Keyan sat on the wet grass with Scootaloo in his arms for a long time. Neither of them said anything, the silence between them remained unbroken save for a small sob from Scootaloo every now and then.
Eventually Keyan felt a hoof on his shoulder and looked up into the sympathetic eyes of Rainbow Dash. Her synthetic one was starting to glow in the lessening light.
"Hey Key, we got the goons all tied up now. And umm.... I just wanted to say you did good. I'm not sure what other ponies are going to think of you now, but i just wanted you to know I got your back."
"Thanks Rainbow," Keyan said with a grateful nod.
Rainbow gave him a pat on the shoulder and then went back over to Twilight who still had Spike locked in a death grip.
Suddenly the doors to the palace flew open with a bang rivaling one of Keyan's cannons. What came out was one of the scariest things Keyan had ever seen. Now Keyan had seen Celestia in many mods. Ranging from tired, to cheerful, annoyed and entertained. But this is the first time he had seen her angry.
Storming down the steps with thundering hoofsteps power seemed to emanate off of her in waves. Her normally serene features were broken in rage, and her mane was flowing erratically. Following her was a mess of nobles, regular ponies, and guards, with expressiosn ranging from angry to sympathetic.
Keyan placed Scootaloo on the ground and lifted her bruised face to his,
"Stay behind me Scoots."
Sootaloo odded and cowered behind Keyan's legs as he stood up. To say all of Keyan's decisions were well thought out would be a lie, to say he had done stupider things than stand in front of a raging solar princess would be an even bigger one.
The seething solar princess stopped no more than 6 steps away from the capsuleer. They stared each other down, neither making the first move.
"Drop your weapon," Celestia said with enough force to move a mountain. It was as if a thousand voices were speaking in tandem with hers.
Keyan looked down at his hand and realized he was still holding his handgun. He stared at it for a few seconds before tossing it onto the ground in front of Celestia. A fair amount of tension fled the crowd but Celestia's posture did not change.
"Explain yourself," Celestia said.
Keyan felt the quivering form of Scootaloo behind him and his resolve hardened.
"Let me tell you this Princess. You do. not. fuck! with a capsuleer's ship. You do. not. fuck! with his friends. And that prick fucked with both of mine."
Celestia did not break her stare.
"Let me tell you this capsuleer. You do. not. fuck! with my little ponies." Her voice was dripping with pure anger.
This was the first time Keyan had heard Celestia curse, he didn't even think she was capable of it.
The sounds of hoofsteps next to him caused Keyan to break his staredown with Celestia to see Rainbow standing next to him. By this time her eyes was easily noticeable and murmurs spread through the crowd.
"I'm sorry Princess. But i'm with Keyan on this one. That sack of horse apples deserved every bit of what Keyan did." Rainbow declared.
The princess's eyes shifted from Keyan to Rainbow, who withered only slightly under the piercing stare.
A second set of hoofsteps sounded on Keyan's other side. Keyan turned his head and to his surprise it was Rarity who had stepped up next to him.
"That monster Blueblood willingly hurt my little Sweetie Belle. I can do nothing but commend Keyan for his actions, even if they were a tad extreme."
"I woulda done the same darn thing if Apple Bloom had come to me like Scoots here did to Keyan." The southern twang of Applejack's voice sounded over the crowd as she stepped up next to Rainbow.
With a small eep Fluttershy stepped up next Rarity, her presence saying what words could not.
Pinkie Pie, who was uncharacteristically serious, stomped up next to Applejack,
"Blueblood is banned from any of my parties!" She vehemently declared.
Celestia’s gaze shifted over them, conveying no emotions. The crowd behind her fidgeted noticeably on their hooves.
Luna and Cadence felt the massive amounts of magic being channeled despite them being in a side room buried deep in the palace. They both knew the only pony capable of this amount was Celestia, and the only reason she would do it is because something had made her mad.
“Keyan?” Cadence asked
“Keyan,” Luna confirmed
They both stood up and trotted towards the door. Cadence bumped into Luna when the moon princess suddenly halted in her steps.
“You won’t mention to anypony what we discussed correct?” Luna asked nervously.
Cadence shook her head,
With a presence almost as powerful as Celestia’s, Twilight calmly stepped in between Keyan and Celestia.
