• Published 6th Aug 2012
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A Family In Shambles - Coffee dot exe



Before his imprisonment, Discord fell for a princess of an island nation off the coast of Equestria.

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Mad World

Shambles couldn’t keep his eyes open. His head ached. The end was near, and by the time he realized it, he had already accepted his fate.

“Just because the lectures ends in five minutes, doesn’t mean you get to sleep during it, Shambles!”

The shout from his government professor jolted the brown pegasi awake. “The council was founded in the 5th century to ensure fair trade for all Equestria’s sub-nations!” Shambles shouted as his eyes shot open. He blinked rapidly to focus his vision. The entire class was staring straight at him.

Professor Scribe gave the prince an exasperated look. “Right. Look Shambles, if my class doesn’t suit your sleep schedule, feel free to stay in your dorm.” He shook his head and returned to his podium. “Now class, what section of the Equestrian Doctrine stated when a council member is permitted to step up and take the princess’s position by force, if said princess is deemed unfit to rule?”

Shambles let his head hang down again, too tired to listen. He was only a few weeks away from graduating from the University of Canterlot, and the never-ending review lectures had taken their toll on his patience. His choice of major, a Masters in Political Science, was especially difficult for anypony to endure. But with a princess for a mother, a job in politics was almost required.

The exit bell eventually rang and Shambles made his way outside to the bustling campus grounds. Young pony students were everywhere. Some relaxed in front of the royal library, others made their way to later lectures, while some sat under the large oak trees that dotted the massive campus. Shambles took a deep breath of spring air and grinned. It was his final year and he was ready to leave.

“Shambles! We need another stallion for a game of hoofball tonight, you in?” Called a deep voice to the pegasus’s left. A large, orange unicorn galloped over to Shambles. “What happened to you? You look like you haven’t slept in weeks. Do you still have finals going on?” said the prince’s classmate, Heavy Weight.

Shambles forced a smile, only half awake. “Unfortunately, yes,” he said. “My history final is tomorrow so I gotta head to the library and study up. You going anywhere for summer?” He asked.

Heavy shook his head and replied, “Nah, can’t go anywhere for too long. Recruiting for Canterlot’s professional hoofball team begins soon. I need all the training time I can get!”

Shambles laughed and nodded. “I understand. Well, I’ve gotta head out. Good luck to you!”

“Same!” replied Heavy. “Don’t let your final kill you!”

Shambles entered the massive library. Its massive lavender doors swung open to reveal winding staircases leading to the many upper floors. Ponies were seated throughout the first floor, reading and researching. Many ponies sat by the enormous hourglass that adorned the second floor balcony. The librarian’s desk stretched along the wall opposite to the entrance. Book were stacked all across the desk as the librarian briskly walked back and forth with stacks of book floating in front of her.

Shambles reached the hourglass balcony and began searching for his research material. “A Princess’s Beginning, A Princess’s Beginning,” he whispered to himself, trotting through the aisles looking for the right book. “Here it is.” He pulled out a somewhat large book from a high shelf. It had a fine leather cover with the Equestrian coat of arms indented on it. It was a book with mini biographies on the various princesses of Equestria’s kingdoms. He brought the book to a nearby table and began his studies.

After a few hours of thorough reading, he reached the section covering his mother’s life, only to notice that there were pages with full paragraphs inked out. Confused, he checked the next few pages. They all had paragraphs inked out as well.

Slightly irritated, he closed the tampered book and brought it down to the librarian’s desk. when he reached the desk, he quietly cleared his throat and asked, “Ma’am?”

The librarian approached the pegasi and greeted him in a sleep inducing, monotone voice. “Hello young pony, is there anything you need?”

Shambles cleared his throat and replied, “Yes, I found this book in your upper research section and it seemed to have inked out sections in the later chapters. I didn’t know whether it was intentional or not, so I brought it here for you.”

The librarian pulled the book towards her and opened to the pages. She raised an eyebrow and uttered almost matter of factly, “Right, Princess Celestia herself edited these.”

Shambles had to do a double take at the librarian’s reply. “Wait, what? The princess edited those pieces?”

The peach colored unicorn nodded, returning to her sorting duties. “Well the only living creatures to be alive at the time the events occurred were all the princesses. According to them, the events recorded in these books were highly exaggerated and needed to be amended.

The brown pegasi sighed irritably. “Well is there an amended version? This book is vital to my final paper.” He tapped his hoof rapidly. He just wanted to escape the monotonous presence of the droning unicorn.

The librarian shuffled over to a stack of books that looked untouched. “This is the new collection we received the other day. If it’s not here, then that is the only copy we have.”

