• Published 30th Oct 2011
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Canterlot Follies - LadyMoondancer



Young Birdy is sent to Canterlot to steal an artifact and bolster Prince Blueblood's reputation.

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Chapter 7: Dinner and Chocolates, Not in That Order

Chapter 7: Dinner and Chocolates, Not in That Order

The sun was sinking dangerously close to the horizon as I dashed back to my suite in the castle. Greaves was waiting by the door in a suit a bit more waiter-y than usual and, while not actually tapping his hoof or glancing at the clock, managed to suggest both these activities in the single, reproachful glance he gave me as I shot in.

“I know, I know,” I said as I dumped my saddlebags on the sofa. “I would’ve been back sooner, but I was attacked by a vicious pack of similes in the park.”

“Similes, sir?” Greaves said as he followed me into the bedroom, but there was a note of distraction in his voice and he all but dove for the eveningwear laid out on the bed. No doubt he, like myself, feared Time’s winged chariot was drawing near, about to steam into his hindquarters at full speed.

Now, I’d had a few different valets before; Adder (he who stole my socks) and before him Meadows (who had weepy eyes and a habit of sighing so mournfully that I began to feel like I was living in a funeral parlour—he eventually quit my employ and did actually open one, which I frankly try not to think about), and a few fellows before them who worked under the Rooster banner before leaving to get married or move to the Scotchland or whatnot. And they each had their own particular style of work, so to speak.

Adder, for example, tossed clothes about in a quick but sloppy manner, had to be chivvied to bother with things like cufflinks and ironing, and furthermore had a habit of muttering uppish things like “Horn’s on the fritz, is it?” whenever I asked him to pick something up. Meadows, on the other hoof, was thorough enough, but creaked about so slowly that a snail would easily have outpaced him.

Greaves, to my relief, pushed me into the required apparel with smooth efficiency, and without any snippy remarks about levitation. In fact, my part in the proceedings was limited to raising the correct limb while he flashed about stuffing me into shirts and waistcoats and such.

How earth ponies manage without magic I have no idea, but he was layering on the outer crust of the elegant gentlecolt at such a steady clip that I relaxed, certain that I would arrive at dinner at the appointed hour and have plenty of time to socialize before my coach turned back into a pumpkin.

“I had a rather rummy experience on the way back here, Greaves,” I said as he hurried about. “I met up with Duke Sun Shimmer—he’s the fellow who tipped me off to that dinner tonight, if you remember—and some friend of his, an earth pony bulging with more muscles than can be strictly healthy to hang off the skeletal frame, accused me of belonging to a ring of pickpockets.”

“Most distressing, sir,” Greaves said, attacking some invisible dust on my tailcoat with a small brush.

“At least, he didn’t actually say ‘ring’, but I imagine that’s what pickpockets run about in, don’t you? Flocks of sheep, herds of elephants, rings of pickpockets . . .”

“I could not say, sir.”

“Of course I told him in no uncertain terms that I was pure as the driven snow. I wasn’t about to take that kind of guff, particularly not from a pony ladened with the ridiculous name of Bench. I mean to say!”

Greaves paused a moment in his ministrations. “Was the gentlecolt in question a pale yellow with dark hair, sir?”

“Good heavens, you don’t know him?”

“Not personally, sir. But I strongly suspect the pony in question was Benchmark, the pulling champion.”

“Pulling?” I was baffled and didn’t try to hide it. “Pulling what?”

“Weight-pulling, sir, a sport that originated in logging camps, I’m given to understand. Competitors drag logs—or in modern times iron weights—of greater and greater size until a winner is determined.”

“And you’re a fan of this spectacle?” I refrained from expressing my view that it had to be among the five silliest pastimes in Equestria and certainly no match for a day at the racetrack.

“Not particularly, sir, no. But one of the maids is a great fan of the gentlecolt in question and tried to display posters of him in the Servants’ Hall.”

“Tried?”

“The butler and the housekeeper agreed it was not appropriate décor, sir, and had a Talk with her.”

Well, you could see their point of view. The rest of the domestics probably didn’t fancy having a glossy of an over-muscled stallion leering over their shoulders while they polished silver or whatever it is they do to pass the time in the Servants’ Hall.

“Tell her to stick with posters, Greaves. The real version is lacking.”

“I fear the infatuations of young ponies are hard to shake, sir.”

“Oh, speaking of which . . .”

