• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Memoirs of a Royal Guard - Anzel



Silent Knight assumed his story would be complete once he achieved his dream of joining the Royal Guard. To his surprise, it was only just the beginning.

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28. Game Night

I slid my card to the edge of the table and lifted it slightly so that I could peek. Timberwolf. My eyes narrowed and swept across the crowd. It was game night and we were all sitting around Princess Luna’s special gaming table.

“I’m not sure I understand the point,” Velvet Step admitted.

Crystal Wishes explained, “If you’re a townspony, you’re trying to figure out who the timberwolves are. If you’re a timberwolf, you’re trying to cast suspicion on some poor townspony.”

Winterspear nodded. “Exactly! And I’m no timberwolf. We need to get them!”

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Princess Luna looking my way. She was a timberwolf, too. It was us against the table.

Runic pointed a hoof at Iridescence. “You’re being quiet. Too quiet!”

Iridescence held up her hooves. “Don’t look at me! I’m a regular townspony. Look at Silent Knight, he is clearly a timberwolf.”

I was, but my face didn’t show it. I used my Royal Guard blank stare on them all and said, “You’d think so, but I’m actually a hunter and if you mistakenly kill me, the pony I point out will be killed, too. If I incorrectly deduce who the timberwolves are, that means we lose a townspony. So, if I’m wrong, that means the townsponies stand a better chance of losing. Personally, I think it is Velvet. She is playing too innocently.”

Velvet gasped and Princess Luna nodded, saying, “We agree! The innocence is a deception!”

“No! It isn’t me. I swear! Please!” Velvet said hurriedly as she looked to Crystal Wishes for support. It only made her seem more guilty. She was about to argue further just as the last sands of the hourglass fell.

“Vote now, ponies!” Princess Luna called.

Hooves were pointed everywhere. Four at Velvet, one at Iridescence, and only one at me.

Velvet frowned and flipped over her card: townspony.

“Mwahaha!” Princess Luna cackled, flipping her card. I did the same. “Timberwolves win! The night is ours!”

Behind her, thunder shook the palace and lightning could be seen arching across the sky outside the windows. Velvet dove under the table and I heard somepony in armor tumble over with a squeal.

The others laughed and Crystal Wishes sweetly went to retrieve Velvet. Those two were good together. I went to my own task and crossed the chambers to help right Miley Hooves.

“I’m sorry, boss, but that was really scary,” she said before tugging herself up by my hoof.

“That’s fine, and precisely why the princess does it.” I winked. Turning back to the group, I called, “Who is ready for a game of Canterlot Express?” and was met immediately by groans.

Winterspear exclaimed, “No! I’m not playing a detective game with you. I’d rather play spin the bottle with gryphons.”

Every other pony at the table nodded.

I sighed. “I’m wounded, but fine. What do we play, then?”

Velvet, who was shaking in Crystal Wishes’s hooves, said, “Something that isn’t scary! Or where I can at least be on somepony’s team.”

Runic suggested, “Shadows Over Canterlot?”

That was met with general agreement and we settled back down to play the game. I looked around the table and smiled. Yes, this is what life was supposed to be.

The evening went late… really late. That tended to happen on game night. We all had had so much fun that nopony wanted to call it quits. Princess Luna and I had a big day tomorrow. She was hosting some visiting dignitaries and I was running all of her security.

“Iridescence, Winterspear, would you please escort Crystal Wishes and Velvet Step home?” I asked as I slid under the passed out Runic Phial and hefted him onto my back. He was sprawled over me, limp and snoring.

Winterspear looked at me and asked, “Who rolled over and made you boss?”

I deadpanned, “Technically, Lieutenant Haze.”

My sister snorted. “Point taken, but I don’t report to you… but you can owe me a favor.”

Crystal Wishes waved a hoof in my direction and said, “We don’t want to be a bother, Silent Knight. Velvet and I can get home alone just fine.”

I shook my head and replied, “I have no doubt, but that still won’t do. Humor me a little and allow me some peace of mind? After all, you never know these days with changelings just dropping out of the sky.”

