Shadowy Love

by FinnPony

Chapter 27

Shadowy Love

By FinnPony

Chapter 27

Sombra quickly climbed up the stairs that lead towards his room. He was feeling rather tired, which was understandable. The meeting he had been in was pretty much the most important one after his defeat. Even though everypony told him that the meeting wasn’t a big deal, but he knew that wasn’t completely true. He sighed tiredly and thought that it wasn’t so important now. The meeting had gone moderately well, if his small outburst wasn’t counted.

As he reached his door, he immediately got a feeling that something was wrong. His suspicion were proven true. The door to his room was slightly open, and he could see that the lights were turned on. He always closed the door behind him.

Inside the room was somepony who wasn’t supposed to be there. Flash Sentry was nervously going through the drawers of Sombra’s desk that Twilight Sparkle had gotten for him. He opened some of the many books that Sombra had piled on the desk and kept looking around the room for something. He peeked under Sombra’s bed before he moved to open the wardrobe, only to find out that it was empty. He tilted his helmet backwards a little and scratched his forehead, looking around confusedly.
“There has to be something…” he muttered silently to himself.
“Looking for something?” a deep voice asked, making the fur on Flash’s neck stand up. He quickly spun around and found himself facing Sombra. His red eyes were squinted suspiciously, staring at Flash with a look that made him gulp.
“I can say that you will not find anything of interest from here,” Sombra continued and stepped closer to Flash.
“You were supposed to be with the princesses…”Flash muttered.
“I suppose that I could say the same to you,” Sombra retorted. He then looked around his room and continued calmly, “But it seems that you had some more important matters to attend to.”
Flash was silent, and Sombra walked past him. Flash tried to slip away from the room when Sombra wasn’t looking, but Sombra said, “Stay Flash Sentry. Lets have a small chat.”
“Why should I want to speak with you?” Flash asked and grabbed the handle of the door.

“Do you remember the little brawl we had some time ago?”

Flash froze with his hoof still on the handle. Sombra grinned, knowing that he had hit the right spot. He then sat down to the side of his bed, facing Flash. He slipped out of his jacket and neatly folded it, keeping his eyes on Flash for the whole time. Flash could feel Sombra’s eyes on him, making him even more nervous than he already was. Sombra unbuttoned his white shirt and clumsily lifted the red tie from around his neck. When he was finally free from the clothes, he stood up, cleared his throat and spoke, “Now Flash… What are you scheming?”
Flash slowly turned around and said nervously, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh is that so?” Sombra asked. “So you don’t know anything about somepony sneaking behind my door at late hours, and what about the almost murdering looks that you have been giving me?”
Flash was quiet, staring at Sombra with an angry frown on his face. Sombra returned the stare. The mental war between them raged on for a moment, before Flash spoke, “I don’t know anything about that.”
Sombra let out a deep sigh and rolled his eyes. It seemed like he was giving up the fight with Flash, but knowing his temper, that wasn’t going to happen.

In a quick motion Sombra grabbed the neck opening of Flash’s armor, pulling him closer to himself so that their foreheads hit each other. Despite Flash was wearing his helmet, he saw stars for a moment, while Sombra just winced a little.
“Do you think that I am stupid!?” Sombra growled to Flash, showing his fangs to the terrified colt, who was too shocked to answer.
“I just caught you going through my personal belongings and you still tell me that there is nothing suspicious going on?” Sombra continued to growl. Again, he didn’t get an answer. The stubbornness of Flash Sentry was making him angry. He gave a little shake to younger stallion and said, “Stop whatever you are doing!”
He waited for a second before he grunted one last thing, “Or else...”

“Or else what?” Flash laughed quite aggressively..
Sombra pushed Flash backwards and said slowly with a victorious grin spreading onto his lips, “Or else I might tell Twilight Sparkle that you attacked me.”
“You wouldn’t do that,” Flash said with confidence. “Besides, you’d get in trouble too.”
“Oh I have been torn to pieces and sent to a place that made me wish for death for seven years. I do not think that Twilight Sparkle would give me a punishment worse than that.”
Flash was staring at him with wide eyes. If what Sombra had told him was true, Flash indeed had the short end of the stick. Sombra noticed the slight panic on Flash’s face and he liked it. Damn, he enjoyed it. But enough with amusements. He had a proposition to make.

