Old Enough For School, Old Enough To Rule

by Professor Donger

First published

Or Cadence leaves her ten year old daughter in charge of the Empire and goes on vacation.

Shining Armor comes back home after the yearly Equestria Wargames Competition only to find his citizens panicking, his royal guard failing and his daughter on the throne with his wife nowhere to be found.

Or Cadence leaves her ten year old daughter in charge of the Empire and goes on vacation.


Written for the Cadence is a Terrible Mom Competition

Special Thank You to Baineblade For Editing and putting up with my comma fetish and random capitalizations.

Original art by Its-Gloomy

Chapter 1

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Shining Armor had felt bad when he left with his contingent of personally trained Imperial Guardsponys to compete in Equestria’s annual Wargames; but Cadence had assured him that it was fine and that he had to go show off the might of the Empire to the different royals that would be bringing their own guards to the games.

He had wanted to bring Flurry, since she loved military history and tactics nearly as much as he did, but Cadence reminded him that she was grounded for throwing a colt out of a second story window at school. Even If Shining knew the colt deserved it. Flurry had been complaining about him bullying her because of her wings for months now.

Regardless, Cadence was the disciplinarian of the two and Shining knew he was wrapped around his daughter's hoof, so he didn’t interfere with her punishment. Though he had snuck a few Battlebludgeon 50k miniatures for her to paint in her spare time. Poor Flurry was trying to build up an army of Discord Marines to take on his own Celestial Marines. He couldn't berate her really, even though he knew no one was perfect all the time, even his precious little filly! So what Cadence didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

He shook his head and got his mind back on track. The competition went well, his Guards Ponies had done him and the Empire Proud with a first place win, and he was on his way home to his wife and filly.

As the train sped by and transitioned from the mountains of the frozen north into the basen that held the Crystal City, Shining couldn’t help but smile at the sight of his beloved kingdom. He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, which caused Lieutenant Flash Sentry to turn away from his own window and address him.

“Happy to be back Sir?”

Shining resisted the urge to let out an un-prince like snort and replied “More like I’m happy the kingdom is still standing, and what have I told you about calling me Sir?”

Flash just smiled and shook his head before turning back to the window, leaving Shining to his thoughts.

Shining had been gone for far too long, he just hoped that Flurry had behaved, and that Cadence hadn’t had too rough of a time ruling on her own. After all, he loved his wife dearly. She was smart, no, brilliant in her own ways when it came to matters of the heart and love; but when it came to the details of ruling a kingdom? She was completely lost.

Cadence was great with ponies, she could give speeches, rally soldiers and do the day to day public image stuff that was required of a nation's ruler no sweat. She was an extrovert by nature and she was right at home among crowds of ponies. Or in court where she could just talk to somepony about their problems.

She was awful when it came to the actual day to day maintenance and work that went into keeping a kingdom running, which was where Shining Armor came in. He had been THE captain of Celestia’s Royal Guard and knew how to micromanage. He knew how to rule a kingdom (after all, the Royal Guard didn’t just exist in Canterlot) and he knew how to make sure things went smoothly with any type of operation.

Cadence was the face of the Empire, the mouth that read the speeches and the horn that signed the laws, but Shining Armor was the states pony penning the speeches, writing the laws and making sure that his wife understood the ramifications any changes would have on her ponies.

As Shining looked out the window though, he once again reaffirmed that yes, his home was still standing and no Cadence hadn’t burnt it down in his absence. With that he felt a weight lift off his shoulders, and he finally let himself relax on the final stretch of this trip.


Shining should have known better than to believe his wife wouldn’t somehow find a way to mess up.

As he trudged away from the train station, Flash Sentry and his Guards Ponies were busy keeping the civilians that had gathered to mob him with questions at bay. He couldn’t help but feel his eye start to twitch in what his Mom called the “Husband is Sick of This Bull” tic. Shining knew his mother had renamed it the “Twilight Sparkle” later on, since Twilight would later be the one who really went at it with the twitching, but he preferred the previous name. It just seemed to fit the situation he was in right now.

