amore that Skeletor didn’t like, he could just blame it on Sombra and instantly win the Empire’s approval.

Skeletor wore a brilliantly bright smile as he walked towards the throne room, catching the occasional glances of the stoic guards that were standing at attention in front of one of the doors in the castle.

“… My lord, may I ask a question?” Emerald asked as she kept pace with Skeletor.

“Certainly, Emerald,” Skeletor replied.

Emerald cautiously glanced at a pair of guards standing at one of the doors in the hallway, waiting until she and Skeletor were a good distance away from the guards before she spoke to him in a hushed whisper. “… Why did you tell the citizens that Strike offered her life for Dally, and why didn’t you use their names?” She quietly asked.

Skeletor’s cheerful demeanor suddenly dropped like a stone in a lake once Emerald asked him those questions. His moment of triumph disappeared with those few words, reminding him of how fragile his secret really was. If he had done the smart thing and talked to the mares alone, then Emerald Secret wouldn’t have known about that particular lie, thus leaving one less loose end in his lie.

While he had told the truth about both of the mares being terrified of what would happen, he had lied about one of them offering themselves as tribute in the vain hope of saving their lover from whatever horrors they imagined. The crux of his original speech was a complete fabrication, something only he and three other mares knew, or would ever know. And, unfortunately for Skeletor, one of the three mares that knew was trotting right next to him after he had told a bold-faced lie to the entire Empire.

Skeletor subtly looked back at the two guards that they had passed, hoping that Emerald had waited long enough for them to be out of earshot before she spoke to him. He knew they weren’t close enough to overhear them, but that small conformation brought a little comfort to Skeletor.

Instead of answering immediately, Skeletor took his time to think of a proper answer that would satisfy Emerald. He couldn’t think of any reason not to lie to her since Emerald already knew the truth about the loving mares, whom had accepted their “fate” and embraced each other for what they believed would be the last time, so he decided to share his real reasoning.

“To answer your second question first, Emerald, for anonymity. I wanted them to be protected in case the citizens aren’t happy with my decision. If any of them want to air their grievances or look for a face to point the blame at, I will be the only one.

“And for your first question, I told the citizens that one of them tried to defend the other so the citizens could have less to argue against. If they think that one of them was passionately willing to die for the other, then they’ll think more critically about their own beliefs regarding love. If it’s something worth dying for, then it’s something worth protecting and defending.”

“I think I understand… So, what is the plan now?”

“Firstly, I need to have court open for anyone who still has questions. Gather the rest of the council and tell Crumb Catcher and Cannon Fodder to spread word about court being open tomorrow.”

“You’re not going to open it today?”

“No. It’s too short notice and it will only hinder us. I need to have the other council members throw me hypothetical questions the crystal ponies may ask. I was too taken aback by the random stallion earlier, and I won’t be caught with my pants down again.”

Emerald glanced at Skeletor’s bare legs with a raised eyebrow for a brief moment before she shook her head and turned her attention back towards their path down the hall. After a few seconds of silence, Skeletor took notice that Emerald wasn’t immediately carrying out his orders and looked down at her.

“Is there anything else we need to discuss, Emerald?” He asked.

Emerald remained quiet for a few moments as her ears danced on her head, eventually pinning themselves down to the base of her skull as her posture slightly lowered, as if she were a kicked puppy or a scolded child. “My lord, if I may be so bold to ask, how much of your speech was truthful?”

“As much as the ponies needed it to be,” Skeletor cryptically replied. “If anyone were to ask, I’d tell them that I discovered a hidden journal in my room that belonged to Sombra. And if they ever ask to see it, I’ll tell them that I burned it to a crisp in a fit of rage.”

“… … So then, the proof is gone?”

“Ashes in the wind, with my word being the only thing left of it. And who would dare question the word of a lord? Now, if that is all, I need to return to the throne room. Copper Plate should already be there, so have the rest of the council members meet us there as well.”

“Yes, my lord. Is there anything you wanted to do before that?”

“No. Heading to the throne room is my top priority.

“Um… My lord, the throne room is in the other direction…” She pointed out cautiously.

“… I knew that. I was just… taking the scenic route to the throne room, imagining which walls would look nicer with a portrait of myself or Princess Amore on it,” Skeletor lied as he gestured to one of the many blank walls. “But you’re right, I can admire the craftsmanship and beauty of my castle later. I will leave you so you can find the other council members,” he stated as he turned on his heels and went in the opposite direction of Emerald.

As Skeletor walked down the hall, he thought about how lucky he had been so far with all his lies. Skeletor didn’t want to imagine the repercussions his deceptions would lead to if anyone else in the Empire found out. Then again, he had already lied to them about placebos, so what were a few more lies to add to the pile? So long as it kept him alive and them happy, he’d be fine with lying through his teeth.

It did hurt him somewhat to give the ponies in the medical ward a false sense of hope with the watered-down jelly that he fed to them. But, if they believed that it was medicine for the mind, then it had a real chance of helping them. He just needed to let their imagination take that false hope and run with it.

So long as they believed his lies, he could keep them happy and content until he finally went home. The only foreseeable problem was Emerald and the two other mares he spoke to in his throne room. While he was certain no one would believe either of the mares if they told anyone, Emerald had real power in the Empire and nothing to lose if she shared Skeletor’s secrets with the other council members.

He had made it abundantly clear to all three mares that not a single word was to leave the throne room, but what did he have to enforce that rule? They weren’t loyal to him, they didn’t love him like they did with their princess, they feared him. Emerald unknowingly held the silver bullet that could end his life, the truth to his lies that could send an angry mob on him in an instant. And if she were to ever let that truth slip, even accidentally, it would undoubtedly cause a disaster.

Skeletor’s thoughts momentarily drifted back to the magical book that Sombra offered him. The easiest answer to his problems were burnt to a crisp and reduced to ash. He fought against the brief pang of regret that wormed its way into his soul, reminding himself that nothing in that book could have actually helped him. It was a book of dark magic and nothing more, and he could never use the spells that Sombra had placed on his slaves.

Without the possibility of his morally repugnant and easy answer, Skeletor turned to the small sense of hope that he carried inside of himself. It was a fickle and fleeting sensation that slowly shrank with each failed spell, but it was still there. So long as he held onto his own sense of hope, he could take it and run all the way back home with it.

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