I filled him in on my run-in with Seeker, the would-be Romeo. At least, I suppose he would want to be Romeo without the suicide bit at the end of the play. Although who knows, really. Once a pony starts writing ballads, all bets are off.

“—so my thought is to introduce the two of them after dinner, then make a run for the museum,” I finished as Greaves kitted me out in spats.

“Quite ingenious, sir.” Greaves sounded mildly surprised, which, given his low-key manner, was probably the equivalent of a regular pony being positively floored. “Might I inquire how you intend to deal with the second guard on duty?”

“Ah, yes. The second guard. Well, I thought I’d just sort of wing that part.”

“I see, sir.”

“We Roosters think best on the fly, you know.”

“No doubt, sir.”

“It’s our wild, impertinent—no, wait . . . petulant, maybe?”

“Would ‘impetuous’ be the word you’re searching for, sir?”

“That’s the baby! It’s our wild, impetuous nature.”

“I’m sure that keeps life very interesting, sir.”

“Well, quite.” The conservation lulled for a bit as he drifted towards the bow ties laid out on the dresser. I thought I’d lend a hoof and brought some telekinesis to bear.

“Not that one, sir,” Greaves said in a kindly tone as I floated a bow tie his direction.

“But we agreed on the burgundy one, surely?”

“The other burgundy, sir. This one has several loose threads. I will mend it tomorrow.”

“Oh, right-ho.” I turned this around in my head as he fussed around my collar with the higher caliber specimen of neckwear. “Sew it, you mean?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Ah.” I wondered how earth ponies managed to manipulate needle and thread, but refrained from asking. Secrets of the guild and all that. “Out of curiosity, Greaves, just as a point of interest . . . what would you suggest? For snookering the other guard, I mean.”

“Well, sir . . . I would capitalize on the fact that he can only be in one place at a time. If one were to divert his attention towards the front of the building, for example, you might be able to effect an entrance through the back.”

“I say, that’s not bad. Supposing you went out front, Greaves, and poured a couple of bottles of ketchup about and pretended you’d been hit by a carriage—”

He gave a gentle cough, like a respectable sheep. “Actually, sir, I think a delivery arriving at the front door would be enough of a distraction. There is a young porter among the domestic staff who would undoubtedly make such a delivery, for a few bits.”

“Drop a load of groceries into this guard’s hooves, you mean?”

“I was thinking more along the lines of a large vase, sir, such as the one in the sitting room. Heavy, yet fragile. Moving such an item would take some time.”

“And they must get that sort of thing bunged on the museum doorstep all the time,” I said, realization dawning. “I say, Greaves, that’s a rather masterful scheme!”

“Thank you, sir,” he said with the half-smile. “I still would advise caution, however. It is bound to be a difficult task getting into and, more importantly, out of the building.”

“Oh, pish-posh. You said it yourself, I’ll creep through the back door.”

“The back door is bound to be locked, sir. You will have to break a window.”

My enthusiasm, which had been near the boiling point, cooled by several degrees. Crashing through a window makes for an exciting read of course, but part of the appeal is that the excitement remains fictional and thus unlikely to leave the reader with flesh wounds. “Well, I don’t see that. He’d hear the crash, for one. And I’d cut myself to ribbons.”

The sheep-like cough presented itself again. “I have heard, sir, that professional burglars employ treacle and brown packing paper to avoid both those dilemmas.”

“You’re joking.”

“No, sir. They spread the treacle over the paper before sticking it to the glass, then apply a sharp blow. The sound is muffled and the broken glass affixes to the paper, which is then easily disposed of.”

I ran this through my mind a few times with growing enthusiasm. Before I might have dropped a bit or two on this scheme to show, but now I was prepared to bet a tenner or even a twenty on it to win. “Greaves, this is good stuff.”

“Thank you, sir. I will have a maid bring up some treacle and paper, if that is amenable to you, and make arrangements with the porter.”

“Perfectly amenable,” I said as Greaves offered the finishing touch, my top hat. I don’t know what it is about formal dress, but a suit and a topper always leave me feeling braced and ready to take on the world. Or readier, at least.

Nevertheless, as I trotted into the sitting room, an unpleasant jolt rocked the Rooster frame. The saddlebags I’d dumped on the sofa had fallen open and that blasted box of chocolates had sort of edged out of them.

I levitated the confections up to the table, gazing with sudden moodiness at the pink and white box, which featured several dents from being slammed on the counter by an impassioned waitress. My concern for Plinker’s courtship, which I had successfully submerged for an hour or two, resurfaced. The Bard must’ve known what she was talking about when she said these little affairs of the heart were determined never to run smooth.

