• Published 24th Aug 2015
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Three of Diamonds - Anzel



Azurite never imagined that joining the Royal Guard would land her in a relationship beyond her wildest dreams, but she soon discovers that love is only one of the elements necessary to keep ponies together.

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1. My Trip To The Faire

“So, Azurite, from my notes it has been eight months since you told me that you’d entered into this multi-pony relationship. How is that going lately?”

This was a different train of conversation than normal. Mindful Soul usually focused more on my panic attacks and my feelings about the pony I had killed. “Things are going pretty well. I mean I’m not an expert at relationships but I have to assume that all of them have challenges. We have our challenges like anypony else.”

“When you say challenges, what do you mean?” she asked.

“You know… challenges,” I said, shrugging. “Ponies disagree sometimes. Although not too often. Mostly it is the challenges that surround us. Some ponies think we’re weird or sick or who knows. I get tired of explaining what we have sometimes. So… we don’t.”

Mindful Soul took down some notes. “Do you think you’re in a healthy relationship?”

What did that mean? I frowned. “Yes, I do. It is certainly the best relationship I’ve ever had.”

“You’ve admitted it yourself that you haven’t had very many. Are you sure you’re not just settling because you didn’t want to make a tough decision?”

“No, I’m certainly not settling! In fact I’d say I’m being greedy. Most ponies get to love one pony. I get to love two and they love me back. It is still the best relationship I’ve ever had.”

She held up a hoof. “Easy, Azurite, I’m not judging. I’m just asking. Are you still seeing Sandy?”

My hackles were still up but I tried to accept the change of topic. “I am, just like you told me to and just like she asked. Every week we do something together. It is like old times, actually. I don’t really see the wheels anymore either. She is just Sandy. Super strong Sandy.”

“That is wonderful progress.” More notes. Always taking those notes. “How about your fear of crowds. Is that getting any better?”

Deep breath. She won’t be angry. She’s never angry. “Mostly no. We’ve tried the little exercises but I usually freak out. If Sunny and Soarin keep everypony about two meters away from me it's okay. Not great but okay… and that wears them out. It is easier outside but we just avoid crowds.”

Her quill scribbled on the page, levitated by green magic. “If you don’t try, Azurite, you’re not going to be able to learn to deal with the panic better.”

“I try! I do. Sometimes. Look, I just don’t see why I have to be able to go places where there are crowds. Crowds are bad. When there are crowds ponies get—”

“Killed?” she interjected.

With a sigh I replied, “Trampled, rude, angry, and other words like that.”

“Nightmares still?”

“Not as many. None with Sandy anymore. Just him. Him and his foals. Him, his foals, and his angry wife. Him, his adult foals, and their angry spouses.”

Mindful Soul took a few more notes and then set her pad down. “Perhaps you should go see them?”

“Now I know you’re the one that needs therapy. That is crazy! I killed their dad and made her a widow. No thank you.”

She sat silently for a while as if considering that and then shrugged. “Well, we’re almost out time. You’re obviously doing better. You’re not in tears and you seem happier. That is good to see. Tell me, are you still unable to discuss sex like an adult?”

“What? Me? No,” I sputtered.

Mindful Soul said, “Azurite, you’re with two ponies. You’ve been with the same two ponies for about a year. Clearly you’re having sex. We talked about promiscuity and now you’re in a committed relationship. You can say sex.”

I couldn’t see it but I knew my face was turning all kinds of red. “Nope.”

“You’re not having sex?”

“Yup!”

“Yes you are or yes you’re not?”

“We play sports!”

Mindful Soul lightly rubbed her temple with a hoof. “Okay, next time we’re going to talk about this. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”

“Next time! Thank you. Gotta go back to work. Bye bye!” And out the door I went.

My hooves took me quickly from the medical building to the street and then on to the palace. From there I headed to my office, unlocked the door with my magic, and went in. Mr. Clockerson ticked softly from his spot on the wall. He was a good clock.

“It went fine.”

“Tick, tick, tick.”

“No, I didn’t cry. She wanted to talk about…” My voice drew to a whisper. “...sex.”

“Tick, tickity, tick tick!”

“That is what I said. Look, we’ve got work to do okay?” My gaze fell to the stack of forms on my desk. “You didn’t get anything done while I was gone?”

“Tick.”

My eyes rolled. “Fine, you did your job. I see the little pointers are still moving. I’ll get to all of this right away!”

Some of the paperwork was for ponies I recognized from last year. Those were the easiest to do. Just little tweaks here and there to make certain they were up to date. Most of them wouldn’t even require an appointment. There was a new bunch though. That is what would consume the most time.

