• Published 20th Apr 2019
  • 120 Views, 3 Comments

Shining Armor's War - Teal



Equestria was at war once more. After hundreds of years of peace, war has once more set its hooves on the country of harmony.

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Prologue

“Company…attenshun!”

Captain Shining Armor gazed at the neat rows of armor cladded ponies, inspecting them one by one as his eyes meticulously passed each pony. Stoic, responsive, and alert looking, the recruits gathered in front of him were an impressive sight. If only all recruits were as easy to train as them… Shining Armor thought. They were only a week into training, yet they snap into attention as if they had been in service of the Royal Guard for years.

Trotting down the line of recruits, Shining Armor was joined by Lieutenant Silver Shield, who proudly trotted beside him.

“Well-drilled aren’t they?” Silver Shield asked. “These fellows over here, they learn fast. You tell them to do one thing and next thing you know they’ve already mastered it. It’s as if they were born to be members of the Royal Guard.”

Grinning at the thought, Shining Armor gently nodded his head, knowing that it was partly true. Most of the recruits who joined the Royal Guard had some kind of talent that linked them to military life. Gifted with a cutie mark that represented some form of honor, duty, or courage, these ponies often find no better profession than the noble guard of Equestrian royalty. With talents that only seem to benefit and flourish in the Royal Guard, it was an obvious choice to these ponies on what career they should choose.

And to the ponies who were gathered here today, many could say that they made the right one. Watching them as they passed by, Shining Armor couldn’t help but remember the days where he and Silver Shield were in those recruit’s place, standing at attention as their commanding officer inspected them under the burning heat of the parade ground. To say that he wasn’t nervous during those times would mark him as a liar, because despite the fact his cutie mark told him that this was the place where he was supposed to be, the chances of making a mistake still lingered in his mind.

If you were a new recruit in the guard there was always this fear of failing, the feeling of disgracing not only yourself but those around you. Shining Armor had learned that as a recruit and knowing this, he always made sure that everything was up to shape and that if there was a mistake it should be small enough so that nopony would notice it.

Now, as he stood before these guards in training, he believed the same sense had been instilled within the new recruits. Like recruits before them and after them, they will undergo the same old tradition that the guard has brought for centuries.

“You did an excellent job training them, Silver Shield.” Shining Armor said.

“Why, it was no problem, sir. Like I said, it was mostly the recruit’s doing. I’m just here to teach, they’re here to perform.” Silver Shield said, gesturing towards the neatly lines ponies. “Give me recruits like these in the next batch and we’ll soon have the best generation of Royal Guards in Equestrian history.”

“Although that’s nice to here, I am sad to say that this will be the last batch of recruits for the year.”

“Last batch of recruits?” Silver Shield exclaimed in shock, staring at Shining Armor, who only nodded gravely. “But, the year is barely over. I think we’ll be able to raise three more companies before the year ends. Why stop now?”

“The usual problem, my friend, bureaucracy.” Shining Armor stated.

“Typical.” Silver Shield spat. “Well, can’t we just send an appeal to the Princess for the creation of another battalion to increase our ranks? Surely she can convince the nobles, right?”

Shining Armor shook his head in disappointment. “Come on, Silver Shield, you and I both know that Princess Celestia will never approve of our request for a third Royal Guard battalion. She may be the highest authority in the land, but she still needs the approval of those nobles in parliament for almost everything she does. And I doubt it that the nobles would agree to spending more of the budget on the Royal Guard. She already had enough trouble convincing the nobles to fund our second battalion, and that was when the treat of Nightmare Moon escaping her dungeon prison was at its height.”

“Damn nobles don’t even trust the Princess. She can’t even do anything, legislative wise, without the nobles complaining and whining.”

“That’s just how the politics works, Silver Shield. That’s why we signed up for the Royal Guard, to try and get away from all of that.” Shining Armor said sympathetically.

A part of a non-prominent yet noble family, Shining Armor, like many before him, would have been destined to play a part in politics, as it was common practice for Caterlot nobles to have a member of the family play politics. But barely able to stand the snub attitude of most nobles and knowing that his destiny wasn’t there, he immediately diverted from the path and joined the Royal Guard instead.

