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TheIdiot


To all who come to this user page, welcome. I am TheIdiot; Head Author of the Alt-TCB Story SPECTRUM (and the occasional stuff on the side). Feel free to follow me if you so wish.

More Blog Posts26

May
26th
2020

TheIdiot Regarding: Three Year Later · 2:35am May 26th

Hello, everyone! TheIdiot here once again to provide you, our readers and watchers, an update on what's going on and…

Well, we’ve really gone the distance. Three years, a prologue, twenty published chapters, two interludes, 310 likes, two April fools blog posts, and so many followers… wow. Just wow. As per usual, these years haven’t been easy due to all the trials and difficulties that have arisen during them. Plus, the show ended, but as we here on SPECTRUM have shown… there is a story to be told.

So, while matters have been a bit quiet after the second interlude was published, we haven’t been idle. Plenty has been going that’s Spectrum focused and more. I ask, like before our dear audience, please bear with us as we continue production of the next chapter.

And to help tide you over… here’s a taste of what’s to come~

* * * * *

Canterlot, Equestria.

Chamomile Brew’s tea shop, like the quaint little place that it was, rarely had more than a few patrons at a time. At its peak hours, it usually had a few couples here and there, and that was in the evening. The decoration, too, seemed to enforce that notion, for the mare that tended to the tea shop never had much for the gaudy, elaborate decorations that adorned the other Canterlot establishments – even its name was simple, though no doubt proud by itself. The Canterlot Tea House.

Mornings and evenings were usually active, too, with the odd Royal Guard pair or elderly noble sitting down for a nice cup. Which, Winter Truce thought, only served to make this particular evening that much more special.

In choosing his daughter’s establishment as the venue for his farewell party, Captain Green Fields had ensured it would have the largest attendance it ever had, even more than when Fancypants – who was also present – had announced that he had been engaged to Fleur de Lis.

No less than twenty-five ponies, if his count was right, had arrived for the occasion. From Vanhoover to Fillydelphia, from the Night Guard to the Wonderbolts. He wished Chamomile had asked him for help, for surely there was a lot to organize here, yet his fiancee had chosen to keep it a surprise for him, and that was good enough a reason than any.

The guest list was no slouch, either, for Captain Green Fields put much stock in both his colleagues as much as he did in the next batch of officers. That included Winter himself, and not for the first time, he wondered if he would have been invited if he was still a Sergeant, and if he belonged her amongst those like Oaken Plow, Sparks Timber, even the Captain of the Guard himself.

That is ridiculous,’ he thought. ‘I shouldn’t worry. He’d have invited us both the same.

He shook his head away, clearing his thoughts from the empty pair of chairs on his table. One had been reserved for his fiancee. The other for his friend. Incidentally, the only one in the guest list whose presence was missing.

Twenty-four, then,’ he realized. ‘Not… twenty-five.

He couldn’t believe his eyes himself either when he arrived on his own. So many Guards present in this little tea shop. Yet Chamomile, diligent mare that she was, had succeeded in organizing the tables to the point that it felt just right. True, the round tables weren’t up to Zesty Gourmand’s standards, but Chamomile wasn’t looking for her approval, either, and Winter found the table’s arrangements to be pleasing in its simplicity - all in staggered rows, and all arranged to seat four ponies.

The cheers of the Fillydelphia and Baltimare-Night Guard table interrupted his thoughts. They were close enough that they had shared their discussions. He sighed. It wasn’t that he had jumped on the bandwagon, but he, like his new colleague Snow Mist, didn’t like Fillydelphia much in the way of professional behavior.

Division and regiment traditions died hard, after all. As it were, Vanhoover and Fillydelphia simply don’t mingle, and never has. It wasn’t his business to question it, though he personally found it amusing.

The way the lone Baltimare attendant, a blue-grey, brown-maned pegasus stallion – Lieutenant, Winter saw – smoothly told his joke to both the Fillydelphian Captain Sparks Timber and his Deputy – someone that reminded Winter of cookies, somehow – told him enough that Baltimare don’t have such problems.

