If you're disrupted out of your own world, how would you make the best of it?
Robert is suddenly dropped into a world with no Earthly problems and no Earthly idea on how to proceed except with a very fateful run in for both him and ponykind. Robert goes on a long journey to self-realize his own dream he never knew he had and to realize a better Equestria.
This is just an attempt at a HiE fic done with actually decent skills now.
There I was, weapons strapped on, gladius in hand and two pegasus unicorn things in front of me in their throne room. I didn't think one afternoon of losing progress in a game meant meeting the rulers of a different world.
"State your name."
I didn't have to answer to that. Did I? That blue one was very demanding, even when I said I would come peacefully and on my terms. Damn, did she have a deep voice.
"You could be a little nicer about it. My name is..."
I could rewrite myself, here, now. I could be whoever I wanted.
"Speak up, please, we didn't hear you."
The white one was a lot nicer, maybe more graceful and ladylike. But the blue one demanded respect and attention, I guess I could respect her for that in some odd way.
"Sif, my name is Sif," I answered. A fitting name given all that I revere.
"Sif, tell us your side of the story if you would."
Still pleasant and kind. Most rulers would have given off a deceptive vibe, but she didn't, she was genuine in her kindness. It was like she knew I was on the cliffside of being a rabid beast, ferality looking tempting in the corner they forced me into.
"Why should we listen to what he has to say? He attacked Twilight! He left such a wound on her and Rainbow Dash!" The blue one didn't like me much, or she just had the anger of every pro-pacifism genius who had their inventions and knowledge mistreated for little gain in mass annihilation.
"Luna, we should at least hear him out. He's clearly not from around here and may have been scared and acted in self-preservation. You should know all about second chances," the blue, Luna, visibly cringed and looked to the floor with some remorse at the white one's words.
The guards had their stoic faces, I couldn't run out of here now, they would surely stop me. Maybe I could take a hostage, then I would have to make it through the entire city. I couldn't manage that, I'd have to hide and with how remarkable I look among these horse things, I couldn't slip away at all. I would have to rely on the silver tongue I smelted.
"I...I'll start with telling the truth. The blue...pegasus?" I asked.
"Yes, Rainbow Dash." The white responded.
"She charged at me, calling me a monster. She had the look that foretold a future of pain for me, so I had to act quickly. That's why I slashed at her the way I did."
"I suppose that does sound like Rainbow Dash," Luna commented.
"And soon after, Twilight came to her aid and I had to close in and get her to stop her attacks, I thought an easily recoverable stab to her side would incapacitate her. I was wrong, so now I was fighting both of them, then an orange one showed up and I knew I couldn't handle all three of them, so I ran...and then you found me at my home," there was my explanation, "I needed to find food, I wasn't catching anything or finding anything to forage in the woods, so I had to travel out. The town meant I could find people like me, but...this isn't my world anymore."
"Celestia, I apologize. You were right, he was only acting in self-preservation," Luna apologized, maybe insincerely.
"We all make mistakes, sister. Everypony is always forgiven," now they were revealing who they were.
"Is there any way I could help you two out? I'd like to bury the hatchet," I had to get on good terms with the rulers, the mountain movers. They might be able to help me home.
"Well, you said you were from another world, yes? We need to find you a way home. Your family must be worried about you," Celestia interjected, already offering the aid I wanted.
"Actually, there is something for you to do. You obviously look the warrior type. A bugbear has been scouting the outskirts of the town you were in. You'll know it when you see it. Meanwhile, my sister and I will attend to finding you a way home, you don't look like the magical sort, anyway," Luna added.
"Consider that bugbear slain. And if that was an attack on my intelligence, I can't wait to prove you wrong," I turned around and began my trek out of the throne room.
"Guards, prepare a chariot for his transport in front of the castle, immediately," Luna yet again. I wasn't sure if she knew my truest desire or just wanted to get me killed. Instead of a pony, she should be a Sphinx.
"You don't have to do that, Sif!" Celestia called.
"I want to," I mumbled on my walk out, one of the guards rushing past me quickly while I went down the empty large halls, enjoying the quiet solitude. What the hell was a bugbear anyway?
"So that is a bugbear."
The bee, bear creature was flying around the town rather quickly, and the ponies were hiding in their homes again, but from me. They didn't see the chimeric insect in front of me. I drew my gladius, this would be an upfront and close battle. The thing had the paws of a bear for four limbs, the stinger of a bee, and coated in black and white stripes of fur. It’s red, composite eyes stuck out to me as my target.
I rotated my shoulders and jumped on my feet, preparing a battle stance with the open palm of my left hand. The bugbear was close, and it looked like it wanted me as its first victim, roaring and staring at me, the last thing moving outside other than it. Perfect. The bee wings buzzed faster and beat inside my head while it charged at me.
“Alright, Robert,” I took in a few deep breaths, “ala iacta est. Ala iacta est.”
The bugbear came down on me, landing and attempting to already crush me with its paws. First brush across the canvas, my painting will be done by my hands now.
I moved back and slashed in at its left arm, cutting well enough through the hide that green blood spattered over the grass.
“Ala iacta est!” I shouted and slashed again at the other before I slashed horizontally out on the same arm, a lot harder and faster.
My fingers tightened around the handle and I severed deep into the bears arm, cutting crucial muscles by simple luck. I felt the blade bounce off something hard, bone. A bloodied white skeleton peeked at me from behind the fur.
I forced the gladius back and gained courage at my own feat, ignoring the bugbear’s actions. It was tall and I would never reach those eyes alive unless I wore it down. The beast was already roaring loudly in pain and even more when I dug my gladius past his exoskeleton and into his chest, sinking it in with my left hand on the handle and my palm on the pommel to push my new life to me. I backed away quick, my senses coming over my courage and my gladius letting green blood pour from my foe’s wounds.
“He’s attacking it! He’s trying to defeat the bugbear!” My eyes flashed to Rainbow Dash in the air above me, hiding atop a cloud and the windows around me cracked, eyes peeking at me.
My chest exhaled, but not by me. The bear took his chance and slammed the back of his right paw into me, knocking me on my ass. I couldn’t fail before I started. I stood, winded and trying to get my breath back in me. I rotated around the creature to my right, staying near its disabled limb.
It charged me, rushing with its teeth ready to sink into my neck. One ballsy move led me home with my gladius into its eye.
“Alright, fate. I threw my dice and I think I win this round,” I breathed out, letting my gladius go and heaving the beast off from my trapped body.
I stood, with the bugbear dead before me, green liquid seeping out of its head. The insect blood pooled around its head, staining the grass a lighter color. I pulled my gladius free from its skull and wiped it off on its fur before sheathing it. I could feel its blood on my shirt, like thick mud.
"Holy cow!" I heard Rainbow Dash again.
"Did...did he just defeat a bugbear?" That was Twilight.
"I did...holy shit. I did! I fucking did it!" I reveled and threw my fist into the air a few times, yelling in victory with a grin on my face.
A golden chariot, the same that dropped me off from the air, soon landed nearby, guards of the princesses staring me down with intent, I began to walk to them, losing my mildly childish celebration to take on a professional look.
"Who are you?" The two ponies were trailing me.
"R-Sif. I am Sif."
"You are sooooo awesome!" That pegasus was now peppy about me. Ponies began to slowly come outside their homes.
"I did what I was sent to do,” different me, maybe a more serious me, a Sif, came out.
I boarded the chariot looking to the two guards, "we’ll take you back to Canterlot to see the princesses," the left guard announced.
"Nicely done, I've never seen anypony fight like you do," the right guard voiced out his opinion.
"Well, he isn't a pony...we don't know what he is," the other answered his open ended statement, “but whatever he is, he is impressive.
“Let’s get on back,” I ignored their rude acknowledgement of me and the two pegasi took to flight, carrying the chariot with me in it back to the castle.
"Wait, you...you were sucessful in killing the bugbear?" Luna was surprised. My assumption was right.
"Were you trying to send me to my death? I wanted to prove myself and you gave me the chance to do it," I scoffed.
"Sif, you are rather...formidable. I heard reports you fight rather differently," Celestia was taking charge in our verbal battle now.
"I fight with...maybe more fight than your guards,” after all this time of waiting in the vestibule while the guards reported, I still had to boast some, “I’d like to talk to you two in private, please.”
"Very well, I think he's earned at least that," Luna smirked. I may have won her favor, "guards, please leave us."
And like that, the eight guards left the throne room, shutting the giant door behind them, making a fast trot, but not a gallop.
I sighed out, "this decision is entirely yours," I began to walk up to them on their pedestal, the ramp making it far too easy, "I'd like to stay, I know I'd be leaving my home behind forever but I have no problem picking up and starting again. I failed back home, in such a big way that my family would be disgraced. I'd rather stay here and-,"
"Sif, we hardly know you," Celestia interrupted while I was three fourths of the way up, "and we-," the decision was theirs to make, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to really influence it.
"You can get to know me. Like I was saying, I'd rather stay here and serve you both. I'd be pledging myself to you as your own blade to do your work. To protect, to solve issues others can't, to do the harder, the more difficult, the more gruesome tasks. It didn't look like many of the ponies were natural fighters or capable of enduring as much mental strain like me or the problem would have been solved already," I began to bargain. My feet were on the same pedestal with their hooves, their muzzles a feet or two away from my face. I needed to be more personal, to let them read my face and be able to read theirs.
"Sif, what you say-,"
"This proposal actually sounds promising," Luna interrupted with a smirk. I was eye level with them, every hair of their fur stuck out to me and I could see the soft look in each of their eyes, though Luna’s held a spark.
"Could you show us why you would be better than just sending a detachment of guards to solve problems?" Celestia had a kind of worry in her eyes.
"Call the guards back in here," I walked back down the pedestal ramp, a brave move.
"Guards! We have need of you!" Luna called and the eight filed in again, stopping in front of me, "fight him. Now."
Shit. I was not expecting this. The eight quickly formed up into a phalanx and drew their spears out to me. I drew my italian longsword and threw the sheath at them, watching two of them bap it onto the tile. I drew my gladius out and held it in my left hand. My hand found its way to hover over my heart, the gladius sticking out towards my elbow pocket. My right arm moved my longsword out in front of me.
"This is it...no going back. A test, final exam," my mouth ranted my thoughts for me, "a phalanx won't get me, I will always work around you."
