It was nine-hundred and forty-six years ago that Princess Celestia, Ruler of Equestria and Emperor Kristian I, Emperor of All Humanity, with their armies numbering tens-of-thousands, met one another on a field outside Canterlot. Unwilling to spill blood and taint the Elements of Harmony themselves, She Who Raises The Sun had ordered Equestria's army to fall back and gather outside Equestria, allowing the armies of humanity to march right up to Celestia's doorstep.
Humans, men, mensch, homo sapiens, many other titles, were many ways similar to ponies, yet at the same time radically different. To compare: Both races were bipedal and they had their sentience. To contrast: the humans' flat faces, smooth furless skin, five toed feet and their taller statures; to the pony's equine faces, pastel-coloured fur, their hooves, and the average pony at least five to three inches shorter than any human.
This rule of height, however, didn't apply to the alicorn subspecies, humanity's scholars labelling them as the ruling class of ponykind, especially Princess Celestia. The white-coated, magenta-eyed royal whose armoured royal dress uniform denoted that she ready for battle, whose flowing turquois mane stood, or sat rather, seven feet tall and was forced to stare down the human sitting down at the opposite end of the table – Emperor Kristian I. For a human Kristian was almost nearly as tall, at six feet two, with a bald head and piercing blue eyes and dressed in a red-coloured royal military uniform. He sat cross-legged on his wooden chair, arms also crossed as he looked up at Celestia with a smug smirk.
"It's your move, Princess." Kristian indicated the chessboard situated in the middle of the small table the two of them were sitting at, their armies each a yard behind them. Both rulers glimpsed past the other's shoulders at the other's thousands strong army, noticing that many of them appeared eager to bloody their swords, spears, poleaxes, various other exotic looking sharp weapons. Behind Celestia, Kristian could see the magnificent mountainside royal capital of Canterlot and the magnificent golden spires of its Castle.
Celestia rubbed her chin, contemplating whether to move another of her pawns her to bring one of her Knights. She looked up from the board, no longer able to keep an appreciative smile from gracing her face. "For what is worth, Emperor Kristian, that we have stopped shedding each other's blood and that you have taken the time to sit here speaks volumes of your-" she paused, trying to find the right word. "Patience?"
"Patience, dear Princess Celestia?" Kristian smiled. "Did you believe that we wouldn't be open to negotiations, even after everything Equestria has done to humanity?" He wasn't smiling anymore. "Remind me again, how did we get here?" Celestia appeared crestfallen, remembering the stories of atrocities both humanity and ponykind have inflicted on each other, unable to decide which of those were true and who had been responsible for this war that was just put on hold.
The alicorn Princess moved a knight forward. "The reports were…conflicting, my good Emperor."
"They sure were, dear Celestia," Kristian furrowed his brow contemplatively, eyes focused on the board as he ran his right thumb over his lips. "But who was responsible for forcing our nations to blows? Was it the bunch of humans killing and eating a pony? Or was it the stallion forcing himself on a fair maiden?" Celestia shuddered, those tales were truly horrific, and especially the way Kristian sounded so detached and casual when recounting them. She just noticed Kristian and moved a bishop forward three squares, coming behind the pawn he had previously moved.
Kristian scanned the crowd behind him, noting how a lot of them felt uncomfortable with what he just said. All except Duke Blueblood, the blonde, white-furred and well-dressed noblestallion who had originally called for war against the Sovereignty to which many other noblestallions and mare supported, but they had been shot down by Celestia almost immediately. But that hadn't stopped him from manipulating the Equestrian Royal Army into launching a sudden, Pegasus-led attack directly on humanity's capital city and instigating war between the species. Thankfully it lasted only a day but the devastation wrought in those twenty-four hours was…substantial. Blueblood noticed Kristian staring at him and briefly shirked away in fear, but noticing that he was surrounded by his own personal guard and instead straightened his back and sneered.
He noticed the supreme head of the Equestrian military, Commander Hurricane, glaring straight at Blueblood, rightfully blaming the unicorn for events leading up this day. "I think Commander Hurricane is starting to get angsty," Kristian remarked, rubbing his chin as he slouched in his seat, redirecting his glance back at Celestia.