It was a good thing his family wasn’t like those snub nobles, for they were far more understand and considerate of his decision. They had supported him all the way, accepting the idea that he didn’t go into politics. Too bad he didn’t realize back then that politics was what hindered and kept a leash on the Royal Guard.

Silver Shield let out a chuckle as heard that. “Yeah, well too bad it’s starting to catch up on us. Who knew that there would be so much politics behind the Royal Guard?”

“Certainly not me when I joined the Guard. I only saw it all when I was promoted Captain of the Guard, where I finally saw the stocks of paper work that kept the Guard together.”

Reaching the edge of the line and glancing back at the formation of ponies, he gave them a satisfactory nod before returning his attention to Silver Shield.

“Everything is in excellent order.” He said, returning to the formality of the military. “You may now dismiss the company, Lieutenant.”

“Very well, sir.” Silver Shield said with a nod. Turning towards a nearby NCO, he gave him a stern look and gave the order. “Sergeant Major, you may now dismiss the men.”

“Yes, sir!” The ragged NCO said, giving a crisp salute before turning around to face the company.

“Company…dismissed!”

The recruits before them soon dispersed from their formation and made their way back towards their barracks, where Shining Armor was sure they would be ordered to clean their armor till it was reflecting like a mirror.

Gazing at the retreating recruits one last time before turning his attention to Silver Shield, Shining Armor patted him on the back as he gave him a broad smile.

“They may be the last batch for the year, but I’m going to make sure that they’ll be the best company the guard has ever laid eyes on.” Silver Shield said.

“Yeah, they’re not bad, and I’m sure you’ll be able to kick them to be the greatest.” He said, shaking his head, knowing that the low numbers within the Guard has always been a big problem in recent years.

“You know, the nobles are throwing us a ball later tonight.” Shining Armor told Silver Shield. “It’s in honor of the Royal Guards founding anniversary, all officers and a select number of Guards are invited. But I think it would be perfect to invite these young recruits as our guards for the castle tonight.”

“Good idea, sir. They’ll probably consider it an honor to be on guard duty for such a prestigious event.”

“Alright then, schedule them for guard duty tonight. They’ll be placed on guard duty, securing the premises, while A Company from the 1st Battalion will act as the honor guard.”

“Very well, sir. I’ll right down the orders immediately and have it distributed right now.” Silver Shield said, saluting Shining Armor, who quickly returned the gesture.

As he did an about face and began heading towards his office, Shining Armor could easily hear Silver Shield as he remarked:

“A ball for the guard, ha! They can’t afford to fund another battalion, but they sure can spend money for a party.”


“Announcing the presence of Her Royal Majesty Princess Celestia!” Called out the Guard posted at the ballroom’s grand entrance.

Bringing his attention towards the main entrance, Shining Armor looked up to catch a glance of Princess Celestia, ruler of the Kingdom of Equestria, as she entered the brightly lit room and greeted those before her. Adorned in a beautiful rose colored dress and moving elegantly with her colorful flowing mane, the Princess gave warm smiles and gentle nods to those who met her, as she made her way through the room, greeting Royal Guard members and political guess.

“Oh, isn’t Aunty Celestia so beautiful in that dress?” Cadence asked, smiling as she watched her aunt navigate her way through the room of adoring ponies.

Looking towards his wife and giving her a smile, Shining Armor nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, she is quite pretty in it.” He admitted, although he knew that it was an understatement for she was gorgeous in her plain rose colored dress.

Princess Celestia always looked magnificent, no matter where she goes. Being in the Royal Guard for nearly eight years and having escorted the Princess many times before, Shining Armor was always amazed at how pleasant Princess Celestia always looked, no matter how simple she presented herself.

Maybe it was because of her magic or maybe it was because she was just created beautiful, an answer to that, Shining Armor did not know. But what he did know was that Princess Celestia was the perfect embodiment of pure of grace and beauty. It was no question why so many ponies looked up to her and adore her.

“Even prettier than me?” Cadence asked, raising an eyebrow tilting her head as she stared at her husband.

“Well of course not.” He said, smiling as he began nuzzling her. “You’re the prettiest mare I know, toping all the other mares in Equestria.”

