Normal Life

by Hiver

First published

What's a normal life might be relative. Especially when dating a Princess and being followed around by changelings.

Human turned Unicorn Blank Page is finally settling down in his new form and home and life is returning to normal. What a normal life is however might be relative, especially when you suddenly changed species, are living in the castle, dating a god-princess and is followed around by changelings.

Warning: Contains enough slice of life to make a entire cake of life.

Continuation can be found here: /story/332488/consequences

AN// All the thanks to people over at Spacebattles.com for helping me beta.

AN2// Many thanks to mix-up for the coverart. His user page can be found here: http://www.fimfiction.net/user/mix-up and the deviant art page can be found here:http://amalgamzaku.deviantart.com/

Chapter 1

The bed suddenly moving beneath me pulled me from my slumber followed by an expulsion of air in a loud oomph. Half a second later there were several soft thumps of something soft hitting something else repeatedly.

“Ack! Damn it 'Tia! Move your fat fiery flank!” Luna exclaimed and my pillow suddenly dissipated, my head hitting the mattress.

Forcing my eyes open, I was greeted by the sight of the two Princesses of Equestria pummeling the metaphorical feathers off each other with a pair of pillows.

I watched the for a moment, folding my ears back before stretching my neck to look at the alarm clock. Six in the evening.

Way too fucking early.

Groaning, I pulled the covers over myself and rolled over, trying to ignore the commotion.

Immortal God-Princesses or not, they were still sisters. Which meant that on the rare occasions they got the opportunity to wake each other up, they did in in the time-honored tradition of all siblings.

In other words, in the most annoying way they could possibly think of. While it was nice that they felt they could relax around me, I'd rather that Celestia would just go away.

With a sound of frustration, Luna finally managed to push her sister off her and onto the floor before curling up beneath the covers again.

Chuckling to herself, Celestia climbed back onto her hooves and whacked Luna once more with the pillow. “Wake up. The Maretonian ambassador has an audience with both of us in a hour, remember?”

Luna just groaned.

I agreed with her sentiment. This was one of the few drawbacks of having moved in with my marefriend. Whenever she was woken up for some kind of emergency, so was I. I had turned my sleeping schedule around to match hers. Not like I couldn't just as easily write during the night. It also did make it much easier to watch the sunrise.

Right now, I mostly felt like telling the Princess of the Sun to fuck off. Instead I groaned and stretched, before giving the Princess of the Sun a tired look. “Must you?”

Celestia simply smiled. “I do indeed. You know how difficult my sister is to wake up.” She poked the pile beneath the covers that was Luna. “Wake up! You need to get ready.”

Really? Because I never had a problem with it.

Luna finally stirred and poked her head out, giving her sister an annoyed look but then started to unwrap herself from the bedcovers. “...Very well.”

Celestia grinned, trotted happily out of the room and I raised my head to look after her. “What left her in such a good mood?”

Groaning, Luna stretched and spread her wings wide. “No idea.” she grumbled with a yawn before shifting to nuzzle at my ear. “Sorry.”

Shaking my head, I shifted to nuzzle back in turn. “It's fine. Occupational hazard, I suppose. And it's not like I'm the one who needs to look royal in less than a hour.”

Luna sighed and then stretched again before pulling back and jumping off the bed, folding her wings.

Not that she needed to do anything to get ready. She looked amazing as usual. Some feathers out of place but that was the only evidence of having just gotten out of bed.

Flexing her wings again, she left the room to start getting ready, a pair of maids rushing to assist as soon as she left the bedroom. I looked after her for a moment before I rolled over and pulled the covers over myself again. Just a couple more minutes...

Despite the early morning for me, sleep refused to return. Half an hour later I groaned and rolled onto my back, looking up at the canopy of the bed.

Well, crap. Might as well get up then.

Yawning, I forced my eyes back open before rolling off the bed, landing on my hooves before stretching and heading for the other room.

Fuck early mornings so hard.

The outer chamber of Luna's private rooms... or maybe I should say, our private rooms. Man that was hard to get used to. In any case, it was empty of ponies.

Yawning again, I made my way over to grab a cup of tea from the table before making my way over to the door, peeking outside. “You might as well come in.”

“How did you know I was here?” Skitter asked as she walked inside, the changeling fluttering her wings.

I shook my head at my assistant/bodyguard. “You are always there, Skitter. Get a life.”

Luna had been against it. Strongly against it, in fact. But, we had a bit of a changeling problem.

As in we had changelings and a lot of ponies who were afraid of anything different. Which meant that we needed to show them that they could be trusted or nothing would be accomplished.

The changelings needed emotion to live. It was as simple as that. No, puppies wouldn't work, not in a practical way anyway. Their emotions were too diluted to live on. Each one would need to drain something like a hundred puppies a day completely just to live.

No, they needed sophontic emotions to eat. Which in this case meant ponies.

The treaty with the changelings allowed them to travel freely across Equestria... in their real forms. Any shape they took had to show that it's really a changeling. Mostly by keeping the wings in their natural form.

For this to work, they needed to be accepted and that was really, really difficult. They didn't need to drain ponies to gather emotions. Hell, just being around in a high-emotion environment turned out to be enough that they could nibble on the 'love in the air'. Might sound silly, but it worked.

Even so, changelings hanging around at weddings and popular dating spots required them to not be outcasts in pony society.

Which in turn meant convincing ponies that they were not dangerous.

And that meant making a powerful statement by a princess. Such as allowing one to be the bodyguard of her coltfriend/consort.

Luna had not been a fan, but I talked her around to it. We needed this to work.

“Just doing my duty, my lord.” Skitter answered with a smile.

I gave her a tired look. “Stop that. What's on the agenda today?”

She tilted her head in thought. “Nothing is planned, sir. Do you plan on doing some writing?”

Didn't particularly feel like it tonight. I didn't think there was any kind of dinner or something I would have to attend, but I wanted to double check.

“Not really. Let's see what we can figure out, though.”

Chapter 2


I blinked and stopped, looking back to see a white-furred unicorn heading down the corridor towards me and I turned towards him. “Shining. Good evening.”

“Evening. You are awake early today.” He said and gave the changeling a wary look. She, on the other hand, sidled to the side to stay out of the way.

She looked similar to all the others of her species. Skitter was more or less pony-shaped and -sized, a pair of insect wings on her back and a unicorn-like horn on her head, if narrower and slightly bent upwards. Instead of a coat, she was covered with dark grey chitin that changed towards black over her back. Her legs had holes through them and her eyes was a slightly luminous blueish-green, the same colors as her mane and tail. Yes, holes in her legs. No, I had no idea why. Perhaps it had something to do with feeding on love or made shapeshifting easier, what do I know.

I couldn't exactly blame Shining Armor for not liking changelings. Worst thing was, they felt exactly what you felt about them.

Personally, I was mostly indifferent, even if I had grown to like Skitter since she was assigned to me.

I shrugged. “There was something or other Luna had to deal with. An ambassador or something, I think? Not entirely sure. I admit I was not exactly fully awake at the time.”

Shining grinned. “I know what you mean. Cadence has those at times, as well. Though I suspect not as much as Princess Celestia or Luna.”

“Lucky you.”

“Mmm. Eaten anything yet?”

I shook my head. “Just some tea. Thinking of heading down to the kitchen for a raid or something and see what I can loot.”

Sure, I could just head to the private dining room and order basically whatever I wanted, but the chefs would take like an hour to get everything just right even if I ordered toast bread.

“Ah. We could head down to the guard mess, it's about time for dinner. The chow is better than you might expect.”

I raised an eyebrow, “...Am I even allowed there?”

Shining Armor grinned, said; “Captain of the Royal Guard.” and pointed at himself with a hoof.

...Yeah, that would do it, wouldn't it...

“Besides,” He continued and poked my medallion. “This gives you access even if you were not a member of the nobility.”

He chuckled at my expression as he reminded me of that particular little tidbit. I didn't think Luna would actually go through with it.

Actually, that's not quite fair. That was all Celestia's work. Luna just absolutely refused to veto it no matter how I asked her.

“Yeah, I guess you have a point.” I said with a shrug before following along, my shadow taking up the rear.

Almost three months since the wedding and I'm almost completely used to having a guard following me around. If anything she was even better at staying out of the way unless there was something specific she needed to know or needed me to know or if I asked something.

“So what's up?”

Shining shrugged. “Oh, nothing really. Was just thinking we should hang out a bit more.”

I raised an eyebrow and grinned. “So basically, you want to compare notes on Princesses?”

He glanced at the changeling following along a couple of meters behind us and lowered his voice a bit more. “Actually... yeah.” then he gave me a curious look and asked; “Do you know anything about wings?”

My other eyebrow went up as well. “Wings?”

“Yeah, that's what I thought. You've never dated a pegasus before, right?”

I frowned at that and then shook my head. “No... you know my background.”

What did I miss?

Shining grinned. “I figured.” he said before he grimaced. “Thought I would tell you about it so you didn't have to find out in a more embarrassing way.”

I tilted my head. “Princess Cadence told you?”

He grimaced again. “Worse... My sister wrote a study on it when Cadence said something about it to to her and then gave it to me.”

...Oh. Oh, ouch. That was just... wrong...

“Wow... rough...”

Shining Armor nodded. “...Yeah, I suspect it was revenge for forgetting to tell her about dating Cadence.”

That would do it, alright. Having your sister write you an essay on what you are doing wrong when... yeah...

Fucking hell.

I'm now going to have nightmares. Thanks a lot, dude!

“...So what's this thing about wings?” I asked hesitantly. If I had to have that image in my brain, I might as well get some use out of the information.

“How to properly care about the feathers.” He explained. “It's apparently really impressive if you can help them with that stuff. Like a massage or something.”

“Oh, preening.”

“Yeah, exactly.”

Huh. I guess that would be nice to know how to help Luna with that.

I hesitated for a moment. “So... uhm...”

“I'll get you the essay.” He said before he looked away, looking uncomfortable, scratching behind his ear. “...It's a really good essay. It has diagrams. Diagrams.”

“...Thanks. I owe you.”

“Buy me a beer or something and we are even.” He said with a shrug. “Come on, let's get some grub.”

“Sounds good.” I agreed and walked along for a moment before a thought struck me. “Did Princess Cadence tell you to let me borrow it?”

“Saw right through that, did you?” he asked, looking at me in surprise.

“Yep. Still appreciate it, though. I do owe you that drink.”

Chapter 3

A powerful beam smashed into the dirt next to me, reflecting of my shield. Even angling the shield to direct the power away from me, the impact of the spell drove me to the side and I turned it into a dive to the side.

Rolling to get away, I dropped the shield and returned fire with a simple telekinetic punch. Luna didn't even move, her magic simply flicked out and dissolved it before it got within two meters of her.

As she was distracted... well... for a degree of distraction at least... I got back onto my hooves and fired of a concussive blast at the area between us, throwing up a cloud of dust to limit her vision before I dodged to the side, anticipating her to return spell-fire as I fired off another two beams. One cutting and one piercing into the cloud of dust.

The dust quickly dissipated to reveal... nothing.

I barely had time to register it before something hit me hard from behind, sending me rolling across the dirt.


I just laid there, gasping and struggling to breath. Fucking hell, I felt like I had just been struck by a eighteen wheeler. My everything hurt.

I let out a small whimper of pain.

Luna pulled her punches. Of course she did, if she didn't the first one would turn me into a bloody puddle on the floor. But she didn't pull them any more than necessary to avoid permanent damage.

Sprains and bruises didn't count.

Fucking. Ow.

I felt more than heard something moving as Luna settled down next to me. She leaned down to nuzzle at my ear as her horn started to glow faintly and I felt my pain slowly drain away as her healing spell crawled across me, doing it's work, taking away the worst pain and started healing the bruises.

“Just because you can not yet teleport does not mean your opponent can not as well.” she chided me gently, “If fighting a magic user, you need to keep it in mind, Page.”

Groaning I struggled to roll to bring my legs beneath me, wincing as as muscles in my side protested , “Not... that easy.”

Luna smiled softly and shifted to lay with her side against mine, gently spreading her wing over my back, “No. I am well aware... and it is a rare skill to be able to gather the focus to teleport in the middle of battle. In my life I have personally known less than a thousand unicorns able to do it with any reliability. But it is still something to keep in mind.”

Nodding, I allowed myself to lean against her warm side, it had started to get cool outside, especially during the nights, “I... will try.”

She gave my ear a small nip with her teeth before nuzzling, “You are improving, Page. You are not a War Mage yet, but you might be at least of the rank of Apprentice.” she said before she sighed, “If they still existed that is.”

I frowned slightly in thought, “Luna... I can't help but notice that what you are teaching me seems to be completely different from what little I learned of guard training.”

Luna smiled at that, “That is because it is, My Page.”


“What I'm teaching you is in some ways the opposite of what is taught to the Royal Guard.” Luna explained as I shifted to look up at her, “The Royal Guard is training in ways to protect ponies from threats and to contain and capture that threat.”

“And I'm not?” I asked and got tired of craning my neck to look up at her and rolled onto my back.

She grinned briefly and relaxed a bit more, looking down at me almost nose to nose, “What I am teaching you is more the arts of the old Unicorn War Mages.” she explained, “The purpose of this training is that I wish for you to be able to defend yourself, not others. Often the best way to do that is to remove the threat.”


That made a lot of sense.

“War Mage, huh?” I finally asked, looking up at her against the light of her moon. The training ground was lit up by torches in the corners, but most of it was only dimly lit.

Luna looked amused, shaking her head, “Not quite yet. As I said, at your current level of abilities you might barely rank as an apprentice. But for somebody without a cutiemark involving combat magic, you are doing quite well. You have only been training a couple months after all. I doubt you will ever be able to reach the level of a Master, very few do without a special talent for it or spending their lives perfecting it, but I do expect you to be able to at the very least be an Adept in a few years.”

“I don't feel like I'm improving.”

“Keep in mind who your opponent is.” She teased and folded her wings again, “You are doing quite well.”

More like feeling like a cats chew toy at times.

“...Speaking of which, do you have to put that much power into things?” I complained, reaching up to tap her nose with my hoof, “That last hit almost broke something.”

“It has worked to motivate you to improve so far, has it not?” Luna answered before she frowned, “But I do not wish to hurt you. I can adapt the training. This was the way I learned.”

Not like she wasn't healing the worst of the bruises when we were done. And really not wanting to get hit did motivate me to get the hell out of the way...and I trusted her to not hit me too hard.

Letting out a breath I shook my head, “No... if you think I am improving, it is clearly working.” I admitted, “I just have to get better at not being hit.”

Luna seemed relived for a moment before she relaxed against me, resting her head against my chest, “You remembered the trick with the shield.”

Putting my forelegs around her, I nodded, “I know better than trying to block one of your spells head on again. It's easier to redirect energy than trying to block it.” I said before I frowned in thought, “What was that thing you did that dissolved my spell?”

“I used my own magic to ground your spell.” She explained, “I would not advise you try it until you are more skilled. It requires quite a bit of precision and you only have one chance to get it right.”

“That was so cool though. You are so teaching me how to do that.”

That elicited a giggle from the princess and she raised her head, “When you are ready. Now though, I believe that we should get cleaned up. It's only a few hours until it is time to lower the moon.”

Nodding, I rolled onto my hooves and groaned as my side protested at the motion.


Chapter 4

I laid on the couch, my front legs crossed in front of me as I stared at the page floating before me. It was mostly empty even after several hours wracking my brain.

I didn't just want to do the same thing as I did with Star Wars, adapting something I remembered from back home. But that was finished just a few weeks ago.

This time I wanted to write something else. The problem was that I was stuck.

Reaching out with my magic, I picked up the cup of strong tea and took a sip. It was similar enough to Earl Grey that I really couldn't tell the difference. It was also triple strength with a bunch of sugar and a couple of drops of milk in.

Usually, this kind of caffeine and sugar kick get me writing like a maniac. Not today, though.

I frowned at the page before me and tilted my head in thought before I sighed and wrote down 'Star Trek?' with my quill.

I supposed that I could still go that way in an emergency. If nothing else, it would clear my head.

A sound pulled my attention from the mostly empty page and I looked to the side to see Skitter laying across one of the armchairs, looking bored out of her mind as she stared at the door.

“You don't have to be here, you know?” I said with a smile, lowering the page.

“I'm your bodyguard and assistant, My Lord.” The changeling answered and moved to sit up again. “It is my duty.”

I rolled my eyes. “Skitter, I'm in the castle. In Luna's wing. In her tower and one of her personal chambers. If something attacks me here, we have bigger problems. Go eat something or take the night off.”

The changeling did nothing but look stubborn, fluttering her wings with a buzz. “My Queen charged me with this duty.”

I sighed and nodded. “I suppose she did.”

And that was pretty much that. Queen Chrysalis might now be an Ally of Equestria, but she was not a subject of the Princesses other than following our laws. Her people were allowed to live in Equestria and were citizens, but her word was above that of the Princesses for the changelings.

Which made sense.

The changeling settled down as I picked up the page again. “Can you at least drop the 'My Lord' thing? I could have sworn I asked you that before.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed before giving her a Look. The changeling looked completely innocent but I didn't buy it. She knew exactly what I thought about that title.

Turning back, I stared at the page for a second before I balled it up and floated it over to drop in the fireplace. “Fuck this. Let's find something to do.”

The changeling buzzed her wings and jumped off the armchair. “What would you like to do, My Lord?”

I considered that for a moment. Luna was holding court. There was also some stuff out in town that I could do, but that was mostly clubs open at this time of night.

There were some drawbacks to being awake at night. My favorite tea place being closed was one of them. If I wanted to go, it would have to be during the mornings. My evenings.

Having the time to easily stay with Luna was nice, but a lot of the night she was busy with work, leaving me to do my own thing.

Maybe I should shift things... partially. Maybe stay awake from, say... noon till three or five in the morning. Give me plenty of time with Luna while still being awake during most of the day. It wasn't optimal, but better than nothing.

I had not seen Thunder Cloud for almost a month and Swift Spear I'd only met a couple of times, he worked days. Then again, Thunder was off to basic guard training. Not like I would be able to see him much even if I was awake during the day.

“Well, at this time of the night?” I finally said and jumped off the couch. “It's the Library or going to watch Night Court. Well, that or some club out in town.”

I knew which the changeling would have preferred. A lot of emotions in the air in those places. Not a lot of love, but they could eat other emotions than love. Love just gave them the most power and sustenance.

“The Library, sir?”

I shook my head. “Not today. Let's go to Night Court.”


We took the less traveled parts through the castle, allowing us to move without risking running into more than a couple of guards and cleaning staff.

Not that there a lot of people around anyway, but I didn't feel like pretending to be polite to some stuffy noble at this time if one happened to have shown up to see Luna.

Opening the small side door by the back, I peeked out. A small crowd of ponies, perhaps twenty in total had gathered. Luna was on the throne listening with interest at whatever the large stallion before her was saying.

“Take something a bit less conspicuous of a form.” I whispered to Skitter.

She nodded and green fire crawled across her form, leaving behind a white unicorn mare with changeling wings. “Will this work?”

I nodded“It'll do.” before leading the way out of the side passage into the throne room but keeping to the back.

Luna's eyes flicked in my direction when we stepped out from behind the pillar but other than that she didn't react, just returning her attention to the earth pony in front of her. He was saying something about mining rights?

As he prattled on about ore ratios and rock strata, I looked idly around the throne room before frowning slightly as something struck me. I didn't usually go here, this was only like my fourth visit to the throne room itself.

It had a flag with Luna's mark and colors right next to Celestia's above the throne, but the rest of the entire large throne room was all in Celestia's colors. White marble, pink and gold. Large pink windows.

Very little here was in Luna's colors.

That didn't seem right. This was a Diarchy. Why was the throne room still almost only symbolizing Celestia?

Actually, now when I'm thinking about it, why is there only one throne!? They were taking turns on it, yes, but there would be times they would both be here at once.

I really need to talk about this with Luna. That didn't seem fair.

Chapter 5

Luna snorted and smiled. “You are being silly.”

“Just feels like the throne room should reflect you as much as your sister.” I said with a frown as I picked a cookie from the tray. We were in one of the small antechambers next to the throne room, and Night Court ended just a couple of minutes ago. Mmm, chocolate.

Luna flexed her wings before folding them again. “And so it should. It is, however, quite a large renovating job.” she explained, “It will take several moons during which we can not use the throne room at all. But there has yet to be a good time. It is budgeted for next summer when we can hold court in the royal gardens during the time. It is much more suitable than temporarily converting one of the large halls.”


“It is sweet that you look out for me, Page, but it is not needed.” Luna sighed and shifted closer. “But, thank you.”

“It just struck me when I looked around the throne room. Didn't seem fair.”

That earned me a nuzzle at my ear before Luna turned her attention to her cup of tea. “How was your night?” she asked.

I frowned slightly at that. “...Unproductive.”

“No progress on your book?”

“No, I just scribbled some some loose ideas.” I sighed and hmm-ed. “I have been thinking about that, actually. I'm not sure I can do this whole nocturnal thing.”

Lunas ears flicked back and she nodded. “I understand.” she answered, her eyes focused on her tea.

I rolled my eyes and leaned against her side. I didn't reach her ear, so instead I gave her neck a firm nip. “Now you are being silly. I'm not talking about going back to our old schedule. It's just that when you are busy with your duties, I get bored. So I was thinking of changing my sleeping pattern a bit. Something like... being awake between noon and three to five in the morning or something like that. Give us time together in the evening and the start of the night while I can still be awake at the same time as my other friends.”


She almost smacked me when she spread her wings and I blinked. Huh. Unconscious reflex reaction to physical or emotional stimuli. In this case, 'look how pretty my feathers are'.

That didn't happen often.

I grinned and shifted back a bit to look up at her. “Liked that, did you? I need to remember that spot.”

That earned me a poke to the side as she fought down a blush, refolding her wings. “Be nice.”

“So what do you think?” I asked after a moment.

“I think it's a good idea.” She sighed. “I'm going to miss having you next to me during the day, but I do want you to have your own life, my Page.”

“I do,” I answered. “I will miss that too, but I think this is the best compromise. I love your night, Luna, but there is so much stuff I miss during the day.”

Then I rubbed my forehead with my hoof just under my horn. “Besides... It will make book signings and meetings and such less of a pain in the flank.”

Luna nodded. “I imagine it would. Sorry, I shouldn't have asked...”

I bumped my side against hers. “Stop that. It was my idea, remember.”

She sighed and frowned in thought. “Speaking of book signings, don't you have one of those for The Jedi Returns soon?”

I nodded. “Yeah, in a week or so.”

I had mixed feelings on those. On one hand it was really nice to meet ponies who liked my books. To hear their thoughts on them firsthand and not just from a couple of reviews in the papers.

On the other hand I didn't really like all that attention. That's not why I wrote. I wasn't very good with crowds either.

“Want me to come?”

I blinked and looked up at Luna before I chuckled. “Yeah, well, at least it would draw less attention to me.”

“...Perhaps that would be a bad idea.” She admitted.

“No, I would actually appreciate it.” I sighed and shifted a bit closer to her side. “However, it would probably cause quite a commotion. Might be best to... not.”

Luna nodded, moving her wing around me. “I do wish I could be there.”

“Yeah, me too. Speaking of which, though, I was thinking about that whole thing with you and your sister.”

Luna tilted her head in question. “In what way?”

“Well, she has the summer sun celebration, right? Longest day of the year? Couldn't you have something similar during the longest night?” I suggested.

Looking thoughtful, Luna nibbled at a cookie. “...Perhaps. But it's during the middle of winter and close to Hearthswarming Eve. It's not good to have holidays so close together. It's also freezing cold and... well... most ponies sleep during the night. And introducing a new holiday so soon after returning... I don't know.”

“In my experience most people, ponies or otherwise, are always looking for an excuse for a party with good friends, food and drink.” I pointed out. “And freezing winter or not, if you make the moon shine brighter and brighter stars in the sky, ponies will watch it. Add some nothern lights and... Well, call it a holiday.”

“...I'll consider it.”

Chapter 6

I smiled and put the quill to the book. “So who do I make it out to?”

“Warm Sunshine.” the yellow mare with the smiling sun cutie mark said with a smile. “I loved the book!”

“Glad you did. Hearing that always brightens my day.” I said and scribbled down 'To Warm Sunshine and may the force be with her. Blank Page' on the inside of the cover. “Here you go.”

“Thank you!” she said happily and picked up the book before heading out of the store. It was one of the larger ones in Canterlot, several times the size of the one I used to work in.

Even so, the day was drawing to a end which was rather good. My horn had started to ache a bit from all the signing. I'd lost count at five hundred. That was hours ago.

I glanced back at my bodyguard. “How are you doing there, Skitter?”

“I'm good, sir.” she answered, having taken her normal 'pony' form. White unicorn with changeling wings. Her voice was almost indecently chipper.

I think she was actually enjoying this more than anypony else. While not actually feeding off any of the ponies, she could still absorb the background radiation. As I understood it, the happiness in the air gave her a kind of caffeine rush.

All in all, I found it rather amusing. During the biggest rush, the changeling had been almost vibrating and had been completely unable to keep her wings still.

Grinning, I turned to the next pony approaching the desk and smiled in surprise. “Twilight! Hi.”

The Purple unicorn trotted over with a smile. “Hi, Page.” she said. “Lot's of ponies show up?”

I nodded. “A couple of hundred. Not a bad turnout.” I frowned in thought and continued; “Didn't I already send you a signed copy?”

Twilight smiled. “You did. But I promised a friend I would introduce her to you when she found out I knew you.”


I shrugged. “Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.” I answered.

“She is...” Twilight started to say and then looked around before she frowned as she spotted her target. “Rainbow?” she asked. “Are you coming?”

Tilting to the side to look around her, I spotted a blue pegasus mare with a rather chromatic mane. Ah, the bearer of the element of loyalty. Rainbow...Crash? Stash? Dash! Rainbow Dash!

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” the pegasus finally squeaked out and with a flap of her wings, she crossed the distance to the desk, putting her hooves on it. “You really wrote the Jedi books!?”

I pulled back slightly and nodded. “I did... I take it you liked them.”

“You're kidding, right!” Rainbow squeaked and hovered in the air. “They are great! With the laser swords and the death island and the pegasi warriors with magic and the Darth Vader when he cut the wing of and woosh, vooom.”

I tilted my head as she started doing sound effects before looking at Twilight.

Twilight smiled slightly. “Rainbow Dash gets enthusiastic about the things she likes.”

Nodding, I smiled and chuckled. So I could see. “I'm about to pack up here, I think.” I said, glancing over at the clock. “So what brings you to Canterlot?”

Twilight shrugged. “This, actually. Was going to see if I could find some books, but mostly because I promised Rainbow I'd come with and introduce her.”

I nodded, and then a thought struck me and I hid a grin by putting some papers away into my bag. “Not going to visit Princess Celestia?”

The other unicorn shook her head. “No, she is probably busy. I don't want to bother her.”

“Actually, I happen to know that Princess Celestia is not that busy today.” I explained. “Luna said that there was mostly paperwork today so I wouldn't be surprised if she would be rather happy for an excuse to take a break.”

“Oh... well, I couldn't just leave Rainbow alone...”

“Don't worry about it.” I said with a grin. “Go have fun, I'll entertain your friend, I have no doubt we will find some stuff to talk about.”

“Well... if you are sure...”

Shooing her to get going with a grin, I glanced back at my guard. “Come on, let's get something to eat.”

“Hey! Where did Twilight go?” Rainbow Dash asked, looking around as she dropped down onto the ground, folding her wings.

