• Published 26th Feb 2015
  • 3,820 Views, 294 Comments

Three of Hearts - Anzel

Azurite is a pony relations warrant officer for the Canterlot Palace. It was supposed to be a relaxing change from royal guard duty, but that idea falls apart when her heart is pulled in two different directions... toward a stallion and a mare.

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1. My New Beginning

“Excuse me, little filly? Can I help you?” came a sweet voice from behind me.

My ears folded close to my head. Being called a filly wasn’t something new but I was hoping that the ponies in the palace wouldn’t make the same mistake. Slowly I turned around and found myself looking up at a unicorn mare with a coat that shone like spun gold. Under the magically enhanced lights of the palace she practically glowed.

Her visage was radiant and I stared, dumbfounded. The unicorn’s long yellow and orange mane dropped as her head came down to my level. That allowed her to look into my eyes with her own emerald ones. “Miss?” she repeated.

“Lieutenant Brook!” I blurted out dumbly.

The unicorn’s head tilted and she asked cheerfully, “You’re looking for Lieutenant Brook? Is he your big brother?”

Big brother? Quickly I shook my head. “He isn’t. I’m supposed to report to him tomorrow. I wanted to meet him today.”

“Report to him?” she asked in confusion before lifting her head. “Oh! I’m so sorry! I just assumed…” She trailed off. “At any rate you look a little young for a royal guard but looks are often deceiving, aren’t they? If you'd like I can show you to his office.” Offering me a hoof she then added, “I’m Sunny Day.”

“It really is fine. I’m accustomed to it. Once I hit high school I never grew anymore,” I admitted before shaking hooves. “If it wouldn’t be a bother that would be nice. I’ve never been in the palace before and I’m all turned around.”

“Of course. Somehow it seems so much bigger on the inside. Why don’t you come along with me and I’ll get you there, Miss…”

I felt my cheeks flush. “Azurite! Sorry, that was so rude of me. If you don’t mind leading I’ll be right behind you.”

Sunny Day repeated 'Azurite' as if she were memorizing it and then smiled brightly. “Off we go then.” She turned down the hall and started heading off toward what I hoped would be the lieutenant’s office, her tail swishing back and forth. It would have been mesmerizing if I weren’t so enthralled with the palace.

As we trotted to our destination I was having a difficult time paying attention to the route. All of the palace splendor was just too distracting. Both princesses lived here! We could turn a corner and BOOM Princess Celestia. It was overwhelming.

“Here we are,” Sunny Day toned after taking a turn into a narrow hall.

With my head tilted back to look up at the stained glass windows I didn’t stop soon enough and instead plowed right into Sunny’s shapely rump. She squealed and hopped forwards.

“I’m so sorry!” I said with a gasp. “I was looking at the windows, I swear.”

Sunny laughed and turned around to face me. “Oh you’re fine. I realize that the first time a pony visits the palace it can be a bit much. Good luck with your new role. I’m certain I’ll see you around.”

“Th-thank you!” I stammered as the unicorn pranced off. She sure was happy. I wondered if everypony here would be like that. With a shrug I turned to knock on the door that had the ‘Lieutenant Stony Brook’ placard next to it.

“Come in,” replied a business-like stallion’s voice from inside.

Taking a deep breath I put on my best royal guard face and marched professionally into the office. “Good morning, sir! I’m Warrant Officer Azurite. I wanted to check in.”

Stony Brook’s coat was the color of river rocks, a smooth grey that contrasted heavily with the golden armor he wore. If he had a mane I couldn’t see it under the helmet. He nodded and tapped a hoof on his desk. “You’re a day early. Punctuality is a positive trait in the palace guard.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“Your file mentioned that you were…” The earth pony hedged. “petite. I see that is true. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what that meant… Anyway, could you tell me about your magic and your talent?” He leaned in his chair to look at my side.

Many royal guards have fierce and brave cutie marks. Shields, swords, spears, and other things like that. My mark, however, was one diamond that connected three little pink hearts.

Clearing my throat I replied, “My father is a jeweler so my family has excellent fine motor control of our levitation. Detailed work is a breeze. I’ve also learned a few spells. I can teleport, clean things magically, and even use a mending spell.”

Lieutenant Brook nodded but the blank expression on his face confirmed he didn’t fully understand what I had meant. “What about your special talent?”

