• 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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3. A Casual Conversation About Heroes

After the night on the balcony, my shifts with Princess Luna were different. I wasn’t a backdrop anymore even if I wanted to be, at least not when the two of us were alone. When we weren’t at an official, semi-official, or casual affair, she would talk at me.

I should clarify what I mean by “talk at me.” To say Princess Luna didn’t have a lot of friends would be putting it kindly. There was Princess Celestia, of course, and a hoofmare or two. Outside of that, though, everypony else was all business.

That left a lot of time for her to be alone. At least as alone as a VIP can be, which meant being alone with a guard or two, depending on the security situation. During my shifts, she would talk at me. I would listen and be quiet unless she asked me something specifically. Which, mercifully, she rarely did.

My guess is that having a confidant gave her peace. She knew I would never repeat anything she said because I was obligated not to. Also, I’m pretty sure she got the impression that I’m not big on talking in general. I let my actions speak for me and since I’m not good at interpretive dance, her secrets were safe with me.

Princess Luna spent a lot of time writing, even during her free time. Her work seemed endless and I wondered if she ever took a moment for herself. There were documents in her office, in her chambers, in her game room, and everywhere in between. It made me appreciate that my job was to stand there quietly.

On one particular evening, she paced back and forth in front of her desk with three pieces of parchment floating in her vision, levitated by alicorn magic. She looked at them and then at me. That look always meant I was no longer a prop and was about to be talked at.

“Silent Knight?” she asked.

“Princess?” I replied immediately. It seemed I was wrong. This would be a talking to and not at. I had become somewhat accustomed to being spoken to by that point.

One of the parchments glided down to the table and a quill rose in its place. She scribbled something and then asked, “Thou went to school in Canterlot, didst thou not?”

Thank Celestia. An easy question with a straight answer. “Yes, Princess.”

“Wherefore, then, didst thou not attend school in Cloudsdale, close to thy family?” she asked, scribbling something else. Was she writing down my answers?

“My father said I would have a better chance of being accepted into the Royal Guard if I was already in Canterlot and familiar with its ponies, so he sent me here to attend school. It would be an advantage.”

“Is that so?” she asked, which was a very loaded question.

Was it so my father said that? Yes. Was it true? Possibly. I was now, in fact, a House Guard. How could I know for sure?

“So he said, Princess. Whether he was right or not I can’t know. I am a House Guard, however, and assigned to a princess. There must have been some wisdom in his mindset.”

Once more her quill scribbled on the parchment. Was she working and holding a conversation or was she taking notes? It was quite unnerving.

“Wert thou not frightened to come to Canterlot as little older than a colt?” she asked.

In that moment I really thought the whole ‘speak when spoken to’ part of my upbringing was going to be the death of me. The princess didn’t know it, but this was a sore subject in my family. My mother and sister had been against it; my father, for it. He typically got his way so he picked me up and dropped me off in a city full of ground ponies.

“Terrified, Princess. It was right before I started secondary school. I lived alone in a tiny apartment, but I received the best education my parents could afford.” Terrified was probably an understatement, but it did allow me to learn how to be self-reliant. That sort of thing makes a pony tough.

Princess Luna let a second parchment glide to her desk before levitating another one. “Thy father’s counsel is most wise, though I may question his methods. He was a royal guard as well, was he not?”

Finally, a change of topic. I could talk about my dad all day. He was a hero. Well, a hero to me, anyway.

“Yes, Princess.” I paused. “Well, technically no, Princess. He was eventually, but most of his career he was actually part of the Equestrian Army. He served Equestria well until he took an arrow to the knee in a battle with some gryphons.”

The princess brought a hoof to her muzzle and stifled a laugh. That was rather confusing and, honestly, a little agitating.

“Princess?”

“Surely thou jest,” she replied, smiling behind her hoof.

“No, Princess. A gryphon shot him in battle. He was wounded… in the knee… by an arrow. Is that humorous?” I was pushing a line but I take my father very seriously.

The princess looked at me with big eyes, the smile vanished and she shook her head. “Our apologies. That is not humorous. ‘Tis just that the situation remindeth us of something we once saw in a story. Perhaps thou hast not heard of such?”

Somepony wrote a story about my father being hit in the knee with an arrow? Nonsense. I shook my head and said, “My apologies, Princess, but I’m unfamiliar with what you speak of.”

Princess Luna looked a bit sheepish before saying, “Then this is not funny at all.” After that, she quickly went back to her duties while I tried to work out what had just happened.

The palace commissary makes better food than most chow halls. That was what I had been told, anyway. One major difference between the two, however, is that I didn’t have to pay to eat at the latter. Bits were something I had to be careful with. Royal guards don’t make a lot and I sent most of mine to my parents.

Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t a proper chow hall in the palace. There was one somewhat close at the Royal Guard Central Command Campus but when pressed for time or worn out, it was just easier for me to go to the commissary.