Sombra let go of Flash’s armor and spoke calmly, like the previous outburst hadn’t even happened, “Of course I could consider not telling her…”
He held a small pause, before he continued, “But there is a price.”
“What price?” Flash quickly asked. Sombra realized that the orange colt was in his control now. Flash didn’t want his ‘love’ to know how he had done something that she wouldn’t approve, and Sombra wanted to be left alone. Sombra saw a possible solution for that problem.
“You will stop whatever you are doing, and I will not tell a word to Twilight Sparkle…” Sombra spoke slowly. He smiled teasingly at Flash and continued, “That way I can keep rolling in self-pity while you can keep trying to make Twilight Sparkle see how…-”Sombra chuckled a bit “-How much she means to you. I would say that it’s a win-win situation.”
Flash frowned and his tail swung in irritated way. He clearly was wondering about Sombra’s proposition. He sighed and  closed his eyes for a moment, hanging his head. After a short moment he perked up and said, “We have a deal.”
“Splendid!” Sombra exclaimed. “If I will catch you sneaking around my room again I will do as I threatened. Just you remember that.”
Flash frowned angrily, but he forced himself to answer, “And if I hear that you have done something bad to her, I will come and give you a new beating.”
Sombra laughed out loud, before he said, still chuckling a little, “Oh that is cute. Now get along you. I don’t have all day.”

Flash muttered something under his breath. Probably something like ‘this isn’t over’ or something like that. Sombra sat down in front of his desk and opened a book while Flash opened the door. At that moment they both heard a loud clattering of hooves coming from down the hallway. They shared a quick, confused look.
“Corporal Sentry!” A new voice shouted. “Have you seen him anywhere?”
Flash just looked confused. Soon a white unicorn guard appeared to the door, panting from running. The white unicorn started to speak, “Princess Celestia ordered to…”
He stopped when he noticed the ever so confused looking Sombra behind Flash. There was a second of silence and wide eyed stares between the ponies, before the guard suddenly shouted, “Corporal found him!”
With that two more unicorn guards rushed past Flash, into the room with spears in their magical grasps. An angry frown appeared on Sombra’s face when he stood up. He stepped closer to the threatening looking guards and asked with a voice just below shouting, “What is the meaning of th…”

He didn’t get to finish his sentence before two spearheads were pointing at his throat, almost touching his skin. He stared at the pointy ends of the spears for a second, before he huffed, “Well that is not so important right now.”

* * *

Meanwhile an intense discussion was going on in the library of Twilight Sparkle’s castle.

“Sister, you are making an unnecessary scene out of this!” Luna scolded Celestia, who was walking around in circles with her ears folded angrily. There weren’t any commoners around so she didn’t need to use her royal Canterlot voice.
Celestia glared at Luna and asked, “Unnecessary!? Can’t you see how he is manipulating Twilight?”
“I am right here!” Twilight exclaimed annoyedly, stomping her forehooves to the ground. “Why do you keep making a such a number about this?”
Celestia turned towards Twilight with her eyes wide.
“Why?” she asked. “Because I can’t just stand aside while he tries to woo you, only to break you when he does something terrible! That’s why!”
“Woo me? He isn’t wooing me, and he isn’t planning anything terrible!” Twilight exclaimed with a slight blush on her cheeks. “And besides, what makes you think that I would be stupid enough to fall for something like that?”
“She is right,” Luna commented. “Even Twilight’s friends think that Sombra is really trying to become a good pony. I trust them… Even though they are quite a strange bunch.”
“We are right here!” the five mares and one dragon in the same room exclaimed, making Luna look at them with an apologetic expression.
Celestia looked like she hadn’t even heard that and continued with an almost motherly tone that made Twilight frown, “Now Twilight… I know that you may see him as a nice and interesting pony, but you must remember that he still is King Sombra.”
“What are you talking about?” Twilight asked. Celestia was acting way too motherly once again. Now that Twilight thought about it, this wasn’t the first time when she had acted like that. Twilight just hadn’t noticed it.
“I’m talking about this,” Celestia said and poked the magazine on the floor. That made Twilight fold her ears.
“It was just a dance!” she exclaimed angrily. “Why is that so hard for you to understand!?”
“Because I care about you Twilight!” Celestia answered. She walked closer to Twilight and said softly, “You are the best thing to happen to our country. I couldn’t stand it if something bad happened to you.”

