The Lost Crafter

by Jeffrey1000

Chapter 23: Settling Down

Steve awoke the next morning to the warm sun shining down on his face. He looked at Jean who was still asleep.

“She must be a heavy sleeper.” He said under his breath. The crafter got up and began to descend the cliff he lived in. He casually walked to the town. The first thing he wanted to do was get a copy of the news. Fortunately, those weren’t hard to find. Unfortunately, those costed money, something Steve didn’t have.

“Hey there, Steve.” A voice said from behind him. He whirled around and saw a familiar orange earth pony.

“Hey Applejack.”

“What are ya doin’ here, partner?” She asked.

“I came to get a copy of the news, but then I remembered I don’t have money.” He said.

“Here.” She said handing a paper to him. “Ah already read it.”

“Thanks, Applejack.” Steve said with a wide smile.

“No problem, partner.” She smiled back. Steve began reading the first article.

Massive Protests Seemed to Have Died Out

After protesting for two days, the large protests, consisting of hundreds of ponies, have seemed to have just disappeared. Some sources say it was due to the statement released by Iron Wings, the pony who started the whole protest. She is quoted saying, “I was deeply mistaken...”

Steve smiled as he read that. He was finally at peace. The problem is, he needed money, and in order to get money, needed a job.

“I should probably check Celestia. She probably knows where there’s an opening. Besides, she knows I have experience in government, so that should get me somewhere.” He said. “The problem is, I need to get get to Canterlot, but I can’t buy a train ticket.” He stood there stroking his chin before getting an idea.

“Yahoo!” Steve yelled as he flew through the air like a bird. “Thanks for the ride, Jean!”

“No problem.” The dragon replied. “Helping you start a new life is the least I could do after you gave me one. Though I wonder, why did you want me to hold you by the back and not sit on my back?”

“So I can fly like a bird.” Steve said stretching his arms out. “So I could feel free, for once in my life. I just want to soar through the air, and forget all my worries for just a few minutes. That’s all I want.” He said as he flew like a bird, looking down on the ponies and the landscape below.

“We’re almost there.” She said. “Beginning descent.”

As the two began to fly lower, the castle finally came into their view. They continued to descent until the castle was right in front of them. Jean came to a halt before landing on a porch jutting out of the castle.

“Thanks, Jean.” Steve said. “I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Steve.” She waved as she took off.

“Steve!” Someone called out from behind him. “What are you doing here?”

The crafter whirled around to see his good friend, lieutenant Stone.

“Hey, Stone.” He responded. “I need to see Celestia.”

“She’s this way.” Stone said. The two quickly ran down the halls to the princess’s quarters. Right before they knocked on the door, the Princess herself opened the door. Surprised, Steve stumbled back, but regained his balance. Stone, on the other hand, fell flat on his ass.

“Oh, apologies, lieutenant.” Celestia said.

“Don’t worry. I have had worse.” The stallion said, getting up.

“Hello, Celestia.” Steve said.

“Hello, Steve. What are you doing here?” She questioned.

“I came because I needed a job.” Steve stated simply. “I assumed you of a ponies knew where I could find one. Besides, you and Stone are the only ones who know I have government experience, so I figured it would be easier getting a job with that in my resume.”

The Princess stood there for a second hoof up against her chin. Stone, also, stood there deep in thought.

“Well,” Celestia said, “there is one opening. Although, I’ll probably have to consult the other government bodies before I can give you the job.”

“That’s okay, but what’s the opening?”

“Secretary of Defense.” Stone said. Steve’s eyes widen in realization.

“Oh, yeah. I remember that.” He said.

“But like I said, I’m going to have to consult with the other government bodies first.” Celestia reminded him.

“Celestia, I ask that you, please, handle this as soon as possible. I’m gonna need a job soon and fast.” Steve pleaded.

“I’ll get it done as quick as I can.” She told him.

Steve stood outside of the conference room. He was pacing back and forth, nervously. He hoped that they would accept him. This was the best chance he got at getting a good job.

“Steve,” Stone said, “I get that you’re nervous, but can you please take a seat. You’re starting to make me nervous, too.” His friend said as a joke.

“Sorry,” Steve replied, “it’s just, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

“It’s okay.” Stone said. “Knowing you, I’m sure you’ll find work elsewhere if this doesn’t work.” His friend reassured him.

“I suppose you’re right.” The crafter said, taking a seat. Just as he took a seat, the room full of ponies cleared. The ponies all scattered, hurrying to get back to work.

“Steve.” Princess Celestia said, garnering the crafter’s attention.

“How did it go?”

“Well, you’ll get the job.” She said. “If you do one thing for us.”

“Okay. What is it?”

“We agreed that you had the right qualifications, that is if what you told us is true, but knowing you it probably is.” She smiled at him. “Anyways, they wanted to test where your loyalty lies, so we decided we’d send you on a mission.”

“And that is?”

“Follow me.” She said. “We’re going to the briefing room.”

Steve took a seat in the large briefing room. Around the table sat lieutenant Stone, Corporal Eagle, and the Princess. She handed them all manila colored folders.

“Here is your mission.” She said. “This is Iron Hooves.” The princess stated referring to a stallion in a picture. “He was a key engineer working on a secret naval project called the ‘Dreadnaught.’ He originally came up with a ship type called ‘Iron Clads,’ but then shifted his focus to a bigger project. However, he was kidnapped by a group of rebels and taken out of Equestrian lands. Those rebels usually lurk in the far western parts of the world. No country controls those lands, so you’re, basically, on your own. These rebels have spies that, based on our intel, operate monthly. Our best experts say they have records of almost every guard in the royal guard.”

“Almost?” The lieutenant questioned.

“Yes. Almost. That’s why we need you, the Corporal, and Steve to go out west, and bring Iron Hooves home. You’re new enough for the rebels to not know about you, but, also, experienced enough to know what you’re doing.”

Just then, they heard a knock on the door.

“Please enter.” Celestia said. In stepped a young mare, who seemed about the age of Stone.

“Hello.” She said.

“Now, I don’t wanna come off as rude, but who are you?” Stone asked.

“I’m Scarlett Shadow, Celestia’s new assistant.” She said.

“Hello, Miss Shadow.” Celestia said. Did you bring the documents like I asked?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The mare replied.

“Good. And did you read them to make sure they were the correct ones?” The princess inquired further.

“Yes. If I may ask, why did you want me to read highly classified government documents?”

“Because you’re going on the mission, too.” Celestia said. Everyone stood still waiting for her to say something like she was joking. The solar princess was dead serious.

“Ma’am, you want me to go on this mission with them?”

“Yes.” Celestia said.

“But she has no experience.” Steve said. “It doesn’t make any sense to allow for a young, inexperienced civilian to come on such a dangerous mission.”

“Listen, Steve. She isn’t inexperienced. She was trained and knows how to defend herself and others. She knows how to fight. That’s what you have to know when you’re the princess’s assistant.”

“Okay. But that still doesn’t explain why you want her to go with us.” Steve said.

“Steve, you and I both know damn well you’re going to need as much help as you can.” Celestia stated firmly. “I can’t send you three I’m alone. If one of you gets hurt, then one person will have to tend to the wounded and the other will have to fight alone.”

“Okay. But why her of all ponies?” Steve asked causing the mare to give him a hurt look that he ignored.

“There’s no other royal guard young or experienced enough to do it. The only ones her age are all cadets.” She responded.

“Alright, fair enough. Pack your things troopers. Well finish this as soon as possible.” Steve said.