The Different Prince

by Buckly Jones

First published

When the mafia guns you down in search of your Nazi grandfather's hidden gold and you find yourself reborn into another world as a member of royalty... it's time to reflect on your life... or just say "Fuck it" and have fun.

Not even death could stop me. After I met my fate at the hands of a criminal organization, I was whisked away to be born into another world so that I could continue my great work. Well... I suppose not great work. Legitimate more like. And maybe I was more lucky than too strong for death to hold me.

Gee. What Am I doing with my life? What did I do with my life? What am I going to do with my new life?

This world seriously freaks me out. Magic? Friendship? Parents who actually care about me? Extended family and friends who care about me? What the hell is wrong with these people?

Why am I asking so many questions?

I don't know what's going on. I'm just winging it really. I would suggest bailing out of this ride while you've got the chance.


Cover art by a fantastic artist who has actually helped shape much of my worlds. Please check him out.

Of Nazi Gold and Busty Waitresses

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Suffice to say, I would not be tipping that waitress. If she can afford an Uzi and that fantastic boobjob, she doesn't need my greenbacks. Not I that carried any. No, I always paid in untraceable precious minerals.

Which made me a prime target for the mafia. As well anyone else who wanted to get rich in a minute.

How did I get so rich? Pirate treasure. Yes, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. I so totally did not inherit it from my Nazi grandfather who use to work in Auschwitz. Yessiree, pirate treasure it was. They may have looked like filling at one point, before I melted them down into ingots.

Oh my word, my grandfather was a monster. I'm glad to be rid of it. Let someone else carry that around with them. The only reason I held onto it for so long was because... it was gold. Money. Moola. That's how you spell moola, right? Anyways, the point being, money can make people put aside their horror and disgust.

Well, the jokes on my assassins. I had already spent most of it. Spent it all on security to keep me safe from them.

It had to have been cursed.

Oh well, maybe I would never see gold ever again. That would be just fine by me.

Suddenly... sensation of being sucked through a windy straw, a lot of screaming, mostly mine, and then a bright light and faces looking down at me. This is actually very unimportant to anything. Why do people linger on the mode of transportation?

"My goodness, Princess Celestia," a voice said, attached to the body that was holding me. Everything was agony, and I was unable to stop screaming. "I have never seen a foal with such golden fur before. One might almost think it were real."

Gold? What the fuck. I never want to see that stuff again.

"That's... wonderful," a new voice, softer and warmer said. My screaming quieted. I call witchcraft. "I can hardly... hardly keep my.... eyes open. Is it a filly or a colt?"

"A colt, your highness," cheered the first voice. Yes, that shall be her name for the time being. First Voice.

There was an audible gasp from Second Voice. "Master above. A colt? Oh, seventy-two hours... of labor never felt so... worth it."

"And that's not all, your highness," gasped First Voice. "He... h-he's and alicorn."

Second Voice gasped again in shock. "A male alicorn? Th-that's... unheard of."

This was an interesting conversation. Wish I knew who or what they were talking about. By this time, I was no longer screaming. Thank goodness, I was hurting my own ears.

"Give me my son," Second Voice commanded. "The Master not only blesses me with a colt, but also an alicorn heir. Today shall be marked as a holiday from this day forth."

Wow. Whoever this kid was must really be something special. I'd like to meet him. Maybe then I could see what a real person was like.


I suddenly found myself in someone else's arms. Gee, I was kind of small, wasn't I?

"My word, he is huge," Second Voice said, sounding extremely close. "To think half the nation was betting I was having twins. Can't blame them."

Talk about a big baby. Though, seriously, what was going on? Why was I being passed around like a hot potato? When did people ever pass around hot potatoes? I blame the Irish. If potatoes are involved, they're often the ones to blame.

Shouldn't I be dead? Well, maybe this was all that was left of me. Their just passing the few bits and pieces the mafia left when they tore me apart in search of the rest of the gold.

"Shall we schedule a circumcision?" First voice asked Second Voice.

Was anyone else finding it odd that the remains of a corpse wee floating around a maternity ward? This was some freaky shit. Was I supposed to be some sort of sick object lesson?

Suddenly, I felt something rubbing against my cheek. Everything was blurry and distorted that I could what it was. It was hairy, whatever it was. Was a bearded old man sniffing me or something? Why did I think something like that?

"I shall call you Gold Coast, because your birth is a sign that we reached a new horizon," Second Voice whispered in my ear in her warm and gentle voice.

I wasn't even sure if I was breathing by this point as all the cogs in my brain finally clicked into place and began rotating. This could only mean one thing. Unfortunately, one cog had slipped, and I lost my train of thought. Actually, I fell asleep. Then it clicked back into place and I woke up again.

I was reborn as.... something. Something really didn't feel right. A lot of somethings. And what was that about circumcision? Come on. I was already circumcised in my previous life. And that little piece of skin was then sent to a factory to be turned into wrinkle cream. Don't believe me? Look it up, you're on the internet. Little boys are being harvested, and parents are paying for it. It's a racket.

"Schedule it at the appropriate six weeks," Second voice said as she held me close to what I could only assume to be her breasts. They were fuzzy too.

Fuck. Please let me be born blind. I do not want to find out my new mother is a member of a circus. Namely, the world's hairiest lady. I will personally gouge out own my eyes if I have to.

Though, does this make my father another circus freak? The Elephant Man wouldn't be so bad. Watched the movie? Awesome stuff. It's a true story too.

Or, he could be one of those guys with a crocodile scale skin.

Yep, totally hoping my eyesight never recovers.

"We'll leave you and your son alone for now, your highness," First Voice said. There was the sound of multiple footsteps as whoever else was in the room with us left.

Wait. They said princess. Maybe they're a kingdom of werewolves. Okay, I think I could deal with that. But, then they also said I was a colt. Centaurs?

Maybe if I keep my eyes closed for a really long time they'll grow shut together.

Of Breastmilk and Big Red

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"Is something wrong Coast?" mother asked me.

My vision was much clearer after a nap. And mother was... something else. Beautiful to be sure. But... something else. She was a horse//lady... only she didn't quite look like a horse. Her face was very human and inviting. Her hair was like a magical waterfall of colors. Not a rainbow, but something all together incredible. Her fur was white and soft of velvet, and her hands, for she had other humanlike features, were gentle as the most luxurious silk as she cradled me against her breasts.

And her breasts, plump orbs, soft and inviting to gaze upon. There was a study once, that staring at breasts improved your health. I always believed it, but, now more than ever as they were laid bare before me. The prominent pink nipples were so smooth, the areolas a slightly dark shade, making them stand out even more. I was in awe of her magnificence.

She laughed. "Please, Coast. You are far too young to be ogling mares. C'mon mommy made you nice meal, it's rude to not eat."

I let instinct take over. I opened my mouth and took in the fat nipple. After a few moments of coaxing, I tasted my first drop of milk. Sweet like vanilla. I relaxed as he sighed contentedly and leaned back, humming some sort of lullaby. "Mommy has plenty, my little colt. No need to be so sparing."

I couldn't help but take my time. While I definitely too young to experience lust, I still remembered how much I loved big boobs. Shut up, A man's entitled to his dreams. This was bliss.

I didn't even hear the door open as I politely suckled. It wasn't until I felt something warm wet and sticky crawl up the back of my head like a demented blanket. I let go of mother's breast and turned to see a mass of red. Looking up I saw a face topped with yellow hair. Whole crap, he was a mountain.

Well, I assumed it was a he. Unless she's one ugly lady.

Mother reaches out a hand strokes the red giant's cheek in a loving fashion. "Hello Big Mac. Come to see your son?"

He didn't say anything, instead he jus started sniffing me. And then licked me again. I made a disgruntled sound. Mother laughed. "Here, why don't I just set him down so you can have a better look?"

Awe, did I have to leave the breast? Oh well. It's not like I won't be fed again. Still...

She set me upon the carpeted floor before the red beast, and it was then that I got a good look at him. The first thing I noticed was that he had four hooves. Looking back at mother, I saw that she had hooves where her feet should be and hand at the end of her arms. Good grief, she was completely naked. I looked back at who I assumed was my father.

Yep. Father. No mommy has those parts. It was then that I decided to take a good look at myself. I had four hooves too. Was this some sort of bizarre alien sexual dimorphism? It became even strange when I realized he hadn't said a word, and was behaving suspiciously like a pet. Unless they had a special relationship.

I looked back at mother. She was laying down on the ground beside me. It was then that I saw she had a tail. Well, at least it would help balance her out with those bazongas. It was just like her mane too. She smiled at as she rested her bosum upon the floor.

"My, you seem curious already, Coast. Do you want to go exploring?"

She was also in good shape for a lady who had just given birth... how long ago was it? How long had I been asleep.

"Are you ready to walk?"

That took me by surprise. Walk? Was I really like a little horse? Come to think of it, I was able to move my head a lot for someone so young. I looked down at my hooves for a long moment. Then I pressed one against the ground and pushed.

Next thing I knew, I was lying on my back. Mother laughing. "Almost there, Coast. Try again, c'mon."

The big red guy knelt down and pushed my back over with his nose. He was very gentle, yet I could feel the power resonating off of him. He managed to get me onto my stomach with all fours hooves beneath me. I looked to him, he was smiling, then I looked to mother, she had an eager expression on her face.

I closed my eyes an concentrated. Slowly. Oh so very slowly, I pushed myself up off of the ground and into a standing position of sorts. It was a little awkward and disjointed, perhaps even crooked, but I held fast and steady.

Mother gasped an cheered. "Only two tries. That's amazing, Coast."

I kind of felt like crying. My human mother had never been proud of me. Really wish she had received the Jew gold instead of me. But, no, my monster of a grandfather had to pick the loser of the family. I though I was being smug when I didn't let them have a piece of it after he died. Hell, they probably hired the mob to hunt me down for that cursed stuff.

Then I fell over. Mother laughed, and father snorted in what must have been amusement. I wanted to laugh too. This was amazing.

"Maybe you just need something in your tummy," mother cooed as she sat up and crossed her legs. "Can you at least try to walk this way a little, Coast?"

She gestures for me to come to her like I'm a dog. I start to paint a better picture of my new life. Who cares. Boobies. I try to get back onto my hooves, but that takes a moment. Eventually, my father grunts and grabs me by the nape of the neck.

Instantly, I recall a documentary I watched back home about a herd of horses. Where the foal couldn't stand up, so the stallion of the herd grabbed it by the back of the neck and slammed it against the ground until it was dead. I shrieked as that thought ran through me.

Next thing I knew, I was buried between mother's breasts. She wraps her arms around you. "goodness. I've never heard such a sound. Did you father scare you, Coast? He was just trying to help. You're sorry you scared him, aren't you dear?"

I look back at the red stallion, who looked equally terrified. He crouches down to make himself look smaller and creeps forward to lick my back. I stare at him wide eyed for a minute before pressing my face into mother's breasts again. She sighs.

"I'm sorry, Macintosh," she says. "You should have thought ahead."

I feel kind of sorry for the guy as he collapses onto the carpet in a sulk. Mother tussles his mane.

"There there, he'll come around in a while, let him have some more milk."

I found myself cradled once again and latched onto her nipple as I drank with more energy.

The Party: Part 1

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I could only stare wide-eyed at the decorations and surrounding ponies. Mother had thrown me a party. She was a little concerned when I started crying, but it didn't last. My human mother didn't throw me a party. This was so wonderful.

Streamers, food and dinks, colored lights, music, weird aliens in beautiful clothing. Yes, I'm called them aliens. It's what they are, and I ought to know. It's been what? A week? Two weeks? Who cares. And in the center of it all was a triple layer cake, like a wedding cake, only themed with a steam train and topped with a hot-air balloon. If I ever met the baker, would give her a kiss.

"How about for you?" I suddenly found myself being kissed by a pink mare in a candy-themed dress. She gave me a wink. "And how is the crown prince of Equestria?"

"Hello Pinkie Pie," mother greeted her as she chuckled. "Thank you so much for filling the large order so short a time."

The funny mare threw a mock salute. "No prob', Princess. It was the least I could do for a such a special little guy. Also, she's to nervous to say anything, but Mrs. Cake's thankful you invited her and her husband to Gold Coast's party."

Mother rolled her eyes. "Am I so unapproachable? I would like to have my son meet her's. He needs to have friends his age."

"I shall pass it along," the pink mare says as she bounds off.

I liked her. I kind of wanted to see more of her. How would she look in a Japanese schoolgirl outfit? Where di that come from?

Mother shifts me to the other arm and tickles my stomach. I laugh.

"Come on, Coast. Let's go see your presents."

Presents? I hadn't even thought of that. I was royalty now. Of course there would be presents. Now, I did get presents on birthdays and Christmas. So, my mother wasn't a total hag. But, still, just knowing I had some waiting for me made me feel... I can't process or label these emotions. It's almost too much.

"Oh dear, are you crying again?" mother asks as she looks down at me with concern. She wipes away tiny droplet with her fingers. "Are you hungry?"

Without another word, she dropped a side of her beautiful indigo and ruby dress to give me access. I needed no second bidding. She sighed happily.

"Oh, to be young, without a care in the world," she smiled as she continued walking. No one even batted an eye. I would imagine public breastfeeding to be common place in a world like this. I had learned that it was the females of this world that were intelligent, the males were primitive treated more like pets. Though, they were still called husbands, so it must be a deeper bond than the surface would dictate.

What about me? Did all males think like me? Was I super smart in this world? Wasn't super smart in my old world. What would they think I ever learned how to talk? I paused in thought.

"Oh, you done?" mother asked as I let go of her nipple. She made to lift the dress back up, but I quickly threw my hooves about the soft breast and looked up at her pleadingly. She laughed. "Oh, you like mommy's breast? Okay, I'll let you have your fun."

I was relieved. I loved these things. Ladies were like if a playground and an orchestra got together and gave birth to a moving painting. I hope that describes my feelings on the matter. I nuzzled the white velvety fur to her pleasure. And mine.

The presents... how to describe it... they were stacked like a Christmas tree. Not just to say that it was a large stack in the shape of a cone, color-coordinated to look like a Christmas tree. Not that they could possibly know what a Christmas tree was. Right? Did they have something like Christmas here?

I left off snuggling mom's boob to gape at the colorful packages of various sizes. Whoever did this was a genius. And also probably that purple maned white mare off to the side admiring it.

"Greetings Rarity," mother greeted her. She looked surprised, but calmed down at the sight of who was speaking.

"Oh, your majesty, you startled me. I was just putting the finishing touches to your son's gift display." She gestured to the presents with a elegant flare of her arm. "I felt a Hearth's Warming tree fit the occasion. After all, he is another miracle."

Mother swelled proudly. "Indeed he is. I'm so glad my little ponies all seem to think so as well. I expect him to be a stallion."

Rarity nodded, straightening her russet and yellow gown as she leaned in close and nuzzled me. "An Alicorn is greatness personified, your highness. Why, I imagine you have letters from nobles all over asking if you would consider their daughters to be his wives."

Celestia chuckled. "Like you wouldn't believe. These inbred fools believe themselves so important. No, I hope to build ties with the Yaks and Seaponies. I'm sure Gold Coast would adore such exotic ladies."

Woah. Future already being decided for me. Well, it's kind of to be expected. Considering what a loser I was in my last life, it'd be nice to have some ladies of my own.

"Oh, your majesty, your... uh, dress is down," The unicorn mare pointed out.

Mother looked and nodded. "Yes. He was feeding and, when I went to pull it back up, he... stopped me."

Rarity giggled. "Oh. I see. You're a little grabber aren't you?"

She leaned forward and nuzzled my forehead. I got a great view of her cleavage. You know what? I'm going for it.

"Eep," Rarity made a quiet sound of surprise as I hooked the front of her dress with a hoof and made a show of pulling on it. She then burst out laughing, along with mother. "Oh, I'm sorry, Golden, there's no milk in there."

I persisted. Who cares about your milk? I'm milking this predicament of mine as much as I much as I can.

"Oh, fine," the mare sighed as she reached up and pulled down the front of her dress to reveal a lacey piece of lingerie. White with strands of pink. Nice. Then she pulled that down too to let her boobs free. Such a creamy color, and plump, just like mothers. But... the nipples were purple, like her mane. Was that natural? Then she began squeezing her breasts. "See, little pumpkin? Nothing comes out. You would simply be disappointed."

No, lady, I am not disappointed. She really just did that. I couldn't believe it. It was much better than expected. I reached out and laid a hoof on one of them.

Mother sighed. "I don't think he's dissuaded, Rarity."

"Little colt knows what beauty is," she said with a smile as she gave your hoof a kiss before pulling her bra and dress back up. "If he keeps this up, you can expect a whole slew of grandchildren."

Mother smiled at that. "Well, we can only hope."

Rarity smiled as I went back to nuzzle mother's bosom. "Perhaps the young prince could have one present early for being so sweet?"

"I think that would be alright," Mother chuckled. Rarity turned and grabbed a small box from the magnificent display and handed it to me.

"I think this will hold him over for now," she smiled as I took it in my own hooves. "Does he even know what it is? Perhaps you should help him open it?"

It was then that mother used her magic trick. I had seen it a couple of times, her horn lit up with a golden glow, and the present was wrapped in the same aura. The paper was peeled away like a sock, and the box opened to reveal...

"It's... empty?" mother asked, taking it from me and peering inside. "That's odd. Is it a joke, or something I'm not getting? Who's it from?"

She looked at the take and her brow tabled. "The Canterlot Tiny Box Company wishes to present Prince Gold Coast with a new line of Tiny Boxes in which to keep his treasures."

She peeled off the rest of the paper to see a golden logo of a box within a box within another box. "Made with 100% driftwood from Zebracan shores."

"Well, He'll love the box anyway," Rarity chuckled. Mother shrugged. "I suppose, here you go, have fun."

It was an amazing box. Was it cut from a single piece of wood or something? I couldn't even see any seams. Except for the lid. Though... what kind of treasures would I put in it? So I wouldn't lose it a set it between mom's boobs where it would be safe. She sighed wearily but allowed it.

Then the pink one came back. "Yo, Princess, I brought the Cakes."

Cake? I looked about excitedly. Other than the big on in the center of the room, I saw nothing. Why would she be this cruel?

"Good evening, Mrs. Cake," Mother greeted the chubby blue mare that trundled behind Pinkie. Oh, not a cake-cake, a Cake-Cake. Which makes me think, was the cake made by a Cake making it a Cake-cake?

The mare nervously bowed. "Your majesty. P-Pinkie said you wished to speak with me."

Mother chuckled. "I wished to thank you. You must have worked hard together."

Mrs. Cake blushed and nodded. "Oh, yes. We made sure everything was perfect, including treats from the allied nations that we were told would be attending."

Mother nodded. "The evening is still young. The delegates will be here soon to meet the new prince. Don't be so nervous. No one would dare criticize someone I hired to cook."

"Mama, can I see the prince?"

Everyone turned to see a unicorn filly, a little yellow think with a blue bow in her hair and wearing a simple blue dress. She hugged the hem of Mrs. Cake's dress. Ah, a daughter, perhaps?

"Oh, hello there," Mother laughed as she knelt down. Being so tall, she couldn't quite get down to eye level with the filly. "you must Pumpkin Cake."

The filly gasped. "Y-you know me?"

"I know of you," mother continued with her kind smile. "Pinkie has told me so much about you."

"She has?"

"Well of course," Pinkie said throwing her hands in the air as she knelt down and gave the filly a big hug and kiss. "I've known you since you were born. As if I wouldn't tell everyone in Equestria about such a sweet filly."

"Eee," the filly cried in delight, "stop Auntie Pinkie, that tickles."

The next thing I knew was that I was placed into the arms of said filly. She was wide eyed in shock as looked down at me. I looked up just in time to see mother remove the box from between her breasts and make it disappear in a flash of light. Well, I hope she made it reappear later.

"Careful," Rarity said with a chuckle. "He can be a little.. inquisitive."

As if. I'm no pedophile. She is safe from me. Her mom on the other hand... come closer.

"He's big," Pumpkin said just before falling back on her rump. "Oof."

They adults laughed uproariously. Just to help her recover from that embarrassment, I nuzzled her cheek. The adults daaaawed in unison. Oh well.

"He is quite large," mother nodded and she took a moment to stroke my mane. "Took a long time to give birth. Thankfully, we alicorns heal fast, else I might still have ben in the hospital."

Then I felt something sniffing at the back of my head. I turned to see another colt, a Pegasus looking me over. He was slightly bigger than me.

"Oh, is that Pound," Mother asked a careful expression on her face. "I heard we was a little aggressive."

"Oh, not anymore," Mrs. Cake said with a wave of her hand to dispel mother's fear. "I had him wethered after he started acting out. He's been perfectly fine ever since."

"I see," mother said, seeming a little relieved. Wethered? Was that like a distemper shot or something?

"Yep," Pinkie blurted out gleefully as she hugged the colt. "Applejack came over with a burdizzo and, after a couple little pinches, he's a much easier colt to handle."

That was a curious phrasing, I thought. But, back to the colt, I kind of wanted to play with him. Mother was right earlier, I did want some friends like me.

"Well, we also thought," Mrs. Cake went on, looking a little nervous, "since we have so little money. Perhaps the prince could... that is..."

"You wish to gift Gold Coast your son?" mother asked, a little surprised.

The mare blushed. "Er. That is... yes. Your majesty. I don't know what I was thinking... I mean..."

"It's a wonderful gift, Mrs. Cake," mother smiled as she laid a hand on the mare's shoulder. "I think Gold Coast would love to have another colt to run about the palace with. I will, of course, pay you for him."

"Oh no, he's a gift," Mrs. Cake said earnestly. But, mother wasn't hearing it.

"Nonsense," she said s she made a purse appear. She promptly dropped it into the mare's hands. This should be more than enough. A pegasus is the perfect for Gold Coast. He'll soon be flying himself, you know."

I really didn't know what to think. Was this slavery? Pet adoption? Regular adoption? I'm opposed to the first. But, there's nothing I can do in my currant state.

"Well, I'll let you have him for the rest of the evening," mother told Mrs. Cake as she took me back from Pumpkin. "That way you can say a proper good bye. Just find me when you're ready to leave."

"Oh, thank you thank you," the mare said, bowing absurdly. Mother chuckled. For now, I will take the prince to meet some for of the guests.

The Party: Part 2

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Well, I did say mother's hair was like a waterfall of color, but this mare literally had a rainbow mane. How does that work? Dying? She had the tail too. It had to be natural. This was magical la-la land after all. Other than the selling of children. Still don't know what to think about that.

"He's adorable," the rainbow pegasus squeed as she hovered above me, eyes wide with glee. "Ooh, please let me hold him, pleeeeaaase, Princess?"

Mother chuckled as she passed me over. Ha, big mistake. I'm going for those boobs. The rainbow mare chuckled as I felt for the lip of the dress. "Oh, I see what you're doing."

The next thing I knew she had her breasts bared at me. "Ha. Take that little guy, what're you gonna do now?"

I latched on.

"Ack," she cried out in shock, frozen in place while I dry nursed. "Okay... should have seen that coming. Princess, please... what do I do?"

Mother laughed. I loved this new life. "Well if you don't like it, just pull him off."

"But, he looks so comfortable," the pegasus said, a weird look on her face. "Breastfeeding is whack as heck, Celestia."

Mother nodded with mirth. "Wait until milk comes in. You learn to love it, Rainbow Dash."

Rainbow Dash gave her a half smile. "Well... um... can I maybe... stay like this for a minute."

Mother nodded. "Of course. You're practically like family to me."

"R-really?" the Pegasus asked as she gave me a little squeeze. Wow, this was awesome. She had smaller breasts, but still squeezable. Perhaps a little firm.

Mother smiled as she placed a hand on her shoulder. "Twilight was brought under my tutelage when she was just a little filly. Over time she became like family to me. You, as well as the other four mares she befriended are like her sisters, even if don't realize it."

Rainbow Dash's eyes widened. "Wow... I never though of it like that. But, wait, does that mean your like our mother?"

Mom laughed. "It matters not how you see me, Rainbow. Just know that you are always welcome."

"Okay, that's a little heavy," Rainbow said as she pulled me from her breasts. "Now it feels like I'm suckling my brother."

Mom just about lost it. But she kept her composure, save for the big smile. She took me back and set me to her breast. "So hungry today. I don't know what it is with you."

I could only smirk to myself as I feasted.

"Sister how fairs the prince?"

She turns so that we can both see who is speaking. Gee, she had been holding me this entire time. I was able to walk by now. Incredibly. But, maybe this was some sort of cultural thing. Anyway, it was her sister Luna, we had a bunch of times. The blue alicorn was also mates with Big Mac, my father; and she was pregnant.

"Luna," mother greeted her with a smile. "I was getting worried that you wouldn't make it."

She rolled her eyes. "As if I would miss out on this child's recognition as the Crown Prince of Equestria. Am I not his Auntie after all?"

Mother chuckled as she embraced her sister, who embraced back. While this was a touching moment, I used the opportunity to try and get at her boobies as well.

"So grabby today," mother groaned at this. "You don't understand, Luna. He's been getting at every mare's breasts this evening. I keep feeding him, but he seems to be searching for different flavors."

"Well, one can only dine on cake for so long," Luna said with a teasing grin as she watched me tug at her dress.

"Blasphemy," mother huffed as she passed me to her sister. "Here then, perhaps you can satisfy his thirst."

Luna chuckled. "I think I shall. My foal is not too close to birth. But, perhaps I have a few drops to spare."

This was so easy it was almost insulting. I watched as she lowered her diamond gown to set free her voluptuous blue sweater puppies. I reacted a bit to the onyx nipples. Holy... so beautiful.

I reverently latched upon the obsidian milk duct and began my attempts to coax out a few sweet drops. After a few minutes, It became clear that that was not going to... wait... I got a drop. Wow. Mother's was like vanilla. But this was a fuller flavor, like chocolate, but sharp like butterscotch. It was only a single drop. But, it made me want more.

"Goodness," Luna stated in surprise at my renewed vigor. "I believe he found a drop. Seems he likes my taste."

Mother glared at her sister. "It's just new to him. Not better."

Luna shrugged as she gently pulled me away and kissed my nose. "Well, that's enough, young Golden Coast. I hope you gave a very merry day."

I couldn't help but smile back at her as she turned to go elsewhere. I hoped I might feed again. This has been a great day.

"Oh, there you are Big Mac."

And now daddy had finally arrived. It was getting better.

I watched as the big red hulk approached us and licked mother's neck and then nuzzled me. I giggled happily. He had learned I didn't like to be licked. He was a good daddy. My human dad... well... let's just say I won't miss that alcoholic SoB… ever.

"Here, why don't you take him for a minute and let me rest my arms," mother said as she placed me upon his back. I smiled happily as I burrowed into his mane, which had been groomed within an inch of its life. He was also wearing some sort of royal blue costume. Yes, costume. Anything a man, or male wears to a formal event is nothing but a costume. But, he did look nice in it.

I have to say it. I've go the best family ever... right now... I'm still a little cynical about things. Would I ever just relax and accept this as the way things are now?

"Ah, there you are. Sorry we're late, train troubles."

Daddy got excited. Then a yellow missile collided with him.

"Oh, Big Mac, it's been too long," the yellow limpet cried as she clung to the stallion's neck. She was a filly, starting to develop nicely, still too young for me, she had hair like red yarn, and wore an apple themed dress. I wondered who she was.

"Applebloom, that's no way to behave inside of a palace," an orange mare in a deep russet and green dress chided her. Now, she was more to the age of my liking. Nice bust line too. Though, she was a mite more modest. No cleavage whatsoever was showing. Damn.

Behind her was an older looking mare, light green with silver hair, and she wore a dress of homespun cloth. Simplistic, yet elegant. Perhaps too old for my taste, but a right nice lady. She could easily be somebody's doting grandmother.

Mother laughed as she held out her arms wide and hugged to two older mares. "It's so good to see you again. I wish you had been there for the birth."

The blonde mare sighed. "Well, that storm that came on sudden like kept us all locked in our houses for several days. Even the weather patrol wasn't messin' with it."

"I understand, Applejack," mother said as she let go. "Thankfully, your brother has been a most agreeable mate."

Brother? Ooh. So they were family.

Applejack laughed as she reached down and pulled Applebloom from about daddy's neck and gave the stallion a big hug. "Oh, you're gettin' fat, Big Mac. Has the princess been stuffin' you with cake?"

Daddy nuzzled her back and licked her face.

"Yeah, family meetin's aside," the elder mare said with an air of someone who had seen many days, "where's my great grandson?"

Mother laughed. "He's hiding in his father's mane."

"'E is?" Applejack asked as she peered around the red giant's neck until our eyes met. She froze for a moment then burst into the widest of grins. "Well, lookit you. An honest to goodness alicorn."

She didn't waste time in pulling be from my hiding place and hugging me. "Oh, he's a big feller to. Gonna get big and strong like his daddy."

I was a little disgruntled that I could get at her boobs, so I just settled for some groping. But also reveled in the fact that she was extremely gentle, yet there was some strength in those arms. Working strength. I think I liked her. And not just because she was my aunt.

"Woah, there little guy," She laughed as my hooves poked sensitive places.

Mother laughed. "He must be disappointed in your outfit."

"What?" blondie asked.

"He just loves breasts," she explained, "been getting a good view of everyone's this evening."

"Awe, I'm sorry," Applejack said, with a pitying expression on her face. "Well, if we get into a more private place later on, I'll let you at 'em for a bit."

It was a date. I played the bongos for joy.

"Alright, before I die laughin'," she cried loudly as she passed me to the elder mare.

"Oh, what about me?" Applebloom asked.

"No," was the firm response.

"You're too young to give communion," mother told her gently. "Wait until you've developed some more and meet the proper age before you offer your breasts to family."

The little filly sighed. "Fine... I guess."

"Why don't you go git your friends?" Applejack asked her.

"But I want to be with my nephew," she protested.

"I'll bet they would want to meet the Crown Prince as well."

This persuaded her, and she took off.

"Oh, she's gonna make some a stallion happy someday," mother said as she watched her go.

"Jest needs to learn a little patience," Granny said. Yes, I was calling her Granny. She looked like a Granny. She kissed the top of my head and nuzzled my face. "Still can hardly believe it. Big Mac, a prince of Equestria first of all, but given the nation an alicorn prince? That colt does wonders."

"Indeed he does," mother said with a little blush. Oh my... I don't want to know what goes on. They're my parents. That's something no child should ever want to know.

"So he's hoovsy with the ladies, is he?" Granny asked mother, who nodded. "Well, might as give him what he wants."

Wait, what? It was then that I noticed that Granny was wearing a lowcut dress. No. please no. All that is holy, help me. Save me, someone. Cthulhu, are you out there?

Satan, you owe me.

"Here you go little fella."

With my last breath I curse that gold.

The Party: Part 3

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Okay, maybe Granny's old bits weren't that bad. She did seem to have taken good care of herself. Okay, amazing care of herself. I didn't find any desire to latch on, but I did snuggle a bit so she wouldn't be upset. Not exactly squishy, but softened by old age.

And the I found myself being passed between Applebloom, a unicorn named Sweetie Belle, and a pegasus named Scootaloo. It was almost like a game of pin ball, except the bumpers grabbed the ball. It made me dizzy. Thankfully, mother took me back, after laughing at my discomfort.

"Okay, that's enough, girls," she told the three fillies. "Don't need him getting sick at his own party."

With disappointed sounds the three fillies waved goodbye and headed off to parts unknown. Maybe we could play later.

Mother nuzzled me. "I hope you're not upset I let them play with you like that. They're good girls, and you're not gonna complain about some unexperienced hands, right?"

Damn it women, playing to a mans pride like that. Still, it seemed strange that I wasn't allowed to walk right now.

"Princess Celestia."

This time it was mom that was hit with a missile. A lavender one this time. It was another alicorn. She wore a gray and blue dress and had... what was that purple things about her neck!

"Oh, Twilight," Celestia said as she hugged the alicorn back with a chuckle, "so good to see you."

"Where's the prince?" Twilight asked. "Is he really an alicorn can I... study him?"

Mother simply passed me off without a second thought. Wait, what was that about studying?

The purple alicorn gasped as she began looking me over with fascinated eyes. "Golden fur, brown eyes, approximately 23 pounds, really big for his age." She pressed her ear against my chest. "Good heartbeat." She grabbed one of my hooves. "Hooves are about twice as large as normal. Probably the father's genetics." She opened my mouth to peer inside. "Ooh, great teeth. More prominent male canines for his age." Wait, canines? did horses have those? "Wings... not big like Flurry's. Still, a little larger than the typical pegasus colt." She ran her fingers along my back. "Good spine alignment." She then hugged me to her chest and kissed the top of my head. "And, how's his appetite?"

