Imperialism Meets Sombra...ism

by RainbowBob

First published

When political turmoil turns into widespread riots, Princess Cadance has no choice but to host elections in the Crystal Empire. Her opponent? King Sombra.

Princess Cadance has some problems in her sovereignty over the Crystal Empire. For one thing, she isn't even a crystal pony. Another thing is that the crystal ponies would much rather have the former King Sombra rule over them... despite previously reigning with an iron hoof and treating the populace like whipping mules. To prevent civil war, Cadance has a brilliant idea to ensure her bid for the throne while pleasing the people: have an election.

And it's any wonder ponies don't have democracy.

Collab with the undeniably blue and of a shifty variety Blueshift. Go on and check his stuff out!

Also, big thanks to my editors Aragon, Themaskedferret, and prereader Skeeter The Lurker.

Chapter 1: To Be Perfectly Honest, He Wasn't That Bad

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Cadance awakened still wrapped by the close comfort of sleep. But like any busy-body politician, she knew she’d have to get up eventually and go about her day… in around five minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, she was finally out of the shower and brushing her teeth and mane. Having pearly whites were half the selling point of being a princess. The other half was having a well-maintained mane, which currently was giving her the most bother. Yet again she cursed her misfortune of not having spectral manes like her aunts. They probably never had to deal with bad mane days.

After that she exited her room, looking as glamorous as ever. Floating by her side was a clipboard of upcoming events she’d have to attend and overview. She liked to be kept up to date and organized on all matters in her empire. First and only item on the checklist was, of course, the protesters for free speech.

“Pffft.” Cadance rolled her eyes and crumbled up the paper into a wadded up ball and threw it over her shoulder. “Yeah right.”

Now that that matter was taken care of, she deserved an award. Like coffee. Also, a muffin. Actually, better make it two muffins. That paper had been pretty stiff.

She made her way to the kitchens to grab her coffee. All the servants had mysteriously disappeared, and her husband was nowhere to be seen, but Cadance concluded there was a perfectly obvious explanation to this predicament. She just hasn’t had her coffee yet. And three muffins.

Returning back to her bedroom with her coffee half-full and muffin crumbs covering her muzzle, Cadance sipped from her caffeine-hearty brew. “Pretty quiet today,” she noted. “Eh, must be a Monday then.”

Cadance walked past the balcony for a moment and caught a glimpse of the city down below. She stopped in her tracks.

“Huh,” she muttered to herself, finishing the rest of her coffee with an almost bored expression on her face as screams from the ground pierced the sky. “Well, that’s certainly unusual.”

The streets were in utter anarchy, the sky blocked out by smoke from several burning buildings and chariots. Broken bottles could be heard thrown against walls while shop windows were shattered, with said shop being looted to many a thieving soul’s content. Cries, screams, sobbing, all combined together in a wail of pure despair as the fear took the hearts of many a citizen.

Overall, not the best Monday morning Princess Cadance has woken up to when she overlooked her balcony at the turbulent Crystal Empire down below.

“Um… sweetie!” Cadance called out, rubbing the last traces of sleep from her eyes. “Is there something going on in the city, or is this supposed to be something normal?”

Shining Armor burst through the doors to their bedroom. The Captain of the Crystal Guard was in a sorry state of disrepair: his armor was covered in dents and scratches along with soot from burn marks as well. Throwing off his helmet and coughing as an ash cloud fell over his face, marking the once white, pristine coat with dirty blackness.

Clearing his throat, Shining said, “Oh, you know, the usual.”

Cadance glanced back to the balcony, where a noticeable amount of crystal ponies were breaking into a fireworks factory and were using the explosives made for fun for terror now. Horrifying, colorful, agonizing, and overall quite pretty, terror!

“The usual being complete anarchy on the streets and the total destruction of all law and order?” she asked, arching a brow.

Shining shrugged. “Well, it is a Monday, after all.”

“I get the nagging feeling there might be something else. Just a hunch, really.”

"Weeeell, to be fair, we might have enacted martial law."

Cadance's eyes got wide. "Martial law?"

"Look, it was either that, or letting the city burn to the ground." Shining shook his head. "I have to admit it: our citizens don't fool around when it comes to mass revolts."

"Mass revolts?"

"You're not in the most popular moment of your career, no."

"I have done nothing but the best for this empire!"

