• 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 Second - Dreams of a Dreamy Colt

Room 36 of the “Coltfort Inn”, Ponyville’s premier and only luxury hotel, was dark and quiet. A beam of moonlight shone through the large window, bathing the room in a soothing glow. In the king-sized bed, Prince Blueblood slept comfortably, oblivious to the crazy days he was about to live. His face displayed an innocent, almost foalish smile.

~~~

The crisp autumn leaves crunched under the young colt’s hooves as he galloped cheerfully amongst the trees. The forest extended for miles on every side, never breaking from the same pattern. The trees were tall and their tops converged into a wide roof of entwined branches. Golden leaves adorned the summits, blotting out most of the sunlight, leaving the ground a patchwork of glimmering sunbeams. The quiet gurgling of a small stream and the occasional bird song provided a soothing musical ambiance. The land was welcoming and comforting, it was calling out to the foal; “Come, let’s go play!”

Today, the young Prince Blueblood was on an adventure! It didn’t matter what mother thought, he could do what he wanted today. He was going to have fun! The forest rang with the pure laughter of a young colt free from worry, free to be himself without the oppression of public opinion.

He frolicked from place to place, chasing small animals, snacking on wild berries, trying to climb up trees, being distracted by fluttering butterflies, failing to climb up trees, splashing around in the stream, plunging into piles of fallen leaves, spooking away birds, failing some more at climbing up trees, and overall just being a rambunctious little colt having a wild time without a care in the world.

After an eternity, however, fatigue caught up with the young prince. Even the most refined, priciest candy in all of Equestria could only ever fuel so much playtime.

However, as he settled down for a moment and slowed his pace to a trot, Blueblood realized that while he had been having fun, things had changed in the woods. The sunlight had dimmed. The treetops were now much closer, giving the forest a claustrophobic feel. The birds were no longer chirping and the stream had been silenced. The whispers of the wind in the leaves had turned to hushed voices, hissing their disapproval.

“Has this colt not been taught manners?” “How improper.” “Tss... such misconduct.” “Colts should be seen, not heard.” “How bothersome.” “This colt is lacking in discipline.”

Then, without any warning, the commanding voice of a distinguished matron boomed through the wild, freezing him in place.

“Prince Blueblood of Canterlot! What did I tell you about running off on your own!”

~~~

“Imsorrymotherpleasedontspankme!”

Blueblood shot awake in a panic, shouting almost incoherently. His eyes stayed shut tight, wincing in apprehension. He nervously awaited the far too familiar pain to his flank, only for a mix of confusion and relief to gradually wash over him when his expectations failed to be fulfilled.

Slowly, he realized what had transpired. That dream again. As he laid his head back on the pillow, he soon became aware of a strange fact. Though his mother’s voice had gone away, the hushed noises of the crowd still echoed. This peculiar phenomenon left him baffled for a moment, until he realized that the voices had become more muffled, that the words were completely gone. Only the general hustle and bustle of the average noise of ponies talking remained.

His confusion melted into a frown. Blueblood stepped down to the floor on the left side of his bed like he did every morning. The noise kept going. Knowing he would be facing the same window he did every morning, he brought his hoof to bang against the wall.

“Keep it down in the gardens! Some ponies are trying to sleep here!”

His eyes shot open when his hoof hit canvas where a window’s glass should have been. The sight of a sunlit orchard just inches away from his face greeted him. Startled, he stumbled back and crashed onto the mattress.

He wasn’t in his room. Where there should have been a window, there was a painting. Gradually, it all came back to him as the torpor of his rough awakening ebbed away.

He was in the small town of Ponyville, having elected to stay the night in the fanciest hotel the area had to offer. He was to meet a mysterious farmer by the name of Big Macintosh, supposedly a stallion well-versed in humility and chivalry. He had promised to change, to become better, for himself and for Rarity.