Twilight stared at her mentor for a moment, her ears still folded backwards. Her friends and princess Luna glanced at each other with worried looks. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor weren’t in the library. Cadence couldn’t watch as her aunt and her sister-in-law were fighting, and Shining Armor was trying to find Sombra. Twilight Sparkle was about to say something, but the doors of the library opened, interrupting her.

“We found him,” Shining Armor announced as he walked towards the mares.
“Bring him here,” Celestia said to him, and he saluted quickly, before waving his hoof to a couple of unicorn guards. The guards in turn raised the spears that they held in their magical hold and forced a dark coated stallion forward.        
“What is the meaning of this!?” was Sombra’s first question. He was looking more than angry about the guards poking him with their spears.
“Shut up,” Shining answered.
Sombra did so, but the look he gave to Shining Armor made the white stallion fall silent too. He stopped in front of the three princesses and demanded “I demand a proper answer!”
“You are not in a position to demand anything!” Celestia exclaimed.
“Yes he is!” Twilight retorted. “He hasn’t done anything wrong!”
Celestia squinted her eyes and stared at Sombra, before she asked, “How do you explain this?”

She slid the magazine on the floor so that Sombra could see the cover image. Sombra quickly realized what was going on with the white alicorn, and he certainly didn’t want to fuel her annoyance any more. He had to proceed cautiously.
“Princess Celestia,” he started slowly, thinking what to say next. He decided to try his luck and he said, “I do not see what is the problem here.”
“What a surprise!” Celestia snorted. “Of course you don’t. That’s because this is all just a part of some twisted plan that you are working on!”
“I am shocked by your accusations,” Sombra said. “Where did that friendly behaviour that I saw in you go all of the sudden?”
“It went away as soon as I realized that you are trying to seduce Twilight!” Celestia spat at him. Sombra coughed in surprise, while Twilight’s cheeks turned red. Sombra just didn’t have an answer for that.
“Princess...” Twilight tried shyly, but Celestia just continued.
“I can’t just stand aside when you -” she pointed at Sombra. “- are trying to make Twilight...”
“Sister,” Luna interrupted her. “Thou are making a jester out of thine self.”
Celestia groaned and said annoyedly, “Speak normally Luna!”
“What!?” she asked with her ears drooping. “We can speak however We like!”
Sombra saw how the situation was getting out of hoof. If he wouldn’t have been a part of it, he might have found it amusing. But as he was a big part of it, he found the situation where he was in very threatening.
“Just please Luna,” Celestia said, rubbing her forehead. “I just don’t have the energy right now…”
“Thee don’t command Us!” Luna exclaimed, seemingly upset about her sisters words. She poked Celestia in the chest and said, “We are getting sick of Thee always trying to control Us! We are a grown up pony for heavens sake!”

Twilight and Sombra glanced at each other worriedly. Behind them Rainbow Dash was regretting that she had showed the magazine to princess Celestia. It maybe hadn’t been the wisest decision. Others seemed to think so too.
“Ah can’t believe that you showed that magazine to her!” Applejack whispered angrily at the cyan pegasus. She didn’t answer put a scold from her marefriend didn't feel good at all.
“Yeah,” Pinkie whispered as Celestia and Luna continued to argue. “I baked that cake for three hours and now we can’t even eat it because of this. I’m really upset!”
“W-why do we have to be here anyway?” Fluttershy mumbled, running her hooves through her pink mane. “I don’t like it when they are fighting…”
Rarity patted her on the shoulder and comforted her, “There there… I’m sure that they can sort everything out…”
She glanced towards the two alicorn that were engaged in a verbal war.
“At least I hope so…” she added quietly.
“Yeah,” Spike muttered. “I don’t want to live in the same castle with Twilight if things go sour between her and Celestia…”

“And We can’t even go out for a walk without Thine guards following Us around!” Luna said, her voice rising.
“I just want you to be safe!” Celestia defended herself. “Just like I want for Twilight to be safe!”
“I can handle myself!” Twilight commented loudly.
“I know Twilight,” Celestia started softly. “But you are still so very young and I just couldn’t stand it if something bad would happen to you.”
She then glanced at Sombra with a deep frown on her face.
“And that’s why I am stopping this project,” Celestia announced with a nod. She then looked at Twilight sadly and added, “It is for your own good. You are not ready yet.”