"He blames Duke Blueblood for everything that has happened," Celestia replied as she moved a knight forward, capturing one of Kristian's pawns. "Many ponies blame him, rightfully so, for this war."
"That's interesting," Kristian moved one of his bishops to take one of Celestia's knights. "Everyone back home lands the guilt of this war upon that one pampered, loud-mouthed stallion…and YOU for not stopping him sooner." He narrowed his eyes, accusingly, at the Solar Princess. "Is there a reason why you didn't?"
Celestia felt ashamed, "I…I trusted in the goodness I thought were in every pony, that they would see the error of their ways immediately." She moved one of her pawns to take another of Kristian's pawns. "I…overestimated them, I admit it."
"I'll consider your naivety as a threat to the Sovereignty," Kristian offhandedly remarked, moving his bishop forward, causing Celestia to wince lightly. "It only took you a day to realise how useless you were, I'll give you that."
He could almost feel the angry stares many of Celestia's adjutants nearby were giving him when they heard him refer to their beloved ruler as being 'useless'. "Hmm, not quite the correct word? How about 'unwilling?' 'Indecisive', maybe?'
Celestia said nothing, the Princess instead leaning forward and tapping her forehead as she tried to think four spaces ahead of the Emperor. An hour passed, both rulers having fallen silent, instead concentrating on the game, both of them now down to their last few pieces besides their Kings. For Celestia, two Queens and one Knight and for Kristian, a Rook, a Queen and a Knight.
"…" Kristian was uncomfortable with the silence. As Celestia reached forward to move her King out of the direction of his Rook, "Tia?"
Celestia almost gasped when she heard him call her by her nickname.
"Oh good, you haven't lost your voice," Kristian said. "You suddenly went quiet after we were about to get right into the meat of it all."
"Forgive me, I..." Celestia scratched her brow, visibly agitated. "…I have so much…so many wrongs I have to right, I-"
Kristian nudged downward towards the chess board.. Celestia frowned, tapping her forehead as she pondered what his next move would be. To the bated breath of both the Imperial and the Equestrian armies they looked down at the board for the first time since the negotiations started. Celestia's King was in check, and her expression of annoyance was enough to start causing panic, murmurings growing louder and talks of suddenly charging the humans swelled within the equine ranks, until Commander Hurricane silenced them with a glare. Again
The Emperor of All Humanity was confident in himself to announce loudly as he moved his Rook, "Check!" He then directed a wry smile towards Duke Blueblood, sending a cold chill up the noblestallion's spine. Turning back to Celestia, "As I was saying: Humanity will find its own destiny, free of bondage, and will run with it time eternal."
"This war must truly end with more shedding of blood?" Celestia asked, staring directly into the Kristian the First's confident eyes.
Kristian's smiled disappeared, replaced with disgust, "You wound me, Princess. It's not innocent blood I have journeyed here personally to shed." He then frowned, the intensity enough to cause Celestia to hold her breath. "And I thought you wanted this war to end?"
There was no hesitation as Celestia's nodded in agreement, "I do." She then paused, and Kristian could tell it was to deflect, as she appeared forlorn. "But how should history book define this pivotal moment between species?"
"They should speak the truth," Kristian answered. "It prevented war between man and pony. That when one who can be considered a deity found herself unwilling to intervene, it was with the lawful slaying of one, billions of lives were saved and could live free of fear of death." Closing his eyes he shuddered lightly. "And enslavement."
Celestia shook her head; her eyes were half-lidded as she glanced at her checked King. "I-I immediately vetoed the argument to enslave humanity. The nobility all stood down and accepted my proposition for peace."
"All of them but one," Kristian pointed out, displeasure crossing his face. "A more entitled prig I will never know." Celestia scowled at the human royal's undignified choice of language. "He was the one that called for humanity's enslavement in the first place." He stared hard at the alicorn. "And I cannot trust that you will judge him to our satisfaction."
Celestia crossed her arms and sat back in her seats, legs crossed. She turned her head both ways, to see the rank and file of the thousands of Equestria's Royal Army, stallions and mares, earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns all ready to defend Canterlot to their deaths, with the ever loyal Commander Hurricane to lead them straight at the thousands-strong warrior of humanity; having been lead personally by their Emperor up to Canterlot's very doorstep to ensure their race's continued existence.
