Coffee Talk sighed. She had only gotten stuck with this damn job because Shining Armor was a stubborn so-and-so in a position of power.
That and she and Kingsley owed an alicorn a favor.
“Look,” she began lamely. “I’m only doing this for Kingsley ‘cause he asked, okay?” She conveniently left out the alicorn favor bit. “But I don’t know how I’m even going to make you understand when you don’t believe - “
“Why do you keep calling him that?” the white unicorn interrupted.
Coffee facehoofed herself. Weren’t they past this yet? Why was he stuck on that? She had hoped against hope (apparently) that since he had come with her quietly and had started out with his mouth shut, that she could have gotten through this explanation relatively painlessly, ignoring her intense dislike of the Prince Regent in the process.
“ - that Kingsley was…” she trailed off, knowing this was going to go nowhere. Again.
She trotted away angrily, turned an about face and trotted back, feeling like some pent-up energy was building in her body from the aggression he was unintentionally bringing out in her.
Knowing she wasn’t going to get anything accomplished by bucking him in the face - he’d probably throw a shield up to protect himself anyway and she’d break her legs to boot - Coffee tried something else. She sat down and took a deep breath, letting it out. The unicorn before her straightened at the gesture, but said nothing. Coffee didn’t care. She plunged on ahead. “I call him that because that’s what he wants to be known as from now on. Wouldn’t you change your name if it was notorious?”
Was this progress? Who knew?
“Okay,” she said next, carefully. “So will you please do us a favor - and a courtesy and call Kingsley Kingsley?”
“He isn’t ‘Kingsley’ to me!” Shining Armor snapped, now being the one to turn away.
“Why?” Coffee Talk snapped in turn, growing mad again. “He already paid for his crimes. He died - TWICE! What the Tartarus more do you want out of his hide?” Shining wasn’t listening. His ears were down and he was staring at the wall. His obstinance right now made the earth pony long for the days when Kingsley would let the Uber side of him come out and kill somepony just for being a jackass. “You know something, Prince Shining,” she said the title mockingly, like it left a bitter taste in her mouth because did it ever right now. “I almost wish Buttface was around right now so he could take you apart for being such a issue-riddled - “
Armor whirled back to Coffee with such force she backed up, startled. “You know what I want, Coffee? I WANT MY WIFE BACK!” he yelled so loud in her face it reverberated through the cave.
The two stared at each other as the echo of his pain bounced through their stone prison, probably not only waking up their companions, but half of Yakut valley as well.
Finally the white stallion spoke first. “Who’s ‘Buttface’?”
“Go ask Kingsley - oh, excuse me - Sombra, in case you don’t know who I’m talking about because you have a stupid selective brain in that heartless, pony-shaped head of yours,” the mare said acidly, walking away. “No, better yet. Ask your damn wife,” she said over her wither to him. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and not get a ‘no comment’ like you two kept giving me when I was trying to tell the world what happened to him - “ she sniffed, hitting her own painful nerve as hard as Kingsley’s self-sacrifice had hit her. “How he let himself be burned from the inside out to save your damn crystal ponies and, and - “ She choked, barely able to get the next words out. “Fix his mess and no one but me CARED!”
The stallion stood there, weathering the brunt of Coffee’s anger and pain, stunned not just by her venomous, hurt tone, but the reasons behind it. He offered not another word, mercifully, as she stomped off, back to the cave proper. Ears down, he followed her quietly, but not so close as to antagonize her further, veering off to go back to Cadence. He dimly heard Sombra gently ask what happened, she refused to say and when Shining heard no reply in turn, he spared a glance at the charcoal stallion. He had a hoof on her back, stroking her hide. His eyes met Shining’s, but came away again back to his companion, offering neither reproach nor challenge to the Prince. Armor, ears flattening down as he himself laid down next to Cadence, stared at the couple on the other side of the cave from them, his eyes drifting to the ex-guard captain’s side where his cutie mark glowed softly in reaction to Shining’s own light spell.
Behind him, Cadence opened her eyes. As drained as she was, tempers were draining her further and she shook her head, no longer able to ignore the need to - as Coffee Talk had so aptly put it - ‘fix her own mess’.