• Published 11th May 2015
  • 8,321 Views, 3,247 Comments

Secrets of a Royal Guard - Anzel



Life has never been better for Silent Knight, but he finds himself shackled to the past by guilt, anger, and regret. Even though he tries to hide his true feelings from those he loves, he knows that the secrets he keeps will come at a cost.

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47. Groomsponies

An interesting thing about being a groom was that your life changed a lot in the months leading up to the wedding itself. Mostly, you were making wedding decisions… and, by decisions, I mean just nodding at your soon-to-be wife and mother-in-law.

Beyond that, you were given little missions. Low-risk tasks that a stallion could be trusted with. I discovered that there weren’t many of those, though. Not many at all. In fact, I was mostly just responsible for getting a best pony and two more groomsponies.

And yet I still had to provide the correct input for a ton of decisions I didn’t have final say on. I now truly understood bureaucracy and why the parliament didn’t always get things done.

Today, I was on my primary mission to find a best pony. In this case, she would be a best mare. My search took me to a street corner across from the local City Guard precinct. Right on time, Winterspear came out of the front door on her lunch break.

I grinned as I did my best to sneak up behind her, taking every lesson Tranquil had given me into account. She was facing away from me and I was just a few moments away from grabbing her tail when one of her ears flicked towards me.

“I see you,” she said without turning around. “You may not make a lot of noise but wearing your armor out in broad daylight is pretty obvious. A good city guard can see that sort of thing.”

“So you got lucky, then?” I teased.

She snorted. “Yeah, yeah. What do you want?”

“Wow, I’m wounded. I come to see you at lunch and you ask what I want?”

Winterspear stopped and let me catch up. I saw a grin on her face despite her rigid posture. “Yes. What do you want, Lieutenant?”

“Oh, I see how it is. Well, Sergeant, I want you to do me a big favor.”

“And what is this big favor?”

I kept a perfectly straight face and even tone. “I want you to be my best mare.”

Winterspear’s ears wiggled and her tail gave a happy swish. Her face, however, was still all guard. “I don’t know, sir. You suddenly set a date, a lot of work is already done, and you’re just now looking for a best pony?”

“Yeah… I thought you’d have known you were always my first choice.”

“I see. So, as best pony, what power will I have?”

“Whatever you can wrest out of the hooves of Crystal Wishes and Upper Crust.”

She peered at me. “So… none at all?”

“Yup!”

A smile broke out across her muzzle. “Then I accept. Let’s go get some lunch. You’re buying!”

I nodded. “Of course. What’s good around here?”

“This is Canterlot Heights, everything is good around here! Oh, and expensive, too.”

One of my few groom’s missions successful! I wondered if Upper Crust would consider this lunch wedding related and reimburse me?

When I asked Crystal about it a few hours later, she laughed. She laughed all the way across the room, as she set up the record player, and when she rose up onto her hindlegs as we met on the rug.

“Good luck with that,” Crystal finally managed between giggles.

Reimbursement or not, it was wonderful to have her in my hooves. It was the slow, elegant type of dancing she’d taught me when I was in officer school. Now, we were practicing for our wedding.

Even if we weren’t exactly dancing for fun, we were home alone and she was, in fact, in my hooves. That was never a bad thing.

She peered up at me through her long lashes. “Are you smiling?”

“Hmm? Should I not be?” I teased before taking her through a turn.

“You haven’t smiled much in a while. You look pretty happy.”

I gazed into her beautiful hazel eyes and grinned. “Well, I was thinking about the fact that you’re in my hooves. We’re dancing. We’re alone… Why shouldn’t I be happy?”

The mare shivered in my grasp and swished her tail. “Oh, you should be. I’m just glad you are. Did something happen in particular?”

“Of course. You decided to keep me from being stupid, and now we’re getting married.”

“Well… aren’t you just full of charm today?” She giggled. “Seriously, though. What’s up?”

“What I said.” I shrugged and then dipped her. “I have you. You’re always my star on the horizon which I navigate by. The one thing that doesn’t change.”

Her hooves looped behind my head and she drew herself up to softly kiss me. “Look, you’ve already more than worked your way into my bed tonight. Is there anything else you might want to tell me?”

“Therapy has been going well?”

“Anything else?” she asked, her ear flicking. “Also, bring me up before we fall over.”

