A Pony Displaced: Another Path

by NoLongerSober

Chapter 26

Barrier idly scuffed his hind-hooves across the floor and fidgeted with his bandaged shoulder as the tan pegasus sat across from him, scribbling something down on a napkin.

“Stop it.” Daring didn’t even look up as she continued to write, occasionally stopping to dip her quill in the ink well.

Barrier’s hooves fell idle…for nearly an entire minute before they were back to anxiously scuffing the floor of the train.

The pegasus tolerated the sound for another thirty seconds before she finally wadded the napkin up and tossed the quill at the unicorn, capping her inkwell and huffing as she adjusted herself to be more comfortable on the bench.

“My apologies, Daring. I’m…nervous.” Barrier’s tone was low, apologetic.

“You don’t say?” Daring snorted, half in amusement and half in irritation.

“The energy I felt earlier…I’m worried about what that could mean for the empire and Equestria. Princess Luna told me that she and her sister believed the Empire would return, but I assumed she was only saying that for my benefit.”

Daring didn’t reply immediately, instead taking a moment to reign in her previous agitation.

“But earlier I felt a pulse of magic akin to Sombra’s…” Barrier fell silent, his hooves moving to scrape at the floor again only for the unicorn to catch himself and shift, tucking all four legs beneath him on his side of the room.

“Yeah, I don’t think Princess Luna is a pony to lie about something like that. She strikes me as more of a…brutally-honest, no-nonsense type of pony.”

“She is. Was…I don’t really know any more. The princesses and I never talked when I was in the guard. It was strictly a business relationship.” Barrier’s frown turned into a slight smile as a memory came to life. “Except this one time, on the first of April…”

Daring tilted her head in curiosity, ears twitching slightly. “What’d she do on April Fools’ day?”

Barrier opened his mouth to respond before the unfamiliar name hit him. “April Fools’ day?”

“April first?” Daring asked in response. “Y’know, April Fools’ Day? Everypony playing pranks on each other, having a good time?”

“Pranks…” Barrier thought back to what his companion had called him the previous week, before their departure. “Like what Shining Armor’s parents and I did to him?”

The mare confirmed it with a simple nod.

One of Barrier’s hooves found it’s way out from underneath him and pressed itself to his chin. “Interesting. A day dedicated to simple tomfoolery. Ponies could have used something like that when I was growing up, though I wager my father wouldn’t have let me partake.”

“So,” Daring refocused on the original subject. “What did Princess Luna do?”

Barrier chuckled, the smile from earlier returning. “My cadets somehow managed to get ahold of my mother and with her assistance played a prank on me.” One that cost them quite dearly. Barrier remembered Princess Luna’s suggested retaliation, which he’d followed up on, as well as his own retaliation where he made them run laps until they were throwing up. “I was in my office going over the latest leave requests - a duty I was given on account of suddenly being in Canterlot more often - when I heard ponies shuffling around outside of my door…”


“My friends, whatever happens, we can not let Captain Barrier learn what Hat Trick has done this time! He’d skin him alive!” Verdant whispered harshly, warily eyeing the thick wooden door into the unicorn’s office before jumping slightly when a familiar magical aura jerked it open, one tired unicorn staring down at them.

“And praytell what did he do this time?”

Swiftsword was the first to reply, chuckling nervously. “Ah-ha, uh. Captain, most humble of welcomes.” She swallowed the lump in her throat before continuing, “Do you remember when you punished Hat Trick for breaking Princess Celestia’s window?”

Barrier’s eyes narrowed dangerously. An event such as that was hard to forget, given Princess Luna had argued to have him removed from under Barrier’s command and put back into the regular guard. “What did he do?”

This time it was the pristine white earth-pony that answered, running a hoof idly through her blonde mane. “Well, it’s partially my fault since I gave him permission, but…”

“What.” Barrier’s tone dropped, the day’s fatigue making it known through frustration at his cadets dragging their hooves and dancing around the issue.

“Well,” Iron Forge chimed in, “Hat Trick decided to get even with you by sleeping with somepony to infuriate you…”

Great, he’s caused more trouble. Barrier internally groaned at the thought of having another problem to deal with. “Very well,” Only through sheer willpower was the unicorn able to keep his tone level and mostly conversational. “Who did he sleep with?”