"Voracious," mother said, having watched the whole display with amusement.

Well, I guess it was my time to get a peek at the lovelies. But, just as I began to tug at the fabric, I heard snort. Looking up I stared at the thing around her neck. I had forgotten about that.

Now that I got a good look at it, I saw it was a giant purple lizard with green spines. I had originally mistaken it for a fashionable high collar for her dress. No, it was very much alive. We just stared at each other for what seemed an eternity, before Twilight decided to introduce us.

"Oh, Gold Coast, I would like you to meet my son, Spike," she stroked the lizard's head. It purred. "Spike, this is Gold Coast, Celestia's son."

The lizard stuck out its tongue, tasting the air. I just continued staring. I hoped it wasn't hungry.

"I-is he alright?" Twilight asked looking at me. "I hoped they could be playmates."

Mother chuckled as she reached out and took the lizard, and began to nuzzle it in a motherly fashion. Okay, this was weird. I would never have thought of these people being reptile fans.

"He's just never seen a dragon," mother said as she then took me so that she could cuddle us both against her chest.

Dragon? They had dragons here. Well.. why not?

"He looks like he's afraid my son's going to eat him," Twilight said in a slightly insulted manner.

"Well, Spike does have some sharp teeth," mother pointed out. Holy, he did. I wish she hadn't of pointed those out. She gave me a squeeze. "There's no need to be frightened, Gold. dragons know the difference between food and friends. You're perfectly safe around Spike."

Well... if mother vouches for him... I slowly moved forward and sniffed him. He sniffed back... and then licked my face and smiled. I grunted and turned away in a huff. I hated being licked. Mother and Twilight laughed.

"He hates that," mother explained as she passed Spike back to the little alicorn. "So, are you satisfied with your observations of my son?"

Twilight nodded. "I would like to do some indepth x-ray spells and dexterity testing, but those can wait till tomorrow."

"I will look forward to it," mother said as I latched on to drink from her exposed breast. She patted my back fondly. No, that was fine, don't ask me if it's alright. You go ahead and do anything you like to me.

Sarcasm, in case that wasn't obvious.

"C'mon, Flluttershy, the Prince is dying to meet you."

I turned to see Pinkie and Rainbow Dash ushering a buttery Pegasus towards us. She was new, and pretty. And I saw a copious amount of cleavage. Ooh, I wanted some. I leave mother's breast and hold out my hooves to longing towards the new mare.

"See, he's already asking you to hold him," Rainbow Dash egged her on with a cunning grin on her face.

Those sneaks. They knew what I was gonna do. Heehee. No sense disappointing them.

Mother even the developed the same smile. Ooh, everyone want me to do it.

"Here you go, Fluttershy," mother said as she held me out, "I know how much you love children."

Fluttershy smiled nervously as she took me into her arms. "O-oh. Yes. Thank you princess. Ooh, he's heavy. So... beautiful. It's like he's made of gold."

I met her eyes and saw a the kindest creature I had ever seen. There was a strong softness in those mesmerizing eyes. Suddenly, I felt terrible about even thinking of making her release those pretties. I could only imagine how embarrassed she would be, she might even cry.

Worth it. One strong tug and I gasped in awe of the untainted treasures beneath.

Thankfully, she didn't cry. Small victories.

The Party: Part 4

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Pinkie had the plumpest boobs of the lot. Comparative to body size. She didn't even wait for me to grab at her dress, she pulled down the front before she took her turn with me after Fluttershy. The buttery pegasus, while blushing, had seemed to enjoy my company nonetheless. She had a naughty side.

Pinkie giggled when I took her fat nipple into my mouth. "Ah, I can't wait to have three dozen of my own. Rarity's gonna have to up my dresses six sizes."

"It was all we could do to get you wear one today," Rarity said, suddenly appearing to join the circle of mares.

"I'm a free spirit," the pink on responded haughtily.

"You're an exhibitionist," the white unicorn told her.

"I do not have public sex," Pinkie responded, aghast. "I'm still a virgin."

"It's still indecent to flash one's genitalia in public," Rarity stated firmly, a scowl on her face. This must have been a longstanding issue between them.

Pinkie blew a raspberry. "Next thing you know, you're going to say it's impolite to dry nurse somepony else's baby."

"It is," Rarity cried, her fingers curling like claws. She had a wild look in her eye.

"They have my permission," mother chuckled in order to calm the unicorn's wrath. "Besides, He invited himself on most of them."

"But what if he does it with the visiting dignitaries?" Rarity asked, horror etched across her face. "Are you gonna just let him..."

"Well, the yaks sort of expect it," Twilight said, in thought. "And the changelings..."

"Never mind," Rarity cried as she tried to straighten her composure. "Alright. I will trust the thousand year old ruler's wisdom on the matter."

"Now arriving, Princess Cadance of the Crystal Empire and her consort, Shining Armor," an announcer at the door declared aloud.

"Who am I kidding?" Rarity wept bitterly, "Please don't start a war, princess."

The other mares all laughed. Though, Fluttershy made more of a titter. Was that the right word? Titter? Oh well. It should be.

The doors to the great hall swung open and I saw a pink mare in many hue of blue riding atop of a white unicorn stallion in gold and purple armor. He was almost as big as daddy. Perched atop upon the mare's shoulder like a hawk was a lighter pink filly with huge wings and the most adorable smile. The crowd of early guests and servants cleared a path up towards mother and me.

The new arrivals marched gracefully through opened road until they stopped in front of us. The stallion bowed, allowing the mare and filly off of his back before rising again. The new alicorn opens her arms wide and I find myself sandwiched between them.

"Aunt Celestia, It is good to see you," she said happily. The filly, from her vantage point, hugged mother's head.

"Auntie Celie," she said in an adorable voice.

"And it was good to see you too, Cadance," mother chuckled, even offering the stallion a scratch behind the ears. "I take it my former captain is well too?"

The pink alicorn nodded as she broke away to set her daughter upon the stallion's head. "Of course. Even if he's a stubborn mule at times, I could never ask for a better mate."

Mother smiled. "To each their own. As you can see, Macintosh Apple is of marvelous stock."

Speaking of which, my father slowly walked up to the unicorn stallion, head held high. The unicorn held his head equally as high. They spent a moment staring each other down before smiling and butting their head together as some show of friendship.

Cadance laughed as she greeted my father by gently butting her head against his like the unicorn had. "Always did like a good draft stallion. Though, he's more for the simple life."

"Which is why I found him so pleasing," mother went on to say. "A more aggressive breed like Shining Armor would run me ragged."

Cadance smiled happily. "Oh he does... keeps all the guard stallions in line. Even trying to find him a good apprentice to take over when he grows too old for military life."

I noticed that Twilight had come up to the white stallion and kissed his cheek. "Hey, Shiny? How's my big brother been?" To which, he licked her face and nuzzled her cheek. Mother and her niece kept talking.

"Well, the Crystal Empire is a much smaller territory than Equestria," mother said. "Here, I have mares trained to tend to the retirement arrangements."

"We are growing," Cadance pointed out. "The birth rates have been steadily increasing since Sombra was defeated. And the Bastard Cull was quelled... for now."

Mother looked sad. "Oh, I had hoped they would be more sympathetic than vengeful with his offspring."

Cadance nodded. "We've managed to hide and distribute most of his children in kinder places in the Empire. But, we must keep a constant watch... for at least one generation."

Mother sighed, but nodded. "Equestria is more than equipped to aid you if yo ever need to redistribute them for safety."

"I know," Cadance said with a small smile. Then mother looked at the small alicorn filly.

She chuckled. "I don't suppose you've promised Flurry to another prince, have you?"

Cadance laughed. "Yes, Auntie, I have. She'll help secure us a firm relationship with the hippogriff kingdom when she comes of age."

"Well, we're not really related by blood, Cadance," mother said as she held me out for her niece to hold. "Perhaps your next daughter?"

Cadance laughed as she tickled my belly. "I'm sorry, Auntie. But, I've already promised my next five daughters to the griffons, sirens, and changelings." I laughed at the sensation as I searched for a proper opening in in her blue dress. "And, I am reserving the rights on any sons I might have to establish blood ties to smaller kingdoms in the west."

"I see," mother said, understanding. "Though, he is an alicorn, so he can wait for when you have a free daughter to spare."

Cadance nodded. "Perhaps, Auntie. Don't get me wrong, I would love to establish real blood relations with you, but... this is the only known male alicorn. It might be different. Perhaps they aren't immortal like female alicorns, or... what if they live shorter lives than the average pony?"

"Don't say that," mother said in a low warning tone. It was the kind of tone that told a story of ages of loss and grief.

Cadance inclined her head respectfully. "I apologize auntie. May I give communion to the prince?"

Mother's face softened, and she nodded. "Of course, my niece."

The pink alicorn reached across the front of her dress and popped a couple buttons, allowing one of her breasts to breathe. I looked with widened eyes. The nipple was like a smooth untainted pearl. She cooed gently as she ushered me to latch on.

"There's a good, colt," she said softly as she felt me suckling. "I promise, as your cousin, if you are ever sad or lonely, I will always welcome you."

There were some sounds of daawing from the crowd of spectators. But they were paid no mind. This society was pleasing to me. And the fact that this new princess had milk like warm honey was even more pleasing. But, it didn't last too long.

"I am sorry, Gold," she apologized as she pulled me away and rebuttoned her dress. "But, we cannot have you getting full just yet. I saw who was arriving just behind me and Shining Armor."

The doors to the great hall opened again and the announcer spoke in a great voice. "Now arriving, Princess Bork and her consort, Prince Rutherford of Yakyakistan."

Hmm, seems I was in for a lot tonight.

The Party: Part 5

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Princess Bork was a behemoth. Shaggy, thick, yet had a wild beauty about her. Her great horns were adorned with gold, and she wore a tribal dress of fur and leather with a necklace of polished silver and agates. And, beneath her blue eyes was the smile of a lady who adored small fragile creatures. Like children.

She was fairly equal in height with mother, yet her hand was about the same size I was. As she cradled me in one, her free hand dangled a string of scrimshawed bones and shiny rocks above my head.

"Little pony precious," she said with a hearty laugh. "Yaks bring many gifts for allpony prince."

Allpony seemed to be their way of saying alicorn.

"He will love them," mother said, peaking at the large bag carried by the male the princess had brought with her. Yep, it seemed the rule of anthro female/primitive male was a constant in this world. Were their other examples? He was a big fella himself, had a serious look on his face under those gold-covered horns. Heavy beard too, and with a decorative heavy blanket thrown over his back.

"Rutherford," she turned and spoke to the gyag (male yaks are called gyags, you've learned something today), "find pony to give bag to."

The gyag snorted and moved through the crowd to fulfill his mate's wish.

Bork smiled. "Him good husband. But still punished for harming Book Princess' home."

"Oh, it was alright," Twilight tried to dismiss the incident. But Bork didn't seem to be taking any of it.

"No," she stated resolutely. "Him bad gyag to harm relations."

"He was just confused," fluttershy put in her two cents. good for her, for such a shy thing, she could make herself heard. "You isolated yourselves for generations. Then he comes into a strange place filled with people he'd never seen. He was protecting you, princess. Strange tasting food... it could have been harmful. Strange little animals he'd never seen.."

"Could be harmful," Bork finished for her. She looked away and snorted. The yellow pegasus eeped and ducked behind her rainbow friend. "Fine. Yak see point. Will stop punishment."

"Well, it has been three years," Rainbow said under her breath. "Seems a little extreme, even by yak standards."

I think she was lucky the yak in question hadn't heard her.

"Prince get one present early," she said, turning back to me. My eyes lit up, in wonder. What kind of weird thing had they brought me from their homeland? Then I saw her slip a bone from a loop on the front of her dress, and I see the gift she's brought.

Well.. that was certainly different. You know yaks have udders, with fours teats. Well, I guess the anthropomorphic version of them is to four breasts. No, just one nipple apiece. And normal looking too, weirdos. Anyway, the lower set was smaller than the upper set, and, like her hands, her chest and belly were covered in short tan fur. contrasting the rest of her shaggy self. And the nipples were a mottled brown and pink. I licked my lips curiously.

"Fresh yak milk," Bork declared proudly. "Allpony prince first taste should be freshest."

Mother smiled and nodded. "Thank you Princess Bork. My son would gladly love to take communion with you."

Boy, would I? Almost as soon as I latched on to her I was almost overwhelmed by the milk that ushered forth. But, after the initial shock, it slowed to a steady trickle. Bork laughed uproariously.

"Forgive Bork, allpony prince," she said in a softer tone. "Long trip make Bork neglect milk pressure. It good you no choke. Would shame Bork. Shame yaks."

"It would have been fine, Bork," mother reassured her. "My son is a strong colt."

Bork nodded as she gently stroked the back of my head with a finger. "Bork can feel it. This pony very strong."

Her milk was thick. Not quite whipped cream, but smooth and sweet, like berries. Out of curiosity, I let go and went for the smaller breast below. No, tasted the same, though it fit easier in my mouth, and I have and boob practically lying on top of me. This was cool.

She eventually pulled me away and brought me up to face level where she nuzzled my belly. "Good appetite. He become even stronger." She passed me back to my mother as she put her dress back together. "Yaks would also love if I pledged my next two daughters to wed allpony prince."

Mother got a look in her eyes that told me she liked what she was hearing. She gave me a loving squeeze. "There's no need to be so excessive. Just one would suffice."

"Then what I do with other one?" Bork asked, making everyone one confused. Then she burst out laughing. "Yak joke."

There was some polite laughing that followed. Well, it was kind of funny I guess.

"Very well," Bork said as she stopped laughing, "next daughter I birth is wife for prince."

"Well, then we should discuss the arrangements and politics after my son's party," mother told her with a grateful incline of her head. "Please, mingle and help yourself to some refreshments. We hired a yak to cook Yakyakastan treats just for you and your husband."

Princess smiled gratefully. "Allpony princess honor yaks. I go."

"Well," Cadance said, carrying Flurry Heart over towards her aunt. My mother. "Seems you got one part of his future harem already locked down."

"There is an enormous amount of prestige in being immortal, Cadance," mother said in a quiet tone as he rock me a little. "Power attracts power. But, it also attracts the power hungry. Always try to discern the two apart. Princess Bork is a noble and honorable soul. I can trust her and her intentions."

Cadance nodded. "We shall see, auntie."

"Though, speaking of marriages," mother turned to look at Twilight. "When are you gonna find a stallion, my faithful student?"

The lavender alicorn turned beet red. "Er, w-well, I've got plenty of time, Celestia. You know... b-being an alicorn.. and..."

"She's been eyeing a certain yellow pegasus guard," Rainbow teased, boucing her brow suggestively.

"Rainbow Dash," Twilight squealed, causing he dragon about her neck to start.

"Oh, are you talking about Flash Sentry?" Cadance asked, a devious smile on her face. "Gee, I send you some guards, and you start having eyes for one of them? Perish the thought."

Twilight scowled at the pink alicorn. "You monster."

Cadance's grin grew. "Would you rather me take them back and send some new ones?"

"No," Twilight said quickly. Too quickly. She covered her face and groaned. "Fine, yes. I like the stallion."

"Then why don't you let him claim you?" Cadance asked. "Your parents would adore some more grandchildren."

"Th-that's not the point," twilight stuttered.

Celestia chuckled. "But, Twilight, if you keep waiting, your friends will spend many more nights without a stallion's touch."

"What?" Twilight asked, confused. "What have they got to do with my scathing virginity?"

Celestia and Cadance looked genuinely shocked. "You mean you don't know?"

Now Twilight was worried. "Know what?"

"Seriously?" cadence spoke up. "Well, we must remedy this as soon as possible."

"Remedy what?" Twilight cried desperately. "What am I not getting?"

"Twilight," Celestia began softly, "you and your friends are linked. Ever since you became the Elements of Harmony, you've all shared a destiny."

"How do you mean?" Twilight asked, taking Spike from about her neck and hugging him to her chest in concern.

Mother turned to Rainbow Dash. "Dash, have you ever wondered why you haven't been looking for a stallion? Or you, Pinky. Rarity? Fluttershy? Applejack."

One-by-one, they shook their heads. But realization was beginning to dawn on them.

"You mean... we're waiting for Twilight to find us a stud?" Pinkie gasped, clasping the sides of her face in amazement. "That's... that's almost as incredible as when I tried to made semla but wound up making a croquembouche instead."

"Er, yes," Celestia said, confused. "What's croquembouche?"

Pinkie didn't answer. She instead marched up tot Twilight and grabbed her by the shoulders. "You are marrying that stallion before Hearth's Warming… do you hear me, Princess? I've gone long enough without being rutted silly by a stallion."

"Pinkie," Twilight started, a little cowed. "You can't..."

"No, Twilight," Pinkie said warningly. "It's thanks to you that Maud gave my parents their first grandchild. Then Limestone... then Marble. I was supposed to be first, not last."

Twilight looked to her friends for help. But they weren't looking so sympathetic.

Rarity seemed angry. "Twilight, you're supposed to be one of the smartest mares in Equestria. How could you do this to us?"

"I-I didn't know," Twilight pleaded.

"We would have helped you pick out good candidates," Applejack snorted. "My family knows lots of places to find studs just right for forming a herd around."

"Hey, Flash Sentry will work just fine," Rainbow Dash spoke up.

"I never said he wouldn't," Applejack told her calmly. "But she never met him until two years after we became the elements."

"You still make it sound like we're settling," Rainbow Dash accused her.

Applejack rolled her yes. "He's a war stallion, strong, fast, and clever. A little high maintenance, statically shorter lived that a draft stallion, but excellent genes for producing healthy young'uns. Likely produce more aggressive colts, especially with you and Twilight, war stallions being in your genes after all."

Rainbow Dash smirked a bit. "You know it."

"Well?" Pinkie demanded loudly, giving Twilight a hard shake. "I'm tired of making love to my bed post without a specific stud in mind. Do you understand frustrating that is, Purple Smart?"

Twilight nodded. "Okay, Pinkie. I get it. I've... I've been..."

"No," Mother said placing a hand on her head. "I am at fault too. I should have known you weren't romantically knowledgeable. And I don't mean book knowledgeable, Twilight."

The lavender alicorn sighed and slumped at the shoulders. "Yeah... I guess..."

"I guess we're a bunch of dunderheads too," Applejack said. "Should'a realized somethin' was wrong. Afore we met, I was always flirtin' with the studs. As were the rest of us I imagine."

Rarity sighed and laid a hand on her brow. "I suppose it can't be helped. We've failed each other."

Pinkie let go of Twilight and looked ashamed. "Y-yeah. We shouldn't play the blame game. Especially because Twilight's gonna get us active with a stallion as soon as we get to Ponyville, right?"

The other four mares nodded.

"Right," they said in unison.

"What?" Twilight cried, she started to protest, but was cowed by their glares. "O-okay... I suppose I have been getting a little... tense. Some relief would be nice."

"Exactly," Applejack said as she came up and hugged Twilight. "Now we'll all be sisters."

"And we can share communion as much as we want," Pinkie said, jumping in on the hug. The others soon followed suit. Mother and Cadance looked at each other knowingly.

"Why don't we leave them to make their plans," mother said, starting to walk away. Cadance followed, but after she set Flurry upon her husbands back and pointed them in the direction of the refreshments.

"Now, don't let her overload on sweets, Shiny," she instructed him as he walked off.

The doors opened again. "Now arriving. King Thorax of the Changeling Hive, and the royal harem."

King? Was the sexual dimorphism not the rule? Was there and exception? I looked to see a giant... insect pony? He was green with colorful spots and orange antlers atop his shiny head. There were some weird orbs on his neck that looked like natural growths. And, he walked on all fours like the other males I had seen. He walked boldly and with purpose at the head of a small group of females.

The females were much shorter than him, and just had a single curved horn on their heads. They were variety of colors. Eyes of a single solid color, and they wore clothes that almost appeared to be made out of leaves and flowers. They marched in formation behind the male, smiling broadly.

The king stopped in front of us. He was a little shorter than mother, but much taller than any male I had yet seen. It was hard to tell, but I think his purple orbs were focused on me. Mother seemed pleased with his presence and laid a hand on his cheek.

"Welcome, your highness," she greeted him like an old friend. "I'm so glad you could grace us with your presence."

He didn't react to her speech, but, instead bent his head down until his nose was just fractions form mine. I stared back into those purple orbs, wondering what was going on. Was he intelligent or not? His own little horn lit up, and the next thing I knew, he had placed a tiny clay jar in my hooves. Once this was done he straightened back up and bugled something at the females before walking off.

Most of them dispersed, one followed him, and another stayed behind.

"Our king just presented the young prince with a small amount of royal jelly," she explained with a happy smile, mother smiled back. "We have brought other gifts from our hive, but felt this would be the most appropriate to be presented first."

Mother nodded. "I appreciate it. Er… who made it?"

The changeling laughed. "Males cannot make honey or the jelly, Princess. It was a collective effort by his harem. Were he not of a primitive mind, I'm sure he would have made his pleasure at the sight of the new prince more clear."

Ah. So he wasn't intelligent. Just... something else.

"I'm sure," mother said.

"Though, if I may, we heard it was tradition to welcome a new member of royalty with milk from the breast," the changeling said, looking to mother for confirmation.

She nodded. "Between nations who are good friends, yes."

The changeling smiled. In a burst of light, she transformed herself into a blue mare with candy-striped hair. Holy... she just transformed into a blue mare with candy-striped hair! No, that's not a typo, I did repeat that. She just transformed into a blue mare with candy-striped hair. How... what? This world grows more amazing by the second.

"Ah," she began, shuffling a bit, "i-if you'll allow me, princess."

Mother tilted her head to the side. "You can give milk?"

"It's really a white, watery honey," the changeling... heck, I'm calling her Candy, fuck it... said with a blush. "It helps with a disguise so we can feed our young without being detected."

Mother considered this and then passed me to Candy. I watched as the dress opened like a blooming flower to offer her breasts. Uh... the nipple was changing colors in a mesmerizing fashion.

"Why did you have to change?" mother asked as I latched on.

Candy smiled sheepishly. "Well... your highness. We changelings… er, you ponies are mammals and have mammary glands. We changelings... secrete it at will and... spit it up."

Mother recoiled a bit at that thought.

"B-but changing into a different form shifts the ducts to, well, the simulated mammary glands," Candy explained. "I guessed it would be more appropriate."

"You guessed right," mother smiled oddly. I'm sure she was imagining a changeling puking into my mouth like a mother bird.

The honey was sweet. Really sweet. It tasted like how you would imagine honey to taste, but also had a hint of oranges and mint. I didn't even have to suckle. Like she said, she willed it to flow, it just started coming from the simulated nipple as soon as I latched on.

The changeling smiled. "I can see why mammals enjoy this. It's much more intimate. Perhaps we changelings should do this more often with our brood. I can see it catching on."

And, just like that, the world is a better place. It's good to be helping.

The Party: Part End... Finally

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Okay, you get the idea, I met a lot of foreigners, saw boobies and drank milk. Except from the dragons. They didn't want to the hold me. Thankfully. Also, they don't have boobs. They seemed rather... plain to me. Mother seemed to have secured me a sizable harem, expect from the dragons and zebras. Good grief, when I grew up I was gonna be up to my ears in poontang. I was actually rather terrified. Maybe there were some benefits to being a primitive beast.

The party progressed long into the night... I assume. That's what mother said anyways when I awoke. I had fallen asleep shortly after the Zebra Queen said hello. Crap I was full. And I never once set a hoof on the floor.

It was when mother was bidding her guests goodbye that I awake again. I watched them start to file out of the room, just leaving behind family and close friends. I then watched Mrs. Cake hug Pound before tying a cord about his neck like a leash to giving a servant the lead.

Ah, yes. I now had a brother... servant... pet... slave... thing? If I ever learned to talk with this physiology I was gonna ask so many question. They had better be prepared for an earful.

The servant brought the colt over to mother and gave her the lead. "There you are, your majesty. One wethered colt to serve as a companion for the prince."

She lit up her horn, for she was a unicorn, and summoned a scroll and quill. She wrote that down.

Mother smiled as she knelt down and stroked the colt's mane to calm him. He was showing some minor signs of stress from his from leaving him behind. Perhaps, he thought she would come back. Gee... this was kind of sad. "Thank you, Raven. Did you keep stock of all our guests and their gifts?"

Raven, apparently, nodded. "Indeed. From the Crystal Empire..."

"Still here, thank you," Cadance said, a little bemused. Mother said they could stay the night, as well as the Apple clan and the six Elements of Harmony. Ergh, so many questions.

"From the yaks," she started again, "35 wooden toys of varying size and distinction. 2500 golds bits and 10,000 copper coins, and the pledge of one royal daughter." Mother nodded approvingly. "As well as a book on Yakyakistan dishes."

Luna chuckled. "They still insist on perfection... rather a stagnant lot of ruffians."

There was some chuckling, but Raven continued. "From the Changlings. One jar of royal jelly, worth somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 bits..."

"That's quite an broad estimate don't you think?" Rarity asked, though her eyes were wide at the sound of so much money. As were the other mare's. Mother was no exception.

Raven, however... was she autistic or something? It didn't even phase her. "That's because that tiny 5 ounce jar is the only one in existence outside of the changeling hive. Also, given that it has an expiration date of one week, it is the most expensive commodity in the world right now."

"Well, you'd better eat it fast, sweetie," mother said as she rubbed my distended belly. Bless you women, that was nice.

"From the griffons, 5000 bits worth of raw agates and twelve aerial toys and one royal daughter," Raven said simply. From everyone's reaction it seemed that was about as much as they expected Queen Gilda to deliver. The seaponies… not the hippogriffs, just to clarify... 15,000 bits worth of corral jewelry harvested from the royal reef, two submarines, and a private underwater vacation dome, and the pledge of one royal daughter."

The seapony queen had ben interesting. She suspended herself in a floating ball of water, same with her guards, as she entered. She also had a beautiful smile. No fur either, just smooth, colorful skin.

"From the dragons, six tons of star sapphires and opals."

"Simple, yet exuberant," mother smiled. "Just like them."

"From the hippogriffs, a blanket, pillow and mattress made from the shed down of their chicks. 10,000 bits worth of trinkets made of precious metals and stones, and the pledge of one royal daughter." Crap, was she close-by the whole night? How did she know this stuff? She was good at her job. Kind of a flat chest though. Still wouldn't mind a peek. "From Saddle Aradia, six carts of silks and carpets, five hundred golden rings at an estimated value of 6,000 bits due to the goldsmith who made them, a 20 acre mansion, and the pledge of one royal daughter."

I wondered I would see any of that money.

"From the Zebras, 3 battleships, 12 tons of exotic lumber, 100 rare flowers, 1 ton of spices, 2 geldings, and the pledge of one royal daughter." Woah, back up there a minute sister. Geldings? What? As in...? Oh fuck... suddenly I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. That was a thing? Why the fuck would that be a thing? I looked about to see the indifferent faces on everyone.

Okay. Just relax. I was the crown prince. That's right. They obviously wanted me to breed. Else they wouldn't be building this harem for me. Mother seemed to notice my mood and nuzzled my belly.

"From the thestral tribe…," okay, so we were apparently just passing that over. Okay. Just as long as it has nothing to do with me. Right? Just don't think about it. It was their world, their problem, I had to take care of myself. Yeah, that's right. It would get used to it. There's no need to work myself up over something like that.

I took a couple deep breathes to calm myself.

"... the rights to a ten acre coffee bean farm, and the six pounds of fruit tree seeds, as well as the pledge of one daughter from the chief," Raven finished, rolling up the scroll.

Luna smiled and nodded. "A blood alliance will help bridge the gap between night and day."

"Indeed," mother said, smiling at her. Then she looked at the gift display. They were unopened. I suppose it was not something they intended to... suddenly, I found my hooves upon the floor for the first time that night. I looked up at mother questioningly. She passed Pound's leash to Pinkie, who got down and pet the colt like a dog.

Mother began gently pushing me towards the packages. "You behaved so well tonight, Gold Coast. If you're as bright as I believe you are, then you'll get the message and go wild on those packages. I don't want to see the floor for the wrapping paper, understand me, colt?"

Yes! That would help calm my mind better than anything. I was prince, and those gifts were all for me. I could a kid again. It was like Christmas morning. No... better. This was my day. My life. I charged the pile of presents like deranged bull, smiling like the smug prince I was.

Crown Prince Gold Coast.

Meanwhile mother turned to the others with an odd expression. "You know, sometimes I swear he actually understands what I'm saying."

Twilight laughs as she hugs her little dragon. "Don't be ridiculous. Males don't have the cognitive ability to understand the concept of language."

Mother nodded. "Of course. He's just such a strange child."

"He's an alicorn," Cadance pointed out, "Flurry acted differently from other fillies when she was born. It's the power. They have so much raw use of it."

"But, he hasn't used any of his magic abilities or flight yet," mother responded. "I suppose I should teach him to use his abilities soon."

"Sooner the better," Twilight said as she watched me tear apart the wrapping paper to expose the childish treasures beneath. "A build of magic, with no regular leakage is bad for a unicorn. It can give them headaches. I should know, all that late night studying. I can only imagine how bad it'll get for an alicorn foal."

"Oh dear," mother said.

Cake and Circumcision

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Thinking back on that party, there were no candles on the cake. Probably because they didn't want a colt potentially playing with fire. Not sure what I would have wished for anyway. To make all males anthropomorphic like the females? Though I would have to think it in my head. Not sure how that would have gone over if it ever came true. Do birthday wishes come true in this weird world?

The cakes was nice though. Vanilla with spots of lemon and apple, and the creamiest frosting I had ever tasted. Kind of salty, just like the seapony milk tasted that night... wait... no way. Was the frosting made with... do they do that? Milk themselves? Like cows? I need answers, damn this body.

I so wanted to watch.

Anyway, that's not really what today should be about, I mean, that was weeks ago. No, now it was time for... er… well, if you've read the first chapter, you would know, I'll let dialogue speak for me.

"I'm so glad you decided to come with," mother greeted her extended family with a mighty hug. Aunt Applejack and Applebloom both returned the embrace. Hmm, Granny wasn't present. too bad. I liked her. She was sweet thi9ng, and her stories were a great way to fall asleep.

And, in case your wondering, yes, I did get at Applejack's breasts. They weren't huge, and they weren't small, but that had a firmness to them that told me she worked a lot. She would make a great momma some day too.

Applejack chuckled as she removed her hat and rubbed the back of her head. "Well. This is somethin' we felt we ought to see... weren't exactly sure on the details. Kind of hoped we could learn a thing or two. Granny just wanted to stay back at the farm to fix dinner for when we got back. She has Big Mac helpin' her, she'll be fine."

Mother smiled as she let them go. "He is such a good stallion. I'm glad I came across him when I did. Who knows how many mares were waiting to pounce."

Applejack laughed. "More than once in the later years we had to chase a couple off the property. Trickin' a stallion into given 'em a foal... how low can some ponies get?"

"A couple of them already had husbands," Applebloom put in her two cents.

Mother frowned. "Mares certainly have gotten much more depraved. You must always remain loyal to the stallion of your life. It makes for a lot less heartache." She began pushing the stroller again, the two mares falling in beside her.

From my position in the stroller, it was built sort of like a cage on wheels so I could move around without leaving my family's sight, I watched ponies stare in awe of mother. A few threw a few smiles in my direction. And a few sneers. Egad. What did I do? Was that maid I groped your sister of something? She liked it. She lets me do it everyday.

Probably just jealous. I'd pay them no mind.

Oh, yah. We were in a place called Ponyville. It was sweet. Ponies everywhere, and the air was crisp and heavy with the scent of fragrant flowers and grass. Grass. I wanted to run on it. I had been couped up in that stupid palace for over a month. I had never even been in the gardens.

"So, er, how does this circum-thingy thing work, Celestia?" Applejack asked. She could call mom by her first name because she was family.

Mother sighed as she leaned over to check on me. I smiled and flapped my wings. I had learned that recently. Playing with Pound in the palace had helped me improve a lot of these horse skills. Mother was thrilled. Pound was so fun. He was practically family now. Mother even let him at her breasts whenever he seemed to be getting homesick.

"It was just something instituted ages and ages ago," she began with a far away look in her eye. "My first husband, Thistle Trample, the Master rest his beloved soul, we a unicorn of average size that I had fallen in love with. Well, after a while in our lovemakings, I began to sense that he just couldn't... that is not to say his eagerness displeased me. He was the only stallion for me as long as he lived... he just couldn't get... deep enough."

