• 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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50. One Long Day

My trips to the Unicorn Temple were becoming more frequent. The peaceful garden and the little chats with Exemplar Ferrel worked wonders for relieving the tension I frequently felt. Winterspear helped me with the physical wounds and the temple aided the mental ones as best they could.

The garden itself was full of curiosities. Every trip allowed me to discover new things. My favorite feature was the small brook that ran through the center of the grounds. I had no idea where it started and even less of an idea of where it ended. The temple was, after all, in the middle of Canterlot. It was magical but that was no surprise.

I stood on the delicate wooden bridge that spanned the water and watched little orange fish swim about on whatever business fish had. There was little doubt that it was important to them.

The sound of soft steps on the path reached my ears. Eventually that shifted to hooves on wood. “Back so soon?”

I turned to the exemplar and bowed. “Yes. I go to the gym twice a day. It only seems fitting that I come here near as often. That isn’t a problem, is it?”

“No. You are always welcome here, Silent Knight.”

“And you always seem to find me when I am,” I replied.



The exemplar’s head tilted and her light blue eyes briefly went vacant. She then blinked and replied, “I like you.”

Softly, I chuckled and looked back to the busy fish. “I like you, too. That hardly seems like the sort of thing that motivates you, though.”

Exemplar Ferrel moved to my side to peer down with me. “In most cases, I would agree. In this case, I speak the whole truth. I enjoy your company. You are not a temple guard and have little care for our business. You come here for peace.”

My ears twitched at that and I asked, “Do others not?”

“Few ponies come here. I am often surrounded by only others of this temple. Your guards often have need of you, yes?”

“They do.”

“As do mine, and we all live here together. They look up to me at all times. I do not count any among them as a friend. The same is true for the ponies in the other orders here. They all keep a healthy distance,” she explained.

“Because you’re an exemplar?”

The unicorn shook her head. “No, because I am odd.”

“You’re odd, but not that odd. Surely they don’t dislike you.”

She shook her head again. “No, they don’t. They just keep the distance.”

One of the little orange fish swam by itself in a circle. The others kept on going about their day. “Not that I’m asking so that I can keep my distance, but the other temple guards I met aren’t like you. You have a talent they don’t, correct?”


I shifted my attention back to her. “Tell me about it.”

“It is hard to explain and largely unbelievable,” she replied.

“Tell me anyway. In the worst case, we discover that there is just one more aspect of magic I don’t understand. That is no different from yesterday.”

Exemplar Ferrel seemed to contemplate that a moment and then nodded. “I’m not certain it is magic so much as my unique talent… or curse. I was a strange foal prone to bouts of silence and sudden terror. My cutie mark appeared before I could speak.”

The exemplar’s cutie mark was an hourglass of sorts. The top was open with both the sand and glass being blown away as if they were no more than dust.

“For as long as I can remember, I have seen glimpses of the near future. They always come in threes and, inevitably, two are always false. The visions most often come in sleep. Others come while I am awake. In either case, they are so real, so vivid, that I have difficulty knowing what reality is. Am I talking to you now or experiencing a vision? I can’t be certain.”

That floored me. “So you know what will happen but it is clouded by what won’t?”

“Yes, and I have perfect recall of each vision whether they occur or not. To me it as if they have all occurred. I try very hard to recognize when one is coming true, but I can’t be sure until it has already passed.

"I spent the first century of my life running around shouting about doom and ruination that only occurred one-third of the time. It ensured I lacked credibility and that ponies would keep their distance.”

The idea of not really knowing what reality was frightened me a bit. “How do you deal with your talent?”

The exemplar shook her head. “As best as anypony can? The temple keeps me isolated and when I am alone, I rarely have visions. If I do, they only apply to me. It is when other ponies get into the mix that they increase. When we left these walls, I was in the proximity of three other temple guards, your House Guard, the Palace Guard, and Princess Luna. It was overwhelming.”

“You seemed to have functioned beyond fine,” I said softly.

She smiled. “Indeed. Suffice to say, I did the best I could. It is hard to know if my actions had any effect, however. The night I warned you, I saw two visions of Princess Luna being attacked in her chambers and yet she was not.”

“The warning set me on alarm and we took a lot of action that night. Perhaps that threw off the would-be attackers,” I suggested.

The exemplar softly shrugged.

Idly, I brushed a hoof along the smooth rail of the bridge. “What did you see the day of the ambush?”

