GREEN   487   0
   13261 75.66 KB    1422

Feather Scarf & Star Dusk - Tales of Guardsmare and their Ape Subject.

By TheManOfCommission
Created: 2022-09-02 05:41:18
Expiry: Never

  1. >T'was the night before Christmas, all was quiet, Not even the pesky old dog barking from downstairs.
  2. >You were at your home, oh so very comfy in your bean bag chair, chilling with a blanket over your arms and legs and a laptop upon your lap.
  3. >It was YouTube you were browsing, watching old holiday films.
  4. >The glow of your screen illuminating your apartment room, all by yourself. So damned lonely.
  5. >Your stomach rumbles. A need to be fulfilled.
  6. >Getting up from the beanbag, and putting your electronic aside. You walk across your tiled floor, and head to fridge.
  7. >As you open the fridge, a bright light blasts your eyes.
  8. >Your hands rush towards your eyes, covering them from the blinding light.
  9. >Then, you felt a wave of suction pull on you.
  10. >You could feel a vacuum coming from the fridge, it grew stronger every second.
  11. >Turning away, you tried to run, it was wrong, you just couldn't.
  12. >The vacuum of the fridge exceeds your friction to the floor, pulling you in through this white glowing hole.
  13. >And then... Everything was...
  14. Black.
  16. >It was so cold, so very cold.
  17. >There was this similar feeling, you had felt a solid but yet liquid form beneath your body.
  18. >Snow.
  19. >And beneath that snow was a patterned form, it was cobblestone.
  20. >Opening your eyes, the sky was gray and the air draped with layers of white frozen cotton.
  21. >Looking to your side, Parallel streaks that ran through the snow, two continuous lines that had an equal width from each other which were consistent for as far your perception could evaluate.
  22. >It was a road, you subconscious had sunk in.
  23. >From a distance you heard... The creaking noise of some wood crunching the snow and the axle of something turning a wheel.
  24. "A caravan?"
  25. >It was the first thought you had here, not a "where am I?" But rather the question to an emitting sound.
  26. >Quickly you rose from the ground. Everything was white, a minor distance between you and the curtain of snow.
  27. >The sound of the supposed caravan grew louder. Turning to the source, you gathered a clip-clop pattern, the sound of a horse.
  28. >Focusing on the origin, you saw a silhouette grow in front of your very own eyes.
  29. >And in that moment, a contradiction of a thunderous but soft voice had shouted a single word,
  30. >"HALT!"
  32. >"State your alias, friend or foe?" It spoke.
  33. >The voice had grabbed your interest.
  34. >The figure was blurred before the storm. This person had demanded information about you.
  35. >Seeing as there was no reason to protest, you respond.
  36. "Anonymous."
  37. >You hesitate.
  38. "I'd like to think I'm a friend."
  39. >The gray silhouette would make a noise of some hooks and wood clattering. Then the figure would approach you...
  40. >The figure began to form as it neared towards you, cutting the curtain of the snow.
  41. >It was a... Pony? A talking pony.
  42. >Your mind ran through numerous thoughts, such as. "What the fuck?" and "Holy shit! A talking horse!"
  43. "Who are you?"
  44. >The pony was able to be seen clearly now.
  45. >"I am Captain Feather Scarf, of the Equestrian Royal Guard."
  46. >Her gold, metallic armor covered her body.
  47. >You could spot her mane, a maple red.
  48. >Her eyes a mid-summer sky blue, and a coat that covered her fluffy white. But that could have just been the snow.
  49. >Your thoughts were having trouble compiling this information.
  50. >Equestrian guard?
  52. "Royal Equestrian Guard?"
  53. >She simply nods.
  54. >Your nerves seem to be kicking in... for some reason the cold is getting worse than before.
  55. >Maybe it was the fact that you were in your boxers and sweater.
  56. >"So, mind telling me what you're doing out here?"
  57. >She speaks with a gruff voice. Her head tilting to the side and her eyes sharpening on you.
  58. "U-uh, I-I r-really d-don't. know."
  59. >She'd size you up, looking from your toes to you head.
  60. >Her eyes darted around your poor clothing.
  61. >She could see you shivering.
  62. >Her eyes roll, and she sighs.
  63. >"Come on, grab one of those blankets from the back."
  64. >Nodding your head and walk around to the back of the carriage, there's a tarp over the top of the back.
  65. >Taking liberty, raising the tarp you grab a large gray cover.
  66. >Heading back around the mare had already hooked up to the carriage.
  67. >"So, what are you?"
  68. "I'm a human."
  69. >"You look like a monkey to me."
  70. "Y-yeah I get that a lot."
  71. >That wasn't necessarily true, but the best you could do was to be friendly in this situation.
  72. >she laughs.
  73. >She calms down and starts pulling the carriage again.
  74. >Thinking it was best, you join her on her movement.
  75. "So, What is this place?"
  77. >Feather scarf would turn to you with one eyebrow raised, her mouth grinning.
  78. >"This... is Equestria, And from the sounds of it, you're not really from around here, are you Anonymous?"
  79. >You nod to her, agreeing that this realm was alien to you.
  80. "Also, you can just call me Anon."
  81. >"Alright then Anon, this is the first time I've ever heard of the "human" species. So let me take you to a higher authority."
  83. >As time passed the sky started to darken into a bluish-gray. It was turning night, early evening.
  84. >The two of you make your way to a large castled city.
  85. >"Welcome to Canterlot, home to the most royal of ponies."
  86. >Walking down the streets with Feather, ponies would give you weird looks.
  87. >Some with faces with mixed feelings, disgust? curiosity? hostility?
  88. >"I'm taking you to Princess Celestia."
  89. "Princess who-now?"
  90. >Another sigh seeps from her lips.
  91. >"Just. Wait here, Alright?"
  92. >You nod.
  93. >"And Don't try to pull anything. Got that?" She said as she pressed a hoof on your chest.
  94. >Her hooves were firm, but then felt soft.
  95. "You got it."
  97. >The two of you, pony and human. Approached a large pair of doors, they were wooden with a gold bolting on them.
  98. "Wow, your Princess here sure doesn't horse around when it comes to royalty."
  99. >She looks peeved.
  100. >Rolling her eyes, she opens the doors.
  101. >Without warning, two guards, larger than the Captain, immediately draw their spears towards your neck.
  102. >They shout.
  103. >"HALT!"
  104. >"Who goes there!"
  105. >Feather Scarf speaks up.
  106. >"Relax guys, it's just me." she then looks up and points you.
  107. >"And this great ape."
  108. >What a great way to introduce me.
  109. >"I'm taking him to Celestia for questioning."
  111. >Sweat beads at your forehead as the spears are an inch away from your neck.
  112. >"Why are you taking a hairless monkey to the princess?" They poked.
  113. >"Because he's new, and he's got a brain. That's why."
  114. >That's one way to put it.
  115. "Y-yeah, I'm with her."
  116. >The guards are stunned at your ability to speak.
  117. >"I-it talks?"
  118. >Feather scarf nods.
  119. >"Yes, now please lower your weapons." She smiles.
  120. >The look at each other and nod, lowering their spears back to a guard stance.
  121. >The two of you make your way down the hallway.
  123. >As you mosey down the carpet, the Captain. Feather Scarf has a serious strut.
  124. >It's only then when you were looking at her armor, you noticed feathers.
  125. >Wings?
  126. >A flying horse? Like a Pegasus?
  127. >Ignoring the fact that a horse had wings, you glance up to each part of her body.
  128. >Her body, then her neck, her face.
  129. >The snow on her mane started melting. Her coat really was white.
  130. >You chuckled at the thought of a "Snow Angel"
  131. >Feather scarf would turn and glance at you with a serious look.
  132. >"What's so funny?"
  133. "Nothing."
  134. >Returning to a stern face.
  135. >Feather would then look back at the front.
  137. >"We're here."
  138. "Here?"
  139. >"Celestia's throne room."
  140. "A hor- I mean, a pony has a throne?"
  141. >"Yes. Now be on your best behavior."
  142. >She would sharpen her eyes on you. Looking at you with ever so careful eyes.
  143. >"Wait here a minute."
  144. "Okay."
  145. >As soon as the door closes, your stomach rumbles.
  146. "Fuck I'm hungry."
  147. >You would see a glow from another hallway just a couple meters with the smell of something ever so delicious...
  149. >Your stomach rumbles again, pain glowing on the inside of your body.
  150. "Well, how long could she be gone for? Maybe she has to make some arrangements..."
  151. >Briskly, you move to what seems to be the kitchen.
  152. >A pony is stirring a boiling pot with a wooden spoon, the pot's contents unknown.
  153. >The air is filled with a stingy smell, a little bit sour but sweet.
  154. >Tomato sauce.
  155. >Which could only mean one thing.
  156. >Spaghetti.
  158. >Tip toeing over, you wait for the chef pony to move.
  159. >A dish is already laid out in the kitchen.
  160. >A glass bottle of Tomato sauce right next to it.
  161. >Circumstances couldn't be better.
  162. >Taking advantage, you grab the nearly cooked spaghetti and place it on the plate.
  163. >Quickly pouring the tomato sauce over it.
  164. >You raise your head, look side to side.
  165. >No pony is there. Good.
  166. >Searching the cupboards you look for a fork.
  167. >Finding one, you exit the room, plate of hot spaghetti in one hand and a fork in the other.
  168. >Twirling your first grab, as you exit out of the ro-
  169. >And then there was a tall pony.
  170. >She had a magical flowing mane and an even brighter white coat than Feather's. on her rear was a Sun.
  171. >She dawned a Tiara, a necklace and what could only be presumed as bracelets.
  172. >The Princess.
  173. >Feather Scarf was standing riiiiiight next to her.
  174. >She had a scowl on her face.
  175. >Uh Oh.
  177. >Feather Scarf, let out a sharp, calming sigh.
  178. >The one you presumed that was the princess bore a near deadpan expression.
  179. >It was like she didn't expect an ape to be walking around half-naked in her castle, eating spaghetti.
  180. >Everyone was still for a moment, until the tall princess had let out a snort, and burst out laughing.
  181. >Feather Scarf sighed in relief.