Now, as he insisted, he wasn’t avoiding the others, of course. No – as much as he’d love to hear of Green Fields recalling the times he went exploring the Griffon Lands, he also valued his corner table very much. As both Chamomile and Icewind do as well. And part of him wished Snow Mist had stuck around to talk with him instead of joining the Wonderbolts’ table, though he’d like to keep it professional, and that was fine. She was a fan of them, after all, all three of them. Fleetfoot in particular liked the attention she gave her.

Not the time to dwell,’ he thought. ‘What’re the Trailblazers up to…

Oaken Plow, that long-serving Trailblazer scout, was now deep in discussion with Green Fields, their table closest to the counter. Something about the Everfree and his recovery missions there, if Winter’s ears picked it up right. On one side, his own superior, Sky Watch, listened to Green Fields’ enthusiastic retelling quietly. On the other, the airship commander, Rolling Tumbleweed had rested his chin on a hoof, earning him a dirty glare from Plow’s colleague, the old grump Crumpit. Sooner or later, Tumbleweed would tell him much about how airships were the future, as he did to Winter earlier. It was a good lecture, too, and a riveting tale of combat against pirates in Equestria’s frontiers.

His wasn’t the only table full of nostalgia – Shining Armor was there, too, speaking with Fancy Pants, Fleur, and two nobles that Winter was sure wouldn’t be listening if Fancy wasn’t. One of the benefits of being the top noble. Captain Armor and his deputy Clever Ace was animatedly discussing the Crystal Realm, and Sombra’s defeat.

Fancy that.

The Captain looked quite exhausted, Winter thought, for he had spent a considerable amount of time traveling between the Realm and Canterlot - he only arrived in Canterlot this afternoon. Shining had performed his role admirably well, throughout the years, and the Guard never had a better trainer and Captain both. Winter readily forgave him for the Wedding.

Next to his table were the Night Guards – Selene, Serene, and Gibbous, if Winter remembered right. Serene was the one with the intelligence division. Selene was with Gibbous. Names can be confusing, sometimes.

He reached for his cup, and took a sip. It was getting colder, still. He let the taste settle – he always liked tea from the zebra tribes. They had a rugged yet elegant quality to them.

“Hey, mind if I sit here?”

Winter looked up. It was the Baltimarean Lieutenant. His eyes were hazel, and he couldn’t see what sort of mark he had. Still, he wore a friendly expression, and Winter thought it was welcoming enough.

He nodded.

“Sure, go ahead,” he said politely. The stallion sat where Icewind should be.

“Sorry to bother ya, but, you seemed kind of, y’know. Alone out here,” said the stallion. “You sure you don’t want to join us?”

He pointed behind his shoulder, and Winter followed. He saw Snow Mist, his icy-blue coloured, from fur to mane, ex-weathermare colleague, sit by the light-yellow form of Sky Watch. And they were conversing with the Night Guards from their table. Mist, evidently, caught his eye, and waved a friendly hoof. Winter answered in kind.

“I’m good, Lieutenant,” said Winter. “They know this is my usual spot.”

He gestured to the empty seat besides the Lieutenant.

“That one’s for Chamomile,” he said. He pointed to where Gale was. “That one’s for Icewind, if he’s going to show up.”

The Lieutenant stood up.

“Oh, pardon me then,” he began to say, but Winter raised a hoof.

“No, no, it’s quite alright, he hasn’t turned up yet,” he lamented. “You’re welcome to stay.”

And so he did. The Lieutenant cleared his throat, then offered a hoof.

“Gale, Baltimare,” he said. Winter accepted the hoofshake, and nodded.

“Winter Truce, Vanhoover,” he said primly. He glanced to where Gale had spoken to before, the Fillydelphia table. “You sounded like you had a lot of fun over there, Lieutenant.”

“Yeah? Heh, one way to put it,” said Gale, chuckling. “Everyone loves a good story. Bet Vanhoover has a lot of good ones, too.”

“No doubt,” Winter said, with a touch of pride. “The creatures of the North are not to be trifled with. You’re not so bad either with, well, pirates.”

Gale smiled.

“Never had a raid for as long as I’ve served,” he said, equally proud. He shrugged. “But hey, quiet days never really last long, do they? Which batch did you serve in, Winter?”