"Weeeell, that's subjective," Shining said. "For example, those foal labor laws aren’t exactly flying by with collective agreement."

“But those laws were to make sure foals weren’t used as a quick and easy labor force!” Cadance argued.

Shining shrugged again, shaking his head slightly. “And look where that’s got us! The economy is down and all the parents now have to deal with their children instead of sending them to the factories. Which kind of led to the revolution kicking off in the first place.”

Cadance held up a hoof and waved it in the air as she cringed. "Wait, wait, hold up. How long has this been going on, exactly?"

"Eh. Six in the morning, or so."

"Six in the morning?!"

"You're a heavy sleeper,” Shining reminded her. “It kinda just escalated from there.”

“How much has it escalated?” Cadance asked, fear hanging on her every word.

Checking over her shoulder and peering to the Crystal Empire skyline with a hoof over his eyes, Shining said, “Hard to say, but a good estimate is that most of the citizenry are either burning bridges or kicking puppies, half the guards have switched sides and have begun tipping chariots over, and then the elderly are out in full force yelling at pestering foals being on their lawns.”

“So… it’s complete chaos, is it?” Cadance asked.

“Well, unless you’re blind, looks like that to me,” Shining replied.

Cadance glared at her husband, who skirted back from her terrifying eyes. “Shining, what I don’t need right now is sarcasm!”

“I’m not being sarcastic!” Shining defended himself, just as a large explosive and shockwave from the streets caused the castle to shake from its very foundations. “Look, I know you'll be able to solve this problem and stop the revolution that's taking place.” A pause followed. “See? Now that’s sarcasm.”

Cadance rubbed her hooves against her eyes and groaned, hopping in place without moving due to another explosion that rocked the city.

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” Cadance asked. “I mean, certainly there’s a reason why the citizens want to overthrow me? There’s just got to be one, right?”

“I can tell you several if you want.” Shining looked left and right. “I just know I have a list around here somewhere…”

Before Shining could get around to finding it, sounds of marching, protesting, and cries of those stuck in traffic due to said marching and protesting could be heard down in the streets. Cadance and Shining were both at the balcony now, witnessing a surge of crystal ponies collaborating near the doors of the castle, joined now by over half the city. Many ponies had brought a battering ram, which they were currently using to break down the doors to the castle so that the angry mob could take out their rage on her highness.

“You think we should do something about that?” Shining asked his wife.

“Oh, I think this will all work out and then we can go have some tea and crumpets in the garden,” Cadance answered.

Shining’s face lit up. “Whoa, seriously?”

Cadance didn’t bother holding back her sigh. “No, Shining, I’m not serious. You’re the Captain of the Guards, you should know how to fix this!”

“I was Captain of the Guards in Equestria. You know what our worse problem over there was?” Shining said. “Protestors for free speech and to make Taco Tuesday a national holiday! And all we had to do for those guys was pelt them with rocks until they left!”

“Well, don’t we have any rocks here at the castle?”

Well, yes, but they kind of ignore it. And then retaliate with—” a boom reverberated throughout the halls, shaking the castle to its foundations as dust rained down from the ceiling, “—dynamite.”

Both of them glanced down to the rioters below, several of whom were lighting more sticks of dynamite along with molotov cocktails as well. They then hurled these at the castle, causing more explosions and for the property damage to skyrocket.

“Are we insured against dynamite?” Shining asked absently.

“Okay, enough with this nonsense!” Cadance said. Her horn basked her and Shining in the glow of her magic, and the two were teleported away before the front doors to the castle. Shining, unfortunately, was directly in front of the next battering ram charge upon arrival, and was sent crashing through the front doors, effectively breaking them down along with most of his ribs.

“Will somepony please explain to me exactly what I did wrong? I’d just love to hear it!” Cadance’s horn hadn’t stopped glowing, and even her eyes were shining with a malevolent light directed at the entire crowd.

Many of the ponies hid their torches and pitchforks, while the vast majority took a wise step back from the about to go supernova princess. After much shuffling and awkward coughs, a voice from the crowd called out, “We don’t want you as princess anymore!”

Cadance’s face drooped into a frown and she had to hold back the instinct to shove her hoof into her face. “Yeah, I kind of already got that message when you nearly burned half the town.”

"Oh, no, that had nothing to do with you!" a voice in the crowd said.

"Yeah, we just like to burn things. Riots are fun."

"Typical Monday morning for the crystal ponies!"