“Knock knock,” Lieutenant Brook, my commanding officer, said at the door. “Working hard, Azurite?”

The small nest of files I had built around me suggested that that was the case so I nodded. “Yes, sir. Plenty of ponies to prepare paperwork for.”

He chuckled and nodded. “I see. Big plans this weekend?”

Happily I clapped my hooves together. “Yes, sir! We’re going to the faire in Ponyville. I’ve heard it is all kinds of fun.”

“Oh that does sound like fun. Word around the palace is that Princess Luna is going, too.”

“Really? That’s neat. I never imagined a princess going to a faire. How about you, sir? Any plans?”

“Nothing particular. I think the wife and I will spend some time in the garden. It has been getting a little out of hoof lately and could use some work.”

The idea of the lieutenant gardening made me giggle. At least on the inside. He was always so proper and neat that imagining him covered in dirt and grass stains was hard. “Well, sir, show those weeds that royal guards don’t stand for… um, weeds?”

“I’ll do that. Just to let you know, some paperwork came through that I pushed a while back. You’re getting a service award for all the hard work you do.”

“Really? I’ve never gotten an award before! Thank you!”

He smiled and waved. “You’ve more than earned it. Have a good weekend, Azurite. I’ll see you Monday.”

“Yes, sir! See you then.”

A quick glance up at Mr. Clockerson let me know it was time to pick up the palace missives and start delivering them to the officers. Historically it was grunt work that was given to new ponies so that they could learn the palace. I had really enjoyed doing it, however, so I’d kept the responsibility.

Each missive afforded me time to meet with a different pony, briefly chat, and move on. My favorite stop, of course, was my last one. Lieutenant Sunny Day was always last. She was the commander of Princess Celestia’s House Guard and her office was the furthest away.

Of course none of those facts were the reason I stopped there last. The real reason was because we were marefriends and I wanted to spend some time with her without worrying about anypony else waiting on internal mail.

Happily I trotted through her open door. Sunny Day was at her desk working on some paperwork. She looked up. “That time already Azu?”

“Yup! You have eight today.” Purple magic surrounded the missives and slowly levitated them over to Sunny’s desk.

“Only eight?” Sunny asked sarcastically. That wasn’t like her at all!

My happy hooves were now less happy but they took me around her desk to settle at her side. “Is something wrong?”

Sunny rubbed her eyes before looping a hoof around me. “I’m still in command of the palace and Princess Celestia has a full schedule for the next month. That is following up a month that was also packed. She is taking on so much it is running us ragged. Raven literally just dropped off a new request for this weekend and I’m spread so thin I’ll be lucky to get this all organized in time.”

This weekend? Oh no, no, no. “We’re going to the faire this weekend,” I reminded her.

Slowly she shook her head, “I’m sorry, Azu, I can’t. If I could do anything I would but my ponies are close to dropping. Going to the faire while the unit is half dead would look horrible and destroy morale.”

It took a lot of effort not to frown. “No, you’re right. That makes sense.” Softly I pushed up to nose her cheek. “We’ll go next year.”

“We as in all three of us, yes. This year, you’re still going. You and Soarin should go have a good time.”

“And have you come home alone, exhausted, and lonely? No way!” I put a hoof down.

Sunny laughed softly and booped my nose with her hoof. “You’re cute when you’re trying to be firm. Look, I’ll probably just crash here at the palace. You know I slept alone before I met you, right? It would kill me to think that after you bravely decided to go to the faire you’d drop the idea for my job. It is settled. You and Soarin will go. He can fly you out if you get panicked.”

Softly I huffed and tried to look cross. She pushed my helmet up and leaned down to softly kiss me. “It is settled,” she repeated. I knew better than to argue. Especially when she was right.

“Okay, I’ll bring you something back. Ooh! Would you like me to go tell Princess Celestia that you’ve got too much on your plate?”

Sunny Day smiled at me. It was one of her frightening, predatory smiles. “Yes, Azu, by all means, please go do that.”

“I might!”

“You might. Why don’t you tell her right now?” Sunny pointed past me towards the door. “Hello, Princess.”

With a squeal I immediately dropped to the ground and lowered my eyes. How other ponies could do any less in her presence was beyond me. I’d only run across the princess a few times but every time I had my legs wouldn’t work.

Sunny was giggling uncontrollably with a hoof pressed to her mouth. That sort of behavior would be highly inappropriate in front of the princess. It would be… “Sunny!” I squeaked before looking up. Princess Celestia was not, in fact, in the door.