“Turmoil,” she replied.

“Of course you saw turmoil, we were going to be attacked.”

“That is not what I mean. I saw three visions for the princess, three for myself, three for you, three for the gryphon... and so on and so on. I look for commonalities in visions. When there are so many coming so frequently, that becomes impossible. I wasn’t wholly aware for most of the day. It became unclear what was real,” she explained.

My head bobbed in a soft nod. It was largely unbelievable, but I had no reason to doubt her. The exemplar had a talent that was both infinitely powerful and equally useless. Most ponies would likely have been driven insane by it. Perhaps she was. “So, you live this way every day?”

“Yes. The frequency isn’t as bad within the temple grounds and I am easily able to perform my duties. Beyond that, when I am certain I am in reality, I cling to it. Your visits these days are rarely worthy of a vision set. Thus, when you are here, I know that now is most likely now.”

“I’m glad I can be of some service, then. I was worried I was doing more taking than giving.”

“Even if that were the case, we are here to serve. Still, I would not be upset if you chose to keep coming even after you have decided to let go of the specter that is astride your back. Good day, Silent Knight.”

My head bowed politely to her and I replied, “Good day, Exemplar.”

Princess Luna and I sat across from each other in her bedroom. We were laid out on plush pillows, enjoying a bit of silence. It was suspicious… very suspicious. She’d sent the guards out of the main chamber and came all of the way back to be as far from them as possible.

“I’m certain I’ve found them,” the princess said finally.

“The ponies you’re looking for? How?” I asked.

The book I’d found levitated from her vanity and landed between us. “This is a journal. When you went to Smokey Mountain, it seems likely that you were noticed. You probably surprised the pony in question and as a result, she dropped her journal.”

That made sense. It was careless, but then again, the princess had never said I was looking for soldiers. “The journal explains where she was from?”

“Verily,” she replied but without excitement.

That was a strange reaction. “Aren’t you pleased, Princess?”

With a sigh, she continued, “I am and at the same time not. These ponies do not know me. What if they don’t trust me? They are living in exile. Why should they wish to return?”

“Exile? Where?”

“The Badlands. Their ancestors fled there a thousand years ago to build new settlements as far from the old capital as possible. They’ve been forgotten.”

A thousand years ago. “When you were banished?”

“Yes. When I was banished by Celestia.”

There were so many pieces to this puzzle that I was missing. It was time to gather a few more. “What is the House of the Night?”

Princess Luna’s ears stood up straight. “Where did you hear that name?”

My head shook. “I won’t say. What is it? Is it related to these ponies?”

“Yes. They fled because the House of the Night became vacant. In their minds, aggression had been brought against their last alicorn.”

“Princess Celestia banished you. That is the aggression? They were frightened of her?”

“Most frightened. My sister and I are alicorns far more powerful than you are aware. For her to banish me… well, consider that the most frightening thing that could be imagined for these ponies. It would be viewed as an attack regardless of the circumstances. Much like when Celestia disappeared upon my return.”

My stare went vacant. An attack? “Princess… are we in danger of some sort of cold war with these ponies and don’t know it?”

“Potentially, yes. That is why it is critically important that you get well enough to travel. You’ll need to go to them and pave the way for me to visit.”

My heart started to beat faster. A potential attack was not a secret matter. It was a security issue. “How do you know they won’t attack me?”

“I don’t, but I suspect they will not.”

“You suspect? How can you send me into a lion’s den on a suspicion alone?” My tone raised just a little.

The princess shifted slightly and replied, “Because I must! You will carry a banner of peace, of course, but I suspect they will not attack because they will recognize you as a distant relative. You share the same ancestors.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Your family line is not all pegasi. They will recognize your ears and cutie mark.”

My heart raced and it was harder to keep my composure. “Princess, what kind of ponies are these? What are you hiding from me? I have a right to know!”

The princess looked tormented. Indecision and concern played across her face and she made no effort to conceal it. When she finally spoke, her voice was quiet. “They are nox ponies. Pegasi of the night, if you will. Your family shares a common ancestor: Moonlit Star.

"She was the matriarch of which I spoke all that time ago. She was to help me as Starswirl the Bearded helped Celestia. I was too stubborn to listen to—” The princess stopped, tears pooling in her eyes. With a deep breath, she pushed on, “—to a ‘normal’ pony.”

“You mean a non-alicorn?”

