A simple test from the bureaucracy of Equestria

by Evilhumour

Chapter 1: Chapter One

Celestia had to admit, she had not received a request this unusual in her court in a very, very long time. Unusual in the sense it confused and surprised her, not unusual in the strange and quirky sense; it would take Discord returning to truly make things surprising again and she was not willing to even entertain that notion for long.

On one hoof, Luna, her little sister only returned but a few weeks ago, was the co-ruler of their nation and their ponies, by birth and by combat eons ago. That alone proved her right to sit on the throne and decide matters for Equestria and for the ponies they ruled over. If the nobles were going to fight and argue against that, then they would have to face her words on the whole Nightmare Moon matter. The ponies in time would come to understand, accept and love her sister, for all her quirks, faults and everything that made Luna Luna.

On the other hoof…

“While I do appreciate you bringing this,” she paused, thinking of the right words to say to these two bureaucrats standing in front of her, holding a copy of Equestrian law concerning the basic conditions that all nobles and ruling caste must meet in order to rule. It was a law she signed into order, just as a precaution to help make sure more competent ponies were in the seats of power, but most took it as simple concern and rarely bothered to contemplate it anymore once dealt with. Wait, that was the word! “Concern to me, but I do not believe Princess Luna should be required to be asked to do this. I trust her judgement on all matters will be done for the betterment of all involved and she does not need to be examined on potential issues that a ruler might face as my sister has done more for our land in the past than most senators have done.”

“Bu-but Princess Celestia,” the bureaucrat on the right, a unicorn stallion with a quill on a book cutie mark named Legal Causes from the Bureau of Affairs, took a step forwards. “It is the law, and you yourself have submitted yourself to this test.”

She blinked. She had done the test in the past, a breeze as she knew of the events in the test and was able to pass without worry. And there was that pesky law thing.

“Yes but-”

“And while we do not dare doubt Princess Luna’s right to rule, there are necessary channels and paperwork that we must complete concerning her return to us.” The other one, a pegasus mare with a magnifying glass over a piece of paper known as Fine Print from the Bureau of Education, was much more confident than her partner, as she barely trembled and was able to speak without stuttering. She took a deep breath, with her wings fluttering a bit, showing some nervousness. “We have already had some requests concerning Princess Luna’s legal authority, and this would help us silence those plot-I mean, those doubters!” She blushed profusely at what she almost said.

Celestia withheld a sigh. Of all the ponies to be first to really accept Luna, she did not expect it to be the bureaucrats. The Royal Guards really didn’t count as it was their duty to protect the Princesses, but still, bureaucrats were coming to defend her sister? Where was the love for her when they dared to audit her on the expansion of the Royal Kitchen and said it was a complete waste of bits. Didn’t they know they needed more stoves for more cakes to be baked?

“I thank you both for bringing this issue to me, and I will personally discuss this matter with Princess Luna.” She smiled, wondering how Luna would take it.

Of course she would be more than willing to do the test, anything to prove her worth to her-their ponies even if it was a bit of slap to the face, but she would protest at first, complain and whine in her cute little way that was made even cuter in her current state. Matters aside for why she was in such a reduced state of power and stature, of course… “I trust that you already have a test prepared for her?”

With a nod, the unicorn lifted a sealed package from his saddlebag over to her, after letting her unicorn guards check it over first, without opening it of course. Those bureaucrats would have a fit over that, claiming the possible results would be void and a new test would need to be written, complaining to her the entire time.

Celestia smiled as she watched the two leave, and called the court to a close. She got up and started to walk out of the throne room, eager to eat dinner and meet her sister for her breakfast. It was something she was very glad to have back, after eating alone for so long without her.

It was a simple test really, one that nearly all ponies passed anyways, and Luna would do fine. She was really the smarter of the two of them, despite not being the more diplomatic sister. Being the grand war strategist that helped end the Griffin Wars did prove that Luna knew how her ponies would react when placed against the wall.

