When Duty Calls

by ChappyHooves

Chapter 1: When Duty Calls

When Duty Calls

by Chappy Hooves

A fanfic inspired by and about the original character Scarlet Gala,

by Coyoterainbow on DeviantART

Scarlet Gala stood at attention in the luxurious private quarters of Princess Celestia. Her golden armor hung snugly over her dark fuchsia coat. She had a unique muscular build for a female earth pony, she stood taller than most stallions, and the armor only accented her appearance.

“I said you may stand at ease, Lieutenant.” The princess said calmly.

“Thank you, Your Majesty, but this posture keeps me quite at ease.” Scarlet said back in a crisp, polite tone.

“Very well,” Celestia said using her horn magic to levitate up a scroll.

Scarlet stayed at attention, while the princess silently read the scroll. After a few quiet moments the princess placed it on the table next to the grand fireplace, and looked up at her.

Scarlet’s posture did not falter, but she could feel her pulse start to rise. She knew the princess's request to see her this late in her chambers was not a good sign.

“I have read your superior officer’s report.” The princess said glancing down at the scroll she had just put down. The table it was on had many other papers and scrolls on it, Scarlet could only guess they all related to her.

Scarlet remained unwavering. She felt a lump form in her throat, and fought every urge to swallow it.

“I have called you here because I feel that something is missing from it.” The princess said turning towards the fire, her back now to Scarlet.

Scarlet finally took a swallow, now that the princess was not watching, but she kept her hooves firmly planted to the spot.

“I find it hard to believe a soldier with your credentials and flawless service record, could have just simply trotted away from their post, like she simply forgot about it.”

“Your Highness, I take full responsibility for my actions today.” Scarlet said not dropping her posture. “Captain Shining Armor’s report is completely accurate of my failure in my duties.”

Celestia turned around to face her, and sat back on her haunches.

“I have no doubt in the Captain’s abilities in telling me where you were not. What I wish to know, is the details on where you, the newest member of my escort, were.”

“For the remaining time I am in service to you, My Princess, I will do as you command.”

Celestia looked down at Scarlet with a soft look.

“I am not commanding you, Scarlet. I am asking you, what happened today?”


Scarlet stood at her post outside the Canterlot winery. She had been assigned to the princess's escort guard for only a month, and being the rookie in the group she got stuck with the tedious work. Today she was assigned to watch the cellar door of the winery, while the princess attended a charity dinner inside with a few of the Canterlot social elite.

Scarlet did not argue or say anything about her post during the briefing, she was always calm and patient.

Her mother, since she was little, always laughed at her about her calm and quiet demeanor. She told Scarlet it was a trait she picked up from her father, along with his tall and strong build.

Scarlet never knew her father. She knew of him though: his name was Big Macintosh, he was a massively build earth pony, he worked on one of Equestria’s largest apple farms in Ponyville, he was calm and soft spoken pony (just like her), he never met or knew Scarlet was his foal, he was in fact married to another mare in Ponyville, and had a children of his own.

Scarlet got this information from the bits and pieces she learned from her mother when she was young, and what she saw when she read official palace records after she became a guard.

Big Macintosh’s younger sister, Applejack, was a bearer of one of the Elements of Harmony, and had paid many visits to the palace with her friends. What made things even more complicated for Scarlet was Big Macintosh’s wife, a pegasus named Fluttershy, was a bearer of an element as well.

Scarlet never saw her father himself in attendance in court, but she was not at all surprised by it. By what she understood he was a humble, salt of the earth type. He would not have any business nor fit in well with the court of Canterlot. Furthermore, Scarlet never felt any need to connect with any of the Elements of Harmony, even if one of them was technically her aunt.

Scarlet had family of her own, her mother.

Scarlet’s mother, an earth pony named Cheerilee, was once a school teacher in Ponyville. She was indeed Big Macintosh’s lover for many years until she got a new job at the Canterlot School of Magic as a history teacher.

Sure enough, less than a year in to her new job, Cheerilee had given birth to Scarlet and the two of them have been living happily in Canterlot for all of Scarlet’s life.