The thought scared him. Did he really need to change? He had been happy up to now, hadn’t he? There were hundreds of mares out there who would have given everything for his affections. It wasn’t too late to quit and go home, forget about what had happened and return to his decadent life of luxury.

The thought taunted him. He could still get out of it all. Did he want to?

Blueblood got off the mattress for the second time this morning. He mulled over the problem endlessly, walking around the bed and into the larger part of the luxury bedroom. The various options rushed through his head.

If he left, he’d be home by early afternoon, and he’d be free to recover from his emotions in his private quarters with a glass of his favorite grape nectar before joining with his usual horn fencing club for some good exercise. Then, perhaps he would head to a nice little soirée, enjoy some society time, and try to forget anything unusual had happened at the gala. However, he would forever wonder what could have been.

If he did go along, he’d probably have to endure countless ordeals and confront himself. He would have to make the largest effort of his life and rise above who he was. It was very likely that he would come out somepony entirely different. He might forever regret his choice, or perhaps his life would be better for it in the end.

This was a rare occasion for him. He was facing a difficult, meaningful decision. This wasn’t an issue across which his gigantic fortune could carry him. What should he choose? What should he do?

He sat down at the small writing desk that the room offered, rifling through his belongings in search of an answer. A scrap of paper stashed away in his wallet caught his attention; a magazine clipping.

“Cufflink’s Discovery of the Week” was his favorite colt’s fashion column, one which he read religiously. Cufflink, a black-maned white pegasus, was known as one of the greatest experts in colts’ and stallions’ clothing in all of Equestria, and his suggestions and tips were considered priceless amongst the male noblesse of Canterlot.

This particular clipping, however, had a special meaning to Prince Blueblood. His eyes ventured along the first line of the article. Four words stood out most of all. “Carousel Boutique”, “Ponyville” and “Rarity”. A small picture of the beautiful unicorn decorated the text with elegance. Blueblood’s heart fluttered at the sight, but the reality of the situation soon brought him back to earth. She hated him. He had no chance with her if he couldn’t change himself. She was not interested in the ways of the noblesse.

A piece of parchment was stapled to the article. Though he knew the words to the exact letter, having written them in the evening before going to bed, he read the note once more. His immaculate hornwriting decorated the paper, every letter perfected into a flourish, every word carefully polished. He had been taught to write well, and the memories of a ruler painfully rapping against his horn with every mistake were a permanent influence.

“On this day of... I, Prince Blueblood the... swear on my honor and... shall follow my quest for self-improvement... greater destiny... pride of my family... struck down by lightning... Oh, are you serious?”

Putting the note and the article down, Prince Blueblood sighed. Knowing he would probably have given up when faced with difficulties, he had locked himself into a contract with his own honor. If he gave up now, he would never be able to forgive himself for breaking such a pact.

“Sometimes, I’m a little too cunning for my own good.”

This wasn’t just about himself, though. He had also made a promise to that farm girl, and he’d be damned if he broke his word, no matter who he had given it to. That was one lesson from his childhood he had taken to heart. An honorable colt never breaks his word. He remembered her exact words from the last evening.

“Now look here,” she had said, “If I’m goin’ to saddle my brother with helpin’ you, I need to make sure you’re not going to waste his time or mine. I have no means to tell whether or not you’re lyin’ about wantin’ to improve, but I want you to give me your word that you’re plannin’ to go along with this, no matter what.”

Blueblood sighed at the memory. Obviously, he’d agreed without even giving things a moment of thought. Emotions had always made him irrational.