The unicorn nodded softly. “Well… we can do that for you. For your peace of mind. Right, Velvet?”

Velvet chirped, “Anything for S.K.!”

Winterspear’s ears wiggled and she motioned to the door, “Come along, ladies. I think we best get you home before we all turn into pumpkins.”

Once they were gone, I looked to Princess Luna. “I’ll see you around noon, my Lady.”

“Verily, our timberwolf brethren!” she replied.

Under the weight of Runic, I decided it was better to just take him home with me. We got into my room and I contemplated tossing him on my sister’s bed, but then thought better of it. She wouldn't appreciate that very much.

Instead, I heaved him into my bed and slid in next to him. He mumbled something about sedimentary rocks and then went quiet. I yawned and did the same, minus the rocks, before finding a peaceful rest very quickly.

The next morning I woke up to find Winterspear sneaking in. “Wow, are you just getting home?” I asked.

She went stiff and looked at me with a guilty wince. “Oh, you’re up. Yes. I am. I don’t have to go on shift until later.”

I didn’t understand the look. I wasn’t her keeper. Winterspear then looked past me and smiled slyly. “And who do you have in bed with you?”

Runic popped up and yawned. “It’s me. Where am I?”

Winterspear frowned and snorted. “Hi, Runic. You’re in our room.”

“Oh. Good.” He flopped back into my bed and pulled the sheets up.

I got out of bed and shook myself fully awake. Winterspear was getting into her bunk to go to sleep. “My family is full of lazy ponies,” I muttered with a shake of my head. It was time to don my armor and get to work.

Today we would meet the gryphon dignitaries from their northern kingdom, Nordanver. I always try to be an open-minded pony, but I have never trusted gryphons. My dad had made sure of that. Equestria had assisted them in their internal struggles and they had turned on the very ponies that were sent to help them. Carefully, I strapped my sword into its hidden position and tightened the buckles of my armor.

Before I put my helmet on, my eyes caught sight of my standard issue sword where it hung off the armor rack. It only took an extra minute to strap it in on the other side. It never hurt to have a backup. I looked over my shoulder once more at the sleeping ponies. They seemed so peaceful and careless. My thoughts were slowly working through all the dangers that might be faced today.

I eyed up the ponies in front of me before saying, “Sergeant Orchid and her squad, minus Iridescence, will handle perimeter and door security. Sergeant, I want your two best ponies on the door. You and Mountain Stone will remain close enough to Princess Luna where you can personally protect her if need be… but I want to make certain you keep the lane to the back door clear.”

I motioned to the small door in the back of the meeting room. “That is safety.”

“You’ve got it, boss,” Sergeant Orchid said.

“Lavender, I want you just inside the door to greet everyone. Disarm them with your signature charm, and actually disarm them if they have a weapon. You may have to be forceful in that, but we’re not going to negotiate over it. The duke will be allowed his security, but they will not enter this chamber with weapons.”

There was a shared chuckle from the ponies in the room and Lavender winked at me. “But of course, Sergeant.”

“Thunder Tumble and Lightning Flash. You will stay two steps back and one to each side of Princess Luna at all times.”

“Yes, Sergeant!” they responded.

“The rest of you, I want at the back of the room. Iridescence in the middle. She’ll have her protective spell ready. Miley Hooves, Night Frost, and Harvest Moon, you protect Iridescence so she can focus on the spell,” I ordered.

The three nodded and said, “Yes, Sergeant.”

“If anything does go sideways, our primary duty is to get the princess out of the room. Don’t worry about getting into a fight. Just whisk her through the back exit and as far away as possible. There are more than enough guards in the palace to ensure the gryphons don’t escape. Our duty is only to her safety and then our own,” I explained.

Princess Luna watched quietly. I realized that there was little chance of any trouble, but I liked being thorough and she tolerated that. She cleared her throat. “And where will you be, Sergeant?”

I turned and walked over and took up position exactly at her left. I said, “Glued to your hip, Princess.”