Still, I had some hope that Bon Bon would see the light after Plinker explained the posish., and maybe even offer Birdsong swooning words of gratitude once she understood that the Rooster-Heartsong engagement was nothing more than a farce.

That was the gist of the pep talk I gave myself, anyway. Yet as I looked down at the box of chocolate-covered cherries, I had grave doubts.

“—, sir?” Greaves said, finishing up some remark unheard by the distracted Rooster ear. The last word was not much help in deciphering what the preceding sentence might have been. A very proper post-script, of course. Very much in the feudal spirit. But not a bally lot to go on when one is trying to break back into the conversation.

“What was that, Greaves?”

“I said I will be going down to help with the preparations now, sir, with your approval.”

“Oh . . . Yes, do so. I shall see you there, I expect, gliding past with a tureen of soup or some such.”

“Yes, sir.” He lingered on a bit. “You seem a bit distracted, sir.”

“Just thinking of this and that,” I said. I hadn’t told him about Plinker’s romance (possibly) going bust, as I felt strongly that I never wanted to relive or disclose the disastrous scene outside the sweet shop as long as I lived. “Oh, and Greaves.”

“Sir?”

“These sweets.” I tapped the box.

“Yes, sir?”

“Don’t eat any, will you?”

He straightened and his brows lowered just a fraction. “No, sir,” he said, and it had a bit of a rebuke about it.

Belatedly I realized I had inferred that he was the type of servant who helped himself to the master’s food and drink when no one was looking, possibly leaning back in an armchair with his hooves propped on a footstool while he did so. There was umbrage in the room, and he was taking it.

“Of course I know you wouldn’t,” I added hastily. “You’re not the type of valet who goes around sticking his nose into everything.”

“No, sir.”

“Or pinching socks.”

“No, sir.”

“I just wanted to emphasize the point—in case, for example, the door jammed and you were trapped here for days on end with no other means of sustenance—because I am not at all sure these chocolates are fit for equine consumption.”

“Sir?” Now one of his eyebrows lifted ever so slightly in puzzlement.

“You never know when a batch of bad chocolate will accidentally fall in the pot.” Bon Bon’s narrowed eyes once again rose in my memory. “Or arsenic, for that matter.”

I was expecting another “sir?” or maybe even a “what, sir?”, but he said nothing. He just raised the other eyebrow, looked at the chocolates, then at me. I could see him readying another question for launch and had a feeling it would be far too insightful, like “I say, sir, you didn’t happen to stroll by the sweet shop and chat with Miss Bon Bon, did you?” or something along those lines.

So I quickly headed him off. “Well, you get going, Greaves. And stay vigilant, remember.”

“I’ll do my best, sir.” And with a last glance at the chocolate box, he shimmered out the door.


Not long after, I made my own way downstairs, joining a throng of elegant ponies queuing up to the entrance of the Great Hall, waiting to be announced by a butler (or perhaps a steward—Greaves would know) with astonishing lung capacity. I don’t say that the heavens trembled and the ground shook when he gave voice, but it must’ve been a close thing. His entire purpose, it seemed, was to blast out the name of each pony who entered the hall, for the benefit of the many-headed already gathered.

“LADY FLORA CRAYFISH!” he would bellow, or “PRINCE STAR GLEAMER!”, and the pony in question would step through the archway with the slightly dazed look of one who has been half-deafened.

As the line crawled closer, I was surprised to see Pinstripe Tock, the Royal Organizator, positioned beside the butler (or steward), wielding a checklist and a pen. Why this came as a shock to me I’m not sure; I should’ve guessed that ticking items off a list would be his idea of a delightful evening. Probably he would gush about it in his diary when he got home.

The butler was doing an admirable job of ignoring Tock’s presence, despite the fact that he couldn’t have been thrilled about having a blighter with a clipboard hovering by his shoulder all night. He—the butler, that is—didn’t give the blink of an eye as the grey earth pony interrogated each noblepony in turn, demanding name and rank before fussing through his papers to cross them off. The nobles themselves were less indifferent; so many indignant snorts filled the air that you would’ve thought a particularly asthmatic pony was snoring. If this bothered Tock at all, he was doing a dashed good job of hiding it.

“Name?” Tock said, not bothering to look up, as I drew level with him.

“Birdsong W. Rooster,” said I, watching the pony preceding me—who was burdened with the unlikely name of Lady Butter Tiara—prancing into the Great Hall.

