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(Kinder/RGRE) Knight of the Moon (5/24/21)

By PhysicsAnon
Created: 12th November 2020 09:31:33 PM
25th May 2021 05:42:27 AM

  1. >Day 69 as a Solar Guard in Kinderquestria
  2. >You are Anonymous, Roman-armor clad juggernaut of the Canterlot guard.
  3. >You're so strong they gave you actual metal armor as opposed to the papier-mache stuff everybody else gets.
  4. >"So, Anon, thought about my offer yet?"
  5. >You're also stuck on patrol with your least favorite coworker.
  6. >Twayblade smirks up at you confidently, almost as if you hadn't shot this "offer" down every day you've had this job.
  7. "Not a chance. And it gets less likely every time you ask."
  8. >"Aw, come on! A stallion like you needs a good mare to take care of him! That's why you joined, right? I mean, guys aren't supposed to like rough work!"
  9. >You snort. The only thing rough about working in the guard is the tiny showers and the surplus of insufferable mares.
  10. >It's like a backwards version of the 50's in this bizarre horse universe, and they all got a hard on for aliens.
  11. >You joined the guard to get away from your more determined suitors, only to find some new ones.
  12. >Just your fucking luck.
  13. >Taking your silence to mean her little spiel is working, Twayblade continues.
  14. >"You're super cute in uniform, but you'll just hurt yourself out here, Anon. Just give me one night, and I think I can convince you..."
  15. >She puts a hoof on your leg and gives you what you think was meant to be bedroom eyes.
  16. >You take a big step sideways, making her lose her balance.
  17. "Bad touch."
  18. >"Was it, though? Didn't you feel that spark?"
  19. "A spark of insanity, maybe. Put a cork in it and keep an eye out."
  20. >She huffs, straightening her helmet.
  21. >"Aw, come on. Nopony's gonna start trouble with ME out here."
  22. >Au contraire, o tiny annoying horse.
  23. >You've been putting in a lot of work recently, trying to track down a local gang of pudding bandits.
  24. >If you can just make one good bust, your flawless record and ability to kiss ass for a cause might just get you into a command position.
  25. >At the very least you'll be have one up on Twayblade.
  26. >You can't wait to see her face.
  27. >After pumping root beers and ear scratches into one of your contacts, you finally figured out where the pudding bandits meet to plan their raids.
  28. >The local public park, every Sunday, right around now.
  29. >You cut down an alleyway, silently hoping your companion won't notice.
  30. >"Wait, Anon, where are you going? That's not our route!"
  31. >It was worth a shot.
  32. >You don't stop to answer, prompting her to chase after you.
  33. >"Honestly, I just get done telling you about how hard this work is-"
  34. >You silently grind your teeth as you make your way down to the other end of the alley, peering out to see the park.
  35. >You've got a good view from here. This will be a good spot to ambush them-
  36. >"Anon! Listen to me! This isn't the time for one of your flights of fancy, we have a job to do!"
  37. >Just have one last obstacle to take care of.
  38. >You jab a finger against Twayblade's nose, making her scrunch up.
  39. >You enjoy the moment of blessed silence it brings.
  40. "What do I have to do to make you sit there quietly?"
  41. >Her face lights up.
  42. >"Say you'll be my coltfriend!"
  43. >You growl. You've got other ways of securing her cooperation.
  44. >You roughly push your hand under her helmet. Your fingers delve through her light green mane until they hit her scalp, and start scratching.
  45. >"A-Anon, we're in public-"
  46. >You scratch harder until she can't speak anymore. She just stands there, eyes crossed and drooling.
  47. >You fix your eyes on the park and wait.
  48. >Your patience is rewarded by the sight of four ponies slinking into the park.
  49. >You tense up, slowly shifting your weight around as you prepare to charge out.
  50. >If you can catch even one of them, you'll be able to wring out the location of their stash and recover all the stolen goods.
  51. >You wait for the little pony perps to gather in a circle.
  52. >This is it. Party time.
  53. >You yank your hand out of Twayblade's helmet and dash across the street into the open lawn of the park, hurdling a bench as you go.
  54. "STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM!"
  55. >You've been waiting for the day you'd get to say that in seriousness.
  56. >All your targets turn to face you. They're all mares.
  57. >"Hey, that was a mean thing to-!"
  58. >They don't get to finish the sentence as you scoop them all up in a single bear hug.
  59. >Perfect! You can just carry them all back to the guard station just like this.
  60. >Your captives struggle in vain against your grip, hooves slapping against your arms.
  61. >Until they all get a look at your face.
  62. >"What the hay?! You're a stallion?!"
  63. >"Let us go little boy, or you'll regret it!"
  64. >"Yeah! You don't wanna know what we do to goody two-shoes!"
  65. >"Or what we do to stallions with an attitude!"
  66. >You give them your best glare. They wilt.
  67. "The only place you're getting released into is a nice, cozy cell."
  68. >You turn to leave, ignoring the protests and pleads of your captives, only to find a puff-cheeked Twayblade barring your path.
  69. >"W-What the heck, Anon?! You just left me behind in the alley to go hug strange mares?!"
  70. >You roll your eyes, trying to push past her.
  71. "We'll talk about it later. These four need to be booked."
  72. >"I've had just about enough of you, mister! Don't ignore me!"
  73. >Twayblade prances about in front of you angrily.
  74. >"W-What's so good about them?! Why don't you carry me like that?!"
  75. "What did I just say?! These are criminals! The Fourth Street Snack Snatchers! I've been trying to pin these chicks down for a week! Do you listen when I talk?!"
  76. >"Sometimes!"
  77. >UGH.
  78. >Your four prisoners decide this would be a lovely time to chime in.
  79. >"Hah, little beta mare, getting told by a stallion!"
  80. >"So, uh, been trying to 'pin us down,' huh~?"
  81. >"Are you a fan? We can get you some pudding on the cheap, pretty boy. Maybe even give you a special discount..."
  82. >"What else can these hands do?"
  83. >The snack thief closest to your hands rubs a hoof over them, and Twayblade snaps.
  84. >"Get your dirty hooves off my stallion, you two-bit goons!"
  85. >She leaps up into them, sending you off balance.
  86. >You fall hard on your ass with the weight of five grown mares on top of you.
  87. >The impact breaks your grip and all four of your suspects bolt off, cackling.
  88. >"See ya, coppers!"
  89. >"Come catch us again sometime, big boy!"
  90. >"The next snack we steal might be you!"
  91. >"Bye bye, beta!"
  92. >You scramble to your feet and try to give chase, but you lose them after a couple blocks.
  93. >Chest heaving, you drop to one knee, pounding the cobblestone road in frustration.
  94. >You were so close, dammit! You'd have brought them all in with no struggle if not for-
  95. >"ANON!"
  96. >Twayblade leaps on you, nuzzling your face.
  97. >"It's okay! I protected you! You can cry on my shoulder! And maybe scratch my ears again!"
  98. >Deep breaths.
  99. >Deeeeeeep breaths.
  100. >Don't smack your coworker.
  101. >When you've successfully reined in your emotions, you shrug Twayblade off of you.
  102. "C'mon. Back to the station. Gotta start all over again..."
  103. >"What, not even a hug? I just saved your life!"
  104. >Don't. Smack. Your coworker.
  105. >"You're lucky I'm into guys who play hard to get. Just makes the payoff sweeter."
  106. >…
  107. >You bite your tongue all the way back to the station to avoid saying something you'll regret.
  108. >You both make your report.
  109. >Twayblade gets a commendation for "protecting her fellow guard."
  110. >You get what you always get.
  111. >Fawning, grabby hooves and a condescending "leave it to the mares next time, Anon."
  112. >Fucking Twayblade.
  113.  
  114. >Day 71 of being a Solar Guard in Equestria.
  115. >You’ve had it. You aren’t putting up with this anymore.
  116. >Bad enough you had to move to a new place just to get away from your old stalkers.
  117. >Bad enough every mare in your unit seems to think you only joined to have your pick of them.
  118. >Never mind that you’re still treated like a liability despite easily being stronger and more durable than any pony could ever be.
  119. >But this was the last straw.
  120. >You were honestly excited when you got switched over to throne room duty.
  121. >Finally, somewhere Twayblade wasn’t! Prestigious work! And a pay raise! Things were looking up!
  122. >Or so you thought.
  123. >You storm through the castle towards the training grounds.
  124. >The scattered groups of ponies in the hallway give you a wide berth, staring apprehensively at your face as you pass.
  125. >The sound of golden shoes against marble floor rings out behind you.
  126. >”Anonymous, where are you going? Yes, I admit it was a bit crass to magically touch you like that, but you’re one of my guards! You can’t simply abandon your post!”
