Zack continued to slumber, unaware of both the fact that he had escaped from anyone chasing him and the prowling alicorn examining his stolen car. He may have been a criminal, but he had standards and Princess Luna had violated one of his personal rules: it draws too much attention if you abduct someone.
Princess Luna examined the vehicle with great curiosity. How fast is it, how does it work, is this how they get from one place to another, were some of the many questions floating around in her mind. “Tis a strange creation,” she muttered as her guardsponies returned. She noted how they were also curious about the device. “Don’t you agree,” she asked one.
The grey pegasus had only been a recent addition to the Night Guard and never truly been addressed by her highness. “Highness I am indeed curious,” she replied nervously, “how in Equestria did this come to be here?”
“I wished to summon the creature in this strange vehicle, not the whole thing.”
“Highness, forgive me for being so bold but this creature is strange as well. Do you know what sort of being it is?”
“I have no idea what it’s called, but I believe it is a male. I saw it in my dreams earlier today. It was swift for a creature on two legs and was being chased.” She stared at the slumbering man through the rear window. “I believe he is a criminal as well, some who chased him called themselves the police, but the others were called ‘FBI.’ I have no idea what that means. Is that something I’ve missed?”
“No princess, I haven’t heard of it either. Perhaps this creature can tell us when they wake. Though I’m not too certain they will co-operate if you are right and it is a criminal. No doubt they will see us as an authority and try to escape.”
“Then we shall have to prepare to stop him before he wakes. Bar the doors, if this contraption is as fast as I saw it then we will need to ensure it cannot get out that way.” With a brief salute from her soldiers, the lunar princess continued to contemplate her invited guest and the contraption that held him like a gift-wrapped package.
The first rays of light shimmered in my eyes and made me sit upright, ready to make the last few hours to the Canadian border. What I saw however, was something I could never have dared to expect. I was clearly not in Ohio anymore, no I doubt I wasn’t even anywhere in the States, unless someone moved my car to Disney overnight.
Hopping up and into the driver’s seat, I revved the engine only to hear it wheeze only to die a second later. Why now of all times, I thought as I tried again only to hear the engine sputter before dying again. Why does my luck run out right now?
As I glanced around, unaware of the other occupants of the room, I began to assess the situation. The room I was in had a high stone roof, thick walls with intricate stain glass windows, and a large throne. Even if the car was working, I didn’t have enough clearance to get out through a window. With a defeated groan, I beat my head against the steering wheel causing the horn to blare.
“Princess Celestia,” said an agitated white pegasus, “it would appear that Princess Luna has barricaded the throne room with something very heavy.” He shoved in vain again with fellow pegasi and unicorn soldiers, proving to the solar diarch that he was serious. It was no use, the door wasn’t about to budge for any of them.
“I appreciate your attempts Wing Sheer but my sister must have her reasons for barring the door,” said the solar princess. “I would like it if you and the other guards stand back.”
Wing Sheer nodded and retreated while Celestia stood firmly before the large doors. He was fresh from his training and proud to serve as a Royal Guard, but it was his first real assignment and all he had to do was guard the throne room’s doors. I hope this doesn’t look too bad on my records, he thought. They always blame the new soldiers for failures.
“Could you please come out of there,” called a female voice. I cranked my head towards the source of this voice and saw an equine with a deep blue coat and a… wait a horn?
“I’m afraid that I’m somewhat confused,” I said nervously as I opened the door slowly. “Correct me if I’m mistaken but you’re a dark blue unicorn and you’re talking to me right?”
“I am far more than just a ‘dark blue unicorn’ fair creature. I am Princess Luna,” she added before flaring a pair of wings. “I rule the night.”
I wasn’t expecting wings on top of everything else, but I was clearly delusional. Perhaps from acting the part of someone I’m not for so long had finally taken its toll on me. “Feathered wings and a horn,” I said vacantly, “just what on earth are you Princess?”
“I am the bringer of the night in Equestria,” she replied in a polite, albeit regal tone. “And what exactly are you?”
I decided to play along. “I am a human named Zachary Raes, though I prefer to go by Zack.” I glanced away from her. “I might not be the best person to be in your presence though.”
“Because you are a criminal,” she asked instantly.
My eyes widened and I looked at her curiously, wondering just what she actually knew. I have no real concept of just how much a delusion should know about a person. “Do I look like a criminal your highness?”
“No, you look like a creature that has had little rest and is instinctively ready to flee from confrontation. Do you frown on things to defend yourself?”
I chuckled. “I have a few rules that I follow to the letter. One of these rules is that to carry a weapon is to insult everyone that sees you. A different way of putting it is that a silver tongue does not usually leave corpses while a weapon has a tendency to.”
“Then you are a criminal correct?”
