• Published 3rd Jul 2022
  • 3,119 Views, 55 Comments

The Countryside Knight - Dark Krystal

Twilight is tasked by Princess Celestia to help the Lunar Captain make some friends.

  • ...

I - A Task Most Strange

Twilight paced back and forth in front of the door to Celestia’s study. Her mane was slightly frazzled and eyes unblinking as she kept her eyes down to the floor. Her mouth in the act of movement as her small panicked whispers echo through the hall, making the guard duo at the other end shift uncomfortable as their duty required them to watch the hall and the clearly unstable mare that held a higher position than them at the other end.

“Did I mess up!? No, I made sure Discord was really petrified... Maybe it was a report!? Did I forget to send her a friendship report!? It has been a while since the last one...” Twilight whispers to herself.

“I knew it, two days is too long to not send a friendship report! Grrr… Spike, that is the last time I listen to your advice!” She grits her teeth and stomps.

“Hey, hey Twilight you just beat one of the biggest bad dudes of the century, you should take a break for a bit! You deserve it!” Twilight quotes Spike’s sage advice while doing a terrible impression on his voice.

“You know what, yeah, you’re right Spike, I should relax a little bit, '' I said. Ugh! Why did I listen to him!?” Twilight shouts and stomps her hoof on the ground. One of the guards takes a step closer to the hallway archway.

“Auuu... What can I even say!? Oh! Sorry, Princess Celestia. I just wanted time to myself!? That’s stupid! I can't make any excuses to avoid her disappointment...” Twilight expression falls, and she looks back down... for ten seconds. She raises her head up and a smile grows on her face.

“Unlessssss... I make a friendship lesson happen now! That way I can walk in with a friendship report ready and avoid disappointing her! Yes, yes! That's what I needed to do!” A manic smile slowly grows on her face, and she begins to laugh uncontrollably. The guards use her moment a blind madness to dip out of the situation in front of them.

“Hahahahahaha I need to hurry up and be quick before she—” The door to Celestia’s study opens, Twilight quickly whirls her head towards it and freezes up when she sees her mentor peeking out and looking down at her, her usual warm smile on her face.

“Oh! I thought I heard you out here, Twilight. You arrived later than I thought... but then again, I did call you here suddenly.” Celestia gives an apologetic smile and slowly opens the door for her little student.

“Sorry for suddenly summoning you, but I have a matter to discuss with you, please come in.” Twilight gave a strained smile and a nervous chuckle as she quickly fixed her mane, her happiness earlier completely smashed into dust in a single move. With hesitant, tense steps, she enters her mentor’s study. Her eyes immediately scan the room looking for any signs of trouble, only to find nothing of real importance... but her eyes do lock onto her mentor's scroll reading pedestal by her floor-bed. She really could use her paper bag right now.

“Please join me by the fireplace, Twilight” She moved her focus back over to her mentor as the alicorn walked past her and laid down on her floor-bed in front of the fireplace, eventually looking back at Twilight with her usual smile and nodding to her to come over. Twilight felt her stomach in knots, she was not built to deal with this type of silent stress. She wanted to run back to her tree house and hide in her bed forever.

Slowly, very slowly, Twilight walks over to the floor bed and sits down on her haunches by her mentor, focusing her eyes on the fire and counting the number of times the flames flickered in an attempt to calm her disgusting nerves. Only for the action to be useless. Twilight hears Celestia ignite her horn, looking at her mentor from the corner of her vision she sees her bring over a white letter with her seal in front of herself.

` Expulsion. `

It was the first thing her brain pushed into her brain.

` Disownment. `

Was the second thing, both were enough to make Twilight resign to despair and accept her fate. She had failed her teacher, she got carried away after sealing Discord, and now it came to bite her in the rear. She tried to think of a back-up plan to dodge this talk or just kneel down and beg her mentor for forgiveness and to not abandon her... yet her will to do it was heavily lacking.

“I should mention this first... I didn’t call you because you were in trouble, Twilight.” Celestia looks over to her student. Twilight froze stiff, her brain replaying her she just said before finally recognizing it as reality and genuine. With a great expulsion of air from her lungs, she felt all her stress, fear, and pain exit her body. If she was younger, she would’ve cried on the spot out of relief.

“Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Princess Celestia!” Twilight put a hoof over her little chest and took deep breaths, silently reassuring herself that Celestia wouldn’t lie to her and that she really wasn’t in trouble. Celestia gives a small closed eye smile at her student, she looks back towards the fireplace. “It’s the opposite, in fact, my dear student.” Twilight looks at her mentor with a raised brow.

“Twilight Sparkle... You have accomplished so much in so little time. You defeated Nightmare Moon and brought my sister back to my side, and you managed to seal away Discord.” Celestia closes her eyes and lets out a soft chuckle.

“You’ve done more to help Equestria than I have in my years...” Celestia says lowly with a hint of bitterness in her voice. Twilight slowly blinks hearing that statement, she opens her mouth to defend her mentor only to be denied as Celestia raises her hoof up and silences her student.

“That is why... I want to entrust you with a task.” Celestia slowly opens her eyes and looks down. Twilight waits for her mentor to follow it up, but... nervousness grows when she sees her mentor open her mouth and close it and start to look at the ground with... uncertainty?

` She’s.... hesitating? `

The thought shocked her heart. An alicorn of her years being hesitant to entrust a task to her... Her mind could only draw the conclusion that is task was probably something that was dangerous... and if it was dangerous to make her mentor be unsure if it is wise to send her on it then Twilight couldn’t quell the pit in her stomach as her mind began to ask how important and dangerous is this task to cause this reaction.

“Haha... I’m sorry, it’s just... I must admit even I’m unsure if I want you to get involved in this.” Celestia lets a sigh escape her lips as Twilight looks on at her with concern.

“But… I... I need you to do this task for me... because I am unable to do it myself, Twilight.” She says with a hint of mixed sadness and bitterness.

“It is not a task that will endanger your life... in fact, this task has no failure nor due date. You can pick it up and drop it whenever you like.” Twilight blinked. Her mind takes in the information like a calculator only to spit out nonsense. None of what her mentor said made any sense! A task she couldn’t do, but you cannot fail or have a due date! It wasn’t even a life-threatening task, either!

Twilight opens her mouth to ask her mentor, only for her mentor to cut her off before she starts her sentence. “Twilight, do you believe you can help somepony make friends?”

Twilight felt her mind go into the cosmos of space as the question registered. Nothing. Nothing about this entire talk was making sense... but gazing at her mentor's troubled face. She wanted to desperately throw away her mentor's question to ask her own. But, she was unable to.

“I t-think so...” She asked with hesitation in her throat. Celestia smiled warmly at the answer, either ignoring that hesitation or simply happy that her student was somewhat confident enough to give an answer.

“I see...” Celestia closes her eyes and smiles. After a brief moment of silence, she ignites her horn and envelopes the study door for a moment, her golden aura briefly staying on the door before fading away. Twilight felt that nervousness rises up as she recognized the spell; a classic object silencing spell. Which meant whatever her mentor was going to say was something that she couldn’t have anyone outside to hear.

` Oh Crud. `

The silence between her and her mentor was starting to become overwhelmingly heavy on her psyche. Slowly, Celestia turns her head towards her student and abandons her usual smile for a look of royal business neutral.

“Twilight, how much do you know about the guard?”

` The... Guard!? `

Twilight decided this was the moment she was going to abandon how to figure out how all of this information was relevant to the task, successfully turning her brain off and choosing to remain ignorant of the previous discussion to keep her brain from cramping up.

“The g-guard...? Oh! Um... well.” Twilight sits up straight and collects her thoughts for a moment.

“I know the guard's main role is to protect you, and equestria’s citizens. They’re separated into two departments. Solar and Lunar. The solar guards are under you, and they’re the day guards while the Lunar are under Princess Luna, and they are the night guard annnd.... Oh! Both sides have captains that directly report to their princess... Shining Armor told me that he has to do that with you occasionally.” Twilight looks at her mentor, seeing her closed eyes and nodding along.

“You’re correct… from the outside perspective.” Celestia says warmly.

“H-huh?” Twilight looks at her confused.

“How you described the guard functionality is perfect from the outside look, I personally designed it to be untruthful from an outside perspective.” Twilight cocked her head, making the alicorn chuckle.

“You have everything correct except the Lunar guard role. The night guard you see is still under my allegiance.”