As usual, I sat alone eating my dinner quietly. It was some sort of noodles with carrots and peas—at least that was what I hoped it was. Again, just because somepony tells you the food is better doesn’t make it true.

From across the dining area, a pink mare approached me. Her armor had Princess Celestia’s cutie mark on the breastplate and a sergeant’s pin by the collar. Ponies tend to look alike under armor, but she was somewhat familiar. She also didn’t have any food.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked.

I shook my head and she sat down.

“Are you settling in okay?”

“Yes, Sergeant,” I replied simply.

Lightly, she cleared her throat. “My name is Radiant Orchid. You and I met a couple of times when you were working with us. Prior to your unit being stood up.”

That was it. She wasn’t the sergeant that had been assigned to the duty, but she’d filled in one day. “Right, yes, Sergeant. What can I do for you?”

Sergeant Orchid shook her head. “Me? Oh, nothing. I’ve just seen you here eating alone a lot. I thought you might like some company.”

“That is very kind of you, Sergeant. Have you already eaten?” I waved a hoof to her empty side of the table.

“What?” She laughed. “Oh! No. No…” Lowering her voice, Sergeant Orchid added, “The food here isn’t that great. I just wait until I get home. That is a perk of having a kitchen. You’re kind of on your own there, I guess.”

My nose wrinkled and I whispered back, “I appreciate that somepony else noticed. I’ve been told repeatedly that the food here is better than the chow hall.”

“No chance of that. Personally, I’m hoping that at some point the palace manager brings in a new staff or something. It is almost a crime that the palace should serve such awful food.”

A crime. Poisoning a royal guard was a crime. That could be a way to get things moving. Although that also involved the downside of being poisoned.

I pushed the noodle mush away. “Maybe I’ll trot over there tomorrow.”

“You’ll live longer if you do. Listen, I know you’re new and there aren’t any other green ponies in your unit. If you need anything, you can come see me. Alright?”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“Good. Have a nice evening.”

Silently, I stood outside of Princess Luna’s chambers, guarding her door. She wanted some personal time and had asked me to step out. That was completely within regulations so I didn’t put up a fuss.

Princess Celestia had gone to a lot of effort to renovate an entire wing for Princess Luna. She wanted to be certain that her little sister had all of the same comforts that she did. Everything was still being hammered out… literally and figuratively. About the only rooms that were still in one piece were Princess Luna’s private chambers.

Outside of them, however, was an entirely different story. It amazed me at how many construction ponies came and went. Lumber, nails, bricks, and other materials went by in carts and I had to pay great respect to whatever pony had insulated the princess’s chambers. None of this was obvious from in there.

Just after a brief squabble between an architect, forepony, and construction worker, Captain Shining Armor turned the corner and headed in my direction. He had an unfamiliar mare in tow. She was a petite earth pony with a dark brown coat and an almost black mane.

My body stiffened to attention as the captain drew close.

“What was that about?” he asked.

“The architect and the forepony had different opinions on what an arch is, sir. The construction pony had a different opinion on physics than the two. The three of them all disagreed on whether the opening to the administrative wing should be an arch, doorway, or drawbridge. Then it got a little physical.”

The captain blinked, paused as if he was going to say something, and then just shook his head. “Not our department. Listen, this is Miley Hooves, the latest addition to the House Guard. When you get off duty I want you to show her around and explain her duties. Can you do that?”

I could, but why? Shouldn’t the sergeant do that? Was something wrong with the sergeant? Should I ask? The captain was staring at me, waiting. “Yes, sir.”

“Thank you!” Miley Hooves chirped happily before quickly falling silent when Shining Armor looked back at her. Typically, you don’t interrupt a conversation between an officer and another pony.

The captain pressed on, “Good. Also, I reviewed your file this morning. Your scores at the Royal Guard Academy were excellent. You should have graduated as a guard second class. That got lost in the shuffle. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“It hadn’t crossed my mind, sir. This posting threw me sideways.” That was true. It hadn’t even dawned on me. Being posted to a House Guard was exciting enough.

He nodded. “Fair enough. Still, a mistake is a mistake.” His horn illuminated and unicorn magic surrounded my third class pin before pulling it from my armor. It amazed me at how little unicorns used their hooves or mouths. From a pouch, he levitated a second class pin and attached it in the now vacant place. “I also notified payroll. You’re entitled to the difference in bits between grades. That should be a decent little sum.”

Promoted. Granted, second class is pretty much automatic, but it was still nice. It helped shake that ‘green pony’ status a bit. Plus more bits would help my parents. That would be one less thing to worry about. “Thank you, sir!”

“Don’t thank me. I just corrected the mistake. Carry on.”

“Yes, sir,” I responded and settled back into my place outside the door. Only now I stood just a little bit taller.

Author's Note:

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