The tears fell onto the pillow. “Yes. I was a fool. A young and arrogant fool. I refused her help! I denied her oath. It was all out of selfishness. They had lost their leader! I was all that remained and when they needed me the most, I acted as a foal acts.”

It was starting to make sense. The princess was distraught, but I just had to ask, “Who murdered Nocturna?”

Her tail lashed and she rose. “I don’t know!” The princess’s voice echoed in the bedroom and I was compelled to duck my head.

Princess Luna took a soft breath. “We were all on a trip to the Crystal Empire for an alicorn summit when it happened. I was too young to be part of the proceedings. Celestia saw it all, though, and somehow managed to escape. She said they underestimated her. We were surrounded by grief and fear. Before whoever did the deed could find us, she grabbed me and teleported us away.”

After wiping her eyes, the princess reached down to lift my chin. “Silent Knight, in one instant, both alicorn houses were nearly wiped out. My sister and I were all that was left and we were too young to rule.”

Both houses? If there was a House of the Night, then it was made sense that there was a House of the Day. “Wait, Nocturna wasn’t the only one murdered?”

“No… I said both houses were nearly wiped out, Silent Knight. Now do you see why these ponies would be frightened? They were left with an arrogant, stupid foal to rule them. An arrogant, stupid foal that succumbed to the nightmares and was banished by her rival. One alicorn left to rule them all: an alicorn of the sun.”

Frightened? Hardly. I’d have been terrified. In fact, I was. Something was out there that could murder alicorns? Multiple alicorns? An Equestria without alicorns was no place to be. Then the one word stuck out in my mind. “Rival? What do you mean, rival? She is your sister!”

“Yes, she is. We have discussed this enough. You need not know more to act as my agent in this regard. You will get well, complete your training, and then you will go and visit the nox ponies. Is that clear?”

More secrets. Always more secrets. Could I keep this secret? Should I? I'd made an oath to Shining Armor. My head bowed and my heartbeat had not slowed. “Yes. I will do as you command. I am your agent."

I would go, yes. That part I could agree to.

Knowledge is heavy. Knowledge is power. I had knowledge that I both didn’t want and, at the same time, was compelled to investigate. I needed to talk to somepony else but I couldn’t. Where was the colonel? He would know what to do.

Where was he? Off in the Crystal Empire doing Celestia knew what… Celestia knew.

The Crystal Empire! Were Shining Armor and Lady Cadence in danger? Those crystal ponies had murdered alicorns. Should I warn him? Could I warn him? The thoughts raced in my head and got muddled. I stumbled and the ache of losing my own ponies bubbled up to the forefront of my mind.

Enemies within. Enemies across the sea. A secret lair of ponies that may even be at war with us. Were they watching even now? One had been close enough to drop a journal but I never saw her. We were all in danger and something had to be done immediately!

My hooves turned right instead of left. Quickly, I went down the hall to Sunny Day’s office. Her door was closed. It was never closed. I pushed it open and stormed in. My heart was beating too quickly in my chest.

There was a surprised squeak. The little blue pony resources pony, Azurite, was in Sunny’s hooves.

“Sergeant, have you lost your mind?!” Sunny Day demanded loudly.

She didn’t know that I had. I stiffened to an abrupt attention. “Apologies, ma’am! I need to speak to the princess immediately.”

The lieutenant’s anger evaporated. “What’s happened? What is it about?”

“My apologies. I can’t say but on my word it is urgent.”

Sunny Day nodded and eased back from Azurite. “Sweetie… why don’t you go back to work.”

“Okay,” she replied nervously as she headed for the door. Before going out, she stopped and said, “You’re looking better, Sergeant.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” I said absently.

Once Azurite was gone, Sunny Day approached me. “Can you give me anything to take to her? She’ll want to know something. You can’t just interrupt the princess’s day on your word regardless of how good it is.”

The adrenaline was starting to wear off. What was I doing? This was a risky move. Actually, it was a career-ending move. Sunny Day would let it go, though. No. Never let anypony shake your cool. There were enemies nearby. “Tell her that they underestimated her.”


“Tell her that. I’ll wait here.”

“Yeah… okay, Silent Knight. I’ll tell her.” Sunny Day gave me an odd look before hurrying out.

“You’ve certainly come a long way from hiding behind couches, Silent Knight,” Princess Celestia said softly.

We had met in her office near the throne room. She’d agreed to see me immediately and here we were. I didn’t have a plan. My heart pounded in my chest. She wasn’t going to know that, though.

