• Published 4th Feb 2021
  • 11,039 Views, 1,001 Comments

Choice - zelkova48

When the time came, choices needed to be made. Consequences be damned. A series of short vignettes set in the Negotiationverse by Rated Pony

  • ...


Equestria recoils from the news of Princess Luna's death at the battle of Jerusalem.

Princess Cadance frantically paced back and forth in her audience chamber, her nerves frayed as the unbelievable news of Luna's tragic death shook her to the core. Luna, princess of the night, warden of dreams, scion of the moon, was dead. Another precious member of her family had been killed in the line of duty and it took every ounce of self control not to rage and destroy everything in the room in a fit of despair.

Since the Crystal Cannon had been temporary put out of action by Discord's sabotage Princess Luna personally led the strike force that was to raze the holy city of Jerusalem, confident that her magical abilities and the ponies under her command would be enough to rout the human forces defending it.

And she had every reason to be confident.

During the opening days of the war, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were able to sweep aside entire armies with but a single gesture, demonstrating their prodigious magical might as they rained fire from the sky, split apart the earth and carved the winds. They were nigh invincible, living deities of legend that were all but impervious to pitiable human armaments. They had been successful in the past and despite encountering heavier and heavier resistance with each subsequent engagement continued to plow through enemy forces like a wrecking ball swinging at an outhouse.

It was this complacency that was Luna's first mistake.

When the shooting started it was done so with surgical precision. Princess Luna and her unit had teleported themselves directly into the tiger's cage, and were greeted with death at all angles. Small arms fire, heavy ordinance and fixed gun emplacements opened fired on the strike force, absolutely shredding them in a hailstorm of lead and shrapnel. Undeterred, Luna ordered her unit to stand their ground, fighting back in a misguided display of defiance.

Thinking that they could beat back the assault was Luna's second mistake.

The fighting dragged on for days. To the ponies' shock, magical armor and barriers were failing left and right without explanation. Bullets were actually making their mark and this sudden realization threw the unit into a panic. Without their magical abilities the ponies were little more than miniature horses with sharp sticks and ornate armor, which meant they were now very vulnerable to gunfire. Understanding the direness of the situation Princess Luna immediately called for a tactical retreat. She would stay behind, valiantly buying time for her little ponies to escape before teleporting away to safety.

The belief that she would heroically hold the line then escape at the last minute to regroup with her unit was Luna's third and final mistake.

For reasons she couldn't grasp, Luna felt her magic grow weaker and weaker the longer she held out. Her powerful barrier, once capable of withstanding missile strikes and sustained fire without so much as suffering a scratch was now being steadily chipped away by it, like a chisel to marble. For the first time since her banishment to the moon, Luna felt the cold icy hooves of fear grip at her heart. That fear quickly blossomed into heart pounding terror as the telltale fwhump of an RPG-7 being fired caused the blood in her veins to freeze.

The warhead struck dead on and detonated against Luna's barrier with an ear splitting explosion, showering her in sweltering flames. A sound like shattering glass echoed out into the air as Luna's magical barrier faded away into nothingness, leaving her wide open. When the smoke finally cleared, she was left completely at the mercy of the human soldiers.

An order was shouted that she couldn't make out from the tinnitus right as a bullet tore through the knee of her left foreleg, causing her to buckle and scream in horrific agony. The exit wound it left was traumatic and messy yet the damage the bullet caused wasn't enough to fully amputate the limb. Luna's leg hung limply to the side as she struggled to keep herself upright, remaining doggedly defiant just to spite the humans even as death stared her in the face.

This was the pain that she had inflicted upon humanity and now that pain was being returned tenfold.

The second shot ripped through the side of her flank and the third took out her right ear. The fourth hit dead center with the fifth just barely grazing her. These were all within the span of the same second, a mere prelude just as the air was filled with the sounds of deafening gunfire, impassioned war cries and the clattering of brass shell casings hitting the ground.

For one mad minute round after round was dispensed towards Luna's general direction. The sheer volume of fire was over excessive to the point of being utterly ridiculous, because the soldiers didn't just want Luna dead, they want her deader than dead. They wanted to send a clear message to Equestria that no matter how much magical power you command, no matter how godly you appeared to your own people, you'll die just like anything else.

