A Royal Pain

by Alaborn

First published

An encounter with an exotic mare leaves Prince Blueblood in an unexpected situation, one he will have to deal with for months, eleven months to be specific.

Balls, formals, and soirees allow the elite of Canterlot to meet and mingle. But Prince Blueblood and his friends care more about with whom they will go home. Tonight, Prince Blueblood hits the jackpot with an exotic beauty. But she will leave him in an unexpected situation, one he will have to deal with for months... eleven months, to be specific.

Chapter 1: A Royal Surprise

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Further disclaimer: Contains clop. For mature audiences only. All characters, although fictional, are intended to portray consenting adults.

Chapter 1: A Royal Surprise

Across the ballroom, ponies dressed in formal gowns and tuxedos mingled. The band was still setting up, allowing all those who arrived fashionably early to converse. Old friends and acquaintances shared greetings and gossip.

On the balcony overseeing the ballroom floor, Prince Blueblood stood, watching the crowd with mild interest. Truth be told, this ball, hosted by one of Canterlot’s minor barons, was nothing special. Approximately twice a week, some ball, formal, or soiree was held somewhere in Canterlot, allowing the nobles to trade favors or jockey for standing.

Being supremely confident in his standing, Blueblood did not need to worry about such trivialities. Instead, he shared a small table with two of his good friends as he waited for the dance to begin. On his right stood the pegasus Lightning Shield, son of the former Captain of the Guard, youngest lieutenant in the Royal Guard, and heir to some title in Cloudsdale that was important to the pegasi. On his left was Full Sail, an earth pony who was a star athlete and heir to a shipping fortune in Baltimare. They had met in the various boarding schools and sporting clubs common to prominent families in Equestria, and found friendship in their shared passions. And since neither had noble aspirations that could challenge his own station, Blueblood could maintain an honest friendship with them.

Together, the three stallions talked about a particular one of their shared passions.

“A bit scarce pickings today, don’t you think?” Lightning Shield observed.

“Yes, the crowd does appear to skew old,” Blueblood noted.

“I do believe I spot Rose Greenfield,” Full Sail said.

The other two looked, noticing the earth pony mare, the daughter and heir of the duchess of Omahay. She looked radiant in a gown with a faint floral theme, a gown that highlighted her taut flanks.

“Mmm. I’d like to plow her field,” Lightning Shield said.

“I already have,” Full Sail said, nonchalantly examining his champagne flute.

“I’ve plowed both her fields, if you catch my drift,” Blueblood boasted.

“Look over there,” Full Sail said. The three ponies spotted an indigo-coated thestral, wearing a violet gown that accented her batlike wings.

Blueblood caught a glimpse of the thestral’s fangs. “I wonder if she sucks blood?” he asked.

“Oh, I know Midnight Haze,” Lightning Shield said. “I don’t know about blood, but she does suck. And swallow.”

“You going to talk to her?” Full Sail asked.

“Maybe,” Lightning Shield replied. “I might look for somepony different.”

They watched the crowd in silence for a while longer, slowly sipping their champagne. On another scan of the crowd, Blueblood did a double take. “Hello, who’s that?” he said.

All eyes focused on the newcomer, a unicorn mare in a glittering green sequined gown. She moved in a strange though graceful manner through the crowd, her hips swinging just so. But what really caught Blueblood’s eye was her blue and green mane. Commonly, ponies had distinct stripes or patterns to their manes. But for this mare, the blue and green mingled. With each turn of her head, the light of the chandelier caught her mane in a new way, making it look like a completely different color.

“She’s new to me,” Full Sail said.

“Me as well,” Lightning Shield noted.

“You have good taste,” Full Sail said. “You calling dibs?”

“I shall,” Blueblood responded. “I do believe I have found the mare worthy of being taken home by me.”

Blueblood sauntered down to the dance floor as the band began its first musical number. He assessed the ponies who remained on the sideline, looking to see who arrived unaccompanied. There would be time to dance with the mysterious pony. For now, he selected an older mare, offering her a dance.

Blueblood saw these dances as an obligation, one of his duties as prince. There was no romance, no passion, just an expression of respect for another prominent pony. Some were widowed, others chose to spend time away from their stultifying marriages. What he got from these dances was good will, something most important to his house.

And sometimes, these ponies arranged a date with a daughter or niece, yielding a more appreciated reward later.

Blueblood shared the dance floor with five mares, never for more than one dance, always excusing himself to allow them to return to their own crowd. After that final obligation dance, he sought out his target for the night. Fortunately, she was alone. He headed over to her, planning a path that would make their meeting appear to be one of chance.

“Good evening, madam,” Blueblood said. “I am Prince Blueblood. May I have the pleasure of your acquaintance?”

“Melodia Starsea. Charmed,” she replied, lifting a hoof.

A traditionalist, Blueblood thought. He took the proffered hoof, kissing it. “Would you care for a drink, Miss Starsea?”

“Another glass of that delightful champagne. And please, call me Melodia.”

Blueblood smiled as he sought out a waiter, picking up two glasses. If she was ready to be on a first name basis, that boded well for the evening.

“Here you go, Melodia,” Blueblood said, separating the two glasses in his magical aura. She reached out and took hold of one.

“Have you been in Canterlot long?” Blueblood asked.

“Only a matter of days,” she replied. “My father was recently named ambassador, and I came with him to handle the normal hostess duties. And to keep him out of trouble,” she added, smiling.

Prince Blueblood smiled again. This new mare was everything he liked in a short term fling. A bit of romance, a lot of fun, and then “royal duties” could excuse him until she rotated out of Canterlot. He finished his champagne, noting the progress of the music. The current piece was about to finish. “Would you care to dance?” he offered.

“I would be delighted to.” Melodia let Blueblood lead her to the dance floor, where she placed her hooves in position. As the band performed a slow waltz, they danced. Poorly. Blueblood grimaced internally at each missed step, at each time her hoof landed on his own. He had met some pretty poor dancers in his time, but she was like somepony having her first dance lesson. But to be fair, she could be from some country without Equestria’s dance traditions. And to be honest, her dance skills were not what he was most interested in.

Blueblood kept a smile on his face as he endured several dances with the new arrival. When the band took a break, Melodia addressed him. “I apologize for not being an experienced dancer,” she said.

“No need to apologize, my dear Melodia. It is the company that makes the dance memorable, after all,” he replied.

“Then perhaps we can share our company in a more private location,” she suggested.

“Would you care to retire to my estate?” Blueblood offered.

Melodia smiled seductively. “I can think of nothing better.”

The senior butler of the Blueblood estate greeted the prince as he returned home with his guest. “And a good evening to you, Sterling,” Prince Blueblood said in return. “Please send a bottle of the Chateau Cheval Cabernet to the upstairs sitting room.”

“As you wish, your highness,” the butler replied.

Prince Blueblood walked slowly up the broad staircase of his family mansion. While a few unicorn mares would appreciate the slower pace when forced to walk, it was more done to show off the grandeur of the estate and the family wealth displayed in artwork, artifacts, and precious metals. Blueblood remained silent as his date took in the sights. It gave him time to reflect on how often this scene had played out in the past, most often with a different mare than the previous time. The staff were well trained and well paid to keep quiet about the young prince’s visitors.

By the time the two ponies made it upstairs, the staff had already set out the requested bottle of wine, along with two glasses. “Would you care to sit and enjoy a glass of wine?” Blueblood asked Melodia.

“That sounds lovely,” she replied.

They sat at opposite ends of one couch, an appropriate distance apart according to standards of etiquette, but suited to move closer if they desired. Blueblood filled both wine glasses. “Cheers,” he said, as they clinked their glasses together.

What then proceeded was very familiar to Prince Blueblood. He engaged in small talk, mostly focusing on Melodia’s experiences as a new visitor to Canterlot. Years in court and among the nobility allowed him to keep up a conversation like this as he focused his efforts on watching her reactions. He topped off her wine glass as she drank. That step often helped in improving a date’s reactions. But Melodia already seemed very interested in him, an attraction that became more obvious as the level of wine in the bottle fell and the distance between them on the couch shrank.

Finally, when the last of the wine was consumed, Prince Blueblood leaned in for a kiss. Melodia responded passionately, her tongue parting his lips. He responded in kind, their tongues battling until both ponies were forced to come up for air. Melodia gasped.

“My dear, would you do me the honor of staying the night?” Blueblood asked. Melodia responded with another kiss.

Blueblood reached out with his magic, opening one of the doors from the sitting room, the one leading to his bedroom. They walked slowly to the bedroom, steps constantly interrupted by kisses, nips, and nuzzles. Once inside, he closed the door and dove in for another long kiss. With tongues locked and his eyes closed, Blueblood felt with his magic, finding the fasteners of Melodia’s dress. Much experience in the matter had made him quite good at dealing with mares’ clothes. Slowly, one by one, the buttons on her dress came undone. Melodia nodded her head as they kissed, a tacit sign of her consent.

As soon as Blueblood slipped Melodia’s dress from off her, he felt magic tug at his jacket. Buttons came unfastened and the jacket’s fabric was pulled away from him. Slowly, more of his pristine white coat was revealed to his date. He opened his eyes and saw her appreciating the sight. She placed her hoof on his barrel, feeling for the final buttons. Soon, he too was unclothed.

Blueblood unfastened his horseshoes, and saw Melodia do the same. When she finished, she walked past him, the tip of her tail brushing his muzzle. He gazed at the gentle arc of her lifted tail, following it to the treasure revealed underneath. Wordlessly, she jumped on the bed, presenting herself.

Blueblood pushed his muzzle under Melodia’s tail, inhaling the scent of her arousal. He caressed the edges of her nether lips with a steady stroke of his tongue, finding her already wet. She winked as he pulled his tongue away. Melodia took a few steps forward, clearing up room for Blueblood. Her head was turned and she was looking at him, her face with an expression that said, “What are you waiting for?”

Prince Blueblood certainly wasn’t waiting on himself. His shaft was rock hard, begging to be used. He followed Melodia onto the bed, and then reared, placing his forehooves on her barrel. He lined up his shaft with her entrance. With a thrust, he sank into her dripping cunt. She was unbelievably tight, almost virginal in nature, though the lack of a hymen indicated she probably wasn’t. Blueblood reveled in his good fortune to find a mare who was tight as a virgin with the lust of an easy mare.

Blueblood built up a steady rhythm. When he felt Melodia was fully used to his thick shaft being in her, he withdrew until almost all the way out, and then slammed back inside her. She squealed in delight. He smiled and repeated the process, picking up the pace until he was slamming into her every few seconds.

He gripped further down her barrel and leaned down, kissing and nipping at her neck. She gasped and craned her neck, trying to reach his mouth. He smiled and lightly brushed her muzzle with his lips. They played a seductive game as he continued to thrust, she trying to meet his lips while he peppered her with light kisses and gentle touches of their horns. Finally, he “lost” the game, bringing his lips close to hers. She pounced, their lips interlocking, her tongue forcing its way into his mouth. As they kissed, he felt her inner walls tighten and contract. He strained to push against the force of her orgasm, she so desperate to hold him in and milk his cock.

But Blueblood would not give in so easily. Her steaming juices dripped down his shaft, trickling onto his balls and the bed below. She screamed. Still he pushed until she came down, though her pussy still felt delightfully warm. She continued to gasp and breathe heavily as he worked her over. He returned to her neck and withers, nipping and biting all over. He felt the pressure build in his balls. With one last nip, he thrust in as deep as he could. His sticky seed surged up his shaft and shot after shot filled her.

Melodia screamed again. Suddenly, her inner walls spasmed again. This time, Blueblood let himself remain trapped, enjoying the pulsing feeling of her pussy working over his cock. When he finally dismounted, both Blueblood and Melodia were breathing heavily. The only sounds were their panting and the soft rustling of the curtains in the gentle breeze of a summer night.

Melodia wasted no time as she turned and kissed him, passionately but far too briefly. But then he smiled as she crawled under his legs. He felt her tongue caress his softened shaft. She savored his musk and her own salty tang. With only a brief ministration, Blueblood was hard and ready to go again.

“Are you ready for round two?” Melodia asked.

“I am ready for as many rounds as you wish, milady,” Blueblood replied.

“Then you’ll need to catch me first!” she announced. She jumped out the bed and opened the doors to the balcony. “You’ll find me at the pond. Don’t keep me waiting.”

Blueblood, shocked, watched Melodia step onto the balcony and climb down the stairs to the garden below. He shook his head and chased after her. As he stepped outside, totally nude, in pursuit of a totally nude mare, he was again glad his servants would not talk.

Prince Blueblood gave chase, the musical sound of her laughter the only sign that he was close by. He knew where the pond on his property was, and he was going in that general direction. As he got closer, he caught glimpses of Melodia before she darted off. It was clear that this wasn’t a true race, but a pursuit he would eventually win. The thought of grabbing her again turned him on. With each step, his rock hard cock slapped against his barrel.

Blueblood broke out of a copse of trees and stood at the edge of the pond. Melodia winked and smiled, and dove in. He blinked when he glimpsed a large fish, uncertain if his eyes were playing tricks on him under Luna’s full moon. But then Melodia surfaced again, floating on her back, revealing herself in all her glory. Where her hind legs were, she now had the body and tail of a large fish.

No wonder she was a bad dancer. For some reason, that was the first thought that went through Blueblood’s mind as he stared at Melodia’s exotic seapony form.

“Do you like what you see?” Melodia asked.

“Very much, my dear. Though it comes as a surprise.”

“It wouldn’t have been a surprise if you had asked where I came from.”

“Indeed,” he admitted. Almost everypony he knew was from Canterlot, so it wasn’t a question he was used to asking. “That is some impressive magic.”

“The ability to take landpony form for a short time is actually an inherent gift of all seaponies, but only we narwhal seaponies can maintain the magic for lengthy periods of time,” Melodia explained. “But it feels good to get back to my proper form.”

“And I am quite happy to have seen it,” Blueblood said. He traced every detail of her form with his eyes. He particularly focused on the slit on her lower body, which started at the point where her pony torso met her silvery fish tail, and extended down. He licked his lips slightly.

“Forget see. I want you to experience it. You let me fuck like a landpony, so it’s only fair that I let you see how we seaponies screw. Now lean down.”

Blueblood was rather enjoying her eagerness and dirty language. He lowered his head. Melodia stood up, so to speak, balancing on her fish tail and lifting her pony half out of the water. She reached out and wrapped her forelegs around his neck. Bringing their mouths together, Blueblood expected another kiss, but instead Melodia breathed into his mouth. He felt the familiar tingle of magic.

“That will let you breathe water for a few hours. Now try to keep up.” Melodia fell back into the water, twisted, and disappeared beneath the waves.

While not the most athletic of ponies, Blueblood was an experienced swimmer, though he always used the pool in his mansion, built to Equestria Games standards. He dove in and swam. He discovered a side effect of Melodia’s magic was vastly improved vision underwater. Features shone in blues, greens, and violets he had never seen before. And the most beautiful sight was Melodia herself. Each individual hair of her mane glowed a shimmering green and blue, and a gentle violet glow covered her body, solid on her pony half, sparkling on her tail.

With a solid kick, Blueblood began his pursuit. He swam around rocks and water plants he had never seen before. The pond wasn’t that large, so it wasn’t hard to draw near Melodia. As before, she was clearly letting him catch her.

As soon as Melodia was in reach, she hooked one foreleg around his neck and pulled him in for a kiss. The other stroked his shaft; she found its hardness to her satisfaction. He looked over her body. Sex seapony style was his least favorite position, but with an actual seapony, he’d gladly make an exception. Blueblood reached his legs around Melodia, a move made awkward by their continued swimming and the water. It took multiple tries, with his cock bouncing off her tail or just rubbing her slit, before he felt the tip enter her.

Blueblood wrapped his hind legs around Melodia’s tail and thrust in her. She responded with a kick of her tail, the muscular appendage easily slipping out of his grasp, and causing him to slip most of the way out of her. The feeling of the muscles in her tail working, flexing, as he slipped out of her sent waves of pleasure through Blueblood, and he almost came right there. He was determined to enjoy that feeling again. And again.

Blueblood kicked again, sliding into her, and Melodia’s tail pushed, pulling him out. They kept that rhythm as their mouths locked again. As they fucked, Blueblood came to appreciate Melodia’s talents. She was in control of their combined movement. Her one foreleg held him close, so that he never withdrew from her completely, while her tail and free foreleg directed them safely around the pond. They twisted and turned as they swam. At times, Melodia was above him, something he was only sure about because he saw Luna’s moon through the surface of the water above. Other times, he wasn’t sure of his orientation, but he saw the seapony framed by glowing plants, rocks, or fish.

Melodia’s ministrations continued to drive Blueblood wild. He willed himself not to come, but the grip of Melodia’s tail muscles was insistent. Not even the strongest of minds could restrain those feelings. He felt Melodia’s strokes become shorter and more erratic. He redoubled his efforts, thrusting with renewed vigor, his tongue fighting hers, his forehooves stroking her back. He noticed her shudder as he rubbed the point where her scales met her coat. Once he focused his attention on that point, he felt her cunt grip his cock like a vise. That was too much for him, as Blueblood filled her again.

Melodia rubbed the base of her horn against his. Potent magic connected the two of them, heightening Blueblood’s orgasm. For what seemed like hours, he experienced the purest of joys. It radiated from his cock and spread, washing over his entire body. It was such an intense feeling that he didn’t notice a narrow tube extend from Melodia’s slit and pierce his belly, and the magic at work there blended in with what he was already experiencing.

Finally, the feelings of their mutual orgasm subsided. Melodia half-dragged Blueblood back to shore. Once both their heads were out of water, he could hear how heavy they were breathing. “Another round, my dear?” he asked between pants.

Melodia kissed him gently on the lips. “I’m afraid I have a father I don’t want to worry any more than I already have. But if our paths cross again, I’ll be ready for another romp, on land or sea.”

The seapony pulled herself completely out of the pond, dragging her tail across the grass. She shook it dry, and then her horn flared. Magic traced over her form, and before Blueblood’s eyes, her tail separated and reshaped into legs.

The two ponies nuzzled as they returned to Blueblood’s bedroom. She dressed, and he helped adjust her dress, making it appear that she had just left something no more strenuous than a ball. It wasn’t a step he always took, but she deserved a little reward for showing him a night unlike any other.

Prince Blueblood didn’t see Melodia again across various balls and social gatherings, but he bragged about his conquest to Full Sail and Lightning Shield for weeks. Their own ball conquests were decidedly more mundane. And so life continued on, as these three young stallions sought casual flings and short term relationships.

Three months later, Blueblood found himself in one of his least favorite places. He was in the examination room of Equestria’s finest doctor, naked, shivering on a cold paper-covered examination table. He endured this indignity for minutes before Doctor Well Heart entered the room.

“I don’t see you much except for your annual physical, Prince Blueblood,” the unicorn doctor observed. “What seems to be the problem today?”

“It’s terrible, doctor,” Blueblood said. “For a few weeks, I have been feeling sick in the morning, with nausea and sometimes even vomiting. It passes in time, but I am a prince, and cannot afford to be at less than 100 percent at any time.”

Doctor Well Heart nodded solemnly. It took all his training to not laugh when he heard Blueblood’s symptoms. He knew exactly what that sounded like, symptoms for a condition that stallions never had. However, he was extensively trained in medicine for creatures beyond the three common pony types, and was often called upon when a foreign dignitary was ill. This training told him that it was not impossible for that condition to be responsible for Blueblood’s symptoms.

“I would normally suggest it’s just stress or nerves, but don’t worry, Prince Blueblood. I will do a complete medical examination,” Well Heart said.

The doctor concentrated, and a pale yellow aura enveloped his horn and spread over Prince Blueblood. It slowed as it extended over his abdomen. The doctor’s eyes opened wide. He repeated the scan a second time. At this moment, his training failed him, and he broke out in a huge smile.

“Congratulations, Prince Blueblood. You’re pregnant.”

Blueblood’s jaw dropped. He shook his head, and forced an expression of calm to his face. “My dear doctor, this is no time for levity. I could be seriously ill!”

“Although it would appear to be a joke, I am completely serious,” the doctor replied. “You are carrying a foal, and are about three months along. I’m sure you learned in your schooling how seapony stallions carry the foal to term.”

“But I am clearly not a seapony,” Blueblood retorted.

“True, but seapony magic will grant this ability to any of the other pony races. Relationships between seaponies and other ponies are quite rare, but these shared pregnancies have been well-documented,” Well Heart explained. “And since your foal is half seapony, I can surmise what happened. I am somewhat surprised, though. I wouldn’t expect this connection to form after a single encounter.”

“A single encounter?” Blueblood scoffed. “My virility is beyond question.”

“And your current situation is beyond question as well.” The doctor levitated over a pamphlet. “Now here’s some reading for you, What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Certainly, not all of it will apply in your case, but it’s the best I can do.”

Prince Blueblood stared silently at the offered pamphlet for a minute. Then he crumpled it up, stuffed the wad of paper into the pocket of his jacket, and dashed behind the curtain to don his clothes.

“Auntie! I have terrible news!”

Prince Blueblood was sitting in Princess Celestia’s chambers, sharing afternoon tea. Normally, such visits were a mere formality, but today’s meeting allowed him to explain the terrible tragedy that had befallen him. As he described his diagnosis, Celestia sipped her tea and watched with an enigmatic smile, one carefully shaped by being witness to the experiences of countless lifetimes.

The solar princess set down her tea. “That is wonderful news, Blueblood. I will contact your cousin Cadance and ask her to plan the shower.”

Prince Blueblood spat out a mouthful of tea. “How can you say that? This is a disaster! Can’t you do something?”

“My dear Blueblood, what is allowing you to experience the miracle of birth is life magic in its purest form,” Celestia said. “Your two lives are now intertwined, and any attempt to harm your child would be fought by you exactly as if your own life were in danger. To kill you both is no solution.” She took another sip of tea before continuing. “Besides, I am certain your parents and tutors taught you that pregnancy is a potential consequence of intimate relations. It is a lesson learned by more than a few mares you have known, if my ears in court are correct.”

“But it’s not supposed to happen to me!” Blueblood whined.

Princess Celestia shook her head. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to talk to the headmaster of Canterlot Academy. Apparently, their lessons on our seapony allies need to be strengthened.”

Seeing he was getting nowhere with his aunt, Blueblood tried another approach. “Think of the scandal, Auntie! Do you really think this is the type of image we want Canterlot to project to the world? I mean, after so many recent problems, can we risk looking so weak?”

Princess Celestia pondered, her eyes closed, as she finished her tea. “I can see the wisdom of your words, Blueblood. I have long told you that you would go far when you learned to think of the needs of others.”

Blueblood smiled and nodded.

“So I have reached a decision,” she continued. “We shall send you away for a year. There’s a small but growing town that needs the talents of a surveyor, so I will arrange a loan of your talents from the Canterlot office to this town. You will stay in royal accommodations, but be removed from the eyes of the court. Gather some of your belongings. I shall arrange for a carriage to depart this evening.”

Prince Blueblood frowned. It was not what he wanted to hear, and it was clear that his aunt and sovereign had made her decision. He bowed, and rose with a calm expression on his face. “As you wish, my liege,” he responded formally.

“And best of wishes to you, dear nephew.”

Prince Blueblood ran around his estate in a panic, ordering around servants as he tried to figure out what he needed to pack. He only had the briefest time to explain how Princess Celestia had ordered him out of Canterlot for work reasons. The surprise on their faces was comforting, in a way; knowing smirks would have suggested that his secret had already gotten out.

Soon, the royal carriage arrived. His staff helped pack his gear, and he made one final wave to them as the pegasi took to the air. He settled in for a long journey, only to feel the carriage start to descent not long after reaching cloud height. He looked out, seeing the small village of thatched roofs approach. He suddenly realized what Princess Celestia had meant by royal accommodations.

Prince Blueblood stepped out of his carriage after he landed, right onto a dusty dirt road. He had only one thing to say.

“Ugh. Ponyville.”

Chapter 2: A Royal Mess

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 2: A Royal Mess

Prince Blueblood surveyed his surroundings. The royal carriage dropped him right in the middle of Ponyville, its odd mismatched buildings surrounding him. He was right next to a giant tree that had somehow been transformed into a residence. He took a step back to get a better look, and felt his hoof sink into a puddle of mud.

“Ew,” he muttered as he inspected his hoof. The mud had seeped in between his horseshoe and his hoof. That would make walking uncomfortable once it dried. Where were the paved roads, like any civilized city had?

The door to the tree house opened, and out stepped what counted for royalty in this backwater town Princess Twilight Sparkle smiled and greeted the prince. He noticed she was alone, without even one servant to open the door, and she was prancing around nude, her royal regalia nowhere to be seen. Prince Blueblood sniffed in disgust.

