• Published 18th Jun 2012
  • 18,432 Views, 451 Comments

The Blueblood Chronicles - Rune Soldier Dan

Blueblood just wants to be left alone. prince-chasing mares and high society have other plans.

  • ...

Chapter 3: Mudblood

Dear Diary,

Stargazer and I are one day away from Ponyville. Nothing especially noteworthy has happened, but this travel motel has astonishingly uncomfortable beds. I'm not sleeping, so I might as well write.

We're not going to raise many funds in Ponyville for the charity. It's certainly not going to be much compared to what I contribute myself. But it'll give the Egalitarian Equestrians their first business contacts. By building off those, we'll really be able to rack in bits and start a lot of the projects we've been putting off. We're a growing organization, and I'm excited to be a part of it.

I think that's what I like the most about this: I'm a major part of it. Before I was just a patron, writing checks from afar. I still cross streets to avoid beggars, and I still can't look them in the eye. It shames me, and the best way to be a better stallion is to leave the white castle behind. Celly put together a foolproof disguise, so for a while, I'll just be True Point: A common-born do-gooder looking to help his fellow ponies who have fallen on hard times.

I'll be abusing you for a while, Diary. I want to take notes on the meetings, but naturally I forgot to bring spare paper. Sorry, but you'll only double as a notebook for a few days.

…I just apologized to a book. Definitely time to try to sleep.


Blueblood/True Point


Star Gazer glanced over to his companion as they trod the dusty road to Ponyville. "Little warning for ya, 'True Point:' That disguise isn't gonna fool anypony."

There was no getting around it: Prince Blueblood had a plastic moustache stuck to his upper lip. It wasn't even blonde like his mane, but covered in cheap black paint. That was the extent of his disguise.

Blueblood snorted at the green pegasus and arched his head regally. "I'll have you know this disguise was bequeathed to me by my aunt, Princess Celestia herself. It's foolproof."

His companion groaned. Cynical as Blueblood usually was, he was starry-eyed when it came to his aunt. Star Gazer changed topics, guessing it would be useless to argue further. "Prince, normally I don't mind the idea of you embarrassing yourself in public. But try not to screw things up for us here. Let me do the talking when we hit town. Just take notes, okay?"

Blueblood glared at him, genuine hurt in his eyes. "I'm not your secretary. I came to help."

"Look, just watch and learn at first, okay?" Star Gazer looked away, not up for a fight. "Just at first. I'd have to learn from you before I could snib with the snobs, right? You gotta learn from me how to deal with blokes who work for a living. I wouldn't'a asked you to come along if I thought you'd be dead weight."

Blueblood nodded and smiled, but Star Gazer had been around the bend with relationships before. The unicorn wasn't giving a happy smile, but rather the wry smile of someone who guesses he's being appeased with empty words.

Star Gazer shrugged and turned to logic. "Hey Blues…you know why I didn't just fly to Ponyville?"

Blueblood looked at him, and the Pegasus cocked a friendly grin. "Because it'll be more fun with you around."

The words shrunk Blueblood's smile to a smaller, more genuine one. The next few minutes passed in genial silence until Star Gazer spoke up again.

"Hey…you ever hear the one about the banana bucker from Hayti?"

"Yes, and I'd like to mention that you're the only one who finds those 'buck' puns amusing."

The green pegasus laughed. "Not the only one, Blues. How about the pegaus who had the bucking cutie mark…"


Dear Diary,

I mean, Meeting #1:

Encountered a pair of wandering businessponies passing perpendicular to our road of travel. We figured we might as well have a chat.

-They seem to be magical engineers, modifying their vehicle to suit whatever task seems likely to turn a profit. By wandering from community to community, they get a feel for what's needed and market accordingly. Seems lucrative, but I'm hardly a good judge of such things.

-It's a pair of unicorn brothers named Flim and Flam. They're friendly and forward.

-They're telling us about their business now. It seems interesting.

-…10 minutes ago it was interesting. Now I'm annoyed. Do they ever pause for breath?

-Star Gazer is getting about one word in for every 100 spewed back. I don't think the pair even listened to what he said, they just keeping going on about themselves.

-Okay, now they're singing.

-5 minutes later, they're still singing. Star Gazer's eye is twitching.

-8 minutes of singing their own wonders. I was annoyed at first, but now I'm kind of impressed. I think they missed their calling – I'd pay to see these guys entertain over the Great and Powerful Whatever any day of the week.

