Something to live for

by ChappyHooves

Chapter 1

Scarlet awoke slowly. Which was strange for her, her whole life she awoke to an alarm clock. Even on the days when she had nothing to wake up for she’d set an alarm so as not to oversleep. But this morning when she awoke she heard no ticking of an alarm clock by the night stand.

In fact there was no clock or night stand. Where was she? She forced her still dreary eyes open wider and saw an unfamiliar room. She almost went into a panic when she realized something was resting on her shoulder and there was another sound in the room.

She took a startled, deep breath in through her nostrils. Suddenly her brain was finally conscious to recollected where she was and what had happened yesterday.


She had not moved, not for the rain, or the thunder, or the pain that had slowly been increasingly growing in her limbs. she had not moved.

The smell of dirt had now turned to the smell of mud and dampness. It was not the fresh fertile smell of dirt she had learned to enjoy on her family’s farm. This dirt smell had an old taste to it that carried the slight wisp of decay.

The smell did not bother Scarlet however, she was standing in a graveyard after all. A graveyard that had seen too many living ponies mourn the loss of their loved ones. A graveyard that for a time being was the final resting place for many country ponies, but had now become a great landmark of all of Equestria. This graveyard was the final resting place of the royal sisters, Luna and Celestia.

Scarlet stood, her armor still wet from the natural elements. She had not seen a single military pony since she set foot in here in Ponyville. All were either dead, MIA/AWOL, or so far away that is would take weeks for them to get home. All that was left was Scarlet and only Scarlet.

In truth the fighting was over, now ponykind had a new battle to take on; one of rebuilding and recovering.

Scarlet was never a leader, she was a soldier, or more accurately a guardian. All that was left of what she swore to protect was here. Her mind was miasma of grief, sense of duty, and force of will, all kept in check by one overriding idea that seemed to conquer her thoughts and emotions. That idea was she was a guard, and her job was to stand at attention, ever watchful and solid.

The sound of hooves approached, Scarlet did not move, not even her eyes. The pony will enter her field of vision soon.

She figured it was another mourner. Many had come over the last few days. Some came to see their loved ones, other to see the royal sisters, most of them did both. All of them never questioned Scarlet standing there in her armor, guarding the tombs. One elderly mare even told her quietly “thank you” after she placed a few flowers on Celestia’s grave. Scarlet said nothing to her, but did find her words encouraging.

The pony that stepped into her field of vision was not an elderly mare or an orphaned colt. The pony was someone who she knew, a stallion that went by the name of High Score.

“Scarlet,” he said, approaching her..

She did not respond, half of her mind resilient from years of guard service, the other half glazed over in fatigue.

“Scarlet I know you're listening.” He said to her again, stopping in front of her. “You’ve been here for now for four days.”

Four? Scarlet’s mind pondered. No. He’s exaggerating. He’s just trying to make me break. Just like what he’s alway done whenever he saw me on duty.

“Scarlet,” he said again almost pleading. “I know why you are doing this. And I know that you’re probably thinking I’m just here trying to beat you again, please I’m not here to settle the score. I’m here because I want to talk to you.”

Scarlet said nothing, her will was not going to be broken, especially not by him.

Scarlet had met High Score a few years back at the Ponyville inn. She had single handedly put him in his place in a game of cards. Little did she know it sparked what was an obsession in him. He for the last few years he found out who she was, where she was from, and more importantly what competitive medium he could challenge her in.

The two of them had played, video games, tennis, fencing, hoof races, and even chess. Every single time Scarlet would eventually come out the victor or lose in some way that did not satisfy High Score. It didn’t take long for Scarlet to realize that High Score’s feelings for her had gone from an angered rivalry, to an estranged competitive love.

The times she did accept his challenges, it was so she could placate him for a short time so he would leave her alone. She had no time for his games now.

“You’re hurting, Scarlet.” He said to her. “Both yourself and to those who care about you. I know you, you were the best guard for the two of them, but now they are gone.”

Scarlet held back a retort, No she was not going to be broken.

“You’ve done more than what anypony expected of you, even the princesses would agree. You’re done here, there is nothing left.”

Scarlet almost scoffed, he was going the wrong way to convince her to leave. His last words only made her want to stay even longer.

High Score looked deeply into her eyes. Scalet was glad she was taller than him, she just kept staring forward over his head.

“Your family needs you,” he said finally. “If they weren’t so busy tending to fixing the farm they would be here instead of me. They in fact mentioned you last night, your aunt and your cousin. There was a town meeting last night in the square. A few of the ponies were electing who to take leadership roles while we rebuild.”

Scarlet listened while she stayed stone solid. She was interested in the news of the town, and hearing of her aunt Apple Bloom and cousin Apple Crisp had only peaked her interest.

“A few folks mentioned that we needed a some kind of officer of peace or a sheriff to keep us orderly,” High Score spoke with an almost eagerness to his voice. “Your little cousin was the first to speak up. Her voice seemed to rise above the crowd. She said mom cousin Gala! She can do it. She protected the princesses and knows how to keep ponies following the rules. She’s a great foalsitter for me, I just know being the town sheriff would be a perfect job for her.”

