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   A rhythmic click echoed through the kitchen early the next morning, reminding him of just how empty his home felt before noon. Ever since the day of her return, Spike noticed something a little... off about his friend and caretaker. It almost seemed like she could no longer trust herself with any magic bigger than a simple levitation spell. Sure, she still went outside and laughed with her friends, but even then, they would be all she would associate with.

   The baby dragon sighed and pushed himself away from the table, mentally bracing to give it another try. His claws clicked lightly on the wooden floors as he walked up the stairs to the purple pony's bedroom. Eventually reaching the second floor of the library, he knocked loudly on the right-hand door at the top of the landing. "Twilight!" he shouted. "Wake up! It's almost ten in the morning and you got another letter from the princess!"

   Pressing his ear to the door, he heard a moan echo from somewhere beyond, followed by a quiet mumble of cranky disposition as the unicorn beyond regained consciousness. "I already wrote her back, but I'm getting sick of covering your flank for you! Either you write a report soon, or I'm not responding to her next letter, and you can deal with her!"

   In the time since her return, Twilight had not written a single report on the magic of friendship to her teacher. It was not like she had not learned anything; she just could not bring herself to do it. Every time she tried, the last interaction she had with her mo... mentor, and the reasons behind it, sprang to mind. The unicorn wandered down the stairs to the lower part of the floor and made her way to the door. "I'm up, Spike! Can you please get breakfast ready for me?"

   A scampering of little claws on wood met her ears as the door opened before her in a soft lavender glow. Stepping beyond, the door on the other side of the hall followed suit, allowing her passage into the library's only bathroom. It was a small, yet cozy room that could easily fit a single pony, but no more. A deep soaking tub with a built-in shower sat immediately to her right, while a white vanity rested to her left. Before anything else, the purple mare went through her usual morning chores.

   Not more than ten minutes later, Twilight stepped out of the tub to give her mane a quick brush before going down to eat.  Yet, something was off as she looked into the mirror. Staring back at her was a much sadder looking version of herself with a much longer horn and a golden crown upon her head. "AHH!" she shouted, almost jumping out of her skin. With a shake of her head, she looked back into the mirror to see her as she had always been.

   "Twilight, are you okay?" echoed the voice of a concerned baby dragon.

   "Y-Of course I am, Spike!"

   No, you're not stressed, spoke a nagging voice in the back of her head. "Stupid eyes," the lavender mare muttered to herself. "Why do they always have to try and play tricks on me?" With another shake of her head, and a quick brush of her mane, Twilight stepped out of the bathroom and walked downstairs. Her little startle had shaken her awake, so she did not mutter darkly under her breath as she entered the kitchen.

   Spike sat cheerfully on his little chair, a bowl of cereal already sitting directly opposite of the baby dragon. "So why did you wake me up so early?" she asked as she took her seat. "It's not like any of my friends are going to come over, or that we'll go outside. It's far too cold to do anything for very long." Levitating the spoon to her mouth, the purple mare began to eat.

   "I know, and I'd love to sleep in too, but today was the day YOU wanted to re-organize the books!"

   "Since when did I..." thinking about it, however, she realized the baby dragon did have a point. She groaned and slumped at the idea of going through every book she possessed, but she had been putting it off for a good month. It needed to get done, and the winter lull was the best time to do it... it might even serve well as her next excuse not to write the princess. Still, re-organizing and cataloguing all the books would take days of hard work with no time to study anything interesting.

   However, just as Twilight put her bowl in the sink to wash it, a loud series of rhythmic knocks sounded on the front door of the library. "Pinkie Pie..." she muttered as she walked out into the main room. Pinkie usually never knocked on her door: she just sort of... appeared out of thin air whenever she pleased with no regard for such petty social norms. Her initial wave of annoyance turned into one of worry when soft sobs met her ears as she approached.

   "Pinkie, what's wro- Derpy?" the purple unicorn said as she opened the door. Beyond it stood her pink friend who supported the grey Pegasus like a living crutch. Twilight stepped to the side to let them in and get out of the brisk morning air. "Wh...what happened?"

   "It's just awful, Twilight!" Pinkie chirruped with no hint of cheer in her voice. "Some fuddy-duddy in town called the FPS and they came and took Dinky away! How could they do that!? Everypony knows Derpy took good care of her despite her strangeness... how could they do something so mean!? Oooohh, I wish I knew who did it! Then I'd do something about all of this, Pinkie-Pie Style!"