Twilight Sparkle didn’t notice his reaction. She shook his hoof vigorously; he noticed she was unshod as well. “I’m so excited to have you here, Prince Blueblood. I never thought I’d see an example of seapony incubation, especially so far from the coast! Please, come inside, and let’s get you settled.”

The pegasi who brought Blueblood to Ponyville had finished unloading the carriage. He traveled light, with only six trunks of clothes and one case of jewelry. He wondered what was going to happen, since there were no servants present, but Twilight Sparkle simply picked up all his belongings in her telekinetic aura, effortlessly taking them inside. He had trouble lifting even one of his trunks.

Blueblood took a closer look at Equestria’s newest alicorn. He didn’t see Twilight Sparkle much back when she was a unicorn and just known as Princess Celestia’s personal student; she was notoriously antisocial. He remembered her being noticeably shorter than him, a bit shorter than average for unicorn mares. Now, she stood nearly as tall as him, and she was already beginning to develop that graceful thinness the alicorns were known for.

“Now, I’ve set aside the spare bedroom for you,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Follow me.” He followed the mare and his trunks up the stairs, glancing at the books that lined shelves everywhere within the tree. It wasn’t surprising that she found a residence with as many books as her old quarters in Canterlot.

“You can stay in here... oops!” Blueblood’s trunks knocked over stacks of books as Twilight Sparkle set them down. “Sorry, I’m still reorganizing the library.”

“Excuse me. The library?”

“Yes, you’re in the Golden Oaks library, and also my home. What did you think it was?”

“Well, it does resemble your quarters in Canterlot. I merely assumed that, by now, you would be living in royal quarters suitable for a princess,” Blueblood said.

“But I don’t want everypony bowing and scraping before me. I just want to be friends with everypony and maybe recommend a good book for them,” Twilight Sparkle said. “And speaking of books, I’ve been reading everything I can about seapony magic and their reproductive cycles! I’ve gone through all the books I received from Canterlot, but I’m still waiting for the transfer from the library in Fillydelphia.”

“Why Fillydelphia?” Blueblood asked.

“It’s the closest city to the seapony nation, and it’s where much of the trade happens. Not surprisingly, most of the accounts of pony-seapony reproduction are from Fillydelphia.”

“Oh,” Blueblood said. He really didn’t want to read about the subject; it was bad enough that he was experiencing it against his will. But then a plan formed in his mind. There had to be a way to get rid of this seapony parasite. He just knew Princess Celestia wasn’t telling him everything. So whatever solution existed, it would have to be discovered in books.

And if the answer wasn’t in books, Twilight Sparkle could figure it out. Tell that mare that magic couldn’t accomplish something, and she’d work nonstop to prove you wrong.

But Blueblood was getting ahead of himself. For now, he could see what Twilight Sparkle had already uncovered. “I admit, I don’t remember much from my lessons on seaponies. Academy was years ago.” He didn’t remember anything, actually. “So would you talk with me about what you read?”

“Oh, I have so many books to talk about!” Twilight Sparkle replied eagerly. “Tea?”

“What? Oh, tea? Yes, tea would be wonderful.”

A few minutes later, Blueblood sat with Twilight Sparkle at the plain table in her kitchen, waiting as tea steeped in a teapot. Twilight Sparkle had made the tea herself; even her dragon servant appeared to be absent. He watched as she flipped rapidly through the pages of a book.

“Aha! Here’s an ancient account of seapony birth,” Twilight Sparkle said. She cleared her throat, and began to read.

And then, it comes time to deliver. Following his ancient and primal instincts, the stallion swims, up to the surface, away from any of the seaponies’ predators. He pulls himself onto a barren rock and waits.

The first change occurs in the narrow entrance to the brood pouch, the same opening that accepted the mare’s ovipositor eleven months earlier. As the opening dilates, the stallion experiences contractions, the powerful muscles surrounding the brood pouch working towards the ultimate goal of birth. The labor process can take hours or days, much as is true with pony mares.

Once the foal is born, the stallion licks the foal clean, and then clutches the helpless infant to him, wrapping his tail protectively around the foal. For three weeks, he keeps the foal safe, until she has grown strong enough to swim. From below, the stallion’s family and clan surfaces, bringing fish and sea plants. The stallion chews the offered food until it forms a thin paste, which he then transfers to the waiting mouth of the hungry foal. The stallion endures the harsh conditions of the surface, suffering much pain, in this grand tradition that ensures the survival of the next generation.

Blueblood stared at Twilight Sparkle, mouth agape. “I think I’m going to be sick,” he uttered.

Twilight Sparkle looked at him and laughed. “This? Oh, didn’t you hear me? I said this was an ancient account. Seaponies use hospitals now, just like us. But wasn’t that fascinating?”

Twilight Sparkle couldn’t hear a reply over the sound of Blueblood banging his head on the table.

Prince Blueblood excused himself and turned in early that night. He wasn’t tired; in fact, he rarely went to bed (or, rather, went to sleep) before midnight. But he was bored. He felt boredom seep through every pore until it commanded his body to sprawl lethargically on the uncomfortable bed with its lumpy mattress. He tried to read one of the books Twilight Sparkle had uncovered. It threatened to put him to sleep; the book was written in a dry academic style that reminded him too much of those term papers he was forced to write while a student at the Academy.

He set the book aside and stared at the ceiling. Blueblood thought he would never fall asleep. But he must have, since the next thing he heard was a pounding on the door. “Rise and shine, Prince Blueblood,” a childish voice called.

He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and frowned. Celestia’s sun was barely above the horizon. This was not the time a civilized pony should be awake.

“Are you awake in there?” Spike continued.

“I’m awake, by the strictest definition of the word,” Blueblood replied, his eyes resisting all efforts to stay open. “I won’t truly feel awake until after I bathe.”

“Better hurry up with that. Breakfast will be ready in fifteen minutes. There are towels set out for you.”

Blueblood dragged himself out of bed and slowly made his way to the bathroom. The tub was tiny, unadorned, and worst of all, empty. He sighed and turned on the tap.

Following his bath, Blueblood groomed his mane and tail, and then returned to his room. His outfit wasn’t set out for him, so he had to find it in one of his trunks. He eventually found it, put it on, and smoothed out some wrinkles. Then, he picked up his horseshoes in his magical aura, and inspected them.

On a proper morning, his horseshoes would have been cleaned and polished during the night by his servants. Instead, he stared at three dusty horseshoes, and one that was positively filthy, still caked in mud. He sniffed and carried them with him as he headed to the kitchen.

Twilight Sparkle and Spike were in the kitchen. They had empty plates in front of them, dirty with the remnants of whatever breakfast they had. If he had to guess, they had pancakes, the same pancakes that waited for him at the final place setting. This simple peasant food wasn’t even prepared well; the pancakes looked cold.

“It’s a simple cleaning cantrip, Prince Blueblood,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“What?” he replied.

“Your horseshoes. You didn’t attend Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, but still, I know there’s nothing wrong with your magic. It’s a spell you certainly learned as a colt. Use it.”

Blueblood stared at Twilight Sparkle, aghast at the suggestion that he do servant work.

“You wanted to get out of Canterlot,” she continued. “Ponyville is not like Canterlot. The ponies here pride themselves on their self-sufficiency. And so you’ll find that even royalty clean up after themselves. The only reason I don’t cook is that Spike is so much better at it than I am.”

Blueblood responded to Twilight Sparkle’s lecture by simply cleaning his horseshoes. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t something worthy of a prince’s time. He then went to fasten them.

“You know, you really don’t need horseshoes in Ponyville. The town’s all dirt roads and wooden floors,” Twilight Sparkle explained.

“I won’t argue about how you want to dress, or not dress, but I for one feel it is important for a pony of my station to be attired appropriately,” Blueblood said.

“Suit yourself,” Twilight Sparkle replied. “But you’ll need to get up earlier if you take that long to get ready.”

“Earlier than this?” Blueblood said.

“Yes. Town Hall opens at nine, but I figured you would want time to meet the mayor and the other employees. And speaking of the time, it’s 8:50 now.”

Blueblood sputtered, and then choked down a cold pancake as he rushed to the door.

Prince Blueblood stepped into Ponyville Town Hall. He walked through the large meeting space to one of the doors at the back of the room. Opening it, he found a small office, with three earth ponies inside. “I’m looking for Mayor Mare,” he announced.

“That would be me,” an older mare with a gray mane replied. “You must be Prince Blueblood. Welcome to Ponyville!”

“Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here,” he lied diplomatically.

“Let me introduce my assistants, Red Tape and Lime Swirl,” the mayor continued.

“A pleasure. And where may I find the surveyor’s office?”

“This is it. All of the town’s management goes through the three of us,” Mayor Mare said.

“That’s it?” Blueblood asked, surprised. There were dozens of ministries and bureaus in Canterlot, each run by a lot more than three ponies.

“It’s a small town. There’s not a lot to keep track of,” she replied. “But that means that some aspects of town management, like surveying, have lacked that professional touch. That is why you’re here, right?”

“Yes,” Blueblood replied confidently. He had had plenty of time to come up with a more detailed version of his cover story. “Due to the growth of Ponyville in recent years, which is only expected to continue, the princesses think it would be good for an accurate map to be established for the town, and plans made for an orderly town development along the lines of common civil engineering practices.”

“What does that even mean?” Lime Swirl asked.

Blueblood paused. What he had said was practically small talk in the government buildings he knew. But this earth pony mare obviously didn’t have the proper training. And judging by her cutie mark, which resembled some form of ice cream confection, she lacked the natural talent as well. He quickly came up with another way to explain the situation. “About three hundred years ago, the road grid for Canterlot was redesigned, creating the broad boulevards the city is now known for. But the change wasn’t done for aesthetics; it was necessary for the city to function, to move goods efficiently to its residents.

“These changes required demolishing a number of buildings. With proper planning, this destruction could have been avoided. So that’s why Ponyville needs a plan. I’d hate to see something happen to your town’s... ugh... ‘quaint’ buildings.”

“That makes sense,” Lime Swirl said. “But why didn’t you talk about something from your own work experience?”

“I am wondering that as well,” Mayor Mare said. “I don’t think of Canterlot as a city that grows a lot. What kind of work do you do?”

“We make plans, of course. Every year, my office establishes a protocol for constructing terraces outside the current walls of Canterlot, and planning neighborhoods there,” Blueblood said.

“But there aren’t any terraced neighborhoods,” Mayor Mare pointed out.

“Of course not. Ruin Canterlot’s pristine views? The nobles would never go for it.”

“That’s a large part of why you’re here,” Mayor Mare said. “It’s so expensive to live in Canterlot that a lot of guardsponies’ families live here.”

“If I may, I suggest we help Prince Blueblood begin his work here,” Red Tape interjected.

“Of course,” Mayor Mare said.

“Follow me, Prince Blueblood. I’ve collected and organized records from the archives.”

Red Tape led Blueblood to another room. A simple desk was overshadowed by stacks of crates.

“Oh, my,” Blueblood said.

“I’ve done my best to organize these records,” Red Tape said. “The crates are placed in chronological order, with the oldest records in front. I understand that in the event of conflicting information, the oldest records will prevail. Fortunately, Ponyville isn’t that old; one of the town’s founding residents is still alive.”

“It still looks like a mess,” Blueblood said. He opened up one of the crates. “Is that... tree bark?”

“Yes, it is. Birch bark was commonly used, as paper was a luxury,” Red Tape explained. “And do be careful. It’s....” He watched as the document in Prince Blueblood’s magical aura tore. “It’s fragile.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Blueblood said.

“It took about forty years for Ponyville to grow large enough to need formal government administration, so I’m afraid you won’t find any standardization in these documents. A pity. You should find the original claim to the lands in the crates. I’m sure you’re familiar with the relevant laws?”

“The Homestead Act of 178 governs the process of building on the Princesses’ lands prior to town incorporation,” Blueblood replied.

“Yes, exactly. Stake your claim, develop the land, and sketch a plot of the land for the record. Don’t take land from your neighbor, avoid the Everfree Forest and the gate to Tartarus, and that’s that. Of course, nopony was thinking of the poor souls who would have to organize the mess decades later.”


“I’ve annotated this map of Ponyville,” Red Tape said, motioning to the desk. “Ponyville grew in sections, and I’ve noted which sections of town should be in each crate. It’s not a perfect system, but it should help guide your research.”

“Thank you very much, Red Tape,” Blueblood said, honestly impressed by the stallion’s work.

“My pleasure. And I hope you didn’t find your introduction to our office to be off-putting.”

Prince Blueblood raised an eyebrow.

“Let me apologize if my associate seemed critical of you. Not everypony understands the difficulty of coordinating work across government offices, or appreciates the talents necessary to manage both the work and the workers.”

Blueblood smiled. Now this was a pony he could work with. A shame his talents would go underutilized in Ponyville.

After one day, Prince Blueblood decided that work in Ponyville was vastly inferior to work in Canterlot. Back home, he would begin the day with a meeting with fellow nobles, discussing projects from their individual ministries over delicate pastries and coffee. Then he would review his subordinates’ work, followed by a leisurely lunch with another noble. Much coordination among offices would be accomplished over delectable salads and fine wines. Then came the typical paperwork, and afternoon tea. He would finish off his work, and then prepare for whatever event was transpiring that evening.

In Ponyville, Town Hall had neither coffee nor tea. The lunch options were distinctly subpar; he could still feel the daffodil sandwich and hay fries weighing on his stomach. And evening entertainment? He shuddered to think of what the residents of Ponyville called entertainment.

He trudged back to the library, still not sure what he was going to do that night. But what he saw when he opened the door made him shudder. Princess Twilight Sparkle jumped up, with a huge smile on her face. She reminded him too much of an obnoxious foal awaiting presents on Hearth’s Warming morning. “Great news!” she exclaimed.

“What is it?” he replied. He quickly shut the door to the library, not wanting anypony else to hear.

“I got all the books I was waiting for, and read through them. Now I’m ready!”

Blueblood spotted a fairly large stack of books on a table by the couch. Did she really read all of those in one day? He shook his head, and then remembered what Twilight Sparkle had just said. “Ready? For what?”

The young alicorn picked up a pair of books, several magical crystals, and a long checklist. “To begin studying you!”

“Ugh. What a fine mess this has become,” Blueblood groaned.

Chapter 3: A Royal Examination

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A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 3: A Royal Examination

“So what, pray tell, do you mean by studying me?”

“Oh, just your normal battery of tests to understand the magic at work,” Twilight Sparkle explained. “To study this seapony magic firsthoof is an incredible opportunity, and the way it interacts with your unicorn magic could help us understand how to employ their magic. Just think of the applications of their water magic on the surface!”

“Yes, but this study is going to help us understand how it works? And how to fix it?”

“Fix? I certainly hope nothing is wrong! Well, that’s why we need this initial examination,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Follow me.”

Twilight Sparkle opened a door, and Blueblood followed her down a staircase. The stairs curved down for quite a while, opening into an enormous basement laboratory. The machines reminded Blueblood of the description of a mad unicorn’s lair in a book for young colts. Even when not in use, magical energy crackled in wires, rods, and crystals. But what he found most disturbing was something rather more mundane, a bed tucked into the corner of the room. That Twilight Sparkle spent enough time here that she needed a place to sleep made him hope that she would never fall victim to corruption like Nightmare Moon.

“Are we going to be down here long? I’m afraid I haven’t had dinner,” Blueblood said.

“Not long. I just want some quick readings. We can do the longer tests later. Go ahead and sit there.”

Blueblood sat on an uncomfortable wooden chair, and Twilight Sparkle’s horn flared. He felt some unwieldy contraption get lifted onto his head, and several sensors attached to his body. They itched and pulled at the hairs of his coat.

With practiced moves, Twilight Sparkle inserted crystals into one of the machines and adjusted wires and levers. Then she began casting spells. He counted at least five spells coming off her horn, and felt the effects of magic flowing through him, nothing stronger than a mild aching in his teeth and horn.

Blueblood sat for twenty minutes, hearing only the sound of multiple quills writing on paper. He had plenty of time to watch what was happening. His attention was drawn to one of the machines, writing on its own, ink covering paper coming off a large roll. “What is all this?” he finally asked.

“Oh, just a little something I’ve developed,” she replied. “At its core is a basic spell matrix, which serves the normal purpose of repeated castings of minor spells and stabilizing larger spells. I’ve increased its power, so it can be used with more advanced spells, and then I added some machines to automate the recording process. But really, it’s not much different from the equipment you’d find in a school lab.”

“How does it compare to the lab in Princess Celestia’s school?”

“It’s a little more complex,” she replied. Blueblood lifted an eyebrow. “Okay, a lot more complex.”

Blueblood sighed as the machines continued to record. “Is this going to be my fate here?” he asked. “Work, tests, sleep?”

“Your fate is what you make it,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Ponyville will never be Canterlot, but there are plenty of things to do. The Running of the Leaves is coming up. That’s where everypony races through the Whitetail Wood to prepare it for winter. And then there’s your party tonight.”

“What party?”

“In the pocket of your jacket,” Twilight Sparkle said, pointing. Blueblood looked, and found a colorful decorated envelope there. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out how it got there. He lifted it up and turned it over in his magical aura, holding it away from him like it was a piece of odorous refuse.

“Pinkie Pie has a party for everypony who comes to Ponyville, and tonight’s your turn,” she explained.

Blueblood recognized the name of another of the Elements of Harmony, but the name was also setting off alarms in his head. Frustratingly, he couldn’t remember why. “Maybe I’ll pass,” he said.

“You don’t want to miss a Pinkie Pie party!” Twilight Sparkle replied. “If you want, just show up for the punch and cake. If you don’t show up at all, it will just make ponies talk. And I’m sure you don’t want that.”

“Fine,” Blueblood replied. “Are we done here?”

“Yes. These were just the baseline tests,” Twilight Sparkle said. “The longer tests will come later.”

Blueblood’s long sigh filled the basement laboratory.

Prince Blueblood searched his trunks for something appropriate for a Ponyville party. He eventually selected a collarless jacket, the kind he favored when going slumming with his friends. If he knew anything about this town, few ponies would be wearing anything anyway.

Once ready, he followed Twilight Sparkle to his destination. Sugarcube Corner, apparently, was that garishly decorated bakery he’d had the misfortune of seeing on his walk to work. Twilight Sparkle motioned him forward, and he opened the door.

Before Blueblood could take in the interior of the bakery, his field of vision was flooded by pink, a very pink mare who had to be Pinkie Pie. “Hi hi hi, Prince Blueblood!” she said, cheerily and rapidly. “Welcome to your welcome to Ponyville party! Normally, it’s a surprise party, but then I thought you’re probably sick of surprises! And then I thought, wouldn’t it be a surprise for everypony else for this to not be a surprise party? Come in, we have cake and cookies and punch and Pin the Tail on the Pony!”

“Uh, thanks,” he replied. She bounced away, and Blueblood could now see the party. Balloons, streamers, bright colors. Plates of cookies and bowls of punch. A phonograph playing happy, silly music. An actual Pin the Tail on the Pony game.

Now it came back to him. Pinkie Pie made every party look like a party for a foal’s fifth birthday. And all the nobles in Canterlot laughed at her because of that. And now he, scion of one of Canterlot’s most noble families, was trapped as the guest of honor of a Pinkie Pie party.

“One hour. I can survive one hour of this,” he muttered to himself.

Blueblood fixed a fake smile to his face and mingled. He did his best to remember the names of everypony who introduced herself, and must have told his cover story for why he was in Ponyville a dozen times. And he sampled the sweets. They were surprisingly good. They weren’t good like a dessert that would help a master Canterlot chef earn his third star; rather, they were good in the sense of comfort food. The treats were soft and chewy, sweet and gooey. He would have adored them when he was a colt, and they still tasted good to him now.

Of course, too many sweets made him thirsty. Blueblood wandered over to the punch bowl, only to have Pinkie Pie pop up in front of him, in that same unnerving manner. “Oh, no, Blueblood, you don’t want that punch! You want the punch on that table over there!” she said. The two punch bowls looked the same to him. He thought about ignoring her, but got the feeling that she wouldn’t let him go.

“Very well then,” Blueblood replied. Pinkie Pie bounced over to the other table, and rapidly ladled punch into a waiting cup, not spilling a drop. Blueblood nodded and lifted the cup with his telekinesis, taking a sip of the overly sweet fruit punch.

It was a while later, when conversing with another Ponyville resident, that he noticed something about the punch. His nose picked up the scent of alcohol from the cup of that resident, alcohol that wasn’t in his punch. Blueblood looked for Pinkie Pie, and found her at the center of the room, standing over a huge cake.

“It’s time for cake, everypony!” Pinkie Pie announced, to hoof stomps from the crowd. She cut the cake and put a center piece on a plate. “And here’s a slice for the guest of honor, Canterlot’s own Prince Blueblood!” More applause followed, but Blueblood thought it was rather more subdued. Then he felt everypony’s eyes on him as they waited expectantly.

“Thank you, everypony, for your warm welcome,” Blueblood said. “My work may only bring me here for a short time, but you’ve made me feel like a local. And thank you, Miss Pinkie Pie, for the wonderful party.” He had given some variant of that speech so many times, it came easily to him. And it always sounded sincere.

There was more applause, and then Pinkie Pie got to the task of handing out cake. Again, it was good, if a bit sweet. The frosting is the easiest thing to ruin, but this cake had rich chocolate buttercream frosting, creamy and just sweet enough. And he had a center piece, just the way he liked, so he didn’t have too much frosting.

By the time he finished his cake, Twilight Sparkle had appeared by his side. “What do you think? Are you ready to go?” she asked.

“Yes. I don’t think I care for this kind of party.”

Blueblood spoke briefly to Pinkie Pie, thanking her again and taking his leave. Once they were en route, and not in earshot of anypony else, Blueblood turned to Twilight Sparkle. “Did you tell Pinkie Pie about my condition?” he asked angrily.

“What? No, of course not,” she replied.

“Well, she certainly acted like she knew.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“First, she made a comment about me being sick of surprises. And then she steered me away from the alcoholic punch. What else am I supposed to think?”

Twilight Sparkle pondered for a moment. “Well, when Princess Celestia sent you here, were you surprised?”


“And I bet you didn’t like it.”

“Not one bit.”

She nodded. “And do you like rum punch?”

“Oh, dear Celestia, no. It’s nasty.”

“So, there you have it. It’s another explanation for what Pinkie Pie said.”

“I hardly think it’s the most likely explanation,” Blueblood said sourly.

“Do you normally like a piece of cake from the center of the cake?”

“Well, yes, of course, but....”

“Look, Prince Blueblood. I’ve known Pinkie Pie for more than three years now. I have an extensive laboratory, a special talent in magic, and a direct line of communication with Princess Celestia. And I still don’t know how Pinkie Pie does the things she does.” She paused. “But I’ll tell you this. She is the Element of Laughter. If she somehow does know you’re pregnant, then she also knows you don’t want others to know, and she’s not going to do something that makes you sad.”

They walked in silence the rest of the way back to the library. And once inside, things stayed quiet. Spike was still at the party, so it was just the two of them. Both ponies read, Blueblood researching one of the books Twilight Sparkle found about seapony magic.

About an hour later, Twilight Sparkle went to the kitchen and brought out a tray of crudites. “To counteract all those sweets from Sugarcube Corner,” she commented. Then they went back to reading, now accompanied by the sound of crunching vegetables.

Spike returned home later that night. The young dragon had a large tub balanced on his head. “Pinkie Pie gave me leftover ice cream!” he announced. “Double chocolate brownie! I can’t wait to get started on this!”

“Spike! You’ve had plenty to eat,” Twilight Sparkle cautioned.

“But the ice cream is all soft and runny on the edges, just the way I like it!”

Twilight Sparkle sighed. “Fine. One small bowl.”

“Actually, I think I would care for a small bowl of ice cream as well,” Blueblood said.

“Sure thing!” Spike replied. He walked to the kitchen, and soon came back with two bowls. “Here you go, Prince Blueblood!”

“Thank you,” the prince replied. He went back to his reading, eating his snacks. He turned a page, and then noticed Twilight Sparkle and Spike staring at him.

“What?” Blueblood said.

“What are you doing?” Spike asked.

“Reading. And snacking, I suppose.”

“No, that!” Spike was pointing at his bowl of ice cream.

Blueblood shrugged, and continued to dip pickles into the bowl of ice cream before eating them.

“Ewww,” Spike moaned.

“I’m glad you decided to come to the Running of the Leaves, Prince Blueblood,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“I feel like I could use the exercise,” Blueblood replied. “But I fail to see the importance of this tradition. Why not just use magic, like back in Canterlot?”

