• Published 13th Mar 2012
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Inner Glory - Erindor


A utopian society cannot exist without the corpses of the revolutionaries.

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Chapter 54: Seeds of Revolt
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Chapter 54: Seeds of Revolt

Luna opened the door to her chambers, stepping inside. Quicksilver paused, unsure if he should proceed.

Luna looked back and laughed quietly. “Come on in. You had the guts to act without my orders before, so why stop now?”

The other guard on duty gave a curious glance, but stayed at his post as Quicksilver, a gray pegasus with striking, golden eyes stepped inside. He removed his helmet, shaking loose his even darker gray hair, which was tinged with occasional off-white strand. Luna's guards tended to be on the blacker end of the color spectrum, Twilight noted. She wondered if helped them camouflage during night missions or something.

“Now, tell me Quicksilver,” Luna began as she circled around, before setting down on her bedroom rug, placing her head into her front hooves. “How long have you actually been paying attention to me?”

He stood at attention. “Since I joined the forces, your majesty. It's never been just a job for me; it's been a constant chance to learn from the best. I consider you a great teacher.”

“A great teacher? Of what, pray tell?”

Quicksilver grinned. “Of everything. Through your example, you've taught me resolve in the face of adversity, the value of freedom even unto sacrifice, the maturity to look far in the future for the consequences of my actions, creativity when faced with a challenge, the ability to criticize myself to better improve, and overall, the strength to face each new day.”

Luna giggled, indicating he should close the door. Quicksilver obliged without hesitation. “Just how long have you been preparing that speech?” Luna asked, bemused.

“Well,” Quicksilver chuckled nervously, “Quite a long time. I never thought I'd be able to use it though, to be honest.”

“Oh?” Luna's eyes widened, and she tilted her head. “Why's that?”

“Well, you're so busy trying to keep the kingdom together, I didn't think you'd ever have time for a lowly soldier such as myself.”

“I give attention to all who ask. All you needed to do was say something.”

“As I did, your majesty.”

Heh, this guy's good. If we ever get married, it's going to have to be to somebody like this.

Shut up and just watch the memory, Lustrous.

Luna regarded the still saluting guard carefully. “What's your angle? Trying to suck up for a promotion?”

Quicksilver drew back in shock, looking genuinely pained at the accusation. “Of course not! I was worried for the wellbeing of my princess, whom I'm assigned to watch over.”

“Oh, so it's just business then?”

Quicksilver stammered as Luna grinned coyly. “N-no, of course not. I mean, there is, well...”

“Come now, I'm only playing.” Luna indicated he could relax. Quicksilver dropped the salute, but remained standing. Seeing that he was uncomfortable sitting, Luna stood up, and stepped over to the balcony. Quicksilver followed, but was sure to keep a few paces back out of respect.

Outside, it was brisk, though not quite chilly. It was a cloudless night, and Luna's moon was already high in the air. It was a full moon, illuminating the earth below in silvery beams, but, as Gemini noted, the stars were missing. “What do you think of it?” asked Luna.

“Of what, your majesty?”

“The night sky.”

“It's beautiful, as I believe I said earlier.”

“But doesn't it feel like it's off, somehow?”

Quicksilver frowned pensively, stepping forward. “I've never considered it. But... perhaps...” He noticed Luna watching him. “I don't mean to question its value.”

“No, of course not, it's just something that's bothered me for quite some time, and I want a second opinion on it.”

“Well, perhaps your moon is a bit too... bland.” Quicksilver looked at her sheepishly.

Luna raised a brow. “What do you mean?”

Quicksilver shrugged. “Well, Celestia's sun illuminates the entire sky, and there's so much to see on the ground that you don't pay much attention to the sun itself, just its effects. But when it's dark, all attention is placed on your glorious moon. And, please don't take offense, it's too perfect. It feels like it's aspiring to be something it's not. Not a crack on its surface, and that just makes it... bland.”

Luna looked up thoughtfully. “You're saying that imperfections would make it interesting?”

“That is my humble opinion, yes.”

“Interesting.” Luna fondly regarded her moon for a few moments longer, in this new light. Finally, she shook her head, as if waking from a dream. “Thank you Quicksilver, you've cheered me up. I have work to do, but if you ever feel the need to speak with me again, don't hesitate to ask.”

Quicksilver replaced his helmet. “Of course, my lady. I'll be just outside until my shift is over. I just wanted to let you know that I, and the other night guards, care for you.”

He backed out of the room slowly, bowing the entire way. He managed to awkwardly open the door without breaking eye contact, then left the room, the door clicking softly.