Scarlet was a Canterlot filly through in though. When off duty she could mingle with the highest of the pony society, and conduct herself as a perfect lady at any dinner. She’d even gone as far as legally change her name from Scarlet Glade, a simple country name, to Scarlet Gala, a name that indeed reflected more elegance and appreciation in Canterlot.

Scarlet loved the busyness of Canterlot and intricacies of its ponies and culture. Her quietness allowed her to fully take in all the sights and sounds of her home town, thereby earning her cutie mark of a red hawk.

Her large earth pony build made her a perfect soldier. So naturally when she came of age, she signed up to join the guard. Over the last few years she had worked her rank up from a lowly city guard, to a palace guard, to finally a royal escort guard.

Scarlet loved her job, loved Canterlot, and loved to be in the presence of the Princesses Luna and Celestia.

At this moment right now, however, Scarlet was not within the presence of the princesses, but guarding a cellar door. Not the front door mind you, but the cellar door at the side of the building, tucked away in an alley. A cellar door that was double bolted and sealed magically by the best security unicorns in all of Equestria.

Scarlet stood at an intersection between two alleyways adjacent to the Canterlot main market. To her left, the alley went a few feet and opened up to the busy marketplace. In front of her, Scarlet could see a t-intersection, where the alleyway went left in to the marketplace, and right in to the deeper backstreets of Canterlot.

Scarlet had a keen eye and a good ear. From where she stood, she could see and hear a good portion of the marketplace, and if she focused hard enough, she could pick out individual conversations of ponies who were haggling and buying different goods.

Scarlet stayed at attention, listening to one pony after another until a particular voice caught her ear.

“Now stay close you two. This place can get very busy and ah don’t wanta lose ya!”

Scarlet knew the accent, it had the southern drawl of the country folk of Ponyville.

Scarlet did not flinch a muscle, but her eyes darted back and forth until she saw in the crowd a familiar orange colored mare in a cowgirl hat, leading two small fillies behind her.

Scarlet knew, beyond any reason of a doubt, that the hat and the voice belong to Applejack, the Bearer of Honesty, and her biological aunt.

The two fillies that were following her were very young, they didn’t even have their cutie marks yet. One filly was a pegasus with a very light red coat, the other was a peach colored earth pony.

The pegasus stayed close to Applejack, while the little peach one seemed to be trailing behind, bedazzled with the sights and sounds of the market.

“Auntie AJ, are we gonna go to the doughnut shop soon?” The little peach filly asked Applejack.

Auntie AJ? Scarlet pondered to herself. So that means the little one is...

“Now you and your sister stay close now, Tater. Ah’ll be more than willing to treat ya to a doughnut once we meet up your mother.”

Sister! Scarlet’s thoughts seem to scream at her. They’re twins!

Scarlet stood firm, but her mind was already racing with her new discovery. Those two fillies were her half sisters!

Scarlet never had any siblings, her mother never chose to marry, or have any more foals. She was busy enough raising Scarlet and holding down her job.

Scarlet did always wonder what it would be like to have a younger sibling, especially a sister. She imagined they would have shared gossip about the locals, and give each other pointers on the recent fads.

Scarlet blinked her eyes tightly.

What was she thinking? She is a guard for the princess, she didn’t have time to fantasize about family members she never had. She needed to be ready, active, and aware of her surroundings. The crown and the country depended on her.

Scarlet mentally snapped back to her guard position, focusing on her duty at hand. She locked her eyes forward, and focused her listening to away from Applejack and her nieces and back to the quiet alley surrounding her.

After a good solid twenty minuets or so she felt she had successfully cleared her mind of the fillies when she heard a noise.

Down the alley in front of her a small orange cat had knocked over a trash bin and darted across the intersection, away from the marketplace.

Next Scarlet heard the sound of young hooves galloping down the alleyway, and saw the young peach filly Applejack called Tater, rush past in the direction the cat went.

“KITTY!” The little filly screamed with glee, and disappeared out of sight.


Scarlet saw Tater’s sister run after her, her little wings flapping in panic.

Scarlet took a breath, waiting for any moment to hear Applejack to come running down the alley after the two of them. But she heard no such noise.

The sound she did hear scared her.

“He he he, today must be my lucky day. Two little fillies, with no one watching over them.”

