• 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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53. Silent Knight, Cadet - Part 1

I arrived at the academy early to get myself oriented. I’d been there before, but never as a cadet. Being in a uniform instead of armor felt strange. It felt even stranger without my First Sergeant pin. Outside the academy, I’d had responsibilities. Inside, it was as if I was starting at the beginning again.

After checking in, I went to the muster area to wait. Several other cadets showed up early. They looked young to me. In the currency of years, I wasn’t much older, but guard life ages you in other ways. Some of them chatted idly and others just sat there looking frightened. I’d seen that same look at the guard academy right after secondary school.

In time, more cadets showed up. It was odd to sit there and watch the next generation of guard leaders assemble. Some of these ponies wouldn’t make it. In fact, statistically speaking, about half would not receive a commission. There were more interested ponies than positions in the Royal Guard’s enlisted rank, and officer positions were even more competitive. It was rare that a bad pony got through, and yet somehow I’d caught two of them in my career.

Ten minutes before the official start time, I moved to the front of the room and stood at attention. That garnered some quiet conversation, but I knew what was coming. They didn’t. To my surprise, another pony came and stood next to me at an equally perfect attention. I gave him a brief glance and nodded. Another mustang.

Three minutes before muster, the doors boomed open and the instructors strode in shouting, “Line up, move, move, move!”

The lead one called, “Act like you have some sense of pride!”

The other cadets scrambled to get up and rush into line beside us. The instructors broke off to start yelling at them as they moved into position. The lead instructor walked down the line and started criticizing postures. He practically ignored me and the pony next to me.

That pretty much summed up what the first two weeks of the academy were like. That is the time where they teach civilian ponies to be military-minded. Stand at attention, march correctly, use the right terms, speak appropriately, and other similar things. Ponies that mess up get attention. The ones that do it right get ignored. I was ignored a lot, and that was fine.

“Cadet Knight, your performance thus far has been exemplary. It is almost as if you were a decent royal guard before you got here,” Senior Instructor Blackhoof said from the other side of his desk.

I’d made an appointment for some of his time. Most cadets stayed on campus in the evenings, but it wasn’t wholly necessary. I’d engaged Crystal Wishes as a personal tutor and wanted to have the freedom to continue our classes. It was slightly unusual, but then again, my case was anything but typical.

“That is how rumors start, sir,” I replied as straight as I could.

A senior instructor would never crack a smile in front of a cadet, and this one certainly didn’t. “Your request for evening liberties is approved. I think this private tutor is an excellent idea, and you’re already ahead of most of your peers. If you show up late one day, however, your plot will be running laps until time stops. Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir!”


Onyx Mace and I sat across from each other eating lunch. He never said much, which was fine by me. From what little conversation we did have, I learned that he was a royal guard out of Baltimare. He was married, older than me, and wanted to improve his life, so he applied for a position in the academy and was accepted on some sort of scholarship.

Three other cadets approached us. “Tell me something,” the first one said. “How come you two never have anypony come down on you?”

Onyx didn’t even move. He just kept eating his lunch.

I shrugged. “We’ve been through this once before. We’ll be learning more on the back side.”

“I told you,” one of the others said, tapping the first with a hoof. “They’re mustangs. They’re the ones who know how to do it right.”

The first one shrugged. “So you two can help us when we’re not in class? I’m getting tired of being yelled at.”

Onyx snorted and said, “Wrong business.”

It took a lot of effort, but I suppressed a grin. “We’ll all be getting yelled at for as long as we’re royal guards. If you want pointers, I’ll be glad to help you out. It means putting in more hours, though.”

The third cadet said, “My dad said that those ponies are the only ones that make it. Is that true?”

“Yes,” Onyx said between bites.

I continued, “You have to stand out. Half of the ponies here aren’t going to graduate. We lost six in the first two weeks. I’ve never seen ponies run so fast.”

Again, I suppressed a laugh. Onyx didn’t.

“You know that isn’t funny! Those ponies were trying really hard,” the first one challenged.

I lifted a hoof and said, “Easy. We don’t mean anything by it. It’s just, well, the first three weeks are the easiest.”

That is not what they wanted to hear. The second pony’s eyes went wide. “I… I’m done for.”

“Not if you work hard,” I replied as I finished my lunch. Lightly, I tapped Onyx on the shoulder. “Come on. I’d guess we’ve got about five minutes.”

Onyx grunted and got up. The three cadets looked at us curiously. “Lunch is another 20 minutes. We haven’t even had time to eat yet,” the first said.

I shrugged, Onyx snorted, and we went to stand at attention near the doors. Three minutes later, the instructors galloped into the lunch area and interrupted the meal.

Onyx chuckled. “Newbies.”

Crystal and Velvet had moved all of their living room furniture to make room for dance practice.

“Shouldn’t Velvet be here for this?” I asked nervously.

Crystal Wishes arched one brow. “No. Velvet isn’t this kind of dancer. Are you worried I can’t do it?”

Quickly, I shook my head. “That isn’t what I meant at all.”

We were on our hindhooves standing really close together and somewhat intertwined. Whoever invented this sort of dancing was a monster.

“Then what do you mean, Sergeant?” she asked.

“Cadet,” I corrected.


My hooves crossed the wrong way and I had to flap my wings to keep upright. “I’m not a sergeant anymore. I’m a cadet now.” I did my best to keep up with the steps as we went through what Crystal called a waltz.

“Be that as it may, you’re deflecting. Now don’t fidget, and answer the question. What do you mean, Cadet?” she pressed.

Fidgeting felt an awful lot like dancing, but we did a spin. I cleared my throat. “Well, we’re awfully close. I don’t want her to get the wrong impression.”