“I’m sorry! You’re just so easy. Come here.” She looped her hooves around me and offered an apologetic hug, which I accepted.

“I should get back to work. You’ll at least come home tonight so we can see you before we leave?” I asked.

“Of course. I’ll be there.”

“Okay, see you then!” Reluctantly I slipped out of her embrace and headed back to my office. There was paperwork to do!

♦♦♦

Soarin stood patiently by the window looking down into the street. “Sunny is going to be late again?”

“Yeah, she’s still in command of the palace and Princess Celestia is really busy this month.” My magic slowly engulfed a plate and levitated it to the table. I followed the process with two others as I got everything ready for dinner.

The pegasus nodded and went over to the stove so he could start making dinner. “We haven’t been seeing much of her lately.”

I nibbled on my lip. “I do… but only at the palace during work hours. I know what you mean, though. It is an awfully big bed for only two ponies.”

Soarin chuckled at that and softly shook the pan back and forth over the fire. “Are you going to be okay at the faire with just me?”

“Probably. Ponyville is pretty spread out and if things get bad enough you can fly me out. My counselor says I have to at least try if I want to get better.”

The stallion nodded. “Seems reasonable. I’m sure you’ll be fine. We’ll just keep an eye on the crowd and…” He trailed at the sound of the door lock being worked.

It took a little longer than usual for Sunny Day to get the spell right. The lock finally clicked and the door swung open to reveal our golden-coated marefriend looking even more frazzled than when I’d seen her earlier.

Her mane was all over the place from being hidden beneath a helmet all day, her coat was dull, and there was a bit of red in her eyes. “I’m home,” she said as cheerfully as she could to us.

Soarin replied, “Welcome home. Dinner will be ready in a few minutes. Why don’t you sit and relax?”

“Thank you. I didn’t get lunch so that is going to be a treat.” Sunny settled herself onto one of the kitchen chairs and I looped my hooves around her to hug.

“I’m sorry work has been so busy for you lately. It is just until the end of the month though, right? Could you ask for help?” I asked.

Sunny grumbled softly, “I hope so. The princess has just been keeping her usual schedule. With me inheriting the palace it is getting overwhelming. I think Major Aegis and Captain Dancer are getting better. Plus, with any luck, Silent Knight might start being useful again.”

Soarin’s ear flicked. He lifted the skillet from the stove and brought it over to the table. Once there he carefully started portioning out food onto our plates. Tonight was some sort of pasta with vegetables and a cream sauce. I rarely knew what I was eating; I just knew it was tasty.

“What about your company commander? Russet Rook, right? And why isn’t this Silent Knight pony being useful? From what you’ve said he isn’t a lazy pony, right?” Soarin asked curiously.

“Yeah, Russet Rook. He is trying to knock out his captain and advanced leadership courses all at the same time. Silent Knight works for Princess Luna. He had some vacation and then immediately had to go pick her up from Haven. Plus he or they also disappear some nights. Classified. That is all I ever hear. He comes back injured and just says classified. It had best be some serious business or I’ll murder him,” Sunny explained.

“I like him. He is stuffy but I feel like he is a good pony. He did bring back earrings for us, after all. You seem to want to murder him often enough though,” I pointed out before moving to my spot at the table. “I thought you two were friends.”

Sunny levitated a napkin onto her lap and picked up a fork. “We are. He’s just… sometimes he is so… Silent Knight! I don’t know. Either way he isn’t helping me right now. He isn’t part of the problem, but still… Enough about work though. What have you two been up to?”

“Puzzles!” is what I said but Soarin said “Tea party!” over me.

I looked at Soarin and asked, “Tea party? Really?”

He just shrugged and Sunny giggled. “You don’t have to lie. I’m not going to get jealous. I’m at work, you two are here alone… I can do the math.”

“We did legitimately get halfway through a puzzle last night. It has puppies and they are adorable,” I said, pointing out into the living room.

“I’m sure they are,” Sunny replied as she ate.

Soarin shifted and asked, “Would you like for me to come stand guard for you or help with your schedule? That way you could sleep a little?”

Sunny’s ears stood up. “You, a Wonderbolt and a vice commander, want to stand guard?”

He shrugged. “If it makes your life easier.”

“You’re adorable but no. That would never fly, pun intended, and honestly I’m not sure you would even be up to the task. You’re used to zipping about. Imagine standing still for 12 hours.” Sunny explained cheerfully.

“I could do it,” Soarin replied, his pride a little wounded it seemed.

“I believe you… but it still wouldn’t do. Why don’t we all have dinner and talk about something other than work, okay? It is Friday after all!”

We stopped talking about work but then everything just got silent as we ate. The only noise was the sound of forks against plates.

