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Seizing the Throne (Complete)

By Lurkernon
Created: 19th December 2020 11:38:54 PM

  1. Originally published October 2014
  2.  
  3. > Week 3, Day 2
  4. > You are Anonymous.
  5. > Currently staring in a state of mild shock.
  6. > You are staring at one of the most beautiful hor- er, ponies you have ever seen.
  7. > "Anonymous?"
  8. > It's not just that she's twice the size of the others around her, the first creature you've seen that you aren't constantly looking down at.
  9. > It's not just the endlessly flowing hair that your eye couldn't help but follow.
  10. > "Anonymous!"
  11. > It's their sheer presence, a raw force she exuded that only hinted at an unimaginable wealth of power backed by years of wisdom and experience.
  12. > Doubts you had about Twilight's story of the sisters being around for over a thousand years and shifting the orbital bodies on their own had vanished.
  13. > "ANONYMOUS!"
  14. > You line of thought was broken.
  15. > At your side, a purple alicorn was giving you a frustrated glare.
  16. > "We need to go in, Anonymous."
  17. "Oh. Yes. Sorry. A little bit distracted... by the, uh... windows... yeah."
  18. > Twilight huffs and leads you through the throne room doors.
  19. > She always was a bit touchy about keeping her former teacher waiting, even though she was a princess as well now.
  20. > Then again, considering the incredible creature before you, it wasn't hard to understand why.
  21. > Who would dare inconvenience such a being as that?
  22. > As you approach the throne, she stands and pads down several steps to the floor.
  23. > "Twilight... so very good to see you again. Ah, and this must be the visitor - Anonymous?"
  24. "Yes. Er, yes, Princess."
  25. > Her voice is warm and soft.
  26. > You can barely look away.
  27. > "I've been reading Twilight's letters with great interest, Anonymous. Please, let us retire to somewhere more comfortable than this hall, and you can tell me your story as well..."
  28. > You follow behind the two royals, nearly colliding with a too-low doorframe on account of still staring at Celestia.
  29. > You are Anonymous.
  30. > It's been over three weeks since you found yourself stranded in this land.
  31. > But years forward, it will be this day that you know changed your life.
  32. > This was the day you met Celestia.
  33. > The day when you realized that somehow, some day, she would be yours.
  34.  
  35. -------
  36.  
  37. > Month 7, Week 1, Day 6
  38. > You're not sure exactly when you began to change.
  39. > Certainly not the day you first gazed on the solar diarch.
  40. > While that was one turning point, you had returned from the visit to the same life you had settled into.
  41. > Gone straight back to living as a guest in Twilight's palace, paying your rent with tales of Earth and man's deeds.
  42. > Maybe it was as you learned about their world.
  43. > Learned how pitiful their so-called criminals were.
  44. > Maybe when you had a chance to meet a pair of "con-men" (con-ponies?) who were the most blatantly crooked pair you ever saw.
  45. > Maybe when you discovered their 'villains' to be morons who littered their plans with error after error.
  46. > Maybe that was when you realized how far you could go.
  47. > It had started small, of course.
  48. > You were even legitimate at first.
  49. > Selling simple things you remembered back from Earth.
  50. > They were all the rage on account of being the alien's handiwork.
  51. > Then you moved onto more practical products.
  52. > The big breakthrough was the telegraph.
  53. > Copper wire wasn't exactly common, so you had to spend much of your earnings setting up the first line.
  54. > But word began to spread.
  55. > Demand began to rise.
  56. > You built a second telegraph line, and a third, and a tenth.
  57. > A hundredth.
  58. > You hired the best lawyers your money could find, and ruthlessly crushed anyone who dared to try and copy your product without paying you.
  59. > The first step was complete.
  60. > Now you had funds to work with.
  61. > Now your plan could begin in earnest.
  62.  
  63. ------
  64.  
  65. > Month 9, Week 5, Day 2
  66. > At some point, you knew, a challenge would appear that just couldn't be overcome within a reasonable time period.
  67. > Not legally, anyhow.
  68. > If you were to take this plan as far as you hoped, you would need to work outside of the ponies' laws.