-Star Gazer is screaming.


"Just let you do the talking, huh?"

Star Gazer grimaced at the jibe, flying irately in circles. "Don't give me that, Blueblood, those two are INSANE! They were driving ME insane! GAAAH! How can they stand themselves!"

Blueblood didn't even look up as he plod on to Ponyville, letting the pegasus orbit him like the moon. "Whatever, Mr. 'Better at Dealing with Ponies.'"

"Buck off, we made 50 bits, didn't we?"

"They paid me 50 bits to drag you away," Blueblood's horn glowed, shielding his mane from the wind Star Gazer was kicking up. "If you don't mind, I'll do the talking next time. If you're going to scream every time something annoys you, we might as well go home."

"Oh, Sweet Cele…FINE!" Star Gazer snorted and returned to earth. "There's Ponyville, here's the list of businesses. Pick one out."

A few minutes later, the pegasus snapped out again. "And stop humming their song!"

"But it's so catchy! 'There is an oppor-tunity, in this some-thing community…"


Meeting #2

-Sugarcube Corner. I feel myself getting fat just walking in here. But it is one of the bigger businesses of Ponyville. It has multiple employees besides the owners, and gets plenty of work from outside the town. For both catering and specialty sweets, many consider this the place to go. Even nobles order from here when they crave something a touch homely and rustic.

-The owners, Mr. Cake and Mrs. Cake, seem like genuinely pleasant ponies. One of the employees, Bon Bon, was kept hopping manning the register while we talked with her employers. The other took one look at me and began snickering. It was quite embarrassing, but the Cakes seemed just as embarrassed. They shooed the pink bugger off to handle the kitchen while the adults talked.

-They hadn't heard of the E.E. before and seem interested. So far, so good.

-They're willing to pledge regular contributions and talk to their business partners about doing the same. This trip is officially worth it.

-They love the idea of the 'Reaching Hooves' project and want to be counselors for the Ponyville area. This really can't be going any better.

-Meeting's wrapping up. They insisted on us sampling their new "daisy and vanilla" cake recipe. A firm ally and free cake? Star Gazer can suck a lemon, I'm the best talker.


"Here you are, darlings, now be sure to say what youWHOOPS!"

Mrs. Cake skidded on a wooden roller. The cake balanced precariously on her nose went flying. Blueblood tried to dive behind Star Gazer, but the action only brought his face directly into the cake's flight path.

"Oh my goodness, I'm sorry, dear. Let me get you-"

A piercing scream interrupted her. Trembles coursed through Blueblood's body for a moment, and he screamed again, then bolted out the door. "FROSTING! ON MY MANE! MY BEAUTIFUL MANE! AGAIN!"

Star Gazer muttered something uncharitable before launching into pursuit. He slowed a moment to call back to the frazzled Cakes.

"Shoot, uh, don't worry about him! He's got kind of a phobia. We'll write! Thanks for everything!"


"C'mon, Blueblood, you've been in the restroom so long I need to use it now, too! How hard can it be to wash out a little cake?"

It took twenty minutes, but Blueblood strode out of the little colt's room, composure intact and hair exactly the way it was before he took the hit. "It was not a 'little' cake, it was-"

Star Gazer brushed past him into the restroom.

An awkward silence descended as they went on to the next place of business. The pegasus flexed his shoulders and smoothed back his mane. "I sure hope the Cakes don't take it personally. You've done enough damage – let me handle this next one. I'll show you how it's done. See, you gotta be casual with country ponies. They don't think highly of stiff formality or freaking out over a few stains. Watch, I'll show you."

He waved as the pony answered the doorbell. "Heya, Filthy."


Meeting #3

-Filthy Rich, the largest real estate retailer in Ponyville, prefers to be called by his last name.

-We're off to a bad start. He has a grumbling, tired personality which is not a good match for Star Gazer's enthusiasm. They're getting on each other's nerves.

-Star Gazer's getting frustrated.

-Okay, time for me to step in. This guy's upper crust and well out of Star Gazer's league.

-Did you know that "North Point" is a noble? Neither did I until now. That's the beauty of a fake identity – you can make it up as you go along.

-Oho, Mr. Rich is flattered to be visited by nobility? If only he knew…

-We're not selling him anything now, but I buttered him up to be a good resource later. Remember, making friends and contacts is more important than actual bits in hoof.

-He invited me in for tea in his parlor. I had Star Gazer take my coat. ZING!