“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.”

~~~

“Oh, what did I get myself into? All I asked for was a gentlecolt and I wind up with a delusional stalker.”

Rarity sighed, redirecting her attention to carefully sewing yet another tuxedo sleeve. It was hard work, sewing suit after suit, but it would all be worth it when her line became famous all across Equestria. Soon, her spotlight would shine even brighter. The fabulous Cufflink, famous columnist of “Colts’ Fashion Monthly”, had ranted and raved about her “Gentlecolt of Ponyville” line.

With Sweetie Belle at school and Opalescence having her grooming redone by Fluttershy after a particularly messy plunge into the Ponyville stream, it was her best chance at getting a lot of work done.

Still, she couldn’t get the worries out of her head. What kind of loony did that Blueblood have to be to seek her all the way to Ponyville after the rejection she’d given him at the gala? Was he going to come by again? What was she to do?

A knock at the door startled Rarity out of her thoughts. She shook off the worries, feeling it important to be at her best for whomever might be visiting. She trotted to the window, adjusting her mane on the way, and called out in a singsong voice.

“Coming!”

She peeked out through the yellow lace curtains of the boutique’s window, expecting that annoying colt again. A pleasant feeling of relief washed over her when she saw that her guest was another pony entirely.

“Applejack! How nice of you to visit! Just give me a moment, I’ll have this door open in no time!”

With a series of clattering noises, Rarity undid a half dozen latches and locks, motioning for the very confused Applejack to come in. The farmer mare took great care in wiping her hooves on the doormat before entering, fully aware of how protective Rarity was of her boutique’s imported carpet. Memories of Rarity’s warnings still rung clearly in her ears. “Careful now, this rug is an expensive import, directly from the far Humplands of Camelia!”

“What’s with all the locks, Rarity? Musta been the first time I’ve seen this door locked in years. Somepony givin’ you trouble?”

Rarity stopped in her tracks. How would Applejack react if she knew? She’d probably think it was silly of her to lock herself in because of Blueblood. As she shut the door behind Applejack, an idea flashed in her head. Shuddering at the disgusting memories going through her mind, she offered an innocent grin, attempting to hide the truth.

“Ah! It’s those... those revolting Diamond Dogs. I heard they were looking for me, something about finding more... rubies! Yes, that’s right, more rubies. So... I... of course decided that I would... hide in here and keep my door locked.”

Applejack shot the unicorn a stare of disbelief.

“Rarity, don’t take me for a foal. You know as well as I do that them varmints wouldn’t get within a hundred hooves of you even if Princess Celestia told them to. This all wouldn’t have anythin’ to do with that Prince Blueblood fella, would it?”

Rarity’s grin melted into a disappointed frown. Of course, the Element of Honesty would catch her in such a bald-faced lie.

“Oh... I guess there isn’t much point in hiding things from you now, is there? Yes, it’s all about him... Wait, how ever did you figure it out?”

“Well, it’s a pretty long story, actually, an’-”

Rarity motioned for the farmer mare to follow her, leading her to the comfortable little tea salon that was set up in the corner of Carousel Boutique.

“What do you say I take a moment to make us some tea, and you tell me all about it?”

~~~

“Okay, so let me get the story straight, Applejack. You’re telling me that you found Prince Blueblood on the edge of the stream near Fluttershy’s home.”

“Yep.”

“And today, he will be meeting with your brother, about learning to be a true humble gentlecolt.”

“Yep.”

“All for my attention.”

“Well, I don’t know about that part, but it sure sounds that way.”

Rarity blinked in confusion for a few moments. She stuttered for a moment, before a wave of frustration came over her. She stood up from the sofa she had been occupying, turning away from Applejack, clearly disapproving.

“Darling, of all ponies, I thought you would be the last one to fall for his lies. He’s a snake, a rotten apple! He’s only showing good graces for his own profit! That colt is faker than Photo Finish’s accent!”

Applejack was not going to just sit there and let Rarity call her gullible. Worked up by the sudden conflict, she stood up and shouted back.

“Now look here, missy! I know a liar when I see one, and that Blueblood fella there was definitely not lyin’. He was bawlin’ his eyes out like a foal, cryin’ your name to the skies! Most pitiful thing I ever laid eyes on! Now you’re tryin’ to tell me he’s lyin’! Some Element of Generosity you are!”

