• Member Since 3rd Jul, 2012
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

LoyalLiar


Co-founder of the Price of Loyalty universe.

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"Equestria's Guard: the Bravest and the Best. Do you have what it takes?"

So the advertisements say. When Rainbow Dash saves the life of Princess Luna, however, she quickly comes to learn that there's a lot more to the guard than what everypony knows. As she faces down threats to her friends, her Princesses, and her country, Rainbow will have to decide exactly who she is loyal to.

A Price of Loyalty story.

Chapters (19)
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Comments ( 635 )

The word count for two chapters pleases me. I shall add this to my "Read later" list.

A rather unique storyline to start with. You've caught my interest.:rainbowderp: And I too am a fan of these longer chapters. I'm looking forward to more!!

861665
Have to agree with this, it totally seemed like a Rainbow Dash story, and the shipping tag is quite curious, I was thinking it was a Rainbow Dash/ Luna one. Wonderful story so far though.

I am sensing a secret between Rainbow and the Commander... And thats one crazy age for Princess C. 80,000 yrs old. But all the more wisdom.

I hope you know this is a really cool story. :rainbowdetermined2:

A really epic story....I can't wait for more. I hope Luna get's better soon!

I loved Soldier On's comment about revolutions, being from Stalliongrad and all. And political machinations in the works from in and outside Equestria...this doesn't bode well. And Rainbow Dash, Luna's bodyguard? Does she get the gold armor or the cool dark one we saw on "Luna Eclipsed"?

So awesome!! Can't wait for more.

894432
She should totally get the awesome black armor. Too many guards with the gold stuff as it is.

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I'm thinking the Commander knows (or knew) RD's father. Obviously Dash has some personal reasons for not wanting to be a part of the guard, and my instincts are telling me it has to do with her father.

894756

Haha, I was thinking more extreme. That the Commander is her father. Maybe I read it wrong, but wasnt the Commander kept hostage when RD and Twi entered Castle? Therefore how could she had known about his limp? But I guess in the end, we agree there is a connection!

Really a great story, I am wondering about this romance tag though... Keep up the awesome work! :pinkiehappy:

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When RD first saw the imposter Commander, he affected the limp that the real Commander would have had. If he hadn't bothered limping in front of Princess Celestia, she surely would have noticed that something was wrong.

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And Luna too. She's just as old. It makes sense. In the show it said she and Luna rose up against Discord but the show never gave a year but it suggests it was before Nightmare Moon came on the scene.

Masquerade is fucked for trying to kill Luna. Heaven have mercy for Celestia or Luna will have none.

"I know something about revolutions, Your Majesty. You walk on thin ice."

Horseshit! Absolute, feathering horseshit. Equestria wouldn't be going to war for Luna, they'd be going to war for Celestia and their desire to continue living! And if this Soldier On (who seems unaccountably brave considering what Celestia could do to her, perhaps because the princess was slightly burnt-out at the time) thinks that Equestra would start a revolution against Celestia (easily the stupidest idea in the world; she controls the SUN. You cannot win a war against a being who can beat you by just doing nothing. She could just not raise the sun one morning, and what would they do about it? KILL her?), she's quite mistaken. I mean, the both of them are going on about how Equestria is in a precarious position with the Griffon and Elk kingdoms, and now this featherbrain is suggesting that Equestria would revolt? Yeah, no, that would be retarded. First of all they would lose, and secondly they would get overrun by a rival kingdom in the process.

"If we show weakness we could well be attacked at any time by a rivaling nation!"

"I have an idea, let's show absolute weakness and idiocy by revolting against our monarch, who coincidentally is the pony that controls our ability to continue existing because if she wanted to she could stop the sun from rising ever again!"

"Your idea sounds like something that would make every living creature on the planet want to bathe in our blood, considering most all of them require sunlight in order to survive. Let's do it!"

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I completely agree with you. It is, as you so eloquently put it, horseshit for Soldier On to make this comment. I in no way intended for it to represent actual, factual exposition. If Celestia asked, I'm sure 99% of Equestria would throw down their lives for her.