The eight broke up and began to surround me. I could do more here, but I would have to be careful.
"Luna, Celestia, am I allowed to inflict wounds?"
"I don't kn-."
"Yes, show us what you're capable of," Luna answered for her sister.
"Alright, let's do this!" My voice echoed in the tall ceiling while I threw my head back. Adrenaline, courage, a motivation, and more spoke for me.
My feet took the ground quickly and my body bolted towards one of them. I battered his spear down with the longsword and before my real attack came in, I was already taken upon. Metal flashed out from my left hand and knocked away a spear, my gladius serving its primary defensive use. My right hand twisted and forced the longsword's pommel against the guards temple. His spear clattered to the ground. I was hearing the hooves of the guards approaching.
"How...how can he move like that?" I heard Celestia.
I slashed at his chest with the longsword before I shoved him off his hooves with my shoulder.
I looked to my left and batted down a spear again with my longsword, shoving my gladius into this one's right front hoof. My blade sunk deep and found a grove of flesh to rest in while my other hand picked up the fallen spear. My hand quickly whirlwinded the short spear and knocked many away behind me, disarming two guards. I threw the weapon and it found its mark in the chest of one of the guards. I reclaimed my gladius from its red sheath, blood all over the white floor now.
"Come on! You guys can't be that bad off. Three of you are already down," I taunted. My left arm reared back and shot forward, nailing the other disarmed guard in one of his back hooves when he went for his lost spear, "four!" I drew my rapier our and switched weapon hands.
The other four were closing in quickly, trying to surround me once more. Spears began to thrust from all angles at me and I marked the first to come as quick as I could. My rapier snuck past and around it, spiraling it until it flung high into the air and the thrusting swird find a place to bury in his chest. I whirred arund him and skashed his righr flank with the longsword. My feet pirouetted and the sword came down on the next guard, snapping his spear in half, my rapier hilt made contact with his muzzle, fracturing his nose at the most, but collapsing him to his stomach.
"He's very impressive isn't he?" Luna remarked.
I sheathed my rapier picked up one of the spears, my wrist flicked at the end of a throw and the second launched projectile sunk into the back of the seventh. The guards I wounded were off to the side, the better-off ones tending to their hurt comrades.
"Last one," I sheathed my longsword and reclaimed my gladius from the floor, taking it loosely into my right hand. It felt bad to have inflicted wounds on these guards, but I was making sure all of them would be easy fixes.
"Maybe this will give insight to the bugbear," Luna again. Celestia must have been terrified.
My feet started the heavy footed march of a Roman. No fear. No mercy. No backing down. The guard thrust the spear and my torso twisted out of the way. My left hand took grip and snapped it with assistance of my left foot. My hand made it next target its neck and I bowled him over with a grip and a push. I held my gladius pointed down to his neck that I still held.
"It's over," I stood up after seeing true fear in the guard's face. I struck terror into him.
"All eight of you, send any maid you see in the halls to come clean this mess up while you make your way to the infirmary," Luna barked.
"Sif, how do you fight so well? So brutally?" Celestia asked. My gladius found its way back into its dark slumber while my feet walked a path to them a second time.
A sanctuary, right in front of me, and they were closing in quickly. My heels dug in before I turned back, seeing the black apparitions catch up behind me, creatures I couldn’t name with all kinds of limbs were hot on my case and had me trapped at the gulch, the wooden rope bridge looking very rickety close by, a destroyed castle my hopes to lose them.
I in haled before I exhaled, “fuck it, I’m not just gonna let myself be killed,” I charged the two shadow creatures down, swinging at the first to see it dodge at inhuman speeds, practically moving itself without movment away from my longsword stroke. I attempted two more times before I took to running again, clambering over the wood bridge, hearing the rope stress and strain, looking abck to see the apparitions still close.
My feet gave out from under me and my left hand caught a board of the bridge while I was in the middle, swinging me to be slammed into the rocky wall and knocking the breath out of me temporarily.
Eyes squinting, I peered down to see the almost bottomless canyon stare back with a massive amount of fog. I slowly looked back up to see the creatures staring back down at me.
My arm was slowly getting tired while I began to think and soon I felt adrenaline, but stronger. A rush of power went through me.
“I write my own epitaph!” My lung screeched and I clambered up the makeshift ladder with speed, bursting past the evil darkness that desired my blood. I whipped back around and brandished my sword, ready to fight with whatever I had left and draw from wherever I willed more energy from.
"If there's one thing those woods of yours taught me, it's kill or be killed. Predator or prey. Survive or perish," I stopped in front of them, “the wood wolves spared me no mistake. If I made a sound near them, they came chasing and wouldn’t stop for days. The winged boars have tusks you’d never imagine being bashed with until one started to fight so it wouldn’t become your next meal. The plants, gods, some of them have a mind of their own and won’t let you leave so easily unless you give them some of you to eat. Those woods are brutal, what you saw was a teddy bear compared to what I had to do out there.”
Celestia was taken back, her mouth hung open at hearing what the woods held for me and what I had to do.
“There are scars under my clothes that will be there until the day I call my home a grave. My mind will never be the same from the first moment of struggle in those hellish woods. I’ve endured more than you could hope to know,” I pulled back my left shirt sleeve to reveal the streaks of scar tissue left from a wood wolf’s bite.
"I like you, Sif. I really like you," Luna had a grin and the most satisfied look in her blue globes, "your skirmishing is almost flawless and ever evolving, changing. Those guards couldn't figure you out and I dare go as far to say you might be capable of defeating me. Well done, we're both impressed."
"Sif, are you sure this is what you want? To stay here?" Celestia asked, her sister’s words brought her back.
"Positive," this was a chance I had been waiting for all my life.
"Are you sure you want to serve us? You'll be kept very busy," Luna warned.
"I'd rather be productive than sit around all day and what else would I do? Where could I work as a lab technician with a degree that no one here will accredit?" I was in my last semester, but that’s close enough.
"We'll send some ponies to get all your stuff from the Everfree Forest," Luna smiled warmly to me.
"And Sif, we should dub you a Knight. Equestria hasn't had a true knight in such a long time," a second smile graced Celestia's lips, "my little ponies will be so happy to see that we have a new Knight of Equestria to solve the big problems that need solving with weapons rather than words. That means we'll make you armor worthy of your stature," Celestia seemed excited.
"You will need to keep up appearances by referring to us formally, but you can refer to us normally alone or with Twilight and her friends," I suppose even royals like to be treated just like normal people.
"You'll have a room assigned to you later today, close to ours. But first, requistion whatever you need from the armory in the training yard and bring it back to us."
"I only require a rectangular buckler, a rather strong buckler," I informed.
"Very well, it shall have to be made to accommodate you. you are dismissed. Go explore Canterlot. It will be a while before you start getting your assignments," Luna sent another smile my way and I turned around, leaving the throne room in a newfound pride.
I exited out the main castle doors once I completed the silent journey out of the castle with odd stares, and I made my way down the steps and across the two bridges. Guards eyed the small green blood spots on my clothing and skin. They'll soon know who I am now.
But what about old me? What about the man know as Robert? My friends and family will worry to no end, but that will cease one day. I should at least find my own way to let them know I am alive, I am elsewhere. But I suppose the knowledge of me is dead, but the way of me is alive in this new life called Sif.
"Hey, you!" That voice was very similar. It belonged to Twilight.
I glanced to my right and the pony was making her way to me while I continued walking and receiving stares from the ponies in the city.
"Who, what are you? Why did you slay the bugbear?" She was at my side now, walking with me.
"I am a human, I am Sif, I was sent to kill it by Luna. I am now your Knight of Equestria," I spared her no further looks, my eyes couldn't move to her without the risk of seeing the scar I left her.
I continued my proud march down the main street of the city, looking at all the shops and food places. There was a lot of variety, but many were bakeries and sweet shops.
"Then, that means you serve me."
"I serve Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, not you."
"But there are three more princesses: me, Princess of Friendship; Cadance, Princess of Love; and Flurry Heart."
"Then if what you say is true, I do serve you."
"All alicorns are princesses, silly," she was teaching me about her world now.
"I apologize for harming you earlier. I was only trying to survive."
"I understand, the Everfree Forest is a rough place to live, just surviving is difficult. The guards are already locating your home and they'll soon be bringing all of your things back to the castle. You'll also have a room in my castle and Cadance's palace in case your are sent out to us."
"I hope I get my first real assignment soon. I hate not being productive," I filled the silent air with a new conversation.
"I hope you serve Equestria well,” the silence happened regardless.
Twilight left, heading in direction to the castle while I continued roaming the city and learning its main roads. The ponies stared to no end and some foals even looked as if they were about to gallop to me if it wasn’t for their parents holding them back.
It didn’t take long for them to finally begin talking about me. Rumors and fear, that’s all it was. I headed out to the edge of the city before I made my way back to the castle, the sun giving a clue that a few hours had passed and it would be dusk by the time I arrived back. My room and buckler had to have been done by then.
Luna met me at the gates, “welcome back, Sir Sif. You will find the items you requested to be in your room, there is a castle servant waiting to guide you there.”
I put my fist to my chest and bowed slightly, more of a warrior’s salute of respect. And Luna had definitely won my respect.
“Here it is, Sir Sif. Is there anything you need?” The sweet cherry blossom pink mare guided me to a separate tower across its own bridge that was exposed to the skies of this world.
“No, I don’t need anything else. Just show me where your laundry rooms are at some point,” I laid my hand on the gold ring of the door handle.
“Sir, there’s no need. We do all the laundry around here. We’re here to serve you after all,” she bowed to me.
I lightly put my hand under her chin and lifted her head back up so she wasn’t bowing any more, “now, I can do my own laundry. Just because I went from foreign threat to Knight of Equestria in a few hours doesn’t mean I’m suddenly beyond manual labor. Come stop up my room sometime after tomorrow. You can show me where it is and I’ll do my own laundry,” I ruffled her mane before I opened my door.
“S-s-sif...Sir Sif!” she quickly worried and corrected herself before bowing.
“There’s no need to be so firm on bowing in front of me,” I smiled to her. I had to play nice and make friends, that was my sanity and the key to happiness. You can tire of money, activities, challenges, fun, but if you have nobody to share those things with, the loneliness will crush all your happiness.