“Princess, I know you’re angry. But what Keyan did was entirely justified, he is not a pony so you can’t punish him like one,” Twilight cleared her throat, “According to Equestrian Law, Keyan is technically the ambassador of his species. And as such his shuttle and ship are classified as foreign territory. So what Blueblood did was equivalent of invasion when he sent his henchponies in. And when Keyan gave permission for these foals to board his ship he technically assumed all responsibility for their safety. So Blueblood did not only invade a foreign country, he attacked ponies under its personal protection. So as such, from a legal, political, and moral standpoint Keyan cannot be punished.”
Celestia stared at Twilight for a few seconds as her brain processed Twilight’s speech. Eventually Celestia’s power began to ebb away and the oppressive aura lifted from the area. Everybody present suddenly found it a lot easier to breath.
“Captain, do you understand the extent of the damage you cause to the prince?” Celestis asked
Keyan shook his head.
“Disregarding the massive trauma to his skull, you cracked his horn almost 75% of the way through. This damage is not reparable, he will not be able to cast any spell more difficult than levitation for the remainder of his life. This may not seem like much to you Captain, but any unicorn here will understand the severity of that. You must have some measure of sympathy.”
Keyan shook his head,
“He hurt Scootaloo, that is enough reason for me to kill him. If I were alone with him I would have killed him without a second thought. Do not ask me to have sympathy Princess because I have none.”
Celestia turned to the crowd behind her,
It took little over 5 seconds for the crowd to clear out.
Celestia took a step towards Keyan,
“Keyan, I want to apologize. One of Blueblood’s ancestors was… special to me. And I am rather protective of him, his attitude is a result of that. When it comes to him it is hard for me to act like I should. I…” she took a deep breath, “understand why you did this. And I cannot punish you for it.”
Keyan nodded and Celestia stepped around Twilight and put her mouth right next to his ear,
“But if you hurt any of my little ponies again, I will not hesitate to kill you.”
Keyan clenched his fists,
“I understand Princess. But do not forget either how much you owe me, or how dangerous I can be. I was conserving ammo on the changelings, if you kill me, Aura won't do the same for you.”
Celestia nodded and stepped back from Keyan, “Oh, and don’t forget. Scootaloo ran to you first.” With that Celestia turned and trotted back into the Castle. A very confused looking Cadence and Luna came out of the door as Celestia trotted in.
Keyan scooped Scootaloo back up into his arms as Luna trotted up to him,
“Did I miss something?”
“You have no idea princess.”
Ten minutes later Keyan and the girls had explained what had just happened to the two other princesses.
“What an idiot,” Cadence said as she face-hoofed.
“I… must agree,” Luna concurred.
Keyan nodded his head as he shifted Scootaloo in his arms. She had fallen asleep halfway through the story and light snores made up the majority of her contribution. Twilight, Applejack, and Rarity had left to go put their respective charges to bed. Fluttershy and Pinkie had left as neither had wanted to hear the gruesome story again. Rainbow was the only one of the six remaining.
“Sorry for ruining your wedding Cadence. Not really the best way to make a first impression.”
Cadence giggled and her eyes shifted for a second to Luna before returning to Keyan,
“I wouldn’t say ruined. You’re just going to have to make it up to me later.”
“I think I can manage that.” Keyan said with a smile.
A particularly loud snort from Scootaloo accompanied her squirming deeper into Keyan’s chest.
“I also think its time to get her to bed.”
Both Luna and Cadence giggled at the fillies antics.
Keyan stood up and headed towards the open shuttle. He laid Scootaloo down on one of the seats and strapped her in securely. After triple checking the straps he turned back around to say goodbye to the ponies outside.
“Goodnight Cadence. I hope you have fun with your husband tonight,” he said with a wink.
Cadence rolled her eyes,
“Things like that may get Luna to blush but not me.”
“Glad to know at least someone has a sense of humor around here,” he said with a glance in Luna’s direction.
Keyan turned to Luna and gave her a small bow,
“I bid you goodbye Princess of the Moon, and may this night forever echo your beauty.”
Luna’s glare didn’t have the same effect with a blush covering it.
“And may the mud forever echo yours,” she replied.
Cadence suddenly elbowed her in the ribs. Luna coughed a little and glared at Cadence before looking at Keyan again,
“What I meant to say was: thank you for the lovely evening. I look forward to seeing you again.”
Keyan glanced between the two princesses trying to figure out what the hell was going on in between them. But in the end he was to tired and just ended up shrugging. He turned towards the final mare in the line.
He made an attempt to say something but suddenly Rainbow had wrapped her legs around him in a hug.