To speak in an entirely 'meta' sense, I suppose I'll say this: I wrote this passage (between Celestia, Shining Armor, and Soldier On) for several reasons. One such reason was to introduce readers to Soldier On, as a member of the Honor Guard. She (and by extension, the rest of the group) are very different from Shining Armor and the Royal Guard that we see all over the place. At the risk of giving really obvious hints toward the future plot, I'll ask this question: What do you think the Honor Guard ponies (tasked solely with protecting Celestia) actually think of Luna?

You've pointed out, in your post, basically all of the points I wanted to make about Soldier On: she's brave (possibly to an almost suicidal extent), she doesn't unilaterally respect authority even when it comes from a near-goddess. Her suggestion of revolt is insane, and unrealistic; it doesn't tell us about Equestria - it tells us about her. (It was also, just a little bit, a commentary on the differences between Canterlot and Stalliongrad, but that's neither here nor there).

Some of this is meant to be foreshadowing for Rainbow's later interactions with the character, and I've probably already made a couple of points really obvious that I shouldn't have.

Basically, I just wanted to say that you're reading exactly what's going on perfectly, including the subtext, and possibly just misinterpreting why.

In any case, thanks a ton for reading, and all the comments. That goes to everyone else as well. Chapter Four will be up soon. Hope you enjoy.

-Loyal Liar

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Ah. I do believe I see what you're getting at with the Honor Guard's feelings in relation to Luna. That actually makes perfect sense, when you think about it...

You've given me much food for thought, and I may well reread this chapter (for the third time, now) with a new mindset, to see if anything else stands out.

Also glad to hear that chapter four will be coming out soon, I honestly cannot wait!

You really weren't kidding when you said it would be out soon! And it's a long chapter, as well!

We're going to get along just fine, you and I. :pinkiehappy:

And now I say whoah what the fuck. Okay, I have so many questions I literally do not know where to begin.

First off, I guess, would be asking about Sarge. Who is a dick, by the way. All things considered, what possessed Celestia to ask this guy to train Dash? First off, she knows how to fight--you mention she learned to fight from Gilda, and simply put a Griffon will almost always be a better fighter one-on-one than a pony will. Carnivorous creatures are just better combatants, there's really no getting around that. That whole thing about not using wings in combat because she's not a griffon is absolute horseshit--a pegasus' wings would be their most versatile weapon, simply because they have such a great range of motion in comparison with their legs. They're also very clearly made of some seriously stern stuff--only once in canon has RD ever broken a wing, and it wasn't when she slammed head-first into a barn at Mach 1. That says something, dammit! Fanon RD's wings might be made of paper, but in canon they might as well be made of steel for all the breaking they do. He also very clearly wants RD to get killed, considering the armor he gave her. Maybe from his perspective he's trying to train her to not use her wings in battle (the idiot), but he's also handicapping her greatest physical asset.

I guess my biggest gripe is over Celestia, really. I mean, what's up with this crap? She practically begs RD to help protect Luna, and then she proceeds to feed her to the surliest son of a bitch in the entirety of Equestria for what can only be called "getting RD killed horribly" training. And even beyond Sargent Dickweed's treatment of RD, I simply cannot believe that she would condone the kind of behavior witnessed in that bar. Considering the utopia she so desires to foster for her little ponies, you'd think she'd start by making sure her enforcers aren't worthless drunken slobs in their off-hours.

Will we ever meet a member of the Guard (besides Shining Armor, the Night Guard(s) and possibly the real Commander) that isn't a Seventh-Degree Dickbelt?

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First off, dear everyone else: don't think I'm ignoring you here. I just have such wonderful discussions with Satoshi, but I do read and appreciate every comment. Maybe in the future I'll be responding to others as well. Just catch my interest, as it were. Or critique me - I love nothing better than a spirited debate about the merits of my 'literature' (a term I use with the loosest of humor).