"Deep enough?" Applebloom asked, tilting her head to the side.

Applejack leaned down and whispered in her ear. The filly's eyes widened. "Ooooh. His penis was too small?"

Mother almost lost it. Her cheeks bulged out as she tried to suppress the laughter.

When she finally managed to get herself under control, she nodded. "Yes Applebloom. That's pretty much how it was. As an alicorn I am much large than the average mare, as you can tell. So it takes a little bit extra to... fill me."

"Is big Mac's dick too small too?"

Both mother and Applejack just about keeled over. I wasn't faring too well myself. If this kid wasn't so innocent looking while she said that the guard escort that kept a watchful eye from a distance might thought she were attacking us. Oh, did I forget to mention them? Yeah they're there. In the alleys, crowd, and clouds.

Clouds. How?

"Heaven's above, child," mother laughed. "I did originally want to circumcise your brother, but the other nobility demanded that be a procedure reserved only for nobility entering royalty. Because he was a quote 'lowly mud pony' he didn't deserve such an honor. If he wasn't one of the few stallions who could... reach all the way, I would have told them off exposed half the sorted family history of the lot of them to the press. Starting with the Equestrian Intruder."

Applejack grinned pridefully. "We Apples have never had a complaint about our studs."

Applebloom, however, was looking at me oddly. ""Uh, Princess... I mean, Celestia… Gold sounded like he was laughing just a bit ago like you two were."

The adults looked at me a second, then back at the filly.

"You must have been hearing things," mother told her. Then she continued her explanation. "So, I arranged for the palace physician to cut away Thistle Trample's sheath... poor dear was a mite uncomfortable for a couple days... but, once healed, he was able to penetrate much deeper within me. When he passed, I waited century before mating again, to Rock Turner, a delightful pegasus stud... same problem. It kept happening until it became known as tradition and pretty much expected for all future suitors, so much so that it extended to our sons, Luna's and mine."

Applejack nodded. "I see. Though... how many husbands have you had?"

Mother stopped for a minute. "Eighty... seven... no six... three? Darn it. I can see all their faces so clearly. I remember all their names, favorite foods... how many years the lived... how many children each gave me..."

Gee, was that a tear? Goodness. Mother had lived a... sad life. No... not sad. Not happy. Hmmm. Oh. That's it. A meaningful life. You know, I never even stopped to think about that. I was no where near her first child, yet she treated me as though I was the most precious thing in the world to her. Crap...

She had watched her children die before her eyes. Their children too. She was a widow who still found joy in her endless ages.

Fuck. Did I just get poetic? Where did that come from. Now I'm sad and just wanna give her a hug.

I fluttered my wings and made noises to tell mother I wanted out. She looked down at me smiled fondly. "No, not yet, Gold. We're going to go to the hospital, then we're going to aunt Applejack's farm. There you can play in the grass as much as you like. Won't that be fun?"

Damn it woman. I want to hug you to make you fell better. And I want to wrap my horse legs bout your neck rather than your boobs too. I don't want to see you cry.

Damn it. And Luna too. They were both in the same boat. And... since she was mated with daddy, Luna was technically another mother, right? Yeah. She was a parent of mine. I want to hug them both.

"He seems a little eager," Applejack said as she looked at me. "Well, he's got a diaper..."

"Already been fed," Mother informed her, giving her own chest a pat. "Even for a colt he eats a lot. Since I'm soon going to be returning to my court duties... my poor pregnant sister has been helping by extending her shift... I will have to hire some nurses and wet nurses to care for his needs while I'm at court. Even waiting these six weeks has been pushing it."

Applejack nodded. "Pity you can't stay with him twenty-four seven."

And, just like that, I learned this world had twenty-four hours and seven days. Just like earth.

Mother sighed sadly. "So do I. But, I gave up that freedom thousands of years ago."

Soon enough, we were at the hospital and, because royalty, admitted immediately into a private room. A cute white earth pony nurse in a smock greeted us and set me upon the examination table.

"Well, hello there, Prince Gold Coast," she cooed sweetly as she rubbed my mane and nuzzled my face. Her bedside manner was awesome. Pity the sexy nurse thing is only fantasy. No cleavage to be seen whatsoever. "You really are an alicorn, huh?"

She took a moment giving me good look over, testing flexibility and measuring my wings and writing stuff on a clipboard. Doctor stuff.

"Well," she said, once she was finished, "he's a healthy guy. Good balance, fantastic flexibility, and his horn is hardened properly since his birth. Though... he seems a little large for a his age... uh, comparative to his birth measurements. His progression is... faster than normal."

Mother looked concerned. "Is that bad?"

The nurse took a moment to shrug. "I wouldn't know. I haven't seen anything like this before. I would consult some better experts your majesty."

Mother nodded. "I see. I will take care of it as soon as we return to Canterlot. It wont interfere with the circumcision, though, right?"

The nurse shook her head. "I will call nurse Tenderheart at once with the tools and anesthetic."

A minute or so later and a blue mare with a sea green mane arrived pushing a cart. She took a moment to show me some love before asked Redheart, the first nurse, to hold me for the procedure. I let out a few scared whimpers, encouraging mother to stroke my head comfortingly.

Nurse Readheart sat atop the table and set me on her lap. She then took my hind legs in her hands and pulled them back until they touched my chest, which kept me locked against her stomach while exposing my manhood to the world. I gulped and tired to squirm a bit. The position wasn't very comfortable.

"That's it," Nurse Tenderheart said with a smile. "Just like a gelding procedure. This'll only take a few moments."

I froze. That was not something I needed to hear while in this position. I looked over at my family, who were smiling, though the Apples seemed more curious. I gulped as I started to feel a little clammy.

Tenderheart dabbed a small brush into a bowl of brown liquid, which she then began to apply to my sheath. It tingled. Cold and slimy. I shivered a bit. Redheart cooed soothingly, rubbing my hind hooves with her thumbs. "It's okay little guy. This isn't going to hurt."

After couple experimental tickles down under, Tenderheart seemed satisfied with the anesthetic's effect. Then she grabbed a scalpel. I remained very still. Very still indeed. Also, I prayed no one burst in suddenly and make that tiny razor mess me up.

I watched in bizarre fascination as she slowly, and expertly sliced through the layers of skin and fat and membrane of my sheath. Thank goodness for anesthetic. I shuddered to speculate about the times before anesthetic. Then, after a few more little slices, my baby cock flopped to the side, free from it's flesh prison.

I breathed a sigh of relief as the tiny knife vanished, and was replaced by a paper towel that dabbed at the blood.

"Is he gonna need stitches?" Applebloom asked, looking a little sick.

Redheart shook her head. "No. There's not much blood in a stallion's sheath, it's mainly to protect the phallus from the elements. You just need to keep the area clean until it scars over. He will start to feel some minor discomfort in an hour or so after the anesthetic wears off. We can provide a safe prescription that'll ease the soreness."

Mother told her she would like that as she took me from the nurse and hugged me comfortingly. I cuddled into her boobs, relieved and feeling hungry. I nuzzled her and made hungry sounds to let her know what I wanted.

"Poor thing," mother cooed as I fed. "I know, it must have been scary. But, don't worry, soon we'll go see daddy and grandma, and you can play in the orchard."

I smiled a little as I suckled. I would like that. I want to feel grass under my hooves.

Rainbow Racer Romp

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I ran in circles as soon as mother set me down. It was awesome. It was cold and silky and tickled my hooves. I even took a moment to flop down and rolled around like a dog. Speaking of which...

The Apples had a dog. A cute brown and white thing. And she was awesome too. I guess everyone else thought so too, as they laughed at our antics.

Daddy Big Mac was even there. He stood close by watching me plat with the dog.

"Ah, ain't they just so cute?" Applejack sighed. "Can't wait to start havin' foals of my own."

"Speaking of which," Mother began, turning to her sister-in-law, "has Twilight...?"

"Lifted her tail for Flash Sentry yet?" Applejack finished for her. "Yep. Practically held her down myself... not really. But, I was feelin' mighty desperate."

Mother nodded understandingly. "So, have you already decided on the hierarchy of your newfound herd?"

The orange mare nodded. "Twilight's the head mare, bein' a princess and all. Rarity's the housekeeper. Rainbow Dash and I are the strong mares, Pinkie's the peacemaker, and Fluttershy's the nanny. Oh, and Rainbow Dash is the guardian too."

Mother nodded. "Good, it's just how I would expect it to be. Have you had your turn yet?"

The farm pony grinned. "Ooh boy. Have I? I was a mite skeptical at first, him bein' a war stallion and all, always thought I'd find myself a good draft stud. But, he's gentle, attentive, and can work miracles with that spear of his."

"So, when can I expect a nephew?" mother teased.

Applejack wasn't moved, she grinned wider. "Well, we have an eleven month wait to see. Kind of hopin' for a colt. Really wanna see what a long time draft family and a war stud produce."

"So, is he with Rainbow now, or has he moved on to Fluttershy?"

"With Rainbow," auntie said. "We figured he should spend a few days with each of us individually before we really started studding him amongst ourselves. Though... since Twilight's a princess does mean we'll have to circumcise our colts too? Seems mighty counterintuitive and unproductive for what's probably gonna be some soldiers and draft studs."

Mother shook her head. "No worries, Applejack. It's only expected of me and Luna. Your sons need not dangle before the masses."

Applejack breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good. I want my sons to learn to work the earth. Havin' a danglin' cock would be a bit hazardous."

The white alicorn nodded. "I can see that. Thankfully. All my son will have to worry about in his life will be mating with his herd to produce blood ties to allied nations."

"That's a good life a for a stud," Applejack said with a smile as she turned back to watch me chase Winona into Big Mac's hooves. He nuzzled us both, having probably grown up with that dog. "And, because he's an alicorn, he can... you know, keep going forever."

Mother nodded. "Of course. He's as useful as he is loved. I can see ages of peace ahead."

"How big you reckon he'll get?" the orange one asked.

Mother shrugged. "It doesn't matter, Applejack. He'll never outgrow my arms, and that's all that matters."

"Mama of the year, eh?" Applejack chuckled.

While they were talking, I was running circles around Daddy Mac. Ooh, Big Daddy Mac. Or just Big Daddy. Whatever, the big red hulk was awesome. He was gentle with me, patient, and loved to play. Mother and Luna enjoyed his company, obviously, and the only derogatory thing the snooty nobles had to say about him was that he was a mud pony.

Some didn't like me either. I could tell mom was resisting lashing out when one of the fat hippos suggested clipping my wings, or horn. Because no male should have so much power. Ooh, if I could talk... I am practicing, if you don't know... I would give what for.

Also, just to mention it, mom's been trying to teach me magic. She laughs at my efforts. I guess I look ridiculous puffing out my cheeks and rolling my eyes while trying to figure out which muscle to flex. Am I suppose dot flex a muscle?

Well, blah-blah fun-fun, I decided to charge into the rows of apple trees before anyone could stop me. I'm just testing my freedom here.

"Whelp, there he goes," Applejack chuckled. "Should we follow him?"

Mother shook her head. "No. Big Mac, go watch over him. Bring him back when he's tired."

The big stallion got up and obeyed, lumbering after me as I vanished into the woods. Time for some hide-and-seek.

Well, to sum it up, I spent a while running dodging and hiding from the giant. The traitorous dog helping him all the way. Darn it, how she loved me. But, I was having the time of my life. Why do adults stop playing these games? What's so important about appearances?

Kids truly had it made.

Well, eventually, I managed to slip into a root system of one of the trees, too tight for the dog to follow. She whimpered and barked, pawing at the roots to get at me. I, however, slipped out the other side and snuck away. That would probably buy me a few minutes. Ha, I could even hear daddy snorting and stomping around that tree.

Now nothing could stop me.

"Ooh... yeah... that's it... a little more... ah-ah-ah..."

Except that. I altered course to the north. Or was it south? Darn it, I don't have a compass. Anyway, I followed that sound. For it sounded familiar to anyone who had had access to the internet in a previous life.

The closer I got, the slower I walked, until eventually I was crawling on my belly up behind a small berry bush. Nosing my way through that final obstacle, I found my eyes locked upon... Rainbow Dash and a yellow pegasus stallion. You can see where I'm going with this.

I may be too young to be effected by hormones, but boy was it hot.

The stallion was tied to one of the trees by a rope, and Rainbow Dash, all clothing discarded to the side, was on all fours barely, barely within the stallion's reach. The poor stallion, though it appeared he was enjoying it, stretched the rope taught and as prodded at the mare's backside with his tongue.

Rainbow Dash's face was an open book of sensations and heat. "Aaaaaah… n-not so fast, Flash, o-or I'll punish you a-againnnnnmmmmm."

The stallion didn't head her words, and kept attacking her vaginal lips with gusto. The mare laughed wickedly as she crawled just out of his reach. "I warned yoooouu."

Flash, robbed of his price let out a distressed whinny and tugged a few more times at the rope. Goodness, he seemed desperate.

The mare stood up and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "So, that's the way it's gonna be, eh soldier? Well, it seems we've got a lot of training to do then."

And with that she zipped beneath the stallion before I could even blink. Damn, she was fast. The stallion even seemed a little confused as to where she had gone.

The mare was down on all fours again before the stallion's erect member. She licked her lips as she cupped his balls with on e hand, causing him to freeze, and then lifted his penis with the other and guided it into her mouth. She slowly consumed the member, moaning all the while. She made a slight gagging sound when he reached the back of her throat, inexperienced in the art it would seem, but she trooped on, eyes water slightly as she pushed through her gag reflex.

Fuck. I wish this body was old enough to jack off.

The stallion whinnied and gave a couple small thrusts as he attempted to grab the mare's tail in his mouth. But, Rainbow Dash was slick. With a cough and a sputter, she disengaged her assault and leapt just out of his reach again, leaving him wanting.

"I warned you," she said with a smirk. But, his resounding whimpers made her ears wilt. "Look... Flash. I'm sorry. But Fluttershy said we need to teach you the art of proper lovemaking early on. Believe me, I would love to get down and let you rut me like a wild animal. But... your mares also have needs."

He whimpered some more tugged desperately at the rope, his big eyes pleading with her. Rainbow Dash sighed and bowed her head. "Okay, just... give it one more try big guy, then you can mount me the rest of the day, okay?"

She stepped closer to him and began stroking his mane as she eased his head down to her wet cunt. She moaned and bit her lip as she felt his tongue dab over her sensitive lips. "There you go. Nice and easy... like Fluttershy said, talk calmly... calmly Rainbow Dash. Ha... wait until it's her turn... b-bet she'll... sh-she'll... aaaaahh."

Fell stumbled a couple of steps back, breathing heavily. "Alright. Th-that's a g-good stud... Just gimme a minute. Hoo. That was fun. But... you need to go deeper... We'll work on that later."

She came up to the whimpering stallion and hugged his head into her breasts, shivering as he licked the soft mounds. "Okay... let's take off this harness."

She untied the rope from about his neck and kissed him between the eyes.

"Okay, let's get down to business."

She let go of him and dropped down to all fours, turning to present her ready marehood to him while lifting her tail. He snorted as he slowly moved, probably testing if he were still restrained. Upon finding nothing was holding him back, he wrapped his front hooves about her torso and began poking around until he found a hole.

"Woah," the mare cried and she reached back and repositioned his penis. "I'm not ready for that hole yet, pal."

I held my breath as I watched him ease himself into her and get comfortable. The mare was breathing heavily and making the most adorable squeaking sounds as she was penetrated. This was so awesome.



I turned to see Winona running at me, her tongue lolling out of her mouth her eyes full of excitement. No-no-no.

I looked back to see Rainbow Dash and the stallion looking in my direction. "Winona? Is that you?"

Then I heard heavy footsteps. That could only mean daddy was here. I was shocked to see anger on his face as he appeared from the trees as he rushed at me. Instinct kicked in and I crouched down in fear, trying to look small. But, he rushed past me.

What? Wait... no.

The red giant burst from the bushes and skidded to halt. He opened his mouth and let out an animalistic sound I would never believe a horse could ever make. No, horses did not roar like savage monsters. That was... terrifying. This whole situation was wrong.

Flash even seemed to lose interest on finishing his mission as he swiftly dismounted and stood between daddy and his mare, spreading his wings and letting out an equally scary roar. The tension in the air was numbing, I felt my nerves shaking.

The mare was quick to jump between the two stallions.

"Woah. No fighting guys," she cried loudly, desperation in her voice. "Big Mac. What's wrong with you? I get we're trespassing but, you know me. We're friends." Then her eyes widened. "You don't recognize Flash's scent, do you?"

The pegasus tried to pull her back by the tail, but the mare rapped him between the eyes. "I get it. You two don't know each other. But, he's with me, Big Mac. See, I'm fine. Right? He hasn't hurt me."

Big Mac snorted and growled warningly, Winona taking a stance by his side to do the same. Flash growled back. This was getting dangerous. Why were they acting like this? I didn't understand. The mare was trying to diffuse the situation, but it look like it was going to work. Maybe I could help. I leapt from the bushes and made sounds I hoped would get daddy's attention.

"Oh no," Rainbow Dash cried once she laid eyes on me. "No-no-no. Big Mac... Flash is not a threat to Gold. Please. Back off. You're both powerful stallions, you could kill each other."

It was then that I realized my position in all of this. Daddy had found me, and smelled a stranger nearby. One who was letting off a whole lot of hormones. I was antagonizing the conflict between them.

Rainbow Dash was almost on the verge of tears as Big Mac, upon my getting closer, took a more aggressive stance. "No... please. Gold... why? Go away... wait... that's it. Gold run home. Go to mommy. Go on... go."

I was confused for a second. Then I got it. I made a loud bark... where did that come from?.. and took off in any direction other than here. I looked back to see the two stallions still locking eyes, but I kept running. I let out another bark and daddy circled the stallion to keep himself between us. Then I let out another bark as I got further away.

This time, daddy started backing away from the Pegasus. And then, he gave the yellow stallion one last warning growl and took off after me. Winona, good girl that she is, came last. Rainbow Dash all but collapsed, hugging the yellow stallion's neck. "Thank you... oh thank you... I couldn't have done anything if... if... oh, let's just go home, Flash."

I kept running until I reached the edge of a small creak and just collapsed. Soon enough, daddy and Winona were standing over me, looking worried and sniffing me over to make sure I wasn't hurt. Would have served me right if I had been hurt. I could have gotten somebody killed. I looked up at the red giant and whimpered.

He bent down and gently lifted me by the back of my neck and onto his back. I sniffed as I curled up and nuzzled into his mane. Stupid lummox didn't realize I should be punished for what I did. I love my daddy... and I... oh, I'm just repeating myself. I wanted mother.

He seemed to think the same and began lumbering off in what I guessed was the direction of the barn. I should take this lesson to heart.

The Second Prince

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It had been four months since I caused that incident. Ugh. I still feel awful. Well, Rainbow Dash came over to the barn and hour later and told everyone what happened. Which led to a small argument about irresponsible mating practices and some such. Then they voiced their concern about me, apparently the scent of strange stallions mating is supposed to scare colts away, something about old instincts making some stallions dangerous to strange foals during coitus. I had done the opposite. Well, lesson learned... at least no one got hurt. They just agreed to keep a tighter leash on Flash until he familiarized himself with the families.

Mother has returned to court, and I now have wet nurses to take care of me. She still visits as often as she can, of course. But… I miss her.

I tended to stay with my wet nurses. I needed a few to ensure I got enough milk, apparently. They were very sweet and gentle with me... and Pound. Even though they believed I was a primitive beast of burden, they would tell me stories and sing songs.

My favorite was a green unicorn named Lyra Heartstrings. Really buxom lady who loved taking me and Pound into the gardens. Her favorite spot was a small koi pong in the hedge maze. But, mostly, she loved just following behind me as I explored.

Also... since the incident... I've been kind of... something. Mother seemed a little worried and had me looked at by other doctors. Best they could tell her was that I was shaken up by that day. Well, I've been getting better. Though, I kind of book it when she and Daddy Big Mac start going at it.

"Lost in thought again big guy?"

I look up from the surface of the aforementioned koi pond to see the green unicorn leaned over me with a big smile on her face. She had a magical smile on her face.

"You shouldn't be so down," she chuckled as she ran a hand through my mane. "A handsome stud like you should always be happy and full of life. You've got a lot more of it than the rest of us you know."

Was that supposed to make me feel better? Granted, she didn't know I could understand her. But, still, I don't want to be reminded that... that... a lot of these nice people are gonna be dead while I keep on living.

Pound dropped from the sky and landed beside me, giving my cheek a sloppy lick. I couldn't help but laugh and smile a little. He was such a good friend... practically a brother. Have I mentioned that before?

Lyra laughed at the display. "Ah. Pound. You're such a good little gelding, helping the prince out like that. I'll get you a treat later."

The word 'treat', Pound started leaping about and flapping his wings energetically. The mare shook her head.

"No-no, not now, Pound," she smiled as she knelt down and smooshed his cheeks together. "Later. Don't want the prince getting jealous. He can't have any proper solid food for a good long while yet."

He seemed to get the idea and snorted. He was a good six or so years older than me, so he had some extra privileges that I didn't. Also, I learned what Mrs. Cake meant when she said he had been "wethered". I shuddered internally at the very idea. And his mother had been so nonchalant about it too.

Then my stomach growled.

"Oh my," Lyra said, eyes widened at the loud rumbled. "Someone's hungry."

Without hesitation, she reached up and unbuttoned her shirt to release her emerald bust. She scooped me up with a grunt, I was pretty heavy it would seem, and brought me two her teats. "There you go. Lyra has lunch all ready for you."

I latched on and slowly suckled until the milk flowed freely. Very rich and thin, a smooth meal fit for a prince. Pound didn't hesitate to make for the second breast. Lyra smiled and patted the back of his head as he took his share.

"That's my colts," she cooed contentedly as she sat down to enjoy the stillness.

As you may have guessed, breasts here didn't have the sexual stigma of my homeworld. They were more like social objects, it was a sign of trust and familial affection to let loved ones latch on and nurse at their own discretion within the privacy of the home. I had observed this with Mother and Daddy, including Luna. Even while at the farm after the incident, and after dinner, the whole family had stripped down to their birthday suits to enjoy each other's company.

No. There weren't any sexual escapades. Even Daddy Big Mac controlled himself. Its just a pony thing to display trust and affection. Mother had even allowed Applebloom to nurse beside me like Pound was doing right now. This was called communion. It was like some sort of right of passage when a mare could first set a loved one to their breast, and Applebloom seemed upset that she had a few years left before then.

And, in case anyone was curious, yes, I did get to enjoy Applejack's breasts.

Anyway, back to the present.

I slowly closed my eyes. I wanted to forget the incident so I could go back to enjoying my new life. I wanted these moments to feel more fun. Right now, since then, it felt more routine.

Yes. I'm aware I'm being repetitive with "The Incident" references, but… skip it. I'm going to fill my belly with milk.

Okay, a little time passes and then...

"Ah, Mrs. Heartstrings, there you are."

We all looked up from our little peaceful moment to see a Pegasus mare in full armor descend into the maze. She was accompanied by a guard stallion in full kit and bearing a saddle. "I suspected you might be here."

"Is something the matter?" Lyra asked her, shifting to a standing position, forcing Pound to cease suckling.

The guard nodded and gestured towards the stallion. "Princess Luna has gone into labor. Princess Celestia has canceled court until the new princess or prince is born. She requested her son's presence."

Lyra quickly mounted the stallion, patting his neck out of habit. It was really just good manners. She looked towards Pound and then back at the other mare. "Should we bring the prince's companion as well?"

The guard looked at the colt and shrugged. "I don't see why not. They are practically brothers. Besides, it'd be a nuisance to have to look for him later."

Once Pound was gathered, we were off. We shortly arrived at a balcony and the stallion was told to go back to the stables. Soon enough we were at the infirmary slash medical wing of the palace. Mother and daddy were waiting for us.

"Thank you so much for coming so swiftly," Mother smiled as she took me from the wet nurse. Lyra bowed as she buttoned her shirt back up.

"Of course, your majesty," she smiled. "Will I be needed anymore today?"

Mother smiled as she tickled my belly. "You may stay if you wish. But, you're free for the rest of the day."

Lyra smiled. "Then I shall be off. Good day your majesty."

And so she left.

Mother sat down and set me upon her lap. "Isn't this exciting, Gold? Your going to have a new brother or sister soon. And, maybe it'll be another alicorn. Wouldn't that be marvelous?"

I made a happy sound, or so I thought, and she chuckled. "You don't even know what's going on, do you?"

Pound came over and placed his front hooves upon her knee and barked. Seriously. Are horses supposed to bark? This is giving me a headache.

Mother stroked his mane. "And, of course, you'll be like a good big brother, won't you pound?"

Like I've mentioned, he was like a member of the family now. Daddy Big Mac even nuzzled him in a familial fashion. He's loved, if anyone was worried.

And, it was quiet as I cuddled into mother's stomach. I must have fallen asleep, because I woke up sometime later. that was my first clue. Didn't even remember what I dreamed.

"It's a colt," nurse declared brightly to us. This is what woke me up.

Mother gasped as she stood up. "Is it really? Is it..."

The nurse shook her head. "I'm sorry, your highness. You should see for yourself."

We moved into the room to see Luna laying upon a white bed, cuddling a little bundle in her arms. Daddy walked right up beside the bed and gave the blue alicorn a gentle nuzzle on the cheek. Luna smiled and kissed his nose.

"Hello, Big Mac," she smiled tiredly. "You're a father yet again. This is Cobbler."

She pushed away some of the blanket to reveal the face of a small light red, almost pink, colt with an oat-white mane. He was sleeping soundly. I noticed he didn't have a horn. Was he not an alicorn?

"He's an earth pony like his father," Luna chuckled as she looked him over.

"He'll make a fine prince nonetheless," mother reassured her sister. I could imagine the hidden horror, giving birth to a child you'll watch grow old and die. Wow, I made that dark. What is wrong with me?

"He seems a little small," Luna pointed out with a small frown.

"Perhaps he'll grow over time once he starts feeding," mother suggested fondly.

"If he ever wants to become a proper stud," Luna chuckled.

Mother nodded as she set me down upon the sheets. I promptly walked alongside Luna's form until I was up at her chest to get a better look at the colt. I leaned in close until our noses were almost touching. Then he sneezed.

I squealed in surprise ad topple over the side. Thankfully, daddy caught me. Mother and Luna were laughing.

Luna reached out an arm and took me from daddy. "Come here, Gold. He'll soon wake up, and I'd like it if you were to nurse alongside him."

How could I say no?

Of Darkness Past

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"That's it, Gold," Lyra praised me as I slowly enveloped the little ball in a blue aura. Thank goodness it wasn't gold. I may have mentioned this before, but, gold is not my favorite color. Red's my favorite color. Kind of wish my magic was red. That'd be awesome. I'd be a sith pony.

How did I finally learn to wield this magic? I fell down the stairs during a game of tag with Pound. Yep simple as that.

Mother was relieved that I was okay, but more excited that I had learned to use magic. Still, I think taking me to the medical wing was a little overkill.

Anyway, I slowly made the ball hover above my head. It was cool. It was like the magic was another limb. Like the arms and hands I had lost. This was going to be so useful. Then the ball dropped and bounced away. I sulked. Five seconds. Five. New personal best.

My wet nurse, on the other hand, was ecstatic. "Yay. Prince Gold, you're really improving. Quite a bit slower then the average unicorn colt, but still improving."

That was a terrible way to praise someone. Yay, your good, but awful compared with everyone else, but good. She noticed my sulk and reached out with her magic to grab a few things. "Poor dear. Here, let me cheer you up."

A warm blanket, my favorite narwhal plushie, and a hug against her bountiful bosom did help make me feel better. I wasn't hungry, so I just snuggled in, wrapping my hooves about the plushie in a tight fashion. What should I name him? I've had him since the party nearly a year ago, and I still haven't named him.

Hint-hint. Ahem.

"You need to stop growing," Lyra sighed contentedly as she rocked from side-to-side. "Put on a few more pounds and I won't be able to carry you anywhere anymore. Are alicorns supposed to grow this fast? You're almost as big as Pound."

It was true. I'm not even a year old yet and yet I'm gaining on a seven year old colt. More than once mother has consulted doctors from around the world. I've been poked, prodded, groped, and peeped at enough to make a grown man cry. None of them had an explanation, other than I perhaps had an over-active thyroid, and it would stop when it stopped. Personally, I think they were overpaid for their diagnosis.

A barking anounced the arrival of my companion pegasus.

"Speak of the Nightmare and she shall appear," Lyra chuckled as she welcomed him. He came right over and sniffed my face. "So, how was practice?"

"He has been improving," said the guard who came in after him. "He actually has some promise in battle... for a gelding. He'll never put on the proper muscle to be a real warrior, but, he should serve as decent fodder if ever the need were to arise."

Lyra scowled. "You shouldn't speak about him like that. Celestia doesn't consider anyone to be 'fodder', as you put it."

The guard sighed. "Apologies. It has been a long day. I haven't been home in over a week, and am just feeling a little... tense."

The green unicorn nodded. "I see. Then, perhaps, you should request some time off if it's getting that bad."

The guard shook her head. "I need that promotion. If the Major sees me working hard enough, I can expect a good pay raise in the near future."

With a few words of goodbye, the guard left and closed the door after us. I looked at Pound. Mother had seen fit that he should be trained in some rudimentary combat to protect me. So, a few hours every day he was in the courtyard being trained in drills and exercised.

I wondered if they were going to train me too when I got older. Or was I just going to be seen as a stud to mount mares the rest of my long life?

I suppose there might be worse alternatives. I could have wound up like Pound... our still might wind up like him. Fuck, don't think that. Just keep making mother happy.

She and Luna were off elsewhere taking care of royal business. As usual. Lately, I seemed to be passed off to my wet nurses. Now, I'm not really a little child, I know work can take people's time, but that doesn't make me long for her embrace any less.

At least I had others that loved me while she was away.

"And where is that precious little alicorn?"

Then there was Twilight Sparkle.

Well, I think she did love me, in her own way. But, mostly she seem interested in how I was put together. Mother had given her permission to perform tests and other sciency stuff on me. Thankfully, she placed a limiter, so I wasn't in danger of physical harm.

Mental, however...

Lyra stood up and chuckled. "Welcome, Princes Twilight. What's your plans for Gold today?"

The lavender alicorn smiled sweetly. "There's no need to be so formal, Lyra, we've been friends since forever."

The unicorn nodded. "I know, but, c'mon, it sounds cooler this way."

Twilight came up and gave her a hug, smooshing me between them.

"You're the royal wetnurse, Lyra," Twilight said as she released the mare. "That means you're going to have a portrait hung in the palace for the world and future generations of mares to see."

She blushed. "Yeah. That's so awesome. Think they'll have me do it topless? I saw a couple of them like that in the Gallery."

Twilight shrugged. "I wouldn't doubt it. You've got a pair to be proud of."

Lyra laughed. "Ah, that's too much. So, back to he subject at hand... what are you gonna do with Gold today?"

"Well," Twilight began, running a hand over her abdomen, did I mention she was pregnant? "After looking over my notes from last month's tests, I thought I would like to subject him to intense stimuli."

Lyra frowned. "You're not going to hurt or upset him are you?" She squeezed me tightly in a protective manner.

Twilight shook her head. "Of course not. I don't want him growing up to avoid me."

The unicorn mulled over this for a moment and then nodded. "Just as long as you aren't so rough as last time."

"I was taking his temperature," Twilight defended herself.

"Well, he obviously didn't like it very much," Lyra huffed as she followed her friend. Pound got in step behind our little procession. "Honestly, if you have to hold a foal down, it means you're doing it wrong."

"I apologized," Twilight retorted.

"A pat on the head isn't compensation."

The alicorn shrugged. "He's male. He doesn't know anything about what happens to him. As long as you show him a little affection he'll forgive most everything."

It was annoying being talked about like I wasn't even in the room.

Lyra sighed. "I can't wait for you to start having sons."

"Oh, I hope to have a couple with Flash," Twilight could be oblivious. "I need to start creating my own blood ties to other nations as soon as possible so that my family can start digging in it's roots."

Lyra shook her head. "I hope they've got a strong constitution."

Soon enough we arrived at an empty room, and Twilight took be from Lyra. She set me down in the middle of the floor and began a routine examination of my body.

"He's increased in size at least eighty percent since birth," she noted, a book and quill floating close by to take notes. "That's unheard-of. His horn's hardened nicely. Wings... has he flown any yet?"

Lyra nodded. "Short flights, he's not quite been taking to the air like a normal pegasus foal."