Nopony answered this time, all of them looking nervously at the floor, ears pressed against their skulls.

The unicorn finally snapped, slamming a hoof into the ground and startling all four of the ponies; he seldom lost his temper but the week had not been kind. “Cadets, I want an answer now!” Cracks spider-webbed along the stone floor.

“Sir…” Verdant finally mustered the nerve to reply. “The mare he slept with was…Star Arcana…”


“Star Arcana was your…mom?” The pegasus guessed.

“Aye,” Barrier replied simply before launching into his narrative once more.


Barrier let a tired sigh escape and rubbed his temples with a hoof, eyes closed in perturbation. “Cadets, do you really think that I would fall for that pathetic lie? That my mother, a fifty-year old married mare, would lay with with a seventeen year old, especially one with Hat Trick’s looks?”

“Hey!” Winter Gem half-growled.

“Tis true, Captain.” Swiftsword interjected before Winter Gem could continue. “He is meeting with her in the courtyard as we speak.”


“Was your mom actually in the courtyard with Hat Trick?”

“Aye. When I arrived in the courtyard I saw something that terrified me almost as much as Grimhilde did. Hat Trick and my mother were kissing, and my mother was giving as good as she got.”

Daring sucked in air through her teeth as the unicorn began again.


“Cadets.” The stallion stated icily, not even turning to acknowledge his mother who seemed to have notice him. “Take Hat Trick and leave.”

Swiftsword took several steps back at the tone he used, but nonetheless replied. “Sir?”

“Get him out of the castle. Now.” Barrier’s right eye twitched dangerously and he began to paw idly at the ground. All four of the ponies rushed to obey when his horn flared to life, all but dragging Hat Trick away before Barrier pointed his horn to the ground and discharged the energy violently into the ground a short distance away, leaving a smoking crater in the courtyard and drawing guards to the courtyard to inspect the disturbance.

“Now that’s quite enough of that!”

Barrier’s ears almost immediately pinned themselves to his skull as the familiar tone entered his ears.

The violet unicorn had left the cadets, all of whom were now staring at their trainer quite nervously, and made her way over to him smoothing out her two-tone blue mane and tail with her magic before stopping and looking up at her son.

“Mother…” Barrier started hesitantly, unsure of where to really start, but soon he found his eyes drifting behind her to Hat Trick, who smiled weakly and waved a hoof at him; the charcoal unicorn snorted as his hackles began to rise once more.

“Barrier!” Star Arcana raised her voice again, reaching up and smacking her son top of his head. “I said enough and I meant it! I’ll not have you harming my lover or the father of your coming sibling.”

“I…we’re…you…mother, why?” The unicorn shook his head, suddenly feeling light-headed.

“A mare has needs, Barrier, even at my age. Your father certainly isn’t up to filling the holes in my life…” softly under her breath she finished the sentence, “not a single damned one of them.”

The unicorn stallion fell into a heap as darkness took him.


“Holy crap…” Daring had abandoned her bench to join Barrier on his some time during the story. “So what happened after you woke up?”

“I awoke to my mother slapping me…” the stallion didn’t notice the mare sidling closer to him as he continued.


“Barrier!” Another smack. “Come on, up and at’em.” The pony took to shaking him slightly.

“Wgah’nagl?” Barrier asked unintelligently as light began to filter into his eyes.

“About time you woke up. I was about to have one of the cadets fetch a pail of water to throw on you.”

Barrier didn’t reply, instead sitting upright onto his flanks, his mother moving to sit in front of him.

“Now then, there’s something very important your cadets and I need to tell you.” A grin slowly began to work its way onto the older mare’s muzzle, Barrier swallowing nervously as the cadets all moved closer and his mother’s grin began to unsettle him.

“Got you!” They all said in almost perfect synchronization, his mother accompanying the line with a soft boop to his nose and a giggle.

Barrier’s brain stopped as it tried - and failed - to process the sudden shift in tone. At some point, he snapped back to reality when his mother slapped again.

“So, what’d ya’ think?” Winter Gem smiled at the officer. “We all played our roles pretty good, right?” The unicorn simply stared at the group with a blank expression, drawing more laughs.