That was the million bit question, wasn’t it? My cutie mark had always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I was a jeweler’s daughter and really great manipulating tiny objects. The cutie mark didn’t appear when I was helping my father, though. It appeared right after I had my first kiss. What was that supposed to tell me?

“Well…” I started and then lightly shrugged. “Ponies seem to always be nice to me and I have great attention to detail.”

“That… doesn’t sound exceedingly suited to guard life but I suppose ponies having a higher propensity to being nice to you could work in your favor. Plus you’re here to handle our pony resources anyway. From your file you had an excellent first year in the Canterlot guard. Your second year was shaping up to be the same. You have one of the highest citizen ratings of any pony I’ve ever seen.”

Eagerly I nodded, “Yes, sir! I loved dealing with the citizens of Canterlot and they really seemed to like me. They all wanted to fill out comment cards. Celestia knows why but they did!”

The lieutenant actually cracked a smile. “Yes, you set a record. Why come to the palace guard then? I realize we’re a step up career-wise but if you were happy there you’d have had a lot more promotion opportunities in the Canterlot guard.”

My heart sank. I knew ponies would ask that question but it wasn’t something I wanted to broadcast if I didn’t have to. The lieutenant had asked though and it was never a good idea to start a new job with a lie. Breathe deep, Azurite.

“About eight months back my partner and I found ourselves in a rough spot when we responded to a call for help. There was a crowd of ponies fighting and we were having trouble sorting it all out.” I could feel my lip quivering a bit but I forced myself on. “My partner got hurt… bad. She had to take a medical retirement and…” Deep breaths, Azurite. Deep breaths. “A pony got killed. After that… I wanted to change fields.”

Lieutenant Brook sat quietly a moment and the look on his face was one of regret. He nodded slowly and said, “I heard about that… I’m sorry that I hadn’t made that connection. Listen, for what it is worth, we all had to study that situation. If it had been me I’d have done the same thing.”

The stallion straightened and pushed on. “I was happy to have you on my team regardless but now, knowing you’ve been through the worst, I’m honored.” He changed the subject. “For now, in addition to your normal duties, I’m going to put you on courier duty. It is the best way to learn the palace. Report back tomorrow and be ready.”

My ears flicked slowly and I did my best to keep myself from tearing up. I nodded and saluted smartly. “Yes, sir. I’m looking forward to it.”

“Very good. You’re dismissed,” he replied and I didn’t linger for him to say anything else.

I hurried out of his office and down the hall as fast as I could without making it look like I was doing so. Spotting one of the filly’s rooms I darted inside just as the first tears started to fall.

Taking a deep breath I peered at the blue mare in the mirror and whispered, “You’re okay, Azurite. You’re okay. You did what you had to do.” She didn’t seem too comforted either and her violet and blue mane was a mess. A few tears fell into the sink and I couldn’t help but duck my head and sniffle.

“Are you okay? Was the lieutenant that mean?” The voice was familiar. It was still super sweet but now filled with concern.

Quickly I wiped my eyes and looked up into the mirror to find Sunny Day standing behind me… in armor? Pirouetting to face her I gasped when I got a good look at her breastplate. Princess Celestia’s cutie mark was emblazoned in the middle.

“You’re one of Princess Celestia’s house guards?” I asked in surprise.

Sunny Day shook her head and lightly looped her forehoof around me. “I’m actually their commander… but that isn’t important. Are you okay?”

Nodding slowly I said, “The lieutenant asked me about why I was here and it made me sad. I’ll be fine though. Honestly, I will.”

“Being here makes you sad?” she asked and I knew I’d have to explain it again so I did… without breaking down into sobs. For some reason it was easier to tell Sunny.

“I understand why that would make you cry,” she replied soothingly while dabbing my eyes with a levitating tissue. “Killing isn’t natural for us, not one bit. Directly or not. It was rough for me too but you’ll be fine. We have good counselors to help.”

The hamster in my head fell off its wheel and I fumbled, “You?”

“It is to my dismay to say I did. I wouldn’t lie and tell you it just magically gets better one day but, in time, we all accept it as part of the job,” Sunny explained. She then added, “Thankfully, in your new role you’ll never have to worry about it happening again.”

My heart skipped a beat. Another pony that understood? There’d never been one before. She also didn’t seem to think I was a coward for moving into a different role. “Well… if you got through it I will, too. I’m tough!”