She frowned for a fraction of a second, trying to remember something about that law, something about the penalty of failing it but she couldn’t remember it…

“Greetings, dear sister!” Blinking, she smiled as her little sister bounded into the hallway, nuzzling against her neck with a happy smile plastered on her face. “Was thy court another rounding success for thou?” Her smile faltered a bit, a reminder that the night court was still bereft of anypony seeking Luna’s counsel.

“To a degree, little sister.” She smiled and nuzzled back, and walked down the private halls of the Royal Sisters. “The requests that they put forth make me want to scream at times.” They both laughed at this, knowing how outlandish the requests could become. One that always crept up was for the arrest of a group of stallions with an hourglass cutie-mark and that had a blue box with them that caused no end of mischief. One day the two sisters might actually seek out this famous family of troublemakers, only to reward them for providing so much amusement over the years.

Pausing at the doors to the Royal Dining Chambers, Celestia blinked and looked at her little sister pushing the door open and quickly moving over to her seat. “In fact, the last one was concerning you, Lulu.”

“Truly Tia?” She blinked, looking half excited and half worried at this. She was still greatly worried about proving her worth to everypony and still very insecure about being questioned about her right to rule. Sure, Luna might snap at ponies in the Royal Canterlot Voice when questioned on it, but Celestia knew her little sister very well to know when she was scared of failure, among other things.

Or at least she thought she did, Nightmare Moon proving that she didn’t truly know her sister.

“Yes, Lulu.” She smiled as her little sister tried to roll her eyes at the old nickname quick enough that Celestia didn’t catch her but her huff brought it out too much to hide. Withholding a giggle, she sat down next to her sister, and lifted a fork to her plate and then mouth. “Two bureaucrats-,” she let out an exaggerated shudder, causing her sister to laugh louder than she probably planned. Celestia continued. “brought to my attention a little law that all ponies that wish to have some say in how our government is run need to pass a test.”

Luna frowned and paused, her spoon in her mouth creating a very adorable moment for Celestia to enjoy. “And they dare to question Our right to rule simply because we have not vanquished a simple test? Doth our years before not count for anything?”

Lifting an eyebrow at her sister placing her spoon back into her cereal bowl angrily, Celestia shook her head and took control of the conversation before things got out of control.

“On the contrary, they wish for you to take this test as they only want your orders and decisions to pass without any complaints or issues.” Celestia smiled. “I suppose you will wish to honour them by taking them under your wing, letting yourself become the head of nearly all the bureaucracy of our fair land?”

Luna shot her sister a look. “While we must honour them for being the first common pony to truly… aid Us in Our return, We feel that We simply cannot take them from your capable hooves as they have took it upon themselves to bring this matter to thee.”

Celestia gave an unladylike snort, so close to being free of dealing with them forever. “So you will take this test Lulu?” She blinked at how easily this matter was dealt with. She thought her sister would be fighting this more.

“Of course!” Luna opened her wings wide with joy, sending her spoon and bowl upwards into the air. “If it would soothe one faction of our ponies to take this test, then We shall move post haste to answer its questions and shall prove our obvious worth!” She had placed her front hooves on the table, and was leaning forwards. It was because of this that the bowl and spoon fell onto her face, causing Luna to meep loudly and jump backwards, holding onto the silk tablecloth. Sadly for Celestia’s dinner, Luna’s hooves had dragged everything on the table down onto her barrel and face. All of this happened and the spoon remained stuck on her nose.

Celestia made it only ten seconds before breaking down in laughter, slapping the table as the tears rolled down her face. Luna pouted for a moment, but then broke out in laughter too, enjoying this silliness that has been absent for far too long for either sister.

“While you clean up, Lulu, I will have your test set up in your office.” She smiled, wiping away the tears. “I will take care of all the night matters so don’t try to argue or complain about not opening the night court or raising the moon.” She nuzzled her sister who was grumbling adorably with the remains of her dinner dripping down onto the floor. Lulu just huffed again, but nodded her head in agreement.