“She said something about visiting Princess Celestia.” I explained. “Look, I'm about to go head out and grab a sandwich or something. Wanna come? I'll sign your book later.”

“W-what, really?” she asked in surprise.

I nodded, said; “Sure, why not.” and shrugged. “You can tell me what you thought about the latest book.”


Luna, you'd better appreciate this. People liking my books is one thing. Fangirls was something completely different.

As we headed out of the book store I mentally paused. Wait, this might be seen as... you never knew if there was a journalist hidden in the bushes.

I never needed to bother with journalists before, but with Luna and me having been confirmed as a couple instead of just one of a thousand rumors flying around, they had started to pay attention. We really didn't need that kind of rumor flying around.

“Actually...” I said, slowing my step for a moment, causing the pegasus and changeling to look at me. “How about we head to the castle instead. Free food and less of a dinner rush. We can raid the kitchens or something.”

Rainbow grinned. “Really? Cool!

Chapter 7

“Daring Do is awesome! She is totally as cool as Sky Walker!”

I grinned, “I'm not saying she isn't a good character, just that she could use some more character building rather than just running around escaping from enemies and getting the artifact in the end. She is clearly brave and intelligent as well as compassionate like shown in the third book, but she is still somewhat flat as a character.” I explained before I shrugged, “Not saying she needs a long lost love interest or something cliché like that, but something that brings her out of the adventuring heroine stereotype wouldn't hurt.”

Rainbow looked annoyed as she put her sandwich down, “Like what?”

“I don't know. Maybe... a friendly rival.” I finally said, considering it, “somepony she could play off of that wasn't an enemy. Somepony that could actually get the better of her at times.”

The Pegasus seemed to consider that, “...I guess...”

Shaking my head, I lifted my sandwich in my magic and took a bite. Mmm, cheese and tomatoes.

“So what are you writing next?” Rainbow asked before taking a swig of her cider. She had been quite happy when we managed to sneak some from the kitchens.

I better watch that by the way or I might end up getting banned. The chefs had started to look mildly annoyed about it.

It just felt wrong to kick the entire kitchen into gear simply because I wanted a snack and then wait a hour for them to get it just right.

Considering her question, I shrugged again, “I'm not certain. The Jedi series is done. Perhaps something completely different. Maybe... I don't know. Have something of a writer's block at the moment.”

I actually felt like writing something involving a bit more romance. The problem was how much people would read into it. Maybe publish it under a pen name or something. Without the Internet that kind of thing actually did something.

“What does that even mean?”

I grinned at that, “Never tried writing anything, have you?”

Rainbow Dash shook her head, “No way. I'm no egghead.” before her eyes went wide, “Not that you are!”

Raising a eyebrow at that, I took a sip from my own cider, “That's where you are wrong.” I finally said with a grin, “I am a massive nerd.”


“You don't need to sound so surprised. Rainbow, I spend most of my time reading, writing or trying to think of if character A could take character B in a fight. I have notes and calculations about that kind of stuff. I'm a massive nerd.”

She looked somewhat confused, “But... awesome stories...”

“That have very little to do with being a nerd or not.” I explained, “And all to do with imagination. Anypony can think up stories, the rest is simply practice.”

“Practice?” Rainbow Dash asked, looking dubious, “What is there to practice? You just write, right?”

“That's a good place to start.” I agreed before leaning forward, “Here is a secret all authors know though: The first thing you write is going to completely suck. So is the second, third, forth... and so on and so on.”

Rainbow blinked in surprise, “What?”

“It's true. It's going to be baaaad. So, so very bad. Maybe not the story itself, but the spelling, grammar, structure... so, so absolutely horrible.” I chuckled, “You should read some of my first... actually, no you shouldn't. Your brain might melt from how stupid it was. The trick to getting better is that you get somepony to read it and be honest about it. Listen to what they say you did wrong and then try to do better the next time.”

“Huh. Like my tricks.”


She nodded with a grin, “I'm going to be a member of the Wonderbolts! I'm the best flyer in Ponyville!”

“Wonderbolts, huh? Cool, I saw a performance a while ago. They were great... if you are good enough to join that squad, it will likely be me that asks for an autograph in a while.” I said before I grinned as well, “Speaking of which, do you have your book?”

“Huh? Oh! Yeah!”

She scrambled and pulled her book from her bag so I could sign it with a 'All the luck to the future Wonderbolt Captain Rainbow Dash from Blank Page' before I handed it back as the door behind me opened.

“Page, is this where you are?”

Rainbow bowed deeply and I jumped of the couch to trot over, “Good Morning, Luna. Sleep well?” I asked as I gave her a small nuzzle.

“I did. How did the book signing go?” She asked before she smiled, “Greetings on this fine day, Rainbow Dash. There is no need for such formalities.”

“Went good. A couple of hundred turned up... I ran into Twilight and Rainbow here at the end and invited them back to the castle for some dinner.” I explained before I whispered, “I also revealed to Twilight that your sister might appreciate a excuse to avoid her paperwork today. I volunteered to entertain Rainbow.”

Luna smiled and gave my ear a nuzzle, “Sneaky.” she whispered back before walking over to steal my sandwich, “I take it you enjoyed Page's latest book, Rainbow Dash?”

Damn it, Luna! That was my dinner!

The Pegasus still looked somewhat surprised at our casual greeting but she nodded with a grin, “It was pretty damn awesome!”

Luna nodded and put my sandwich back down, but not before stealing half of my tomatoes, “Well said! I still maintain that the second book was the best in the series.”


Chapter 8

“Hey, Cloud! Wait up!” I called out as I spotted a familiar shape before making my way over as the white-furred pegasus with a blue mane so pale it was almost white stopped and looked in my direction before he grinned.

“Page! Hey, I have not seen you in ages.”

Coming to a stop, I nodded. “I could say the same. How is basic?”

He shrugged his wings. “Just as tough as Swift said.” he answered before he grinned. “You sure you are not going to join up?”

I quickly shook my head. “No way, I know my limits.” I said, thinking back of the latest training session with Luna. “I even dropped the class.”

“I did hear you found another way to spend your time.” He said with a grin. “I never thought one of those rumors would end up being true. How in Equestria did you, of all people, end up with one of the Princesses? And Princess Luna at that?”

“I'm just that awesome.”

That earned me a thwack over the back of my head with his wing. “So what are you doing out and about anyway? Break from training?” I asked with a grin.

“Yep. Weekend off. So what are you up too? Seen Swift lately?”

“This morning, actually, met him at the castle, he was on patrol. I actually don't have anything to do right now, just grabbed a cup of tea at my normal place. You?”

He shrugged his wings. “On my way from visiting my parents. Wanna do something?”

“Sure. As long as it doesn't involve drinking.”

“Why, your girlfriend have you on a short leash?”

There was no way I'd leave such an easy one hanging, “Only if she asks nicely.”

The look on his face was hilarious.

“No, just messing with you. There is some stuff I need to do later.”

More specifically, getting my arse kicked across a field during training with Luna. It was difficult enough when sober. Her pace was difficult to keep up with.

He flicked his ears and nodded. “Ah. Well, wanna grab some food anyway?”

Nodding, I trotted along. “So, what's guard training like?”

Thunder Cloud shrugged his wings. “Pretty similar to what Swift's was. Just change magic lessons for flying ones. Formations, air tactics... that kind of thing. Lots and lots of practice.”

“Huh. Yeah, that makes sense.” I said with a nod. “So... you are basically a Wonderbolt now, then?”

That got a snort from the pegasus and he shook his head with a grin. “Ha! I wish.” he answered. “You've seen them fly. I have never even gotten close to that kind of speed.” he shrugged and continued; “Besides, they are not guards.”

“I thought they were military.”

He tilted his head in thought. “Well... they are. In a way. Technically. But they are not guards. Nowadays they are mostly a show and exhibition team, though.”

“...I feel like I should have known that.” I said with a frown as we entered the 'Hayburgers all 'round'. Never actually been here before, but I heard it was a pretty okay fast food style place.

“Most ponies don't know that.” Cloud said as we got into the line. “Not even most in the guard. Not exactly the kind of thing most ponies keep track of.”

“So, how do you know it?”

He grinned at that. “My grandmother was a Wonderbolt. I wanted to be one when I was little, before I realized that I'm simply not that great of of a flyer.”

I raised an eyebrow at that. “...I've seen you fly, dude. I might not have wings, but I know good when I see it. You are really annoying to hit.”

“Practice.” Thunder Cloud said with a shrug. “Besides, I was always good at the whole air maneuver thing. It's speed I'm bad at. Don't have the stamina and my wings are a bit too large for me to ever get that fast. That does give me great low-speed maneuverability though.”

“What can I get you?” The pink earth pony mare by the counter asked with a smile.

“Uhm... burger and fries, grape juice.” I ordered and turned to Cloud. “My treat. I'm the rich one.”

That earned me a snort. “No arguments there. I'll have the same as well.”

As she moved to fill our orders, I turned back to my pegasus friend. “Wait, why does wing size matter for speed? I thought pegasus flight was mostly magic.”

He grinned at that. “It is. Most unicorns don't think about that.”

“Most unicorns are not me. I have a slightly different perspective.”

That got me a chuckle. “True, true. Anyway, yes, it's a kind of magic, but it's wings as well. Don't ask me how. Your marefriend likely know more.”

Need to remember to ask. That was a bit odd. Maybe it was an issue of aerodynamics?

No, that didn't make sense. The wings was the least of the problems with the aerodynamics of a pony.

Picking the tray up with my magic, I put the bits on the counter with a smile and a thanks to the mare before making my way over to a free table.

“Oh and I read your latest book, by the way.” Cloud said as we sat down. “It was pretty good. Liked the ending.”


“Also, I think we are being followed. Fan of yours?”

I frowned. “Huh?”

“White unicorn mare, two tables down. Changeling from the wings.”

Glancing back I smirked and turned back to him. “Oh, that's Skitter. She is my bodyguard. Luna insisted I needed one. We compromised and I have a changeling guard for public relations reasons.”

“She is cute.”

“Changeling. She can look anyway she like.”

“Still cute.” Cloud said and leaned to the side to look around me and over at her.

I rolled my eyes. “You need a marefriend.”

He snorted and returned his attention to his food. “Like I have the time right now. Maybe when I graduate. Besides, I'll probably be assigned somewhere else when I'm done with basic and need to move.”

“Ah yeah. Still not going to join the Night Guard?”

Cloud shook his head. “No, my family has always been wearing the golden armor. I see no reason to break it.”

“Well... here's to hoping you end up in Canterlot. There is a chance, right?”

He nodded. “Not too bad. The best couple in class usually do, I think I'm doing okay... I give it a 50/50 odds. But I don't want to start anything before I know.”

“Yeah, I suppose that's a good idea.”

“Introduce us?”

Sighing, I turned to look back over at Skitter to motion her over. He did just spend months away from everything female...

Chapter 9

I found Luna in the Hall of Stories.

She was just standing there, looking at the window that showed the element bearers defeating Discord. She looked... pensive.

Something was going on.

“Luna?” I asked and moved up next to her, looking up at the window. It really was remarkable work. Whoever did these was really good.

“Page. How was your day?” she asked, turning to look at me.

I sighed. “It was good, but I have a feeling that yours was not. For one thing, it's four in the afternoon and you are awake.”

“Some events are in motion.”



I simply waited for a long moment before she looked at me and I simply raised my eyebrow at her.

Luna shifted slightly, her feathers ruffling before she looked away. “...You are not letting me get away with that?”

“Nope. Are we going to war?”

“What? No!” Luna quickly exclaimed before she hesitated. “At least, I do not believe so. Not if everything goes well.”


She sighed and nodded. “You really wish to know? I thought you were not interested in this kind of things?”

“I'm not. Not really. Sure, I want to know if we are about to get invaded or something, but I don't care about politics.” I said and moved closer so my side was against hers. “I care about what's bothering you.”

Luna gave my ear a small nuzzle. “The Crystal Empire has returned.”

“...Who with the what now?”

“My sister and I once defeated a unicorn. He called himself King Sombra and had taken over the Crystal Empire using dark magic. When we defeated him using the Elements of Harmony he was banished to the ice in the far North. He had a failsafe such that when he was defeated, the Crystal Empire disappeared. Completely. The empire itself, in books, pictures, even memories. Even mine and Celestia's were affected. We can barely remember the basics of it.”

Uhm... what.

“You are telling me that this Sombra guy managed to bind an entire empire to his power. Not only the empire, but the memories of the empire and when he fell, he pulled it with him?” I asked, staring up at her. “And now it has returned?”


“...Implications unpleasant.”

Luna nodded. “As you say. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor have already been dispatched to investigate.”

I frowned at that. “Alone?”

“A small force of guards accompanied them. So far.”

So far.

They were sending more troops?

I looked up at the window she had been looking at and it hit me. “The Element Bearers.”

“Celestia is sending Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the Element Bearers there as a test for Twilight.” Luna explained softly. “They are expected to arrive in Canterlot later in a hour and will leave on the next train out.”

“Luna, Twilight is my friend.”

“As she is mine. But this is important for her development. Celestia believes so and I can not help but agree with her.”

Sending her into possible mortal danger as a test!? Who the fuck does that!? I thought Celestia was...

...No. Not a test. Celestia would not risk thousands, tens of thousands of ponies' lives for a test. Not even one for her personal student.

She clearly thought Twilight and the rest along with Princess Cadance and Shining Armor could handle the situation. But why not go herself or send Luna if there was a possibility that this King Sombra was back?

Why Twilight?

I glanced up at the window again. Element of Magic. Sombra was a pow... EEP!

Luna smiled and let go of my ear. “I can see your mind work, My Page.”

Flicking my ear, I nodded. “A lesson for Twilight. Show her dark magic in action, wielded by a powerful unicorn.”

“You see why I do not like it.”

I snorted in annoyance. “I don't either! Twilight is about as likely to fall to darkness as I am!”

“I am of a similar opinion. But it is my sister's decision.”

“Well, it's a stupid fucking decision and we should ignore it!” I exclaimed and stamped my hoof.

Luna smiled and raised her wings. “We should not. It is her call. Twilight is her student and she is right that they should be able to handle the matter.”

Taking a deep breath, I sighed and nodded. “... Okay.” I said before I frowned again. “...Should I go with them?”

Luna quickly shook her head, shifting her wing across my back. “No, Page. You know that is not why I have been teaching you.”

“I know, but if I could help...”

That earned me a quick nuzzle. “I suspect you could. But we need to trust in our friends. You do not think I wish to go as well?”

Leaning softly against her side, I nodded. “Yeah.”

“I need to confer with my sister. I'll see you a bit later?”

“Of course, love.”

Chapter 10

Crossing my forelegs, I shifted position slightly, relaxing on the couch as I flipped a page in my book. It was a adventure story about a unicorn mare exploring unknown lands with her trusty griffon companion.

Of course the two main characters were both female. That was the norm when it came to main characters, I guess that come with females being the dominant gender here as well as more numerous.

Then again, things have apparently been becoming much more equal for the last couple of thousand years, if much slower than back on earth. Things seemed pretty equal today.

So much so that I had not really noticed any real difference that could not be explained away with that there was simply three times as many mares as stallions. The only profession that I could think of that was limited to one gender was the Guard and that didn't stretch to other semi military branches such as the Wonderbolts.

Well, and Princess I suppose but that had it's own explanation.

I flipped another page. This book was actually better than Daring Doo in my mind. It was written for an adult audience while Daring Doo was rated for teens. Then again an Adult rating here meant: Contains some explicit violence and some bad language.

I was somewhat tempted to write Alien just to stretch their sensibilities if it wasn't for the fact that I would end up sleeping on the couch for a month or two for all the Nightmares it would cause.

Not worth it. So not worth it.

Snapping the book shut, I looked over at where Luna was doing her paperwork for the evening, “Anything interesting?”

Luna glanced up from the paper she was reading before she shook her head, “No, not particularly. Just the normal running of Equestria papers. Funding something there, needing an answer to that...”


“They are. Necessary though.” Luna agreed before she sighed and shifted her wings, her hoof scraping at the chair, “The worst thing? I only do half. My sister does the rest. How she handled all of it alone for a thousand years, I hope I never find out.”

“Better to be on the moon?”

Luna frowned and gave the paper pile a annoyed look, “Right now, I'm starting to think so.”

“Time for a break?” I suggested and held up one of the plates from the table with my magic, “Come to the slacker side, Luna. We have cake.”

That got a snort from the princess, “I suppose it wouldn't hurt. But my sister is the one that loves cake.” Luna said with a grin and jumped off her chair to make her way over.

“Everyone likes cake.” I countered, “In moderation.”

Even with my exercise, I really needed to keep a eye on that kind of thing. All the food in the castle was so good it would be easy to overeat.

Luna crossed the room and rounded the table, jumping onto the couch next to me, her side against mine as she put her wing across my back.

“Worried?” she asked softly after a second.

Letting out a breath, I then nodded, “...Yeah.”

“I am as well.” Luna said softly, “But we need to trust our friends to be able to handle it.”

“...You realize I thought about sneaking onto that train to help, you know?” I admitted, looking up at her.

She smiled at that, “And I admit that I had guards standing by at the station to stop you. Why didn't you?”

I snorted and shook my head, “I realized it would be stupid. At best I would have been useless, at worse I would have gotten in the way. If Sombra really is back, he would squish me like a bug.”

“You are not quite that bad.” she teased and then nuzzled at my ear, “But you are correct that if Sombra has returned, he is out of your league.”

No shit. If he could stand up to you or Celestia I would barely register.

Taking the cup of tea she offered in my magic, I took a sip with a small frown before I smiled, “Luna... I have been thinking...”

“Did it hurt much?” she teased.

I gave her a small shoulder bump, almost causing her to spill her tea as she tried to drink it, “As I was saying,” I continued, “I have been thinking. How are your transformation spells?”

Luna put her cup down with a small frown as she eyed me, “...In what way?”

“Like, can you make yourself look like somepony else?”

She raised a eyebrow, “I can.” she answered, her tone taking a slight icy hint, “Why?”

I rolled my eyes at that, “Not that, you silly mare. I want to take you out on a date. Actual date, on town. Dinner, walk in the park, maybe theater and dancing. We can't if ponies know who you are, not without a causing a huge commotion.”

“Oh.” Luna said and blushes softly, “Sorry.”

“Though of course, if you are offering, I'm sure we could have plenty fu...” I teased with a grin and then tried to not let out a manly squeak as she gave my eartip a firm nip with her teeth.

“Behave.” she snorted before she smiled and let go, “I believe I can do that. I am better with illusions and have not practiced it for a while, but we should wait until the crisis is over as well as give me time to review the relevant books on transformation magic. I would need to put an illusion over you too.”

I nodded, “Of course. If not and I'm recognized somepony is going to come to the wrong conclusion.”

“Speaking of dinner...” Luna said, “There is one at the Griffon embassy in one week. Do you wish to attend with me?”

“...Diplomatic function?”

“In a way.” Luna explained, “My sister and I are invited to join the Ambassador and his family. I know you dislike these kind of functions, but it is going to be somewhat informal.”

I still hesitated, “Do you want me there?”

“I would like your company.”

“Then of course I'm going. You need just ask.” I said with a smile before I frowned slightly, before admitting, “Although, I might need some training in what fork to use.”

Luna giggled at that, “With Griffons, I do not think you need to bother.”

Chapter 11

“I understand you had a part in stopping this so called 'Changeling Invasion?” Karal Ironbeak, the Griffon Ambassador to Equestria said as he peered at me over his beak.

He was a older Griffon with brown feathers that grayed towards the edges of his wings. He was of the Eagle/Lion combo. Apparently Griffons have more subspecies than ponies. Tons of them actually. Okay, it seemed to be less subspecies and more physical characteristics, about the equivalent of hair color, but still.

Griffons are fairly mysterious to Ponies. The Griffon Empire is small and located to the east across a narrow sea. Despite the proximity, they don't actually have a lot of contact with Equestria. Something about sea serpents. Most of the trade went the long way around up to the north, almost to the pole, moving around the sea via rail.

I was initially nervous being in a room with what counted as large predators, but I got over it quickly as they were quite friendly.

I shifted slightly and tilted my head, “Only the smallest part. I simply provided a small distraction, Ambassador.” I replied with a nod at Celestia, “Princess Celestia is the one that won the battle.”

“Ah, but your distraction was instrumental, was it not?”

The dinner was a rather informal affair. Luna, me, Princess Celestia, the Ambassador, his wife and their daughter. It wasn't even held in the large dining hall in the Embassy.

“I am certain Princess Celestia would have prevailed without my interference.” I answered, “But perhaps I made it a bit easier.”

Luna eyed me and looked like she was about to say something when she was interrupted by the Ambassador.

“Ah! Finally!” he said as a pair of Griffons entered the dining hall, carrying trays, “Our guests are starving!”

We had already finished the Appetizers and had been waiting for the main course. I admit I was somewhat curious about what we might be served.

The plate was put before me and the silver dome that covered it was removed at the same time as everyone else to reveal...

A pair of fish fillet's that looked like they had been fried over open fire. They were laying on a bed of fried greens and rice, some kind of red sauce had been drizzled over it.

My eyes widened in surprise and I couldn't suppress a happy smile. It smelled heavenly! Two years! Two years since I last had any kind of meat!

It was even something I could eat! Yes, yes, yes! I happily picked my fork up and tried a piece of the fish. At least that was something Luna taught me about Griffons. They didn't have anything silly about table manners like waiting until the highest rank started eating. Something about showing that you trusted the host not to poison you.


Heaven on a fork. Absolutely fucking fantastic. Where do they get their fish and can the castle chefs be bribed to make some? If not, I'm defecting! Wait, I'm not military. I'm moving to the Griffon Empire. Surely Luna can be convinced to move? They have a moon there too, right?

“What is this!?” Ambassador Ironbeak thundered, “Get the chef up here! Our guests were meant to be served Equestrian meals!”

I blinked and looked up to see Celestia and Luna looking at their plates. Celestia looked as composed as ever, but I knew Luna better and could see that she was somewhat disturbed by the fish.

Oh yeah...

That's why there were so hard finding fish to buy. Ponies in general were strictly vegetarian even if we could eat small amounts of meat with no problem. I wouldn't be able to have something like this every meal, but once a week would be okay.

Using my fork, I had another small piece of the delicious, delicious murder. Luna might ban kisses for a while, but this would be so, so, worth it.

And she better not ever find out I thought that.

“Oh. I'm sure it's not that big of a problem, Father.” his daughter said as she looked at me across the table. I am awful at judging ages accurately in ponies, yet alone griffons, but she seemed to be in her late teens, “Lord Page seems to enjoy it.”

That caused everyone to look at me.

...Oh great.

They all seemed surprised, even Luna, before she rolled her eyes slightly.

I finished chewing before I smiled, “I for one, enjoy fish, whenever I am able to find it. It is a rare thing for me. It's been years since I last had some. It is not the easiest commodity to find in a city such as Canterlot. The meal is expertly made, my compliments to the chef.”

I had honestly thought about going fishing myself to get my hooves on some fish before.

Luna looked somewhat... uncomfortable about the idea, but the Ambassador spread his head feathers, looking quite pleased.

“I am sure he will be pleased to hear that, Lord Page.” He said with a nod, “Even so, it is rare for a pony to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Such a mistake like this should not have happened.”

Couldn't really argue with that.

There was some commotion as Luna and Princess Celestia's meals were taken away and replaced with much more Equestrian meals. Well, basically the same but with the fish replaced with filled bell peppers.

Honestly, that looked pretty tasty as well. When the servants returned my meal was replaced as well with fresh hot plate of the same kind of fish I had just been eating.

Bloody glorious! I love griffons!


I relaxed against the pillow of the couch in the carriage, bringing us back towards the castle, Luna was on the couch across from mine. Celestia had her own ride.

She raised a eyebrow at me and I tilted my head.


“Did you have to eat the fish?”

I smiled and happily nodded, “Yes. It was delicious.”

She sighed and stuck her tongue out at the idea before she shrugged, “In any case, you nicely disarmed his ploy.”


“It is a trick almost as old as I am. Serve a dish from your culture that your opponents would find repulsive and then 'protect them' from it by sending it back, having a more suitable one served in it's place. A tiny bit of psychological warfare, however it works better with a larger audience.” Luna explained, “Likely it was a show for his daughter more than anything else, he should know by now that such things do not work on my sister and me.”

She then grinned, “And I think you might have gotten an admirer from it too.” she teased playfully.

...Huh. I just wanted some fish.

Chapter 12

I walked up the stairs towards Luna's quarters, a small stack of books from the royal archives levitating beside me.

My mood was pretty great. We just received word earlier that Twilight and her friends had defeated King Sombra and would be returning next week. Not only that, but the Crystal Empire has rejoined Equestria!

I felt like writing... and not only that, the news had inspired me! I'm going to write a spy novel, classic James Bond style! Nice clothes, fancy gadgets and always win the day and get the mare.

But to do it right, I needed to know more. Which meant research and I had to start somewhere. Flicking through the spy novel I picked up as I walked, I frowned at the writing style. Ugh, it was written in second person! I hate that. So that one might be a bust it seems. Really should have thought to do more than grabbing a few that seemed good at random. Seriously, who writes in second person?

“Evening.” I greeted the guards with a nod as I moved past them into the outer chamber, before I paused and took three steps back and one to the right to look at the unicorn guard.

He didn't move a muscle, looking as identical as they all did. Obsidian black armor with a light grey crest on the helmet. His fur was a darker grey, his eyes yellow and slit like a cats. The tail matched the crest on the helmet.

Even so, something was...


Tilting my head slightly I regarded him. He didn't move a muscle, eyes straight forward.

I smirked, “Stop by when your shift is over if you have time, Swift. We should hang out some.”

Swift Spears eyes widened slightly and he jerked his head in a small quick nod.

Grinning, I moved back inside. Let's see if that law book ends up being easier to read than that stupid novel.


I turned a page in the floating novel in front of me. Even with the strange perspective, the novel turned out to be fairly easy to slog through. I'll do the lawbook later, specifically when Luna was around and I could ask her questions about it. Honestly, this book wasn't that bad if you were able to handle the horrible viewpoint.

I looked up at a knock on the door, “Enter.”

Swift Spear carefully walked inside, glancing around, the blue unicorn looking a bit nervous, “So... how did you recognize me?” He asked as the door closed behind him with, “Because the armor is enchanted.”

Grinning, I dropped the book on the table, “You are right. I almost didn't.”

“So how did you?” He asked as he crossed the floor.

I snorted, “You looked almost exactly like any other night guard unicorn. Well, almost. You are above average height. Some other tiny stuff like the way you stood.” I explained before I smirked, “Also, I kind of doubt any of the other ones smell like Minuette.”

“I would hope not.” He chuckled before he frowned, “Wait, how do you know what Minuette smells like?”

I rolled my eyes and jumped off the couch, making my way over to the bookshelf to extract a glass bottle with a deep amber liquid in it along with a pair of small glasses, “I've spent enough time with you two to know her perfume.”

“I got her that one.”

“Well you picked the right one then.” I said with a grin, putting the glasses on the table, “So how have you been, we haven't hung out in... what? A month?”

“Month and a half or so.” Swift agreed, “Busy, you know.”

Nodding, I poured him a small drink before doing the same for myself, “Yeah, on all fronts I think. You advanced fast. A few months on the Night Guard and you already guard Princess Luna's private quarters? That's impressive.”

He grinned, “I'm just that great.” before he sipped at the amber liquid before coughing, “Horse apples! What is this stuff!?”

