• Published 20th Sep 2014
  • 2,497 Views, 49 Comments

An Age Long Since Passed - Zealous Shift



Prince Blueblood reflects on his position inside the Equestrian government and comes to terms with some inevitable realities.

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The Last Embers

As per his daily routine, Prince Blueblood sat idly on a cushion in his personal study. A stack of old newspapers sat next to him. Some were already opened prior while others remained closed, all of which were caked with a fine layer of dust. Under normal circumstances, the Unicornian Prince would have opened a good book, perhaps had a glass of aged cider, but things weren’t as normal as they used to be.

Taking the first three newspapers off the top of the stack with his magic, he was able to see that all of them had identical pictures on the front page. While the titles and following pages were no doubt different, the portrait of ‘Princess’ Twilight Sparkle indefinitely remained. It wasn’t just the top three papers either, the same picture lined every single one in the stack. For three straight weeks it was all that the news would talk about, how a simple unicorn became an alicorn, her history as a national hero, how she was a shining example for all of Equestria.

Blueblood disdainfully remembered Twilight Sparkle from his younger years, before he ascended to sole heir of the Unicornian dynasty, not that he had much choice in the matter. She was always in the shadow of his aunt, Princess Celestia, never leaving it for a moment whenever he was around. She never spoke, never looked anypony in the eye when begin spoken to, the exception being Princess Celestia, and constantly proved to be a nuisance around the palace. Oh yes, Celestia found her quite endearing, but none of the nobles thought it as such when their monarch was pulled away for hours on end because a brat wanted to learn about levitation. If anypony had told Blueblood back then that Twilight Sparkle was going to grow up to be a princess and national hero, he would have punctured a lung from all the laughing.

Imagine his horror when one day, idly speaking to his personal guard, Shining Armor, that his best friend and worst nightmare were brother and sister! He still remembered his confusion when Shining pointed out that fact, leaving him speechless for several minutes. How the two of them could possibly be related, Blueblood had no idea. Even after so many years, he still had not a clue.

Shining was tall, strong, bold, outgoing, sociable, everything that would have been expected of royalty. Even before he became Captain of the Royal Guard, he was respected and admired by the entirety of Canterlot. It was fitting, even inspiring, to see him become Prince of Crystolis. How he could possibly share the same gene pool with Twilight, a small, pampered, nosy, passive, anti-social ingrate, was well beyond the minds of any a scholar.

He threw the newspaper off to the side, landing squarely into the burning fireplace that he had lit when he had walked in. Just reading it made him feel sick - how overly positive and cringeworthy the event was made out to be. It was infuriating, how she of all ponies would become an alicorn, out of all the population. It wasn’t jealousy, though Blueblood did admit wings would look quite nice on him, but the principle of the thing. Twilight Sparkle, using a spell from one of Equestria’s brightest individuals, long since passed from the world, manipulated her own magical being to force an ascension to alicornhood, all out of a mistake derived from her great stupidity. Despite how insanely idiotic it sounded, the first issue of the “Canterlot Gossip” described it as the heralding of a golden age.

Reading the details brought back a particularly painful memory from Blueblood’s youth, going back to when he was just getting out of his toddler years. Back then, with his parents still alive and him barely understanding the meaning of responsibility, he had asked his Aunt why she was so tall, why she had both a horn and wings, in total, we she was an alicorn. He remembered Celestia telling him that she was born like that, that she had always been that way. Of course he followed up with the question of how to become an alicorn, his naïve, young mind not quite understanding genetics. Celestia told him that it was impossible, that not even her magic could perform such a feat. She had lied to him, as from what he heard from her and Aunty Luna was that she had planned for Twilight's ascension ever since meeting her.

Luna of course, was another lie that Celestia told him. She said that she had no brothers or sisters in the palace. She said that the Mare in the Moon was just an old tale. She said that the laughter he heard in the Royal Garden was just the wind. She said that Changelings had died out long ago. She said that the roads heading north were for explorers and nothing more. She said his marefriend had simply moved away with her family to Manehattan, when it was in fact quite far from the truth. Celestia had said a lot of things, and, as time moved on, he had only started to realize just how much of it was false.