Crystal gave me a strange look as we went into an elegant turn. “Why would she get the wrong impression?”

This was feeling awkward. The dancing, of course, but also the conversation. “You know… you and Velvet. Me horning in on all of your private time.” I dipped Crystal and she peered up at me.

“Wait, private time? Do you think Velvet and I are a couple?” she asked incredulously. “We’re not a couple. We’re just friends.”

I dropped her. She squealed in surprise and landed with a graceful thud… if there were such a thing. I quickly reached down to help her up. “I’m so sorry!”

She set her hooves on my forelegs and asked, “Did you really think Velvet and I were a couple?”

I nodded.

“You’re the only one, right?”

I shook my head.

“No… Velvet and I…” Crystal went silent and she seemed to be looking past me at nothing at all. Her expression was blank. Suddenly, she gasped. “Oh… Celestia…” Crystal dropped her face into her hooves. “So many stallions.”

Lightly, I cradled a hoof around her. “Oh, I’m certain it isn’t that bad.”

Crystal Wishes stared at me. “Really?”

I nodded. “I’m just really accustomed to mares that like mares. Maybe I just… assumed.”

“And everypony else assumed with you?”

“I have that effect on people. I’m the boss.” I replied.

Crystal Wishes laughed. It was a cute little laugh. The beautiful lady unicorn was nestled in my hooves, giggling. I dropped her again.

“Silent Knight! What the hay?” she asked, a bit of the lady slipping.

I blinked. “I’m so sorry, Crystal Wishes!” I reached to help her up and she looked at me with a total lack of trust.

She finally took my hoof and I righted her as she asked, “What is up with you?”

“You’re sweet and selfless. You’ve always helped me out. I just thought you were being a good friend. Then we’re dancing, you tell me you’re not into mares, and giggle at me. That is a whole lot to take in,” I explained.

Crystal Wishes’s brow arched. “Oh, go on?”

“I’m not very good at relationships, but I believe Winterspear would say you’re sending signals. And, honestly, now that I think about it, Velvet was trying really hard to help you, which was really confusing. It sort of felt like she was trying to wrangle some sort of three pony relationship,” I rambled. “Which I’m not against, but, to be frank, I think my capabilities will limit me to a single mare.”

Crystal Wishes laughed more and tumbled onto her back. I guess it was pretty funny, really.

I settled down next to her. “If you’re not seeing Velvet I’d really like to ask you out.”

Behind us the door opened and Velvet came in. Her head tilted at the sight of us on the floor.

“Hi,” she said. “This doesn’t look like dancing.”

Quickly, Crystal got up and exclaimed, “He thinks we’re a couple! Everypony does. Isn’t that great?”

Velvet looked skeptical. “Reason tells me no but your expression says… yes?”

“He finally asked me out!” she cheered.

Blindingly fast, Velvet hurried over. The two mares embraced and bounced while giggling and squealing.

I cleared my throat. Why is it when I want ponies to ignore that I’m in a room, they don’t, and yet when I want to be there, they do? “Still here,” I said.

The pair stopped celebrating and let go of each other.

“So…” Velvet said. “Everypony thinks we’re a couple? That would explain why nopony has asked either of us out in a while, but we’re not that bad… right?”

Crystal made a face and said, “Just think about it for two minutes.”

Velvet did and sighed. “Oh, Crystal, I’m so sorry! It actually kind of looks exactly like that… especially with me being… well, you know.”

“Crystal was just as… uh… familiar towards you, Velvet,” I put in, although I didn’t understand the second part. Slowly, I got up and came over to the two. “I have to get back. Cadets get very little liberty. Keep your date book open, please.”

I hugged them both out of habit and quickly snuck out. When the door closed, I heard a duet of high pitched squeals.

Getting to the academy on time was never really a hard thing for me. It was a surprise that the ponies staying on campus were still struggling with the early morning drills. Being awake early was part of being a royal guard. Of course, in my case, my schedule was normally different, but adapting back was easy.

We were galloping along the exact same path in Canterlot that I’d galloped a thousand times when I had been a Royal Guard trainee. It was familiar and brought back fond memories of simpler times.

Of course, I was still full of fond memories from the night before. Crystal Wishes was not, in fact, with Velvet Step. She was, in fact, eager to spend her time with me.

Why mares could never just come out and say things, I’ll never know. But that didn’t matter now. As soon as I graduated, the two of us would start dating. In the meantime, that would also make my evening tutoring sessions with her… tense, but in a good way.

“Stop smiling,” Onyx said next to me between breaths.

Quickly, I wiped off whatever grin was on my mouth before one of the instructors noticed. They’re not keen on that sort of thing. I put my blank expression back into place and nodded a thanks to my companion. We hurried on. We’d make time, but some of the younger ponies were doing it faster. That was okay, though. Never try to compete with another pony—just yourself and the standards.

Once our gallop and all of our other physical exercises were completed, we hit the showers. Onyx gave me a look. It was possible that I was smiling again.

I shrugged under the water. “I’m in a good mood. I can’t help it.”

His eyes rolled and he grunted, “Don’t show it. Looking like all the others around here.”

“Yeah… I know. I’ll work it out. Come on, hurry up and get clean. You smell like a gryphon carcass. We need to get to our desks and help our three adopted foals get ready for tomorrow’s exam. What will they say if Mommy and Daddy aren’t there first?”

Onyx chuckled and then stopped cold. “Who is Mommy?”

I shut the water off, shook my coat out, stretched my wings, and replied, “Clearly you, you nag…”

Author's Note:

I know some of you will say "FINALLY" to this one ;D

Enjoy ^_^

Crystal's Wishes Companion Chapter: A Whole New World

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2nd Edition Version

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