• 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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40. I'll Be Seeing You

“This is ridiculous,” I said as Winterspear remained flopped over my back. She was resting on her belly with her hooves dangling off both sides of me. It was like carrying a rug or really heavy saddlebags.

“I’m your burden to bear,” she teased.

“Iridescence says you’re still a bit angry and feeling lonely. Well, now you can’t be alone because I’m going to stay here until you talk to me.”

“This is going to get really awkward when I go to the stallion’s room.” I walked us through the streets of Canterlot. We were certainly drawing a lot of attention.

Winterspear wiggled and hugged around my belly. “I’m willing to take that chance.”

“You’re a pest.”

“I’m your pest,” she chirped.

I walked into Sunridge Sweets and was quickly greeted by Pepper Ridge, who was behind the counter. “What can I get for you today, Silent Knight?” he asked, peering at me like I was insane.

“Do you have any bread today? I know you don’t normally put it out, but Crystal Wishes says yours is the best in town,” I said.

Pepper Ridge winked. “Of course, for family friends I do. Anything else?”

“A cookie for my saddlebag. Something with peanut butter so it stops talking.”

“Done and done,” Pepper Ridge replied as he filled my order. I thanked him and headed back out to continue my errands.

I sighed. “Honestly, Winterspear, I’m not angry at you. How can I be? Perhaps who you picked wasn't ideal, but the reason why makes perfect sense. So I get a little angry now and then but I’ve worked most of it out at the gym and talking to Iridescence. I’m mostly back to my usual self.”

Winterspear nibbled on her cookie. Her tongue flapped about extra hard trying to keep the peanut butter from silencing her. “Okay,” she managed. “But you’re still not talkin’.”

I looked over my shoulder at her and asked, “What are we supposed to talk about? I’m honestly not mad at you. I could never be mad at you. If I had been in your situation I’d probably have done the same thing.”

The cookie vanished and she said, “You are in my situation and you’re not talking.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I told you before, it gets easier after the first time. That doesn’t mean when the first time ends it isn’t really hard. You’re not angry anymore. Great! You’re now sitting alone and wondering what you did wrong. Why you weren’t good enough.

"I haven’t seen you look at a single mare since I’ve been here. In fact, this is probably the closest you’ve been to one in awhile,” she replied, drumming on my stomach a bit.

Lifting my nose proudly, I said, “I’ll have you know I was most recently in the arms of one of the most perfect mares in all of Equestria.”

“Hugging Princess Luna doesn’t count. That is like hugging Mom,” Winterspear retorted flatly.

My proud nose fell and I grumbled, “Okay, fair enough. What do you want me to say?”

“Tell me the truth.”

I rolled my eyes and turned the corner, heading towards the farmer’s market. “I don’t know what you want.”

“I think you do.”

“You want me to just come out and say it? To say that I don’t think I’ll find another mare like Iridescence? One who gets me? That I’m going to end up doing nothing with my life other than my career like Grandfather or Dad?

"Or that I’m sad that somehow that now sounds bad to me? Before her, I’d have been thrilled to just be a guard my whole life. Now I know there is more to life and that just makes it worse.” I huffed and walked along the stalls with my pegasus saddlebag. Ponies stared but it didn’t bother me.

Winterspear sighed. “You think that’s true? That she was the only one? If so, I’ll let you have her back. Honest.”

“I’m pretty confident it doesn’t work that way, but thank you,” I said and then shrugged. “What do I know, Winterspear? There are only a few things I know are true. One, I love guarding Princess Luna. I know that part of my life is right. Two, I love you despite how big of a pest you’ve become. Three, I liked what I had and I miss it.

"I don’t have a pony to come home to or to hold. It is like the captain was trying to tell me all that time ago. I had to find balance. I did and then it went all out of whack. I’m a busy pony. When am I going to find time to find a mare? It isn’t as if there is one right under my nose.”

“You can hold me.” She wiggled on my back.

“That sentiment is sweet… and creepy, but you know what I mean. Don’t tease me. You’re getting what you asked for,” I said.

She nodded. “Right, sorry. I’m going to be honest. I’m not completely used to you having feelings yet. I know you’re my little brother, but you have always been far stronger. Finding out you’re a living pony like the rest of us is scary.”

That stopped me in my tracks. I turned and looked back at her. “Seriously?”

“Of course! Everything I did was wrong. Everything you did was right. When Dad was going off on me, you always came to comfort and help me after. You never made me feel like I was stupid or useless. You never judged me. You were even willing to argue with him over the holiday just for me. I look up to you. You’re my rock,” she explained.