My instincts kicked in as I sized the alicorn up. She was bigger than me and full of inconceivably powerful magic. Not a great matchup. My tone remained even. “Yes, Princess. What you did for me that day shaped me more than you might know.”

In other circumstances, I think that would have made her smile. She didn’t smile, though. “You’ve been spending a lot of time alone with my sister. What have you two been up to?”

It was a measured question with deep meaning. "Talking. Talking a lot about the past.”

“That is all? What is it that you hope to achieve here?”

“Is that not enough, Princess?

“It is, but it lacks a certain ambition that some ponies have had in the past.”

The hairs on my neck rose. “Princess… are we enemies? I need to know if we are.”

She tilted her head and looked at me curiously. “Why would we be?”

“I—” My voice trickled to a whisper. “I don’t know. I’ve learned things. Princess Luna said you’re rivals. I can’t protect her from you. We’re at war...”

“My little pony…” Princess Celestia rose and came around her desk, advancing on me. I recoiled and started to drop into a combat stance before she settled next to me. In a fluid motion, she lifted a wing and softly wedged me between it and her body.

“Silent Knight, I understand that what happened to you was horrible and traumatic. We’re not at war, though, and I am not your enemy. She is my sister. If I was her enemy, why would I have ensured her restoration from the nightmare?”

How would I know? None of it made sense. Who could murder an alicorn as powerful as Nocturna, anyway? The mere visage of her was more than I could handle. It wasn’t just Nocturna, though. It was alicorns… with an s.

What was I doing? I’d lost my mind. “I’m sorry, Princess. I’ve wasted your time. I’m just not sure what is what right now. Can… Can you tell me what she meant by rivals? It might give me some peace.”

The princess peered down at me and then nodded. “A long time ago, alicorns of the sun and alicorns of the moon were rivals, this is true. You could, in some ways, consider us different kinds of ponies. Our magic and talents are different, our philosophies were different, and we comprised two houses: the Day and the Night.

“Each house vied for the adoration and love of all ponies. This rivalry was escalating to the point where violence was not outside the realm of believability. To avoid it, an agreement was reached and, for the first time ever, sisters were chosen and appointed to the houses. There was hope that our love for each other would mend all wounds and allow us to share.”

“Did it?” I asked.

“Look upon Equestria and tell me that our land is divided.”

She was right. Equestria was amazing. Ponies spent more time working together in harmony than anything else. Peace, harmony, and friendship. “It worked… but you also ruled a thousand years by yourself.”

“Yes, that is a fair point. It will take some time, but Luna will eventually be my peer and we will rule equally. Do you believe I withhold power from her?”


“Then does this give you peace?” she asked softly.

With a nod I replied, “It does… I would not want you as an enemy.”

“Due to my power?”

“Due to your kindness. It is easier to fight an enemy you can vilify.”

The princess paused as if to consider that. “Your secret meetings with Luna have been about this?”

There it was, then. All the sneaking around and I’d just blurted it out in a fit. My mind had been so muddled I hadn't fully considered what was happening. Carefully, I had to consider my promise to Princess Luna. No other pony but within reason.

I’d also given my word to Shining Armor that if this became a military matter I’d warn him. Had this been a military matter? It had felt that way. I’d taken what Princess Luna had said as a risk. It was a grey area. “In part, yes, Princess.”

“Well, what a shame. I thought she had succumbed to your charm.”

I stiffened and moved away from her. “What?! No, ma’am! That is inappropriate."

She laughed and lifted her wing. “No less inappropriate than accusing the ruler of a kingdom of being an enemy.”

My ears shot up. “Asked, Princess! I asked. Respectfully.” I slowly backed out from under her wing, my head held low.

Princess Celestia nodded and then her expression went firm. “Silent Knight, what you know is dangerous. You’ll understand that I must know your intentions for that information.”

“Yes, Princess. My intentions are to do as your sister commands. I am hers. If she orders it kept secret, it will be so. If she feels I should tell—” The words caught in my throat a moment and I bowed my head. “—I’m sorry, Princess. I’ll do as she orders.”

I’d chosen one princess over the other and I meant it.

Princess Celestia’s head tilted a moment and she replied, “This is precisely what our mentors were trying to avoid but I respect your loyalty. I should caution you: most ponies are not ready for this knowledge. You may be in a weakened state, but you are still stronger than most and look at how it impacted you. Please exercise good judgment and not just blind loyalty.”