“Yes and a rather good one at that.” I reassessed my situation casually, noting the three dark coated pegasi clad in armor staring at me. Could be worse, I silently reassured myself, they could’ve been feds.
I was good at acting the part of a capable and highly productive employee, but below the surface identity was a careful and cautious imposter. While working on my assigned task I would familiarize myself with security and patrols, ready to slip away with whatever valuables I could. It was never personal; it was always either the challenge or the need. However, on the rare occasion, it was both. I wonder if the FBI’s found all my little ‘vaults’ filled with my ill-gotten gains by now.
Gradually I came to grips with the fact that I was standing before a winged unicorn in what I could assume was a throne room. That she had pegasus soldiers in black and purple armor. If I was hallucinating then it was very surreal. Then again, the sun was so warm on my skin and I started to notice how much Princess Luna was looking out to the sunlight. If she was the ruler of the night then that meant there was a different ruler during the day; that we were slowing government to a dead stop.
A new panic swept in where the old one had nestled itself. No longer was I fearing the police and federal agents, but now I was destroying a political process. “Perhaps we should leave Princess, surely there’s someone else who rules during the day.”
Luna only nodded and I heard the flapping of her guards’ wings, no doubt to remove the barricade that held the doors shut. “What about your transportation, how can we move it?”
“The engine won’t turn over so it’ll have to be moved manually,” I explained. I slipped back into the driver’s seat and tried the ignition one last time. When I heard it reject me again, I simply shifted the car into neutral. “There, it’s in neutral so we can more it freely. I’ll have to steer it, but it can be pushed and pulled now.” I knew I lacked both the tools and skill to repair a car so it was useless save for a large surplus of materials to cannibalize if need be.
Princess Celestia smiled placidly as she heard the movement of objects from inside her throne room. For now, she had simply taken up preparing court outside the room.
Wing Sheer on the other hand looked very pleased with himself. Not only was he not in trouble, but he was ordered to guard the solar princess for now. In the back of his mind, he could already see a promotion in his future as long as he did a good job. Regardless of how happy he was, his current instructions were just to stay in place like a statue.
“…and according to Princess Luna’s last report regarding royal decrees and policy changes,” droned a beige earth pony, “all that requires examination is the tax legislation and we should expect that from last night.”
“Thank you for bringing me up to speed Aureus,” Celestia replied. “What appointments do I have today?”
“You have an inquiry from Sweet Apple Acres,” replied Aureus, “it concerns the current drought in the region brought on by an excessively rainy early season.”
“Make sure to forward their inquiry to Cloudsdale, I understand that a significant proportion of the region’s crops come from Sweet Apple Acres and we need to maintain good relations with such a productive farm.” Celestia had no intention to play favorites to her student’s friends, but she enjoyed cider season too much to ruin the year for the Apple family. Then there were the Zap Apples… if the solar princess wasn’t trying to remain professional in her governing she would show every sign of a ravenous animal. “What else is there Aureus?”
“Well,” he winced, “Prince Blueblood has requested an appointment with you this morning.”
Just perfect, thought Celestia as she tried to restrain a scowl, just what I don’t need today.
“I know he’s insufferable but I can only come up with so many ways to get him to leave. You remember Tuesday when you tried to feign deathly ill?”
“And he brought half the hospital with him as soon as I thought he left. Yes I remember when that sort of thing used to work.” Celestia sighed. “Where did that gullible colt go?”
“You remember just as well as I do Princess Celestia. He was spoiled by his parents ever since he received his cutie mark.” Aureus shook his head. “Why don’t you just order him to attend the academy like every other noble stallion?”
“I tried, his mother managed to get him out of the academy right under my own hooves. The board claimed that he was unfit to serve and therefore unfit for lessons. I’ve tried to admit him every term ever since he started living away from his parents.”
“And every time he manages to get out of it. I’ll fill out the necessary paperwork for next term then.”
“Thank you but-” Princess Celestia paused as the large doors behind her creaked open. She turned to see a large contraption flanked by members of her sister’s guard.
“I am sorry for occupying the throne for so long Sister,” apologized Luna from her resting place on top of the car's roof.
My eye twitched nervously as I saw what we came out to. Sister, echoed the last word of Princess Luna’s sentence.
“Luna,” said the princess’ sister, “what in Equestria is this machine?”
“Isn’t it wondrous Celestia,” replied Luna cheerfully, “I got you a present!”
I opened up the driver’s side door and looked up to Luna as she reclined on the roof. “And just what’s the present, me or the car?”
“Luna,” said Celestia tersely, “may I have a word with you?”
Both Luna and I exchanged glances. “Um, excuse me Princess Celestia, but would you like us to move this back inside or bring it all the way out?”