  69. > Especially since truly significant disputes were brought to the attention of the princesses, and one of them discovering your plans would truly collapse all of this.
  70. > As always, you had begun within entirely legal boundaries.
  71. > A small cadre of guards was hired and trained to patrol your telegraph wires, to prevent anyone from stealing the valuable copper wire.
  72. > At first they only caught a few petty thieves.
  73. > Those you mostly had released, pleading before the courts for mercy on their behalf.
  74. > There was no telling when it would come in handy to have publicly appeared caring and merciful.
  75. > But eventually your guards took down a real prize.
  76. > A longer-term criminal, a griffon outlaw by the name of Greta.
  77. > Whom you were now facing in a quiet room, four of your guard accompanying you.
  78. > Greta sat in a chair, limbs bound and a bag over her head.
  79. "Release her."
  80. > The hood is pulled free; Greta blinks her eyes a few times, looking about in confusion.
  81. > Rather surprised to find herself in a well-carpeted and warmly-lit room, most likely.
  82. "Expecting a dungeon, perhaps?"
  83. > Your voice snaps her head to you, eyes narrowing.
  84. > "You... you're the alien. The hoo-man."
  85. > How insightful.
  86. > You sigh and motion to the guards.
  87. "Leave us."
  88. > After a moment's hesitation they do so, filing out and closing the door behind them.
  89. "Miss Greta. I'll get down to business: I've not had you brought here to interrogate, intimidate, aggravate, or anything-else-ate you. I've had you brought here to hire you."
  90. > She doesn't respond, so you go on.
  91. "It should not be any surprise to you that those who are the most successful are the most ruthless... I need to be ruthless, without being noticed."
  92. > "You want me to do your dirty work."
  93. "Not exactly. I need you to gather up others like yourself... more accepting of direct measures, shall we say?"
  94. > The gears are turning in Greta's head.
  95. > "What the hell do you want a gang for? You're already rolling in bits."
  96. "I have further plans."
  97. > "That's all your going to tell me?"
  98. "Until I can trust you."
  99. > She stares at you, taloned claws clasping and unclasping in their bindings as she thinks.
  100. > "..alright, you got me."
  101. "Good. Now, let me explain how I will contact you, and then we can talk about getting you out of here..."
  102. > An hour later you were nursing a bump on the head and receiving a severe talking to from the local police chief about dealing with criminals one-on-one.
  103. > Promises were made not to do it again.
  104. > You wouldn't need to, after all.
  105. > Greta had burst free through an 'unexpectedly' weak window and was now well on her way.
  106. > With her, knowledge of times and places to expect some rather unusual telegraph calls and a codebook to understand them.
  107. > Step 2 complete.
  108. > Now you could act freely.
  109.  
  110. ------
  111.  
  112. > Year 3, Month 6, Week 2
  113. > What had begun with Greta had grown.
  114. > A fairly sizable cadre of ill-tempered types now followed your demands.
  115. > Their methods had become far less restrained as well.
  116. > No longer were important documents merely stolen.
  117. > Now factories burned and competitors dragged into alleys.
  118. > Sometimes your own as well, to make sure nobody suspected.
  119. > And of course, they were always one step ahead of your guards - the core of their group always narrowly escaping to raid again.
  120. > Which only provided you a rationale to expand your guard and increasingly cloak their actions in secrecy.
  121. > Sometimes, you wondered if you would have a soul left when you were done with this.
  122. > Or if it was going to hell, although you'd dropped any real religion soon after arriving here.
  123. > Second thoughts were just that, though.
  124. > Thoughts.
  125. > And they were far outweighed by your increasingly merciless ruining of all competition.
  126. > Right now, though, you had a problem.
  127. > It's name was Filthy Rich.
  128. > The only pony to have realized what you were becoming, and the only one with the brains and resources to match you hoof-to-toe.
  129. > But not the total lack of morals.
  130. > Studying his life, it wasn't hard to find his weakness.
  131. > Rich's daughter may have been spoiled rotten, but it was his mother on whom he truly doted.
