• Published 24th Jun 2013
  • 3,292 Views, 73 Comments

Prince Blueblood vs. the World - Exilo



With Celestia gone, and all of Equestria in disarray, it’s up to Prince Blueblood to set out and find her. In a harrowing journey, he will suffer, he will bleed, but will he find who he is looking for?

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Chapter 4: Prince Blueblood's Finest Hour

Chapter Four: Prince Blueblood’s Finest Hour

There’s a scent in the air, like the baking sun on a summer afternoon. Something touches my cheek, something warm and slightly wet, perhaps a pair of dainty lips. I lift my head, and through blurry tears, can just make out a white and pink shape. The little filly before me leans forward and wipes my tears away with one of her delicate, slipper covered hoof, before kissing my snout. She takes another step and wraps her arms around my neck. You’re not real, little Dream Aunt Tia. You have never been real. You’re just a figment of a stressed mind, and I don’t care in the slightest. I need to feel the warmth of your hug against my chest.

“I’m sorry,” I whimper.

Sorry?

I’m sorry?

Yeah, as a matter a fact, I am. I’m sorry for being a royal screw-up all of my life. I’m sorry for being a grade-A cluster fuck. I’m sorry I was ever born. I’m sorry Aunt Tia and Canterlot and all of Equestria has ever had to deal with me. If I ever find a spell that lets me go back in time, I’ll punch my mom in the stomach and spare the world me ever being born.

You’re right, dad. You’re always right, after all. I’m always sorry, but this isn’t the time for that. Face it, BB; you’ve spent so long being a caricature of the snobby prince of mud, that’s become your default setting. I’m mud, so why should I ever bother trying to be anything more? I’m just a cute little half-breed playing prince with a bunch of goddesses. I’m never going to be the commander my father was, I’m never going to save the world from Discord or rule the Crystal Empire. I’m never going to settle down with a mare who actually cares about me. I’m never going to be anything but mud.

It doesn’t matter. All that matters is Aunt Tia. If there is one thing I do right in my entire life, just let it be this. Let me just not fail this one time. Whatever god or devil or Discord is listening, just let me do this one thing right.

I look down at the filly, and wrap my arms around her. I squeeze her tight, and she lets out the most adorable giggle. “Yeah, yeah,” I mutter. “I know. You need me, right?”

By the time I manage to get to my hooves, my dad is gone. So is the little filly. My throat is aching, but I don’t dare take another drink from the pool of cyan. I’m out of liquid courage, too, which means the ache in my leg is coming back with a vengeance. If I put any weight on it, it’ll buckle, so I start the long, painful, three step trot deeper into the cave.

The deeper I go, the hotter and thicker the air becomes. Scalding waves scream down the narrow tunnel, hitting me like a flaming train. Each blast of hot air rips the breath from my lungs and brings me to my knees. Only with a lot of focus can I even bear to stand back up. Sometimes I look forward and catch sight of the little white filly, just out of reach, and I remember why I’m here. The ground beneath my hooves is melting. My fur starts to singe. I’m actually happy when a faint glow off in the distance washes into the tunnel, because I no longer have to illuminate my way with my horn. My only focus is on the steps; the slow, methodical trot as I continue on.

As the tunnel opens into another gallery, a blinding flash washes over me. I barely have time to lift my arm in front of my face and shield my eyes. A scalding burn opens on my arm and hoof: the fur burns off and the flesh starts to melt like the wax on a candle. Like a beacon, there is something burning as bright as the sun, but as I stare, it starts to take shape. A slender, center body is carried on a pair of long, graceful legs. Grand wings, as beautiful as those of a swan or a fairy, stretch out from the mare’s body. A tail and mane, both glowing and burning with fire like the sun, stretch into the air, radiating heat and light.

“Aunt Tia?” I call out. Another rippling wave of fire burst from the mare standing in the center of the cave. I bow my head and try to erect a spell that might protect me, but the force is far too great. The best I can do is hold the precious oxygen in my lungs. I doubt there will be any left in the cave much longer.

