• Published 28th Aug 2020
  • 5,141 Views, 246 Comments

At Your Service - DanishDash



Taking care of a whole kingdom can be hard, teaching/learning how to act in the modern times is harder. Keeping up with Twilight is tiring, dealing with their nephew is worse. Thank Faust for their new butler.

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Chapter 6: Dinner Routine

Author's Note:

Quick note! :applecry:

Sorry I screwed up the timeline for the gala, so I went back to change some of the dialogue to fit it better. Since we are only at season 1 episode 7 we still have to get through fall and winter. I also have to switch two episodes for it to make a bit more sense. :twilightsheepish:

Sorry guys, my bad! :derpytongue2:

Last two lines donated by Hotel_Chicken :D

The rest of the day went by pretty slowly for Dapper. The pain kept his mind from fully relaxing whenever he had the chance, making every second feel like an eternity. Still, the day was over and Luna had in the meantime awoken from her slumber, demanding breakfast which usually consisted of afternoon tea with her sister.

Dapper had at this point taken his last pain killer, which meant soon enough he would be in pain again and have no way of countering it. However it was just for a few more hours and then he would be able to go, just a few more hours.

The last meetings were over and done with, so was afternoon tea and some other minor tasks. The only thing left was dinner. Like breakfast and lunch it was Dapper's job to make sure everything was perfect. The kitchen worked tirelessly as they prepared the food and for a few minutes Dapper had a chance to relax.

He sat in the staff room, enjoying a nice cup of coffee as it was the only thing that seemed to relax him at this time and read the evening edition of the Canterlot Tribune. It seemed Celestia's student and her friends had once again made it to the front page. Dapper read through the article, frowned as he had no idea Equestria had been so close to be covered in smoke.

The article was pretty loose when it came to the facts of the matter, but as far as Dapper was aware, Celestia had no idea about any of this. Was that why that letter made her so, so.. No, he would not say it, not even in the privacy of his own mind. The article went on to suggest how irresponsible it was for Celestia to send six inexperienced ponies to the mountains to deal with a dragon threat. Dapper was inclined to agree, only his lady had not been aware and had certainly not sent them to do anything.

Everything seemed to have been done purely on her student’s own initiative.

This didn't make Celestia look good, but she could hardly say anything. If she refuted the claims she would make her student look reckless, thus making herself look naïve for sending her to Ponyville. Dapper was pretty sure Celestia was not angry with her student's because of a risk of failure. If they did fail then Celestia and Luna would have stepped in and taken care of things with the experts they needed.

Celestia was probably frustrated that Twilight put herself and her friends in unnecessary danger. Twilight was reckless, eager to prove herself to her teacher, but like always, Celestia wanted her little ponies to be safe. The whole smoke thing was bad, sure, but nothing some powerful Alicorn magic couldn't handle, Twilight just jumped into action before thinking.

Oh well, when everything was said and done nopony had gotten hurt, and everything had worked out, despite the recklessness displayed by Twilight. Dapper could only imagine what Celestia's reply letter said, he'd rather not know.

"Are you okay?"

A mare's voice spoke. Dapper put down his paper and found Frost Heart standing in the doorway to the room. She had a concerned expression on her face, an expression he was not used to on her.

Dapper shrugged. "I'm alright, why do you ask?"

Frost trotted in, using her magic to close the door behind her so they could get some privacy. "Because you seem, how do I put it, extra careful and stiff.."

"Really?" Dapper smiled slightly. "I assure you, I'm only taking care of the duties assigned to me by the princesses."

Frost snorted. "No, it's something else. You're not the only pony here who can read ponies. Something is bothering you, are you sick?"

Dapper sighed. "No, I am not sick. Miss Heart, I appreciate your concern, but I perfectly fi-"

"And sudden you call me miss Heart?" She interrupted. He raised an eyebrow, as if to ask her to explain what that had to do with anything. "You are being extra formal, and we're in private. You would only do that if you want to hide something."

Dapper's eyes narrowed, it would seem she knew him better than what he gave her credit for. He stood up, knowing he had to shut this conversation down before she got too close. "It's nothing Frost, just leave it alone."

Frost stood her ground. "Dapper, come on. Something is bothering you, you can trust me."

Dapper had to smile at that. "We've only known each other for a week.." The room turned silent, and Dapper immediately regretted saying that. "Frost I.."

Her expression was cold, emotionless. Using her magic she opened the door behind her. "Fine Mr Dash, if you insist, then I will leave you to yours."

