• Published 1st Feb 2024
  • 339 Views, 14 Comments

Princess of Last Resort - BlackWidower

When a catastrophic attack on Equestria wipes out the entirety of the nation’s leadership, the only one left to lead the nation of ponies is Princess Apple Bloom of Ponyville, The Princess of Last Resort. (Inspired by Designated Survivor)

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Chapter One: The First Strike

During the 1001st Summer Sun Celebration, Princesses Celestia and Luna vanished, temporarily leaving Princess Twilight Sparkle as Equestria's sole remaining princess.

Five years later, inspired by this event, and having ascended to the highest position in the nation as Sovereign Ruler of Equestria, Twilight wrote the Royal Succession Act, enshrining in law the procedure for selecting a new ruler, in the event she, along with any or all of her viceroys, were incapacitated or killed.

Shortly after, the Royal Guard prepared a detailed procedure for executing this law, called Contingency One. Part of the procedure required, during any event in which the entirety of Equestria's elite is in attendance, for one government minister in the line of succession to be excused, and taken to an undisclosed location.

In the event of a catastrophic attack on the nation's leadership, this pony ascends to the rank of princess and becomes the new Sovereign Ruler of Equestria.

They are known as the Princess of Last Resort.

The wooden floorboards creaked under Apple Bloom's weight.

She looked around and reminisced. There was a time when this room was covered with posters and photos. Various tools and equipment were stored here. Her little podium in the back of the room.

But now, the old Cutie Mark Crusader Clubhouse was empty. All their old things, they took with them. Now it was just a plain wooden treehouse.

She always assumed someone would take over the Cutie Mark Crusaders after they were gone. Somehow, the group they founded would continue, and in a way, it did, just not in Ponyville, and just not here.

But despite the fact that the room was now empty, the memories she had were still here. When they first rebuilt the clubhouse, when they conspired to speed up the Zap Apple harvest, when they were taking care of six pets after Spike foisted the responsibility onto them, and there was the time they brewed a love potion and dosed their teacher and Apple Bloom's big brother... not all the memories she was proud of.

Then... one day... came the day all three of them had been looking forward to for most of their young lives. The day they got their cutie marks. Part of Apple Bloom always worried that things would change between the three of them once that happened. Three fillies brought together by their blank flanks, would suddenly begin to drift apart. But that didn't happen. They remained friends and continued planning their weekly antics in this very room.

But eventually, they did begin to drift apart. Not by some kind of emotional angst, but by circumstance. Scootaloo began her work with the Royal Guard, which meant she had to move to Canterlot. Sweetie Belle's music career took her all over the nation, so she had no reason to remain in such a small town.

And Apple Bloom?

Well, she stayed in Ponyville for a few months after her friends left. Part of her assumed she'd continue working on the farm. But she never felt happy there.

It was Applejack's suggestion... government work... help to manage the day-to-day operations in the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways.

That's how it started... many years ago.

Now, she was running the whole ministry, and it made her happy.

But that happiness ended that morning.

Now she was here, back home, in Ponyville, wishing she could just go back. Relive those heady days of searching for her special talent with her best friends. Back before things got so complicated.

She scoffed. "Naivety," she said.

She knew her life was better. She knew she was happier. But she also knew she couldn't let that happiness go away. However, clinging to the past wouldn't save it.

But was it her job that made her so happy? Would losing that really make her lose everything?

Her thoughts were suddenly broken by a knock on the doorframe. "Ma'am?"

She turned around.

"You alright?" Asked Captain Bright Side.

She smiled at her friend, occasional confidante, and current bodyguard. "I'm fine, thanks."

"You sure?" he continued, stepping into the room. "You don't seem that 'okay.'"

"I'm fine," she replied. With an attempt at bringing a 'calm' tone to her voice.

He nodded, briefly, before just coming out and saying it. "I don't think you're naive."

She took a step back. "Were you eavesdroppin'?"

"It's my job, ma'am."

"Is it?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, ma'am."

She just stared at him for several seconds.

"I'll just wait outside, ma'am."

She looked around the empty clubhouse. "Wait," she said.

He stopped in the doorway.

Taking one last look at the place, she decided to let it all lie. "Let's get outta here," she said.

Bright Side smiled and said, "Yes, Ma'am."

They quickly left the clubhouse, and trotted through the orchard, leaving Apple Bloom's memories behind.

Sugar Belle levitated another dinner plate through the stream of water, before placing it in the drying rack.

It had been a long evening. Longer than she expected. Of course, she was happy to see her sister-in-law again, and her nephew, but the commotion surrounding their arrival wore her down.

