• Published 13th Feb 2015
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Twilight, Good Night - Carapace



To better herself, Luna has studied Twilight's actions and friendship reports. She never expected to find herself under the microscope in turn.

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Side Chapter: A Bat Pony and a Unicorn Walk Into a Bar

As he escorted Moondancer down the dirt road of Ponyville, his leathery wing draped over her withers to steady her pace, Erebos, Captain of Princess Luna’s famed Night Guard, had to suppress a snort; his amber eyes darted around, catching several members of the villagers openly gaping, speaking in hushed whispers to one another.

Not even being discrete about it, he thought and chuckled to himself. Staring at us like they’ve never seen a guard escort a lady down the street.

Of course, it likely had a bit more to do with the rather odd pairing—a unicorn such as Moondancer, petite though she may be, was certainly a normal sight, but he was not.

The fact that a bat pony, a Night Guard no less, was openly walking around without escorting one of Their Royal Highnesses must’ve been quite the shock to the tiny little community.

If they were in Canterlot, it wouldn’t be as big a deal—his fellow guards were quite active in the night, regular faces in the community when they were off duty. Especially in the club scene.

Once they put on the armor, however, that was an entirely different story. The shadows were their allies, they could vanish from sight or appear from the darkest corners, acting swiftly, silently, and stealthily according to the Princesses’ will.

And that’s probably what they’re thinking of—well, that and the twins’ entrance with Princess Luna on Nightmare Night. Erebos could only smile and shake his head at the memory of Strider and Shooting Star’s toothy grins as they regaled him with the tale. A pair of guards, grinning like predators, and Her Highness’ bat cloak.

“If you must be seen on duty, leave an impression they’ll never forget.” The oldest axiom of the Night Guard, passed down from Princess Luna herself to the first Captain, Noir.

A little hiccup jarred him from his thoughts. Flicking a tufted ear toward Moondancer, he spoke softly, “Are you still feeling ill, Miss Moondancer? We could stop and rest for a bit, if you’d like.”

She shook her head, her two-toned red and purple mane seemed to bounce with the motion. “No, Captain,” she replied just above a whisper. “I-I’m all right.”

Quirking an eyebrow, he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. Her shaking had stopped for the most part, only an occasional shudder or falter in her step betrayed the anxiety brought on by the chariot ride. Such a silly mare, doing a thing like that. Silly but dutiful. Erebos wrapped his wing tighter around her and leaned down to bring himself level with her. “Not much further,” he whispered. “We’ll sit down, and get something on your stomach in just a bit.”

“T-Thank you, Captain. I appreciate it.”

He looked up, his eyes flitting from one building to the next. “There are a few places up ahead. I see a sweet shop of sorts, a café, and what looks to be a bar.” He broke off to spare a second glance, wrinkling his muzzle at the crowd within the vibrantly decorated sweet shop and the telltale darkened windows in the café, “Though, the café appears to be closed and I’d prefer not to make you stand in a line. Would you be okay with sitting in the bar?”

Moondancer gave another shake of her head, tickling his chin with the wispy edges of her mane. “I’d just… I’d just really like to sit down anywhere. The bar is fine, Captain.”

Nodding, Erebos lead her along, toward the wooden building with a sign reading “Berry’s Punch” in big, purple letters. Much like the rest of the town, the rooftop itself was made almost entirely of straw, the exterior walls were a bleached white, with the traditional, rectangular earth pony style windows. Really, the only exceptions to the shared architecture were the library, the sweet shop, the boutique just a few buildings down, and the Town Hall at the very center of town.

I wonder if that’s by design or unspoken tradition. Erebos shook himself, his helmet jostled and rattled about. Later, you forgetful stallion—Princess Luna commands that you watch over, and care for Miss Moondancer.

Truthfully, that had been more or less a standing order ever since the nervous little mare became Princess Luna’s seneschal—a move that still perplexed Erebos, no matter how he tried looking at it.

He banished those thoughts to the depths of his mind, reaching out to push open the wooden door. “After you, Miss Moondancer,” he nodded and waved her on with the same hoof.

Glancing around, Erebos found himself nodding appreciatively at the setting. It was small, far too small to host a bigger party like the ones he’d seen in Canterlot. Though, with the size of this town, that made perfect sense—less ponies around meant fewer patrons. It was more important to make it seem like a more cozy, tight-knit atmosphere.