  182. >You simply just rolled up a string of spaghetti and started eating.
  183. >After wiping a tear from her eye from all her laughter, she spoke.
  184. >"I presume you are Anonymous?"
  185. "Y-yeah."
  186. >"Welcome to Canterlot."
  187. >Her lips would melt into a smile.
  188. >You just put down your dish and said "Thanks."
  189. >"So, I presume you just arrived in Equestria?"
  190. "Yes."
  191. >"Come, I have many things to ask you, just as much I imagine you would like to ask me."
  192. >She nodded her head, signaling for you to follow. You looked to Feather, she signaled for you to come along.
  194. "So everyone here is a pony and all of them are special, one way or another?'
  195. >"Quite so."
  196. >She continued to pour the warm earl gray from the antique teapot.
  197. >Feather Scarf was seated next to you. She simply maintained a serious look, not threatening but the equivalent of a poker face for a guard.
  199. >Night was falling, you were starting to get tired. Your discussion with the princess taught you many trades about the land.
  200. >While she explained the society and how the world works and how she raises the sun and her sister raised the moon really juggled your thoughts.
  201. >It was amazing.
  202. >Magic.
  203. >Its usefulness, its appliances, its everyday use.
  204. >Then there was flight, such as Feather Scarf. It was inconceivable how anything other than a bird can fly biologically.
  205. >As she told about the world, you told her about yours. In comparison; your world appeared like a dystopian to theirs.
  206. >Feather Scarf, who'd been seemingly bored before stared in awe at your words, she listened attentively as you described "Cars" and "Computers" and "Phones."
  207. >Most of it seemed like a fantasy, too good to be true. However, when it came to history, earth's was filled with war.
  208. >Celestia simply nodded in wonder. Imagining what Earth looked like.
  209. >You were going to describe television until she politely interrupted you.
  210. >"It's getting quite late, Anonymous. We shall continue this discussion tomorrow, for now, I'd like for you to get some rest."
  212. >You nodded, it'd been a long night since you started speaking with Princess Celestia.
  213. >"Feather Scarf will take you to your room."
  214. "Sure."
  215. >"Oh, and one more thing. She's going to be your personal guard for now."
  216. >She smiled shortly after, her voice as gentle as a mother's touch.
  217. >Feather Scarf shook her head a bit, coming back into reality after your tales and histories of the world.
  218. >"Yes mam'?"
  219. "Wh-why?"
  220. >"Because it's not only for our safety, but yours as well."
  221. "What do you mean?"
  222. >"I'm sure that at least one person in this city with a dark shadow is lurking and looking for rare creatures. You could be on their list."
  223. "Y-you just described everyone here as peaceful-"
  224. >"Just like your world, Anonymous, we have the few rough stones that shape ours as well."
  225. >Your throat tightened.
  226. >The idea of being a "one of a kind species" made sense. If there was an alien on earth and people wanted it for various reasons, why not yours in this world?
  228. >The two of you made had seemingly walked for a few minutes, climbing a stairwell and down a hallway.
  229. >"I guess this is a start."
  230. "It sure is."
  231. ...
  232. "So, what brought you to the Equestrian Guard?"
  233. >"Lots of reasons, mostly I just wanted to lounge around and relax, standing and guarding for a fair pay."
  234. "Huh, sounds like a job I'd like."
  235. >You chuckle, your poor sense of humor hopes to bridge that gap between her and you, considering you're going to be spending a lot more time around her.
  238. >She smiled, giving a short giggle.
  239. >Now that you've come to it. These ponies aren't so rough after all.
  240. >They live like a parallel to Earth, maybe a few centuries mixed around, but that doesn't stop you from interacting with them.
  241. >You simply smiled back.
  242. "So, what do you do when you're off duty?" you asked, as the two of you continued walking to your chambers.
  243. >"Hm, Well I guess baking is something I like to do. It's just fun and relaxing."
  244. "Baking? Nice."
  245. >Finally, you arrived at your doors. It was about a five minute or so walk from the conference room that you spoke with Celestia.
  246. >Feather Scarf pushed open the two large doors to your room. "Here ya' are!"
  247. >The room was huge. Like. Really. Huge.
  248. "Wow."
  249. >Her face turned into a smirk.
  250. >"Yep."
  251. >You walked in, looking around...
  252. >The room had a fine-grained carpet with a purple base and a gold design that weaved through the middle, The walls matching the purple with a similar shade and a baseboard that was white.
  253. >In the middle of the room was a king sized bed, It looked at least five times the size of any other ponies average bed, or that's what you at least assumed.
  254. >To the right of the bed was a balcony with large window doors and silky curtains.
  255. >"Hope you enjoy!" she spoke cheekily.
  256. "Y-yeah."
  257. >It was astounding, the architecture was wonderful and the colors were amazing.
  258. >"Alright then!"
  259. >"I'll be outside if you need me!"
  260. "Kay'."
  261. >She turned around and started to exit the room.
  262. "Wait."
  263. >The mare turned to look at you.
  264. >"Yes?"
  265. "Thanks for the hospitality, I really appreciate it."
  266. >Only her lower lips moved, they melted into a smile.
  267. >"Anytime, Anon."
  268. >You swear she almost threw a wink.
  270. >After taking off your clothes and you climbed into bed, It was pretty comfy.
  271. >You just yawned and began to fall asleep...
  274. >*Scrtch*.... *Scrtch*.... *Scrtch*....
  275. >Hm?
  276. >What?
  277. >What's that noise?
  278. >*Scrtch*.... *Scrtch*.... *Scrtch*....
  279. >Where's that coming from?...
  280. >Your consciousness, or rather your unconsciousness was in a dark state.
  281. >A void.
  283. >Suddenly, a flame appeared in front of your eyes.
  284. >A little screech sounded a distance away.
  285. >...
  286. >There!
  287. >In the corner of your eye! There was something!
  288. >*Tss.*Tss.*Tss.*
  289. >Another scratch is heard from your opposite side, just as quickly as you saw it the first time, it disappeared again.
  290. >This time you could make something of it. It was colored black like the limbo of darkness, you quickly moved one of your legs back.
  291. >Who's there?!
  292. >Nothing answered...
  293. >And then a trampling sound of leather being dropped was trampling its way towards you.
  294. >The figure!
  295. >Its teeth were huge! Its shape was inconsistent!
  296. >The mouth seemed to grow larger as it leaped at you! The teeth were massive!
  297. >It was going to consume you!
  298. >You couldn't stop it!
  299. >You tried to scream, the sound came out but your chest was heavy. Only you could hear it.
  300. >Help! HELP!
  302. >Suddenly, a crashing noise came through. You woke up from your abyss and only saw the light from the outside of your illuminate the room.
  303. >A single silhouette was seen, it wore the Royal Equestrian guard armor.
  304. >"What's going on?!" a strong voice, which you could only assume was Feather Scarfs, had filled the room.
  306. >The sudden sound of the door opening made you tense; though it was only Feather Scarf.
  307. >"Is everything all right?"
  308. "Y-yeah.."
  309. >Feather trotted towards you, her eyes scanning up and down on you.
  310. >"What happened?
  311. "Just a nightmare." You'd say, dragging a hand over your forehead. Wiping away the cold sweat.
  312. >"That sounded a little more than just a nightmare, Anon." Her voice grew in concern. Her face shifting into a dubious look.
  313. "I'm fine... Really." your voice trembled but recovered.
  314. >"Well wha-"
  315. >In the corner of your eye, seemingly hanging from the ceiling was a molding figure, its eyes fixated on you.
  316. >The menacing monstrosity from your hellish nightmare was recalled into your reality.
  317. >The figure, however, was more visible. It was black and heavy framed. You couldn't describe what it looked most similar to; a lion? a wolf? a bear?
  318. >It looked at you with its soul-piercing eyes. It's head twisted around like an owl. Its claws dug up into the ceiling until it dropped onto Feather.
  320. >Feather screamed in agony. The hybrid beast crushed the poor mare toward the ground with its large, clawed paws.
  321. >In a moment's notice, as you saw Feather underneath this hulk, your brain went into shock.
  322. >It lifted its head towards you, simply gnarling with aggression. His eyes focusing back on you again.
  323. "F-. Feather."
  324. >The muscles in your neck begin to strain, Blood pumping through your veins, an adrenaline flowing through your brain.
  325. "FEATHER!" You screamed, which the beast only responded with a low howl.
  326. >You shifted your legs from your sitting position into a squatting one.
  327. >Your gaze striking the monster, teeth gritting tightly.
  328. >The beast preparing its next strike, bringing it's claw back for another swipe.
  329. >Within the window you saw to attack, The muscles in your legs contracted, then, launched you forwards toward it, grabbing it around its neck with your arms.
  330. >The beast was at least twice your size, and probably four times of Feathers. Yet, your weight was more than enough to offset its balance; it began to stumble back.
  331. >With your right arm around its neck, and you swinging around it; You throw a flurry of punches towards the side of its ribs with your other arm.
  332. >Each punch striking its fur coat, with each hit an emotion of resentment no different from the last.
  333. >It tilted farther back until it could no longer shadow over Feather, which left an opening for her to kick in.
  334. "You're going to pay!" You screamed into its ear.
  335. >It wailed in anguish, creating a horrible noise that you sure everyone in the castle would have heard.
  336. >It redirected its offense towards you; taking it large jaw and biting into your shoulder.
  337. >You shrieked in pain.
  338. >Its long sharp teeth penetrating your skin and digging into your flesh which you have never felt before.
  339. >The beast's bite tightened, which caused you more agony; until it took its teeth out and starting shaking you wildly. Trying to loosen your grip.
  341. >With a final effort you try to strike its face.
  342. >The beasts whines from the drills you struck it with.
  343. >And with an eerie shriek, the beast let out a long howl, nearly deafening your ears.
  344. >You fall to the ground in pain. The beast huffing through its nose.
  345. >It raised its paw once again... Just till its ears twitched and cocked his head towards the door.
  346. >Sound of armor shuffling down the halls could be heard.
  347. >The bear-sized creature darted back to you with a scowl, infuriated by the intrusion of an unwelcome and unanticipated armed force
  348. >With a final act, the monster released a shockwave, sending you helplessly flying backward to the bed.