"Look Frost, I'm.." She had already trotted out, slamming the door shut behind her. "Damn," said Dapper, feeling like an idiot. He had disregarded her when she only wanted to help, and he had signaled he didn't see them as friends, or that he didn't trust her. The pain he was feeling made him more irritable, but that was still no reason to forget his manners, or common decency for that matter.

He had to fix this and apologize, but a quick look to the clock told him it had to wait. The princesses needed their dinner, and so he needed to attend to their needs before his own. So, taking a few deep breaths he made his way to the kitchen, inspected the trays and got the maids to line up.

"Alright ladies, let's not keep the princesses waiting." And just according to plan they made their way through the passageways of the palace and moved up the dining room. Just like with breakfast and lunch it didn't take them long to get there and set the table.

And just like the other times Dapper made sure everything was perfect, only now he was more aware of the pain, and the guilt he felt from brushing Frost Heart off like that. Like all the other evenings Dapper opened the door, making way for the princess of the sun and the princess of the moon.

"We bid you good evening Mr Dash!" Luna proclaimed and trotted to her chair. Unlike Celestia she took her chair out herself and sat down without Dapper being a gentlecolt and got it out for her. She was used to it that way and she saw no reason to change it now.

"Good evening your majesty." Dapper replied and held the chair for Celestia. "I trust my ladies have had a pleasant day?"

Celestia chuckled. "Well, my student seemed to have taken a foolish chance, and without informing me. Though everything worked out and nopony got hurt, that's the important thing."

"It was quite brave of them." Luna admitted. "Though next time sister I suggest we handle such matters. I may not know much about this study of friendship, but I do know certain affairs should be handled by us and not common ponies." When Luna used that phrase she did not mean ponies of lower birth or importance, she meant it was better for an Alicorn to handle a full grown dragon, it was safer.

"I admit my student can be reckless, and she made a mistake. I have made that crystal clear in my last letter." There was an edge to her voice when she said that, confirming that Dapper had no desire to know what she wrote. "But a valuable lesson was learned, and I think she understands her mistake."

Luna looked to their butler who was pouring her some wine. "Tell us Dapper, have you ever been to Ponyville?"

"No ma'am," replied Dapper. "I have passed the town by train, but not had the opportunity to visit."

"I'm sure you will get the chance," said Celestia. "In fact, why don't you join me in a week's time?"

Both Luna and Dapper looked slightly confused. "Sister, are you going to Ponyville to visit your student?"

"In a manner of speaking. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and I would love to observe a tradition they invented in Ponyville. A race called running of the leaves, every fall ponies gather to have a friendly race between the trees in order to shake the leaves down." Celestia explained, almost with a filly like excitement.

"But sister, doesn't the leaves fall off by themselves?" Luna asked, not sure what could have changed nature like that.

"Of course," Celestia nodded. "But it is mostly just a tradition, a fun game to celebrate."

Luna smirked. "Tell me sister, do you plan on participating yourself? Might be good exercise."

"Luna!"

Dapper felt it best to keep his mouth shut, he was already trotting on thin ice, and besides, his mind was elsewhere. The pain made his work harder, and kept him from fully focusing on the princesses. Not to mention he had hurt Frost Heart, an error that needed to be taken care of.

Dinner progressed as it always did, some light conversation, some teasing between the sisters, and finally it was over. Normally Dapper would get the maids and clear the table, but this time Celestia stopped him. "A moment Dapper, if you please."

"Yes princess?"

The princess trotted closer to him, a small frown crossing her face. "During this week I've gotten to know how skilled you are at hiding your true feelings." Dapper was about to reply, surprised by the sudden topic. Celestia however raised a hoof. "While I'm familiar with it as well it does have a weakness. When we suddenly change in our behavior our armor cracks slightly. Something is bothering you, while you hide it well I can tell your mind is fixed on it. Please, tell me if there's something I can do."

Dapper looked at her, and for the first time since he got here he had a hard time looking her in the eyes. Should he tell her about his pain? About his medication and hope she wouldn't dismiss him? No, instead he decided to use the second thing that bothered him.

"I hurt a friend today.." Dapper felt a pang of guilt. While it was true it bothered him what had happened between him and Frost, it was not the root of the problem, and as far as he was concerned he was just using this to cover up his pain from his princess. "I hurt her feelings, suggesting I might not be able to trust her because we only knew each other for a week."

She gave him an understanding look. "Do you really feel that way?"

Dapper sighed. He didn't like being lectured to, but act a fool and you earn it. "No, she has been a good friend to me."