Scarlet swallowed, that would be something her cousin would say. She thought of the world of Scarlet. She had foalsat for her a couple of times and the little filly was not afraid to speak her mind.

“All the ponies seemed in favor of the idea but not a single one had the heart to come here and break your watch. Everyone really admires what you are doing here. But most of them don’t know that you haven’t left your watch since you first started days ago. I’ve been keeping track, that’s why I volunteered to come talk to you.”

Scarlet briefly moved her jaw to say something but resisted again. There were ponies who looked up to her, she would not let them down.

“Scarlet,” he said gently. “The Canterlot code of conduct states the maximum watch time for a soldier at a tomb or memorial is twenty hours, at that point another must relieve them of duty. If none is present then the soldier may leave their watch to rest and recuperate.”

Scarlet took a small breath, what was he doing quoting the code of conduct? How did he even know them?

“You’ve done your duty! You have done it beyond your expectations. But now you are no longer protecting the princesses, you're only hurting yourself. Your armor is starting to lose it’s shine, undoubtedly from the rain. It’s only going to rust.”

Scarlet did not want to think of that, in her mind she was all that was left of the royal guard. She was not going to let the ideals which those ponies died for die as well.

“When was the last time you ate? Your lips looked chapped, when was the last time you even drank something?” High Score asked her.

Scarlet had been battling the feelings of hunger and thirst for so long she had almost become numb to it, but his words seemed to give them a new strength. She felt a heavier wave of the two over take her, it felt painful.

“Scarlet!” He said more pointedly. “Look at you, you are suffering here! This isn’t about the princesses, or your duty. This is about your grief. Scarlet, have you said goodbye to them? To the princesses? Or more importantly your family? Your father’s grave is just over there, have you had a chance to mourn his passing?”

He pointed a hoof.

Scarlet wanted to look over at the grave. She felt a few muscles in her neck twitch. Her resolve was weakening. She needed to stay strong.

“You mom’s is not far away. Her grave is just one a row behind his. Have you had a chance to tell her you love he, and miss her?”

High Score fell silent he seemed to be holding back his emotions as well.

“I never knew about you and her,” he said in a quivering voice. “You’re Ms. Cheerilee’s daughter. Your aunt Apple Bloom told me that just last night. I... I... Never knew.”

High Score sniffed.

“She was my teacher, you know? Taught me how to read and do math. I never knew what happened to her when she left. An here I find out she became a mom, your mom. But it’s too late to talk to her or ask her how she... is...”

High Score stopped, rubbed his eyes, and took a couple of deep breaths.

“I’ve lost my family too. All of them, and it just hurts even more to know the others I knew are gone too. Scarlet, tell me, do you miss her too? Your mother? Because I do. It’s stupid but I remember how she told us nearly every day that we can become wonderful. And I just...”

High Score could not continue, his emotions had finally overtook him. Scarlets gaze dropped down to him, as her broke down crying.

Scarlet felt like she had been just stabbed by a spear. The only person who told Scarlet about her mother back when she taught elementary school was her aunt Apple Bloom. She didn’t want High Score to stop. She wanted to hear more about her, she want to know everything about her.

Scarlet's mind flashed to the memory of the day a few weeks ago when she discovered her mother had not survived the fall. She felt her shoulders starting to shake. Her memory tumbled back further to the day Equestria had lost their princesses. The memories seemed to continue to flood back into her mind, the fall of Canterlot, the death of her father, the lost of her half sisters.

Scarlet’s eye blurred with a stream of tears, and she felt a pained cry escaped her throat. She had finally broke, any sense of duty, control or focus was finally washed away by a suami of sorrow. Her legs buckled and she felt her body tumble down.

She did not feel the hard ground of the cobble stones she was expecting to hit. Something had wrapped around her chest, and braced her for a softer landing on the ground. Her head fell forward over the mass the seemed to have stopped her, and her helmet fell off onto the ground with a thud.

She let out another cry, it was joined by a sob at her neck.

High Score, had caught her when she collapsed and was now on the cold ground with her, cradling her in his forearms, crying with her.

Scarlet had lost all control, her cries seemed to overtake her. They were not loud, but sorrowful. High Score held her and cried as well, which in turn seemed to only perpetuate Scarlet’s tears as well.

It felt like a life time had passed for Scarlet to come more to her senses. The first thing she realized that High Score’s hoof was gently stroking the back of her neck, he seemed to had quieted down and now just holding her. His fore hooves were firmly around her, causing some the shaper parts of her armor to jab into her sore sides.

Scarlet had stopped sobbing, but her tears were still flowing, her body unable to summon the strength to make any more noise.

High Score shifted his grip so the side of her face rested his chest. She heard the sound of a zipper of his saddle bag open up, and a lid of a canteen pop open.

“Here,” he said placing something cool to her lips. “Drink, you need to get some of you strength back.”