“Oh, right,” I replied before pulling her back up and wrapping my hooves around her. “Shining Armor offered me another job.”

“I see! So this smile is about him and not me,” she teased.

Without hesitation, I buried my muzzle against her neck and attempted to whine pitifully, “I’m sorry, honey. I loved him before I met you.”

She laughed, petting my mane. “Yes, yes. I know how you stallions are. You all love each other. What is the job?”

My head bobbed back up and I stroked her back. “Royal unicorn inspector. You pass with high marks, sweetie.”

Crystal put a hoof against my face and lightly pushed my head back. “It must be a great offer because you’re acting like a colt!”

I shook my head. “Not really. It’s a demotion. I’m in a good mood because of you. The job, though, is to run Governor Cadence’s security detail.”

“So… you’re not going to take it?” she asked, removing her hoof.

“Oh, I am. If you approve. We’ll be off to the Crystal Empire to start our new life.”

Crystal peered at me curiously. “So… the better job you didn’t want, but the worse job you do? Just like that. You want to go now but not before?”

“Yup! You, me, crystal ponies, and Glimmer World on the weekends.”

Her stare became a little suspicious. “What brought on the change?”

“Clarity. A good mental health professional, an excellent wife-to-be, and a stern talking to by my mentor. It’s time for me to move on, Crystal. It will be hard. I’ll miss my old job, but it is the right call. Assuming you approve.”

She snorted. “You know I approve. I’ll follow you anywhere. When do we leave?”

“After the honeymoon.”

After a moment of hesitation, she asked, “Does Luna know?”

“More or less, yes. She knows I was looking for a replacement. Look, none of this is important right now. We’re home together on a weeknight at normal times. We’re dancing. We’re alone. Do you want to discuss my job, or do you want to dance?”

Crystal peered at me sideways and then smiled. “I don’t want to dance… like this.”

My hooves let her go. Casually, I went over to the record player and turned off the waltz or whatever it was that we’d been practicing to. From the back of the shelf, I pulled the record I knew she enjoyed the most when we were alone.

Then, with a mighty flap of my wings, I leapt towards her, grabbed her in my forehooves, and flew her right into her bedroom while she squealed in surprise.

I wasn’t sure when was the last time I’d been to the Phial and Filly Alchemist Supply. Most of my previous trips had been to pick up a drop. Time seemed to have gotten away from me.

To my surprise, I arrived to find Runic working the cash register instead of in the back room like normal. “Hi, Silent!”

“Hi Runic. Where is Rossby?”

He shrugged. “Weather camp? I don’t know. He said something about time off, selling candy bars, back taxes, and foal labor laws. Anyway, he’ll probably be back in a week or two. He always shows back up.”

None of that really checked out at all but, when it came to Runic, I just didn’t bother asking for clarification. It never came. “How is Val?”

“Busy! Off on a work trip doing something. She said if she wasn’t back in a month, to burn her house down.”

I looked around quickly. There wasn’t anypony in the shop other than us. “Maybe you should keep the arson plot to yourself?”

Runic waved a hoof. “It’s just you.”

“I’m a royal guard!”

“You’re family first.”

My hoof slapped against my face. “Please don’t burn her house down.”

“She’s family and she asked. Besides, she always tells me that when she goes on a work trip, and I’ve only had to burn the place down once.”

Seriously? Runic! “Please stop confessing!”

“Sorry! Let me change the subject. What’s up?”

Arson was up! Previous arson, future arson. Wait, why was I even there again? “I came to see you.”

Runic smiled. “Well, obviously!”

“To ask you to be a groomspony in my wedding, providing you’re not in jail.”

“They haven’t made any case stick yet!” He winked. “I’d love to.”

That did not make me feel any better. I just tried to smile. “Great. Does Miley know you’re a criminal?”

He nodded. “Of course. We’re together. I keep her quiet with stallion stuff.”

I blinked. “What is stallion stuff?”

“You know…” He cleared his throat. “Stallion stuff. Stuff stallions do for mares.”

We stared at each other for a moment. “Should I even ask?”

He coughed and shook his head. “Not unless you want this to get awkward and deeply personal, no.”

I didn’t. Slowly, I shook my head.

“Then don’t ask!” He plastered a grin on his face that on anypony else would seem insincere, but from him, it wholly was. “So, what does a groomspony do?”