  132. > You simply had certain pictures taken while she slept.
  133. > From very close range.
  134. > Sometimes with a knife in view.
  135. > Your response arrived less than a day after the letters were tossed through Rich's window.
  136. > A note, dropped in a pre-determined place.
  137. > It was meaningless on the surface - corporate gibberish.
  138. > But the message was clear as crystal.
  139. > 'Whoever you are, I surrender. Do not harm her.'
  140. > You smile, feeding a sheet of paper into your typewriter and getting to work.
  141.  
  142. ------
  143.  
  144. > Year 8, Month 11, Week 3
  145. > If you had a soul anymore, it was definitely going to hell.
  146. > Oh, your legitimate business had mushroomed to a true empire.
  147. > Telephone followed telegraph, and even now the first of your steamships were prowling the trade-lanes.
  148. > But it had all been moving far, far to slow for you.
  149. > You were a magnate, yes, but magnates did not automatically get close to the princesses.
  150. > If anything, your aggressive business practices had alienated them.
  151. > You needed another track.
  152. > In response, your criminal empire had grown.
  153. > The original bandits had either grown up into truly cold, calculating agents or quietly excused from your ranks.
  154. > Greta still held the lead of your muscle, though her wildness had grown with her responsibility.
  155. > Graft, blackmail, sabotage - almost no one was beyond your reach.
  156. > Even this, though, was not what you truly intended.
  157. > No gang, no matter how strong, could topple the princesses.
  158. > It was merely another step, another stage.
  159. > Today, though, you were not bothering with any of that.
  160. > Today you were at the dentist's.
  161. > "Okay, Mr. Anonymous. You look to be all good. Teeth look great, gums look great, X-rays look great.. you're fine!"
  162. > The chipper blue mare pulled down her mask with the familiar cloud of magic and held up a black-and-white image of your jaw-bones.
  163. "Thank you for your services, Colgate. Say, tell me - how are these X-rays made?"
  164. > "Well, the machine shoots out a bunch of these invisible rays and they pass through your jaw to the film, an-"
  165. "No, I mean - the rays themselves. How are they made?"
  166. > "Oh! Well, these days we just pass a magic current through a particularly tuned crystal, and they shoot out."
  167. "Oh... were they discovered this way, or...?"
  168. > "Oh not at all! They found them coming from some very nasty ore originally, unpleasant stuff. Thank the stars we don't have to use that in this office!"
  169. "Ah, I see... and this ore? What was it called?"
  170. > "Um, the ore? If I remember my dental school days, Celestite. Because it radiated energy, like the sun."
  171. > You give her a warm, thankful smile.
  172. "I can certainly understand. Thank you, Colgate."
  173. > The smile was quite real.
  174. > After all, you knew how to find Uranium ore now.
  175.  
  176. ------
  177.  
  178. > Year 17, Month 5, Week 2
  179. > It turns out knowing about it and finding it are two different things.
  180. > Knowing about the ore, and being able to refine it?
  181. > Might as well have been two worlds.
  182. > You had announced it as a project to render the ore safe to use in industry, by separating out the 'dangerous elements'.
  183. > Of course, there was no such thing.
  184. > But doing this drove what had been decades-worth of scientific leaps back on Earth.
  185. > Including the discovery of Uranium as a proper element, and of its far-less stable 235 isotope.
  186. > It had cost you a small fortune to do, and another small fortune to make sure your much of the operation stayed out of sight.
  187. > But your carefully-kept criminal network came through.
  188. > Long after the publicly-announced effort at rendering the ore safe to use was admitted a failure, hundreds of magically-driven centrifuges spun on deep in bases carved into mountainsides.
  189. > While they processed ore at a slow - if steady - rate, you were free to move on to other matters.
  190. > Namely, the princesses.
  191. > It had been time to mend bridges with them, to make up for your 'greedy' business practices.
  192. > You opened your libraries of patents, funded public projects and development.
  193. > Celestia always was quick of offer second chances, and accepted your efforts wholeheartedly.
  194. > Within a year you had been able to manipulate your way into speaking to her at a party.