Silence fell over the library. Sombra was looking calm, but a drop of sweat was rolling down his forehead. He knew what the end of his reformation would mean. He could almost hear the metal door of the damp cell under Canterlot closing in front of him. He glanced at Twilight Sparkle, who staring at her mentor with her eyes wide and mouth open. She was completely motionless, her wings hanging downwards sadly, her purple eyes glimmering a little.

The sight made Sombra’s chest hurt. He had already realized that it was connected to those feelings he had been having lately, but this time it was different. It wasn’t that odd burning that he sometimes felt, no. It was something different. Like he would have felt the pain that Twilight Sparkle was feeling right that moment.

It was terrible.

Maybe it was because of that, or because he didn’t want to get back into that cell, or maybe it was both, but he took actions.

“She is more than ready!” he announced, earning everypony’s action. She walked forward, staring straight at Celestia.
“Nopony asked you a thing,” Shining commented, but he was ignored.
“I admit,” Sombra continued with slightly embarrassed look. “I have had some ups and downs during the time that I have been spending in Ponyville, but look at me now.”
He slowly looked at both of the princesses, Twilight, her friends, some of the guards, Shining Armor, Spike and then back at Celestia.
“I am here, in front of you, as a pony,” he said. “Not as the monster that I used to be.”
His expression changed into a troubled one when he continued, “I cannot say that I regret all of my past actions. Most of them I do, but not all of them.”
He turned his head towards a wide-eyed Twilight and said, “But I do not want to become the thing that I was in the past. I have betrayed my own soldiers and… And in a way my family too... I don’t want that to happen again.”
Twilight flashed a small, sad smile at him, which he didn’t return. He just kept speaking.

“I assure you that Twilight Sparkle is an extraordinary mare. Without her help, I would not be like this, no. She has taught me that there is hope for me. And I am truly thankful for that. She has made me actually think reformation as a real option. Before that I saw it as a punishment.”
Sombra kept a small pause before continuing, “I will stand by her, and I will trust her completely, whatever she does. After all, she and her… my friends… And the dragon are the only things I have left. I don’t have a home anymore… I don’t have... a family anymore. Without them, I have no future either. They are trying to help me. The only thing that I can offer them now is my complete support.” Sombra spoke with his head held up, making Twilight droop her ears and blush.
Her friends were smiling a small, worried smiles, and Spike was rolling his eyes. Even Rainbow Dash’s expression was softening. Sombra turned to look precisely at her and said, “I will stand by her side.”
Rainbow Dash gulped nervously. Sombra seemed so serious when he spoke. It was making that cyan pegasus confused.
Sombra then added one last thing, turning to look at Celestia with almost an pleading look in his red eyes, “I truly hope that you would do the same.”

Celestia was quiet, eyeing Sombra up and down with a judging look in her azure eyes. Luna was looking at her sister with hopeful glimmer in her eyes, while Sombra felt his heart racing. Twilight Sparkle was still staring at Sombra with a thankful smile on her lips. Sombra’s words had meant much for her.

Celestia finally shuffled her wings a little, let out a disappointed grunt and said with her voice cold as a winter, “Your honeyed words don’t fool me, Slave King.”
Twilight and her friends gasped. Celestia gave a small nod towards Shining Armor, who in turn turned towards the two guards that had brought Sombra there.
“Take him away,” Shining told the guards.

That was when Twilight snapped.

“No!” she exclaimed loudly, her wings flaring open. The guards stopped moving and turned to look at Shining Armor for help.
“Twily…” Shining tried, but the purple mare turned towards him with a furious look on her face.
“As a princess I command you to stop!” she shouted. “And as a captain of a royal guard you will obey me!”
“Twilight Sparkle!” princess Celestia said in a shocked tone. “What are you doing!?”
Twilight didn’t answer that question. Instead she spun around towards Celestia and stomped closer to her.
“You can’t tell me what to do with my student!” she hissed at Celestia, who looked shocked and hurt.
The expression soon turned into a disgusted frown and she turned to stare at Sombra. She pointed at him and said, “Now look how he has made turn Twilight against me!”
“It was you who made me turn against you!” Twilight exclaimed, making Celestia back up with her ears folded.
She looked at Twilight sadly and muttered, “Me? I-I was just trying to protect you Twi…”