  127. >You don’t dignify that with a response. You’re going to put an end to all this. The best end you can think of.
  128. >Booting open the door leading outside, you march straight to the parade grounds.
  129. >Guards in the middle of training stop and stare as you make your way to the center of the field, still followed by a scolding Celestia.
  130. >”Anonymous, really, is this any way to-?”
  131. “NOW HEAR THIS!”
  132. >You roar to the sky, whirling to face the startled princess and baffled guardsmares.
  133. “I’ve had it up to my eyes with each and every one of you! So here’s what’s going to happen. I’m issuing a challenge. She who can beat me single combat, wins me. No rules. No holds barred. And I encourage everyone to participate.”
  134. >Your smile is genuine, but not benign.
  135. “I’ll wait ten minutes before starting. Go tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your mom.”
  136. >There’s a murmur. It grows into excited shouts.
  137. >The shouts turn into a clamor as all the little mares line up.
  138. >As does Celestia.
  139. >But you aren't worried. You're beyond worry. You're so angry that all you can think of is punting some horses into space.
  140. >You begin limbering up. Wouldn't want to pull something on what's shaping up to be your favorite day in Equestria.
  141. >A cloud of pegasi emerge from the castle. Word must have gotten back inside. There's a small herd of sprinting earth ponies and unicorns, too.
  142. >You pick out familiar, cockily grinning faces.
  143. >Your own sneer is wider than any of theirs. Your grudges are many, and your reckoning will be thorough.
  144. >Feeling ready, you stand proudly, arms crossed as they assemble before you.
  145. >"ANON!"
  146. >And there she is. The star. The crown jewel. The ass most begging for your foot.
  147. >Twayblade.
  148. >She gallops to the head of the crowd, shoving her way through other guards.
  149. >"I'm going first! I won't let anypony else have you!"
  150. >There are cries of protest. It looks like she's about to get jumped by the rest of them.
  151. >You hold up a hand.
  152. "That's just what I was hoping for, actually. Bring it on, Twayblade."
  153. >You let your hands fall to your sides, fingers wriggling in anticipation.
  154. >Two months. More than two months you've spent here, biting your tongue, cursing into the mirror, screaming into your pillow at night. No more.
  155. >Hubris in earth pony form laughs, rearing.
  156. >"I knew you felt the same way! You set this whole thing up to get my attention, didn't you? You're so cute, Anon. I'll carry you to the infirmary after."
  157. >She runs right at you. You shudder in anticipation.
  158. >Twayblade lowers her head as she gets close, and you neatly sidestep, catching her as she goes by.
  159. >"H-Hey! What the -"
  160. >You heft her around, holding her up in a sitting position.
  161. >"Anon? Weren't you going to let me win?"
  162. "No, Twayblade."
  163. >Your voice is low and soft, and you whisper in her ear.
  164. "I'm going to speak to you in a language you understand."
  165. >Her confused response turns to a squeal as you toss her up into the air, and hop back a few steps.
  166. >Time seems to slow. You wind up with your leg, surging forward just as Twayblade's unprotected hiney is halfway to the ground.
  167. >Your foot swings upward with the fury of a thousand suns. The cry she lets out as it collides with her flank is the most beautiful music you have ever heard.
  168. >A screaming purple comet with a green trail streaks across the sky, landing somewhere out of sight.
  169. >You're laughing like a madman. You spread your arms wide, mocking your now-silent crowd.
  170. "Who's next?! Huh?! You were talking all that good shit a minute ago, then one of you gets dropkicked! Take me home, ladies! Ain't I a catch?"
  171. >Your language earns you some flinches and gasps, and you even see a few in the back slink off.
  172. >But the majority of challengers remain. Whether out of pride, lust for you, or simply because they couldn't run away in front of their friends, you neither know nor care.
  173. >A unicorn steps up. You vaguely remember her. Cold Snap, you think.
  174. >"Alright colt, that's enough. I'll put you in your place."
  175. >Her horn lights up, and she smirks.
  176. >"My bed."
  177. >You laugh in her face.
  178. "And just like the last time you tried this shit, I'm sending you home alone to schlick."
  179. >She turns bright red.
  180. >"I-I DON'T SCHLICK! I GET TONS OF STALLIONS!"
  181. >She shoots a spell at you, but you were anticipating it. Once more you cut to the side, this time taking the offensive as you dash towards her.
  182. >She bolts, trying to outrun you while slinging spells madly.
  183. >You duck the second shot and just tank the third, a wave of cold washing over you as the spell connects.
  184. >She skids to a halt.
  185. >"Gotcha! I win, right?"
  186. >You walk over to her, smiling placatingly.
  187. "Totally. You win-"
  188. >You pick her up.
  189. "-a free trip-"
  190. >You begin spinning her around.
  191. "TO CLOUDSDALE!"
  192. >You hammer throw her with all your might, sending her careening into the sky and over the castle wall, screeching all the way.
  193. >The crowd is good and spooked now. They glance at each other uncertainly, ears pinned as they take slow steps back.
  194. >You take a step towards them, smiling happily.
  195. "What's the matter, guys? Aren't we going to fight?"
  196. >The less determined are already running. The ones from your own unit seem to be frozen in place, trying to not look scared.
  197. >You take another step.
  198. >"Halt, Anonymous."
  199. >Ah, here we go. Now this will be fun.
  200. >Celestia steps forward, mane blowing in the afternoon wind.
  201. >"Just as I expected. Mortal mares cannot possibly tame you."
  202. >She licks her lips.
  203. >"I'll give you one chance to surrender now. I'll teleport the both of us up to my chamber..."
  204. >You click your tongue, shaking your head disapprovingly.
  205. "Aw, Celestia, that's not how this works. You have to earn me. I know my worth."
  206. >And it's more than any living being present can afford. Certainly more than this grabby princess.
  207. >Celestia laughs. It's an almost charming sound.
  208. >"Very well, my little stallion. Our courtship will be a memorable one."
  209. >Her horn lights up like a beacon, and you raise a hand to shield your eyes. Moments later, you're knocked to the ground.
  210. >The weight of a giant white pony holds you down, and you hear the clank of metal shoes falling to the dirt before feeling two hooves begin violating your boundaries.
  211. "HEY!"
  212. >Fight back if you don't like it~."
  213. >You make your best attempt to do just that.
  214. >Celestia hums idly as you try to fight against the invisible force smothering your whole body.
  215. >"Mmm... None have ever been able to resist my magical grip to this extent. I wonder if that strength translates to... thrust..."
  216. >She grabs your thighs.
  217. "BAD TOUCH!"
  218. >"Things happen in battle~."
  219. >Your teeth gnash as you strain. Celestia lazily disassembles your armor piece by piece, flinging each aside until it's just your clothes left.
  220. >Fuck, this is bad! You've read hentai like this, but you hate being on the receiving end!
  221. >Still, hope is not lost. You can still pull this off.
  222. >You wish it hadn't come to this, but...
  223. "W-Wait, Celestia."
  224. >You wish you could say the tremble in your voice was just for effect.
  225. >The alicorn has a knowing smile on her face as she responds.
  226. >"Hm?"
  227. "Can... uh..."
  228. >After a brief internal struggle, you summon your nerve.
  229. "Can you at least kiss me first?"
  230. >The self-loathing you feel is almost proportionate to the delight that spreads across her face.
  231. >"My, so you do have a cute side! I had my suspicions. Of course, Anonymous. I'll take this as my victory, then..."
  232. >She leans in, lips puckered to take your first horsey kiss.
  233. >You have other plans.
  234. >The instant before Celestia gives you a wet one, your teeth snap shut on her bottom lip.
  235. >Celestia lets out a yip and her magical grip on you fails, just as you'd hoped!
  236. >With a roar of triumph, you seize hold of her horn, squeezing tight as your other shoves her off you.
  237. >A moment of grappling has the roles reversed, with Celestia bent over your knee.
  238. >"Y-You brute! You scheming he-devil!"
  239. "I'm hurt, Celestia! You should know me better than that. I never surrender. And I never let crime go unpunished."
  240. >And you know just how to punish a rude princess.
  241. >You cock one hand back.
  242. >Celestia's eyes narrow.
  243. >"Don't you dare!"
  244. >Nothing could stop you now. You've dreamt of a day like this for so long.
  245. >You spank Celestia as hard as you can, the sound ringing out over the training grounds.
  246. >The gathered mares watch with mouths agape as you tan the royal hide, Celestia shrilling and moaning with each blow.
  247. "Well, go on, Celestia! Fight back if you don't like it, right? Let's see it!"
  248. >She tries. But you know how to deal with magic ponies.