  349. >Your vision blurred and you looked back where it was and it escaped with only great claw-footed prints on the carpet.
  350. >The doors were opened hastily, guards bearing spears with serious looks on their faces.
  351. >"What's the situation." one of them barked.
  352. "There was an attack!"
  353. >They all scurried about in the room in pairs, Looking through every nook and cranny.
  354. >Feather Scarf looked back, cuts over her muzzle and a bruise around her one eye.
  355. >A wave of anxiety washes over you.
  356. "F-feather."
  357. >"I-i'm okay." she says, trying to pull a smile from her lips.
  358. >And just as quickly the anxiety appeared, it turned to reassurance.
  359. >You pick her up and wrap your arms around her armored white coat.
  360. >"Oh An-. Aww..."
  361. >Her muzzle rests on your non-injured shoulder, her fur brushing against your face. It was really soft.
  362. >"Thanks, Anon."
  364. >You felt remorse for the little mare, who'd been just overpowered a moment ago.
  365. >Your empathy translated into physical reality and caused you to pick her up from the floor and hug her.
  366. >"D'aww." she said, comforted by the mild limbs of your body.
  367. >She nuzzled into your neck. The warm muzzle comforting your prior anxiety.
  368. >The two of you break the hug, staring back at each other.
  369. >"I'm glad you-"
  370. >You could feel a warm liquid trickle down your arm, it was the bite from the previous engagement.
  371. >"A-anon?"
  372. "O-oh. Wow."
  373. >You grit your teeth as the adrenaline wore off.
  374. >The guards continued to move around the room, Celestia had at last arrived.
  375. >"Is everyone alright?" She carried a troubled expression.
  376. "For now, yes."
  377. >Celestia rushed over to the two of you.
  378. >Feather Scarf's armor was a bit battered and scarred, while your arm had a stinging bite. You'd estimate that the teeth were probably more than half an inch long.
  379. >Celestia glanced at you, then Feather and looked towards everyone else.
  380. >"Get them medical treatment, Search the courtyard. I want teams of four patrolling the walls. On the double!"
  381. >A collective roar of "Yes Mam!" filled the room.
  382. >The tall princess stared back at the two of you.
  383. >"I'm so sorry, we should have positioned guards sooner."
  384. "It's nothing, don't worry. I'm more worried about her than this," you said, as you pointed to Feather.
  385. >Feather's cheeks turned a bit rose.
  386. >"H-he sort of, uh. Saved me... Mam'."
  387. >Celestia, who'd previously wore a grim face spoke;
  388. >"It seems we have quite the champion among the midst."
  389. >Her lips shaped into smile.
  391. "It was nothi-"
  392. >The adrenaline; the drug that kept you hammering away at the monster, had finally worn off, the pain now throbbing in your shoulder.
  393. >You grit your teeth even more so.
  394. >"We need to get you to the Infirmary."
  395. "Yeah, s-sure thing."
  396. >After that said, you stood up. The pain was burning in your shoulder; you knew it would hurt, but you really didn't expect anything this bad.
  397. >You did your best to contain it, but your face had given away your suffering.
  398. >Feather had taken off her helmet, her red mane now free from its confines within the helmet.
  399. >Her left cheek, now bruised from one of the many blows the monster had thrown.
  400. >"Follow me, Anon."
  401. >As the two of you walked through the room; The weight of a dozen eyes was on your back.
  402. >You couldn't tell if they were disgusted or impressed by your antics.
  403. >As you exited the room, a brown coated stallion gave you a stiff nod.
  405. >In the infirmary, the nurse had given you some sedatives and antibiotics.
  406. >Sitting across from you, sat Feather. A different nurse tending to her cuts and bruises.
  407. >The side of Feather's forehead, behind her mane had a small gash. The nurses had carefully stitched you and Feather with a needle and some wire.
  409. >As the nurses worked; the two of you spoke.
  410. >"For a monkey, you fight pretty good."
  411. >From calming sedatives, you managed to twist a smile out of your tired face.
  412. "One hell of a night."
  413. >"And I don't think they'll be getting any less crazy."
  414. "Next time we see that thing, we're going to kick its ass."
  415. >"Damn straight."
  416. >The guard mare gave a strong grin, flexing one of her triceps.
  417. >She carried a determined look.
  418. >The two of you laughed.
  419. >Your first friend in this world was a bodyguard.
  421. >The next morning, you woke up where you fell asleep. In the infirmary.
  422. >Your shoulder felt tense, however, Most of the pain was gone.
  423. >The next bed over was occupied by a sleeping Feather Scarf.
  424. >Her soft white coat laying against the soft blue pillow. Her Maple red mane a mess from sleeping and wearing her helmet.
  425. >You smiled.
  426. >It didn't bother you that you were injured, you were just glad that you were safe.
  427. >You looked around the medical room, you could see two guards standing by the doors; both carrying a tired look.
  428. >You got up from your bed; waved at them.
  429. >They looked over and nodded.
  430. >Their eyes had bags beneath them. They were clearly tired, yet heavily disciplined.
  431. >The two gold-plated royal guards looked forwards once again.
  432. >You frowned, yet you understood that they had a job to do.
  433. >Shifting with your hips, you try to sit up straight.
  434. >A little strand of pain struck through your waist; your ribs sore, from having been thrown.
  435. >The sun was poking through the window and it was morning, Sometime around ten, you'd think.
  436. >You got out of your bed quietly and made your way to the guards. You could feel your bladder was full.
  437. "Uh. Bathrooms?"
  438. >They pointed to their left, without looking.
  439. >You quickly made your way into the room and decided to wash up a bit.
  441. >After your basic hygiene routine, you return to the guards and ask for directions and instructions.
  442. >They direct you to Princess Celestia's throne room.
  443. >"Anonymous, Good morning."
  444. "Good morning."
  446. >"Anonymous. We'll get to the point."
  447. >Her eyes narrowed.
  448. >"We have reason to believe this wasn't just a random attack, rather an assassination."
  449. "Assassination?"
  450. >The idea ran through your head, you were paralyzed by the thought.
  451. >Someone is purposely trying to kill you? Why? What for? and how did they know you were here?
  452. "But, Why?"
  453. >"We don't know. The fact that they managed to find you, and bypass Canterlot security tells me we have a higher power seeking your head."
  454. >A shiver rolls down your spine, your bones numbing from top to bottom.
  455. >"Rest assured, we are tracking the issue at hand, our investigation team is looking deeply into it."
  456. >Her words helped some, but not enough to ease your mind.
  457. "T-thanks."
  458. >"You may return to the infirmary if you wish, I'll dispatch a new bodyguard at once."
  459. "No. She's fine." You spittle.
  460. >Celestia began to spoke "B-." She promptly stopped herself, however.
  461. >She sighs. "As you wish."
  462. >You feel a sense of relief wash over your mind.
  463. >"Well then, You're dismissed."
  464. >You nod and head out the room.
  465. >A small smile reveals itself on her face.
  467. >As you exit the throne room, you can see across the hallway a trio of ponies. Each dressed in some black jumpsuits, wearing optics of some sort over their eyes.
  468. >They quietly discuss among each other.
  469. >Walking toward the infirmary, they give you a quick glance, though they seemed uninterested and return their gazes towards themselves.
  470. >Special forces? Black ops?
  471. >Who knew. All the ponies you've seen up until were fairly open about their colors.
  472. >These three were concealed in a blackness to prevent even their manes from showing.
  474. >Upon entering the infirmary, Feather Scarf is resting on the bed. She lays on one side, a hoof to her cheek, and gazing at you.
  475. >"Morning champ."
  476. >Smiling back, you respond with. "Morning"
  477. >"How'd you sleep?"
  478. "Like a king."
  479. >She smirked, giving out a giggle.
  480. >You make your way over to your bed, sitting across from her.
  481. "So, How do you feel?"
  482. >She tilts her head, looking into her past. "Well, I'm feeling surprisingly well, even after that attack."
  483. >"How about you?"
  484. "Stings, but I'll walk it off."
  485. >"You better. I don't do crybabies."
  486. >Hah.
  487. >A draft from somewhere around the castle makes it into the room, the cold air touching your naked skin.
  488. "I need some clothes."
  489. >"Clothes? What for?"
  490. "It's a cultural thing where I come from."
  491. >"Oh, Yeah. Now I remember, you said something about that in the meeting."
  492. >You nod your head.
  493. >"I know the perfect place."
  495. >You raise your head. "Huh."
  496. >She gets up effortlessly.
  497. >Her hooves make their way to her armor, she starts putting on.
  498. "Is it alright for you to be moving around already?"
  499. >"Pffft, This is nothing, Anon."
  500. >Her smile reassures you.
  501. >She begins to strap on her equipment, while you sit there and wait.
  502. >Watching her, you look over her some more.
  503. >A soft, white coat, big blue eyes, and that silky red mane.
  504. >You spotted her "Cutie Mark."
  505. >It looked like a steel colored Morion helmet, with a blue feather sticking out from the back of it.
  506. >After dressing her torso equipment she moves to equip her helmet and slides it on.
  507. >She tightens down her straps and looks back at you.
  508. >"Everything look straight?"
  509. >Your gaze glides up and down her.
  510. >The metallic armor covering her sides, rear and head.
  511. >Huh, fitting.
  512. >"Anon?"
  513. >You shake your head, and look back at Feather's face.
  514. "Yeah, It's straight."
  515. >"Alright! Move out!"
  516. >The two of you make your way out of the infirmary.
  517. >The guards still stand there, faces stoic.
  518. >You give them a nod, and whisper; "Thanks."
  519. >They salute the Captain and continue looking forward.
  521. >You exit the castle. The skies clear and the snow about an inch deep.
  522. >The place was much brighter, and a lot prettier now that you could see the details of the stone.
  523. >The city was neat, clean. The walls of the buildings in top shape. It looked like an ideal and happy city.
  524. "Wow, It's beautiful out here."
  525. >"Damn straight." She says, smirking.
  527. >There was a two-story building that Feather lead you to.
  528. >It had a wide set of stairs leading to a door with a heart shaped window.