“...Wait... So does that mean the Night Guard... is actually the Solar Guard?” Twilight asks and gets her answer quickly from Celestia’s nod.

“...T-then where is the Lunar Guard? If they aren’t the night guard, then I... don’t think I've ever seen them...” Twilight brings a hoof to her chin as she looks down, trying to remember if she ever saw a night guard that wore different armor from the standard dark metal set

“Because they are rarely in Canterlot, they’re stationed somewhere else.”

“Oh! That makes sense... Wait, no, it doesn’t... Um... Can I ask why?”

Celestia slowly looked over to her left and gazed at the first version of the Lunar banner that hung on her wall. “The Lunar Guard are not your average pony... They’re hybrids between Pegasus and bats.”

“Um... e-excuse me, Princess Celestia but...” Twilight shakes her head and blinks at her mentor. “What!?”

Celestia continued. “Years before my sister became Nightmare Moon, a unicorn scholar was curious about the magic Grogar used to make monsters. He started off with experiments on insects, but over time his desire to do bigger and learn more overtook him into madness. One night, he kidnapped multiple ponies from a village, mostly fillies and colts, but he took some adults as well.”

Celestia moves her gaze downwards and frowns. “By the time me and Luna made it to confront him, he had successfully mixed the victims with bats... at the cost of their sapience. They lost their ability to think or speak like normal ponies... they were nothing more than feral bats in pony bodies.” Twilight stared at Celestia, horrified. The thought of a unicorn doing that... She couldn’t help but feel disgusted.

“I was unsure what to do with them... My sister however, made up her mind.” A small smile comes on her face as she closes her eyes, replaying the old scene in her mind.

“She wanted to help them... teach them and help reintegrate them back to society.”

Celestia turned her head a bit and looked back at Twilight with a small smile. “And she did... After a couple of years they were able to heal back to normalcy, able to talk and think about themselves again. Some of them even developed relationships during that period.” Celestia couldn’t help but let out a small giggle. Twilight gave a slight smile, the back of her mind nagging her that there felt something off about this story.

Celestia's smile faded once again. “However, when they went back to society... my little ponies rejected them. They were scared of them, afraid of how different they were and rumors began to spread about them... they grew more... And more fearful until my little ponies started to push them out of towns and villages. Even I must admit I had partaken in this... let my guard spread their rumors for too long until it was too late. I hurt them and my sister's reputation.”

Celestia let out a sigh and lowered her head. “I still regret that to this day...” Twilight reached a hoof out to her mention, only stopping and slowly pulling it back. Her own eyes looking down as she started to understand why they weren’t in Canterlot, when her mind goes back to when she met Zecora and all the rumors surrounding her... Outcasting her from the rest of town... she couldn’t help but feel as if she was part of the problem.

“Eventually... They decided to come back to my sister... and my sister out of either anger or pity... Maybe she decided to take them in and turn them into her guard. And for years the two departments coexisted.” Celestia puts her hoof on the banner and frowns more.

“There's more... and... it is related to the task I ask of you, Twilight.” Twilight’s eyes widened and her frown grew stronger. The thought that there was more to this already sad story had plummeted her mood even more, but the back of her mind was curious on how this all relates in the end.

“The bat-ponies grew larger as the ones who had entered relationships made families, and due to my sister saving them they became devoted to her, a devotion that carried through generations... and eventually I came to face it.” Celestia runs her hoof up along the knitted astral trail and up to the shining knitted great star.

“After I sealed Nightmare Moon away... the Lunar guard took up arms and rebelled against me and the Solar guard. I was forced to do a mass arrest on them, and lock them away in the dungeons. I had… no idea what to do with that at the time... and my own guard didn’t help me. Half of them wanted to excommunicate them from Equestria, the other half demanded I execute them. Both sides were scared that if I let them live, they would rebel once again but at a bigger force.”

Celestia shuts her eyes tightly, and her hoof slightly trembles against the banner. “I left them imprisoned from months to years... years in that darkness because I couldn’t make a decision...” She lets out a deep sigh and opens her eyes. “One day... an… Individual came. They weren’t from Equestria and they used to work as a knight for a kingdom in the far north. They... showed me that they were good at their job, I let them into the guard, and they rose through the ranks quickly, but... my guard didn’t like them.”