Cadance frowned. "Then how come I never noticed?"

Shining tapped her on the shoulder. "Well, you are a heavy sleeper."

Cadance rolled her eyes. “You don’t say.”

“You! You! I name you, Princess! Defiler of democracy!” The crowd shuffled and stepped aside as the menacing voice drew nearer, carrying with it a righteous muttering of agreement amongst the crystal ponies. “Oppressor of the Crystal Empire! Tyrant of tyranny!” Through the gaggle of ponies, a slightly short green mare with a bright red mane pushed her way through, frantically jabbing a forehoof at Cadance. “Your time is up, Cadance, if that is even your real name!”

“It’s not,” Cadance said simply. “It’s Mi Amore Cadenza. You know that. Are you the ringleader of this little conspiracy?”

“No!” The pony shouted. There were some murmurs behind her. “Okay, yes! I am Green Guarana, and we, the united ponies of the Crystal Empire, are here to say no to your tyranny!” She puffed out her chest proudly and started to sing. “Do you hear the ponies sing? Singing a song of angry mares…”

“No. No I don’t.” Cadance slowly shook her head.

Guarana faltered and stopped singing, looking around in confusion.

“We’re not gonna do the song,” a blue crystal pegasus whispered into her ear. “We thought it was embarrassing.”

“Oh.” Guarana’s face fell. “I liked the song. But you made the barricade, right?”

“Yeah!” A pink crystal unicorn wheeled out a swivel chair with half a plank of wood nailed to it. “Behold, the barricade!”

“It’s a good barricade. Well done, comrade!” Guarana patted the unicorn’s back before turning to Cadance. “You see, Princess! You see what the power of the people can do? We reject you as our leader! You can’t just murder our rightful king and take over!”

“No!” The blue pegasus piped up. “But she did, Guarana! She did do that! So she obviously can!”

Cadance frowned at the crowd. “But King Sombra was an insane evil despot who kept you all in perpetual slavery and torment!”

“Yeah, but he was our insane evil despot!” Guarana punched the air. “Crystal Empire forever! You cannot stop the popular revolution, Princess! We will rise in our thousands and march against you! Down with imperialism, and down with you! The people have spoken!”

“Fine.” Cadance turned to leave with a flick of her mane. “I’ll call some elections then.”

“We will resist!” Guarana leapt onto the chair. “We will never surrender! To the barricades, we must…” She trailed off as her brain caught up with her ears. “Wait, what?”

“Yes, elections. How about next month?” Cadance gave a sweet smile. “See you then.”

Guarana hung on to the chair for a moment longer. It slowly pivoted round in a neat circle as the crowd started to drift away. “Huh. Didn’t see that coming.”

“Um, Cadance, you know how I keep on mentioning this is a bad idea,” Shining said, overlooking the crowd. “Well, not be a bit naggy… but this is a really bad idea.”

“Oh, relax, Shining. Everything will go fine.” Cadance adjusted her suit, which was a much pinker shade than her coat with a deep purple tie. Putting on some half-rimmed glasses while putting her mane into a bun, Cadance pulled off the corporate executive look while looking unbelievably adorable all at the same time. “We host the elections, the people vote, and I win through the horribly corrupted and blighted democratic process. It’s almost exactly like monarchy except more contrived.”

“I know, but there’s still the possibility you could lose,” Shining reminded her, ducking back behind the curtain as he stared at Cadance with wide eyes. “Right now the people still hate you because they think you’re a puppet to Equestria’s imperialistic tendencies. There’s also the fact you’re not even a crystal pony to begin with. How are you even going to win it?”

“Easy,” Cadance replied, holding a hoof to her chest with a confident grin on her face and swagger encasing her stature. “No one else is running. Thus, I win by default.”

Shining frowned. “Did you ever consider the possibility that someone else will run against you?”

Cadance snorted, throwing her hoof up in the air. “And so what if they do? I have enough union loyalty under my hoof to acquire around fifty percent of the vote without even trying. And whoever dare tries to run against me will have to contend with the fact that they’re running against a political professional here.”

“If you were such a professional, how did you allow your country to go into anarchy so fast?” Shining asked.

Cadance rolled her eyes and took to the stage. “We’ll blame it on fluoride in the water or some spoiled bread outbreak. Right now, all I have to do is look pretty, smart, professional, and most of all, lie so much through my teeth I could practically floss with the distruth.”

