• Published 8th Jul 2021
  • 1,702 Views, 50 Comments

A Moon and World Together - Evilhumour

With the Royal Sisters reconciled at last, Equestria and the Lunar Republic continue their journey towards a peaceful alliance.

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Chapter Four

Chapter Four

"You have a lovely home, Velvet," Cadance said as she examined the pictures of the colt and filly she recognized as a much younger Shining Armor and Twilight Sparkle, smiling at how adorable they were.

"Thank you," Velvet said with a smile of her own. The two of them had been talking for a while, getting to know each other, and the youngest alicorn had proven to be quite kind and friendly. And Velvet could tell it was genuine on Cadance's part; the mare was too easily flustered at times for her to hide anything she wanted to know.

She'd also been interested to hear what Cadance had to say about Sunset Shimmer. Velvet had liked the girl from the start, but she rather appreciated having the chance to get another perspective on Sunset from somepony who'd known her since she was younger, especially as there was a growing bond between her and Twilight.

"We've actually been thinking of downsizing," Velvet said as she fixed some tea for Cadance. "The foals have moved out and Light and I don't need all of this space anymore."

Cadance nodded. "Yes, I've heard Twilight and Shining Armor had their own apartments now," she said, before peering up at the pictures again. "I must admit that I miss the simpler lifestyle; when I was a filly, I lived with my parents in a quaint little village house but ever since I became an alicorn and moved to Canterlot, it seems that so many ponies around me are more concerned with social climbing and showing off their status. I felt so uncomfortable with all the space I was given that I turned a good portion of it into a workspace for my team - the ponies I work with to try and counter the efforts of those who would encourage prejudice and hatred against those they don't approve of."

"We have heard of your work, and you have done a good job," Velvet said, smiling at the mare before she pried a bit deeper. "Though was it hard at the beginning?"

Cadance paled a bit before tipping her head slowly. "It was hard, starting from nothing and with so little influence," she admitted. "I was the princess who had no real hard or soft power and I was approaching a system untouched for a millennium. I wanted to work with Canterlot first but there were a lot of roadblocks and ponies interfering with me so I decided to work from the outside in. I managed to find a number of like-minded ponies from the villages I grew up around and I began to build my own powerblock."

At Velvet's nod, she continued. "I also managed to get very lucky by knowing Captain Hackpole, the previous captain of the royal guards. He was a completely serious pony in regards to the rules, but that also made him rather open minded to others. As long as others didn't break any laws, he couldn't care less about their private lives or what tribe they came from. With his help and approval, I managed to get a number of guards with the right mindset to help to promote a better view point across Equestria while also flushing out guards that didn't properly represent the royal guards as well as getting several thestrals into the guards."

She paused to take a drink from her tea cup, flashing a smile at Velvet. "He was as hard on them as I was, instilling the idea that they had to know they would be representing their tribe to the general population and bigotry or slacking on their part wouldn't be accepted." She let out a sigh, shaking her head. "There are a number of stories I can tell you of thestrals cursing me out for having them dismissed, calling me all sorts of names and saying I was a hypocrite for kicking them out but I knew that we had to have a good wave of thestral guards for everypony to see."

"So the public would know that they were just as good as any other pony, and that there wasn't anything to really fear," Velvet concluded. "I'm guessing that most were posted out of Canterlot and in sub-laying villages and cities with other guards to get the notion that they were nothing to be afraid of and that maybe their own previous notions should be questioned."

Cadence nodded her head. "Canterlotians were far too set in their ways for the most part, and it was in the distant villages and cities where the most trouble was happening anyways. That's changed since then, but at the time it was the best option. As time went on, I was able to hire more ponies to help me combat the ideals the avengers had been spouting for so long and several investigators to uncover the true scope of the avengers organization."

She sighed. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to weed them all out in time before Aunt Luna decided to pay a visit to Equestria, and I'm sure you've heard what happened with them after she left to deal with the attack up here."

Velvet nodded. "I have, and we were horrified to hear what had happened," she said.

"So was I," Cadance said, rotating one wing with a faint wince on her face. "What's worse is that I have reason to believe it was done to throw a massive amount of their lesser followers forward in an attempt to trick us into thinking that we got them all. In all reality, I believe that the true leaders of their group are going to change tactics and go for much more subtle attacks from now on."