“I’m getting an award,” I blurted randomly.

Both Soarin and Sunny turned to me in modest surprise. Probably not the award part, just the awkward-silence-breaking blurting part.

“Really? That is great!” Sunny said.

Soarin agreed, “Yes it is. What kind of award?”

“A service award for… I guess doing my job well? The lieutenant put me in for it. He said it was going to happen.”

“You do go the extra mile,” Soarin said.

“Yup!” Sunny agreed. “I’m proud of you. That will look great in your file.”

“And on my armor!” I chimed in.

Soarin’s head tilted. “Uh… I think it is more like a piece of paper Azurite. An award, not a medal.” He looked to Sunny for help. “Right?”

The mare nibbled her lip and nodded. “Yeah… he is right. Sorry, Azu. We can frame it and hang it on the wall in your office if you like, though.”

I’d always wanted a medal other than that one I got from before. That one was buried in a closet somewhere. I suppose this was just as good, but I shook my head. “No… Mr. Clockerson would just be jealous. I don’t want to flaunt my success.”

“Oh, you got an officemate?” Soarin asked cheerfully.

“Don’t ask,” Sunny replied.

♦♦♦

“Now you two have fun,” Sunny said. She was still in her robe and a mug of coffee was floating nearby, wrapped in her golden magic. “If she gets scared just fly her out.”

Soarin nodded. “I know. Try not to overdo it, okay?” He leaned in and the two smooched.

“I’ll do my best. See you late tonight… or tomorrow… maybe… see you later,” Sunny replied before leaning down to smooch me, too. “Don’t feel bad if you need to leave.”

“I won’t! We’ll see you tonight.” Tonight sounded better. We could always drop into the palace.

We said a few more goodbyes and then Soarin scooped me up princess style and set off for Ponyville. I don’t care how many times he has flown me, I still loved the feeling. It didn’t take long to get there and he touched down outside of town.

Ponyville was packed full of booths for the Summer Faire. All kinds of vendors were selling their wares, hosting games, and putting on little performances. It was pretty cool. It was also outside and the wide streets didn’t make it seem too closed off.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Soarin asked.

“Nope… but Mindful Soul says I have to try. Besides… faire!” I said, motioning to town and all of the fun.

He chuckled and nodded. “Alright, what do you want to do first?”

“Funnel cakes!” I cheered before trotting towards the nearest booth. It had a big sign over it that boldly claimed, ‘We serve Equestria’s largest funnel cakes. They’re so big you’ll only need one!’

“No argument here,” he replied and followed after. His eyes flicked over the sign and he grinned. “We’ll see about that.”

The whole place was just starting to get into the swing of things and it wasn’t packed out yet. That was a good thing. “Two funnel cakes please!” I said, pushing bits towards the orange unicorn behind the counter.

“Two? Well, alright! Coming right up!” she replied before setting to work.

Soarin was looking around and, surprisingly, not focusing on the giant funnel cakes that were coming our way.

“What’s up?” I asked him.

“Princess Luna’s House Guard is here. Probably all of them. Look.”

The funnel cakes levitated to my side of the counter and I wrapped them in my magic. They actually felt a bit heavy. “Thank you,” I told the mare before stepping over to Soarin. “Oh yeah, I heard Princess Luna is coming. They’re just doing the guard thing.” I floated a funnel cake over to Soarin’s muzzle and softly bumped him with it. “Giant funnel cake!”

Soarin laughed. “Okay, okay! I get it. You have to remember that I’m not used to being in the palace surrounded by these ponies. They look so much more sinister than the rest in that dark armor.” He took the cake from my magical field and started eating.

“They’re not sinister,” I replied between bites of the delicious fried treat. “They just match the princess. I can introduce you to most of them. I do their paperwork. The old section sergeant used to work for Sunny. The new one is pretty nice, too.”

The stallion’s funnel cake had already disappeared and he was busy licking his lips, eyeing mine. “I still think it is weird seeing a bunch of guards at a festival like this. What next?”

“Mmm… I think Trixie has a show somewhere. Why don’t we see if we can find that and then just go where the day takes us?” I asked.

“Seems reasonable.”

We wandered about the faire for a bit taking in all of the sights. For a small town Ponyville had really gone all out. So much so that it had drawn in ponies from neighboring villages. It was starting to make me nervous but I stuck close to Soarin and most of them weren’t looking our way. Plus, thankfully, the place was full of guards. I always felt comfortable around other guards.

“Oh, I think I see Trixie’s show,” Soarin said, pointing a hoof.

