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Diplomacy 8

Jul 5th, 2017
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  1. >If Lord Aegis would have been in his prime, and not so weak from blood loss, he would have no doubt snapped the Empress's neck
  2. >It would have also been infinitely harder to stop him from rampaging
  3. >Every single one of the Northerners had said such to you after you all had pulled your lord off of the taur
  4. >They also said that if he had been in better condition he might have even pulled her head clean off!
  5. >Thank goodness that didn't happen...
  6. >Your lord was scary enough as is...
  7. >After you had pulled lord Aegis from the Empress, who seemed a lot more excited to be choked than a person should be, your lord had passed out
  8. >Berserk or not, there was only so much a Northerner could take before he just… stopped
  9. >While it had been very scary to watch him just go limp in Ser Lero’s arms, this allowed the knights to tie your lord up with their belts and carry him back to your room, away from the chaos that he had sown
  10. >"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, are you alright Empress Helga? Do you need anything? What are you even doing here? Are your guards alright? Can you breathe okay? Oh my goodness, you're neck is going to BRUISE!"
  11. >Ser Therin, Lord Aegis's second in command, had decided to stay with the princesses and minotaurs
  12. >Since the old knight wanted you to "learn something," as he said, you were forced to stay as well
  13. >And you had to say that you would have probably preferred going back to the room
  14. >While the Empress looked as happy as could be sitting on the floor as Princess Twilight looked her over, her guards weren't nearly as enthusiastic
  15. >The anger on their faces made you uncomfortable, and the way they were clenching their swords made you wish that more than one knight had stayed behind
  16. >You had a feeling that if the Empress didn't look as happy as she was those guards would have rushed you
  17. >A shiver ran up your spine at the thought
  18. >Knight-in-training or no, each of those minotaurs were twice your size
  19.  
  20.  
  21. >And you only had your dagger to defend yourself
  22. >AND there was a BUNCH of them...
  23. >"Are you well, little lord?"
  24. >You jumped, your head whipping around
  25. >There, standing right next to you, was the pony that had been in your dreams last night
  26. >Princess Luna
  27. >Your stomach tightened at the sight of her, but even so you bent a knee
  28. "H-Hello, your highness."
  29. >You tried to bow your head as well, only for a blue wing to slide under your chin and lift it back up
  30. >"Please, there's no need for that, child," Princess Luna said, tapping your cheek with the tip of your wing. "Please rise."
  31. >You could feel Ser Therin's disapproving glare on the back of your head as you rose
  32. >You managed to mostly ignore it, looking the princess over
  33. "You're taller than you were in my..."
  34. >You looked over at Ser Therin
  35. >You… probably should keep your mouth shut about what happened last night…
  36. >If Lord Aegis was upset now, you could only imagine how mad he’d get if he found out the princess had been in your dreams...
  37. >Princess Luna smiled
  38. >"Most ponies feel less threatened if I don't tower over them," she said, leaning toward your ear and whispering so Ser Therin couldn’t hear. "Shrinking myself in the waking world might be no small feat, but it is very easy in the realm of dreams."
  39. "Oh... that's neat."
  40. >Princess Luna smiled
  41. >"I just heard what had happened from my sister," she said. "Is your lord well?"
  42. "Some of the other knights said that he'd be fine," you replied. "All he needs is a little bit of sleep."
  43. >"Good, and what of you child? How are you faring?"
  44. >You?
  45. >What would be wrong with you?
  46. >You weren’t the one that got shot today
  47. "I'm fine, your highness."
  48. >To your surprise, the princess didn't look very convinced
  49.  
  50.  
  51. >"Are you sure? Your hands seem to say otherwise."
  52. >...
  53. >What?
  54. >Looking down at your hands, you saw that they were indeed shaking
  55. >And not only them either; your entire body seemed to be shaking
  56. "Oh..." you mumbled
  57. >You jumped again when you felt a big, rough hand slapping onto your shoulder
  58. >"The boy's fine," Ser Therin said, his voice gruff. "He's just a little shaky from all of the day's excitement. Just like the rest of us."
  59. >Princess Luna's eyes flicked up to the wiry Southerner
  60. >"As you have every right to be," she said, bowing her head. "You've come to Equestria at our behest and not only have you been attacked, but your lord has been injured."
  61. >"He has," Ser Therin said, his eyes drifting over to the empress. “‘And I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate you whispering in his squire’s ear as if you were plotting something.
  62. >Princess Luna bowed her head a little lower
  63. >"I'm sure that my sister has already apologized for the actions of those fools that wish to disrupt this kingdom's harmony, but I'd like to apologize for what has happened today. And if you take offense to me speaking with young Anon I apologize for that as well."
  64. >Ser Therin, giving you another disapproving look that promised a good cuff to the ear when you were back in your room, nodded
  65. >"I'll give my lord your message."
  66. >"Please do that. I'd also be eternally grateful if you were to send along my prayers and my desire to help the lord in any way that I can."
  67. >"I'll be sure to tell him, your highness. You have my word.”
  68. >"I'm fine, I'm fine. You don't need to keep poking at me with that horn of yours!"
  69. >You looked over to see the Empress making her way to her hooves with the help of her guards
  70. >Princess Twilight, who was chewing on her lip, was trying her hardest to make the minotaur sit back down
  71. >"Please, Empress, rest for a few more minutes. The spell needs longer to--"
  72. >"I'm not some namby-pamby bull, Princess. I'll be fine," the Empress said, giving the alicorn's head a pat
  73.  