  249. >You squeeze her horn each time you feel it heat up, disrupting the spell, and you break her concentration with another swat on the ass.
  250. >You cackle as the public disciplining continues. This is the best. The fucking pinnacle. The height of your existence. You're spanking a sun god in front of her army of armor-clad sexual harassers.
  251. >Your retribution is thorough. Celestia's flanks are red as tomatoes when you finally let her fall to the ground.
  252. >You rise, flexing for effect as you screech to the spectators.
  253. "What the fuck is up?! What's good, ladies?! How do you like me now?! None can oppose me! Wooooooooo!!!"
  254. >The mares in front of you go pale, frantically gesticulating, but you're too hyped to care.
  255. "Come on! Who's next? Who else wants on Mr. Anon's Wild Ride?"
  256. >Your strutting and posturing is cut short by a booming voice.
  257. >"ANONYMOUS THE HUMAN!!"
  258. >You jump, turning around to look behind you.
  259. >You instantly wish you didn't. You'd have preferred to not see death coming.
  260. >Celestia's mane is fire, her eyes glowing white and fixed directly on you as she levitates, wings spread and horn wreathed in burning plasma.
  261. >"FOR THE CRIMES OF TREASON AGAINST THE CROWN, LESE-MAJESTE, FOUL LANGUAGE, PUBLIC BULLYING, A-AND PUBLIC LEWDITY, I BANISH YOU!!!"
  262. >Once again, you are blinded by her casting.
  263.  
  264. > You sit back, your arms propping you up as you look at the sky.
  265. >Your helmet sits at your side, the only piece of your armor left by the time you pulled your gambit.
  266. >Now that the adrenaline has cleared, you guess it was a pretty stupid idea.
  267. >Still worth it though. You'd do it again in a heartbeat.
  268. >At least they sent you somewhere with a view.
  269. >The Planet of the Horses hangs high above you, with stars, nebulae, and everything in between speckling the sky in all other directions.
  270. >At least you'll get some peace and quiet on the moon. Fuckin' ponies.
  271.  
  272. >Day... Uh...
  273. >You have no clue how long you've been stuck up here.
  274. >You've fallen asleep a couple times, so maybe two days?
  275. >It's strange. You haven't gotten hungry or anything. Maybe it's part of Celestia's spell.
  276. >You lay spread-eagle on your back, staring up at the stars.
  277. >You are Anonymous, former Solar Guard and current criminal imprisoned on the moon.
  278. >It kinda blows.
  279. >You shudder at the realization that you have no idea how long Celestia plans on keeping you up here. Just this once, you hope sexism prevails and she lets you off because it’s “too much for a stallion” or whatever.
  280. >”Greetings, Anonymous.”
  281. >You jump at the voice, scrambling to your feet to see who’s there.
  282. >A dark blue alicorn stares imperiously at you, mane covering one eye as it gently flows in the nonexistent space wind.
  283. >”I hope you’ll pardon my lateness. It took some time to get Sister to tell me what happened to you after the…”
  284. >She breaks off, putting a hoof over her mouth to stifle a snort.
  285. >”…incident.”
  286. “Wait, she’s hiding my punishment? How? Nearly all of the Solar Guard was there.”
  287. >”She has spent these past days wiping their memories. All who remained to witness your…”
  288. >Stifled laughter again.
  289. >”Ahem… Witness your triumph, have been mind wiped. Sister was very thorough. There are none left who know the cause of your sudden departure, and there is a great clamor among the Solar Guard to find you.”
  290. >Great. Fuckin’ great. You blew any chance you had at living a nice life in Equestria to make them learn their lesson, and now they’ve forgotten it!
  291. “So… What happens now? Why are you here?”
  292. >She comes closer as she responds.
  293. >”I am here for a number of reasons. Foremost, my moon is not a prison to be filled at Celestia’s whim. I would prefer no living creature be confined here again. I know that suffering and wish it upon none.”
  294. >She takes a seat across from you, resting on her haunches. She gestures for you to do the same.
  295. >”Secondly, I have a deep appreciation for martial might regardless of its source. Besting her is no small feat, Anonymous. Leaving you on the moon would be a waste.”
  296. “So you want me to join the Night Guard instead?”
  297. >”Yes. I find it pleasing that you catch on quickly.”
  298. “With all due respect, I nearly went nuts hanging out with your sister’s guards. Why would yours be any better?”
  299. >Luna offers you a small smile.
  300. >”Because you shall be no mere guard.”
  301. >She gestures theatrically with her hooves.
  302. >”You shall be a knight! MY knight! The Knight of the Moon!”
  303. >You rest your chin on your hand, eyebrow raised skeptically.
  304. “So, I get a rank? That’s cool, but it doesn’t really solve my problems.”
  305. >She seems taken aback at your unenthused response.
  306. >”Y-You’ll be my champion! Any offence against you would be an offense against me!”
  307. >Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.
  308. “That sounds good. You’ll keep my ‘admirers’ off me then?”
  309. >”Yes! But with any luck, I won’t have to.”
  310. “What do you mean?”
  311. >”You shall have a suit of armor, with a helmet to hide your face. It will carry a glamor on it to disguise your voice as well. A mysterious knight, sworn to the service of the Moon Princess!”
  312. >She giggles, clopping her hooves together in delight before catching herself. She clears her throat, putting her poker face back on and rearranging her mane to cover one eye again.
  313. >You have to admit, she sure can pull off the brooding look.
  314. >You aren’t certain that a magic suit of armor will be enough to conceal your identity considering you’re literally the only human here, but shit, it’s a magic suit of armor. Are you really going to refuse that?
  315. “Can I get my own house or something too? I’d rather not live in the barracks anymore.”
  316. >”Easily arranged! There are quite a number of properties available in Canterlot.”
  317. “And I’ll just be protecting you all the time?”
  318. >”W-Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind that. But I believe that your talents would be better used in the field, hunting the criminals that slink in the night! Bringing them before me to be judged in the Night Court, and then hauling them off to the dungeons! You shall also stand beside me at feasts, and chase nobles off when I don’t want to deal with them, and-“
  319. >Her façade falls away again, revealing the same bright smile from earlier. You can’t help but smile in return at how excited she is while talking about knightly obligations.
  320. >She likes to act the aloof voice of reason, but deep down she’s just a kid who still dreams of fantasy.
  321. >…You find yourself thinking that this princess might not be so bad to work for.
  322. >And being a knight sounds pretty cash. Finally, six-year-old Anon’s dreams will come true!
  323. “Alright, I’m convinced.”
  324. >”Most excellent! I shall begin then. If you would please kneel…”
  325. >Luna stands up on all four hooves as you go on one knee before her.
  326. >Her horn begins to glow, and a magic circle surrounds the both of you. Strange symbols whirl around within, and you feel a sense of wonder at the spectacle. The spells and tricks you saw mortal ponies perform feel insignificant compared to this. It’s like seeing magic for the first time all over again.
  327. >Luna’s eyes shine with light, and when she speaks, her voice seems to come from everywhere.
  328. >”O warrior Anonymous. I ask of you to serve as my right hoof, to be strong in battle and diligent in peace. To be as a shield against the terrors of night for my ponies, to bring my justice to the wicked, and to embody the Six Elements of Harmony. Will you vow by the moon beneath us that you will do thusly?”
  329. >You’re getting the shivers.
  330. “I will. By the moon beneath me, I swear to give my utmost.”
  331. >Luna’s voice booms in response.
  332. >”Then rise, Moon Knight!”
  333. >The magic circle implodes upon you, the symbols seeming to flow from the ground up to your body. The hundred glowing shapes fuse together, lighting up the whole of your being before coalescing into dark, pearlescent plates of metal. You look down to see yourself covered head to foot in an elaborate suit of armor. The metal gleams in the starlight and it fits like a glove. Luna’s cutie mark is embossed on the chest, and your face is completely covered by your helmet.
  334. >Luna pants slightly as the light fades, smiling wide.
  335. >”It is done! And you look quite imposing, just as I’d hoped. I look forward to your service, my knight.”
  336.  
  337. >Be Commander Keen, the mare in charge of the Canterlot Night Guard.
  338. >You’re a cool girl and don’t afraid of anything. Not even the dark!
  339. >These qualities made you perfect for leading Princess Luna’s guards.
  340. >She has summoned you to her chambers, and you glide through the spacious hallways of Canterlot Castle to keep the appointment.
  341. >Maybe you’re getting a raise! That would be great!
  342. >You arrive in front of the tall, dark doors to Her Majesty’s chambers. You make sure your helmet’s on straight before knocking.
  343. >”Commander Keen, reporting!”
  344. >”Ah, there you are. Do come in.”