According to a random civilian who had tried to question him his wife wasn’t in the Empire. Apparently she hadn’t been since the day after he had left.

Random ponies kept coming up to him to ask where their princess had gone. None of them seemed all that frazzled other than with the fact that Cadence wasn’t in the Empire, yet it was starting to grate on him as he let his eyes rove the streets of the city. It was only after he started really scanning the ponies and homes before him that he truly began to notice something was even more amiss than he thought.

Every Pony had their manes done up like Twilight Sparkle’s, every, single, one of them.

Looking away from the strange ponies before him, he then noticed the giant (and he meant giant) swimming pool that took up a majority of where the Grand Plaza once stood. The Crystal Heart floating above the water as if nothing had happened at all.

Turning to the Ponies before him he groaned and put the pieces together “Right, I’m going to get to the bottom of this and fix what I immediately can and get Cadence back. You all need to disperse and return to your normal everyday lives, now.” he ordered with a glare, willing his eye to stop twitching to maintain the look.

The ponies did as they were told, and he finally had a chance to breathe. Turning to the castle he groaned and stepped up to the giant door that led to the entrance hall… Which was closed.

Shining thought about just blowing it off its hinges to relieve some stress, but he wasn't his Sister. So instead he raised a hoof and knocked.

A slot opened a little above Shining, and a pair of yellow eyes appeared in them. With out ceremony a femanine voice asked “Password?” causing Shining’s eye to begin twitching again.

“Dinky Doo, I swear to Celestia if you don’t open this door.” he began only to be cut off

“Sorry Captain Prince Sir, No can do! Princess’s orders! Everypony gets asked to provide the password, no ifs ands or buts about it.” the now identified Dinky Doo stated, as if it was common sense.

“Why…?” he dreaded the answer, he had already surmised that his daughter was running things the moment he saw everypony’s hairstyles, but she had never been so… Paranoid about ponies coming into the Palace. Heck she was probably more extroverted than Cadence was.

“We don’t want a repeat of the great Vanilla War of 07/08/1012.”

“....What War!? That was literally yesterday’s date!” Shining stomped a hoof in exacerbation.

“It was a quick war, you did train us after all Sir Emperor Captain Sir.” Dinky tried flattery

Shining frowned as his previous attempts were proving to not be ast effective “Here’s a password, Open the Door or You’re on latrine duty for a month.”

By the shifting of her eyes he knew that his threat was having an impact, but to his surprise she stood strong. “That’s the incorrect password” she managed to stutter out.

“Six Months.” He deadpanned “And No more of your mom’s muffins from Ponyville when Starlight sends them.”

He heard her sharply inhale and knew at that moment he had won. With a resigned close of her eyes she let out the breath she had taken and looked at him.

“Promise not to laugh…” with that the slot closed and the door slowly began to open. Shining raised an eyebrow but said nothing, instead waited for the doors to open fully before he made his way into the castle.

As he made his way inside he glanced to his left, where he knew Sergeant Dinky Doo would be standing at attention, and had to suppress a snicker as she too had the Twilight Sparkle hair cut.

“Captain!” she groaned covering her face with her hooves “it’s so embarrassing! Everypony has to have this mane cut! It’s the law! Stop laughing!”

Shining finally got his snickers under control (boy was he glad Twilight ditched that haircut once she became High Princess) and dismissed Dinky, ordering her to tell everypony in the castle to go change their manes back to their preferred style. He’d have the “law” repealed after he talked to his daughter.

With that out of the way he made for the throne room where his daughter's voice could clearly be heard giving orders, along with the sound of a pen scratching away on paper. Stepping into the room he quietly observed Flurry for a moment.

“Look I get that Taxes are important but why the hay are they so darn complicated? Daddy hasn’t gotten to them yet in our lessons, so why can’t we just put them on hold for now?” she grumbled to the scribe, who merely tsked at her.