Since the royal guards first arrived to inspect the house, it had been draining. It started with their security enchantments on the windows and doors. Enchantments that had the bizarre side effect of attracting all the dirt that she had already spent that morning cleaning off.

Then there was the food. They had a special pony whose job was to specifically inspect any food Apple Bloom was going to eat. As if they were worried Sugar Belle would try to poison her sister-in-law.

And this was hours before she even arrived. But what confused Sugar Belle most was the following question: Why?

When they last got together for Hearth's Warming, there wasn't this much commotion. There was no royal guard detail, inspecting every crumb from the dessert. What was special about this occasion that made it different from every other?

The only answer they gave her was about something it being a precaution. Apple Bloom was assigned as the Princess of Last Resort, and during this time she had to be given the same level of security afforded to the Princess and Viceroys in Canterlot.

It still didn't make a whole lot of sense to her, but they refused to give her any further information. Something about it being 'classified.'

She dropped the last spoon in the drying rack, quickly turned off the water, and gazed at the empty sink. Nothing left to do now, but relax.

"Everything alright?"

She turned around and saw her brother-in-law, quill in hoof, paused over some type of document. All the papers she saw scattered across the kitchen table barely phased her. But her thoughts of having an apple pie were quickly dashed. Because she didn't want to ruin what she was sure were important records.

But then another thought entered her head: "... Screw it."

"I'm fine," she replied. Sugar Belle quickly opened the fridge door beside her and pulled out a full pie she baked the day before.

Pip quickly pulled the documents out of the way, so she could place the pie on the table.

"It's been a long day," he explained, as she cut a single slice.

"Yep..." Sugar Belle replied. She placed the slice on a freshly-cleaned plate, and quickly threw the pie back in the fridge, before sitting down with her little snack.

But she didn't start eating. She just stared.

"Is it always like this?" she asked.

Pip looked up from his work. "Like what?"

"Guards watching you at every turn."

He gave a slight laugh. "No," he explained. "Unless we're spending time with Applejack, in which case, yes."

The pie floated in the air. She looked at it, and slowly moved it to her mouth, before taking a single bite.

... It was good.

The door opened, and two ponies trotted through.

"Hey, darlin'," Apple Bloom said, trotting toward her husband.

"'Allo," Pip replied before giving his wife a kiss. "Everything alright?"

"Better now," she replied. Apple Bloom looked over at Sugar Belle. "You got pie," she said. "I want pie."

"I'll get it, ma'am," Bright Side responded, trotting over to the fridge.

Sugar Belle rolled her eyes, assuming he would have to call on a whole brigade to inspect a single slice of pie.

"Grab me a cider as well," Apple Bloom said, as she sat down next to her sister-in-law. "So," she asked. "We never got a chance to catch up. How is everything?"

"It's fine," Sugar Belle replied, taking another bite.

Bright Side levitated a slice over to Apple Bloom, along with a green glass bottle, already opened.

She took a fork full of the pastry and began eating.

"I'll be upstairs ma'am," the captain explained, leaving the trio alone.

"So," Sugar Belle began. "I still don't understand why all this is happening."

"Why what is happening?" Apple Bloom asked.

"You, coming here, with all these guards, when you should be at the Friendship Festival in Canterlot."

Apple Bloom frowned. "It's a little complicated," she explained. "They just need me here in case something goes wrong. On the off-chance some crisis happens and I'm the only one left, I'm supposed to take over."

"Take over what?"


"Wait," she said, putting her fork down. "You're saying you'd become princess?"

Pip quickly interjected. "It's a little more complicated than that, but basically, yes."

"Sounds like a real honour," Sugar Belle responded.

Apple Bloom's head went down as she started shifting her fork across the bits of food on her plate. "Not really," she replied, with a tint of melancholy in her voice.

"Why not?" she continued. "If they trust you enough to take over-"

"You don't actually think anyone thinks something's going to happen, do you?" Apple Bloom responded, slightly incensed. "Twilight just wanted me out of the way for the festival."

Suddenly, Bright Side appeared at the bottom of the stairs. "Ma'am," he said, interrupting the conversation. "Apple Seed is not in his room."

Pip spoke up. "Uh-no, he's in town."

"What!?" Apple Bloom and Bright Side exclaimed, almost as if they choreographed it.

"He was really upset he couldn't be with his friends, so I let him go into town for the celebrations."

"Alone?" Apple Bloom asked.

"No, Big Mac is with him." Noticing Bright Side was about to say something, Pip stopped him. "And one of your guards, Golden Wing."

His wife grimaced. "We're not supposed to draw any attention while we're here."

