The Book of Life: A Shining Armor AU

by AlleyCat124

First published

Shining Armor, Princess Cadence, and Prince Blueblood are childhood friends with Blueblood and Shining Armor pining after Princess Cadence. Years later after Princess Cadence come back from Princess training, they are still in love with her. As they

Shining Armor, Princess Cadence, and Prince Blueblood are childhood friends with Blueblood and Shining Armor pining after Princess Cadence. Years later after Princess Cadence come back from Princess training, they are still in love with her. As they fight for her affections, Shining Armor is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart and embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

Default picture belongs to the great ChaosQueen who offered to make this for me. Thank you ChaosQueen, it's amazing :derpytongue2:

Our Story Begins

View Online

The white stallion stood shaking where he stood as the pony drawn bus came to a stop in front of the museum. His blue tour guide uniform sweating in fear from the troubled fillies coming out of the bus. He was just informed by his boss that detention fillies were coming to the museum today and he was the poor sap that had to be stuck guiding them. He knew all they’d do was throw spitballs at him, trip him when he wasn’t looking, and mess with the exhibits. It would be a living nightmare for him.

And just as he finished that thought, a spitball splashed on the side of his face. With an annoying snide, he looked for the perpetrator, but they were all laughing. He examined each of them carefully. The first two were a pink filly with light purple and white hair and a diamond tiara as a cutie mark, and a gray filly with a light grey and white braid, blue glasses and necklace with a silver spoon as a cutie mark.

He doesn’t think they did it, but he could tell that they wished they did. The third was a brown earth pony with reddish brown hair and a red and white propeller hat on top. He knew he did it. He had to. He was sipping his juice box, which contained a straw. He narrowed his eyes at the little colt, making him squirm under his eyes. The last one was a tiny white colt with brown spots. Relaxing that not all of them looked bad, he was again swarmed with spitballs. He looked toward the brown colt with malice as the young group laughed at the olden stallion. About to give the young ones a tongue lashing, he was interrupted by a blue alicorn with a midnight mane like the midnight sky.

“It’s ok Torch Light, I’ll take them.” she lightly assured him.

“My Princess!” he exclaimed. He bowed his head in respect. He knew that Princess Luna was here to look at the exhibits, but he didn’t think he would actually meet her, much less for her to know his name.

“My Princess” he spoke again “You don’t need to trouble yourself with guiding these children.” He insisted. “Why don’t you go back and enjoy the exhibits, besides,” he whispered, leaning in close, “I think these are one of the ‘hard to handle’ groups.” To further prove his point, another spitball came whirling at the tour guide, hitting him in the face.
“It’s alright. I think I can handle them.” She chuckled at the childish prank. “It’s the last tour of the day, I noticed. Why don’t you head home? You look like you could use some rest.” She offered.

He sighed in relief. “Thank you, Your Highness. If you’re really sure, I’d really appreciate it.” And with that, he ran off. He didn’t want to be anywhere near this group.

She turned back to the children to see that they were staring wide-eyed at the alicorn. When Luna’s gaze fell on the brown earth colt, as he hid his spitball straw, blushing that he was just caught, but all Luna could do was chuckle.

“Follow me children.” And with that she turned around. Not waiting to see if the children would follow. It took the group a moment for them to stop staring wide-eyed at the majestic alicorn, but followed after they came back to their senses. Rushing up the steps to catch up to the alicorn, they were surprised to see that she didn’t go through the double doors, but instead turned right, toward the corner of the museum. The grouped stopped in confusion before the pink earth pony spoke up.

“Um, hello? The museum doors are that way, your highness.” She hollered at the alicorn.

“You’re right, it is. But I think you children need a different kind of lesson today. Something special.” Halting in front of the wall, she turned to the children. “Through here.”

They look at the area where she was pointing, but could see nothing, only the wall. Everyone kept looking at each other in confusion before the spotted colt spoke up. “But there is nothing there.” He stated uncertainly.

“Well, it sure looks that way, but, if you just look a little closer.” And pressing her hoof to the wall, it disappeared, “you’ll see that there was something there all along. Now come along. I have something amazing to show you.” And with that, she disappeared within the wall. Not wanting to be left behind, the group followed the alicorn through the wall with hesitation.

It was dark on the other side of the wall, and the children crowded together on instinct; scared of what was hiding in the dark. But that fear was diminished with the soft blue light illuminating from Luna’s horn. She turned toward the children with reassurance in her eyes. “It’s alright. We’re almost there. Follow me.” And once again, she turned away down the hallway, only this time, the children didn’t hesitate to follow her. Not wanting to be left in the dark.

“Now today is a very important day. Can anyone tell me what today is?” Luna questioned.

“They day where we eat lunch soon?” the brown earth colt answered.

Luna chuckled at the little one’s answer. “No.”

“The day we can stop wandering in the dark?” the grey filly grumbled.

Even with the obvious attitude, Luna could do nothing but chuckle. “Nope. Today is the Day of New Beginnings.”

“What kind of day is that?” The gray earth filly asked. But before she could answer, a pony jumped out of the shadows.

“HALT!!” he bellowed. Screaming at the sudden outburst, the children hid behind Luna as she was rolling her eyes. She gazed upon the stallion who was blocking there path. He was a dark grey bat pony with dark blue and black striped mane and tail. Having bat like wings, tuft ears, yellow golden eyes and pointed fangs, the stallion looked like a fearsome creature of the night, in deed.

“I cannot allow you to come further.” He then turned to Princess Luna. “I’m sorry, my princess, but you know we cannot let anyone any further. It is against the rules.” He lectured.

With a small smile, Luna went up to the bat pony and nudged his neck with her nose.

“Princess Celestia will-“ but his conviction was lost when he looked into Luna’s light blue eyes.

“Well….” He considered, coughing into his hoof “I guess I can look the other way, my-“he stated as Princess Luna left a kiss on his cheek, walking past him with the children, “princess.” He sighed as he watched her leave. He noticed that the spotted colt looked at him with curiosity. Wanting a little fun, the stallion spread out his wings and hissed at the little colt, making him run after the others; a dark laugh following him.

As she watched the spotted colt run to the group, Princess Luna rolled her eyes at the act and continued with her tour. “Behold, children; the wondrous beauty of Equestria!” She bellowed. To add for effect, Luna let a spark out of her horn, sending it up to the ceiling and letting it illuminate the whole room. As the room lit up, the children stared at the room in wonder.

The whole room was covered in beautiful flowers. Automatically, the children inhaled and smelled the sweet aroma of the different flowers surrounding the room. As they fanned out along the room, they discovered wooden flower carvings etched into the wall, some growing out the floor through the stone, and beautiful masterful paintings covering the ceiling. Any color you could think of, it was there; only a lot more vibrant.

“This place is amazing!” the pink earth filly sighed. But what drew them together were not the beautiful flowers, but the book that was on the other side of the room. It lay on an alter with a wide tree carved into the wall behind it. Different pictures were etched into the wall in between the branches. Before they could ask what it was, Princess Luna was behind them.

“This” she exclaimed as she stood in front of the children “is the Book of Life. All of Equestria is made of stories and all of them are right here. Some of them are true, and some are not. But there is one story that you cannot doubt and that story starts in a little quaint town of Ponyville, where everypony was welcomed to live in harmony.” Lua flipped the page where it showed a little town. In the middle was a tower with townhouses surrounding it. There were earth ponies, unicorns, pegasi , and all kinds of creatures walking around the town.

“Since Ponyville was the symbol of what harmony should be, underneath that town was The Land of the Remembered. A festive, beautiful land where ponies who are honored by their loved ones when they pass lived.” A sad look came across Luna’s face as she continued. “But underneath that, is The Land of the Forgotten. A sad, dark, and lonely place where ponies go when they are no longer remembered by the ponies above.” She looked down at the children below her; there sad face mirroring what she felt. Shaking her head, she continued.

“But before I can continue this tale, you must know of the rulers of these lands.” Lighting up her horn, Luna let her blue light illuminate a picture on the wall of a yellow Pegasus with flowing pink hair with small flowers embedding it; wearing a long green cape with a blue sash and flowers trailing along the bottom with a blue butterfly in the center of her neck holding the cape together; with matching green flats with vine like laces circling her leg. Surrounding her was different animal creatures from small mice to large brown bears.

“Who is that?” the pink filly asked in wonder.

“That, my children, is Fluttershy. The ruler of The Land of the Remembered. She is a pony of compassion and peace. She loves all creatures and believes that everyone has kindness within them.” Luna explained.

“She’s so pretty.” The brown colt replied dreamily.

“Yes, she is, isn’t she?” she chuckled at the colt’s obvious infatuation. “But, you must also know of the other.” And with that, her blue light went to a picture on the other side of the tree. As the lights adjusted to the picture, it showed a serpent like creature with the head of a horse-like pony, a deer antler on the right, a goat horn of the left, one long fang, different sized pupils, a snake tongue, a horse mane, and a goat beard. The rest of his body consists of the right paw of a lion, the left claw of an eagle, the right leg of a lizard, the left hoof of a goat, the right wing of a bat, the left wing of a pegasus, and a dragon-like snake tail with a white tail tuft. He was wearing a black tuxedo top with a dark scarlet undershirt. On top of his head wore a black crown with ruby’s embellishing it. He sat on his black thrown with fireworks exploding around his.

“This is Discord. A chaotic creature of many things. He loves chaos and disharmony and believes the world should follow suite.”

“He looks…..kinda fun!” the brown colt exclaimed, getting a few laughs from the children.

“Who’s that!?” the spotted colt exclaimed all of a sudden. Following the pointed foals hoof, the light surrounded another picture of a pink earth pony with poufy dark pink hair. She was surrounded by many colorful balloons and different kinds of candy. Confetti bursting in the background making the picture look festive.

“That is the Balloon Master. She keeps everything in balance and makes the world go round. She’s an energetic pony who makes any day a happy occasion and make the sweetest candy you have ever tasted.” Luna explains.

She looks down at the excited children. Seeing that she has their attention, she levitates a chest onto the floor and pulls out figurines. “These, dear children, will be the characters of our story today. So let me begin of our tale of adventure, romance, and finding who you are.”

The Wager is Set

View Online

Nights in Equestria are usually quiet at this time of night. With the moon high in the sky, every pony tucked away into their warm beds as they dream, and nature as quiet as a whisper; you can never find a more peaceful time of night.

But tonight was not one of those nights. For tonight was The Day of New Beginnings.

Ponyville was aglow with the candles of families lit for their loved ones. Everypony was gathered at the cemetery to celebrate the lives of the dead, where candles were aglow around everyponies grave, as different ponies of every kind brought offerings and gifts to their loved ones. It was a festive night where everypony danced, sang, and shared stories around the graves. On this particular night though, the gods decided to observe in person.

Discord rose up from a grey and withered grave of a pony that had no one alive to remember them. He looked around at the mortals that celebrated The Day of New Beginnings. A couple of children playing a game of tag ran by him, but took no notice. Discord made sure that nopony could see him unless he allowed it. He grinned at all the potential chaos that he could ensue; hoping that he can quench his ever growing boredom, but before he could get his fun in, a quiet voice stopped him.

“Oh, Discord. I didn’t know you were coming as well.”

He turned toward the voice and witnessed as Fluttershy rose up from a brightly lit grave and flew towards him; a small smile forming on her face.

Discord’s heart lightly tapped against his chest as she came closer. It always astounded him how a creature like her could ever smile at a creature like him. He’s spent centuries alone because nopony could tolerate his antics and chaos, until Fluttershy. She was the only one who could tolerate him and he would always be grateful for their friendship.

Until he remembered the last time they saw each other.

A sad smile formed on Fluttershy’s face as Discord huffed and walked away. She sighed at his behavior. She couldn’t help but feel guilt on how things turned out, even though it was a fair bet. When they were together, they would always spend their time talking, having tea while Discord displayed his chaotic nature, and watching the mortals lives go by. But ever since that bet, he always avoids her and refused to talk to her. But tonight she wasn’t going to let him walk away. With a determined resolve, she flew after him.

He realized she was following after a few minutes when he could practically feel her stare burning the back of his head, but he ignored her; determined not to have any contact. As a distraction, he snapped his claw and the candles of one family’s grave went out. A small smile played on his lips as he watched their eyes widened at the sudden disappearance of their candles. But it didn’t last as he watched as Fluttershy light them back up with the wave of her hoof. ‘Well’ he thought ‘at least it stunned the family a little.’ And with that, he continued to find more potential distractions, with Fluttershy still on his tail.

When he realized that he wasn’t going to get rid of her, he whirled on her.

“You have no idea how cold and vile the Land of the Forgotten is, do you?” he voiced at her annoyingly, although it was pretty clear he was more than annoyed.