“You don’t know?”

He peered at me. “Do you?”

That… was actually a really good question. I had just been told to pick mine and ask them to be in the wedding. That was all. Nopony had prepared me for questions like this. There wasn’t even a guidebook or a brochure.

My ear flicked, and I tried to think of something. “Uh… yes. I think you just follow me in, stand with me, and then walk a bridespony out.”

His head tilted. “That’s it?”

As far as I knew, anyway. “Yup.”

“Then I’d still love to. Do I have to wear a suit?”

“Yes.”

He paused and then frowned. “Ah, I’d love to less now. I’ll do it for you, though. Which bridespony do I get?”

I really needed to talk to Crystal about this wedding. Suddenly I felt like I knew nothing about it. “I have no idea. You’ll have to ask Crystal.”

He nodded. “Will do!” He paused to ring up a customer that I hadn’t even realized had been standing behind me. Once that was done, he beamed at me. “I got on the Harmony.”

He said it so casually I almost missed the implications and just nodded in acceptance as per usual where he was concerned. Almost being the operative word. “Wait, what! Do you have a warrant out for your arrest? Do I need to bring you in?”

Runic shook his head. “Absolutely not. I did it the right way!”

I stared at him, unrelenting. “When you say right…”

“I did exhaustive genealogical research to find out if I knew anypony related to the primary shareholders in Eminence Enterprizes or Jet Ventures. It so happens I know two ponies.”

My nerves started to relax. “So… you asked Iridescence, then?”

“No, given her strained relationship with her family, that seemed unlikely to work. I went with Crystal instead.”

I blinked. “What do you mean, you went with Crystal? Why?”

“Come on, you don’t know?” he asked in disbelief, blinking back at me.

Apparently, there was more that I didn’t know than just the wedding. “Know... what?”

He made some gestures with his hooves. “Jet Set, Jet Ship, Jet Ventures? Your wife is the only heir of the only heir of Jet Ship. She’s potentially worth huge money! She and her grandfather get along, so she asked him for some tickets and a tour. We all went together.”

I heard the words he said, but none of them made any sense. Were we talking about the same mare? Because it sure didn’t sound like the Crystal I knew. “When did this happen?”

“Last week when she and I went to lunch,” Runic explained as if I should have known.

I just stared at him as I tried to catch up. It was a lot to take in all of a sudden, like Crystal had a whole secret life I didn’t know about. What next? Was she also a superpony by night? “Why didn’t she tell me?”

Runic waved a hoof. “She’s embarrassed. Her parents are wealthy, her grandparents are mega wealthy. She’s the kind of pony that doesn’t want others to judge her for it, you know? At least, that’s how she explained it to me when she said to keep it a secret.”

Now that was starting to sound a little like the Crystal I knew. “But you just told me.”

“Oops!” Runic’s eyes went wide and he looked around, then leaned in towards me. “Don’t tell her I told you!”

My head started to throb slightly, and I nodded. “Fair enough. See you later, alright? And please don’t burn anypony’s house down.”

As I headed for the door, he called, “No promises, but I do have new liability insurance!”

Crystal was ashamed that her family was really wealthy? It wasn’t like her to keep secrets from me. Especially something like that. She knew I wouldn’t care. Didn’t she? Maybe not.

Well, fine. If she didn’t want me to know, and it didn’t hurt for me to not know, and it didn’t hurt her to not know that I knew… then I could pretend with the best of them. Rich or not, Crystal was still the mare I loved. In a way, I sort of admired the fact that she didn’t capitalize on her family’s fortune.

Someday, we’d probably have to talk about it. But first, we just needed to get through this wedding, and that meant I needed to gather my final groomspony.

I trotted across town, opting to go by hoof rather than by wing. It was too cold to be whipped about by the chilled winds that swirled around Canterlot. Plus, I liked to keep all my limbs in shape.

Arriving at Iridescence’s condo, I noticed something was wrong right off the bat. There was a strange odor in the air, and it got worse the closer I got to her door. When she answered my knocking, the peculiar smell wafted over me.

“Did Dot cook again?” I asked, holding a hoof over my nose.

Iridescence leveled a seething glare at me. Her mane was a total mess, and there was some kind of slime-like substance clinging to her hooves. “Worse. She had a friend over.”

