• Published 23rd Sep 2021
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The Only Mark That Matters - CocktailOlive



The story of Radish Root, a pony with obscene cutie marks.

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20. Old Friends

Princess Luna lay back in her balcony lounge chair, sipping white wine. She gazed up at the evening sky, smiling.

"Sister, you look happy," said Celestia, dropping onto the balcony next to her.

"I am most happy, indeed!" said Luna, floating her sister a glass of wine. "The bat ponies are safe and sound, I have completed another step towards undoing Nightmare Moon's dark deeds, and my Champion has proven my trust in him to be well-placed."

"I'm glad everything turned out all right."

"It seems not even a fatal blow from your champion could stop him from completing his mission."

"You're going to hold that over me forever, aren't you?"

Luna smirked and took another sip. "Nay. Lieutenant Root begged my forgiveness on the girl's behalf. I assented."

"Thank you, Luna."

"I share much of the blame, anyway. I had forgotten some of the dangers in Nightmare Moon's lair. And I believe there are still many more perils lurking within. For this reason, I want it sealed, with all entry barred."

"Twilight's already helped with that. She brought this back for you."

Celestia gave Luna an ancient ruby, the key for the lair's door.

"Good."

"Luna... about Radish..."

Luna sighed and rolled onto her side. "I know what you are going to say. He has held the same post for far too long. A guard should never get too comfortable in one role, and this mission has proven he is capable of so much more. You want me to end his stint on The Night Shift."

"No, I was going to say you can have him for as long as you want."

"No... I cannot, for his sake. Most training occurs during the day, doesn't it? By working only nights, he is falling behind his fellow guards. The longer he guards my door, the less suited for it he becomes."

"True. But we can always find a workaround."

"There is no workaround for destiny. I do not know what that boy's destiny is, but I do know that he will never find it standing alone in my dark hallway, night after night."

"Listen, Luna-"

"I will still require his assistance up until my debut. After that, I will make a decision about his future."

"Very well."

Something in the night sky caught Celestia's eye. The four bat ponies dropped down onto the balcony.

"Good evening, mistress!" they said as one, bowing to Luna.

"Greetings, minions. You remember my sister, Celestia? Celestia, allow me to introduce Echo, Vesper, Nocturn, and Murk."

"Hello, evil one!" they said.

Luna held in a snicker. Celestia rolled her eyes.

"I prefer 'your highness', if you don't mind."

Vesper approached Celestia and sniffed her. "Your highness, you do not smell of the Envoy. Have you been neglecting your sensual duties to him?"

Luna burst with laughter. Celestia scowled.

"You will clear this matter up, won't you, sister?"

"But of course."

Celestia approached the bat ponies and loomed over them. "Well, now that we've been formally introduced, perhaps we could discuss a certain midnight raid on my personal vault, roughly a thousand years ago? Several valuable items were stolen that I'd like to see again."

The bat ponies shared nervous glances. Luna gulped.

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