No Nose Knows

by Irrespective

26. - Day Break

Celestia absolutely abhorred the sound of steel on steel.

It had a way of staying in her ears, ringing in a thunderous cacophony far beyond the actual battle. There were times when she’d hear it for weeks after the fight was over, an unrelenting, reverberating string of silver stings that would drive a pony mad with enough time.

If she could work her will, she would make the source of the sound disappear forever.

“Princess! We have another wave moving in on our left flank! We can’t hold it much longer!”

“Stand fast! We only need to hold out for a short while yet! General Picket, where is your Division? If we can wheel them to the left, we can—”

“Princess Celestia,” Picket cut her off with a cold and distant stare,  “I have no division!”

Celestia could feel it. The panic, the fear. It was beginning to come to a head.

“No! You must have some ponies left! Take what you have, and wheel them to the left!”

“I cannot take what is not there, Princess! The day is lost!”

She could feel it pushing, pounding. It wanted out. It could help. It would win.

“No! I will not!” she grunted, and her hoof tore out a large divot of earth. “There is another way! There always is!”

She happened to catch her own reflection in Picket’s dented and smudged armor, and she could see it in her eyes. The magenta was gone, replaced with a gold that burned as hot as the sun.

“No!” she fought back. “I… will… not!”


Celestia gasped harshly as she awoke, and it took her a minute to reorient herself to her surroundings. She was home, with everything as it should be. All of her personal belongings were as they should be and untouched, and Baked Bean…

A spark of panic pricked her soul, but it was silenced when she glanced down and found him right where he should be. He snorted, gave a grunt of annoyance, then wiggled a bit to be closer to her. Once he had settled into her side he smiled softly and sighed in contentment.

Celestia’s smile matched his, and she drew her wing a bit tighter over him. After a quick and gentle boop she settled in again and simply gazed at her love.

I will never let it happen, she thought to herself as the warm embrace of slumber enveloped her again. You and I gain all the power we need from each other.

* * * *

Celestia nipped at Bean’s ear as they both laughed and entered the room. “You realize I’m going to get an earful on that one,” she remarked. “There are going to be dozens of ponies who ask why the sun suddenly wiggled back and forth on the way up today.”

“Do you want me to tell everypony I found a new ticklish spot or do you?”

“I will say you distracted me,” she replied. “And then we can leave it at that.”

“Okay, but I’m remembering where that spot is.”

“You tease!” she laughed, and she nipped him again as he went for her neck.

A knock at the door interrupted their play, but they did share one quick kiss before Wysteria walked in and adjusted her glasses. “Good morning, Your Most Serene Highnesses.”

“Serene?” asked Bean with both eyebrows lifted. “I thought we were Illustrious.”

“It depends on if you’ve been mediatized,” said Celestia in what Bean recognized was her teaching voice. “Technically, since I reign over the Crystal Empire, I should be Her Imperial Highness, but I’ve always been reluctant to put on airs like that. Plus, the nobles have been squabbling for centuries about their own titles, so anything above Her and His Highness just gives them extra title space to crawl into. In any event.” Celestia turned to Wysteria with a mischievous grin. “What do you have for Your Highnesses this morning?”

“Just a few things to go over with you before breakfast. First, Play Wright sends his profuse thanks for your attendance at the play last night, as does the cast, and they send their thanks for your visit backstage after the performance. They hope you will return again soon.

“Second, the Astrological Society has sent a very detailed and technical missive about a sudden surge in solar flare activity that occurred yesterday. I won’t even try to share everything since I don’t understand most of it myself, but they do wish to know if you are aware of the flares and if it something that should be concerning.”

“Solar flare, eh?” Bean ribbed her gently. “You didn’t tell me that first kiss was that good.”

“My dear Bean, you almost made it do a backflip in the sky. It was incredible.”

“Mm, we shall have to do it again then,” he remarked with a cheesy grin.

“Anyway!” Wysteria cut in before they got carried away. “What would you like me to tell them about the flares?”