The voice came from a greasy, grey colored unicorn stallion who was wearing a brown cloak that covered his cutie mark. He quietly followed after them, his expression and voice ringing out all sorts of wrong to Scarlet.

Scarlet turned her head towards the marketplace, finally breaking the frozen position she had been holding for nearly three hours.

She could not see Applejack or anypony in the marketplace showing signs that anything was wrong.

She stood there, briefly, calculating the situation. Her mind quickly reached a decision.

Scarlet took off down the alley, her long legs bounding over the topped trash bins at an accelerated speed.

She stopped at the intersection where she saw the three of them cross, and looked left in to the the marketplace. Applejack was no where to be found.

Scarlet took a quick right in the direction the three of them went. The alleys twisted down in to the darker streets of Canterlot. The path turned sharply left, then straight, and then right. Finally, Scarlet stopped at an intersection softening her hoof steps, her ears darting every which way, listening.

“Tater?” She heard the little filly’s voice with a sound of panic. “Where are you?”

Scarlet glanced down one of the turns, and saw the stallion was creeping up behind the pegasus, holding a small club up with his horn magic, about to hit the unaware filly.

“Stop!” Scarlet shouted at him.

The little pegasus turned around at the sound, saw the threatening stallion that was stalking behind her, and screamed.

The stallion reeled around at Scarlet, his expression seething.

Scarlet bolted down the alleyway, with a single move, she turned and bucked at the stallion.

The stallion dodged out of the way, but dropped his club he was holding with his magic.

Scarlet anticipated his move and gave another buck at the stallion, making a careful aim this time to get him right between his hind legs.

Her hooves make contact with a satisfying squish, followed by a crunch.

The stallion gave a horrified gurgle and collapsed on the spot.

Scarlet took a moment to catch her breath. The little pegasus, with a pale expression, stared down at the other pony, tears of fear running down her face.

Scarlet was glad the filly was okay, but at the moment didn’t know what to say to her; she was never good with kids.

Just then a streak of peach flew by by her and flung her for arms over the little pegasus.


Scarlet saw the pegasus hug her sister back. Seeing the two together, safe, and holding each other, made Scarlet feel a little better.

As the two fillies comforted each other, Scarlet glanced around the alleyway, she noticed up in the sky two city guards were flying by.

Scarlet gave a loud whistle and signaled two pegasus.

“Whats going on here?” The first one asked as they landed.

“What’s going on here, Ma’am!” The other said to him motioning with his head at the royal armor Scarlet was wearing.

“Oh my!” The first one said embarrassed. “Ma’am, how can we be of assistance?”

“This stallion was about to harm this filly and do Luna knows what to her.” Scarlet said with an almost haunting calm in her voice. “These two fillies should be in the care of a pony named Applejack, who should be currently looking for them in the market: an earth mare, orange coat, cowgirl hat, and three apple cutie mark.”

“I’ll find her, Ma’am!” The first pegasus said and took off.

“You two will be okay.” Scarlet told the fillies, finally finding something to say. “We’re gonna find your aunt and your mother.” She tried to sound comforting to them.

The other pegasus checked out the injured stallion on the ground.

“Quite a job you did on the scum bag! Say, how did you get here? Shouldn't you be guarding the princess? Did you just get off duty or something?”

“THE PRINCESS!” Scarlet said with an immediate panic, she had left her post without telling anypony. “OH NO!”

Scarlet immediately took off in a full gallop back toward the winery.

“Wait,” the little filly named Tater cried out to her. “You didn’t tell us your name!"

Scarlet arrived back at her post a few minutes later, Captain Shining Armor was standing at attention, in the very spot she should have been standing.

“Sir!” Scarlet addressed him with a salute.

“Lieutenant explain yourself, why you leave this post?”

“There were these fillies who were chasing a cat-”

“Were these fillies part of your guard detail?” Shining Armor cut her off and glared at her.
"No sir,"
"Where are they now?"
"With the city guard. I contacted them and once I knew they were safe I reported back here."
"You didn't bother to call the guards from your post here?" Armor did not sound the least impressed.
"Err," was all Scarlet could get out."
“Lieutenant, I'm disappointed with you! We did not swear an oath to protect cats and fillies! We all took on this armor and duty to protect crown and country. I need clearheaded soldiers who can stay by their orders and not get distracted. I'm relieving you of your post. You are hereby restricted to your palace quarters until your hearing is scheduled. I suggest you get your flank there now, before I call Clover and Ironsodd to escort you. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?”