“Rooster!” Tock looked up sharply, fixing me with a gaze so steely and suspicious that for a few unpleasant seconds I wondered if he’d somehow cottoned onto the whole Border Blanket scheme—although the severity of his expression suggested he thought I was planning some greater crime, like walling up a body in the wine cellar.

But no—I suddenly recollected that the Efficient Tock’s kick against me was the belief that I had been plastering posters all over the castle. Maybe under normal circumstances this unfounded assumption would have made me indignant, but circs. were so far from n. that I simply felt a surge of relief.

“That’s right. Birdsong Rooster or, if you prefer it, Rooster, Birdsong.” My confidence was restored to such an extent that I proceeded to shoot my cuffs in a debonair manner, one after the other. “So sound the bugle for my charge, what what?”

Tock’s eye bulged behind his horn-rimmed spectacles, but he mastered himself, glared down at his clipboard, and—having apparently located my name—muttered something at the butler.

A moment later that worthy (meaning the butler, of course, not that perisher Pinstripe) was letting loose a bellow. “MISTER BIRDSONG ROOSTER!”

Squaring my shoulders, I trotted into the room. Not for nothing was it named the Great Hall; you could have lost several herds of elephants in it, assuming you had such at your disposal. Enormously long tables had been lined up in a sort of rectangle with one side missing, with two thrones (current status: unoccupied) dominating the scene.

Over half the company had already seated themselves on the plush red cushions provided, and it seemed like every single one of them was busy either eyeing me with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity or putting their heads together to whisper as I passed by. But they transferred their attention to newer arrivals as the butler continued baying, thus allowing me to take up the search for my place-card in relative peace.

I must have trekked along several hundred miles of table before spotting my seat; it was at one of the corners, just where two tables met in a right angle, and offered a fairly good view in both directions—the directions in question being “straight ahead” or “to the right”—despite the place setting being nearly overrun by a massive floral arrangement.

Sitting down, I nodded politely to my neighbors, although the ones across the table from me were barely visible behind the tangle of greenery, giving the impression that they were lost in the jungle. Occasionally, during the meal, I stretched my neck to its limits to peer over the flora or ducked down to squint through a gap in the vegetation to ask them if the weather wasn’t the nicest it’d been all summer or remark on the decor, but on the whole an extended conversation would only have been possible if I’d thought to bring a machete.

The guest on my left-ish, kitty-corner to me, was a young colt of indeterminate age with a blank flank and a determinedly grubby face (his father continually attacked it with his napkin throughout the night, to no avail) and a rather mutinous air about him. No doubt the youngster had other plans for the night which had been rudely spoiled by this formal event. While I could sympathize, I felt it was not strictly necessary for him to vent his spleen by aiming an unblinking glare at the pony to his right—this would be me—for the entire meal.

Primarily, then, I was left with the pony on my right as a dinner companion. I was not too awfully shocked to find it was Princette Snow Shimmer. I had resigned myself to the fact that the Shimmer motif would haunt my stay in the capitol city.

“What-ho, Princette Shimmer,” I greeted her accordingly.

She lofted an eyebrow. “Mr. Rooster, I must confess I’m startled to see you here. However did you get in?”

“Oh, I have my methods,” I said airly. “Isn’t your brother coming?”

“Of course. He’s seated down there.”

I squinted down the table, spotting what might have been a yellow unicorn in the distance, near what artists refer to as “the vanishing point.” “Rather far from the action, what?”

“Well, my dear brother is merely a duke But he has a better seat than the lords and ladies, at least.” She unfolded her napkin, wearing what one might uncharitably call a smug expression. “He will certainly be furious to find that you were nearer to the, er, ‘action’ than he.”

“Oh, I shouldn’t think so. He’s the one who told me about this shindig, after all.” I pushed away a couple of fern fronds that were encroaching on my plate.

“Only because he thought you would be denied entry, I’m sure."

“Hmm.” I looked to my left, was met with the unyielding stare of that sullen foal again, and opted to gaze right again, this time looking beyond the Princette. Halfway down the table were two thrones, one done up in red and gold and one in silver and blue. The gold one was certainly meant for Great-Aunt Celly, but I couldn’t think who would occupy the other.

“I know the Princess is going to settle on that red and yellow affair, but who do the blue and silver racing stripes belong to?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“That silver throne, who’s it meant for?”