Like a helpless child Scarlet opened her hungry mouth. The canteen was full of a semi thick liquid, it wasn't until her third swallow that Scarlet found out she was drinking carrot juice. By that time she realized what it was and she greedily grabbed the canteen in her own hooves and swallowed the remaining contents in two more gulps.

“Here, this one’s water.” High Score said softly bringing out another canteen.

Scarlet pulled off the lid and drank with a thirst she had never felt before. The canteen drained too quickly and was nowhere near a much to quench her thirst.

Scarlet felt a new sense of wakefulness from the juice and the water. What was worse the return of her senses also took away her numbness to the physical pain she was experiencing.

“My flat is only a few blocks away, I have a fire some food, and a warm place to rest.” He whispered to her.

Scarlet felt a small voice in her mind want to push him away and tell him she was not the kind of girl. Her aching limbs and the fact that the only place that the only thing that could be considered her home, Sweet Apple Acres was two miles outside the opposite side of town, made her give a small nod of approval.


Scarlet did not know how she was able to make it to High Score’s home, all she knew was she had to force her joints to move, High Score at her side the entire way, telling her they were almost there, just one step after another.

The flat had a welcoming smell to it, High Score had left food warming in the oven for them.

He sat her down in a chair by his small dining room table and placed a full pitcher of water and a glass in front of her.

Scarlet drank half the pitcher’s contents, while High Score carefully removed the rest of her armor. Scarlet winced at her raw exposed skin as he pulled off the last pieces.

“Oh, you’re bleeding.” He said in shock when he looked under her shoulder piece. “Have some lasagna, I’ll get something to put on your wounds.”

High Score placed a plate of lasagna and salad in front of her. The lasagna was one of those frozen pre-made lasagnas ponies bought at the store and the salad was of the bagged variety. The kind of food the Canterlot elite was would not be caught dead eating. But Scarlet ravenously ate and found the lasagna was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted, it had a spinach a squash filling.

High Score came back with a first aid kit and treated her shoulders. The ointment and the salve stung but Scarlet just stayed focused on the food while he treated her. When he was done he sat down and joined her. Without saying a word High Score severed her seconds before he started eating himself.

Scarlet ate hungrily, but slower this time. The two of them did not speak. Scarlet did not know what to say, her mind was still wracked. She was now also battling the feeling of failure having left her post. She eventually settled her thoughts back to just eating, and kept her eyes down on her plate.

She heard a sound, it was High Score pushed his half full plate in front of her. She didn’t say anything, she just continued eating as she heard him stand up and take her empty plate over to the sink.

When she finished her third helping she finally felt full. It was a good feeling, the first good feeling she had felt for days.

“Your mane is a mess.” He said behind her. “Come on I’ll draw you a bath.”

He placed a gentle hoof on her shoulder, helped her stand, and lead her towards his bedroom.

High Score sat her down by the bed while he went over to his tiny bathroom that sat adjacent to his bedroom and started the faucet on the tub.

Scarlet felt the soft bed beneath her. She could almost literally hear her muscles cry out for her to lay down and let them rest. With combination of the sound of the running water, her fatigue, the warmth of the room, and her full stomach Scarlet finally surrendered to her desires, placed her head on the pillow, and fell completely asleep.


That was was the last thing Scarlet remembered before waking up. She was still in High Score’s room, on his bed, with the feeling chafed armor sores still throbbing. A warm quilt had been placed on top of her, and draped on top of that was High Score’s forearm. The sound of the light steady breathing behind her confirmed it was him.

The two of them must have slept like this for Celestia knows how long.

She felt an immediate urge to buck High Score out of the bed, find her armor, and run out of the building. She rolled over ready to sock him in the face when she saw something that stopped her.

Resting on the pillow right above his head was a feather. It was not a downy feather that typically came from pillows, but a large white pristine one. The feather looked exactly like one of the feathers of... no... that’s impossible... she was gone.

She gaze drifted down to High Score’s face. As he continued sleeping everything she remembered him saying and doing yesterday resurfaced into her memory. She felt her heart pour out to the sleeping stallion beside her. Her urge to buck him had been completely replaced with the urge to hold him closer, and drift back to sleep.

She reached for the feather and took it in her hoof.

High Score stirred, his eyes slightly opening.

The only word Scarlet was able to whisper to him was.


“Hi,” he sighed back.

“Sorry to wake you,” she said lifting up the quilt she was under and draping it over him as well. “I know we have a few things to talk about. But could we, just for now, go back to sleep? We’ll talk later.”

Scarlet pulled him in closer, she felt his forehooves pulling her to him as well, the two of them locking into an embrace.

“Sure,” he said sleepily placing his face under her chin. “I’d like that very much.”

Scarlet layed there for a moment with High Score in her forearms. She looked at the white feather she was still holding in her hoof.

She was not one to believe or speculate on the supernatural, granted she did live in a world of magic and unicorns. Scarlet knew deep down that feather was placed there for her for a reason, but the way how it got there was not important.

She admired the feather for a while, and then snuggled a little closer to the stallion in her arms, kissed him on the forehead, and drifted back to sleep as well.

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