Ash slowly began to fall on the floor, a small breeze blowing it away from the fireplace, the first of many papers nearly burned to a crisp. Blueblood didn’t even finish reading the second one before throwing it in with the former. Much to his temper, it was even more saccharine than the first, going into details about her “heroics” and how she saved Equestria so many times.

While he wasn’t suicidal enough to put down the importance of the Elements of Harmony, he didn’t find their use to be incredibly heroic. If Friendship was supposedly Magic, then it would stand to reason that the Element of Magic only required that one would somewhat like the other Element bearers. Either that or the Element of Magic could be used by any magical being, which literally came down to every living thing in existence. Nearly every one of her ‘victories’ came down to sheer luck and massive assistance from her bothersome compatriots. Even her admittedly impressive battle against the centaur Tirek, it came down to the powers given to her by the other alicorns and the Tree of Harmony.

What kind of leader was that? On her own, Twilight Sparkle was a wreck. Blueblood still shuddered to think of the Want-it-Need-it incident, even after a decade since its original use, and the news that she had repeated it in Ponyville only brought back uncomfortable memories. The breakdowns, the paranoia and the obsessive need for perfection were traits given to tyrants, not to Equestrian leaders. How funny that he had to go out of his way to even find someone who even remembered the Want-it-Need-it report in the paper after the coronation, when only a year earlier it had been going around like wildfire. Then there was her complete lack of education regarding the Equestrian government.

-Oh no, don’t teach her about politics, world news, the intricacies of the monarchy, social issues or economics, learning how to befriend country hicks in a backwater town is what is truly important for an aspiring leader.-

While Blueblood understood that being able to communicate with the population was important - he had travelled to several frontier towns just for that fact - but making friends was not something that a leader necessarily needed to do. Twilight Sparkle was soft, undisciplined and overall unprepared for her responsibilities. Part of leadership was knowing how to make hard choices and she didn’t have any experience with those. When he suggested putting heavier taxation on the nobles, Blueblood couldn’t show his face around Canterlot for nearly a month, but it needed to be done to help pay for the repairs after the Changeling Invasion. It was a hard decision to make, and it made him some enemies, but when it came down to it he gave up half of his own personal treasury for the relief efforts. What did Twilight Sparkle do? She sang a song, had a slice of cake then went on her way back to undamaged Ponyville, free of guilt or obligation.

What was even worse was that no one even knew about how she lost her crown just a week after the coronation. Her crown, which was also the Element of Magic, was stolen from her, in her room, in the middle of the Crystal Citadel. Blueblood himself wouldn’t have known about the incident if he wasn’t speaking to Shining Armor the following days. To his greater surprise, he was dumbfounded to hear who the perpetrator was. Sunset Shimmer, a close friend from his childhood days, was none other than the thief. He never heard about the end result and every time he asked Celestia about it, he was immediately shut down.

Sunset, he thought, would have been a much better princess than Twilight. Ambitious, powerful, cunning and more than anything, prepared. He remembered fondly the duels that they used to have back in the day, the spars that would last hours on end. He could never be sure how it would end, which attack she’d throw at him and from which angle. It was exciting and adventurous to be certain, which was practically the opposite of his duels with Twilight.

Granted, he and the purple menace had only dueled thrice, but they were all the same. That was the problem. The moves were all to predictable, the attacks telegraphed so obviously he barely had to defend himself. Too much power was put into each strike, like trying to use a sledge hammer to attack a housefly. From his reports, she still had not improved as it was effectively the same strategy used against Tirek, albeit with flashier teleportation tricks.

His frustration boiling over, Blueblood couldn’t even get past the first of the page of the third paper. Throwing the entire stack into the fire place, he gingerly massaged his forehead. It had been three months since the original coronation. Three long months of his humiliation being shown to all the world.

Ever since he was but a colt, his father had told him that the stallion makes the title, not the other way around. For years, he was in the shadow of his dynasty, building himself up so that he may be unique, that he may one day contribute to the Equestrian nation like his forefathers and mothers. That was all he knew, be the best that he could be, so Equestria could be the best that it could be. Then out of the blue, came a contender to everything that he had worked towards. His entire life, he had been scolded saying that the title of prince doesn’t make him any greater than anypony else. Yet, with her own castle, sat Twilight Sparkle, hailed as the dawn of a new age for being a princess. The irony was so thick, Blueblood could practically choke on it.