My nose twitched. “We have a pretty screwed up family, don’t we?”

“Yeah… I was hoping you’d never notice.”

I started moving again and fell silent while I did my shopping. With everything I needed settled in my actual saddlebag I turned to head home. “Look, I’ll get over this. I just didn’t know how to deal with it. Evidently, my process involves breaking targets, sparring with Iridescence, and wearing you like a saddlebag.”

Winterspear hugged my belly again. “I’m your burden! Besides, I’m also just trying to spend some time with you before you go. It will be the longest we’ve been apart since we started living together.” There was a bit of sadness in her voice.

“I guess that’s true. I could pull some strings and get you assigned to the Palace Guard support,” I offered.

“Thanks, but no. I have some pride you know! My duty is with the city guard and I don’t plan to run off to some gryphon kingdom. But I want you to promise me you won’t do anything stupid there,” she said, suddenly very serious.

I shook my head. “I’m not angry. I won’t start a fight.”

“No…” She started flapping her wings, lifting off my back and landing in front of me. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this mission. We’re talking gryphons here, Silent Knight. Dad might not be the most normal pony but you know what they did to him. Don’t do something foolish.

"Don’t be some hero that sacrifices himself for everypony else.” She poked me in the chest with a hoof. “Be the kind of hero that figures out how to save everypony at the last possible minute. Promise me.”

I put my hooves around her and gave her a hug. “I promise, but you don’t need to worry. This is a mission of peace.”

“We’ll see,” she said, squeezing me tightly and then letting go so that we could get back home.

Velvet Step smiled at me as she opened the door. “Well, hello, Silent Knight! Won’t you come in?”

I smiled in return and nodded. “Thank you. I’d love to. Welcome home.”

The mare cheered, “Thank you! It’s great to be home. What brings you out today?”

“I can’t really go into specifics but I’ll be going away on a mission for a while. I wanted to drop by to say goodbye to Crystal Wishes… and, now that I know you’re home, you as well.”

She winked. “Two friends in one visit. Well, make yourself at home. Crystal is just getting ready for the day. I’ll go let her know you’re here.”

“Thank you.” I settled myself onto one of the pillows in the living room. At least Velvet was back. That made saying goodbye a little easier. I heard the pair talking quietly in the other room and some hasty preparation.

Crystal Wishes came out in a bathrobe, her hair put up. Velvet trailed along behind. “Oh, I am terribly sorry you have to see me like this, Silent Knight, but Velvet said you were leaving?”

Nodding, I replied, “You’re fine, Crystal Wishes, truly. She is correct, I’m afraid. Off to do my duty. A month or longer depending on the situation. I didn’t want to disappear without saying goodbye, though. That wouldn’t be proper.”

The mares came and sat across from me. “You’re awfully kind,” Velvet said.

Crystal Wishes nodded in agreement and then asked cautiously, “Is there trouble? Are you going to be in danger?”

I shifted uncomfortably. “Please don’t think me rude, but I’m not at liberty to say.”

The pair exchanged looks and then nodded. “I understand. Procedure,” Crystal Wishes replied.

I smiled weakly. “So it is. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I just wanted to ask if it would be alright to write you while I’m gone… and Velvet, too, of course.”

Crystal Wishes eagerly nodded. “Yes, of course! We should all stay in touch. Though I am uncertain how to return letters to you.”

“That, I can share. You see, by the time you receive my letter it will be from where I was, not where I am. That information is not as useful. You’ll respond to that location and royal agents will know how to secretly forward it to me,” I explained.

“How neat!” Velvet said.

“Very efficient,” Crystal Wishes agreed.

“Well…” I started, standing up. “I’ll let the two of you get back to it. I have an appointment I must not be late for. It was a pleasure seeing you both again. When I return, I’d love to have a little event to celebrate.”

“Oh yes! That would be wonderful. Until then,” Crystal Wishes said.

Velvet chimed in, “Safe travels.”

I nodded to both and let myself out as I headed to the Unicorn Temple at the edge of town.

Very few ponies are aware of the Unicorn Temple in Canterlot. It isn’t advertised or obvious. From the outside, the compound looks like nothing more than a tall stone wall with a big set of red double doors in the center. None of the buildings inside rise high enough to be visible from the street but if a pony went up into the nearby buildings, however, they could look inside, providing they could see through the dense canopy of trees.