“Your Highness, Taxes are important. They are needed so that the kingdom can continue to provide for the common pony with services like roads, guards and other important projects, like that pool outfront.”

“Yeah but… But why can’t we just let the ponies do that stuff on their own? Why do we have to tax them? More importantly why do I have to figure out how to write said taxes?! Can’t we just… I don’t know, delete the tax code?” Shining almost jumped in right then and there...not his precious tax code! He had finally balanced the budget and gotten taxes as low as he could before he left!

Thankfully the scribe had managed to cut off his daughter’s line of thought “Absolutely not, and besides, you wouldn’t be in this predicament if you hadn’t raised the crowns expenditures so much. Your father’s tax laws were very well thought out and should have been able to run without the Crown’s interference after they were signed into law. You just had to have your rudding swimming pool!”

He saw Flurry pout and Shining knew it was time to step in. He put in a mental note to give the scribe a raise after he had fixed everything, if for no other reason than saving his darling tax code. “He’s right you know, now tell me Flurry. Where is your Mother?” he took satisfaction in his daughter's jump of fright, and noted that the Scribe merely smirked behind his paper.

“I see the Prince has returned so shall take my leave. Good day to you both.” The scribe bowed and made his exit.

Shining gave the retreating scribe a passing glance as he stepped into the throne room proper. He could have sworn he saw the pony wink at him. With a shake of his head he dismissed the passing thought and turned back to his daughter with a frown. “Again, Flurry, where is your Mother?”

He could tell Flurry was starting to sweat, she was shifting upon the throne uncomfortably and looking side to side as if trying to find an exit. Shining knew drastic measures would be needed to get her to talk.

“One…” he began and her twitching started to get worse, even going so far as to shake her head and glare defiantly at her father. Shining only frowned harder “Two…” she opened her mouth to speak but clicked it shut with a snap. Shining’s patience was wearing thin and he felt awful for having to threaten his daughter, but he needed to know where his wife was. He decided to give her one last olive branch “Don’t make me get to three Flurry Heart.”

Flurry’s eyes filled with tears and just like with Dinky Doo, Shining knew that he had won. Even though it was a joyless victory.

Just as he had predicted she ran down from the throne and hugged him while apologizing profusely. After a minute of this and reassuring her that no, he wasn’t THAT mad and no he wasn’t going to take away her miniatures he finally got an answer.

“Mom’s on Vacation.” Flurry said through sniffles as she wiped her eyes with a hoof.

“What?” was all that came out of Shining’s mouth. That and the sound of a vase breaking because of his magic which caused Flurry to jump.

“Umm… Yeah she left the day after you did.” she started and stopped once the tiles under her dad's feet started cracking from the pressure he was putting on them. “She uh, said that I was old enough to go to school on my own and that you were super duper smart! And you were teaching me everything about how to rule and stuff! So why shouldn’t I get some practical experience ruling a kingdom while she went and visited her old village. She said something about not visiting in almost a hundred years or something…”

Shining put a hoof up to his chest and took a deep breath, held it for ten seconds, and then let it out. ‘Calm’ he told himself ‘calm, it’s not your daughters fault, let's transliterate the amount of dragon dung our wife fed her and then go from there.’

‘Cadence visited her home town a week ago, it’s a spa and vacation resort town off the coast of Luna Bay, it’s been that way since a decade after she became a princess. She straight up lied to our daughter and ran out to go have a spa week…’ Shining felt his anger coming back, but he reigned it in for his daughter’s sake.

“Are you… Mad at me, Papa?” his daughter weakly asked and Shining felt his heart break. With a sigh he brought her into a one armed hug and nuzzled her.

“I’m not mad at you, Flurry. I’m mad at Mama, and whenever she gets back I’m going to give her a stern talking to.” Shining reassured her and he felt the tension leave his daughter as she returned the hug.

