It was Friday afternoon and I should have been a lot more excited than I was. Tonight was my date with Soarin. Right now I was trotting to have tea with Princess Celestia. For the average pony they’d call that a pretty amazing day.
I should have been too but I was exhausted. Trixie was turning out to be a bigger pain in my rump than I had ever been in Dolly’s. She’d taken the offer and, to her credit, did wash glasses, but she whined about it the whole time.
Her shows were going alright and entertaining the few mares that were there but she kept begging Dolly and I to give her better time slots.
“Do a good job on these and stop whining about glasses and I might!” I shouted at a random blue mare that just happened to be walking the opposite way.
She squeaked and quickly made a right turn and hurried off down the hall.
“Sorry!” I yelled back without feeling sorry. It felt good to shout a bit. It felt good to not be patient and understanding. What little chill I had had long since melted. It had melted so much that I’d taken leave for the last two hours of my shift.
With any luck Princess Celestia would be free and she could give me some guidance. She taught ponies all of the time. Surely she had ponies as annoying as Trixie.
The worst part about it was that I couldn’t even shut her up with a kiss anymore. How long had we been at this? Three years? Two? I paused to count on my hoof. “A couple of days,” I muttered. It would take more than that. I wasn’t being fair.
I made the turn into Princess Celestia’s wing and spotted a familiar orange stallion in gold armor coming my way. He bobbed his head in a nod. “Lieutenant Day, coming to visit our princess?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” I replied even though we were the same rank. Astral Dyke was a lieutenant, just like me, but he was the commander of Princess Celestia’s House Guard. That was one of the most desirable commands in all of Equestria. You couldn’t be a slouch and get that job.
He waved a hoof. “Astral is fine. You’re early aren’t you?” He asked.
“Yes, sir, I mean, yes. Rough week. I thought if she was free I could use the extra time,” I explained, idly looking him over. He didn’t really do it for me. That isn’t to say he wasn’t fit or anything, he just didn’t stand out in any way.
Astral paused and looked up as if going through something in his head. “I believe she is just spending time with Lady Cadence. It isn’t an official meeting so as long as she doesn’t throw you out, I don’t see a problem with it. If you’ll excuse me, I’m needed upstairs.” Without another word he headed off.
That suited me fine. He’d given me plenty of information. Princess Celestia was free and she was currently with the fittest rump in the entire palace. I’d always worked hard on my body but I’d never been what ponies would call a delicate featured mare.
Lady Cadence was a rare breed in numerous ways. She just didn’t look like a common unicorn. Her legs were skinnier, she was taller, and her hind end was perky and tight. She was the kind of mare I’d gladly sell Diddle just to have one night with.
When I reached the door to Princess Celestia’s study the guards beside it looked up. I groaned inside. I knew the one nearest to me. Well, I didn’t know him. I recognized him. He was the smug, silver pegasus that always said—
Yes, that. Wait. Again? What wasn’t he getting? He was one of those guards that was too by the book.
“You know who I am!” I snapped.
He sighed, like he always did, and said, “Lieutenant, I know. We all know who you are but think of it this way. I have no idea what you did this week. Perhaps you went on an alcohol fueled bender and burned down an orphanage. The result of which is you losing your pass.
“So please, ma’am, with all due respect, can you just take the two seconds necessary to show me your pass so I can let you in and we can stop doing this?”
My eyes narrowed, and I leaned in so close that my nose bumped his. “What is your name?”
Without missing a beat or any display of fear, he replied, “Storm Rider, ma’am. Sergeant Storm Rider.”
I pulled my helmet off and showed him the pass that I’d stuck to the inside. “I like you,” I said before stepping back. “Now open the door!”
Storm Rider smirked and did exactly that and waved me through with his wing.
Princess Celestia was sitting on her large pillow, her eyes showing surprise when I trotted through.
“Hi, what’s up?” I asked before I caught sight of Lady Cadence. She had a very large, and very obvious engagement ring on her horn.
