He wore a suit of a lush dark green and a scarf of silk. He sat upon a golden throne, its cushion of a soft red velvet. Lining the silver walls of the hall he sat at the end of were marble and ivory pillars, a long carpet of the same material of the throne’s cushion rolled in between them. All was quiet in the room of gold, silver, red, and white, even as the three peasants were brought before him.
The glowing green eyes narrowed at the ponies that his shadow guards had dragged in, and he stroked the dark red fur on his chin. Straightening up, he crooned, “Why have you brought these indigents before me?”
One of the guards replied, “Your Majesty, these three peasants have not paid their taxes, and have, in fact, been protesting them in the square!”
His eyes swept between the three common stallions. One was mustard yellow, with a mane of green and brown. Another had a coat of purple, a mane and mustache and goatee of two-toned red. The final one was a large, green pony, bearing darker green hair on both his head, tail, and just over his lips. A low growl came from him, recognizing the three as colts from his foalhood.
He rose from his seat, a dark aura emanating from his body, enough for his mane to undulate as if it was being blown by the wind. With a snarl, he told the guard, “Go… I would like to speak to them in private.”
The guards nodded, and then pranced out of the room. With the thud of the closing door, the king looked down upon the three stallions, all simultaneously bearing scowls and eyes pleading for mercy.
He raised an eyebrow. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen the faces of Mustard Squirt Bottle, Carpet Burn, and Jumbo Thumbo.”
Squirt narrowed his eyes at him. “Nice to see ya, too, Tomato Sandwich.”
The king hissed. “That stallion is dead. You will address me as your king, Nightmare Ketchup.”
Jumbo Thumbo snickered. “Looks like we’ve got Ketchup and Mustard in the room, eh?”
Nightmare Ketchup slammed his hoof on the floor, a sharp echo ringing through the hall. “Silence!”
All three stallions flinched at his action, and were cowed under the bright glow of the green eyes, and fiery form that the black and purple aura had taken. The king bore his sharp teeth, and the room was getting darker.
The king straightened up, and the room brightened again. With an impassive stare, he stated, “I hope you realize that there’s a heavy price for not paying your taxes.”
“I dunno if you noticed, but they’re kinda hard to pay,” Carpet Burn said, scratching his goatee.
Nightmare Ketchup snorted. “What, you can’t handle it?”
“Nopony can,” Squirt interjected. “We’re all poor.”
“‘Cept you,” Jumbo Thumbo said, looking around the room.
Nightmare Ketchup raised an eyebrow. “Oh, so that’s how it is?” He paced back and forth. “You blasphemers have nary a clue of how this government is run. Unappreciated for my efforts to make this regime great and prosperous, dealing with fools who have not a clue on how to handle finances, and of course, having to listen to pointless criticism from ex-friends of mine.”
He turned his back to them. “I don’t trust these ponies to take care of themselves. They’ll either be frivolous or greedy with the presence of too many bits. I’m the pony with the talent involving money, so I should take care of everything.”
“Well, what’s the point of us working if you don’t trust anypony with any money anyhow?” Squirt asked.
“Holding us back is not taking care of us,” Carpet Burn said.
“Not to mention you’re a hypocrite!” Jumbo said. “We’re not prosperous, we’re miserable!”
Nightmare Ketchup whirled around, and the aura was fiery again. The three stallions before him were surrounded by that same aura, and lifted up into the air. The aura was starting to squeeze them, and it was getting harder and harder for the trio to breathe. Fear was evident in their eyes, even as they stared into his bright green eyes.
He snarled, “I trust you less, since you were so naughty as colts, getting into trouble and creating messes I had to clean up. And I still have to clean up after ponies like you!”
Choking sounds came from the stallions. They were unable to speak under the literal pressure applied by the aura.
A wicked smile graced the king’s lips. “Look at you three, so helpless… so powerless… scary isn’t it? But at least I don’t feel helpless anymore!
“This power I have… it chose me, for I have an unusual mixture of magic, so that I may lead this country into a prosperity that not even the princesses could accomplish, and nopony’s going to stand in my way! Especially not you three pathetic excuses for life…”
He chuckled as they writhed in agony, with blue faces and bloodshot eyes. “And because you three have ruined my life in youth… we’ll get to see a certain substance that reminds me of… ketchup…”
The walls were soon stained with red.
Tomato shot up from his bed with a gasp. He looked around his little green dorm room, and sighed in relief. He was so glad that he wasn’t an evil dictator making excuses for high taxes and silencing those who opposed him. The fact that he had done that in the dream gave him chills.
He sat still for a time, wondering what time it was. Scratching his head, he thought about the implications of the dream he just had. And the more he thought, the more confused he was.
“What kind of dream was that? ‘Nightmare Ketchup’? That doesn’t exactly sound threatening. And what were those guys doing there, anyway?” He laid back on his bed and stared at the ceiling. “I wonder how evil me overthrew the princesses.”
He rolled in his bed and looked at the wall. “Could’ve been worse. That could’ve been my brother, or my current friends in the dream.”