The last solstice
Chapter 1: New recruit What the nyasi, nyasi kavu am I even doing here?
the thought passes through the stallion’s mind. He’s alone, in a large room. The sunrays shine through the gothic windows, bathing the sparkling marble floor in lightness, while the ceiling remains in the shadows, for it’s so up high. The royal blue stallion looks around the premise for the hundredth time. The atmosphere is formal but friendly. Four leather couches. A meza, jedwali in the middle. Fresh flowers. And deadly calmness. The thick walls of Canterlot ngome snuff out every noise coming from the outside. It’s so quiet in the room, that it’s annoying. The stallion paces around anxiously. He’s been here for two hours. Maybe I should go home…
the thought emerges in the stallion’s brain. It’s a tempting offer, yet he stays. Not just because Shining Armor asked him to be here 9 AM sharp. Not just because he figured it would be wise to do what the captain of the Royal Guard asks. But, the cobalt stallion knows
he has to be here. Right here. Right now. There’s no coincidence. Everything happens for a reason,
he always reminds himself. Yet, his angst becomes zaidi overwhelming kwa every minute. It’s getting hotter in the room, as the Sun slowly makes its way to its zenith. The silence is maddening. The first drops of sweat appear on the stallion’s forehead. A secretary gppony, pony pokes her head out the door all of a sudden.
“Nocturnal Mirage?” she calls out.
The cobalt stallion winces kwa this unexpected sound. He nods his head.
“Captain Shining Armor is ready for wewe now.” the secretary chirps like a skylark.
The dark blue stallion trots into the office to face the Crystal Prince. Mirage greets him, the captain nods, and signals him to take a seat. Before the conversation starts, the white unicorn looks Mirage up and down. Hmm, interesting color scheme… strange cutie mark too…
Shining thinks. Green eyes, black mane and tail with dark purple layers, black feet and royal blue coat, a cutie mark of a vortex with an eye in the middle. That’s Mirage from the outside. His eye songesha about nervously as the Captain silently, but quite obviously measures him.
“So, you’re Nocturnal Mirage, huh? You’re not from around here, are you?” Shining eventually breaks the awkward silence.
“That is correct Sir. I come from Eastern Equestria.” Mirage majibu in a formal manner.
“I see. Well, I have your file here and it says a few interesting things, like your mother was a unicorn. And yet you’re an earth pony…” The Crystal Prince declares and points at a pile of paper on his desk.
“Yes Sir. But with all due respect... if my family is not part of the reason of me being here, I rather wish not to talk about it… Sir.” the royal blue gppony, pony stammers.
Shining pierces his eyes into Mirage’s, but he endures the glare.
“Okay, okay, take it easy! “Shining says, and extends his arms. “Now, let me cut to the case… As wewe may know, there’s been a massive changeling attack on our Western border in the hivi karibuni past. We have unveiled several changeling platoons, trying to blend in with the populists and infiltrate our country.”
“You’re probably asking what all this has to do anything with you?” The Captain continues after a short pause. “Our military is simply not enough to repel those bugs, so I am forming a squadron of Royal Guards to act as reinforcements at the border. But, this creates a great shortage of Royal Guard material here, so I’ve decided to recruit from the civil sector.”
“I understand, Sir. But let me state, that I’m not a typical fighter.” Mirage throws in quickly.
“Yes, I know. “Shining nods.” wewe are needed in Canterlot. With many of the Royal Guards serving at the outposts, there are not enough ponies to attend the needs of the Princesses. Now… your file indicates that wewe like the slow life nowadays. wewe try to avoid confrontation kwa any means, but wewe can fight if needed. Four years at the Crystal Army… Under General Deadlock… Uh, he’s tough, I’ve heard of him... Impressive. Being a night time guard at the Crystalline Embassy seems pretty boring after all of this.”
“I’ve managed to stop seven robberies in three years, Sir. I had my fun.” Mirage remarks quietly.
“Indeed wewe have. That is why I would like to recruit wewe to the strength of the Royal Guard on a temporary basis. Of course, wewe will not be alone; there are many new promising recruits, such as yourself.” Shining requests.
“I’ll do it, Sir.” the cobalt earth gppony, pony majibu without hesitation. “The needs of Equestria come first.”
“Excellent. That’s the spirit!” the Captain smiles. “Now, here’s your contract, if wewe could just sign right there…”
Mirage signs the paper, holding a quill in his mouth.
“Congratulations! wewe are now officially in the employment of the country. Your payment is doubled during the time of your service. You’ll start tomorrow. Be here precisely at 7 AM. You’re dismissed!” Shining Armor instructs.
“Understood.” Mirage salutes and trots out of the office.
The white unicorn idles in front of his dawati for a couple of minutes. He winces, when a cyan blue magic aura opens the door.
“Your Majesty!” Shining bows before the alicorn.
“Shining Armor! There’s no need for that, my friend.” The Princess of the Night says on a soft voice.
“What is the meaning of your pleasant visit, your Highness?”
“I have come to ask wewe about the new recruits. The situation is dire up there
… she’s having another bad
day… I cannot endure it… Have wewe found somepony worthy?” Luna inquires.
“Yes, I understand the situation completely.” A wide grin expands on Shining’s face. “But, as a matter of fact, I think I have found somepony. My sense is telling me that he is the stallion for the job... He’s precise, punctual, vigilant and tight-lipped. Plus he has minor military expertees to speak of. He’ll be here tomorrow morning; wewe may decide if he’s any good au not. Perhaps wewe could brief him yourself if you’d like, Princess.”
“But of course! Wouldn’t do otherwise. I’ll be here. Now, if you’d excuse me, I have a royal meeting in ten minutes… I hope you’re right about this one, Shining Armor. For the sake of all of us…” Luna majibu grimly and leaves the Captain’s office.