Your reaction to Sarge was understandable - at least in this chapter, I wanted him to come across like a really mean Drill Sergeant. I watched the opening scene to Full Metal Jacket several times to get some of his workings right. He is a colossal dick, but that's pretty much the point. That's the price Celestia is willing to pay (his assholish-ness, not his wanton disregard for Rainbow's health) if it means getting her trained up in a single day to serve on the Honor Guard. Again, I have to play this card (for which I am sorry), but the reason behind his dickishness is yet to be revealed. He was chosen because he (used to) get results, and he's on the Honor Guard. I'll say no more on that topic.

As for wings, you're pretty much welcome to your interpretation, and your evidence is wholly valid. My counterargument would be this: in canon, wings don't get hurt because they're flexible. Real wings are marked by hollow bones, whose lightness allows both the flight of the [birds] they are attached to, and also flexible, fluid flapping. All the times that Rainbow doesn't break her wings in canon, I would say come from the fact that she isn't directly striking them against a solid object. Her body is 'taking the hits' when she collides with the barn (or the bookshelves of the library, or the wall of clouds in the cloudosseum, or anything else you care to name). She isn't deliberately and directly striking her wings against something hard, hoping to break it. To make an easy human analogy, it's the difference between falling backwards, where you hit your head on the ground, and charging headfirst into a brick wall. The first case will hurt, but you usually aren't going to shatter your skull (and again, thankfully, the human skull is much less flexible than a pegasus wing). The second, though...

Wings may be a Pegasus' ultimate weapon, but they are also his/her ultimate weak point. What happens if a Pegasus does end up fighting a Dragon, or a Griffon, let alone a Unicorn or an Elk or one of the other magic using races who can just reach out and snap the bones, given a little magical strength and a good aim? You're left with a crippled, weaker version of an Earth Pony. It's not to say that their wings shouldn't, or aren't, used in (ugh) 'hoof-to-hoof' combat, but rather that the Sergeant was trying to teach Rainbow not to rely on them so much, and to make them so vulnerable. Was it his intention to see her killed? You're welcome to decide for yourself what you think of him. It was certainly his intention to see her wounded; you might well be able to guess, but I certainly won't say why.

Now we come back to Celestia, and at this point I feel I should just bring something up to clarify some issues. I'm certainly not writing a 'tyrant Celestia' fic, in the conventional sense. She isn't evil here - far from it - but I'm not interpreting her fully as the nearly morally perfect (sans her pranking) character that the show shows off. She is in some sense a god, but in far greater light, a political ruler. She has a lot of liberties that real-world politicians don't, but her position also gives her unique challenges. This is somewhat addressed in Chapter 5, and more so in Chapter 6 (assuming things pan out the way I anticipate). Suffice it to say that while she is 'deific', she isn't unchallenged, nor is she above a minor (or even major) wrong that weighs on her own conscience if it means the greater good for her subjects.

That wasn't meant to explain away the behaviour of the colts in the bar, but rather to give some insight into the way I portray some of her actions which you've called into question. In some sense, they were just drunk and looking for a good time (with the waitresses who were... eh, you get the picture). Phalanx's behaviour would certainly get him kicked off the guard arrested - if I felt like it, I could probably write a whole story about this shady ex-guardspony, and his quest for redemption. I don't really feel like it, though, since he mostly was just a convenient plot piece to introduce Third Brother. Yes, he's a terrible guardspony, and yes, he doesn't deserve to be on the guard, and no, Celestia wouldn't approve of him.

The Private's Reserve as a whole was based on a Scottish military bar my uncle told me about, a while ago. I don't know the real place's name, but I do remember what he told me about its contents. It was just sort of assumed that there was going to be a brawl, every night. People went there to get in fights. For fun! You didn't use broken bottles (so, as noted, Phalanx would have broken the rules), and you had to pay for any furniture you broke (prices were even posted on the wall). As long as you showed up to work/at your post the next day, and you weren't too beaten up or hung over, nobody cared. Because it was specifically designed to get that sort of thing out of the way, where it was 'safe', and more importantly, off the streets. Sure, that sort of place doesn't seem to fit into the canon 'utopian society' of Equestria, but then again, neither does an assassination plot, or even a real (non-decorative) standing military.

