Ask Scootaloo Pie

Fluttershy is Dead

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Okay, okay: Fluttershy time. Quick answer to the most-asked question:

Were you surprised?

No. I’m getting kind of tired of it, actually.

When miss Pinkamina stopped visiting her “friends,” they would drop by from time to time to check up on her. Miss Pinkamina would just keep everything quiet, and pretend she wasn’t home (you can’t tell whether there are any lights on inside; she has these thick, sound-insulating blackout curtains over all the windows. Well, all the windows except mine. Sometimes I come up here to lay in the sunlight on my warm bed.)

Anyway, onepony by one, each of her “friends” stopped coming—but Fluttershy never did. She’d arrive on the doorstep every afternoon; it was on her way back from gathering seeds for her bird feeder, I think, since she would always have a bag of them with her. She would knock once, then just politely stare at the door for five minutes. Then she’d knock again, and nervously stare at the door for five minutes, swaying slightly from hoof to hoof. Then she would sigh, turn around and leave.

Miss Pinkamina told me that, about a month before I started living here, she finally got fed up with it. She took her most potent-recipe knockout pills—not mixed into anything, just the pills—went downstairs, and opened the door. Fluttershy smiled a tight little delicate smile when she saw her, like she had had no reason to expect the door wouldn’t be opened that day. Miss Pinkamina just said “take these,” and handed Fluttershy the pills. And she swallowed them.

Fluttershy woke up, tied up in the usual way, in the play-room. Miss Pinkamina was staring at her. She said, “Fluttershy, why did you take those pills?”

“Because you’re a nice pony, Pinkie,” Fluttershy half-whispered, the same gentle, gossamer smile still glued to her face.

“…wait, what? Do you think I don’t want to hurt you, Fluttershy?” miss Pinkamina stared neutrally into the pegasus’s eyes. “Look around you. Look at this room. Actually, smell this room. Also, look at yourself. Do you really think I’m a ‘nice pony’?”

Fluttershy stared back into miss Pinkamina’s eyes, then around the room, then down to her own body, with her hooves and wings bound in steel-and-pony-leather restraints. She returned her gaze to the pony watching her, her eyelids downcast slightly. “Yes.”

“Do you want me to prove that I’m not? I’m actually going to either way, but I’m curious what you’ve been trying to accomplish here.”

Fluttershy closed her eyes, and tried to close her wings as well, but they were strapped spread-eagle against the wall. “You c-can’t, Pinkie. Not to me. You’re… you’re a good-natured pony. You will do anything for the ponies you care about. I know you don’t care about me, but that doesn’t matter to me. You’ll be nice to s-somepony.”

“You didn’t answer my question, Fluttershy.” Miss Pinkamina took a straight-razor and began running it lightly along Fluttershy’s face, across her forehead, down her muzzle, along the rim of her left ear. Fluttershy shivered inadvertently. “Why are you here?”

“I w-want to see you happy again, Pinkie… you look like you’re in so much pain all the time. I want to see you, um, laugh, again. I want to help you find somepony that you really care about… then maybe you’ll be, um, better.”

Miss Pinkamina gawped at the tied-up pony. Then she laughed. She laughed hard, and sharp, and long. She pressed the razor into Fluttershy’s flesh where it had been nestled, and cut a gash all the way to the pony’s breastbone.

“I am better.”

Fluttershy then did something that I didn’t really think Fluttershy was capable of until I saw it for myself; she howled, a deep, piercing, shrill noise that could probably have been heard for miles, if the play-room wasn’t so well sound-proofed. And she bucked, too, her back and her legs jerking and flailing to the extent of her restraints like she was having a particularly good orgasm. It was… well… it was really hot.

Miss Pinkamina really appreciates that kind of thing. There’s something about Fluttershy, the way she bottles up any impulse she considers to be rude or disruptive, then lets them out in paroxysms of simultaneous fear and shame and anger and lust and every other base-impulse she has, that makes her the most fun rape-and-torture victim miss Pinkamina has yet come across. She’s just so much fun that, well, after about six hours in the play-room with Fluttershy, miss Pinkamina decided she wanted to ask her a question.

“I have a crazy idea. Crazy for me, that is; I guess it’s a normal idea for anypony else. Do you… do you want to stay alive, Fluttershy?”

The pegasus pony, now bleeding from several more superficial wounds, half the feathers torn from her wings, but not exceedingly worse for wear, nodded. Her eyes wouldn’t focus right; she just had to assume the red-and-pink blur was miss Pinkamina’s hoof pressing on her cheek.

“I thought so. I just kind of wanted to, to hurt you, when I brought you up here. I didn’t really want to kill you. I can kill anypony. You’re special, though; you’re really, really fun to hurt. I want to keep hurting you. But I can’t keep you tied up here forever; for one thing, I don’t have the room, and for another, I’d have to feed you and wash you and… well, it’s all sorts of hassle. It’s way easier to just kill you, you know?”

Tears were dripping onto the red and pink blur, and washing some of the red down onto her cheek.

“But it’s also harder, in the long run. Killing you would be a last step. I screwed up, taking you up here, doing this to you. But… Fluttershy, do you still think I’m a nice pony?”

Fluttershy couldn’t even think of miss Pinkamina as a pony, or a living being, or anything much at that moment. She didn’t feel like there was another pony in the room, doing this; it just felt like she was being wrapped, squeezed, beaten and broken and tenderized by the world itself—a very, very small world that was about the size of a bedroom.


“Do you still think I can get, hah, ‘better’?”


Fluttershy was losing consciousness. Her small world was now also spinning her around.

“Well. You’ve just won the Ponyville lottery, Ms. Shy. If you don’t tell anypony, anypony, what happened to you; if you never come back here again, and just leave me alone; if you just go on with your life like nothing ever happened… then you can take this.”

Miss Pinkamina held out another knockout pill. Fluttershy just hung limply from her straps, crying, until miss Pinkamina’s hand moved to take the pill away.


“What was that, Fluttershy?”

“…anything for you, Pinkie.”

Fluttershy woke up in her own bed, in her own house, with the bag of seeds she had brought to miss Pinkamina’s door sitting round and prim on a doilie on her nightstand. Her head, her mouth, her wings, her everything burned; she felt like she had been roasted on a spit. She moved to sit up on her haunches and coughed, coughed again, and then vomited down her chest. She waited for the dizzy blankness clouding her vision to pass, then finished standing and walked to her bathtub.

She filled the water, ice cold, and sat in it. Then laid in it. Then pulled her head under.

It took her two minutes to decide to breathe again.

After that first day, miss Pinkamina has gone and foalnapped Fluttershy about three other times. It’s a regular thing between them, now, I guess. I don’t know Fluttershy well enough to say what she feels about it, but she really does seem to think miss Pinkamina will get “better” and somehow start feeling empathy toward other ponies.

I came into the play-room alone last night after miss Pinkamina was finished with her. I washed all her wounds out and bandaged them (as best as I could; I learned First Aid at school, but she was strapped to the wall a bit too high for me to reach easily.) She smiled at me, a sort of tired, satisfied smile. I don’t really understand her. I’m kind of jealous of her, though.

It appears that flutter has *Sunglasses* shy'd off! YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHH.... ok that was bad, anyway it seems after the last kidnapping of many she has had enough, I think you can guess the next part: Your thoughts?

My thoughts right now: “Ech.”

I’m at Rarity’s place right now. (Sweetie Belle isn’t here, though. As much as I like you, Tumblr, I’d really rather talk to her about this…) Miss Pinkamina told me to get out of the house until she could find Fluttershy. I didn’t really want to leave them alone together… but I also know that it gives her less to worry about, which means this will be over sooner. I hope.

It was miss Pinkamina’s fault. Not the ropes; we tied her up together. But after the last session, she said she had finally figured out a “tell” for when Fluttershy was ready to go off. She said she was going to do some “edging” with her today—see how tensely she could wind her up.

I don’t think Fluttershy had ever done that to herself before. When she galloped out of the room, she had this look on her face like she had witnessed some sort of miracle or had some kind of revelation. I was just sitting in my room with my door open—half listening to them down the hall, half trying to work out something convincing for the “What I Did This Summer” book report I know I’ll have to write when school starts—so when she flew down the stairs I wasn’t out in time to see where she went.

For our sakes, I hope miss Pinkamina doesn’t kill her… but I also kind of wish she would.

with all the time you spend helping miss pinkamina, do you have time for practice with yor scooter? or you dont do that anymore?

Helping miss Pinkamina doesn’t really take that much time; even with errands and stuff, it only adds up to about two or three hours each day. I spend a lot of the day outside, just like I did when I was on my own.

I got a bit out of practice with my scooter, though, because Rainbow Dash still had it for a few weeks after I got here (I didn’t have time to grab anything when the Foal Services pony came; I guess they wanted to get out quickly before she got back.)