Celestia glanced at Bean quickly before replying. “Send my thanks for their observance, and reassure them that I am aware of them and that they are harmless. Make sure to tell them they don’t need to worry about this morning either. Oh, and they should expect more. Many more.”

“Got it. Let’s see.” She flipped some papers. “The Juris Prudence Center of Law at The University of Canterlot is asking about that interview about the Alicorn Law again. In fact, I’ve gotten a quite a few letters asking about that from several different ponies.”

“Tell them I am planning to hold a symposium in about a month. I’d rather make them come to me and do it all in one swift kick then to travel out to hundreds of different places.”

“Got it. Let’s see. Oh! Prince Bean, your parents sent you a letter.”

“They did?” he eagerly asked, before snatching the letter from her magic and ripping it open with a gleeful laugh.

“I think that covers everything for now. I need to follow up on a few things so I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Thank you, Wysteria.” Celestia replied with a smile.

Wysteria returned the smile, then left the room while Celestia turned her attention to Bean.

“How are they?” she asked when he finished and looked up at her.

“Extremely busy,” he said with a chuckle. “Mom says they found a line down and around the block when they got home, and it’s been non-stop since then. They had to hire two more cooks in a rush, but she says they should work out. They’re thinking about moving to a larger location if they stay busy like this. She says she’s glad they’re so busy since it helps her to not think about how much she misses me. They also send their thanks again for your forgiveness.”

Celestia offered a quick hum of satisfaction to that. “Anything else?”

“Just that she’ll write more when she has time. It was nice of her to send this, though. I’ll have to write back.”

“I bet she will appreciate that.”

“But I think breakfast should be first.”

“Breakfast first then,” she said with a laugh. “Are you sick of my pancakes yet? I can whip some up if you’d like.”

“Nope, still good,” he replied. “I’m starving.”

* * * *

“Oh, do you really need to go?” Celestia pouted while placing the pancakes before everypony.

“We do,” Cadence replied with a note of sadness. “I dread to think about how much paperwork we’ll have to go through when we get back.”

“Well, we shall simply have to come visit you then,” Celestia replied. “Perhaps in a week or two so we can finalize plans.”

“That would be wonderful. I know the crystal ponies would love to meet Bean.”

“When do you plan to leave?”

“Around noon, I believe. We’ve already said goodbye to Auntie Luna so we can go whenever we want, I suppose.”

“Let’s have you stay for lunch, and then Bean and I will see you off. In fact, why don’t you spend the morning with them, Bean?”

“Are you sure?” he replied. “Didn’t we have some kind of meeting?”

“Yes, but I think I can handle it. Any meeting with the delegation from Cloudsdale tends to be long-winded.”

“All right,” Bean replied. “If you’re sure.”

“I’m sure. Your time would be better spent with them.”

“You can come with me while I do my review of the Guard.” Shining offered.


“Yeah. Anytime I come to Canterlot, I touch bases with Lieutenant Spear Point to see if I need to fix anything, and then I do a quick review of and offer a few inspirational words to the troops. It’d be good for you to get a glimpse of how the Guard works.”

“Ok. That actually does sound like a good idea. I’ll go with you for sure.”

“Great!” Shining replied with a small smile. “We’ll head over right after we eat.”

* * * *

“I didn’t know you participated in the review too,” Bean remarked to Cadence.

“I don’t have to, technically, but I like to stay up-to-date on what’s going on,” she replied.  “If the worst happens, I will be the one to take over after Shiny.”

“Which I hope never happens,” Shining added. “That means something rather unpleasant has happened to me, Bean, Auntie Luna and Auntie Celestia.”

“Wow,” Bean said. “I hadn’t thought of that. I have to take over if something happens to you?”

“In a way. Celestia and Luna may be your equals in government, but they do outrank you in the military, or at least for now. If either of them give you a commission to Major General then you’ll be of similar rank. Right now you’re my equal at Captain.”

“Captain Bean,” he tried the title out. “Any other titles I can claim?”

