• Published 21st Mar 2024
  • 1,281 Views, 29 Comments

Saved!!! - ArchoPony

A human fell through one of Midnight's portals; and now he's in a 7,000 foot free fall while slowing transforming into a horse.

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12 - The Trial - Part 1

“ It would not have worked. “ Discord said in semi-sarcastic monotone.
“ I made Garble invincible as soon as I heard him say that. “ He crossed his arms with authority.

“ Alright. “ Celestia exclaimed.
“ I believe I am ready to start. “ She waved a authoritative wave at Discord.
Discord then stopped the replaying. The faded images of the reenactment lingered for a bit before disappearing completely.

Ember picking up the Scepter was the last mirage to vanish.

Celestia looked to Luna, who gave her a look so subtle only a sister with a thousands years of experience could even begin to understand.

“ Well, “ Discord rubbed the back of his head.

Discord nervously managed to get the words out:
“ I guess I'll take my leave- “

Before being interrupted by Celestia:
“ I wish you here for the trial. “ Celestia waved a hoof at him.

“ There are also some things I wish to discuss with you... About how you handled the situation. “
Discord looked surprised.
He replied with a simple : “ Oh. “

Celestia cleared her throat.
“ Is it true that you were the one that brought in PonderBright? “
“ Yes. Everything I've shown you is as accurate as I can remember. “
Discord said with a formal bow.

“ Alright. “ Celestia closed her eyes.
“ I would like to ask: why did you listen to PonderBright over Twilight? “ She said with a hoof outstretched. Luna nodded in agreement.

“ That's certainly not how I remember it. “ Discord reposed.
“ All I remember before Ponder taking charge Is Twilight freezing up like a Breezie in the winter. “, “ She didn't say to do or not do anything. And Ponder had good ideas like always, so I... “

Discord looked somberly towards the ground.
“ Well. “
“ Maybe not ALL good ideas. “

Luna looked awkwardly at Discord.
“ Are... You unaware on how the chain of command works? “ She asked in earnest.
Discord shrugged.

Celestia interjected -
“ Discord, we are aware that we failed to give you proper training and instruction. “
“ You are not to blame. “

“ But, in the future, do seek direction from the highest nearby trained authority; even if a nearby civilian has very good ideas. “ She said with near perfect expression and tone, similar to a teacher.

“ Already taken care of. I'm not making that blunder twice. “ Discord admitted.

Discord turned to leave.
He turned back around, forgetting something.

“ Twilight IS one of those trained ponies, right? “ He sheepishly asked.
“ Yes. “, “ She is to be considered one. “ Celestia answered.

“ Apologies. I'm kind new to this... Friends and … working together … and cooperation thing. “
Discord said as if he was a hermit just returning to society.

“ It's OK Discord.” Celestia took a regal tone.
“ Your trying. And that's all we can ask. Equestria thanks you for your service. “

Discord tapped his fingers together.
“ Do – consider what I said yesterday about Ponder, yes? “
He quickly teleported away without waiting to be dismissed; or any response to be had.

“ I'll oversee some modified royal guard training. “ Luna exclaimed to Celestia; pointing a hoof to where Discord used to be.
“ Thank you. “ Celestia blinked slowly.
There was a short period of silence.

“ Is there anything else you wish to add before we begin? “ Celestia turned to Luna.
“ No, his dream and our conversation is all I had to offer. “ She responded.

Celestia inhaled slightly.
“ Very well. Then we shall begin. “

She nodded to a guard pony, who knocked on the big metal blast door to the throne room.
After a short while, it opened. And three ponies stepped in with a four guard escort :

Rarity, looking confused.
PonderBright, looking depressed.
And Twilight, looking ever so defeated before the trail even began, was the first to speak.

“ I'm so sorry about this. “ Twilight said looking Celestia's way.
“ I didn't mean for any of this to happen. “

“ No need to apologize again, Twilight. “ Celestia said in response.
“ It's very clear to me that none of this was the intention of any pony. “ She said while moving her gaze to Luna; giving her a chance to speak.

“ My thoughts as well. “ Luna added.

PonderBright seemed to get over his most recent depressive state a bit with the last two assertions.
He was about to speak, when -

“ I would like to clarify before we begin : we are here to discuss the events that happened to you In the Dragon Lands. “
Her voice echoed over them, not giving them a chance to speak.
“ I would like to know from your point of view what happened. “
Celestia waited patiently through the silence she created.
Her face had started to return to blankness; the beginnings of a poker face.

“ Well, If you don't mind, might I share first? “ Rarity had broken the silence, pointing a hoof to herself.
“ Certainly. Whenever your ready; step forward. “ Celestia responded.

Rarity obeyed the command in minor confusion. She had never had to do this before when speaking to Celestia, even with an audience.

“ Well, so there we were, listening to the dragons talk about new leaders- “
“ When they started talking about doing horrid things to Equestria if they were ever made so. “

“ So Twilight froze up, “
“ Like she normally does “
“ And Ponder started taking charge “

PonderBright and Twilight both inadvertently shared looks of confusion.
They both wanted to say something; when they realized Celestia's gaze was not on Rarity...
But them.