“Thank you, Sir Sif,” my simple gestures went a long way to this servant.
“It’s no big deal. I shouldn’t be such a freeloader anyway. You go on and have a good day or work shift,” I slowly closed the door. The smile across my face only grew every moment I took in her huge beaming grin.
I lived to make smiles like that.
I peered around my room. A simple yellow and red theme adorned the room, the walls white with a thick yellow stripe a few feet above the floor. A giant glass dome adorned the ceiling, secured by curved metal beams, reavelaing the brightening stars and the moon peeking out. Multiple large curving yellow paint arches graced the edges of the glass.
The bed was huge, larger than a California king and the red blanket over must have been custom. I had a door leading to a balcony, empty with a simple solid white painted stone railing, same as the rest of the castle. I must have taken over some sort of old observatory, given this room wasn’t as updated as the throne room, foyer, of the halls on the way to this area of the castle.
A large plush red couch faced a table, another across it staring back at the first couch. A wall looked freshly built, the bathroom. A large white door separated it from the rest of the room and revealed a huge marble counter and the largest bath I ever laid my own eyes on, complete with three shower heads. Towels were already placed on a rack, four varying sizes, hand and body soap placed conveniently for me until my belongings arrived from the forest.
“What a fucking room and what a fucking first day of contact,” my feet carried me to my bed. My belt with my equipment clunked against the nightstand I laid it on. This room was definitely fit for a high noble or visiting ambassador.
I laid onto the bed and immediately attempted to sleep. I always drifted fast, no matter where I was.
I ran, sprinted. My legs couldn’t fail me now.
Barking, but the crushing of wood and squish of flesh accompanied it, they finally tracked my home and I was trying to out run these fast bastards on foot. The trees, I climbed one quick as I could, jumping and reaching branches they couldn’t. Their brown bodies gathered below me, snarling, menacing with their green glows.
“Fucking shit, now I’m stuck for hours and anything in my traps can get away.”
I had run so far away it would take me at least an hour to walk back after being intimidated by these monsters for hours up in a fucking tree. Shit’s creek on high tide. I haven’t eaten in two days and while I was near a stream, I couldn’t find food, anything I could actually hunt and take down as easily as a rabbit. Boars with wings and tusks that belong on mammoths, giant bears the size of houses.
That’s when their hard paws fused to the trees and they started to climb after me. I jumped to the next tree, barely making it and to the next while they began leaping very fast and caught up in moments to the fourth tree I got to.
“Wood wolves!” I shouted and my back sprung to life with my arms. A Celestia stood in front of me.
“Are you alright, Sif?” There was a little concern in her eyes.
“Yea, I’m fine. Just a bad dream,” I put my hand over my heart to help myself calm faster and remove the fight-or-flight instinct.
“It sounded like you were dreaming about your time in the Everfree Forest.”
“Is that what you call those hellish woods?” I got up and headed to the bathroom, cracking the door so I could hear her.
“Yes, should I leave?” She was still very professional.
“Princess Celestia, the decision is yours, but I prefer your company,” I started the shower and the water immediately warmed to a hot temperature. My clothes were tossed onto the counter after they came off.
“What was it like trying to survive in there? Normal ponies would have only lasted a day if they had the utmost luck. That’s why there is a law forbidding ponies from entering alone.”
“It was exactly what I said. Hell, complete fucking hell. I had to constantly sneak around and be very quiet, it’s like you’re walking on glass shards 24/7. Even when I slept I set traps up to deter whatever intruder came or to make a loud sound and awaken me. That’s saved me a few times and even caught myself breakfast,” I stood under the water, letting it thoroughly soak my hair. It had been ages since my last shower.
“How did you find food? What did you eat?” She was assuming I was a herbivore.
“So, humans, me, we’re omnivores. There wasn’t anything in those woods I could consume that didn’t move. I’ve had to use my woodsman knowledge and survival skills, new tact too. Anything I could eat took forever to go down or something else got to it before I did and I didn’t dare try to fight with the predators in there. Those wood wolves constantly were a hassle, stealing my food, tracking me,” I started washing as quick as I could, finishing while Celestia said her piece.
“Timber wolves? They’re enchanted with foul magic, Sif. They aren’t real living entities. The malice of the Everfree commands them,” nice to know magic in this world existed and could definitely be evil.
I exited the shower and turned the water off, drying with a single towel and throwing it into the clothes bin after my hair was thoroughly dried. A brush laid on the counter just for me.
“Well, they wouldn’t give up trying to get me. I was like a challenge hunt for them, maybe some kind of trophy. They were super close to finding out where I lived, that’s why I was determined to travel out of there. I would burn those woods to the ground if there weren’t any consequences,” I dressed and brushed my hair back in the odd almost-mullet I usually wore.
“Many ponies share your opinion, but there are treasures inside the forest that have a natural deterrent from ponies with evil intent. It also contains many useful herbs and attracts visitors, some bit income, and provides a home for Zecora.”
“I never knew there was anyone else out there,” I came out, showered. My socks and shoes were next to go on with my belt of equipment last, my weapons placed at my side.
“So, I take it you didn’t sleep well?” Celestia was oddly concerning for how my first impressions with her went.
“I kinda did, the bed was definitely more comfy than what I was working with. Princess Celestia, I know all you’ve seen of me is myself in brutal combat and an aggressive kind of attitude, but I want you to know that’s not me all the time, not even most or half. I’m softer than that, I’m not mean. I just have a complete different life philosophy than anyone here, I think.”
“You’ll have to go over it during breakfast. Come, we don’t want to be late,” I nodded to her and followed her out of my room, across the bridge, and through a few corridors before we entered a large room, Luna already sitting down and drinking coffee at the table, eating pancakes with a look of disdain. She seemed to brighten when I entered.
“Good morning, Sir Sif. Did you have a good sleep?”
“He had some sort of nightmare when I came to wake him,” Celestia outted me already and directed me to a a third seat among the two at either ends of the table. Mine was right in the middle.
I sat in silence, awaiting some kind of food or instruction to make food.
“We saw timber wolves, hmm? I know somepony in Equestria continued to have recurring dreams of timber wolves but I had never been able to enter them until now, nor see whose dreams they are. Sif has a strong conscious and willpower we’ve never experienced often,” Luna had a very odd speech pattern, like she talked a little ancient, maybe during bohemian eras or before then.
“Oh, Sir Sif! I was told you would be attending. I am Hot Coil, what do you desire for breakfast?” This stallion was big, well built in a muscular way like the guards, but his chef hat covered his brown mane and contrasted against his red fur.
“Do you have eggs and diced fried potatoes per chance?”
“I can whip those up immediately!” He zipped back out and into what smelt like a kitchen.
“Thanks!” I shouted after, laying my head in my hands.
“Does something trouble you, Sif?” Luna addressed me.
“I’m just thinking about my plans, I have plenty to keep me busy even if I have no assignment or duty given.”
“If you’re worried about me thinking you’re a bad person, you have nothing to fear,” I peeked at Celestia who was even eating syrupy pancakes with grace.
A plate stacked of eggs and seasoned potatoes slid in front of me with a fork and I immediately grabbed the utensil.
“I didn’t know how much you eat, so I apologize if this is too much, Sir Sif.”
“No no no no, it’s been AGES since I’ve had a real meal!” My fork dug into potatoes, grabbing a stack before delivering the hot heaven to my mouth, eggs following, “it tastes even better than it looks! Fucking hell, Hot Coil, you gotta teach me some time!” I continued to dig in, earning giggles from the princesses.
“I-I-I, S-Sir Sif, I’m humbled,” he took his hat off and placed it against his chest before bowing his head.
“No no no, you be proud, my dude! This is impressive. My last meal was days ago and this...dear jesus,” I had already emptied half the plate.
“My my, he has quite an appetite then,” Celestia announced with another soft chuckle.
Hot Coil was mesmerized by how I was devouring his food and watched until all of it was gone, even the tiniest of scraps. I knew I wasn’t acting extremely uptight in the presence of the princesses, but there wasn’t anyone around except for those three and it couldn’t do any harm.
I leaned back and lightly laid my hand on my stomach, belching into my hand, “that...ahhhhhh, I can’t go back to eating anything else that’s not your cooking.”
“Th-thank you, Sir Sif,” he took the plate and trotted off back into the kitchen. The princesses were still working on their breakfast.
“Sif, the smiths in the forge at the back of the castle need to gather your measurements. Your buckler is also done and awaits you there,” Luna had finished her pancakes and stood, leaving the table. She still looked tired after her coffee.
Usually, I started the day with coffee, but the glass of water in front of me went down my throat fast and I stood up.
“Your belongings should all arrive today, I received word that they were able to locate your old home yesterday. My night guards reported numerous packs of timber wolves interfered with them, an ursa major cave to be near, and two pegaboars with a cragadile in the pond downstream from your home. You are still impressing quite well,” Luna spoke while she left.
“I...Sif, it’s a miracle you survived even for the weeks you told me you did,” Celestia empathized.
I stood, bowed, and headed for the exit to go to the forge, “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you tougher, Princess Celestia.”
That reminded me I should train to stay at my best.
The guards and servants of the castle still gave me many odd looks or stared intensely at me, a lot of them haven’t seen me yet.
The training yard on the way to the forge was quieter than I imagined, even with the wood and steel clashing, they didn’t produce much noise and they didn’t pay me any attention. The guards kept sparring each other, training, exercising, and completing drills. The forge was hot and clearly smelt of fire and metal. An old looking stallion, large and muscular, approached me and pushed against my back with his head.
“Welcome, Sir Sif. We’re all excited to get to work on your armor so come quickly so we can get your measurements and finish our plans,” his voice was gruff.
“Are you the master blacksmith?” I walked faster and he stopped pushing, guiding me into the forge and into a separate room.
“Aye, that I am. I’ve hammered many a pauldron and forged countless blades.”
Other smiths, covered in grey stains all over their different colored furs surrounded me. Tape measures were plastered and hovered over my body for just a few seconds.
“Sir Sif, that’s all we need. Your buckler is by the door. Have a good day, we’ll be working all day every day on your armor,” the smiths all filed out as quick as they were there.