“Aunt Tia,” I shout again, and take those precious steps towards her. The ground is melting and yielding like tar when I put my weight down. I sink in to my fetlock, leaving burning asphalt on my skin even as I pull my hoof out.

I don’t know what is wrong with Aunt Tia, I don’t care. She looks different, but it’s her. I know it. And if I can just reach her, if I can just touch her, I can… I can what? What can a piece of mud do against a goddess?

“Why have you come here?” the flaming mare asks. “Did you fail to comprehend the message in the note? You stupid little foal.”

“What’s wrong with you?” I call out, despite the ache in my throat. “Aunt Tia, who did this to you?”

“Nothing has been done to me, child. You are perceiving my true form, that of the solar goddess. Leave me, before I grow weary of your constant whining.”

“Aunt Tia, we need you in Canterlot. You don’t understand.”

“No, child, you do not understand.” The twin suns of her eyes focus on me, sending a wave of heat that boils my stomach. Her wings stretch out, only increasing her majesty as she trots towards me and looks down. She has always been taller than me, but now she towers over me, as if I am but an ant before her. Her voice has the strength of thunder. “You do not understand the power housed inside this corporeal form, how can you? Maps and atlases and compasses, that is all you know. The day your mark spawned on your flank, you came galloping into my quarters and leapt on my back until I woke, just so you could show me your pathetic excuse for a talent.”

There is pain on my flanks, and the smell of burning flesh fills my nostrils. I know I’ll regret looking behind me, but I cast a glance and see small fires searing the skin, burning an ugly blob into my hind quarters.

“And your mane,” the mare before me says. One of her hooves reaches forward, and with ironic care, brushes down the side of my cheek. “Oh, your precious mane. You spent more time in front of the mirror grooming yourself than Cadance. All that care, all that love you showed it, and it burns just the same as tissue scraps.”

Searing pain runs up my back. I don’t bother to look. I know what she’s done. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is walking forward, step by step. My rear left leg is jerky, and my foreleg has been seared to the bone. I press on. I’m probably crying, but whatever tears escape my eyes instantly turn to steam.

The scalding suns that glare at me soften. The magenta returns to Aunt Tia’s eyes, though her body continues to burn with heat like the sun. “Leave!” she shouts. “Leave, or I shall turn your bones to goo inside your flesh and melt you from within.”

“Why are you doing this?” I scream. “You never even spanked me when I was bad and now you want to kill me? Tell me Chrysalis has taken hold of your soul. Tell me Discord has tainted your thoughts. I can help you. I just don’t know how!”

“You don’t understand, BB,” she says. “You don’t understand the power inside me. You don’t understand the damage I could do with a single stray thought, or a moment of unbridled rage. I could burn this empire to ash if I chose, and no one, not you, not Luna, not Twilight, could hope to stop me. Do you understand that? I can’t control the power inside me. It has been a struggle for years, and I have grown too weak with age to carry the burden myself. I want you to leave and never come back. It is for your own good.”

Three more steps. Three more steps and… and I’ll be close enough… Close enough to do what? Punch her? Stab her with my horn? Call her a raging bitch for putting me through all this? I’ll figure it out when I get there…

“I have seen what will happen if I remain in my position,” she continues. “The power inside me shall swell like a rampant sun. All shall burn beneath my tearful gaze, unless I never allow that future to pass. Twilight has ascended. She shall join Cadance and Luna in guiding this empire towards a prosperous age, and this cave shall be my tomb, where none of my little ponies can fall to harm. Just as I exiled my sister, all those years ago, now I must remove myself for the greater good.”

The fire returns to her eyes. Her voice is loud enough to make my ears bleed. “Now you will leave, and never return. You will tell none that you have found me, or I boil every drop of water in your heart and burn it out of your chest.”

