I hear ponies tell me all the time how crappy their life is. How they didn’t get the nice job, or how their landlord is a total dick, something like that. And you know what?
I laugh at these ponies. I can’t help it. I point and laugh until I can’t breathe. It makes me feel great.
Nice to meet you. My name’s Schadenfreude. You’re probably wondering what kind of pony would name their foal something like that, huh? Well, at the time of my birth, my mother and father were fighting constantly. Just, all the time. And they had agreed a long time ago that my dad would get to name me. So he decided to name it the most appropriate thing he could given the fact that he was sitting in the other room having a smoke and reading a porno while my mom was in labor.
They got divorced soon after. I was raised by my dad and now I’m an asshole. It’s awesome.
It’s also why I’m in the palace dungeons right now.
Today had started like any other. I got out of bed, chuckled to myself when one of the castle maids tripped and spilled a whole tray of food in the middle of the hall. I helped her up, of course, but I was still laughing when I did, and she kind of glared at me and walked off with a huff. Whatever, I’m used to it.
So I decided to go about my day, and get ready for work. You’re probably wondering what I do for a living that I live in the castle. Well, I’m a butler. Not just any butler. I’m Prince Blueblood’s butler. I get to spend my entire day waiting horn and hoof on somepony who has like the worst possible luck in the world. I love my job.
I get ready for work, just like every other day. Shower, dress, eat food, point and laugh at the guard who put his armor on wrong and has to sit all day with that stray piece of metal jammed in just the wrong place. It happens more often than not, and god forbid he move to adjust it.
Reporting for duty as normal, I knock on my boss’s bedroom door at a nice rousing six in the fuck-you A.M. I love being a morning pony. Nopony else likes mornings just as much as I do. I particularly like that bubbly feeling I get listening to somepony who has to get up and doesn’t want to get up grumble loudly through their sheets. Especially when part of my job is getting them out of bed no matter what.
“RISE AND SHINE BLUEBOY!” I shout, throwing the doors open. The guards on either side cringe as I yell, which just sets my heart all a-twitter. I see the Prince jump under his sheets, but resolutely refuse to move.
“Mmmm, Freude, not now. Let me sleep. That’s an order,” he grunts.
Pffft. Right. Like I’d bother if I didn’t have it on a higher authority to wake him up at six every day like clockwork. Oh, wait. Yes I would. “Sorry, boss!” I exclaim cheerily as I rip the blankets off the bed. I put my forehooves on his back and shake the crap out of him. “Your Auntie Tia says it’s time to get u-u-u-u-u-u-u-up!” At the last syllable I roll him right off the bed.
And why do I get to do this to a Prince of Equestria? Because of the Princess. Specifically, Princess Celestia, who had grown tired of Blueblood’s entitlement issues, and assigned me as his butler to ensure that he made all of his meetings, appointments, and obligations on time. I still had to fetch stuff for him, and he still has a significant amount of power over my life, but there are perks.
Like the loud raucous thud of him hitting the floor. “ALRIGHT. I’M UP!” He yells with his face full of carpet.
I walk around the bed and look at him sprawled out on the floor. “Well you don’t have to be so down about it!” My voice is bright and cheery in that I-hate-you-cause-it’s-morning happy tone.
“RAAAAGH!” Bluey screams from the floor. He stands up on all fours, and starts getting ready. I fetch him his tie, and his suit, and all his other dressings. I make sure to fetch the tie with a loose piece of plastic right where it meets his neck and pinches him all day. I still haven’t taken any of the tags out of his shirt collars.
He dresses himself, adjusting his collar every five minutes, which just rows my boat all the way up the stream, and strikes one of those regal “Better than you poses” and marches on. “Servant! Come!” he barks. I follow behind him, smiling.
Then we get to breakfast. I try to be on the best behavior I can when at breakfast, as it’s a collection of like three Princesses and a Prince all at once. It’s very easy to laugh at the wrong thing. Bluey’s grumbling the whole way there, and is still sour when he sits down next to Celestia.
She looks down at her nephew, and asks politely, “Is something wrong, Blueblood?”
I can’t help myself. “Oh, don’t worry, he just got up on the wrong side of the bed.”
Blueblood’s cry of anguish and subsequent faceplant into his morning salad make me smile so profusely you’d think I’d lost my mind. But they Princesses were used to it. Twilight actually laughed a little as Blueblood pulled his face out of the bowl, small bits of lettuce and dressing falling off of his face. He takes out a kerchief and wipes his face clean, then holds it out for me to throw away. I do it happily, as there are very few nuances to this job that I don’t like.
So I throw it away and return to my post. The rest of breakfast is just familial chat between the royal family (and Twilight), and I nod to each of the hoofmaidens standing at the ready next to the princesses. They pointedly don’t look at me, but that’s ok. One of them’s got a clump of mascara just at the corner of her eye and I can see her eyelid twitch whenever she gets the urge to clean it, but she doesn’t for fear of having an uneven coat across both eyes. Ponies who are the highest maintenance are the most amusing to watch.
Then it happens. That fateful moment that you know you have to make a decision, a very important one. One that could change your life forever.
Or just totally ruin your weekend.
It starts off small. I hear a small gasp of air from Princess Luna. Just a little one. Enough to catch my attention. I stare at her for just a moment, and she does it again. I feel a smirk tickle the corners of my mouth.
She has the hiccups. Oh goddess yes.
So I keep an eye on her. It’s nothing major, just a small sound every once in a while, but nothing alarming. Just enough to make me smirk.
Then she goes to take a sip of tea. She raises it slowly to her mouth, waiting for a space between hiccups so she can take a drink safely. I watch with baited breath, as she concentrates intensely on the cup. Nothing else matters, right now. It’s all about that cup. Please goddess do it oh please take a drink do it come on I’m begging you here.
She hiccups quietly, right before it touches her mouth, and takes a quick sip. Nothing doing. She gets away scott free. But she hasn’t put the cup down. I’m just waiting for it to happen. It’s going to, I can feel it. My cutie mark, which by the way is a slightly tilted painting, is basically on fire.
Then she goes for another sip. She pauses, and hiccups again, but as soon as the cup hits her lips I can tell she’s made a mistake. Her eyes widen, just as she inhales to sip, and the hiccups strike. The tea goes full force up her nose, and she splutters and coughs all across the table. It’s a work of art, as the coughing fit actually sends tea spraying across the table, spraying Celestia full on in the face.
And here’s where I had to make my decision. Either laugh, and risk getting thrown in the dungeons again so they don’t have to deal with me for the rest of the day, or suffocate.
I fight myself for air, trying to suppress the outright guffaw threatening to burst forth and incarcerate me, but it’s a lost cause. I fall to the floor, rolling around in laughter, and am only basically aware of all the venomous glares I’m receiving.
“And that’s why I’m in the dungeon right now,” I explain to my cellmate, a vagrant they picked up outside of the castle sleeping on a courtyard bench. He’s banging his head against the wall, just waiting for me to shut up.
“Are you done?!” he growls, the obvious ache of a hangover headache reflected in his scrunched eyes and furrowed brow.
“Oh, yes. That was a rather short story, anyway,” I explain.
“Oh thank god!”
“Now let me tell you about the time Princess Twilight tried to straighten my cutie mark...”