Dental metaphors aside, Cadance arrived at her podium against a crowd of jeers, insults, and derogatory remarks about the weight of her mother. But she didn’t mind them, instead smiling when she spotted the podium next to hers was empty. With enough confidence in each of her steps that she was practically drowning in it, she arrived at her podium and promptly cleared her voice to speak into the microphone.

“Greetings ponies of the Crystal Empire. This is your former Princess, Mi Amore Cadenza, and soon to be…” Cadance glanced off to Shining and whispered, “What’s the new leader title called?”

“Supreme Bishop Archduke Prime President Manager,” Shining said.

“Wait, seriously?”

“We left it up to a vote and that’s what the people decided.”

Cadance groaned under her breath, but contained her composure. “Democracy. I knew something like this would happen.”

“Tell me about it,” a new contender’s voice whispered beside her. “Also, nice tie.”

“Oh, why thank you—holy Celestia bucking Luna’s moon, it’s Sombra!” Cadance cried out, noticing the once fallen ex-king has returned to the world of the living.

He looked exactly the same the last time they met, which was where he was trying to kill her after Shining threw her like a hoofball to catch the Crystal Heart, except that his mane was neatly trimmed, his armor was shined, cape dry-cleaned, and his fangs were bleached so white they put Celestia’s coat to shame.

“Wait, is that a metaphor for incest?” Sombra asked.

“Quick, someone get a shotgun! He’s the living dead! Zombie apocalypse! End of the world!” Cadance held her head in both hooves and screamed, “The end is neigh—I mean nigh!”

“No, it isn’t. And I’m not a zombie, either.” Sombra rubbed a hoof against his face and smirked. “My skin is much too smooth and unrotten for that.”

Cadance huffed under her breath, and went over to brush Sombra’s skin just to be sure. “Hmmm… you’re right. You’re not a zombie.” Cadance pulled his cheeks apart, revealing his demonically grinning face. “But you are super creepy and very evil. How did you even come back here in the first place?”

“Dark ritual. Evil summoning magic. Neighcronomicon. Decent healthcare,” Sombra replied, slapping Cadance’s hooves away from his surprisingly smooth cheeks. “And when that didn’t work, they kept on poking my spirit with a stick until I showed up here. It was super annoying.”

“Our provital lord has returned!” Green Guarana shouted from the crowd, her followers joining in with cheers and boasts.

Sombra rolled his eyes. “See what I mean?”

“Very much so,” Cadance agreed. “So, I’m taking it the resistance put you up to this?”

“With a stick shoved in my eye, yes.” Sombra sighed, glaring at the crowd with malice-filled eyes. “You know, I kinda enjoyed being blown up. Sure beat returning to this pit and being in charge of these ingrates.”

“But didn’t you rule this place with an iron hoof beforehand?”

“That’s the only way to keep them under control! You remember the riot early? They pulled that stunt all the time. Not just riots either. Sit ins, arson, petitions, and worst of all, bake sales! Every day it was something new!” Sombra groaned and pulled at his sideburns. “Treating them like slaves was the only way to keep the entire Empire from becoming an orgy of anarchy and overpriced sugary treats shoved down your throat!”

Cadance arched an eyebrow. “But why did you return and try to take over the Crystal Heart to plunge Equestria into darkness?”

Sombra snorted, which quickly turned to barely repressed laughter bubbling forth. “What type of moron told you that? If I plunged Equestria into darkness, everything would die. What do I look like, some type of idiot? I only wanted the Crystal Heart because I… needed to pay off some gambling debts.”

At this point, if Cadance continued arching her brow, it would eventually fly right off her face.

Shrugging his shoulders, Sombra said, “When you’re trapped in an abyss for nearly a thousand years, you meet some interesting characters. Eldritch abominations, demons, spirits, used car salesmen, you know, the usual demonic creatures that never bask in the light. Also, they’re stingy about debts being paid back. And also when you count cards. So basically right now I’m in this campaign just so I can win and sneak treasury money out to save my neck. Maybe steal the Crystal Heart again.”

Cadance nodded. “Well, you wouldn’t be the first to do that…”

He nodded. “So yeah, no hard feelings about this, but I’m going to need to win so I won’t be losing my knees.” Sombra cringed. “Again. That explosion hurt. Like, a lot.”