“Always the charmer, aren’t you.” She said, smiling at him.

“Hey, I’m just stating facts.”

“Oh, you…” She said, lightly tapping him as she giggled.

The two were still quietly fooling around when Princess Celestia trotted before them and greeted them with a genuine smile. In response, Shining Armor gave a firm salute, while Cadence replied with her own genuine greeting.

“It is always nice to see you, Captain Armor.” Celestia said pleasantly.

Despite the fact that they were now relatives, the two still acted in a formal and professional manner when in public, in hopes of avoiding any sign of favoritism and controversy. It was only when in private did they remove all formality and talked to each other as family and friends. Both he and the Princess didn’t mind and well understood this small barrier between them, knowing that it was formality that made the upper class ponies of Canterlot, a trade that they have gotten used to over the years.

“And you too, Princess.” Shining Armor replied, a smile still on his face.

“So, Captain, how are you enjoying the party so far?” Celestia inquired; looking at him with the same face he gave all her guess.

As for tradition, it was common for Princess Celestia to throw a ball for the Royal Guard, to honor her loyal soldiers. Throwing a ball in its founding anniversary, she invited all the Guard’s officers and some prominent members to enjoy all that she could offer them. From entertainment to food, it was all there.

But for Shining Armor, occasions like this seemed bland. Despite this being a celebration for the Royal Guard, the event seemed more like a time for ponies to mingle, as the invited political guess tried to further their influence by befriending high ranking officers of the Guard. All in all, the ball to him was nothing more than an event where he would munch on the food and mingle with fellow officers. But he didn’t let any of that negative thinking show, as he gave the Princess a warm smile, pretending that the party was the highlight of the year.

“It’s splendid as usual.” Shining Armor said, then, glancing towards the long table pilled with food, he gave an even bigger smile. “And the food is even better than before.”

“I am glad to hear that.” Celestia said, nodding contently. “I’ll be sure to inform Chef Olive that you are enjoying his dishes.”

The three soon went into a series of light talk, enjoying each other’s company as the Princess obviously devoted a significant amount of time to talk to them. Shining Armor smiled inwardly when he noticed this, for he knew all too well that her patience for nobles was, although tolerant, was not too long. With a room mixed with Royal Guard members and nobles from the parliament, it was clear that the Princess preferred to join company with the Guards than with the nobles.

Talking for a good few minutes, the three enjoyed each other’s presence when suddenly a fourth pony trotted by to join them.

“Good evening, your highness.” The pony, a cream colored unicorn, said bowing towards Celestia. Raising himself up, he then turned to face Shining Armor and Cadence. “And to you too, Princess Cadence and Honorable Captain Armor. Or should I say, Colonel Armor? You know, I never quite understood how this two rank system the Guard gives its commander works.”

Shining Armor gave a polite smile towards the pony, knowing that the two rank system confused many ponies, especially civilians. As the captain of the guard, he held the ceremonial title of Honorable Captain of the Royal Guard. But as an actual officer, he held the true rank of a colonel, commanding both the 1st and, the new, 2nd Battalion of the Royal Guard’s one and only regiment.

“Either one would do, Lord Plenum. It’s just a matter of preference.” Shining armor told Rector Plenum, Equestria’s head of parliament.

Although not as powerful as the princess, the prime minister still held a lot of power and influence in the government. The Equestrian parliament was a crucial institution within the government, as the Princess needed the approval of two-thirds majority of the parliament to enact her decrees. Although there are some excemptions to the rule, the Princess basically still needed the approval of the parliament before anything becamse a law. But the same thing worked in reverse, for any law parliament wanted to enact had to be approved by the Princess herself. With such powers and control over the government, it was good to be on top, and as head of the parliament, Lord Plenum was in the highest position anypony can get in the parliament.

“Ah, I see. Then I shall choose Colonel Armor, if you don’t mind, for it seems simpler, don’t you think?”

“Yes, sir.” Shining Armor said in another polite tone.

Rector Plenum held his smile as he looked at Shining Armor, before turning his attention to Princess Celestia, who held a calm smile but gave the influential unicorn a weary gaze.