Celestia's expression had shifted too. Ever so slightly.

' Is she... bored? ' Twilight was thinking back to her many years with Celestia as her student.
' And why was she looking this way? '

Twilight was just now getting to see her former teacher as something much more.

Something that could only be created with over 1,000 years of refinement.
Twilight continued to stare in awe, almost disbelief.
Why hadn't she noticed any of this sooner?


Was Celestia just this good at hiding it?

' Wow I am sure glad I'm autistic. ' Ponder was thinking in this moment; watching Twilight ' shake up ' a bit from nervousness per Celestia's stare.

' If I've been able to be defeated by a mere stare I'd would have died long ago. Waaay back at the beginning of my school days. '

He had noticed that some weak willed people back in said school days tended to cave at the slightest hint of push back. He was glad he was not one of them.
Unfortunately his more aggressive take on life did him no favors this time around.
He continued to focus on Rarity, not looking deeper as to why Twilight was acting this way.

Twilight's now stiff posture promoted Celestia to smile a bit and return her gaze to Rarity.
“ And that's when he slammed his arm down, right in front of Ember. “

Celestia's attention instantly switched from secretly observing the other two, to now openly asking Rarity:
“ Rarity, if you must guess, why do you think Ponder did so? “
Ponder froze up. Rarity, who was faced away and slightly ahead compared to Ponder, did not notice.

“ Why, he was defending Twilight no less! “
“ That much was obvious. “

Ponder looked at Twilight.
Twilight grew a conflicted look, and looked away.

Celestia turned to PonderBright.
“ PonderBright, Why didn't you ask Discord to extend the invincibility to Twilight? “

It took him awhile to come up with the words.
“ I tried. He wasn't responding. “
“ He seemed occupied, with something else. “
He depressingly stated.

Celestia thought to herself.
So Discord really isn't all knowing.
And quite a unreliable narrator at that.

Luna broke her concentration.
“ Sister, I must attest to Ponder's actions here. It is easy for heightened emotions to take over in a difficult situation such as that. “
She took a small moment before responding.

“ I understand Luna, dooley noted. “
Celestia nodded.

Everypony was getting a clearer understanding of how it went down.
The conversation went on.

“ And thats when... He slashed her leg. “
“ Honestly It was only a matter of time before he found a way to inflict some damage to somepony. “
Twilight was looking downward with those last two sentences; now even more worried then Ponder, who was staring into space.

“ And that's when he arrived. Ponder. “
“ He slammed Garble into the back wall and threatened to kill him. “

“ Twilight went to save him, but... He flew away somehow? “
“ To spite Ponder being held in place? Perhaps he slipped through his claws?“
“ I'm sorry If I'm not being helpful enough darlings. “ She said apologetically, pulling a hoof closer to herself.

“ It's quite alright. “ Celestia reassured her.
“ Just stick to what you know. “ She further stretched her tone.

“ Well, then Twilight stared at him for a bit and he left. “
“ Through a hole in the wall he made? “ Celestia asked.
“ Yes. “ Rarity said.

Rarity took a pause.

“ Wait. “
“ You knew? “, “ This whole time? “

“ Sort of. “ Celestia Gently tilted her head.
“ Discord can't be paying attention to everything all at once now, can he? “

“ Oh. “
“ Well, thank you dear, for wanting to hear my side of the story. “ Rarity said in earnest.

“ Your welcome Rarity. “ Celestia reposed.
“ And I thank you sharing your experience. It did paint Ponder in a much more positive light. “
“ PonderBright, If you could step forward. “

' She didn't ask a volunteer this time. ' He thought to himself.
He was beginning to realize what had gotten into Twilight. This was a thousand + year old queen. Will his high intellect even be enough put him at an advantage here?

Did it put him at an advantage during the Gauntlet?

Did it really ever? Or did It just piss the other person off, while his point zoomed right over their heads?

Uh oh.

Thoughts like these ruminated around in his head at lightning speed as he was walking. His face grew quite contorted quite quickly due the speed of his rumination.

Celestia had been noticing this change.
“ PonderBright, hopefully your testimony will help us reach a decision. “ Celestia exclaimed.

Was her mind not made up?
' Was there really a chance? '
Ponder was thinking.

His posture softened.
“ Alright. “ He said, still with minor sorrow.

“ I'm ready. “
“ Why did you not kill Garble? “ She abruptly asked.

He froze a bit, but not completely.

Celestia's eyes were very much focused on him. Not a harsh gaze. One for focusing; collecting information.
Luna attempted to exchange a short look with her sister, not knowing completely what's going on either, until Ponder spoke.

“ It was for three reasons. “

“ The first was, I'm unsure about what I was doing was the best way. “
Twilight's posture softened a little bit.

Everyone in the room continued to let him speak.
“ You have your entire culture and civilization built on such... Soft … And happy... And fragile things. “ Ponder was looking to the Sisters this sentence.

He quickly looked back towards nowhere, as he wasn't good with eye contact.

