What If I Just Said No?

by Deep

What If I Just Said No?

Force up a smile, sit straight and wave to the crowd. Is this really my purpose in life?

Though I guess being a princess isn’t that bad, right? You’re never going to hear me complain about the option of being carried around by chariot. And let’s not forget the perks of being an alicorn. When I was a unicorn I could always learn levitation, but let’s be honest, that’s nowhere as cool as zipping through the clouds at high speed. Now I can soar to the sky side by side with Rainbow Dash. Who knows, I might even learn how to use my magic to give my wings a boost. Wonder how Rainbow Dash would react if I beat her in a race? Hehe, can’t wait.

Being taller is cool too… I guess.

The perks are cool and all, but they’re just distractions in the grand scheme of things. No amount of chariot rides or messing with Rainbow Dash can make up for what becoming a princess has taken away from me, or might.

I’m sitting on a throne in the royal palace. Heard Princess Celestia had it made just for me. Princess Cadence is to my left and Princess Luna to my right. Princess Celestia is sitting across from me. She can’t stop smiling, even now, an hour into the meeting. Ever since I became a princess she’s been like this.

The doors are shut, but the roar of the crowd and media outside echoes inward like there's no door or wall at all. I was told this is a royal summit. First time I've even heard of it actually. The purpose of the summit: My future.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the massive trust Princess Celestia must have in a crazy unicorn like me to even give me such a position. And it’s not that I don’t get all the good I could do as princess, for both Equestria and myself. I could use my royal powers to make Equestria a more harmonious place for everypony. I could enact laws to make it easier for every being in Equestria to pursue their dreams. And then use diplomacy to spread harmony to kingdoms far away. I’d live a life others would kill for. Ponies would bow to me everywhere I went. I’d be treated with admiration the biggest movie stars could only dream of. I’d leave a legacy greater than anypony ever has or ever will.

But will the job leave me fulfilled? Will it give me the thrill Rainbow Dash gets from being a Wonderbolt? Or the peace of mind Applejack gets from working on her farm? Or even the glee Pinkie gets every time she makes somepony laugh? Will I go to work confident I’m doing what I was put on this crazy planet to do? And if the answer is no, then what is it that I want to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never stop wanting to save Equestria from villains, but beyond that, I don’t want what I want to dedicate my life to. My cutie mark is that of the bearer of magic, but what does that mean beyond being an Element bearer? Does it mean I have no choice but to be a princess? Or can it mean something else? Can I be a teacher? Or what about a researcher? Perhaps I could be a master conjurer like Star Swirl the Bearded? Is it wrong to not know what my destiny is? Every other pony has a fulfilling job based on their cutie mark, so am I just an idiot for not knowing?

I don’t need to be a princess to do good. Just look at how much harmony my friends and I have spread without being royalty. The sticking point is if I want to be a princess.

Guess that leads to the heart of it, doesn’t it? Do I even want to be a princess?

I’ve spent the last few months trying to get an answer, every time I had to wave at a crowd, smile for the press or tell Princess Celestia how excited I am for my next step. But no matter how much I think or dream or have a nightmare about it, I just don't know. Do I want it? Should I? What if I didn't? What if I quit?

I guess that's the question I should really be asking, process of elimination after all.

So then...

What if I just said "No?"

What would my friends say? They’d support me no matter my decision. That I don’t doubt. But, by quitting, would I be setting a bad example for them? We’ve never quit when things got tough. And even if we had, it wouldn’t have been because we just so happened to not feel like continuing. Sorry, everypony, not in the mood to save the day today. You’re on your own!

Could you imagine how many times Equestria would’ve been destroyed if I’d acted like that? Duty before desire, I always believed. Maybe I’m starting to lose sight of that?

What would Equestria say? Like with my friends, I’d be setting a bad example, and that’s never acceptable. Rumors might start spreading too. Scratch that, they’d definitely start spreading. Who knows what the press would say about why I quit. They might say I never had what it took to be a princess, or that something happened. First time a princess ever quit, and only after a few months, that’s bound to lead to some crazy theories.

They might think I don’t want to protect and serve them anymore. No, that’s just ridiculous. They’d never think that. My friends and I have done so much for the kingdom already.

What would Princess Cadence and Luna say? They’d both say they support me whatever my decision, but I know they’ll be disappointed. Who wouldn’t be disappointed in a gigantic waste of potential?

I don't want to think any longer, because of who comes next... the pony smiling at me right now.

What would Princess Celestia say? Ever since I became a princess, her face has been glowing with life, like she’s a completely new pony. As if she’d transformed with me. As if our destinies are shared. She’s spent so many years molding me, ever since I was too young to do a basic levitation spell. She spent all that time reading my friendship reports, ensuring I grew both inwards and outwards, and always pushing me to the next step when I didn’t believe I was ready. She always believed in me. She was the one who brought me to Ponyville in the first place. I owe her every friend I made, every adventure I grew from, every lesson I learned.

How would she react? How would I react if in her hooves? I'd be mad, disappointed. I'd feel like my time had been wasted. That I'd been wasted.

I might kick my student out of the palace. I might take away their status as student.

I might not talk to them for days, months even. I might not talk to them for years.

I might not ever talk to them again.

I'd definitely dealicornize them. Definitely. All my time and effort wasted and you expect to keep your wings?

I would be so disappointed, not just in my student, but in myself, for believing in them in the first place, for putting my hope in them. They would be finished in my mind. A past mistake I’d always wish I’d never done.

And that is why I can never say no. I am the product of so much. I can't just throw it all away. Do I want this? I don't know. Will I ever want this? I don't know. Does it matter if I want this?

Duty before desire, no excuse around it. No ifs, buts or whys.

All I can do now is hope, hope that I will one day accept what I have no choice but to be, hope that one day I can live up to the standards set by those who have done so much for me.

Hope. That's all I can do.