Fluttershy couldn’t help but feel a slight victory at his remark. She had finally got him talking to her. “I’m sorry Discord, bu-“

“Why do I have to rule that bleak wasteland while you get to rule the endless fiesta in The Land of the Remembered? It’s simply unfair!” he interrupted. Since he couldn’t get away from her, he was going to make sure she knew how unhappy he was. He wasn’t going to hold back.

“But-“Fluttershy started again, but Discord continued to walk away. He had no interest in being lectured back. He only wanted to voice his displeasure and unhappiness; that’s all.

He tried once again to distract himself and ignore Fluttershy when he spotted an old stallion kneeling at the grave of his wife. He chuckled as he extended his lion paw to take the soul of the stallion. He enjoyed seeing the reactions of the living after a pony dies and watch the reaction of the pony that has died.

“Discord!” Fluttershy warned sternly as her hoof came down, smacking Discord’s paw in mid-air, before he could touch the stallion.

Annoyed at Fluttershy’s attempt to take away his fun, he turned to her. “What!? It’s his time!” he exclaimed in mocked surprise. “More or less” he mumbled to the side.

“Not today.” She simply stated, irritated and disappointed at his lack of empathy for ponykind. With a sigh of defeat, Fluttershy flew away from him.

He knew that he should just let her fly away….but it’s been so long since he’s talked to her. Even though he was still angry at her, he missed her. He missed talking to her and making her smile with his chaos. He wanted to talk to her, but he couldn’t make himself walk forward. With a snap of his claw, he made a boot appear behind him; making it kick him and send him flying; dropping himself right in Fluttershy’s path.

She squeaked at his sudden appearance, but didn’t get to recover as he started to talk like nothing ever happened. “Come on, my dear, trade lands with me. I beg you.” He pleaded, transforming into a puppy version of himself; looking up at her with his best puppy eyed stare, but Fluttershy didn’t budge.

“I’m sorry Discord, but I can’t do that and you know it.” She answered, trying her best to be understanding.

With a grunt, Discord transformed back into his old self. “I’m serious Fluttershy, I hate it down there!” he whined.

“Well I’m sorry Discord, but that’s what happens when you cheat. You have nopony to blame but yourself when you made that wager.” She lectured.

He lifted his paw to retort back, but dropped it when he realized that he couldn’t say anything back. Even though the very thought made him retch, she was right. When he realized that he was losing the bet, he tried to cheat his way to victory, only to be caught. Fluttershy unknowingly caused a scene when she realized that he cheated and drew the attentions of the ruler of the gods, Celestia. When she was forced to tell her what happened, she wasn’t happy. A bet between the gods was a serious matter and wasn’t to be taken lightly. To go back or cheat on one was cause for punishment. And with that came his banishment to The Land of the Forgotten. His thoughts were interrupted by Fluttershy as she continued to talk.

“Please Discord, why can’t we go back to the way things were before that bet. Going on picnics and having our annual tea get-togethers. I actually miss your chaotic magic. You always made me laugh….” She pleaded. With every reminder of their days together, Discord’s heart ached more and more that he couldn’t take it anymore.

“Let’s not dwell in the past, my dear.” He said lazily, earning him a slight disappointed look from Fluttershy. His ears flattened. He had to distract her. Anything to get that frown off her face. “Anyway I was thinking….” He started, but realized he didn’t know what to say so he said the first thing that came to his head. “How about another little wager?” he questioned slyly.

Wrong question.

Fluttershy’s pupils dilated. Another what? How dare he wager with her after what happened last time? After he tried to cheat his way through the last one, he has the audacity to make another one!?

Discord realized that he said the wrong thing a little too late before Fluttershy was in his face.

“You think you can make this all better with another bet!?” she lectured, her voice getting higher and higher.

With nothing else to say, Discord could only cringe at Fluttershy’s rising voice. Trying to find a way out away from his doom, he realized that it has gone silent. When he turned back towards Fluttershy, he found her contemplating.

If you want to know the weakness of a god it’s this: wagers. It was the only thing that kept things interesting during a god’s immortal life. Nopony was immune to it, not even Fluttershy.

“What exactly did you have in mind?” Fluttershy asked wearily.

Surprised by Fluttershy’s response, all Discord could do was laugh and with the snap of his claw transported to the top of the town’s main tower with Fluttershy landing right next to him. “Let’s look at the venue for today, shall we?” Discord suggested, looking for a good idea for a wager. When he took notice of three children playing, he motion for Fluttershy. “Look there, my dear, classic mortal dilemma.”

Fluttershy looked toward where Discord indicated.

Two colts and a filly were playing together. One colt was a white unicorn with a blonde mane, standing tall and bold. The second colt was another white unicorn with a dark blue mane with one light blue stripe swinging a wooden sword weakly around with his magic. The third was a pink pegasus filly with her pink, purple, and white mane up in ponytail tied with a blue bow sitting on one of the tombstones. She was giggling at the display the young colts were playing, the blonde trying to look regal and bold while the blue mane colt was trying to look heroic for the young filly.

“Two colts, best friends no less.” Discord observed.

Fluttershy sighed in realization, “In love with the same filly.”

The blue mane colt looked up at the pegasus with love struck eyes. He opened his mouth to speak when the blonde mane colt stepped in front of him.

“Excuse me, princess, it looks like you need a helping hoof getting down from that tombstone. It would be unprincely of me to let you step down without help.” He offered boastfully.

“Is that so?” the filly asked slyly.

“How dare you interrupt a knight of Ponyville. I challenge you to a duel.” The blue mane colt challenged. Raising up his wooden sword with his magic, he swung it at the blonde mane colt’s side, but it was easily dodged. The sword continued to go forward as the blue mane colt’s magic lost its grip. Seeing that he was distracted, the blonde colt waltzed over to the filly and extended his hoof to her. She giggled at the display, extending her hoof to his, but was cut off as the wooden sword came between their hoofs, cutting them off.

“I forbid you to lay a hoof on my lovely princess.” The blue mane colt bellowed.

“How dare you swing that vulgar sword at me when I’m trying to escort my princess down from her throne.” He bellowed back.

Tossing her hoof from the reaches of the blondes extending hoof, the filly stood up and extended her wings stating with authority, “I am no pony’s princess!”

The two young colts stared at the filly with her wings extended, admiring her beauty. Both couldn’t help but fall more in love with her because of her independence.

Discord clasped his hands in confirmation. “I believe we have our wager, my dear. Which colt will marry the filly?”

“Very well.” Fluttershy nodded in agreement, spreading her wings, she descended down to the ground. Discord stayed where he was, admiring her angelic wings as she glided down. He shook the thoughts from his head and with a hard smack to his face; he snapped his claws and teleported down to the ground. He appeared right at the edge of the cemetery, with Fluttershy landing softly next to him.

“I guess we should pick our champions.” Fluttershy suggested. She started to walk forward when was stopped by a lion paw on her shoulder.

“How about we pick one on a more….personal level.” He suggested slyly. Before she could question him, Discord snapped his claw and with a flash, they were both transformed into old ponies.
With a bow of his head, Discord led Fluttershy toward the cemetery. “Let’s go wish them luck, shall we?”

“Hey Cadence, weren’t you grounded?” The blue mane colt asked.

“My mother is overreacting, I mean, how was I supposed to know chickens don’t like baths?” Cadenced questioned shrugging her shoulders.

“Well, it’s alright if you’re out here anyway.” The blonde colt spoke up as he sauntered over to Cadence’s side. “She knows she doesn’t dare refuse an invitation from a prince.”

“Why Blueblood, I had no idea you were a prince. Are you sure you’re not mistaken?” Cadence questioned jokingly.

“Hey! I have a title and everything.” Blueblood whined at her jab.

“Yea, and I’m the king of Equestria.” The blue mane colt jabbed back, laughing at his own joke. Cadence joined in on the joke, loving the look of disbelief on Blueblood’s face, but after a while, he joined in on the laugh.

“Shining Armor!!”


The two children turned towards the voices. “I have to go.” They both yell as they ran towards the call. Blueblood waved goodbye to them both as they ran in opposite directions. When they were no longer in sight, his ears lowered as he came to realize that he was alone.

Shining Armor ran towards the voice at full speed, not wanting to get a second warning. As he came upon his destination, he slowed down his speed till his father and mother came into view.

His mother was a light lavender unicorn with a white and light purple striped mane, bearing three dark blue stars as a cutie mark. His father was a light blue unicorn with dark waving blue mane while his cutie mark was a white crescent moon. When he saw Shining Armor standing there, he motioned for him to come closer.

“Come here, Shining. Come say hello to your sister.” He compelled.

After a moment of hesitation, Shining Armor came closer to them and gazed upon the gravestone.

Decorated with flowers and bread, the gravestone was etched as a six pointed star with a picture of a smiling lavender unicorn with straight dark purple mane with a strip of pink. Shining Armor beamed at his older sister as his heart filled with longing. Seeing the emotion cross Shining Armor’s eyes, his mother came up from behind and nuzzled his face. “Your sister would be so proud of the stallion you’ve become.”

“Do you think I’ll see her tonight?” he asked his mother hopefully.

“Twilight is already here.” His mother assured.

“But, it’s more like a warm feeling you get when loved ones are with you.” His father cut in, putting his arm around him. “Every family has lost somepony close to them, but as long as we remember them we can feel their presence with us for one night each year.”

Shining Armor’s heart withered at his father’s answer. “I just thought….I might see her….one last time.” He sighed as he closed his eyes and let the memories of his sister fill his mind. Twilight looking out for him when he was in trouble, teaching him the importance of friendship, always being surrounded by books. “She always smelled like old books. I remember her always helping me when I was in need……she was the one who helped me make friends.” He recollected, smiling at the memories like it was yesterday. He started tearing up as the images kept coming. “I miss her….so much.” He choked out, barely keeping the sadness from pouring out.

“Just keep still, Shining, and you can feel it. Your sister is here, along with all of our family. As long as we remember them, they are always with us. The moment we forget them, then are they truly gone.” His father consoled him.

Shining Armor closed his eyes once again, letting his father’s soothing voice calm him. He remembered his sister’s warm smile, her never ending knowledge, the smell of old books and it brought a smile to his face. It filled him with never ending warmth, like Twilight was right behind him; embracing him with all the love she could ever offer him.

Opening his eyes softly, he whispered, “I can feel her.” smiling with the feeling of Twilight right next to him.

“Excuse me good sir.” A voice interrupted. Shining looked up and saw an old green mare with a messy white bun. “May I please have some of your bread? I’m so hungry.” The old women pleaded.

Shining Armor picked up a piece of bread without hesitation with his magic. “I’m sure my sister would want you to have some.” He said with a smile, offering the bread to the old mare.

Taking it into her hooves, the old mare looked down at the colt thankfully. “Thank you, young colt. In return, you have my blessing. May your heart be courageous and filled with honor.”

Shining Armor’s heart filled with pride, like the old mare’s words itself was filling him with strength and courage.

“What do we say, Shining?” his mother voiced behind him.

Blushing at the thought of almost forgetting his manners, he replied “Thank you ma’am.”

Gazing at the group across the cemetery, Blueblood shook his head in wonder. Why would you just give stuff away for free like that? What was the gain in that?

He looked up at the statue that was the center of the cemetery. Surrounded by loads of bread and candles stood the tall image of Blueblood’s father, Time Turner, Prince of Canterlot. His subjects loved him for his brave and kind heart. On a routine trip to Ponyville, he past away staving off changelings and diamond dogs from attacking the town before he was defeated in battle by the bandit king Tirek. He continued to gaze up at his father, his heart filling with pride that maybe one day he can be a leader worthy of his title.

His gaze broke away from the face of his father when he heard a menacing laugh coming from behind the statue. Blueblood slowly came around the statue, trying to find the source of the laugh.

“Hello?” he called out shakily.

Out of nowhere, an old light blue stallion pops out from behind the statue with thick black glasses. Blueblood jumps back at the sudden appearance of the stallion, but quickly reclaims his composure.

“Young sir, may I please have some of your bread. I’m so hungry.” The old stallion pleaded.

Blueblood picked up the bread with his magic and floated it in front of his face. “This bread is for my father. And it’s delicious.” He grinned tauntingly.

Discord couldn’t help but want to turn the little brat into a snail at his taunting remark, but he smiled on the inside as a plan started to formulate in his head.

“Then perhaps, maybe, you would be interested in a trade?” he questioned as he held out a green tornado shaped medal before Blueblood.

Blueblood looked at in skeptically. “An old medal? Why in the wide world of Equestria would I want that old thing?”

“Oh this isn’t an ordinary medal. It has tremendous power. As long as you where it, you can never be hurt and gives you strength and wisdom.” He explained.

Blueblood couldn’t help but be entranced by the medal. It will give him strength and wisdom? He looked up at his father’s statue. With the medal, he could be like his father! He looked back at the old stallion with determination. “Deal.” And with that, he tossed the bread to the old stallion with his magic and took the medal.

Discord caught the bread with his hoof, smiling at the thought of his plan coming into place. But before he left, he had one more thing he needed to do.