We will absolutely be meeting pleasant guardsponies. In fact, I might go so far as to say that you'll see one by the end of the first hundred words of the next chapter. (And no, I'm not adding these convenient answers to appease you, as much as it might seem contrary. Our next major Honor Guard was chosen specifically as a 'counterbalance' to Thunder Crack's detestable personality). I might go so far as to add that I would personally include Soldier On in your list of guardsponies who aren't Seventh-Degree Dickbelts, though as always, your interpretations of characters are what the story is for, so I won't try to force my intentions upon you.

TL;DR:
Celestia puts up with Sarge being a dick because he gets results, also there's a reason for it.
Wings are flexible, so they don't get hurt in crashes. Still easy to break if you smash them directly against something hard. Good weapons, but also weak points, so Rainbow shouldn't rely on them so much. Didn't want to include an enormous paragraph of exposition on Pegasus anatomy; figured it'd be boring with all the other exposition in this chapter (see: the illusions lecture).
Yeah, Phalanx is a terrible pony, and should get kicked off the guard. General bad behavior is excused largely because it's in a tavern where those things are explicitly allowed and expected - what happens at the Private's Reserve stays at the Private's Reserve. Outside that one building, you don't act like a (legally acceptable) drunken slob, or you get kicked off the guard and probably arrested.
Nicer guardsponies to come, but then again, in a really peaceful, pleasant society like Equestria, what kind of ponies do you really expect in the standing military? Some of them are nice (as kindly listed above), but many are in it because they want power, or they like fighting.

I just write here to explain myself; thank you very much for your reading, and also for taking the time to offer criticism.

-Loyal Liar

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... Yeah, okay, that answers pretty much all my questions and gives me quite a bit to chew on in the meantime.

If you're going with the idea that their wings are somewhat fragile, I have to wonder why they wouldn't just wear some light armor over them. Not something that completely encases the wing, but more like a 'U' shape that slides over the main bones. Not a solid piece, of course, but maybe something segmented and with perhaps some kind of elastic to allow for the full range of motion. With our means of production something like that would have no real strength at all, but we're talking about a world where magic can come into play. Perhaps completely separate bits of wing armor, fortified and locked in place with a spell, and maybe enchanted to be lightweight...? In something like that RD might not be able to split the sound barrier down the center at a moment's notice, but at least she wouldn't have to struggle out of an entire suit of armor just to get off the ground. All that talk about "sealing" spells from earlier is making my head spin with the possibilities.

But then, that's not a question or a concern involving the story, but just me brainstorming potential solutions.

And I thank you for your rather in-depth reply, by the way. Few things are more enjoyable to an avid reader than getting a glimpse into the author's mindset. :twilightsmile:

Yes. An update. I was totally psyched when I got the email saying your story updated. Can't wait for the next update. I also read your comment explaining your reasoning for some of your plot points and inspiration for the bar scene. If it's not too much trouble, I wouldn't mind seeing more your annotations in future chapters as well.

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If this is something people are interested in, I might just throw one of these annotations down here after every chapter, just for the fun of it. There are a lot of little points I would like to make, but that it's hard to bring up in-conversation without the dialogue getting really stilted, and overblown with exposition. At the moment, Satoshi has covered most of the ones I had for this chapter, but in the future, ask away, and I'll be glad to let you into the Discordian labyrinth which is my thoughts on this story (and Canon, for that matter).

Just for the heck of rewarding your reading, and your request, though, I'll tag on another little bonus thought that I didn't really have much reason to discuss otherwise:

If EqD's reporting is true (and given previous season suspicions, I'm inclined to trust them), I might very well end up in a funny spot in a few weeks when we finally find out how Cadance and Shining Armor are related to the Crystal Pony thing in Season 3. 'Why are they still in Canterlot if... X plot point?' I've been pondering this ever since that song got release at Comic-Con, and the answer I've come up with is 'I don't care'. I don't know if I've actually explicitly stated this yet, but Where Loyalties Lie is set three years after the pilot. I figure at some point, I can come up with an excuse for why the two of them are still around.

