• Member Since 14th Jul, 2012
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Nothing special here, move along, nothing to see, just ignore the lump under the sheet and the red stuff...


The Job of the Royal Equestrian Courier Service is simple. Whatever the Princess needs sent anywhere, they deliver. Whatever she needs brought back, they retrieve. But sometimes the delivery is the least important part of the trip.

The elderly unicorn Zircon was a courier in the Royal Equestrian Courier Service, a position normally dominated by pegasi. Because of his age and ground-bound nature, he tends to draw jobs that fall between the cracks. Now he has been tasked by the Princess herself to travel to his old hometown of Ponyville while being overseen by a young black unicorn mare who has invited herself along for the trip. But this time his job is turning out to be less the delivery of a package, but the way in which it is delivered.

Can be read as a standalone, or as a second chapter to To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ‘Two Unicorns’ is my first MLP fanfic, and was written before ‘To Sleep,’ with recent edits thanks to MaskedFerret and Nyerguds. The Nocturne saga continues from here with Genealogy (or The Mating Habits of nocturnes pegasi, and various other stories along that line.

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 53 )


Q: If Shining Armor shows up in Epilogue, where is Cadence?
A: In the Zeppelin Royal Observation Deck. Just look up and to your left. Make sure to wave.

Q: Well how in the buck did Shining know to ask Zircon about the stumps?
A: Zircon's Talent is to look like what other ponies are looking for. Shining needed something to get the cadets to work together, and Zircon had something to get the cadets to work together (if only as a sketchy plan at that point). And yes, it's an active talent, not passive, he has to be concentrating to make it work. (or he would be constantly blitzed by everypony, and have to live as a hermit)

Q: Do you expect everyone to get the banana joke?
A: What banana joke? No banana jokes here. Nope. Not a one.

Q: Why not add ______
A: Because it would take away the focus from the main thread of the story. Honestly, I threw away about half of the pages as I was writing because they didn't advance the plot.

Q: Shouldn't ______ have gotten a larger role in the story?
A: Yes, they deserve an entire story to themselves, where they can show off their talents to the maximum. Go write it.

I have to say - I truly enjoyed this not so little gem of a story.

It was fun piecing together all the little tidbits and how they interacted. A well thought out plot, and a feel not dissimilar to an episode.

Have a fav and a thumbs up! :twilightsmile:

"Some fiction of dubious quality" :rainbowlaugh: Was that directed at us fimfiction writers?
While you could have used a pre-reader for this, there weren't too many mistakes. The only problem is that the dialogue sounded awkward in places. Nothing too bad, though. So far, it's an excellent story.

This was a great story. I daaw-ed at some parts, I felt sad at others, and laughed hysterically at some. "I owe you one royal army." :rainbowlaugh:

Definitely worth the 2 hours it took to read. (I'm a slow reader) How long did it take to write?

Actually three days to write (during off-time), two days to edit, another day to get up the nerve to actually post it. And yes, I'm a *total* noob here, I really needed to beg for a pre-reader/bug catcher. Or fan-art. My artistic skills are only surpassed by my skill at quantum physics and clogdancing.

It's ok. I can't even draw a stick figure. If you need a pre-reader, I can help.

(Minor edits for some phrases and sentences that just didn't seem to flow right) Does that look better now?

Ok, tidied up some dialogue. For some reason, there are obvious errors that seem to lurk in the story, hiding as you read. Every once in a while one of them fails to hide as you read by, and screams in pain as it is fed into the chopping blades of the Delete key, but it still has several of its unholy spawn lurking in the shadows.

Feel free to point out any Dark Spawn of Writing in the comments. I'm learning. (Today I learned that you can edit a story that has already been submitted, to fix really dumb errors. Like that darned banana joke.)

Edit update: 10/24/12 to fix things that EqD doesn't like such as -- instead of em-dashes just in case I decide to submit it while their resistance is low.

I just saw this in my notifictations. At first I was like, "Wait, who is this?" but then I went "OH! That guy! I'ma go read that now." I get here and 12k words LOLnope, it's one am here. Opening that on my reader to read later.

933774 Tips I've seen are: Read it backwards, Sleep on it then change the color and read it again, Read it out loud (or have someone/a computer read it out loud to you). Might try those?

Bananan joke? I missed it! :flutterrage: Now that's going to bug me unless you explain it. :fluttershyouch:

(Corrected seasons and some minor dialogue that clashed with the Prequel)

DAWWWWW the letter's were cute, and this whole story was great, I don't understand though how everypony knew that she was Luna? Twi I understand for the reasons shown but not the others oh well

1083195 Have *you* ever tried to keep a secret in a small town? :twilightsmile:

I have to admit, I really enjoyed the nuances and characterization built into your dialog. Dialog is a pain, isn't it? You have an ungodly number of personalities flying around in your head, sometimes its hard to remember which one demonstrates which traits when talking. :twilightblush:

Thanks for the story! Have one of those thumb things people are so fond of these days.