Getting up from his cushion, Blueblood began to pace back and forth across his study. He just couldn’t understand it, not one single bit of it. How had all that he had done gone unnoticed while Twilight’s fame rose higher and higher every day? It was a paradox that had haunted him for months, yet he was no closer to solving it than the day he began.

Perhaps, he thought, the change was needed. Even if he didn’t agree with her praise, he himself had never helped save Equestria. Maybe he simply didn’t have what it took to be a leader? It was a question that he had avoided for many years, but he never had to really think on it until the coronation. When he became sole blood heir of the Platinum Dynasty, why was it brushed over so lightly? Was his blood, his title, worth so little in the minds of the public that they no longer cared what he did? The possibilities and questions that filled his mind were maddening, but after minutes of internal debate he was left with only one persistent thought.

Twilight Sparkle was, regardless of his protests, a member of the Royal Family. She wielded great power, even greater than his, both political and with her ascension magically as well. She was the most popular being in Equestria, ever present in the minds of everypony and was the rising star on the throne. His moment of fame had passed him, as it had so cruelly passed for Fleur de Lis and her family. The ponies of Equestria no longer cared for what he did, and based on the amount of attention he received after returning from a diplomatic envoy to Griffonia, they no longer cared for him at all. How could he be a prince in such a state? All this combined became one simple question.

If Prince Blueblood is no longer a prince, then what is he, if anything?

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Comments ( 49 )

Well that's because there is no competition, Blue Blood's position was always ceremonial. There has never been any evidence at all that he had any real power.

5031576 Schrodinger's Plot Thread
He's only mentioned once and quite briefly at that. It's my personal interpretation of his character, which admittedly might be poor, doesn't necessarily sync up with the show. Yeah, bad excuse, but I did it in a thirty minute challenge while sick in a particularly creative mood. Don't expect the best writing from me in this state. Or ever, for that matter.

5031609 Well that doesn't sound like a great state to any writing in. You do see him a gain in season two, twice during Sweet and Elite during rarity's song. But his position was always background, that's the way of it.

5031634 Precisely, but I was feeling rather depressed, (given how I can barely sleep, breath, eat or even see and it's been going on for three days,) so I gave myself half an hour, (possibly forty five minutes, just guestimating here,) to write something. Overall, I'd say it turned out alright. Some people seem to like it, and really, what more can I ask for other than someone to appreciate my work? Besides, knowing that people generally enjoy my stuff makes the pain a lot more tolerable.

5031642 Four up votes with zero down, yes I would say that people are appreciating it alright. As writers that's all we can really ask for anyway. I am sorry to hear how you're feeling and will help if I can. there is a whole group dedicated to trying to help people out, it's called Anti Depression ponies. joining can get you some support at least.

5031653 I am in fact familiar with the group, though I am not a member. I've visited it several times and have spoken with the users there. While it seems like a group that I would enjoy, I can survive without it. I have friends both on site and off that help me with such things, whether it be feelings or trying to recover from this sickness which makes me feel worse. After all, friendship is magic.
*ba dum tsssh*

5031667 Very well then, but I will try to help if you need me to.

5031675 Thank you for the offer, if I ever need some help then I'll be sure to give you a call. I really do appreciate it.
:twilightsmile:

I actually feel very bad for Blueblood. He was told one thing while growing up and shown totally different. I would be surprised if he left Canterlot for a long while, no one would notice he was gone. They would notice if Nightmare possessed him though. He's in the right state of mind for it.

5032051 I'm glad I could evoke some emotion on behalf of one of the most hated / bashed characters on the show. Never thought I'd pull something like that off.

5032088 I always felt bad for Blueblood. He gets a bad rap. Yes, he treated Rarity like trash at the Gala, but Rarity was no better than him. Rarity went to the Gala with the expressed purpose of finding Blueblood, having him fall madly in love with her, asking her to marry him, and then live the high life. I bet Rarity wasn't the first mare to approach Blueblood like that.

