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After a month of training, Sword Shield got his first shift on duty. He patrolled the walls for most of the day and found it much more relaxing than training, being able to enjoy the break from the workouts and duels and constant shouting of the trainers. It was boring, for the most part, but the boredom was a welcome change to all the stress and paperwork. There were hardly any large tasks for a Royal Guard to do in Equestria, considering it was a rather safe place, but it was still necessary to have the best training in case anything went horribly wrong, whatever the case may be.
Sword Shield had been patrolling the Canterlot walls for a week when Shining Armor assigned him a new position. He was to be a guard for another Princess named Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, or simply Princess Cadance. He was surprised at the early new position, and even argued against it.
"Shouldn't somepony with higher rank and experience be a guard for a Princess?" he asked.
"It's not that big of a change, Princess Cadance just has a small shortage of guards and I want you to fill that empty slot," answered Shining Armor. "Your training scores are more than high enough, so don't sweat it."
Sword Shield saluted his Captain and trotted over to the castle and to Princess Cadance's chambers. He gave a knock on the door and it opened up to show Princess Cadance inside
"Princess Cadance, Captain Shining Armor has assigned me a new position as one of your guards," said Sword Shield while saluting. "Reporting in for duty."
"Thank you, what is your name?" asked Cadance.
"Swordulan Thunder Shield, though I prefer Sword Shield. Why do you ask?"
"I like to know all my guard's names, so I know you more specifically. So, you're one of the Shields?"
Sword Shield nodded. "Yes, my grandfather was one of the previous Captains in the Royal Guard. Is there anything you need me to do for you, Princess?"
Cadance smiled. "You can just call me Cadance. And no, I don't think there's anything I need as of right now. You may stand guard outside the door for now. If I need you I'll call."
"Alright then, Cadance."
Sword Shield stood guard outside of Cadance's quarters, occasionally seeing a servant come and go. By the end of the day he heard a call from inside the room.
"Sword Shield, come in here for a moment please," said Cadance, her voice being muffled from the door.
Sword Shield curiously approached the door and opened it. Cadance was standing in the middle of the room holding two different dresses with her magic.
"I need an honest opinion, I'm going to dinner with Shining Armor soon, which dress do you think I should wear?" she asked.
"Uhh," Sword Shield looked at either dress and blushed. "I don't know much about that sort of thing."
Cadance rolled her eyes and sighed. "Just tell me which one you think looks better."
Sword Shield eyed the two dresses carefully and pointed to the right. "I think the white and blue one would look best. Plus, Shining Armor likes white and blue."
"Thank you," Cadance put the one dress away and started putting on the other using magic. "There we go, does it look good enough?"
"It looks great, but why are you going to dinner with the Captain? Is it some sort of political thing?" It didn't seem normal to him for a Princess to be going to dinner with a Captain of the Royal Guard.
"It's just a date."
"Oh? So you're dating Shining Armor?" Sword Shield gave a sly grin.
Cadance sighed and put on her own grin. "Get out."
Sword Shield stood up tall and gave a salute. "Yes Princess, right away Princess. It will be like I was never here Princess."
"Get out! I'm going to dinner and I can't be bothered by smart Royal Guards!"
Sword Shield lowered his salute and walked backwards out the door with an exaggerated frown. The door shut and he was left back in the hallway. A Royal Guard came running down the hall to him.
"I heard shouting, is there something wrong?" asked the guard.
"No, Cadance is just having a dinner dilemma, nothing to be concerned about," answered Sword Shield.
The guard nodded and trotted back off to his position in the castle.
A month later Sword Shield was still serving under Princess Cadance as one of her own personal guards. It wasn't much more different than patrolling the walls, but there was more walking involved, mainly when Cadance left the castle. It was less boring, as Sword Shield had a short conversation with Cadance every now and then, though they were orders for the most part.
Sword Shield received news that his cousin, Stone Shield, had been kicked out of the Royal Guard, for reasons that were rather unclear. He had a short laugh to himself.
"Sounds like my cousin got stoned," he thought.
One day while he was guarding Princess Cadance's room, Shining Armor came up to him.
"Sword Shield, I need to speak with you," he said.
Sword Shield saluted. "What is it, Captain?"
"There's two extra recruits today, and I don't have enough trainers for them. I need you to reassign as their trainer for a few months."
Sword Shield's eyes widened. "Me? I mean, I'm hardly qualified as a trainer."
"I know, but you've shown some impressive records during your training, and there's nopony else who can spare their posts. Just teach them what you've learned, I'm sure you can do it."
Sword Shield nodded. "Alright Captain. Point me in the right direction."
Shining Armor pointed the way out of the castle. "The recruits are waiting for you in the training grounds. Good luck."
Sword Shield walked out of the castle and to the training grounds and found two recruits waiting. They immediately saluted at his presence.