“That’s the spirit,” Sunny replied softly. “Well… I need to get back to work as long as you’re going to be okay.”

“Oh.” I said as my stomach made vacation plans to move lower into my body. I didn’t really want her to leave but I knew she couldn’t stay to foalsit me. Steeling my resolve I nodded firmly. “Okay… I’ll be okay.”

We left the filly’s room together and started down the hall. Nervously I asked, “Sunny?”


“Could I walk with you at least as far as you’re going?”

“Sure thing. I’ll be right beside you.”

Whew, thank Celestia somepony that was kind found me. “You’re really nice, Sunny. I hope you know that.”

Sunny bobbed her head and replied, “I can tell that you are, too, and I’m sure you’d do the same for me.”

I hadn’t known her more than an hour but I was certain she was right.


Quickly I trotted down the hall of the palace along what I had learned was unofficially called ‘general’s row.’ It was the area where all of the palace leadership had their offices, or at least the ones that commanded ponies. This was prime real estate and every pony had a window that overlooked the city. Some even had two!

Warrant officers like me had to share an office with at least one other pony and were down on the lower levels. Currently I was the odd pony out and didn’t have an officemate. At first I thought that was lucky but then it just turned out to be lonely. Thankfully I made up for the lack of companionship down there with my courier route.

Lieutenant Brook was right in two different ways when he said I’d ‘learn the palace.’ It didn’t take long for me to figure out he wasn’t just talking about the corridors… although that was important too. By delivering missives I was able to meet a whole lot of ponies and get to know them. That was far more important than just knowing where the various offices were.

I was on my way to my favorite destination, the one I always saved for last so that I could linger a bit. It was also the furthest away. Princess Celestia’s House Guard wasn’t located with the regular palace guards. They had their own private area that adjoined Princess Celestia’s wing.

When I reached Sunny’s office her door was open as usual. As I was lifting my hoof to knock she looked up and motioned me in. “Right on time.”

“On time?” I asked as I came in and crossed over to her desk.

Sunny smiled at me brightly. She had the best smile of any pony I’d ever met. “Come now Azurite, I know you don’t keep a schedule but I certainly have noticed you end up here almost every day and that your little bag is empty. Clearly I’m last on your list.”

My ears pinned back a bit as I levitated the last two missives out of my saddlebag and over to the unicorn mare. “I hope you don’t mind, Sunny. You’re just the nicest pony on my route and it makes my day go better when I end on a high note.”

In her usual kind and bubbly way Sunny winked at me. “I don’t mind at all. I rather enjoy your little visits.” Her magic took over for mine as she accepted the papers and landed them on her desk. “Speaking of ending on a high note, do you have any plans after work?”

That gave me pause and I had to think it over. Wait! Why did I have to think that over? “Nope, no plans tonight!” I quickly replied.

“Good!” Sunny Day chirped. “I’ve got two passes to a show and, since we’re new friends and all, I thought it would be fun to go together. Do you like magic shows?”

I honestly had no idea and I didn’t care. Sunny wanted to hang out and that was good enough for me. Eagerly I nodded. “I do; I like most shows, actually.”

“Oh, you do? I’ll keep that in mind,” the golden mare replied. “Be back here by seventeen hundred and we’ll head out together. We can get something to eat first if you’d like.”

“Food is good. I like food.”

That yielded a laugh and she nodded. “Alright then. The show is at half past eighteen. That is plenty of time. See you later.”

“Okay! I’ll see you then. Bye!” I headed off for my office since there was still half an hour left in my work day.

After hopping onto the pillow that served as a chair my eyes darted to the clock. The little second pointer moved slowly around. Before the show I’d want to remove and store my armor, head down to the showers to clean up, and be at Sunny’s office at least a few minutes early.

The clock ticked slowly.

“Come on! Can’t you hurry up?”

“What’s that, Azurite?” Lieutenant Brook asked as he poked his head into my office.

Quickly I stood up. “Not you, sir! What can I do for you?”

The stallion looked a little confused and then shrugged. “I saw that you had all of the personnel files on my desk already. You went through all of them?”

“Yes, sir! They’re all read, highlighted, and commented. I attached a cheat sheet for you, too, so you’d know who had outstanding items. A lot of ponies haven’t been to their mandatory annual physical.”