On the subject of time, I've been using human ages for the ponies for a couple of reasons. It's convenient, it's relatable, and most importantly, it allows me to very easily set a timeline for the Dragon Wars that everypony keeps bringing up off-hoofedly, but will of course be more important moving forward. As for Celestia's near-geologic time-scale age which was commented on above, I'll simply say that I have my reasons, but I can't tell you yet. Look forward to it.

One last thought for the night: if you don't write fanfiction yourself, you might not recognize the work that it takes to make some of the ridiculous horse puns work. I love using Stalliongrad as an example city primarily because I think it is the single cleanest and genuinely funniest such pun anybody has come up with. In contrast, every time I see or hear 'Las Pegasus', it makes me cringe. I was pretty proud of 'the Private's Reserve', but that's because my military vocabulary is a lot bigger than my horse vocabulary (which I have quite literally only from MLP).

Delays for new chapters should be much shorter than the huge one between Chapters 3 and 4 (which is no longer indicated by the date numbers on each chapter, as I didn't realize in-browser edits updated them). I was transferring colleges, and a lot of paperwork and headache took up my time.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy.

-Loyal Liar

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Backround info on the story that would only be boring exposition would be interesting to read more of, but I do hope it would never reach the point of becoming required reading. Explanation for why some things happened where the clues to it might have been overlooked by readers in the earlier parts of the chapters, or anecdotes about where you came up with some of the ideas, after they happen in the story, would be interesting, but blatant foreshadowing or plot point sumation I would hope you avoid. :twilightsmile:

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If my out-of-story comments become necessary to understand or appreciate the plot, I would consider myself to have failed as a writer. If you think I'm slipping, go ahead and let me know. Otherwise, thanks for your concern, for reading, and for commenting.

-Loyal Liar

Thoughts on this chapter:

I don't speak, or read, Russian. As such, I promise you won't be seeing huge walls of (Cyrillic?) text showing up in the story; I just thought it would make a fun touch to add a little depth to things.

Magnus, (whom SatoshiKyu was clever enough to title the God-Chicken of the Wind) was my answer to a couple of recurring questions about the setting. The first one was where the wind comes from (since we never saw any GIANT fans in the Cloudsdale weather factory), and the second was if other sentient species had equivalent 'deities' to Celestia and Luna.

Sforzando Eccessivo is, of course, named after a musical reference. However, if you ignore the joke about him talking loud all the time, the name translates to "Excessive Force" (or more literally, Excessive Forcing), which I thought was a fun little double-joke.

Also, huge insipration for Steel (the Commander's) dialogue came from the song Monument by Markarian,which I listened to on loop for at least 2 hours while contemplating how the Commander would actually feel about talking to Masquerade.

If you've got questions, let 'em rip. Thanks for the interest.

-Loyal Liar

1193608

I come here to make a comment about MAGNUS, GOD-CHICKEN OF THE WIND, and I find you've already done it for me. :pinkiecrazy: This both pleases and amuses me.

1193608 Excellent chapter! However, I speak a fair bit of Russian and it's spelt 'Tsar'. Not 'Czar' because the cyrillic Ц is the sound 'ts' in Russian. Not 'cz'. Sorry to be pedantic :twilightsmile: Looking forward to the next chapter anyhow!

1194632
Misspelling of foreign noble titles? Where? I don't see anything? (Wishes there was a scrunchy-faced lying Applejack emote)
In all honesty, thanks for the correction.

If you kill my beloved Luna. I'll stop reading this. ::twilightangry2:

So, confession: I first hopped into this story thinking it looked like a rare LunaDash shipfic (and one that was actually substantial). 49000 words later I don't have the slightest clue (yet) what the romance tag is there for (still hoping eventual LunaDash just for giggles and hoping against PinkieDash cause I'm apparently the one person who doesn't like pinkie).

