The Equestrian Honor Guard
By Honored Service
“Rise and shine recruits!” The booming voice of one of the many Drill Sergeants woke us all up from the restful sleep we were in.
“AHHH,” Screamed Quick Flurry as he landed face first on the wood floor, “I’m up.”
We all lined up at the foot of our bunks as the Drill Sargent walked in front of us. “Now I hope you all had a nice rest, because today’s exercise is a simple, easy going, 14 mile trail adventure through the Canterlot Mountains. Sound good?” He stopped back at the door leading into the barracks waiting for any complaints or questions.
“Should I pack my parasol?” I said quietly from my spot in line.
“WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT!” The angry stallion raced up and down the line, spittle landing on all of our faces at least once. “HUH? WELL WHOS THE FUCKING WISE COLT?”
I slowly moved forward out of the line, so I stood alone. I was feeling a total sense of Déjà vu right about now. The brown coated stallion slowly trotted right up to me. His light silver armor made an intimidating clinking as he came to a stop in front of me. I gulped and stared down at him.
“DON’T FUCKNG LOOK AT ME! LOOK STRIGHT AHEAD!” I refocused my attention to the wall straight ahead. “Now tell me why the Tartarus you decided to speak out of turn in my presence?” Wait, no rifle but to the stomach. No forceful beating? What is this place filled with so many wonders.
“I was just trying to lift the spirits of my teammates. I meant no disrespect to you sir.” I kept my gaze straight forward as I waited for the beating to occur. But it never came. Instead I heard…laughing?
“Hahaha, yeah I was the joker when I was in training. I’ll let it slide this time recruit, but only because I know what you were doing for your company.” He started trotting off to the door and opened it leading out into the early morning bustle of the training camp. “But there is one thing you have to do human.” He smiled and walked off.
Why did I feel like I just got a punishment worse than death?
“Hurry up back there Honored!” Fast Skies zipped in front of me and back to the front of the line. I swear, she has been checking up on me every few minutes. It wasn’t like carrying the entire company’s saddle bags. Like all 200 pounds of them… fuck my witty comedy genius.
Oh and on top of the entire ungodly amount of shit I had to carry, the Drill Sargent was sure to give me a yellow and pink parasol to carry with me. Currently it was open and shielding me from the hot sun that beat down on Saddle Company as we climbed the long winding trail leading through the Canterlot Mountains.
“Dude, how are you doing that?” Quick Flurry asked as he floated next to me. He was lazily flapping his wings, floating on his back. I could only give him an angry glare at the fact he didn’t have to carry the literal weight of the company on his shoulders.
“Do what.” I asked through gritted teeth as I stepped over a fallen tree trunk.
“You know…” He jerked his head in the direction of the red pegasus flying ahead of us, talking to Short Blade.
I just stared at him with a ‘the fuck?’ face. What was this energetic flying pony talking about.
“Oh I guess humans are just clueless.” He shrugged his shoulders and took off ahead of me and joined the others of Saddle Company ahead of me. Fuck all of them for not being able to share some of this weight.
“Alright everypony, stop here and rest for 5 minutes. We got a climb ahead of us to reach the point of the mountain, and then back down.” Short Blade said as he sat down and removed his canteen and began to drink. The others followed suit as I came up to them and dropped the shit load of canvas saddle bags on the ground.
“Damn these things!” I yelled as I flopped myself down onto the slightly rough and rock path. I pulled out my canteen and drank the sweet, sweet water that was in it. I was so focused on the life giving liquid that I didn’t even hear the slow steps approaching from behind.
“Ssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhh.” From behind me came a slow sinister hiss. A shadow passed over me and landed in the center of our little company. A creature stood before us, something that I had never seen before, and only heard about in ancient Greek legends. The creature had the body of a bull and the head and tail of a snake and stood at least 7 feet tall. I think it was called an Ophiotaurus What the fuck? Seriously, what perfect, peaceful world had things like this running around in the woods.
