• Published 12th Dec 2018
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The Mare in the Wardrobe - semillon



Pinkie Pie travels back in time to Griffonstone under King Grover's rule.

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The Mare in the Wardrobe

Grover stared stoically out at the inky blue of the silent sky. The wind blew heavy on this night, throwing snow at the castle and coating the roofs, the balconies, and him, soon enough, if he spent any more minutes outside. An omen from our ancestors, one of his councilmen had told him, regarding the snow. They flap their wings in approval of the first Griffon King.

He laughed joylessly to himself, alone in the blizzard. “What a load of--“

A noise came from the inside of his room: something heavy crashing against wood.

Grover spun around, stepping into it with his copper wings flared. His keen eyes surveyed the area, finding a broken wine glass coupled with a spot of spilled wine, a dagger out of its sheath laying on the ground, and a torn bed with half the feathers spilling out.

Nothing out of the ordinary, then. Perhaps he had simply heard something that wasn’t there?

A hard bump came from his wardrobe, like a skull against the wood.

Grover made for the dagger as silently as he could and crept towards the dresser. His muscles were tensed. His battle-sense told him to stay calm. Wait for movement. They’re in your home. Your room. They will not win here. You will not be a victim in your own nest.

He was in front of the dresser now.

He braced himself, and opened the dresser door. At his side, his claw and blade tensed, waiting for any sort of movement.

Nothing was inside.

Grover squinted. Was he getting to that age?

Ridiculous. He’d only lived through less than thirty winters.

“Hi!” a bubbly, squeaky voice greeted him from behind.

Grover spun around and stabbed wildly at where he guessed the assassin was, but managed to hit nothing. There was nothing behind him. He looked around the room, eyes wild.

Was he going mad?

The door to his room opened and two guards flew in, their spears at the ready.

“Grover?” one of them said as he searched the room. “You were screaming.”

“Was I?” Grover said, discretely throwing his weapon to the side. He waited a moment. The guards searched under his bedsheets, into his dresser, flew around the balcony to no avail. After the confirmation that there was indeed no one in his room, he groaned in mock annoyance and sat at his desk. “I must have been dreaming, or something of the sort. Begone, the both of you. Have some ale, while you’re at it. I’d like to be truly alone for a few moments. That’s an order.”

One of the guards made a noise in protest, but the other guard shushed him, and they left without another word. The door to his room closed shut, leaving him in the quiet.

His eyes were drawn to the piece of parchment that sat in front of him, stained with odd spots of ink and half scribbled over.

My brothers and sisters of the Griffon Kingdom. I stand before you today with the greatest of honor and humility. The

The bed creaked behind him. Grover stood, kicking his chair backwards and turning around to find--

A pony. Pink as a rosebud and looking at him with wide, curious eyes.

Grover laughed. “They sent a pony after me?”

The pony tilted her head. And then smiled. “Hi! I’m--”

He lunged forward and clawed at her neck, trying to slash a vein.

But she disappeared. His talon passed through nothing more than air.

“That was weird,” her voice came from behind. He turned to find the pony sitting on top of his desk.

His eyes scanned her body: no horn, no wings.

“Witch,” he seethed.

“Which what?” she responded.

Grover shot forward again, but the pony was faster. Her hoof met his beak, gently poking it before he could close his arms around her. She slipped behind him once again.

Grover turned back around -- the pony was sitting on his bed.

“That was fun!” she chirruped. “Griffon beaks are fun to boop.”

Her speed wasn’t possible. He had faced off against ponies before. They were never as fast as this. Not by half.

“What is your name?” Grover asked. It seemed important that he knew who it was that brought him his demise.

“Pinkie Pie!” the pony -- Pinkie, responded. “What’s yours? And where am I? You look familiar!”

Grover raised a brow. “I recognize that assassins sometimes don't care to know names of their targets, but surely you must have planned for this. A castle full of the greatest army known to the world, and you managed to sneak into the room that your peers could only dream of getting into.”

“Assassin?” Pinkie said, feeling the sensation of the word in her mouth and finding that it had a bad taste. She stuck her tongue out. “Am I in an Ogres and Oubliettes convention?”

Grover narrowed his eyes. “Do you really not know where you are?”

“That’s what I said the first time, silly!”

“Or who I am?”

“Yes?” Pinkie squeaked, smiling hopefully. “Do you know Gilda? Or Gallus, maybe? Grandpa Gruff?”

He didn’t. How odd... “You are acquainted with griffons, yet you do not recognize me?”

The pony shook her head before shooting a hoof out, making him flinch.