Only Pinkie Pie could weaponise soda... No, correction: Only Pinkie Pie could weaponise soda without meaning to.

That tome on obscure magics... Luna is the one who last checked it out? Man! How much would a millennia's worth of overdue fines look like? It puts me in mind of a joke in the sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf about an astronaut leaving his bathroom light on before going on a 3-million year space voyage and the electricity company ending up owning the Earth!

I love this story because it does such a great job of portraying all the Mane 6. They are instantly recognisable and are totally in-character. You can actually hear the VAs delivering the lines and see the events in the show.

Harmony heals; it healed Luna :yay:

The point of the exercise? The mission matters, not the rules of engagement. The cadets were only able to pull up that last stump when they realised that this is what they were supposed to do, not see which pair was the strongest. Instead of standing like lemons waiting for someone to give orders, they took initiative which, in combat, can be the difference between life and death.

I loved all the kids' letters to Luna. I noticed the one from Diamond Tiara, of course! :pinkiehappy:

Huh. That was... sweet. Heartwarming. And not cheesy.
That sort of thing is rare. This fic deserves more attention.

Bad Horse told me to read this.
Initial reaction was "All-black OC dear god no", but I figured it out when she started using the royal "we".
A few forgivable technical errors, but the important thing is that you've got a convincing, engaging story. You'll go far, kid.

*grins* Very nice. a beautiful delicate piece of writing that while occassionally marred by small typos (I'll pm you) Nevertheless is truly lovely and what I seek most from ponyfic. *bows low*

Very adorable, I especially love the notes Zircon left XD

Two small typos I spotted

Agast should be aghast and "After waiting for a touch" sorta implies he waited til Celly touches him maybe try "after waiting a touch":pinkiehappy:

1162905 Fixed 'em. Someday I may do a complete top-to-bottom overhaul on the first chapter, far too many places that go *clunk*.

1163643 Well feel free t'give me a msg when you're wanting to as i'm happy t'help.

I sorta resent the implication that celestia and luna would never and could never have foals of their own.

Chap 1+2 have been updated with very nice edits by maskedferret. (Now with more Zebra in every page!) (*)

(*) Actual Zebra content may vary.

(also updated both chapters with EqD preferred punctuation.)

Excellent story and a great (pre) follow up to To Sleep, I especially loved how in character everyone felt. I do wonder how obvious Luna would have been to me if I hadn't read the prequel first. With the knowledge that it was her, the various clues stood out quite noticeably.

I really appreciate the idea that the existence of Shining Armor wasn't a complete surprise to Twilight's friends in the season two finale.

This deserves more attention than it´s gotten :pinkiesmile:

2185051 Thank you. I've considered a re-write, but would rather break new ground. Many of the themes, however, continue in Genealogy and an upcoming story still in outline form tentatively named "Diplomacy By Other Means".

Edit: Diplomacy by Other Means is now complete.

I'll get right to that then :twilightsmile:

I'm reminded of "Need" by Theodore Sturgeon, only told much more pleasantly... :raritywink:

I owe you one royal army.
...ROFBMGL!oh sweet luna it hurts!!

A nice little story.

The black mare looked away from the sun at their mismatched shadows in the grass. “We understand.”

Yeahhhh, I figured it was Luna at this point. Wasn't sure, but seemed likely.

Rule 34 states ‘Transformation of a thing is more difficult than destruction, or neutralization


“I wish we could tell you that everything would be perfect, that nothing bad would ever happen to you. That we would build you a perfect world, free from hate and evil and harm and hurt and Pinkie Pie. But we can’t. The best we can say is we will try to the utmost of our ability to save you from as much of the harsh world as we can, so you can enjoy all of the good parts. Like ice cream. And cake.”

I'm pretty sure rule 34 states that if something exists someone on the Internet will post porn about it

One of these days, you'll have to create a pair of timelines... one for all the sories in this universe, and the events that transpire, and one for the parallel Monsterverse. (I assume that this fic takes place within the Tutorverse, before Green Grass appears in Ponyville.)

Now this was a prime example for a short story... An easy-to-follow plot, subtle side plots and stuff to read between the lines, a generous dash of humor hitting you completely unaware... The part with the soda and the I.O.U.s were comedic gold.

This story is definitely worth the time and I can't wait to read more of this series.

Oh the feels are so good! I enjoyed it all.

“Sorry about that mister, I don’t have brakes yet.”

Kids never do :rainbowlaugh:

“I have never had, nor shall ever have children,” she said bluntly.

