• Published 9th Aug 2014
  • 19,556 Views, 911 Comments

All Butlers are Gentlemen, But... - Pen Mightier



I'm a Butler. My friends call me Butler. Looking after m'lady can be...challenging, but rewarding. Lately the job's become harder, with m'lady's sister back from the moon. So I decided to hire some help.

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When a Butler Boldly Ventures Forth

"Now I know I did say to please be ready at 10 AM." I said, giving the the ornate crystal clock above the living room fireplace a critical eye. "I realize now I may have failed to specify that I meant that particular 10 AM forty five minutes ago. Otherwise known as Canterlot time."

"We're coming!" A voice called out from deeper within the apartments.

"So is Hearthswarming Eve." I said. "At which point we may perhaps write Santa for some ninja maid knights. I'm sure he has some reindeer and polar bears he could put in maid uniforms for us."

"Absolutely not! We art not wasting a Santa wish on such frivolities! We hath need of one of one of thy human world gamecolts after all!" Luna shouted from somewhere inside.

"Gameboy." I corrected. "Time waits for no man. Or pony. Neither does the train, ladies." I checked my train timetable for the tenth time that morning. At this rate we would be walking to Fillydelphia. "Do you at least have your disguises ready?" I quickly reminded them.

"Ready? Hah!" The verbal violence that was the Royal Canterlot voice assaulted me from behind, threatening to topple me over. "Foalish child! We were born ready! Our disguise is built-in!" A crack of thunder boomed behind me. "Behold, foal, thy Queen of the night!" The queen of the night bellowed at me.

Underwear dry? Check. Of course, a gentleman never wets his pants, he merely...infuses them.

I sighed as I slowly turned to find, yes, the dark evil form of Nightmare Moon gloating at me. A deep aura of oblivion crackled about her, ruining my intricately designed interior lighting. Disturbing dark wispy tendrils of magic licked at my face, struggling to measure up to my superior facial hair. "I'm going to assume that was the caffeine talking." I said, blinking stardust out of my eyes. "This isn't Nightmare Night we're going out to."

"We....We knew that." The terrifying form of Nightmare Moon muttered, hiding away her candy bag behind her.

"Now go back to your room and put on something...sensible." I realized that anything and everything can be considered 'sensible' in comparison, but it didn't stop me trying.

"But....but..." Nightmare Moon faltered beneath my disapproving gaze. "Verilyyyy..." She sulked, trudging back towards her room, wispy dark shadows slinking after her in her wake.

I just sent Nightmare Moon back to her room to get changed into something sensible.

It's difficult to believe sometimes, but my life is based on a true story. Mine.

Though it gladdened me to see Luna take her past identity as Nightmare Moon so casually now. That Nightmare Night in Ponyville has done her much good in that respect. Perhaps, with time, she may even find it in herself to forgive her past.

Sometimes I harbour this deep dark suspicion that my perfect little princesses, supreme goddesses blest with divine intelligence, have in fact grown up and only foal around like this to wind me up. Well, I shall prove that I am mature enough to appreciate that, that I am of good enough humour to take their jest in stride.

A set of hoofsteps trotting into the living room interrupted my brief reverie. "I'm ready, Butler." My lady announced her arrival. I turned to find...

....

"My lady." I struggled to keep a straight face.

"Yes, Butler?" My lady replied, sweetly.

"Would you care to explain to me what that is?" I asked, warily.

"My disguise." She declared, proudly. Yes, of course it's a disguise. I'd be worried if it was anything else. "They would never expect it."

"If by 'they' you mean that part of the population afflicted by sanity, then, yes, you're right, they would never expect it." I conceded.

"We are, after all, going to Fillydelphia." My lady reasoned. "So it makes perfect sense to blend into the environment. In that sense, I am practically a tree in a forest." She did a clumsy twirl in her disguise, threatening to smash a priceless Saddle Arabian vase and an entire cabinet of priceless Kirrin china. More like a tree in a hurricane, in my opinion.