“Thanks for taking care of Scoots key. You’re the best thing to happen to her since the CMC.”
Keyan patted her on the back,
“Thanks Rainbow. Tell the girls I said goodnight alright? And I’ll send down the shuttle tomorrow with some nanites to heal up the fillies and Spike.”
“Thanks Key,” Rainbow took a glance over his shoulder at the sleeping Scootaloo, “Are you sure you wanna bring her back up to your ship?”
“Yea, I think we both need this right now.”
“Alright, goodnight Key.”
With this Keyan stepped back up into the shuttle and waved as the door shut.
“Take it easy Aura, don’t wake her up.” Keyan said as the shuttle began to lift off.
“Very well sir”
Spike tiptoed along the hallway, ducking into shadows whenever he heard a pony in the distance. Twilight had put him to bed a half hour ago but he had only been faking sleep. Before he could even hope of doing so he had to make sure the CMC was alright. He knew Scootaloo was okay with Keyan so that left only Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle.
He had checked on Apple Bloom not 2 minutes ago and she was safely tucked away in Applejacks hooves at the time. This left only Sweetie Belle now.
Spike had memorized the vast majority of the palace when he was being raised here, so finding the room where Rarity and Sweetie Belle were staying in was not much of a challenge.
3 corners and a corridor later he was outside their door. Reaching up a clawed hand to turn the handle he was interrupted when he heard a guard pony walking nearby. He quickly ducked into the shadows behind a curtain and waited as the guard passed him. After a minute Spike emerged from his hiding spot to try again.
The door was locked.
“Darn it,” he said under his breath as he looked around for a second option. His gaze fell upon a window and he searched his mind for the layout of Sweetie Belle’s room.
A foyer, and two separate bedrooms each with a window.
His mind made up he glided over to the window, and after giving it a light push to open it, he stepped out onto the ledge.
“Don’t look down, don’t look down,” he told himself. Unfortunately, he fell to the temptation like so many before him. Fortunately he was rather disappointed(relieved) to see a balcony not 10 feet below him.
Sidestepping along the ledge he eventually came to the first window. Peering inside he saw the sleeping form of Rarity underneath a mountain of blankets. He continued on his way towards the next room.
Spike looked in the room and saw a light under the covers. Every now and then it shifted around letting Spike now that Sweetie Belle was awake. He reached out a claw and tapped on the glass. Spike saw the light suddenly freeze. He tapped again. Sweetie Belle’s head peeked out from under the covers as she held a lantern in a hoof. Spike tapped again and upon seeing the dragon silhouetted in the window she scrambled out of bed and made her way to him
“What are you doing Spike?” she asked as the dragon clambered into the room.
Spike stood up and faced the filly.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Spike said while idly kicking the floor.
Sweetie Belle’s cheeks flushed and her ears laid flat against her head as she heard Spike’s words.
“Thanks Spike,” she said in a small voice, “you’re like, my knight in shining armor,” she finished with a small giggle.
Spike instinctively puffed up his chest,
“Well. I don’t mean to brag. But it was quite the quest getting here.”
A short while later the two found themselves safely tucked inside a pillow and blanket fort as Spike finished his tale of his epic quest. Which included, but was not limited to, evil sorcerers, evil knights, evil creatures, evil dragons, evil demons, evil princes, evil barbarians, and a particularly diabolical 10 foot drop.
Sweetie Belle’s mouth hung open in shock as Spike’s voice trailed off.
“And that's how I made it here!” Spike finished with a flourish.
“You really did all that for me?” Sweetie Belle asked, her voice quiet.
“Well of course I would Sweetie Belle.”
Sweetie Belle licked her lips, and glanced at Spike nervously as she internally debated something.
She suddenly stretched forward and planted a chaste kiss on Spike’s lips. They both immediately shrank into themselves as matching blushes assaulted their faces.
“Why’d you do that?” Spike asked.
Sweetie Belle shrugged,
“Because knights always get a kiss from their princess in the end. And since you’re my knight…” her voice trailed off.
“You can be my princess if you want… I guess” Spike said.
Sweetie Belle immediately perked up,
They both shared matching grins before Sweetie Belle let out a big yawn.
“Well, I guess its time I got back to my own room.” Spike said dejectedly.
“You could stay here if you want.” Sweetie Belle quickly added.
“I’d love to!” Spike said a little too fast, resulting in a fresh round of blushing.
Eventually they both settled down enough to lie down, cuddled up nice and close to each other.
“Goodnight” they both said together.