“Crying... my name?”

Rarity’s bravado collapsed at the mention of Prince Blueblood’s heartbreak. The farmer mare had omitted this part from the original story, somehow believing that her story would go over better for it. Her legs shaking under her, she stumbled back into her sofa, seeming slightly disoriented from the emotion.

“Nothin’ less. Kinda overdramatic if you ask me, but still, that’s the truth. Now look. He wants to get better. He promised. I agreed to get Big Macintosh to help him, but only if you agreed. This whole story has you and him at the middle of it, and I’d rather not have anythin’ goin’ on that you disapprove of. So, I’m askin’ you. Would you allow him to stay around Ponyville and try to improve himself like he says?”

Rarity bit her lower lip, hesitating. Just a moment ago, she would have liked nothing more than to see him ran out of town. However, Applejack’s honest words had left her curious. Could there be more to Prince Blueblood than the royal pain she had endured at the Gala? No. She didn’t want to believe it. He did look elegant in that bowtie, though. His mane was well combed, too. Oh! He also has those... mmm... well toned flanks. No, no, no! What am I thinking? Truly, she had never seen anything positive about him. Still, her curiosity was piqued. What would happen if he stayed? Was there any hope for good to come out of this? She regained her composure. This was not the time to show weakness.

“I don’t know, Applejack. After what I’ve seen of him, I really don’t trust him. He’s up to something. I’m sure of it. He’s planning something nefarious.”

Applejack sighed. She’d expected Rarity to be reticent. She knew her friend to often be harsh in her judgment. Furthermore, the prince had looked so pitiful, so genuinely distraught. She couldn’t just let things end here. Somehow, she felt there was potential for good to come out of his stay in Ponyville. She couldn’t help but ask one last time.

“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. Now, if you’re really sure you don’t want to give him a chance to improve, I’ll be tellin’ him he’s got to go. But, before that, I’m askin’ one last time. Will you, yes or no, give Blueblood a chance to improve himself?”

Having lost her composure again at the heartfelt speech, Rarity gave Applejack a pleading look. She didn’t want to answer the question. She tried to edge her way out of it. Applejack was having none of it. She countered Rarity’s teary gaze with a determined look of her own. They were at a standoff for several seconds, until Applejack decided some bargaining was in order.

“I swear he won’t be comin’ around here until you say he can come around here. Not if I can help it.”

Rarity blinked a few times, remaining silent. Her bottom lip quivered, and her eyes began to well up.

“Pinkie Pie swear?”

Applejack didn’t even need a second of thought.

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

There was another long pause. Rarity felt her heart pulsing in her chest. She knew the decision she was about to make would probably make the next few days a lot more dramatic, if not the next few years. Finally, with a small sniffle, she resigned herself to destiny. Perhaps, just perhaps, fairy tales could come true.

“Then... he can stay. I’ll give him a chance.”

Applejack edged close to the unicorn, draping a foreleg over her shoulder and drawing her into a hug. The decision had been very difficult, that much was clear. Rarity’s eyes were glistening with tears, and she had fallen silent. A tight hug brought the friends together, giving the unicorn a warm, quiet moment to recover from the torrent of emotions that had just washed over her.