   Twilight saw a flash of anger in the pink mare's eyes the likes of which she had never seen before. It chilled her to the bone, causing her to shake a little inadvertently. Yet, for all her anger, the party mare carried an air of comfort around her, gently caressing the sobbing Pegasus even as she ranted. It was something truly admirable, and the lavender mare felt she could never split her emotions in two so seamlessly like that.

   "So..." she said. "I don't mean to be insensitive, but why are you coming to me? I'm upset Dinky got taken away too, but what exactly do you want me to do about it? As much as it pains me to say so; but I don't think the princess has the time to deal with something like this, as unjust as it is."

   "Everypony knows that, Twilight!" Pinkie replied, suddenly happy once more. "Derpy means to sue the FPS for... wrongful conviction, was it?" She twisted her head to the sobbing mare, who only nodded her head in confirmation. "... And she wants the Supreme Court to overrule them finding her as an unfit caretaker." Being the highest public court in all of Equestria, it could overturn any rulings a lesser court or government agency gave. The only higher legal authorities in the country were the Royal Courts of the Regents of Sun and Moon: the personal courts of Celestia and Luna.

   "Okay..." the purple pony trailed off, confused. "I still don't see what you need me for, unless you want me to look up legal references."

   "Well, sure, that would help," Pinkie said. "I mean, you are going to be her lawyer, right?"

   "What!? Oh  no.  Oh no, no, no, no, no. Are you CRAZY!?" Twilight huffed. "I can't be her lawyer! I don't have a law degree, large crowds of judgmental ponies make me nervous, and I'd just be really, really awful!" Pinkie's eyes shimmered, her pupils growing to twice their size. The purple mare steeled herself, used to Pinkie and those same sad, puppy-dog eyes that made Fluttershy sing that ridiculous song despite her condition.

   She did not, however, expect the brilliant Pegasus to follow suit. Her amber eyes glistened with fresh tears, radiating sadness the likes of which she had never seen. Twilight wanted to help, she truly did, but she just did not have the credentials to represent her friend. She took a deep breath and steeled herself against the onslaught of guilt. "That's not an argument. That's just looking sad and hoping I'll cave in."

   Derpy looked to the floor sadly before walking off to a corner of the library, possibly to cry and further guilt the unicorn. Pinkie reached around and extracted a picture of Dinky from the depths of her mane. "Where did you get that?" Twilight inquired. Of course, she quickly realized that asking would lead to trouble and quickly continued. "Never mind... it's still not a valid argument! I just can't represent Derpy. I want to, really, but I don't have a law degree. They're kind of important."

   "Aww," Pinkie moaned. "But you were a princess for three weeks! Shouldn't that give you royal authority, or something?"

   "That doesn't mean squat!" Twilight shouted, the memories coming back to her once more, making her sound more angry then she felt. "As far as the law is concerned, I don't have any training or authority, so I can't be her lawyer! I'm sorry." At that, the blonde Pegasus returned to her friends, eyes still watering with tears as she placed an open book at the lavender unicorn's hooves. She gave her friend an inquisitive look before levitating the book up where she could see it.

   "What is this all about, Derpy?" she asked. The Pegasus promptly pointed to a specific paragraph, urging her to read it aloud. "By order of King Helios and Queen Kantara of Equestria, no matter the length of rule, any pony whomsoever assumes the duties of either Regent of the Sun or Regent of the Moon will thereafter have authority to preside over, or represent a pony in any and all legal matters." Twilight groaned a put a hoof to her face. It was a new printing of that particular legal book; therefore only laws still in effect were present. If she did not know any better, she could have sworn it was made just to inconvenience her.

   "Aha! TAKE THAT!" Pinkie exclaimed, dancing about the room in jubilant triumph.

   With the combined might of her saddened friends and the law on their side, the pressure on the unicorn to accept her friend's plea for help quickly became overwhelming. "Fine," she sighed in defeat. Immediately upon accepting, two pairs of hooves wrapped around her neck as the Pegasus and the pink mare drew her in for a small group hug. It was then that Twilight began to wonder just what she was getting herself into.

   "So, is there a date set?" the lavender unicorn asked as the hug broke off.