“I understand and again, my apologies, Princess. It truly wasn’t my intention to offend you,” I said meekly. The words were hollow, though. No, I had not meant to offend her, but I had made it abundantly clear that I'd taken her sister’s side. They were not joint sovereigns to me.

“Focus on getting strong. Luna will have more need of you and it is her right to investigate the past. I believe you will be a voice of reason for her. Please do not make me regret trusting you with my little sister.”

“Yes, Princess. Again, my sincere apologies for my words and actions today. It felt like I was back… there. I’m worried about being ambushed. Things became confusing.”

Princess Celestia shook her head. “Your heart was in the right place. Now, should it ever come up, you thought you remembered something about a gryphon spy infiltrating the palace and I was the only pony you knew for sure you could trust. A fit of paranoia following your injury.”

“Yes. Another ponynapping attempt. Paranoia. Good day, Princess.”

“Good day, Silent Knight.”

“We were just kissing.”

My hooves came up. “It isn’t any of my business, ma’am.”

Azurite set a hoof on her desk. “Just kissing! Nothing else. The regulations allow for officers and warrant officers to date. I don’t work her file.”

“Ma’am, honestly, it isn’t my business.”

“She is a great officer. She wouldn’t do anything wrong.” She was leaning across the desk in what I guess was an attempt to be intimidating.

The passion was there but Azurite was smaller than Miley and looked like somepony’s kid sister. I wasn’t exactly shaking in my hoof guards.

“Ma’am! I have no doubt of that. Sunny Day is an excellent officer. I wouldn’t cause her any trouble, so please stop telling me what you two were doing. I don’t need to know!”

Azurite peered at me. “Then why are you here?”

“You left a reminder in my mailbox to come see you at my earliest convenience.” To emphasize the point, I held up the little note. It was blue, like her, and covered in glitter… like her.

She slapped herself on the forehead and turned bright red. “Sweet Celestia, yes. You need to sign a form.”

“I signed about a thousand forms the last time I was here. Is there really another one?”

Azurite nodded and dug through my file. She produced one document and slid it across to me. “By signing this form, you acknowledge that Colonel Shining Armor and Princess Luna are covering your tuition to the Royal Equestrian Officer’s Academy and if you do anything that lacks integrity, that tuition will be pulled and you will be responsible for paying your own way.”

“Okay.” My signature went on the page. “Anything else, ma’am?”

“It was just smooching. You can smooch on duty during breaks. I’ll get the regulations manual.”


“You can smooch on duty!”

“Ma’am, please…”

“Dismissed!” she said with a huff and I hurried out before she could get her manual.

It had been a really weird day in the palace. My talk with Princess Luna had worked me up in a way I hadn’t expected. My reaction had been sudden and strong. I was under the impression we were at risk.

The talk with Princess Celestia had calmed me down and embarrassed me on several levels. As soon as that was done, I had been reminded that other ponies were paying for me to go to a really expensive school. That, in turn, reminded me that soon I wasn’t going to be a unit sergeant anymore.

Change was in the air and I wasn’t certain all of it was good. I’d been so busy running around like a crazy pony that I’d made zero progress on Runic’s birthday party. There was still a ton to do and I hadn’t even spoken to Miley yet. That was my next activity.

Getting up and down was starting to get easier but still took effort. I left my office and headed for where I thought Miley would be: her office.

“Excuse me! Excuse me, please. Mr. Guard Pony?” The voice was sugary sweet and bubbly. “Yoohoo!”

“Me?” I asked as I turned around to find a pegasus mare flapping up behind me. She was four different shades of pink, to be specific, and had a cutie mark of little hearts that trailed all over her flank. Without a doubt, I was looking at a pink nightmare.

She came to an abrupt stop and then nodded. “Yes, you! Oh, you look hurt. Are you okay?”

I shook my head. “You should see the other guy. I’ll be fine. How can I help you and how did you possibly get back here unescorted?”

“Oh, good! It’s fine, most ponies don’t mind me.” She offered a hoof and smiled happily. “I’m Lovey Dovey!”

I straightened to my full height but took her hoof to shake. “Royal guard ponies are supposed to mind you. They’re supposed to mind you not getting back into the princess’s private wing. I’m Silent Knight, and let me help you back to the tour.”