“A lot of traditions in Ponyville came about due to the town’s earth pony heritage. There weren’t unicorns, so it took physical effort to clear the leaves off the trees and transition the Whitetail Wood from fall to winter,” she explained. “Plus, it wouldn’t be practical. By my rough calculation, there are thirty times as many trees in this forest than there are in all of Canterlot.

“Thirty times?” he replied, surprised. “Well, I guess the town is isolated.”

“I’m glad you finally decided to leave the horseshoes at home,” Twilight Sparkle commented. “I think you’ll be happier if you try to fit in.” He was still going to stand out, as he would probably be the only pony wearing clothes. His loose-fitting outfit resembled the sportswear that Shining Armor sometimes wore. But she also noticed a logo on his clothes. She suspected his clothes came from some big name Canterlot fashion designer.

“Actually, I’m not wearing horseshoes because I’ll be running over uneven natural terrain. It’s one of those basic lessons from physical education class. I thought you’d remember it.”

“Well, Princess Celestia excused me from gym when I was a student,” she said sheepishly. “But I learned all about racing by reading a book before my first race. I even finished in fifth place!”

“You? Fifth place?”

“To be fair, that was only because Applejack and Rainbow Dash spent so much time sabotaging each others’ progress that they forgot about everypony else. They’re competing again this year, and we’re both going to lose to them,” she stated.

“I don’t doubt that. I’m running for fun,” Blueblood said. “Such that it is,” he whispered.

“I’m excited for the race as well,” Twilight Sparkle said. “This will be my first time running as an alicorn, and I’m going to monitor my magical aura to see how prominently my earth pony magic will manifest. I’d also like to watch your aura, too.”

“What is that going to do?”

“I want to see if any seapony magic comes out as you’re running.” Blueblood stared at Twilight Sparkle blankly. “Okay, quick lesson. The physical aspect of the Running of the Leaves, shaking the ground, is only part of what causes the leaves to fall. Mostly, it’s earth pony magic, the trees responding to the will of the passing earth ponies asking the tree to shed its leaves. The pegasi contribute air magic, pulling wind behind them and through the trees. And unicorns, well, our contribution is minimal, sort of helping the other magic work better.”

“I prefer to call it leadership,” Blueblood said.

“But since seapony magic never interacts with trees, I’m really curious to see what happens!”

“Nothing bad, I hope.”

“Of course not,” Twilight Sparkle said. “I’m certain; well, I'm 99.4% confident in my assertion.”

Twilight Sparkle and Blueblood made it to the race’s staging area. Somepony took down their names and issued them numbers. From there, they waited. Blueblood paced around, trying to stay limber, all the while feeling the presence of the cloth patches on his sides, painted with the number 17. They covered his cutie marks, and the rough material at the corners of the patches reminded him of burrs. But if professional athletes could deal with this, not to mention everypony in Ponyville, he could endure.

“Attention, everypony!” Mayor Mare called. “Fillies and gentlecolts, distinguished guests, welcome to the annual Ponyville Running of the Leaves. As always, we race through the Whitetail Wood to get the leaves off the trees and prepare the woods for winter. Follow the trail marked by the arrows. Now, let’s all have a nice, clean race!” Blueblood noticed the mayor looking pointedly at an orange earth pony mare and a light blue pegasus mare. Applejack and Rainbow Dash, he assumed. They looked away from the mayor, and focused their attention on each other.

“On your mark, get set, go!” The herd of racing ponies took off, led by Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Those two soon pulled away from the crowd, and Blueblood lost sight of them after a few minutes. He set a brisk pace for himself, fast enough to feel his elevated heartbeat, but not so fast that he couldn’t speak. Twilight Sparkle kept pace with him.

After ten minutes, the racers had spread apart. Blueblood and Twilight Sparkle were behind fewer than ten ponies, and not in sight of anypony else. The trees had shed only a few of their leaves. He noticed Twilight Sparkle’s horn flare.

“What are you doing?” Blueblood asked.

“Remember? I’m checking our magic.” She tsked. “You can do better than that, Prince Blueblood. You have to want the leaves to fall off the trees!”

Blueblood stared down the path and gazed over the trees. You will lose your leaves, he thought. But not much changed. Only a small number of leaves fell as they passed by.

“Good, good,” Twilight Sparkle said. “But, you know, don’t expect miracles.”

They continued to race, passing by one pony who appeared to have worn herself out. Blueblood noticed Twilight Sparkle enjoying the sights of the forest, as if this were some pleasure stroll and not a race. “Why aren’t you taking the race seriously?” he finally asked.

“This is a beautiful wilderness,” she replied. “There’s nothing like it in Canterlot. If you’re not going to enjoy it, then why run?”

“You said it was to prepare the forest for winter.”

“Right, but you should do both! That’s what most ponies do, at least the ones who aren’t hypercompetitive.”

“Well, this is a race, and I’m tired of holding back,” Blueblood said.

“I have enough magical readings from us, and we’re nearing the three-quarters mark,” Twilight Sparkle said. “So if you want to race, let’s go!”

Blueblood nodded and galloped faster. He estimated he would face another six minutes of running, and adjusted his speed accordingly. But when he looked up, Twilight Sparkle had pulled far ahead of him. Gritting his teeth, he raced faster, hot in pursuit of the alicorn. For a while, he closed the distance. But it ultimately proved to be a mistake, as he soon developed pains in his sides, a sign of overexertion. Even worse, he heard the sounds of ponies behind him, catching up. He suffered the indignity of being passed twice on his way to the finish line.

By the time Blueblood crossed the finish line, Twilight Sparkle was already recovered from her exertion. She was talking to Applejack and Rainbow Dash. The earth pony had a smug expression on her face, suggesting that she was victorious, and it wasn’t close enough to argue about. Twilight Sparkle noticed his arrival, and trotted up to him.

“Congratulations! You finished in ninth place!” Twilight Sparkle said.

“Yeah. Great,” Blueblood said in between gasps of breath.

“Applejack came in first, and there’s some bet she had with Rainbow Dash, and as you might suspect, she’s none too happy,” Twilight Sparkle continued. “I came in sixth, which is effectively my personal best, but it’s really not a fair comparison, since I’ve been developing earth pony strength and endurance over the last six months.”

“Sure. Wonderful.”

“Once you’ve recovered, I suggest watching for the bulk of the racers,” Twilight Sparkle suggested. “It’s quite the sight!”

Once again, Blueblood found himself waiting. Soon, his ears picked up a faint rumbling sound. He looked to the woods as the rumbling became a roar. A large group of ponies finally emerged from the woods. As they did, almost all of the remaining leaves fell off the trees. When that happened, Blueblood stared at the sight. Bare trees stretched as far as he could see.

“I told you it was something!” Twilight Sparkle said.

Ponies drank ladles of water from buckets as they recovered from the race. Soon, Mayor Mare took the stage again. “It’s time for the prizes!” she called. The murmuring in the crowd ceased. “First place, Applejack.” The orange pony stood proudly on stage, accepting her medal.

“Second place, Rainbow Dash.” The crowd murmured as the mare didn’t show up. “Rainbow Dash?” Finally, the rainbow-maned mare was pushed to the stage, looking different from when he had seen her earlier. She had a big red bow in her mane, and garish makeup on her face. She tried to make herself look small, but Mayor Mare pushed her forward, praising her excellent performance.

Blueblood listened and watched as the medals were passed out. After eighth place was called, some mare named Shoeshine, his ears perked up. “And that’s it,” Mayor Mare said. “Thank you again, everypony, for participating.”

Twilight Sparkle trotted up, her sixth place medal around her neck. “Sorry, Blueblood. The medals only go down to eighth place.

Blueblood turned and started to walk back to town.

“Don’t be like that,” Twilight Sparkle told the fuming unicorn. “Look, I’d just like to do one more test before heading home.”

“I suppose,” he replied.

Twilight Sparkle led Blueblood to a tree that still had a few leaves clinging to it. “Something I noticed on our run is how your magic manifested. While magic permeates our bodies, it is primarily expressed through a unicorn’s horn, a pegasus’ wings, or an earth pony’s hooves. I noticed you were manifesting magic through your hooves, but only your rear hooves. Since seaponies, well, seaponies that aren’t narwhals manifest through their tails, it appears you have acquired some seapony magic, and it’s working via its closest analog. I’d like to see if you can use it.”

“That’s... mildly disturbing. Let me see if I can sense it.” Blueblood shut his eyes and entered a meditative state. He reached inward, searching for his magical core. He felt it, at the base of his horn, but he also felt something else. It was centered in his midsection, probably surrounding the foal he was carrying. “I feel it.”

“Good. Now, try to use it, and will the leaves off this tree.”

Blueblood concentrated, tapping into his additional magic. He could feel it flow, from his center through his hooves, but something felt wrong. He stamped his rear hooves a couple of times for effect, but it didn’t help. “It’s not working. It feels like, I don’t know, something’s missing.”

Blueblood redoubled his efforts. This time, he felt both of his forms of magic at work. His horn glowed, and then he felt magic flowing through his hooves and into the earth.

Twilight Sparkle watched as Blueblood summoned a sphere of water. Once created, it shot up into the air, washing the remaining leaves off the tree. Then gravity asserted itself over the water. The jet of water came down, forming a beautiful parabolic arc.

Twilight Sparkle stepped back.

Blueblood shouted as the water he created fell onto him, soaking him. His mane was ruined, and he felt leaves stuck under his clothes.

“Seapony magic works to remove the leaves by using control of water currents,” Twilight Sparkle said. “It wasn’t working in the absence of water, but once you used a basic conjuration to create some water, it was successful. Brilliant!”

“Yes, brilliant,” a wet Blueblood deadpanned.

“You really think common seapony magic can be replicated by a unicorn?”

“That’s the thrust of my theory. I’m fairly certain it can, thanks to our research,” Twilight Sparkle said. “One would have to first create a magical matrix to translate the magic to the appropriate shape. It will be difficult, for sure, but I think it can be done.”

“So then I could, say, manipulate water currents in the seapony manner, allowing me to swim faster?”

“In theory, yes. You could use the same magic you showed during our test at the lake. On the other hoof, creating the matrix could wear you out before you could even cast the spell. As they say, individual results will vary.”

“I know that means more work for me,” Blueblood said. “But I feel a lot stronger in my magic ever since I’ve started working with you,” he continued.

“I could introduce you to a basic spell matrix,” Twilight Sparkle suggested. “It wouldn’t be strong enough for what we’ve been talking about, but it’s important to learn the basics first.”

“A fine suggestion, Princess, but I’m afraid work calls.”

“Oh! Sorry, Prince Blueblood! I didn’t notice it got so late!”

“Well then, have a good day, Twilight Sparkle.”

Blueblood gave a friendly wave and trotted out the door. The brisk winter air greeted him. He struggled to button his warm woolen jacket. Two months had passed since the Running of the Leaves, and he was beginning to see a bump in his abdomen. He sighed and reflected on his life in Ponyville.

In a word, life in Ponyville was routine. It was routine in Canterlot as well, but in a more interesting way. Social events were fewer and far less extravagant. Blueblood attended most of them, tagging along with Twilight Sparkle. But other than that, he didn’t do much.

He had embraced Twilight Sparkle’s study of him, endeavoring to understand the magic at work. He also took the opportunity, living in a library with perhaps the world’s most skilled user of magic, to increase his command of unicorn magic. He had attained basic proficiency in eight more spells, and improved his command of a dozen more spells he already knew. Becoming better at magic was never a bad thing, particularly when living in a city where most of the elite were unicorns. It helps to know what tricks one’s rivals could possibly be employing.

And work was going well, too. In fact, he had just completed the most important part of his job here in Ponyville. He was smiling as he entered Town Hall and walked up to Red Tape’s desk. “Here are the last of the surveys in the town proper,” he announced.

“Excellent news,” Red Tape said smoothly. “Any problems?”

“None whatsoever,” he replied. “No matter what the old surveys were written on, the listed boundaries match the properties. However, I did find another two instances of gaps between two properties.”

“Noted. I’ll refer the issue for study at the next town council meeting.”

“I still say you should use my idea to turn those areas into parks,” Blueblood joked.

“Yes, a town park that’s four hooves wide. That would make Ponyville unique, that’s for sure.”

“You’ll probably be seeing less of me over the next month,” Blueblood said. “I’ll survey the farms next, then the mines and other outlying areas. Each of these properties will take some time to survey.”

“I understand. It’s a shame you have to do this during winter.”

“I prefer working in winter. It’s best to work when the leaves are off the trees.”

“And we have you to thank for that, Mister Ninth Place,” Red Tape said, smirking.

Blueblood chuckled. This friendly banter was definitely not something he experienced working in Canterlot. “I’ll have you know that you are completely wrong. I will be doing no surveying in the Whitetail Wood.”

“Sure, sure. I hope Princess Twilight Sparkle isn’t keeping you up with all her experiments,” Red Tape commented.

“It’s not too bad. She gets to sleep at a reasonable hour. Most of the time, at least.” Blueblood raised an eyebrow. “What do you know about her experiments?”

“Nothing at all. I’m not a unicorn, after all. All I know is that she’s filed a lot more paperwork for bringing restricted items into Ponyville.”

“I guess I never thought that magic would involve paperwork.”

“It does, and in triplicate,” Red Tape replied with a laugh. “Well, for most unicorns, they’ll never have to deal with it. The restrictions only apply to certain crystals and reagents, and as I understand it, they power the kind of spells that very few unicorns can control. It’s quite obvious to me that Twilight Sparkle has some special dispensation from Princess Celestia to handle these items, but she always fills in the paperwork in time. And even though she doesn’t have to anymore, she still files her requests.”

“What do you mean, doesn’t have to?” Blueblood asked.

“She’s a princess now. Top nobility have freer access to these items, and their requests don’t get added to the public record. To protect national security, these requests are sealed, and can only be opened by royal decree or supermajority vote of the Noble Council.”

“Ah. I don’t think I’ve ever read that law.” Blueblood knew that the nobility regularly exempted themselves from laws. National security was often cited as the reason. While a citizen of a hostile foreign nation could gain some insight into Canterlot’s plans by looking at what the nobles did, the greater threat was some other noble house.

“If you’re interested in the relevant law, I could provide you a transcription,” Red Tape offered. “Of course, the standard fee of ten bits will apply.”

Blueblood grumbled. Bureaucrats. They’re the same everywhere.

Prince Blueblood sat down to lunch. Sitting at a table in the far corner of the restaurant, he worked his way through a daisy sandwich and a double order of hay fries while he perused one of his reference books. It was a special book, with something secret inside. Basic Surveying Techniques and Tools was chosen for this purpose not because it was hard to read, but because the library had a copy, and Twilight Sparkle had already read it.

From between select pages of this text, Blueblood pulled out papers with lines of carefully hornwritten notes, diagrams, and spell formulae. It was apparent from his early interaction with her that Twilight Sparkle would not help him get rid of his problem. So he didn’t mention it again, and instead played the role of eager student. He read all the books she found about seapony magic. He also read every spellbook he could get his hooves on, mostly requested from Spike, under the guise of comparative research.

In front of him now was his plan, a series of spells that would rid him of his problem. To be honest, casting any one of these spells was beyond his talents, and maintaining them all at the same time would be inconceivable. Fortunately for him, Twilight Sparkle had a machine that could stabilize a spell as it was cast, and maintain multiple spells. In casual conversation while enduring frequent tests, Blueblood had learned how the machine worked. He had even tested it, maintaining six different telekinetic auras without his conscious thought.

The problem with Blueblood’s plan was getting the crystals to power the spell matrix. The normal crystals weren’t going to work for the spells he had in mind. The most powerful of the crystals were kept by Twilight Sparkle in a magically secured safe in the basement. Blueblood knew he wasn’t going to get at those. But he could just buy his own crystals!

He smiled as he read the copy of the law Red Tape had provided him. He took a quill in his aura and started filling in paperwork. By the time somepony went through the process of unsealing these records, Blueblood knew he would be cured.

Chapter 4: A Royal Plot

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Further disclaimer: Contains clop. For mature audiences only. All characters, although fictional, are intended to portray consenting adults.

Chapter 4: A Royal Plot

“I’m so excited!” Twilight Sparkle said. “To present my findings at Royal Canterlot University, in front of some of the most prominent historians and archaeologists in Equestria, is a remarkable opportunity!”

“This is the castle in the Everfree you were telling me about, right?”

“Yes, the ancient Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. It was abandoned for a thousand years, and already the items we’ve recovered are changing what we know about history!”

“And you’re going with the rest of the Elements of Harmony?”

“Yes. We’ve all played a part in the excavation, so we’re all going. Spike, too.” Twilight Sparkle turned to the stairs. “Spike, are you ready?” she shouted.

“Almost,” he replied from upstairs.

“You better not be reading comic books up there!”

Prince Blueblood thought he heard the sound of a comic book falling to the floor. There were a few shuffling sounds, and then Spike came down, a small bag slung over his shoulder.

“You’ll be gone three days, right?” Blueblood asked.

“According to the schedule, yes. It’s nice to be called to Canterlot and not have the fate of Equestria be at stake,” she said. “But given our track history, I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened.”

“I hope you have a good trip, Princess,” Blueblood said.

“Thanks, Prince Blueblood. Don’t get into any trouble when I’m gone!”

“Of course not,” he replied with a smile. Twilight Sparkle’s tone was pleasant and teasing. She didn’t know what he was planning.

“Well, it looks like everypony is here. Spike, let’s go,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“And I’m off to work,” Blueblood said.

Blueblood’s heart wasn’t in his work as he surveyed one of the farms outside Ponyville. He kept thinking to the freedom waiting for him at home. But he didn’t want to raise any questions by being unexpectedly absent. No, he would go to work, come home to a closed library, and then enact his plan.

That evening, following a light supper at one of the cafes in town, he returned to the library. “Twilight Sparkle? Spike?” he called. Silence greeted him. Fortunately, nothing had happened to disrupt her plans, and Blueblood was alone.

He headed to his bedroom. From within his many trunks of clothes, he pulled out small bundles. Each contained a potent magical crystal, wrapped in a fabric that deadened its magical aura. The crystals were expensive, but their result would be priceless. He then recovered his notes from their hiding position in his textbook.

Next, Blueblood headed back to the library. His notes indicated the spellbooks he needed to find. Once all were gathered, he headed into the basement.

Blueblood reviewed his notes. He organized the spells in the order in which they would be cast, and then matched the crystals to the spells. He then reviewed his notes a second time, to ensure he wasn’t forgetting anything. Confident he was ready, he activated Twilight Sparkle’s spell matrix.

The first spell Blueblood used was a morphic spell. Used to alter one’s shape, it was one of the spells he had learned from Twilight Sparkle. It would tax his magical talents too much to maintain that spell while casting another. Fortunately, a basic quartz crystal powered the maintenance of that spell.

The next spell was a powerful organic creation spell. He found it in, of all places, a medical text. It was used to create organic material for medical students to study, from individual organs all the way to entire bodies, biologically complete but inert. This spell required a powerful ruby heart crystal. Blueblood concentrated, feeling the power of Twilight Sparkle’s spell matrix keeping the difficult spell on track. Using his own body as a template, the spell created what was in effect a clone of his body. However, he had woven one specific change into the spell, reversing one particular characteristic.

If his body would fight any attempt to remove the foal he was carrying, then the only solution would be to transfer it via the original mechanism that had caused the implantation. And so he watched with curiosity as the spell fashioned a female body.

Blueblood prepped the next spell by inserting a sapphire thought crystal into Twilight Sparkle’s machine. The animation spell that came next was crude. No spell can create an artificial intelligence, but thought programs could be created, patterns of behavior responding to stimuli according to well-understood principles. And the biological urge to reproduce was one of those.

Blueblood closed his eyes and breathed slowly as he tried to recover from the most difficult spellcasting he had ever done. The throbbing at the base of his horn slowly eased. When he finally opened his eyes, the clone was beginning to move.

Prince Blueblood couldn’t help but chuckle. He had succeeded at creating every horny teenage colt’s fantasy, a living sex doll. It only took twelve thousand bits’ worth of extremely dangerous magical crystals and the genius machine developed by one of the most powerful magic users in history.

While Blueblood waited for the animation spell to complete, he removed his clothes. He studied the clone, a look at how he would have appeared as a mare. The clone’s horn looked more delicate. It had graceful curves and slender legs. Its mane and tail were his gold, but looked in desperate need of being styled.

He felt the animation spell complete, a sensation in his head akin to the vibration of a bell that had just been rung. And the clone watched him with dull eyes, more animal than pony. Blueblood approached, brushing its body with his own. He leaned over and nuzzled the clone, and then nipped its ear. Responding to his stimulus, the clone bowed its head submissively. He’d had more than a few marefriends who liked this kind of play, so he knew what techniques to use.

He walked behind the pony clone, rubbing his muzzle under its tail. It raised its tail, presenting itself to him. Blueblood looked down, and despite the lack of passion in this situation, found himself hard. Without further ado, he mounted the clone.

Blueblood initially met resistance; apparently, the clone spell was very thorough. With a firm push, he broke through its hymen. The clone bowed its head and whinnied. It was a slightly disturbing reaction, not at all like the mares whose virginity he had taken. Missing were the cries of pain, and the comforting words he used in response as he urged the mare to continue.

Blueblood continued to thrust. Thirty seconds later, he felt the familiar pressure build in his balls, and he came hard in the clone, but not long. He was glad a real mare didn’t see his embarrassing performance, but then again, it had been two months.

He dismounted, and again, the clone stood still. Time for phase two. He nudged the clone, moving it to the bed, maintaining an instinctual relationship with it via nuzzles and bites. Once it reached the bed, he pushed it onto its back.

That was the point when a mare would normally help him recover, using her mouth. But the clone knew nothing, so Blueblood was forced to use his hooves, stroking himself until he was hard again. He positioned himself over the clone, using his legs to spread its hind legs, and slid in.

The mares he knew who liked seapony style were big on kissing, and loved being muzzle to muzzle. Again, the clone didn’t react like a mare. It exposed its neck. Blueblood nipped its neck and ears as he thrust into the clone’s tight tunnel. He was lasting a lot longer, but without the normal passion of a thinking mare, he just wanted it to be over. He picked up his speed, thrusting roughly, not that the clone reacted to the change in speed. It took ten long minutes before he felt his second orgasm arrive. He wrapped his forelegs tightly around the clone as he fired, the orgasm feeling less intense.

Now, the morphic magic should kick in. Remembering his night with Melodia, he brushed his horn against the clone’s. He reached to his seapony magic and imagined the ovipositor taking shape. He envisioned the transfer of the embryo from him to his partner.

He waited for a long time. Nothing happened. None of the books on seaponies had given technical specifications about how the transfer happened. He didn’t know how long it was supposed to take, but he was fairly certain he had been near Melodia for a much shorter time. But more importantly, he didn’t feel any magic at work.

What went wrong? He replayed that summer tryst in his mind, the powerful orgasm, the heightened sensation provided by her magic at work, the feeling that was powerful enough to cover up the feeling of her impregnating him.

That’s it. She did the impregnating. For the spell to work, it had to go from mare to stallion.

Blueblood pulled away from the clone as he felt a powerful pain in his abdomen. He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth as a feeling, at first like a leg cramp but twenty times worse, wracked his body. He tried moving, stretching, twisting, anything. The pain changed to a strange pulling feeling. A tingling feeling then spread over his body.

Had Blueblood been able to think clearly, he might have recalled that a spell matrix is designed to keep spells active, and this matrix was maintaining a morphic spell that reacted to his thoughts. He might also have remembered that a spell matrix keeps the spells within its crystals linked, and that he had defined the organic creation spell to be in relation to his own body. But none of that registered. He was barely aware of his own screams and the whinnies of the clone.

Then the pain stopped. Panting heavily, he dared to open his eyes. He was lying on his back, limbs akimbo, a sheen of sweat covering his coat. He felt moisture trickle between his legs. He inhaled sharply as he felt a pleasurable feeling he had never experienced before, from his lower lips.

He stared. Between his legs, he no longer had his normal equipment, but a mare’s vagina. He saw two teats above them, glistening. And then he saw the clone. It was now in male form, looking like Blueblood in every detail save for the lack of cutie marks. And one such detail was its hard shaft.

Seeing a mare presenting herself, the clone reacted to instinct. It leaned in to nip her neck. But she scurried away. It would chase her, and prove itself to be a worthy mate by winning the chase.

From his position, Blueblood felt pure, unadulterated panic. He needed to get away, and now. He crawled off the bed, but stumbled. His legs, still weak from the transformation, got caught up in the blankets and sheets. He kicked them away, but his forehooves lost their purchase on the basement floor. He landed hard on his face, rump stuck in the air.

The clone saw its conquest submit to its majesty. It moved its muzzle under her tail and inhaled, and then whinnied in triumph.