Celestia smiled as she went to make the preparations, summoning Captain Shining Armor to act as invigilator, knowing she could trust him not to give Luna any answers accidentally and knowing well enough to refuse to answer any of her royal decrees about the test.

Luna would do fine! After all, her nephew Blueblood the Sixty-Second passed it the first time he tried it! She knew Luna was more capable than sixty-two Bluebloods all acting at top efficiency and all geared for the common pony.

After all, this year’s test was on history, something Luna excelled at! Celestia knew that her sister would do just fine!

Greetings Royal Captain!” Luna bellowed, remembering to smile at her Captain who was standing near her cleared desk, beside a chair off to the side. She wasn’t quite sure how this testing would proceed in this day and age, but she was sure that she could deal with any challenge these ponies brought forth for her.

She bit her lip, her eyes darting to the floor with a small ball of guilt in her stomach as she looked away from Captain Shining Armor. She still needed to reform the Lunar Guards and it would be easier for Captain Shining Armor to have a list of which ponies were to guard her permanently, rather than substituting from the Solar Guards, sooner than later. But she was still dragging her hooves on the whole matter for some reason…

We art pleased to see thou-

“Princess Luna, i-if I may?” he spoke, a bit intimidated but he quickly quenched that and showed her his professional nature. “This is to be done as any other exam, and Princess Celestia told me make sure it is treated like one.”

Correct bu-

“Princess Luna, in exams, you are not allowed to talk, or shout.” He frowned, flicking an ear. “You will have two hours to answer everything on the paper. If you need a new quill or a bathroom break, just ask me and I will see to it.”

We art not-” She coughed, forcing herself to stop using the Royal Canterlot Voice for a moment. “a simple filly. We do not need any assistance using the facilities.” She frowned, annoyed at simply having the notion of a teacher make this pony talk to her like this!

“I-I’m sorry Princess Luna, I didn’t mean that, it’s just-” He panicked for a moment, his eyes wide but then quelled his fears with a breath of air. “It’s just that part of this exam is to ensure that it is done fairly. Since you are alone, you are allowed to have this luxury.” His eyes brightened, showing another side of Captain Shining Armor; the playful off-duty Shining Armor. “I mean, when I did this stupid test, I had to go to the bathroom so bad because I had drank so much beforehoof, it was terrible.” He was chuckling at this, which proved the old adage that laughter was contagious as true as Princess Luna was laughing at this too.

“Trust Us, good guard,” Luna smiled, wiping a tear away from her eyes with a wing, glad that one pony was treating her like an equal, although she wished it could have been on a more appropriate topic. “There have been times we and our sister wished to call an end to a true bore of a meeting so we could relieve ourselves, only for it to go on for another hour or five.” He chuckled at this, smiling. She rolled her eyes at the silliness of ponies demanding long periods of time without any breaks. They might be alicorns, but they still had basic needs.

Moving to sit at her desk, she looked at the sealed envelope and the number of quills on the side.

“Are you ready, Princess?” He blinked, moving to sit down in the chair on the side of her desk.

Yes We art, Captain Shining Armor!” She blushed at his glare, withholding a strand of giggles. Perhaps this new age would not be that hard to adapt to, nor that difficult to understand if Captain Shining Armor were to be any base to judge off of.

Opening the envelope, and ignoring the part requiring her to fill her name and student code per the stallion’s words that this test would be promptly graded by ponies that knew it was for a special student but not who she was exactly, she looked at the first question and then everything came crashing down.

One: List the names of the ponies involved with financial crisis of 708 AE, and what policies were instituted to prevent total economic ruin for the Equestrian populace.

“Princess Luna, are you okay?” Captain Shining Armor looked at her with concern.

Ye-yes. We art fine!” She chuckled painfully, looking back at her exam.

This might be harder than she thought.

Shining Armor looked at the clock and then at his charge. He was deathly worried for her now, even more so than before.

Her wings were fluttering around her sides and she was still chewing her lip even though she had caused it to bleed before and they had to stop the test to tend to it.

