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Fanfic / Chrysalis Visits The Hague

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It's not a courtesy call.

"A lawyer doesn't always want to know what really happened. It's a tightrope walk. Whether or not the lawyer believes in his client's innocence is not the issue. It's his duty to defend his client - no more and no less."
Ferdinand von Schirach

It is November of 2015, the place is Earth. One year ago, Equestria suddenly appeared near Australia in the shape of an enormous island, and the first anniversary of their "discovery" is looming. Intricate diplomatic exchange and political matchmaking have ensured that the equine world could integrate into the human one peacefully and swimmingly.

This harmony dissipates however when Queen Chrysalis, a dreaded changeling monarch of high infamy and a mysterious past, is unexpectedly captured by the Royal Guard, and the issue arises on how to best put her on trial for her numerous crimes against the ponies of Equestria.

As the title suggests, it is thus decided to try her in front of the only place that can be trusted to stay neutral — the International Criminal Court, located in the Hague, in the Netherlands.

The story follows Alexander Estermann, a Swiss lawyer tasked with defending the queen, and Edith Šarić, a Bosnian forensic investigator working for the prosecution, as they dig their way through "a quagmire of vengeance, racism, manipulation, lies, hearsay and self-deception" to find out who the changeling monarch really is and what her role was during the worst chapters of Equestrian history.

Chrysalis Visits The Hague, written by one Dan The Man, is not your typical My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic, but a uniquely weird amalgamation of courtroom drama, political thriller and fantasy adventure that places Queen Chrysalis and Equestria as a whole in a war crimes tribunal procedural plot, exploring the issues that might arise when a cynical human judicial system designed to prosecute war offences and crimes against humanity is abruptly forced to arbitrate in an ever-lasting battle between good and evil inside a magical and painfully idealistic Crapsaccharine World.

Now has an officially-sanctionednote  comic-book adaptation by N4 on DeviantArt.

The story contains examples of:

  • All of Them: Estermann and the judge Mullan talk about Chrysalis:
    Mullan: Hey… She’s a disgraced monarch in exile. Treat her to a bottle of vermouth, and the guilt shall be overcome by breakfast.
    Estermann: She’s a mother.
    Mullan: Ah... oh. That’s a bit harsher. How many, did she say?
    Estermann: By the looks of it... all of them.
  • Amoral Attorney: Estermann himself is aware that, in order to save the Queen from a speedy conviction, he may have to resort to underhanded tactics and maintaining half-truths, regardless of whether she's guilty or not. The page quote sums up the sentiment very neatly.
  • Anti-Hero: Estermann is not exactly a pleasant individual. He shows little regard for Equestrian culture and often comes across as brash and uppish to man and mare alike. Also, he's a lawyer. Once he meets client eye to eye though, he does begin to mellow out noticeably.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In-universe, most ponies are not very knowledgeable about human countries. The humans are little better at Equestrian geography.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    Lyra: "I... should have probably told you a lot shooner, huh?"
    Estermann: "Oh no, no. You could have waited until Christmas and broken it to me under a mistletoe. Of course you fucking should have!"
    • And, a bit later in Canterlot Castle:
    Edith: So... is this the Porter's office?
    Royal Castellan: No. This is the janitor's. If you've got a broken tap, you need to take it to management.”
  • As the Good Book Says...: Quoted by Judge Mullan, then promptly Lampshaded:
    Mullan: 'Blessed are the peacemakers', Alex. Matthew 5:9.
    Estermann: Colm... I get that you’re Irish... but you don’t need to quote scripture at me to make a point.
  • The Atoner: During his run as sheriff, Fighting Fit hesitated to investigate Junebug's disappearance and failed to stop a changeling from taking her place and mind-raping her mother. Two years later, he ropes Edith into a search party for the real Junebug, obviously trying to make amends for his failures.
  • Audience Murmurs: Happens occasionally during the hearings, with one problem - the actual gallery is separated from the courtroom by a security window, so the implication of this is that not even the court's own staff can help but comment or react on the revelations.
  • Badass Bystander: The one guy who manages to overpower Chrysalis by activating her magic suppressor as she tries to break out of the plane at the airport (and severely scorching his hand in the process) is a nameless USAF pilot who is never mentioned again.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Chrysalis performs one during the first hearing on the entire courtroom, pretending to build up one of her outbursts before suddenly backing down and making the judges stumble over themselves.