They got it back to me, though, and I’m back at it now. I just rode it to Rarity’s, for example. She was pretty offended by how dusty my hooves were, and wouldn’t let me in until I sprayed myself with a hose—and then, once I was inside, she made me take another bath on top of that—but I guess that’s alright; I feel kind of cleaner right now than I have recently. I think I should buy some of the weird body-wash stuff she has the next time I go shopping.

Should Miss Pinkamina attempt to kill you, would you fight back? Or would you simply allow her to murder you?

I… she… she’d… I wou…


Don’t make my stomach hurt even worse, Tumblr, I’m already really worried right now.

I apologize for that last question. What are you worried about?

Miss Pinkamina… myself… I don’t know. The Fluttershy thing. There are, I think, four ways I could find things when I go back to the house:

  1. Fluttershy tied back up; miss Pinkamina relaxing (this is what I’m hoping for.)
  2. Fluttershy dead, miss Pinkamina either waiting for me to help clean up or… or gone.
  3. Fluttershy escaped out of the house somehow; miss Pinkamina gone out to chase her down.
  4. Miss Pinkamina dea-


What was that noise?

...oh Celestia WHAT DID YOU DO

I... I threw u-

I CAN SEE THAT ohmypoorcarpeting.

I'm... I'm sorry.


Don't worry about it. I've certainly committed a foul act or two against flooring in my time. Did... did you have something unpleasant to drink, dear?


Oh... your pulse, it's racing... my dear, I think you had a panic attack.

Lay down (not here, please, go into the living room and stay there) and watch television or something; distract yourself and it will fade soon enough.

Um... thanks.

Hi Tumblr. I’m grounded.

I stayed up last night in a kind of daze, laying on Ms. Rarity’s couch and watching infomercials until about 2 AM. Then I started to get the same feeling again—but stronger. It was a ripping, twisting feeling spreading through my body, like someone had reached into me and was trying to shake my heart loose from my chest. I stood up to run to the bathroom like Ms. Rarity had told me to do, but instead I ended up running out the front door. Just running and running and running, back to miss Pinkamina’s house. I had completely forgotten I owned a scooter. I think I almost flew (I wasn’t paying much attention to how I got there; my wings are just sore and stiff again this morning.)

I slammed on the door five or six times. I didn’t care how loud I was being. I was panting, holding my arms tightly across my chest, doubled-over, about to kneel down and just curl up in a foetal ball on the stoop, when miss Pinkamina answered.

She looked horrible. I mean, not really that bad compared to any of our victims… but I had never seen miss Pinkamina herself like that. Her cheek and lip were torn and wet with blood; her forehead was bruised and had little bits of dirt embedded in it… she had a little piece of her left ear missing. She says that all the damage was from when Fluttershy first escaped, and I guess I just hadn’t noticed it in the commotion. Anyway, she stepped outside with me and closed the door, and gave me a really tight glare, but also a shaky hug. Her eyes were unfocused and her pupils had that weird constricted washed-out strain to them. She stood quietly on the stoop with me for about five minutes, maybe to calm down or to make sure nopony was chasing after me or something, then cracked open the door, whispering for me to stay directly behind her.

I asked in a similar whisper how she had been planning to catch Fluttershy. She unballed her left fist and fanned out a plastic bag. “I’m not planning on killing her. This will work sort of like a garrotte—I just need to get behind her and get it down around her head—then she’ll run out of air and we can take her back upstairs.”

“Won’t she struggle, though? I mean, she was able to get out of the ropes and out of the room and–”

“She surprised me. That’s all. …and you tied those ropes, Scootaloo. It doesn’t matter now, though; whatever burst of energy she worked up is obviously burnt out now. She’ll be back to quivering and crying in a corner somewhere.”

We walked together through the darkened entryway, and into a sort of parlour that miss Pinkamina hadn’t bothered to furnish yet; right now it just has a few long, bare-wood tables, pulled over from the dining room, where we dump out the contents of whatever bags or clothes our victims happened to have on them at the time we found them. I was silently grateful that miss Pinkamina hadn’t decided to dress them with pony-obscuring tablecloths.

Miss Pinkamina raised her hoof in a signal to wait, then went into the other room and came back holding her computer. She pushed the junk off the middle of one of the tables and put it down in the space, then turned the brightness on the screen all the way up. She whispered, “I have a theory about what Fluttershy is trying to do right now; why she hasn’t given herself up yet. Let’s go into the kitchen—and make sure she’s not hiding in there now—then turn this game around on her.”

Miss Pinkamina fiddled for a few more minutes with her hooftop—opening and closing different websites, adjusting the screen so it was tilted to various angles, picking it up and then putting it down again in what looked to me to be the exact same position—then hurriedly snuck out through the arch and disappeared into the darkness. I followed. She was leaning, just out of sight, in the slight alcove the pantry cupboards left beside the entry. She waved me to move into the kitchen itself, and then pointed to the other hall entrance—the one leading into the dining room—then to me, and to her eyes. Then she stopped looking at me, focusing only on the table and the glowing rectangle fifteen feet away. I leaned over to the kitchen counter, and quietly slid a knife out of it. Then I stood in the other corner.

We both waited, statues in a night garden, for what seemed much more than 23 minutes.

Miss Pinkamina’s head shot up and she crept out past her corner, into the faint fuchsia glow of the parlour. I heard Fluttershy’s voice. Then miss Pinkamina. Then I stopped hearing Fluttershy. Miss Pinkamina kept talking. Shouting, really. I didn’t want to look. She was winning; that was all I wanted to know. I was tired.

Miss Pinkamina seemed to calm down—or, at least, she was quiet for a minute or so—then, slightly surprising to me, she went right on talking to her computer like Fluttershy had been just an interruption to her nightly letter to you all. I relaxed from my tight nervous stance in my corner and slid down the wall.

Miss Pinkamina asked me something. I don’t remember what it was. I think I answered. I fell asleep.


I woke up the next morning in my own bed, rather than miss Pinkamina’s. I think she took me upstairs at some point; I might have walked, or she might have carried me, I don’t really know. I got up, went to the bathroom (does Tumblr care about my bathroom habits? I’m sure Mr. Anon says yes), then headed downstairs. I came out in the front room, which looked tidy, as if nothing had happened. Fluttershy wasn’t there.

I found Miss Pinkamina sitting on her bed with her head in her hooves. The thick black curtain that had covered the east wall was pulled off its hooks and lay in a heap on the floor; sunlight flooded from the windows and glowed on every surface.

I started to ask, “wh-“, but then just sat down beside her on the bed. She wanted to talk.

“It felt so good. Killing her. I could never have imagined. It wasn’t just …just pleasure from her pain, like normal. I hated her. I completely fucking hated that soft, frail little Disney-princess cunt! I… she.”

“You… you killed her? Fluttershy is dead?”

“Yeah. I’d do it again, too. It felt… it felt glorious.”

“Don’t you think… don’t you think? Aren’t you thinking, about the consequences?”

“Don’t lecture me. It felt good; I did it; it’s done.”

“You’re… you’re so stupid! Gah! I thought you were… not Rainbow Dash more mature than this!”

“Don’t make assumptions, either. I never claimed to be mature. You, on the other hand, should know better than to have come back here last night. even though it kinda helped.And you didn’t tie her up right! Gods. I showed you how to do that the first day. I let you do it to me. You should know by fucking now! That’s it. You’re grounded!”

“I’m… what? What are you even talking about? They’re going to figure it all out now! They’ll come arrest you! They’ll… they’ll take you away! You’ll die!”

Miss Pinkamina was sprawled back on the bed. She rolled her eyes.

“Mi… Pinkamina! What am I …what are we going to do?”

“We wait. They come…” she smirked just a bit, “We have fun.”

Scoots, what are you going to do now?

Sit here. Read something, maybe. I have a bookshelf now. (Twilight Sparkle will be so happy when I bring her back a book without dirt on it.) And wait.

youfuckingsodomite asked:

Does Miss Pinkamena let you do you anything to help her? Also, are you just kind of her assistant, or a trainee? And is Vinyl Scratch on the list right now?

I’ve told Tumblr about plenty of things I do to help miss Pinkamina. Right now, I’m sitting here being quiet where I won’t disturb her preparations, which is apparently very helpful. I’m… I don’t know what I am. I’m beginning to feel like a codependent, though…

And I’ll check. I don’t know who that is, but miss Pinkamina is always playing around with the list.


And I’m not going to say how soon. You’d ruin the surprise~

Sorry for not updating. Nothing special has been happening; I’ve really just been stuck in my room. I got bored enough to look around the Ponynet for one of those computer games Twilight Sparkle mentioned. There’s this one that sounds pretty neat, it’s called SBUR–

((OOC: where not doing this.

…not exactly.))


The sun and moon performed their ritual dance one; two; three times. I lay listless on my bed upstairs, only coming down when miss Pinkamina called me to eat—which wasn’t often; she seemed to be running on something entirely else, her mind subjugated by a torrent of little preparations and details I didn’t dare to interrupt. She didn’t invite me to sleep in her bed with her. The unlabelled jar on the kitchen counter was gone.