Sword Shield waved his hoof down. "At ease, there's no need to salute me. The Captain has assigned me the task of training you two recruits."
The two recruits lowered their hooves.
"Arden Arrow reporting for training, Sir," said the first recruit. He was a Pegasus, his coat was a light red with a golden mane and tail, with his cutie mark being a flaming arrow. "You can simply call me Arden. This is my friend, Swifty Wishes."
"And you can just call me Swifty," said the other recruit. He was an Earth Pony, his coat was white with a blue mane, the typical look of most of the Royal Guards around Canterlot.
The two recruits were both rather young, ambitious and excited ponies. Sword Shield thought it would be quite a chore to bring them up to Royal Guard standards.
Sword Shield nodded. "Right. You can address me as 'Sword Shield', I'll have it no other way. I don't like all that 'sir' business, I'm no more important than you are, and remember that! The Royal Guards are here to keep Equestria and the Princesses safe, that is our primary duty, so let's get to work. Arden, what can you do?"
"Well, I'm a whiz with a bow and arrow," said Arden. "Do you want me to demonstrate?"
"By all means. Try hitting the target over by the wall."
There was a round hay target with a large red dot in the middle. Arden confidently pulled out his bow and arrow and aimed towards the target.
The arrow was launched straight at the target, it hit right outside the edge of the red dot. Swifty clapped his hooves in congratulations while Arden gave a short bow.
"Not bad," said Sword Shield. "By the time I'm done training you I want you to be able to hit the exact middle of the dot. Got that?"
Arden nodded. "I will practice my best."
Sword Shield turned to Swifty. "What about you, Swifty? Show me what you can do."
"Well, I don't mean to brag, but watch this," Swifty took off towards the target at incredible running speeds. He jumped up onto the hay target, grabbed the arrow that was embedded in it with his mouth and launched up to the wall and climbed up on top of it in a single bound. He spit out the arrow. "How was that?"
"Impressive! Now come down here before I have Arden use you as his next target!"
Swifty jumped off the wall and landed back on the grass with a roll. He walked back beside Arden and turned to Sword Shield. "So, what about you?"
Sword Shield tilted his head. "Me?"
"Yeah, what can our trainer do?"
"Oh, I'm good at dueling with a sword."
Sword Shield shrugged. "I haven't really tried anything else. I did enchant my sword when I forged it, but I'm not sure what I can do with it besides fight." He hadn't used it much at all in fact, having been collecting dust in his sheath for the past few weeks.
"Then try something new, see what you can do!"
"I'm supposed to be training you, not the other way around."
"Aw come on, show us a few tricks. You are a unicorn after all, show what you can do with your magic."
"Fine fine fine. Give me some room, I'll try something." Sword Shield took out his sword using magic and twirled it around for a second. He spun it up like a lawn-mower blade and flew it around the air with ease. After a few crafty swings with the sword he flung it at the target and hit the direct center. The two recruits applauded his accuracy.
"Wow, nice shot. How did you manage that fancy swinging so gracefully?" asked Arden.
"Lots of practice, to the point it all feels natural to me now," answered Sword Shield as he put away the sword. "I guess it's just because my skills with magic and the sword when put together are pretty good."
"You're lucky, we have to use our hooves or mouth to fight. It's still as effective, but more difficult."
"Me lucky? Nah, you can fly, I can't do that. I don't know the spell to grow wings. I'm good at magic, but not that good. I can only do some fancy magic using swords or a shield, or short range teleportation and small transfiguration spells, but those can be dangerous."
"Why not use your sword to fly?" asked Swifty.
"My sword? I don't think that's how it works."
"I mean make your sword grow bigger, stand on it and fly around! I'm sure you can do it. I've seen the unicorns in plays do it all the time when I was younger."
Sword Shield thought for a moment. Would standing on an object while levitating it even work? Unicorns in the past could never seem to do that. There was only one way to find out if such a thing were possible. He brought his sword back to him and used his magic to make the sword larger. He shaped it into a surfboard like shape and dulled the edges of the sword to not accidentally hurt anypony.
"Here goes nothing," said Sword Shield as he stepped onto the sword carefully and levitated it upwards. He struggled to maintain his balance, but managed to get five feet into the air.
"Would you look at that! You can fly, or at least float," said Arden excitedly. He flew up into the air himself to get a better view. "See if you can move around."
Sword Shield kept his focus on his hooves. "I don't know about this," He slowly lurched forward on his sword, moving at a snails pace. He wobbled too far to the right and lost balance, then accidentally sped up the sword so fast he fell off with the sword crashing into the wall. Arden and Swifty chuckled as he clumsily stood back up. "I think that's enough of that."
Sword Shield started to get to work on training the new recruits. The rest of the day consisted of teaching them what the Royal Guard was about and their roles as one of them.
