The sun was shining brightly today. The sky was a clear blue and everywhere you went in the parks of Canterlot, ponies were smiling and laughing.
But then, they had good reason to be happy. For this was hearts and Hooves day. And on this day, like it was every year, love was in the air. Mares and stallions alike spent the day with their "very special someponies". You could not go two steps forward without laying your eyes on some happy couple enjoying each others company.
But sitting on a grassy hill in the middle of the park, was one pony who did not have a smile upon his face. A white stallion with a blue mane, wearing a rather ornate red uniform of a captain, who sat there on the top of the hill, and was experiencing worry like never before.
Over the course of his time as a member of the royal guard, he had been against many things that might cause other ponies to quake with fear. He had faced down raiding parties of dogs without hesitation. He's fended off hydras and manticores. He'd even earned stood up to the sun Princess herself on a number of occasions when nopony else would have dared.
It would be easy to assume that this stallion possessed no sense of fear whatsoever.
But such an assumption would be false. For today of all days, Shining Armour was more afraid than he had ever been. And all of it centred around having to do what could arguably be called the most important decision he's ever had to make.
"It's okay Shining. You can do this." He said to himself.
He looked around the area where he was sitting. The weather was good, the ground was dry. There were plenty of good-looking trees and other plants to make the place suitable for the occasion. It was also a fairly deserted part of the park. Which was perfect as he didn't really want any crowds around for what was going to happen.
He took a deep breath in a vain attempt to calm his nerves. After which he used his magic to pull out a small object from one of the pockets of his uniform. A small black box which fit neatly in the palm of his hoof.
"Just stay calm and ask the question. Everything will be fine."
Using his magic again, he placed the box back into his pocket. And as he did so, a dark thought came to the forefront of his mind.
What if things DIDN'T go well? What if she says "no"? What would he do if she did? How would things between them ever recover? The more he thought about it, the worse he felt. He was nervous enough to begin with but dwelling on these doubts made him practically sick to his stomach.
But then he managed to quell those dissident voices in his mind with a simple reminder.
"If there was even the slightest doubt in your mind about what would happen, you never would have even considered doing this."
It was a true enough statement, but not quite enough to put him entirely at ease. Still, he didn't have any more time to dwell on the matter, as he heard a familiar voice from behind.
"If ever there was a more perfect place of us to spend this day, I cannot think of it."
His head spun around so fast it almost snapped off. But doing so would have been worth it if it mean looking at the mare who was now walking gracefully towards him.
Princess Mi'Amore Cadence. Or cadence, as she would often remind him to call her. She was as beautiful to Shining's eyes as she'd always been. Her mane kept clean and flowing, with the light from the sun made her gold necklace and tiara glisten. If there was a single mare in this world more beautiful, Shining did not want to know.
He smiled and got up from his sitting position and walked over to greet her. In the past, when they first started seeing each other, they'd usually just say hello when they met. But they'd been together for such a long time now, that whenever they met up, they just kissed. And today was no different. The meeting of their lips was brief, but it was all they needed.
"How have you been?" Shining asked.
Cadence smiled. This was a question he always asked whenever they met up with one another. If this had been anyone else, she'd have called them repetitive. But she loved this stallion too much to even think of calling him that.
"Well. My journey to the outlying villages of Equestria took some travelling, but it was worth it. The people there always appreciate a visit from the royal family."
Shining was glad to hear that she was doing well. As a member of Equestria's nobility, to say nothing of her position as a direct blood relative of the two princesses, had her busy most days. It was often felt that the royals needed to keep in-touch with all other ponies, so many trips were made to the cities and villages. A reminder of sorts that Canterlot did not consider itself above everyone else.
"I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying yourself." He replied honestly.
The two walked over to where Shining had been sitting previously ans sat down together. They took a moment of silence to admire their surroundings. Judging from the look on Cadence's face, Shining could tell she was impressed by his choice of locale.
"I knew you were a romantic Shining, but this is simply beautiful". She commented, not taking her eyes off the trees that surrounded them.
The captain could not help but feel pleased about himself. He wanted everything today to be perfect. The setting, the timings, everything. And so far, things were going well. Then he noticed that Cadence was facing him, with a big smile on her face. Her eyes told him that she was clearly touched by the fact that they were spending this special day together in such a beautiful place.
"Few would ever go so far, even on a day like today. I could not have asked for a better special somepony". She said lovingly.
This remark led Shining to smile once more. He'd had this all planned out and now he had his opening.
"I appreciate that Cadence. But perhaps, special someponies is not all that we could be to each other."
