• Published 17th Dec 2011
  • 5,578 Views, 98 Comments

Twist in the Tail: Community Service - Midnightshadow



Spinoff to "A Twist in the Tail" - here we follow Edge as she is sentenced for her crimes...

  • ...
16
 98
 5,578

Getting the Gang Back Together

A Twist in the Tail
Minisodes

Community Service
Part 1
Getting the Gang Back Together


Edge followed the two pegasus guards with her head held low. When she dared a glance behind, two more pegasus guards glared at her with stony expressions.

The morning before her audience, she had been told by an officious-looking unicorn, “You will address them as ‘your highness’, you will speak only when spoken to. You will answer all questions honestly, truthfully and to the best of your ability and you will not turn your back on either one of them until you have been dismissed, is that understood?”

“Yes sir.” Edge had squeaked out. The unicorn stared her down until she felt like the earth would open up and swallow her.

“That is yes ma’am, but under the circumstances I will be lenient.”

“Sorry ma’am!” Edge’s heart sank. How were you supposed to tell these ponies apart?

“Good. You may yet one day be fit to wear that body.” the unicorn had turned around smartly at that point, flicking Edge in the face with her tail, before storming out. The guards had surrounded her, and she’d been bustled off to meet Celestia and Luna to plead her case.

As her hooves echoed down the corridor ahead of her, Edge thought back to the last few days, to before she’d entered Equestria. Edge had been a man then. Not only a human, but a man. Edge snorted, a boy, really. Barely sixteen with a chip the size of the Grand Canyon on his shoulder. It was all that damned Simone’s fault, somehow. She’d got him to steal the wrong potion. How was he supposed to know it would work? Not only that, but it was a special potion, or something. She fluttered her wings in annoyance. Upon taking it, she’d woken up not only as a pony, but as a mare. A pegasus mare, and to top off the embarrassment, she was in season. Hopefully that last bit was only temporary, but - as the vet had oh-so-maliciously enjoyed telling her - plenty of good sunshine had a way of prolonging the situation.

The double doors were huge, enormous. They stretched many feet into the air and looked like their weighed a ton, and yet they opened without a sound.

“You will enter and stand before Celestia and Luna.” said one of the guards. Edge had no idea what his name was, she hadn’t asked and he hadn’t exactly offered. Not a single one had spoken to her the entire trip, until now.

“What... what do I do?”

“You’ll know.”

Edge gulped, and walked nervously into the room.

The room was huge, even larger than the doors would have suggested. It was a ballroom, the ceiling disappearing into vaulted shadows and the walls so far apart you’d need a suspension bridge instead of rafters. Edge clip-clopped through the room and couldn’t help but notice she seemed to be entirely alone, apart from two forms reclining upon what looked like large, comfortable thrones on a raised dais.

“WHO NOW STANDETH BEFORE US, THE TWIN PRINCESSES OF EQUESTRIA? SPEAK!”

The voice, oh goodness the voice! Edge cringed. The voice was like a powerchord from one of those thrash metal bands of the last century. She swore the building shook.

“I, er, er, I...”

“THAT IS A VERY STRANGE NAME, SUBJECT. WE ADVISE THEE TO PROCURE ANOTHER!”

“Sorry!” squeaked Edge.

“IT IS QUITE ALRIGHT, SUBJECT AYE-ER-ER-AYE! SPEAK UP NOW! FOR WHAT REASON IS THINE PRESENCE MET HERE TODAY?”

“!” managed Edge, cowering even more.

“OUR EARS ARE UNABLE--”

“Luna, Luna dear, please stop teasing her, can’t you see the poor thing is scared... oh dear, now look what you’ve done. We’ll have to send for the janitors to clean that up. Thank goodness I insisted on no carpets today.”

“THOU DAREST MARK THE ROYAL--”

“Luna, dearest...”

There was a sound not unlike a pony turning her nose up in a huff and sulking.

“That’s better. Approach the throne, Edge of Equestria.”

Edge stood, or rather cowered, shaking. Her legs unable to move, her heart beating a staccato, blood pounding in her ears...

“I swear, every other pegasus is either brash as the day is long or skittish as a newborn foal.” said Celestia, her horn bursting into light as she lifted Edge into the air.

Edge found herself spun around and sat up properly in front of the two thrones of Equestria. She remembered this place from her dream, it had been full of... strange creatures, ponies with horns, wings... some had been male, very noticeably so. It made her blush to think of it.

Celestia - who else could it be, the pony before her had a mane that shone with all the colours of the aurora, a long pearly horn and two huge yet dainty wings on her back - peered at a scroll through a neat pair of spectacles. Edge couldn’t help but notice that her younger but only slightly smaller sister was doing much the same. Celestias expression was hard but kind. Luna glared like a basilisk. Edge swore she saw smoke from her nostrils.

“It says here you compared my sister and I to... what was it? ‘Horn-headed chicken-winged donkeys’?”

“THOU DAREST!” shouted Luna, stomping a hoof. Edge whimpered when sparks flew from the granite.

“I...”