Blueblood shivered as he felt the clone’s hot breath on his sensitive nethers. He freaked and fought his way back to his hooves. But before he could move, he felt the clone press against his side, squeezing him against the bed.

The clone pressed against its mare. It leaned down and bit her neck and ear, knowing she would submit.

Blueblood yelped as he felt the clone bite him twice. With the bite on his ear, he lowered his head and lifted his tail. It took him a moment to realize he had done that. These instincts of ancient ponykind were buried deep in his mind, and being unused to the sensations of his female body, they came to the surface and guided his actions. And before he could recover, he felt a pony’s weight upon him.

The clone saw its mare had fully submitted. It reared and placed his legs on its mare’s withers. It would breed her and mark her with its scent.

Blueblood opened his mouth in a silent scream as the clone mounted him. With its first thrust, he was sure it wouldn’t fit. Its second thrust proved him wrong, and he felt a twinge as its shaft pressed against a membrane. The third thrust broke his hymen, and he screamed for real. When he finished screaming, his pain was fading, being replaced by an alien feeling that was beginning to feel pleasurable. He shook his head and tried to get away, but the clone had a firm grasp just above his neck. As he moved, it followed suit. He turned around to get a better look, but felt another bite on his abused ear.

The mare moved, but the clone understood its role. It was the master, and it would not let go until it released its seed. The mare moved her head, so she needed to be reminded to submit.

Blueblood felt his neck bow instinctively, lower than before. With that subtle shift in his stance, the clone’s shaft rubbed a spot within Blueblood. He gasped in pleasure. Nothing he knew as a stallion could match this feeling! He closed his eyes and reveled in the bliss. The wrongness of the whole situation was no longer on his mind. There was just him and this cock, and it was so very very right. He felt a wonderful pressure grow within him. And when the clone bit his neck one last time, the pressure burst. Pleasure flooded his body, radiating out from his center. He felt his inner walls pull greedily on the cock within him. It continued to push through the pressure. Just as Blueblood came down from his high, he felt the clone hilt within him and not pull out. Something warm and wet filled him in brief pulses. There was so much, and it felt wonderful!

The clone bit the mare one more time. It felt the end of the mating nearing. When its body felt ready, it thrust in the mare, releasing its seed, whinnying in triumph. It pulled out, and looked for any other mares to mark as its property. Seeing none, it stood still.

Blueblood felt the clone pull out. Cool air brushed his lower lips, and he felt very empty. He came down from his high, and nearly vomited when he thought about what happened. He was treated like a common mare by a beast no better than an animal. The clone’s semen dripped out of him, white tinged with the red of his own blood, and he could feel it drying into a crust. His legs felt weak, and he didn’t know if it was because of being ridden or because of the orgasm he had felt. He chanced a look back, and saw the clone standing there, just an unthinking animal.

Blueblood curled into a ball, wrapping himself in the blankets and sheets. He pressed on his belly. His foal was still there. All he went through, for nothing. The magic wasn’t working to move the foal, even though he was now a mare. He had failed.

Prince Blueblood concentrated on the three spells he had cast, commanding them in turn to unwind. At least nopony had seen him in this moment of abject failure.

And then he heard a pop.

Chapter 5: A Royal Swim

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 5: A Royal Swim


That was a sound Prince Blueblood wasn’t expecting to hear. To his side, the organic mass he had summoned was dissolving with a slightly disturbing sizzling sound. And the transformation on his own body, while feeling strange, was proceeding silently. So where did that pop come from?

The cocoon of blankets around his body was suddenly pulled away. He turned and flinched at what he saw.

Princess Twilight Sparkle loomed over him. Anger didn’t even begin to describe the expression on her face. Raw magical energy, like flames, flickered over her body and lit her eyes. He watched as she took the blankets and sheets into a tight ball, which she then immolated. All the while, she never took her eyes off him.

“Upstairs. Now,” she ordered.

Blueblood jumped to his hooves and scurried up the stairs. Twilight Sparkle followed, the stomping of her hooves resounding through the basement. Once back in the library, she slammed the door hard. Her horn flared, and a locking spell sealed the basement door.

“How could you be so stupid? What were you thinking?” Twilight Sparkle yelled at Blueblood. He didn’t know how to respond, but she wasn’t going to let him speak anyway. “Do you even know the kind of danger you were in? Do you?” She pressed her muzzle to his. “Sit. Down.” she ordered.

Blueblood backed up until he collapsed onto a couch. “Princess Twilight Sparkle, I can explain,” he started.

“Yes, you can explain. Explain what the hell you were thinking!”

“I was just trying to fix myself,” he said weakly.

“Fix? Fix?? I know what you were trying to do, from the spells I detected. And you should thank your lucky stars that your plan was never going to work. Princess Celestia wasn’t making casual conversation when she told you about the life magic at work here. You could have killed yourself!”

Twilight Sparkle closed her eyes and pressed her hooves to her forehead. She retreated to the kitchen, coming back with a kettle of boiling water and a cup with willow bark. She poured the water in the cup, and stared at it while waiting for her tea to be ready.

Blueblood waited silently, staring at the walls, while occasionally stealing a glance at the upset alicorn in the room. Twilight Sparkle was breathing heavily and still looked extraordinarily angry. Finally, she took a gulp of her tea and set her cup back down.

“Okay, I’ve decided what you’re going to do,” Twilight Sparkle said, finally speaking in a calmer voice. She concentrated, and pulled one book off a library shelf, depositing on the couch next to Blueblood. “While I’m gone, you’re going to read this book, and write for me a thousand words about what you learned and how it relates to your current situation.”

Prince Blueblood stared at her, dumbfounded. “Are you... are you assigning me a book report?”

“Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing,” she replied. “It’s the best I can think of on short notice. When I get back, we’re going to have another talk. Now, do you know why I risked my own health, making three long range teleports with barely enough time in between to recover my magical energy?”


“Because when those alarms from my spell matrix triggered in my mind, I was afraid you were in trouble, maybe even dying. In the time you spent here, away from Canterlot, away from the petty nobles and their petty pettiness, I came to see you as a good pony, maybe even a friend. And if I can save a dying friend, then I’m going to do anything I can.

“But then I came home and saw a pony who cared only about himself and his position. And if that’s all you care about, then let me make one thing absolutely clear, Blueblood. I outrank you. One word to Princess Celestia, and you’re going back to Canterlot, where your new baby bump can be on full display. So, if you don’t want that to happen, I highly suggest you get to reading that book.”

Blueblood glanced at the book, entitled Seven Medical Miracles. He tucked it under his foreleg. “As you wish, Princess,” he replied formally.

“There’s one more thing. I want you to promise not to do anything to harm yourself or your foal,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“Fine. I promise,” he replied.

“This is serious. Make a Pinkie Promise.” She waited, but then realized Blueblood probably wouldn’t know what that was. “Repeat after me. ‘Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.’”

“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my ow!” Blueblood, repeating Twilight Sparkle’s words and mimicking her gestures, accidentally poked himself in his eye. “What’s so special about that?”

“Nopony breaks a Pinkie Promise,” she explained. “Because breaking a Pinkie Promise is the surest way to lose a friend....”

“Forever!” Pinkie Pie warned. Blueblood blinked. The pink mare had popped out of a vase that was clearly too small to fit her. And besides, wasn’t she supposed to be in Canterlot?

“Thank you, Pinkie Pie,” Twilight Sparkle said, completely unfazed. She finished her tea. “Now, the chariot should be arriving soon. I’ll leave you to your book. And Blueblood? If you have any worries, I want you to talk to me. I’ll be there to listen to you, because that’s what friends do.”

“And I think I see the chariot now!” Pinkie Pie said, pointing out the window.

“Okay, Blueblood. I’m heading back to Canterlot,” Twilight Sparkle said. “And I’m serious. I want you to be able to talk to me.”

“Have a safe trip, Princess, Pinkie Pie,” Blueblood said He stayed safely ensconced on his couch while the two mares departed. Once they were gone, and the library was again silent, he could hear the pounding of his heart.

The anger Twilight Sparkle had shown was terrifying. Even after teleporting all the way from Canterlot, a nearly impossible feat even in three hops, she still unleashed enough magical power to make the average unicorn jealous. But more frightening was Pinkie Pie, who revealed herself to be an earth pony who defied all laws of magic.

But then the rational side of Blueblood’s mind kicked in. What, exactly, would Twilight Sparkle do? And could an oath of a magical nature, made under duress without all parties having a full understanding of it, hold in a court of law? Surely not.

Then why did the prospect of losing Twilight Sparkle’s friendship bother him so?

Blueblood sighed and picked up the book. It was an easy read, likely adapted from a series of lectures or magazine articles. Assuming she had read the book before, Twilight Sparkle was probably thinking of the second and the seventh case. The first of those concerned a mare, left brain-dead following a tragic accident, and the complications surrounding keeping her body alive so that her foal could grow to term.

The final story in the book was particularly interesting. For one, one of the doctors involved was his own doctor back in Canterlot, Well Heart. The case involved a griffin stallion and pegasus mare trying to have a foal. The two races are normally compatible, but this mare had suffered numerous miscarriages. The doctors discovered that her body was treating the embryo like a foreign invader, fighting it like an infection. It took incredible feats of medicine and spellcraft to trick the mare’s body into believing the embryo was part of itself, forming a protective barrier that still allowed the foal to develop normally. And in the end, all the difficult work paid off, and the couple had a healthy hippogriff filly.

Blueblood rested a hoof on his abdomen. If something like that had happened to him, he never would have learned about the finer details of seapony reproduction, and he would be back in Canterlot. But he suspected that was not what Twilight Sparkle wanted to see him write. He set aside the book, planning on writing his report later.

Getting back outside was a relief for Prince Blueblood. He was alone, just him and his thoughts, and focusing on his work put the thoughts of angry princesses out of his mind. Today, he was surveying the border between two of the outlying farms on the edge of the Everfree Forest. The town’s laws had a variety of provisions, probably traditions that had been codified, detailing how borders worked with the forest. Long story short, he didn’t have to go into that accursed forest, and he was glad.

Walking along the border between the Apple and Carrot farms, he tried not to look at the buildings. Giant images of their respective crops adorned the buildings in a most garish fashion. He kept his eyes on the border, right until the point when it ran into a pond.

He checked his maps, finding no disagreement that the border ran through the pond and that the water was shared by both farms. It was a pleasant-looking body of water, with ice collecting along its edges, clear where the afternoon sun broke through the trees and shined on the surface.

He suddenly realized he hadn’t gone swimming since leaving Canterlot. And he wanted to.

The ridiculous thought wouldn’t leave his mind. He stuck his hoof in the freezing water, but soon felt warmth radiate down his leg. He felt for his magic, and noticed the seapony magic at work with his own.

That made sense. Seaponies lived in the water during winter, after all.

Blueblood set down his tools and maps and struggled out of his tight jacket. After disrobing, he tested the water again with his hoof. Satisfied, he dove into the pond.

Crystal clear water flew past Blueblood as he swam, powerful kicks of his legs propelling his body across the pond. It felt so right and natural, like he was back in his element. He practiced several strokes as he swam laps across the pond. At times, he swam briefly under the ice at the edge of the pond. The winter sun filtered through the ice was a sight to behold.

Blueblood thought about Twilight Sparkle’s suggestion about learning about the magic manifesting in him, truly understanding it in a way that would allow him to replicate this feeling of being home within the water using only his horn. But then he remembered the anger on her face. He doubted she would ever trust him enough to teach him magic again.

Suddenly, his swim became rote, mere exercise to work his muscles. He persisted, swimming enough laps to approximate his normal swim routine at home. Then, to cheer himself up, he decided to end his swim with a jump. He swam down, nearly touching the bottom of the pond, before ascending rapidly. His legs kicked as the water got brighter and he approached the water’s surface. He breached the surface, but not with the dolphin-like grace he pictured in his mind. Maybe a true seapony could have made that jump, but all he accomplished was a quick belly flop, splashing water everywhere. Blueblood swam to the edge of the pond and pulled himself out of the water. Then he heard applause, the stomping of hooves. He realized with horror that he had an unexpected audience.

“Bravo, bravo! I never thought I’d see somepony crazy enough to swim in the middle of winter!”

Blueblood cleared his throat. “Sorry. It was presumptuous of me to swim without your permission.”

“Ah, don’t you worry none. Anypony’s free to use the swimming hole. Of course, most ponies wait until it’s warm out. Name’s Golden Harvest, by the way.”

“Prince Blueblood. I found the water surprisingly pleasant,” he replied. He assessed this mystery mare. She was an earth pony with a golden coat, a curly orange mane, and a cutie mark of carrots adorning a well-toned flank. She probably spent a lot of time bending over. A hint of a smile crossed his face as he pictured the scene in his mind.

“I can’t wait to tell my husband about this!” she continued.

“Oh,” Blueblood uttered. While some ponies cared little about marital bonds when pursuing a mare, in particular his friend Full Sail, Blueblood had bad memories of one such pursuit that, well, didn’t turn out as he had expected. “What do you mean by that?” he asked.

“It’s a running joke. If there’s some disaster befalling Ponyville, or some unusual visitor, or even a big shindig, I’m the one in town to witness it, while Golden Grain is tending to the farm. And the day he’s tending to the cart in town? Something funny happens here.”

“I suppose. I’ve never really thought of Ponyville that way.”

“Why don’t you come inside and warm up?” Golden Harvest offered. “You’ve got to be freezing.”

“Thank you, but I’m fine,” Blueblood tried to say, but the warming magic finally ceased in the middle of his sentence. His last words were lost, buried by the sound of his chattering teeth. He nodded in assent, picking up his clothes with his magic.

Golden Harvest’s home was old, cramped, and cluttered. But the fireplace was lit, and that was all that was important to Blueblood. The mare directed him to a chair near the fireplace, and passed him a crocheted blanket. He wrinkled his nose at the faint musty smell of the hoofcrafted blanket, but decided warmth was more important.

Golden Harvest returned, carrying a small glass of clear liquid. “This will help you warm up,” she said as she gave him the glass. Blueblood sipped, feeling a pleasant burn as strong liquor went down his throat. He did feel warmer.

Blueblood examined the alcohol, taking in its aroma and savoring the lingering taste on his tongue. “This is quite good,” he said. “There’s just the faintest hint of flavor, and I can’t place it. What is it?”

“It’s carrot vodka, made with this farm’s crop. Golden Grain distills it himself. Sorry we don’t have any champagne.”

Blueblood sniffed. “Champagne gets old after a while. There’s a few of us in Canterlot who appreciate a good hard liquor. If you have a bottle for sale, I think I’d like to send one off as a gift.”

Golden Harvest smiled. “Now that I can do!” She headed out of the room, soon coming back with a crudely labeled bottle. “We charge twenty bits per bottle. If you want to come back later, we can work something out, or you can stop by the market....”

“No need. I can pay now,” Blueblood interrupted. His pouch always contained a lot more than twenty bits. He levitated the pouch out of his jacket, resting on a nearby table, and pulled out enough bits for the purchase.

“Aren’t you going to finish your glass?” she asked.

Blueblood examined the glass. Once he knew it was alcohol, he didn’t want to drink it anymore. “I am working, you know,” he said.

Golden Harvest laughed sharply. “Sure, working. Could’ve fooled me.”

“I was surveying your property before I took a break,” Blueblood said.

“So I’ve heard. And how do you like Ponyville?”

“It’s... tolerable,” Blueblood said.

“You must have pissed off Princess Celestia something fierce to get sent out here.”

Blueblood choked over the mare’s bluntness. He searched for a diplomatic response. “I suspect Princess Celestia thinks it would do every noble some good to stay away from Canterlot for an extended period. And I’m in no place to argue with her when I’m asked to do my job.”

“Hey. Anypony with good taste in liquor is welcome around here. Broth’s probably ready.” Golden Harvest departed the room once again. This time, she returned with a chipped clay mug. Steam rose from the liquid it held.

“Thank you,” Blueblood said as he accepted the mug. He inhaled the aroma of the vegetable broth before sipping. The flavor of carrots predominated. The warm liquid was very welcome. Before he knew it, he was holding an empty mug, and feeling much better.

“Best way to deal with winter,” Golden Harvest said.

“The best way to deal with winter is to stay inside,” Blueblood said. “But we can’t always get what we want.” Blueblood’s smile faded as he realized just how true that statement was.

“Yeah,” Golden Harvest said, quieter than before. Blueblood noticed a hint of sadness in her expression. An awkward silence filled the room, one that couldn’t be covered by the crackling fire.

“I suppose I should get going,” Blueblood said. “Thank you very much for your hospitality, Golden Harvest.”

She perked up. “Yeah, it was nice meeting you, Prince Blueblood. Maybe we’ll see you at a barn dance later!”

“Perhaps,” he replied, in lieu of immediately rejecting her offer. Who did she think he was? But as he forced his growing form into his jacket, Blueblood thought about the day. To be invited into somepony’s home, just like that? Back in Canterlot, a visit that wasn’t part of a formal party or a business deal would immediately be suspect. But this mare welcomed him into her home, for no reason other than to be hospitable. It was... nice.

After completing his workday, Blueblood returned to the library. The book was still there, waiting for him to write his book report. Best to get that out of the way now.

He started his writing with a summary of the stories and their shared theme, the triumph of pony will over adversity, of medicine and magic over any problem. It was blatant padding of word count, but Twilight Sparkle couldn’t fault him for following her instructions to the letter. Then, it was time to write about the stories that hit closest to home.

“The urge to carry on one’s lineage is one of the basest and strongest instincts of any species, including ponies,” he wrote. Blueblood shuddered as he remembered just how true that was. “Thus, it is not surprising the efforts doctors and unicorns went to in order to help Yellow Rose and Fair Weather ensure the health of their foals. But they shared a common characteristic. The families wanted their foals.”

Blueblood stared at the page. He knew what he wanted to say, and he knew that if he wrote those words, it would upset Twilight Sparkle. He searched his mental lexicon of diplomatic phrases, but nothing felt right. She said she wanted to talk. If he remembered correctly, she said that multiple times. Blueblood was going to give her something to talk about. He picked up the quill pen in his magical aura and dipped it in the inkpot.

“In other circumstances, we never would have learned their names,” he continued writing. “Had Fair Weather found love with a pony, she would not have suffered problems with her pregnancies, and she would have been just one of many normal, happy mothers. I find myself wishing to have her condition. Then I would have remained blissfully ignorant of how a stallion could become pregnant, and I would be leading my own life in Canterlot. I may never be as important as the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony. I may pale in comparison when my life’s accomplishments are weighed against somepony like Doctor Well Heart. But in that, I would not mind, as it was the life I made for myself.”

Blueblood replaced the quill pen in the inkpot. He felt his heart pounding. Writing this, finally putting into words what was in his mind, was a welcome cathartic experience.

He would have a lot to talk about when Twilight Sparkle returned.

Hearts and Hooves Day Special: A Royal Family

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A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Further disclaimer: Contains clop. For mature audiences only. All characters, although fictional, are intended to portray consenting adults.

Hearts and Hooves Day Special: A Royal Family

Prince Blueblood heard the click of the door opening downstairs. He gave one last stir to the pot on the stove, then set the spoon down and hurried downstairs.

“Welcome home, dear. How was work?” he asked.

The mare loosened her collar and untied her mane. She shook her head, and a cascade of blue and green hair shimmered in the light. “You know how it is. Every day, I curse the pony who invented paper.”

Blueblood laughed. “Oh, Melodia. I’m so happy I gave that up.” He felt a tug on the string of his apron. The foal strapped to his chest looked up at him and smiled, babbling cutely. “That’s right, Blue Seas,” he singsonged to the foal. He bopped the foal lightly on the muzzle, eliciting a giggle.

“Let me take Blue Seas off your hooves.” Melodia lifted the foal in her magical aura, placing the infant on her back. “And how are you feeling, Blueblood?”

“My hooves ache, but it’s nothing I haven’t experienced before.” He gave a start. “Oh! He kicked again!”

“'He?' How do you know?”

“A stallion always knows,” Blueblood replied, smiling. He pressed a hoof to his swollen abdomen and the twins he was carrying.

He felt Melodia take his hoof in hers. With her magic, she pulled off his apron. “Dinner can wait. Let me pamper you first.”

Melodia led Blueblood to the bedroom. He stretched out on the bed, happy to give his hooves a rest. Melodia first placed the foal in the crib, and then crawled onto the bed. She took his left foreleg between her hooves and started to massage it. Blueblood whinnied in pleasure as his mate’s hooves worked the aches out of his fetlock, pastern, and hoof.

Melodia gave a light kiss to the frog of Blueblood’s hoof, and then went to his other foreleg, tending to it. By the time she was done, Blueblood was visibly relaxed. His eyes were closed, and he rested on his back, limbs splayed against the bed.

She stole a quick kiss from Blueblood. “You look so beautiful, dear.”

“But I feel so bloated and heavy, and my stretch marks really itch,” he complained.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.” Her hooves roamed over his round belly, and he hummed in approval.

Blueblood felt a pleasant warmth spread through his body. “Ahhh, that’s nice.”

“Do you feel big and beautiful?” Melodia asked?

Blueblood nodded in reply.

“Good, because I’m going to keep you all nice and round.”

Melodia kissed Blueblood deeply, her tongue playing over his, her hooves caressing his body. She gently covered his body with her own.

Blueblood sighed, feeling the comforting weight of his mate’s body on his own. Their horns touched, and magic flowed over their bodies. He spread his hind legs in anticipation as the initial tingle of magic faded. He moaned as their bodies connected intimately, a connection only they could share. His plump belly jiggled with each thrust. A sheen of sweat covered his coat and dripped from their union.

“Oh, Blueblood, I think you’d look even more beautiful with quadruplets,” Melodia whispered. He gasped as pleasure filled his body once again. He opened his eyes, and saw his abdomen, swollen so large that he couldn’t reach his legs over it. He wasn’t sure his hooves would even be able to reach the ground if he were on his belly. But that was all right. There was no place he’d rather be than with Melodia, no feeling he’d rather have than to be with foal. With many foals.

From deep in the back of his mind, a tiny voice tried to shout “no”. His forelegs cradled his abdomen, and he thought yes. But the small voice was insistent and growing louder. The peaceful feeling surrounding him vibrated, cracked, and finally shattered. “NOOOOO!”


Blueblood awoke with a gasp. Sheets, clammy and damp with sweat, clung to his body. He pushed them aside, looking at himself under the light of the moon, and he sighed in relief. He pressed his hoof to his abdomen. It was still larger than it should be, being five months pregnant, but at least he wasn’t freakishly large. Of the mare responsible for making him like this, there was no sign. The library was still.

As the memories of the dream faded, one thought remained in Blueblood’s mind. He dearly hoped Princess Luna wasn’t watching over his dreams tonight.

Chapter 6: A Royal Menace

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A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 6: A Royal Menace

Prince Blueblood heard a click from the front door of the library. The moment he had been dreading had arrived. Twilight Sparkle had returned. He set down the book he was reading and looked to the door.

Twilight Sparkle arrived, carrying only her saddlebags. She was alone; not even Spike was with her. “Welcome back, Twilight Sparkle,” he greeted her.

“Thank you, Prince Blueblood,” she replied evenly. He steeled himself, waiting for the other horseshoe to drop. “I’d like to apologize for my reaction two days ago.”

“What?” he sputtered. “I thought I did something unforgivable.”

“You did, and I’m not forgiving you,” she replied. Blueblood frowned. “But I let my emotions get the better of me. I overreacted. What I did was not something a princess should have done.”

“You are only equine. What I did was terrible, I know.”

“I mean, what if I had reacted like that to a provocation from an ambassador? I could have hurt all of Equestria! What if this was a test from Princess Celestia? I failed. I must have failed!”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve always been Princess Celestia’s favorite,” Blueblood stated.

The library fell silent, and Blueblood could feel Twilight Sparkle’s eyes boring into him. A furious expression grew on her face, fortunately without her body releasing raw magical energy. But even without her aura, that look frightened him. “Princess Celestia loves all her little ponies,” she hissed.

“She does,” he replied meekly. He stood up and backed away. “You must be tired, and I don’t want to get in the way of your unpacking. My report is on your desk, when you’re ready to read it. I’ll be in my room.”

Twilight Sparkle didn’t pursue Blueblood. It looked like she was trying to calm herself down, and he took the opportunity to strategically withdraw from that battle. But that just meant more waiting, more dread of their next encounter. He tried reading a book, but couldn’t keep focus on it long enough to even read a page. He crawled onto his bed, pulling a pillow over his head.

Some time later, he heard a knock on the door. “Prince Blueblood, may I talk to you?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“Of course. Come in,” he replied.