   "Not yet," Pinkie answered. "But Derpy said she'll try to get in as soon as possible, so maybe a week or two."

   "Monkey flip," the Pegasus spoke. Twilight was relieved to see that she had stopped crying her amber eyes out. "Lemons jog to the beach, but cupcakes swim instead. Germs throw parties over a dog's tail. Oils lick gently at hostile pigeons."

   "She said," the pink mare translated. "Not to worry since we have an airtight case. They simply can't ignore all the evidence we have to prove just how super-smart she is! Besides, we plan to get some ponies to act as character witnesses, so they can't ignore her smartness."

~*///*///*///~

   If taking the poor foals was the worst part of Candid's job, then gathering the evidence to make an iron-clad case against the parents had to be the most tedious. For the past three days, he spent his nine to five going though just about every record agency there was to find in Canterlot. It was times like this that he wished they had the budget to hire runners to do this sort of mindless task while the supervising agent got time to relax and actually prepare.

   At about two in the afternoon on the third day, the weary unicorn strolled into the building and up the stairs, his saddle bags bulging with any and every paper he could find that held relevance. He had no time to read any of it, but he had documents from the Register's Office and even staff records from the Royal Equestrian Postal Service. In the interests of fairness, he grabbed every record he could instead of just those that would help their case.

   Eventually, the unicorn stallion trudged up to his third floor office. If only the stupid elevator had not broken down, and the owners of the building were not too cheap to bother repairing it, instead of all these stairs. Alas, he had to keep his delusions to himself as he parked his flank behind his desk and emptied the contents of his bags onto the table. With a deep breath and a heavy sigh, the stallion went to work poring over every paper in front of his muzzle.

   Granted, such a task was easier said than done. Beyond the thin walls of the entombing cubicle, other agents were doing all they could to distract themselves for the tedium of the day. Often, this resulted in loud, impromptu games of Hoofball using old reports or unused forms. When a pony actually had work to do, it could be quite vexing and extremely difficult to concentrate. Thankfully, Candid had an ace up his sleeve: a sound barrier spell he picked out one day from a library book.

   With the spell blocking out most of the noise from beyond the walls of his cubical, the sharply dressed stallion found he could finally concentrate. His cubicle was like most of the other agents': it was barely big enough for a pony to move around in. On the white mobile walls, he had stuck pictures drawn by his own foals, a picture of them and his loving wife gazing at him on his desk. In addition, he also erected posters from his favourite plays and movies in order to give it some more personal flare.

   The hours ticked by slowly as he laboured at his desk: reading through every single document was a tedious and boring task if he ever knew one. Yet, as he read on into the life of Miss Derpy Hooves, the more he became aware that the agency had made a grave mistake. His initial investigation was merely a formality, as they told him they had already looked into her records. Obviously, they had not looked close enough.

   Unfortunately, only one pony in the entire building had the authority to issue a pardon to the poor Pegasus. Slipping the papers into a safe place, the unicorn stallion got up from his desk and began the trot to the director's office on the next floor. Near the top of the fourth floor landing sat an impressive set of double doors, dark stained wood casting the rest of the bright room in shadow. A shiver ran down his spine as his hoof made contact with the door: make no mistake, the director seemed like a nice enough pony, he was just...intimidating at times.

   "Enter," came his gruff voice after the swift knock. Candid stepped into his office. A single, arched window sat behind a solid mahogany desk. A grandfather clock ticked away the seconds in some unseen corner of the room as the white stallion advanced, the thick white carpeting softening his hoofsteps. Bookshelves lined the walls, serving as a façade of intimidation if he ever knew one. Although, he could not help but notice a tiny nick in the wall paper that imitated wood-paneling.

   "Sir," Candid spoke with a nod of respect. "I have some concerns regarding the upcoming appeal of Miss Derpy Hooves."

   "Ah yes," the well groomed unicorn said. "What about it?" The director had a large build and a face as if a pony had chiseled it out of raw granite. Everything about him screamed 'big and powerful,' his grey coat, steely eyes and salt and pepper mane only adding to this opinion.

   "Well, I've been doing some research into her past and after some thought on the matter, well... I think there was some sort of mistake in the initial investigation."