If she wanted to she could personally wipe them all out herself, starting with Kristian, then his Generals, then finally his emasculated forces. If she wanted to she could leave his army, which would be scatted to the winds following the deaths of their commander, to her ponies and be done with humanity all together. But this was not her, this was not Princess Celestia.
"This is truly justice, I suppose?" Celestia asked, saddened. "To spill blood upon this field outside Canterlot?"
"It is deserved," Kristian sounded cold when he replied. "And still you tried to protect him?"
"…I have a duty to all of my little ponies."
"The way you say that, heh, it doesn't sound right."
Both heads turned to see Blueblood approach her, only to be stopped by Hurricane and two of his personal guard. The noblestallion was angry that they were drawing these 'negotiations' out, that if she could just simply burn them all off the face of Equestria and be done with this nonsensical came both monarch were entertaining themselves with.
"Can't you just be done with these apes already?" Blueblood demanded, seething. "If they will not bow to our rightful supremacy of this world, then fine! Just destroy them and let's get on with our lives without fear of these…" He slapped Hurricane's hand off his shoulder and glowered straight at Kristian. "…these BEASTS!"
Kristian stared back at him, with a plain expression that suggested that he was disappointed with ponykind as a whole. Turning back to Celestia again, he briefly looked down at the board, seeing that she had an opening to mouth her King away from Knight and Bishop that held in her check buy simply move diagonally south. He was not surprised, however, when she moved her King right where it can be taken by his Knight.
"Checkmate," he knocked her King piece over with his Knight.
The pegasus stepped forward, "You're Highness."
He reached forward and grabbed Blueblood by the scruff of his suit, sending the noblestallion into immediate shock, having never ever been handled in such a manner. Before he could order Hurricane to unhand him, the Supreme Commander of Equestria's military shoved him onto the ground next to the playing table. As he tried to scramble back up to his hooves he was handled roughly by the Emperor's bodyguard, forcing him down on his knees as Kristian stood up from his chair.
"WHAT IS THIS?!" he bellowed, in disbelief mixed with rage as he turned towards the still sitting Princess. "CELESTIA!"
His rage immediately begun to subside as Celestia glared over at him.
"C-Celestia?" he implored quietly. "What have you done?"
The sound of a sword being scrapping against leather drew his attention, towards Kristian drawing a zweihander greatsword from a sheath held by a kneeling Knight. Swinging it to get a feel of the weight, he approached Blueblood, a determined glint in his eyes. Blueblood struggled to break free of the human guards holding him, only for them to hold him tighter.
"Blueblood of the Nobility of Equestria beneath Princess Celestia, Ruler of Equestria," Kristian spoke with authority as he held the scabbard of his sword so that the flat side of greatsword was touching his forehead. "For your crimes of instigating war between the harmonious Kingdom of Equestria and the Sovereignty of Humanity for the sole purpose of absconding the rights of every man, woman and child I have sworn to serve for the term of my life; I – Kristian of the Royal House of Steiner, First of My Name, Emperor of the Sovereignty of All Humanity, hereby sentence you to death, in accordance of the agreement made with Princess Celestia of the Kingdom of Equestria to end all hostilities between our nations."
"W-WHAT?!" Blueblood screamed as he started to shake uncontrollably, tears quickly welling in his eyes when he realised that his blood was to be shed. "I-"
Celestia winced lightly and briefly held her breath when she saw Blueblood's head fall onto the now bloodied grass, abject horror and surprise permanently stretching his horrified face. His lifeless body toppled forward onto the ground, rump upward in a way that was undignified. Kristian grimly stared down at the body as in a trance, the unicorn's blood on his armoured uniform and raiment, unware of the knight that approached him with his greatsword's sheath.
"Kristian!" Celestia exclaimed, seemingly bringing the Emperor back to reality. Kristian's head snapped up in realization, and Celestia's eyes widened when she heard him breathe panicked for a second. He then cleared his throat and resumed appearing dignified and unfazed by his killing of an Equestrian noblestallion.
Grabbing the scabbard, Kristian sheathed the greatsword and let out a sigh.