The only reason I knew of the Temple was because of my deep research into the Canterlot Guard and all of the associated parts of it. The Temple was protected by temple guards who were loosely affiliated with the Royal Guard. By charter, they were subordinate to the same chain of command I was but, in reality, they operated wholly independently.

They conducted their own recruiting, training, and promoting. Temple guards and royal guards rarely crossed paths. Jurisdiction was exceedingly clear: temple guards protected everything inside the wall. Royal guards protected the rest.

I approached the large doors and knocked. The members of the Unicorn Temple worshiped alicorns. From their perspective, alicorns were living deities and should be treated as such. That wasn’t a tough sell for me.

They also invested their time in studying protection and healing magic so that they could serve the ponies of Equestria. They strived to do good works in the name of the alicorns and, should they do enough in their lifetime, they believed they were afforded a seat beside the ancient alicorns in the afterlife.

Furthermore, according to them, if a pony was so selfless, so passionate, and so kind that they went over and beyond what many would see as normal, they may even be reborn as an alicorn. That, they believed, was how Celestia came to power. It was a philosophy I could understand… other than the alicorn rebirth. To my knowledge, there were only two living and there had not been a new one for thousands of years.

Princess Celestia had once said that she and Princess Luna weren’t the first alicorns, but she never elaborated. I was probably one of the few ponies in Equestria that knew anything about Nocturna. It was probably better to keep it that way, too.

For the time being, I was happy to have a seat beside a living alicorn and it was my duty to ensure she had the best possible protection. I thought temple guards would help, so I had made a request for an audience.

After a short wait, the doors opened and I walked inside. The temple grounds were beautiful. There were no signs of the modern Canterlot architecture. Everything was hidden inside a perfectly manicured garden. Every building had been erected in such a way that it blended with nature.

Standing on the path before me was a single unicorn mare. Her coat was a pale pearl color and was accented by a simple blonde mane. She wore armor, but it was of an ancient style, the sort of suit you would see in books about the knights of old. Despite having a historic aesthetic, it was in perfect condition and polished to a gleaming silver.

She approached me. “You are Silent Knight, First Sergeant of Princess Luna’s House Guard?”

My research had mentioned that these ponies were quite formal and very traditional. I removed my helmet and bowed. “I am. May I have the honor of your name?”

The unicorn bowed her head in return. “I am Ferrel, Exemplar of the Temple Guard. I welcome you to our grounds.”

Members of the Unicorn Temple gave up their given pony names for single, simpler ones. The ones they chose were often very different than what you might expect. “Thank you. May I assume that you are the pony to which I should state my request?”

Ferrel nodded and replied, “I am and I am listening. How may the Temple Guard serve?”

I explained everything in detail. I held nothing back or made any false claims. This mission could be dangerous and I wanted to be certain the Temple Guard knew my expectations. The unicorn mare stood there unmoving. Her expression was blank and her stare was a little off-putting, but I didn’t let it shake my cool.

“Thus I feel, if you could spare four temple guards, the risk to Princess Luna would be greatly diminished.”

The exemplar replied after some thought, “It is almost unheard of for temple guards to leave temple grounds, even in the pursuit of their duty. You have valid concerns, however, and I agree that we may be able to greatly assist you. We will serve beside you as requested.”

It had been a long shot but it appeared it was going to pay off. I bowed and replied, “You have my thanks, Exemplar Ferrel. I must apologize for coming with so little time to spare. Secrecy had to be maintained. We leave in a mere days. Will your guards be prepared?”

“We are prepared,” she said with certainty. The unicorn motioned to her right and three other unicorns in similar armor stepped out from the shadows of the trees. They all had saddlebags and looked ready to travel.

I blinked. “Forgive me, but you’re already prepared? How could you have known?”

“We are and we have always known,” Ferrel replied cryptically.

It seemed better not to push on that subject. “Very well. Again, you have my gratitude. Please meet us at the train station in three days’ time when the moon rises.”

“We will be there.” She turned and walked down the path.

Slowly, I took three steps backwards and then turned to go. Once I was outside, the doors shut behind me and a shiver ran the length of my spine. How could they have known? I shook it off and hurried back to the palace to inform the lieutenant. It looked like we had all of our ponies now. It was time to get going.

Author's Note:

Crystal's Wishes Companion Chapter: I'll Be Thinking Of You

Exemplar Ferrel is a pony I've been waiting to get into the story for a while now. I'm really excited to add her to the cast.

Next chapter begins the Gryphon arc!

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.

2nd Edition Version

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