Winter winced a little. The memories of the Canterlot Wedding were still fresh on both his and Icewind’s minds. He wasn’t quite sure of the Changeling invitation to the Hall of Unity – but the Princesses know best. Icewind, on the other hoof…

“The Wedding batch,” he said simply. “Higher-ups fast tracked me for a promotion after that fiasco, served a tour in Ponyville recently.”

He tapped his newly sewn in lieutenant patch on his formal dress lapel. Gale shook his head.

“I don’t know how I would have dealt with the Canterlot Wedding as my first rodeo,” he said plainly. He shook his head. “But Ponyville, though. The Night Guards, Serene told me there was something that went down there.”

“You mean Selene?”

Gale paused, then facehoofed.

“Right, Selene. Serene’s my upcoming partner,” he said sheepishly. “Anyway – heard something went down there and… well, here we are.”

Winter nodded.

“One and the same,” he said. “Got promoted soon after, I think they… needed more to fill in the gaps.”

“Bet they did,” Gale agreed. “They don’t usually ask for Guards to transfer to the intelligence division, really, so now I’m stuck here. But hey, at least I got to see my daughter’s birth.”

Winter blinked.

“You’ve got a family?” he asked blankly. “Sorry, that was rude – I mean, you’re married?”

He wasn’t so good with how he handled curiosity, Winter mused, but Gale didn’t seem to have noticed.

“Mm, they’re back home in Baltimare,” he said, shaking his head. “Sorry, I’m… I get a bit long-winded when I talk about them.”

Winter waved off a hoof.

“No need to apologise, Lieutenant,” he said evenly, and Gale smiled.

“Right, heh, do you mind if I…?”

“Go ahead.”

He reached into his uniform, and brought out a photograph. Winter leaned forward to look at it.

“This is my wife, Aquamarine Glimmer,” he said, pointing at the turquoise young unicorn mare in the picture. She looked exhausted, but somewhat happy with her tranquil smile. “You can call her Aqua or, Aquamarine.”

Winter thought he couldn’t hold back his sheer giddiness.

“And this… is Comet Tail.” He was now pointing to the little pink pegasus foal who had a little tuft of a brown mane on the top of her head. “We were… both pretty anxious, you know? I was so excited but dreading it all… but then… well, I guess it’s kinda cliched, but as soon as I held her, there was just no other feeling like it.”

He looked back at Winter, still smiling bright.

“How ‘bout you?” he asked. “Got anyone back home?”

Winter contemplated it briefly. The news was still fresh upon his mind, as it did nine months ago, and it had reopened old wounds, in some ways.

“Just my mother, cousin, uncle and…” he trailed off, then sighed. “My brother. Due a few weeks, I suppose.”

“I see,” Gale replied. He frowned. “What about your–”

“Long gone. Left months ago,” said Winter, a little coldly. “Didn’t like another one coming.”

He shook his head. Gale recoiled a little.

“I’m… sorry uh,” he said, rubbing the back of his head. “But- when was the last time you met ‘em?”

“It doesn’t matter,” said Winter. He forced a polite smile. “Don’t worry. I’ve adjusted.”

Before Gale could reply, however, someone else from the other table called out his name.

“Ah, horseapples,” Gale grumbled. He stood up from his seat. “Looks like Serene wants me back at her table. Business as usual. Speaking of which…”

His eyes fell on Winter.

"Look, uh, I can tell you're all about the guard life and whatnot, Winter,” said Gale. The use of his name caused Winter to look up. The Lieutenant looked concerned. “I can call you Winter, right? But... well, I’d suggest taking some time off. We still got a long flight ahead."

Winter sighed.

"A Guard’s duty is never done. But…” he said, and paused as his eyes fell upon his fiancee, who was speaking with her father now. Perhaps Gale did have a point. “...I'll think about it. And congratulations on your daughter, Lieutenant. Comet’s lucky to have you."

"Thanks,” Gale said, and he smiled. Once more, he offered a hoof. “Just call me Gale, eh? We're all friends here. And good luck with your brother."

Tentatively, Winter accepted the hoofshake.

"Fair enough... Gale."

With another smile and quick salute, Gale was off, and soon enough he was chatting away happily once more with his erstwhile partner. That left Winter alone, once again, and he quietly sipped his tea.

I should write to Mother… and Stellar… and Uncle, I suppose.’ he mused.