“You’re not my mother!” Twilight shouted in her royal Canterlot voice, scaring everypony in the room. Even Celestia looked frightened.
When nopony said anything, Twilight continued in her normal voice, “Can’t you see that I am a grown up mare? I can handle myself and so does Luna! You can’t treat us like this!”
“B-but…” Celestia muttered.
“No!” Twilight shouted. “I can’t believe how I haven’t seen this earlier! How can you even say that we are equal, if you keep telling us what to do?”
She took a deep breath, before continuing more calmly, “I know that you meant good, but now I have had enough! Sombra is my student, a guest in my castle and he is my friend, so I and only I can decide what to do to him.”
The doors of the library flew open and Cadence rushed in.
“Is everything alright? I heard…” she started but fell silent when she saw the angry look on Twilight’s face, and the terrified one on everypony else’s face. She gulped and stayed put on the place where she had stopped.

Twilight gave the most challenging look to Celestia and said slowly, “From now on I will rule as an equal co-ruler of Equestria, as we all shall. We will be equal. No decisions are made without all three of us knowing about it. You will stop towering over us three. We. Can. Handle. Ourselves.”
“But Twilight…” Celestia tried with a shocked look on her face. “You must understand that I was just protecting you…”
“I appreciate that, but now it must stop,” Twilight spoke with her tone getting softer. She looked sadly at the white alicorn and said, “How can I become ready to rule on my own if I you will keep doing everything for me?”
Celestia was quiet, staring at the floor. She glanced upwards quickly, returned to stare at the floor and said, “I can’t let anything bad happen to you Twi…”
“Stop,” Twilight pleaded and Celestia did as she asked. Twilight took deep breath and continued with that same soft voice, “Celestia please. I am not asking you to stop mothering me -” she glanced at Luna. “- Us. I am telling you to stop it.”
She stared at Celestia pleadingly, before adding one last thing, “Do you agree with me, or not?”

Celestia and Luna stared at her with confused, almost shocked expression. Luna was first one to react. She smiled proudly.
“With joy, We agree Thine terms, princess Twilight Sparkle,” she announced formally and turned towards Cadence.
“I-I don’t know what’s going on but I am too scared to say no,” she muttered, before nodding and confirming, “Yes. I agree too.”
Shining Armor stepped by her to whisper her what was going on.
Everypony else turned to stare at Celestia with a waiting look on their faces. The white alicorn had apparently lost her ability to speak, and she just stared at the purple mare in front of her. The air was filled with thick tension, everypony waiting for her answer. Pinkie Pie was so nervous that she was biting her own hooves.

Celestia started to open and close her mouth, her ears drooping downwards. Her legs shook under her and she slumped down to her haunches. Everypony looked worried as she hung her head towards the floor. She closed her eyes and sighed, “I agree...”

With that she was closed into a tight hug. She sighed and muttered, “Twilight I…”
She opened her eyes and saw that Twilight was still standing in front of her.. Celestia blinked confusedly and realized that it was pair of deep blue hooves that were squeezing her. Luna nuzzled her sister’s cheek and happily said, “We- I am so happy that you came to your senses sister.”
Celestia laid her hooves on Luna’s, a bit embarrassed by the fact that her sister was hugging her in front of her guards and  Sombra. She sighed and said, “I still don’t like this at all.”
Everypony seemed confused, and Twilight grunted. Celestia was quick to add with a sad look in her azure eyes, “But I don’t want to hurt either one of you any longer.”
“Oh sister,” Luna chuckled. “You aren’t hurting us.”
“Yes,” Twilight said slowly. “There hasn’t been any real damage done.”
She smiled in a bit forced way and said, “And you are still the one who I can always rely on when I need help. This hasn’t changed anything between us.”
Celestia smiled a little, her ears still drooped. She squeezed Luna’s hoof a little harder and said, “You will always be my best student, Twilight Sparkle.”
“And you will always be my mentor and friend,” Twilight answered, before walking up to her and helping her to get up. Even though Twilight was acting calmer than moments ago, her expressions and tone of voice felt strangely cold to Celestia. She didn’t like it.

Meanwhile Sombra sighed from relief. For a moment he had feared for the worst. He then couldn’t help but to think that the ponies he was spending time with were just odd. He had just witnessed a drama that would have been taken straight from a play. Sometimes he felt like being just an actor in a soap opera.