  195. > Planting the idea in her mind that perhaps, after taking so much from the nation, you could pay it back by serving as a royal adviser on technological development?
  196. > Within another year, you had the position.
  197. > Which is when you ran into the most damning problem you had ever encountered.
  198. > Your conscience.
  199. > Working this closely with Celestia, you began to see for the first time how dedicated the princess was.
  200. > How entirely devoted to her subjects she was.
  201. > How many night she spent staying up far beyond normal to complete projects, and how few days she set aside for her own well-being.
  202. > And you began to question.
  203. > Could you really take this from Equestria?
  204. > Could you really take her beloved subjects from her?
  205.  
  206. --------
  207. > Year 19, Month 2, Week 1
  208. > The newspaper rustles in your trembling hands, the headline seeming to glare out at you.
  209. > ‘TWENTY SIX WORKERS, NINE GUARDS DEAD IN ATTACK ON ROYAL MUSEUM’
  210. > “Sir?”
  211. > Your butler coughs politely from the spot beside your seat.
  212. > “Sir, you’ve been like this for six minutes now… is everything quite alright?”
  213. “I’m afraid not, Silver Platter.”
  214. > You fold the paper shut, pulling the headline out of our vision.
  215. > Before you could do something more violent to it, in your anger.
  216. “It seems our golden goose has run out of control. Her eggs are turning rotten, so to speak.”
  217. > Silver Platter’s eyes widen.
  218. > “Will you be needing me to deliver any…  messages of condolence, sir?”
  219. “No. I think I will handle this one personally.”
  220. > You aren’t sure whether it is the venom in your voice or the meaning of what you have just declared, but Silver’s jaw falls slightly as well.
  221. > “I-I see, sir. We will arrange the normal mode of discreet transportation, then?”
  222. “Yes, immediately - to Cloudesdale. I will be dressing to leave shortly.”
  223. > The trip was, all things considered, uneventful.
  224. > Not one pony raises their head in surprise when a nondescript airship docks at one of your privately-owned berths in Cloudesdale.
  225. > Nor when an equally nondescript but definitely not extravagant closed carriage is drawn out from your business’ complex by a pair of nondescript pegasi.
  226. > Arriving at your destination, though?
  227. > That was different.
  228. > By the time you stalk into the main meeting hall, you are once again fuming.
  229. > “ ‘ey, Anonymous! What are you doin’ here, man!”
  230. > Your teeth grit at the sound of Greta’s voice.
  231. > Fingers twitch toward the metal hidden beneath your suit, but they are restrained them for now.
  232. > Turning in the low-lit room, you spot her wading through other thugs – her beak half-open in what you recognized as a grin.
  233. > “Fancy you comin’ out here, Anonymous! Come to give us any more big jobs?”
  234. “Greta. We need to talk.
  235. > You move to a private booth, boozed-up pony all but launching himself from it to make way for you.
  236. > “So, ‘Nonymous. What’s got you ‘round to Cloudesdale, eh?”
  237. > Greta slouches over in her seat, still grinning.
  238. “You. You are completely out of control, Greta.”
  239. > No point in lowering your voice.
  240. > Everyone in here is already on your payroll, and knows not to listen to closely to things.
  241. > “Hey! We’re just doing our job thoroughly, you know!”
  242. “Thirty-five dead, Greta. You were told to destroy Doctor Hypo Thesis’s research, not kill everyone in the department wing!”
  243. > “They wouldn’t get out of our way! Kept blathering on about how this was important-“
  244. > Your fist slams to the table.
  245. “Those were innocent lives! Not involved in this! You are attracting far, far too much attention, Greta!”
  246. > You point a single finger at her beak.
  247. “Greta. Listen closely. Frankly, I’m starting to get worried about your loyalty to the organization, understand?”
  248. > For the first time she notices the two perfectly nondescript but strongly-built pegasi that have followed you in.
  249. > Pegasi that have followed you over, blocking her from leaving the booth.
  250. “I was frisked twice on my way in here. They insisted on taking my blades, Greta. Now, I am not an easy creature to mistake, so – that leaves only the possibility of a serious lack of respect for those above them, Greta.”