Luna turned back to look at her moon once more. “Perhaps... perhaps he is right. Imperfections are what make life interesting...”

{- - -}

“Luna! What did you do to your moon?”

Luna rolled her eyes. “Don't you ever knock?”

It was the beginning of the next night. Luna had wondered how long it would take Celestia to notice the change, seeing as she almost always fell asleep immediately after her turn taking care of the kingdom.

Luna turned to face her impatient and confused sister. The midnight blue Alicorn mustered as much of an air of indifference as she could. “Somepony told me that the moon looked bland, and I agreed. So, I simply knocked a few asteriods out of orbit and crashed them into the moon.”

“A few? It looks like you crashed the entire belt into it!”

“Eh, a few dozen, a few hundred...”

“All this for a style change? Didn't you have something better to do?”

“Don't you? Like sleep?”

Celestia sighed, then took a deep breath. “I'm sorry for bursting out at you yesterday, Luna. It's been bothering me all day. It looks good, but I'm worried about you. You could have at least warned me about something like this. A couple delegates came screaming to me, worried that the world was ending.”

Luna turned away, focusing on the paper she'd been writing on. “You don't need to worry about me. I just thought a breath of change would rejuvenate my outlook on life, that's all.”

Celestia stood silently. She folded her wings after realizing she still had them flared; a defense mechanism. “Well, alright. Just... stay safe.”

“I will, Celestia. Good night.”

“Good night to you as well, Luna. Get some rest in the morning.”

Celestia stepped out of the room, the guards saluting her as she passed. Gemini felt her consciousness get pulled out after her, but surprisingly, it didn't follow her. After the door shut, and Celestia was out of sight, the two guards both noticeably relaxed. One even giggled quietly. “So, what do you think? I hear Quicksilver's got the hots for Lady Luna.”

“Shut up!” the other guard hissed, grinning wildly. “You're kidding.”

“And if my sources are correct, she might just return the affection.”

“What makes you think that? Where're you hearing this? Those town criers that will spout any bit of gossip they get their hooves on?”

“No, you heard what the princesses were talking about. Luna changed up the moon because somepony suggested it. Who do you think it was?”

“It couldn't be... hah! But isn't falling in love with the princesses totally forbidden?”

“Oh, of course. I'd have to ask him, but I'm guessing that's what makes it fun.”

“Poor sap. Even if it does end up going anywhere, it'll only end in heartbreak.”

“What, you think he'll fall for somepony else? Or that she would?”

“Eh, I dunno about the princess, but I think Quicksilver's not the type. No, I'm talking about the, uh, age difference.”

“Oh, right, that. She's how old?”

“They don't like throwing that information around, and heck, nopony's gonna ask them outright. Bad enough with a normal pony, but our princesses, the immortals?”

“Well, maybe that makes them more willing to share.”

“I wouldn't count on it. And of course, there's the other end of the spectrum. If they get together, he'll grow old, and she'll stay as she is. You can only love a guy for so long, but you've got to let go sometime. Preferably before his body turns to dust.”

“Maybe he... no.”

“What? Come on, tell me.”

“Maybe it's all political. Maybe he's trying to figure out how they did it.”

“Did what, become alicorns?”

“Yeah.”

The two sat in silence.

“It’s possible.” Quicksilver himself came around the corner, with an air of indifference. He scraped his hoof against the ground as if trying to get a smudge of dirt off his uniform’s bracers. He looked up at his coworkers with disinterest.

“Oh! Quicksilver!”

“Hey guys. I’m here for my shift.”

“Haha, right.” The two guards shuffled uncomfortably, wondering what he had heard.

“Anyways, I’ll see you guys after work. We’re still on for the camping trip, right?”

“Yeah, we’ll see you then. Hey, where’s Firebrand?”

“He called in sick. Luna said she’d be fine, seeing as we’re not at war or anything right now."

“So, it’s just you and the princess then?”

“Yup.”

The replaced guards gave each other a glance. “Alright then. Don’t the two of you get in trouble.”

Quicksilver furrowed his brow. Then his mouth dropped as he realized what his friend was insinuating. “Hush! It’s not like that! Go on break or something!”

“I think it’s exactly like that.” The guards chuckled as they left for the staff kitchens.

Quicksilver frowned after them. But even as they turned away from him, he began grinning wildly. It was exactly like that. Luna hadn’t been offended by him! It might take months, maybe even years, but he finally had a chance to get to know his personal hero. He’d always listened intently whenever the story of the princesses’ rise to power had been discussed in school. It was so wonderful to think that there were heroes like them were in the world. Furthermore, ruling the country!