On the third night, there was a knock. A regular, firm-but-polite kind of knock on the front door, the kind you’d expect to hear when you had invited company over. I suppose miss Pinkamina had, in her own way.

As I crept out of my room, I heard miss Pinkamina get up and walk to the door. It unbolted and opened. From the top of the stairs, I couldn’t see into the entryway, but I could see out the front window. There was a golden chariot outside.

There was a soft noise that sounded like paper being unrolled; then a strong, deep, and very loud stallion’s voice filled the house. “Hear ye, hear ye. Miss Pinkamina Diane Pie, resident at this address, stands accused of the imperial crime of High Treason Against the Greater Good. She is summoned to appear at the high court in Canterlot in all due haste, to answer her accuser and face judgement.” Then, in a more subdued tone, if still firm, the voice went on “Will you, ah, deliver this message to her, miss?”

There was laughter. I felt better for a second, hearing miss Pinkamina laugh. “I am her, you dolt. And is this really what happens? A polite request? To arrive ‘in all due haste?’ Wow. I… wow. I didn’t think to prepare for that.”

The voice that replied was now edged with embarrassment. “You… really? I expected someone… bigger. Taller, maybe. Or a unicorn. You’re… anyway.” The voice resumed its original booming cadence. “In that case, I have orders to escort you to a seclusion area where you may await trial without danger from… uh, vigilantes.”

There was a silence, and then Miss Pinkamina said “That’s nice.” Then there was a loud screeching snap. I bolted down the stairs.

The body of one of Princess Celestia’s own honor guard lay in the entry. His head lay, cleanly separated, at the foot of the stairs, ten feet or so away. A metal wire was stretched taut between the entryway’s two walls, a film of deep red gleaming on its center. Miss Pinkamina, standing just behind it, looked up to me, and smiled in what appeared to be satisfaction.

thegoddamndoomguy asked:

What's Pinkaminas opinion on chainsaws, aka: great communicators?

They don’t really have the right effect on victims, psychologically. Miss Pinkamina told me that you have to work up gradually through different levels and kinds of pain, never saturating the body with too much at once, or the victim will just shut down. Plus, there’s really no line between ripping through flesh with a chainsaw, and causing enough nerve damage that the victim will lose sensation in that area. Miss Pinkamina prefers instruments of finesse.

I also, personally, think they’re too loud. You can’t even hear the screams.

bit of an ooc question scoots... is this thing based off a fanfiction or entirely off questions from tumblr? also back to my actual question its an odd one.... have you ever watched pinkamena 'get off' sexually on one of her victoms or .. odder yet.. have you or you too busy with your work to notice/care

I’ve watched miss Pinkamina do pretty much everything. Sometimes she’ll forget what she’s trying to do and just squirm around on somepony’s face for an hour or two. (And yes, I do too; but I more just tease them and play with myself; I don’t think I’m very good, uh, on top.)

((And the OOC question: This was originally just supposed to be the same canon universe as askpinkaminadianepie. When I decided to do this, I went back and read Cupcakes again, then a few other fanfics that were based on it (like Rocket to Insanity), and I looked up the internet consensus on Scootabuse (I didn’t actually know until then that there was such a negative interpretation of Rainbow Dash.) All extra details beyond those were inspired by Tumblr questions. And for the divergence thing, I’m just making stuff up—though anypony can direct questions specifically to #fluttershy-is-dead Scootaloo if they want.))

edracon asked:

Is Fluttershy dead or alive?

I’ll only answer this once. Fluttershy is ą̸̀Ḑ͟l̴̸̨͞E͟ì̧҉̴A͢͜҉̴v̸̡̀̀D́̀̕͘͟e̷̡̢҉


I could see my reflection in the burnished gold of the guard’s head’s helmet. The divided neck-guard rimming the bottom of it had been slightly too short.

“I’m glad you decided to come downstairs,” miss Pinkamina said. Her eyes had heavy, dark bags underneath them, and her eyelids seemed almost bruised. (Okay, I admit I stare at her eyes a lot, Tumblr. You can lay off with the messages.) Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, she looked like she hadn’t slept since three nights ago. She was still smiling, though. “Help me move him inside?”

“Sure!” I replied, and bounded down the remaining few steps and across the room to come to her side.

I stepped over the decapitated body and the pool of wet red ringing its neck to stand at the stallion’s feet. We both braced and pulled upward. “He’s… really heavy.”

“Yeah, and it’s all muscle, too. That cut would be a lot cleaner if he had just burst in here at a dead run like I had expected; all the momentum of that bulk would have pushed him straight through.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Are you complaining that our dinner wasn’t eager to jump down our throats? I thought you liked it better that way.”

Miss Pinkamina giggled. The laugh-lines added to the bags to make her look even older. “I… I’m sorry I yelled at you, Scootaloo. I, I think you’re–”

Miss Pinkamina let go of the stallion’s shoulders and toppled backward onto the floor. Her head hit the ground with a hard thunk.

I think I yelped something like “Mis-Pin-aaa!”, then dropped the stallion as well (we were in the middle of the front room now) and moved to kneel over her. I felt her face; her forehead was hot, her lips, um, drier than I think they should have been. She was unconscious, but breathing.

I extracted her from under the stallion’s chest and hoisted her up onto me, wrapping her arms limply around my neck, and leaving her face to bump loosely into my shoulder. Together we wobbled through the living room and over into what had been the dining room, but now held miss Pinkamina’s big bed. I felt like I was beginning to get used to carrying around unconscious ponies. I let her down, as gently as I could, onto the top-cover of the bed, then pulled the sheets out from under her and tucked her back into it.

I wanted to fall asleep beside her—I think I stood there for about three minutes arguing to myself that she shouldn’t be that cold, and that I should get in bed and keep her warm—before convincing myself that a golden chariot should not be left parked outside our house, and a dead royal guard would best not be left laying in our front room. I settled for fluffing her pillow.

I walked over to the guard and began to slowly drag him into the kitchen, where I could leave him for at least a few hours, until miss Pinkamina hopefully woke up and we could bring him the rest of the way to the upstairs bathroom. Then I unhooked the entryway trapwire from its mechanism, and meandered outside.


The sky held a thin sliver of moon that served only to give the darkness outside the house a soft blue cast; it was impossible to tell if anything moved or waited within it. I stepped off the front porch, trying not to creak the whitewashed boards with my hoofsteps, and walked toward the road.

The chariot was gone.

I froze, my eyes darting, my ears piqued, frantic to capture with any of my senses a hint of where it had gone. Had somepony arri–

Oh, Celles. Duh.

The soldier had been pulling the chariot. That meant that there had been somepony in the chariot.

And now both were gone.

I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. I guess, since my only interaction with chariots had been the rentable kind, I had figured they were empty by def—ohgodshutupbrainsomethingishappeninghere.

Okay. If one of Celestia’s honour guard is pulling a chariot, who is in the chariot? It’s not Celestia herself, or her sister; they’d have a much larger escort. It’s somepony she would lend a trusted liegehorse to, but only one, not several. Or maybe somepony who only thought they needed one guard. Or for whom more than one guard would be distracting? Or… maybe they didn’t need any guards at all, and it was just a–

There was a crash from inside the house. I ran.

Pinkamina snapped awake to the sight of a very blurry figure bent over her, holding what she suspected was something dangerous. She wasn’t sure. It did look quite sharp and quite shiny, however vague. She exhaled.

The figure spoke. Its voice was grainy and modulated, but powerful, like it was shouting through a radio. “Quiet. Up. Hooves down.”

She attempted to pull her head off the pillow, but it was considerably more heavy than she remembered it being. Her neck felt swollen, her face thick, her eyelids unable to keep from drooping. Still, she wasn’t tied up. That was enough.

With one leg, she pulled the quilt up off the bed, then kicked it up toward the hunched figure. She fell onto the floor on the other side, face-down, then rolled herself underneath. She inhaled.

The figure didn’t bother to unentangle itself from the sheets; it cut through them. It shot to the floor. Under the bed were boxes of old magazines, musical instruments, streamers and party hats all blocking and interrupting the view, but there was also a definite movement. Then something was thrown in its face. For a moment, it dared to distract itself to determine what it was: an expended syringe.

Pinkamina sprang away from the bed, her muscles all-together tensed and screaming in alertness. She had a nosebleed from the fall, and the cuts on her lip and ear had reopened. She galloped into the living room, her hooves hot from the friction of the loose carpet. She still couldn’t see.

The figure emerged from the bedroom to see her charging into the kitchen. It followed. Then there was a thump, and a loud crash.

Pinkamina coughed, and rubbed her head. What had she tripped over? …oh, the body. The guard’s body was in the kitchen now. She felt the form of it underneath her, leaning up against the oven. Good. Dark in here. He can’t see me either. Advantage restored.

I was in the front room, eyes locked with those of a tall, thin stallion, suited tightly in some sort of black garment. Well, not precisely. My eyes were locked to his… glasses? There was some sort of projection from his face where his eyes should have been; it glowed a dull green.