Not long after Gale had returned to his seat, did the murmurs quiet down when Chamomile stepped onto the small podium they had set up.

“Fillies, and gentlecolts. If I may have your attention, please,” she said. No one spoke aloud, and Winter snapped to attention. “Please welcome Captain Green Fields, of the 33rd Royal Guards.”

She paused, and her warm, hazel eyes met Winter’s icy blue. She smiled serenely.

“You may have the floor,” she said gracefully, and went off the podium. Her father took her place, to a polite, enthusiastic applause. Winter followed suit.

The middle-aged pegasus stallion took her place. His lush green fur and feathers, topped by his warm, brown mane hid his age well enough. And his green eyes remained as sharp as ever.

“Thank you, dearest daughter,” he said warmly. His voice, gravelly, stern, seemed as warm as Celestia’s. Chamomile stood by his side, and nodded. He turned his eyes forwards, looking over the assembled guests. “And thank you all for joining in these… troubled times.”

The murmur of surprise and discontent was quieted down by a hoarse laugh.

“No, no, I wouldn’t say troubled. I would say, cherished times, indeed,” he said. The younger officers – Soarin, Snow Mist, Serene among them – cheered. Winter spied a disapproving glare from Upper Crust, that snob, and held back a chuckle.

“Yes, yes… cherished indeed, which is why I see no reason not to truly step down here and now, and leave it to you all to ah, make your own. In all my years of serving, from Vanhoover, to Canterlot, to the Trailblazers… I suppose none of us have seen the events of the past few weeks come to pass.”

He paused.

“Some of you may think, with the recent memory of the Wedding,” he said. Shining Armor, Winter noticed, winced. “That this is an inopportune time to do so. No, I say. I say, this is the most opportune time, indeed, to entrust the next generation. Captain Armor.”

Shining stood a little straighter.

“What happened at the Wedding was not your fault, no,” he said evenly. “No, it is ours, collectively. Not one mistake is one pony’s fault to bear. And I am proud to say that, both as the Captain of the Royal Guard and the Crystal Realm’s Protector, you shall serve long and proud. I believe that.”

This time, the cheers were louder still, and even the older officers joined in. Fancy Pants smiled at Shining, which seemed to embolden him. Winter’s polite clap remained.

“For unity,” Fields said once again. The cheers died down. “For unity, is of the essence. Each of us will play their part, in the days to come. Here, I would like to congratulate Lady Fleur De Lis, for her part in negotiating with the zebra tribes, for the trade deals that, well, I’m sure are quite prestigious from the way Fancy’s told me. My daughter, she’s appreciated the easier access to their wealth of knowledge. And you have blessed them with our aid, too. Their prosperity is our prosperity. Our prosperity is theirs. Give her your applause.”

Fancypants and his retinue clapped the loudest, this time, and Fleur, the graceful lady that she is, hid a blush with a hoof and a cheeky smile. The Guards followed suit, politely, though Vanhoover’s polite respect did not match Fillydelphia’s colder reception.

“Cherished times, I say,” said Green Fields. The murmurs and cheers did not die down this time around, and his speech was emboldened by it. “Cherished. And to that, the time has indeed arrived for those of the Wedding batch to take their rightful place as our successors, or our future successors.”

He pointed a hoof at Winter. All eyes fell upon him, from Gale, Shining Armor, Spitfire, and finally, from his fiancee. Her smile was encouraging, and Winter puffed up his chest.

“To Lieutenant Winter Truce, and his ilk,” Green Fields declared. “I saw how you rose to the occasion, from the North to down South. The pride of Vanhoover, here to stand, from Canterlot to Ponyville. News travels fast. May the months and years to come bless you, and your wisdom bless the years in return. We stand here at the brink of change so great that I can not foresee its outcome. And it is your duty to see to it that our security, our prosperity, remains to be shared to all, from Equestria, to Zebrica, to Griffonstone, and to this strange new realm they call Earth.”

He paused, and his look turned expectant. Winter took a deep breath.

“It is our duty, aye,” he spoke. “For Vanhoover, for Baltimare and Manehatten, for Canterlot and Seaddle alike. And for Equestria. We shall see it done, Captain. We are one with the wind and sky.”

“We are one with the wind and sky!” Snow Mist blurted out the Vanhoover pledge, too, and Winter smiled.

