Ever since he had seen that flash of a green mane behind that door, Chivalry had wanted to help. It was in his nature, his name, and forever upon his flank that he would want to help others. It would be an insult to himself if he didn’t. Sure she had slammed the door on him, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. No simple door could keep him from helping sompony in need.
After breaking the door down, the last thing he expected to find was a filly little older than his own daughter shaking in the darkness. Unsure of whether or not it was some kind of changeling trick, he removed his helmet and dropped down to a half crouch, bringing him closer to the little one.
“It’s ok, you don’t need to be scared. Tell me, how did you get to this place?”
As a response she squeaked “For the hive!” in a voice about as loud and threatening as a butterfly before she “charged” him. Upon impact, she did about as much harm as afore mentioned insect. Chivalry was suitably confused. Thankfully, he’d ignored the instinct to lash out at the foal. Standard guard doctrine dictated that when in a changeling hive expect everything, but his gut had told him otherwise.
“Please, let me help you.” He said softly, trying to reach out to her.
“Go away… please…” she tried to back herself further into the shadows, but Chivalry wouldn’t have it.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.” He set his helmet down with a soft clank. “Tell me, what’s your name?”
She sniffed once before replying.
“Pet… my name is Pet.”
* * *
And now she sat, right in front of him silently sobbing as she asked him where her mother was. It broke his heart to see one so young so hurt. The fact that she didn’t know was even more gut wrenching.
Chivalry stepped around the table, and placed a comforting foreleg around her.
“I’m truly sorry… Pet, your mother is…” He thought for a moment, knowing he needed to choose his words very carefully. “Your mother is gone.”
She started crying. She practically threw herself into Chivalry’s armor and cried into it, embracing him. Chivalry in turn returned the hug, and gently stroked her mane while making attempts to comfort her.
“W-what happened to her? Why did she leave me? Where is she?”
Chivalry desperately glanced at the panel of one way glass. He mouthed the words “What do I say” at the glass as if expecting an answer. The one he received was most… unexpected.
“Thou shall tell her the truth soldier.”
It was none other than Luna, Princess of the Night, who had walked in with a flabbergasted sergeant trailing behind.
“The truth milady?” Now, Chivalry was no expert, but he was fairly certain that telling somepony as young as Pet that her… “mother” was a monster would be a bad idea.
“Yes, the truth.” Princess Luna said as she approached the table. Pet hid herself behind Chivalry as the alicorn approached.
“Do not be frightened little one. I only wish to speak.”
“Stay away!” said a small voice from behind Chivalry who gave the Princess an apologetic smile.
“Would th- you prefer it if I stayed over here?”
“Thy mother has gone far away, and we are doing our best to find her.”
The filly peeked around her gold clad barrier.
“You don’t know that!” When all Luna did was look away, a note of fear crept into her voice. “What happens to me now?”
Corporal Chivalry, you have foals of your own correct?
It took a moment for Chivalry to realize it was Princess Luna speaking within his mind. He could only think of one reason for her to ask such a question. He nodded his head slowly, coming to a decision.
“With me” He said to the foal behind him. “You will stay with me.”
“Then it is agreed, you will stay with Corporal Chivalry until further notice. We shall in the meantime continue the search for thy mother.” She turned to the still slightly confused guard behind her. “Sergeant, see that Corporal Chivalry is given temporarily relief of duties.”
With that, the Princess of the Night left the two guards and the still trembling filly.
“Well then Chivalry looks like you’ve just adopted. Congratulations.”
“I wonder, what’ll your wife say?”
* * *
After dispatching a pegasus to tell his wife to set another place setting at the table, Chivalry carefully placed his new charge on his back and headed down to the guard’s mess. From what the initial glance over the doctor’s report told him, he knew that “malnourishment” was on there. A bite of something to eat before heading home couldn’t hurt. The mess hall was practically empty save a few pegasi trying to sneak in a late night snack. Pet looked around wide eyed as she took everything in.
“Stew! Stewpot!” Chivalry said in a loud stage whisper.
A somewhat greasy earth pony appeared at the counter with surprising speed for such a considerable girth.
“What can I get ya Chiv?”
“Actually it’s not for me, it’s for uh, Pet here.” He turned to reveal Pet who was at the moment trying to hide from the large pony’s curios gaze.