  251. > “Hey, listen, we just like to run things more independently over here, ya know? Rules were made to be broken and all.”
  252. > Casually you reach out and test the firmness of the cloud-well next to you.
  253. > Nice, thick and enchanted to be able to catch any objects suddenly impacting it.
  254. > Excellent.
  255. “Well, you see, that’s a problem. Because in this organization, we value obedience and self-control very highly…”
  256. >. Greta sits up, her eyes struggling to focus on you.
  257. > No alcohol; she must be on something stronger.
  258. > This was a new habit.
  259. > An unwelcome one.
  260. > “Then maybe it’s time we changed the law, huh? Or maybe, made our own.”
  261. > One razor-sharp talon is pointed at you.
  262. > “If you’re going to go all police-pony on me and insist that I’ve got to bow and kiss your feet, then you can take your organization and-“
  263. > Thunder rolls through the bar, ponies and griffons alike ducking at the sudden noise.
  264. > Greta stares in confusion, first at the metal that had appeared in your hand and then at the bloody hole seeping red across her feathered chest.
  265. > “What…”
  266. “It’s called a pistol. Another of my remembered inventions I decided to keep to myself.”
  267. > You drag the hammer back, rotating the cylinders around one position.
  268. “Seems it was a good idea to. Your guards took my blades, but they didn’t know about this.”
  269. > “F-Fuck y-“
  270. > You reach over, dragging Greta from the booth and out to the open floor.
  271. > A small circle opens around you, staring at the bloodies griffon and the human standing over her.
  272. > “Please – oh, winds, it hurts – please, Anonymous. You know me! I’ve worked for you a long time, I’ve-!”
  273. > You drive a boot into her side, turning her pleading into a strangled squawk.
  274. “Listen up!”
  275. > You look around, at all the faces surrounding you.
  276. “You all know who I am. I’m going to give a little explanation here. This, is why you follow the orders you are given, and don’t make up your own.
  277. > “Oh, winds – Anonymous, please!”
  278. “This, is why you don’t kill anyone not involved in our business without explicit orders to do so.”
  279. > You lower the pistol to level with Greta’s head.
  280. “And this, is why you don’t ever, EVER think of betraying me.”
  281. > They say lightning never strikes twice.
  282. > In that bar, though, thunder definitely rolled twice.
  283.  
  284. --------
  285.  
  286. > Year 23, Month 7, Week 4
  287. > Somewhere behind your ears, a clock ticks.
  288. > It’s far past sundown, far past when you should have been in bed.
  289. > Time for you to get your unofficial business done.
  290. > Except, it is not getting done.
  291. > Not for lack of knowledge of what needs to be done, but for lack of certainty that it should.
  292. > Even now you find yourself staring at a sheet of blank paper spread on a desk before you.
  293. > Around you, the cluttered office of the Royal Technologist is silent but for that regular ticking of an impressively complex mechanical clock.
  294. > It is true, Celestia was an incredibly beautiful creature.
  295. > And on some level you still wished her to be yours.
  296. > But could you order what you were about to - what you would have to order in the future?
  297. > Were you ready to take those kinds of steps?
  298. > Then pen trembles briefly before your fingers squeeze around it.
  299. > No.
  300. > To much blood had already been spilt to end this now.
  301. > And how could you shut down your extralegal network without your plans being revealed?
  302. > Leaving it in place was no choice at all - someone else would pick it up, someone far less restrained than yourself.
  303. > You had no choice now, but to see this through to the end.
  304. > Making sure the pen is full, you touch it to the paper.
  305. "Sharp Wit - I am entrusting you to deliver the following messages: One, alert the arcana research divisions that they are to prepare a long-lasting spell which will trigger an alarm or effect when one or more portions of the spell are disrupted or destroyed. Additionally, you are to make copies of the attached papers and present them to the operations at Sites 8,13, and 23."
  306. > Drawing another sheet of paper, you begin to sketch.
  307. > A few hours later, your drawings are done.
  308. > One last note to be written.
