Shining Armor groaned to himself. The huge stack of paperwork on his desk just didn't seem to get any smaller, if anything it just seemed to get bigger...which was odd...
Taking his pencil he gave the huge stack of paperwork an experimental poke. It was at this moment that the door to his office was kicked in. Through the cluster of floating paper in the air he saw Cadance standing in his doorway dramatically pointing a hoof at him.
"I'm going to love you!" she declared.
"Aaaaaagh!!" he screamed.
"And there is nothing you can do to stop me!"
"AAAAAAAAAAGGHHHH!!!" he screamed louder.
Shining Armor took off a like a shot, right through the back of his own window. Which, for some reason didn't hurt him, he didn't even feel it.
Shining Armor was now running through a black void, straining his body to escape his pursuer. His body begged him to stop but he forced it to keep moving anyways. Sweat poured out through him in a desperate attempt to cool down his body.
"You can't run forever, Shiny." Princess Cadance called out.
He made the mistake of looking over his shoulder to see that she was much closer than he thought. The eerie thing was she chasing after him with rather stiff legs, almost as if she were mechanical. He started to run faster.
"You cannot outrun me Shining Armor. I have wings!!"
Her wings were unfolded but she still seemed as stiff as a board, she was in the air but was more like she was being held up by some invisible force rather than using the power of flight.
Just as she was about to collide with him when a bright light engulfed his vision. When the light finally cleared Shining Armor was in a round room, he seemed to be surrounded by giant wooden structures which reached high in to the lights.
"Captain Shining Armor!" boomed a voice from above. Shining Armor squinted in to the lights to try and make out who said that, but due to the lights all he could make out was silhouettes of four maybe five ponies. "You stand before this council accused of fraternizing with one of our political figure heads."
It was then he recognized the voice, it was one of council member ponies. This was a court martial!
"Sirs, please! I beg of you to listen to me!! I tried to talk her out of it but..."
"Oh let me guess..." another voice cut in. Definitely another council pony. "'She came on to you.' How convenient for you!"
"What else could I have done?! If I were to just up and break her heart..." Shining Armor tried to plead but it fell on death ears.
"You could have just walked away!" the third voice snapped. "You could have just ignored whatever feelings you had and just continued your job anyways! You could have done anything but lead her on!! But noooo, not you, you had to act on those feelings! And by doing so you have betrayed your country, your comrades, and everything you were supposed to stand for!!! I hope you're happy!"
"No!! It wasn't like that!! Please, let me explain!! I..."
"We've heard enough!" a fourth voice snapped. "Shining Armor, this council has found you GUILTY of crimes against Equestria and it's ponies. Your position as Captain of the Royal Guard is hereby revoked, and you are banned from every form of military in Equestria."
Shining Armor shook his head in disbelief. "This can't be real!"
"But it is!" the first voice snapped. "We are all very disappointed in you Shining Armor. You're a disgrace to all who wear the armor."
The sound of a door creaking open behind him caused him to turn his head. Behind him were in fact a set of double doors, they seemed to be opening on their own but there something eerier going on. A red glow was coming from the opening, he pushed it open to investigate and was greeted with sight certain to haunt him for the rest of his days.
The city of Canterlot was on fire. Dragons were raiding the city, raining down balls of fire from the sky.
"This is just dreadful!" a voice said next to him.
He turned to see none other than Princess Celestia herself, watching the scene in horror. "If only there was a way to stop all this."
"Princess Celestia!" cried Shining Armor. "If you let me put up my protective spell I..."
"You can't do that, 'civilian'. Only members of the guard can defend and protect us."
"That dragons do have a pony ambassador, and if had a princess around his age to marry him as a peace offering it might stop this carnage but the closest we have is Princess Cadance."
"But I shouldn't have to explain that to you should I?" she snipped. "After all it you who dragged her name through the mud, making her look like a slut to the rest of the world! Thanks to you, all of our allies have cut ties with us after seeing her behavior. They want nothing to do with us because of her affections towards you."
"N-No! That can't be true!"
Celestia turned away from him in disgust. "I had expected better from you! Take a good look Shining Armor, because this is all your fault!!"
Shining Armor needed to say something, do anything that could make this situation turn out all right. However, before he could come up with a solution, a giant dragon swooped down on him with it's flaming mouth open to swallow him whole.
Shining Armor bolted upright from his bed in a sitting position. Cold sweat poured down his body, he panted out of breath.
"A dream? It was all a dream?"
He looked out his bedroom window to see the rays from Celestia's morning sun shining in. He made his way over to his bathroom, he needed to splash some water on his face.
The cold water felt good, like it was finishing a job his sweat just simply couldn't accomplish. He looked up from the sink to get a good look of himself in the mirror, he didn't like what he saw. He was pale, his regular white had gone to an egg whit which was hardly ever a good sign.
"Am I...Am I catching a fever?"
There was only one way to be absolutely sure.
"Now say 'AAAAAAHHH'." Doctor Amora instructed.
She took her wooden tongue depressor out of his mouth and shook her head. She moved over to her counter to write in her medical report.
Shining Armor sat on the medical table, he had been wearing a hospital gown.
"Yes I'm certain of it. This is from stress. You need to relax or else your body is going to quit on you!"
Shining Armor frowned. "I admit. I've been on edge lately, relaxing has become...a bit of a challenge."
"Challen...? Wait a second!! Does this have anything to do with that princess that's been chasing you around everywhere?!"