Either way, you've got a good story going here with strong writing and characterizations and I look forward to seeing more when you get around to it.

1208204

Wow, I almost totally forgot about that shipping tag; I do promise that is coming, it just takes it time. I know its weird to see up there, but the site does state that you should put all of the tags up to begin with, even if they don't show up right away. I definitely did ponder the question of whether 100,000 words (this is a very rough guess; don't quote me) was worth delaying the tag, but ultimately I went with FiMfiction's directions. Sorry if anybody was really looking forward to a lot of early romance; we gotta earn that with violence and political intrigue first. Hope you enjoyed what you got instead. Be patient, and it will come.

Now I'm wondering if I can tell you all what shipping exists without spoiling the further plot... hmmm...

Rainbow Dash is one of the characters in a pairing. Is there only one pairing? Will Luna survive to be in it? Only time will tell. :trollestia:

(I am slowly learning to use these emotes without hating myself.)

-Loyal Liar.

1209944

Frankly I'm thrilled your not rushing into it. Nothing drives me crazier then reading a fic where two characters with no relationship are playing tonsil hockey in 5000 words or less guaranteed or the pizza's free. So please do take your time, I was just surprised the buildup was as long as it is. Normally ship fics start a bit earlier. Either way I'll be along for the ride.

(The emoticons need more Luna and Vinyl Scratch options in my highly biased opinion)

Empty inside? What is Celestia. Souless?

1234115

Not totally sure I follow you here; I've only used 'empty' to describe Celestia's appearance in Chapter 3, and that was much more in the context of desperation than emotionlessness; anyway, I felt like this chapter was a very emotive one for the solar princess. She might not have been screaming or crying or threatening war (again, see Chapter 3), but the way I wrote her was much closer to a canonical interpretation; that being that, after even in a time of stress, she is very calm and collected, and she keeps her emotions on the inside. You can see the difference in the way she talks to Asclepius and the way she talks to Philomena.

In short, I'm wondering what you're referring to, specifically.

Unless, of course, you mean to ask whether Celestia literally possesses a 'mortal soul', in which case I'm going to have to tell you to wait; it might come up.:trollestia:

Something else I thought of, but haven't thought to mention before: an Asclepius is the correct name for the medical winged rod symbol, even though most of the time people refer to it as the Rod of Caduceus (forgive my spelling).

In this story, Celestia uses something called Masks. I'm not entirely sure that means. Example: Celestia put on her oldest and most trusted mask. Her face turned back from the window and the sun with serenity and apathy.


That's what i was refering too with my question.

1236053
Oh, okay, I see. A mask isn't really a literal thing; it's just my way of metaphorically saying that she's keeping a very specific straight face. That is to say, 9/10 times that we see her on the show, she has the same facial expression: smiling 'a little bit', and acting somewhat light-hearted, but also very regal, and you can tell that she's taking things more seriously than she necessarily lets on.

I didn't want to type three or four sentences about how she was holding her mouth 'just so' and she maintained her eyes so they 'looked happy', even though everything was falling apart. Instead, I thought a 'mask' would be a good way to convey the idea that she's consciously and deliberately making herself look a specific way, so that everypony around her won't be worried, even though inside she's freaking out and everything is going wrong. That is to say, she's thinking back to her thousands of years of experience dealing with ponies, and choosing to act and appear the way she thinks that they should view her, even though that appearance isn't the truth.

In short, it's not about her not having emotions; its about her hiding them and misrepresenting them because she knows that if she starts showing tons of emotion and breaking down in front of the average pony, that's going to ripple through Equestria and things will be a lot worse off than they already are. At the same time, though, it shows us that Celestia isn't as perfect or as detached as she lets on, and it gives us a way to relate to her, even though she has thousands of years of life experiences (at least, that was my intent; you be the judge of whether or not she earns sympathy).