“Oh. I see what you mean.” The Princette’s gaze fell on her silverware as she straightened it slightly. Her reply was not the most helpful, but fortunately I dredged up a bit of trivia from the depths of my memory.

“Oh, I’ve got it! It must belong to the Princess’ sister. What’s her name, now . . . Lunar? No, Luna. Princess Luna, that’s the ticket.”

“Mmm.”

“The long-lost princess of the stars or moon or something, if I recall the headlines correctly. Funny to think of that running in the family—control of celestial bodies, I mean.”

“Ah.” The Princette levitated her glass and gazed into it—a rather pointless endeavor since it was empty.

“Must be rather rummy for the Princess—Princess Celestia—having a long-lost relation turn up after a thousand years,” I continued, valiantly trying to sustain a dialogue that was rapidly turning into a soliloquy.

But just then a desiccated old mare with a face like a prune passed by (Princette Royal Ribbon, if the butler was to be believed) and Snow Shimmer fairly leapt to her hooves to greet her, so I gave up on conversation and eyeballed the thrones again. The silver one was nearest me, which led me to hope that I’d get a good look at Luna when she arrived.

Where exactly the Night Princess had come from was a matter of some confusion; the official statement from Canterlot had simply announced that Princess Luna had returned after a long sojourn, but of course that hadn’t stopped rampant speculation in the tabloids. About the only thing all the papers agreed on was that she was an alicorn—a winged unicorn, you know—like the Princess.

As for her millennium of absence, there were various theories floating about. One pony would tell you that she’d been locked in a tower by a fifty-foot high, equine-eating monster for all that time, another would swear up and down that she’d been wandering the world with amnesia, and one particularly sordid rag, Society Spice, had the gall to print that she’d steered clear of ponykind for all those years because of some squabble with her regal sister.

Complete rot, of course, but what can one expect from the Spice? When I tell you that this paper couldn’t even get Princess Luna’s colour right—describing her as “pure black” while every other paper agreed she was deep blue—I think you will begin to see what kind of publication it was.

After Snow Shimmer reseated herself, I tried to get her opinion of Luna’s extended vacation, but she was busying herself with some prince on her right. It was beginning to look as though my choice of conversational partners was limited to a glowering foal or a vase of flowers . . . but then a thought hit me so solidly between the eyes that I took the liberty of nudging Snow Shimmer’s foreleg with my hoof. She turned towards me, eyes narrowing, but I didn’t give her a chance to speak.

“I say, Princette . . . where are the knights seated, do you know?” I waited anxiously for her reply, for it had suddenly occurred to me that I was amidst a crowd of nobles—and that both Plinker’s parents were on the bottom echelon of the Council of Peers.

The lavender princette relaxed. “Oh, the knights.” She smiled tolerantly. “They won’t be in attendance. They would only feel out of place in the presence of the Royal Princess. And there are far too many of them anyway.”

“Oh, I see!” This seemed to me to be net gain, as it would’ve been a bit futile trying to pass myself off as a prince to the Heartsong clan when the butler had screamed out to the world that I was a mere “mister.” Some of the tension sagged out of my shoulders.

The princette interpreted said sagging of shoulders as a gesture of defeat, however. “No, if you’re depending on the knights then your chances are slim. Still, there is always a chance you can attract a lord or lady as an ally, or even, possibly, a duchess.”

“Oh quite,” I said vaguely. I was trying to think of a tactful way to ask what on earth she was talking about when the butler’s latest bellow echoed through the room:

“PRINCE AUGUST BLUEBLOOD!”

Now, the assembled nobles had whispered about each new arrival in turn before returning to their idle chatter. But those mild shows of interest were nothing compared to the reaction elicited by my cousin. The table positively erupted with gasps and several ponies stood up and turned around to get a better look. I was on the wrong side of the table for seat-turning so I stretched my neck instead, trying to overcome the hedge of flowers. Meanwhile the whispered remarks of the many-headed were increasing in volume and frequency.

“—never dreamed he’d show up!”

“—the Princess invited him—?“

“—looking shockingly scruffy, if you ask me.”

This last was unfortunately true; although Cousin August had made a brave attempt to clean himself up since I had last seen him, he was miles from looking at his best. His dinner jacket hung too loosely (rather like the skin of those wrinkled Imperial dogs), he had added a few more shadows to the set beneath his eyes, and his hair fell limply, like the ‘before’ photo in a shampoo advert. He was clearly attempting to maintain his usual strut, but there was a slinking quality beneath his strides.