“Yes sir.”

"Dismissed, soldier!"

Scarlet quickly returned to her quarters in the palace, and spent the rest of the day going over the incident in her mind.

Did she do the right thing? On the one hand she did abandon her post, but on the other she protected the well being of two young fillies.

The darker voice in her head told her she had let her personal feelings get in the way of her duty. The reason she had acted so hastily was because she knew she had a blood connection to the two foals. If it they were any other children, she would a simply called for the city guard in the marketplace to investigate there by not leaving her post.

Her personal feelings and loyalty to duty seemed to wrestle and torture her in to the late afternoon, she could not eat or relax.

Eventually, there was a knock on her door.

“Enter,” Scarlet said standing at attention.

Shining Armor entered the room, with a disappointed look on his face. Scarlet remained silent ad let him speak.

“You are scheduled to appear at your hearing at ten this evening.” He said very sternly, removing his helmet.

Scarlet gave a nod.

“It will be held in Princess Celestia's personal chambers. She requested to handle this herself.” Shining Armor said with a disappointed sigh.

Scarlet felt her world crumble around her.


“So,” The princess said levitating a cup of tea up to her mouth. “Here you are.”

Scarlet had finished her story to the princess, telling her the things she had witnessed, leaving out all personal feelings, and more importantly leaving out her own discovery of the her family connection with the twins.

“Do you know who’s fillies they were?” Celestia asked.

“I could surmise they were the nieces of Lady Applejack, Your Majesty.” Scarlet said respectfully.

“Yes, and do you know who their mother is?"

Scarlet felt a little uneasy in her tone, but did not show it.

“If security records are right, that would be Lady Fluttershy.”

Celestia floated up two more scrolls up from the table and glanced at them.

“Making their father a stallion named Big Macintosh.” Celestia said looking up from one of the scrolls with a pleasant smile.

Scarlet could feel her gaze piecing her.

There was only one pony in all of Canterlot who knew who her father was, and that was her mother. Yet, Scarlet felt like Celestia was probing her very thoughts of that very information.

Celestia held her gase for a while then gave a sigh.

“Scarlet, could I speak freely to you?” Celestia asked putting her tea and scrolls down.

“Your Highness, you do not need to ask me permission to speak freely, but it is I who needs to ask you if I wish to speak freely.” Scarlet said surprised, but still keeping her polite tone.

“Yes, you are right.” Celestia said stepping towards the large grand window of her chambers, looking up at the night sky. “But I want to ask you if I may, and I give you the right to say no if you wish.”

Scarlet felt her admiration for the princess swell. Here she was, a living goddess, asking her for her permission.

“I’d be honored to hear your words, Majesty.”

“Thank you, Scarlet." Celestia said, using her magic to remove her crown.

Scarlet stood speechless, Canterlot nobles never removed their sign of position in front of the guards or servants. In the traditional customs of the Canterlot court, any noble who removed their sign of office in public was metaphorically removing their authority to all that were present.

"I’ve have been an older sister for centuries, Scarlet. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, was to suppress my love for my sister in the interest of my duty to Equestria."

Scarlet felt a twinge of guilt. She heard it in her voice and saw it in her posture, Celestia did know of her blood connection to the fillies from the marketplace.

“I had to make a decision that made me suffer, but in the long run it made things better for my sibling.” Celestia gazed up at the moon.

Scarlet knew what she was talking about. Over a thousand years ago Celestia had reluctantly banished her only sister to the moon.

“I didn’t want to it, but duty calls us to do the things we need to do at the time was are asked.”

Scarlet glanced out the window as well.

The two of them stood silent for a while, admiring the evening sky.

“Have you wanted to be a palace guard for a long time, Scarlet?” Celestia finally asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty. It is one of my deepest ambitions."

“But in a moment where you should have stood firm at your post, as your oath binds you to do, you were faced with a decision of a greater duty of your family.”

Scarlet felt Celestia's gaze on her again.

“Not much different then the decision I had to make, to banish Nightmare Moon, when I wanted to keep my sister.”