5032105 People still seem hate on him for that, even with a reasonable explanation that he had a history of getting bothered by 'gold diggers'. Even then, he could have been homosexual for all we know. I mean, the fandom ships every female together so senselessly, what if Blueblood had a thing for stallions and never told anyone? What if he had just had a really bad day and used the Gala as an excuse to be a jackass?

Even with his behavior, it's not that bad compared to what the main cast have pulled off. Twilight brainwashing, Rarity being... well Rarity in some situations, Spike wrecking Ponyville, Pinkie having a breakdown and nearly becoming hyper-flanderized in Season 4, Putting Your Hoof Down Fluttershy, I mean really. Blueblood is pretty saintly by comparison at this point.

I like the spin you put on Blueblood. Though I disagree with most of the fandom in that he is a complete spoiled brat, but I also don't think he would be as generous as to give up half his treasury for fixing up. I think he simply feels that he is slightly better than the everyday pony, because he was taught that he was better. He had everything as a foal, money, looks, education, and so on and so forth. That tends to bring a better-than-thou feeling to many people, er, ponies.

Point is, I think Blueblood feels himself better than the country hick, but not so above them that he treats them like utter trash. And everyone forgets, he grew up as royalty, he WAS taught how to act.

5032334 I appreciate your feedback. I hope you enjoyed my story, even if it disagrees with your headcanon.

"She told me the laughter from the Royal Garden was just the wind..."

Brr...

Is it just me, or is Discord at his scariest as a statue? There was one other story, the first I ever read on this site, in which someone was standing near his statue and a glass they had been drinking from was filled with chocolate milk when they looked away. Immediately looking at the stone spirit, the corners of it's mouth seemed ever so slightly raised in a smile.

Maybe it's because he's supposed to be cold, magic-less rock, but anything at all out of a statue is about 95 times creepier than the same action out of anyone else, I think. :fluttershyouch:

Also: I liked the analysis of Twilight's actions from a government perspective. Probably not the first time it's been done, but I still had fun seeing this side of things. :pinkiesmile:

5032392 Thank you for the praise. I do believe that I've read the same Discord story, though it was quite a long time ago.

... I annoyingly poke you in begging/demand for moar, some follow-up in which he departs and leaves a letter, dated, and it's only when he misses a gathering do the NOBLEPONIES investigate, and then let fall-out commence as they print the letter in the news.

5032504 After hastily writing this, the idea of a follow up did pop into my mind. I might not do it for a while, but I'm beginning to picture some kind of aftermath. Effectively him going all hobo, (belongings on the end of a stick and such,) and taking a train ride out of the city. I don't think it'd be the leading to anything, just more of a sense of closure that he's going out to find a purpose.

Again, not sure how I'd go about doing a follow up, but rest assured that I probably will go through and make one.

Out of the few stories that I've read that put any positive light on Blueblood, I have to say yours is the most balanced. He still has some blunt rudeness, but he is shown to actually play an presumably stressful role in politics and have actual important responsibilities in keeping things running smoothly. Sure, he's not saving Equestria or anything incredibly big (which he readily admits to himself), but he is also shown to be willing to take responsibility and to make some self sacrifice (diving into his own money and losing respect among the nobility for a time). This made him beyond the 'bratty prince with no responsibilities' or the 'typical noble who abuses his power' archetypes that he usually falls into, while not making him an all-out victim of circumstance. Overall, this is probably my favorite portrayal of this character (who I've only ever gotten myself to like in two other fics).

Overall, I also liked the theme of a changing the order of how things are (I definitely could have worded that better: maybe just the theme of change). Part of this is probably because I just got finished watching Gundam Unicorn a few hours ago (which had a lot of talk about possibility and change), but I still like the feel of the fic as a whole. Definitely top notch for a short, charter-focused one-shot.

He seems to have formed a lot of his opinions based on misinterpretation of her character and being uninformed of events. Celestia didn't actually transform Twilight to an alicorn herself.

Though I would like to see him as he is in your story have an open, truthful chat with Celestia and Twilight both.

I would really like to see a sequel to this where Twilight runs Equestria into the ground with all of her stupid decisions and having Celestia come grovelling to Blueblood to fix everything.