“No way!” I chimed.
The ring quickly flew off and into Lady Cadence’s saddlebag. “Oh, hello there… you.”
Princess Celestia motioned a hoof at me. “Cadence, this is my friend Sunny Day. She works for Shining Armor. She’s also quite early for tea.”
I took my helmet off and sat it on the table near the entry. “Nice to officially meet you, Lady Cadence! Speaking of Shining Armor, it seems like he bought you a little gift?”
“Oh, that? A gift? I mean, you see it is complicated,” Lady Cadence stammered.
The princess sighed and patted Cadence on the shoulder. “You’re no good at lying, we’ll just have to expand the circle of trust a little bit.”
“What are we lying about?” I asked eagerly. This was fun! Lady Cadence looked very cute blushing and stammering.
Her horn lit once again and Cadence brought the ring back out. “About this and our engagement.”
“So you are engaged!” I shouted excitedly.
“Shhh!” Princess Celestia said, her hoof covering her eyes. “Sunny, please!”
I looked from one mare to the other and tilted my head. “I don’t get it. Shouldn’t we be excited about this?”
Lady Cadence nodded happily. “Oh yes! I’m thrilled beyond explanation. We’re just not telling many ponies yet.”
My head bobbed in a slow nod. No, that didn’t make sense. “How come?” I asked.
The princess stood up and trotted over to her tea set. She started the kettle and peered back at me. “Cadence would like the luxury of not being a celebrity as long as possible. Surely you realize that once word gets out that there will be a royal wedding, ponies are going to get excited.”
“Yes, and I’d like to avoid as much of that as possible. I don’t begrudge ponies celebrating and having fun but I’d like for this to just be for us for a little while,” Cadence added.
I’d forgotten that Lady Cadence was technically a noble. She was the ancestor of some famous pony somewhere. She’d also been adopted by the princess. Shining Armor was also from a fine unicorn line and the Captain of the Canterlot Guard. “Alright, I see your point. Sorry for shouting, I was a little excited.”
The princess chuckled and started to set her coffee table for tea. “Yes, and so will many other ponies when we announce the date.”
“When is that?” I asked, making my way over to sit.
“About a week before Hearts and Hooves day,” Cadence said sheepishly.
“Oh that is reasonable. So a year and a quarter or so to plan?” I asked.
Cadence bit her lip. “No?”
“Wait, you mean this year!” I squawked.
“Sunny!” The princess hissed.
“Sorry! This is a big deal. That’s like four moons away.”
Cadence smiled shyly, her cheeks flushing. “I know, but I don’t want a long engagement. I don’t want a big elaborate wedding. The kingdom can celebrate outside but inside I just want my friends and family.”
It figures a sweet, hot, delicate unicorn like Cadence would feel that way. I didn’t know her more than looking at her rump but the rumor mill said she was polite and down to earth. “I don’t blame you. I certainly want[LV1] my wedding turned into some big politicized event if I could help it.”
Princess Celestia levitated the tea set over and started pouring. “Yes, that is exactly what we want to avoid within reason. We’re going to announce the engagement and the date in a week or so. That will largely limit the mania.
“Cadence can plan in peace and we’ll come up with a nice compromise. A private ceremony with a public celebration. Everypony wins. Providing we can keep this a secret. You can do that, can’t you Sunny?”
My nose wiggled. She was suggesting I was a gossip! Which, I was, but it hurt more coming from her. I crossed my forelegs. “Of course, I can. I would never upset a lady like Lady Cadence. Even though when Dolly finds out I knew and didn’t tell her she may disown me.”
Cadence reached out and set a soft pink hoof on my foreleg. “That is so sweet of you. Thank you, Sunny.”
The second she touched me I felt warm and tingly and not just in the adult pony way. She was genuinely sweet. “My pleasure and I’m sorry for interrupting your private moment. I was in a foul mood and came early to whine.”