-Mr. Rich introduced me to his daughter and her friend. The little twerps invited themselves into the conversation, and a dumber couple of brats I could scarcely imagine.

-Okay…just the pink one's a dumb brat. When Mr. Rich escorted his daughter from the room, the grey one squinted at me through her glasses. After a long second, she asked why I was wearing a fake moustache. It was creepy. I mean, how did she know? Aunt Celly made this for me herself, and no one else has looked twice at it. It's foolproof. Is this kid some kind of genius?

-I stammered for a moment, enough for the surprisingly-sharp filly to realize it wasn't a question I could answer. She pulled out a little purse and dumped the contents in my pocket. "My donation – don't tell anyone," she whispered, and scampered off after her friend.

-Three silver bits – almost 100 bits. It kills me that I can't remember the little filly's name.


"Don't look so smug," Star Gazer snapped. In his defense, Blueblood was looking remarkably smug at that moment, nose raised and lips up in a mocking smile. "That stallion was just a bourgeoisie hoity-toity type looking to schmooze with a noble."

"It's those 'hoity-toity types' that have the bits, Stargazer. Good intentions won't pay bills. Powerful friends will."

The pegasus huffed. "Yeah, well, don't let it get to your head. Being a stuck-up will make you a lot more enemies than friends around here."

"Sure, sure." Blueblood waved a hoof dismissively. "I'm taking the lead this time, though."


Meeting #4

-The local branch of the Apple Family. I've done my homework – they're pretty much the reason there is a Ponyville. They're a big name and they do business all over Equestria, but it's a small-budget operation. They rely on specialties like zap apples and cider to keep them afloat - apples themselves just don't make much money.

-A family-only operation. Sweet Celly, how do two or three ponies harvest so many apples?

-Oh dang, I recognize one of them.

-The Grand Galloping Disaster? She was there. I spat on her apple fritters.

-Look at those legs. She could probably buck me to the moon.

-Oh fudge, she caught me looking at her legs.

-She's looking really hard at me. My disguise is foolproof.


-"Is somethin' the matter?" She asked in an incredibly menacing accent. She's onto me. Time to run.


Blueblood poked his nose out from behind the bush as Star Gazer left the Apples' property. "Are you being followed?"

"No," Star Gazer said with an eye roll. "Wow…you kind of just screamed and ran for no reason. I'm sure there's a funny story behind it, but I'm honestly not sure I want to know. Normally I'd ask if it was an old fillyfriend, but, you know. It's you."

The unicorn ignored the jibe and righted himself, earlier confidence gone. "Is it usually this bad? We seem to be making a mess of things with everyone."

Star Gazer shrugged. "Eh, usually it's worse. We haven't struck out completely anywhere. In the city, people just tend to jabber excuses and show us the door. It kind of annoys me. If the answer's 'no,' they should just say 'no.' Not 'we'll pay later,' or 'give me a brochure to read.'"

"Helperton has troubles with it too?"

"Oh, heck yeah." The green pegasus laughed at a few choice memories. "Trust me, we're doing okay, even if we're managing to come off as 100% derpy."

"Yes?" a third voice called from above.

The pair gave a start, turning to the pony dropping down from the sky next to them. A gray pegasus with wall eyes and a goofy smile on her face. She looked at them expectantly, waiting for the flabbergastered pair to say something.

The two stallions glanced at each other and exchanged a confused shrug. Blueblood rallied first, giving a gentle cough. "Er, may we help you, Madam?"

"I don't know," she said slowly, pronouncing each word carefully. "You, called, me."

Blueblood glanced to his companion, and again the two shrugged. "I'm sorry, Madam, you are mistaken."

"Oh. Oh well." She giggled, not seeming to think anything of it. "Won't be the first time today. 'Kay, buh-bye."

The mare took off vertically as suddenly as she arrived, taking an erratic flight up and away. Blueblood and Star Gazer stared up after her.

"Star Gazer, I don't suppose you-"

"I have no idea what just happened. How about you?"

"Haven't the foggiest."

The green pegasus glanced up at the sun, then back to the list. "Okay, weird as that was, back to business. These meetings are taking forever. If we want to hit all the spots in two days, we'll need to split up. Here, pick a few off the list and we'll meet back at the inn come sundown."


"One more to go," Blueblood yawned. He was out of shape and he knew it – a day spent hiking around the country town had tuckered him out. It was drizzling, too.