I reached to my side to bring my rifle to bear, but found that I only groped at air. Shit that’s right; I left it next to my bunk, since this was a simple little hike through the woods. I watched as the creature moved its way to the paralyzed Fast Skies who stood opposite of the creature. Her mouth was opening and closing like she was trying to scream but couldn’t.
I did the only thing I could think of at the time. I reached over and picked up the silly parasol I had to carry, and hurled it at the back of the ferocious creature. It slowly turned and faced me. Its serpent like tongue flickered out at me.
“Hey scaly, leave the mare alone!” I was standing now, and wondering what the hell I was doing. The serpent eyes followed my movement as I inched my way away from the others and towards the edge of the woods around the path leading up the mountain.
I stared the creature down for what felt like hours, and then I bolted into the woods. I heard the monster dash after me, and I could have sworn I heard a female voice yell, “Johnson.”
What felt like a repeat of my first few days here in the wonderful world of Equestria, I ran through the trees, while some hell spawn creature thundered behind me. Except this time I didn’t have rifle to save me, just a knife and pistol; and the fangs on that bitch behind me were longer than Bad Bertha.
I reached down and un-holstered my Berretta and continued to race through the trees, ducking and leaping over branches as I went. I looked over my shoulder to see that the creature was gone. I slowed my pace and brought my sidearm in front of me. I slowly began to move forward as I looked for the demon in flesh.
I swiveled around and immediately ducked down as the Ophiotaurus hurled itself at me. I popped back up and fired at the creature as it turned for another run at me.
BANG BANG BANG
Tink tink tink
The red hot shells scattered around me as I backed up still firing into the raging monster as it opened its jaws wide.
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG
Tink Tink Tink Tink Tink Tink Tink
I side stepped around the monster as it slammed into a tree behind me. I turned to see that the magic bullets in the pistol were doing some type of damage to it. There was a large amount of blood pooling around the Ophiotaurus. I slowly moved up to it to inspect the damage.
“HOLY SHIT!” I screamed jumping backwards.
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG
Tink Tink Tink Tink Tink Tink
The slide on the pistol stayed back as the last shell fell to the ground and a small wisp of smoke left the barrel and ejection port. I stood panting over the dead body of the slain bull/serpent hybrid.
I made my way back through the woods to where the company hopefully still was. It was easy to find my way back; the damn monster had created a path while he had chased me through the woods. It was at least 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall. Branches were snapped clean in half making it an easy walk back.
“Honored are you alright?” Short Blade asked as I came out of the underbrush and back to the company.
“Yeah, a little tired, but I think I'm okay.” I sluggishly made my way to him and sat down on a log nearby.
The large blue stallion that was Hammer Strike saw me and gave a sigh of relief. “Fast Skies is going to be happy.” He turned an trotted off at a brisk pace towards a large tree. A few moments later a red and orange blur rocketed towards me and knocked me off the log I was trying to rest on.
“Honored Service, you're alright! Thank goodness, I was so worried and scared that… I mean we are all so worried that you wouldn’t be coming back from that awful creature.” She walked in front of me and smiled.
“Thank you, for saving me. I.. I… was just so scared that I couldn’t move.” She looked everywhere but at me as a slight pink blush spread across her muzzle. “So thanks Honored.” She unfurled her wings and hovered away to all the saddle bags I had dropped and she picked up hers and threw it over her back. I watched as all the other ponies did the same thing and collected their own bags.
“What are y’all doing? I have to carry those. Drill Sargent said that.” I stood up to protest but immediately felt weak and light headed. I fell back onto the log. Fast Skies saw me fall back and flew over to me to help me back up.
“Honored are you o…” She was midway helping me up when she pulled her hoof away. I saw that it was coated in a dark red substance that shone in the mid-day light. It clashed with her light red fur coat. She looked up at me in shock and worry, that face would be the last thing to run through my mind before I felt too heavy to move and passed out on the log I was resting on.