"My lady." While I always strive to be the very paragon of deadpan, it is admittedly difficult to out-deadpan my latest nemesis. Finally, I have met my match. "You are in a cardboard box." I very carefully pointed out. It was even helpfully labelled 'Fragile, Handle With Care'. "When, pray tell, did you buy an entire boxful of cream donuts?" I asked, pointedly, eyeing the telltale 'Donut Joe's Best Crispy Creamies' insignia on the box.

The box made like a box and stood still and silent for all of a moment. "Ah, I found it in Luna's room." The box finally said, looking about as anxious as a box. "Look, I have even cut holes out for my eyes. I can actually see where I'm going now." She demonstrated by batting her big lilac eyes at me through said holes. She was definitely not suggesting she didn't think of this before.

"You've also cut out a hole for your horn." I said, nodding at her long pointy horn poking out the front of the cardboard box.

"Oh?" The lilac eyes blinked at me, seemingly clueless of this. "Uh. Why, yes, yes. All the better to cast my magic with in an emergency." My lady quickly said. "I even have holes for my wings, see?" She flared her wings through their own handy slots. They fluttered at me gently, threatening flying-cardboard-box-filled nightmares.

"Excellent." I nodded with approval. "They would never expect the alicorn princess of cardboard."

As expected of my lady and her complete perfection. Her boundless adorability could even make mundane cardboard boxes beyond cute and cuddly. Truly, if she were its goddess I would be the first to swear my undying love and fealty to the kingdom of cardboard.

"Butler, you may stop narrating the cardboard box now." The cardboard alicorn said.

"Yes, my lady." I said, quickly finding myself a different outlet.

"Butler, what are you doing?" The cardboard box asked, tilting a little to one side.

"Petting a cardboard box, my lady." I replied, simply.

"N-no, wait. I am long past the legal age for pettings now, Butler!" The cardboard box squeaked.

"I am not petting you. I am petting a cardboard box." I asserted. But no, this wasn't enough. I needed more. I needed a hug. And when else would I ever come across a cardboard box this wholesomely huggable, this irresistibly endearing to my heart? It was now or never, do or die, freedom or gummy bears. And I shall seize the hugs faster than you can say 'cuteboard'.

"No, Butler. You can't be planning what I think you're planning." The cardboard box slowly backed away. But too late. It was already within my absolute hugging field from which no adorable may escape. "Ah!" It squeaked under my sudden and passionate embrace. "Help, Lulu, sister! I am being hugged!" It cried in desperation. "And narrated!"

Luna sighed as she returned in time to witness the spectacle. "What foalishness doth thou indulgeth in this time, Tia, sister?" She asked. "And why are We left out again?"

"Lulu, you are the last pony I want to hear that from." My lady muttered, darkly, while still struggling against my hold. "Especially with what you're wearing." She added, eyeing Luna's latest disguise.

"We art a cardboard alicorn." Another cardboard box, this one bearing the upside down label 'Donut Joe's Cheesy Moons', scooted along the ground to bump against the Crispy Creamies box. This one bore a midnight blue horn and a pair of wings to match.

"That is the silliest idea I've ever heard." The Crispy Creamies box snapped, horn clashing against the other box's.

"Coming from the mare who stole Our idea? Preposterous!" The Cheesy Moons box shot back.

"I beg to differ. I am a cardboard box! Your argument is invalid!" The Crispy Creamies box argued back. "My box is also bigger, mind you!"

I was watching two cardboard boxes with horns and angrily-flared wings arguing over their respective identities. I debated on the wisdom of intervening in this epic battle between titans when watching proved so much healthier in many ways. But as content as I was to watch the two adorable siblings indulge in the luxury of squabbling the day away, we had a train and some ninja maid knights to catch.

"If I may, my ladies." I straightened up to speak. "While your plans are indeed, fool-proof." I said, lying through my perfect pearly white teeth. "I see one minor issue."

"What is that?" They both demanded, almost daring me to call their plan flawed.

I sighed, looking the very picture of despair. "It would grieve me much, my dear ladies, if you two were not able to partake in the many varieties of sweet confectionary we may be able to pick up along the way. After all, a master of disguise must stay in character at all times. And cardboard boxes do not move, nor talk, nor...." I took a deep breath, "...eat."

