• Published 11th Jul 2013
  • 6,500 Views, 243 Comments

The Traveling Tutor and the Diplomats Daughter - Georg

All Princess Sun Shines wants to do is escape from her stuffy room and explore the castle. All Green Grass wants to do is find some distraction to keep him from worrying about Twilight Sparkle’s most recent dangerous mission. Solution: Tour G

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Ch. 6 - Wake-Up Call

The Traveling Tutor and the Diplomat’s Daughter
Wake-Up Call

It isn’t what we know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
— Trigger Rogers

The beautiful auroral displays of the evening were fading as the faint light of pre-dawn began to filter down from the mountain tops surrounding Canterlot, highlighting the yawning Nocturne mare climbing the stairs to the Observatory tower. Twenty-four floors. Seven inches to the step. Four hundred and ninety three steps. She could have flown up in a matter of minutes, but it had been a long night of ground-bound desk drudgery that had claimed her once she had delivered dinner last evening, and as soon as she woke Her Royal Highness from her well-deserved nap this morning, she was going to have to fly like the wind to keep up with her. But only for the next hour until Her Highness was once again ensconced in negotiations with the griffons, and then Laminia would be able to return home to slumber through the day alongside her handsome husband. Who, coincidentally, was the only Night Guard on duty in front of the Observatory door once she reached her destination.

“Good morning, lovercolt.” Spiking the greeting with a warm kiss to the nose for her husband, Princess Luna’s Hoofmaiden nodded to the door he was guarding. “Is Her Royal Highness prepared to greet the morn? And where’s the other guard? There’s supposed to be two of you lunkheads on duty at all times.”

“Down there.” Optio Pumpernickel nodded tersely at a nearby tower roof where two alert young Night Guards stood on display, nodding back in return. “Her Highness deserved a little privacy this evening.” Trying to ignore the waggling eyebrows of his suddenly bright-eyed young wife, he rolled his eyes and silently mouthed, “Grooming. Hours of it.”

Laminia’s excited intake of breath corresponded with the referenced Princess of the Night popping out of the Observatory door in a faint fog of fine winter coat hair that exploded out in a fuzzy cloud around her. Luna now looked much more sleek and rested than last evening, even though she had a few primary feathers on both wings sticking together from a poor preen. She snagged the package carried by her coughing Hoofmaiden, opening it up and flipping through the report and collection of photographs with a pleased smile.

“Very good work to the both of you. Laminia, after you take these to my chambers, you may have the rest of the day off. Optio Pumpernickel.” Luna eyed the suddenly alert and very statue-like guard. “Your shift was over several hours ago.”

“Sorry, My Princess.”

The Princess of the Night focused her attention on the sweating guard. “You do realize We have other guards who are fully capable of standing outside Our door, correct?”

“I was attempting to be discreet, Ma’am.”

Luna sighed. It was not as impressive as one of Celestia’s sighs of disappointment, which could cause innocent ponies blocks away to apologize for whatever they had done to disappoint the Princess of the Sun, but what it lacked in volume, it made up for in proximity.

“In order for others to think nothing is going on, the appearance of ‘nothing going on’ should be maintained. Anypony who happened by this evening would notice there was only one guard outside Our door, and make assumptions.”

“Sorry, Ma’am.”

“Sorry does not cut the ketchup⁽*⁾. Once you have escorted my groomer to his morning appointment, you are to return here to the Observatory and clean it of all hair as punishment. Is that clear?”
(*) Princess Luna’s use of modern slang and aphorisms was a work in progress.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Good.” Princess Luna turned to Laminia and whispered something in her ear before launching into the air and regally soaring away, the two guards from the nearby tower flapping frantically in pursuit of their princess. Once she was out of sight, Pumpernickel flicked one ear and looked at his giggling wife.

“What did she say?”

Laminia looked up at her lunkish husband with big, golden eyes and a secret smirk. “She said there’s still three-quarters of a bottle of champagne and some whipped cream left inside as a reward for when we’re done cleaning, and then the Observatory is ours for the whole morning. Race you back here.” With a quick kiss to her stunned husband, Laminia spread her membranous wings and flew off into the crisp spring air to deliver her package.

* * *

Green Grass was never one to spring nimbly out of bed to greet the morning, feeling it much more appropriate to give the dawn a certain amount of respectful privacy by only crawling out of bed to greet the sun at the crack of noon. Close proximity to Twilight Sparkle for the last year had not dampened any of his well-practiced habits, as she tended to share his deep respect for the morning, even more on mornings after carrying on their mutually enjoyable late-night activities⁽¹⁾. So the faint rattling noises of other pony activities inside his suite this morning only caused Green Grass to roll over on his back and pull the covers up to his chin with a subdued groan, rather than actually exit the sinfully-soft featherbed for the cold marble floors of the castle.
(1) Stargazing, of course. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Go wash your mind out with soap.

“Hello, room service,” he muttered, trying to pitch his voice high enough for Friday Haystings to hear. The old stallion seemed to take great pleasure in being the first thing Green Grass saw when he opened his eyes in the morning at the castle. “I’d like to place an order for strawberry pancakes with hot syrup and melted butter, toast, apple juice and a sunflower seed bagel. Extra cream cheese. Some blintzes. Two croissants with apple preserves. And a strawberry milkshake, extra thick.”