Eventually the lead stopped flying. Numerous gun barrels were glowing a bright cherry red and radiated so much heat it was a miracle none of them were melting after firing so many rounds off. Mutilated did not even begin to describe what remained of Princess Luna after the salvo. More than anything she resembled a slab of ground chuck that was covered in patches of dark blue fur and feathers. About the only parts that didn't look like it'd been shoved into a meat grinder were her bloodied hooves and horn.

The people of Jerusalem celebrated the second decisive human victory of the war that day by melting down Luna's fineries and using them as the first piece of material in repairing the Temple Mount, the Haram esh-Sharif. When one visits the temple they might notice the glimmering shard of lustrous silver melded into the outer walls.

Princess Luna had fallen during the battle of Jerusalem, the battle that was supposed to be the final nail in the coffin for humanity's fighting spirit.

But everything had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Equestria's attempt to shatter humanity's faith had ultimately backfired on them.

Instead of losing the will to fight the religions of the world all set aside their differences and joined hands as devoted sons and daughters of a vengeful God, becoming an indomitable army of zealous crusaders that were greater than the sum of their parts. They were a force to be reckoned with. After all, the only thing more dangerous than a highly trained soldier was a highly trained soldier who also happens to be a raving fanatic.

This would be the second time that the Equestrians had attempt to exploit humanity's divisive nature, and just as before this fatal miscalculation had cost them dearly.

Equestria as a whole recoiled from the suddenness of Luna's death after having her returned to them less than twenty years ago. The ponies who believed the alicorns were physical goddesses of harmony had their faith put into question as a result, and even the average citizen were left at a complete lost upon hearing the news.

A wave of unrest washed over the country.

Many were in denial about it, believing that there was no way inferior humans would be able to kill an immortal goddess, writing it off as propaganda meant to shake their belief in the princesses. Some believed this to be a clever ploy by Luna as an attempt to undermine the humans by pretending to dead. Others outright denounced their faith, becoming apostates who were still willing to support the war but did so out of character rather than devotion. The rest mourned her loss, praying to her deceased spirit for the strength to weather the storm that was sure to come now that she had perished.

When the war began the possibility of defeat had not even occurred to anypony. They were so sure of victory over the humans that they charged into battle like the knights of old; smiting foes, seeking glory and coming home as heroes worthy of song. But now, the threat of defeat was very much real, and growing more and more likely with each subsequent failure.

Countless thoughts ran through Cadance's mind, each one more distressing than the last. Everything from Equestria's defeat to humanity outright obliterating the continent into nothingness sent waves of panic washing over her. Were it not for the impatient knocking coming from behind the audience chamber's door she would have kept on catastrophizing until she passed out from exhaustion.

"C-come in," Cadance called weakly. The doors to the room cracked open and Twilight cantered in, looking just as haggard and distressed as she was. "Twilight."

"Cadance," Twilight started. "Did you..."

"...I've heard," replied Cadance. "Auntie Luna is... Auntie Luna died in Jerusalem."

"I-I still can't believe it myself," Twilight breathed, looking like she was going to break down any second now. "We... underestimated the humans."

"You think?!" Cadance snapped, getting up in Twilight's face. "Twilight, this is getting out of control! When we started this war we believe that it would be easy, that it would be over within the year. You promised me yourself! We had everything going for us; the barrier, our magic, the potions, the trust of the ponies. The deck had been stacked in our favor. But look where we are now! It's been five years and we're at a stalemate with two for our leaders dead!"

"Cadance, please. I understand your concer-"

"Don't! You! Dare!" Cadance seethed, breathing heavily. "I'm well beyond consoling! What I want are answers! Why aren't we winning?! Why are the humans still resisting?! Why do I continue to lose the people I care most in my life?!"

A loud thwack echoed throughout the air. Cadance's cheek stung with pain from the slap she received from Twilight. "Cadance, control yourself! You're not the only one who's suffering you know!" Twilight yelled, breaking out into tears.