Thanks for clarifying. I'll definitely try to make that more clear in future chapters.

-Loyal Liar

Ok thanks, man. That clears things up a lot.

Dear readers: I warn you first and foremost that the translation of The Commander's full name provided in this chapter is deliberately mediocre. Why? Well, you'll have to wait to find out. I will tell you that in character, he speaks mediocre Stalliongradi, since that isn't a very big deal.

"Oh no!" I can hear someone screaming. "He's introduced an Alicorn OC, into a story filled with OC's! Now everything is going to be terrible!" Actually, I really don't expect to hear this at all, as I believe readers are generally canny enough to see how dumb that sounds. Anyway, this is a large part of why I went out of the way to mention that he's a sub-par wizard and a bad flier (the other part is because those lacking skills might come up later, I haven't decided).

If you're having trouble viewing the letter and the report in this chapter, change your font and color style from dark to light in the top menu; I like reading in dark, but I thought those quote-boxes really added a nice new element to the presentation. Let me know what you think about them. If people think they're nice, I'll go back and edit them into the previous chapters.

And on the topic of 'what you think', now that we're starting to learn more about the enigmatic stallion known as The Commander, if you feel like it, let me hear what your conspiracy theories for this pony are. It's fun, and also helpful for me to see what people are thinking, but its hard for me to get that mindset myself since I do already know his secret(s?).

Thanks for reading!

-Loyal Liar

1243353

This is a very odd feeling, you know. Seeing that a new chapter has been posted for an awesome story, and getting excited... only to not immediately tear into it like a present on Christmas Day. I just know that if I go read it again I'll notice all the insightful little tidbits I should have been giving you while pre-reading. :ajbemused: And I'll smack myself and go "Sato, you are an idiot," and then I'll be all depressed because I'm an idiot. :ajsleepy:

Hey you readers. Hey. Hey guess what. The Commander... is totally Scootaloo. I'm not even shitting you, here. He didn't want me to tell you, but I just couldn't keep it to myself! Don't let him know I told you, though, or I won't get to be a pre-reader anymore. :pinkiehappy:

Finally got around to reading this.

:'( And it's only the second chapter? Daaaamn.

Its paw swiped again, wide and strong, but to slow to ever catch the racer.

Its roar of pain was deafening, and the breath that accompanied it brew back Rainbow's mane like a hurricane.

She didn't a mirror to know exactly how she looked.

Missing word.

Noticed these on my casual read through, they're not really a big deal, but I thought I'd let you know. Anyway, I lol'ed at your alicorn comment. Your OCs have been interesting so far, and your story more interesting still, so by this point I trust you to know what you're doing.

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You, sir/madam, are awesome. For everyone reading this, remember not to blame Satoshi for my imperfect editing; his pre-reading is content related, as I have a hard time asking anyone to dig through my 8-10 thousand word chapters with a fine-toothed comb, looking for spelling and grammar errors. I nearly strangle myself when I do it, and as you can see from the above errors (which I promise were there, even though they aren't any more), that I do a less-than-perfect job.

-Loyal Liar

1245450

Is that a to/too argument I see there?

*violent twitch*

... I have failed you, my master. SEPPUKU!

1245599

Wait, you don't have a separate editor? :rainbowhuh: I was only giving the mechanics a cursory glance, because I assumed you already had an editor. I could do both next time, if you wanted, though I'd have to find my editing comb. It's been ages since my last beta project, so it could be anywhere. It's sad, really; every 'new' author seems to come prepackaged with their own editor these days, so I never get to do any beta-ing anymore.

EDIT: Of course, that would mean my return emails would be even longer. :pinkiehappy:

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You didn't believe my horribly blatant lie? :fluttercry: That hurt my feelings; now we're both in the wrong.