   "Oh, there can't be any mistake," the grey unicorn replied coldly, "You've been working here long enough that I can be--ahem--candid with you." He smirked, but then frowned when his fellow unicorn did not laugh at his joke. "There never was an initial investigation. You did all of it."

   "But," he sat there, muttering in disbelief, "We always do an initial investigation into the parent's background before we send out the field agent. Are you telling me that we didn't do that this time? Why!?"

   "That is not for you to know."

   "When it rips apart a happy and functioning family, I believe I'm well within my rights to ask why there was such a drastic breech of protocol!" Candid did not like where the tone of this conversation was heading, but he felt compelled to press forward, for the sake of justice.

   "There can be no happy or functional family when the sole provider of a foal is so stupid she can't even speak properly," his boss replied.

   "That's the thing, sir. She can't speak, but she's as eloquent in her written communication as you, or me, or anypony... maybe even more so."

   "She probably got a higher-functioning but equally mentally incompetent friend to write those letters for her. The fact of the matter, Candid, is that there was no investigation because there can be no way such an idiotic pony can support a foal!" His last sentence was punctuated by a slam of his hooves on his desk: the director was doing his best to intimidate his subordinate. The white unicorn would have none of that.

   "I think I understand what is going on here, sir," Candid ground out, "And quite frankly, I don't think I can live up to your 'standards' here. I'm giving you my two weeks' notice. Or in plainer terms: I QUIT. Have a good day, Mr. Director."

   Just as he was about to open the door, the aging stallion coughed and cleared his throat to gain his attention. "I'm so sorry to hear that. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Just be careful, since the world can be so pointlessly cruel, don't you agree?" It took all of Candid's willpower to stop himself from backing up and bucking that smug, bigoted pony in the face. He could tell he was being threatened, but he would not let that stop him. If there was any way at all, he would find a way to help Ms. Hooves with her appeal.

   Wasting no more time, Candid opened the door and trotted down to his desk. He would have to go quickly if he was going to get those papers out of the building, before they could be destroyed. Thankfully, upon arrival, his cubicle was untouched by anypony, so he hastily stuffed the papers back into his saddle bags. Since he was quitting anyway, he left his other valuables at his desk, since they could not legally bar him from the building until the two weeks had expired.

   In a way, he would be happy to not deal with the heart-wrenching task of separating foals and their parents. However, he quickly became worried about what he would do for a living now that he had quit. Hopefully another government agency could use his experience... perhaps he could apply to the Royal Investigation Bureau again now that he had more experience? Either way, he never wanted to associate with the director again, and hoped he got his just desserts in the upcoming trial.

~*///*///*///*~

   A loud thud sounded all down the street as the familiar sound of the closing door reached the ears of the still sleeping ponies, who reacted with a toss in bed at the most extreme. By then, they had become accustomed to the early riser who dwelt on the lane, and now tuned out her early morning shenanigans. However to Derpy Hooves, today would be the most important Saturday morning of her life.

   Weeks of planning and hoping would boil down to just a few hours in a courtroom, as the day of her appeal to the Supreme Court finally arrived. The fog-laden streets of Ponyville stretched before her, obscuring details as her hooves clopped against the cobblestone. Snow piled on the sides of the streets threatened to reach into some of the windows, serving to remind her how far off spring still rested.

   Out of the early morning fog, the silhouette of a mare with hair as fluffy as a powder puff emerged from the choking haze. Pinkie Pie did not bother to dress up for the occasion, being her usual free-spirited self, unlike Derpy who put on her best winter saddle. Like the Pegasus herself, it was not over the top: a simple brown outfit stuffed with goose down to help insulate the wearer.

   "Good morning, Derpy!" she cheeped. "Are you feeling ready for this?" The pink party mare smiled when the gray mailpony nodded her head positively. After receiving her answer, Pinkie followed her, hopping all the way down the street. It was good to be around a pony so chipper despite the gravity of the day, or the gripping chill that surrounded it. Of course, it was a well-known fact that the party mare had an infectious optimism surrounding her, like an energy field of some sort.

   As usual, the gray mare knocked with her usual musical code to tell her learned friend just who lay beyond the threshold. At first, there came no reply, but right as she was about to knock again, the purple mare beyond bid them welcome. Derpy and Pinkie walked into the library, wiping off their hooves on the mat before proceeding on further into the building. Twilight stood in the middle of the room, levitating a couple of books into her saddle bags.