I shrugged and sipped the drink with a grin, “Whiskey. Technically.” I answered, tasting the sweet burn, “Just don't spill any, I think it might eat through the varnishing on the table.” I frowned in thought, “...And possibly the table. And floor. And dungeons...”

“Where did you get this stuff?” He asked, clearing his throat before he lifted the bottle with his magic to check the label, “Holy... this is older than my sister! Dude, this bottle costs a month's pay! The Princess has good taste.”

Taking another sip, I grinned, “She does. But that one is mine. I drink so seldom that when I do, I might as well spend some bits on the good stuff.”

He nodded and carefully got into one of the armchairs, looking around, “So this is the Princess's private quarters. You know, I have never actually seen it.”

“Few have.” I agreed and got back onto the couch, floating the bottle over to refill his glass, “I would have thought one of her personal guard would have though.”

Swift shook his head, “No. Barring extraordinary circumstances we are banned from entering. I'm not actually sure I should be here even now.”

“It's fine, I invited you, remember. Besides, you're off duty.” I said with a grin, “I already checked, she doesn't mind if I invite friends.”

“Ah. Okay then...” He said and took a sip from his glass, “So what have you been up to?”

“Meh... practicing some, trying to come up with something for the next book. Helping some with this entire Changeling integration thing. Granted, it's mostly being seen in public with a changeling bodyguard, but still.”

Swift shook his head, “I still find changelings a bit creepy, but some have started to enter the guard. They are usually not that bad from what I've seen. Not very good at magic or flying, but they can do both so it evens out. So what's this next book you're having trouble with?”

Snorting in annoyance, I rubbed my hoof on the couch, “I'm trying to write a spy novel. What research I've done into the subject so far has only told me that I need to do more research before I do more than the most basic story outlines. That reminds me though, I might want to pick your head on guard procedures at some point.”

He sipped his drink again and nodded, “Sure thing.”

Chapter 13

Suppressing the urge to sigh, I flipped another page in the law book. It seemed like no matter the species or world, books on law had to be written in the driest, most boring way possible.

Small text, very compressed.

Very, very, boring.

But I should at the very least glance through this thing if I am to write about something in Equestria. If nothing else to know what laws to break.

Luna shifted slightly next to me, her wing resting across my back, reading her own book. Hers, on the other hand, was an even larger and even drier book on advanced magic.

Now that things had calmed down a bit, she had started to study to brush up on her Equine to Equine transformation magic in preparation for me actually being able to take her out on a date without getting stared at.

Shifting slightly against her side, I crossed my frontlegs, flipping the page, reading in the light from her horn. It was kind of practical to carry a nightlight all the time.

Hmm, this might be interesting. Laws relevant to the royal court.

Court positions... hmmm...

I did a double take, rereading the last law before I suppressed a grin. “Say, Luna...”

“Hmm?” She asked, tearing herself away from her spell book to look at me. “What is it?”

“This law here... I might be misunderstanding this but I think this one makes it legal for the royal sisters to have a maximum of twelve consorts at a time? Each.” I asked, trying not to smirk.

Luna cleared her throat and blushed slightly. “I... Well... That law was old even when I was Banished. It was a different time back then.”

“Mmm... Say... who made this one up?” I asked her with a small grin. “I mean, during that time if the history I have read is accurate, you and your sister made all the laws. So who decided this one?”

“...It was a group effort.” she admitted.

“So I read.”

“Not like that!”

Chuckling, I turned to give her a small nuzzle. “I'm just teasing, love.” I said and grinned. “It's nice to know something, though.”

She raised an eyebrow at me. “What?”

“That I'm good enough to match eleven other ponies.”

The earnip that one earned me was well worth the blush on her cheeks. “Stop that! You are horrible sometimes!”

Grinning, I flicked my ears when she let go, shifting closer against her side, peering at her book. “How is it going?”

Luna shrugged her wings. “I'm done, I believe. It seems like I remembered things correctly.” she said and smiled before turning to me again. “Would you prefer unicorn, pegasus or earth pony?”

I considered that for a moment before I shrugged. “Honestly, I'm not sure I have a preference. But for practicality, let's say unicorn. I rather like your wings, but being able to use magic to manipulate objects instead of hooves and mouth is too practical to really give up, in my opinion.”

She nodded and pulled back, jumping off the bed to fold her wings. “Let's try this.”

“...Are you sure we should not have your sister here? In case something goes wrong?”

Luna shook her head and then closed her eyes, her horn starting to glow a bright blue. Changing position slightly, I watched as there was a bright flash, hiding her from view for a moment before it faded away to reveal a dark blue unicorn with long flowing dark, almost black mane.

She was still a bit taller than me and had the same body type, long and leggy like she was as an alicorn. It was really rare among unicorns and one that was considered very attractive.

Her cutiemark was the same, but that you could easily change with an illusion.

“So?” She asked and looked herself over. “What do you think?”

“I think you will turn heads just walking down the street.” I admitted. “And as good as you look, that might be a bit... counter productive. That's not much of a disguise.”

She smirked and headed back to the bed, jumping up to lay down next to me. “It's a work in progress, better to take this kind of thing step by step.”

I looked her over. Well, she would certainly get attention like this. “...You can turn back, right?”

Luna rolled her eyes. “Of course.” she said as her horn flashed and she was back to normal. “Returning something to it's original form is significantly easier than making it take a different one in the first place.”

“If it's all up to me, I think I prefer my Luna like this.” I admitted and shifted closer against her before blinking as I suddenly saw nothing but stars.

Ducking out of her mane, I gave her a look. “At least when that thing behaves.”

She giggled and her mane shifted to flow in the other direction while she rested her head on top of mine. “Aww, did the bad mane gobble you up?”

“I know where you are ticklish, you know.” I warned her as I leaned against her side again before sighing softly, relaxing. “I should have the illusion magic down soon, too. We should be able to do this next week if nothing comes up.”

Luna smiled happily, fluffing her wings a bit. “I am quite looking forward to it. I have been reading up on traditions relevant to it. Before my banishment, there was no 'dating' as such.

“It will be fun. I'm thinking... Dinner and then perhaps a visit to the theater followed by a walk across town back to the castle?”

“That sounds nice.”

Chapter 14

Smiling, I took a sip from the sweet wine before putting the glass back down. “You know, we really should do this again sometime. The normal place is quite nice, but I rather like this one.” I said and took in the restaurant.

It wasn't the best place in town, but I had done my research. It was pretty nice, just under the line where you needed months of wait to get a reservation. A week in advance had been more than enough.

The food had been great as well, if in rather small portions. Why was it that you paid more for less food?

Seriously, we would probably need to take a tour past the kitchen when we got back for a bit of a late night snack. Which was fun in and of itself.

“It is.” Luna agreed from across the small table. I had managed to get her to tone it down a bit. I mean, she was still model-level hot, but normal model-level attractive, not literally godlike unlike her previous attempt at looking like a unicorn.

I, on the other hand, was almost identical, just under a illusion. My coat had taken on more of a grey color and my mark was now a metal ring. I'm still not entirely sure why Luna picked that one, but she just grinned and said I would find out at a later time.

Not entirely sure what she meant with that.

Raising a hoof, I called down the waitress for the bill before turning back to Luna. “So, Miss Starfall, what would you like to do next? There is a play at the theater. I think it is a classic of some sort so we probably haven't both seen it yet. Otherwise, we could take a walk through the park.”

Luna smiled and tilted her head in thought. “Perhaps a stroll through the park would be nice. Luna's moon will be full tonight and I understand that the stars are going to be extra sparkling.”

I grinned at that. “You don't say. What a lucky coincidence.”

“It is indeed.”

“The check, Miss.” The waitress said as she deposited it on the table. “I hope that you have enjoyed your evening?”

Luna smiled. “We have indeed, thank you.” she said and the waitress moved off with a smile as Luna checked the bill.

“Starfall, if I may?” I said and reached to take it with my magic but she resisted.

“You may not. I will cover the cost of our dinner.”

The hell you are.

“It is tradition that the guy pay-”

“Everything I have read of the subject say that the mare should...”

We both blinked at each other before Luna chuckled. “Cultural difference?”

I nodded. “It seems that way.” before I raised an eyebrow. “...Take turns?”

She seemed to consider it before she nodded. “Very well. I will start.” she said and pulled a small pouch of bits from her dress.

...Not entirely sure where she hid that.

Leaving the restaurant a couple of minutes later, we started down the street and I shrugged, adjusting my suit jacket.

Actually getting dressed now was a bit strange after so long without any clothes. Felt odd. Still, it had started to get chilly, especially in the evenings so I was rather thankful for the extra protection. I couldn't wait for my coat to get thicker when winter started proper.

Fuck cold.

I glanced aside at my date as we slowly walked along the street. She looked completely unbothered by the cool wind even in her thin dress.

Even looking like a unicorn, she wasn't really one. It could be a subzero snowstorm and she wouldn't bat an eye.

“You know...” I said as we entered the dark park, glancing around that nobody was in hearing range. “I don't think I ever asked exactly what makes your mane move normally.”

Luna blinked at me and then smiled. “It is actually quite simple. Would you like to make a guess?” she asked as she slowed down to smell at a flower bed before turning back to me.

I frowned in thought and pawed at the paved path in thought. “Well... you and your sister are the only ones who have it. Not... the third one.” I answered, keeping things as generic as I could in case somepony overheard us. “So not something inherent to the special subspecies. Unless you and your sister are different from the third one?”

“We are not. Simply different aspects.” Luna clarified, watching me with a faint smile.

“Hmm.” I slowly said as I frowned in thought. “When you returned, it was different. It changed to it's current state over months.”

“It did.”

We slowly moved through the park as I mulled over that little problem. “Twilight Sparkle is magically powerful. How would she rate compared to yourself?”

Luna looked thoughtful. “Without the elements, she might equal perhaps a third of my power. But she is not yet fully grown and not yet...” she said before she frowned, "As she is currently, she is likely to end up with half the magical energy that I have when she reach her full potential.”

I nodded and made up my mind. “The effect on your mane is a power release mechanism. A safe way to burn off excess magic.”

That earned me a nuzzle in reward as she smiled. “A oversimplification, but essentially, yes. We expect Cadence will need to use the same kind of magical release during the next hundred or so years as she comes fully into her power. It is not strictly necessary, but it does make things easier in the long run.”

Feeling rather pleased about figuring it out, I nuzzled her back. “Cool. Now you just need to tell me how you almost always manage to keep it from getting in the way.”

That got an amused snort from her. “Not as difficult as you think. I simply...”

There was a rustle and an earth pony burst out of the brushes in front of us, a knife in his hoof, a scarf tied over his face and a hat pulled down over his head. He was wearing both jacket and pants, covering his mark as well.

“Give me the money!” he growled at us.

Luna and I just froze and stared at him in surprise before I blinked and grinned, charging up a shield spell so I could cast it at a moment's notice. “Seriously? You have got to be the unluckiest guy in Equestria. You really should just put that knife down.” I said and carefully shifted a bit closer to Luna, keeping him in my field of vision as I did my best to glance around.

Distraction for a bigger ambush?

“I mean it!” He threatened. “Give it to me or the mare ge...”

There was a faint and quickly growing buzzing sound before Skitter hit him from the side like a changeling-sized wrecking ball.

The next second she was joined by five other night guards who piled onto the would-be robber and I took a step back in surprise. I knew Skitter had been following us, I spotted her once earlier and I had suspected there were more guards keeping a eye on us, but I didn't think there were that many.

“...Told you.” I finally said, letting go of the magic I had been gathering.

Chapter 15

I followed Luna to our private chambers as she paused by the door to address the guard. She had returned to her old self already, and the dress she had been wearing had already been teleported... wherever she got it from in the first place.

“Has Captain Armor returned yet?”

“No, your highness.” the guard answered with a salute.

She gave him a nod. “Make sure he knows to see us when he does. It regards the general state of his city guard.” she ordered and then moved past him and inside, leaving me to bring up the rear and close the door.

“Well, that was a bit more interesting than I had planned.” I said and used my magic to remove my suit jacket. Damn, I hated those things.

Luna turned with a smile and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “You did wonderfully, my Page. You kept calm and readied a shield, exactly like you have been taught.”

Fighting down a blush, I grinned. “Seemed like the best idea. I was a bit surprised you didn't deal with the situation.”

“You had it well in hoof.” She answered with a smile and a nuzzle before she grinned as well. “Besides, it would have been rude to the guards. It is so rare that they get to protect their Princess.”

I chuckled at that and nodded. “They did seem rather enthusiastic about hauling him away. I hope he doesn't... fall down the stairs or anything.”

Luna frowned at that and looked at the door. “Our guards are more disciplined than that. Or at the very least, I would expect them to be. I will look into the issue... tomorrow.”

“Oh? Have something planned for tonight?” I teased and eyed her.

“Perhaps.” she answered with a small blush, flicking her ears. “But right now, I was thinking tea and stargazing on the balcony.”

I paused, one fronthoof lifted off the floor before I nodded. “...That does sound like a rather good end of the evening.”

“And perhaps more than stargazing.” She whispered teasingly into my ear on her way to ring the bell to get some tea brought to us as I fought down a blush. Damn it, Luna!


The cup of spicy tea hovered before me in the golden glow of my magic as I took a sip of the hot liquid. I actually had two spells going at once. One of hold it and one to keep it from cooling down.

Not that I needed it for the warmth, Luna's wing across my back helped a lot for that. The air might be chilly, but an alicorn wing was nice and warm.

“Is it just me or did you make the sky extra beautiful tonight?” I asked, looking up at the stars. “I could have sworn there are deeper blacks and sharper stars.”

Luna shifted a bit closer and her wing moved slightly. “I may have put some more work into it.” she admitted. “I wanted tonight to be... perfect.”

“Well, in my opinion it was. Good food, excellent company and I got to show how manly I was by defending my date.”

“Speaking of which...” Luna said and turned her head, her horn lighting up in its dark blue aura. Seconds later, her target flashed into reality in the air next to her in a flash of the same blue magic.

Man, I have to learn teleporting. So cool.

Also practical.

“What is it?” I asked as I eyed the simple but well crafted wooden box.

“A gift for you.” She answered with a smile as she settled it by my frontlegs. “Open it. I believe you will like it.”

It was pretty flat, maybe ten centimeters thick and forty times forty wide, made from dark, polished wood. What in the world... ah.

I smirked at her, “It's a book, isn't it.”

Luna grinned at me. “Open it.”

Reaching out with my hoof I flicked the latch open. “You know you didn't need to get me anything.”

“I know. I wanted to.”

Using my magic, I folded the lid up before blinking in surprise at the content. It was a flat metal ring sitting on the silk lining of the box. Thirty centimeters in diameter, made from what seemed to be polished steel, the inside of the ring and about halfway out covered in gold engravings.

Giving Luna a curious look, I lifted it out of the box, noticing the razor sharp outer edge. “Luna?”

“Remember how I said you've reached the level of Apprentice if you had been a War Mage?” She explained quietly. “This is the traditional gift from Master to Apprentice. A Chakram, the weapon of a Unicorn War Mage. Sometimes spells are not sufficient and you need steel.”

“It's beautiful.” I said softly, turning it over in my magic.

Luna nodded. “It's old. Enchanted to protect it from age, they are not made anymore. I ordered it pulled from the royal collection this morning.” she explained. “It once belonged to Master Spell Blade. He was a loyal friend and Protector of Equestria.”

“...Thank you, Luna.” I whispered and set it gently back in it's box. “It is a beautiful gift. I will keep it safe.”

Luna snorted in amusement. “Perish the thought! Spell Blade would have had your hide for that idea! And mine for giving it to you!”

I looked at her in surprise. “What?”

“A weapon is meant to be wielded. I will teach you how it's used and how it's cared for.” She explained.

Slowly nodding, I eyed the steel circle. “A sword would be a lot more practical as a weapon.” I finally observed.

Luna nodded. “Indeed. There is a reason as to why the guard uses spears and swords and not these. I also have to admit to preferring a sword when magic is not practical in combat. I will be able to teach you the basics, however, and it is part of the tradition I have been teaching you.”

I stared at her for a long moment before I sighed and put the Chakram back its box. “This is coming with brand new set of bruises, isn't it?”

That got a giggle from her and she nuzzled at my neck. “But I always kiss them better, don't I?”

“You know, we could always skip the bruises part...” I teased and shifted closer.

“On the balcony? Could you imagine the rumors?” She teased right back before getting up to stretch and turning to head inside.

Grabbing the box, I quickly followed with a grin.

Chapter 16


Warm. Forcing my eyes open I saw nothing but stars. Oh... heh.

Carefully moving Luna's mane out of my eyes, I slid out from beneath her wing, rolled off the bed onto my hooves, and snuck out of the sphere of silence before I stretched with a yawn.

As nice as it was to wake up like that, those feathers were damn warm and I couldn't stay like that for long. Besides, I was getting hungry.

Yawning again, I exited the bedroom, closing the door behind me before I grinned. A tray with sandwiches and a teapot were already sitting on the table in the study, the tea piping hot.

Making a mental note to something nice for the entire waiting staff for Hearthswarming, I moved up to grab a sandwich and pour myself a cup of tea before I frowned. Speaking of thanks...

Putting the sandwich back down, I moved to the door to the stairs and poked my head out, “Skitter, you might as well come in.” before I walked back inside.

As expected, the changeling had been sitting there, waiting.

The changeling in mostly unicorn form walked inside. The only thing differing her from any other white unicorns was her wings. Her usual chosen way to show what she really was.

“Did you sleep well, sir?” She asked as she entered, stopping only a couple of meters in, closing the door behind her.

I nodded, “I did. And you?”

“Well enough, sir.”


“No thank you, sir.”

Sighing I turned to her, dropping my sandwich again, “Look, Skitter. I would like to thank you for the save last night. We could likely have disabled him on our own, but even so. Thank you.”

She scraped her hoof on the floor, “I did my duty, sir. I have been tasked by the Queen herself to serve as your protector. There are significantly worse tasks to be given and it is one I enjoy far more than attacking Canterlot. No thanks are necessary.”

I frowned at her, “I think they are. What you did was dangerous and you did it to defend me... and more importantly, Princess Luna. You were not even meant to follow us that day. If I remember right, I specifically gave you yesterday off!”

She smiled slightly at that, “While you do have limited authority over me, Lord Page, you can not countermand the orders from your Princesses, nor my Queen. Both have tasked me with keeping you safe.”

Stubborn bug.

Rolling my eyes at her, I took a sip of my tea before walking up to her, “Stay still.”

“Wha...” she started to ask before I turned in the same direction as she was before pressing my side against hers, resting my head across the back of her neck as I closed my eyes and thought of waking up next to Luna.

Skitters' side seemed to turn cold and hard as I focused.

I stayed like that for almost thirty seconds before Skitter shied away and I almost stumbled, her hoof quickly supporting me before I tripped. Getting my balance back, I blinked a couple of times. Holy hell, I feel like I just had a training session with Luna!

“I'm fine.” I said as I stood up straight, “Just a bit tired again. How was that?”

Skitter looked worried, “I'm fine, sir. Do you know what you just did?”

“Fed you, I believe?”

The changeling looked annoyed and she buzzed her wings in annoyance, “You filled me up. I can't hold any more love, there is enough to bring back to the hive!”

“...That's not a good thing?”

Skitter hesitated slightly before she nodded, “Yes...”

“And if I'm not wrong, I'll be back to normal in a week?”

She sighed, “You will be completely back to normal in a day or two. By tonight you won't notice it much. You could probably feed another two changelings at a time if you were fully... drained. But you really shouldn't have done that, Lord Page. I was tasked with protecting you, not feeding from you. What I get from the background of simply being around is enough to sustain me.”

Moving back to the couch so I could lie down, I frowned at her, “But you are getting enough, right? We're not starving you or anything, are we?”

Skitter shook her head and stopped buzzing, “No, sir. Unless you gather love for the hive to feed the little ones, that is the normal way to gather enough love for sustenance. Spend time around ponies or other beings in love. Usually they give off enough in the air that you won't starve.” before she admitted, “Before all this I worked in a nightclub. There was always enough emotions in the air to live... love was rare, but there was enough of others that I didn't starve. This is better. Even enough to improve my magic some.”

“Well, this don't hurt me and it's not like I need to give you this much every time. But let me know if you are hungry and I can give you a bit of a boost.”

“But sir...”

“No arguing. You are my protector, right?”

She sighed, “Yes, sir. Which is why I'm not meant to feed from you!”

“And more love improve your powers, right? That's how Queen Chrysalis had any sort of chance against Princess Celestia?”

“...Yes, sir.”

“Then doesn't it make sense for you to have all the powers you need to keep me safe?“

She didn't seem to appreciate my logic from her expression, her faintly glowing green eyes narrowing at me before she nodded,”...Yes, sir.” she finally admitted, “Yes it does.”

“Good.” I said and sipped at my tea before adding a couple of spoonfulls of sugar, under the same logic that it helped blood donors and I felt like I needed the energy, “So, anything on the agenda today?”

“Nothing scheduled, sir.” she said, green fire crawling over her chitin in less than a second, far faster than I seen her do it before and she was back in her white unicorn disguise, “But I have been told to relay that the Princess of Food and her husband has returned. As soon as Princess Luna is awake, Captain Armor will be able to see her.”

Princess of...

I almost fell off the couch laughing.

Chapter 17

The ice cold winds hit me like a bag of bricks as I exited the store and lit up my horn, adjusting the thick scarf.

I hate winters. Especially winters in Equestria and this one was especially cold. Renewing the warming spell I stepped down the stairs and the wind proper hit me fully.

Shuddering as the cold wind cut into my fur, blasting straight through the warming spell. I hate winters!

Maybe I should get some winter clothes. I mean, almost nobody else was wearing them, but when the wind and cold was this bad, a warming spell was not good enough. Even a military grade one... not without putting a silly amount of power into it.

It was okay for them, they had their armor to help.

“Why don't you look cold!?” I asked, giving my shadow an unhappy look.

Skitter buzzed her wings, “I am cold. It's freezing, I used to work inside in a warmer climate.”

“You are not even shivering!”

She shrugged, “I don't have those reflexes. No skin. I can add it to the transformation if it would make you more comfortable, sir?”

Sighing, I shook my head, “No, I prefer we fix it instead. Let's go somewhere warm.”

“Tea, sir?”

I nodded, “Yeah. The normal place.”

“Tea would be nice right about now, sir.” my changeling bodyguard admitted, “I am not too fond of it, but drinking something hot would be good.”

“They do have other warm beverages, Skitter. I'm sure we can find something you would like.”

She nodded, “Did you find what you were looking for, sir?”

“I believe so...”

We made our way along the freezing cold street towards the normal tea place and it was not a very long walk. It was however a kind of lonely one.

At least for Canterlot, there were very few ponies around and almost everyone we could see were either guards, pegasi or both.

It must have been at least thirty below freezing with a high wind chill factor outside. Nobody that didn't need too was out and about.

“Sir? May I ask why you needed to go out to find cheese?” Skitter asked as we approached the cafe, “Didn't the castle kitchen have some?”

I nodded, “They did. Tons of cheese in fact, just not the right kind. I need one that reacts the right way to being melted.”

“...I see.” She answered, looking somewhat confused.

Changelings. While they could eat and drink, it was like.... water to them. They needed it, but didn't find it very nourishing and didn't really get any pleasure from the act.

“I need it to be nice and melty while still retaining the right taste.” I explained and pulled the door open with my magic and oh my Luna that was nice.

The smell of freshly baked pastries, buns, bread and is that cinnamon . I am in heaven.

“Lord Page.” Silver Leaf exclaimed with a smile from the counter, “What are you doing out, it's freezing! Can I get you a cup of tea?”

“Marry me.”

That got a giggle and a small blush from the pegasus, “I doubt the princess would approve.”

“Considering the circumstances, I think she wouldn't mind.”

She stuck her tongue out at me, “How about I get you that tea instead? The normal blend?”

“Yes please, Silver. Some of whatever that incredible scent is as well. Oh, and whatever it is my companion wants as well.”

“Of course!” she answered but gave Skitter a bit of a wary look.

Heading over to my normal table, I pulled a small list from my satchel to check what remained. Onions and tomatoes.

The problem was getting good quality tomatoes this time of the year. Those I might actually need to... borrow... from the royal kitchens.

They didn't store very well and that was something Ponies had more difficulty with than humans. Those were mainly a seasonal thing.

Hmm... Bell Peppers?

Yeah, some of those too if I can dig them up somewhere, they should be possible to find in the castle kitchen. Also out of season... I really should have done this during the late summer instead.

Even so, I pulled a quill from my satchel and scribbled it down on the list.

For all the advances and similarities these ponies had compared to humanity, it seemed like not a single one of them had any idea how to make a actual pizza.

The pizzas they did have were... not. Wrong kind of dough! No! Just wrong! It was more like a crispy bread with tomato and cheese on than a actual pizza!

I'm going to make Luna a real one. And then show the royal chefs how a real pizza is made, not those abominations. I might not the best chef in the world, but I could do the basics!

Skitter settled down by the table after making her order, making sure to be facing both entrances into the room, “She does not like me. Her feelings towards me taste bitter.”

“Skitter, changelings attacked Canterlot half a year ago. Give it a bit of time, they will forget and forgive.”

“I am aware. She still tastes bad.”

I shook my head, “Just be friendly, it will pass.” I said quietly, putting my list away. At least I hoped it would. Ponies in general were somewhat... xenophobic. But this was my favorite cafe and I didn't want my shadow to get uncomfortable every time I went here.

Chapter 18

The weapon flew through the air towards the targets, curving as I brought it around. The first target was sliced through cleanly, but then the steel circle slipped from my magic and hit the second straw target, glancing off the side and going flying only to be caught in a blue magic aura.

“Damn it!” I sighed, “That thing is slippery.”

Luna nodded, “It is the most difficult thing about using one.” she agreed, floating it over to me so I could grab it again.

Floating things with magic? Easy.
Doing it while only holding one part of the item instead of the entire item? Not that difficult.
Doing it at high speed over five meters away from you? Really difficult.

With precision? Ugh.

Her magic felt like pop rocks against mine as I grabbed the inside of the ring, avoiding touching the blade part. If you covered that with your magic, it didn't cut right. That's what increased the difficulty the most.

It meant you had to keep a constant outwards pressure along the inner ring. Sound easy? Sure. Right in front of you. Any unicorn with basic command of their magic could do it.

Five or more meters away while spinning and maneuvering the thing? I would be surprised if Twilight fucking Sparkle herself could do it without practice.

“I see why you prefer swords.” I sighed and span the steel circle again before sending it off towards the target, bringing it down low enough to almost skim the frozen ground and then up in a uppercut slice, cutting the target off before bringing it around for another go.

Another five seconds later it went spinning out of control in our general direction, bouncing off the ground once before Luna caught it again.

“They are easier to use. Easier with a clear handle you can surround with your magic.” she commented with a smile and put it back in the box as she settled her wing across my back, “You are improving.”

“So you say.”

Luna grinned and I folded my ears against my head before she had the opportunity to bite one of them, “You are! Remember your first attempt?”

“...I'd rather not...”

That had been kind of embarrassing. I dropped it less than a meter away and it bounced, almost hitting my leg.


I gave her a small glare, flicking my ear as she let go. She had waited until I relaxed! Sneaky minx!

Leaning in, Luna gave me a small nuzzle, “Silly Page.” she teased with a smile before she closed the box with the weapon, picking it up in her magic, “Any luck with your new book so far?”