  345. >You put on your best confident face and push the door open, striding into the room.
  346. >The Lady of Night sits in the middle of her room, beneath a ceiling painted to look like the night sky.
  347. >You love coming in here. It’s so cool!
  348. >But you do a double-take when you see what’s standing just behind and to the left of her.
  349. >A giant suit of armor stands at attention. Its shape is really unusual. It’s two-legged, but skinnier than a minotaur. You’re not sure what kind of papier-mâché it’s made out of.
  350. >”Welcome, Commander Keen. I trust the night finds you well?”
  351. “O-Of course, Princess Luna! How can I be of service?”
  352. >”I would like to introduce you to someone. This-“
  353. >She gestures toward the suit of armor.
  354. >”-is my Moon Knight. She shall be working alongside you from this day hence.”
  355. >You jump as the suit moves, inclining its head.
  356. >”Pleased to meet you, Commander Keen.”
  357. >A mare’s voice rings out, but there’s something off about it. You can’t quite put your hoof on it.
  358. >More importantly-
  359. >THE ARMOR FLIPPING MOVED!
  360. >What could possibly fit inside there?! Since when does Princess Luna have a knight?! You didn’t hear anything about this!
  361. >Princess Luna keeps talking before you can voice your concerns.
  362. >”Moon Knight is quite familiar with the criminal organizations in Canterlot, and will be advising you on how best to deal with them. If what she tells me is correct, you may even be able to make some arrests this very night. In fact, I am counting on it.”
  363. >WHAT?!
  364. >But you haven’t made an arrest in like...
  365. >...
  366. >Never mind how long it’s been!
  367. >Princess Luna rises to her hooves.
  368. >”I expect good things before Night Court concludes. You are dismissed, Commander. And good hunting to you, Moon Knight.”
  369. >You make your way out of her chambers in stunned silence, watching her walk down the hall.
  370. >Your new partner stands beside you.
  371. >”Sorry for getting dropped on you like this.”
  372. “It’s fine. Just come with me.”
  373. >It’s not fine, but cool mares don’t show their emotions.
  374. >A while later, you’re addressing your assembled Night Guards.
  375. >Pride fills you when you look at them. A tougher group of batponies there never was. And yet still way more fun to be around than those jerks in the Solar Guard. Those dumb jocks can barely read. Your girls know a thing or two about culture.
  376. >But now, it’s time to get to work.
  377. “Attention, ladies! Tonight’s gonna be special! With me is...”
  378. >...
  379. >What the heck is her name, anyway? It can’t just be Moon Knight.
  380. “Uh, hey, what’s your name?”
  381. >She hesitates before answering.
  382. >”Just call me Moon Knight.”
  383. >Ooooookaaaay.
  384. “Alright, so, this is Moon Knight. She serves Princess Luna just like we do, and she’s gonna help us make some arrests tonight. Let’s show her we can handle whatever she throws at us!”
  385. >”Yeah!”
  386. >You get a sea of raised hooves to go with the hearty shout.
  387. >Almost brings a tear to your eye. Almost!
  388.  
  389. >You’re in the middle of a stakeout while pretending to be a girl, so you must be Anonymous.
  390. >Luna’s armor kicks ass. You’re still concerned over whether it’ll work on the Solar Guard, but none of the Night Guard have even guessed that you might be male.
  391. >Turns out they’re slightly better listeners too. The planning phase wasn’t too bad. Minimal snark. Only a couple dirty looks for ordering around ponies you’d only just been put in charge of.
  392. >It’s the execution that worries you.
  393. >Your group is encircling a local playground, hidden in alleys and nearby foliage. You crouch behind a bush with Keen and another bat. The info’s a bit old by now, but there’s a serial struggle snuggler who supposedly lures her victims to this park.
  394. >You never had a chance to take this creep on before. Hopefully your new coworkers can help you take her off the streets.
  395. >You tense as a pair of ponies wander into view.
  396. >A stallion and a mare.
  397. >The stallion glances about nervously as the mare struts into the park.
  398. >”I think I should go home...”
  399. >”Awwww, come on, don’t be like that cutie! Let’s play a little bit. You don’t live far from here, right?”
  400. >”W-Wait, how do you know that?”
  401. >The mare laughs, rounding on her companion.
  402. >”I know a lot about you. I got a bad habit of following cute boys around.”
  403. >Welp, certainly seems like you’ve found your perp.
  404. >You gesture to Keen. She nods.
  405. >The both of you tear out of the bushes, Keen screeching at the top of her lungs.
  406. >”FOR THE MOON!”
  407. >As one, bats swarm in from their hiding places, encircling the pair.
  408. >You step forward.
  409. “Alright, Pester Gust. That’s enough. You’re wanted for non-consensual snuggling and bad touches.”
  410. >A couple armored bats hustle the stallion out of the circle.
  411. >The pegasus mare glances about nervously.
  412. “You can come quiet or get dragged, creep. Your call.”
  413. >Pester Gust chooses poorly.
  414. >She launches herself upwards, wings flapping in a panic. Bat ponies shoot up after her, trying to latch onto her and drag her to ground.
  415. >You cross your arms, eyes fixed on the diving and rolling birdhorse.
  416. >The Night Guard do their best, but she’s a slippery little bugger.
  417. >Keen groans.
  418. >”Guys, come on, you’re making us look bad!”
  419. >You snicker softly. You’d kind of expected this, but they’re actually doing an okay job of keeping her hemmed in.
  420. >Finally, one intrepid bat gets a hold on the criminal, slowing her down considerably.
  421. >It snowballs from there.
  422. >Soon enough, the struggle snuggler is pinned beneath a pony pile.
  423. >Keen trots up to you as the others begin restraining the suspect for transport.
  424. >”I have to admit... I didn’t expect things to go that smoothly. How do you know so much about the ponies on the wanted list?”
  425. “Used to be my job. Just trust me when I say this is only the beginning. Soon, the Solar Guard is gonna be begging us to leave some crooks for them.”
  426. >The red-haired bat pony tilts her head, eyeing you with a soft smirk.
  427. >”You’re pretty weird, Moon Knight. But having you as an advisor might not be so bad.”
  428.  
  429. >You are perched upon your throne, pretending to listen to the excessively long and pointlessly wordy petitions of the so-called nobles, so you must be Princess Luna.
  430. >The current speaker, Lady Something-or-Other from You-Can’t-Remember, prattles on about some petition to lower the taxes on imported yogurt from the Minos Isles.
  431. >And threaten good Equestrian pudding’s dominant place in the snack market? You think not. But you’ll let her finish. She will likely go complain to Celly if you don’t.
  432. >The utter state of this nation baffles you. What is the point of all these nobles if they will not march to battle in the name of princess and country?
  433. >Why has your sister forbidden you from replacing them?
  434. >They just bring their petitions that didn’t get through at Day Court, hoping to find you more lenient! Why hold Night Court at all if there are no problems to solve?!
  435. >You long for the days when terrible beasts and invaders roamed the lands, and unnumbered horrors stalked the dreams of mortal ponies. You were a goddess then, with faithful legions of pillow-wielding knights and pie-slinging marksponies awaiting your command.
  436. >In this decadent age of peace, you feel like little more than a nanny. But there is hope yet.
  437. >You now have a knight. Not some ponce with an inherited title; a proper battle-hardened champion unequaled in the current age! What do you care that he is a male? That just makes it better!
  438. >”...Majesty?”
  439. >That poor, foolish sister of yours. It amuses you that Celestia was the one to forget proper courtship despite not being trapped on the moon for a millennium. Treating Anonymous as anything less than the warrior he is will never yield results.
  440. >”Your Majesty?”
  441. >And you will certainly never comprehend this craze for domesticated males. Where is the value in some air-headed loon that can only do menial household tasks? Why not a worthy companion, someone who understands-
  442. >”Your Majesty!”
  443. >Your royal thoughts are interrupted by the court scribe. You turn your head to leer at her, arching an eyebrow.
  444. >She shrinks back.
  445. >”Y-Your decision?”
  446. >Ah. That’s right.
  447. >You turn back to the other ponies present.
  448. “I deny your petition. The tax stands. I care very little for how many bits you have invested overseas. Next!”
  449. >A few cries of protest wash over you and the noblemare grumbles, but your decision is final.
  450. >Just as the next petitioner takes the stand, the doors to the audience hall swing wide open.
  451. >In strides your knight, along with Commander Keen!
  452. >Judging by the pleading pony he has slung over his shoulder, it seems that Anonymous met your expectations splendidly!
  453. >”Please! Come on! We can still turn around! I don’t wanna go to jail! It was just a bit of flirting! You’re a girl, right?! You understand!”