“You can claim whatever you want.” Shining laughed. “But experience says less is more, if I may suggest.”

“I think I shall take your advice.”

The three shared a quick laugh as Shining pushed open the doors for the barracks, and Lieutenant Spear Point was waiting with a sharp salute for them as they walked into the reception area.

“At ease, Lieutenant,” Shining ordered, as he saluted back.

“Pleasure to see you again, sir,” Lieutenant Point replied, as he hoofbumped his superior. “Prince Bean sir, Princess Cadence ma’am. Glad to have you.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Cadence replied. “How’s Needle?”

“Same as ever, ma’am.” He laughed as he motioned down a hallway with a hoof. “She keeps telling me to lose weight, get out from behind the desk, eat healthier. I’ll pass along your well-wishes to her.”

“Thank you.”

“Just in here, sirs,” he offered before pushing his office door open for them. Three comfortable chairs awaited royal posteriors in front of a finely lacquered oak desk that held Lieutenant Spear Point’s gold edged nameplate, and as Bean settled in to the furthest left chair he glanced around. It was a nice office, but a bit utilitarian. Of course, this was a barracks so he didn’t really expect it to be like his office or Celestia’s drawing room.

“Well, Captain, where shall I begin?” Spear Point asked as he sat. “Troop levels? Morale? The usual complaints about field rations?”

“Let’s start with troop levels,” Shining replied. “How are the recruitment numbers looking?”

For the next hour, Bean sat and listened to a fascinating and completely confusing discussion about the Royal Guard of Equestria. It was very similar to the discussion he had been in with Minister Penny Wise in the number of terms being thrown around that made no sense and references to things he knew nothing about. However, Lieutenant Point did try to clarify and explain here and there when he could, as did Shining, so by the end of the conversation Bean had at least a sporting chance of knowing what was going on. He knew that recruitment was up a very modest two percent, injuries were down twelve percent, and that a change of armor wax vendors would save over six thousand bits per year. Morale was high and holding steady, training was steady and, overall, the Guard seemed to be doing quite well.

Lieutenant Point then offered to escort the Captain and the Royals through the Barracks while Shining did his review. Bean was amused that the review turned out to be really nothing more than Shining walking around and greeting any guards who happened to be nearby, but this would also be a good way to orient himself with the layout of the rooms and to meet those brave ponies who had sworn to protect him and his wife from harm.

It only took ten minutes for Baked Bean to get lost, much to his chagrin. It was an honest enough mistake: he had paused for a moment to take a closer look in the armory, but then found they had turned down a hallway without him. A quick trot around a few corners to see if he could find them was futile, and left him even more lost than before, so he opted for the tried-and-true method of planting his plot where he was and then waiting for the rescue party to find him.

He was both grateful and embarrassed when he heard voices down the hallway, but he chuckled when he figured out who they belonged to.

“You totally were!” Hokey’s laugh drifted in. “Don’t even deny it! We all saw you checking her out!”

“I was not!” Quillpoint argued back.

“Dude, you totally were.” Clover’s voice was fast approaching. “Your eyes were on her flank the whole night. You’re lucky no one was taking pictures of Wysteria last night. You’d be running laps forever if someone—”

Bean winced a little when the three Guards clattered to a halt at the moment they saw him.

“Prince Bean, sir!” All three quickly saluted.

“Clover. Hokey. Quillpoint,” he greeted each in turn, and he hoped he had given the right name to the right pony.

“Sir,” Clover replied. “What are you doing here, sir? Can we help you with something?”

“Well, I would be grateful if you could help me find Captain Armor and Lieutenant Point.” He replied as he stood with an embarrassed laugh. “We were doing a review and I got separated from them.”

“Of course, sir!” Pokey replied, and all three of them chuckled. “If they’re on review then eventually they’ll end up in the training room. We can hook up there.”


“Not a problem, sir. Right this way.”

“Sergeant, can I ask you something?” Bean asked while glancing around the training room.