  74.  
  75. >Princess Twilight drew away from the taur’s hand, her nose scrunching up
  76. >The Empress paid her no mind, turning toward you and Ser Therin and smiling
  77. >Ser Therin placed a hand on the hilt of his sword as, with a happy murmur, the Empress skipped over to the two of you
  78. >"You wouldn't happen to be Ser Therin would you? Lord Aegis's old bandit flag bearer?" she asked, her tone very undignified and not at all like any noble that you had ever heard speak
  79. >Ser Therin's eyes narrowed
  80. >"Yes I am."
  81. >A high pitched, excited sound escaped the Empress's throat
  82. >Both you and Ser Therin jumped at the noise
  83. >For such a giant woman, you didn’t think she’d be able to make a noise like that...
  84. >"Ohmygosh! I've heard SO much about you! Like at the battle of River's Bend where you--"
  85. >The Empress was about to reach out and touch Ser Therin, and probably lose a hand for her troubles
  86. >Fortunately for her, a golden aura surrounded her, picking her up into the air and floating her away from the knight
  87. >"Helga, if I could have a moment of your time please," Princess Celestia said, her tone icy
  88. >Gone was the princess's smile and her mother-like kindness
  89. >She looked upset
  90. >Her purple eyes were narrowed, and you could see her rolling her jaw
  91. >She didn't seem all that scary to you--lord Aegis looked scarier when you didn't get him enough ale in the morning--but if you would have looked at the minotaurs you'd have thought they'd just seen a demon
  92. >The guards took a few hasty steps backward, all of the anger draining from their faces
  93. >The Empress herself paled, the joy on her face turning into something very close to fear as Princess Celestia put her down right in front of her
  94. >"Helga, I would very much like to know why you've come to my kingdom unannounced," the princess said. "It would be very beneficial for you if you would tell the truth as well, since I have had a very... TRYING day and not in the mood for any nonsense."
  95. >The Empress swallowed dryly
  96. >"W-Well, I heard that the great Lord Aegis was coming to Canterlot so I'd t-thought I'd come and see him," she said as her tail curled around her leg
  97.  
  98.  
  99. >"And why would you do that?" Celestia asked, an edge creeping into her voice
  100. >The Empress flinched
  101. >"I've heard a-a bunch of stories about the bull, from my aunts and a f-few of the older retainers," she said, looking down at the floor. "And I wanted to meet him because I, um, well... I think he's really cool."
  102. >Princess Celestia raised an eyebrow
  103. >"Cool?"
  104. >"Of course!" the Empress said, a flash of excitement making its way across her face as she looked back up at Princess Celestia. "Have you ever read anything about the human-minotaur wars? That bull spent five years hiding out in the forest attacking supply lines, and no matter how many soldiers my mom sent after him he'd always slip away!"
  105. >The Empress smiled, squirming in place
  106. >"He also managed to capture Biglhorn and Dilgifal from right under our noses! No one's been able to do that since those castles were built and he managed to do it with only twenty men! And, and, and because he flanked my mom while she was trying to destroy King Drfaul's army almost eighty thousand minotaurs were routed!"
  107. >She bit her knuckle
  108. >"He's got to be the coolest bull in the whole wide world! How COULDN'T I try to see him! Half of the heifers in Labyrinthia want to meet him! And now, after all of these years of trying I meet him in the flesh and OhmygoshIcan'tbelievethis!"
  109. >The Empress made another excited noise, much to the embarrassment of her guards and the confusion of Princess Celestia
  110. >Princess Luna, however, laughed
  111. >"I don't believe that the mighty Empress was the one to order the attempt on the lord's life, sister mine," she said, brushing past you and walking over toward her sister
  112. >The Empress stopped her squealing and squirming
  113. >"Attempt? What attempt?"
  114. > "Not a few hours ago somepony shot lord Aegis with a crossbow," Princess Twilight said, ruffling her feathers.
  115. >You could see the gears turning in the Empress's head as she processed just what the alicorn had said
  116.  
  117.  
  118. >"WHAT?! Who the buck did it?!" she demanded, her face twisting in rage. "I'll tear their arms off! I'll rip off their coats and dump them in a pool of lemon juice! I'll... I'll...!"
  119. >The Empress took a few deep breaths, opening and closing her hands
  120. >"I'll do something VERY bad to them!"
  121. >"As we speak I have my guard combing the city," Princess Celestia said
  122. >Gone was the anger from her face, and the tension had left her body
  123. >She looked relieved, almost happy
  124. >"I promise you that we'll have this would-be assassin captured by nightfall."
  125. >"That's not good enough," the Empress growled, turning toward her guards. "Holly, Hazel, take fifty girls and have them search the streets. If they find anyone with a bucking crossbow or looking even a LITTLE shady bring 'em here."
  126. >She looked over to you, her anger turning to worry
  127. >"Is lord Aegis alright? Does he need anything? I have a pretty great healer in my entourage if he needs one. Or some coffee maybe? I’d be happy to go out myself and get him something!"
  128. >You looked up at Ser Therin to await the knight's answer
  129. >To your shock, the knight was pale and his body tensed
  130. >Looking down at his hand, you saw that he was clenching his sword hilt very, very hard
  131. >"You have fifty heifers running around here?" he said
  132. >The Empress blinked
  133. >"No, I have about a hundred, why?"
  134. >Ser Therin covered his mouth with a hand
  135. >"Oh gods above, protect us..."
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