• Published 18th Jun 2018
  • 361 Views, 11 Comments

Faint Glimmer - SoloBrony

The final sidestory to The Queen and I. Are you sure you want to read this?

  • ...

We're sure

Author's Note:

Well, this is it. The final part of The Queen and I. If you really want all of the mysteries uncovered at last, to understand the full story, here we go. It won't always be a fun ride.

Alright, alright... if you're absolutely sure. Let's see, then... it was around thirteen years ago, now, I think.

I was relaxing in my study, puffing on a pipe, reading over incident reports, and contemplating my own loneliness as I considered the next prank I might play on Celestia or my direct superiors. That was my state when I heard a sharp, urgent rap come at my door, along with a muffled voice. I groaned and irritably set my pipe down as I stood up.

Who in Equestria would be bothering me at this hour, in the middle of a rainstorm? Some officer must have screwed up again, I figured, and come running to old Talon for help. I began contemplating what my snarky reply would be if it was Shining Armor again as I made my way to the door. The insistent, panicked knocking continued as I grumbled and opened it.

And my breath hitched when I saw the grey-coated, blue-maned mare on the other side. Her black cloak, wild blue eyes, and terrified expression almost defied recognition. Almost.

"Jack? What's wrong?!"

Jacqueline mumbled something and pitched forward, and I only just barely caught her in my hooves. Countless emotions and thoughts ran through my mind – anger at her sudden departure two years ago, confusion at her sudden appearance, hope that this meant our friendship could pick up where it left off, fear at her apparent distress – but I shut and locked the door, and carried her into the study without question. As I laid her on the couch, her cloak slid open.

She had an arrow lodged in her barrel.

I leapt back in a panic, and flailed about for a second in confusion before dashing off to the bathroom. I came back fumbling medical supplies in my mouth and hooves. Jacqueline groaned in protest as I broke the arrowshaft and set about removing the arrowhead, and passed into exhausted sleep once I had bandaged her. My task finished, I sat back and let panic overtake me.

Who had shot her? Why? Was her cover compromised? Was mine? I considered trying to flee with her, but I realized she was in no state to move.

I deeply wished to let her rest, but I knew I needed answers, now. I hesitantly drew smelling salts from my supplies, and held them under her nose while gently nudging her cheek. On the third attempt, her eyes snapped open, unfocused and scared, and darted all around the room. She smacked my hoof away and tried to sit up, then groaned and clutched her barrel as she reclined back to the couch and scrunched her face together. She hissed out her words between heaving breaths.

"Where... am I?!"

I saw her horn light up as she wrenched her eyes open, but the aura guttered out as her eyes focused on my face. The fear on her face gave way to concern. She laid back into the couch a bit and took a few deep breaths before speaking again.

"Am—Talon... how long have I been out?"

I started at hearing her nearly say my real name. No one was around, but it was utterly unlike her to take such a risk.

"Only a few minutes."

She nodded quickly, and began trying to sit up again.

"He's after me, he's after me. We need to get... get out of here..."

She wobbled in her upright position, and slowly sank back to the couch. I scooted closer to her and cradled her head, and that's when I realized something that had only unconsciously occurred to me as I had operated on her.

She was nearly room-temperature. She barely gave off any heat.

"Talon... I think I've lost too much blood..."

She and I locked eyes. While I had been operating on her, waking her up, I had been on autopilot – doing what the situation required, like I was trained. It had all been too much to take in – her sudden appearance, her injury – but now I had to face the real weight of the situation. My friend was dying. I considered asking her what happened, or what she was afraid of, but I just stared at her.

What's the right thing to say when you won't ever see someone again?

She raised a hoof to my cheek and shook her head. I realized she was crying.

"Talon... Ammon... I'm sorry. I'm sorry I left..."

She trailed off, still trying to speak and rubbing my face. I clutched her hoof and shook my head.

"No, no, Jack, it's fine. I understood your reasons, okay? I was... I was angry, but I understood."

Jack sniffled and gently lowered her hoof. She relaxed into the couch and shuddered. When she spoke again, her voice was weak and distant.

"I trusted you. It was just her I didn't trust. I wanted to protect them—"

I squeezed her hoof.

"I know."

She sniffled and looked over at me again, though her eyes were wandering around, like she couldn't focus.

"They're gone... they're gone. Ammon, you're all that's left. Please live."

"W... what? What do you mean they're gone?"

Her jaw worked soundlessly a few times, and her eyes darted around the room like she saw the shadows moving. Her eyelids worked their way shut. I panicked, and threw my hooves around her, shaking her awake. I heard her take a deep breath, and mutter.

"I love you, Ammon."

I froze, caught between confusion and desperation. I barely managed to stammer out a reply.

"I... I love you too, Jack."

She smiled faintly, and sighed. I nudged her, but she didn't respond. I panicked, shaking her and calling her name, but it was too late. When I had exhausted my energy, I just held her, and my voice came out hoarse and wet.

"... Jack?"