“Oh no, I perfectly understand that. Just don’t expect me not to put up a fight.” Cadance returned to her podium. The crowd milled about, and eventually an awkward silence hung over the area like a flashfog. “Uh… who’s supposed to be starting this?”

Green Guarana jumped onto the stage--well, it was more like she kicked and flailed gripping the edge of the stage until somepony boosted her up--and stood between the two candidates. Approaching the ceremonial Gong of Beginnings, she slammed her forehead against it, a loud boom reverberating throughout the space.

“As the banger of the Gong of Beginnings, I declare this debate begin at once!” she yelled, the crowd bustling with excitement at the news.

“Oh dear Celestia, not her,” both Sombra and Cadance said at the same time with mutual facehooves.

“First, our most glorious and benefactory true leader and member of our race, King Sombra!” Green Guarana slammed her head against the gong once more, an even louder explosion of ringing echoing throughout the entire empire.

“Y’know, this might actually explain a lot,” Cadance muttered under her breath, eying how Green Guarana staggered on her hooves. “Like the misshaped head…”

“Silence!” Green Guarana demanded, banging her head against the gong repeatedly, probably killing the last few remaining brain cells she had left. “You are not the speaker now! Wait your turn you ungrateful whelp.”

An even more awkward silence descended on the assembly than before as the last ringing from the gong dissipated. Eventually, Sombra coughed and stared at the crowd. “Well, uh… yeah, let’s start, I guess.”

Digging into the collar of his armor, Sombra withdrew a pair of wireframe glasses and set them on the end of his muzzle. Then he took out a few badly soiled notecards and stacked them on his podium, being very meticulous and almost nonchalant with it. Then he cleared his voice with too much emphasis on the racking coughs and hacking up something from the back of his throat, and started reading.

“My fellow Crystal Empire crystal ponies… I know you’re scared. Frightened, even. Perfectly understandable, actually. You’ve been through a lot. First it was my oppressive regime, which I want to remind everyone that you voted for repeatedly since it was the only ballot to choose from, but still, the important part is that you managed to survive it. You survived through courage, muster, and good ol’ fashioned crystal pony ingenuity and easy access of alcohol and lax liquor laws. You survived through these hardships to build a better Crystal Empire for all! For was it not all of you who built these streets? These houses? The road is paved with the blood of the many and the just, but most of all, the hard workers who laid down their lives so we could build speedbumps over their bodies!

“Even after this, you pulled through after a thousand years of being banished in darkness. Which, I might add, never would have happened if the Equestrian Princesses hadn’t invaded. A thousand years of darkness is a difficult struggle to handle. I should know, for I shared its pain with you! Me! While my opponent here was probably eating bon bons and having a jolly good time. Well, not me, for when my empire was laid to ruin, I was there with you, wallowing in the dark! Sure, some may claim that it was I who cursed the entire empire to join me in the abyss in the first place, but these are false claims elaborated by certain untrustworthy harlots, who have no business in office!

“I don’t expect your forgiveness for my past crimes, actions, vandalisms, arsons, blatant breaking of jaywalking crimes. But I do expect you to vote for me in the upcoming elections, so I believe you all to be competent, smart, and overall the most handsome and superior race of equines in all the lands, and voting for a vile, impostor princess from a foreign land is not only irresponsible, it is also bad for your children. Proven fact. So vote Sombra, and together we shall build an even more glorious empire on the backs of the oppressed!”

The crowd jumped up and cheered at the end of Sombra’s speech, several whistling ecstatically while others threw articles of their clothing at him—despite the fact they almost never wore clothes. Sombra glanced to Cadance and grinned, stacking his cards once more.

“Think you can top that?” he asked.

Cadance could practically smell the smugness emanating from his being. It smelt like defeat. Which, coincidentally, smelled like like burning. Wait, no, the crowd had taken to burning a wooden effigy of Cadance while dancing around it.

“They made my butt entirely too big,” Cadance observed. Breaking away her concentration from her effigy’s extra junk in the wooden trunk, Cadance glared at Sombra. “And as for you, yes, I can top that easily. I’ll actually speak to the fair citizens of this empire with the respect and truth they deserve.”

“What they deserve is to be enslaved like the immoral heathens they are!” Sombra yelled back.

Cadance balked, her face twisted to an expression of pure disgust. “I can tell you right now, former King Sombra, that I will be doing no such thing. These ponies need me to properly lead them to a bright and more promising future.”