But at least he had saved the easiest for last. Blueblood floated his notes in front of him, reading as he walked. This business already has assisted in several charity events, both local and in Canterlot. Once provided some very expensive prizes for a charity lottery, ensuring excellent turnout. The owner is the two-time winner of Celestia's Ray, an award for philanthropy. Supposedly she also worked with the mayor to design a plan to improve quality of life and all but eliminate joblessness in Ponyville.

Given how much she's already involved in, whoever owns Carousel Boutique might not be offering cash on the hoof. But if we can get her name on our brand, it'll do wonders for the E.E.'s prestige.

The clothing store was open for business, so Blueblood let himself in. Mannequins lined the wall in various fabrics, showcasing colors and styles. A set of stairs led up to what was likely a private residence. With nopony in sight, Blueblood rang the service bell and settled back on a stool, content to wait. Hoping to impress her, he had brought some files from the E.E. with him showcasing how far they had advanced in just a few years. And of course, his trusty diary was out and ready.

"Co~ming!" A singsong voice sounded from above, and an alabaster unicorn descended. She tossed her purple mane back and flashed a gorgeous smile.

The smile froze on her face, slowly morphing to a shocked grimace as she saw Blueblood. For his part, Blueblood's contentment vanished. The sight of her sent ice water pumping through his veins.

"You?!" She shouted, something between a question and an accusation.

"You!" He shouted back, voice as cringing as his posture.

Rarity stomped down the remainder of the stairs, noise pointed to the heavens. She moved her legs with exaggerated aggressiveness as she advanced. "What on EARTH gives you the right to enter my home, you villain? You horrible, horrible stallion, you stomped on my feelings, hurt my friends, and made the Gala the most hideous night ever!"

The insults stoked Blueblood's own anger, and he stood up fully, head low and eyes narrow. "No, YOU made the Gala hideous for YOURself! You gold-digging, empty-headed floozy mares couldn't take a hint if it was hoof-delivered to you! You chased after me, I didn't want you to, so how is it MY fault YOUR night was ruined?"

They were nose-to-nose now, and Rarity wasn't backing down. "If you were so against my presence, why didn't you just politely excuse yourself? Or here's an idea: JUST ASK ME TO LEAVE. You would've saved us both a world of trouble!"

"Oh, I tried THAT before!" Blueblood stood upright, throwing his hooves out wide. "Starry-eyed nincompoops with diamonds on their butts are such great listeners!"

"HA! If you really feel that way, why are you sneaking into my shop with that idiotic disguise?"

"It's not idiotic, it's foolpr…never mind. I obviously have the wrong address."

"So leave!" Rarity's horn glowed and the door opened.

"I'm already gone!" Blueblood stormed out, igniting his own horn to slam it shut behind him.

Rarity growled at the closed door, releasing the rest of her anger. She huffed and turned around, just in time to see several papers slide from the counter. The forceful opening and closing of the door had blown them about, and a few were still floating in the air. She seized one with her magic and read the top few lines.

"Last year the Egalitarian Equestrians operated three free kitchens. Today we run a dozen of them, along with two orphanages and a family shelter. We plan to expand by opening facilities outside of the Canterlot area and by…"

She blinked and floated up another sheet of paper, then a third, finding the contents of each to be along a similar vein. Realization replaced curiosity, and her head snapped back to the closed door.


Rarity cast her eyes over the counter, taking in the remaining papers while she puzzled on the matter. The horrible prince certainly acted much differently than he had at the Gala, but what in Equestria was going on?

A last foreign object drew her attention: a small brown book, sitting innocuously next to her register. She levitated it over and gave an appraising look over the outside. The outside was cheap leather and unadorned, certainly not the kind of thing the prince would carry around with him. Maybe a Fluttershy's? She had come over earlier today, maybe she forgot it here.

A bit nosy by nature, Rarity finally decided to open it. After all, she needed to learn who it was if she was going to return it. The fine cursive writing on the front page immediately marked this as property of a unicorn – such penmanship was impossible without a magical grip.

"Dear Diary,

…'Dear Diary?' How cliché can I get? I've never been big on the idea of diaries…"



"Oh, yeah," Star Gazer lounged in his bed, ignoring his friend's surprise. They were in their room at the inn, comparing notes on a day well-spent.

"I was at one of the ceremonies for Celestia's Ray and saw her myself," the pegasus went on. "Rarity's a nice lookin' mare, but not really my type, you know? Carried herself all high-up and snooty. The sorta filly who'd you see at the Grand Galloping Gala rather than…"

He trailed off, recognition dawning on his face. He turned fully to Blueblood. "Wait a second…the same Rarity you talked about after the Gala? The mare that went nutso on you?"