“Ok…”

“Now, I need to know what all you did so I can fix it. So what did you do while I was gone?” Family moment over, back to business.

Flurry sat on the floor with her back to her dad’s chest as she began recounting everything that happened over the week he’d been gone. “So we dug that giant pool around the Crystal Heart Made everyone have Aunty Twilight’s hair for Aunty Twilight Appreciation day, that’s today by the way. Banned Vanilla Ice Cream and I was trying to abolish income tax, but Scribe wouldn’t let me…”

“Calling the scribe his job title for his name isn’t very nice Sweetie.”

“His name is literally Scribe Scribbler, Papa…” Flurry deadpanned.

Shining took note of that for later, “Ah... Wait what’s this about abolishing the Income Tax?”

“Well...Ponies kept grumbling about income tax being unfair and too high...so I thought why not just abolish it? And then I saw that it was supposed to be temporary anyway and tried to do something about it, that’s what you walked in on earlier.”

Shining moved a hoof up to his face in exacerbation “You can abolish the income tax when you’re actually on the throne, but not before.” It was then that the Vanilla Ice Cream bit hit him and he groaned, “Why would you ban vanilla ice cream? You know it’s your mom's favorite flavor.”

“I know, that’s why I did it…” she grumbled and Shining sensed animosity in those words “Stupid ponies don’t get why though, tried to start a war over it…”

“Right maybe we’ll keep that one on the books until her punishment is up…” he conceded, ignoring his daughter's grumblings about an ice cream war for the moment, she was a Sparkle like he was after all, and Sparkles were vindictive when wronged.

Shining then brushed a hoof through her mane “Now besides trying to murder my perfectly balanced tax code, digging a pool, sparking a war over ice cream and creating Twilight Sparkle appreciation day, is there anything else I should know about?”

At this Flurry suddenly looked a bit embarrassed and began shifting on her hooves again. Shining frowned “Flurry.”

She sighed “I may… Or may not have sent a couple million bits to Groks Workshop to get them to give the Chaos Lords and Discord Marines the update to the ninth edition that they deserve…”

Shining snorted at that and shook his head “Ok… Fair enough. But you do know that if Uncle Spike finds out that you caused his Dracon Overlords to get pushed back again, he’s going to be peeved, right?”

Once again Flurry pouted and mumbled “Well maybe he should play an actual faction and not a bunch of sleepy robot space dragons…”

Shining just laughed and nuzzled his daughter's cheek before standing up and taking the oversized crown from her head. “Alright, go to your room and paint your miniatures for a while, I’m going to fix the country and wait for your mom to get back.”

Flurry got up to do just that, but hesitated a bit, “Am...I in trouble?”

Shining made a show of thinking for a moment before shaking his head, “I think ruling a country unprepared for a week was punishment enough. And you didn’t start any wars with Yakyakistan while I was gone so no, you aren’t in trouble.”

Flurry smiled, and was going to leave before she had an idea, with a smile she turned and took the crown back with her magic.

"Wait, Papa! Before you fix everything, what's Aunty Twily's birthday? I want to get her something while I still have access to the treasury."

Shining Armor was about to tell her that she didn't really need access to the treasury to get Twily a gift. That she could have just asked him and he'd get said gift for her, but he remembered how happy Spike felt when he was able to buy gifts for the ponies he cared about himself. Back when they were foals and a drakeling respectively, ‘so what the hay’, he thought. ‘What's a few bits out of the treasury?’, after all it was for Twily's birthday.

"Ok fine, her Birthday is November 3rd." He smiled once more and she quickly hugged him in response.

"THANK YOU! I'll be right back Papa!" with that she teleported out of the room and Shining just shook his head with a small laugh.

It was four months later that High Princess Twilight Sparkle would receive a scroll from the Crystal Empire, signed by "Best Princess Flurry Heart" officially asking for annexation by "Aunty Twily the Great" into Equestria.

Twilight's shout of "WHAT?!" could be heard halfway across the country.