"Do you know what to do?" Celestia asked with a small smile.

"I do." Dapper replied, looking at her. "I think I know how to make it right."

Celestia nodded, then said. "Then be off and fix your friendship."

"But your majesty, what about my dut-mfh?" Dapper was silenced when he felt her hoof on his lips. Her eyes were so gentle, so beautiful, and Dapper could not help but feel his cheeks warm slightly.

"Do what you got to do, I look forward to hearing how it went." And with that Celestia removed her hoof and left Dapper to save his friendship, or establish it officially.

Before any of that could happen he had to go into the city. With the sudden free time he would be able to see his friend before he closed his clinic for the day. Wasting no time Dapper left the palace and ventured into the city. Like always it was full of life, but unlike a city like Manehatten, it was not noisy or chaotic.

Canterlot was the capital, a city of culture. There was no safer city in the kingdom, but of course small crimes did happen, but rarely anything serious. This meant ponies who stayed out longer felt more safe, and there was a sense of calm and serenity just like the palace.

It took Dapper some time to get to his friend's clinic, obviously it would have been faster if he flew, but since that was out of the window he had no choice but to walk. About half an hour after he left the palace he stood before the small clinic. Lucky Star was a unicorn, an old friend of his, and the one who had recommended him to take the job as a butler.

It was about closing time when he went inside, which was clear by the fact there were no patients waiting, only a mare behind a desk. She looked surprised when she saw Dapper, well, she did when she saw a pony, but when she realized it was Dapper the surprise faded.

Without asking what he wanted she simply let out a sigh and pointed towards a door. "He's in there.."

Dapper knew she was not a fan of him, although Dapper didn't care. "Hello to you too." He said sarcastically and walked towards the door.

"Just don't take too long, we have a date night tonight." She said, giving him an annoyed look.

"Great, I'll make sure to make my medical visit as brief as possible so you can go out and suck face." Dapper said and went through the door. "Whatever you're doing I need you to stop." Dapper said looking at a very surprised unicorn stallion.

"Dapper, what are you doing here?" Lucky Star asked with some concern in his voice.

Dapper decided to make this easy for Lucky. "I need drugs."

Lucky Star frowned. "You know I don't do, oh, for your wing, yes right."

"No because they're just so yummy.." Dapper stopped himself. "I'm sorry, I don't have any pills left, and the pain is getting worse."

"Have a seat." Lucky said, knowing his friend well enough to know he wasn't being an ass on purpose, the more it hurt the more annoyed and frustrated he got. "I thought they would last longer before I saw you again.. Is your new job that stressful?"

Dapper held back the urge to groan. He didn't want to come off as unfriendly, but the pain, it drove him insane and the pills were the only thing that kept him grounded. "I can't give you details, but it's hard work."

Lucky smiled. "I'm glad you're keeping yourself busy." Then the smile disappeared, replaced by a frown as the unicorn levitated a new bottle with pills toward his friend. "Dapper, I had hoped giving you something to do would help you with your pain."

"Nothing can do that.." Dapper replied, taking a pill and swallowing it. "Only this can make it bearable."

"You still have options, we could go back and look at that prosthesis? It would fix your pai-"

"No." Dapper simply replied with a cold tone. "It's my wing, and I'm keeping it."

Lucky sighed. "You don't need to keep it, you don't need to hold onto the pain anymore."

There was silence between the two stallions. Dapper knew his friend was right, the easy thing would be to cut off his wing and get an enchanted prosthesis wing. He would be able to fly again, and the pain would go away, at least the physical pain would. Dapper knew it was not the physical pain Lucky Star was referring to when he said he didn't need to hold onto it anymore.

Lucky didn't understand, he probably never would, and Dapper didn't blame him. He stood and placed the usual amount of bits on a small table. "Thanks for the pills Lucky, I'll talk to you soon."

There was nothing more to say, Lucky knew that. "Dapper.. Look out for yourself, okay?"

"You too, remember to use protection." Dapper replied as he went out the door, causing the mare behind the counter to blush and yell after him in anger. Dapper didn't listen, instead he stood in the street and let the cool autumn breeze move through his fur. He looked to the star filled sky, then reached into his blazer and pulled out the orange bottle. He knew he shouldn't, but, right now he needed something extra and so took one more pill.

After putting the bottle back into his blazer he looked to his broken wing. For a moment he thought about flying back to the palace, the idea was stupid, he knew that. He could do it, but the pain would be immense, risking him falling to the ground and alerting the princesses that something was wrong. "Damn.." He decided it was better to walk, and so he followed the streets back to the palace.