“But you need to be careful, my dear boy. There is a bandit king who would stop at nothing to get that medal.”

It took Blueblood a moment for his words to sink in as he gazed down at the medal. “Bandit king?” he questioned, but gasped at the realization. “You mean Tirek?” But when he looked up, the stallion was gone.

Fluttershy looked down on the ponyfolk from the tower, waiting for Discord to show up, but she didn’t have to wait long.

“So then, if my colt gets the filly, I will finally rule The Land of the Remembered.” Discord concluded, staring off into space, dreaming of the day that he could finally rule the land of fiesta and chaos. The dream was interrupted as the smell of roses drifted through is nose. He refocused and found that Fluttershy flew over to him and placed both of her hoofs on either side of his face.

Fluttershy rarely came this close to Discord, and honestly, just the thought made her blush, but she needed him to listen and pay attention to her when she spoke; she could already see that he was drifting off into his own little world. “And if my colt wins, you will….”

But he barely heard her as he gazed into her teal eyes. Were they always this bright? They couldn’t always have been this beautiful. Surely he would have noticed them a lot sooner if they were. He was losing himself in her eyes when her next statement brought him back.

“…..stop interfering in the lives of ponykind.” She finished.

“WHAT!?” Discord yelled, pulling him out of her eyes and hooves. “I can’t do that!! Come on! It’s the only fun I ever get! You want to take that from me too?”

“I’m sorry Discord, but it’s either that or the bet is off.” She finished sternly.

He growled in frustration and was about to pull out when he remembered what the reward was if he did win. With a sigh of defeat, he relented. “Very well, my dear.” He held out his claw for Fluttershy to shake and with firm determination, she took it. “Then by the ancient rules, the wager is set.”

“And so the greatest wager in Equestrian history began.” Luna’s voice rang out in front of the children. “Shining Armor versus Blueblood for the hoof of Cadence.

“Wait, so these ancient gods picked three kids out of nowhere to represent the whole world?! Are you kidding me?” The silver filly questioned.

“Yes. I guess it does sound pretty strange.” Luna reluctantly admitted.

“It doesn’t matter! Keep going!” The brown colt ushered the Princess. And so she did.

I Will Wait For You

View Online

Another normal day in Ponyville. Ponies walking around, socializing, shopping and just enjoying the peaceful, quiet day the town had to offer……until three of the troublemakers made their appearance.

“You’re gonna have to do better than that if you have any chance of winning!!” Cadence yelled behind her as she ran through the streets of Ponyville. In hot pursuit came Prince Blueblood followed by Shining Armor. It did start out as a friendly race with a finish line, until it became about making sure Cadence didn’t outrace them.

“You’re gonna be beaten by a filly if you don’t hurry up!” she once again called back.

“No fair! You’re using your wings to make you go faster!” Prince Blueblood accused.

“NO EXCUSES!” and with that, she ran faster.

Determined not to be shown up by a filly, Prince Blueblood pushed faster and faster until he was neck and neck with Cadence. So entrapped with their race, they didn’t see that Shining Armor was falling behind. He tripped over his own hoofs earlier in the race and hasn’t been able to catch up since, but he didn’t care. He was having so much fun with his two best friends; so much so, that he didn’t realize where they were headed until the sun disappeared. Looking up, he saw the canopy of trees blocking the sun. He reduced his running to a walk when he took a closer look at his surroundings. Trees and shrubs surrounded him; the forest having an eerie silence that didn’t belong. When he looked forward again, he had to stop short when he realized he was about to step into a field of beautiful blue flowers, but he wasn’t fooled.

“Poison Joke….” He whispered. Everypony knew to stay away from them if you didn’t feel like getting pranked, but that wasn’t what stopped him, for Poison Joke only grew in….

“The Everfree Forest” Shining Armor gasped, as he back pedaled away from the flowers. Fear gripped him when he realized that he lost Cadence and Prince Blueblood. In a complete state of panic, he started running through the forest looking for his friends.

“Cadence! Blueblood! Where are you guys!?” Running and running, he continued looking left and right for his friends. Realizing he was lost, he came to a complete stop. His breath came out in pants as he felt nothing but panic and helplessness. This forest is the deadliest forest in all of Equestria and he and his friends were lost in its deadly clutches. As his panic continued to rise, he heard a soft voice in the back of his mind.

“Shining. It’s ok. I’m here.” The voice comforted him.

Shining’s breathing slowed as he came to recognize his sister’s voice, bringing up a distant memory.

“Shining. It’s ok. I’m here.” Twilight Sparkle said, soothing the crying colt.

“But it was horrible! I was lost, and no pony seemed to see me; like I was invisible. I called for you guys, but you didn’t come.” Shining cried into his sister’s shoulder.

“Ssshh…calm down. Remember what I taught you when you get worked up?” she asked. Looking up at his sister, Twilight put her hoof at the top of her head and brought it down along with a deep breath. Copying his sister, Shining repeated the gesture until he calmed down.

“It sounded like a really bad dream. But I’m going to tell you something and I want you to remember this. We will always protect you.” She assured.


“Of course. We always protect the one’s we love. No matter what. When you call, your family will always come.”

Coming back to reality, Shining Armor sat on his haunches and repeated the gesture his sister taught him. As his heart rate started to slow and his mind cleared, he opened his eyes with a clearer head.

This wasn’t the time to be panicking. He had to find his friends and get away from the Everfree before something found them. Shining Armor’s horn glowed has he levitated the wooden sword from his back and put it in front of him for protection. With a final deep breath, he back tracked to where he came from in hopes of finding his friends.

He never let his guard down. Every sound that was made, he investigated. Every hunch he had, he followed them, but he was getting nowhere. As he came upon the Poison Joke again, he pondered whether to try a different direction, but he didn’t need to as his thoughts were interrupted by a loud…-

Looking toward their direction, he saw Prince Blueblood and Cadence running towards him at full speed. So happy to see his friends, he was surprised when they ran right past him. In a state of confusion, he looked in the direction to where they emerged from. His pupils dilated when his eyes came upon a ferocious manticore, rampaging right towards him.

Shining glanced at his wooden sword then back at the advancing beast. Sword then beast, sword then beast…….nope.

With a scream he’s had pent up since he got here, he ran away from the manticore towards his friends. As he caught up with them, he realized that they couldn’t outrun it.

“Cadence, you need to fly!” Shining Armor yelled.

“I can’t! My wings aren’t strong enough!” she answered.

“You have to try! I have a plan, but you have to fly NOW!”

Filled with nothing but fear, Cadence could only give a firm nod. As they continued to run from the advancing beast, Cadence flapped her wings with all her might; willing them to get her off the ground. As the trio emerged from the forest, Cadence began to lift off the ground. Prince Blueblood gave a whoop of encouragement when he witnessed her advancing towards the sky.

“Get to Ponyville! Get some help!” Shining Armor instructed.

Nodding in understanding, Cadence flew off towards Ponyville to get help.

“THAT’S your plan?!” Prince Blueblood called in disbelief as they continued to run. “What are we supposed to do until they come!?”

“We need to keep it away from Ponyville until help arrives!” Shining Armor answered.

“Um….Shining?” Prince Blueblood called uncertainly.


“Too late.” And with that, the colts came to a complete stop and looked towards Prince Blueblood’s pointed hoof. The manticore spotted Cadence flying away and followed after her towards Ponyville, unbeknownst to the flying filly.

“Uh-oh” Shining Armor cried. And with that ‘uh-oh’ alone, the colt’s trailed after the manticore and the third amigo.

As her wings started to quickly tire out, Cadence landed in the middle of town square and yelled at the top of her tired lungs, “MANTICORE!!!”

Heads turned at the sudden outburst and with that chaos ensued. Ponies were running left and right, stalls were being overturned, doors and windows were being slammed shut, and emerging from the city hall was a tan mare with wavy gray hair, yellow reading glasses covering her blue eyes and the cutie mark of a scroll. Seeing Cadence in the middle of the chaos, she ran towards her.

“Cadence! What is the meaning of this outburst? What manticore?” she questioned.

Before she could explain further, screams erupted from behind her. Looking behind, she saw ponies running from the emerging manticore as it tore through the town.

“It must have followed me!” Cadence cried in horror as she realized she led the beast here.

“Followed you!?” the mare exclaimed.

The manticore turned left and right, deciding where to go when he spotted the filly he followed. With a lick of his tongue, the manticore charged right towards her. The mare stepped in front of Cadence to shield her from the blow. Closing their eyes, waiting for the blow to come, they were both tackled aside just as the beast was about to catch his prey.

Cadence opened her eyes when she didn’t feel the blow of the manticore. Looking around she saw the mare passed out and Blueblood was standing over them.

Prince Bluebloods blood pumped with adrenaline, and yet he felt so calm. Realizing that he acted on instinct when he saw what the manticore was about to do, he let out a deep breath he didn’t know he was holding. Warmth radiated from under his blue bow. Looking down, he gazed upon the green tornado medal that the old stallion gave him.

“As long as you where it, you can never be hurt and gives you strength and wisdom.”

Prince Blueblood’s eye’s widened at the realization. “Whoa.” He breathed out. But his trance was interrupted when Cadence’s scream tore through the air.

Looking up, he saw the manticore fully recovered and was charging right towards them. Not having any time to dodge, Blueblood covered Cadence and the mare as much as he could to block them from the impending blow. The manticore pounced but all he hit was an invisible shield.

In a state of confusion, Prince Blueblood looked for the source and found Shining Armor digging his hoofs in the ground, horn glowing a bright pink.

I have to protect them, I have to protect them, I have to protect them! That’s all Shining Armor repeated to himself as he continued to shield his friends. It was purely adrenaline and his will that was keeping that shield spell up, but it could only do so much. Every punch, scratch, and charge the manticore threw at the shield was like a blow to Shining Armor’s head. His shield started to crack as the pain in his head continued. He knew that he couldn’t keep this up, but he didn’t know what else to do. Once that shield was down, it was all over.
Shining Armor glanced left and right for something, anything to help him when he spotted a red blanket over a broken stall. An idea formed in his mind. Using every ounce of magic he had, he slowly lifted the red blanket away from the stall. When he was sure he had a firm grip on the blanket, Shining Armor tried to get the manticore’s attention.
“Hey! Ugly! Over here!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Noticing movement at the corner of his eye, the manticore turned towards the distraction and saw the cape waving left and right. Irritated by the constant movement of the cape, the manticore gave up of the ponies and headed for the cape.
With a sigh of relief, Shining Armor released the shielding spell and got a firmer grip on the cape. Holding his ground until the last possible second, Shining Armor moved the cape out of the way of the charging manticore. Not realizing what just happened, the manitcore was too late to stop and charged head first into the wall that was behind the cape. Collapsing to the ground, he gave one last rawr as the he passed out from the blow.
Shining Armor couldn’t move. So full of adrenaline and fear, he stood still until it was clear the beast wasn’t going to wake up. Releasing the breath he didn’t know he was holding, Shining Armor collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.
Prince Blueblood beamed at his friend. He protected them and defeated the manticore all on his own. He couldn’t have felt more proud to be his friend than he is right now. About to run to his aid to make sure he was all right, he was stopped by a groan behind him. Looking behind, he saw that the groan was coming from the passed out mare waking up. He was so focused on getting them out of the way; he didn’t realize who it was.
“Mayer Mare, are you alright?” he asked sincerely, extending a hoof to help her up.
Taking his extended hoof, Mayer Mare’s eyes fluttered as she collected her thoughts.
“You…..You saved us.” She stammered.
“Yea. But Shining-“ Prince Blueblood stammered.
“We owe you are lives! You’re a hero.” She praised, bringing Prince Blueblood in a tight embrace. He tried to get a word in, but his lungs were being crushed by the embracing mare.
Looking at the destruction that took place, her eyes narrowed as she released Prince Blueblood and looked towards the pink filly by her side.
“Cadence….” Mayer Mare’s voice warned.
“Hey mom…..” Cadence answered sheepishly.
“Exactly how did you get a manticore to follow you in the first place?” she questioned.
Cadence avoided her mother’s face as she answered. “Well…..we were racing…and….we may have accidently ran into the Everfree forest….”
“You were in the Everfree Forest!?” she yelled.
Cadence finally looked at her mother as she tried to defend herself. “It was an accident! We weren’t looking where we were going an-“
“This is the last straw, young lady!” Mayer Mare interrupted. “I could handle the little acts of mischief you and your friends cause now and then, but this behavior has gone on long enough!” her eyes hardened as she came to a decision. “I’m sending you off to Canterlot.”
“What!?” Cadence and Prince Blueblood yelled in unison.
“It is time you started acting like a proper lady. There is a school there that brings up young fillies into full-fledged proper mares. I have a friend that owes me a favor.”
“But mom!” Cadence cried.
“My decision is final. Now go home and wait for me there!” she ordered stomping her hoof down in emphasis.
Cadence eyes started welling up with tears at the unfairness of the sudden decision. Not wanting to be around her anymore, Cadence ran towards home, crying her eyes out.
Prince Blueblood wanted to follow, but was stopped by a hoof on his shoulder.
“I know you had something to do with this as well.” Mayer Mare stated calmly. “And while I am grateful that you’ve saved me and my daughter’s life, I think it’s time to discuss your future as well.”
Mayer Mare turned towards the first stallion she saw. “Gather the townsfolk together. I’ll make some calls to get that manticore out and get some construction ponies to start rebuilding. Until then, clean up what you can.” After giving her orders, she turns back to Prince Blueblood. “Follow me.” And with that, she walks away.
Prince Blueblood turned in the direction of Shining Armor and sees that he was getting up. He smiled; glad that his best friend was ok and followed Mayer Mare.