JLB

As compelling as it makes Blueblood seem, this reads exactly like a warped representation coming from a rather rotten individual would. I can bet a decent number of asses that the events he describes which glorify him and diminish Twilight's decency barely came close to happening the way they did. There are a few decent points that are owed mostly to the show's plot fighting for survival against multiple outside factors, but in the end, it stays a rather interesting - admittedly the points are all somewhat tried, but the perspective chosen is somewhat new - look on the issue.

As far as I know, though, Blueblood is a decorative prince, and in reality is kind of more of a duke (at best), but that's up for interpretation.

5033271 That's kind of the point. Even with me trying to write him like a nice person, you can quite easily tell that he's still a bit of a prick. He might honestly have improved as an individual, he might only have believed that he had, but that's up for the reader's interpretation. It could be a stallion whose time has passed him and is sick of the world that he tried so hard to be a part, or it could be a spoiled brat who can't stand the fact the world does not surround him.

In regards to his title, I always thought that he was a descendant of the Unicornian family. Given the Equestrian Union was comprised of three tribes, Unicornia being one of them, he'd have roughly a third the power of Celestia. Given how Celestia split her power into Shining, Cadance, Twilight and Luna upon their marriage / upbringing / ascendance / return, that's make him second place on the power chart. (Tied five ways for first, but still.)

It's my own interpretation of his character, which could be false, but hey, if people enjoy it then I don't care if the show agrees with me. For the entirety of the series, I never suspected the title to be decorative.

5032581 I felt that I needed some kind of idea to help wrap up the last part of the story. Blueblood knows that compared to the rest of the Royal Family he's severely fallen behind, so he has to think on what to do next. You can't fight the tide, and he's just beginning to realise that.


5032392

Maybe it's because he's supposed to be cold, magic-less rock, but anything at all out of a statue is about 95 times creepier than the same action out of anyone else, I think.

In that case, you've probably been watching too much Doctor Who.
*crosses fingers and hopes someone gets the reference* :twistnerd:

5032360 Oh I did enjoy it! I love seeing different takes on characters, and this one was done well!

And somehow the line that got to me the most in the whole fic...?

Celestia had said a lot of things, and as time moved on he had only started to realize just how much of it was false.

The betrayal inherent in that one phrase.

5036247 I'm glad I could provoke feels. Hopefully you enjoyed the rest of the story too.

5036257

I did indeed. But that line, the perceived betrayal... ouch! Because at one time, perhaps as a foal, Blueblood must have believed everything she said to him, and then found out that it wasn't true...

Hmm, I thought I had favorited it... weird, let me go and fix that!

5036282 Thank you for the correction then! It's good to know that people can appreciate my work!

5034545

"What ever you do, don't blink. Don't look away... and don't blink."

:derpytongue2:

5036302 Finally! Someone got the reference!

5036285

:trixieshiftright:
I always appreciate good work.

5036308
:trixieshiftleft: Good eh?
I suppose I'll have to check out yours as well...
Remember, it is the code. You like someone's work, you must like them back. In case you're wondering, I was already reading your previous work.

5036313

Well, I thank you for looking and favoriting mine as well! I do really need to finish "of muffins and tales" one of these days.... I've just been so wound up in working on my original stuff.

I came over here for a mental health break and found it in this story.

5036351 Glad to be of service. :ajsmug:

5036247
Yes. And if we look at how Celestia reacted towards Twilight's fear of the return of Nightmare Moon, it becomes clear just how much the older princess has deceived those close to her in pursuit of some secret goal.

Maybe he really should leave Canterlot a while, if only to find some truth about himself and the world. It's obvious he won't get that from his auntie. He should consider putting that in some kind of farewell letter if he does; though it might hurt Celestia to read that, I think she needs to hear it.

5034534
Interesting thought.
He clearly isn't on the level as the Alicorn princesses, but he's still important enough to be put in with the ponies they personally negotiate with.
derpicdn.net/img/view/2014/5/3/616406__safe_twilight+sparkle_princess+luna_princess+celestia_princess+twilight_screencap_upvotes+galore_princess+cadance_hub+logo_sitting.png
Interesting how he's seated among the foreign dignitaries, isn't it?

5036797

I thought it was him in that picture until I took a closer look. Blueblood's cutie mark is a compass rose. While he looks like Blueblood, this fellow's cutie mark is three crowns.

Maybe a relative?