Frowning I scratched at the frozen ground with my hoof, shaking my head, “...No.” I admitted, “Oh, I have plenty of scene drafts and ideas written down as well as a basic story outline, but... I lack in details, atmosphere. Genuine location details.”

Surprise, surprise, writing a novel about a spy in exotic locations without actually visiting those locations was difficult, even with the royal archives to references.

Luna nodded as I took over holding the weapons case, “Have you considered traveling? Seeing Equestria?”

“Yeah.” I answered with a nod, reaching for my satchel with my magic to fit the case into it, “But that will have to wait until this summer. Traveling during the winter would be much harder.” before I walked up to her, “But it would mean being away for... weeks. Months even.”

Sighing, Luna nodded, “It would.” she agreed, giving me a small nuzzle, “But I want you to live your life, Page. Even if it mean months apart.”

“I'll think about it.” I answered and then gave her a curious look, “Luna, have you thought anything more about my idea for Winter Solstice?”

Pausing with one hoof slightly lifted of the snow ground she nodded, “I have.”


“...It is a bit short on time.” Luna said then she smiled, “But I have decided to announce it in a couple of days. This will be so much fun!”


Grinning I trotted along back towards the tower, the stars sparkling far above as I renewed the warming spell on myself, “So... what kind of celebrations have you been thinking of? What does Princess Celestia think?”

“Celestia was actually the one to talk me into it when I mentioned your idea.” Luna admitted, “She was excited about it.”

“You didn't expect that?” I asked with a small frown.

Luna shrugged, “Well, I did. And I actually liked the idea as well, just... not for this year. It seemed a bit soon. But she talked me into it and I think she might be right. It will be fun.”

“Still, less than a month left. Not a lot of time to organize the entire thing.” I said before I paused, “”Wait... there won't be any kind of... ball or something, right?”

She giggled, poking my side with her wing, “There have to be official festivities. But nothing so boring.” She answered, “I'm thinking something similar to my sisters Summer sun Celebration.” before she looked thoughtful, “...But perhaps indoors most of the time. It is the middle of winter after all.”

“Well, there is such a thing as warm clothing. Besides, I can think of something nice to do with all that cold.”

Luna raised a eyebrow at me so I grinned.

“Well... a couple of warm blankets, something warm to drink and cuddle up outside to watch the stars. Sound nice?” I suggested.

Smiling sadly, she gave me a quick kiss as we entered the tower, “Yes. But... another day. During the Winter solstice I will be too busy I'm afraid.”

Well, poop.

“Well, I'll be there with you at least.”

Chapter 19

Trailing along the bookshelf, I checked the titles before I picked one from the shelf. “Dangerous Equestrian Beasts and how to avoid them.” I read from the title before quickly flipping through it.

Pictures, texts... this one will be interesting. Nodding to myself, I closed the book and continued on, floating it next to me as I looked for anything else that seemed interesting.

Five minutes or so later, I returned to the corner of the library and dropped a couple of books on the small table before sitting down on the pillow, looking at the books.

One on monsters and one on trade agreements between Maretonia and Equestria.

Hmm, which will I start with?

Heh, like it was ever an actual choice. Dropping the one on trade treaties back on the table, I started to flip through the one on monsters.

Chimeras, huh?

Those are real? I'm not sure why I'm even surprised anymore. You would think that after over two years in Equestria I would be used to this kind of thing.

Chimeras did seem like something a Bond-style villain would keep as a pet, though so I made a note on my parchment before starting to read about them.

“Good evening, Lord Page.” a soft voice said and tore me from my book as I looked up in surprise at the Princess of the Sun.

“Oh... good evening, Princess.” I answered and did a small bow before I sighed. “And I wish you wouldn't call me that.”

She smiled at that. “You earned that title. Without your actions a lot of ponies might have died.” She glanced around and moved closer, lowering her voice. “That's more than the majority of the nobility can say.”

Sighing, I nodded. “It just feels... pretentious. Lord, lord of what? I don't even have any land to be lord over.”

Celestia moved up next to me and peered at the book I was reading with a faint smirk. “That could be easily arranged.”

When will I learn to watch my damn mouth!?

“...Forget I said anything...”

“What are you reading?” the Princess asked as her horn ignited and she started to look through the books I had gathered on the table.

Shrugging, I flipped the book on dangerous equestrian beasts over so she could rear the title. “Just doing some research. Right now, I'm basically picking anything that sounds like it might be interesting and might cause some inspiration. My plan is to write a spy novel, but I quickly realized that I don't know enough about Equestria and the other countries to be able to pull it off. So... research into basically everything. But even so, I might just... not make it about Equestria or one of the other countries and just do a bunch of worldbuilding.”


I nodded. “Secret agent, beat the bad guy, get the mare, look amazing in a suit while doing it. Not realistic, but it should be a fun read. But trying to write it revealed exactly how little I know about my new world. So I'm researching the hell out of it.”

Celestia earflicked and nodded slowly. “I see.” she noted before she got up and disappeared into the stacks.

I spent a moment looking after her, debating whether to follow her or not before deciding against it and returning to my book.

It didn't take more than a couple of minutes before the Princess returned. “I believe these would interest you.” she said with a smile, putting a pair of books on the table. “One is a autobiography of Steel Heart, one of the generals during the last war with the griffins, some two hundred years ago.” she explained and continued; “It is... somewhat true, but I would take the contents with a grain of salt. The good general had a tendency to exaggerate. But even so, the major events really happened even if his own involvement might have been less than he wrote down.”

Picking it up in my magic, I nodded and turned it over to check the title. “Iron Struck.” I read before I nodded. “Thank you, Princess.”

“The second one is a travel guide.” she continued, giving the thinner but wider book a poke with her hoof. “It is reasonably factual and includes all lands around Equestria as well as all parts of Equestria itself, though being almost fifty years old some part may be out of date. However, if I were you I would skip the chapter on the zebra lands, her writings and opinions in that section were strongly colored by a bad experience she had there.”

“Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for!”

Celestia smiled and shifted her wings. “I know this library better than anypony but the librarians and possibly my student. It comes with old age and sleepless nights.”

...That made sense. How could it possibly have been to do this alone? Raise the sun and moon, every night raising the moon, looking at the image of her sister which she had been forced to banish? Every night?

As bad as it was for Luna... I think Celestia might actually have had it worse. She felt the entire passage of time, Luna didn't remember much about the time on her moon.

Celestia felt every year and lived with the guilt of what had happened.

I would have problems sleeping too.

I nodded and flicked my ears. “I see. Guess you would know where all the best books are.”

Celestia nodded and sat down across from me. “How is my sister?”

Blinking in slight surprise, I shrugged. “She is well. Excited for the Winter Solstice.”

“Mmm, I gathered the same. What do you think of it?”

Shrugging again, I smiled. “It sounds like it will be rather nice. I'll help where I can, but it's a lot of stuff that needs to be done. At times I do feel a bit in a way, but I think it's good for Luna to have a celebration that's not aimed at running away from her.”

Celestia sighed. “Nightmare Night. After... the banishment of Nightmare Moon, I went into seclusion for a few hundred years. When I returned, I found that the ponies had made a holiday of her banishment. I debated banning it, but it was already integrated into our culture.”

“I see. Two hundred years... yeah, that would be difficult to change.”

“I managed to moderate it, at the very least. The version eight hundred years ago was quite a bit... darker than the fun holiday of candy and games for children. Even so, it is not my favorite holiday.”

...Fully understandable.

Chapter 20

The seating was nice and warm as I watched the end of Luna's performance. The stars shimmered like diamonds against the black velvet sky far above, the air cool and clear.

I was in the 'noble and celebrity section' because of course there was one where they could watch sitting on comfortable seats in the warmth instead of standing out in the cold with normal ponies.

...Okay, to be fair, that was the same reason I was there. No need to stand around in the cold when I had the ability to be somewhere comfortable and warm.

The northern light was dancing to the north in shimmering bands of green, pink and blue as Lunas horn ignited with the color of silver moon light and the moon started to slide up over the horizon. Full, shining and looking larger than normal it's light spread across the square, city and country side.

Earlier when the sun was first lowered, her mane had seemed to sparkle and spread across the night sky as she brought forth the stars.

It had been beautiful.

Her performance was less bombastic than her sister's raising of the sun, but it was also gentler and in my opinion even more beautiful because of it.

As Luna's horn stopped glowing and the moon continued on its path across the heavens, the ponies gathered on the square to watch erupted into cheers and I happily joined in.

Fuck yeah, show them how it's done, Luna!

Luna calmly closed her eyes, not moving as she let the cheers wash over her before she smiled as it slowly died down.

Opening her eyes, she smiled happily. “Thank you so much, everypony! But as much as We appreciate you all coming here, We believe it is time for the real purpose of this, as all celebrations!”

As she paused, there were some uncertain sounds from the crowd before she continued with a grin.

“To feast, drink and be merry!”

I folded my ears back from the loud cheering and just grinned happily. She was getting the recognition she deserved.


“Good show. Good show indeed.” the white-coated unicorn in the rather expensive-looking suit jacket and the blue hair said next to me. He looked older and had a small mustache and a monocle of all things.

What was his name again? I could have sworn... oh yeah. Fancy Pants. I went to one of his parties before.

“So it was.” I agreed. “Perhaps I am biased, but personally I preferred it to Princess Celestia's version.”

He hmm-ed, “Perhaps. I believe both have their fine points. However, nopony can deny that the sky is indeed exquisite tonight.”

“Indeed.” I agreed, glancing up at the stars. I might even have argued that it always was. Then again, it was shinier today.

“Considering your relationship with Princess Luna, I would have expected you to have been closer to her during this holiday.” Fancy Pants commented before he lowered his voice. “No problems, I hope?”

Turning to him, I raised an eyebrow before I shook my head. “Not at all. I prefer to stay out of the way for official functions. I don't like that much attention.”

Fancy Pants chuckled softly and leaned closer. “I'm afraid you may have ended up with the wrong mare for that.”

I couldn't help but chuckle and nod. “Yeah... yeah you are probably right there.”

He was right. I couldn't avoid public functions forever, sooner or later the public would expect me to stand next to her or they would start wondering if something was wrong.

...Oh lord. I'm the president's wife. Except not married. You know what I mean.

Resisting the urge to facehoof, I got up and cracked my neck. “It's been nice talking to you, Fancy Pants, but I'm afraid I'd better get going.”

“Of course, Lord Page. I'm holding a bit of a get-together for the new year. Could I interest you in an invite? It's a charity function for injured guardsmen.”

I bet it would be full of nobles and other self-important ponies. Even so, I guess I'd better get used to this kind of thing. And it was for a good cause and not like I didn't have some money to burn.

Going to one from time to time wouldn't kill me.

“I can't speak for Princess Luna on this, she will probably be busy. But I'm sure I can attend for a while.”

Fancy Pants smiled and got up, adjusting his monocle. “It is all I can ask. I can only assume you two have something planned later that day.”

“I can neither confirm nor deny that.” I answered blandly, drawing another chuckle from him before I gave him a nod and left the warm booth, heading out into the cold.

Shivering at the slight wind, I found myself wishing I'd brought a jacket or at least a scarf as I made my way towards the stage and the tents set up behind it.

A pair of of Luna's guards were standing outside, but they quickly let me past after a quick scan to make sure I was who I claimed to be.

Inside, it was much warmer. Celestia and Luna were sitting by a table, drinking something warm as a pair of maids were fussing over something about Luna's mane. I'm not entirely sure what they were doing considering it wasn't actually hair. It just mostly worked like hair.

“Page!” Luna exclaimed and got up. “I thought you were going to find your friends?”

Smiling, I shook my head and moved up to give her a small and as discrete nuzzle as I could. “Like I wouldn't spend as much of this day with you as I could. I loved the show, by the way.”

Her return smile put her previous show to shame.

Chapter 21

Hearth's Warming Eve.

Only five days since Winter Moon celebration, as it had come to be called. Quite frankly, I had been busy trying to set things up for tonight.

...Okay, it wasn't that much to do. I'm not sure how I could top last years gift of the single copy of a personalized book so I didn't try.

Oh, I still put together some short stories in a book this year as well and had it bound, but it wasn't as thick as last year, ending up at just over a hundred pages. Another reason to why I also got her some jewelry, I didn't want to give her just a book every year.

What do you get a immortal princess?

Seriously, Luna had everything she could possibly want. It's horribly difficult to get her presents. So I just did my best.

Checking myself in the mirror quickly, I ran my hoof through my mane before shaking my head and doing it again.

The sun was low on the horizon outside, it was almost time to wake Luna up.

There, that's better.

With my short mane more or less under control, I ignited my horn and picked the tray up before slowly walking over to the bedroom door to peek inside. A midnight blue sphere was surrounding the bed, keeping all sounds out.

Perfect, Luna wasn't awake yet.

Slipping inside, I floated the tray along before closing the door behind me. Now to wake up the princess.


I happily trotted alongside Luna through the corridor. It was early morning and I was a bit tired, but I did catch up on sleep yesterday, only getting up a hour before her as I knew today, or rather tonight, would be rather long.

She had forgone her regalia for once to simply wear the silver necklace I got her. It was a rather simple but elegant silver chain with a sapphire stone. It wasn't even that big of a stone, but it was star shaped.

Luna seemed to like it.

In return she got me a old book on ice magic. I'm not entirely sure where she dug that one up, even with the relatively little language drift over the ages in Equestria compared to Earth, it took me minutes to decipher a single sentence in it. It must have been thousands of years old.

Apparently it was time I started learning some proper elemental spells.

I loved it.

The sun was already rising outside the windows as we approached Princess Celestia's private chambers.

This was the second part of Hearth's Warming. One I didn't experience last year. Luna and Celestia's own celebration.

It was the friends and family thing that they had the morning after Hearth's Warming Eve.

As we approached the white and gold doors, the pair of guards standing outside quickly saluted, pulling the doors open for us and I followed Luna inside before looking around curiously.

This was actually the first time I seen Princess Celestia's private chambers. It was pretty much the direct opposite of Luna's.

Luna's was in a tower and favored dark woods and nice blue and silver accents. This was on the ground levels, opening up into a garden outside and contained actually very little in the way of furniture.

A single bookshelf, a table and a bunch of pillows was all that was in the room, a couple of paintings on the wall. Other than that it was very minimalist.

Not even a desk to work on, though likely Princess Celestia had that at some other place in the castle.

But that was not quite what surprised me.

No, what stood out was the occupants. Princess Celestia I had expected. She was laying on her stomach on one of the large light blue pillows, her frontlegs crossed, a book floating in front of her.

What was unexpected was the slightly drowsy looking purple unicorn next to her. Twilight had her legs folded in beneath her as she read the book with her...

Were they still teacher and student or had things progressed?

“Luna. Page.” Celestia said with a smile as she looked up from her book, “Welcome, you are a bit early.”

Luna smiled and made her way over, giving her sister a quick nuzzle, “Not for us. Greetings, Twilight Sparkle.”

“Hi Princess Luna. Blank Page.” Twilight said and gave Luna a small quick bow.

I bowed slightly as well in greeting to Celestia before I smiled, “Good morning. I didn't expect to find you here.”

“I invited Twilight to spend Hearth's Warming in the castle.” Celestia explained with a smile, glancing down at the unicorn next to her, “I wanted to give her a opportunity to visit her parents and see her brother over the holidays.”

I shared a quick look with Luna.

Mhmm. I'm sure that was the reason.

Twilight nodded with a smile of her own, “It's been years since I did this. Not that I don't like spending it with my friends, but this is very nostalgic.”

Chapter 22

“Hiyah!” the pegaus cried and lashed out with his wooden spear, his earth pony opponent parrying with his wooden sword, knocking it to the side before moving in, countering the attack with one of his own.

“They are good.” I commented, putting a hoof on the low railing on the balcony overlooking the guard's training courtyards. It was one of the bigger outer courtyards of the castle, just inside the outermost wall.

Shining Armor shook his head. “Barely acceptable.” he said, disagreeing. “See Rolling Thunder's stance? It's too high and his wings are too far back for proper balance.”

I frowned slightly at that before I shrugged as the pegasus flapped his wings once, driving himself back out of the way of a sword swipe. “I guess I have to bow to your superior knowledge there. My knowledge about pegasus martial arts and stances is limited to being beaten over the head with a stick by one.”

That got a chuckle from the other unicorn. “I have seen pegasus recruits in the middle of training with less knowledge than that, so it's not too bad. What do you think of Silent Leaf?”

Tilting my head, I watched the earth pony swing his sword as he ducked under a spear strike, barely avoiding it and knocking it out of the way.

“I think that we unicorns have it easy.” I finally commented. “Our ability to hold a weapon without using up a hoof or our mouth is a great advantage. It also gives us longer range, even discounting our ability to use other spells and shields.”

Shining Armor nodded slowly. “We all have advantages and disadvantages. How long can you keep fighting?”

Shifting position from having my hoof on the railing, I put it back on the floor of the balcony before I answered. “Half an hour maybe, without breaks. Depends on if I have to keep casting and shielding or if I'm holding a sword. Maybe a bit longer if I really push it or can pace myself.”

That earned me a surprised look. “That's pretty good for somepony not in the guard. You really should have signed up. Anyway, an earth pony like Silent Leaf there? He could keep that kind of exercise up all day, have a meal, sleep a couple of hours and then do it all over again. A pegasus might not have that kind of stamina, but they can keep going a lot longer than any unicorn I know other than possibly my sister. They are also faster and unless you can teleport, they have a significant mobility advantage.”

...All very good points.

Unicorns might be able to do flashy stuff, but he had a very good point. There was a lot of stuff that we simply couldn't do.

There was a reason that before unification, the other two tribes were not defeated by the unicorns despite magic being so versatile.

“If a Unicorn went up against a trained earth pony, unless you can finish it quickly, your best bet would be to run away.”

Shining nodded. “Unless you want him to grind you down, yeah. Because he will. And you'd better be able to hide as well or set up a ambush because he will be faster than you in the long term and will be able to run for a lot longer than you can. Unless you can pull off a long-range teleport, that is.”

I bet it's even worse against a pegasus. I mean, I do usually manage to match Thunder Cloud, but that was before he went off to basic training and even when I did manage to win, it was always a close thing.

Bloody hell, even with the training from Luna, I bet he would stomp me into the ground now. Tire me out and then simply smack me down.

“...Does it even help to do physical training?”

Shining smirked. “Oh yeah. There is a reason we demand unicorns and pegasi both to keep up with earth ponies during training. The faster and stronger you are, the easier things get in general. Doesn't affect magical ability much, but it certainly doesn't hurt.”

“...That's it, I'm taking up jogging.” I grumbled, watching the earth pony, Silent Leaf, finally managing to get in a smack on the pegasus wing, slowing him down enough to tackle and pin him down.

That was probably a good idea in any case. I hadn't noticed if I'd put on some weight, but with the castle food being as good as it was, it was bound to happen. Staying fit was never a bad thing.

“Never a bad idea.” he agreed with a nod. “Come on, the Pathfinder should be open by now.”

Nodding, I followed along from the spot overlooking the training yard as we made out way out of the castle towards one of the taverns closest to the castle, one frequently visited by guardponies.

It was run by a retired one as well, an earth pony with a short white beard. Trail Blazer. Old or not, he still looked like he could snap somepony in half.

I actually liked the place. I wasn't much for drinking, but I liked the atmosphere in here. There was a big fireplace roaring in the middle of the room which was a nice change from outside and it smelled like bread, cider and smoke.

Talking and laughter was all around.

“Ah, I'm going to miss this place. “ Shining Armor said as the door closed behind us, closing out the cold of winter.

Unwrapping my scarf, I took in the scent of the place. Oh, the stew smelled like it just finished. Awesome timing.

It was the normal evening crowd seemed like they were here. The place was about half full, the majority seemed to be off duty guardponies. Most of the rest were mares.

“When do you head out?” I asked as we made our way to the bar.

Shining sighed. “We head to the Crystal Empire three days after the new year.”

“Hey, think of it like this. You get your entire new guard regiment.” I said as I picked up the mug of hot cider, taking a sip.

Oh fuck yeah, this is perfect on a cold day like today.

It didn't seem to cheer him up, however. “I would be the highest ranking officer in the Crystal Kingdom. A lot of my duties would likely be paperwork... I'll be lucky if I can keep on top of my own training, yet alone the troops. That will be the task of the sergeants.”

“So delegate? You will be the boss, right? Put the routine paperwork on your subordinates.”

“There is only so much that can be delegated. Especially at first, I'll need to get a handle of the situation and my new command first.” Shining sighed, reaching for his own cider. “I can delegate more later, but the first six months will be bad.”

So, so glad I didn't join the guard.

Chapter 23

“What is that?” Luna asked, looking up from her paperwork after putting her signature on it.

“Hmm?” I asked, looking up from the scene draft that included the still unnamed main character riding a cart down a hill and off a pier down into the cabins of a passing ship.

“That thing.” Luna explained and pointed her hoof at the golden watch I had been playing with, tossing it towards the wall and catching it again before it hit.

Shrugging, I floated it over to her across the room before returning to my writing. “Golden pocket watch. Got it at Fancy Pants' new years party. It was a gift from Lord... what's-his-face. I think he was trying to bribe me or curry favor or something. Considering I didn't bother remembering his name, I don't think it worked too well.” I answered and put the page to the side, starting on the next one.

Luna turned it over in her magic with a small frown. “And you still took it?”

I grinned faintly. “Hey, free stuff. I don't even know what he wanted, he just kept drifting from subject to subject in a single long unbroken sentence. Besides, what exactly did he expect me to be able to do about... anything. If ponies like to give me stuff, who am I to complain? It's only a bribe if I do something for it.”

That got a small snort from her as she dropped it back on the table next to me. “That sounds like Lord Bubble Water. Unicorn, light blue coat, pink hair?”

Tilting my head, I nodded. “That rings a bell. I think.”

“It was probably about the exception to import taxes on iron he is trying to get passed that I keep blocking.” she said and picked up to read another paper, flipping through it.

I frowned at that, dipping my quill in the ink. “...And what exactly did he think he would accomplish by giving me a watch?”

“Likely to talk me into it.”

“Yeah, good luck with that. No tax on imported iron? Is he nuts?”

Luna shrugged her wings and then shook her head and made a big X over the most recent proposal. “Banning almonds? What?” before she looked over at me again. “It's cheaper to import the iron from the minotaurs than to mine it in Equestria, the taxes make local iron more competitive. We can't afford to lose all our internal iron mines which would happen if we didn't.”

I raised an eyebrow at that and then nodded. “That makes sense. What's this about almonds by the way?”

Luna floated the papers over to me. “A proposal from the Equestian Horticulture Association to ban the farming of almonds in parts of the country.”

Flipping through it, I nodded slowly. “...Actually, that's not an awful idea.”

That earned me a surprised look. “Really? Why?”

Floating the papers back to her I shrugged. “If I remember right, almond trees use a ton of water for how much they produce. At least it was like that on Earth. It might cause trouble if they are grown in large numbers in some of the drier parts of the country.”

Luna looked thoughtful at the proposal. “Surely they would realize that and not grow them there.”

“If the price of almonds went up enough?”

“Hmm.” she said before she slowly nodded and picked up her quill to start to write down a message. “I'll have them research the effect of growing almonds in dry climates.”

Nodding, I pulled over a book on different types of ships. I needed something big, fast and able to carry both passengers and cargo.


“Yeah, better have that checked. No idea if that's true here or if I'm even remembering it right.” I said and flipped through the book.

Cargo cog? No, too small.

Movement next to me pulled my attention from the book to notice Luna jumping onto the couch next to me, peering into the book from over my shoulder.

“Done?” I asked and shifted to give her a bit more room as she laid down.

“Mmm... mostly.” Luna answered and flicked her ears. “Need to do something other than paperwork for a while. What are you reading?”

“Ships.” I said and floated the book so she could see it more easily. “I'm trying to find a good ship type for my character to jump a wagon onto.”

Luna blinked and stretched her wings. “I... see?” she said, sounding slightly confused. “I'm sure that makes sense in context.”

I grinned and then shook my head. “Not really quite yet, no. But it's a good scene and I want to see if I can work it in when I get to actually writing on this book and I don't want to forget it.”

That got a nod. “Ah.”

Putting the book back on the table, I stretched with a yawn. “What time is it?”

“Getting close to two.” Luna answered with a smile without looking at any kind of clock.

One of the pros of controlling a stellar body I guess. I couldn't quite help from smirking at myself at that thought. In more than one way, I guess.

“No wonder I'm getting hungry.”

Two at night was about my dinner time. Luna's was in another three hours, around the time I went to bed.

“I'll think I'll have a snack as well.” Luna agreed and jumped of the couch to stretch as I followed her, cracking my neck.

As we exited the private chambers, I frowned slightly. “Night Court today.”

Luna nodded. “In an hour.”

“How many showed up last time?”

“Thirty four.” she said with a smile. “The number of ponies attending is increasing.”

I hmm-ed at that. “I think this might be a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. I have seen your sister hold court. From start to finish she is forced to listen to requests and petitions and proposals for hours. At least you can usually end it early.”

“Our ponies deserve all the attention We can give them, Page.” Luna disagreed with a small frown. “They turn up because they need help with something or because they feel that something requires Our attention and lower offices are insufficient or too slow. They will not be turned away because I feel lazy, no matter how boring it can be.”


Chapter 24

"Excuse me? I need that book.”

Looking up in surprise, I spotted a light yellow unicorn with a strange mane color and style. It was pink and purple. Most of it was left free, but the bangs that could get in her eyes was held together by a hair band, pointing straight up at the top of her head like a second horn. Even more unusually, she was wearing a polo neck shirt and a pair of thick rimmed glasses.

Ponies rarely wore clothes other than for specific work or formal occasions.

This was one of the reasons to why I preferred the royal archives. Much less traffic by ponies and students in general.

Sadly, their collection had some holes in it. For one thing, their collection of fiction was rather limited.

This wasn't fiction however, I got stuck reading a book about dragons. I'm sure this was somewhere in the royal library as well, but I had not run into it yes.

“Sorry, I'll be done with it in a couple of hours.”

She sighed, looking somewhat annoyed, “Fine.” before she blinked and put her hooves on the table, leaning closer, “...Is that a herald medallion? One with Princess Luna's mark nonetheless.”

Blinking in surprise I then looked down at it before looking up at her again, “...Yes?”

“Where in Equestria did you find one!? They are impossible to locate!” She exclaimed quietly, "Never mind! You can't wear it, it's illegal.”


“I'm pretty sure it's legal for me.” I slowly said, “There is pretty much no way to say this without sounding like a egomaniac, but... don't you know who I am?”

That got a bit of a unsure look from her before she shook her head, “...No.”

That's actually pretty nice.

I was not overly excited about the entire fame thing. It was getting increasingly rare to find somepony in canterlot that didn't at least recognize my name. What was annoying about it was that it was less about my books and more about my relationship with Luna.

If I had to be famous, I wanted it to be because what I was doing instead of whom. But I suppose that kind of thing came with being Luna's consort.

“I'm Blank Page.” I said offering my hoof for a shake, “Don't worry, I got the medallion directly from Princess Luna. I can wear it legally.”

“Moondancer.” She answered, shaking my hood, “Oh... did it have something to do with the entire changeling thing?”

“Let's go with that.” I happily agreed.

The unicorn sighed and shook her head, “Sorry, I'm not overly up to date. I prefer to focus on my studies.”

I nodded. I could perfectly understand that. Back on Earth I couldn't have cared less what celebrity got together with which celebrity either. Hell, I likely wouldn't have known half their names.