“Lay it on me, sir,” Pokey said.

“How hard would it be to get me in on training?”

“Training?” he repeated. “Well, you’re the Prince, so if you say ‘I want to get Guard training’ it’ll happen.”

Bean nodded, and he looked over the room again. It reminded him of the gymnasium back in high school with weights, a jogging track, mats for practicing hoof-to-hoof combat on, and some other equipment that he wasn’t sure what it was used for. A rack of staffs and blunt swords stood in one corner, and a few guards were practicing defensive maneuvers with both against an instructor at the far end of the room.

“Would you like me to look into it, sir?”

“Yeah. I appreciate everything you and Sergeant Leaf are willing to do for me but I’m pretty extra sure your life would be easier if I could help defend myself.”

“Only if you’re trained well, sir. Otherwise I’ve got to worry about a blade behind me and a blade in front of me.”

Bean nodded in agreement but with a thoughtful look. “Think you could show me anything right now real quick?”

“Right now?”

“Yeah. You could, right?”

“Yes sir. I was a drill sergeant for a time. I could just go over the stuff I drill into fresh cadets. Just with less yelling and pushups.”

“Maybe I need the push-ups.” Bean glanced back and over himself. “But it might be a bit awkward to be yelling at a prince, eh?”

“It’d be a bit like yelling at Captain Armor or Princess Celestia, sir, yes.”

“We’ll avoid yelling then,” Bean replied with a chuckle. “What can you show me, hoof-to-hoof stuff?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, no time like the present.” Bean decided. “Doesn’t seem like Captain Armor or Lieutenant Point are really missing me, so I might as well do something productive.”

“Just over here then, sir,” Pokey motioned to a nearby mat.

“So, what’s first?” Bean asked once they had both stepped onto the mat.

“First, remove your crystal, sir. You don’t want to be stabbed by that.”

Bean nodded and quickly removed the Crystal, but he entrusted a few nearby towels to keep it safe for him in the meantime.

“All right. How is your balance on your rear hooves?”

Bean smirked as he reared up, then stayed perfectly balanced. “Earth pony who worked in a restaurant,” he smugly replied, and he started to walk around on the mat to show off his skills.

“Not bad sir. Now, let’s have you take a swing at me.”

“What, hit you?”

“Yes sir. Don’t worry, I have a thick head.”

“If you say so.” Bean shrugged, and he half-heartedly swung his right hoof at him. Pokey blocked it easily, but he also kept it in place.

“Hold right there, don’t move. Did you see what I did, sir?”

“You blocked me?”

“Yes, but look where my hoof is,” he replied, and he wiggled his hoof a little. “I blocked, but from here I can slide up and nail you in the side of the head,” with a slow demonstration of what he was saying, “or I can come back down and anticipate you coming at me from the left, or I can throw off your balance and sweep your feet out from under you. Blocking is good, but blocking in a specific way is better.”

“Really? How would you take me off my feet?”

“Come again, sir.”

Bean took a swing again, and he put a little more oomph into it. Pokey blocked it again, slid his hoof to tangle up his arm, and pulled slightly. The shift in his weight made him move his left leg, and Pokey was able to use that momentum to flip him over and down.

“Hah! That was awesome!” Bean laughed from the floor. “How do I do that?”

“Use their weight against them, sir,” Pokey replied as he helped him back up. “Here, I’ll swing at you this time. Make sure to—”

“Sergeant?” Cadence abruptly cut in while she trotted over to them. “What’s going on here?”

“It’s my fault,” Bean quickly interjected while Pokey helped him back up. “I asked him.”

“I thought you were doing the review with us,” Cadence replied to Bean, with a hint of confusion. “What happened?”

“I got lost and turned around,” he replied softly while trying to get his breathing under control. “The sergeant brought me here to hook back up with you.”

“Ah, I see,” she offered a quick giggle to this. “And then you decided to get beat up.”

“It sounded like fun at the time.”