  309. "To the researchers at relevant sites: You have served this organization well for many years now, and now we approach the final steps in this grand plan. We have long known that certain varieties of the element which you are harvesting may spontaneously split, releasing energy in the process. Enclosed are rough plans for a device which will induce this splitting state in a large volume of the element, by suddenly squeezing a sphere of it under great pressure and heat, which I believe could be provided by appropriately-enchanted crystals. You will begin design and construction of such a device at greatest possible speed. Be proud, all of you - your task is all but done."
  310.  
  311. ------
  312.  
  313. > Year 28, Month 12, Week 1
  314. > The chamber is packed with dozens of reporters, and perhaps twenty more guards to ensure they all stay in place.
  315. > In the rear, two bulky film cameras stand ready to record the evening's proceedings.
  316. > You watch them from the stage at the front of the room, hidden behind a heavy curtain.
  317. > Beside you, Princess Luna looks up to you.
  318. > "Art thou ready, Anonymous?"
  319. > You take a deep breath.
  320. > You are more conflicted than she knows.
  321. > Thankfully, your conflicted face is well in line with the night's proceedings.
  322. "I think so, Princess. Thank you."
  323. > "Good. Then We shall depart post-haste and join Our sister in investigating the secret laboratories We have found.
  324. > She turns and steps away, literally melding into the shadows as she goes.
  325. > You stride in the opposite direction, to the podium at the center of the stage.
  326. > Instantly the reporters grow quiet, any hubbub quickly dying away.
  327. > You look out over the crowd of eager faces and take another deep breath.
  328. > It will not stop your stomach from churning.
  329. "Good evening, all of you. As I am sure we all know that two days ago, two enormous explosions occurred in Friesan Desert, near the Badlands. I will now tell you what we are certain of so far regarding them. One: The explosions were not magical in nature. Their nature is not truly understood as of yet, but what we do understand is this: The explosions left in their wake a considerable cloud of highly toxic and dangerous dust, which would have inflicted considerable injury had it occurred in a populated area."
  330. > Camera flashes blind you repeatedly, but your eyes are not seeing the room anyhow.
  331. "Both Their Highnesses Celestia and Luna have departed to take part in the investigation of this situation. I can now announce that their efforts have revealed a network of deeply-hidden bases apparently constructed by a considerable criminal organization, apparently for the purpose of creating whatever caused these explosions. I cannot add anything more about the investigation, except to say that there should be no doubt that those who would attempt to use such horrifying weapons on this nation will be caught, and will be punished."
  332. > You take another deep breath.
  333. > Can't break now.
  334. "I would add... I would add as a personal note that, as there is no sign that the explosions were purely magical in nature, there is reason to believe they may have been based on some new technology. If so, if I bear responsibility for introducing it.. I shall not accept my gifts being used in such a way. The full resources of Anon-Tech Industries will be granted to crown's use in hunting down those who would do this. Thank you, questions - yes, you, with the hat."
  335.  
  336. -----
  337.  
  338. > Year 29, Month 3, Week 2
  339. > The purge had been swift and brutal.
  340. > As they had been ordered, your men fought furiously, destroying their work and their notes before the royal guard could overrun your bases.
  341. > In their final moments, hidden demolition charges wiped out each base, incinerating staff and collapsing structures atop their remains.
  342. > Nothing left that could point to you, but plenty of carefully-planted hints by your agents in the royal guard that would lead to the other sites.
  343. > In a matter of weeks, you had seen years' worth of work burned, torn, and crushed into nothing.
  344. > The final step was ready.
  345. > Nobody left who could undo your plans.
  346. > The blood of thousands on your hands.
  347. > Your coup was about to begin.
  348. > You straighten your back and knock on the door before you.
  349. > "Come in."
  350. > The heavy oaken portal slides open and you step through, pulling a cart after you.
  351. > Celestia's room always interested you, though not as much as the princess who resided within.
  352. > "Anonymous. What is it?"
  353. > Celestia is spread out on her bed, a letter floating before her in mid-air.
  354. > Likely from Twilight.