And the crowd burst into cheers and applause once more. He wished Fields had mentioned Fillydelphia, too, but even they, and Fancy Pants’ retinue, gave polite claps and nods. And all was right.

“My time has passed, my days of training and guidance, from the Academy in Canterlot to Vanhoover, are over. But our future is in safe hooves,” Green Fields declared. “And, with that, I shall take my leave. For Equestria, and the Concordat!”

“For Equestria, and the Concordat!”

Amidst the raucous applause, the congratulations and the pats given to him and Green Fields both, the words of encouragement flowing freely between every Guard and noble present, the future seemed brighter than it had already been.

It was Captain Armor’s turn to speak.

“While Captain Green Fields’ time has come, ours has not,” he said. “We’ve been sitting on our hooves for long enough - now our duty calls. I’ll be expecting each and every one of you to step up for the occasion when needed, and we’ll all be seeing new faces, very soon…”

Duty calls…’ Winter repeated, mentally.

Then, amidst the goodbyes exchanged, as Luna’s Moon rose up in her night, Winter’s gaze fell upon the empty chair opposite him.

One by one, the guests streamed out of the tea shop. Winter was closest to the exit, and he greeted them all on the way out. Gale shared an encouraging smile, Snow Mist gave him a hoof bump… and Green Fields patted his shoulder.

To say that he had big horseshoes to fill would be an understatement.

And so it was, he sat alone on his table, the lone guest in the tea shop. The seat opposite his remained as empty as always, and he bit back a groan.

He wasn’t alone, though, and when she finished blowing out the last candle outside his own table, Chamomile Brew took her empty seat. Her smile was tranquil, but she had a frown on her.

“Winter, dear,” said Chamomile. "Are you still worried about Icewind?”

Winter sighed.

“...Yes,” he said simply. “Afraid so.”

That was as far as he could go, without going into all the confidential details. Guards rarely ever took their leave for this long. And that discomforted him greatly. Chamomile shook her head.

“Well. You've known him longer than I have. And I know that whatever he's worried about, he can handle it."

"I... suppose so. It's just, well... Alright. He can handle himself."

Around a month ago, he remembered. He'd finally caught up with her, on the date he had promised her. And, perhaps the events in Ponyville did rattle him somewhat, for by the end of the date, he asked her the simple four word question, in this very tea shop.

And she said yes.

He held Chamomile’s hooves with his own, and smiled. She pressed her lips against his. They broke away, and her smile returned. She brushed a wing against his cheek.

“Come, dear, the night is still young…”

His worries of Princess and country faded right then and there. And, without further hesitation, he followed his fiancee upstairs.

* * * * *

You have Sledge115 to thank for this, everyone. He’s a hard worker who really has his faith in this story and a drive to explore. But that doesn’t mean he’s a one-trick hippogriff – he’s shown that with his recent works: Moonbug (outside of Spectrum but very much his own tale) and The First Second of Eternity (which is within Spectrum).

Oh, and speaking of what’s beyond Spectrum, for those unaware, Jed R has returned to tell his own tale. What was his own cut is now… well, his own thing I suppose? Anyway, it’s called Redux and provides an alternative view on Spectrum. I do recommend you give it a view to see what’s similar and what’s different. You might be surprised by what you see…

Three years everyone. Hopefully, you’ll stick around as Spectrum ventures into the unknown (into the unknown!) with our next arc and what’s in store for everyone.

Till next time,

Sincerely,
TheIdiot

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Comments ( 3 )

Tiny disclaimer, this is the first draft so, some parts are subject to change :twilightsheepish:

But here's to Act Three, and Spectrum as a whole. Hang tight!

-Sledge

keroko #2 · May 31st · · ·

Hmm, in isolation this all felt a bit rambly to me. Like, that whole piece about the various Guard cultures between cities, does that end up serving a point? Because it felt like filler, especially given that we have no idea who all these ponies are and why we should care about this apparent rivalry they have going.

5272203

Well, I suppose the point/intent in writing is the Guard culture itself, that there are things going on beneath the big picture. By design, heh, this was also the only scene finished that doesn't truly spoil what happens next.

As for who they are, well, some have appeared before. Just not the ones from this Equestria.

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