"I wouldn't worry about it," he explained. "He left his cape behind." Then a spark of realization hit him. "Though you are right, he is your son."

Apple Bloom took another drink.

Apple Seed ran through the crowds. The moon illuminated his path. Straight toward the funnel cake stand.

He ducked and dodged, and moved as fast as his hooves could carry him.

Pushing past an orange pony, he finally arrived at the booth, and screamed, "Funnel Cake!"

"Think you could wait your turn, kid?" a voice spoke up from behind him.

He turned his head and instantly recognized the pony before him. "Oh, hi Aunty Scooty."

Scootaloo looked up at the ponies in the booth. "Make it two, actually," she said.

"No prob," the unicorn behind the counter replied.

"So," Scootaloo continued. "Aren't you supposed to be at the farmhouse?"

"Dad said I could come," the young foal replied.

"Well, in that case, where's your-"

Just then, a blue blur appeared between them.

"Ah! There she is."

"What happened to 'not wandering off'?" the sudden pegasus asked.

"Yeah, you gotta watch this kid, he's fast."

Golden Wing turned around. Raising a wing to protect her charge.

"Name's Scootaloo," she said, holding out a hoof. "We met on the train."

"Uh... Yes-yes, yes we did, ma'am," the guard responded, relaxing slightly. "Sorry."

"It's alright," she said with a laugh. "Protection detail can make you paranoid, I know."

Before the guard pony could ask what she meant, a cheerful voice rang out next to them. "Here you go," Pumpkin Cake sang, as two funnel cakes levitated Scootaloo's way. "That'll be four bits."

"Yeah," Scootaloo replied, digging the cash out of her saddlebag, and tossing it to the pony behind the counter. She grabbed the two plates and attempted to pass one to Apple Seed, before stopping herself. Turning to look at the young colt's protector, she quickly explained, "It's safe."

Slightly hesitant, Golden Wing took the plate and sniffed it slightly. She then grabbed a fork off the counter and quickly took a tiny morsel, tasting it to confirm its safety.

"Hey, that's mine!" Apple Seed protested.

She passed him the plate along with a fresh fork, mostly satisfied it was safe.

"You're new to this job, aren't you?" Scootaloo asked.

Slightly shocked, she just nodded.

Scootaloo laughed.

"How could you tell?"

"You're way too nervous," she explained. "Part of this job is not attracting attention, and nerves are a sure-fire way to do that." Scootaloo waved her hooves, "Just relax, you're doing fine."

Golden Wing exhaled, "It's the first time I've had to handle protection detail on my own."

"You'll be fine. You wouldn't be here if they didn't think you could do it."

She raised an eyebrow, "How do you know that?" She asked. "Aren't you the Minister's Chief of Staff?"

"That I am," she replied with a smile. "But I used to be part of the royal guard. Did a round on the royal protection detail myself. Wasn't easy."

Golden Wing nodded in understanding when suddenly, an out-of-breath stallion finally caught up with them.

"Hey Mac," Scootaloo said, as the farm pony tried to recover. "I'll leave you three to it. Have fun, little guy."

"Thanks, Aunty Scooty!" Apple Seed replied.

She smiled and trotted off.

All Scootaloo wanted was to enjoy herself. She didn't want to worry about work, or politics, or royalty, or government crap, or... anything. She just wanted to relax. Which was the reason she was here in the first place.

All the stress of the past week; all the anger and the bitterness, she left behind in Canterlot. Which is why she was grateful to hear Apple Bloom was heading to Ponyville for the day. She knew she could take the opportunity to tag along, as an essential part of the Minister's staff, who needed to go with her. At least, that's what she was ready to tell the royal guard, but they didn't seem to care. They just let her tag along, having booked an entire carriage for the train trip down, they didn't mind if an extra member of Apple Bloom's staff joined them.

So, she was able to leave her home in the bustling city of Canterlot for the relaxing village of Ponyville. And as the pumping dubstep music echoed from the other side of the square, she trotted through the crowd, looking for something to do. Maybe she could socialize with some familiar faces. But the thing was, she didn't recognize many ponies in this town. It was clear to her that Ponyville had changed in the years since she was last here.

She took a bite of her funnel cake and wandered through the crowd.

As she trotted through the square, trying to find a pony she recognized, her thoughts turned to regret. Leaving Ponyville for Canterlot wasn't easy. But at the time, it felt like the best thing she could do. How often does a pony get the chance to join the Royal Guard? And it was all thanks to one particular Viceroy. With Rainbow Dash's help, she was able to quickly get the necessary security clearance and was well on her way to becoming one of the greatest guard ponies in the force. But she had to leave Ponyville behind to do it, and the truth was, she did miss this little town. Because despite all its flaws, it had something that she quickly came to miss while in Canterlot. It had friendliness and warmth. It actually felt like a community. It felt like a home.