In the little bar, the twenty or thirty ponies milling about, or sitting down to eat and drink with friends seemed more crowded.

Perfect. He gave an approving nod. Nothing said “inexperienced owner” like an oversized building in the middle of a small market.

“Hey, there!” a fuchsia coated mare called from behind the counter. “Haven’t seen you two around before! Oooh! Is that Night Guard armor? What brings you to town, handsome?”

Erebos snorted at the none too subtle wink she sent his way. Playful, that one. “Oh, just a little visit,” he replied, conveniently leaving out who was visiting. Nodding to Moondancer, he laid a gentle hoof on her back. “Unfortunately, my friend didn’t take the flight over too well, so we thought we’d stop in and see if a quick bite, or a drink might help settle her nerves.”

The mare at the counter winced, turning a sympathetic gaze to Moondancer. “Ouch, I know how that feels, hon. Not fun, I prefer all four hooves on the ground, myself. Well, go ahead and grab a table or a seat up here—" she waved a hoof toward a few empty booths up against the far wall “—I’ll be with you in just a sec!”

“Thank you, ma’am! Come along, Miss Moondancer.” He gave her a little nudge with his shoulder, steering her in the direction of the booths. “I presume you’d prefer something a little out of sight?” Erebos winked, a knowing grin played upon his lips, exposing his pointed fangs. “Trust a Night Guard to know the hiding spots, eh?”

She nodded shakily, returning his grin with a weak little smile and nod, her head still lowered as she trotted alongside him.

Still uncomfortable. He barely restrained the urge to sigh and shake his head. The silly mare should’ve told me back at the castle and I’d have made her stay home while I escorted Princess Luna. His gaze flitted in her direction, his broad, fanged grin fading into a fond smile. Then again, facing your fears is one of our axioms, too.

How difficult it must’ve been for her. Moondancer was a pony who bared her heart right next to her mauve crescent moon and triple star cutie mark—as plain as those in the clear night sky.

If she was nervous, she shivered and her voice broke into a stammer; if she was angry, she puffed out her cheeks, pinned back her ears and stamped her hoof against the floor; and if she was happy, a bright smile would split her pretty little face, lighting up the room like the moon itself.

The complete opposite of what the Night Guard were trained to be, what Princess Luna taught them to be.

And yet, other than the princess’ friendship with Twilight Sparkle, or her reunion with her sister, Moondancer had been a blessing in disguise; nothing hidden, no ulterior motive or worry of machination, she was just a young mare trying her best to help and figure things out herself.

Erebos sat down on his cushion, and removed his purple and silver helmet, setting it down on the table with a soft thud. He brushed a hoof against the headfin, the texture so similar to his leathery wings, as if shooing away a bit of imaginary dust.

But his eyes never left Moondancer’s.

As she took her seat, he gave a closed-lipped smile. “So,” he began, his tone casual, “what do you want to have?”

“I, er, don’t really know what they have.” She glanced around for a menu. “Do you see a—"

“I believe,” he said, flicking his ear toward the bar as the sounds of laughter and mock scolding reached him, “she’s bringing them over.”

Sure enough, the mare trotted over, giggling to herself as she balanced a pair of menus on her back. “You’re utterly terrible, Lyra!” she called over her shoulder. “Bonnie, give that silly mare a solid hoof upside the head from me!”

“Sure thing, Berry!” another mare, one with chestnut coat and two-toned blue and pink mane called back, much to her friend’s indignation.

Berry turned back to them, shaking her head as she placed a menu before each of them. “Sorry about that, we all know each other, so every night’s a bit of an adventure in Ponyville. Anyway, hi! I’m Berry Punch! What’ll you have? I’ve got cider, Stalliongrad imported vodka, rum, and just about any beer made this side of Manehattan.”

Erebos’ ears stood to attention. Cider? Ponyville cider? “That cider you mentioned,” he began, speaking slowly and doing his very best to hide his excitement, “it wouldn’t happen to be Sweet Apple Acres’ brand, would it?”

“Psh! You kidding me? If I stocked anything else, I’d get run out of town! Hayseeds, I don’t know a self-respecting Ponyvillian who doesn’t drink it!”

“Fantastic!” He beamed, his short, gray tail wagging behind him like a happy puppy. “One for each of us, then!”

Moondancer squawked. “Wait! But, I—"

Placing a hoof over her mouth, Erebos spoke over her, never once dropping his smile. “She’ll take one, Miss Berry. Thank you.”