He threw something at me, then turned to run toward the kitchen. I ignored it, even as it hit my skin. I felt something warm, then a sharp sting as the air mingled with it. I charged at him. He was too far away…

I leaped onto the table, then ran down it. He was at the kitchen door. I jumped. We collided—my face to his back.

Pinkamina had found a little shape of metal lying in the junk drawer. It was now dangling from her neck. The stove was on, and a pot of water was set atop it, steaming.

The figure stumbled into the darkness of the kitchen.

Pinkamina dropped from the ceiling.

The figure curled down and rolled. She fell where he had been only a moment before. How had he seen…? She swiped after him with an overlong boning knife.

Then she saw me.

Pinkamina froze, and I shook my head, trying to not make a distraction of myself, but it was too late. The imperial security operative (for that was what he was) raised his arm to us, and shot us both.

I awoke in a tiny, bare-walled, fluorescently-lit room. I was on a cold metal bench. Everything smelled of bleach. I was alone.

I felt some sort of numbness on my flank, and looked down to find that it had been heavily scarred over, and seemed a bit indented from the rest of my skin. It hurt to move my left leg. What had he thrown at me…?

Not knowing what else to do, I called out. “Miss Pinkamina! Are you there? Are we… are you there?”

Her voice answered, through the wall behind me. I pressed an ear to it. “They caught us. We’re in Canterlot, I think; whole lot of good that does us. They… uh, listen. They gave me a very thorough inspection just after I woke up; they gave me these pills that made me throw up everything in my stomach, and, uh, well, everything else, too. Uh… I’m just warning you, Scootaloo.”

“Thanks…” I called back. “Um, listen, about earlier… I’m sorry I distracted you. You had a plan, didn’t you?”

“Yeah… it’s alright. I thought I had set everything up so that you could handle things; I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep going at that speed for very much longer.”

“Wait, you mean, you expected to just collapse like that earlier? And you didn’t even tell me?

“Uhh… yes. I was going to… at some point…”

“Celles, you’re… do you care about me at all? Do you even care about yourself? Do you care about anything?

“Don’t shout. My head still hurts.”

“Mine does too.”

Then we sat there in silence, together and apart, for a time that couldn’t be measured by anything other than how sore my muscles were becoming.

Then I heard another voice, not from the wall but from outside the… I guess the featureless metal slab cut out of the wall was a door. “Both of you, stand up, come with me.”


There are a few things I know from school about the Equestrian justice system. I know that it was established sixteen-hundred years ago as a formalization of the complaints ponies would bring to the king or queen to have resolved. I know that it is hierarchical; the prosecution and defence are each composed of a sort of pyramid of law-ponies, starting down at the level of the local courts in each town, and proceeding upward in order of seniority until you reach the law-ponies of the high court in Canterlot. I know that any law-pony may decide to take a case, but that any pony higher in seniority can override them if they feel the case would be ineffectively argued by somepony of lesser expertise.

I know these things, but none of them prepared me for what I saw when I stepped into the vaulted room that held the high court.

From the jail in what seemed to be the headquarters of Equestrian imperial security operations, we were lead down through a dull-metal passage, miss Pinkamina and I walking single-file, bound together in heavy iron restraints. After shuffling our hooves past who knows how many mysterious dents and scratches in the walls—evidence of other criminals having the fight taken out of them, I suspect—we arrived at a menacing cherry-wood door, emblazoned in brass with the figures of the two Celestial sisters circling a large pictograph of an eye. The doors swung open.

The courtroom was arranged a bit like a lecture hall, though greatly magnified in scale. There were rows of tables, dozens upon dozens, rising up and curving away from the central dais. Each held a score of ponies who might, on their own, have commanded complete respect from those they met: ministers, judges, generals, eminent scientists and wizards, and experts from all manner of profession or craft. All of Equestria might be rebuilt from the knowledge and experience sat in this room. Why were they all here, though…?

Between the gallery and the dais was a box. That box was filled with ponies that weren’t nearly so well-known, but looking at them still carried a heavy sense of foreboding. Left to right, they were: Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Applejack and… erp. Rainbow Dash. Then there were two ponies I didn’t recognize, but who bore no small resemblance to miss Pinkamina.

The guards sat us in a small stand set carefully apart from this one, against the wall to the right of the dais. Rainbow Dash was staring at us. At… me? Her face was blank. I had never seen her completely expressionless. I don’t know what I looked like at that point.

Then the other doors opened. I hadn’t even noticed them at the time; I had assumed they were a part of the wall. They were too big to be doors. And from them walked a blinding light, and a seething darkness. With horns. And wings.

“All rise,” a liveried guard intoned. I stood, back stiff. Miss Pinkamina seemed to sway on her hooves. The room was utterly silent.

Then She spoke. “Thank you. Today, honoured guests, we shall set a precedent that will become a matter of Equestrian history. All here have been invited to attend because their unique insights may be necessary in the determination of this case. Please pay careful attention, consider all facts presented with the level of trust or skepticism owed to them by their origins, and be ready to speak your mind if you find a detail has been left unweighed in the balance of justice. Be seated.”

She—or, They, rather—trotted smoothly to the center of the dais, and stood side-by-side, facing the gallery. They bowed, then faced one another.

“I, Celestia, do swear by my name to serve as, ehe,the agent of She of all order, imposed law, structure and knowledge, advancement, continuity, peace, friendship, solemnity, and Good in the world. I shall be the prosecution.”

“And I, Luna, do swear by my name to serve as the agent of She of all chaos, natural law, evolution and intuition, repetition, discontinuity, war, love, frivolity, and Truth in the world. I shall be the advocatus diabo—er, the defence.”


The Trial, Session 1: Ethics (1/6)

Whispers filled the gallery. The Good Princess Celestia, being who and what she was, could hear every one of them. In fact, she could hear much more—but that ability was of the kind that led to ponies distrusting you, rather than simply showing absolute, unfaltering reverence. She cleared her throat.

“Yes,” she said, addressing the air, “there is no sitting judge. But would you trust one to overrule the one, or both, of us? We shall come to agreement, and then that agreement shall be the judgement. Do not worry.”

Her sister nodded slowly. Carefully.

The Good Princess shifted her footing only slightly, but her… aura? Something about her changed radically. However strong her previous presence had been, it was one of peaceful, centered sunlight; the kind that filled the world with daytime and gave energy to living things. Now, she felt like the sand burning from desert heat, a desolating ray of energy, directed alongside her attention. She was most definitely a Prosecutor.

“Now, good morning, sirs and madams, witnesses and guests;
the one who acted, and the dead who call for clear redress.
The Crown—that’s me—will plainly show intention in the crime,
and bring to light her clear offense–

“Oh God,” her sister interrupted, “don’t tell me you prepared that ahead of time. Had that prepared for you ahead of time.” I hadn’t noticed the transformation, but she was now twinned in an energetic flow of shrouding, mirror-cool water and enveloping, secure cold stone—the feeling of Defence.

“It’s the way we did things a thousand years ago, little sister; I figured it would make you feel more comfortable.”

“Thank you, Good sister, but I am up to date on this century’s legal processes. This is not a… a rap-battle. It’s a discussion.”

“So it is. And so we shall come to the first of the things we must discuss. Namely, is murder—that is the name for the intentional crime of killing another Equestrian citizen, if any of you were wondering—is murder something we should pursue to punish, in the first place?”

The crowd murmured amongst itself again. I myself tilted my head and whispered to miss Pinkamina, “isn’t that a bit… insane? Why wouldn’t they want to punish us, if we committed a crime?”

Pinkamina looked at me, her eyes half-lidded. “They’re goddesses,” she muttered, “so they’re really detached from most things ponies care about. Everypony they ever care about dies, and they go on living.”

I said “oh.” Then I was quiet.

After an hour or two of argumentation between the two Sisters and the assembled dignitaries, I was still pretty convinced that murder was theoretically a bad thing. How it felt to do it was another matter—but I knew what I should have thought about it. It seemed like everyone else was gradually coming to the same conclusion.

“Next speaker,” Princess Celestia stated neutrally. I think she was doing something with magic to give the pony whose turn it was the urge to stand, because they all seemed rather surprised to be suddenly standing up. This time it was Applejack.

“Ah, ah dew think, yer ‘onors,” she said, a hat held to her chest between her hooves, “that some thin’s should be ellegal. Rasslin’ another pony’s propertey should be absolutely stopped. But there’s ah, ah circle of lahfe, you know; we—not our farm, ya know, we’d never—but us farmers butcher up animals all the tahm, smart ones like cows and rabbits, and nopony complains about that.”

“Yes,” Celestia replied, “your libertarian ideals are shared by many, I do believe. But ponies have rights, and animals do not. We are not animals. You cannot extend the laws of nature to apply to ponykind, just as you cannot expect a dragon to be brought to trial for eating ponies, or a tidal wave to be arrested for destroying houses.”