"With his size, no wonder," Twilight said. "He's getting big fast, but his muscles still have a ways to catch up with him. Keep him exercising them, he needs to get stronger. Good teeth, hooves, and mane... Alright. Let's what else is new."

She took off my diaper, clean, I assure you, and began examining my other bits and bobs.

"Okay, and the rest appear to be progressing nicely, average in proportion o body size and whatnot," she nodded n satisfaction. "Other than his size, I'd say he was a shining example of a healthy colt. Although..."

There's always a catch.

"What?" Lyra asked, concerned.

Twilight was quick to point it out. "His sheath... it's grow back by at least forty percent."

The unicorn bent down to get a better look. Why couldn't women be this interested in my stuff in my previous life?

"How is that possible?" Lyra asked.

"I was actually expecting this," Twilight said as she replaced my diaper and turned to her friend. "Just not so much so soon. Alicorns have a very hearty regeneration. Look at Celestia and Luna, thousands of years old, have been in countless ancient wars, yet we don't see a single scar on them. It may not be instant, but, as long as you don't take out the head, or something, they'll regenerate from most injuries. I guess his body thinks the loss of his sheath is some sort of damage it needs to repair."

"Interesting," the unicorn nodded. "So nothing like this has ever happened?"

"Not on this big a scale," Twilight answered ominously.

Lyra was confused, "I... don't understand."

"Every now and then," Twilight began, "there are some stallions born with a hyperactive growing potential. It's not so much a physical thing, as it is a magical phenomenon. They are not very common, rare in fact. But, it is believed that they have some command over another, subtle magical force. One that... unfortunately, made them targets for mares in power."

Lyra tilted her head. "Targets?"

"The best way to gather political support is to create fear," Twilight sighed sadly. "So... they promoted fear of them to the citizens, saying they were possessed and held demon seed. So... it was a dark time and a great loss for the world."

"They killed them?" Lyra gasped in horror. "Just... m-murdered stallions?

Twilight shook her head. "No... er… not always... most were gelded."

Lyra was indignant. "A-and Celestia just let them?"

"Lyra, they're just stallions," Twilight responded quickly. "We've been castrating them since... well, forever. The only loss was the genetic examples of their future descendants."

Just las if the universe was saying: "Oh? Comfortable? Well, here's a reminder of your place in this society". Ugh. I get it. I'm just one step away from being a "good boy".

"What about the murdered ones?" Lyra asked.

Twilight sighed. "Okay, fine. There was a little bit more loss than that."

"Stallions only make up one sixth of the population," Lyra cried out in exasperation, "what excuse could someone have to geld an entire group?"

"Sombra," Twilight said simply.

Lyra paused. "Sombra?"

Twilight nodded. "Yes. He was one of those stallions. Remarkably intelligent, wild, a unicorn stud that even Celestia admits could have almost been sapient. But... his nature was too strong."

"I don't know much about Sombra," Lyra confessed.

Twilight was all to eager to explain. "He was a colt that had been found wandering outside of the Crystal Empire. Princess Amore saw potential in him and took him in to be raised to make ties to allied nations. Not true blood ties, but adoption counted for something."

"Then what happened?" Lyra asked.

"Puberty," Twilight responded simply. "Once his balls descended and started flooding his system with more testosterone... he became an animal. Despite pleas from friends and others, Princess Amore refused to geld him, believing he could be tamed... then he killed her as a show of dominance."

"Killed her?" Lyra gasped. "I-I've seen colts fight over mares before... but... kill? His own mother?"

Twilight nodded. "Colts love their mothers, this is true. This was something evil. He was already well-versed in magic, to an unbelievable extent, but it was corrupted. He went on a rampage, slaughtering other stallions and defiling their mares as his own. He didn't stop there. He slaughtered the little colts too. Getting rid of future competition."

Lyra's hands were over her mouth in horror. "A stallion did all that?"

"That's why, when he was defeated, the Bastard Cull happened," Twilight continued. "The slaughter of colts from mares he had impregnated."

"But... but," Lyra had no words.

"Cadance has done her best to stop it," Twilight said. "She knows the little ones are innocent of their father's crimes. All I can say is that she has hidden each one that she has found. Don't worry, even some of the mares who bore his children were not so blinded by fear and hate, and brought them to Cadance so that they might live full lives."

Lyra shook her head in disbelief. "A stallion... a male... capable of that... are you saying that Gold is similar?"

Twilight nodded. "In the way that he has incredible magical potential? Yes. Just like his father and my brother."

"Big Mac has magical potential?" Lyra asked, a little cynical.

Twilight sighed. "Yes... earth ponies have magical potential too, Lyra. You've been around the nobility too long."

Then she turned back to me. "Now... let the test begin."

What horrors awaited me?

And the Gong Shall Ring Aloud

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I did it. I tried talking. You know what happened? I sounded like a strangled goose. No matter how many times I tried, it was the same horrible noise. My mother got quite worried and had taken me to the nurse.

"So, nothing's wrong with him?" mother asked, quizzically, holding me closely to her breasts. The unicorn physician shook her head.

"Nothing physical," she shrugged. "I suspect he was just attempting to imitate you or something. Young colts especially sometimes attempt to copy other sounds, but their vocal cords are just too different to form any legible words."

"Oh," mother said, nodding in understanding. She began laughing and held me up so that we were nose-to-nose. "Were you trying to copy mommy?" She kissed me nose and set me back down on her lap. "Ah, I must look so silly coming for something to silly."

"Not at all," the nurse chuckled. "I know you've had many children, but, you mostly paid attention to your daughters, right? Like most mares."

Mother nodded. "Of course. If he weren't an alicorn, I'd probably allow Lyra to spend more time with him than she already does."

My heart sank a bit at that. Really, it was just my combination of wings and horn that she loved so much. I whimpered and lowered my head. Of course, mother misinterpreted this. As usual.

"My son must be eager to return to playing, thank you again, nurse."

A few moments later I was sitting beside the pond. Mother a short ways off, conversing with I-don't-care about I-don't-give-a-fuck. I stared at my reflection. It was not my face. Was this some punishment? My father was a dumb animal, my best friend was a eunuch, and I was little more than a piece of breeding stock. I scowled at my reflection.

I hated this. It was then I did the stupidest thing.

I grabbed a stick in my mouth and stomped over to mother. Ah, seems Luna was there too. Cobbler wasn't with her. As usual. Lyra practically watched my brother twenty-four seven. I can only remember Luna nursing him a few times. Well, good. I wanted an audience.

When I got close, the adults looked at me and smiled, cooing sweetly. Then I began dragging the stick through the ground. They laughed at first. But they were soon quiet. Staring at the shape in the dirt. I couldn't read their language, and no one thought to teach me. So I did the next best thing.

A cube. Mathematics. The universal language, I wasn't even considering the consequences as I stared up angrily at them. Mother was quick to grab the strange mare she had been speaking with and threaten her life if she ever told anyone, then, she grabbed me and instructed Luna to fly with her. We got to mother's room and I was deposited on the bed. By that time the reality of my actions was beginning to weigh on me. I began to shake and get worried.

"Sister," Luna hissed. "Did you see that? No colt could ever draw such a precise shape by accident."

Mother nodded as she paced back and forth. She shot a quick magic scan over me and sighed in relief. "He's not a changeling or imposter. We... we have to do something... if ponies find out..."

Luna groaned and grabbed my face, looking me in the eye. "It must just be the alicorn magic speaking through him."

"It's never spoken like that before," mother cried, shaking her head earnestly. "Perhaps... perhaps it was a prank. Someone else puppeting him. No, that doesn't make any sense. I'd have scanned some residual magic on him." She rushes to her desk and grabs some paper and a pen, setting it in front of me. "Gold, can you draw it a again?"

Luna let go of me and snorted. "Celestia. He's a colt. He doesn't understand what you're saying."

And stupidly angry again. Both sisters stared at the second cube on the paper. I spat out the pen in Luna's direction and barked defiantly. I was beginning to shake in fear. But, there was no turning back. I was too angry now. It almost felt something else was pushing me.

"No," Luna backed away. "This shouldn't be possible. I don't care if he's an alicorn or not, Celestia. This goes against all laws of nature and harmony."

Mother put herself between her and me. "Luna. You must calm down. You're going to scare him with those words."

"He's a male, he shouldn't understand any words," Luna shouted back.

"Stop it," Celestia shouted back, spreading her wings to shield me from the dark alicorn's sight. "Neither of us are thinking clearly right now. We should both calm down."

"Calm down?" Luna gasped. "How can you not see the danger this means Equestria? If another kingdom hears that we have a male capable of higher thought, they'll be up in arms for fear of what he'll do to the gene pool."

"Think of what miracles we might discover?" mother defended me. Luna was quiet for a moment. Her alabaster wings folded back and she stepped aside, gesturing to me. "Think of this one little miracle and all he represents to the future."

Luna stared at me for a moment. Her face softened a moment, but hardened the next. "No. If you'll do nothing, than allow me. I'll geld him here and now and save us all the trouble."

She was on me in an instant. grabbing me back a back leg and producing a fireball in the other. I shrieked in horror as I flapped my wings and beat the air with my legs to defend myself. But it was useless. Mother instead was My saving grace. She tackled her sister with an angry cry and I fell upon the bed. It was too much now. I screamed a scream so loud that the windows broke and my mother's mirror shattered. Both mares stopped fighting for a moment to stare. I felt something well up inside of me, then my horn crackled and lighting shot everywhere.

"Oh no," mother cried, shoving her sister aside and reaching out for me. "He's having a surge. Gold, please, calm down. Mommy won't let anyone hurt her precious baby."

Luna got back up to her feet. and stared at me in awe, the lightning pinging off her magic shield. She stared in horror. Then she looked down at her own hands. "Wh-what am I doing? No-no-no. This is all wrong." she too reached out a hand to me. "Please, Gold. Forgive me."

Then, my throat burned and a great pain was felt inside. I stared in the eye and said in a pained voice, bits of blood dripping from my voice. "I don't trust you."

Then the entire world seemed to fold in on itself a million before the bedroom and Canterlot vanished. I then found myself in the middle of a field of snow. I laid down and curled up. Everything was going dark. I closed my eyes and fell into a dreamless sleep.

Tango in the Tundra

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It was dark when I awoke. Somehow, the cold didn't seem to bother me. Must be all the fur and feathers. But, that didn't protect me from something much more important. I was very hungry. Now, I was starting on bits of solid food here and there, but I was still fairly reliant on my mother's and Lyra's milk. Plus, this frozen wilderness didn't seen to have any sustenance. And it'd probably be too hard for me to chew anyway.

I got up and began moving. Not in any general direction, just forward as best I could. There was no going back. Not that I didn't want too, but I had no idea how I wound up here in the first place. What happened earlier... yesterday? was still clear in my head. I didn't want to think about it, so I kept walking.

Snow after snow after more snow I passed. Were their hills or valleys? I'm not sure. Everything just blended together. All I knew was that I was getting tired. But I pressed on. Not even a break in the clouds would tell me what stars were overhead. My wings dragged along side of me in a depressing manner.

Eventually light began to come up over the horizon. It silhouetted a hill in the distance. This gave me courage to pick up the pace and make for it. From higher ground I could see so much more. It took forever, as it was much bigger and further away than I had suspected.

I got there all the same and sat down. The view was indeed amazing. For the first time in hours I saw trees. Ancient trees. Monsters as big as skyscrapers. All down in a deep dark valley.

Hungry, I saw the greenery and licked my lips. I needed something in my stomach. I hurried my little loves, practically slipping and sliding down the hill. Nah, I tumbled my way down until I reached the base of the first tree.

I quickly scrambled to all fours and grabbed at the first bush within my reach. It was bitter and my teeth didn't like chewing it, but I was too hungry to listen to them. Swallowing it was like a dozen sharp corn chips slide down my throat. Most of the solid food I had was in a ground up form, more like a mush. Hopefully I wouldn't regret this decision.

* * *

I regretted that decision. Yeah, you saw that coming.

My body was so not ready for just solid food yet. Especially raw. I was curled up tight, hooves on my stomach as I whimpered and moaned something fierce. My stomach gurgled and twitched violently. Tears came to my eyes, and I found myself wishing I was back home. Perhaps mother might have protected me. These thoughts danced in my head as I passed out.

* * *

Dreams were feverish. I think it was about a wheel falling down a cliff and hitting an infinite amount of ledges on the way down. That is to say, it went on forever. Until a noise caught my attention.

How many times was I gonna just wake up? My stomach had settled a bit, but I was still in pain enough to whimper. I looked about for the source of the noise, swiveling my head and ears about in search of the source. It seemed to be coming from up the hill I had just descended.

Fear struck me. Had they followed me? Nevermind what I was thinking before I passed out, if they found a way to follow me, I was not going to let them find me. I just hid behind a tree and tried to quiet my whimpers with a hoof. I listened carefully.

It was the sound of steps. Zigzagging, searching, There was no doubt it was someone searching for me. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I held my breath, calming my whimpers. Not too well. I shook and followed those steps with my ears. They were getting ever closer. There would be no way I could run. Even if I wasn't sick, I'd be caught in an instant.

The steps stopped and it sounded like whoever it was had sat down. I risked a breath and held it again. It was quiet. Too quiet. cliché, I know, but how else can you describe something like this? The tension was almost unbearable.

"My auntie sent me a note saying you had run away, detailing several things, Gold," came the unmistakable voice of Cadance. My heart sank. My cover was blown, yet I still held my breath. "Luna too, she wishes to apologize... I don't think that matters much to you. Not for a while anyway. Maybe someday you'll forgive her."

Not likely.

"I told your mother I would keep an eye out for you," she went on as though it were a normal conversation. "Before their letters arrived, I had sensed something powerful enter my kingdom. At first I had hoped it was Twilight coming for a surprise visit. But, then I realized it had to be you. I waited a bit, so you might calm down. But, seems I should have come sooner. That's not the kind of bush anypony wants to eat."

My stomach rumbled, betraying me.

"You sound like your in pain," she said sympathetically. "Thankfully, it's not a poisonous bush. But, you're not ready for that kind of food yet."

No shit lady. I let out a whimper, I couldn't hold it any longer.

"Please come here, Gold," her voice was much softer now. "I will heal your stomach. I promise I would never harm you."

A few minutes longer and I decided to risk it. I slowly made my way around the great tree trunk until the Alicorn of love came into view. Her violet eyes showed nothing but sincere kindness as I approached. When I got withineach, she gently picked me up and laid on her lap.

"Oh, you poor thing," she frowned at my condition. "A good bath and real bed won't go amiss." Her horn lit up and she laid a hand on my stomach. The gurgling subsided and the pain melted away.

I gave a sigh of relief and hugged her stomach gratefully, she hugged me back. We stayed like that for the longest time until my stomach rumbled. Seemed she had emptied it somehow and now I needed something again.

Way ahead of me, Cadance opened her coat and guided my mouth to a nipple where I began softly nursing. I was less enthusiastic about boobs right now. I just wanted the milk, as much as I could get.

The princess leaned back against the tree and sighed heavily. "I think you could use a change of scenery for a while, Gold. I think your mother and auntie need some time to themselves as well. We all need some time and thought to ourselves."

I stopped nursing for a minute to look up at her. She looked back and smiled maternally. "You really are something special, Gold. I'm going to make sure everyone realizes that."

Crystal Comfort

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"No, Auntie, I will not let you in to see him," I heard Cadance defiantly say outside of my new room. She had informed my mother of my location some time after she brought me back to the palace.

"But he's my son," mother cried.

"He's my family too," Cadance retorted. "And he's scared to death of both you and Luna. If you love him, you'll go home and wait until he wants to see you again."

"But... but," it sounded like she was crying. There was a moment of silence. "Very well... y-your right. B-but please. Take these. His favorite blanket and his narwhal plushie. Lyra, his wetnurse, should be arriving soon... will she be alright, or should I order her home as well?"

"I'll let him decide," Cadance replied with a sigh. "But, I think he could use the familiar anchor. Though, what about Cobbler?"

"Well, Luna has taken more interest in him, after... the incident," Celestia meekly told her.

"After she attacked and attempted to mutilate him, you mean," the princess said with an edge of tough love. "Don't sugarcoat it Auntie. What she did was unforgivable. It's a wonder he trusts me at all."

And she was on thin ice. But at least she wasn't freaking out at the moment. It was a long silence outside before I heard someone walk away. A moment later, Cadance opened the door and came to sit on the bed beside me. She began stroking my mane.

"She'll give you your space for as long as you need it," she said in a soft voice. Her eyes were wet, had she been crying? She then draped my small blanket over me and pushed my narwhal into my hooves. "There. Are you feeling better?"

I nodded and hugged my beloved horned whale tightly. I needed him.

"Your wetnurse will be here soon?" she continued, "would you like to see her? Or do you want a new one?"

I shook my head.

"You want her to stay?"

I nodded. Lyra was always sweet and kind to me without any ulterior motives.. Though, everyone seemed to have changed since yesterday. Would she be any different? I prayed not. Surely there was someone who would hear my silence.

"Excuse me, your majesties," a maid poked her head in apologetically. Cadance was keeping things secret for now. So far anyone knew, I had just gotten a little ill and was on a vacation for the time being. "But, the bath is ready. Sergeant Pepper is bringing Shining Armor from the training fields, and the Princess Flurry Heart is already waiting. She loves her hot baths, you know."

"Of course," Cadance smiled as she scooped me up. We left the blanket behind, but I kept my narwhal. He was enchanted with waterproofing spells, so I could take him anywhere I wanted.

A considerable walk for someone with short legs later, we arrived at the royal bath. It was the size of a swimming pool. Flurry was already splashing about with maids close by laughing as they tried to wash scrub her clean.

"Leave us," Cadance instructed them. "Today I think we should have a private bath, thank you."

They bowed and left. She gave me to Flurry who sat at the shallow end and nuzzled me playfully. "Gold... why are you here?"

"Oh, he just needed a change of scenery for his health," Cadance informed her as she undressed and slipped into the warm water.

Flurry waded over to her mother and sat down, leaning against her side. "Is he sick?"

"No, I don't think so," the pink princess replied, hugging her daughter with a wing. "He just needs a vacation. Could be here a while."

"Aw, you hear that?" she beamed a smile at me, "We're gonna be like sister and brother."

Cadance chuckled and shook her head.

The door to the bath opened and a crystal mare in a blue uniform walked in. Behind her, led by the reins, was Shining Armor, without his uniform and as commanding a figure as a stallion could be. The guard bowed and left.

Shining slipped into the water and walked up to nuzzle his wife and daughter. He paused a moment to sniff me curiously. He seemed to recognize me, as he licked me and laid down before cadence. Flurry passed me to her mother and jumped on his back, giggling.

"Shining's already accepted your presence," he princess giggled. "I hope you two get along well. Though... I suppose you miss your father. Perhaps?"

I nodded. Daddy wouldn't change or try to hurt me. That big red mountain was as soft as a pile of pillows when his family was involved. He would never pass me off in favor of a conversation with a snobby noble. Though, maybe in favor of a night of passionate lovemaking with either of his wives. But, you couldn't fault the lucky guy for that.

Shiny, I'm sure was a friendly stallion to young foals. But he wasn't my daddy.

"Well, I'm sure I can arrange him to visit from time to time," she said, drawing a smile from me. She nuzzled my face and began picking out bits of rock and stick from my fur. "This is gonna take a while to get you cleaned. How do colts get so dirty." She laughed. "All the same, I hope I have a few. Flurry could use some brothers to help toughen her up."

"Hey," Flurry protested, standing up on Shining's back and flexing her arms and wings. "I'm strong. See?"

Cadance nodded. "Oh my, yes. But, you have no competition... yet."

Flurry seemed ready to say something else, but her father stood up and she fell back into the bath. With a laugh, she began splashing him. He gave a rumble and grabbed up water in his magic and dropped it on her before smiling. Soon it was a small naval battle between the two of them. Cadance hardly seemed to notice. Was this the norm for them?

"I imagine, Big Mac is more laid back," she said as she put up a shield to defend her self from stray water balls. "That's because he's a draft stallion. He's specifically bred to pull carts and have an even temper. Shiny was bred for war. What he's doing now is an instinct that helps teach his children how to defend themselves in the future."

I watched those two, they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

"No, you can't join them just yet," she told me as she continued cleaning me. "You need to get cleaned up first and get a quick check up with the castle doctors. In the mean time, just relax, have some milk, or fall asleep. You need your rest."

Unbelievably, I didn't feel like nursing at the moment. I chose to sleep.

* * *

The check up was quick. Just temperature and heart rate as well as examining certain defining features. The only thing they found out of place was the scarring in my throat. They passed it off as a result of eating a foreign plant earlier. Soon I was trotting out of their at Cadance' side.

"See, I told you there was nothing to worry about," she told me sweetly.

Well, I had freaked a bit when one touched my purse. I was gonna be jumpy for a while.

Then something hit me. Nay, more like collided. I struggled for a minute until I realized what it was.

"Oh, pound, don't tackle the prince like that," Lyra cried. She was flanked on both sides by two guards, who seemed bemused.

Cadance smiled at the affectionate display my friend showed. Stop him women, his licking my face. No, it's not cute.

"You must be Lyra Heartstrings," she greeted the mint mare with an outstretched hand. The unicorn shook it and nodded.

"Yep, your majesty, I'm his wetnurse. I came as soon as I could." She looked very concerned. "Has he been eating properly?"

"Well, other than a strange bush, it's been every fours or so hours," the alicorn calculated.

Lyra's concern deepened. "Four hours?"

"I know, for a colt his age it should be every hour, maybe more considering his size," Cadance sighed. "He's... adjusting."

"But, other than that, is he alright?"

Cadance confirmed and turned back to me. "And this is his gelding? Pound, was it?"

Lyra nodded. "They've been best friends almost his whole life."

"Good, you and he are just what he needs to perk back up," she gestured down the hall. "Let's get you moved in and we can talk more about the prince."

Time of Twilight

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Seems Celestia felt Lyra family enough to tell her what really happened. Rather than be aghast or shocked, she instead just fussed over me like the mother hen she was. Nothing, it seemed, had changed about her. She was caring and attentive as usual. She had her own bed right in my room so that she could attend me at all hours. Pound was like a puppy who hadn't seen his master in weeks. Which... I suppose he kind of was.

Also, it seemed, Cadance had seen fit to post a stallion guard outside of my room for protection. Strange for a guard, wore a starry blanket rather than armor. A single one, for that matter. Lyra liked to bring him treats. The Princess of Love was at work it appeared. That sweet mare deserved her own children. I mean, I loved her to death, but she deserved her own happiness.

It had been a little over a month since I had arrived. I now had two playmates. Pound, and Flurry. Still couldn't fly like them, grew too fast for my muscles as Twilight had said.

This afternoon, Lyra was sunbathing in the courtyard while me and Pound played nearby. She deserved her rest, as Cadance was taking full advantage of having a wetnurse in the palace. That meant she also tended to Flurry now. I'm starting to wonder if ponies are ever fully weaned in this universe.

No, Cadance didn't give all the duties to Lyra. It was just when she was busy. Which... was less often than my mother was. She still plenty of time with her daughter. Flurry was also tending to duties that day. She was meeting the prince of the hippogriffs today. They needed to get used to each other before they are vowed to each other in the future.

I would have just been in the way.

Besides, it seemed I would have a few visitors today. I stopped wrestling for a moment at the sight of lavender in the corner of my eye. Absolutely unmistakable. I didn't even notice Pound as he leapt on my back and tried to push me to the ground. I was stronger these days.

Lyra seemed to have noticed too. She got up from her spot and put herself between us to help keep me calm. Poor girl hadn't even bothered to get dressed.

"Princess Twilight," she said formally, bowing. "I didn't know you were coming."

Twilight seemed upset. "Lyra. Please, none of that."

"I'm sorry," Lyra said regretfully, but remained firmly where she was. "But the prince would not appreciate any surprises."

Damn right, girl. Nice ass by the way.

Twilight sighed. "I have permission from Cadance."

"To do what?" Lyra sounded suspicious. "You've tested him many times in the past, Twilight. What more can you learn?"

The lavender alicorn leaned in close, her voice barely above a whisper. "He talked, Lyra. What couldn't I learn from him? You do know he talked right?"

The mare nodded. "Princess Celestia told me. I trust her. But, he hasn't spoken another word since."

This was true. Lyra, sweet mare that she was, hadn't tried to get me to talk, to wanting to pressure me. Though, if anything had changed, as you just witnessed, she was more protective of me than ever.

"I also heard about what Luna tried to do," she said back in an equally low whisper. Who were they trying to keep from hearing? I had great hearing, but then... they never asked. "Now, why are you here? Why didn't Cadance tell me you were coming?"

"Because I just got here actually," Twilight answered, holding up a parchment with writing on it. "This is her royal seal. I came like this because I knew you'd convince her to say no."

"Yes, I'm sorry, but I don't think this is a good idea," Lyra retorted with a snort.

"I just want to talk with him," Twilight said uncertainly, "O-or at least try. If he wants too."

Well, she had never asked my permission before. All those rat mazes, puzzle boxes filled with treats. Endurance tests for speed and strength. Getting me to do all kinds of convoluted stuff for a small reward. Usually just a pat on the head. I snorted at the memories.

Both mares turned to look at me with wide eyes.

"He can hear us," Lyra observed. Smart.

Twilight just nodded. "Please, Lyra all he has to do is shake his head, or walk away and I'll leave. Alright?"

Lyra sighed walked up to me. kneeling down she stroked my head gently. "Hey, Gold... so... I guess you heard what the princess and I were saying. Would you... can you talk with her? I promise, I won't let her do anything to you."

I looked over at Twilight, who stood back patiently. She was further along in her pregnancy than when last we met. She was a powerful sorcerer, or so I heard. If she wanted, she could easily force Lyra out of the way if she intended anything back. I looked away for a minute before nodding.

Lyra nodded too and turned to Twilight. "Fine, he agrees. But I stay with him. They moment he doesn't want to talk anymore... you leave. Got it?"

Wow. Mama bear mode activated. Heck, she could be my mama any day.

Finding ourselves back in my room I sat on my bed in Lyra's lap. She had retrieved her clothes and dressed herself before we left. Across from us sat Twilight on a chair. Between us was Pound, sleeping contentedly. The goof.

"How to begin," Twilight said, a stack of papers in her lap. "Were... were you scared, Gold?"

I took a moment to process what she meant. Then, I nodded. No, I didn't talk.

"Are you still afraid?"

Again I nodded. This seemed to upset both the mares. Lyra gave me a little squeeze. The alicorn sighed and wrote that down.

"I hope you know that we were all scared too when we heard you had disappeared, Gold," she told me softly. "Your mother has been very quite lately. She hasn't laughed since you left. And Luna... I know she's not your favorite pony at the moment, but... she's grieving too."

"How is Cobbler," Lyra asked in concern. She was his wetnurse too after all. But he'd been left behind.

"He rarely leaves Luna's sight," Twilight answered. "She's actually been taking care of him herself. Nursing, diapers, bathing, everything. Celestia tried to find him another wetnurse while you're away, but... that job is yours alone, it would appear."

"It might be for the best," Lyra sighed. "When I induced lactation, I was expecting one or two foals at a time. So far I've had three at my nipples everyday. A fourth... well... I could gladly handle him too, but my body would hate me. I'm not quite the milkmare I wish I was."

"Do you think you'll want to return home anytime soon, Gold?" was her next question, to which I shook my head.

"I understand," she said.

"Did Celestia ask you to ask some of these questions?" Lyra inquired insightfully.

Twilight nodded. "She knew he wouldn't want to see her for a while. No, she didn't send me. I came of my own volition. I just want to ask more questions. I want to hear him speak... I want to know everything there is to know about him."

I yawned.

"How long are you staying?" Lyra asked, stroking my mane. "The prince needs to nap soon."

"As long as it takes," the lavender mare stated.

Planning Ahead

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Suckling on Lyra's right nipple, I listened as both Twilight and Princess Cadance conversed, all the while we lay soaking in the bath. Yes, the invited Lyra, seems she's regarded as family, or at least a good friend these days. Twilight had been here three days, a steam of constant questions had been thrown at me. If not for Lyra, I'm sure I'd never have a moment to myself.

Oh, and other than Flurry and Shining Armor, we had a couple other guests who had just arrived. Namely Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. They had arrived just this morning. Both were also pregnant, though not as far along as Twilight. Seemed the shy one was worried and felt she could lend assistance. I wondered what they did with that stud of theirs? After our last meeting, I assumed he might just be locked away in a stable for when they weren't using him to breed.

"I remember when the prince would be after everyone's boobs," Rainbow said as she helped Fluttershy wash her wings. She sounded a little disappointed.

I kept nursing. I didn't feel like getting involved at the moment. But, Lyra had other ideas. I found myself pulled from that delicious duct and held out towards the two mares. I was a little disgruntled, but, I trusted Lyra had my best interests at heart.

It was Fluttershy who took me. "Oh my. He's almost too big to carry anymore. How big does a male alicorn get."

They were also informed of the incident. Guess the whole family, blood and honorary, knew. Her fur was soft, and looking into her eyes, I saw nothing but love and kindness. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and latched on her left breasts. From the squeak she made, she must not have been expecting it. So innocent.

Rainbow laughed as she looked over her herd sister's shoulder. "Come on, you have to of known he'd do that."

Fluttershy blushed and looked aside as she kept very still. "My milk isn't flowing as much as the rest of the herd, Gold. As the nanny of the herd, I got our stud last. So, I'm not as far along as Rainbow is."

After I got what little Fluttershy had to offer, she passed me to Rainbow. Who kind of held me at a distance for a moment, the two of us staring at each other. "Um... not sure if I really want to, Fluttershy."

"Rainbow," Fluttershy said as though she were scolding a filly. She grabbed the blue mare's breast and squeezed, eliciting a cry of surprise from her as a stream of milk shot out. "Your breasts are engorged. I know its painful, stop trying to act tough. As the nanny of the herd, it's my responsibility to see to the health of my family. Now, you either nurse him, or I milk you."

And so I found myself filling up from a very uncertain mare. Gee, all that bravado just seemed to crumble away at the face of me.

"He still hasn't talked," Twilight said, glancing our direction. "He answers with nods and gestures, but he hasn't said a word."

"Well, the last time he spoke he was scared for his life and livelihood," Cadance said, cleaning her hair. Most our baths were private these days. "That kind of mental trauma can have long lasting effects."

"So far I've found that this wasn't something spontaneous, he's been intelligent, probably most of his life," the lavender alicorn explained. "An entire year with the most intelligent male to ever live, and we're barely scratching the surface of what he knows."

"I trust Celestia enjoys your reports."

Twilight nodded. "Of course. Though, she asks more about how he is, is he getting along well. Eating right. You know, the stuff a mother would want to know."

Cadance reached out a hand and tapped her sister-in-law's belly. "As a mother-to-be you'll soon realize how important that is."

Twilight sighed. "I know. I know. But the scholar in me wants the tiny details. Like when I was testing him. I just thought he could quickly adapt to solve puzzles. Now I realize he's actually been thinking his way through them."

Cadance pulled her close with a wing and chuckled. "Perhaps males aren't just simple animals, Twilight."

"He isn't anyway," Twilight said, snuggling into her side. "I wonder what the other nations would think of him. We can't keep him a secret forever. It wouldn't be fair."

"Fair to who?" Lyra spoke up. "To you? Or him?"

"Both," Twilight answered. "He could be the beginning of a whole new breed of pony. Well, once he's full grown."

"Well, until then he should be protected," Lyra stated. "If Luna was any indication. Many of the more traditional nations would suggest removing him from the gene pool."

"Gelding him would not be a solution," Twilight scoffed. "At least not a permanent one. He would just regenerate his missing parts. Alicorns heal from almost any injury."

Shining armor suddenly splashed, sending water everywhere, the resulting wave sent Flurry to Lyra. The mares all paused to laugh as the filly giggled in glee before turning to Lyra for a snack. Lyra sighed and patted her head. A life with so few breaks, but a life she cherished.

"But he can't remain in the Crystal Empire forever," Fluttershy spoke up shyly as she scrubbed Rainbow's back. "Ponies may begin to think your secretly holding him against his mother's will. Like... political ransom. I think."

Cadance nodded. "It's already been over a month. He should return home soon."

"Oh, must we?" Lyra asked, looking over at the door. She was thinking of that stallion. It was obvious.

Cadance smiled knowingly. "Of course. A few gifts for you to return with are in order."

I had stopped nursing at the mention of returning home. That was not something I was looking forward to.