“Oh! Silent Knight? Of course you are! That makes so much sense,” she chirped as she looked directly at my chest. After a brief moment of silence, she went on, “I’m not on a tour. I’m on a mission!”

“That mission wouldn’t involve the princesses, would it?” I asked suspiciously.

Suspicion seemed to go right over Lovey’s head. “No! Maybe! You can never know with matters of the heart. Where the love lines go, I follow.”

“Love lines?” I asked and the words vaguely sounded familiar. “Are you a friend of Sunny Day?”

“Yes! Is she here? She’s always here, right?” She beamed at me. “I’d like to stop in and see her. She is one tangled mess of love lines, you know. A natural curiosity!”

“Sunny Day is?”

“Yes. Where is Sunny’s office? Take me to Sunny, please?” She leaned in a little too close for comfort, but I didn’t flinch.

“What about your mission?” I asked her.

“What mission?”

My guards had let an insane pony into a restricted area. I was going to have to issue all kinds of citations. For now, however, I just wanted to keep her calm. “Your love line mission.”

“Oh! Yes! That. It’s ongoing. Sunny can help… well, maybe. Okay, so probably not. She couldn’t hurt! Why don’t we go see her first and then you can go back to doing your guard thing?”

“Alright… if you’ll come with me.” I held her hoof in my own so she couldn’t get away.

Lovey Dovey giggled and held on tight. It didn’t take long for me to get her out of Princess Luna’s wing and into Princess Celestia’s. We garnered all kinds of looks as we made our way to Sunny’s office.

This time Sunny Day’s door was open and I led my prisoner in. “Ma’am, does this belong to you?”

There were mutual squeals of delight and even though it should have been impossible, the pink pegasus escaped my grasp to pounce on Sunny. There were hugs, more squeals, and indecipherable words exchanged quickly between them.

Eventually, the lieutenant cleared her throat, put on a professional face, and replied, “Yes, Sergeant. Was she causing trouble?”

“I caught her in Princess Luna’s private wing unescorted.”

Sunny Day turned the pegasus and said, “Now, Lovey, we talked about this. You’re supposed to wear your pass.”

Lovey Dovey chirped, “I left it in Ponyville! Besides, nopony minds me.”

“Yes, I know, but when you do that you give ponies like the sergeant cause for concern and he has had a rough day. Right, Sergeant?”

“Yes, ma’am. I assume if I check the access roster she has the appropriate pass?”

“Yes. No citations today. Lovey Dovey is Equestria’s finest matchmaker. She is also Princess Celestia’s unofficial Secretary of Love.”

“I see.” I didn’t. “Will there be anything else, ma’am? May I assume I can leave her in your care?”

Sunny Day laughed and nodded. “Yes, of course. Dismissed.”

This was turning into a really weird day. Hastily, I left the office and headed out to try to find Miley again. As I approached her office I noticed that there were less guards in the hallways than I would have set. They were looking at me, too. Something was up.

When I got to Miley’s door, I knocked and walked in. The newly minted Sergeant Miley Hooves stood up suddenly. “Boss!”

I laughed. “I’m not an officer yet.”

Miley shrugged and replied, “I was… uh… practicing. What can I do for you boss?”

“This is a social call.” She relaxed a bit. “We want to throw a surprise party for Runic for his birthday. We have some tentative plans but Winterspear and Iridescence informed me that I have to run everything by you.”

Miley’s head tilted and then she seemed to get it. “Oooh. That is funny that you want to do a surprise party. They’re right. ”

“He is my cousin and I had him first. Why is it funny that I want to do a surprise party?”

“I’ll take that under advisement,” Miley said. She at least giggled when she did it so I didn’t feel too bad. “No reason!”

She was acting weird but she probably had a lot going on after being promoted to sergeant. It only took a moment to explain everything we’d prepared for the party.

“Oh, that sounds like a pretty great plan. You know, after our rock concert he has really been into that sort of music. Can we find somepony that can play that?”

“We can certainly try. How are you going to get him to the gardens?” I asked.

Miley waved a hoof at me. “Oh, don’t worry about that, Sergeant. He’ll go where I tell him. I have that effect on stallions. They never see it coming.”

“Alright. That is good, then.” Mares. They certainly still ruled the world. That hadn’t changed, at least. Although I'm not sure Miley was as strong in their ways as she let on.

The petite sergeant came around her desk and looped her hoof around mine. “Oh, I was just about to head over to see the lieutenant about the vacancies in my squad. You should come, too.”