After waiting for almost half an hour while the bookworm unicorn slowly panned through each book, Shambles finally asked, exhausted, “Ma’am? Is there another copy?”

The librarian turned her head, looking at the upset student surprised. You’re still here?”

“You have got to be foaling me...” He muttered under his breath. He slid the old book into his saddle bag and stormed out.

As he passed by the food hall, Shambles noticed a group of worker stallions carrying a large stove in through the back. Being in a poor mood from the library fiasco, Shambles found the shouting between the stallions irritating and glared at them. All of a sudden, one end of the stove slipped off a worker’s back and rolled down the road, scaring students towards the sidewalks and causing the workers to go hauling off after it. Shambles chuckled at the incident and continued towards the dorms.

When he reached the dorms, Shambles noticed a small group of ponies gathered by the front door, chatting idly and not showing any sign of moving for others trying to get inside. He sighed and clenched his eyes shut in irritation. “First the librarian now this?” he whispered.

“Look out!” shouted a high up voice

A splattering noise is heard and Shambles opened his eyes to see one of the ponies by the door, a sapphire blue pegasus was almost completely colored in lemon yellow paint. He glanced up to see a red earth pony wearing paint stained clothes looking over the roof.

“I’m so sorry miss! I could have sworn that can was far from the edge!” The painter exclaimed.

The dripping winged mare muttered something about useless lackies and stormed off to what Shambles guessed was her resident building, the other ponies following her closely.

Shambles looked quizzically at the roof before shrugging and continuing to his room.

~

After studying at his desk for a few hours, Shambles decided one in the morning was as good a time as any to get some sleep. He yawned heavily and shut the book on his desk, bookmarking where he had left off. He walked over to his bed and slid back the blankets. After climbing into bed, he looked over at a picture on his night stand. It was a picture of the one mare he loved more than anything in the world. He smiled and whispered, “I love you, Mom,” before drifting off to sleep.

He heard screams fill his ears. They were the screams of young foals and fillies. The pegasus opened his eyes and saw what he could only perceive as a living nightmare. Dark clouds suffocated the sky. As the horrified stallion observed the city below, he recognized it immediately. He could tell it was Canterlot he was staring at, but not the Canterlot he’d grown up seeing and living in. Houses floated hundreds of feet from the ground, almost as if they had been ripped out and were floating like ice in a glass of water. Mice flew through the sky in pursuit of terrified dragons. Ponies’ heads followed their disconnected bodies almost as if by magic as they ran through the streets in panic.

Then he heard maniacal laughter ringing in his ears. He turned to face whatever, or whoever was cackling, only to find nothing but more chaos around him. The laughter was starting to bring pain to his eardrums. He had to find the source. He took off through the streets, trying to follow the close but never there laughter. After he’d run until he couldn’t run any longer, he collapsed. The cackles continued ringing in his head. Then it hit him. It was himself that was laughing. It wasn’t his voice, but he could feel it emanating from his throat. He began to hear the voice speak. It was an ancient sounding voice. It had a certain calming tone to it. Even though the voice spoke of things like chaos, insanity, and the end of logic as everypony knew it, its calm demeanor gave Shambles the feeling that all these ideas were for the better. The voice called Shambles’ name. It knew him, even though he had never heard this voice before in his life. The voice sensed the pegasus’s confusion and suddenly became angered. Pain shot through his neck as he felt a presence wrap around his neck. The voice began laughing again, this time with a tone of malice. It shouted Shambles’ name louder and louder, as if to taunt him. His mind began to weaken as he felt the laughter suffocate him. Then everything went black.

A rush of air filled the prince’s lungs as his eyes shot open. Shambles was in his dorm once again. He had fallen off his bed and was looking up at the ceiling. He rushed to his window to see what has become of Canterlot. There was no chaos, only sunshine, trees, and the sounds of morning. He looked over at his clock. It was nine o’clock in the morning.

He sighed happily. “It was only a dream.” We got back on his hooves. “I was only sleeping.” He smiled for only a second before the bad news dawned on him. “I Was Only Oversleeping!” He shot into the air and flew frantically to gather his writing materials. “Class started five minutes ago!” He rushed out the door, disregarding his bedhead and sleep breath. He had a paper to write.

~

“And with that, we send off the Class of 2012 BC (Beginning of Celestia) to leave their imprint on our world!”

The stadium erupted in cheers as the graduates of Canterlot University tossed their hats in celebration. Shambles stood among his peers, looking through the audience for a familiar face. It didn’t take long to see his Alicorn mother hopping for joy in one of the VIP boxes. He waved up to her, not expecting her to be able to pick him out of the sea of lavender robes. But sure enough, the blue princess spotted the pegasus’s wild black and grey mane and waved to her son.