“Now, Princess Celestia, I know that this is a fine evening, but may I borrow a couple minutes of your time? I’ll be sure to make it quick, so that I wouldn’t disturb you for too long.”

Shining Armor knew the look plastered on Celestia’s face and was sure that she was going to reject the offer and tell him that he should set the conversation at a better time. But as he gazed at the Princess, he saw a quick flash of disappointment and it was soon clear that she would relent to the offer. Both Shining Armor and Celestia knew that if she had rejected his offer for a quick word, he would have constantly bombarded her and continued to insist till she accepted. So no matter what she said, she would still end up convering on what Rector Plenum wanted to talk about.

“Alright, Prime Minister Plenum, I’ll listen to what you have to say.” Celestia said, with a hint of a sigh in her voice.

“Excellent!” Rector Plenum said with a smile. Then, he returned his attention to both Shining Armor and Cadence. “Now, if you two excuse us, we shall be having a small chat with matters that you shouldn’t concern yourselves in this fine night. It is a time for you and your guard-“ He continued ,regarding Shining Armor. “-to enjoy the ball, not busy yourself with our political talks. So once more, good evening to you, Colonel Armor and you Princess Cadence.”

With that, the two trotted off and away from them.

“You know, I always feel sorry for Aunty Celestia when things like this happen. With all the nobles and politicians pestering her all the time, she must have a headache constantly battering her.”

“Yeah, I think they’re getting worse every year.” Shining Armor said, nodding sympathetically.

The party went on with Celestia’s absence, as Guard officers and members talked in small groups, sharing experiences and recollecting old times. While roaming around with Cadence inside the large ball room, Shining Armor found himself in the presence of old friends, from officers he graduated with in the Royal Guard’s Officer Academy to ponies who served under his command. But during that night, there was no other pony he was gladder to see than an old yet though looking Earth Pony sergeant who looked at him with a small grin as the two approached each other.

“Sgt. Pike, long time no see!” Shining Armor exclaimed, grasping the large earth pony with a firm hug.

“Ay, laddy, it’s been a long time indeed.” Pike said, pulling away from the hug. Dressed in old an red tunic uniform and bearing medals all over it, Pike looked like an intimidating pony, especially when mixed with his large and powerful figure. But Shining Armor knew better that to trust looks alone, for deep inside he knew Pike to be a gently and caring pony.

Glancing towards Cadence, Pike gave her a polite greeting by giving her a stiff bow and a warm greeting.

“A pleasant evening to you, Princess Cadence.” He said.

“A pleasant evening to you too, Sgt. Pike.”

“Please, madam, just call me Mr. Pike. I am already retired from service and bare no more rank.”

“Yes, but you’ll always be Sgt. Pike to me.” Shining Armor said..

Chuckling, Pike shook his head and stared at Shining Armor. “Look at you now-“ He said. “-a fine officer and not that just, the Captain of the Guard!”

“And that’s all because of you.” Shining Armor stated, remembering the old days when Sgt. Pike was his ever patient mentor who taught him the ropes in the Royal Guard. Despite learning a lot at the Officer’s Academy, it was still through Sgt. Pike did Shining Armor ease himself into his command. With the earth pony’s advice and firm enforcement of orders, Shining Armor was able to take control of his first command, as well as learn from the veteran sergeant.

“So, what bring you here anyways? Last time I checked, you hated all of this fancy pish posh parties.” Shining Armor asked, grinning as he started at Pike, who was just shaking his head.

“Hate them I do.” Pike said. “Just look at this! Useless waste of tax payer’s money. But if it entertains you officers, then I guess it isn’t a total waste. Anyways, as to why I’m here, well, I guess I decided to give you chaps one last visit. See how things are going on and what you all are up to while I still can.

“What do you mean by ‘while I still can’?” Shining Armor asked, giving him a quizzical look.

“Oh, it’s just the old soldier’s gut telling me that-“ He paused, unsure how to continue. “-that somehow, I won’t be able to attend this and see you all here in the future.”

Shining Armor stared at him for a while, quiet from those words he said. What was he talking about? He thought. He couldn’t be saying that he’s getting old or sick and is spending as much time with his old comrades… No! He may be old, but he isn’t that old. And besides, he looks to healthy to be carrying some kind of disease. So what’s bugging him?