The prince nodded unhappily. Star Gazer closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to reconcile the stately mare he saw at the ceremony and Blueblood's description of the obsessive gold-digger.

"Wow. WOW! Awkward!" Star Gazer gave a short laugh. "Well, don't worry about it. I can approach her later. That's a little something to put in your book."

Blueblood stood bolt upright. "My diary! Oh buck, I must've left it there!"

"Heheh, you said 'buck.'"

"Oh, shut up!" Blueblood shouted, already out the door.


Just his luck, the drizzle from the afternoon had turned into a heavy rain. There was wind too, strong enough to make the drops fall at a sharp angle. Blueblood kept up a steady stream of grumbles as he plod towards Carousel Boutique, determinedly avoiding the mud puddles. He wasn't going to get into another fight. He was just going to ask the terrible mare for his book, get it back, and leave. She'd comply just to get rid of him quickly. They'd both be happy.

He staggered as a shift in the wind caused a moment of vertigo, like it was lifting him up. The rain had turned to a storm in a hurry, and it wasn't getting any better. Blueblood groaned in frustration, cursing himself for forgetting the stupid book. He felt like the wind was about to rip his ears off, and Celestia only knew what it was doing to his mane.

A low, slow voice shouted from above him, barely audible over the gale. "What're ya doin' outside?"

Blueblood glanced up to see the wall-eyed pegasus flying above him, clumsy wings fighting to keep her steady. One eye was turned down upon him, the other to the black clouds above. He frowned and continued marching resolutely forwards, in no mood for conversation.

Imagining that Blueblood returned her question, the grey pegasus "stood" proudly in the air and gestured to the clouds. "I'm bucking the lightning so they don't hit the town. It's important!"

Blueblood was easy to annoy on a good day, and this wasn't one. His teeth ground together and he picked up the pace, hoping the mare would get the hint.

The feeling of vertigo came again as the wind came on so hard it bounced off the ground and tried to lift him up. Blueblood was barely inconvenienced, but the pegasus wasn't so lucky. Her zany pose left her ill-prepared to react to the sudden change in pressure. With a cry, she tumbled upwards, then forwards, then down. The clumsy flier tried to right herself, but was barely able to flap her wings once before hitting the ground hard.

The prince ran towards her with a grunt, selfish thoughts circling his head. Oh, of course this would happen. Now I have to help the idiot. I'm going to have to carry her, aren't I? I'm going to get mud all over my clothes. Mudblood, that'll be me.

Shame and worry ejected the thoughts from his head as he approached. The pegasus was sprawled in the mud, goofy grin on her face. He felt relief as she sat up, but then the worry returned tenfold as her eyes rolled back and she fell over.

Channeling magic with urgency he had never felt before, Blueblood hoisted her out with a squelch and settled her on his back. He trod forward as quickly as he could, making for the nearest building. Not a thought was given to the mud.


Rarity hadn't had the greatest of days, and the insistent pounding on her door wasn't putting her in the best of moods, either.

"Coming, coming! We're closed, and…oh, if you're coming in to 'shake off,' Rainbow Dash, you've got another thing coming."

Standing well back from the door, Rarity gently turned the latch with magic. Sure enough, the wind blasted it open the rest of the way. She blinked, not at all expecting the sight that greeted her. A very soggy, very worried looking Blueblood, with muddy water dripping from his mane and a gently-moaning Derpy on his back.

A second blink from Rarity, then she took command. She huffed irately as Blueblood loitered awkwardly at the door. "Well don't just stand there, Darling, follow me."

He trod readily up the stairs after her, neither caring for the muddy hoofprints he left behind. Rarity bid him to set the pegasus down in her bed and efficiently began toweling her off.

"She's breathing regularly and her eyes are…well, no more out of focus than normal." Rarity gave a small laugh, peering at the mare's head through her glasses. "Our Derpy's had worse tumbles. I'll take her to the hospital in the morning, but I think what she needs now is to be kept warm and dry."

"Okay," Blueblood responded softly.

The two stood there a moment, slowly recalling that they hated each other. They avoided eye contact. Rarity busied herself fussing over the fallen pegasus and studiously examining for any lasting damage. Blueblood fidgeted at the door to the room, waiting for her to ask for his help.

When she didn't, he turned around. "Well, goodbye."

