Author's Note:To all my readers hopping over here from my various other stories, yes I know that this is my 3rd or 4th incomplete story I have going at the same time...my writing muse has been somewhat fickle with me lately, but I do hope to go back at some point and finish them all off.
Anyway, if the posting of this story has not it obvious to anyone yet, I have indeed become a Brony within the last couple of months, and this fan fic is a result of that. As always, I hope you enjoy this latest tale!
Canterlot: The capital city of the sprawling, majestic land of Equestria. The cliffside city was a miracle of engineering and magic, built on the side of an impossibly tall cliff face, it had a magnificent view of a vast expanse of Equestria, a symbol of the city's status as the seat of power in the land. It radiated a strange mix of both peace and power, the ultimate symbol of Equestria's reputation for maintaining peace and harmony under the leadership of Princess Celestia.
For one young pegasus stallion, though, Canterlot represented so much more today than just a status of Equestria's golden age. For him, this was a critical moment in his life, a chance to turn his rather run-down life around, and finally find some calm and certainty for himself.
He paused as he landed near the city's main gates, taking a moment to make sure the flight had not ruffled up his yellow coat or messed with his midnight-black mane, streaked with white. He normally did not care too much about how he presented himself, but he knew he had to make a good impression as his electric blue eyes roamed across his coat, flicking his wings a little before tucking them at his sides, nodding to himself before heading back to the road and trotting up it, satisfied he looked presentable.
As he passed the guards at the city gates and entered the city itself, he looked around, slightly awed by the sheer grandeur of the captial. He had been raised in a distant corner of Equestria, in a rather small town, and the sprawling metropolis left him feeling rather small and insignificant.
Snapping himself out of his trance, the pegasus shook his head to bring himself back to reality, glancing over his shoulder at his cutie mark, a silver shooting star with two swirling autumn leaves on either side of it. A sign of his life calling, which seemed to be a natural skill in astronomy, and also a mirror of his name: Starfall.
That cutie mark, and the special skill it represented, was the reason he was here. Apparently someone was looking for a new astronomer to help them with their work and studies in a new observatory being built somewhere in Equestria, and they were holding a test of sorts here in Canterlot to select this pony from all the applicants.
For Starfall, though, this was about more than chasing a hobby...this was a chance to finally find a steady job. He had struggled to find work so far in his life, only just managing to scrape together enough to get by so far, and knew this was his big chance. The pay this astronomer was offering for their new assistance and apprentice was not substantial, but for Starfall, was far more than anything he had previously been earning. He wouldn't get a life of luxury, but he would be secure in the knowledge that as long as he held that job, he could live comfortably.
But Starfall, despite all his natural ability to understand the significance and power of the stars and constellations, could not help but worry. He knew that quite a number of ponies were taking this test over the course of the week, and for his near-instinctive knowledge, his fear was that there was someone else out there that knew a lot more than he did, which he felt sure there was.
Despite his misgivings, he forced himself to stay positive as he made his way through the late afternoon crowd. He knew he could be rather pessimistic and cynical, thanks to the rather rough life he had endured. All he could do was hope his worst fears remained that way, never to be realised.
He had soon reached Canterlot's main public observatory, where the testing would be taking place, noticing that the sun was just starting to go down. Despite being early, he walked up to the Royal Guard near the door, who was watching him carefully. "Excuse me?" he asked, the guard turning his attention to him fully.
"Are you here for the Astronomy Apprentice Exam?" the guard asked, his voice blunt and direct. The Royal Guards never messed around, although Starfall did wonder why such a test would be guarded by such important security measures.
Starfall managed a small nod. "My name's Starfall. I believe my test was scheduled for this evening?" he said softly, nervous as the guard perused a schedule on some kind on the wall beside him.
Eventually, the guard nodded. "I've got a pegasus matching your name and description scheduled to take the exam in two hours time," he said simply, looking back at Starfall, who swallowed nervously. Authority figures had always left him feeling more than a little intimidated.
"If it's okay with you, sir, I'd like to wait here until my time," Starfall said softly. "I don't really have much else to do, anyway." The guard responded with a simple nod of his head, Starfall backing off a short distance, before sitting himself down nearby.
He spent the next two hours going over everything he knew from his time studying the stars, calling on all his astronomical knowledge, praying it would not let him down in this single time of need. Constellations, individual stars, even the planets, Starfall's one weak point in astronomy. He revised everything as much as he could...he did not want this chance to slip past him.
In the end, though, Starfall decided to pack up his books half-an-hour before the test was due to begin, and simply tried to relax and calm himself. It would do no good for him to be tense and a nervous wreck when he went in there. As the minutes ticketed away towards the test, the yellow pegasus was able to bring himself to a moderately calm level. He had studied hard for this, and had a passion for it, too. All he could now was apply all that passion and knowledge of the stars as best he could, and trust in his abilities. He did not have a shooting star cutie mark for nothing, after all.
Finally, though, his time came, and the door to Canterlot's observatory opened within a minute of a clock within Starfall's field of view turning over to his appointed time. An ageing unicorn stallion's head poked out the door, Starfall catching a glimpse of a pale, seemingly pure white coat, and a black mane that was obvious in the middle stages of going grey, silvery hairs clustered through as his wisened amber eyes found the young pegasus.
"Ah, you must be Starfall then, right?" he asked, Starfall noting the unicorn had a distinctly rough, but casual, almost friendly accent...he clearly was not from around this region of Equestria. Starfall, his nervousness returning fast, swallowed in an attempt to clear away the gathering tension, before nodding. "Beautiful! Come on in, then! I'm sure you've already sorted everything out with the guard?"
Starfall nodded again, getting to his hooves, before following after the unicorn. He paused at the door, glancing at the Royal Guard, who the pegasus could have sworn gave him a brief, encouraging smile. Before Starfall could confirm it, though, the Guard's expression turned serious again, nodding once to the young pegaus stallion, before turning his attention outward once more, returning to his duties with a professionalism the Royal Guard were known for.
Even if Starfall had seen things, the gesture did help keep his nervousness at bay. Taking a deep breath to steady himself further, the pegasus reminded himself of all his dreams that could be fulfilled through this test, and finally nudged the door open, entering the observatory behind the unicorn, ready to face the test that could possibly turn his whole life around.