Shining Armor heard every word. She can’t send Cadence away. She can’t! Shining Armor shakenly stood up but what little strength he had quickly disappeared and started falling to the ground. Falling, he was quickly caught by dark blue magic. It lifted him up and landed him on the back of his father.
“And where did you think you were going?” His father inquired.
All Shining Armor could get out was a weak, “She can’t send Cadence away.”
He nodded his head in understanding. “I’m sorry for your friend, Shining, but parents do what they think are best for their children. Let’s go home and get you into bed.” And with that, he walked toward home.
Striking up conversation along the way, Shining’s father commented, “I wasn’t there for the whole thing, but I saw what you did with that manticore. You’ve made our family proud.”
Shining armor smiled at the thought. All in all, he did do great. He was proud of what he did today and was glad his father was proud as well.
“You know, I didn’t think you had the gift of manticore fighting, but I can see that you are going to be a great one.” His father beamed.
Shining frowned. “But….I don’t want to be a manticore fighter.”
“Nonsense. It’s tradition! Your grandmother was one, I was one, and now my son, it is your turn to continue the tradition.”
“Once you’re all better, we’ll start your training. Besides, it’s tradition to start training once you’ve reached maturity.” He simply stated.
“Maturity?” Shining Armor questioned.
His father smiled and pointed to Shining Armors back. Weakly lifting his head, Shining Armor looked at his back and his face broke out in the widest grin he’s ever had.
For on his flank was his cutie mark of three small blue stars and below that, a dark blue shield with a dark purple star on it.

It was a week before the friends could see each other again. And when they finally did, it was to say goodbye to Cadence.
“I can’t believe your leaving.” Shining Armor sighed.
“Neither can I.” Cadence replied, eyes welling up with tears. “I’m going to miss you guys so much!” with that she flung her arms around her two friends in a group hug.
“My advisors think that this was a wakeup call to start teaching me to run the kingdom. I’m probably going to be in Canterlot sometimes. Maybe I could see you when I visit.” Prince Blueblood replied half-heartedly. Cadence gave a half-hearted nod in return. They both knew that his advisors would keep him busy enough to keep him indoors.
“OH! I almost forgot. We got you a gift!” Shining exclaimed as he levitated a big white box in front of Cadence. Eyes wide in surprise, Cadence started opening the box.
“We got her a gift?” Prince Blueblood whispered to Shining Armor.
“Just go with it.” He answered back.
When Cadence opened the box, her eyes widened in disbelief. Inside was a small purple baby dragon with green scales. He looked up at the new pony with big green eyes and gave a small smile.
“A baby dragon!? How did you get a baby dragon!?” Cadence whispered loudly.
“My sister…..” Shining Armor started sadly, but shook it off. “My sister found an egg a year ago. It hatched right after she died. He’s been hiding in my room all this time, but I think it would be better if he was with you.”
Cadence lifts him out of the box. The dragon, nervous with his new environment, started sucking on his tail.
“He’s…..adorable.” Cadence murmured, rubbing her head against the dragon.
“I named him Spike. We’ve been taking care of him, so we thought that you needed a little part of us to go with you.” Shining Armor explained.
“Thank you……thank you both.” She choked as she continued to rub the dragon.
“You had a dragon? That’s awesome.” Prince Blueblood whispered as he held up his hoof for a hoof-bump.
“Thanks.” He whispered back, answering his hoof-bump.
Their warm moment was interrupted by the blow of the train whistle signaling the trains’ departure. Cadence gave one last look at her best friends, and with a teary goodbye, she ran towards the train with Spike on her back.
“Don’t forget me!” She called as she hopped on the train. As the train started to leave, Prince Blueblood and Shining Armor raced after the train.
“When you came back, I will be the Prince you deserve!” Blueblood called.
“And I will always wait for you!” Shining Armor countered.
Cadence smiled warmly at her friend’s declaration. As she was sticking her head back in, her blue bow fell out of her hair and into the hoofs of Prince Blueblood. Clutching the bow to his breast, Prince Blueblood made a vow to be the best Prince he could ever be. For her.
Shining Armor continued to run until he reached the end of the platform. Gazing at the departed train he whispered, “I will wait for you.”

It would be many years before they ever saw each other again.

Big Shadows

View Online

The town of Ponyville continued living life, as it should be, but the ponies inside grew and grew. Shining Armor grew into a handsome stallion, reluctantly following in his father’s hoofsteps as manticore fighter. Despite his reluctance, Shining Armor was very skilled in his profession. But no matter what happened, he couldn’t bring himself to end the manticore. He would follow his father’s orders to the tee….but he wouldn’t do that.

But life wasn’t all about following his father’s orders. He had a side project. After his rigorous practices with his father, Shining Armor would head to a small little abandon cottage no pony knew about. Inside would be nothing but papers and books on nothing but magical defenses and combat. No matter how much his father drove into him about the importance of the family honor, he couldn’t give up on his of dream of being by his best friend’s side and protecting him and the one he loves. He wanted to protect everypony he loved, so in his spare time, he would pour himself into improving his shield magic and his combat skills. But he wasn’t alone; he would be joined by his two companions that shared his interest. One was a cyan colored pegasus with a rainbow colored mane and the cutie mark of a cloud with a rainbow lightning bolt coming out. She was a strong, athletic, and a boastful mare who one day dreamed of joining the Wonderbolts. She would be zipping in and out of the little cottage, actually, more like crashing in and out of the cottage trying a new stunt to improve. Rainbow Dash was of great help to Shining Armor. She pushed his limits. Made him run longer, fight harder, never to give up even when it seemed tough. She stayed loyal to Shining and his cause and that meant the world to him.

His second companion was actually a young castle guard that was stationed in Ponyville to help with its protection. Flash Sentry was an orange pegasus with blue hair and the cutie mark of a blue shield with a yellow lightning bolt going through it. They both shared a love for protecting the ones they love. Flash encountered Shining practicing his sword play near the edge of town. He decided to join Shining and give him a few pointers on his combat skills. Since then, they hung out every chance they had along with Rainbow Dash, all working together to better themselves and reach their goals. But they weren’t the only ones trying to strive for perfection.

Prince Blueblood was studying hard to lead his country. His advisors would bring him problems that needed solving all over Equestria. At first, he needed his advisors for help solving most of the problems. But over time, with each new experience and each new problem that popped up, he would get better at solving the problem. His quick thinking and air of superiority drew the citizens in and showered him with awe and respect which earned him his cutie mark; an eight pointed yellow and blue star. Sadly, it went to his head. As the citizen’s respect for him grew and grew, so did his ego. He never let it get passed to any pony how great he was.

But no matter how self-centered he got, he never forgot his friends. He tried to see Cadence, but his advisors wouldn’t allow him to enter the school. Apparently, stallions were not allowed on the school premises, no matter who they were. And every time his work brought him to Ponyville, he found himself meeting up with Shining Armor, laughing and reminiscing about their lives. No matter how much time has passed, the duo never grew apart. Sadly, they would always be dragged away from each other too soon and returned to their duties.

But fate would be bringing them together again, for the trio would finally be together again as Cadence was returning from Ponyville. It just so happens that Shining Armor’s first maticore fight was on the same day, but not everypony was happy about that.

“I don’t want to do this.” Shining Armor stated for what seemed like the millionth time to his father. Both he and his father were standing in their living room; Shining Armor facing his father with a look of distraught while his father kept a stern look on his face. Off to the side stood Shining’s mother; a face of unhappiness as she watched her son and husband fight.

“It is not up for debate. You are a Sparkle and as a Sparkle you will follow in our ancestor’s hoofsteps and be a manticore fighter.” He responded with conviction.

“Night Light…..” Shining’s mother started with hesitation.

“Velvet, this isn’t up for discussion. As long as he lives in my house, he will obey my rules.”

“Father, this is my life.” Shining replied. He loved his father and wanted to make him proud, but he didn’t understand why his father pushed this so hard.

“All of the Sparkles were manticore fighters. Every single one of us.” Night Light’s gaze went to the many portraits aligning the walls of the Sparkle living room. His eye’s drifted his great-grandfather’s portrait Big Macintosh Sparkle; a red stallion with a dirty blond mane and white freckles and a huge green apple as a cutie mark. His gaze continued to wonder till it hit his grandmother Applejack Sparkle; an orange mare with a loose blond mane with white freckles and three red apples as a cutie mark. His final stop was on a picture of three ponies, Night Light himself, Twilight Velvet, and his grandmother’s sister Trixie Sparkle, a dark blue unicorn with a light blue mane and a crescent moon and a star as a cutie mark standing in a manticore ring.

Night Light’s eye’s welled with pride as he gazed at his proud family heritage and looked as his son, wanting nothing more than for his son to understand. “It’s in your blood son, it’s your destiny. How many times do I have to say this to you?”

“But this isn’t me, this is you! I don’t want to lead this life. I want to stand by Prince Bloodblood’s side and protect him. He’s a great leader and I want to stand proudly by his side and do all I can to help.” Shining pleaded.

“Shining, Blueblood may be the hero of the country, but today, you will be the hero of the ring. If, for once, you actually finish the manticore.” He finished with an exaggerated sigh.

“But he finished a manticore the other day at practice!” called a voice.

“What the-?”

Three heads swung towards the living room window where Rainbow Dash’s body was hanging halfway in. Seconds later, Flash Sentry’s head popped up with an apologetic grin.

“I mean, a weather pony accidently set off a lightning bolt on the manticore so he didn’t technically do it, but it was during manticore fight practice so it has to count!” Rainbow Dash explained.

“It doesn’t, dear….” Twilight Velvet answered apologetically.

“Get….get out of here!” Night Light yelled and with a flick of his horn, he sent a sword flying toward the window where it hit right above the window, but it was enough for the duo to get the message.

“A-a-alright Shining, w-we’ll meet you at the arena.” Flash stammered, looking at everything but Night Light. Grabbing Rainbow’s tail, he dragged her away from the house. With a final eye-roll, Shining Armor turned toward the door.

“I’m outta here.” He growled. He was tired of the lecture his father was giving him. It was old, repeated and he was getting sick and tired of hearing the same line over and over again. Heading for the door he was stopped by his father.

“Don’t you love your family?”

Shining Armor stopped dead in his tracks. His heart stung by his father’s question, followed by a burning rage. How dare he? How dare he question his love for his family? For Twilight? But it was quenched when he thought of his family. His family was a proud family, known throughout Equestria for being the most famous manticore fighters of all time. His chest grew heavy with the burden of his name and the expectations it brought. He loved his family….and he would do anything for his family.

He turned towards his father with a look of defeat. With a sigh of relief, Night Light took the sword out of the wall above the window and equipped it on Shining Armor’s back.

“Just go out there, and be a Sparkle.” He stated boldly.

With a final nod at his father, Shining walked out the door and headed toward the arena.

Twilight Velvet looked after her son with sadness and turned towards her husband.

“Night Light, he’s not going to do it.” She stated solemnly.

Shining Armor stood under the arena and stared at the entrance into the open. His chest kept getting heavier and heavier as he stared out into the crowed. Sadly, he realized that these ponies didn’t come here to see a manticore fight. They wanted to see the son of the great manticore fighter Night Light Sparkle. None of these ponies wanted to see him, just his ancestor’s legacy. And not only that, they were expecting him to end a manticore. Bile rose in his throat at the thought of all the cheering and hoofbeats that would follow. How could anypony relish in the thought in the ending of a life?

The only ray of light in this was that the rumor of Cadence coming back was true and that she was going to attend. He smiled at the thought of seeing is love again. Concentrating on the entrance, he tried to summon up the courage to approach when a familiar voice came up behind.

“Hey Shining, no retreat my friend.”

Smiling, Shining Armor turned around to see Prince Blueblood approach him from behind.

“No surrender.” Shining replied to trio’s motto as he ran up to Blueblood and embraced him. “I can’t believe you’re here.”

“Oh come now, you didn’t think I’d miss your first little manticore fight, did you?” Blueblood asked.

“Oh yea, like it had nothing to do with Cadence returning, right?” he replied sarcastically.