The skin sears off my torso as I rear onto my one good rear leg. It’s a precarious balance, but I don’t need to do a dance. I allow gravity to pull me forward, and with my arms over my head, I just manage to wrap them around Aunt Tia’s neck. Hugging her is like hugging an open flame. Whatever moisture is left in my body turns to steam and burns out of my pores. I lock my wrists behind her back, and despite the tears rolling down my face I only hold tight to her.

The heat on my chest cools, and the temperature in the cave lowers. No longer in the cauterizing embrace, I’m vaguely aware my chest is bleeding and marking Celestia’s beautiful white fur with crimson. If I had the breath, I would apologize, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

“I’m too weak, BB. You don’t understand. I can’t do it anymore. When I first laid eyes upon Twilight Sparkle, I knew she would be the mare to finally replace me. I knew it was under her guidance that Equestria would thrive, instead of the stagnant wasteland it had become under my rule. Even as I groomed her, I struggled to keep the inferno of my heart at bay. Every night I go to sleep, I fear what will wake in my bed. If I must give my life for the good of my ponies, I will happily bury myself in this tomb.”

Speaking is the most difficult thing in the world. The air I try to draw into my lungs is boiling. I do it anyway. “What happened when Princess Sparkle lost control of her spell and turned Ponyville into something Discord would be proud of? You helped her. What happened when Luna returned, and she was too afraid to leave her room? You flew through her window and snuggled up with her all day. Or when Cadance was terrified of the horn that had spawned on her head? What happened when my… you were there for me. You’re always there for everypony, and we will always be there for you. We will protect you, will fight for you, but you must let us. You have carried an empire on your back all these years. If you are too weak now, please, let us carry you.”

I feel hot tears on my face, though I don’t know if they are hers, or mine. Probably hers. I doubt I have anything left inside me.

“I remember when I was a filly,” she says, “how infuriated I was that the simplest of spells were beyond my grasp. I would sell my soul to return to those days of weakness. What if I lose control? What if my power swells and consumes this entire world?”

“That will never happen. I know you, Aunt Tia, you won’t allow it.”

I hear her laugh. It’s a nervous chuckle, but it’s something sweet in my ears. “Just as matter-a-fact as that?”

“Yes,” I say. “There is a reason we all look to you, and we have for a thousand years. There is a reason your abrupt disappearance shakes us to our core. It is not because you are Equestria’s warhorse, or because you can lift the sun, but because we love you, and you love us. Whether you’re a little filly or a solar goddess, we know it is in you we can put our faith in. I hope you know you can put your faith in us. To lose you is to lose a source of warmth and love in this empire, and though that day may someday come… maybe just put it off another week?”

Another laugh. When I try to breathe, the air cuts through my chest like a knife. I feel myself fading away. That’s alright.

“Now,” I say, “do you think you can get home on your own, Aunt Tia? The peasants really miss you. So does Luna. You’ll be really proud of Aunt Luna. Tell her I’m sorry. Tell Sparkle I’m sorry, and Armor. I’m sorry to dad. I’m sorry to you… and Cadance… and everypony else.”

I laugh, much to Aunt Tia’s confusion. Reluctant to break the embrace, she puts her hooves under my arms and pushes me back, holding me like I’m a foal. There’s no more fire in her eyes. In fact, there is a look of fear, though I don’t know why. She smells like a sunny morning, and is as warm as comforter on a cold winter night. The flame has left her hair, replaced by the aurora borealis wave.

I’m that little colt locked in the library, telling my auntie all about the maps I’ve just found. I’m not worried about my dad coming home or the other colts being mean. I’m with my auntie, and I’m safe. “I’m sorry,” I manage to say, before my head tilts lazily back. Someone turns off the lights and the noise. I can no longer see Aunt Tia, nor can I feel her warmth against my fur, but I know she’s still holding me. She has to put me down though, cause she needs to return to Canterlot, because Canterlot needs her.

I just hope I did this one thing right…

Author's Note:

Well, that’s it. Prince Blueblood is dead. Maybe if I had gotten into the Feature Box I would have written something happier.




Just kidding. Epilogue will be up tomorrow.