“And apparently you claimed that ponification potion was just a pretext to,” Celestia cleared her throat, though it strangely sounded almost like a laugh, “to having your brain scooped out with a melon-baller?”

“ANOTHER BASE LIE! THY BRAIN IS ENTIRELY WHOLE AND UN-SCOOPED!” Luna shouted, the Royal Canterlot Voice echoing from the rafters.

“And we shall add to those charges causing us to call the janitors in not once but twice.” noted Celestia, “How do you plead?”

“I... I...”

Luna shook her wings out and stood up, “This young yearling, methinks, has little common courtesy and even less between the ears. In my day we’d have a simple, easy punishment. Throw her to the manticores.”

“Now, now,” said Celestia, “we do not throw ponies to the manticores any more.”

“Please don’t throw me to the manticores! I’ll do anything!” Edge squealed.

“To the cockatrice?”

“Oh, Edge, whatever shall I do with you newfoals? You do perplex me so.”

“I do believe we have some very vicious rabbits..?”

Celestia blinked, “You want to throw her to the rabbits?”

“I am assured they can give quite a savaging to a cabbage.” Luna looked unsure of herself now, “And they do have rather large teeth. Maybe if they weren’t fed for a few days, though that would be rather cruel to the rabbits...”

Celestia stood there, blinking, as Luna carried on for a few moments. Then she shook her head, “Edge, walk with me to the gardens.”

The sun was high by now, the gardens deserted. Edge looked around nervously at all the statues. They were so lifelike! Three little foals, a few unicorns, even a pegasus with his hoof raised in apparent anger or self-righteousness to the sky. What would the princess do? Would Celestia turn her to ash? Turn her inside-out? Melt her down into a puddle?”

A hoof gently touched her shoulder. Edge screamed and collapsed into a heap, sobbing, “I didn’t mean it! I was an idiot! I was just mouthing off! I was trying to be... be... to be somebody! Don’t scoop out my brains or turn me to ash or melt me into a puddle or...”

“Edge, I can assure you, I won’t do any such thing.”

Edge sobbed, and nodded her head.

“I do however have to punish you. I can’t have my subjects insulting me, my sister or my people without consequences.”

Edge started wailing again, “Don’t... you’re going to lock me away, aren’t you? Or banish me and then lock me away in the place that you banish me to!”

“Do you think I should?”

“Nooooooo!” Edge wailed, “I’ll do anything! I’m sorry! I’ll... I’ll make it up to you! All of you!”

Celestia tapped her chin demurely, eyes sparkling, “I think I have just the deal for you, young Edge. First of all, I am quite aware you took a specific version of the potion. I am going to have you live under it’s effects until after your sentence is carried out, for reasons which will become clear upon your sentencing. Secondly, the duration will be thusly calculated; one day for every man, woman, child, stallion, mare or foal you have insulted. That’s something over five hundred, so we shall be lenient and round it down to a mere five hundred days... of community service. With time off for good behaviour.”

“Co-community service?”

“Quite. Primarily in Equestria, perhaps in Mundus Mundi as I see fit. You will, at the whim and behest of the crown, present yourselves to the good citizens of Equestria and explain to them what you are, where you are from and why you are here.”

“That’s it?” squeaked Edge.

Celestia smiled, “Perhaps in time you will wish you had been thrown to the manticores. Foals can be quite the hoof-full. You will note down your thoughts and feelings in a daily diary, and you will send regular reports to me or to my sister, Luna, on your findings.”

***

Dear Diary,

I hate you. They gave me this stupid diary and now I have to write in it and I hate it. I’ll write in it, but I don’t have to like it. Have I said how much I hate it yet? 500 days. 500! One day for every person, pony included, I ‘insulted’ or some crap like that. It’s not fair!

Die in a fire,

Edge.

Edge put the quill stopper into the inkwell and flipped the diary closed. She turned to her case worker and snorted angrily. “There. I wrote in the stupid diary. Are you happy?”

“Very good, Edge. Your writing is improving, at least. Do you know where we’re going now?”

“No.” Edge was sullen, sulky.

“That’s no Misses Providence if you please.”

Edge looked sullenly out the gondola of the balloon until Misses Providence harrumphed insistently.

“No, Misses Providence, please do tell.”

“We’re going to meet the rest of our little band of adventurers, won’t that be lovely?”

“Just swell, Misses Providence.” replied Edge in her sing-song voice.

The old unicorn adjusted the glasses on the bridge of her nose and pulled the woolen shawl around her shoulders, “It could have been worse, my girl, you could have been decorating the princesses’ gardens for a thousand years.”

Edge hiccuped and turned quickly, “What?”

“You didn’t see all those statues when her highness took you for a walk? Legend has it they were ponies, badly behaved little ponies. Badly behaved little ponies of the sort to insult the princesses of the sun and moon by calling them things like... what was it?”

Edge gulped, “horn-brained chicken-winged donkeys?”

“Oh, yes, if I were going to turn a pony to stone I think that’d be a good reason, don’t you?”

“A thousand years?” squeaked Edge.