“You boys and your macho egos,” Cadence shook her head in both amusement and disbelief. “Well, it’s a good idea, but now is probably not the best time for this. Lieutenant Point is rather perturbed that he lost you, and both he and Shiny are looking for you. Let’s finish the review, then you and Sergeant Pokey here can work out a schedule to continue your thumping.”

“All right.”

“Grab your Crystal and let’s hurry back. If we find them first we might be able to defuse some of Lieutenant Point’s ire.”

Bean quickly did as he was told, then fell in. next to Cadence. She gave him a quick, reassuring smile, but then had a devious look take over. “You know, Auntie Celestia is one of the supreme commanders of the Guard, and not just because she’s the princess. I bet if you asked her nicely, she could give you some pointers as well.”

“She could, couldn’t she?” he replied with a thoughtful expression. “Maybe I will then.”

“I know I like to work out with Shiny. I bet she would like to work out with you as well.”

Thankfully, Cadence was correct in her prediction about Lieutenant Spear Point. He was irritated over what had happened, and it was obvious in both his body language and from his clipped responses as they finished the review, but Shining had leaned over with a smirk and whispered that he was more irritated with himself since the barracks should be one of the most secure areas of the entire palace, and yet Bean had slipped away from him and had to be rescued. His ire did slowly taper out as they progressed, so by the time the review was finished and they had met up with Celestia for lunch he was somewhat back to what Bean thought would be normal.

His Royal Lostness, in an effort to not cause any more problems, stayed quiet and only replied if somepony spoke to him. He did receive a fair share of worried glances from his wife, but he met each one with a smile and that seemed to placate her, if only temporarily.

After lunch, Bean and Celestia escorted Shining and Cadence to the carriage that would deliver them to the train. Bean fought down a twinge of sadness when they hugged and said their good-byes, and he hoped they could make that visit to the Crystal Empire soon. Shining Armor had been an immense help and a good friend, and Cadence was just as sweet and kind as rumors had said she was.

“Oh, I always hate goodbye,” Celestia remarked as she and Cadence shared one last hug. “Let me know when you get home.”

“We will, Auntie Celestia,” Cadence replied. “Take care.”

The two of them waved as they hopped aboard their ride, and they continued to wave until the carriage disappeared into the city. Celestia then gave a deep sigh, and she glanced down at her beloved.

“I always enjoy their visits.”

“Yeah. They’re pretty awesome.”

“Do I have any in-laws beyond your parents?” she asked as they walked back inside.

“A couple. My mom has sister Sieva, who lives in Las Pegasus, but she never married or had any foals. Her parents, Soy and Pole, are still alive and kicking.  Dad has his mother, Flageolet, his brother Pinto and his sister Cannellini, both of whom are married and have foals. Pinto has Jumping and Fava, and Cannellini has Haricot, Lentil, and Mung.”

“We should visit them sometime.”

“Flageolet, Pinto and Cannellini will be easy enough; they live in Salt Lick. Soy and Pole live in a retirement village in Las Pegasus, so I guess we would have to have a family reunion if you want to meet them all at once.”

“That will probably be the way to go,” she agreed with a nod.

“Do they get any titles because of all this?”

“We should probably figure that out,” she chuckled. “Like your parents, however, they will be mostly symbolic. They won’t have any actual authority.”

“Well, that’s probably for the best. You don’t want a bunch of Beans overrunning the place.”

She simply laughed with him at this, and then gave him a quick nip on his neck.

“Day court now?” he asked.

“Yes. But after that I think we should have a talk.”

“Talk?” he asked in concern.

“Nothing bad, but something you should know. It’s a bit like your arrest, in a way. It won’t take very long to go over, so we could go over it just before dinner if that is acceptable.”

“Sure. Do you think we’ll have many petitioners today?”

“I think it will be a bit slower today, but we will see.”

* * * *

“So, what is this ‘thing’ you want to tell me?” Bean asked once they had settled in next to each other in Celestia’s drawing room.