They didn’t play around, it’s like working the coals of the forge is what they lived for, they were so eager to return. I went back to the entry door of the storage room for metals, warehouse actually. My new buckler was sitting there, the perfect size of my forearm in a rectangular way. The metal stretched up past my elbow a little as added defense. It shined brilliantly and proudly displayed a moon and stars within a sun on the face of it, the insignia of the two princesses.
I left the room and the sound of bellows was far louder than before, the smell of metal more permeating. They weren’t lying when they said they would be working hard on my armor and non-stop. I could feel the great heat rush over the stone enclosed forge that had many windows and vents for all the smoke, fans pulling it free of the open room. I left and headed back around to the side of the castle to the training yard and I entered the area where I saw guards claiming the wooden practice weapons from, they had all conceivable weapons in here, steel and wood, spears to flails.
I gripped a longsword and left, entering outside and staring at all the guards who still trained on with no attention to me. I wandered off to an unoccupied area of the dead grass and started with remembering positions on my longsword, half-sword positions. It was calming, a ferocious art of battle could make my muscles relax whenever I practiced the basics of it. My days in HEMA were over, but my time with the longsword was far from it. I moved on to stances before I began simple slashes and stance transition for countering specific strikes that my opponent would send back.
“Sir Sif, what brings you to the training yard?” I kept at my work while the leader of the current training regime spoke to me.
“Just some practice. You have to keep knowledge of your swordmanship fresh or you get rusty.”
“I’m Captain Gilded Banner. I’m in charge of the current team training, Celestia’s personal guard. I’ve never seen any of the techniques you are using with your longsword.”
“In my world, I mostly studied Germanic, Italian, and a lot of tactics used during the end of the Holy Roman Empire era. It’s when the knights of that time knew almost everything about the blade.”
“Would you like to spar with any of the boys?” That was an offer I couldn’t deny.
“Full contact?” I asked.
“That’s the only way we do it in our platoon.”
I smirked before I chuckled, “point one at me and I’ll show you what I’m made of. After all, that’s what you want to see from the Knight of Equestria, isn’t it?”
“Oh ho! So he is as witty as I’ve heard with a mouth to boot. Marching Blade! Get your longsword, you have a challenger!” Gilded Banner shouted out, “he’s the equivalent of four good stallions.”
Boasting always got me excited to take someone down, it didn’t matter if it was combat or a party game.
“Form the dueling pit!” His team of guards heeded his commands and formed a circle, Marching Blade already awaited me with a longsword inside the circle. I entered, stretching on the way.
I took many deep breaths and my nose snorting turned to ragged gasps and grunts, I was feeling it as they say, a battle rhythm I could conjure up on a whim.
“I take it you’re the best?” I asked, taking an Italian stance and gripping my pommel loosely.
“Gilded Banner is the best fighter of all of us, but I can give him a run for his bits,” the unicorn also took the same stance I was in.
No friggin’ clue how ponies held things in their hooves.
“Begin!” Gilded Banner shouted and I immediately started with a simple slash aiming for his head. He quickly blocked it.
“Ha! You couldn’t possibly be worthy of the title Knight of Equestria!” He sounded a bit like an asshole, and I liked taking assholes down to the ground.
I sent another but feinted into an ox stance, watching his own parry come down as a normal slash. I twisted my blade as I sent it up and pushed his aside. I forced my hand onto the blade of my wood weapon and sharply contacted into his neck, “come on, Marching Blade. Fight like you give a fuck!” I taunted. Combat could always bring out more vulgarities from me, it is where I let myself free and loose in my mind.
I transferred into a half-sword thrust, stabbing twice before I reared back and let him barely block a forceful swing, watching him back up and reorient himself.
“I didn’t expect him to have that big of a mouth on him,” Captain Banner remarked while the guards began to whoop and holler at us, happy to have entertainment.
“In battle, a man should free himself of all his constraints and live in that moment and only that moment,” Marching Blade lit his horn up, shooting a magic bolt out at me.
“I’m not the best in duels against skilled opponents, but against many, I’m the best here,” he boasted again while I stepped out of the way and slowly advanced on him.
“I still don’t see you fighting like you care,” he sent a strike from below at me and I rushed to the left and to him, out of the way.
I shoved with my blade, watching him stumble and his sword go down, my body continued its rush and a pommel bashed his nose hard, blood slowly leaking from his nose, I hit again and again before he fell off his hooves from my rush. Usually a duel ended when one party was hit, but these ponies seemed like they were going until someone was compromised.
I fell onto him,my blade pressing against his neck lightly, this would be that position.
“Well done, Sir Sif! You’ve won!” I stood and pulled my once foe to his hooves.
“No hard feelings, right?”
“Hah! Never! You’ve taught me how to use a sword without relying on the blade,” he put his hoof to his nose.
“Marching Blade, go on down to the infirmary and get that looked at,” his captain excused him.
“Unless you have someone who can challenge me like that, let me continue practicing my movements. I like to spar, but you and the rest of the guard force need to start practicing more seriously, after all, you defend the people, the crown, Equestria. That alone should be enough to make you wake up every morning with the one objective of getting better and never failing the Princesses,” I walked out of the circle enclosure with all the guards in silence, their banter gone. I know some of them would hate me for what I said, but if Marching Blade was one of their best and couldn’t even manage to hit me when I wasn’t trying my best, then they needed to hear it.
They left me alone for the remaining time that I was there. The sun had begun to droop low and dusk would soon be upon Equestria, it was time for dinner. I marched my way back to the dining room, face covered in sweat and hair matted down. I sat at the chair in the middle of the table, still sore and achy from all the practice time I had today.
“Ah, Sir Sif! A pleasure to see you again!” Hot Coil greeted me with a bow and a warm smile, “what does your stomach desire?”
“I loved to end training days with such a specific thing, but I’m afraid you don’t serve omnivores. I’ll go simple, mashed potatoes, corn, and sandwich of your choice,” I leaned back.
“My friend, if you desire meat, there’s no need to beat around the bush. We’re stocked with some meat from Everfree creatures to serve some of our exotic guests. What does your tongue desire?”
“Have the Princesses already dined?”
“Princess Celestia has, but Princess Luna always comes at dusk, just before she begins her duties. Princess Celestia, praise be to her, always has such a long day and remains eager to end them. Princess Luna enjoys a hearty meal to begin her night duties.”
“Pegaboar then, just any part you feel like cooking. And no worries, I will never have an interest in eating your kind, you were treated like friends back in my world,” I stopped slouching and sat properly in the comfy chair, I was excited for the booming flavour of meat, no better way to end the day.
“Right away, Sir Sif!” He disappeared and I was left in silence.
The light coming through the elegantly stained windows on either side of the dining hall slowly waned. The right was dark, filled with lights from the city. The darkness of the night hid Celestia’s mural of the stained glass and pronounced Luna’s form on it. The left window was quickly dimming, but still held bright light. Princess Luna soon trotted in while my food was slid in front of me and Luna’s at her seat. I could smell the meat.
“Hot Coil, may I get some napkins or cloths?”
“Right away,” he zipped away and zipped back, placing them next to me, “enjoy, Sir Sif!”
“Good evening, Sif,” Luna smiled to me even while I stared at the haunch of a pegaboar.
“Evening, Princess Luna,” I immediately grabbed it directly with my hand, not caring to use the fork and knife brought before me. I dug my teeth into it, the perfect temperature, tougher outside, soft inside, it tasted a little like cattle, but mostly like pork, but the juices were definitely not swine. I felt the savory blend of liquids hit my tongue and my teeth rip the meat apart. I chewed and relished every moment before I wiped my face clean with one of the two cloths Hot Coil brought me, he stared at me from across the table at the kitchen archway.
“Oh my god, Hot Coil. It’s been so long since I’ve had properly prepared meat like this. It was quite a while since my last roast in the Everfree and I didn’t have the cooking instruments for the job let alone seasoning. Props, my friend,” I raised my glass of water up as if it were alcohol in his name before drinking some and beginning to really dig into the meat.
“You’re too kind, Sir Sif,” he bowed again before he returned to his duties.
“I’ve never seen anypony really get to eating like you, Sif,” Luna commented.
I wiped my face again, “with all due respect, Princess Luna. I believe during meals, people should be free to eat at how they wish, especially if it is a well deserved one.”
“What makes you think you deserve this meal?” Luna smirked my way. More water ran down my throat.
“Again, with due respect, I was out training all day,” Luna laughed.
“We saw you spar against Marching Blade and heard what you said. I couldn’t agree more. Our sister has been far too easy on her day guards. She babies them. Marching Blade, while a good swordstallion, isn’t nearly as good as he could be or should be. He usually sticks to fluid movements and attacking during his enemy’s attack, which is why you quickly got the upper hand and even bled his nose. Her guards aren’t accustomed to new tactics, pain, harsh treatment, endurance, or a calm mind. If you would like a challenge, I encourage you battle our Nightwings, they are the best of the night guard and duel quite well,” Luna started on her own food, a massive stir fry with a cold macaroni salad on the side.
“Hot Coil!” I called for him and he zipped out of the kitchen, “would you happen to have any wine on hand?”
He quickly fetched two bottles, a red and a white, “the red, please,” he zoomed away and came back with a glass and poured it himself and left the bottle with me.
“Is that all, Sir Sif?”
“Yea, thanks,” I sipped it and found it to be potent, sweet, but mostly bitter, however, not overwhelming. An excellent taste for a wine and exactly what most drinkers look for. I may have just turned legal age back on Earth, but I was still an experienced drinker.
“I didn’t know you consumed alcohol, Sif,” Luna remarked.
“Ah, in my younger days I often got utterly trashed, hammered, plastered. Those were enjoyable, the days where I couldn’t walk well, laughed a lot, and was happy without a care. Now I drink as a way of relaxing, for some health benefits, and a way to lull to sleep if I need to,” I finished off the meat, not leaving any left and started on my potatoes and corn.
Luna began to whisper, “if you’d ever like to drink like that again, do come to me, I keep a large selection in a hidden grove in the garden and in my quarters. I am also guilty of that,” Luna’s speech pattern was always changing, like she was trying to start talk more modern.
“I’ll have to take you up on that, Princess Luna,” I smiled, she was definitely my kind of princess.”
“Sif, when you sleep tonight, please open up your conscious to me and keep your barrier down. I’d like to dreamwalk with you.”
“Is this because of my nightmares?” I was already halfway down my wine glass and almost done with my food, “I don’t believe I’ll be having many more.”
