Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.
Chapter 5: Home
The passengers on the train from Baltimare to Ponyville consisted mostly of returning athletes. They chatted about the games, medals earned, and the big parade awaiting them all back home. Blue Seas noted new friendships and closer relationships among the ponies on the train. It was a natural consequence of spending so much time together. He realized that, by spending time with his fellow half-seaponies, he hadn’t grown closer to anypony from Ponyville. He chatted briefly with some of the athletes on the train, and exchanged greetings with others, but for the most part he had the trip to himself.
Blue Seas stared out the window at the passing countryside, catching his own reflection in the glass. His thoughts turned to the older stallion who shared his face. Prince Blueblood, too, was unprepared for their meeting. He was hesitant to speak with him, concerned about his own family and noble station, but in the end expressed a desire to know him more. Blueblood was torn between two worlds.
Blue Seas certainly understood the feeling.
“Keep making your parents proud.” Those were Blueblood’s words. It sounded like he was familiar with his parents. He knew them, but he couldn’t fathom how. Blue Seas had certainly never seen the prince around Ponyville, nor had he heard his parents talk about him.
And certainly, Blueblood hadn’t told them he was his father. All his life, he thought he was distantly related to Twilight Sparkle. He hadn’t heard anything about the princess being related to the prince, or to a seapony.
Blue Seas still had a lot he didn’t understand about his heritage.
He felt the train slow. The countryside was gone, replaced by the familiar shape of Ponyville’s outlying neighborhoods. Neat subdivisions of small homes were soon replaced by offices and businesses. The train’s brakes squealed as the train pulled into the Ponyville train station.
The platform was packed by ponies, friends and family of the athletes. He gathered his trunks, lifting one then the other onto his back. Once the crowd had thinned a bit, he disembarked.
Blue Seas soon was surrounded by a crush of siblings, congratulating him, while his parents took his trunks off his back. Once they were safely removed, Cirrus zipped up to him and embraced him.
“Not so tight!” he gasped, as he tried to extricate himself from his sister’s surprisingly strong grasp.
“Welcome home, son,” Golden Grain said, punctuated with a firm slap on his withers.
“Thanks, Dad,” Blue Seas replied.
He looked and saw another welcome face. “Pumpkin Cake!” he shouted.
She trotted up and nuzzled him. “Welcome back, champ,” she said.
“Well, not really....” Blue Seas stared at his hooves.
“Something the matter, son?” Golden Harvest asked. “Something other than not coming home with any medals?”
“Yeah. Can we talk about it, at home? Pumpkin Cake, I want you to hear this too.”
Everypony nodded. The family headed home, staying mostly quiet as they walked. Ponyville was quiet, with most ponies indoors for dinner. The crystal castle of Princess Twilight Sparkle gleamed orange, and cast a shadow over the town. Soon the town was left behind, and they passed the familiar apple orchards en route to home.
After being in the dormitory for so long, the scent of his own home seemed unfamiliar to Blue Seas. But soon he detected a welcome aroma. A carrot and potato stew was simmering on the stove, and a fresh loaf of honey wheat bread cooled in the oven.
The kitchen was a flurry of activity as everypony served up dinner. Bowls of stew were set out, bread and butter brought out, and soon eight ponies crowded onto the benches of a too small table.
At least that part wasn’t too different from the cafeteria at the Games!
“Eat up!” Golden Harvest encouraged Pumpkin Cake, giving the young mare another ladle of stew. “There’s plenty for everypony!”
Blue Seas set down his spoon. “I guess I should tell you the news now,” he said. The table fell silent; everypony looked to him. “Last night, at a party, I met my father... my birth father.”
The table was silent for a few moments. “Well. That is big news,” Golden Grain said.
“How did you meet him?” Juniper asked.
“What was he like?” Junebug wondered.
“How did you know?” Red Streak asked.