Although it was better than chewing the last of her five quills, with only one left. Her mouth, horn, neck, face, and forelegs were stained black now due to chewing the first four quills as well as rubbing out mistakes with her hooves and then rubbing her horn, neck, face and forelegs. He had guessed she had done so out of a nervous tic, seeing it before in himself. Even her tail was acting like his had done; causing a very pleasant breeze by how fast it was twitching. He just wished he could tell Luna to take deep breaths as she was breathing very shallowly, but it was against the rules to talk to a student taking a test.

He knew what all those signs meant though, dealing with his sister and fiancé when they had studied for tests; it was a panicked mood, as the mare in question was not getting many answers right and she knew it. Hopefully, she would be like Cadance, and not like Twilight, after this was done.

“Princess Luna, time is up.” The alicorn across from him jumped at him suddenly speaking, slamming herself into the desk and nearly sending the ink pot onto her exam. He quickly grabbed it with his magic, settling it down as she started to mutter curses and swears. He quickly grabbed the exam and placed it in the envelope, sealing it and using the dragon fire that Princess Celestia provided him so they could send it off to be graded first thing in the morning.

The Princess of the Night looked up at him, a complete mess with the worry of a pony that they did horrid on a test. Instantly he knew that she could easily become like Twilight unless he acted fast!

“If I might be so bold, being that I am off duty now, but I know that a good way to deal with a tough exam is to go out drinkin-”

She nodded her head, placing her regalia on the desk, clearly seeing what he was going for. “We are accustomed to the blessing alcohol offers after a tough decision.” She gave him a weak smile. Was it really that bad? he thought to himself. “Lead on and show us that the taverns have not fallen in my thousand years of absence.”

Good, he managed to make it a Cadance-class event instead of a Twilight-class one. Just must remember NOT to end it in normal terms or he would have two VERY annoyed alicorns after his plot.

Leading the quivering Princess of the Night out, he hoped that the bars in the city had enough booze for Luna if Cadance was anything to base on how much an alicorn could drink after an exam went bad.

Princess Celestia had a very interesting private court. To her right was a very hungover Captain Shining Armor and a very annoyed Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, shooting glares at her fiancé and the pony to the left of her, next to the seat of power in the private office of the Solar Princess. Princess Luna might appear fine and proper to other ponies, but she knew her sister well enough that she was seriously contemplating destroying the sun or diving into the deepest hole to die in peace and quiet from her hangover.

Celestia might actually have to dip into the Royal Reserves to help pay back Luna’s staggering tab she’d gained last night.

She let out a sharp whistle as part of her punishment for her sister, for not inviting her. It was an effective punishment as only one other pony in the room could hear it and that was her little sister. Luna’s eyes went shut, and her body shook from how shrill it was and how deep it went into her alcohol wracked head.

She chuckled; Luna had not been this drunk since the end of the Griffin War. She had found her sister surrounded by over a dozen or so beer, wine and cider casks, each!, and it took at least two weeks for her to sober up.

At least now the bars and brewers of alcohol knew that they could place their faith in Luna, for she had won their hearts last night.

Three factions of society down, a thousand more to go.

“So my little ponies, how did my little sister do?” She turned her attention to the two bureaucrats from yesterday standing in front of her with fear on their faces, and trying to hide the envelope and the law book. Perhaps it was because there were three Princesses and the Captain of the Royal Guards present that they were scared, but that didn’t seem right…

“Well, you see, your highness…” The stallion looked at the other two Princesses in the room. “es, it was made aware to us that a few of the question were not that fair, as they were focused on the time after Pr—Princess Luna’s ba-banishment.” His eyes darted to floor, biting his lip.

“A few, he says,” Luna muttered under her breath with a snort, drinking some tea to help her headache, causing Shining Armor to laugh a bit before his head pain silenced him. Princess Celestia shot her sister a look, with Cadance doing the same to Shining Armor.

“…Yes, well we only realized that after we graded it and we’re morethanwillingtogiverheranewonePLEASEDONTBANISHUSTOTHEMOON!” the mare squeaked out, bowing on the floor in fear.