  529. >The sign read... "Canterlot Carousel"
  530. >You looked at Feather.
  531. >She looked back at you, smiling.
  532. >"Alright Anon, you ready?"
  534. >As you open the door, a unicorn with a bright blue coat and an orange brushed mane greets you.
  535. >"Welcome to Canterlo-"
  536. >She freezes as she sees you. Her eyes widening.
  537. >Her gaze drifts over to Feather.
  538. >She screams. "Detain this beast!"
  539. >Feather lets out a deep sigh.
  540. >"Relax. He's not an animal."
  541. >The unicorn ceases her voice.
  542. >Feather looks to you, then to the mare.
  543. >"In fact, he's here to buy some clothing."
  544. >Shocked, she replies with "What?"
  545. >You clear your throat.
  546. "I-I just want to buy some clothing."
  547. >She blinks a couple times, astounded by your ability of speech.
  548. >"Oh... Okay." She was clearly nervous.
  549. >"Come right on in, then."
  550. >Entering the building, the place was huge. There were stairs that lead to the upper level and an open floor where ponies could look around and observe the mannequins.
  551. >The mare speaks up, her voice calmer than before. "Welcome to Canterlot Carousel, I am Sassy Saddles."
  552. >Her gaze bounces between you and Feather.
  553. >"So what would you like?"
  554. >Feather straightens up.
  555. >"We'd like to get some clothing for this guy. It's cold outside and I think we're going to need some custom tailoring."
  556. >Sassy narrows her eyes, looking up and down your body anthropomorphic body.
  557. >"Hmmm... I see."
  558. >Her gaze breaks and she looks between you and Feather.
  559. >"Any idea what kind of clothing you'd prefer?"
  560. >Feather puts a hoof on her chin, thinking out an idea for clothing.
  561. >"How about... A suit?"
  562. >A suit?
  563. "A suit?"
  564. >She snickers, "Yeah! It'd be funny, wouldn't you think? A monkey wearing a suit."
  565. "Bu-"
  566. >"Aaaaand! It'll help people recognize you're not a monster!"
  567. >That was a pretty good point.
  568. >Who would expect a monster to wear a suit?
  569. >Except maybe the Mafia...
  570. "Whatever you say, Feather."
  571. >"Splendid! An excellent choice!" she responds.
  572. >She levitates a measuring tape over from a counter and places it in her hoof.
  573. >"Shall I take your measurements?"
  574. >You nod.
  576. >You make your way to the backroom with Sassy, Feather following after you two.
  577. >"Alright dear, we're going to measure your legs, your chest, and those are... arms? right?"
  578. "Yep."
  579. >You take your sweater off, the only clothing left on you were your boxers.
  580. >Feather watches as the unicorn levitates her measuring tape around you.
  581. >Her eyes darting around every few seconds. Still aware of possible threats.
  582. >"Mmmm... Yes. Okay, Now your back..."
  583. >You keep still like a statue, allowing her to continue marking down measurements
  584. >"You have some interesting anatomy... Mister?..."
  585. "Anonymous. You can call me Anon though."
  586. >"It'll be the first time working on someone with your kind of... stature."
  587. >Her eyes sharpen, her mind clearly thinking over the tailoring you presume.
  588. >"This'll be something to brag about to Rarity!"
  589. >She giggles, clearly with devious plans on her mind.
  590. "Uh.. alright?"
  591. >You look to Feather.
  592. >She shrugs.
  593. "So... how long do you think it'll take to get done?"
  594. >She lowers the measuring tape and raises a hoof to her chin.
  595. >"Well, since your anatomy differs, but is relatively simple. I'd assume... oh, perhaps done by tonight?"
  596. >Tonight?
  597. "Tonight?"
  598. >That's incomprehensible. You're no tailor, but it'd make sense if it took a few days.
  599. "How are you going to make something in only one day?"
  600. >"Since most of the ponies in Canterlot have already received their orders for the season, and that I've been itching to try something different, this works perfectly."
  601. >That works.
  602. >Wait, the cost.
  603. "What about the cost?"
  604. >Feather gives a smug look towards you.
  605. >"IIIII've got it covered."
  606. >Feather reaches inside of her armor and places a bag of "bits" onto the counter.
  607. "Uh, You sure Feather?"
  608. >"Anon, I have a debt to repay, Remember?"
  609. >The beast.
  610. >A flashback occurs, you see Feather laying on the ground, injured.
  611. >An anger rises in your chest, a feeling of nausea stringing in your throat.
  612. >Though, Sassy's words lure you back to reality.
  613. >"Excellent! Then come by tonight at eight!"
  615. "Sounds good."
  616. >Feather and you head back to the front of the boutique.
  617. >"Wanna grab a bite on the way back?"
  618. "Sure."
  619. >Your gut feels a bit guilty, making Feather pay for everything.
  620. >Perhaps you could get a job.
  621. >Though, if you were really being targeted. What could you do for work?
  623. >After walking down the cold streets of Canterlot, A cafe comes into view. The sign reading "Bean's Bagels."
  624. >You grab the door, and hold it for Feather, following after her.
  625. >When she gets to the front, a brown coated pony waits on her.
  626. >Feather orders coffee and bagels for the both of you.
  627. >She gets you a plain bagel, while she orders sesame.
  628. >Feather pays for the drinks, and the two of you make your way out.
  629. "Thanks. I really appreciate it."
  630. >Your face a little bit red from embarrassment.
  631. >"Heeey! Don't worry about it! I wouldn't be much of a bodyguard if I let you starve to death!"
  632. >You let out a hearty chuckle.
  633. >She giggles.
  635. >Heading back to the Castle, you'd figure it'd be a good time to get to know her better.
  636. "So, how long have you served?"
  637. >"About six years."
  638. "And you're a Captain, right?"
  639. >"Well, Captain of a Company. I'm from Alpha company of The first Aerial Lancers."
  640. "Equestria sounds organized with their military forces."
  641. >"Eh, it's mostly ceremonial; we have powerful leaders that keep it together."
  642. >The two of you near the keep's gate. The guard ponies identify Feather and you, and open the gate.
  643. >Each of the ponies wear this heavy armor, and bear a weapon, either a spear, sword or a mace.
  644. >All the guards have a purpose, they are all given duties to carry out. No matter how monotonous or boring, they still carry it out.
  645. >From what you've seen, all the guards are heavily disciplined. Feather perhaps not so much, though you haven't seen how the other guards act off duty.
  646. >Your gaze drifts to the courtyard where ponies are sparring each other with swords, training themselves.
  647. >An idea clicks into your head and a grin grows on your face.
  648. "Hey, Feather?"
  649. >Feather lifts her muzzle from the cup of coffee.
  650. >"Yeah Anon?"
  651. "Do you think I could learn to use a sword?"
  653. >Feather gives you a mixed face. One that says "You're on." with a touch of "You sure about that?"
  654. >"I don't knooow, Anon. I wouldn't want your butt to get whooped two days in a row!"
  655. >You scoff, speaking confidentially you say;
  656. "Psht, I think I can take on a small horse with wings."
  657. >"Whatever you say, Anon." Rolling her eyes.
  658. >She turns to her right, and heads over to an open barrel with sticks poking out.
  659. >Feather grabs one, pulling it out. Revealing that the sticks were actually wooden swords.
  660. >She looks to you and says "Catch." Tossing it to you.
  661. >You manage to grab it by the handle with your right hand.
  662. >Feather pulls out another sword from the barrel, but for herself.
  663. >The guards were still practicing, however, when they spot you they stop. Looking at you and Feather, their gazes drifting up and down the swords, one of them giving a half-hearted nod.
  664. >They turn away and quietly make comments.
  665. >One was snickering, the other shaking his head and whispering "Poor guy.."
  666. >Feather calls you out. Pulling your attention back to her. "Over here, Anon."
  667. >The comments stick with you, making you worry for a moment.
  668. >You turn and follow after Feather Scarf.
  670. >She makes her way to a fenced-in ring; primitively made with sticks and simple fastenings, fashioned out of straps.
  671. >The gate opens, following after her.
  672. >She takes the one side; gripping her sword.
  673. >”Right; so the best kind of teaching is through experience.”
  674. >She turns around; preparing her weapon.
  675. >”Our anatomy is different, but I don’t think it’ll matter once you get some practice down.”
  676. “Right, practice makes perfect.”
  677. >The moment you grip your sword she’s prancing from side to side; already closing some distance.
  678. >”So. Let’s. See. What. You. Got!” she blurts as she quickly stepped, leaving you a bit unprepared.
  679. >Her sword thrusts forwards, you try to make a parry; but it’s weak. Your recovery is poor, so you take a step back to get more time.
  680. >As if she was reading a book, she lunges more; striking the center of your chest as you sluggishly try to bring back the blunt wooden blade.
  681. >It hurt… a bit.
  682. >”Nicsh foot work Anon! But yer tew shlow!”
  683. >She steps back, allowing the two of you to reset.
  684. >You grin, getting your money's worth.
  685. >”Hey! The Captain’s taking it easy on the monkey!”
  686. >”Aww! No fair Cap’n! You didn’t give us the same treatment when we were croots!”
  687. >Your eyes glance at the lads, before looking back at the guard.
  688. “Aw shit.”
  690. >She starts another set. Thrusting straight forward this time; her warm-up having kicked in.
  691. >You don’t hesitate this time. You’re going to use some force.
  692. >The swords connect; she parries. Your blade slides off hers.
  693. >Hers slides forward. Going for your neck.
  694. >Shit. Duck!
  695. >You try to riposte but to no avail.
  696. >She clocks you on the head, and pretty hard.
  697. >THUNK.
  698. >Well, can’t say you didn’t have it coming.
  699. >She is a Captain after all.
  700. >As you rub the new goose-egg growing on your head, you can hear the stallions cheering, chortling and howling at your attempts.
  701. >You’re not perfect. And won’t be, for a while.
  702. >”Aw come on Anon, don’t tell me you’re done already! Show me some spirit!”
  703. >Her words didn’t come off as scornful, rude or even despairing.
  704. >It was a genuine invitation.
  705. >Invoking some kind of will in you to keep at it.