The door opened, and Twilight Sparkle entered, carrying what Blueblood recognized to be his report in her magical aura. “I read your report,” she said. “Is this truly how you feel?”

“Yes. This can’t possibly be a surprise,” he replied.

“Actually, I thought you were capable of handling it. The changeling invasion didn’t faze you.”

“Securing my estate and marshaling my personal guard in time of national emergency is something I’ve trained for. This is entirely different.”

“Why is it different?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“Because, well... because it is!” Blueblood sputtered. “I can’t deal with a foal!”

“Plenty of ponies find themselves pregnant each year. For many, it is a surprise. They adjust, and handle the change a lot better than you. That includes a few mares you’ve known, I suspect.”

“That has nothing to do with it,” Blueblood countered. Twilight Sparkle just looked him in the eye. “Okay, maybe it has something to do with it. But I can’t simply acknowledge a foal. Even if it’s entirely ceremonial now, the title Prince of the Unicorns is still perceived as important. It’s supposed to go to my foal born of a union that’s as much political as familial. This, this,” he said, pointing to his abdomen in emphasis, “is a problem that you just can’t understand.”

“Princess Celestia understands,” Twilight Sparkle said. “She sent you here. I’m sure the rumors will still float around Canterlot, but they’ll just sound unbelievable. And if you can’t have an heir, there are a lot of ponies who would be glad to have a foal of their own. Adoption, Prince Blueblood. Think about it.”

“It’s hard not to think about it,” he said. “I’m having strange dreams. I can’t fit into my jackets. My hooves ache, and my pasterns are swollen. And I’m not even halfway done with this horror.”

Twilight Sparkle thought for a moment. “I can’t help you accept your situation, except to be there to listen to you. But these symptoms I can help you with. Willow bark tea will help with the aches, chamomile will help you sleep, and you can get your clothes altered. We do have a remarkable fashion designer in Ponyville. Just be ready to apologize.”

“Apologize? For what?”

“I think you should figure that out on your own.”

Twilight Sparkle’s cryptic statement irritated Prince Blueblood. Even spending the night thinking about it didn’t help. From all his interactions with her, he gathered that she held a radically different view of life, despite being born into minor nobility and raised into the ranks of actual nobility. And knowing that he was going to be visiting a place called Carousel Boutique didn’t help. The name was familiar to him, fashions that were favored by younger and more daring members of the Canterlot elite. He didn’t expect the designer to be living in Ponyville.

Blueblood discovered the name to be quite literal as he found the carousel-shaped building, another one of the architectural monstrosities that beset the town. He pushed open the door; a small bell chimed.

A mare called to him. “Welcome to Carousel Boutique, where everything is chic, unique, and... YOU!” The attractive unicorn was scowling at him with an anger that rivaled Twilight Sparkle’s. What in the world would inspire such a reaction to his noble being?

Then it dawned on him. Rarity. From that disastrous Grand Galloping Gala. “Oh, dear,” he whispered.

“How could you think you could show your face in here?” Rarity harrumphed. “The nerve of some ponies!”

“I’m here because I need the services of a seamstress,” Blueblood said. “And to apologize,” he added quietly.

He wasn’t quiet enough. “Do you think an apology is going to make up for ruining my gala?” Rarity said.

“Oh, you mean the gala ruined by you and your friends?” Blueblood countered.

“Oh, sure, blame me. I’m the entire reason you acted like a pompous ass. If you weren’t interested in my company, all you had to do was say something!”

Blueblood opened his mouth to retort. His response was an obvious one. Commoners simply don’t consort with nobles. Not that it ever stopped the many mares, and occasional stallion, who tried to win his notice. His dismissive behavior should have made that obvious. He simply didn’t have time to do otherwise.

But instead, he said something different. “You’re right. I never deserved your attention in the first place.”

Rarity looked ready to continue her rant, but all she could utter was an “Oh.”

“Please, continue to give Equestria the gift of your generosity. I don’t deserve it. All I’m asking today is to be just another customer.”

The boutique was silent for a minute. “I suppose I could do that,” Rarity finally said. “I shan’t turn down a customer with a fashion emergency. Now, how can I help you?”

“I need to get some clothes let out,” he admitted. “I, uh, have been eating too many hay fries.”

Rarity inspected Blueblood, noticing the strain his form was placing on his jacket. “I can see that. Now, take off your jacket, step up, and let’s get you measured.”

Blueblood stood quietly as Rarity took his measurements. She worked efficiently, the tape measure rapidly moving across his body. “Well, this shouldn’t take long,” Rarity said. “It’s a simple alteration, not much different from....” She paused and tittered. “But that’s just silly.”

“Yes, of course,” he replied neutrally. Yes, I know I need maternity clothes, he thought.

Blueblood wandered around the shop as Rarity worked on his clothes. Most of the ponyquins held dresses, ranging from the casually elegant to the utterly frivolous. Many wouldn’t be out of place at a Canterlot social event. He preferred not to think about dresses at this time.

Over in the back room of the shop, hidden from easy view, Blueblood noticed a curious creation. It was a rather unattractive overcoat, plaid in color and probably made of some low grade material, but it had one important feature. It was long, and would hang at least to his knees.

“How much for that overcoat?” Blueblood asked.

“Hmm?” Rarity replied, looking up from her work. She followed Blueblood’s gaze, and when she saw the garment, her eye twitched. “You can’t possibly be serious. That’s a lumberjack’s coat. The only reason to buy such a hideous thing is to protect you from the elements.”

“You don’t look happy to have made it.”

“Well, we do have a number of loggers in Ponyville, and if they need clothes, I’m happy to provide them.”

“I need a coat like that. I will be outdoors during the coldest months of winter, and as you can see, the jackets I brought aren’t good at keeping me warm,” Blueblood explained.

“I’m afraid that coat is spoken for. And if you want to purchase an overcoat, at least let me make one out of higher quality material.”

Blueblood smiled. “I think that is quite fair, milady. I look forward to seeing your work.”

Prince Blueblood sat at the kitchen table. He idly stirred a cup of tea, watching the patterns in the cup. A half-eaten plate of pancakes rested before him, forgotten.

“What’s bothering you, Prince Blueblood?” Twilight Sparkle asked him.

“I had another one of those weird dreams,” he replied.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“It’s frightening, in a way. It’s not a nightmare, but in these dreams, I’m seeing myself living a life that’s not my own, a parent and docile mare. It’s like we talked about earlier. It’s not my life, and what bothers me the most is that in these dreams, I’ve accepted the situation.”

“I suspect it’s hormones at work,” Twilight Sparkle suggested. “If so, then you have nothing to worry about. The feelings will pass once you’re no longer pregnant.” She paused before continuing. “There’s nothing strange about being a parent, you know. I don’t know why the prospect is bothering you.”

“It’s still a foreign concept.”

“Really? You were a foal once, too. Think about how your parents raised you,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“They were distant. I spent more time with my servants and tutors.”

“Brothers and sisters?”

“I’m an only child,” Blueblood stated.

“You must have interacted with foals sometime,” Twilight Sparkle said. Blueblood shook his head. “Really? No relatives, cousins maybe?”

“I have some, but during formal gatherings, foals are seen, but not heard.”

“You’re not making this easy, Blueblood. I think that if you interacted more with foals, the prospect of having one of your own wouldn’t bother your subconscious so much. But I’m not sure the best way to handle that.”

“If you come up with something, let me know,” Blueblood said. “Anyway, it’s time for work.” He finished his cold pancakes before levitating the plate into the sink.

When Prince Blueblood returned home that evening, Twilight Sparkle had a big smile on her face. It wasn’t a normal expression of joy. Something about that smile was unsettling. “I have the perfect idea!” she exclaimed.

“Idea for what?” Blueblood asked.

“How to make you more comfortable about foals! I found a family willing to help you. You’re going to be a foalsitter!”

“You can’t possibly be serious,” Blueblood intoned.

There was that unnerving smile again. “I am serious. You need to learn to see foals as ponies like you or me, only younger. This is only for one night, and it’s an older filly, so you don’t need to worry about diapers or bottles. And before you object and call that an unseemly task for a prince, I’ll remind you that Princess Cadance spoke highly of her time as a foalsitter.”

“Yes, but I am not Princess Cadance.”

“And I’m sure Shining Armor is eternally grateful for that. But that doesn’t change the fact that I want you to try your hoof at foalsitting. Just try it once, and see how it goes.”

Blueblood stared at Twilight Sparkle. He scowled, but it didn’t change her cheery expression. “You’re really not going to give up this idea, are you?” he finally asked.

“No. And you’ll do fine. It’s one of Ponyville’s most prominent families, and the filly is like you in so many ways.”

Blueblood gulped.

Prince Blueblood sighed as he walked up Melody Lane. He had been here once before, when he was surveying the property lines, but this was the first time he really looked at the street. A divided flagstone street, lined with perfectly trimmed trees, Melody Lane was a passable imitation of a classic Canterlot boulevard. The stately mansions were set well back from the street, protected from view by large hedges and blocked off by wrought iron fences. His target was the first mansion on the right.

Blueblood rang the bell. He was surprised when the door was answered not by a butler, but by an older earth pony stallion he recognized as Filthy Rich. “A good evening to you, Prince Blueblood,” he greeted him. “Please, do come in.”

He entered, surveying a mansion that, much like the street outside, imitated the finest in Canterlot. But was simply impossible to duplicate the refinement of a distinguished family estate in a town less than a century old. “Thank you for the invitation. But where is the filly? Where is everypony?”

“I have granted the staff the evening off. I, myself, will soon be departing; business calls, and I need to catch the late train to Canterlot. And as for your charge this evening....” Filthy Rich cleared his throat. “Diamond Tiara, you come out and greet your foalsitter,” he called.

“I don’t need a stupid foalsitter!” a filly’s voice yelled from upstairs.

“If you don’t want me to reconsider the length of your grounding, you will come down here right now,” he stated.

Hooffalls, far heavier than those that would be generated by a happy filly, announced the appearance of Blueblood’s charge. The pink filly with a violet and white mane continued to stomp as she came down the stairs. She wore a gaudy tiara, like some beauty pageant winner, and curiously, carried a small basket on her back. She scowled at Blueblood.

“Prince Blueblood, this is my daughter, Diamond Tiara. Diamond Tiara, please introduce yourself to your foalsitter.”

“I told you, I’m too old for a foalsitter! I have my cutie mark!”

Filthy Rich looked his daughter in the eye. “I agree that a filly your age should be mature enough to spend the night without a foalsitter. You, however, were caught insulting the sister of one of my company’s most important suppliers, after I have explicitly told you, many times, not to do so. Therefore, you are clearly not mature enough to be on your own this evening. Now, I believe I asked you to introduce yourself.”

Diamond Tiara turned to face Blueblood. “My name is Diamond Tiara. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” she said with a stilted formality.

“Charmed,” Blueblood deadpanned.

“As you have certainly gathered by now, Prince Blueblood, my daughter is grounded,” Filthy Rich said. “She is confined to the house, may not play her phonograph, and in no circumstances is she allowed visitors. The original plan was for her to stay with her friend, Silver Spoon, who lives at the end of the street. But that’s not happening now. I’d like to thank you for being willing to watch my precious little Diamond on such short notice.”

“Anything to help,” Blueblood said.

“A guest room has been set up for you; ask Diamond Tiara to show you where. Feel free to make use of any of the facilities while you’re here, Prince Blueblood. There are meals in the icebox, but my pantry is open to you if you’d prefer something else. My staff will return to duty tomorrow at noon, at which time you’re free to leave. Do you have any questions?”

“No,” Blueblood replied.

“Excellent.” Filthy Rich gave his daughter a kiss on the forehead; she squirmed in embarrassment. “Be good now,” he told her.


“Have a good evening, Prince Blueblood.” Filthy Rich picked up a small traveling case and headed out the door. That left Blueblood staring awkwardly at the filly. He finally got a look at the basket she was carrying.

“So why are you carrying around an egg in a basket?” he asked her.

“Stupid school project. Miss Cheerilee is forcing us to carry around an egg and care for it like an infant,” she explained.

“Really. Your school does that?” Blueblood was sure that only happened in the plot of a bad young adult fiction story.

“Yeah. So now I’m stuck carrying Eggbert with me everywhere.”

“Wait. You named your egg?” Blueblood asked incredulously.

Diamond Tiara looked at him, wide-eyed. She shook her head. “No! I mean, never mind that! So why are you here?” she asked.

Blueblood decided to let her get away with changing the subject. “I’m your foalsitter,” he replied.

“No, why are you really here? You’ve never foalsat before, right?”

“That wasn’t hard to guess,” he replied. She does have some talent at reading ponies, he thought.

“You still haven’t said why.”

“Fine. Twilight Sparkle strongly suggested I try my hoof at foalsitting. I think she wants me to develop my softer side.” Blueblood gauged Diamond Tiara’s response. She didn’t appear to notice his smooth transition from an honest answer to an obfuscatory response. “Now why were you grounded?”

“I got grounded for telling the truth. It’s not fair!” she whined.

“Go on,” Blueblood said. He had explained something, so she would be likely to give an explanation in exchange.

“All I did was call Apple Bloom a talentless blank flank. And that’s absolutely true! She is a blank flank, so that means she has no talent.”

“Doesn’t seem worth it to me,” Blueblood said. “Had you held your tongue, you could be with your friend. Instead, you’re stuck with me.”

“Correction: I’m stuck here, but I’m not staying with you. I’m going to my room.” Diamond Tiara turned and trudged up the stairs.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Blueblood said to himself.

Blueblood took some time to explore the mansion. It wasn’t hard to figure out the layout; for all any noble would claim about the uniqueness of his or her home, they were largely similar. The ballroom was noticeably smaller than a typical Canterlot mansion, but then again, there were considerably fewer ponies to entertain in Ponyville.

Blueblood was most grateful to discover that Filthy Rich had an indoor pool next to the exercise room on the lower level. The pool and facilities were well-maintained, though he suspected they weren’t used as often as the larger outdoor pool he spotted through the windows. Taking his host at his word, he decided to go swimming. With each lap, he burned away the frustration of dealing with an annoying filly. Strangely, he barely got any feeling from the seapony magic he was sharing. He wondered if it reacted differently in an artificial pool compared to a natural body of water.

After toweling off and dressing, Blueblood felt rejuvenated. He grabbed a glass of water from the kitchen and listened. The house was quiet. “Diamond Tiara?” he called.

Last he saw, the filly was in her room. He headed upstairs. Finding her room wasn’t a problem; the cutie mark emblazoned on one of the doors gave it away. The door was open a crack, and the room beyond was dark.

“Diamond Tiara?” he whispered. When she didn’t respond, he peeked in. Even in the darkness, it was obviously a rich filly’s room, all pinks and purples and excessively frilly. A pony-sized lump was tucked into a large bed.

Blueblood frowned. He may not know much about foals, but there was no way any filly would be in bed that early. He illuminated his horn, focusing light on the bed, and clearly saw the pillows tucked under the covers.

“Now where did she go?” he asked himself. He had a reasonably good guess that she was doing something she wasn’t allowed to. She probably slipped out of the room using the narrow corridors the servants used to move about the house out of sight. Celestia knows how often he did that as a colt!

Blueblood thought about a spell Twilight Sparkle helped him learn, a basic spell to detect the presence of ponies. Using that spell would certainly beat searching the mansion room by room. It took five minutes before he sensed the presence of another pony. In fact, he sensed two. The prince followed the pull of his horn to a distant corner of the mansion, stopping in front of a closed door. He guessed the room beyond was a study or reading room. He listened at the door. At first he thought the spell was wrong, but then he heard the sound of whispering ponies.

Quietly, Blueblood pushed the door open with his magic and stepped into the room. The two fillies in the room looked up at him in surprise. He didn’t catch them doing anything unusual; Diamond Tiara was reading a fashion magazine while her friend, a bespectacled gray earth pony filly, was braiding Diamond Tiara’s mane. The other filly still looked like she had been caught with her hoof in the cookie jar, but Diamond Tiara’s expression turned defiant.

“I think that’s enough, Diamond Tiara. Send your friend home, and perhaps I won’t mention this to your father,” Blueblood said.

“No,” Diamond Tiara replied forcefully.

“What?” Blueblood exclaimed. Ponies don’t say no to me.

“You heard me. I don’t have to listen to a fat freak like you.”

“I’m not fat!” Blueblood countered. “I’m... I’m big-boned.” Ugh. Did I really say that?

Diamond Tiara looked at her friend. “Oh, yeah, he sure does have a big stomach bone!” The two fillies tittered.

“This isn’t going to make you look good to your father, Diamond Tiara,” Blueblood said.

“So what are you going to do about it? Be a big tattletale?”

Blueblood scoffed. “My little Diamond Tiara. I am a grown pony. Grown ponies never tattle. Rather, we have other terms. Monitor. Inspector. Informant. Spy. Or even surveyor, my own special talent, at least when I’m not cultivating my own network of informants. And who do you think I care more about? Your father, one of the most important businessponies in Equestria, or some snot-nosed little filly?”

Blueblood saw Diamond Tiara’s defiance waver. He quickly judged the situation. The other filly was certainly her friend Silver Spoon, and Diamond Tiara likely cared about her. That suggested his next feint. “Now, who I really feel sorry for is Silver Spoon here.” He looked the other filly in the eye. “Some friend you have, willing to let you join her in getting punished rather than face the consequences of her actions. How many other times has she done that to you?”

“Don’t listen to him!” Diamond Tiara ordered. “We’ll cover for each other.”

“Oh, I’m sure that will work,” Blueblood replied sarcastically. “Well, I suppose you win. I don’t want to drag you out by the tail, Silver Spoon. So you can stay.” He took a seat in the study.

“Go away,” Diamond Tiara hissed.

“Oh, but I can’t,” Blueblood said. “Your father is so very worried about his precious little Diamond, so I need to watch you all evening.” He smiled as he noticed Diamond Tiara wince. “Does your father call you his precious little Diamond every day? Oh, I know, I bet he sings it to you.”

Diamond Tiara stared at Blueblood with murder in her eyes.

Blueblood smiled and started singing in a ridiculous falsetto. “Precious little Diamond, I leave it all to you. Ooh, precious little Diamond....”

“Just shut up!” Diamond Tiara screamed. She turned to her friend. “Let’s go. I’m sorry our evening had to be ruined by this moron,” she grumbled.

“Then let me escort you to the door, ladies.”

Blueblood followed the two fillies, making sure Silver Spoon did actually leave. He felt rejuvenated every time Diamond Tiara glared at him. Diamond Tiara whispered her goodbyes to Silver Spoon and closed the door. Once again alone, she turned to see Blueblood smiling smugly.

“You were right to give up, you know,” Blueblood said. “You have no chance to beat me.”

“You’re old! What do you know about making fun of somepony?”

“Please. I attended the most exclusive boarding schools in Equestria. I learned from the best.” He adjusted his jacket. “Now, there’s the reason I came looking for you in the first place. Would you kindly point me to my room?”

“Fine,” Diamond Tiara grumbled. She silently led Blueblood across the mansion and up the stairs. They passed Diamond Tiara’s room and stopped at a door four rooms down.

Diamond Tiara pushed the door open and stepped in to turn on the light. “Here you go,” she said.

Blueblood stepped into the room. It was a typical mansion guest room, finely furnished but with no sense of individual style. Sliding doors along one wall no doubt concealed a closet, and a single door in back surely led to a private bathroom.

Blueblood caught his reflection in a large vanity mirror, seeing his increased girth on full display. I really am a fat freak, he thought. With every day that passed, it would be harder and harder to conceal the freak part of that expression.

Eventually, Prince Blueblood realized he had been staring at his reflection to far too long. He returned to his confident expression, proudly strode out of the room, and immediately introduced his face to the marble floor of the hallway.

From the doorway of her own room, Diamond Tiara pointed and laughed. “Looks like the foalsitter is a dumb clumsy oaf too!”

Blueblood growled and tried to get on his hooves. He stumbled again, and finally realized his foreleg was tangled in a string, tied at fetlock level across the doorway. Diamond Tiara must have stepped on the string to allow him to enter the room without tripping. He concentrated, and with a simple burst of telekinesis, shredded the string. He got up and proudly walked past Diamond Tiara, letting the shredded string drop in her mane. “Well, I think it’s time for dinner. You’d better clean yourself up, Diamond Tiara. Your mane is a mess!”

Prince Blueblood rummaged through the enchanted icebox. It was well-stocked with essentials; butter and eggs, milk and juices, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and herbs filled its shelves. A large bowl with a cold noodle dish looked to be the dinner prepared by the kitchen staff before departing. Blueblood’s nose picked up the aromas of garlic and chili and rice wine vinegar.

He brought the bowl of noodles to the small table in the breakfast nook, along with plates and utensils. He sniffed when he couldn’t find proper unicorn silverware, only the broad utensils favored by earth ponies. To add to the main course, he assembled a simple salad, and grabbed an assortment of fruits and pastries out of the icebox.

Diamond Tiara joined him shortly thereafter, her mane freshly brushed and free of errant shreds of string. She frowned as she noticed the spread. “You’re going to eat all of this?”

“Actually, I brought it out for you. You’re a growing filly, and need to eat, so you won’t look so scrawny.”

She stopped in the middle of reaching for the bowl of noodles. “What?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll get there eventually. With a proper diet, you might even develop a normal level of earth pony strength one day.”

“Whatever. I don’t need your concern.” Diamond Tiara ignored Blueblood and focused on dinner. He smiled as she loaded her plate with an extra large portion of noodles.

The two ponies ate, with Blueblood grateful for the silence. Sure, the meal was nothing special, but it was the kind of food he favored on the rare occasions when he didn’t want to deal with other ponies. And he was in no mood to deal with Diamond Tiara. His interaction with her was limited to encouraging her to take more food, including a second helping of salad and several more of the delicious cream-filled pastries.

Diamond Tiara stifled a yawn near the end of the meal. He pushed the plate of desserts to her. “Do you want any more?” he offered. “If not, I’ll handle the cleanup.”

“I’m fine,” she mumbled. “I’m just going to head to my room.”

After Diamond Tiara left, Blueblood took the dirty dishes and placed them in the sink. That much was simple courtesy, but there were some jobs he wouldn’t lower himself to do. He cast a quick spell to confirm that Diamond Tiara did go to her room. That left a quiet house and the rest of the evening to relax.

Blueblood eventually settled into the library, and selected a thick book on economic theory to entertain him. He read until late, only stopping occasionally to confirm that Diamond Tiara wasn’t making mischief. When his eyelids started feeling heavy, he returned to his guest quarters.

As Blueblood readied himself for bed, he mused on his experience with the pink menace. She seemed an eager student of the politics of the rich and powerful, even getting in a dig that made him think twice. But he uncovered her weakness easily, and Diamond Tiara sent Silver Spoon home herself. He convinced her that her father’s good graces was important to him, when in truth nopony in Canterlot cared much about common businessponies. He also played on her sense of self-doubt, tricking her into eating more than she otherwise would have. And from there, simple physiology kicked in. The large meal left her lethargic, and less prone to causing trouble. All in all, it was a victory, even if against a less than worthy foe.

Blueblood slipped between the sheets. The space under the covers felt tight and constricting. The sensation triggered a primal fear of being trapped, and Blueblood frantically scrambled out of the bed. Once he calmed down, he inspected the bed.

Diamond Tiara had short-sheeted the bed.

Oh, how she would pay come morning.

Blueblood arose early. He made a brief check on the sleeping Diamond Tiara as a necessary first step to the day's plan. From there, he enjoyed a brisk swim, showered, dressed, and headed to the kitchen.

By the time Diamond Tiara woke up and headed downstairs, Blueblood was in the middle of making breakfast. The filly didn’t look particularly awake, but she was ready with her insulting tone. “You can cook?” she scoffed.

“No, not really,” he answered honestly. “I have chefs to handle meals. But your chef is on vacation, and since I don’t want to eat cold cereal, I’m cooking something that’s hard to screw up.”

“So what are you cooking?”

“Prench toast,” Blueblood said. “The first batch is ready.” He levitated over a plate.

Diamond Tiara took a bite. “You still screwed it up. It’s totally bland. Main Dish mixes in cinnamon and vanilla before dipping the bread.”

“Well excuse me for being nice,” Blueblood sneered. “If you don’t want it, there’s some dry oats in the pantry.”

Diamond Tiara liberally dosed her dish with maple syrup. “I’ll live.”

Blueblood cooked two more slices of Prench toast and joined Diamond Tiara at the table. They ate in silence. A bored Diamond Tiara chewed her food and glanced around the kitchen. Blueblood smiled. It was only a matter of time until she noticed....

“Eggbert!” Diamond Tiara gasped. “What did you do?” she hissed.

