Shining Armor sat stiff as a board across from Princess Celestia as she delicately sipped at her tea. He had also made sure Cadence was on that same side of the polished crystal table, still nervous about sitting next to the mare he loved and daughter of his greatest enemy.
He rubbed his temple as he thought about what he had found out in the crystalling records sequestered deep under the castle, in the ancient catacombs housing King Sombra’s private study. He glanced nervously at the two alicorns as they looked upon him with sudden concern at his pained expression. Self-consciously he lowered his hoof, absently scratching at his coat, only to find the thrice-hated, hideous green sweater with overly-large cuffs and hideous popcorn pattern had reappeared again on his hide. Sighing, he used a spell to banish it away for the third time since its first manifestation upon him - which he had willingly - and stupidly volunteered to do of his own free will.
‘Maybe if I throw myself upon a funeral pyre it’ll get the hint and leave me alone,’ he thought glumly, wondering if an alicorn’s spell would be powerful enough to rid him of the offensive holiday haute couture. It seemed unlikely if his luck was holding true to form.
He sighed again.
“Is it obstructing your breathing, Shining?” the dulcet tones of Princess Celestia drifted through the room. “Perhaps I can ease that if - “
“No!” he blurted out, loathed that she touch him with magic in any way at all. Embarrassed at both their surprised looks, he lowered his voice. “No, sorry, please. I - “ He couldn’t help but sigh for a third time. “I’m not as upset about the sweater as I am about - “
Celestia’s eyes widened. “Oh, no, of course not.” She placed a hoof over Cadence’s. “Cadence told me while you were out that she had confided in you about her - father’s identity.”
He got up and paced. “Look, you don’t have to be so - diplomatic with me, your highness,” he loathed so much to say her name he felt ill. When was she going to come clean and tell him about what he had discovered in King Sombra’s own spidery handwriting deep below where they currently so comfortably sat?
“Look who’s being ‘diplomatic’,” the pink princess of love said evenly, careful to keep the sarcasm she felt welling up inside her under control. “Since when have you called Celestia ‘your highness’? Not after she said it was okay to call her by her name and forego the title, Shiny.”
He winced as Cadence said her pet name for him. Celestia noticed it immediately. She set her crystal teacup back on the saucer on the table. “No, it’s alright, Cadence. Shining Armor has every right to be shocked and upset. I was hoping you had taken the long journey here to tell him, but it is obvious you had not, for whatever reason.”
Cadence slumped slightly. “How could I, auntie? How could I tell him ‘Oh by the way, honey-dear, we’ll be fighting my father, who was known as the most evil unicorn in Equestria and you’ll have to most likely destroy if we are to save the empire and the crystal ponies.’?”
“Wait...was known?” Shining mouthed, words refusing to come out, his mind racing over what she could have possibly meant by that.
The solar ruler pursed her lips and nodded. “When you put it that way, I can see why you were not only hesitant, but unwilling to compromise his fighting spirit with such disparaging news.”
Shining was getting more and more upset by their conversation. He knew they were both hiding something - he knew what it was, too, so why in Tartarus didn’t they come clean with him?!?
Something else occurred to him, though, as he half-listened to their conversation. He stopped and whirled on Cadence. “Why didn’t you tell me after the fight, Cadence?!? Why? Sure, we were exhausted and slept for two days after while my sister and her friends found and organized a new emergency council to begin planning their new supporting governing body, but, DAMMIT, that was MONTHS AGO!!!”
Cadence couldn’t take his anger any longer, buried her face in her hooves and cried. Celestia put a hoof around here and comforted her, offering no rebuke to her former Guard Captain’s harsh words.
Furious, he stalked towards the door.
“Where are you going, Shining?”
“I dunno. Anywhere but here,” he snapped at Celestia. “Maybe I’m still tired and stressed from the fight and those corrupted crystals embedded in my horn, but I don’t feel like facing either of your lies and holding back another damn minute!” Using his magic to open the large doors to the room, he turned back briefly. “I was just starting to relax and trust you were you again, Cadence, before we came here. Even now that things are out in the open, I’m still only getting half-truths. Send me a message when you feel like telling me everything, okay?”
He slammed the door. Cadence cried harder. Distracted by her and puzzled by his words, suddenly Celestia’s eyes flew wide. “Oh no!” She ran to the door but amazingly, he had already disappeared down the long corridors.