  706. “Alright, one more time.”
  709. >The two of you keep sparring.
  710. >About an hour passes before your endurance reaches its end.
  711. >You haven’t had that kind of workout in probably years.
  712. >You take your time breathing in and out, trying to calm your body down.
  713. >Sweating like crazy, in the cool, early December’s weather.
  714. >Infact, the sweat practically came off like steam due to the difference in temperatures, but maybe that was just an exaggeration.
  715. >And you felt sore, your body was aching from the slaughter that occurred today.
  716. >In that whole time sparring with you in that ring: she only let you strike her once at her side. She let you clear a riposte as a reward for fixing up some foot-work that took you at least three rounds to clean up.
  717. >”Good work Anon, you’re getting better faster than most of the new-bloods that come through here.”
  718. >You can’t lie; there was some discouragement in the fifty or so rounds you spent one on one with her. But you’ll have to take her word for it.
  719. “Thanks, but god damn you’re fast.”
  720. >”Light as a feather, sting like a bee. Yep, nobody can put a candle to these hoof-steps.”
  721. >You smirk.
  722. >”Oh you think that’s funny monkey-man?”
  723. >She gently throws a one-two at your shoulder, but it still stings.
  724. “Ow.”
  725. >”Oh, sorry. Forgot. Kicked your ass a little too hard, huh?”
  726. “Oh whatever, you’ll be the one on the ground someday.”
  727. >”Big words for a big man.” She chuckles a bit, laughing some after.
  730. >You put your dummy-swords away in some barrel, as the two of you pass the courtyard smithery.
  731. >The two of you decide to grab some water.
  732. >Another guard walks up to you, slimmer in frame and a bit smaller than Feather.
  733. >Her voice was also a bit higher than hers.
  734. >”H-here you go, sir!”
  735. >A towel hovers closer to you, enveloped in a soft cyan aura.
  736. >You reach out to grab it, it’s moist. And warm.
  737. >Looking down you can see a dark-coated mare, donning the Royal guards armor.
  738. >Her hair fritted out, looking to be a platinum and frost color.
  739. >She gleamed, smiling at you.
  740. “Thanks.”
  741. >You use the towel to wipe away all the sweat that’s been beading around your forehead, not to mention your chest and back.
  742. >She stands there kind of looking up at you in awe, her beady blue eyes looking at you in curiosity but giving into some glee.
  743. >You can see in the corner of your eye, Feather sitting and looking at the mare sullen-like.
  744. >”Anytime Mister Anonymous.”
  745. >”Alright Lieutenant Star Dusk, you can return to your post.”
  746. >Star gives off a small wave before trotting off.
  747. >Feather sits there with a watchful eye, waiting to speak again till she leaves.
  748. >You can’t help but smile, and then chuckle a bit at the small jealousy of courtesy the mare gives.
  750. >Eventually, Feather joins in laughing.
  751. >The two of you laugh away like it wasn’t anyone’s business.
  752. >Then.
  753. >You feel a cold snap in your body.
  754. >A feeling of discomfort and disgust writhing through you.
  755. >Feather notices your dejected expression.
  756. >”Anon?... What’s wrong?”
  757. >The feeling of eyes burning through your torso, you quickly look around the courtyard, but nothing out of the ordinary.
  758. >And just as soon as the feeling came, it left.
  759. >”Anon? Hello?”
  760. “Sorry. It felt like something was watching me. Something… awful.”
  761. >”What?” She looked surprised.
  762. >”Are you okay?”
  763. “I’m fine. Just left me uncomfortable, that's all.”
  764. >”Maybe we should head inside, just in case.”
  765. “Yeah.”
  766. >The two of you make your way inside, the big stallion guards in the same post.
  767. >Jokingly, she elbows you some bit.
  768. >This time you've had a more than fair share of your fill.
  769. >You slap her armored flank side.
  770. >That'll teach her something.
  771. >Looking over you can see a mare with an odd expression.
  772. >She glares at you with embarrassment, but she recovers with a quick grin in an attempt to save face.
  773. >You can’t help but laugh again.
  776. >Heading back to the conference room where you spoke with Princess Celestia the other night.
  777. >Feather and you take a seat to speak with some more bureaucrats.
  778. >They give you some papers to sign as an Equestrian resident and citizen.
  779. >You were hesitant at first, but who knows how long it will be before you can go home?
  780. >Did you even want to go back?
  781. >Was there anyone waiting for you?
  782. >Did anybody even notice you go?
  783. >There was a somber feeling in your heart when you signatured.
  784. >But just then, you felt a hoof on your wrist.
  785. >Looking over, it was Feather’s.
  786. >She smiled, looking at you.
  787. >There was a small rekindling in your heart.
  788. >That somber feeling dissipated.
  789. >There’s a new start here, but maybe a purpose too.
  790. >At least you had Feather.
  791. >You feel a smile brim on your face.
  793. >After another day of productive talks, you leave the table feeling a little bit more informed.
  794. >The beast at large was still unknown.
  795. >But they have three suspected groups of interest.
  796. >The Crimson Banners, an underground pony mafia that’s plagued Equestria and other large cities with underhanded tactics and crime, but they’re slowly fading out.
  797. >The Black Brotherhood, ponies of the occult, cursed and ancient archaic magic, known to house spells that were thought to be lost to the ages.
  798. >And a third party, which hasn’t been given a name. But are suspected to not be from Equestria, or maybe this world.
  799. >You take a deep sigh, it seems like it’s only been problems since you’ve arrived.
  800. >But then again, Feather was your bodyguard.
  801. >There was sort of a feeling of guilt for having to drop her duties as a Captain to just guard for you.
  802. >She seemed to like you, but does she really?
  803. >You shake your head, banishing the thought.
  804. >Getting up from the table, you approach a window that oversees the courtyard.
  805. >It seemed like the ponies' attitudes had completely flipped when it came to starting a fight.
  806. >To the courtyard below, lay a few sparring rings. They were all filled with occupants.
  807. >It seems though the word spread through the ranks, and now all the guards are getting ready for something big.
  808. >”Anon.”
  809. “Yes?”
  810. >”Relax, you will be safe within Canterlot, not to mention Equestria.”
  811. >She tries to cheer you up with a smile.
  812. >It works.
  813. >Feather comes up beside you, her head nuzzling into your side to get your attention.
  814. >”'Specially since I’m here!”
  815. >She stands on her hind legs, giving you a pat on the back.
  816. >You can't help but chuckle at her human imitation, with her height she just barely reaches to your forehead.
  818. >Some time passes, and it’s finally evening.
  819. >It was time to pick up your suit.
  820. >But it’s snowing again. You’re going to freeze your coatless ass off.
  821. >And as if on cue, Star Dusk steps through some doors.
  822. >”Hey Mister Anon! You’re hairless, right?”
  823. “Erm, yeah.”
  824. >”Let me try a spell for you!”
  825. >”Star, for the love of Celestia don’-”
  826. >The same aura of the warm moist towel from earlier in the day envelopes you.
  827. >It covers you in a head to toe, and you feel clothed, but not really. Just in feeling.
  828. “Wow, it’s warm.”
  829. >”Heat magic! Should last a little while!”
  830. >She smiles.
  831. >Feather scrunches her face.
  832. >”Don’t you have work to do, Star?”
  833. >Star giggles before trotting off, and waving.
  834. >”I swear, she’s trying to take my job.”
  835. “I mean, she’s magical.”
  836. >Feather darts you a dirty look, as if she were stabbed.
  837. >Et tu, Brutus?
  838. >She drops a dirty frown, saddened by your comment.
  839. “Oh god not like that, she seems nice but she hasn’t helped me since the start!”
  840. >She lifts her head to give you a glance, still skeptical
  841. >Feather takes you through the courtyard, some stallions still training and a smithy still working on a flank piece.
  843. >The magic was holding up, it was actually a nice change for once instead of freezing your feet off or getting hypothermia.
  844. >”So… Equestria… Do you like it?”
  845. “Yeah, I like the environment, seemingly able to control the weather and cast magic. Life seems simpler here. ”
  846. >”That’s a funny take.”
  847. “What do you mean?”
  848. >”Considering the other night!” She giggles.
  849. “Oh- Yeah.”
  850. >”What do you think about ponies?”
  851. “I love them, actually. Really friendly, hospitable, thoughtful, outgoing...”
  852. >Her cheeks turn a bit rosy.
  853. >She turns her head away to pretend to look at a passing coffee shop.
  854. “And what about humans?”
  855. >Her head cranes back to look at yours, her cheeks back to the normal white.
  856. >”Good-natured, Kind, Caring... Protective.”
  857. >A smile grows on your face.
  858. “That’s a positive assessment, Captain.”
  859. >”Heeey, just call me Feather! I already told you that you nerd!"
  860. >You can't help but laugh at her choice of word to compare you to.
  861. >But it wasn't too far off the mark, you guess.
  862. >She elbows you a bit.
  863. >"Right this way, Chief."
  866. >Eventually, you make it to Sassy’s boutique.
  867. >She’s carefully sewing up the final details on your suit.
  868. >She steps back, looking at the final product.
  869. >”Mister Anonymous, as per said.”
  870. “Wow, you work fast.”
  871. >”Only the best.”
  872. “Alright, lets try it on.”
  873. >Sassy uses some magic. A bright orange aura surrounds the clothing, it inflates and she begins to magically wrap you in it.
  874. >It’s a perfect fit.
  875. >And really comfortable.
  876. >Wow. You’ve never really had a high-end suit like this before.
  877. >It even came with shoes!
  878. >And socks!
  879. >Sure you’ve worn some business casual clothing.
  880. >But this was a whole ‘nother level.
  881. >+10 Rep.
  882. >Feather gives you a coy look.
  883. >”Charming.”
  884. “You think so?”
  885. >”You’ll be sweeping mares off their feet.”
  886. “Like Star Dusk?”
  887. >She scoffs.
  888. “Kidding.”
  889. >”Another one like that, and maybe I’ll just have her take over.”
  890. >You cross your arms.
  891. “Oh, and what’re you going to do?”
  892. >”I’ll… Resume my regular Captain duties.”
  893. “Right.”