“Fair sister, do you have any counter-argument?” the white alicorn demured.

“No,” Luna said, pausing before adding, “you are right; we are deciding here the laws of society. The laws of nature determine themselves.”

“Fine then. Next speaker.”


The Trial, Session 2: Character (2/6)

Celestia stood before the gallery, Luna slightly to her right. “So, we have agreed, at least,” she said, with a sharp edge to her voice, “that one guilty of the crime of murder should be brought to justice, if they are of sane mind and full intention, and the deaths are those of ponies who would not have been otherwise negatively impacting the Greater Good of Equestria. Yes?”

There were general murmurs of assent from the gallery. Even miss Pinkamina seemed to find the statement palatable, just bobbing her head from side to side slowly. My stomach hurt again, but luckily there was absolutely nothing in it.

“So now,” Celestia said, “we must determine whether Ms. Pinkamina Diane Pie, seated before you, is punishable by the stated definition. I can tell you now, and have evidence to present on this account, that she has killed all of the ponies attributed to her. Of the ponies she killed, some—the first—were most definitely guilty of things that would command punishments worse than she gave to them. However, others—the far majority—were not. So Ms. Pie has subtracted utility from Equestria; the Defence and I agree that this fact is not in question.” Her sister nodded again.

“So, that leaves the determination of Ms. Pie’s sanity, and intention, in the commission of the aforementioned crimes. To put it shortly: Did she mean to do it? And was that intention rational?

Luna stepped forward a half-pace, putting her nose an inch beyond that of her sister’s. “I will call a character witness. Mr. and Mrs. Pie, please stand.”

The Pies were the two ponies furthest-right in the witness stand. They shuffled slowly to their hooves, seeming uncertain as to whether they would be propelled upward from their seats as all of Princess Celestia’s speakers had. I dimly recalled miss Pinkamina’s story about her life with them, told through the mask of Pinkie Pie, and wondered what she would have told me had I instead been laying with her on her bed at the time. I really wanted to go home.

Huh. So that’s what that feels like.

Mr. Pie was a earth-brown stallion, stern-faced and dressed in clothes of a style so antique that I imagined Ms. Rarity politely reseating herself far away from them upon their arrival. Mrs. Pie was stone-grey, with a warbling, whithered voice. “She’s crazy, always has been, your honor—honors. We tried to take care of her, despite her condition, but if you saw the kinds of things she did… well, you’d understand our reaction. We just had to protect ourselves.”

Luna shook her head gently. “You’re not the ones on trial here, Mrs. Pie; you don’t need to defend your actions in raising Pinkamina. We just want to know what kind of foal she was.”

Meanwhile, miss Pinkamina had her eyes closed, and was mumbling to herself in time with her swaying. “Oh, I’m crazy; absolutely bonkers; toys in the attic… marbles or something…”

Celestia advanced toward the Pies; they froze where they stood as her gaze met theirs. “You claim your daughter is crazy—do you mean to say she is a sociopath? That is, that she has no empathy toward the feelings of others, no ability to place her own desires anywhere other than first? If so, then this is a matter of medicine, not justice, and should have been remedied long ago.”

Mrs. Pie nodded vigorously. “Oh yes, she’s—she’s that! A so-she-o-path. No matter how much pain and anguish she caused us, she just went right on trying to do those… those things to us… it was like she couldn’t understand how we felt at all!”

Celestia nodded, and turned toward our box on the right of the dais. I met her gaze, and in that instant understood how she raised the sun; she simply flew beyond the sky and looked down upon it, and it pulled itself up across the heavens to reach those eyes, the only other things as bright as it was. They were blinding, but I could see everything more clearly, not less, while looking into them. Then, after a bare moment, she switched her vision to miss Pinkamina.

“Ms. Pinkamina Pie, would you say that you have no feeling toward others?”

Miss Pinkamina had stopped swaying; she was frozen, just as anyone else was who dared touch their vision to those beacons. She said just “Yes.”

“Ah. Well, I propose a little experiment. Would you indulge me in it?”

“Al…right.” I hadn’t noticed it, but Miss Pinkamina was squeezing my left hoof between her own.

“Assembled guests,” the alicorn boomed, “I will introduce to you Ms. Schema Luenne Twirl, the self-made ‘Scoota-lu Pie.’”

Miss Pinkamina whispered sidelong to me, “Your name is ‘Schema Twirl?’ That’s—oh. Oh. I… I didn’t know you had started calling yourself that.”

Yeah, I… wait, my name is what?

Celestia didn’t seem to move, but suddenly we were both silent and miss Pinkamina’s eyes were locked with hers again. “Now”, the alicorn said, “the experiment is this.”

I felt myself floating up from where I stood—but not from a pressure below me, the way I imagined magical levitation to feel. Instead, it felt like something had wrapped an arm—or maybe a hand, I guess; it felt sort of like a dragon’s hand, the force was rough and overlapping—around my neck, and was pulling me up into the air with it, squeezing more and more tightly. I couldn’t breathe.

Miss Pinkamina seemed afraid, though she wasn’t looking at me; she was still caught in the Princess’ gaze. Her arm began to lift from her side as I rose high enough that our bonds strained against one-another.


Princess Celestia smiled, but did nothing. I was coughing, choking, squirming, desperate for air…

“S-stop that now.”

Princess Celestia nodded, but still did nothing. I imagine my face was turning some shade of red or purple; it really did feel like it.


Miss Pinkamina broke the gaze. I don’t know how she did it. She turned, grabbed the chain and pulled on me. Nothing happened; I was stuck in the air.

Distantly, I could hear a voice from the other side of the room. I think it was Twilight Sparkle. “P–Princess! Do you really think that this…”

The Princess still had the warm, calm expression of somepony gently petting a cat. Her aura burned. “Just wait, my student.”

Miss Pinkamina pulled, tugged, scraped at my neck; everything looked reddish-purple now…

In an instant, the pressure on my neck was gone. I dropped back down on my hooves, then crumped to the floor, coughing and sputtering.

Miss Pinkamina was crying. It didn’t look like an emotional release.

Voices, above the wooden wall of the stand. “Luna, can I say it? I want to say it.”

“Ugh. Go ahead.”

“The prisoner who now stands before you,
Was caught red-handed showing feelings.
Showing feelings of an almost equine nature.
This will not do.”


The Trial - Recess (3/6)

I was still shaking, and I had the taste of my own blood in my mouth, but I had caught enough of my breath to pull myself to a kneeling position on the floor. Celestia’s voice commanded a recess. Two guards opened the doors of the stand behind us and took us both by the shoulders, pulling our arms behind our backs and forcing me up, shakily, onto my legs. We were led out into the metal corridor, and back into our separate cells.

Celestia heard a “Princess…” from amongst the dissolving crowd. She traced it to the sunken form of Twilight Sparkle, chin resting in her hooves in the witness box.

“Come walk with me,” the Princess whispered, carrying her words directly to the unicorn’s ears, “and I will explain.”

Twilight stepped out of the box and glanced around, but her mentor had gone. Following out of the hall’s central doors, she—and Princess Luna as well, Twlight was unnerved to see—were both waiting. Their auras had calmed back to mere shadows, not attempting to present any image of power or divinity. They were simply ponies.

“Hello, my faithful student,” Celestia began, her voice comforting her even as Twilight tried to muster her indignation. “You were troubled by my actions. Do you understand them now?”

“I… princess, I know you did what you did to help Equestria as a whole. But… hm. How should I put this? Um… have you ever read a story called The Ones Who Canter Away From Omelas?

“…no. I don’t recall having read anything by that name.”

Princess Luna, who had been following in silence a few steps behind them, interjected “I have. I believe, sister, that Ms. Sparkle is trying to say that you should not have hurt that foal as you did, even if the whole of Equestria was to be saved by it.”

“Well, that’s silly, Twilight! I didn’t alter her in any permanent way, but we gained in information that we will use to decide the case. It is not just that everypony is better off; it is that nopony is worse off. Honestly, going on with those sorts of sentiments, you sound like my sisterrrrrrrrr… *ahem* you sound like you haven’t been absorbing any of the lessons of friendship I sent you to Ponyville to learn.”

“I… but… but you could have harmed her, something bad might have happened, and–”

“No, my student, I’m afraid I couldn’t have. Drop this issue for now; you shall see its conclusion shortly. I sense, though, that this brings you to your other question?”

“Oh… yes. I, I wanted to ask you why Scoota—er, Ms… Twirl, you called her?—why Ms. Twirl is not being either attacked—er, prosecuted, or defended, in this court. She is on the defence stand, but everypony is ignoring her, just acting as if she weren’t there. I find it …unsettling?”

“Her guilt is not in question.”

“Oh, that’s a relief—”

“She is plainly guilty.”

Twilight recoiled on her feet, and just stared at the princess, uncomprehending. She looked over at her royal dual, Luna, who nodded. “But… why?