A tense silence filled the room as the weight of this revelation came crashing down upon my two boxes.

"Butler."

"Yes, my lady?"

"Your powers of understatement scare me."

"Why, thank you, my lady. You flatter me so." I will take flattery whenever I could get it, even from a cardboard box.

"This is no small issue, Butler. This is a catastrophe!" My lady declared.

"For once we agree, sister mine." Luna agreed. Together they wrestled their disguises off as if it were on fire. My lady even kicked hers away for good measure. "Now, it is upon thee to prepare us a more fitting disguise. One that would allow us use of our mouths."

"To speak, of course." My lady said, quickly. "It is important that we communicate on such an important mission, after all."

"Quite so." Luna nodded. "And remain well fed and watered at all times."

"With sweets." My lady was quick to supply.

"Lots of it." Luna agreed.

"You wound me, my ladies." I smiled, revelling in how easily my bait had reeled in my prey, hook line and sinker. "Surely you have more faith in me than that. Of course I've prepared a plan that would cater to all your needs. Now, if you'll simply listen to my little suggestion..."


11.30 AM sharp, or so the grand clock gracing the ornate marble portico of Canterlot Central station told me. Rush hour had supposedly ended and yet the largest train station in Equestria was as busy as ever. Even the heat of the late summer sun could not stay these ponies about their business. As lunch hour loomed the more enterprising food vendors had begun flooding the air with tantalizing scents and odours in the hopes of attracting early birds.

I carefully wove my way through the colourful crowd of ponies milling about the wide marble steps leading up to the station. Not that there was any danger of them missing me. It was rather difficult to miss the very stylishly dressed gentleman striding up the stairs. It probably had nothing to do with him towering over twice the height of the average pony. Surely it was his impeccable manners and winning smile that parted the sea of ponies when he politely asked them, 'excuse me'.

"Butler." My lady said, adorably cute voice squeaking a pitch or two higher than usual.

"Yes, my lady?" I asked.

"My disguise is not working." She complained.

"Of course it is, my lady." I assured her, doing my utmost best to keep a straight face.

"Everypony's smiling, even giggling at me!" She pointed out. True, she was attracting a good few smiles, even waves and affectionate coos. And I couldn't blame them. My lady's sweet charm could move dead hearts.

"Yes, my lady. That means it is working." I assured her. "Working too well, perhaps."

"Uuuu, Butler!" The little marshmallow-white pegasus filly perched on my right shoulder squeaked in frustration, putting on a pout to end all pouts. And possibly a few hearts too. "How is this better than my cardboard box?!" She demanded.

Well, to start with, my lady is far more adorable than any box can ever hope to be. This is even more the case when she is fun-sized as she was. But I think my lady has heard enough of that.

"I thought we agreed." I said, pulling out another of Donut Joe's bite-sized donuts out of my seemingly bottomless bakery bag. I raised it up in offering to my little sun goddess. "That the pros outweigh the cons, like this." I said, waving the sugary goodness teasingly before her nose.

"Bribing me does not help your case." She muttered. She still opened her mouth for the little morsel, however, allowing me to feed her. She gave a happy squee as she chewed down on it with relish, ears perking up excitedly. "Mmmm~" She suddenly looked the very picture of sugary bliss for all of a minute, little wings fluttering with delight. Even her dawn-pink tail wagged in obvious enjoyment.

"You don't hear Luna complaining." I said, raising another donut up in offering to the little moon goddess pegasus filly parked on my left shoulder. The small midnight-blue filly eagerly snapped the sugary bite out of my fingers, giving a happy squee of appreciation of her own.

"Well, no. She's just been munching like a machine. That caffeine has a monster appetite." My lady pointed out. "She's eaten five more than me while I was talking, Butler!" She cried at the injustice. "You are playing favourites again, aren't you?!"

"Then perhaps you should talk less and eat more." I suggested, offering her another donut which she quickly nibbled through her pout. Ah, blessed silence. Just in time to join the busy queue for the ticket booth too.