Princess Celestia’s ears shot up. “You, a foul mood? That isn’t like you at all. What’s happened?”
I waved a hoof. “No, no, don’t worry about it. This was about Lady Cadence and I barged in unannounced. Also, just a little tip, if you’re being secretive maybe tell the door guards not to just admit ponies.”
Lady Cadence softly giggled. As she did her nose crinkled up in the cutest way. Shining Armor was the luckiest stallion alive and not just because one day he’d get to have a threesome with me and his wife.
“No, please Sunny, do tell. If you’re going to keep my secret, the least we can do is hear about your strife,” Cadence said.
“Agreed,” The princess added before glancing up at her door. Had she really not considered my suggestion prior?
“Well, if you’re sure?”
“We are,” Cadence replied.
“Alright then,” I started before explaining the whole Trixie situation. Princess Celestia was accustomed to my habit of providing more intimate details and after the third ‘oh my’ from Lady Cadence I had to reign in it. Perhaps a threesome wasn’t going to happen.
I brought the story to a close and huffed, “So you see, we can’t be that kind of friend right now. I’m not infinitely patient like you, Princess. I don’t know what to do! She’s just so spoiled!”
Princess Celestia sipped her tea, seemingly considering the situation.
Lady Cadence looked over at me and asked, “Can you not just show her she is being selfish and that you’re trying desperately to help her? Surely she’d see that and not want to put you out more than necessary.”
Sweet crickets, I was going to jump her right then and there. She was like a dove. “I’m trying my best but I’m not sure she’s seeing what I’m trying to show her.”
The princess, dipped her tea cup just a moment and looked me in the eyes. “Have you tried punching her in the snoot?”
Cadence gasped, “Auntie!”
I couldn’t help but cackle. Whatever remnant of a foul mood I’d had was gone.
Princess Celestia grinned and motioned with a hoof. “The first piece of advice I give you is that example there. Know your audience. I’d never actually advocate you punching a pony but you, Sunny, laughed heartily at the image and its brightened your eyes again.”
Lady Cadence looked relieved and settled back. “And in this instance I was not your audience.”
“Correct. I treat you and Sunny very differently just as I must treat her differently from Twilight Sparkle,” The princess said.
At the mere mention of the name I felt myself frown.
“You see Twilight Sparkle lacked the social skills and ability to bond with others that Sunny has. To assist her I sent her away. I removed her from her element. That is how she has progressed so far,” the princess explained. Hearing that I had something Twilight didn’t made me smile.
“And then when it came to dealing with Sunny, she needed somepony that believed in her and gave her direct attention instead of trying to force her into the mold of somepony else. She made the most progress when we focused less on what everypony else did and more on what she did,” the princess added.
I blinked. “I thought you were just nice,” I said.
“Oh I am nice, but that doesn’t mean I’m not calculating, Sunny. I’m not just your friend or princess. I’m an educator and I take that role as seriously as any other. I saw a pony floundering but when I gave you the chance to take the easy way out you refused. That is when I knew I needed to try something different to reach you,” the princess said.
I suddenly felt all warm and fuzzy again. “And you did,” I whispered.
“So it seems. Now, from what you’ve said, this Trixie of yours craves attention. She wants to be the talk of the town. Show her how good works, politeness, and kindness get her there. Just because washing glasses molded you, doesn’t mean it will mold her.”
Every word she said made perfect sense. I just shook my head in awe. “You’re really good at this.”
The princess smiled. “I hope so. These are ponies lives we’re trying to better. Of course, in the end, you can try punching her in the snoot if all else fails.”
We all laughed then. She didn’t mean it but I filed that away in the ‘just in case’ folder. I rarely got to see Princess Celestia’s silly side but I liked it. I liked it a lot!
I also liked Lady Cadence the more and more we talked. She was such a sweetheart, the kind of pony that you take home to mom. Unfortunately, that meant she wasn’t the sort of pony you just took out for a night and left in the morning.