It was at that moment, Scootaloo finally noticed something. Something she recognized, a grey pegasus stallion with blue hair. He had grown quite a bit since she last saw him, but he was still as recognizable as ever.

She quickly ate the rest of the pastry and threw the plate in a nearby trash bin before trotting toward him, and as she got closer she could clearly see he was not alone. But Scootaloo wouldn't let that stop her.

She trotted toward them, and once she got close enough, began to slow her pace.

"Rumble!?" she asked, slightly unsure, while trying to remain audible over the music.

He turned toward her. "Scootaloo!?"

"Hey!" she screamed. "It's been a long time! How are you!?"

"Really good! When'd you get back in town!?"

"Just this afternoon!" she turned to the pony beside him. "And... um..." Her name escaped Scootaloo's brain. She examined her memory. Glasses... curly hair... candy in her cutie mark... she used to hang with Apple Bloom... What was it... "Twist!" she screamed. "How's it been!?"

"Awful!" she replied. "The candy store is barely hanging on, and I got competition coming in from Fillydelphia!"

"You could just merge with Bon Bon's store!" Rumble explained. "Like she offered!"

"I'm not letting her take half my profits!"

"Even though you'd take half hers!"

"I don't want half of her sorry excuse for a sweet!"

Scootaloo could tell she wandered into some kind of disaster zone. So she tried to avoid it. "And you, Rumble? How are things?"

"Working with the mayor now!" he explained.


"What about you!?" He asked. "Heard you ended up with the Royal Guard and-!"

"No, no, not anymore!" she explained. "I'm actually at the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways!"

"Agriculture and Waterways!?"


He paused. "Really!?"

"Yeah!" She got confused. "Why!?"

"It's just... you don't seem like the 'farm' type!"

"I'm not!"

"So you're with the Waterways!?"

"Maybe we should go somewhere quieter!" Twist interjected.

"That sounds like an idea!" Rumble concurred.

Sugar Belle adjusted the tuning knob on the radio. Trying to find the appropriate station.

A few metres away, Apple Bloom was just finishing her bottle of cider, as Pipsqueak was clearing the kitchen table of paperwork.

"You couldn't leave your work at home, could ya?" his wife asked.

He smiled at her. "A few problems came up in the Redheart case," he explained. "And given opening arguments are in a matter of days, I didn't want to waste any time."

Apple Bloom laughed, before looking across, into the sitting room, where Sugar Belle was tinkering.

"What's goin' on, Sugar Belle?"

She looked up, "Twilight's speech starts in a few minutes, I thought I should put it on."

Apple Bloom shook her head, before taking another swig.

Pip whispered across to her. "I know you're upset, but you're still the minister," he explained. "Might be worth-"

Apple Bloom held up her hoof. "I know," she said. "Just... give me a minute." She swirled her bottle around, before taking another drink.

Static proceeded out of the sitting room, interrupted by brief moments of speech, before finally settling on a single, stable, sound.

Light music emanated from the radio, accompanied by the voice of a young stallion, explaining the events of the day, "-th annual Friendship Festival, right here in Canterlot."

Pip packed away the last of his work, before closing up his work bag, and trotting toward the sitting room; as Apple Bloom finished the last of her beverage, and slammed the bottle onto the table, before quickly trotting to the nearby fridge, grabbing another bottle, and following closely behind her husband.

"The day has been filled with song and celebration at this joyous event," the voice continued. "Performers from all over Equestria are here. We already heard Sapphire Shores performing her new song, Shine in My Heart; and later tonight, Songbird Serenade we'll be taking the main stage with her new single. But before then, in a few moments, we'll hear from her Royal Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle, making her speech to the nation."

Sugar Belle sat down on the nearby couch and magically grabbed some popcorn from a bowl sitting in the middle of the coffee table. Munching on her little snack, she looked toward Apple Bloom, popping open her second bottle of cider, and sitting in an easy chair on the other side of the room with a gloomy look on her face. Once Sugar Belle swallowed, she quickly asked, "Alright, did something happen in Canterlot?"

Apple Bloom looked up, squirmed a bit and said, "I don't wanna talk about it."

Before her sister-in-law could press her, the radio spoke up. "And now, Her Most Royal Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria."