Blueblood adopted a perfectly innocent expression as he looked back at the now-empty basket Diamond Tiara had been caring for. “Oh, dear. Did I use your special egg by mistake? I must have. All I wanted to do was make breakfast for you. But, oh, what can you expect from a dumb clumsy oaf like me?”

“I’m going to fail that stupid assignment! What are you going to do about it?”

“Me? I’m going to leave this afternoon, with my job complete. You? Well, you do appear to be in a sticky situation, now don’t you?” He nonchalantly inspected his hoof.

Diamond Tiara scowled. “You want a sticky situation?”

Blueblood looked up just in time to see something flying at his face. He tried to duck, but it collided. He felt something sticky on his face and in his mane. He smelled that it was maple syrup. He gasped as he saw the sticky substance on his expensive jacket, ruining it.

“You do NOT do that to me,” Blueblood hissed. Before he even realized he was doing it, he levitated the mixing bowl over Diamond Tiara’s head and poured the leftover milk and egg mixture over her.

A pissed Diamond Tiara stood up and pressed her forelegs on the edge of the table. Blueblood got to see that the filly did indeed have earth pony strength as she flipped the table. Plates and silverware flew everywhere as the table collided with his muzzle. Blueblood grabbed the first thing he saw, the skillet, and returned fire.

That day, the Rich Manor knew war. Emotions and frustrations exploding provided the casus belli. The kitchen was the battleground. The pantry and icebox provided ammunition. The center island, stove, and overturned table provided defensive positions. It was a brutal battle, fought over inches of tile in the contested battlefield. To the warriors, it passed in the blink of an eye. Once fatigue overtook them and they collapsed, panting heavily, they were sure that hours had passed. But the clock, miraculously untouched by the chaos, showed fewer than ten minutes had gone by.

They gazed in horror and morbid fascination at what they had accomplished. Every piece of furniture not attached to the floor was overturned or broken. There were dents in the oven door and cracks in the center island. The hanging rack of neatly arranged pots, utensils, and glasses was now empty, its contents scattered around the kitchen. The floor was covered with syrup, milk, eggs, bits of dried noodles, and the residue of a dozen broken spice bottles.

“I think we went too far,” Blueblood said. Diamond Tiara, still staring wide-eyed at the catastrophe, could only nod in agreement.

“Daddy’s going to ground me again,” Diamond Tiara said.

“Twilight Sparkle’s going to banish me to the moon.”

“Randolph’s going to give me that disappointed look again.”

“Who?” Blueblood asked.

“Our butler,” Diamond Tiara replied.

“You’re worried about what he thinks?”

“He’s always been there for me, and will help me with anything I ask him.”

“I remember a time when I was close to my family’s butler,” Blueblood recalled. “I was around your age, I think.”

Diamond Tiara pawed the mess on the floor, a sorrowful expression on her face. Blueblood actually started to feel sorry for her. “You know, if we work together, we can fix the worst of this,” he offered. “Let’s start by fixing the table.”

Diamond Tiara lifted her head and smiled.

Together, Prince Blueblood and Diamond Tiara faced the monumental task of cleaning up the results of their battle. Some time later, they were on their knees, trying to scrub away a particularly fiendish combination of dried egg and syrup from the floor, when the door to the kitchen opened. She jumped to her hooves. “Randolph! You’re back early!”

“A particularly important visitor requested an audience, but with you, Prince Blueblood,” Randolph said. “Announcing Her Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

This time, it was Blueblood who jumped to his hooves. Twilight Sparkle entered the kitchen, looking over the damage with a bemused expression on her face. “Is that syrup and eggshells in your mane?”

“I’m sorry, Princess Twilight Sparkle. I guess I’m not cut out to be a foalsitter,” Blueblood said.

“Actually, I was expecting worse,” she replied. “Let’s talk back at the library. Although you probably want to bathe first.”

“I will prepare a bath,” Randolph said.

Blueblood returned to the kitchen once he cleaned up. Twilight Sparkle must have worked some powerful magic in his absence, as the physical damage to the furniture and fixtures was gone. Diamond Tiara was still working, helping Randolph return pots and glasses to their proper places.

“Ready to go, Blueblood?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“Yes,” Blueblood stated firmly. “You take care, Diamond Tiara,” he said.

“You too,” she replied. Blueblood thought she might actually have meant it.

They departed and headed home. Blueblood steeled himself for the worst, but Twilight Sparkle didn’t say anything. Walking down the street, with the young alicorn smiling, was too much for Blueblood. “Aren’t you going to yell at me?” he asked.

“Oh, not at all. I was expecting the damage you two caused to be visible from the street. So you did a lot better than I expected.”

“You were expecting this?”

Twilight Sparkle smiled. “You were right about one thing, Blueblood. Assigning you a book report was a stupid way of punishing you for violating my trust. After some thought, I came up with a much better solution, forcing you to spend a day in the company of Diamond Tiara. After all, I did say the filly was like you in many ways. I talked it over with Filthy Rich, and once I agreed to use my fix-it spell if needed, he was on board with showing his daughter what lay at the end of the path she was on.”

Blueblood was rather perturbed to hear Twilight Sparkle say that, but decided it was not worth arguing about. “I think she learned something from her time together,” he said.

“And I hope you learned your lesson, too.”

“I have indeed. I learned that I do not want a filly.”

Chapter 7: A Royal Checkup

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A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 7: A Royal Checkup

The violet glow faded from Twilight Sparkle’s horn. “Everything looks good,” she told Prince Blueblood. “But I have to tell you again that, even though I’ve read everything I could find on pony-seapony pregnancies, I am not a trained doctor. Blueblood, you need to get checked out by a doctor.”

“No,” he said.

Twilight Sparkle rubbed her temple with a forehoof. “Why are you being so difficult? Would it help if we brought down your doctor from Canterlot?”

“No! Definitely not,” he replied defensively.

“But I thought you had one of Equestria’s finest doctors.”

“I don’t doubt the training and skill of Doctor Well Heart,” Blueblood replied. “But unusual medical conditions are frequently whispered about in my circles. While I do believe Well Heart wouldn’t break confidentiality, I want to keep my condition as far away from Canterlot as possible.”

“Then why not see Doctor Stable?” Twilight Sparkle suggested.

“A Ponyville doctor? Please.”

“Doctor Stable graduated in the top 5% of his class at Canterlot Medical and is one of Equestria’s foremost experts on maleficent magical treatment methods for fighting tumors. He practices in Ponyville because it’s his home.”

“The residents of Ponyville really love it, don’t they?”

“The town has that effect on ponies,” Twilight Sparkle commented.

“Not me.”

“Still. I’m going to set up an appointment for you to see Doctor Stable. And don’t think of not showing up. Because you know what I like about Doctor Stable? He’s still willing to make house calls.”

“Fine,” Blueblood moaned.

Prince Blueblood sat in the waiting room. The offices shared by Doctor Stable and other health professionals were inferior to Doctor Well Heart’s office in Canterlot. But functionally, the waiting room was exactly like any other. Uncomfortable chairs, undoubtedly housing the rumps of countless sick ponies at points in the past. Out of date magazines. Unattractive potted plants. A counter with nurses and clerks taking care of directing patients and handling their files.

Blueblood could feel the eyes of everypony on him. Perhaps it was because other ponies were by far the most interesting thing in the waiting room. Perhaps they recognized him, or at least recognized him as somepony everypony should know. He was sweating, but primarily because he refused to take off his overcoat. Perhaps that was why they were looking at him.

A nurse opened the door at the back of the room. “Prince Blueblood? Doctor Stable will see you now.”

“Oh, thank Celestia,” he muttered. He proceeded through the door, following the nurse to the doctor’s office.

“Come in, Prince Blueblood,” Doctor Stable said. A unicorn, like most doctors, Doctor Stable had a plain brown mane and a golden coat. He peered at the contents of a file over the top of his glasses. He closed the door with his magic. “Please, take off your coat.”

When Blueblood hesistated, Doctor Stable addressed him again. “According to your file, and as far as the nurses here know, you are here for a routine physical. Twilight Sparkle filled me in on the details. And that answers why she sent me those books on seapony reproduction three months ago!” He chuckled.

Blueblood took off his coat and climbed on the examination table. “Please, Doctor, can we just get on with it?”

Doctor Stable cleared his throat. “Okay. Lay back on the table, please.”

Blueblood complied, and soon felt the tingle of magic wash over him. As the doctor kept his eyes and magic on him, he began to feel more self-conscious. He fought to keep his forelegs from covering himself.

“Done. Your foal is developing normally,” the doctor finally said.

“Well, that’s... good,” Blueblood replied. He sat up and went to get off the examination table.

“Don’t you want to know?”

“Know what?”

“Your foal’s type and gender.”

“Well, I don’t want to be surprised,” Blueblood said. “Again,” he muttered. “Go ahead, doctor.”

“It’s a unicorn colt,” Doctor Stable stated.

“But the foal is half seapony. What does that mean?”

“If you’re wondering if he will have a seapony tail, then no. In physical appearance, this foal will appear to be a unicorn, though perhaps with some cosmetic differences. It will take the development of his magic to take seapony form, but he will have access to that ability. Normally, you’d need magical talent on the level of Twilight Sparkle to change shapes.”

“Well, that’s... interesting.”

“Just be warned, a magical surge could trigger the change.”

“Ugh. I’m not ready for that,” Blueblood muttered.

“Nopony feels they’re ready, Prince Blueblood. That’s a normal, ordinary reaction. Now, let’s talk about your follow-up appointments.”

Blueblood sighed. “Okay, how many are we talking about?”

“I’d like to schedule one appointment a month, assuming no complications. I’d also like to talk about the delivery. I will make arrangements at Ponyville Hospital and lead the delivery. Twilight Sparkle will certainly be on hoof, ready to lend assistance. I recommend we also bring in a colleague of mine from Fillydelphia, a doctor with experience in seapony births.”

“I’m not sure about that,” Blueblood said.

“I understand your reluctance, and while I trust in my own medical training and the power of the princess, it would be best to involve a more experienced doctor. You are simply too important to risk providing anything but the best care.”

“Perhaps you’re right, Doctor. I will take your advice under consideration.”

“Very good. If you are experiencing any complications, don’t hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, I will see you next month, Prince Blueblood.”

Blueblood donned his coat and left the doctor’s office. He was surprised to notice a familiar face now in the waiting room; Golden Harvest was seated next to a stallion he guessed to be her husband, due to his cutie mark of three stalks of grain. He smiled and nodded at the mare; she grinned widely.

She’s probably going to tell him that that was the crazy swimmer, he thought. At least that’s better than being known as the pregnant stallion.

It took three more weeks for Prince Blueblood to finish the survey of Ponyville’s outlying farms, and a week more to finalize his paperwork. That left the task of creating a master plan for Ponyville to guide its future growth. This he was able to work on from his room in the library. And that was good, as there was no longer any way to conceal his girth. His swollen abdomen was particularly noticeable when seated. It just wasn’t possible to avoid.

One day, while hunched over his drafting table, Twilight Sparkle walked into his room. “How are you feeling?”

“Same old, same old. I ache. I can’t get comfortable. I can’t even work for half an hour without running to the bathroom.”

“I mean, how are you feeling up here?” Twilight Sparkle pointed to her head. “You’ve almost locked yourself in your room. Have you gotten out at all?”

“I go out almost every day. I deliver plans to Town Hall, mail letters to my associates in Canterlot, and even do my share of the shopping,” Blueblood said.

“I mean, go out and interact with other ponies. Have you done anything for fun since we went to the movie theater last month?”

“I assure you, that was not fun. I’ve never cried over something as simple as a sappy story before.”

“I understand you’re not used to these hormones. But I’ve come to invite you to something you can do with everypony,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Winter Wrap-Up is next week.”

Blueblood gave her a perplexed look. “If you’ve taken over that task from Princess Celestia, I don’t see how I can help you.”

“No, Prince Blueblood. Here in Ponyville, we wrap up winter in the earth pony tradition.”

“Ugh, how barbaric,” Blueblood muttered.

“It’s fun, Blueblood. It’s fresh air and vigorous exercise in the company of friends. Do you skate?”


“Ice skating,” Twilight Sparkle clarified.

“Oh, dear Celestia, no.”

“Fine. Then I won’t suggest clearing the lakes. That probably rules out the weather team. So, would you prefer to be on the animal team or the plant team?”

“I have literally no experience with either task, Twilight Sparkle.”

“That’s okay. Most ponies don’t have much experience at all. All the tasks are simple, and the team leads will keep everypony organized. So what do you think?”

“This is really the kind of job where I should be organizing, not laboring,” Blueblood said.

“Well, I’m the head organizer. But there’s one area where I could use the assistance of an experienced pony, and then you could help out where needed. So what do you think, Junior Organizer?”

“I’d prefer the title Assistant Organizer.”

“But Spike likes it when I call him Junior Organizer.”

“He’s also a child. Now, how can I help you, Senior Organizer?”

Blueblood smirked as Twilight Sparkle’s eye twitched. “I hate the term senior. It makes me feel... old! Anyway, what I need is a plan for clearing the snow and planting in a more efficient manner. And you probably know the map of Ponyville better than anypony.”

“That sounds like something I would enjoy.”

“Welcome, everypony, to Winter Wrap-Up!” Mayor Mare called to the crowd gathered around the stage. “It’s so good to see everypony eager to usher in spring, and raring to go! But first, let me introduce our coordinator and chief organizer, Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight Sparkle flared her wings briefly as she strode to the podium amidst the stomping hooves of ponies applauding. She cleared her throat. “Thank you, everypony. I know we’re all eager to begin wrapping up winter. This year, I’ve enlisted the assistance of Prince Blueblood, a guest to Ponyville and my Assistant Organizer, to design a plan to wrap up winter as fast as possible. Blueblood?”

Blueblood stepped up to the podium as Twilight Sparkle stepped aside. He was sweating, though less because of the eyes of everypony on him, and more because he was still wearing his heavy coat. The pegasi had brought in warmer air, though the skies still held the thick clouds of an overcast winter day. He adjusted the vest under his coat. Twilight Sparkle was nice enough to make him a multicolored vest like hers, but dear Celestia, did it ever itch!

He waited for the crowd to settle down again. He saw Twilight Sparkle’s horn glow as she projected an image of a map of Ponyville. “Thank you,” he started. “The plan for Winter Wrap-Up is to begin along the five illustrated routes. The weather and plant teams will both follow these paths, clearing both the skies and the snow on the ground. That way, Celestia’s sun will have the most time to warm the soil, making the subsequent planting easier. The animal teams will also have a clear path to the fields and woods where they will do their work.

“I’ve also identified collection points along each path, where you can drop the cleared snow. The melting snow will create small pools of water that can be tapped for later irrigation of the fields.”

“Thank you, Prince Blueblood,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Now, let’s get started!”

With a remarkable coordination, the ponies surged from the crowd, grabbing equipment and forming into groups. Ponies in matching vests formed a colorful mosaic on this Ponyville morning. Blueblood smiled as everything worked out.

He was snapped out of his revelry by the strong slap of a hoof on his withers. “Well, howdy, partner, we could use another strong pony on the plows!”

“Uh, yes,” he muttered. He examined the orange earth pony mare, who was wearing a plant team vest and a band around her foreleg with a star, an indication that she was team leader. “Applejack, right?”

“Sure am! Now, Twilight said you’d be free to help wherever a pony was needed, so let’s get going!”

Blueblood shrugged and followed Applejack. She was leading a group of mostly earth ponies following one of the paths Blueblood had created, the one covering her own farm and the one owned by the Goldens. Strangely, he didn’t see Golden Harvest in this group.

They stopped just outside the town, where a variety of contraptions were waiting. They only vaguely resembled the plows used by the Canterlot civil servants to keep the boulevards pristine. It looked like somepony attached a plow blade to a large frame with wheels.

“All right, everypony, get hitched up and let’s get moving!” Applejack called. The ponies moved, filling the machines until only one was left unclaimed. Blueblood studied it curiously.

“Don’t suppose you’ve ever plowed before, partner,” Applejack said as she walked by. Blueblood shook his head. “Well, it’s simple. Just press your barrel against this bar and push. Stay next to your neighbor and try to keep up.”

With Applejack’s help, Blueblood was ready to plow. With a shout, the ponies surged forward. Blueblood pushed as he walked, the momentum slowly building in the plow. “This isn’t hard at all,” he said to himself.

Then he looked to his left, and he saw that he was already behind his neighbor. Blueblood grunted as he picked up speed.

By the time the field was plowed, Blueblood was exhausted. Sweat dripped from his sides and plastered his mane to his head. He got out of the plow and plunged his head into the snow bank at the edge of the field. He sighed as the cold snow provided relief. He then noticed Applejack smirking at him.

“Well, of course you’re hot,” Applejack said. “You’re wearing that heavy coat!”

“I’ll live,” Blueblood replied.

“Now, don’t think about dallying. We’ve got another twelve fields to clear!”

Blueblood groaned.

After two more fields, Prince Blueblood felt ready to collapse. Fortunately, it looked like Applejack had planned for this. Fresh volunteers took up the snowplows from the more tired ponies, and Blueblood was told to return to the first field. There, he found another group of townsponies, ready with plows and seeds.

He was interrupted by yet another slap on his withers. “Didn’t expect to see you here!” a familiar voice said. “Figured you’d be out clearing the lakes, so you could go for a swim.”

“And a good day to you, Golden Harvest,” Blueblood replied, rubbing the spot she hit. He really didn’t need any more firsthoof demonstrations of earth pony strength. “No, Twilight Sparkle indicated that the process for clearing lakes involved, ugh, ice skating.”

“That it does! No sense falling on your rump, now, is there? Glad to see Twilight got you out of the house.”

“Yes, she can be very convincing. Speaking of jobs, why weren’t you clearing the snow?”

“That’s more Applejack’s thing,” Golden Harvest replied. “I think she likes showing off her strength and endurance. Me? I just like working the fields.”

“Then where’s your plow?”

“Plow? Who needs a plow?” Golden Harvest dug a hole in the soft earth with one hoof, dropped in a few seeds, and pressed the dirt over the seeds.

“That hardly seems efficient,” Blueblood said.

“To each her own. We’ve got plenty of plows, too. How about you team up with Noteworthy over there? He’ll plow, and you follow him with the seeds.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The planting was a lot easier for Prince Blueblood. He carried a bag of seeds in his magic, dropping them in the furrows left by the plows. Other unicorns and a few pegasi did the same. The earth ponies either pushed the plows or planted by hoof. It was such pleasant work that he didn’t notice the dirt accumulating on his hooves.

“Ugh,” Blueblood complained.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Golden Harvest said. Her forelegs were caked in mud from hoof to knee, with splatters up to her elbows. She turned to face the group. “All right, everypony, next field! And you better do a good job!”

The reason for her warning was clear as they headed to Golden Harvest’s farm. “Blueblood, would you distribute the seeds from the crate marked #2?”

Blueblood nodded. He opened the crate and pulled out bags from small boxes illustrated with various foodstuffs. “Celery, lettuce, daisy, eggplant, daffodil bulbs, sweet corn, green pepper,” he counted off. “Where are the carrots?” he asked Golden Harvest.

“Already growing in the greenhouse. I’ll be planting them in the fields myself this week,” she replied.

“You don’t want to make use of everypony’s help?” he asked.

“I have to do it myself. Growing carrots is my special talent,” Golden Harvest explained. “What we’re planting now is just what anypony could grow in their garden. But carrots are personal to me.” She paused. “You don’t grow anything, right?”

“I think the chef maintains an herb garden,” Blueblood offered.

“Figured as much. Just remember, when you’re buying an earth pony’s special crop, it’s more than just food. It’s a little from here, too.” She pressed a hoof to her breast. Blueblood grimaced as she left a muddy hoofprint on it.

Blueblood stayed busy working with the plant team. Later, members of the weather and animal teams came to help with additional snow clearing and watering. By late afternoon, his current team was finished, and they returned to town, joining a growing mass of ponies. The sky was clear, and the sunny afternoon matched the dispositions of the residents of Ponyville.

He headed to the center of town, finding Twilight Sparkle, smiling as she was going over a checklist. She nodded and put the list away. Soon, Mayor Mare took her position on the stage outside Town Hall. “Thank you, everypony, for your hard work. I now declare winter officially wrapped up!” All around, ponies cheered and bumped hooves. Blueblood joined the crowd as it departed, heading back to the library.

“And that was an hour faster than last year,” Twilight Sparkle said as she joined Blueblood. “You gave everypony more time to enjoy the evening festivities.”

“I’m just looking forward to a hot shower,” Blueblood said.

“You’re not going to go out tonight?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“Golden Harvest invited me to her... hoedown.” He sniffed derisively.

“That sounds like fun.”

“Look, I appreciate your sentiment, Twilight Sparkle. But look at this,” Blueblood said, lifting his overcoat. “It’s filthy and absolutely rank. And even if it were clean, it’s too warm to wear it now, especially in a barn full of ponies. And I can’t go out looking like I am.”

“I think I understand,” Twilight Sparkle said. They reached the library, and Blueblood opened the door. At the same time, he felt magic wash over him.

“What did you do?” Blueblood asked.

“Just take off your coat,” she replied cryptically.

Blueblood removed his overcoat, folding it and placing it by the stairs. He didn’t feel any different, but then he saw himself in the mirror. He was back to looking like he was merely overweight.

“What did you do?” Blueblood asked. He poked himself, but was disappointed to find he was still the bloated monster he had become.

“It’s a simple visual glamer. As you can see, it doesn’t change anything about you physically, but it changes the way you look to others,” she explained. “The spell should last about ten hours. That’s plenty of time for you to enjoy Golden Harvest’s party.”

“Fine. But only after I shower.”

The first thing Prince Blueblood noticed about Golden Harvest’s party was the smell. Or, rather, the lack of one. He figured a party in a barn would stink. But there was only a faint mustiness. He had experienced much worse at the bars and clubs he visited while slumming with his friends.

Other than the location, it was a normal party, with ponies, food, and music. Foals ran around and played games, keeping to one corner of the barn. The food suggested an attempt to use up the last of the winter’s stores. The music was more to earth pony tastes. And the ponies? Blueblood was surprised at how many he recognized. He spotted the mailmare, a few of the ponies from market, and a good number of ponies from that morning’s plant team.

He tried to gauge how much time he would have to spend here to get Twilight Sparkle off his back. At least two hours, he guessed. Just get some food and drink and walk around. He’d survived mingling at plenty of less enjoyable parties.

“And the time Twilight Sparkle tried to wake the animals? She got stung by bees AND sprayed by skunks!”

Blueblood’s ears swiveled towards the juicy story. He sauntered over to the small crowd of ponies, which included Golden Harvest. “Hey there, Blueblood!” she called. She turned to the crowd. “Now this is a member of royalty I’d actually trust with a plow!”

“Carrot Top was telling me about a particularly disastrous Winter Wrap-Up a few years past,” a stallion said. He shared an orange mane and carrot cutie mark with Golden Harvest.

“This is my cousin Imperator, from Dodge Junction,” Golden Harvest said.

“A pleasure,” Blueblood said. It wasn’t a serious sentiment; Dodge Junction was a frontier town on the outskirts of the Duchy of Omahay, and no place important. “So, Winter Wrap-Up hasn’t always been this smooth?” he asked.

“For most of my life, it’s taken two days to wrap up winter. But that’s just run-of-the-mill struggling. It took Twilight Sparkle to threaten to destroy Winter Wrap-Up with a wave of incompetence beyond parallel. She couldn’t do one task right!”

“Do tell,” Blueblood said smoothly.

“So let me tell you about how she got Applejack caught up in a giant snowball....”

Prince Blueblood was actually surprised how late it was when he headed home. He enjoyed himself. He learned more about Ponyville from that one party, and its ponies with lips loosened by ample supplies of carrot vodka, than in all his months with Twilight Sparkle. Sure, she could explain all the facts and history one would want to know, but these ponies knew all the dirt.

Ponyville had its rivalries. While battles over the title of Iron Pony or who had the most impressive harvest weren’t as significant as political intrigue at court, that didn’t stop the ponies from competing fiercely.

Ponyville had its social circles, with all the rumors those bring. Who was courting who, who was looking for action on the side, who was in favor with the mayor or Princess... all these things were familiar, even though the stakes were lower.

And Ponyville had its exciting days. Discord, dragons, parasprites, Ursas... from what ponies said, it was like something threatened Ponyville several times a year! He was shocked that nothing incredible had happened during his own stay.

“Unless I’m the incredible story,” he mused.

Blueblood returned to a quiet library. He crept upstairs quietly, so as not to wake Twilight Sparkle. On his bed, a letter was waiting for him. He picked it up with his magic and opened it, seeing the familiar hornwriting of Twilight Sparkle.