  894. >You tussle her mane a bit.
  895. >”Hey! Cut it out.”
  896. >You let out a chuckle.
  897. >She giggles.
  898. >Sassy chimes in.
  899. >”And they say the ‘Clothes don’t make the stallion.’”
  900. >”You look dashing, hun.”
  901. >You feel like your status has elevated from “Ape” to “Civilized ape.”
  903. “Thanks Sassy, it’s great!”
  904. >”Anytime dear, I’m willing to work with a new model to always stretch out my talent.”
  905. >You turn to leave.
  906. >”One more thing. Here, have these.”
  907. >Some clothes fly out from behind a counter…
  908. >It seemed to be some undergarments, a replica of your boxers, a white t-shirt and some other spare clothing.
  909. >She was clearly the best tailor you’ve ever met.
  910. “Wow.”
  911. >”These should suffice on cold nights and your days off.”
  912. >She levitates them into a bag for easy carry.
  913. >Even Feather looks impressed.
  914. “Right, thanks. Take care.”
  915. >As you walked through the streets, less ponies gawked at you.
  916. >While you felt better in this clothing. There was a feeling of being a Bourgeoisie.
  917. >Considering the bodyguard, and suit wearing.
  918. >However you decide to look back to Feather, who seemed to still give you some coy glances.
  919. >What was her deal?
  920. “Something caught your eye?”
  921. >She shook her head.
  922. >”No, just that you look good in the suit.”
  923. >She averts her gaze, acting as if she was looking for hostiles this whole time.
  925. >Feather raises her head to ask a question.
  926. >”So Anon. What do you think you’ll do here?”
  927. “I’m not sure, I’d like to lecture more about human history, maybe do some adventuring.”
  928. >”You sure? Even with the recent attempt?”
  929. “I’m sure.”
  930. >Last night kept popping back into your head.
  931. >You had a hunch.
  932. >Something wasn’t adding up.
  933. >A direct attack to the guard, but nothing incapacitating you besides a bite to the shoulder?
  934. >It could have crushed, slashed or ripped out your throat.
  935. >Did it bite off more than it could chew?
  936. >The picture became a bit clearer.
  937. >Maybe it wasn’t an assassination. That felt more like an attempted kidnapping.
  938. >Next time it comes around, you’ll have a plan.
  939. >Taking in the thoughts of today, you were pretty tired.
  940. >You arrive back at the palace.
  941. >The guards don’t seem to mind you coming through anymore.
  942. >Infact, a few raise their voice when you pass by.
  943. >”Hey Anon! You stood pretty long in the ring with the Cap’n! Wooo!”
  944. >”Anon! How the hell did you last more than four rounds? Let alone fifty?!”
  945. >You kind of seize up at all the attention, like a fat kid at school getting recognition for running a marathon without getting an asthma attack.
  946. >A merit in loss is still a merit.
  947. >Star Dusk trots past you, speaking up amidst the cheers.
  948. >”See you two at the meeting, don’t be late!”
  949. >Meeting?
  950. >”Meeting?”
  952. >Traversing through the long halls, you manage to get back to the council room.
  953. >Celestia is accompanied by her usual bureaucrats. All busy making their regular political chit-chat, discussing finances and budgets.
  954. >And then there’s one more face.
  955. >Star Dusk.
  956. >”Hey Anon! Over here!”
  957. >She waves you two over.
  958. >Feather kind of just raises an eyebrow, confused.
  959. >You take your seat next to Star Dusk, and Feather on the other side.
  960. >She sits there, smiling and giddy in her seat.
  961. >Celestia clears her throat.
  962. >”Ahehem. Now, we all know why we’re here.”
  963. >No we don’t.
  964. >”Anon, though we discussed this last night, after talking with some of my advisors, we have found that fitting you with a nightguard would be the next best choice for your situation.”
  965. >”And, I’ve chosen First Lieutenant Star Dusk of Second Company ‘Bolt Troopers’ for your detail.”
  966. >First Lieutenant, huh? Guess she got promoted.
  967. >You look to Feather, who seems to be keeping a fairly good lid on it.
  968. >You do see her gritting her teeth though.
  969. >Glancing to your other side.
  970. >You only see a smiling Star Dusk.
  971. >Ho boy.
  973. >A few hours later, the meeting winds up.
  974. >Talking once more about some economic problems and concerns about other kingdoms.
  975. >You chimed in once or twice.
  976. >Celestia seemed hesitant about what you were going to say, but the council seemed receptive to your responses, some with even positive backing.
  977. >Your economic classes being recalled for some worth.
  978. >A few politicians seemed a bit impressed with your input.
  979. >Eventually, it was discussed about how you’d be living in the castle.
  980. >It was decided you were going to be given monthly allowances.
  981. >Great, hand-me-outs.
  982. >Though, if you did some rough conversions, this was more than generous compensation.
  983. >After the meeting, one of the politicians approaches you.
  984. >”Mister Anonymous, it seems you have a thing or two for macro-economics, might I interest you in-”
  985. >”Sorry, Mister Page, I fear that would call into question national and house integrity.”
  986. >Page nods his head, all too well accustomed to the rejection.
  987. >Second day here, and now you’re not only wanted by mafias, syndicates, and now it seems even the corporate lobbyists and politicians want a piece of you.
  988. >Canterlot, City of dreams.
  989. >”Well Anonymous, you’ve had a long day. Let's enjoy some dinner.”
  990. “Yeah, I’m starving.”
  992. >Star Dusk.
  993. >She always looked so happy when she saw you.
  994. “Star Dusk, gotta’ ask you something.”
  995. >”Sure! Shoot!”
  996. “You seem so interested in me. What’s up?”
  997. >She sort of pauses a moment, kind of seizing up.
  998. >Did she realize that she was being so obvious?
  999. >”Uh, you’re just… One of the first humans I’ve ever met!”
  1000. >Ah, the “nerdy wanna learn more” kind.
  1001. >Nothing wrong with them.
  1002. >”Listening to you talk was kind of breathtaking.”
  1003. “In what way?”
  1004. >”Your technology, your society, it just seems so… Advanced.”
  1005. “Yeah, I guess it is kind of a shock when you compare a hedonist society to Equestria.”
  1006. >”Hedonist?”
  1007. “Yeah, self-serving. Lots of things were just made for pleasure, sometimes a necessity. Or war.”
  1008. >She kind of turned her head. Probably thinking really hard about how humans behave.
  1009. >Feather kind of just glances around.
  1010. >”Oh right! I’ll be taking the night guard, Mister Anonymous!”
  1011. “Sounds good. Where’ll Feather be going?”
  1012. >”Oh, she’s going to sleep in your bed!”
  1013. >Feather’s ears perk up.
  1014. >Wait what.
  1015. “Wait what.”
  1016. >”Princess Celestia said, considering last night, I’d stand guard outside your room while if anything happened in your room Feather would be there to help you!”
  1017. >It was a good point.
  1018. >You look to Feather.
  1019. “You okay with this?”
  1020. >”Y-yeah, that’s completely fine with me.”
  1021. >She looked nervous.
  1022. “I’ll take one half of the bed, you the other?”
  1023. >”Uh-huh sounds good to me.”
  1026. >Your trio makes it to the dining hall.
  1027. >It was a nice dinner, but mostly greens.
  1028. >Caesar salads, without the bacon bits.
  1029. >You can’t complain though, you were a guest. You’ll just have to suck it up.
  1030. >You watch Star Dusk sitting to your right, cutting up her food and levitating it to her mouth, quaintly eating her meal.
  1031. >On the other hand.
  1032. >Feather is munching hard on her greens as she was practically motorboating her food.
  1033. >Celestia didn’t seem to care either way.
  1034. >Both looked acceptable. One was just… messier.
  1035. >You make use of the utensils you’ve been offered.
  1036. >When you finish eating, you head to your bedroom.
  1037. >The suit was a bit stiff, but it was properly made.
  1038. >Opening up the bag Sassy gave you, there were a few pairs of your boxers, socks, and a note left behind.
  1039. >”DRY CLEAN ONLY!”
  1040. >Some things never change.
  1042. “God, what a long day.”
  1043. >”Yeah, and tomorrow we’ll brush up on more of your sword-play again, Anon!”
  1044. >Star chimes in “Or maybe he’ll want to brush up on countermagic, hmm Anon?”
  1045. “We can do both tomorrow. For now, I need to wash up.”
  1046. >They look at each other and give a nod.
  1047. >It was time to hit the showers.
  1048. >”I’ll wait outside the bathroom if you need anything, Anon.” Feather adds.
  1049. >"Me too!"
  1050. “Yeah, sounds good.”
  1051. >Gently, you take off your suit, leaving you to go bare in your boxers.
  1052. >Feather watched you for a moment, before realizing what you were doing.
  1053. >She just turns around.
  1054. >Star Dusk intently watches as if taking notes watching Discovery Channel.
  1055. >She’s quickly reprimanded by Feather though.
  1056. >”Give him some privacy!”
  1057. >You can’t help but crack a smile.
  1058. >You finally step into the bathroom, it was a bit smaller when it came to height but it would function as you needed.
  1059. >But… It was nice.
  1060. >Full-size tub, big for humans even.
  1061. >It even had a built-in Jacuzzi!
  1062. >You take off your boxers and head into the shower, cranking the valve up to a warm temperature.
  1063. >Then, some murmuring outside your door.
  1064. >”I’m telling you Star, we need to protect…”
  1065. >”...I just really…”
  1066. >It was hard to hear what was going on with the water running all over you.
  1067. >Your head turns up to face the faucet. It was one of the best feelings in a while.
  1068. >It was warm.
  1069. >Was this really happening? Are you honestly being guarded by ponies in Equestria?
  1070. >Why you?
  1071. >What about you?
  1072. “Doesn’t matter why. I’m here now, that’s all that counts.”
  1073. >You grab a lotion, something tasteful.
  1074. >Raspberries and lavender?
  1075. >Why not.
  1077. >As you finish up your shower and crank off the water, you can hear the mares still talking.
  1078. >Feather and Star, both unaware of the fact, continue their conversation.
  1079. >”Anon’s just special… I don’t know why, but he’s… Agh. I don’t know how to explain it, Star.”