“There’s nothing getting passed you is there? Alright, you caught me, but seeing you again, old friend, is definitely a plus. I can’t wait to see her and tell her all the changes I’ve made to Equestria.” Blueblood explained, shuffling his hooves in excitement.

“Oh, so you think she’ll only be glad to see you? You may have your accomplishments, but today, I own the arena, like a true Sparkle.” He boasted.

Prince Blueblood smiled sadly at Shining. He couldn’t fool him. He knew how much pressure his family was putting on him. It was one of the things that bonded them together.

“We live under some big shadows, don’t we?” he whispered.

Shining breathed a small sigh of relief with the fact that he doesn’t have to hide anything from Blueblood. “Huge.” He whispered back.

The sound of trumpets filled the stadium as the first part of the performance began. Blueblood nodded at Shining and turned around to step out into the open as the voice of Mayor Mare rang throughout the arena.

Gracing us with his presence is our adoptive son from Canterlot, announcing Prince Blueblood!

About to step out into the open, Bloodblood stopped and turned towards Shining.

“Hey brother? May the best stallion win Cadence.” And with that, he sauntered out into the open.


View Online

Cheers erupted in the stadium as Prince Blueblood entered. Looking at all the admiring gazes around him, Blueblood’s smile broadened and his chest swelled up with pride. He’s come a long way from the colt he was before. And sweet Celestia, he was going to show them.

Enveloping his silver ceremonial sword strapped to his side in a yellow aura, Blueblood swung it out in front of him, making the crowd roar even more. Even getting a cheer from the Land of the Forgotten god himself, standing on the roof of a building just outside the stadium with the Land of the Remembered goddess, watching over their bets.

Taking a deep breath, Blueblood swung the sword close to his face and continued to twirl the sword close to his body. After swing it around, he started to move, never letting the sword stop moving. At first it was just moving in a circle, but then he started to get creative. Never letting the sword stop its motions, he moved the twirling sword toward the ground and maneuvered it under him so it barely hit his under belly. After it went under him, the twirling sword swung out on the other side of him, getting a unified cheer from the crowd. After a moment, Blueblood started up the twirling sword again, lifting the sword above his head. Backing up a bit, Blueblood nimbly twirled over the spinning sword cutting only the tips of his tail and landed on his hoofs, slashing the sword out behind him; congratulating him with a roar of applause.

Breathing out, Blueblood kicked the edge of the sword, letting go of it with his magic. Twirling above his head, the sword came down onto him, only for him to catch the handle in his mouth and slashing it to the side. As the cheering continued, Blueblood starting swinging the sword around his body, flowing up and down, flipping it up and catching it again.

Feeling like his time was up, Blueblood flipped and caught it one more time and used the stands of the stadium to jump up to the mayoral box and bowing to the cheering crowd.

With one last smile, Blueblood sheathed his sword and turned to Mayor Mare that was sitting in her seat, watching his performance.

“Good evening, Mayor Mare.” Blueblood greeted, enveloping a rose that the audience was throwing down into the center of the stadium and presenting it to the mayor.

“Why thank you, Blueblood.” Mayor Mare thanked, accepting the gift.

As Blueblood took his position next to the mayor, he noticed that a good amount of the audience was looking towards the entrance. Turning his head with them, he noticed a pink pegasus was walking into the stadium with a long curling pink, yellow and purple tail. He couldn’t see the face, but he knew it was Cadence. A red umbrella was covering her head which was being carried by a purple dragon with green scales sitting on her back.

His heart started to speed up as she got closer to the mayoral box. He was finally going to see her. After all these years, he was finally going to see his best friend and love.

Cadence walked into the mayoral box and sat down next to her mother opposite of Prince Blueblood, making the dragon hop off her back, keeping the umbrella erect.

“Miss Mi Amore Cadenza…” Blueblood greeted.

Seeing that an umbrella was no longer needed, the dragon removed the umbrella making Blueblood’s eyes go wide with shock. Sitting next to him was a beautiful pegasus mare with a yellow, pink and purple mane and deep purple eyes he could stare at for hours.

Cadence turned to look at Prince Blueblood and he could feel a blush spreading across his face.

“Hello, Blue. It’s really great to see you.” She greeted warmly, and then turned back to the stage.

Blueblood let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding as the spell her eyes had over him broke. With a flushed face, he turned to look at the stadium as well, trying to calm his beating heart.

Cadence was definitely easy on the eyes; Discord thought has he stared at the now grown pegasus. Even he couldn’t keep his eyes from bulging when she entered the stadium. Thoughts whirling through his head, he didn’t notice the sad look in Fluttershy’s eyes when he noticed Discord admiring the mare. Eyes downcast, Fluttershy turned away. As her eyes found the stadium again, Fluttershy’s pink mane shifted and out popped her rabbit companion, Angel. He looked between his mistress and Discord and frowned. He never liked Discord and he wasn’t going to let him get away with making her sad.

Hopping out of Fluttershy’s mane, Angel leaped up and bit down hard onto Discord’s paw.

“YE-OUCH!” Discord yelled, giving Angel bunny a hard glare as he hopped onto Fluttershy’s shoulder. Looking back at him, Angel pointed to his eyes, and then pointed back at Discord.

“What did I do!?” he questioned, turning to Fluttershy.

“Angel, that was mean.” She lectured, giving Angel a disapproving look. Angel just shrugged his shoulders and turned his head away with a humph, folding his arms. Growling at the fur ball, Discord turned away to get back at watching his bet.

When Discord’s head was fully turned, Fluttershy took the chance to cuddled her friend, whispering a soft ‘thank you’ for sticking up for her.

Trumpet blared as the main event began. Marching out into the ring was Rainbow Dash and Flash Sentry, each carrying a spear. Stopping right outside the entrance onto the ring, they turned to each other and raised their spears about the entrance, and out came Shining Armor; head held high.

The stadium cheered as he walked in the middle of the ring. With a strong posture, Shining enveloped his red cape that was lying on his back and thrust it aside.

In a moment of excitement, Fluttershy yelled “Go Shining Armor!” as loud as her soft voice was able. When she looked to her side, she saw that Discord was looking at her with his eyebrow raised. Blushing with embarrassment, Fluttershy hid behind her mane and turned her attention back to the ring. Discord did the same, only with a soft smile, glad he got to see another side of Fluttershy.

Taking a step toward the mayoral box, Shining Armor addressed the audience.

“I would like to dedicate this event to Miss Mi Amore Cadenza!” he announced, looking up at Cadence with a smile. He was so happy to see the love of his life, he couldn’t wait to speak to her. To catch up on everything, to hear about her life in Canterlot, everything. But when he looked into those deep, beautiful purple eyes, what was looking back at him wasn’t relief to see an old friend, but annoyance. Cadence turned away from him with a low growl of aggravation.

Cadence’s attitude stunned Shining, but pulled it back; managing to whisper out, “Welcome back, Cadey….” And with that, he turned to the cage with the raging manticore inside.

Rainbow Dash and Flash Sentry came up behind him and stared at the thin piece of wood separating the ponies and the angry manticore.

“It looks like you have everything under control. Don’t ya think, Flash?” Rainbow asks in a shaking voice.

“Couldn’t agree more. Good luck buddy.” And with that, Rainbow and Flash zoomed up and out of the ring like a bullet.

“Loving the boost of confidence, guys….” he murmured. And with that, Shining Armor braced himself.

The wood held as the manticore kept slamming itself into it, making it even angrier with each failure. The audience held its breath and winced every time the manticore hit the wood, not sure when it would finally break out and attack the manticore fighter.

Finally, not being able to hold anymore, the piece of wood separating the two being’s shattered into pieces and out came a raging manticore. Its head whipped back and forth, trying to find a target to take it’s anger out on.

Seeing that it was time, Shining Armor made his presence known. “C’mon ya big brute! Over here!” he yelled, giving his cape a slight shake.

Noticing the unicorn and finally finding something to attack, the manticore gave a loud roar and charged at Shining, but he was ready. The manticore charged at full speed, fully intending on ramming the unicorn in front of him. The audience held its breath while Night Light had his eyes entirely focused on Shining.

Just as the manticore was about to ram into him, Shining Armor pulled out last minute and turned to the side, letting the manticore run through the red cape. The crowd cheered with relief, excited to see that Shining Armor knew what he was doing. Up in the mayoral box, Prince Blueblood was stomping his hoof, glad to see that his best friend wasn’t hurt. He stole a quick glance at Cadence. Cadence herself had on a neutral expression, neither stomping her hoof or booing, but keeping a close eye on Shining.

Night Light was stomping his hoof like crazy, glad to see that his son was off to a good start. “Now THAT’S a Sparkle!” he yelled out, encouraging his son.

Shining Armor’s magic enveloped a rose that was thrown into the ring and held it up to Cadence. She stared at the rose presented to her and a soft smile played on her lips. When she looked back at Shining, his smile widens. Finally, she gave him a smile, and to him, it was the most wonderful smile in all of Equestria.

Suddenly Cadence’s eyes go wide. “SHINING!” she yelled out to him, but Shining Armor already knew that the manticore recovered and decided to go for him a second time. He waited until he felt the hot breath of the manticore behind him, and did a backflip over the charging beast, making it ram straight into the side of the ring, momentarily stunning him.

Cadence laughed in relief and astonishment, glad that her friend was alright. The crowd cheered at the amazing display that the manticore fighter gave, never seeing something like that before.

Shining Armor grinned in confidence. He made Cadence smile. He made her smile and he sure was going to make her smile a lot more. Turning to the dazed manticore, he egged it on. “C’mon manny! I’m not finished with you yet!”

The manticore shook off the dizziness and glared at the unicorn. Shining Armor stared hard at the beast. He knew that look. He knew the manticore was learning and wasn’t going to be charging straight through again. That’s fine with him, because he knew exactly what to do.

Giving a roar in challenge, the manticore charged once more, and once again, Shining was ready.

Just as it reached the cape once again, Shining Armor pulled away, but the manticore wasn’t going to fall for that again. Instead of running straight through, the manticore turned sharply, following the cape. Shining continued to pull the cape away, leading it around the ring. Finally getting dizzy, the manticore ran straight through the cape and tripped over its legs.

The crowd roared as Shining Armor took a bow for the audience. Continuing to nod at the audience, Shining Armor made his way to where his father was. When he finally faced him, his father levitated a sword to his son. Shining Armor automatically frowned and narrowed his eyes at his father.

“Please son. Do it for our family. Do it for me.” Night Light pleaded.

Shining Armor stared at the sword his father was handing him. He didn’t want to. It wasn’t right. It’s one thing to have a match with a manticore, but to kill it? It was wrong. He looked back into his father’s eyes and saw the plea to bring honor to the family, to not let him down. Stealing his resolve, Shining Armor took the sword with his magic and walked toward the manticore, now standing and preparing to charge at him again.

With a hard glare, he pointed the sword at the manticore, prepared to run it through the beast once he charged. Taking the sword as a challenge, the manticore charged once again at Shining.

Shining Armor breathed in and out slowly, keeping his frantic heart beat down. As he waited for the impending death of the beast, something caught in the sword’s reflection. As he looked fully into the sword, his eye’s widened at what was reflected.

Cadence’s face held nothing but horror, knowing exactly what was going to come next, and knowing that it was going to be done by her best friend.

Shining Armor felt his whole being shatter as he stared at the look of horror on his loves face. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t stand being the pony that put that look of horror on her face. He just couldn’t.

“No….” Shining whispered. Letting his harden resolve break, Shining Armor dug the sword deep into the ground and let the manticore run through the cape, taking the cape with it. Blinded, the manticore continued to run forward, smashing into the side of the ring. With the last of his energy zapped, the beast didn’t get up and passed out from the hit.

Standing tall and proud, Shining Armor announced with as much resolve as he could muster, “Killing the manticore is wrong!!!”

The whole stadium gasps in astonishment before they started booing and throwing objects at him. Shining was a little astonished; he knew it was tradition to finish the manticore after a match, but he didn’t think that ponies would be this upset about it. He looked over at his father and saw him staring hard at him, showing nothing on his face. Shame washed through his being. He hated always disappointing his family. He loved his family and would never intentionally hurt them, but he just couldn’t do it.

In the roar of boos and yells, he heard a faint stomping, followed by a loud ‘BRAVO!’ He thought he was mistaken, it was so light compared to all of the hate, but it kept coming. Shining Armor knew who that voice belonged to, and he held onto it. He held on to the one voice of approval for his actions and treasured it, never letting go and keeping it close to him within this sea of hate.

When he didn’t hear his loves voice, he looked up to where she was and saw her being escorted out by her mother. Cadence looked back at Shining with sad eyes, but eventually was lead out. Prince Blueblood followed behind before locking eyes with Shining. His eyes said it all. He approved of Shining Armor’s choice, but he also knew what that choice cost him and he felt sadness for his friend like never before. Giving each other a nod, Prince Blueblood followed Cadence out, protecting her from the wave of restless ponies.