“So... In my fear of the previous problem happening again and acknowledging their capabilities. I appointed them as the new captain of the Lunar guard... and trusting them I sent both them and the rest of the guard away to be stationed somewhere else.” Celestia let out a small chuckle. “Saying that plan now sounds stupid... but... it worked.” Celestia slowly turned around to face her student.

“They had done something I could not... They tamed the Lunar Guard.” Celestia couldn’t help but let out another chuckle. “Even to this day, I still don't know how they did it... The Lunar guard were still upset at me and the Solar guard, but they were now willing to work with us again.”

Twilight stared at Celestia with a mixture of emotions on her face. “W-wow... I didn’t think Captain Faded Light did that much...”

Celestia shakes her head and lets her smile grow back on her face. “Faded Light is not their captain.”

“W-what!?” Twilight shouted. “How many misunderstandings are there!?” Twilight threw her hooves up in the air.

She brings her hooves back down and frowns. “It was Shining who told me that the Lunar guard captain was somepony named Faded Light.”

Celestia let out a heavy laugh at that. “Many. Many misunderstandings have been set in, my student.”

“Auuuuugh!” Twilight presses her front hooves against her head. Slowly, Celestia walks over and nuzzles her student.

“Don’t worry... you’ll clear them up soon.” Celestia says as she pulls her head away.

“I will?” Twilight looks up at her mentor.

“Mhmm... for all of this information is relevant to your task, Twilight.” Celestia finally brings the letter over to Twilight. Slowly, Twilight takes the letter in her own magic and starts to unseal it.

“Please, help the Lunar Captain make some friends.”

“That is your task, I ask of you to do for me.” Celestia nods her head and smiles. Twilight, on the other hand, her brain stops working. Her realization that all this buildup, this stress, sadness, this rollercoaster of emotions paid off to find out her task all this time was to help somepony make friends. She wasn’t sure if she should scream or cry at the moment.

“Despite all the good they’ve done... they won’t leave their homestead nor engage with anyone other than the guard and me. I am unable to push them...” Celestia places her left hoof on Twilight's shoulder. “But... maybe you can.”

Twilight looks up at her mentor. Her mind pauses as she sees the gentle, warm smile, the sparkle in her eyes that spoke of her belief in her student. Twilight’s stomach tied itself in knots as her instinct to not disappoint her, opening her mouth, she couldn’t help but let the words slip out her mouth.

“I’ll do my best....”

Celestia smiled more and took a step back from Twilight. “Thank you.” She says genuinely.

“In the letter there is a map with instructions to where the Lunar Captain is.” Twilight looks at the letter and removes the celestial seal. Bringing the map out she finds an “X” spot in-between the outskirts of Hollow Shades and the countryside close to Fillydelphia, glancing over to see the side she sees instructions to get from the train stop at Hollow Shades to the location. The most important note of it all was the big bold letters saying-


“Remember, Twilight, you can drop and pick up this task any time you want. There is no due date. I encourage you to take your time with this mission, there is also another thing I must state to you.” Celestia leans her head down slowly towards Twilight's muzzle, she looks up from her map only to see Celestia giving her a... terrifyingly cold gaze. Twilight eyes shrink as Celestia starts to coldly speak to her own student.

Do. Not. Tell. Anycreature. About this task. And I do mean anycreature, Twilight. Not your friends, not Spike, not your brother, not the train conductor, and especially not my sister. You are only allowed to talk to me and the Lunar Guard about this task. No one else, do you understand, Twilight Sparkle?”

“Y-y-yes m-m-m-ma’am!” Twilight barely managed to stutter out.

“Good.” Celestia moves her head away from her students' view.

“You are dismissed.” Celestia gives a nod towards Twilight. Twilight gives a silent nod and quickly exits the room, entering the hallway she opens her mouth to expel the air she had been holding in. She never in her life thought Celestia could look so... cold and speak so seriously. She couldn’t help but wonder if this matter is more serious than Celestia let on. She did feel like Celestia was holding back more information about this.

Twilight lets out a low whimper and looks at the map in her hoof, then to the window.

“What did I get myself into now...?”

Author's Note:

After much writing, planning and etc. I return with a new story. Enjoy my 1st sheet baked goods