Scarlet hung her head, she now understood where Celestia was going with her talks about duty.

“That’s not what I wanted to speak to you freely about,” Celestia said. “What I wanted to tell you is, if I had to face that choice again; between my crown or my sister. I would have surrendered my crown to have my younger sister again.”

Scarlet looked at her princess shocked.

"Today you showed a strength to make a decision I myself was incapable of making. You acted with the love of an older sister that ultimately sacrificed your reputation and your own professional desires."

Scarlet was dumbfounded by Celestia's words. She of all beings, was praising her, saying she was better than her. It was just unheard of, it was utter blasphemy. Yet her ears heard it clearly, Celestia said Scarlet had shown a strength greater than her own.

Celestia looked her straight in the eye.

“But, I maybe speaking hypothetically. Your records officially state you grew up a single child, to a single parent here in Canterlot, right? You are no one’s sister, or are you?”

Scarlet finally matched gazes with the princess. She understood what Celestia was implying.

Celestia had a calm, understanding look in her eye. Scarlet knew whatever response she told the her, the princess would accept it.

“My only family is my mother, whom I love dearly, Your Majesty.”

Celestia heard her words, closed her eyes and nodded her head. She walked back to the table. Using her magic, she placed her crown back on her head and picked up three scrolls.

“I think I have a clear picture now, Lieutenant.” The princess said in a regal tone.

“You abandoned your post without leave to do so.” The princess said reading off one of the scrolls.

“However, according to a report made by two of the city guard, your absence from your post allowed you to protect two innocent minors, and subdue a registered sex offender who had violated his parole two weeks ago. He has been incarcerated for child endangerment with malicious intent."

“Finally, I have just received two personal letters from Applejack, the Bearer of the Element of Honesty and Fluttershy, the Bearer of the Element of Kindness, both generosity thanking me for, I quote: “sending a soldier to protect Berry Blossom and Sweet Potato.”

“Tater,” Scarlet responded.

“Excuse me?” Celestia said looking up from the letters.

“Pardon my rudeness in interrupting you, Your Majesty, they call the second one Tater.” Scarlet responded.

“Yes, I’ve noticed that. Here in the post script, Tater, has written a personal thank you, calling you her guardian angel.”

Scarlet bit her lip, she intentionally never gave her name to the fillies, but one of them decided to give her one of her own.

“So with these reports, letters, and your story, in mind, I have come to a ruling.” Celestia continued in her regal tone.

Scarlet returned her stands to attention.

“Scarlet Gala, for insubordination of orders, you are hereby put on paid leave for two weeks starting immediately. However, given the guard report and personal thanks from two of Equestira’s greatest heroes, I am placing you in my personal guard, upon your return. Following a satisfactory probationary period of no less than six months, I will be considering you for security detail GOLD.”

Wait, paid leave followed by a position to serve in her private guard, that’s not a discharge, its a promotion! And a chance to be detail GOLD, that is the princess's personal body guard, it is the highest honor a palace guard could ever hold.

“Do you understand?” Celestia asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty.” Scarlet returned back in her calm polite tone.

“You are dismissed.”

“By your leave, Your Highness.”

Scarlet saluted, turned in place, and marched toward the door.

“Oh and Scarlet.” Celestia said in a softer tone.

“Yes, Princess?”

Scarlet turned back and saw Celestia had removed her crown again.

“If it’s worth anything, hypothetically that is, you would made a good big sister.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty. I, however, am a soldier of Equestria, and my duty is not to deal with hypotheticals. My duty it is to protect Equestria and it’s royalty.”

“And you do it very well, Scarlet. Have a good evening.” Celestia said with an almost sad tone in her voice.

“Thank you, Your Majesty. You have a good evening as well.”

Scarlet returned to her quarters feeling almost overwhelmed with a sensation of joy and grief.

In the last hour she had just received one of the highest honors of her life from the princess herself, and had also stated officially, before the princess herself, that she had no sisters.

Scarlet took a few deep breaths and then did what she always did whenever she felt lonely in the palace. She got out a quill and parchment and wrote a letter.

Dear Mom, she wrote. I know it’s been a while since I have written you, but I have leave from the palace for the next two weeks, and I was wondering if I could come see you...


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