“And what might I get the little lady?” He said leaning over the counter. Pet drew back, and almost managed to fall off Chivalry. “Shy one ain’t she?”
”I believe some hay fries and a glass of milk will suffice.” Chivalry said as he staggered slightly to keep the little one from falling off. As Stewpot walked back into his kitchen Pet leaned over and whispered to Chivalry.
“Can we please go back to your hive?” she pleaded.
“Right after we get some food in you, we wouldn’t want Mint to think you’ve been starving all day.” Chivalry replied as he found them a deserted corner table.
“Who is Mint?”
“Oh she’s my wife. I’m sure she’ll just love you. Trust me, you’ll like her. She’s a very nice pony.” Chivalry replied. While wondering just what would his wife say to him?
A small silence began to grow as they waited for Stewpot to heat up the hayfries.
I wonder what’s taking him. Chivalry thought to himself. Lost in his musings he almost didn’t hear Pet’s next question.
“ What do you want me to call you?” She spoke so quietly that Chivalry had a hard time hearing her question. Which truth be told, had not been one he had considered.
“Well I suppose you can call me Chivalry… what shall I call you?”
“Pet, it’s my name.” she replied, sounding just little bit confused.
Chivalry was about to reply with something along the lines of “that’s not a name” but decided that might be taken offensively. As he tried to think of a suitable way to explain it to her, Stewpot swaggered over with a small tray on his back.
“Here ya go! Hayfries and a glass of chocolate milk I uh, ‘borrowed’ from the kitchens.” He said the steaming fries down in a small paper with a smiley face hastily drawn on it along with the glass of chocolate milk. He performed what he hoped was an elegant leg before retreating behind his counter once again.
Pet didn’t say anything, she was too busy staring at the hay fries. Her eyes somehow managing to get wider.
Of course. She’s never even seen hay fries… or milk for that matter. Chivalry thought to himself with a small chuckle as Pet tore ravenously into the food. He paused when he asked himself what she might do when she saw dinner…
* * *
The carriage ride was a short one, yet Pet had managed to fall asleep leaning against Chivalry. He sat there with her head in his lap gently stroking her mane. At least she trusted him enough to fall asleep. Or perhaps she had just been exhausted after stuffing herself with hayfries. He’d told she’d ruin her dinner, but he was confident that with her appetite she could still put away whatever his wife had cooked.
Yes…. His wife. In hindsight perhaps he should have talked it over with her whether or not to take Pet in, but in his defense one of the diarchs had practically asked him to.
Liar, you know she didn’t. You volunteered. Okay, so perhaps he had volunteered. He still didn’t regret his decision. He had been the one to find her after all. That and he couldn’t bear the thought of her being sent off to some orphanage, or worse, an asylum. He mentally shuddered at the thought.
The shrinks would have a field day with her. Being raised by changelings. Only then did he think about the possible implications. He didn’t know what exactly had happened to her in the hive. If the initial doctor’s report was anything to go by, she would most likely be needing some therapy. What qualified him to do so?
Well Luna seems to trust you. And so does Pet. That last thought came as Pet shifted in her sleep, a small smile playing across her face. Of course this only brought up another question. He couldn’t go on calling her Pet. It still felt… wrong. That wasn’t a name, it was more of a cruel joke by Chrysalis.
If I ever meet that scum, I’ll make her pay for that. He sat there thinking of all the terrible things that’d he’d do to the queen if ever got the chance until the carriage came to a stop outside a small multicolored town house.
“Pet, wake up. We’re home… actually wait here just a moment.” Chivalry ran up the front steps and quickly knocked on the door.
A young unicorn opened the door, her face lighting up when she saw who it was.
“Daddy! You're home early!” Chivalry quickly scooped her up in a hug.
“Hey, there’s my big girl! Could you go grab Mom for a minute?”
“Okay!” With that the filly disappeared back into the house, only to reappear seemingly moments later practically dragging a light green mare behind her.
“Waffle, I said I was comi- oh Honey you’re home early. I made up the extra plate like you asked, who’s our special guest.”
“Well Mint… I uh, want you to meet Pet. I think we may have another filly.” He said this with the biggest smile he could muster while pointing a hoof at the carriage.
Minty Green simply stood there mouth hanging slightly open as the barest trace of a green mane peeked around the carriage door.
The semi awkward silence was only broken by Waffle’s sudden exclamation.
“YAAAAAY! A new sister!”