“Oh, at least. Maybe longer. She sent her own sister to the moon for a thousand years, after all, think what Celestia could do to a naughty little spiteful potty-mouthed pony she isn’t related to.”

Edge’s heart sunk. This was awful. Worse than awful! She hadn’t even meant it...

They’d assigned her a case worker and given her a diary to record her thoughts and feelings in, as part of said service. She’d been given some supplies - what little clothing ponies needed, some necessities, a wash kit and the like - and then packed off in a balloon to goodness-knows-where.

She hated it.

Edge looked over the side of the gondola. Heights scared her. Her wings fluttered nervously as she peered down at the ground, a checkerboard of fields, orchards and buildings could be seen, gradually increasing in density. Her mouth was dry in the cool air, but there was surprisingly little wind. There was some sort of glowing engine put-putting along that propelled the balloon. Edge didn’t think Equestrians had had aircraft, let alone engines. Edge’s heart sank as she realised she knew very little about her new home at all.

The balloon drifted lower at some unseen signal, Edge suspected it was Misses Providence doing the directing. The balloon turned and spiralled lower and lower until the checkerboard pattern became instead trees, buildings and animals. Finally, there was a small bump as the balloon touched ground. Providence opened the door to the gondola and stepped out. She consulted a rolled-up map for a few moments and then tapped her hooves on the ground impatiently. Presently eight figures could be seen making their way up the winding cobbled path. Four strong earth-pony guards surrounded three sullen figures, and a fifth pony walked at their head.

“Good morning, Ma’am, welcome to Ponyville.”

“Thank you, Mayor Mare. If you will present the paperwork, I can sign it and then we can all be on our way. I take it my charges have been suitably restrained?”

“Oh yes, although is this really necessary?”

“Quite, those spell-bands are for their good as much as your own. They help keep them out of trouble, and also make them very easy to find should they accidentally get lost.”

Accidentally, thought Edge, that’s a good one. She peered down at the red carved bracelet around her right front hoof. It wouldn’t come off, not until her sentence was done. She idly noted that each of the three sullen figures before her had similar bands, though one, a unicorn, had it on her horn. Edge figured it was probably there to inhibit the unicorn’s magic. Flight didn’t seem to be such an issue.

With a final flourish, Misses Providence finished putting her signature on the two required scrolls, the earth pony that had been identified as Mayor Mare bowed smartly and then turned around and left.

Misses Providence turned back to her ‘charges’ and smiled. It seemed warm enough, and her voice was soft, “Alright then, we’ve all had a long trip to get to this little get-together. I think you’ve earned some time off. Go mingle, be back here at two sharp and we’ll start on your acts, okay dearies?”

Just like that, the older unicorn dismissed them. She promptly walked over to a nearby tree and lay herself down under it and started snoring. Edge blinked, she hadn’t expected this at all. She turned her attention back to her fellow prisoners and stared.

“Eh, you’ll get used to it, dweeb. Name’s Gilda. Gilda Griffon.”

“E-Edge.” said Edge, head swinging between the sleeping unicorn and the others.

“Edge, huh. I get to blame you for all this, then.”

“Simone?” squeaked Edge.

“Yeah, Simone. You make a pretty filly, Edge. Do as I say and you’ll stay that way.” the young unicorn mare said in a threatening tone.

“You, I like.” said Gilda, “Not so sure about this other one.”

“Charmed, I’m sure.” said the last creature. Edge stared, she couldn’t stop. Simone was a unicorn. Gilda was a griffon. This last one...

“Bedlam, my name’s Bedlam. I advise you not to forget it, and yes, I am a draconequus. Uncle Discord’s infamy may have spread far and wide recently, but my treatment has been anything but fair.”

The strange creature glared. She had much the same expression as Luna had. Two strange wings, neither seemed to match the other nor the rest of her, adorned her back. Two stag-like horns jutted from her head and her tail was serpentine and draconic. Her head was angular, with two small fangs that poked out of her muzzle. Each eye was a different colour and her gaze seemed to see into the very soul.

“What did you do?” asked Edge, nervously.

“Eh, I might have accidentally turned a couple of houses to cheese, nothing serious. I said their decor stunk. They didn’t believe me. They do now.”

“They caught me stealing potion. Well, they caught me, and then had to ponify me. It’s not fun when you get that shit on your skin, let me tell you.” said Simone off-hoofedly.

“And I stole an apple.” said Gilda.

“An apple?” asked Edge, raising an eyebrow and flicking an ear.

“...cart.” The griffon finished. “And then drove it into a shop. Then the shop burnt down and, eh, blah blah something something, community service. What about you, pipsqueak?”

“I kinda... insulted a bunch of people at a bureau, or something...”

Gilda snorted, “Dweeb.”

“A-and I kinda called the princesses horn-headed, chicken winged donkeys.”

“Now that is hardcore. You’re alright with me, Edge. Come on, let’s see what they’ve got in this flip-flop dump of a town for a bunch of righteous criminals to do.” Gilda punched Edge in the flank. The breath whistled out of her, but she grinned, weakly. This was going to be a long five hundred days.