Well. Ouch. So, in The Travelling Tutor... with Cadance... :rainbowderp:

“That he met at the Gala and see if she could possibly—”

Rainbow Dash dropped like a rock and hovered inches in front of Zircon’s nose, bouncing Applejack off the road. “Join the Wonderbolts? No, I have to try out first. No I have to be invited first. He sent an invitation? Oh, they know I exist, this is like so cool!!”

“Bake him some more pies.”

Saw that one coming a mile away. He did go to Applejack's place, after all :rainbowlaugh:

“What?” Applejack’s eyes became as wide as saucers. “You’ve never tasted Zapapple Jam?”

Heh. Zircon, you sly bastard.

“I expect to be tied up there at a party later this afternoon.”

Ah, a package for Pinkie as well, huh? :rainbowlaugh:

“There are several rather involved flight scenes, and she just has not been able to... well... make them click. I understand your name came up during discussions, being the bearer of the Element of Loyalty that is, and If you would be willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement and provide a few paragraphs of guidance. Um.”

Oh, wow :raritystarry:

“Ahh, here we go young lady. Sugarcube Corner, and the most important delivery of the day. Or at least the most dangerous.”

Blaze’s brows narrowed as she deliberately removed the lollipop to gesture at the garishly decorated bakery. “The Pink One lives here, does she not?”

The Pink One. She comes! Zalgozalgozalgo :rainbowwild:

“And he had to make special reinforced bottles, after the usual ones proved far too fragile. I understand the company was shipping you a few sample bottles by mail when their volatility was discovered. Fortunately nopony was badly hurt, and the deliverymare should be back in the air in a few days.”

"And that's how I accidentally invented hoof grenades!" :pinkiecrazy:

“and several of the generals in the army have expressed interest in using your formula in warfare. Henceforth the reason why the Royal Courier Service has been put in charge of this delivery.” Zircon snapped his folder closed and glared at the pink pony. “In short, Miss Pie, you have managed to weaponize a soft drink.”

Pfff. Called it :rainbowlaugh:

“You’re all invited too, because you brought the brew! Oh wait, please stop. You brought the pop!” She stopped and sniffed. “Did you stop by Zecora’s house on the way into town? Oh I’m so happy!”

Zebra rhyme seems to linger, I see :rainbowlaugh:

Rule 34 states ‘Transformation of a thing is more difficult than destruction, or neutralization.’

I'm suuuure that's a totally coincidental number, eh Georg? :rainbowlaugh:

“It may not have been so much a matter of power, as ability. If you think of it as a metaphor, the dragon egg was a delicate life held within a construct too strong to break without damaging the life within. So too was Princess Luna held within the grasp of Nightmare Moon.”

Oooh. Brilliant comparison.

“What? Oh, I’m sorry, Miss Cheerilee. No, she’s supposed be released tomorrow. They think they have all the glass out of her wing, but they wanted to keep her one more day just to be sure.”

...if this ends with Pinkie being responsible for her eye damage I will hate you forever.

Well. Not that that's likely; Derpy appeared in MLP before the Gala episode.

“Then you see, you learnt from it.” (the faint echo of “learned” from the teacher was almost inaudible)

I'm fairly sure the difference between those two is practically inaudible as well :rainbowwild:

“And can I rent them from you? Just the way they are, still stuck in the ground. Five bits a piece maybe? For a week. I think I may know somepony with a use for them.”

What? :rainbowlaugh:

You're gonna make them miss planting season, you old coot!

“I met Miss Rarity outside, and she took it right off my head and ran away.”


Sitting on a support beam high overhead, the blue pegasus was trying to balance a heavy book, quill, and notes while mumbling. “That won’t work, she’s inverted three times already, she’d be upside down in the loop. How about...”

Hee! Nice to see she's taking her job seriously :pinkiehappy:

And Luna goes home. Well. That was really sweet. :twilightsmile:

Remarks and corrections... were such a huge list I decided to just PM it. It's quite clear this is one of your older fics, but it could still do with some basic TLC :raritywink:

“What, may I ask, is wonderful, My Princess?” asked the nobody in particular, who happened to be a light blue unicorn servant with a stack of paper for a cutie mark. (a theme that unfortunately ran rather strongly in the Royal Castle)

Hee. The original introduction of Papercut is "nobody in particular". That's rather fitting :rainbowlaugh:

“And after we finished looking at the stars, we went back to my room and we talked, and we cried, and we talked until late. And we fell asleep together like we haven’t done since we were foals, for heaven's sake.” She looked off into the distance, and took a bite of her roll. “It was marvelous. I’ve been back to check on her twice now, she’s just sleeping with her face stuck in my pillow. And smiling.”