Velvet winced too. "That is a worrisome thought," she said.

Cadance nodded. "But I don't plan to stop working against them," she said. "Back when I was still a little filly, and I first saw that kind of hatred, it just felt... wrong to me. That's why I've always done what I can to act against it, even before I ascended and Aunt Celestia found me."

"And all the while keeping time for yourself; balancing your own personal life with your career," Velvet nodded with a smile on her face as the mare across from her blushed.

"Helping ponies is what I do," she said with a shrug. "It's what makes me happy."

"And I can see my son does enjoy spending time with you," Velvet said.

Cadance blushed. "Yes, we did enjoy the time we spent together," she said. "And I'm hoping to spend more time with him. It was nice to meet somepony who was interested in me for me, not my title, both before and after he realized who I was."

Velvet looked at her curiously. "How exactly did that happen, anyway?" she asked. "I've asked him a few times, but he always just blushed and wouldn't say."

Cadance nodded. "Well, we'd stopped in the same hobby store," she said. "I was in disguise, looking for miniatures for use in my work - we use them to represent the ponies we're looking into," she explained. "He was just browsing, and we reached for the same item at the same time. We got to talking from there and spent some time out together until I had to go back to the castle and ended up dropping my disguise when we arrived. After he saw I was a princess and I realized he was from the moon, I wound up telling him everything about the kind of work I did, and he was more than willing to help out with some of it until he had to go meet up with Vinyl for the night."

"And I guess he was more focused in the painting than getting to know you better, right?" Velvet said with a chuckle as Cadance nodded her head. "He's a great security officer but once he gets into his little world of miniature painting, it's hard to pull him out."

"He's certainly good at it," Cadance said, smiling. "We did talk some more though, both after he was done painting and again the next day, and got to know one another better then. He also made a wonderful impression on the rest of the guards and they're looking forward to seeing him again once things calm down."

"I suppose he'd like to bring Long and the rest of their friends down too," Velvet chuckled to herself, remembering all the times that Shining had gone off to the recreational center to paint his figures with his friends and play their games.

"They're certainly welcome to come and visit if they want," Cadance said with a smile. "And I think Captain Sentry would like it if a certain mare would remain in Equestria a bit longer."

Velvet leaned forwards, eager to hear the gossip. "Tell me more," she said with a grin.

"As my guard told you ma'am, you will be able to visit your friends once we've lifted the martial law," Flash said, doing his best to keep his voice level and calm. "There have been some sightings in your neighbourhood and we want to keep everypony safe." The mare opened her mouth, glaring hard at him and Flash knew what was coming next. "And if you wish to speak to my superior, I am afraid that Princess Celestia is busy at the moment." That seemed to clue the unicorn into who he was and she wisely closed her mouth, stepping back into her house. She still slammed the door into his face, though.

"You know Flash," the mare with the amazing accent teased from behind him. "The city is still under your direct control. One could argue that she was acting suspicious."

Flash snorted as they walked away from the large house; the front foyer had been large enough to fit the old apartment he lived in with room to spare. "Very tempting, but not worth the hassle," he said as softly as she had; no need to give the residents anything to sue the guards over. "Besides, just being cranky and rude isn't a reason to get investigated. If it was, we'd be spending a lot of time investigating elites."

Nightingale gave him a smirk. "True," she said before shaking her head. "Their city was just attacked and they're more upset that they can't go to a party than over the fact that there was an attempted coup."

Flash nodded. "Skewed priorities, much?" he asked. "Really makes you more appreciative of the ponies who have their heads on straight. Like Speaker Fancy Pants."

"And you," she said, flashing him a smile. "You are a good solider, Flash. You should take more pride in yourself."

Flash chuckled nervously. "To be fair, I was thinking more about native Canterlotians and nobles, and I'm not either of those. I was born into a normal middle-class Cloudsdale family and lived there until I joined the guard and worked my way up to where I am now."