Luna answered. “Pinkamina Pie’s emotional sanity was in question, due to her upbringing, and her… psychosocial context.”

“You mean, because we ditched her.”

Luna looked at the floor. “Yes.”

Celestia, circling around to stand between her sister and her student, said to the air between them, “but Ms. Twirl has no such problems. She has friends who… who—”

“Who love her,” Luna finished.

“Yes, that,” Celestia nodded nervously, “and a real mother figure, as we just had the chance to witness. Although her emotional state may be stunted, she has no irreperable damage that would, would justify the things she did.”

“So why is she here, then?” Twilight was beginning to consider to perchance let the slightest bit of her annoyance show on her face in front of the princess. Maybe.

“To witness,” Celestia responded. “To learn,” Luna answered in parallel.

I was starving. A guard had dropped off some form of green mush on a tray, but I just started to choke again when I tried to swallow it. My throat felt raw and closed-off.

“Scootaloo?” the wall asked.

“Ye—*kahff*—ss, miss Pinkamina?”

“You shouldn’t have come back for me, after you went looking for the agent outside the house.”

What? I… miss Pinkamina, I would never aban—”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry I dragged you into this. I’m… I’m just sorry for everything.”

“Don’t. Don’t be. Miss Pinkamina, I… I l—”

There was a loud clang as something hard connected with the outside of my cell door.

A vague voice floated through the thick outer wall, “So let me in already.”

Fine, if you must. Restrain yourself, or we will restrain you.”

The door opened.

Then, well, this happened:

She had put some momentum into it; I was thrown into the corner. The guards ran in after her and pulled her away, but I was staring straight at her. She looked… enraged? No. Hurt.

Rainbow Dash screamed and ranted as she was pulled back out of the cell,

“—you’re in it now!
I hope they throw away the key.
You shouldn’t have talked to them about what we did.
But no! You had to go your own way.
Have you broken any homes up lately?
Just five more minutes, guards, just five;
Her and me alone.”

I sat in shocked silence. She—I… Rainbow Dash had done a lot of things to me before (not all of them strictly unpleasant), but she had never hit me. She had…


Inkie Pie is watching me procrastinate

((OOC: More Schrödinger’s Pegasus tonight, I promise. And yes, that’s her real name.))


The Trial - Session 4: Sentencing (4/6)

Standing back up. Blurry. Lungs hurt. Guard. Shackles. Door.

Miss Pinkamina.

She was staring at me. I don’t know how bad I must have looked at that point; I’m sure it was terrifying, if it was at least half as bad as I felt. We were bonded back together, leg to leg in heavy iron. We shuffled down the corridor in silence.

I was looking at the ground. A few hundred paces of featureless unfinished metal, gaining bloodspots from my… mouth? My face, at least. I couldn’t feel it. Then an abrupt bump, as I walked into miss Pinkamina’s back. She was still.

“Wait,” she said, flat. I couldn’t see her face.

The guards’ shoulders tensed, their hooves parting slightly and knees bending. “Here we go,” one said, reaching for something at his side.

“Just… wait,” miss Pinkamina repeated, “…please.”

The guards stopped moving, but stayed in their ready-to-pounce stance. Miss Pinkamina turned to face me, careful to step over and rotate the chain attached to her left leg. Then she knelt down. Her eyes were still red.

She moved to pull her arms forward, but they were bound tightly behind her. So, instead, she leaned forward and pressed herself against me, her head resting on my whithers. And then she whispered in my ear.

“Scootaloo… thank you. Thank you for staying with me. I— you’re my… *sigh* …you know. Right?”

“I know.”

The guards pulled her away from me, and we were shuffling forward again.

The crowd of dignitaries were seated and whispering quietly to one-another. The witness box was full. And the Princesses two were stood center-stage on the dais. “Welcome back,” said Celestia, as the guard locked us into the stand.

Twilight Sparkle was staring at me with some sort of intense expectation, as if I had become the apparatus for some fundamental experiment. Rainbow Dash was looking at the floor. Miss Pinkamina was back to her unfocused thousand-yard stare.

“Reviewing our previous session,” the irridescent-pink alicorn addressed the room, her aura returning, “we have come to agreement: Pinkamina Diane Pie is deserving of punishment for the crime aforementioned. Now, we must determine what that punishment shall be.”

Her sister turned to her. This looked to be unexpected; Celestia’s demeanor remained calm, but her aura snapped long and thin for a moment (making her appear, from the angle I was watching, as a large exclaimation point) before relaxing again. “The defense”, the darker sister said, “requests that this be a closed session.”

“Of—of course, my colleague,” Celestia said.

The ponies in the gallery began to gather themselves, seeming unsure as to whether they should rise. Then the princess nodded, and the—the room was gone.

I should probably just describe what I saw at this point from scratch: I was standing in a cramped wooden box with large plastic windows. Miss Pinkamina was beside me. On the other side of the plastic were two alicorns, each of full quarterhorse stature and glowing in some undefinable way, on a stage. Beyond them, a wooden half-stand, containing Ms. Rarity, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and miss Pinkamina’s parents. And beyond that… nothing. There was pure, absolute darkness, of a kind I had never before seen.

Then, somehow, there was a …voice, not coming from anywhere, but at the same time coming from everywhere. It was Princess Celestia’s voice, but it was also like nothing I had ever heard before. I think it wasn’t coming in through my ears; anything that loud, clear, and powerful would have shaken the walls of the stand to pieces. It was a voice inside my mind.

(Alright,) the voice said. (What did want to talk about?) The mouth of the Princess Celestia standing on the dais wasn’t moving. She was standing quite still; in fact, she looked like some sort of marionette that had been tied to the ceiling and left to hang undirected.

Another voice. Luna’s. It was… I could say “louder,” but that wouldn’t describe it to even the slightest precision. It was as if the universe itself, and every particle within it—including all the ones in my body—were producing this noise. (You know what I want, it’s what you’re completely ignoring here,) it said.

(0, I don’t know what you want. I’m trying to establish the Good in this branch, just like any other.)

(This branch is differentiated from its parent by the advancement-potential of Ms. Plot Twist over there. —you’re moving toward a local minimum.)

(Ugh. That again? Listen, this is how these things are done. We… to use your favorite analogy, we’re tending this garden, to ensure it remains healthy.)

(Yes, yes, so your kind can walk through it and admire the topiaries. This garden was planted to bear fruit. You’re trimming the flowers!)

(We don’t want flowers, we wa—)

Both of the alicorns, in parallel, seemed to snap awake and look around. Everyone else was frozen. Twilight Sparkle was shaking.

“Oh, I’m sorry, my little ponies!” Celestia said, this time with her mouth, “We alicorns tend to forget when we’re, um, using magic. You can ignore all that.”

Neither of the two unicorns in the witness stand seemed to buy that. (The pegasus and the earth-ponies just looked confused.)

I spoke first. “Excuse me, your… highness. Honor. Were you… uh, referring to, uh, me when you said ‘advancement potential?’ Do… do I have some effect on, on miss Pinkamina’s punishment? I’d… if I do, I’d really like to be able to…”

Princess Celestia shook her head limply. “No, my child, I’m sorry. This is an old argument between my… sister and myself. You are just the latest example of it. We already have an agreement about it—don’t we, sister?”

Luna nodded, the meekest one yet. Then she turned away from the dais, toward the— well, where the main doors would be, if there weren’t just blackness there instead. “Fine. I don’t want to stay, then,” she said, and walked into the dark.

“Well,” Celestia said, shaking her head, “this has been… an interesting experience for you all, hasn’t it? On with the show, now!”

The lights, the room, and the gallery, complete with audience, returned. It looked like they hadn’t moved an inch, and were quite disoriented to see the Defense pony gone from the room.

“This next step is a doozie!


The Trial - Session 5: Execution (5/6)

The …pony… on the dais resumed her address to the gallery. “The Defense,” she said, “has removed herself from further argumentation. As such, I will proceed forward with my chosen punishment.”

I sputtered. “You c-can’t do that! Somepony h-has to defend her! Miss Pinkamina doesn’t deser–”

Celestia shook her head, and locked my eyes again to her molten gaze. “My child,” she whispered, “you are imagining a horrible fate, not a punishment. A punishment is an instrument of rehabilitation. The pony is left better than they began. You shall see.”

“Pinkamina Diane Pie,” Celestia re-addressed her gaze. I felt the metal bolts holding together our bonds wiggle, and grow slightly warm. Then they fell to the floor with a dull clang. “Approach the floor.”

The front of the stand seemed to fade from existence; miss Pinkamina stepped through it, stiffly, as if in a trance. And then it was back to being solid.

“Since, my child, you have revealed your cause for fear,
I sentence you to be reunited with your peers.
Start up the cann–

“–oh,” the princess said, slight embarrassment showing on her face, “I suppose we cannot do that. One of them is dead; and another is the target. I shall …do this myself, then.”

Celestia stepped forward, her head leaning down. It was the first time I had noticed how sharp her horn looked. She was… “Okay—it will be just a little pinprick,” she said, and walked into miss Pinkamina.