Shining Armor felt a small wave of peace, knowing that his best friends approved of his choice.

“Good-bye, Cadey.” He whispered before he was hit with a hard object in the head, knocking him out.


View Online

Shining Armor awoke with a grunt; his head pounding from the blow to his head. Eye’s fluttering open; Shining looked around to find himself in the now empty arena. Groaning at the pain in his head and the walk of shame he’d have to endure, he got off the ground only to find himself face to face with his father, and he didn’t look happy.

Shining Armor didn’t know what to say. This was supposed to be the day that he debuted into the manticore world as a Sparkle, and he blew it.

“Father, I’m sorry…” he began.

“Don’t you dare apologize, Shining! A Sparkle never apologizes!” His father barked, cutting him off.

Shining Armor’s fury slowly bubbled up, begging to be let out, but he forced himself to calm down out of the respect he does have for him. Choosing his world carefully, Shining spoke slowly, “If being a manticore fighter means killing it….then I’m never going to be one.” Shining stared down his father, not once breaking eye contact.

Night Light’s eye’s narrowed at his son’s declaration. Out of all the times her talked of him not wanting to do this, this was the one that made him pause. The unwavering conviction in his son’s eyes bore through him and kept him from saying anything.

" are never going to be a true Sparkle."

Shining Armor’s eyes stayed forward as Night Light walked right passed him, not acknowledging his presence and walked out of the arena.

Shining continued to stare ahead of him, not focusing on anything as his emotions seethed through his body. He was done. He was DONE!! He didn’t want to be a manticore fighter. He never has! He’s always wanted to defend the weak. Defend his friend and brother. Defend the one he loves. How dare he? HOW DARE HE belittle his dreams and try to make him something he was not.

With a his anger and frustration boiling out of him like molten lava, Shining Armor grabbed his sword that was still in the ground and pulled it out with a mighty heave, spraying dust all around him. Taking his sword in his mouth, he thrust his sword out in the air. With a swift rotation of the sword, he thrusts it in the opposite direction, wiping out imaginary enemies coming to slay him.

With each thrust and swing, Shining Armor defended himself against his invisble enemies, grunting in frustration with every thrust and swing. Every frustration, every angry thought, every single part of his body that held all his problems, he let them go, unaware of the unexpected visitors.

Discord chuckled as he watched Night Light walk away from his son. After he disgraced himself like that, there was no way that he could lose. He turned to his companion as she watched Shining Armor with a sullen gaze, watching him rip the sword out of the ground and started fighting his invisable enemies.

“I’m sorry to say this my dear, but it looks like I’m going to win this one!” Discord exclaimed, throwing confetti all around him while producing a party hat for himself and Fluttershy, who didn’t even flinch at Discord’s antics. After he gave air kisses to his imaginary audience, the confetti and party hats disappeared. “Let’s face it, that colt never really had a chance. But let’s face it, it was a good wager.” Discord held out his paw to Fluttershy, waiting for her to shake it and end this bet. Fluttershy ignored his paw as a small smile appeared on her face and whispered, “It’s not over.”

Coming quietly to the stadium entrance, Cadence peeked out onto the arena and saw Shining Armor, standing in the middle, swinging his sword. She sighed out a breath of relief. She was worried when she saw him get hit on the head and pass out. She tried to go back, but her mother prevented it; insisting that they would attend to him. She was glad she came back though, to make sure he was really alright. Cadence stepped forward to announce her presence when she stopped.

Shining Armor twirled his sword around, thrusting it to the side, where Shining Armor was now facing the entrance where she stood. Cadence stepped back into the darkness, not wanting to be seen by her friend. It was his eyes. His eyes that showed fierce determination and conviction that stopped her from showing herself.

Shining Armor swinging side to side, vanquishing his enemies, determine to keep them at bay. Trasfixed by the display, Cadence couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. This wasn’t like watching Blueblood when he was performing his sword show. No…when she watched Shining Armor, it was like she was watching him dance. The turns, the dodges, the elegance and yet, what she couldn’t stop watching was his face. His face of conviction. The determination that he was going to protect the ones he loved and not be knocked down. To stand up and fight for what’s right. A small smile appeared on Cadence face. This…this was the Shining that she knew.

Shining dodged left then right, getting out of the way from the invisible sword’s trying to harm him and his loved ones. He envisioned an enemy in front and behind him. With a deep grunt, he pushed off the ground sending him backwards and swinging his sword at the front enemy. Releasing his sword, his magic took over and he slew the enemy in the back, landing on his hooves and releasing the sword from his magic, catching it in his mouth once more.

Shining Armor panted around the hilt of the sword, exerted from all the fighting, both mentally and physically. He saw enemies surrounding him. Coming from all directions, leaving no room to escape or defend. He would never be able to escape, never get his family approval, never be good enough. With a deep cry of frustration, Shining Armor dug the sword once again into the ground. Panting hard from the exhaustion, Shining Armor shut his eyes tight and blocked out everything around him.

Cadence stood at the entrance, watching Shining Armor with a broken heart. She knew the pressure from his family and knew how much they meant to him. She hated to see him like this. She stepped out to go console him but was stopped by the call of her mother. She turned toward her voice then back at Shining Armor, who was finally composing himself. She wanted to go to him, but seeing that he was calming down she opted to go back. Shining Armor didn’t need to be seen in this state so she followed her mother’s voice and away from her dear friend, unbeknownst that his head turned toward her, wondering if she was just a dream.

The Party (Edited 7/9/2016)

View Online

Back at the house of Mayer Mare, a party was being thrown in honor of Cadence for returning home. Everypony was enjoying the festivities, including a certain decorated hero.

Blueblood was sitting at the table with Cadence, her mother, and the rest of the soldiers. Everyone was conversing back and forth, swapping stories and adventures that they have been on and plan to go on. As the conversation’s continued, Mayer Mare turned to Blueblood.

“So Prince Blueblood, how long are you staying in Ponyville?” she asked.

“Just for a few days, then I’m on the road again. Everypony always seem to need the help of a prince.” Blueblood chuckled out.

“Aw…that’s too bad. That’s such a short time. It’s such a shame that there’s nopony to keep you company. No family, or friends…or wife…” Mayor Mare added, eyes drifting lazily to her daughter. Cadence blushed and ushered an exaggerated sigh. She looked back at Blueblood and realized that he caught the gesture as well, keeping his gaze averted from her with a slight blush on his face.

Not wanting the awkwardness to continue, Cadence put a hoof on his shoulder, drawing his attention back to her. “Don’t worry about my mother; she’s just looking out for me.” She assured with a slight chuckle, with Blueblood visibly calming down, she changed hanging the subject. She gestured to the medals on his chest. “Wow, look at all your medals! I can’t even count them all.” She looks back at Blueblood with pride in her eyes, “You have had an amazing life, Blue.”

Blueblood’s chest welled with pride as he felt his face warm up from her compliment. The way she was looking at him now was how he always wanted to be looked at. Sure, he always got that look from everypony he knew, but to get it from the mare he loved was something else entirely. He never wanted to stop staring at her beautiful amethyst eyes that welled with pride.

Cadence looked down at his chest to look at all the different when she noticed one that was only halfway showing that looked like a green tornado. Wanting a closer look, she reached for the medal, “What’s this one f—“she started to ask when Blueblood suddenly stood up away from Cadence’s touch.

“It’s nothing!!” He belched as he stood up, tucking the medal back in the folds of his clothing. He can’t let her know. He can’t let anyone know that that medal is the only reason that he’s been so successful. That the bravery and strength that it took to save so many lives was because of that pin. He couldn’t let anypony know, especially her. If she found out, that look that he always wanted from her would go from pride to disappointment. He couldn’t let that happen.

Noticing that he was still standing and everypony was staring at him, Blueblood embarrassingly coughed into his hoof and took his seat. “I mean, this one is nothing compared to the other medals that I’ve earned.” He countered nervously. Seeing the wariness in Cadence’s gaze, Blueblood switched the subject. “But I want to talk about you. How was Canterlot?”

“Oh Blueblood, it was so inspiring.” Cadence excitedly exclaimed, previous scene forgotten. “The city is so beautiful. I only wished we could’ve seen each other. We were practically living right next to you.” She said sadly.

“I know. But rules are rules, and a prince’s job is never finished.” He sighed sadly. Wanting to keep listening to his love, he changed it to a cheerier topic. “What kind of things did you do in the city?”

“There was so much to do; I don’t think I would have done it all if it took me a lifetime! But all the museums, the books, the culture. It was so enlightening.”

“Wow, it sounds like you’ve learned so much.” Blueblood softened his gaze, “You are going to make some stallion really happy.”
Cadence smiled at him, eyebrow raised, “Oh really?”

“Well of course. Behind every great stallion, is a beautiful mare.”

Cadence’s smile dropped at his statement. “Excuse me?”

Blueblood looked at Cadence with confusion. “Um…”

“Is that how you see a mare?” she questioned.

Blueblood thought about what he just said and realized his mistake. “Oh! That’s—“

“That a mare just stands behind the stallion just to make him happy?”

“No! That’s not….what I mean is….” Blueblood didn’t know what to say. That wasn’t what he meant at all! But when he tried to explained, all that came out was nonsense.

Put off by Blueblood’s comment, Cadence closed her eyes and breathed in, hoof going to her chest and breathing out, extending her hoof; just like Twilight showed her. When she calmed down, she slowly stood up.

“I believe I have lost my appetite for the evening.” Blueblood, Mayer Mare and the soldiers stood up to escort her wherever she needed to go, but she waved them off. “No no, don’t get up. I’m just going upstairs to check up on Spike, my baby.” She spit out, stomping her hoof to the ground. “I need to be with a more mature companion. Goodnight.” And with that, she went up the stairs to her room, slamming the door behind her.

Blueblood watched her go with a heavy heart. She hasn’t even been back for a whole day and he already screwed up. Blueblood mentally slapped himself in the face for saying such a sexist comment. That wasn’t what he meant at all, but even he couldn’t deny that it sounded bad. Cadence is a headstrong feisty mare. Of course she would be upset. He gave a tiny grin. He had to admit though, that personality of hers is what makes her amazing.

“You picked a feisty on for yourself, sir.” One of the soldiers commented, earning a laugh from the rest of the group.

Determined to do what he could to apologize, Blueblood stood up and walked away; deciding that he would let her cool off before he went to apologize. But not before he punched the soldier in the face.

Roof-top Seranade

View Online

“It’s not that bad! I mean, who wants to go to that stupid party anyway?” Rainbow Dash bellowed, flying next to Shining Armor and Flash Sentry down the darkened street.

Shining Armor had his head down as he continued to sulk. Sighing for what seemed like the hundredth time, he wondered once again where his life went wrong. He was already feeling bad about disappointing his family, now he learns that he wasn’t invited to Cadence’s welcome home party. Not only did he disappoint his family, he disappointed the entire town; and he wouldn’t be able to see Cadence to welcome her home.

“Everypony in town apparently?” Flash Sentry deadpanned.

“Well than everypony is stupid!” Rainbow Dash huffed, giving Flash Sentry a raspberry.

Sigh. “Not only did I lose the whole town, I might as well have lost Cadence. Blueblood will have the whole night to woo her and sweep her off her hooves…” Shining Armor sulked.

“Come on now, you’re not giving Cadence enough credit.” Flash Sentry consoled, putting his arm around Shining Armor. “From what you’ve told me, Cadence doesn’t sound like the type of mare to easily be swept off her hooves. Do you?”

Shining Armor thought about Cadence, I mean really thought about her. She wasn’t like the other mares around here. Before he became a disgrace to Ponyville, mares would always be willing to easily throw themselves at him; same with Blueblood. But Cadence was different. She was strong, independent, and kindhearted. She never relied on anypony to take care of herself or others. And she would never fall for cheap tricks or words to woo her.

“Don’t worry about Prince Blueblood, Shining.” Rainbow Dash cut in, pulling him out of his thoughts. “All you need is some sweet moves and a whole bunch of awesomeness!” And with that, Rainbow Dash starts performing acrobatic tricks in the air; zipping back and forth, doing back flips and front flips leaving a rainbow streak behind her.

“I can’t fly, Rainbow.” Shining Armor pointed out, making Rainbow Dash halt mid-flight. A blush slowly formed on her face as she slowly descended down to the ground.

“I knew that!” she shuddered out. “I merely meant you should do the flightless version of awesome stunts. That’s all!”

Cadence laid down on her bed, flipping through one of her many books. But it was useless, she was barely paying attention to the words on the page. That comment that Blueblood made just completely made her mad! I mean, what kind of comment was that!? No stallion was going to make her just some housewife that stood in the background.

Her anger faded little by little as she thought more about Blueblood. He may be prideful, but he wasn’t a jerk. He even tried to explain himself, but she was too angry to hear any of it. Maybe she over reacted.