Celestia soon regained her posture. She hesitated a little before turning towards Sombra and saying, “I shall withdraw your punishment. You are free to go.”
“I am grateful for that,” Sombra said with a bow.
Celestia looked away and said bluntly, “Don’t be. You’re still a criminal in my books.”
Sombra frowned deeply and his right ear flickered annoyedly.
“So be it,” he answered.

Sombra didn’t want to spend any more time and energy talking to a pony who didn’t like him, so he turned towards Twilight and spoke with an uncharacteristically warm smile, “Thank you Twilight Sparkle, for standing up for me.”
“Well…” Twilight said and looked shyly at him. “Actually I was kinda defending myself and Luna but… I guess that it maybe had something to do with that little speech that you held too…”
“Oh that,” Sombra said awkwardly. “I hope that it was not too… How do they say it... Cheesy?”

“Thank you,” she whispered.
“And do not be too mad at Celestia,” Sombra said, surprising Twilight. She gave him a confused look in which Sombra answered, “You are important to her, and she just wants to protect you.”
There was a short moment of silence and a weird, almost sad smile spread on Sombra’s lips. He looked at Twilight and sighed, “She reminds me of somepony I used to know.”
“Who do you mean?” Twilight asked, never getting an answer from him.  

He just gave her one last smile, before he turned around and started to make his way away from the library. Twilight stared after him with his words spinning around her mind and a heavy feeling in her heart. He was sad again. She hated it.

Meanwhile Cadence was staring at the purple alicorn with her mouth open and eyes wide. As a princess of love she was a master in reading ponies, and the look on Twilight’s face as she stared at Sombra made alarm bells ring in her head. Why? Probably because she didn’t want to believe that she was right once again. No way. She was just under a lot of stress. There was no way that Twilight Sparkle and Sombra would be falling in…

“Love?” Shining Armor asked.  “Are you alright?”
Cadence snapped out of her trance, blinked confusedly and turned towards her husband, asking, “What?”
“Are you alright?” Shining repeated with a raised eyebrow. “You kinda spaced out for a moment there.”
“Oh,” Cadence said, slightly embarrassed. “I’m just a bit confused right now.”
“I think we all are,” Shining said. He looked worriedly towards Twilight and said, “I have never seen Twilight angry like that. I wonder what got into her...”
“Yes…” Cadence muttered, turning her gaze towards the purple alicorn in question. She then sighed worriedly, “What indeed…”

* * *

The meeting was over, the cake and the other pastries were devoured, goodbyes had been said and Twilight Sparkle’s guests were making their leave, being escorted through the castle by a couple of Twilight Sparkle’s guards.

Celestia was walking a couple of steps behind the rest of the grew. She was sighing sad, deep sighs and kept her ears drooped. Her posture was slightly slumped and suddenly she wasn’t looking so royal at all. She didn’t know it, but the other one of Twilight’s guards kept taking sideways glances at her with a worried look on his face.

They soon reached the big front doors, where two other guards waited by both sides of the doors. They could already hear the loud voices of ponies talking behind the doors, waiting to see the princesses again. Luna frowned when she turned to look at Celestia.
“Cheer up Sister,” she scolded Celestia. “We can’t let the plebeians see Thee like that.”
“Subjects Luna,” Cadence corrected. “We have been speaking about this.”
“Why can’t We call them plebeians like in the good old days?” Luna asked with a pout, forgetting her gloomy sister. “How about commoners? The word ‘subject’ feels odd in Our tongue…”
With that the two guards opened the doors, and the crowd started to cheer once again. Luna, Cadence and Shining Armor walked outside, but Celestia stayed inside for a moment longer. She chuckled sadly when she heard Luna addressing the crowd as ‘commoners’. Normally that would have made her smile out of amusement, but not that day.

She sighed deeply once again, but winced when somepony spoke.
“Don’t be upset your majesty,” the voice said.
Celestia winced and turned towards the calm voice. She saw a white-coated stallion, dressed up in the standard guards armor. He wore an expressionless look on his face, like a proper guard should, but in his eyes she saw a consoling look.
“Excuse me?” she asked after she recovered from the surprise.
“Princess Twilight Sparkle is just a little upset,” the guard continued. “She has a lot of burdens on her shoulders right now. Believe me, I know.”
Celestia didn’t know who that white pony was, but he clearly seemed like a nice pony. Other guards gave him a weird, but somehow respectful looks, even though he was just a corporal.

