Celestia enters the throne room and finds the place in a state of pandemonium, as I said before. She approaches the throne and finds Noble Era sitting in her place, and she responds about as you'd expect.>Celestia walked up the incline, stopping a yard away from him. "You're in my chair."
Rather than fighting with her, Noble Era is outwardly polite and obsequious, and removes himself from the throne. However, we learn that he has made some rather alarming presumptions in the time that Celestia has been gone.>"Tis' an honour to see you again, your majesty," said Noble Era in a cultured Canterlot accent, his tone was infused with an effortless kindness. "I humbly abdicate the throne."
Since this author is a little hit or miss on word choice, Noble's use of the word "abdicate" may or may not be significant. To abdicate the throne specifically means to give up your rule, not just to physically get out of the chair itself, which means that in order to abdicate you need to be the ruler in the first place. If the use here was deliberate, this implies some pretty heavy presumption on Noble's part; he is basically speaking as if it's a given that he has some natural right to be sitting on Celestia's throne making decisions in her stead. It could even be interpreted as sort of a subtle challenge; by taking it upon himself to rule without permission, even if he willingly abdicates, he's essentially throwing down the glove horseshoe, whatever
to Celstia. If she doesn't rebuke him for it, she implicitly validates his right to rule in her absence and weakens her own position. From this character's behavior, I rather suspect that the word use was deliberate, and even if it wasn't, it was definitely the right choice. He seems like he will be an interesting character.
Anyway, Noble goes on to explain that he is the descendant of the original unicorn monarchy who ruled before Celestia united the three pony castes into a single kingdom. The family has apparently been "prepared to take on Celestia's burden" should anything "unfortunate" happen that might prevent her from ruling. This is also a pretty obvious veiled challenge.
Oh, as a rather amusing side note, Noble Era is also a confirmed fedora:>Nothing of the sort, m'lady. We-- I have always seen you as my rightful ruler.
Anyway, this exchange is appropriately tense, and though I am still not wild about the dialogue, it's handled pretty well. The two basically trade veiled barbs and size each other up as adversaries, under the pretense of courtly manners. Noble Era lets Celestia know that he and his family are aware that Celestia has suffered some sort of amnesia and could reasonably be declared unfit to rule if it could be demonstrated to pose a problem. He also offers his "help" in the event that Celestia's weakened state makes her incapable of ruling on her own. Basically, he is staking a claim to the line of succession here. Celestia, for her part, holds her own, and simply listens to what he has to say while still retaining the image of being fully in charge. Noble Era excuses himself and leaves the scene before she can really respond to him, which also feels like a challenge.
This guy is clearly shaping up to be the antagonist of the story, and so far he seems like he will be an interesting one. At any rate, this is where the chapter ends.>Celestia knew that he was playing his own game. Any fool could tell that. Yet, despite herself, she couldn't help but feel intrigued concerning the nature of this 'Noble Era'.
Unfortunately, the text continues to be peppered with awkwardly worded passages like this.Chapter 4: Equines and Sugar
This chapter begins with an author's note that clarifies one of my concerns from the previous chapter. Apparently, the pony scale the author uses for this story is pic related, which has the ponies at a slightly smaller size than the one I posted. By this scale, Celestia would be roughly 4 1/2' tall. Weight is not discussed, but I still think an assumed weight of around 300 pounds for Celestia is not unreasonable maybe more, from what I've heard that bitch eats a lot of cake
. The piggyback scene in the last chapter becomes slightly more believable as a result, though I'm still skeptical that Gareth could carry a pony that size on his back without getting a hernia or injuring his spine. Anyway, let's read on.
The chapter opens with a flashback. A thirteen year old boy, who is not named but we can assume is probably a young Gareth, is on a battlefield. His role is not stated but we can probably assume he's a squire or something similar. On his own initiative he runs out onto the battlefield to retrieve spent arrows, an incredibly dangerous thing to do that earns him a rebuke from the soldiers, but they need the arrows and accept them.
This act earns him the attention of the Earl of Warwick, who is apparently his father's liege. The Earl looks him over for a moment, and then chops the leg off of his own horse
, daring any of the soldiers to flee in the face of the advancing army when this boy (curiously he refers to him as an orphan) showed so much courage. This seems pretty over the top; not only is it a fairly senseless and brutal act, a war horse was valuable, and it's unlikely anyone would needlessly slaughter one just to make a point.
However, I'm willing to grant some artistic license here, since frankly this is a very well written scene, in fact it's probably the best-written scene I've encountered so far. The prose does not contain any of the awkward stumbling that I've noticed elsewhere, so I suspect this section was revised and polished a few times. I actually don't have any significant notes to give here, other than to observe that it is very well done.
Anyway, the scene appears to be a dream, which explains the Earl's wacky behavior. He knights Gareth, and then immediately declares him a traitor and decapitates him.