“It’s a somewhat serious thing, but nothing we can’t handle.” Celestia levitated a book off of a shelf and placed it on the table before him. “Obviously, you know that Luna was Nightmare Moon, and that she fell because of her jealousy.”

“Yes,” he replied with a bit of hesitation. Where was she going with this?

“There is a truth in that, one that you need to know. If Luna can fall, so can I.”

Bean didn’t quite understand, and his face showed it. “So, you can turn into Nightmare Moon too?”

“Not like that exactly,” she said as the pages of the book flipped open. “I have my own version of it.”

The pages stopped on a pencil drawing of what, at first glance, looked like Celestia. Bean then looked closer, and his eyes widened slowly. This Celestia had the fangs and the dragon eyes of Nightmare Moon, but she wore armor that was sun-themed instead of moon. She also appeared to have flames for her mane and tail instead of her normal pastel colors.

She was terrifyingly beautiful, and it sent a chill up Bean’s spine.

“This is Daybreaker,” Celestia softly said. “If I were to ever tread the path that Luna did, I would become this.”

“Wow,” he said with a note of fear.

“Thankfully, I have never given in to the darkness that would allow it to consume me, nor do I plan to. By keeping my negative emotions in balance and in check, this alternate me can never be.”

“But there is the possibility you could.”

“The only way Daybreaker can ever exist is if I allow any of my more negative emotions to grow out of control. For Luna it was jealousy, but for me it would be anger or arrogance.”


“Feeling that I must solve all problems by myself. The darkness had never possessed me, Bean, but it has come close a couple of times; and those times were times when I felt like I alone was the one to solve the crisis at hoof. The first time was when Luna and I fought against a dragon who had been destroying villages on the borders of Equestria. I didn’t realize what it was then, so I dismissed it as simply being enraged.

“The second time was during a war against the Sasquatch Barbarians. They were overrunning our position, and if they had managed to break through my lines they would have had a clear path to Canterlot. Thankfully, we were rescued that time by the timely arrival of a griffon brigade, but just before they appeared I felt it pushing, telling me it could defeat them all by itself. My desperation nearly won out, and it terrified me.

“Now, I’ve felt it try to force its way out at other times as well, but never as strongly as those two times. With Luna’s redemption and the problem-solving prowess of Twilight and her friends, I hope that the risk will be so small that it will never be a bother again. I didn’t want you to find out about this from anypony else, so I realized this morning that I needed to tell you.”

He nodded, and took a moment to contemplate all of that before replying. “So, as long as you feel like you don’t have to do everything on your own you won’t turn into this thing?”

“Exactly. And now that I have you, the risk is negated even further.”


“Daybreaker thrives on hate, not love. Since you truly love me, it has no power. Your love prevents this from ever happening.”

Bean nodded again and looked at the drawing. “You have seen this thing?”

“It occasionally pops up in my dreams, but never for very long. I use the love I feel from my friends and family to be rid of it and its destructive lies.”

“Well, then I shall simply give you all the love I have then.” He turned to give her a quick kiss.

“Thank you, my dear Bean. Now, let’s talk about some happier things, mm?”

“I’d like that.”

A soft tap came at the door, and Wysteria poked her head around with a tentative expression much like she expected to have to make a quick and silent exit at the sight of something she did not want to face right now.

“You didn’t lock it!” she quickly said.

“No, we didn’t,” Celestia said with a laugh. “What do you need?”

“Fleur De Lis and Fancy Pants are asking for a quick audience with you to sign off on that donation.”

“Oh! Of course!” Celestia replied, and she quickly stood. “This’ll just take a minute, Bean. I’ll be right back.”

“No problem,” he replied, and he smiled as she trotted out. His eyes then drifted back to the drawing of Daybreaker, and he took a deep breath in. He was glad she had told him about this, but it also scared him a little. To think that she could be… that.

He then made the internal resolution to never do anything to bring this horror out of his wife. Whatever it took, he would make sure she never had a reason to go there.

He loved her too much to let anything happen to her.