I peeked open my eyes to a blinding whit light. I shut them quickly and now tried opening them again but this time much more slowly. As I came to my sense I heard the faint beeping of heart monitor and once my vision cleared, I saw I was in a hospital room. I had an IV hooked into my arm, and I was lying in a bed covered in thin white bed sheet. I scanned the room and saw nothing out of place for a hospital room. It smelled super sanitized and honestly I hated that smell.
I watched as a few ponies trotted back and forth in front of the door leading into my room. My favorite doctor entered the room with his nose buried in a folder. He didn’t notice I was awake.
“Hey Dr. Careful!” I called out cheerfully to the unicorn. He shrieked and lost his magical grip on the papers he was holding, they went flying in every direction as he stood there panting looking at me.
“Ah Honored, I thought I had told you I didn’t want to see you in here again?” He said as he began to levitate his papers back into the folder.
“But Doctor, you said that while I was in your office, not here in this hospital room.” I gave an innocent smile and watched as he huffed and placed the folder in a spot at the foot of my bed.
“You're very lucky to be alive, Honored. Not many ponies…humans could claim to have been attacked by an Ophiotaurus and live to tell the tale of it. By what your company reported in, you risked your life to save them; or more specifically one member of the company.” He smirked and raised an eyebrow at me.
“Yeah, that monster was going to attack Fast Skies, so I lead it away.” I pulled the bed sheet back and examined my chest. There was a large amount of bandages and gauze wrapped around my side.
“Hammer Strike and Short Blade carried you all the way down that mountain. They rushed in here and screamed at the staff till you were promptly treated. Very convincing, especially the big blue one. We just didn’t believe them at first about some creature like that attacking them, but we did find that they weren’t lying. If they hadn’t gotten here as fast as they did…well…”
“It’s ok Doc, I’ve nearly been killed twice now. You can say it.” I traced a finger along the four teeth marks that covered my right left forearm. I then placed a hand one the new wound inflected on me. Another cruel reminder of what protecting others cost me. But it was worth it. I was a human, I was a protector.
“Honored!” Fast Skies, Quick Flurry, Battle Plan, Short Blade, and Hammer strike all charged into the small room and gathered around my bed. They all looked extremely tired, but happy at the same time.
“It’s good to see that the amount of ant venom the hospital had was adequate enough to treat the portion that was in your system.” Battle Plan said as he patted me on the shoulder.
I reached my hand up and ran it through my still dirty hair, and I brushed against something. I pulled a large light red feather out from behind my ear. Now what was this about?
I saw Quick flurry gasp and look at Fast Skies and grab her foreleg and pull her out of the room and into the hallway.
“What was that about?” I asked still holding the feather in my hand. It was a long primary feather and it sparkled and glistened in the light as I twirled it in my fingers.
Short Blade and Hammer Strike just shrugged while Battle Plan tapped a hoof to his chin.
“Ah, so that’s what all the fuss has been about. Oh it’s something that Fast Skies will tell you eventually.” He smiled, but that sounded like all I was going to be getting out of him on the subject.
My friends told the story of how once I had fainted from the venom in my body; they carried me down the mountain and into the Royal Guard hospital. I was “leaking blood everywhere” as Quick Flurry put it; once he and a blushing Fast Skies reentered the room.
“And here you’ve been for the last 2 days.” Hammer Strike finished very bluntly.
“Wait, I’ve been out for 2 whole days?!” I sat straight up in bed, only to fall backwards as pain ripped through my midsection.
“Now Honored, you have to move carefully and slowly for the next few day, if you want to make a quick recovery.” Doctor Careful said as he floated over a thermometer to me. I opened my mouth and he placed it under my tongue.
“You are going to be allowed to check out of here today, but no training, fighting, or really anything that puts strain on yourself in anway, do you understand me? The venom is out of your system, but the physical wound is still there, so don’t reopen it.” The Doc pulled out the thermometer and checked it and wrote something down in his folders and trotted out of the room.
“Well company, who has my stuff?”