“You didn’t overact.” A voice interrupted. The edge of her bed shifted as her dragon, Spike, climbed on. Of course a bit older now than when he was first given to her, Spike now stood up to Cadence’s chest and helped her out with anything she needed.

“I know that look. You’re thinking that you were too hard on Prince Blueblood for that comment, but you didn’t. That comment was rude and he totally deserved it!” Spike declared, crossing his arms.

Cadence couldn’t help but chuckle. Spike was always there to help her. Whether it was to help her with her studies or her personal problems, he was always there to lend a helping claw. Pulling him into a tight hug, Cadence nuzzled his face. “Thanks Spike. You’re right, maybe I didn’t overreact.”

Spike hugged her back, glad to lift her out of her sour mood. The mood was interrupted though by a buzzing noise coming from outside. Spike broke away from the hug and hurried over to the window to see what the commotion was all about. As he looked down, he saw a cyan pegasus with rainbow hair and main buzzing back and forth and landing in front of two dark blue mane stallions, one with a white coat and another orange.

Spike instantly recognized the white stallion. He might have been small, but he does have brief memory flashes of him. Plus Cadence told me that he was given to her by him.

“I think your other stallion is here.” Spike commented over his shoulder. Cadence instantly perked up. Shining was here? She heard that her mother didn’t invite him to her welcome party after the bull fight fiasco; a decision she argued with her mother about, by the away. But she couldn’t help but feel her heart lift with the thought of Shining being right outside.

She would never admit this to anyone, heck she barely admitted it to herself, but she’s always had a small crush on him. Sure, she loved both boys with all her heart, but with Shining there was always something different; something more. But she was still figuring it out. She never let herself fall any further ever since she realized that Shining Armor would sacrifice his own self for his family’s honor. She always felt disappointment. But after the bull fight today, she saw that he wasn’t willing after all. With that came a new warm feeling in her heart.
Gingerly getting off her bed, Cadence walked up behind Spike and looked outside her window at the ponies below, curious of the antics they were up to.

“I’m not doing it.” Shining Armor declared, stomping his hoof in emphasis.

“Yes you are. You need to march in there and show her the kind of stallion you’ve become.” Flash Sentry pushed.

“Don’t you remember? I wasn’t invited. Besides, I’m not ready to face the town just yet. I can’t even think to try to talk to Cadence while I’ve got the whole town staring me down…”

“Who cares what the others think!?” Rainbow Dash boomed. “You need to go in there and show’em whose boss!”

“Rainbow, this isn’t a tussle. This requires delicacy and tact.” Flash Sentry tried to explain, but of course Rainbow Dash wasn’t listening.

“Delicacy, smellicacy. She needs to go in there and show Blueblood and the rest of Ponyville that he is a force to be reckoned with!”

Shining Armor watched them go back and forth trying to decide how to go in there…even though he doesn’t have any intention of going to the party at all. As he stared off into space, he realized that they ended up in front of the mayors house, with the party still going on inside. He couldn’t help but let out another sigh. He wondered what Cadence was doing inside. Was she enjoying herself? How much has Blueblood turned the tables in his favor? Did she even care if he was there…?

Something in the up window caught his eye. On a closer look, he realized that Cadence was peeking out, along with the green dragon that he gave her as children.

Realizing that she had been caught, Cadence came into better view of him. Giving her a small smile, Shining Armor turned to his friends. “Hey guys, do mind if you give me a minute?”

Both Rainbow Dash and Flash Sentry stopped their arguing to stare at their friend. When Shining Armor indicated to Cadence’s window, both pegusi slowly grinned in understanding and non-discreetly hid behind a nearby building to watch. Rolling his eyes at his friends antics, Shining Armor approached her window.

“You know, it’s impolite not to be at your own party.” He chuckled up at her.

“Well, let’s just say that the company was starting to get a little stale.” She replied back in good humor.

A small silence was put between them. After all these years and under this predicament, they didn’t exactly know what to say.

Wondering what else to say, he noticed purple and green scales poking out the corner of the window.

“Is that Spike?”

Cadence looked down at Spike and motioned him to show himself. Hesitating for a moment, Spike finally let his presence be known.

“Hey kiddo. Remember me at all?” Shining Armor shouted up.

“A little…I don’t remember much.” Spike answered shyly.

“Cadence didn’t torture you too much, did she?”

“Well I never!” Cadence shouted, but her humor betrayed her words.

Spike laughed along with them before he answered. “I was treated fine. I have a really awesome life with Cadence.” Smiling warmly at Cadence, he decided that he overstayed his welcome.

“Well, I better make sure that your schedule for tomorrow is in order. I’ll leave you two alone.” And with that, he quickly made is escape.

Finally having some alone time, Cadence turned back to Shining Armor. “Are you okay?”

Shining Armor raised his eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“What you did today…it was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen. But…I also know what that cost you. So…are you okay?"

Shining Armor was about to tell her that he was just fine, when he realized that his feelings isn’t something he wants to lie about. Not with her…never with her.

“No…I’m not alright. I’ve disappointed everyone. They all believed in me and now…” he couldn’t continue without a big pressure build up in his chest.

Cadence felt herself tearing up. She hated seeing him at war with himself.

“Hang on, Shining, I’m coming right down. Stay right there!” and with that, she trotted out of her room, Spike smiling as he watched her.


View Online

Shining Armor watched Cadence disappear from her window. His heart was aglow. Spreading through his whole body like molten lava under the earth’s crust. He felt nothing but relief. When he wasn’t invited to the party, he was so sure he wouldn’t get to see her tonight and he’d never get to see her. It was only by chance that he’d be at her window while she was there too. I don’t know if it’s fate or pure coincidence, but whatever it was, it was on his side.

“Congratulations, Shining.” Flash Sentry greeted as he came walking up behind him. Rainbow Dash joined him.

“I guess it was too much to ask for privacy?” Shining Armor inquired.

“Yes.” Rainbow Dash answered seriously.

Shaking his head in disbelief, he headed closer to the door to wait for Cadence.

“What are you doing?” Rainbow Dash inquired, gliding closer to Shining.

“Waiting for Cadence.” Shining Armor answered.

“I get that, but why are you waiting for her out here?”

“Because she asked me to wait here.”

“Yeah, but why?”

“…..I don’t see where you’re going with this…”

“You should go and meet her in there! Not wait out here like a wimp.” Rainbow Dash crossed her arms as she floated there glaring at him.

“For once, Rainbow Dash has a point.” Flash Sentry spoke up. “You can’t just expect everything to come to you. You need to get off your rump and go get her.”

“…Guys, she’s coming right down…” Shining Armor responded hesitantly.

“Too slow.” Rainbow Dash countered and if on cue both she and Flash Sentry each grabbed a side of his arms and lifted him up into the air.

“What the-what are you guy’s doing?” Shining Armor yelled as he was being lifted into the air and right to the front door of the house.

“Giving you a little push. Good luck!” Flash answered, and with that they both threw Shining Armor through the front door.

Cadence ran out of her room, hoping she wouldn’t keep Shining Armor waiting. She was excited to be in company of someone so refreshing. She wouldn’t admit it, not even to herself, but she always had a crush on him when they were fillies. And even though they’ve been apart for years, her heart still did a small backflip whenever she thought about him. He was always so honest, and always spoke from his heart.

She knew of the boy’s rivalry. She wasn’t blind. She knew that they’ve always had a crush on her, but she wasn’t focused on things like that when she was a filly. There was no need. But now that they were all older, the crushes never went away. In fact, she’s pretty sure they’ve gotten stronger the longer they were all apart. And now that they were all older, the feelings were more forward. She knew that Blueblood was going to try to do something soon. She could see it in his eyes.

Thinking about Blueblood ignited her earlier fire in her chest, but it was a small fire; a fire that was easily quenched. She knew that the comment he made earlier wasn’t what he meant. I guess she was a little irritated that he would say something like that with so much confidence. She knew he wasn’t like that. Blueblood was cocky and boastful, but he is never sexist nor unfair. He was a hero. And as much as he’s a little bit of an arrogant hero, he’s a good pony at heart.

As she got to the end of the stairs, she ended up bumping into Blueblood. A look of surprised crossed both of their faces before Blueblood’s face turned serious. “I’m sorry.”

Cadence was taken back for a moment, curious about what he was talking about until she realized he was talking about the conversation earlier.

“It’s okay, Blue. It’s me who should be sorry. I know that’s not what you meant when you said it. I overreacted.”

Relieved that he was forgiven, Blueblood gave a small smile and Cadence returned it. Blueblood’s heart beat frantically at the smile that she was giving him. It worried him so much that Cadence might not have forgiven him and would look at him differently. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want that all.

“Cadence, about what I said before, I want you to know what I really meant.” Blueblood started, feeling the need to be clear with her. “When I said that, I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was…” he hesitated; feeling like the breath was being taken from him, his blood rushing to his face. “I meant that every stallion deserves someone as beautiful, smart, and amazing as you are…and that any stallion you end up with…will be the luckiest stallion in Equestria…”

Cadence could feel her face heating up from Blueblood’s explanation. She could see the way he was looking at her, and she knew that he was hoping that that lucky stallion would be him. Without warning, she could feel her heart thumping faster. Blueblood may be a bit arrogant, but she always knew that he was a kind pony at heart and was a good stallion. She knew that the feelings for her were genuine and that he meant every single word he said. She couldn’t help but get lost in his sky blue eyes as he looked at her that way.

All of sudden, an image of Shining Armor below her window flashed in her mind and as quickly as it came, the connection snapped and she was once again aware of her surroundings. That’s right! Shining Armor was waiting for her! She focused on Blueblood again, confusion wafting through her body. The emotion she felt just moments ago swishing her back and forth. She’s never felt this feeling with Blueblood before, and it confused her.

She was about to turn around and head for the door when a sudden burst sounded throughout the room. The front doors were swung open and floating there was Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash, looking a little sheepish. But it was what they threw in the door that made everyone stop what they were doing and look at the intruder.

Laying there on the floor was a confused and slightly dizzy Shining Armor. He didn’t get up right away, but when he did, he started uneasily to where Cadence and Prince Blueblood stood. Still feeling a little dizzy from the sudden throw and crash from his friends, he draped his arm around Blueblood and gave a wobbly, “Hey, what’s going on?”

Both Cadence and Blueblood gave each other looks of confusion before they both focused on Shining Armor again.

“Shining, I told you to wait outside.” Cadence scolded, helping Shining Armor stand up straighter.

The dizziness finally wearing off, Shining Armor gives a shake of his head before giving a glare to the two pegasus that were still floating outside.

“Didn’t have much of a choice…”

Prince Blueblood watched the exchange with bewilderment. Then it hit him like a bucket of ice; Shining Armor was waiting for her outside, and Cadence was going to go meet him. They were going to be alone with each other!

A pang of jealousy ran through his blood stream lit up so fast like fire on top of oil. He couldn’t help but roughly pull Shining away from Cadence and pointed a hoof at him.

“Wait, was he asking you out?” Blueblood questioned Cadence.

Startled by his abruptness, Shining Armor duct out from under Blueblood’s arm and could only answer a confused, “What?”

Cadence’s face turned red with the thought that she immediately looked down. “I-I don’t think so…were you going to?” She asked looking up, a little too hopefully for Blueblood’s liking.

Shining Armor couldn’t help but let out an uncertain “Um...” He felt nothing but silly. Here he was, in front of the girl he loves and all he can say is one syllable words.

Before he could say anything else, it was interrupted by Blueblood’s chuckle as he threw his arm around Shining Armor once again.

“You know I love you, buddy, but Cadence and I were in the middle of an intimate moment. And as much as I want to hang out with you, I’m gonna have to ask that you come back a little later.” He persuaded, using a small amount of force to guide Shining Armor away from Cadence. Seeing what he was doing, Shining Armor once again duct out from under Blueblood’s arm.

“I didn’t see Cadence asking me to leave. I think I’ll wait with you, and then Cadence and I can continue our earlier plans…alone.” Shining Armor countered, giving a soft glare to Blueblood.

Blueblood returned the glare. “I honestly don’t think it would be safe for Cadence to go out with just you. Bandits attack without warning around here. If you can’t even finish a manticore, how do you think you could protect her from them?”

Shining Armor felt like he was just punched in the stomach. Blueblood knew of Shining Armor’s dream. To one day stand by his friend as his loyal guard and protect him. He knew exactly what he was saying…and he was hurt. A small flame of anger and irritation ignited in Shining Armor’s breast. If that’s how you want to play…

Blueblood felt immediate panic after that statement left his lips. He didn’t show it, but he knew. He saw Shining Armor’s eye’s betray surprise, then hurt. He knew Shining Armor’s dream, and out of jealousy, he couldn’t stop himself from jabbing him in some way. He didn’t believe in what he said, but it was said. Pride would not let him apologize. Instead he stood his ground and continued to glare at Shining Armor. He wasn’t surprised at all when his eyes went from hurt, to anger.

