No Nose Knows

by Irrespective

21. - Wysteria and Quill

Wysteria Inkwell flipped idly through the pages on her trusty clipboard, carefully reviewing the upcoming days’ events and ensuring that she had everything she needed to discuss with her employer. The day had been eventful, she had to admit, but all that remained was some quick confirmations and to file her paperwork before heading home for the evening. She was eager to slip off the flower-faced collar she wore that established her as Princess Celestia’s secretary, aide-de-camp, and overall right-hoof mare, warm up the leftover broccoli salad that was in her icebox, and then to slip into her favorite plush robe and vanish into the pages of the latest Love Lost novel.

Such was her life, and she was pleased to have it. Becoming Celestia’s secretary had been a combination of hard work, persistence, and a bit of sheer dumb luck, but it also entailed long days—and the occasional long night, prissy nobles with their heads in…well, never mind that; and dealing with some of the most frustrating and oddball circumstances one could imagine. There was prestige in her employment, but there was also more than enough figurative mud for her to wade through on any given day.

Yet, Wysteria never felt like she was underappreciated, and she flipped past all the pages on her faithful organizational tool to look at the custom engraving at the bottom right corner.

For Wysteria, the pony who looks after me and what I treasure most.

A small smile tugged on her lips. The clipboard had been a gift from the Princess on the fifth anniversary of her employment, and it was now one of her most treasured possessions. It was a fine thing, made of a premium tarnish-free silver and with Celestia’s emblem embossed on the back in colorful gemstones. It had a spot for a spill proof inkwell, extra metal quill holders, and the Princess had personally imbued it with an enchantment that kept it from being lost or stolen. Of course, the three weeks extra paid vacation—which she still had not taken—and the anniversary bonus in her paycheck had been most welcome too, but it was touching that Celestia had taken the time to have this custom clipboard made and to have engraved it with her own horn.

It was the respect and appreciation that she received from her employer that had kept her there. Her skill set was impressive enough that she could find employment in the private sector and receive twice her current salary, but then there would be no Princess of the Sun. Celestia was an amazing pony even from a distance, but when one was able to work up close with her, as she had done, one quickly saw her as far more than just a princess. She was a mentor, a teacher, a friend and a role model of the highest quality. Celestia seemed to be able to naturally bring out the best in anypony she interacted with, and it had so thoroughly inspired and motivated Wysteria that she had willingly taken on more responsibilities, even at the expense of her family, friends, or even a potential special somepony. Celestia was the pony that others aspired to be, and Wysteria gladly did all that she could to make sure Celestia's light could shine as brightly as possible.

Wysteria then shook her head while her mind drifted back to the events of the last week. She had been beyond shocked to find that Celestia had written a law that forced her royal self into marriage, only if the oddest circumstance occurred, and that some stupid stallion had somehow managed to stumble right into it. There had been several all-nighters involved in keeping the news from getting out across the whole castle staff, and then to the general public. She had lied, fibbed, stretched the truth, obfuscated, misdirected, begged, pleaded, bribed, cajoled, whined, cried, and in one particular instance, used a little piece of blackmail she never wanted to think about ever again. She had run herself nearly to a nervous breakdown trying to keep ahead of the rumors and the tabloids, and there had been more than a few times when Wysteria had begged Harmony, Fate, or whatever had done this to help Celestia find the loophole or legality that would get them all out of this mess and get life back to normal.

Leave it to her boss to write a perfect, irreversible law when in a panic. Wysteria had personally gone over it herself and couldn’t find a single fault in it.

Wysteria's rage at the yellow freeloading scoundrel had multiplied tenfold on the day of their wedding. The mere thought of her illustrious Highness being forced to become Celestia Bean was enough to make the secretary's blood boil and her vision go red. With Celestia’s name being debased as it was, there would no doubt be far-reaching negative consequences, and the male menace didn’t seem to have a clue as to what he was really doing to the whole of Equestria.

Then the divorce had come to light. She had gleefully written the decree out with her own quill, using every single bit of willpower she had left to keep from dotting all the i's with little smiley faces. She was a bit concerned while taking down Celestia’s every word—she personally found the terms to be far too generous—but she let it slide with the happy thought that this would finally clear out the riff-raff and allow Celestia to get back to what she really needed to focus on: her ponies.

But then he hadn’t signed it. The fool wanted to try to make the relationship work.

And Wysteria had been even more floored when she found out Celestia didn’t want to sign the decree either.

