Celestia vs. Garble

by Rambling Writer

Chapter 1: Round 1: Fight!

Discord needed some help learning to socialize at parties without relying on his powers to make things cuh-RAAAAAAAAAAY-zeeeee! As such, Celestia had taken it upon herself to invite him to some of her one-on-one garden parties with select members of the Canterlot elite. Most fortunately, Discord had actually agreed to the idea and largely behaved himself; they had just managed to go for a whole minute without him breaking the laws of physics over his knee. Primarily because he was in the middle of a story; whatever his faults, Discord was an excellent storyteller and knew that sharing experiences was important.

“And then IIIIII said,” Discord said to Fancy Pants, “‘What if you made Filly Guide Cookies from real Filly Guides? Even if they’d be wet and wouldn’t bake well.’”

Most unfortunately, Discord had yet to learn that the variety of stories was also important. He’d told this particular one at every party for the last month. Granted, he’d told it to different ponies every time, but Celestia had all the beats down pat. He didn’t even tell it a different way. Ah, well. Baby steps. That’d be their next lesson.

“And then sheeeeee said, ‘That’s still not irony, that’s literality and ambiguous syntax, like baby powder made from real babies.’”

To Celestia’s mild surprise, a scroll poofed in from Spike. Wasn’t he supposed to be hearing whatever decree the Dragon Lord had to say? Perhaps it had something to do with the Dragon Lord himself. (The current one was Torch, right? She was pretty sure about that.) She unrolled the scroll.

“And then IIIIII said, ‘Well, if you’re so smart, what is irony?’”

Dear Princess Celestia,




“Teenaged… Dragon Lord…” Celestia murmured as she looked at the letter. She facehooved and sighed. “Not again. Why no Dragon Lords ever teach dragons the mistakes of their predecessors is beyond me.” She sighed again. Time to go through this little thing allllllll over again. She teleported quill, ink, and paper to herself and began writing.

“And then sheeeeee said, ‘The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention. Now THAT is irony.’”

Dear Spike,

If he is still nearby, please tell Lord Garble (“What sort of a name is that?” she muttered.) that I wish to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed (please use a title of some kind, such as “Sun Princess of Equestria”). As such, I challenge him to combat by champion tomorrow noon at

She tapped her chin with the quill. Where, oh where, would the best place to fight be? It was always such a pain trying to find a good battlefield without using the same one over and over and over. It needed to have a suitably dramatic setting, and yet be far enough from any cities to avoid panic among the populace. Ponies were not good at handling panic. Celestia’s first thought went to mountains, but she reluctantly discarded that. She always went to mountains. She needed to do something new.

“And then IIIIII said, ‘Fine, then, who made you the unfun Equestrian teacher, Ms. Smarty Pants?’”

Ooo! The Glistening Plains. Perfect. Beautiful fields (that somehow still remained unsettled) stretching from horizon to horizon while still being close enough to the dragon homelands for Garble to likely accept. Yes, that would do quite nicely.

at the Glistening Plains, just north of the border with the Badlands. Winner takes all, Equestria and Dragonlands both. I should like to see how he hopes to fare against the pony who moves the sun.

Princess Celestia


“And then sheeeeee said, ‘The school district, as a matter of fact. I can show you the certificate if you want.’”

Celestia looked over the letter again and nodded to herself. That should be good. With a quiet puff of magic, she sent it to Spike and returned her attention to Discord and Fancy Pants. Good thing, too; he’d just gotten to the good part.

“And then Sooooooarin said-”

Celestia had been on the Plains for almost fifteen minutes, waiting patiently. She’d arrived well before any of the dragons, well before the allotted time of noon. An astute observer might note that her horn was glowing and had been doing so for quite a while. They might also note that nothing appeared to be happening in the immediate area.

She was alone. No need to scare the Guard, and Luna had decided not to watch this time. (“But, please, tell me when the next time comes around.”) Twilight, Spike, and Rarity had arrived home safe and sound and freaking out, but Celestia had assured them she was in no danger. Repeatedly. And she still had to teleport them back to Canterlot.