“That’s mighty noble of you, Rarity. Mighty noble.”

~~~

Prince Blueblood walked out of "La Rose Dorée", better known to some as "the priciest restaurant in all of Ponyville." It was quite a relief to have found such a place and to know that culinary excellence did exist in such a minuscule town.

At least I’ve secured proper lodging and food. Maybe this won’t be quite as hard as I expected. My, Chef Cordon Bleu can certainly be proud of his crêpes.

Pondering whether or not he had been excessively generous with his tip, Blueblood set out towards the farm he had been pointed to. The way was clear and simple, and he certainly wouldn’t have any trouble making it there quickly. However, just as he was about to engage on the short way out of Ponyville, the voice of a young filly caught his ears.

“Don’t you think this new necklace goes, like, perfectly with my tia- Whoa! Look! Silver Spoon! Isn’t that...”

A pair of shrill, excited squeals rang out, quickly followed by the clattering of two sets of hooves against pavement. He turned, surprised, and saw two young fillies galloping over to him.

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

The pink earth pony filly had almost screamed in excitement. An elegant ornate tiara sat proudly on her head, much like a similar one marked her flank. Most likely, the item of jewelry had been crafted to match. She was almost jumping in place with excitement. Her painstakingly brushed purple and white mane bobbed as she hopped from her front to her rear hooves in excitement.

“You’re, like, even more, like, totally handsome than in the magazines!”

The second filly, a grey earth pony with an ash-colored braided mane, swayed from side to side, on the verge of fainting. A deep red blush washed over her face as her spoon-marked flanks swayed from side to side. She was completely lost in the moment. The two of them squealed in excitement almost twice as much as they spoke.

Prince Blueblood was fully aware of his reputation. He had quite often made a scene of himself in the various high class salons of Canterlot. This, along with his status, had quickly made him a noted celebrity of the gossip rags. The general population only saw him as more of a vapid noble for it, but now and then a mare or filly would latch on to his presence with amazement. However, these two young damsels were by far the most excited he had ever seen. Standing proudly and flashing them a winning smile, he decided to play along.

“Prince Blueblood? Why yes, that is me. Who do I have the honor of meeting?”

The two fillies almost fell on top of one another in awe. He had just spoken to them. The amazing, elegant, handsome, dreamy, most wonderful Prince Blueblood of Canterlot had spoken to them. Oh, the others would be so jealous of them. Of the two, Diamond Tiara was the first to regain enough composure to talk.

“Um... um... like... my name is D-D-Diamond Tiara and... this is, like, my friend Silver Spoon. And... um... um...”

The grey filly finally managed to get back onto her legs, having spent most of the last minute leaning on her friend for support.

“We’re absolutely, like, totally your biggest fans!”

Almost in synchronicity, the two young fillies reached into their school saddlebags. In an instant, Diamond Tiara was thrusting two sheets of colorful stationary at him, and Silverspoon almost poked him with the tip of a silver-plated fountain pen.

“Can we please have your autograph, Prince Blueblood?”

With a beaming smile, Blueblood’s horn lit up and levitated the paper and pen from the fillies’ grasp. With a few elegant swoops, both pieces of paper now bore perfect inscriptions:

To my greatest fan, Diamond Tiara. ~Prince Blueblood

To my greatest fan, Silver Spoon. ~Prince Blueblood

As the papers were set down into their hooves, the two fillies tried to stutter a few words of thanks. In their awe, however, they failed even that. All they could manage was to swoon and collapse onto one another. Chuckling to himself, Blueblood simply levitated the pen back into Silver Spoon’s saddle bag before walking away. The market place was plenty busy today, and somepony would obviously pick up the two fillies. That is, without causing them to faint a second time. Glad to have made this little stop, Blueblood set out on the road to Sweet Apple Acres, where his fate awaited him. He trotted with a spring in his step and a smile on his face, displaying renewed confidence.

Perhaps this stay in Ponyville won’t be so awful after all.

~~~

To Be Continued

~~~

Coming up next in To Be a Better Stallion

That crazy party filly, the rainbow pegasus, Princess Celestia’s personal student, and now that highfalutin’ noble. I swear, Applejack, you have a knack for running into the strangest ponies.

~Big Macintosh

...

“W-what is this travesty! It’s… an ocean of dirt! Oh, the horror! It’s a cornucopia of filth! The Promised Land of all that is unclean! The El Dorado of mud and stains! Why must this world make a mockery of me?”

~Prince Blueblood

“Why, I never! You ruffian! Show some respect!”

~Prince Blueblood

“Like you would know anything about respect! Jerk!”

~Rainbow Dash

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