“That bright future is being blocked by smoke.”

“That shall pass in a few minutes.”

“They’re burning a wooden statue of you and dancing in the ashes.”

“That could be seen as artistic expression.”

“They have rocks prepared.”

Cadance extended her hoof and tapped on the near-invisible glass that stood directly over her podium. “Rock-proof glass. I got all my bases covered.”

Sombra rolled his eyes. “Yeah, sure. Just wait until they breaking out the flaming rocks. Then we’ll see how many of your bases are left that aren’t burned to the ground.”

“Silence!” Green Guarana screamed, slamming her forehead to the gong. Her cranium produced the right kind of effect, because the entire crowd fell silent, now staring expectantly at Cadance.

“The opponent to the most glorious leader shall now speak! She is a dirty, filthy foreigner who knows almost nothing of our ways and most likely smells bad. Look as she fails the democratic process that shall surely be the downfall to her tyrannical reign!”

Cadance adjusted her notes and sighed. “Well, yes, thank you for… that introdu—”

Green Guarana slammed her cranium into the gong, the sound of a mountain making violent love to a hurricane and not pulling out being heard all around. “We shall now begin the opponent's debate!”

Cadance blinked, then dug a hoof into her ear to attempt to clear the ringing noise and regain her ability to hear.

“Oh, wonderful, again, really, just wonderful.” Cadance sighed, fighting back the urge to keep on banging Green Guarana’s head against that stupid gong of hers. “Anyways, as I was saying, thanks for the… introduction. I’m here to represent myself as a champion of the peo—”

“Cheat! Scam! Liar! Pure slander all around!” Sombra shouted, pointing an accusing hoof right at her. “Do not believe a word she says!”

“Oh, come on!” Cadance turned to Green Guarana and asked, “Come on, that’s totally unfair for him to break the rules by interupt—wait, you don’t care one bit, do you?”

Green Guarana raised a hoof to the skies and shouted out with much gusto, “Long live the Sombra Reign! Down with the pink princess tyranny! Sombraism instead of Imperialism! Free speech for a—”

“Okay, I get the memo, no need to kill the message like a dead monkey.” Cadance dragged a hoof across her muzzle and exhaled a pent up breath. “Can I at least say something without Sombra—”

“She’s a witch! A witch I say! Burn her at the stake for her dark arts and crimes!”

“You perform the dark arts more than I ever did!” Cadance retorted.

Sombra smoothed over his satin cape and shrugged. “I’m a guy. It’s different.”

“That’s… that’s just sexist!”

Sombra inhaled a great gulp of air. “Well, I never! I’m just… just so offended right now! Offended that you find my comment offensive and sexist!” He glared at her with an icy squint. “What do you have to say for yourself?” he asked.

“That you’re not making any sense! None of you maniac crystal ponies are!” Cadance skipped a beat, and then suddenly her eyes went wide as her pupils locked onto Sombra. “Wait a second… you’re not even a crystal pony!”


“Your coat! It doesn’t sparkle!” Cadance blurted out, spit flying everywhere. “Your coat doesn’t even sparkle! How are you even a crystal pony if you coat doesn’t sparkle?”

The crowd had gone silent. Even Green Guarana was staring at Cadance with her jaw nearly dragging across the floor. All the while, Sombra just stared at Cadance with a look that could split a boulder in two.

“Oh my Goddess, Cadance, you just can’t ask a crystal pony why their coat doesn’t sparkle,” Green Guarana whispered to her. “Jeez, Cadance, you’re so stupid.”

Cadance threw up her hooves exasperatedly in the air. “Then all of you are stupid! Your king, your kingdom, your entire race! And another thing!” Cadance glowered a nasty look at Sombra. “Why are you called a king when you rule over an empire—which, by the way, is just one city? Hmm? Anything to say about that?”

“See! See how she disgraces my own glorious title?” Sombra declared, his voice voice carrying over the crowd like a tidal wave of uninformed stupidity. “Even more insults against my good and reputable name! What we have is a slanderer here! A liar to the worst degree!” Sombra scowled, baring his fangs. “Truly a despicable way to run a campaign, if I do say so myself.”

“Your campaign is built upon lies just to steal money from the treasury!”

Sombra slammed his hoof down on his podium. “Do you all see it now? These blatant untruths this so called ‘Princess’ throws my way? Nothing but insulting insults to insult my normally uninsulted character! How much longer must we as a people suffer against her cruel cruelties and mean meanness? How long, I ask you all? How long?”