Cadence raised an eyebrow and tilted her head slightly to the side.
"What do you mean?"
Shining took a deep breath, once more to calm his nerves, and just dove right in.
"Cadence, for as long as we've been together, you've been one of the most important people in my life. Being together with you has made me happy in a way that I never would have thought possible. When we are apart, I count the moments, and when we're together, I cherish each and every second. And ever since that day when we started being together, I have daily thanked whatever force rules this world to have made me so fortunate."
Cadence's reaction to all this was a mixed one. Her eyes upon hearing all this, were watery, almost to the point of tears. It was clear that Shining's words rang true in her heart. The stallion she loved was saying things so touching, she could have just cried right there. But there was also confusion still on her face. She knew this was a day for lovers, but why would he say these things to her now?
Shining took another deep breath before speaking once more.
"And that is why I can no longer imagine my life without you."
He stood up from his sitting position and turned to face her completely. He then knelt down, his eyes never leaving hers. Using his magic, he once more brought out the black box from his pocket and placed it in the palm of his hoof. Cadence's eyes widened as she saw this object. The look on her face made it clear that she knew what was coming. But she said nothing, as though it would not yet be real to her until Shining said what she now knew he was going to say.
Shining Armour took his eyes off Cadence for e brief moment so he could use his magic to open the black box on his hoof. Once open, Cadence saw what was within. A golden ring which glistened in the light of the sun.
"Princess Cadence.......will you marry me?"
It was as though the entire world had ground to a halt. You could have heard a pin drop, given the silence. There wasn't even the slightest breeze to make any sound. Cadence just sat there, repeatedly looking back and forth between Shining Armour and the ring he was presenting her. All the while just leaving her mouth wide open from the shock of what had just happened.
This did nothing to soothe Shining's nerves. With every moment that passed, he became more and more agitated. In that silence, those troublesome thoughts from earlier began to resurface. Maybe she doesn't want to get married. Maybe I said something wrong or maybe the ring wasn't good enough. What in Equestria am I going to do?
But soon enough, Shining got his answer.
For instead of speaking, Cadence's face cracked into the biggest smile he'd ever seen. She then let out a scream of joy so loud it almost blew his ears out. Before he could respond, she lunged at him, wrapping her forelegs around his neck and planting the biggest kiss imaginable on his lips. The lunge had been so sudden and hit him with such force that it knocked him on his back with her now lying on top of him.
The kiss was the longest either of them had ever done with each other, lasting a full five minutes before Cadence finally broke away. Shining, needless to say, had been left rather speechless by the whole incident. His shocked expression and open-hanging mouth caused Cadence to giggle at the sight. She placed one hoof under his chin and closed his mouth for him.
"In case there was any confusion, that means "yes"".
The shock quickly disappeared from his face when she said this. Soon, his face had a smile to match hers. Cadence finally got off him enough to allow him to get up. They said nothing to each other, simply staring at each other with love in their eyes. Then Shining broke the silence.
"You have just made me the happiest stallion in the world."
Cadence lovingly placed a hoof on the side of his face.
"How appropriate then that you're marrying the happiest mare."
Shining gave a sigh of relief. He'd been worrying about this day for weeks. There had always been that doubt in the back of his mind that kept telling him he wasn't good enough. That Cadence would never say "yes" to him. That this day he'd been dreaming of would never happen.
Now that doubt was dead forever.
Just then, Cadence, placed both hooves at the side of her own face and squealed, prompting Shining to look concerned.
"What is it?" He asked.
Then Cadence smiled once more.
"You know what this means right?" Twilight and I are going to be sister-in-laws!"
Cadence squealed with delight once more at the thought. It pleased Shining to no end to see his now-fiancé so happy about this. But then he couldn't blame her. It was a happy occasion.
"I'm sure Twilight will be thrilled when we finally tell her. And speaking of telling people, you know we're going to have to inform your aunts about this."
"I'm sure they'll be just as happy as me. After all, if it wasn't for their prompting over the last few months, we probably wouldn't even be together."
Shining had to concede that. It was something for which he would now be eternally grateful towards the two princesses for. With that settled, the two stood up, with Cadence's hoof in Shining's. Neither of them wanted this moment to end, and who could blame them for that? It was the happiest they'd ever been.
"Well then, shall we get going my lady?" Shining asked in that tone of voice that Cadence just loved.
"Indeed Captain. There is much to do and many people to tell."
And so, hoof-in-hoof, the newly engaged couple walked down the hill, ready to inform their friends and family that the two had made the greatest decision of their entire lives.