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Where Loyalties Lie: A Horrible Alternate Universe

The Commander flew down on aged but powerful wings. The Changelings were closing in on his long-lost daughter, and he wasn't about to let them suck her dry. His fists move liked lighting - it was very frightening - as he spun in a perfect 720-degree spinning buck. The result was destruction all around. The chitinous beasts were left splayed out, gasping in their horrible mockery of the Equestrian tongue for help. The soldier had no intention of showing them mercy. With a swift stomp, he snapped two of their necks, and it was only a Bat-mane like leap that took him to across the open space to finish the third.
"That was... awesome." :rainbowderp: Rainbow Dash, the coolest pony in Equestria said, in awe, as she made <- that exact face.
"Well, I guess it was awesome," the Commander answered. "But it had a lot more radical in it than awesomeness, I think." His incredible demonstration of knowledge of the three branches of legit-ity was cut tragically short by a maniacal female laugh.
"You think you've defeated my army, Commander? You have yet to face true power. I defeated your Princess, and I will defeat you!"
"Not if I have anything to say about it!" The Commander lunged forward, thrusting out his hooves in a flurry of untraceable blows. Each time he struck her exposed chest, he let out a glorious burst of light, as five miniature sonic rainbooms tore through the air.
"No!" Queen Chrysalis gasped. "It can't be!"
"The five-point-hoof exploding heart technique." The Commander answered, in a voice that achieved the rare mixture of bad-assery and radicalness that could only be called 'Badical'. "Enjoy the rest of your life."
"No!" The Changeling Queen ran at him, jagged horn ready to impale his heart. The Stallion watched as she ran forward, though he made no move to stop her. Only a fraction of an inch away, her horn stopped short. She fell to the ground, stone dead.
"Are you alright?"
"Of course I'm fine, Rainbow Dash. But there's something I need to tell you."
"What more could there be to say? You're my long-lost father, who I haven't seen since I was a little filly."
"I haven't been as long-lost as you think, Rainbow. You see, I'm actually..."
His hooves moved slowly, taking the perfect amount of time to build suspense before removing his helmet. As the magic of his armor faded away, Rainbow Dash, the coolest pony in Equestria, was left speechless.
"Scootaloo!"

- - -

:scootangel: "So, Rainbow, what do you think of my story?"

:rainbowhuh:

- - -

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I hope you can see the harm your treachery has wrought, Satoshi. I would not have you commit seppuku. Such a death is too minor a price to pay. You must live, and endure the burden of this terrible world, even when I am gone. Do not think that I give my warnings lightly.

-Loyal Liar

I am so freaking tired, but I had to stay up to see you post it. :ajsleepy:

DASH KICKS LIGHTNING INTO EXISTENCE. :rainbowdetermined2:

So, I feel like Lucy right now, cause I imagine that I've probably got a lotta 'splainin to do. And (primarily because I am a mutant-Changeling who feeds off the suspense and curiosity of others) am probably going to just make the collective 'you' wait for another chapter to what you're looking for.

Things I do feel like talking about, in no particular order:

I'm not sure if I'm madly in love with the Julius Caesar reference, or just amused by it, but it fit so well.

Pegasi obviously have magic, and I figured an emotional, gut-response method of 'casting' would be an interesting counter-point to the academics of the Unicorns. It had to be weather-magic, naturally, but I had a rather fun time thinking of military applications. After all, even since the days of Commander Hurricane, and Hearth's Warming Eve, the Pegasi have been the soldiers of pony society.

Satoshi brought up something in pre-reading that I thought was worth mentioning: the fact that the Stable announces Celestia second-to-last isn't meant as a sign of dishonor; it was just sort of a protocol thing that also made the passage flow. It stems from the fact that she isn't technically a member of the Stable of Nobles, in somewhat the same sense that the Queen of England is not a member of Parliament. I don't know how well I got that across, but it isn't a very huge deal anyway. Just maintaining the sanctity of everyone's proverbial monocles.

Due to a large project, the next chapter may be two weeks or so in coming; we'll see. That's why I went out of my way to get this one up at least a little faster that usual. Hope that's fair warning.

As always, let me know what you think, and enjoy.

-Loyal Liar

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