"I'm... I'm sorry," Cadance mumbled, looking away in shame. "It's just... Flurry Heart doesn't know yet."

"You didn't tell her?!" Twilight gaped.

"I'm still deciding whether or not I should. She just started going outside again," Cadance explained. "After Shining Armor died Flurry Heart didn't leave her room for weeks. Only recently she's gotten over her depression and started interacting with ponies again. Seeing her overcome her loss after months of grief had brought some solace to the crystal ponies, it's reinvigorated their support for the war. If I break the news to her that Luna is dead now she'll relapse and shut herself back in again."

Twilight sighed heavily. She sympathized with Cadance, both she and her daughter were put into a difficult position. "...She's going to find out sooner or later. If not from you or me it'll be a slip of the tongue from one of the castle's servants or even a passing comment from a random citizen. It would be better if she heard it from you and soon."

"Y-you're right," Cadance muttered. "I'll tell her after we finished our talk. There are some things that I want to know first."

"I'll answer your questions as best I can."

"How did the humans do it? How did they manage to kill Luna?" Cadance asked, narrowing her eyes. "I can understand Shining's death. He was killed from a distance, it was beyond his control. But Luna was in the thick of it. There was no way in hell she could've died to the humans and their weapons!"

"...Collected statements from the surviving members of Princess Luna's unit have all mentioned that their magic weren't working properly throughout the battle of Jerusalem," said Twilight. "Our scouts from around that area have confirmed that the humans had deployed a device capable of nullifying magic entirely. How they were able to devise such a thing, I can only assume it was through a perverted combination human scientific knowledge and traitorous unicorn magical know-how," she spat the last few words.

"So the rumors were true," Cadance whispered. "The humans have really done it. They've created a magic killer... What does that mean for us?"

"What it means is that we have to be more careful from here on out," Twilight stated firmly. "As long as we maintain our support in the war and in Princess Celestia we'll be able to turn things around. We haven't lost yet."

"How can you so sure?" Cadance raised a brow. "We've been wrong about every single assumption up until this point and every time we've paid for it. What will we be wrong about next, Twilight? That the barrier will hold even as the humans unleash this magic killer upon us?"

"It will hold, Cadance," Twilight stated firmly. "You need to have more faith."

"Well,faith killed Luna," Cadance countered, causing Twilight to wince.

"Okay, that wasn't the most tactful choice of words," Twilight admitted, shifting nervously from hoof to hoof. "Do you have another question?"

"...What of Auntie Luna's body? Are we going to leave her in enemy territory like we left Shining Armor?"

"About that..." Twilight scratched the back of her neck. "Princess Celestia and I recovered her body at great personal risk the other day. She's currently preoccupied preparing her for the funerary procession. The morticians Celestia employed are the best bits can buy and they're hard at work making Luna presentable to the public."

"That's... That's good, isn't it?" Cadance looked hopeful. "When will be the funeral be?"

"That... has yet to be determined."

"What? Why?" Cadance knitted her brow in confusion. "We should should perform Luna's burial rites as soon as possible-"

"And we will," Twilight assured, placing a hoof on Cadance's shoulder. "Listen. I promise you a funeral is going to take place. It's just going to take a bit of time to get everything squared away. Please understand. There's a lot happening and we don't have the luxury of doing whatever we want at the moment."

"...Alright. I trust you," said Cadance. "But when the time comes, all of us are going to that funeral to pay our respects to Luna."

"You can count on that," Twilight nodded. "Is there any other question?"

"No. I think that's all I wanted to know. Thank you," said Cadance as she led Twilight towards the door. "Now, Twilight, It's been nice talking to you again but I'm sure you have more important things to do than fret over me. I'll let you get back to whatever business you had before visiting me."

"...I could stay and help with Flurry Heart," Twilight offered.

"You know what," Cadance paused in her steps, smiling warmly. "I'd like that very much."

Author's Note:

So, weird thing. This chapter was originally supposed to be about the Crystal Empire getting nuked, it somehow ended up being completely about the aftermath of Luna's attack on Jerusalem.