Berry giggled and gave a quick nod before scuttling off to return to the bar, nimbly dancing out of reach of a playful swipe from Lyra.

“Sorry,” Erebos mumbled as he removed his hoof from Moondancer’s mouth. “But you’ll thank me after you’ve had a sip of the stuff—a few of my boys swear by it to the point they’ve begged me to make special orders to the farm when their apples go into season.” Smiling fondly, he shook his head and chuckled. “Sometimes, I wonder if I’m leading a highly trained unit, or a flock of foals.”

“With you as their example, I can only imagine,” Moondancer mumbled under her breath.

“I take that as a compliment, Miss!” He had to bite the inside of his cheek to hold back a bark of laughter at the look of horror that flashed across her muzzle. Far too easy. Smirking, he waggled his big, tufted ears meaningfully. “They’re not just for show, Miss.”

“I-I’m so sorry! I don’t know what came over me! I just… that is… I didn’t mean—"

Erebos held up a hoof. “Don’t apologize, Miss. I’m actually quite glad.”

Blinking, she tilted her head. “You are?”

“Very much so. I was starting to worry that you weren’t taking too well to my teasing—and Princess Luna’s, er, glare earlier this evening only seemed to cement that.” That talk isn’t going to be pleasant in the least bit. “I’m… I suppose I should say relieved that you finally said something back to me—I’m certain quite a few of my subordinates will agree.”

Moondancer pinned back her ears and ducked her head so that her chin was almost tucked into her chest. “I thought you were making fun of me,” she mumbled meekly. “All that time, I thought I’d done something to offend you…”

He reached across the table to take her hoof in his. “Miss Moondancer, if I, or any of my subordinates, didn’t like you, we wouldn’t even bother talking with you. It’s our way.” Erebos wrinkled his nose, struggling to come up with the right way to explain himself. “Er, we’ve always been a bit on the mischievous side—I believe we share that with Our Princess.”

Snorting, Moondancer nodded. “She is, um, a little bit on the playful side, I suppose.”

“Playful?” he repeated, his voice tinged with amusement. “Oh, Miss Moondancer, the stories passed down through the ages are far more telling of her mischief. But, that aside,” his smile dropped, he laid his ears flat against his scalp. Rubbing a hoof against his shin, he glanced off to the side. “I do apologize for making you feel unwelcome.”

“That’s okay—I’m just happy that you and the others don’t think I’m some sort of plaything you all use to get your giggles at.”

Oh, now that, I just can’t let go. “Actually,” he dropped his voice, speaking in a low growl as he bared his fangs to get that predictable little flinch out of her, “we think your little flinches are just so cute. Almost like a little snack for us to nibble on!”

Moondancer hid a laugh behind her hoof. “Oh, stop!” she scolded, giving him a light smack on the hoof. “You’re terrible, Captain!”

“I do my best! And, if it’s all the same, you can call me Erebos, Miss Moondancer.” Dropping his teasing tone and playful grin, he smiled—sincerely for once. “You’re not one of my guards and we’re not exactly in a formal setting—” he gestured to the other patrons with a wave of his hoof “—not to mention, I told the bartender that we were just here casually.”

“If you insist… Erebos,” she smiled, brighter and more beautifully than Erebos had ever seen before.

That irrepressible tugging at the corners of his mouth, pulling it into a broad, toothy grin to match hers.

“But,” Moondancer continued, a playful little gleam in her own eyes, “if I’m going to call you Erebos, you have to stop calling me Miss Moondancer—it makes me feel like I’m a little filly!”

Before Erebos could retort, a snort drew both of them to turn their heads. Berry Punch stood, balancing a tray and two mugs of foaming cider on her back, her muzzle split into a broad grin. “Oh, don’t stop on my account! Please—” she deftly grabbed the tray in her mouth and deposited it on the table —“just have a good one on me, you two! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t!” She winked, turning and walking away without another word.

The pair turned slowly, expressions flat.

“That was….”

“Don’t.” Erebos shook his head. “Just let it go.” He snatched the mug off the tray, sighing as he brought it to his lips. Whatever. At the very least, Miss Moondancer and I had our little chat. Perhaps things will smooth things over and make her a bit more relaxed around us.

And, of course, it would please Princess Luna. She wanted her subjects to love her and realize that there was nothing to fear, that she had returned to take her rightful place and earn back their trust.