It was the perfect disguise, requiring nothing more than a little dash of alicorn magic and a lot of very smooth talking. A rare few remember what these two were like as fillies (those poor long-lived souls who do have probably had their memories irreparably scarred anyway. Ever wondered why Discord is the way he is?). There are no surviving pictures from those days. It also helped that they had wiped their flanks clean of their cutie marks. Plus, ironically, it made them much easier to manage. I do not have to imagine the logistics of shepherding two very whimsical alicorns with all the control of sweet-seeking bulldozers. I simply have to recall last Nightmare Night and Hearthswarming Eve.

As for myself, yes, I do stand out like a sore hoof. Most citizens misinformed enough would be able to quickly identify me; That monster the princesses keep on a leash. But being so close to the bowels of the government meant I do often end up the choice punching bag for their spoiled progeny. Thus seeing me out and about babysitting a foal or two was a surprisingly common if not horrifying sight in Canterlot.

"Anyway." My lady gazed at Luna and I suspiciously in between nibbles, seemingly bothered by something. "Since when have you two been on first name terms?" My lady suddenly asked with a little frown.

"Since forever." Luna and I replied in stereo. I gave her a fist which she promptly brohoofed with a teeny hoof.

"But, you call me..." My lady began.

But before she could voice her mind we found ourselves interrupted by the busy ticket booth attendant. "Uh....ticket for two fillies and a....?" The uniformed stallion leaned back a little in his chair to be able to eye me up and down properly, as if trying to decide what I was, exactly.

He must be new to town, and to common decency too. I disregarded his impolite stare as I replied, "Two foals and one adult. To Fillydelphia. In fact, we'll take a private booth." I placed a sizeable pile of heavy golden bits on the counter.

"Yes. He is indeed a human. Thou profess a problem with this simple fact?" The poor stallion almost jumped at Luna's sudden pointed question. The poor chap practically wilted under the little filly's stern gaze. Luna's absolute charisma as a divine regent seemed able to project even through her adorable little shell, worming its way into deep-seated primordial herbivore instincts, reminding them just where they are in the food chain.

"N-no, m-ma'am! I mean, y-young lady." The stallion squeaked. "I-it's just, well, uh..."

"His kin are neighbours now. Thou shalt do well to remember that next time thou hast the urge to allow thy eyes to linger uncomfortably so." Luna said reproachfully.

"B-but, I, uh..." The stallion leaned as far back as he could in his seat, as if every inch might get him out of the potential blast zone.

"A foal of five would understand this! Fetcheth Us a foal of five!" The little pegasus filly snapped. "Listen well, We care not that it is summer! Thou shalt go home today and peruse a book on Hearthswarming Eve at the earliest instance! Is that clear?!"

"Y-yes, ma'am." The stallion looked both scared and flabbergasted, to be schooled so harshly by such a little filly. He quickly pushed the tickets across, almost fearfully, like a peace offering, in the hopes that it might expedite our departure.

"Thank you." I said, taking the tickets and quickly taking my leave before Luna could go all Nightmare Moon on the poor stallion. Or worse, my lady sends him face-first into the moon. She had remained silent, about as silent as a waiting iron maiden. But if looks could kill hers could probably kill stars and doom planets.

"S-Sure are a lot of oddballs on that train to Fillydelphia today. Minotaurs, griffons, dragons, now...that. Since when did we have a circus car on that train?" I just about heard him mutter as I walked away. Huh. If they can be comparable in oddness to yours truly then this should be an interesting train ride indeed.

"Circus?!" Luna squeaked in anger. "Stop! Bring Us closer to that foul knave so We may take a choice Royal Canterlot swing or two at his thick skull!" She waved a tiny but threatening hoof at the ticket stallion.

"Luna." I began, sounding a mite reproachful.

"For once, I agree with Luna, Butler." My lady breathed, voice frostily calm. "He could do with a lesson in Friendship. Or two."

"Thou knowest thy princess is right." Luna muttered, sullenly. "Nopony treats Our Knight Captain thus, not on Our watch."