“We see. We’d just like to show you how you can control your own dreams and be where you wish,” Luna remarked.
“Ah, in that case, I’d love to,” I finished my food and the glass of wine. I poured another sipped at it, corking the bottle back. Hot Coil rushed out and took away my dishes, the cloths I used, and the wine bottle.
“And Sif, I’d like you to tell Celestia what you said to the guards today during her court with nobles tomorrow, but don’t be too harsh. We’re glad you’re here to serve and protect Equestria, your first assignment is coming soon,” Princess Luna stood up and left, her large meal finished, she trotted out of the dining hall, using her magic to snuff the candles at her part of the table out. It was blackness outside.
I sipped on my wine, the dining hall quiet and dimly lit from the only three candles in front of me. I leaned forward and blew each out, the hall pitch black now.
This would be a good life, one worth living and one I would make worthy of tale.
I raised my glass, “to a new life, knightly chivalry and honor, and death in service or bloodied combat,” it was a toast to no one except me and my vows here in the darkness, “to looking toward the future,” I stood, letting the cold glass touch my lips and drinking the last third of the glass and chugged my water down afterward, leaving the hall and heading to bed.
I jumped from my desk after hearing the remnants of a scream and I glanced out my balcony, hearing another. Two ponies, one full grown and a foal, just got attacked by fire. The orange blaze was a dead give away. I peered closer and saw the culprits. Two gigantic forms, larger than a human.
I ran, hurrying down the castle staircases and making it out in a large pant and I identified what I expected to be there, dragons. The two dragons, a red and a blue, both large, but not massive, were terrorizing the town, breathing fireballs and throwing property about. They weren't far, they were causing chaos in the noble business area.
I ran down the steps and across the bridge once more, drawing out my longsword.
"Hey, bastards!" I shouted, the guards began to clear the way, letting me to them and exiting the fight. Ponies hiding inside businesses were staring at me from windows or behind patio furniture.
"Who is he...why is he here?" Questions, I would answer them with these dragons shortly.
"Hey, look at the monkey! These ponies can train monkeys!" The red laughed.
"Hey, spicy pepper! How about you come over here and try saying that to my face, shit stain!" I was under them now.
The blue dragon slammed down in front of me, cracking some of the stones in the pathway, "what did you say to him pipsqueak? Nobody talks to garble like that."
"I told him he looks like food up there, like a deformed banana. Soft, fragile, vulnerable," I was building the tension in the air, anger could make these dragons attack foolishly like I wanted.
"I said!" The dragon I was staring up at lifted his giant blue arm to attempt to crush and claw me.
I shoved my blade into his gut and drew my gladius, burying it into his thick scales at his neck. My hand began pushing and twisting violently, digging its way into him more, "no...nobody speaks...speaks to," thud.
He collapsed on his side and his fall removed my longsword and gladius. I sheathed my gladius after wiping the blood off on his dying carcass.
"Garble, is it? Too scared to talk big? Too afraid of a fucking monkey now?!" I chuckled walking to him. The red dragon had landed a few yards away.
I held my longsword in my right hand.
Booming, he made his way to me, "shut up!" His slammed his left claw to me and I blocked with my longsword, letting him slightly cut himself on the insanely sharp blade.
I reared back my gauntleted left hand and connected it with his jaw, making it swing violently to the side. He came back to face me with a smile and a powerful kick in my chest.
I flew and slammed against a nearby stone bench, my breath caught in pain before I began to breathe normally.
"Ha...haha! That's it! Give me all you got! Let the Knight of Equestria slay you!" I stood firmly and began a charge to him, watching him do the same. I slid under another claw with my buckler above my head. My longsword laid a deep cut across his back horizontally before I began to slice apart his shoulder and more of his back in another swipe.
He turned around with a roar and I side-stepped his slamming fists. I sunk my handguard into his eye. Fingers wrapped around my blade and a torso twisted, letting metal swing out of his eyes socket and connect with his opposite temple. He was knocked to the ground hard.
"How was I beaten by a..."
"Human, Garble. Human. Let this be a lesson to your fellow dragons, I await their heads here if they come," I sliced across his throat and watched blood pour out. My eyes locked onto the dying expression in his eyes before I cleaned my longsword off on him and began walking away.
Silent was the air before it was filled with cheering. Ponies began to rush up to me while the guards tended to the corpses.
"Who are you?"
"Are you the new Knight of Equestria?!"
"My little ponies," Celestia flew down from the castle, "his name is Sif. He is a human. He is the new Knight of Equestria. He is here to serve us in ways we can not do ourselves. Do not fear him," she landed in front of me and laid her head on my shoulder brushing her cheek against my face.
"You did good, Sif. Thank you for defending my subjects," she whispered in my ear, "I heard what you said, you were wise to provoke them, it's the easiest way to down a dragon from what the ancient history books said."
"It is my proud duty," I whispered back and patted her neck before my feet fell backwards and I faced the ponies behind me, "and I would gladly lay my life down in service," my voice louder.
The ponies beamed with happiness and cheered more. I faced Celestia, "I'd like to get checked in the infirmary for fractures or broken bones. Or internal bleeding. Then I hope to spar against your better guards."
"Celestia chuckled and began to trot back to her giant home with me in tow, "I'll send for him immediately. But his wife might not let you spar him," she took on a more serious demeanor with a snap of her...feathers, "I did see you take that hit, it looked quite bad. I'm surprised you survived. I'll tell the smiths to speed up the armor making. They'll take an interest to your longsword, nothing cuts that well into dragon scales."
"It's one of the highest quality swords someone could get back home. It's the pride and joy of my weaponry."
"Come, follow me. We'll take you to the infirmary," Celestia ended our conversation as we got to the stairs of the castle.
Her horn lit up and some of the castle grass visibly transformed into a thick piece of paper, a pen, and an inkwell. She began to write quickly on it while our feet carried us inside and to the nearest staircase.
Celestia sent off the paper with her horn, teleporting it somewhere. Magic was odd, you could do almsot anything with it, but some things were also impossible. It broke so many laws of science.
We got off the large flight of stairs at the third floor and she began leading me down some halls. I was starting to feel really sore in my front and my back.
"Are you enjoying Equestria, Sif?" Celestia asked, "you should leave the castle at least once before we put you to work. I'll have some bits sent to your room so you can enjoy the city."
"Do you have any coffee shops?"
"Oh, we have plenty of them. The best in Canterlot is Moon's Crater, according to Luna. And she drinks quite a lot," Celestia smiled back to me.
"I'm more than just a warrior, I have many tastes. If I rig an outlet up, I could show you a lot more. Did anypony get hurt out there?"
"Only two, they're at the hospital in memorial to Doctor Blueline. One got burnt and the other sustained burns and lacerations," Celestia's voice was lower while we entered into the infirmary.
"Ah, Princess Celestia! What brings you and the new Knight of Equestria down here?" A unicorn in a labcoat trotted up to us both, looking at me peculiarly.
"Nice to see you as well, Doctor Jitter. I brought Sif here to see if you could find any kind of injury he sustained during his valiant effort today," the sun princess teasingly bumped my arm with her hoof.
"Ah, I haven't worked on a human before, we actually don't have any of your kind here. What kind of trauma are we looking at today? I don't see any bleeding cuts," she smiled brightly, trotting around me.
I unbuckled my belt and slid it out, my weapons clattered to the floor. My fingers lifted up my shit and pulled the clothing off my head to reveal a large black and blue spot growing on my chest and apparently on my back.
"Oh...oh, I...I haven't seen such a wound like this in ages. Don't worry, I'm an expert at any injury or trauma! And at least you look like you're a tip-top example of your species," her furry red hoof gently pressed on my lower back, leading me over to a different room, "Princess, you're always welcome to stay. We're gonna need to have some x-rays of Sif two rooms over."
"Sorry, I really have to get back to something."
"Princess, what are the names of the two who were injured?"
"Well, I do wish you were meeting on better terms. Rarity and Sweetie Belle. They're sisters, Rarity is a dear friend of Twilight, so you may meet her there."
Princess Celestia left to tend to her duties while Doctor Jitter lead me into the x-ray examination room.
From what Doctor Jitter said, I had no bad injury and could continue serving without break, but she gave me strong painkillers just in case I experienced soreness and instructed me to keep them on me at all times. I supposedly had some internal bleeding, but that was all patched up from my body, it was only minimal from her diagnosis, she kept complimenting me on my physique. The mares of this world seem to not even mind that I’m a completely different species and an off-worlder.
So there I was, looking over the street where I combated the dragons and looking at the blood stains that some stallions were trying to clean up, many of the ponies there gave me smiles and waves and thank you’s. I looked at the stone bench I impacted and crouched, peering at the cracks my back left in it.
“Goddamn, I survived that by a miracle,” I ran my fingers over the hairline cracks. The journal I kept would be full of glorious battles just like these and that kept my spirit high.
“Ah, Sir Sif! I didn’t believe it myself, but what you had done here seemed like a miracle,” somepony agreed with me. I turned around to see a stallion in a labcoat with a few vials on him and some equipment, “your sword did indeed cut dragon scales, the blood proved that and there was even some shredded scales that need to be carefully dissolved and cleaned up.”
I stood and looked down at him,” to be honest, it had to be a miracle. You wouldn’t...happen to be a chemist, would you?”
“That I am! Got my degree at Crystal University! Why do you ask?” He was beyond excited.
“That’s what I studied at college in my own world, almost got my degree, too.”
“Wonderful! Would you come back with me to the lab and help explain what it is that compromises your sword and makes it hold its edge so well? We would greatly appreciate the knowledge and could pass it off to Equestria’s blacksmiths so they knew how to make even better tools and more for our use,” his eyes were beaming and practically begged me to say yes.
“Of fucking course! Lead the way, fellow scientist!” I smiled big and kept close on his hooves while he cantered down the streets in excitement.
He lead me quietly down the main streets before trailing off toward the castle garden below the walls, buildings vanishing and more greenery taking over my vision, an open garden courtyard to a giant building in the distance, “it’s not too far from the castle, so you’re welcome down anytime. I’ll not ask questions until we get back to the group so you don’t have to repeat yourself.”