“ And I didn't think that kind of diplomacy was what any of you wanted. “
“ Or needed. “
“ You are correct. “ Celestia exclaimed.

Ponder waited a bit; for another response.
Celestia patiently waited. A poker face fit for an (alicorn) god.

He continued:
“ The second being I was doubting the effectiveness of my solution. “
Celestia raised her head a bit, but not with Ponder noticing.

“ Dragons are not humans. “, “ And neither are Ponies. “
“ And while making an example like that would have worked wonders back in my world... “
He solemnly looked back towards the other 2 ponies.

He looked back towards the Sisters with certainly.
“ - There are cultural differences between us, there are very fundamental mental ones as well. “
“ I doubted It would have had the same effect. “
“ I was worried It might even backfire. “

“ The third.... “ He was almost gasping for air.

He was trying to formulate how to say it best.

' He didn't deserve it? ' No. Too unbelievable since she heard his tone via Discord.
' I changed my mind? ' Not that one either. Too wishy-washy for a pony with his conviction and consistency. If only he were Pinkie Pie.

He was at a loss.

His mind wondered to his conversations with other ponies,
mainly AppleJack.

Screw it.

If he was going out burning-at-the-stake style, he might as well go out

He looked back up to the sisters.

“ My desire to see him saved outweighed my desire to see Justice done. “
Luna raised her head a bit.
Celestia resisted that urge.

Both the background ponies in the room took on much more dramatic poses.
Celestia's eyes turned to Luna for a bit. To confirm her expression.
She return her gaze to Ponder.

She waited.
“ Could you further explain? “ Celestia had to ask to move the conversation along.

Ponder contemplated for a bit.
“ I wanted to see him suffer. In pain. “
The peanut gallery from behind him became ever more uncomfortable.

“ As much pain as he inflicted on others for fun, I wanted the same done to him. “
“ In my world we call that Justice. “

Celestia interjected: “ And when you mentioned you had warned Garble in an indirect way, is what you were referring too? “
She had given him an out.

He took it.
“ Yes. I had talked to him earlier about it. “
“ Pointing out how horrid it was. “
“ And how he would never succeed. At least, not in a complete sense. “
He had fumbled his words.

“ Garble would never succeed permanently, I mean. “
“ And you wished to see him, ' Saved? ' ?“ She further asked.

“ Yes. “ He looked down to his hoofs.
“ I realized that he might not even know the whole of what he's doing. “
“ Even if I explained exactly that. “ He said with disdain.
“ I realized I was judging him too harshly; by a standard to which I hold myself. “

Rarity had been struck in the heart for awhile now; per Ponder's testimony.

She finally spoke up in the middle of their conversation:
“ Dear... “, “ You can't possibly be keeping track of every little thing you say or do to self improvement all by yourself... “, “ And especially not except yourself to completely change your ways after just one conversation! “

“ That's what friends are for – be a little generous to yourself! “ She said while pointing a hoof to him.
Twilight was pleasantly surprised at this outburst

It seemed to resonate with Luna, too.
Rarity's eye widened and she grew surprised.

“ Oh- ! “
“ I'm dreadfully sorry. “

“ You were talking and I just- “
“ It's quite alright Rarity. “ Celestia responded, finding a cut in Rarity's sentence.
“ But, since you are done with your testimony, I must ask you to take your leave. “

“ Oh. - Alright. “

“ Sorry. Again. “
Rarity said as she walked out.

The doors closed as Celestia gathered herself.
Ponder managed to get in some words first.

“ I know I probably... violated some social taboo of sorts. “
He said with dismay.
“ I saw their reaction, and it wasn't good. “

“ But if I were to do it all again with the same knowledge I had back then, knocking Garble out would be the only thing I would change. “

“ I would like to add. “ Celestia started in.
“ You did disobey my direct order to listen to Twilight when you ran off with Discord and Rarity. “

Ponder looked confused.
“ So, you do not regret anything else about your time in the dragon lands? “ Celesta had shifted in her seat a bit.

“ No. “ He said in confident monotone.
“ I did what I thought might save my friends, and Equestria as a whole. I have no regrets. “
He said, as if a verdict would be handed down instantly.
Twilight looked away, conflicted.

Celestia turned to Luna.
“ The usual? “

“ Indeed. “ Luna answered.
“ And I also don't know why we bothered with the truth-spells. “ She waved her horn. Various magics in the area dispelled themselves.

“ Though. “ She looked to Ponder, then back to Celestia.
“ I would like to talk with PonderBright privately. “
Twilight was looking stiff - like she need to stretch.

“ PonderBright, If you will. “
“ What? “ Ponder let Luna know he wasn't getting it.

“ Come with me. “
She got up, and he followed her into a side room.

Author's Note:

I am open to PM. No discord or email. Do not use email. Please.
I am open to work, even collaborations. I can't draw. Muscle condition.

Want to test my writing with this one. Will try to write more and more challenging subjects as time goes on.
All criticism minus something that can only be seen as a nitpick will be appreciated.

High court stuff involving 1,000 year old immortals necessitates careful writing.
And also subtlety.