• Published 2nd Dec 2019
  • 817 Views, 158 Comments

Twilight's Reign - James Pwyll

Twilight now rules over Equestria, and she is determined to rule it well

  • ...

Keeping Your Guard Up

"You know, Twilight, she might not be entirely welcome in the castle," Spike pointed out.

Twilight sighed, knowing her companion was right, but she nevertheless looked to him with greater softness soon afterwards. "I realise her invitation will be seen as controversial, but I can think of no others that are suited to the task." She perked up moments later. "Besides, everypony knows she's our friend now, so I'm sure things will be fine."

Spike still seemed uncertain about that, but before he had a chance to comment further, the two looked on as Flash entered the throne room, and unlike almost every other time they'd seen him, he looked particularly wary today. He cleared his throat, then glanced behind himself before attending to his declaration. "Announcing the arrival of...Tempest Shadow."

Just as Spike had predicted, all of the guards immediately turned to the door, looking less than pleased with this news. Twilight kept on a professional look about her, standing tall and watching as, sure enough, the one-time invader of Canterlot now entered her throne room. Tempest, no longer garbed in the armor of the soldiers of the Storm King but instead a simple dark robe and scarf, walked in like any other pony. But there was no getting around the fact that, aside from Twilight and Spike, her reception here was icy. Nopony among the Guard was happy to see her, and while Twilight was not pleased with this, she also knew she couldn't blame them. Tempest, for her part, tried her best to ignore the looks she was getting, and when she arrived at the throne, she bowed as any other might. "Princess. Thank you for your invitation."

Twilight smiled to her. "You're quite welcome, Tempest. I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to speak during my coronation."

This time, it was Tempest's turn to smile. "In fairness, you had a lot on your plate that day."

Twilight giggled. "Well, you're not wrong." She took a few steps closer to her, with Spike alongside her, and as she spoke she did so with the same tone she'd do with any of her other friends. "How goes your journey across the Storm king's former lands?"

Tempest sighed. "Slowly, but progress is being made. Most are happy he's gone of course, but the real difficulty was in getting into those lands to begin with. I..." She grimaced. "I often aided him in his conquests, Twilight. There are few who would welcome me back there, even to deliver news as good as that of his demise."

Twilight nodded, reaching forward and placing her hoof upon her taller friend's shoulder. "Give it time. They'll come to accept you just as I did."

Tempest smiled again. "You always were the more optimistic one."

The young Princess then glanced around, seeing that many of her guards had returned to their usual stance of stoicism, though some would occasionally cast Tempest a look from time to time. After a pause, Twilight again looked to her guest. "There are many among my friends who I once counted as my enemy, and one thing I learned with one in particular was that, sometimes, it can take a lot to ensure that others view them as a better person." She took on a more confident look. "If you're willing, I think I have something that might just aid you in proving to others that you're no longer the mare you once were. Something that will aid Canterlot and Equestria a great deal."

Tempest arched an eyebrow. "Tell me."

Gesturing to Spike, Twilight gave him a nod of permission, and after taking a step closer to the much larger pony, the small dragon finally began to speak to her. "One thing we can all agree on with you, Tempest, is that you're probably the best fighter anypony's ever seen. Sure, we've had plenty of ponies who've been willing to throw down if it comes to it, but there's no question that you're a lot better than any of them when it comes to just...well...kicking butt."

Though briefly flattered by the remark, Tempest gained a more thoughtful look shortly afterwards. "A lifetime of surviving and living among warriors tends to harden a mare." She stopped, looking over her shoulder to some of the guards. "Though it pains me to say this, I'm sure there are many here who remember all too well just how damaging those skills of mine were when first I came to this city."

Spike nodded. "You're right. But those skills can also be really useful to everypony! Because if you can learn how to fight as well as that, then so can others."

Tempest looked to him with understandable confusion. "You...you want me to teach ponies how to fight?"

Twilight nodded. "We do. I have every confidence and respect for the Guard of Equestria, but it's become apparent to many that, when faced with truly overwhelming opponents, they're frequently outmatched." Her ears drooped slightly. "I don't like to think ill of the group my brother spent so much of his life working with, but after hearing how he and others fared against the likes of Tirek during his first rampage, I think measures have to be taken to ensure that they stand a fighting chance when dealing with other threats."

Tempest tapped her chin, thinking on that. "Well...you're not wrong. Your guards may be useful at stopping your run-of-the-mill bandits or infiltrators, but you and I both know that the world has far nastier to offer. And those larger threats have only become more prevalent in the last few years."

Twilight sighed. "There's no denying that. Celestia's reign was a thousand years of peace. But ever since the day I first arrived in Ponyville, life in Equestria has become increasingly dangerous. With luck, we may be past the worst of it, but as its new ruler I can't take a chance like that. Not when the lives of my subjects are possibly on the line."

Tempest seemed amused by such words. "Subjects? I see you're growing well into your new role then."

Twilight blushed to that. "Well, I certainly like to think so." She cleared her throat. "So, do you think this is something you can help with?"

After a moment of pondering that, Tempest seemed less than certain. "Far be it from me to turn down a friend's request, but I can see a few problems with it."

Twilight tilted her head slightly. "Oh?"

Tempest nodded. "First and foremost...I'm no teacher. I wouldn't even know where to start."

Hearing that, Twilight giggled. "Oh, no need to worry on that front, Tempest. I spent quite a while as a teacher myself, recently. I think I can help you if you need some pointers on how to deal with students."

Spike looked to her incredulously. "Er, you didn't teach combat, Twilight."

Twilight shrugged. "Hey, if it helps, it's worth it."

Tempest, though having enjoyed that little exchange, soon turned serious once more. "Secondly...you're asking me to pass on what I know to those I once hurt. Do you really think any of them would be willing to hear what I might have to teach them?"

A pause on that one, and Twilight again looked around the room. She knew Tempest was right, and that having her involved with the guard like that would be controversial at best. And yet, she soon smiled again. "The guards chose this life because they wish to defend their nation and their people. If they are truly committed to that cause, then I have no doubt that they'd be willing to listen to anything that could help them achieve it. Even if that wisdom is coming from one they once faced off against." She smirked slightly. "If nothing else, they'll want to know how to counter big threats like you in future."

In spite of herself, Tempest chuckled. "Well then, if that's the case, I'll get started immediately. I'll need a place to speak to large groups and demonstrate to them."

Twilight nodded. "No problem. I've already chosen an appropriate place for you here at the palace to get started. Flash will escort you there so you can make further preparations." She leaned to the side, looking over to the stallion in question and giving him a silent nod, to which he gave an instinctive salute. Seeing that, Twilight again looked to Tempest, giving her a friendly smile. "And thank you, Tempest. I really appreciate it."

Tempest bowed again to the Princess. "If it helps Equestria, then trust me, I'm willing to help."

But then, as she rose up, Spike looked to her with curiosity. "You know, I'm wondering...why do you still go by Tempest? Why not go with...you know...your actual name?"

The tall mare thought on that, then smirked to the little dragon, giving him a quick pat on the head. "Simple...I just love a badass name."

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