Cadance beckoned her mate over and began cleaning him properly. "Though, maybe one more week so that we might help devise a plan he would be comfortable with."

All the mares nodded in agreement. I nodded too. They were right. Something you just had to face. looking up at the ceiling, I noticed a pane of glass was slightly askew. Probably some earlier maintenance that would be finished later. I went back to relieving the pressure in Rainbow's bosom.

Jiggity Jig

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Sunburst was his name apparently. That stallion Lyra seemed infatuated with. He was very friendly. I half expected him to be a gelding, but such wasn't the case. He was apparently a gift from a town called Sire's Hollow as a stallion to push carts around the palace library, since he seemed to love the smell of paper or something. He also seemed to have a soft spot for my wetnurse.

We had our own private car on the train. with plenty of room for both me and Pound to play around. As well as ample space for the luggage, and an entire bed, upon which lay Lyra, snuggled up against her stallion, who'd passed out after eating a bowl of treats. Yes, her's, as in ownership transferred from Cadance to her. I wondered... did ponies really have weddings? I would assume possibly the nobility. But, Twilight and her herd didn't.

So many questions. I climbed atop a suitcase and peered out the window, watching the world go by. Pound, who had gotten hungry, ate some snacks Lyra had gotten for him. He was nearly eight years old, he needed more than just milk. But milk just seemed a staple food.

It was a staple back in my other universe too. Guess they just cut out the middleman here.

The snow covered mountains stuck up like the jagged teeth of the world. Today wasn't so cloudy. The inside of the train was remarkably quiet too. Save for that ridiculous humming noise in the background.

A knock at the door bid Lyra to get up from her comfortable position.

"Yes?" she asked in an irritated fashion. On the other side was a red unicorn mare in a conductor uniform.

"Afternoon, ma'am," the mare began. "We are still six hours out from Canterlot, and a message has arrived for you." She reached into a pocket. Then she became alarmed and dug deeper. "I-it was here a moment ago. Drat. Did I drop it again?"

Lyra sighed and stepped out the door. "Here, let me help you look for it."

The door closed behind them, leaving me to my own devices. Namely, stealing that warm spot she had just left. Sunburst was a very placid stallion, he barely noticed when I laid down beside him. A moment later, Lyra came back inside, letter in hand. She set in on a shelf and at on the edge of the bed.

"Ugh," she looked back at me, her sweet smile making me warmer. "Prince... I know you've been though a lot, but. Would it be alright... can I hear you say something? Even if it's 'no'?"

I looked at her funny. This was the first time she gad asked. She seemed a bit worried. Was their something in that letter? WAs she no longer going to be my wetnurse. I would be devastated if mother tried to do such a thing. I got up and trotted up to her, laying a hoof on her lap. I smiled up at her.

"Just once," I managed, weakly. She gasped. I even surprised myself. Unlike the first time, this one didn't hurt. Though, it was untrained and raspy. I became quiet again and snuggled against her side. She stroked my mane.

"Oh, my dear prince," she finally said. "I can't believe it. Though, you sounded fairly thirsty."

You know, she was right. I began nosing at the front of her dress until she dropped a side and pulled me close. I shifted myself to curl up on her lap as I coaxed the first drop from her nipple. I froze as soon as it hit my tongue. That was not Lyra's milk.

I realized too late the now glaring differences. My wetnurse would never get fired, because she was the greatest wetnurse in the world. If there really was something wrong, she'd have told me. Because she's the best. That, and her boobs were much softer than this imposter's.

A barked out in alarm to sunburst and Pound, but they didn't wake up. The treats. Someone had drugged their treats, knowing I was too young for them. Before I could do much else, the rest of the dress came off, tangling me up inside it. Now I was being coltnapped by a nude mare on a train in the mountains. That'd make a great movie were I not part of it.

My voice was muffled as she picked me up. A shift in the clothes let me see what was happening. She opened the window and climbed out onto the side of the train. Out here it was loud, and guaranteed that no one would hear my voice. I struggled all I could, but what could you expect from a colt only a year old?

On top of the train she just stood there in place. I wondered for a moment, then I saw it. Something was flying towards us. When it got closer, I saw that it was a griffon, the next instant she had snatched us up and we were flying away, they wouldn't even know we were gone until we were out of sight.


"You're not going anywhere."

Now that was Lyra. And now I knew where the mare had gotten the dress.

Standing nude where the other mare had stood a moment ago, the incredibly angry wetnurse stretched out an arm. Her horn lighting up and golden magic swirled around her outstretched arm in ever widening spirals. In an instant, My kidnappers and I were wrapped in her aura and being dragged back at a rapid pace.

An instant later, I was back in the real Lyra's arms, and the griffon and mare were levitating in front of us.

"Who are you?" the mare asked, the mint melting away to reveal red fur. Apparently not a changeling, probably just some disguise spell. "You're just a wetnurse."

"I'm the royal wetnurse," Lyra corrected her angrily and she cuddled me protectively. "Did you think Celestia would hire just anybody to suckle the only male alicorn in existence?"

I honestly didn't know what to think. She was just so amazing all of a sudden. Even more than I had ever thought.

"He's an abomination," the griffon hen objected. "If you were smart, you'd have strangled him in the crib."

Lyra did not like that. The two thugs screamed as she capped them with lightning. "You may think what you want, but, I suggest you practice loosening your tongues before Celestia speaks with you both in Canterlot."

The two thugs fell to the roof of the train, still twitching and screaming as Lyra tied them up with her dress, leaving them there as she took me down to our car. "They won't be going anywhere, Gold. I'm sorry I failed you."

I hugged that silly mare with the gratefulness of a thousand newly adopted orphans.

Quite the Promotion

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A giantess of white was the very first I saw when I disembarked the train in Lyra's arms, flanked by both Pound and Sunburst, who both seemed to have had very nice naps. I tease, they would definitely have saved my were they not drugged. Anyway, mother, was there in her favorite blue dress, looking so nervous as we drew closer.

Mother took me gently and hugged me close. "Oh my colt, my precious colt. Please don't ever leave like then again."

No promises, lady. I grunted and hugged her back half-heartedly. Then she reached out and hugged Lyra tightly. "Thank you so much for protecting him. My guards have already taken those wicked two away. I'll be visiting them later. Is there anyway I can repay you?"

Lyra grinned nervously, but hugged her back. "It was really no problem, your majesty. They were just common thugs. I don't need any reward, other than my service to you and the prince."

Celestia looked bemused, then she saw Sunburst. "My niece told me she had given you a stud. I think I know of a good reward."

"It's really not necessary," Lyra protested, breaking the hug. Celestia shushed her.

"Nonsense," she shook her head, ignoring her protests. "Besides, a small reward for you and your stud to be alone for a while."

"Your majesty," Lyra said, blushing, knowing she had been caught. "I couldn't possibly, not until the Prince is a few years older at least."

Mother sighed wearily. "I appreciate your devotion to my son, Lyra. You were always a diligent student. But he can't consume every aspect of your life."

Lyra thought for a moment. "Please, then, give me three days to make sure his comfortable back in his home. I would actually love him and my children to grow up together." She chuckled as she ruffled my mane. "Though, the demand on my bosom would increase tenfold."

Celestia smiled and nodded. "I agree, which is why, in light of your service, and the trust my son has placed in you when all others drove him away in fear, I give you this." In a puff of magic, a ring appeared in her had. It was shaped like hers and Luna's cutie marks, but dark red. "With this ring, you are now an honorary member of the Eqtuestrian Royal Family."

Lyra stared in awe as she took the ring. She shook a bit as she put it on. "I... I don't know what to say, your majesty. What... what duties does this entail?"

It probably means mother is trying to win me back by getting in good with my friends. I looked between the two mares. Though, mother did seem sincere. I too was curios about the catch.

Celestia chuckled in good humor. "Most of the nobility have forgotten their roots. In eons past when this great kingdom was made, my sister and I sought out families with the best skills. The now-proud Bluebloods were once but a humble family of healers whom we gave land and free reign so long as they benefitted the kingdom. All the nobles started out as such. From smiths, merchants, and being the strongest warriors."

Woah. Was she saying what I think she's saying?

"I... I'm a noble now?" Lyra asked, even more floored. Even mother's guards had their mouths on the ground.

Mother nodded. "There will a formal celebration in the future for Equestria to welcome their newest Baroness of the house of Heartstrings. I believe you know what your expected duties will be."

Lyra began laughing. Tears came to her eyes. "A noble family of wet-nurses. The other nobles will up in arms, your majesty."

"They wouldn't dare say anything against the mare who saved my son," she smiled in an almost devious fashion. "It would be unwise to incur the sun's wrath."

And that was how Lyra became a baroness

* * *

Lyra was true to her word and stayed with me to make sure I was settled in properly. She tried to act like everything was normal, but the changes around her were too glaring. Such as the guards and servants showing her respect befitting a noble mare. From what I've seen, she was the noblest of mares.

Today though, was her last day, for a while. She needed to start making the future generations of her house you know. As such, she wanted to just spend some quiet time with me and Pound alone. She leaned back in her chair, a champion of her practice as two hungry colts needily nursed upon her nipples.

She softly hummed a lullaby as she relaxed contentedly. Pound was the first done, not so much that he got full first, but because I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible in the only way I really knew how. A part of me felt guilty as I suckled, knowing she deserved her time alone with that gentle stud, but I wanted her to stay.

A few minutes more and she seemed to catch onto my plot. She pulled me away and wiped the milk from my lips before kissing my forehead. "Now-now, my sweet Gold. I know you want me to stay, but your a strong colt. You can do without me for a few days. I'll be back before you know it."

I nodded, then hugged her. I followed her to the door, but she told me to stay, then left. I almost felt like crying, but, she as right. I had to be strong. Pound came up and nuzzled my neck before barking and jumping around, wanting to play. How could I refuse him?

Mother arrived some time later and picked me up. It was beginning to feel good in her arms again. I nuzzled her face. "Oh, my beautiful colt. I came as soon as I could get away. Seems Lyra's replacements are held up in traffic. So, I will be spending time with you until they arrive."

I pointed a hoof at Pound. Mother tended to overlook him.

"And Pound, of course," she chuckled as she sat upon the floor and began looking through my shelves of easily accessed entertainments. Latest additions being books. Yes, I was finally being read to. And, I hoped, being taught how to read their weird symbols.

She after unbuttoning her dress so that me or Pound could have easy access without her having to stop reading.

Downside. This world didn't have easy-readers, or they thought I was above that. Should I be flattered or insulted?

However, due to overindulging on lunch, I found myself slipping away in her soft lap. Really, I'd say lay off the cake if it weren't so comfy. Her words became distant as reality became dreams and I was adrift.

Surprise Ahead

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Do you think your life is good? Try being ten years old and still welcome at the teat. Yes I was on lots of solid foods now, but, like I said, milk was an important social staple amongst family. And close friends. I'm not even sure if there was a word for being weaned.

Anyway, the patient earth pony saw me coming and opened the front of her dress, recognizing the signs. The wet-nurses of house Heartsrtings had developed an entire dress style for their practice. Developed by Rarity, it was both fashionable and utilitarian, the front easily opened and closed without need of buttons or lace, and it was stain resistant so there wouldn't be any dark spots where milk spilled.

"Easy now Prince," she cooed softly as she stroked my mane. "I know your nervous, but that's no excuse to suck so hard."

This was Bonbon, by the way. She was actually one of the mares hired nine years ago when Lyra went away to spend time with her stud. The other was somewhere else in the palace, her name was Velvet. Apparently Twilight's mother. One was apparently a secret agent and the other some sort of upper level sorceress.

No, Velvet wasn't part of house Heartstrings, she had her own stallion. Apparently it was considered taboo to have multiple male partners.

Bonbon and Lyra were apparently childhood friends, and it wasn't long before Lyra studded Sunburst out to her friend, uniting them as a herd.

I stopped after a moment and nuzzled her cheek. "Thank you, Bonbon."

"My pleasure, Gold," she said as she hugged my neck and kissed my cheek. I then gently patted her belly. She was on her third foal a the moment. Lyra was on her fourth. She wiped my lips, though I think it was unnecessary, she just didn't like watching me grow up. "Your mother's waiting for you in the throne room."

Yes, I was talking easier these days. Mother had made sure to surround me with the most trusted mares in the kingdom. Was anyone else curious why they called it a kingdom? That should imply that it's a king who rules them. From the guards to the maids, all were sworn to secrecy. And some training, I suspected.

The maids these days seemed to have multiple metal objects in their uniforms that sometimes clicked ominously.

The guards opened the door to the throne room when they saw me approaching. Inside I saw mother and my father sitting upon a pile of cushions that served as the throne. Lyra was there with them too, as an honorary member of the family she got certain privileges. Which she totally took advantage of.

Luna had been absent for a few years now. She'd spent the last six years on diplomatic missions from country to country with Cobbler.

My father got up and greeted me at the foot of the throne, nuzzling my forehead. I was now just a head and a half shorter than him. "Hey, daddy. I was only gone a few hours since breakfast."

"That's an eternity in his time," mother chuckled, stretching out her hands for me to come closer. Alright, things have actually healed between us. I walked up and embraced her, Lyra hugged my side. "Oh, I hope your ready for today, Gold."

"As I'll ever be," I chuckled humorlessly, "so... when will they be here?"

"Soon enough," she sighed. "Pound will be part of their escort."

Pound was full grown now. I towered over him, but we were still the best of friends, it was as he still saw me as the small colt in my mother's arms when we first met at the party years ago.

When he stepped into the room, he was kind of an impressive sight. A bright red uniform saddle and cape marked with the royal crest. His steps were well trained and dignified as he strode before our guests. Six mares of varying colors.

Twilight's herd had arrived.

* * *

It was my eleventh birthday, just so you know. Pinkie danced around the court putting up decorations, followed closely by Rarity who straightened and adjusted them properly. Applejack and Rainbow Dash moved in some carts of supplies. Fluttershy was watching the foals, their herd had a mess of them. Twilight was going over plans for the celebration ceremony with Celestia.

There were of course other palace staff members helping. Moving tables and some such. I helped where I could, but mostly felt like I was in the way. Wasn't really a surprise party. For me at least. I wandered over to my Mother and Twilight, may be I could help with a few things.

They shook there heads.

"We've already worked on the speech a week ago," Twilight said as she scratched up a few things in frustration. "You've memorized it right?"

I nodded.

"But, we're just making last minute corrections for the venue and placements for best traffic flow." Twilight being Twilight, of course, and mother encouraging her all the way. Yes, in ten years I've learned their cute motherish daugherish relationship. She was practically raise by the white alicorn.

"Perhaps you should go off and play with Pound, or your father," mother shooed me off with a smile.

"But...," I began.

Mother laid her hands on my cheeks and turned my face up to her eyes. "Gold. I know. You incredibly smart. You're bigger than most stallions alive. But, you're still just ten, almost eleven. Let us handle your party. We want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. This is a special day for all of Equestria. Probably the world."

I didn't feel like arguing. They were right. I only had so much experience in this world. Out in the hall, I searched around for Pound. Where had he gone? Wasn't like he was off chasing mares or anything.

"Oh, Gold, I saw your mother kick you out of there."

I turned and saw Lyra. Had she been following me? She sat down on a chair and patted her lap. I laid down beside the chair and laid my head on her lap. She stroked my head comfortingly. "Nervous?"

"Is it that obvious?" I asked, rolling my eyes.

"I've help raise since year one, Gold, I know all the signs," she laughed. "Pound out training at the moment. The sergeant wanted to make sure he did break step during the party. Your father's probably taking a nap in a nice sunbeam somewhere, and Sunburst is at home getting groomed for tonight. I suppose, right now, I'm all the company you got."

"I mean, they made it sound so important that I get to the throne room," I groused. "But, it was just for a few rehearsals on etiquette. I was expecting it to be more important."

She patted me sympathetically. "I know. You want to be a part of everything, and they wish you could be. But they need everything to be perfect."

I nodded and sighed.

"After all," she continued, rocking my head a bit. "Tonight, everyone will know all about Crowned Prince Gold Coast."

An Audience

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A lot had happened in the nine years since the incident. I feel it best to describe some of the details and thoughts lest you be left with a void of needful information. Getting the mares in my life use to me talking was awkward with all the looks and questions. Twilight and a group of doctors sworn the secrecy had look at my throat about two months after I returned home. The scarring, which was originally dismissed, was the result of my throat and vocal cords rearranging themselves to allow me to form actual words.

Then came tutoring, mostly from Twilight and Lyra. Reading, writing and math. Magic was interesting. Most males knew only levitation spells. But they could be taught more through example. Though their copies were often imperfect and more wild in design. They might watch a lightning spell and instead create jagged ice, or instead of a dust cloud they summon a swarm of insects. Crude but effective in its own right.

Spellcaster stallions were valuable in military roles for this reason, as their magic could be unpredictable.

And it involved a lot of praise and treats. Needless to say, I was a fan of learning magic.

I thought back on these things that had shaped me as I sat on a balcony overlooking the court where the guests were filing in. This party was also sort of a way for the public to see how well their prince has been 'trained'. Everyone was down there, save Bonbon.

She was an alright substitute for Lyra. Nothing against her, she's wonderful, Lyra's just special to me. As a second mother figure, nothing else. I haven't even reached puberty yet.

Anyway, Bonbon kept me company while we watched. I thought I was nervous earlier. Nope, this was nervous 2.0, includes all the DLC: dry throat, pacing, and overthinking what might go wrong. The wetnurse soothed me by combing my mane with a soft brush. Gee, that felt good.

As I watch I saw a certain couple enter. It was really more the mare I recognized, not so much the thin yellow stallion she walked in with. After all, it's hard to forget the mare wo gave you her castrated son as a present. My blood chilled a bit.

Pound seemed to have recognized her too. He trotted across the room towards her, neatly and well practiced mind you, and greeted her happily. She patted his head as one might a neighbors dog and then shooed him away before heading toward the refreshment table.

I had never seen my friend so depressed. Had she even recognized him?

"Is something wrong, Gold?" Bonbon asked.

I shook my head. "Not for much longer."

I was quiet after that. Thinking.

The court had been filling up steady for a while. Now it had slowed to a trickle. Mother must have thought this crowd large enough as she began moving towards the stage that had been constructed yesterday for this show of ours. Bonbon saw too and began straightening my suit, tailored special.

"Greetings, everypony," mother said, getting the guests' attention. "Thank you all for coming out to this, my son's eleventh year party."

Couldn't she just say birthday?

"The Crown Prince has truly been a blessing to both myself and our kingdom."

Again, kingdom? The questions I have but keep forgetting to ask.

"When he was born, I declared this day a national holiday, and, every year I've celebrated it as such. His birth was the beginning of a new era of peace for the brides with whom he is to mate."

There was much cheering here. King of nice to have folks congratulating me already.

"Today you have all been invited to see just how far he has progressed since then. So, please welcome my son, your prince, Gold Coast of Equestria."

With those last words I launched myself over the balcony and swooped down low over everyone's heads. There were many cries of surprise and gasps of shock at the very sight of me. My flight ended with me landing light as a feather on the stage beside my mother. Just as we had rehearsed, I struck a noble pose and she put her arm about my neck.

The cheering was loud and full of praises. It actually helped me not be so nervous. I lifted my chin and breathed in deep though my nose.

Mother kissed my cheek and stepped back. "As you can see, he has grown so much in just eleven years. Already larger than most stallion, and his flying skills are on par with most adult pegasi."

Yes, it was a show to give the ponies of Equestria confidence in their prince's abilities. Next was a demonstration of magic. The lights that had been illuminating the room suddenly moved from their perches and danced around me before vanishing and reappearing a moment later back where they belonged. Perhaps not too epic, but definitely precise. It got the crowd starry eyed anyway.

"He has come a long way," mother said stepping back up to my side. I shifted My pose to lean against her. "He will, in time, be capable of so much more throughout the eons he lives. Perhaps powerful enough to rival both me and Luna."

There were nods and murmurs in the crowd. But, also a lot of laughs and shaking heads. It was apparent what many were thinking. After all, to them, I was nothing more than a fancy stud.

Mother did not seem to enjoy the laughter. Though her face didn't show it, I recognized the signs, the twitch in her hand, the ruffling of her wings. She was probably looking forward to the end of this evening.

"Now, before I let him down from this stage to mingle with you all there is one final demonstration we believe will leave you speechless. Gold, is you please, please greet your guests."

They were definitely expected me to bark or something like a dog for treats and attention. Prepared to laugh and clap, maybe watch me dance like an obedient male. I grinned as I stepped forward to the end of the stage and looked out over them all.

"Hello, everypony."

Off Script

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The silence was deafening. Kind of hilarious. The frozen sea of wide eyes and dropped jaws was almost creepy. Was anyone even blinking? Other than those mares who already knew what was happening that is.

"Thank you so much for coming to my birthday celebration," I said with the biggest shit-eating grin physically possible. "My mother has already introduced me, and I hardly think it fair to try and one-up her. Though, maybe next year I'll take care of the guest list."

"Oh no," Twilight said somewhere nearby, "he's going off script."

Rarity shushed her. "It's his party, darling."

"I'm not sure I actually know any of you," I mused as I stepped down off the stage and start walking through them. I looked from face to face. "No... no... no... maybe... Huh. Seems so many of you are so much here for me, as you were to be near my mother. Or, maybe I'm wrong, certainly a few of you came to pet me like a dog and ask mother to stud me to your daughters."

Their wide eyes followed me as I kept walking through their midst. "Ah, still speechless and unable to process what's happening I see."

The I found Mrs. Cake. Just staring as all the others, nothing special. "Ah, here's someone I remember. The matriarch of the Cake clan. Remember, you gave me your son as a gift almost eleven years ago."

She nodded mutely.

"Of course you would remember that," I nodded, still smiling. "I mean, you had him gelded and spruced up just for me." o one batted an eye at that. I hadn't expected them too. "He has been one of my closest companions. A true friend. You must be so proud."

Again she nodded, though there was a hint of emotion in her face. Might she be trying to smile at the praises the prince was piling atop of her?

"It's just a pity you can't seem to recognize him," I sighed, looking away. "I mean, you never even visited him. Not once."

That emotion died away in her eyes. "He... he is just a gelding, y-your majesty."

I nodded. "Indeed he is just that. Your colt who you thought was a little aggressive, or perhaps just too much energy. I guess it wouldn't matter. I mean, neutering him like a common dog and giving him away is so much easier than training him, right? Mother even gave you a nice some of gold for him."

Speaking of mother, I looked at her, and she seemed just as shocked as everyone else was. Perhaps it was time to cut things short. With a flap of my wings I was back up on the stage. I bowed. "Thank you so much for attending. Please enjoy yourselves."

With that, I took off and flew away to the other end of the castle. I would leave the clean up of that mess to everyone else.

* * *

How long had it been? I didn't care much. I stared at the pond, at my reflection, wondering... just what had I done? Had my emotions gotten the better of me? Was that the stupidest thing I could have done? My thoughts were interrupted when a pair of white arms hugged my neck.

"Oh Gold, what am I to do with you?" mother asked. Was that, perhaps, a chuckle in her voice.

"You're not mad?" I asked, looking at her.

She thought a moment. "Well, leaving me alone with a room full of bewildered nobles was not the most thrilling thing, my son."

"Sorry," I apologized half-heartedly.

"It's okay," she said, stroking my mane. "Though... those were some strange things to talk about."

I looked back at the water. "Mother... have you ever gelded colts of yours before?"

She seemed taken aback. "Well, you might be hard-pressed to find a mare who has not whethered one or two of her colts. I am no different."

"So, had I not been born an alicorn, and instead weak, you would have done the same?" I kept looking a the water, almost not wanting to hear the answer.

"Well... yes," she told me, confused as to why I was asking such questions. "You would have a better life that way, without the need to compete for mares' affections against stronger stallions."

I was quiet a moment. "Would you have sold me off?"

"I'd have found you a good home to serve in."

"And you believe that's right?" I asked, turning to face her.

She was really confused. "Gold. What's with these questions? It's science. If we don't remove weak or unsavory males, then we might doom then the next generation won't be as strong as we are now. Gelding is the kindest way, rather than the brutal competition of nature."

"What if I told you I believe that's wrong?"

She huffed and rolled her eyes. "It doesn't matter what you may believe. It's a fact. The science is settled on this for the past... forever. Before I was born." She laid a hand on my wing. "Are you alright?"

I shook my head. "No."

She didn't understand, obviously, so I quieted. There was no talking sense with an ages old being set in her ways. What could I do? I still just a stud really. I don't doubt she loved me. But, it really felt like she loved what she could get from me more. In this world... what did I have to do to change that? To make them look at things another way.

Perhaps I just needed someone else to talk to. Someone who would listen and not just dismiss my words. Wasn't really many choices in this world. But, I had power, if not over mother, than someone else, someone who would listen to another powerful magic being.

My thoughts were interrupted when I suddenly felt three sharp pains in my back. I collapsed with a cry. The last thing I heard before I blacked out was mother screaming.

Some New Developments

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I awoke in the infirmary wing of the palace. The lights were dim. I shifted my position to see what had happened. There were bandages about my barrel, though the cause was not readily in my sight. Turning again, I saw mother sitting in a chair, sleeping. at her hooves lay my father, his head resting upon her lap.

Trying to stand up, I felt a sharp pain in my ribs, drawing a yelp from my throat.

This awoke mother and father in an instant. Mother practically tackled me while Big Mac nuzzled me worriedly. "Oh, Gold," she wept, "you've been asleep for two days."

That explained why she was wearing a different dress. Wait.

"Two days?" I asked, shaking my head. "What happened?"

"Poisoned arrows," she said, not really needing to explain more. "You were shot from behind."

"Did you catch her?" I asked. She shook her head.

"It had to have been multiple assassins," she growled. "The arrows all came from different directions. And each had a different poison."

That didn't sound right. "Sounds like three separate assassins hired by three separate ponies."

She nodded. "Your body slipped into some kind of regenerative sleep. The healing you experienced was like nothing I've ever experienced with my power."

"I don't know," I chuckled. "My ribs still really hurt."

"That's just the thing," she said, pulling herself back to look me in the eye. "One of those arrows had an exceptionally wide broadhead. It severed two of your ribs like they were butter. Once it was removed, the doctors and I actually watched as they slowly fused back into place."

I slowly twisted my back. It was a sharp pain, but nothing like a broken/severed bone would have been. "What about the poison?"

"Your body had more trouble fighting that off, but, once we found out what it was, we helped it along with some counter poisons."

"Using poison to fight poison?" I chuckled. She nodded.

"One was a very rare and expensive poison distilled from the bodies of frost centipedes. Some changeling drone venom helped block it from seeping into your nerves." She was crying as she held my face and kissed my nose. "It coated your nerves, like a minor paralytic, blocking the poison from getting further."

"Send the changelings my thanks," I nodded, hugging her back. "So... only the second time someone's tried to out me. This time they were more prepared."

She nodded. "Which, is why, now that your awake, you'll me measured and fitted for armor and begin training in self-defense. Pound, sweet gelding that he is, can't be expected to do everything for you, my son."

I nodded. I slowly got up and let the blanket fall away. Mother laughed. I stared at her. "Um... am I missing something mother?"

She shook her head. "No... not missing anything... look."

I followed her pointing finger to my flank. There against my gold coat was a simple red bell. Nothing spectacular, yet, amazing for me. "Seems you've gotten your cutie mark, Gold."

I stared. "Wh-what's that supposed to mean? A bell? I really don't get it."

She shrugged. "I would assume it has something to do with your sudden healing ability, Gold. Perhaps you are the Alicorn of Healing. Or maybe the Alicorn of Alarms."

I was laughing. "Haha, mother." Not seriously laughing that is. I was unamused, is what I mean to say.

"I'm sorry," she chuckled, sniffing. "I'm just sop happy you're alright."

I nodded. "Can I... can I go outside now? Or..."

"Certainly not," she stated in a manner that said no-arguments, period. "You may have incredible healing abilities, but you are staying in this room, on that bed until the doctors say you're recovered."

And that was that. Sometimes you just shouldn't argue. This was one of those times.

* * *

Mother had gone to attend to her duties, and father had left to do... whatever it is he does about the palace. Look epic? be kind? Whatever it was, he did it well. Good old draft horse.

Lyra had come after mother had left. She sat up on the bed with me. "I was so worried, Gold. When your mother told me you had been shot, I had feared the worst. I should have followed you too. I'm supposed to protect you."

I shook my head. "No, Lyra. I would have hated for something to happen to you, and your little one."

I put a hoof on her belly. She smiled and held that hoof thankfully. "You are such a good colt. I with most fillies matured like you did. You can be very selfless at times."

"At times?" I asked in mock offense.

She chuckled. "You can also be a very selfish and self-absorbed creature."

I rolled my eyes. "Not gonna argue. did anything major happen after I left the party?"

She thought a moment. "Well, Mrs. Cake found Pound and actually showed him some maternal affection. He seemed to like that."

I nodded good. "When I saw her brush him off from the balcony… I … I don't know. Something just..."

"You did the right thing," Lyra reassured me, stroking my cheek affectionately. "Some mares forget that they give birth important creatures. I think Pound would have made a fantastic stud. A little aggression? All foals act out. He probably could have been a good war horse."

I looked at her oddly. "You and mother are quite different."

She chuckled. "Hey, I've never claimed to be like anyone. I was a weird filly growing up. No, not a tomcolt. Just weird. It was a wonder my mother didn't send me to therapy."

I smiled broadly. "I see. What kind of weird stuff did you do?"

She looked around to make sure no one was listening. She leaned in close to my ear and whispered. "When I was a filly I pretended I was a monkey from another world where they loved to build things. Like buildings that stretched up to the clouds and trains that moved without tracks. I even wrote books and stuff about it."

She rolled her eyes. "My mother and aunties threw fits everyday. Then, when I came back home for winter break at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, I found they'd tossed out everything I had created. I really wish I could recall most of it. I was so devastated."

"I'm sorry," I said sympathetically. Though, in the back of my mind I was doing flips. In my eleven years here I was actually beginning to forget things. It was fuzzy now. I wasn't too old when I came here. Just nineteen. Or was it twenty? She brought me out of these thoughts with a kiss between the eyes.

"Hey, don't feel sorry for the past," she told me. "Keep your chin up and brave it. Cry when you need to, but don't let those tears wash away your hope."

That was... actually very nice. Well done my dear wetnurse. Then my stomach rumbled. She smiled and opened the front of her dress. "Here, Gold. This'll be softer on your stomach than what the doctor's are feeding you. Need to get you out of here soon so Pound has a playmate again you know."

I nodded and latched onto the baroness's nipple. How could such a simple creature pony be so wonderful? Then again, perhaps that was the purest beauty of simplicity. I closed my eyes and let myself drift as I nursed.

Dusty Bones

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I was actually getting interested in archaeology, thanks to a certain book series my wetnurse Bonbon read to me. Though, less the story more the idea that some ancient civilizations just left around doomsday weapon for anyone to come along and trigger. Seriously, magic was OP in the universe.

Now that news was out, I was able to indulge my interests outside of the palace. The very first place I went to was a museum. Though, since the attack was only a month or so ago, she insisted on extra security for me. And rented out the entire museum for the day for me.

Anyway, I stood in front of a display of old armor from the Pre-Equestrian era. Stallion armor to clarify. Lots of spikes, especially around the throat. Supposedly those were wilder times before the taming of the wildernesses, and protection was needed against savage beasts. My armor was still in the process of creation, but I prayed it was nowhere as heavy as these suits looked.

As mother was busy in court, I was with Bonbon and Lyra, as well as their stud, Sunburst. Pound was there as well, he was carrying our money and raingear, supposedly it would rain later today. Sunburst was tagging along because he needed the exercise, according to his mares. He did tend to keep him stuffed in areas full of books.

Sometimes I wondered if his mother raised him on a bed of paper. Who was his mother anyway? Surely ponies kept records of those sorts of things.

Bonbon and Lyra had left their children in the care of a nanny, not wanting to risk them running around or getting lost in a building full of precious artifacts.

I turned to another display. It was a fossilized skull with the worn remains of a spear through it. Underneath read a short description about how it was once a beast created by Discord.

"Who was Discord," I asked, not looking away.

"Who is, Discord," Lyra said in a correcting way. "He's... well... the embodiment of chaos. A strange magical chimera that caused much trouble before a pony learned to tame him. Somewhat. He's still a troublesome thing."

"He's like a snake-goat-dragon-something-else, hard to describe, Gold," Bonbon added. "It's best if you steer clear of him when Fluttershy isn't around. Loves causing mischief."

"You make it sound like he's intelligent," I commented.