What was the world coming to? Celestia should have forced him to sign it and then thrown him out without another thought. He was naïve, he was uneducated, he was totally unprepared to accept the role of Prince. He wasn’t even all that attractive, either: Wysteria had rapidly summed up his looks as ordinary and plain. What Celestia had seen in him was beyond her; if she was going to marry, then she should at least find someone whose beauty matched her own. The Baron of Fetloch, for example. Now there was a stallion, oh mama!

But stay the Bean did, and Wysteria had found herself with a new boss. For the first time in her career, she dragged her feet and resisted following her Princess’ instruction to help Bean acclimate and to keep him on schedule with the goings on in the palace. She was forced to work with the clown, and while she didn’t like it to any degree she hesitantly agreed to weather the storm for the Princess.

But then she’d talked with him, watched him work. He wasn’t anything like she had expected, and in a good way: he was reserved, thoughtful, and observant. He treated Celestia with deep concern and awed reverence. He actually cared about her. And in the day-to-day grind of dealing with the royal Bundt cakes that made up the Courts and Ministries, Wysteria found that he maintained a polite humility that gave a blast of fresh air to everything.

And within a short amount of time, Baked Bean won her over as well. What he lacked in birthright he more than made up for in true royalty and pure character.

Wysteria chuckled a bit to herself as she rounded the final corner to Celestia’s – or, now Celestia and Bean’s – chambers, and she thought about the remarkable change that had come over her employer. Celestia was, of course, eternally pleasant and endlessly gracious to everypony she met, but now? It was like a switch had been flipped, and the Princess went about her days with a spring in her step, a song in her heart and on her lips, and an overflowing dose of happiness for everyone she encountered. She was brighter now, with more vigor and pep than Wysteria had ever seen before. Baked Bean had managed to bring out a side of Celestia that hadn’t been seen in, well, maybe ever.

He had brought out her youth again, and the joyful optimism that naturally came with it.

Wysteria adjusted her glasses, made sure her papers were in order, and then knocked on the door once before opening it with her magic.

She paused just inside the doorway. In the middle of the room stood Bean, in a regal-looking jacket that must have been in the earlier package that had arrived from Rarity. He was looking himself over in Celestia’s full length mirror, and Celestia was right next to him, admiring the view and whispering something in his ear. He did look rather proper and, yes, even royal in it, and she had to admit that, given the right clothing, he did have a sort of unassuming charm about him.

Celestia then pulled back, and when she saw Bean's dopey expression, it was like … well, like he was so happy that his face could not smile enough.

Wysteria felt her heart melt a little at the sight. No matter what it took, she promised herself right then and there to do whatever she could to help their love blossom and grow. A love like this deserved no less.

“Wow,” Bean remarked.

“Wow indeed.” Celestia agreed. “My dear husband, you look positively royal. I do believe the expression on my secretary’s face says it all.”

“Wh-what?” Wysteria stammered, and her cheeks began burning. She quickly lifted her clipboard up to block her face and her embarrassment, but again the inscription came into sight:

…the pony who looks after me and what I treasure most.

Her smile grew bigger as the Royals chuckled. She would be most pleased to continue to do so.

Wysteria walked out of the Royal chambers with a happy little tune. With the details for tomorrow now settled, she had only to file her paperwork and go home.

But across the hall stood Corporal Quillpoint, and after a moment of thought, Wysteria adjusted her glasses and marched up to the gold-plated goof.

“Good evening, Miss Wysteria. What can I do for you?” Quill asked.

“Quillpoint, I’m off in fifteen minutes. Why don’t you and I go get a drink tonight?”

Quillpoint hesitated. Protocol said he wasn't supposed to discuss personal things while on duty, but his eagerness to talk to her was obvious.

“But you’ve always rejected me in the past,” he stiffly whispered.

“Say yes or no. Going once...”

“Yes! Totally yes!” he blurted, and then he quickly sealed up the crack in his composure.

“Great. I’ll go talk to Lieutenant Spear Point about your schedule. You should take me somewhere classy, but not too expensive. If I see one pony with the title of Duke, Baron, Viscount, or Prince, I'm out.”

Wysteria then trotted away with a bounce in her step and a swish to her tail that she had not felt in years. If her boss could have a love life, why couldn’t she?

And in her wake, being careful not to be seen doing it, Corporal Quillpoint punched the air in silent success, then settled back into his relaxed guarding pose, only with a pleased smile on his face.