    “You see, that was a metaphor.” she explained on, “I have nothing against bugs. There are differences between them and [ponies]. One is a mindless, parasitic kind that infests what does not belong to them and spreads its disgusting, poisonous essence all over to make it their own. And the others... are bugs.”
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Seems to be very much in effect. Both the Equestrians and humans are in equal parts jaundiced, smarmy and secretive (though nominally well-intentioned), and Chrysalis is... Chrysalis.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Subverted - Most of the ponies are adamant about the fact that Chrysalis is evil incarnate and they themselves are the defenders of all things harmonious. Suffice to say, the humans (Estermann in particular) are quick to contest this.
  • Blithe Spirit: Most of the main characters are one, in one way or another.
    • Estermann is a borderline dogmatist who struggles with the moral and social stigma of defending a brutal tyrant.
    • Lyra struggles with the predisposed xenphobic leanings of Equestrian society.
    • Edith Saric jumps the hurdles and taboos of her UN job with almost carefree disregard.
    • Her superior Pierre Abel approaches both the UN and Equestrian high-handedness with protest and open (if largely futile) defiance.
    • Even the prosecutor Pierman has to struggle against her own court's stringent rules of evidence in order to get to get to Chrysalis.
    • Arguably even Queen Chrysalis herself, since she sees herself as a freedom fighter rather than the establishment.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Parts of the dialogue are rendered in largely untranslated German, Dutch, Bosnian and Swedish. Many chapter titles are Latin legal phrases, and Lexy Fori's name is derived from “law of the forum”.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Or, well, Younger Sister instinct. Twilight Sparkle will stand up for her brother Shining.
  • Brick Joke: Estermann's (as of yet uneaten) hat.
    • Mullan joking that Estermann should booze Chrysalis up with Poitin. Estermann does just that in a later chapter.
  • Broken-Window Warning: Shortly before the story is set, Judge Mullan's window gets smashed by a hefty battery wrapped in a note reading, "Paardenneuker"note .
  • Catchphrase: Edith's "Ive seen worse.". Though, given her job (pathologist) and her nationality (Bosnian), that's not too hard to believe.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Averted when Chrysalis recounts to Estermann her (supposed) experience of Princess Celestia trying to execute her and her army by shoving them into a live volcano.
    "The trouble with your condition is that, if you gazed into a volcano, you wouldn’t have the milky flesh that you do now. If you were up close enough to see the single bubbles boiling up in the lava, you would also be close enough for it to burn the flesh straight off your bones."
  • The Coroner: Edith Saric fills this role, though she gets in trouble for trying to break out of it by going intrepid.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: In a prequel chapter, Estermann boasted (on a radio talkshow, no less) that it was entirely inconceivable that the ICC would ever put Chrysalis on trial in The Hague, and that if they did, he'd eat his hat. It gets a Call-Back in the next chapter, when Colm is surprised that Estermann's still wearing it.
    Lauren Mephisto: Shame. I liked your hat.
    • Received yet another Call-Back several chapters on, when Estermann gets depicted with his hat still stuck in his mouth in a news caricature.
  • Culture Clash: A good portion of the conflict between ponies and humans stems from complex issues like the humans' historical treatment of earthly horses as lowly pack animals to things as banal as the ponies' all-herbivore diet.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the show and IDW comics, liberally opening up on mature themes of politics and crimes that the canon had, at best, only sparsely hinted at.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lars Korgstad, one of the Defence's secretaries, peppers a memo with some very sarcastic, part-time Swedish comments.
  • Death Seeker: Chrysalis repeatedly states that she knows she won't leave the prison alive, and seems to have made peace with that thought.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Chapter art is black, white, and one or two select colors.
  • Destination Defenestration: In a later chapter, Twilight punches Chrysalis through a security window in rage.
    • At one point, Edith breaks a window and jumps out to escape the burning Everfree archive.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Invoked, played straight, subverted and defied throughout the story. Many if not most of the characters have diplomatic protection in one way or another (since they work for governments, international organizations or are otherwise guaranteed immunity), and many try to exploit it, though it doesn't always work.