Now she wasn’t just a fine rump, she was a real pony. That also meant my plan to sleep with Shining Armor was off. It wouldn’t be ethical to mess with their relationship just to upset Twilight. I didn’t want to end up in another situation like I was in with Roxy.
After an hour or so of small talk I realized it was time for me to head off for my date with Soarin so I excused myself and headed off.
I’d been so distracted with my time with Princess Celestia and Lady Cadence that I’d given up any chance I had of sprucing up. Instead of a tight shirt and some coat glitter I was going to be meeting Soarin in my armor.
It wasn’t a big issue on the whole. Whatever I was wearing he was just going to pull off before tossing me onto the bed. Still, a mare wanted to look her best for an old friend!
When I arrived at the stadium he was standing outside in his perfectly pressed, naval uniform. I saw mares looking his way but in general they seemed to leave him alone. Without the Wonderbolts flight suit maybe they didn’t know who he was.
He also hadn’t seen me yet either. I took a moment to straighten up my armor, shine it up, and get my gait just right. As I approached I made sure to prance and shake my rump. “Hey, sailor. Know where a guard can get a ride around here?”
Soarin’s ears wiggled and he turned my way, smiling brightly. “Hey there! I never expected you to show up in armor.”
I closed the ground and kissed his cheek. “I was held up at the palace, I didn’t get to change for you and doll up. Sorry about that.”
“No, don’t apologize! You look great in armor. I’ve always thought that. So, where are we going?” He asked.
“Up to you, my place or yours? I’m happy either way!”
Soarin’s smile dropped slightly. “Oh,” he said.
“Oh?” I asked nervously.
He waved a hoof. “No, no! I just thought this was more like a… you know… we haven’t seen each other in a while!”
What was he getting at. “You mean like a date?” I asked curiously.
“Yes! Like a date instead of just, you know…”
“Playing mount the mare?” I snuck in with a grin.
His ears turned bright red and he nodded. “Yes, yes a date! I know what we used to do and that is fun too. I just feel like I’d like to get to know you better. Now that I’m on the Canterlot Squadron I’ll be around more and we can actually spend time together.”
Oh boy, why were stallions so emotional? This sounded a bit like a relationship and he knew I didn’t really do that. That was just leading ponies along without a payoff. It might be just a temporary thing though since we hadn’t seen each other in a while.
“I hear you. Well I’m always happy to see more of you. Why don’t we go somewhere quiet, get something nice to eat, and chat for a while? After that we can see a film or a play if we can find anything that isn’t sold out,” I suggested.
He nodded. “That all sounds great! Say, do you like hummus? I know this great place on the far side of town that you wouldn’t believe. On the outside it is a normal, standard Canterlot-architected building, but on the inside it is shaped like a chickpea.
“All of the vegetables and bread is made down in Ponyville and it is brought up daily. You’re going to be hard pressed to find something as good as this anywhere else.”
How was the inside shaped like a chickpea? What did that even mean? What did half of those words mean! I ate in the palace dining facility usually. If not there than a Hungry Mare. What was hummus again? A sauce? “Oh, okay, let’s go there then.”
“Great! Come on, I’ll show you the way. Why don’t you tell me what you’ve been up to lately? You look great. Canterlot has clearly been good to you. It’s just so nice to see somepony that isn’t competing with me for a squadron slot or trying to get close to me because I’m a Wonderbolt,” he prattled.
My nose wiggled. “I’m trying to get close to you because we’re friends,” I teased before pushing on. “Well, I’m a palace guard, which I think you know. I spend most of my days doing paperwork and watching my guards. I like it. It works for me. It is what I want to do.”
“Passion is important,” he replied cheerfully.
Yes, yes it is! That is exactly what I was after. Heavy breathing, sweaty, passion. Hopefully later. Until then, it was time to try and remember what a normal date was like.