   The gray mailmare found herself speechless at her appearance though. It was obvious that she was aiming to try and impress the judges with a smart appearance, yet she missed the mark. The purple mare wore a pressed alabaster dress shirt with a blood red tie under an onyx jacket and complimented it with a matching pair of trousers. On her hooves, she wore two pairs of equally dark, yet shiny dress shoes.

   She even styled her mane into a tight bun and made an effort to try and do something to her usually straight and orderly tail. Derpy was not quite sure what she was aiming for, but it looked more a rat's tail then a pony's. Then, of course, the piece de résistance: a pair of thick brown glasses that enlarged her pupils to a profane degree. In short, she looked like a cross between a bug-eyed librarian (noting the irony) and one of those 'Mares in Black' from urban legends about Rosorrel. Now, the blonde Pegasus was not one to criticise another's fashion sense, but she could not help but laugh.

   Even the pink mare got in on the laugh riot, joining the gray pony on the floor in a fit, much to the indignation and embarrassment apparent on the scholar's face. "We're sorry, Twilight!" the pink pony cried in between fits of laughter. "But if Rarity ever saw you like that, you'd give her a heart attack!"

   Twilight growled and blushed at the same time. "...But I did everything the books said to make a good first impression!" she defended with a hint of a whine in her voice. Once again, her books had failed to help with a fashion-related crisis, but she did not have the time, or the energy to go see her trendy unicorn friend. However, she became further disheartened when her retort only proved to make her brainy friend laugh even harder.

   Once the tidal wave of laughter finally subsided, Derpy pulled herself off the floor and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Tuna fish," she apologized, "Beaker kicks maple trees in December while flutes play the cello. Rabbits hop happily in marshmallow cakes. Lemon kelps dance on disco ducks."

   "She said," Pinkie started, "that you should wear your mane and tail like normal, then ditch the shoes and the glasses. That should make you look decent, instead of over-the-top silly like you are." She smiled as she pulled herself off the floor and shook about to get any dirt out of her mane.

   "Spike!" Twilight shouted, causing the grumpy dragon to emerge from the kitchen.

   "Yeah?" he answered with a certain level of acidity in his voice.

   "Can you please go get the balloon ready while I go fix myself up a little?"

   "So someone finally told you that you look like a clown?" The baby dragon shook a little as the mare narrowed her eyes at him. "All right, I'm going." With that, the purple and green dragon left to go prepare the balloon for departure, leaving the grey pony and her translator alone in the room.

   Together, the two mares stood in silence for the two or three minutes it took Twilight to redress. There really was nothing to say to each other right then, but smirks across their faces hinted what they were thinking about. Derpy had to confess that the mental image of her friend dressed like that would be one to last, perhaps for the rest of her life, considering just how awful it was.

   With all the evidence, a well-read attorney, and the secret well of boundless optimism that was Pinkie Pie, Derpy became confident that she would win this legal battle, hooves down. After all, she had the truth that she was indeed a fit caretaker on her side. By the Sorrel Hells, or high water, she would get Dinky back... if the filly still wanted her, that is. She shook her head at the idea, as if a single shred of pessimism would sink the entire game plan. Unfortunately for the gray Pegasus, they were about to receive a whole cartful of it.

   A couple of minute later, the lavender unicorn descended the stairs, her mane and tail back to their usual style, having ditched the shoes and the hilariously thick glasses. After receiving a couple of nods of approval over her new look, she decided to voice her thoughts. "I'm still not sure this is a good idea, Derpy," she said. "I mean, I have absolutely zero experience with the legal system, and I haven't had a lot of time to prepare. I'm just worried I'll make you look like a fool."

   Derpy shook her head in reply. "Pickle hats, donkey. Yellow fever and gingerbread tango."

   "Don't worry about it, Twilight. There's no way you could make her look like a fool," Pinkie Pie translated.

   Immediately after the exchange, the door opened behind them, letting in chilling wisps of mid-winter wind as the baby dragon scampered back into the warmth. "It's all ready to go, Twilight," the baby dragon spoke with some disdain. At the very least, he could get a solid day of napping in while they were in Canterlot. "Good luck, by the way," he wished as they headed out the door.