    • The UN functionary Pierre for instance quickly discovers that his immunity (functional immunity) doesn't extend to acts that are, in nature, unrelated to his UN work (like breaking and entering or arson).
    • When Princess Twilight Sparkle attacks Queen Chrysalis in the ICC, there are no repercussions beyond kicking her off the premises.
    • Prosecution aide (and Equestrian Royal Guard clerk) Indigo Beam at one point uses his immunity to threaten a difficult concierge.
    Do not make me invoke it, lady.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Estermann evades coffee like the plague.
  • Don't Answer That: Estermann instructs Chrysalis to zip it when asked about her job and work, as it may work against her during the trial.
  • Door Stopper: The story itself is a minor one, having passed (and currently continuing from) the 200,000 word threshold after almost three years.
  • Dutchmen with Destroyers: The Marechaussee (Dutch military police) are featured securing the Queen's transports and guarding the area around the court and prison. Also, Mjoberg the warden is a former Dutch Army Cavalry Officer.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The medieval gatehouse silhouetted on the story's thumbnail art is actually the historic Red Gate of Scheveningen Prison.
  • Everybody Smokes: Estermann does. Lyra, trying to emulate him and humanity in general, tries taking it up as well, but, after caughing her lungs out, quickly decides it's not for her.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Implied in one chapter, which is reciprocated as a surveillance transcript listening in on some of the main characters talking about Estermann's and Colm's secret diplomacy and Lyra Heartstrings' secret identity.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Filippo Garibaldi.
  • Fang Thpeak: This story has a bad case of this; It's largely justified when ponies are holding platters and swords in their mouths, but that doesn't explain why any character's speech is reduced to comical 'shlurs' when they have as much as a single cigarette between their lips. Edith's subtler slurring is justified at least, since a falling rock almost ends up breaking her jaw.
  • Fictional Document: The second chapter is a life-sized but completely fictional BBC online article detailing Chrysalis' arrival in The Hague, fake comments and adverts included.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: Equestria had the ancient Council of Harmony, described as the pony equivalent to the ICC, backed up by its own version of the Rome Statute. It's Subverted however, in that it was pretty much stillborn from the start and thus never actually got around to dealing with war crimes and offenses against ponykind. But since neither the Council nor the laws were ever officially dissolved, it doesn't stop Equestria from reviving them for the specific purpose of indicting Chrysalis.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: As per Fanon, Lyra is borderline-obsessed with the human world (and has been even since before its discovery).
  • Foregone Conclusion: In the aptly-named chapter, Estermann Office Observation Transcript Excerpt from Tuesday, November 22, 2015, Estermann, Colm Mullan and Lyra swear each other to secrecy over the revelation of Lyra's true identity, as well Colm's and Estermann's secret meetings. However, considering the format of the chapter itself (a surveillance transcript penned by some mysterious third party that had been listening in on the conversation), this secrecy evidently does not last very long.
  • Friend on the Force: The judge Colm Mullan acts as one to the lawyer Estermann.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Though it's not strictly speaking the future, much of humanity's magicless technology is completely foreign to ponies. Queen Chrysalis for one, spends her first encounter with a live television arguing with the newscaster and getting cross with singing televangelists.
    Lauren Mephisto: "We may not comprehend the cutie mark, the magic artefacts and the cloud cities, but they don't comprehend the telephone, the lightbulb and the combustion engine."
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The Queen is incredibly aggressive throughout her stay, lunging at warders and throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. It's suggested that this stems from severe 'love' withdrawal, as she only calms down after being thrown a (dead) chicken to feed off of.
  • Heroic BSoD: Estermann suffers a small one when the Everfree Forest hive is discovered, and he immediately realises that the terrifying tales about Chrysalis may all be true. Lyra ultimately tells him to Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
  • Hollywood Law: Word of God states that there is a quite bit of it, ostensibly to ensure that the story stays “readable”.
    • In-universe, Lexy Fori is called out on it by Estermann, who is angered by her unprofessional attitude.
  • Horror Hunger: Like in the show, changelings depend on sucking love from other creatures. It's implied they cannot digest actual food, and when they don't get to feed for too long, they become... grumpy. For the sake of building a tepid relationship, Chrysalis is ultimately thrown a dead chicken a day.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Though, for all intents and purposes, they're not very good ones, being caught somewhere between ineffective appeasement and internal squabbling.