“What are you studying?”

She settled down across the table from me and shrugged, “Pretty much everything. Pottery, calligraphy, sociology. Math. Magic.”

I grinned at that, “I'm doing the same at this point. Right now, dragons. A couple of days ago it was ship construction.”

“Oh! Have you written any thesis I might have read? I don't recognize your name.”

Shaking my head I shrugged, “No, sorry. This is mostly just some personal study. Collecting information to write a book.”

“What kind of book?”

“It's a...”


I folded my ears back and waved sorry to the librarian before leaning closer to Moondancer, lowering my voice further, “I'm going to write a novel and realized I knew way to little about the subject matter. I was going to look at similar novels, but I got stuck on a book on dragons. I'm sure I can work a dragon in there somewhere.”

She looked surprised at that, “A novel? Have you written anything before?” she asked, sounding somewhat dubious.

“The Jedi series.”

“Never heard of it.” Moondancer answered before she adjusted her glasses, “But then again, I don't read much modern fiction.”

I smirked at that, “A lot of it is of dubious quality.” I agreed, “But even you have to admit that it's nice to settle down with a cup of hot tea and a lowbrow adventure book like Daring Doo once in a while.”

Moondancer frowned at me, “Daring Doo?”

Resisting the urge to facehoof, I sighed softly, “Never mind. What do you need the book for?”

“I'm looking into the subject of dragon migrations.” she explained quietly, “And the different paths taken. One happened not too long ago but took a unusual path. I'm looking into if it's because the pony population redistribution since the last one.”

Huh. That actually did sound interesting. And possibly problematic if it really was true for the future. Because if ponies disturbed that kind of thing too much, it sounded like there might be problems with armored, hundred meter or longer firebreathing lithovores.

That ranked higher than my idle curiosity.

“I think I saw a piece in here on migrations.” I said and floated the book over to her, “Chapter nine I think. You can take the book, I have written the title down already, I'm sure there is a copy in the royal archives anyway.”

“Tha...you have access to the royal archives!?”

Chapter 25

“There. Royal Archives.” I said as we entered through the doors. The royal archives were large and covered several floors.

Inside was contained a copy of every important book ever printed in Equestria. The rarer and older ones were, of course, locked up or kept down in the vaults alongside the dangerous ones.

Not even the medallion could give me access to those.

“I've seen this before. There was a school trip once when I was a little filly.” Moondancer said and looked around. “I have tried to get access, but... it was never approved.”

I nodded. “They do try to keep traffic here to a minimum. Let's see what we can find on dragons, shall we? Because if you really are on to something there, it might be important.”


Turning I looked over at the elderly librarian, a earth pony mare that looked as old as Princess Celestia was, her mane tied up in a bun on top of her head, her coat a simple white.

“Can I help you, Lord Page?” she asked, giving Moondancer a suspicious look.

“Ah, yes, thank you Faded Ink. If you could point us in the right direction, that would be fantastic. We seek information about dragons, specifically their migration patterns.”

Faded Ink frowned slight before she slowly nodded. “Shelf 34C, Book 12. Draco Animas Investigari by Flutter Cloud. That might hold what you seek.”

“Thank you.” I said with a nod before looking back at Moondancer. “Come on, let's see what we can find.”

“...Lord?” she asked, looking slightly confused.

Son of a bitch.


“Seems like I was wrong.” Moondancer finally said, reviewing her notes. “The migration paths have been more or less unchanged for the last five hundred years, regardless of the continued spread of pony civilization.”

Sighing, I nodded and carefully closed the old book. “Lucky for us. If the dragons really became disturbed by that kind of thing, it could have gone badly for a lot of ponies.”

She nodded in agreement. “Yes. Thanks for getting me access, if not, I might have been stuck using the books in the public libraries and never even gotten far enough to find out.”

“It was a good idea. You would probably have gotten access through proper channels, it would just taken a while. It wasn't that urgent.” I countered before I stood up and cracked my neck. “Not like dragon migrations happen every day.”

Hours of research really does take it out of you a bit.

“More than a hundred hears between them.” Moondancer said and adjusted her glasses, picking the books up in her magic before returning to the stacks to reshelf them.

Looking around, I checked the clock on the wall above the door.


It was later than I thought, we had been at it for over five hours. Time to wake up Luna soon.

The door of the archives opened and the last pony I expected walked inside.

Or maybe I should say changeling.

Rounding the reading table I approached to give her a bow. “Queen Chrysalis.”

“Lord Page.” the changeling queen answered smoothly. “I did not expect to see you here.”

Rising from the bow, I looked up at her. “Doing some research, your highness.” I explained. “Dragon migrations.”

She raised an eye ridge. “I see.”

The wound I dealt her during the fight was completely gone now. It had taken three moltings to get completely rid of it, but you could no longer see where my spell struck her.

Queen Chrysalis' relationship to me was a bit odd. She didn't seem to blame me for my part in her defeat. I think it was the changeling viewpoint. I was part of Celestia's 'swarm' and as such any actions I took in a conflict were Celestia's, not mine.

So she didn't bear me any ill will.

But she also didn't treat me as quite as 'you are air' as she did other ponies. Not as an equal, she didn't even really treat the Princesses in that way.

No, she almost seemed... slightly wary around me. I was not entirely sure why, it might be because of what she knew about my past. Not entirely sure why that applied because even as a human she was powerful enough to have been able to crush me like... well, a bug.

“Can I help you find something, your highness?” I asked, one front hoof raised slightly off the floor. “I might not be a librarian, but I have spent enough time in the archives to know the general area for most things.”

Chrysalis regarded me for a moment before she nodded. “Maps and geography.”

“One story up, west corner.”

That was one part I knew well, I had spent hours poring over the damn things for my book research.

Sparing me a nod, she moved into the stacks without a word.

Moments later, Moondancer exited from a completely different reaction, looking in the direction the changeling queen had disappeared. “...Was that...” she whispered as she got close.

I nodded. “Queen Chrysalis. She was looking for some maps.”

“...Nothing about that seemed strange to you?”

“No, why should it? I see her around the castle from time to time. It's pretty normal.”

“...You have some very strange ideas about what's normal.”

She might have a point there.

Shrugging, I headed towards the door. “Maybe. Anyway, I need to go, I'm almost late to meet my marefriend for tea.” I said before I paused and looked back at her. “Wanna come? It is getting a bit late. Might be time to get something to eat anyway.”

Might as well get it over with.

Moondancer hesitated for several long seconds before her stomach broke the silence with a rumble, causing her to shy back slightly and then nod. “...I guess.” she said and followed me. “Does your marefriend work in the castle?”

“...You could say that.”

Chapter 26

“No way! Amethyst Cloud's theorem about magical transference invalidates that point.” Moondancer insisted.

Luna sipped on her tea covered sugar with a smile, “Only if you do not use a ruby.”

The other unicorn paused at that, a cookie half lifted to her mouth as she frowned, “...Of course. They have the right kind of resistance.”

I wasn't even completely sure what they were talking about anymore. Something about enchanting equipment. My skill with magic was nowhere close to there when it came to theoretical equipment.

I might have given Moondancer quite a surprise when revealing exactly who my marefriend was. Until about five minutes ago, her ears had been like glued to her head. Even after we got over the entire 'Moondancer.exe has stopped working' thing, it was still quite a bit for her to adjust for.

Talking about magic however quickly drew her into the conversation and the two mares quickly left my zone of competence and happily galloped off into the distance.

It got Moondancer to slowly relax though, so I just let them talk, simply enjoying my cup of tea, curled up in the comfy chair after a semi productive day.

“So Page said you had a theory about dragon migrations?” Luna asked after another moment.

Moondancer nodded, “Yes, Princess. My hypothesis was that the spreading pony culture and construction disrupted dragon migration routes. It was disproven however at reviewing further evidence.”

“Interesting. If that had been true, it would have been quite a problem in the long run.” Luna agreed.


“So you are studying dragons?”

Moondancer shook her head, “I study a lot of things. Dragons. Magic. Pottery. Sociology.”

Luna nodded, “You seek to be come a professor?”

“No, I just study.”

“I see.”

Huh. That actually sounded somewhat interesting, but I don't know how long I could keep that up. I would just get distracted by som...oh shiny!

“...How do you make money?” I asked, tilting my head in question.

“I receive a stipend from Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.”

...That made a lot of sense. Also, there was no way that was something that would have ever been a way to get money for me.


Luna put her tea down as she regarded the other mare, “Would you be interested in a research project? I need somepony to research some matters for me.”

“Of course, Princess!”


Luna jumped off the couch and trotted over to her desk to look through some papers before she returned, scribbling away on her paper with a quill, “I need you to find out the answers to the things on this list. I will of course pay you for your time.”

Taking the list, Moondancer nodded as she read it through, “Yes, Princess.”

“...I know some of those are a bit unusual, but...”

Moondancer smiled, “No problem, Princess. I can get to it at once.” before she bowed, “With your permission?”

“Of course. It was nice meeting you, Moondancer.”

As Moondancer left, I raised a eyebrow at Luna, “...What was that about?”

She smiled, ignoring my question, “I like her. She remind me of somepony.”

I frowned at that and then shook my head, “I don't see it. But you are avoiding my question.”

“Oh, not much. Some minor things. Some magic, some architecture, some farming practices.”


Luna grinned, “It's a test, Page.”

Jumping off the comfy chair, moving up to her, “Why?”
Luna hmmed and nuzzled at my closest ear.

I flicked my ear and shot her a look, “Luna!”

She chuckled and put her wing across my back, “I'm thinking of offering her a position as part of my staff. I actually need a competent researcher. We will have to see how she manage the task I gave her. Moondancer seem intelligent and knowledgeable.”

Nodding, I leaned against her side, nuzzling along her neck, “I think she would do well there. I like her.”

“Do you now?”

I rolled my eyes, “Not like that.”

That got a giggle for her, “Are you sure? Replace the glasses, remove that horrible shirt... she could be cute.”

“Yes.” I chuckled and gave her a small kiss, “Apparently I have a thing for alicorns.”

“Mmm... That is quite a limited selection.”

I grinned, “Luckily I managed to snag the best one.”

The maid staff were not overly happy to later find out that her pounce at me caused us to completely destroy the table.

Chapter 27

Ah. Spring.

Sighing happily, I took a deep breath as I walked onto the practice yard, pulling the clumsy metal ring weapon from my satchel before removing the thick fabric sheath from it, turning it over in my magic before I shook my head.

I want a word with whomever it was that thought this thing was a good idea.

What the hell was wrong with a dagger? You could throw a dagger around in the same way. But nooo, they had to make something more difficult to hold and use.

Still, Luna did get it for me and she did expect me to be able to use it well enough to not be a danger to myself and others.

...Okay, it also looked kind of cool. But so unpractical. I did have to admit however that it had been getting easier to handle with practice.

Shifting my magic around it to grip only the inner edge, I got to work on practicing with the stupid thing.

In fact, it almost had a bit zen about it. It took so much focus that it cleared your head which was nice.

Even so, I was glad winter was finally over. They only cleared the snow and clouds away a couple of days ago, and that sentence is still strange to think.

Manually removing all the snow and suddenly it goes from being cold to spring? The trees already had leafs starting to grow.

Have I ever mentioned this world is strange?

Not sure I will ever be fully used to some parts of it. Magic, sure. Moon and sun being manually controlled?

Okay. Strange, but not completely in your face.

The season being manually managed by the inhabitants?

So. Damn. Strange.

Turning my head, I tracked the flying steel circle as I brought it into a wide orbit around myself, spinning it as I brought it towards the target from the other side. Trick was to keep it moving and spinning, not allowing it to hit directly.

If it was a direct hit and it didn't cut through, it would bounce and you would lose your grip.

Stupid bloody design. No wonder it was just ceremonial now, if even that. The group that used it were extinct.

I had to admit though that as a training tool it had potential. I had been getting faster and more precise with my telekinesis from all the practice. Don't mean I would ever use the damn thing in a fight though.

Flinging it towards the target I barely missed as my attention was pulled towards voices on the other side of the wall.

“Careful... Careful... don't bump it! Careful, damn it!”

What in the world?

Picking up the so called weapon, I sheathed it and dropped into my bag. There was actually a enchantment on it to shrink it into a ring you could wear on your horn, but Luna didn't want me wearing it like that until I showed I was proficient enough.

Shrugging the bag on, I trotted over and exited through the gate before I froze at the sight before me.

Four guards were lugging a large statue along, Princess Celestia overseeing it, their sergeant directing them to put it onto the sky carriage.

The thing was that it wasn't a normal statue. I recognized whom it was of. Or rather who it was.

That was petrified Discord.

“Princess?” I asked as I slowly approached, “What's going on?”

Celestia turned to me with a smile, “Good afternoon, Blank Page. I hope you slept well.”

“Same to you, Princess.” I said and gave the stoned chaos spirit a vary look, “...Why is that thing outside the dungeons? Finally going to drop it into the deepest part of the ocean?”

She shook her head, “I am relocating Discord to Ponyville. If he can be redeemed to use his power for good, it would be a great boon for Equestira. And with the elements at their disposal, I believe that Twilight and her friends are more than capable.”

I stared at her for several long moments without moving a muscle.

Did she just say what I thought she said. That almost sounded like...

“Princess... are you intending to release Discord?” I finally asked carefully, taking half a step back.

“I believe it to be perfectly safe. With the Elements of Harmony at hand, I trust my student to be able to contain him.”

I looked at her before looking up at the... twisted snake like dragon creature seemingly made up of a bunch of creatures. Then I stared at Celestia.

Finally I nodded, “I... see. Good luck, I suppose.”

They put the statue on the carriage and Princess Celestia got onto the second carriage. Celestia giving me a wave as the teams of Pegasi picked up speed and pulled them up towards the skies.

Staring after them for a moment I then gave the unicorns that had done the carrying a nod before I trotted back around the corner back into the training yard.

As soon as I was out of view, I broke into a full gallop back towards the tower. I need to get Luna fast while we still had time!

Celestia had gone insane!

Chapter 28

Galloping up to the tower, I stopped by the guards by the door, quickly deciphering their rank insignia before turning to the left one, an earth pony. “Sergeant. There might be a situation, recall all Night Guard and go to high alert. Do NOT alert the Day Guard.”

That earned me a surprised look but he nodded. “Yes, sir!”

“Be ready to move if needed.” I added before quickly pulling the door to the tower open and galloping up the stairs.

Better safe than sorry in this case. Not entirely sure what the guard could do against Celestia, but better to have them alert and moving than anything else.

Damn it, I had never wished I could teleport as much as I did right now.

Passing the last two guards, I slammed the doors to the outer chamber open without slowing down. I could hear hoofsteps behind me along with a buzzing sound.

I didn't need to check to look what it was, it was Skitter rushing to keep up.

She was always there even if I couldn't see her sometimes. She was really good at staying hidden when she wanted to.

Almost slipping on the smooth floor, I took the corner and barged into the bedroom, a simple spell popping the bubble of silence over the bed as I jumped, landing on it next to the sleeping Luna.

She jerked awake with a flap of her wings, blinking and looking around blearily, blinking. “W-what? Page?”

I almost collapsed next to her, struggling to catch my breath enough to speak.

Damn it.

Really need to work more on my cardio. Shining Armor was so right.

“Page? What's going on?” Luna asked and rolled onto her stomach, giving me a worried look.

“D-do you still have those plans you were going to use to take over Equestria as Nightmare Moon? B-because I think we might need them.”

Luna tilted her head. “Page... you are not making any sense. What's going on?”

“Celestia. She has gone insane!”

“My sister? What?”

Taking a deep breath I started to explain. “Celestia is taking Discord to Ponyville in an attempt to have her student release him and reform him to good.”

Luna stared at me for a long second before her horn lit up and she disappeared in a flash of blue light, the covers dropping onto the bed where she had been.

Collapsing onto the bed I struggled to get my breath back for a second before I forced myself to roll off it and onto my hooves, trotting back towards the door to the bedroom where Skitter was waiting in her natural form, looking more than a bit confused.

“Sir? What's going on?”

“Nothing good. But I don't want to panic just yet, Luna can handle it.”

I hope.

“...Should I alert the hive?” she carefully asked. “I don't know what's happening, but if things are bad enough to cause Princess Luna to teleport out...”

I sighed and shook my head. “No. No need to start a panic unless it's needed. There is nothing they can do anyway if Discord really is released. If there was something that could be done, I would tell you. Trying to prepare might cause him to make things worse out of spite.”

Skitter hesitated but nodded. “...Very well. I trust you, sir.”

Sighing again, I moved past her to look out the window across the city in the general direction of Ponyville.

What in the world could compel Celestia to do something that stupid? Releasing Discord was right up there with 'Let's hit the nuclear warhead with a hammer!' when it come to good ideas.

Still, I trusted Luna to be able to handle it. She could talk her sister out of it.

“Lord Page?”

I glanced back at the open door as Captain Cold Skies walked into the outer chamber. “Yes, Captain?”

He was the leader of the Night Guard.

“What's going on? Why did you put the Guard on high alert?” He asked as he approached. “Where is the Princess?”

Shaking my head, I turned to him. “Princess Celestia is trying to release Discord. Princess Luna went to talk her out of it or stop her if need be.”

The expression on his face was carefully blank, but his ears folded back at the idea. “...High alert it is. You don't think we can trust the Day Guard?”

“I have no idea! I was just being careful.”

A bright blue flash appeared in the middle of the room, signaling the return of Luna. She didn't look happy.

“Luna!” I exclaimed as I turned to her.

She sighed. “Page.” and moved up, shifting to rest the side of her neck against mine.

“What happened? Did you stop it?”

Luna shook her head. “My sister is convinced that Twilight Sparkle will be able to contain him, the elements have been enchanted so that he can not touch them. Having reviewed the evidence, I believe she might be correct. I do not like it, nor approve, but...”

I stared at her in slight horror. “...She is actually going to release Discord?”

“He was released five minutes ago.”


“...Crap.” I sighed, scraping my hoof against the stone floor. “Okay. Fine. I'm going to go throw all the houseplants out.”

Luna gave me a quick nuzzle. “I do not like this either, my Page. But she is right that if his power could be harnessed to defend Equestria, it would be a great boon.”

I nuzzled back before I shook my head. “That's a pretty big 'if'.”

“Indeed. I need to go wait for my sister to return. We need to have a bit of a talk about discussing big decisions with me before making them.” she almost growled as she pulled back, wings raised and her hair moving faster. She didn't look happy.

“Princess?” Captain Cold Skies interrupted. “Your guard is gathered and on high alert. Orders?”

Luna gave me a curious look and I shrugged.

“Figured it wouldn't hurt.”

She nodded with a smile before turning to Cold Skies. “Stand down but remain vigilant, Captain. Report any disturbances to me or Lord Page.”

“Yes, your highness.”

Chapter 29

I carefully opened one eye and found that I couldn't see anything but stars.

...That didn't help.

Carefully I scooted back, sliding out from beneath Luna's wing as I raised my head and looked around.

Everything seemed normal. No houseplants dancing around and the sky seemed steady outside. I'm pretty sure I was also still in bed. The bed was even still on the floor.

Nothing seemed chaotic.

Carefully extracting myself from beneath the covers I rolled off the bed and sneak over to look out through the window, passing through the silence bubble.

No screams of fear and everything outside seemed normal.

Perhaps Celestia was not completely wrong. Everything seemed to be working. The sun was still in the sky where it belonged. It wasn't plaid colored. Neither was the sky for that matter.

That's good.


Maybe I did overreact a bit. Glancing over at the bed I then smiled and crossed back into the bubble and lit up my horn, pulling the covers fully into place over Luna again before I turned and headed for the other chamber.

Like normal, a pot of tea and a cup was already sitting on the table, waiting for me.

Pouring myself a cup, I took a sip before I yawned and headed towards the door.

“Skitter, you might as well come in.” I said as I pushed it open only to blink and step back as a changeling walked past me. She looked somewhat like the one I expected, but her mane was shorter and the holes in her legs were in different spots.

“I am Scarab. I am your new guard. Skitter has been reassigned, Lord Page.” she explained.

I just stared at her, “What? Why?”

“It is not my place to question the Queen's orders.”

Oh hell no.

“Yeah, this is not going to work.” I told her with a frown, floating my cup over and put it down on the table, “You go back to Queen Chrysalis and tell her that I want my old guard back. I'm sure you are good at what you do, but I had a guard I was happy with. I want her back.”

“Lord Page, Queen Chrysalis has tasked me with your protection.”

“And I don't give two fucks. You go tell her I want my old guard back.”

Scarab looked frustrated, her wings buzzing slightly, “I can not leave and protect you at the same time, Lord Page. You have limited authority over me, but you can not countermand my Queen's orders.”

I grimaced at that but couldn't really argue with that. That did put her in a difficult position.

“How about this? I give you my word I will stay in this room until you return. I can't physically be any safer than this. It's the middle of the castle with a lot of guards around and a Princess sleeping in the next room.” I finally suggested.

Scarab still looked uncomfortable with the idea, but she finally nodded, “...Very well. I will return shortly, Lord Page.”

As she left, I tapped my hoof on the floor in thought.

Why would they switch out Skitter? I liked Skitter, I had gotten used to having her around even if she was a bit stiff. I had even gotten her reading from time to time instead of just staring at the door while I was writing.

Nothing against Scarab, I'm sure she is a competent bodyguard, but I had already trained one changeling, I wanted to keep it.

Besides, I liked to think Skitter was a friend and I knew she liked her duties here.

At the very least I wanted an explanation.

Picking up the cup of tea again, I grabbed a book and jumped up to lay down on the couch to wait for her to return.

It didn't take long.

A hour later, there was a knock on the door and I looked up from the travel guide, “Enter.”

The door opened and Scarab walked inside, closing the door behind her.

“And?” I asked, raising a eyebrow at her as I closed the book, putting it on the table next to me.

Scarab scraped her hoof against the floor, her wings buzzing slightly, “Queen Chrysalis would like to inform you that it suits the swarm better to have your guard position replaced.”

I stared at her for a long moment, waiting for her to continue before I raised my other eyebrow, “...And?”

“That is the message, Lord Page.”

Well, fuck that.

Jumping off the couch, I stretched before started towards the door, “I believe I will take this up with your Queen personally.”

“If you wish, sir.” Scarab said reluctantly and followed along, “She can be found in the new Hive.”

The changelings had set up their new hive in some of the caves beneath Canterlot. It suited them well down there.

What made it comfortable for them made it very creepy for ponies however.

Nodding I headed down the stairs, “Scarab... I don't want you to think this is anything against you personally. I just think of Skitter as a friend and I know she liked her posting. I just want to find out why she is transfered and what happened.”

“Yes, sir.” she answered, sounding slightly confused.

Chapter 30

The tunnels in the changeling hive always gave me the creeps.

They were more or less natural as they had been dug. But the changelings had shored them up with that slightly green, glowing and rock hard slime they can spit up and shape with their magic.

It also lit the tunnels up as well as making them safer.

It also made them really, really creepy, filled with a faint green glow, just enough to see to walk. It gave off a very xenomorph vibe about the entire thing.

The fact that it made the changelings seem like jet black, moving shapes didn't help either.

What did help was the light I was giving off with my horn. I love magic.

I let Scarab lead me down through the tunnels towards the central chamber where Queen Chrysalis had set up her throneroom.

I had only been down here once before, when they were still setting up, less than two weeks after the peace deal. Back then things looked different. It was basically an abandoned crystal mine.

Now? Now it seemed more like a village under ground.

As we entered the central chamber that impression was reinforced. The chamber had been somewhat enlarged with minor burrows dug into the walls, thick pillars had been put up to reinforce the ceiling. Several green, glowing globes were hanging from the ceiling, lighting up the area brighter than the tunnels.

They was the also the love storage. I had no idea how, but somehow they were turning love into a kind of... gel. Smaller globes of slightly different colors held other emotions.

I'm not sure exactly how it's done. I am, however, quite sure that I don't WANT to know. Especially as I know how bees make honey.

The center of the chamber, between four solid pillars, a great throne was raised off the floor, overseeing the entire chamber. That's where Queen Chrysalis was residing, overseeing the changelings moving around the chamber, doing some task or another or simply curled up, seemingly asleep in alcoves at the walls or even just resting against the pillars.

“My Queen.” Scarab said as we came to a halt before the throne. “Lord Page wishes an audience.”

Queen Chrysalis looked away from the changeling she had been observing across the chamber to look down at us. “Lord Blank Page. Why do you bother me?”

I bowed briefly before I stood up, looking up at her. “I want an explanation as to why my guard has been changed. And I want my previous guard returned.”

“Do you now?” She snorted. “And why would I agree to these... requests?”


She knew this would get me down here. She planned this.

“Because you want something from me.” I told her after a second, turning to seemingly inspect the closest of the glowing globes as I glanced around. Was this a trap?

None of the changelings were looking like they were paying attention. This was stupid. I might be able to fight off a couple of them, but this many?

No way.

“Do I?” Chrysalis asked and slowly slipped down from her throne, slowly moving down the steps towards me. “Tell me, my little predator... why do you smell like fear?”

Changelings. Fucking changelings.

“Because there is a larger one right in front of me.” I said, forcing myself to keep my voice steady.

Whatever you do... Do. Not. Run.

She grinned at that, slowly circling me. “Indeed. And this time, I am not tied up.”

“So you want something from me? It's not revenge or wanting to replace me or you would have done it already. So why am I here?”

“The same reason to why I do all things. For the good of my swarm.” She answered and licked her lips. “I require your... willing assistance.”

I refused to follow her with my eyes, instead looking at the closest pillar. “And why would I give that?”

Her wing brushed against my back as she moved around to stand before me, looking down at me with a toothy grin. “Because you want to. Because it is in your nature to, my little predator.”

“Where is Skitter?”

“Reassigned. Her involvement with you clouded her priorities. She did not relay potentially vital information for the security of the hive because you told her to. For the good of the swarm, her talents are better used in waste management.” Chrysalis explained as she slowly climbed the steps back to her throne.


She didn't warn the hive because I told her not to spread panic.

“There is nothing you could have done with the information.”

Chrysalis settled onto her throne, glaring down at me. “That was not for you nor her to decide!”

Shaking my head, I took a slow, deep breath before I looked up at her. “What do you want? Specifically?”

“I want to migrate my swarm to the Crystal Empire. You will make that possible.”


Chrysalis gave me a toothy smirk. “The Crystal Heart spread good emotions across the Crystal Empire. I can feel it even here. With sufficient proximity... the Heart could sustain the entire swarm's needs. We could flourish.”

“The Princesses would never give it to you.”

“They wouldn't need to. All we would need would be to settle within the borders of the city.” Chrysalis countered. “That would be plenty close enough... perhaps even too close depending on the power. Overfeeding the swarm is just as bad as starving it. The problem is the Princess of Food. She has been given the Crystal Empire to rule and she would never allow it.”

“...Perhaps if you didn't call her the Princess of Food it would help.” I sighed before I shook my head. “What do you want me to do?”

“If you can convince your mate and her sister that it is needed, they could overrule... Princess Cadance.” Chrysalis explained, sneering slightly at the name of the Princess of Foo... damn it, now I am doing it!

I hesitated for a moment, scraping my hoof against the rock floor before I nodded. “I will discuss it with Princess Luna. That is all I can promise.”

“I suppose that will have to suffice.”

Sighing, I looked up at her. “You know, you could have just asked like a normal pony.”

“I am neither normal nor a pony.”

...Point to the big bug queen.

“And Skitter?” I asked, taking a step forward. “I still want her returned to her previous duties.”