  454. >Anonymous does not bother to respond, instead depositing the bound ruffian onto the floor before you. Keen proudly delivers a report as the nobles chatter excitedly.
  455. >”One freshly arrested criminal as ordered, Your Majesty! This miscreant is Pester Gust, a struggle snuggler and non-consensual hoof holder with multiple offenses! We submit her to your judgement!”
  456. >You smile softly.
  457. “Excellent work, both of you. Scribe, fetch me the record of this Pester Gust.”
  458. >You make certain to read the list of charges both past and present loudly, for all to hear. When the past records have been read and the testimonies of Anonymous and Keen heard the penitent lies motionless on the floor, beset on all sides by disdainful whispers.
  459. “With the information presented to me, I find you guilty beyond the shadow of doubt, Pester Gust. Two weeks in the Canterlot dungeon! May you repent for your crimes.”
  460. >Gasps ripple through the hall. A single, strangled sob escapes her as she is dragged away by Keen and two other Night Guards. Anonymous turns to follow, but you call out to him.
  461. “Moon Knight. Come to me.”
  462. >You see the hesitation in him. No doubt wary of being in the limelight. But your knight deserves no less, and you would never allow him to be unmasked until the time is right.
  463. >He stands at attention beside you as you address the hall.
  464. “Look well upon this visage! For this is my chosen knight, and the newest addition to the ranks of the Night Guard. I trust that all of you will treat her with the respect she deserves.”
  465. >Because you certainly will.
  466. >As the court buzzes with the news, you hear Anonymous whispering to you.
  467. >”What happens now? I appreciate the introduction, but I was planning on heading back out.”
  468. “Oh?”
  469. >”Well, yeah. You’re not telling me you’re satisfied with one criminal per night, are you?”
  470. >You heart flutters, and a smile creeps across your face.
  471. “Why no, my fair knight. I am not.”
  472. >After a swift farewell, Anonymous marches out of the hall as the nobles make way, back to the hunt.
  473. >You stare after him, reflecting on a single thought:
  474. >Strong boys are the BEST.
  475.  
  476. >It’s been a few days and your new employer is very happy with your results, so you must be Anonymous.
  477. >You’ve also been learning a lot more about how the Night Guard is structured.
  478. >You’re relaxing in a posh armchair in front of the fireplace in your new Canterlot house, provided courtesy of your benefactor.
  479. >You shuffle through the notes you’ve made so far and review.
  480. >Keen is the commander of the Night Guard as a whole, but also has her own detachment. Reports directly to the princess and relays her commands to all other groups. Her bats are the only ones you’ve worked with so far.
  481. >You’ll continue working closely with her, but eventually you’ll also be introduced to the rank-and-file Night Guards and begin working alongside them.
  482. >Among these, there are specialized groups for different tasks.
  483. >For sneaking, pillow fighting, “verbal combat” whatever the hell that is, and pie throwing. Plus a supply team that you’re fairly certain just brings snacks.
  484. >You smile at how goofy it all is. The Solar Guard is probably very similar, but it was never all laid out for you like this. Maybe you’d have had a bit more fun if you were a pie thrower.
  485. >The clock strikes 7 PM. Luna will be up and about, which means you need to suit up.
  486. >You clutch the pendant around your neck and speak the words.
  487. “In the name of the Moon!”
  488. >Your armor reappears, coalescing in a flash.
  489. >Time to get to work.
  490.  
  491. >Other batponies salute when you pass, so you must be Commander Keen.
  492. >Things have been fantastic since Moon Knight showed up!
  493. >You’ve been making multiple arrests every night! EVERY NIGHT!
  494. >Suck on that, Solar Goons!
  495. >If this keeps up, you might be able to convince Princess Luna to let you throw a party in the barracks, which might finally get Moon Knight to take her darn helmet off.
  496. >She’s so weird.
  497. >You get it, the armor is cool and a gift from Equestrian royalty. You’d probably never take it off either. But you can’t just hide your face all the time! The girls need to see that she’s one of them! A friend!
  498. >Not a freakishly clever, strangely shaped, heavily-armored... thingy.
  499. >You still can’t quite work out what she is.
  500. >There’s a betting pool set up and you’re torn between “golem the Princess made” and “mutant minotaur-bat,” but this other mare you know insists she might really be an alien like what the Solar Guard had-
  501. >”Hi, Keen.”
  502. “EEEEEEE!”
  503. >You let out a sharp screech, wheeling around to see the mysterious knight standing right behind you!
  504. “Geez, how do you do that in full armor?!”
  505. >”Haha! Sorry. It’s enchanted to muffle noise.”
  506. >Tendency to scare the helmet off of you aside, Moon Knight’s pretty cool.
  507. >You just wish she’d tell you her real name. And show her face. And hang out after work.
  508. >...
  509. >You don’t actually know anything about her.
  510. “Moon Knight, are you ever going to tell me your real name?”
  511. >”You’re still hung up on that?”
  512. “Of course I am! We can’t really be friends if I don’t know your name, dingus. ‘Moon Knight’ isn’t a name, calling you ‘Moon’ is weird and ‘Knight’ is weirder.”
  513. >The walking suit of armor heaves a sigh.
  514. >”That’s fair, I guess. Okay, my name’s... Femanon.”
  515. “Really?”
  516. >”Sure.”
  517. “Are you lying?”
  518. >”Would I tell you if I was?”
  519. >Hm. She’s good.
  520. “Did Princess Luna tell you what we’re doing tonight?”
  521. >”Yep. Meeting the team leaders. I know what they’re all in charge of, but can you tell me more about them?”
  522. “Why? You can ask them yourself!”
  523.  
  524. >You’ve been led to a meeting of the bat horses, so you must be Anon again.
  525. >Keen introduces you to the four other Night Guards sitting around the small table.
  526. >”This is Slipshot-“
  527. >Kinda slim for a guard. The smile she gives you is open and honest, but there’s a hint of cockiness too.
  528. >”-Lulladive-“
  529. >Long-maned and a poker face to put you to shame. She bobs her head in acknowledgement, with a glint of curiosity in her eye.
  530. >”-Pummel Plume-“
  531. >Sturdy-looking. Surprisingly chic haircut. Has a pillow strapped to her back. She gives both you and Keen a sharp salute.
  532. >”-and Raspy Rant!”
  533. >Short. Both in mane and stature. You’d think she was a teen or something if you didn’t know better. She leers at you with something bordering on hostility.
  534. >”This is Moon Knight? You’ve been taking orders from someone who isn’t even a batpony?”
  535. >Keen frowns.
  536. >”She’s really good, Rasp. My group’s made an arrest every night because of her, and I’m hoping she can do the same for all of you.”
  537. >Midget bat doesn’t relent.
  538. >”Still doesn’t explain why the princess knighted some stranger. She could have knighted you, Keen! Are you seriously not bothered by it?”
  539. >The redhead flinches, eyes sinking to the floor.
  540. >You hadn’t really considered, but if Keen’s supposed to be the best of Luna’s ponies, you guess it would sting to suddenly be outranked by someone.
  541. >...At least, you think you outrank her.
  542. >Keen replies, but her gaze does not lift.
  543. >”That’s the Princess’ decision. I don’t care as long as she’s happy.”
  544. >”But-!”
  545. >”Enough, Rasp. She says it’s fine.”
  546. >Lulladive’s voice isn’t particularly loud, but it fills the room somehow.
  547. >Your naysayer grumbles, glowering eyes finally flicking away.
  548. >You and Keen claim seats at the table, and she explains her plan to get every group making arrests so Luna will let them party in the barracks.
  549. >You grin beneath your helmet at how excited they all get at the prospect.
  550. >Keen turns to you.
  551. >”So, Femanon, how should we go about this? Do you have any more leads on perps?”
  552. “Fresh out, actually.”
  553. >”W-What?! Why?!”
  554. “Uh, because we busted most of the ones I remember off the top of my head? It’s not a problem. We just need more leads, and I know where to get them.”
  555. >”Oh, perfect! Where?”
  556. >You’ve been kind of dreading this. But if you go now, you might recover all your case files without being seen by your old stalkers.
  557. “In the Solar Guard Barracks.”
  558. >”Uh... Why?”
  559. “A member of the Solar Guard disappeared recently. The alien stallion. Heard about him?”
  560. >All others present murmur general assent.
  561. “He, uh... he did good work. Had a lot of information about local crime groups before he vanished, and kept notes on what he learned. If Celestia’s girls aren’t using them, and they’re probably not, we should.”
  562. >Raspy Rant fixes you with her glare again.
  563. >”And how the crap do you know that?”
  564. >”Language, Raspy!”
  565. >Pummel Plume reproaches her.