Luna's a thoughtful girl, if exceptionally blunt. But I suppose that is what makes her, well, Luna. And my lady is, at heart, a maternal soul, mostly loving and warm, but capable of fiery over-protectiveness if provoked. "Thank you, Luna, my lady, for watching out for me." I sighed, allowing myself a little smile. They reminded me exactly why I've never felt like an outcast here, even if I could count the number of friends I had on one hand. Because they were here for me. "Still, it wasn't something worth picking a fight over. Most of the time the best thing to do, the smartest thing to say, is nothing."

"But it's because of ponies like him that Hearthswarming Eve happened!" Luna protested.

"But it's because of our tolerance and understanding that we survived Hearthswarming Eve." My lady said, calming down considerably. "Butler is right. Thank you, Butler, for reminding us."

"Besides, when all's said and done, your knight captain's the one who does the protecting around here, my princesses." I said, giving both of them a mane ruffle.

"W-wa, h-hey! Thou art messing up my constellations! Ursa major isn't that fat!" Luna squeaked, though she didn't pull away. My lady, on the other hand, took it in surprisingly quiet grace. Though she felt rather hot to the touch. Is being outdoors taking its toll on her? Mayhaps I should make haste to our carriage?

Still, that ticket stallion, if I wasn't in such a hurry I would have given his words a little more due consideration. "Ahem. When you're done dallying, I remind you we have five minutes." My lady patted my head with a teeny hoof as she prudently looked up at the gigantic departures board overlooking the ticket stands. Her words put the stallion's words out of my mind entirely. Tickets in hand, I hurriedly made my way towards the Harmony Express bound for Fillydelphia.

"So, why are you holding the interviews all the way out in Fillydelphia?" My lady asked, looking a tad unimpressed.

"I heard ninja maid knights grow on trees there." I said, innocently.

"You weren't planning to do something...clandestine behind my back, were you?" She demanded, fiery accusing gaze threatening to burn a hole in my right ear.

"Of course not, my lady." I said, smoothly. "I wished to avoid the possibility of anyone using this as an opportunity to insert spies or, worse, saboteurs into your service. I took care to omit anything that might even suggest who the prospective employer is in the job ad. I even forewent advertising in Canterlot. And I had Ms. Rarity help me by booking the interview venue for me in Fillydelphia."

"Hmm, well done, Butler." My lady gave her approval. "Except who would reply to such an odd ad?"

"Odd ponies." Luna suggested, testing the donut bag for edibility. "Mmhhh, schweet."

"A lot of ponies, actually. And, I guess, quite a few unponies too." I said, wrestling the bag out of Luna's mouth. "The pay is beyond excellent, with lots of benefits including lodgings, living expenses and opportunities to bask in my splendour." We found our train, one pulled by one of the newer, larger heavy-duty Harmony class locomotives. Under Luna's subtle machinations, more and more resources had been pooled into furthering technology and industry, resulting in impressive new developments like these. It made sense. Machinery had no need for sleep, and can thus give life to her night in the near future.

As we wove through the thick sea of ponies thronging the platform, we slipped past a cerulean blue pegasus sporting a lightning yellow mane and tail. "Hey, loser! Stupidity isn't a handicap, so don't park your big fat feathery plot in my way!" She shouted at a gryphon in her way.

The angry-looking golden brown gryphon rounded on the pegasus, eagle eyes threatening a rather uncomfortable rendezvous with her talons. "What's that, dweeb? Sorry, I don't speak 'lame'."

My lady eyed the exchange worriedly. Disharmony always upsets her so easily. As much as I'd prefer to prevent her seeing any, especially so close to home, the unfortunate fact remains that the world is simply rife with it. But nothing in Equestria can compare to the human world. Hmmm, perhaps that is why she is treating humanity with such care?

"This is Our first time partaking in a train ride." Luna said excitedly as we approached the private booths carriage. "Woona is so excited!" She squeaked, giddy.

"Why are we taking the train though?" My lady asked, curious.

"Would you rather we walk?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I suppose the royal pegasus chariot would have been too conspicuous for such a secret mission." My lady said, "But why not an airship?"

"I considered it. But airships use named passenger manifests. I'd rather this be entirely off the books." I said. "As far as the palace is concerned, I'm out to personally deliver a royal donation to an orphanage in Fillydelphia."