Lyra shook her head. "No... just he just feeds off of chaos magic. Has to cause chaos in order to feed himself with the chaos generated."

I nodded. "Are there more?"

"I hope not. He caused much trouble some years before you were born."

"I see." I shrugged and moved on to another room of the museum. More skulls, with the rest of the skeleton attached. I looked up to see one of my pegasus guards sitting atop of one of the displays, looking about for trouble. They were everywhere and touching everything like you shouldn't at a museum. I did my best to ignore them.

Not so much dinosaurs as the skeletons of prehistoric mammals that towered over modern beasts. Ponies skeletons stood beside them for comparison. Most of them seemed to have died during an ice age. Though there was one that drew my attention.

It was a pony skeleton, kind of. But twelve times larger than the average mare. I was reading that off the display, not just making up a number. From the skeleton, namely the wide hips and more curved skull, they knew it was a female, but it walked on all fours like a male. Apparently their was some speculation that it was not an intelligent species, or even a pony at all. Just resembled one.

Beside it was an artists display showing it covered in scales and bright feathers. How unimaginative. If you're going to make up colors and textures, at least try not to make it look like it got run over by a drag show.

"Oof, could you imagine is mares did walk on all fours?" Lyra asked as she looked at it, unimpressed. "How would we do anything? How would we be able to use tools? We'd be stuck in caves forever."

"Welcome to the club," I snorted in good humor. She patted my shoulder.

"Well, if it's all we knew, I bet we'd look at bipedal skeletons and wonder the same thing." She had a point. For a lot of things, it was all a matter of perspective.

I eventually walked away and looked at the over displays. Lots of fossilized shells and fish. Even a whole sea pony. A deep sea pony. Apparently had a lantern lure on its head to attract prey. Rarely came out of their trenches. Yeah, with teeth like that it'd scare even dragons.

After a long minute I eventually came around to the giant not-pony skeleton again. The Twisted Bridge Mystery, it was a labeled. Mystery indeed. The dusty old thing wasn't even in the brochure. Guess no one was really interested in the old gal. Kind of like me. One of a kind. But, she didn't seem to matter much. She was the dustiest display I had seen all day, it made me feel sorry for her.

I'd have used my magic to clean away the dust, but I didn't want to harm her by accident. I let her rest when I moved onto the next room.

"You really seemed drawn to that fossil," Bonbon commented from beside me.

I shrugged. "The museum doesn't seem to take good care of her."

"Doesn't seem to take care of who?" a mare appeared around a corner. The curator, we'd met her when we came in. She was a green unicorn, in a starched suit with a pair horn-rimmed glasses.

I explained the skeleton in the fossil room.

"Oh, that thing?" she asked with a regretful sigh. "My grandmother purchased it from a sideshow three decades ago. An obvious sideshow hoax. Don't really know why I keep it around. Just hoping it rots away, I suppose. Celestia knows how many times I've tried to sell it off. I'm half tempted to just toss the thing in the garbage."

I was rather horrified. "You want to get rid of her?"

"Absolutely, the thing is a travesty to sceince," she stated.

Long story short, I now have a skeleton in my closet I want Twilight to look at.

Sweet Little Bat

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Twilight looked a the skeleton on my closet for a long minute before looking back at me. It was an incredibly large closet.

"You can't be serious," she said at last.

"What?" I asked innocently. "I just want you to get a good look at her and tell me about it.

She shakes her head and sighs. "Gold... I know you're smarter than this. It's a hoax, carnivals and..."

"Just look, please?" I asked, voice dripping with honey. She looked in my eye for a minute then slum[ed a the shoulder.

"You're lucky I love you, Gold," she groaned as she turned the fossil and activated her horn. "I promise, I'll be thorough. Just don't be upset when I find it's a hundred different bones cobbled together with some logs."

I gave a little skip. "Thank you... now, if you don't mind, I have to meet somepony important."

She managed a laugh and waved me off. "Go on, stud."

* * *

This particularly important pony was a bat pony filly from a tribe to the west. About a year younger than me, she was one of my future brides promised me at that party long ago. Or promised to the kingdom of Equestria if you want to get political. She was also the first of my future brides I had met.

Swamp Princess Nectarine was adorable dark blue, cute little fangs, and a mane so long she actually tripped over it in the first three seconds we saw each other. Upon her head was a tiny crown of flowers, which fell off as she stared up at my imposing figure.

"Y-you're the prince?" she squeaked in shock.

I nodded as I lay down so that I appeared smaller. "Yes. I know, I'm huge."

She gasped at the sound of my voice, dancing a little. "You can talk too?"

I just laughed. She then rushed up and hugged my neck, kicking her legs excitedly. "You're as big a full grown stallion. How much do you eat?"

"More than enough," I assured her as she climbed upon my back.

Her mother stood off to the side with mother, asking questions. She was half-convinced I was an adult when she first saw me. A big no-no if you must know. Mother calmed her of her concerns quickly and she had chosen to stand off to the side where they could discuss their future hopes for the future of our two nations.

We were a shady part of the gardens, as bat ponies didn't enjoy sunlight. Poor Nectarine, I thought, she was probably up way past her bedtime for this. Or had been made to sleep last night. Either way, poor filly.

I spread my wings for her and she gasped at the size.

"I wish I had wings that big," she squealed as she took off and began flapping around me like a hummingbird. Or a bat, if you prefer. "How fast can you fly?"

I paused. "I really don't know. I've never really tested my speed before."

"Ah, that's boring," she groused. "It's too sunny out for me to fly good. We should have a race tonight."

"No, we'll be leaving tonight," her mother called from the sidelines. "I have business in Manehatten, and will not leave you to torment our good hosts."

"Are you sure," mother asked. "They are getting along fairly well. She won't be any trouble."

Queen Watercress thought a moment then conceded. "Very well. I'll return for her in two nights. And, I'm willing ot pay for whatever damages she may cause."

After we all had a meal in the garden together, the queen left. Question, how was she a queen, and my mother a princess? She's the female ruler of a country for crying out loud. Oh well. Stuff and things.

Nectarine rode upon my back as I escorted her on a tour of the palace. Pound soon appeared and I introduced them. Pound was gentle and happy to see a hew potential playmate

"Silly stallion," she giggled as he licked her ears. "He's like my puppy."

"You have a puppy?" I asked.

She nodded. "Mama didn't let me bring him. He's back home with papa and my sisters."

"Have a lot of sisters do you?"

"Eight," she declared proudly. "No brothers. Though mama says she's trying. Whatever that means."

I patted her head and chuckled. "We'll both find out when we're older."

Just then, someone shouted my name, making all three of us jump. Whirling about, I saw Twilight, running, a smile on her face.

"Gold, come quick," she shouted. "It's absolutely amazing."

* * *

Everyone seemed to be in the closet today. We all gathered around the skeleton while the lavender alicorn waved her arms about like an chicken who had been passed over by the farmer.

"It's like nothing I've seen before," she cried excitedly. Then she smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry for dismissing you earlier."

"It's fine," I assured her. "But, what did you find?"

"It's real," she declared. "The bones all have the same chemical compositions, same state of calcification, and even multiple bones are still held together by the same stone they were probably excavated from."

"Alright," I grinned happily. The museum had literally given it away.

"This fossil is... it's priceless," she went on. "To think they just let it collect dust like that."

Then she whirled about and kissed my nose. "You are a genius, you magnificent stud, you."

"So, what is it, exactly?" I asked.

"I have no idea," she said, still smiling. "It's equine in form. Female. But, that's all I can tell right now. We need to find more of them. Maybe they left behind some relics."

"Where would we even begin," I wondered.

She pointed at the plaque. "The Twisted Bridge, of course. Just need to find out where that is. Come along, you found this thing, you get to find more."

"Um, wait what?" I cried, shocked. "We're just leaving?"

"The longer we wait, the less we know," she urged me, pushing me and pound. Nectarine alighted on my back. "Sure, she can come too."

"But, I'd rather not leave without Lyra or Bonbon," I stated. "But they took the day off."

Twilight groaned. "If you really need a wetnurse that badly, I've got plenty of milk. Have all you want. Now get to the carriage shed and hook Pound up to it. I'll get some supplies and leave a message for your mother detailing where we're going."

There was a lot of tripping over our own hooves, but we finally managed to follow her directions and had taken off into the blue. I hoped mother wouldn't be upset. After all, we were practically kidnapped. Twilight was a force of nature.

Haste Makes (insert consequence here)

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Twisted Bridge was a canyon down south of Appleoosa. Very down south. The terrain was fagged and cracked. More rocks than sand. The name came from an ancient stone column that have fallen unknown eons ago, creating a natural bridge. It was cracked and broken in such a way that it had the appearance of being twisted. We landed beneath the bridge on the floor of the canyon itself.

Thankfully, our kidnapper wasn't totally insane, she had stopped over in the town to procured us extra supplies. Poor Nectarine had to be bundled up to keep the sun from burning her. She practically sat under the canopy with the coolers and food.

Surprisingly, she was rather okay about the whole situation.We gave her some ice cream and promoted her to the guardian of the camp. That kept her occupied. Meanwhile, Twilight, Pound, and myself went to work.

Work being me and pound moving rocks so that Twilight could search for chemical traces in the soils underneath. Well, maybe mother would postpone this weeks training in leu of my this great workout I was getting. But, as time moved on, and the sun began to set, we still hadn't found a thing.

"Nothing but trace amount of gold and diamonds," Twilight huffed in frustration. Money wasn't that big a deal for her.

I sat down and sighed. "Then why don't we take a break. Come. The suns going down, and we haven't eaten in a while."

She nodded reluctantly and we all got back under the canopy. Little Nectarine had dosed off at some point, we found her using a potato sack for a blanket. Twilight managed a smile at the small filly and quickly moved her to a cot and threw blanket over her.

"That was no place for a princess to sleep," she laughed quietly.

We had already set up the kitchen when we arrived. Yes, I mean kitchen. Sinks, pots and pans, silverware, cutlery, spices. Even a week's supply of firewood. Were it not for the lack of walls, we may have been in someone's house. Poor Pound, I had to hitch myself to the carriage to help him.

Lot's of calories, included the aforementioned potatoes, as well as butter and bread to name a few things. It was in the midst of this meal that a letter from mother arrived in a puff of smoke.

Twilight read it and blushed. "Well... your mother's not upset. But she says she really wishes I had asked permission to steal you. As well as the foreign princess. She says she'll be sending some aid to help along the way."

"She also says you shouldn't steal me like in the in the future, right?" I asked.

Twilight slumped at the shoulder and set the letter to the side. "Yes. Okay. I get excited about stuff. Wonder when this help of hers will arrive."

As if in answer, a flood of lights suddenly appeared outside the canopy and carriages started to land all around the kitchen. Nectarine got woken up, but she wasn't grumpy for long when a new bowl of ice cream appeared in her lap. She was gonna be a beach ball when her mother came back for her.

Guards, of course, were the first thing to really come into view. Mares and stallions in armor, ready to defend royalty and lend a hand. There were, of course, a couple upset faces. A mint unicorn and a candy-collared earth pony came stomping up into the canopy. Thankfully, all ire was directed at the adult princess who had kidnapped us.

"What are you thinking dragging children into the middle of nowhere without supervision?" Lyra demanded. "Your mother was filling in for us today, you could have grabbed her at least."

Twilight was backed into a corner. "I-I just didn't think he needed a wetnurse that badly anymore. He's been on solid foods for nine years now."

Lyra and Bonbon looked offended.

"It's not just about milk," Lyra scolded her. "It's about being an attentive maternal figure who will look after their health and safety."

"Hey, I've been taking care of them just fine," Twilight defended herself.

Bonbon laughed. She pointed at the table. "Foods barely been touched, and it's almost midnight. You have foals of your own, your majesty. You know this is not healthy."

"Alright, break it up," I said, getting between them all. "Look, Twilight got a little excited. She does that." Lyra looked about to argue, but I raise d hoof for silence. "We all were excited. We all lost track of time. We've made an important discovery this morning."

Lyra and Bonbon took moment before conceding to my point. "Fine. But from here on out, my herdsister and I will be watching over the foals. All of them. We didn't have time to find a nanny, so we had to bring our own foals with us to the middle of a desert."

"Sorry," Twilight said in a small voice.

"We forgive you," Lyra sighed. "But, we're still gonna tell your mother."

"What?" Twilight cried out in alarm. Horror was written across her face. "No, please. Don't do that, please."

"Actually, I'm already here," a matured voice said. Riding atop a blue stallion was a middle-aged gray mare with a purple mane in a safari outfit. She eyed the kidnapper in a mixture of amusement and annoyance. "Twilight. Can you explain why I had to bring your father out here to this giant litterbox?"

The poor alicorn practically sobbed into her hands. "Why does the universe hate me so?"

* * *

A base of operations had been swiftly set up. The kitchen was expanded to accommodate two hundred workers at a time. Tents had been erected within the hour. They had even erected water tower. It looked like a town had appeared in the canyon overnight.

I was excited to get back to work now. Who knew what we could find. But, of course, even if it was technically my expedition, now that my wet-nurses were back in charge, I had to go to bed. Somethings just weren't fair.

The Burned Wall

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Dulcimer, Toffee, Lollipop, Viola and Sonnet were Lyra and Bonbon's fillies given them by their good stud Sunburst. In that order, from ages 9 to 2. I'm sure you can guess whose is whose. Number 4 for Lyra and 3 for Bonbon were on the way, as mentioned before. Lyra was hoping for a colt this time, while Bonbon was more a we'll-see sort of mare.

Now, the reason I bring these little ones up is because they all managed to fit atop my back with princess Nectarine. What could I do? I was practically their big brother. Them being raised around me their whole lives. Anyway, I wandered about the archaeological expedition with them, hoping to be close when they found something.

Mrs. Velvet was at my side, riding atop her stallion, just in case she needed to comfort one of the little ones.

"So, how's Twilight?" I asked, looking up at her.

She smiles back. "Oh, she'll get over it. It's almost nine. She can get out of the corner then."

Yipes. She could make standing in a corner sound terrifying. Imagine being an alicorn of immense magical power over the very fabric of nature itself. Now imagine a mare, who by all rights has no such power herself, yet when she speaks, you snap to attention. Magic it seemed, was only so useful.

"So, all this stemmed from a skeleton you found in a museum?" she asked. I nodded.

"Well, I kind of took it form a museum."

She stopped her stud and looked at me with a very critical eye.

"They gave it to me," I quickly explained. "They thought it was a fraud. They were planning on throwing it in the garbage."

She nodded and cleared her throat. "I see. Forgive me. After my daughter kidnapped not one, but two royals, I'm a little... what's a filly-friendly word I could use?"

"Aggravated?" I suggested.

"I like that, aggravated." She patted her husband's neck. "Guess it worked out for the best. Been wanting to take a vacation for a while now. Not quite the luxury resort I wanted, but, at least its away from the city."

Sonnet began fussing, she was soon joined by Viola. Velvet leaned over me and took them in her arms. "Well, guess I can't escape everything. They look so sweet. Takes me back, you know. Twilight was such a quiet foal. Shiny was energetic and always running into stuff. Half my neighbors and friends suggested I get him fixed before my house fell down atop of me. The other half suggested just selling him off. Lost a lot of good friends that way. Good thing I didn't listen. He's now prince of the Crystal Empire. Though, shouldn't that be Emperor?"

I stopped a moment. "You think so too? I thought I was the only one who noticed that. Even my mother, she's the adult female leader of a country..."

"She should be a queen," Velvet laughed as she opened her tan safari shirt and set they foals to her bosom. "Yes... just throw out all the rules of the Equestrian language. Maybe it helps Celestia feel young. You know, we mares are quite sensitive about our age."

I managed a chuckle.

"Hey, look at that," the swamp princess suddenly said. Looking back, I saw she was pointing upwards.I followed her finger to a spot further up the canyon wall. It was something shiny.

""Hmm," I thought. "Alright, Mrs. Velvet, would you care to watch these little ones for a bit? I'll go check it out."

They were all levitated off my back and onto the blue stallions. She nodded. "Get going. Think I might take these ones back to their tent. Might be time for a nap."

With the despairing cries of the foals in my ears I flapped upwards along the rock face until I was level with the shiny thing. What was I looking at? I dug my hoof around it to see if I could uncover more. The shiny thing just got bigger and bigger. And then even bigger. It was a black rock. Obsidian? But so much of it too.

I needed someone else to look at it with me. A few pleads and promises to Mrs. Velvet and Twilight was freed from her prison. What were my promises? To not be late for lunch, and to take a bath once we were done. Mothers' gonna mother.

"It's obsidian alright." Twilight used her magic and some steel tools to aid in uncovering the big object. But, like before, it just kept getting bigger. Soon we had called over more ponies and soon we were finding something very interesting. It was a solid wall of the volcanic rock. Not just that, but it curved. I was so excited that I almost missed my deadline.

I quickly ate lunch at the proper time just like Mrs. Velvet told me to, then went back tot eh site. Now it seemed like everypony was there, and they had done so much while I had been away. The great obsidian wall curved back into the canyon wall, where it would take many months with ponies working carefully with bigger tools to uncover.

But, that didn't matter. For when I returned (okay, I promised to a full meal), everypony was standing back, staring at a single section in the obsidian wall. A section of sedimentary rock in the shape of a door. A door bigger than the main gates of Canterlot. I pushed my way through the crowd for a closer look. Twilight was examining it.

"Is that a door?" I asked quite dumbly I must confess.

She shook her head. "No, it's just countless ages of sediment build up and hardening. A good few blows with a hammer should get us through. Care to do the honors?"

A hammer handed to me.

"You found the fossil, you should get to be the first one to see what's inside," she told me.

I shook my head. "Get Princess Nectarine. If not for her, we wouldn't have found this so soon."

She was quickly brought to me and set on my back.

"You ready for this, princess?" I asked as a levitated the hammer. "We're about to make history."

She adjusted her safety goggles. "Yes."

Everyone stood back as I swung my hammer once, twice, three times. Okay, it took eleven hits. But we got through. The rock cracked and turned to gravel on the last hit, leaving behind a perfect entrance. We stood back and waited for the dust to settle, wondering what lay beyond the burned wall.

The Lonely Dead

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Sizewise I was big enough to take care of myself in most situations. The poor bat pony princess had to wait outside. Just so long as I promised to bring her something back. Alongside Twilight and Lyra I stepped past the door into a giant empty room with a thick floor of dust. Our torches could only illuminate so much of it at once.

"The walls inside are smooth," Twilight commented. "But the walls outside were jagged. The heat that caused the rocks to melt had to of started in here." She knelt down and picked up a handful of the dust. "It's ash. But it's not pitted or jagged."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Lyra asked.

"It means that is wasn't a volcanic erupting to turned the stone walls into obsidian," she said ominously. She began digging more into she found the floor. The floor was partly melted, partly whole stone blocks. She nodded. "The ashes acted as an insulation against the heat, that's why the floor isn't as damaged at the walls... and ceiling?"

We all looked up. The ceiling was too high to see. I took a torch and began flying upwards. It was quite a ways, but I reached the ceiling easily enough. It was black as well. In fact, it looked like it had started to drip when it was melting. Except the center, which had a perfect whole in it. Past whish was sandstone I soared back down and told Twilight.

"It wasn't a volcano," she mused. "Whoever built this, purposefully lit a fire inside hot enough to turn the walls to glass. Perhaps and ancient civilization of fire worshipers."

More ponies began filing in to explore. Save for the door and the odd hole in the top, we couldn't find another door, until Mrs. Velvet began digging in the center of the room. where the ash was deepest. We gathered around, curious, until the reached the bottom. where was found an untouched stone, sticking out slightly higher than the other around it.

"There," she said pointing at it. "Anyone got a crowbar?"

A moment later we were standing beneath the obsidian tower in a hallway for giants.

I looked up at the trap door. "A little small for a giant equine, don't you think?"

Twilight nodded. "Odd yes. Everything else is obviously made for them."

When a few guards dropped down we began our journey forwards, the hall angling downwards. The walls were made from giant stone blocks that fit perfectly together. No evidence of mortar ever touching them. Eventually the hall opened up and we nothing but darkness beyond our torches. A eerie blackness with nothing for the light to reflect off of.

"It's so cold," Lyra shivered. "It's like an icebox in here."

"We should leave for now and formulate a plan," Mrs. Velvet declared. "If we move forward without any landmarks, we'll never find our way back."

We all agreed, though, I was a little upset I couldn't bring back something for Nectarine like I had promised. She understood though. Good filly.

* * *

I was pushed the sidelines once we got back up. I suppose it would look terrible for all involved if I got lost down there. Preparations were being made to set up a second base of operations down there. Twilight was even sending mother a request for more workers.

I sighed as I returned to my tent and collapsed on my cot. They said they'd call me when they felt it was "safe" enough. I was sulking.

"Off the cot colt," a voice said behind me. Turning, I saw it was Mrs. Velvet. "You heard me. I seem to remember somepony promising he would take a bath."

There was no sense in arguing.

Privileges of rank, the royals had their own personal bathing area. A giant copper tub with hot water and many soaps to choose from. Velvet got in the bath with me.

"Oh, that feels great," she sighed as she took a pitcher and poured the hot water over her head. "You know that we love you. Right Gold Coast?"

I nodded. "Though, as the prince? a stud? or just myself?"

"For yourself of course," she chuckled. "Though being the prince and a top of the line stud doesn't hurt any. It's one surprise after another with you. Firstly, you're born a male alicorn. Then it's talking, surging across the continent, whatever that was at your party, and now you seem to have lead us to discover an ancient civilization thanks to a skeleton you saved from the garbage." She laughed. "Perhaps you're the Alicorn of Luck."

I shrugged and moved forward, zeroing on her breasts. She smiled and began shampooing my mane. "Awe, wish Shining was still at home. I think that's why I accepted this job to be one of your wetnurses. Something about a colt at your nipple that makes you content."

She poured water over my head to wash away the suds. "Don't get me wrong. My Night Light is an alright subsistute. But when you have somepony you raised, or helped raise in your case, had them rely on you... it makes for a special emotional connection."

"What about Twilight?" I asked.

"With mares... it's just communion, a bonding between family and close friends," she explained. "But for a colt, they seem to look at you in that moment as if you are the provider of all good things."

I thought on that a while.

* * *

It was a little before dinner before we were given the all clear and I was allowed back down in the ruins. Velvet had okayed me being down there, as they had set up a second kitchen down there so I wouldn't miss a meal. This time when I went down it looked totally different.

Unicorns had created lights spells and stuck them to every surface they could find. Even going to far as to be carried up to the ceiling by the pegasi to stick them there. It was only a small section, measureless space was still shrouded in darkness, but it was enough to uncover what we were originally looking for.

The mummified remains of thousands of giants lay scattered about beneath a dome of carved stone blocks.


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Good thing Princess Nectarine wasn't down there. Her mother might have a fit from the nightmares this would have caused.

"All the bodies are facing the same way," Twilight wrote in her notes as she examined one of the mummified giants up close. "And from the positions they died in, it's as of they trying to get to the fire rather than away from it."

Another mare nearby, somepony called Moondancer, nodded. "From the amount of dust they've collected... these remains predate every other civilization on record. Plus the amount sand and sediment that collected over the dome, then compressed and became rock until the weight of ages... it could have easily been a million years ago. maybe five times that."

"Wait, you're saying that this tomb was here before the canyon even existed?" Bonbon asked from the sides, nursing Lollipop. They were bundled up and she had a blanket thrown over her, not for privacy, but to keep her baby from the cold.

Moondancer shook her head. "No... I'm saying it existed before have the continents drifted apart."

With that piece of ominous information, research continued. Carefully, Twilight's group began gently removing the dust from one of the mummies. This quickly led to a few new discoveries.

"Look, fur," Twilight called out, "so well preserved. I guess without any heat or moisture for so long there was nothing to decompose them."

"They look pretty decomposed to me," Bonbon said.

"No, just dried out," Twilight corrected her. "And, perhaps there wasn't any oxygen for a few centuries either. The bodies are almost petrified. Practically fossilized without being buried and compacted buy tons of dirt."

"And see this?" Moondancer asked, pointing to a hoof she had uncovered. "A bracelet made of stone. Around her neck too, a stone necklace. It seems impossible, but it's a chain carved from a single stone."

"Stone?" Twilight sad softly. She rushed to another mummy and uncovered the hooves. It had another two stone bracelets. She did the same to four more mummies before coming back, excited. "All the jewelry is made of stone. Not a single piece of metal anywhere."

"Are you saying what I think you're saying," Velvet asked her daughter, almost equally amazed.

Twilight nodded. "This was a stone age civilization."

"A stone age civilization built this?" Bonbon asked, amazed.

Twilight nodded. "Well, a previous stone age we knew nothing about. You know, even the stone we knew about wasn't all cavemares and clubs. They were a genius civilization in their own right. This one... this one just managed to go a thousand steps beyond. Without hands I might add."

"Are they perhaps the ancestors to the earth ponies?" I asked, noting that none had any wings or horns.

Twilight shook her head. "No, I don't think so... I think they were something else entirely. Something the world lost."

"This one's male," Moondancer noted as she was examined the backside of the first mummy we cleaned up. "Yikes, even dried and shriveled up, that would like shoving a whole tree in a mousehole." She scratched some notes. "We should look for a female to compare the anatomy with."

It wasn't that hard to find one. She appeared to be laying on her side, holding her throat with one hoof while the other stretched towards the fire pit.

"She... has an udder," Twilight said a little confused as she stared between the female's hind legs. "I guess it makes sense. Four legs, you want to balance your back end with your head. Also, from the way she's holding her throat... I'd say she was asphyxiated."

She stood up suddenly and began looking about at the other bodies in horror. "They all were. The... the fire that melted that room, it sucked all the air out from the dome. Were they murdered? Or... perhaps... it was a ritual of some sort?"

She began pacing, talking to herself as she tried to uncover the mystery in her head.

Then a pegasus guard landed in the middle of us and bowed to Twilight. "Your majesty, We've found something. Your majesty?"

I used my magic to shake her out of her pacing. She quickly asked what it was.

"We don't know," the mare said. "But we felt you should look at it. Maybe you can shed some light on it."

It was a relatively long journey through the necropolis. The deep we went the more apparent it was that this was once a great city. Building like skyscrapers rose to the ceiling of the dome, probably acting as extra support. And more and more bodies of course.

We eventually got to a point where a group of guards were standing. A flat wall that stretched up and out of sight, covered in images. Not painted on, but different colored stones stacked amongst a sea of gray ones, ensuring an image that would last forever. They were really taking this whole stone age thing to another level.

"It's a map," Twilight gasped. "See, it's our world. And your right, Moondancer, the continents, they hadn't drifted apart yet." She jumped wildly. "And it looks like they knew the world was round too. This is possibly the greatest discovery ever."

"What about those marks?" I pointed out some round shapes on the continent that formed a perfect circle. Twelve in all. "Are those... locations of more dome?"

Twilight was overstimulated now. It was like watching a chicken with its head cut off, except the chicken was really into it. "More places. We're going to learn so much."

"Most of them are on other continents now," Velvet pointed out, seemingly very vary at her daughter's enthusiasm. "This might turn into an entire international quest for discovery."

Twilight's gleeful scream pierced our ears like a drill launched from a cannon. Velvet walked up to her daughter calmly and pulled her close, stroking her mane in a soothing fashion. "Easy, Twilight. I know it's exciting. But we can't get any work done with you worked up like this."

Twilight tried to break free. "Sorry, I'm too excited. I have to get back to work."

Velvet shook her head and took her by the hand started walking. "You an d I are going to take a nice calming stroll. When you've dialed it back a few revolutions, then you can get back to work."

They disappeared, but we could be sure they would stay close. Turning back to the wall, I noticed something just barely in the light higher above the map of our world. I instructed the guards to place lights up higher then stood back watched as an ugly yellow mass was uncovered.

The Thing Above the World

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The yellow thing was an alicorn. Much like mother, save it walked on four legs. It had cruel eyes and its mane and tail were like fire. These ancient giants has used many gems and crystals to create an image that was nearly as detailed as a photograph. It seemed to dance above the map of the world. Surrounding it were skulls. Not images of skulls, but actual skulls of the giants imbedded into the wall itself.

"It looks like you," Bonbon commented absentmindedly as she stared on.

I blinked. "Why do you say that?"

"I don't mean anything by it, Gold," she apologized, "but, it's an alicorn that walks on all fours, like a male. And it's yellow."

I reluctantly conceded that point. But something about it made me not want to be compared to it. It felt off. Like it was actually staring at me. I scowled back as I could intimidate it. Were it alive, I probably would have laughed before eating my head.

Twilight had already come back, somewhat calmed down. She fly about the alicorn in amazement. "Could it be this civilization had alicorns of their own as well? From the evidence, it's most likely a female alicorn. She must have been giant even to them."

"Is there like a title or something written somewhere?" I asked She looked down at me and shook her head.

"Even if we could find writing, it'd take a long time to translate," she explained, landing beside me. "It could also be that this civilization never developed a written language. They may have passed on information verbally. Which would help explain why they vanished, even with a possible elven more sites."

"That's disappointing," I sighed.

She nodded. "All those books that could have been. Or, stone tablets as the theme implies. We'll just have to keep searching until we get more answers."

Manny more mummies and pictures. They seemed to tell stories, but without context, they were just image to me. I would have to leave them for Twilight or someone else to translate for me. I eventually returned to camp so as not to be late for mealtime. I was still thinking about that alicorn, and what Bonbon had said. Why did that upset me so much?

A ate my meal slowly as I thought, everything around me pushed aside for the time being. The Lyra sat beside me and took me out of my stupor.

"What's the problem, Gold," she asked sympathetically. I explained the image we had found and that it had felt wrong to me. "I see. I don't know what to tell you, other than it's only a picture. You shouldn't worry too much over it."

"but, what are the odds?" I asked. "Two yellow alicorns? Both walking on all fours. All it needed was a bell on its but and we'd have some sort of ancient prophecy on our hooves."

She chuckled and hugged me. "Hey, it's going to be all right. Maybe you just need to get some sleep. After all, you have to fly back to Canterlot tomorrow to deliver Nectarine back to her mother."

"Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that," I said with a laugh.

"Woah, that's one of your future wives, kid," she teased. "Don't want to be a bad example for any future talking males, you know."

"Is it really right to just use her like a political pawn though?" I asked sincerely. "Our parents our literally taking advantage of us, their children, to further their own goals."

Lyra stared at me in bewilderment. "Talk about out of nowhere. I mean, sure, maybe she would have other asperations if she weren't forced into this. But, it's for the good of the two kingdoms."

I sighed. Duty was so engrained in the culture. Literally magically shackled to their buts in the shape of a cutie mark. It couldn't be helped I guess.

"Hey, stud," she said, snapping me out of a daze. "Come on, let's go to your tent. You look like you could use some milk."

I nodded and followed her back up to the surface. Soon She was humming a comforting lullaby as I suckled softly, trying to get that alicorn out of my head. On concentrated on her milk the taste and texture that I had known all these years. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

"Oh, can I have some?"

I stopped and turned to see who had arrived. It was princess, Nectarine. She quickly flitted up in the cot with me and smiled hopefully at my wetnurse.

Lyra smile looked at me. "That depends on your future stud here. Would you care to share communion with your future bride?"

I thought moment. Nursing alongside other ponies was nothing I hadn't done before. Pound, Flurry Heart, any of Lyra's and Bonbon's foals. I nodded. "It's find with me."

"Yes," the swamp princess clapped happily, quickly diving in and guzzling like mad. Half of the milk was spilled. Lyra didn't seem to mind, used to messy eaters.

I just rolled my eyes and went back to work. Soon, we were both milkdrunk and asleep on my cot. The little princess on my back.

* * *

I was back in the dome. I was alone and I couldn't find where the light was coming from. There were skittering noises in the dark. I backed away , scared. Then I hit something. Turning around, I saw it was the walls. The alicorn was staring down at me, and as I watched, it began to come to life.

I was frozen in fear. The stones that held it in place melted away and it fell to the ground with a great noise. Not elegantly, but hard, as though it was weak. It shakily got up to all four hooves, now towering higher than even the giants. I looked down on me and smiled.

It began lowering its head, mouth opened. I closed my eyes, waiting for the end.

But it didn't come. I opened my eyes again to find it was nuzzling my head. A moment later it stopped and sat down in front of me. I stared up at it, uncertain.

It's head tilted to the side, as if it were confused.

"I'm sorry," I said, "who... who are you?"

There was silence. Even the skittering had ceased. We just stared at each other. What seemed an eternity, it lit up its and enveloped me in a blue aura, much like my own. I cried out in fear and it stopped. I was probably more surprised than it was.