  566. >”Don’t you think it’s weird?! How would she know so much about the guy that disappeared? They haven’t even publicly admitted he’s missing yet!”
  567. >She turns to you, face scrunched in what ponies would consider to be a menacing scowl.
  568. >”Well?!”
  569. “Secret.”
  570. >”Nuts to you and your secrets! I-“
  571. >The one called Slipshot stands up and circles the table, coming to a stop near Raspy and growling.
  572. >”What do you care where she gets her information from? I get it, you’re mad Keen got passed over. But this is big. We could finally outshine the Solar Guard for the first time in forever! We’ll make the Princess proud! Do you want that party or not?”
  573. >If anything, Raspy just gets madder.
  574. >”It’s because of you buttheads that we play second fiddle all the time to begin with! And now the Princess gets us a flipping babysitter and you’re happy about it?! This is supposed to be our job!”
  575. >”Because of us?! US?!? Remind me again who holds the current record for write-ups and time-outs out of any active-duty guardsmare? Who manages to hurt the feelings of at least three civilians every time she opens her mouth in public? Oh yeah- it’s the same one who thinks being a jerk is a martial art!”
  576. >”You wanna go, Slip?! I’ll send you home crying for your daddy!”
  577. >...
  578. >Wow. This is almost exactly like Solar Guard meetings except nobody’s tried to grab your ass yet.
  579. >You’re about to try and shut this down when a pillow rockets across the table, nailing Raspy Rant with a satisfying “poof.”
  580. >Almost simultaneously, Lulladive pops up behind Slipshot and begins tickling her into submission.
  581. >Pummel Plume casually trots around the table to recover her weapon whilst Slip screeches helplessly. Raspy is sprawled in a dazed heap.
  582. >Keen just sits with her head in her hooves.
  583. >She sneaks a peek at you.
  584. >”They’re... they’re usually much better than this. I promise.”
  585. >With the two clashing ponies subdued, the pillow slinger salutes once again.
  586. >”Please continue, Femanon. When will you go and get these notes?”
  587. “I think now would be best.”
  588.  
  589. >You followed Femanon to the Solar Guard barracks, which makes you one of five possible batponies.
  590. >But you’re also the only one with a sweet red mane, so you’re Commander Keen!
  591. >You’re still thinking about what Raspy said earlier.
  592. >It’s true that you’d like to be Her Majesty’s knight. You were a little mad when Femanon came out of nowhere.
  593. >And you still would be, if she wasn’t so good at this.
  594. >Her Majesty made the right choice. But that won’t stop you from getting just as good as she is! And then you’ll be a knight too!
  595. >The vertically gifted soldier turns to look at the five of you as she rests her hand on the door to where the Day Guard sleep.
  596. >”I’ll just sneak in and grab them really quick. Shouldn’t take long.”
  597. >She slips in before anypony else can say anything.
  598. >Raspy growls.
  599. >”I don’t like her. She’s so detached about everything! I got up in her face and she just blew it off. She’s like a robot!”
  600. >Pummel Plume gives her a sidelong glance.
  601. >”Perhaps because constantly showing emotion isn’t a good thing. I like her.”
  602. >”You would, you snooty noble.”
  603. >Plume reaches for the pillow on her back, and that’s your cue to step in.
  604. “Stop it! Both of you! Plume, I’ve told you before that you aren’t allowed to hit fellow guards. I’m only going to let you off the hook so many times! And Raspy, trying to get a rise out of Princess Luna’s personal guard is one of your dumbest ideas yet. Knock it off. If I thought she wasn’t good enough, I’d take it to the princess myself. I don’t need you to defend my honor.”
  605. >Both mares shy from you slightly. Plume inclines her head in deference.
  606. >”My apologies, Lady Commander. I’ll try to restrain myself in the future.”
  607. >Raspy just crosses her forelegs and grumbles.
  608. >She’s your best friend, but sometimes she drives you nuts.
  609. >Still, things seem to be under control for now.
  610. >Just as you gingerly set your hiney on the cold marble floor to wait, the door swings wide open. Femanon staggers out, carrying a struggling earth pony!
  611. “Wait, what?! Femanon, why did you-?”
  612. >”She was sleeping my- I mean his bed, the little creep!”
  613. “What does that matter? You just had to get the notes!”
  614. >”He kept them under the padding in his bunk, I didn’t bother checking first because there shouldn’t have been anyone in it to begin with! Ugh!”
  615. >Femanon growls irritably, sinking to her knees to better control her captive. One hand stays clamped over the mare’s mouth while the other offers you a stack of parchments.
  616. >”Here. These’ll keep us busy for a while.”
  617. >You take them, flipping through the first few.
  618. >...Wow, these are really detailed. Names, ages, scribbles about recent activity, even rough schedules. It’s hard to believe a stallion gathered all this alone.
  619. >You look back at the Moon Knight.
  620. “This is great, but... let your friend down. We need to talk this out.”
  621. >...Wow, you can almost feel the reluctance. But she does let go, and the earth pony doesn’t waste any time.
  622. >”What the flying flip is going on here?! Who’s this?! Who are you?! Why are you going through Anon’s stuff?! If I don’t like your answer I’m throwing all of you creeps in the dungeons!”
  623. >Before you can even get a word in, the walking suit of armor snaps at her.
  624. >”You want to talk about being a creep, Twayblade? After sleeping in a missing guy’s bed? We’re only taking the notes because I knew you morons wouldn’t even think to use them.”
  625. >”How do you know my name?! You must not know anything else about me, or else you wouldn’t mouth off to me you oversized tin can! I’ll sleep in my colt’s bed if I wanna!”
  626. >You’ve never seen Femanon show emotion like this before. Her fists are clenched and trembling, and her voice comes out as a snarl.
  627. >”Keen. Talk to this idiot before I knock her out. Please.”
  628. >”Oh yeah?! Do it! Bet you can’t!”
  629. >This is the first time you’ve ever been glad to not be able to see Femanon’s face.
  630. “Guardsmare. Simmer down.”
  631. >”Or what?! Who are you, anyway?! Why are Night Guard working with a trespasser?! I oughta-“
  632. >Okay. Just remember what the Princess taught you about dealing with rude ponies. Steady eye contact, firm voice, and be a polite jerk.
  633. “If you’d stop talking for a minute, I’ll tell you. Maybe they don’t teach you how to count stripes in the Sunshine Club, but I’m Commander Keen. The only ponies who get to boss me around are the princesses, and these-“
  634. >You wave the papers
  635. ”-belong to Princess Luna now. Go back to bed.”
  636. >The pony - Femanon called her Twayblade, you think? - paws the floor uncertainly, clearly taken aback.
  637. >”But- But they’re Anon’s! Why would Princess Luna care about a stallion’s notes?”
  638. “Where do you get off asking? Back. To. Bed.”
  639. >She growls, grumbles, and puffs herself up, but you just keep cool. The other girls close in a little bit too. She finally gets the message then.
  640. >You all finally leave, hurrying back to the meeting room.
  641. >You’ve never seen Femanon act like that before. You should ask her about it later-
  642. >”Hey Femanon, you were really gettin’ into it with that solar goon back there. Do you like that missing guy too?”
  643. >Or Raspy’s just going to tease her about it right away.
  644. >The towering knight seems calm, but there’s still a bit of bite to her voice.
  645. >”No. I just hate chicks like that.”
  646. >”Chicks like what?”
  647. >”Pushy creeps. He told her a million times to buzz off, but she never did.”
  648. >”But that’s how you get guys, isn’t it?”
  649. >Femanon doesn’t respond, but you get that feeling again. That you’re glad you can’t see her face.
  650.  
  651. >You are the princess of the night, so you must be Luna.
  652. >Everything has been even better than you’d hoped! Anonymous is frightfully effective at almost any task you set him to, and has revealed himself to be a charming, stoic fellow.
  653. >He very rarely complains and seems to know a little about everything. He’s even good at board games!
  654. >So much so that he’s beaten you multiple times. Which is a state secret. A princess must maintain appearances.
  655. >But perhaps his greatest trait is his ability to think for himself. He went so far as to recover his old notes and distribute them among your team captains without being told. If all goes according to his plan, the entirety of the 4th Street Snack Snatchers, along with a dozen other gang leaders and treat dealers, will be moving into your dungeons this very night!
  656. >You lounge in your chambers with your knight, whiling the time away. You stare intently at him over a chessboard while swirling a goblet of grape juice.
  657. >He sips upon his own glass idly. You’d hoped offering him some of your best drinks would make him lose his edge, but he doesn’t seem fazed at all!
  658. >His bishop cuts across the board into your ranks.
  659. >”Check.”
  660. >You almost say a swear.