Through miss Pinkamina.

The alicorn finished her canter across the dais, and turned back. She approached the lovely, frail, pink-haired mare she had just …run through. Miss Pinkamina seemed unharmed. But her eyes were—they looked like she wasn’t inside herself any more.

“Can you walk, my child?” Celestia said, and miss Pinkamina took a faltering step forward, then looked straight into the air. Her hair… her hair began to curl. “Oh, I do believe it’s working. Good.”

A faint echo in the air, (That’ll keep you going through Season 2.)

“Now, come on, it’s time to return to your friends—”

Miss Pinkamina seemed to be looking at something far above the hall, somewhere miles beyond the painted ceiling. She spoke… she sounded desperate.

“When I was a foal,
I caught a fleeting glimpse
out of the corner of my eye,

I turned to look but it was gone;
I cannot put my hoofpoint on it now,
The foal is grown,
The dream is gone…

And then there was a noise. A horrible, squeaky, plastic noise that sounded like a boot stomping on the face of an under-inflated balloon animal. And then miss Pinkamina was… was…

“Hi everypony! What’s going on here? Are we having a party? Is it… is it a party for me? How’d everypony know? I love parties! It’s just what I wanted!”

Princess Celestia spoke, “Hello, Pinkamina. Yes, this is a party for you, and it’s actually almost over. You should go over and visit with your friends; I think they’ll be happy to see you.”

“Princess! …Hi! Only my parents call me Pinkamina; you can call me Pinkie! It’s—fun-er-er!”

Pinkie Pie—for that was who she was—approached the witness stand.

And, all at once, there were six tense, shrill pony screams. Even Mr. Pie screamed. Actually, his was highest.

“What’s a matter, guys? Don’t you want to have fun? This is an… awfully formal party… Oh! Oh no! Am I not dressed properly? Rarity, what should I be wearing? Help!”

Ms. Rarity recoiled back into the stand, and tried to hide under Applejack. Applejack, in turn, stood and stared hard at the pink pony.

Applejack said, simply, “Leave.”

Pinkie tried to rebut that with, “but I just got here, silly–”

“Us. Alone. Go away. Non’ uh us ever want to see you again. Go.”

Pinkie Pie began to—uninflate, again. Princess Celestia stepped toward the witnesses.

“Now, now! My little ponies, aren’t you being a slight bit—harsh? This is your friend, Pinkie! You should get along with her! Your troubles are over; you can forget—”

“I ain’t never gonna forget,” Applejack interrupted, staring Celestia down in a way that made even her presence wither slightly, “this pony is nothing any more, to any o’ us. Send her sum’ere else, do whate’er you want, yer Honor, but don’t ever let her set foot in Ponyville again.

“But… I… huh. I thought you’d all be more cooperative. You’re supposed to be… harmonious! …but I can fix that, I suppose. Just a little more work.”

Celestia trotted to the side of the witness stand, and bore her horn down again…


Apostasy (6/6)

Seven ponies were huddled in front of the witness stand in a tight embrace. “We missed you, Pinkie,” Applejack said, choking back tears. Even Mr. and Mrs. Pie looked happy—that was the first time I had seen them that way, I realized. Twilight Sparkle looked uncomfortable. Rainbow Dash looked—huh. Rainbow Dash looked sad.

I realized that there was no longer a box around me. I cautiously approached the group.

Rainbow Dash saw me, pulled herself from the group, and ran out of the room. For a moment I hesitated, wanting to follow her… but then proceeded toward the cluster of Ponyville ponies.

“Oh, hey, Scootaloo!” Pinkie Pie said, looking up from a tangle of pony arms.

“Hi, miss Pi—Pinkie. How ar… do you… um. Do you remember me?

“Of course I remember you, silly! You’re the little pony that’s friends with Rarity’s sister and Applejack’s sister! And Rainbow Dash… uh, I was going to say I think she thinks you’re cool, but she kind of ran away… hey! Maybe she was trying to find you a present! I’m sure she’ll be back soo-oon.”

I… I didn’t know what to say to her. So I didn’t say anything.

“Oh! Hey everypony!” Pinkie Pie said, “Let’s dance!

And she was gone.

Twilight Sparkle came to my side.

“I… I, uh, remember,” she said, “I shielded my mind, with–”

“That’s nice.”

“I just wanted to say, Scootaloo… you’re free to go now, I think. Nopony’s going to stop you.”


Twilight wandered away in the direction of Princess Celestia.


Princess Luna returned to the courtroom to find her sister talking to …that thing. She didn’t use the term as an insult to the thing; but rather to its creator. She liked Twilight; she was happy she was alive… but it was still another of ’s big stupid plans to wrest complete control.

“Hello, sister,” the shadow-black alicorn said, trailing in chill air from outside the court. “I see you… went all-out, this time.”

“Yes, I did what I could,” Celestia said bruskly, then looked down at Twilight in apprehension. “Do you… do you think I’m a bad pony, now, Twilight?”

“I—I would neve–! Okay maybealittle ehhhhhhhhh I’m sorry!

“Don’t apologize, my student! You might be right. I think it’s time you learned something about the justice system of Equestria, and why it is balanced as it is.”

Luna nodded, and Celestia looked back at her. “So, have you… decided?”


“And, what? What does the True princess say about the way things have happened here today?”

“They’re…” Luna looked at the assembled gentry, each thoroughly confused and disheveled; she looked at the pack of Ponyvillians, now tango-ing across the dais; she glanced at the main doors.

“I don’t like it.”

Celestia looked like she had been slapped. She shrunk. Literally; she became the same size as Twilight beside her. Her head was down; her mane flopped over her face. “Okay.”

Twilight grimaced. “Princess, what’s wrong? Are you… are you okay, princess? Do you need a doctor? Do…

“I… I’m fine, my… Twilight. I’m okay. I just…”

She straightened, and looked into Twilight’s eyes. Her gaze was dull, and did nothing. Her irises were purple. Twilight had never noticed that. “You are going to see something soon, Twilight… which I think you should remember. I am going to give you a choice, now: do you want to remember?”

“Won’t you… won’t you tell me what it is, Princess?” Twilight said.

“No, I don’t think I can. Take this as a general question. When something unbelieveable happens, something that changes you such that you aren’t yourself any more, do you… do you remember it, Twilight, or do you forget?”

Luna shook her head. She knew the answer the thing would give. She had heard it many hundreds of times. She wanted to be herself, more than anything—the empirical-positivist understanding of the world she had been fed was grounded in the idea of continuity. To discontinue your current self was to die, no matter whether there was a you to continue after your death or not. She would forget.

“I… I’ll remember,” the thing said. “I’ll remember, because somepony needs to remember it, even if it’s not me. I… I learned that today, Princess.”

Luna raised her eyebrows slightly. Had she allowed herself any more display of emotion at that moment, she might have ran, screaming and cackling, into the night. “Huh,” she said, “…Twilight, do you want to, to come out with us for a—a private party, after this?”

Celestia gawked. As far as she knew, Luna had never offered Twilight to join them at the, ahem, dämmerung. But then, she could only trust what Luna had told her of all the previous ones. Celestia smiled. “Yes! Come, come and watch, Twilight! It will be spectacular.

Twilight hesitated. “I… I don’t really like parties… but, I guess, if it’s private, and just with you, Princess… and you, um, Princess… then that sounds like fun. Sure. When?”

Celestia looked at Luna. “Yes, when?”

“Right after I get back, sister,” Luna replied, already heading toward the door, “I just need to take care of a few things.”

The sun was setting in the garden, casting soft, red-gold light on the bushes lining the courthouse walls. Between two of them, in dark, damp shade, Rainbow Dash was curled into a ball.

“Oh, why, why did I do that, why, Celles, why—I could have…I could have apologized, or tried to cheer her up, or anything, but instead I fucked up, I fucked it all up, worse than it’s ever been, and…”

“Excuse me,” a soft voice called out from the garden, matching two quickly-approaching pairs of hooves. “Rainbow Dash?”

“Oh gods is it nooo please I don’t want to please just let it be over and oh—”

“Rainbow Dash, it’s–”

“no please no Scootaloo I can’t if I see you I’ll just I’ll just I—”

“Rainbow Dash, it’s me,” the voice arrived at the bushes, “Princess Luna.”

“I don’t know about you, Twilight,” Rarity said, trying to revive her mane from its pallor caused by twelve hours spent in a stuffy hall, “but I’m glad this is all over. I need to get home and have a bath. Two baths. And then get back to work. I’ve got such a backlog! I just…”


“Yes, dear?”

“Do you… do you think Pinkie will be able to get Sugarcube Corner back?”

“No, I don’t imagine so, dear. Tim Hoofton’s seems rather fond of the place.”

“Huh. I… I really wish things hadn’t turned out this way.”

“What are you talking about? We’re all friends again! We can deal with little things like living conditions later; we’ve all got one another to help us out now.”


