• Published 13th Oct 2011
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To Be a Better Stallion - Autumn Wind



Blueblood works hard to improve in order to regain Rarity's affections.

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Chapter the First - The Paragon of Fools

How... quaint. I would have expected a lady of her charm to reside in a village with far more... grandeur.

Ponyville’s market was rather crowded today, and many ponies were up and about. Stallions and mares everywhere held shop, proudly offering their wares to everypony out shopping. Younger colts and fillies bounded across the market place, galloping to meet their friends. To the left, three flower fillies were discussing thorny roses with a unicorn whose flank bore a safety pin. To the right, a turquoise unicorn mare and her earth pony companion were pondering the wares of a famous apple stand. Rushing across the sky with a bag of letters, a blond-maned grey pegasus sped to her next delivery. Her eyes carefully watched the scenery ahead and to her left, respectively.

However, of all the ponies strolling around the market, none attracted as much attention as the young unicorn stallion strolling down the main street. He kept up a brisk trot, visibly relishing the swooning looks of the young mares whose attention his dashing looks attracted. His coat shone under the noon sun, a dazzling white as pure as diamond. He bore a long, golden mane, which was finely groomed and fluttered with the purest of elegance as he trotted. Piercing through those golden waves, his ivory horn stood proudly towards the sky. Its remarkable length did nothing to humble his regal appearance. He had chosen to dress simply today, bearing only a simple yet elegant bowtie of a most poignant burgundy and a pair of light silk saddlebags. The magnificent Prince Blueblood had come to town on personal business.

Despite the multiple fillies observing him with curiosity and interest, his attention was directed to a single point: Carousel Boutique. He could have recognized it out of a hundred other stores. Between the lacy curtains, the elegant arabesques, the diamond motifs and those most lovely silhouettes, there was no doubt that this was the boutique he had been looking for. Prince Blueblood’s favorite fashion magazine had had only the greatest of praises for Rarity’s first attempts at dabbling in colts’ tuxedoes.

Oh, Rarity, wonderful Rarity. How marvelous it is to find you at last! I have so long awaited the day where I would see your beautiful eyes anew, and finally, it has come!

Our first date at the Gala wasn’t the epitome of perfection, I’ll concede. You were not ready to face the hardships of accompanying an aristocrat such as I, and you made a few mistakes, but nothing unforgivable.

The attack of that monstrous mountain of cake provoked you into losing control of your frustrations, I can presume. You obviously said words you did not mean. Noticing one’s failures to hold up to certain standards can be so disconcerting, I know. After all, why would you blame me, who was so kind as to accompany you through the gala all night, making sure you would not have to mingle with the lesser ponies? Curse that blasted cake! At the sight of all that icing everywhere, I passed out, and you were forced to leave before I came back to myself.

But Rarity, oh beautiful Rarity, I have sought you out once more, and now nothing will stop us. By now you have surely researched the protocol of high society courtship, and you await me every day, for you know that my lovestruck heart will lead me to you!

Prince Blueblood could already imagine the scene. She would open the door, their eyes would meet. He would present her with a lovely bouquet. They would hesitate for a moment, and then a kiss would unite them forever, allowing them to resume what they had failed to achieve a month ago. That was the only way things could go. After all, he was the most desirable stallion in all of Canterlot, and she was such a marvelous mare.

At the gala, oh, fair lady,

Your fierce beauty caught my eye!

In an instant you stole my heart, at the gala~

Oh what a thrill, when our hooves touched,

and how wonderful your smile.

So many dreams it inspired,

That night at the gala~

~~~

The indigo door slammed shut with a resounding crash, leaving the beleaguered stallion to blankly stutter the remainder of his planned speech.

“-and so I have come to offer you a second chance.”

For several minutes, Blueblood hesitated. Such a fierce refusal was a very uncommon experience for him. The noble daughters of his family’s friends were usually head over hooves for him. What was he supposed to do now? He thought for a moment.

She slammed the door in the middle of my sentence! How rude! This... can’t be the mare who struck my heart at the Gala, can it? Surely she must have made a mistake and confused me for one of her more... unruly neighbors.

With a deep breath, he adjusted his bowtie and straightened his mane, before knocking a second time. This time, the door did not open. He saw her form pass in front of the elegantly frosted window and linger for a moment before disappearing into the boutique. Moments later, a light creak was heard.

Prince Blueblood’s eyes lowered towards the ground, from where the sound had emanated. A small pet door swung on its hinges. Blueblood observed in confusion. A speck of white caught his left eye, and his head turned.

Hmm... What a most immaculate pet she has. This is a mare who knows elegance to its finest details. Look at that finely brushed coat, and that wonderful little gem studded collar. That ribbon on her head is a very nice touch. Look at that little tail, swishing to and fro. Who’s a nice kitty? Who is? Ooo! Would you look at that? She’s smiling at me. My, Lady Rarity has done some very good work polishing these claws... and look at these fangs...

Suddenly, in a burst of white, there was no more elegance. There was only agony.