*A wild headcanon emerges*
The Prince of Unicornia (the last remnants of the Unicorn city from before the Joining of the three tribes), sent his son to be fostered at Canterlot with the Princess. Unfortunately he's a bit of an ass, but Celestia still thinks of him as her nephew, since she's seen him grow up from a wobbly-legged foal into the pony he is.
*the wild headcanon retreats back into the tall grass*

5036797 As I spoke to JLB before, (as he is a good friend of mine,) I made reference of Blueblood's relationship with Celestia. She is his aunt, (with a lot of greats assumedly attached,) and therefore is partially related to him. As I hypothesized, what if Celestia and Luna were both adopted into the Unicornian family? Blueblood could be the blood ancestor of Platinum, while they could have been adopted. For purposes of Equality, (and general alicorn power,) they were put to be the heirs of all three tribes in the Equestrian Union. Being the blood descendant of the Unicornian dynasty, (a nation that no longer exists, as it helped to form Equestria,) he's both part of the government and also a foreigner. That's just my take on it.
Either that, or Celestia and Luna are just arseholes who just keep on trying to get rid of him by throwing foreign dignitaries at him.
Either way, that's the headcanon I'm sticking with until the show ruins it. (Like all my other favourite headcanons.)

Endure, Bluebrother. And just keep fighting the good fight.

Always love fics like this.

5032105 5032122
Ugh... I really hate the "Rarity had it coming to her at the gala" idea. Even leaving aside the sexual politics of the argument, it doesn't fit the reality of what we saw. People tend to forget that, even though she had been specifically hoping to catch his eye, he is the one to a approach her. There is no basis for the idea that he was trying to get her to leave him alone... He saw a pretty thing across the room, figured she seemed to dig him, and then picked her up with the assumption that she'd fawn and dote over him (as, I suspect, was the norm for his star-struck admirers.) It just turned out that she wasn't that kind of mare at all.

That said, I found the actual story above to be interesting as a view of things from an uncommon perspective. I still tended to read his views as severely warped, but I like that such possibilities are left up to the reader.

5095602 I don't believe that Rarity had it coming at the Gala, but she has had her moments. She is generous, but if she was as such all the time, it'd take away her personality. It's just a small gripe of mine, but I hate it when the Mane 6 are identified solely by their element. Rainbow is loyal solely because of her Element. AJ is honest solely because of the Element.
I digress though, my original statement wasn't referring to her actions at the GGG. If anything, it's the reasoning from Ticket Master that bothered me. She seemed to be doing fine at the Gala itself, so I won't hold her actions there against her.
Anyways, I'm glad that you enjoyed reading. It's good to know that people are still finding something to like in this.

5095602 HE approached her after SHE went out to the garden to follow him. Besides, she still went to the Gala for the sole purpose of meeting the prince, having him fall madly in love with him, and having him marry her. So, I still stick with my original statement.

5095903
You're more than welcome to stick to your original statement... But I clearly can't agree that having a naive daydream that the handsome, famous prince that you find attractive will take you away to live a perfect life is "just as bad" as being a rude lout who insults peasants and shoves a date in front of himself for protection.

There is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone you don't know on the inside yet... It's only an issue if it ultimately doesn't matter to you what they're like on the inside. It mattered to Rarity quite a bit, as it turned out. Blueblood's behavior shows that he counts on the opposite.

5036967
I thought much the same, myself.

Reading this, though, made me think... there are basically no stories about if Sunset Shimmer and Blueblood interacted before her 'disappearance.' Two personalities like that could've been interesting.

You know, I was looking for "Blueblood under a good light" kind of fics, because I wanted to write my own 'redemption' story. Right now, this one, alongside with A Letter Long Overdue are the best short ones I've seen, hands down.

I wonder how blueblood would react to sunset now...

I do feel sorry for Blueblood. The only member of the Royal Family, (not counting Shining Armor) who isn't an alicorn and it's screaming obvious how Celestia favors Twilight over everybody else! Does she even care about her nephew?

6682905 Given the way he acted during the gala, he's just another hereditary elitist. Sure, Equestria has its share of many non-noble elitists in places like Manehatten where rich members of society mingle in such a way. But, it doesn't change the fact that he's old guard in the way he conducts himself.

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