“One at a time!” Blue Seas interjected. “As for that question, we used a spell to learn his cutie mark.” He looked over to Pumpkin Cake, who nodded. “But it was obvious. I really look like him.” He paused. “As for the rest... I’m really not sure. I saw him as he was mingling in the ballroom. We went off to a parlor. I only spoke to him briefly. I really didn’t know what to say.”
“Is your daddy somepony famous?” Cirrus asked.
“Actually, yes. His name is Blueblood... Prince Blueblood.”
That caught the attention of his parents. “Really? Of all the ponies, him?” Golden Harvest said.
“Did you know him?” Blue Seas asked.
“A little. He was living in Ponyville for a while, not long before we adopted you,” Golden Grain said.
“He kept to himself at first, but eventually he came to appreciate what Ponyville had to offer. Helped out with the Running of the Leaves and Winter Wrap-Up,” Golden Harvest added.
“I even got him to go fishing a couple of times,” his father recalled. “Too bad he left; he was actually pretty good at it.”
“It sounded like he remembered you,” Blue Seas said. “And I think he chose you to adopt me, in secret.”
“That was very nice of him,” his mother said. “But he didn’t need to keep it a secret, you know?”
“He... had his reasons.” Blue Seas took a deep breath. “I have Blueblood’s address, and I’d like to write. I want to know more about my birth father.”
Blue Seas waited with bated breath. He watched his parents’ expressions, trying to gauge their reaction. He exhaled once he saw both of them smile warmly.
“Go right ahead, son,” his father said. “Just because you learn about your father, it won’t change that I’m your father, and you’re my son.”
“We’ll always love you,” his mother added. “But could you just call Blueblood your father? I think we can figure out which is which, and birth father just sounds so weird, you know?”
“Okay.” Blue Seas gave a knowing look to Pumpkin Cake.
“Thank you for the meal,” Pumpkin Cake said. “I’m afraid my parents are waiting for me.”
“Of course,” Golden Harvest said. “Have a good night!”
“Let me walk you to the door,” Blue Seas volunteered.
They stepped outside, closing the door behind him. “Do they not know?” Pumpkin Cake asked.
“That whole birth father thing? I’m not sure,” Blue Seas replied. “Maybe they think it’s a weird thing to talk about, and they don’t want to embarrass me. Or maybe they just haven’t figured it out.”
“I’d like to see the expression on their faces when they do,” she said.
“I’d better say goodbye before Cirrus starts peeking.” Blue Seas leaned in, and they shared a brief kiss. “Have a good evening, Pumpkin Cake!”
She added a nuzzle. “You too!”
The Castle of Friendship was the most distinctive structure in Ponyville, an exotic creation and symbol of the magic of friendship. But unlike the castle in Canterlot, it was frequently used by the ponies of Ponyville. At the time the castle was formed, Ponyville needed a new library, and Princess Twilight Sparkle obliged, converting the bottom floor of the castle into a library.
Today, Blue Seas searched the shelves for a book that might shed some light on his father. The section on pony nobility was surprisingly large, with most of the books focusing on Canterlot nobility. Some books focused on individual families, other on ancient history. He lifted books off the shelf, scanning them briefly and replacing them. Finally, he found one that described the role of the modern Canterlot nobility.
The book was a bit dry, more like an encyclopedia article than a rousing story. Prince Blueblood’s house followed only the entries on the alicorns. Formally the House of Platinum, Blueblood was the current duke of the noble house that traced its lineage to the last unicorn ruler pre-unification. They held the title Prince of the Unicorns, which was considered important in unicorn and noble circles despite not having any actual power. The book then discussed, in the most diplomatic terms possible, the claimed familial tie to Princess Celestia, referring to the relationship as that of a distant aunt.
Blue Seas recalled what his parents had been told, how he was supposed to be a “distant relative” of Princess Twilight Sparkle. That had to be a reference to Blueblood. Just how distant was that relationship? Probably about as distant as his relationship to Princess Celestia, he mused.
Beyond that, there wasn’t much to learn. The House of Platinum had the largest land holdings in Canterlot, and its members frequently served as advisers to the princesses, but there was nothing much in there about Blueblood himself.
