The galloping stallion is a mere second away from colliding with you. Putting up your hands, you managed to divert his head, and more importantly his horn. The rest of him, however, is still going strong. As his shoulder thrusts into your chest, you're sent sprawling to the floor.
"Anon!!" The bug-mare shouts, eyes affixed on the confrontation, paying no mind to the one she's about to be in. Cadance trots forward, taking advantage of Chrissy's distracted state, getting in a sucker hoof that would have knocked a lesser pony out. Both you and her share the floor for a brief moment.
Rubbing your forehead, you get to a knee. "That's how it's gonna be..." You mutter. While Shining recomposes himself, you flick your gaze to the downed Chrissy, the pink princess standing above her. The mere sight of her on the ground under that pretentious princess' hoof fills you with seething rage. You never thought you could bring yourself to hit a lady.
Luckily for your conscience, that thing is far from a lady. Stepping towards her, you wind up a swing, and gun it forward...
...colliding with a solid, translucent barrier, nearly breaking your hand. Unaware of the attack, Cadenza turns to see your fist firmly planted into the barrier, mere inches from knocking her the fuck out. She makes this connection, and her look of shock morphs briefly into one of shock and sorrow.
"Anon..." She manages to make out, through quivering lips. As the barrier fades, it almost makes you regret your split second decision...until her gaze moves past you, looking behind you with an malicious grin. As you turn your head, you're given a split second to register the stallion winding up in front of you, his back hooves colliding with your chest. The impact sends you into the wall behind you, head first.
You don't know how long you were out before waking up.
Whatever you're laying on is MUCH better than the cold palace floor where you got laid the fuck out. Your chest still aches, feeling heavy, the pressure from the kick still residing. As your eyes flutter open, an exorbitant amount of pink is the first thing to cross your sight.
"Hello, my special somepony."
You could cut the tension in that statement with a knife. Though, if you had a knife, there's something else you'd rather be cutting at this particular moment. Your vision coming back to you, Cadenza lays partially on your chest, looking down at you with a solemn smile, your crystal heart gift sparkling around her neck.
"Ca...dance...?" You manage to squeak out. The pressure on your lungs is making it hard to speak. Cadenza smiles, tilting her head. "Oh, you said it right! That means so much to me, my dear Anon!" Every word begins to sound more devilish than the last.
"Where..." You grunt, the pain beginning to stack upon itself, the aching intensifying. "Where is she..?" Immediately, the princess 'harumphs'.
"Always about her, isn't it? I guess it always has been." You've never heard Cadenza talk like this. Calm, composed. "I'm sure she'll be fine, the dungeons give three square meals."
If you could muster the strength to knock her teeth in, you would. But the pain in your chest resonates across your upper body. As you try to move, you can only grit your teeth in agony.
"Trying to move? Why would you, I'm right here!" She giggles lightly. Every word that comes from her stokes your inner fire. She repositions herself, sliding her body over yours more, every slight movement across your chest sending another wave of bruised pain. Leaning her head in to yours, she flashes a grin, a twisted face of victory. "I told my aunt that the mean changeling hurt you. She entrusted me with your care~"
You didn't like her light tone of voice. You liked the way her hoof dragged along your side even less. She wouldn't.
"I owe you a thanks for the lovely birthday present, after all...~"
The dungeon wall drip with the dank condensation that comes from being so far underground. As the Royal Guards make their rounds, passing by her cell, they would look at her with disgust. For some, it was the first changeling they had ever seen. But to all, she was a monster. A wretch of a being, not belonging within the confines of Canterlot. She felt that way, for sure. The events of tonight still remain fresh in her mind, a new scar that's continuing to cut deep. She remembers clinging to him, her Anon, out cold on the floor. Being ripped away, dragged down to the dark underbelly of the palace. Brought before the princess, who believed she had attacked her adopted son. The immediate reaction tore through her chest. "Dungeon." Stated the solar ruler. No time frame, no special instructions. To the dungeon she was ordered, and to the dungeon she was brought.
She lay against the corner, tears rushing down her cheeks. This is all her fault. Had she done as she was told, this would have never happened. Follow him. Watch from afar. Do not be seen.
Do. Not. Be. Seen.
The single most important tenant of changelings, she had broken twice. Though the second time was sure to be her last.
"Changeling." An order is barked from the other side of the bars. Looking up from her tear-stained mess that is her hooves, she sees the white stallion staring her down, a sight she had already seen plenty of today. Not responding, she turns her head back to the wall to continue her silent grieving.
"I addressed you, and you will answer." He firmly stated. Still no more response from the changeling girl, keeping to herself. The frustrated guard-in-training sighs. "You'll be here until you rot, changeling. That can change if you speak."
Hope seemed lost at this point. Who knew if he was even telling the truth? Did she have a choice? Simply to spare his nagging and seemingly idle threats, she turns to him. "What do you want?"
Pleased he received a response, Shining loosens up, not as tense or uptight as a usual guard's pose.
"Why were you impersonating the princess?"
"So I could have fun at the party." She grins, flashing her fangs. She's already behind bars, what more could he do to her?
"That's a lie and you know it."
"Seems like you do too." Another snarky response. Shining brings a hoof to his face.
"You kissed the human. You danced with him. You did this in plain view. I doubt you just wanted to 'have a little fun'." Chrissy's gaze fades to the side as he recounts her actions. Oh how she misses them. And regrets them.
"Hey, when you're imitating the princess, you gotta act like the princess. And she loves Anon so dearly..." Her eye glints as she glances back at the white stallion. She's been following the princess around enough to see what she didn't. "Isn't that right?"
Shining grits his teeth. She hit a sore spot, and they both know it.
"Regardless. What were your intentions?" He attempts to get back on track. She's having none of it.
"Exactly what you saw." Wiping herself clean of tears, she climbs to her hooves. "Being the princess, if only for a day..."
"You're no Princess Cadance." He retorts. Chrissy chuckles, admittedly a bit innocently. She's already devised a way out of here.
"You're right, I need to practice the 'ignore you' part more." Like an arrow through the heart, the grimace sported by Shining shows she hit her mark. "It's plainly obvious you like the girl. Like might even be an understatement." Chrissy begins slowly walking to the bars.
"Irrelevant." He stiffens up, regaining composure.
"Not at all. You came to her rescue, her knight in...well, you know the saying." Barring herself the obvious play on words, she awaits Shining's response. However, there is none. He remains silent, sitting on the words that were told to him, as if he's processing the situation. Chrissy continues to press the advantage.
"And yet, she 'loves' him. That thing who wanted nothing more than to toss her aside, yet she clung to him like a parasprite." She had to immediately forgive herself for referring to Anon as a 'thing', but it was for the facade. Every word cuts deeper, Shining able to do nothing but listen on.
"All the while, waiting in the wings, was the stalwart companion who never ceased his affection..."
"Enough." He states firmly.
"You love her."
"I said enough!" He lowers his head to the ground, covering with his hooves, wanting to hear no more of her jostling. With a smirk, Chrissy disappears. A flash of green.
"You love me, don't you?" Cadance asks, peering sorrowfully through the bars. As Shining stares. the pupils fade from his eyes. A light green begins to glow from them. As he stands to attention, 'Cadance' coos. "My dear Shining Armor..." Stepping to the bars, she sticks out a hoof and gently touches his cheek.
"...bring me to him."