Queen Chrysalis waved her hoof. “Very well. She will be assigned back to her position as your guard.”


Chapter 31

Luna stared at me, her cup of sugar with some tea added to it slowly sinking back towards the table. “She wants what?”

I shrugged. “You heard me. Queen Chrysalis wants to move her hive to the Crystal Empire. And you have to admit that she has a good point, it would solve their food problem.”

“It was difficult enough to get Princess Cadance to accept them in Canterlot.” Luna said with a frown. “And only because she knew my sister and I would be here and able to handle Chrysalis if she tried something.”

“I know, I know.” I sighed. “I didn't say it was ideal.”

Stupid fucking situation. If the Changelings had not attacked, we would never have run into them like this.

Then this would have been much easier.

“What do you think, Skitter?” I then asked, turning towards my bodyguard who was sitting by the door.

The changeling froze at being addressed, scraping her hoof against the floor before she buzzed her wings. “I believe my Queen will make a wise choice, Lord Page.” she answered quietly.

She had seemed somewhat depressed since we left the hive. Barely said a word other than when addressed.

Need to talk to her later.

Luna shifted on the couch, looking thoughtful at the changeling before she nodded. “I believe it would solve the problem of how to keep the changelings fed without needing to mix too closely with ponies. I am, however, not sure it is the best idea. Changelings keeping to themselves in part of the Crystal Empire would not solve the main problem which is fear. Ponies fear changelings and changelings fearing what ponies will do out of fear.” she finally said as she turned to me. “If that is not addressed properly, that fear will grow and overflow. I have seen it happen before.”

“The tribes?” I asked with a small frown.

She nodded. “At first pegasi, unicorns and earth ponies occupied different parts of the land. There was little contact between them other than to trade for services. But for hundreds of years, suspicion, fear and jealousy grew. The wars were horrible enough to attract and create wendigos. It is something I wish to never witness again.”

Lighting my horn up, I reached to pour myself a cup of tea. I considered her words for a moment before I sighed. “...I don't think anypony does. But the fact remains that the changelings need to eat and their relationship with the ponies is tenuous as best as it is. If something happened to turn ponies against changelings... Skitter, how long would the supplies I saw in the hive last?”

Skitter sighed. “Less than a month, Lord Page, if there was no gathering of love. But a lot of it also remains transferred from the old hive or love gathered during... the invasion. The hive is currently experiencing a net loss, even with all harvesters out. If things do not improve, we may need to migrate in search for better grounds or... use internal methods to reduce the strain on our supplies.”

I wasn't sure I wanted to know what those internal methods was.

Being unable to sneak around was probably what caused them to gather less love. The punishment for a changeling being caught in a complete disguise was banishment.

That meant that everyone they met knew they were a changeling unless they were willing to risk it which made it difficult to gather the emotions they needed, even from the background 'radiation' of emotions during highly emotional events.

“How bad is it?” Luna asked, directed at the changeling in the room.

Skitter shifted uncomfortably beneath her gaze, seemingly forcing her wings to still. “By the end of the year, our reserves will be empty if things do not improve, Princess Luna.”

Damn it, Chrysalis! Why didn't you let anypony know about this before now! Stupid scheming bug! She should have gone to the Princess about it as soon as it was clear there wast a net negative on the love income!

Luna slowly nodded and then moved to jump off the couch. “I need to confer with my sister.” she said and gave me a quick nuzzle on the way past. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”

“Well, I figured it was important.” I said with a shrug.

She flashed me a quick smile before she left the chambers, the doors closing behind her.

Reaching to pick up my cup of tea again, I jumped off the chair and crossed over to take the place on the couch she had vacated.

“Lord Page... you did not tell her of Queen Crysalis...” Skitter said quietly as she left the door to stand before the table.

“You mean the manipulation?” I asked, sipping my tea with a raised eyebrow. “Tricking me down into the hive and threatening me, trying to scare me into doing what she wanted?”

Skitter seemed uncomfortable with the question but she nodded. “...Yes.”

Sighing, I put the cup back down, shifting to lean my side against the backrest as I crossed my frontlegs. “Several reasons. First of all, it was irrelevant. I was the one who started the negotiations to end the invasion so I do feel somewhat responsible for what happened to you and other changelings, Skitter. There is also the fact that it's the right thing to do. If Queen Chrysalis had simply 'asked' I would have still brought it to the Princesses' attention just like I did now. If I told Princess Luna of Chrysalis's methods in this case, it might affect things negatively. You and the rest should not need to suffer because Chrysalis is an idiot.”


I nodded and chuckled. “As you can tell, I would make a pretty bad politician.”

That got a small smile from her and she jumped up to lay down across the chair I had vacated, her frontlegs hooked over the armest, facing the door as usual.

Picking up the first book, this one on armaments of the royal guard, I looked up my bookmark and started to read about types of spears.

There was a long moment of silence, only broken by pages turning before Skitter spoke up again. “Lord Page?”

Looking up from the book, I turned to her. “Yes?”

“...Thank you.”

“You're welcome, Skitter.”

Chapter 32

I stared at Luna. “...You are kidding.”

She giggled. “I'm not! There Celestia was, standing before the entire council of lords, completely covered with whipped cream and the first thing that she said was 'I thought this wasn't until tonight!”

I just had to laugh at that mental image. “When was this?”

“Oh, some three thousand years ago.” Luna chuckled. “It was during one of her more 'serious leader' periods. Figured I would make her lighten up some.”

Chuckling, I grinned. “How did that work?” I asked as I picked my spoon up and took a sip from the rich soup.

“Oh no.” Luna said with a grinned back. “Ah, she relaxed again after another couple of years. Honestly, looking back at it, I could see why she was so tense, the political climate at the time wasn't the best. A lot of tension with the griffons back then. Still, there is such a thing as overdoing it.”

Nodding, I took a piece of bread. I'm so glad I'm not involved in the entire politics thing. For one thing, it seemed very... boring.

I would also be too nervous of making a mistake.

Scooping up some soup, I glanced down at it only to see a big yellow eye floating in the middle of the spoon, staring up at me.

“Uagh!” I cried out and scrambled back, sending the spoon flying across the room.

“Page!?” Luna exclaimed as the eye stopped in the middle of the air and a giant brush materialized, trailing along lines and then filling in colors until it had created Discord.

“Ah! Loony and Monkey! How nice to finally meet you in person!” He exclaimed, spreading his mismatched arms. “I am so sorry I have not visited before but I have been busy. Obligations, you know.”

Luna got up from her chair, her wings spreading as she glared at him. “Discord.”

“Don't be like that!” He said with a grin and flashed out of view only to poke his head out of her mane, slithering up to curl around her horn. “I missed you. Celly is fun to tease but you were always the more chaotic one.”

She just glared up at him until he flashed out of view, appearing next to me, his arm around the back of my shoulders.

“And you, Monkey! You, you are interesting! My, my, what a chaotic mind. You would fit right in. You and I should be best friends!”

I looked at the powerful chaos spirit and did the only think I could think of out of hoof: I hit it in the nose as hard as I could. What can I say, I panicked!

Hell, if worked for Sisko.

He actually rocked back and let go of me, teleporting a couple of meters away. “You hit me!”

“Get over here and I'll do it again.” I snarled at him. “Do you have any idea what you did last time you got lose? I want nothing to do with you. So fuck off and go bother somepony else.”

Discord snorted, looking quite amused before he disappeared again to lean against Luna. “Really? That one? You could do much better than Monkey boy over there.”

"Begone, Discord. Go back to from whence you thou camest." Luna ordered him, turning to look at him, "We do not desire thine presence. We find thee annoying and a nuisance. If we had our way, thou wouldst be stone still."

He gave her an annoyed look. “I thought it was all about friendship now? Friendship is magic, is it not?”

“It is.” Luna agreed. "It is, but we can still choose who our friends are. If thou seekest somepony to pester, mine sister is in the southern wing."

“...Now I remember why I preferred Celestia.” Discord grumbled and disappeared in a flash.

Getting my heart under control, I looked around. Everything seemed like before. What in all the fucks just happened?

...Did I just punch a chaos god in the face?

Bloody Hell. I felt my blood chill at the very idea.

“Luna.” I finally said and looked over at her.

She looked highly annoyed, her hair slowly starting to move slower as she refolded her wings. “Yes, my Page?”

“The way you ordered him away? Kind of hot.”

Luna stared at me for a long moment before she giggled. “Was it?” she asked and smiled.

“Mhmm.” I confirmed before I sighed and shook my head. “What was she thinking, releasing him?”

“That he might be useful.” Luna said and frowned. “And she might still be right. Discord was being annoying, not dangerous or malicious. It is quite possible that he might still be... reformed. As evidenced by the fact that the world is still normal.”

“It might be part of some long term plan.” I pointed out as I straightened my chair again. I gave my soup a suspicious look and in the end decided to ignore it in favor of grabbing some more of that bread.

That earned me a snort from the Princess. “Long term plan? Discord?”

...She might have a point there.

“Even so, I don't like it.” I said after a moment, scraping a hoof on the stone floor. “If he keeps himself under some degree of what might generously be called control, it may be much to be worth it. But that's a big if.”

“Perhaps. As with most things, time will tell.”

“Mmm.” I agreed with a nod before I frowned. “...Did you just sic Discord at your sister?”

“She released him, she can deal with him. Besides, he does seem relatively harmless at this point.”


Chapter 33

“You know they are watching, right?” I asked as I walked out onto the training yard alongside Shining Armor.

The larger stallion nodded slightly and glanced up at the balcony overseeing the training yard. “Oh yeah. Don't worry, I'll try to make you look good.”

I smirked at him. “I think you should worry about yourself. A Captain of the guard beaten by an author?”

Yeah, like I really had a chance. He could just throw up a shield and stand there tanking everything I could throw at him until I dropped from exhaustion.

But smack talk was all part of it and I did hope I would at lead put up a good showing.

“Oh really?” Shining asked with a grin. “We just have to see. Rules?”

I shrugged. “No spells that will make it impossible to attend the dinner tomorrow?”

As much as I might want to skip it, getting hurt enough to be forced to stay in bed was a bit further than I was willing to go for it. Besides, it was one of the reasons that they were at Canterlot.

The second and more important one was to discuss the changeling situation.

“Sounds good.” He agreed with a nod. “End at surrender or incapacitation?”


With that I headed towards the other end of the field. Okay, let's see what to do.

What do I know... captain of the guard, highly trained, completely overpowered with shields. It is possible that he will underestimate me.

He knows that I have trained with Luna, but not what I have been doing.

In a straight up fight, he would stomp me into the ground. So I need to make it not be a stand up fight.

The area was nicely lit up by torches on the walls, the stars shimmering far above as the moon helped light the scene up.

I turned to face him.

What do I have to work with... two racks of weapons along left wall, wooden spears and swords. My magic and the dirt on the ground.

“You may begin at the count of three.” Luna called out from the balcony. “Three. Two. One. Begin!”

I started moving at once, running to the side as I threw a telekinesis beam in his direction. If hit, it would hit him like a kick.

Shining Armor didn't move, just tracking me with his horn, his pink shield flashing up a split second before my spell hit, blocking it flawlessly before returning fire.

Unable to get out of the way, I threw up my own shield, an angled plane deflecting it into the dirt a couple of meters away.

The impact caused me to take half a step back.

It was not a punch like Luna could throw them, but damn. Never felt any Unicorn hit like that before. Swift wasn't even close last I practiced with him.

So not just defense, then. He had one hell of an offense as well.

Being the brother to the Element of Magic I really should have expected that. But he had yet to move, just throwing up a shield.

He knew I couldn't hurt him through it.

So maybe if I...

Dropping my shield, I snagged three spears from the closest of the weapon racks and fired them in his general direction while diving to the side, avoiding a pair of spells flying in my direction. One of them passed close enough by that I could have sworn I felt the damn thing parting my coat.

If one of those had hit...

As expected, the wooden spears simply bounced off his shield harmlessly, clattering onto the dirt floor around him.

There was a short lull in the battle as I rolled onto my hooves, putting on a show of breathing hard as his shield dropped again.

“Hey, not bad.” Shining Armor called out. “I was right that you were guard material. With a little more work, you would easily be accepted into basic training.”

That's right.

Underestimate me.

“I wasn't aware we were done yet.” I called back, taking a couple of steps towards him. “Unless you want to surrender.”

He grinned and threw a spell in my direction and I deflected it to the side before I reared up and returned fire.


This was something I only managed for first time two weeks ago. Elemental magic was tricky, but fire was easier than cold. It was harder to remove energy than to add it and fire magic was basically nothing but a semi-controlled energy dump.

My horn lit up and I channeled my magic into a stream of fire in Shining Armors direction and I dropped back down on all fours. Before he was hidden from view by the flames I sent in his direction, I could see his shield bubble go up and a surprised expression on his face.

There was no way they would reach him, that spell didn't have the range, but that was what I had counted on. I couldn't keep the flames up for long, that spell drained magic like something insane as it was a pure elemental conversion of magic into fire with very little in the way of direction, but I didn't need to.

It was a distraction, not an attack.

Galloping forward, I dropped the spell and snatched the spears I threw earlier up in my magic and stabbed towards his shield, aiming them at him from three directions.

The spears slammed against his shield

Panting softly, I stopped like that, the spears pressed against his shield as he easily held them at bay.

“Check.” I finally said, getting my breathing under control. “If you drop the shield, I win. If you don't... well, you lose.”

Shining Armor raised an eyebrow. “I can hold this shield all night. How long can you hold those spears at the ready?”

I shrugged. “Maybe another fifteen minutes or so. Fire magic is a bitch of an energy drain.”

Shining Armor nodded and sat down in his bubble. “It is. Damaging, though, if you manage a hit, but because of the drain, unless you have it as a special talent, you are better off with less flashy spells. Still, in this instance it served its purpose. A wall of flames coming at you tends to be distracting. Good job, you have me effectively mission killed. There is no way I can drop the shield and cast something else before you hit me with at least one spear.”

“So, do you surrender?”

He smirked. “There is something else you have not thought of.”


“You are just as locked down as I am. Move too far away and you will drop the spears and we are back at square one. If you don't, all I have to do is to sit here and wait for you to exhaust yourself.”

Chuckling, I nodded and spun the spears around, stabbing them into the dirt. “Good match. You win. I just wish I had something heavy to lean on your shield so if you dropped it, it would squish you. That would have worked.”

Shining Armor dropped the shield and shrugged. “Might have.” he agreed and waved at the balcony. “If you want, I'll give you some tips tomorrow on how to unravel shield spells.”

“...That would be awesome.”

“Good. Now let's go find some something to drink that's older than we are.”

“Now that sound like a plan I can get behind.”

Chapter 34

Why am I here?

That was my main thought as I looked around the table. All three princesses, Shining Armor and Queen Chrysalis were all gathered around the round table.

And what was even stranger was that it was 'Queen Chrysalis' that requested my presence so I was sitting on HER side of the table.

At this point, I just think the changeling queen likes fucking with me.

Luna looked amused at it, but hid it well. I'm not sure anypony but Celestia, Princess Cadance and Queen Chrysalis and myself noticed and I'm pretty sure the last two cheated by feeling the emotions.

...Okay, so Shining Armor was the only one not noticing it. That had sounded a lot more impressive in my head.

“Absolutely not!” Princess Cadance exclaimed, her wings flaring, “You will enter the Crystal Empire over my dead body!”

“If that is what it takes to keep the swarm fed,” Chrysalis countered with a sneer, “It is a price I'm willing to play.”

Shining Armor snarled and got up only for Princess Celestia to speak up calmly,


She may have said it calmly and softly, but it seemed to echo through the room, leaving silence in it's wake.

Shining Armor sank back down.

“Cadance, the changelings need emotions to feed of.” Princess Celestia said, turning to her niece, “It have come to our attention that as things are, they are unable to gather enough to sustain their hive without their old methods. If this peace is to last, this needs to change. Relocating the hive to the Crystal Empire would allow them to live like any other pony, without needing to feed off of the emotions of ponies around them.”

Princess Cadance looked at Celestia, “And I must protect my subjects, just as you do, auntie.” she sighed, “You gave the Crystal Empire to me to rule and I will do so. The safety of my subjects is paramount, they have lived through enough as it is. I will not allow that thing to jeopardize that.”

Honestly, after what Chrysalis did to her and Shining Armor, I didn't blame them for not wanting anything to do with changelings.

But this was not about them. They would have to put their personal emotions about it to the side if this was to work.

...Damn it. I just figured out why Chrysalis wanted me here.

That sneaky fucking bug. She knew I saw changelings as people and spent personal time around them, one in particular. She knew I would end up on her side in this and she wanted me here as a 'humanizing' element for a better word.

Shooting her a quick glare, I found her smirking slightly, looking down at me.

Yeah, yeah. Gloat all you want.

“So this is about Queen Chrysalis?” I asked, “You refuse to allow her access to the Crystal Empire?”

Cadance looked at me, “Yes.”

“What about the rest of the changelings?” I asked her as I put a hoof on the table, “Would it be possible to establish a hive in the Crystal Empire where the changelings could live while their Queen remained here?”

“Absolutely not!”

That one came from both Chrysalis and Cadance at the same time.

Perfect. A solution they are both unhappy with. The definition of compromise.

“I can't believe you are taking her side.” Shining Armor exclaimed as he stared at me, “You know what she did!”

“I'm not.” I sighed, “I'm taking the side of 'let's prevent xenocide'. Because if things get desperate enough, big buggy here and her swarm will fight to preserve their lives rather than starve to death. They will lose of course, but a lot of ponies will die in the process along with the changelings. All of them, dead. Would you want that to happen? For the changelings to go extinct? A entire race of beings, of people, dead? The Queen here, I could understand. What she did the Princess Cadance and you are unforgivable. But would you sentence every other changeling to die for what she did?”

There was silence across the table.

...Picard, I am not. But hopefully I got the point across. I have to stop taking cues on how to act from Star Trek. Oh well, as least as long as it's not Janeway or Archer I should do okay.

“...No. Of course not.” Princess Cadance said quietly, folding her wings again, “But I have to protect my people.”

“And I must do the same.” Chrysalis said in the same tone.

I glanced up at the Changeling Queen and for the first time since the first time I talked to her, she seemed... tired.

“So compromise.” Luna injected, speaking up for the first time in the meeting, “This wont be solved today, but perhaps there is some way we can make this work. Be it allowing a hive without Queen Chrysalis in the Crystal Empire or allowing teams of changelings to gather power from the Crystal Heart to bring back to the hive here. But in some manner this needs to be solved and fast.”

Looking around the table, I glanced up at Queen Chrysalis again. She looked to be back to normal. Calm, almost sneering.

Yeah, that won't make this easier. I elbowed her in the side.

The big changeling twitched and then glared down at me and I motioned her closer so she lowered her head to hiss at me,


“Apologize to Cadance and Shining Armor.” I whispered, “You haven't and you need to. Won't help how they feel about you, but the gesture will make this easier.”


“Do it.”

“I did what I did for the swarm!”

I glared up at her, “So do this for the swarm too. I don't give a fuck if you mean it or not, buggy. Offer reparations if need be, you need this more than they need you.” I hissed back.

Chrysalis showed her sharp teeth and almost growled at me but instead she pulled back and turned to Princess Cadance, “I would like to extend apologies for my actions up to the invasion.” she ground out, “I was trying to keep my changelings safe. We would like to offer... reparations for the suffering caused.”

Cadance didn't look impressed.

...Well, I guess it's a start.

Chapter 35

Taking a long pull from the bottle, I then lit my horn up with magic, forming a spell before I sent it flying towards the target.

The swinging metal plate on a rope let out a loud Clang as I just about managed to snag it on the edge, sending it spinning as well as swinging.

“Hey, good shot. You're getting the hang of that.” Thunder Cloud said with a grin as he fitted his crossbow with an arrow.

“Well... better than when he started, at least.” Swift Spear interjected, taking a swing from his own strong drink. “Remember when he almost managed to hit himself?”

“...Screw you too.” I grumbled to their laughter before moving to the side to give the pegasus room to aim.

Settling down next to Swift Spear, I took another pull from the bottle before I yawned.

It was rather nice to just hang out again, all three of us.

“So... graduation soon.” I commented as Cloud sent his arrow flying and it just barely missed the metal plate and bounced off the wall behind it, ending up on the ground.

He nodded. “Yeah. Next month.”

“Nervous?” Swift asked with raised eyebrows.

The pegasus frowned and stepped back, letting Swift take his place for a shot. “...A bit. Mostly about where I might be posted. I know I'll pass. I'm at the top ten percent of the class.”

“Shouldn't that make you a easy shoe-in for Canterlot?” I asked with a frown.

He shrugged. “Not certain. Make it more likely, yeah, but it depends on where I would be needed. If they need more pegasi couriers or if some border garrison needs more air scouts, I could very easily end up there. So what's up with you? Writing anything?”

I couldn't help but grimace at that. “Less than I would like.” I said and gave a pebble a small kick as I got up as it was my turn with the target. “Right now I'm just too involved with the changeling negotiations to get much time for it.”

Swift nodded. “They are causing the guard schedules to go to Tartarus too.” he noted as I passed him. “Every time a new meeting is scheduled, it moves every shift around.”

I snorted and fired off my spell, just barely missing the spinning metal plate. “Blame the Princesses.”

Cloud was watching with interest. “How is that going? Anything exciting?”

I shook my head and moved to let him take his shot. “Nope. Not sure I'm really allowed to discuss it, but it mostly involves Queen Chrysalis and Princess Cadance glaring at each other.”

“Well, what did Chrysalis expect?” Swift asked, taking a swig from his bottle. “Bugs impersonated Princess Cadance and used her wedding to invade Canterlot. They can't just come and make demands after that like this.”

“It's not about what's right in this case. It's about what needs to happen.” I commented and fired off another magic blast, this time making the metal plate go spinning on its rope. “Sometimes, politics is not about doing what is right, but what is the least wrong.”

As much as it sucked, that was the truth and the rest of the changelings shouldn't suffer because their queen was unpleasant. And a megalomaniac. And somehow for somepony that fed on emotions, she still managed to be unemphatic.

...Even worse, I was on HER side in this. She was right.

The Crystal Heart was the best chance for this to work. The alternative was to change ponies' perceptions of changelings enough to make up the emotion harvest shortfall in less than a year.

Settling down in the grass, I downed the last of my bottle before I spun it in my magic.

“Now that's just a sad thought.” Cloud sighed and stretched his wings. “There should always be a right thing to do.”

“Should be, yes.” Swift agreed. “Always is... no. But I trust the Princesses to find one.”

The least bad one would be to move the hive, just as Chrysalis wished. But...

“Eh, fuck it.” I grumbled as I pulled a new bottle of hard cider from the case. “I'm trying to avoid thinking of that clusterfuck right now. That's a problem for future Page.”

“Future Page should likely stop at two bottles.” Swift remarked as he uncorked his own fourth bottle with a grin. “Or future Page might regret it.”

“Bite me.”

There was a buzzing of wings and Skitter descended from the skies above, landing before us. “Lord Page.” she said with a slight bow. “Princess Cadance has called an emergency meeting to continue the talks.”

Son of a...

“Did she give a reason?” I asked and gave the bottle a sorrowful look. Politics.

Fuck politics. Here I was looking forward to my first day away from that shit for over a week.

Then I gave the bottle a thoughtful look. Maybe if I got drunk enough they would bar me from the meeting?

...No, that wouldn't work. It wasn't strong enough for that. Besides, and much more importantly, it would embarrass Luna. I would never do that.

Taking a swing of it anyway, I then offered it to the changeling. “Want some?”

“...No, sir.”

“Suit yourself.” I sighed and took another swig before tossing it over to Cloud and cracking my neck. “Very well, let's get going.”

Let's see if things are actually going to move on or if we are on for another rousing round of Pink Princess and Black Queen glaring at each other.

...Maybe I should bring the cider. If I could get them drunk enough they were bound to either kill each other or end up in bed together. Either way, the problem would be solved.

But that was likely just the cider talking.

Chapter 36

“How many changelings would be required to gather the emotional energy from the Crystal Heart to make up for your yearly shortfall?” Princess Cadance asked as soon as the meeting started.

Chrysalis regarded her for a long moment, “Thirty permanently stationed. If you are suggesting we ship the emotion gel back to Canterlot, double the number for handling and transport.”

The Changeling Queen didn't seem overly happy about that suggestion.

“With proper precautions and involvement of the Crystal Guard, that would be acceptable. “ Cadance said, her wings shifting, “On the condition that You personally never cross our borders.”

Queen Chrysalis buzzed her wings and for a moment I thought she was going to be stupid and reject the offer, but then she nodded, “I suppose that have to be acceptable.”

Oh thank, Luna.


I'll never be a real diplomat, I find the entire process to tedious to stand. This might be the cider talking, but if Chrysalis had rejected the offer I might have slapped her for being a idiot.

“However, I do not believe that there is need for a guard escort. Are my changelings not citizens of Equestria? Able to travel as they wish?”


Of course it wouldn't be that easy. Even worse, she had a really good point. The suggestion as it was discriminatory against changelings.

This will take a while.

My head hit the table.


“Oh lighten up. It was not that bad.” Luna teased as she jumped onto the bed, putting her wing over my back and pulling me close.

“I hate politics.” I sighed and leaned against her side, “There is a reason I try to stay away from them.”

She grinned at that, “As much as you claim to, you are not awful at it. If somewhat overly direct. Remind me to invite you to the next round of negotiations with the Griffins.”

I perked up at that, “Would there be meat?”

I could feel more than see that eyeroll,

“Knowing the Griffins? I'm sure at least fish could be arranged.” she chuckled and nuzzled, “You did well.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Not that I did much since the first day other than poke Chrysalis when she was acting too unlikable.


I flicked my ear as she let it go and then shot Luna a look before giving her a quick nuzzle, “Why do I feel you and Celestia could have finished this in a day?”

Luna gave me a quick kiss between the eyes, “Because you are most likely correct. But if Cadance is to rule the Crystal Empire, she require experience with negotiating with beings she dislike for the good of her people, even be willing to lose small battles for the betterment of everyone in the long term. Changelings, ponies or otherwise. It's not something she have done before.”

“...And Chrysalis?”

“Need to learn to compromise.” Luna said and then sighed, draping her neck across the back of mine, “It turned out well.”

“Next time you feel like giving lessons... leave me out of it. I was this close to hitting both of them.” I chuckled before I relaxed, “This played merry hell on my sleeping schedule.”

“Mine too.” she agreed with a yawn and cuddled closer, “Going to be tired tonight.”

During this week, she had been awake during the day so we could attend the negotiations. I needed to change things much less as normally I got up around noon, but it was still a pain in the neck, but Luna had to turn things almost completely around and get up early to settle the moon properly.

Not only that, she didn't sleep well during the night, she kept twisting and turning.

“Luna?” I asked after a moment.

She stirred slightly with a small nuzzle, “Mhmm?”

“...Do Princesses get vacations?”

That caused a bit more of a reaction and she shifted to look at me, “Vacations?”

“Yeah, you know... not work for a while. Spend a couple of weeks just relaxing on a tropical island or something?”

Luna frowned slightly, “Not that I am aware off. It is not unheard of in the past that my sister or myself to retreat and spend a couple of days without meetings or to extend the visit to a foreign nation for a day or two for personal reasons, but a vacation like you describe it... no.”


She smiled softly and nuzzled, “Besides, if we did, I imagine my sister have priority for that. While I was barely conscious during my exile, she was working.”