   "Just don't throw any wild parties, Spike," Twilight joked as she shut the door. The three mares trotted over to the balloon and hopped into the basket. Derpy would later learn that the purple and elegant vehicle belonged to Princess Celestia herself. Actually, it explained how the balloon could carry them to Canterlot, regardless of an unfavourable wind, quite nicely. It probably had all sorts of enchantments on it to move to the rider's whims.

   For now, the Pegasus watched in awe from the perch of the basket as they slowly lifted off the ground. The buildings and trees of town slowly became smaller the higher they went. Sure, she was used to flight, but the feeling of being so high in the air with her wings folded was downright foreign to her. It was an interesting sensation, to say the very least. In no time at all, the ancient balloon would touch down in the capital of all the land.

~*///*///*///*~

   An hour of lazy drifting later, the trio of ponies finally began the descent into the forest of towers and fields of buildings that made Canterlot famous. Claws of ivory and alabaster stretched towards the sky, as if hoping to rip the clouds from their lofty perch. Granted, they were not as tall as the legendary skyscrapers of Manehatten, yet they still impressed upon the Pegasus all the same. She had never been to the capital in person before, and hoped that once the whole ordeal was over, the native unicorn could give them a tour.

   Eventually, the basket of the large balloon came to rest in front of, essentially, a large box of a building dressed up with stairs, columns topped by equine heads and windows. The three mares hopped out and dragged the hovering transport over to the parking lot beside the boxy courthouse, garnering a few disdainful glances from the more aristocratic unicorns. After securing the transport to the ground with thick ropes and some pikes, the trio rounded the front of the building and ascended the steps.

   A few ponies, still drawn in by the landing balloon, continued to watch as they entered the building, pushing open the large wooden doors. Beyond lay a cavernous entrance hall to rival the castle's in size, but not in luxury. Towering columns of marble supported the vaulted ceiling, each hoof step echoing in the distance for an interminable amount of time. Several smaller doors branched off from this chamber down the hall to the courtrooms, a single large wooden circle of desks blocking the courts.

   Twilight took the lead in the march to the desks, with Derpy a close second, and Pinkie too busy playing with the echoes to really notice they had moved on. Sitting at the desk was a brown unicorn mare with an electric blue mane and tail. She sported glasses eerily similar to the ones the lavender mare had worn earlier that day. It took all the willpower Derpy possessed not to laugh at the bug-eyed unicorn. "Yes, can I help you?" she asked.

   "Yes," Twilight replied, "Can you tell us which courtroom we'll be heading too? We were only given the time and where the building was."

   "Just a moment," the mare behind the desk said. Using her magic, the brown mare cycled through the papers, looking for the room they would need. "Can I have the time? Also, I need the client's name."

   "I think it was ten o'clock, and Ms. Derpy Hooves."

   "Okay," she added, with some flips and turns of various books and papers, "I take it you're her attorney?" Twilight nodded her head in reply as the mare continued to work. "Aha! Okay, I have it right here... you're due in courtroom three. I wish you the best of luck to you, ma'am. The FPS rarely loses an appeal."

   "Thank you," Twilight replied, "Pinkie, come on!" she added, seeing her friend still occupying herself with the echoes of the hall. The trio of mares continued, past the circular desk, and over to the door bearing the number three above it. Marble floors, gilded hanging chandeliers and walls of rich, dark woods gave off a presence of regal intimidation. These halls had seen some of the most monumental cases in all of Equestrian history: some presided over by the unicorn's mentor.

   Paintings of important ponies hung on the walls, lit by brass lamps sticking out from the frames to better illuminate the subjects. Most of them had extremely hard or displeased expressions, immortalized in oil-based paint for all to see. Two guards flanked the large doors leading into their courtroom. They were brown unicorn stallions who bore a striking resemblance to some of the royal guard, except they wore blue jackets with gold stars pinned to their lapels.

   "I take it you're the plaintiff and her lawyer," one of them addressed Derpy, "But who is THAT one?" he asked, pointing towards Pinkie Pie, who was making faces at one of the portraits.

   "She's Ms. Hooves' official translator," Twilight explained.

   "Right," spoke the other with uncertainty, "Well, you're about five minutes early. I'll escort you to your waiting room."

   "Thank you, Sir," Twilight smiled as the unicorn lead them to a small door aside the large double doors of the court room. The plaintiff's waiting room proved to be uncharacteristically small in comparison to the large rooms all around it. Several small seats dotted the edges of the wood paneled walls, only broken by the odd plant or two in an attempt to bring colour to the relatively tiny and dull space.