"That…this is the first time I have personally taken a life," Kristian unexpectedly announced, sounding a bit shaken. "I've led men into battle, sure, but never from the front with a sword in hand." Believing that she had found a vulnerability to the Ruler of All Humanity, Celestia stared at Kristian intently, silently watching his face for any other sort of reaction. She was almost taken back when he suddenly shrugged, "Meh…guess I'm not as infallible as I build myself up to be, huh?"
Celestia stood up from her chair, "And this first life you have cut short, will it be enough?"
"You tell me?" Kristian motioned towards the army at his back, and then raised his eyebrows towards her army, and the city of Canterlot in the distance. "I believe that justice is done. It will not bring the thousands of men, women and children slain by pony hands, or hooves, or whatever you call them but I feel they have been avenged." He took a step forward towards her, seeing the ponies behind grip their weapons and would have stepped forward to meet him, especially Commander Hurricane and his scary looking sharp poleaxe if Celestia had waved them down with taking her eyes off Kristian. "Do you wish the same for your little ponies?"
Celestia didn't need time to mull over the Emperor of All Humanity's words, "It is enough."
"Justice is done?"
The Solar Princess nodded, not happy but satisfied that the war was finally over. She motioned towards two stallion attendants and they brought forward a gold-lined box, which they opened to reveal a scroll around same time several well-dressed human dignitaries were escorted towards Kristian's side. One of them took the scroll, unravelled it and read it out loud. "The sigatures on this parchment from Her Royal Highness Princess Celestia of Equestria and His Royal Highness Emperor Kristian the First of the Sovereignty of Humanity will hereby put into motion immediate ceasing of hostilities between our species and an agreement of isolationism to be enforced between Equestria and the human countries underneath the banner of the Sovereignty immediately."
Both Kristian and Celestia locked eyes as attendants handed them quills. Celestia was the first to sign, followed by Kristian. The scroll was immediately wrapped up, and the unicorn attendant's horn glowed as a purple field surrounded the parchment and a duplicate was willed into existence. A human attendant retrieved the copy, rolling it up and fastening it with a gold ribbon before depositing it into a case another attendant carried.
And so both armies turned around and began their march back to their homelands, the only blood having being spilled this day having belonged to the only stallion who wanted conflict between human and pony kind over the wrongs committed by a few. His body was loaded on a cart to be delivered to what remained of his House while head was on the pike of a Sovereignty Royal g Guard as he about faced and marched. Celestia and Kristian the First, however, just stood looking solemnly at each, the human looking up into the sorrowed face of the alicorn, their attendants waiting for them.
"Sorry if I sounded like a real jerk, Tia," Kristian said, sighing lightly, a mirthless chuckle and smile following suit. He suddenly became sullen, "I trusted you. And you…and-" He cut himself off as he felt emotion well up inside him. "We should have just proceeded with the engagement. Blueblood would've kept his mouth shut and…. " He closed his eyes tightly, giving a throaty groaning as he forced himself to not just break down right there. He opened his eyes halfway to stare up into Celestia's mournful orbs, "You can understand where I'm coming from, right? How I feel?"
Celestia sniffed, nodding in understanding, "I know." She shook her head, trying to blink the tears from her eyes. Failing that she wiped her wipes and said, "I stopped Blueblood and the Assembly as quickly as possible but-"
"I know," Kristian nodded, as she took her hand and squeezed it gently. "And you know why I can never forgive you, either."
Celestia opened her eyes, and smiled down at her human hopefully, "You won't forget me?"
"As long as you move on, and learn from all this," Kristian replied, grimly. He then raised her hand to her lips and kissed it, Celestia feeling her mane bristle lightly, evoking memories of what they had both shared during happier times. Kristian struggled to keep speaking, desperately trying to keep his emotions in check. "And…you find someone…somepony else."
"I can't promise that," Celestia admitted, moving her hand to caress his cheek. "But…I think I can at least move on from this. We both can."
Kristian gave her a sincere smile as he reached up towards her neck, rubbing it gently, "I like that."
And so both rulers turned to join their armies in departure from that field out of Canterlot, back to their homelands. And up to this day nine-hundred and forty-six years later there is still not contact at all between our species, many believing that it's for the best.
At least, for now…