The murmurs died away into utter silence as he approached the table, which wouldn’t have been quite so unpleasant if half the attendees hadn’t continued watching him out of the corners of their eyes, as though he was a lapdog of uncertain temperament waddling about at a dinner party.

How he spotted me I’m not sure, given that we were on opposite sides of the table with the aforementioned topiary between us, but I knew he'd seen me by the way his bloodshot eyes bugged out. He took several rapid steps in my direction before coming to a standstill, staring at me like I was some particularly macabre creature from his darkest nightmares.

Hardly logical, since he was the one practically swimming in his suit while I was nicely kitted out, if I say so myself. But there it was, Cousin August stood there boggling, silently mouthing what appeared to be swear words.

Despite his uncouth behavior, I started to offer a pleasant “what-ho!”, but he cut me off with a snort and pranced away, nose so high in the air that it was practically vertical. Somehow he still managed to find his place card, more or less opposite the silver and blue throne and a bit off-center from Great-Aunt Celly’s seat.

“Interesting,” muttered Snow Shimmer.

“What is?” I asked, but just then the lad on my left started banging his dessert fork on his plate, which rather distracted me.

By the time his father convinced him to stop (through a combination of dire threats and desperate entreaties), the party had attained that slightly restless “well, where’s the soup?” stage that is common to all social gatherings. (At the Drones Club ponies often express their restlessness by throwing dinner rolls, but the gentry were less energetic, and confined themselves to twitching a little.) The seats had filled up and ponies were beginning to tire of their conversational partners, glancing around in the futile hope of finding somepony new to chatter with.

Four unicorn guards broke the ennui by marching in, flourishing long trumpets with pendants dripping off them, and blasting a little ditty. Whether one of them was Seeker, I couldn’t tell, but thanks to their armour they shared his colour scheme.

The butler chappie by the door took their arrival as the cue to call out, “EVERYPONY, BE UPSTANDING FOR . . .”

The guards interrupted with another series of notes, which didn’t seem to disturb the butler in the least. He gathered another lungful of air into his bellows and truly outdid himself.

“HER ROYAL HIGHNESS, PRINCESS CELESTIA OF EQUESTRIA!”

Everypony immediately shoved to their hooves (except the young lad beside me, who had to be physically pulled upright by his father) and pointed their noses towards the floor as the Princess paced in.

I suppose you’ve seen Princess Celestia on the coins of the realm, but she’s a far more striking sight in person. There’s certainly no mistaking her. It’s not just that she has both a wing and horns—or rather, other way ‘round—or that she’s easily twice as tall as any other pony. She wears a crown, of course, but that's not it either—more to do with her eyes and her smile, I think. Just looking at her makes you feel happy and safe, like the sun has just come out from behind a cloud. (I don’t usually go in for soppiness like that, but it’s the honest truth.) She smiled kindly at the gathered company, looking as hearty and hale as ever, to my relief.

“My little ponies,” she said, walking to her throne and tilting her head gracefully in acknowledgement. Everypony took this as the signal to straighten up, but no one sat. One doesn’t sit at a grand state dinner when the monarch is standing, don’t you know! But Princess Celestia wasn’t making any move to set flank to floor, so everypony gamely kept to their hooves.

Before this little tableau could become awkward, the butler let out another bellow: “AND PRESENTING HER MAJESTY’S HONOURED GUEST . . .”

Ponies began blinking at one another and I remember thinking that this was an odd way to introduce your sister.

“ . . . AND ELEMENT OF HARMONY . . .”

More shiftings, stretching of necks, and widening eyes from the crowd.

“MISS RARITY THE UNICORN!”


Next chapter: Maybe not the worst night ever, but certainly down there on the list!


Wow, that will teach me to make rash statements like “expect the next chapter soon”! Sorry for the wait, ladies and gentlecolts. I did have the chapter almost entirely finished, but then decided to rewrite it for various reasons, then rewrote the rewrite. Anyway, here it is at last!

On a random note, here’s the Rooster coat of arms. It was an illustration for one of the bits of the second rewrite that ultimately got cut out. The Latin inscription is “We herald the sun.” (Thanks to kaerfel on the MLP Arena for the translation!)

Update 4/21/12 - Today the show revealed a third alicorn, Princess Cadence! How am I going to address this revelation, you may wonder. I will tell you: by knocking those wings right off her, demoting her to a unicorn, and making her a regular princette. Great finale, but there was no real reason for her to be an alicorn.