   The doors shut behind the three mares unceremoniously, the clicks echoing through the empty and hard box. Pinkie Pie, as hyper as always, began to bounce around the room, possibly looking for something to do to kill the time until the trial began. Derpy swallowed hard and took a seat on one of the hard benches after placing her warm saddle onto the rack. As nervous as the mailmare felt, it had nothing on how nervous her lavender friend looked.

   Twilight took to pacing the room the very instant the door shut, muttering under her breath various legal terms and words of encouragement to herself. Calm down, Twilight, spoke that nagging voice in the back of her head. Take deep breaths and focus. Getting stressed out isn't going to help Derpy, and you remember the last time you got too stressed. Breathe. The mare very rarely took the advice of a disembodied voice, but this time, she took it up on its offer, taking many deep breaths, feeling the stress slowly lift off her back.

   A far too short amount of time later, the intercom in the room dinged, telling them that the Justices of the Supreme Court had taken the bench. The trial was about to begin. The three walked over to the door and awaited their turn, listening intently. "Fillies and gentlecolts," sounded the voice of a mare over the intercom, "Please rise for the five Justices of the Supreme Court: Chief Justice Black Robe, Justice Powdered Wig, Justice Heavy Gavel, Justice Blindfold, and Justice Balanced Scales!"

   Loud shuffling of hooves sounded over the radio as the many ponies in attendance rose to attention. "Please, be seated," spoke a gruff voice, possible belonging to one of the judges. More shuffling echoed over the radio as the ponies seated themselves once more. "The Royal Supreme Court of Equestria hereby acknowledges the plaintiff and her entourage."
A normal night for Derpy Hooves goes horribly wrong. Can she take the charred remains of a shattered life and nurse it back to health? How will the citizens of Ponyville react to the changes that night brings? Can the Pegasus conquer her demons for a pony who means more to her then anything else?

Author's Note:

I hate you, Deviant Art. This and part 3 were supposed to be one chunk, but it said it couldn't fit it all in. >=/
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:iconpunkrocksavedmylife:
punkrocksavedmylife Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Call it a personal issue but I'd sooner Agent Candid "parked his RUMP behind his desk."

Doesn't detract too much from the rest of the story, though, this is excellent work! :D
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:iconradiantsilverfire:
radiantsilverfire Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
absolutely loved this story! just finished part three, but i had to come back to this part to leave a comment. this story is well written and i love how you portray derpy and dinky.

just a small question but could you please tell me the order to read all your mlp stories in? Ive read a couple over on FIMfiction (Blood is Thicker, sunset and my little muffin)

i would comment over there but i do not have an account...... yet.
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:iconciroton:
Ciroton Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
Not really. Only For Want of a Dawn requires you to really read anything. And Reluctant Reunions requires Blood is Thicker. That's it! =D
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:iconradiantsilverfire:
radiantsilverfire Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
k, thanks so much!

oh, would you ever in the future consider next chapter links at the bottom of your chapters?
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:iconajaxisin:
AjaxIsIn Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
I'm reading through this story again for a friend and I still love it as much as I did the first time. Still touches me just as much as well! Both me and my friend want to say thanks for writing this. <3

(Also, surprised no one noticed the subtle joke in the description all this time...) :iconcarrottopplz:
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:iconciroton:
Ciroton Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
Hmm. I was going to give a cookie for the person to spot the joke, but considering the time, it became stale, so no cookie.

Wait right here while I bake you both a CAKE! =D
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:iconajaxisin:
AjaxIsIn Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
o3o S'too bad I didn't catch it the 1st time.. But hooray for free cake!
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:icondarkapostlematt:
DarkApostleMatt Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011
I enjoy how your different stories tie into each other
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:iconevilpaladin11:
EvilPaladin11 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
*cue The People's Court theme*
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:icondracodei:
DracoDei Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
SPOILERS AHEAD!
The FPS rarely loses an appeal."
-Sounds like this may end with Derpy being declared incompetent against all the evidence... at which point Twilight Sparkle takes it to Celestia... on Mare and one Filly aren't a matter that rates her personal attention... a corrupt judge and/or director? Yeah, that is worth her personal hoof to step on.
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