  • Humans Are Special: Subverted; The ponies either hold humanity in high regard, as an ingenious civilised culture (Lyra in particular seems to see them as the pinnacle of creation), or they treat them with wary irreverence, as carnivorous predators. Chrysalis just sees them as uppity monkeys with Delusions of Eloquence.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Judge Mullan advises Estermann to fill Queen Chrysalis up with vermouth before breaking to her that in her absence, the ponies have begun closing in on her hive. Estermann mentions that, on top of being a queen, she's a mother to her hive too. Mullan concedes, and advises poitín instead.
    • Given a double whammy by the fact that Mullan himself is downing a "Dark and Stormy" as he says this.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: Invoked and subverted: Judge Mullan advises Estermann to portray changelingkind as a race of unintelligent animals to free them of their obligation to obey the rule of law (both human and Equestrian, that is, which are assumed equal in this setting). This turns out to be a terrible idea in the long run, as it could likewise also deprive them from all their rights.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: When Estermann first meets Magistrate Lexy Fori (who is the first pony he had ever seen up to that point) at dinner, he promptly mistakes her for a child, what with her muzzle hidden in a salad bowl. When she lowers the bowl back down, the first thing he notices is her excessive amount of bodily hair...
    Estermann: *thinking* Seriously, whose kid is this?!
  • Jurisdiction Friction: There is quite a lot of it going on between the UN (investigating into the matter on behalf of the ICC) and the Equestrian crown (who take the matter very personally and thus take offence to the fact human investigators are roaming around Equestria to begin with).
  • Justified Title: The fic's title could just as well double as the story's High Concept.
  • Kangaroo Court: What the thoroughly medieval Equestrian court system is described as; it is personally headed by Princess Celestia, the judges are devoted subjects, and there seems to be little to no emphasis on defence. Estermann predicts that Chrysalis literally wouldn't survive an Equestrian trial.
  • Knighting: Happens twice - first when Chrysalis makes Estermann formally pledge loyalty to her in her jail cell, and later when Princess Luna takes Edith Saric (almost literally) under her wing as she is being booted out of the UN mission. The parallels are very apparent, particularly when the to-be-knight is told to kneel and hesitates.
  • Knight Templar: Princess Luna shows shades of this, in that she's willing to authorize a military operation (behind Celestia's back) to wipe out the changelings before they can strike again.
    • Celestia herself was also this years ago, if Chrysalis' account of what happened to the changelings after the sacking of Trot is to be believed.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Edith tells the posse looking for Junebug about getting stranded in a minefield to explain why she hates searching the forest.
  • Large Ham: Chrysalis likes to lay it on thick when complaining or raging – Estermann suspects that she herself is enjoying the theatrics.
  • Last-Name Basis: Estermann, much to the point that the narration sticks to it, reflecting his somewhat stuck-up professionalistic nature.
  • Mage in Manhattan: Or 'Magical Hive Queen In The Hague', but the trope still applies quite neatly because of how her very existence clashes with the modern human world.
  • Mathematician's Answer: At one point Estermann proposes the idea that the prosecutor is bluffing. Garibaldi asks if it means she's got an ace up her sleeve or if she's actually running on empty.
    Estermann frowned on the inside. His answer was as cryptic to him as it was to his aide and his client. “...Yes.”
  • Multinational Team: The author seems to have made a point out of hardly any two characters being from the same country, with exception of the Equestrian ponies and some Dutch natives.
  • Mundanger: Despite revolving around powerful Magocracies, emotion eaters, shapeshifters and mind controllers, the most menacing and crucial dangers that are depicred are things such as racial tension (between ponies, changelings and humans) and war (of the undeclared civil kind), political power play (both foreign & domestic) and the grasping for strategic interests, corruption (also of the non-magical kind) and crippling bureacracy (plus the subsequent inability of lawmakers and peacekeepers to do their jobs) as well as the trappings of due process and the perversion of justice (since it's a Courtroom Drama).
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Said by Estermann to Lyra when she - being her human-obsessed self - can't stop ogling his hands.
  • Mysterious Informant: Sergeant Golden Dirk, service number two, two, seven, niner, three, eight, one... complete with a potential Shout-Out to Deep Throat.