The expected dry tones of the old servant responding were completely absent. Instead there was a faint rustling that his sleepy mind could not immediately identify, along with a scratching noise that abruptly quit, only to reappear as a full set of predator talons and claws landed on his chest. When his eyes snapped open in shock, all he could see was a pair of griffon eyes just inches away from his head.

It was a tribute to Green Grass’ recent physical fitness regime that on his lightning-fast dart from the suite en route to the comparative predator-free safety of the hallway, only three of his hooves touched the ice-cold marble floors, the fourth scooping up his suit jacket and hat even as his older brother’s blue magical aura suspended his escape attempt mid-leap. Graphite’s experience with his younger brother’s recent fitness efforts were somewhat out of date, so while he was expecting to stop Green Grass just inside the doorway for appropriate brotherly teasing, the considerably higher velocity he managed to attain resulted in both brothers vanishing out the door with a startled yelp as they skidded across cold marble and collided against the wall.

“Good morning, little bro. Jumpy this morning, aren’t you?” Graphite untied himself from his panic-prone brother’s vice-like grip and stood up with a yawn, brushing away a few dark hairs from his soft, grey coat. “I caught Friday on my way up to your room, and sent him out to grab some breakfast for you and your royal guest.”

“Guest?” gasped Green Grass, finally deciphering which way was up and managing to get to a seated position on the cold marble floor while putting on his hat.

“Yes indeed, my fortunate brother. I get to play courier today too, I suppose.” Graphite lit his horn and floated a note over to his recovering brother.

Our Subject, Lord Green Grass

The Crown hereby requests and requires you to provide escort services for Princess Sun Shines on the Misty Mountains at Dawn Through Early Morning Hazy Skies for the day while her father, Ambassador How Sharp The Edge Of Slicing Feathers Are During A Dive Upon Prey is conducting negotiations with Our Personage regarding the recent emergence of the long-held Equestrian province of the Crystal Empire, presently ruled over by Princess Cadence and Prince-Consort Shining Armor as our Regents.

Appropriate compensation will be provided. Please remain within the boundaries of Canterlot proper, and attempt to restrain your creativity for one day.

By the order of Princess Luna, Diarch.

“You don’t look well,” mussed Graphite, holding a hoof to his stunned brother’s forehead. “I know how you always overreact to little things⁽²⁾. Do you need a paper bag to breathe into?”
(2) Green Grass had an entirely normal colthood with two older brothers, and enjoyed the traditional entertainments one normally gets from older siblings. Therapy helped.

“I’m fine. I just hope I didn’t frighten Sunny when—”

The young griffon in question rolled into the doorway, pointing at the two brothers and laughing so hard she could not talk.

“She looks positively terrified, GG.”

Thank you, big brother. That will be all.”

“Not quite. Oh, wait. Let me get the door.” Graphite opened the suite front door and escorted in Friday, who towed several trays of caloric delights from the castle kitchens behind him in his topaz magical aura.

“Breakfast is served, sir and young miss.” The old servant did not react as Graphite magically plucked an extra donut off the tray on Friday’s way to the suite kitchenette, other than to ask, “Will your brother be staying for breakfast, sir?”

“Yes, I suppose,” said Green Grass, getting to his hooves and watching Friday and the griffon fledgeling scurry off to the suite’s tiny kitchen before he turned back to his brother. “You look like heck warmed over, Big G.”

“Late night.” The last of the donut vanished and Graphite licked his chapped lips painfully. The tube of lip balm Green Grass hoofed over was accepted and used gratefully, although with a curious look at his little brother, before being tucked away and a second note produced.

“That parchment was made from… animal skin, right?” asked the tutor, examining the note without touching it.

“I certainly hope so, bro.”

The One True King of the Crystal Mountain Range hereby commands the pony known as Geen Grass with the safety and protection of the True Princess of the Crystal City, Ancestral Home of the Griffon Tribes and her Rightful Throne while negotiations are underway for the removal of the usurpers of the crown, reparations for damages to the Griffon Kingdom, and punitive sanctions against the Fire Queen, Celestia. A hundred ponies shall die terrible and painful deaths for the slightest of injuries to the Rightful Princess of the Crystal City, starting with Geen Grass and his family.

PS: She’s allergic to beets.

Green Grass blew out a breath as he finished reading the note. The faint chill he felt could have easily been a draft, although putting on his suit jacket for their morning activities did not seem to dampen it any. “Well, that could have been worse. You want to help me entertain Her Highness today?”

“No way. I’m going to grab a few winks before Luna needs me at the negotiating table again.” Graphite yawned, and a second donut floated out of the kitchenette, switching colors as he picked it up from Friday’s magic and took a healthy bite. A pair of coffee cups followed, as well as Friday’s acerbic voice.

“Would either of you young gentlecolts require a coffee this morning?”

“No thank you, Friday. I think I’ll be awake for days after this.” Green Grass rubbed the talon scratches on his chest and contemplated several sleepless nights of griffon nightmares in his future.

“Thank you, Friday. You’re a peach.” Graphite nabbed both cups and pried the lid off one, taking a deeply respectful draught of the life-giving beverage. “So, you going to take our little princess out to a museum or something?”

“I thought a more motherly environment would be better for today.”

Graphite stopped half-way through the first coffee to eye his younger brother suspiciously. “You do know our whole house is in chaos from big brother Regal’s wedding plans. Mom will flip. Aunt Petunia is allergic to feathers and Aunt Trellis would never—”

“I wasn’t talking about our mother,” said Green Grass with a broad grin.

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