“Well excuse me. But I would think that someone with my training and reflexes would be better suited in protecting Cadence instead of a stallion that will never live up to his father’s name.” Shining Armor sneered.

Another mental punch was thrown was thrown into the argument, making Blueblood take an involuntary step back. He knew it was coming. He dealt the first blow and was expecting one in return, and yet it still hurt hearing his best friend say it.

Cadence watched her two best friends back and forth. She was horrified by what she was hearing. They’ve been best friends since colthood, and yet they were saying such things to each other; things both of them knew would intentionally hurt them. She could see the anger and hurt they were emanating. She was about to step in when she caught blue and yellow auras on both side and she gasp. Shining Armor and Blueblood were drawing their weapons. She looked at their faces and she knew they were serious. They fully intended on using them.

“Stop it!” Cadence finally shouted. “You both are acting like fools.”

It didn’t seem like either of them were listening. She was ignored as they both got their swords ready. Hooves planted firmly on the ground, Blueblood, barely above a whisper, coaxed Shining Armor. “Come at me…brother.”

Shining Armor grinned at his taunt. He wanted a fight…he was going to get it.

With a soft laugh, Shining Armor started forward. Seeing his cue, Blueblood copied, raising his sword ready to strike. Reacting on instinct, Cadence grabbed a nearby solder’s sword with her hoof and ran to the middle of the fight. Just as Shining Armor’s and Blueblood’s sword were about to meet, Cadence threw her sword in the middle, blocking their attack. Acting swiftly, she struck her sword up, making both of their swords to be released from their magic hold. With a strong gust of wind she created with her wings, she sent the swords out of the friend’s magical reach.

Both Shining Armor and Blueblood was so stunned by what just happened, that they momentarily forgotten their dual and stared at Cadence. Sword still in hoof, Cadence took on their stared. “They taught fencing at the academy.” She stated, answering their unspoken question.

The room grew quiet. Unbeknownst to the small group, they attracted the attention of the whole party. The group held their breath as they waited to see what would happen next.

Shining Armor and Blueblood went back to glaring at each other. Neither backing down, they could only stare at each other in anger fueled by hurt. Finally Blueblood was the first to speak.

“Guess we’ll settle this another time.”

Shining Armor grinned at his challenge. “Anytime, anywhere.”

Cadence couldn’t help but deflate and give a tired, “Really guy’s?”

Saying what needed to be said, Blueblood started heading for the doors. He couldn’t be there any longer. Not while Shining Armor was still there. He was about to step out when the door was slammed opened, causing the whole room to look towards the noise.

In the doorway stood three fillies; an orange pegasus with a purple pixie cut hair, a yellow earth filly with a red mane and a pink bowtie, and the other was a white unicorn with a curly pink and purple mane. They all looked out of breath. After what seemed like hours of them trying to catch their breath, finally, at the top of their lungs all three of them screamed.


I Will Protect You

View Online

The room was silent for approximately three seconds before the room erupted into screams of terror. Every pony started running to find the closest place to hide from the approaching bandits. Even the soldiers who initially protect the town were also running for cover; any training they ever had was immediately forgotten, replaced by their fear.

Except for Blueblood. He stared through the double doors the three fillies ran through, letting the situation sink in. The moment the shock wore off, he started running forward; shoving through ponies as they rushed around him.

Shining Armor, feud momentarily forgotten, saw Blueblood run out the door and moved to follow him.

“Stay here.” He ordered to Cadence as he picked up his sword in his magic.

“Like Celestia I will!” she scoffed as she flew beside him.

Shining Armor didn’t have time argue with her. Even though he was worried about her getting hurt, in the back of his mind, he knew Cadence could take care of herself. Besides, there was no way he would let any of the bandits get near her.

“Mother, lock the doors behind us! Make sure nopony gets through!” She yelled as she and Shining Armor raced out the door.

“Cadence, wait!” Mayor Mare yelled after her daughter, but Shining Armor used his magic to slam the doors shut.

Shining Armor and Cadence surveyed the area. In the far distance they could see the bandits heading towards the town. Around the town they could see the townsponies running for cover, locking their doors and windows. Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash were ushering the ponies into safe locations, gathering lost children into the arms of their loved ones, and making sure that everyone was safe and secure. As they kept looking they noticed Blue Blood at the edge of the town square, waiting for the bandits to arrive.

Shining Armor and Cadence stopped next to him, watching the bandits approach.

“Shining, can you create a force field around the town?” Blue Blood asked, not taking his eyes off the approaching threat.

“Over the whole town!?” Shining Armor exclaimed, looking at him like he grew an extra head. “It’s difficult to shield a whole building, let alone a whole town!”

“Shields are kinda your thing, Shining. Can’t you at least try?”

Shining Armor took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I can try.”

He stepped in front Blue Blood and Cadence, so the only thing he could see and concentrate on is the bandits.

His horn began to glow as he thought of all the people he was trying to protect. His family, Mayor Mare, the townsponies, Blueblood. Cadence. He could feel the magic flowing through his veins, traveling until they reached his horn; his magic responding to one thing and one thing only:

I will protect them.

A dark pink bubble started to form around his horn and started to grow, soon covering him and his friends as it continued to spread outward. As the bubble grew, so did the amount of magic needed. He was soon covering the whole town square and it continued to get bigger.

Shining Armor has never put a shield around anything bigger than a house, and it was starting to show. He could feel sweat covering is face, his knees threatened to break as he dug his hooves into the ground.

I will protect them. I will protect them. I will protect them. I will-

“It is your turn to continue the tradition.”

His magic shield wavered as his father’s voice invaded his thoughts. He shook his head as he concentrated back on the shield.

“It’s in your blood son, it’s your destiny.”

His bubble wavered again as another intrusive thought broke through Shining Armor’s concentration. All Shining Armor wanted to do was stand by Blueblood’s side and protect the ponies he loved; protect Cadence.

“If you can’t even finish a manticore, how do you think you could protect her from them?”

And just like that, the bubble popped. Shining Armors magic depleted in an instant making him sink to the ground in exhaustion.

“Shining!” Cadence screamed as she and Blueblood ran beside him, checking to make sure he was okay.

Cadence gathered him in his arms as labored breathes were pushed out of him. Blueblood was too concerned with Shining Armors well-being to get jealous over the fact the Cadence was cradled him in her arms……for the most part.

Shining Armor was breathing hard. He felt like he wasn’t taking in enough air as he breathed. He took a moment between breathes to say, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay Shining. I’ll take care of them.” He vowed, getting up from Shining Armor and Cadences side; removing his coat and his sword.

Shining Armor tried to get up to join Blueblood, seeing him not even take his sword with him. “I’m coming too.” But before Shining Armor could get up, he was shoved back down by Blueblood.

“You’ve done what you can. It’s my turn now. I can do this without you.” And with that, Blueblood started heading towards the approaching bandits.

Pain pierced his chest at Bluebloods dismissal of him and his abilities.

The bandits approached the town square. At this point, all of the townsfolk have taken cover and locked themselves in their homes so when they finally arrived, the only ones to greet them were Prince Blueblood, Shining Armor and Cadence.

The bandits consisted of Diamond Dogs of all shape and sizes. Their different shades of grey were decorated in jeweled covered collars and vests. The bigger Diamond Dogs were plated in armor; from their chest pieces to their spiked helmets.

The smallest Diamond Dog stepped forward with a scroll in his hand. Blueblood tensed as he came forward and stopped only a few paces away.

“I’m not surprised. This town is filled with nothing but cowards. But being cowards is what’s keeping these ponies alive.” The little Diamond Dog cackled, earning a few hearty laughs from the remaining bandits. At the end of his cackle, he unfolded the scroll he was carrying. “We have a new list of demands from our boss, King of the Bandits, Tirek! If you cooperate with these demands, the destruction of your little town will be minimal.”

Blueblood could only shake his head in pity. “I am Prince Blueblood, son of The Great Time Turner, Ruler of Canterlot. I’m giving you one chance to turn around and leave peacefully. They’re will not be another one.”

The small dog could only chuckle at the threat. “Boris. Show this stallion who he’s threatening.”

One of the giant armored dogs came forward and stood in front of Blueblood and proceeded to crack its neck.

Blueblood smirked in amusement.

Not liking his reaction, Boris raised his hands in a fist, and slammed them towards him.

Without flinching, Blueblood raised his hooves and blocked his fists; holding them up as Boris struggled against his resistance. Blueblood continued to hold them up until the next second when he suddenly removed his hooves from his fists; the lack of resistant making Boris surge forward. In that moment of distraction, Blueblood jumped in the air, front flipping till his back hooves pounded in the back of his head; knocking Boris out.

When he looked up at the faces of the surprised Diamond Dogs, he grinned; eyes challenging them to try again.

Challenge accepted.

“Get him!” The leader yelled at the remaining bandits.

Not a moment later they were surrounding him, but Blueblood didn’t look impressed. He could feel the warmth of the hidden pendant giving him the strength he needed to protect his friends. He looked back at Cadence and Shining Armor, who seemed to have recovered from his earlier magic drain. He couldn’t help but let out a relieved breath, glad to see Shining Armor okay. No matter what ill will is between them, Blueblood would always wish that his friends were safe.

Weight off his chest at seeing both his colthood friends okay, he couldn’t help but wink at Cadence. In which Cadence couldn’t help but roll her eyes, letting out a small chuckle at his antics.

Not a moment after he put his attention back on the bandits did they decide to come at him at once. Blueblood dodged them all with ease; sending out punches and kicks without breaking a sweat. Any blows the were landed on him he recovered like nothing touched him. The bandits were starting to realize that they were being torn apart one by one. As he watched his men fall, the leader yelled for a retreat. The bandits didn’t hesitate in their retreat; realizing that they didn’t stand a chance.

The leader hesitated in his retreat, eyes narrowing at Blueblood. Blueblood glared back, his posture strong sure. They knew what they happened if they tried again.

With one last growl, the smaller Diamond dog retreated with the others.

The square was silent for a full two seconds before the ponyfolk came out of their hiding places, shouting in praise, happiness and relief. They surrounded the three friends, but mostly gave their praise to Blueblood.

Mayor Mare pushed her way to the trio, running to her daughter to strangle her in a hug.

“Cadence! Are you alright!? Are you hurt!?” she fretted, pulling out of the embrace to check her daughter over.

Cadence couldn’t help but smile gently at her mother’s obvious worry. “I’m okay, Mother. Everything is alright.” She assured. She turned to Blueblood, “Blueblood was amazing in protecting the town.” Shining Armor couldn’t help but agree.

“He really is amazing.” He grinned at Blueblood in support.

Blueblood couldn’t help but smile back at the compliment, knowing that Shining Armor meant it. He couldn’t help but turn to Cadence; courage and adrenaline making himself feel a bit cocky.

“Now that the danger has passed, may I ask for a night stroll through the town to make sure it is okay, Miss Cadenza?”

She was about to answer yes, never wanting to turn down being with her colthood friend after all these years, but in her peripheral, she saw Shining Armor and remembered what they were planning to do before the bandits.

“What about-“she didn’t get to finish her sentence. Shining Armor saw the look in her eyes and knew exactly what she was thinking. He plastered on a smile he didn’t feel.

“I’m okay Cadence. My magic from the shield drained me. I’m going to just go home and rest.” Shining Armor assured.

Cadence didn’t look appeased, but nodded her head in understanding and walked away with Blueblood; asking him about his medals.

After they departed, the ponyfolk started to disperse, heading back to their homes happy that the danger had passed. Soon it was only Shining Armor standing alone in the square; Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash hung back wanting to comfort their friend but not sure how.

If he was telling the truth, he didn’t know if he COULD be comforted. He messed up. He had the chance to protect the town and everypony he loved, and he failed. The emotional turmoil he has had in the last twelve hours was catching him off guard, constantly banging around his head about a destiny he didn’t want, his doubt and the lack of faith others had in him; yet finding nothing to show that those voices were wrong.

“I can do this without you.”

He wasn’t lying when he told them he was drained, but it wasn’t his magic that was completely drained.

An hour or two away was an underground cave that was the home of the bandits and their King. A small Diamond Dog approached the King’s quarters. He hesitated for a few moments, working up the courage before he knocked on the door.

“Enter.” A deep voice responded on the other side.

The small dog entered after a moment of hesitation. At the center of the room stood a tall creature, dark cloak covered his figure, but his posture and presence radiated power and strength. The dog couldn’t help but quiver in his presence.

“It must be something important to come before me after I learned of your failure at Ponyville.” The creature calmly spoke. “Either that or your too stupid for your own good.”

The Diamond Dog couldn’t help but gulp in fear. It took him a few tries but he finally was able to grab enough courage to tell him what he learned.

“King Tirek, I have found the location of the Medal of Everlasting Life.”