That went doubly for those who served in the castle. Her personal detail of guards were mostly comprised of bat ponies, though she had taken Princess Celestia’s advice to open up to allow for other races, for a more diverse group and show of unity.

Moondancer had come along as a result of that conversation. If the Night Guard was to be open to other races, so too should Princess Luna’s personal servants and aids.

Surprisingly, Moondancer had volunteered herself. Not ordered, volunteered. Why?

He shook his head. Her reasons were her own; if she felt comfortable sharing them, she would do so when the time was right. Until then, there was one little detail that needed to be sorted out. Namely, the mugs of cider, and the fact that she’d not received a proper initiation into Her Majesty’s personal detail.

An oversight that he would tolerate no more.

Grinning wickedly, he peered over the top of his mug before throwing it back and taking a deep sip.

His eyes went wide. The scent, the sweet taste of fresh harvested apples in combination with the bite of alcohol. Sweet, but with that kick it’s so famous for. Erebos allowed himself a little smile, peering into the foam. Maybe my guards have a point to their request.

A sputtering cough made his ear flick up. Raising an eyebrow, he glanced to Moondancer, biting back a laugh as she blinked owlishly and set her mug down.

“St-Strong!” She gasped. “Very strong!”

“Heh, don’t let the locals see that—they might think me right in treating you like a little filly.” Through her coughing, she aimed a weak glare in his direction; her eyes narrowed as if she were trying to pierce his skull. Erebos simply waggled his eyebrows in the face of her ire. “On second thought, how about a deal, Miss Moondancer?” He drawled, making sure to place extra emphasis on the “Miss” as he spoke.

Moondancer fixed him with an exasperated stare, her brows knit together and lips turned into a small frown. “I thought we agreed that you’d drop the ‘miss’, Captain.”

“We did, but I think we could make this a bit more interesting. More in the spirit of Princess Luna, if you will.” He paused to let her hum in agreement before continuing on. “If you can finish two mugs of this cider—” he raised his mug meaningfully “—without coughing or spilling it, I’ll stop calling you ‘Miss’ unless we’re at some formal event.”

“And if I lose?”

He shrugged, leaning back in his cushion nonchalantly as he raised his mug to his lips again. “Nothing much, I just get to call you ‘Little Miss Moondancer’ in front of Princess Luna.”

A sharp inhale, the thud of her hooves hitting the table as she leaned forward to try to make herself more intimidating—it was cute, really. She thought she, a little school mare, could intimidate a Night Guard.

“You wouldn’t dare!” she hissed.

Oh, ye of little faith! “I would do it happily,” Erebos replied, his smile almost splitting his muzzle. “And if Our Princess likes it, I just might let it stick!”

She sucked in her lips, her ears pinned back to lay flat against her scalp. “Fine! But if I win, I get to make up some ridiculous name and make it stick for you!”

Game, set, match. If he had a cigar, he’d have it lit and be puffing merrily as he watched her try to down her cider. “Fair enough. Would you like a countdown, or—"

“Oh, hush!” Moondancer huffed and took hold of the cup in her fiery red magic. “Just you wait,” she grumbled as she tossed it back and began guzzling down the cider.

Blinking a few times, Erebos could only laugh in disbelief as he watched her slowly drain the mug, raising his own to her and taking a more restrained sip. At least he got her to loosen up and forget her worries for a bit. Though, at the rate she was going, there might be a little bit of a problem once the alcohol hit her system good and proper.

She’ll probably just conk right out and need to be carried back. He scoffed. Better to have her sleeping soundly than cowering on the floor. If Princess Luna wanted to scold him for that, he’d endure it. What’s the worst that can happen?


Erebos’ ears lay flat against his scalp, his mouth set in a thin line as he held a very drunk Moondancer up with a firm wing across her withers. He tried his very best to ignore how his muzzle burned as she leaned up against his side, her breath tinged with the thick scent of apple cider.

If I ever get the chance to use time travel magic, I’m going to go back just far enough so I can give myself a good, solid buck to the face.

At least she wasn’t trying to pull him into a dance anymore. Mercifully, that only lasted until she staggered, tripped over her own hooves, and, in a rather impressive display, managed to fall into their table at an angle that catapulted their empty mugs into the air.

