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"Oh auntie! I'm home!" The singsong voice rang throughout the castle. Most of the castle staff came to see what the commotion was. I looked from a railing overlooking the foyer, where I saw a pony, lighter and softer pink than Pinkie Pie, same size as Luna, both wings and horn.
"Cadence! I'm so glad you've returned!" Celestia smiled as she walked in from the hall. They greeted each other with a quick nuzzle.
"Well? How did it go?"
"It went great. Once I got the diamond dogs and basilisks to stop bickering, they were able to see eye to eye and resolve the border dispute peacefully." The pink alicorn responded.
"A good thing too, with tensions building like that, they were on the verge of war." A unicorn in fancy regalia walked in.
"Shining!" She called.
Shining armor. The captain of the Canterlot guard. I've never met him before, but I've heard about him a fair bit from Griswold during our training sessions. Griswold is the commander of the castle guard, Shining armor is the captain of the entire Canterlot guard, meaning he's Griswold and Serenity's superior. Oddly enough, he didn't know about me. As for me....
Well, these past couple months, I've been helping the guard more. Getting them in shape, and getting pretty good looking myself, good muscle tone, more agile. I knew about the wedding, and the guards had to be in top shape, and since I'm pretty unique, I give the best training they can get.
I've been moved out of my other duties, besides cooking, in order to help them prepare nearly full time. Oddly enough, I've actually gotten to know Blueblood, and he's shaping up to be a fine guard. I don't know what it was, but for some reason, he was xenophobic. He was terrified of non ponies, and his uptight personality made him absolutely harsh to them. So, here I come, a non pony, living in his house, hanging out with his aunts, and they like me better than him. No wonder he was an ass. But, he apologized, and is going through some psychological treatment with a shrink to discover his underlying issue. Funny what being through boot camp does to you.
Family visits are still on the bi weekly schedule. They're glad to see me. I'm glad to see them. It makes the whole 'stranded in another reality' thing bearable. The look on their faces when they came back the first time, priceless. When they suddenly realized that it wasn't just a dream, and that I was living in a land full of magical talking ponies, in the castle of the princess no less. Well, they began doubting their sanity, and decided against telling anyone else. Wouldn't want to end up in a mental clinic. Well, unfortunately, the wedding is on a working weekend, and they used up all their emergency days. Can't call in and say you're going to an interdimensional wedding. Heck, I might not even go. All depends on how well things turn out. Despite my popularity in the castle, Canterlot and Equestria as a whole don't know about me, and this is going to have national coverage. I'd hate for their wedding to be remembered as 'The day we discovered we are not alone in the universe.' That would just suck. So, I'm laying low. If they decide to invite me, I'll show up, but I'm not betting on it.
Serenity and I are actually dating now. Made it official last month. We like each other. She's fun, although lately she seems stressed out. Probably just from the wedding closing in, kicking into overtime trying to get everypony ready. I still get chills whenever I'm near her. Kind of a funny feeling. I just want to be around her, all the time. I've only ever had an on-again-off-again girlfriend, so I don't really know what love feels like. Is this it? I'm not really sure.
Back to the present, I decided to leave the two lovebirds to themselves, have Celestia introduce us later. Time for bed, I've got kitchen duty tomorrow.
"Time to cook.... hmm.... what should it be today....... breakfast, omelette with.... alfalfa, some chedder cheese mixed in, bit of chives........ and a drop of rainbow for some kick." Yep, spicy rainbow. Turns out, it works really good as spice, if used in tiny amounts. A single half teaspoon is enough to flavour an entire pot of stew. Of course, I've made this dish before, and everyone seems to like it pretty well. It's a good breakfast. Except that Cadence and Shining Armor are going to be eating it too. I figured this might be a good time to introduce myself, so I had a little something set up the night before with some of the ponies in the castle. Nothing spells trust like 'I made the food you just ate, if I was dangerous, you'd be dead from the poison already', followed by a performance.
"I've missed you so much my love."