She stepped out of the way and I gasped. I couldn’t help it. The slime was all over the new carpet, furniture was overturned, multi-colored paper clung to the walls, and most of the surfaces had some kind of paint on them.

I looked back at her. “Didn’t you just have the waterline repaired?”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, stomping away and over to a wall, where she was trying to scrape paper and goo off. “I hope your sister doesn’t want any foals. I’ve learned I am not cut out for motherhood.”

“It’s not that bad.” It was. I poked at the carpet and it crunched.

“She and her friend Brownie did this in one hour!” She thrust out a hoof to gesture at everything. “One. Hour.”

One hour? Sweet Celestia! Perhaps the Equestrian Army needed fillies. I went over to try to help her with the walls. “What were they doing again?”

She looked my way with a withering glare. There was fire and poison behind it. “Making posters for their favorite colt band, BBBFF. The music they play over and over and over and over again.”

My body went rigid at the look. “What does BBBFF even mean?”

“I don’t know! If I find out, though, I’m arresting somepony for something.” She blew her mane out of her face. “You didn’t come over to help me, I imagine. What do you want?”

I chuckled and shook my head. “I didn’t, but I don’t mind. What kind of monster would I be if I just walked away from this?” I paused. “Where is Dot, by the way?”

“Brownie’s house… probably destroying it, too. But that’s Mrs. Buns’s problem, not mine.”

“Sure, sure.” I found a cloth and started on the carpet. After some vigorous scrubbing, the slime seemed to be yielding. “So, about the reason why I’m here.”

Iridescence looked over from where she was trying to get paint off the coffee table. “What’s that?”

“Would you be a groomspony in my wedding?”

Iridescence stopped scrubbing and peered at me. “Really? Won’t that be weird?”

“Why would it be weird? You’re not carrying a torch for me, are you?”

She snorted and shook her head. “No, but don’t you think Crystal will mind?”

“I can’t imagine why she would. She and I are getting married, and you’re with Winterspear. She told me to go get my groomsponies. There was no instruction about not picking you.”

“Well… alright then. I mean, I’m flattered.” She looked back down at her hooves. “I just don’t want to ruin her special day.”

“I find that to be highly unlikely, unless you intend to jump in the way of our first kiss. And, should you choose to do so, I’ve instructed my arch commander to intervene.”

Iridescence chuckled and started to scrub again. “Sure, sure. You and your dry wit.”

I shook my head. “Oh, I’m not kidding. Sunny is going to be armed. Azurite, too. I made it clear that this wedding is going off without a hitch, and they’ve agreed. Although I shudder at the idea of Azurite swinging a sword.”

The mare stopped to look at me as if to judge whether I was serious or not. I kept on my blank expression and just looked back. Finally, she just shook her head and went back to cleaning.

Mission accomplished.

“Palace guard booked?” Crystal asked.

“Check,” I replied.

“Security for the princesses?”

“Check.”

“Groomsponies?”

“Check.”

“Best mare?”

“Check.”

“Tuxedo booked?”

My brow raised. “No… I’m wearing my dress uniform.”

The list in front of Crystal’s face bobbed lower in her magic. “What?”

“This is a military ceremony, and I’m a military officer,” I said flatly. “I’m wearing my dress uniform, not some silly tuxedo. You knew that.”

“Did I, now?” she asked in a teasing tone that contrasted with her expression of mock surprise.

I puffed out my chest and ruffled my feathers. “Yes, yes you did. Are you trying to see if I was paying attention?”

The mare giggled. “You zone out a lot when we talk wedding stuff. I guess I can’t get anything past you?”

“You can try, but I’m pretty great at paying attention when it doesn’t look like I was paying attention.”

She peered down her nose at me. It was sometimes uncanny how my sweet bride-to-be could resemble the snooty elites of Canterlot with just one look. “Is that so? What was I wearing on our date at Sunridge Sweets last week, then?”

My ears flicked. “Trick question. That wasn’t a date. We had a cake appointment, and you were wearing a scarf.”

“It was kind of a date.”

I shook my head.

“Fine, it was more wedding work.” Crystal tossed the list down on the coffee table and leaned back into the couch. “Am I a bad pony for just wishing that we were already done with this?”

In leaning back, Crystal had made a mistake: she’d exposed a vital area to me. Quickly, I swooped in and nuzzled her slender neck, mumbling into her coat, “Nope.”