Garble had taken the bait, obviously. Of course he would. Teenage dragons boneheaded enough to declare war on Equestria were all the same. A challenge with just a hint of overconfidence on the challenger’s part? There was no way he could resist. In fact, he’d probably bring all the dragons he could to show them his victory. All the better for Celestia, then.

And that was just what happened. Garble reached the Plains just before noon, a cavalcade of dragons in tow. Most of them were about his age, smaller than her. A few were the big, old, impressive kind, but from the bored looks on their faces, they’d already seen this sort of thing before and wanted to see it again. At least some dragons could learn.

The younger dragons made all the noise they could, howling, whooping, beating the ground, and generally making fools of themselves. Garble himself strutted back and forth in front of them, waving the Bloodstone Scepter like it was some sort of spiky baton. Celestia simply looked at them with half-closed eyes and waited.

Garble waved the Scepter and silence fell. He pointed the Scepter at Celestia and bellowed, in a voice that was almost impressive, “Pony Princess of Equestria!” It sounded like he was trying to go for more old-timey formalities. “I be-eth-” (Celestia’s eye twitched; six words in, and this guy was already butchering the grammar.) “-Dragon Lord Garble of the Dragonlands, and I have cometh-” (Celestia’s jaw clenched.) “-sto destroyeth-” (Celestia’s legs twitched.) “-ye and taketh-” (Celestia had to work to not stuff his stupid tail down his stupid throat; this guy was a grammar abattoir.) “-your lands! What sayeth ye?”

Oh, wow. “Ye”? Didn’t he know that was the form of address reserved for equals or superiors? This was going to be easy-peasy. Celestia cleared her throat and levitated a plate in front of her. “Cake or death?”

Garble lowered the Scepter and frowned. “What?”

“You can apologize. I can forgive you. And then we can all enjoy some nice cake here,” Celestia said, ever patient. “Or you can continue with your aggression. I can retaliate and show you why you do not mess with my ponies. And you can die.” She put a hoof in front of her mouth and loudly whispered, “Go for the cake.”

Garble laughed. “Ha! Cake? You think I’d stop my conquest for cake?” Evidently, trying to sound formal was too taxing on what passed for his brain.

Celestia took a bite. “To be fair, it’s pretty good cake.”

“I’d expect nothing more from a namby-pamby pony princess,” sneered Garble. He raised the Scepter, its ruby glowing, and shouted, “Prepare to die!”

“May I finish my cake?”

Garble blinked and the Scepter fizzled out. “Huh?”

“My cake. May I finish it?”

Silence. Then Garble glared at Celestia and the Scepter began glowing again. “No!” He swung the Scepter, sending a bolt of magic rocketing at Celestia. It pulsed and surged with power, the very air thrumming with its energy.

The bolt ricocheted off the shield Celestia put up with a light ping and flew into the sky. “But it’s such a good cake!” she said. She took another bite of it. “You should try it.”

Garble roared and the Scepter glowed even brighter. He swung the Scepter again and again, each time hurling a magical blast at Celestia. The land crackled with the energy being hurled about and a cloud of dust obscured Celestia and her shield.

Eventually, Garble stopped swinging. Panting, he yelled, “Ha! Let’s see you block that, you pony!”

A burst of wind cleared the dust away. Celestia’s shield was untouched.

“I would very much appreciate it if you could rein in your tantrums,” said Celestia, wiping her mouth off with a napkin. “It is most unbecoming of a Dragon Lord.”

Garble’s jaw dropped. “B-but…” he stammered. “B-but…”

“Now, since this is supposed to a combat,” Celestia said, “I do believe it’s my turn.” She telekinetically yanked the Scepter from Garble and tucked it under her wing.

“Hey!” yelled Garble. He tried to take a step forward and bounced of the wall of the shield Celestia had put up: a tube about six feet across reaching up into the clouds. “Hey!” he yelled again. “What gives?”

Celestia simply looked up. “3… 2… 1…”

It was at that point that the pillar of superduperultramegaheated plasma Celestia had been patiently summoning from the sun for the last twenty minutes found its target at near-luminal speeds.