Memories washed over Cyclis’ mind as she recalled his first day of school, when he went to prom alone (proudly), and the day he went off to Canterlot to pursue his dream of joining his mother in politics. The tearful, nostalgic princess slowly returned to her seat as she followed the graduates with her eyes as they filed outside in a group. She tried to keep an eye on Shambles but eventually lost him. She got back on her legs once the floor had been cleared and proceeded to the exit to find her son outside.

Shambles walked among his peers and looked around at the glee filled faces of the ponies he’d spent years learning with. He thought to himself that he may never see any of them again. Even though he knew he would miss them all, he was as excited as ever, because he knew he would finally be reunited with the only mare that mattered to him. The mare that put up with all his faults. The mare that supported him in every trivial goal he would pursue. As he passed through the main doorway from the stadium, he saw countless parents waiting by the entrance, waiting to congratulate their stallion or mare on their success. His eyes were quickly drawn what could only be a Zephyrian chariot. Ponies were trying to pose in front of it while their parents took pictures, savoring the false moment that the chariot was theirs to ride.

While Shambles was approaching the chariot outside, Cyclis, protected by the guards who were the drivers of her chariot, walked through the long, cobblestone hallway leading from her box in the stadium to the nearest exit. She glanced out the passing windows every now and then to view the countless families holding their kids close with pride. She wished for a moment like this in her life. She wished she could feel true happiness during touching moments like these with her “family”.

She didn’t blame Celestia and Luna for what happened. They were simply trying to protect him. She couldn’t blame Discord either. He reacted as anypony in that situation would. He was simply a victim of circumstance, as were the sisters.

“You can take the monster out of the Tartarus, but you can’t take the Tartarus out of the monster,” she whispered to herself,

“Ma’am?” Asked one of the guards to her side.

Cyclis cleared her throat and replied, “Nothing, just thinking to myself.”

The guard nodded. “We will ready ourselves for departure, madam.”

The princess realized her surroundings and noticed she was approaching Shambles, who was looking off to the mountains. She took a deep breath and tried to bring her good mood back.

Shambles turned his head and saw his mother approaching. A sincere grin stretched across his face as he galloped to her and embraced her, not even trying to hide his happiness.

Cyclis stumbled for a second, but soon regained her footing and rested her head on Shambles’ shoulder. The tears began to form as she felt overwhelming pride for him rush through her. “I love you so much, my prince,” she said softly. She raised her head again as the pegasus released her neck and sat down in front of her. She noticed how even though he was a full grown stallion, she still towered over him.

“You may be grown up, but to me, you’ll always be my little foal,” Cyclis said, her voice choking up. She was beyond happy. No matter how upset she was, Shambles’ smile would always put a smile back on her face.

“Don’t get too comfortable, Mom,” The lavender- clad prince replied. “I’m expecting a growth spurt.” he nudged his mother playfully and got back on his hooves.

Cyclis took a moment to observe her son. She began to sob, thinking of her husband. She hid her face behind a hoof as her cry became audible. She had forgotten she was surrounded by thousands of ponies and did her best to not be too noticeable.

A look of concern swept over Shambles’ face. “Mom? Are you ok?” He reached towards her, in an attempt to comfort his crying mother.

She slowly put her hoof to his, smiling through the tears. “I’m fine sweetie. I was just thinking of what...” She paused to gather an explanation in her mind, “… Good Word would have thought of you.” She stretched her wing and used it to bring the stallion closer. “He thought the world of you. His only regret was not being able to see you become the Stallion you turned out to be.”

His mother’s comment struck a chord in his heart. It had been almost half a millennia since Cyclis’ advisor had passed, but to the near immortal prince, it only felt like months. Those born with Alicorn blood were burdened with the curse of seeing the ones you love leave long before you.

Shambles shuddered and hung his head low. Good Word was as important to him as his own mother. Good Word was a lot of things to the stallion. A mentor, a big brother figure, a friend. As he recalled as his time spent with the orange unicorn, he cried silently.

Cyclis held the pegasus close, feeling his heart beat against her side. She felt his tears stream down her foreleg and continued to comfort him. After a few minutes of silence between them, Cyclis cleared her throat and said, finally, “Shambles, let’s go home,” she said finally. “Almost everypony has left, and there is a dinner prepared for you.”

He looked up to his Alicorn guardian and nodded, his smile beginning to form once again. They entered the chariot together. The guards strapped themselves to the bars and took off for Zephyra. For the first time in years, both ponies felt whole again.