The weeks passed by, and Sword Shield continuously trained the two recruits up to standards, but one thing in the back of his mind kept bugging him. Could he really use his sword to fly? On a day off he decided to leave the busy city of Canterlot to go to a clear open field for testing his abilities. He brought out his sword and stared at it for a short while, then used magic to transform it into a surfboard again. He laid it on the ground and stood on top, and as slowly and carefully as he could he raised himself up into the air.
He once again struggled to maintain his balance, so he used his magic to shape the sword for more balance and grip. He moved slowly through the air, keeping low to the ground in case he fell off. A bee flew by and landed on his nose, it frightened him and he accidentally sped forward, giving a short yell as he fell off the sword.
"Dirty rotten bees," he grumbled as he stomped back to where the sword had crashed and transformed it back to normal.
Instead of trying to fly he tried to figure out what else he might be able to do. He sat down and stared at it for a while, contemplating possible spells to use on the sword.
"That's it!" he exclaimed. In a hurry he levitated his sword a distance away from himself and focused his magic on its position.
Sword Shield disappeared and reappeared right on the sword's position.
"It can be used as a teleport beacon," he thought.
He again levitated the sword, even further from his position and out of view. He used his magic to locate the sword once again.
Another successful teleport. Teleport spells weren't meant to work unless you knew where you were teleporting to. All of this baffled Sword Shield, as normally he wasn't able to teleport so far without straining his horn. He also realized how easy it was to transfigure his sword, and picked up a rock with his magic and attempted to transfigure the rock into a flower. He struggled, using as much of his magic as possible, and finally managed to change the rock into a flower. He massaged his head a moment, and watched the flower as it quickly faded and turned back into a rock.
"But the sword's shape isn't temporary," he thought.
He transfigured his sword once again to the size of a surfboard, much easier this time than trying to change the rock. He stepped onto it carefully, and used a grounding spell on his hooves to glue him to the sword so he wouldn't fall off. He lifted himself up into the air and carefully moved forward. His sense of balance was off, and he wobbled back and forth, but he never fell thanks to the grounding spell.
Over the next few hours he continued to practice flying on his sword, slowly getting better and increasing his balance. By the end of the day he could fly over tree tops at low speeds without needing his grounding spell to keep him on the sword.
"That's some fancy flying there, Sword Shield," said a mare's voice from out behind Sword Shield while he was practicing his flying. He stumbled and accidentally fell off his sword. He turned in the direction the voice had come from and saw Cadance.
"Cadance, what are you doing here?" he asked, massaging his sore flank. "You gave me a bit of a scare. Shouldn't you be at the castle?"
Cadance giggled. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. This is where I like to come when I'm feeling a bit... overworked. It's very peaceful, and it helps me think. What are you doing here?"
Sword Shield teleported his sword to him and prepared to fly again. "I'm practicing."
"What sort of practice?"
"I'm trying to see if I can fly using my sword. My knowledge of magic and spells is limited, but somehow I've managed to morph my sword larger and am able to fly on it. Watch this," He jumped back onto his sword and took to the sky. He flew around in a circle and zoomed back down to the ground, jumping off and landing safely on the ground. It was a quick and short trick.
Cadance applauded. "Wow, impressive. If you can fly that fast using magic just today, with practice you might be able to match against the Wonderbolts some day."
Sword Shield was flattered but shrugged it off. "I couldn't match the Wonderbolts, they're way too professional. Besides, I'm in the Royal Guard, I have other duties to attend to. But thanks for the compliment."
"You deserve it, not many unicorns are that creative."
"I guess. So if you come here when you're overworked, what's the matter?"
"Oh, it's nothing really. I've just been having to make a lot of hard decisions lately, I don't really want to talk about it if that's okay."
"I see. Well I'll be going, it's almost time for bed. See you later Cadance." Sword Shield started walking back to Canterlot. Half way there he glanced at his sword.
"Maybe I can teleport back to the castle using my sword," he thought. He lifted the sword and used a Sight Seeing spell on it.
A Sight Seeing spell is normally placed anywhere, on an object or in the air, and allows the unicorn casting it to see the area that the spell was looking at, kind of like a camera, but invisible. Not a very difficult spell, but most unicorns with only basic magic knowledge still wouldn't know how to cast it. The Royal Guard unicorns were required to know the spell to act as security camera's.
After the spell was complete, Sword Shield was suddenly able to see through his sword. He levitated it towards Canterlot at high speed and found a clear spot to land it at the barracks. He shook his head from the vertigo of using the spell and attempted to locate the sword with his magic. Once he felt he had a lock on, he used his teleport spell.
Sword Shield reappeared outside of the Royal Barracks and returned to his personal bunk for a good night's sleep.