  • The Nicknamer: Chrysalis insists on calling her lawyer 'worm', while Lyra keeps calling him Mr E. And Shining Armor (true to Canon) calls his sister Twily.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The story was released exactly one year before the first chapter is set, on November 16th, 2014, and there don't seem to be any significant differences between the periods-outside the obvious ones, that is.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: There's three judges on the pre-trial panel: Lexy Fori (who's Equestrian, vengeful and entirely backing the prosecution), Jessica Suruma (who's Ugandan, phlegmatic and indecisively neutral) and Colm Mullan (who's Irish, jovial and well-disposed to the defence).
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Chrysalis becomes increasingly (literally, physically) clingy in her interactions with her lawyer Estermann. The implications that these are the actions of the G-rated succubus that she was in the show are rather plain.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The UN presence in Equestria gets this portrayal. On one hand, they try to enforce a semblance of efficiency and integrity, but at the same time they're hopelessly dependant on the political climate and are desperate to avoid any kind of controversy.
    • Edith's UN handler, Pierre Abel deserves special mention, as his obstructiveness seems to come from a genuine sense of moral obligation. His superior Tian Shouxin though, has no excuse other than cynical disregard for his job (and some implied corruption).
  • One Dose Fits All: Averted - In the first chapter, everybody thinks that Chrysalis is out cold due to the ridiculously high dose of horse tranquiliser she's been given (which would have outright killed any other animal in her weight class). Then she jumps up...
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Estermann, unsurprisingly, runs into this territory while talking to Lyra. He ends up (sort of) apologizing straight away.
    Estermann: Because as far as I’m concerned, a pony's only good to be ridden and sliced up for sausage. How the hell am I supposed to make myself a picture of one's 'inner workings'?"
    • Another time, he and Chrysalis talk about dark jokes, only for Estermann inadvertedly trigger an awkward silence.
    Chrysalis: Ah, yes... These jokes… they’re a little like changelings.
    Estermann: Yep. They never get old.
  • Operation: [Blank]: One chapter is presented in form of a mysterious, partially censored transcript that is simply entitled, "Orange Caltrop", probably making this one - and given what a caltrop is, a meaningful one.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Edith has all but become one. The story starts with her being dragged by Fighting Fit into an impromptu SAR mission, which leads to her being injured, forcefully reprimanded by Pierre, fired by the UN, recruited by Equestria, sent hunting after a mysterious piece of intel by Golden Dirk, locked in a burning building, and be kidnapped by the Changelings.
  • Poirot Speak: Many human characters, but Estermann in particular, like to lapse back into their native language when things get excited or stressful. This is probably done to remind the reader that they are actually averting Translation Convention.
  • Power Nullifier: Chrysalis' tremendous magic power is curbed (pretty rudimentarily) by wrapping her horn in wires and tin foil and feeding it a constant stream of electricity from a battery.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Estermann and Mullan and Lyra share one at one point. It's decidedly awkward, though not necessarily for all the expected reasons.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Inverted in Princess Luna's case; she wants to lead the Royal Guard into battle against the changeling remnants in person, but as the princess of the night, she is hopelessly tied down by mundane work (and, strongly implied, her sister) in Canterlot and forced to delegate military command to lower echelons.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Estermann and his Equestrian liaison Lyra Heartstrings, who is a lot nicer and bubblier than him, seem to be in the process of becoming this.
  • Secondary Character Title: Queen Chrysalis may be the character that kicked the plot off to begin with, but her lawyer Estermann is the actual protagonist.
  • Shadow Archetype: Estermann and the prosecutor Pierman bear a number of striking similarities, down to their very names: Both are dogged legal professionals who fight their battles out of sheer conviction, have a tendency of brooding in their office, and both receive help and guidance from overtly dedicated pony assistants (Lyra and Indigo Beam respectively)
  • Show Within a Show: One time, Chrysalis watches a supremely clichéd prison drama (while being in prison herself, naturally), complete with a Deep South setting, a sadistic warden and some heavily implied soap-droppin'. The author calls it 'The Shawshank Pretension'.
  • Silly Reason for War: At one point, Estermann recounts the events kicking off the War of Jenkins' Ear to Lyra, making the point that impressions don't need to be factual to have an impact.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Both ends of the scale are pitted firmly against each other, with the prosecution and the ponies being the idealists, and Chrysalis and the defence representing the cynics.
