Twilight approached the tall black iron door. She took a deep breath of the sweltering air to try and calm herself. It wouldn’t do to start her first day on the wrong hoof.
She heard an echoing voice from within the chambers call out.
“Now presenting Twilight Sparkle, knight of the Cerberian Order, and royal ambassador from Canterlot!”
There was a deep shaking sound and the doors slowly opened. She swallowed and stepped inside the hall. Lines of demons in armor stood on either side of her, many of them carrying spears. Most of them looked much like twisted ponies, but they were each unique in a way that defied general description. The walls of red stone above them were indented with hollows containing fires that lit the room. At the end of the hall was a throne of bone and iron, and on it sat the Queen of Tartarus.
“Welcome to Hell, Twilight Sparkle,” she said, chuckling. She looked almost like a pony, but as if stretched out, tall and emaciated. Her coat was green and She had a mane of tangled rust-brown hair that hung in front of red eyes. A curved horn protruded from her forehead, and two wings of green fire rose from her back.
Before Twilight could reply, the Queen stood up straight and grinned down at her. It was an imposing sight, and Twilight resisted the urge to run.
“Tremble as you stand before the Dark Star, the End of All Things, the Queen of the Damned!” She snorted and raised her head, glaring down at Twilight. “But you may call me Nemesis.”
Twilight bowed. “A pleasure to meet you, your Highness. I hope my presence here can improve relations between Equestria and Tartarus.”
Nemesis sat back down and smirked at Twilight. “Tell me. How has the Brass City treated you so far?”
The Princess had instructed Twilight to be frank with the Queen, and was quite clear that politeness was not a useful tool in Tartarus. Demons respected power and little else, she said. Twilight snorted and scowled. “It’s hot. And loud. And there’ve been seventeen attempts on my life already.”
Nemesis gasped and brought a hoof to her muzzle in shock. “Seventeen attempts! Really!?” The expression of surprise vanished into her smirk as she relaxed in her seat. “I ordered twenty attempts. I’m so very sorry.”
Twilight glared up at her. “I hope you understand I’ll be including this in my report to the Princess.”
A terrible laugh echoed in the halls as Nemesis stood from her throne and stepped down, approaching Twilight. “Really now? And what concern is a Princess to a Queen?”
Her wings unfurled and flared out, and Twilight could feel their heat as she backed up instinctively. But she stopped, stood steadily, and stared up at Nemesis.
“The concern, your Highness, is that Princess Celestia might make things unpleasant for you if you don’t cooperate.”
Nemesis’ jaw hung open in a smile and she threw her head back in laughter. The demons surrounding them joined her, and it was a while before she could speak.
“Really? Really?! You’re telling me Celestia is going to make Hell worse? Is that what you’re saying?” She wiped a tear from her eye as she cackled, pounding her other hoof against the floor.
Twilight struggled to maintain her strong stance as she blushed. When Nemesis put it that way, suddenly Princess Celestia’s assurances didn’t make as much sense as they seemed to before. But she took a step forward and glared up at Nemesis nonetheless. “I’ve also been authorized to use whatever force is necessary to defend myself.”
“Oh really!” Nemesis’ eyes lit up in a way that made Twilight question her decision to point that out. She scraped one of her hooves against the stone floor as she grinned at Twilight. “Show me!”
Before Twilight could say anything a bolt of red lightning shot out from Nemesis’ horn, flying straight at her. She teleported away in the last moment and saw the bolt hit the floor right where she was standing. Nemesis whirled around to face her and leapt into the air.
“I hope you’re prepared for the void!” She called out, and her wings whipped out at Twilight, tendrils of green fire cutting through the air as Twilight ducked and sidestepped to evade them. Two flaming whips flew at her from either side, and just before they closed in on her she put up a shield, blocking them.
“C-can’t we get back to negotiating?” Twilight asked.
Nemesis flew down and tackled Twilight, pinning her to the floor and grinning down at her. “There was never going to be any negotiating. I’m just going to kill you and send back a copy in your place.”
Twilight gaped up at her as Nemesis’ horn lit up. Twilight knew what the consequences of an infernal incursion into Equestria could be. She scowled back at Nemesis, and when Nemesis fired at her Twilight fired back, and their beams met between them, one violet and one crimson. Twilight put all the power she had into it until her body was shaking, and her beam slowly advanced, until finally it connected with Nemesis’ horn.
Nemesis cried out in pain and pulled back, but Twilight held the spell, her beam searing Nemesis’ horn until it was black.
Finally Nemesis shrunk back against the floor and held up her hooves. “Stop! Stop! You win!”
Twilight smirked down at her and cut off the spell. Nemesis quivered and panted in a ball on the floor, her hooves grasping at her now-useless horn.
And suddenly Twilight remembered she was surrounded by armed demon guards, which surrounded her. Her smirk turned into a sheepish grin as she looked at them, hoping this fight wasn’t about to get a lot worse.
All of them dropped to their knees.
“All hail Twilight Sparkle!” One of them shouted. “Queen of Hell!”
Twilight’s jaw hung open as the rest of them shouted “Hail!”
She looked out over the kneeling demons, staring at them in silent shock. They didn’t move, didn’t speak. They were waiting for her. And slowly, against Twilight’s better judgement, her mouth turned upwards into a grin.
“I have so many ideas… I don’t even know where to start!”
Norse Pony’s comments: Haha, nice. C. S. Lewis would argue, I think, that making Hell efficient would only make it worse. Twilight will no doubt attempt to prove him wrong. I have to wonder whether Celestia anticipated this outcome, and appointed Twilight the ambassador to Tartarus not because she’s a diplomat but because she’s a living weapon. Either way, Hell will have many new list-based procedures in place before long, and it would be highly amusing to see them.