Blue Seas departed the library. If he wanted to learn more about his father, he would have to ask him.
Blue Seas sat at his desk. Another long day of work was complete. Farm work allowed him plenty of time to think, and Blue Seas thought about everything he wanted to ask Blueblood. What would be best, he thought, was for Blueblood to visit, just like a distant relative; free of demands on his time, and the need to be seen, they could talk until they had nothing left to say. But the way Blueblood spoke, with the constant intrigue of Canterlot, such a meeting would be difficult.
And there was zero chance of him visiting if he hadn’t worked things out with his wife.
He stared at the blank paper in front of him. Collecting his thoughts one more time, he picked up a quill in his magic, dipped it in the inkwell, and started writing.
Two Orchard Way
Blueblood, Prince of the Unicorns, Duke of House Platinum
One Platinum Court
August 15, 1492 AC
Dear Prince Blueblood,
I have returned home, and I am getting back into the swing of things on the farm. Although my magic is not suited for much of the work I do, I assist where I can. Harvest will begin in earnest late next month. In the meantime, I will be helping my father as he distills his latest batch of carrot vodka.
I mentioned our chance meeting to my parents, and they recalled fondly your past time in Ponyville. My father, in particular, was hopeful you’d be interested in another bottle of our vodka. But because that visit was before my times, I find myself wanting to know more. I hope you would answer my questions.
First, what brought you to Ponyville that year? I understand there wasn’t much of a royal presence in town back then.
I understand that in your duties, you would meet many ponies. How did you come to know my parents well? What did you think of them? Did you know about the family’s plans for the future?
I was honored to meet you at the Equestria Games. It is good to know that such a prominent noble is championing athletics and athletes. But I do find myself wondering how you came across that role. Is it in addition to other duties in Canterlot?
Finally, I wish to know more about your noble house. In Ponyville, we have a princess, but she, of course, is unique amongst the nobility. So I don’t see the influence of centuries of history. It is a topic that is barely touched upon in school. Perhaps you could share your insight?
I speak for my family when I say we would be honored if you would visit, should your duties again take you to Ponyville.
Blue Seas reviewed the letter. Should it fall into the wrong hooves, it would be rather difficult for the reader to surmise their connection.
Well, there is the issue of the similarity of their names. Just to be safe, Blue Seas left his name off the envelope, just leaving the Golden Farms name.
Eight days later, Blue Seas received a reply. The letter came on elegant and expensive stationery, but judging by the quality of the penmanship, it was written by Blueblood’s horn.
Blueblood, Prince of the Unicorns, Duke of House Platinum
One Platinum Court
Two Orchard Way
August 20, 1492 AC
Dear Blue Seas,
First, let me thank you for your discretion. Your prose, whether intentional or not, reminded me of typical noble correspondence. With some practice, you could match the inimitable style of ponies who use one hundred words to express an idea that could be represented in ten, all the while insinuating something that wasn’t put into words at all.
Do know that I trust my staff, and their discretion, completely. And the postal service is secure. Do not fear speaking frankly about our relationship, and please address me in familiar terms.
It was autumn of 1476 when I arrived in Ponyville, where I was to do a job I was not looking forward to. As a young stallion, I quite frequently upset Princess Celestia with my behavior. And when I found myself in an unexpected situation, I reacted poorly. Princess Celestia, in a move I now see as very wise, sent me away, far from the prying eyes of Canterlot. By sending me to Ponyville, I was able to shield myself from notice for my condition.
My job in Ponyville was to survey the town, and then create a plan for the town’s future growth and development. I approached the job as an annoyance, and chose to spend much of my time outside work in solitude. I stayed with Twilight Sparkle, after she had become a princess but before she had her castle. We did not get along well. But somehow, she convinced me to mingle with the ponies of Ponyville. I participated in the Running of the Leaves and Winter Wrap-Up, among other events.
I consider this a true testament to her worthiness to hold the title Princess of Friendship.
