• Published 23rd May 2015
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Where Black Stars Rise - Corah Il Cappo



Yet stranger still is, Lost Carcosa

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Of Prince and Princess

Clip clop clip clop.

Twilight Sparkle's hooves sounded out as she strode down the long marble corridors of Canterlot's palace. She had been through these hallways countless times on countless different occasions. Whether it was a friendly visit to Celestia or the Grand Galloping Gala itself, she had made some of her fondest memories in these halls. However, as she slowly tramped her way past a row of stained glass windows, she knew today was going to be one she would want to forget. Today was the day she had to deal with him.

Him being the royal pain in the rear himself, Prince Blueblood.

To be fair, Twilight had never personally spoken to him, but the tales she heard were ones of terror. The worst of the stories (typically those she had heard from Rarity) described a stallion who was so obsessed with himself that he could scarcely hold a conversation if the topic wasn't himself. She'd heard stories that he requested mares to throw down their jackets over puddles so he could walk over them, or refusing to enter a door that hadn't been held open for him. Even the stories from those closest to the Prince seemed to describe him as a pompous, pretentious little brat with little or no redeeming qualities. She gave a soft sigh as she mulled those stories over in her head, trying to pinpoint exactly why Celestia hadn't disowned the Prince.

Of course, Celestia had gotten her into this mess in the first place. She thought it would be nice if he and Twilight spent some time together, claiming that it would be a great opportunity for Twilight to learn more about the magic of friendship. Of course, Twilight had some suspicions about the exact intentions of her assignment. She had a sneaking suspicion that this was just Celestia's way of finding friends for Blueblood, seeing as he seemed to have none of his own. In fact, despite the fact that she and her friends spent plenty of time in Canterlot, Twilight very rarely saw or heard from the Prince while she was there. In fact, even on occasions that a Prince ought to be present for, such as her coronation as a Princess, he was mysteriously absent. After all, it shouldn't be difficult for him to attend events in Canterlot, seeing how he lived in the palace.

Now Twilight tried to push those thoughts from her head as she stood outside a heavy, oak wood door adorned with a gold and silver etching of the Prince's cutie mark. Giving a heavy gulp, Twilight reached out, gently rapping on the door with the back of her hoof.

No response.

She frowned, knocking again, this time a bit harder.

Silence.

Twilight tapped her hooves impatiently for a moment, before pounding a hoof against the wood repeatedly.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Suddenly there came a muffled groan from behind the door. So somepony was in there, just refusing to answer.

"Hello?" Twilight said, pressing an ear to the door so she could better hear what went on behind it. "Prince Blueblood? Its me, Twilight Sparkle. Celestia sent me to-"

"Go away!"

Twilight paused as she was rather rudely cut off from behind the door. She mentally bit her tongue to keep from shouting. So far, all the stories she had heard were proving very, very accurate.

"...As I was saying, Celestia sent me here to-"

"Don't care. Please see yourself out."

"She sent me to-"

"Goodbye."

"She-"

"I said, goodbye, madame!"

Twilight huffed, resisting the urge to break his door down with a blast of magic. She tensed her muscles, gritting her teeth and letting out an audible groan of disgust as she let her body slump against the wall opposite the door. She rubbed her temples with her hooves, closing her eyes and trying to mentally calm herself. She just needed to think of this as a particularly nasty school assignment; something she would not enjoy, but had to do nonetheless, since she would be graded on it. Celestia might not be grading her on friendship, but still, letting Celestia down was not an option for Twilight. She took a deep breath, rising to her hooves again and knocking once more.

It was time for some tough love.

"I thought I said-

"Alright, listen up Blueblood!" Twilight spoke, practically shouting at the door. "Celestia sent me here to talk to you, whether you want to or not! Now you're going to open this door right this second, and that's an order!"

There was a moment of silence, before a response came from Blueblood's room.

"It's unlocked you know."

Curiously, the Princess put a hoof on the handle, and felt it give as she pushed down on it. Now she was getting somewhere with this. The door swung open into a rather dimly lit room, and Twilight squinted to see into it. It didn't seem to be a bedroom, but was arranged more like an office, with the Prince himself seated behind an ornately carved wooden desk. The floor was carpeted with a soft, plush-feeling navy blue rug, emblazoned in the center with another image of the Prince's cutie mark. The wall opposite her was lined from floor to ceiling by a rather large bookshelf, which was neatly arranged with what appeared to be several multi-volume sets of leather bound tomes. Amid the books were several little trinkets and baubles, most of which appeared to be of foreign origin, including a large curved sword with a gemstone laden handle. There were as well a few small chests and cabinets scattered throughout the room, yet Twilight's eyes were mainly affixed on the bookshelf.