All the d'awww :twilightsmile:

“Well, you didn’t order him to take it, did you? Then he must have— Oh. Yes.”

Looks like somepony's not used to having another one around yet :rainbowwild:

* I owe you One Royal Army, Signed — Courier Zircon *


Normally Cadets in the Royal Academy wore their training armor everywhere until the day of graduation (and subsequent bleaching)

Hehe. You haven't read "In Her Majesty's Royal Service" by any chance? :rainbowwild:

“Attention!” Drill Sergeant Chert bellowed, then paused until the recruits had all stopped. “Due to the unfamiliarity of most of you with this equipment, and the rocks in your head, we have a civilian auxiliary who will be supervising your use of the equipment to ensure safety.”

I can really only read this in the voice of the military guy in Conker's Bad Fur Day :rainbowlaugh:

“I’ll talk to you later, I better go talk to my sister before the last stump gets pulled or she’ll never forgive me.”

He's going to shame his recruits by making his little sister pull that thing out solo, isn't he? :rainbowlaugh:

The massive white unicorn gave a shout of frustration and darted forward to the red stallion flank-deep in the dirt. He attached his yoke to the chain, and then dug in beside his fellow cadet. A chestnut brown stallion followed, hooking himself up to the chain also, then another cadet, and another, until every cadet in the field was straining against their common foe

Ohhh. Spontaneous team building. Lessons on friendship and teamwork. Nice one! :twilightsmile:

“Not all the rules. Don’t you remember our visitor yesterday?”

Hah. So not even Spike was fooled.

Dear Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student,

Thank you for your letter, and please inform your brother that he should have my army back to Canterlot by tomorrow noon.

Princess Celestia

Heehee. Lovely. :twilightsmile:

So... does Dinky's portrait imply she went back to the foals in the evening, or was it just them all drawing their new favourite princess?

Remarks and corrections:
> the extracted stumps sat. There was a pause
Triple space between these sentences.
> And it’s placement?
"[its] placement" :pinkiegasp:
> Its not really the same
> I didn’t go to their school
Needs a period at the end.

5921571 And fixed. You could never tell this is my first publication here, could you? (In all honesty, it's had a *lot* of editing done to it since then, but I've never sat down and did a sentence by sentence pass for it.)

Well, as you might know by now, to me, just reading stuff is the same as "doing a sentence by sentence pass". It's become an automatic part of me :facehoof:

Huh, a mail and baggage car in the back? Oh well the world is run by ponies I suppose their railroads would work a tad differently

“Um. Excuse me sir. I was wondering, if you know. It would be very nice if you were… There is this… Um… You see… I sent…”

“Fluttershy!” came Rainbow Dash’s voice from the rafters over the town hall. “Just ask him whatever it is and go, I’m trying to read here while there’s still light!” Sitting on a support beam high overhead, the other pegasus was trying to balance a heavy book, quill, and notes while mumbling. “That won’t work, she’s inverted three times already, she’d be upside down in the loop. How about…”

“Oh, good. You did. Well, I should be go—”

Are you implying that Fluttershy is the author?

5923419 Yeah, once you've read a half-billion words or so, you start seeing every little glitch and error along the way; kind of like when you've driven a half-million miles or so, you start to develop a feel for every bump and divot in the pavement.

And what's funny about it is you will still make errors in your own writing, miss them completely, and have them pointed out to you in a moment of painfully epic-facehoofing-ness.

I speak from experience on all three counts...

There are so many things I love in this story, I can't even list them all!!

There was a snort as Blaze almost swallowed her lollipop, then levitated it so she could speak without the obstruction. “Oh yes, aged and revered one. Children were once long ago such innocent and sweet creatures who listened to their elders, never spoke back, and obeyed…” She trailed off, looking into the distance before shaking her head with a pained grimace. They walked in silence for a short while until Blaze suddenly asked, “Do you have any children?”

& that's another thing: When I was your age, I was older than you!

DAMN IT Pinkie don't be stupid and kill people jut so you can get drunk off soda, then again there's a reason i hate Karma Houdini's like her

Blaze sniffed. “What if you don't deserve to be forgiven? What if it was something too terrible to be forgiven? Sometimes just saying you are sorry is not enough.”

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't pick up on what was happening until I hit this point.

8962527 It's the sliding scale of realization. The reader at the beginning of the story should not know a certain fact, and at the end does, because as the story progresses, the fact becomes more and more obvious until... Lightbulb!

Diamond Tiara Buys a Little Sister is an early example of doing that with a family relationship, which got me practice to do the same (but better) with The One Who Got Away and Drifting Down the Lazy River.

It's embarrassing because I read To Sleep, Perchance to Dream first. I had all the facts but failed to put two and two together.

This realy put a smile on my face. Not sure how I missed it but thanks for wrighting it.

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