“Well, this Canterlot Institute of Science definitely looks promising. I kind of feel like I’m headed to a lecture now,” I chuckled a little while he opened the door to the giant building, leading me through. Ponies, instructors and students alike, stopped and stared at me, bowing sometimes, but almost always with curious gazes.
“Ah, you’ll love it here, my coworkers are some of the best in their field.”
“Ah, where have you been, Sif?” Celestia asked me with a smile while I marched away from the training yard in a sweat.
“I was training for most of the day and before that I was discussing some chemical properties of my sword down at the Canterlot Institute of Science,” I bowed slightly while she began to trot with me in the setting sun toward the castle.
“I hope the Institute impressed you, it took them quite a while to grow from a laboratory to a University. Did you enjoy your training?” Celestia was still cheery.
“Princess Celestia, with respect, I wish I could enjoy my training more, but your soldiers, guards, they aren’t good enough to even come close to matching me. I fought Gilded Banner today and he couldn’t even block my strikes fast enough. Marching Blade left with a nosebleed in the first twenty seconds of sparring. You need to be harder on them or at least let me take the helm and start training them. They need harsh treatment-,” she interrupted.
“Sif, I can’t, I don’t like to see them hurting. I-.”
“They’re guards, dammit, they signed up for this and none of them are taking their jobs as serious as they should be. They can be so much better if you give them a push and maybe a shove. Your own personal detachment couldn’t land a single blow on me, nor come close. Princess Luna has told me her Nightwings are tried every night at their training sessions, which is why I’ll be waking up after a short sleep to spar with them.”
“You know what I say is true, if you can’t push them, let me start with your own personal regime.”
She was quiet while we entered the dining hall.
“You’re in charge of their training then, I’ll have a writ sent with you the next time you meet them. They’ll be training again the day after tomorrow,” Celestia hung her head and took her seat while I took mine.
“Sif! We’re ready to give you your first assignment as we’ve located the general area of the hydra that’s been wandering closer and closer to Ponyville. It will be your duty to go to Froggy Bottom Bog and down it,” Luna spoke with a happiness.
“Allll-fucking-right!” I was excited, my first real duty and they sent me out to kill a hydra like I was Hercules.
“I didn’t think he’d be so excited to challenge a hydra,” Luna laughed.
“Sif, you know what a hydra is, right?” Celestia started to sound concerned.
“Giant dragonic beast with many heads and full of badass? I can’t wait to down it,” Hot Coil galloped out of the kitchen, sliding plates of food in front of Celestia and Luna.
“Sir Sif, would you like the same meal as yesterday?” He was still figuring out my food likes and dislikes.
“Yes, please,” I shot him a beaming smile and he nodded, taking back to the kitchen.
Celestia’s horn lit and the candles were set ablaze on the table while the sun began to hide behind the horizon.
A glass of wine was set before me along with water, the bottle of alcohol remaining.
“Sif, I didn’t know you drink wine,” Celestia smirked at our commonality.
“Only before bed really, but I’ll be rising back up for a wonderful challenge tonight.”
“I instructed a group of my Nightwings to begin practicing right when the sun is down. You’ll be able to see them by the time you are done eating,” Luna sipped at her water before digging back into her giant stir fry.
Hot Coil zoomed to me and placed my meal from last night before me. Celestia blankly stared at my plate, somewhat astonished I would begin eating meat now, “wonderful again, thanks, Hot Coil.”
“My pleasure, Sir Sif,” he left cloths at my side like before and I immediately charged for the meat, picking it with my fingers and ripping it into my mouth. Another orgasmic sensation overcame my tongue.
“I-I didn’t know you started eating meat here,” Celestia let out her thoughts.
“Last night, he dined with me and had some. He stays up rather late compared to ponykind,” Luna sipped at her wine between sentences, almost done with her stir fry.
I was eating faster tonight, those Nightwings awaited me and my soul yearned for a proper fight. And I finished first, wiping my face clean and downing the one glass of wine before standing, “thanks for the meal, Hot Coil!”
“It was a pleasure to cook for you, Sir Sif,” he bowed to me while I headed toward the exit.
“Do you have no end to your energy, Sif?” Celestia questioned with a giggle.
“As Romans said, glory awaits!” I smiled to both of the princesses and hurried through the castle down to the training yard.
The yard was lit up with torches, giving a good enough light source to make out the shapes of weapons. Their practice weapons were plastered with studs to shine in the darkness and give better perception of the weapons.
“Sir Sif, what a lovely night to meet you!” These guards were black as night, the polar opposite of Celestias. Yellow slit eyes like a cat, their wings weren’t feathery, they were bat-leather. These ones already looked like fighters, “I’m Captain Black Skirmish,” and this one was a female.
“Nice to make your acquaintance. I guess you already know I’m here to spar against one of you,” I headed to the shed and grabbed a wooden longsword with metal studs on it.
“Dark Stampede, get over here!” Her voice was loud, somewhat harsh. I belonged in this kind of training, “form the pit, it’s time we see what our Knight of Equestria is made of!” Black Skirmish was serious about training, very much so.
The Nightwings gathered about in a large circle, one waiting in the center for me with a large claymore.
I entered, “never gone up against a claymore, hope you’re fast,” I smirked and took my common italian stance. Dark Stampede instead chose a Germanic style of holding it vertical and closer to his body.
“Don’t worry about me, I can hold my own. You just make sure you don’t leave too bruised, Sir Sif,” he smirked and revealed fangs.
“Begin!” Black Skirmish announced.
I immediately charged and a fast horizontal swipe was let out at me. I blocked it and dug my heels in to keep myself standing, “holy shit.”
“If that was steel, your sword would have shattered,” Stampede was wrong about that.
“My blade is technology you ponies have yet to see,” I stood back and brought my body into him just to see him move away.
“I heard you were more full contact, seems you are,” he countered with her own vertical strike that I sidestepped.
I went for a thrust and he backed away, twisting about for a hard horizontal slam with his greatsword again.
I went risky, very risky for a blade that fast. I ducked, feeling the wind pass over me while I advanced. With a weight like that, he couldn’t get back on her feet fast enough. My right hand gripped the training weapons blade while I went for an upward half sword thrust. I connected with his stomach and even lifted him up a bit while he gasped out his breath and coughed, still on his feet.
The other Nightwings were stomping their hooves in approval. I continued my advancement with a feinted strike from below and into a pommel strike.
His hoof connected with my face and I felt warm liquid pool in my mouth while I went back and he continued to get his breath. More stomping.
I spat blood from my mouth, wiping my lips with my arm, “that’s the first time anyone here has landed a hit, other than Princess Luna.”
“Hold. You sparred against our dearest princess?” Black Skirmish stepped between us.
“When I was first here, I fought her while I fled Ponyville, she prevented my re-entry back into to the Everfree Forest. She’s an insanely skilled swordswoman and I would have bested her if not for her magic,” they fell silent.
“I hope I didn’t offend.”
“No no, Sir Sif. It’s just that, nopony was able to best our dearest Princess Luna. Shining Armor matched her, but nopony could best her. Perhaps you should have a rematch,” Black skirmish suggested.
It sounded promising, now that I knew more about magic and what it could be used to do, “I think I’d like taking her up on that then, some day. Shall we continue, Stampede? I haven’t gotten you into a compromising position yet,” I took back to my Italian stance and he went for his Germanic.
“Of course, Sir Sif. I haven’t left you with a single bruise yet,” he advanced on me and brought his greatsword down vertically. I didn’t feel like being too defensive with a greatsword wielding stallion on me, it was best I kept him on defensive.
I rushed right to his blade and caught it with my own, placing my hand on my wood blade and catching near the tip of it, my elbows buckling.
“Ahhhhhh!” My yells tended to numb the pain of collision on the rare occassions I decided to headbutt as hard as I did. I crashed my head into his and laid my right hand on his wooden greatsword’s handle/ His left hoof dropped it while he remained dazed. My pommel was next to drive itself into his head and I pulled his greatsword from his hooves, holding the heavy slab of wood in my right hand alone, I didn’t dual-wield like this at all.
The circle of Nightwing guards slowly spread out more while I held the weapons out to my sides and pulled them up and ready to strike, “Dark Stampede, are you ready to surrender or should I continue?” I smirked while he regained his composure. My head pounded, but I was prepared for the pain.
“I’d...I’d like to see you use both of those together,” he was snide until the end of our match.
I felt a rush, more than just the adrenaline of taking a challenge. My limbs felt stronger and rejuvenated, the pain in my head subsided only to return as a slight stinging around my body. It was like a literal energy just entered my body in mere moments.
I let out a howl to the air and charged him down, letting him zip to the left just for my corresponding heel follow and my right hand to swing the greatsword around and make contact with his side. My vision was a blur while I danced around and slashed again and again, catching Dark Stampede many times and bruising him thoroughly.
“I yield! I yield!” I stopped mid-swing and let my arms fall, handing him his greatsword back.
“I see you guys have yet to work on attacks that aren’t first to mind. Try it, it’s one of the best way to gain an upper hand and out in the field, there is no virtue in battle. The honor you have is the duty to protect. Still, it was quite a challenge and I think my head will be ringing in the morning, I had such a workout,” my feet walked me to the shed and the Nightwings immediately started practicing again.
“Sir Sif,” the practice longsword found its way back to its original place. I came out to see Black Skirmish staring at me with an admiring look instead of the piercing one that those cat eyes had, “the next time you are out here, I’d like to spar with you.”
“I never refuse a challenge, but I’ll be practicing with Celestia’s personal detachment from now on. I’ve been given another duty. If you’d like to spar, meet me the day after tomorrow, around 1,” I patted her shoulder roughly, “but thanks for letting me spar down here, it’s nice to fight against someone who can call himself a veteran. I have an assignment tomorrow morning that I must be ready for.”
“What were you assigned?” She questioned and the training ceased to hear my answer.
Gasps and a little rowdy noises came from the guards while I took my leave to my bed.
"Hey, you!" I heard a gruff voice while I stood in the lobby of the Blueline Memorial Hospital.
My head swiveled to the left to see a very decorated guard with a shaggy blue mane approaching me. I nodded to him while I went to the front desk.
"Excuse me, I need to see Rarity and Sweetie Belle," I told the receptionist.
"For the Knight of Equestria, of course," the old receptionist smiled in her nurse scrubs, "they're in room 344."