She snorted, shaking her head as they approached the guards waiting for them on the street. Among them were unicorns of a strong magic class; it wasn't an order he liked but he did have a protection detail around him in case of anyone trying to attack him with magic or anything else. It was a seldom-invoked right, but due to the crisis, he had ordered guards to protect the Speakers of the Houses, along with the other members of congress. He also had several more senior and well-talented guards coming in to help ease the tension in the city, something that was also going to cause problems as his appointment to his position had undoubtedly been seen as a temporary thing. Now that Princess Celestia had basically confirmed he wasn't going anywhere, a lot of them were going to feel jilted and robbed of a promotion they thought they were getting.

"Still too hard on yourself, Captain," she said, switching tones and names as they reached the other guards, giving them a proper nod of her head, which they gave back to her. The Lunarians had made a good impression on the rest of his guards during the fight in front of the castle so they trusted them to be close to him. The rest of the Lunarians were posted near the castle and the medical area that their vertical neighbours had set up inside the castle as Flash didn't believe it was wise to have them out in the city just yet.

"Perhaps," Flash said, stealing a glance at her before turning back to his guards. "Managed to calm miss Sandy Petunia down enough," he told them. "Though I'd like the patrol to try and keep an eye on her and miss Pearl Cake's place, just in case they don't listen. Just give them a hefty fine; not worth the trouble of bringing them in."

The guards that had been part of the patrol and brought him nodded their heads, with Rapid Sprint tipping her head in apology. "Sorry for dragging you to do this sir, but she was demanding to speak with a higher ranked officer and she wouldn't take no for an answer."

Flash nodded. "In the grand scheme of things, it's fine," he said. "I've seen worse. Carry on Rapid Sprint."

"Will do, sir," Rapid Sprint replied; her and her partner Full Arrow going off to continue their patrol. Once they were past eyesight, one of his bodyguards gave a snort and looked at Flash.

"You are being rather lenient in your orders, sir," the older of the two unicorns said, narrowing his eyes at him. "This is martial law; we need to establish order and we cannot do so if the citizens believe they can act as they wish."

"You are correct in one way," Flash said, glaring back. "We are here to restore order; but I have been here longer and I know these ponies better than you. If we clamp down too hard, then they will begin to resist us and cause massive problems that we can't deal with via imprisoning and detaining. They will dig up every law they can find to hamper us, wasting our time in the courts when we need to focus on forcing out the terrorists that have already begun to hunker down in their hiding spots. Last thing any of us need is to have a large number of our guards benched because a noble found some law that made them unsuitable for service. Imagine if we weren't able to call in Wrecking Ball for the retaking of Radiance Street; how many more of our own would have been hurt if he had to remain in the guardhouse because miss Sandy Petunia got mad that we threw her in jail instead of just fining her?"

Ivory Blaze stared at him before a smile crept across his face and he nodded his head. "Well said, sir," he said with his partner also smiling. "I won't deny there is a lot of doubt from the more senior and elite officers about you but I can see the reasoning why the previous captain had you as his successor."

Flash blinked at this before nodding his head. "Thank you, Ivory Blaze," he said, still blinking owlishly. "But I am sure that he had other candidates in mind beside me."

"No, he wanted you to take over," Dew Drop said, the smile still on her face. "I can begin to see why. Hopefully the rest of the guards will understand in time."

Flash nodded his head again. "I hope I can continue to demonstrate his wisdom then." He then turned back to the street so he could continue his patrol as he listened to Zephyr, who flew in with the latest report of how the guards were dealing with Defiant Avenue. It wasn't as bad as Fifth Street had been, but the terrorists there had clearly seen the battle at the castle as a doomed venture and had fortified the area during the entire conflict.

As he was going over the details of the report and how they were managing to chip away at their control, a trio of police officers turned the corner and walked towards them.

Instantly, all of his guards tensed up, his bodyguards lighting their horns with Nightingale pulling out her gun and Zephyr his spear. Nightingale and the rest of her squad had switched to less powerful and dangerous weapons; they still packed a serious punch and would stun a foe for a much longer time, but it would take a lot more shots to land a lethal blow. Which was exactly what Flash wanted; the time for wanton killings had passed, and now it was time to establish the law was firmly back in force, which meant taking every single last one of them alive if possible.