The local crowd was still giggling and glancing in their direction every now and again over that one. Berry Punch just fell over, laughing and kicking her hooves into the air as he hastily stammered out apologies.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Captain,” she had purred, throwing in a little waggle of her eyebrows, “that’s pretty tame compared to what most of my regulars get up to after a couple ciders, especially when their lovers are with them!”

Protests fell on deaf ears; any attempt of explanation was met with more laughter, a few pats on the back, knowing winks, and Lyra and Bon Bon sighing wistfully as the reminisced over their first date together.

Not a date! Very much definitely not a date! No matter how it might look with Moondancer held under wing, how close she pressed against his side, or even how she had her cheek pressed against his like—

GAH!” Erebos yelped, nearly tripping as he tried to jerk himself away. “M-Miss Moondancer, please! We’re in public!”

Giggling, she pressed herself up against his side again, nuzzling into his ears, the heat in his muzzle burning like a raging bonfire. “Captaaaaaaaain!” she cooed, her breath tickling the fuzzy tip of his tufted ear. “You—hic—promised to call me ‘Moonie’!”

“I—you—I can’t call you that! Ponies will think—no! Any other name, not that one!”

A piteous whine, her pouting lip brushed against his ear, sending shivers down his spine. “Nuh-uh! You promised!” She pressed her muzzle in closer. “Say it,” she whispered, the husky tone tinged with a bit of a slur, “say ‘Moonie’, Captain!”

Not a chance. If I say it, there’ll be no end of it. He shook his head, shuddering as her muzzle tickled his ear. “N-no.”

“You—hic—promised!”

“I’m altering the deal. Pick another.”

“No!” She flung her hooves around his neck, nearly throwing him off balance as she staggered into his side, and toppled to her left. “I won! So you—hic—have to call me ‘Moonie’!”

Scrambling to hold her up, Erebos bit his lip and weighed his options. On one hoof, he had promised and she certainly surprised him by winning their little wager. But on the other, calling her by some cute little nickname that she came up with while drunk out of her mind was just begging for trouble.

Between her embarrassment, his fellow guards’ harassment, and Princess Luna’s inevitable demand for explanation before she laughed herself silly, he was in a no-win situation.

Still, she wasn’t letting it go. Her grip tightened, Moondancer laid her head atop his, and hummed a little tune as she pressed her muzzle into his scruffy black mane.

His cheeks lit up like Hearth’s Warming Eve. “All right! All right! Moonie, please let go and stop fooling about!”

Moondancer squealed and nuzzled the back of his neck, shifting her weight forward to press down on him as she drunkenly babbled.

Erebos grimaced, pinning down his ears to block out her excited chattering. Okay, we’re done. “I think it’s time for you and I to go home, Miss—"

Moonie!

Gritting his teeth, he pasted a smile on his muzzle and tried to ignore the raucous laughter. “Moonie. Let me pay, and I’ll take you back to the chariot. We can wait for Princess Luna and you can take a little nap.”

“Aw! But I want to stay—hic—here with you! We can—hic—have more cider, Captain!”

Nope. Erebos shifted his weight forward and gave her a little bump with his hips, sweeping her off her hind legs just enough so he could realign and catch her on his back. “Oof! The last thing you need is more cider! We’re leaving and that’s final!”

A low whine but no move to get off of his back. Instead, Moondancer wrapped her hooves tighter around his neck and buried her muzzle in his mane again. She breathed in deep and sighed. “You smell nice. Like rain and apples.”

“Thank you,” he ground out, taking an awkward step, and struggling to keep her weight level on his back. “Please don’t shift, Mi— Moonie.” This mare is going to be the death of me, I just know it. Erebos glanced around for his helmet, finding it on the floor near the overturned table, just a few paces away.

A few paces with a very drunk, very affectionate mare lounging on his back and being most uncooperative in staying still, so he could, for lack of better term, waddle over to pick it up!

Stupid bet. Stupid nickname. Stupid, stupid Erebos!

He stutter-stepped forward, gritting his teeth as he struggled not to drop Moondancer while not toppling over, himself. He flared out his wings, keeping them straight out for balance as he leaned down, and took the edge of his helmet in his teeth. Now, how do I get this thing on my head while she’s trying to figure out what brand of shampoo I use for my mane?

Somehow, Erebos had the distinct feeling that bonking her over the head with a helmet wouldn’t go over so well with Princess Luna.