Cadance was practically pulling her mane out by the roots while Sombra went on and on. And the worst part was that the crowd was actually agreeing with him. Nodding even. It… it just didn’t make any sense.

“No sense at all!” Cadance screamed, her thought bubble having transformed into a speech bubble now. “Not one bit!”

After this, a flaming rock crashed into the rock-proof glass that was set up to protect Cadance. However, it wasn’t fire-proof… which is probably why her entire podium caught on fire.

Cadance’s eye twitched repeatedly as her podium burned to the ground only a few inches from her face. She apparently had bigger things to worry about than the heat.

“Oh, come on!” she shrieked.

“Even more vile acts committed in her name! Arson, pure and simple, and performed were foals could be watching!” Sombra passed by her and tutted under his breath. “Simply disgraceful. What an unfit and undignified way to perform a debate. For shame, for shaaaaame.”

This, of course, was when Cadance finally blew a gasket, and then picked up Green Guarana before she could slam her forehead against the gong again.

“For shame this!” Cadance yelled, right before she started beating Sombra’s face in with Green Guarana’s head. “And that!” It was basically like hitting an apple with a hammer. “Once more!” Over and over again. “Again!” In the face. “And right here!” And said apple cried like a little filly while the hammer shouted about manifestos and the voice of the people.

“Democracy this, bitch!” Cadance shouted, hitting Sombra right between his eyes using the full blunt-trauma force of Green Guarana’s forehead.

“So… sweetie, how’re you doing?” Shining asked his beloved wife.

Cadance glared at him from behind the bars of her jail cell. Her mane was disheveled and she was currently sporting a black eye and split lip, along with a number of bruises covering her body and a few dents in her tiara.

Seeing that her look would be all the answer he would be receiving, Shining’s bright and cheery smile faltered a notch or two. “Very well, I hope. The results from the election are about to come in at any minute.”

“What’s it matter?” Cadance asked. She slumped down further in the only furniture in question jail cell: a rickety stool. “I’m as good as politically dead. There’s no way I won that election.”

“Actually, you have good chances. Apparently beating up the old ruler with the body of a rebel is quite the popular thing around these parts.”

Cadance opened her mouth, then paused and silently frowned her eyes and nodded her head. “...Wait, no, why am I not surprised?”

“Plus, I believe the following riots greatly boosted your public image. Crystal pony or not, you definitely know how to act like one of them,” Shining said.

“And that’s a good thing?”

“To be elected, sure. Morally no. Ethically even worse. Monetary it could have have crippled the economy even further. And health wise you did receive that fractured rib.”

“You know, I don’t even know if I want to keep this job anymore.” Cadance shrugged, glancing to her side to catch a view out the barred window of her cell. “I mean, I did just get arrested and may have helped burn down half the city… unintentionally. And something tells me this is going to be a common occurrence. I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. Maybe… maybe Sombra being in charge isn’t so bad.”

“Really?” Shining arched a brow. “Jeez, did you get a concussion too?”

“Maybe. Probably. Most likely a definitely. But still, at least with him we didn’t have massive riots and arson every Monday morning.”

“We did have tyrannical rule and slavery.”

Cadance closed her eyes and smiled fondly. “Yeeeeeah.”

After a few seconds of silence, Shining slowly backed away from the bars of the cell as Cadance’s smile grew wider.

Thankfully, a crystal guard burst through the door and went to Shining’s side at once. “Sir, the results from the election are in.”

Sharing a salute with the soldier, Shining grinned. “Excellent. Good news, soldier?”

“Excellent news, Captain! The rightful leader of the Crystal Empire has been chosen!”

“Great! Who is it?”

“Someone in this very room,” the guard replied.

Cadance blinked, suddenly out of her trance. “Wait, Sombra’s in this room?”

“No, his whereabouts are still unknown. What is known is that I’m speaking to the new Supreme Bishop Archduke Prime President Manager at this very moment!”

Cadance got up out of her chair and hoofpumped the air in righteous joy. “I knew it all along that the people would make the right choice! Knew it all along! I had complete and utter faith in their ability to make a wise and fair chose.”

The guard stared at Cadance with a blank expression, then leaned in to whisper to Shining, “She does know about the military coup, right?”

“What?” Cadance blurted out.