"Are you Sif?" The guard asked while he trailed behind me when I went past the buzzed doors.
"Shining Armor, you are not permitted to visit," the receptionist argued.
"Miss, I will ensure he does not visit, but I must hear out the concerns of ponies."
She visibly frowned for a moment before she resumed her smile, "I suppose I can trust you with that duty after what you did in front of the castle today."
I continued on in with him catching up to my side.
"What is so urgent?" I asked him.
"I am Shining Armor, one of two rulers of the Crystal Empire, former captain of the Canterlot guard, brother of Twilight."
And my heart stopped for a moment, the guilt of leaving that scar across her would continue to pang at me.
"And why speak to me?"
"I thank you for taking the title that was encouraged for me. Princess Celestia said you wished to spar with me."
"Ha, hahaha," I began to laugh as we went up an elevator, my finger meeting the cold, sterilized buttons, "ah, this is a good turn of events. Listen, I'm sorry for the harm I brought to your sister and her friend. I was just trying to live."
"I understand, I'm sure my guard training would have drove me to do the same," he chuckled.
"So, we can spar later back at the castle. I need to visit these two and speak to them briefly. I can't go full out on you, those dragons really roughed me up. I thankfully didn't sustain any broken bones, only severe bruising and some cell rupture."
"Ouch, but you did good. I didn't think we could get someone in our service that could go head to head with a dragon by themself," we hopped off the elevator and using signs, took a left to head to room 344.
"Thanks," I accepted his compliment and footsteps filled the air until I got to the room, "why are you here?"
"To see my sister and her friends , make sure they're okay."
"I'll let you in after my visit."
I knocked on the door and shortly after a feminine voice called to me to enter. I pushed on the lever knob, walking into the room.
"Oh my Celestia, it's you!" A pristine white unicorn with an elegant curled purple mane and severely burnt fur on her right answered, claw marks over her face. In the other bed, fast asleep, was a unicorn foal of the same white, not as clean, and with pink and light purple frazzled mane, a large burn mark on her left side.
I approached her bed and sat in the chair next to it, my swords lightly tapping the floor, "I'm sorry I wasn't down there earlier."
"Oh, it's quite alright. You stopped anypony else from getting hurt," she cracked a smile from her visible pain clenched face.
"I was silly enough to think I was experienced enough to stand against those brutes. But you...you slayed them like the stories of old."
"I still wouldn't call myself a dragonslayer, I don't nearly have those kinds of superhuman abilities."
"But you are a knight. THE Knight of Equestria, darling. You can do so many more other things," she smiled again.
"I suppose that's true. Are you okay? I know your wounds are bad, but are you okay? Up there," I pointed to her head with my left gauntleted hand.
"Yea, I think I am. It just scared me, but to see you, my knight, slaying the dragons down and swearing to protect the ponies of Equestria. That made me happy," she smiled and sighed out quite oddly.
She's been ever so slightly hitting on me.
"Well, I wasn't unchallenged, that hit hurt quite a lot and I got lucky with the damage to my body. Just some big bruises. Maybe after you get cleared from the hospital, we can meet up and talk. I hope your little sister is okay, she must have been brave to stand up and against them like that," I stood up and reached for a paper that had been written on by a doctor, grabbing the quill next to it. I flipped the page over and began to write.
"What are you doing?"
"Are you Rarity or Sweetie Belle?" I asked.
Sweetie Belle, you might be cut out for a guard with bravery like that. MIGHT.
~Sif, Knight of Equestria
"Keeping spirits high," I walked over to Sweetie Belle's bed and placed the paper on the pillow in front of her face.
"Keep in touch, come visit after you get released," I waved and exited the room, Twilight standing in the doorway.
"We were just talking about you," Twilight smiled to me and I felt that pang in my chest.
"I need to go prepare for the sparring match later today. My armor is supposed to be done and reforged for my exact form. I must go see the smiths," I quickly excused myself and left the room and made my way out of the hospital, back to the castle.
Immediately, I went to the back of the castle and into the hot forge, one of the smiths started ushering me to the set that stood on a wooden stand.
My belt unbuckled and slipped it out once more and I donned the gambeson first, finding it to have some metal plates fixed into the cotton for added protection, the smiths began to help me put on the cuirass and attach the two pieces of it well. The three piece shoulder plates followed which lead into two large plates, a set on each of my upper arms. They covered my elbow with one flat plate that came off the sections for my forearm that connected to my plate gauntlets. I received the second as well. I pulled the greaves up and attached them to the cuirass with their help. While I put on the steel boots that went all the way up to my knee and covered them with an outstretched plate like my elbows, the two smiths attached a chailmail piece to my front and standards to my legs. I pulled the straps for the boots tight and found myself a newer man. The armor, while it definitely looked heavy, felt light as can be, it must have been enchanted.
I was handed a helmet while I heard a rolling sound. I put on the helmet and dropped the visor down, seeing through two main eye holes and breathing through the curved arches in the cheeks of the helmet. A mirror was displayed in front of me. I was indeed in steel armor, though not so shiny I would blind someone. The moon inside the sun insignia was displayed across the chestplate of the armor, stars all over it. There were some etchings of my weapons on the arms of the armor. My helmet had a very stoic expression and the inside was dark enough that I could just barely make out my eyes.
"Guys, it's wonderful. It'll be put in action today. You're welcome to watch while I fight Shining Armor."
"We'll be there," I heard one of them say from behind me. I started to move and it appeared that they padded the inside with some material so it wouldn't make nearly as loud a noise as it would without it. I picked my weapons up and found that custom frogs were already placed on the armor for me, made mostly pf metal and some thick cloth, almost leather, material. My gladius laid downward along my right leg while my longsword and rapier were on my left hip. I grabbed my buckler and saw two small slits for it to fit in. I quickly moved the strap of the buckler in and tied it tight when they came out the two exit holes on the other side. Secure, firm. These smiths were impressive.
I began to walk to the training yard, Shining Armor should be there by now.
The yard wasn't being used for practice, instead, guards were all gathered around Shining Armor, talking with him. Celestia, Luna, Twilight, and who I assume to be Cadance were off to the wall of the castle. Celestia and Luna quickly noticed me and smiled.
"Sif, please come," Luna beckoned.
I marched over in my new confidence of steel, stopping in front of the four royalty.
"What is it, Princess Luna?"
"Oh, no need to be so formal," Celestia chuckled.
"We thought you would like to be introduced to Cadance, ruler of the Crystal Empire," Luna gestured to her right and there was the princess in question.
The alicorn had yellow, magenta, and purple large streaks that served as her mane, a small golden crown with an amethyst in the center adorned her beautifully long mane. Her fur was a bright pink, devoid of all dirt and donning gold regal wear. She smiled warmly to me and opened her mouth to speak, my eyes latched onto her gentle magenta irises.
"Hello, I understand you're Sif, the new Knight of Equestria?"
I put my fist to my chest and did a slight bow, "that I am. A pleasure to meet you Princess Cadanza Mi Amore."
"Still so formal," she giggled, "but Cadance is just fine. I'll have need of you soon actually, but Celestia has a more pressing matter, I believe."
"Sif, are you ready?" Shining Armor spoke behind me.
"Always," my feet lead me to the open dead field of the training yard. Shining Armor was in more armor, his battlefield and not ceremonial.
I looked at his spear and drew my gladius, noting the longsword on his side. I rolled my shoulders and pounded my feet, ready now.
"Ready whenever you are."
Shining Armor began to come forward and I met him with the pounds of my feet, closing quickly. My left arm stayed front and forward while my other was a little out, tilting my gladius, but keeping it firm and ready for a thrust.
Though he looked somewhat young, he was grizzled enough to know what I was baiting for and swept his spear out at me in the midst of jumping back. My buckler slammed into the head of the spear and I reached for the handle with my hand, but too slow in my attempt to grab the shaft. I heard some hoof stomps on my left, my eyes flickered and the princesses were all stomping for us...like a different applause.
"I'm already satisfied, all the guards here are hard-wired to stab, but you saw past my bait."
"I was offered your position once."
And that's why i needed to win this, to prove myself. If not to them, to me. I felt something well up in me, a feeling of power, maybe battle rhythm, but it felt different. Unstoppable.
Let. Me. Out.
Those weren't my thoughts, there was another thinking process in my head.
Channel me. Your sword.
I listened and began to concentrate the feeling into my gladius and a bright blue light emanated from my hand.
"Sister, do you see this? Magic?" Luna noticed.
It burned, it was painful, somewhat unbearably so.
I pounded my feet over to my opponent and slashed at his sweeping spear with my gladius. Some of the blue light was let free and a magnificent streak of cyan entered the air from my gladius. Shining Armor's spear was sent flying far into the air and out into the city beyond the walls.
"Aaaaaagh!" I screamed in pain and slashed at the newly drawn sword.
Shining Armor's hoof that bound his sword to him slung back hard, whatever force ran in my veins and head, propelled my arm faster than an F1 engine would. I thrusted the gladius forward as its best function and it connected with his armor.
"Fuuuuuuuuck!" I cried out in pain and a very deep blue, but not navy, shot from my arm and gladius.
A shattering noise pierced the air and my eyes witnessed my opponent flying into the air a little before tumbling on his side.
"W...what was that?" He groaned before he stood.
A ripple went up my arm, again and again. Before the pain stopped.
"Perhaps you two should consider halting your match," Luna suggested.
"Not until I am properly bested," he approached me again, with a somewhat concerning thrust mark in his chest. I destroyed his chestplate, it was lying in pieces around the yard.
"I...I didn't mean to destroy your chestplate. It...it just wanted out."
I sheathed my gladius, finding it cooler than normal. My hand drew out my trusted longsword and I prepared myself with an Italian sword stance. We met, staring each other down. I felt hot in my armor now.
I started with a slash to his right shoulder and transferred into a German tactic to work around his parrying blade and strike his head. He blocked that as well and began his counter attack while my arms and feet retracted into the ox stance.
My hands sprung to life and bounced his blade back with a twist of my blade and cut into his shoulder at the same time. Fingers wrapped around my blade, one hand at a time and I spun. Germanic tactics caught him off guard. My pommel met the side of his head and he fell down to the ground, dazed.
"Wo...wow. Just...is that how they use swords in your world? That's impressive," Shining Armor stood back up, wobbling all over the place, "you have to teach me some time."