"Have you read all of those?" Twilight mused as she took a few steps into the room.

"Hmm?" Blueblood followed her gaze to the shelf, before returning to scrutinize Twilight once more. "Oh those? Mainly reference guides and such. They're not much for reading."

The Prince leaned back in his seat, hooves neatly folded in his lap. He certainly looked the part of an Equestrian Prince, with his mane perfectly coiffed and his coat neatly brushed. His hooves seemed to have been manicured recently, and a skilled eye might have noticed a clear coat of polish on both hooves. He was dressed in his finest clothing, with full suit jacket and tie, despite the fact that he was alone on a Saturday afternoon.

"So, it seems my aunt has arranged for you to come speak with me." He said, sounding more than a bit annoyed. "Let me guess, she's sent you to scold me for my behavior? Or have you perhaps taken that task up willingly?"

"What? No not at all. She just sent me to... you know, talk."

"Oh I see. She thinks I've grown out of touch with the peasantry and so she sent a commoner to my office to make smalltalk."

"Commoner?" Twilight raised an eyebrow in shock. "In case you couldn't tell by the wings, I'm not a commoner. I happen to be Princess Twilight Sparkle."

"Yes, I know who you are. The famed Princess Twilight Sparkle, born to parents Twilight Velvet and Night Light and younger sibling to Shining Armor. Attended Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns graduating head of her class and going on to serve under Princess Celestia herself. Defeated Nightmare Moon, Discord, and others before being elevated to the position of 'Princess'." Blueblood replied with a contemptuous snort. "Lets not kid ourselves here, you're a wizard, not a Princess."

Twilight stood, mouth agape. The stories certainly hadn't prepared her for something like this.

"If you want to leave, the door is right there." The Prince said, smirking and gesturing with his hoof.

Twilight suddenly realized why Celestia had asked her to talk with the Prince. He was, to put it bluntly, spoiled, rude, and full of himself, but perhaps that's why Celestia had sent her. She was the Princess of friendship after all, and if anypony could make a friend out of such a rotten Prince, it would have to be her. Besides, with an attitude like that, Blueblood probably didn't have any friends to speak of. Now it was up to Twilight to be his first.

"Why me?" She whispered under her breath as she let out a deep sigh. "Look Blueblood, if you want me to leave, you'll have to try harder than that. Celestia sent me here because she thinks you need a friend, and judging by your attitude, I can see why. So unless Celestia tells me I don't have to, I'm going to stick to you like glue."

Twilight returned the Prince's cocky smirk with one of her own.

"If I have to be miserable, then so do you."

Blueblood's eyes widened ever so slightly at those words. Although she wasn't sure, Twilight was almost certain she saw him swallow a lump in his throat before speaking again.

"If what you wish is to spend more time with me, then I'd be delighted to oblige, oh great and mighty Princess of friendship." The stallion said, his voice dripping with spite. "Perhaps you'll even teach me a lesson or two about friendship as we frolic together through fields of posies, oh wouldn't that be just delightful."

Blueblood rose from his seat, stretching his back as he did so.

"Ha ha. Very funny." Twilight rolled her eyes. "Friendship isn't all flowers and giggles Blueblood. It takes some real work for it to-"

As Twilight spoke, she noticed that the friend she was supposed to be making was headed for the door. He paused before exiting, calling to her over his shoulder.

"If I have to listen to you drone about friendship, I'd at least like to be slightly buzzed while doing so. I'm going to fetch a glass of wine." Blueblood said, stepping out of the room.

Twilight growled as she broke into a trot to catch up with him. As she fell into line beside the Prince, she did her best to feign a smile.

"So," She said, trying to find some way to strike up a halfway decent conversation. "Anything new going on lately?"

"The Diamond Dogs are due to convene to decide on a new chieftain." Blueblood replied, barely even acknowledging her presence. "The Griffon Kingdom of Kleinkrieg is in turmoil due to new taxes on imports, and Saddle Arabia has been steadily raising the price of silk. Or did you mean something new in my life? In that case, no. It's been much of the same."

"You certainly seem very up to date on your world news." Twilight commented as the two ponies rounded a corner and began to descend down a spiral staircase.

"I should hope so. What sort of ambassador would I be if I didn't?"

"Wait, you're an ambassador?" Twilight raised an eyebrow.

"You sound surprised."

"To be honest, I am. I never would have guessed you were in the business of diplomacy."

"My cutie mark is a compass rose. What else could that possibly signify?"

Twilight thought for a moment, placing a hoof on her chin.

"A cartographer perhaps?"