  1080. >”Which is why I’ll be taking the liberty to get to know him better.”
  1081. >”Oh no, Anon’s mine.”
  1082. >You reach for a towel, but then realize they’re… really small. Pony sized.
  1083. >They hardly make for about the size of a loincloth. And you forgot to bring in your new pair of boxers.
  1084. >It’d be embarrassing to ask, but maybe they won’t mind you stepping out considering how much of their society is comfortable with nude ponies.
  1085. >Opening the door, Feather and Star were still talking.
  1086. >They kind of just look at you.
  1087. >Star kind of speaks up.
  1088. >”How was the shower sir!”
  1089. “Good, very warm.”
  1090. >Your gaze floats over to Feather.
  1091. >Hearing her words was… a change from what you would have heard at home.
  1092. >She looks back at you, deadpan.
  1093. >You give her a smile.
  1094. >”Anon?”
  1095. “Nothin’..”
  1097. >Exiting the bathroom, you step on the marble floor.
  1098. >You feel the cold touch of the floor, as the marble loses the friction between your foot and the ground.
  1099. >You begin to slip.
  1100. “Oh shit!”
  1101. >You’re headed for a crash-course with Feather.
  1102. >A magical aura surrounds you, presumably Star’s, in an attempt to slow you down with her telekinesis.
  1103. >Suddenly, Feather catches you in her arms.
  1104. >”I’ve got you Anon!”
  1105. >Your “loincloth” falls off, revealing your bare "monkey ass."
  1106. >Star looks at your rear in shock.
  1107. >She gets flustered, causing her to loosen the grip on her magic.
  1108. >You try to reestablish your footing, but your ape feet are still sliding, leaving Feather to bear a bit of your weight.
  1109. >Which causes her to fall over, and you atop of her.
  1110. >Oops.
  1111. “Oops.”
  1112. >”Jeez Anon! At least buy me dinner first!”
  1113. >Did she just...
  1114. >Well, at least she didn’t scream.
  1115. “S-sorry Feather.”
  1116. >You get off her, your passion sort of.. “free-hanging”
  1117. >Star had already turned away in bashfulness.
  1118. >Your hand is desperately trying to cover what little honor you have, and trying to help Feather up.
  1119. >Sexual indecency.
  1120. >Nice.
  1121. >After covering yourself just barely, you grab her front hoof and pull her up.
  1122. >She doesn’t seem mad or even fazed.
  1123. >”Anon, we can protect you from monsters and assassins. But please, try to protect yourself from yourself.”
  1124. >She laughs, you join in chuckling trying to make the moment maybe a little bit less embarrassing.
  1125. >Maybe one day it’ll just be a memory that you can look back and laugh at.
  1126. >”Oh and Anon.”
  1127. “Y-yeah?”
  1128. >”That stuff, the lotion? smells good, you should use it more.”
  1129. >Your face lights up like a goddamn neon sign.
  1131. “I’m going to change now.”
  1132. >Feather giggles, she heads to the bathroom.
  1133. >”I’m going to take my turn now, Anon.”
  1134. “Yeah, sure.”
  1135. >You slide your boxers on as they’re both turned away from you.
  1136. >Star rolls her eyes as she does, but at least she’s smiling now.
  1137. >The sound of the shower cranks back on from the bathroom.
  1138. >Finally, you sit and get into the covers of the bed.
  1139. >Your hand habitually reaches for the nightstand, looking for your smartphone.
  1140. >Shit, you forgot you don’t have it here in Equestria.
  1141. >Normally, watching an episode of something and dozing off was how you usually ended your night, seems you’re going to have to find other mediums.
  1142. >Like… a book or something.
  1143. >Eugh.
  1144. >Well, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.
  1145. >It might give you a chance to read about the history of Equestria.
  1146. >You let out another sigh.
  1147. >Your mind drifts off back to a minute ago when you landed atop of Feather.
  1148. >Recalling the feel of her fur, her coat. It was soft. Well-conditioned. Nothing quite like it.
  1149. >And her eyes were big, and blue.
  1150. >When’s the last time you were that close to a girl?
  1151. >”Anon.”
  1152. >The trance ends, your head craning off from your pillow to look at Star.
  1153. >”I’ll be out in the hall, if you need me.”
  1154. “Uh, Alright.”
  1155. >”If anything happens, let me know.”
  1156. “Right, thanks.”
  1157. >Your head falls back onto the pillow.
  1158. >Probably the earliest you’ve ever been to bed.
  1159. >At least it was well deserved. Long day, considering the circumstances.
  1160. >You begin to drift out of consciousness.
  1162. >As your mind begins to sail away into the summery dreams, you can hear the bedsheets ruffle.
  1163. >Something warm clambering into the bed, and pulling at the covers.
  1164. >Though interrupted, the pleasant feeling of dreams wanders back.
  1165. >Soon, sound asleep in the comfort of your bed. Relaxed.
  1167. >A warm touch caresses your face.
  1168. >Opening your eyes the sun assails your groggy state.
  1169. >You dismiss it by burying your eyes into your pillow.
  1170. >Trying to get back into the comfortable state of euphoria you found yourself in.
  1171. >The pillow was a bit stiffer than you remember, but it was still soft.
  1172. >Then the subtle tone of a floral incense floated through your nose, with a hint of fruit… Like raspberries.
  1173. >Then, something tickled your nose.
  1174. >It was like a feather.
  1175. >It was a feather.
  1176. >Your eyes flash open.
  1177. >It wasn’t your pillow, it was Feather Scarf.
  1178. >Your arms had completely enveloped her.
  1179. >You panic.
  1180. >Oh no, is she awake?
  1181. >Please tell me she hasn’t noticed.
  1182. >With care, you gently try to withdraw your hand away from her fluffy white chest.
  1183. >But, alas your retreat was caught between her arm and body, still comfortably warm.
  1184. >Oh no.
  1185. >You try again, wriggling your arm out gently, so as to not stir her slumber.
  1186. >Delicately, it slides out.
  1187. >A sigh of relief relieves you of your anxiety.
  1188. >Laying on your back you begin to try falling back asleep.
  1189. >Then, just as you close your eyes, you hear her rollover.
  1190. >And a hoof lands across your chest.
  1191. >You look over and see a softly sleeping mare.
  1192. >An immaculate maple red mane flowing across her cheeks and across her face.
  1193. >Her soft exhales flutter a few strands away.
  1194. >The way the light fringed around her.
  1195. >It was the most peaceful thing you’d ever seen.
  1196. >There was nothing purer than this moment.
  1197. >You simply close your eyes, and try to fall back asleep.
  1199. >When you wake up, the sun is a little higher than it was before.
  1200. >Maybe nine or ten?
  1201. >Spreading out your arms, you yawn.
  1202. >Wait, was Feather still in bed?
  1203. >Turning your head, the spot where Feather laid before was hunkered down by the blanket.
  1204. >A body of a pony still underneath.
  1205. “Hey Feather, it’s time to get up.”
  1206. >”..Mmmmhhmm..”
  1207. “You can’t guard me very well if you’re asleep.”
  1208. >And as you say that, Feather steps out of the bathroom, putting her helmet on.
  1209. >”Come on Anon, quit lounging around.”
  1210. “Wait- you’re not…”
  1211. >You tug and lift the blanket to find a sleeping Star Dusk.
  1212. >The poor mare stayed up the entire night up.
  1213. >Deciding to let her rest, you simply tuck the bedsheet in.
  1214. >”What’s up Anon?”
  1215. “Nothing, don’t worry.”
  1216. >Feather shrugs, following you to the bathroom.
  1217. >Watching you brush your teeth and clean your face.
  1218. >Day three, start.
  1220. >After freshening up a bit, you put on your clothes, grab your bit pouch and lead the way for breakfast.
  1221. >Feather adjusts a neck strap and follows after you.
  1222. >”So Anon, how’d you sleep?”
  1223. “... Well.”
  1224. >”Me too! And sweet Celestia that bed! So comfy!”
  1225. “Yeah, it was really soft, felt like my back was setting back into place.”
  1226. >”I know right?”
  1227. >Did she know about this morning? It didn’t seem so.
  1228. >You look at her while you walk and talk.
  1229. >She seems content, nothing off. Just smiling away.
  1230. “So, any Captain duties you have to tend to?”
  1231. >She puts a hoof to her chin.
  1232. >”Hmm, besides whooping your ass again? No, not really.”
  1233. “Hah, like that’s going to happen again.”
  1234. >”Nooo, I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen.”
  1235. >You imagine trying to strike at her, the parrys, the ripostes and a counterstrike.
  1236. >Then you think back to how you got Thunk’d on.
  1238. >Eventually, you grab some breakfast.
  1239. >Coffee and bagel.
  1240. >It’s some of the most organic stuff you’ve ever tasted.
  1241. >It puts so many labels to shame back home.
  1242. >Well, just another reason to stay in Equestria.
  1243. >Feather munches on her bagel, making quick work of it.
  1244. >You can see dandelions sticking out of it.
  1245. >”Hay Anon, wan sum?” she says, mid-bite.
  1246. >She offers you a dandelion.
  1247. >You look at it for a moment.
  1248. >Maybe… Dandelions taste different in Equestria.
  1249. >What if… you were becoming a horse?
  1250. >What if it wasn’t as bad as you thought?
  1251. >You panic.
  1252. >Your hand reaches for it… and you bring it to your mouth.
  1253. >You take a bite.
  1254. >Ew, it still tastes like shit. You spit it out.
  1255. >Feather deadpan stares at you.
  1256. >”How dare you.” she says spitefully.
  1257. “I’m not a pony, sorry.”
  1258. >”Good morning Anonymous.”
  1260. >Turning around in your seat, you see a mare rivaling your height.
  1261. >Celestia.
  1262. >When did she get across the dining hall?
  1263. >How long was she standing there?
  1264. “When did you..”
  1265. >”A princess is always vigilant.”
  1266. >Your eyes dart from side to side.
  1267. >”I hope you’re well-rested.”
  1268. “Best sleep in years.”
  1269. >”I’m pleased to hear that. Don’t forget to visit the infirmary on your way out.”