“I’m Pinkie Pie! Which I’ve said already, but it feels right to say it again. What’s your name, mister?”

Grover studied the pony’s expression, looking into her eyes for the kind of glint that shone in those of assassins and liars, and found nothing but genuine curiosity.

So maybe she truly was introducing herself. Maybe she truly didn’t know who he was. If this was a ruse of some kind, it didn’t make any sense. So, was she telling the truth, then?

He reached forward, hesitating for a moment before gently gripping her hoof. He half-expected her to disappear again, but she didn’t. She simply shook his claw and grinned.

“Will you answer a question?”

Pinkie thought for a moment, then nodded happily.

“If you really do speak the truth, how did you find yourself in my room?”

“That’s easy! I was in the castle -- another castle -- and then I poked a really pretty jewel and next thing I knew I was right here!”

Grover’s brows furrowed. “Artifact magic?”

She shrugged. “Dunno! There was a lot of purple and swirling and glowing and bright light, and it was like I blinked once and I was suddenly in a dresser! It was just like that time I threw an album release party for Vinyl Scratch and I think I accidentally drank one of Berry Punch’s drinks instead of mine.”

“You are a strange pony,” said Grover.

“I get that a lot.”

Quiet settled, and Grover took the opportunity to examine the mare in depth. Something was different about her demeanour. She was healthy and bright in every way possible; a youthful face, straight teeth, a decent amount of fat on her rump. It was like she had never been in battle, or fallen to starvation. The wingless, hornless ponies Grover had seen were always going through at least one or the other, if not both.

“So,” Pinkie said, leaning over, looking dangerously close to falling off of the bed but paying it no mind. “Are you gonna tell me your name now? Or should I give you one?”

“Grover,” he said, posturing regally. “The Uniter. Tonight, I will be crowned the first King of the Griffons, and this will be my home for the rest of my life.”

The mare’s coat and hair stood on end as she leaned further forward, eyes widening to their largest as she gasped like she hadn’t breathed air for years, and fell off the bed with a thud.

Grover quickly stepped backwards. Did she die? Was she poisoned?

But Pinkie Pie bounced up and was but inches away from him in a matter of seconds.

“You’re Grover?” she asked, an excitement to her voice that he couldn’t quite place. He was aware that he had garnered a sort of reputation amongst Equestrians, but he didn’t realize it was something even remotely positive.

“I am,” he answered hesitantly. He attempted to back up some more, but found himself up against his desk chair. “So you do know of me?”

“Know of you?” Pinkie repeated with a giggle. “Of course I do! But that could only mean that the crown sent me to--“

She stopped speaking and looked unsure for a second -- an expression that put a slight tinge fear into Grover, for the mare had been nothing but absurdly energetic for the entire time they had been talking.

His fear, something that seemed unreasonable at first, resurged and became justified when he saw that Pinkie was glowing.

“That’s weird,” she said.

“What is happening?” Grover questioned as he strafed to the side, giving himself enough room to back up against a wall. “Is this your doing?”

“I dunno!” Pinkie said, looking over her body. “But this is really pretty! Hopefully this doesn’t mean I’ve secretly been a firework my whole life. Or that I’m gonna explode. I probably won’t explode, though. That’d be too obvious, am I right?”

She looked at him with a smile, and for a second Grover felt as if he'd known her all his life, and that this was somehow completely normal.

Then he blinked, and the glowing mare was gone.

The door to his room opened. Grover turned towards it.

In stepped a griffon of grey, with black talons, a black lower half, and a pair of eyes and a beak of gold that shined against his dull colors.

Gabriel, one of his most trusted allies, walked to him with a concerned look and a brow raised. "Are you ready for your coronation?"

Grover looked around his room, searching for any signs of pink.

Nothing. He sighed.

"I am."


“So what’re we doing here, Gally?”

Gallus looked backwards at his second-favorite teacher, raising an eyebrow. “I thought I explained to you when I asked you to come and supervise me.”

“Yeah,” said Pinkie Pie, trotting in place as she looked around the room. “But I was also in the middle of a lesson on cupcakes and my mind was in two places. No, make that three! I was also thinking about how Gummy keeps finding his way into the cookie jar even though I’ve put 14 padlocks on it in the past month. No, wait, make that four! Rarity--“

“I can explain again, if you want,” Gallus interrupted her with a smile. When he first arrived at school, he initially thought that Pinkie would end up getting on his nerves, but quickly found that she never could. There was just something about her...he had patience for Pinkie that he didn’t have for anyone else.