I walked slowly up the god damn stairs leading to the castle in Canterlot. So. Many. Fucking. Stairs. My company had made sure that everything was returned to me. My armored clothing, belts, holster, canteen, ammo, knife, and my beloved pistol, but now I was down a clip for the pistol, putting me at only 59 rounds left for the sweet little killing machine.
My beautiful duster had a large gash in the side which I stitched up with some black thread. Not perfect looking, but it added character. And I was all about character.
“Honored we…I am glad to see that you are making a good recovery.” The slightly loud voice of Princess Luna came from above me as she landed next to me and walked with me up the ungodly amount of stairs.
“Afternoon Princess.” I grunted as I climbed up another flight of these never ending stairs.
“Are you still suffering from the fight we…I heard about? Allow me to assist you!” She then violated my personal space and yanked me up and into the air in a magical field of energy.
“Put me down Princess Luna!” I screamed, but the Royal Guard ponies we passed just stared and didn’t bother helping a recruit. I would have struggled more but I couldn’t really as too much movement caused me pain in my side.
So I just hung limp in the blue aurora field as the Princess trotted through the castle humming a tune as we went along the way. I'm glad I didn’t have to walk, but this felt somewhat degrading. I was going to be an Equestrian Honor Guard, not some play thing to be picked up and carried around like-
“Sister we are here!” Princess Luna shouted at Princess Celestia who was sitting on her throne with a bored look on her face. I was dropped on the ground, right onto my hurt side.
“Ouch.” I grunted out through clenched teeth. I stood up and attempted a bow, but I wasn’t able to dip down to low as the pain returned to my side.
“Oops, sorry Honored.” Princess Luna brushed my shoulder off with a wing and walked next to her sister.
“Well Honored Service, it’s good to see that you are recovering from your latest adventure.” Princess Celestia perked up in her chair and smiled at me. “So you saved a friend by leading away an Ophiotaurus? Again, your bravery has saved the life of another one of my little ponies. At the rate you’re going, I might as well just give you the throne.”
We all laughed together, I would never want that kind of job. I would prefer to be on the ground doing it myself.
“I had Luna here, go and fetch you because I just wanted to check on how my favorite little human is doing. And I know that you’ll be back into shape in no time Honored.”
The Princesses and I talked for a little while about little things. The bad food at the mess hall, the conditions I was facing in the camp. She was especially curious about the red feather I had tucked through the top button hole on my duster. I told her that the pegasus I saved had given it to me. She seemed taken back by that, but wouldn’t tell me why. Same answer as Battle Plan.
Princess Luna escorted me back to the barracks before dark, this time I was able to walk on my own and avoid the humiliation of floating around the Princess.
“Why did you do it?” She asked all of a sudden, breaking the silence of the late afternoon.
“Do what?” I responded as we stepped through the gate of the training camp.
“Put yourself in danger to save Fast Skies. There were others there that could have helped you.” She stopped walking and turned to me.
“I…I really don’t know Princess. I guess I just didn’t want to risk any of my friends getting hurt by that monster. By leading him away, I insured that if anypony would be hurt it would me.”
Luna seemed satisfied by that answer and we resumed walking towards Saddle Company barracks.
We came to stop in front of the door leading into my temporary home while at the training camp. The Princess looked around and nodded to me before leaping into the air and unfurling her wings and taking off into the setting sky.
I opened the door and walked into the barracks to see all of my friends laying around and doing whatever they wanted, enjoying their free time. “So what’s up for tomorrows training everypony?”
Short Blade looked up from his sword he was shining and said, “Well look who’s back! Tomorrow is ranged combat training. Bows and arrows and things like that.”
I smiled knowing that my ranged weapon would put everpony else’s to shame. But I quickly decided not to use my rifle as I only had a finite amount of rounds left for it. I think I was in the 220 something range, I’d have to count tomorrow and do a weekly equipment check.
I guess I need to work on my archery skill anyway. Well I'm sure I’ll be good at it, how hard can shooting an arrow be?