"I would assume a cartographer would have an actual map rather than a compass, or maybe something more along the lines of a globe or... "Blueblood's voice halted, as though he had caught himself just before starting to ramble. "I'm sure you know what I mean."

As they reached the base of the staircase, they stood before a very weathered and faded door. The Prince produced a small silver key from his suit pocket, unlocking the door. It opened with a rather foreboding creak, and Twilight coughed on a rather musty odor the seemed to stem from within. Blueblood however, seemed entirely unphased by the odd smell and ventured forth into the room. Inside were countless wooden racks holding numerous bottles of wine, all of which seemed to be incredibly old. Twilight could have sworn that one faded label contained a date older than three hundred years. Blueblood trod carefully over the cobblestone floor, selecting a slightly less aged wine.

"Ah, pinot noir, 1895." He mused, rummaging through one of the cabinets for a glass. "A good year for this particular blend. Very strong taste, quite complex."

He uncorked the bottle, pouring himself a glass and taking a sip. For the first time all day, Twilight saw Blueblood smile. Not a cocky smirk or even a smug grin, but a genuine smile. Of course, it faded as soon as he turned back to face her, but still. She couldn't help but feel that some slight progress had been made. Soon they had exited the wine cellar and were on their way back up the staircase.

"Now where was I?" Blueblood said, levitating his wine glass at his side. "Oh yes, the matters of diplomacy. I mostly serve as an executive to represent Equestria's wishes abroad, whether that be to the Griffons, or the Saddle Arabians, or across the sea to Zebrica."

"Really? The pony with a fear of dirt regularly goes to Zebrica?" Twilight suppressed a giggle at the thought.

"I never said I enjoyed my line of work." The Prince shot her a glare as he spoke.

Twilight opened her mouth to reply, but was cut off by a sudden loud noise from down the hall. It sounded like glass shattering. Blueblood jumped slightly at the sound, nearly spilling his wine on the carpet.

"What in Celestia's name was that?" Twilight quickened her pace through the hall, heading towards the source of the ruckus, the Prince's office. Blueblood trotted along beside her, just as she pushed open the door to his room. The window behind his desk had been shattered, shards of glass littering the floor amid stacks of books that had been swept off the shelves. Countless little treasures had been knocked to the carpet, some of which had broken on impact. Blueblood gasped, stepping into the room almost as if in shock.

"I've... I've been robbed!" He said, his eyes wide as saucers as he surveyed the room. "What sort of thieving little bastard..."

He paused, looking over the bits and pieces that had fallen from his shelf. There were still numerous valuables among the fallen objects. A gold plated mask from Zebrica, a collection of rings from one of the Griffon Kingdoms, and a box of gems from the Diamond Dogs all lay on the floor amid bits of glass and books. If they had been here for money, why had they not taken those. Only one thing seemed to be missing, and that was the scimitar he had been gifted on his first trip into Saddle Arabia.

"They took my sword." He practically growled as he stared down at the spot where it had once been, just before turning suddenly to Twilight. "You! You're a spellcaster! Can't you cast some sort of... tracking spell or something?"

Twilight blinked a few times, snapping back in as Blueblood spoke to her.

"Er... I could, if we still had it. See a tracking spell needs to-"

"Damn it!" Blueblood exclaimed, falling backwards into his chair with a muffled thump. "That sword was given to me by the Caliph himself. Its a one of a kind weapon given as part of our first peace treaty between our two nations. Ugh. It took almost a year of negotiation to secure that treaty and-"

Twilight began to filter out Blueblood's speech at this point. Something about trades and treaties and the like. On the one hoof, she was a bit impressed to find that Blueblood actually had a job to do. On the other, he was still the same Blueblood regardless, and that Blueblood was annoying! She took a step forward, gently nudging one of the fallen books with her hoof. There was something beneath it. She lit up her horn with a pale purple glow, lifting the tome to reveal a small brown and white feather beneath it. She levitated this as well, looking it over.

"Blueblood, Blueblood shut up a second and let me talk!" Twilight said, cutting off his story. He gave her a glare, which softened as soon as he saw the feather she held.

"A feather? Where did you find that?"

"It was on the floor under one of your books. I might not be able to track the sword, but I can track whoever this feather came from, and that means-"

"It means we can find my thief."

"Right." Twilight nodded. "But, if I help you with this, you need to help me with something."

"You want to wheel and deal with Equestria's prime ambassador?" Blueblood smirked. "Let's hear your offer then."

"I help you get this sword back, and you get Celestia to let me off the hook with you."

"You mean I not only get my sword back, but I get to be rid of you as well? Its a winning situation all around for me." The prince extended a hoof to shake. "You have a deal."

Twilight clasped hooves with him, giving a firm shake.

"Deal."