  661. >You have only a moment to panic to before you are saved by a rap on your chamber door.
  662. “Alas, it would seem we must put the game on hold.”
  663. >Anonymous snickers in a way you would surely not tolerate from anyone else.
  664. >”Of course. I’ll get you next time.”
  665. >You harrumph before addressing the visitor.
  666. “Who goes?”
  667. >”It’s Keen, Your Majesty! It’s urgent! I’m coming in!
  668. >Anon slams his helmet over his head so hard you think he hurt himself, but your guest gives you no time to ask if he’s alright. The door flies open and closes just as fast, admitting a very anxious batpony.
  669. >”Princess, I wanted to talk to you before the others did. We were going to report on how we did with our new leads, and, uh... w-well, I wanted you to hear it from me first.”
  670. >Commander Keen stands as straight as she can, looking you in the eye.
  671. >”They did their best, Princess Luna. I swear they did! On pudding cups! They just- I mean-! Sometimes things go wrong, and- and-“
  672. “Enough, Commander.”
  673. >She is the best of your guards, in more ways than one. You know of few others who would dare spout half-baked excuses to your face just to protect their friends. But mistakes must be addressed.
  674. “What happened?”
  675. >”...Several of our marks got away, Princess.”
  676. “How many is several?”
  677. >”...”
  678. “Keen?”
  679. >”Almost... almost all of them. W-we only caught five.”
  680. >You take a slow, shuddering breath.
  681. “Bring them to the court. And your team captains as well. After I hand down the sentences, I shall deal with them.”
  682.  
  683. >You stand beside Princess Luna as she glowers down at a group of visibly sweating batponies, so you must be Anon.
  684. >The night princess’ mood had only gotten worse upon discovering that her five new dungeon inhabitants were just low-level muscle. Not a single crook that mattered got grabbed.
  685. >So now, you get to watch these little idiots get grilled.
  686. >Nice.
  687. >Luna opens up on them.
  688. >”You had pages of notes. Days to prepare. The full might of the Night Guard behind you. And yet you stand before me with what can only be called miserable results! How did this happen? I believed the five of you to be better than this.”
  689. >There’s a torrent of excuses and sullen mumbling from Plume, Raspy, and Slip. Lulladive and Keen remain silent, the former staring at the floor.
  690. >”My sincerest apologies, Princess! I very nearly had them all, but these two incompetents-“
  691. >”Oh no! You aren’t throwing us under the cart, Plume! Princess, this dumbutt charged straight into her mark’s hideout from the front! Half the flipping city knew we were out for arrests before I could even get started!”
  692. >”And I had to try and cover both of these numbskulls. Just let me go alone next time, Princess, I can-“
  693. >”SILENCE!”
  694. >The audience hall echoes with the alicorn’s rebuke.
  695. >”Your inability to cooperate astounds me, gentlemares! It would seem the reason you are constantly outshined by my sister’s warriors stares me in the face. For all their flaws, for all their simplicity, at least the Solar Guard can work together! Have you no shame?! I ought to send you all back to training for this!”
  696. >The three blamers look like they might cry. Keen keeps a good poker face, but you detect a trembling lip. Lulladive’s head hangs even lower.
  697. >Luna continues, her eyes never leaving them.
  698. >”I shall be taking direct command of the next capture attempt. Any more of this foolishness will be punished on the spot. You are mares! Soldiers! Not bickering children! Now return to your quarters and think about how to better comport yourselves.”
  699. >They beat a hasty retreat, bowing and scraping. Luna turns to you.
  700. >”Is there any way that you could find our wayward criminals again? Quickly?”
  701. “I can probably get Fourth Street to show themselves. We’ll have to use them to figure out how find the rest.”
  702. >”That will be enough.”
  703. >Luna’s face finally softens. She falls back into her throne, sighing.
  704. >”You are a blessing, Anonymous. It’s comforting to have you helping me.”
  705. “And you’re a fun boss, Princess. I get to chase nobles off and drink grape juice on the clock. I’m with you for life.”
  706. >She raises an eyebrow.
  707. >”With me? F-For life?”
  708. “Sure. Do ponies not do lifelong service here? Some soldiers do it back on Earth. It’s pretty rare though.”
  709. >She seems a little disappointed for some reason, but smiles.
  710. >”I cannot possibly refuse.”
  711. >The rest of the night is much like all the others after that. Give petitioners the evil eye. Follow Luna around. Speak as little as possible. And you’re always dismissed before she goes to greet Celestia at dawn.
  712. >As you get ready to head home and sleep, Luna stops you.
  713. >”Anonymous. I would say we are friends, wouldn’t you?”
  714. “Yeah.”
  715. >”And friends are willing to show affection to one another in public, are they not?”
  716. >...Oh boy.
  717. >You were a teenager once. You know an excuse to touch a member of the opposite sex when you hear one.
  718. >You’ll never understand what ponies find so enthralling about you, but this particular pony saved you from being trapped on the moon, gave you a job, and literally bought you a drink first, so...
  719. “Want a hug, Luna?”
  720. >Her jaw goes slack and her eyes widen, clearly not expecting you to offer first.
  721. >”I- Well- Yes! Please!”
  722. >The alicorn rears, forelegs spread wide. Her head usually only comes up to your shoulders, but now your helmet’s visor is filled with blue pony fur.
  723. >As far as hugs go, it’s not bad. No surprise sexual harassment even.
  724. >You do your part and squeeze her back.
  725. >It lasts a good while. A minute or so. But she finally lets you go. When she pulls back to look at you, the fur around her cheeks is a shade darker.
  726. >”Sweet dreams, Anonymous.”
  727. “Thank you, Princess. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
  728. >You’re conflicted as you depart the castle.
  729. >Luna’s been polite so far, and working for her is the most fun you’ve had since coming to Equestria. You meant the hug, but that’s all it was.
  730. >A hug.
  731. >Is this going to snowball? Are you going to have to fight off another demigod?
  732. >Wracked with nagging worry and slight regret, you move through the streets of Canterlot in early dawn.
  733. >Your way home is filled with such thoughts, and you drift off to sleep thinking about how to get off the moon by yourself.
  734.  
  735. >You’re lying on your back, staring up at the canopy of your four-poster bed, so you must be Luna.
  736. >What a specimen. What a male! To offer a hug so casually! To make a heart such a yours flutter!
  737. >When was the last time you felt like this about a stallion? You cannot recall. It has been so long, and the pickings so meager.
  738. >You can hardly wait to see him in action! Imagine the gallantry!
  739. >You hope to guide your guards down the right path as well. With any luck you’ll be able to make them work together.
  740. >If you can just get them to see the power in unity, they will surely surpass the Solar Guard!
  741. >The excitement keeps you awake well into the day. You haven’t undertaken anything like this since before your banishment! And you won’t even have to travel for it!
  742. >It will be a night to remember!
  743.  
  744. >Just couldn’t stay away, huh?”
  745. >Four little mares smirk at you as you carry them along.
  746. >The same four mares that you arrested in the exact same park as last time.
  747. >You try not to smile too widely as you carry them back to your place.
  748. >You can’t take them back to the castle yet, but you’ve got ways of keeping them busy until nightfall.
  749. “How could I? The four of you are so cute I just had to come collect you.”
  750. >”Oooooo, kinky. Are you into more than one mare at a time?”
  751. >You disguise your gritted teeth as a particularly wide smile.
  752. >The conversation continues in basically the same vein until you get back to your mansion.
  753. >And when you do get there, it’s somehow even more annoying.
  754. >The predatory gazes and eager snickering, looking back and forth between each other, remind you of how bad it was when you first came to Equestria.
  755. >But there’s only four of them. And what worked for Twayblade works for all mares.
  756. >You set them down in the living room and get to work.
  757. >It’s tough to scratch four sets of ears at once, but it beats actually doing what they were hoping for.
  758. >You keep it up for hours. Your hands cramp up and there’s little puddles of drool on your floor, but you finally succeed.
  759. >The leaders of the 4th Street Snack Snatchers lie comatose before you, twitching and moaning softly.
  760. >It’s also just late enough that the Night Guard will be taking over from their gold-plated counterparts. You’ll be able to have someone let you into the dungeons without awkward questions like “who are you.”
  761. >You don your armor and sling two of them over each shoulder, beginning the walk up to the castle.
  762. >Luna will get her information, the bat girls will get off the hook, and you’ll get to throw these clowns in jail. Everybody’s happy.
  763.  
  764. >You’re about to interrogate some prisoners, so you must be Commander Keen.
  765. >Femanon did it again! What an absolute champ!
  766. >You could hardly believe your eyes when you saw the names on the dungeon’s prisoner list, but she really nabbed all four leaders of the 4th Street Snack Snatchers!