"Awww, We want to ride an airship!" Luna whined. "Airship! Airship! Airshiiiip!" Oh dear, is that the first inklings of the impending caffeine withdrawal?

"Another day, I'm sure." I promised, quickly, considering a trip to the dining carriage later for a caffeine top-up.

I paused as I was about to get onto the train. I frowned, looking around behind me warily. Call it an odd sense of paranoia cultivated through years of hazardous service, but I couldn't help but feel like we were being followed. I scanned the crowd, biting my lip. I just about caught a glimpse of something mint green dashing behind a nearby information stand. But then, it was a busy platform, full of rushing ponies. Surely it was nothing?

"If you're looking for the commotion, it's coming from there." My lady said, pointing a hoof further up the platform.

"Oh, I don't remember making one." I said, following her gaze. There was a large gathering of what looked like reporter ponies judging by the entire galaxy of flashbulbs going off. From the number of hanger-ons it looked like somebody more important than me.

"Captain Spitfire!" I overheard one of the reporter ponies cry out, "Is it true the injury costed you the gold medal at the Equestrian Games?"

"Is it true that you've been asked to resign from the Wonderbolts because of the injury?" Another journalist pressed.

"Do you have any idea who'll be taking your place as Captain? Captain Spitfire? A comment, please!" Another reporter pony shouted out.

I just about spotted a bright fire-yellow figure push through the throng of reporters to slip into a private carriage further up the train. A few of the pluckier journalists attempted to follow after her but were quickly cut off by a door to the face.

"Paparazzi." My lady sighed.

"Pizza where?" Luna demanded.

I didn't get to linger on the scene for too long as a pony came up behind me, seemingly intent on getting on the same carriage. "Excuse me?" A voice asked in a smooth Trottingham accent, giving the impatience in her tone a sophisticated edge. "Could you lend me a hoof, please?" I was surprised enough at being addressed, let alone being asked for help. Most ponies are quite wary if not outright afraid of me. But here was a pony who was unconcerned enough to seek my assistance.

"With pleasure, ma'am." I said, turning around to face the voice, only to find a massive leather case pushed up against my face. It was a cello case, my nose told me, judging by the impressive bulk pressed up against it. Quite the fancy make no less, judging by the hard leather rubbing against my face. I took hold of the case. It was definitely far too big and heavy for the average unicorn musician to move, so I was sure this unicorn needed all the help she can get. But as I was about to pull it in after me, a large, beefy hand reached over my shoulder and took hold of the case's neck. With an almost effortless one-handed tug it helped me pull the case onboard.

"Oh, thank you." I looked over my shoulder and found that the hand was attached to a massive hulk of a figure. In fact, at first glance it would appear it was all abs and muscle and naught else. And, just in case, the massive horns topping the sculpted bullish face left no room for mistakes - it was a minotaur. Definitely a rare sight around central Equestria, more common closer to the borders, but the more enterprising ones are known to come this far into the heartlands.

"Don't mention it." He said, giving me and the pony a thumbs-up as he sauntered off towards the door to the economy class.

"Thank you, kind sirs." The cello owner said, bringing up the rear behind the cello case. Lo and behold, it was an earth pony mare, a rare make for a musician, especially for such a fine instrument. And it was a familiar face no less.

"Ms. Melody? What a surprise to see you here." I said, recognizing the elegant-gray earth mare from her performances at our many social events. Ms. Octavia Melody used to be my first choice of musicians, but I have long since relinquished the responsibility of organizing the minutiae of those events to Kibitz, one of my lady's many advisors. Come to think of it, I haven't seen her all that often, not since that one catastrophically fun Grand Galloping Gala. The event earned me a souvenir quite close to my heart, one of the few pictures of Blueblood lathered in pie that survived his purge, for whenever I need a private laugh at his expense.

"Oh, I didn't expect you to remember me, Mr. Butler." Ms. Melody said, flashing me a weary smile. She looked a little worse for the wear since I last saw her, her cheeks thinner, her eyes bearing dark rings beneath them. "It has been a while after all."