Flash, instead, left his spear at his side and looked at the trio. They were in uniform; something he had allowed, if only to not let them try and hide from the guards. As of the treachery that Captain Meadow and most of the senior officers had committed, Flash was of the mind that Princess Celestia was right to suspend all of their duties and order them to remain inside of their homes or offices until such a time that their true loyalties could be determined. Currently, these three were in violation of the specific orders given out by the Princess and himself, but he wanted to hear their justification for their decisions to violate these orders.

"That is far enough," he said, looking at the one in the center. It was a standard EUP squad and formation; unicorn in the middle with the earth pony and pegasus flanking them. None of them, however, were showing any signs of being armed or arming themselves towards him, with the pegasus' wings pressed against her side, the unicorn's horn unlit and the earth pony's hoofs staying still. "Explain why you are out here. You were ordered to remain in your homes or places of work until the guards could come and evaluate you."

"With all due respect, sir," the unicorn replied, "We don't have time for that. There's work to be done, and we intend to do it."

"That was the gist of what your former captain said when she led the attack against Princess Celestia and myself," Flash said. "Why should I believe that you are not part of her final orders to infiltrate the castle and try to attack her again."

"We have no way of proving that, sir," the unicorn said bitterly, the hurt look in his face reflected in the two by his side. "What she and the other officers did is a stain on all of us officers. We can never live down what they did but all we ask is the opportunity to try and prove that not all of us were like them."

"Where were you at the time of the assault?" Flash asked Emerald Glider, reading the name off his tag. He knew that Zephyr had a list of where the police offices were stationed and he did recognize the slight alterations their precinct had for their uniforms that told him where they should have been but he highly doubted that they knew he knew any of that.

"We were on patrol for the summer sun celebration in western Canterlot," Almond Skies, the pegasus mare said with Water Lily, the earth pony, nodding her head. "We were about to return to the precinct when we started to hear the ruckus and we tried to intervene."

"We did what we could but there was a sudden surge of ponies rushing through the streets, overwhelming us and the orders we got said to let them go by, no matter what, and that they had officers directing them to where they were meant to go," Water Lily said, blinking unhappily. "Of course, now we know they were reinforcements for the team that was attacking Canterlot Castle, but at the time we didn't realize that. If we had, we'd have done everything we could to stop them."

Flash nodded. "They were traitors," he said. "Not your team, not after what they did. I wish you had known better at the time."

"Don't we all sir," Emerald Glider said. "We will do our part to distance ourselves from... them." He was clearly struggling with finding the right words, though what he said gave Flash an opening.

"Speaking of that, we could use your help in one aspect," Flash said with the trio staring at him. "It is becoming clear that as delirious as Meadow was, she had her agents preparing for the worst and when it became clear that her mad gambit had failed, said agents were prepared to destroy all records of who was with the police. As we lack a national registry for them, which won't happen again, we could use your help in tracking down those who have tried to hide their previous allegiances."

"We will do what we can to help, sir," Emerald Glider said, with the others nodding. Flash tipped his head towards them before whistling the code for the pegasi teams hiding in the clouds to head down to him. The trio jumped a bit but they kept themselves composed at the sudden presence of guards. Flash then gave the order to have the three of them escorted to the castle so they could begin identifying the former officers they had in the dungeons as well as putting a list together to nab those who had taken off their badges and name tags and tried to hide.

His bodyguards said nothing until they were gone before the stallion smiled and nodded his head approvingly. "Perfectly handled, sir, well done."

"Agreed," the mare said. "You managed to defuse that situation perfectly; those officers are now motivated more than ever to prove they are not cut from the same cloth as their former companions. All the while keeping them from feeling the divide between the police and guard and them not being bitter at having us take their duties away."

Flash simply smiled at them, doing his best not to blush at their praises. "I just did what I thought was right; we don't need division or chaos right now, we need unity and harmony and we can't do that if we won't extend a hoof to those who are trying to make things better."

"Regardless, that is exactly what we need right now and I will do my part to inform my fellow officers of this when we return to the castle, sir," Ivory Blaze said.

"After we finish doing a sweep of Dazzling Boulevard," Flash said. "It's one of the poorer areas of Canterlot; while it doesn't often make problems, I don't want to leave it unchecked."

