News - Jan 16, 2019 (1 month ago)

Thank you for coming.

It's been a long time coming now, but it's time for Twenty Percent Cooler to close down. We've had a good run and had a great time in our heyday, but the sun has set on our little website and now it's time to go. You have about a week to record, save, and archive what you would like before everything goes dark, so please make the best of this time.

Thank you for all the memories and contributions to our community in these last 8 years. We had a great time.

~ Sincerely, Princess Luna
Lead Administrator for

Post in forum #1905 - An ongoing MLP Roleplay Thread, Rated PG-13.

Fleur Blanc walked into the empty courtroom with lifted head and sinking heart. Judgment day hadn’t come in the form she expected. Princess Luna had beaten Smog, had defanged his arrangements to destroy Aura in a storm of revealed blackmail and corruption if he was ever deposed. Had done it all so quietly that few had even realized what was going on. Smog had vanished and the promised chaos simply hadn’t happened.

It was almost a relief to finally be called to answer for her crimes. There was an end to the waiting. Her charm-hung bracelet sat heavy in an under-wing pouch. She was allowed to keep them with her but not wear them. Not during this hearing. Just in case one of them might let her fool the lie-detecting magic she’d heard rumors about all this morning.

Fleur hadn’t had them on since late last night, when she woke up out of an uneasy sleep to an awful discovery. The dual charm the Captain had given her no longer whispered its assurance that he was alive. The master key to his airship that he had given her also hung from the bracelet, hidden among the other dangly metal things. She could have taken her brother and run to the Just In Time. Hidden there until that nice pony Baz and adorable sugar-glider Kirra either arrived or it was clear they wouldn’t be arriving. Escaped the city.

Instead she had decided to cry herself back to sleep, and succeeded in the first half. Her makeup did its best but she knew she was red-eyed and haggard. Sitting at the defendant’s table, she numbly nodded her way through Luna’s explanation, gave her name when prompted. Her brother’s turn next, and his crimes were similar to hers. Done from desperation or later, from loyalty to Smog. He had made it clear they would only lose the favored position he had given them if they were disloyal. Not disobedient. He had given them the right to say no: they weren’t comfortable doing something. After mapping out the limits of their consciences, he had stopped even asking things they weren’t willing to do from gratitude for him rescuing them from poverty. The only threat that hung overhead was that he would take away what he had given them. Fleur knew everything she had done, she had done by choice.

There didn’t seem much point in trying to deny that, with these Scales of Mendacity ready to display any untruth or deception. She admitted everything: right back to the petty short-cons she and her brother had run while young and essentially homeless. She confessed to her loyalty and gratitude to Smog, her grief that he was gone. Her sinking heart didn’t rise but it did feel as if emptying out. It felt like she had an incurable malady and had decided on a dignified settling of her affairs before she died. This was the end, there was nothing left but to tidy up the frayed threads of her life and make the end a clean one.

“Fleur Antoinette Blanc.” Luna said. Fleur raised her eyes from the table to the princess for the first time. “For the crimes to which you have confessed I declare a verdict of guilty on all counts, save for aiding and abetting of crimes committed by the dragon Smog or his employees, by declining to share your knowledge of them to the proper authorities. In those cases your lips were sealed by fear of retribution, if also by less legally forgivable motives. I can find no evidence of unlawful coercion on the majority of your unlawful actions. Have you anything to say before I pass sentence?”

“His promises to us, they were calculated, but he kept them. Not just ze letter of them but ze spirit. I know he was…was a monster.” Even now it felt like betrayal and disloyalty to say that. She thought she had run out of tears but her eyes found some more. Taking a shaky breath, she pulled out a grubby handkerchief and dabbed, trying to preserve her makeup from habit. “I know he saved us for ze gratitude we would feel, ze loyalty he could use as a string to make us dance.” She had to pause for another shaky breath between each sentence as she continued. “What he wanted us to do was so often wrong. I am sorry for ze bad things I did and helped do. I only did them from loyalty to one who had been good to me, after a life where nopony was. I know he never cared about me except as ze tool of his will. I know he manipulated my feelings, but I feel them. He is gone. I cannot help but be sad.” For him, and for the Captain too. She should have known the silly unicorn had too much pride to let himself be arrested. He had fought. “Princess Luna, Smog is gone, and he never asked me to keep his secrets after he is gone. I will confess all I know of ze crimes of others, if you wish it. I wish never to ever do wrong again, and I am sorry for my crimes, and—” She paused again, to breathe, trying to ease the sharp pain threatening to choke off her words. “Please show my brother Flambé mercy. He did worse than me but always for love of me.”

Luna spoke, firm but soft. “As arbiter of the law and officer of the court I hereby declare you non compos mentis and declare that you be admitted to a secure facility for evaluation and treatment of the mental and emotional damage inflicted upon you by the manipulations of Smog.” Fleur had one floating moment of bewilderment before, to her horror, a great swelling bubble of insulted rage grew in her. “I have high hopes that you shall soon be successfully treated and released.”

Shooting to her hooves, Fleur watched in horror from some dusty corner of her mind as she erupted into a long, vile stream of profanity in her native tongue, which had a definite advantage in the way it allowed one to string together dirty words. To say her loyalty had been false! Not just misplaced but a lie! To say she hadn’t just been manipulated but brainwashed! If she had been brainwashed Smog would have had her doing unspeakable things, with a smile! She struggled to stop insulting every aspect of Luna’s ancestry, character, and appearance, but only managed it after she ran out of breath and had to either stop or faint. She struggled not to start again, shaking with rage, unable to let herself so much as twitch or she would lose control. Fleur could have handled being called a criminal or even evil. Being called crazy…it hurt. A flicker of doubt entered her heart, maybe Luna was right? Hate bloomed that Luna could make her doubt herself like this.

When the two pegasus guards arrived to escort her off to the loony-bin, something broke inside her. Crumpled rather than snapped. Fiery rage turned to ash. She went with them quietly, operating her body as if a puppet on strings, from somewhere far away inside. The doubt gnawed and grew. What if he had hypnotized her? Could her conscience be an illusion? He hadn’t asked her to do anything she wasn’t willing to do, not for years. Was that his restraint, or was her willingness always guaranteed? Her fierce loyalty to a heartless monster, even to offering to stay with him at what seemed to be his end.

Did…did she need help?