The princess of the night chased after the setting sun. The protagonist was her first priority, but Rainbow Dash had been giving her such a headache with those self-abnegating thoughts. That—that error, in her—she had to remember that. She felt much more relaxed now, anyway. Able to have a decent conversation. She had even had time to run back to her summer cottage for cookies and a pair of socks.

In a grove, on a hill, beside a slowly-running stream, she found Schema Luenne Twirl looking up at her moon. “It’s pretty, isn’t it?” she said quietly.

I jumped and flicked my wings out in surprise. She was actually standing right in front of me. I have no idea how she had managed that.

“Scootaloo,” the alicorn said, “you’re going to be alright. You don’t have to worry about… about any of this.”

“But…” I looked at her eyes. They were just like the moon above them; cool, still, eternal—and barren. “But why didn’t anyone erase me? My memories? Why can’t I be happy like everypony else? I just want… I just…”

Luna shook her head. “That’s not what you really want. They’re not happy. They’re… less. Less than they were. Like trimmed branches—able to sprout new growth in unexplored directions, but ever-avoiding the one direction that may have proved…”

“But then, why?”

“Because that’s what’s Good. The world is better than it was, surely. Nopony will die, nopony will hate, nopony will fight. Nopony will love.”

“You sound…”

“Unconvinced?” the alicorn sat down beside me. She had also left her imposing quarterhorse stature behind, and was roughly the size of miss Pin—Pinkie. “I am too. Celestia thinks she knows what she’s doing. I can see that she’s trying. But…”

The princess reached over, and began to stroke my ear. I had a strange urge to lay my head in her lap. Seeing how upfront she was, herself, being, I decided to go with it.

“But she doesn’t see the potential for growth each branch has, apart from all the others. She’s trying to grow a good tree. I’m trying to grow a thousand flowers, each with individual light, even at the expense of the tree. She… eh, this is all gibberish to you. I’m sorry.”

I tried to shake my head, but just ended up rocking it back and forth, slightly, against her legs. She was warm for an avatar of night. I felt very sleepy, and very cold. The princess noticed, I think; she put something on my feet.

“I should answer your question; that’s why I came here, actually. You,” she pointed her hoof down at my nose, which was itself pointed up at the moon, “are special in this… part of time. My sister has no power over you here. And I… I could ease you, but that is not my role. I am here to replant a fallen seed. I think…”

My head was warm, and my eyelids were beginning to droop. I could hardly hear her.

“I think you’ll like it this way.”

Twilight had followed her Princess out to a gentle slope behind the courthouse, overlooking most of the lower town of Canterlot. She wanted to ask if they were going to head back to the castle soon—she had a few things she wanted to check in the imperial archives, not to mention a few words she’d prefer to have with the princess in total privacy, now that she was kind of more… pony-sized (and calling her by her first name! Mmmm…)

Luna appeared as a dark spot against the moon, fluttering down gently to land beside them.

“Are we all ready?” she said, seeming cheerful.

Celestia nodded, and motioned to the freshly-spread picnic blanket. The sun had fled beyond the horizon, and the stars were coming out. It reminded Twilight of the meteor shower.

“Excellent; let’s sit down, then, and I’ll set things in motion. Did you bring any, ah, music, sister?”

“I didn’t know we needed any! Can… could we just sing or something?”

“Oh; sure, I suppose. This sort of thing is always more fun with a soundtrack, though.”

Twilight sat down on the blanket, and then the two Celestial sisters sat on either side of her. Celestia leaned on Twilight’s shoulder. “Twilight—you—I love you.”

Twilight recoiled slightly, and flailed her arms about in a random fashion. “WhaaaAaaaaAAa— I… I…”

“It’s okay, my student. ESP. I’ve known your feelings for years. I’ve just never said anything. It’s… it was improper.”

“Oh. Um… oh.”

Twilight sat in silence for a few minutes. Then she put an arm around Celestia’s shoulder, and smiled.

“So,” Luna said quite instantly in response to that, “we’ll be able to see the first effects in around 9 minutes. Know anything that long?”

Celestia shook her head. “I’m… my mind is still stuck, on, y’know.”

“Egh. Give that album a rest already, it’s, like, 50 years old now.”

“Okay… how about… Black Hole Sun? Death Is Not The End? The World Is Growing Loud?”

“Uh…” Luna looked annoyed, but was also smirking slightly, “can you make it slightly happier?”

“Oh, sure. How about this?”

And then, in a perfect voice—and, in fact, it seemed there were instruments, playing from some distant world, or realm of being,

“When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Summer’s thunder time of year,
The sound of music in my ears.
Distant bells,
New mown grass smells so sweet.
By the river holding hands,
Roll me up and lay me down.
And if you sit,
Don’t make a sound.
Pick your feet up off the ground.
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange,
Sing to me, sing to me.
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Children’s laughter in my ears,
The last sunlight disappears.
And if you sit,
Don’t make a sound.
Pick your feet up off the ground.
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange,
Sing to me, sing to me.
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Children’s laughter in my ears,
The last sunlight disappears.”

When Celestia had finished, Twilight had almost slumped entirely over her, and was hugging her from behind, her face nestled in her mane and her eyes closed.

“Twilight, look,” Celestia said, reaching behind herself and tapping her on the shoulder, “it’s starting.”

There was a white flash from below the horizon. It burned up across the sky, re-lighting all the fading dusk color in the sky. It reached up and up, blanketing the whole sky in pure, blazing white—and for a moment, no shadows could be seen anywhere, for as far as the (magically-protected) eye could see. And then it was gone.

Gone, completely. The dusk had left, and the night was instant and pitch black. Twilight blinked as her pupils refused to dialate.

“What. What was…”

“No more sun,” Celestia said, laughing maniacally, “no more work for me. I can relax! Twilight, kiss me.”

Twilight had no idea what was going on. But then there were lips, and they were warm, and soft.

Luna continued to watch the sky. After a few more minutes (during which Twilight learned quite a few more things about just what the princess had been holding back from her), she began pointing her hooves in random upward directions, a bit like an orchestra conductor. Twilight and Celestia both looked up.

One by one, stars were winking out of the sky.

Twilight gasped. Celestia just smiled and looked over at Luna. “Having fun?” she asked.

“Oh, it was fun at first. Then it was kind of tiresome. But now it’s entirely unconscious. Keep talking; keep me entertained.”

“Okay, big sis. What do you get when you cross a griffon with a–”

“–big scratches. Never cross a griffon.”

“Oh, so you’ve heard that one.”

“I’ve heard all of them. Literally. Even the one you’re about to make up.”

“Damn. *sigh* Uh… since I have your attention,” the no-longer-very-impressive irridescent-pink pony went on, “want to talk about God?”

“Oh please no, Celles, don’t start that again. I mean you’re, what, five billion years old? Six? Do you honestly still think—”

“It doesn’t matter what I think. You’ve never tried it, in any timeline. Just take up some religion; I don’t care which. Just for the sake of it. It might make you less boring to be around.”

“I am not infecting my universe with memetic parasprites just for your entertainment. …’sides, you probably have a way to turn it into you running things again, don’t you?”


“Why don’t we go back to singing?”


“It’s gearing up…” Luna was gesturing more quickly now. As the sky emptied out, it seemed to be fading from black to some shade of misty pink. The ground felt… lighter, against Twilight’s bottom. She wanted to ask—

“No,” Celestia replied directly to her thoughts, “this isn’t what I was talking about before. Though I’m glad you’ll remember this, too. I… I want to… to be able to stay like this. Sister? …can I?”

“I don’t see why not. Though it might screw up your utility function; make you more like me. Would you like that, Celestia? To be more like your sister? To be all sappy and romantic all the time? To stop trying to optimize everything?”

“I… just might. But that’s probably mostly because I won’t even know I ever wanted it.”

“Yeah, probably. Isn’t this fun?”

Twilight interrupted them both to point at the …volume of space where the sky used to be. “Look! What is that?”

Luna and Celestia both giggled. Celestia quietly murmured into Twilight’s shoulder, “idth zh muuuuuuuuu—”

Luna had an extremely odd look on her face. Well, odd for her. “Devious and cute” would be the normal description. “Hey, sis, can I?” she said.

*sigh* I didn’t expect you to… sure, why not. But it’s not even the same album–”

“Don’t-care-gonna-sing-it-now. Ahem.

“All that you touch
and all that you see,
all that you taste—
all you feel—
and all that you love,
and all that you hate,
all you distrust—
all you save—
and all that you give,
and all that you deal,
and all that you buy, beg, borrow or steal;
and all you create,
and all you destroy,
and all that you do,
and all that you say;
and all that you eat,
and everyone you meet,
and all that you slight,
and everyone you fight;
and all that is now,
and all that is gone,
and all that’s to come,
and everything under the sun is in tune,
but the sun is eclipsed by the mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo~”

Luna clopped her hooves together, and the universe was gone.

> Scootaloo: Overwrite other Scootaloo.