This time it took him a bit longer, he didn't really know why, maybe it was because he spent the entire time thinking about what he should say to Frost Heart, or maybe it was because he was thinking about the past. Whatever it was, it had taken him an hour to get home, partly because in the midst of his deep thoughts he had taken a wrong turn.

Now he was finally back in the staff wing standing in front of the door to Frost's apartment. For long moments he just stood and looked at the door, but finally deciding to use the balls granted to him upon his birth he raised a hoof and knocked.

There was no response, but Dapper wasn't fooled. He sighed and knocked again. "Come on Frost, I know you're in there." Still no response. "Listen, I wanted to say I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said in the way I said it."

The door opened, but only a little. Frost looked at him with contempt. "I'm sorry Mr Dash, but stallions are not allowed to visit the mares apartments so late at night."

She was about to close the door again, but Dapper put his hoof down, stopping the door in it's tracks. "I'm in pain, Frost." Frost Heart looked at him, then raised an eyebrow. "Not just because you slammed the door into my hoof, which did hurt a lot, but.." He sighed, reaching into his blazer he pulled out his pain killers.

Frost took a moment to read the label, then her eyes widened. "By Celestia.." These were not just some simple pills you took when feeling a migraine, these were serious drugs. "Dapper, these are.." She glanced at his wing, then back at him. "Are they for your wing..?"

Dapper sighed. "Can you let me in? Please?"

Frost was still annoyed with Dapper, but let out a sigh and took a step to the side. Dapper trotted in, and she closed the door after him. "Thank you," he said, turning to her.

"I'm still annoyed at you, but I'll give you a chance to explain why you acted like such an ass at dinner." Frost said, of course worried about Dapper's condition, but still pissed about the way he had said he didn't trust her.

Dapper inclined his head, then unfolded his bad wing, showing it off. "I take strong painkillers to keep my pain from getting too much." The wing looked horrible, it wasn't broken, but even to a unicorn like Frost, she could see something was very wrong with it. "I didn't have that many pills, in fact, I had run out when we talked in the staff room, and the pain was getting worse."

Frost frowned. "What happened to you?"

Dapper wasn't sure how much he should tell, it was not some big secret, but there were details he would rather keep to himself for now. "There was an accident a year ago, I was caught in the middle of it and my wing, well. It didn't recover as it should." Frost could tell there was more to it, but she didn't want him to force him to tell her. Dapper moved the wing close to his body again, wincing a little as it hurt to move it. "I didn't cope too well after that. I decided to keep my wing, even though the doctors told me it was best to amputate."

"So why didn't you? Why keep it if you're in pain, why come to work here?" Frost asked knowing there were a lot of details he was leaving out, but that was okay. Some things were better left unsaid for now.

Dapper sighed. "I'm not a good pony Frost, at least I wasn't. This past year I moved around in self pity, in pain and I was angry. This job gives me a chance to be better. As to why I'm keeping my wing.. It's atonement."

It was strange seeing Dapper like this. Normally he would be that calm and confident butler she had come to respect over the past week. Now she looked at a vulnerable stallion who had just shared something huge about himself. "Why tell me all this?" She finally asked.

"Because I want you to know I do trust you.. It was wrong of me to say what I said and-"

"No," Frost cut off. "Sure, it hurt what you said, but I shouldn't have pushed you. You do have a point, we’ve only known each other for a week and this is something pretty important and personal. You shouldn't have to share that with me.. I'm sorry."

Dapper chuckled. "I think you're misunderstanding, I'm the one who did wrong. I didn't trust you, but I do now."

Frost narrowed her eyes. "I shouldn't have pushed you when it was so personal!"

"I shouldn't have dismissed your concerns like that, there were better ways to do it!" Dapper argued.

"Well you're right about that!" Frost responded, then took a moment to think about what had just happened. Dapper seemed to be doing it as well, and after a few seconds of silence they both started to laugh. It felt good, Dapper hadn't laughed in a long time, a real laugh with a friend.

When their laughter died down he looked at her with a small smile. "So, friends?"

Frost looked at him for a moment, then trotted up to him and embraced Dapper, careful not to touch his wing. The hug surprised him, but after a second he smiled and hugged her back. This was nice, it had also been some time since he had last hugged somepony.

Frost chuckled. "Friends." She agreed, hugging him a bit tighter.

"With benefits still, right?" Dapper added.

"Oh, of course! You think I'd let that plot walk away, you've got another thing coming."