To this day I do not understand why Ponyville chooses to shun Princess Celestia’s offer to bring in spring. And taking part in Winter Wrap-Up failed to enlighten me. As I recall, I was officially the assistant organizer, but I joined in the physical labor. I pushed a plow and planted seeds. And at that evening’s celebrations, I found I could appreciate a Ponyville party. I still think music you like to play is atrocious, but the heart of the party, friendship with other ponies, is the same.
At the party the Goldens hosted, I got to know them a little better. Soon, I found myself spending more time with them. Your father even taught me how to fish. But more importantly, they showed me that a relationship built on love was what I was missing in my life.
And I am happy to have given them what was missing in their life, a foal.
I find the subject of sports to be a much happier one. I attended Canterlot Academy, a school with a sizable number of pegasi and earth ponies, and athletics was a cornerstone of the curriculum. I enjoyed the competition, and grew to appreciate being fit and active. I continued to exercise as an adult, enjoying swimming in particular.
I simply fell into my role as nobles’ representative to the Equestria Games and chair of Princess Celestia’s council on athletics. Few nobles appreciate athletics like I do. And with a toddler at home, I needed a role that wouldn’t force me to leave town as much. Fortunately, this role opened, and I’ve been happily involved since. Though I really wish Canterlot would field better teams for the Games.
I would be happy to talk about my house, but what I want to talk about, you’ve certainly picked up from history books. The House of Platinum is descended from Princess Platinum, and her royal line from the time before unification, and as such seeks to be the representative of all unicorns. It champions unicorn history and all the traits unicorns are known for. That is not just magic. There is leadership, diplomacy, oratory, debate, scholarship, fine art, and craftsmareship. We also serve to remind unicorns of their past ties to the heavens, and while we may no longer move the sun and paint the night sky, we should always remember to look skyward.
When I was younger, I was a poor scion of the house. My time in Ponyville matured me in the way no formal education could. I finally learned the lesson that Princess Platinum had to learn from Clover the Clever, that we are all stronger when we live in harmony.
There is more to being a noble than a title and a royal heritage, though. It is a full time job, in a way, and one of the least pleasant jobs in Equestria. Everything one does must be considered for its costs and benefits. One must carefully build and maintain alliances. It is a part of my life that I couldn’t avoid, even when I was staying in Ponyville. And it is not a life I would recommend to anypony. I do sometimes wish I had the freedom of your Princess Twilight Sparkle, a noble rank born of alicorn blood that can never be disputed.
I have spoken to my wife, and we have reached an agreement. She understands our special bond, one that she knows well with our daughter. And she supports our continued relationship. However, because of my position, I must consider appearances. Should our paths cross again, I would desire to spend more time together. But I lack the freedom to simply travel where I want. Let us remain in contact, and we will find a time when my duties as athletic representative will bring us together again.
Blue Seas carefully folded his father’s letter and stored it in his desk. He was saddened by the realization that he wasn’t going to come for a visit anytime soon. The next large swimming competition wouldn’t be until next year. There was so much to enjoy in Ponyville. Well, at least after the harvest. While Blueblood was not likely to be interested in helping with the harvest, there was cider season immediately afterward, and Ponyville’s Nightmare Night celebration was one of the best in Equestria.
His eyes drifted to the framed photograph on his desk, a portrait of his family from two years ago, right after the harvest. They were all standing proudly, surrounded by bushels of wheat and baskets of carrots. They were tired, muddy, and sweaty, but happy nonetheless.
This was the family with which he shared cider season and Nightmare Night.
“Another good day in the market,” Red Streak said.
Blue Seas nodded. The cart they had brought to the market that morning had been laden with plump carrots, freshly harvested from their fields. Now, all that was left was bits of soil and some stray green carrot tops. The chest of bits clinked as they closed up the wagon.
“All right, let’s get in,” Blue Seas said.
Blue Seas and Red Streak hitched themselves to the two-pony harness, struggling to pull the cart. His mother wouldn’t have had a problem pulling the cart by herself, even when it was full.