“Great why don’t we go over—woah!” I ducked as a large barrage of fireworks shot overhead without any warning. “Is that supposed to happen?”

Soarin’s eyes were wide and he looked around. “No idea… keep your head down and follow me.”

“Is that some kind of short joke?” I retorted before doing exactly what he’d said.

We went together towards Trixie’s booth and arrived without being blown to bits. She had already started and I could tell immediately that this was a new act for her.

Trixie had marionettes and was putting on a play that was, evidently, loosely based on a real event that had happened in town.

The Trixie marionette was trotting out in front of a violet and purple unicorn and an orange and yellow earth pony. “Save us from the ursa major, Trixie, please!” the marionettes called.

From the opposite side of the stage a large blue bear marionette started stomping towards the little Ponyville set. “RAWR!”

“The great and powerful Trixie was not afraid! She bravely stepped in to save all her friends in Ponyville,” Trixie narrated as the marionette that resembled her went up to the ursa major and enveloped it in its blue magic.

With a quick motion the ursa went flying away.

“And with that, the great and powerful Trixie saved the day!”

There was some light hoof stomping and no cheers. It was a lukewarm reception at best. Between you and me, and never tell her I wrote this, it wasn’t near as good as her stage show.

“Thank you all for watching The Great And Powerful Trixie’s Traveling Magical Puppet Show! Please be sure to come see me live in Canterlot,” Trixie said as she finished. She looked a bit disappointed as the small crowd started to break up and move on.

I eased back behind Soarin. I wasn’t sure I wanted to engage Trixie following such lackluster review. Then something white and purple caught my eye. “Oh, hey!”

“Hmm? If you found another faire treat I’m not sure I’m ready to eat again after that funnel cake,” Soarin replied.

“What? Oh.” I laughed and then pointed. “No, look. That is Silent Knight.” On the opposite side of Trixie’s caravan was a white pegasus. His mane and tail were two tones of blue that matched his flight feathers.

Silent Knight was keeping a rather vigilant watch on the comings and goings of the ponies. He was one of Princess Luna’s House Guards and wore the group’s dark purple armor.

“Okay… The one Sunny was complaining about? You do his paperwork?” Soarin asked.

Quickly I nodded and grabbed his hoof. “Yes, but don’t mind that. And yes, I do! We’re also kind of sort of acquaintances. Come on, let’s go say hello.” I dragged the big stallion over while calling, “Silent Knight! Hi! Hello! Down here!”

The guard’s tufted ears flicked and he turned towards me. He briefly smiled and said, “Well, Warrant Officer Azurite. Hello there.” His eyes then shifted to Soarin.

“Just Azurite today! I’m off duty.” My eyes followed his and then I added, “Oh yeah! This is my stallli… my spec… my Soarin.”

My heart sunk a little bit. Most ponies weren’t aware that Sunny, Soarin, and I were in a three-pony relationship. As far as I knew Silent Knight had never met Soarin and as far as he knew I was only with Sunny.

Of course Sunny talked about Silent a decent amount when discussing work at home. Like the following evening, for instance. I was hoping Soarin wouldn’t say something foolish. This could get awkward or even hurt Sunny’s career.

Soarin laughed and offered a hoof. “I’m Soarin. Nice to meet you. Although I feel like I’ve heard your name before, other than from Azurite.”

“I’m not sure how that would be,” Silent Knight replied. He then waved it off, thankfully. “Of course I imagine most ponies know your name. You’re one hay of a flyer.”

Soarin shrugged. “I do my best. Are you stuck on duty all day?”

Silent Knight shook his head. “No actually. I worked the first half and hoofed over the second to my section sergeant. I’m actually here with my fiancée.” He motioned to a nearby caricature booth where a beautiful unicorn mare was seated having her likeness drawn.

She had a white coat that seemed to have just a hint of cream in it and a luxurious blonde mane. It was the sort that the nicer ladies in Canterlot had. There was also a little rebellious pink streak through it that set her apart.

“Oh, wow, she’s pretty!” I said, staring a little too long. Soarin’s hoof teasingly came around me and tugged me back.

“Easy tiger. She’s spoken for.”

I laughed, he laughed, and Silent Knight just looked confused. “Thank you,” he said but there was a bit of a questioning inflection to it.

“We’ll let you be,” Soarin said with a smile. “Have a good afternoon.”

“Bye!” I added.

Silent Knight nodded and replied as we headed off, “You do the same. Have fun.”

Author's Note:

Azurite is back and off to a new start! The faire portion is loosely based off the MLP comic book.

This chapter starts during Secret's of a Royal Guard chapter: On Edge

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