“Like I said, dear, you’re a heavy sleeper,” Shining explained. “The coup happened sometime around this morning.”

“And you just so happened to mention this now because?”

Shining shrugged. “Mainly to be supportive and lessen the blow once the information had been delivered.”

“And you didn’t try to stop this coup because?”

“Cadance, it’s the entire frickin Crystal Empire military. I just went along with it to keep from dying.” Under his wife’s scrutinizing gaze, Shining added, “Also because it was fun.”

Cadance pointed her hoof at her chest. “So if I’m not the new whatever leader, that means…” Her hoof now pointed at her husband. “You’re the new leader?”

“Sir, I think your wife might be a little slow in the head,” the guard whispered to Shining.

“But how could they choose you if you’re not even a crystal pony?” Cadance asked.

Shining shrugged once more. “I’m more of a puppet, figurehead sorta leader than an actual bona fide ‘Head Unicorn in Charge’ type. I do what the military says and smile and act pretty.”

“He’s definitely good at the acting pretty part,” the guard agreed.

“But wait… I’m a princess! Why wasn’t I chosen for the acting pretty part?” Cadance asked, looking between the two.

Shining avoided eye contact and whistled to himself while the guard merely kicked absently at the floor where his complete attention was captured by some dust smote.

Cadance fell back into her seat, leaning her head against the wall. “I can’t believe this,” she said with a heavy sigh, closing her eyes. “My husband is better at acting pretty than me. What has my life come to?”

“Well, honey, look at it this way,” Shining said, wrapping a hoof around the cell’s bar. “Now you’re a trophy wife. Doesn’t that count for something?”

“It counts to further sinking my depression to all new depths.”

“There we go! I think. But hey, buck up! At least you’re not Sombra right now.”

Cadance opened a single eyelid. “What? Still in the hospital?”

“Nah, he vamoosed once word got out about the military coup. With the Crystal Heart in tow as well.”

“Isn’t that… really, really, really important?”

Both Shining and the guard sniggered. “Well, yeah, if you don’t mind busting out out fifty bits to buy a new one.”

“Say what?”

“In our history, Crystal Hearts break all the time,” the guard said. “I mean, whenever there’s an extra-strong gust of wind they could be knocked over. Or when a foal’s ball hits it. Heck, we’ve even had stray cabbage carts barrel right into the thing more times than we could count. The original Crystal Heart broke centuries before Sombra’s reign, so we just replace it with a perfect copy made out of glass. Works just as well as the real thing, actually.”

“But… how… why… crystals… magic!” Cadance’s eyelid took to twitching uncontrollably. “You mean during the time Sombra was attacking the entire city months ago we could have just had used a glass copy instead?”

“Well, yeah.”

And nopony mentioned this?”

The guard shrugged. “Well, you never asked.”

Shining nodded. “See, Cadance, I think a problem with your original reign was that you never really listened to your subjects. Good communication can get you very far in politics.”

“This entire empire is frickin nuts,” Cadance whispered to herself, silently rocking in her chair. “Crazy. Moronic. A bunch of imbeciles.”

“And another thing, the insults. Crystal ponies have feelings too, dear. You need to remember that. Try treating them with more respect and I’m sure you’ll see the fruits of your labor replied in turn, such as with compliments, or maybe even fruit baskets.” Shining smiled at his wife. “Doesn’t that sound good, dear? I can give you other lessons if you like, at least until I get your bail paid off. I bet we’ll get you back in charge in no time!”

Cadance shot him a look that even the worst scum of the earth would flinch and drop dead at.

“I take that as a yes! Okay, now first off, your appearance. The black eye isn’t all that appealing, but that will pass in time. Also, pink was so last season. You ever thought about dying your mane and coat? Oh, and while we’re at it, about the weight—”

Before Shining could continue, his words were cut off by a sudden stool to the face. Falling in an unconscious heap on the floor, the guard stared at the Supreme Bishop Archduke Prime President Manager, then to Cadance, then back to the Supreme Bishop Archduke Prime President Manager, and decided the smartest move would be to silently edging away from the two of them.

Staring once more out the window, Cadance could see smoke rising in the air as well as the shouts of rebellion against the tyrannical government in the streets below.

“Sounds like another rebellion,” Cadance said. This was followed by an explosion that echoed throughout the city and caused some dust to fall from the ceiling with the resulting quake. She sighed.

“I freakin hate Mondays.”