His bodyguards simply nodded their heads while Nightingale stepped in line beside him.

"A wise decision," she said.

Flash nodded back, and then the two, their guards trailing behind them, headed onward to their next destination, hoping those back in the castle were doing all right.

She was gone.

Blueblood couldn’t believe she had actually been so foolish as to actually leave Equestria and take Cadance with her, but Celestia had actually done so. All the claimants to the throne were absent at the moment and if it were not for the fact that Celestia had thoroughly disinherited him from all of his rightful stations and belongings, he would be sitting on that golden throne right now instead of this admittedly well furbished cell.

It seemed that before she had left for the colony, Celestia had had that highly unqualified pegasus tell his subordinates that he was not to be listened to at all, and had forced through the legal paperwork that prevented him from releasing himself from this cell to act as the only proper leader at the moment. His trusted lawyers, whom he was pleased to see had remained loyal to him even with the lack of bits for the foreseeable future, had told him that there was nothing they could do yet and they were going through every ancient law and treaty to see if there was some way to overturn Celestia’s decision.

His ear flicked as he reconsidered one potentially viable path to victory. Fact Finder had brought up the fact that since Celestia had been acting abnormally and rashly, she had not been in a proper state of mind at the time and thus, any decision should be dismissed. It could work, though it was far too risky, especially if he could not arrange to have one of the senior members of the order as his judge. There were a few that he knew would rule in his favour, but he dared not reach out to them lest he expose them. They were excellent deep cover crusaders and the cause would be worse off without them. They did their job to protect the lesser members of their organization well enough that Cadance’s agents had not even begun to suspect them and if he did get one of them, they would be careful enough to orchestrate the case to see him winning in a way such that no one would begin to suspect any support was being given.

But on the other hoof, if he did not try to reach out, he could end up with a judge that was not loyal to the cause and would undoubtedly favour Celestia over him; if that happened, nopony would accept that their biases towards Celestia had played a massive part in their decision. And then that avenue would forever be closed to him.

In addition, he thought with a frown starting to form on his face but smothering it before anypony could possibly see it, he had his own case to worry about. Meadow had been a great asset in the past in so much that she was able to get many of the lesser members of the order into the higher ranks of the police force, but she still had been a rather dangerously stupid and risky agent to work so close with. It had been a provable chess match to work with her while not making their ties too obvious to anyone snooping around or to Meadow herself. If she had ever suspected he had been using her, Meadow would have undoubtedly turned on him out of spite. It was exactly the same thing he would have done himself, though taking measures to make himself look good.

Once again, he was thankful that upstart Flash had killed her; dead ponies told no tales and with her officers undoubtedly seeking to make deals to save their own skin, they would throw all the blame onto her if not him. As his lawyers had proven so far, he had been an obedient servant of Equestria by reporting to the jail as per Celestia’s orders and remained there. And as he'd avoided all contact with Meadow and any of her lackeys, there would be reasonable doubt that he'd given her his family’s inhibitor chain. All he needed to do was to lie when he was asked if he gave it to her and that would be it.

His ear flicked as his thoughts went onto how he could arrange to have another member of the order installed in the police now that they would be put under even tighter scrutiny and he still needed to get a person inside the higher echelons of the guards so they could take over for Flash. Captain Hackpole had been rather tough to kill in a way that looked like an accident but he had been getting far too close to discovering Blueblood's role in the order of this noble crusade. Blueblood frowned at the thought; he knew he could not fail the Grand Master by being discovered and putting the order at risk. He was not the Archivist for nothing, though and he had already made moves to get in touch with the Quartermaster who might be able to help him. The earth pony was one of miraculous skills, resources and contacts, even with being ostracized by their family.

Regardless, sooner or later he knew he would find his way out of trouble. And once he did, he would once again be able to work towards his ultimate goal, of claiming Equestria's throne for himself - a true member of the old unicorn royal bloodline, rather than some mixed-tribe usurper.

Just like it should have been all along. All he needed to do was wait and plan.

Author's Note:

I am sorry for the delay but certain things came up during the process of this chapter. Hopefully this will not occur again and more chapters will be coming out shortly