• Published 1st Jan 2014
  • 11,408 Views, 329 Comments

The Royal Audience: A Mole Cricket Story - Bucking Nonsense

Mole Cricket, a changeling, faces the greatest challenge of his life so far: Convincing all four princesses that he deserves a chance at earning citizenship in Equestria.

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Something Surprising

"We were, of course, fully aware of your presence in the Crystal Empire."

Cricket, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, and Celestia were now sitting around a table, having tea in the royal gardens. Well, Cricket wasn't. When offered, he had declined, instead requesting a glass of water. He had just been taking a drink when Princess Celestia decided to drop that little bombshell on him.

Cricket had never performed what is classically known as a spit take. He'd seen a few, and had even caused a few by dropping his disguise with perfect comedic timing. However, his lack of experience with the phenomenon did not hinder him from performing one perfectly... with enough force that it soaked Celestia, who had been sitting across from him.

Several apologies later, both from him (after he'd caught his breath, and Celestia's reassuring smile indicated that she'd taken it in good humor), and the princess (admitting that yes, she could have timed that revelation a little better), Cricket asked the most relevant question he could think of in this situation: "If you knew I was in the Crystal Empire, why...?" He left it open ended, because there were so many 'why's' to choose from, he couldn't pick just one.

"Why?" the princess began, still wringing out her mane, "Why didn't we arrest you? Why didn't we eject you from the empire? Why did we leave you in peace for as long as we have? Well, initially, if was simply because you were badly injured at the time of your discovery, and it seemed terribly cruel to do anything to you at a time when you'd be completely unable to take care of yourself. Besides... according to the doctors and nursing staff, the, ah, youngsters currently in residence at the hospital had gotten rather attached to you. It would have broken their hearts if you had been taken away."

Cricket could feel himself starting to blush again, and it only got worse when Fluttershy asked the obvious question. "Youngsters?"

Celestia sighed sadly, saying, "King Sombra was in no way a kind ruler, and he'd practically made it his goal in life to become the enemy of every nation in the world. Had he not taken rather cruel steps to ensure he would remain unharmed, the combined might of every sovereign state of that era would have marched upon the Crystal Empire, long before my sister and I rose up against him. The cruelest of the steps he took was to abduct the heirs of every ruler of those nations, and hold them hostage. And when the city vanished for a thousand years..."

Fluttershy gasped as she realized where this was leading, but it was Twilight who finished the sentence, "...they were separated from their families... forever."

Celestia shook her head, then looked directly at Cricket, smiling, "Thankfully, no. I'm not the only, ah, long-lived ruler in the world. Their parents were all still present, and incredibly happy to have their beloved children returned to them, after such a long and terrible separation. This fine fellow, without knowing it, spent the majority of his hospital stay reading stories aloud to the heirs to some of the most powerful kings and queens in the world."

Cricket's cheeks, he knew, were probably cerulean from blushing at this point. He couldn't help it, for some reason. Now that he was out of disguise, his emotions, normally completely under control due to years of rigorous training, and even more rigorous practice, were running rampant, and somehow... he kind of liked it. "Well," he said,embarrassed, "I was in traction, and I only had one foreleg free. I really couldn't do anything else to pass the time, and the book was just sitting there, so..."

"So," Celestia interrupted, a very warm smile on her face, "When those future kings and queens returned home, the first thing they did was write all sorts of letters to let me and my sister know how much they thought of you. Over the course of three months, we've received: twelve royal pardons; fifteen notifications that you were going to be knighted; eight letters requesting that you be allowed to serve as a general, admiral, and/or supreme commander of various branches of the armed forces, both here and abroad; and one letter, being my personal favorite, proclaiming that you are, by imperial decree, the, and I quote, "Bestest Best Friend 4-Ever" of her Imperial Majesty, Princess Alexandrianna Rosanna Belinda Magnifica. It's the first imperial decree I've ever received written in crayon. I dare say you made an impression on them." With an impish smile, she continued, saying, "I should also add that you are now a duke, baron, count, earl, and a thane, as well as the mayor of "Awesome Town", which may or may not actually exist, but if it does, it's population consists solely of yourself and Prince Phillip of Minotoria."

By this point, Cricket was certain that there was no possible way he could blush harder without sprouting extra cheeks. Alex was a princess? Sweet little griffin, "thor" years old? Thought Miss Bunny Wunny Cuddlewumpus was the best possible name for the pet rabbit of an adult male of any species, and threatened to cry when he'd tried to suggest otherwise? And Phil was a prince? The same Phil who put ketchup on everything, even cotton candy? That can't be right...

Celestia continued, her smile still radiant with good cheer, saying, "In addition to all of that, we received an impressive number of medals, awards, trophies, and, also a favorite of mine, a macaroni drawing of yourself, as a pegasus, hugging a group of small children. There was also a sizable amount of money sent over, asking to be held onto until such time as you needed it. They seemed to believe that, you being a humble sort, would have sent it back if it had been delivered to you directly."

After allowing a moment for all of this to sink in, Celestia continued, "While their parents were more... restrained with their praise and gratitude, I can assure you that they were no less appreciative of your efforts. Many of them would be more than happy to shake your hoof, should they have the opportunity to meet you face to face, and have offered you amnesty in their kingdoms, should there be a need for you to leave Equestria. They did indicate that they were aware of your, ah, "unique" dietary restrictions, and would gladly make allowances for them. Long story short, good sir, you are probably the most popular changeling in the world right now."

Cricket tried to think of something witty he could say, some snappy response to all of that. Sadly, there was only one word running through his head, over and over again, preventing any other thought from entering his brain. For lack of anything else to say, he said that word aloud.


Fluttershy and Princess Twilight Sparkle, who had been listening to all of this, first with slowly increasing surprise, then with rapidly increasing amusement, both burst out laughing. The two of them fell on the ground, rolling about and holding their sides. Mole couldn't help but join in, and Celestia, while more restrained, let out a good bit of laughter herself. When finally, everypony and everybuggy regained their composure, Princess Celestia spoke once again.

"Twilight Sparkle explained to me that she had promised that you'd be given an opportunity to earn citizenship in Equestria." The princess made a gesture, and two guards entered the room, carrying something very heavy between them. "Now, there are precedents for such a thing, but normally, that right is restricted in cases of members of an enemy state or species. However, an exception can be made if the individual is found to be of outstanding character and has been given endorsement by one or more individuals of note."

The two guards, straining with effort, deposited their burden upon the small table around which the four sat. It was a massive stack of stuff: letters, documents, certificates, medals, trophies, awards, bags of bits, and, yes, a rather adorably made macaroni picture of himself, as a pegasus, hugging a group of small children. The stack was taller than Celestia was, and probably weighed five times more, but the table, in a feat of strength and determination that would be sung of by tables (well, if they could sing, but you get the idea) for generations to come, stood tall and steady, with only a little bit of creaking.

"Given the evidence," Princess Celestia said, that impish smile once again on her face, "I dare say you've met that requirement. So, all that remains is an official hearing, and you will be on your way to full citizenship."