The pony stopped instantly, sitting obediently like a dog, and gave him a salute.

“Okay, thank you,” he said, pausing to gesture towards the six displays that sat in a circle in the middle of the grandiose room of Twilight’s castle. “So, these are the ancient artifacts that Cozy Glow used to drain magic from all of Equestria, and they’re what probably signaled the Tree of Harmony to save us when we were being dragged into that magical vortex. You following?”

“Mmhmm!”

“Cool, so, something came to me while I was up late doing homework the other week.” He turned around and walked to the display in the middle -- a glass cube that encased the Crown of Grover, which was placed delicately on top of a purple cushion that lay on top of a marble pillar. His reflection was pristine against the cool glass as he stared at the crown through it. “All the textbooks and stories say that Grover used his crown’s magic to unite the griffon kingdom, but no one describes what kind of magic it was, or how he could use it but no other griffon king could. So I got to thinking: what if I learned how? Maybe it could have come in handy back when we were facing off against Cozy. We could have saved Equestria a whole six minutes faster!”

Pinkie tilted her head. “So this is one of those -- what’re they called...oh! Like one of Twilight’s scientificky research projects?”

Gallus blushed fiercely. His wings flared out as he tried to look intimidating, failing because of the flustered stutter that had entered his speech. “No. This is just, I...I could have looked cooler if I knew how to use the magic in the crown.”

Pinkie giggled back at the griffon before stopping abruptly. “Wait, but then why did you need me here? I can tell you a whole lot about parties, but I’m not sure I know too much about magic. Unless you’re talking about the magic of friendship!”

“Head Mare Twilight told me that I needed to find a professor to supervise me while I picked the crown up. She’s busy altering the spring curriculum right now but she wants us to tell her if we find something,” Gallus explained again, preening his feathers. “The thing’s been completely dormant for centuries anyway. Any part of Grover’s magic that used to be inside’s probably gone. But it’d be cool to make sure.”

“Okie-dokie!” Pinkie chirped. “So I’m babysitting you?”

“I’m not a kid!” Gallus sneered. “You’re just here to...to watch over me as a responsible adult.”

“So babysitting?”

He groaned.

“Hey! Babysitting’s great! Just ask Pumpkin and Pound! You might find it hard to understand them, though. Not everyone speaks their language. Because they’re babies.”

A snarky quip came to the griffon’s mind, but he said nothing, choosing to step closer to the Crown of Grover instead before putting a claw on the glass.

The display glowed with magical power, shining a pale purple as it hummed with power. Gallus found that the outline of his claw was glowing as well, making his fingers tingle as they read his bio-print.

Seconds passed.

Then his claw went through the glass like it was made of water.

“Whoah!” Pinkie marvelled behind him. He didn’t blame her. It looked really cool.

He reached forward and grabbed the crown with a claw, pulling it out of the glass and stepping back to sit beside the pony.

For a moment, they admired the crown in silence.

Its metal was still polished, and its purple jewel almost glowed like the magical display it was in just seconds ago. An aura of majesty radiated from it. It was almost as if they were in Grover’s presence himself.

“Wait,” Gallus mumbled, turning the crown over in his claws, bringing it closer to his eyes. “I’m pretty sure the jewel used to be red.”

“What,” asked Pinkie, leaning over his shoulder. “This one?”

She reached over and poked the jewel as she spoke, and then she wasn't there anymore.

She was there. She was just there. Then she wasn't.

Gallus stared wide-eyed at the place where Pinkie used to be. Turning from it to the entrance of the display room, and back, hoping to find that she was simply hiding, or playing a prank, and sinking into a dull despair when it was obvious she wasn't doing either.

"It-it technically wasn't my fault, Head Mare Twilight," he said, putting a claw over his face and imagining himself sitting at the princess's desk as she looked down at him with skeptical eyes. "I just took the crown out of its case, and Professor Pinkie disappeared into thin air when she touched it. There was no way I could've planned for that, right? So please don't give me any extra homework or put me in detention?"

"Why would I do that, Gally?"

Gallus's claw fell, and his eyes opened to find Pinkie Pie, sitting exactly where she was.

“H-How did you--” he balked. “You were...I didn’t know that earth ponies could do magic. Or are you just really good at hiding?”

Pinkie Pie shook her head. “We can’t! And I didn't hide! I think the crown just sent me back in time, though. It was super fun! I totally met King Grover! And he looked just like his statue! We should probably call Twilight. She might get all nervousy and twitchy and breathing-too-fast on us if we wait too long before telling her.”