"Um...kind of...and by kind of I mean exactly."
"Oh for the love of..." Doctor Amora buried her face in her hooves. "Would you just admit you like her back already and save everybody the trouble?!"
"But the time of the bet is almost up! I got two days left, three tops!"
"And why is it so bad for you to return those feelings anyways?! Whose it going to hurt?!"
"I'll tell you who! Cadance and I!" Shining Armor snapped. "Cadance will be viewed as desperate romantic which will her hurt her diplomatic relations, and I will be accused of fraternizing with, let's face it, a superior officer! Our reputations will be ruined."
Doctor Amora's first response was merely to roll her eyes.
"Well maybe if you just gave in then it would be better for everypony!" Doctor Amora snapped back. "You'd be able to get a good night's sleep and Princess Cadance could get her sanity back!"
"No butts mister!! No matter what, you've got a decision to make and you'd better make it soon!" She started to scribble on a piece of paper from a notepad. "Doctor's orders!! You need to relax and get plenty of sleep in or else you're gonna regret it! One more push and you 'Captain' are going to be very sick!" She ripped off the piece of paper and shoved it in the captain's mouth. "My bill."
Shining Armor was back in his room, he had ultimately decided to ignore his dream. Since when were dreams supposed to make sense anyways? But his thoughts drifted back to his visit with the doctor.
"Would it really be better if I just gave up?" he mused.
The light from the window seemed to be shining off of something in his room. Whatever it was, it was nailing him right in the eye. It was coming from his trophy case, specifically the frame from a photo of his. He smiled when he recognized the photo, it was when he first got promoted, he was shaking hooves with his predecessor Captain Steel Shield.
"He handed that job over to me with the utmost confidence." he remembered it fondly. His gaze went to another picture next to it, his graduation from the academy.
"I still can't believe I graduated with honors. I was such a string bean."
On the shelf below it was a plaque which read 'For upholding the very virtues of being a guard'. He couldn't help but smile slightly at that one, it was before he even got promoted. Then he thought back to some of the other guards, not all of them were up to his brand of snuff; he doubted he could find a successor worthy of his title. He had even stronger doubts he could find a guard who could perform his shield spell, the closest pony who ever came to close to mirroring it was Twilight and her specialty in magic probably helped.
When he really thought about it, he had actually achieved quite a lot before his promotion. Each and every challenge turning him in to a better protector for every success. And now that he was facing his latest obstacle he was having a panic attack? Like he had to just lay down and take it like some kind of inevitability?
"NO!!" he shouted to himself. "I've faced plenty of tougher challenges and still come out on top!"
He went to his closet and pulled out his guard armor.
"I have come too far and accomplished too much to merely just surrender to the whims of a princess."
He gave his helmet a thorough polishing before placing it on his head.
"I have too many ponies counting on me..." now fully dressed in his uniform, he gave himself a salute in the mirror. "To fail now."
Cadance had been walking and talking with Spitfire through the castle, she decided she needed a military outlook on her 'tactics' on Shining Armor.
"Yeah, you're still coming on way too strong. Why do you have such problems with dialing back? What's wrong with subtle flirting?"
"But I don't have time for subtlety, the time of the bet is almost up! Surely you can relate to where I'm coming from."
Spitfire gave her a confused look. "How so? I don't have a coltfriend!"
"Oh come on." Cadance rolled her eyes. "Everypony, knows you have Soarin whipped."
"I do not!" spat Spitfire. "If he was whipped then he'd actually do what I tell him to!"
The too shared a giggled but cut it short when they noticed Shining Armor approach them. Cadance smirked 'Maybe now I can get him to throw in the towel.'
"Hey Shiny, you ready to..."
Cadance was cut off as Shining Armor suddenly leaned in to her. Cadance's wings had popped out in surprise, her face was becoming redder and redder, he was so unbearably close to her.
Cadance's thoughts were going a mile a minute. 'He's so close. What's he gonna do?? Is he gonna kiss me? What's he going to do?!'
Then Shining Armor smirked and slowly backed away. His smirk only got bigger as he saw Cadance's jaw drop as he started to turn around.
"What was that?" Spitfire asked.
"I don't know..." Cadance's hair suddenly frizzed up standing on end, pointed in every direction. "But I think I liked it."
"Game on, 'Princess'." Shining Armor truly felt his smugness had been well earned.
This was when the bucket of soap water fell on him. He looked up to see the window washer Hayseed Turniptruck (A/N: always sounded more like Turn-Up-Truck to me but whatever) sitting on his propelled bench but without his bucket of window cleaner. "OOPSIE!! SORRY ABOUT THAT!!"
Shining Armor sent him a death glare as he shivered on the ground. The soapy liquid had been as cold as ice.
"Hey!!" Shining Armor shouted with a shudder. "You're supposed to be cleaning those windows on the OUTSIDE of the castle!!!"
"I KNOW THAT!" he shouted back louder than necessary. Shining Armor swore, the whole castle could hear him. "BUT THERE WAS A SPOT ON THE WINDOW I COULDN'T GET FROM THAT SIDE!!!"
Shining Armor was about to chew him out when without warning he let out a sneeze so powerful his helmet came flying off. Looking at his reflection in his helmet he saw that ice cold liquid was straw that broke that his body's back. He was going to have to probably stay in bed whether he liked it or not. He was already starting to look paler. "Uh-Oh!"