They headed out of the marketplace, passing the tall posts that marked its entrance. The posts were, like always, covered with signs and posters, advertising local businesses and public events. Nightmare Night was a popular theme. Then Blue Seas paused as he noticed a new poster.
The wagon smacked into his rear. “Watch it, Blue Seas,” Red Streak said.
“Sorry. Got distracted by something,” Blue Seas replied. He pulled against the harness again, but his mind was thinking about a certain upcoming event in Ponyville.
On his next afternoon off, Blue Seas visited the library. He looked for something interesting, eventually picking up a book called Platinum Intrigue, a bit of historical fiction set in the unicorn lands before unification. It wasn’t his favorite subject, but his birth father’s words were fresh in his mind. He had reread his first letter, as well as their following correspondence, before coming to the library.
Blue Seas settled down on one of the library’s couches and started reading. The story was interesting, although he was pretty sure he figured out the identity of the villain after only three chapters. But the book wasn’t his main reason for being here today. He knew that a certain alicorn often visited the library after she concluded her afternoon court.
The sound of metal echoing off marble attracted Blue Seas’s attention. He looked and saw the imposing figure of Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship. She stood a head taller than the largest stallion he knew, his neighbor McIntosh. She possessed the unearthly gracefulness of all the alicorns, but Blue Seas had seen her kick as strongly as any earth pony on those days when she helped with a harvest or the changing of seasons. She smiled warmly at Blue Seas.
Blue Seas rose and bowed. “Good afternoon, Princess Twilight Sparkle,” he said.
“Please, Blue Seas. When you’re in the library, there’s no need for bowing, and you can call me Twilight Sparkle, or Twilight if you prefer.”
“Sorry, Twilight,” Blue Seas replied. “But I do have a friendship problem, one that I’m hoping you can help me with. Help my parents, too.”
“What is it?”
“Well, a long time ago, before I was born, my parents got to know a visiting pony from Canterlot. He’s a noble with a lot of demands on his time, so he’s not free to visit Ponyville, at least not without attracting a lot of attention to himself. But you can request a royal visit. The Running of the Leaves is coming up. Do you think you could invite the chair of Princess Celestia’s council on athletics as a visitor for this year’s race? I think he’d enjoy the visit.”
“Blue Seas, I don’t like to abuse my power. I can request he comes, but it will be that, a request. If he wants to come, then I’ll see about getting him to visit your parents during his trip.” She raised a hoof to her chin. “But I don’t know the name of this stallion.”
“It is Prince Blueblood.”
Twilight Sparkle stared at Blue Seas. Her smile faded. She looked to be thinking, wanting to say something but unsure how to say it. Blue Seas had felt the same way when he was sitting across from his father.
Blue Seas finally broke the silence. “I know he’s my birth father. I spoke to him at a party after the Equestria Games.” He shuffled his hooves. “I think we could get some welcome closure if he could sit down with me and my parents. And that’s only going to happen if he comes to Ponyville, ostensibly at the request of one of Equestria’s princesses.”
“Well.” Twilight Sparkle pawed the ground. “Well. Of all the ways I expected this knowledge to get out, I wasn’t expecting you to be the one to figure it out.”
“I confirmed it with a spell before I met him. Your library was helpful.” He looked up at her. “Would you please help me restore this friendship?”
Twilight Sparkle nodded. “I will make the request. But it will be a request, not a royal command. I need you to promise not to do anything rash if he is unable to come.”
“Of course. When have I ever done anything rash?”
“Need I remind you about the waterslide incident?”
“That was one time,” Blue Seas growled. “You already made me Pinkie Promise not to take Scootaloo’s advice on anything except athletics.”
“Just saying.” Twilight Sparkle rested a hoof on Blue Seas’s withers. “Just between you and me, I hope Blueblood accepts.”
“So do I, Princess.” He bowed again. “Thank you.”
Blue Seas left the library. He gazed off towards distant Canterlot, and was reminded of his father’s words, to always remember to look skyward. “Please come,” he whispered.