“I saw that. Good work today. I guess I’ll have to find something else for you to do.” He then looked up at the clock. “Why don’t you take off a little early? It seems like all of your work is done.”

My heart skipped a beat. That would show the clock who the bigger pony is. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

“Carry on,” he replied before wandering out and down the hall.

I jumped into action and removed my armor. It was almost silly for a pony resources pony to wear it but a uniform is a uniform. Not that I minded, of course. It was a privilege to get to wear it. Most ponies would never have that opportunity.

The lock clicked as I secured my office door. Step one complete! I hurried down to the filly’s showers and grabbed one of the empty stalls.

“I heard she was out with yet another stallion last weekend. That makes six in as many weeks,” a voice said from a stall or two over.

There was a light giggle from a different pony. “Wow! She sure gets around.”

My ears twitched as I tried not to listen to palace gossip. Nope, I was going to focus on my shower and just get clean.

The first voice chuckled and replied, “Well… that is why they call her All-The-Way Day.”

The second cackled in delight at that and I hunkered lower in my stall, letting the hot water work through my mane.

‘All-The-Way Day?’ Surely they weren’t talking about Sunny. She was the sweetest pony around and everypony loved her. My nose wrinkled as the second part of the thought took on a whole different meaning in light of the gossip. Nope, nope, nope!

Washing my mane took longer than I had hoped. Keeping it tucked up under a helmet all day just did horrible things to it. Thankfully the lieutenant had given me an extra half hour and I used the time to brush it into submission.

The Azurite in the mirror looked a bit nervous. Why should she be nervous? Sunny and I were just going to see a show. Shows have a lot of ponies. Crowds of ponies. I waved a hoof at mirror me and dismissed the thought. Instead I admired the work I had done to get ready. My mane was properly styled, my tail was in good shape, and my coat shined. Not bad for a tomcolt. It was time to head up to Sunny’s office.


Sunny Day’s door was open and it was after five but I could hear her talking to somepony.

“The princess is quite excited to see your latest choreography. She’s hoping you’ll be able to perform next month for the Equestrian delegate summit,” Sunny was saying.

“You can count on us. I’ll let Spitfire know… It is good to see you again, Sunny. It has been a while,” replied a stallion.

“Yeah, it has. Why don’t you come by and see me some time soon when you’re not off delighting every filly and colt in the nation,” Sunny teased… or flirted. It could have been either.

The stallion chuckled. “Yeah… Alright I’ll do just that. Goodnight, Sunny. Take it easy.”

I froze. The stallion was going to leave the office and he’d know I was eavesdropping. Quickly I looked for a place to hide. Maybe I could just take a few steps back and make it look like I was walking up. While I was deciding on my plan he came out through the door.

My eyes drifted up slowly and my tail started to swish back and forth. This wasn’t just any stallion… this was a Wonderbolt. He had a cobalt mane and tail, beautiful green eyes, and, as a cherry on top, he was in uniform. That ultra tight, lightning bolt emblazoned, blue uniform. Both of my forelegs went a bit loose and I smiled dumbly up at him.

“Oh, hello there,” he said, looking at me curiously. “Are you looking for Sunny?”

No… I was looking for him. At him. “Sunny?” I asked.

“Sunny Day… this is her office,” he asked before pointing a hoof in.

There was a giggle and Sunny poked her head out. “You’re early, Azurite. Have you met Vice Commander Soarin before?”

I shook my head no slowly.

“Soarin, this is Azurite. She is new in the palace but word is she is a wiz at her job,” Sunny said as she introduced us.

“It’s a pleasure,” he replied as he offered a hoof.

“P-pleasure,” I stammered a little before taking the hoof and shaking.

“Well… alright then. Later!” he said and headed off down the hall.

I stood there and just watched him go. Then I felt Sunny’s presence as she leaned in really close to me. She whispered, “You may want to close your mouth.”

“What?” I asked and then felt flushed. Quickly I did just that and peered over at her. “I’m sorry!”

The unicorn laughed warmly and shook her head. “Oh, you’re fine. He is used to that sort of thing. Anyway, you look nice. Did you get all cleaned up just for me?”

Without really thinking about it I nodded.

“How sweet! Come along then, it is time to get some dinner,” she chimed before hooking a hoof around mine and tugging me down the hall.

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Author's Note:

Thank you for taking the time to read!