~~~

After several minutes of panicked galloping and an unwanted but necessary plunge into the first body of water he could find, Blueblood had finally been relieved of the monstrous plague of claws and fangs that had taken to assaulting his flanks. Hissing with the fury of a thousand tigers, Opalescence had run back into town. Letting loose a sigh from deep within the confines of his heart, the ravaged unicorn called forth a brush from his saddlebag and took to fixing the terrible damage the feline and the plunge had inflicted on his wonderful grooming.

She has... rejected me? How is this possible?

As far as he could remember, no mare had ever refused his company before, had they? Prince Blueblood sifted through his memories for a moment, remembering the other fillies who had loved him. Had he ever been rejected?

His first love had been a pegasus filly by the name of Amethyst, the daughter of Baron Emerald Heart. She had sought him out when the two of them were very young, neither of them having yet earned their cutie marks. They had shared some happy days, but his mother had forbidden him from seeing her again. Supposedly, Amethyst was not truly invested in their family’s well-being, and would only dampen their honor. He had wished to oppose, but he knew that if he had, mother would have given him the spanking of a lifetime and confined him to his bedroom for at least a week.

There had been more fillies like her. They had sought him out, or their families had suggested arranged marriages, but in the end it had always been him who had had to end the relations. His mother had never approved of the mares he had found interest in, and the idea of confronting the matriarch of his family was simply not something he could consider. Aristocratic families such as his had strong honor codes, and there was no going against them without attracting much negative attention to oneself.

However, for all his failed romances, he had to come to a conclusion: he had never been rejected before. The experience was entirely alien to him, a feeling the likes of which he had never had to face before, a deep sorrow, tearing at his heart.