  767. >All you need to do now is put the squeeze on them and get the names of the ponies they’ve been selling to, and anypony else who’s been working with them!
  768. >Easy as pie!
  769. >You sure hope the princess will forgive you after this. You’d prefer she never got mad at you again. It was really scary.
  770. >She was right, though. Things only went so badly because the others aren’t good at working together.
  771. >Maybe you should be a little harder on them. They’re all your friends so it’s hard to be mean to them, but you don’t wanna get fired.
  772. >You’d cry! And mares don’t cry!
  773. >Putting your game face on, you throw open the door of the first cell and march in like you mean it.
  774. “Alright pudding thief, I’m gonna give you five minutes to tell me the names of who you work with and where you stashed the goods. If you don’t-“
  775. >”Yeah yeah, save it. Where’s the hot foreign guy? Send him in here and maybe I’ll talk. Don’t let the other girls have him!”
  776. “...What?”
  777. >”Guy on two legs with magic hands. Don’t act like this wasn’t a sting! I’m not stupid!”
  778. “There’s no foreign guy. Femanon brought you guys in. Anyway-“
  779. >”Well you better go find him! If my ears aren’t scratched in the next five minutes-“
  780. “Shut up about scratches! You’re in the Canterlot dungeons! Get it?! You and your friends are in MY world now crook, and if you interrupt me one more time we can skip straight to the bit where I ‘encourage’ you to talk!”
  781. >The pugnacious pudding purloiner slams her hooves down on the table
  782. >”You can’t do a thing to me, bat! I know my rights!”
  783. “Oh yeah?”
  784. >“Yeah!”
  785. “What are they?”
  786. >”...W-Well, not being tortured is definitely one of them!”
  787. >You turn to the door and call out.
  788. “Hey, grab the you-know-what and a bring a friend! She’s decided she wants to play tough.”
  789. >Turning back, you give her your best bad guard smile.
  790. “It’s only torture if it hurts.”
  791. >The door swings open again, admitting two more of your guards. One of them drops a box on the table in front of you, then they both circle around the table to smirk down at the wary prisoner.
  792. >”There ya go, boss. Same as usual?”
  793. “Yep. Hold her.”
  794. >They pin the prisoner’s forelegs to the table as you open the box and pull “it” out.
  795. >A long, white feather.
  796. >You prefer simple tools.
  797. >Your prisoner laughs.
  798. >”Joke’s on you! I’m not ticklish at all!”
  799. >Nope. Joke’s still on her.
  800. >You take the feather in one hoof and daintily brush it against her nose.
  801. >”W-Wait-“
  802. >And again.
  803. >”Knock it off!“
  804. >One more time.
  805. >”Ahhh-“
  806. >You whip the feather back just in time, cutting the sneeze off before she can get it out.
  807. >The gang leader stares at you dumbfounded, while your two guards snicker.
  808. >”What are doing?”
  809. “Not torturing you. That’s what you wanted, right?”
  810. >You repeat the process a few times. You came up with this trick after reading over the “how to treat prisoners” rules. You can’t do anything that causes real pain, and you wouldn’t anyway; annoying stuff like this is funny, effective, and guilt-free!
  811. >You might not be at the Moon Knight’s level when it comes to actually catching the crooks, but nobody gets them to talk like you do!
  812. >Sure enough, after the fifth denied sneeze-
  813. >”Please! I’m sorry! I’ll tell you whatever you want! JUST LET ME SNEEZE!”
  814. >Commander Keen wins again!
  815. >After allowing her to get that sneeze out of her system, you grab your quill and parchment roll.
  816. “That’s more like it! Let’s start with all the stolen pudding. Where is it?”
  817. >”We sold most of it already.”
  818. “To who?”
  819. >”To anybody. We just sell at a discount and ponies eat it up!”
  820. >Likely story! The sale of snacks is heavily regulated. You have to get licensed as a snack broker before you can sell to the public. Everyone knows that!
  821. “I’ll give you one thing, you’re the first pony ever to try lying to me after a round of the feather treatment. You got guts.”
  822. >You grab your conversation encouragement device again, and she recoils.
  823. >”No! Nonononono please, I swear it’s true! Swear to Celestia! Pretty Boy Coy lets us sell through the stores he owns! We just provide the goods and take our share of the bits!”
  824. “...Pretty Boy Coy. The famous male snack broker? He’s selling your stolen pudding?”
  825. >”Yeah! He takes half the money from what we sell on top of all his usual business! The guy’s loaded. He hires his security from Patchface’s gang, and he even got minotaur bodyguards from somewhere. Coy’s untouchable!”
  826. “That’s what they all think. I’ve heard enough.”
  827. >You work over the remaining three bandit leaders. They give you the same story, so it’s probably true.
  828. >This is crazy! Pretty Boy Coy is practically a celebrity. This’ll be the biggest bust in the history of the Night Guard! The princess is going to be so excited!
  829.  
  830. >You’re currently losing to a princess at Scrabble, so you must be Anon.
  831. >You were winning a few turns ago but then she started busting out the old-timey words.
  832. >”G-a-l-l-i-m-a-u-f-r-y. Gallimaufry! And passing over two double word score spaces gives me... Eighty points!”
  833. >Luna laughs happily, taking another sip of her juice. You just grumble.
  834. “And what exactly does this word you ‘remembered’ mean?”
  835. >”A type of porridge my dear knight. Very popular with peasants in a previous age.”
  836. >Shit. Maybe you should start making words up and say they’re human things. Or use Canadian place names. Saskatchewan would probably get you a ton of points if-
  837. >There’s a knock at the door, and you slip your helmet back on your head before you can finish the thought.
  838. >”Princess Luna, I have great news! I got some really important information out of 4th Street’s leaders!”
  839. >You can’t help but notice that she doesn’t call the game off before calling Keen in.
  840. >”What news, Commander?”
  841. >”I’ve got us a name and a crime! Coy Duroy, better known as Pretty Boy Coy, has been selling reselling stolen pudding from the 4th Streeters as legit merchandise! And Patchface is working with him too, so we should-“
  842. >Keen’s as smug as you’ve ever seen her while she announces her discoveries. But upon noticing the Scrabble board her cheeks puff.
  843. >”...Are you guys playing games again?”
  844. >Luna blinks a couple times, taken aback.
  845. >”...Yes?”
  846. >”You guys are always playing board games when I come in here. How come you never invite me?”
  847. >Luna glances awkwardly at you.
  848. >”...I am merely enjoying some time with my knight, Commander. Excluding you was not my intention.”
  849. >After a little more placating from Luna and an offer to join in Keen’s back to her eager self.
  850. >Luna smiles serenely.
  851. >”Let us start the game over. I’ll even leave my victory unclaimed, for I am a merciful ruler.”
  852. >Your helmet conceals the roll of your eyes.
  853. >As the game board gets reset and Keen gets her letter tiles, she immediately queries the princess.
  854. >”What’s the plan Your Majesty? When are we going to get this guy?”
  855. >”We shall apprehend our mark at his residence the night of the new moon. Make certain your team leaders understand that I will be there personally; I expect my commands to be followed with no complaints and no hesitation.”
  856. >Aw, man. Really? Frontal assault again?
  857. “Princess, shouldn’t we try and be sneaky about this? They bolted last time because they knew Keen and the rest were coming. They’ll just run even faster if you’re there.”
  858. >Luna huffs and shoots you a look.
  859. >”I’ll have you know I am incredibly sneaky. Furthermore, sneaking is a part of any Night Guard battle.”
  860. >She changes targets to Keen.
  861. >”Or at least it should be. What became of Lulladive during your previous attempt? She was the only one I did not hear about.”
  862. >Keen sighs.
  863. >”...Her group snuck in just fine. But she forgot the signal, and Plume charged in because she was worried. So Lulladive panicked when the door got busted down and used her talent before giving her teammates a chance to cover their ears. Her whole squad and half of Plume’s were asleep by the time she figured out what happened.”
  864. >Luna facehoofs, but you’re more interested in this special ability Lulladive has.
  865. “How does she put them to sleep?”
  866. >”She sings! I swear, that mare’s got the smoothest voice I’ve ever heard. Less than a minute of hearing her sing will put anypony who hears out like a light. We usually have her sneak in with her team and start singing to knock a bunch of bad guys out first and then we all charge in, but... she’s a little forgetful.”
  867. >Keen returns her attention to Luna.
  868. >”She’s really sorry about last time, Your Highness. She wants to try and make up for it.”
  869. >Luna nods approvingly.
  870. >”I shall give her ample chance. But enough of this; we can further discuss our plans later. I intend to thrash the both of you at Scrabble first.”

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