She. She was. Now getting a good look at it. It was a she. Even had the teats between the legs like Twilight had mentioned before. She tried lighting up her horn again. I shouted back at her and she stopped. This time seeming to be visibly upset. She got up and began circling me, sniffing and tilting her head this way and that.

I remained perfectly still, but ready to bolt it she tried anything. Eventually, she sat down across from me again and sighed heavily. Her fiery mane began to dim, like it was being snuffed out. It was then I learned that it was her mane that was lighting the dome, for soon everything was pitch black. The odd skitterings moved off elsewhere in the darkness, leaving me alone.

* * *

The next thing I knew I was waking up on my cot. Nectarine was on my pillow, snoring up a storm and drooling a monsoon. I looked about, trying to recollect what I had just dreamed.

The light coming through the tent flap indicated it was morning now. Lyra was asleep on her own cot with Bonbon beside her, foals all around them. Mrs. Velvet was nowhere to be seen, then again she and her stud were early birds. And Twilight was probably still down in the dome.

I took a deep breath to collect myself. The dream had felt so real. It was troubling. I needed to tell someone about it, but, the only one who truly understood dreams hadn't been around in a few years. Was it perhaps time to contact my auntie Luna?

If nothing else, I would love to know how Cobbler is doing.

Returning Princesses

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We returned to the palace by that afternoon. Pound pulling the cart. Velvet wanted to stay behind with her daughter, my other two wet-nurses were eager to get back to the comfort of their home where it'd be easier to look after their foals. A guard was their to meet us, and we were immediately escorted to the bath for a quick clean up before Queen Watercress arrived to collect her.

Mother was already inside, waiting for us. She beckoned me over and hugged me. "I trust you had fun being kidnapped, my son?"

I nodded, reaching up a hoof and smooshing one of her breasts. She laughed. "It was good mother, I can't wait to tell you all about."

She sighed. "I would love to hear it... however..."

"Twilight sent you everything via magic mail, didn't she?" I slumped a bit a the shoulders. Of course she'd be sending letters to mother. This was very important after all. Besides, I doubt I could have described everything in as much detail as Twilight.

"Oh, don't be like that," she told me, kissing my cheek. "I'd still love to hear your side of things."

Nectarine jumped out of the water and onto my back. "It was amazing. There was a black fortress. And dark place underneath full of dead bodies. And there were giants. And there strange pictures everywhere. And..."

Mother laughed placed a finger on her lips. "Now-now, mustn't spoil everything just yet. You should save it for your mother. She would be thrilled to learn of your adventure."

The little princess gasped and nodded. "Your right. I can't wait to tell her everything."

She jumped off my back and began swimming. A maid caught her and began rubbing soap into her fur. She tried to fight them off but relented eventually. She sulked though.

Mother turned back to me. "Can I interest my son in some milk? I would wish to talk more, but my breasts have been aching for days now and your father been sleeping most of the day away."

"O f course," I said with a soft smile, I nuzzle her nipple a little before latching on. The maids cleaned us both off as I nursed. I changed nipples as the flow slowed, and then stopped once I had my fill.

"Ah, so much better," mother smiled happily, squeezing her breasts. "Not so full and sensitive now."

I chuckled and leaned my head against them. They had other uses after all.

"I can see you're going to make your future wives very happy," she rocked my head.

* * *

Queen Watercress was delighted to see her daughter all clean up. She didn't seem upset about the impromptu desert movement. Probably thanks to my mother's diplomatic skills. We waved them off and returned inside.

Then I explained my dream to mother.

She seemed a little worried. "That's doesn't sound like a normal dream. You're saying she didn't attack you?"

I shook my head. "No. In fact. She almost seemed sad."

She nodded. "Would... would you like me to ask Luna to take a look?"

We were both quiet a moment. It had been a long time since I'd even seen her. I wasn't ready to forgive her, but, right now, I needed some answers. I nodded.

"Yes, I would like to know what she thinks."

"I understand. I'll send her a note right away. She'll be visiting you tonight."

* * *

There was an uncomfortable silence between us. I stared across at Luna, who stared back at me through the dreamscape. She was nude, but that wasn't uncomfortable. Familial nudity was commonplace here. Could also have been symbolic that she didn't have anything to hide.

"H-how have you been?" she asked, unable to meet my eye.

"I've been well," I replied. "Other than an assassination attempt the same night I spoke to everypony."

"I heard," she looked sad. "Your mother told me. We speak often here in the dream. She's very proud of you, Gold. I hope you know that I am too."

I sighed. "Luna... you tried to mutilate me with fire."

She sighed. "I did. No apology can make up for that."

"How's Cobbler?" I asked, changing the subject.

"Oh, he's well," Luna said, with a wave of her hand, the small colt appeared beside her. He looked about curiously. It was the real Cobbler, not just an image. "I had him gelded a year ago."

I scowled. "What? Why?"

"He's too small, no nation would marry their daughters off to a colt like him," she told me as she reached down and picked him up. "It would have been cruel to have him grow into a frustrated bachelor. He'd probably try to challenge proper studs for their mares. He'd just wind up hurt. This was the most merciful thing."

I looked at my brother. He saw me and smiled. Luna let him down and he rushed up to me, dancing about. I hugged him with my wing and shook my head. "Still the same, Luna. Just tell me about my dream, please."

She sighed, saddened at my reaction. "It was last night's dream, correct?"

I nodded. The image around us shifted to become what I had witnessed. She watched it play out from the beginning. The giant alicorn emerged from the wall and hit the floor, just like before. When she stood up, she looked at me, then, turned to look at Luna.

Needless to say, Luna was a little upset. "No wonder, this dream felt odd to you, Gold. When you saw the image on the wall. Tell me. Did you look in its eyes?"

I nodded.

"Seems you've been implanted with someone's memories," she explained as she let the giant circle her. "Someone powerful."

"Is she dangerous?" I asked.

Luna shook her head. "Had she wanted to attack you, then she would have already done so."

"You've seen this before?"

She nodded. "Yes. Here and there. Often, when violent, the memories plague the dreamer night after night, keeping them up till the go insane, or are just miserable and extra grumpy."

"Okay, then what's her purpose here then?" I really wanted to know. The giant turned from Luna and began investigating Cobbler, who was still in my hooves.

"I am unsure," Luna said, activating her horn and enveloping the giant, scanning her. The giant didn't even notice. A moment later she stopped and took a step back. "It's... some form of dream walking spell. Very sophisticated. Unlike anything I've ever seen. Gold... nevermind what I said. This is no memory. She's actually in your head."

The Sun Ringer

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"Let her touch you with her magic, this time," Luna instructed me, taking Cobbler and standing back. I nodded and stood up straight, facing the giantess. I stepped forward.

She tilted her head curiously. Unsure of what I was doing. But, after a long moment of staring, she activated her magic again. This time I kept quiet as it enveloped me. Her magic felt different, heavy, yet gentle as if ran over me. She stopped after a couple minutes. Well, time was relative in dreams.

She sat back down and blinked a few times.

I sat down as well and watched her, waiting. If she was real, what did she want?

My apologies, but your mind is very different from mountains old. A voice resonated inside me head. I leapt back in shock. You seem easily frightened. Shall I leave you alone again?

Luna was at my side in an instant. "What happened, Gold? What did she do to you?"

"Nothing," I explained hurriedly. "I think she's talking in my head."

"But we're both in your head," she pointed out. "We should both be hearing her."

You make such strange sounds with your mouths. The voice went on, almost amused. Will you not converse with me?

"Um, hello?" I said, waving at the mare. She again looked confused.

Forgive me, I don't understand. She slumped a bit at the shoulder, seeming to be disappointed. Are you a foreign student? Have you come to learn to carve stones?

"What is she saying?" Luna asked.

"She's asking me if I want to learn to carve rocks," I answered, not taking my eyes off of the giantess. "But, she doesn't understand what I'm saying."

Luna thought for a minute. "Perhaps her language isn't verbal. Try thinking back at her. Direct your thoughts towards her."

I did just that, I asked her what she wanted.

I want to know if you want to learn to carve stone. She replied. Though she seemed happy that I actually replied. I was almost afraid you were incapable of speech. My name is Corner Stone. What is yours, dear student.

I replied back with an honest answer.

A prince? Here to learn to carve stone? she was surprised. I would be honored to teach you to carve stones. That is what you want right?

I answered her honestly, asking instead if she could teach me anything else. She lowered her head.

I carve stones. There is little to teach you outside of that. She sighed and looked at Luna. What is this strange creature who walks on two legs? If I may be so bold, prince.

I told her that was my auntie Luna.

Oh, a herd? Delightful. Corner Stone clapped her front hooves with a grin. I was beginning to worry I'd been asleep for so long that things had really changed.

"Uh, she doesn't seem to realize she's been asleep for millions of years," I quickly told Luna. I explained the other details of our conversation.

"She's... the Alicorn of Masonry?" Luna asked, sounding a little humorous. "Ask her what spells she knows."

The answer was less than satisfactory.

I use magic to lift hard stone to carve soft stone, light fire to stay warm, and hold spear to fight enemy of the empire. She seemed rather proud of herself. Oh, and link minds so I may teach students to carve stone for the empire.

I relayed this information to Luna. She was almost laughing now. "She... seems a little out of sorts, does she?"

I hated to admit it, but... she was right. Corner Stone didn't appear to be playing with a full deck. I asked her if she helped build the empire.

She nodded. I carved many of the stones, which my brother helped stack. We built house and fortress for our queen and her mountains.

Luna and I had to admit, that was actually interesting. Ask her who the mountains were. She seemed taken aback.

She pointed to herself. We are the mountains, the stackers of stone.

I thought on that. There was something so simple, yet primordially powerful about that statement. O asked her another question. I asked her who moved the sun.

She grew quiet for a moment, just staring at me. The king of course. He commands it's movements with his great red bell. Many gather near everyday, for it is believed that when you can see as it rings, you are healed.

I grew quiet. I turned and looked at my flank. So did the giantess. She gasped in awe.

Your destiny is the king's bell. She smiled. Have you come to relieve him of his duties? He has grown weary in his elder years. Perhaps your arrival shall dissuade him of his plan to move the world. We adore our king, but this is most foolish.

I decided to keep the part about the bell to myself. I told Luna bout everything else though. She was perplexed.

"It seems, perhaps the males of old were intelligent to some degree," she mused. I gave her an unamused groan. She apologized. "But, move the world? What could he hope to accomplish with that? How would it have been done? It would be like sitting on a chair and picking yourself up."

"Well, you could always throw magic into the mix," I suggested.

Luna shook her head. "No, don't be daft as an earth pony. Even magic has rules. In space there is nothing for your magic to push against."

Wow, racism. I snorted. "So. Besides everything else... what do we do about her?"

"Simple," Luna began with a shrug. "Ask here where she is that we might find her."

I lie upon my bed within my school of carving stones. She said in bemusement. Why else would I walk in your dream? Do you wish to learn in person? I assure you I can teach just as well in dreams if the distance is too great.

I shook my head. It was hard to explain. She was in for one hell of a shock. Mother and Twilight would probably have to handle the diplomacy on this one. But, I gave her one clear bit of instruction. Tell no one about the red bell.

She was a confused, but relented. As you wish, prince. I suppose our dear king can wait perhaps a while longer.

Hall of the Mountain Maker

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Corner Stone was very little help in finding her. Poor mare seemed rather absentminded. Even mother entered my dreams and we managed to get her to start conversing back and forth in jolly cooperation. But, she just couldn't seem to comprehend the idea that her friends were gone.

Where did they go? She would ask, and we would tell her that they died. She would laugh. Friendship never dies. I'll find them. Though, I'm sure someone else may be able to give you directions to my school.

Back and forth like this. A part of me wondered if this was the beginning of a coping mechanism. Twilight and mother were in agreement. We almost dreaded what it might be like when she discovered it for herself. Though, one thing she did not forget, her promise to keep the bell a secret.

The dome seemed to get bigger the more we explored it. We also began finding other pictures of Corner Stone here and there. But, seemed I was the only one affected by her entering my dreams. Mother was half wondering if perhaps it was something in the Apple family's genes I got from my father, Big Mac. There was certainly a case for it. But, it was the harvest season back on their farm, and she didn't want to drag them out into the desert on a theory.

She also figured Big Mac might just be scared were a giant fiery mare to suddenly appear in his dreams. It seemed wise to spare him that.

It was over a week before we found what our first clue to her location.

A wide open space as large as a ponyville and a bit beyond, filled with stones. Sure stones were everywhere, but these stones seemed to be in the process of being formed. They were in all shapes and sizes. From perfect spheres, to lopsided cubes and things that appeared to have no practical use what's so ever.

"This has to be it," Twilight said excitedly. "Look at them all. This must of been where her students practiced. Look at all the stone tools scattered about. They must have dropped them as when they tried to get out of the dome."

"Which begs the question," mother put in. "Why didn't she?"

Past the practice yard we came upon a ramp. They seemed to like their ramps. At the top of this one was an arch, barely visible on the outskirts of the light. Moving closer we came to room fit for a giant. The walls were lined with pedestals, upon which rested what must have been the students' best work. Perfect shapes, tools, even what appeared to be jewelry. There were three doors at the other end.

"Um, split up?" Twilight suggested. Mother gave a look and shook her head.

Seems we were not Scooby Dooing this job. I thought a moment. Scooby Doo... it was something from my original world. But, what was it again?

Hours later, after searching past the left and middle door, we started down the one that had to take us to the alicorn. The left door had been a cafeteria, judging by the stone plates and cups, as well as now fossilized bones on some of them. Seemed these giants were a little carnivorous. The middle was what appeared to be dormitories, now a tomb like the rest of this kingdom.

Yes, mother and everyone else was surprised to hear that this ancient kingdom had a king. While the queen, it seemed was the one who had founded this stone age empire, they seemed to put a ton of faith in their king. Though, I feared, he may have been the downfall of the ancient world.

Anyway, the right corridor led us to a winding ramp. We rested at the bottom before continuing. Our guard escort was getting a little bedraggled by this point. Couldn't blame them.

We eventually arrived at one last door. Passing through we felt warmth. Like it was shielded to maintain a perfect temperature. And it was past the door that we heard the snoring.

It's loud rumbling echoed about the room. It was a much smaller room than I had expected, so it was easy to find the culprit. AKA Corner Stone the ancient alicorn.

She lying in a pit of dust that may have once been her bed. Or maybe it was her bed. It kind of made sense. Her golden mane was no longer aflame, and she looked quite thin outside the dream.

Mother instructed the guards to stay back outside the door, and had Twilight and myself step off to the side. She alone walked up to the giantess and cleared her throat.

The ancient mare instinctively reach out her hooves in her slumber and grabbed her. She then proceeded to snuggle her like a teddy bear and she rolled over onto her back, which seemed to have quieted her snores/ Mother, for her part seemed an odd mixture of horrified and amused.

Twilight, however was freaking out.

"Oh no, what do we do, what do we do? she could accidentally crush her."

"No, I can withstand much more than this," mother said, trying to pry herself loose, to no success. She didn't want to risk teleportation, as it was a spell we didn't believe she knew of. Yes, Twilight had compiled a whole list of does and don'ts when on this diplomatic mission. "Gold, she doesn't seem to be responding to the mental messages I'm sending her. Perhaps she's more fond of you."

I sighed and flapped over to the head of the giantess and raised a hoof, swatting her nose. Both mother and Twilight were horrified at the resounding SPLAT it made. The mare was undamaged however, but, now her eyes were open.

Releasing my mother, she rolled over onto her stomach and rose up to her full height. Mother beat her wings hard and grabbed me before retreating back with Twilight. She stood in front of us defensively. Both these mares seemed ready to scold me something fierce when this was over.

Corner Stone, for her part, blinked the eons of sleep from her eyes and turned them upon us. She smiled and rubbed her nose. Seemed it was sore now.

Welcome, friends. You finally arrived. Apologies. I am a very heavy sleeper. There's a club by the door my students often use for these occasions. We looked and saw nothing but a pile of dust. Seems it's been misplaced. Well, I bid you welcome to my School of Carving Stones.

She looked to my mother with a broad grin. I can't recall. Did you wish to enroll your son?


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I have never seen a mare more broken hearted. She had refused to believe us time and again. She told us she wanted to check on her students in the dormitories before heading out. She collapsed at the sight of all her mummified loved ones. She may not have spoken with words, but she sure could cry without them. To spare you some of the details, she was ready to believe us now.

Bringing her back to the underground camp garnered a ton of shocked expressions. Even if we had made everypony aware of our mission, it was still a shock to see a giantess walk in your midst.

First course of action feeding her the first meal in a million plus years. Even in her sorrow she gazed at that plates in disbelief, pushing the food aside as she picked them up in her magic. What stone are these made from?

It was aluminum. Then there was the silver silverware, the armor the guards wore, and the very nails in the table itself. Metal being so foreign. It helped take her mind off her great loss.

How did I not awaken? she asked. I've never slept more than six days before. Unless... the sudden lack of oxygen placed in a state of suspended animation. Perhaps my magic saw fit to keep me still until the kiln was reopened.

She spoke of her magic as a separate entity. Mayhap more wild and less tamable in the primordial state she existed.
Twilight for her was taking notes like mad. Gee, when was the last time she was home? I'm sure Spike and her foals missed her. Not to mention her herdsisters and their stud.

Corner Stone was very patient with Twilight as she poked and prodded her. Like a filly with a new pet, this one. Then she let out a eep as Twilight touched something more sensitive. Maybe less like a filly, more mare without boundaries. She scowled a bit and pushed the lavender alicorn away.

I forgive you this time, don't do that. She warned. Twilight apologized profusely ad went back to work, more considerate this time.

I however, had rather bold question to ask, one that shocked mother, and half those who knew me. The other half really knew me. Corner Stone was a little wide-eyed for a moment, then made a noise akin to chuckling as she spread her hind legs in her seated position.

My udder lacks the milk you desire, but please indulge yourself, young colt.

Mother sighed. "Gold... I thought you'd gotten over your attack-every-breast-in-sight phase."

"Mostly," I told her as I got up close to the magnificent mammary glands. "But these are different."

Corner Stone ceased her examining of the modern wonders and started to eat the food we offered. Her eyes went wide, for such food hadn't existed back in her era. She barraged my mother with countless questions about everything she ate. Carrots, eggplant, and bacon. She seemed to love bacon. Yes, we eat some meat every now and then, sure me.

I laughed as began using my magic to wipe away the dust that had collected. Then a wet towel appeared in front of my face. Turning, I saw Lyra shaking her head. "You are going to wash those teats until you can see yourself in the reflection before you put your mouth on them. Understand, young colt?"

I grinned sheepishly and nodded. Corner Stone appreciated my ministrations, telling me as much. Soon enough the dull gray dust was and in their place, beautiful black nipples. Lyra came over to inspect my work before letting me continue.

"Good job," she said. "And you'll be helping her wash her later. You shouldn't just walk up to a strange mare and ask that. You're big colt now."

I suppose I deserved that little talking too. It was a little rude, but, the immediate rewards were worth it. I latched onto one of the nipples and began dry nursing. The giant flesh was soft and easily conformed to my mouth.

Thank you. Corner Stone told me, gently patting my head with a hoof. It is good to feel such a gentle touch. Though, be grateful I'm not such a prude as other females of my day. You'd have been in the corner for a week at least.

* * *

Then came the moment to try and get her outside. However, the entrance was far to small her. Or any of the giants. It was quite the puzzle. For the rest of us, at least.

That's not the entrance. That's the where we were going to light the World Mover. She explained as if it was the most obvious thing.

"Then where's the exit?" mother asked, then turned and mindspoke to Corner Stone.

There is no exit. Were her ominous words.

"No exit?" was the echoed reply once mother had relayed what she said. We asked her why that was.

So that no one would be sheltered from the great heat of the moving flame. She sounded so matter-of-fact. Though... seems it was not sealed properly. I dread to think what happened two the other eleven World Movers.

The fact that there was eleven more of these great domes was a forgone conclusion, we had all seen the map. But what she called them was distressing to the ear. We asked her if there was a way out. She nodded.

Merely move the stones out of the way so you may step out into the sun.

Good advice. Were not the stones that made up the dome each the size of a building. And trapped under meters upon meters of sand and rock. Perhaps breaking the floor, might be the best suggestion.


Or just teleport her and ourselves up into the obsidian chamber above. Twilight was nearly panicking, while mother just judged the giant's reaction.

She was still for a very long time. Unsure what had happened. The, with a cough, she smiled.

I'm not sure what you did. But, please teach me. I would never have to walk again. She was alright.

Then I asked an important question. What was the purpose of the World Movers she had mentioned.

Why, to move the world of course.

King of Embers

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Our king moved the sun, was a statement in this world that took almost everyone's breath away.

We sat in the shade of an outcrop in the canyon. A few million years underground tended to make one a little sensitive to sunlight. Corner Stone was encircled by a number of archeologists and historians, Twilight and Mother at the front, with myself close by. It was barely an hour since she'd seen the sun again. She was amazed at how the landscape had changed. Claiming it had one been a forest of trees with a giant lake.

Twilight wanted as many ponies recording as possible, not wanting to miss a single word.

He would call her name and bring us the morning, then sing her farewell, to give us night. She had a faraway look in her eye, as if she was actually watching her king. His name was Cinder Spark, for he was the son of the first king, who lit the first fire. Ages came and went, he kept up his duty. First in solitude. Then a mare caught his eye, and it wasn't long before they were wed.

Not sure if anyone really knew what a wedding was in Equestria. Until now anyway, Mother had a glint of recognition in her eyes. Though it was faint.

He had many designs, but was busy tending the fires and calling they sun's name. So he sought those who might make them a reality. My brother and I shaped and stacked the first stones. We became his chief architects. We taught the tribes the art of carving stone, and stacking them so they would not fall down. I hope he is alright, my brother.

We were all very sad for her, of course, but, we needed more answers to satisfy this raging curiosity that burned in our brains. We sent nice thought in her direction, of assurance and hope. She seemed to appreciate it. I asked her if her brother was almost as larger as her.

She replied that she was almost as large as him. Great a bigger giant possibly slumbering beneath the world. Hopefully as well mannered.

His bride became the first queen. Her name Field of Reeds, for her man was just as glorious. Her ambition ignited just as though Cinder had caught her aflame. She made his designs bigger, and built our kingdom around him, keeping him safe. For all his strength he was not that strong. We loved our king and knew his enemies beneath the vermin of foulest disease. Those who would see the first fire extinguished.

It was fairly interesting to hear. This king was perhaps not so giant as I had envisioned. Though, maybe larger than most stallions of today. Still though, as I listened, I realized that there was once a great race that valued their males. I had some private questions to ask her sometime.

He wished no one be burdened with calling the sun's name to make the morning. Though we sympathized, there was none who could take the duty from him. And he could only stop if he wished up to perish. He loved us too much in return. Then, one morning, he came directly to me. Speaking of a knew project that would end his need to call the sun's name. He gave me his designs of the World Movers.

Here it was, the thing everyone was waiting for.

Twelve great stone kilns, thick as twice of me and many times as tall. Each would be filled with the exact amount of fuel of the same kind, stacked to the smoke release on top. A large window at the body to feed the flames. When lit they would suck in great amount of cold air from the bottom and push higher amounts of warm air through the smaller hole in the top, creating thrust.

Was she just describing what I thought she was describing? My mind did a couple backflips as I tried to dismiss such an idea as too wild..

To light them, there would be a loose stone in the bottom through which they could be lit safely. But, the power of these mighty movers, we feared, would need a great foundation to hold it still so we would not lose our course. My brother conceived of the dome, stones shaped to lean on each other for strength, stronger than any flat surface could manage. We moved his people within them, seeing them as shelter from the heat these greatest flames would surely produce. When it was over, we would open them up and let them watch the sun guide itself across the sky, free of her bonds.

But... I had many fears... now realized... but I cannot blame him in his eagerness to be free himself. None of us could have known. I voiced my fears, urging him to instead find a pupil who he could teach to move the sun in his stead. But, he called such a thing a curse, unfit for even the darkest beings. His queen believed in his ambitions, as well as her own, and supported him as a good queen should. Even, I pray not, to her own folly. My brother too, had concerns. For we both knew stone better than our brightest students. But, we trusted our king, and knew he was right. The sun need not be chained, lest our end fail and we perish in the cold blackness.

She lowered her head and we saw giant tears splash upon the ground.

My poor foolish king. When did our love not become enough? Surely, had we truly concerned ourselves, this trouble and death I have awoken too would never be.

We were all quiet, giving her time to decide whether or not she wanted to continue now. This was going to be hard on her for many years to come, most likely. She could have been the last of her kind. And she never even got to say goodbye.

He must have secretly been planning the lighting of the fires. For I was asleep when they lit. At the same time, in the same hour, on the same moment, the fires would be lit and our world would moved. The bonds of control would shift from our king's voice, to the sun's own pull. We instead bring in a new era of the world moving around the sun.

My Armor

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Mother was contemplating bringing Corner Stone to Canterlot. Well, more like already making plans in designing a own home big enough to accommodate her. She wanted her on the palace grounds where she would also be near her magic school. Speaking of which, I had asked mother if I could learn more magic there. She has assured me that she can teach me better than all her professors.

Twilight and multiple medical ponies were examining our giant friend at the moment. Not wanting her to be exposed to modern diseases unprepared. Mother took this time fly us back to Canterlot, saying that we needed to do some things while we waited for our new friend to be checked over and prepared for what she was about to see outside of the canyon.

Back home she told me to close my eyes, and then put an arm about my barrel and led me through the palace to who-knew-where. I heard multiple whispers about us, and then I heard the unmistakable sound of the throne room doors opening. That heavy creak of season oak.

"Alright," she said with a giggle, "open your eyes, Gold."

I did just that, and gasped at what I saw. I looked at mother. She nodded.

"Put it on," she instructed me.

* * *

My armor had been finished. Some servants helped me put it on. First they laid a soft red blanket upon my back, lined with white fur. This acted as an insulative layer between the metal and my fur to avoid pinching and chaffing. As well as providing warmth. Next came the crinet, a thick leather guard on my neck and head, braced with metal bands for extra protection.

The crupper, I felt, was the heaviest part. hundred of individually shaped metal feathers, linked together underneath, creating an almost organic appearance as it was laid upon my back. The tail-guard was fashioned quite similarly, almost flowing with the crupper, while remaining its own individual piece. The front of the crupper latched about my neck like grand collar.

The peytral was like a mysterious bird of prey, locking to the collar to protect my chest. Now it seemed like the rest of the armor was an extension of its wings. Then came the most marvelous bit of engineering.

I want to call it flanchard, but it was also armor for my wings. It set upon my middle, strapping the rest of my armor down with it by thick leather belts. It was much more plate in design, mostly due to my wings being my most fragile bones. There was no squeak or stiffness in them as I flexed my wings experimentally.

As soon as my greaves were slipped on, flexibly jointed piece of plate metal, mother summoned a full length mirror so I could get a good look at myself. I looked awesome. It was gold though, but, it still looked awesome. It might have almost been mistaken for a second skin, as it matched my own fur so well.

It was studded with multiple rubies on every piece. The largest residing on my chest and wings. A tingling in my horn told me there were enchantments woven throughout it.

"Indeed, there are," mother informed me when I asked her. "Which is why I requested it be made of gold, as softer metals will retain enchantments easier and longer. I specifically designed it for flexibility and adjustments as you grow."

"It is very flexible," I moved, twisting this way and that. I loved watching it move with me, adding to the illusion it was a part of me. "Were it not so heavy, I'd barely notice it."

"Ah, yes, that's going to take some getting used to," she chuckled and she scratched my chin and laughed at my antics. "Which is why I invited a special guest to help train you in getting used to it."

"A guest?" I asked, tilting my head. "Who?"

As if on queue, then again, mother did love being dramatic, the doors opened and in came some very familiar faces.

"Hello, Gold Coast," Cadance said with a smile from atop her stud, who was decked out in his own heavy battle armor. I was about eye level with the large stallion, yet he was definitely much more experienced and likely stronger than me. I'm ashamed to say I gave a step back.

Cadance dismounted and kissed her mate's cheek. "Don't worry Gold, I'm not expecting you to fight each other. Your mother just requested that we visit for a month so Shiny here can show you some drills to getting used to armor. Though, yours does appear quite a bit lighter."

"Well, I did have the Captain's armor designed to face dragons," mother mused, looking at me. She shook her head. "No, you're far too young to be trained in that regard, Gold. Maybe when your older."

I dreaded to think what kind of training Shining had to go through to battle dragons. Though, perhaps, I was soon to get a taste of it.

* * *

A taste indeed. More like a mouthful. Even after a week, flying was so hard. Mother ensured I trained every day with the war stallion. He was deceptively fast in that armor of his. Most of the training consisted of me having to try and keep up with him as we ran around a track. Sometimes throwing some hurdles in our way for us to jump over. It was an absolute relief when I got to take a break.

I'm an alicorn, supposed to be the mightiest of beings. A mere colt before an middle aged unicorn. I kind of wanted to get back to Corner Stone and hear more stories. But mother was adamant about me getting used to the armor. The only time I could take it off was at night, when it would be cleaned and polished for the next day of hard work.

Meanwhile, I did get to catch glimpses Corner Stone's personal home being constructed on the palace grounds. But, I guess that was a story for later. Right now, my break was over and I had get back to work.

A Night of Personal Conversation

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Let's say, for arguments sake, that mother half planned on keeping me in that suit of armor forever. Now, she hadn't said anything, but the thought had crossed my mind. She did tend to worry like a mother hen.

Now, how did a stallion teach another stallion in this world? I mean, mares were there to help in the training as well, but it seemed very important to have an experienced stallion to show them the ropes. Much like how wild animals would train their young to fend for themselves in the wild, a lot of rough play and repetition until they inexperienced learned to copy.

But, as I said, they taught their young. So for it to work, the mare in charge, often mated to the stallion in charge of the exercise, would have to convince him that the strange stallions were actually his young. Thus came a reason for herd communion.

Before training ever started, Cadance had taken both of us someplace private and nursed me, encouraging Shining to get close. Now, he was already used to me, she was just reinforcing the idea in his mind. He was very caring in his ministrations, nuzzling and sniffing me inquisitively.

When she was satisfied that we were familiarized, she led us to the training yard and said one simple thing before backing away.


The next thing I knew I was backed into a corner, half terrified of the raging stallion, but, as soon as I felt there was no way for me to fight back, he calmed down and backed away. Prancing a bit in a happy fashion. He went back to the middle of the field and tapped his hooves, bobbing his head in encouragement.

It was the same result every day. He would win the little contest, proving himself the dominant one. Then encourage me to try again. Sometimes he would use magic to catch me off guard, resulting in me using magic in return. The beast had an impenetrable shield that I could not pierce.

Cadance found it all in good fun. Even mother came to watch when she could, laughing, yet urging me to try something else. But, no matter what I tried, he was simply better than me. I was only eleven after all.

That shield interested me though. That would be a really useful spell to know. I began asking mother to let me go to her school. I hadn't really been so earnest before, but Shining Armor had invigorated something in me. Even my wet-nurses began asking her. Her will may have begun to crack.

She couldn't protect me forever, no matter what she thought. The assassins were sure to target me within or without the palace just as easily. I just felt that maybe she'd feel better if I was surrounded by gifted magic users.

Anyway. Things were going hard, and I found myself missing my new friend, Corner Stone. That night I managed to slip from my room and find her. Sure, I would regret the lack of sleep in the morning, but that was future me's problem. She wasn't so hard to find.

Supposedly she had been fascinated by the tiny bricks(relatively) that made up her new home along the outer wall of the palace. The concept of making stones appeared to baffle her. Might as well have said we took carpenter supplies and made apples. I had a feeling, with her almost singular focus, that she may have been feeling a little obsolete these days.

Her house wasn't as huge as you might believe. No bigger than a two story cottage that only had one floor. Mother wanted her to feel as at home as possible. The bricks were more an oversight. There were plenty of carved stones as well, fittingly making up the stairs up to her great door, and likely passed them for her floor. She even commissioned a slate roof for her.

I quietly opened the front door. It was unlocked. Seems she didn't fear intruders, or perhaps she welcomed them. She lay in the center of her home, in a hollow in the stones filled with dust. Turns out that was her bed after all. A special kind of dust that was soft and didn't cling to her fur.

She was also surrounded by dozens of carved stones. Laying nearby her hoof was an assortment of giant steel chisels and the biggest mallet I had ever seen. Seems she Celestia wanted her to continue her work.