  • Spotting the Thread: Edith realizes almost immediately that the so-called UN official she meets in the changeling hive isn't one. He has a rank that doesn't exist in the UN, has a surname that isn't a surname, can't pronounce the UN's full name correctly, doesn't know the full name of (Edith's home country) Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even is under the impression that the place is another kingdom. But what really seems to give it away for Edith is when he offers her a glass of vodka with a bread slice on top (a sort of thing done in Russia to honour the dead). Lastly, he tries to pass off a bottle cap as an order of merit.
  • The Stoic: Edith is described like that by other characters, even getting nicknamed "Pokerface". Noticeably, this even becomes obvious in the parts told from her own perspective:
    "It was obvious that [Princess Luna] had expected more of a visceral reaction out of the forensic.
    'I’ve… seen worse.' [Edith] repeated, all while trying not to sound too heartless."
  • Species Loyalty: Neither the ponies or changelings have a very good opinion of each other. To the former, the latter are unscrupulous monsters, while to the latter, the former are hypocrites and the true mindless drones. Also certain humans have become increasingly paranoid with the increasing Equine presence in their cities.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Estermann likes to smoke, but even he admits he can only do it because he has a deathwish and because 'he's not pregnant'. Also Lyra, despite her best efforts to like it, doesn't.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Most of the story consists of long tracts of dialogue interspersed with brief spurts of setting, plot and action (though the Equestria chapters are slightly more plot-oriented). There are even some chapters consisting of nothing but transcripted dialogue.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Just as Edith and Pierre drive through the evacuation of Ponyville, his cell phone goes off, and the ringtone turns out to be the haunting For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield. Pierre lampshades it, even opting to let the music play out.
  • Take That!: Estermann and Mullan briefly muse about the possibility of the changelings sharing their love instead of stealing it.... before breaking out in derisive laughter and beginning to analyse how that would make no practical sense. That's a Take That! against the actual series' episode My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E26 "To Where and Back Again – Part 2", where the changelings are convinced by Starlight and Thorax to do exactly that and, as a result, undergo a rather controversial magical Evolution Power-Up.
  • Theme Naming:
    • All Royal Guards are named after weapons, pieces of armour, or cavalry terminology.
    • Reporters and journalists all carry first and last names of random FIM and Hasbro staff.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: The Royal Guard is seen levying Ponyville civilians in preparation for a large-scale search of the Everfree Forest for changelings.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: The first resort against Chrysalis consists of tranquiliser rifles, filled what seem to be absurdly lethal amounts of sedative.
  • Translation Convention: Whenever ponies speak Equestrian (which sounds unintelligible to humans), it's reciprocated in normal English, occasionally in italics.
  • Victimized Bystander: Considering Chrysalis' brutality and long past, only a handful of her countless Equestrian victims have survived to speak for themselves. And her human victims (particularly the cops and soldiers she brutalised in the plane) only get a glancing mention before disappearing from the narrative altogether.
  • Villain Episode: Though they hardly qualify as villains, one chapter is dedicated to the prosecution, focusing on the trials and tribulations of Serafina Pierman and her two equine helpers, Indigo Beam and Ms Harshwhinny.
  • Vulgar Humor: In-Universe. At one point, Chrysalis and Estermann are locked in an increasingly dark joke-telling competition, which culminates in Chrysalis telling a very off-color rape joke... only for Estermann to beat her to the punchline. Naturally, this leads to the two bonding.
    Estermann: What? ...Too much?
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Just as Edith, Pierre and Sergeant Golden Dirk are about to inspect a supposed secret archive located inside the old Castle of the Royal Sisters, the chapter cuts to Edith waking up in a smoke-filled room, partially blinded, with no memory of where she is or what just happened.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Equestrian ponies can (and, in case of the surviving witnesses, do) get hundreds of years old – Princesses and Queens even thousands. This revelation catches Estermann entirely off-guard.
    “What are you horses eating?!”
  • Wham Line: When Lyra reveals how Chrysalis knows her:
    "I'm a changeling, Mr. E."
  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses: When Estermann gives Chrysalis a pair of glasses to wear in the courtroom, he cites this mentality might offer her some protection. A few chapters in, she is quite literally punched in the face, courtesy of none other than Twilight Sparkle.