"Much too long, Ms. Melody. But I would never forget a delightful lady like yourself." I said with a friendly smile.

"Oh?" She gave me a mild frown. "I would have thought you had, all things considered." She said, cryptically, hauling her trademark cello onto her back, displaying typical earth pony strength. "Well, it is good to see you are keeping well, Mr. Butler. Ta." She said, pushing open a door towards the economy class.

"Likewise. Take care, Ms. Octavia." I said after her. I wasn't able to ruminate on her mysterious behaviour for too long as my lady was already trying to glare through my skull.

"Butleeeer..." She growled. "We're not even in Fillydelphia yet and you're already foaling about with every mare you see."

"If it pleases you, my lady, I could foal around with stallions instead?" I asked, innocently. "That minotaur just now looked quite friendly."

"Butleeeeer!" My lady squeaked, placing both forehooves on my temple and rocking my head back and forth, as if hoping to shake the notion out of my head. I only chuckled in reply as we made our way to our booth.


The early afternoon found us on a very pleasant and companionable journey onboard the aptly named Harmony Express bound for Fillydelphia. Our private booth was small but cozy affair, smelling of aged leather and polished oak. I may have long since fallen asleep from the gentle warmth of the sun streaming in through the wide windows and the soft lull of the rocking carriage if it weren't for the need for constant vigilance over my two charges. Speaking of which, my lady had taken to using my lap as a footstool to stand up on her rearhooves, leaning on the window for support to gaze out at the passing countryside. So enraptured she was by the beauty of the land beneath her benevolent sun that she had her puffy little cheeks pressed against the glass, lest she miss some fascinating little detail in the scenery. Her ears would perk up as some interesting new feature sprung up in the passing countryside, her head slowly turning to follow it until it disappeared out of sight. The latest item of interest appeared to be a giant donut topping a donut stop.

"Butler, why are you talking to yourself?" My lady asked, turning to look at a new item of interest - me. "Again?"

"I do enjoy intelligent conversation from time to time." I said, primly.

"You mean all the time?" She said, with a knowing little smile.

"You're just jealous of my conversation partner." I quipped.

"Well, considering the alternative...." My lady turned towards her sister sharing my lap with her.

Pop...

"Are we there yet?"

Pop....

"Are we there yet?"

Pop....

The little divine moon goddess filly on my lap had a seemingly endless supply of bubblewrap in her hooves and a seemingly endless supply of mouth too.

"Butler, why is Lulu even here?" My lady finally asked with a sigh. "And why did you feed her coffee?"

"Our sister doth protest too much. We art here to double the fun of course!" Luna said, as if it was as obvious as Blueblood being the evolutionary endpoint of a brick. "This is something yon serfs calleth 'fun'." Luna gestured grandly at the bubble wrap, as if explaining advanced tax management to a child. "The pursuit of the perfect bubble wrap 'pop' is perhaps the simplest denominator of fun, a standard unit of scientifically calculated pleasure if thou will."

Pop...

"Ooooh! Did thou hearest that?! Didst thee?" She squeed excitedly. "How many points doth We receive?!"

"Butler." My lady said, eyes twitching dangerously. "I'll walk. Just open the window for me now, please."

Luna enjoyed a hearty chuckle at her sister's expense. "Oh, such the drama queen, Tia sister." Luna laughed. "When else do We get to share a train ride on such a fine day as this?"

"When they make shorter train rides." My lady said, darkly.

"In all seriousness." Luna settled down considerably. "You know why We art here, Tia." She said, giving her sister a grave look.

My lady seemed to sigh a little at this. Hmm? Did I miss something? "Yes. And I thank you for being here, Lulu sister." My lady gave her sister a nod. "It gives me courage to have you here."

"We art the guard, first and foremost." Luna said, "We guardeth that which matters, even if We must brave our greatest friend and nemesis, coffee." She allowed herself one of her manic caffeine grins.

"We are lucky he divulged his plan so readily. Otherwise today may have ended up a complete oversight." My lady bit her lip, suddenly showing signs of anxiety for the first time that day.