Hello, your highness. I heard her somber voice echo in my head. I thought she was a hard sleeper. I am... I merely was not asleep. I have been contemplating my place in this new world.

She shifted herself on her bed of dust and sighed as it rolled off of her back into its hollow. I am... without peer. As this world stands far above mine. Your mother tells me these are such simple tools. To me... they were gifts from a god. In my era, stone carving was the highest art. Now... it is but a hobby.

She hefted a perfect cube in her magic, a piece of granite as smooth as glass. I made this in mere moments, fractions of what it would have taken me before. This un-stone, this metal... is truly a blessed material of divine conception. Imagine the lives it could have saved.

It had also taken many lives I informed her. She scoffed. All things take lives. It is best that you survive with the best there is available, rather than die for fear something new would do harm. Then again, not all things are profitable. She held up a pointed chisel in an almost reverent fashion. This is most profitable.

I came and sat beside her on the bed. Gee, it really was comfy. These stone age ponies were really onto something. It was just missing blankets. I asked her what she planned to do.

I plan to find whether I am alone in this world or not. She lowered her head, lowering the tools at the same time. You small things are a delight. But, I see nothing familiar. Strange creatures you are. Females that walk on two legs in such and alien fashion, and males much like what I remember, save their voices... their minds don't seem to call out. And... what is done to them, by mothers to their own flesh...

She looked at me, a look in her eyes. I am afraid. And I feel you are too. I was taken aback, but said nothing. I burnt entire villages down, and crushed the heads of my enemies with stones in the name of survival and my king. But, I am nowhere near as barbaric as this tragic future is.

I asked her what she meant. What about our time was so barbaric to her.

That your life is so cheap. She said, draping a wing over me. These wicked mothers choose for their sons their future. They treat it like selecting meat for a feast. That which is perfect, and that which is fit only for the beasts beneath the tables. My king would have been most displeased. She grinned then, showing off some very sharp, very unponylike teeth. My queen, would have demanded this place be razed to the ground.

Her grin faded and she shook her head. But... you mother moves the son. The king's bell is needed no more. I have no one to serve. I wish to stay here, near you, prince, for I owe you my life. I'd still be asleep, were it not for you. Perhaps until the stars died and the great rock mounds turned to dust. Though I do not believe there is anything I can teach you, I have strength I am willing to lend.

U patted her wing. feeling a deeper connection between us. We were rather the same. I even pointed out to her the similarities between us. She chuckled.

Coincidence, I would believe. Though, were my queen alive, I would see it as some sort of sign. She quieted, just enjoying my company. Her small smile was precious, almost filly like.

I had another question though. I asked her why her kind were named after the mountains. For she had called themselves mountains in our earliest meetings. She tilted her head, confused.

Why would we name ourselves after stone peaks? No, our king named them after us.

School Supplies: Part 1

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Round about the time it was for Shining and Cadance to return to their empire, and after much pleading, mother finally caved. I was going to school to learn magic. Huh... I'm eleven... no... I don't have a scar, and I'm pretty sure my parents weren't killed by wizard Nazis. Oh, no-no-no. I was the descendant of a Nazi. Oh boo.

Well, mother decided to send me off with my favorite wetnurse, Lyra, naturally, and our latest guest, the primordial giantess to do some shopping. As well as an escort of guards. Our dear new friend wanted to see the sights of this grand new age.

And, for whatever reason, when we had mentioned shopping to her, she had spent nearly and hour carving stones into eight wheels, which she rolled beside her in her magic. They rumbled something fierce, as they were each the size of a regular coach's wheel, maybe a little bigger, and weighed more than I did.

When we asked her what she was doing her response was very simple.

You can't go shopping without wheels, young prince. Surely you know that.

We feigned knowledge, and let her do what she needed, then strode out in the streets of Canterlot.

Now, to begin our journey, I should tell you that mother had been having a terrible time fighting off the press about the latest alicorn. So terrible, in fact, that she had generated a shield about the lonely giant's home to keep unwanted pests from disturbing her. The flashing lights may not have scared her, but all the silly chattering upset her to no end. Not in a violent manner, but rather a childish sulk.

What little the news had managed to find out was eaten up by the ponies outside the palace. Come to think of it, this was also going to be my first time mingling with the common pony since my birthday. Just what was the news saying about me? Well, as soon as those gates opened, I find out.

There was a snitch in the palace. Not that a crowd wasn't expected, but a crowd holding up signs that said 'We Love Prince Gold Coast' or 'Prince Gold's Fan club', and even 'The Bigger Prince Gold Fan Club' could not have been a coincidence. Even though I road upon an ancient giant of a grand stone age empire, many eyes seemed to be turned towards me.

"Seems, you have some fans, Gold," Lyra giggled suspiciously. No... not her. She saw my accusing eyes and nodded. "Yep. I just wanted to show you that the ponies outside the nobility were much more enthusiastic about your sudden abilities."

Next thing I knew, a Pegasus filly appeared beside me, somehow getting passed the guards. She held up a notebook and a quill. I dumbly just wrote my name on the front page, then she hugged me and flew off triumphantly. I was frozen in stupidity.

"Well, say hello," Lyra pushed me.

"Um... hello everypony," I said with a nervous grin. Facing nobles was one thing, but this was a throng of ponies whose family trees actually forked. That is to say, their brains weren't as decayed.

The crowd erupted into screams of excitement. The giantess continued to ask me what was happened.

They've never seen a male speak? She was aghast, though she had been explained how this different world worked. It still horrifies me to no end.

The guards eventually managed to clear a path for us and we made our way, under Lyra's direction, towards the market and what supplies we needed.

I had been out of the palace before. Been to Ponyville for my first circumcision, yes, first, as everything just grew back... mother insisted. I've been in parades, been to toy stores, a few parks, even a candy store. But never had there been crowds like this.

So many ponies just happy to see me. I must not cry now. It might damage their image of me.

Our first stop, of course, was the bookstore. Corner Stone was too big to come inside, so she sat outside to keep the following crowds attention/act as a barrier. The inside was cozy as you might imagine a bookstore to be.

The owner of said store was an older unicorn mare of blue. She wore simple homespun clothes and wore those coke-bottle glasses your used to seeing in cartoons. With these comical lenses she creepily stared at me, open mouthed as Lyra helped me select the books I would need for my classes.

Alchemy and Chemistry: How to Make Gold and not set Your House on Fire Vol 1-9, Simple Spells to Stump your Siblings, Playground Pranks and their Real World Applications, Divine Miracles and Dividing by Zero, Wild Magics and When to Avoid Them, Magical Creatures, Enchantments and Ergonomics: The Practical Methods, Potions and Poisons: How not to Get Them Mixed, and lastly Mathematics of Mysticism. Lyra said these were good for a start, I would need more as lessons progressed though.

At the counter, Lyra handed over a receipt with Celestia's seal on it. Good at any bank or business, and saved Royalty from having to carry heavy bags of gold.

"So," said the mare behind the counter, leaning over to get a closer look at me. "This is the prince? Is it true that he can talk?"

I looked at her in a most incredulous fashion. "You could ask me, rather than act like I'm not here."

She jumped back as if she had been bitten. Then, a moment, later, she laughed. "Ooooh… this... this has to have upset the status quo." Her laughter grew louder, then she cleared her throat. "Forgive me. Its just a little... chaotic, don't you think? First a male alicorn, then a talking male alicorn, then your giant friend outside... perhaps I've read too many stories, but things can only get more interesting from here, am I right?"

Lyra nodded, gripping my armor, mother had insisted I where it to show off to the kingdom, or help protect me, and gave a gentle tug. Signaling that she really wanted to leave. I had no desire to argue. This mare was off-putting. I smiled nervously and said goodbye.

"Wait," she said, stopping us in our tracks as if by magic. "I think you may be interested in one other book. Give me a second."

She reached under her counter and pulled up a book, dusty and old like her. She held it out to me. I took it in my magic and looked it over curiously. There was no title, not even any words inside it. "What... what is this?"

She cleared her throat. "Ahem... I... Glitter Omnibus, do hereby bestow up this fair prince, this book and all its ownership."

Instantly, the book began to transform, becoming like new. I just stared as I watched my name appear on the cover. "Prince Gold Coat's Guide to Personal Growth? I... I don't understand."

Lyra, for her part was blown away in awe. "Is that Wooly Weaver Enchanted Book? I didn't think they existed anymore."

The mare shook her head. "It could be the last one. It has to be willingly transferred to another pony to rejuvenate its power. For as the bearer ages, so does the book. I figure an alicorn should be able to get more from it than any other pony."

Lyra took it from me and put it in the bottom of the bag, under the other books, marking it as very important. This time, she shook the mare's hand in thanks before we left. I had to ask her what it was for.

School Supplies: Part 2

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"A Wooly Weaver book, a book enchanted by the librarian sorceress Wooly Weaver, is a special book designed for all who read it," Lyra went on to explain as we got back on Corner Stone's back. "She wanted a way to help ponies without having to interact with them herself. She was very shy. So she created this enchantment, to make a book that could act as a companion. It offers advice, and the more you use it, the better it's advice becomes, because it gets to know you, like an actual friend. Though... I wouldn't be taking its advice too early yet."

"Can I see it?" I asked. Lyra looked about, then dug into the bag and passed it to me.

"We're going to get potion-making supplies, ask it for the best location," she told me.

I did just that. A name appeared. "The Black Cauldron? Where's that?"

"Out of business for years," Lyra explained, taking the book back and hiding it. "Went to their going-out-of-business sale as a filly to get my own supplies for Celestia's School. Got a great deal. Was probably the place to go when Glitter Omnibus was a filly... however..."

"It's like our friend here," I said, patting Corner Stones back. She looked at me and I just smiled, she smiled too then went back to walking, following a guard on the back of a stallion to our next destination. "Needs to get used to more modern times."

"Exactly," Lyra said with a nod. She looked down to our left at the stone wheels rolling beside us. "Just what is she planning to use those for?"

Mother had chosen the route we would be taking, knowing all the best shops for what we needed. The Picked Poison was our next stop. Posted outside was a sign 'Absolutely Nopony Under 20, NO ACCEPTIONS'.

"I'll make an acceptation for royalty," said the old mare who ran the shop. She pointed her crooked cane at me. "Just don't touch anything. "You may be able to talk, but you're still male. Most the stuff in this store could kill just about anypony in an instant. One hoof out of line and I'll throw you out, Celestia's son or not."

"Charming, isn't she," I said in a hushed tone as she walked away. Lyra nodded.

"Just stick close to me and don't touch anything. The sooner we're out of here, the better," she commented, looking over her list of items. "Wow... your mother seems to want to you to have your own laboratory. Lucky-lucky colt. Let's see... beakers..."

It was an incredibly well detailed shop. Well polished tubes and bottles of all shapes and sizes. Containers of ingredients made of wood, metal, glass, crystal and even a few of leather. Some bottles were strapped down with chains, the ingredients writhing about inside in desperation to escape, these were labeled with 'ASK THE STAFF FOR ASSITANCE'.

Holy water, imitation holy water, unholy water, and regular water. That odd quartet drew my attention for minute. "Regular water? What's that about?"

"It's water in it's most normal state," Lyra explained, taking a bottle of the stuff as it seemed to be on our list. "Very hard to come by."

That just brought up more questions. But, fearing a headache, I followed her to the next aisle.

Plants. Potted, hanging, and even a few hovering. Seeds were sold separately on the other side. A few, creepily, followed us as she selected a small plant in a pot covered by a glass lid. A Biting Begonia, the foul thing lashed out at Lyra's hands with its many petal covered in many more teeth. She just laughed.

"Careful with this one, they don't like strangers. Take care of her long enough and she'll let you take her petals willingly."

I had to visit mother's exotic garden at some point. It had just become more interesting. She got a packet of seeds for snap dragons and centipede orchid. I shivered at the thought of what that last one might look like.

"Ah, perfect, safety equipment," Lyra said with a smile, which soon faded as she realized that a lot of the safety equipment was not for quadrupedal hooved mammals. The gloves would be useless, I would trip over the apron. About the only thing useful to me was the goggles. "Some of this stuff is going to have to be made custom, Gold. Though, a respirator, a military surplus store should have one for a stallion your size."

Military grade equipment for school. Nice.

Our basket was pretty full by the time we had finished. I had Lyra set it on my back so I could take the weight off of her. The mare behind the counter kept an eye on me in an almost contemptuous fashion as she marked up all the items for the royal receipt.

I had been a good colt. Check that, I was a model child. Thusly, I glared back at her in equal disdain for each other's presence. Call me immature if you will, but I was going to enjoy being eleven, thank you.

"That was awful," Lyra commented as we left. "It felt like she was following us around the whole store. Probably has some sort of scrying scroll behind the counter to watch guests she doesn't trust."

What wonderous materials. Was all that Corner Stone had to say. She seemed a little upset at not being able to go inside. Though, she insisted she had no interest in apothecaries. Apparently apothecaries were a thing in her old empire. I hope we can stop to eat soon. These crowds are rather exciting.

Seems she'd been entertaining the crowds while we were inside. Juggling mostly, she informed us, though she had sung too. Though no one could hear her. I wonder what kind of songs she used to sing in her land of long ago.

"We'll stop at nice outdoor restaurant so she can join us," Lyra told me, then mentally messaged our ride the same. She perked up at that and had a little bounce in her step as she followed the wet-nurses directions.

School Supplies: Part 3

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baroness Lyra seemed to have some keen insight for good outdoor restaurants that could accommodate our fine guest. This one was run by a mare named Saffron Masala and her father. Well, her father mainly pulled a trolley with on it from table to table. Fat and a little grumpy, but he did his work well. Seems her mother had died some years ago and she'd been taking care of her father since. Which was sweet.

Though, we nearly gave her a heart attack when we brought Corner Stone to the tables outside.

"I am afraid we don't have big enough chairs," she said in a distant voice as she stared.

The giantess wasn't too familiar with such furnishings anyway, she was all to happy to sit and enjoy the smells, as well as the attention. She just ate it up. Must have been popular way back when too.

Lyra ordered a curry bun and I did the same. For our friend we ordered three of everything on the menu. Quite the sales day for the restaurant. You've never seen such a mighty being in a state of bliss as she tried foods that hadn't even been conceived when she roamed the world with a stone spear.

It was also then that we found what the wheels were for.

Why won't they accept my wheels? she asked us curiously as she tried to push a couple of the giant stone creations into Saffron's hooves. I know I carved them right. Does she not want to be paid? We had to explain to her that stone wheels weren't exactly accepted currency these days. She seemed unconvinced. But, everyone needs wheels. What else could your economy use?

Lyra had brought a few bits for personal reasons and showed them to her.

What use are those? You cannot move a cart with them.

"She'd be surprised how you could move with those," I mumbled in good humor. While she and my wetnurse bickered back and forth about modern economics, I returned to my bun. So delicious.

Then there was a tug at my armor. Looking over I saw nothing. Down, however, I was met with a gaggle of small fillies.

"Um... hello?" I smiled kindly at them. They all jumped back with a range of high pitched squeaks, but continued to stare. "How can your prince assist you?"

One of them, taller than the rest, probably the leader, stepped forward. "M-Mr... how is it that you can talk?"

I shrugged. "Just something that came with the territory, I suppose."

She did not seem satisfied with that answer. "My mother says that's impossible. She thinks Celestia has been experimenting with forbidden magic. Are you really a mare that got transformed into a colt?"

I blinked. What? That was a new one. "Uh... no? I pretty sure I've always been male."

"But mother says that's impossible," she said matter-of-factly. The other fillies nodded. Were they all of the same brood or something.

"Well, then, obviously, your mother is... wrong," I flatly stated. Their gasps of horror at what I had just said were almost cute. "Something wrong?"


The lead filly had actually slapped me. The sound drawing everypony's attention. I just stared. "Well... someone's a spoiled little thing."


Lyra was between us in an instant. "What in Tartarus gives you the right to assault the crown prince of Equestria, you little brat?"

The filly pointed an accusing finger at me. "He called my mother stupid."

I would have retorted, but I was above that. I knew the type too well. Any defense we try and raise, they just play the victim card.

Lyra huffed. "If she raised a little monster like you, then I would he's right."

I barely kept myself from bursting into laughter. I watched in disguised amusement as all the little fillies gasped again in horror of what the mint mare had just dared say to them.

"You... you can't say that," the filly protested.

Lyra leaned down to her level and smiled wickedly. "The prince is very kind. Too a fault even. You attacked him and he just shrugged it off like nothing. I on the other hand, am not so forgiving."

The filly smirked up at her. "Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do about it? Huh?"

Lyra stood up straight and called over a guard. "Find this filly's mother I'm sure she and Celestia are going to have a lovely chat about this incident."

Gee, the shade of white the filly became made snow look like tar. "No... wait... you can't do that."

Lyra turned and ignored her pleas as the guard stood over her, smiling equally as evil as she asked for her to show her to her mother. The tears and cries were like music to me. Justice had been served. Who knew it tasted so sweet? Was it any wonder that Lyra was one of my favorite friends?

She sat back down and acted as if nothing had happened.

"Thank you," I said gratefully.

She looked at me and smiled. "No problem. Even if you weren't royalty... no one, and I mean no one, treats my colt like that. Good self control though. I wouldn't have blamed you had you decided to slap her back."

"I didn't want to hurt her," I explained with a chuckle.

Lyra shrugged. "A little pain might have been exactly what she needed."

"I think having her mother and my mother talk about her actions is punishment enough," I said as I watched the guard lead the filly away by the hand. No, I would not feel sorry for her. "So... what's next on the list?"

"After dessert," Lyra chided me before looking at her list. "That would be... Baggy Bagger's Bags, for your school bags."

I nodded. "Alright. Do I need a uniform?"

"It'll have to be tailored," she told me, but nodded. "But, we still have other places afterwards. Gotta make sure your prepared for everything... I'm half convinced that you mother had Twilight write this list."

I nodded and shook my head. A strange circular motion if you must know. "Sounds like something she would do."

School Supplies: Part 4

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Baggy Bagger's Bags had what you would expect. Bags. And suitcases, backpacks. Basically anything that held an item(s) for travel. She even had an entire section dedicated to sheath and scabbards for weapons. Quivers for arrows/bolts. She even had a case for cannonball. That is, one cannonball. She had others that held more. But the option to hold just one was apparently in style.

"No-no. Gold, over here," Lyra called me from looking at the weapons cases. "I know those are nice, but, Bonbon's taking over for me tonight, and I'd love to spend some alone time with my stud before midnight."

I grunted as I turned away. Mother wasn't ready to let me walk about with a weapon yet anyway.

She showed me a suitcase, had a lovely brown leather exterior. "This is a spatial matrix suitcase, these are great space savers. Watch." She opened it up and I looked inside, then down-down-down. "See? lots of space inside where you could safely store your lab equipment and books, with plenty of room for uniforms and toys, should you desire."

I looked up and grinned. Why hadn't I known about these things in the first place? "Um, are there any that are bigger on the inside?"

Se tilted her head. "How big do you think you'll need?"

"Oh... say... palace sized?" It was a long shot, but I did have some faith in magic.

She shook her head. "No... Gold. Nothing like that. What would you need with anything that size anyway? You could get lost if you ever fell inside. Goodness help you if you didn't have a ladder. Though, you do have wings. Sorry."

I nodded and sighed. "It's alright... I more just curious than anything else."

"They do have some in the size of large basement though," she said nonchalantly as she reached up and grabbed another suitcase. This one was made of wood, and was much heavier. "The Traveler's Inn on the Go. I suppose it could be useful. You could have an entire lab and library set up inside. Though... I would suggest installing wheel. And, your mother may insist on adding armor plating so it acts as a safe room in case of danger."

Darn you woman, playing with my mind like that. I was all over that case in an instant. I opened it up and leapt back at the sight of the drop inside. "Woah... that... that's what I want, Lyra." Then I had a thought. "Anyway I could fit a second trunk like this on the inside?"

She narrowed her eyes but nodded. "Not today, Gold. Today you are shopping for school. You can try and build a castle out of your luggage later."

I chuckled as I rubbed my hooves together in contemplation of the possibilities. "Why don't more ponies just live in suitcases?"

"Because, if the outside gets destroyed the bigness inside flies everywhere." Ah, practical reasons like that. "I'm warning you right now. No lighting fires inside. Deal?"

I nodded and shook her hand. "Deal. What about lunchboxes?"

And they had a nice selection of those too. Tin, fabric, wood, steel, and just plain weird. "Is that one moving?"

"No, just pacing," my wetnurse told me, barely giving it a look. "It walks behind its owner once its bonded. I don't suggest it. They say they don't eat anything, but there are plenty of reports of ponies' lunch going missing inside of those things."

Ah, convenience with a hint of suspicion. Delightful. "So, what do you suggest?"

"Well, for a colt your size, I say this," she held up what almost looked like a pail with a lib on it. "Enchanted to keep your hot food hot and your cold food cold. Also makes for a good seat if your outside."

I shrugged. A pail was as any lunchbox. One that held the contents of an entire fridge would have been way over the top. "What about a bookbag, for when I don't want to drag an entire steamer trunk behind me?"

"I would suggest a rucksack, something in black." The wall she went to was covered in them, from those used in military campaigns, to ones for little day trips on the beach. She selected a ridged one with a zipper on the side. She opened it to show me shelves and drawers. "It's king of like your trunk, bigger on the inside, but with a compression matrix so you can fit larger objects through the opening. You'll be the envy of the eggheads."

I half thought about rejecting it after she said that... then again. "I love it. Any other bags you think I'll need? Sleeping bag? Garbage bag?"

She tapped me on the nose in good humor. "No... I think these'll do. I wish I had this stuff when going through her school. Too spendy for most families. You should be grateful for your privilege, Gold. You have quite the advantage."

I know she meant well, but... somehow that didn't make me feel good. Should I feel bad for having such an advantage? I mean, it's not my fault I hit the jackpot of families to be born to. Wouldn't it be wrong to not take advantage of what I have to better myself? It was a tiny little conundrum I found myself in.

Philosophy thy name is mud.

After buying these items, we made a quick stop at a place not on the list. A hardware store.

"We need a ladder," Lyra explained. A mute or so later, she helped me carry my other supplies down into my suitcase, a bewildered and dumbfounded Corner Stone peaking in from the top. The tip of her nose the only thing that fit. I informed here, that, even if the opening were wider, she wouldn't be abler to fit.

Are you calling me fat? Seemed somethings were universal constants, no matter how many eons have passed. I patted her nose reassuringly. I told her no. After all, she had been starving for a few million years.

"What's the next on our to-do list, dear wetnurse mine?" I grinned at the mare in question, who giggled back.

"Writing supplies, the Plucked Owl has the best in Equestria."

"Weren't we just at a bookstore?" I asked/

She shook her head. "Yes. But now we're going to a stationary store."

Wow, just how specific a list had Twilight compiled? Perhaps I was going to need another trunk or two.

School Supplies: Part 5

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Quills and ink. No ballpoint pens, apparently they hadn't been invented yet. For all it's marvels, this place was missing a lot of advancements. Perhaps, if I could get my memories in order, I might be able to aid them in that regard. For heavens sake, they don't even know what pizza is. I mean, are you kidding me? That alone would make me a billionaire.

Wait. It would, wouldn't it? Lets put a pin in that and pay a visit to the palace kitchens later.

Yes, we had multiple kitchens. Mother had one specifically for baking cakes. How was she not fatter? Don't tell her I said that, please.

Anyway, this store didn't seemed nearly as interesting. Just hundreds of different kinds of feather pens. No pencils even. Ink came in lots of little bottles. It seemed pretty standard for the era we lived in. There were mafic ones of course, like those that write on voice commands, but Lyra said I shouldn't use those for school. I was supposed to be learning after all.

parchment paper. Just regular parchments paper. Oh this place was boring.

"Just a while longer, Gold," Lyra chided me. She set about picking what I would need. I was content with that. I kind of wanted to explore my trunk. She went around a corner while I stared at a poster for an upcoming play. The Boulder of Tom's Wall. Must be a B production.

Just then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning, I found a guard. "Is something wrong?"

She shook her head. "No, your highness. I just thought you would enjoy a nice drink."

She handed me a ceramic glass full of a liquid that smelled highly of lemons. I cocked my eyes and stared at her. "You think I'm pretty stupid don't you?"

Her eyes went wide and her hand shot for her sword. Then there was a cracking sound as another guard had come along and clubbed her from behind.

"I was just going to say I wanted a straw," I gaped in shock at the scene before me. "What... is this poisoned? Have I been targeted by assassin's again?"

The second guard's knife under my chin was very telling.

"Whoever is hiring you should really start coordinating with the other conspirators," I chuckled nervously as I began backing away. "Um... you wouldn't care to accept a bride would you?"

She paused her steps, actually contemplating it. "How much are we talking about?"

"Oh, good, no loyalty," I sighed in relief, cup floating my magic beside me. "How about your life?"

She suddenly felt the prick of the first guard's sword on the back of her neck. Now, I had never killed anyone in my life. I doubt I was capable of it at this point in my existence. But, what didn't know wouldn't hurt me. She dropped her knife and nodded.

"You are the highest today. Nice trick, using your grip on your cup to hide your lifting the sword."

"Oh, now we're complimenting each other?" I asked. "I n that case, nice tits. Now, on your knees and submit to arrest."

"Damn," she cursed as if it were more an inconvenience.

I called for Lyra's help. "Can we just cut to the chase? Save yourself from brutal torture or whatever it is mother does with my kidnappers or would-be murderers. Who hired you?"

"I work through a bureau," she shrugged defeatedly. "I just select the job, I never see the clients face."

"You're not a very good assassin," I said as Lyra appeared and began binding her and the unconscious one, most aggressively, I might add.

"Well, I'm really just the accountant for the assassin. She was on holiday, so I pitched in. Figured she'd really want this job on her resume."

"And now she's a fugitive," Lyra said in a very angry tone as she shoved the accountant down next to the unconscious assassin. "I'm pretty sure she won't be happy about this."

"Ah... didn't think that through," the accountant groaned in realization. "If I testify, can I get some leniency?"

Lyra sighed in anger and annoyance. "You'll have to ask his mother. Nine or so years ago, a mare and a griffon tried to kidnap him. No one's heard from them since."

"Oh dear."

"You wouldn't happen to be one of the assassin's who shot and poisoned me on my birthday would you?" I asked, giving the sword a little spin in the air. The ever motherly Lyra took it from me and shook her head.

"No, I'm a terrible shot, and poisons creep me out." She sounded sincere. I almost pitied the poor mare. Then again, she did just try to kill me.

"Your highness," a voice called out. This time I was on the defense.

Two mares suddenly appeared, stark naked and bearing large welts on their heads.

"Someone or someones knocked us out and stole our uniforms, you could be in terrible danger."

They came skidding to a halt when they saw our prisoners.

"Yeah," I nodded. "We've taken care of things, thank you. I just hope this doesn't make mom any more insane about my safety."

"No luck there, I'm afraid," the mint mare shook her head. She was probably right. Dammit.

The real guards took their uniforms back and hauled the two prisoners out of the store to be taken to my mother for questioning. I did not envy them. The guards that is. Mother was going to throw a fit at their performance.

"Do we have everything?" I asked, looking at Lyra.

She nodded. "Yes, Gold. We can leave now."

"Finally," I groaned in the most dramatic fashion I could muster. "Summoning supplies was next, right?"

She nodded. "The Pullover Emporium. They'll having the most basic necessities for you first summoning rituals. That is, if Princess Celestia doesn't summon us back to the palace once she hears of this incident."

"Well, then we have no time to waste," I said, flying up onto Corner Stone's back. "We must make haste to the next shop. I refuse to thwarted before dinner."

School Supplies: Part 6

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How to Summon Your Flagon, and not a Dragon by Mistake. Quite the oddly specific title for a book we apparently couldn't pick up at the bookstore. I was holding the shopping basket while Lyra gathered what I needed for this class. A lot of chalk, I must say.

"What else do we need? Crystals? Virgin blood? a shrunken head?" I teased.

"Not for the level of spell should be worrying about," she shook her head without turning to me. Wait? Those were actual ingredients. "Besides? Those aren't even necessary anymore. We've discovered substitutes."

"Substitutes?" I queried.

"Oh, yes. We use refractory and lenses nowadays, much more reliable than crystals, actually allows you to focus the spell. Some water, salt, and protein powder is a perfect substitute for virgin blood, or any blood in particular. Your summon tends to be more desirable too. As for shrunken heads, it's really just about the calcification of the flesh and bone."

"So, calcium powder?" I mused.

"Available at any chemist shop," she chirped. "But, no, you won't be needing those. Lenses, yes, but let's try to summon a kitten, and not a Twiggie the Devourer."

I wanted to ask if this Twiggie was real, but I also didn't want to sound stupid. Libraries would hold the answer.

Have I mentioned the guard situation? Well, mother decided, in light of recent events, that half the 6th battalion shall be standing watch over me for the rest of the day. Well, it was also good business for the local shops, soldiers had to eat too you know. They were also crowded inside the summoning store with us.

Such was my life. Sometimes, I wonder if it was better if I didn't talk, or if I was like a regular male. Then, I remembered what mares almost seemed to do on a whim to normal males, and that thought was shot without mercy. Nope, better to be a freak than that.

Lyra grabbed a crate of soap. An entire crate, and set it in the basket. Thankfully, I was strong enough to hold it.

"Trust me," she said with a smile, patting my head. "A lot of early summons require soap."

"Soap?" I asked, tilting my head in near disbelief.

"It's the fat inside them," she told me with a nod. "Fat is sweet and attracts certain otherworldly creatures."

"Attracts? So summoning is like trying to attract something?"

She nodded again. "What? Did you think summoning was just setting up a shrine and something appears? No-no-no, my dear prince. It's a carefully set up lure, almost like fishing. Sometimes their biting, sometimes their not. And sometimes you'll accidentally summon something else that decided it was attracted to the lure."

"Something else? Something dangerous?"

She snorted. "Not with the low-level summoning rituals you'll be doing. The worst you might get is a bite on the finger. Or, like in my first summoning class, a clawed hand appeared out of thin air and slapped me."

"Ah, I see." I shifted the crate a bit to balance it better. "Do you have to say words too? Or... I don't know, pound on a drum?"

She nodded. "Sometimes. Though, oddly, more summons seem to respond better with a tuba than a drum. It's sort of like bird calling."

"Or mating calls?" I chuckled.

"Again, higher level stuff, you're too young for that," she told me casually. Wow, I was just joking. "Though... don't be discouraged if an earlier summon keeps on appearing. They can sometimes grow fond of you, almost like pet... or a friend. One filly in my class summoned a being who started mothing her whenever it appeared. The bullies left her alone, snaggled teeth and seven eyes tend to do that."

Charming. "So, what can I expect to summon?"

She shook her head. "The first summon is always special. I'm not going to tell you anything that might spoil your expectations."

Fair enough. "Though... I've never seen anyone practicing summoning. It doesn't seem that popular."

"Like I said, it's like fishing," she explained as she grabbed some copper wire and handful of snail shells. "You either love it or you don't. Some mares spend hours just catching and releasing."

"You can keep a summon?" I was interested.

"Well, usually you keep it for harvesting purposes. Some summons don't fair well long periods in our world. And, there are some who do just fine. Though, please don't hide a summon you fall in love with and want to keep. It rarely ends well for the poor things."

I nodded. Alright made sense. They were wild animals in a sense. Put them back where they belong. "How big can early summons be?"

"Oh, usually the size of your palm I mean hoof. Though the can also be big enough to ride if your very lucky, or unlucky. Like I said, your first summons won't be dangerous, but you'd be surprised how much havoc that can cause."

I had the sudden image of a accidentally summoning a moose. Hey, it's from another world, so , why not? Any way, this moose had me clinging desperately to its back as it ran through the what I thought the walls of the school would look like.

"Now, I want you to promise me, Gold," she said, turning to look me in the eye, a serious tone in her voice. "Promise me, that you will take every precaution, and that you won't go attempting any advanced summons before your teachers think your ready. Promise me, young colt."

Wow, those eyes weren't convincing, they were demanding. They commanded my very soul to nod my head. "Yes ma'am, I promise ma'am. Please stop gazing into the very core of my being ma'am."

She laughed and hugged my neck. "You silly colt. Now, I trust you. The last thing I want to hear is some teacher saying that you summoned an elder one. I promise you, I will be very... very... disappointed."

Yikes. Why was it that disappointing motherly figures was more horrifying than making them angry? She was good. She was very good. Oh, and that concluded todays shopping. I need to get back to the palace for some measurements.