I nodded and then hmmed in thought, “...That's not a bad idea actually. Celestia maybe 'should' take a vacation. She could run this place alone for a thousand years, there shouldn't be a problem doing it for a week or two for you. She could take the form of a normal unicorn or pegasus and head of to some nice warm island and just... relax for a while. Maybe invite Twilight to join her. It would also force those idiot nobles to get used to dealing with you.”

“As much as I like that idea, I'm not sure how practical it would be.”


Chapter 37

Something was going on but I couldn't quite put my hoof on what. As I approached the castle I started noticing things.

The guards seemed more active, the patrols had been doubled and the guards at the entrance had been substantially reinforced.

For one thing, an officer was present. Last time I saw a officer anywhere near a gate was during the changeling invasion.

I came to a stop halfway down the street towards the castle and glanced at Skitter. “Any ideas?” I asked her with a frown.

She stopped next to me, looking thoughtful before she shook her head. “No, sir. If the swarm knows anything, they have not told me. There are a lot of guards, though. Has there been another threat?”

Shrugging, I continued towards the gate. “No idea, but it looks like it. Can't be Discord, though. I think we would have noticed that.”

To say the least.

Approaching the checkpoint, we were stopped and as the guards started their security scan as I turned to the officer. “Lieutenant, what's going on?”

The earth pony shrugged. “No idea, sir. Orders from up high, increased security.”

“...Directly from Princess Celestia?”

He nodded in confirmation. “Yes, just before she left the castle.”

Wait... Celestia upped security and then fucked off to somewhere!?

Well, crap.

This was bad.

I nodded. “I see. Thank you.”

They finished their scan and allowed us inside. As we entered the outer courtyard I turned to Skitter and said; “Okay... let's head for the Throne room. Somebody there might know what's going on. If it's important enough to pull Celestia away, it's important enough that somebody should have woken Luna up as well.”

Skitter nodded, said; “Yes, sir.” and looked around, looking somewhat tense.

“Are you okay?” I asked as we trotted on.

“If there is a threat, sir, I am responsible for keeping you safe.” she answered before she sighed. “With the guard on high alert, we are at risk. I would prefer it if we could retreat to the tower for security, but the throneroom should be as guarded.”


“...I'm not a very easy assignment, am I?”

The changeling actually smiled faintly at that. “Could be more difficult, sir.”


“It's part of the job.”

I shook my head and lead the way through the castle, passing through two more guard checkpoints on the way.

Whatever it was, it was big. But whatever it was, Celestia clearly thought she could handle it, possibly with the help of the Elements.

...However, this was also the Princess that thought releasing fucking Discord was a good idea.

I suddenly had a sudden urge to duck and cover. I had a bad feeling about this, the hairs at the back of my neck were standing up.

Passing the last checkpoint outside the throne room, we walked inside.

It was uncommon to see the large room this empty. Luna was on the throne like I predicted, but there were only three other ponies there.

Princess Cadance and Shining Armor along with Captain Shield Deflect, the leader of the castle guard.

Luna looked up from her conversation with Cadance when we walked inside and smiled, getting down from the throne to trot over. “Page.”

“Luna.” I said with a tense smile, giving her a quick nuzzle when she got close enough. “What is going on?”

She smiled wider and said; “Rather wonderful news, they should be here at any moment.” as she spread her wings. “You see-”

The doors to the throneroom opened behind us and I turned to see Princess Celestia and Twilight Sparkle enter, talking quietly with each other.

I suddenly relaxed slightly. Oh thank Luna, whatever it was was already over. That's the best kind of crisis situation. You find out what they were after they were already dealt with and without you really noticing.

Following along beside Luna as she trotted up to them, something caught my eye and I leaned to the side... what in the world, it almost looked like Twilight had wings.

Looking at her head, I confirmed the horn before leaning to the side for a better angle. Yes, those were a pair of purple wings.

I glanced at Luna who was all smiles before I pointed my hoof at Twilight. “...Is it me, or does she have wings now?”

Celestia nodded with a gentle and very happy smile. “Indeed. My faithful student has ascended to become an Alicorn.”

I looked at Celestia and then back to Twilight who looked kind of embarrassed about the entire situation.

Finally lowering my hoof, I said the only thing that came to mind.


Well, that was a thing.

Chapter 38

“Wait... you can 'become' an alicorn? Just like that?” I asked, rolling onto my back next to Luna, looking up at her.

She shifted slightly in the bed, stretching her wings, “It is... possible.” she answered after a moment, “It requires some things. You need to embody your special talent and have a true understanding of what it means, as well as a high level of magical energy. It is a rare, rare thing.”

...No, shit. There is only three of you. Four now.

I slowly nodded.

That made some amount of sense. It was ascension to become what was effectively a goddess. Makes sense it had some rather steep requirements.


“You know, I just figured out why Celestia was pushing Twilight so hard, heaping so many challenges on her. She was preparing her for this.” I said with a frown at the ceiling, “...You knew about this, didn't you?”

Luna nodded and put her head against my chest, “I did. If she would succeed, I had no idea. I knew Twilight Sparkle had the potential for it, but neither of us knew if she would actually manage it.”

Putting my front legs around her neck, I nodded, “Must be nice for your sister. The pony she loves is now as long lived as she is.”

“If Twilight Sparkle returns those feelings.” Luna mumbled, “If not, then my sister is going to be unhappy for quite a while.”

I smirked at that, “Oh please. Everyone knows Twilight loves Celestia.” before I nuzzled at her ear, “The question is if it will turn into romantic love. But now they have time to take it slow.”

And something told me it might be encouraged by Cadance.


Pulling her a bit closer I looked up at the ceiling.

They had thousands of years now. Might take years, but I didn't doubt they would get there in time, not like there was a hurry now.

A peice of night sky drifted past my eyes and I glanced down at the seemingly floating star filled mane.


She didn't have that time. I was going to die.

At some point, hopefully at a hundred and fifty in bed next to her, but most likely doing something stupid but badass. But at some point it was going to happen.

The thought of hurting her like that...

It felt like somepony stabbed me in the chest.

Hell, immortality would be nice on it's own, but the thought of hurting her by dying was even worse than the thought of dying itself.

If Twilight could do it...

...Okay, let's face it. I didn't have a chance in hell. She was the bearer of the Element of Fucking Magic itself.

If anypony could pull it of, it would have been her. Me? I might be above average, but that? No. I would never manage that.



“Has there ever been a male alicorn?”

She lifted her head, opening her eyes with a thoughtful look before she shook her head, “Not to our knowledge. My sister and I think we were the first, but there is no way to know for sure. We are not unkillable, so it is possible there were others in the distant past before us. We did not invent the word Alicorn after all.”

I sighed and nodded, “I see.”

Tilting her head, she didn't need to ask out loud. I knew what she meant.

“I just don't want to leave you alone, I don't want to hurt you like that.” I explained quietly, “If it took growing wings, I would do it.”

Luna frowned slightly, “My Page... There have been ponies in the past that have been jealous of my sister's and mine longevity. They searched tirelessly for a way to prolong their lives. Some took evil paths, draining life from other ponies to prolong their own. Some simply neglected to live in their desperation to prolong their lives. None were very successful. I do not wish that on anypony, yet alone you.”

I smiled and gave her a quick nuzzle, “Relax, I'm not going to start drinking the blood of ponies or something. I just don't want to leave you alone.”

“...Thank you.”

Pulling her close into another cuddle, I gave her ear a quick nuzzle before I frowned, “Wait...”


“One unicorn did manage to significantly extend his life.”

Luna raised her head with a frown again, spreading her wings, “Huh? Who?”

“King Sombra.”

She didn't look happy at all at that, “King Sombra was making use of the darkest of dark magics. The kind of magic that twists and warps one's mind, spreading hate and suffering. No pony, not even myself can use it safely. It was turning to dark magic that created Nightmare Moon.”

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” I chuckled and relaxed against the bed, “Yeah, make sense.”

“Something like that.” Luna agreed and gave me a quick nuzzle before she relaxed again, closing her eyes, “Now sleep, Twilight's Coronation is in three days and we need to start early tomorrow.”

Stroking her mane, I looked up at the ceiling before I frowned in thought. Nopony could use dark magic. It changed them, twisted their minds.

...But I'm not really a pony, am I?

Chapter 39

"You can not be serio...ow!”

“Sorry,” Rarity said with a smile, “Lift?”

I lifted my hoof to give her better access to the chest portion of the cermonial belt.

“I am perfectly serious.” Luna confirmed with a smile as from where she as lounging on the couch, watching me get tortured with needles, “I simply regret the fact that three days was too little to order a set of the full armor done. Cloak and belt will have to suffice.”

“Love, I'm a.. ow!! Damn it, Rarity!”

“Sorry Lord Page. If you would bear with me for just a moment...”

As she was sticking needles to hold the buckle in place, I shot Luna a look, “As I was saying, I'm a author, not actually a war mage.”

“There might be some debate on that. As I am the only one alive that has the training, it effectively makes me the senior war mage.” Luna disagreed with a smile, “That would give me the authority to give you a rank.”


She chuckled and moved off the couch to give me a quick nuzzle, “Relax, you will look great. Besides, I always liked this style, it's attractive.”

“I look silly.”

“You look dashing.” Rarity said with a smile as she took a step back.The black had silver edges hanging across my back and left side as well as over the left part of my chest. It also left my right side uncovered to show the leather dark straps with silver stitching and silverbuckles as well as the mounting points for daggers and swords, “Very rogueish.”

“Doesn't he?” Luna agreed with a grin.


I looked at myself in the mirror before I shook my head. I would've rather had been wearing a suit. But noo.

I blamed Shining Armor. He was going to stand next to Princess Cadance for Twilight's coronation. Which meant I needed to do the same with Luna. He was going to wear ceremonial armor and Luna thought that was a marvelous idea.

Hence why I was in this silly getup.

I looked like a pretentious ponce... but I knew when I was not only outnumbered, but completely out gunned.

...Though, I had to admit I liked the look of the silver crescent moon on the cloak as it rested on my shoulder.

“If you two are done checking me out, can I get out of this?”

That got a pair of almost identical giggles from them and I just rolled my eyes, starting to shrug the thing off, only for Rarity's magic to expertly undo it and lift it off.

“It didn't pinch anywhere? Feel tight or pull on your coat?” She asked as she unclasped the cloak before carefully folding it up before setting the belts ontop of it.

I shook my head, “No, the fit was good. Thank you.”

Whatever Rarity was, she was good at what she did. I might not be an overly fan of the overly ornate design, but it was comfortable to wear.

“Anything else?” I asked her as I cracked my neck and stretched, putting my medallion back on.

“I believe that is all.” Rarity answered with a smile before she eyed me, “Unless I could talk you into reconsidering adding some gems...”

“No thank you. I like plain.”

Well, as plain as I could get away with... not that I put up much of a fight. For the most part I just rolled with it.

“Hmm. Very well.” she said with a nod before turning to Luna, “Now, your highness. Shall we get started on your dress?”

Luna nodded, “We better.”

“..Uhm... am I needed or...”

Grinning, Luna gave me a quick kiss, “I think we can spare you for this part. See you for dinner.”

Nodding, I gave her a quick nuzzle before she turned to Rarity.

“I'm thinking something... a bit lighter than usual.”

I made my escape, the door closing behind me, cutting off further conversation before I sighed, folding my ears back.

I never enjoyed that kind of thing.


Blinking, I spotted Skitter in her white unicorn form, only her wings revealing what she really was. She was sitting a couple of meters down the corridor towards the stairs leading down, by a small table.

I just stared at her for a moment as she closed her book, putting it down on the table.

“Skitter... are you ever not here? Seriously, when do you sleep?”

She smiled as she got up, “When you do, Sir.”

“...Where? You are always here as soon as I walk out.”

“Mostly here, sir.” she confirmed, “By the table or more often, in the rafters.”

I stared at her for a moment before glancing back at the guards for confirmation. The left one nodded after a moment, “We can confirm that, sir.”

...Son of a bitch.

“You and I need to have a talk about your living conditions.” I finally said as I turned back to the changeling.

She just tilted her head in confusion.

Chapter 40

I followed the Princesses towards the balcony. That coronation ceremony had sure been... something. Singing, cheering...

But then again, how often is there a new princess in Equestria? I was amazed at what they managed to put together in three days. Even with magic that was impressive as all hell.

Luna did look good in her new dress. Rarity did magic and it had nothing to do with being a unicorn.

Coming to a stop just inside, I finally sat down and relaxed some as now there was at least semi-privacy.

Standing there next to Luna before thousands of ponies...

I had to focus to keep breathing. Looking bothered by it all that I almost missed the ceremony itself. I hate public appearances.

“You okay?” Shining Armor asked as he gave his dress uniform collar a tug.

That just made it even worse. He ended up wearing a red dress uniform instead of the armor which we had been told. Cadance changed her mind.

Too late for me to change into a suit. Made me stand out even more in this silly getup.

“Yeah... just don't like public spectacles.”

“Relax. With the princesses around, especially today, nobody paid attention to you.”

Good point.

Would have been nice if I'd thought of that before the ceremony. Might have helped me relax some.

“I blame you, by the way.” I finally said. “If you didn't stand next to Cadance, I wouldn't have needed to be up there at all.”

He grinned. “Get used to it. It goes along with being involved with royalty.”

“...I suppose you have a point.”

“Yeah. It took a wh- my sister is starting her speech.” he quickly finished and then shut up.

Princess Twilight was flanked by all the others out on the balcony, addressing the masses far below.

“A little while ago, My teacher and Mentor Princess Celestia sent me to live in Ponyville. She sent me to study Friendship.”

I blinked at that. How do you study friendship?

“Which is something I didn't care much about.” she continued and glanced back at the other element bearers who were just inside the door, a meter or so away from me and Shining Armor. She waved her hood, beckoning them out to join her on the balcony.

“But now, on a day like today, I can honestly say that I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for the friendships I have made with all of you. Each one of you taught me something about friendship and for that I will always be grateful.”

Twilight smiled brightly and turned back to the crown, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest pony in Equestria! Thank you, friends. Thank you, everypony!”

Even from inside, I could hear the cheers erupt from outside and I flattened my ears against my head.

Good speech. But luckiest pony in Equestira?

I looked at Luna as they all turned and headed back inside. No, I don't think so. That's my job.

Moving to the side along with Shining Armor, I shot Luna a smile which she returned. On her way past, she gave me a quick nuzzle as Shining Armor moved up to talk to his sister.

“What do you think?” Luna asked me quietly as she moved up next to me.

“Good speech, nice ceremony.” I whispered back. “You look good.”

She smiled faintly. “Thank you. You look quite handsome as well.”

“I look silly.”

“You certainly do not.” she disagreed, risking another nuzzle before she whispered. “And tonight I'll show you exactly how much I like it.”

That perked me right up. I could get used to dressing like this. It wasn't so bad. The cloak would help against the wind in the winter.

Luna giggled softly. “But for now, duty calls. It is time for Princess Twilight's tour of the city.” she teased and continued on.

Oh you minx.

Smirking to myself, I followed along. Two can play that game and I knew where she was ticklish. And usefully enough, she provided her own feathers.

Shaking my head with a grin, I trotted along behind them. Oh well, at least the cloak was of a model that I would need to work to manage to trip over it.

Now that would have been embarrassing. I might actually be able to get through this without embarrassing myself.

Shining Armor was right, everyone would be looking at Twilight and if not her, then the other Princesses.

Me and him? We were part of the furniture right now. Part of the background. Like Skitter usually tried to...

I almost paused midstep, though, as I realized something and looked around. Something had been bothering me all day and I simply had not been able to put my hoof on it. I shook it off as just me being nervous and uncomfortable with this entire thing.

I had spotted some changelings in the crowd, likely harvesting all the emotions in the air. Quite a bunch of them, in fact, the wings were clear giveaways.

But where was Chrysalis? She was royalty as well and an ally of inhabitant of Equestira. She should have been invited.

I might not exactly like the big bug, but this kind of thing was important for integration.

Chapter 41

“She was invited. She declined.” Princess Celestia explained, “She called it, 'pointless'.”

“I see.”

For crying out loud. After all that work and she just..

Sighing, I then nodded, “Well, It's up to her I guess. Sorry for bothering you, Princess. It's just... with all the work to get Changelings integrated into society, even positions in the Royal Guard... It seems like such a waste to miss such an opportunity.”

“Well, aren't you turning into quite the politician.” Celestia commented, eating a forkful of her slice of cake.

“Now, now, there is no need for insults, Princess.” I grumbled and crossed my frontlegs in front of me on the overly thick alicorn sized pillow, “I'm just looking out for a friend.”

That got a chuckle from the large white alicorn, “I didn't realize you considered Queen Chrysalis a friend.”

“Bah, not her. I tolerate Chrysalis. It is my guard, Skitter, I think of as a friend.”

“Ah, I see.”

Putting my teacup down, I floated the fork to try the cake for myself before I smiled, “Now that is good. Did the castle kitchens make it?”

“Indeed. They are quite good, aren't they. There are few ponies that can match them in that...and none of those are interested in permanent employment.”

The rumors about Celestia's love for cake? Not quite true. Not even an Alicorn's metabolism would be able to handle that without making her as big as her celestial body(HAH!).

No, she went for quality not quantity.

And some quality it was. It was certainly the best cake I had ever eaten for sure. Of course, back on earth I didn't exactly had an habit to frequent restaurants where you could have found something of this quality, but still.

It was amazingly good.

“So what do you think about the Princess Summit?" Celestia then asked with a smile, “Excited?”

They were going to hold a meeting in the Crystal Empire. As far as I understood, it was a mix of 'hang out' and a 'this is how you Princess properly' course for Twilight and Cadance.

I nodded, “I am. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Equestria. I have been here for quite a while now and all I've seen is basically Canterlot. This does seem like a good point to get started at that. I plan to do some traveling for a month or two when we get back, see more of the country.”

“What does my sister think of that?”

I shrugged and put my cup of tea down, “She is encouraging it, even if she will be sad to see me go. Honestly... I think I would rather stay here with her, but I think this is something I need to do.”

Celestia nodded, smiling gently, “Any idea where you will be going?”

“Not yet. There are some things I want to see. Manehattan for sure. The Everfree Forest as well. From what I heard, it will be the two places that will remind me of earth the most. I'll likely stop by Ponyville to visit Twilight as well. Clouddale if I can swing it. I almost have the cloud walking spell down, I should be able to do it reliably by the time I get there.”

“You should be careful in the Everfree Forest.” she cautioned me, “There are worse things than wild animals in there. Hydras, Chimeras, Timberwolves... and worse still.”

I nodded and had another piece of my slice of cake. Oh yeah. Honestly, the Everfree Forest sounded like it belonged in DnD more than Earth.

But it was the one place in Equestria where the weather handled itself, where the animals managed their own business.

I had to go there.

“I know.” I answered, “So all the books say. But I plan to stay close to the edge and Skitter and I are more than capable of defending ourselves.”

“So I have seen. I have observed you and my sister's sessions at times. I'm impressed.”

I raised a eyebrow at her with a small smirk, “Oh really?”

Celestia looked at me before she blinked and her cheeks turned a faint red, “Not that! Your magic and combat training!”


It was so rare to be able to get one over on either of the Princesses. It always felt so good whenever I managed it.

“I think I'm doing okay.”

“I would say you are, especially for somepony that until three years ago had never touched magic. My sister always looks satisfied at the end.”

I shot the alicorn a wary look.

Celestia looked as serene as always as she sipped her tea with a small smile.

Sighing, I shook my head and let it go instead focusing on my cake. I really should have known better than to play wordgames with an immortal by now. Especially one that spent the last eon involved in politics and running a country.

Resistance was indeed futile. But that doesn't mean I won't put up a fight. If anything Celestia enjoyed it, as far as I know nobody else talks back to her like this. Everyone seems to treat her almost as some kind of goddess. Justifiably so, they might not be called that, but they basically were. But even so that had to get old after a while.

“I like to think I make a good showing even if Luna is mostly on top of things.” I countered, “She does have a couple of thousand years of experience on me but I think I'm learning. You are likely the only pony alive with more experience than she has, Princess.”

“Oh, I don't know about that. Very few ponies can keep up with us so we usually end up practicing together. I think we are about equal in experience.”

I just stared at her, “...We are talking about combat magic, right?”

Celestia just smiled one of her serene smiles, “Of course. What else could it be?” and took a fork full of cake before licking the cream of her lips.

...Well played.

Well played indeed.

Chapter 42

“...And during the night phase, I move my Iron Beak Raiders through the swamp, their flying negating the movement penalty so they can reach your camp in one turn for a sneak attack.” I said and moved my troops on the map. “Then I play my 'Furious Roar' card, boosting their combat damage for this turn by twice. Hitting your trops for...” I rolled my dice. “Seven plus the bonus, fourteen. Armor save of three, that still eradicates all fourteen hundred warmages.”

The game was called 'Rise of Empires'. It was a strange mix of card game, board game and pen and paper.

You played as the grand general out to conquer the world. You built a deck of buffs and debuffs for your troops and each kind of troops had different stats.

It was Celestia who suggested it for the train ride. Neither Luna nor I had heard of it before, but we were all about it now.

Luna narrowed her eyes at me. “So that's what those troops were.”

I nodded, eyeing my cards a bit smugly. I had picked the griffons as my choice. No direct combat magic, but all their units could fly and they had some great one turn buffs for their troops.

She hmm-ed. “Well... in response I'll play my 'It's all an illusion' ability.” she said, putting a card on the table. “Once a game, I am able to take all my troops and relocate them anywhere I want inside my borders.”

Uhm, what.

Luna smirked and snatched all her troops up with her magic, moving them out of danger and towards the left border of my territory. “Then I attack with all during the day phase, using my Princess Celestia's 'Solar Flare' ability to reduce your fortifications to zero in the 'Manehattan' territory.”

I just watched as she rolled her dice before completely eradicating the troops that held my most valuable and heavily defended province. That had been a quarter of my troops.

Ponies OP. Plz Nerf.

Sighing I checked my collection of cards in hand. Nothing I had that could prevent any of that. All my troops were arranged to counter her previous positions.

I had been ready for the solar flare, that's why I had so many troops there to counter the troops she had at the ready.

Her Unicorns might be slower moving, but they had ranged magic and a ton of 'Once a game you may' abilities.

Shaking my head, I let my cards drop on the table. “Good game, you win.”

“Huzza!” she cheered. “Another?”

Celestia looked up from her book. “That was your fifth game, isn't that enough? We should arrive soon.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I think that's enough for me. I think I have gotten my tail kicked enough for today.” Out of five games, I had won once and been close a second.

The other three, Luna had just dominated.

Apparently actual battlefield experience carried over nicely to this game as it was more flexible than something like chess.

Luna pouted, but then nodded and grinned. “I stand victorious over all then. And I will claim my prize.”

I just chuckled and started packing the game away. “Later. We are almost there, right?”

Celestia nodded from her couch. “We should arrive in thirty minutes.”

The Crystal Empire. It had been a long trainride, but we were almost there. This was going to be awesome. While the Princesses did... princessly things, I could explore the place and hang out with Shining Armor. Which was awesome.

“Say, Princess...” I started to ask as I put the last figurines back into the box, turning to Celestia. “That Solar Flare... is that actually something you can do?”

That got a chuckle from the Sun Princess. “Not as such. The creators of the game imagined a spear of fire from the skies. I can greatly increase the sunlight in a area, but it's more 'make things bright' than 'Burn everything'. There are better spells for that, anyway.”

Huh. Made sense.

I nodded and folded the map up, putting it into the box before closing it as I pointed my hoof at Luna. “I will have my revenge.”

“We will play more on the way home.” She chuckled and scooted closer to nuzzle at my ear. In turn, I shifted to lean against her.

Maybe I'll pick Pegasi next time. They also had flying. Less attack power, but they could move two territories a turn and what they lacked in buffs, they made up for in weather magic. Both used for area debuffs and direct attack magic.

Closing my eyes, I relaxed. “Mmm... when are Twilight going to show anyway?”

“Tomorrow.” Luna mumbled, resting her head across the back of my neck. “Her friends are coming... didn't want to pull them away from their jobs early.”


Makes sense. Princess of Friendship and all that.

Would be good to see her again, didn't really get much time to talk during the entire coronation and all that.

Would actually be fun to talk to Rainbow as well. She might be a bit enthusiastic about things, but that was fun too at times. It was kind of cool to have somepony to really geek out over stuff with.

Chapter 43

The Crystal Empire lived up to its name. Crystals everywhere. Even the buildings were made from them.

Hell, even the PONIES were sparkling in the sunlight.

Pushing the door open with my magic, I entered Luna's and my quarters. They were beautiful, nothing else to call it.

Large and circular, one wall made up of open windows. Not that it mattered, the air outside was nice and warm despite being far north. Part of the magic of the Empire, I guess.

The chambers were centered on a large, alicorn-sized bed. There were two more doors: one to the large bathroom and the second one lead to Celestia's quarters. Luna and I had twisted our sleeping patterns around for this summit. Which meant sleeping nights.

I just wished things were consistent, since turning the sleeping schedule around was always a pain in the neck.

As beautiful as it was, it was also somewhat plain, not a lot of furniture around. Other than the bed, there was just a table and some pillows to sit on.

Well, I had planned to lay down and get some rest, but the bed was busy.

When I walked inside, Cadance, Celestia and Luna all looked me in unison before bursting into giggles.

I froze.

Whatever that was about, it could not be good. Do not make eye contact, slowly back away. Don't run.

“Page!” Luna exclaimed and jumped off the bed, trotting over to give me a quick nuzzle with a grin.

...Damn it.

“Hey. What are you three up to?” I asked and nuzzled back.

“Just talking.”


I suspected that I knew the subject as well.

“About?” I asked anyway as I moved up next to Luna while she turned to face the bed again, her wing draping across my back.

Cadance was the first one to speak up. “About how Aunt Celestia and Twilight are the only Alicorns not to have somepony right now.”

That's about what I figured.

“Oh, I'm sure that will work out.” I chuckled with a grin.

Celestia frowned. “How do you mean?”

...Crap. Said too much.

Luna shot me an annoyed look and I cringed. Oops.

“Sorry” I said quietly.

She shook her head. “Well, this might as well be as good a time as any.” She sighed and turned to Celestia, “I think you should tell Twilight about how you feel. I know now that she is an Alicorn you have a lot more time, but I want you to be happy.”

The two other Alicorns stared at us in confusion before Celestia tilted her head. “Feelings?”

“You know, romantic feelings.”

Cadance blinked and started to turn from pink to red before she burst out laughing, rolling onto her back. “Celestia and... Bahahaha!”


Celestia, on the other hand, shied back a bit. “Romantic feelings for Twilight? No! I think of her like a daughter!”

Luna looked confused, her wing raising from my back. “But... she is your type! All the signs are there!”

The alicorn of the sun shook her head. “I do not have feelings for my student.”

Cadance started to calm down, giggling. “She is right. She doesn't. I would know. Not for Twilight, anyway. But there is someone she likes. Besides, Twilight has her eye on someone else, not that she realizes it yet.”

“Cadance!” Celestia quickly exclaimed. “None of that.”

Luna perked up at that, exclaimed: “Oh? Who? Tell us!!” and bounced over to the bed.

I just stared at them and then facehoofed. All that work and she didn't even... damn it.

Celestia glared at all of us before she shook her head. “I don't see how it is the business of any of you.”

Cadance just grinned widely. “I know who it is...” she said in a sing song voice.

Luna pounced. “Tell Us!”