I sauntered over in pride, extending my hand and helping him up to his hooves, making sure he was stable for a while. His helm held a large dent in the side.
"Sif, you're simply amazing in your combat prowess," Luna trotted over to us first.
In my days of practicing, I never did a murder-stroke as people knew it. A hilt strike or pommel strike was quite illegal and far too dangerous.
"Shining Armor, I wanted to end that fight quick. I never should have done a pommel strike on you. You should probably go get checked for brain damage. My arm is absolutely on fire," I started to shake my right arm around, trying to numb the needle pain, "thank you, Princess Luna."
"You know, I didn't expect him to get this thrashed, but it was fun seeing the look on his face when you shattered his chestplate or flung his spear so far away," Cadance giggled.
"Are you okay, Shining?" Twilight came up behind him.
"Sif, what exactly happened? I didn't feel any magic presence in you," Celestia came up to me.
I flipped my visor open, letting some cooler air on my sweat drenched face.
We are the spirits of the past. The prior Equestrian Knights. We tire of seeing the land we swore to protect being ravaged. Whenever you get sent to Tartarus, we will guide you. Disaster is closer to this world than you think. Our spirit power is yours. Tell Princess Celestia and Princess Luna hello for us all.
There were the others thoughts, my head felt empty during their speech.
"Princess Luna, Princess Celestia, the past Knights of Equestria say hello," Luna's eyes looked a little hurt while she smiled. Celestia beamed and put her face close to mine.
An immediate red covered my face from her close contact, it faded when she put her horn to my open forehead. My skull felt devoid for just a moment.
"Luna, they're...they're all there. They entered him. That was their own paranormal power, a new kind of magic," Celestia pulled her horn from my head, "amazing."
"Sif, you said it hurt, you certainly sounded like it did. You shouldn't try to force that much magic out just yet," Twilight instructed me.
"I'm not even sure what happened," I mumbled, "I don't think it was magic."
"I didn't feel any magic," Cadance noted, rubbing her hoof on her husband's back.
Our power. Channel it anytime. We are always with you.
My veins in my right arm pulsed again, roaring with their life while I focused the spirits. A person materialized in my thoughts, a burly pony to be exact. A blue phantom shot free from my right hand and stood in the yard.
"Sir...Sir Battle Blood!" Celestia cried out and hugged the phantom who hugged her back.
"Ah, yes, my dear little Celestia. Still the young alicorn I knew," his voice was shaky and deep, "it is through Sir Sif I live here."
"What are you doing with him?" Luna asked while Celestia stayed latched on tight.
"We, Princess Luna, we are all inside him. We have always lived on through the next Knight of Equestria. As long as a Knight lives, so do we. Only now do we have enough collective power and a Knight has enough willpower and conviction to use our power, I am surprised Sir Sif could summon me."
"That's...frightening. But also very interesting," Twilight commented.
"Do you know why his name is Sif? We know his thoughts. It isn't his real name."
"What is his real name?" Luna asked, looking at me with suspicion.
"I believe he wishes to not tell you, so I withhold my tongue."
"T-thank you," my mind felt like a bundle of sea urchins over a fish.
"Then what does his name mean?"
"Song of Ice and Fire. It's a literary piece back in his world," I quickly called him back into me, forcing Sir Battle Blood back to me.
"It's not whether a man will break, it's when. Plucking a rusty helm from a corpse for battle, then it's not far from stealing food to not go hungry. Pillaging, raping towns. And one day that man will look around him and find none of his family or friends he once knew on the front line. He won't know the lord for which he fights. He won't know why he fights. He'll see that he became the very monsters he despised. And that's when that man will break," I recited from memory as best I could, "or something like that."
"I, that's...Sif," Celestia looked to me with pain in her eyes.
"Why did you choose such a remorseful name?" Shining Armor asked, "as true as it was according to the history texts of old."
"To remind myself, I know what I fight for, I know who I fight for, and though none of my family or friends fight my battles with me, I have that and I have new friends. To remind myself I can't break, I will be the unstoppable blade of Equestria, to serve for as long as these legs will walk and these arms will slay. To remind myself what's at stake," my voice was so deep it scared me.
"There is no war we are fighting, though. Nothing is at stake," Luna answered with a smirk.
"I..." I stopped myself and sighed out, the spirits didn't want to let them know of the horrible secret here. They only told me to go to Tartarus when the time is right, "I wish to practice these new powers."
"We'll leave you be, Sif," Celestia began to trot away and Twilight followed her.
"Sif, I look forward to your visit to the Crystal Empire," Cadance smiled warmly.
"Especially me, I might want a round two," Shining Armor made his exit with a chuckle.
"Sif, I recommend practicing in the hedge maze, it's quiet and nopony ever visits it out of fear of getting lost," Luna advised before she left herself, leaving me alone with the guards who still stared in awe of my feats. I promptly left for the hedge maze.
And true to Luna's words, nobody and nopony bothered me there save for the distant rhythmic chirping of birds from the royal gardens. These new powers, gained from he spirits of the past, would definitely come in handy seeing as I had no kind of magic to use in a world that would readily use it to kill me if In staunched against the evils in it, not to mention to overwhelming amount of mythological creatures roaming.
These spiritual blessings seemed based off my own will and desire to use them, like an extension of my own mind. I had gained control over them, but not mastery in using them, that would probably take a few conflicts and actual combat for me to gain a firm grasp of.
There wasn't much more left for me in the day, it was just a simple training and then I left to go eat in the dining hall, surprisingly, the princesses didn't wait for me. Celestia liked going to be early so she could raise the sun on time band be as regal as she could be for the day court. Luna had to sleep early even though she was a night owl, the ponies required her help in their sleep so she could give each of them valuable insight into their own lives and advise them on better paths that will lead them to a stable mind and a peace in their hearts.
So entering the dining room with the entire place being keep alive with a singkle candle left for me, was odd, and the more off-putting factor was seeing Hot Coil gently walk out from the kitchens and bowing, his hat drooping once more.
"Ah, Sir Sif, did you have a good training session in the hedge maze? I heard from the princesses you were very eager to see what you could do with your new powers."
"Well, they're...new. It'll take some time to use them, but from such an eventful moment, I doubt I'll forget I even have them. And thanks for waiting for me, you didn't ahve to. I'm not that useless in cooking."
"But Sir Sif, the kitchen is very new to you, you wouldn't know your way around it like I do. It could take you an hour or two to find all that you need to cook something a simple at stir fry let alone begin cooking," his face began to warm red, "oh! But I didn't mean to say that you were incompetent in the least! After all, you must have far more than just brawn and combat prowess to earn the title of Knight of Equestria. What would you like to dine on this evening, Sir Sif?"
"Well, it was a harsh training session so some protein would do me well. Could you maybe try a honey glaze of some kind of meat? Your choice, Coil. And with that, maybe some broccoli smothered in cheese and some...tomatoes! A salad with plenty of cut tomatoes! Sauced with an oil based dressing, but not milk in it...not ranch. Maybe with some poppy seeds...no. That'll be it!"
"My, that all sounds so delicious, you're making me tempted to make some for myself!"
"Then do it! Join me in eating tonight! It's no fun eating alone," I chirped, thoughts tended to run wild if you ate alone, especially in such a large dining room in the middle of a well defended castle as the moon already stands high in the sky.
And time seemingly went by fast and both of us had matching meals, except for the meat. Hot Coil had decided to go with pork, grilled, and glazed in honey and some other sauces. Even if he had a bite of meat before, he could certainly taste the sauces and somehow he always knew how to flavor meats. He must have done quite a bit of travelling in his cooking career which would mean that being the princesses personal chef was more of a semi-retirement for him.
"Hot Coil, where have your cooking adventures taken you?"
"See, that's what I mean by more than brawn and combat prowess. I take it you noticed how ell I seasoned and treated the meat?" I nodded, "well, I've been many places. I've cooked for the dragons over at their island, I've been to the badlands and Clugetown to cook for the elite their and with the professional chefs as well. I spent a lot of time cooking with the griffins in Griffinstone. For their race, their upscale restaurants were hidden away well to only the elite would know where they are, but they cooked food as divinely as possible to make up for the poor atmosphere. Speaking of you, I've heard whispers throughout the entire castle from the guards and the guests and some rumors about the city even!"
"Rumors? About me?" As interesting as our talk about world restaurants in Equestria would have been, this was a little more pressing. My public image was a big importance to me and to the princesses. Their choices should always be sound and rumors migrating around the city about me could hurt their reputation as much as it could hurt mine.
"Well, you have been the talk about town, but this is the first bad thing I've heard about you."
"Then tell me already, Hot Coil!" I let out before another bite of salad leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olive found its way into my watering mouth.
"Well, word is that the mares are looking at you and it's making a lot of the stallions annoyed. All they can hear is how strong and skilled you are, not to mention your heart. They rant about you being the savior of Equestria and the hero they truly needed so long ago. The guards think they're exaggerating, but having seen you practice and watching your duel against Shining Armor from a distance...I think there's some truth to what they're saying. You might be exactly what Equestria needs for future threats. To imagine if you were here for the changeling invasion. Just be careful, it won't be long until the mares around town begin flirting with you and trying to win your favor. You're earning their eyes despite being human, Sif."
Hot Coil was leveling with me, he was giving me advice and insight. He was a connection to the ponies for me and it made perfect sense.
"Hot Coil, why do you say all this?" I asked, knowing the exact answer I was going to receive.
"Well, because you NEED to know what the ponies think. I've cooked for gathering of political parties in this room before, I may be just a personal chef, but I know how politics work around here and the images of the princesses is a key to ensuring the ponies listen to their consul. And now you're a part of all that, even though you don't attend any political events. Your actions and deeds will carry weight, even your words will. I also thought I should give you a heads up about the mares so you could prepare for it. Stallion Code," he smiled before taking another bite of his food.
"Thanks, Coil, really. You can be the one pony I go to for accurate feedback on what the ponies think of me," a small chuckle escaped my lips, "I thought I'd eventually have to deal with the mares coming after me, but not this soon."
And the night finished with idle chatter of the diplomats that have visited and the kinds of yearly events that were held at the castle like the Grand Galloping Gala.
And we both blew out the candle and headed our separate ways to bed, a glass of water following me to resolve the dry wine I had just moments ago.