“Agreed. Although we can’t walk hoof in hoof. Ponies might get the wrong impression.”

Miley blinked and then nodded. “Oh, yeah, maybe we should just walk together, then. He is in the conference room with the major.”

We set out together. “There can’t be any hoof holding while I’m gone.”

“Yes, sir, understood.”

She led me through the hall and to the conference room. Miley stopped and said, “Go on in. I’m going to straighten my armor. I don’t want the major to think her new sergeant is a slouch.”

That struck me as slightly odd but, with a shrug, I opened the doors.


Ambush! My heart leaped into gear and I dropped into my combat stance, wings raised. It only took a second to draw my sword. The room was full of gryphons in armor.

“Woah! Silent Knight. Easy.” It was Winterspear’s voice coming from one of the gryphons, her eyes wide.

My breath was coming quickly and sweat was beading under my helmet. I blinked. Not gryphons. Ponies. My ponies all staring at me in shock and silence. There were balloons and a big ‘We’ll miss you’ banner strung along the back wall.

Winterspear came to my side and carefully took the sword out of my mouth. “Easy. Easy. It’s a going away party.”

“I’m sorry,” I muttered. In my chest, my heart was still racing.

The room was packed full of ponies. Princess Luna, Major Measure, Lieutenant Rook, Lieutenant Day, most of my unit, and, for some reason, Azurite. They were staring at me.

Princess Luna cleared her throat. “Think nothing of it, Silent Knight. Perhaps a surprise party was in poor taste. Please, come in and let us send you off to the officer’s academy properly.”

“Yes, Princess.” Slowly, I walked into the room feeling every bit the fool. “Thank you all for this. If it wasn’t clear, I wasn’t expecting it.”

There were some light chuckles and then somepony turned the music on. The party got underway but I couldn’t help but feel like I was the center of attention. Of course, that made sense because it was a party for me.

“Are you prepared for your studies, Sergeant?” Major Measure asked.

“Yes, ma’am. As soon as the colonel informed me of the appointment, I had Winterspear pick up the recommended reading. I’ve been poring over that during my recovery.”

She winked. “Smart pony. I have no doubt you’ll be at the top of your class. Try not to show up the other ponies too much. Nopony likes a show off.”

That made me chuckle. “Yes, ma’am. Message received.”

Iridescence wandered over. “Tomorrow is your last day as unit sergeant, huh?”

“It looks like it, yeah. You’ll be all Orchid’s and I’ll just be around until it is time to start my training.”

The mare tilted her head. “So, you’ll just be nosing around here looking over our shoulders?”

“More or less.”

“Great.” Iridescence laughed and wandered off.

Sunny Day and Azurite were next. “You’re going to be my peer,” Sunny said cheerfully.

“I’m not sure I’ll ever be your peer. I’ll be your counterpart, though.”

Sunny giggled and shook her head. “Sure, sure. You’re the one that is tough as nails. I hope you don’t mind, but I invited Azurite because she doesn’t get out much and we’re dating.”

“I don’t mind. She was yelling at me earlier that smooches are okay on duty.”

Azurite turned bright red and ducked behind Sunny. “I didn’t yell,” she mumbled.

Sunny Day laughed. “She gets forceful sometimes. Are you set to go?”

That made me shrug. “I guess. Giving up the unit sergeant position feels weird, but Orchid needs to get settled. This way I can mentor her a bit. I hope you’ll forgive me for having poached her.”

“I think that is a good idea and I might, in time. You’ll just have to make it up to me! Well, we’ll let you see all the other ponies.” She started to move but Azurite stepped in front of her and looked up at me.

“I freak out in crowds of ponies. Royal guards are fine but not regular ponies. Anytime they get around me it’s like I’m being attacked. It used to be worse than it is now, but it comes and goes. Nopony thinks you’re weird. They understand.”

Slowly, my head bobbed and I smiled. “Thank you. You’re a good pony relations pony.”

“It’s my passion. Come see me sometime,” she replied before heading off with Sunny.

Princess Luna was sitting alone and I decided it was better she not. As I approached, she lowered her head to be on my level. “The surprise party was a foolish idea. It was mine and I apologize.”

“It’s fine. I’m going to be fine. It is a lovely gesture and was totally unexpected.”

The princess nodded softly and then whispered, “I understand you saw my sister today.”