I just watched with a slightly unreal sense of amusement as the Alicorns ended up in a pile of tickles while I started to slowly sidle towards the door. I'd make my escape while they were distracted.

“Fine! Fine! You win! It's just a crush anyway, it will go away.” Celestia finally gasped with a giggle as she struggled free before she blushed. “...It's Rainbow Dash. I have a crush on Rainbow Dash.”

I paused on my way to the door, my jaw dropping.

I did not see that one coming.

Chapter 44

“Stop! Thief!”

It took me a couple of seconds to realize that the yelling was coming from outside my rather nice dream.

“Muzzit?” I mumbled, raising my head.

The meaning of the words slowly filtered through my thick sleep addled skull, before it became clear to me and my horn lit up from my magic a golden shield forming over the bed.

This was the royal palace in the Crystal Kingdom. Thief here might just as easily mean Assassin.

“Page, lower the shield.” Luna ordered as she got up.

Dropping the shield, I followed her as she jumped off the bed, heading for the door.

“Skitter.” I said as we walked outside before I felt like facehoofing. For once she was not outside the door because I ordered her to take the room across the hall.

Her door quickly opened, however, and she rushed outside almost tackling me back inside Luna and mine's quarters.

“Damn it! Get of me!”

“Stay down, sir!”

“Skitter! Get off!”

I finally managed to push her off, guards were already rushing around and Luna was looking on, seeming way too amused at the entire situation.

Skitter on the other hand seemed prepared to force the issue of keeping me inside the quarters but I shot her a glare as I rolled onto my hooves to trot over to Luna, “Any ideas?”

“Someone stole Twilight's Element of Harmony.” She answered, turning away from the guard, “My sister is already on the way to the scene, I'll go join her. I want you to stay here.”

Stole the Element of Harmony? The same Element of Harmony that keeps motherfucking Discord in check?

Double plus ungood.

“Fuck that. I'm going.”

Skitter was buzzing in annoyance behind me, but Luna nodded,

“Very well. Let's go.”

We made our way through the palace, a couple of floors down from where Twilight and her friends had taken up residence.

The castle was in uproar, guards at every intersection. Even so Skitter was rather jumpy and was hovering above us, looking like she was trying to look in every direction at once.

I think it bothered her badly that she had been unable to react instantly when there was a disturbance.

I suspect that I'll find her outside my door tomorrow, no matter what I tell her.

But that's a problem for a later date. Following the directions of the guard leading us, we entered what seemed to be a kind of storage room.

Technically it wasn't that small, but with four alicorns, a bunch of mares, me and a changeling, it was kind of crowded.

“What is that thing?” Rainbow Dash asked and pointed at a mirror by the wall.

Luna hesitated and then walked up to it, “This is no ordinary mirror. It is a gateway to another world. A gateway that opens once every thirty moons.”

I flicked my ears at that. Seriously? You leave a stargate laying around in a storage room?

Luna, you and your sister may be older and more experienced than pretty much everyone else other than possibly Discord, but your security absolutely sucked.

Pinkie Pie trotted up and stuck her hoof through it, “Sparkly!”

...Case. In. Fucking. Point...

Luna continued as she pushed her away, “It had always been kept in the throneroom at Canterlot Castle, but when Princess Cadence took over the Crystal Empire, we sent it here for her to watch over.”

That's it.

Luna. Celestia. When this is over, I'm personally demanding to go over every single potential doomsday device you have laying around and making sure it's secure.

Because this is the third time something like this has happened. That I know off, during my short stay in Equestria.

Celestia sighed, “I always hoped that Sunset Shimmer would someday use it to return to Equestria seeking my guidance. Obviously, this is not what happened.”


“Twilight. You must use the mirror to go into this other world and retrieve your crown. Without it, the other elements of harmony are left incomplete and Equestria is left without one of it's main defenses.”

Luna nodded, “Your crown does not belong in the place Sunset Shimmer now calls home. And in her possession it can without doubt cause great harm to the inhabitants of this other realm. They will be unable to defend themselves.”

So send the fucking guards!

Celestia nodded and settled a pair of satchels on Twilight's back. “So you understand the importance of this task?”

“Of course.” Twilight answered with a grave nod.

“We will however not send you alone, this task is too important to risk.” Celestia continued meeting Luna's eyes, “You will require somepony with experience in these matters. Blank Page, If you would assist Twilight in her quest, we would all be grateful.”

I don't get paid enough for this shit.

Wait, I don't get paid.

...Double shit.

“There is no way...” “I have to strongly protest...”

Luna and Skitter yelled over each other to protest, but I nodded. This was just too important. We had to get the Element back before Discord found out that his leash was... well, in another castle.

“Yes, Princess.” I said and stepped forward, “Just let me get my gear.”

Chapter 45

“Page, I... there is something...” Luna said softly as she settled my bags across my back, “Please don't go.”

The last five minutes had been somewhat surreal. Luna and Celestia had been having a shouting match in a soundproof bubble.

I know Luna wanted me to stay safe, but this was something I had to do. It was too important not to do. But she seemed... afraid.

“She needs help and I can help. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one with any sort of experience in this.” I reassured her and gave her a quick kiss, “Just keep Skitter from following.”

Luna looked seriously unhappy. She finally nodded though with a small helpless sigh, “...Promise you'll come back?”

“Of course.”

“Bring the thief and the element back. My sister is right, it's too dangerous to leave either of them in that world. They don't belong there, who knows what damage they can cause.”

Giving her a quick nuzzle, I then trotted over to Twilight, “Ready?”

“...Ready. So... you are from another world?”

“Yep. And I'll tell you all about it later, but I think we have something more important to do right now. Lead the way, Princess.”

Taking a deep breath, Twilight walked through the mirror. Then it was my turn.

Slowly walking up, I looked at it before giving it a poke, “Three days to get back.” I said softly as I watched the ripples across the surface. I looked back at Luna, where she was holding a struggling and buzzing Skitter in her magic, and the rest one last time before I walked into the mirror.

I'm so going to have a pissed off changeling on my hooves when I return.

Wonder how many limbs I'll end up with this time? Would I get wings? Wings are cool. I bet there will be pinetrees. There are always pinetrees through portals. ...Or deserts. Let's hope for pinetrees.

Reality warped around me, flattening and twisting, spinning around as it stilled to nothing, a blinding bright black light was all encompassing as everything took on unknowable shapes not meant for a mortal mind for a second before I seemed to pass out.


The first thing that came to mind was that my mouth tasted like asphalt. I could smell asphalt.

Opening my eyes revealed the reason. I was laying on asphalt. Huh.

Well, that explained that.


Struggling to sit up, I looked around. Houses. Trees. Birds. Sounds of cars, music in the distance. The air smelled.. kinda bad.

I raised my hand and wiggled my fingers.


I had fingers.

Struggling to keep my breathing under control, I looked myself over. Jeans, t-shirt. A simple black jacket with parchment markings on it. Two legs. Two arms. Presumably one head even if I couldn't look at it right now.

The fact that I was dressed for some strange reason was pushed to the side by the simple reason that I was human again.

The mirror...

I looked at the statue we were next too before I scooted over to it and pressed my hand through the seemingly stone surface.

The mirror lead to Earth.

They knew.

Luna knew. That's why she didn't want me to go. They knew there was a way back to Earth every three years and they didn't tell me.

She knew.

I felt like I had just been punched.

Closing my eyes, I shook my head and struggled up onto my feet, wobbling slightly. No. Not now. I'll figure it all out later when I can yell at her but the fate of Equestria was still at stake and no matter how much it hurt, it was still more important to get the element back.

Woah, wobbly. Walking on two legs again was tricky.


The sound caused me to turn and look, spotting Twilight freaking out over her new form. Huh, I thought she would be older. She looked like she was in highschool.

“Princess Twilight.” I said, causing her to turn in my direction before squeaking in surprise as she looked at me in fear.

I frowned and extended my hand towards her, “Figure out your new form later. We still have a mission to do.”


“It's me.” I said and pulled her onto her feet, leaving her to wobble in place trying to keep standing before I reached to pick up my bags which were now a satchel and shrugging it over my shoulders, checking the contents. Everything was still here, including my Chakram, gold watch, a couple of books, my dagger... various bits and bobs. Emergency container of tea.

“Where are we?`What are we? Is that her fortress?”

I looked around before turning to the closest building, “In order? Earth, Humans, That's a school. In a English speaking country going by the sign.”

“...Page? You seem kind of angry about something.”

“Furious actually. Now let's go get your McGuffin back.”

Chapter 46


We did end up in front of a school. Might as well look inside. Maybe we could find out something or meet somebody that saw something.

Looking around once more, I headed towards the doors with Twilight in tow.

Pushing the door open, I walked inside, looking around. At least something was going right, it wasn't locked.

Now... if I was Sunset Shimmer, evil apprentice and thief of magic loot, where would I be?

...Running as far away as possible.

Okay, that didn't help.

Well, things seemed clear at least. A quick search of the building and then we move on. We have three days to find the magic bling of doom or we will be stuck here for three years.

I glanced back at Twilight. She was busy looking at her hands, twisting them and wiggling her fingers as she wobbled on her feet.

...Couldn't blame her for that one. I did the same thing for a month after I arrived in Equestria. Leaving her to trail behind for the moment, I turned to the right along the corridor before I paused as I spotted something in a display casing.

My reflection.

I looked like me, just... younger. Huh. So that's why Twilight looked like she was in highschool. The mirror deaged you.

Wait a second, I got a couple of years younger when I arrived in Equestria as well. Does traveling between worlds deage you?

Normally I would call it practical, but at this rate and if that was true, going back to Equestria would end up with me being like... eleven.

Fuck, let's hope I'm wrong. But right now it worked as camouflage at least. A teenager walking around a highschool would hardly draw attention.

Shaking my head, I took Twilight's arm and pulled her away from staring at her own reflection, “No time for that, Princess. Tick, tock. Three days, remember.”

“Ah! Yeah. Of course...” Twilight answered before she paused, “...Where are we going?”

Stopping, I shrugged and was about to answer when a bell rung and suddenly the corridor was teeming with kids running back and forth.

Pulling a staring Twilight to the side, I spoke up, “We need to start somewhere. This was the closest building and if the mirror had the same effect on Sunset Shimmer as it did on us, she might be hiding here, blending into the rest of the population. So we search the school first.”'

Twilight nodded in agreement, “Right. Should we split up?”

The thought of Twilight wandering off alone on Earth crossed my mind. Then everything that could happen did the same followed by me explaining to Princess Celestia that I accidentally got her favorite student run over by a truck.

“How about no.” I quickly answered, “Better stick together. Come on.”

Nodding again, Twilight looked around and followed as we started down the corridor again before rounding the corner.

Down the hallway was a pair of girls, one with pink hair that was being yelled at by the second one, this one wearing a black leather jacket and her hair yellow and red.

The yellow and red haired girl gave the pinkhaired girl a push against the lockers, “What did you say? You are so pathetic, no wonder all your friends are stray animals.”

“Hey! How dare you speak to her like that!?”

...Damn it, Twilight. We have bigger problems than schoolyard bullies. I hate bullies as well, but we have the fate of a world hanging in the balance here.

The bully span around, “What did you say!?”

Sighing, I shook my head and continued on my way as Twilight stalked over towards her.

“I said, how dare you speak to her that way!”

Fine. You handle the bully, I'll search the school.

Continuing along the corridor I continued my search. Damn it. Guess I couldn't blame the Princess of Friendship to have a averse reaction to bullies. I hated them too, but...

...and I just realized I had no idea what this Sunset Shimmer looked like in either pony or human form. Only Twilight did.


I'm such a idiot sometimes. Then again, I have some things on my mind right now so I guess I shouldn't beat myself up too badly for being distracted.

Sighing, I turned around and headed back the way I came.

This was just all so familiar. So familiar.

Reaching the place I left Twilight, I found her talking to the pink haired girl, “P...Twilight?” I asked as I approached.

She span to face me, “Page! That girl! She is Sunset! The yellow and red hair!”

“You are sure?”

Twilight nodded, “Yes!”

Spinning around, I broke into a run.

It didn't take long until I spotted her. Strange hair colors might be in fashion here, but yellow and red kind of stand out anyway.

Stopping running, I slowed down when I saw her. She was heading towards the outside of the school.

Good, maybe I can corner her outside.

Chapter 47

I found her out by the gym and away from the school proper. She was heading along the west side of the building so I ran around it to get ahead of her. Stopping, I took a deep breath.

Okay. I need to do this perfectly or things might get ugly. Damn it, she might be a dangerous unicorn mage in Equestria, but here she look like a teenage girl. I can't fight her!

I glanced down at the parchment patch on my jacket. My special talent was writing stories. Making things up.

Time to make things up and give my best performance since Chrysalis.

“Sunset Shimmer?”

She stopped as I stepped out from around the corner in front of her, my hand in my satchel.

“Who wants to know?”

“My name is Blank Page.” I said, pulling the chakram, holding it carefully around the inner edge while keeping my thumb away from the outer edge, “Warmage, consort and herald of Princess Luna. My orders are to bring you and the Element of Magic back to Equestria.”

Sunsets eyes widened for a second, “Warmage? They are extinct!”

“And still here I am. Where is the element?”

She smirked, “Wouldn't you like to know? What are you going to do, stab me?”

“My orders don't specify in what condition I'm to bring you back in. Whether it's walking or being dragged unconscious and bloodied is up to you.”

“You wouldn't.”

“Try me. My day have been somewhat stressful. I not only found out that my marefriend have been keeping a massive secret from me for years, but then somebody goes and steals the one artifact keeping Discord on his leash and from turning Equestria into popcorn. So please if you would be so kind as to give me a reason to smack a bitch.”

I slowly moved closer and she took a step back,

“I'll scream! They think I'm a normal girl.”

“Think the humans would get here and help fast enough? Go ahead. Trust me, you want to take your chances with Princess Celestia. You can always escape later, right?”

Sunset glanced around and then shot me a death glare before she nodded and ground out a “...I'll go.”

“Good. Now where is the Element of Harmony?”

“Fuck you.”

“Sorry, you are a bit young for that.” I answered with a raised eyebrow. Better not push this any further or she might see through it, “Fine, I'll find the thing myself. Now move.” I ordered, sticking the hand holding my chakram back into the satchel to keep it out of sight.

The way back to the portal was the tensest I had been since... well, since the changeling invasion. Because if we were caught there would be trouble.

I was technically kidnapping somebody. Somehow I don't think the jurisdiction Luna gave me extended to what I think is the United States.

And there was a lot of people around that might notice something was wrong.

Still I kept close to Sunset as we moved back to the portal. Not that I think I would have been able to stab her if she actually caused trouble. She was unarmed and looked like a girl. I just needed her think I would. And if push comes to shove I would still be able to grab her and drag her there. We might look to be similar ages but I was a good deal bigger than she was.

Stopping by the statue she turned towards me to say something. I didn't bother letting her speak and just gave her a hard push.

She disappeared with a yelp of surprise and a couple of ripples.

Letting out a sigh of relief I almost sagged.

Damn it, that could have gone so much worse.


I turned to looked at a worried Twilight, “Was that...?”

“Sunset Shimmer has been sent back to Equestria.” I confirmed with a nod as I let go of the chakram in my bag and rubbed my neck.

Twilight nodded with a small frown, “We still need to get my crown back. I know where it is.”

“Awesome. Where?”

“In Principal Celestias office. They found it and are using it as the price for their Princess of the Fall Formal Dance.”

What? Principal Celestia?

...D'oh. So that's where Sunset Shimmer found the replica. What were the chance they looked the same? Then again, this might be some kind of alternate universe if the Principal was named Celestia.

Sighing, I nodded, “Fine. So there is just one thing to do...”

“Yeah. I need to win that contest.”

I stared at Twilight like she was not making sense , “...No, we need to break in and steal it.”

Did all alicorns use Wisdom as their dump stat or something? Because I'm starting to think that's what's going on in general. Luna should have realized I would have stayed with her even if I knew where the portal went.

“That sounds risky. What if we are caught?”

“Valid point. That's why we wait until tonight. Until then let's find something to eat.”

Twilight hesitated and then nodded, “... I could go for a hayburger right about now.”

I smirked slightly at that, “Sorry Princess, but I have some bad news for you.”

Chapter 48

“Who the fuck is President Jones?” I muttered to myself as I flipped through the newspaper in the library, “And why is he wearing such a silly hat?”

Before him had been President Carmichael. Now, I'm not an expert on American politics, but I'm pretty sure the guy in office when I left Earth had been named Obama.

Sighing, I dropped the newspaper onto the table. So not my Earth. Did Celestia know? I didn't know.

I would just need to ask her.

Fuck. Well, that answered that question at least. I was going back to Equestria. Honestly... even if it had been my Earth, that wasn't in question. I was still fucking pissed at Luna, but...

I still loved her. I had friends there. Better friends than I ever had on Earth, to be honest. But first...

“Did you find out what you needed to know?”

“Yeah. Similar to my Earth but not actually my Earth.”

After selling my gold watch... which was difficult in and of itself. Strangely, not just anyone is willing to buy a gold watch from a random teenager.

I finally managed to sell it for a hundred bucks, though. Pretty sure that was a complete ripoff, but I only needed enough for food and phonecalls.

Calling my family resulted in ending up at a pizza place. Anyone I called ended up at either the wrong person or 'That number is not available'.

So it was research time. Best place for that was the library.

She nodded and looked around. “...You really are from another world?”

I nodded as well. “Yeah. Something similar to this one. There was an accident, and I was stuck in Equestria.”

“Waiting for the mirror to open?”

I scowled at that and shook my head. “No. I was not told about the mirror.”

She stared at me for a second. “...Oh.”

“Yeah. When we go back, I'm going to have a bit of a talk with Luna about that.”

“So you are going back?”

I nodded and sighed. “Of course. This is not my Earth anyway. And Equestria is my home now. Come on, it will be dark soon, I think. I think the library is about to close anyway.”

Twilight nodded and got up, looking at her hand for a second. “This is so strange.”


Walking outside revealed that it was indeed quickly getting towards night. “So... wanna get something more to eat or should we scout out the school?”


I smirked at that. Twilight got a vegetarian salad. I got as many big, thick, medium rate steaks as I could eat.

Twilight had been mildly disgusted by it all, even after I explained that cows here were not actually talking or thinking. I didn't care, it was delicious.


“See anything?” I whispered.

Twilight looked around and then shook her head. “Nothing.”

Shrugging off my jacket, I wrapped it around my hand and the handle of my dagger before I slammed it into the window.

The shattering glass seemed to echo through the night and I quickly removed the shards as quietly as I could before freezing and listening hard.

No sirens, no alarms or yelling.

Still, somebody might have heard something, better hurry.

Putting the jacket over the windowsill so we could safely climb inside, I looked around. “Where is the offices?”

“Uhm... this way. I think.” Twilight said and lead the way through the dark school.

Nodding, I quickly followed along, keeping my head on a swivel. “Better hurry, the police might be on their way already.”




It didn't take long to find the office. It was locked, of course. Luckily, the door also had a window in it! Why do they always have windows in them, that's so stupid.

Breaking it was easy, as was reaching in and unlocking it to let us inside.

“You take the desk, I check the rest of the room.” I said as we entered the principals office. “Don't turn on the lights.”

Luckily, the moon was out tonight, so we had some light to work by other than the emergency signs.

I started to check the shelves and drawers. Not there, not there, not there... bottle of booze. Half empty as well.

If I had to handle teenagers all day, I would probably need a drink from time to time too.

A picture on the wall drew my attention. Celestia as she would look as a human. Still tall, her hair the same colors. Next to her was...

Luna. Human Luna. She was beautiful.

Shaking my head, I continued searching. She and I needed to have a talk when I returned.

“Page! I found it!”


Red and blue light started to flash outside the windows. Damn, there might have been a silent alarm. And it's so embarrassing that human Celestia had better security than the Alicorn version.


“It's the Guard. We need to get out of here and I just had a really bad idea on how to do it.”

Chapter 49

“Fuck the police!” I yelled loudly as I spotted the cops before I started to run.

“Hey! Stop!”

The cops ran after me, straight past Twilight's hiding place. Just as planned. We needed to get her and the Element back to Equestria.

The plan was working exactly as planned. Shit, it's working exactly as planned! The cops were now completely after me!

Now I just need to bring them on a merry chase for a while and loop around to the portal. I chanced a glance backwards. Damn, for a pair of old fat guys, they could really run!

Taking a turn around a corner, I quickly started around the school, running as fast as I could before taking a quick left behind the bushes on the grounds as soon as I was out of sight and stopping, struggling to keep my breathing under control.

Listening hard, I could hear footsteps run past and disappear.

Close one.

Waiting another fifteen seconds, I started to sneak back the way we came. Hopefully that was enough to get Princess Twilight through the portal unchallenged.

Better risk me getting caught than that she was. We HAD to get her and the element back to Equestria at all costs.

“Stop right there, you little punk!”

I glanced back and started to book it again. Damn it, they figured it out!

Running back the way we came, I once again rounded the school and headed straight for the statue. Running around it, I stopped and gasped for breath for a couple of seconds before I turned and walked through the rock side of the mirror.

Reality twisted and warped around me as things stretched out to a tiny point and everything went white.


Slowly returning to consciousness, I stirred, forcing my eyes open. I was laying on the floor in front of the mirror.


Luna was suddenly next to me, helping me up with her magic, her wing going across my back. “You came back, you are safe!”

Letting out a breath, I nodded and looked myself over. Nope, same age as when I left. Fuck inter-dimensional physics if there even was such a thing. It didn't make any sense.

“Yeah.” I answered. “Twilight, the crown, Sunset?”

“Sunset is wearing a dampening ring and is locked in the dungeons. Twilight and her crown are safe.” Luna reassured me. “Page...”

“Don't.” I said, looking around. The room was empty aside from a glaring Skitter at the other end of it. She was probably about as happy with me as I was with Luna.

Channeling my magic, I cast a bubble of silence around us before I pulled away from Luna, glaring up at her. “Explain.”

She reared back slightly. “I... I asked Celestia about it. After you first showed me humans in your dreams. The magical energy of the mirror is similar to the one that sent you to Equestria, but it's not identical, it is similar, we knew that. She thought we were to wait with telling you about it until it opened. Give you the option to stay or go there but... if you knew too early it would make it harder for you to adapt to life in Equestria.”

“And when we got together? You should have told me.”

“I know. I was going to.” Luna said quietly. “I just... I just was afraid. It was your home. Or closer to it than Equestria, in any case. We didn't want to lose you.”

I slowly shook my head. “Luna... I'm not sure what to say to you right now.”

“I'm sorry.”

“I know.” I sighed and closed my eyes before I shook my head again. “In three years when it opens again, I'm going through it...”

Luna looked like I had just slapped her. “...Oh...” she said softly, swallowing.

“...to get some things.” I finished, looking up at her. “Luna... I told you before. Equestria is my home now. Even if that did lead back home, I'm staying in Equestria.”

“Page, I...”

“That doesn't mean I'm happy with you.” I stated before I moved up and gave her a quick nuzzle. “I love you, Luna. But I'm still angry with you. So perhaps it's best if we stay apart for a while.”

Luna swallowed and blinked, starting to tear up. I quickly looked away. If I saw her crying, I would fold like a wet blanket.

“I'm going to travel Equestria for the summer.” I said as I turned away from her. “When I get back to Canterlot, we will talk.”

“I'm so sorry, Page.”

“I know.” I sighed before I left the bubble of silence. “Come on, Skitter. Let's see when the next train leaves for Equestria.”

The changeling was blinking in confusion as she looked between me and Luna before she nodded. “...Yes, sir.”

Chapter 50

Rolling over, I punched my pillow before I sighed, trying to get comfortable. As it turned out, the next train back to Equestria didn't leave until tomorrow so it was back to the castle.

Skitter had volunteered her room. At first I refused, at least until she revealed that she didn't actually use her bed. No, she was currently sleeping beneath the bed. Same place she had been sleeping since we first arrived in the Crystal Empire.

Sometimes I just don't get changelings.


Damn it. I rolled over again, closing my eyes tight. I felt horrible.

I was still angry at her, but... I mostly missed her. Missed her warmth next to me. Damn it, it had not even been a full day yet.

No! I'm angry with her. What she did was wrong, she should have told me.

I rolled over again and curled up. But the look on her face when I told her that I was going to go back...

There was a soft scraping sound before the bed moved beneath me as another weight settled onto it, scooting closer until her hard side was against mine.


I sighed, “Yes, Skitter?”

“You taste horrible.”

I couldn't help but chuckle at that as I opened my eyes to look at her in the dim light, “Thank you. Yes, I figure I am.”

She turned her head and looked towards the door, “Princess Luna tastes even worse.”

Sighing, I nodded, “...I figure she would.”

“It's a kind of spicy burned taste.”

“Skitter, do you have a point you are getting to any time soon?” I asked, turning a bit more to look at her.

She shifted slightly, her wings doing a small buzz, “You should go to her. You love her and she loves you. All this is doing is making you both miserable.”

“I'm still angry about what she did.”

“And she feels horrible over it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go to her. Leaving is the wrong thing to do right now.”

Trust a changeling to know what to do with emotions.

“...Damn it, Skitter.”

She remained silent, just looking at me with those big green eyes. She seemed... worried.

“You are right.” I sighed after a moment, “I'm going to go talk to her. Thank you.”

“Thank me by not doing something stupid like going into that mirror again..” Skitter said, her wings buzzing slightly.

I grimaced slightly at that, “...Sorry.”

“If you don't, I might take a cue from Princess Luna on how to keep you in line and my teeth are sharper than hers.”

I quickly flattened my ears against my head, “I'll be good.”


I hesitated by the door across the hall before I carefully pushed it open. The room was dead silent and dark, only the moon outside was lighting it up.

Carefully I crossed the room before jumping onto the bed, “Luna?”

She shifted beneath the covers, raising her head to look at me, “Page?”

Lighting my horn up, I slid in next to her until my side was against hers, “...I'm sorry.” I whispered softly, “I shouldn't have left like that.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for.” Luna whispered softly, her wing settling over my back, “I was the one at fault. I should never had hidden something like that from you in the first place. I swear I will never hide anything from you ever again.”

Leaning softly against her warmth, I shook my head, “Don't do that. Luna, you are a Princess. There are going to be things I'm not cleared to know. Or even should know. I was just so hurt when I found out.”

Luna shifted and gave my ear a small nuzzle, “I'm sorry.” she whispered softly, “First it was too early, then I was afraid to lose you. In the end, I didn't know how to tell you about the mirror. It was wrong.”

Nodding, I shifted to give her a small nuzzle back, “I'll forgive you on one condition.”

“Anything, My Page.”

“Once the portal open again, you come through with me.” I said, “I want to show you... well, it is not my world. But I want to show you Earth and it's likely as close we can get.”

“I will. I promise.”

Settling down, I rested my head against the bed as Luna shifted, resting her head against my neck.

“I'll cancel my ticket for tomorrow.” I finally said, “I'll stick to the original plans.”

“...There are some things I want to teach you before you leave.” Luna murmured against my neck, “Dream magic, make it easier for us to talk while you are away.”


Author's Notes:

I would like to thank everyone for reading this. Sadly, this is the last part of this story for now, but I plan to write a sequel at some point in the future.

I have plenty of ideas still for future adventures, but that have to wait until later.

If anyone happen to care, I have patreon that you can find here: https://www.patreon.com/Hiver

And if anyone want something else to read that I have written, I have another series here: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/not-quite-shodan-st-si.4550/ Star Trek, not ponies, but still.

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