Celestia frowned, lifting the envelope to her face and opened it.

Lulu had failed horribly. Possibly the lowest grade she had seen from somepony that was truly trying in a very long time.

Sighing, she scanned the pages and saw that while Luna had managed to fill in the parts about the implications perfectly well, it was all based on guesswork from a single point that was very obvious. That had hurt her grade tremendously; not counting the blank segments that would be easy for anypony that studied but impossible for anypony just thrown into the whole matter. How was Luna suppose to know about Adam Stables at all, or the worth of Nigmund Freud on the pony mind? They were right, it was not fair for Luna, and certainly after some preparing-

“Nay.” Blinking, Celestia looked to see her sister examining her own test, seeing all the red xes on the paper she’d written last night before spending the remainder of the night getting as drunk as possible with Shining Armor to forget it ever happened. “We shall not banish thee for Our failure.” She stood unevenly on her hooves, eyes shut again from suddenly moving again. “We have failed the test. What are the repercussions?”

The mare gulped, and then prodded the stallion forwards. He shot his fellow bureaucrat a dirty look but he looked resolved at the Royal Sisters. “Normally, failing this exam would require the student to do another year of their current education standing.” He paused, waiting for the nods of approval from Celestia and the other sober alicorn in the room. “However, therein lies the problem your highnesses.” He nearly squeaked that last part out.

“We do not see what thou art talking about…” Luna frowned, taking a careful step forwards.

Celestia’s eyes went wide, seeing what he was alluding to. So did Cadance, if the grin replacing the shocked face she’d had a moment ago was anything to go by…

“He means, Aunt Luna,” Cadance’s grin was growing larger now. “That you would need to repeat your current level of education before you could take the exam again.”

“And?” Luna frowned, more than likely wondering why the other two alicorns were trying not to laugh their wings off…

“I don’t think there was an education level when you were around, was there?”

“N-no…” Luna was slowly piecing it together, fear slowly seeping inwards.

“That means, dear sister, you do not have any real place in the university education system, nor anything lower,” Celestia said while discreetly pushing one hindhoof over the other, causing herself a bit of pain to stop her from laughing.

“Thou cannot be saying what We think thou art saying…” Luna’s eyes were growing wide, her fears nearly realized. Her instincts were telling her to run and hide under the bed, or somewhere that Celestia could not find her.

“Yes, we are.” Celestia was barely holding back her giggles now, a few slipping out in poorly hidden grunts. “This law would require you to go to magical kindergarten and work your way up.”

Shining Armor was the first to laugh, rolling on his back with his fiancé leaning against the wall to support herself while she let out laugh after laugh. That was all it took to let Celestia fall over in her seat, laughing fully for the first time in over a thousand years.

The two bureaucrats were looking at the scene with fear and confusion, rooted in the spot.

Princess Luna simply fell to her rear, burying her head in her hooves, groaning in pain from the two headaches.

Maybe she could take a vacation; to nurse this hangover off, and learn to avoid tests like the plague for the evil they truly were.

Or learn how to banish them to the moon when nopony was looking. Surely, that would gain her the love of all the ponies if she could do that.

Author's Notes:

Just had it edited by Anon and it was long over due.

Return to Story Description

Other Titles in this Series:

  1. A simple test from the bureaucracy of Equestria

    by Evilhumour
    3 Dislikes, 2,754 Views

    Set a few weeks after Luna has been brought back, two ponies from the bureaucracy bring a matter to Celestia concerning Luna's authority to rule. As it is a show good taste, Luna agrees to be tested.

    Slice of Life

    1 Chapter, 4,198 words: Estimated 17 Minutes to read: Cached
    Published May 16th, 2014
  2. Back to school for Lulu!

    by Evilhumour
    3 Dislikes, 1,666 Views

    Following the events of a simple test from the bureaucracy of Equestria, Luna has decided to take this chance to learn what she has missed during her thousand years absence. Will she pass this time around? Will she be fail kindergarten?


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