Prince Blueblood,

I hope you enjoyed your party tonight. I encourage you to go out whenever you want. To that end, I’ve inscribed below something that will help you feel comfortable in Ponyville.

Twilight Sparkle

At the bottom of the letter was a series of arcane glyphs, detailing an illusion spell. He surmised it was the one she had cast on him earlier. It hit him that this was the first time Twilight Sparkle had even mentioned magic to him since the day he experimented in her basement laboratory. Blueblood hoped that meant his relationship with Twilight Sparkle had recovered slightly.

He lay down in bed, eager to rest after the day’s labors. He crossed his forelegs over his barrel, and then felt his foal kick.

That was one labor Prince Blueblood was not looking forward to.

Chapter 8: A Royal Craving

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 8: A Royal Craving

Twilight Sparkle wrinkled her nose as Prince Blueblood shook even more salt on his plate of pancakes. He pressed them flat with his fork before cutting a hunk of no longer fluffy cake from the mess on his plate.

“Is there anything wrong with your pancakes?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“They’re fine. They’re just not what I want right now,” Blueblood replied.

“I could make something else if you want. What would you like?”

“Fish,” Blueblood blurted out. Twilight Sparkle inhaled sharply, pushing back from the table.

Twilight Sparkle collected herself and turned to Blueblood. “Sorry. I mean, I know intellectually that it’s just protein, and there’s nothing preventing our bodies from processing nutrients from animal flesh in the same ways as, say, eggs. It’s just that, I’ve never met a pony who wants to eat fish.”

“I have, I think. I assume this is a seapony taste?”

“Correct. Seaponies mostly eat fish and other creatures of the sea.”

“It was a stupid thing to ask for,” Blueblood said. “Nopony will have fish, anyway.”

“Actually, I know of one. My friend Fluttershy should have fish. She takes care of animals that eat fish, and so she normally has a supply.”

The name was familiar to Blueblood, but he couldn’t place her location on his mental map of Ponyville. “Where can I find her?” he asked.

“She lives in a cottage east of town, near the edge of the Everfree Forest.”

“Ah. Outside of the town boundaries.”

“I want you to do one thing for me, Blueblood. Be honest with Fluttershy about why you want fish,” Twilight Sparkle implored. “She is the Element of Kindness, so I know she won’t do something so unkind as share your condition with anypony. All I’m asking is that you show her the same kindness, and not make her worry about why you want to eat fish.”

Blueblood sighed. “As you wish.”

Cloaked in his illusion, Prince Blueblood trotted to Fluttershy’s cottage. The building was charming, blending function with natural form in a way that any number of vacation homes Blueblood had stayed in tried to imitate. While he kept his head turned in one direction, the babbling brook and bridges and garden painted a tranquil landscape. But in the other direction, the ominous Everfree Forest loomed. The light of Celestia’s sun seemed muted, and every sound suggested an unseen danger.

Blueblood could not figure out how a mare known for her kindness could survive here.

A knock on the door was soon answered by a light yellow pegasus. She opened only the top half of the door, and almost seemed to be hiding behind the rest of the door and her pink mane. “Hello?” she offered quietly.

“Ah, yes. Miss Fluttershy? I am Prince Blueblood. I am in need of assistance, and Princess Twilight Sparkle directed me to you.”

“Umm... what kind of assistance?” she asked.

“I need... fish,” he replied in a hushed tone. “There’s a reason for my request, but could I discuss it inside?”

Fluttershy raised an eyebrow. “Sure,” she replied hesitantly, opening the bottom half of the door.

Blueblood stepped inside, closing the door behind him. “I find myself with an intense craving to eat fish like a seapony. And that’s driven, I fear, by this.” He let the illusion fall from his body, revealing his obviously pregnant form.

Fluttershy stared at him, mouth agape. Time passed agonizingly slowly as he waited for her to recover. “Oh. Oh, my,” she finally whispered.

Then, something shifted in Fluttershy’s demeanor. “You must be feeling terribly alone. Here, let me help you,” she said. She trotted into her kitchen, and soon returned with a glass bowl in her mouth. She set it down on a table.

“My little otter friends are still waking up, so I have some extras now,” she said, smiling warmly.

“Thank you,” Blueblood replied as Fluttershy returned to the kitchen.

Blueblood stared at the dead fish floating in the water of the bowl. The fish were whole, with lidless eyes staring at him. The smell was vaguely like the ocean, only more concentrated. Part of him wanted to turn away in disgust. The other part pulled him closer.

“Um, I’m not sure how to prepare fish,” Fluttershy said from the kitchen. “My griffin friends mentioned frying them.” She returned to the living room, frying pan in her mouth, only to see Blueblood with a wet muzzle and half a fish sticking out of his mouth.

Fluttershy dropped the frying pan. “Or you could eat them like that.”

The tail of the fish fell out of Blueblood’s mouth, severed from its body by his own teeth. He didn’t even recall chewing or swallowing, but the rest of the fish was gone. Its taste, utterly foreign yet strangely alluring, lingered in his mouth. A drop of blood dripped from his lip, landing in the bowl below.

“I’m a monster,” he whispered. “A terrible, hideous monster.”

Blueblood squeezed his eyes shut with a hope that he would not see what he did. But he still pictured the fish tail in his mind. Worse, some part of him was telling him to finish the meal. He hoped those weren’t tears he was feeling welling in his eyes.

He felt a light touch along his back, the warm and feathery embrace of a wing. Something brushed his muzzle. He opened his eyes to see Fluttershy gently cleaning the remains of his meal from his mouth with a tissue.

“Don’t you ever say you’re hideous,” Fluttershy said kindly. “You are bringing new life into this world, and nothing is more beautiful.”

Blueblood looked in Fluttershy’s eyes. Even with her gentle tone, there was a firmness in her words, a command to listen that resounded even clearer when he saw her eyes.

“Now, you have a little one that’s very hungry,” Fluttershy said. “I’ll leave you alone, and when you’re ready to see me again, just call.”

Again, Blueblood found himself alone with his fish. This time, he recalled Fluttershy’s encouragement. Twilight Sparkle said there was nothing biologically wrong, but Fluttershy said there was nothing wrong at all.

The fish quickly disappeared down Blueblood’s throat.

He was eating for two, after all.

Fluttershy returned after he ate. “I know cravings can be unpredictable, Prince Blueblood. You can come back any time, but I might not always have fish to spare,” she said.

Blueblood nodded. “Where do you get the fish from? Do you fish?” he asked.

“Oh, no, not normally. I don’t enjoy fishing,” she replied. “There are a few stallions in town who fish as a hobby, and I buy their catch for my animal friends. Magnum, Golden Grain, and Noteworthy, mostly.”

“That’s... unusual,” Blueblood said. “But it’s good to know so many ponies are spending their time helping you out.”

“Yes. The ponies of Ponyville are so kind.”

Blueblood recast his illusion spell. “Thank you again for your kind assistance, Fluttershy. Until next time.”

“Please, feel free to visit whenever you’re feeling troubled.”

Prince Blueblood had a feeling he’d be craving fish until his seapony foal was born. He didn’t relish the prospect of being driven mad by some craving he couldn’t sate. He suddenly had the image of himself, swimming in one of the ponds around town, and diving under the surface to try to catch a fish in his mouth.

He wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that that was how seaponies fed. Celestia knows how often he’d had strange instinctual reactions caused by the foal’s magic.

Avoiding further embarrassment required Fluttershy to have enough fish for him and her animals. So he decided he would fish. How hard could it be? At least Blueblood could learn from a stallion he got along with.

He walked to the Golden farm on the outskirts of Ponyville. Even though only weeks had passed since Winter Wrap-Up, the fields were already thriving, promising a bountiful crop. Unsurprisingly, given its owners, the Golden farm had extensive fields of grain and carrots; both were being tended to at that moment.

“Hey there, Prince Blueblood!” Golden Harvest called, waving at him with her hoe. “Looking for some more vodka?”

“Not right now, though I’m happy to say my good friends heartily approve of your brew,” Blueblood replied. “I’m actually here to talk to your husband.”

“Oh?” Golden Grain said as he trotted up.

“Yes. I spoke earlier to Fluttershy, and learned she was running low on fish. I thought I might help her out. Could I join you the next time you go fishing?”

“I think that’d be great!” Golden Grain said. “How about tomorrow afternoon, around 4:00? According to the weather schedule, it’s perfect fishing weather.”

“Great. I’ll see you then.”

The next afternoon, Prince Blueblood met Golden Grain at the edge of the large lake that marked the northern border of their farm. Celestia’s sun was a brilliant gold, having just begun to pick up a hint of orange, and reflected beautifully off the still surface of the lake. A simple pier and shack had been erected at the lake’s edge. Golden Grain was already there, busily moving equipment into a two-pony rowboat.

“A good evening to you, Golden Grain,” Blueblood said.

“Likewise. You ready to go?”

Blueblood nodded. Golden Grain stepped into the boat. Blueblood followed, causing the boat to tip precipitously.

“You’re heavier than you look,” Golden Grain commented.

“I am not some lightweight! I pride myself on my physical fitness!” Blueblood countered. Of course, that wasn’t the real reason; the illusion covering his form didn’t change his weight. Fortunately, Golden Grain accepted his explanation.

The earth pony stallion gripped the handles of the oars in his pasterns, and his powerful forelegs turned them and propelled the rowboat across the water. He headed to the opposite shore, to a partially shaded area. “This place is perfect in the evening,” Golden Grain said. “Now, fishing isn’t hard. Just watch what I do.”

Golden Grain stuck his muzzle into a small tub of earth, and came out with a worm in his lips. He stuck it on the hook of his fishing pole.

“I’m glad I didn’t just eat,” Blueblood said, disgusted.

Golden Grain laughed. “When you’re a colt growing up and playing on a farm, you get a lot worse in your mouth. Trust me.”

Blueblood shrugged and used his magic to bait his hook. “How in Equestria do you collect worms?” he asked.

“Just find a nice patch of soft earth, push your hoof in, and twist it around. The vibrations attract the worms to the surface, and then you pluck as many as you want.” Blueblood then watched as Golden Grain’s gaze traced upward. “I bet it’d work even better with a horn.”

“Yeah. Not going to happen.” He stared at his hook. “Now what?”

“Now you cast the line, sending the hook and bait into the water.” Golden Grain took the pole in his mouth. He twisted his head so that the line was behind him, and quickly reversed the maneuver, sending the line out towards shore.

“That doesn’t look hard,” Blueblood said. He picked up his pole and imitated Golden Grain. But he didn’t see the hook sail out. Rather, he felt a sharp pain near his dock, and he yelped. The fishing pole clattered as it landed in the bottom of the boat.

“Don’t worry. It happens to everypony,” Golden Grain said. “Now stay still.”

Blueblood hissed as Golden Grain removed the hook from his coat. He nodded and picked up the pole again, but stopped before casting. “Where did the worm go?”

Golden Grain looked, and laughed again. “You’ve got a worm in your tail.”

“Get it out get it out get it out!” Blueblood screamed as he flicked his tail furiously.

Golden Grain recovered the worm and baited Blueblood’s hook. Not even holding a worm between his lips removed the huge grin from his face.

“Pretend you didn’t see that,” Blueblood said.

“Not a chance,” he replied. “Now, if your magic’s good enough, you could try using it to cast the line.

“I think I’ll do that.” The line played out slowly, and finally the hook was lowered into the water. “Now what?”

“We wait for a bite.”

All was still. Golden Grain seemed content to wait quietly; he calmly watched the water. But the silence got to Blueblood. He had to talk about something.

“Did you grow up in Ponyville?” Blueblood asked Golden Grain.

“Me? Nah. I’m from Dodge Junction. Came to Ponyville when I got hitched.”

Another awkward silence filled the boat. “So, uh, how did you meet Golden Harvest?” Blueblood continued.

“Our two families go way back. It was one of those things. Dad said, ‘You’d like this mare,’ and then we met. We did. And when I saw her bend over to pick some carrots? Best sight in Ponyville by far.”

“Mm-hmm,” Blueblood muttered noncommittally. While he agreed with Golden Grain’s statement completely, actually expressing that agreement, in the middle of a lake with no witnesses around, didn’t strike Blueblood as a very good idea.

“How about you? Is there a Mrs. Blueblood?”

“Please,” Blueblood scoffed. “If I were to marry, everypony in Equestria would know.”

“Don’t care much for that kind of gossip. Any prospects?” Golden Grain asked.

“No. I probably have a few years before I’ll be expected to settle down.”

Golden Grain assessed the prince. “You don’t look too thrilled about the idea.”

“I don’t think anypony would care if I like the mare.”

“That’s rough,” Golden Grain said. “There’s nothing better than coming home to a family you love. It’s been ten happy years for me.”

“Ten?” Neither of the Goldens looked that old. “Congratulations, then.” Silence again descended on the boat while Blueblood thought about something else to ask.

That idea came when, with a kick, his foal made his presence known. “Any foals?” Blueblood asked.

“Not yet.” Again, it was silent, but Golden Grain was pointedly looking away.

Before things could get too awkward, Blueblood saw the sinker on his line twitch. “I think I have a bite!” he shouted.

Golden Grain perked up. “Good! Now get a firm grip on your pole and slowly reel it in.”

Blueblood found the fish to be surprisingly strong; it pulled and fought his attempt to reel it in. He pulled back as his magic worked the reel.

“Don’t overdo it! You could snap the line or worse, you could....”

At that moment, Blueblood experienced the worse. With another tug, he lost his balance and tumbled over the edge of the boat.

Blueblood spat out water and pushed his wet mane away from his eyes with one hoof as another held onto the boat. It took a while for Golden Grain to reach out to help him back on the boat.

“Great news! I got the fish!” he said.

“Yes. That was clearly the most important task at hoof,” Blueblood deadpanned.


Prince Blueblood needed a long shower. The smell of the lake still clung to him, not to mention the lingering odor of fish. He itched where he was bitten by the annoying bugs that flitted around the surface of the water. But he had four fish to show for his evening’s work.

“Pretty good for your first time,” Golden Grain said. “You up to try again later?”

“I think I would like to fish again. But is that what you want?”


“Are you sure you don’t prefer to fish by yourself?” Blueblood asked.

“No, it was fun. I like the company, even if I don’t have much to say. Now, if I want company and quiet at the same time, I’ll just invite Big McIntosh.”

“Okay. Well, you can find me at the library when you’re ready to fish again.”

Golden Grain slapped Blueblood on the back. “Will do!”

Blueblood helped Golden Grain return the equipment to the shack and departed, his catch in a pail floating beside him. As evening fell and the sky darkened, he made the journey back to Fluttershy’s cottage.

Fluttershy responded to his knock with wariness, only cracking open her door a sliver. But when she saw it was him, she opened the door and welcomed him in.

“Good evening, Miss Fluttershy. Golden Grain taught me to fish, and it was a very successful evening. So I have a gift for your otter friends.”

Fluttershy smiled and looked in the pail. “Oh, wonderful! You caught three fish!”

Blueblood stifled a belch. “Yes, that’s right. Three fish.”

Chapter 9: A Royal Birth

View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

Chapter 9: A Royal Birth

“Today we are proud to begin the construction of a new neighborhood,” Mayor Mare addressed the crowd. “This is the first of many new construction projects that will arise from the town’s new master plan.”

Prince Blueblood stood patiently around a marked-off area of loose soil and watched the mayor speak. The hard hat on her head looked rather out of place considering the suit she wore. He didn’t want to think of how ridiculous he looked, wearing the same hard hat. It was a hard hat designed for earth ponies, and his horn forced it to rest at an awkward angle. If anything did fall on him, it would knock the hard hat off before crushing his skull. Not that anything would fall on him; they were in an open area. But the traditions of a groundbreaking ceremony had to be maintained.

“What is a home? It is more than a building. It is a place to find sanctuary. It is a yard, for foals to play in. It is a porch, on which one can share the joys of the neighborhood. It is a garden, or a fence, or a bed of flowers, something individual, something to make a house a home.”

Speaking of traditions, the long-winded speech from a politician, most interested in hearing the sound of her own voice, was a well-known one. Blueblood fought to keep the fake grin on his face as the mayor spoke. His hind legs crossed as his bladder told him that it urgently needed to be evacuated. Yet still the mayor spouted her endless series of banalities.

“And so, we stand here today to break ground on this new neighborhood, one that soon will be home to many ponies we will be proud to call our neighbors.” The forepony of the construction company passed Mayor Mare the ceremonial shovel, and she dug it into the prepared ground, lifting out a small amount of soil. The ponies in the crowd stomped their hooves in applause.

The shovel was then passed around to several other town dignitaries. Blueblood was invited due to his role in planning the neighborhood. He was fifth out of eight ponies to plunge the shovel into the ground. What that meant to his relative importance for the project was a subject he would better be able to contemplate if the need to urinate wasn’t foremost on his mind.

The final shovelful of dirt was moved, and the mayor and other dignitaries went to mingle. Blueblood was already running away at top speed.

Prince Blueblood shoved open the door to the library. “Welcome back,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Are you ready to....”

“Can’t stop, gotta go,” Blueblood said as he ran into the bathroom.

Twilight Sparkle was waiting for him at the kitchen table once he finished with his pressing matter. “I shudder to think what would have happened if your mayor gave one of her long speeches,” he quipped.

“Is it that bad?” she asked.

“I was gone for less than thirty minutes, Twilight Sparkle. I find myself looking for the nearest facilities wherever I go. The thought of... losing control is embarrassing.”

“Well, I have the perfect way to get your mind off of that.” She levitated a book onto the table. “Let’s talk about the Lamare technique.”

“Does that even translate to somepony in my situation?” Blueblood asked.

“According to all I’ve read, the process of giving birth is similar. You will experience contractions. The process is all about maximizing your comfort and managing the pain, so that you can be a healthy father. So let’s practice these breathing exercises.”

“I should probably do this while lying down,” Blueblood observed.

The ponies headed to Blueblood’s bedroom, Twilight Sparkle shutting the door behind them. Blueblood lay on the bed, the springs creaking under his mass. He squirmed, trying to find a comfortable position, but just like going to bed every night, nothing felt right.

“If you want, I’ll be there to coach you when it’s time,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“I think I’d like that,” Blueblood responded. “Now how does this Lamare technique work?”

“It’s primarily breathing exercises. It will help calm you, let you get in rhythm with your contractions, and allow you to focus through the pain. In fact, a strong stallion like you wouldn’t even need spells to deal with the pain!”

Blueblood stared at Twilight Sparkle. “You don’t really believe that, do you? Every mare says that childbirth is the most painful experience in life.”

“You may be right. I can’t say I have any experience. I’m just repeating what the author said.”

“You believe everything that’s written in a book?”

“But it’s a reference book!” Twilight Sparkle exclaimed.

“Okay, so what do I do?”

“You’re going to take deep breaths. Inhale, exhale. Try to get a rhythm going.”

Blueblood followed Twilight Sparkle’s instructions. The sound of his heavy breathing filled the guest bedroom.

“Good, good,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Now I’m going to tap the bed with my hoof. Pretend that’s a contraction. Practice your breathing to be in time with the contractions, pushing at the same time as you exhale.”

Grunts joined Blueblood’s breathing. He laughed as he heard it the first time. “I can’t imagine how bad this sounds.

“Don’t worry. Nopony’s going to come up here. Let’s try it again.

Blueblood continued to practice, his grunts growing louder. He froze when he heard movement on the other side of the door.

“Uh, Twilight, do you need me to go out? Like, for a few hours?” Spike called through the door.

“What? No, it’s not that! It’s not what you think! Ew!” she squealed.

“That’s right, nopony would come up here,” Blueblood said. “Actually, could you ask Spike to take the afternoon off?”

Twilight Sparkle nodded. “Spike, I’m going to give you the afternoon off. Go out and have fun!”

“Thanks, Twilight!” he replied, before hastily departing.

Twilight Sparkle set her book down. “We can practice this later. Do you want to talk over tea?”

“Yes, please.”

Prince Blueblood held his cup of tea between his hooves, savoring the warmth. Twilight Sparkle had turned the sign on the library door to Closed. Now, she sipped her tea while looking at Blueblood expectantly. When he just stared at his tea, she spoke. “What’s bothering you about your foal?”

“Is it that obvious?” Blueblood replied.

“Yes. You’re staring at your hooves again,” Twilight Sparkle observed. “Are you having second thoughts about adoption?”

“No. The foal needs to go to a family that will be able to care for him. I just....” Blueblood paused. “Do you know the Goldens?”

“A little. I buy carrots from Golden Harvest frequently. They seem like nice ponies.”

“Are they having trouble conceiving?”

Twilight Sparkle set down her teacup. “I can’t speak for them, as they’ve never confided in me.”

“But what do you think? Please, Twilight Sparkle, this is important to me,” Blueblood implored.

“That’s the rumor, yes. These things tend to go around a small town like this.” She paused. “I take it you surmised that already?”

Blueblood nodded. “I’ve gotten to know them better than most ponies in town. I would have expected farmer ponies of their age to have several foals by now. There were a few things I heard them say, and I saw them, together, at the doctor’s office. That led to my suspicion.”

“You care about them, don’t you?”

“They have a warmth that is so unlike my own family. I’m worried that... infertility could drive them apart. I don’t think anything else could.”

“So you’re saying you would be happy if the Goldens adopted your foal?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“I would,” Blueblood replied.

“I’ll need to read up on the laws to be sure, but an open adoption can probably be arranged without the intervention of Foal Services,” Twilight Sparkle said.



“No. It has to be anonymous,” Blueblood stated.

“Are you sure? If you give the foal up, there’s very little chance they will adopt your foal. I don’t even know if they’re looking at adopting yet, and it takes so long to go through the system....”

“Damn it, Twilight Sparkle! You’re a princess now! If you had a cousin who wanted to give up a foal, wouldn’t you help her?”

“I suppose, but...”

“Then help me!” Blueblood demanded, pounding the table with his hoof. The teacup shook, the cold liquid inside rippling. As he focused on the tea, he saw that the surface still wasn’t smooth; only then did he realize the blur was caused by the tears in his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Blueblood. I didn’t know....”

Blueblood composed himself, taking deep breaths. He brushed the tears from his eyes with his fetlocks and sniffed. “I’m willing to ask Princess Celestia for her aid. But I want your help. You’re the one who’s been there for me, even when I’ve been a horrible pony.”

“I didn’t know.... Okay. I’ll be your intermediary. But I don’t know how to connect you with the Goldens anonymously.”

“Just tell them the truth. You have a distant relative who is looking to give up a foal for adoption and would be more than happy for an earth pony couple to raise him.”

“But we’re not relatives!”

“Please, Twilight Sparkle. We’re both unicorns whose families have lived in Canterlot for centuries. We’re likely around ninth cousins.”

“You know, I never really thought about us being related,” Twilight Sparkle said.

Blueblood frowned as he watched Twilight Sparkle shudder with that realization.

The next few weeks brought good news for Prince Blueblood. Twilight Sparkle received approval to serve as the intermediary for the adoption. At the same time, he received a personal letter from Princess Celestia, thanking him for being so willing to help one of her little ponies. He wasn’t that surprised that Twilight Sparkle had written to her mentor on the subject, but it was comforting to see his aunt’s approval. He so rarely saw such approval.

And it looked like the Goldens were ready to consider adoption. Blueblood found himself in the awkward position of feigning surprise when Golden Grain mentioned the good news during one of their fishing trips. He smiled and congratulated the stallion.

But all these good memories didn’t help Prince Blueblood on this day. For it was summer, and a particularly hot summer day at that. He lay on his back on his bed, even the thin sheet kicked away. His mane was plastered to his forehead. His mouth was open, and he even considered panting, if that would help cool him down.

A knock came from the door. “Prince Blueblood?” Twilight Sparkle called

“Can you pleeease ask Princess Celestia to turn down the sun?” he whined.

“It’s not that bad.”

“You see how comfortable you are when you’re ten months pregnant.”

“Well, I will try to keep a positive attitude about it,” she countered. “Now, you asked me to remind you about your doctor’s appointment today. Maybe a nice cool shower before the appointment will help?”

“I don’t think it will help.” Blueblood grunted as he rose from bed. He glanced at his haggard expression in the mirror. A shower might not help him cool down, but he desperately needed one.

He did feel better once done with his shower, but Blueblood didn’t admit it to Twilight Sparkle. He grabbed an apple for breakfast.

“You’re not dressed today?” Twilight Sparkle observed.

“It’s too hot for clothes,” Blueblood replied.

“Still, you could use your illusion spell,” she continued.

“It’s too hot for illusionary clothing, too.”

Twilight Sparkle winced at she tried to process the prince’s illogical statement. “Well, whatever makes you feel comfortable,” she replied with a smile that hopefully didn’t look too fake.