Quicksilver sighed, leaning on Luna’s door. He’d always known what he wanted to be when he grew up. He wanted to protect the nation he’d grown to love, to be a hero for the foals to look up to. To make the world a better place! And sure, the princesses had their trials, but they had both the power and the vision, and he wanted to help them in any way possible. If that meant being a faceless guard, so be it. But he could be so much more. He only needed to be given the chance.

Quicksilver’s eyes shot open in horror as the door swung open. He collapsed to the ground in a tangled, unsightly, and terribly unprofessional heap. When he looked up, red-faced and ashamed, he met Luna’s once again bemused gaze.

“Are you having trouble standing? Perhaps you should meet with the doctor.”

“N-no, my princess. I’m sorry.”

Luna grinned, and shook her head. “What am I going to do with you? I can’t have my sole guardian distracted by, no doubt, dreams of his girlfriend waiting back home. She’ll be there when you return, you know. It’s only five hours.”

“Well, princess, I don’t actually have a girlfriend.” Quicksilver stood and dusted himself off, making sure to not brush in the princess’ direction.

“What?” Luna looked genuinely surprised. “A nice stallion such as yourself?”

"I’ve never made the time to find one.”

“And what’s been a better use of your time?”

“To be honest, my lady, my career. I want to serve my country.”

“A noble task, to be sure, but you have to make time for yourself as well, or else you’ll go mad. Come with me, I was going to make a visit to the castle gardens.”

“Of course, princess.”

As they stepped outside, Quicksilver looked up in wonder. “You… you changed the moon?”

“Somepony I respect told me it needed fixing, that it needed to be different. And you know what? They were right.”

In short time, the two were patrolling the carefully manicured foliage. They stopped in front of the statue of Discord. Neither spoke as they regarded the fearsome yet comedic image. Luna sighed before speaking. “As terrible of a ruler as he was, he got a couple of things right.”

“Princess?”

“His chaotic nature, while destructive, also helped things progress in Equestria. For the past six hundred years or so especially, I’ve felt like we’ve been in a state of sluggishness. No wars, no terrible natural disasters, and no attempts at political upheaval… the ponies have grown complacent. For generations, the princesses have been there to watch over the day and the night. Nopony’s concerned with political affairs unless it’s part of their job, since nothing ever goes wrong. We have the occasional criminal, but only the stupid ones get caught. And then Celestia just goes and pardons them, making my role moot. It makes my part of the job largely thankless, and certainly unneeded. I feel like Celestia’s overshadowing me in every way possible, and that upsets me. And yet, she does such a good job, I can’t truly complain.”

“What are you asking, my lady?”

“Your opinion.” Luna stopped Quicksilver and locked him into place with her piercing, searching eyes. “Give me a straight answer. Is my job important?”

“Well…” Quicksilver sighed. “I’m sorry, Luna. Much of what you say is correct. Whenever I tell acquaintances that I’m one of the royal guards, they seem disappointed when I say I’m yours, and not Celestia’s. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it seems like, in general, the pony mind only has room for one leader.” He clenched his eyes shut, bracing for an angry retort, but it never came. He peeked one eye open carefully.

Luna’s head was downturned. “Thank you for your honesty. It’s hard to hear, but I’ve known it has been happening.”

“I’m sorry…”

“Don’t be.” She straightened up, her short, aquatic-colored mane jerking from the motion. “You’re absolutely correct. But I must ask; if the general populace doesn’t appreciate my efforts, why do you?”

“Because I’ve seen how much you care.”

Luna looked at him, her eyes smiling warmly. But Quicksilver wasn’t finished. He gestured towards the statue, a strange parody of Discord’s mocking pose. “When the two of your majesties cast down Discord, your actions always spoke stronger to me than Celestia’s. I understand you did it to avenge your parent’s death at Discord’s hand, but Celestia was too soft with her retribution. She wanted to give him a second chance, when time and time again Discord’s proven he’s unforgivable. But you, my lady, you had it right. You knew that an example had to be made out of Discord. His true and final death would have ushered in an era of progress and enlightenment. It’s a pity that you had to compromise with her, trapping him in this stone.”

Luna tilted her head questioningly. “You do realize that speaking against Celestia’s verdicts is treason, don’t you?”

“Of course. But I’m willing to put my life on the line for my beliefs, your majesty.”

Luna laughed, her voice clear and light on the night’s cool air. “I can see why you care about my opinions. You and I think much alike.”

“Indeed, my lady.”

“Please, Quicksilver, call me Luna.”

The two looked at each other for a long moment, the imperfect moon reflecting in their eyes. “I would be honored, Luna.”

Author's Note:

$200 reached!

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