My stomach sank and I swallowed. “Yes, I had concerns. Paranoia mostly. It was stupid of me to do what I did.”

She shook her head. “No, it wasn't. The concerns were real enough to you and I should not be going behind her back. I have fostered in you a sense of distrust that is unfounded. I understand you chose me over her.”

“Was there ever any doubt that I would do otherwise?” I asked.

The princess shook her head. “No… though I should not encourage that sense of personal loyalty. There should not be a choice. At any rate, Celestia will become my advisor in regards to our business but will allow me to take the lead.”

“It will be better that way, won’t it?”


I shifted uncomfortably, uncertain what to say. Forcing Princess Luna to speak to her sister had not been my intention and yet that was where we were. Perhaps it was for the best.

“Nightmare Night is in a few days. Are you going back to Ponyville this year?”

Princess Luna looked up and blinked. “So it is. I’d forgotten, given everything that has been happening, but a promise was made and I shall honor it. You will not sneak off to protect me again. This time I’ll have proper coverage.”

“No, this year you’ll have to do without me, Princess,” I replied softly.

She nodded and cleared her throat. “Now, enough of this. You have a life to live. Go mingle at your party. These ponies are here to see you.”

“Yes, Princess."

Iridescence sat at our table while Winterspear was finishing up my special, awful dinner. It had been an extremely long day and I was exhausted.

“I need your advice,” Iridescence whispered to me.

Quickly, I shook my head. “No. Not a chance. I’m not helping you pick out something special to wear for Winterspear again. I’m glad we’re all good now and I thought I was okay with it, but it was just weird. Go ask somepony else!”

That earned me a light hoof to the shoulder and I glared. Wounded pony!

Iridescence shook her head. “I agree that was weird and I’m sorry. That isn’t what this is about.”

“Then why are we whispering?” I asked.

Iridescence eyed me menacingly. “I don’t want to scare your sister.”

“You’re scaring me,” I replied in whispers.

“I’m thinking about moving Dot here. She isn’t happy at home and I don’t want her in an environment she doesn’t like. I’d rather she live with me.”

My head titled. Dot had been very different from her sisters. I could see why she wouldn’t like it in Manehatten. “Why would that scare Winterspear?”

“Oh, I don’t know… I’d have a filly! Do you even remotely understand relationships?”

I just stared at her. “You know better than anypony I don’t.”

Iridescence’s ears twitched and she sighed. “Okay, I walked into that and I apologize. Fillies and colts complicate relationships. We won’t have as much time to be together and Dot will always be around. It is tough enough when the foals belong to both of you but in this case, Dot would be nothing but an inconvenience to your sister.”

“I think she’d be more hurt that you thought she’d be upset at you for doing the right thing. Even more so if she knew you came to me first.”

The unicorn grimaced a bit and her ears drooped. Winterspear came out of the small kitchen and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Iridescence pointed at me and replied hastily, “He said he wouldn’t help me pick out things to wear for you anymore.”

Winterspear looked at me and then said flatly, “In this one case I’m going to side with him. That was weird, sweetie.”

Hah! Silent Knight 1, Mares 239,617.

Iridesence toyed with her plate. “What would you say if I told you I wanted to move my little sister in with me? She is really unhappy at home and my older sisters are being insufferable to her.”

My sister started serving us and replied, “As somepony with a screwed up family, I’d ask when she was going to get here.”

I lifted a hoof and opened my mouth to speak. Winterspear looked me in the eyes and amended, “Not you.”

I went back to being silent.

“Really? That easy?” Iridescence asked.

Winterspear laughed. “Raising a filly her age won’t be easy, but we’ll manage.”

Iridescence shifted. “We?”

“Unless you don’t want me to help?”

“I just didn’t know if you’d want to. She isn’t your burden.”

Winterspear leaned close to kiss Iridescence on the cheek. It weirded me out but I ate my horrible, special dinner without comment.

“It rolls down hill. If I can get Silent Knight back in fighting form, I’m certain I can help raise a filly. I imagine she’d be less whiny about it too. So there is that…”

Silent Knight 1, Mares 239,618.

Author's Note:

Here we are 50 chapters and 125,000 words in! It has been a blast writing this story and sharing it with you all. I couldn't ask for a better, more interactive audience. I hope you found this "double stuffed" chapter enlightening.

Thank you all for reading, commenting, favoriting, and thumbing up Memoirs!

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2nd Edition Version

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