A few moments of silence before a familiar voice came over the airwaves, "My Little Ponies... Today is a joyous occasion. The Friendship Festival has been a tradition in Equestria for many years, and this one has been our most successful yet, with ponies and creatures across Equestria celebrating in every major city in this nation. But success in friendship isn't about quantity. It isn't about the number of friends you have. It's about the strength of those friendships. The bonds we all share..."

Apple Bloom took another drink.

"So, what do you do for the mayor anyway?" Scootaloo asked.

"I'm a speechwriter," Rumble replied.

The three of them had left the busy crowds and found a small restaurant on the edge of town. It was quite a modern place, with sleek designs, modern materials, and a black and blue colour scheme. Scootaloo found it very comforting. They sat at a glass table, next to the big windows running from floor to ceiling that dominated the restaurant facade, each sipping on various cocktails.

"Cool, so did you write her big speech for today?" She continued, with genuine curiosity.

"Yep!-Well... I wrote part of it-well... a bit of it-well... one line..." he explained, with slight shame.

"Yeah, I don't think she trusts you enough," Twist responded.

He shook his head. "You know, I don't get it, I am good at this job."

"I think you're brilliant!"

"But... it's not the mayor, I think it's Simple Scribe. He keeps overlooking me for assignments. I'm starting to take it personally."

"Well, I mean, maybe it's like a cycle," Scootaloo explained. "You'll get your turn. How many speechwriters are there?"


She stalled. "Eh... you're right, it probably is deliberate."

Rumble scoffed and hung his head. "Thanks," he said, somewhat sarcastically.

Scootaloo paused. "I know what it's like. To feel like you're not appreciated like you're just a cog in a machine."

Rumble looked at her. "What do you do about it?"

"I don't know if there's anything you can do... other than prove them wrong. You just gotta wait for your opportunity."

Rumble nodded.

"But enough about work! Let's talk about something else," Scootaloo said, excitedly. "So, what about you two? What's going on? You dating or something."

The two ponies, sitting shoulder to shoulder, looked at each other, and looked back at Scootaloo, before Twist said, "Yeah, how can you tell?"

Scootaloo smiled.

Apple Bloom relaxed, only paying tangential attention to Twilight's speech.

"As Equestria grows as a nation, we need to set an example amongst our neighbours and friends."

She took another sip.

Sugar Belle looked across the room, seeing the misery apparent in her sister-in-law's face. "Alright, something happened in Canterlot," she said. "Just tell me what it is!"

Apple Bloom took another sip of cider, and said, "I'll tell ya later."

Twilight's speech continued. "-importance of family. Because the future of Equestria lies with our children... And we must ensure that future is safe, secure and prosperous."

"Basically said 'safe' twice," Apple Bloom interjected.

"We must ensure our children are given the best tools and the best chance at making this nation better. These tasks before us are not simple. But we can overcome them. Equestria is a nat--n of----tzzzzz..."

As the radio cut out, playing only static, Apple Bloom's ears perked up. Sugar Belle walked up to the radio and began fiddling with the dial, trying to get the speech back as her sister-in-law got to her hooves. "What's happening?" she asked in confusion.

"I can't get the speech back," Sugar Belle explained.

Just then, off in the distance, a small explosion sounded from the northern end of the farm. "What was that?" Apple Bloom asked.

But Apple Bloom had no time to consider it as Bright Side, along with another guard pony, ran downstairs, causing quite a commotion. "Ma'am?" he said, addressing Apple Bloom. "I'm afraid there's been a situation, we need to get down to City Hall."

"What?" Apple Bloom asked. "What kind of situation!?"

"We're not sure, ma'am."

"What do you mean, 'you're not sure'?"

"Ma'am, you'll have to come with us."

"Just explain what's goin' on."

As Pip watched this commotion unfold, his eyes began to drift, and he noticed one of the east-facing windows, covered in a curtain. But through the curtain, he saw something, something new, a glow he couldn't explain. Pip nervously approached the window, raised his hoof to grab one end of the curtain, and threw it to one side.

Far in the distance, he could see Canterlot Mountain, and normally, he expected to see the City of Canterlot, a prominent landmark, built into the mountain's side. But that's not what he saw. Where Canterlot once stood, he could only see a bright ball of light, being encased by the Canterlot City Shield. Apple Bloom slowly approached behind her husband, looking out the window, Bright Side and Sugar Belle following suit.

Everyone knew what they saw, what it meant, and it haunted them to their core.

All that energy contained in one spot, encased by the City Shield, holding onto that power tightly, would create a heat that would cause nothing but devastation.

The reality was impossible to deny.

Canterlot had been incinerated.

Canterlot had been destroyed.

Author's Note:

The author would like to personally thank run.trivena, computerneek and Averie Autumn for their help in preparing this story for publication.