Oh, woe is me! What is a stallion to do! Love is but a cruel mistress, setting my heart ablaze for a mare who will not even look at me. Whatever shall I do! Oh, fate, I beg of thee, give me a chance to soothe my bleeding soul! Give me hope!

~~~

Sweet Apple Acres had been a loud nest of chaos all day, thanks to Apple Bloom and her friends trying every single farm task they could possibly think of, from “Cutie Mark Crusader Pig Feeders, YAY!” all the way to “Cutie Mark Crusader Field Ploughers, YAY!” Applejack had been working her tail off all day doing damage control, from reeling the escaped pig back in to replanting the carrots and potatoes that had been prematurely uprooted.

Finally, after several hours of frolicking to and fro and making a nuisance of themselves, the three fillies had headed to Apple Bloom’s bedroom for a sleepover. Applejack had wished them all good night and tasked her brother with checking on the fillies now and then, to make sure they didn’t get into any more shenanigans for the day. She needed some rest, and she knew the best way to find it.

Night had fallen just recently, and Luna’s moon was waking up in the sky, bathing the outskirts of Ponyville in a quiet glow. There was hardly a sound to break the silence, only the singing of a single cricket and the quiet babbling of a placid stream. Applejack was out on the quiet path to Fluttershy’s cottage, figuring her pegasus friend wouldn’t be too busy at this time of the evening and would appreciate an impromptu friendly visit. After all, by now, most of the animals had gone to sleep.

After a few minutes of trotting, a white figure attracted her attention in the distance. Applejack took a few more steps to get a better look, trying to identify the mysterious pony. It was a young white unicorn stallion, just a little older than her. He was slumped over by the riverside, just looking at his own reflection. His stature was quite large; he looked to be almost as tall as Big Macintosh, if a lot thinner. His grooming could have easily rivaled that of Rarity, Applejack thought to herself. Perhaps he was a visitor from Manehattan or Canterlot.

Then, as she approached just a few steps more, she spotted his cutie mark. That eight-branched compass star, she knew she had seen it somewhere before. Where had she met this colt before? Her mind went on a wild rodeo, trying to stick a name and history on that silhouette. He was a city pony, that much was sure. Perhaps she had met him at school in Manehattan. That would have been rather unlikely. After all, that was so long ago, she wouldn’t have recognized one of her classmates this easily. Had she seen him at the gala?

The realization struck her. Of course! It was all clear now. Rarity had come to her apple stand with this noblecolt during the Gala. He had been one of only two ponies to try her pastries during the whole night, and he had had the rudeness to spit it back out. She remembered offering them the pastries on the house when he had made it clear that he expected Rarity to pay. Most of all, she remembered Rarity coming to cry on her shoulder that night, when she had no longer been able to hide her sadness at the miserable failure that her date had wound up being. That last part, Applejack couldn’t forgive. She didn’t know why Blueblood had come to Ponyville or why he was just out there sitting by the river, but she knew she had a few choice words to tell him. She sped up into a gallop, her hooves thundering as she approached him furiously.

“Blueblood! I’ve got a piece of my mind for you! I don’t know what kinda stuck-up upbringing you got as a foal, but back in my neck of the woods, stallions learn to treat a lady with respect! You really went and upset my friend Rarity there at the Gala, and I won’t stand for that. You’re gonna get back to Rarity’s this instant and present her with some well deserved apo... lo... well I sure wasn’t expectin’ that.”

Applejack had figured Blueblood would get mad at her. She’d figured maybe one of his guards was hiding and would get the drop on her. She was ready for that. She’d expected him to lash right back at her, to call her a country bumpkin with no manners, or perhaps to simply throw some vicious invectives out before vanishing into the night. She was ready for that too. She was also ready for him to completely ignore her.

However, never in a million years could she have predicted the reaction she got from Blueblood.

The unicorn had turned to face Applejack, with the most pitiful face she had ever seen. He kept his eyes down to the ground, refusing to look at her directly. His normally pristine cheeks were drenched with bitter tears. His ears hung limply on either side of his head. Applejack hadn’t seen such a miserable face since her little sister’s when the filly had expressed sadness at Twilight Sparkle not staying for the family brunch.

Blueblood hesitated for a moment. Doubts were running through his mind at full gallop. Rarity had been the first mare to ever call him out on his behavior. However, Rarity had also been the first mare he had been involved with who was not herself part of Equestria’s aristocracy. A painful sob escaped him.

“Is... is that really how I come off? Rude and stuck-up?”

Applejack didn’t need to pause; the answer was immediate to her. She’d seen some of his antics firsthoof at the gala, and she had heard many tales of his misbehavior from Rarity. She gave an awkward chuckle.

“Yep. That’s exactly it. Clear as day.”

Prince Blueblood blubbered for a moment, seeking a rebuttal to a perceived slight. To his great disappointment, nothing came of it; by now, he was fully aware of his behavior. Between Rarity’s words finally striking home and the farmer mare’s strongly-worded criticism, even the most oblivious of colts would have had no choice but to recognize his faults. Blueblood stuttered a few times before finally giving in to the hysterics.

“But... but... when I... Oh, who am I kidding? I’m hopeless. Prince Blueblood, the tragic foal. What is the purpose of a noblecolt who has known only perfection all his life? What is the fate of a pony who knows not hardship or pain when one cruel day they opt to wage war on his soul?”

As he spoke, Blueblood slowly rose back onto his feet, gradually rising higher and higher on his hind legs. His front hooves where quivering and flailing about in synchronism with his dramatic ranting.

“Oh, Equestria! This poor colt begs you, give me hope! My mind is but the destroyed ruins of the dreams of a city of gold! Just now, I find myself a mere shadow of the stallion I sought to be! Incapable of being a paragon, I have instead become a fool!”

Blueblood had reached an almost vertical posture, his forelegs pointing straight at the sky. His voice had erupted into a booming call, bellowing his fear and pain at the heavens. Applejack stared at him, flabbergasted. She was reminded of Rarity, but never had she expected such a display from a noble such as Blueblood. She observed silently, knowing from experience that it was pointless to interrupt him.

“Celestia! Oh, great aunt in the sky! Please show me the way! I am wandering blind! Is this the end of this poor forsaken foal? I beseech thee, oh Princess! Give me a sign! How, oh, how can I redeem myself?”

The world swirled around the hysterical colt for a moment as the impracticality of his posture caught up to him. Ponies were not meant to stand on their hind legs for such a long time. Blueblood stumbled backwards, falling onto his back with a heavy thump. In a daze, he opened his eyes a moment later. Stern green eyes were looking down on him, showing amusement and concern in equal parts.

“Uh-huh. You okay there, sugarcube?”

Blueblood rolled over, back onto his legs. His coat was dirty and his mane was disheveled, and somewhere along the way, he had lost his bowtie. His head hung low, and he gave a deep sigh.

“I’ve... seen better days.”

Applejack hesitated for a moment. She’d heard some pretty awful things about Blueblood from Rarity, but right now, he looked like he could really use some help. After a moment of reflection, she decided it wouldn’t be right to just leave him there, and that she might as well take the plunge.

“How ‘bout you follow me back into town and we’ll see what we can do for your troubles. It’s getting pretty late out here.”

Applejack pondered for a moment.

“I reckon my brother’ll know what to do with you.”

~~~

To Be Continued

~~~

Coming up next in To Be a Better Stallion

“Oh, what did I get myself into? All I asked for was an elegant mare, and I wind up honor bound to my own loony emotional self.” ~Prince Blueblood

...

“Rarity, I’m not askin’ you to trust him. I’m askin’ you to trust me. I know you don’t think there’s any hope for him, and I’ll admit I have my doubts too. But... somehow, I can’t shake the feelin’ somethin’ good might come out of this.” ~Applejack

“Oh my gosh! You’re... Prince Blueblood!” ~Diamond Tiara

“You’re, like, even more handsome than in the magazines!” ~Silver Spoon

“Imsorrymotherpleasedontspankme!” ~Prince Blueblood

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