Celestia pouted. She wasn’t sure why, but she spoke to that guard, “I am aware of that, corporal. I just feel like a terrible pony for making Twilight Sparkle so angry.”
“She won’t stay angry for long,” The corporal said. “Not at you at least.”
“What do you mean with that corporal?” Celestia asked, and the guard stepped a little closer. The expressionless look changing into a small smile.
“Princess Twilight Sparkle adores you,” he said. “She would never stay angry at you.”
“I think that I have made a mistake that might change that,” Celestia said with her ears drooping.
The guard shook his head and spoke, “Nothing can change the way how she sees you. Like she said, you are her mentor and more importantly a friend. She even has a picture of you on her nightstand.”
“Really?” Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow. “And how do you know that corporal? Have you been sneaking into her bed chambers?”
“No your majesty,” the guard chuckled. “I saw it one time when she asked for me to bring a new pile of parchments from her room when Spike the dragon wasn’t in the castle.”
The guard then chuckled a little more and he then added, “And she needed those parchments to write a letter to you.”
Celestia chuckled a little. That white-coated earth pony in his golden armor somehow had said the right words to make her feel a little bit better about everything that had happened.
“Are you sure that she won’t stay angry at me corporal?” she asked. “She sounded quite cold when we said our goodbyes.”
“She is confused and housing Sombra isn’t easy either. I guarantee you that she won’t stay mad at you,” the corporal answered her.
Celestia began to smile. Maybe that corporal was right. His small smile was also helping her somehow.

“I don’t think that I got you name corporal,” Celestia said to the corporal.
“My name is Sam,” Sam said with a small bow.
“Sam?” Celestia asked with a slightly confused look on her face. “Isn’t that a bit strange name for a pony?”
“My full name is actually Sam Hill, your majesty,” Sam told her.
“That only makes it more confusing,” Celestia said.
“When my father saw me for the first time, I kicked a jug of water all over him,” Sam told Celestia, who gave him a deadpan stare. Sam smiled a little and said, “He yelled ‘what in the Sam Hill is going on in here’. That’s how I got my name your majesty.”

Celestia laughed a little and said, “Sometimes it seems like ponies name their foals with strangest of names.
“I’m happy with it,” Sam said.
Celestia then remembered something.
“Aren’t you one of Twilight Sparkle’s personal guards?” she asked.
“I am,” Sam answered with a nod. “You were the one who sent me here along with Flash Sentry.”
“I'm happy to see that she is guarded by good ponies like you,” Celestia said to Sam, who bowed deeply.
“I’m here to protect and serve,” he said seriously.

There was a moment of silence between them, before Celestia turned towards the open front doors. Luna was already looking frustrated by the having to wait for her older sister.
“I believe that it is time for me to leave now,” she said and turned to face Sam again. She smiled and said, “Thank you for your words Sam Hill. I appreciate them.”
Sam took of his helmet, letting his blonde mane fall downwards. He bowed and repeated himself, “I’m here to protect and serve your majesty.”
“Please stop calling me ‘your majesty’,” Celestia said. “It makes me feel uneasy.”
“As you wish, my princess,” Sam corrected himself, earning a roll of eyes from Celestia.

“I hope that we meet again, corporal,” Celestia said, smiling at Sam, who placed his helmet back onto his head.
“I’m looking forward to it,” He answered. With that Celestia started to walk towards the cheering crowd and the golden chariots where her frustrated looking sister waited. The guard that had opened the front doors closed them after the white alicorn passed him, the doors muffling the voices of the excited crowd.

There was deep silence between the guards, every one of them staring at Sam weirdly. He noticed it, frowned annoyedly and asked, “What?”
“I remember you speaking something about keeping your private life apart from your work,” Flash Sentry said with a teasing grin on his lips. Sam kept his cool but he seemed a bit troubled by Flash’s hinting.
He started to walk towards the throne room and said to Flash, “Princess was looking upset, so I made her feel better. I was just doing my job you brat.”
“Sure thing…” Flash dragged out, before starting to laugh, other guards joining him.

Sam felt his cheeks getting hotter when everypony was laughing at him. He groaned and started to trot back towards his post, mumbling curses at Flash Sentry.