The sun is hot. Really hot. You just won’t believe how vastly infernally mind-bogglingly hot it is. I mean, you may think it’s hot if the air conditioning dies in August, but that’s just peanuts compared to the sun. Listen: the surface of the sun is the coolest part of it. It is still so straitjacket-wearingly hot that the molecular bonds of water become unstable and it splits into hydrogen and oxygen. The core of the sun is so stupidly, ridiculously hot (roughly 15,000,000 degrees Cantergrade, or 27,000,000 degrees Marenheit, whichever you prefer) that the sole reason atomic nuclei don’t break free of the strong nuclear force holding them together through the stupidly, ridiculously huge amount of energy they passively absorb is that the pressure is also so stupidly, ridiculously huge.

The temperature of the sun is one of those extremes mortal minds cannot fully comprehend. No matter how much it is explained, the brain always files it the same way: really frigging hot.

Should you happen to be a certain white immortal alicorn with the capacity to move the sun, this heat would be an unstoppable weapon. Sadly, many factors limit its use, even if it is properly contained. Most of them relate to distance; even assuming magic travels at the speed of light, it would take minutes to reach out to the sun, pluck out a hot plume of plasma, and haul it back. Minutes may not seem like much, but try being on the battlefield and constantly using magic for minutes as dragons try to attack you whilst simultaneously accounting for Loreintz contraction. Thanks to this, there are very few situations where the true power of the sun can be fully utilized.

Unless your opponent is nice enough to let you pick the battleground and time in advance.

Garble was not incinerated. That would imply ash remained.

He was not vaporized. That would imply there was enough left of him to be vapor.

He wasn’t even atomized. That would imply his constituent atoms still existed.

Garble was so utterly, thoroughly annihilated that many of the elements in his body fused or fissioned in response to the colossal influx of energy. Few of the atoms there could be positively identified as having once belonged to Garble.

Garble was, in short, dead. Dead dead dead dead dead. He was not resting. He was not stunned. He was not tired and shagged out. He was not pining for the fjords. He had passed on. He was no more. He had ceased to be. He’d expired and gone to meet his maker. He was a stiff. Bereft of life, he rested in peace. He was pushing up daisies. His metabolic processes were history. He was off the twig. He’d kicked the bucket. He’d shuffled off his mortal coil. He’d run down the curtain. He’d joined the choir invisible. Garble was an ex-dragon.

Even the ground where he had been was ex-ground. Although the vast majority of the heat had been contained by Celestia’s shields, enough was able to escape to scorch the land for hundreds of feet around. Within the shield, in spite of Celestia’s best efforts, the plasma had burrowed several dozen feet down, sheer overpressure hurling molten dirt for over half a mile and blasting out a crater over fifty feet across. Celestia did contain the shockwave and prevent it from shattering any nearby bones; instead, it bounded and rebounded inside its shield, creating an unearthly cacophony that sounded like a cross between a howling wolf and a waterfall magnified a hundred times over.

The entire crowd froze and stared at the crater. In the back, some of the older dragons Ooooooo’ed. One even applauded. Celestia, encased in a golden shield with the Scepter, was hovering above the crater floor, although her exact position hadn’t changed an inch. “Should’ve taken the cake,” she said quietly. “Why do they never take the cake?”

She gracefully flew over the edge of the crater, alighted on the blasted ground, and drove the Scepter into the rock in front of her. “If you want it,” she called out to the assembled dragons, “come and get it. All I ask is that you don’t hurt my ponies.”

As one, the dragons looked at the Scepter, looked at Celestia, looked at Garble Crater. Scepter, Celestia, Garble Crater. Scepter, Celestia, Garble Crater. As one, they gulped. As one, they took a step back.

Well, not quite as one.

A sapphire-scaled dragon broke the line and dove for the Scepter. She grabbed it and slid a few feet, coming to a stop right at Celestia’s hooves. Looking up, she said, “I, Ember, the new Dragon Lord, do hereby choose cake.”

Celestia smiled sweetly. “Chiffon, marble, or red velvet?”

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