The mare shivered in delight and pushed both forehooves against me. “Quit that! We have to finish this stuff.”

“List is down,” I muttered, taking her hooves in mine and continuing to nuzzle her.

“Down boy!” she huffed, trying to drop her chin. “Velvet is going to be home soon and I don’t want her to see this. Just keep it together a little longer and then we’ll be on our honeymoon.”

My ears flicked in agitation as I pulled back. “Fine. For Velvet’s sake. If you think I’m waiting until the honeymoon, though…”

Crystal practically purred, “Just make it until Friday night. I promise I’ll r—”

The lock jingled and finally the door opened before Velvet came in and chimed, “Hello, lovebirds! I’m home. What are you up to?”

“Striking out,” I said over Crystal, who replied, “Wedding planning.”

Of course, the unicorn was now bright pink and bludgeoning me with a throw pillow. Worth it.

Velvet just laughed. “I see. Well, what is for dinner?”

I rolled over onto my side while the soft pink pillow continuously slapped me in the head under the power of embarrassed unicorn magic. “I—ow, thought—ow, I’d take you—ow, both out to—ow, Le Bernardin as a special treat.”

The pillow assault stopped. Crystal peered at me. “What is the occasion?”

“Well… you and Velvet have been working hard on our wedding. We never really celebrated Velvet’s new job, and I’ve got one coming up. Plus, we haven’t done anything in a while as a trio. I thought we’d just toss everything down and go out for dinner and drinks.”

Velvet trotted towards the shower. “Sounds great! I’m going to get cleaned up. If you’re buying me dinner at Le Bernardin, I’m going to need to wash the stink of practice off me.”

Crystal waited for our friend to shut the door before peering down at me. “If you knew you were taking us to dinner, why did you get frisky?”

“Why were you born hot?” I countered.

She hit me with the pillow again and huffed. “I just can’t get a straight answer out of you. I’m going to go get ready.”

“Of course, dear,” I replied before stretching out onto the part of the couch the mare had vacated.

Neither of them knew it yet, but I had an ulterior motive behind dinner: to present my wedding gift to them. That may seem like a strange thing to others, but Velvet was more than just Crystal’s friend. From my understanding, Velvet had been Crystal’s first best friend. They were like sisters.

Although I would never understand why, Velvet was also insecure. Crystal had confided in me that Velvet was secretly afraid that us getting married would ruin their friendship. That was the last thing I wanted, so thus I had gotten them a present.

I bought them both an unlimited rail pass. For a year, they could come and go between Canterlot and the Crystal Empire whenever they wanted to see each other. Hopefully that would assure Velvet that I had no intention of stealing Crystal from her.

Moving away was going to be weird, but we’d make it work. I’d have my wife, my mentor, and a new job. I could do it for a few years and make captain. Possibly even major. Then I’d look for positions back in Canterlot. The time apart would be good for Princess Luna and me.

Who knows? Maybe I would love working for Governor Cadence. Maybe this was the path I’d been working towards without even knowing it.

No matter what, though, I knew Crystal would stay by my side. That was a fact I didn’t even question. She was a permanent fixture in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for that blessing.

It wasn’t long before a very done-up Crystal returned to the living room and posed. She sparkled under the light with her glittery mane and tail. When she looked over at me, it was with eyes that were dark and smoky from makeup.

“Well?” she asked, as if she didn’t know she was gorgeous.

I whistled and teased, “I wouldn’t kick you out of bed.”

Crystal gasped and hit me with another pillow. “You’re a lecher today!” Despite the violence, she was all smiles.

“It is all for you,” I replied while she came over to nuzzle up against me.

“Come on, Velvet! I look good and I’m hungry,” Crystal called towards the bathroom.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” Velvet replied before hurrying out and into her room. “We can’t all sit around all day and smell like roses. Some of us work for a living.”

Crystal turned her nose up. “Humph! Come on, honey, walk me out the door. Since Velvet is so used to working hard, she can gallop and catch up.”

“Of course, dear.” I trotted over to the door and opened it for my mare. “You first, beautiful.”

She nodded and pranced by me and out into the hall. As she did so, she swatted me with her sparkly tail.

Yes, I think my priorities were finally right: Crystal first. Always Crystal first.

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