"As have I. The time we spent apart has only deepened my longing."
"Well, soon we'll have the rest of our lives together, first, we need to eat." I spied out of the circular window in the kitchen door, they look so happy together. I had my chef's hat and apron on, wearing a black shirt and black bell bottoms with three horizontal stripes below the knees, finishing the look with pristine white sneakers, which Celestia had ordered her to bring. (She would have done it anyway, but, you know, rules of summoning.)
"That was fantastic! I've never tasted something like this before. I must meet the chef!" The pink alicorn proclaimed.
"Well, that's my cue. Hit it Vinyl." The DJ plugged my phone into her sound board. A long time ago, had mom get it and bring it to me, and then I had Celestia order her to give it to me so she could still go home. I liked having my music, and with musicians always hiding behind the scenes, it made things a lot more fun, and several things possible, which had not been beforehand.
I waited about a minute before I burst through the kitchen double doors into the eatery, where only the princesses, Shining armor, and a few guards were, right as the beats dropped. And then, I began to shuffle. Hardstyle. Wearing a chef's hat and apron.
Well, there were mixed looks. Celestia and Luna looked amused, always finding humor in my antics. Cadence looked giddy at having a performance, and Shining looked confused beyond all else as to who I am, what I am, why I'm wearing chef's gear, and why I'm dancing to rave music in the private dining hall, adjacent to the main one. Flay and Ladle joined me in the dance, roughly copying my moves in their quadruped version, also wearing chef hats and aprons, while the other cooks and waiters came out wearing aprons only. Shining looked to the castle guards, only to find them snickering to themselves, telling him they knew this was coming, some kind of elaborate prank on their superior officer. We were coordinated. We were stylish. We had fun. The song came to an end, and the ponies did the pony bow, while I did a long sweeping one, putting my left leg behind my right and bringing my head low. I looked up to see the three princesses clapping their hooves, Cadence more excitedly than the other two, while Armor was looking incredulously, not sure what to believe.
"Ah, Cadence, Armor, I'd like you to meet Alex." Celestia giggled to herself. "He's been here with us for a few months, shorty after you left in fact. He's been working out many of the kinks in the castle's operation with his.... unique.... insights."
I raised my eyebrow, brought my open palms in front of me, and shrugged.
"I'm nothing special. Well, back home anyway. This entire place is amazing, I'm the average one. Grass is greener on the other side of the fence I guess. Pleasure to meet you. And congratulations as well. I believe you two are getting married?"
"How'd you find that out?" Armor asked questioningly.
"Well, other than the princesses telling me, I've been the one working so hard to get the castle guards in shape. Eventually I was going to find out why."
"Ah, so you're the one all the guards talk about in hushed whispers. Some well kept secret, word of it not supposed to leave the castle. The one who put Blueblood into therapy? I have to say, I'm impressed. He doesn't like anypony, but you managed to get through that thick skull of his. Never did like the stubborn brat." Cadence elbowed him.
"I mean, he's been getting a lot better lately." He corrected himself.
"So, how'd you like the food?" I asked.
"You made this?" Cadence tilted her head.
"Yes, I did. I'm quite a talented cook. I've learned a lot about Equestrian cuisine while I've been here, and taught them a fair bit too. We serve some of the best in the city."
"Well, it was amazing. I liked the added spice, it was, unique. What was it?"
"Can't tell ya, secret ingredient. By the way, it's not liquid rainbow." And I made an awful poker face. She laughed.
"Oh! I almost forgot. I gotta go. It's Serenity's day off, and we've got a date. Sorry to cook and run, but I gotta go."
I waited in the garden outside the castle for my marefriend, excited to be able to spend what little free time I had with her. Except, to my dismay, she didn't show up. I waited a whole hour and a half after the appointed time, and she still didn't come.
"Probably got pulled on duty on her day off, after all, her guards need the most work, and now there's three princesses to protect, and the wedding is closing in. I'll see if I can find her.... tomorrow."
And then I went back inside to continue my duties.