The wooden door burst open! His ears flicked, Erebos turned, clumsily, to confront the newcomer who came rushing in such a manner—

Only to be met with the sea green eyes, and perplexed stare of his subordinate: Private Strider.

Strider blinked owlishly, tilting his head to the side. His lips twitched, curving upward ever-so-slightly, and exposing a hint of his elongated fangs. “Er, Captain?” he began, his voice thick with amusement. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the stallion usually—"

Erebos spat out his helmet and glared. “Finish that and I’ll break my hoof off in your hindquarters, Private! There is a completely rational explanation for this, but now isn’t the time or the place.”

“I’m sure there is!” Strider’s eyes shone with mirth, he gave his wings a merry little flap. “But it seems that you’ve gotten awful cozy with Miss Moondancer in the past couple hours!”

“Moonie!” she cried, nearly losing her balance as she waved a hoof. “He’s gotta—hic—call me Moonie now! I won the bet!”

“Oh, did you now? Good for you, Miss—oh, I’m sorry! I mean ‘Moonie’!”

Blast it! Pinning back his ears, Erebos bit his lip. His cheeks burned again. “Not another word, Private,” he growled, “not one.”

Strider snickered, but nodded all the same. “Of course, Captain. I guess I’ll go pay your tab since you’re a bit, er—” he waggled his eyebrows “—occupied.”

Flaring his nostrils, Erebos glared daggers at Strider’s back. Dead. He’s dead. I’m going to beat that smart-aleck over the head with his own helmet.

His hackles only raised further as he watched Strider plop a few bits on the counter and start up a hushed conversation with Berry Punch, sharing a giggle with the bar owner, and a meaningful glance in their direction.

Deader than dead. I will find a way. Perhaps the gauntlet, oh yes. The little punk could enjoy a nice little spar with the entire unit of Night Guards at their next training session. That’d teach him to open his mouth, not to mention it’d make sure he thought twice about relaying even the slightest hint of the story to anypony else!

Captain!” Moondancer whispered, the pout in her tone so strong he could almost see her bottom lip sticking out. “Why’re you so grumpy? We had f—hic—fun, didn’t we?”

“I didn’t— When—I never said we didn’t!” He fumbled over his words, glancing down at the floor. Relax, she’s drunk. This is the cider talking. “Yes, Moonie, I had fun tonight—” Erebos relented with a sigh “—and I’m glad you’re not so shaky now.”

“Good! And I’m—hic—I’m glad you brought me here! It really helped with a lot—hic—of things.” She sighed happily and settled herself in as she mumbled something into his mane.

Erebos raised an eyebrow. “What was that?” He flicked up an ear. “Didn’t quite catch that.”

“Said you’re really nice,” she mumbled, “funny-nice. You’re a—hic—tricky pony.”

His lips slowly curved into a broad smile; he had to fight the urge to flap his leathery wings and stomped a hoof against the ground.

At last, she’d figured it out. Even if it took a few drinks to get her loosened up.

In the end, he settled for a simple nod. “I try. Thank you, er, Moonie.” His eyes flitted to his helmet. Gingerly, he shifted his hoof forward, trying to flip it over so he could pick it back up in his mouth again.

“Hey, Captain.” Strider gave him a little shoulder bump as he stepped past and bent down to pick up his discarded helmet. “Lemme give you a hoof with that, seeing as you’re a little busy with—"

“Thin ice, Private. Very thin.”

Grinning wickedly, Strider roughly deposited the helmet onto Erebos’ head, pushing the edge of the helm down enough to cover his eyes. “We’re in a bar, therefore, all bets are off until we leave! I’ll see you back at the chariot, Captain! Have a good time with Moonie!”

He cackled madly and galloped off, fleeing through the open door and racing into the night.

I’ve changed my mind. Death is far too kind a mercy for that little rat, and the gauntlet just won’t suffice. The tips of his ears burned at the sound of other patrons laughing and smacking the countertop with their hooves. So much for the awe-inspiring image of the Captain of the Night Guard. Between the drunken mare on his back, and an insubordinate little punk, he might as well have just set fire to any credibility he might’ve had.

Snorting, he glanced over his shoulder at Moondancer, his gaze softened as she smiled back at him and laid her head against his shoulder.

Strider’s just desserts could wait; getting Moondancer back to the chariot took priority over chasing after him. And judging by how awkward moving a few steps had been…

This is gonna take a while.

Author's Note:

Special thanks toauramane and bathroomstahl!

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