Soon, Blueblood was out the door. He tried to walk casually to the doctor’s office, all the while stealing furtive glances to all sides. He didn’t think anypony was paying particular attention to him. Or if anypony was watching him, they were doing a masterful job of concealing themselves.

He checked the position of the sun in the sky, and stepped into the doctor’s office, right on time. He seated himself in a corner, partially obscured by a potted plant.

“Prince Blueblood? The doctor will see you now,” he heard after a mercifully short wait.

He forced an expression to his face, the one that said I’m calm, I’m in control, I’m in charge. But there was no way to prepare for meeting the new doctor. He was going to discuss things with him, things Blueblood wished he would never have needed to know.

Doctor Stable was in the waiting room, along with another unicorn stallion. “Prince Blueblood, I’d like you to meet Doctor Hale Spirit,” Doctor Stable said.

“Charmed,” Blueblood replied, shaking the new doctor’s hoof. “So you’re Equestria’s resident expert on seapony births?”

“Well, I don’t have the experience with seapony births that seapony doctors have,” he replied. “But for pony-seapony births, I have more experience than any other doctor alive.”

“And how many is that?”

“You’re my ninth patient,” Hale Spirit said.

Fortunately for Blueblood, the examination table was padded, so his banging his head on it didn’t leave him with a headache.

“I know it’s not a lot, but pony-seapony relationships are very rare, and pregnancy can be avoided by using protection,” Hale Spirit continued.

“Of course,” Blueblood mumbled.

“And fortunately, childbirth for stallions is less complicated. A mare might experience phantom labor pains for days, months even. But you can examine your brood pouch to know when labor is imminent.”

“I’ve read something about my... situation, but I’d appreciate your expert advice about what to expect.”

And with that, Prince Blueblood listened to Hale Spirit’s account of the birth process. He nodded along, being mostly familiar with the basics. But as he digested the details, one thought kept playing in his mind.

I’m going to be pushing another living thing out of a magically altered part of my body, through a very small hole.

“Now, Doctor Stable has kept me updated on your pregnancy, but I’d like to do my own examination now,” Hale Spirit said.

Blueblood nodded and lay on his back on the examination table. Hale Spirit pressed his hooves to Blueblood’s belly and channeled his magic into him. The foal kicked several times. In the air above them, an image appeared of the foal. Blueblood could see the colt’s hooves and tiny horn.

“He’s a feisty one,” Hale Spirit said. “You’re going to have a very active foal.”

Blueblood didn’t want to talk about the foal, so he changed the subject. “How did you come to practice in pony-seapony pregnancies?” he asked.

“I always wanted to be a doctor, to help ponies in need, but my decision to learn more about seaponies was a personal one. My grandmother was a seapony.”

“Your grandmother? But that would mean your grandfather.... Was it a....”

“My grandparents shared fifty happy years together, even if it was hard for them to be physically present together. They had eight foals together.”

“Eight? He went through this eight times?”

“Actually six, with two sets of twins. But yes. It’s amazing what love will make a pony do.” The doctor made some notes in his file. “Now, as for you, Prince Blueblood, you’re doing well. I’m going to recommend you avoid strenuous activity, but you don’t need bed rest. I also don’t recommend travel. You’re due in a month, but this is your first pregnancy. The foal could come early, or up to three weeks late.”

“Three weeks late? I sure hope not!”

“Are you set for getting to the hospital when the time comes?”

“I’m staying with Princess Twilight Sparkle, and she’s helping me through this. When the time comes, I figure she will teleport us straight to the hospital. And I don’t think you’ll be able to keep her out of the delivery room. She promised she would do whatever it takes to keep me safe.”

“That’s not a good idea,” Hale Spirit said.

“While I would normally agree with you, Doctor, I think you can make an exception for the princess,” Doctor Stable said. “I want her magical talents if something goes wrong.”

“You are the doctor in charge, Doctor Stable. But I’d feel better knowing more about the princess.”

“Just check out a book at the library,” Blueblood suggested. “You’ll learn more about her than you’d ever want to know.”

It was evening, and Prince Blueblood and Princess Twilight Sparkle sat at the kitchen table, reading. The chairs here were the least bad of a series of uncomfortable choices for the expectant prince. Reading was the best way for Blueblood to pass the final weeks of his pregnancy. Focusing on learning something new kept his mind off his discomfort, off the phantom labor pains, off the whole situation.

In the quiet of the library, he heard Twilight Sparkle turn a page with her magic. While surely she would be more comfortable reading on a couch, she chose to spend this time with him. It was comforting, in a way. Even after upsetting her on several occasions, even after royally screwing up the way only a royal could, she still worried about him.

“Are you all right, Blueblood?” she asked.

“I’m fine. It’s just phantom labor pains,” he replied. Okay, sometimes she worried too much.

“You look like you’re in more pain than normal. Are you sure you’re not going into labor?”

“I’m still two weeks from my due date, Twilight Sparkle, and Celestia knows I’m not lucky enough for this to end early. Besides, the doctor said there would be a clearly visible sign when I’m entering labor.” He leaned back and moved his forelegs to the side, although most of his body was concealed behind the table.

“Your illusion spell is still up from when we went out to lunch,” Twilight Sparkle noted.

“Like I said, it’s no... nnnnuuuhhh!” Blueblood grunted loudly as he felt his strongest labor pain yet. It was followed by a splashing sound, and he realized his seat was now wet.

“Blueblood! Your water broke!”

He looked down, and his eyes widened in horror. He opened his mouth, but he couldn’t form any coherent words.

“Stay right there! I’ll let the hospital know!” With that, Twilight Sparkle disappeared, accompanied by the unique popping sound of air filling the void previously occupied by a pony.

That noise returned Blueblood to his senses. While between the gaps of his contractions, he concentrated and dispelled his illusion. He inspected his swollen belly. He felt it with his hooves before he saw it, a seam where his brood pouch was beginning to separate.

“Oh, dear Celestia. It’s happening,” he said to himself. He started breathing heavily.

The air shimmered, and Twilight Sparkle reappeared in the kitchen. “Blueblood! Get on your hooves!”

“What? Why?”

“Just do it!”

Blueblood got off his chair, afraid his legs wouldn’t support him. But he felt the ground under his hooves, only to immediately become disoriented. All was dark and light at the same time. He couldn’t feel anything, not the ground, not the air, not even gravity. And in an instance, it was gone. He reappeared in a hospital room. One of the Ponyville nurses, he wanted to say Redheart, was preparing the delivery room.

Blueblood felt normal, as normal as a stallion in labor could. But Twilight Sparkle was breathing heavily. Teleportation was a very difficult spell, and teleporting another pony at the same time was an order of magnitude more difficult. But Blueblood didn’t have time to appreciate her magical talents, as another contraction struck.

He felt a foreleg around him. “Let’s get you into the bed,” Nurse Redheart said. She helped him into the bed, where he reclined. “Do you need anything before the doctors arrive? Water? A pillow?”

Before he could answer, he heard Twilight Sparkle mutter “need anything.” Her eyes opened in surprise. “My checklist!” she yelled. Twilight Sparkle teleported away, and a few seconds later, returned with a scroll levitating in her aura.

She was interrupted, however, by Doctor Stable entering the room. “Doctor Hale Spirit and I will have matters well in hoof, Princess,” he said calmly. “What Prince Blueblood needs is your support. Can you do that?”

“Support. Right.” She looked over her checklist, and summoned a quill pen to mark off a box. “That’s number thirteen on my list.”

Twilight Sparkle walked over to Blueblood, holding his foreleg in hers. She gave him water, talked to him, comforted him, all while waiting for the doctors to get ready. It took ten minutes for Doctor Hale Spirit to arrive, but once he did, the doctors and nurse sprung into action.

“The canal to the brood pouch is fully formed. He’s at three centimeters dilation,” Hale Spirit said.

“NNNNGG!” Blueblood screamed as he felt another contraction.

“Contractions are about three minutes apart,” Nurse Redheart noted.

“You’re doing great, Blueblood,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Remember what I said about breathing.” He started breathing rapidly. “No, slower. Focus. Bring your breaths in time with your body.”

“You’re doing good, Prince Blueblood,” Hale Spirit said. “In a few hours, this will all be over.”

“HOURS?” Blueblood yelled. His desire to protest further was cut off by another contraction.

“You’re strong, Blueblood. You can do this,” Twilight Sparkle said encouragingly. “Breathe.”

Blueblood tried, but all thought of breathing disappeared with his next contraction. He squeezed Twilight Sparkle’s foreleg in his pastern.

“Breathe. It will help you deal with the pain,” she said.

“NNNNGGGAAHH!” he screamed. He panted, trying to catch his breath. His mane was falling into his eyes. But he could see well enough to stare down the doctors. “I want spells! Now!” he demanded.

Doctor Stable nodded to his associate, and cast the powerful spell that blocked the pain coming from the rear half of a pony’s body. It helped a lot, but Blueblood could still feel it, could still feel the pressure as his body told him to do something it was never designed to do.

Blueblood pushed. He grunted. He screamed. He heard the doctors talk about lengths and times, but it was hard to keep track of anything, even how much time had passed. All he knew is that it was still dark out.

“The patient is fully dilated,” Doctor Stable said.

“The horn is safely positioned,” Hale Spirit added.

“I need you to push,” Doctor Stable told Blueblood.

“I’ve been pushing!” he protested.

“I need you to keep pushing, harder than ever,” Doctor Stable said.

“You’re doing great, Blueblood,” Twilight Sparkle said. “You’re almost there. Listen to the doctor.”

He pushed. He pushed, and kept pushing. The doctors said something about a crown. They talked about rotation. Nothing made any sense until he heard a new sound.

A foal’s screaming.

One doctor tended to Blueblood while the other cleaned the newborn. After one final contraction, Blueblood looked and saw a tiny form hovering before him, swaddled in a soft blanket.

“Congratulations, Prince Blueblood. It’s a colt.”

The infant had a light silver coat, almost white. His mane was green and gold, and shared that shimmering blended appearance with his mother. He opened his violet eyes and smiled, reaching out his tiny hooves towards Blueblood. Although he was in pain, sleep-deprived, and resting in Celestia knows what kind of mess, he never felt better.

He cradled the foal to his body, and Blueblood felt a primal magic flow through him. It was powerful, a deep connection to the magic of Equestria itself that most mares will know at one point, but very few stallions will ever sense.

Blueblood looked at his son. “Blue Seas,” he announced.

Nurse Redheart took a pencil in her mouth. “Name: Blue Seas. Type: Unicorn. Sex: Male. Date of birth: July 2, 1477 AC. Time of birth: 2:42 A.M.,” she spoke as she wrote.

He smiled and slipped into sleep.

Prince Blueblood awoke, but still felt in a daze. He was in the hospital, but in a clean bed. It was light out, but everything told him to stay in bed. He ached, a hundred times worse than when he overexerted himself during the Running of the Leaves. An IV tended to his need for fluids and nutrition. Magical devices monitored every aspect of his health.

He rested for some time until a light tapping on the door attracted his attention. “Um, excuse me? Is this the right place?” a soft, familiar voice called.

“Yes. Please come in,” Blueblood replied, his croaking voice revealing how much he needed a drink of water.

Fluttershy opened the door, stepped into the room, and quietly closed it behind her. “Twilight said you were in this room, but the sign outside says the room is closed for fumigation,” she said.

Twilight Sparkle must have suggested that as a way to keep somepony from accidentally discovering me. Quite thoughtful. “That should keep ponies out, but I’m glad you came.”

“Well, I know how my friends, animal and pony, feel after giving birth, and I thought you’d want the company.” She pulled a bundle of flowers out of her saddlebags. “I brought some flowers, in case you’re hungry. And, uh....” She pulled out a wrapped bundle. “Twilight told me how seaponies feed their infants. So I brought a fish, if you want to feed your son, you know, if that’s all right with you.”

Blueblood wrinkled his nose. "Without that seapony magic in me, that no longer strikes me as appealing. The hospital has a supply of special formula, what seaponies actually use nowadays. But thank you kindly for your offer.”

“Twilight showed him to me. He’s adorable,” she said.

“He is.”

“When are you going home?” she asked.

“I’m not sure. I have a few... things to work out with Twilight Sparkle first.”

“Okay,” she replied. “Be strong.” There was something... knowing about the look in her eyes.

Blueblood nodded. “Thank you for your kindness, Fluttershy.”

Three days later, Prince Blueblood was released from the hospital. His room at the library had been turned into a makeshift nursery. He wasn’t worried about being discovered by a library patron, as Twilight Sparkle had placed a soundproofing spell on the door to the room. Listening to his foal cry, he wondered if that was more for his benefit, or for hers.

Blueblood cradled Blue Seas in his forelegs. He held a bottle in his magic as he fed his son. He smiled, though he felt tears collecting in the corners of his eyes.

He looked up, and saw Twilight Sparkle watching him. “Hey,” she said. “I knocked, but, you know, soundproofing spell.”

“You’re always welcome in here, Princess.”

“Yes. Well. Speaking of that. As Princess and representative of the Crown of Equestria, I am prepared to accept responsibility for abandoned foals, to ensure their safety and act as I see fit to promote their best interests, in accordance with all relevant statutes.” She approached and placed a hoof on his withers. “As a friend, I want to know. Are you sure?”

“They say that parents will do anything to protect their foal. I may be a parent now. Actually, I may be a parent several times over. And that’s part of the problem.” He paused. “Until I understand what makes a loving family, and have one of my own, I can’t really call myself a parent. But I know that the right thing for this foal is to give him to the care of ponies who are worthy of being called parents.”

Twilight Sparkle nodded. “Then as soon as you leave Ponyville, Blue Seas will be in the care of the Crown, and ready to be adopted.”

“Have you told the Goldens?”

“Not yet. I thought I’d wait, so that there’s less chance of them connecting the foal to you.”

Blueblood shook his head. “With his name, and being a unicorn, and his mane color, do you think it will work?”

“He has a coat color similar to my mother’s. And really, most ponies have never seen a seapony, let alone contemplated the idea of a child of a pony and seapony. I think you’re safe.” She looked around the room, seeing most of Blueblood’s belongings still unpacked. “Are you still planning on leaving tomorrow?”

He looked at his son. “I think I’ll spend a few more days here.”

Finally, Prince Blueblood was ready to leave. He boarded the train to Canterlot, taking a seat in his private first class cabin. Curtains covered the windows. He opened them, granting him one last look at Ponyville.

Seven months ago, the idea of leaving Ponyville for good was something he so desired, but could not do. Now, though, he couldn’t turn his gaze away from the growing town. As the train rolled, the town receded into the distance. Could he come back? Maybe there was some other project that needed a ceremonial prince to ceremonially turn some ceremonial earth. And while he shook hooves with the assembled dignitaries, maybe he could catch a glimpse of a happy couple and their beloved son.

He sighed and closed the curtains. A life, his life, was waiting for him in Canterlot. It was a life for which he would need to find new meaning. But Blueblood could do that.

After all, he was a prince.


View Online

A Royal Pain

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.


Prince Blueblood looked for his friends Lightning Shield and Full Sail. The ballroom of the Whitestar estate was surrounded on three sides by a balcony, segmented into a number of curved overhangs surrounded by an ornate railing. These overhangs provided a magnificent view of the ballroom below while creating a sense of intimacy.

As he expected, his two friends claimed one of these overhangs. The bar staff had set up a table service for them, with the normal collection of glasses and mixers. But instead of the premium liquors everypony else was drinking, they had a bottle of the Goldens’ carrot vodka and a jug of apple brandy from the Apple family.

“The conquering hero returns!” Lightning Shield exclaimed.

“Yes, and I brought spoils of my conquest.” Blueblood placed a wine bottle on the table.

“Wine? Not really what we need to get through this night,” Full Sail observed.

“But this is no ordinary wine,” Blueblood noted. “The mare who makes this wine, Berry Punch, has a special talent for making strong drink. I dare say you’ll find this wine more potent than that brandy.”

“I’ll have to see if that’s right,” Full Sail said. “In fact, I may need several glasses to test your assertion.”

“Go right ahead. As for me, I’ll have the carrot vodka with a splash of tonic.”

Lightning Shield nodded and poured the drinks for his friends. Blueblood lifted his glass. “To friends and alcohol. The only things making these parties tolerable.”

“Hear, hear!” the others agreed. They clinked their glasses together and sipped.

“Nice job with the new griffin attaché,” Lightning Shield told Blueblood.

“Yes. Every griffin thinks he will look intimidating if he demands meat for his meal. It’s like they don’t even notice the royal kitchen is ready with fish or chicken for omnivore visitors. Frankly, that behavior gets tiring after a while.”

“But what gave you the idea of eating fish yourself?” Full Sail asked.

“If you ever have the misfortune of spending any length of time with Princess Twilight Sparkle, you’ll encounter her unnerving habit of spouting off random facts. ‘Yes, Your Highness, we get it, you’ve read every book in Equestria. Twice.’ At one point, she observed that ponies are biologically capable of digesting animal flesh. Remembering that, I decided to tell the waiter that our esteemed griffin guest made an excellent choice, and that I would have what he was having.”

Full Sail and Lightning Shield looked at each other knowingly. “I can only guess how your conversation with Princess Twilight Sparkle turned to that subject,” Full Sail said.

“I don’t recall, but that fact was memorable,” Blueblood replied.

“Now, on to the matter at hoof,” Full Sail said. He waved over the crowd below. “See anypony you like? I think it’s only fair you get first choice, Blueblood, since it has been eight months.”

Blueblood searched the crowd, and then shook his head slightly. “Guess I’ll have to mingle.” He sighed. “I think I can’t put it off any longer.”

“Put off what?” Lightning Shield asked.

“The dreaded settling down,” Blueblood replied. “In Ponyville, married ponies were happy to be in each other’s presence. It’s a far cry from the cold business partnership of my own parents’ relationship. If I want something better than that, I’ll need to work at it. And that starts with actually listening when all the old mares down there tell me about their daughters.”

“That’s surprisingly mature,” Lightning Shield said.

“Mm-hmm,” Blueblood replied, taking a sip of his drink.

“Guess it’s true what they say,” Full Sail said. “Motherhood changes a pony.”

Blueblood choked and spat his drink across the table. Although both his friends were left with dripping muzzles, they still laughed uproariously.

“I’m ruined,” Blueblood muttered.

“Relax, old friend,” Lightning Shield said, slapping his back. “There’s a ton of rumors floating around about what you were really doing in Ponyville, but that’s not one of them.”

“I would hope there were rumors! I did include disparate tidbits of information in my official correspondence, enough that everypony would fill in the blanks and draw their own wrong conclusion,” Blueblood said. “But that doesn’t explain how you knew.”

“Well, the first clue is that you didn’t say anything to us about what you were doing in Ponyville,” Lightning Shield said.

“Actually, the first clue was you getting sick. In the morning. On three different occasions,” Full Sail noted.

“Well, that was after a night of partying,” Blueblood said.

“But you don’t get sick from partying, Blueblood. You never have. I watched you drink seven cups of punch at that frat party. They mixed that punch in a garbage can! You were fine the next morning, absolutely fine,” Lightning Shield recalled.

“Besides, you brag about your seapony conquest, get sick three months later, and then conveniently disappear for the next eight months. It wasn’t hard to figure out, especially for me,” Full Sail said.

“What do you mean?”

“There’s a small community of seaponies that live and work in Baltimare Harbor. So when a new sailor for High Seas Trading is recruited, they get trained. Lesson number one? ‘Watch where you stick your dick.’” Full Sail paused to take a drink. “It’s remarkable how many of the problems that can befall a sailor are prevented with that one commandment.”

“Besides, if you actually paid attention to mares after you fucked them, you might have noticed how many of them disappear for six to eight months for a ‘sabbatical’ or to ‘visit distant relatives’,” Lightning Shield said.

“I suppose ‘temporarily working in Ponyville’ would be another option,” Full Sail observed.

“Except I was actually working,” Blueblood said.

The others’ jaws dropped, not in surprise, but a mocking expression Blueblood was quite familiar with. “A Canterlot noble working? However did you survive?” Lightning Shield quipped.

“Did you chip a hoof?” Full Sail added.

Blueblood sipped his drink while he waited for his friends to finish their teasing. It was quite apparent they hadn’t spent their months away from him improving their repertoire.

“Now, if you’re quite finished, I’ll comment, in strict confidence of course, that I actually enjoyed the work. The feeling of accomplishment from seeing the results of one’s work, especially work related to one’s special talent, is something I’ve rarely experienced.” He set down his glass. “Now, I’ll leave you two to think about that. I have to mingle.”

Prince Blueblood first sought out the party’s hostess. Duchess Auriga Whitestar was the head of this ancient Canterlot house, a house of suitable station, and as a widow, Blueblood had accompanied her on the dance floor on multiple occasions. He was also certain she had at least one eligible daughter.

Blueblood approached the hostess during a lull in the music, timing his arrival to when she was finishing up another conversation. “Ah, Duchess Whitestar. It is always a pleasure.”

“Prince Blueblood. You honor this house with your presence,” she replied.

“Enough with the formalities. It’s been too long since we’ve spoken. How have you been?”

“Quite well, thank you. My charitable foundation keeps me busy.”

“And the family?”

“Certainly having a better time than me,” she replied with a laugh. “But I am happy that Capella has returned from Maredagascar.”

Blueblood searched his memory. “The botanist?”

Auriga nodded.

“What was she doing there?”

“She was part of an expedition cataloging the flora and fauna of the island,” Auriga said.

“Sounds intriguing. Is she in attendance today?”

“She declined. My dear daughter said, and I quote, ‘I just spent fourteen months in the jungle. I don’t need to visit a different jungle tonight.’”

“For a jungle, the temperature here is quite pleasant,” Blueblood quipped. He glanced over and saw the band was ready to start up again. “May I have the next dance?”

As Blueblood shared a waltz with the hostess, he thought about her daughter. He didn’t recall what she looked like, so he couldn’t picture her in his mind, but an image was appearing anyway. Independent. Adventurous. Willing to stand up to her mother. Could that be his perfect complement? With so many other mares, he remembered their appearance, their smell, their touch, but in his memories, they might as well have been illusions.

The ending of the song snapped Blueblood out of his reverie. He thanked the duchess for the dance and moved on to mingle once again.

Blueblood noted the many familiar faces, and a few new ones. Lightning Shield had caught the attention of an unfamiliar hippogriff mare. Oh, they could do wonderful things with their talons, but they wouldn’t be of suitable station. He looked around for Full Sail, but his search was interrupted by a stallion’s voice.

“Ah, Prince Blueblood.” Blueblood knew the speaker would have a friendly smile on his face, but he still managed to communicate disdain underneath his honeyed words.

“Marble Block. A pleasure as always.” Which was to say, no pleasure at all.

Blueblood turned to face the stallion, an earth pony hailing from one of the noble families of Chicacolt. As he expected, Marble Block had a fake smile on his face. He was not of high enough station to warrant being classified as a rival, so Blueblood thought of him as a regular antagonist.

“I thought you’d never return,” Marble Block said, smiling. No doubt, he had heard one of the rumors.

“Well, of course,” Blueblood replied. “The project to create an army of alicorn super soldiers is now complete.” He smirked at Marble Block. “Or did you hear one of the other preposterous stories that have been going around?”

“Now, come on, my good prince. I just wanted to welcome you back to Canterlot. I’m sure you did good, whatever it was you did.”

“Perhaps all I did was serve as an example.” He leaned in close. “A bit of advice. Don’t upset Princess Celestia. She might decide Whinnypeg needs the services of a stone carver for the next year.”

Marble Block, whose cutie mark depicted a statue being shaped from a marble block, merely shrugged. “I think Canterlot will remain better served by me staying here and appreciating the city’s fine art. And speaking of fine art….”

Blueblood knew exactly what was on the young stallion’s mind. He looked to see which mare had caught his eye. The first thing he noticed was the shimmering mane of intertwined green and blue.

Melodia Starsea was still in town.

She was mingling, pressing flesh, chatting up the guests. In her behavior, he saw the predator, the hunter looking for a trophy, the fisher looking for the prize catch.

He saw himself, the way he used to be before experiencing firsthoof the consequences of that kind of behavior.

There was no reason to talk to Melodia. She didn’t care if she had an illegitimate foal. After all, he knew the type.

At Blueblood’s side, Marble Block was still staring, trying not to drool. A wicked smile crossed the prince’s face. He often referred to the young noblepony as Blockhead when talking with his friends, and that wasn’t because of his name or cutie mark.

Blueblood slapped Marble Block’s back. “You and I may not get along, but I do commend your taste in fine art,” Blueblood said loudly. He moved to depart, but not before leaning in and whispering in Marble Block’s ear.

“What are you waiting for? I hear she puts out on the first date.”