The princess looked over and smiled at me. “Very well then,” she said and then added teasingly, “boss.”

That drew giggles from the guards around the room and I glared at them. They quickly fell silent and I said, “Okay, one more time from the top, everypony.”

Princess Luna paced slowly back and forth in the antechamber as we awaited the arrival of the lead gryphon dignitary Duke Cassius and his entourage. The two of us were alone and I felt the nervous energy radiating from her. She was tense and even fidgeted. At first, it was easy to ignore. I didn’t want to embarrass her, but eventually it seemed as if she was getting worked up.

“Are you alright, Princess?”

Slowly, she nodded before responding, “This is the first major function that my sister has trusted me with. Silent Knight, I haven’t done anything like this in a long time… to be honest I never really did. When I was banished, I wasn’t that experienced in being a ruler. By thy standards, I was little more than a filly. What if this goes wrong? We could find ourselves in a war!”

“Princess, you’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this. Your strategy is excellent and you’ll execute it masterfully. Of that I have no doubt at all. Plus, a war might be a bit extreme. This is meant to be a meet and greet,” I replied.

“Yes, I have prepared but thou knowest as well as I do that that barely applies to the real world. Perhaps it is too soon for me to do this? It wouldn’t be too late to ask Celestia.”

I knew what I had to do. Living up to my name would do her no good in this situation. It only took a second to cross the room to the alicorn’s side. Setting my hoof on her foreleg, I asked, “Princess, do you know the difference between fear and terror?”

She shook her head no.

“When the stakes are high, everypony should be afraid. Fear keeps your senses sharp. It gives you the extra second of pause before you take action. Fear is what helps keep you alive in those horrible situations. It even keeps us extra careful in far more mundane situations. It shouldn’t be viewed as an enemy. It is a friend.

“Terror, on the other hoof, is when you let fear start calling the plays. Instead of allowing it to heighten your senses, you let it consume them. All you can see is failure and you’re paralyzed. You freeze up and ultimately that gets you killed in a war, allows the other team to score in a game, or even create conditions ripe for failure in diplomatic efforts.

“You are a far stronger pony than you give yourself credit for. I can see it in you in the same way I can look at a line of guards and know which ones will keep moving forwards in a crisis. It is in your eyes. It is in your heart. Princess, if you do want to take your rightful place as the co-ruler of all ponies, you’re going to need to start somewhere. How else will you learn?”

With a deep breath I pushed on. “Luna, I know you perceive the large shadow your sister casts as all-consuming. I empathize completely. Trying to live up to my father’s reputation and my family line seems insurmountable some days. In time I may reach the standard that has been set. I may fall short. The most important thing is that I had to start somewhere.

“I’m not going to let my fears turn into terror. Each day I take a step forwards. One hoof in front of the other. That is what keeps me going and I know that you can do this. You will do this. This is what you’re meant to do just like this is what I’m meant to do. Do you know how I know?”

She shook her head no once again.

“If you told me I had to walk into a fire with you, I’d do it without hesitation. If you told me for the good of Equestria I had to stand and be slain, I’d do it without hesitation. If you asked me to lay down my sword in the face of the enemy I’d do it without question. Princess Luna, you represent half the leadership of all ponies. Own that role and be the pony that you know in your heart that you are.”

Princess Luna straightened to her full height and looked down at me. I felt as though I could see her resolve strengthening. “Perhaps it is time that I started casting my own shadow then. I thank thee, Silent Knight. I am glad that thou hast such confidence in me.” She took a deep breath and settled her crown on her head. “They should arrive to the palace soon. We had best go and take our positions.”

“Yes, Princess,” I replied before heading to the door and opening it for her.

Author's Note:

Crystal's Wishes Companion Chapter: The Little Things

If you are enjoying this story, please consider taking a look at Crystal and my's website QuillnBlade.com for extra content such as mini stories, an Ask Us form to submit questions, responses to said questions, and special rewards for the awesome folks who support our Patreon.

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