Stifling herself with a hoof, Arcana stood upright and backed away from her son. “This has been the most entertaining day in months.”

Swiftsword also wore a wry grin, though she wasn’t openly laughing like the others. “This April first will be one remembered through the ages.”

Barrier didn’t reply to any of them, instead climbing to his hooves and turning his back to the group, moving back into the castle in complete silence; Verdant Range noticed.

“Uh, guys? I know this was all most entertaining, but should we not be worried about the Captain getting back at us?”

Hat Trick scoffed and waved a hoof dismissively. “It was just a harmless practical joke. What’s the worst he could do in retaliation, make us exercise or study, like he’s already going to do?”


Daring was struggling to contain her own chuckles at the situation, a snicker occasionally slipping out.

“When I re-entered the castle, Princess Luna was waiting for me, the guards having alerted her to me apparently destroying the garden. When I explained why I was angry, she put a plan into motion and showed a side of herself nopony knew she had up to that point. It was quite the stark change in character.”


“It was a practical joke…” Verdant mocked the pegasus. “What’s the worst he can do?” The stallion fell silent as the noose was fitted over his neck.

“How was I supposed to know he’d take it this far?!” Hat Trick argued, shifting uncomfortably in his own rope-tie. Even now the stallion could hear Star Arcana yelling at and berating her son for taking things too far, as she’d been doing since the guards had arrested Hat Trick and the others.

“This is ridiculous!”

Hat Trick frowned; Swiftsword was yelling as well.

“We have broken no laws! I am the heir to the Falchion clan and demand we have a trial to prove our innocence!”

”Silence!" Luna’s booming voice cut over top of Swiftsword and Star Arcana alike.

“Thou have all been accused of assaulting a superior officer! Normally, thou have be given a trial, however, due to unique circumstances, this will not be the case!” Luna let the words settle over the cadets and the slowly growing crowd of ponies that had taken notice of the event. “My sister and I have both spoken with the guards that witnessed the scene, as well as the victim and have found thee guilty! For the assault of your superior officer, We sentence thou all to hang from the neck until bread!”

Verdant was the first to catch on, just before the platform beneath them gave way, dropping them into a tub of thick bread-batter, their nooses going with them; Luna began to guffaw as one by one they all managed to climb to the surface of the batter and make their way to the edge of the container; one by one they filtered out from beneath the wooden structure and into the clear view of the hundreds of ponies that had gathered to watch; Star Arcana dry-heaving with laughter while Barrier only wore a smug grin.

“Captain…” Swiftsword growled as the five of them lined up before him.

“Cadets,” Barrier’s smug grin turned into an almost warm smile. “Go wait for me at the track. You’re all going to be running laps for the remainder of the day.”

All five cadets made varying sounds, some grumbling, others swearing, but all of them moving towards the training grounds, batter still dripping from them.

“And the first one of you to throw up while running laps gets the night-shift for guard-duty!”

“Barrier, while that was most amusing, did you really need to go that far? They thought they were going to die…”

“Cadets should have a healthy amount of respect and fear for their superiors. They were starting to get too comfortable around me and that has the potential to hinder them.” Barrier fell silent very briefly before he addressed his mother in a soft voice. “I must ask…are you really pregnant with Hat Trick’s foal?”

The older mare rolled her eyes and scoffed. “No Barrier, I’ve never slept with your purple cadet. Besides that, I’m too old to have a foal. Then there’s the fact that he’s not exactly appealing to the eye…”

“Oh thank Zacherle…” Barrier released a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.

“Now the green one on the other hoof…”

“Wait, what?!” Barrier stared at his mother as she turned to leave. “Mother! What were you talking about?” The stallion moved to follow before remembering he was due at the training field. “Mother!”

“Good night, Barrier.” Star Arcana waved at the unicorn, not turning around to show him her grin.


Daring spent several minutes laughing before finally regaining her composure and exchanging it for the occasional chuckle as she retrieved another napkin from her saddlebags as well as another quill and inkwell.

“You never did tell me what you’re writing.” Barrier looked over the mare’s shoulder at the blank napkin.

“Two questions. First, do you care if I use your likeness in my book, and second, are you okay if the book has us fighting a skeleton-monster for the diamond?”