  1270. >Your shoulder. You’ve completely forgotten about it.
  1271. >You didn’t even check, or think about it while showering. Just that maybe it was a muscle you pulled while training.
  1272. “Yeah, we’ll go now. Thank you, Princess.”
  1273. >”I’ll be away today, if something urgent arises, I suggest you visit my sister.”
  1274. “Will do.”
  1275. >Come to think of it, you don’t think you’ve met Luna.
  1276. >She is awake at night, so that must mean she sleeps during the day.
  1277. >What an odd share of duties. Maybe she’s like Batman.
  1278. >Feather and you rise from the table, and trek over to the infirmary.
  1279. >A nurse sits you down, and looks over the bite mark.
  1280. >”Well, your stitches have held together. No heavy bruising. You’re much better than expected, mister Anonymous.” The pink maned nurse says, with a coat similar to Feathers.
  1281. “Thanks for the checkup.”
  1282. >”Our pleasure.”
  1283. >That takes care of that.
  1284. >Off to practice.
  1286. >You pass through the gate, and head into the courtyard, a barrel of training swords to the side.
  1287. >”Hey Anon, how about you win a round this time?”
  1288. “Oh, you bet your ass I will.”
  1289. >Feather blushes a moment, but takes out a sword for herself.
  1290. >You grip yours, and enter the sparring ring.
  1291. >Feather prepares a stance, you prepare yours.
  1292. >”Ready? Three, two, one… Go!”
  1293. >Feather lunges forward with her sword, thrusting it forward.
  1294. >You know better, and side step it rather than dodging back.
  1295. >She turns it into a downward swing.
  1296. >You prepare a parry.
  1297. >But… she feigns!?
  1298. >Her pathing changes into an upward swing!
  1299. >Aw’ shit.
  1300. >Whack.
  1301. >Dramatically, you fall backwards like that of a titan who’d been slain.
  1302. >Tiiiiiiiiiimbeeeeeeeer!
  1303. >”You okay Anon?”
  1304. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
  1305. >You lied through your teeth, but you didn’t want to end the lesson there.
  1306. >”Right, remember to be versatile Anon. Don’t forget that your attackers can feign and actually strike you lower than you think.”
  1307. “Got it, Coach.”
  1308. >She giggles, and offers you a hoof to help you up.
  1309. >You accept, and she practically pulls you up onto your feet. She was pretty strong.
  1310. >Round two. Start.
  1311. >After about twenty-eight rounds, you decide to wrap up.
  1312. >Though there were fewer rounds today, you lasted a lot longer than yesterday.
  1313. >You’ve gained some more spectators. Some of the stallions are in awe of you being able to parry a lot of her attacks.
  1314. >Apparently, only a few of the other captains have been able to beat her, with only a fifty-fifty chance that could go either way, and usually ended in ties.
  1315. >Most of the higher-ups, while more experienced, probably couldn’t keep up with her pacing due to their desk duties and age overtaking their fitness.
  1316. >Only one stallion bested her continuously, but apparently, he left the guard and became prince of the Crystal Empire.
  1317. >”Good session today, Anon! I think that’s enough for now.”
  1318. >”Woo Anon! You’ll get her eventually!”
  1319. >The words were encouraging. It’ll take a lot more practice.
  1320. >Feather leaves the ring, with you after.
  1321. >You take her sword and drop it in the barrel.
  1322. >”Lets get some lunch and do some shopping, huh Anon?”
  1323. “Yeah, if I block one more time, I feel like my arm’s going to break. You’ve got the jaw of a wrecking ball.”
  1324. >Feather bursts out laughing.
  1325. >“Can’t help it! Crushing colts like you is part of my passion!”
  1326. >A smile grows on your face.
  1327. >It was nice being around people for once.
  1328. >It’s been a long time since you’ve spent this much time away from your apartment, just talking and learning about people.
  1329. >Maybe it was just you changing.
  1331. >Feather grabs a canteen from her hip, taking a few gulps.
  1332. >After she finished, she exchanged glances with you, offering the canteen to you.
  1333. >”Gotta’ stay hydrated, drink some.”
  1334. “Thanks.”
  1335. >She nodded. You took a sip from the canteen, the water rushing into your mouth revitalizes you.
  1336. >She glances at you, her maple mane basking in the bright winter afternoon light. Eyes as blue as the sky, not to mention that angelic coat wrapping her body. In fact, her wings sort of signified her as the type.
  1337. >”Do I got mud on my face?”
  1338. >You choke a bit on the canteen, coughing up; “No, no.”
  1339. >Feather nods to the side. She leans back against a wall, as the two of you take a break.
  1340. >”So. Do you wanna head to the market, spend some of your hard-earned cash?” she cheekily said.
  1341. “Yeah, sounds good.”
  1342. >She gets up first, then offers a hoof to pull you up.
  1343. >You accept, and she effortlessly pulls you to your feet.
  1344. >It did seem she was larger than most ponies, which probably explains her strength.
  1345. >And how she kept relentlessly destroying you in swordplay.
  1346. >Feather stretched out her wings, flapping once and lifting herself off the ground.The sudden force of air brushing against you.
  1347. >You hadn’t noticed Feather really used her wings, despite that most pegasi seemed to travel through the air with little discomfort.
  1348. >The mare grounded herself after a short thrust into the air, landing tenderly.
  1349. >”Alright! Lets go!”
  1350. >She leads you through the courtyard and gatehouse, the stallions giving you brief nods.
  1352. >The market was busy. Ponies were bustling about, pegasi pushing clouds and unicorns levitating various goods and groceries, earth ponies hauling carts of bulk materials.
  1353. >It was like revisiting the renaissance period.
  1354. >Your eyes peered across the place, in a strange sense it felt kind of comfy.
  1355. >The idea of getting fresh groceries from a market after training as a routine began to appeal to you. It seemed everything here was organic too.
  1356. >The idea of buying meat made you feel sanguine though, however the only organic protein you think you’ll be getting is eggs.
  1357. >At least that was something.
  1358. >Feather and you begin to shop, merrily grabbing freshly baked gingerbread ponies, some fruits and vegetables, being treated with some form of heat magic to prevent them from withering in the cooler weather.
  1359. >You’d admit to yourself. Magic is cool.
  1360. >After exchanging some greetings with a shop clerk, you glance up from the display and towards an alleyway behind the stall.
  1361. >You swear you saw a pair of eyes just blink and move.
  1362. >Seems even Canterlot has its shady parts.
  1364. >The pair of you head to Bean’s Bagels and grab a coffee and bagel.
  1365. >This time, you cover Feather instead.
  1366. >She smiles at you “Welllll aren’t you grand, paying debts back, huh?”
  1367. “Always. I don’t like the guilt when I’m trying to fall asleep at night.”
  1368. >She nods, and says “Mhmm…”
  1369. “Plus, I like to give back to my beneficiaries.”
  1370. >Her bagel arrives. It seems to be a bit larger than the others and seems to be off of the Bean’s Premium bagels.
  1371. >”...Anon…”
  1372. “All yours, Feather.”
  1373. >”I can’t eat all of this by myself you jack-ass.”
  1374. “Sure you can, we’ll just burn it off later in training.”
  1375. >Feather rolled her eyes without a word, simply accepting the bagel and munching on it.
  1376. >”Dis’ tashe’s gud’ - Try it.” She gulped, offering you a half.
  1377. >You reluctantly agree and take the other half and begin snacking on it. There was something about it that made it taste better.
  1378. >The two of you trot down the streets.
  1379. >You pass by another alleyway, and your eyes glance towards it again.
  1380. >A pair of eyes. Again.
  1381. >This time you know you’ve seen them.
  1382. >A dark red pair of glazed eyes that were staring at you.
  1383. >But just as quickly as the last time, they disappeared.
  1384. >It seems whatever’s following you, it’s keeping its distance.
  1386. "Feather. I think somebody's been watching us."
  1387. >*Munch* - "So you've finally picked up, huh?"
  1388. "What do you mean?"
  1389. >"I know we've been getting followed. That's why we're heading back."
  1390. >It seems she wasn't a Captain for nothing, her inherent ability to pick up on eyes tracking her is like a sixth sense.
  1391. >"Anon, let's go home. No point in dragging this out. It'd lead to an ambush if we pursued on hoof."
  1392. >Feather was awfully stoic about this, this wasn't a side you'd seen of her before.
  1393. >You nodded and agreed with her assessment.
  1394. >"They'll try to get the drop on you eventually. And we'll both be ready for when that happens."
  1395. "You're rather calm about this."
  1396. >"Not my first rodeo, Anon." She cheekily smirks at you.
  1397. >You return it.
  1398. >As you approach the gate, the guards greet you.
  1399. >The gate closes behind the both of you, as evening greets the land.
  1401. >The pair of you head to the dining hall for dinner.
  1402. >Princess Celestia sat in her usual spot, chewing some salad and daisies.
  1403. >She was too focused on a letter to pay heed to you or Feather, or so you thought.
  1404. >"Good evening, Anonymous." The princess spoke, her eyes scrolling from one side to the other of her letter. Picking up every little detail there was to notice.
  1405. >Celestia levitated a teacup to her lips, taking a sip.
  1406. >"It appears our suspects have not deterred."
  1407. >You hadn't even mentioned the eyes you seen.
  1408. "You knew?"
  1409. >"I had suspicions."
  1410. "And who do you think it is?"
  1411. >"I've still not figured them out, and to guess would only jeopardize our potential responses."
  1412. >Celestia seemed to always be thinking ahead.
  1413. >Living a thousand years seems to do that to you.
  1414. >It seems incomprehensible to retain that knowledge while living the life and duties of a princess.
  1415. >Feather whispers to you.
  1416. >"Don't worry Anon. I've got you."
  1417. "And I've got yours."
  1418. >Feather smiles at you in turn.
  1419. >"Still needa' lotta' training, bub'."
  1420. "Oh, you're so going down tomorrow."
  1421. >"Try me."
  1422. >Celestia sipped on her tea, as the two bantered.

Feather Scarf & Star Dusk - Tales of Guardsmare and their Ape[...]

by TheManOfCommission