After a moment or two, he shook his head, wanting to change the mood into something more cheerful. “Nonsense, you’ll have plenty of time to visit is in the future. You better have somepony check that gut of yours, since I think it’s getting a little rusty. I can’t say I can blame it though, seeing that your new civilian life has been leaving it idle. Speaking about civilian life, how’s it treating you?”

“It’s good, but boring.” Pike admitted, quick to accept the change of topic. “Just how I expected civilian life to be.”

Shining Armor chuckled as he heard this from him. “Well, at least it gives you the opportunity to go to the pub without requesting permission.” Shaking his head, he gave another chuckle. “Knowing you, you probably spend your days inside a pub now. No, wait, you probably own a pub and get your drink for free now. With all that bits in your pension, I doubt it if you haven’t done that yet.

“Well, lady, I can’t say you’re not wrong. I may have used some of my bits to open up my own little business, just south from here at Ponyville. A decent place, nice and quiet, yet highly profitable.” He said with a proud smile. “Just let me know if you decided to visit, I’ll treat you to a drink or two.”

Shining Armor smiled as he nodded. “I’ll be sure to send you a letter if do.”

Pike grinned. “Well, now speaking of drinks, do you happen to know where they keep all the nice beverages here? You know what I mean. All this talk is making me mighty thirsty and I can use a nice drink of two.

“It’s right over there, on the other end of the long table.” Shining Armor said, grinning as he pointed out his directions. Oh, you never change, he thought.

“Ah, there it is!” Pike said in a satisfied tone. “And what a fine assortment.” Despite the distance from the table, it was clear that Pike had no trouble seeing the group of bottles displayed on it. “Well, if you two excuse me, I think I’ll get myself acquainted with those fine drinks.”

“Just make sure you don’t get too acquainted. We don’t want you to be the main event of the ball now, do we?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll be sure to stop just before I trip over the edge!” Pike called out with a chuckle, as he quickly trotted away.

“Oh that pony, he will never change at all.” Shining Armor murmured pleasantly.

Turning his attention towards Cadence, he gave his wife an apologetic look. “Sorry about that. We must have bored you with our blabbering.” He said, knowing that she didn’t much have anything to say or do, while they were focused in their conversation.

“No it’s alright.” Cadence reassured. “It was actually interesting listening to you two converse.”

The rest of the night went on fairly normal, with the two enjoying the evening, mingling with others or visiting the catering table. At one point, as Shining Armor was munching on a pastry, when he suddenly noticed a single Guard discretely enter the large room. From all the armor he was wearing, he immediately concluded that it was one of the on duty Guards.

Stopping by the entrance, he saw the Guard gaze around the large room, searching for somepony, before quickly padding towards whomever he found.

“I wonder where the rush is.” Shining Armor mumbled, as the pony disappeared into the crowd.

“Hmm?” Cadence asked from beside him.

“Oh its nothing.” Shining Armor said, shrugging it off. It’s probably nothing. He thought to himself. Maybe some Guard reporting about a minor issue. But despite this reassuring thought, a small feeling inside him was keeping him alert, telling him that there was more to what he just saw.

Only a few moments later, this feeling was immediately proven to be true, for a different armored guardspony approached him and saluted.

“What can I do for you, private?” Shining Armor asked.

“Princess Celestia is requesting your and Princess Cadence’s presence in the Royal Conference room.” The Guard said. “An interesting situation has just developed and she wishes your presence.”

“Aunti Celestia?” Cadence said, a curious look on her face. “Is there something wrong?” She then asked the Guard.

“I do not know, your Highness, I was only told to fetch you two.” The Guard replied.

Nodding in response, Cadence quickly turned her attention towards Shining Armor, who was shaking his head.

“I doubt it if it’s good news.” He told her.

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Comments ( 3 )

I shall watch this story with great interest.

Teal's returned. Awesome!

9577459 Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it :twilightsmile:


9578143 Oh you bet I am! :pinkiehappy: In fact, I'm working on the next chapter of this story as we speak :raritywink:

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