"Indeed. We would call it serendipity, but calling yon nephew's idiocy a product of chance would be an insult to fortune." Luna shook her head.

"Thank goodness all ponies are unique." I sighed. "Imagine if there was more than one Blueblood."

"Don't give him anymore ideas." My lady hissed. "We are already going to great lengths just to sort out this one."

"Oh, we haven't gone anywhere yet." I said with a chuckle. "We have yet to put Discord in a maid uniform." This earned me a fit of laughter from the sisters at the rather disturbing thought.

"Except he would be so keen he'd probably bring his own frilly skirt." My lady said, to yet another chorus of laughter from us. We shared a good little moment of mirth at Discord's expense, something I'm sure the Draconequus would appreciate.

"Butler, speaking of where we're going." My lady suddenly said. seemingly noticing something outside the window.

"Yes?" I asked.

"That stop we just passed." My lady slowly turned her gaze towards me, her expression suddenly tense. "That was Briddleton station."

"Yes, indeed. We're five stops...away from....Filly....delphia..." Trepidation slowly dawned on my face as I realized what that meant.

"Correct Us if We're wrong." Luna said, frowning, eyebrows twitching. "Doesn't a 'stop' mean we're supposed to actually stop there." She voiced our very concerns.

"Yes, yes exactly." I glanced between Luna and my lady. I mirrored my lady's worried look, my mind struggling to find any excuse to deny what all this meant.

"For We observe we hath passed at least three such 'stops' without actually stopping." Luna pointed out. "Oh, look, We hath overtaken the 'fast' train. Should We wave?" She said, watching as we surged past the fast train that left a good half hour before ours.

"And we are still picking up speed." My lady said. "The bright side is, from what I recall, Fillydelphia is the end of the line."

"The bad news is, it is the end of the line." I muttered. "By all that is adorable..." I groaned, quickly pushing myself up onto my feet. I reached for the door and grasped the handle. One tug. Two. And another. It didn't give an inch. "I'm afraid the door is stuck." I observed, turning the lock. "The lock is about as stubborn." I noted, grimly, feeling the lock stubbornly resist me.

"Allow Us." Luna said, fluttering over to me with her little wings. She lit up her hidden horn with a soft blue glow, presumably readying her suite of lockpicking spells. I expected the lock to simply click open by virtue of ponykind's ultimate trump card - magic. Except we were instead greeted by an explosive zap that sent Luna reeling back. "Ouchies!"

"Luna!" I rushed to her side. "Are you alright?"

"W-We're alright, Butler. Thank you." Luna said, seeming no worse for the wear as I lifted her off the floor and onto her hooves. "More than can be said of our magic, however." She muttered.

"A null-magic field." My lady hissed. "Cunning."

"It's not just the lock." Luna scowled, peering at the entire booth. "This whole booth, at least, is covered. Maybe even the whole carriage. But flight still works." She said, flapping her little wings, lifting herself into a hover.

"So we're on a train that has missed three stops and is picking up speed." I summed up. "And someone's gone out of their way to trap us in our own private booth. And we're a few stops away from the end of the line and certain doom."

"And Lulu is going into caffeine withdrawal." My lady pointed out.

"And Lulu is going into caffeine withdrawal." I echoed with a nod. "Can this get any worse?"

"We also hath urgent need of the little filly's room." Luna observed. "What? We art serious." She added, seeing our looks.

Monday was taking its toll, and I've run out of loose change. I let out a little sigh. "We should have just walked." I conceded.

A polite knock on the door almost sent us leaping out of our skin. I spared my ladies a quick glance, putting a finger to my lips. They gave me a quick nod of understanding, displaying that they are capable of silence. "Who is it?" I replied, carefully, standing to one side of the door.

A surprisingly chirpy voice on the other side spoke up. "Oh, hello, I heard the door rattling so I just thought you might need help getting out. I'm Ditzy Doo, by the way."

Author's Note:

Hi again. I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed writing it.

In case you're wondering, yes, I didn't just put all those characters on the train for fun. But the characters I hinted at are not exhaustive, of course. There are a few more popular demands I didn't quite feature here but will definitely be featuring in this story.