  355. "It is about the... bomb factory sites, Princess."
  356. > Her face falls. "Ah, I see..."
  357. > The deaths as your network was cleansed had weighed heavily on Celestia.
  358. > Even as criminals, she had care for her ponies, and to see so many die under the demolition charges had been hard on her.
  359. > She wondered why they had preferred death to surrender - did the fear her so greatly?
  360. > She could not know they had no choice in the matter.
  361. > Radio signals do not know such emotions.
  362. > You'd had the transmitter burned afterwards.
  363. "I am afraid, Celestia... that not all the explosives were found."
  364. > She sits up, eyes wide, not even noticing you have failed to add 'princess'.
  365. > "How many are missing?"
  366. "Seventy-two devices, exactly."
  367. > Celestia stands, pacing.
  368. > "Seventy-two... so many. Will they want revenge? How quickly can these things be made safe-"
  369. "And I know exactly where they are."
  370. > Celestia stops to look at you in surprise, and you brace yourself.
  371. "I ordered them constructed and placed."
  372. > She is completely still now, perhaps not even breathing.
  373. "I also ordered the purge. The destruction of the facilities. They were all mine to begin with."
  374. > Surprise is morphing into shock, and that into anger.
  375. > "How could you, Anonymous? What have you done?"
  376. > You lick your lips.
  377. > This speech has been rehearsed, but it is one thing to speak it in a silent room, another before Celestia herself.
  378. "I am initiating a coup, Celestia. As of now, you serve me. As does your sister, and the rest of this nation. I am the ruler now."
  379. > Breath in.
  380. "Undoubtedly you will think you could subdue me in an instant - kill me even. Or banish me, or turn me to stone, or a million other fates. But you will not. You see, I am now subject to an enchantment - a simple little thing, it actually feeds on my body heat to fuel itself. All it does is make sure a few points are connected; if they are not, the enchantment sets off an alarm. I am one of those points; the other bombs are the remainder. If I choose to break it, or if one is disrupted, destroyed, banished, or converted to any other form, the enchantment breaks. If the enchantment breaks..."
  381. > "The bombs explode."
  382. > Celestia's voice is soft, barely a whisper.
  383. > Her face speaks to volumes of emotion.
  384. > Horror. Betrayal. Pain.
  385. > It's almost enough to make your heart break.
  386. > But you no longer have a heart.
  387. > It died with your soul, somewhere back in the process of getting here.
  388. "They explode, in the cities in which they have been placed. The casualties will be tremendous - likely millions will die. And you will not let that happen to your little ponies, will you?"
  389. > Celestia collapses to a seated position, her mouth half open.
  390. > "What are you, Anonymous? We took you in, you taught us, helped us... what are you doing...?"
  391. "What am I?"
  392. > You smile a cold, cruel smile.
  393. > It's not one Celestia's seen before, and it makes her visibly shiver.
  394. "Merely human, my dear slave. Now, come."
  395. > You uncover the cart following you.
  396. > On it are four thick collars, each embedded with a name flanked on either side by the outline of a human hand.
  397. > Slaves' collars.
  398. > You select the one inscribed with the solar princesses' name and hold it out.
  399. "Come here."
  400. > She rises unsteadily, approaching you with her eye closed.
  401. > The first tears stain her cheeks as you close the collar about her throat and lock it in place.
  402. > You brush them away with a gentle finger.
  403. "Don't cry now, dear. We've still much to do. You need to find your sister and the other two, and explain the new rules to them. Then we can talk about my coronation."
  404. > She shudders, but nods.
  405. > "Please... just be gentle with them. My- The ponies. Please, don't hurt them."
  406. "Well, that all depends on you, my dear slave. You have a vested interest in keeping me safe and in good health now, after all. Now go - we have much to do, and little time to waste."
  407. > With the cart in tow, Celestia steps from the room.
  408. > You sink into her bed, arms folded behind your head.
  409. > It's been a long road.
  410. > But it's finally done.
  411. > You are Anon.
  412. > Emperor Anonymous I
  413. > And you have won.
aie celestia princess celestia

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