"D-do be careful on the way home," Rarity responded, unable to keep the hesitation out of her voice.

Blueblood was thankful to step back out into the rain – anything to leave the awkwardness behind. The journey back to the inn was no more pleasant than the one out, but at least it was uneventful.

A ragged, muddy Blueblood was not a sight Star Gazer had ever seen. He gave a start as Blueblood stepped in, gazing up at his friend. "Sweet Celestia! And Luna too! What the hay happened to you? No never mind, let me run a bath for you, brony."

Blueblood smiled wanly as his friend stepped into the bathroom. Although quick to jibe the Prince, the pegasus also had a fair sense for when it was okay to joke and when it wasn't. When adversity struck, all Star Gazer could think about was how to help others.

Star Gazer chuckled nervously as he ran the water, trying to make small talk. "Did she give you the book without a fuss?"

The diary!

Blueblood's face contorted, and he ground a hoof into the floor. "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUU…"


"Derpy, Ditzy, Ditzy, Derpy…"

Rarity was idly speculating which was her real name when the pegasus woke up, less than an hour after arriving at her shop.

She blinked a few times and looked up, seeing Rarity beam down at her. Ditzy gave her wonderfully huge smile and launched herself upwards. She wrapped her hooves around Rarity's neck and shouted with joy.

"You saved me!"

Rarity chuckled at the reaction, even though she quickly extricated herself from the tight embrace. "No, no, Darling, that was…"

Him. The words caught on Rarity's tongue. Her gaze turned to the wall behind Ditzy, a mix of emotions tumbling within her.

Ditzy moved her head back into Rarity's line of sight, still smiling but looking a little confused. Rarity gently pushed her back down. "Rest for now, Ditzy, that fall couldn't've been good for you."


"Oh, come on, Blues."

Blueblood hadn't said a word since his outburst last night. While his companion munched happily on breakfast, the unicorn's head was planted firmly on the table.

The waitress – a pretty pink unicorn – glanced worriedly between them. "Is he alright?"

"He'll be fine," Star Gazer said with a wink before turning his attention back to Blueblood. "I mean, come on. The sun's shining, the birds are out, and the coffee's great. Just forget about yesterday. We'll trot over to the Boutique before getting started today and pick up your book. No problem."

Even after a bath and a good night's rest, Blueblood still felt tired and dirty. He ignored Star Gazer, and paid no mind to the sound of the front door opening. It came as quite a shock, then, when he was glomped from behind, 'glomped' being the only word that could adequately describe it. The hug was forceful and full-contact, the deliverer practically riding on top of him.

"You saved me!"

He opened his eyes and saw blonde hair a few shades lighter than his own running past his face. Along with the realization came a very unfamiliar feeling as Ditzy nuzzled his neck.

To say Blueblood was 'standoffish' towards females would have been giving him too much credit. To say that he actively shunned their attention would be more accurate. But now he had a young, athletic mare wrapped around his body, pressing her wet nose into a sensitive spot. It was a very unusual feeling, one that the isolated unicorn was very unprepared for. His intellect scrambled to rally, and he came out with the most well-reasoned statement he could manage.


"Derp-EE." A refined voice corrected him. Rarity stepped into view on the other side of him, smiling gently. "Or Ditzy – she does both. It's only proper that she thank you for your deed last night, so we decided to pop on over."

With Ditzy still deep in his neck and Star Gazer stuttering and staring, Only Blueblood noticed Rarity's horn glow. He felt a tug at his coat pocket and something placed within. A sidelong glance showed his diary tucked within, the glow around it vanishing.

The sight of it brought Blueblood at least somewhat back to reality. "Did you read it?" He whispered.

Rarity shook her head. She opened her mouth to tell the lie, but looked away and hesitated instead. "Sorry," she finally whispered with a shy smile.

Blueblood nodded, showing neither anger nor relief. The two broke eye contact again, and by silent mutual consent, the topic was dropped. There was a bit more understanding, but awkwardness still hung heavily between the two. Rarity gave a polite nod and turned to leave.

Ditzy finally broke the hug. She gave Blueblood a loud, undignified kiss on the cheek and fluttered over to the doorway. As the other two looked after her, she turned and gave a wide grin and enthusiastic wave.

"Thanks so much!" And with that she was off.

The stallions stared at the open doorway for a moment. Star Gazer was the first to recover. "Well," he managed, still not following what had happened. "What do you think of that, Blues?"